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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:23 pm

First 50:
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
50. Earthworm Jim - Genesis

51. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - Switch
52. Star Control Origins: Earth Rising - PC
53. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX - Switch
54. Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith - PC
55. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls - PS3
56. Silicon Zeroes - PC

Silicon Zeroes is a puzzle game designed around eventually building your own CPU. You have a series of components which need to be put together to get values to emit or be written to memory, and you need to account for the fact that a latch will only update every tick. Then in the last third of the base game the idea of propagation delay and synchronization come into play. Weirdly, they first start off in a way that is harder than the later stages in terms of clock management.

From a theory standpoint this game ends up being a bit more abstract than actual hardware design (you have an addition module rather than needing to implement binary addition) but still keeps in a bunch of things that are low level (latches, muxes/demuxes). It ends up being an awkward middle ground if you are familiar with actual hardware design, especially since several of the puzzles involve optimizing for your dataset size, rather than the general case. Many times I found I had to do things that felt "wrong" in order to meet a component or time requirement.

It's definitely one of the weaker programming games I've run into; if you want to have to think about hardware stuff then Shenzhen I/O is better. The fact that I felt like I was penalized for having learned this sort of thing in an academic setting doesn't feel great. Maybe if you're coming in blind you might enjoy it more.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Flake Mon Aug 24, 2020 11:20 am

January through August:
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)

July

Donkey Kong Country (WiiU)
Cadence of Hyrule (Switch)
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (Switch)

August

Shovel Knight Showdown (Switch)
Street Fighter Alpha 3 (PS4)


September

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers (Switch)
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (WiiU)


Ultra Street Fighter II is an absolutely bonkers thing to exist. A re-release of Super Street Fighter II HD, exclusive to Nintendo Switch, with a joycon specific sub mode, featuring a version of a character that was created by SNK for a Neo Geo game. What even is this? But I'm not going to lie, it is my favorite Street Fighter game after Street Fighter Alpha 3: Saikyo Dojo. I appreciate the refined SFII experience, the lack of convoluted BS that SFV has introduced, and how fast everything moves. I still cannot conceive of what series of discussions at Capcom led to this being a product but I am so glad it happened.

REDEMPTION! I finally beat Donkey Kong Country 2, a full 20 years after the first time I played it. The level near the end with the rising poison was something I just could NEVER beat. I ended up giving up on it around the time I finished high school. Every now and then, when the game would be released for one of Nintendo's virtual console platforms, I would give it another try and give up in the same place. So what changed?

Save States.
The PSTV is amazing.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Aug 24, 2020 4:36 pm

Flake wrote:I would give it another try and give up in the same place. So what changed?

Save States.


King.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Mon Aug 24, 2020 10:46 pm

First 50:
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
50. Earthworm Jim - Genesis

51. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - Switch
52. Star Control Origins: Earth Rising - PC
53. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX - Switch
54. Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith - PC
55. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls - PS3
56. Silicon Zeroes - PC
57. Warcraft - PC

My first RTS was Warcraft II; my cousin brought is disk over and we played it for a bit before he went home. Eventually I got the Battlechest which came with 1, 2, and the expansion. I would keep plugging away at Warcraft II, but the first game never gelled with me. But I decided over the weekend to finally take the time and make it through. And while Warcraft II is better than it in every way there is still some historical worth to playing the original. You can see just how much of an improvement II is, as well as just seeing the beginnings of the franchise.

The story is pretty bare bones; there's orcs and humans and they're at war. The orcs did come here through a portal, the start of Blizzard's policy of always leaving a sequel hook available to their games. Over the course of twelve missions you will need to build your base and defeat your foes. The sides are neigh identical, though the differences end up being shockingly important. Each side as a worker, a melee unit, a ranged unit, a mounted unit, a catapult, a support caster, and a war caster. It's only the ranged unit and the spells of both casters that differ. The human ranged unit is MUCH better than the orc one; they gain one extra tile of range in exchange for the orcs dealing 25% more damage. But since that is a single damage point while units have 60 HP to begin with it is clear the human archer is so much stronger. This ends up being a bit of a pain in the orc missions as your defense has to be much more active; you can't just set up a line of spearthrowers and leave it alone because the archers will snipe you from afar.

The casters are very different between the two sides, and again the orcs get the short end of the stick. Each support caster has a primary ability, a vision ability (same for both sides), and a support ability. The cleric heals on primary and turns a unit invisible on secondary. The necrolyte raises skeletons from corpses as a primary and makes a unit temporarily invincible as a secondary (at the cost of them being at 1 HP when it wears off). Again, the human caster is so much better. As a human player the heal helps you manage your defenders, though the invisibility isn't worth the trouble. The CPU is fantastic at spamming heals in combat and the invisibility adds annoyance of enemy units randomly sniping your base. The skeletons are garbage, and the invincibility requires a large force of necrolytes to do it to a bunch of units to be worthwhile. And on the CPU side they tend to only do it to a single unit, so you can just heal through its attacks and then watch it die.

On the war caster side the orcs finally achieve parity. Each has a weak summon, an aoe spell, and a giant summon. The weak summon is garbage, with its only saving grace being that it summons up to four dudes that take up a fair amount of space, which is theoretically useful for body blocking. The aoe spell is decent, and effectively the same for both sides, but it's also not really worth using once you get the giant summon. The giant summon costs all your mana but gives you an incredibly powerful unit. The humans' water elemental is not as strong as the orcs' daemon, but it has a ranged attack, so it ends up being a wash. Late campaign strategy is to build several casters and just spam the big summon; their duration matches up with the time it takes the mana to regenerate, so you can save your resources for keeping your base up.

The controls are the hardest thing in the game to get used to. While the game is able to be fully mouse driven, this requires a lot of clicking. To scroll the screen you move the mouse to the edge and click; you can instead right click to center the view on your mouse pointer. If you want to do something with a unit you have to click one of the buttons and then click a target. Fortunately those have hotkeys. The selection limit is four, and in order to multi select you need to either ctrl+drag to box or shift+click to add units one by one. And there are no control group hotkeys; those won't come until Starcraft. This fundamental limitation will end up dictating your pace through the game. It is basically impossible to manage a large army, especially with melee units. This leads to a couple of useful formations. The first is 2-3 groups of ranged units (maybe with a couple of catapults as support) that leap frog each other. As enemies come into range your units will auto fire, and you can quickly tear up enemies as they come in. The other is to just build four or eight war casters and spam the big summon. Managing a couple groups is doable, and they are so powerful that you don't really need to micro them much. But trying to make use of the regular melee units is an exercise in folly.

Warcraft is a very primitive RTS and if you want to pick it up you should go in knowing that you will be frustrated with it. Fortunately, the actual campaign difficulty is pretty low outside the last orc level (due to unfavorable terrain and the aforementioned fundamental balance against the orc army. And even the last mission doesn't compare to the difficulty of some of the later Warcraft II missions (not to mention the expansion). Blizzard, fortunately, did not make the AI too relentless, so the pressure is about right compared to the controllability. Still, only RTS historians need apply.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Markies Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:41 pm

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2020!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. Pikmin 2 (GCN)
2. Banjo-Tooie (N64)
3. Contra: Hard Corps (GEN)
4. Super Baseball Simulator 1,000 (SNES)
5. Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers 2 (NES)
6. Pinball Hall of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection (PS2)
***7. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PS2)***
***8. Cruis'N USA (N64)***
9. Arc The Lad Collection (PS1)
10. Halo 2 (XBOX)
11. Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings And The Lost Ocean (GCN)
12. DuckTales 2 (NES)
13. Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm (PS2)
14. Rocket Knight Adventures (GEN)
***15. Skies of Arcadia (SDC)***
16. Dragon Quest V (SNES)
17. Marvel Vs. Capcom (PS1)
***18. Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition (GEN)***

19. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic II - The Sith Lords (XBOX)

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I beat Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords on the Microsoft XBOX this evening!

Back in 2016, I played through the first Knights of the Old Republic. It was one of the first games I bought for the original XBOX and one of the main reasons I wanted to buy the console in the first place. My favorite genre is RPG and even though the XBOX didn't have many, KOTOR was known for being really good. And it was really good. I was surprised at how much I loved it. Obviously, I was interested in picking up its sequel. Several years later, I found a copy at my favorite local game store and I had to buy it. Ironically, I think it was the last game I bought from him before they closed up. With my friend having a Steam copy that he stopped playing, I figured I would try to relight his fire and play it with him.

There are very little changes between KOTOR1 and KOTOR2. In fact, the game is almost pretty much identical. They did some quality of life improvements in the menu and you have some new Force classes that let you hone your character even further. I would say the biggest change in KOTOR2 is the fact that your dialogue will have positive and negative influence over your other party members. If they like or hate what you say, their relationship will change and look at you differently. Its an interesting system, though they do very little with it. Despite it all being the same, the game is still incredibly fun to play. Leveling your characters is addicting, the dungeons are fun to traverse and even though I've soured on the Star Wars franchise, it is still insanely cool to have a dual-blade purple lightsaber.

My major complaint in the game is that it drags, especially in the middle of the game. There are several planets you visit and some of them, you never fight. It's all just dialogue and talking for hours at a time. You land on a planet and then you leave after like 4 or 5 hours of talking. It got a bit much and I just wanted to kill things with my lightsaber.

Overall, I still really enjoyed KOTOR2. I would say KOTOR1 had a better balance between the talking and the fighting. Also, I enjoyed the characters more in KOTOR1 compared to KOTOR2. The characters and story in KOTOR2 were very predictable and one note. However, the story wasn't bad and I still really enjoyed the action part. If you liked KOTOR1, then KOTOR2 is still worth playing despite all of its flaws and not living up to the original.

**EDIT**
Holy Crap! This is my 1,000th Post! Yeah!!
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Note Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:10 pm

Markies wrote:19. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic II - The Sith Lords (XBOX)

I beat Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords on the Microsoft XBOX this evening!


Awesome you finished KOTOR 2! I really want to play the first game, but not sure I want to buy an original Xbox just for that title. Might pick it up later in the year and see how it runs on the 360.

Also, congrats on the 1,000th post!
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:38 am

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

1-50
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)
35. Baku Bomberman 2 (N64)
36. Chameleon Twist (N64)
37. Gato Roboto (PC)
38. The Messenger (PC)
39. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (PC)
40. Baku Bomberman (N64)
41. Bomberman Hero (N64)
42. Blazing Lasers (TG16)
43. Neutopia (TG16)
44. Neutopia II (TG16)
45. Bomberman '94 (PCE)
46. Super Mario Sunshine (GC) *
47. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (GC) *
48. Shenmue 3 (PS4)
49. Wandersong (Switch)
50. Ratchet & Clank (PS2)

51. Ratchet & Clank 2: Going Commando (PS2)
52. Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)
53. Nier: Automata (PS4)

54. Ratchet: Deadlocked (PS2)

My Ratchet & Clank kinda-marathon continues with the first game I've actually bought off of Yahoo Auctions! I'd heard this title was a bit weird among R&C games and divisive among fans, and those impressions are what I walked away from it with as well. It took me a little under 8 hours (and an hour of that was grinding for the final boss) to beat the Japanese version of the game.

Ratchet: Deadlocked pics up where 3 left off, with Ratchet & Clank a part of Q-Force, when they're suddenly kidnapped by an intergalactic TV producer for Vox entertainment. He wants them to compete in his death battles among heroes, and Ratchet goes on a mission to both compete for his life and try and find a way to shut down Vox once and for all. That's right, just Ratchet. There's a reason Clank isn't even in the English title for the game, and that's because he's barely in it, and he never fights with you. Clank is your radio operator, effectively, telling you mission instructions which I never got most of because this game has virtually no subtitles (for some reason when the last two games got subtitles perfect), and the objectives are often self-explanatory enough that it didn't matter (expect for the times when they weren't very self-explanatory XP). Compared to even Ratchet & Clank 1, this game is pretty darn light on story, and feels almost unfinished in that regard. Apparently they were going for something a little more serious/edgy to compete with things like Halo that were getting popular at the time, but that was a serious swing and a miss here.

The gameplay of this entry is also really different from the previous games. It's more like if they made an entire game around the arena missions and ranger missions from the past two games. The game has a small hub area in the Vox station, but outside of that it's almost entirely menus picking different missions from menus that are usually vehicle trials, combat trials, or small platforming missions with lots of combat. All the platforming and paying for upgrades forward from previous games is totally gone, and there are a lot less overall weapons in this game as well.

A lot of the weapons are also just not very fun or just boring, and that hour of grinding I needed to do at the end of the game was to get the rocket launcher and a few other guns to a level good enough that I could use them to beat the final boss with. The default rifle-esque gun you start the game with is so good and upgrades so well, I just used that for almost the entire game. You have a couple of "battle bots" that flank you and will attack targets around you, but you have very limited control over them, they're sorta ham-fisted solutions for puzzles quite often (which just amounts to pressing a button on the D-pad to order them to do the thing), and they don't add much to the game at all. They seem more like a concession that there's too often too much going on to really pay attention to, so they're there to keep you from getting totally ganked by something outside of your line of sight (since you can die REALLY fast in this game if you aren't careful).

This game overall feels like a real step back in the gameplay department from the design to the mechanics themselves. Ratchet feels noticeably stiffer to move than in R&C3, and a bit slower too. And despite that, this game still has some pretty severe framerate issues. The vehicle sections are also absolutely dire to control and are all awful. That is especially weird after R&C3 had great vehicle sections, but this game manages to make everything past games' vehicle sections have done well worse in just about every regard. The one gold star I can award to this game is that they have finally gotten the auto-aim down right. It works great and it makes combat way way easier.

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. Some people really do like the arena challenges in this game, and the game for the most part does play quite well, particularly in the combat sections, so I can't give it an outright "not recommended". That said, I think this is an even more skip-worthy entry than the first Ratchet & Clank, and most people would be better served these days just skipping right from R&C3 to R&C Future 1, because story-wise and mechanically you are barely missing anything with Ratchet: Deadlocked. This game's existence just seems to imply that Insomniac had no idea what made the first 3 games popular, or were just so self conscious about continuing to do what had worked so well that they made this weird footnote of a mainline R&C game.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by dust_hound Wed Aug 26, 2020 3:30 pm

25th August 2020 - Front Mission: Gun Hazard (SFC, emulated on PC)

So I think Front Mission: Gun Hazard had a bad time when it first released, since although it had the Front Mission name, it was now a side-scrolling run and gun shooter with RPG elements, rather than the heavily-customisable SRPG that players might have expected after the first game. All of the trademark Squaresoft parts were in place, however, with lush graphics and visual effects, orchestral-style soundtrack by Nobuo Uematsu et al, character designs from Yoshitaka Amano, and an expansive plot involving a rag-tag band of mercenaries trying to eke out a living against a backdrop of international conflicts being orchestrated by an invisible but ever-present hand. Team members who worked on the game had previously done the fantastic Assault Suits Valken, so you might think that it would be easy to put all these elements together to make a great game... but unfortunately that isn't the case.

I REALLY wanted to love Gun Hazard, as I'm a sucker for most of its constituent parts. I played using the fan-translation that was released many years ago, since despite owning the original cartridge I can't read Japanese. This translation allowed me to experience the major plot points, and follow the story which is decent for a game of its time. I can't help but think, however, that it would have been a MUCH better game if they'd dropped the poorly-implemented RPG aspects and abbreviated it into just a longer version of Assault Suits Valken, with fixed and always-findable power-ups and weapons, and crafted levels with thought given to enemy and obstacle placement.

Instead of this, we get the farcical need to grind through repeating areas, or at least hang around blasting ever-respawning enemies in order to get the needed EXP and cash to unlock and purchase more powerful weapons, equipment, or entire new mechs. Enemies and bosses become extreme bullet sponges without the right level of weaponry, making the game something of a chore to play sometimes. You can bring along an AI companion to help out, which does alleviate the problem slightly. Although the levels do often look nice, with lens flare, sun shafts, weather effects etc., it's too little spread over too long a play-time to be able to hold a player's interest. It IS fun to stomp around blasting things in your mech, which has the same weighty feel as in Assault Suits Valken, and the ability to jump out and run around as just the pilot is a nice touch, but useless outside of that one level where it's forced. In the latter case, due to his slower movement he takes much much too long to get anywhere, so that part is more frustrating than enjoyable.

Overall, I'd say I had merely an OK time during my ~20hr playthrough - Front Mission Gun Hazard is only one for curious mecha fans who are also patient enough to deal with its needlessly-enforced RPG aspects.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:27 pm

First 50:
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
50. Earthworm Jim - Genesis

51. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - Switch
52. Star Control Origins: Earth Rising - PC
53. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX - Switch
54. Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith - PC
55. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls - PS3
56. Silicon Zeroes - PC
57. Warcraft - PC
58. Serious Sam 3: BFE - PC

Serious Sam 3 serves as bringing things back to the gameplay of the original; gone is the goofiness of Serious Sam 2, and the enemy roster is the majority of the original game's plus a handful of new enemies. For the most part it's a solid title, but there are a bunch of things that cause it to not land as well as the original game, and a lot of it feels like them feeling like they need to do new things. It's sort of like over spicing your dinner; in your quest to do better you end up going too far.

The story is set before the first game (Before First Encounter), on Earth in Egypt where a Time Portal has been discovered. Since the forces of Mental have been kicking humanity's ass the Time Portal is seen as the only solution. Naturally the game ends with you making it through and directly starting the events of the first game. Because of this setting you now have a mission control in your ear, which is mostly there to have snarky dialog with.

The game starts off slow in two ways. The first is you don't get your first non-melee weapon until midway through the first stage, long after you've first started fighting enemies. You don't really have a satisfying arsenal until the fifth map, but at that point things start progressing very nicely on that front. The other way the game starts off slow is that the first three stages feel more like CoD levels with Serious Sam enemies in them. It sort of feels like they use those as a tech demo for potential engine licensees to demonstrate they can do a modern military shooter in the engine. The fourth level is a transition, then the fifth level onward have a level design very similar to the first game; lots of large areas with some architecture to break up sight lines to give you a reprieve from the hordes. But in the first three levels the action doesn't feel right; the swarms aren't what they should be and it isn't the game you signed up for. But persevere; it will get better.

The new enemies are a mixed bag. The cloned soldiers are bad replacements for the other headless soldiers (we still get the purple one and the kamikaze) with the frustrating tendency to blend in with the background due to their dark color. The spider monsters are a lower threat swarmer than the kleer skeletons and end up being a useful tool for level design by being lower threat. The scrapjack is a Doom mancubus and ends up being a slower but more rapid firing version of the rocket walker enemy. Then there are the three boss-esque monsters. The first is a helicopter that has been taken over by a parasite which is nasty when you can devote your full attention to it, and that is a rare occasion. The second is a flying enemy that teleports around and lifts you in midair, dealing minimal damage. The threat comes from there frequently being other enemies to get you while you're helpless (though interestingly they are alone about half the time). And finally is a giant guy who takes a ton of punishment to go down and throws really nasty fireballs. And the worst part is he is really good at dodging rockets and throwing a fireball in an offhand manner while doing so (which ends up being harder to dodge than the normal ones). If you aren't prepared for them you can be in trouble, as they don't take damage from any of your weaker weapons; it starts at needing a rocket launcher. They also are fast enough to stay on top of you, so getting to a safe distance to use explosives is a challenge, to say the least.

The game has a handful of new weapons over the first game. Returning from The Second Encounter is the sniper rifle. You also get C4 (thrown like a grenade and remote detonated) and the Devastator (auto shotty firing explosive slugs that can pierce weak enemies). One annoying thing is the laser gun and the sniper rifle are both exclusive to secrets. More annoying is that a late game level resets your inventory, so you get very little opportunity to use them. Apparently they are back to regular weapons in the three mission expansion.

Aside from the level design of the first three levels, my biggest complaint is in the advanced effects of the engine. Kamikazes explode into obscuring smoke that lingers, making it harder to deal with the large swarms in an efficient manner. And you need to be efficient as the game likes to run you dry before the next checkpoint and refill point. Similarly, the game has advanced lighting that ends up obscuring lots of enemies (this is especially pronounced in the last level, which is mostly in narrow canyons). It takes what is supposed to be a game about efficiently killing huge hordes of enemies and adds in "try and see what you're shooting at" for no good reason. At least the dark interior levels with a flashlight are designed to be like that, and they notably don't involve large hordes for the most part. In addition to the lighting the other part that causes sight problems is the overall muted colors of enemies compared to the first game.

Serious Sam 3 for the most part is a return to form, though it ends up overshooting a bit to chase modern design sensibilities. It's still overall pretty fun, though not quite as much as the original. Based on the trailers it looks like the fourth one is nudging a bit more in that direction; hopefully they can fully get back to that aesthetic and gameplay.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:01 pm

The First 50:
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)

51. Kid Dracula (Switch)(Platformer)
52. Castlevania (Switch)(Platformer)
53. Akumajō Dracula (Switch)(Platformer)

54. Akumajō Dracula [Castlevania IV](Switch)(Platformer)
55. The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone (PC)(RPG)
56. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (Switch)(Platformer)

57. Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge (Switch)(Platformer)
58. The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (PC)(RPG)

59. The Darkness II (PC)(FPS)

The Darkness series are first person shooters based on a Top Cow comic book that started roughly 20 years ago. The first game released in 2007 and enabled the player to enact a crazy power fantasy as you took on the role of Jackie Estacado, a mobster who inherits the powers of primordial darkness (literally known as "The Darkness") and then uses them to rip his way through the New York City mafia in retaliation for the murder of his true love. I enjoyed it when I played it, and years later I decided it was time to get down to brass tacks with the sequel.

Once again, you play Jackie Estacado. It's been a few years since the first game, and thanks to his killing spree, Jackie has both become the successful head of a major crime family and has managed to suppress the Darkness' control over him. That is until a dinner date with a couple of twins ends up in a hail of bullets as a weaker gang assaults the restaurant with minivans, bullets, and a well-placed molotov. The end result? Jackie calls upon the Darkness again to heal his wounds and get payback. In doing so, he soon learns he's now facing off against a secret society that wants to strip out his powers and use them for their own benefit. He might not have been disagreeable to that if they were nice about it, but this particular group happens to be a bunch of sadistic jerks, and the Darkness reveals it's holding the soul of Jackie's dead love, so...yeah. Time for more ripping and tearing.

Now, it's a first person shooter, but you only get to hold one heavy weapon and two one-handed weapons, which can be used solo or dual-wielded. That's because shooting really isn't why you're here. You're here because you also have a pair of freaky tentacle heads coming out of your back that like to feed on the hearts of your enemies, sometimes after they're dead...but not always. These things give you powers, like being able to rip a car door off the side of a vehicle, use it as a shield while folks shoot at you, and then hurl it at them with enough force to sever some poor sap's upper torso from anything that once connected him to his lower internal organs. Your enemies get too close? Smack 'em with a tentacle and then grab them and rip their faces off, hurl them at their buddies, or simply toss them in the air for target practice. Get some upgrades, and you can start doing things like vomiting flies, charging your guns with darkness power, or even ripping open holes in time and space.

Yeah, it's a violent power fantasy.

There is an upgrade system, and it will take you a couple of plays through the game to unlock everything, but you can try again on higher difficulties to make things more interesting. There are also hidden relics to collect. Most important though is a side mode called Vendettas, where you play as one of a team of special hitters who work for Jackie. Each of these has a Darkness-infused weapon and power, and each plays very different from the others. They have their own campaign as well as special one-off missions and co-op only missions, and all of it can be done in up to 4-player with friends if you are so inclined. Of these, my favorite character was a hard-drinking Scotsman with an ax that he throws...and then summons back. That means if you hit someone, they have the trauma of a heavy ax ripping into them. And then they get the even worse trauma of that ax tearing its way out of them so it can return to owner. Fun.

The Darkness 2 isn't a terribly difficult game, and it's not terribly long, but it is fun. In a hyper violent holy crap kind of way. Look, it lets me devour the hearts of my enemies. What's not to like?
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