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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:19 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:I don't really like the "one million checkpoints, one million deaths" style seen in so many modern platformers. Still, the idea of placing your own seems intriguing.


I actually really like them. To me, they’re almost more like puzzle games than old-fashioned platformers, and I delight in successfully completing some of their most grueling challenges. Kuso’s actually a really good starting point for anyone interested in the die-and-retry games like this, and I wish I’d played it before games like 1001 Spikes and Electronic Super Joy.
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fuctfuct
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by fuctfuct Wed Jun 24, 2020 3:19 pm

I beat Ori and the Will of the Wisps just now... fantastic game :)
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Flake
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Flake Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:58 am

January through May:
January
Shovel Knight: King of Cards (Switch)
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (Switch)
Super Metroid (Switch)

February
Megaman X (Switch)
Nekketsu Highschool Dodgeball Club (Switch)
Super Dodgeball (Switch)

March

Garou: Mark of the Wolves (SNK Pro Stick)
Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch)

April

Batman The Telltale Series (Switch)
Street Fighter Alpha 2 (Switch)
SNK Gals' Fighter (Switch)

May

King of Fighters 97: Global Match (PS4)
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)


June
Megaman X3 (Switch)
Megaman X4 (Switch)
King of Fighters 98: Ultimate Match (PS4)
King of Fighters 99 (Switch)
Injustice 2 (PS4)


My attention span has clearly not improved as June continues.

Most of what I know about King of Fighters comes from the games 94 through 98 - because of the (excellent) Orochi Saga collection that was released on the Wii back in the day. So I was pretty excited to get the arcade version of King of Fighters '99 from the Hamster NeoGeo releases on Switch. It really didn't wow me that much.

There are some welcome changes to the formula. The 'Striker' mechanic is really neat and completely getting rid of the two main characters from the last 'story' game, KoF '97 was super bold. There are a few hidden fighters (like those main characters I mentioned) which is a hallmark of arcade gaming from that era that I fondly remember.

But the growing pains get in the way. KoF 98 is remembered as one of the best fighting games of its time but in a lot of ways, KoF 98 was just a copy/paste of the previous 4 games. KoF 99 reinvents a lot of the gameplay but the ideas feel clunky and disconnected. Characters meant to replace others are a little too similar in their movesets and 'feel' without being as effective. It just doesn't feel as exciting as it should be. And whereas KoF had growing pains in 94 and 96, the artwork and music were there to make up for it. KoF 99 doesn't really blow me away with anything. Character themes almost never come up during arcade play and I cannot remember any of the stages off the top of my head. Then the final boss just feels anti-climatic compared to the villains from the previous games.

I don't expect KoF 99 to ever make an EVO appearance, NGL.

Injustice 2 is such a fun, fun game. I've actually been playing it off and on for nearly a year now but I finally bothered to re-beat the story mode last night. I am a huge fan of DC comics and the Injustice storyline is one of my favorite alternate-reality stories in decades. The characters are still very recognizable despite many having motivations and personalities skewed to the point where classic heroes are absolute villains. In my opinion, that's a bold AF decision for the developer and the license holder to have made since video games based on comic books almost always try to depict the most inoffensive, homogenized version of a character.

Injustice 2 also has a super addictive lootbox mechanism that never crosses over into the annoying or greedy. There's no real 'pay to win' and you're constantly getting new stuff to compare and equip. Having the gear change the way that characters look is a ton of fun and the developer really put some work into capturing different 'looks' that heroes have had over the years. The 'Bat Family' characters in particular have diverse appearances that make me keep grinding the game to get more gear.

It's a great game and I have a lot of fun with it - I just wish I was any good!
The PSTV is amazing.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:31 pm

1. Elite Dangerous - PC
2. Soldier of Fortune - PC
3. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Defender of the Empire - PC
4. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Enemies of the Empire - PC
5. Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter: Balance of Power - PC
6. Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance - PC
7. Phoenix Point - PC
8. Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter - PC
9. Descent II - PC
10. Inbento - Switch
11. Ori and the Will of the Wisps - XB1
12. Doom Eternal - PC
13. Serious Sam 2 - PC
14. Black Mesa - PC
15. Descent 3 - PC
16. Darksiders II - PC
17. Resident Evil 3 (2020) - PC
18. Overload - PC
19. Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS4
20. Trials of Mana (2020) - Switch
21. Persona 5 Royal - PS4
22. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered - PC
23. Sublevel Zero Redux - PC
24. Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age - PS4
25. Maneater - PC
26. XCOM: Chimera Squad - PC
27. Sakura Wars - PS4
28. Stela - Switch
29. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 - DC
30. Darksiders III - PC
31. Shadow Warrior (2013) - PC
32. Robotrek - SNES
33. Shadow Warrior 2 - PC
34. EVO: The Search for Eden - SNES
35. Blast Corps - N64
36. Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations - PC
37. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Counterstrike - PC
38. The Last of Us Part 2 - PS4

I was first made really aware of The Last of Us through the E3 trailer for TLOU2; I had initially ignored the game assuming it was just yet another zombie game (as was the rage at the time). But the trailer focused on the interactions with the human characters and I figured there was something more interesting here. I picked up the first game and really enjoyed it; the zombies are never the focus, rather they were the disaster that set the stage for the journey and the characters. The game had an impactful ending, and I was eagerly awaiting the second game. And it did not disappoint.

The Last of Us Part 2 is a game about revenge, with a sub-narrative about how humans are bastards. It is not an upbeat game by any stretch of the imagination; while the first game had an undercurrent of hope this game revels in the darkness of Man. It's something that can certainly lead to fatigue; while I am of the opinion that this is exactly what would happen if society collapsed even I was longing for the bits of lightness that existed in between the heavy. I can see this game being very polarizing for people based on their personal outlooks.

Mechanically nothing substantial has changed from the first game. It's still very resource constrained with a lot of crafting, and you can upgrade yourself and your weapons over time by finding dedicated resources for each. You don't have nearly enough to upgrade everything, so you'll need to decide what to focus on. You deal with both zombies and humans in roughly equal amounts, with each type of enemy requiring a different approach. Stealth is much more viable in this game; you have multiple silent weapons (or craftable temporary modifications) and the environments are more set up to allow you to stealth around. This is obviously important due to the resource limitations, but it also allows you to get through encounters without always having to kill everything, unlike the first game. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's hard, and sometimes you DO have to kill everything. But it's a bit more of a balance and by allowing the player to mostly dictate the nature of the engagements it makes up for the mediocre gunplay that carries over from the first game.

The game is mostly set in Seattle, and it was fun to play the game of "what do they get wrong while getting things right?" What's funny is they get a lot of details right, which makes what they get wrong stick out all the more. Heck, your entrance to Seattle deposits you right next to my old apartment, and apparently in the 20 years since the zombie outbreak the entirety of First Hill was regraded into something mostly flat. None of it detracts, per say, but it did make me chuckle every time I would notice something obviously wrong.

The game does a lot more character building than the first game did, which is impressive. You really are on a journey with these characters, and you will feel for their struggles. And you will have opinions on their choices, and even if you don't agree with them you can see how they make them. The nature of the story also means your human enemies have their sympathetic points; no cheap "here's the bandit crew that skins their victims and wears them as clothing" enemies here.

The game is about a third again as long as the first one, and it's just slightly pushing it in terms of length. They could potentially have trimmed some of the traversal between major story parts without loss of any of what they were trying to accomplish in terms of character and story. But it's ok overall; the devs are still firmly keeping this as a game vs. a walking simulator.

All in all, TLOU2 is a very worthy follow up to the original, but I will caution that it is even heavier in its themes. It's sort of like watching Schindler's List, in a way. So it's up to you to decide if that's something you're prepared to go through.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by dust_hound Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:15 pm

24th June 2020: Armored Core 3 Portable (PSP, played on PS Vita)
So I went through this one having bounced off it years ago - my interest was rekindled by playing AC Silent Line Portable a few days before. I finished that one having spent time getting used to the controls, and exploring the different loadouts and builds for my mech, ultimately having a decent time. AC3p is chronologically set just before ACSLp, and was the earlier game to be released so I was going backwards. It's a good mecha sim, with complicated stats to try to optimise, and different viable builds for each mission (which usually involve destroying all opposition, and often have a sudden "surprise, you thought you'd finished the mission, but here's a strong AI opponent to face off against"). I had a decent time with it - not sure if I was burned out on mecha, but I felt that ACSLp was a more fun experience. It was shorter overall, though, so maybe my preference for brief games came to the fore. I'd definitely recommend both games to those PSP or Vita gamers who are into mecha, though. Enjoyable games overall.

25th June 2020: Crisis Beat (PSX, played on PS Vita)
Hmm, this game is a strange one - a 3d beat 'em up, which is very reminiscent of Die Hard Arcade/Dynamite Deka but lacks the same urgency and fast action of that game. Crisis Beat's combat is really slow, which doesn't really lend itself to this type of game - I got bored several times whilst waiting for opponents, or looking to find enemies that were lurking off-screen. It has a fairly nonsensical plot about rogue military terrorists taking over a ship, leading to four plucky escapees having to solve the mess and save the day. Luckily, one is a cop, another is a wrestler, there's a secret agent, and also a martial arts expert kid with a broom. All the setup is there which should have ensured a great no-frills, all-thrills ride, but the game engine lets it down big-time. Even though I was playing the European version with the usual PAL slowness, I can't imagine it playing much more excitingly for the original Japanese version. This was a one-and-done game for me.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:01 am

1. Elite Dangerous - PC
2. Soldier of Fortune - PC
3. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Defender of the Empire - PC
4. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Enemies of the Empire - PC
5. Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter: Balance of Power - PC
6. Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance - PC
7. Phoenix Point - PC
8. Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter - PC
9. Descent II - PC
10. Inbento - Switch
11. Ori and the Will of the Wisps - XB1
12. Doom Eternal - PC
13. Serious Sam 2 - PC
14. Black Mesa - PC
15. Descent 3 - PC
16. Darksiders II - PC
17. Resident Evil 3 (2020) - PC
18. Overload - PC
19. Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS4
20. Trials of Mana (2020) - Switch
21. Persona 5 Royal - PS4
22. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered - PC
23. Sublevel Zero Redux - PC
24. Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age - PS4
25. Maneater - PC
26. XCOM: Chimera Squad - PC
27. Sakura Wars - PS4
28. Stela - Switch
29. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 - DC
30. Darksiders III - PC
31. Shadow Warrior (2013) - PC
32. Robotrek - SNES
33. Shadow Warrior 2 - PC
34. EVO: The Search for Eden - SNES
35. Blast Corps - N64
36. Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations - PC
37. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Counterstrike - PC
38. The Last of Us Part 2 - PS4
39. Exodemon - PC

Exodemon is a throwback FPS that has some neat ideas but also some flaws in execution, leading to an overall average rating. You can tell it's an amateur effort, but it's an earnest amateur effort, and it gets some points for creativity. It does have some amusing bugs, though, as well as what feels like a missing final fight. But it's not without its merits.

The game has a pretty bare bones story; it's all conveyed in a quick blurb by the protagonist in front of every level. Apparently you were a worker at a research laboratory and one of the subjects, the titular Exodemon bonded with you. You then go through 18 levels of shooting security bots or something; it's not really clear. Slowly your mind merges with the Exodemon and eventually you want revenge or something? The game ends with you taking a ship offworld. Obviously nothing to write home about.

In terms of gameplay it is fast paced; the longest levels are 15 minutes and you have a good move speed; slightly slower than the first AvP game on PC. You have six weapons plus your melee. The melee is well integrated into the game; your left hand is always available for melee (as well as showing your health on the back of the hand) and your melee attack is of middle strength. The melee attack also increases the chances of enemies dropping ammo/health, and since ammo is always tight doing a combo of a few shots followed by a melee finisher will be your bread and butter. The rest of the weapons are used by your right hand; they're various beams that act as standard FPS weapons. You have a pistol, shotgun, railgun, grenade launcher, machine gun, and a chargeable gun. The pistol quickly falls off in usefulness thanks to the game's recoil cone; it increases very rapidly and decreases very slowly. Similarly, the chargeable gun never feels like it does enough damage for the time spent on it. You'll find the shotgun and railgun are your go to weapons, with the grenade launcher being occasionally useful and the machine gun being a good backup when your ammo is low.

The game does an interesting thing with your health; instead of having some numerical total that different enemies reduce by different amounts you instead start with 5 and can gain up to 11 health, and every hit removes one health point. This ends up doing interesting things to the game balance; anything rapid is much more deadly no matter how weak it might be in another game. For example, the small hopping guys that die when you breath on them can quickly take you down because they will get ins several fast hits, while larger enemies hurt you much more slowly; their threat comes from the amount of ammo they require to take down. It's an interesting experiment, though it ends up demonstrating why you want traditional health; it gives you more fine tuning for balance.

The game is quite short; it took me three hours to get through on a blind playthrough. It has good level variety; a mixture of claustrophobic corridors and large outdoor areas, with the overall terrain changing every few levels to keep things fresh. The difficulty curve is mostly good, aside from the third through fifth level; this is the point of the game where enemies get tougher but you still are using the pistol, so things kind of suck for that portion. Once you get better guns it's smooth sailing.

Overall it's a decidedly OK game. If you can snag it for $5 and you enjoy fast paced FPS action I can recommend it, but I wouldn't spend more than that.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:57 am

First 30
1. Her Story (iOS)
2. Elminage Original (3DS)
3. Legend of Grimrock (iOS)
4. Silent Bomber (PS1)
5. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)
6. Bust-a-Move 2 Arcade Edition (PS1)
7. Transformers Cybertron Adventures (Wii)
8. Squidlit (Switch)
9. Sydney Hunter & The Curse of the Mayan (Switch)
10. Mega Man Legends (PS1)
11. Revenge of the Bird King (Switch)
12. Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King (Switch)
13. Gato Roboto (Switch)
14. Kamiko (Switch)
15. Night Slashers (Arcade)
16. Subsurface Circular (Switch)
17. Iconoclasts (Switch)
18. Wonder Boy Returns Remix (Switch)
19. Resident Evil 3 (PS1)
20. The Messenger (Switch)
21. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (Switch)
22. Samsara Room (iOS)
23. Heroes of the Monkey Tavern (Switch)
24. Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch)
25. Gris (Switch)
26. Donut County (iOS)
27. Donkey Kong Country 2 (SNES)
28. Donkey Kong Country 3 (SNES)
29. Contra (Arcade)

30. Super Contra (Arcade)
31. Minesweeper Genius (Switch)
32. Kuso (Switch)
33. 20XX (Switch)

20XX is an action-platformer roguelike with gameplay inspired by Mega Man X that rules so, so hard. The gameplay is just fantastic. It plays like a dream, and it is easily the best “Mega Man X” game in decades. While I’m not a huge fan of roguelikes, the game has such a satisfying gameplay loop that rewards repeated playthroughs, even if you have to restart every time you die, and you are constantly unlocking new permanent and temporary upgrades that, in addition to your experience with the game, make it progressively easier. The game also has relatively varied level sets, with four sets shared by the games eight “robot masters” and two sets shared by the game’s equivalent of Wily’s Castle. As it should, the levels and bosses get progressively harder as you progress through the game. (This means that if, on one run, you fight a boss first, it will be much easier than if, on a different run, you fight the boss last. This means that picking your levels in the “right” order is key to a successful run.) The difficulty spikes when you reach the last two levels, and the final boss is a beast. A run takes about an hour, and you’ll be playing the first eight levels a lot until you really learn how to play and, more importantly, how to use the bosses’ weapons. (More than any other Mega Man game, this game requires you to use the robot masters’ weapons for something other than just fighting other bosses. In fact, the bosses are all pretty easy to beat with your standard weapon, and you REALLY need the bosses’ weapons to survive the games most difficult platforming segments.) There are two playable characters at the outset, one who plays like X and another who plays like Zero. Beating the game, unlocks two more playable characters, and there are three difficulty settings. (I beat the game with a single life on “normal” difficulty, but there’s an “easy” difficulty that allows you three lives and a “hard” difficulty that’s just insane.) Accordingly, the game has plenty of replay value even after you’ve cleared it. Finally, game sounds great, with really catchy music. My only complaint is that the graphics are a bit questionable, but it looks like this issue has been addressed in the upcoming sequel 30XX, which looks great and is now one of my most anticipated upcoming releases. If you’re a fan of the Mega Man X games, you really owe it to yourself to play this game, and I really can’t recommend it highly enough.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:04 pm

1. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)(Adventure)
2. Final Fight [Japanese Version] (Switch)(Beat 'Em Up)
3. Ziggurat (PC)(FPS)
4. Magrunner: Dark Pulse (PC)(FPS)
5. The King of Dragons [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)

6. Captain Commando [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
7. Knights of the Round [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
8. The Witcher (PC)(RPG)

9. Tenchi wo Kurau II (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
10. Dark Sun: Shattered Lands (PC)(RPG)

11. Lichdom: Battlemage (PC)(FPS/RPG Hybrid)
12. Star Wars: Republic Commando (PC)(FPS)

13. DOOM 64 (PC)(FPS)
14. Half Dead 2 (PC)(Adventure)

15. Powered Gear - Strategic Variant Armor Equipment (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
16. Torchlight II (PC)(RPG)

17. Battle Circuit [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
18. Hard Reset Redux (PC)(FPS)

19. The Stanley Parable (PC)(Walking Sim)
20. Waking Mars (PC)(Adventure)
21. Requiem: Avenging Angel (PC)(FPS)

22. Night Slashers (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
23. Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD (PC)(Action Adventure)

24. Strikers 1945 (Arcade)(SHMUP)
25. SiN Episodes: Emergence (PC)(FPS)
26. Crysis Warhead (PC)(FPS)

27. Metro 2033 (PC)(FPS)
28. Good Job! (Switch)(Puzzle)
29. Blasphemous (Switch)(Action Adventure)

30. Two Worlds: Epic Edition (PC)(RPG)
31. Chex Quest HD (PC)(FPS)

32. NecroVision: Lost Company (PC)(FPS)
33. Icewind Dale (PC)(RPG)

34. Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter (PC)(RPG)
35. Icewind Dale: Trials of the Luremaster (PC)(RPG)

36. Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession (PC)(RPG)
37. Singularity (PC)(FPS)
38. The Witcher 2 (PC)(RPG)

It's interesting how this series has changed and evolved towards the open-ended. Yes, Witcher 2 is still limited in its approach to this, but it builds upon what the first game wanted and serves as the bridge to the openness of the third. Much of what it changes, it changes for the better. Is it perfect? God no. But it's incredible in its own right all the same, and it's a step up in the right direction.

The game begins some time after the first leaves off, with Geralt's memory still largely missing and now in prison. He recounts the events that led him to be there, which is his framing for the assassination of King Foltest. Geralt then manages to escape prison so he can attempt to pursue the real assassin, who happens to be another Witcher. Old friends return (though not all), and eventually Geralt is forced to make decisions on who he'll side with as kings, sorceresses, and a virgin general engage in political intrigue and attempt to scheme and play each other with some nasty consequences. All this, while you also hunt a kingslayer. What more could you want?

How about larger, more open areas that the original game only hinted at? How about much deeper combat, including throwing knives and bombs, parrying and riposting, using magic Signs and traps, and the return of handy tools to help you become better at monster slaying? Combat has gotten a complete overhaul from the first game, and it's considerably more difficult in that you're no longer setting yourself up to fight in Group Mode and must actually strategize against opponents and use your levels to build out how you want to fight. I never learned to throw knives, for instance; I didn't need to, because once I got the flow of combat, I was fine just relying on my swords instead. However, the level cap is only 35, so you won't get anywhere near the points required to max our Geralt's skills, so build to what suits you. I barely touched the Alchemy and Signs trees and instead always favored straight combat and toughness skills. Do take some time to get the hang of combat too, because otherwise you're gonna get your ass kicked a lot.

The minigames have also gotten an overhaul. Bare knuckle fighting was how I made it through Witcher 1 and funded my need for gear and ingredients, but here the combat has been replaced with quick-time events that can be done a single time per opponent for a relatively simple quest. Since the QT events also correspond buttons to their general locations for the fights, I just zoned out and easily got through it. Dice poker returns, and it's even worse than before, as now you can toss dice out of the playing field and lose them for the rest of the match. I loathe that game. As for what's new, arm wrestling was added in, and it mainly consists of moving the mouse left or right as necessary; I got the hang of it and became the champion in no time. I'll happily take free experience.

There are a couple of issues I did have with the game. The first is that things aren't explained well, so even having played the first game and going through the information screens, I still wasn't always sure what kingdom was being talked about where and with who. I haven't read the books, and eventually I picked up some specific things, but if you had asked me at the end of the game to point out certain kingdoms on a map, I couldn't have. I've moved into the third game, and it's tackled that situation a lot better...but then there seems to be a lot of continued improvement in the series, which I appreciate. You know what? I'll chalk it up to Geralt's amnesia.

Another issue I had with the game was how buggy it could be, specifically regarding doors. For some reason, I constantly got stuck trying to open a door with Geralt entering a walking animation and never actually reaching his destination. Every time this happened, reloading was the only way to resolve the issue, and it happened consistently throughout the game. I eventually just saved every couple of minutes and continually made sure to delete no longer necessary saves too, as this game loves to clutter things with them.

As I said earlier, the game isn't perfect; it suffers a few issues of its own, but it's also the second title in a trilogy, so it's best to play the first to understand what is happening in the second, and then the third to see how much better it gets. Also, certain decisions made in the first game do impact things in the second, but the biggest choice, the romantic decision, surprisingly means little because one of those characters was effectively written out of the games after that, not reappearing until an expansion for the third. This trend continues from the second game to the third too, with some of my new favorites not appearing or even being mentioned in Witcher 3. Poor Iorveth, stuck in the Two Towers equivalent of the Witcher game trilogy.

I have since moved on to the third game in the trilogy, and it's interesting what matters and what great things I did that don't. By the time Witcher 3 comes about, six months have passed in the storyline, and the world has changed incredibly from what I had held as important. Much of the work I had done in Witcher 2 is now undone by kings and empires...but I'm still glad I did it. Witcher 3 has continued the improvements of the second, and while I'm not done with it, I'm adding this last paragraph to say that I now adore this series and have greatly enjoyed playing these games and seeing how the series has evolved.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:40 pm

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

1. Invisigun Reloaded (Switch)
2. Human: Fall Flat (Switch)
3. Shantae: The Pirate's Curse (3DS)
4. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (PC)
5. Splatterhouse (PS3) *
6. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
7. Tokyo Jungle (PS3)
8. Pictobits (DSiWare)
9. Puzzle Quest: The Legend Reborn (Switch)
10. WarioWare Gold (3DS)
11. Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)
12. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
13. Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point (Xbone)
14. Sleeping Dogs: Year of the Snake (Xbone)
15. Dynamite Headdy (Genesis) *
16. Shovel Knight: King of Cards (3DS)
17. Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (3DS) *
18. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Switch) *
19. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Switch) *
20. Shovel Knight: Showdown (Switch)
21. Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4)
22. ActRaiser (SNES)
23. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)
24. Mega Man X (SNES)
25. Breath of Fire II (SNES)
26. Ape Escape 2 (PS2) *
27. Doubutsu No Mori+ (GC)
28. Ape Escape (PS1)
29. Ape Escape 3 (PS2) *
30. Maken X (DC)
31. Cubivore (GC)
32. Wario World (GC) *
33. Hatoful Boyfriend (PC)

34. Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (SFC)

I played through this for this month's TR, as it was one of the only retro SRPGs I own. SRPG is a genre I've enjoyed in the past but am not a massive fan of. Even Fire Emblem is a series I'm not a super huge fan of, despite having beaten half a dozen of them over the years. I have this game on my Super Famicom Mini, and I honestly really didn't expect to finish it. I ended up using save states and rewinds a fair bit, and ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. They were a great way to make the game's difficulty far more appealing to me, and more like the puzzle-ish design of Advance Wars where losing a unit feels a lot less dire (and it also thankfully lowered the time commitment for me significantly). That said, it still took me over 43.5 hours to beat the Japanese version of the game, and that's just the end time on the SFC Mini and ignores all my restarts XP.

Mystery of the Emblem is actually two games jammed into one. The first is a remake of the original Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, but with some new mechanics tossed in (mostly re-balancing leveling, as far as I can tell) that help make it easier and less dependent on RNG like the original was. The other changes to it are to make it fit mechanically alongside the second game on the cart, which is actually FE: Mystery of the Emblem, a direct sequel to Shadow Dragon with much of the same cast. The stories are nothing to write home about, especially in the first game, but it's serviceable in both cases. Mystery of the Emblem is a really jarring thing to go to after Shadow Dragon, given that there is just so little text at all in the first game and SO much more in the second, even if it mostly amounts to larger exposition dumps at the starts and ends of chapters. They're quite sad stories compared to later FE games, with far less happy endings beyond the few most central characters. Even most of the end-game resolution text for characters who live (especially in Shadow Dragon) amount to "they disappeared" or had a not so great life after the war. I did enjoy the story that was there, especially in Mystery of the Emblem, but it's hardly a main selling point of the game or anything.

Being that it's SUCH an early entry in the series, and this is also the only pre-GBA Fire Emblem game I've ever played, I expected it to be quite different and my goodness is it. No weapon triangle, no supports of any kind, and the ability to dismount and mount up your mounted units to name some of the biggest differences to later games (a lot of that being innovations introduced in FE4, after all). The mounting/dismounting thing is easily the most annoying mechanic, and mostly seems to be an arbitrary way to hamstring your movement on some levels, and it's something that wouldn't be so annoying if it didn't make mounted units SO much worse (not to mention it's really annoying since you need to swap out their lances for swords whenever you do it).

Beyond that there are just lots of weird design decisions or lacking quality of life features, like there being no way to check threat ranges of you or your enemies (which REALLY sucks in a game with so many long-range casters and ballista to worry about) as well as you needing to do all the math yourself for how much damage you're gonna do across menus on two different screens (and the same goes for hit chance, quite often). At least if there IS a threat-range checker (or even a range-stat-checker) feature, I could never find where it was. Most of my resets and rewinds were down to frustrations with "oh, I didn't know how far this could hit me, so I moved forward and now I'm dead." Then other weird things like some characters like Marth and the entire fighter class (that being anyone who uses an axe, of which you get 3 in Shadow Dragon, one of whom was one of my best characters in that game) simply having no promotion items at all. Thankfully for the latter aspect, Mystery of the Emblem remedies this by simply never giving you any axe-users. and the absence of any weapon triangle makes it fairly inconsequential on an overall mechanical level.

The map designs and such are good fun, and the music and graphics are excellent and hold up great. I usually end up turning off the battle animations in FE, but I never did in this game. Part of that may have been down to me playing so much of the game streamed to my friends over Discord so I could have the anticipation of getting a hit or a miss, but part of it was also just how pretty and nice the animations are~. There are never any missions that aren't "capture the throne", but there are a lot of neat setups for missions that make them have more interesting aspects around that (like a mission where most of the enemy soldiers don't actually fight you, and if you don't pick them off for easy XP, you get more recruitable characters out of it). There are some problems with the game actually giving you the information on how to recruit many characters, especially in Shadow Dragon (you basically need to guess a TON who is actually related to whom so they could talk to and recruit them), but MotE has a lot less of that. Either way, especially if you don't wanna miss the extra final levels in MotE, playing this game with a simple recruitment/item guide to make sure you don't miss people is something I did and I would also recommend doing to help alleviate any stress over missing recruits.

Verdict: Recommended. I think it's age has not been super kind to it, but that's also because of what a definitive game it is. The mechanics and design philosophies laid down in FE3 and then FE4 helped establish the future of the franchise in a big way, and even though it's lacking in a lot of QoL features, these early games still play in a very familiar way as a result. There will likely be some frustrations and resets in both parts of the game, but if you're into SRPGs and want something that isn't too brutally hard, this is yet another game from Nintendo's 16-bit catalog whose main failings come from how well Nintendo and others have innovated on it since.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:41 pm

1. Elite Dangerous - PC
2. Soldier of Fortune - PC
3. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Defender of the Empire - PC
4. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Enemies of the Empire - PC
5. Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter: Balance of Power - PC
6. Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance - PC
7. Phoenix Point - PC
8. Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter - PC
9. Descent II - PC
10. Inbento - Switch
11. Ori and the Will of the Wisps - XB1
12. Doom Eternal - PC
13. Serious Sam 2 - PC
14. Black Mesa - PC
15. Descent 3 - PC
16. Darksiders II - PC
17. Resident Evil 3 (2020) - PC
18. Overload - PC
19. Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS4
20. Trials of Mana (2020) - Switch
21. Persona 5 Royal - PS4
22. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered - PC
23. Sublevel Zero Redux - PC
24. Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age - PS4
25. Maneater - PC
26. XCOM: Chimera Squad - PC
27. Sakura Wars - PS4
28. Stela - Switch
29. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 - DC
30. Darksiders III - PC
31. Shadow Warrior (2013) - PC
32. Robotrek - SNES
33. Shadow Warrior 2 - PC
34. EVO: The Search for Eden - SNES
35. Blast Corps - N64
36. Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations - PC
37. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Counterstrike - PC
38. The Last of Us Part 2 - PS4
39. Exodemon - PC
40. Halo: Reach - PC

I first played Halo when the PC version was released way back when. A combination of some bugginess and some design decisions meant I never bothered to beat it and shelved it (the fact it was warez meant I didn't mind just pitching it). Now that Microsoft put out the Master Chief collection on PC I figured I'd give the series a real try. And I'm not sure I'm happy with what I signed up for.

Halo: Reach is the fifth game released but the first game chronologically. It sets up the backstory of how the first Halo starts. You are one of the Spartan super soldiers on Reach who discovers the alient Covenant invading and get caught up in the conflict. While you have some early victories it is clear that they are pulling out all the stops to get SOMETHING that is on Reach, and the end of the game has you delivering that thing to the Pillar of Autumn: the AI Cortana. Then you finish off your doomed quest by dying in a post-game mission.

Now, since it's the fifth game released it's on the Halo 3 engine, but it mimics the capabilities of the first Halo. Based on the control configuration Halo 2 adds dual wielding and secondary fire; both of those are absent in Reach. I'm hoping that these deliberate "be like Halo 1" things indicate that Halo 2 makes some needed changes, because while I know Halo 1 is going to play similar I hope things get better in 2.

My biggest complaint is the gunplay. All the guns feel like ass, except the ones that launch explosives. There's no real sense that you're hitting things and everything has WAY too much health. I'm talking emptying a full clip into an enemy face (and I'm at point blank, so I know I'm hitting the face) AFTER their personal shields are down and they still aren't dying. Sure, that happens to be an obvious "tough" version of a regular enemy, but it's still incredibly out of whack. And I wasn't even playing on a hard difficulty. You end up having to do a fair amount of meleeing to be able to take out enemies in a reasonable amount of time, but that is fraught with peril both because enemies are shooting you but also because they have the same heavily damaging melee you do.

The other thing that stuck out at me was the surprising number of enemy attacks that instant kill you at full health and shields. Now, they are all avoidable, but many times in a firefight you won't necessarily be able to keep track of that. It's a major feel bad when an enemy you didn't see instantly deletes you. And this ends up combining with the previous "enemies have too much health and your hit feedback is shit" issue; you might think you took out a high danger enemy only to have them backstab you because it turns out they were just in a hitstun. It's frankly garbage balance, and as I recall Halo 1 had the same issue. Which makes me wonder how it got to be so well regarded.

In terms of storytelling they also kind of drop the ball a bit. The game gives essentially no background as to what is going on, just a lot of "we know this is the fifth Halo game you've played so we'll just tell the bare minimum". And most of the dialog is passed through a "low quality radio" filter without subtitles which makes you miss half of the story critical dialog. Like, this part was a gimme guys and you failed at it.

Now, I'm being quite negative, but I can't call it an objectively bad game. And I'm willing to believe that things get fixed come Halo 2, but I'm expecting my playthrough of Halo 1 to be full of the same complaints. It's a bad sign when Goldeneye's gunplay feels better than what this game delivers.
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