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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Ack Sat Apr 10, 2021 4:37 pm

1. Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard (PC)(Adventure)
2. Revulsion (PC)(FPS)
3. Nonogram - Master's Legacy (PC)(Puzzle)
4. Sekiro (PC)(Action-Adventure)
5. Grim Dawn (PC)(Action RPG)
6. Grim Dawn: Ashes of Malmouth (PC)(Action RPG)
7. Grim Dawn: Forgotten Gods (PC)(Action RPG)

8. Viscera Cleanup Detail: Santa's Rampage (PC)(FPS)
9. Viscera Cleanup Detail: Shadow Warrior (PC)(FPS)
10. Shrine (PC)(FPS)
11. Record of Lodoss War - Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth (PC)(Adventure)
12. Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone (PC)(Action)

Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone is a Dungeons & Dragons-based hack and slash romp through a story written by R. A. Salvatore. Patrick Stewart and Michael Clarke Duncan provided voicework as well, which might be why the BAFTAs and Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences nominated the game for a bunch of awards. All of this is pretty moot though, as the audio likes to bug out and not play the voice tracks during the unskippable cutscenes. Fun.

I don't know what issues plague the console versions, but the PC version of Demon Stone is a buggy mess. There are graphical problems. There are audio problems. And none of this even begins to point out the problems with lack of options (including no volume controls), bizarre controls that are completely unchangeable, and a hardcore love affair with checkpoints right before unskippable cutscenes full of graphical and audio problems. It is everything we remember of console-to-PC ports of the early 2000s, in that they suck and console developers hated PC gamers.

But enough of that. What is it about? Well, turns out there's this thing called a demon stone, which was used to trap the spirits of two Slaad and Githyanki warlords. These guys hate each other and would ultimately have led their armies against one another and destroyed the land in their ongoing war, so Patrick Stewart figured imprisoning them together was the best possible idea. Only three losers accidentally end up releasing them after running away from a dragon, so now it's up to the trio of losers to fix the problem. Enter the party: Rannek, a human fighter with a ponytail that sticks straight out, Zhai, a half-Drow, half-Wood Elf who likes to get sneaky and assassinate characters using the janky stealth system if you can find that one perfect angle, and Illius, a slow as hell sorcerer whose clothes seem to suffer a perpetual Marilyn-Monroe-over-a-sewer-grate problem. In short one character I preferred to play as, one character I was ok with playing, and one character that I loathed but was inevitably required to play as because "Magic is kewl, snarf!"

Yes, you play as the trio, swapping between them at any given time to thoroughly get trashed by whatever was about to hit that character when you unwittingly swapped into the middle of an ambush. Ok, it's not that bad...usually, but it does happen. Still, the AI is better than Daikatana, and the game drops healing items often enough that the AI characters will run over and heal themselves if they get low, which is going to happen. That's because Demon Stone comes from the hack and slash school of enemy spam, so expect hordes of folks who like to stunlock the player. Constantly. Oh, and that healing is super important, because if any character dies, it's game over, and you're back to your save or a checkpoint right before another really long unskippable cutscene.

That's not to say there aren't some interesting ideas here; there are, some very cool ideas too. For example, one boss fight against a Yuan-ti god involves you not fighting him directly but instead killing off mind-controlled servants who are supposed to be living sacrifices to him. Eventually, he gets so starved, he just eats the wizard that summoned him instead. In a different level, you fight near endless hordes of troops climbing up ladders in a wizard's tower, only to learn the tower itself isn't defenseless; armor comes to life, books fly off shelves, and magic swords animate to kill the attackers and help you out. Hell, there's even a fight against a dragon where you use your absurdly slow magic spells to screw up its wings. Not kill it, just make it so it can't fly. It's a cool touch, and all credit should be given where it is due. I really did enjoy seeing that snake god eat his own wizard.

Unfortunately, many of these fall apart under scrutiny though, because the game likes bosses to be absurdly beefy. Hence, fighting them takes an aggravating amount of time. Worse yet, many of the bosses require range attacks to hit, and while the fighter and thief can throw weapons, the game very quickly just says nope and doesn't let them do any damage. That means you have to play as the slow ass wizard and use magic spells that take forever to pull off and leave you a sitting duck while you go through the abysmally glacial casting animation. Joy.

Demon Stone may be a radically different experience on consoles, I cannot say. And in truth, the PC release of Demon Stone may be something approaching the Dungeons & Dragons version of the PC version of Crusaders of Might & Magic, though Demon Stone is still an infinitely superior game in that it's remotely playable. Then again, a dumpster fire of medical waste is a more playable video game than the PC version of Crusaders of Might & Magic, so I'm not really selling you on Demon Stone. What I can say is that, of the numerous Dungeons & Dragons video games I have played over the years, Demon Stone is probably the worst I have encountered. Yeah, thinking back through it, I enjoyed all the others more. Even Temple of Elemental Evil. And that's not something I ever thought I would have to say.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by R_Oldgames Sun Apr 11, 2021 1:56 pm

Until this date (April 11th, 2021), I remember having beaten the following games this year:

1. Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4).
2. Super Mario 3D World Deluxe (Switch).
3. Bloodstain Curse of The Moon (Switch)
4. Samurai Shodown 2019 (Xbox One) Story mode with a few characters
5. Street Fighter 2 (PC Engine)
6. The Evil Within (Xbox One)
7. Alien Vs. Predator Arcade Capcom (Mister FPGA)
8. The Evil Within 2 (Xbox One) - Awesome btw! :D

There are probably others that I've beaten but I did not write them down and forgot. I will try to remember add to the list.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Sun Apr 11, 2021 6:59 pm

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

1. EYE: Divine Cybermancy - PC
2. Legend of Grimrock - PC
3. Legend of Grimrock 2 - PC
4. Shovel Knight - Wii U
5. Yakuza: Like a Dragon - PS4
6. Yoshi's Island - SNES
7. Vectorman 2 - Genesis
8. Super Mario Sunshine - GC
9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest - GC
10. Bomberman '93 - TG-16
11. Cannon Fodder - PC
12. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei - Saturn
13. Dragonborne - Game Boy
14. Rock n' Roll Racing - PC
15. The Lost Vikings - PC
16. Blackthorne - PC
17. Contra III: The Alien Wars - SNES
18. Bravely Default II - Switch
19. Axelay - SNES
20. Ryse: Son of Rome - XBOne
21. Killer Instinct (2013) - XBOne
22. Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition - PC
23. Thief: The Dark Project - PC
24. Killer Instinct - XBOne
25. Killer instinct 2 - XBOne
26. Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth - PC
27. Thief 2: The Metal Age - PC
28. Wing Commander II - PC
29. Wing Commander III - PC

Wing Commander III makes the leap into the third dimension and the gamely is massively improved as a result. No longer does it feel like a primitive attempt at something, but this is a full fledged solid space sim. And on the storytelling side they seem to have hired real writers to give us a much better written story, capped off with some genuinely solid FMV with several notable actors.

Wing Commander III wraps up the Kilrathi War by finally giving us a conclusion, good or bad. If you screw up too much then the bad happens and Earth is laid to waste. But if you can pull it through you'll destroy Kilrath and finally give Blair a chance to just relax. This story is told through a ton of FMV. This comes in a few forms. Between missions you can explore the ship and find the members of your wing available for chat; sometimes you can choose from one or two dialog options which will affect pilot morale. Morale directly translates into performance in battle, so you'll want to choose correctly (though most of the time it's pretty easy to guess the right way to go). For key plot points there are longer sequences of FMV. It's all done with sincerity and with everyone doing their best. None of the ham you sometimes see with FMV of the time. They definitely approached this as "let's have small film scenes between missions" and it works rather well.

On the gameplay side the new engine makes everything much more flyable. You can see things, and it's hard to overstate the difference between visibility in the first two games and this one. They've also updated the flight characteristics of all the ships and the AI to be a bit more natural, so the net result is it is more viable to get on the heels of an enemy ship and nibble it away. But you still gotta keep out for enemies doing the same to you if you tunnel vision. The main thing I noticed was compared to a game like X-Wing here the hit detection requires a bit more precision from the player, especially on a couple of the thinner ships. It's the sort of thing that got ironed out in the genre as time went on. But it's quite solid as things stand.

The game rebalanced capital ships again to be vulnerable to fighter lasers while still having torpedoes (except now the enemy can't shoot them down). This basically makes capital ships a non-threat; your AI companions can solo anything smaller than a cruiser, and you can take out the guns on a ship if you aim well and render them harmless. Fortunately they've reduced the amount of defend and escort missions, and the ones that do exist give you a fair amount of grace before they nuke your carrier. There's only a couple of annoying missions where you have to stop cloaking anti-capital missiles; these cloak and decloak so you only have a limited amount of time to zero in on it, but since they go in a straight line if you've lined up correctly you can still nail it after it cloaks. One final thing to mention is the game has introduced a handful of surface missions; these are mostly just space missions where you can crash if you fly dumb, but they also feature "tanks", which are really just turrets on the ground. The incredibly annoying thing is you can't target them, so you can't use missiles (other than dumbfire, at which point your lasers are just as good), and they are small enough to be tricky to hit. Fortunately you only need to actually kill them in one mission.

Overall Wing Commander III is the game that they always wanted to make, but now they have the technology to make it. It's a fun space sim with a good difficulty curve and missions that can seem daunting until you get in and make the best of things and realize that they are totally doable, just maybe not with the simple tactics you used before. If you tried playing the first two games and bounced off of how primitive they are I recommend you give this one a shot.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:07 pm

Steam lists and sells them as four separate games, so that's how I'm counting them! :P

Games Beaten in 2021 - 25
* denotes a replay

January (12 Games Beaten)
1. God of War - PlayStation 3 - January 1
2. God of War II - PlayStation 3 - January 2
3. God of War: Chains of Olympus - PlayStation 3 - January 3
4. God of War: Ghost of Sparta - PlayStation 3 - January 4
5. God of War III - PlayStation 4 - January 6
6. God of War: Ascension - PlayStation 3 - January 9
7. God of War [2018] - PlayStation 4 - January 16
8. Epic Dumpster Bear 2: He Who Bears Wins - PlayStation 4 - January 16
9. God of War: Betrayal - Mobile - January 17
10. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit - Switch - January 18
11. Muv-Luv photonflowers* - Steam - January 22
12. Muv-Luv photonmelodies♮ - Steam - January 27


February (5 Games Beaten)
13. Gun Gun Pixies - Switch - February 1
14. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS4 - February 8*
15. Pantsu Hunter: Back to the 90s - Vita - February 13
16. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4 - February 17*
17. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - Steam - February 23


March (3 Games Beaten)
18. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - Steam - March 4
19. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky 3rd - Steam - March 7
20. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - PS4 - March 21


April (5 Games Beaten)
21. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - PS4 - April 5
22. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 00 - Steam - April 7
23. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 01 - Steam - April 10
24. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 02 - Steam - April 11
25. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 03 - Steam - April 13


22. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 00 - Steam - April 7
23. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 01 - Steam - April 10
24. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 02 - Steam - April 11
25. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 03 - Steam - April 13

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Fair warning, this contains spoilers for Muv-Luv Unlimited as this takes place immediately after, so keep that in mind.

February 23, 2004. That's The Day - the day that Alternative V was put into action. A migrant fleet with roughly 100,000 of humanity's most promising minds on board departs for Barnard's Star, abandoning the Earth under the pressure of the relentless BETA onslaught. After the departure of the migrant fleet, dozens of G-bombs - bombs with still-not-understood gravity-distorting effects made from exotic G-elements brought to Earth by the BETA - are dropped on BETA hives all over Eurasia in one last ditch effort to eradicate them from the face of the Earth. That was how the story of Muv-Luv Unlimited ended. This is the story of what followed.

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The Day After is broken into four episodes - Episode 00, Episode 01, Episode 02, and Episode 03. Episode 00 serves as a sort of stand-alone introduction with Episodes 01-03 telling the actual main story. 00 opens to with a ship stranded in the shallows in what used to be the south Pacific somewhere between Australia and Hawaii - the USS John F. Kennedy, one of America's nuclear-powered TSF carriers. The story opens as surface pilots with the United States Marine Corps fly across the salt deserts to set up relay points. The two pilots hope desperately to pick up a distress call on the radio once the relay is up and running. Fortune smiles on them; another US Marine surface pilot survived.

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Earth is in shambles; the G-bombs were used as a last resort against the BETA, but no one knew the devastating effects it would have on the planet. Megatsunamis hundreds of meters tall crashed across Eurasia, moving entire oceans from one part of the surface to another. Tectonic plates lurched across the mantle. Most of the southern hemisphere has been transformed into salt deserts with the salt that once formed the seabed. All of Eurasia is now underwater merging the Atlantic and Pacific into one giant ocean. Parts of the atmosphere have been stripped away leaving whole patches of the surface devoid of air pressure or breathable oxygen. Electromagnetic storms make long range communication impossible. Most citizens of the United States - once the nation safest from the BETA threat - are dead. Only four nations remain - the United States, Canada, France, and Japan. Japan and France, having lost their territory beneath the waves thanks to what has been dubbed the Great Ocean Collapse, exist as governments in exile harbored by the United States and Canada, respectively. If this was a victory against the BETA, it was history's most pyrrhic victory.

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So there's your context. In a lot of ways, The Day After is legit more post-apocalyptic than Fallout. Radiation eventually dissipates. The effects of the G-bombs, though? That permanently deforms the planet. Oh, and insult to injury? There are still BETA on the planet. The hives may have been annihilated, but some of the crab bastards survived. Stranded and with no way to contact reinforcements in Hawaii, the crew of the JFK have to find a way to hold out against a renewed BETA threat. This is not the main story, though; instead this is simply the prologue to another bloody chapter in human history.

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Episode 01 starts the story in earnest capitalizing on the world-building foundation set by Episode 00. The main story follows Tatsunami Hibiki and Sendou Yuzuka, two surface pilots from the Imperial Japanese Mainland Defense Force and veterans of Japan's expeditionary force to Europe. If you're hoping to find out what became of Yokohama base after the events of Unlimited and reconnect with your favorite characters, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but 95% of the characters in The Day After are new. That's not necessarily a bad thing as I really came to love these characters, but it's very much a sequel to the world and not the characters per se. I won't go into anymore detail about the story of the world so as not to spoil anything (everything I've said thus far is pretty much what you'd find on a store page), but while it's not nearly as "misery porn" as Alternative, it's still very much Muv-Luv.

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The game is a kinetic visual novel, so it's a straight linear story with no choices or branching routes or endings. Some people would argue that this doesn't constitute a game. I would argue that those people are communist sympathizers, and I'll die on the "visuals novels are games" hill. Anyway, as a kinetic visual novel, it's a very narrative driven experience, and character development and interactions are the name of the game here. If you're familiar with Muv-Luv, you know that ages does character development extremely well. If you're not familiar with Muv-Luv, you probably wouldn't play this anyway. One of the things that must be noted is that they finally used a different engine for it. The older Muv-Luv games used the notoriously finnicky rUGP system (though, from what I've seen on Twitter and Reddit, the Steam releases are a bit more stable than the original Japanese PC releases), but this releases uses a more modern engine. This gives it a bit more stability. It also had some way better looking animations than Alternative, although I'm not sure if that's from dumping rUGP or that they just put more work into the animations in general here.

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Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am obsessed with Muv-Luv. It's pretty much tied with Neptunia as my favorite series. With that said, I'm naturally a bit biased towards it. I will say, however, that I found this one a little less edge-of-your-seat engaging than Alternative. The tension just wasn't as high. As a follow-up to Unlimited's ending, though, it's fantastic. I'd recommend this one to any fan of visual novels (although not until after playing Muv-Luv Extra and Muv-Luv Unlimited first), but it's an absolute must-play for any fans of the Muv-Luv series. Remember, folks, this is the series that literally inspired Attack on Titan, so don't sleep on it. :wink:
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:34 pm

I feel it necessary to point out that your description of the post-bomb Earth is not how science works.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:28 pm

MrPopo wrote:I feel it necessary to point out that your description of the post-bomb Earth is not how science works.

Dude, I play titty anime games; science doesn't have to work.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by BoneSnapDeez Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:27 am

lol nice review Elkin. You're done the whole series now (pending future localization).
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Ack Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:33 am

How many games are there in this series?
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:50 pm

Ack wrote:How many games are there in this series?

In English, there's Muv-Luv (which includes Extra and Unlimited), Alternative, photonflowers, photonmelodies, and The Day After. There are a couple more in Japanese, but they haven't been localized yet.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by prfsnl_gmr Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:16 pm

1. Horace (Switch)
2. Ghostrunner (Switch)
3. Mickey’s Adventure in Numberland (NES)
4. Mickey’s Safari in Letterland (NES)
5. Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Genesis)
6. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Picross (3DS)
7. World of Illusion starring Mickey & Donald (Genesis)
8. Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Game Gear)
9. Land of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Game Gear)
10. Legend of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Game Gear)
11. Portal 2 [co-op] (PS3)
12. Operencia: The Stolen Sun (Switch)
13. The Knight of Queen (Switch)
14. Q.U.B.E. - Director’s Cut (PS3)
15. What the Golf?! (Switch)
16. Prune (iOS)
17. Kenshō (iOS)
18. For the Frog the Bell Tolls (GameBoy)
19. Holedown (iOS)

Holedown is pretty much the perfect mobile game. (It’s also on the Switch, but I can imagine it playing as well on a console.) It is simple; you throw balls at blocks to break them. It plays perfectly with touch controls, and it is insanely addictive. In it, you aim balls at blocks that rise slowly from the bottom of the screen to break them. Each block has a number indicating how many times a ball must hit it to break it. The balls ricochet off the blocks, and the key to success is throwing the balls so they ricochet as much as possible before returning to the top of the screen. (You know, in Breakout, when get you ball on top of the blocks and it bounces off the blocks over and over again? This game does a lot of that, and it’s immensely satisfying.) As you progress, you earn jewels, which you can use to purchase upgrades that help you mine more efficiently, and your goal is to mine to the core of increasingly large cosmic objects. (You start out mining an asteroid, and the last level is a star.) That’s pretty much it. Holedown is just a very simple game crafted incredibly well, and I couldn’t put it down once I started playing it. Very highly recommended.
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