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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Jan 20, 2021 8:15 pm

Waiting for Elkin to buy an Amico and then tell me his thoughts.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by PartridgeSenpai Thu Jan 21, 2021 8:52 am

Partridge Senpai's 2021 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
* indicates a repeat

1. Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland (PS3)
2. Portal 2 (PC) *
3. Atelier Judie: The Alchemist of Gramnad (PS2)
4. Pipo Saru 2001 (PS2)
5. Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (N64)
6. Atelier Viorate: The Alchemist of Gramnad 2 (PS2)

7. Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SFC)

This is a game I owned as a kid but never ended up beating. There are a bunch of missions to complete to get the real ending, and I could never figure out all of them to be able to actually beat it. I sat down with a wiki open on my computer and finally beat this game after so many years. I have Bone to thank for me finally getting off of my butt and completing this after I read his review of Dream Land 2 a week or so ago ^^;. It's not my favorite Kirby game on the SNES, but it does have a lot of nostalgia for me, so I'm really happy that I was finally able to conquer this mountain of my childhood (even if it ultimately wasn't that difficult ^^;). It took me around 4 hours to beat the game on my Switch's Super Famicom Online service.

The story is another fairly light Kirby affair as is so standard for their games. Kirby is chilling on Pop Star (or as it's called in Japanese: "Pupupu Land") when those weird, shadowy eyeball fellas land on it and start wreaking havoc again. Kirby needs to go to all five sections of Pop Star and complete the six levels in each and then fight a boss at the end. And, if they complete the special mission in each of the six levels in a world and then beats the boss there, they'll purify that area of the shadows. Purify all five worlds and you unlock a true final boss to fight to kick those shadowy jerks back into space. It's a simple, cute story that sets up the gameplay nicely, as is so often the case with Kirby.

The gameplay is very much Kirby and an evolution on what Dream Land 2 brought to the table. Like in Dream Land 2, there are a scaled back number of powers compared to just how many there are in Kirby's Adventure or Kirby Super Star Deluxe, but they're modified by the inclusion of Kirby's animal friends. Pair up with an animal friend and the power you have gets turned into something totally new that also happens to have that power. It's a neat gimmick that is also pretty clearly what led to the power combining mechanic that we'd see a couple years later in Kirby 64.

The main issue I found is that a lot of the animals just aren't that fun/quick to go around as, and a lot of their power combos suck. A fair few of the animals feel like power-downs as compared to how you usually get around (let alone compared to other animals), and several missions require the use of certain animals. Kirby themself controls alright, despite a bit of a heavier walk than I'm used to in Super Star, but a few of the animals are paiiiinfully slow and it feels like you're trudging through levels for no real benefit other than the novelty of the animal companion. Gooey, your co-op partner, is also a really cool idea, but Gooey (as far as I can tell) can't ride animals, which is a bit of a stinker (and Gooey is nowhere near as cool as the partner system in Super Star). It's certainly a change from the normal just-Kirby stuff, but it's got a flawed enough execution that it's not surprising to me that they were dropped from future Kirby games (though my personal favorites are Rick and Kine <3 ).

The level design and overall difficulty are quite good, and lend to a game that's not dead-easy but also isn't brutally hard. I actually did die at a few points, and the game hits a nice sweet spot between not really hard enough to make you feel like you're on edge, but also not easy enough that you just stop caring. There are a few parts that require the animals' respective unique platforming abilities to complete the mission in that stage, and those are usually really good fun (if above-average in their challenge), but there are only a few of them. The mission design on the whole varies a lot in quality from a good challenge to nearly unknowable nonsense (like the one in level 2 that had me stumped for literal decades), and while their overall construction is a big improvement on how they're done in Dream Land 2 (you can always find everything you'll need to complete a mission in that level, so you don't gotta go get animals/powers and bring them to a different level to complete that mission), but they're still a fairly flawed idea.

The presentation is very strong, as is normal for a Kirby game, but has some ups and downs. The music is overall very good, and I'll leave it at that. Kirby music is something HAL has always excelled at, and this game is no exception to that. The bigger sticking point for me is the graphics. Now, for a very late SFC game, the picture-book style of the game looks really cool. The way things look drawn with crayon or pencil gives the game a really unique style that I adore. The main thing I don't like about it is the fact that Kirby doesn't change depending on the power he has like with the hats they'd get in Super Star and such. I realize this is no doubt a compromise for needing to ride on all the animals, but it's still an aesthetic of those games that I love that I missed having here.

Verdict: Recommended. It's got some issues as far as Kirby games go, but it's still a really solid game. It's gotten to be quite the rare physical release, so it's pretty darn hard to recommend it that way, but if you already have Switch Online, I'd say there's no reason not to give this a go if you're in the mood to kill an afternoon with a fun platformer. There's certainly better Kirby to be found on the SNES, but this is definitely not a choice either.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Thu Jan 21, 2021 4:58 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 10
* denotes a replay

January (10 Games Beaten)
1. God of War - PlayStation 3 - January 1
2. God of War II - PlayStation 3 - January 2
3. God of War: Chains of Olympus - PlayStation 3 - January 3
4. God of War: Ghost of Sparta - PlayStation 3 - January 4
5. God of War III - PlayStation 4 - January 6
6. God of War: Ascension - PlayStation 3 - January 9
7. God of War [2018] - PlayStation 4 - January 16
8. Epic Dumpster Bear 2: He Who Bears Wins - PlayStation 4 - January 16
9. God of War: Betrayal - Mobile - January 17
10. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit - Switch - January 18


10. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit - Switch - January 18

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I used to be a pretty big fan of Need for Speed: Underground back in the day, but I never played Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit when it came out in 2010. I always heard good things about it, and I remembered Underground hitting that nice middle ground between arcade racer and more realistic driving sim that I liked, but for whatever reason, I just never bothered with Hot Pursuit. When I saw that it was getting a remaster on Switch, I knew I had to check it out, so I threw it up on my Amazon wishlist. Fortunately, my mother loves me, because what arrived at my door on my birthday but a nice, new copy of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered on Switch.

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I've always been a fan of driving games, but I've never been any good at the realistic ones like Project Cars, Forza, or Gran Turismo. I love kart racers like Mario Kart, and I like arcade style racers like Daytona USA, but they don't quite scratch the same itch that a realistic racer does. Need for Speed has always been that happy Goldilocks middle ground. Real cars and more realistic mechanics than Daytona USA but not as brutally realistic as Forza and Gran Turismo. The game is broken into two sections - six dozen or so racer missions and five dozen or so cop missions. In the racer missions, you play as a street racer either trying to beat a time trial, trying to beat your rivals, or trying to beat your rivals while also evading the police. In the cop missions, you either try to bust street racers or beat time trials. Pretty simple stuff, but it's enough variety to keep the game from getting stale.

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Being a weaker system than the PS4 or Xbox One, I wasn't sure how the game would look on Switch. I knew that it would obviously look better than the PS3 and 360 original, but I've come not to trust a lot of developers - especially scum of the Earth developers like EA - to put the effort into a Switch port to make it look as good as it could. It was a pleasant surprise, then, when I discovered that it actually looks quite impressive. The pre-rendered bits before the races still looks pretty rough since I don't think they got any real remastering, but the gameplay itself looks fantastic. It runs really well, too. There are a few minor frame rate drops here and there, but for the most part, the game runs without issue.

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Something I consider to be the hallmark of a good game is customization, and in racing games, that means choosing the color of your car. Fortunately, Hot Pursuit provides a ton of options in that regard; naturally, all of my cars were yellow. Probably my favorite feature, though, is the speedwall. If you have folks on your friends list who also play Hot Pursuit, it will show you their clear times for each mission so you can see how you stack up to them. My buddy, Avery (whose username is redacted to maintain his privacy), is the only friend I have who also plays on Switch, but lemme tell you, he is GOOD. It was always a huge accomplishment when I managed to beat his time on a level. I didn't usually bother replaying a level more than once or twice to beat his time, but it was really cool to see how I stacked up against him. There's also an online multiplayer component, but since I'm terrible at racing games on a good day, I decided that I didn't want to feel even worse about myself than usual, so I didn't try that out.

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Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit may not have the arcade feel of Daytona USA, the silly fun of Mario Kart, or the hyper realistic sim elements of Forza, but it's definitely a racer well worth playing. It sort of sits right in the middle of those, to be frank. It's more realistic than Daytona, has some weapons like a kart racer but not as goofy, and features real world cars and realistic tracks like a driving sim. No matter what kind of racing game you're into, you'll probably find something in Hot Pursuit that piques your interest. It still shows its roots as a 7th gen game here and there, but the remaster treatment EA gave is top notch, and when you're actually playing the game, it looks right at home on 8th gen hardware. It may not be a new game, per se, but if you didn't play it on PS3 or 360, it's definitely worth picking up now.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by BoneSnapDeez Fri Jan 22, 2021 1:14 pm

1. Richard Scarry's Huckle and Lowly's Busiest Day Ever (Pico)
2. Countermeasure (Atari 5200)
3. Alex Kidd: High-Tech World (Sega Master System)
4. Kirby's Dream Land 2 (Game Boy)
5. Night Stalker (Intellivision)
6. Space Battle (Intellivision)
7. Utopia (Intellivision)
8. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (Intellivision)
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Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, released in 1982 for the Mattel Intellivision, is one of the more intriguing games available on the system as well as being one of the most unusual Dungeons & Dragons installments in the series history. While technically not the first D&D video game adaptation (it was preceded by a scant one year by a standalone LCD handheld, also by Mattel) it was certainly the earliest to grace a console and predates the famous "Gold Box" series by a good six years. In terms of genre, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is an early top-down action-adventure title, a sort of proto-ARPG. It's more complex than Atari's Adventure, but less ambitious than the primitive Japanese ARPGs that would soon follow (Hydlide, Dragon Slayer). Like a great many primordial licensed titles, this one is only tenuously related to its source material. There are the requisite monsters and dives into dungeons, plus the general "medieval fantasy" setting, but no semblance of statistics, no dice rolls whatsoever, and no "true" role-playing. In fact, outside of the title screen the game contains no text at all! This simplicity was to Mattel's great benefit: once they lost the D&D license they were still able to reissue this game on compilations under the new title Crown of Kings with no alterations except to the title screen (similarly, this game's direct sequel, the first-person Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin was later transformed into Minotaur).
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The game features two alternating screen types: an overworld and the dungeons themselves. The overworld is beautifully crafted, displaying the adventurers' home base, varying terrain, and the dragon-occupied Cloudy Mountain. Sit on the overworld for a bit to hear the dragons' fierce, fiery exhalations as they wait for hapless unprepared adventurers to devour. The goal of the game is simple enough: infiltrate the Cloudy Mountain and snag the two pieces of a mythical crown, each guarded by one of the aforementioned beasts. But there's a problem: barring the way to Cloudy Mountain are a series of obstacles -- locked gates, raging rivers, dense woods. Keys, boats, and axes are thus needed to proceed; such items are housed within the smaller mountains. Each mountain is color-coded to represent what treasures lie within, and a certain type of mountain will also contain a large cache of arrows: our adventurers' weapon of choice. Navigation around the overworld is handled quite differently than it is in the dungeons. Controller buttons 1 through 9 (minus the center button 5) are used to move in the standard eight directions. A mountain dungeon is automatically entered once highlighted. The "three-dot" icon the player controls represents the three heroes, and thus the game's three allotted lives. Each time the game is restarted the overworld map is shuffled quite a bit, with some configurations a bit more challenging than others. There are additionally several difficulty settings, to be chosen when booting the game. Higher difficulties will limit the number of available arrow quivers and will make the monsters more ferocious.

The bulk of the game is spent dungeon crawling, searching for the sacred treasures, and slaying fierce beasts. Once a dungeon is entered, the hero is locked in there until the exit ladder is found (there is no common enter/exit door seen in the likes of Zelda). Climbing a ladder is mapped to its own dedicated button, as is picking up items. Dungeons are spooky and claustrophobic, colored with the classic Intellivision green and yellow hues, comprised of narrow hallways and larger geometric rooms. The hero appears as a lithe man holding a bow, with a well-animated gait. It's possible, often necessary, to run from danger by pressing any one of the four side buttons on the controller. Unlike many of your classic adventure titles, it's actually quite difficult to get lost in these dungeons: the corridors "wrap around" and loop as opposed to hitting dead ends, and a "fog of war" slowly disintegrates to reveal freshly-explored territory. Once a dungeon is thoroughly unveiled and explored it can be deemed safe to exit.
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The monster roster consists of snakes, demons, rats, bats, spiders, blobs, young dragons, and the final boss winged dragons. Enemies differ in speed and arrow hits required to vanquish, though all of them are about the same size so the winged dragon duo isn't as fearsome as it could be. Monsters lack their own projectiles, and will charge at the hero. Blobs are the exception here, as they meander around but are completely indestructible so they must be avoided altogether. The game makes brilliant use of audio and visual cues to create an atmosphere of suspense. Before shedding the fog of war to reveal a monster, the hero will often hear a telltale noise: flapping bat wings, shrill rat squeaks, ominous dragon snoring. Other fiends, like the demons, prefer total silence and sneak attacks. Nearby footprints can warn of an enemy's presence, while the skulls of unlucky past adventurers serve as dungeon landmarks. While these additional artistic elements are a neat idea, the Intellivision doesn't possess enough graphical prowess to make them look like true "background" details: a first-time player is likely to consider a skull an enemy, then an item, before concluding that it's "nothing" after all. The heroes change color as they receive damage, turning blood red at their weakest state. The 0 button is used to "count arrows" which doesn't display an onscreen number but instead initiates a series of click noises: one for each remaining arrow in the quiver. Anyone who hears only a single click or two should fear for their (digital) life.

Combat is well-balanced, while also demanding the player exercise precision. In dungeons, the control disc is used to move while the 1 through 9 (minus 5) buttons are used to shoot in various directions. So, it's possible to run from an encounter while firing backwards; this is enormously helpful when squeezing through the tightest of caverns. The game is very stingy with ammo, and fired arrows can ricochet off walls to damage the player so it's critically important to aim shots properly. Holistically, the dungeons possess an early "stealth" feel, as one must carefully creep and strategize about whether it's wise to fight or flee, spend or conserve ammunition. Those playing on the highest difficulty will have to learn how to properly maneuver throughout dungeons quickly while scarcely firing, as there simply isn't enough ammo to last the entire journey. It's all pretty sophisticated for a game this ancient, while still remaining relatively user-friendly.

Replay value is high, given the randomization of all maps plus the difficulty options. An experienced player can trounce a quest in ten minutes or so, though it's fun to explore some of the "extra" mountains and experiment with the game's relatively nonlinear structure. There's even something of an ending after slaying the winged dragons, as the crown is proudly restored, displayed, and the dragons' noisy reign ceases. All told, this is a delightfully light little fantasy romp and a defining moment in early 1980s gaming. While Pool of Radiance and its direct descendants were extremely loyal to the tabletop roots of the franchise, and thus appropriately complex and unforgiving, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons remains one of the finest examples of an early real-time adventure game and one of the slickest things available on the venerable Intellivision.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:36 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 11
* denotes a replay

January (11 Games Beaten)
1. God of War - PlayStation 3 - January 1
2. God of War II - PlayStation 3 - January 2
3. God of War: Chains of Olympus - PlayStation 3 - January 3
4. God of War: Ghost of Sparta - PlayStation 3 - January 4
5. God of War III - PlayStation 4 - January 6
6. God of War: Ascension - PlayStation 3 - January 9
7. God of War [2018] - PlayStation 4 - January 16
8. Epic Dumpster Bear 2: He Who Bears Wins - PlayStation 4 - January 16
9. God of War: Betrayal - Mobile - January 17
10. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit - Switch - January 18
11. Muv-Luv: photonflowers* - Steam - January 22


11. Muv-Luv: photonflowers* - Steam - January 22

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I love Muv-Luv. I legitimately think it's the greatest visual novel series of all time. The original (which is actually two-thirds of the trilogy in one) and Muv-Luv Alternative are absolute masterpieces. When I heard about the two sets of side stories that had gotten English releases, I knew I had to try them out, and I figured I'd start with photonflowers* since it's the one I heard of first.

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So a little backstory about the first game if you've not played it since photonflowers* is structured the same way. The first game includes Muv-Luv Extra and Muv-Luv Unlimited. Extra is your typical cutesy waifu-filled slice of life romantic comedy harem anime styled visual novel. You go through each day's antics, pick a Best Girl, and watch the cuteness and shenanigans ensue. Unlimited takes place after Extra; your main characters wakes up for school like usual but finds himself in a strange, blasted out wasteland. Turns out he's somehow awoken in an alternate world nearly 30 years into an alien invasion. Over half of the human race is dead, and the entire continents of Asia and Europe have fallen to the alien menace. There's still some cutesy pick your Best Girl shenanigans to be had here in the context of a UN military training facility, but it's all under the looming specter of extinction at the hands of the BETA (Beings of an Extra-Terrestrial origin and Adversaries of mankind; stupid acronym, I know).

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The reason I gave all that explanation is because, as I said, photonflowers* is structured the same way. There are 12 stories in the game; seven of them take place in the "real" world of high school slice of life shenanigans while five take place in the dark apocalyptic world of the alien invasion. Of the seven in the regular Muv-Luv world, six are prequels that take place before the events of Extra, and one is a sequel that takes places afterwards. The sequel story also assumes that you picked Sumika as your Best Girl (she's the canon choice although by no means the only possible choice if you make the correct decision to open an eBay tab to buy and then play that game). As for the stories that take place in the world of Unlimited/Alternative, they take place all over the timeline. One takes place a decade before Unlimited, one takes place a few years before, I think two take place around the same time give or take a year or so, and one takes place two years after. Basically, you'll understand absolutely nothing of what's going on unless you play Extra, Unlimited, and Alternative first. And if you don't play those three, you're wrong. Just in general.

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Most of the Extra stories are pretty feel good. The sequel story will put your heart through the wringer, but as with everything on the Extra side of things, it has a happy ending. The other six are mainly just exposition character building, giving you a deeper look at that character's perspective prior to the events of Extra. With the Unlimited/Alternative side of things, however, it's a lot more varied. Only two of those stories take place from perspectives you'd be familiar with as the others are all based on media that (as far as I'm aware) hasn't been translated to English. Still, though, the context of the world is more than enough to let those stories have their full impact. All five of those stories will put your heart through a blender. I'm a pretty empathic person, so well written stories and characters can affect me pretty well; all five of those stories had me ranging from misty eyed to tears trickling down my face. There's absolutely no drop in writing quality here from the main games.

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Being part of Muv-Luv, it didn't surprise me that these remain among the best written visual novels I've ever read (which says a lot considering that they had to be expertly translated as well as being expertly written). What I wasn't sure about would be how high the quality level would stay with the sound design and the voice acting of the new characters. Fortunately, however, both are just as top notch as the writing. With the voice acting, the same voice actors return from the main games. Granted, I have absolutely no idea what they're saying since I'm a filthy monolingual American, but the emotion their performances convey kind of transcends language. As for the sound design, it's distrubingly well done. I don't mean that as in "It disturbs me that they did such a good job." I mean "Since they did such a good job, I'm disturbed because you can every rip, snap, and squelch as the BETA eat a TSF pilot alive." Maybe it's because I have over 100 hours invested in this series and its world and character, but the sound design - both sound effects as well as background music - just made it feel more real than words set to a drawn background should. The immersion is unreal.

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If you're a fan of Muv-Luv, you'll love photonmelodies*. If you're not a fan of Muv-Luv, it's because you haven't played it; fix that. I'll wait. -montage of waiting for a week- Okay, now that you're a fan of Muv-Luv, you need to check out photonflowers*. When you finish Muv-Luv, you'll inevitably think, "Man, I wish there were more!" Well, photonflowers* is there to answer your plea. It's literally just more Muv-Luv. More of the characters you love, and more characters you'll soon love. More of the world in which you've become engrossed. It doesn't tread new water for the series - if you didn't shed a single tear during Alternative, you're a legitimate psychopath - but it doesn't need to. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, and Muv-Luv was perfect from the start.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by BoneSnapDeez Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:15 pm

Elkin the boss.

btw what did you think of this part?
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:25 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Elkin the boss.

btw what did you think of this part?
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I understood her point as soon as that happened (cause I'm not as dumb as Takeru), but Sumika was WAAY overreacting.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by BoneSnapDeez Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:29 pm

Yeah but Takeru was literally being a soyboy. :lol:
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:54 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Yeah but Takeru was literally being a soyboy. :lol:

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Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by aaron Sun Jan 24, 2021 7:45 pm

K imma make a list.

1) Unending Dusk - Steam
EASILY the most taxing beat 'em up experience I've ever had. Not a bad game, but really unbalanced and pretty unfair sometimes. Case in point: my character (Templar) walks too slow to get back to the final boss for even one hit after the boss launches a screen-clearing attack and sends me to the edge of the stage (off screen). Really frustrating but not a terrible bmup. Can't say I'd recommend it, but it does have some nice pixel art.
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