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Key-Glyph
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by Key-Glyph Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:17 pm

This is my first post in a "games beaten" thread! I saw a bunch of you discussing how much you enjoyed this tradition in some other section of the forum, as well as how it was suspected that the topic might accidentally intimidate folks who weren't aware it was just good times all the times in here. This intrigued me, as I was one of the intimidated. So, give your PR department a raise!

I don't know how much I'll be able to keep up with this, but I enjoyed reading the past forty-or-so pages of people's gaming experiences.

1. Pokémon SoulSilver (DS):
I'd already played and beaten HeartGold some years ago, but I wanted to see the subtle differences in this version. I also wanted to try for a shiny Lugia, which I wound up nabbing a few days into the new year.

HG/SS are absolutely my favorite pokémon games; they take Gold and Silver and manage to make them even better. Having your lead pokémon trot behind you and react to everything from the weather to nearby NPCs is such a whimsical touch, and I love the concept of the pokéwalker. It's very amusing to be sitting in your campus library and imagining that the twelve-foot legendary phoenix you have in the pedometer clipped to your pocket is hovering around your shoulder, freaking out the bystanders.

I also really enjoyed that they were creative with the old tunes. They didn't port them over note-for-note -- they used some interesting instrumentation and even changed up time signatures, tempos, and in one case even switched an entire composition from minor to major chords, for the remake. Really fun.

2. Sushi Academy (DS):
I have a weird weakness for sushi games, and I picked this one up for about $7. It's quite interesting -- it actually includes information on the history of sushi, etiquette, and other random optional reads -- and the steps you learn for each dish seem to be based in a certain amount of realism (more than I expected, anyway). The story is that you're a chef training under a sushi master, and that perhaps in time, if you learn the dishes properly and pass your exams, you'll be a master, too.

The game has some cute touches, like the changing of seasons outside a window as you complete your exams, and some Japanese voice samples ("HAJIME!!"). As for the main aspect of the title, the cooking mini-games are addictive and mostly enjoyable. The problem, though, is that it isn't always completely clear how you're supposed to execute a particular technique, and if you get anything less than a "PERFECT" rating on any individual step, you are kept from receiving anything above a final grade of "VERY GOOD" for the entire dish.

Example: One step reads, "Spread the sushi rice evenly. Don't go outside the lines!" Well, the rice is a pile of several indistinguishable white globs, and it's impossible to gauge how many there are, much less if too many are on top of one another, especially when you only have about ten seconds to get things done. I've had the game for two years, and I literally only realized last month that my "VERY GOOD"s on that step were almost definitely due to a "stack" of rice in the middle of my nori sheet that I had never directly perceived was there.

3. Alcahest (S.Famicom):
This was a gift from a friend who'd picked up some Super Famicom-only releases on a trip to Japan; he wanted to get me my own copy of this because I was familiar with some of the music and he thought it would be fun for me. It's in Japanese, of course, so I thought I'd take advantage of that and have a fun little experiment with trying to get through the game blind, without translation help.

Luckily, the game was super forgiving of my illiteracy in a lot of ways. It's basically Link to the Past Lite: an action RPG with Mega Man-esque powers, no equipping/dequipping of items... you don't even have to check NPCs with A for them to start talking to you! You just walk by close enough and they force information and/or items on you. Very helpful, since I was perpetually in the situation of, for example, not knowing I needed a key from somebody until I was stepping over what I thought was a background-only dead soldier whose dying breaths coincided with my sudden ability to open some new doors. Awesome! I owe you one, extroverted dying soldier!

I think people tend to love or hate bossfights, and I love them. This is good, because Alcahest has bossfights up the wazoo. Pretty much every stage (there are eight) have a mid-boss, a final boss, and then the final boss's final form. Some of them took a bit of skill/persistence, and that was really fun for me. You earn different powers and summons as you go, as well, so there's no "one way" to beat anything. The final final boss and the final final form were drawn-out but not crushingly-difficult affairs, and I really love that kind of thing.

After I beat it, I watched a long play of a fan translation on YouTube so I could understand the story, and among other things learned that my shield would block projectiles if I stood still. Whoops! I was dodging everything. And I mean everything. Playing on hard mode! :lol:
Last edited by Key-Glyph on Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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J T
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by J T Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:23 pm

Key-Glyph wrote: Very helpful, since I was perpetually in the situation of, for example, not knowing I needed a key from somebody until I was stepping over what I thought was a background-only dead soldier whose dying breaths coincided with my sudden ability to open some new doors. Awesome! I owe you one, extroverted dying soldier!


:lol:
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:07 am

Whoa. Surprised to see Alcahest on your list, let alone anyone's!

A copy is actually on the way to my house as we speak.

Nice work!
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by Stark Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:39 am

Yay! Key is posting in this thread, day made.
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by MrHealthy Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:44 am

January
1. Aperture Tag: The Paint Gun Testing Initiative (PC - Steam)
A paid mod for portal 2. Its quality definitely does not live up to the original game, but for the couple of bucks I paid it was an enjoyable experiment that more fully utilizes the gels.

2. Picross DS (NDS)
I love me some Picross. Normal mode isn't so great, but I love Free mode.
I finished every puzzle within the time limit. Some of them were very difficult, requiring multiple retry's until I figured them out. The mini-games I didn't find fun at all so I didn't bother finishing them.

3. Motorstorm RC (Vita)
This was sooo much fun. I can't really compare it to other RC or top down racers as this is the first Ive sunk time into. A great spin off of an otherwise great series. I've yet to play a motorstorm I didn't enjoy.

4. Homefront (PC - Steam)
I am hugely fascinated by the idea of war taking place in western society as well as alternate history, so I naturally wanted to check this game. I can not believe this game was marketed so heavily as a top tier experience. Its just plain bad. Its full of bugs, half the game is copy pasted in terms of level design. And there is so much damn standing around waiting for your AI allies to open the next door. And its half finished, literally. The game just ends in the middle of a huge battle. No story resolution, nothing. Just over.

5. Motorstorm RC Pro-AM DLC (Vita)
6. Motorstorm RC Carnival DLC (Vita)
These are both more of the same but loved them just as much as the main game.

7. Nun Attack (Vita)
This is a touch based mobile game that got ported over. Point your Nuns to the undead hords to make them attack while you manage spells and abilities to keep your nuns healthy or do additional effects. Its super repetitive and not very fun. I do have to give credit to the devs though, they removed the micro transactions present in the mobile version which is nice. I basically only finished this because it was something to play while I was pooping.

8. Jetpack Joyride (Vita)
Another mobile game. A variant of the endless runner genre. But wait, how did I finish this then? Well the game offers missions that must be completed. I finished all the missions so I count this as done. Even though the game play is a lot simpler (touch to go up, let go to descend) then Nun Attack its much more fun. Its got that addictive 'one more run' quality to it.
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by J T Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:25 am

MrHealthy wrote:4. Homefront (PC - Steam)
I am hugely fascinated by the idea of war taking place in western society as well as alternate history, so I naturally wanted to check this game. I can not believe this game was marketed so heavily as a top tier experience. Its just plain bad. Its full of bugs, half the game is copy pasted in terms of level design. And there is so much damn standing around waiting for your AI allies to open the next door. And its half finished, literally. The game just ends in the middle of a huge battle. No story resolution, nothing. Just over.



Oh dear. I picked up a disc of this game that's in my backlog. I was looking forward to it for all the same reasons you were. Now I'll probably be disappointed for all the same reasons too.
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by laurenhiya21 Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:35 am

1/10: Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery EP (Steam)
1/10: Rusty's Real Deal Baseball: Bat & Switch (3DS DL)
1/11: Time Fcuk (Steam)
1/11: Coil (Steam)
1/17: Portal 2 (Steam)
1/31: Tales of Xillia (PS3)

Total: 6 games

Yay, I beat my first Tales game! I've only played a tiny bit of Symphonia, so it's kind of nice to finally try out one of the Tales games (even if it supposedly isn't the best in the series). The story is kind of ehh until the 3rd chapter (4 total) and there is one part in the game where you have to run aimlessly around a tooon but the positives greatly outweigh that. I liked collecting random junk to upgrade the shops, the battles (even if I mostly button mashed), upgrading my party with the orb thingy, and most of all the characters (minus Teepo and I didn't like Leia much either). Nearly every cutscene, skit, and side mission that I did had some good character interaction. And I looove some good/interesting characters.

So yeah, it was good :) Little worried about Xillia 2, since Xillia didn't really feel like it needed a sequel, but I'll just have to see how it is when I get to it.
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by MrHealthy Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:36 am

J T wrote:Oh dear. I picked up a disc of this game that's in my backlog. I was looking forward to it for all the same reasons you were. Now I'll probably be disappointed for all the same reasons too.
They did manage to depict the horrors of war much better then I thought they would. And some of the collectible intel was interesting to read. They detail how the war started, from a oil crisis, too North Korea's rise in power in western Asia.

It ultimately feels like someone pitched this awesome idea. And then the executives said 'Ya, lets do that. But make it this way instead.'

Its also short. Very short.
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by Sload Soap Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:44 am

Alien: Isolation (360)
Like the chestburster in John Hurt's abdomen, it took a few days for my thoughts on Alien: Isolation to gestate. It's certainly one of the more interesting and bold Triple A titles I've played in a while but it's also one not without, in my opinion, considerable structural flaws.

You play as Amanda Ripley (Ellen's daughter mentioned in deleted scene from Aliens) who travels to a backwater space station called Sevastopol to collect the Nostromo's black box. After making a dramatic space walk to land on the station you start to learn all is not right in this sleepy backwater... mostly because an alien has eaten everyone. SPOILERS!

Casting the player in the role of Ripley Jr still seems like an odd move to me, or at least one that the story never really exploits. It can feel like the only reason it was done was so the player can be addressed as Ripley to further cement "THIS IS AN ALIEN GAME". There are no thematic reasons for it and the story concerning the black box (and thus the entire point of being on the station) is wrapped up six hours before the game ends.

It's a shame that the plot falls away so badly because the team at Creative Assembly have done an amazing job of recreating the late 70's industrial feel of the Alien franchise. Every computer has a chunky keyboard, a green CRT monitor and information is seemingly stored on tapes. Interestingly, rather than finding this anachronistic aesthetic out of place, it helped reinforce the notion of Sevastopol as aging and outdated. The game looks and sounds like Alien and like last year's South Park game, is one of the most authentic licensed games I've ever played.

So it looks like an Alien game and sounds like an Alien game. But does it feel like one? The answer is a yes but with a big asterisk next to it.

For me, how well the gameplay works depends on two things: how forgiving you are of the frequently sketchy AI and how much you buy into what the game is selling.

You have to accept that if the alien sees you it's pretty much a game over and therefore a reload from your last manual save. The alien is allowed freer reign over the environment that the player, which makes sense, although the player will have various tools and weapons at their disposal to if nothing else distract the alien as it's on the hunt. You also have to accept that the alien is after you first and foremost. You can use NPCs as distractions but it will move onto you very quickly afterward so don't stick around to watch the carnage. Finally you have to accept that some hiding places that would logically seem the most safe (lockers, cupboards, vents) turn out to be nothing more than metal coffins.

And I think I would be okay with all of that IF the alien was consistent in the way it hunted you to begin with.

You see the Alien, as intimidating a presence as it is, to give the illusion of it being on the hunt, CA has arranged for the alien to be beholden to some very obvious and very uncanny behavioural routines which can break the player's immersion.

This leads to some irksome situations where the Alien can walk right past you when you're ducked behind a sofa but mostly in the open (and I do mean RIGHT past, one time the bloody thing even looked at me before moving on) and sometimes will pull you out of a locker it has no reason to be investigating.

So, you die, you reload, the alien is now in corridor it wasn't in before, you die, you reload, the alien drops out of a vent right in front of you, you die, you reload, the alien pulls you out of locker, you die, you reload, the alien ignores the noisemaker you placed and runs you down, you die, you reload...etc.

For me this was my main issue with the game. You see, in a game with instadeaths situations and manual saves (like say Dark Souls) every encounter is a learning process. Each time you die, you understand a little better what it was you did wrong and can make steps to avoid that next time.

In Alien: Isolation there are no predictable patterns so you get stuck for ages with the alien seeming almost omniscient, only to then reload and find it absent allowing you to casually stroll to your next destination totally sucking the tension from the game.

And that's kind of the kicker. Because earlier on those early encounters are tense and exciting and scary. But the more you get found by the alien and the more you study its seemingly random pattern of intercept, the less afraid of it you become.

This isn't helped by the fact the game is also about six to eight hours longer than it needs to be, meaning if you weren't sick of the Alien's tricks due to the iffy AI, you will be the twentieth time it drops into play just as you think you're finally getting somewhere.

Some have posited that the reason the game is so long is down to Sega's influence, trying to bump the title up to "official retail length". I myself think it's likely more down to a developer inexperienced with making action titles not knowing how to pace this sort of product properly. There are at least FOUR false endings in the game, a bizarre flashback excursion to LV-426 and two separate occasions on which you leave the alien infested space station, only to go back. It's not padded so much as meandering. There was one point when I turned the game on at 8am thinking I was definitely close to the end and played through til 2pm and I was still two hours off beating the damn thing.

Okay a lot of that is restarts but still, I don't think I've played a non-JRPG that took as long getting to the bastard point.

Even then, when the game seems like it's gearing up for the end, with the music becoming more intense and fast paced, it still forces you to play the game at the same pace you were at the beginning. The game does kind of show you all of what it has to offer early on and (barring some facehugger jump scares) thinks that ramping up the tension means putting you and the alien in smaller, more well lit rooms.

It just keeps going and going, breaking its own rules, breaking the rules of the franchise, getting sillier and sillier and sillier until finally you reach the end and are awarded with what is probably the most deflating ending since Mass Effect 3.

With all that being said however, I did not hate Alien: Isolation and in fact there are sections I found excellent. The Alien might be skittish but the station's other inhabitants, the creepy Working Joe synthetics, can be just as nerve wracking to face but much less prone to unpredictable behaviour.

And despite what I've said about the AI, there are instances whether by luck or design when the alien does seem like it's actually stalking you and sniffing you out and in those instances the game truly excels. It's a very technically proficient game with the atmosphere, the lighting, sound design, graphical fidelity, controls all being top shelf. There are a few glitches but none so bad as to ruin the experience (and most of them probably more to do with the 360's aging hardware than anything else).

Alien: Isolation is not a bad game at all. I was never bored with it, I never really wanted to pack it in and throw down the towel even when it started to get under my skin. It's rare these days, but it is a game that demands to be played on hard to fully experience what the developer was intending.

Most of all though the game makes you feel something toward it. Alien: Isolation is not a game you can impassively play to relax. It's the sort of game you play on the edge of your chair, leaning forwards, all senses tuned directly into it.

If you could plot my reaction hour by hour it'd be something like this:
:shock: :? :| :evil: :roll: :) :( :x :| :twisted: :? :shock: :lol: :| :evil: :) :( :D :evil: :) :o 8) :(

So I am not not recommending Alien: Isolation. I know there are plenty on this board who will love it and as many who will not. I am saying that to properly enjoy the game you will have to buy into its fiction and forgive some pretty obvious flaws.

A:I is the best Aliens game in a long time it's definitely the most true to the source material. I applaud Creative Assembly for what they attempted with the game and Sega for distributing it. After the critical and financial mauling they took on Colonial Marines, they looked to the indie scene and took a chance and that should always be praised IMO.

But intentions don't necessarily translate to success and the game is too drawn out and badly paced to be considered a genuine classic.

tldr: Alien: Isolation is more Prometheus than Alien. A staggeringly flawed masterpiece.
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Re: Games Beaten 2015

by RyaNtheSlayA Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:05 am

I agree with many points on your thoughts of Alien Isolation but I always make sure to ask you if you know that your motion tracker does in fact make noise and that the Alien is very much designed to hear that thing from like miles away.

After I learned that it made the encounters much less frustrating.

The working joes though man. Those are the things that made me quit.

I'll beat it at some point though.
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