Games Beaten 2022

Anything that is gaming related that doesn't fit well anywhere else
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by Note »

I've never played the Master System port actually, I should check that out sometime just to compare.

Three tips I can give you for OutRun, is the left path at each fork is the easier path, so the easiest route in the game is to go all left, which I believe is the "A" path and the most difficult path in the game is going all right, which I believe is the "E" path.

Also, you don't need to use the brake button much. When you're taking a turn or coming up on a car in front of you, just take your finger off the accelerate button for a few seconds.

Lastly, timing your gear shift properly can help too. I'm not home at the moment, so I can't check the exact speed, but I think when you're around the speed of 110 - 118, that's when you want shift into high gear, if you do it at a lower speed, the car will stutter a bit. If you wait too long, you're losing time, as you're going through the track too slow.

Hope that helps!
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

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Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

1. Underworld Ascendant - PC
2. Castlevania: Harmony of Despair - PS3
3. Ni no Kuni - PS3
4. Operencia: The Stolen Sun - PC
5. RPM Racing - PC
6. Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem - PC
7. Pokemon Legends: Arceus - Switch
8. Ni no Kuni II - PS4
9. Everspace - PC
10. PowerSlave Exhumed - PC
11. Horizon Forbidden West - PS5
12. Elden Ring - PS5
13. Shadow Warrior 3 - PC
14. Ghostrunner: Project_Hel - PC
15. Triangle Strategy - Switch
16. Tiny Tina's Wonderlands - PC
17. Nightmare Reaper - PC
18. Kur - PC
19. Gundam Versus - PS4
20. BIOTA - PC
21. Chantelise - PC
22. Xenoblade Chronicles - Wii
23. Forgive Me Father - PC
24. Xenoblade Chronicles X - Wii U
25. Steel Assault - Switch
26. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge - Switch
27. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - Switch
28. Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country - Switch
29. Kirby and the Forgotten Land - Switch
30. Toejam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron - Genesis
31. Postal Brain Damaged - PC
32. Valkyrie Profile Lenneth - PSP
33. Super Cyborg - Switch
34. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2 - Switch
35. Stray - PC

Stray is an exploration adventure game where you are a cat. Not a magic cat or anything, just a regular housecat. The game has had a lot of buzz from the first preview, thanks to the interesting aesthetic combined with a cat. And I am happy to report that it's glorious.

The game starts with you has a young orange cat living in a small colony in some sort of abandoned industrial area. While exploring you lose your footing and tumble into the lightless depths, and must now make your way back home. There are hazards along the way, but there are also friends, most notably a little floating robot who lives in a backpack that can serve as your mouth to interact with the denizens you encounter.

The game is split into free exploration areas where you need to solve traversal puzzles and find key items, and then danger areas, which are more linear and require you to get past enemies to get to a goal at the end. Your arsenal is the standard cat arsenal; namely zooming fast past them and getting into narrow spaces. You're a feline, not a fighter.

The game doesn't let you free jump; instead when you are aimed at something you can safely jump to you're given an icon to trigger a jump. This allows them to get in all the various jump style animations, as cats have a bunch of different jump trajectories. There's also a bunch of other cat stuff, like how you can sharpen your claws on stuff, or take naps in cozy spots (and then do the streeeetch when you wake up), and you can meow. There's a dedicated meow button, and it even serves a gameplay purpose in the hazard zones (drawing enemies strategically). And many puzzles require you to knock stuff off of high shelves, using that bat bat maneuver we know so well.

In case you haven't figured out, this game is a celebration of the cat. The devs (and especially animators) clearly love cats and gave great attention to detail in bringing our protagonist to life. The game is a joy to control, and really gives you that "I am a cat" feeling. I give Stray two cat snugs at bedtime.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by ElkinFencer10 »

Games Beaten in 2021 - 39
* denotes a replay

January (20 Games Beaten)
1. Project MIKHAIL: A Muv-Luv War Story - Steam - January 1
2. Shin Megami Tensei V - Switch - January 9
3. Halo 2600 - Atari 2600 - January 10
4. Cruis'n Blast - Switch - January 13
5. Alan Wake - PlayStation 5 - January 15
6. Alan Wake's American Nightmare - Xbox 360 - January 15
7. Apsulov: End of Gods - Playstation 5 - January 16
8. Captain U - Wii U - January 16
9. Raji: An Ancient Epic - Xbox One - January 17
10. JankBrain - Switch - January 22
11. Would You Like to Run an Idol Café - Switch - January 22
12. Bury Me, My Love - Switch - January 22
13. A Normal Lost Phone - Switch - January 22
14. Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story - Switch - January 22
15. Cthulhu Saves Christmas - Switch - January 23
16. Armed 7 - Dreamcast - January 24
17. Satazius Next - Dreamcast - January 24
18. Wolflame - Dreamcast - January 25
19. Metal Slug 1st Mission - Neo Geo Pocket - January 25
20. Metal Slug 2nd Mission - Neo Geo Pocket - January 26


February (1 Games Beaten)
21. Pokemon Legends: Arceus - Switch - February 5


March (0 Games Beaten)
wow I suck ass lmao


April (3 Games Beaten)
22. The Last of Us Part II - PlayStation 4 - April 9
23. Metro 2033 Redux - PlayStation 4 - April 14
24. Sakura Angels - Switch - April 26


May (3 Games Beaten)
25. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures - Gamecube - May 8
26. Metro Last Light Redux - PlayStation 4 - May 14
27. Metro Exodus - Series X - May 28


June (11 Games Beaten)
28. Cyberpunk 2077 - Series X - June 11
29. Sniper Elite 5 - Series X - June 12
30. The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker - PlayStation 4 - June 15
31. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge - Xbox One - June 16
32. 007 Legends - Wii U - June 17
33. TimeSplitters 2 - Xbox - June 18
34. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect - Xbox - June 18
35. I Saw Black Clouds - PlayStation 4 - June 19
36. Call of Duty: Black Ops - Declassified - PlayStation Vita - June 20
37. The House of the Dead Remake - Switch - June 24
38. Halo Wars Definitive Edition - Xbox One - June 29*


July (1 Games Beaten)
39. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes - Switch - July 5


39. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes - Switch - July 5

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Fire Emblem Warriors is one of my favorite musou games because it combines two of the things that I love most - Fire Emblem and a power trip that lets me slaughter thousands of digital enemies. It never really felt like a true crossover, though, but rather just another Warriors game with a Fire Emblem skin. It's the same problem that I had with the original Hyrule Warriors. Three Hopes, however, does for Fire Emblem Warriors what Age of Calamity did for Hyrule Warriors.

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As the name hints, Three Hopes is set in the world of Switch's core Fire Emblem game, Three Houses. It doesn't follow Three House's story or take place before or after but is rather a different story in a parallel world of sorts. Instead of playing as Byleth and becoming an instructor at the Gareg Mach Officers' Academy, you play Shez and end up becoming a student at the academy. Byleth does appear in the game, but they're not the protagonist here. I won't spoil any of the story, but suffice it to say that Shez briefly enrolls in the academy and then ends up thrust into the middle of a massive war that engulfs the entire continent. The game is a nice upgrade over the original Fire Emblem Warriors. It still doesn't blow anyone's mind with its visuals, but it definitely looks a step above the first game. Likewise, the performance felt a good bit more stable.

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The most important upgrade, though, is to the game's overall structure and mechanics. The story feels more cohesive and core to the experience here rather than a story that was just created to have something to drape over the gameplay, and that's an important distinction; was the story written to be a core part of the game's package, or was it written as an afterthought just to tie the game's elements together? Along those lines, the game includes paralogues, side quests that expand and further develop certain characters. If you have the right characters in your army at the right part of the story, you'll be able to play these paralogues to get flesh out their story, get more experience, and get more money and items. Rather than just being an extra battle to give you a chance to grind, these paralogues genuinely feel like worthwhile fights from a narrative perspective.

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Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is, in my opinion, the peak of Koei Tecmo's Warriors series. The story is told far better than most of their spin-off games, and the characters are given genuine development that complements what Three Houses gave us. With that said, I definitely recommend playing Three Houses first; the story and character interactions will be much more rewarding if you have. This is also probably the Warriors games that gives you the most value as there are three distinct paths of the game, one for each of the three factions - the Empire, the Kingdom, and the Alliance. This essentially turns the game from a roughly 60 hour game to a 180 to 200 hour game. That's a lot of value for a $60 game. Couple that with the fact that it's an extraordinarily fun game to play from the perspective of both hack-and-slash slaughter as well as a strategic perspective from ordering the deployed characters you aren't currently controlling, and you've got an absolute must-play for the Switch.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

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1. Record of Lodoss War - Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth (PC)(Action Adventure)
2. The Citadel (PC)(FPS)
3. Gothic 3 (PC)(RPG)
4. Witchaven (PC)(FPS)
5. Unpacking (PC)(Puzzle)
6. Firewatch (PC)(Adventure)
7. Perilous Warp (PC)(FPS)

8. The Ascent (PC)(RPG)
9. Borderlands: Game of the Year Enhanced - The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned (PC)(FPS/RPG)
10. Borderlands: Game of the Year Enhanced - The Secret Armory of General Knoxx (PC)(FPS/RPG)
11. Borderlands: Game of the Year Enhanced - Claptrap's New Robot Revolution (PC)(FPS/RPG)

12. Kingdom of the Dead (PC)(FPS)
13. Monument (PC)(FPS)
14. Bloodwash (PC)(Horror Adventure)
15. Dead Estate (PC)(Isometric Shooter)

16. Lost in Vivo (PC)(Survival Horror)
17. Star Explorers (PC)(FPS)
18. Dark Souls Remastered (Switch)(RPG)

Well, that was easy.

I kid, I kid. Dark Souls Remastered offers a fair challenge, with a large world to explore, even if you sometimes feel like you're only inching across it. Exploring new areas reveals great beauty and opportunity but also requires throwing yourself against great dangers and precarious level design, where the risk/reward is high. As you fight through and learn each enemy's combat style, you press on and find new enemies you must learn or situations to endure. And then there are the bosses, some of which are gargantuan behemoths, some of which are agile warriors, and all of which present a new difficulty to halt your progress until you can best them.

For those of you unfamiliar with what has become one of FromSoftware's flagship series and at this point now defines a game type ("Souls-like") in the way that games like Rogue, DOOM, Metroid/Castlevania and Resident Evil all have, it's not a difficult premise: it's a dark medieval fantasy world, and you must explore it. You kill enemies to gather souls and sometimes gain equipment, then spend those souls to upgrade your stats and potentially your gear. It's like Onimusha without tank controls and a less ridiculous plot. And since it's an RPG, it allows you to really shape your character to cater to your playstyle or to counter the combat styles of whatever challenge you're up against.

What do I mean by that? Well, if you want to be a wizard, you're going to be wearing radically different gear from someone in light armor carrying a spear and focusing on dodging and keeping enemies at bay, or someone with a heavy sword and heavy armor, focusing on tanking and capitalizing on enemy openings. Or you could mix and match with something like light armor for mobility and a heavy weapon for high damage but slow attacks. It comes down to what feels comfortable, but the evolution of playstyle felt organic to me. My initial idea was a heavy tank...until I learned the beauty of mobility and became a glass cannon. However, when the fight seemed to ask for it, I'd go back to a heavy tank. That was actually how I bested the final boss, by changing to a style better suited to wearing him down as opposed to attempting to dodge his attacks.

Of course, there are a lot of systems in play, far more than what I've already mentioned. Some of these systems felt indecipherable with what information the game gave me, and I have a limited understanding of what was going on in the plot and how certain enemies do or don't tie in. As a result, even having bested the base game of Dark Souls and the expansion (which is seamlessly integrated in Dark Souls Remastered), I don't have a clue what the hell was going on. But then, I don't really need to either, because the game can be appreciated from numerous angles. Do you enjoy FromSoftware's incredible level design? Do you appreciate a combat system that requires both forethought and reaction? Do you enjoy surmounting challenges? Then King's Field is for you! ...and Dark Souls too!

But hit things with a big weapon, because why would you not want to hit things with a big weapon?
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by ElkinFencer10 »

Games Beaten in 2021 - 40
* denotes a replay

January (20 Games Beaten)
1. Project MIKHAIL: A Muv-Luv War Story - Steam - January 1
2. Shin Megami Tensei V - Switch - January 9
3. Halo 2600 - Atari 2600 - January 10
4. Cruis'n Blast - Switch - January 13
5. Alan Wake - PlayStation 5 - January 15
6. Alan Wake's American Nightmare - Xbox 360 - January 15
7. Apsulov: End of Gods - Playstation 5 - January 16
8. Captain U - Wii U - January 16
9. Raji: An Ancient Epic - Xbox One - January 17
10. JankBrain - Switch - January 22
11. Would You Like to Run an Idol Café - Switch - January 22
12. Bury Me, My Love - Switch - January 22
13. A Normal Lost Phone - Switch - January 22
14. Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story - Switch - January 22
15. Cthulhu Saves Christmas - Switch - January 23
16. Armed 7 - Dreamcast - January 24
17. Satazius Next - Dreamcast - January 24
18. Wolflame - Dreamcast - January 25
19. Metal Slug 1st Mission - Neo Geo Pocket - January 25
20. Metal Slug 2nd Mission - Neo Geo Pocket - January 26


February (1 Games Beaten)
21. Pokemon Legends: Arceus - Switch - February 5


March (0 Games Beaten)
wow I suck ass lmao


April (3 Games Beaten)
22. The Last of Us Part II - PlayStation 4 - April 9
23. Metro 2033 Redux - PlayStation 4 - April 14
24. Sakura Angels - Switch - April 26


May (3 Games Beaten)
25. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures - Gamecube - May 8
26. Metro Last Light Redux - PlayStation 4 - May 14
27. Metro Exodus - Series X - May 28


June (11 Games Beaten)
28. Cyberpunk 2077 - Series X - June 11
29. Sniper Elite 5 - Series X - June 12
30. The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker - PlayStation 4 - June 15
31. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge - Xbox One - June 16
32. 007 Legends - Wii U - June 17
33. TimeSplitters 2 - Xbox - June 18
34. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect - Xbox - June 18
35. I Saw Black Clouds - PlayStation 4 - June 19
36. Call of Duty: Black Ops - Declassified - PlayStation Vita - June 20
37. The House of the Dead Remake - Switch - June 24
38. Halo Wars Definitive Edition - Xbox One - June 29*


July (2 Games Beaten)
39. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes - Switch - July 5
40. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - Xbox 360 - July 6*


40. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - Xbox 360 - July 6*

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Halo: Combat Evolved turned the first person shooter scene on its head when it released in 2001 and was a system-seller for Microsoft's infant Xbox brand. While it eventually got a PC release, Halo was known early on as the reason to own an Xbox. It forever changed the FPS genre and, while borrowing quite a lot from Blizzard's Starcraft as far as narrative and the overall world goes, created a massive and incredible sci-fi franchise. In 2011, 343 and Microsoft give the game an amazing remaster for its ten year anniversary.

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Halo opens with the UNSC Pillar of Autumn exiting slipspace in a desparate flee from Covenant forces immediately following the destruction of the human colony on the planet Reach. Unfortunately for the Captain Jacob Keyes and his crew, the Covenant were hot on their trail and immediately open fire on the human ship. Master Chief John-117, the last surviving Spartan super soldier, is awoken from cryosleep to fight off Covenant boarders. Eventually the ship is forced to make a hard crash landing on Halo, a mysterious ring-shaped world created by the ancient Forerunner race with the Covenant still in pursuit.

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When it originally launched on Xbox in 2001, Halo was mind-blowing with its graphics and fluid controls. A lot has changed since then, though, and while it's still charming and nostalgic, the original Halo shows its age. The 2011 remaster utilizes the power of the Xbox 360 (and, with the Master Chief Collection, the Xbox One) to give the game the face lift that it deserves. The difference is night and day, and fortunately, 343 gives players the perfect tool to see that; pressing the cheese slice button that should really be labeled Select (I'm using an Xbox One controller for reference), you can seamlessly switch between the original 2001 assets and the redone 2011 assets. Naturally, the resolution is much higher than the original 480i even if you use the original assets - 720p on 360, 1080p on Xbox One, and 2160p on Series X - but still, it's cool to see how the original assets compare to the new assets.

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Halo: Combat Evolved isn't a masterpiece - the level design can be a bit clunky, the narrative sometimes feels a little sloppy with its execution, and the level entitled The Library probably constitutes a crime against humanity - but the game is perfectly faithful to the original where so many games and movies end up breaking more than they fix when trying to remaster older classics. With that said, the few problems I have with the game are there specifically because 343 stayed 100% faithful to the original game, and I'd rather have that than have them try to "fix" things and end up pulling a Star Wars with the remaster. Since the remaster has itself been improved with the Master Chief Collection (especially if playing on Series X), this remains an absolute must-play for all fans of shooters and sci-fi.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

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

1. Dandy Dungeon: The Legend of Brave Yamada (Switch)
2. Dandy Dungeon 2: The Phantom Bride (Switch)
3. Mon Amor (Switch)
4. Terraria (PC)
5. Puppeteer (PS3) *
6. Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon (PS1)
7. Project Altered Beast (PS2)
8. Devil Summoner II: Soul Hackers (Saturn)
9. Kirby Star Allies: Heroes in Another Dimension (Switch)
10. Kirby's Dream Land 2 (GB)
11. Tales of Vesperia (PS3) *
12. Art Style: BOXLIFE (DSi)
13. Super Robot Wars F (Saturn)
14. Super Robot Wars F Final (Saturn)
15. Super Robot Wars 64 (N64)
16. Knight Gundam Monogatari (SFC)
17. Knight Gundam Monogatari 2 (SFC)
18. Mega Man Legends 2 (PSP)
19. Mighty No. 9 (PC)
20. Mega Man Xtreme (GBC)
21. Mega Man Xtreme 2 (GBC)

22. Super Robot Wars Alpha (PS1)

After some far more difficult than it needed to be technical difficulties (which boiled down to me just not realizing that the disc I had had discrot/a big hole in the data XP), I was finally able to get back to playing more SRW. This is the first console game in the series not made by either Winkie Soft or AI, but by Banpresto themselves. I figured if I had anything to expect from this game, it’d be that they’d be trying to make their mark and start things with a bang. I played the game on my PS2 in Japanese, and my conservative guess for how long it took me (as this once again don’t count playtime) is about 50 hours at least.

This is the first game in the Alpha series, which would end up having four games. It has a good few new additions (most notably Macross) as well as a *lot* of returning old series, and Banpresto sorta decided to get as many big chunks of all of them in as they could. This means there are a lot of route splits and a lot of characters, but I think they do a pretty good job of making it all fit together in this big mission to defend the Earth from terrestrial and extraterrestrial invaders. It’s definitely not without its faults though. In trying to make their mark, Banpresto gives FAR too much attention to their original protagonists and antagonists, which wouldn’t be a problem if they weren’t so much more dreadfully dull and uninteresting compared to the licensed characters. I really hope it’s a lesson they learn not to repeat in later games, as the writing between the licensed characters is as fun and well crafted as ever, showing that whether it’s Winkie Soft or Banpresto writing these games, the level of care and attention to adapting the characters involved hasn’t diminished one bit~.

The gameplay is pretty darn similar, with the units & pilots being separate, spirit abilities each pilot has, money to level up units, quicksave ability, and the linear mission structure. In broad strokes, it won’t be unfamiliar to any returning player. However, what HAS changed is that it’s received a very well needed rebalancing that has made the game WAY better to play. Super Robots in particular have received a MASSIVE shot in the arm by across the board getting *far* better accuracy on their moves. This doesn’t diminish how kingly the power of dodge tanks are, sure, but it makes the big, smashy, tanky Super Robots actually able to smash and tank enemies the way they should be able to, and it makes for a much more fun play experience.

Aside from that, the most notable addition is that pilots no longer have only four spirit abilities each, as that number has been raised to six. While this is an important change that makes each pilot have a lot more options available to them, this on top of the power rebalancing with Super Robots comes with the double and triple damage skills being far more uncommon or later received than in past games, while accuracy and evasion boosting skills are very thankfully much more common than they used to be. Nothing is a game-changing experience that flips the world on its head, but these on top of some general UI improvements just make the game significantly more fun to play.

Outside of those base mechanics, the design has gotten one more significant addition in the form of what would (eventually) be localized as Skill Points. These are optional objectives in each map that are often quite difficult and don’t give any rewards unto themselves. However, the main thing they *do* give is extra bonuses. There are far less recruitable secret pilots and units through arcane optional story events, and instead a lot of them are dictated solely (or in addition to the arcane optional persuading and story stuff) by how many skill points you have by that point in the game. The last thing they do is also determine which ending you get, as having 45 points or more by the last few missions gets you the true ending while having less than that gets you the normal one. It’s a really neat addition to the series that I think is a really well thought out way to let the player make things just as hard as they want it, with the only caveat being that these are SECRET objectives. They’re generally just “do the hard thing” or “beat the mission fast”, but the secret nature of them does a lot to spit in the spirit of making things just as hard as the player wants them to be.

Presentation-wise, we still have great music and a nice karaoke mode, but outside of the music, the series gets a *massive* upgrade with this game in a lot of ways. First and most obvious thing is how character portraits look. They’re now much larger in-between missions, and they’re even animated so their mouths move and they blink! Some characters look a bit odd, but generally it all looks really nice. The other big additions come in battle. Maps are no longer top-down, but are now isometric. This doesn’t actually change how the gameplay works (this ain’t FF Tactics with unit directional stuff or anything), but it does make things look significantly better. However, I imagine the increased resources used to make it like this is probably why there is SO much map reuse in this game compared to previous ones, as designing them must take a lot more work.

The next and coolest addition is that now we finally have proper battle animations! No longer do the robots just dance around like papercraft cutouts, but they move properly and everything! Sure, the loading times for this are AWFUL (at like 10 seconds per battle no matter what console, PS1, PS2, or PS3 I tested it on), but that’s solved by the actual most important feature this game adds: You can FINALLY skip combat animations! This makes playing (or replaying) missions so indescribably faster. Finally gone are the days when missions take 2~3 hours as a baseline rule and they actually take like 30 to 90 minutes now! I cannot overstate how necessary a feature this is, and even if the rest of the game were only an okay adaptation of what Winkie Soft had spent the previous decade refining, it’d easily make this game the best one to date for me.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. It has some hiccups in its design writing, and it is definitely trending towards the easy side a bit too often for my liking, but Banpresto wanted to start things with a bang and hot damn did they succeed. With this game’s stellar cosmetic upgrade, much needed stat rebalancing, and well needed addition of the ability to skip animations, this is an awesome entry in the series and easily the best game in it up to that point. If you can read Japanese and like mecha stuff and SRPGs, this is not a game to sleep on.

----

23. Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden (PS1)

Enjoying SRW Alpha so much, I didn’t waste any time getting to its sequel, which is not just also made by the same team at Banpresto, but it also is the last SRW game to be released on the original PlayStation. It understood it to use largely the same engine and a lot of assets from Alpha 1, so I didn’t think it could be *that* different, but I was ready to be wowed either way. I played through it on my PS2 in Japanese, and it once again doesn’t have a play time counter, so I’m gonna once again give a conservative guess of at least 50 hours for how long it took me to beat.

This is a fairly immediate sequel to Alpha, and it deals with the calamity unleashed by defeating the bad guys in the true ending of that game, namely the giant dimensional destruction wave slowly approaching Earth from out around Neptune. With the timer ticking slowly down, the Earth’s agencies and governments desperately try to get Project Aegis ready in time to protect the Earth and its surrounding space from the wave, but attacks and intervention from the Titans (yup, them lads from Zeta Gundam) causes things to go wrong, and a huge explosion ends up launching our heroes countless thousands of years into the future to a world slowly clawing back from the calamity they clearly failed to prevent. They must now battle the new forces of evil while trying to find some way of getting home, if such a thing even exists.

Despite the “gaiden” in the title, this is a pretty direct bit of story between Alpha 1 and 2, and is for all intents and purposes the real SRW Alpha 2, but that’s just splitting hairs :b. They decided to cut down the included series a bit from Alpha, and that choice combined with the base premise means most of the story is spent focusing on adapting three of the four new franchises to the series: Combat Mecha Xabungle, Gundam X, and Turn A Gundam, and they do a bang-up job of it! This is the first game in the series I’ve played where I’ve actually seen one of the animes in the source material (Turn A), and they do a great job of adapting it and meshing it with the other stories while also giving many of our heroes from the past some great story beats as well. This game definitely does a lot to show that less absolutely can be more in a crossover title like this, and combined with the almost total lack of Banpresto original characters (this game even foregoes a player avatar character) and great as ever fun, silly crossover indulgences, this is easily my favorite writing I’ve seen in the series so far.

The gameplay is very similar to Alpha (so I won’t belabor repeating all of that game’s mechanics here), but the changes here are once again very significant in how they shake things up. First of all is how the Skill Point system has been altered. The optional objectives are still unfortunately secret, but they determine not just whether or not you get certain secret characters and what ending missions you get, but they also actually live up to their Japanese name of “Difficulty Points” and dynamically determine the difficulty of the game. If you have below a certain (secret) threshold, you’re on easy. If you’re above that, you’re on normal, and if you’re above the upper threshold, you’re on hard. The difficulties don’t change THAT much, sans how tough bosses are, adding a few more or less normal enemies, and the ending you get (and that hard ending, the true ending, that I got is DAMN hard), but it’s another really smart refinement in letting the player make things just as hard as they want them to be (outside of the objectives still being secret, though at least they’re a lot easier to guess this time around).

The other changes are a little more minor but still important in their own ways. The least important of those is the bazaar that the Xabungle crew’s blue stones can be used to trade in. You can get new mechs and equippable items and sell old (sellable) ones, and while stuff from there is usually pretty not worth it, there are sometimes very beefy mechs for sale, and often very well worth it equippable items as well. Sure, you can only get blue stones when you’re fighting Xabungle enemies, but it’s a neat addition to the game’s economy on top of how grabbable crates on the map containing goodies of money, blue stones, or equippable items (something last seen in Super Robot Wars 4 on the SNES) have been readded to the game.

The most important minor change has to do with how this is the first game to remove the ability to individually upgrade weapons on mechs. Now all weapons are upgraded at once, and they’re pretty minor upgrades given how much money you’re spending on them, and I’d say it borders on almost never being worth it compared to just upgrading armor or agility with that money. This may not seem to be an important thing on the surface, but it very drastically changes how you gotta play the game if you’re a series veteran more used to trying for the harder objectives in the older games.

On the more positive side, this makes option objectives like Skill Points almost always somehow possible, since you can really be only so strong by a certain point, the game is generally well balanced enough that they’re always possible if you plan accordingly. On the less positive side, this breaks the back of how you used to be able to make heavy hitters, and some units (my old favorite of the Dancouga in particular ;w;) being far worse than they used to be on account of how it is now effectively impossible to just dump a lot of cash into a big unit’s scariest moves and let them go to town on the enemy. Units are now more than ever just as powerful as they are, with the most important determinant of that strength being what level they are compared to their opponent. It’s far from a problem, even in a more distanced subjective sense, but it’s absolutely a big change for how you have to play the games and use your money from this point on in the series.

As far as presentation goes, this is more or less on par with Alpha in most ways. On a note I was very personally happy with, the karaoke mode has never looked better, and between having battle animations during them (something Alpha’s karaoke mode omits most likely due to how long it takes to load them, if I had to guess) and the timing on the lyrics is, no matter how weird it is to say, the best karaoke mode in the games to date XD. Aside from that, the game generally just has a fair bit more music, with different units from the same series often getting different tracks from that series to help break up the tunes you’re hearing a bit.

The maps are still isometric, but there is a lot less map reuse in this one (which might be down to overall less missions and route splits than Alpha 1 had), which is nice to see, and units actually turn the direction they’re moving when moved instead of just hovering around like a chess piece like they did in Alpha (though there is still nothing mechanically determined by what direction they face). Battle animations are still very pretty, and while a lot of Alpha’s rougher models have been given new designs entirely, the battle animations look again better than ever. This also welcomely comes hand-in-hand with significantly shorter loading times compared to Alpha (5 or 6 seconds compared to 10+ seconds), though the game’s framerate even in maps takes a very significant hit. I didn’t hit any of them personally, but the game’s worse performance does come with an increased risk of the game crashing because of too many enemies on a couple of maps.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. Alpha was pretty damn good, but I was blown away by just what an improvement Alpha Gaiden turned out to be. It’s a wonderful swansong for SRW on the PS1 and is, again, from the writing to the mechanics, easily the best game in the series up to that point. The best part about recommending this game is that it actually has an unofficial fan translation you can play it in! It’s not the best work I’ve ever seen (of the small amount I have seen), but it’s really great to be able to recommend a game so highly that the audience that reads these reviews actually has a good chance to play themselves for once x3
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

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...it's been a minute since I've finished game, recently though I finished two...Super Mario World and The Artful Escape. Finishing SMW has been a long time coming, I only had a Genesis during the 16-bit era so I was only able to play the game on and off on my cousin's SNES. It's always been on my list to finally own and finish, though I own the GBA port I got it done on the Wii U Virtual Console. SMW is a fun romp from start to finish and very different than blasting through the zones in Sonic, I really like that game encourages so much exploration. I do feel like I may have skipped some of the last parts of the game since I decide to use Star Road to bypass the last few levels and castles. Either way it was fun, maybe I'll do it again and try to find all of the exits next time. I started on the The Artful Escape b/c I really wanted something relaxing and break from racing games, shmups, and Metroidvanias...it's a really beautiful game and thoroughly enjoyed the soundtrack, plus the story was sort of interesting. I wasn't expecting it to have rhythm or simon style gameplay though. I found that part to be kind of clunky. However, at about 4-6 hours long it's a short and mostly sweet trip even if there isn't much replay value in it.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by ElkinFencer10 »

Games Beaten in 2021 - 41
* denotes a replay

January (20 Games Beaten)
1. Project MIKHAIL: A Muv-Luv War Story - Steam - January 1
2. Shin Megami Tensei V - Switch - January 9
3. Halo 2600 - Atari 2600 - January 10
4. Cruis'n Blast - Switch - January 13
5. Alan Wake - PlayStation 5 - January 15
6. Alan Wake's American Nightmare - Xbox 360 - January 15
7. Apsulov: End of Gods - Playstation 5 - January 16
8. Captain U - Wii U - January 16
9. Raji: An Ancient Epic - Xbox One - January 17
10. JankBrain - Switch - January 22
11. Would You Like to Run an Idol Café - Switch - January 22
12. Bury Me, My Love - Switch - January 22
13. A Normal Lost Phone - Switch - January 22
14. Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story - Switch - January 22
15. Cthulhu Saves Christmas - Switch - January 23
16. Armed 7 - Dreamcast - January 24
17. Satazius Next - Dreamcast - January 24
18. Wolflame - Dreamcast - January 25
19. Metal Slug 1st Mission - Neo Geo Pocket - January 25
20. Metal Slug 2nd Mission - Neo Geo Pocket - January 26


February (1 Games Beaten)
21. Pokemon Legends: Arceus - Switch - February 5


March (0 Games Beaten)
wow I suck ass lmao


April (3 Games Beaten)
22. The Last of Us Part II - PlayStation 4 - April 9
23. Metro 2033 Redux - PlayStation 4 - April 14
24. Sakura Angels - Switch - April 26


May (3 Games Beaten)
25. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures - Gamecube - May 8
26. Metro Last Light Redux - PlayStation 4 - May 14
27. Metro Exodus - Series X - May 28


June (11 Games Beaten)
28. Cyberpunk 2077 - Series X - June 11
29. Sniper Elite 5 - Series X - June 12
30. The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker - PlayStation 4 - June 15
31. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge - Xbox One - June 16
32. 007 Legends - Wii U - June 17
33. TimeSplitters 2 - Xbox - June 18
34. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect - Xbox - June 18
35. I Saw Black Clouds - PlayStation 4 - June 19
36. Call of Duty: Black Ops - Declassified - PlayStation Vita - June 20
37. The House of the Dead Remake - Switch - June 24
38. Halo Wars Definitive Edition - Xbox One - June 29*


July (3 Games Beaten)
39. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes - Switch - July 5
40. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - Xbox 360 - July 8*
41. Halo 2 Anniversary - Xbox One - July 9*


41. Halo 2 Anniversary - Xbox One - July 9*

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Halo 2 was the much-anticipated sequel to Bungie's 2001 near-masterpiece, Halo: Combat Evolved. Releasing in 2004, three years after the first Halo game, it follows the exploits of Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 and the United Nations Space Command's two-decade war against the theocratic Covenant following the events of the first game and the clash on the Alpha Halo ring world. Like the Xbox 360 got in 2011, 2014 saw the release of a remastered version of Halo 2 for the Xbox One bundled in with the Master Chief Collection. It's this remaster that I played for this review.

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Halo 2 takes place about a month after the previous game. Master Chief and - somehow (probably cause he's a bad ass) - Sergeant Johnson have returned to Earth to be decorated for their valorous actions in battle against the Covenant and the Flood on the Halo. During the ceremony, the unexpected and unthinkable happens - a Covenant fleet appears from slipspace and attacks Earth. As the UNSC struggles to repel the attack on Earth, Master Chief is given a new mission - kidnap the Prophet of Regret, one of the three hierarchs ruling the Covenant.

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As impressive as the Xbox 360 remaster of the original Halo game was, the Xbox One remaster of Halo 2 is even more incredible an upgrade. As with the Halo CE remaster, pressing the cheese slice button will switch between the original assets and the new anniversary assets. Unlike the Halo CE, however, you can always do this asset swap with the cut scenes; in the Halo CE remaster, all cut scenes used the new assets. Admittedly, switching the asset sets in the cut scenes isn't exactly smooth as the cut scenes have been remade and thus aren't totally in sync with one another, but still, you can get a decent comparison. The character models for Sgt. Johnson and Cmdr. Miranda Keyes especially show off just how incredible the remaster's visual upgrade is.

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Almost as impressive as the visual upgrade the remaster got is the auditory upgrade. When switching to the original assets, it also switches to the original sounds, and that shows just how much more impressive the audio technology in the Xbox One is than the original Xbox - an aspect of the multimedia experience that a lot of people (myself included) often overlook. Sound effect balancing is different and sounds more natural in the remaster, and music especially feels significantly deeper and higher quality. Being able to compare the sound like that side-by-side drives home not just how important sound design is to a game's experience but also just how much care 343 put into making this remaster as amazing as it could be while staying totally faithful to the original game.

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Halo 2 is, without a doubt, my favorite game in the series until Infinite (and it's pretty much tied with Infinite), and the 10th anniversary remaster takes what was already a masterpiece and makes it ten times better. This is peak sci-fi shooter action, and it both starts and ends high octane. It also ends on a massive cliffhanger that just begs the player to dive straight into Halo 3. All in all, I can't think of much I'd improve. You've got two protagonists - a Sangheli known as the Arbiter as well as the Master Chief - and some of the transitions between sections you play as the Arbiter and the sections you play as Master Chief aren't as smooth as they could be and can be a little confusing, but other than that, I really can't complain about much. This is an absolute must-play for any Xbox player.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by ElkinFencer10 »

Games Beaten in 2021 - 42
* denotes a replay

January (20 Games Beaten)
1. Project MIKHAIL: A Muv-Luv War Story - Steam - January 1
2. Shin Megami Tensei V - Switch - January 9
3. Halo 2600 - Atari 2600 - January 10
4. Cruis'n Blast - Switch - January 13
5. Alan Wake - PlayStation 5 - January 15
6. Alan Wake's American Nightmare - Xbox 360 - January 15
7. Apsulov: End of Gods - Playstation 5 - January 16
8. Captain U - Wii U - January 16
9. Raji: An Ancient Epic - Xbox One - January 17
10. JankBrain - Switch - January 22
11. Would You Like to Run an Idol Café - Switch - January 22
12. Bury Me, My Love - Switch - January 22
13. A Normal Lost Phone - Switch - January 22
14. Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story - Switch - January 22
15. Cthulhu Saves Christmas - Switch - January 23
16. Armed 7 - Dreamcast - January 24
17. Satazius Next - Dreamcast - January 24
18. Wolflame - Dreamcast - January 25
19. Metal Slug 1st Mission - Neo Geo Pocket - January 25
20. Metal Slug 2nd Mission - Neo Geo Pocket - January 26


February (1 Games Beaten)
21. Pokemon Legends: Arceus - Switch - February 5


March (0 Games Beaten)
wow I suck ass lmao


April (3 Games Beaten)
22. The Last of Us Part II - PlayStation 4 - April 9
23. Metro 2033 Redux - PlayStation 4 - April 14
24. Sakura Angels - Switch - April 26


May (3 Games Beaten)
25. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures - Gamecube - May 8
26. Metro Last Light Redux - PlayStation 4 - May 14
27. Metro Exodus - Series X - May 28


June (11 Games Beaten)
28. Cyberpunk 2077 - Series X - June 11
29. Sniper Elite 5 - Series X - June 12
30. The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker - PlayStation 4 - June 15
31. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge - Xbox One - June 16
32. 007 Legends - Wii U - June 17
33. TimeSplitters 2 - Xbox - June 18
34. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect - Xbox - June 18
35. I Saw Black Clouds - PlayStation 4 - June 19
36. Call of Duty: Black Ops - Declassified - PlayStation Vita - June 20
37. The House of the Dead Remake - Switch - June 24
38. Halo Wars Definitive Edition - Xbox One - June 29*


July (4 Games Beaten)
39. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes - Switch - July 5
40. Halo Reach - Xbox 360 - July 6*
41. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - Xbox 360 - July 8*
42. Halo 2 Anniversary - Xbox One - July 9*


42. Halo Reach - Xbox 360 - July 6*

I forgot to post this one before Halo: CE, so I'm backdating a bit.

Image

Halo: Reach is the second prequel in the series with its release the year after Halo Wars. This, however, is a prequel much closer to the 2001 original that all Halo fans know and love. Whereas Halo Wars took place 21 years before the events of Combat Evolve, Reach takes place immediately before. Immediate as in the final cut scene of Halo: Reach is literally the start of the first cut scene in Halo: Combat Evolved. It also told a story that a lot of Halo fans wanted to know - how did the human colony on planet Reach fall to the Covenant?

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If you're read the Halo novels, then you may know what happened to Reach even before playing this game. Or at least, you used to. Halo: Fall of Reach is a novel that told the story of the destruction of humanity's colony on planet Reach. Published in 2001, nine years before the release of Halo: Reach, this was an established story....until the game retconned the whole thing. The major parts of the story remain the same - the Covenant launch an unexpected attack on Reach and destroy the planet, leaving Master Chief John-117 as the sole surviving member of the Spartan-II super soldier program as he and the crew of the UNSC Pillar of Autumn narrowly escape the carnage of Reach. The specifics, especially where Master Chief is involved, is what change. I won't spoil that in case you haven't played Reach but may want to, but what you get is the story of six other Spartans as they discover the Covenant incursion and fight tooth and nail to try to save the capital world of the UNSC inner colonies.

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Halo Reach, visually, is a little bit better than Halo 3 but largely on par. That said, the system you play on does make a difference; the original Xbox 360 release runs at 720p at 30 frames per second, but if you play on Xbox One through the Master Chief Collection, that gets bumped to 1080p at 60 frames per second. It's not a full remaster like the first two games got with their anniversary remasters, but it's definitely a nice bit of polish. As with all of the older Halo games, the controls are quite different from what you'd expect from an FPS game. Left trigger throws grenades, right bumper reloads, and clicking the left stick zooms in for aiming, for example. Halo Infinite may have adopted pretty standard FPS controls, but don't expect that going into Reach. Still, though, once you get a feel for the controls, they feel perfectly functional.

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Halo: Reach is an exceptional game, but I do have a couple of gripes with it. From a lore perspective, I can't help but be a bit bugged by the fact that we already had a book explaining what happened to Reach that was outright retconned. In the book, Master Chief was deployed on a mission in orbit while most of the Spartans were fighting on the surface; this game was a perfect opportunity to tell the story of those Spartans on Reach while still keeping the book canon. The characters also weren't fleshed out as well as they could have been; Jorge and Emile are somewhat memorable, but for the most part, the Spartans of Noble Team just didn't impact me the way that Cortana, Captain Keyes, or Sergeant Johnson did. Still, though, those are subjective complaints, and there are lots of Halo fans who disagree with me on those points. The story overall is fantastic as is the gameplay. If you're a fan of Halo, Reach should be considered just as integral a part of the series' story as the original trilogy.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

Post by MrPopo »

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

1. Underworld Ascendant - PC
2. Castlevania: Harmony of Despair - PS3
3. Ni no Kuni - PS3
4. Operencia: The Stolen Sun - PC
5. RPM Racing - PC
6. Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem - PC
7. Pokemon Legends: Arceus - Switch
8. Ni no Kuni II - PS4
9. Everspace - PC
10. PowerSlave Exhumed - PC
11. Horizon Forbidden West - PS5
12. Elden Ring - PS5
13. Shadow Warrior 3 - PC
14. Ghostrunner: Project_Hel - PC
15. Triangle Strategy - Switch
16. Tiny Tina's Wonderlands - PC
17. Nightmare Reaper - PC
18. Kur - PC
19. Gundam Versus - PS4
20. BIOTA - PC
21. Chantelise - PC
22. Xenoblade Chronicles - Wii
23. Forgive Me Father - PC
24. Xenoblade Chronicles X - Wii U
25. Steel Assault - Switch
26. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge - Switch
27. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - Switch
28. Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country - Switch
29. Kirby and the Forgotten Land - Switch
30. Toejam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron - Genesis
31. Postal Brain Damaged - PC
32. Valkyrie Profile Lenneth - PSP
33. Super Cyborg - Switch
34. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2 - Switch
35. Stray - PC
36. Live A Live - Switch

Live A Live is the remake of an SNES RPG from Square that never left Japan. It was notable for being a series of small stories, rather than one sweeping tale (though there are connections). It was also notable for these small stories each playing a bit different from each other, giving a lot of variety in the experience. The remake is mostly a graphical update; it's using Octopath Traveller's engine, so you have nice 2D sprites on top of chunky 3D backgrounds, giving an interesting visual and allowing them to maintain the feel of the original. Where the original was FF4 style small sprites outside of battle, big sprites in battle, the remake uprezzes the battle sprites and then uses them for everything else.

You start off by picking a protagonist, then after finishing their story you pick another protagonist. Once you've done all seven an eighth is unlocked, and after that the end game is available, which ends up being far longer than any of the preceding chapters. The eighth chapter and the end game is where everything comes together, and the independent stories are linked. It's appropriate that the remake used Octopath's engine, because it had a similar sort of setup.

Each of the stories is an homage to some well understood genre. You've got a cave boy in a ten million BC style world, a ninja who hits every single ninja trope, the story of a kung fu master finding a disciple, a Magnificent Seven homage, a straight Street Fighter ripoff (apropos, given the same composer did that game and this one), a very anime mash up of Mazinger, Akira, and Evangelion, and finally Square's take on Alien. And these different story types lead to different gameplay. The ninja scenario recognizes if you go through fully stealth (no killing any humans), fully murder (kill all humans), or a mix of the two. The robot scenario doesn't involve any fighting at all, except for the final boss. And the cowboy scenario lets you control how many enemies you fight based on how well you rally the townsfolk. The one thing they all have in common is the combat system.

Now, combat in Live A Live is actually quite innovative, especially for the time. At its base it's a grid-based and turn based system, not unlike we would see in Final Fantasy Tactics later. You have a bar that fills up as time goes on, and when it fills up you can take actions. In addition to using attack moves, you can move on the grid. However, each time you move on the grid it advances time, and if you keep moving enemies will get to take a turn. Some actions occur instantly, while others require you to go through a casting period. You have to be careful here, as all attacks are ground targeted and you can be interrupted. If an enemy moves out of the effect of your charge move your action is wasted. Each character has a wide variety of actions with various elements and effects and most importantly varying areas of effect. Some moves only hit in the cardinal directions, while others are only in the diagonals. Some hit only a single square, others hit wide areas. And some moves will leave damaging tiles on the ground (and with the right gear you can absorb that damage rather than take it, but be careful, enemies can too). Positioning becomes very important in order to land moves, block enemy moves (many ranged attacks hit the first thing in a line), and avoid nasty AOEs.

Live A Live is a very solid title, but I'm not surprised it never made it over back in the 90s. It was just a little too out there for the size of the US RPG market at the time, and it likely would have flopped. But now we can all enjoy the updated version together. If you're a fan of 90s RPGs you owe it to yourself to give this one a shot.
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