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Exhuminator
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Exhuminator Thu Mar 10, 2016 10:38 pm

Xeogred wrote:So how does Arx compare to like, System Shock 2? Since they're probably pretty comparable style and release date wise

Actually I don't think Arx Fatalis and System Shock 2 have much in common. I mean, yes they are both real time first person RPGs, but their interfaces and design ethos are drastically different. As are their genres, with AF being high fantasy and SS2 being cyberpunk. The most common element they share IMO, is both games have parts that are scary as fizzuck.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by MrPopo Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:13 am

1. Oni - PC
2. Donkey Kong 64 - N64
3. Yoshi's Story - N64
4. Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide - PC
5. Forsaken 64 - N64
6. Bloodrayne: Betrayal - PSN
7. Fire Emblem Seisen no Keifu - SNES
8. Fire Emblem Shin Monshō no Nazo: Hikari to Kage no Eiyū - Nintendo DS
9. Valkyria Chronicles 3 - PSP
10. Ready 2 Rumble Boxing - DC
11. Rise of the Tomb Raider - PC
12. XCOM 2 - PC
13. Shadowrun Hong Kong Bonus Campaign - PC
14. Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest - 3DS
15. Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright - 3DS
16. Lagrange Point - NES

Lagrange Point is mostly known for three things: being a sci fi RPG on the NES, only getting a translation patch about a year ago, and having a crazy soundtrack thanks to the VRC7 chip. I'd like to add that it's quite the solid RPG that tries out some interesting stuff.

The game is set on two space colonies at one of the Lagrangian points plus a small satellite and a few mining asteroids. The premise of the game is that contact has been lost with Land 2 and now Land 1 is under attack. You are part of a team sent to assess and contain the situation. Since this is an RPG your team gets ambushed as you get off the shuttle and your team leader is killed, leaving you to defeat whatever is causing the uprising. You learn that the invasion is of a variety of bio monsters plus some reprogrammed robots and they are led by a mysterious entity known as the Bio Kaiser. As you get further through the game and learn more you find out that the stations were originally ruled by the Council of Five. The Bio Kaiser subverted three of them and they became his generals, complete with some crazy genetic fusion turning them into giant monsters, with the other two leading a resistance against the Bio Kaiser.

The game does more with its sci fi setting then Phantasy Star does, in my opinion. The two space stations are of a spinning cylindrical type to generate artificial gravity through centrifugal force and so the map wraps up and down as expected. To traverse between towns you need to take advantage of a variety of vehicles, each increasing your mobility (the first is restricted to roads, then you get an off road model, and a few others for more specialized terrain). At one point you need to get to a town isolated on an island, so the solution is to traverse to an airlock, perform a space walk to another airlock, and then follow that airlock to the town. Midway through the game you gain access to the shuttle port and can freely travel between the two space stations as well as the satellite base (the resistance home base) and the mining asteroids. At this point you need to collect three items but you can do it in whatever order makes sense to you. Following that you go on the home stretch to find and defeat the Bio Kaiser. Your party is a mixture of humans, cyborgs, and robots. The robots are interesting because they are immune to most status ailments but they can only be healed with robot-specific items and abilities. They also cannot participate in the mood system, which is the ability of the fleshy party members to either get hyped up (and thus crit more) or panic (and be uncontrollable).

The battle system does a few things differently from other RPGs of the time. The most noticeable thing is there are no offensive skills (magic). Each character can have up to four skills (fixed for each character) which are found in the world as kits, which I assume are program kits or something. Not every character can use every rank; Gene can only use HP Restore 2, while Rita gets HP Restore 4. These skills consist of healing and status effects only. The only non-weapon offensive stuff are your super moves, which robots do not have. These are moves that take a percentage of your max HP and do something interesting. Of the ones I used, two are hit-all attacks that do percentage damage (one is really good against robots and ok against mutants, the other flips the two), one is a move that stuns all enemies for that turn and the next turn, and your main character has a variety of fixed damage moves that increase in power as you hit event flags (starting off with single target and getting into multi target and more damage). All of your actions require you to use BP (battle points), which replaces the more standard MP. BP does not increase with levels; you instead buy max BP upgrades in stores. And when I say all actions, I mean both attacking and using skills. Only super moves don't use BP (instead they blow through HP). Better weapons and higher levels skills require more BP. If you run out of BP you instead have to batter the enemy with your fists. It's just as ineffective as it sounds. It makes for a different dynamic from most RPGs, but you also can mostly ignore it once you get the first robot, Tic, as he has a skill that lets him spend a small amount of his BP to refill a large amount of a party member's; this lets you keep one or two BP restore items and have him keep people topped off.

The game also has a crafting system. Weapons are divided into six ranks of power; upgrading within a rank is to minimal effect (past rank 1) but jumping a rank is a large damage increase. The first five ranks are divided into six elements (which certain enemies can be weak to and party members can have an affinity towards using) and each element comes in both single target and hit all versions. The last rank is all hit all and non-elemental. Unfortunately the hit all stuff is not worth using past the first rank because the difference in damage is so huge between single and hit all. The crafting system lets you combine weapons to change element, change between single target and hit all, and rank up weapons. Once you unlock this you also see a cessation in towns having a good selection of weapons or weapons in dungeons. On the flip side, this also means that the second you level up enough to use a new rank of weapons you can quickly produce it and go to town. That's the main thing that keeps it in check; you require minimum stats to use a particular weapon to keep you from getting a high rank weapon early in the game.

As mentioned the soundtrack is unlike anything else on the NES. It sounds like what you can get on Sega consoles, and while none of the tunes was super memorable they were all nice. Obviously you need to play on a Famicom to be able to get the sound; I have no idea what it would sound like on an NES when played through a pin converter.

The biggest complaint I had was that the game difficulty is mostly a downward slope; the second you start to get ahead of the curve through upgrading weapons you just keep rolling through enemies. The only period where the difficulty came back was in the final stretch; there was a period where enemies took 2-3 attacks to put down (instead of being one-shotted), which adds up when you're fighting packs of 3-4 enemies. But then I got rank 6 weapons and they started to get decimated again. The jump from 5 to 6 is so much more immense than any other rank jump, and that's before you also consider the fact that you're hit alling.

If you're a fan of 8-bit RPGs it's definitely worth playing.
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Stark
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Stark Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:58 pm

1/22 Emily Is Away (PC)
1/29 Dishonored Definitive Edition (XB1)
1/31 Rise of the Tomb Raider - Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch (XB1)
2/2 Dishonored - The Knife of Dunwall (XB1)
2/8 Dishonored - The Brigmore Witches (XB1)
2/16 MURDERED: SOUL SUSPECT (PC)
3/7 Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (PSV)

Games Beaten = 5
DLC = 3

3/10 The Witness (PS4)
Myst feels like the closest corollary to The Witness and yet doesn’t quite cover what makes this game tick. For one, there is a lot more structure to The Witness as the puzzles are all based around drawing lines on a grid. Furthermore, puzzles are grouped by type in various locations throughout the island. When you get to these areas there will be puzzles that are easy, as they teach you the mechanic for that area, then they will increase in difficulty until you solve that area. Finally, there are a few areas that use knowledge from all over the island. As such, I recommend that if you come upon a puzzle, where it is clear you don’t know the mechanic, you should move on and find the tutorial. Some of the puzzles you could likely figure out how it works, but others would be ridiculously hard and frustrating to figure out without the tutorial. There is a way to find a map in game that shows you were all the tutorial areas are, but I won’t spoil how that is found here, just PM me if you need a nudge there.

This game, as a puzzle game goes, is near perfect in my opinion. It rewards exploration, memory, and logical thinking. Where it stumbles is in its “story”, which is pretentious, boring, and thankfully easily skippable. If you have any love for puzzles of this nature, I think you’ll adore this game as I do, just follow my tips to not get frustrated by a couple of design choices.

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Xeogred
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Xeogred Fri Mar 11, 2016 8:06 pm

Giant Bomb went nuts over The Witness. It does look and sound cool.
flash1987
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by flash1987 Sat Mar 12, 2016 1:17 am

Lagrange Point seems a little different, how long did it take you to get through MrPopo?
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by MrPopo Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:07 am

Maybe 20ish hours? I did about half at the beginning of January and the other half last week.
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IrishNinja
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by IrishNinja Sat Mar 12, 2016 3:31 am

Space Adventure Cobra (Sega-CD)! man, that was cool - fuck i wish it was more affordable though. so yeah, i set out to clear my backlog of at least 10 sega games this year, already got 7 down!

granted, stuff like this & Panic! aren't very long, but that leaves plenty of time for staurn RPGs like MKR & Shining Force III.
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Exhuminator
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Exhuminator Sat Mar 12, 2016 11:14 am

flash1987 wrote:Lagrange Point seems a little different, how long did it take you to get through MrPopo?

I put 5 hours into it myself. Everything's great about it, except it's grindy as all hell. I mean, even grindy for an 8-bit JRPG. I remember in some areas consistently having encounters every 2 steps, and that's no exaggeration. The insane encounter rate made me stop playing the game. Don't let that put you off from giving it a shot though, because Lagrange Point has a lot of good things going for it.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by MrPopo Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:29 am

Exhuminator wrote:
flash1987 wrote:Lagrange Point seems a little different, how long did it take you to get through MrPopo?

I put 5 hours into it myself. Everything's great about it, except it's grindy as all hell. I mean, even grindy for an 8-bit JRPG. I remember in some areas consistently having encounters every 2 steps, and that's no exaggeration. The insane encounter rate made me stop playing the game. Don't let that put you off from giving it a shot though, because Lagrange Point has a lot of good things going for it.

He's exaggerating. The encounter rate is about the same as other RPGs of the era.
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Exhuminator
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Exhuminator Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:40 am

MrPopo wrote:He's exaggerating. The encounter rate is about the same as other RPGs of the era.

Actually I've beaten other 8-bit JRPGs of that era, and they were not nearly as ridiculous as Lagrange Point often is. The only JRPG I can think of that was, would be The Sword of Hope.

But I'm not saying Lagrange Point is a bad JRPG by any means. I encourage everyone to give it a try and experience its unique positive traits. And then make the determination about its encounter rate yourselves after about 5 hours of playing it.
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