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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Tue Sep 21, 2021 8:23 pm

o.pwuaioc wrote:I might think differently about it if I played it again today, but with a hundred shooters still left to master, who has time? :P


Lol, very true! If I come across another copy in our area, I'll let you know, just in case you're interested.

prfsnl_gmr wrote:The 3DS port is sharp. If you’re still curious about it, I recommend picking up that version.


I also don't have a 3DS, but I'm curious about playing this version now, just to compare it to the Genesis port.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Tue Sep 21, 2021 9:19 pm

Games Beaten 2021 List:

1. Golden Axe II (GEN)
2. Time Crisis [Special Mode] (PS1)
3. Streets of Rage (GEN)
4. Time Crisis: Project Titan (PS1)
5. Rayman Origins (360)
6. Borderlands (360)
7. Streets of Rage 4 (Switch)*
8. King of Dragons (SNES)
9. Wild Guns (SNES)
10. Star Fox (SNES)
11. Guardian Heroes (SAT) [2x]*
12. World of Illusion (GEN)
13. Raiden Fighters Jet (360)
14. Raiden Fighters 2: Operation Hell Dive (360)*
15. Streets of Rage 3 (GEN)
16. Street Fighter III: Third Strike (Xbox)*
17. Mushihimesama Futari (360)
18. Guwange (360)
19. Star Fox 64 (N64)*
20. Soul Calibur (DC)*
21. Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition (GEN)
22. Xeno Crisis (GEN)
23. Galactic Attack (SAT)
24. Die Hard Arcade (SAT)
25. Luigi's Mansion (GC)
26. Steel Empire (GEN)

Image

27. Virtua Cop (SAT)

I originally played Virtua Cop back around the time of release, shortly after my childhood friend got his Saturn. He got the Saturn system with the "3 Free Games" promotion, so we put a lot of time into those pack-in games when hanging out. However, I haven't had the opportunity to revisit the game until recently. I'm a big fan of light gun games, so I was looking forward to spending some time with this one again.

The gameplay for Virtua Cop is pretty straight forward, as it's an on-rail light gun shooter developed by Sega's AM2 originally for arcades in 1994, and ported to the Sega Saturn in 1995. I believe this is one of the first 3D polygonal light gun games, with Virtua Cop appearing on the scene before House of the Dead or Time Crisis which had a similar graphical look.

The enemies in Virtua Cop have a green circular icon around them which fades to orange and then red, indicating how long you have before the enemy is going to start firing in your direction. You will also have to watch out for civilians, as they will appear roaming around in each level, and if you accidentally hit one, you will lose some of your health. Luckily though, the circular icon that appears over enemies will not appear on civilians, so this should help you distinguish the characters. There are also other weapon types to be found, usually hidden in boxes or creates through each level, including a shotgun or machine gun. The standard pistol only has six shots before you need to reload, so it's a plus to find one of the better weapons. Another nice feature, is that the game can be played in co-op mode with a friend. However, for this playthrough, I played in single player mode.

I think this game looks really good for the time of release. The 3D polygonal graphics in this game aged pretty well in comparison to other early 3D games at the time. And even though I never saw this game in the arcades back in the day (which is a shame), I can say that this looks to be a pretty accurate home port of the arcade game. The soundtrack is also pretty great in Virtua Cop, and I think both the introduction music and first stage music get the player pretty amped for some arcade action. The music composers on this project understood their assignment and gave us some great tunes here.

I'd also like to mention the Saturn Stunner. Sega's first party light gun for the console works extremely well and is very accurate. It's quite easy to calibrate the light gun so that it shoots accurately. The peripheral is a comfortable size too and doesn't feel too small. It really makes we wish Sega released their first party light gun for the Dreamcast here in the States, instead of leaving us with the shitty and inaccurate Mad Catz gun.

I have a few criticisms that I need to bring up too. The game is really short. I'm sure the port was rushed to get it out for the Saturn's launch, but it would've been nice if there was some additional levels or game modes here. For example, Time Crisis has the three stages found in the arcade, and a separate campaign with three additional stages, that are exclusive to the home console release. Another critique I have is that the boss fights are all pretty similar. It would've been cool if there was some variety in the design of the bosses, or in how you have to defeat the boss itself -- that would've been a nice way to switch up the gameplay.

Overall, while the game is quite short, Virtua Cop is a really fun game and I would recommend it to any fan of the genre. It's a good time in single player, but I think it'd be even better with a friend. I can't wait to play this one co-op with a buddy. Check it out if you haven't already!
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by o.pwuaioc Tue Sep 21, 2021 11:01 pm

Note wrote:Overall, while the game is quite short, Virtua Cop is a really fun game and I would recommend it to any fan of the genre. It's a good time in single player, but I think it'd be even better with a friend. I can't wait to play this one co-op with a buddy. Check it out if you haven't already!

Man, come on over and we can play VC 1, 2 and House of the Dead over a few beers.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Note Tue Sep 21, 2021 11:31 pm

o.pwuaioc wrote:Man, come on over and we can play VC 1, 2 and House of the Dead over a few beers.


That'd be great! Appreciate the invite, would be a lotta fun to play some co-op light gun games and kick back some beers. Let's stay in touch and make that happen within the next month.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by PartridgeSenpai Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:22 am

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

Games 1~51
1. Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland (PS3)
2. Portal 2 (PC) *
3. Atelier Judie: The Alchemist of Gramnad (PS2)
4. Pipo Saru 2001 (PS2)
5. Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (N64)
6. Atelier Viorate: The Alchemist of Gramnad 2 (PS2)
7. Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SFC)
8. The Legend of Mystical Ninja (SFC)
9. Atelier Marie: The Alchemist of Salburg (PS1)
10. Ganbare Goemon 2 (SFC)
11. Paper Mario: Origami King (Switch)
12. Star Fox 64 (N64) *
13. Super Paper Mario (Wii) *
14. Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GC) *
15. Demon's Crest (SNES)
16. Cathedral (Switch)
17. Super Mario 3D World (Switch) *
18. Bowser's Fury (Switch)
19. Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos (Switch)
20. moon (Switch)
21. Casltevania 64 (N64)
22. Captain Rainbow (Wii)
23. Doraemon: Nobita To Mittsu No Seireiseki (N64)
24. Blast Corps (N64)
25. Doraemon 2: Nobita To Hikari No Shinden (N64)
26. Custom Robo (N64)
27. Doraemon 3: Nobita No Machi SOS! (N64)
28. 64 Trump Collection: Alice No Wakuwaku Trump World (N64)
29. The Sunken City (PS4)
30. Lair of the Clockwork God (Switch)
31. Star Fox Adventures (GC)
32. Atelier Elie: The Alchemist of Salburg 2 (PS1)
33. Billy Hatcher & The Giant Egg (GC)
34. Mole Mania (GB)
35. Gargoyle's Quest (GB)
36. Rock Man 4 (Famicom) *
37. Wai Wai World (Famicom)
38. Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge (GB)
39. Mega Man (Switch) *
40. Mega Man 2 (Switch) *
41. Mega Man 3 (Switch) *
42. Rock Man 5 (Famicom) *
43. Mega Man 6 (Switch)
44. Mega Man 7 (Switch) *
45. Mega Man 8 (Switch) *
46. Mega Man 9 (Switch) *
47. Mega Man 10 (Switch)
48. Rock Man World 2 (GB) *
49. Rock Man World 3 (GB)
50. Rock Man World 4 (GB)
51. Rock Man World 5 (GB)

Games 52~100
52. Wai Wai World 2 (Famicom)
53. Tiny Toon Adventures (Famicom)
54. King Kong 2: Ikari No Megaton Punch (Famicom)
55. Yume Pengin Monogatari (Famicom)
56. Rock Man & Forte (SFC)
57. Rock Man X2 (Switch)
58. Rock Man X3 (Switch)
59. Rock Man X4 (Switch)
60. Rock Man X5 (Switch)
61. Rock Man X6 (Switch)
62. Rock Man X7 (Switch)
63. Rock Man X8 (Switch)
64. Mega Man: Powered Up (PSP)
65. Magical Taruruuto Kun: FANTASTIC WORLD!! (Famicom)
66. Maken Shao (PS2)
67. Getsu Fuuma Den (Famicom)
68. Rock Man D.A.S.H (PSP)
69. Brave Fencer Musashi (PS1)
70. Joe & Mac (SFC) *
71. Atelier Lilie: The Alchemist of Salburg 3 (PS2)
72. Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link (Famicom)
73. The Bouncer (PS2)
74. Rapid Angel (PS1)
75. Atelier Totori: The Alchemist of Arland 2 (PS3)
76. Drakengard 3 (PS3)
77. Alwa's Awakening (Switch)
78. Hermina & Culus (PS2)
79. Atelier Meruru: The Alchemist of Arland 3 (PS3)
80. Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti (Switch)
81. Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana (PS2)
82. Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana 2 (PS2)
83. Mario Kart 64 (N64)
84. Super Mario Kart (SFC)
85. Mario Kart Super Circuit (3DS)
86. Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time (N64) *
87. Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64) *
88. Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap (3DS) *
89. Rock Man X: Command Mission (GC)
90. Pikmin (GC) *
91. Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (GC) *
92. Far East of Eden 2: Manjimaru (GC)
93. Pikmin 2 (GC) *
94. Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (GC) *
95. Shin Megami Tensei (SFC)
96. Metroid Prime (GC)
97. Bomberman Jetters (GC)
98. Maximo (PS2)
99. Operation Logic Bomb (SNES)
100. Bombuzal (SFC)


101. Splatterhouse (PCE)

When I got out of the hospital, I wanted something a bit more short and sweet to break back into being home again. Coincidentally, I happened to be showing a friend my PCE Mini, and then I remembered that this game was not only on there, but that it also fit great into September's TR theme of inferior ports~ (this being a port of the arcade version). I used save states pretty extensively to get retries at the last few stages and bosses, but overall I think I got familiar enough with their patterns that I could do it legit if I gave it a few more tries. It took me about 45 minutes to finish the Japanese version of the game.

Splatterhouse was originally an arcade game and it has the sort of simple story you'd expect from that. Rick & girlfriend are visiting the house of a paranormal researcher, Dr. West, when his girlfriend is suddenly kidnapped by monsters who also badly injure Rick. Rick is surely doomed when suddenly the terror mask appears, promising him great strength to help defeat Dr. West and his creatures if he'll just put it on. Rick obliges and gets all hulked out with his new mask friend and embarks on a journey through the game's ten or so stages to show these monsters what for. It's all pretty unimportant to the action at hand (that being punching and kicking monsters), but it certainly sets up for a very interesting aesthetic for an action game.

And a pretty solid action game it is. Splatterhouse is a 2D sidescrolling beat 'em up of sorts. While there is some platforming to jump over pits, this is more so an action game than anything else. You walk along the one-plane (no depth to walk back and forth between) punching and kicking all that dare stand in your path. It's a pretty tough game, with Rick only getting five hits before he's lost a life (of which you get 3 per continue) and have to go back to the start of the current room, but at least they give you a pretty sizable number of continues. Apparently the jump kick makes the game much easier, but I never quite figured out how to do it ^^;.

The difficulty doesn't always feel entirely fair, though, lending to the arcade roots of the game. Enemy spawn locations are sometimes fixed, but also sometimes procedural, so there are times where you simply can't avoid taking a hit because of how relatively big and slow you are. The bosses trend towards being much more manageable and follow more set patterns, and are definitely some of the game's biggest highlights. The game has stage and enemy inspirations from all sorts of horror films (from Rick's own obvious Friday the 13th design cues to the boss that's straight up the Poltergeist), and it makes for a lot of very cool and spooky set pieces and stages to punch your way through~.

That spooky presentation is definitely ones of the game's biggest strong points. The horror themes don't shy away from the gore, and although the PC Engine can't show them quite as pretty as the arcade version, the graphics and the music still sound great on a HuCard. The graphics are honestly one of the biggest "inferior port" things about the game. While it still plays just fine, the sprite limit is definitely something the game struggles with, and playing as a nearly invisible Rick trying to kill enough nearly invisible enemies to just make everything look normal again. It isn't exactly game breaking, but it's definitely an aspect that makes the arcade version something more desirable to play than this one.

Verdict: Recommended. The sometimes random nature of enemy spawns and relatively high difficulty can make this a bit of a frustrating action title, but it's also got enough charm and extra lives that I think it pulls through just fine. If you're into action games and want something quite aesthetically unique among retro games, this is a great one to check out (or perhaps the arcade version instead, if you're looking for something that runs a little better).
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by prfsnl_gmr Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:48 am

Note wrote:
prfsnl_gmr wrote:The 3DS port is sharp. If you’re still curious about it, I recommend picking up that version.


I also don't have a 3DS, but I'm curious about playing this version now, just to compare it to the Genesis port.


The base game is the same, which is great because, as you noted, the Genesis version is really good. Everything about it has been touched up, though. The graphics are a bit sharper; the sounds a bit better; the 3D effect is really good (if you want to use it); there are more difficulty options; you can save your game; there are “achievements” and unlockables; etc.

Here’s a NintendoLife review praising the 3DS port:

https://www.nintendolife.com/reviews/3d ... eel_empire

The review complains a bit about the price, which was way too high when the game released. It’s dropped significantly since then, and I got the game on sale for just a few dollars.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Flake Thu Sep 23, 2021 10:07 am

January Thru July:
January
Thirteen Sentinels: Aegis Rim (PS4)
Dark Stalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower (PSTV)

February

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (PS3)
Metroid Prime (Wii)
King of Fighters 14 (PS4)
King of Fighters 2002: Ultimate Match (PS4)
Splatoon 2 (Switch)
Super Mario 3D World (Switch)

March

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Switch)
Bowser's Fury (Switch)
Triggerheart Exelica (Xbox Series S)
Guardian Heroes (Xbox Series S)
Megaman 4 (Xbox Series S)

April

Megaman 2 (Xbox Series S)
Megaman 3 (Xbox Series S)
Megaman (Xbox Series S)
Megaman 5 (Xbox Series S)
Megaman 6 (Xbox Series S)
Disgaea 1: Complete (Switch)
NiGHTS into Dreams HD (Xbox Series S)
Megaman Zero (Switch)
Megaman Zero 2 (Switch)

June

Mass Effect (Xbox Series S)
Mass Effect 2 (Xbox Series S)
Castlevania (PS4)
Super Castlevania IV (Switch)


August

Yakuza Kiwami (Xbox Series S)
Megaman X (Xbox Series S)
Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (Xbox Series S)
Metroid (Switch)
Metal Slug (Neo Geo MVSx)
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus (Switch)

September

Batman: The Telltale Series (Xbox Series S)
Metal Slug 2 (Neo Geo MVSx)
Ultra Street Figher II (Switch)
X-Men vs Street Fighter (Arcade)

WHOO! I beat X-Men vs Street Fighter on my Arcade1up cab. Default difficulty and only used 3 credits. I remember walking 3 miles to play this machine at the local CiCi's pizza when I was a kid. I loved the game even if I could never get more than a few matches through arcade mode. Actually beating it yesterday felt amazing. Now if only I could beat Children of the Atom. That game is waaaay too hard.
The PSTV is amazing.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by Raging Justice Fri Sep 24, 2021 7:21 pm

Psychonauts 2

So this is one of those games I ranted a bit about in the games you gave up on thread. It has a lot of flaws. I decided to keep going with it though and did actually finish it. So here's my thoughts:

I feel like with a Psychonauts game, you should come for the characters, the writing, and the humor...not so much for the gameplay. Now granted, Psychonauts 2 does have some decent platforming, but it's far from some of the better titles in the genre in terms of complexity or creativity or challenge. What's there is fine, but nothing to write home about. The combat, which the game has far too much of, is a mess and not worth writing about. The boss fights...are awful. I think only the first one I kind of enjoyed and that was it. They are not fun, they are not interesting, and they last far too long

Some of the levels feel long and tedious too. Game play doesn't seem to be a strong suit with Double Fine

While I'm mentioning cons, I will say that there is stuff in Psychonauts 2 that I just found rather disgusting, like an entire world where you are being pursued by swarms of giant lice and another one that has anthropomorphic fleas. There's one that is themed around teeth and gums and dental stuff that I didn't really enjoy either. Ugh.

Another thing, the game gives you more powers than you can handle. I found it annoying having to constantly switch button assignments throughout the game. You only have four shoulder buttons to assign powers too and there is much more than four powers in the game. I kind of wish they could have done some sort of weapon wheel like the Ratchet and Clank games, but for psychic powers

So that's all the bad stuff. The good stuff? As I said before, the writing. Psychonauts 2 is one of the funniest games I have played. In fact, I spend large amounts of time just standing still listening to NPCs talk and I made an effort to interact with every character I could in the game because I just wanted to hear what they would say. There are tons of great lines and lots of hilarious jokes. The final psychic power you unlock is not at all what I was expecting and made me bust out laughing. The overall plot is okay, though a bit convoluted. Without spoiling anything I will say that there's a lot of family and relationship stuff that can get a bit confusing. A lot of the other Psychonauts kids in this game aren't used much in the story, but they make the most of the screen time they get. They have funny and entertaining moments. However, I felt sometimes that with all these characters, the game maybe focuses a little too much on Raz, who honestly is probably the least interesting of all the kids in the game. Raz is really just a big dork who thinks he's cool but actually isn't. While many of the other Psychonauts kids are entertaining characters, they do so little in the story that I never cared about any of them. So when their big moments came, they felt flat.

So yeah, the story has some issues, but again, there are so many hilarious and funny moments that keep you going. The game knows how to make you laugh. Plus, some of the mental worlds you traverse are genuinely creative and interesting in their presentation. Though, like I said before, some are kind of gross too

So ultimately, I enjoyed the comedy...but the game has little else to offer. Psychonauts 2 could have just been a point and click, PC Adventure game honestly, stripping out the bland platforming and sloppy combat for creative puzzles and all of the hilarious jokes that define the game

Just my two cents
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by ElkinFencer10 Sat Sep 25, 2021 1:27 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 92
* denotes a replay

January (12 Games Beaten)
1. God of War - PlayStation 3 - January 1
2. God of War II - PlayStation 3 - January 2
3. God of War: Chains of Olympus - PlayStation 3 - January 3
4. God of War: Ghost of Sparta - PlayStation 3 - January 4
5. God of War III - PlayStation 4 - January 6
6. God of War: Ascension - PlayStation 3 - January 9
7. God of War [2018] - PlayStation 4 - January 16
8. Epic Dumpster Bear 2: He Who Bears Wins - PlayStation 4 - January 16
9. God of War: Betrayal - Mobile - January 17
10. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit - Switch - January 18
11. Muv-Luv photonflowers* - Steam - January 22
12. Muv-Luv photonmelodies♮ - Steam - January 27


February (5 Games Beaten)
13. Gun Gun Pixies - Switch - February 1
14. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS4 - February 8*
15. Pantsu Hunter: Back to the 90s - Vita - February 13
16. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4 - February 17*
17. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - Steam - February 23


March (3 Games Beaten)
18. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - Steam - March 4
19. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky 3rd - Steam - March 7
20. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - PS4 - March 21


April (7 Games Beaten)
21. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - PS4 - April 5
22. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 00 - Steam - April 7
23. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 01 - Steam - April 10
24. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 02 - Steam - April 11
25. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 03 - Steam - April 13
26. Neptunia Virtual Stars - PS4 - April 18
27. Before Your Eyes - Steam - April 18


May (9 Games Beaten)
28. New Pokemon Snap - Switch - May 2
29. Resident Evil 8: Village - PS5 - May 8
30. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Switch - May 15
31. Torment: Tides of Numenera - Xbox One - May 18
32. Pepsiman - PS1 - May 20
33. Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo: The Card Fighters - Switch - May 20
34. Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure - Switch - May 23
35. Planetscape: Torment - Steam - May 26
36. Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne - Switch - May 31


June (17 Games Beaten)
37. Hentai vs Evil - Switch - June 1
38. Troll and I - Switch - June 2
39. Zombie Army 4: Dead War - PlayStation 4 - June 5
40. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - Switch - June 6
41. Military Madness - TurboGrafx-16 - June 7
42. Puyo Puyo 2 - Game Gear - June 17
43. Yakuza 0 - Playstation 4 - June 19
44. Neptunia Shooter - Playstation 5 - June 20
45. Little Samson - NES - June 22
46. Tiger-Heli - NES - June 23
47. Blaster Master - NES - June 23
48. Gun-Nac - NES - June 24
49. Rollerblade Racer - NES - June 25
50. Marble Madness - NES - June 25
51. Metroid - NES - June 25
52. Mario Golf: Super Rush - Switch - June 26
53. Metroid: Zero Mission - GBA - June 28
54. Metroid II: Return of Samus - Game Boy - June 29


July (31 Games Beaten)
55. Super Metroid - SNES - July 1
56. Where's Waldo? - NES - July 1
57. Metroid Fusion - GBA - July 2
58. Neptunia ReVerse - PlayStation 5 - July 3
59. Tetris Effect: Connected - Series X - July 3
60. Battletoads - Xbox One - July 4
61. Chicken Police: Paint it Red! - Switch - July 5
62. The Falconeer - Series X - July 7
63. Astral Chain - Switch - July 10
64. Dynowarz: Destruction of Spondylus - NES - July 12
65. Skull and Crossbones - NES - July 12
66. Sky Kid - NES - July 12
67. Top Gun - NES - July 12
68. Top Gun: The Second Mission - NES - July 13
69. Mega Man 7 - SNES - July 13
70. Mega Man X - SNES - July 14
71. Mega Man X2 - SNES - July 15
72. Second Extinction - Series X - July 15
73. Mega Man X3 - SNES - July 16
74. Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge - Game Boy - July 19
75. Mega Man II - Game Boy - July 19
76. Mega Man III - Game Boy - July 19
77. Mega Man IV - Game Boy - July 20
78. Mega Man V - Game Boy - July 20
79. Mega Man Xtreme - GBC - July 21
80. Mega Man Xtreme 2 - GBC - July 21
81. Portal Runner - GBC - July 22
82. Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind - SNES - July 22
83. Mega Man and Bass - SNES - July 23
84. Cotton Reboot! - Switch - July 27
85. Yakuza Kiwami 2 - PlayStation 4 - July 29


August (2 Games Beaten)
86. Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods Part 1 - Series X - August 7
87. Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods Part 2 - Series X - August 7


September (5 Games Beaten)
88. Maneater: Truth Quest - PS5 - September 5
89. Empire of Angels IV - Switch - September 5
90. 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim - PS4 - September 19
91. Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force - GOG - September 21
92. Star Trek: Elite Force II - GOG - September 25


92. Star Trek: Elite Force II - GOG - September 25

Image

Star Trek: Elite Force II is the visually impressive but otherwise rather disappointing follow-up to the incredible Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force. It picks up for the prologue right at the end of season seven of Voyager during the events of the series finale, Endgame, and from there, jumps two years ahead. Despite dropping "Voyager" from the title, it's a true sequel and follows the same characters from the first game (well, those who made it out of the Delta Quadrant alive, anyway).

Image

After an unwanted stint as a Starfleet Academy instructor, Alexander Munro (you don't have the ability to play as Alexandria Munro this time) is recruited by Captain Picard to join the crew of the USS Enterprise-E and start up a Hazard Team there. From there, you stumble onto a plot to create bioweapons that can destroy whole empires and, of course, must work with your team to stop it through both Rambo-esque overt assaults as well as Bond-esque covert missions. On paper, this game is an improvement over the original in every way. Unfortunately, the execution falls a little bit short.

Image

The first thing you'll notice is how dramatically improved the graphics are. It's still nearly 20 years old, but it holds up well provided that you tweak the game files to force a 1920x1080 resolution (or higher if you prefer; I've read that it can go up to 1440p and still work well, but my monitor is 1080p, so that's what I forced). The array of weapons is pretty awesome, as well, with most being based on weapons from the first game but a couple being genuinely interesting new weapons. It's also cool to see more alien races to fight and environments in which to battle. Of course, the highlight of the game is the voice acting of the legendary and divine Sir Patrick Stewart as he reprises his immortal role as Captain Jean-luc Picard.

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With everything the game has going for it, then, it's disappointing that it just doesn't perform as well as once might hope. The story is good, and it definitely feels like Star Trek, but it feels like Star Trek: Insurrection whereas the previous game felt like Star Trek: First Contact; it's good, but it's not great. Likewise, the combat just doesn't feel quite as fun. Weapons are nicer, and environments are more diverse, but it just doesn't feel as good, and I have no idea why. Both games used the Quake III engine, although Elite Force II did use some tweaks to the engine. I seem to be in the majority for that opinion, too, as even years after the release of Elite Force II, the first Elite Force was always far more popular online for both its single player and its multiplayer.

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Star Trek: Elite Force II is a good Star Trek game and a good shooter, but it fails to live up to the standard set by its predecessor. It's definitely a lot of fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed my seven or eight hours with the game, but it just doesn't have that special feel to it that the first game did. It looks way better, has much better and more challenging boss battles, and should be the superior game, but it's just not quite as fun. Still, though, it's absolutely worth the $10 asking price on GOG, and I have absolutely no problem recommending it to Star Trek fans and fans of old school FPS alike.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

by MrPopo Sun Sep 26, 2021 12:55 am

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

First 50:
1. EYE: Divine Cybermancy - PC
2. Legend of Grimrock - PC
3. Legend of Grimrock 2 - PC
4. Shovel Knight - Wii U
5. Yakuza: Like a Dragon - PS4
6. Yoshi's Island - SNES
7. Vectorman 2 - Genesis
8. Super Mario Sunshine - GC
9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest - GC
10. Bomberman '93 - TG-16
11. Cannon Fodder - PC
12. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei - Saturn
13. Dragonborne - Game Boy
14. Rock n' Roll Racing - PC
15. The Lost Vikings - PC
16. Blackthorne - PC
17. Contra III: The Alien Wars - SNES
18. Bravely Default II - Switch
19. Axelay - SNES
20. Ryse: Son of Rome - XBOne
21. Killer Instinct (2013) - XBOne
22. Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition - PC
23. Thief: The Dark Project - PC
24. Killer Instinct - XBOne
25. Killer instinct 2 - XBOne
26. Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth - PC
27. Thief 2: The Metal Age - PC
28. Wing Commander II - PC
29. Wing Commander III - PC
30. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV - Switch
31. Shadow Man Remastered - PC
32. Wing Commander: Privateer - PC
33. Salt and Sanctuary - Switch
34. The Elder Scrolls: Arena - PC
35. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall - PC
36. Resident Evil Village - PC
37. SaGa Frontier Remastered - Switch
38. Metaloid: Origin - Switch
39. SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions - Switch
40. Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels - PC
41. Metro Exodus: Sam's Story - PC
42. Panzer Paladin - Switch
43. Returnal - PS5
44. Dark Void Zero - DSiWare
45. Panzer Dragoon Saga - Saturn
46. Magic Knight Rayearth - Saturn
47. Cathedral - Switch
48. Final Fantasy VII Remake: INTERmission - PS5
49. Eterium - PC
50. A Street Cat's Tale - Switch

51. Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling - Switch
52. Banner of the Maid - Switch
53. CrossCode - Switch
54. Total Annihilation: The Core Contingency - PC
55. Ultima Underworld - PC
56. Betrayal at Krondor - PC
57. Assassin's Creed: Origins - PC
58. Axiom Verge 2 - Switch
59. Elderborn - PC
60. Hellbound - PC
61. Wargroove - Switch
62. Eye of the Beholder - PC
63. Quake: Dimension of the Past - PC
64. Quake: Dimension of the Machine - PC
65. Legends of Amberland: The Forgotten Crown - Switch
66. Anopek - PC
67. Baten Kaitos - Gamecube
68. No More Heroes 3 - Switch
69. Eye of the Beholder II - PC
70. Eye of the Beholder III - PC
71. Hedon II - PC
72. Deathloop - PC
73. Tales of Arise - PS5

Tales of Arise is the latest in the long running action RPG series, this time landing on the PS5. It serves as a refinement of everything that came before, striking a balance between the two combat systems of the 3D games and enhancing the storytelling presentation. If this is what we have to look forward for future entries then well done Bamco.

The story serves as a greatest hits of Tales series story beats. There are two worlds, one world is more advanced than the other, the advanced world enslaves the other world and uses them to steal the planet's energy. You are an amnesiac slave who gets caught up in events and begins the path of revolution, overthrowing the various lords and in the process discovering that things are not actually what they seem. All the usual Tales tropes are here. What sets Arise apart is in presentation. The modern engine allows them to have the characters act far more dynamically during cutscenes; indeed, all the characters have their mocap actors credited alongside the voice actors in the end credits. And the series staple optional skits are now done in a manga style; various panels will show up, maybe with a bit of movement from characters. It just adds so much over the traditional heads in squares that sometimes move around.

On the combat side, the game starts with a base of the Symphonia style of normal attack chains and throwing out some artes. However, the game is always in free run, so your artes are bound to triangle, X, and square (and later in the game you can hold L2 for another three). If you're in midair you instead get to use your air artes on the same slots. A key difference from the Symphonia style and drawing more from the Graces style is your artes are gated only by a refilling resource in combat; initially you only have three points but as you go on you'll have eight, and individual artes might cost 1-4 points to activate. There's also no limitation to how artes are chained, other than some artes will transition ground to air or air to ground. So you're free to use the artes that make the most sense (e.g. spam a weakness). There is one instance, though, where there is a persistent limiting resource. Healing and the handful of support artes use a shared resource across the team that can be refilled with the old TP restoring gels. So you can still get worn down over time in a dungeon.

There's more to the combat; your defensive move is the dodge, with one character blocking instead (the one with the bigass shield). Dodging at the right time puts you in bullet time and lets you get in a fast hit. This emphasis on dodging rather than blocking like previous games makes the combat a bit more dynamic, though it still falls victim to the fact that some enemies have almost no wind up and you can't cancel moves into a dodge. Another feature of combat is each character has a special move that is built up over time and can be executed when the meter is full. These moves are intended to interrupt or otherwise weaken key enemies. The main character's will always knock down (at the cost of self damage), while the other characters are designed to counter specific enemy types, like casters or fliers. Activating these also restores some of your arte points, so they are critical for getting big damage chains. And big damage chains are important because non-boss enemies can have a stagger meter built up when they are combo'd; the meter fills faster as the combo goes up or their health is low, and when filled you can execute a free kill that does area damage, akin to a mystic arte. Learning to pull these off really helps in random battles.

The game has a plethora of sidequests that expand the world and give you some nice rewards, so they're worth doing. And the robust fast travel system makes them never too much of a pain. However, when you get to the late game you run into a minor problem where the game throws a lot of sidequests with high level bosses and you don't know if you're outclassed or not until you engage them. It's a bit of an annoyance, but nothing too terrible given how generous the auto saves are.

Overall, Tales of Arise is the most refined Tales game ever created and shows decades of learning and improvements to their overall formula. While there's nothing that will be genuinely novel, what it does it does very well. If you're a JRPG fan I highly recommend this one.
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Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
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