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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:53 pm

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

First 50:
1. EYE: Divine Cybermancy - PC
2. Legend of Grimrock - PC
3. Legend of Grimrock 2 - PC
4. Shovel Knight - Wii U
5. Yakuza: Like a Dragon - PS4
6. Yoshi's Island - SNES
7. Vectorman 2 - Genesis
8. Super Mario Sunshine - GC
9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest - GC
10. Bomberman '93 - TG-16
11. Cannon Fodder - PC
12. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei - Saturn
13. Dragonborne - Game Boy
14. Rock n' Roll Racing - PC
15. The Lost Vikings - PC
16. Blackthorne - PC
17. Contra III: The Alien Wars - SNES
18. Bravely Default II - Switch
19. Axelay - SNES
20. Ryse: Son of Rome - XBOne
21. Killer Instinct (2013) - XBOne
22. Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition - PC
23. Thief: The Dark Project - PC
24. Killer Instinct - XBOne
25. Killer instinct 2 - XBOne
26. Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth - PC
27. Thief 2: The Metal Age - PC
28. Wing Commander II - PC
29. Wing Commander III - PC
30. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - Switch
31. Shadow Man Remastered - PC
32. Wing Commander: Privateer - PC
33. Salt and Sanctuary - Switch
34. The Elder Scrolls: Arena - PC
35. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall - PC
36. Resident Evil Village - PC
37. SaGa Frontier Remastered - Switch
38. Metaloid: Origin - Switch
39. SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions - Switch
40. Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels - PC
41. Metro Exodus: Sam's Story - PC
42. Panzer Paladin - Switch
43. Returnal - PS5
44. Dark Void Zero - DSiWare
45. Panzer Dragoon Saga - Saturn
46. Magic Knight Rayearth - Saturn
47. Cathedral - Switch
48. Final Fantasy VII Remake: INTERmission - PS5
49. Eterium - PC
50. A Street Cat's Tale - Switch

Second 50:

101. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir - PS4
102. Magic Carpet 2: The Netherworlds - PC
103. Shining the Holy Ark - Saturn
104. Iron Harvest: Operation Eagle - PC
105. Shining Force CD: Book 3 - Sega CD
106. Satellite Reign - PC
107. Ultima VII - PC
108. Ultima Underworld II - PC
109. Ultima VII Part 2 - PC

Final game of the year is the last worthwhile Ultima game, as VIII and IX are both well known for being garbage. Ultima VII Part 2 is unique due to the Part 2. The reason it's Part 2 is Richard Garriott decreed that they couldn't advance the number unless they did a new engine, and Part 2 is just the Ultima VII engine. But content-wise this game is its own thing, as this is the first game to transition away from Britannia, and as a result you get a very different experience from VI and VII.

So the story starts with finding a scroll left by Batlin, the mover and shaker from VII. There was apparently a contingency plan left to him by the Guardian to go through the Serpent Gate, so you and your companions set off and follow. However, the land you arrive on is wracked with storms and your boat is run aground. And then magic lightning storms cause most of your good gear to turn into garbage and your party members to be whisked away. It's up to you to find them again and figure out Batlin's plans so they can be stopped.

Now, the first thing you'll notice is you're not on Britannia anymore. Ultima IV-VII were defined by keeping a consistent geography across the games, which was a mixed bag. While it allowed for previous knowledge to be transferrable (most apparent in Ultima V, where you recreated many of the steps of IV), it also meant that the devs needed to justify the existence of all these locations, even if they weren't really necessary anymore (most apparent in VII). But now that you're on the Serpent Isle they're free to only create locales important to the adventure (with a few optional side areas for loot). In fact, the story states that this is one of the lost continents of Sosaria, from the first Ultima, and the game does more work to fit in the first three games into the more concrete lore set up by Ultima IV onward.

Another thing players of the previous games will notice is the game is far closer to a JRPG in structure. Rather than a vague goal and a wide open world to dick around in and search out breadcrumbs, here you have a pretty railroaded plot with lots of broken bridges and event flags keeping you from going places until you've done the requisite story pieces. The game also features a lot of scripted sequences, like two different kangaroo trials, and your party members are an important part of the story and contribute to dialog, rather than just snarking now and then. This leads to an overall stronger game compared to VII, as here it's clear they understand that this should be a game, first and foremost, rather than a world simulator.

But that leads me to the game's problems. Because it's still using the VII engine it is hampered by the interaction and movement system designed to allow for a lot of freedom. I found myself regularly getting stuck on terrain because I hit the right pixel for the game to decide I wanted to walk up onto the railing of a bridge, and now I have to jiggle around and find the right pixel to get down again. The game still relies a bit too much on hidden doors, and while with a single click you can determine if a wall is a door or not, it's not always obvious when you should be checking. The game introduces a survival mechanic where the frozen north requires you to wear warm clothing, and while it makes intuitive sense (fur good, metal bad), it doesn't really make things more fun, just more tedious (as you return again and again, so you always need to keep your alternate outfits around). And the NPC schedules are more annoying now that talking with all of them is much more required for the plot, rather than just for sidequests like in the previous game.

Overall, Ultima VII Part 2 is a much stronger game than its predecessor, and you can see them really making use of having planned out the Guardian storyline, as the game is a natural outgrowth of Ultima VII's events and sets up Ultima VIII's events. Its biggest downfall is the engine it's on; if you reign in all of the world interactivity and focus on moving around and having the ability to go into "interaction" mode to fiddle with items on the ground or at a distance with the appropriate spells you would likely have a smoother experience. If you've gotten this far in the Ultima series you definitely will want to play this one, as it's a final hurrah before it goes off the deep end.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by prfsnl_gmr Fri Dec 31, 2021 11:06 pm

First 70
1. Horace (Switch)
2. Ghostrunner (Switch)
3. Mickey’s Adventure in Numberland (NES)
4. Mickey’s Safari in Letterland (NES)
5. Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Genesis)
6. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Picross (3DS)
7. World of Illusion starring Mickey & Donald (Genesis)
8. Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Game Gear)
9. Land of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Game Gear)
10. Legend of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Game Gear)
11. Portal 2 [co-op] (PS3)
12. Operencia: The Stolen Sun (Switch)
13. The Knight of Queen (Switch)
14. Q.U.B.E. - Director’s Cut (PS3)
15. What the Golf?! (Switch)
16. Prune (iOS)
17. Kenshō (iOS)
18. For the Frog the Bell Tolls (GameBoy)
19. Holedown (iOS)
20. King’s Field (PS1)
21. My Friend Pedro (Switch)
22. MO: Astray (Switch)
23. EQI (Switch)
24. Foxyland (Switch)
25. Carrion (Switch)
26. QUBE 2 (Switch)
27. Aaero (Switch)
28. Portal 2 (PS3)
29. Alwa’s Awakening (Switch)
30. Alwa’s Legacy (Switch)
31. Mega Man 11 (Switch)
32. Superliminal (Switch)
33. Shantae & The Seven Sirens (Switch)
34. Halo 3 (360)
35. Legacy of the Wizard (NES)
36. Robo Warrior (NES)
37. Blaster Master Boy (GB)
38. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (3DS)
39. Donkey Kong Land (GB)
40. Mario & Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move (3DS)
41. Streets of Rage 4 (Switch)
42. Steamworld Dig 2 (3DS)
43. Mega Man: The Wily Wars (Genesis)
44. Streets of Rage (Game Gear)
45. Streets of Rage (Master System)
46. Streets of Rage 2 (Game Gear)
47. Streets of Rage II (Master System)
48. Ninja Gaiden (PC Engine)
49. Ninja Gaiden II (DOS)
50. Ninja Gaiden III (Lynx)
51. Ninja Gaiden Trilogy (SNES)
52. Kung Fu Master (Arcade)
53. Kung Fu Master (7800)
54. Vigilante (Master System)
55. Vigilante (Arcade)
56. Donkey Kong (7800)
57. Touhou Luna Nights (Switch)
58. Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Switch)
59. Robbit Mon Dieu (PS1)
60. Metroid Dread (Switch)
61. Metroid Prime Hunters (NDS)
62. Metroid Prime Federation Force (3DS)
63. Panzer Dragoon: Remake (Switch)
64. Unsighted (Switch)
65. Death’s Door (Switch)
66. Olija (Switch)
67. Trash Quest (Switch)
68. #Breakforcist Battle (Switch)
69. Timothy and The Mysterious Forest (Switch)
70. Sweet Witches (Switch)

71. Semblance (Switch)
72. Dreamo (Switch)
73. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (Wii)
74. Pinkman+ (Switch)

Pinkman+ is a platformer. It has simple, but effective graphics. The ambient soundtrack is good. It has 100 levels, and each level has several checkpoints. It is pretty fun, and you can beat it in a single sitting.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Fri Dec 31, 2021 11:58 pm

Year in review time.

So this year was the first year since '15 that I beat 100+ games. while '15 still has my record, this was a good year. Can probably blame a good chunk of that on an entire year of WFH and not having any reasons to go out, but even still, I was 17 games better than last year which was under the same conditions. Let's look at the system breakdown:

DSiWare - 1
Game Boy - 1
Gamecube - 1
GC - 2
Genesis - 1
N64 - 1
PC - 61
PS4 - 4
PS5 - 4
Saturn - 4
Sega CD - 1
SNES - 3
Switch - 19
TG-16 - 1
Wii U - 1
XBOne - 4

As usual, I'm very PC heavy, though I did a large number of Switch games. Otherwise it's mostly onesies and twosies, with a few exceptions. The XBone and the PS5 was me clearing those systems entirely; the PS5 is obviously an ongoing project as they release more games, but I haven't picked up anything for it that I haven't beaten. And the PS4 was me working on cleaning out some of my long-owned games. I've only got a few left, with two of the three being sequels to PS3 games I still need to beat. So that might be a focus for next year. How about genres:

Action - 2
Action Adventure - 8
Fighter - 3
FPS - 18
Metroidvania - 5
Platformer - 10
Puzzle - 4
Racing - 1
Rail Shooter - 1
Real Time Tactics - 3
RPG - 32
RTS - 3
Run n Gun - 1
Shmup - 2
Simulation - 5
Soulslike - 1
Stealth - 3
Survival Horror - 2
Third Person Shooter - 1
Turn Based Strategy - 4

As always, not an exact science. Looking back at my two previous best years of '15 and '20, this was the most RPG heavy year ever. Those years were in the low 20s for RPGs, which are always big time sinks. Otherwise, it looks like a pretty standard spread for me; RPG and FPS as the top two with a smattering of the other genres depending on release schedules and whatever I'm particularly drawn to at a given point in time. But considering how many RPGs that was, I'm feeling extra proud of how many games I knocked out this year.
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REPO Man
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by REPO Man Sat Jan 01, 2022 1:19 am

My 2021 rundown:

* The Room for Android (puzzle)
* James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: Games of Passion for DS (hidden object)
* Petal Crash for Android, Story Mode as Daize (puzzle)
* Resident Evil 7 for PS4, on Easy (survival horror)
* Espgaluda II for Switch, on Arcade Mode (shmup)
* Madbat 64 for Switch (platformer)
* Borderlands for Switch, as Brick on Playthrough 1 (FPS/RPG)
* Sonic 1 SMS Remake for Android, as Sonic with all Chaos Emeralds (platformer) [FAN GAME]
* Sonic 2 SMS Remake for Android, as Sonic with all Chaos Emeralds (platformer) [FAN GAME]
* Borderlands: Zombie Island of Dr. Ned for Switch, as Brick on Playthrough 1 (FPS/RPG) [DLC]
* In Somnio for PC (adventure)
* Borderlands: Secret Armory of General Knox for Switch, as Brick on Playthrough 1, still haven't beat Crawmerax (FPS/RPG) [DLC]
* Borderlands: Claptrap's New Robotic Revolution for Switch, as Brick on Playthrough 1 (FPS/RPG) [DLC]
* Superliminal for Switch (first-person puzzle)
* Katamari Damacy Rerolled for Switch (puzzle-action)

TOTAL: 15, counting 3 DLC expansions
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Sat Jan 01, 2022 1:56 am

One of my friends made me this neat graphic

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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by alienjesus Sat Jan 01, 2022 12:36 pm

AJ's Games Beaten 2021:
1. Machinarium Switch eShop
2. Pikuniku Switch eShop
3. Sonic Generations XBox 360
4. Neutopia Wii VC
5. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown PS4
6. Coca-Cola Kid Game Gear
7. Gunstar Heroes Game Gear
8. The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey & Minnie SNES
9. Sonic Mania Plus Switch
10. Mickey No Tokyo Disneyland Daibōken SFC
11. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky DS
12. Yakuza 0 PS4
13. Fire Emblem: Three Houses Switch
14. Soleil Mega Drive
15. Stranded Kids GBC
16. Great Greed Game Boy
17. Crystal Warriors Game Gear
18. Madou Monogatari I: Mittsu No Madō-kyū Game Gear
19. Biomotor Unitron NGPC
20. New Pokémon Snap Switch
21. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots PS3
22. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance PS3
23. Command & Conquer: Red Alert PS1
24. Ape Escape PS1
25. Ys Seven PSN Vita
26. Shinobi SMS *NEW*
27. Probotector NES
28. Tetris Attack SNES
29. Magical Pop’n SFC
30. Bubble Symphony Saturn
31. Sexy Parodius Saturn
32. Toree 3D Switch eShop
33. SEGA AGES Herzog Zwei Switch eShop
34. Lego Builder’s Journey Switch eShop
35. Alba: A Wildlife Adventure Switch eShop
36. Later Alligator Switch eShop
37. Mario Party 2 N64
38. Gate of Thunder PC Engine CD
39. Mushihimesama Switch eShop
40. Toejam & Earl: Back In The Groove Switch
41. Shining Force III Saturn
42. Rayman Saturn
43. Panzer Dragoon Saga Saturn
44. Mother 3 GBA
45. Drill Dozer GBA
46. bit Generations: Boundish GBA
47. bit Generations: Soundvoyager GBA
48. bit Generations: Digidrive GBA
49. bit Generations: Dialhex GBA
50. Densetsu No Stafy 2 GBA
51. Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire GBA
52. Manx TT Superbike Saturn
53. Klonoa: Empire of Dreams GBA
54. Shining Wisdom Saturn
55. Layer Section Saturn
56. Shining The Holy Ark Saturn *NEW*
57. Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak GBA *NEW*
58. Christmas Nights Into Dreams... Saturn *NEW*
59. Burning Rangers Saturn *NEW*
60. Capcom Arcade Stadium: Progear Switch eShop *NEW*
61. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond Switch *NEW*


Shinobi

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This is a very late review, as I actually beat Shinobi in July – I just accidentally missed it from my list until now. Shinobi is the Master System version of the famous Sega arcade game, but like many games of the era, it’s not a port but rather it’s own thing. Gameplay is still similar – you move through levels throwing shuriken to defeat enemies and rescuing children held hostage. You can leap to higher ground on some levels – sometimes this is a background layer, sometimes it’s a higher floor you need to go to to progress. Gone though are the one hit deaths – you now have a health bar to work with. Level designs are also different, and rescued hostages now give you rewards in the forms of power ups or point bonuses. Learning which hostages give what rewards can be key as any weapons they grant overwrite what you currently have – even if they’re worse

The game is considered a classic on the system and I get why as it’s challenging and ambitious, but I didn’t love it. It sets up nicely for the superior Mega Drive sequels but this entry still feels rather clunky to play. Bosses are very challenging too, especially the very tough final boss. It’s worth a play if you have the system, but there’s better games for Master System in my eyes.




Shining The Holy Ark

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I’ve been working through many of the Saturn Shining games this year, and Shining The Holy Ark was the last English language release I got to. A follow up of sorts to the Mega Drive game Shining In The Darkness, this is a first person dungeon crawler. The game is more ambitious than it’s predecessor though, with a more involved story and multiple locations to explore rather than one long dungeon. You start with a party of 3 characters (which is how many Darkness had) but eventually build up to 8 team members who can be swapped in and out freely in battle, which gives you a lot of options.

The game has a very distinct graphical style which works but definitely feels dated, with prerendered characters and enemies over 3D environments. As a Golden Sun fan, I really enjoyed seeing how these earlier games led to that games style and this game really embodies that the most, with similar party set-ups, graphic styles, instrumentation and HUD elements.

The game is challenging without being frustrating, but you will need to make multiple dives into dungeons early on as your resources deplete over time – your MP pool in particular is very limited for healing until a good way into the game. This I think is one of the games biggest flaws – you’re limited to 3 party members for a good half of the game, and then the 4th party member is your only addition for quite some time too. The later party members come a bit too late I think, and the benefit of their MP, inventory space and attack power would have been felt more early on. I also think characters are poorly balanced – Melody is objectively worse than Akane when you get her because she learns mass healing spells far too late, and Forte is underwhelming due to joining very underlevelled and being multi-target magic focused in a game where MP resources are limited and most enemy encounters feature one high health enemy – physical attacks are just better.

Still, whilst it’s not perfect I did enjoy my time with the game. I personally prefer the simplicity of Shining In The Darkness overall, but this is a solid follow up and a nice RPG option on a system that wasn’t particularly flush with them. Worth a play. As a side note, this was game 7 on my mission to beat 10 of my unfinished Saturn games.




Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak

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As I wrote last time I updated, I’m working through one console and one handheld library at a time trying to beat 10 unfinished games for each (or all of them if I have less!). Hamtaro Ham-Ham Heartbreak was my 10th and final GBA game for this goal, and I feel like I finished with a pretty solid option. Hamtaro Ham-Ham Heartbreak is a sequel to the excellent GBC game Hamtaro: Ham-Ham’s Unite, and is an adventure game based on the Hamtaro anime series. You might expect the quality of these games to be low, but you’d be incorrect as they’re excellent little adventures. They were actually published by Nintendo, which is a surprising but worthy endorsement of their quality.

In the game you play as Hamtaro, a hamster who must stop an evil Hamster named Spat who is attempting to ruin everyone’s happy relationships by generating misunderstandings. To achieve this you must solve puzzles by communicating with many other hamsters and learning ham-chat, words and actions that can be utilised to gain new outcomes. Sometimes the meaning of the word will unlock different dialogue options – you might tell someone they look ‘dazzlie’ to compliment them) which give other new terms, and sometimes the accompanying action will allow you to do something – such as ‘Gogo’ which allows you to ride on vehicles. Finding the words and utilising them in the right place is the main game mechanic.

Hamtaro and his friend Bijou team up this time to try and reunite the hamsters whose relationship has been torn apart – these range from couples who think the other doesn’t like them any more, siblings who are annoyed at each other, or even just friends who feel they’ve been lied to. Each time you reunite couples in an area, you drive away spat to somewhere new, or earn new phrases that will help you progress elsewhere. The game has a pretty good hint system you can use when stuck in the form of a sleeping hamster at your home base who gives hints what to do next.

The game isn’t perfect – the actions can be quite time consuming to try, and some actions need repeated a lot and can be annoying to pull up from a menu each time. The game is slow paced and there definitely could be some streamlining – I don’t need to select ‘hif-hif’ from a menu and watch a sniffing animation everytime I want to pick an item up.

But the game is super charming, the puzzles are fun and it looks fantastic. I think this is a great game for GBA and would happily recommend it, but the GBC release probably just edges this one out as it’s less linear. Why not play both?




Christmas Nights Into Dreams…

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This title isn’t one of my 10 saturn games to beat, but I decided to play it anyway because hey, it’s was Christmas. I’ve beaten Christmas Nights in the past, but my save file was long since lost, so I played through it again to unlock all the ‘presents’ in the game, which comprise of bonus features and modes such as art galleries, a karaoke version of the Nights song, and a playable Sonic the Hedgehog mode.

Christmas Nights is mainly a demo, it features the first stage of the main game playable but with the aforementioned unlockables. Depending on the date when you play, different stuff happens, with snow in the winter, hearts for Valentines Day and a playable Reala (the bad Nights) on April Fools day, but obviously, the main draw is the Christmas mode in December, which replaces graphics elements with Christmas items – stars, trees, santa in the background and more. It also adds a (god awful) story with (god awful) narration that is quite charming. Beating the level as both characters gives an ending and a new a cappella version of the Nights theme too.

After each play, you get to open presents – this is a pair matching game where getting 2 of the same item unlocks it, with the number of guesses depending on your ranking. Unfortunately some Reala icons are in the mix and instantly end the mini-game and I had terrible luck with these and got them first time every time. Luckily, cleared icons remain removed in future, so by playing enough you will eventually get them all!

Christmas Nights is a fun little bonus that is better remembered perhaps thenthe content would justify. However, as a free demo there’s no denying it offered a lot more than you’d expect, with all sorts of cool features that didn’t even make it into the main Nights title. It’s worth a quick play each year to get in the Christmas spirit, but maybe don’t try and get all the presents at once like I did. Spring Valley gets a bit tiresome on your 20th play in a row!




Burning Rangers

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Burning Rangers is a game where you play as a firefighter in the future, one fo the titular Burning Rangers. The Burning Rangers job is to go into facilities on fire and rescue civilians inside, as you would expect for firefighters, but the tools they use for the job are much more high-tech. As well as a jet packs they can use to hover, boost and double jump, they also use laser cannons which trap fire in the form of energy crystals. These crystals are used to power the transporter tech you use to rescue survivors, as well as serving as your health. Burning Rangers is developed by Sonic Team and uses the sonic health system – getting hit whilst you have crystals will make you drop them all as they scatter everywhere, but you won’t die as long as you have at least one crystal left.

Burning Rangers is 3D game on Saturn, which means it has a lot of technical hurdles to overcome. It’s a pretty nice looking game for the system, although there’s definitely still technical issues with quads disappearing if they overlap the edge of the screen and seams showing between them. That said, the game has some nice transparency effects and similar which show off the Saturn in ways that it’s reputation would suggest weren’t possible. Navigating with the d-pad isn’t too bad, but the floaty jumps in combination can make platforming fiddly. Luckily, this is rarely going to cost you health or life, with the exception of one brutal platforming sequence in the final stage that you should take very very carefully, as one drop will likely cause you to die and send you back to the beginning of the very long section.

Burning Rangers main gimmick is the voice navigation – despite some excellent music in cutscenes and menus, the actual levels contain no music – just ambient sound to create atmosphere. Your navigator, Kris, directs you around the level, telling you where to go. You can dial in for directions at any time too. Sometimes it’s good to ignore Kris though, as going the wrong direction often leads to hidden survivors to save.

The game only contains 4 levels, but it wants you to replay them for better ranks. Ranking is based on speed of clearing the level, speed clearing the boss, the number of energy crystals collected, the number of survivors rescued, and the % damage to the facility (based on how quickly you put out fires). Upon beating the game for the first time, you can replay levels and some of the routes through the stage may change, meaning navigation will be important. Rescued survivors will send letters to you, sometimes containing passwords you can use to play as different Burning Rangers on other levels which is a fun bonus.

Burning Rangers is objectively not amazing. It’s mechanics are interesting but unpolished, the game is way too short at about 1.5 hours long (especially for the current asking prices only of well over £100) and it’s all just a little bit janky. But dammit, I really liked it. I can’t in good faith recommend it for the price, but I don’t regret buying or playing it myself, it’s really unique and fun.




Progear

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ProGear is a game I first played in an arcade in London. The arcade has long since shut down (I wrote a thread about it way back when I first discovered it though!) but this was my favourite game I played there. I’d never heard of it before then, but this is actually a side scrolling bullet hell shooter by Cave, one of their earliest titles, which was published by Capcom for arcades. I’ve played the game once or twice since then at other arcades, but until recently, this hasn’t been possible to play on home consoles. When it was launched on Switch as part of the Capcom Arcade Stadium on eShop, I was glad to finally be able to pick it up and play it whenever I like.

I credit fed my way through this one before Christmas, and I had a good time. The game is a real visual spectacle, a nice looking game with lots of waves of colourful bullets to boot. What I didn’t remember about the game is how bloomin’ hard it is though. I might have been playing on different settings in the arcade version, but I went in on Normal on switch and got my ass very thoroughly kicked. This one would take me a while to beat legit, for sure.

Still, I love the game and it’s one I’ll come back to play frequently. If you’ve not played it and you enjoy bullet hells, I’d definitely give it a play. The pacing and design just feels so right to me, and it’s stuck with me far longer than other similar games. Progear is great.




Pokémon Brilliant Diamond

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I don’t really know how to review this game. I’m a big Pokémon fan, and I guess I should start by saying I had a good time with Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and I enjoyed working through it. Like all Pokémon games it’s fun to build your team, the music is great and it just has a nice relaxing feel to playing it. This is not a bad game.

But it is a very disappointing game that I feel represents a lot of mis-steps for the series. As a remake of Diamond and Pearl (aka the worst games in the main series) it doesn’t do enough to build on or improve on the originals. This is a ridiculously faithful remake – the wild pokemon are the same (only 150, making options feel very limited), no pokemon from later generations are usable, no items from later generations are here, the artstyle tries to represent the originals accurately. This is Diamond and Pearl, again. The question is…why? We already have Diamond and Pearl. In fact, we also have Platinum, a game which already fixed many of the issues of the originals 15 years ago, and whose improvements have not been adapted into these remakes for no good reason.

That’s not all though. Ignoring bugs from the game being rushed, the art-style is very divisive. Personally, I think it looks OK in-game but bad in cutscenes – but I also would have liked to see the world of Sinnoh from a new perspective, not the same as before. They also incorporated a handful of mechanics from Sword and Shield in a frustrating and non-optional way which I hate – the exp.share item is always turned on and results in your team being overlevelled as the game isn’t balanced for all the extra experience it offers. Affection mechanics are unavoidable and cause your pokemon to avoid attacks, survive hits that would KO and shake off status effects, giving you unfair advantages that feel like they remove some skill and challenge. To counteract these I used 2 teams of pokemon who I alternated each gym to ensure I didn’t overlevel, and I used bitter healing items only to make my pokemon hate me, but both were imperfect solutions and I ended up overlevelled several times and had affection mechanics impact me on multiple occasions.

Brilliant Diamond is a fun game and I like it. But it represents a growing feeling that Pokémon is a series that needs to be given more time and more effort – a franchise this big shouldn’t feel like it’s regressing in quality, but it very much does. I hope Legends Arceus in January represents some big steps forward, because the lack of options for players, the lack of recognition that many of the fans are older and want more challenge, and the lack of ambition in scope and design of the games is starting to show, and fan feedback represents that.
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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by alienjesus Sat Jan 01, 2022 1:04 pm

Now I've finally posted all of my reviews for the year, it's stats time!:

Games beaten: 61

A lower than usual number for me this year - normally I finished about 70. It could have been worse though!

Physical games: 49
Digital games: 12

This is actually quite a high number of digital games for me, mostly thanks to me buying and playing a bunch of eShop games over the summer.

Console games: 29
Handheld games: 32

A pretty even split this year, which is actually pretty rare as I generally play more handheld. Pretty happy with this.

Games by generation:
Gen 3 (NES/SMS): 2
Gen 4 (SNES/MD/GB/GG): 11
Gen 5 (PS1/Saturn/N64/GBC/NGPC): 16
Gen 6 (GC/XBox/PS2/GBA): 10
Gen 7 (360/PS3/Wii/DS/PSP): 5
Gen 8 (Wii U/Switch/PS4/Vita): 17

This is pretty much par for the course I think - gen 4 and gen 5 stuff has been my most played retro gens for the last few years. Modern stuff obviously gets more representation too.

Games by console:
NES: 1
SNES: 4
N64: 1
Wii Virtual Console: 1
Game Boy: 1
GBC: 1
GBA: 10
DS: 1
Switch: 5
Switch eShop: 9

PS1: 2
PS3: 2
PS4: 2
PSN (Vita): 1

Master System: 1
Mega Drive: 1
Saturn: 11
Game Gear: 4

XBox 360: 1
PC Engine: 1
NGPC: 1

Switch got the most attention from me this year, but Saturn in second is a rarity. The last few months of the year have definitely been Saturn focused for me though!

I'll post my top 10 for the year shortly!
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by alienjesus Sat Jan 01, 2022 1:43 pm

AJ's top 10 games beaten of 2021

Honourable mentions (there's a lot this year):
Burning Rangers (Saturn), Shining Force III (Saturn), Sonic Generations (360), Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky (DS), Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3), Command & Conquer: Red Alert (PS1), Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Switch), Layer Section (Saturn), Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn), Soleil (Mega Drive), Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (PS4), Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PS3)

Top 10:

10:

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

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Alba is a fun game about the environment where you photograph animals. The game is set on a Spanish island (even if many reviewers didn't realise this and thought it was central america somewhere despite the 'Iberian' Lynx being a focal point) and has a real holiday vibe. It's just a wholesome good time, and I had a smile on my face when I played it


9:

Stranded Kids

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Stranded Kids is a great little game for GBC with multiple endings and lots to discover. It's quite unique in its combination of survival mechanics and zelda style exploration on the system.


8:

Madou Monogatari I: Mittsu No Madō-kyū

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Madou Monogatari is a dungeon crawler RPG which Puyo Puyo is a spin off of. You play as kindergartner Arle as she explores the tower defeating monsters and it's super charming. I mapped the game by hand as I went and had a great time. Shame my dog ate the maps after though!


7:

Magical Pop'n

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Magical Pop'n is a super fun platformer game for Super Famicom with beautiful graphics and animation and great gameplay. Unfortunately, it also costs several hundred pounds, so this is one you should probably play however you can.


6:

Mother 3

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Mother 3 is a game I've tried to get into multiple times and bounced off of, but after getting past the early parts of the game I really enjoyed this one this time. The characters and scenarios are super charming and the music is great.


5:

Gate of Thunder

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Gate of Thunder is an excellent shooter with just the right amount of difficulty to be challenging but not oppresive. The music is excellent and the level designs are great. One of the best on PC Engine.


4:

Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire

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Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire is an excellent Pokémon spin-off game, with fun pinball mechanics that have been excellent merged with the catch 'em all mechanic of Pokemon. The game is mostly forgotten which is really undeserved as it's a very well made title that's a lot of fun. Give it a go!


3:

Ape Escape

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I've not been taken by most Playstation platformers - Crash and Spyro are OK but not a patch on the N64's best. However, I really enjoyed my time with Ape Escape, which manages to feel unique and to work well with the hardware. It's full of charm, hilariously poor voice acting and a real drive to catch 'em all (they obviously know what I like) and I enjoyed completing it this summer.


2:

New Pokémon Snap

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I've been waiting about 20 years to play a new Pokémon Snap game, and thankfully, my wish was granted with ... New Pokémon Snap. The environments and Pokémon in this game felt as real as you could iamgine in the pokemon world, and there was so much to see and find that you could play this for ages and not get bored. It's not perfect, it's a bit less arcadey than the original which has pros and cons, but I loved finally getting to take more Pokemon pictures. Here's hoping we don't have to wait 20 more years for Newer Pokemon Snap.


1:

Yakuza 0

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I knew I would enjoy Yakuza 0, but I didn't expect I would enjoy it as much as I did. I enjoyed the grittier story of the game, but I loved the excess of silly side content and crazy scenarios they presented, and I feel the contrast between the two only elevated the experience. Yakuza 0 is an excellent starting point to get into the series, and I've since picked up most of the other entries on PS4 to play, which I hope to get to through 2022. From the mini games, the sidequests, building my hostess club empire, hitting goons with bicycles and more, this was my favourite gaming experience of 2021 despite playing it way back in January, and remained in the top spot throughout the year.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by prfsnl_gmr Sat Jan 01, 2022 2:03 pm

Awesome reviews, AJ, and an even better list. Picking Ape Escape as one of your top ten is so clutch. It is such a great game. I’ll try to get my list up this afternoon.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by marurun Sat Jan 01, 2022 4:45 pm

I am so happy to see Gate of Thunder made your top 5. I enjoyed hearing about your progressive attempts to beat and was loving how it grew on you. Such a great game. If I have a complaint it's only that it's not #1!
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