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isiolia
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by isiolia Mon Aug 01, 2016 3:30 pm

1. Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One)
2. DOAX3 Fortune Edition (PS4)
3. Uncharted 4 (PS4)
4. DOOM (2016) (PC)
5. Halo 5 (Xbox One)
6. Dark Souls (PC)
7. Call of Duty (PC)
8. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PC)
9. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4)
10. King's Field: The Ancient City

Played: 25ish hours according to the save clock, but since that doesn’t count all the retries between saves, the actual count is probably at least a few hours longer than that, if not in the low 30s.
Used a FAQ at times, though typically I was 90% there anyway, and just not catching some subtle graphics difference. HD has spoiled me.

Thoughts: (spoiled for length)
In part, I picked this up due to liking the way that the Soulsborne games tell their stories. Subtle, highly reliant on lore, and open to interpretation. I remember seeing the PSX King’s Field games around the launch for that system, at least in magazines, but I’d never tried playing ‘em. Between Hardcoregaming101’s writeup, and the praise here, this seemed like a good one to try. Both to see where some of the newer design came from, and maybe to be able to experience that kind of storytelling without the high bar placed on combat prowess of the more recent From Software hits.

Plus, I found a reasonably priced copy on Amazon.

First impressions were…not good. The control scheme seems pretty much held over from pre-Dual Shock days. D-Pad and Left Analog do the same thing, and according to the manual, Right Analog “isn’t used”. This is a lie. While R2/L2 are your “look up/down”, their function is duplicated by Right Analog, albeit in reverse up/down (flight sim style) by default. Happily, reversing R2/L2 functionality served to reverse the up/down of Right Analog too. First puzzle solved!
Having a “Classic Layout’ option for masochists, and a “Use the whole controller” option for everyone else would have been nice…but it did come out 15 years ago, and the whole dual analog thing was kind of new. Still, I have to wonder why they’d just opt to make such poor use of the hardware.
Fixing that didn’t fix the actual movement, which isn’t awesome. As mentioned in “currently playing” update, the rotation speed is what really stays annoying. Standard movement could still be a holdover from the PSX games and/or as mentioned in that thread, done to allow for background loading, but there’s little excuse for the rotation.

On a technical level, the seamlessness and perpetuation of the world is a noteworthy thing about this game. Albeit one that only become apparent over time. The only “please wait” times are when saving/loading. I suspect more than a couple hallways are there to intentionally give some time to load the next area, but still. On top of that, KFIV seems to keep fairly precise track of the state of the entire game world. Many enemies don’t respawn, or have fewer spawns when they do, which seem to have individual timers. What really made me notice the saved world state is seeing gold drops I’d neglected to pick up, in areas that I hadn’t been to in hours.
While those things aren’t necessarily novel today, making a point to do stuff like that back when it was new (and on a HDD-less console) would have stood out.
The flip side is that, relative to other, similar games on the shelf at the time of the U.S. release, such as Morrowind or Metroid Prime, KFIV looks and feels dated. That said, per reputation, the game does utilize the dark, generally sparse environments to decent atmospheric effect.
Personally though, I felt like the majority of the game world was just not that interesting. Quite a lot of it is very same-y, stone rooms and corridors (admittedly, "dungeon crawler" is not exactly a genre I play much). The final third or so of the game opens up a bit more, and is a lot more memorable. Had From Software managed to implement things at that level from the get-go, I suspect the game would have gotten a lot more attention.

Like the controller layout, combat is possibly something that coulda-shoulda have been updated better. Not sure, as I haven’t played the previous games, but it just felt half-baked at best. Even per the manual, the point is to run in, attack, and run outside the range of attacks. Exactly how to time that can vary on the enemy, and the weapon, but it tends to fall apart once multiple enemies are there, or they get too fast, or they start with status effects… it ends up serviceable, but not a reason to play the game, and almost never fun.
Arguably, it’s designed that way to manufacture an experience – which I’m inclined to give games credit for doing, when they do it. Largely, I wouldn’t here, despite that it was likely the intent.
On a basic level, it does create a struggle that favors a careful approach and shifting strategy. At least on occasion. Very early on, I started swapping to the pickaxe to kill poison slimes, for example, because the extra range helped in not getting hit by them. At the time, swapping weapons was also needed to break obstacles as well.
Over time, however, it doesn’t pan out. Swapping gear/spells is cumbersome (in an Ocarina of Time Water Temple way), and the way things level up favors your most used items rather than niche ones. Weapon wear is a moot point for a while, with the frequency you find new ones…and even then only goes to 50/100. By the time I realized that, I had nearly beaten the game - and ultimately did - without repairing or upgrading (via the blacksmith) a single item. Weapons do get significantly weaker, but not to the point that you have to repair them. Makes the presence of the system seem unnecessary.

The handful of fights that forced me to rethink strategy beyond running back and forth or circle strafing, basically came down to shoot/cast from outside the boss’s room, or from around a corner. A minor change in range wouldn’t have helped.
Maybe the point was to allow for different builds, but little seemed to change playstyle all that much. At least for weapons and magic. Accessories were a lot better, with only a relative handful in the game, each with a real use (though, it certainly didn’t do the spell library much good to tie a worthwhile MP pool to wearing a specific bracelet).


As for the reason I checked the game out in the first place…it was okay? Story was mostly generic, and the environments largely failed to reinforce it until later in the game. The in-game Journal gets updated from time to time to make sure pieces are put together, or NPCs get a few more lines to say. Mostly, it’s just a matter of trying all the doors and going through the ones that open. That also serves to make it a fairly linear experience, since so much progression is tied to finding the next key or key-like object. Again, the last third or so of the game does start to shine more, but it just takes a while to get there, and then it ends. :lol:

I suspect I simply had my expectations set too high. It’s not a bad game, and one that certainly does do some interesting things - especially for the time. However, I got the feeling that a little too much was held over from the PSX games instead of going back to the drawing board.
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Exhuminator
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Exhuminator Mon Aug 01, 2016 3:45 pm

I'm always happy to see someone play (or better yet finish) a King's Field.

The Ancient City isn't a game for everybody, admittedly. You didn't really touch on any of the things I loved about it. The incredible immersion, the dark oppressive atmosphere, the spooky sense of isolation, the large variety of monsters, the high level of overall challenge with no hand holding, the numerous secret rooms and items, the awesome OST, the consistently gloomy graphics, the continuous sense of discovery, and plenty of other positives in my book.

It is a long game though, I agree. I beat it without using a walkthrough or strategy guide, and it took me about 34 hours to do so.
PLAY KING'S FIELD.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by ElkinFencer10 Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:09 pm

Exhuminator wrote:Elkin, ya gotta get yer mitts on this shmup:
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Steam-Heart's

Play the PC98 original. The ports were censored.

I'm downloading a PC98 emulator now so I can try it out. Normally I hate emulation, but that's an obscure console (at least in the States) that I'll probably never actually own. At least not for a long, long time.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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laurenhiya21
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by laurenhiya21 Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:16 pm

1/16: Diablo III (PC)
1/19: Picross E (3DS DL)
1/23: Baroque (Wii)
2/5: LocoRoco (PSP)
3/31: Picross e2 (3DS DL)
4/7: Stardew Valley (Steam)
4/8: Voices From the Sea (Steam)
4/10: X-Note (Steam)
4/11: To the Moon (Steam)
4/19: Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland (PS3)
4/19: Aquapazza: Aquaplus Dream Match (PS3)
6/19: Steins;Gate (PS3)
7/11: Yoshi’s Woolly World (Wii U)
7/13: Muramasa Rebirth (Vita)
7/13: Strider 2 (PS1 Classics)
7/16: Planetarian ~The Reverie of a Little Planet~ (Steam)
7/16: Narcissu (Steam)
7/26: Crimzon Clover: World Ignition (GOG)
7/28: LocoRoco 2 (PSP)
7/30: Criminal Girls: Invite Only (Vita)

Total: 20 games

Crimzon Clover
I don't play too many SHMUPs since a lot of them seem a bit on the very difficult side, but for some reason I decided to give this one a shot. While I'm completely terrible at it (no way could I have 1CCd this without a lot of frustration), it's still a lot of fun. It gets pretty hectic at times with all the bullets, explosions, and points everywhere which I really liked, but sometimes that also meant I wouldn't see an enemy and run into it accidentally. Still, it's a game I could see myself going back to and see I could not die as often ha.

LocoRoco 2
Pretty much the same game as the original (tilt the world around the cute LocoRocos to get to the exit), but now you can go underwater and swing on vines. There are also some mini-games I suppose, like a whack-a-mole game and a SHMUP section, but I didn't really think they added much to the game. So really I didn't think there was anything in here that was better than the original, but at least there wasn't much that annoyed me either. Only minor annoyance was throughout the game, you unlock new abilities. This is fine, but two of the abilities you unlock are pretty much the same as another you unlock. Other than that though, I thought it was an alright game.

Criminal Girls
I'm really having trouble with starting to talk about this game. On one hand, it's a turn-based RPG that does something a little different and is a more interesting because of it, but on the other hand there are sections that many very vocal people have complained about being unnecessarily censored and avoid the game like the plague because of it. So I'll start just talking about the game and I'll try and address the censorship a bit afterwards (and hopefully I'll not sound completely silly doing so ha).

You play as a guy who took on a job to help seven high school girls redeem their "sins". In order to redeem themselves, they need to traverse a large tower and pass several tests (which just means beating up a bunch of baddies). The story really doesn't get much more complicated than that. You do learn a little bit about the different girls and about their sins, but even with that they're not particularly deep.

While the story and characters are a little basic, the gameplay is much more interesting. Throughout most of the game, you'll be battling enemies with four girls in turn-based battles. In normal turn-based RPG where you can defeat your enemies with any option you have available, Criminal Girls instead has each of your girls choose a semi-random option that you can choose from. You can only choose one option per turn (although you can also use one item and switch one girl per turn), so you'll need to decide which of the four is the best move to make. Sometimes this means you're at the whims of RNG to get the best move, but I found that even if I didn't get the best move it didn't really make the battle frustrating. Certain moves will always appear in certain situations (like Guard if the enemy is charging an attack), so I think this helped keep the frustration down a bit. This also made the required grinding MUCH better than most RPGs, as some moves will always appear on the first turn if there are more than two enemies, which often would insta-kill everything. Not that there is too much grinding required (other than for the final boss bleh), but it was still really nice.

Between battling monsters, you will also need to "Motivate" your girls to learn new skills. Now the Motivation mini-games are a little troublesome for me to talk about (as they're a little difficult for me to describe ha), but I'll try my best. The point of the mini-games is to get the "temptations" off the girls, which vary from tickling them to using some sort of taser-thing. Of course, because anime, the girls are dressed in various outfits while posing in a sexy way. There's never any nudity, but Motivating the girls is required as many of the skills they learn are extremely useful.

Unfortunately for those who like or don't mind this sort of thing, there is a bit of censorship here. What makes sense to me is where they put some extra fog over the younger-looking girl's crotches. Makes sense to me since I know some there's often legal problems with this sort of thing. What doesn't make sense to me is the added fog on some of the older-looking (and obviously 18+) girl's crotches but not others. I personally don't care that much, but it just seems almost like they randomly choose which girls to add fog to. There's also additional fog that was added to all the girls, but it doesn't really cover anything but the background and more of the tamer images. I really have no clue what the point of that fog was. I really don't. Despite that however, I really don't think it's enough to ruin the game. It's a little odd at times, yeah, but many people have stated they would avoid this game solely because of the censorship which I think is pretty silly.

EDIT: I forgot that the voices from the Motivation segments were also taken out :| Still don't think it ruins it or anything though.

So if you can handle boobs and little censorship, Criminals Girls is a pretty fun RPG. It's not that long either (took me about 36 hours without doing the post-game content), so you wouldn't have to devote an incredibly large amount of time to it either :)
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isiolia
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by isiolia Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:19 pm

Exhuminator wrote:The Ancient City isn't a game for everybody, admittedly. You didn't really touch on any of the things I loved about it. The incredible immersion, the dark oppressive atmosphere, the spooky sense of isolation, the large variety of monsters, the high level of overall challenge with no hand holding, the numerous secret rooms and items, the awesome OST, the consistently gloomy graphics, the continuous sense of discovery, and plenty of other positives in my book.


I think some of that is simply subjective. I didn't find it to be that immersive - could be the poor controls, could be the very simplistic AI/patterns, could just be a difficult prospect for PS2 level graphics now (much as I still think a lot look nice, I can't say I get lost in 'em).

Atmosphere worked at times, but just wasn't consistent. As I mentioned, quite a lot of the game world simply isn't interesting, and a good part of that is low detail level.
Later environments, like the Dark temple (or whatever it was, the ruined dome half underwater), for example, was realized enough to actually stand out, and wasn't betrayed by scale. It actually told a story (and had the stone markers to accentuate it), held a relevant item, and added to the experience despite not actually having many items in it. Reminded me of Ash Lake. Most of the architecture didn't really do that.

I think, for me, the relative lack of optional areas made the sense of exploration and discovery somewhat less. Finding absolutely everything wasn't necessary, but you had to find a lot, so it set the tone for the game in general. When poking around in all the corners, pushing all the walls, etc is how you progress in the first place, it's less of a thrill to find something. It's simply expected.
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:50 pm

Oh, well...We don't all have to like the same things. (I loved King's Field IV, but I understand why someone would not feel the same way.)

Speaking of immersive FPS games, have either of you played Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth or Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay? They didn't encourage exploration the same way as King's Field, but I enjoyed both of them immensely.
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Stark Mon Aug 01, 2016 6:24 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote:Speaking of immersive FPS games, have either of you played Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth or Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay? They didn't encourage exploration the same way as King's Field, but I enjoyed both of them immensely.

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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by ElkinFencer10 Mon Aug 01, 2016 6:52 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote:Speaking of immersive FPS games, have either of you played Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth or Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay? They didn't encourage exploration the same way as King's Field, but I enjoyed both of them immensely.

I haven't played it yet, but Call of Cthulhu is on my "games to play soon" list.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by alienjesus Mon Aug 01, 2016 6:58 pm

1. Ys Book II: Ancient Ys Vanished - The Final Chapter PSN Vita
2. 3D Streets of Rage 2 3DS eShop
3. 3D Gunstar Heroes 3DS eShop
4. 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 3DS eShop
5. 3D OutRun 3DS eShop
6. Mugen Senshi Valis II: The Fantasm Soldier PCE CD
7. Mugen Senshi Valis III: The Fantasm Soldier PCE CD
8. Bomberman PCE CD
9. Rocket Knight Adventures Mega Drive
10. Trax Game Boy
11. Panic Bomber Virtual Boy
12. Arcana Heart 3: Love MAX!!!!! Vita
13. Super Monkey Ball Gamecube
14. Lost Kingdoms Gamecube
15. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle Gamecube
16. 1080° Avalanche Gamecube
17. Bubble Ghost Game Boy
18. Catrap Game Boy
19. 3D Thunder Blade 3DS eShop
20. 3D AfterBurner II 3DS eShop
21. 3D Fantasy Zone II W: The Tears of Opa-Opa 3DS eShop
22. Ikaruga Gamecube
23. Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & The Monster Seal Vita
24. New Adventure Island PCE
25. WarioWare Twisted! GBA
26. Dragon Warrior NES
27. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D 3DS eShop
28. Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors DS
29. Gargoyle's Quest Game Boy
30. Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee PS1
31. Puyo Puyo CD PCE CD
32. Retro City Rampage DX 3DS eShop
33. Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition 3DS eShop
34. Super Puyo Puyo Tsuu Remix SFC
35. Super Aleste SNES
36. Sega Rally Championship Saturn
37. Knuckles' Chaotix 32X
38. Mystic Quest Game Boy[/b]
39. Nano Assault EX
40. BOXBOY!
41. Gunman Clive

Quick updates for these three, before I sit down and type out an much bigger post for another couple games I beat tomorrow:

Nano Assault EX
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Another humble bundle game. In this one you fly around on the surface of some body cells shooting viruses in your tiny nanobot spaceship. The game is a twin stick shooter on Mario Galaxy style 3D environments. You can shoot with the face buttons (which I preferred) or with the 2nd stick on a New 3DS, which I found inaccurate. The game also features levels where you fly into the screen StarFox style. These didn't control so well - aiming with the right stick never felt natural, and your ship moved very slowly and stiffly - it felt a little too much like Thunder Blade and not enough like StarFox for my liking.

Nano Assault was fine - there are 60 levels and it doesn't outstay it's welcome too much. It just never feels special - I didn't regret my time playing it, but I remember very little about it - it's fairly forgettable. The best word to describe the game is 'servicable' - I've not been too impressed by the Humble Bundle offering so far!



Gunman Clive
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I've heard a lot of people talk up this one, and I guess it's OK? It plays like Mega Man if Mega Man was really floaty and imprecise feeling. It's a good time, but it's over too quickly at about 20 minutes for a run through on normal mode. There are unlockable characters to play as, and the 20 minutes are an enjoyable romp especially for the game's low price, but this is yet another popular indie game where I just don't have the love everyone else does. Graphically I think it's interesting, but ultimately kinda dull and generic looking, and the music I forgot as soon as I heard it. Gunman Clive is good enough, but it's not truly great.



BOXBOY!
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So after a bunch of enjoyable enough but underwhelming indie titles, I wasn't expecting a lot going into this. But as it turns out, this game is a blast. You play as a Boxboy (or BOXBOY! I guess) who has the power to jump a little and create boxes. By creating chains of boxes you can create platforms and towers, use them to create a hook to latch onto ledges, create shields or snake through gaps - there's a lot of ways to use your power, and the levels constantly introduce new mechanics to show it off.

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Boxboy is a fairly easy game overall, although some of the bonus collectables in game can take some clever maneuvering to figure out. The game has a fun and charming style with a very clean and simple aesthetic made of solid black lines and white backgrounds. The music is eclectic and bouncy whilst being very minimal. The story is also presented with minimal animations and has a sense of mystery about it, even if it has very little presence in the experience.

BOXBOY! is a fantastic experience that everyone should pick up. I'm very much looking forward to playing the sequel BOXBOXBOY! sometime soon.
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Re: Games Beaten 2016

by Ack Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:05 pm

ElkinFencer10 wrote:
prfsnl_gmr wrote:Speaking of immersive FPS games, have either of you played Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth or Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay? They didn't encourage exploration the same way as King's Field, but I enjoyed both of them immensely.

I haven't played it yet, but Call of Cthulhu is on my "games to play soon" list.

Move it up. It's seriously wonderful.
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