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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:39 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
41. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - PC
42. Halo 2: Anniversary - PC
43. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS3
44. Halo 3 - PC
45. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4
46. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Aftermath - PC
47. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 - Switch
48. Carrion - Switch
49. Ninja Gaiden - NES

As a kid I had Ninja Gaiden II, and while it was hard as balls it was also a lot of fun. I finally beat it as an adult a few years ago, but I'd never gone back to the first game in any serious way. I'd played both the first and third games on emulators, but you REALLY want a controller for them. I ended up picking up the first game off Elkin a year ago and have been working on it off and on for a while now. And with this month's TR theme I finally sat down and just grinded through the attempts on that final boss fight.

Ninja Gaiden sets up the general play patterns of the rest of the series, but it's also somewhat rough. You don't start with a subweapon, for example, and there is no limit to your total ninja power compared to the later games where you also have to pick up max increases. The game also doesn't allow you to climb up single walls other than ladders. Instead areas where you are expected to get on top of something they put two parallel walls and you need to bounce back and forth. However, the physics engine does allow you to jump away and back, and they ended up noticing this and making it more of a supported feature in the sequels (both climbing naturally on anything and making it easier to do the single wall climb to get over the top of the edge).

Compared to the sequel the levels overall are harder but the bosses (except for the final boss rush) are MUCH easier. And that's before you account for the Spin Slash. The boss patterns for the first five stages are extremely straightforward and easy to handle, whereas the patterns in II are more likely to cause you to take damage and have more going on to keep you on your toes. So while you can still get them into a good loop it's more likely for things to go off the rails. With the bosses in the first game you might die once to the later bosses but never again, just due to how simple they are. But as mentioned, the stages make up for that. This game relies a lot more on enemy placements in the worst spots and also has a lot of background climbable objects fuck up your jumps. I can't tell you how much damage I've taken from jumping and hitting a wall and taking a hit, or taking a hit and them bouncing into a wall and now you have to try and get off. At least in II you could climb down, but here you need to do a jump. There's also one supremely evil jump in the fourth stage that requires you to make use of your limited air control to hit the edge of a wall right before you hit a pit so you can them jump to a platform without hitting the overhanging wall, all while a bird is swooping at you. The second game instead goes for less evil enemy placement and various stage gimmicks which add difficulty, but in a more predictable way.

But the final boss rush is really where the game wants to kick your ass. It's three bosses back to back to back, and the only nice things are that the very first time you get to them a cutscene plays which refills your health (so if you're good you do all three with full health). And any of them killed stay dead if you game over and continue. But on the flip side, the first boss needs to be taken down extremely quickly or it will overwhelm you and keep you from even getting damage in, while the second boss needs to be managed very carefully or you'll just get bounced around a ton and die. And you have a narrow window to get in an attack without taking collision damage. Fortunately, the third boss is pretty easy if you play carefully and don't get greedy. But the real kick in the nads is that if you die on any of the bosses you go back to the very beginning of the level, not just to the previous screen or to the start of the section if it's a game over. So you need to COMMIT to beating this game.

For a first effort the game is great, but the second game is better in every single way. Definitely worth playing, but also play the second game to see how much things improve between the two.
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Games Beaten: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:41 am

Awesome review, Popo. I agree the sequel is better, but I still love the original. Such a solid playformer and one of the best on the NES.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:16 am

I've played a little Ninja Gaiden on the PCE Mini recently and that background scrolling is EYE PAIN EXTRAORDINAIRE. it does seem like maybe you take a little less damage in that version though? Regardless, I think if I play through that game, it'll be the version on my NES Classic :lol:
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:49 am

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)
39. Still Life 2 (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)
40. Myst IV: Revelation (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)
41. Gato Roboto (Switch)(Action Adventure)
42. Painkiller: Overdose (PC)(FPS)

43. Battle Realms (PC)(RTS)
44. Battle Realms: Winter of the Wolf (PC)(RTS)
45. Terminator: Resistance (PC)(FPS)
46. Picross S (Switch)(Puzzle)
47. The Witcher 3 (PC)(RPG)
48. Dragon Quest (Switch)(RPG)


The Witcher 3

After 150 hours, I have finally beaten the main storyline for The Witcher 3. There is still plenty of content and two expansions, but in the space of six months, I have played through the full trilogy; I've seen characters change and grow; I've seen relationships develop; I've watched the world of these characters shift and reshape themselves over and over. I have made choices and at times rethought my decisions and wished I'd made others. I've also seen the promise of the series blossom into exactly what I wanted it to be, and while there have been missteps along the way, I am happy where I ended up.

The Witcher 3 picks up the storyline six months after the second game. Geralt of Rivia has now fully recovered his memory and seeks his long lost love, Yennefer, only to discover she is now employed by the invading forces of Nilfgaard. Soon, Geralt finds himself before the Nilfgaard emperor, who commands he find his daughter, Ciri, a young woman whom Geralt and Yennefer helped raise and view as their own adopted child. This launches Geralt off on a quest which will reshape empires, change the course of the war, and have consequences across time and space as he faces off against the Wild Hunt...only at the end to discover it's never really been about Geralt, that this was ultimately Ciri's story.

As the final part of the trilogy, this is the game that ends the story, and as a result, it leads to the possible deaths of many characters and a finality that only comes at the end. That said, it's also the game that fully realizes the promise of being a witcher: an open world to wander, accepting contracts to hunt monsters, exploring old ruins and ruined hamlets, and taking in the beauty of the world. It is a beautiful world, and Geralt has the freedom to move between various areas once he finds his way there with entirely different appearances and results. The massive city of Novigrad recalls the architecture of major European cities, while Velen reminds me of portions of France, Germany, Poland, and so on. Skellige feels like a combination of Scandinavia and the Highlands and Hebrides of Scotland. Kaer Morhen could be a valley in Switzerland nestled within the Alps. It's a nice cross section of European influences, and from a developer based in Poland and a fantasy series purely from a Polish mind, it feels like the geography was fully in mind.

Combat gets changed up again from the previous games, but it moves much more freely. The excess chaff of the last game is gone, as are the stances of the first, and now blade oils and potions are significantly easier to use and intuitive. Simply make a potion once, and it's good to go forever, provided you restock automatically by meditating. You can explore at your whim, which is a big reason why I sunk so much time into this title, because a single area is as big as full RPGs in some rights. When I beat Two Worlds earlier this year, that game was probably only as large as one region of Witcher 3, so to have multiple...well, it truly does feel epic. That said, it also feels frontloaded, because the first act is significantly longer than the second and third, and because so much of what you can do becomes available and needs to be done before moving to the later acts.

From a technical perspective, I never had the problems that I did with previous games, like Geralt getting stuck in an animation in Witcher 2. There were some weird texture issues I spotted from time to time, but these were minor and often passed by so quickly that it didn't really register until I was well past what I'd been looking at. The controls are solid, and while they take some getting used to if coming in straight from Witcher 2, they work very well in practice. The game can pace itself well, with things to do for nearly all levels throughout the world, provided you explore, though it is easy to quickly go well beyond what you need to be for the main quests. Balance can easily be broken, but that's part of the fun and really does make you feel more like a Witcher, knowing your enemies and preparing to take down a monster much more powerful than you are.

I adored Witcher 3, and I look forward to the expansions. I'm also eagerly anticipating Cyberpunk 2077 and future CD Projekt works.

Dragon Quest

I have a confession: I've never beaten Dragon Quest before. I've played Dragon Warrior a bit, but I never actually took the time to finish it, so when I saw that a port was available at a discount from the Nintendo eShop, I opted to pick it up. A couple of things: the Switch port is just the iOS port, and it has some QoL changes that help make the grind less tedious. You'll still grind though. Don't worry, like half the game is grinding.

Yes, you play a lone knight, the descendant of a previous legendary hero, who is tasked with defeating the Dragonlord. You may also rescue a princess along the way, and there are several areas that are optional to explore but really helpful in terms of getting up the gear and items you need. I beat the game at level 19, which is lower than one would have for the original Famicom and NES release, but the iOS release implemented the stat boosting seeds of later DQ titles, so you can get an edge. Also, the algorithms in the game aren't exactly advanced, so you can figure out ways to cheese things or time what your actions should be and easily move through certain encounters. Most boss fights weren't all that difficult, and even the final battle became significantly easier once I realized I should heal at X amount of health and then attack otherwise.

I'm reminded of playing Ultima, mainly the first, because of the design of the overworld and how I move about. Yes, encounters in DQ are handled in a separate battle screen, but I can see the influence that the original Ultima had on exploring the world, with many areas that aren't really necessary to see but still enrich the adventure. The pacing of Dragon Quest is better, but it still suffers at time. Still, it's an important step in the history and process of RPG development.

I'm glad I played it.
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opa
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by opa Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:05 pm

Is there a point that the Witcher 3 gets super engrossing? I've tried to start it several times but it throws so much stuff at you at once I get a tick overwhelmed and put it back on the shelf. I've not played the others.

DQ1 is great. I play the GBC version once a year. A quick little adventure. The grind kinda sucks but it isn't that bad compared to plenty of other games. I wish they'd make another lone-hero DQ. I like not dealing with a party.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:18 pm

opa wrote:Is there a point that the Witcher 3 gets super engrossing? I've tried to start it several times but it throws so much stuff at you at once I get a tick overwhelmed and put it back on the shelf. I've not played the others.

DQ1 is great. I play the GBC version once a year. A quick little adventure. The grind kinda sucks but it isn't that bad compared to plenty of other games. I wish they'd make another lone-hero DQ. I like not dealing with a party.


Witcher 3 definitely picks up after you make it through the starting area. If you made it through White Orchard, then you have properly gotten through the prologue/tutorial area. However, it is an open world once you do, so yes, it can definitely be overwhelming, especially right at the start. I found once I had started building blade oils and gotten the hang of the combat system, it really took off.

For DQ, I'd say the grind isn't as bad as what you can come up against in the likes of Ultima. But it definitely helps to know going in that you will be doing a fair bit, just because the game is so short and it's still quite early in the history of the genre. I'd much rather go back to DQ than the original Ultima trilogy though, any day. The leap between the two is phenomenal.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:24 pm

Also a DQ fan, having beaten the NES and GBC versions. Have you played DQII or DQIII yet? I don’t like one but absolutely adore the other.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:53 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)
39. Still Life 2 (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)
40. Myst IV: Revelation (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)
41. Gato Roboto (Switch)(Action Adventure)
42. Painkiller: Overdose (PC)(FPS)

43. Battle Realms (PC)(RTS)
44. Battle Realms: Winter of the Wolf (PC)(RTS)
45. Terminator: Resistance (PC)(FPS)
46. Picross S (Switch)(Puzzle)
47. The Witcher 3 (PC)(RPG)
48. Dragon Quest (Switch)(RPG)

49. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)(Adventure)
50. Castlevania: The Adventure (Switch)(Platformer)


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I played Breath of the Wild off an on over the course of a year and a half. I'd get totally engrossed by it and then suddenly hit some kind of wall, and I'd set it down for months, only to come back, rediscover it, and find myself wholly absorbed by it again. Finally beating it so close to playing through and beating The Witcher 3 also makes for an interesting experience, because there are major similarities in the openness of the worlds, the array of equipment, the emphasis on horseback riding. If I compared the two, I'd find things I like more in each over the other, but they would likely come out to an even mix, as I just love these open world games.

You'll also notice I put down Breath of the Wild as an Adventure title, as that is the genre I have always considered them. Yet at this point, the one thing that I find separating the crossover into the other genre is the lack of a leveling system; that's the only thing that BotW differs from compared to Witcher 3, relying on puzzle solving and acquiring items to gain power and stat boosts as opposed to an inborn experience system along with the acquiring items. While I hesitate to finally declare a Zelda game an RPG...well, BotW is the closest I've ever come to saying it, and it really is coming down to one singular aspect.

Breath of the Wild also finally realizes the prospect that I'd been waiting for since Ocarina of Time, the creation of a wholly 3D, fully explorable open world that I can wander and search at my whim. The series has come close with how it handles its exploration and open areas, but Nintendo has finally done it, and the results are every bit as wonderful as I wanted it to be. If I see a mountain, I can go climb it. Classic Zelda foes lurk on vast plains, in deep swamps, hide in tropical forests, and climb beneath the sand of massive deserts. Kill one Moblin and take his weapon to kill the next. It's the freedom to do what I wanted from the very first time I played Zelda, and BotW is what I envisioned in my head as I traversed an 8-bit world for the first time in the first game. Bravo, Nintendo.

That's not to say there isn't some amount of gatekeeping done in various section, mainly through armor or heat issues...or fatigue levels, though I felt the aspect of choosing between health and stamina made for a fascinating choice with some interesting consequences on how I could traverse the world. Say I want to get past a fight...I could go fight or climb around. BotW gave me options and let me use it, and only in specific areas such as Death Mountain or the woman-only Geruda city did I find myself being limited.

Is it perfect? Not entirely; stealth sections are annoying, and the enemy targeting system to enable dodging limits some of what I want to do when I want to do it, especially when facing the dreaded Lynels. Yet quick and easy fast travel, a large selection of quests, a vast array of equippable items, and whole systems to explore, from cooking to photography, really make for a fascinating and fun experience that I sunk a lot of time into.

In fact, the biggest downside is that I just don't know where Zelda games can go from here. Topping this will be a monumental challenge for Nintendo. I wish them luck.

Castlevania: The Adventure

I respect Classic-vanias. I started with them on the NES, and while I like how the series has evolved over time into multiple distinct styles, it's nice to go back and play through the originals to see where it all started...sometimes. I picked up the Castlevania Anniversary Collection on Switch to get my Vania fix, and here I sit, raging that I put myself through Castlevania: The Adventure.

What's wrong with it? Well, it's an early Game Boy title from an era when the developers hadn't yet figured out its tricks, so it's like if you took the original Castlevania, made it shorter, removed the sub-weapons, removed many of the most recognizable elements, and then gave it all the fun physics of a turtle.

Our hero, Christopher Belmont, is slow to move, slow to react, and jumps like a man trying to throw himself desperately into any of the vast array of bottomless pits found throughout the game. Oh yes, precision is required for the pixel-perfect jumping, yet despite the spike walls and much faster moving enemies, Chris just doesn't care to try and put a little urgency in his step. He plods along, often missing jumps, and occasionally even ending up in a bad position where a bouncing enemy projectile can stunlock him onto a rope or onto spikes or off a cliff or into other enemies or into other projectiles... Do you see where I'm going with this?

Look, it's a feat that there was a Castlevania game available so early on in the Game Boy's life, and at the time, this game was highly respected for serving as a suitable translation. Age has not been kind, however, both in that we see where the series would go and in what the Game Boy could really do once you understood how to use what was under the hood. Now, Castlevania: The Adventure feels like a bad joke. I've been told by several folks that the ReBirth remake was a wonderful update, but sadly it appears Konami is letting that one be forgotten to time.

Also, hey look, insta-death spike pits in the final Dracula fight. Weee.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:54 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote:Also a DQ fan, having beaten the NES and GBC versions. Have you played DQII or DQIII yet? I don’t like one but absolutely adore the other.

Not yet. I do own DQII on the GBC, but I currently lack a GBC to play it.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:35 pm

Ack wrote:For DQ, I'd say the grind isn't as bad as what you can come up against in the likes of Ultima. But it definitely helps to know going in that you will be doing a fair bit, just because the game is so short and it's still quite early in the history of the genre. I'd much rather go back to DQ than the original Ultima trilogy though, any day. The leap between the two is phenomenal.

Ultima's grind is an interesting case. The first game the grind is effectively to get a ship; once you get that you just spam the signposts over and over to crank up your stats and get max gear and you don't even need to worry about monsters. Then magic your way to the bottom of a dungeon and back a few times to pump your HP. Ulitma II similarly is a case of murdering townsfolk until they drop all the key items you need (because apparently their loot table has everything). It's not until Ultima III that you see a more traditional grind.
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