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Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 4:49 pm
by smol Kat
Just finished PictoQuest, which is a picross game. I decided to play it in German, because, y'know, it's picross, I don't really need the words. This proved to be an excellent decision as the game gets kinda dark. It was kinda like playing through a German fairy tale! Soundtrack was surprisingly solid as well.

I'm freakishly good at picross, and I'd say the game is at the perfect difficulty. Nothing too snoozishly easy, and really only a couple of absolute brain-busters. Which is nice, because sometimes things attack you, essentially forcing a time limit. There are powerups, too, which I used pretty infrequently but when I needed them they definitely helped.

So, uh, yeah. This was fun! Good way to spend a few hours.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:39 pm
by X-3
1.) Ocarina of Time: This was going to be among my last games of 2019 but it turns out that I'm not a gaming god and it took me more time. Still a great adventure game. I actually had a hard Morpha fight because I purposefully avoided getting the Biggoron Sword. Turns out the battle gets pretty hairy if you don't kill it in one cycle. I kind of noticed some stuff about the world design I didn't like, but this was over a month ago so I forgot what those were.

2.) Resident Evil...4: It's a cool action game. I really like the way weapons are handled, it gives a good sense of 'specialization' and creates a good incentive to replay. The pacing and set pieces are great, I especially like the Krauser encounter where he keeps jumping you. The controls take just a bit of getting used to but it's a thrill to aim and set up melee attacks.

On the other hand, It's hard not to notice that it's significantly more linear than other RE games (at least the two I played lol), with a lot less traversal/backtracking and puzzle solving. It's not a huge minus I guess but it is...something. Also, while this is one of those games that's good enough to get away with a bad plot, I still don't know what the **** is up with Saddler's plan. It's so self-defeating in several respects that I wonder if they wrote and recorded two plans for him and ended up using both. He's also kind of an enigma in the grand RE LORE, as he's not with Umbrella but seems to have a load of connections and resources.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:47 pm
by I am nobody
9. Dungeon of the Endless (2/9) (PC)

I've finished this before, but I'm counting it as a new one because I did this run in multiplayer with @smol Kat and it's a pretty different experience that way. It's a weird mix of dungeon crawl, tower defense, and roguelite that ends up mostly revolving around managing your four different resource piles. One (industry) controls what you can build, one (science) is for researching new buildings, one (food) is XP, healing, and recruitment, and the last (dust) doesn't persist between floors and controls how many rooms you can have powered at once. Merchants randomly use one of them as currency, and the main way of getting more of them is using industry to build generators that pump some out whenever you open a door. But they get more expensive, take up space, and use resources you could use to build towers, and so on. On a flavor note, it's also really cool that the game serves as the origin story for a faction (The Vaulters) in Endless Legend, another game from the same studio.

It's an idea that works well, and they way they split up resources in co-op is surprisingly effective at giving both players things to do. My only real complaint, which hasn't changed since I beat it years ago, is that the game is obscenely long for a roguelite. Our playthrough took almost six hours on the easier of two difficulties. Worse, the difficulty curve is such that only the last couple floors are particularly difficult, which on the normal setting means you could spend five hours getting to the last couple floors and then get wiped with practically nothing to show for it after one mistake. It really needed to be half as long as it is.

It's still a good time, but it's hard to see myself committing six hours to this again.

10. PictoQuest (2/10) (PC)

Pretty much what Kat said. Solid picross game even if the RPG elements didn't add a ton, and the OST is better than it has any right to be. It definitely could've used a native speaker for the English translation. None of them dialogue is ever completely nonsense, but it very much reads like it got a one-pass translation from Mandarin.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:50 pm
by smol Kat
^almost reviewed Dungeon of the Endless too but I think I might attempt at least one singleplayer run before I do. But yeah, it is definitely super long.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:30 pm
by I am nobody
10. Atelier Ryza (2/13) (Switch)

This is a *weird* to review. I played a fair bit of this series back in college when I at least tried practically everything on Vita out of necessity, and by the last of those (Shallie), it felt like they had a pretty solid gameplay loop going. I haven't touched the series at all since then, but since there were three (!!!) games last year and this one got pretty good reviews overall, it seemed like a decent time to find out where it went.

The answer is baffling, frankly. The Dusk trilogy that I played the most of was all building towards a loop where you'd use the game's brilliant crafting system to make progressively stronger items that let you go further and further into the world each time you ventured out, with boss fights shaking up decent turn-based combat every time you hit a big story beat. The key to keeping that engaging was that you pretty much always had some new recipe you were working toward, and everything played together in enough ways that you could get a bit creative with what went into each item. They eventually made items replenish when you returned home, so your strongest consumables would stick around and you'd be able to have fun with them without constantly worrying about having to replace everything.

Ryza pretty much ditches all of that. Exploration is almost entirely gated behind the story, which progresses truly unforgivably slowly even for a JRPG. Combat is suddenly a very lite ATB system and you get a pitiful number of points to spend on items (now otherwise infinite, at least) across all three characters, which in practice means you just mash A until you win in everything but boss battles, and that even those are determined more by your weapon and armor stats than any interesting battle strategies. It's one of the least interesting battle systems I've seen in a game, and I just don't understand how they came to this from a platform that worked so well in previous games.

And yet it's the story that's most baffling of all, because while there are a handful of decent characters and some cool plot points by the end, absolutely **** all happens for 90% of the game. The plot hasn't even really started until halfway through the 26 hour game, and practically everything worthwhile happens in the final five hours, which somehow manage to both feel rushed right up until the final boss and then nonetheless overstay their welcome by not ending for another half hour after that. It's like the writers were high school students doing an in-class essay and they got a five minute warning when they thought they were only a quarter of the way through their time. It absolutely had the time and the ideas to be something worthwhile, but it wastes both of them so completely that a solid chunk of the game isn't really even about anything.

Crafting suffered a similar fate. There's a very different system structure around unlocking nodes with various quantities of more specific materials, and in which some nodes carry over some properties into a higher level item. It's a cool idea, but largely wasted because you spend a solid 40% of the game's runtime in the second item tier and then get the remaining four practically all at once. And since combat is uninteresting and you barely ever get to use, let alone see, items, the excitement of making new consumables that always carried the earlier games is gone.

Despite the above wall of negativity, the game is overall basically fine in a forgettable way. I wouldn't recommend anyone play it, but if you do, there's enough left over of the previous games that what's left over after all of that frustration is just average. It really should have been better, but it's almost like making three games in one year is a dumb thing to do and results in them being rushed. Who'da thunk.

At least the OST is still good.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:58 pm
by I am nobody
11. Knightin+ (2/19) (PC)

I got it for free and have a massive audibook backlog, which are the only reasons why I kept this and finished it, respectively. It pitches itself as a Zelda-like, yet the puzzles are almost all either simple push-block affairs, of which at least one is even repeated, or "find the pattern on the floor somewhere in an 8 level dungeon and then replicate it on these lights." Since enemies respawn between floors and there's way too much combat for its depth even without that, I ended up brute forcing or looking up the solutions to everything in the third and fourth dungeons rather than repeatedly fight through the same rooms to find which of many floor patterns was the one I wanted. Other than being 2D and primarily sword-based, it's not clear why the dev thinks any of this is much like Zelda. The story, to the extent that it exists, leans heavily on remarkably bland humor, and the OST is completely forgettable.

I will give it credit for the bosses being kinda fun, if too long and with at times obscure intended strategies, and for it being cool that there are optional upgrades for puzzles, even if these are too rare and most of them are just health or nearly useless MP.

All in all, tough to recommend even when it's free.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:56 pm
by Marilink
Huh, apparently I haven't posted in this thread since 2020 began. Some quick thoughts on games I've played before my computer dies:

1. StarTropics
This game is delightfully weird, but unfortunately it's just mostly bad. It takes inspiration from Zelda I and Zelda II, and then proceeds to remove anything good from either formula. I never would have wanted to play it without save states.

2. Super Mario 64
This game owns. People say it hasn't aged well, but I just don't agree. The camera can be a little clunky, but other than that, the movement is still as crisp and responsive as it felt in 1996. My daughter really likes watching me play it, which is fun.

3. Chrono Trigger
I did a New Game + run of CT to participate in the MinnMax "Deepest Dive" (the successor to GameInformer's Game Club). It was a delight to play the game alongside a group of people, some of which were experts in the game, but many of which were approaching the game for the first time ever, which was so exciting to be around. This is the best game ever made.

4. Ape Out
This game has some of the best aesthetic style and sound design I've ever seen in a video game. It's an audio-visual triumph. Unfortunately, it's very frustrating to actually play. Certain late-game mechanics (rocket launcher enemies, fire) made me almost quit the game entirely. Still, the Jazz Drum Solo Murder Simulator game sold me on the style alone.

5. Gris
Gris is beautiful. It's not complicated, it's a little slow, and I wasn't compelled to find all the secrets. But it's a beautiful game. I think I'm too stupid or obtuse to understand the meaning behind the very prominent metaphor that controls the entire game, but the ending sequence still made me just about cry with how beautiful it was. Just don't ask me to tell you what it was about.

6. Slay the Spire
I'm taking the thread title a little loosely here, because I did not finish this game--but I am finished with this game. I beat the first 3 floors with Ironclad, Silent, and Defect. Then I did a run for the Heart. I reached the Heart one time and decided I'm never going to be good enough at this game to actually beat that boss; so I'm just setting the game aside and calling it good. I complained about this game a lot in the Discord server, but that's mostly because I'm just astonishingly bad at it. It's also very frustrating when you spend almost an hour playing a game only to get all of your progress wiped away by playing one wrong card, or not drawing the the right hand when the enemy is coming at you with 60 damage and you can't do anything to stop it. Roguelikes are punishing, but I feel like this one was more punishing than most, because every good run is going to be a significant time investment that may yield you literally absolutely nothing tangible other than a broken heart and a war story.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:16 am
by I REALLY HATE POKEMON!
Final Fantasy IV -Interlude-

I've finally beaten every game in the FF4 "trilogy" now. This one is more like a long, pointless demo though. I guess it's supposed to bridge the gap between the two main games but it essentially boils down to "something's happening and Rosa's pregnant now". Nothing important or new, really. Still fun enough anyway.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:10 pm
by Apollo the Just
I am nobody wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:30 pm
10. Atelier Ryza (2/13) (Switch)

This is a *weird* to review. I played a fair bit of this series back in college when I at least tried practically everything on Vita out of necessity, and by the last of those (Shallie), it felt like they had a pretty solid gameplay loop going. I haven't touched the series at all since then, but since there were three (!!!) games last year and this one got pretty good reviews overall, it seemed like a decent time to find out where it went.

The answer is baffling, frankly. The Dusk trilogy that I played the most of was all building towards a loop where you'd use the game's brilliant crafting system to make progressively stronger items that let you go further and further into the world each time you ventured out, with boss fights shaking up decent turn-based combat every time you hit a big story beat. The key to keeping that engaging was that you pretty much always had some new recipe you were working toward, and everything played together in enough ways that you could get a bit creative with what went into each item. They eventually made items replenish when you returned home, so your strongest consumables would stick around and you'd be able to have fun with them without constantly worrying about having to replace everything.

Ryza pretty much ditches all of that. Exploration is almost entirely gated behind the story, which progresses truly unforgivably slowly even for a JRPG. Combat is suddenly a very lite ATB system and you get a pitiful number of points to spend on items (now otherwise infinite, at least) across all three characters, which in practice means you just mash A until you win in everything but boss battles, and that even those are determined more by your weapon and armor stats than any interesting battle strategies. It's one of the least interesting battle systems I've seen in a game, and I just don't understand how they came to this from a platform that worked so well in previous games.

And yet it's the story that's most baffling of all, because while there are a handful of decent characters and some cool plot points by the end, absolutely **** all happens for 90% of the game. The plot hasn't even really started until halfway through the 26 hour game, and practically everything worthwhile happens in the final five hours, which somehow manage to both feel rushed right up until the final boss and then nonetheless overstay their welcome by not ending for another half hour after that. It's like the writers were high school students doing an in-class essay and they got a five minute warning when they thought they were only a quarter of the way through their time. It absolutely had the time and the ideas to be something worthwhile, but it wastes both of them so completely that a solid chunk of the game isn't really even about anything.

Crafting suffered a similar fate. There's a very different system structure around unlocking nodes with various quantities of more specific materials, and in which some nodes carry over some properties into a higher level item. It's a cool idea, but largely wasted because you spend a solid 40% of the game's runtime in the second item tier and then get the remaining four practically all at once. And since combat is uninteresting and you barely ever get to use, let alone see, items, the excitement of making new consumables that always carried the earlier games is gone.

Despite the above wall of negativity, the game is overall basically fine in a forgettable way. I wouldn't recommend anyone play it, but if you do, there's enough left over of the previous games that what's left over after all of that frustration is just average. It really should have been better, but it's almost like making three games in one year is a dumb thing to do and results in them being rushed. Who'da thunk.

At least the OST is still good.
This has nothing to do with your post but all I know about the Atelier series is a friend was talking to me about them and had a big brain moment when he realized "Atelier Escha and Logy" is a very on the nose pun in Japanese because the title would be "Escha-to-Logy". I've been meaning to play that game because I dig the Atelier series aesthetics, but not as much as I dig boys with swords, and Logy allows me to have both.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:17 pm
by I am nobody
^ Escha and Logy is one of the better games. It's all on a monthly deadline system that some people don't like, but I can't imagine that'll be a problem for you given MM and Persona.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:31 pm
by Marilink
Atelier has good music

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:44 pm
by I am nobody
There's one battle track from, I think, Meruru, that has Spanish guitar and is just amazing. They put basically the entire series' OST in every game usually for free, which is also pretty cool.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:48 am
by Calamity Panfan
I played a game called "Super Mario Bros." from a company named "Nintendo" today and beat it. A plumber who jumps on turtles and mushroom creatures is a little wild for me but the game was pretty fun. Excited to see what these up-and-comers do next.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:21 am
by I REALLY HATE POKEMON!
Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics. The bosses are plain unfair, certain portions of stages too, but it's overall really good.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 8:29 pm
by I am nobody
12. Hollow Knight (3/6) (PC)

I played about a quarter of HK back in 2017, but ended up putting it down because I found progression past a certain point too frustrating. Still, it was obviously a great podcast game, and I had a hundred hours of audio books to get through, so I picked it back up on a whim. Not playing it for over two years made me way better at it for whatever reason, so I was able to reach the end and fully appreciate the game.

And what a game it is. HK draws comparisons to Soulsborne games for obvious reasons, but it really elevates itself beyond even other 2D games like Salt and Sanctuary with stellar movement that only gets more dynamic as you progress. Occasional platforming segments and Metroidvania exploration throughout provide breaks from combat that you just don't get in this genre and really sell the idea that you don't know what's around the next corner. Its world design plays into that, too, with a truckload of wildly varying biomes that only slowly reveal their secrets and provide striking backgrounds.

It's weird to review because so much of what makes it special only comes out in the experience. It isn't the only game with dozens of unique boss fights, nor with so much non-combat content, and it's not the only Metroidvania that's so pretty to look at. But all its different systems and designs come together perfectly when you're actually playing and elevate it to something truly special. I've barely played anything else for two weeks, and I'd have kept going to the full 112% completion (I got 98%) if there weren't so many other games I need to see.

Top tier in every regard, and an easy recommendation for anyone who enjoys a good 2D boss. The upcoming sequel, Silksong, has shot to the top of my most-anticipated list.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 10:58 pm
by smol Kat
Reviewing TWO games todaaaaaaaay

The first game I finished today I actually finished twice--Pajama Sam in No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside. This game was way more involved than I thought it was going to be. The solutions are somewhat randomized; I think there are eight possible game states you can get? Couple of decent minigames (including a Snake clone) and sort of a metagame where you're supposed to pick up socks. I didn't get them all, but in my second playthrough I got all but one so totally counting that as a win. I wasn't expecting the game to be so fun! Like I actually genuinely want to speedrun it now.

Then I guess one could consider Pajama Sam: Games to Play on a Rainy Day a game that I finished because it's an activity pack and I did all the games in it. Most of them are bad. The Othello and Mancala clones were all right, though (although the Mancala clone uses a variant that I've literally never played with in my life and am not entirely convinced it's a real thing)... but there's also a game that tricks you into thinking it's Trivial Pursuit and then they don't ask you any questions and I feel utterly jebaited by this. I had Putt-Putt and Fatty Bear's Activity Pack as a kid, and it was way better. The one thing this title has on that is the option to play two-player (which is honestly very hard to do over a Discord call, but whatever).

tl;dr I spent my day playing a bunch of Humongous games, how was your day?



e: well I wasn't expecting this but I accidentally killed my entire party which means I saw the credits to The Away Team. I did the demo a few months back, thought to myself, "hey, this kinda reminds me of Orion Trail!" (which I played a BUNCH of and loved) and picked it up recently. Game's really fun and I'm definitely gonna do more runs. Dialogue is okay, variability/replayability is great.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 6:13 am
by I am nobody
Blowing everyone up in The Away Team definitely doesn't count. :p

13. Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo (3/8) (PC)

It opens with a truly terrible song and then almost immediately transitions to a much better one about all the animals in a zoo. The rest of the game is saving Outback Al from being awful at his job, since he's lost all the baby animals and delegated finding them to a child. Everything after that is fairly standard for Humongous, but there is a hockey minigame that's kinda cool for how out of place it is. Background animations are on point.

Overall, not going to change my opinion that Pajama Sam > Freddi Fish > Putt-Putt, but it is the best of the games in this series I've played recently. Goes to the Moon and Travels through Time will get their turn again soon.

14. Putt-Putt Enters the Race (3/8) (PC)

I appreciate that the game is faithful to Enters the Parade's version of cartown, but unfortunately it's also faithful to how bad the first game's minigames were. Hunting for vegetables and hammering in nails are both awful even considering Humongous minigames generally aren't great, and a Beach Boys-esque song near the beginning is the only thing that comes close to making up for it. Outback Al has also somehow become even worse at his job, having adopted a baby tree kangaroo only to forget what it eats. Better than Parade, but much worse than Zoo.

15. Pajama Sam: Games to Play on Any Day (3/8) (PC)

What Kat said, except that she got the title wrong so my review is better. :cool:

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 6:51 am
by smol Kat
I am nobody wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 6:13 am
Blowing everyone up in The Away Team definitely doesn't count. :p
rude
Overall, not going to change my opinion that Pajama Sam > Freddi Fish > Putt-Putt,
RUDE
What Kat said, except that she got the title wrong so my review is better. :cool:
?????????
Also, r u d e

E: oh dammit I just saw it WHOOPS

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:13 pm
by smol Kat
ok now that I've actually beaten The Away Team once my review stands. :p

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:31 am
by I REALLY HATE POKEMON!
Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet

Um. It seems to be a waifu game but with some weird characters and some kinda dark themes. It's a visual novel with decisions and I think I got a bad ending pretty quick.

I had Syrup eat the candy girl. I mean, of course I did. I didn't think she'd be such a bitch doing it though, that was mean. This review doesn't make any sense, I know.

Might play again, idk. So far 5/10.