Games Beaten 2023

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marurun
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by marurun »

Pidge, sounds like your recent play experiences were not a shining star, exactly.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

marurun wrote:Pidge, sounds like your recent play experiences were not a shining star, exactly.


I had fun playing them! x3
They just weren't all time greats, is all <w>

I think of that little non-RPG sojourn I did, I'd say I enjoyed Mischief Makers and Maximo the most~ ^w^
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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
32. Warhammer 40000: Boltgun - PC
33. Diablo 4 - PC
34. System Shock (2023) - PC
35. Huntdown - Switch
36. HROT - PC
37. Armored Core V - PS3
38. Armored Core: Verdict Day - PS3
39. Aliens: Dark Descent - PC
40. Zone of the Enders HD - PS3
41. Trails into Reverie - Switch
42. Baldur's Gate 3 - PC
43. Quake 2 64 - PC
44. Quake 2: Call of the Machine - PC
45. Amid Evil: The Black Labyrinth - PC
46. Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon - PS5
47. Starfield - PC
48. Zone of the Enders HD: The 2nd Runner - PS3
49. Industries of Titan - PC
50. Legend of Mana - Switch

Legend of Mana has always been known as the black sheep of the good Mana series games. I'd heard tales of how it changed things up, and so I avoided it due to the price tag. Then they released a modern remaster and I decided to pull the trigger. And I gotta say, I am glad I avoided it until now, as I would have been massively pissed to have paid the PS1 aftermarket prices for it. While the game isn't objectively bad, it is the worst of the good games (FFA through Sword of Mana) by far.

So the first thing to know when going into this game; it is secretly Romancing SaGa 4 with a Mana veneer. When I realized what was going on, suddenly so many of the game's systems made more sense, in terms of existing. Not in terms of understanding those systems, mind you. But at least the why of them makes perfect sense. See, for this outing Akitoshi Kawazu was the producer, and you might know that name from Final Fantasy II and the SaGa series. He is a man who has a very distinctive mechanical style and it shows up on every game he is involved with, and Legend of Mana is no exception.

But let's talk how the game actually plays. At the start you are given a large barren world map and must select a portion to be the actual game world. Upon this zoomed in grid you will be placing a variety of key items called artifacts; these will turn into the actual game levels. As you complete quests you will gain more artifacts, and by the end of the game you will have filled in most of this map with all the stages of the game (actual amount will depend on how deep you go on sidequests, as you can pull the trigger on the ending fairly quickly if you know what you're doing). Artifacts must be placed adjacent to another artifact, and the placement has a variety of important effects. At its most basic, the further away an artifact is from your home base, and the later in order you place them, the higher level the monsters are, which affects drops (higher level monsters are needed to drop rarer stuff). This part is straightforward; the less straightforward part is that some artifacts must be placed next to or on top of water squares, and placing artifacts causes the mana levels in adjacent territories to increase, which is needed for triggering certain quests or to recruit special monsters. And the order you place things in also will affect the availability of shops; placing all your towns too early can lock you out of the high end equipment and easy access to materials.

Once you have stages placed you can explore them. There are a handful of towns, but most are dungeons. Inside these lands you will gain a variety of quests. The game lacks an overarching narrative; instead you have a bunch of quests. Some are one-ofs, some are parts of character chains, and some are part of a story chain. There are three story chains, and completing at least one is the requirement to unlock the final stage. However, these story chains aren't really linked to the events of the final stage. Completion of these quests is required to gain artifacts to continue various quest chains. While you can't lock yourself out of finishing the story chains you can absolutely lock yourself out of other quests. Part of this comes from the fact that triggering many of the later quests tends to be very obtuse. You frequently need to go visit a previous area at a specific time and talk to a specific NPC to kick things off. So you need to regularly be visiting every town in between quests to see if they are giving new dialogue that cues you in to the existence of a new quest.

How about those dungeons? Well, this is the part where my frustration reached its height. So Legend of Mana changes from an overhead view to more of a sidescrolling view. Not a Mario style sidescroller, but rather a beat-em-up style sidescroller, where you have vertical space but everything is still in terms of mostly going to the left and right. This leads to incredibly confusing dungeon design, because you will do things like leave a screen off the right, and come in to the next screen on its right. So your ability to orient yourself can be greatly compromised. One dungeon in particular is incredibly egregious; it's neigh impossible to navigate without a map because of the number of cycles and the fact that it is doing a bunch of circling around a center mountain (if you think of it in 3D space).

As you explore you'll run into monsters, and this will lock you into a single screen and you pull out your weapon. During combat you can attack with your weapon, use generic movement techniques you've learned, use special weapon attacks that require a full charge bar, or cast magic that you've equipped. However, that magic is all attack magic; there is no healing magic in the game. In fact, the only ways to heal are to stand still (very slow), use the crouch generic technique (not as slow, but your defense drops to 0 so don't get hit), or finish the battle for a full heal. Combat is balanced around this lack of healing options, which overall makes it fairly easy. And that's before you realize that a steady cadence of regular attacks can practically stunlock all enemies. About the only thing that stops you is bosses using techniques (which gives them long periods of invulnerability) and fighting more than one monster. See, your attack hitboxes are janky as fuck, and the game only allows a single enemy to be hit by a weapon swing. As a result, enemies who cluster up will have one be stunned and the others hitting you in the face. But even with that, combat is generally a breeze (one boss with a giant fuck you aoe that can take half or more your health excepted).

And then there's the various improvement systems. Probably the most obtuse part of the game, but understanding how to better your character is important. The most basic is stats you gain on level up; this is determined by the weapon you are equipped with at the time. For the most part it's straightforward; big heavy weapons make strength go up; the magic staff makes magic go up. It's never too lopsided, so you're pretty free to use what you want and still be reasonably well rounded. But that leads to the second part; technique learning. You learn generic techniques and weapon techniques by doing a certain number of battles with certain generic techniques equipped. It's not based on number of times something is used, just "did I do a battle with jump and crouch on my slots?" Weapon techniques also require you to do a certain number of battles with that weapon in general on top of the technique requirement. While most of the generic techniques are a novelty without any real combat application, the weapon techniques are important. They give you invincibility (great for dodging an enemy technique) and can give some very big damage. For example, the best 1h axe technique does at least 6x the damage of a single attack in one go.

But that's the easy stuff. Next comes the monster and golem system, where you can gain an extra party member by either raising a monster or building a golem. Golem stats are based on the equipment you sacrifice to first make it, but then for them to do any good you need to sacrifice more equipment to make various attack skills, which are slotted on a grid that has some sort of priority system around what order to use them and if they need to be a certain distance away. And then there's a random failure rate that cannot be removed, only lowered. Monsters aren't much better; they start at level 1 and every time they level up, if you put food in their bin, they eat the food and gain stats. Which means early on you have to constantly go back to home to put in more food. It's incredibly tedious, and there are a bunch of hidden properties of food that may or may not apply. You'll probably only make use of the one monster that gives you better drops.

But all of that pales in comparison to the madness that is forging. While the initial "get a piece of gear from a material" part is simple, that's not actually the important part. The important part is hammering in 10s of other materials to turn it into a god killing weapon/immovable object of a piece of armor. But this system is utterly mad. The interface does not tell you what a given material will do when forged in, and it doesn't tell you what these weird card things are when you start forging in more things. There's a bunch of hidden parameters that the game tracks and affects your ability to get the results you want. If you look up one of the dissertations the community has made on the system you'll realize just how stupidly complex it is and move on to just looking up a "good enough" recipe. And make no bones about it; a good enough recipe is definitely good enough. At end game I was able to six shot bosses with basic attacks thanks to the stupidly powerful axe I had made, and I know people have made things five times as powerful as what I did.

In the end, Legend of Mana is an experiment, and many of its pieces would be reused in Sword of Mana, but in a FAR more comprehensible form. I feel I could have forgiven many of its flaws if it weren't for the fact that the story is incredibly weak. Its setup as a series of small vignettes, none of which really connect to the final boss, really hurts the game. I can forgive a lot mechanically if I like a game's story, but in this case the story is probably the weakest part of everything. I will say, though, that the game is incredibly pretty. All the backgrounds are clearly hand drawn and take advantage of the Playstation's hardware to not be built up from tiles. But this, again, is a weakness, as it is often hard to tell where exits are, and you often get caught up on geometry.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by Raging Justice »

The Messenger (Second playthrough)

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Many people are playing The Messenger after the release of Sea of Stars, so it seemed like a good time to revisit it. This is possibly the true successor to the 8-bit Ninja Gaiden games. The game is not subtle in showing its reverence for them. It's the same style of play, but with more abilities allowing for deeper platforming mechanics. The same level of difficulty is there, but the frustration of the NG games is gone due to frequent checkpoints (that also save your progress). There's even a fun gimmick surrounding player death that makes you smile when it happens. It also functions as an in universe explanation for why your character never stays dead. Upgrades also give players a way to reduce the game's difficulty a bit. Ninja Gaiden games were also known for groundbreaking storytelling and cinematics. There are few cutscenes in The Messenger, but it does weave a compelling tale with a lot of interesting lore and world building that bleeds over into an alternate reality game as well as the studio's second video game, Sea of Stars. With this game they gave birth to a fictional universe that they are clearly very invested in. To further the comparisons between this and the old NG games, we even had NG's creators trying the game out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctijWWXznFg

The game managed to take the throne away from Resident Evil 4 for best shopkeeper, and in a Metroid-like twist we learned long after the game's release that the hooded shopkeeper is actually a female. The banter and dialog between the protagonist and the shopkeeper throughout the game is funny, snarky, and at times even deep and insightful. When the shopkeeper isn't exchanging witty barbs with our hero, she can be found ruminating on the meaning of life, how to find happiness, and the cure for anxiety. Much of this comes through in stories that players can optionally choose to listen to. The shopkeeper is an adept storyteller. Sometimes the two characters exchange some tiresome lines where they do the all too typical fourth wall breaking that is so trendy in indie games, but the majority of their dialog is excellent. The shopkeeper is more than a shopkeeper, she is an actual character. Also, much like the old NG games on the NES, I appreciate that the game's hero is not a boring silent protagonist. He is quite a character as well.

The level design is excellent, pushing your platforming skills to the limit in every way and making you master the game's various abilities, most notably the "cloud step", which lets you do a double jump after attacking any enemy or object. This ability makes for some ingenious and creative platforming and is what much of the gameplay is built around. I'm not a speed running fan, but the developers are, and when you master the hero's various abilities and learn the layout of the areas you can move through them with speed and momentum. You'll start to actually feel like an agile ninja.

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You may notice that the levels feel a bit large for a straightforward platformer, with many spots where one can go off the beaten path. The reason for this is two fold. There are hidden collectibles to be found in every area, in order to unlock an upgrade that is...not really worth the trouble if you're not a completionist. These secret areas offer up the game's toughest platform challenges in order to acquire those collectibles. The ultimate reward for getting them all is a weak new weapon that is hardly worth the effort. Also, the game features a fun twist where you are at one point in the game sent to the future. When this happens, the graphics go from 8-bit style (though The Messenger looks nicer than anything I've actually played on the NES) to a vibrant and colorful 16-bit style. Eventually, you'll be able to travel back and forth between the past (8-bit) and future (16-bit) time periods of each area at will. This, in addition to using the ninja's various abilities acquired throughout the game, will allow you go to new areas in previously visited locations. Essentially, the game eventually switches from being a linear, action focused platform game to a full blown metroidvania!

From 8-bit platformer, to 16-bit platformer, to full on medroidvania, The Messenger is clearly a game that likes to regularly shake things up instead of just falling into a comfortable status quo like most video games. It's like the game is really three games, and big moments in the story precede these big shifts in graphics and gameplay. A big moment marks the shift from 8-bit platformer to 16-bit platformer, and another one marks the shift from linear platformer to medroidvania.

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The game's controls are PERFECT, as such death is always clearly the player's fault, not the controls or input lag.

The graphics are excellent, the 8-bit/16-bit shifts are amazing to behold. The environment is also full of little details and easter eggs. Observant, eagle eyed players will discover that there are things in the environment that are directly connected to various stories told by the shopkeeper (implying that those stories are not just made up). Also, in one level players may notice characters in the background singing along to parts of the level's music. Attention to detail is a major thing in The Messenger.

The soundtrack has some real bangers. I also love the music in the Shinobi No Kikkan trailer, featuring some silly footage of real actors dressed as characters and monsters from the game engaging in goofy looking combat (link below)). The game's attention to detail applies to the music too as anytime you go underwater the music starts to sound muffled and far away. Though that would seem to imply that the main character actually hears the game's music LOL. Given the amount of fourth wall breaking dialog between him and the shopkeeper though, that's not out of the question

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7VhIMBt7Yw

If there is one area where the game falters, it's that the metroidvania portion of the game could have been a bit better. It's not quite as satisfying as a full blown metroidvania game would be, and It could use one or two more fast travel options for all of the backtracking that you will be doing. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I have mixed feelings about all of the fourth wall breaking humor. It's become a tiresome trope within the indie scene that isn't particularly clever, cool, or funny anymore. I generally don't like things that pull the player out of a game's fictional world. That includes stupid kickstarter areas full of people's names that clearly doesn't belong within the game's world, as well as obnoxious real life references like the existence of people like Jirard the Compeltionist in the Sea of Stars game or Jim Sterling in Streets of Red: Devil's Dare. Stuff like this also comes across as pathetic and unnecessary pandering to gamers. It also makes a guy like Girard look like a pathetic shill when he calls Sea of Stars his game of the year.

All in all though, In the same way Infernax is a love letter to Castlevania II and Blazing Chrome harkens back to the 16-bit glory days of Contra, The Messenger is a treat for Ninja Gaiden fans, and is arguably better than the games that inspired it. The studio's second game is getting a lot of attention now (Sea of Stars), but I view The Messenger as the stronger of the two games.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by MrPopo »

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022

First 50:

51. This Way Madness Lies - PC

This Way Madness Lies is the latest game from Zeboyd Games. It uses the combat system from Cosmic Star Heroine, but returns to the more irreverent style of their earlier games. The basic setup is a group of drama students become magical girls and jump into the worlds of Shakespeare to fight evil that is attempting to corrupt the plays. Yeah, it's a weird premise, but it's fun.

As mentioned, the combat system is pulled from Cosmic Star Heroine. On each character's turn they get a point of hyper and can use an ability, an item, or a combo attack with another character (which are one use per battle and require the partner to be alive but does not consume the partner's turn). Once an ability has been used it cannot be used again until you defend (which refreshes all your abilities). There are some exceptions, though; some abilities are marked as reusable. When your hyper gauge is full your next attack will be powered up. This might be a simple increase in damage, a widening of effect (single -> row -> all), or a completely different effect all together. Managing your abilities and when hyper is going to come up is critical to success.

There are a total of seven playable characters, with party size being four. For most of the game you have a fixed party, swapping out people as things progress. This is a mild annoyance, as the first party is a balanced one (hero, phys damage, mage, healer), while the other parties involve the two more unusual members. One is a status mage that focuses on poison damage, while the other has this really weird support kit that might be interesting if any of her abilities (except for end game ones) could affect more than a single target. She's more trouble than she's worth, which is a shame, because clearly some thought went into her design. When you get your last party member (tank) you also get the ability to choose your party for good.

The game is fairly short; you can knock it out in a handful of hours, and this is by design. It doesn't want to overstay its welcome either in terms of story or mechanics. The end game enemies get to be a little too spongey, so I think it ends at just the right moment. If you're looking for a fun turn based game with interesting combat I'd recommend this one.
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by Note »

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)
7. Shining Force III [Scenario 1] (SAT)
8. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (SNES)
9. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile (PS1)
10. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (GEN)
11. X-Men Legends (PS2)
12. Snatcher (SCD)
13. Smash Remix (N64)
14. Golden Axe III (GEN)
15. Iridion II (GBA)

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16. Fatal Fury Special (SNES)

My first experience playing a Fatal Fury game was at my cousin's place, as they had rented the first game on the SNES for a weekend. I was familiar with Street Fighter II at this point, and to my young self those characters were iconic. However, after watching my relatives play Fatal Fury, I thought the game was a pretty good competitor to the SF series, and the character designs were on point. I even preferred the gameplay style and art style over that of the other popular fighting series that was everywhere, Mortal Kombat. I was pretty intrigued and the game stuck with me over the years. For this particular playthrough, I played the game via emulation.

As Fatal Fury was trying to compete with Street Fighter, the developers saw what Capcom was doing with Champion Edition, and SNK decided to do something similar. Fatal Fury Special is a reworking of Fatal Fury 2, with additional characters, levels, and some gameplay changes. In regards to characters, the bosses from Fatal Fury 2 have been made available, and two characters that were originally playable in the first entry to the series are now here: Duck King and Tung Fu Rue. If that wasn't enough, Geese Howard, who was the boss of the first game is now available to play as too. In regards to gameplay, SNK has added a combo system, where you can link moves and even cancel certain moves into others. Some of the power levels of the characters were also adjusted, for an improved balance.

In single player mode, you'll have to get through a gauntlet of the original eight playable characters in Fatal Fury 2, then the two characters from the original game, and then face off against the various boss characters, including Geese Howard and lastly Krauser. If you're able to do so in only two rounds for each fight, you'll unlock a secret battle against Ryo Sakazaki from the Art of Fighters. I didn't play well enough to participate in the secret battle, but it's a cool addition!

Overall, I think any fan of the 2D fighter genre would enjoy Fatal Fury Special. The series brings its own unique flare with the two plains in each level, desperation moves, elemental hazards, great character designs, well done sprite work, and an impressive soundtrack. If you feel like you've spent enough time with the other well known fighters on the console and are looking for something different, give this one a shot!
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by Markies »

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)***
9. Dragon's Crown (PS3)
10. Bangai-O (SDC)
11. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
12. Destruction Derby (PS1)
13. X-Men Legends II: Rise Of Apocalypse (XBOX)
14. Vice: Project Doom (NES)
***15. Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm (PS2)***
16. Terranigma (SNES)
***17. Super Street Fighter II (GEN)***
18. Guitar Hero II (PS2)
19. Kirby's Dream Land (GBC)
***20. Gunbird 2 (SDC)***
***21. Stella Deus: The Gate Of Eternity (PS2)***
22. I Am Setsuna (NS)
23. DuckTales: Remastered (WiiU)
***24. The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past (SNES)***
***25. Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers 2 (NES)***
26. Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade (GBA)
27. Prince Of Persia: The Two Thrones (XBOX)
28. Baten Kaitos Origins (GCN)
29. Virtua Racing (GEN)

***30. Breath Of Fire III (PS1)

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I completed Breath of Fire III on the Sony Playstation 1 this evening!

Breath of Fire III was a game I beat long before I discovered the Backloggery. I got my Playstation 2 around 2003 and I start playing PS1 games around that time. After the Final Fantasy games, I discovered other RPG's and Breath of Fire was one of the first because I had played them recently on my SNES. So, it had been 15 years since my first time playing through the game. I remember feeling the game was a little odd, but I do remember enjoying the game. It had been a while since I had replayed a long RPG to completion, so while looking over my PS1 RPG's, I thought it would be a good time to finally replay it after so many years.

Obviously, Breath of Fire III is made by Capcom, so of course the sprite work is amazing. The color and the details of every little graphic is stunning. It looks amazing and one of the best looking games on the console. Also, the game uses Smooth Jazz as its main motivation for music. It's a strange choice, but it works really well. It helps in the long dungeon and just walking around as you feel this rather serene feeling wherever you go. The game's story is much like the SNES ones with Ryu slowly learning that he is a dragon. His friends are along the way and they are all fun and unique.

But, they have very little character growth and aren't all that great as fighters. Also, the story kind of jumps all over the place and never really gets going. You don't have a main protagonist until the final part of the game. The battle system is fun, but Ryu is such the center of attention that all fights turn into the same fight. Ryu does all the work and your other characters help him along the way. The game looks great, but it also uses this isometric camera angle that makes moving a bit of a chore. Also, it is quite fixed, so it is hard to look around and see everything around you.

Overall, I slightly enjoyed my time with Breath of Fire III. When I replay a game, I'm battling my nostalgia and memory for the game along with doing everything in the game. I collected all skills and did some extra grinding and both of those kind of dampened my enjoyment of the game. Those skills were a complete pain, so I probably had better nostalgia for the game than enjoyment when I played through it. However, I still think the game is good and worth playing if you love PS1 RPG's. I just wouldn't collect everything in the game.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by MrPopo »

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022

First 50:

51. This Way Madness Lies - PC
52. Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries: The Dragon's Gambit - PC

The Dragon's Gambit is the latest bit of story DLC for Mechwarrior 5, this time covering the War of 3039. This is the last major event prior to the Clan Invasion of 3048, and that is the subject of the recently announced Mechwarrior 5: Clans standalone game. Like the previous story DLCs, you have the option of starting a new campaign with a preset force, or importing from another campaign (which will generally make it easy if it's an end game save).

The setup is that you have been contracted by Comstar to be part of the aid they give to the Draconis Combine; this is how they get around Takashi Kurita's "Death to Mercenaries" order. After an initial couple of missions to demonstrate your bona fides you are sent to try and reinforce Vega; those familiar with the lore know this is a doomed effort. Following this, you get rolled into the forces that begin the bold counterattacks that ultimately would bring the war to a close, even though they were massive bluffs. Your force is on the Lyran side of things, sniping across the portion of the border just under the Free Rasalhague Republic. You make some major inroads, force the Commonwealth to pull forces back from the front, and then retake one of the Combine's planets to wrap things up.

This DLC features the most new maps, and none of them are from the autogeneration used for the random missions the game was originally built around. Several times you will be part of larger forces, so it isn't always just your lance vs the world. However, there weren't any missions with more interesting scripting like the ambush from Rise of Rasalhague. The final mission is a contrast with Rise of Rasalhague's; RoR is a long gauntlet with a major fight at the end, while Dragon's Gambit is a large battle, with a solid force of friendlies. While it also features an end of mission "and then the boss shows up", it isn't hard to ensure you have several friendlies up, and this turns the boss drop into a killing ground and removes some of the climax. RoR had the boss at the end with you having taken a lot of damage (though they did put repair gantries in), so beating the end encounter feels more earned.

Still, it's a solid bit of content (the one new mech is the Longbow, which is a letdown due to the hardpoint system forcing it into missile support). A recent report from the holding company indicates there are two more pieces of DLC on the way for this game, and I'm honestly not sure what they're going to be. That report indicates they want to focus on premium experiences, rather than live services type stuff, so I would expect it to be more story DLC, but I don't know what events they could cover without stepping on the toes of Clans.
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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)
7. Shining Force III [Scenario 1] (SAT)
8. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (SNES)
9. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile (PS1)
10. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (GEN)
11. X-Men Legends (PS2)
12. Snatcher (SCD)
13. Smash Remix (N64)
14. Golden Axe III (GEN)
15. Iridion II (GBA)
16. Fatal Fury Special (SNES)

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17. Harmful Park (PS1)

After finishing Iridion II, I was in the mood to check out another shmup and decided to go with Harmful Park, which had been on my radar for a while. The game's unique cover art and 2D graphics caught my attention when I saw gameplay footage. To clarify, I played a fan translated version via emulation. The price tag for this title is quite hefty nowadays, as it only saw a limited release in Japan. Also, this appears to be the last commercial release for the development company that created the game, Sky Think Systems.

Harmful Park is a cartoony and colorful horizontal shmup which has six stages and includes two player co-op, which is always a nice feature for this genre. As soon as you start the first level, you'll notice this game is a pretty unique ride. Your character's sprite is quite small in comparison to the other elements on screen and the enemies, and you have a forgiving hitbox which will aid you in dodging all attacks coming your way. There's also four difficulty levels here, with easy not being too punishing, so there's something for newer or less experienced players of the genre.

The player starts out with four weapons from the start. The first weapon is labeled as a potato gun, and mostly resembles a standard rapid fire shot, the next is an ice laser which is fired from an ice cream cone, an arcing pie shot, fired from floating hands in a downward motion, and homing jelly beans. I was pretty thrown off to see the pie shot and jelly beans! When it comes to power-ups, whichever weapon you have selected is what will receive a boost when you grab a power-up, so if you want to give a boost to something else, you'll need to switch weapons ahead of time. You can boost each weapon up to a fourth level, and if you lose a life, the selected weapon will drop down back to the weaker first level. You also have access to four special attacks, each connected to one of the four weapons in use.

We have to bring up the graphics, level design, and enemy design; as I think this is a big standout for this title. The impressive 2D graphics are really bright and colorful, which is not as common to find on the PS1. Your adventure throughout Harmful Park will lead you through levels resembling theme parks, chapels, castles, forests, night time carnivals, and factories. While there is a lot going on with the levels here, I still found the bullets easily visible, which is another positive feature of the game. The enemy and boss designs are also very unique and fun. The one that stood out the most for me was the heart boss in the chapel! You'll also encounter an inflatable dinosaur and a Frankenstein amongst plenty other wacky enemies and bosses. Between each level there is also an animated and voiced cutscene with anime style graphics, which will give you another piece of the story. Also, I just want to mention the cover art here, as I find the placemat setting really funny and memorable.

Overall, Harmful Park is a very fun romp on the PS1. It's too bad this game had such a limited initial release, but I am glad that it was later available on PSN and a fan translation is now available. While the menus in the original game are all in English, it's nice to be able to follow the story with the fan translation. If you're up for a funny shooter with bright visuals, this one's for you! I highly recommend Harmful Park for fans of the genre and the console!
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by Ack »

First 50:
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)
30. Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun (PC)(FPS)
31. Warhammer 40,000: Shootas, Blood & Teef (PC)(Run and Gun)

32. Dark Messiah of Might and Magic (PC)(RPG)
33. Subnautica (PC)(Action-Adventure)
34. Frog Detective 3: Corruption in Cowboy County (PC)(Adventure)
35. The Shore (PC)(Horror Adventure)
36. Embr (PC)(Action)
37. That Which Gave Chase (PC)(Horror Adventure)
38. Witch Hunt (PC)(Horror FPS)

39. Amanda the Adventurer (PC)(Horror Adventure)
40. Shadows Peak (PC)(Horror FPS)
41. Berserk Mode (PC)(FPS)
42. Soul Calibur 2 (Arcade)(Fighting)

43. Zortch (PC)(FPS)
44. Bloodhound (PC)(FPS)
45. Poker Night at the Inventory (PC)(Traditional)
46. Ghostlore (PC)(Action RPG)

47. TimeShifters (PC)(FPS)
48. Beacon Pines (PC)(Narrative Adventure)

49. Amid Evil: The Black Labyrinth (PC)(FPS)
50. LEGO Brick Tales (PC)(Adventure)

51. Contraband Police (PC)(FPS)
52. Quake II (PC)(FPS)
53. Quake II: The Reckoning (PC)(FPS)
54. Quake II: Ground Zero (PC)(FPS)
55. Quake II 64 (PC)(FPS)
56. Quake II: Call of the Machine (PC)(FPS)

57. Chernobylite (PC)(FPS/RPG)
58. Pedro's Adventures in Spanish (PC)(Point-and-Click Adventure)



Chernobylite

For those of us who were massive S.T.A.L.K.E.R. fans, our journeys to Pripyat are sadly rare these days; the promised sequel is somewhere in development, the original developer is long since defunct, and the war in the nation that made the games is a much bigger focus for the locals than game development. To sate my desire to return to an area heavily impacted by intense radiation and scientific anomalies, I have Chernobylite! It is an FPS/RPG hybrid that focuses on acquiring resources, searching for Intel, and building and managing a team to ensure your eventual entrance to the Chernobyl reactor goes smoothly.

Why are you trying to break into a heavily irradiated area overrun by weird teleporting monsters and private military contractors? Because you have been called in your dreams by your wife. She is somewhere inside, and a new element, Chernobylite, is the key. Chernobylite has properties which enable it to bend time and space, making it immensely important but also frighteningly powerful, with potential side effects that boggle the mind. So much so, that the finale ends up with several massive twists which are...weird. Not bad, just weird. But it is also impacted by decisions made along the course of the game as well as a long the course of the final raid, so plan effectively and hope you made good choices.

Unfortunately, the game still isn't S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Gunplay is good but limited. Monsters aren't particularly interesting, and while there is one being stalking you, avoiding him/it isn't all that difficult. You can also build devices in hidden away corners to prevent the build up of radiation and creatures in areas, and once you have a few levels and certain skills under your belt, the game becomes pretty easy as long as you don't blatantly run out in front of something that really wants to kill you...and even when you do, you can still survive.

I liked the game overall, but it's not S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Still, it fits a need.


Pedro's Adventure in Spanish

Imagine if the early King's Quest games were entirely in Spanish in an attempt to help you learn the language. That sums up Pedro's Adventures in Spanish. You play as the titular Pedro, who must rescue a kidnapped princess from an evil sorcerer by collecting various items and solving puzzles to gain access to his fortress in the sky.

Of course, it's a little more complicated than that, but the hardest part is more about the occasional lapses into adventure game logic. Most of the game doesn't suffer from this, but every now and again you have to do something like apply a honeycomb to a rope to make it sticky enough you can climb.

But the more important purpose of the game is to use relatively basic Spanish to help players learn the language and hear it. A few times, the audio suffered from static, which hurt it. Also, some of the Spanish words are based on high fantasy tropes, so I sometimes needed to look for a translation to figure out the Spanish word for "ogre". That said, it's not a bad way to learn more about a language, and while I have slowly been learning Spanish bit by bit, this experience was beneficial. Edutainment doesn't have to be terrible, and Pedro's Adventures certainly wasn't. That feeling of throwback felt good and nostalgic.
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