Games Beaten 2021

Anything that is gaming related that doesn't fit well anywhere else
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

Post by prfsnl_gmr »

First 50
1. Horace (Switch)
2. Ghostrunner (Switch)
3. Mickey’s Adventure in Numberland (NES)
4. Mickey’s Safari in Letterland (NES)
5. Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Genesis)
6. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Picross (3DS)
7. World of Illusion starring Mickey & Donald (Genesis)
8. Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Game Gear)
9. Land of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Game Gear)
10. Legend of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (Game Gear)
11. Portal 2 [co-op] (PS3)
12. Operencia: The Stolen Sun (Switch)
13. The Knight of Queen (Switch)
14. Q.U.B.E. - Director’s Cut (PS3)
15. What the Golf?! (Switch)
16. Prune (iOS)
17. Kenshō (iOS)
18. For the Frog the Bell Tolls (GameBoy)
19. Holedown (iOS)
20. King’s Field (PS1)
21. My Friend Pedro (Switch)
22. MO: Astray (Switch)
23. EQI (Switch)
24. Foxyland (Switch)
25. Carrion (Switch)
26. QUBE 2 (Switch)
27. Aaero (Switch)
28. Portal 2 (PS3)
29. Alwa’s Awakening (Switch)
30. Alwa’s Legacy (Switch)
31. Mega Man 11 (Switch)
32. Superliminal (Switch)
33. Shantae & The Seven Sirens (Switch)
34. Halo 3 (360)
35. Legacy of the Wizard (NES)
36. Robo Warrior (NES)
37. Blaster Master Boy (GB)
38. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (3DS)
39. Donkey Kong Land (GB)
40. Mario & Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move (3DS)
41. Streets of Rage 4 (Switch)
42. Steamworld Dig 2 (3DS)
43. Mega Man: The Wily Wars (Genesis)
44. Streets of Rage (Game Gear)
45. Streets of Rage (Master System)
46. Streets of Rage 2 (Game Gear)
47. Streets of Rage II (Master System)
48. Ninja Gaiden (PC Engine)
49. Ninja Gaiden II (DOS)
50. Ninja Gaiden III (Lynx)

51. Ninja Gaiden Trilogy (SNES)
52. Kung Fu Master (Arcade)
53. Kung Fu Master (7800)
54. Vigilante (Master System)
55. Vigilante (Arcade)
56. Donkey Kong (7800)
57. Touhou Luna Nights (Switch)
58. Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Switch)
59. Robbit Mon Dieu (PS1)
60. Metroid Dread (Switch)

Metroid Dread, as several of you have noted already, is an excellent Metroid game, and I really enjoyed it. Elkin, Gunstar, and Popo have already assembled really thorough reviews highlighting the game’s many strengths (and few weaknesses). I won’t pile on to those. I’ll just note how happy I am to see a new 2D Metroid game that ranks among the very best games in the genre that bears its name.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

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)
102. Shin Megami Tensei 2 (SFC)
103. Shin Megami Tensei if... (SFC)
104. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner (Saturn)
105. Alundra (PS1)
106. Lunar: Silver Star Story (Saturn)
107. Tales of Xillia (PS3)

108. Digimon Rumble Arena (PS1)

Known as Digimon Tamers: Battle Evolution over here in Japan, this game came onto my radar when I was talking with some friends about weird Smash Bros clones and crossover games. "A Digimon Smash-clone with health bars" sounded like just the sort of weirdness I could get behind, and I was lucky enough to find a copy for really cheap here in town~. It took me about 10 or so hours (it doesn't count playtime) to unlock all the characters in the Japanese version of the game on real hardware.

The game is tacitly based on the Digimon Tamers anime (or so I'm told by my friends who know more about the game and about Digimon than me), but the actual game itself has virtually no story to speak of. There's a single player mode where you play like eight 1 v 1 bouts before you fight Reapermon, but there's no accompanying story of any kind to that. It's just context-less battles between you and the credits. Now while I didn't exactly expect a Digimon fighting game to have a ton of story, a fighting game coming out in 2001, even a licensed one, having literally no in-game story to speak of was at least a little surprising.

And while this game may be licensed, it has a pretty decent degree of content. The exact quality of that content is up for debate, but it *is* there X3. The game technically has 24 characters, but it's really more like 10 if you're counting more seriously. The game is a Smash Bros-style platform fighter between only two players, and the first player to get the other's health bar down to 0 wins, and it's best two out of three matches. During the match, you have a super meter that lets you Digivolve into an upgraded Digimon when it gets full, at least if you're playing one of the initial 9 little Digimon (or the one unlockable one). 10 of the playable characters are the Digivolved forms of the little guys, who are indeed their own characters with their own movesets and everything, but they're inherently tied to the little guys if you're playing as little guys. There are then another four already Digivolved Digimon, two of which are reskins of the normal 10's roster, and then there's another one + Reapermon himself. To me, that plays a lot more like there are two rosters, a roster of 10 little guys if you want to play with the Digivolve mechanic, and a roster of 14 big guys if you just want to use supers unconnected to the Digivolving. That said, it's still a pretty impressively big roster for a Smash-clone even these days, and it has a really good representation from well-known characters in the anime.

The actual mechanics are okay, but they're a bit shallow and really unbalanced. As previously mentioned, the little guys and big guys are inherently unbalanced against one another, so playing a little guy vs. a big guy in VS mode is mostly just playing with a handicap for one player. Reapermon himself is ridiculously overpowered as a final boss, and given that you need to beat the game with all of the initial 9 characters to unlock everybody, it can make unlocking everyone a real monster when he can easily take out 70% of your health with one simple combo. But even outside of that, the roster is very unbalanced and the stages (of which there are like a dozen) are overall pretty bad and too big with not enough even ground to fight on. It's fine as far as crossover nonsense goes, but the lack of a four-player mode of any kind hurts the Party Game aspect of things in a way that makes the lack of balancing hurt even worse (as it also works pretty poorly as a more serious fighting game). It ends up falling in this weird place of a middle of the road fighter and a middle of the road licensed nonsense game, which is a shame.

The presentation is quite good, as one would hope for a PS1 game released as late as 2001. The music is alright, with a collection of quite good tracks mixed among more forgettable ones. It also looks really nice, with well-constructed character models and cool super animations. However, one can't help but speculate that the detail in the character models very well might've been what kept it from getting a four-player mode, and I gladly would've traded one for the other, even if the multi-tap was a relatively uncommon accessory for the PS1.

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. This is a pretty neat game as far as Digimon history or Smash-clones (particularly for ones ostensibly competing with Smash 64) go, but outside of that, it just doesn't have much appeal. I'll admit that I think even Smash 64 itself is largely only worth going back to for nostalgia these days, but Digimon Rumble Arena falls even below that with its poor stage design and lack of a four-player mode. If you can get it for cheap and are into Digimon (unlike me) or Smash-clones (like me), this is a fun diversion, but it's otherwise best left ignored.

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109. Blue Stinger (DC)

This is a game some other friends of mine have told me is awful and not worth even looking at for ages, but a few weeks back a bunch of people on the Slack chat were talking about how much campy fun it was, and we all decided to play or replay through it over the course of the month~. I'm not much one for survival horror games, but for the 300 yen price of entry, I was willing to give Blue Stinger a shot even if it was something I ended up hating, particularly with what I'd heard about the Japanese version's different camera. It took me about 9.5 hours to beat the Japanese version of the game on normal difficulty on normal hardware.

Released in 1999, Blue Stinger takes place in the faaaar future of 2018. In 2000, a big earthquake on the Yucatan Peninsula causes a ton of it to sink into the ocean, and a new island to appear on top of it. This is believed to be the meteor that killed the dinosaurs, so it's called Dinosaur Island. Elliot, our main character is boating nearby when a weird meteor strikes the island and traps it in a big weird dome. He's attacked by strange monsters that are unleashed from the island, but manages to survive and wash up onto the island. He's found by the foul-mouthed Dogs (that's his name), and the two of them team up to try and find out what's wrong with the island along with radio assistance from a sniper on the island, Janine.

The story is a giant campy romp through a pastiche of action sci-fi movies. Having played the Japanese version and seen just how quick and weirdly overly detailed the subtitles are (this game has no Japanese dub, only subtitles, despite being a Japan-developed game), I'd also argue it's specifically an homage to poorly localized American action movies, and that's an element lost in translation to the English versions of the game. Another very fun thing about the game is that the VA is actually quite competently done for 1999, and even better that it's done by a bunch of the same VA folks who provided (or would provide) voices for Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, as Elliot has Sonic's VA, Dogs has Robotnik's (and sounds a LOT like him too), and Janine has Rouge's (and her voice is exactly the same). I got tons of big belly laughs out of just what a pig-headed buffoon Elliot is and what a wise-cracking jerk Dogs can be to him in response. They have great chemistry, and the slightly awkward English they speak only adds to that charm. For someone with a lot of nostalgia for Sonic Adventure 2 like me, the camp value is kinda incalculable, but even for someone unfamiliar with that, there's a ton to laugh at in Blue Stinger.

Now I know I opened the review by mentioning that Blue Stinger is a survival horror game, but that's a bit of a fib on my part. The truth is that Blue Stinger is really just an action game with a fixed camera like Resident Evil or Silent Hill uses, at least in the Japanese version. The English versions of the game lock the camera behind your shoulder to help with combat, but I think that also in turn makes puzzle solving a bit more difficult since the camera is now no longer guiding you towards important objects. The combat is ultimately so easy that I don't think it really needed "fixing" like that, and I'd argue the Japanese version of the game is simply the better one, but I think it's not a point super worth debating.

The gameplay itself is very survival horror like but with the quality of life features of an action game. You have clunky combat and movement, but also respawning enemies who drop money (only the enemies who drop money respawn) and infinite items you can buy. You could theoretically just grind near the start of the game for untold hours and get all the max health upgrades and items right then. It'd take you a SUPER long time, but you could do it. I found it decent fun to play. It has the same sort of awkward jankyness that all those old fixed camera horror games have (although this is a new level of awkward, as you don't actually have true tank controls and can rarely get screwed by the camera sorta getting you stuck), but the writing really carried the experience for me.

The presentation is pretty impressive for 1999. Character models look quite uncanny by today's standards, but it adds to the campy charm for me. The music is pretty unvaried and not terribly impressive, but the monster designs are cool and disturbing (sometimes surprisingly so) and the environments look nice too.

Verdict: Recommended. This is going to be a game a lot of people bounce off of, but if what I've described here sounds appealing, I think the game is well worth checking out. It's a game pretty easily picked up for cheap, so it shouldn't set you back terribly even if you end up not liking it. Who knows? It just might end up being one of your favorite Dreamcast games like it was for me~ (granted I have played very few XD).

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110. Clockwork Knight (Saturn)

Clockwork Knight was my pick for October's TR theme of 5th gen platformers. It wasn't exactly my first choice, but everything else I could think of I'd either already played or is weirdly very rare and expensive here in Japan (annoyingly enough). But this is a game I've been meaning to give another try for quite some time. I tried it briefly back on my American Saturn many years ago, but I never gave a ton of effort or time to beating it. I guess I've gotten a lot better at games since then, since I managed to beat the (mechanically identical) Japanese version in only 80 minutes, but I still enjoyed my time with it well enough.

Clockwork Knight was a very early Saturn release and one clearly designed to show off the audio and 3D graphical capabilities. The story is a very simple "knight must rescue the princess" sort of affair, but the added spin is that everything is toys~. You're the titular clockwork knight off to save the princess toy from whatever mysterious evil force in the house kidnapped her and turned a bunch of the other toys evil. It's a very simple story told mostly through dialogue between levels and unvoiced cutscenes, but it does the job it needs to for the kind of game this is.

And the kind of game this is a quite short 2.5D platformer. It's only 8 levels with 5 bosses, and I can certainly see why it didn't exactly blow people away when it dropped back in '94/95, and I can't imagine it made Japanese players feel terribly satisfied with their Saturn purchases compared to what the SNES was getting back then. You have some levels with maze elements, but it's ultimately really nothing special. You have a jump, a dash, a short-range melee attack, and that's all she wrote. You can get coins to play a ball-and-cup game between levels, and being pretty good at ball-and-cup games, I was able to get a crap ton of extra lives, so getting a game over was never a terrible concern of mine. That said, the game is pretty tough, especially in its later levels, but a lot of that feels more down to less than stellar stage design rather than a game that's both tightly designed and challenging (not to mention how you completely restart a stage upon death, and more health is quite uncommon).

The presentation is quite nice, and is definitely one of the things Clockwork Knight was created to show off. The vocal song that the game opens with is fun and poppy, and the other tracks the game has are also that 90's Sega brand of groovy and fun. The graphics seem to have taken the same approach that Pixar did with Toy Story: if all of our 3D-rendered CGI looks like plastic, why not make a game about toys? The toys have bright, colorful designs that are a delight to the eye and have unique and fun designs. However, the one drawback of that is that the 2.5D art style can at times make hitboxes not terribly clear.


Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. Clockwork Knight is and always has been an okay game, but I don't think it's worth giving time to for most people. There's just really nothing special or unique about it outside of its historical significance to the Saturn to justify slapping down the time or the money to give it a go. If you do give it a go and you like 2D platformers, you'll probably enjoy it well enough, but it's one that, like me, you'll probably put back on the shelf forever and seldom think about again.
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

Post by Ack »

1. Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard (PC)(Adventure)
2. Revulsion (PC)(FPS)
3. Nonogram - Master's Legacy (PC)(Puzzle)
4. Sekiro (PC)(Action-Adventure)
5. Grim Dawn (PC)(Action RPG)
6. Grim Dawn: Ashes of Malmouth (PC)(Action RPG)
7. Grim Dawn: Forgotten Gods (PC)(Action RPG)

8. Viscera Cleanup Detail: Santa's Rampage (PC)(FPS)
9. Viscera Cleanup Detail: Shadow Warrior (PC)(FPS)
10. Shrine (PC)(FPS)
11. Record of Lodoss War - Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth (PC)(Adventure)
12. Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone (PC)(Action)
13. Red Alliance (PC)(FPS)
14. The Forest (PC)(Horror)
15. Pixel Puzzles: Japan (PC)(Puzzle)
16. 12 is Better Than 6 (PC)(Top Down Shooter)
17. Torchlight II (PC)(RPG)

18. An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire (PC)(RPG)
19. Port of Call (PC)(Walking Sim)

20. NeonCode (PC)(Walking Sim)
21. Carrion (PC)(Adventure)
22. Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist (PC)(Walking Sim)
23. Helltaker (PC)(Puzzle)
24. Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr (PC)(RPG)

25. Castlevania: Bloodlines (Switch)(Platformer)
26. Treachery in Beatdown City (Switch)(RPG)
27. Zeno Clash (PC)(Action)
28. Borderlands: Enhanced Edition (PC)(FPS/RPG)
29. Ion Fury (PC)(FPS)
30. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (PC)(FPS)
31. Shrine II (PC)(FPS)
32. Lycanthorn I (PC)(Action Platformer)

33. Lycanthorn II (PC)(Action Platformer)
34. DLC Quest (PC)(Adventure)
35. Live Freemium or Die (PC)(Adventure)

36. Satellite Reign (PC)(Real-Time Tactics)
37. Heat Signature (PC)(Action)

Heat Signature is most easily described as Hotline Miami in space. That's not a truly accurate representation, but there are a lot of similarities, so I can see how the two are immediately compared. Both are action games which use a top-down view. Both involve the use of a variety of melee and projectile weapons to navigate areas full of enemies, which can generally be taken down with a single hit. Most times, the player can be taken down in one hit too. That's where the similarities end.

Hotline Miami gives us pumping music, a screaming neon '80s aesthetic, and as much brains and blood as you can spill with a metal pipe from a human head. Heat Signature is considerably tamer in its violence. Instead of Russian mobsters in white Miami Vice-style suits, it's space ships full of intergalactic soldiers in armor and shields, with different tech defending them or giving them new abilities. And its soundtrack is more mellow. But it's that tech I mentioned which is the real gamechanger; instead of mostly rushing in, melee weapon swinging as you try to clobber everyone, the enemies in Heat Signature may be linked together detecting each other's life signs. They might be wearing tactical explosives which go off when their lives end. They might teleport to protect each other at the first hint of a threat. And these are only the base troops. You may accidentally set off an alarm and call in the significantly tougher and dreaded Contractors, which can do things like block your tools from working, render fellow enemies invincible, or stalk you through the ship.

To counter this, you get your own tools. Why simply run up and hit a man with a wrench when you could teleport behind him to do it? Why not set a trap full of acid to eat away at his armor, invert his shield to bounce bullets back at him when he fires his gun, or remotely hack a security turret to open fire? Why even bother doing any of this when you can go hijack a different spacecraft and launch an epic space battle involving missiles that literally blow ships into chunks? Well, that last one is really only useful for certain mission types, because you're not always there to kill all enemies. Sometimes you are stealing items, rescuing people, or assassinating targets. You're doing this for cash for better gear and to enable the opportunity to liberate space stations, because you happen to be in a section of space divided between four super groups, and they're all nasty oppressive governments. So you sometimes might find yourself in a situation where it makes much more sense to run past the enemies to grab your unconscious hostage, smash a window to suck yourself out into space, and use your personal shuttle to rescue the target (and yourself) before they asphyxiate in the cold void. Because yes, you can do that. Alternatively, you can smash the same window to suck your assassination target into space and leave them to die or even capture them on your shuttle and turn them over alive to whoever wants them dead.

It is still a one-hit outing, but that doesn't mean death and restart in Heat Signature the way it does in Hotline Miami. Instead, the enemies dump your unconscious body out the docking bay so you bleed out in your spacesuit. You can remotely pilot your shuttle to rescue you and go back to continue your mission. Or you may die or get captured, in which case a round of new possible characters can be chosen to continue the fight. Heat Signature is about a rebellion, and it's going to take far more than one person to get it all done. Your characters may be obliterated, may one day chose to retire, or be taken prisoner, and if that happens, you may eventually find yourself rescuing your former character. And each of these characters have random stats and gear, so one person may be too weak to use melee weapons but be rich and come with a stealth shield, while another has a sword that can cut through armor but is banned from using in game shops for reasons never specified ("You know what you did" is how the game puts it). Don't like your choices, and you can cast folks out to be replaced by someone else at the bar, so you always have choices.

You also get choices in your mission types. Not only do you get to choose the general difficulty of the mission you're attempting, but they include full readouts of randomized level parameters at the start. For instance, one mission may only give you 40 seconds to finish if you are detected, while another has unknown guard kits, meaning they could be carrying anything to make your life Hell. As you liberate stations, you eventually get access to special mission givers too which specialize in rules, like getting through levels without being spotted, without killing, or using only the most rudimentary of tech. There are also daily challenges you can complete for fun, and you can simply choose to leave the station and go swipe someone else's ship for interstellar combat, because why not?

This is what differentiates Heat Signature from the likes of Hotline Miami, this galactic scope with a galactic array of options. It isn't nearly as fast as Hotline Miami's immediacy, but it makes up for it in so many ways that the loss of instant speed isn't a huge problem. If you dislike that, well, something like 12 is Better Than 6 might be more your liking, which is effectively Hotline Miami as a gun-focused Western.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

Post by MrPopo »

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
74. Mechwarrior 5: Legend of the Kestrel Lancers - PC
75. Maneater: Truth Quest - PC
76. G String - PC
77. Thief (2014) - PC
78. Metroid Dread - Switch
79. Vomitoreum - PC
80. Severed Steel - PC
81. Syndicate - PC
82. Alan Wake - PC
83. Limitless Hunger - PC
84. Syndicate Wars - PC
85. They Always Run - PC
86. Control - PC
87. Control: The Foundation - PC
88. Control: AWE - PC
89. FIST: Forged in Shadow Torch - PS5

Fist is a metroidvania set in an animal world that has been taken over by a legion of sentient robots. Only you and your giant robot fist stand in their way. The game has a pretty solid progression of ability upgrades and a decent, if hefty, fighting system that feels great when it's working but often times has some arbitraryness to it that can get frustrating, especially on later bosses.

The game is set in Torch City, a land of animal people that has been under the rule of the Legion for the past six years. You are a survivor of the old resistance that has gone into hiding due to losing the battle. The Legion is made up of robot soldiers who think and feel; many times you'll creep up on them discussing their hopes and dreams. These robots are also robot animals, to keep with the theme. The game doesn't really use any of your standard animal attributes, just animal shaped people. The game opens with your friend getting captured and you needing to rescue him. The solution is to strap the giant robot fist from your old battle armor onto your back and punch shit. As the plot progresses you get pulled back into fighting for freedom for the flesh people (and later on add a drill and a whip to your arsenal).

The game plays closest to Guacamelee; you have a wide variety of combat moves that you extend over time and there are a lot of fighting game-esque combo chains available. However, the game is extremely inconsistent on what stuns and what gives super armor for both the player and the enemies. So sometimes you can commit to a heavy attack and take a bit of chip damage, while other times you get knocked out. And enemies (especially bosses) may or may not be stunned by a combo chain, so combat can be very trial and error. The fact you also mostly deal with hordes diminishes the value of the combo system; bosses can't be juggled and regular enemies will stab you in the back, so finding the most efficient in terms of fast damage moves ends up being best.

On the mobility side of things, the game actually hooks you up pretty good quite fast. You start off with a dash that can be used in midair, in the first few minutes you gain a Mega Man X style wall jump, and before the first boss you get double jump. Later on you can dash in all eight directions, dash through enemies, get a pull style grapple (that shoots you towards the point, rather than a Super Metroid swing grapple), and get a Street Fighter III style parry move. This is vital against some bosses and useful against others, and you'll need to learn which parry point in an attack string can cause stagger, as you might have to multi parry.

The game has your requisite collectables, with only one of them being completely cosmetic. Everything else is either a boost to your meters or an item that can be turned in for cash and other prizes. There's a fast travel system you slowly unlock Castlevania style, though the travel points aren't always in convenient locations for item cleanup backtracking. The maps, overall, are solid to traverse, and there is a touch of challenge platforming, but nothing like the first Ori.

Overall, FIST is a rock solid metroidvania that emphasizes combat and mostly pulls that part off. Outside of the occasional boss fight that you just take too long to click with there's no point that ever starts to slog, and the biggest weakness is the environmental art just doesn't do anything interesting. This is a definite pickup for fans of the genre.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

Post by MrPopo »

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
74. Mechwarrior 5: Legend of the Kestrel Lancers - PC
75. Maneater: Truth Quest - PC
76. G String - PC
77. Thief (2014) - PC
78. Metroid Dread - Switch
79. Vomitoreum - PC
80. Severed Steel - PC
81. Syndicate - PC
82. Alan Wake - PC
83. Limitless Hunger - PC
84. Syndicate Wars - PC
85. They Always Run - PC
86. Control - PC
87. Control: The Foundation - PC
88. Control: AWE - PC
89. FIST: Forged in Shadow Torch - PS5
90. Beyond Good and Evil - PC

As the year draws to a close I've been looking for shorter games, as I need to beat slightly over one game a week to hit that magic 100 number for the year. Then I remembered I had snagged Beyond Good and Evil for free of Ubiplay some time ago during a promo. It's one of those games that was well regarded and sold like ass. I was also reminded of its existence when that E3 cinematic trailer for the second game came out a few years ago. So how is it? Pretty good, but definitely has that early 2000's jank to it.

The game is set on a planet called HIllys, where a group of marauders known as the DomZ kidnap people before being beaten off by the Alpha Section that has taken up residence. But they never seen to be able to stop the kidnappings, just keep a given invasion from spreading. The game starts with the latest one and Jade needing to scrounge up cash to fix the shield generator for the lighthouse she lives in and runs an orphanage. Jade is a photojournalist by trade, so she finds a mission to take pictures of a creature deep in a cave, but it was secretly a test to get her on board with the local resistance that believes that Alpha Section and the DomZ are in cahoots. You get to find the truth.

The game is a weird mixture of stealth and Zelda-style puzzle solving. When you first start playing you can definitely see the Zelda influences; you need to figure out ways to trigger switches and open paths forward, and enemies are mostly a source of making sure you're threatened. Even the first boss is reminiscent of Volvagia. But then when you begin investigating the Alpha Section the stealth kicks in and never lets go. See, the Alpha Section troopers can only be defeated by hitting them from behind to send them panicking, then hitting them again to destroy them. Most of the rest of the game is going through bases with Alpha Section patrols set up in that classic game of avoid the sightlines, and only taking them on when necessary (and it's extremely hard to attack them solo when they're alerted). Later on in the game the stealth sections even include a robotic turret that just one shots you if you're detected. But you're still doing the traversal puzzle stuff from before, so it's overall a weird mix. Fortunately, the game has an absurdly generous checkpoint system where dying warps you to the start of the room with some health, so you can trial and error as much as you want.

The game is not terribly long; it's four dungeons with the first and fourth being short and the middle two being substantial. You have a handful of downtime activities available in between, but you can't just wander around faffing about like a modern open world game. The game also has that sort of quirky aesthetic we saw a decent amount of in that time, with weirdly proportioned funny animal people and humans living side by side. The game never takes itself anything but seriously, but it's an overall interesting aesthetic choice.

Overall it's a solid game, but it's not groundbreaking by any stretch. It also has a very left field end game (as in, last boss) revelation that isn't really foreshadowed at all and isn't really earned. Almost feels like they wanted a few more dungeons and ran out of time and so had to lose the hints at the final reveal. Also, it should be noted the camera is notably garbage; you generally have no vertical movement (outside of specific stealth stuff) and half the time it will decide to go into a fixed camera without warning. It's not enough to ruin the game, but it is frustrating (and probably was moreso on a controller).
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

Post by MrPopo »

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
74. Mechwarrior 5: Legend of the Kestrel Lancers - PC
75. Maneater: Truth Quest - PC
76. G String - PC
77. Thief (2014) - PC
78. Metroid Dread - Switch
79. Vomitoreum - PC
80. Severed Steel - PC
81. Syndicate - PC
82. Alan Wake - PC
83. Limitless Hunger - PC
84. Syndicate Wars - PC
85. They Always Run - PC
86. Control - PC
87. Control: The Foundation - PC
88. Control: AWE - PC
89. FIST: Forged in Shadow Torch - PS5
90. Beyond Good and Evil - PC
91. Call of Duty: Vanguard - PC

The latest Call of Duty takes us back to World War II, to the final hours of the war. The Vanguard squad, a multinational team of operatives, is trying to capture the details of Project Phoenix. Things go wrong, they get captured, and now queue a bunch of flashback sequences to prior segments of the war. The game focuses on four members of the squad and their unique abilities.

Compared to some other Call of Duty games, this one is really good about not just forcing you to bum rush against fire to stop the respawns. Your friendly squadmates will push through in battle sequences, while in commando sequences there are limited enemies. It makes the whole thing feel more fair than other entries, and the checkpoints are as generous as always.

The main gimmick of the game is that each of the protagonists has some element about them that differentiates them. The British sergeant who leads the squad can direct friendlies to focus on a particular target, such as suppressing an MG nest or taking out artillery. The Russian sniper moves just as fast while crouched, and her segments tend to feature lots of crawlspaces for some stealth action. The Australian demo expert can carry up to four types of lethal throwables and can see a trajectory when throwing, allowing for precision taking out of enemy clusters. And the American pilot can turn on a mode where enemies are highlighted and he autotargets when aiming.

The game has a variety of locals. You've got a paradrop into Normandy to take out the guns prior to D-Day, Stalingrad both on the opening day and right in the middle, some battles in North Africa, and some sequences in the Pacific. The first is straight up you in a dive bomber at the Battle of Midway, while the second has you getting shot down on an island and doing some jungle fighting. I honestly wasn't expecting the Battle of Midway segment; that's more of a Battlefield thing. But it was fun doing something so batshit crazy.

Overall it's a solid entry in the franchise and it's never a bad time to shoot Nazis. There's good variety of gameplay and the setpieces are as lovely as ever, and as mentioned they've cut down on some of the bullshit that other games in the series have.
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

Post by Flake »

January Thru October:
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)
Tetris: Connected (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)
Injustice 2 (Xbox Series S)
Injustice: Gods Among Us (Xbox Series S)

October

Batman: The Enemy Within (Xbox Series S)
Metroid: Other M (Wii)
Metroid Dread (Switch)
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo (Arcade)]


November

Fire Emblem: Three Houses - Ashen Wolves

I finally got around to playing through the stand-alone expansion to Fire Emblem: Three Houses and it was a great time.

Initially I was skeptical of the premise: A story within the main story about an entire *checks notes* CITY underneath the monastery the main title takes place at and a whole faction of that monastery that you just happened to never see, hear about, or be aware of.

Intelligent Systems / Namco Bandai did a good job, though. There's enough of a story hook at the beginning to increase the plausibility of the entire premise and the main plot (which I won't spoil) is woven into some under developed plot threads from the main game. The new characters are actually pretty compelling and even though you can see the 'big reveal' from a mile away, the writing allowed for enough self-awareness that it felt organic and not forced.

From a value perspective, I think this is one of Nintendo's better DLC propositions. It's somewhere between the insanely underwhelming DLC for Breath the Wild and the incredible value that is Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC, landing closer to XBC2. The quest weighs in at about 8 hours with multiple difficulty options and as you play through the 7 chapters, you'll constantly unlock items and characters that can now be used in the main campaign. For a fan like myself where I had left a couple of the story routes unplayed for a later date, it's an ideal situation because now I have all of these new toys to ease me from the DLC campaign back into another run through of the main title.
Maybe now Nintendo will acknowledge Metroid has a fanbase?
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

Post by TheSSNintendo »

Finished Metroid Dread this morning.
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

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)
102. Shin Megami Tensei 2 (SFC)
103. Shin Megami Tensei if... (SFC)
104. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner (Saturn)
105. Alundra (PS1)
106. Lunar: Silver Star Story (Saturn)
107. Tales of Xillia (PS3)
108. Digimon Rumble Arena (PS1)
109. Blue Stinger (DC)
110. Clockwork Knight (Saturn)

111. Tales of Xillia 2 (PS3)

After a brief hiatus from playing Tales so I could get through another couple of short games I'd been interested in (and so I could actually have the time to go pick this game up ^^;), I made it onto the sequel to Tales of Xillia. I hadn't heard a ton about Xillia 2 other than that it was very weird as both a sequel and a Tales game. I wasn't super duper game to get to it right away, but I figured what better time to play it than right after Xillia 1. It took me about 59 hours to beat the Japanese version of the game with the true ending (and that includes like 8 or so hours of mucking around in the post-game).

The story setup is kinda complicated, but I'll do my best to give a quick summary of it. Xillia 2 takes place about a year after the first game ends and follows the story of Ludgar. Having just failed his test to get into the huge company that his brother works for, he sets off for a more mundane job as a cook when he bumps into Elle, a little girl (and another important new main character). He also bumps into Jude from Xillia 1, and from there they slowly get embroiled in a big "saving the world" plot full of mysteries, murder, dimension hopping, time travel, and more or less the entire cast of Tales of Xillia 1.

Tales of Xillia 2 is a very weird game in many, many ways. For starters, Ludgar is a silent main character, and the only one in the entire mainline series of Tales games. In a game that's otherwise very much voiced, it can come across as quite uncanny as you're often talked at rather than talked to. It feels a lot less natural in the beginning of the game than as it does in the end, but it's still a very weird problem to suddenly introduce to your series. The whole reason it's introduced like that is because this game's whole stated theme is about choices, and you as Ludgar get to make choices (both important and unimportant) via the L1 and R1 buttons as those decisions come up in the story. The big theme of the game beyond just "choices" is (I would argue) the choices we make with our lives and what we'll do with them. For many characters, this means how they'll live their lives from here on out, but for many others it means how and why they'll sacrifice their lives so others may live on in their stead. Now, as an overarching theme, I don't think "radical and painful sacrifices are necessary to ensure that younger generations will even have a world to have a future in" is a bad one, but the way the game often does that via glorifying death and suicide rubbed me the wrong way, especially the way one or two characters end up dying.

Another weird thing about this game is the story and game's structure itself, which is effectively divided into three parts. First of all you have the 16 main story "episodes" (written by one person who had written for many previous Tales game), then you the Character episodes which focus on a particular party member's development and story (which were written by the person who wrote Tales of Xillia 1's story), and lastly you have the time in between those chapters which aren't locked into any kind of narrative route. Now on one hand, having clear delineations on where you are in the story can be very useful in providing the player with information on what they're currently supposed to be doing and if they're progressing the story or not via their actions. However, this also has a lot of unintended side effects on the pacing and quality of the narrative that I don't believe makes that level of player informational convenience worth it.

The main story itself is pretty well done, but it's also pretty heavily flawed. The main cast of the previous game is SO present and involved that Ludgar and Elle feel almost like fan-fiction-esque self-insert characters. It eventually feels a bit less uncanny, but at the start of the game that weird fan-fiction feeling is present almost constantly. That's even weirder when considering that Ludgar was intended to be the player's avatar, so effectively IS a self-insert but also his own character in a way that just isn't executed on very well. You do pick choices for him, sure, but not even that dialogue is voiced. It's a very deliberate choice for a silent main character and they do NOT hit the mark with it. It isn't an absolute disaster, as I eventually found Ludgar less of a stand-out than he appeared in the first third or so of the game, but I could very easily see people never feeling comfortable with how Ludgar is treated as a silent protagonist.

This all extends into further issues with the returning cast and their character episodes. This has to be the biggest if not one of the biggest main casts in a Tales main-series game. Xillia had a relatively modest main (i.e. playable) cast of six as far as more modern Tales games go, but Xillia 2 cranks that number up to NINE with the addition of Ludgar as well as two characters from Xillia 1 who are now playable (and in fairness, had been intended to be playable in Xillia 1 but had to be cut for time reasons). Adding in the unplayable Elle makes that an effective main cast of 10, and while Elle and Ludgar's main story is executed pretty well, the rest of the cast, even with their character episodes, feel very sidelined. Only a couple of them really feel like they have worthwhile arcs to explore, and most of them feel like treading water for the sake of being there. Granted, I still enjoyed doing all of them, but it's nonetheless not difficult for me to say that the cast really could've used some trimming down by two or three characters (or even just had an entirely new main cast all together).

Then you have the in-between parts, which are consumed by different optional miscellaneous quests (sometimes with story, often not) and the character episodes so you can earn money to pay off the massive debt you get near the start of the game. You need to pay off the debt in chunks that get bigger as the story progresses, and paying off a singular chunk to open up the next part of the main story is a pretty common way the game will gate progress a little to help pace things out. This is the part that feels the most like outright recycling of content from Xillia 1, from boss monsters to literally nearly every map in that entire game. It's all back for you to explore just like you did before so you can work toward paying off this debt. Now it isn't THAT all consuming a task, so you could earn the money and continue on your merry way pretty quickly if you were so inclined, but it adds so little to the main themes or even the plot that feels like nothing but padding put there to add to the Content of the game despite its short dev time.

Ultimately, the narrative is okay, and middling for a Tales game, but an inescapable mess. The story very clearly feels written by two different people, and especially by the two different people that wrote it. The main story being written not by a Tales of Xillia lead writer really shows in how self-contained it feels while also making a lot of the returning cast feel not that important. The character episodes being written by the writer of Tales of Xillia makes a lot of sense given JUST how heavily those tie into characters and plot beats from Xillia 1 without the necessary re-setup of those plot elements. If you hadn't played Xillia 1, the character episodes in this would feel very odd very often because of just how much they rely on your knowledge of events in the first game to give them any weight. It's a game that was made in pieces and feels like it. Those pieces are executed on well enough, but they just don't fit into a functional whole well enough. The character writing and dialogue are still as charming and well done as ever. That familiar element of a Tales game's narrative quality is absolutely still here, but the other issues it has keep it from being something very difficult to recommend to anyone who didn't already play and love Xillia 1.

The gameplay of Xillia 2 is ALSO strange on many levels compared to Xillia 1, but the narrative analysis section of this review was so long that I'll try to keep it relatively brief ^^;. In short, this game's mechanical design feels like a refutation of all of the streamlining and fat-trimming of Tales of Vesperia and Tales of Graces' formulas that Tales of Xillia 1 had done. Tons of elements from those games that had been cut or simplified such as item crafting have been re-added, while innovations such as the sphere grid-like level up system, leveling up shops, and party swapping mid-battle have been taken out. They aren't bad changes, per se, but it feels at the very least quite odd to have such a polished product as Xillia 1 followed up on by something that so deliberately walks back so much of the polishing that Xillia 1 put so much effort into.

The combat has also been altered significantly beyond no longer being able to swap party members mid-battle (or even outside of towns). Without getting in too deep, most of the changes amount to making combat significantly harder, especially boss fights. A new combat focus around enemy weaknesses and stacking those weaknesses in order to get damage multipliers changes the flow of battle significantly. This is also compounded in its complexity by how Ludgar has not one but THREE different weapons with totally different sets of arts and attacks for each as well as a super form, and that's ALL on top of Xillia 1's battle-link system still being there. This all not only makes Xillia 2 a significantly harder game than Xillia 1 (and most recent Tales games up to that point in general, I'd argue), but it also makes Ludgar easily the most powerful character in the cast. This is extra weird when you consider that this has one of the largest playable casts in a Tales game, but it also pretty explicitly disincentivizes you from trying out other characters (particularly when in so many main story and character episodes, 3/4ths of your party is locked and can't be changed). That's not to say the combat isn't fun. I had a ton of fun with the combat, which I think hits somewhere closer to Graces in terms of general difficulty and technicality, but it nonetheless makes for a very strange followup to Xillia 1 given how much more streamlined and quick-paced that game's combat is compared to this.

The presentation is very nice, but there are some unfortunate technical issues. Very much like Xillia 1, the game's art style and character designs are very nice and well done. I streamed this on Discord while I played it, and so many friends had the same surprise that this was a PS3 game with how pretty it looks. The music is also very nice, in the way Tales games so often do it. However, the pretty graphics come with a cost. Especially in the later parts of the game, the graphics just get a bit too hectic for the PS3 to handle and you get quite a lot of slowdown. This wouldn't be a huge problem if not for the fact that these frame rate dips REALLY hurt your input delay, and that can be the difference between life and death in a game with a relatively difficult late-game like this.

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. This game has a weird curse of being best fit for Tales of Xillia 1 fans but also being such a step down from that game that it's probably going to be disappointing for people familiar with that game. It's still a fine game, and remarkably well put together given that it's the first Tales game they made after Namco Bandai got rid of the dedicated Namco Tales Studio, but that's also kinda damning with faint praise. All of the weirdness isn't bad in and of itself, but it makes it a lot more difficult to get into and appreciate given how closely tied into yet totally divorced it is from its predecessor. If you can find it for cheap, and you've already played and enjoyed Tales of Xillia 1 like me, then this could definitely be worth your while, but if you just never got around to playing this after Xillia 1 and have other more pressing things to play, I think you're not missing out on a ton by passing this one up.
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VG_Addict
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Re: Games Beaten 2021

Post by VG_Addict »

I 101%ed Donkey Kong Country 1 today.

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