Games Beaten 2021

Anything that is gaming related that doesn't fit well anywhere else
User avatar
Tiduas
16-bit
Posts: 80
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2015 7:16 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Games Beaten 2021

Post by Tiduas »

Not so very far away in time I completed Touhou 18 (PC) and thought it to be interesting enough to make a video for. The video can be found here if you're interested:

https://youtu.be/r8vxzj8r-UI
about 7 minutes long, structured as both an introduction video to Touhou but also as a review of Touhou 18.
My YouTube channel with a focus on video game music and occasionally retro and indie titles:
https://www.youtube.com/c/Teedyan
User avatar
MrPopo
Moderator
Posts: 23954
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:01 pm
Location: Orange County, CA

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
92. Dungeon Keeper 2 - PC
93. Shin Megami Tensei V - Switch
94. Pokemon Stadium 2 - N64
95. Pokemon Brilliant Diamond - Switch
96. Battlespire - PC
97. Mercenary Kings - PS4
98. Resogun - PS4
99. Hellbreaker - PC
100. Magic Carpet - PC

When I was a kid my grandmother got a new computer, and it came with a CD that had two pack in games. One was Virtual On, which I'd played in the arcade and was super excited to play whenever I was at her house. The other was Magic Carpet, which was this weird 3D game that I had no idea what was going on. It didn't help there was no manual. Cut to the modern day, where I've seen AGD's video on Magic Carpet and now understood how the game works, so I figured since it was on sale at GOG for dirt cheap I'd give it a whirl. And man, I have feelings about this game.

So Magic Carpet is an early 3D game from Bullfrog. The premise is simple; there was a mage war, all the worlds got fucked, you need to get all the mana to fix them. So the objective of every single level is the same; collect enough mana in your castle to hit the threshold and hit the victory button. Complicating this is the various creatures of the land and enemy wizards who selfishly want the mana for themselves. The game claims it has 50 levels, but it skips about 5 of them (probably due to needing to cut them for some reason before going gold), and frankly the game could have gotten away with half of them.

The mechanics of the game are quite simple in essence. It's somewhere between an FPS and a helicopter sim in terms of how it handles. You use arrow keys for forward back strafe and the mouse for looking, but you can only tilt up or down so far, and there is a pretty narrow band of how high or low you are to the ground. You have a selection of magic spells that are bound to left and right mouse, and you'll need to swap between them to accomplish different tasks. The three core things are building and upgrading your castle, taking possession of mana, and dealing damage (with a fourth group being utility spells like heal and teleport). Mana is represented as orbs; when unclaimed they are bronze, while when claimed they are the color of the owner. Each castle has one or more hot air balloons that will then move out and pick up claimed mana orbs and bring them back to the castle. The castle can only hold so much mana; when it's full you need to cast the castle spell again to upgrade it, up to a level seven castle. But your castle can be attacked, and when it loses all its health it drops a level and refills its health bar. And any mana that doesn't fit in the new level will pop out and be claimable by your enemies.

While sometimes mana is free floating at the start of a level, most of the time it is gained by defeating monsters. There's a decent selection of enemies with varying threat profiles, with some very threatening ones that can quickly kill you if taken unawares. Fortunately, as long as you have a castle you will respawn upon your body hitting the ground. This holds true for enemy wizards as well, so if you want to take one out you need to balance out killing their castle and killing them. Another wrinkle is that being within the area of your castle means you take no damage and regenerate your personal mana (for spellcasting) at an accelerated rate, with all damage instead being taken by the castle. On many levels you'll need to take advantage of this to take down hordes of monsters that might get you before your power is built up. Speaking of building up power, the better spells aren't usable until you have enough mana stored in your castle, which complicates later levels that have a high threat level when you're building out.

The game can be seen as split into two halves. The first is your sort of standard go through and slowly get introduced to new enemies and new spells, with challenge increasing over time. This is the strongest part of the game, as there's a good difficulty curve and it always feels like you're progressing. Once you've unlocked everything you go into the second half of the game, where each stage gives you a curated list of spells at the start (with maybe more available in level) and tends to present you with some sort of challenge, like dealing with a bunch of very built-up wizards or needing to traverse a combat maze before you can build your castle. While there are a few good levels here and there, for the most part they are a combination of needing to get a precise start and having to deal with a wyvern attack on your castle, which is extremely beatable but extremely tedious (you make use of that aforementioned invincibility and keep rebuilding your castle's level while spamming a weak attack until it ties). Many of these levels go on for far too long, as once you reach a certain power level your victory is inevitable, but you still have another 10-15 minutes of gameplay of you slowly wearing down enemy castles and swiping their mana. This was the portion of the game that was a real slog to get through, as many of the levels were basically puzzle levels of you needing to figure out exactly where to put your castle and how to get enough mana to then begin your snowball.

But to end things on a positive note, the game does have one really cool feature and that is real time terrain deformation. When a castle is placed or grown it needs a certain amount of space to hold its battlements, and the game will level out the terrain to accommodate. Your fireballs will create divots in the ground, and there are a few spells that modify the terrain to a large degree; you can summon a volcano, pull everything down into a crater, or create a massive fissure with earthquake. These all are very high damage against enemy units, and the fact that the game engine is able to pull off rapidly modifying the 3D terrain is quite impressive given the time (and it even intelligently creates water textures at the bottom of a hole if it goes deep enough).

Overall, Magic Carpet is a very mixed game. Like Syndicate from the same studio, it has too many levels for its own good, as it goes past what the game's depth can really support. Also, the hard levels aren't hard for the right reasons, but rather because they demand a ton of carpel-tunnel inducing clicking to get past the odds stacked against you in the beginning. If you haven't already played it wait for a sale so you won't feel bad if you end up bouncing off midway through.
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
User avatar
Ack
Moderator
Posts: 22357
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:26 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

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)
38. HellSign (PC)(Action)
39. The Walking Dead: Season Two (PC)(Point-and-Click Adventure)
40. Umurangi Generation (PC)(Action)
41. Shadow of Loot Box (PC)(FPS)
42. Hellbreaker (PC)(FPS)

43. Kona (PC)(Adventure)

Kona is an adventure game that reminds of a lot of walking sims but also has sole combat elements that make me think of the Penumbra series. Probably because you're fighting mainly wolves, and I favored melee options over guns because I'm a crazy man who wanted to take out the pack like Liam Neeson with a broken bottle in The Grey.

It's the 1970s, and you're a private investigator on a job to track down vandals in a rural section of northern Quebec. But when you arrive, you get into a traffic accident, discover an unseasonal snow seems to have set in, and find the guy who hired you dead. The little township is almost entirely abandoned, save for frozen corpses and one crazy WWI vet with a gun. The people that lived there: communists, conspiracy theorists, revolutionaries wanting to throw out the British from Quebec and Canada, as well as some hidden indigenous people who have suffered the wrath of colonial expansionism. And all under the control of a wealthy English industrialist who wants to reopen a disruptive mine in the area. An industrialist who is now dead.

From here, you must resolve multiple mysteries by exploring the homes of the locals, nearby sheds, tents, cabins, and campsites. As you go, you must also gather key items to build fires, because keeping warm is vital; the great white north lives up to its name as a snowy fog whites out your view beyond twenty feet, and your vision will frost over as the cold takes you unless you get to a heat source.

You also have to worry about those wolves. Kona features some combat, including with firearms and flare guns if you so choose, though it's not an FPS. You can also use a couple of vehicles to navigate town, and these act as your storage systems. You have limited weight, and objects like hammers, lanterns, first aid kits, and firewood weigh you down, so having moving storage is hugely helpful.

You also have to worry about your health, both mental and physical. Physical health is easier to maintain; don't get mauled by wolves or stand too close to explosions. But mental health drops from car accidents, from seeing things that bother you such as bodies encased in ice, and wolves. Because being approached by a pack of wolves ain't exactly a heartwarming experience.

Kona isn't a horror game, but it has moments of suspense that folks who appreciate horror games or are curious about them may well appreciate. And the mystery is intriguing enough to keep you going. Plus, the game isn't particularly long, so if you want a mystery game with a little more meat than your typical walking sim, Kona is a solid choice. If I have any criticisms, the game has load times which pop up frequently as you approach each building. They recur often, as you're go back and forth between locations often. Beyond that, I enjoyed myself quite a bit and would recommend it.
Image
User avatar
MrPopo
Moderator
Posts: 23954
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:01 pm
Location: Orange County, CA

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

Second 50:

101. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir - PS4

Odin Sphere was the first solo game developed by Vanillaware, and served as a spiritual successor to Princess Crown. While it was extremely pretty and had a cool story inspirited by the Norse Ragnarok legend, it was mired with a clumsy combat system and some MASSIVE lag when a lot was going on. It was clear they were pushing the PS2 beyond the limit for the game. The follow up game Muramasa would see them figuring out how to create smooth combat that is engaging, and it remains a favorite of mine. So when I heard that they were doing a remaster of Odin Sphere and doing a major pass on the combat I was all aboard. And I am happy to report that they succeeded on all fronts (and if you're masochistic enough you still have the ability to turn on classic mode).

Odin Sphere tells the tale of five protagonists caught up in the war between Demon King Odin's forces and the Fairy kingdom for control of the magical Cauldron that can produce magical crystals of immense power. The fairies want the Cauldron to keep it from sucking the life out of the forest, while Odin wants to be prepared for the prophecies of the end of the world. The five protagonists are all linked to the major players in this conflict, and their stories constantly intersect. Although each character has a happy ending to their primary story, Ragnarok looms on the horizon, and it promises to be devastating.

The game is a 2D action game with a heavy emphasis on combat. Aside from your various basic attack chains you can learn special abilities and toss alchemical potions to deal with the hordes of enemies that spawn. The primary combat arenas wrap around as if you're fighting on the perimeter of a circle, so while you can disengage if things get too hot you can't escape. Your special abilities also come in two flavors; weapon based and magical based, each with a separate resource. The weapon-based ones are weaker, but the resource constantly regenerates, while the magical based ones require you to absorb phozons that are left behind by defeated enemies. Balancing this is key. Fortunately, compared to the original you have more options for special abilities and you now can cancel out of most attacks, rather than being forced to eat enemy attacks. Generally, when you can't cancel it's because you have super armor. The whole thing is much snappier and has a great flow to it.

Each chapter has some story segments setting up things, then a map consisting of a bunch of linked combat arenas. In a change from the original, there are also breather stages, where enemies are weaker and there are minor platforming elements. These tend to also have additional treasure available to power you up. Sometimes there are minor traversal hazards, like needing to use certain potions to unblock the way. These are always optional, but the rewards are worth it. Then at the end is a boss battle to wrap up the key conflict of the chapter.

The game has an interesting character progression system. You gain levels which increase your raw stats, but experience from enemies is pretty minimal. The primary source of experience is by eating food. Eating food also increases your max HP and heals you, so you'll want to become a gourmand. Raw food helps a bit, but the real money is in prepared food, which you can do once you're a couple chapters in. So you'll need to gather resources to prepare these dishes. It's all very worth it, from an efficiency standpoint. Once you start rolling you'll find yourself many levels above the enemies, and the power difference is noticeable. The raw food is acquired in bulk in two ways. The first is by purchasing from merchants using currency dropped by enemies. The second is by growing it; enemies can drop seeds which you can plant and grow. However, to grow a plant requires you to spend phozons, which is the second piece of character progression. All your various skills are learned at level 1, and can be powered up by spending phozons. So there's a bit of tension there, though the required phozon costs on your skills means that you'll tend to do one or two upgrades per chapter and then spend the rest on plants.

Leifthrasir is a model of how to revisit a game and improve it with learnings you have gained over the years. While it fundamentally plays the same as the original, all the rough edges have been smoothed out and it now is a constant joy, rather than regularly turning into a slog. If you bounced off of the original I highly recommend giving the update a try.
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
User avatar
PartridgeSenpai
Next-Gen
Posts: 3009
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:27 am
Location: Northern Japan

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)
112. Nightmare Creatures (PS1)
113. Tales of Rebirth (PSP)
114. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children: Red Book (GBC)
115. Heart of the Woods (PC)
116. Analogue: A Hate Story (PC)
117. Ibunroku Persona (PS1)
118. Megami Tensei: Last Bible (GB)

119. Mechstermination Force (Switch)

This is a game I saw recommended on Twitter ages ago, but it was a bit too pricey at the time for me to take the plunge. Fast forward to a few weeks back during the Black Friday sale on the eShop, and it was down to the low low price of $2, which was more than good enough for me~. It took me like two hours to beat the English version on my Switch on a very sleepy morning where I accidentally woke up 3 hours early and couldn't fall back asleep XP.

Mechstermination Force takes place in a world very much like our own, but in the near future where giant MegaMechs have appeared from nowhere and taken over! You play a soldier in humanity's last pocket of resistance, trying to take back control one mech at a time! It's a very light story that is very, very silly. There isn't much story beyond that initial premise and the conversations you can have with other soldiers at base, and they have all sorts of silly quips and one-liners to toss around at you. It gave me a very Magicka-like vibe (to the point where it feels like it was made by the same people, and it actually does share some senior staff, I later discovered!), so if you liked that, then you'll probably like it here too.

The gameplay is a series of boss fights in Contra-stlye run and gun action. The game has over a dozen bosses to fight, and you slowly get more powers to fight further on bosses with as the game progresses (climbing walls and a double jump), and you can also buy more max health and new weapons at the shop between missions. You get a big cash bonus for the first time you beat a boss, and you can replay old missions for bits of extra cash if you wanna grind some money to get a bit more max health or one more new weapon to try and overcome a more difficult challenge. You can switch between those weapons at any time mid-fight, so they come in VERY handy, and the ability to grind to get past difficult stuff is very appreciated. The game controls great and it's clear these folks really know their Contra, since these are some damn good Contra-like bosses.

The presentation is very clean and quite pretty. The graphics have a crisp but very colorful look to them, very much like Magicka did (and given the two games share an art director, that isn't surprising), and the mech designs are great as well. The music is nothing super duper special, but like the story, it does the job of setting up the action and atmosphere just as much as it needs to, and doesn't overstay its welcome.

Verdict: Recommended. This is a really solid game that's very well put together. The only real sticking point in recommending it is that, unless you're really into replaying bosses to get damage-less runs or better times (both of which the game does keep track of), you're likely going to have trouble getting value for money out of it if you don't get it on sale. Regardless, it's still a really well put together game, and I absolutely feel I got my money's worth.

----

120. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (Switch)

This was another game I've had my eye on for ages and only finally picked up in the recent eShop sale. I had very lukewarm feelings on the larger Bloodstained title, Ritual of the Night, and while that doesn't seem to be a very uncommon opinion, an even more common one is that Curse of the Moon (despite being a different genre) was easily the superior game between the two. Having played through nearly all of the classic Castlevanias last year, I was certainly interested (not to mention that it's also an IntiCreates game), and I'm glad that I finally got to playing through this one. It took me about three hours to play through the game the first time, and then another two hours to play through it again on Nightmare mode.

Curse of the Moon takes place in an alternate world to Ritual of the Night, where the samurai Zangetsu was placed under an evil curse long ago and he wanders the lands searching for the demon that put it on him in order to slay it. Along the way, you bump into other characters from Ritual of the Night, and you can have a quick chat with them to have them join you, or kill them to gain a special new power (or ignore them entirely). Like old Casltevanias, this game is very light on the story, but given that it's very specifically trying to be an old game like that, it hits that mark excellently. The story does exactly what it needs to to set up the action, and it provides a great spooky setting for the adventure taking place~.

The gameplay of CotM is in the vein of the classic action Castlevanias rather than being a metroidvania like Ritual of the Night was (though it certainly doesn't help the confusion between the two with Curse of the Moon having a very similar title to Circle of the Moon, an actual metroidvania Castlevania game XP). You make your way through 9 stages to destroy the demon at the end of Zangetsu's quest, utilizing a basic attack as well as sub-weapons in a very Castlevania-y fashion. In another very Castlevnania-like move, you have multiple playable characters much like in Castlevania 3, but unlike in that game, you can swap between any of your four characters whenever if you have them (where in C3 Trevor Belmont can only bring along one friend at most). These other playable characters even have their own unique sub-weapons, special abilities to play very differently, and even their own respective healthbars, which all makes for much more varied experiences as well as allowing you to take a lot more punishment. However, if one character dies, they're *gone* until you either beat the stage or lose all of your playable characters, and your other characters don't heal up if one of them dies, leading to a big risk-reward element if you're using them as portable health bars.

Nightmare Mode is a mode unlocked after beating the game once, and it has a different final stage instead of the original one (as well as making the bosses a bit harder). All of the stages are really well designed though, with the classic Castlevania knock-back being present but often not nearly so deadly as it once was. You can even pick between a Veteran or Casual mode at the start of any run, with the latter removing the limited number of extra lives as well as removing knock-back too (just to add one more layer of nice accessibility to the game). In general, the game is nowhere near as hard as the Castlevania of old, though. My only real complaint would be the boss battles, which while fun, often do require a bit too much trial and error for my liking with just how difficult it so often is to react to their attacks if you don't already know what's coming. They're great fun once you get the pattern down, but it's a pain to almost certainly get your head kicked in on your first attempt just because you don't know how to not die yet (unlike how generally forgiving and nice the rest of the enemy design is). At the very least the checkpoint placement for losing both party members and extra lives are very forgiving as well.

The presentation is fantastic. Very much like a New Retro game like Shovel Knight, you have beautiful 8-bit-style sprites with modern day enhanced animations and (especially) backgrounds. It does a great job of capturing how you "remember" games looking, very much like a Shovel Knight does. The only thing that look obviously not 8-bit are the bosses, who have a level of detail much more obviously impossible on older machines. The music is also excellent, capturing the spooky-but-with-action Castlevania-y mood they're going for perfectly~.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. This is yet another absolutely brilliant game out of IntiCreates, and one that does an amazing job of capturing the feel and style of an older genre while bringing it forward to the modern era in very appreciated ways as well. If you're a fan of action games, especially if you liked old Castlevania but found it just a bit too hard a bit too often to be fun, then this is definitely one you shouldn't miss out on.
I identify everyone via avatar, so if you change your avatar, I genuinely might completely forget who you are. -- Me
User avatar
ElkinFencer10
Next-Gen
Posts: 8709
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:34 pm
Location: Jonesville, North Carolina
Contact:

Re: Games Beaten 2021

Post by ElkinFencer10 »

Games Beaten in 2021 - 104
* 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 (6 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
93. Earth Defense Force: World Brothers - Switch - September 29


October (7 Games Beaten)
94. Blair Witch - Switch - October 1
95. The Medium - Xbox Series X - October 3
96. Maid of Sker - Xbox Series X - October 3
97. Metroid Dread - Switch - October 14
98. Parasite Eve - PS1 - October 20
99. Visage - Xbox One - October 23
100. Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan - Xbox One - October 24


November (4 Games Beaten)
101. Call of Duty: Vanguard - PS5 - November 9
102. The Division 2 - Xbox One - November 11
103. The Division 2: Warlords of New York - Xbox One - November 11
104. Pokemon Shining Pearl - Switch - November 28


104. Pokemon Shining Pearl - Switch - November 28

Image

I’m generally a huge fan of Pokemon, but Gen IV has a special place in my heart. I’ve been playing Pokemon since Red and Blue, but I skipped Gen III; that was when I went through my unfortunate “I’m too cool for Pokemon” phase in middle school. When I got over myself in my freshman year of high school, it was Pearl Version that got me back into Pokemon. When The Pokemon Company finally announced that Diamond and Pearl were getting remakes on Switch, I was pumped. Unfortunately, this is a somewhat flawed remake, but despite the bugs and issues, I’ve had a ton of fun with it.

Image

One of the stylistic choices made for the game that’s been a point of contention with the Pokemon fandom is the shift back to a 2D perspective. Personally, I was somewhat disappointed that the developers opted for a 2D perspective rather than refining the 3D perspective from Sword and Shield, but just because I’m not personally fond of a stylistic choice doesn’t make it bad. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl look fantastic. Personal preference doesn’t affect quality. It runs really well, too...for the most part. The ball decorations return allowing you add visual effects that trigger when you send your Pokemon out into battle. I managed to put enough smoke and flame effects on my Infernape’s PokeBall to make the frame rate plummet from an otherwise fairly stable 30 fps to a *maybe* 10 fps. Granted, I had to try intentionally to make the frame rate drop, but it’s worth mentioning. If you don’t try to crash the frame rate, it runs well; I didn’t notice any frame rate drops in normal gameplay, and I never had an instance of the game crashing.

Image

It must be said, however, that this is, at least from my personal experience, the buggiest Pokemon game thus far. It must be noted first off that my experience is all after downloading and installing a 3 GB day one patch. Even after a patch this large, I encountered a lot of issues with randomly missing sound effects. Like, I’d be in the middle of a battle, and an attack would just be randomly silent; or I’d be in the Grand Underground, and all of my pickaxe swings would be randomly silent. It doesn’t ruin the gameplay or anything, but it’s definitely jarring and immersion-breaking, and it’s something that really shouldn’t have made it past QA. Most of it seems to have been fixed with a subsequent update, but I still encounter the occasional instance of it in the Underground. That’s the only major bug I’ve noticed in my gameplay, though, and I’ve put over 70 hours in thus far.

Image

Some of the discontent I’ve seen in the community with the game is the lack of up-to-date national Pokedex. I can kind of see both sides. On the one hand, this is a remake of a Gen IV game, so of course it only goes up through Gen IV; on the other hand, the Gen I remakes on GBA, the Gen II remakes on DS, and the Gen III remakes on 3DS all had support for all Pokemon that had been released in games up to that date. The aspect of the game that I think is a legitimate criticism, however, isn’t about the Pokedex but about online features. The Global Trading Station - a major feature in the original release of Diamond and Pearl - isn’t going to be functional until a later date in 2022. Integration with Pokemon Home also isn’t coming until some undefined date in 2022, and that one especially big in my eyes since Home was touted as a central hub for your Pokemon across multiple games. The fact that they’re planning support but haven’t implemented that is just a pain for players who want to bring supported Pokemon over or fill in gaps in a living Pokedex. It’s not a game-breaker, but it’s definitely a massive disappointment. I would like to say that it’s because the Pokemon Company outsourced this remake (a mistake, in my opinion), but I know that it’s likely that there would have been a delay between the game’s release and the Home connectivity regardless.

Image

There are a lot of People hating on Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and while it certainly has its issues, I absolutely think these are worthwhile games for Pokemon fans and great remakes. Sure, the difficulty is a little low, but the gym leader and Elite Four rematches are legitimately difficult battles. The Underground is fantastic now with a ton of Pokemon that aren’t in the Sinnoh dex appearing after you unlock the national Pokedex. In the same vein, most of the non-Sinnoh legendaries up through Gen IV are available after you unlock the national dex. It’s not a perfect Pokemon game, but it should fully satisfy any fan of Diamond and Pearl, and it’s an excellent entry for Switch that honestly addresses a lot of the complaints that people had about Sword and Shield. Between the casual Let’s Go games, the 3D Gen VIII games, and the 2D Gen IV remakes, there’s now a Pokemon game for everyone on Switch.
Patron Saint of Bitch Mode
User avatar
PartridgeSenpai
Next-Gen
Posts: 3009
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:27 am
Location: Northern Japan

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)
112. Nightmare Creatures (PS1)
113. Tales of Rebirth (PSP)
114. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children: Red Book (GBC)
115. Heart of the Woods (PC)
116. Analogue: A Hate Story (PC)
117. Ibunroku Persona (PS1)
118. Megami Tensei: Last Bible (GB)
119. Mechstermination Force (Switch)
120. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (Switch)

121. Shining Force (Genesis)

For this month's TR centered around Camelot-developed games, I had a few games to choose from, but I decided to go with the earliest one I had, the original Shining Force. Thankfully for me, it was recently released on the Switch Online Genesis service, so I played it there. It took me about 19.5 hours to play through the English version of the game with very limited save-state and rewind use (only used it a couple times when the fiddly UI made me end a turn when I hadn't meant to XP).

You play as Max, a knight in training in the tiny kingdom of Guardiana, whose life is suddenly thrown into disarray when the evil kingdom of Runefaust invades. Runefaust seeks to unleash the ancient Dark Dragon and destroy the world, but it's up to Max and his team, the titular Shining Force, to put a stop to the Runefaust's evil machinations. The story is pretty straightforward for a fantasy story of the time, but it's remarkable in just how excellently its translated for 1993. A colorful world full of silly characters and fun quips (from a talking space-hamster to a bunch of centaurs to an armadillo man in a steam-mech suit) make the world of Rune a very memorable one.

The gameplay of Shining Force is a strategy RPG very much like Fire Emblem (a series also in its infancy at the time, as FE2 predates this game by only about a week), and reads very much like Sega's answer to Fire Emblem. Very much like Fire Emblem, you (effectively) have different classes of units composed to NPCs you recruit throughout the game, these units level up semi-randomly upon level-up, and they can equip weapons to make themselves stronger. Unlike Fire Emblem, Camelot decided to lean more into the RPG aspect of things rather than the strategy, having towns you can walk around and talk to NPCs in, mages that learn spells with levels rather than items, and simply buying items that have no durability, but there are also a lot of less than ideal consequences to that.

But first, let's start with some good and welcome innovations (or at the very least things I like) compared to Fire Emblem. First of all, there is no perma-death in Shining Force. If an ally goes down, they can be resurrected for super cheap back in town if you get a game over (i.e. your main character is taken out) or win the battle. There are also virtually no consequences for getting a game over, as you just get sent back to the last church you saved at but keep all of the items and experience you gained in your last encounter. Being able to level grind like this is a really cool feature in a game with semi-random level-ups and lots of characters (many of whom are admittedly not worth using). You also don't recruit characters in battle, and recruitment is always done in towns by just talking to people. Even level-ups have a really nice feature in that they have a built-in stabilizer for just how many bad level-ups you can get. If you're stuck with a few bad levels in a row, you're much more likely for the next one to give you BIG bonuses to get you to where the game thinks you "should" be at that particularly level. These are all really nice features that make the game, on a surface level at least, a very welcoming and forgiving experience compared to the (certainly at the time) far more brutal SRPG of Fire Emblem.

However, Camelot make a lot of baffling and (I would argue) bad choice in their further RPG-ifying of Fire Emblem's formula. First and foremost above all of them is how turn order is handled. The order each character goes in is determined by their respective speed stat combined with some hidden RNG, and this effectively means that you have no idea when a character's turn is coming. You can get an idea sometimes, if you're in a map with only a few enemies, but in larger maps, an enemy very well might get two turns and run forward to snipe your character before you had any meaningful chance to react. There are global turns limiting this (so they at least can't get like, three turns in a row), but with how hard many enemies hit and how hard the game can be at times, that's pretty cold comfort. This is made an even further problem by having no real way to tell how far an enemy can move, as while you can see their movement stats, you can't see how terrain affects it, so you can only hazard a guess at how safe you are from any given enemy. The game also lacks counterattacks of any kind (automatic or otherwise, at least so far as I experienced), so if you aren't getting in the first strike, you're getting the crap kicked out of you. And then on top of all THAT, the enemy AI is AWFUL, so it's a total crap shoot on if the enemy won't just stand there while you pummel their head in because something in their AI has bugged out so hard that they just don't know what to do.

The end result of all of this is that it's very, VERY difficult to meaningfully strategize in this "Strategy RPG", and it can lead to a lot of annoying game overs with your most valuable units getting sniped (robbing you of the DPS necessary to beat the many auto-healing bosses). A lot of them wouldn't even be THAT big of a problem if there were just turns like Fire Emblem (and so many other SRPGs) use. Thankfully, the fact that the penalty for dying is so minute and how you can grind whenever you want means that these aren't game-breaking problems. They're still big problems, and they make a lot of maps feel more like RNG chores to slog through rather than strategic puzzles to solve, but they keep the game from descending from "annoyingly bothersome" to "unforgivably mean-spirited".

Then on top of that there are some other problems that are more just things you can chalk up to the game's age and a lack of proper foresight in their design. Something that's sorta in between both of these spaces is how mages work. They level VERY slowly, and they have very low MP, so healing is a very limited resource compared to a lot of Fire Emblem games. It's not nearly as bad as Fire Emblem 1, where healers need to get attacked and survive to level up (because healing doesn't give them EXP), but it's still glacially slow compared to the rest of your party, and it makes those cheap shots earned by bad luck on the turn order feel that much worse and cheap.

Magic is also incredibly dangerous almost the entire game, as there is no way to defend against it with stats. Until you get to higher HP values (which some characters simply never do), you're almost always one or two magic attacks away from being killed, no matter how high your defense stat may be. In one last move that I consider well-meaning but ultimately not very good, things such as double attacks, evasion, and critical hit chance are all linked to hidden, fixed values for each character and monster type, so you never know just how much danger you're going to be in (unlike a Fire Emblem where you generally have a speed or luck stat that determines when those things will happen). None of them are outright game breaking, sure, but it all contributes to that "this is a slog I need to get lucky to win at" feeling that plagues a lot of the game.

The presentation is quite good. It's a Mega Drive game from 1992, and it's a damn nice looking one at that. Character portraits are pretty, as are the environments. The monster designs are also very cool, bringing that "fantasy meets ancient high technology" aesthetic that the Shining series is known for to full bore through very pretty attack animations. The music is also very good, and makes the slogging times much more bearable when they happen.

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. Given the two points that the localization is so good AND Fire Emblem wouldn't be localized for roughly a decade, it is not that surprising to me how Shining Force captured so many hearts and minds back in the day and continues to be a fondly remembered game now. But in 2021, I think the game has aged very roughly with just how poorly the strategy elements are executed. This is a game you'll likely find charming in its presentation and not utterly impossible in its difficulty, but if you're more used to more polished strategy game or SRPGs, then you're likely going to have a quite boring if not frustrating time seeing Shining Force through to the end.
I identify everyone via avatar, so if you change your avatar, I genuinely might completely forget who you are. -- Me
User avatar
Ack
Moderator
Posts: 22357
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:26 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

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)
38. HellSign (PC)(Action)
39. The Walking Dead: Season Two (PC)(Point-and-Click Adventure)
40. Umurangi Generation (PC)(Action)
41. Shadow of Loot Box (PC)(FPS)
42. Hellbreaker (PC)(FPS)

43. Kona (PC)(Adventure)
44. Eastshade (PC)(Adventure)

Do you like wandering the worlds of Elder Scrolls games but don't like combat? Is the Redwall series something that you enjoy? Do you want to explore a beautiful land, solve quests, but never face the threat of death? Well, this is what Eastshade excels at.

You are a painter who comes to the small island nation Eastshade to paint based on your dead mother's final wishes. She told you of four things she wished you would see, and feeling inspired, you bring your paints and cross the ocean. Unfortunately, your ship wrecks on some reefs, and you end up coming to in a beach cave, the one missing survivor. From there, you wander the world, performing jobs for people, gathering supplies, and painting pictures of the landscape as you attempt to complete the four paintings for your mother.

There are some elements of progression that you must resolve to see everywhere, of course. These sometimes involve solving puzzles and understanding when and where to use certain items that are foraged, acquired, or must be built from the admittedly limited crafting system. Recipes are generally quest rewards, and they're treated as roadblocks to keep the player from progressing until certain actions are performed. Eastshade is not completely accessible by foot, so you'll need to learn how to construct a few different types of watercraft, make twine, and even help a woman with her hot air balloon to get everywhere.

There are other limitations, and while you can pick up items to help with travel, like a bicycle that increases your movement speed and a map that shows many of the uncovered landmarks on the island, the game has some issues with ease of travel. First, an item is required to use fast travel, so if you don't have the item on hand or the objects necessary to make it, well, you're hoofing it the hard way. Second, the map lacks a means to say where you are, so you have to rely on landmarks and your own sense of direction to identify where you are. If you have a lot of experience with open world games, this shouldn't be so tough, but if this isn't your thing, good luck.

Eastshade also suffers from technical issues. I had the game lock up on me several times and require I drop out and kill the running program. As the game relies heavily on checkpoint saving based on doing quests, this caused me to lose a fair amount of progress at one point. You can manually save too, but since you can't die, I didn't do this often until I started experiencing this bug. From that point, the saving system was more a means to help with game crashing. Other weird bugs I encountered involved relatively minor issues like painting commands appearing on screen even after I had made the painting, as well as one glitch where a fishing rod refused to disappear after I had stopped using it. I pulled out the fishing rod again and suddenly had two overlapping each other. Queue awkward hilarity.

Bugs aside, there's a wholesomeness to the world of Eastshade and its animal people. They're mostly good folks, and while a few questlines hint at some darkness underneath the veneer, most of the time everyone is kind and good or apologetic for negative actions. The overall experience is a positive one, and the game presents a gorgeous world that is easy to get lost in. The painting aspect is also pretty nifty, effectively operating as a screenshot tool, but one you have some control over. You can even export your paintings for showcasing on social media if you so choose, so fans of the game have a creative community now built around this.

If you like walking sims but want more meat on the bones, or if you want a smaller RPG world without the difficulties of combat, or if you simply want a relaxing world to explore for a while, Eastshade provides. It's a nice experience, one that I greatly appreciated as a means to destress and wander a virtual landscape. It's not exactly like you're Pablo Picasso painting portraits of peasants working the field and birds flying over waves of grain bending in the wind, but it's an enjoyable way to spend some time if you like exploring the beauty of open worlds in games.
Image
User avatar
MrPopo
Moderator
Posts: 23954
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:01 pm
Location: Orange County, CA

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

Second 50:

101. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir - PS4
102. Magic Carpet 2: The Netherworlds - PC

You might be wondering why I played through the sequel to Magic Carpet, given the content of my review for the first game. Well, the second game has a reputation of basically fixing everything I found wrong with the first game, so I figured I'd give it a shot. And I'm happy to report that the game passes with flying colors. THIS is the Magic Carpet we should have gotten the first time around.

Like the first game, the story of Magic Carpet 2 is paper thin. But now it's construction paper thin, rather than prayer book paper thin like the first game. After having saved the realms, you get woken up by a demon lord who plans to conquer everything, and you need to stop him. This is experienced through 25 levels plus 5 bonus levels. You slowly crawl across a map and are given thin justifications for what you're doing in each map. This map might be that you are trying to save people from the demon hordes, and that map might be that you need to traverse through a tunnel to get past the big bad's defenses.

Unlike the first game, this game introduces objectives. None of them are complicated, being some form of "destroy this", "go to this point", or "get this much mana", but the important thing is that these create more of a sense of purpose to each map. These objectives are also used to properly ramp up what's going on in each map. The game has pulled back on the massive number of triggers in the first game, and now you generally don't have to worry about blundering into spawning a ton of fuck you monsters. Some objectives do cause a bunch of enemies to spawn (as part of the next objective), but since you have control over that you aren't caught unprepared.

The magic in game has been rebalanced. Now each spell has three levels of power, which requires increasing amounts of mana stored and are unlocked by gaining experience with that spell. Many of the spells have been collapsed into this framework (e.g. rapid fireball is fireball level 2), and importantly this means you now have a decent attack spell at the start of every level (rapid fireball). There are no mana vampires this time; you have a proper progression that lasts to the end game.

Another improvement is the game now has multiple biomes. In addition to the standard daytime of the first game, there is a nighttime biome which reduces visibility and a cavern biome that allows them to do new things. The cavern features a ceiling, and as a result they can more meaningfully block off large sections of the map without the arbitrary "no, you can't fly over this wall" pieces. But the terrain modification spells CAN be used to tunnel, and that is an absolute joy. The caverns being enclosed also puts constraints on what you can do with your castle, and that has a direct impact on yoru spell power, so these serve as the more careful levels.

One final improvement is that enemy wizards show up less and have respawn timers (and the also mostly don't use reflect). This makes them far more manageable and really cuts out on the attrition slog of the first game.

Overall, Magic Carpet 2 improves on the first game in every way possible, except for the fact that running in the optional high resolution mode makes it very crashy (I'm guessing they fucked up the memory management for the high section of memory that only high res uses). Skip that and you have an enjoyable experience that is different from any FPS you've played. Skip the first game, play this instead.
Blizzard Entertainment Software Developer - All comments and views are my own and not representative of the company.
User avatar
prfsnl_gmr
Next-Gen
Posts: 12243
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:26 pm
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Re: Games Beaten 2021

Post by prfsnl_gmr »

First 60
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)

61. Metroid Prime Hunters (NDS)
62. Metroid Prime Federation Force (3DS)
63. Panzer Dragoon: Remake (Switch)
64. Unsighted (Switch)

Unsighted is a stupendous indie action-adventure game that just edges out Metroid Dread as my 2021 GOTY.

In Unsighted, essence from a meteor provides androids with consciousness, but humans, in fear of their newly self-aware robot companions, locked the meteor away before fleeing off-world. As a result, the androids left behind are slowly losing their identities, and when an android loses its consciousness altogether (i.e., goes “unsighted”), it lashes out, in rage, at everything. You play as Alma, a battle android, looking for her friend/lover Racquel and trying to help her fellow androids retain their consciousness, and since humans left long ago, “unsighted” androids are the primary antagonists.

The game is played from an overhead perspective, and it clearly draws a lot of inspiration from The Legend of Zelda. That is, you navigate an over world to various caves and dungeons, locating new equipment that provides you with access to new areas of the over world and, in turn, new caves, dungeons, and upgrades. The game layers a lot of mechanics on top of that tried-and-true design, however, such as crafting, reconfigurable abilities, upgradable weapons, etc. These mechanics allow you to sequence break rather easily, and as a result, the game provides you much more freedom to explore than most other games in its genre.

Easily the most interesting mechanic, however, is a timer, telling you precisely how much time you, and everyone you meet, has until becoming unsighted. More specifically, you start the game with a pre-determined number of hours, and each in game hour equates to about a minute of real time. You can extend that time by finding and consuming meteor dust, a rare item. Moreover, every friendly NPC, from the little fairy of accompanying you on your quest, to your mentor android, to a lowly shopkeeper, also has a timer, and when that timer expires, the android goes unsighted. At that point, your only option is to put them down, and you lose access to that character permanently. Losing access to a NPC also means losing access to side quests, upgrades, story elements, etc. Thankfully, some of the NPCs start out with a lot of time, and you can give them some of the meteor dust you find during your adventure to keep them conscious longer. There is only so much meteor dust, however, and there certainly isn’t enough meteor dust to save them all, especially if, like me, you spend a lot of time exploring the game’s massive map.

The timer adds a lot of tension to the game, and there is nothing like getting a notice that a beloved NPC has less than 24 hours remaining when you’re deep into a dungeon with no easy escape route and not much meteor dust to spare. Moreover, the parry-dependent combat can be brutal, and until you get the hang of it, unsighted androids will cut you down very, very quickly. I loved the challenge, but the developers (rightly) realized that this might be too much for some people. Accordingly, you can adjust different aspects of the difficulty to your liking. (For example, you could tone down the combat and turn off the timers. Or, you could adjust just one or the other to the play the game however you like.)

Finally, the game includes amazing boss fights, and it is loaded with secrets and hidden content, including multiple endings, hidden upgrades, optional dungeons, and secret bosses. If you explore really, really deeply, you’ll even discover that:

You CAN save everyone!


I love when a good game, like this, rewards players with even more great content, and once I adjusted to the game’s challenge, I really couldn’t put it down.

As much as I loved the game, however, it doesn’t do everything right. While the graphics are presented in a very pleasing pseudo-16-bit style, the music is sometimes a bit discordant. (“What is with the smooth jazz playing in the fire dungeon?”) Additionally, the game has a few too many mechanics: I never used the spin attack; weapon upgrading is pointless; distance weapons, while great for solving puzzles, are worthless in a fight; etc. Some of the game’s secrets are also a bit too well-hidden, and I consulted a guide to find a few things I needed to really complete the game. I think that the game tried to do just a bit too much, and I think it would have benefitted from just a little streamlining.

Small complaints aside, I really, really loved Unsighted Moreover, despite spending almost a dozen hours with the game and uncovering 105%, I still didn’t touch everything that the game has to offer. (Beating the game unlocks both a boss rush and a rogue like dungeon rush. The game also feature drop-in, drop-out couch co-op.). I really cannot recommend Unsighted enough, and I hope at least a few of you will give this great game a try. As I mentioned earlier, it edges out Metroid Dread as my 2021 GOTY, and it is neck-and-neck with Ghostrunner as the best game I played this year.
Post Reply