Games Beaten 2022

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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by ElkinFencer10 »

Games Beaten in 2021 - 27
* denotes a replay

January (20 Games Beaten)
1. Project MIKHAIL: A Muv-Luv War Story - Steam - January 1
2. Shin Megami Tensei V - Switch - January 9
3. Halo 2600 - Atari 2600 - January 10
4. Cruis'n Blast - Switch - January 13
5. Alan Wake - PlayStation 5 - January 15
6. Alan Wake's American Nightmare - Xbox 360 - January 15
7. Apsulov: End of Gods - Playstation 5 - January 16
8. Captain U - Wii U - January 16
9. Raji: An Ancient Epic - Xbox One - January 17
10. JankBrain - Switch - January 22
11. Would You Like to Run an Idol Café - Switch - January 22
12. Bury Me, My Love - Switch - January 22
13. A Normal Lost Phone - Switch - January 22
14. Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story - Switch - January 22
15. Cthulhu Saves Christmas - Switch - January 23
16. Armed 7 - Dreamcast - January 24
17. Satazius Next - Dreamcast - January 24
18. Wolflame - Dreamcast - January 25
19. Metal Slug 1st Mission - Neo Geo Pocket - January 25
20. Metal Slug 2nd Mission - Neo Geo Pocket - January 26


February (1 Games Beaten)
21. Pokemon Legends: Arceus - Switch - February 5


March (0 Games Beaten)
wow I suck ass lmao


April (3 Games Beaten)
22. The Last of Us Part II - PlayStation 4 - April 9
23. Metro 2033 Redux - PlayStation 4 - April 14
24. Sakura Angels - Switch - April 26


May (3 Games Beaten)
25. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures - Gamecube - May 8
26. Metro Last Light Redux - PlayStation 4 - May 14
27. Metro Exodus - Series X - May 28


27. Metro Exodus - Series X - May 28

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Metro Exodus is the latest entry in the Metro series, a series of first-person shooters with a horror element based on novels by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky (don't worry, he's a vocal opponent of Putin's invasion of Ukraine). Exodus took a sort of pseudo-open world format, something I'll explain in a bit, which was the game's biggest diversion from the last two games in the series.

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The most important thing to know up-front if you're going into Exodus after Last Light is that the game is a direct sequel, but it specifically takes place after the good ending of Last Light. I got the bad ending (because I can't stop murdering people I think need murdering), and I was VERY confused when I started Exodus because I wasn't aware of that. "Why aren't you dead?" "Why is he here?" "What's going on?!?" So just keep that in mind. The premise of the game is that Artyom learns that there are suvivors outside of Moscow, something that no one thought was the case, so through some plot events, he and a handful of Spartan Rangers end up taking a train on a long journey out of Moscow to look for survivors and see what the state of the world and Russia are.

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Visually, the game looks great. Granted, I'm playing the Series X version, but at the end of the day, it's an 8th gen game that just got polished up to 9th gen kind of like how 2033 Redux and Last Light Redux were just remastered 7th gen games, not true 8th gen games. I mention that because, looking at the screenshots, a lot of people are going to point out that it doesn't look as good as games made specifically for PS5 and Series X, and that's fair. That said, though, it's a huge step up from 2033 and Last Light, so credit where it's due; it looks pretty solid for a game from 2019. The voice acting, while still a bit wonky for some characters, is generally better than in the older games.

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I described the game as "pseudo-open world," and what I mean by that is that you get to explore each of the game's areas like you would in an open world game, but the game is divided into distinct sections that don't transition fluidly into one another, and you can't move between regions at will. This part of the game is in Part A, then when you finish that main quest, you move into Part B for the next part of the game. It's a good way to do it that fits the game's story way better than a true open world design, but with gaming's current belief that "open world is best," it's worth noting up front.

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Metro Exodus is an excellent entry in an already pretty solid series. It's not going to blow anyone's mind with visuals, gameplay, or story, but it's extremely competent in all of those areas. Unfortunately, the aren't any Nazis to murder, but there are some cultists and cannibals, so that's a decent consolation murder. The story is much less supernatural than 2033 and more grounded in, for lack of a better phrase, reality, but I was a bit let down by the ending. Of course, my murder sprees got me the bad ending again, and while the good ending is definitely better, it's still wasn't super satisfying in my opinion. Still, like Mass Effect 3, don't let the disappointing ending dissuade you; the ride is more than worth the play.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by Flake »

Yikes - I kept putting off recording my games beaten for this year and now it's almost July. I haven't beaten many games this year. Just hard to find the time and mental energy to actually finish anything.

Switch
Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Super Mario Bros U Deluxe
Time Spinner
Fire Emblem 3 Houses
Super Mario Galaxy
Dragonball Z Kakarot
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

Xbox Series S
Blood Stained: Curse of the Moon
Blood Stained: Curse of the Moon 2

Of all the games on this list, the 2 that stand out the most for me are Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna and Shredder's Revenge. Two games that are bite-sized relative to other games in their respective genres that just seem to do everything so much better than I expected.

The only real let down was Dragonball Z: Kakarot. It's just this really weird game that is super ambitious in ways that don't really matter but unnecessarily restrained in every aspect that would be fun for players. It's like there wasn't project management or something.

Examples:

- There's only a handful of playable characters - but there's some weird fucking car customization mechanic that has no bearing on anything at all but is more fully fleshed out than the character progression system?

- Each character plays identically to one another but there is a dynamic in-game resource and economy sub-system that tracks prices and assets region-to-region to help you complete recipes for items that are always worse than what you can just buy at a store?

- The devs went to the trouble to render in stunning detail locales from the manga and anime that have no bearing on the story and are not populated with any NPCs or part of any quests but they only came up with about 4 'grunt' enemy models and they just color swap them over and over again for the 45 hours you'll be playing the game?

- The game is called "Dragonball Z Kakarot" but nearly every NPC is from the original Dragonball and they decided to not include any of the DBZ Movie or Filler plot elements meaning that you only play as Goku for a handful of hours in the entire game because, well, Goku is dead or fucking around in space for most of DBZ. It should be called "Dragonball Z Gohan" because that's the only character you consistently get to play as.
Maybe now Nintendo will acknowledge Metroid has a fanbase?
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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
11. Horizon Forbidden West - PS5
12. Elden Ring - PS5
13. Shadow Warrior 3 - PC
14. Ghostrunner: Project_Hel - PC
15. Triangle Strategy - Switch
16. Tiny Tina's Wonderlands - PC
17. Nightmare Reaper - PC
18. Kur - PC
19. Gundam Versus - PS4
20. BIOTA - PC
21. Chantelise - PC
22. Xenoblade Chronicles - Wii
23. Forgive Me Father - PC
24. Xenoblade Chronicles X - Wii U
25. Steel Assault - Switch
26. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge - Switch
27. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - Switch

My quest to wrap up the series before the third game hits next month continues, this time with Xenoblade Chronicles 2. I only have the DLC left to do, though I'm going to have to speed through that, as it's being run at GDQ this year (which begins this weekend). While I've had mixed feelings about the previous games, I can unambiguously say that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a great game.

The world of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a world with no solid land. Rather, there is a sea of clouds (that gets as dense as water, so you can dive in it) which is the home of various titans, gigantic creatures who swim through the sea and are large enough for civilizations to grow up on their backs. There's also an enormous tree (akin to legends of Yggdrasil) that legend holds is where mankind used to live before being cast down. You are a young salvager named Rex (deep sea diver) who gets caught up in events that turn into a quest to climb the World Tree and hopefully give everyone a home, as the titans are slowly dying.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 really refines the combat of the previous games. It still features the style of auto attacking by default, with special abilities on cooldowns where your big damage is. Unlike previous games, here you only have three special abilities, mapped to three of the face buttons (the fourth is for extra special abilities). You do have access to extra attacks, though, as your attacks come from your partners, and you can swap partners during battle. Another departure is the cooldowns on your special abilities progress from auto attacking. Also, the combat has overall been slowed down and made more deliberate, so you don't lose track so much of what's going on like the previous games.

One thing I saw at the beginning of the game is that combat was very drawn out, and enemies felt like HP sponges. This ends up being a casualty of the game's combo system, which you can't really use early (but the early mobs aren't scaled properly for that fact). When you use special abilities you charge up a meter; when it's full you can unleash a high damage move. This move actually has three levels of power, and you can chain those up the levels (following the appropriate elements) to get bigger and bigger damage. This ends up being a very significant part of your overall damage output, and that's before you introduce the next level of whole party attack. The system has a lot going on, and the game doesn't fully explain it as well as it could. But once you understand it you can do some extreme damage. To the point of taking out half a boss's HP with a whole party attack if you set up things right. The game rewards mastery of its systems, and the whole thing was quite rewarding once the game gave you enough tools. But the early game is a bit of a slog.

Like previous games, the game has sidequests which are more trouble than they're worth, for the most part. Here, though, they are all fully bespoke, though that also means that a lot of them also have a few too many steps that feel like padding. For the most part you don't need to engage with them and you'll still hit the level curve as expected. And like other games, there are some other side systems that can grant an advantage if you take advantage, but can be mostly skipped (more like the Colony 6 stuff from the first game, rather than the exploration of X, which is more forced on you). The game also has a lot of customization for your party in the form of the various partners you can unlock, as well as getting them leveled up (as the leveling for partners is based on feats, rather than experience like for the main characters). Finding the right combination of partners for an effective party is important and rewarding.

Without spoilers, the game also shares some narrative features with Xenoblade Chronicles 1, including an end game reveal that majorly changes the nature of what you've been doing, and makes me more excited for Xenoblade Chronicles 3. Overall, the game feels like the dev team finally hitting their stride, and producing a high tier JRPG for Switch players. If you bounced off the earlier games I'd recommend giving this a try, as it's a major improvement over the other games in the series.
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bmoc
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by bmoc »

Glad you enjoyed Xenoblade 2. Torna should not take long at all. I don't think you will have trouble finishing it before 3 is released. You might want to check out the cutscenes from Future Connected on YouTube. Future Connected is the epilogue they added to Xenoblade 1 in the Switch version.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by Ack »

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)
5. Unpacking (PC)(Puzzle)
6. Firewatch (PC)(Adventure)
7. Perilous Warp (PC)(FPS)

8. The Ascent (PC)(RPG)
9. Borderlands: Game of the Year Enhanced - The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned (PC)(FPS/RPG)
10. Borderlands: Game of the Year Enhanced - The Secret Armory of General Knoxx (PC)(FPS/RPG)
11. Borderlands: Game of the Year Enhanced - Claptrap's New Robot Revolution (PC)(FPS/RPG)


I have been busy the last couple of months getting into the union and working on sets, but I did take some time to play through the Enhanced version of several Borderlands expansions, with the exception of Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot, because I greatly dislike it. The Enhanced version of Borderlands was given out several years ago on Steam to players who owned the previous Borderlands: Game of the Year edition. It incorporates some design changes from Borderlands 2 to improve quality of life as well as resolution upgrades, though the core gameplay stays intact.

Does it substantially change the expansions? No, not really. The core material is untouched, and while it's a little prettier, it's not without problems. However Gearbox went about upgrading the resolutions, it sometimes leads to the mouse cursor popping up on the screen when it shouldn't. It also causes weird map issues where a waypoint gets set despite my not even opening the map; this is most notable when switching between quests.

Beyond that, it's still Borderlands, with all its highs and lows. Later games further beefed the UI and look cleaner, and the writing for each expansion varies. Some I find are great, while others have moments of not so much. There is also a terrible over reliance on farming quests as well as some serious RNG reliances that are just frustrating.

It isn't perfect, but it did at least get me to revisit. I'll go back and likely play more at some future point, including the Moxxi expansion I dislike, but for a free version that made for some nice nostalgia, I liked the overall package well enough.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by Raging Justice »

Sonic the Hedgehog - Sonic Origins

One of the funny things that happens when you get older is realizing that a lot of things you loved as a kid...really aren't as great as you remember. I'm a big Sonic fan and I've always considered the original Sonic the Hedgehog to be one of my all time favorite games. Now that I've had the chance to revisit it...it kind of sucks. The level design isn't that great. There are cheap set ups and cheap traps everywhere, where you WILL take a hit or die unless you have memorized the level. There is a dearth of checkpoints...at least by modern game standards. Play through what feels like half a stage, die to some cheap bullshit like an enemy popping up out of nowhere and knocking you right into a trap that crushes you, or dying when you jump under one of those crushing objects because apparently Sonic's hit box is way bigger than it looks, and restart the level from the very beginning because you didn't make it to the checkpoint. The special stages for the chaos emeralds are absolutely dreadful. My god, they are INFURIATING to play now as an adult with much less patience than I had when I was a kid.

So yeah, it's true. "Sonic was never good". Hopefully, the later games will hold up better when I replay them. I used to consider Sonic 3 and Knuckles to be one of the greatest platformers of all time, but now I'm a bit nervous about revisiting it. I was recently playing Ape Escape for the first time as part of the recent PS 1 Classics program and it is PURE GARBAGE. I stopped playing it and deleted it from my hard drive. A lot of these "classics" don't stand the test of time. There are far better games now like Kaze and the Wild Masks, New Super Lucky's Tale and Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by GKBracken »

Raging Justice wrote:So yeah, it's true. "Sonic was never good". Hopefully, the later games will hold up better when I replay them. I used to consider Sonic 3 and Knuckles to be one of the greatest platformers of all time, but now I'm a bit nervous about revisiting it. I was recently playing Ape Escape for the first time as part of the recent PS 1 Classics program and it is PURE GARBAGE. I stopped playing it and deleted it from my hard drive. A lot of these "classics" don't stand the test of time. There are far better games now like Kaze and the Wild Masks, New Super Lucky's Tale and Astro Bot: Rescue Mission

I was literally about to try playing Ape Escape for the first time, so there goes my hype.
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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
11. Horizon Forbidden West - PS5
12. Elden Ring - PS5
13. Shadow Warrior 3 - PC
14. Ghostrunner: Project_Hel - PC
15. Triangle Strategy - Switch
16. Tiny Tina's Wonderlands - PC
17. Nightmare Reaper - PC
18. Kur - PC
19. Gundam Versus - PS4
20. BIOTA - PC
21. Chantelise - PC
22. Xenoblade Chronicles - Wii
23. Forgive Me Father - PC
24. Xenoblade Chronicles X - Wii U
25. Steel Assault - Switch
26. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge - Switch
27. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - Switch
28. Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country - Switch

Torna serves as prequel DLC to Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It takes place during the War of the Aegis that was a key part of the backstory and character motivations in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. While you don't necessarily learn anything revelatory, it does go deeper into several key events that were only obliquely shown in the base game, so from a story perspective it's worthwhile.

The game consists of a single new titan to explore, plus a small chunk of one from the base game. Because of this, they cut out all of the pouch item vendors in favor of a crafting system. This is a net negative, as now you have to farm rare drops from enemies and gathering points to be able to get party buffs and items to unlock stat nodes that require using pouch items. You do still have stores for core chips and accessories, so at least that you can have a standard power curve.

Combat is basically the same as the base game, mechanically, though the fluff around it is a bit different due to the setting. There are two changes you'll notice, one being quality of life and one actually affecting how combat plays out. The quality of life is that now you can do any elemental chain you want, and each step in the chain puts an orb on enemies for the later chain attack. So that ends up being more potent. The other change is that when you do a combat swap the incoming character does an attack, which builds your special gauge and several have one of the knockdown chain abilities. So you can more consistently do those chains, rather than fully relying on the AI to do what you want.

The game has one MAJOR annoyance, though. Like Xenoblade Chronicles X before it, it demands you do a certain number of sidequests to proceed. The first gate isn't too bad; you're close to the required number if you do the handful of opportunistic sidequests. But then about 15 minutes later you're given another gate, which involves doing what ended up being 4-6 hours worth of additional sidequests, which also gave me another 10 levels. The obvious padding of the experience really rubbed me the wrong way, especially since, while I needed those levels, they could have just reduced the final area levels to not assume you do several hours of grinding. And since you do a short dungeon and the final boss immediately afterward, it really kills all the goodwill the game had built up beforehand.

Your enjoyment of the DLC is going to come down to how much you like the open world "go faff about for a while" aspects of the base game. If you really liked doing sidequests and gathering shit and running about then you'll love this for the additional story. If you see the open world stuff as meh then this will seriously try your patience, though the story does make up for it a bit.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by Ack »

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)
5. Unpacking (PC)(Puzzle)
6. Firewatch (PC)(Adventure)
7. Perilous Warp (PC)(FPS)

8. The Ascent (PC)(RPG)
9. Borderlands: Game of the Year Enhanced - The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned (PC)(FPS/RPG)
10. Borderlands: Game of the Year Enhanced - The Secret Armory of General Knoxx (PC)(FPS/RPG)
11. Borderlands: Game of the Year Enhanced - Claptrap's New Robot Revolution (PC)(FPS/RPG)

12. Kingdom of the Dead (PC)(FPS)

A lot of FPS these days are getting the 'Boomer Shooter' label if they're not a AAA title from a major studio. Kingdom of the Dead is one of these, developed by a single person who drew his inspiration from the likes of Doom and Blood. Does this make for a classic FPS? Well, not entirely, as KotD does some things like those old games and does some things with modern innovation. And with the limited dev team, some bugs have slipped through, but I generally like the game.

The game is set sometime in the late 1800s in the American West. You play an agent of the government, tasked as part of some secret organization to confront the threats of necromantic magics as Death attempts to open portals and invade our world. Your one ally in this is a talking sword that's power hungry and doesn't really like you. But you have to use him to destroy the portals and face the otherworldly threats which are attempting to take over, so it's a marriage of convenience. That, and he likes trains, so I guess that's cool.

The thing that first attracted my eye to KotD were the visuals: the game uses a sparse color palette of black and white (and red for the blood of your enemies), and while these colors can be adjusted via several filters to look more like such things as a Game Boy or Virtual Boy game, it's primarily stark. More interesting is that the textures have a hand drawn quality to them. There is some impressive line work here, and it gives an aged quality to everything, which helps emphasize your setting. The hands of the player model do look a little wooden as a result of all the dashes on them, but considering I'm more focused on the ghouls with guns, I can forgive this oddity.

The game is only 9 levels long, with three difficulties that require different results for completion. The base only needs you to get to the end, but on the highest, you're dealing with tougher, faster monsters in larger groups while also trying to find a secondary item and rescue human prisoners throughout the level. The levels range from a ship to a train to a military fort where the undead man cannons and fire upon you. You'll fight through manors, mills, and city streets with an array of Western-themed weapons, such as your trusty revolver, a shotgun, dynamite, and even a handy Gatling, though all levels start you out with just your pistol and the sword. Many weapons also involve alternate fire, such as fanning the revolver, as well as iron sights for better precision. Health is handled via a Zelda-esque hearts system which resets in each level, though most have multiple hearts you can find to beef yourself up before whatever boss you will end up encountering. And the bosses can be massive, so don't expect things to be easy on you.

If there is one weird design choice that doesn't fit, it's the music. KotD has nice music, don't get me wrong, but it's a synth score that feels out of place for the setting. It works from a horror angle, suddenly ramping up when a horde is coming in and instilling a sense of dread, but I'd have preferred something more akin to a Spanish guitar in my estimation. The sound design is also great, though angry screams and growls are background noises, sometimes throwing you off as you expect an enemy to pop out of a direction. It distracts but also adds to the feeling that you're not seeing all the nasties that have made it through the portals and into our world. I like a sense of depth.

Unfortunately, the game does suffer some bugs. The most notable is enemies trapped in walls, some of which can still shoot at you despite you not being able to shoot them back. At times this feels like it might be intentional, at others a mistake. There are also some issues with achievements receiving the wrong flag: getting through the ship level rewards you one for beating the train level, for example. It's...weird and screwy, and the game feels like it needs another patching pass, but with a single guy on the dev team, it takes a while. He's managed one patch since the game's release in February, and while it added new features and fixed some issues, the amount of time it took certainly gave some folks pause.

Still, I like Kingdom of the Dead. What other game has me taking a double-barrel to a screaming armored giant armed with an ax while we fight amongst whale carcasses? Or lets me use dynamite to drive off a giant bat? Or features ghostly Civil War generals telling me why undead armies are so great?
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by ElkinFencer10 »

Games Beaten in 2021 - 28
* denotes a replay

January (20 Games Beaten)
1. Project MIKHAIL: A Muv-Luv War Story - Steam - January 1
2. Shin Megami Tensei V - Switch - January 9
3. Halo 2600 - Atari 2600 - January 10
4. Cruis'n Blast - Switch - January 13
5. Alan Wake - PlayStation 5 - January 15
6. Alan Wake's American Nightmare - Xbox 360 - January 15
7. Apsulov: End of Gods - Playstation 5 - January 16
8. Captain U - Wii U - January 16
9. Raji: An Ancient Epic - Xbox One - January 17
10. JankBrain - Switch - January 22
11. Would You Like to Run an Idol Café - Switch - January 22
12. Bury Me, My Love - Switch - January 22
13. A Normal Lost Phone - Switch - January 22
14. Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story - Switch - January 22
15. Cthulhu Saves Christmas - Switch - January 23
16. Armed 7 - Dreamcast - January 24
17. Satazius Next - Dreamcast - January 24
18. Wolflame - Dreamcast - January 25
19. Metal Slug 1st Mission - Neo Geo Pocket - January 25
20. Metal Slug 2nd Mission - Neo Geo Pocket - January 26


February (1 Games Beaten)
21. Pokemon Legends: Arceus - Switch - February 5


March (0 Games Beaten)
wow I suck ass lmao


April (3 Games Beaten)
22. The Last of Us Part II - PlayStation 4 - April 9
23. Metro 2033 Redux - PlayStation 4 - April 14
24. Sakura Angels - Switch - April 26


May (3 Games Beaten)
25. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures - Gamecube - May 8
26. Metro Last Light Redux - PlayStation 4 - May 14
27. Metro Exodus - Series X - May 28


June (1 Games Beaten)
28. Cyberpunk 2077 - Series X - June 11


28. Cyberpunk 2077 - Series X - June 11

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Cyberpunk 2077 is the quintessential example of corporate bosses ruining the artistic vision of game developers in my opinion. When this game was revealed, it had the potential to be the greatest open world game ever made, and in the state it's in today, it's a solidly great game. When it launched, though...Jesus Christ, it was a disaster. It was playable on PC at launch, but if you were using a PS4 or Xbox One - especially base model instead of a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X - you were in for a miserable time. Frame rate was a disaster, bugs galore many of which were game-breaking, and a generally muddled resolution and craptastic frame rate were what gamers were treated to. Playing via backwards compatibility on PS5 or Xbox Series X was, like PC, playable, but it still wasn't what CD Projekt Red had hyped us up for. With all of that said, that's why it sat on my shelf for a year and a half before I played it. I tried it on my One X when it came out, but I didn't actually play more than an hour until the Series X optimization patch dropped. I wanted to experience the best possible version of this game so I could judge the game on its merits rather than the incompetence of CD Projekt Red (regardless of whether it was the development or publishing wing to blame).

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Cyberpunk 2077 takes place in the world built by a long-standing tabletop RPG series. Like most people who probably played this game, I've had no experience with the series. Basically, you play as V, a merc in Night City doing whatever jobs pay the bills and trying to become a legend of Night City's seedier side. You end up with the mental construct of famed terrorist Johnny Silverhand in your head, though - basically sharing your brain with his soul. Since Johnny Silverhand is played by Keanu Reeves, you shouldn't need to hear anything else to sell you on this game. The game mostly lets you play how you want; you can choose from three backgrounds (gangbanger garbage, corporate scum, or glorious nomad), you can get through most of the game either by killing or non-fatally incapacitating your foes, and even lock yourself out of entire quest lines depending on the choices you make. There's not a morality system per se, but your choices absolutely impact various aspects of the game.

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The game's visuals look, at least on Series X, fantastic. It definitely looks better than it did on One X a year and a half ago. On Series X, you can choose between a higher frame rate with more basic visual effects or ray tracing at 30 fps. The ray tracing can be pretty noticeable at certain times of day, but at other times of day, it really doesn't look at that different from the non-ray tracing mode. With that said, I personally think the added visual effects of the ray tracing just isn't worth the constantly very noticeable drop in frame rate. That said, though, on the performance mode, I only noticed frame rate drops when transitioning to a different part of Night City (although it visibly stuttered at those points). The game's audio design is also fantastic with some great voice acting and a truly killer soundtrack. Honestly, the soundtrack is one of the best parts of the game.

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The game plays a lot like what you expect from a gun-based RPG from CDPR. The gunplay isn't quite as accurate in my opinion as a true first person shooter, but it's significantly better with accuracy than Fallout. The driving mechanics can also take a little bit of getting used to - it feels like your wheels are coated in Crisco - but once you do get a feel for it, driving is actually one of the most fun parts of the game. I really can't say enough good things about the gameplay itself. Unfortunately, even after a year and a half of patching and fixing and playing on the most powerful home console released thus far, it's riddled with bugs. These bugs are almost all thankfully dumb and often funny glitches rather than game-breaking bugs, but I did have to close and reload to fix a few, and it's just unacceptable to have this many bugs this persistent in a game with this large a budget this long after launch. It's a shame because it really just gives the game a sloppy and utterly unpolished feel.

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Cyberpunk 2077 is absolutely worth playing if you have a PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, or powerful PC. I'm gonna say to avoid it if you only have last-gen consoles. It's definitely a lot better than it was at launch, but those consoles just don't have the horsepower the game needs to be done justice. CD Projekt Red needs to take a step back and take a long, hard look at its practices, though, because they definitely overpromised and underdelivered with this one. That said, the game is a TON of fun in the state it's in now 18 months post-launch. Hopefully they'll learn from this game's disaster of a launch, but I've learned better than to trust corporations to learn from their mistakes.
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