Games Beaten 2023

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marurun
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by marurun »

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Back when Kirby was green...............


FTFY

(I'm sure this didn't mean anything problematic, but just in case, let's be careful about such things.)
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by Limewater »

marurun wrote:
BoneSnapDeez wrote:Back when Kirby was green...............


FTFY

(I'm sure this didn't mean anything problematic, but just in case, let's be careful about such things.)


He was clearly referring to the cover art. Kirby was notoriously white on the western cover, so people were surprised when he was pink in Kirby's Adventure.

As it turns out, they did make him pink in the Japanese cover art.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by marurun »

Limewater wrote:
marurun wrote:
BoneSnapDeez wrote:Back when Kirby was green...............


FTFY

(I'm sure this didn't mean anything problematic, but just in case, let's be careful about such things.)


He was clearly referring to the cover art. Kirby was notoriously white on the western cover, so people were surprised when he was pink in Kirby's Adventure.

As it turns out, they did make him pink in the Japanese cover art.


Yes, I get that. I was making my own joke from that about the GB screen. The disclaimer at the bottom is simply a reminder for anyone who might want to take things in a different direction.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by REPO Man »

Kirby's design was originally a placeholder.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by prfsnl_gmr »

1. Kirby & The Forgotten Land (Switch)
2. Kirby’s Dreamland 3 (SNES)
3. Earthbound Beginnings (NES)
4. Super Mario Bros. - The Lost Levels (NES)
5. Tuff E Nuff (SNES)
6. Star Fox 2 (SNES)
7. Rival Turf (SNES)
8. Brawl Brothers (SNES)
9. The Peace Keepers (SNES)
10 Arm Champs II (Arcade)
11. All-Night Nippon Super Mario Bros. (FDS)
12. Super Mario Bros. Advance 4: Super Mario Bros 3 - World e (GBA)
13. Vs. Super Mario Bros. (Arcade)
14. Super Mario Bros. Special - 35th Anniversary Edition (NES)
15. Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball (3DS)
16. Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (3DS)
17. Vampire Survivors (iOS)
18. Ninja Spirit (TG16)
19. Earthbound (SNES)
20. King’s Field II (PS1)

Kings Field II (a/k/a King’s Field III) is a first-person ARPG developed by From Software. As nerds like me know, a lot of the gameplay concepts people adore in games like Demon’s Souls and Elden Ring (i.e., dour atmosphere, unforgiving difficulty, mysterious lore, etc.) first appeared in King’s Field. (FUN FACTS: Kalameet and Seath, two bosses in Dark Souls, are the final bosses in King’s Field II and King’s Field III, respectively, and the Moonlight Sword, which first appeared in King’s Field, is present in almost every From Software game.)

King’s Field III is, obviously, the third game in the King’s Field series, and the last game in the series for the PS1, concluding the loose narrative established in the first two King’s Field games. It also expands upon and improves many of the gameplay concepts established in the first two games: movement is faster, animations are smoother, enemies are more varied, and the open world is much larger. (Interestingly, King’s Field III is the first game in the series to feature an actual field.) Finally, the game adds a lot of QoL features such as a functional map and more frequent save points.

Still, King’s Field III quite archaic and more than a bit rough around the edges. Movement (and, especially, turning) is slow; the controls are still awkward; the hit detection is a little unpredictable; hidden doors are almost undetectable: and enemies don’t respawn frequently enough to grind levels easily. There are also some baffling design decisions: you don’t get sword magic until very late in the game; you get duplicate copies of critical items; and there’s a fair bit of confusing backtracking. In short, Kings’s Field III, like every game in the series, isn’t for everyone.

I enjoyed it throughly, however, and King’s Field is a series I appreciate and enjoy more each time I play it. Those curious about the series should probably start with King’s Field IV: The Ancient City, which is further refined and has a self-contained narrative (and which remains one of my very favorite games to this day). King’s Field III is a good second choice, though, and I recommend it highly to anyone interested in exploring either the PS1’s RPG library or From Software’s early output.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

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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)
15. Quake: Scourge of Armagon (PC)(FPS)
16. Quake: Dissolution of Eternity (PC)(FPS)

17. Bioshock Infinite (PC)(FPS)
18. Chop Goblins (PC)(FPS)
19. Ravenloft: Stone Prophet (PC)(RPG)
20. Halfway (PC)(Tactical Strategy)
21. Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood (PC)(FPS)
22. Might and Magic X - Legacy (PC)(RPG)
23. Civilization IV (PC)(4X Strategy)

24. Operation Body Count (PC)(FPS)
25. WW2 Rebuilder (PC)(Simulation)
26. Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos (PC)(Action-Adventure)
27. The Ascent: Cyber Heist (PC)(Top-Down Shooter)
28. Bright Memory Infinite (PC)(FPS)


Yep, I have three games to do write ups for, so I'll keep this relatively short.


Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos

This game is heavily inspired by The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past but adds in a mixture of rogue-lite and fixed dungeons as well as a currency system used for acquiring stat and item upgrades. At the absolute baseline level, it works well, even if it does feel like it veers too much into its inspiration at times. For example, the tools you have are almost all exactly the same: a boomerang, bombs, bow and arrow, lamp, hook shot, hammer... But with gorgeous SNES-level sprite work and a large world to explore, it's a fitting love letter.

Or at least it would be, if it had actually been finished. The problem with Rogue Heroes is that when it released, it wasn't actually done. The devs did add in an ending, but they also put in numerous systems that never got finished. For instance, I can collect enemies in a bestiary, kill enough of them, and then master their entries...but mastery does not provide any benefit. There is also a series of pop up messages to show that I'm completing challenges, like breaking so many pots or pushing so many blocks. However, this doesn't actually tie into anything, and there is no reward. The end result is a lot of systems that seem like they'll be interesting and show there was some thought there, but they don't end up actually doing anything.

And then there are bugs, such as enemies clipping through areas they shouldn't.
The dev has also since moved on to other projects, so I doubt this will ever actually get fixed. As a result, Rogue Heroes is a fun game, but one that feels underbaked. Apparently it can be played co-op as well, but that adds in even more bugs, so as much as I would love to give something similar to The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords a go, I can't bring myself to.


The Ascent: Cyber Heist

Cyber Heist is the expansion for the top-down shooter The Ascent, set in a far future/cyberpunk world of a massive cityscape full of aliens, robots, cyborgs, and God knows what else that would love to kill you. I enjoyed The Ascent immensely when I played it, but despite the option of a New Game + mode, there just didn't feel like there was anything worth revisiting. Cyber Heist tries to add in more content with some new areas and new weapons at a higher level for a post-main storyline adventure, but it's ultimately more of the same and doesn't really fix the issue.

That said, you're now embroiled in a battle against a military mega-corp trying to steal a MacGuffin from a pharma corporation. And you can find a sword or hammer. You might think melee wouldn't work in a top-down shooter with a cover system. You haven't hit anyone with that hammer. On first swing, it became my new favorite toy, and I maxed it out immediately. Hide in cover, let the enemy come to me, and slam them into upper orbit. It's a thing of beauty.

Cyber Heist ends with a frustrating boss fight where you're practically required to use these melee weapons too; it just doesn't tell you. Turns out the final boss is highly resist to everything but melee, he has a powerful sniper rifle, and there's almost no cover for the final battle, so bash, don't shoot. Once done, it's over and...that's it. Back to the original problem.


Bright Memory Infinite

This FPS is from a single developer and contains some solid gunplay and melee combat. It's Chinese in origin (which means you'll want to set the language to that, because the English voice acting isn't remotely good), and it's a short experience, but what you do get is varied and impressive. Guns feel great to shoot. Your special abilities and melee is a little complicated but interesting, and once you start getting it to click, it works surprisingly well. Got a sniper aiming at you? Block his bullet with your sword!

There is also a plot that ends up only kinda-sorta explained, involving a black hole opening up and a race with a rival military organization to stop supernatural forces from destroying the world in an enormous flood. It's bizarre, and I didn't worry about it, because it chose to serve up set pieces where I was running across the wings of flaming passenger liners flying towards said black hole while shooting enemy troops coming off of dropships. Yes, it's ridiculous, but I was having a good time, and this is admittedly not something I recall having ever done in a game before, so bravo.

Unfortunately, it clocks in at only a couple of hours, so it's real short. There was also some kind of scandal involving the dev using some assets off the Epic market without asking, though apparently he owned up to it and has since worked out the situation. Either way, I was entertained by what a single person could do.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

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1. Kirby's Dream Land (GB)
2. River City Girls (Switch)
3. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)
4. The Simpsons (Arcade)
5. Illusion of Gaia (SNES)
6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge (Switch)

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7. Shining Force III [Scenario 1] (SAT)

My story with this game starts around 2007, as I was such a fan of Shining Force II on the Genesis, I purchased a copy of this game online without even owning a Saturn console at the time. Luckily, a close friend had a US console and let me come by to test the disc and check out the game for a bit. About a year later, I would get a console but I still didn't put the time into playing this sequel to one of my favorite games. After finishing Shining the Holy Ark last year, I wanted to finally sit down and play through this installment in the Shining Force series. To clarify, I played the retail release of the US version, which has a few translation inconsistencies, and a change in the ending's cutscene to wrap things up, as Scenarios 2 and 3 were not planned for release in the States.

Shining Force III has more of a complex story than the previous titles in the series. The events in the game unfold in a sequence of six chapters. The world consists of a few different factions, the Republic of Aspinia, the Destonian Empire, and neutral region of Saraband. The main character, Lord Synbios, is affiliated with the Republic. At the start of the game, King Benetram of the Republic and Emperor Domaric of the Empire are in the midst of peace talks, as the Republic had previously broken away from being ruled by the Empire. However, during the peace talks, explosions begin going off near Saraband, and while investigating the incident, the main character and his friends are attacked by a mysterious group of monks, who we later find out is called the Bulzome sect. Due to the plot orchestrated by Bulzome, the peace talks go left. And that's where the adventure begins! The game's plot is pretty intriguing, as most of the characters encountered are simply fighting for what they believe is right, as opposed to a traditional battle of good vs. evil. In the later scenarios, you are able to control characters from the other factions, and play through the game's events from their perspectives. This is a great idea, IMO.

Regarding gameplay, Shining Force III is similar to the previous titles; however, there are some additional mechanics included here. One element for starters, is the addition of ranged weapons for almost each character. Each weapon class can be leveled, and when a character uses that weapon class, you can improve the character's stats with that weapon type. Additionally, there is a weapons triangle system at play here, similar to the one found in the Fire Emblem series. When you target an enemy that is weak to your weapon class, you will see a red exclamation point icon appear above that enemy. Another element is the friendship system. Characters can develop a bond by battling against the same enemies, which will then give the character's a stat boost in battle. It's important to note that if a character dies, their friendship level will be bumped down a notch. So unlike the previous Shining Force titles, there is repercussion for deaths here!

Continuing with gameplay, another significant addition to this title, are the ruin battles. These are additional separate areas within a battle, in which you need to find a map to access. Each ruin consists of one or more of the better items found in the game, so you'll want to divert part of your force to explore and take out the thieves in the ruin, before finishing the main battle. And lastly, another interesting element is the Hero's Test. This is a sequence consisting of four battles, that is basically a tool to grind and level your characters before the final showdown. The fourth battle in the sequence is quite difficult, but if completed, you are awarded with two of the strongest weapons in the game. Another difficult and unique sequence is the Refugee battle! This battle definitely lives up to it's reputation and is quite hard but doable! I was able to save all the refugees, which I believe will unlock the reward of a bonus sword in a later scenario.

In general, the graphics in Shining Force III are good overall, but with it being an early 3D title, there are some aspects that have not aged as well. The main characters and NPCs are represented by 2D sprites on the world and battle maps, and the environments are all in 3D. I think overall, this was a good approach to the game and I like the style of the character sprites. The ability to adjust the camera angle with the L and R buttons is convenient as well. It would have been nice if the characters in the battle cutscenes could have been more detailed, but the look of these sections grew on me, and some of the enemies are pretty impressive. The 2D portraits for all of the characters in the menus are really well done and are an improvement from the previous titles. I also just want to take a moment to recognize the US box art here, as the illustration is fantastic!

Regarding the soundtrack and voice acting, the soundtrack is quite impressive. There are some really nice themes here that fit well and also resemble some of the tunes heard in earlier games. Some of my favorites are the melancholy song that plays in the Waterfall battle and the Hero's Test. The other piece I particularly like is the background song in the battle of Malorie, which also pops up for the final battle. However, I found there to be some glitches with the music when the game moves from battle cutscene back to the main map. Usually it'll correct itself when another cutscene happens, but it's a bit of a nuisance. Shining the Holy Ark had a similar issue as well. And we have to talk about the voice acting in the US game here! Some of these phrases are so hilarious and so poorly acted, that they turn out to be quite memorable, with I think the best being the wizard Noon's call when he performs a Freeze spell, "Now bear my arctic blast!" Lol.

I do have a few criticisms other than the audio glitch mentioned; however, none of these should deter players from diving into this title. Firstly, the game does not let the players backtrack or roam to the towns and areas found in previous chapters. Once you move on, that's pretty much it, so you have to be careful to find and finish everything while you're in an area. It would have been nice to be able to freely roam and explore a bit more, similar to Shining Force II. Also, one of my nitpicks is with the graphics in the battle cutscenes, as each weapon does not have its own unique look. In the earlier titles, it was fun to see what a new weapon would look like in a cutscene once equipped, but with the transition to 3D cutscenes, this detail was lost. Lastly, another nitpick is that, towards the end of the game, you have the ability to hire one of four mercenary characters to assist in the final battle. This situation reminded me of the section in Creed's Mansion in SF II, but it was a bit of a let down, as no portraits were included for these characters! Also, once a mercenary is selected, they do not appear in your headquarters or in the status menu. They simply just appear in the final battle, which seems odd to me.

Overall, Shining Force III is an amazing strategy RPG that is easy to pick up but takes time to learn all the mechanics, and there are a lot of extra things to do with five hidden characters, multiple ruin battles, and extra mithril weapons and accessories to forge. I took my time completing all the extra content and went for the mithril weapons and rare accessories. I ended up putting about 90 hours into the game, which was far more than I expected to when I started it. However, it was really a blast to play. I highly recommend this one for any fans of strategy RPGs or those wanting to explore the best of the Saturn's library. I'm hoping to play the translated version of Scenario 2 later on using my save file from this playthrough!
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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)
9. Last Bible 3 (SFC)
10. Mario Party 4 (GC)
11. Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch)
12. Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (SFC)
13. Chrono Trigger (SFC) *
14. BoxBoy + BoxGirl! (Switch)
15. The Murder of Sonic The Hedgehog (PC)
16. SaGa (GB)
17. Wario Land 3 (GBC) *
18. Sutte Hakkun (SFC)
19. Kane & Lynch 2 (PC)
20. Burger Time Deluxe (GB)
21. Super Mario Advance 4: World e+ (GBA)
22. Bomberman GB 2 (GB)
23. Mario Party 5 (GC)
24. Klonoa: door to phantomile (PS1)
25. Mario Party 7 (GC)
26. Mario Party (N64) *
27. Crash Bash (PS1)
28. Balan Wonderworld (PS4)

29. From TV Animation One Piece Tobidase Kaizokudan! (PS1)

A few months back, my partner picked up One Piece Odyssey, the new One Piece RPG, and I watched her play through just about all of it. It got me thinking about One Piece a lot again, and as a bit of a joke, I picked this game up so I could play a One Piece RPG alongside her x3. Schedules got busy, though, so it ended up being quite some time before I could actually sit down and play this with her, and this last weekend I finally saw the bugger through to the end. It took me some 20-ish hours (the game doesn’t count playtime) to beat it in Japanese on my PS2, and I didn’t touch the post-game content at all.

The story premise for this is actually something my partner and I theorized about the potential of when I was watching her play One Piece Odyssey. You’re not playing as the Straw Hat crew, the licensed characters from the show. You’re playing as an original character alongside them on an adventure. I don’t wanna *be* Luffy, I wanna go on an adventure *with* Luffy, so to speak. You play as an original character plus two original friends (a boy and a girl) of theirs on a pirate adventure to collect all six legendary gold fragments of a mysterious treasure. The Straw Hat crew are also out to find them, but they’re attacked and split up from each other in the intro cutscene by a mysterious and powerful new enemy. After your rag tag crew is rescued by Ussop, you set out to help reuinte the Straw Hat crew and find all the pieces of this legendary treasure!

As for where this game takes place in the One Piece story, it’s a side-story taking place in between them defeating Aaron and going to Loguetown (and the post-game involves them meeting Chopper, I believe). As a general piece of writing, it’s really nothing special, and it’s paced pretty terribly. There are some fun fan service-y segments like when you meet up with Buggy (still missing his body parts after his fight with Luffy) that made me laugh quite a bit, but overall the game is really wanting in that department. It’s cool just how much VA they got in the game, but it’s just not hitting the mark of a licensed fan service-y game like Banpresto is so good at doing. The writing is definitely *the* reason to play the game, but between the game getting in the way of itself and the generally lackluster pacing on top of that, it’s far less than stellar, and it’s honestly not enough of a draw to recommend the game on these merits alone (unlike a game like Super Hero Operations, which I played earlier this year and is from only a year or two before this).

Mechanically, this *is* technically an RPG, but in a more loose sense. It’s more like an adventure game composed of various mini-games with some vague trappings of an RPG like leveling up and getting equipment. There are six different locations in the main game (with another one or two in the post-game), and each of these is one big isometric map that you sail around on completing objectives. These objectives are usually indicated to you via your compass’s needle, but often times you’ll need to just sail around and try your best to find whatever it is you’re looking for (and the game isn’t particularly interested in reminding you of what that is if you forget, not that the directions you have are all that helpful very often anyhow). A lot of this, especially around the game’s midpoint, devolves into a ton of somewhat aimless scavenger hunting, and it is DRAINING to say the least. The game has a TON of padding around making you either aimlessly or even not aimlessly sail around the world back and forth between different locations, and it’s the biggest culprit when it comes to how bad the narrative’s pacing is. This game would be a lot better if it were 30 or 50% shorter. That is *just* how much padding we’re talking here.

The other activities you do along your scavenger hunting and sailing around the map are different forms of fighting. The one the game has the most mechanics around (buying equipment, accessories, and leveling up) are the roulette-based 3v3 fights with other pirate crews. Weapons you buy in shops not only have procedurally generated stats in accordance with their weapon level, but they also determine the layout of this roulette (they use the word “roulette” but it’s more like a single-wheel slot machine) timing mini-game . How many hits (and how strong they are), how many misses, and what extra modifiers (like buffs for your team, debuffs for the enemy, and even whether or not you’re hitting a single target or the whole enemy team) are determined by your weapon.

I generally found that combos (by hitting the right mark for it) are the way to go, and more damage makes the roulette spin faster, so slower weapons like bats and knuckle weapons are really the only sensible way to live. As a result, most weapons I found were basically useless, and vendors swap what they sell constantly, so it was mostly just a game of going from vendor to vendor on each map and seeing if they happened to have a better version of what I already had. These 3v3 fights are probably the best thought out part of the game, but even then, they’re far from perfect, and they also don’t have enough sprites in-game to have you fight anyone but generic enemies (generally composed of the same sprites you could’ve potentially used for your non-main character original pirate crew).

How you actually fight big name bad guys like Arlong or Krieg are in several forms. First you have ship battles, which aren’t very special, but they’re the most fun of these sorts of fights. You’re shooting their cannonballs out of the air and shooting specified spots on their ships in simple rail-shooter segments, and while it’s not amazing, it’s a fun enough change of pace. Then you have what I’ll call the word battles. This is how you fight giant sea monsters (by hurling big furniture off of the deck of the ship at them) or big bosses (via your list of silly special moves) by picking a word from a procedurally generated list, and the longer the word, the more damage you do. There’s a little bit of strategy here, as you’re trying to hit them down to about exactly lethal, as if you overshoot they’ll likely get back up and not actually die, but you also effectively can’t die yourself in these segments, so it’s mostly just silly, flashy fun, and they’re a clever and efficient way to give the player fights against big bosses as well without making a ton of bespoke assets for it.

The biggest loser of these extra modes is what I’ll call the choose-your-own-adventure fights. There are three of them, and they’re conceptually the Straw Hat Pirates fighting against big enemies and you’re picking moves for them from a binary list each time. Picking the right option will progress the fight down a particular dialogue tree, making this a glorified visual novel segment. However, the big problem here is that there is almost never any indication of what move is actually the right move. Even moves that “do damage” (there are no health bars in this segment) might not actually be the correct move because it’s not progressing the dialogue trees the right way. These devolve into trial and error slogs of just trying to select the correct choice to let you be free of this awful mess. These are so bad and unintuitive (not to mention I couldn’t really find guides for them on the Japanese internet even) that they alone are what make the game completely unrecommendable. I wish that were not the case, but they were so miserable and so devoid of actual mechanics that it’s just impossible to overlook them in any meaningful sense, especially in a game that’s already such a mixed bag with the good struggling very hard to outpace the bad.

Speaking of mixed bags, we also have the game’s presentation, which fits that description to a T. The graphics, when they’re there, are generally either pretty okay 3d models (outside of the rail shooter segments which look better) or visual novel-style segments. The VN segments use a ton of art from the show and manga (as well as some completely original stuff), and while here and there they’ve picked some quite uncanny screen caps of the crew, it generally looks quite nice, and the Straw Hat crew in particular have a TON of different sprites they’ll use for different attacks or emotions. The audio quality also isn’t great, being a PS1 game, but quite a large amount of the dialogue is also voice acted, at least for the licensed characters. It’s honestly quite impressive just how many of them (some of which have barely any lines) they managed to gather the voice actors together to get them to record for this game for. While it’s not exactly Atelier Marie, where literally all spoken dialogue is voiced, it’s still a remarkable amount of story-important dialogue given voice. The music, though, is extremely basic and not very good. It’s all incredibly forgettable and doesn’t really scream “One Piece” at all, and it’s an unfortunate low point for a game with otherwise quite competent presentation.

Verdict: Not Recommended. Even for the most die hard One Piece fans, I think this game is going to be a really tough pill to swallow compared to the sheer amount of far more competent One Piece games out there. Sure, it’s an original story, but it’s so underwhelming and poorly paced that even that can’t save it, especially with how downright awful or boring so much of the gameplay often is. I’m glad to have it out of my way, but at the rate we’re going, this is probably going to be the worst game I play this year. Of all the licensed Japan-only games you need to know Japanese pretty darn well to actually play, this is one you can very safely skip.
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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)
15. Quake: Scourge of Armagon (PC)(FPS)
16. Quake: Dissolution of Eternity (PC)(FPS)

17. Bioshock Infinite (PC)(FPS)
18. Chop Goblins (PC)(FPS)
19. Ravenloft: Stone Prophet (PC)(RPG)
20. Halfway (PC)(Tactical Strategy)
21. Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood (PC)(FPS)
22. Might and Magic X - Legacy (PC)(RPG)
23. Civilization IV (PC)(4X Strategy)

24. Operation Body Count (PC)(FPS)
25. WW2 Rebuilder (PC)(Simulation)
26. Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos (PC)(Action-Adventure)
27. The Ascent: Cyber Heist (PC)(Top-Down Shooter)
28. Bright Memory Infinite (PC)(FPS)

29. Tuin (PC)(Farming Sim)

Tuin

Tuin is a strange game. It's a farming simulator that is meant to be casual, a relatively tiny file that can be turned on and off at a whim and just messed with at leisure. But it doesn't pause, and as you expand your plot and your farm, you have to do an increasing amount of management, to the point that it eventually lost its casual nature and had me more actively engaging.

But until you reach that tipping point, it's a slow affair. You control a disembodied hand that starts off with a small amount of funds, a tiny plot of land to play with, and only a small store to purchase seeds and begin your agricultural empire. As you go, you earn faster ways to make more money, which can then be focused on automating certain aspects of your work, raising animals, making bread, and doing a variety of things you might not expect. My favorite was building a nuclear reactor to power my cheese-maker, but maybe I'm just weird.

Cash is king in Tuin. As you go, you unlock access to bundles, which can be sold for higher prices. As you sell bundles, you eventually manage to unlock access to more, until eventually you're growing your vegetables based entirely around these and then selling them for large chunks of moolah. This money then gets spent on opening access to and upgrading stores, which in turn lets you access more equipment to make your life easier. For instance, tired of weeds growing over your crops? Upgrade to pots. Want an animal? Purchase a nest and the egg corresponding to the size you need, then grow the animal and hope it's the one you want.

Yes, animals come from eggs, regardless of whether you are birthing chickens or cows. All 8 of the animals are useful in some capacity though, from getting rid of pests like flies and mice to producing milk or eggs, finding seeds that you can use for growing crops, or simply producing dung, which can then be composted into fertilizer to grow crops twice as fast. This then turns into more money, for buying more eggs, expanding crop space, or upgrading your farm further.

The upgrades are pretty nice too, even if they're not always as useful as you think they'll be. For instance, I built fences to keep out weeds, which was nice, until weeds grew inside the fence. I built a pond and an irrigation system with sprinklers so I could water my plants more easily, except I had to manually pump. Also, the pond holds limited water, so despite my rigging it up to a power system thanks to my nuclear power plant, most of the time I had no water to actually pump. But the reactor also powered other necessary devices, such as my refrigerator for food storage (pulled crops, bread, milk, and cheese will go bad after a minute otherwise), or my machines for making bread and cheese. Thankfully the birthing nest and compost bin did not require power, nor did my mill for flour production nor my trashcan.

I'm sure there were other options I could have explored, such as growing an orchard and using the fruit as animal feed for a much larger array of animals (I got by with a paired down set of 8 fed entirely by weeds in a large open area while I focused on my crop sale combos). The end state I focused on was earning all of the achievements because they tied in directly to unlocking everything and reaching certain bonuses and farm sizes, but if I wanted, I could continue things indefinitely and experiment at my leisure.

Still, it wasn't quite as casual as I was expecting. I ended up focusing much more actively on my farm as time went by. And I ended up enjoying it more too as I became more involved. Tuin was an entertaining experience.
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MrPopo
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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
22. Octopath Traveler II - Switch
23. Last Call BBS - PC
24. The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure - Switch
25. Dread Templar - PC
26. The Great War: Western Front - PC
27. GrimGrimoire OnceMore - PS5
28. Haegemonia: Legions of Iron - PC
29. Everspace 2 - PC
30. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor - PC
31. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom - Switch

Breath of the Wild ushered in the Switch and it looks like Tears of the Kingdom is going to send it off before the next one. And what a hell of a sendoff. Breath of the Wild was universally praised, and for good reason. It completely revitalized the open world genre and brought back the sense of exploration you had with the early Zelda titles. Well, Tears of the Kingdom takes everything about BotW and makes it better, while adding a bunch of new stuff that is a blast to play. Nintendo has really outdid themselves with this one.

Tears of the Kingdom is set several years after Breath of the Wild. Recently there have been reports of weird stuff called gloom coming from cracks in the earth. Link and Zelda decide to plumb the forgotten depths of the castle to try and find the source of this problem. In the process, they discover the desiccated body of Ganondorf, who awakens when they get near. Zelda vanishes in a puff of light, and Link's arm is overcome with the corruption spewing forth from Ganondorf. He awakens on an island in the sky with a new arm and a voice in his head directing him to the Temple of Time. Cue the start of a journey to figure out what happened to Zelda, how to fight back against the darkness, and to stop Ganondorf.

The game starts with a base of Breath of the Wild, so you have the climb everywhere, explore everywhere, pick up every weapon because they break gameplay of the first. Like before, you start off in a closed off area that serves as the tutorial, and you go through a few shrines to get the powers that will serve you through the rest of the game. After doing so you get to enter the main world and begin your exploration. Unlike Breath of the Wild, here the story is stronger and a bit more like a classic Zelda game. You will want to keep following the main quest prompts until you get the sailcloth, as that is linked with unlocking the towers that you'll use to uncover the world map. It'll also introduce you to the depths, which is a complete second map below the main world. There are two primary gimmicks here. The first is it's dark as fuck. You have ways to light up small areas, but the main way is to find lightroots, which are activated and light up a section as well as reveal that portion of the map. The other is that the ground is full of gloom. And gloom's effect is to lock off your heart containers. Touching it for a few seconds will mark one of your hearts as broken, and restoring that requires either being under a lightroot, in the light of day, or with a particular food recipe. The depths is a very dangerous place, as enemies also have a blight effect on their attacks. The depths are also full of rewards, so it is very worth doing. There's also the sky; it is much more sparse than the ground, as it's just a small number of sky islands that have some treasures and shrines, bringing the total shrine count up to 152.

Like before, the plot has you go to the four major races to handle their problems, do a story dungeon, and get a technique reward. But this is executed much better than BotW. The dungeons now aren't these weird mechanical monsters that constrain the design; instead they are much more like classic Zelda dungeons. They have some sort of aesthetic and mechanical theme, and make use of various devices to replicate the "use this dungeon time to solve escalating puzzles" feeling of previous Zeldas. And the rewards for finishing one of these story dungeons is much greater. Instead of just a minor power that you can use once in a great while, instead you get to summon the spirit of the character you helped, who will attack in combat and can be activated regularly (as in, every 10 seconds or so) to do some sort of empowered attack that has special effects. And you aren't restricted to one spirit out at a time; by the end of the game you have a large party helping you out. They don't do a huge amount of damage, but they do a great job of distracting enemies, and you can get some major juggling going on with tough enemies.

The general plot is stronger than BotW. There's more to Ganondorf than Calamity Ganon's "evil showed up, you gotta stop it". As a result, the main quests do a better job of making sure you see all the story content if you follow them. This brings it a bit closer to the classic Zelda experience, just with a ton of wandering around and exploration and treasure in between.

One final thing to cover is the new powers. The original game's powers are gone; instead you have the ability to dive into a close enough ceiling and swim to the top (great for getting out of caves), the ability to rewind time for an object (a surprising number of uses for this, like stasis had), and then two powers related to fusing items together. The first is fusing items to your weapons and shield. Fusing to arrowheads let you do things like launch bomb arrows, or various other special effects (kees eyes make an arrow home). Fusing to your weapon will increase its durability significantly, add damage, and can change its type. Slashing weapons can cut through vines and cut down trees, while bashing weapons are good for smashing rocks and mining ore. The other fusion power is fusing objects in the world. And this is where a big component of free play comes from. The game is full of various devices, like wheels, flame throwers, balloons, fans, and more. You can stick all of these together with boards, rocks, and other stuff, and use it to build vehicles and structures to make your way through the world. Vehicles let you ride over blight safely or fly through the air to get to somewhere high up you can't climb to. Many puzzles will require building bridges or redirecting balls. The game makes full usage of the possibilities here, and it's something that rewards creativity.

Overall, Tears of the Kingdom improves on Breath of the Wild in every conceivable metric. Honestly, it feels like BotW was a prototype for TotK, and TotK is the real game they wanted to release. While it won't make a believer of you if you didn't like the first, if you even mildly liked the original you should grab this. The only question remaining is what will the next Zelda look like?
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
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