Anything that is gaming related that doesn't fit well anywhere else
User avatar
BoneSnapDeez
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 19897
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 1:08 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Mar 02, 2021 11:11 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)
9. Kirby Super Star (SNES)
10. Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SNES)
11. Kirby Slide (e-Reader)
12. Super Mario Maker 2 (Switch)
13. Love Hina Advance: Shukufuku no Kane wa Harukana (Game Boy Advance)

14. Seirei Gari (Famicom)
Image
ImageImage
Seirei Gari (Hudson, 1989) is one of those old oddball Japanese adventure games, designed in the vein of Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken, though in today's terms we'd be inclined to call these "visual novels" with a high degree of player interactivity. Seirei Gari is also a one-off experience: it lacks ports and sequels and certainly seems destined for obscurity. However, at least one person found this one worthy of a fan-translation: it's been playable in English since 2007, and has been granted the localized name of Ghost Hunter.

The game begins with a lengthy (well, for Famicom standards) cutscene, complete with text that scrolls slowly and can't be advanced by A-button mashing. A young man named Michimune (aka Mike) is chillin' with his girlfriend, Miu, plus his elderly grandfather. Suddenly, a suave but decidedly demonic entity named Rosenkreuz waltzes in and kidnaps Miu, who's apparently needed as a sacrifice to resurrect an ancient evil god. Rosenkreuz flees and Mike, the game's protagonist, begins "the quest" to rescue his love. As the story progresses Mike moves through several settings, but there's a persistent theme of horror and spookiness throughout. There's also an "archaeology" undercurrent, similar to Tombs & Treasure and even Ninja Gaiden, as the game is rife with ruins, traps, and strange artifacts.

As far as gameplay goes, Seirei Gari is completely menu-based, with options like check, speak, take, use, and go. Selecting an option will typically ask the player to clarify "what" they're interacting with, and "go" is naturally used to navigate in a given available direction. At most points throughout the journey, Mike has to option to speak to his assistant, Kiyojo. It's similar to the "junior detective" element of Portopia; Kiyojo is ostensibly there to provide the occasional hint but typically has nothing useful to say. Events unfold like that of a typical Japanese adventure game. NPCs must be spoken to multiple times (as many as four) before they reveal all relevant information, and "triggers" must be activated before specific areas can be visited. Key items are located by first "checking" a room, and can then be "taken" by simply selecting the relevant command; there is no "grabbing" cursor or any semblance of pixel hunting (hallelujah).
ImageImage
Seirei Gari is structured a bit like another old Hudson adventure, Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom. Mike's adventure takes place over the course of a series of distinct chapters. Such chapters are self-contained and there's no way to backtrack to a previous one. This pleasantly prevents the game world from feeling overwhelmingly huge. Passwords can be doled out at almost any time by pressing select, and yes, they are comically massive. The game itself is decently meaty too: a perfect run (by someone who "knows what they're doing") will clock in at around ninety minutes, and a first-time player may have to pick away at this one for days.

Unfortunately, and this is in sharp contrast to the ever-charming Princess Tomato, Seirei Gari isn't especially fun. Most of the environments are pretty drab. The coolest locale, the haunted manor, is visited first, which then gives way to a series of bland grassy villages and stone caves. The navigation is often tedious: this is one of those adventure games where you need to move square-by-square as opposed to simply selecting a location from the menu. There are additionally some repetitive first-person "dungeons" that are just plain dreadful. Puzzles present themselves periodically, with solutions that are either extremely obvious (place these two orbs in these two orb-shaped holes) or extremely obtuse (outrun the flowing lava to a certain spot where it will mix with water and crack this one rock). It's actually possible to die whilst screwing up a puzzle, by getting crushed by a stone wall or whatever, whereupon the player is then kicked back to the title screen with the opportunity to enter a password or eject the cartridge to play a better game. Lastly, there is the occasional boss fight. Strangely, it doesn't seem as if it's possible to be defeated by a boss, as the game will allow the player to simply select every option until something "works" -- generally it's holding up an orb that weakens a boss, and then striking it with a blow.

Aesthetically, this one's nothing to write home about. As mentioned, the backgrounds are dull, though the bosses are well-drawn and the main characters possess that charming 80s anime look. The soundtrack is fairly forgettable, with the exception of the well-composed credits theme few will ever actually hear. This reference will be meaningless to most, but Seirei Gari feels strikingly similar to another old Famicom adventure by the name of Ankoku Shinwa. Both are absolute clunkers featuring cute girls, bosses, and uninspiring treks through stone hallways. Best to stick to those tried and true detective stories instead.
REPO Man
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 3585
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Outer Banks, NC

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by REPO Man Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:36 am

James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: Games of Passion for DS, a so-so hidden object game.
User avatar
PartridgeSenpai
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 2804
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:27 am
Location: Northern Japan

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by PartridgeSenpai Wed Mar 03, 2021 3:43 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)
8. The Legend of Mystical Ninja (SFC)
9. Atelier Marie: The Alchemist of Salburg (PS1)
10. Ganbare Goemon 2 (SFC)
11. Paper Mario: Origami King (Switch)
12. Star Fox 64 (N64) *
13. Super Paper Mario (Wii) *
14. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GC) *
15. Demon's Crest (SNES)
16. Cathedral (Switch)

17. Super Mario 3D World (Switch) *
18. Bowser's Fury (Switch)

I've been meaning to replay Mario 3D World for a good while, but with the port to Switch announced last summer, I figured it was best to wait, especially with the Bowser's Fury extra add-on that came with it. It's a game I've nearly beaten all of before, but I didn't have the patience to beat the game with every character to unlock the final, hardest world like you have to do in the Wii U version. However, after Gunstar told me that you don't need to do that anymore, and only need to beat every level up to that point, I was sold and ordered it immediately XD. While I didn't intend to beat the game with every character, I actually ended up having so much fun that I did just that ^^;. It took me some 16 or so hours to beat the game once getting every collectible, and then another 16 or so hours to beat every level with the other four characters. I also played through Bowser's Fury, which, while very different, is also tied to Mario 3D World enough mechanically that I feel tying the former's review to the latter just makes sense. It took me 4 hours or so to 100% Bowser's Fury, and I played through each game in English.

Super Mario 3D World is the Big 3D Mario Game (TM) of the Wii U era, and it opens in a pretty simple fashion as most of them tend to do. Mario, Luigi, a blue Toad, and Peach are walking along outside her castle, when suddenly they come across a weird clear pipe rakishly sticking out of the ground. The plumber bros flex their know-how and repair it properly quick, when a little fairy (apparently called Sprixie) suddenly pops out in great duress. She informs the gang that all of her friends have been captured by Bowser, and just like that Bowser pops out of the pipe in chase, puts her in a jar, glares at the heroes, and runs off down the pipe. Our heroes rush after him to save the Sprixie princesses. It's a very light story (communicated virtually without any text at all) that sets up exactly as much as it needs to. Although I will mention that it's nice that they gave the Bros. another target to save, as Peach's addition to the main cast is much more memorable than just some yellow Toad to go along with the blue one like in previous games.

The gameplay of 3D World is like an expanded edition of the 3DS's Super Mario 3D Land, but this concept for a 3D Mario game is as old as Mario Galaxy. Instead of going through one stage several times but with different missions such as games like Mario 64, Sunshine, and Odyssey do, you go through a series of stages but in a 3D environment. You run around, jump, get power ups, and can even store a power-up for later (just like Super Mario World on the SNES) all on your quest to get to the flag pole at the end of the stage. However, unlike Super Mario World, there are no hidden exits in this game's stages. Much more like Mario 3, while there are some secret warps to be found, they aren't so much tied to stages, so it's one curated experience from beginning to end. And it's a LOT.

The game boasts a hefty 116 stages. While some are simple Mario 3 "Wandering Hammer Bros"-style quick fights, the vast majority are fully fledged stages complete with 3 green stars and a collectible stamp (a remnant of how this used to be a Wii U game connected to Miiverse, but now a simple collectible bit of art) to find in each. There are even some special extra stages such as short, timed platforming or combat trial marathons, or Captain Toad puzzles (just as are found in his own Wii U game that was ported to Switch a couple years back). You'll go through eight worlds to defeat Bowser and rescue the Sprixie princess, but then another four await you. Two of these are brand new stages (granted the hardest world is just three stages), but the other two are full of remixed and more challenging versions of other stages in the game. As to be expected from Nintendo's best, the game's level design is top notch, with each stage feeling on some level different to the others. Simple completionism was definitely not the only reason I chose to spend an entire weekend and some change dedicated to playing through absolutely all the game's content could offer. Even without friends to play with (as the game has 4-player co-op, and you can even do online co-op with an option for two local players and up to two online players), it's just dang fun to play.

What makes it so fun to play is just how different the characters are. Upon beating level 9-2, you unlock Roselina to play as as well, bringing the game's roster up to five playable characters. Much like Mario 2, the game's characters all play similarly but different enough that you'll have a varied time playing as each. Mario is the all-'rounder, Luigi can jump one block higher than him and go a little faster but at the cost of some traction (as is tradition), Toad can't jump quite as high as Mario but he's WAY faster, Peach is pretty slow but she has her Mario 2 brief mid-air hover, and Roselina may be the slowest, but she boasts the ability to attack without powerups as she has Mario's spin attack right out of Mario Galaxy. Especially with the harder stages, getting used to playing as the different characters can take some recalibration of your faculties, and it gives the game great replay value. This is all bolstered by the awesome new powerup of the cat suit. With its ability to let you climb walls and do mid-air pounces and ground-based swipe attacks, it's an excellent companion to the tanooki suit to help you with any platforming challenges you go up against. The only complaint I have is that, like the Switch port of New Super Mario Bros U, you can't pick the same character as a friend in multiplayer.

This is a port in large regard, but there are some pretty significant changes to the game that make it definitive in my mind outside of just the addition of Bowser's Fury. As previously mentioned, the absurd requirement of beating every level with every character to unlock the final world has been removed, but it's a bit more than that. Additionally, getting all the collectibles in the first place has been made easier. You now keep a collectible upon death as long as you don't exit the level. As long as you grab a star or a stamp before you die, you'll still have it when you respawn, and all you have to do is get to the end of the level to keep it. Most importantly on a mechanical level, however, is the change to character speed (which Gunstar very kindly pointed out to me). Every character has been made to move significantly faster than their Wii U counterparts, with even Peach (the otherwise slowest character) moving faster in the Switch port than Toad (the fastest) did in the Wii U original. It doesn't make them unwieldy, and it overall just makes the game feel way better paced and more fun to play.

As for Bowser's Fury, it's short, yes, but it's an excellent addition. Someone on the Slack chat (probably Gunstar) described it as "the Mario Odyssey DLC we never got", and I find that description perfectly apt. You access Bowser's Fury from the main menu, so you actually don't need to play Mario 3D World at all to play it, and the two games actually don't interact content-wise in any way.

Bowser's Fury starts with Mario simply walking along alone outside Peach's Castle when he suddenly comes across some weird black paint. He follows it to its source with is a stylized M just like Shadow Mario made in Mario Sunshine, and it expands and swallows him up taking him to a far off world. On the other side, he finds a fretful Bowser Jr. and a GIANT Bowser who is totally out of control. Bowser Jr. is totally out of his depth, and reluctantly asks Mario for help getting his dad back to reality.

Though only one player (granted a second player can control Baby Bowser with a joycon, not dissimilar to the two-player function in Mario Galaxy) as Mario, Bowser's Fury is effectively Mario Odyssey but with the gameplay of Mario 3D World. You've got all the same power-ups, and even the 3D environment and controls (without a triple jump, just like 3D World does), but now you're out to collect cat shines, because everything is a cat here (the shines, the seagulls, the trees, the enemies, everything). You go around the large lake world to small island challenges or the larger island which sport a series of tasks. There's three tasks specific to that island as well as collecting little tokens hidden around it and even using Bowser's attacks to open up secret hidey-holes that hide Cat Shines.

Because Bowser isn't just sleeping waiting for you to beat him, he's MAD and out there to heck you up. He regains strength in the middle of the map until rain starts to fall. Once he's fully awoken (the rain basically gives you a de facto timer/warning that he's about to wake up), he'll do a big jump near to wherever you are and start launching atomic breath, big fireballs, and other stuff to try and mess up whatever it is you happened to be engaged with at the time. You can make him buzz off by collecting a Cat Shine (whose powerful light they generate from the islands' many lighthouses makes his dark energy feel all icky so he leaves), or if you have enough Shines, you can grab a MEGA BELL to grow into a GIANT cat and go toe to toe with him in a big kaiju battle!

The kaiju fights are really good fun, and it's endlessly cool getting to use the islands themselves as cover from his attacks and such. And if those battles are too hard for you, you can always collect Shines while he's attacking you normally to take chunks out of his health bar to make the actual kaiju fights easier/shorter. You can even make the normal gameplay easier or harder by setting Bowser Jr.'s AI to help you out a lot, a little, or even none at all (I played with him helping a little). There are 100 Shines to collect in total, and it's really good fun, especially as an add-on to Mario 3D World. Whether this is a glimpse of what will be Mario Odyssey 2 (for want of a better title) or just a one-off experiment they did to give the port of Mario 3D World some more appeal, I really enjoyed this little adventure to save Bowser from his angeries.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. The Mario 3D World port makes one of the best games on Wii U (and one of Mario's best games, full stop) even better and packs it in with the cherry on top of Bowser's Fury. If you like 3D Mario games this is an obvious choice to grab. Even if you've already played Mario 3D World and enjoyed it, I'd still recommend this just because of how nice the updated controls feel as well as how fun Bowser's Fury is. One of the Wii U's crowning gems has finally made its way to the Switch, and it's one you definitely shouldn't miss out on if you enjoy platforming games.
I identify everyone via avatar, so if you change your avatar, I genuinely might completely forget who you are. -- Me
User avatar
ElkinFencer10
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 8040
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:34 pm
Location: Henderson, North Carolina

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Thu Mar 04, 2021 7:41 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 18
* denotes a replay

January (12 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
12. Muv-Luv photonmelodies♮ - Steam - January 27


February (5 Games Beaten)
13. Gun Gun Pixies - Switch - February 1
14. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS4 - February 8*
15. Pantsu Hunter: Back to the 90s - Vita - February 13
16. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4 - February 17*
17. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - Steam - February 23


March (1 Games Beaten)
18. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - Steam - March 4


18. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - Steam - March 4

Image

Trails in the Sky (TitS, if you will) SC is the "second chapter" of the story (hence the name) that Trails in the Sky started, and it's...well, it's more Trails in the Sky. Sort of like how the transition of Trails of Cold Steel to Trails of Cold Steel II was, there is very little that distinguishes this game from the first game at a glance. There are, however, some differences that you start to notice as you progress through the game.

Image

SC picks up exactly where the first game left off. I won't give any spoilers, but Sad Thing A happens at the end of the first game, so at the start of this one, Sad Character B decides to do Preparatory Thing C to get ready to accomplish Goal D. I think that should be vague enough not to spoil it while giving a (very, very, very) vague idea of the game's early plot. Then Sad Character B gets further wrapped up in trying to thwart Evil Conspiracy E and teams back up with most of the characters from the first game; suddenly a lot of seemingly unrelated plot threads start to come together into a single cohesive tapestry. The first two Cold Steel games are pretty similar in that regard. As such, SC isn't NEARLY as slow-burning a game as the first one was. I got sucked into this one significantly faster than I did with the previous game.

Image

Visually and aurally, SC is virtually identical to its predecessor. Even mechanically, they're almost identical. The biggest changes are the introduction of Combo Crafts which use CP (the craft points you gain by taking and dealing damage) to let two characters team up to perform a powerful attack and better orbment abilities. You get a wider variety of quartz options for your obment thus giving you more options for strategy and the potential for greater stat effects. It also seemed like the game was significantly more generous with experience points in SC but much stingier with sepith. That may have just been how it seemed since I played SC a bit differently than I did the first game given how much more used to the basic mechanics I was, but it definitely felt like I was leveling up significantly faster while also being perpetually out of sepith and unlocking orbment slots much more slowly.

Image

It's not just the positives and neutrals from the first that were largely carried over into SC; the negatives also carried over for the most part. The pacing didn't feel as slow, and I didn't find myself getting bored quite as often in the early parts of the game, but they seemingly doubled down on the bugs related to Turbo; I had to reload my most recent save file on four separate occasions during my playthrough of SC whereas I only had to do that once in the first game, and I finished SC faster. It wasn't the end of the world since I learned my lesson about not saving frequently in the last game, but it was definitely an annoyance; if you're going to add a feature into the game, make sure it works. This is especially true for a game that's been out for over half a decade. The game released on PC worldwide in late 2015 (and in early 2006 in Japan); it's now early 2021. That's plenty of time for bug fixes. Fortunately, however, that was the only bug issue that I noticed during my playthrough. Everything else worked well and ran smoothly.

Image

Trails in the Sky didn't blow me away given its extremely dated presentation and visual style, but it's definitely a fun game with a good story and a fantastic cast of characters. I definitely enjoyed my time with SC more than I did my time with the first Trails in the Sky, but that's not to say that it didn't have its slow points. Still, all things considered, I can readily recommend this to any JRPG fan with a PSP or PC (or a PS3 or PS Vita for those who speak and read Japanese). It doesn't look great by today's standards, and some of the gameplay elements feel a bit dated as well, but that doesn't detract from enjoyment in the slightest. It would be great to get a remaster or even full remake of this game and its predecessor, but until that happens (in the extremely unlikely event that it does), this game is a fantastic way to spend 50 hours.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

Image
User avatar
Markies
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 1138
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:29 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Markies Fri Mar 05, 2021 1:21 am

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2021!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. Midtown Madness 3 (XBOX)
2. X-Men 2: Clone Wars (GEN)
3. Sonic Adventure 2 (SDC)
4. Mega Man 7 (SNES)
5. Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra (PS2)

6. Bust A Move 4 (PS1)

Image

I beat Bust A Move 4 on the Sony Playstation 1 this evening!

I have always been a fan of the Bust A Move series. The series kind of reminds me of Dr. Mario in a way, which is one of my favorite games of all time. The only difference is you need more precision along with your strategic thinking. I first got into the series on the Nintendo 64 and after picking up the first game on the SNES, it was time to move onto the next game in the series. I remember looking for the game for quite a while until I spotted it at an old game store. It was in beautiful condition and I knew that I had to have it. I decided that this was the year that I would finally play the game and the Fortune Cookie made certain that I played it rather early.

The game is split into two parts. You have the versus mode where you fight several characters until you the battle the Final Boss. In this mode, you try to dump many bubbles on your opponent while trying to survive on your own. I decided to play the other mode because I thought it would be shorter. Hot damn was I wrong about that. Anyway, you have 110 Stages of Puzzle mode where you have to finish the stage before it falls down on top of you. I always preferred this mode to the Versus Mode as it is less punishing. They throw in a story mode where you have to seal all of these Tarot Cards and then you randomly get your Tarot Card reading at the end of the game. Never in a million years did I see that coming in my Bust A Move game. Overall, the game is pretty much the same as before except for a new pulley system that shift depending on the weight on each end.

My only complaint would be 110 Stages is way too damn long. Granted, each stage can be accomplished between thirty seconds and about two minutes, but it still felt like a Marathon. Plus, you cannot save between any of them as you have to do a straight shot through the game.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience with Bust A Move 4. There really isn't much to say about the game as it pretty much is like its predecessors. I would say the game has more options and I like the variety of characters in the game. But, it still is that pick up and play arcade feel to it and it still has that blend of puzzles and action. If you enjoy the series, then you should play this game as it is a great entry. I don't think this is a great entry point, but if you are a fan of the series or just love little puzzle games in general, this is a great one.
Image
User avatar
PartridgeSenpai
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 2804
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:27 am
Location: Northern Japan

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by PartridgeSenpai Fri Mar 05, 2021 3:50 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)
8. The Legend of Mystical Ninja (SFC)
9. Atelier Marie: The Alchemist of Salburg (PS1)
10. Ganbare Goemon 2 (SFC)
11. Paper Mario: Origami King (Switch)
12. Star Fox 64 (N64) *
13. Super Paper Mario (Wii) *
14. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GC) *
15. Demon's Crest (SNES)
16. Cathedral (Switch)
17. Super Mario 3D World (Switch) *
18. Bowser's Fury (Switch)

19. Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos (Switch)

Fast told me about this a week or so before it came out, and he described it as Link to the Past but a 4-player co-op rogue-lite, and I checked out the demo and was basically instantly sold. This is the first game I've pre-ordered in who knows how long (it came with some extra goodies if you preordered), and I think it turned out to be worth my $20. This game has been out on Early Access on Steam for quite some time, but only a couple weeks ago did it finally launch on Switch (I beat within the first week it was out). I never had any friends to play it with, but even still I managed to beat it in about 9.5 hours, and then spent another hour and a half or so in the post-game trying to (unsuccessfully) unlock more stuff.

The land of Tasos was long ago ravaged by evil Titans, but the four goddesses waged a war against them to seal them away forever. It once a beautiful land of magic and prosperity, but the greedy ambitions of the foreigners who found it led it to ruin. Pushing the native people to the wilderness and vastly exploiting its natural resources, the magic that sealed the Titans begins to wain, and monsters slowly begin to return to Tasos as the Titans prepare for their cataclysmic return. That's where you the hero(s) come in. An avatar chosen by the goddesses, you've been sent to slay the Titans and save Tasos!

The story is almost 100% in the opening movie (in a sequence very reminiscent of Zelda games like Minish Cap or LTTP), and the themes it seems to present (the damaging effect of things like colonialism and environmental destruction) are almost entirely absent from the dialogue that is actually in the game. I'm not sure if they set that up as a joke, some kind of homage to back when games had just about all their story in the opening movie, but just how disconnected from the actual game was a bit disappointing. The game's story itself is honestly just about as simple as "you're a hero who needs to save the land from the slumbering (but soon to wake) evil", and while there's some quirky and at times entertaining dialogue, it's all super forgettable. It's serviceable for delivering you the action at hand, but they should've probably ditched the notions of wider themes if they were going to just ignore them so brashly.

The gameplay is more or less as Fast originally described it to me. You have a curated overworld with a town in the center of it. All of that is pre-built, and has loads of little secret caves and secrets to find special goodies. Around the world are four dungeons that you'll need to get through to kill four bosses to unlock the final dungeon that houses the Titans. These dungeons are fitted with three floors each, and each floor is procedurally made of pre-made rooms that have enemies, treasure, and traps in them. On the third floor waits a boss, and they're pretty darn good fights.

The overall construction of the game is really solid. The overworld is fun, and the mini-quests to unlock dungeons feel like proper Zelda ones. There are even some hidden dungeons you can do to unlock new classes and such. The dungeon rooms are also well designed, and the combat feels punishing but never super unfair (granted I've played a ton of games in this 2D Zelda style, so my experience in the genre might give me some bias there). There are several classes you can pick from as well, with each having their own base stat multipliers (for attack, defense, and speed) as well as a mobility move. They all fight pretty similarly with a sword, and the mobility moves often aren't suuuper different from each other, but the changes between them make them feel different enough that you'll likely find a favorite among the bunch (my favorite was Reaper).

In the overworld you find (admittedly almost useless) coin money, but in dungeons you find gems, and these are SUPER important. You use gems for everything from building and upgrading buildings in your town to upgrading the stats of your base weapons as well as the extra tools you get (like your bow, bombs, etc). However, you lose all your gems when you enter a dungeon, so it behooves you to spend them and not horde them. Most of the hidden caves and treasures around the overworld contain little orbs that make you lose slightly less gems when entering a dungeon, but you'd probably have spent just about all you possibly could anyhow, so these collectibles feel really uncompelling to go out of your way to grab (they may as well do literally nothing). This is where my complaints with the generally unpolished nature of the game come out.

Sure, you can upgrade your gear, but weirdly for a rogue-lite, you can get way too powerful way too fast. Even with just the gems I got from doing the 2nd dungeon, I was monstrously powerful in the 3rd dungeon to the point I killed its boss in only a few seconds, and much the same sort of situation repeated in the 4th dungeon. Some kind of cap on how far you can upgrade that extends when you beat a new big dungeon would've really given the game some much needed difficulty balancing, as it starts out pretty darn difficult but then gets way easier really fast as you get more health and higher damage. These balancing issues extend to the enemies as well, as while they're pretty well designed, there aren't many of them. Once you learn how to deal with the enemies in the first dungeon, you'll probably be able to dispatch them no matter how tough they are. Enemies from dungeon to dungeon are just higher level, and there's a pretty low actual diversity of enemies, so just having learned how the limited number of enemies fight also makes the game much easier after you beat the first dungeon or so.

The game's admittedly quite cool concept also results in some fairly lackluster dungeon design when compared to a proper game in the genre. Because they're pre-made rooms put together procedurally, puzzles only exist within rooms. No multi-room puzzles exist of any kind because that would require some much more stiff procedural generation to the point you may as well just make a non-rogue-lite game, and it ends up making the dungeons lack any kind of identity between them. There are some traps exclusive to each of the four dungeons, sure, but I think it's telling that the final dungeon is just a collage of all the other fours' room types and they barely feel out of place next to each other.

The importance of gems and the similarity of the classes also makes actually exploring the overworld not that compelling. The orbs are almost useless, and all money does is just unlock special chests in dungeons that get you a big boost of gems. Granted exploring the overworld is pretty fun because it's well designed, you're really exploring just for the sake of doing it, as any extra classes you unlock are done through pretty darn well signposted side quests that take place in or around the main town. Yet that's contrasted with some really poorly signposted areas and some really cruddy quest design (there are a few areas I just never figured out how to get to, and the Pirate class I never unlocked because it involves spending AGES doing a really boring fishing mini-game for several randomly spawning legendary fish). None of this stuff is experience ruining, but it adds up to consistently annoying problems that will be present just about your entire experience.

The presentation is a resounding "okay." The game doesn't have much music, with tons of outdoor areas being just ambient sound, and what music is there isn't really memorable or noticeable beyond simple atmosphere. The graphics are pretty darn good pixel-art, but like how Cathedral (another recent Switch game) apes far too much from Shovel Knight's style to be all that memorable itself, Rogue Heroes does the same with Link to the Past. They crib from that game's style a TON, and while it IS good, it's a very good imitation and it never really feels like anything more than that with the fairly generic enemy design.

The game is mostly bug-free, although there is a bug I ran into a couple times where the game didn't realize that I'd changed planes I was on. This only happened two or three times, but I'd jump down from a ledge but I was walking over enemies and pick-ups because the game thought I was still above where I was. It's pretty easily solved by jumping down/up another ledge or changing screens, but it was a very noticeable bug I felt I had to point out. Apparently the game was pretty routinely criticized for being buggy during Early Access on PC, so the fact that the Switch release works as well as it does is definitely something worth commending in my mind.

Verdict: Recommended. Despite all its faults and how generic it is, Rogue Heroes is still an incredibly competent game at its core. It provides a really solid experience in a genre (Zelda-like rogue-lite) that I don't really know of anything else tackling, and I imagine it's quite a good time with friends. I think a lot of people are better off waiting for a sale, especially if you either don't have friends to play with or aren't much of a fan of the genre, but this is still a good experience that I don't feel I wasted my money on.
I identify everyone via avatar, so if you change your avatar, I genuinely might completely forget who you are. -- Me
Flake
Moderator
 
Posts: 8023
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:27 pm
Location: FoCo

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Flake Fri Mar 05, 2021 10:46 am

January's Games Beaten:
January
Thirteen Sentinels: Aegis Rim (PS4)
Dark Stalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower (PSP)


February

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (PS3)
Metroid Prime (Wii)
King of Fighters 14 (PS4)
King of Fighters 2002: Ultimate Match (PS4)
Splatoon 2 (Switch)
Super Mario 3D World (Switch)


March

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Switch)

If there is a game that wins the "Most Hours Played By Flake Before Beaten" award, it is Splatoon 2. I picked this game up on launch day 2017 and while it would be forgiveable by the 4 year delay in seeing the credits roll to assume that it went into the backlog with so many other games I purchase on day one, that's not the case. I conservativly estimate I've put at least 300 hours into Splatoon 2, devouring Turf Wars, Ranked, Salmon Run, and OctoExpansion.

I just never bothered to finish the story mode until now. Mostly because I really don't like how much work it is to 'find the next stage' in the hub world. I didn't like this approach back in Sonic Adventure and I don't like it now. But once I set my mind to finishing the story mode, it was actually pretty fun. Well designed challenges and a satisfying little story that feels rewarding to Splatoon 1 OGs like myself. For those that don't remember, the final multi-player event of Splatoon 1 was a popularity contest between the two 'Squid Sisters' who host the game and were protagonists in Splatoon's story. The result of that final Splatfast actually influenced the plot of Splatoon 2. It's a small thing but it felt special.


Super Mario 3D World remains one of the most chill and happy Nintendo experiences, and that charm and fun come through on the Switch port. There are things that I like and do not like about this port. I like that it even exists! WiiU games should come to Switch. I like the cleaned up graphics, I like the move away touch controls, and I especially like that the game allows you to retain collectibles even if you die in a level. I strongly dislike the decision to increase the speed of all of the characters, though. Mario 3D World's presentation already creates a challenge in determining spatial orientation. Add a ton of uncontrollable speed to that and you see Flake driving your favorite Nintendo characters over a cliff and to their deaths over and over again. I'm treating Bowser's Fury as a separate game so I don't have an opinion on it but I actually think that I'll revert to the WiiU version for replays.

Mario 3D World's Captain Toad levels reminded me that I never finished the re-release of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker on Switch, so I went ahead and did that! Where I prefer the WiiU version of Mario 3D World, I definitely prefer the Switch version of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. The WiiU's requirement for touch controls meant that I mostly focused my attention on the WiiU gamepad which, while a technical wonder, didn't do the HD graphics justice. With the changes made to allow you to do touch controls using the joycon or pro controllers motion sensing, it's much easier to appreciate how great this game looks. Captain Toad is one of my favorite Nintendo characters. I love the 'Brave AF but cowardly' personality and how it all just works out in the end. I know this is as close to a sequel as the original game will ever get and it's nice to have it on a system with a larger install base.
The PSTV is amazing.
---------------
Nintendo ID: Mecha_Flake
PS Network: jace-flake
User avatar
BoneSnapDeez
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 19897
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 1:08 pm
Location: Maine

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by BoneSnapDeez Fri Mar 05, 2021 1:24 pm

Great reviews homies.
User avatar
prfsnl_gmr
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 11502
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:26 pm
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by prfsnl_gmr Fri Mar 05, 2021 1:31 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Great reviews homies.


Yeah. You guys are killing it. We should collect all of these into a self-published book. “Racketboy Forums: The Collected Reviews Volume 1”
User avatar
PartridgeSenpai
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 2804
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:27 am
Location: Northern Japan

Re: Games Beaten 2021

by PartridgeSenpai Sat Mar 06, 2021 6:36 am

prfsnl_gmr wrote:
BoneSnapDeez wrote:Great reviews homies.


Yeah. You guys are killing it. We should collect all of these into a self-published book. “Racketboy Forums: The Collected Reviews Volume 1”


Congrats to yourselves too! Y'all do some dang quality work too, ya know ^w^
I identify everyone via avatar, so if you change your avatar, I genuinely might completely forget who you are. -- Me
Return to General Gaming

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests