Games Beaten 2023

Anything that is gaming related that doesn't fit well anywhere else
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by prfsnl_gmr »

1. Kirby & The Forgotten Land (Switch)
2. Kirby’s Dreamland 3 (SNES)
3. Earthbound Beginnings (NES)
4. Super Mario Bros. - The Lost Levels (NES)
5. Tuff E Nuff (SNES)
6. Star Fox 2 (SNES)
7. Rival Turf (SNES)
8. Brawl Brothers (SNES)
9. The Peace Keepers (SNES)
10 Arm Champs II (Arcade)
11. All-Night Nippon Super Mario Bros. (FDS)
12. Super Mario Bros. Advance 4: Super Mario Bros 3 - World e (GBA)
13. Vs. Super Mario Bros. (Arcade)
14. Super Mario Bros. Special - 35th Anniversary Edition (NES)
15. Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball (3DS)
16. Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (3DS)
17. Vampire Survivors (iOS)
18. Ninja Spirit (TG16)
19. Earthbound (SNES)
20. King’s Field II (PS1)
21. Commando (Arcade)
22. Commando (NES)
23. Commando (7800)
24. Commando (2600)
25. Bionic Commando (Gameboy)
26. MERCS (Arcade)
27. MERCS (SMS)
28. MERCS (Genesis)
29. Bionic Commando: Elite Forces (GBC)
30. Blazing Lazers (TG16)
31. The Legendary Axe (TG16)
32. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (Switch)
33. Mappy (Arcade)
34. Windjammers (Neo Geo/Switch)
35. Karate Champ (Arcade)
36. Trojan (Arcade)
37. Trojan (NES)
38. Untitled Meow Wolf Omega Mart Video Game (????)
39. Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland (GBA)
40. Kirby & The Amazing Mirror (GBA)


Meow Wolf Omega Mart is a really great interactive art exhibit I visited on a recent vacation. One part of the exhibition features a simple video game where you are tasked with helping an alien life form avoid obstacles in a warehouse. This involves pressing buttons on a 10 x 10 grid in the right sequence. The sequences become more complex as you progress, but they never require you to memorize more than ten inputs. You can beat the game in just a few minutes, and the ending shows the little alien traveling safely back to its dimension. The real fun comes from failure, though, since missing a sequence results in a gruesome (albeit very pixelated) death sequence. It was pretty fun and part of a great exhibit by an art collective with a close connection to video games. Recommended!

Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland is a GBA remake of Kirby’s Adventure (i.e., the NES Kirby game and, arguably, the first really good game in the Kirby series). The graphics have been enhanced, and the aspect ratio of the screen is a little different. Otherwise, it’s a pretty faithful remake. The game remains a pretty linear, level-based, 2D platformer, and it is decently challenging. Kirby also plays just like he did in the NES game; he has all of his copy abilities; and he fights a ton of bosses. The original game is very solid, and the remake’s solid too (even if the gameplay was a bit dated by 2003). If you’re a fan of the original game or the series, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Whereas Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland is pretty much the definition of a standard Kirby platformer, Kirby & The Amazing Mirror is a wild experiment. Both games use the same engine, and Kirby & The Amazing Mirror recycles a lot of graphical and musical assets from its predecessor. Where it veers wildly off course, however, is the design. Specifically, Kirby & The Amazing Mirror is a non-linear, open-world metroidvania full of one-way passages, hidden upgrades, and challenging boss fights. Also, it supports 4-players, potentially permitting four different Kirbys to explore the world at the same time and, perhaps more importantly, to team up against the game’s bosses.

The game is divided into nine zones, and the goal of each zone is to reach a boss and recover a shard of a broken mirror. The map is full of one-way passages, and the zones frequently loop back on themselves. Accordingly, finding a cleverly hidden map in each section is key. Various parts of each zone also lead to “goals” which warp you back to the game’s hub making it imperative also to unlock shortcuts back to each section of the game. This design can be very frustrating, at times, for a single player, but it encourages multiple players to go off in different directions and explore different sections of the map. Importantly, Kirby carries a mid-00s flip phone with him at all times, permitting him to call his doppelgängers and also to warp back to the hub.

I played the game entirely in single-player mode, and I enjoyed it quite a bit, even if it is frustrating at times. (The one-way passages can be very annoying, and the design reminded me a bit of classic games like Castlequest, Goonies II, etc. that pre-date modern metroidvanias. I have a pretty high tolerance for those, but they’re definitely not for everyone.). In multiplayer mode, though, I suspect it’s fantastic. At release, i doubt many people experienced the game this way since it would require multiple carts, GBA systems, link cables, and people willing to commit to completing a metroidvania together. It is my understanding, however, that you can now play this game through Nintendo Switch Online. That is probably the best way to play the game today, and if any of you have subscriptions to the service, you should try it out. (if you don’t have a subscription, the game is still fine in single player mode, however!)
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Raging Justice
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by Raging Justice »

RoboCop: Rogue City looks interesting. I've seen positive reaction to it from all corners of the internet it seems. Before the game even released I was hearing positive buzz surrounding it
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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

1~51

52. Gyakuten Saiban 3 (GBA) *
53. Pokemon Gold (GBC)
54. Beltlogger 9 (PS1)
55. 64 De Hakken!! Tamagotchi: Minna De Tamagotchi World (N64)
56. Koudelka (PS1)

57. Pilotwings 64 (N64)

While I’ve played the Mario 64 to all 120 stars some four or five times now, until now I’d never so much as owned, let alone played, Pilotwings 64, the other launch title for the N64. After finding it at Book Off for 100 yen a few days back (and myself having a 100 yen off coupon), I felt it was high time to correct that gap in my play experience. It took me about 7 or 8 hours in total to get gold badges on all of the normal stages sans the last rocket belt one, and I also got silver (and sometimes gold) on all of the extra games as well to unlock all of the content. I did it on the Japanese version of the game, and I played it all on real hardware.

There really isn’t any narrative to speak of in Pilotwings 64. Perhaps there’s some in the manual or something, but there’s certainly none in the game at the very least. Regardless, the premise is perfectly clear without it. You’re here to get your flying certification! Well, certainly not a pilot’s license, as you never actually fly any planes, but something similar no doubt with all of the time in the air you’re doing XD.

You have your choice of six characters (who are only cosmetically different save for some very small exceptions) to go through all four tiers (Beginner, A Class, B Class, and P Class) of three activities: Hangliding, rocket belt-ing, and gyrocoptering (which is like a plane a bit, I suppose). Each class of activity has one to three tasks you need to complete, and each task has a score of 0 to 100 for you to go for, and depending on your total score, you’ll get a badge rank at the end (average of 70 is bronze, 80 is silver, 90 is gold, and all 100’s will get you a perfect score badge). Additionally, getting silver or better in all three activities of a rank will unlock a respective Extra Game activity to try out (which are cannonball, skydiving, and Jumble Hopper). Getting a silver or average in each of the three ranks of a respective activity will even unlock you a free flight mode for one of the game’s four different maps, so you can do victory laps to your heart’s content~ (quite literally).

It’s a very simple game, to be sure, but it’s good fun! Being a launch title, it’s not hard to see that Pilotwings 64 was a game explicitly made to carry on the legacy of the original Pilotwings on the Super Famicom. The N64 version is here to show off not just the console’s 3D capabilities for vast, open spaces, but it’s also here to showcase just what precision you can pull off in a vehicle using the N64’s snazzy new joystick tech. If you’re just here to see the credits, all that takes is getting bronze or better in each class of the main 3 activities. But if you’re like me and really wanted gold ranks, it’s going to take you a fair bit longer, and it’s also likely going to be a fair bit more frustrating to boot XD

The gyrocopter controlled the most intuitively to me, as it’s basically a plane in how it has acceleration and tilt and such. This isn’t anywhere as sim-like as an Ace Combat game, but it’s certainly closer to a flight sim than something like Star Fox 64 is. Hangliding was what I found consistently the hardest, as relying on only thermals to blow you upwards and having no other method of acceleration makes not only the flying challenges difficult, but it also makes landing very difficult to, as you only have one shot to get that approach correctly. Rocket belt missions usually weren’t too hard, but they easily have the hardest final challenges in the P Class rank. Landing will usually be your biggest challenge, as taking off is the easy part, but rejoining with the ground is harder. Landing, after all, isn’t just an important part of flying, but it’s also usually 30 to 40% of your score (both the accuracy of your landing on the bullseye or runway as well as how smooth a landing you did). I wasn’t nearly out of my mind enough to go for perfect scores, but I’m sure someone dedicated enough out there is going to have a whale of a time trying to get Pilotwings 64 completely perfected.

The Extra Game activities very much feel like the extra content that they are. They’re neat ideas using the existing physics and locations in interesting ways, sure, but they’re also pretty much one-trick ponies compared to the main three flying activities. The very oddly named Jumble Hopper is a pair of super jump boots you need to use to jump to the designated space as quickly as you can, but landing in water loses you points, and landing on too hard a slope or hitting an obstacle will send you flying and also lose you a TON of time. Skydiving has you trying to align yourself with your fellow divers five times before making a hangliding-like landing on a target. Cannonball is easily the worst of them for my money, as it has you trying to use angles and an NES Golf-like power meter to hit a distant target. It’s just trial and error, and it’s both the most easily mastered of the activities in this game while also easily being the most frustrating and least fun. Like I said before, they’re a neat distraction, but they’re definitely not worth of main activity status.

The game overall runs just about as well as it needs to. You don’t need to have very well adjusted eyes to see that the framerate is struggling REALLY bad a lot of the time, but the game is thankfully tuned well enough that this shouldn’t usually be a problem. The only place I’d say it’s possibly a problem is in the hit detection, as there were quite a few points where I effectively went through (literally) target rings instead of actually passing through them in a way the game recognized. It is my hypothesis that the really bad framerate was very likely either causing that collision issue, or at the very least it made it harder to judge than it should’ve been where the target I was aiming for actually was. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s just one more frustrating part of an already often frustrating game, and the fact that tasks lack a quick-retry button just makes it all the more of a pain to retry when you mess up (particularly for the four minute+ missions later on in the game).

The presentation is pretty darn good for what it is. The music has a lot of fun tracks that fit the air of chill flying very nicely. It also has some of what I can really only call Banjo Kazooie-style weird tracks that add some strange if not unwelcome levity to their respective missions. The graphics are quite simple of course, as you’d expect for a launch title of this era, but they’re stylized enough that I think they hold up just fine.

Verdict: Recommended. While it’s not an all-timer like Mario 64, that’s some really stiff competition as far as launch titles go. On its own merits, while it may not be the most content-rich game in the world (for those of us who aren’t score attack maniacs), Pilotwings 64 is still a really fun little game. For framerate and ease of access reasons, it may be more appealing to play a more modern port of this game (such as on the N64 Switch Online service), but the N64 version is still plenty fun. Even for someone not super into flying games like me, I had a quite good time with it, and I reckon you probably will too~.

-----

58. Mickey's Speedway USA (N64)

This is a game I picked up for 500 yen *ages* ago during a different N64 kick of mine. Finishing up Pilotwings 64 the other day, my friends in the voice chat I was in were talking a bunch about racing games, and it got me thinking of this yet unplayed N64 racing game I had lying around. It seemed like the perfect time to finally pop this game in and give it a proper shot. While it’s certainly not as famous or talked about as Rareware’s other N64 racing title, Diddy Kong Racing, it’s nonetheless a Rareware game from back then they made nearly nothing but hits, so it seemed high time I finally check it out. It took me about 7 hours to get platinum or gold rankings in almost every normal non-mirror race (which I didn't bother with), and I did it in the Japanese version of the game on real hardware.

Though a racing game, Mickey’s Speedway USA actually does have a narrative to it. Displayed through the confusing choice of late 90’s computer GUI interfaces, we see Mickey going outside to play with Pluto, only to find a note. The note is from the dastardly Weasels, and they’ve stolen Pluto and his diamond-encrusted collar and are driving cross country with him! They even send you picture postcards they’ve custom made as you go through the game of the Weasels torturing Pluto at different locations, and it made for an extremely uncomfortable and very badly aged attempt at humor ^^;. At any rate, Mickey hits up his friends as soon as they can, and with the help of Professor Von Drake, they get into go-karts and start doing races to get good enough at driving to catch those Weasels and rescue Pluto. It’s a weird narrative with some very badly aged aspects to it, but it’s a fine enough excuse for a racing game, I suppose XD

The game itself gives you the choice of six racers with three actual stat variations between them (Mickey’s stats are identical to Donald’s, for example) with another three unlockable throughout the game. You then have five different cups of four races each, and you have three CC ratings to play each race at. While getting the highest score total in one will get you a gold trophy, getting first in all four races gets you a special platinum trophy. Platinums are usually what you want for unlocking new characters, but there’s actually a tenth character waiting for anyone dedicated enough to both have the GBC version of this game alongside the tech to connect it up to this game via an N64 Transfer Pak. Pain in the butt special unlock conditions aside, it’s overall a very familiar formula for anyone who’s played a kart racer before. However, while this game has some special aspects to it, I think it ultimately doesn’t impress too terribly for a game coming out as late as 2000 (some 3-ish years after Mario Kart 64 and even a year after Crash Team Racing).

At least for me, I’m not a huge fan of different characters with different stats, at least not like this. The unlockable characters in particular feel like pretty straightforward power upgrades, and there felt like very little reason to use older characters once I’d unlocked even my first new one. The tracks themselves are okay, but they’re both a bit barren as well as being very short. Most of them have very little in the way of obstacles or interesting sections, and you’ll get through all three laps of most of them in less than two minutes, and you’ll likely be looking at sub-minute times for many tracks on anything above the lowest CC ranking.

This is, of course, with the exception of the last cup's tracks. First of all, to even unlock the final cup, you need to find a hidden car part in each of the four previous cups, and those things are hidden quite well to impossibly well, and finding them without a guide back in the day must've been absolutely miserable. As for the cup itself, it REALLY feels like they were compensating here for how relatively uninspired the previous tracks mostly were XD. They're *packed* with narrow corridors with slow-down parts on both sides and so many bottomless pits that the CPUs fall off of them constantly. Generally weak track design was a very big sticking point for me in a lot of this game, and even though I'm not the biggest Mario Kart 64 fan, I found myself wishing for its track design quite a lot during my time with this game.

As for the CC rankings themselves, I hesitate to call them “difficulties” as such, either, as honestly the CPUs appeared to more or less always be playing just as well. They seem to be more difficult the more difficult the tier of cup you were challenging was, but outside of that, they never seemed to be more intelligent or better at the game whether I was on the highest or lowest CC ranking. Those CC rankings themselves are also no joke. The CC rankings in Mario Kart change your speed, sure, but to be perfectly honest, I never even realized it until very recently because the changes in speed never felt that great. In this game, it is absolutely impossible to ignore just how great the speed difference is, because you’re going like twice as fast even just going between the first and second CC rankings (though there honestly felt like much less of a jump between the second and third rankings). It’s an interesting idea, sure, but it just doesn’t compensate for much when the game seems to lack drift boosting and is also generally laden down with poor AI and fairly mediocre track design.

The number of players is also something interesting. Six players feels a little small for a kart racer, though with tracks this small perhaps it just works better? It also easily could’ve been a technical concern, as this game’s framerate is REALLY good, especially for an N64 game (though perhaps it just feels that way because I’d just come off of playing Pilotwings 64 XD). It likely also needs that framerate for JUST how fast it has you going on the highest CC ranking, of course. But even still, it's a blessing in disguise, ultimately, that you have those smaller player numbers.

Six players including yourself might also feel like a small number because this game just generally has a very lackluster item pool that is at the same time very poorly balanced. You have equivalents of Mario Kart’s green shell, a crappy red shell, a good red shell (which is very rare and is like a blue shell for specifically the guy ahead of you), an oil slick that’s basically Mario Kart’s banana peel, a turbo boost that’s one of Mario Kart’s mushrooms, a rain cloud that slows everyone and keeps them from using items, and an invincibility item like the power star in Mario Kart.

The thing with the power star item in particular is that these tracks are so small that if *any* AI gets them, it's basically an "I win" button for them, since particularly on harder tracks it's hard for it not to be something that gets them so far into the lead that you have no chance at all to win. It can be extremely disheartening to be doing well on a later track and then just get victory robbed from you by an invincible jerk at the last second, and it makes the already frustrating final tracks in the game that much more difficult to put up with. At the very least the game *does* have an in-game infinite retries of a track cheat to get past this crap reasonably XD. Overall, the item pool is just yet another way where this game feels like more mediocre and far less polished Mario Kart 64. Like the track design, it's not the worst I've ever seen, sure, but it's not exactly justifying my choice of kart racer compared to the N64's more famous entries in this genre (which this game is so blatantly copying).

While the execution may be mediocre, the presentation is far less so. The story scenes are very well animated an illustrated, and the characters themselves look awesome. Unlike a near-launch title like Mario Kart 64, you and your fellow racers are actually 3D models, not just 2D sprites, and they look great too. I never play Goofy, and I certainly don’t like losing, but it nevertheless always makes me smile to see the way his ears flap in the wind behind him when he passes me, just like they do in the cartoons~. Additionally, while they weren’t redubbed for the Japanese release, the characters also have quite a few voiced lines of dialogue they’ll shout (a bit too often, frankly) as you race. There are a lot of generic ones, of course, but there are also a really surprising amount of ones particular to specific character interactions, and it makes for a very unique feeling racing experience on the console. On top of the generally good to very good music selection for the game (if you can hear it over all the mid-race racer chat), and the presentation is easily one of the strongest things this game has going for it.

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. This certainly isn’t a bad game by any means, but it’s just really not impressive enough to really go out of your way to try and hunt down. For big Disney fans, I’m sure this will be a really cool and fun time, but as far as kart racers go, this is a thoroughly mediocre one even for the time, and that goes double for a console like the N64 that has SO many excellent racing games of all stripes on it. It's also quite a tough and relatively frustrating one if you're going to try and see the credits, though I'd say that there's plenty of fun to be had without seeing the credits, of course. This is certainly a neat entry in Rareware’s history, but for all but big Rareware, Disney, and/or N64 racing fans, I wouldn’t really say this is particularly worth going out of your way to acquire or go out and play for any reason beyond engaging with it as a curiosity.
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MrPopo
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by MrPopo »

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022

First 50:

51. This Way Madness Lies - PC
52. Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries: The Dragon's Gambit - PC
53. Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty - PC
54. Sprawl - PC
55. Zortch - PC
56. Ion Fury: Aftershock - PC
57. Spider-Man 2 - PS5
58. Alan Wake II - PC
59. Ghostrunner II - PC
60. RoboCop: Rogue City - PC
61. Super Mario RPG - Switch

Super Mario RPG originally came out late in the SNES's life and served as a crazy mashup. You had Mario, the powerhouse of Nintendo, diving into a new genre. How would you even make an RPG that feels like a Mario game? Square ended up combining overworld platforming with timed hits in battles to create an experience that would stand the test of time. However, it has been hard for younger people to play, because the rights for the game are split between Nintendo and Square. Fortunately, both companies decided to come together so we could get a Switch remake.

The remake is extremely true to the original. It replicates the original prerendered 2D in full 3D, so it all looks like how you remember. The resolution is higher and the animations have more frames, but the fundamentals are the same. This becomes especially noticeable when the game decides to do a cutscene; at these points it'll zoom in on the characters, rather than sticking with the 3/4 overhead, and you can see that Mario and Peach are both halfway towards super deformed. The game comes with the original chiptunes and a modern reorchestration. You can use a more standard menu-based system, or you can keep using the original game's "each button is a type of attack". It's exactly the kind of quality of life update you would expect to see.

The game does have a few new features, but they mostly serve as a concession to modern expectations. Hitting your timed hits on attacks and defenses now build up a meter. When this meter is full you can do a full party move; there's a different one for each combination of characters. It's nothing too overpowering, it just gives you some more options in combat. Speaking of timed hits, if you keep chaining timed attacks and defenses you will get a passive bonus to the team based on your party members. It's not super noticeable, but it's there. And if you hit a timed attack especially perfectly you do splash damage to other enemies. It can end up hitting a breakpoint on some formations that kills enemies a turn faster than otherwise, but again, it's mostly just a nice to have, rather than something that significantly changes combat.

The final thing added is a series of post-game boss rematches. These are for the grinders; the bosses all have better stats than Smithy and they have new gimmicks that make the battles a chore. Again, this is mostly a concession to modern player expectations. Beating each one gives you a new ultimate weapon for each character and unlocks a final refight, and that one gives you nothing, because there's no challenges left to beat.

All in all, this is a fairly straightforward update of a classic. It goes a bit beyond just porting it to modern hardware, but it's definitely not a remake by any stretch of the imagination. If you haven't played it in the past and are a fan of RPGs then this is the perfect one to add to your collection. If you already have the original there isn't as much to recommend here. It comes down to how you feel about paying another $60 for a game you already own so you can play it on a more convenient system.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by Markies »

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2023!
***Denotes Replay For Completion***

***1. Dragon Valor (PS1)***
2. Breath Of Fire (GBA)
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge (NS)
4. World Of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse And Donald Duck (GEN)
5. XIII (GCN)
6. NES Remix Pack (WiiU)
7. Dr. Mario (GBC)
***8. Bully (PS2)***
9. Dragon's Crown (PS3)
10. Bangai-O (SDC)
11. Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
12. Destruction Derby (PS1)
13. X-Men Legends II: Rise Of Apocalypse (XBOX)
14. Vice: Project Doom (NES)
***15. Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm (PS2)***
16. Terranigma (SNES)
***17. Super Street Fighter II (GEN)***
18. Guitar Hero II (PS2)
19. Kirby's Dream Land (GBC)
***20. Gunbird 2 (SDC)***
***21. Stella Deus: The Gate Of Eternity (PS2)***
22. I Am Setsuna (NS)
23. DuckTales: Remastered (WiiU)
***24. The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past (SNES)***
***25. Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers 2 (NES)***
26. Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade (GBA)
27. Prince Of Persia: The Two Thrones (XBOX)
28. Baten Kaitos Origins (GCN)
29. Virtua Racing (GEN)
**30. Breath Of Fire III (PS1)***
31. Metroid II: Return Of Samus (GBC)
***32. Chameleon Twist (N64)***
33. Resident Evil 4 (Wii)
34. College Slam (SNES)
35. Hyrule Warriors (WiiU)
36. Tengen Tetris (NES)

***37. Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht (PS2)***

Image

I completed Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht on the Sony Playstation 2 this afternoon!

Back in 2017, I played through the original Xenosaga game. It was a fairly simple game with overtly long cut-scenes, but I really enjoyed the game. As the years went by, I purchased and played through Xenosaga II and Xenosaga III with varying degrees of enjoyment. Recently, I was looking for a PS2 to play until completion and my friend had recently played through Xenosaga II recently and that really got my interest going again. He had also mentioned that Xenosaga I isn't that long or a difficult complete, so I decided to replay the game to completion after over six years.

After playing through the entire trilogy, it was a real blast to play through the original Xenosaga. There are so many small little touches and Easter eggs in the first game that aren't even touched upon until you get to the later games. After that extra level of understanding really made the experience much more enjoyable. My favorite part of Xenosaga has always been the characters. Each character has their own backstory and feel to them. In a way, they are almost human and more than one dimensional caricatures. Also, the graphics for such a relatively early PS2 game is rather impressive, especially the CGI cut-scenes. I have always been a big fan of the combat system and the first one has a great. Compared to further games in the series, the combat in the first one is the most basic and generic. It is simple turned based battles, but that simplicity is rather enjoyable after so many complex games. Its fun to replay a game with a relatively simple combat system that doesn't take forever to master.

I just wished the game focused more on the battles. Infamously known, Xenosaga is more about the cut-scenes then it is about the game play. It takes over 75% of the game to get your full party and there are only a select few dungeons in the game. In fact, there are chapters where your entire purpose is to explore this new space ship that you are on and that is all.

Overall, I have a real soft spot for the original Xenosaga game. I love the graphics, music and battle system so much in the game that I am willing to put up with a dialogue heavy game. If you can get past the lengthy cut-scenes or actually enjoy them, the game itself is rather simple and there is not much to do. It is not for everybody, but it is a unique experience with not many extras to it.
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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

1~51

52. Gyakuten Saiban 3 (GBA) *
53. Pokemon Gold (GBC)
54. Beltlogger 9 (PS1)
55. 64 De Hakken!! Tamagotchi: Minna De Tamagotchi World (N64)
56. Koudelka (PS1)
57. Pilotwings 64 (N64)
58. Mickey's Speedway USA (N64)

59. Boku No Natsuyasumi (PS1)

Literally translating to “My Summer Vacation”, this is a game I’ve had some greater or lesser interest in for well over a year now, but it took me this long to actually find a copy for sale in Book Off XD. Before playing it, I honestly didn’t have much idea of what it was about at all. I knew it was some kind of life sim taking place over a young boy’s summer vacation, and I knew it was lauded very highly for its writing, but that was really it. Sure, the later releases were easier to find, but I wanted to see where the series started! X3. It ended up taking me around 13 or so hours to play through it on real hardware.

Boku No Natsuyasumi is the story of the titular character, Boku (which can be a first-person pronoun for a boy/man and is sometimes used as a cutesy nickname for a young boy, but in this case it’s just used as the character’s name) and his summer vacation the year he was nine years old. His mother was about to have a baby, so his parents arranged for him to stay with his aunt’s family as to give his parents some breathing room during that period. His aunt’s family, the Sorano family, are composed of his aunt and uncle as well as his older cousin Moe and his cousin of similar age Shirabe. The opening narration says simply that this was a summer whose events he has never forgotten, and that actually brings me to an interesting point in and of itself.

Our opening narration is done by an older man speaking from Boku’s perspective. The narrative is specifically framed as an older man (likely in his 40’s, much like the game’s creator was at the time this was made) reflecting upon his childhood. This framing device makes clear what otherwise might be a little more buried in the subtext: this is first and foremost a nostalgia piece, and a reflective one at that. Though the topics in this game aren’t anything M-rated that a kid couldn’t or shouldn’t see, the audience for this game is absolutely an adult one. Boku No Natsuyasumi is a game about looking back at your adolescence, about a time when you had no responsibilities of the harsh adult world, and not just getting to go through them again, but being able to reflect on what it means to do so. That’s not to say that Boku’s summer break is entirely devoid of interesting or impactful happenings, quite far from it, but I hesitate to say much more about the actual events (or possible events) of the story because this is a game I think it makes much more sense to simply experience yourself.

The actual gameplay of BNNY is relatively simple as such things go. Though this game is most easily described as a life sim, I think it fits the mold of an adventure game much more easily. There are no stats or survival elements to worry about, being that you’re just a grade-schooler staying up in the mountains with your extended family, but you do have various chores you can be responsible for and other activities you can do. You can explore the mountains, talk to your family, fish in the ponds and streams, or catch bugs (to either preserve in your bug catching kit or use to battle other kids in beetle fights), though there honestly isn’t a ton more than that. Granted I had a lot of fun exploring, trying my best to partake in story events, and also catching as many bugs as I could, but this *is* just a rural Japanese home in the 70’s. There’s not a massive amount to do, but making the best of your month off from school is what this game is all about. You don’t really *have* to do anything: It’s your summer vacation, so make the best of it the way you see best~.

The presentation is very simple but also homey in a way that fits the game very well. People are relatively simple looking 3D models that almost resemble a child’s drawings of people, but I found that to be both charming as well as come off as very intentional. You have a picture-diary that you write in every day to save the game, and Boku draws people just as they appear in the game. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to assume that, because we’re going down his memory lane, we see the people in his life as he remembers them through his drawings. Aside from that, the game is basically all those good old 2D pre-rendered backdrops that PS1 rpgs and adventure games love so much, and being a quite late-life PS1 game, they all look very nice. The sound design is also very well done in this game, having overall very little music save to underscore very important scenes/events, and most of the soundscape is just the background sounds of living in the Japanese countryside. The game is also fully voice acted, with all spoken dialogue (and even a fair bit of the narration) being voiced very well. The aesthetics work together with the writing beautifully, and I couldn’t possibly imagine the game not having all the VA to help bring the story to life the way it does.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. This is a truly excellent game and easily one of the best games on the PS1, to my reckoning. This is one of the earliest examples in games history of a game where I can point to and say “this is a game that is making art in a way that only a video game can.” This is sadly also a game that’s unlikely to get a translation anytime soon (largely because of all of the oh-so-common in the PS1 era videos with voiced dialogue but no text over it), and it’d honestly be a very hard game to translate at the best of times, in my opinion. There’s a lot here both culturally and historically that you’d need to be quite familiar with Japan in the first place to really take in in the way you probably should, so any would be localizer would have an extremely daunting task on their hands. Regardless, for those who can understand the language and enjoy story based games, this is an all time great of the generation that is absolutely not one to miss out on.
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Limewater
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

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PartridgeSenpai wrote:59. Boku No Natsuyasumi (PS1)


This is fascinating. I am glad to know that this game exists, even if I am highly unlikely to ever be able to play it properly. I appreciate your interesting game selection.
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by marurun »

Limewater wrote:
PartridgeSenpai wrote:59. Boku No Natsuyasumi (PS1)


This is fascinating. I am glad to know that this game exists, even if I am highly unlikely to ever be able to play it properly. I appreciate your interesting game selection.


There is a segment of the classic video games media that is just nuts over this title. Tim Rogers, Brandon Sheffield, and I think John Ricciardi as well all are fans. Tim Rogers is the one who talks it up the most.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

Limewater wrote:
PartridgeSenpai wrote:59. Boku No Natsuyasumi (PS1)


This is fascinating. I am glad to know that this game exists, even if I am highly unlikely to ever be able to play it properly. I appreciate your interesting game selection.


Aww, thank you so much ^w^
It's just one of those things I've seen on Best PS1 Game lists over here in Japan for ages, so I figured I might as well finally give it a try. I'm really happy to hear you (and others) appreciate my writing ^w^
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RobertAugustdeMeijer
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Re: Games Beaten 2023

Post by RobertAugustdeMeijer »

Boku No Natsuyasumi sounds amazing, thanks for mentioning it in detail!
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