Games Beaten 2023

Anything that is gaming related that doesn't fit well anywhere else
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REPO Man
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

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Just beat Portal 2 for Switch.

Really wish they'd make Portal 3.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

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Markies' Games Beat List Of 2023!
***Denotes Replay For Completion***

***1. Dragon Valor (PS1)***
2. Breath Of Fire (GBA)
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge (NS)
4. World Of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse And Donald Duck (GEN)
5. XIII (GCN)
6. NES Remix Pack (WiiU)
7. Dr. Mario (GBC)

***8. Bully (PS2)***

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I completed Bully on the Sony Playstation 2 this afternoon!

I initially beat Bully way back before I even discovered the Backloggery. Besides Final Fantasy X, Grand Theft Auto III was the other game that I got with console. I became addicted to both games and played through the entire GTA Franchise on the PS2. After I had gone through those games, my itch to play a GTA game was still in force, so that is why I picked up Bully. There were things about GTA that I missed in Bully, especially driving around in a car, but I still really enjoyed my play through of the game. Last year, my itch to play a GTA game came back. Even though I own GTA IV on my PS3, I have a mountain of PS3 games to go through and a mountain of PS2 Beats to Complete. So, I decided to get on the PS2 train first and decided to play through Bully once again.

My favorite aspect of Bully is the school setting. I love the private school setting with the kids walking around in uniforms and you having to attend classes every day. At the time, it wasn't something really done, especially outside of Japan. Also, with each student and character having their own look and personality, it felt like a lived in a world. It was great to see characters I knew just roaming around and I could interact with them. It was also great to plan out my day because of my class schedule and the different missions I had to do. I had a curfew and classes to attend, but I also had other things to do. I also like how the missions are just mostly pranks and fist fights as it is unique trend away from the normal Rockstar fare. The hindrance of the main character being 15 made it rather creative.

It also made it a little repetitive as well. The missions all began to blend in together, especially near the end with so many of them just becoming fights. Its like when a GTA game just turns into shootout after shootout. Also, unlike GTA which felt more like Ocarina of Time, Bully is much like Majora's Mask. It can feel really claustrophobic and its hard to do some missions with people everywhere.

Overall, I still really enjoyed playing through Bully again. Obviously, I enjoyed the GTA games better, but I liked seeing them take their formula in a different direction. If you want to try GTA, but don't like hookers and all the violence, Bully is a good diversion. It's a unique game and one that you should play especially if you are interested in the school setting!
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by MrPopo »

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022

1. Void Destroyer - PC
2. Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights - Switch
3. Raging Blasters - Switch
4. Citizen Sleeper - Switch
5. GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon
6. Hands of Necromancy - PC
7. Project Downfall - PC
8. Chasm: The Rift - PC
9. Cultic - PC
10. Kirby Super Star - SNES
11. Kirby's Dream Land 2 - GB
12. Kirby's Dream Land 3 - SNES
13. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards - N64
14. Fire Emblem Engage - Switch
15. Mechwarrior 5: Rise of Rasalhague - PC
16. Kirby's Epic Yarn - Wii
17. Kirby's Return to Dreamland - Wii
18. Mega Man 7 - SNES
19. Mega Man 8 - PS1
20. Conquest: Frontier Wars - PC

Conquest: Frontier Wars is an RTS that was released in the early 2000s; a time when RTS's were still viable, but you were up against the heavy hitters of Starcraft and Red Alert 2. In order to differentiate itself, Conquest does two things. The first is to make it a space based RTS that focuses on large ships. The second is introducing a supply system that must be managed in order to keep your army running.

The game features a single campaign for the Terran faction, though there are two other armies available for multiplayer; the Mantis and the Solarians. For the most part the campaign is fun, though it does fall victim to a reliance on hero units and a few missions that are just major slogs of attrition. The hero units are a thing the genre keeps coming back to and not doing well. Command & Conquer does it the best of the era, as they only give you heroes when you are doing commando missions. Later on Warcraft 3 will introduce hero respawning, which fixes things going forward. Conquest commits the sin of having its heroes look identical in the group overview box, so you don't know if they are taking damage and need to be pulled out.

The base building in Conquest involves building orbital platforms around the equator of various planets. Each facility can take up between one and three slots, and a given planet has a fixed number of open slots. Additionally, some facilities you will want multiples of, like having a refinery on every planet to harvest resources from the planet, or multiple shipyards for build speed. So you will definitely need to manage expanding, especially on the larger maps where you want forward bases. In order to provide some natural chokepoints the game utilizes wormholes that connect individual maps. These wormholes must be stabilized with jumpgates to allow for a continuous flow of supplies; in practical terms this means that all your sectors must be connected with jumpgates or your facilities will be nonfunctional.

The supply mechanic is one of those things that is mildly neat when you first encounter it, but quickly becomes a mix of ignorable and tedious. Every ship and defensive platform has a supply bar in addition to its health bar, and every weapon shot and usage of special ability consumes some of this bar. It can be refilled by returning to certain base structures or through mobile supply ships. In the early game you will notice the effects of supplies keenly, as the small ships at the start can't hold much. Once you get to the larger capital ships you'll find that supplies stop mattering unless you spam abilities; instead you'll get them refilled when you send them in for the inevitable repairs. There's no real way to meaningfully cut off an opponent's supplies, so it's just some busywork, rather than being an alternate economic avenue.

In a similar vein, the economy of the game is surprisingly rudimentary. There are three resources; ore, gas, and crew. Different planets can provide different resources and can be harvested by building the appropriate structure on the planet. While they can be exhausted, a planet refills its resources slowly, so you always get a constant drip. You can augment this by building harvester ships to gather ore and gas from floating debris and nebula. However, for some reason there is no "don't harvest if the storage is full" mechanic, which means you will blow through the floating resources once you start rolling. This was something that was solved back in the original Command & Conquer, so the fact you don't have that option here is egregious.

Overall it's a competent FPS, but the devil in the details definitely makes it lesser than the well known ones. One thing I will say is the cinematics are quite well animated and detailed, which is shocking given how under the radar the game is overall. If you're hungry for RTS's this is worth a look, but I wouldn't recommend it to more casual fans due to its idiosyncrasies and some poor balance decisions (Tiamats can go fuck themselves).
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REPO Man
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by REPO Man »

Beat Metroid: Zero Mission on GBA, via my Retroid Pocket 3+. Only got 64% of the items. Currently trying to fix that.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

Partridge Senpai's 2021 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
* indicates a repeat

1. Super Hero Operations (PS1)
2. Lil' Gator Game (PC)
3. Disco Elysium: The Final Cut (PC)
4. Dragon Quest VII (PS1)
5. Dragon Quest III (SFC)
6. Dragon Quest VIII (PS2)

7. Dragon Quest Monsters (GBC)

I actually bought this game like a year and a half ago during my last super obsession with GameBoy stuff, but tried it only a little and bounced off of it pretty quick. Well this time, I ended up returning to it during this most recent obsession with Dragon Quest games I hadn’t gotten to yet, and after finishing DQ8 and having fun with its monster arena system, I decided to finally take another crack at this one. I played through this game’s sequel when I was much younger, in fact (probably late high school or early university), but couldn’t quite beat that one (and it’s soon on the hit list as well XD). I was determined not to let this one beat me again, and this time I was able to see it through to the end~. It took me a bit over 40 hours to beat the Japanese version of the game on real hardware (a real cart played mostly via my GameCube’s GB Player and my GBA SP).

The story for DQM is a pretty simple one. Terry, the very same from Dragon Quest VI but as a child, is playing with his older sister one night, when she suddenly tells him they need to go to bed quick, or monsters will come and take them away! Terry pretends to go to bed, and gets back out only to run into a montser, Warubo, coming out of his dresser and stealing his sister away! Stricken with panic, Terry is then met by another, nicer monster named Watabo, who is the good-version counterpart to the earlier sister stealer. He takes Terry through the dresser drawer to the kingdom of Taiju, located in a giant tree. The king is a bit of a goofball, and he has no idea where Terry’s sister is, but he can still help, well, sorta. The night of shooting stars is coming up soon, and whoever wins the monster arena tournament at that festival will be granted any wish they desire! Terry could wish for his sister to be saved, and so he sets out on a mission to compile the best and strongest monster team he can to win that tournament!

It’s a pretty simple story, as far as plot goes, but that’s not too unusual for Dragon Quest of the time (the time in particular here being 1998). What’s also normal for DQ of that era is a bunch of silly, colorful characters with funny dialogue, and it’s something this game has in spades. The story and world aren’t too deep, sure, but I think they succeed well at making an entertaining and engaging world to partake in the mechanics of the game.

Coming out over two years after the original Pokemon games, this is without question a Pokemon competitor, first and foremost, but it’s also one of the more ambitious ones I’ve seen of the handful I’ve run into on the GameBoy. The main gameplay loop consists of going through procedurally generated portal dungeons to find monsters, and then using the monsters you have in your party to go through successive ranks of the arena until you’re good enough to beat that final rank of the arena for the story. While you can directly order around monsters in dungeons, in arena matches, they’ll only act by general behavioral patterns (like “go all out!” or “focus on defense/ healing”, that sort of thing), so having a team that can handle both is paramount to a game-winning monster team (my personal team at the end was a Servant, DracoLord1, and an Akubar). The portal dungeons usually have bosses at the end you’ll need to fight to complete them, and you can even often recruit these powerful foes as party members themselves! Recruiting monsters just involves beating them, and if a hidden dice roll goes well enough, they’ll join you. But thankfully you can increase those odds by giving them better quality meat treats in battle, at least.

However, even the most powerful wild monster is still gonna be pretty pathetic. Not unlike how SMT handles this monster-catching rpg genre, where real power lies is in pairing your monsters off to make stronger offspring. But while SMT has demon fusion, DQM has monster breeding. But unlike something like Pokemon (which didn’t actually have a breeding mechanic yet in 1998), you don’t keep the parents. You’re just stuck with the baby, so it’s a lot more like SMT demon fusion. What is a lot less like SMT demon fusion, however, is that while SMT demons don’t level and are simply as powerful at “birth” as they’ll ever be, DQM monsters *do* level up. In fact, not only do monsters get stronger as they level and need to be at least level 10 to breed at all, but a child monster actually inherits the strength of its parent monsters. This isn’t like how Pokemon would eventually do it, where Pokemon have inherent stats upon birth that will be passed down genetically no matter what. DQM monsters will get better stat growths if their parents were stronger when they were born (i.e. a monster with level 10 parents will be far weaker than a monster whose parents were both level 20).

This is also combined with that monsters don’t simply give random offspring. The monsters you’re breeding, and even the order you give them to the monster breeder, have pre-set algorithms for what offspring they’ll give you. While later generation monsters will generally be much more powerful no matter what they are, different monsters have different stat growth biases, so there are plenty of monsters who are simply better and stronger and you’re gonna want those if you wanna win. Additionally, offspring can also learn their parents’ spells as well, but only if their parents already know those spells in the first place, so that’s one more incentive to just grind grind grind those levels up before you breed more monsters. Using a wiki to make the most optimal path to whatever big smashy powerful monster you want is very highly recommended unless you want to spend forever just grinding blindly only to end up with crappy monsters.

This is honestly my biggest complained with DQM as a game. Compared to something like SMT or Pokemon’s far more straightforward monster raising systems, DQM’s systems are incredibly arcane and difficult to parse. Especially for a younger kid, the very nature of needing to breed monsters to get stronger ones is so alien from something like Pokemon that I could never recommend DQM over Pokemon to them. Like 95% of DQM is just grinding, and it’s a gameplay loop that incentives assuming grinding is necessary over progress. DQM ain’t an easy game, and those arena tiers (not to mention the two or three mandatory portal dungeons) are no slouch, and you’re gonna need some real ass-beating monsters to beat them. I found myself falling into loops of just endlessly grinding up monsters to breed for more monsters to breed for more monsters, since why not just get better monsters now rather than throw myself at the arena and waste my time with that? The game even has a baffling mechanic where, if you’ve ever had a monster before (through either befriending it or breeding it), recruiting it again is 10s of times more difficult, and you’re going to need to expend some very valuable monster-befriending meat items to recruit a second of something to have an easier time breeding a strong family tree. I assume this is to encourage you to breed monster’s with your friends’ copies of the game, but all it amounted to for friendless me was an even further pressure to use the wiki to grind and breed my monsters in the most efficient way possible.

That lack of a world to explore and get engrossed in, and the combination of both monsters to get attached to like Pokemon (or family trees, in this case) who are yet also very disposable like in SMT makes DQM a very odd beast of a game. It feels like it was made for older folks, teenagers and people in their 20’s and 30’s, who were big DQ fans *and* big Pokemon fans. There is fun to be had here, sure, but I’d be hard pressed to say it’s better executed or polished than what guys like the Pokemon Company or Atlus had been doing for years, and a lot of the biggest issues seem to be self-selected problems in the very conceit of the gameplay loop. I think, at the very least, Dragon Quest Monsters does a really good job of making a monster-raising rpg out of the existing mechanics in Dragon Quest, however I do not really mean that as a compliment so much as I mean it as a description of fact.

The presentation is quite nice, though a bit underwhelming for what is technically a GameBoy Color game. The graphics are pretty, and the visual effects on the attacks in particular look quite nice, but you’d be forgiven for mistaking it as just a quite nice looking GB game rather than a GBC game. Though, in the game’s defense, it’s a VERY early GBC game. It’s such an early game, in fact, that while it’s a black cartridge (indicating it works on both GBCs and normal GBs) in English, it’s a grey cartridge here in Japan! It’s a GBC game that actually predates the release of the GBC itself, so it’s hard to be too harsh on it. They do a really good job of using the 4 colors available per sprite on the GBC to make some really nice looking monsters, and the monsters are very recognizable from their console DQ origins, and there are a LOT of them, at over 200, and they even have overworld walking sprites as well for when they’re following you in your party! The music is also quite nice, GameBoy-ifying familiar DQ tracks in a very pleasant way.

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. While I would hesitate to call DQM a bad game, I think it is a game that really commits to a pretty flawed formula. While being a flawed RPG on the GameBoy is something that basically every RPG on the platform can be described by, I think in DQM’s case, the sheer strength of its competitors and *just* how much of the gameplay loop is grinding is going to justifiably turn away a lot of people from trying it out. If you’re a big DQ fan and you enjoy monster-raising and you don’t mind grinding, there’s a good amount of fun to be had here. But if you’re just a more general monster-raising rpg fan, especially if you’re not someone who can put up with grinding easily, I’d say this is a game to stay away from, or at the very least approach with great caution.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by Ack »

1. Northern Journey (PC)(FPS)
2. Hatchpunk (PC)(FPS)
3. Might and Magic IX (PC)(RPG)
4. Star Wars: Empire at War (PC)(RTS)
5. Chasm: The Rift (PC)(FPS)
6. Real Heroes: Firefighter HD (PC)(FPS)
7. CULTIC (PC)(FPS)
8. Consortium (PC)(FPS)

9. Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 (PC)(FPS)
10. Forgive Me, Father (PC)(FPS)

11. Teomim Island (PC)(FPS)
12. Regions of Ruin (PC)(Action RPG)
13. Void Bastards (PC)(FPS)


Regions of Ruin

The dwarves were a once mighty race, forging vast empires beneath the ground with incredible technology and magic. Unfortunately, the empire has collapsed, former allies are dead and gone, orcs and goblins encroach, and your people are forced to live on the surface. But you have the strength and the will to unite your scattered people, tear down the orc and goblin tribes, and slaughter the Goblin King on his throne. You will become a Dwarf Lord, as powerful as any legendary hero. And you will do this via platforming and hitting things with your weapons!

I'm on the fence as to how to describe the genre here. Regions of Ruin does have an experience and gearing system, including item creation. Over time, you build up your stats to help you take down tougher foes. But it's also very heavy on the platforming and puzzle solving to find new weapons and gear or seek out the location of the final boss. And there is also a management sim as well, where you must build up your town by assigning freed dwarves as workers to harvest various kinds of resources from locations you have freed. These resources are then used to build or upgrade your town, change into other resources, manufacture new gear, and so forth. Yet calling it an Action Platformer RPG Management Simulator seems...excessive.

It also looks like a DOS game from the early '90s. There's a lot going on under the hood, comparatively, but the controls take me back to PC platformers and using spacebar to jump...albeit with some additional combat options. Here you can do a fast light swing or a slow heavy, manually block with your shield and attempt to stun an opponent if they hit you with a light attack (or get stunned if they hit with a heavy), throw your weapon for a ranged option if you so desire to build that way, or even try the stealthy approach and sneak up for a nice critical with a high damage number. Oh, and those numbers get so delightfully big. By the time the game was done, I was able to hit consistently for over a million damage, with a personal best over 4 million. I even one-shotted the final boss...

Steam gave this game out for free a few years back, and that's really the only reason I ever gave it a try. Yet now I'm quite happy I did, as once it got going and I internalized its systems, I ended up really enjoying Regions of Ruin. It has a lot more going for it than I expected, and I liked learning to get the most from the game.


Void Bastards

You're a dehydrated prisoner in a far future prison ship flying through space, when things go bad in a big way; the ship is damaged, the crew is killed, and the corporate AI left in charge knows it has to get the ship back home but has only one option: rehydrate prisoners, one at a time, and send them out into a dangerous nebula to scrounge for parts.

Void Bastards is a rogue-lite FPS, where you travel from ship to ship, fighting various kinds of mutations thanks to the effects of the nebula on the denizens of numerous derelicts that have been really unfortunate. Ships come from various companies and include the likes of other prison ships, refueling freighters, luxury and casino cruisers, science vessels, and so on. Sometimes they have hazards, like built-up security systems, power failures, numerous hazards such as smoke, fire, or radiation leaks, and so on. And then there are the things that stalk the aisles. They're mutants, strangely floating pencil pushers that scream and fly away, hideous beauty queens vomiting psychedelic explosives, teleporting spies aiming to appear behind you, armored nasties that shoot spikes from their bodies, and so forth. Expect you will probably die unless you play it safe.

It's ok if you die though, because that's the rogue-lite element. Every time a prisoner is lost, the AI rehydrates another and sends them out into the nebula to keep going. You keep resources that you have pulled off ships, except for ammo, fuel, and food. If you have crafted a new weapon or piece of gear though, it's there for the next person to keep. And each convict may have special traits, ranging from being tall to having a faster time locking or unlocking doors to sometimes not needing to eat or use fuel when traveling.

That said, you may find devices to change these traits, or you may encounter strange anomalies that change them in the nebula. Because the nebula has other dangers, such as leftover bombs from wars, large creatures that may attempt to devour you, space pirates that follow after you, hermits that take all your food, and even convenience stores.

And all of it looks like a comic book. It's a really cool visual design, though the same sprites get recolors for "harder" versions, so if you play for long, you'll feel like you're seeing the same thing over and over again...because you are. That's the downside to Void Bastards, eventually it becomes monotonous. You don't have to raid every ship (and frankly it's better not to at times), you don't have to kill all enemies (and frequently you can't because more will spawn in), and you're up against the clock on any ship you do search anyway, because they're derelicts without proper working life support, so you will run out of air. As you go, you'll learn what weapons to use against what foes or for what situations and definitely develop preferred tactics, such as locking off rooms with warp holes where more enemies can spawn in or throwing ambush mines behind shielded targets or shooting them to detonate them against mechanical foes that don't set them off.

Void Bastards has a lot to it, but that monotony sets in fast. I had numerous stops and starts before I finally finished the thing. Now I can go back and take on additional challenges or new difficulties, but for right now, I'm good.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by MrPopo »

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022

1. Void Destroyer - PC
2. Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights - Switch
3. Raging Blasters - Switch
4. Citizen Sleeper - Switch
5. GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon
6. Hands of Necromancy - PC
7. Project Downfall - PC
8. Chasm: The Rift - PC
9. Cultic - PC
10. Kirby Super Star - SNES
11. Kirby's Dream Land 2 - GB
12. Kirby's Dream Land 3 - SNES
13. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards - N64
14. Fire Emblem Engage - Switch
15. Mechwarrior 5: Rise of Rasalhague - PC
16. Kirby's Epic Yarn - Wii
17. Kirby's Return to Dreamland - Wii
18. Mega Man 7 - SNES
19. Mega Man 8 - PS1
20. Conquest: Frontier Wars - PC
21. Theatrhythm Final Bar Line - Switch

Final Bar Line is the latest game in the Theatrhythm series of rhythm games that celebrate the music of Final Fantasy. While the previous games were on the 3DS, and thus were focused on the touch screen for controls, this game is controller only. This allows them to do some more complicated patterns that fit some songs better, and while it is an adjustment, overall it ended up being my favorite of the series. Having the biggest soundtrack definitely helps.

The gameplay consists of doing one of three actions in time with the beat. Red circles are taps; you need to press any button when it reaches the guide. Yellow arrows are flicks; you tilt the control stick in the direction when it gets to the guide. Finally, green lines are holds; you press and hold a button when it reaches the guide until it terminates. If it's just a dot at the end you need to let go as it reaches the end (which usually corresponds to an audible note). If it's an arrow at the end you'll perform a flick to end the hold. Combining all these at various tempos and patterns is what creates the gameplay.

Now, if you played the previous games, this all sounds like what you know. The difference here is that since the game knows you have a full controller they are free to force you to do multiple notes at once. So you'll have things like hitting two taps or two flicks (same or different directions) at the same time, or have you hold with one hand and do taps and flicks with the other. Getting used to these transitions is going to be the biggest hurdle to overcome, especially mixing holds with other nodes and transferring from one hold to another. When it clicks the whole thing flows extremely well.

Instead of the quest medleys from the previous game, here you are presented with a big page of series quests. This consists of you progressing through the music of a given game in an order that resembles the order you would hit it in the actual game. Sometimes you have a choice of multiple songs, and each song has a challenge to complete for an item. Every song you finish unlocks it for single play, and completing the chain gives you all the songs (including the alternates you didn't play). So yeah, you heard that right, you need to engage in this to play songs on their own. You start by being able to unlock one of a handful of these, then after a handful of songs you get another key that you can use to unlock any game. You'll need to work your way through all of these in order to get the full song list. Each time you unlock a game you also unlock the characters for that game (with most games also giving you a character or two on completion). This replaces the random gem drops of the quest medleys in Curtain Call, and frankly it's much better.

Overall the game is the definitive version of the format, unless you really hate the controller controls and would rather use a stylus. And the game even has alternate control options to accommodate that. You can turn on simple mode and all double inputs are automatically performed with a single input. Or, if you have a friend over, you can switch to dual controls, which has each of you control half the notes, and all doubles are split between you two. It's a great way to introduce someone, and if you want you can play it on your own with one joy con in each hand, and needing to make sure you do the right inputs on the right hand. The DLC schedule is pretty packed with good stuff as well; it's all other Square properties, so if all you want is Final Fantasy you have everything in the base game.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by Ack »

1. Northern Journey (PC)(FPS)
2. Hatchpunk (PC)(FPS)
3. Might and Magic IX (PC)(RPG)
4. Star Wars: Empire at War (PC)(RTS)
5. Chasm: The Rift (PC)(FPS)
6. Real Heroes: Firefighter HD (PC)(FPS)
7. CULTIC (PC)(FPS)
8. Consortium (PC)(FPS)

9. Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 (PC)(FPS)
10. Forgive Me, Father (PC)(FPS)

11. Teomim Island (PC)(FPS)
12. Regions of Ruin (PC)(Action RPG)
13. Void Bastards (PC)(FPS)

14. Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad - Single Player (PC)(FPS)

Tripwire Interactive was founded thanks to the creation of the first Red Orchestra mod for Unreal Tournament 2004. The game went for a tactical FPS approach to World War II's eastern front (as opposed to Brothers in Arms looking at the second front opened by the combination of British, American, Canadian, and Free French forces) and proved popular enough to lead to a series as well as Tripwire's other big release, Killing Floor. I spent a lot of time in Killing Floor, all the way back to its early days as another UT2k4 mod, but my experience with Red Orchestra was limited. After getting through Brothers in Arms, I decided I would compare.

That turned out to be a mistake. Red Orchestra 2's single player campaign was much maligned for how poorly it was designed and how terrible its bot AI performs, so much so that eventually Tripwire literally ripped it out of the game to pass it off as a separate title. That is why I have the "Single Player" moniker at the end of the game title, because that is how it is now listed in Steam. It offers a rough set of missions consisting of trainings and attack/defend scenarios for both the German and Soviet forces, sometimes repeated across campaigns. What looks like 24 levels initially is actually probably closer to 10, with you just repeating the same thing from different sides.

Almost every level consists of the same thing: you're either attacking a series of points and eliminating the enemy holed up there until you conquer each one in sequence, or you are defending each point for up to five minutes and getting pushed back to the next point if you lose. Losing in defense can also result in the clock getting reset for how long you have to defend, so I found the defense missions much harder. I also found them harder because bot AI is, well, stupid.

In Brothers in Arms, bots mainly stayed in small squads, and you could direct those squads accordingly to move directly into cover, attack specific targets, and so on. Red Orchestra 2's bots are also arranged into squads, but they don't stick together in the same way. They don't grab cover in the same way. They don't attack specific targets or suppress in the same way. No, half the time they run around like idiots directly into enemy fire and get shot to shit or get out of cover in the middle of an artillery strike so you can watch your teammates get blasted to meat chunks. And God knows they can't cap a point or defend without you.

Worse yet, if you die, you don't simply respawn in a set location; you take over an AI. This appears to be some kind of randomized choice, so you may end up a class that is horribly unmatched and not suited to your needs or playstyle...and may be a unit halfway across the battlefield, completely exposed and in the wrong spot. And your guns may only be half loaded, because spawning in doesn't mean you get any benefits, you're literally taking over a bot no matter what that idiot was just doing. I have even seen a bot I was about to take over get killed while I was trying to respawn, shunting me on to the next bot.

Then you must factor in that the bots don't utilize any of the game's expansive controls. I complained in Brothers in Arms that I couldn't do things like go prone. Here I can go prone, adjust iron sights or scope (or both, as you can swap on some weapons), hold my breath, and then angle my weapon to account for shifting movement, distance, and bullet drop, apply bandages for bleeding, call in a variety of artillery types, mount my antitank rifle or machinegun to create a full defensive position, enter cover, lean, utilize smoke grenades, so on and so forth. It's a lot. Perhaps too much at times, as I often found cover sticky and hiding behind it required the same button as the bandage action, so I would end up bleeding out because I couldn't get myself far enough away from a wall. God knows if a bot was leaning out from cover, it would often take me a few seconds just to get an idea of how I could unstick myself and get fully righted before I pulled away and actually got on with fighting a war. And we're not even talking about armor yet, which is a whole other can of worms.

Armor, or tanks if you prefer, requires you swapping between four or five different positions in the tank, depending on the side you're on and whether you want to drive, direct driving, fire the main gun, fire the machine gun, or simply stick your head up and see where you are. This layout changes depending on what side you're on, so the German panzer gunner oversees both the main gun and the machine gun, while the Russian equivalent gives the main gun duty to the tank commander. Also, tanks have directional armor and realistic attack points, so your tread can break down if hit, or your brake can blow and render you unable to turn in one direction, making you have to limp around the other way in a circle to get where you want to be. Half your tank crew can even get shot up and killed without you swapping between them, leaving the inside of your tank sprayed with blood and you as the player pretty much stuck hoping someone comes by to finish you off so you can Quantum Leap into the next dumbass AI.

Yet the tanks are still the most fun aspect of the game. The best level involved a massive armor battle, Germans defending an airstrip against an oncoming Soviet column. The tank battles were fierce, lining up shots, trying to hit angles so your rounds aren't deflected and connect with weak points, swapping to machineguns while your main gun reloads so you can hopefully spray crew or finish off a weakened shell before moving to the next. Who cares that the game occasionally forgets to spawn the actual tank, so you just see a group of four corpses gliding around the battlefield in square formation, firing invisible cannons at enemy troops? Yes, this was an actual thing that happened. It was my favorite bug.

In general, the tanks provided me the most harrowing and fascinating moments. Rushing a point as infantry, only to contend with enemy armor suddenly rolling up and opening fire, forcing me to alter my route to provide more cover from the massive death they can unleash, that's a thrill. Sneaking from crater to crater just so I can chuck a satchel charge onto a tank and blast it to hell is amazing. Doing so while listening to another tank smash a train car to splinters as it tries to stop you really gets the blood pumping, especially as artillery starts raining down. And there is a fear system in the game that causes your aim to become erratic and your vision to go white. Just being near a tank terrifies you, so guess who's a screaming shellshocked madman chucking handmade bombs now?

But then the bots ruin it. Take the training missions, for instance, where you have to direct bots into battle. They all go and get killed, forget to even shoot at an enemy, and respawn in the wrong place, making it impossible to win. Joy. Hell, half the time the training mission flags wouldn't even go off anyway, so they were already impossible. It was less an exercise in learning, more one of chance as to whether I fulfilled whatever victory condition was required. At one point I blasted open a door with a bomb only to be told to blast open the door that I had just destroyed, and, well...oops. Back to the menu to start the whole training again.

Despite my quibbles with Brothers in Arms, and despite it coming out almost a decade earlier, by the end I considered it the superior game. Red Orchestra 2 has moments where I got the sensation I was seeking, of being a cog in a vast war machine, but it never felt consistent the way it did in BiA. Instead, it was an exercise in watching dodgy computer teammates get killed by dodgy computer enemies who could suddenly turn around and no scope headshot with a heavy machine gun while at full run 1000 meters away, because...yeah, sure, why not?
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by ElkinFencer10 »

Games Beaten in 2023 - 12
* denotes a replay

January (5 Games Beaten)
1. Banner of the Maid - Switch - January 2
2. Silver Falls: 3 Down Stars - 3DS - January 8
3. Silver Falls: Episode Prelude - Switch - January 8
4. The Pathless - PlayStation 5 - January 12
5. Modern Combat: Blackout - Switch - January 14


February (7 Games Beaten)
6. Fire Emblem: Engage - Switch - February 2
7. Dragon Quest Builders 2 - PlayStation 4 - February 15
8. Silver Falls: Undertakers - Wii U - February 16
9. Silver Falls: White Inside Its Umbra - Wii U - February 18
10. Silver Falls: Guardians and Metal Exterminators - 3DS - February 22
11. Silver Falls: Frontier Fighters Mini - Browser - February 22
12. Silver Falls: Ghoul Busters - Switch - February 24


11. Silver Falls: Frontier Fighters Mini - Browser - February 22
12. Silver Falls: Ghoul Busters - Switch - February 24

I'm not posting a Ghoul Busters review since I reviewed it a few months ago on 3DS, but I do want to post my review for Frontier Fighters Mini.

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Silver Falls: Frontier Fighters Mini is a small free-to-play browser game made in RPG Maker 2003 that serves as a sort of demo for the series. It's not a full release but more a short taste of what the series has to offer. It revisits a few key moments from the first Silver Falls release, Silver Falls: 3 Down Stars on 3DS, but aside from giving you a brief taste of the narrative in 3 Down Stars, it mostly gives you an idea of what the series' Frontier game modes offers - massive content value with a large set of missions to complete. All screenshots and images are courtesy of Sungrand.

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After completing the few story events from 3 Down Stars to introduce you to Holt, Analise, Moss, and Soldier (the best boy), you find yourself in a camp where the real "meat" of the game is. You assemble your team of four, customize your equipment, and embark on combat missions where you defeat enemies, gain experience, and acquire new gear. It's a very simple game to play, but there's a surprising amount of content for a free game made in RPG Maker 2003. There is some story and character elements to see in this game, but it's like a food sample at Costco; it'll whet your palate, but it definitely won't satisfy you. And that's the point - convince you to buy the other Silver Falls games. If I hadn't already been an established fan of the series, this definitely would have baited me into buying 3 Down Stars.

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The easiest way to play Frontier Fighters Mini is through the game's page on the Silver Falls website. It can be played right your computer's web browser, and it works extremely well on mobile phone browsers as well. You can also install it and play it on a homebrew-enabled console through EasyRPG. I, for example, have played it on my homebrew-enabled 2DS and my custom firmware Switch. Given that it's free to play and gives you a great taste of Silver Falls, I absolutely recommend spending an hour or two playing around with the game and seeing what this neat little demo game has to offer. It's a little bare-bones as you would expect, but it's a wonderful starting point for new fans.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

Partridge Senpai's 2021 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
* indicates a repeat

1. Super Hero Operations (PS1)
2. Lil' Gator Game (PC)
3. Disco Elysium: The Final Cut (PC)
4. Dragon Quest VII (PS1)
5. Dragon Quest III (SFC)
6. Dragon Quest VIII (PS2)
7. Dragon Quest Monsters (GBC)

8. Mario Party 6 (GC)

I’ve always been a huge fan of Mario Party. Ever since I was very little, it’s always been a series I really love playing, especially by myself. Recently I had to get a new GameCube, since my old one was losing the ability to read discs, and the one I happened to get online came with a copy of Mario Party 6. Out of all the MP games on GameCube, this is the one I at least recall playing the least, as I put a ton of time into 4, 5, and 7 as a kid. I decided to rectify this, as I’ve also just been in the mood for some Mario Party, it seems, and I played a bunch of MP6 over the past couple weeks, really getting acquainted with what I’d say is the entry of the main series I’m least acquainted with. As I played more and more, memories kept coming back to me suggesting that I actually *have* played a fair bit of this game, but just haven’t remembered it very well, so perhaps it’s actually more accurate to say that this is just the Mario Party that’s left the weakest impression on me, rather than the one I’ve played the least XD. At any rate, as this game actually doesn’t have a sort of story mode single-player mode like most of the other Mario Party games of this era did, I sorta had to set my own parameters for what “beating it” entailed, and I set that as beating the hard mode computers on every map at least once, and unlocking the credits. I played over a dozen games over the course of a week and a bit on the Japanese version of the game on real hardware. I couldn’t begin to think of how many actual hours I’ve put into it, though XD

The story premise for Mario Party is always pretty slim, and 6 is no different. The sun and the moon are fighting, and they have a Mario Party to settle which one of them is right. There’s a tad more to it than that, but that’s really it, given there’s no proper story mode or anything. There are story books you can buy and read in the game’s shop, for a sort of “story” to things, but as far as the normal game goes, there’s not really much you could call a story. Which certainly isn’t a complaint, as far as I’m concerned. It’s a fun thematic choice, and it’s also a neat excuse to push the day & night gimmick that this game’s boards and mini-games are tied to.

As for the overall design of the game’s mechanics, it’s a very nice evolution on what had come before, while also not being quite as polished or innovative as its immediate successor, which is to more or less be expected for the third entry in a series that had four games on the same console in four years ^^;. He mini-game design is, for the most part, very good. Playing against the hard computers, there were only two or three games that they were just unconquerably good at, which is a nice change from usual. The biggest issue I’d say this game’s mini-games have, which is not an issue unique to this game, is that the 1 vs. 3 mini-games are by and large very poorly balanced. Many of them are basically impossible to win as the three players, regardless of the CPU or human status of those players, and many others are winnable as one team or the other, but one team has a much easier time winning than the other, making them feel very unfair. I think how good the controls feel and how well the design is of the other mini-games make up for this, generally, but the 1 v 3 games are definitely the weakest part of the game for me.

The board design is overall really good. They’re big, but not too big, and the new spins on the kind of board objectives is a very cool advancement from 5. We don’t have as many board types as MP7 would have, but we do have two classic-style “go to the star and buy it, it moves when you buy it” type boards, a board where the star stays static but the price changes and you can buy up to five at a time (one of my favorites), a board all around stealing stars instead of buying them, a more linear board about getting to the end at the right time, and the extra board where you need to chase down the star seller during the day and run away from the star stealer at night. The day and night mechanic changes aspects of boards every three turns, as big as changing the location of the star or your ability to buy them at all, or as small as just changing how you can get around it. It’s a really clever mechanic, and while it’s barely used in the mini-games (I think a whole two mini-games out of the 50+ in the game are actually changed by the status of daytime), it at least changes the aesthetic of the mini-games, which is a neat touch.

The boards’ size also factors well into how the orb system, or rather capsule system, works in this game. In MP5, they abandoned the item system they’d used since MP2 for a more quantity-over-quality orb system, and this game expands on that further, ditching a lot of the more useless orbs and giving you a bunch of more useful and dynamic ones. Being able to throw them down and create hazards that trigger either only once when passed or are there forever until they’re replaced by another player’s orb is a really cool feature. Playing most of my games at only 25 turns, it was a very neat bit of strategy how me and the CPUs would almost carve out Monopoly-like chunks of the board to be our “safe” spaces, where we didn’t need to worry about other player’s traps hecking over our games.

Orbs are also cheap and plentiful enough that mushroom orbs to give you more die blocks to roll means boards feel a lot smaller even when they’re still quite big, so you have incredibly star-heavy games compared to similar turn limits in older Mario Party games. A 20 turn game where there are 12+ stars gained would be an unthinkable thing back in the N64 days with just how big those boards are, but it’s a pretty common thing in MP6, and I loved it. Factor that in with how stealing stars through Boo is something only a single board in this game has, and you have an overall gameplay loop that’s much more about outscoring your opponent rather than making their scores go down, as older games were more focused on. It’s a change I love, and it’s really warmed me to the style of these late GameCube-era Mario Parties in a way I really never had felt before, and it’s made me very excited to check out MP5 and 7 again soon to reexamine their board and item design in a similar way.

The presentation is very nice, but in a fashion very typical for how these games were made at the time. The music is nice as are the graphics, but a lot of this is asset reuse from previous Mario Party games. Not all of it, absolutely, but enough of it is that it means the game carries a very similar overall aesthetic to previous GameCube Mario Party games, so it’s kind of a nice thing that they have the day & night thing as a theme, since it helps this game’s aesthetic try and stand out a little from the pack. The music is also overall quite good, but I wouldn’t say the sound design is nearly as good as the N64 Mario Party days (I know in my time playing MP6 and MP2 in Discord with my friends watching the past week and a bit, I heard way more comments about the quality of MP2’s music & sound than I did for MP6).

Verdict: Recommended. I don’t think it’s the best Mario Party on GameCube, but it’s a lot better than I gave it credit for. I grew to really appreciate its approaches to refining the formula as it had existed up to that point, and while its successors like MP7 and for sure Super Mario Party stand over 6 pretty well, MP6 still manages to hold its own and still be a fun experience. You can certainly do better for your Mario Party, even on the GameCube, but you can also do a lot worse. Unlike the last MP game I did a ton of play like this with (that being 3), this is one I really enjoyed, and I’m glad I spent more time with, and almost certainly will spend a bit more time with after I’ve finished this review. I may’ve hit the credits, but I’m still having fun, dang it! X3
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