Games Beaten 2023

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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by ElkinFencer10 »

Games Beaten in 2023 - 29
* denotes a replay

January (5 Games Beaten)
1. Banner of the Maid - Switch - January 2
2. Silver Falls: 3 Down Stars - 3DS - January 8
3. Silver Falls: Episode Prelude - Switch - January 8
4. The Pathless - PlayStation 5 - January 12
5. Modern Combat: Blackout - Switch - January 14


February (7 Games Beaten)
6. Fire Emblem: Engage - Switch - February 2
7. Dragon Quest Builders 2 - PlayStation 4 - February 15
8. Silver Falls: Undertakers - Wii U - February 16
9. Silver Falls: White Inside Its Umbra - Wii U - February 18
10. Silver Falls: Guardians and Metal Exterminators - 3DS - February 22
11. Silver Falls: Frontier Fighters Mini - Browser - February 22
12. Silver Falls: Ghoul Busters - Switch - February 24


March (7 Games Beaten)
13. Red Colony - Switch - March 5
14. Hentai World - Switch - March 5
15. Silver Falls Gaiden: Deathly Delusion Destroyers - 3DS - March 9
16. Silver Falls: Galaxy Bound Curse - Game Boy Color - March 12
17. Vs. Super Mario Bros - Switch - March 13
18. Dead Space - PlayStation 5 - March 17
19. Neptunia X Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars - Switch - March 24


April (3 Games Beaten)
20. Super Mario Bros - NES - April 10*
21. Super Mario Bros 3 - NES - April 11*
22. Back 4 Blood - Series X - April 17


May (0 Games Beaten)
I suck :(


June (6 Games Beaten)
23. Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom - Switch - June 10
24. Resident Evil 4 - PlayStation 5 - June 11
25. Hentai Girls - Switch - June 11
26. Halo Infinite - Series X - June 12
27. Star Trek: Resurgence - Series X - June 14
28. Redfall - Series X - June 18


July (1 Games Beaten)
29. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare [2019] - Xbox One - July 15


29. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare [2019] - Xbox One - July 15

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I initially skipped Modern Warfare (which I typically call Moderner Warfare because I despise the trend of giving a reboot the exact same title as the original game) when it first came out because I mistakenly though that it was like Black Ops 4 and had no campaign. Once I realized that I was mistaken, I kept telling myself I'd pick it up, but I just...never got around to it. I finally rectified that, and I managed to snag a used copy complete for $10 online. Sounds like a win to me. How does it compare to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, though? Better in every way, in my opinion.

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This game fixes every gripe I had with the original Modern Warfare. Keep in mind that this is a reboot, not a remake, so it's a completely different story in a different universe; don't let the reused character names and designs confuse you. The Captain Price here is not the Captain Price from the original Modern Warfare trilogy. My biggest grip with Call of Duty 4 was that you were fighting in....you never knew where. It was the Middle East, but the game adamantly refused to tell you where in the Middle East. What part of the Middle East? Arabia? The Levant? Closer to India? Asia Minor? What's the name of the country? Who knows? Bad writing. Modern Warfare 2019 does not do that. They tell you exactly where and whom you're fighting; you're in the fictional country of Urzikstan fighting against both occupying Russian forces as well as terrorists from the group Al-Qatala.

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The other thing this game does infinitely better is character development. Yeah, most people remember Captain Price and Soap from Call of Duty 4, but that's because they were central to the plot, not because they were actually particularly memorable characters. They were fine, but they were generic. In this game, the characters actually have memorable personalities. Captain Price is fantastic, Alex is awesome, and Farah is probably my favorite character in the entire series. What the original game excelled in was the big-picture story and the action, and this game absolutely lives up to the standard CoD 4 set in that regard.

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played on Series X using Xbox One backwards compatibility, so I can't speak to performance on base Xbox One or on Xbox One X, but the game ran at a pretty solid 60 fps and looked absolutely fantastic during my playthrough. The characters looked amazing, the environments were detailed and rich, and the explosions would have made Michael Bay proud. As is standard for more recent Call of Duty games, motion capture and voice acting were stellar from start to finish. It's a real shame that I skipped this game initially because it really is a fantastic single-player experience.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare [2019] is a truly fantastic game. I have a very love-hate relationship with Call of Duty as a series, but that's honestly more because of how toxic the community is than the games themselves (except for Warzone and Black Ops 4; I genuinely dislike those at a foundational level). I'm a campaign player, so that's what I primarily judge a game on, and on that basis, Modern Warfare is exceptional. Call of Duty almost always has stellar multiplayer, so that was never an issue, but couple that with a fantastic single-player campaign, and you've got a seriously good modern war shooter here. If I could change anything, it would only be to make the game a bit longer as it only took me about six hours to play through.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by ElkinFencer10 »

Games Beaten in 2023 - 30
* denotes a replay

January (5 Games Beaten)
1. Banner of the Maid - Switch - January 2
2. Silver Falls: 3 Down Stars - 3DS - January 8
3. Silver Falls: Episode Prelude - Switch - January 8
4. The Pathless - PlayStation 5 - January 12
5. Modern Combat: Blackout - Switch - January 14


February (7 Games Beaten)
6. Fire Emblem: Engage - Switch - February 2
7. Dragon Quest Builders 2 - PlayStation 4 - February 15
8. Silver Falls: Undertakers - Wii U - February 16
9. Silver Falls: White Inside Its Umbra - Wii U - February 18
10. Silver Falls: Guardians and Metal Exterminators - 3DS - February 22
11. Silver Falls: Frontier Fighters Mini - Browser - February 22
12. Silver Falls: Ghoul Busters - Switch - February 24


March (7 Games Beaten)
13. Red Colony - Switch - March 5
14. Hentai World - Switch - March 5
15. Silver Falls Gaiden: Deathly Delusion Destroyers - 3DS - March 9
16. Silver Falls: Galaxy Bound Curse - Game Boy Color - March 12
17. Vs. Super Mario Bros - Switch - March 13
18. Dead Space - PlayStation 5 - March 17
19. Neptunia X Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars - Switch - March 24


April (3 Games Beaten)
20. Super Mario Bros - NES - April 10*
21. Super Mario Bros 3 - NES - April 11*
22. Back 4 Blood - Series X - April 17


May (0 Games Beaten)
I suck :(


June (6 Games Beaten)
23. Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom - Switch - June 10
24. Resident Evil 4 - PlayStation 5 - June 11
25. Hentai Girls - Switch - June 11
26. Halo Infinite - Series X - June 12
27. Star Trek: Resurgence - Series X - June 14
28. Redfall - Series X - June 18


July (2 Games Beaten)
29. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare [2019] - Xbox One - July 15
30. Neptunia: Sisters vs Sisters - PlayStation 5 - July 17


30. Neptunia: Sisters vs Sisters - PlayStation 5 - July 17

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It is no secret to anyone who's read any of my reviews here that I'm a huge fan of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series. There's a reason my rating system uses "Neps." While the games themselves are usually solidly in the "average" tier, it's the characters and premise of personified game consoles that keeps me coming back for more game after game after game, and Neptunia: Sisters vs Sisters did not disappoint. It didn't surpass my expectations, but it also didn't fail to meet them.

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Idea Factory seems to have given the series a soft reboot of sorts for the 9th gen Playstation console. They remastered the remake of the first game with Neptunia ReVerse, and while this is not a remaster of the remake of the second game, it does take a cue from the second game by having the CPU Candidates, the little sisters of the main characters, taking the role of the main characters this time with Nepgear being the protagonist instead of Neptune. The story, however, is all new, and not only that, but this is, according to Gematsu, the first time that the CPU Candidates' models have been remade from scratch since the characters were first introduced. I'll be honest, I'm a big fan of Idea Factory, but that's more effort than I usually expect to see from them, especially from this series, so I was pleasantly surprised by that.

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The premise of the game is that the CPUs of the four nations of Gamindustri - Planeptune, Lastation, Leanbox, and Lowee - go to help handle some crisis on the PC Continent, but that continent ends up being swallowed up in some kind of dimensional vortex. Unfortunately, Neptune disappears into the vortex, too, leaving Nepgear as Planeptune's sole goddess. Not only that, but something called the Trendi Phenomenon is breaking out across Gamindustri, causing massive outbreaks of monsters which has pushed Leanbox, Lastation, and Lowee to the brink and effectively destroyed Planeptune as a nation entirely. Now it's up to Nepgear along with Lastation's CPU Candidate, Uni, and Lowee's twin CPU candidates, Rom and Ram, to unravel the mystery and save Gamindustri.

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Visually, the game looks really good for the series, and some of the enemy models are gorgeous, but it definitely doesn't even come close to pushing the PS5. It looks like a nice PS4 game. I haven't played it compare, but I bet if you put the PS4 version and the PS5 side by side, no one other than Digital Foundry would be able to tell the difference, and I'm not 100% sure even they would be able to notice. Still, though, Neptunia is a not a hardware-pushing or high-budget series, so for the price of the game ($50 MSRP if I remember correctly) and the precedent of the series, it's a pretty good looking game, and it runs at a pretty smooth and stable frame rate. Honestly, my only real complaint with the game is the side quests. Some of them are pretty reasonable, but others are insanely frustrating. Gather 15 of Item A. Okay, cool, that's fine, except that Item A only appears in crates. Crates only respawn when you leave and re-enter a dungeon, and there are only like 10 in each dungeon. You also only have a 3% chance of obtaining Item A when you break a crate in that dungeon. Or Slay 10 Monster As. Okay, well Monster A only appears in this part of this dungeon, and it only has a 10% chance to spawn. You have to kill everything in that part of the dungeon and then just wait for things to respawn (takes probably five minutes of waiting) and hope that one spawns. And then do that 10 times. Not hard, per se, but needlessly annoying.

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Neptunia: Sisters vs Sisters is not going to win any Game of the Year awards, it won't be remembered as a groundbreaking RPG, and it won't be lauded for its stunning visuals or riveting storytelling. That said, it's fun time. Annoying side quests aside - and I only found around a quarter to be super annoying - it's a cute, fun little game, and it's longer than I expected with my playthrough clocking in around 40 hours. It'll probably get a price cut fairly quickly or be available cheaper used, so if you're into waifu fan service, give it a go.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by ElkinFencer10 »

Games Beaten in 2023 - 31
* denotes a replay

January (5 Games Beaten)
1. Banner of the Maid - Switch - January 2
2. Silver Falls: 3 Down Stars - 3DS - January 8
3. Silver Falls: Episode Prelude - Switch - January 8
4. The Pathless - PlayStation 5 - January 12
5. Modern Combat: Blackout - Switch - January 14


February (7 Games Beaten)
6. Fire Emblem: Engage - Switch - February 2
7. Dragon Quest Builders 2 - PlayStation 4 - February 15
8. Silver Falls: Undertakers - Wii U - February 16
9. Silver Falls: White Inside Its Umbra - Wii U - February 18
10. Silver Falls: Guardians and Metal Exterminators - 3DS - February 22
11. Silver Falls: Frontier Fighters Mini - Browser - February 22
12. Silver Falls: Ghoul Busters - Switch - February 24


March (7 Games Beaten)
13. Red Colony - Switch - March 5
14. Hentai World - Switch - March 5
15. Silver Falls Gaiden: Deathly Delusion Destroyers - 3DS - March 9
16. Silver Falls: Galaxy Bound Curse - Game Boy Color - March 12
17. Vs. Super Mario Bros - Switch - March 13
18. Dead Space - PlayStation 5 - March 17
19. Neptunia X Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars - Switch - March 24


April (3 Games Beaten)
20. Super Mario Bros - NES - April 10*
21. Super Mario Bros 3 - NES - April 11*
22. Back 4 Blood - Series X - April 17


May (0 Games Beaten)
I suck :(


June (6 Games Beaten)
23. Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom - Switch - June 10
24. Resident Evil 4 - PlayStation 5 - June 11
25. Hentai Girls - Switch - June 11
26. Halo Infinite - Series X - June 12
27. Star Trek: Resurgence - Series X - June 14
28. Redfall - Series X - June 18


July (3 Games Beaten)
29. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare [2019] - Xbox One - July 15
30. Neptunia: Sisters vs Sisters - PlayStation 5 - July 17
31. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered - PlayStation 4 - July 18


31. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered - PlayStation 4 - July 18

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a nice step up in narrative quality from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in my opinion. It's not perfect - I feel like there are a few loose ends in the story that didn't get adequately addressed - but instead of the horribly written "unnamed desert country somewhere in the Middle East," you're fighting predominantly in named locations this time, primarily the United States and Russia. It still falls prey to "late 2000s/early 2010s bad Call of Duty writing," but it's a solid move in the right direction. A note that if you're playing the remastered version on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One like I did, it's just the campaign, no multiplayer. If you're playing the original release on PS3 or 360 (or PC), though, the multiplayer is still running, still being played, and still fun.

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The story takes place after the events of Modern Warfare, and despite your efforts in the previous game, the ultranationalist faction still manages to take control of Russia. Control swaps between a few different characters over the course of the campaign, but you're mainly fighting on two fronts - to contain the ultranationalist Russians' plans, and to defend the United States after being invaded by Russia following a false flag terrorist attack. The stages where you play as an American soldier trying to fight back the Russian invasion are definitely the high point of the game for me, but that's probably because I love that sort of "fight back the invading horde" gameplay. As a side note, with a year and a half of war in Ukraine as context, I now find the notion that Russia could not only invade the United States but seriously push our defenses to the limit and occupy our capital to be downright laughable and absolutely hilarious; they couldn't even do that in a significantly weaker country with which they share a land border. We need a new boogeyman. One a bit less woefully incompetent.

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I'm going to feel like a heretic when I say this, but Nintendo needs to be taking notes; this is how you do a remaster. This game mostly looks like it was made for the PS4, not a polished PS3 game, and it's only $20; Twilight Princess HD looked like a hastily upscaled Wii game with minimal actual remastering and sold for $50 digitally at launch. I adore Nintendo, but their remasters leave a lot to leave desired; I generally dislike Activision, but damn if they don't know how to remaster a game. Modern Warfare 2 Remastered really does look fantastic, and it plays even smoother than before. I know a lot of people play Call of Duty for the multiplayer, but they've got some seriously great campaign experiences. It's a bit rough from a writing standpoint, but for the gameplay experience, this is a pretty damn good time for $20. For those a bit more easily offended, you do get the option of skipping the infamous "No Russian" level.

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While I've always been a bit prejudiced against Modern Warfare 2 as the only 7th gen Call of Duty game that never came to Wii (or, in the case of Black Ops 2, Wii U), but I can't deny that it's a fun game and a step up from Modern Warfare with regards to the writing. The characters still feel pretty bland in my opinion, but the larger narrative definitely has that action movie feeling of gravitas that makes for a fantastic war game. It's included with PlayStation+ and will probably come to Game Pass as soon as Microsoft's acquisition of Activision is finalized, so give it a go when you can.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by ElkinFencer10 »

Games Beaten in 2023 - 32
* denotes a replay

January (5 Games Beaten)
1. Banner of the Maid - Switch - January 2
2. Silver Falls: 3 Down Stars - 3DS - January 8
3. Silver Falls: Episode Prelude - Switch - January 8
4. The Pathless - PlayStation 5 - January 12
5. Modern Combat: Blackout - Switch - January 14


February (7 Games Beaten)
6. Fire Emblem: Engage - Switch - February 2
7. Dragon Quest Builders 2 - PlayStation 4 - February 15
8. Silver Falls: Undertakers - Wii U - February 16
9. Silver Falls: White Inside Its Umbra - Wii U - February 18
10. Silver Falls: Guardians and Metal Exterminators - 3DS - February 22
11. Silver Falls: Frontier Fighters Mini - Browser - February 22
12. Silver Falls: Ghoul Busters - Switch - February 24


March (7 Games Beaten)
13. Red Colony - Switch - March 5
14. Hentai World - Switch - March 5
15. Silver Falls Gaiden: Deathly Delusion Destroyers - 3DS - March 9
16. Silver Falls: Galaxy Bound Curse - Game Boy Color - March 12
17. Vs. Super Mario Bros - Switch - March 13
18. Dead Space - PlayStation 5 - March 17
19. Neptunia X Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars - Switch - March 24


April (3 Games Beaten)
20. Super Mario Bros - NES - April 10*
21. Super Mario Bros 3 - NES - April 11*
22. Back 4 Blood - Series X - April 17


May (0 Games Beaten)
I suck :(


June (6 Games Beaten)
23. Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom - Switch - June 10
24. Resident Evil 4 - PlayStation 5 - June 11
25. Hentai Girls - Switch - June 11
26. Halo Infinite - Series X - June 12
27. Star Trek: Resurgence - Series X - June 14
28. Redfall - Series X - June 18


July (4 Games Beaten)
29. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare [2019] - Xbox One - July 15
30. Neptunia: Sisters vs Sisters - PlayStation 5 - July 17
31. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered - PlayStation 4 - July 18
32. My Little Pony: A Maretime Bay Adventure - PlayStation 5 - July 18


32. My Little Pony: A Maretime Bay Adventure - PlayStation 5 - July 18

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As a brony since the first season of Friendship is Magic, I still mourn the end of gen 4, but I gotta admit, gen 5 ain't bad. This game had been on my radar for a while, but I never got around to actually ordering it. When I saw it was coming to PlayStation+. I was stoked. Most of my friends thought I was kidding when I said that I was going to play it as soon as it got added to the service. I have no idea why. This is literally the most in-character thing in the world for me to do.

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You play as Sunny Starscout, gen 5 protagonist and all around best pony (Sunny/Izzy OTP), as you go around Maretime Bay helping your friends to set up for Maretime Bay Day and uncover a plot by the town's most virulently racist and Earth pony nationalist pony. I'm not kidding, that's seriously part of the game; if you've ever seen the My Little Pony: A New Generation movie, the Earth ponies are seriously just Trump supporters with hooves. As you'd expect from Outright Games, it's short, shallow, and simple, but it's cute, and for fans of the IP, and it's a pleasant little romp. It's not like there's a huge time commitment; it took me less than two hours to 100% the game and get the platinum trophy. It's absolutely a low-budget game, though, and it looks the part; the character models are nice enough, but it looks like a PS3 game.

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As you go through the game, you'll have little puzzles to solve some of which involve using your Earth pony magic and some of which are just Baby's First Logic Task. There are a handful of minigames spread throughout which would be more fun if they were at all challenging, but it's a kids' game, so it makes sense. There are just shy of 2000 magic bits for your to collect in the game which unlock cosmetic items for Sunny to wear. About halfway through the game, you unlock her signature roller blades and discover that ponies in roller blades is absolutely peak aesthetic.

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My Little Pony: A Maretime Bay Adventure is a stunningly short and easy game, and I absolutely do not recommend it to anyone who doesn't have small children or isn't otherwise a fan of My Little Pony. If you DO have little kids or like My Little Pony, however, give it a shot. Even brand new, it's only $20 these days, it's on ever platform, and as I mentioned, it's part of the PlayStation+ catalogue for the moment, so it's readily accessible. Go in with reasonable expectations, though; this is a little kids' game through and through, but what it sets out to do, it does fairly well.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by SpaceBooger »

Lufia and the Fortress of Doom (SNES) 1/21/23
Lunar 2: Eternal Blue (SEGA CD) 4/1/23
Crystalis (NES) 4/21/23
Life on Mars (GEN) 4/30/23
Illusion of Gaia (SNES) 5/31/23
Wonderboy in Monster World (Genesis) 6/15/23
Final Fantasy Legend (GB) 7/2/23
Metroid Prime (Wii) 7/21/23

Metroid Prime (Wii via the Trilogy) - see the summer challenge post for my take on the game.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

Partridge Senpai's 2023 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
* indicates a repeat

1. Super Hero Operations (PS1)
2. Lil' Gator Game (PC)
3. Disco Elysium: The Final Cut (PC)
4. Dragon Quest VII (PS1)
5. Dragon Quest III (SFC)
6. Dragon Quest VIII (PS2)
7. Dragon Quest Monsters (GBC)
8. Mario Party 6 (GC)
9. Last Bible 3 (SFC)
10. Mario Party 4 (GC)
11. Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch)
12. Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (SFC)
13. Chrono Trigger (SFC) *
14. BoxBoy + BoxGirl! (Switch)
15. The Murder of Sonic The Hedgehog (PC)
16. SaGa (GB)
17. Wario Land 3 (GBC) *
18. Sutte Hakkun (SFC)
19. Kane & Lynch 2 (PC)
20. Burger Time Deluxe (GB)
21. Super Mario Advance 4: World e+ (GBA)
22. Bomberman GB 2 (GB)
23. Mario Party 5 (GC)
24. Klonoa: door to phantomile (PS1)
25. Mario Party 7 (GC)
26. Mario Party (N64) *
27. Crash Bash (PS1)
28. Balan Wonderworld (PS4)
29. From TV Animation One Piece Tobidase Kaizokudan! (PS1)
30. One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 (Vita)
31. Atelier Iris: Grand Phantasm (PS2)
32. Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis (PS2)

33. Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy (PS2)

Continuing my playthrough of PS2 Atelier series games, I have now at last completed Mana Khemia 2 (the 10th mainline Atelier game). With this game completed, that finally bridges the gap between the older and newer ones I've played, so that's Ateliers 1~13 all finished~ :D. After enjoying Mana Khemia 1 so much, I had very high hopes for the sequel. Those hopes ended up being misplaced in many ways, but in many ways my expectations were met regardless, thankfully. The game has two routes, and doing both of them gets you a little extra final dungeon & story bits. I played through the boy protagonist's route and then the girl protagonist's, the first one taking me 51 hours, and the latter taking me 46. All in all, it took me 102 hours to finish both routes and the extra stuff at the end for the big extra ending, and I did it in Japanese on real hardware.

The titular "fall of alchemy" is in fact literal, as a decline in the power of Mana (the elemental spirits of this game, not like magic points) during the time since the end of the last game has caused the magic that allowed the academy of Al-Revis to float has failed, causing it to fall to the ground. They've since restructured significantly, now instituting a one-year degree system instead of a three-year one as well as opening up their course options to those significantly beyond just alchemy. Roze (the boytagonist) as well as Ulrika (the girltagonist) are both enrolled there, but they don't really get along. In fact, much to my surprise, their routes only actually ever intermingle if you complete both routes completely and go through to the extra mode at the end, so each protagonist has an almost entirely separate story detailing the events of their year at the academy.

The writing in those routes, extra mode or no, leaves a LOT to be desired, however. Given the amount of the main scenario writer's work that I've played outside of this game, this is a remarkably poor showing for him, and I can only really assume that the production timeline of this game must've been absolute hell for it to end up in this state. Roze's route is overall alright. This game does a far poorer job than the first in tying the side content to the main story content, and that combined with generally quite filler-y feeling character quests gives the game quite bad pacing overall. However, Roze's route still manages to stick the landing. The comedy therein has some *PROBLEMS* in where it draws its comedy from (though, surprisingly for '08, not homophobic ones. I was kinda blown away at how genuinely good and positive the gay humor is in this ^^;), but there are still a lot of good jokes and gags beyond that, and they stick their landings well enough most of the time. Roze's route is certainly disappointing and a bit too filler-y to really hold a candle to this scenario writer's other games for Gust, but it's ultimately pretty good.

Ulrika's, on the other hand, is fucking atrocious. Ulrika herself is easily one of the worst main characters I've ever seen in an RPG, and her completely illogical selfishness, stupidity, and impulsiveness makes her a very difficult character to like very much. Add on top of that that, unlike most of the side characters or even the other protagonist, she lacks a character arc of any kind (she ends the narrative exactly as she starts it), and you have a character who routinely ruins every scene she's in as a matter of course. I have my other hypotheses as to why her route is *so* inferior to the other one, but regardless of the why, her route is what it is and there's nothing changing that. If her route were at least similarly good to Roze's, I could recommend playing either or both, but as things stand, I can really only recommend Roze's route at all. This is the first game in a long, *long* time that I can remember genuinely making me outright angry with how it ended because the writing was so awful and despicable in its handling and messaging of certain things, and if that isn't damning enough of her route's writing, I don't know what is XD

The actual gameplay of Mana Khemia 2 is, thankfully, an all around enhancement on its predecessor in most ways. You still have an overall school/project system that works very much like the first game. You have big story events at the start and end of terms, and in the in between you have class projects to complete. The better you do on class projects, the better grades you'll get, and the sooner you get all the grades you need, the sooner you can stop doing projects and start getting free time. Once again, free time is used for character quests, and unlike the first game, you can actually do all of the character quests in one playthrough this time! Whereas Mana Khemia 1 restricts you to only one person's final character quest (do one person's last one and it locks you out of the others), this game lets you do all of them and then you pick whose ending you want by a dialogue choice near the end of the game. Mana Khemia 1 really got something good down with how it handled the overall gameplay loop, and the sequel here really takes a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach that I really like.

The alchemy and other assorted mechanics also work more or less exactly as they did in the last game. The main exception is that, where in Mana Khemia 1, you could pick the sub-skills you wanted put onto weapons and armor, here you no longer do that. Higher grade weapons and armor simply have better skills/passives, and each item has its own respective skills/passives for better or higher qualities. The other slight change is that the character you have help you make something is now no longer optional. Now you *have* to have an assistant when you make things, and depending on whom you pick, you'll get different passives applied to the alchemy mini-game you're playing. It's all around a much better system than the first game, and I really appreciate it.

It's not all steps forward though, sadly. The system that the last game had of "make X item with Y character to unlock the recipe for Z item" has been broken into just a system where it tells you a particular item needs to be made with *someone* helping you to unlock that new recipe. It makes for a lot of annoying save/loading trial and error, and it feels like a very pointless bit of obfuscation given that, even if you weren't save/loading for the right character, this game has no hard time limit. All it'd take to get more materials to make the thing again is your real life time, and it feels like a very needless waste of the player's time at that.

The other main mechanical changes are that in battle you now usually have 5 party members in total instead of 6, so you need to choose when you do support attacks much more deliberately than you used to in the first game, as well as a major change to how leveling works. Where in the first game, the growbook system was basically an alchemy powered FFX sphere grid, now it's just a big list instead of a tree you go down. Additionally, your max HP and MP have been divorced from the growbook's upgrades, and now it seems that, as you gain more AP (the thing you use to unlock stat boost nodes in the growbook), you gain invisible character levels that, once reached, just boost your HP and MP independently from unlocking stuff, which I liked.

The only sorta downside to that change towards one big list is that this game has enough new items, many of which craftable all at once, that it can often be very difficult to actually tell what new armor or weapons are actually worth using, and during the later game when you have a HUGE library of crap lying around, it can be hard to tell or remember what's even a new item in the first place ^^;. The game is thankfully not *quite* hard enough to make that a really significant problem, but the game's got a pretty stiff difficulty curve in the first place, so it's still stuff absolutely worth keeping track of at any rate.

Presentation-wise, Mana Khemia 2 is a little bit of a step up from its predecessor, but not by very much. Areas look a bit nicer, and the 2D sprites mesh with their 3D environments a fair bit better, but overall it's more or less the same. The sprite work, animation, and character portrait art/expressions are still as excellent as ever, of course, but there's just not a very big jump from the previous game. Again, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Same thing goes for the music. Same composers as the last game, and once again they do an awesome job. No complaints on aesthetics at all, though I did prefer the somewhat more 90's-ish style of the first game's character art over this one (if I had to choose one over the other).

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. As much as Mana Khemia 2 is only "three steps forward, one step back" in terms of its mechanics, it's narrative leaves SO much to be desired that it's a much harder sell than the first game, and a real bummer ending to the Atelier series on PS2 (as this was their last game on the console). If you get it and play Roze's route, I think you'll likely have a pretty good time as long as you don't expect anything quite as good as the first game's stuff, but Ulrika's route isn't worth doing at all (let alone doing like I did and doing both routes). I don't ultimately regret my time with this game, but gods damn do I still wish it'd been better TwT
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

Partridge Senpai's 2023 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
* indicates a repeat

1. Super Hero Operations (PS1)
2. Lil' Gator Game (PC)
3. Disco Elysium: The Final Cut (PC)
4. Dragon Quest VII (PS1)
5. Dragon Quest III (SFC)
6. Dragon Quest VIII (PS2)
7. Dragon Quest Monsters (GBC)
8. Mario Party 6 (GC)
9. Last Bible 3 (SFC)
10. Mario Party 4 (GC)
11. Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch)
12. Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (SFC)
13. Chrono Trigger (SFC) *
14. BoxBoy + BoxGirl! (Switch)
15. The Murder of Sonic The Hedgehog (PC)
16. SaGa (GB)
17. Wario Land 3 (GBC) *
18. Sutte Hakkun (SFC)
19. Kane & Lynch 2 (PC)
20. Burger Time Deluxe (GB)
21. Super Mario Advance 4: World e+ (GBA)
22. Bomberman GB 2 (GB)
23. Mario Party 5 (GC)
24. Klonoa: door to phantomile (PS1)
25. Mario Party 7 (GC)
26. Mario Party (N64) *
27. Crash Bash (PS1)
28. Balan Wonderworld (PS4)
29. From TV Animation One Piece Tobidase Kaizokudan! (PS1)
30. One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 (Vita)
31. Atelier Iris: Grand Phantasm (PS2)
32. Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis (PS2)
33. Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy (PS2)

34. Crusader of Centy (Genesis)

This is a game I've heard quite positively talked about for a good while, and it being a Zelda-like game, it's absolutely in one of my favorite retro genres, so it was always one I've planned to get around to. I was excited ages ago when I heard it was coming to Switch Online, and then I promptly forgot about it as I always do X3. Then yesterday I accidentally rediscovered that it'd been added to the service! I launched it up and started playing, and before I knew it I'd just wound up finishing the game outright I'd been having so much fun x3. It took me about 6.5 hours to finish the game in English via the Switch Online Genesis service, and I never actually needed to save or anything (managed to not die a single time ^w^), so I never actually ended up using save states or rewinds or anything.

Crusader of Centy follows a young boy (whose canon name is amusingly enough, Corona) who is given a sword and shield on his 14th birthday as is the custom in the kingdom of Soliel. He sets out on an adventure to save the kingdom from the resurgent monster threat! It's an interesting enough premise, and while it does have some major twists in the narrative, I don't think it succeeds exceptionally hard in what it's going for. It falls into the pitfalls that a lot of pro-tolerance/pro-peace games do where the anti-violence message/goal is still, nonetheless, achieved through the power of bravery and violence (not to mention the bigger takeaway messaging of what actually happens in the conclusion is truly quite ghastly if you try and apply it to real world analogues in any way ^^;). The story really isn't the big reason to play the game, granted, but it made me do a "wait a minute, what the fuck???" double take hard enough that I couldn't omit mentioning it here x3

The real meat and potatoes of this game is the gameplay, and as mentioned before, it's a top-down action adventure game very much in the mold of The Legend of Zelda. The big gimmick here is your sword. While the sword itself may have kinda abysmal hit detection, that's not so much of a problem at the end of the day (and not just because the actual combat difficulty isn't terribly high). You very quickly gain the ability to throw your sword like a boomerang, and slingshotting your sword around towards and back through enemies makes for a quite satisfying combat experience despite the bad hit detection. Additionally, while this game doesn't have sub weapons or proper items, it has animal companions you can befriend along the way. You can equip up to two at a time, and while some of them have active effects, most of them just augment your movement speed or sword abilities in some way. Some animals even give special effects when the two of them are equipped at the same time~. They're both neat systems that make for a fun and satisfying adventure that's also just different enough from stuff like Zelda to help set it apart.

The overall dungeon and combat design is, as mentioned before, not terribly difficult. It's not an especially easy game, mind you, but if you're a veteran of the genre, you'll likely end up dying only once or twice if ever. The biggest places you'll likely die at are the jumping puzzles, however. Most of the bosses aren't terribly difficult, but the true place the game will shave away health is with all of the bottomless pits. The dungeon and gameplay design overall has a quite heavy puzzle focus compared to most Zelda games (which gave it an almost Alundra-like feel at times), and while the puzzles were challenging but solvable enough that I enjoyed them while never having to look anything up, platforming is still unfortunately a meaningful part of these puzzles. Now mercifully, the platforming isn't nearly as unforgiving or dire as a game like Beyond Oasis's is, but there are still more than a handful of really mean pixel-perfect jumps that I was really not a fan of. The dungeon and boss design is overall quite good, but those bad platforming bits really take away from some of it. Like with the bad hit detection on the sword, this is another small but important misstep that takes what could've been a great game feel only just good enough instead.

The presentation is by and large very good. Coming out in 1994 and published by Sega, they clearly had the resources to make a game that looked and sounded very pretty, and they did it. The graphics are very nice and colorful, and while there are perhaps a bit too many luxury animations here and there on things like your turning circle, it never felt like it was getting in the way of the gameplay at least. The music is also very good, and it has a very Sonic-y feel to it (and not just because Sonic has a cameo in the game x3). Honestly it feels like Sega gave them a lot of sound samples that the Sonic games use, because there were even quite a few sound effects that even a relative Sonic non-fan like myself could recognize from the Genesis Sonic games x3. Again, not a complaint, really, but something fun to point out.

The only real presentation criticism I have is for Atlus's localization. It's honestly a pretty solid localization for the time, but there are some very sloppy mistakes here and there like text boxes that cut words in half or words that are just outright misspelled to begin with. It thankfully never makes any puzzles unsolvable or confuses the narrative or anything, but it's still a bummer to see such glaring localization mistakes in a product at least in part from Sega themselves. At the very least they're quite funny mistakes when they happen, which is a bonus of sorts~ x3

Verdict: Recommended. While the weird hit detection and difficulty of the platforming will definitely turn off some, if you're a fan of 2D Zelda games or just 2D action adventure games in general, I think you'll probably really enjoy your time with Crusader of Centy. It's not perfect, but it's got a good difficulty balance and just hard enough to be challenging but not frustrating puzzle design in a way that'll add a good adventure to your weekend or afternoon~.
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by Note »

1. Kirby's Dream Land (GB)
2. River City Girls (Switch)
3. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)
4. The Simpsons (Arcade)
5. Illusion of Gaia (SNES)
6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge (Switch)
7. Shining Force III [Scenario 1] (SAT)
8. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (SNES)
9. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile (PS1)
10. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (GEN)
11. X-Men Legends (PS2)
12. Snatcher (SCD)

Image

13. Smash Remix (N64)

I recently picked up a 8bitdo controller for my Mac, as I needed to upgrade from the previous USB controller I had, which the d-pad was barely working. I wanted to put the new controller through the ringer to test it out, and thought some kind of fighting game would be a good choice. Well, recently I had heard about Smash Remix, which is a fan made rom hack of the original Super Smash Bros. game for the N64, with additional characters and levels, originally released in 2019. The fan release appears to be updated from time to time, so I'm looking forward to seeing what else is done to the game. For my playthrough, I figured to play as one of the characters added to the game, so I went with Goemon!

Gameplay wise, there are some additional modes in this version that did not appear in the original N64 release but came up in later titles in the series, such as All-Star Mode, Multi-Man Mode, Cruel Multi-Man Mode, and the Home Run Contest. In general, there aren't many changes to the gameplay which I think is important for something like this, as I'm sure everyone wants this version of Smash to feel like the original, just with more stuff, and in this regard, I think the group that put this together have succeeded!

In regards to characters that have been added, there is a total of seventeen new characters in Smash Remix! The current list of characters that were added are as follows: Bowser, Dr. Mario, Sheik, Young Link, Ganondorf, Dark Samus, King Dedede, Falco, Wolf, Mewtwo, Lucas, Marth, Wario, Sonic, Conker, Marina, and Goemon! It's cool to see these characters implemented in the N64 version of the game, and the moves they were given. I really enjoyed checking out Goemon, and he uses some of the trusty weapons you've seen the Mystical Ninja/Goemon games, the gold pipe and his coin tossing. Also, for his triple jump, he hovers upwards on a cloud, which is a very convenient move that helps him navigate back to the platform after getting whooped on. I'm looking forward to checking out the other new character's moves as well. There is also a bunch of new levels added to the game, which I won't take up time listing them all, but it's also cool to see these environments appear on an N64 version.

Overall, I think Smash Remix is a really competent fan made ROM hack. I'm not usually into these types of releases, but I wanted to see what the community could do with the N64 version of the game all these years later, and I have to say they did a great job! I think it would be a lot of fun to play this with a group of friends and battle it out with the new characters and levels! Check it out!
Last edited by Note on Thu Jul 27, 2023 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by alienjesus »

I played this a long time ago when there were way less characters, but I remember there was also a way to play as the Piano from the big boos haunt stage of Mario 64 too. Is that still in there?
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by Note »

I just read up on this, as I missed it while playing the game, but it looks like the Mad Piano is selectable by pressing up before selecting Luigi. I'll have to check this out later!
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