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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Markies Tue May 18, 2021 8:16 pm

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)
7. Phantasy Star IV (GEN)
8. Gunbird 2 (SDC)
***9. The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GCN)***
10. Fable: The Lost Chapters (XBOX)

11. Growlanser: Heritage Of War (PS2)

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I beat Growlanser: Heritage Of War on the Sony Playstation 2 this evening!

A friend of mine and I bought Growlanser: Generations together and I really enjoyed those games together. They have a stunning look and the active RTS Battles made me feel engaged the entire time. My biggest complaint was the hit detection and how your characters would get stuck on one another. The next game in the series was on the PSP, but they released another game on the PS2 after that as well and this one was supposedly more in 3D. I found a mint copy of the Special Edition and I had to finish these games. This year, I decided now would be a great time to finish this trilogy on the PS2.

My favorite aspects of the game would be the character art and the story. Once again, Growlanser has some beautiful character artwork that I have ever seen with some of the most beautiful hair in video games. Each character is stunning and realistic as well. Also, the story is really well done and had me engaged at the very beginning. It's a story about warring nations, a pseudo nuclear bomb, monsters attacking and a group trying to unite them all. At first, I didn't know who was right and that felt great. It becomes very by the numbers near the end, but it still is interesting to say the least. The game map and battles are also in 3D and that causes them to fly by in a hurry. It made the game go by really quickly, especially in the beginning as you are sailing along.

Once you reach the 85% mark, the game really cranks up the difficulty and the annoyances in the battles. You are always retreading over old ground, so its hard to find places to grind. Monsters get incredibly difficult and you are thrown in battles where your group of four has to defeat fifteen people at the same time. You couple that with the story bottoming out and I was kind of glad that the game finally ended.

Overall, I still had a good time with Growlanser: Heritage of War. I think the good outweighed the bad in this instance. I think the enjoyable first part of the game made up for the annoying last part. It's like a great dinner with a bad dessert. You still enjoyed the experience, but it did leave a bad taste in your mouth. I would say the first two Growlanser games were my favorite out of the series, but this one is nicely done and well worth your time if you love the series or are a fan of SRPG's.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Tue May 18, 2021 10:48 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 30
* 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 (3 Games Beaten)
18. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - Steam - March 4
19. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky 3rd - Steam - March 7
20. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - PS4 - March 21


April (7 Games Beaten)
21. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - PS4 - April 5
22. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 00 - Steam - April 7
23. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 01 - Steam - April 10
24. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 02 - Steam - April 11
25. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 03 - Steam - April 13
26. Neptunia Virtual Stars - PS4 - April 18
27. Before Your Eyes - Steam - April 18


May (3 Games Beaten)
28. New Pokemon Snap - Switch - May 2
29. Resident Evil 8: Village - PS5 - May 8
30. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Switch - May 15


30. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Switch - May 15

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I'm blessed with some really great friends, truly. In addition to my friends over on Racketboy, I've also got some amazing friends in the #SwitchCorps Twitter community, and it's that community that starts this particular review. the 2020-2021 school year was extraordinarily rough for teachers all over the United States as we had to adapt quite abruptly to an all-online teaching format for which we were never prepared and deal with the emotional whiplash of being praised as heroes with one breath and damned as lazy good-for-nothings in the very next breath. It was with all this in mind that one of my SwitchCorps friends, K-MO (after whom I named my Hero in my playthrough) decides to up and order me a copy of Dragon Quest XI out of the blue. Obviously this meant more to me personally than I can put into words because of how BRUTAL the verbal attacks on my profession got after the first of the year, but it also really reinforced the fact that online friends are EVERY BIT as genuine and there when you need them as "real life" friends not to mention that it's because of him that this MASTERPIECE of a JRPG is on my shelf. So this review is definitely dedicated to him.

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I've got to be honest that I'm a bit of a Dragon Quest neophyte. I played Builders and Heroes within the past few years, and I've played the original on NES, but that's it. Everyone kept talking about how great XI was, though, so it had been on my to-get list for a while, but I just never pulled the trigger. Within twenty minutes of starting the game, it immediately became apparent to me why everyone raves about this game. The best way I can think to describe it an absolute perfection of the classic model. It's very much a classic JRPG but polished to perfection with all of the quality of life improvements you'd expect of a modern JRPG. Driving home the point that this is, at its core, a classic JRPG is the 2D mode that you can toggle to play the entire game as a pseudo-8-bit sprite based JRPG à la the four classic NES Dragon Quest games (or Dragon Warriors as they were called in the United States back then). Other than being slower paced and having random encounters rather than avoidable overworld encounters, the game itself remains the same. Think the graphic shift in Halo Anniversary but cranked up to eleven...thousand.

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The story involves the Hero (you know, that guy from Super Smash Bros) as he comes of age and discovers that the weird birthmark on his hand is actually a mark signifying that he's the reincarnation of the legendary Luminary, a chosen hero fated to defeat the returned Dark One. I absolutely refuse to spoil anything for the eight or nine RPG fans out there who haven't played this game yet, but what starts ordinarily enough turns into one of the best 100 hours you'll ever spend with a single-player game. For those of you who, like I did, are thinking "Okay, but 100 hours is just if you're a completionist, right?" No. No it's not. I only did like a third of the side quests, and my final playtime still clocked in at about 96 hours. You *could* stop at the first credit roll at the end of the informal "Act 2," but that's only two-thirds of the game; the "postgame" isn't so much extra epilogue stuff as much as the actual last third of the main story, and that's straight up another 30 hours, *maybe* 20 hours if you rush.

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There are a total of eight playable characters - the swordsman Hero, the rogue Erik, the sorceress Veronica, the healer Serena, the mage Rab, the ultimate Dragon Quest waifu Jade, the gloriously flamboyant showman Sylvando, and the other one. We'll leave it at that. Each of these characters can be developed into a fighting style of your preference to a certain extent. Do you want Jade to use claw gauntlets or spears? Do you want Sylvando to use a whip or a sword? Do you want Serena to use a magic wand or a spear? You can't just throw weapons willy-nilly, but you do get a couple options for each character. It costs some gold to do so, but you do get the option to respec your characters, so if you decide you're not so crazy about that particular weapon type for that character, you can redistribute their spent skill points into skills for the their other weapon option.

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It's clear that the development team went for performance and artistic flair over cutting edge graphical fidelity. Other than the normal resolution drop, the visuals differences between PS4 and Switch are so minimal that you practically can't tell without a side-by-side comparison which is both a testament to how well the development team has learned the Switch's hardware as well as how competently ported from 3DS it was that it looks as good as it does given its last-gen handheld roots. Frame rate drops were extremely minimal and uncommon in my experience, and I don't recall a single crash. Autosaves are frequent in case you do realize you've made a major mistake although not so frequent that you should rely solely on autosave. One of my favorite aspects of the game is actually the music. The orchestral soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal, and while you have the option to switching to the standard non-orchestral music, I'm at a loss as to why anyone would ever want to. The orchestral music is some of the best music I've ever heard in a JRPG and is every bit as enjoyable to listen to as the game is to play.

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As with most RPGs, what really makes Dragon Quest XI stand out from the crowd is the writing with respect to the characters. Every character is brilliantly written and developed over the course of the story especially if you take the time to do their side tasks and quests. You really get the sense that a lot of love was poured into the script for this game as well as the voice acting as the entire package is virtually flawless from start to finish. My *only* complaint about the game is a completely subjective one - it's too damn long. It's an absolute masterpiece of game, and I adored it, but I had to take a few breaks to play through other games because I just got so burnt out. For a regular non-completionist playthrough to take me nearly 100 hours is excessive. To be sure, no one will ever accuse this game of not being worth your money for skimping on content (looking at you, Ultra Street Fighter II), but good lord, it's a damn behemoth of a game. I personally think 30 to 40 hours is the perfect length for the core story of an RPG, and 60 isn't uncommon, and that's totally cool for a beefier RPG experience, but 80 to 100 hours is just gargantuan. I'd rather they give me too much game than not enough, but damn dude, this is a LOT of game. Still, though, considering that my only complaint essentially boils down to "they gave me too much product for my money," it's not really something I can justifiably hold against it.

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Dragon Quest XI is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. The visuals exemplify the idea that you don't need top of the line graphical fidelity to make a game look beautiful, the soundtrack drives home the impact that orchestral music can have on enhancing a gaming experience, the writing is superb, and the voice acting is top notch. This is everything you love about classic JRPGs from the late 80s and early 90s without the things you hate and brought into the 21st Century and modernized for today's gaming expectations. I truly can't find a single legitimate flaw with this game. I'm so grateful to K-MO for being such an amazingly thoughtful friend, and I'm so lucky that his pick-me-up gift was such a stellar game. It may have lasted longer than I would have ideally liked, but I can't think of a single JRPG more deserving of such an obscenely long playtime. No matter how you game - even if it's on that laughing stock of a platform Stadia - make sure you don't sleep on Dragon Quest XI if you haven't played it yet. It's a hell of a time commitment, but I promise that it's more than worth it even if you have to play it in small bites throughout the year.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by PartridgeSenpai Wed May 19, 2021 5:15 am

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

Games 1~51
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)
20. moon (Switch)
21. Casltevania 64 (N64)
22. Captain Rainbow (Wii)
23. Doraemon: Nobita To Mittsu No Seireiseki (N64)
24. Blast Corps (N64)
25. Doraemon 2: Nobita To Hikari No Shinden (N64)
26. Custom Robo (N64)
27. Doraemon 3: Nobita No Machi SOS! (N64)
28. 64 Trump Collection: Alice No Wakuwaku Trump World (N64)
29. The Sunken City (PS4)
30. Lair of the Clockwork God (Switch)
31. Star Fox Adventures (GC)
32. Atelier Elie: The Alchemist of Salburg 2 (PS1)
33. Billy Hatcher & The Giant Egg (GC)
34. Mole Mania (GB)
35. Gargoyle's Quest (GB)
36. Rock Man 4 (Famicom) *
37. Wai Wai World (Famicom)
38. Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge (GB)
39. Mega Man (Switch) *
40. Mega Man 2 (Switch) *
41. Mega Man 3 (Switch) *
42. Rock Man 5 (Famicom) *
43. Mega Man 6 (Switch)
44. Mega Man 7 (Switch) *
45. Mega Man 8 (Switch) *
46. Mega Man 9 (Switch) *
47. Mega Man 10 (Switch)
48. Rock Man World 2 (GB) *
49. Rock Man World 3 (GB)
50. Rock Man World 4 (GB)
51. Rock Man World 5 (GB)

52. Wai Wai World 2 (Famicom)
53. Tiny Toon Adventures (Famicom)
54. King Kong 2: Ikari No Megaton Punch (Famicom)
55. Yume Pengin Monogatari (Famicom)
56. Rock Man & Forte (SFC)

Mega Man X Marathon pt. 1

After playing through all of the games on the classic series' Legacy Collections and then some, my hunger for more Mega Man wasn't yet satiated, so I jumped right onto at first one and then both of the X collections also on Switch while they were still on sale. At first I was going to leave the second half alone, but my curiosity on exactly *how* they were so bad got the best of me and I ended up playing through the entire series (for better or worse) :lol: . I replayed the first game in the series again to refresh my memory on it, but as I've already reviewed the first game in the series quite recently, I won't be reviewing that here again. I also played all of these in Japanese just like I did for the lion's share of the original series.

57. Rock Man X2 (Switch)

I'd heard the second game in the Rock Man X series was just about as good as the first, but decidedly the lesser of the two, and I found that to be more or less correct. Though the second entry does try to bring a fair bit more to the table, a lot of it is for questionable gain in the end. It took me about 3 hours to beat the Japanese version of the game with the good ending.

The story of this game is quite light, much like the first game was. X has continued fighting the remnants of Sigma's forces after his battle in the last game, and that's led him to his current battle against the "Counter Hunters" (or X-Hunters, as they're known in English), a trio of reploids specifically built to hunt down Maverick Hunters (or rather very specifically X, as their English name implies). They've also taken it upon themselves to try and gather up the parts of the destroyed Zero to try and resurrect him for their own evil purposes, and preventing them from doing that is what will net you the best ending. The Counter Hunters are a neat idea, but the story isn't ultimately any more substantial than the first X game. It sets the stage for the action at hand, and that's all it needs to do.

X2 is very much like X1 in terms of how its set up. You go through eight Maverick stages before going onto the Sigma (who, surprise! ain't really dead) stages, and in those stages are hidden four armor parts to upgrade your abilities as well as heart containers to increase your maximum life amount. There are also hidden rooms that the Counter Hunters will be waiting for you in, if you manage to go there while they're in that particular stage. That's right, they swap the stages they're in every time you return to the map screen. It's an interesting gimmick, but I wouldn't really stay it makes the game any more fun.

The stage design itself is quite solid, but "not quite polished enough" is what a lot of the game sorta feels like. The bosses are all around not quite as good as the first game's (although the last few fights are a little better balanced, I thought), and the X armor isn't really as fun or powerful either. Your upgraded charge is almost outright worse, as the two-step double shot freezes you in place long enough that you'll likely be taking a fair deal of unwanted damage from being unable to move after a charge shot as quickly as you could before. A good deal of the hidden stuff in this game is SUPER hidden, and leaning harder into that almost Metroid-y sort of hidden upgrades is something this game fumbles on a fair bit, with the hidden Counter Hunter rooms only being part of that problem. There are some parts where it's a bit better than the first, like how this game's equivalent of the hadouken is nowhere near as unfindable as the first game's, but that sort of improvement is the exception rather than the rule. It isn't bad by any means, not by a long shot, but it's also decidedly not as good as the first game's design, by and large.

The presentation is quite solid but largely more of the same. The Mavericks and Counter Hunter designs are as cool as could be expected, and the stages are bright and colorful, but the music is overall not so memorable compared to the first game's stellar soundtrack.

Verdict: Recommended. This is a super solid entry in the series, but it is a very safe albeit not nearly as polished followup to the first Rock Man X game. If you enjoyed the first game, you'll almost certainly enjoy this one, but if you didn't like it, this isn't gonna change your mind.

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58. Rock Man X3 (Switch)

The last of the SNES Rock Man X games, Rock Man X3 picks up the torch where X2 left off. While it is very clearly highly derivative of the previous two games, and while it definitely still has some shaky relationships with just how it handles its hidden stuff, it manages to combine that with some really solid design otherwise and make something that manages to stand out despite its tough competition. It took me about three hours to get all the collectibles and beat the Japanese version of the game.

X3's story is very much like X2's in that it is more or less just changing the flavor of Sigma you're fighting rather than providing any larger or more thought provoking experience. Dr. Doppler manages to invent a "vaccine" to help stop reploids from turning into Mavericks, but suddenly the good doctor goes mad and the Mavericks he supposedly cured start rioting and breaking stuff up. Turns out, surprise surprise, that Sigma is behind it all in the end, but either way it's up to X and Zero to go and put a stop to all of this. We get a few new cool faces like Doppler and his two cronies Bit and Byte, as well as the return of Vile from the first X game, but it's really all just "does what it needs to" set dressing that the early to mid-life Mega Man games are so well known for.

In a cool change, this game actually makes Zero playable instead of just an NPC! But it comes with the huge catch that, while he may be super strong and powerful with his Z-Saber, he only has one life. If he dies, you never get to use him again. You also have a lot of other weirdness in terms of hidden collectibles and secrets. Bit and Byte aren't hidden like the Counter Hunters were in X2, but they'll just randomly appear in a designated room in a stage whose Maverick you haven't beaten yet, but unless you beat them with their weakness, they aren't actually dead and they'll come back later. Vile has the same thing with him, but his stage is actually hidden and you'll need to use a teleporter hidden in another stage to reach it, but only AFTER defeating Bit and BEFORE beating Byte. You also have special chips you can get to upgrade yourself (instead of the super one-shot kill moves X1 and 2 have), but you can only pick one. But if you pick none of them, there's a super secret super chip that has the power of all four that's found in one of Sigma's stages but it'll ONLY appear to use if you have full health when you enter the space it's hidden in. It's all stuff that's very manageable if you have a guide to help you like I did, but it just goes full bore on hidden weirdness in a way that I'm not a super huge fan of if you're going for a more gestalt experience.

That said, the stage and boss design has gone way up in quality from X2, and I honestly like it even more than X1 in most ways. Bosses are actually super fun to fight with the mega buster in a way I never really found to quite be the case with the first two games, and the stages have fun but not intrusive gimmicks, and are mostly concerned with just being well designed stages. They even fix the two-step powered up buster from X2 to be far more useful, and your normal armor parts are also much better. Your air dash that the leg upgrades give you is very good, just like they were in X2, but now you can even air dash directly up! That ability is honestly pretty finicky and one of the least good parts of controlling this game, but it's thankfully rarely used, and the game otherwise controls and plays just as excellently as you'd expect a Rock Man X game to play.

The presentation is also far more up to snuff in this game than in its predecessor. Bit and Byte have really cool designs as do the Mavericks, but as an extra bonus this game also has a banging soundtrack that X2 was sorely lacking. It definitely doesn't have quite the level of iconic status that X1's soundtrack has, but it's actually bringing something to the table unlike X2's did.


Verdict: Highly Recommended. I really loved this game. I think your enjoyment of it will definitely vary depending on how much you do or don't gel with all the weird hidden and secret stuff, but even then, what's there beyond that is still excellent. This is definitely going to be a game I replay just like I do with X1, because it is just that fun to go through and do those fights and stages again.

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59. Rock Man X4 (Switch)

This was a game I had originally just bought on PS1 to play before I ended up buying the X collections on Switch. I had heard it was the best of the series, even better than X1, so I figured it must be worth playing for sure with how good X1 is. I got to the end of X's route before getting stuck at the final boss and then thoroughly distracted by playing through the entire classic Mega Man series, so I just restarted it from the beginning on the Switch when I got the collection XD. I played through both routes in the Japanese version of the game, and together they took me about 6 hours in total.

X4 actually tries to bring something a bit different to the table in terms of story for once, and is very much a first entry in the more complicated and character-focused stories that this team would go on to do with the Mega Man Zero games once they went off to make Inti Creates. Though Sigma is still the final boss at the end, he actually isn't the main arbiter of the plot. Instead, Repliforce, an army of reploids created to protect humanity, decide to rebel to make their own nation of only reploids. They're branded as Mavericks, and lacking any ability via their programming to back down or surrender, immediately plunge the planet into war as the Maverick Hunters try to take down this new massive threat to humanity. While it isn't a super feat of writing, the concept of a group who literally cannot back down from the fight they're waging is certainly a far more interesting one than basically every other X game offers.

It's complete with animated and voice acted cutscenes as well as a good deal of VA for the normal text as well. This is the first entry in the series on the PS1, and they really flex that extra memory space's power with this game. The Japanese dub is excellent, and while the cutscenes themselves as well as the story aren't exactly a super present thing through the course of the game (they're largely just at the beginning and end), it's a huge step forward for the series that they land pretty gracefully considering that Rock Man had really only ever paid lip service to a larger story before this.

Something really excellent that this game does, first and foremost, is split the game between its two characters. No longer is Zero just some special power-up you only get to use one time. He's a fully fleshed out character with his own personal move set, and he and X even have quite different perspectives on the game's narrative, with X's being more traditionally Mega Man and Zero's dealing much more with his own identity crisis (the very one that the Mega Man Zero games spend their entire course exploring more in full). Each character even gets radically different abilities from defeating the eight Mavericks in the game. While X can find hidden armor capsules (complete with two different options for upgraded mega buster fire) and gets new special weapons for defeating the Mavericks, Zero gets genuinely new moves. Some of these take the form of elemental attacks that can take advantage of bosses weaknesses, but others are just movement upgrades like a double jump that increase his mobility to make him better at fighting everything. Almost none of Zero's abilities even cost weapon energy. Both characters are fleshed out really well and they give really different play experiences playing either, and it's very very worth playing through the game as each of them to get the best parts of how both play.

The game overall is polished super well. The bosses are once again super fun to fight with just the mega buster, and the stages are even better than they were in X3. Thankfully, the most welcome change is a serious scaling back of the hidden collectibles and secrets from X3 back to more like they were in X1. It gives a much better gestalt experience and I never really felt like I needed to use a guide to enjoy this. I'd say Zero is a bit harder to fight with compared to X, but a lot of that just has to do with getting used to the more up close and personal playstyle he has as your main weapon is a sword instead of a gun. Sigma's final form is a bit too hard for his own good, at least compared to the difficulty of the rest of the game, but it's regardless an excellently balanced and polished experience with either character, from the stages to the story to the boss fights.

The presentation is excellent as well. As previously mentioned the story is told through very pretty animated anime cutscenes with full VA, but the gameplay is also very beautifully animated. If Capcom wanted to make a big splash with X's first adventure on PS1, they sure hit the mark dead-on, because this game even gives the later Mega Man games on PS1 a run for their money with how nice it is visually. The music is also very good, with Jet Stingray being one of my favorite songs in the whole series~.


Verdict: Highly Recommended. This is definitely the top of the Rock Man X series for me. It has a high reputation that it absolutely deserves. If you enjoyed X1 but are a bit wary of the reputation that later X games have, 4 is absolutely one you should not miss out on, since it's easily one of the best 2D action games I've played from that generation.

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60. Rock Man X5 (Switch)

I had originally planned to stop after X4, as I'd heard the series takes a pretty significant dip in quality after X4 (once the original team had largely left Capcom to form Inti Creates), but I'd heard that X5 was just "not quite as good X4", so i decided to give it a shot. I think it's a bit more than just "not quite as good X4", but that's what the rest of the review is for ^^;. It took me about 4 hours (game playtime given at a little over 2 hours though) to get everything in the game.

At least attempting to continue on from X4's foray into more serious stories, a rampaging Sigma virus has caused the space colony Eurasia to begin to fall to the Earth. If it does, it'll wipe out most life, so it's up to X and the Maverick Hunters to pull off a last minute plan to save the world with the little time they have left. This was originally planned to be the last of the X games, as Mega Man Zero would continue on from one of this game's various endings, and while it's hardly something the quality of writing in X4, it's not absolute trash. However, what it really isn't is conducive to a quality game design, as that "last minute plan" only as some dozen or so hours in-universe to work, and that reflects directly onto your game time.

There are two potential plans to stop the Eurasia. One of them is to blow it up with a giant cannon, and the other is to send someone on a new suicide mission to initiate its self destruct sequence using a space shuttle. Both of these plans require parts to increase their chances of success, and both halves of the game's 8 Mavericks hold the four parts required to get each to their maximum chance of success. Now you only have some 14 or so times you can actually return to the stage select screen before your 14 hours are up and the Eurasia crashes, giving you a game over, so these things' chances of success are actually dictated by RNG as to how if they'll happen to work or not, and that goes for having only some of the parts or even all of the parts. Though the chance is very small, it is completely possible to get all eight parts and do everything else right and STILL have both the cannon and the shuttle fail, making for a quite irritating gameplay experience.

Now one innovation this game brings to the table that the later X games would all use to some degree is the idea of boss levels. As you fail to kill bosses (or just tick down the clock), bosses' levels will go up and they'll have more max HP when you fight them. It's an interesting idea, but all it really adds up to is the by and large quite poor and far too easy boss fights (or in the case of most all the final stages, miserably and unfairly difficult) take even longer than they already do. This is all made even worse by the fact that you're heavily incentivized to kill them at a higher level to acquire parts to upgrade your characters.

Now these parts aren't parts like X's armor parts. While both Zero and X are playable in this game (and can even be swapped between in the same playthrough, by selecting a different one at the start of the stage), X still gets armor parts in this game, and you can select armor sets just like you select the different characters when you're selecting a mission. These parts are parts you can equip into Zero and X as well as into X's different armor configurations in ways that give significant passive bonuses, and depending on the suit or character you can equip anywhere between 2 and 4 parts (with one suit unable to have any parts at all).

The big stinker about these parts is that you only get them if the boss you're fighting is level 8 or above, and that's impacted not only by how much time has passed but also by your hunter rank, which is dictated by how long you took to beat the stage, how FEW enemies you killed (as few as possible is best), and how much damage you took. But the icing on the crap cake with these is that you're given a choice of two parts at the end, each coming with a maximum HP or maximum special weapon bonus, but you aren't even told what each part does! You're left to either do trial and error or use a guide to see which if either part is even worth getting, and that's on top of the health upgrades hiding in each stage as well as the not four but eight hidden armor parts for X's two sets of special armor (the Falcon Armor of the two being hilariously awesome as it allows you to basically fly).

However, weird and bad parts system aside, the biggest reason I just didn't really gel with X5 is that it just isn't very interesting one way or the other. The stage design is largely more annoying that anything else, and even then it's more so just forgettably easy at that, and the same goes for just about every Maverick boss fight. Then that's contrasted with the awful Sigma stage bosses, but then even Sigma himself is really weirdly easy after how tough X4's was. The stages themselves are also punctuated with never ending calls from base to you to tell you far too much about the very simple obstacle you're about to face. Now wanting to give the player a heads up is one thing, but there are so many stages where the stage opens with a comms call warning you about an obstacle, followed less than a minute later by a second call warning you you're about to interact with that same obstacle, that they get so tedious you end up ignoring all of them. They're so dry and uninteresting that it feels like I'm playing a late 2000's Nintendo game with just how insistent the game is at holding your hand, and the Japanese version of the game is apparently even worse in this regard as it apparently makes these useless conversations EVEN longer.

The presentation is also really subpar considering how X4 was. That isn't just on account of the writing, which is definitely more boring (despite a fairly flat supporting cast who don't all die at the end for once), but it is immediately obvious that X5 had a FAR lower budget than X4 did. Completely gone are the animated cutscenes, and it's to the point where this game doesn't even have VA for any of the dialogue. It's all just drawn stills with text underneath, and while that isn't in itself awful, it's a pretty big step down from the blockbuster presentation that X4 had. The one saving grace is that X5 has by and large a pretty solid musical score.


Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. This is certainly, on a mechanical level, one of the more competent post-X4 games, but it's both so aggressively "fine" and such a step down in quality compared to what had come before that it's one of my less enjoyed entries. The time limit mechanic does stop being relevant once you blow up the Eurasia (you can revisit stages as much as you want after that), but it's still just not actually good design. It's a pretty sub-par action game that also just wasn't really spectacularly bad or weird enough to leave much of an impression for me, so it's one of my least liked entries in the franchise.

Special shoutout to my friend DogStrong for walking me through the best route to get all eight special parts, as I wouldn't've had as fun a time as I ended up having with this game without them ^w^
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Markies Wed May 19, 2021 8:18 pm

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)
7. Phantasy Star IV (GEN)
8. Gunbird 2 (SDC)
***9. The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GCN)***
10. Fable: The Lost Chapters (XBOX)
11. Growlanser: Heritage Of War (PS2)

12. Double Dragon (NES)

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I completed Double Dragon on the Nintendo Entertainment System this evening!

I've had Double Dragon for the NES since I was a child. It was a game my older brothers used to play and I eventually inherited the game. I don't think any of us beat the game as we got stuck on the two Abobo's for the longest time. Every now and then, I would get past it and then die almost immediately. Eventually, I made it to Mission 4 several times and I didn't realize until later how close I really came to beating the game. So, after watching some speed runs of the game and mastering the elbow technique, I finally decided to sit down and beat the game myself. It took several tries and getting rather lucky, but I was finally able to rescue my girlfriend!

The absolute best part about Double Dragon is the story. Beginning screen, some thugs punch your girlfriend and take her away. Game Begins. That's it and it is amazing! Joking aside, the real best part about Double Dragon is the music. The tunes in the game are some of the most iconic in gaming history. From the Mission Screen to all of the different levels, each one gets you excited and just wants you nod along to it. The gameplay is also iconic as well as it kind of really introduced the beat'em up genre, which is probably my second favorite genre. Some of the fine tuning isn't there, but the basis for the genre has some strong foundation. Also, the experience system is really inventive as you learn new moves as you get stronger throughout the game. It would have been great that the game taught you those moves, but I'm assuming that is what the manual is for.

But, man, is the game hard. Only 3 lives and you get no continues along with enemies doing so much damage makes the game a chore to get through. Also, the stages just keep getting longer and longer with the enemies doing more damage as you progress. Add in the fact of the terrible platforming sections along with some enemy counters and you have a very rough exterior.

Overall, I appreciate Double Dragon, but the game still has some large flaws. I wish the game was a bit easier with its lives and continues as I think the game would be more enjoyable that way. However, I still think it is a game that everybody must experience. From the amazing music to the inventive game play, Double Dragon is a seminal game and one that should be honored for the path that it paved.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Wed May 19, 2021 8:51 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 31
* 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 (3 Games Beaten)
18. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - Steam - March 4
19. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky 3rd - Steam - March 7
20. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - PS4 - March 21


April (7 Games Beaten)
21. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - PS4 - April 5
22. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 00 - Steam - April 7
23. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 01 - Steam - April 10
24. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 02 - Steam - April 11
25. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 03 - Steam - April 13
26. Neptunia Virtual Stars - PS4 - April 18
27. Before Your Eyes - Steam - April 18


May (4 Games Beaten)
28. New Pokemon Snap - Switch - May 2
29. Resident Evil 8: Village - PS5 - May 8
30. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Switch - May 15
31. Torment: Tides of Numenera - Xbox One - May 18


31. Torment: Tides of Numenera - Xbox One - May 18

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Torment: Tides of Numenera is a CRPG (for those not into RPG sub-genres, it stands for computer RPG; it's sometimes called "Western RPG" to differentiate from JRPGs), and that's a genre that are really hit-or-miss with me. Modern 3D CRPGs like The Witcher, Fallout, and Mass Effect are games I absolutely adore, but 90s style ones like the original Fallout or Wasteland are a lot harder for me to get into. This is one of the latter 90s style CRPGs, and it definitely took me a while to get into Torment. Once I got a feel for it, though, I really got into the game, and I was glad about that because this one was a gift from flake, and I'd hate not to enjoy a game that was given to me as a gift.

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You start off the game miraculously surviving a plummet to earth from what seems to be either a space station or moon in orbit. You have no memories prior to waking up mid-fall, but you quickly learn that you're a "castoff," a body formerly inhabited by someone called the Changing God, a person who has found ways to transfer his consciousness from one body another. You also quickly learn that you and your fellow castoffs have a particularly strong connection to an unseen force called the Tides and have the ability to affect the world around you in a variety of ways. You quickly meet your first two companions and they agree to help you seek information regarding how to repair the damaged "resonance chamber" next to which you awoke.

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From there, you journey from location to location completing quests, interacting with new characters, and the learning more about the Ninth World and the worlds that existed before it. My biggest gripe with the game is my usual complaint about 90s style CRPGs - the combat. I found it cumbersome and uninteresting. The character interactions, however, I found to be extremely enjoyable. Fortunately for me, the game really emphasizes giving you control over how your character approaches situations, so with just one exception, I was able to either quickly escape from or avoid every single fight in my playthrough including the final boss. I could have fought tons of battles throughout my playthrough, but I focused on my character's Persuasion and Intimidations skills and managed to talk my way out of almost everything. That level of player choice - to use the sword or your wit - is one of my favorite things about RPGs, and it really redeemed my enjoyment of this one.

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Visually, the game looks fine. It's not going to impress anyone, but it certainly doesn't look bad by any means. The environments are all detailed and well done, and that's the most important thing in these games in my opinion. The star of the show here is the world-building, and that's expertly done in Torment. There are a lot of choices that affect the path your story takes, so there's a ton of replay value, and there are more companions than you can have at one time. Given that these companions affect the conversations you hear and can have an impact on how other characters interact with you, there's definite incentive to do future playthroughs with different party compositions. The best part of the game for me personally was being able to avoid conflict entirely through speech skills. That's a really nice touch and definitely helped my RPG immersion.

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Torment: Tides of Numenera is solid fantasy sci-fi CRPG that I ended up enjoying a LOT more than I expected to. It's a genre that I frequently dislike when it's the 90s style like this rather than the 2000s style like Fallout 3 and Skyrim, so I was pretty unsure about it at first, but it definitely grew on me pretty quickly. It only took me about 15 or 20 hours to go through, and it was absolutely worth it. There were a few bugs, but none of them were major or game-breaking; it was mostly just some missing text that left speech bubbles just saying "Error." The world and story are pretty deep, so if you're looking for a light or largely mindless adventure, look elsewhere, but if you want depth, moral dilemma, and deep lore, then this is definitely the game for you.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by REPO Man Wed May 19, 2021 9:23 pm

Resident Evil 7 for PS4 on Easy. Bought this (on disc) back in 2018, and in fact when I got it I had just packed up everything so I didn't get a chance to fire it up until I was fully situated in my new place.

After a while I put it on the back burner until recently when I splurged on RE: Village and it came with RE7: Gold Edition. I played a bit of Village before switching to 7 to polish it off.

God DAMN what a ride!
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Thu May 20, 2021 9:15 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 32
* 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 (3 Games Beaten)
18. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - Steam - March 4
19. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky 3rd - Steam - March 7
20. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - PS4 - March 21


April (7 Games Beaten)
21. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - PS4 - April 5
22. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 00 - Steam - April 7
23. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 01 - Steam - April 10
24. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 02 - Steam - April 11
25. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 03 - Steam - April 13
26. Neptunia Virtual Stars - PS4 - April 18
27. Before Your Eyes - Steam - April 18


May (5 Games Beaten)
28. New Pokemon Snap - Switch - May 2
29. Resident Evil 8: Village - PS5 - May 8
30. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Switch - May 15
31. Torment: Tides of Numenera - Xbox One - May 18
32. Pepsiman - PS1 - May 20


32. Pepsiman - PS1 - May 20

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Before there was BitTrip Runner, there was Pepsiman. Pepsiman is approximately 75% of the reason that I got an Xstation ODE for my PS1. I'm not kidding. I REALLY wanted to play Pepsiman on authentic hardware. Was there something keeping me from just emulating it? No. Did I think this was going to be a legitimately good game? Of course not. Did I make it my mission in life to play it anyway? You bet your Pepsi-chugging ass I did.

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Pepsiman may not be a good game per se, but it's definitely not a bad game. Actually, it's probably exactly what BitTrip Runner would be if it had been made during the PS1 era. It's an obviously low budget game, but the developers ended up using that to the game's advantage by playing up the low budget charm. There are four stages each consisting of three parts. The first two scenes in each stage are your usual runner levels where you run straight through a world dodging obstacles that appear by either moving to the side, jumping over them, or sliding under them. You can also do a very brief boost run and smash through some obstacles, but that's not necessary until around the second half of the game. The third part of each stage involves running towards the screen rather than away from it as you try to outrun some giant thing chasing you. If you've played the original Crash Bandicoot, then you know exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. These were always the hardest for me because running towards the screen means you have very little time to react to oncoming obstacles since you can't see them off in the distance. Fortunately, if you run out of lives and get game over, you go to the main menu where you can save your game and restart from the last scene with a default of three lives.

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Between each stage, you're treated to a glorious live action scene of an overweight American drinking Pepsi. That's it. That's the whole scene each time. A fat American sitting in a chair watching Pepsiman on a TV and drinking Pepsi. Sometimes he's eating pizza. Sometimes he's double fisting Pepsi cans. But he's always drinking Pepsi. This is hilarious to me for a few reasons. First and foremost, he looks like me in 20 years. Second, he's speaking English with Japanese subtitles despite the fact that this game has never been released outside of Japan. Third...I mean, dude, he's just sitting there butt chugging Pepsi. It's so random. I must admit, though, despite how charmingly low-budget this game is, it's better than I expected. Each level is pretty different from the others, and it's got a much smoother difficulty curve than most games of the era. The beginning is pretty easy while the end of the game is legitimately tough, but there's not difficulty spike. It's a nice, smooth, transition. In that regard, it impressed me more than some bigger budget games of the era.

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Pepsiman isn't a long game, and it's not a terribly impressive game, but it is a fun game. For a branded game that exists solely to advertise a soda, it's way better than it should be. It feels like the 5th gen McKids for being way better than an ad game ought to be. That's not to say that it's amazing or worth going out of or your way to play, but if you're into goofy meme games, this is about as good as gets. It's short, it's tough towards the end, and it can get pretty frustrating, but I still had fun playing it and don't regret the few hours I spent with it. It's a shame that it never got released outside of Japan; it feels like the type of game that would do reasonably well as a cheap digital game if re-released today just for how random and goofy it is. I can't recommend anyone go to any lengths to play this, but if you happen to have a PS1 emulator downloaded on your PC or have an ODE in your PS1, it's worth finding an ISO and playing around with. There a certainly worse ways to spend an afternoon.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Fri May 21, 2021 1:01 am

Fun fact; the actor in Pepsiman is Mike Butters, who later went on to appear in Saw 1, 4, and 5. He was instructed by the Japanese director that they wanted the scenes to be intentionally bad, and he delivered.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Fri May 21, 2021 9:41 am

MrPopo wrote:Fun fact; the actor in Pepsiman is Mike Butters, who later went on to appear in Saw 1, 4, and 5. He was instructed by the Japanese director that they wanted the scenes to be intentionally bad, and he delivered.

If they did a remake of this game, I would volunteer to do this role for free. Hell, I'd pay them to let me do this.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Fri May 21, 2021 4:37 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 33
* 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 (3 Games Beaten)
18. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - Steam - March 4
19. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky 3rd - Steam - March 7
20. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - PS4 - March 21


April (7 Games Beaten)
21. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - PS4 - April 5
22. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 00 - Steam - April 7
23. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 01 - Steam - April 10
24. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 02 - Steam - April 11
25. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 03 - Steam - April 13
26. Neptunia Virtual Stars - PS4 - April 18
27. Before Your Eyes - Steam - April 18


May (6 Games Beaten)
28. New Pokemon Snap - Switch - May 2
29. Resident Evil 8: Village - PS5 - May 8
30. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Switch - May 15
31. Torment: Tides of Numenera - Xbox One - May 18
32. Pepsiman - PS1 - May 20
33. Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo: The Card Fighters - Switch - May 20


33. Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo: The Card Fighters - Switch - May 20

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Blackjack is one of the iconic gambling card games. It’s super simple; keep drawing cards until you get as close as you think you can to 21. If you get closer than the dealer without going over 21, you win; if the dealer or if you get over 21 (bust), you lose. What if you took that simple but iconic card game and merged it with an iconic fighting game like Street Fighter II? Enter Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo: The Card Fighters, the game that no one asked for and fewer people needed but we got nonetheless.

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The character select screen looks pretty much exactly like Street Fighter II. You have a variety of characters from all over the world from whom to choose although it is worth noting that your character selection makes absolutely no impact on gameplay. The game from there is just different blackjack matches against random characters in different themed casinos all over the world. To win, it doesn’t matter how much money you have as long as your opponent hits $0 before you do. Whether you win with $10,000 or $50, the outcome is the same.

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The visuals definitely harken back to Street Fighter II on Genesis. Beyond the allusion to that classic fighting game, though, there’s nothing particularly noteworthy or memorable about it. The characters all feel pretty generic and don’t have anything interesting to make them stand out. They’re just bland. Not bad, mind you, but not especially good. It feels like the game was made specifically for the sake of “lol it’s like Street Fighter but it’s blackjack!”

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Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo Edition: The Card Fighters is totally competent as a blackjack game, but it’s nothing special. It’s not like how Golf Story was a golf game but went far beyond that; this is a blackjack game, and it stays nothing more than a blackjack game. I got it on sale for $1.99 which is a fair price in my opinion, but it normally goes for $7.99 on the eShop, and it’s definitely not worth that much. $2.99 is about the most I could recommend paying for this one. It’s totally okay, but it’s not going to give you more than half an hour of entertainment unless you’re a SUPER hardcore fan of blackjack.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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