Games Beaten 2022

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dsheinem
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by dsheinem »

Shinobi III was very much a "video game game", if that makes sense - it borrows so many tropes from the era but does them so well...all the while pushing the Genesis hardware. I agree the last boss was difficult (relative to the rest of the game)...and I wasn't a fan of some of the trickier platforming in the later stages...but overall it was a very fair game, which was appreciated.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by Markies »

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2022!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PS3)
2. Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne (XBOX)
3. Streets of Rage 4 (NS)
4. The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time Master Quest (GCN)
5. Dirge Of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (PS2)
6. Darkstalkers (PS1)

7. Evolution: The World Of Sacred Device (SDC)

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I beat Evolution: The World Of Sacred Device on the Sega DreamCast this evening!

Way back in 2015, I picked up Evolution. I was looking for a longer DreamCast game, kind of an RPG length when I went through my Wishlist and I spotted Evolution. When I had initially created my Wishlist, I had gone through every game released for the console and wrote down any game that looked interesting. The game was developed by Sting, who made obscure RPG's like Treasure Hunter G, Dokapon Kingdom, Baroque, Yggdra Union and Rivieria. I had only played Dokapon, but all of the other games were on my Wishlist and so I decided to pick it up. The game sat on my shelf for many years collecting dust until it became my final DreamCast game. Knowing nothing about the game, I jumped in with very small expectations.

Evolution is a turn based RPG dungeon crawler where the hook of the game is that the dungeons are randomly generated. You have 4 dungeons to select from at the beginning, with whatever you pick as the first dungeon being the easiest and the final dungeon being the hardest. Each level is completely unique in its layout. In a way, the game kind of reminds me of a 3D Shining in the Darkness mixed with Skies of Arcadia. There is a large empire that you fight at the end with a bad guy that reminded me very much of Alfonso. I have always been hesitant of playing Dungeon Crawlers because they always seem such a huge time sink along with being incredibly difficult. Evolution is one of the perfect starter RPG Dungeon Crawlers that I have ever played. I beat the game in about 25 hours, so it is not too long. The map is slowly displayed on the screen as you slowly make your way through the floors. The combat system has some nice advantages where you don't to worry about resting or saving all the time. Each time you play, it takes a bit between saving, but the game moved along at a brisk pace and the dungeon exploring and RPG combat made the game a breeze to play through.

Overall, I really began to enjoy my time with Evolution: The World Of Sacred Device. The story is very hackneyed and the graphics aren't great considering this was an early DreamCast game, but the game play is where this game shines. If you have always wanted to try a Dungeon Crawling game and enjoy turn based RPG combat, I would highly recommend this game to anyone. I went into this game not knowing anything about it and now I can't wait to play its sequel.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by MrPopo »

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

1. Underworld Ascendant - PC
2. Castlevania: Harmony of Despair - PS3
3. Ni no Kuni - PS3
4. Operencia: The Stolen Sun - PC
5. RPM Racing - PC
6. Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem - PC
7. Pokemon Legends: Arceus - Switch
8. Ni no Kuni II - PS4

Ni no Kuni II no longer has the assistance of Studio Ghibli but does try to ape that aesthetic. It also really changes up the gameplay and presents a less focused story. And the game can't seem to decide if it's a sequel to the first game or its own thing inspired by (like a Final Fantasy game). It's overall a really mixed sequel.

The game opens up with the President of the United States (or a reasonable facsimile) in a motorcade to a city that looks like a futuristic New York when suddenly an ICBM streaks in and nukes the city. He's knocked out of the car, and his last fading view is of the devastation. He wakes up as a 30-year-old in the bedroom of a cat boy king who is about to be deposed by his rat man advisor. You help him escape and proceed to support him in his dream of starting a kingdom where everyone can be happy. Welcome to Ni no Kuni II.

Now, in terms of determining what sort of sequel this is, the game is ambiguous. The world map is completely changed from the original, but that's common in JRPGs that ARE direct sequels like the Lufia trilogy; that's a lot of plate tectonics in 100 years. But then you've got the opening town of Ding Dong Dell, which was the opening town of the first game, with a similar layout and even a repeat of the sewer dungeon with the same puzzles. And a part of the game makes reference to the original game's storyline, though with some different details that you can chalk up to how stories change over time. But then other components are completely different with the same name. It's possible that this is many thousands of years in the future, but that makes it all the weirder that Ding Dong Dell is intact. There's no real resolution to this; I think the intent was to throw some nods and move on with their own story.

The bigger change is gameplay. Instead of a turn-based with free move mons system this game is pure action RPG in the vein of Tales, but much less advanced. You have light and heavy attacks and can build up mana by attacking to unleash special moves. You have a dodge roll or can block, and you have a ranged attack that also uses mana. The special moves don't chain like they do in Tales, and there's no healing magic, just a limited supply of items (you're capped on the number you can use in battle, so even if you have 50 of the basic item you can only use 10). They also have enemies almost never stagger, you stagger constantly, you have no i-frames on standing up from a knockdown, and enemies having almost no windup. So the combat system is just a dumb slugging match, without any real strategy to it. Weirder still, leveling up in the game is almost meaningless; it's just a bit of HP. ALL of your power comes from your equipment, and if you stay up to date with that you can cream enemies 20 levels higher than you. And you will be doing so because doing the story doesn't give you enough experience to keep pace with enemies.

The game has a couple of other systems. The first is this army skirmish minigame where you have four armies helping you out, you rotate them around you to match up advantages (the standard Fire Emblem triangle), and then it's just a real time mashing of forces together. It mostly comes down to whether or not you came in at a high enough army level (which is separate from character levels). There are a handful of required ones in the story (including one right before the final dungeon) and in this case you NEED to do the optional side ones to get enough experience. It's mostly a time waster, and not interesting on its own.

The other system is the kingdom building system. A good chunk of sidequests end with you recruiting people to your kingdom, and then you can build structures that either let you research benefits (more exp, better weapons, etc) or passively gain resources for the fruits of your research (all weapons/armor are crafted using resources). You definitely will want to engage with this, as it gives you the equipment you need to keep pace with the game's story. But actually building this up is time gated; the resource for building/researching is gained through time and some sidequests, and research is time gated and takes between half an hour and an hour of real play time. This seems intended to encourage you to sidequest, but you can also just leave it running while you watch youtube.

Overall, I think I enjoyed the game less than the first one, but not by a lot. They kind of threw a lot of things in without really having a plan for how it would harmoniously work together, and the story wasn't as compelling as the first game. It ended up being a really bland sort of RPG, with lots of tropes being seen a mile away and no real tension to things. It's not a bad game, but I can't recommend it to anyone because there are other, more fun games, you could be playing instead.
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by Note »

dsheinem wrote:Shinobi III was very much a "video game game", if that makes sense - it borrows so many tropes from the era but does them so well...all the while pushing the Genesis hardware. I agree the last boss was difficult (relative to the rest of the game)...and I wasn't a fan of some of the trickier platforming in the later stages...but overall it was a very fair game, which was appreciated.


Love Shinobi III, it's probably my favorite Shinobi game, but I could never get past the "Falling Rocks" section in level 6. IIRC, I couldn't do the double jump consistently, which I think was pretty much necessary to get past this section. I'll have to give it another shot sometime.

Markies wrote:I beat Evolution: The World Of Sacred Device on the Sega DreamCast this evening!

Overall, I really began to enjoy my time with Evolution: The World Of Sacred Device. The story is very hackneyed and the graphics aren't great considering this was an early DreamCast game, but the game play is where this game shines. If you have always wanted to try a Dungeon Crawling game and enjoy turn based RPG combat, I would highly recommend this game to anyone. I went into this game not knowing anything about it and now I can't wait to play its sequel.


Evolution! This is one of the few Dreamcast games I have from my childhood. I never beat it back then, but it's a goal of mine, so I think it's cool that you dusted it off and finished it.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

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Markies wrote:7. Evolution: The World Of Sacred Device (SDC)


Sadly, Evolution is not compatible with the Dreamcast VGA box. I really wish it was.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

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Note wrote:Evolution! This is one of the few Dreamcast games I have from my childhood. I never beat it back then, but it's a goal of mine, so I think it's cool that you dusted it off and finished it.


It most definitely was collecting dust on my shelf. :D

Worth a play through and I hope you enjoy it!
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by MrPopo »

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

1. Underworld Ascendant - PC
2. Castlevania: Harmony of Despair - PS3
3. Ni no Kuni - PS3
4. Operencia: The Stolen Sun - PC
5. RPM Racing - PC
6. Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem - PC
7. Pokemon Legends: Arceus - Switch
8. Ni no Kuni II - PS4
9. Everspace - PC

Everspace is an arcade roguelite space shooter that takes a lot of inspiration from FTL in its structure. However, unlike FTL it definitely gets easier over time, as there is a persistent upgrade system that will make a big difference as you play through. Interestingly, you also need to reach the end of your journey multiple times to finish the story, and the story integrates the fact that you keep dying and restarting (though it is a bit hand wavy in the details).

You start off in a ship, in space, with only your ship AI as a companion. All you know is you need to get to a set of coordinates that you have stored, but you don't know why. And as you start moving through this hostile universe you slowly pick up pieces of the story and your memory. Pretty soon your goals change from "make it to the end" to "resolve this problem". With the current DLC there are also several side missions that have a bit of story to them with you helping out some other denizens of the sector. None of it is terribly deep, but it's just enough to keep you wanting to progress things.

Now, I mentioned it takes a lot of inspiration from FTL. You move from space zone to space zone, following a branching path, and at the end is a jump gate to the next sector. Inside a space zone you have a wide space to explore, kill enemies, and find loot. But if you stay too long enemies start to warp in, and they get meaner the longer you stay, until an invincible battleship shows up and you need to bug out immediately. Also, sometimes you are trapped in a zone and need to find and disable the device that suppresses your jump drive. Some zones have environmental effects or will have a service station available to heal you, and there is a crafting system to improve and repair your ship and its equipment.

The moment-to-moment gameplay is definitely on the arcade end of things; this is very much not a sim. Your ship handles more like a 6 degree of freedom game, but with a lot of inertia around turns (and if you take damage to your inertial compensator you'll also have a ton of inertia with your thrust). You have one or more primary weapons powered by your ship's reactor (which also powers your boost), one or more secondary weapons (missiles), and then some number of devices (passive or reusable active) and consumables. Enemies drop resources for crafting as well as new weapons, and you'll be swapping frequently. You can also find enhancements, which are passive abilities which are either minor boosts or have a noticeable tradeoff (such as one that sets your hull to 50% on every jump, so it heals you if you're low but harms if you're high). One important resource is fuel; it takes 25 units for a jump, and if you don't have enough you have to risk a jump that can damage you severely (but you can get lucky as well).

The persistent power comes from both those enhancements I mentioned (once unlocked you can use them forever) and a series of purchasable enhancements you can get after a run. Half of these apply to your pilot, and are things like cash boosts, the ability to critical hit and increasing the damage of it, and improving your sector scanner to better plan your route. The other half are locked to a given ship (two of which need to be purchased first). These are things like increased speed, hull, and energy. It behooves you to find a ship you like and stick with it, as the upgrades get quite expensive. For a given ship you can also unlock alternate configs by making it halfway through and all the way through a run.

Overall, Everspace is quite a fun space game that has the right amount of challenge and provides you with ways to manage it over time. By end game I was knocking out runs in half an hour and was not just struggling over the finish line. The devs have a sequel in early access that looks to do more of an open world space game, and I'm interested to see how that one turns out. They've clearly demonstrated an ability to make something fun.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by Nemoide »

THE LIST:
1. Diddy Kong Racing (N64)
2. Resident Evil 4 (Gamecube)
3. Freedom Planet (Switch)
4. Aleste (PS4)
5. Gunpey DS (DS)
6. GG Aleste (PS4)
7. Dr. Mario (GB)
8. Motor Toon Grand Prix (PS1)
9. PaRappa the Rapper (PS1)
10. GG Aleste II (PS4)
11. Power Strike II (PS4)
12. Rusty's Real Deal Baseball (3DS)
13. GG Aleste 3 (PS4)
14. Darius (PS4)
15. Darius: Extra Version (Genesis)


14. Darius (PS4) part of the Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade
I've long been a fan of STGs and 80s arcade games, yet somehow I've never played Darius before this year. But I did get the Strictly Limited release of Dariuz Cozmic Collection because the PS4 seemed like a good platform to play it on. This collection replicates the effect of the original arcade machine, which had three monitors to create one ultra-wide display. It seems small on my 42" TV, but it's as close to the arcade as I can get at home! The collection includes three modes: Old, New, and Extra all based off different arcade revisions, though based on my play time none of them seem too wildly different from each other. I've played through each mode once, picking a different path each time. As best I can tell, none of the modes allow for credit-feeding continues (am I missing something? or did Darius not have that?) but DOES allow for save states, which is handy. They also all have a training mode where you can start at any stage with any level of power-ups. So if you JUST want to see all the endings, or practice a certain area, that's pretty easy. There are CRT-filters which I appreciate, including one which slightly darkens the part of the screen that would have been the middle CRT to replicate the real arcade aesthetic; I like that but I also turn off the pixel-perfect mode and instead opt to fill the entire width of the screen with the game. But if you want razor-sharp pixels, that's an option and if you want to just crop the game so it fills your entire screen, that's another option. These are all good features and M2 (the same folks who made the Aleste Collection) deserve props for them!
As for the game itself, I feel like the gameplay is pretty solid for a game from the mid-80s! You're a tiny spaceship flying vertically through different stages themed after places like caves, outer space, under the ocean, a futuristic city, et al. Between each stage you fight a giant boss that's a huge robot fish! I knew about the fish going into the game but was a little surprised that they're ONLY the bosses and normal enemies don't have any aquatic properties. When you first encounter them, they can be overwhelming and intimidating, especially since when you die you restart the battle from the beginning and they recover health (although their starting HP is connected to your powerups and since you've likely lost them after dying, the boss is at least correspondingly weaker). Once you play through a few times, you can pick up on certain tricks to make some o them a lot easier. But even after you get used to their patterns, some of them can be tricky! The difficulty doesn't seem to be a steady incline because even though the giant piranha boss comes before the swordfish boss, who comes before the giant sea turtle (for one ending at least), I found them to be increasingly easy. After each boss, the game branches into two paths (eg after the first level "A" you can choose to go up to "B" or down to "C")
But overall this game is HARD! I'm glad it has training mode and save states because otherwise I'm not sure I'd have the determination to beat it. But after spending time with the game (and I'm going to spend more) I'm starting to understand what made it a classic and am enjoying improving my skills.

15. Darius: Extra Version (Genesis)
Another Darius! Again published by Strictly Limited Games! The game also shows up on the Genesis Mini (I own it but I've yet to confirm it's exactly the same) The "Extra Version" in the title is misleading - the game contains a port of the Extra version in addition to the Old and New versions but it also has LOTS of extra features so it's a lot more than just the Extra version from arcades.
The most obvious difference between this and the arcade version is that it has to contain all the action on one screen and I have to say it's impressive at how well it does so without feeling cramped. When you run out of lives in Old version, you get a game over, but New and Extra let you continue where you left off, which is nice - it doesn't even send you back to a checkpoint like the arcade does. The game also has an easy mode where you can keep your powerups after dying and your attacks deal twice as much damage. So if you just want to blaze through and see the ending, it's no trouble. You can also choose between different boss options: you can have the arcade mode where you fight the same bosses in the same order no matter what path you take (until the final stage) OR you can have it set to 26 bosses where each lettered stage leads to a different boss! Plus there's a boss rush mode if you just want to fight bosses! And the manual hints at other secret things hiding in the game...
Overall, this is a kind of shockingly good port. It feels worth getting even though you could just as easily play the arcade game. It feels a lot more approachable than the arcade version while still keeping so much of the original's vibe. It feels wrong to prefer the Genesis version to an emulated arcade version, but I have to say... I'm inclined to think it's actually better than the original! Cartridges are still available through Strictly Limited and if you're into collecting for the Genesis, I'd recommend you don't sleep on it.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by MrPopo »

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

1. Underworld Ascendant - PC
2. Castlevania: Harmony of Despair - PS3
3. Ni no Kuni - PS3
4. Operencia: The Stolen Sun - PC
5. RPM Racing - PC
6. Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem - PC
7. Pokemon Legends: Arceus - Switch
8. Ni no Kuni II - PS4
9. Everspace - PC
10. PowerSlave Exhumed - PC

PowerSlave Exhumed is Nightdive's rerelease of the console version of PowerSlave (known as Exhumed in Europe). Now I specifically call out the console version, because it is quite different from the DOS version that is already available on digital platforms. That version is a pretty straightforward Build engine FPS, while the console version (which did come first, on the Saturn, by a couple of months) is probably the first Metroidvania in a first person perspective, beating out Metroid Prime by a number of years.

The game's story is as threadbare as any of the era. Aliens have invaded Karnak and stolen the body of Ramses (it's not mentioned which Ramses), your special forces team goes to stop them, the helicopter is shot down, you're the only survivor, kill them all. The ghost of Ramses helps out by telling you want to do between major story beats. If you finish with the good ending you gain immortality and become king of the world. Standard stuff.

Now, Hexen and Quake 2 had flirted with having maps interconnect and needing to go to one to unlock something in another, but it was all switch and key based. PowerSlave has a series of mobility items you'll gain throughout which unlock new paths through old maps, so you have to criss cross across the world map, moving from level to level as you slowly uncover the path to the final boss. These powers are a high jump, the ability to hold your breath more than five seconds, a slow fall, the ability to take greatly reduced damage from poison/lava floors, the ability to get past energy barriers, and finally a replacement for the slow fall where you just hover instead. Add in grenades and grenade jumping (never required to progress, but iequired to get the good ending and some items) and you've got a recipe for Metroidvania.

The game's array of weapons does a decent job of not just being the standard FPS array. While it starts with melee, pistol, three shot burst gun, afterwards it's grenade, flamethrower, a staff that shoots homing explosive bolts, a ring that shoots out a ton of bouncy fireballs that uses a tiny amount of ammo, and finally bracers that shoot out a pillar of lightning. Ammunition pickups are universal, while individual guns have their own supply, similar to a Mega Man game's weapon energy pickups. In addition to enemies dropping health/weapon pickups on death, all the pots scattered around are a good source of drops. But they're also a source of minor enemy spawns and sometimes they explode in energy bolts. You'll definitely want to break them at a distance.

The levels are pretty well crafted, with a lot of verticality and some puzzle elements of needing to find keys and flip switches to turn off traps and open up barriers. One thing is that you can't save mid level; instead there are checkpoints which will respawn you when you die. This is a compromise between the console original (you restart the level on death) and the PC version (checkpoints and limited lives). One kind of annoying thing is that the level map resets on death, and more noticeably when you revisit a level you start from the beginning and have to recollect all keys (and the map resets). The only progress that is saved is collected weapons and key items (mobility and the pieces for the good ending).

The game definitely has some rough patches, but for a 90s FPS from a brand new dev it's quite solid, and it isn't too long and isn't too difficult overall. The bosses end up being fairly interesting for FPS bosses of the era, but also avoid being too bullshit; you can dodge everything they throw at you if you're on the ball. And the game does get the platforming right for the genre it's in, which was very much not a sure thing at the time. It's definitely unique, and I'd say it holds up reasonably well.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

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1. Record of Lodoss War - Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth (PC)(Action Adventure)
2. The Citadel (PC)(FPS)
3. Gothic 3 (PC)(RPG)
4. Witchaven (PC)(FPS)

Describing Witchaven as an FPS is something of a misnomer, because while it does feature the first person view, only two of your regular weapons are ranged, and there is a leveling system that impacts your maximum possible health. Yet when playing it, it does feel like a poor man's Hexen, so FPS tends to be how genre fans and game journalists have described it. I will not quibble with this description.

Witchaven is an early Build engine game from the much maligned dev Capstone. Now Capstone is not known for producing high quality titles, so their games automatically receive a bad rap. Does Witchaven deserve your scorn? No, not really, though it does deserve your criticism. There are some fantastic ideas in the game, as well as some terrible ones. The end result is lackluster when compared to genre heavy hitters from its era, but it's nowhere near the dregs; Capstone hit that when they did William Shatner's TekWar.

In Witchaven, you play a knight who must venture into an island fortress consisting of 25 maps to defeat an evil witch. Along the way you will gather magic potions and spells, arm yourself with an array of swords, axes, and other medieval weapons, and slaughter monsters while dealing with shoddy hit detection, animation issues, and the random variance of your weapon swings. And you'll deal with traps. The traps are the worst part.

But first, let's talk your weapons. Almost all are melee, and while they do have a range, it's not particularly far out in front of you. Each weapon has different swings, and these have different timings and do different amounts of damage. Unfortunately, you have no say as to which swing you'll do; Hexen didn't go this far into how melee could work, but the lack of ability to control your swing hurts the game as you try to windup for a combat dance only to whiff horribly before you even get near. Enemies in turn will sometimes cause you damage without entering an attack animation, so the melee dance ends up critically important, thus making the inability to vary swing type more pronounced.

Oh, and weapons break. You are told when they get close, but there is nothing else to warn you when you're wearing down your morningstar. Since weapons break at the start of your attack, they also will suddenly disappear right as you rush in for combat. It's the start of an interesting idea that unfortunately serves more frustrating than anything else. But it also means you may end up swapping weapons on the fly to favor range, damage, and durability as well. For instance, the magic sword is way more durable than the halberd, but the halberd has better range for melee. Choose what is best for the job.

There are also a variety of magic potions, to heal you, double your damage, protect you from fire, and so on. And there are spells to give you more range attacks as well as provide utility and flight. As you traverse some relatively large levels, spells like Fly will help you explore secret areas. Unfortunately, poor level design decisions will also sometimes necessitate the use of potions and spell scrolls, turning them into a get out of jail free card for shoddy level design.

And that is another problem with Witchaven: great level layouts are too often ruined with hidden switches, insta-death traps, or rooms that seal themselves and force a reload. There are some very cool level layouts for you to explore, comprising castles, fortresses, caverns, and more. But the constant throwing of traps upon traps that you must endure ends up turning this exploration into a slog. I love that I am seeking a magical portal and its activation key in each level, because it rewards exploration, but to surround said key with pits of spikes and invisible pit traps? It's a dick move that could have been handled so much better.

These issues are what brings Witchaven down, because otherwise it's a moody and dark game with some cool ideas. For instance, monsters were mostly designed in claymation, while weapons are digitized sprites of real world armaments. It is massively fun when it works, and you cleave an ogre with an axe and watch as its ear flies off in a shot of gore. In these moments, Witchaven is incredibly rewarding. But there are so many misses, the game gets in its own way. For that, I'd only recommend it to the diehards who want a Hexen/Heretic fix and have literally nothing else to play.
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