Review the last game you finished

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by Deku Tree » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:54 am

I beat God of War (2018) a few weeks ago, and it's one of the best video games I've ever played. The world is beautiful, the acting is great, I'm constantly interested in the storytelling. I'm super excited to see what happens next in the story. The combat is well built, and I had a lot of fun fighting stuff that the game suggested was supposed to be for later. Only time I felt frustrated by failure was during the "take no damage" trials.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by ScottyMcGee » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:57 am

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time - I've had this game forever, since 2005 I think. I was a brat back then and when I started the game the graphics really threw me off. The graphics are the worst part of this game. The animation is so stiff. There's a lot of awkward silences between dialogue and it kills the mood. The facial expressions aren't that great either. It's like watching dolls move around opening and closing their mouths and occasionally blinking.

I dropped it for the longest time while occasionally trying to get back into it. I was too much of a noob at RPGs back in the day to understand the combat system. Now, with much more experience (ha), I appreciate it so much more and this game has one of the best combat systems. It has this blend of fighting games thrown into it. Enemy encounters in this game are so much fun. There are so many details and features to the combat system. The only thing I hated about it was how pointless setting "tactics" to your A.I. characters is. They do the stupidest things and the end result is you switching between characters to stop them from doing something really dumb, like a mother picking up her child before they run into the street. I only really had to do this for the toughest, major boss battles though. Even so, that was aggravating. Either they wasted all their efforts senselessly or - I kid you not - they just stood around doing nothing.

The story was intriguing and even though it was spoiled for me years ago I enjoyed it. However, I always thought Star Ocean was a misleading title. The game is 2 discs and about 90% of it takes place on one measly little planet with its own measly little troubles. The story starts out with Fayt and his "friend" Sophia on vacation, before they are separated by a hostile force. I always assumed that the 2 discs implied that one disc would focus on Fayt and where he ended up while the second disc switched to Sophia and where she went, and then they weave back together. No. It's just Fayt like 90% of the time. They also introduce a random character late into the game. Like really late. Like "Wait, I have literally no time to level up this person" late. I mean, you could. But it'd be aggravating.

In short, the story starts off strong and then tapers off, then gets strong again with the plot twist but then the very ending is meh. Apparently you can unlock different endings depending on these "private actions" you engage with the characters throughout the game. I have to be honest - no idea that "private actions" were in here, I've played some of Star Ocean First Departure and thought they started doing that there - since the icon "Private Action" appears. In here, it's just a series of responses to conversations that will sort out the endings later.

This is definitely a game I want to replay much later on when I have the time for second playthroughs. I wasn't able to have the battle trophies on since my memory card didn't have enough room. Battle trophies take up a lot of space on a PS2 mem card. Next time though I'll have it on.


Ys I and II Chronicles: Ys I is a breeze while Ys II takes some more time. They even break the fourth wall in Ys II with this brief escort mission by saying, "Well, the game needs to be longer so. . ."

This is my first foray into the Ys series and I'm intrigued. I haven't played the original Ys I and II but this looks really good. Graphics, sound, music. I love that you can choose which version of the soundtrack to listen to - the original or the remake. Some things weren't apparent in Ys II. Near the end I had to look up where to go because I was just like "Wait what? Where do I go now?"

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by I am nobody » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:02 pm

Abandoned:
Spoiler.
Tokyo Xanadu: Ex+: Falcom tries to do Persona, but replaces detailed characters with shallow anime tropes and an interesting story with a plot so determined to be predictable that it actively breaks its own rules to avoid doing anything interesting. Which is weird, because Falcom already did fantasy Persona with Trails of Cold Steel and it was great. I may come back to this just because the combat is pretty fun, but that's about the only nice thing I can say.

God of War (2018): I totally get why everyone else loves it. But the attempt to tell a serious, grounded story interspersed with absurdity on the level of the Baldr fight without ever acknowledging the disparity between the two just didn't work for me. It's probably the same reason I've never gotten into superhero stuff.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit: So, yeah, I can't get into superhero stuff. Gameplay seemed to be entirely about superhero roleplay I couldn't relate to and the story didn't seem likely to go anywhere interesting. The controls are also really bad. I can't imagine why they'd have changed them, but I feel like I'd remember it if Life is Strange had done something as stupid as only letting you pick lines with the mousewheel.
#44. Chuchel (7/1) (PC)

A comedy adventure by the Samorost people. Almost every puzzle is a single-screen affair, but the logic behind them is so random that they're probably more accurately described as skits. And as frustrating as the randomness should be, it actually works because it's so aggressively stupid. You play as a fuzzball that wants to eat a cherry, but the world's nonsensical denizens, what I assume to be God, and a mole rat keep getting in your way.

Mileage will vary entirely on how successfully the humor lands for you. It landed more than it didn't for me, and it still felt too long because the failed skits dragged so much.

#45. The Last of Us: Left Behind (PS4) (7/1)

This is almost exactly what I wanted out of the first game. It obviously still has all the worldbuilding issues the main game has, but you can more easily ignore all that since the focus is so squarely on defining Ellie's character rather than the world itself. It's basically fleshing out two sequences - one in the middle of the story and one before it - that were implied or mentioned in passing before, but which were nonetheless critical to the plot. While you don't learn anything you could've have guessed from the base game, the individual scenes (and especially the ending) are really well done.

The gameplay is what really shines, though. TLoU suffered from not being sure whether it was survival horror or a straight action experience, and it's best sequence was far and away when it briefly changed player characters and shifted decisively to the former. Half of this game takes that to its logical conclusion by greatly limiting your ammo and resources, making melee combat pretty much useless, and encouraging a non- or indirect combat approach to many of its encounters. It even mixes human and infected combat for what is somehow the first time, and has enough faith in the player to let you get them to fight eachother on your own. An unfortunate continued reliance on scripted spawn-in aside, it's brilliant stuff.

The other half is completely different. Most of it is peaceful, grounded exploration that exists primarily for exposition, but it's mixed in with some clever minigames that would've been perfect tutorials for the main game. It's all the more effective for the juxtaposition with the brutality of the other half, and it's some of the best writing in the game.

Easily one of the best DLCs I've played.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by Booyakasha » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:00 pm

I played 'Shantae: Curse of the Pirate's Curse' a whole bunch.

Trying to decide whether I want to get the speedrun achievements. That's two more playthroughs. It's a time investment, and I got things to do.
boo----------------xbox forum arm-wrestling champion

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by I am nobody » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:46 pm

#45. Interplanetary (7/8) (PC)

It's pretty much worms in space but the worms are planets with orbital mechanics and there's a lite city building/strategy element. Turns consist of spending your energy and material to build weapons, more resource collectors, defensive placements, (counter)intelligence outposts, and city projects, and setting research, followed by aiming and firing any available weapons. You get a preview of the first few seconds of your shot, which has to account for the various gravity wells in the system as well as the movement of the planets. You win when no one else has any cities left.

In a two player game, it's brilliant. The complexity of the physics modelling cancels out the usual problem with worms/tanks games where whoever lands a shot first can just park on that shot configuration and land hits for a few turns, and the strategy layer gives you a path to victory through sheer numbers even if you can't out-aim your opponent. Research is speedy and constantly feels like you're making interesting decisions. In a 1v1 match where both players are human, I have almost nothing to criticize.

Adding CPUs is problematic, however, because the easy CPU is an idiot and the others seem to have access to aiming data that you don't. Players only get that short preview arc, their firing angle, and their force percentage, which is not enough to deal with the interacting gravity wells and orbital speeds unless you were to painstakingly derive all of that yourself. The result is that the AI can reliably land ridiculous shots even on normal that feel like mostly luck as a player. You can probably still win by beating it at the strategy layer, but it's significantly less fun.

The biggest problem is going beyond 1v1, however. Players with orbits closer to the sun are inherently disadvantaged by being both near the bottom of the biggest gravity well, and thus prone to getting hit by everyone's missed shots on the way down, and by having the smallest orbital area, meaning that a randomly placed shot that intersects their orbit has a higher chance of hitting them than planets orbiting further out. Even ignoring that disadvantage, however, bigger matches devolve into a meaningless cluster**** within a few turns. There's just nothing you can do about 50 missed shots randomly bouncing around the system hitting unintended targets, and it's not fun to deal with.

So basically it's a fantastic 1v1 game that gives you tons of ways to ruin it by adding more players.

#46. Star Wars: Republic Commando (7/10) (PC)

Man, the prequels may have been awful movies, but they provided the inspiration for some great games. RC follows a squad of, shockingly, Republic Clone Trooper commandos through three sizeable missions. And while the squad mechanics are no longer particularly impressive, the writing is flat, the graphics basic, and the enemy variety somewhat lacking, the game nonetheless succeeds because of how well put together those missions are. Sure, you're usually taking the same handful of command actions against the same handful of enemy types with the same half dozen weapons, but the difficulty curve is almost perfect, and the lack of character progression means you have to meet that difficulty curve by getting creative with your approach. Although bullet-spongey enemies drag some sections down, there are some really cool set pieces and most of the game's seven hours are a blast.

But I do have to call out how crap the one minigun enemy that can kill you in roughly a second is. There's nothing fun about walking around a corner and immediately dying, nor of having to empty your grenade inventory before it turns around if you spot it first. It's the one really bad design decision in what is otherwise still a very strong game.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by I am nobody » Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:10 pm

R-6 and R-7. Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It's dark Outside and Pajama Sam 2: Thunder and Lightning Aren't so Frightening (7/12, 7/15)

One thing everyone always talks about when revisiting places from your early childhood is how much bigger everything looked back then. Turns out that applies to games as well - I'd have told you the Pajama Sam games were a few hours long if you'd asked me a week ago, but they're actually at most an hour and consist of around a dozen screens.

They're both more or less "use X on the Y" affairs as the puzzles go, which is really all you could expect from a game aimed at first graders. Still, the humor is usually effective, and there are a handful of jokes (mainly in the first game) clearly intended for the parents. There are loads of what are essentially prop gags to find by clicking on parts of the background, most of which are pretty creative, but are far from as numerous as what some Humongous retrospectives imply. Modern adventure games can and do have this level of interactivity; they just don't do it with the same sense of humor. There are also some really garbage mini games like the worst version of snake I've ever suffered through and Tic Tac Toe, although the latter at least has a charming introduction.

That said, the game is fully voiced and randomizes the placement (and thus puzzles) of key items on each playthrough, which is really impressive for a 90's kids game. Both games also still look great, which is remarkable for a 90's kids game.

I found it really interesting to revisit these games with a new perspective and knowledge of where the industry ended up going. They're probably not worth checking out if you've never played them before and don't care about the historical significance, but they're cheap and quick enough to be worth a look otherwise.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by Bomby » Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:15 am

Street Fighter III: Third Strike

Super Street Fighter II might have all of the classic characters, but for my money, Street Fighter III: Third Strike plays the best out of them. I have to specify Third Strike because it's the only one of the Street Fighter III games with Chun-Li in it.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by I am nobody » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:11 pm

Abandoned:
Spoiler.
Pokemon Green - I wasn't under any illusion that gen I was still worth revisiting, but I thought it would be okay for language practice. As impressive it undeniably is for a GameBoy game, every subsequent generation has outdone it in gameplay variety to the extent that it's just unbearably boring. Worse, it's not even useful for learning since so much of it is just the same few sentences over and over again.

Hearts of Iron IV - The tutorial is completely useless and my attempts to save Republican Spain kept failing because the game about WWII didn't think combat was worth explaining in any detail. There's probably a great game hiding under there somewhere, but I'm not interested enough to dig for it.

WILL: A Wonderful World - An interesting Chinese indie game about being a god that answers people's prayers by rearranging minor events in their lives. The problems start out very small, but quickly escalate to basically being a sequence of the worst things that could possibly happen to a person, and the game doesn't remotely provide the narrative justification or writing talent necessary to go to places that serious without feeling exploitative.
R-8. Portal 2 (7/20) (PC)

I'm pretty sure that literally everyone who has ever or will ever live has already played Portal 2, so I'll cut to the chase: it's still a masterpiece. The puzzles are great, if sometimes overly reliant on hunting for portal surfaces rather than thinking skills, the jokes almost never miss, and there's still basically nothing to criticize about the gameplay or graphics even after almost a decade. It's topped plenty of all-time greatest lists, and while I wouldn't personally put it quite that high, I don't have any trouble seeing why others would.

It's so great that Valve didn't do anything to ruin their image as an upstanding and highly respected developer of single-player games in the years since.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by steeze » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:59 am

Crash Bandicoot Insane Trilogy: 8/10

I played all the crash games when I was younger but I think I would play half the game then move onto something else. Having three in front of me, however, I felt compelled to finish each.

That being said, I loved how each installation brings something new to the table in terms of how Crash is going to move through each level. It's a very colorful game. Controls felt a little different through the first game maybe it's just the increased resolution fooling my eyes. In terms of difficulty, there was definitely some cursing and controllers thrown down to the couch cushion in frustration.

Some notable levels that really pissed me off were The Lab (1), Road to Nowhere (1), Bug Lite (3), TRYING TO GET EVERY CRATE IN COLD HARD CRASH (2) just utter bull****. Stormy Ascent took me two days to complete. Now I can do it blindfolded.

All in all, I think that this trilogy really shows what it takes to be a good platformer. A nice mix of really easy and fluid levels with really chaotic and hard levels.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by Apollo the Just » Sat Jul 28, 2018 2:23 am

Okay so of course the last game I finished is Tales of Symphonia again because I don't play any other video games ever anymore, BUT!! I specifically finished a setup playthrough to optimize affection scenes (you want Regal at a specific amount), and I also needed to get Lloyd's 100 hit combo title to give him hella early game TP... but most importantly, Sheena is in your party for probably half of the mandatory bossfights in the game, and the titles I had on her SUCK, and the optimal title for her is the one that requires you to get literally every single treasure chest in the world.

So I did that.

.....there are some treasure chests that I had literally no idea existed. There's the one hidden in the Meltokio Sewers by the Sorcerer's Ring station, there's one tucked behind a pillar in the Seal of Water... at least 3 treasure chests had me going 'WHAT THE **** THAT'S BEEN HERE THIS WHOLE TIME?????' at a video game I have played probably 30-40 times over half the course of my life. Some of them are cleverly hidden, some of them are total ********, but either way it was a ride.

The mechanics for collecting all of the chests are garbage though. First of all, it is (within the game) never explicitly stated which Katz cover which areas of the map; there are 2 regions where the Katz' count for how many treasures you have opened is either over or under counted by 1; the Katz who tells you what percentage you're at gives no indication of where you're missing treasures; some treasures cannot be uncovered by Katz at all.... it's a mess. Luckily the internet exists and someone had written a thorough guide for me to follow in this day and age. THAT SAID, I still somehow **** up and missed a chest (I've never felt so betrayed as when I saw I was at 99.6% when I SHOULD HAVE BEEN AT 100) but by sheer dumb luck the first place I checked for missing treasures, Triet, was where I'd missed one and it was one the Katz were able to recover for me. That all said, I'm literally never going to do that again for the rest of my life. NOT WORTH.

Lloyd's 100 hit title was a challenge because it was on a 10x XP run and I kept killing things before we could get the count up. Managed it on the Earth dragon eventually!

THE CANDY EVENT REQUIRED TO SET UP REGAL'S AFFECTION CORRECTLY IS ONE OF THE MOST HILARIOUS THINGS I'VE EVER SEEN AND I'M SO UPSET I MISSED IT IN ALL MY OTHER PLAYTHROUGHS. The lady at Thoda Dock has impeccable taste in men. "Where are you from?" "Tethe'alla." "...Tethe'alla is the moon." 1000/10. Also, there's a lot of.... really subtly good worldbuilding hidden in a super minor Regal overworld skit. Regal's ending is criminally underrated you guys.

Anyway it was cool playing the game in a different way again! Treasure hunter was a pain in my ass but I saved so much time on runs this week I'm pretty sure it was totally worth it. I still need to do Zelos's Gilgamesh but I'm not gonna bother for a while lmao now it's just time to GRIND THE RUSTY BITS

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by I am nobody » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:30 pm

In case anyone was still upset that we never got Freshly Picked Tingly's Rosy Rupeeland in the US, it turns out that might not be the worst thing in the world. That game is not great.

48. The Banner Saga 3 (7/29)

I hate to do the obvious thing and compare this to Mass Effect, but it's the elephant in the room when you're ending a choice-driven trilogy with save imports, particularly when it came out just a few years after ME3 and also features the end of the world and plenty of dead party members. It's clear that Stoic were influenced by that series, but did they ultimately learn from it?

Sort of. One of the big complaints about ME3 was that few of your choices in the preceding games ultimately meant anything. You could have bumbled through those stories with just two surviving party members and every crisis resolved as badly as possible and still get the best ending if you spent enough time in multiplayer. Your choices might be referenced here and there, but few if any actually had a concrete influence on the finale's events.

Well, BS3 certainly learned that lesson. All sorts of choices you made in the earlier games suddenly matter a great deal, even if no one seemed to make much of them at the time. It's what we all wanted from ME3, but done with far more minor decisions. I love this series and still didn't even remember doing half the things I'd apparently done wrong, and the ones I did remember felt far more minor than the game made them out to be. Maybe this would feel better playing all three games in sequence, which is admittedly quite doable, but as a standalone game with two years separating my last interaction, it's mostly frustrating.

The other major complaint about ME3 was that the endings are three out-of-nowhere choices that more or less undo anything meaningful that might've happened and don't leave you with any real understanding of the consequences. BS3 is only a little better in that regard - you get some feeling for your choices, but one of them isn't even obviously a choice and results in an ending that is literally just three static images. The other two available to me were more substantial, but still not quite satisfying.

Alas, were ME3 made up for its ending stumbles with a brilliant endgame, BS3 only starts strong. The middle of the game isn't necessarily bad, but it's essentially a series of same-y battles with a lot of very arbitrary feeling character deaths mixed in. The intricate balancing of renown as a combined food, XP, and item currency is largely gone, the most important timer in the game is set mostly from choices in previous games, and playing the final sequence well results in skipping most of the available content.

The end result is a game that's just kind of there. There's not particularly bad about it, but nor is there anything particularly impressive. It did exactly enough to be an inoffensive ending to the series. I'd hoped for a lot more.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

I know it was always going to be hard to follow last year's act, but 2018's been going a bit hard on the reality check so far. Here's hoping the second half fares better.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by I am nobody » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:58 am

49. Octopath Traveler (8/5) (Switch)

Octopath Traveler is maybe best described as being narratively what The Legend of Legacy tried to do a few years back and mechanically a fuller realization of Bravely Default. It's a game that almost always works very well, but that stumbles on things the rest of the industry figured out a ages ago.

But let's start with the positive. OT features 8 possible player characters that each have their own plot, and there's really no consequence to your choice of "the" player other than who is locked into your party. All of them are entertaining, and most of them make a reasonable effort to deviate from your standard JRPG fare. The voice work is generally solid, and the writing holds its weight other than a bizarre obsession with people's eyes. You can hardly go a scene without some character "seeing it in your eyes", sometimes multiple times in the same conversation. There's definitely some tonal inconsistency between the stories, but I actually liked that. It's really a game about people finding their place in the world, and given the disparity in age and backgrounds of the characters, it's completely believable that they take different roads to get there.

Combat is another highlight. Every character can eventually take a subclass and can equip passive skills from any combination of classes they've held before, which results in an almost unparalleled level of party customization even before you get into equipment and permanent stat boosts. Battles themselves are largely about finding and exploiting enemy weaknesses a certain number of times to put them in a "break" state where they take just about double damage. You gain BP every turn you don't use it, and can spend up to three of it at once to either attack multiple times or boost the power of an ability, so there's a ton of depth in figuring out what to use when in order to interrupt dangerous enemies at the best time and still deal maximum damage in their break state.

And then there's the soundtrack and graphics, which speak for themselves. They both bridge the gap between modern and classic games in their own way - graphically by mixing modern effects with SNES era spritework and musically with orchestrated tracks that feel like they could've come from FFVI. Both work phenomenally, and I'm surprised that no one thought of it before.

But it isn't all sunshine and rainbows. First, the game does two things that I think are basically inexcusable from a modern RPG: it has random battles and requires the use of all characters while not including EXP leak. Random battles are uninteresting and make exploration tedious, and they go hand-in-hand with boring dungeon design since devs know no one actually *wants* to have to do anything but run to the end and occasionally grab a chest when taking six steps means fighting the same battle for the umpteenth time. It was one thing when the original Final Fantasy did it, but Chrono Trigger figured out visible enemies over twenty years ago and the OT team has demonstrated they're aware that random battles are frustrating by including an option to turn them off in Bravely Default. EXP leak is a similar problem - underlevelled characters are inherently less interesting in this game, so even putting aside the fact that things are occasionally straight level gates, it's in everyone's interest if my whole party stays around the same level if you're going to make me use every character. Again, everyone else figured this out ages ago. Neither problem comes close to sinking the game, but then neither of them should still be a problem these days.

Second, I was never convinced that OT started out as a game about 8 characters. The stories are only tangentially linked, and certain plot elements are completely nonsensical unless the main character is alone. Other characters aren't even acknowledged in any of the chapters outside of little Tales-style "party chat" scenes, and those don't show up until the second chapter. It's also weird that every character other than Tressa and Alfyn also has a specific place they're supposed to go next and no motivation whatsoever to deviate from that path. The net effect is that everything feels disjointed outside of the story scenes - it's wildly inconsistent with a number of the character's established personalities to go on lengthy quests wholly unrelated to their own, but it's even weirder for everyone to just suddenly reappear in combat when they'd been completely invisible for the scenes before it. The world also doesn't react to who "you" are outside of the story scenes and when taking a character specific action, which makes the whole world feel fake. Tressa's parents immediately treating her like a random stranger as soon as her first chapter ends is probably the worst example of this - I know it couldn't have been that hard to at least have the characters own parents acknowledge your choice of protagonist.

So overall it's a great JRPG that gets all the hard stuff right and then faceplants on everything it could've copied from other games or spent an extra 20 minutes on. Still, I got a solid 50 hours from it and its 8 tales are very well done even as disjointed as they are, so I'm calling it my first serious game of the year contender for 2018.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by X-3 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:26 pm

17.) Metroid Fusion: While I enjoyed Fusion back in the day, after playing SM for so long the flaws have become really apparent to me. The obvious one is the linearity, yes, but the world design is also very lacking due to being split hard between 6-7 areas. Another peeve I have with the game is just how many extraneous Power Bombs you end up collecting due to Super Missiles being fused with Missiles. Additionally, in the endgame one song plays in every area which becomes very annoying. Fusion does have notable three positives though: a decent number of boss fights, clever Shinespark puzzle-rooms and a check-list to help you collect items in an area.

18.) Metroid Zero Mission: Now this is more like it. ZM is designed from the ground-up with speedrunning in mind, which results in a game with a very open and rewarding structure. The world design is also leagues better than Fusion, though I feel like SM edges it out. I have one major complaint, and it's kind of a result of me being bad: I don't really like bomb-jumping and having to do it so much makes ZM less fun to run than SM.

19.) Octopath Traveler: While Octopath Traveler markets itself as a traditional RPG that hearkens back to the SNES era, it is actually more unconventional than one may expect. Octopath boasts an incredibly open structure, designed to let the player progress eight separate stories at their own pace. This does however come at the expense of the kind of heavy party interaction normally expected out of JRPGs. Each character's story is self-contained in a matter that often contradicts the party-structure of the game. I can't help but wonder if there was a better way to integrate gameplay and story to fulfill the "travelers exchanging stories in a tavern" theme the developers seemed to aim towards. If you're craving a story-heavy JRPG with fantastic writing, Octopath will leave you starving.

Where Octopath really shines however is its combat system. The gist is that you can break an enemy's defenses by exploiting their weaknesses, leaving them stunned and more vulnerable to your attacks for a turn. You can also spend a resource called BP to boost your attacks, letting them hit more times or making them hit harder. On a basic level, this system gives players the simple pleasure of breaking an enemy's defenses and felling them with burst damage. Octopath makes sure to keep things interesting however, fine-tuning its boss fights to force the player to make strategic use of this simple battle system in ways that will often surprise. One simple touch I liked, common to every fight, is the way the game displays turn-order in a way that allows the player to plan far ahead rather than rely on the chance that things will go the way they want them to. Another appreciated feature is the game's job system, which manages to give each character unique strengths and abilities (ala FFVI) while simultaneously giving the player the ability to customize their abilities of every party member further. (ala FFV)

Two of Octopath's major weaknesses make themselves apparent as you progress through the game. Though a player can choose to approach each chapter of a character's story at their own pace, they will find that said chapters wear their formula on their sleeve. You enter a town, talk to NPCs, meet an antagonist, enter a dungeon and then fight a boss. While this formula is common to most if not all JRPGs, few are as blatant about it as Octopath. Making things worse is the incredibly weak dungeon design. All dungeons in the game are simple 1-2 room affairs that rely mostly on "hidden paths leading to treasure" to try to make things interesting.

Octopath Traveler will likely be a divisive game, due to its unorthodox structure. While it will not be remembered as a classic of the genre, its strong combat system and willingness to experiment with the structure of a JRPG will at least let it be remembered as a strong entry in the genre.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by Random User » Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:18 am

Been a while, but I have finished two games very recently!

Live A Live - SNES

So this was an interesting find - an old Square RPG that has barely seen the light of day since its inception, save for a few references to one of the game's characters, and its most memorable track, Megalomania. This uses a really interesting grid-based battle system that mixes turn-based strategy with a JRPG in a way that is really satisfying and simple to understand. The different ranges each move has for both you and your enemies makes formulating strategies a fun exercise.

The story was a bit bland compared to other Square titles, but it's also fairly charming in its simplicity. You play through different eras with each character, each era having its own gimmick or theme. For example, there is a Kung-Fu chapter set in very early China that plays out like a stereotypical Kung-Fu movie, and another chapter that covers the story of a cowboy in the wild west, which plays out like a typical Western film (not to mention, a JRPG set in the wild west is super cool, not gonna lie). So, while the threads holding these chapters together definitely could have been tighter, the individual stories themselves felt very fun to play through. The concept itself is super great, but I do think that it could have been built on to make something much better.

It all comes together in the end in a way that's satisfying enough, but it leaves a lot to be desired. The very ending of the game features a lot of recolors and running around the same area, which gets pretty tiresome and is unfortunate considering the game had me engaged for a majority of the time. It sucks because there's a lot of attention to detail in some spots, you can tell exactly which areas the game developers loved working on, and which they didn't so much. I turned my brain off for a majority of the section leading up to the final boss. You have a really cool set of options for an ending depending on what you do, at least, which I always appreciate.

Overall, I had a lot of fun with the game, each of the characters and stories are fun enough on their own, save for a few really dull moments. If it had more cohesion and an endgame that dealt with less asset re-use, it'd be perfect, but it feels like the end was a very weak attempt at pulling everything together. I would say that it's very worth the play if you're a fan of JRPGs in general or of Square, because its gameplay is just that unique and fun to handle, but it isn't going to blow you out of your seat with its stories, and you might drop the game at the end if you can't power through the final area.


Shantae: Risky's Revenge - Director's Cut - Steam

I just finished this one the other day - my first Shantae game, actually! The way this game plays out is so satisfying, the designers for this game made a very small area feel fleshed out and connected, which is something that isn't always easy to do with a small game. I can't blame them for making the game so small, either, considering this was first a DSiWare title.

Though its very short, it helps keep anything from overstaying its welcome. The core concept of Shantae is using transformation dances, which allow Shantae to access more methods of movement. The major thing here is that the game heavily rewards players that remember details and are able to come back once they have the appropriate ability or transformation needed to access secrets or collectibles. It isn't too demanding, either, since story beats usually have you revisit areas after you've obtained the ability you'd need to get it. There are very few points where you'll need to backtrack for one specific item that is far out of the way.

I like how the upgrades work for the most part - you have to purchase them from the shop after you've found more collectibles, which feeds in to encouraging players to explore areas. Shantae's hair-whip powerup doesn't just make her hair stronger, it instead makes her hair-whipping faster, which I think is great, because it demands the player get better at attacking and build more skill to use it. It's not that much more skill than before, but I think it's a more satisfying way to award the player since it makes them engage a bit more with the game to reap the benefits.

The magic spells you acquire are sometimes required to progress, but unfortunately they're heavily underutilized compared to the transformation dances. The transformation dances are a great way to go about puzzle-solving. They re-contextualize the areas you've visited and make you think about ways you can use your new abilities to problem-solve. My only complaint here is that the Elephant transformation, compared to the Monkey or Mermaid, is kind of underused, and mostly only serves to break blocks. You only really use it once you have it to open up areas you couldn't get to before, and then it's basically dropped.

The last boss once again rewards the player for engaging with the game as much as possible, which I think is very necessary for a game this short in length. You lose the ability to use your transformations (which, couldn't really be used in combat very effectively), but the boss makes use of transformation dances itself. Since its movements mimic those of Shantae, you have to remember which dance moves do what in order to properly plan your next action during the fight. This also means that the more you found collectibles, the more upgrades Shantae will have, the easier this fight will be.

Overall a great Metroidvania game. No parts really felt awful, but some of its concepts weren't used enough, I felt. The magic spells were especially useless up until the final boss, which is a little disappointing. I never used half of my arsenal by the time I finished the game. Everything else had a lot of care put into it, though. I had a lot of fun playing through the game, and the twist at the end was a little expected but done well enough. Shantae has a character arc and changes by the end, which is great, too. I actually want to get into the other Shantae games now.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by Apollo the Just » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:23 am

The last game i finished is tales of symphonia, again, because i don't even know that other video games exist apparently. I finally got the Gilgamesh title for Zelos though! It's been YEARS since I challenged Abyssion and doing so was a lot of fun. I had to pull some NG-route strats to not die against him even on a super op NG+ file (well we were very nerfed bc we had costume stats, BUT YOU KNOW). Usually in NG+ you just beat the **** out of everything and macro more attacks and stuff dies before it can touch you, but in this case I had to make Raine spam first aid as a macro while comboing to keep us all alive. So it was fun to fight something that still posed a legitimate challenge.

The advanced coliseum solo fight is less of a fun challenge, because the last challenger dragon is just a stun-immune broken obnoxious tank with range. It's like the game developers saw how broken and exploitable its player characters are, and decided to make this particular enemy JUST as broken, so you have to break everything MORE and hope RNG is on your side to not die. Not exactly my definition of fun. Winning that fight did not feel like a victory, it felt like I flipped a coin and it came up the correct side.

I also learned that one of the Devil's Arms (the one in Gaoraccia Forest) just straight up de-spawns when Colette is not in your party. This caused a huge headache because i WAS CERTAIN THAT WAS THE RIGHT PLACE BUT IT WAS NOT THERE. There are probably better ways to prevent players from opening it at that point in time, because that was mildly infuriating. Also, Gaoraccia Forest is the most garbagely-programmed dungeon in GameCube RPG history, and I AM SO GLAD that in the speedrun route the only bush you actually need to light up works as intended. Heavens know none of the other ones do. I had forgotten how terrible most of those damn bushes are to get to move, would not recommend to friends.

Game is still perfection, but like, **** Gaoraccia Forest and **** that one particular coliseum fight

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by Calamity Panfan » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:41 pm

Oh boy it's been a few months since I've beaten a game (Super Mario Odyssey) but I decided to do a quick playthrough of one of my all-time favorites, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, while I was back home in Michigan with access to the old PS2.

I've always loved this game, but I always forget how damn-near perfect it is. It's hard to ask for much better controls than in Tony Hawk. Every time you wipe out feels like it's because of something you did (which was very frustrating when I first turned on the game and expected to put up the 150,000 point combos that I could when I played years ago right away). The challenges are a nice combination of challenging and fun. This playthrough was pretty easy for me because I remembered how to do everything. I wish I could go back to my first few playthroughs when you got to explore everywhere and figure out exactly how to reach those secret tapes or which goals you have to finish before doing others.

Then there's the soundtrack. I think THPS games had the most influence on my music tastes of anything not named Guitar Hero. Even though I didn't get into stuff like skate punk and underground rap until a few years after I first played these games, they definitely laid the groundwork. This soundtrack is almost perfection, and it does reach perfection once you turn off "I'm Destroying the World" from the tracklist. Just a great collection of songs for riding and exploring, and aside from the inclusion of classics like "Ace of Spades" and "Blitzkrieg Bop," nothing feels too obvious.

It's kinda crazy to think that this game is one of the few games to get a perfect 10 from GameSpot, but it's hard not to say it deserves it. Everything is SO SMOOTH.


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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by I am nobody » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:56 pm

50. Dead Cells (8/19) (PC)

Dead Cells gives Castlevania the roguelite treatment, which has somehow not been done before in any notable way. There are a million ways that idea could've gone wrong, from bad room level generation to fully mimicking the Metroidvania genre's backtracking, but DC pulls it off almost flawlessly. Combat is tense, yet fluid, movement has a high skill ceiling and can be blisteringly fast, and the levels are full of secrets and side paths accessible only once you've unlocked permanent upgrades. Items come in the broad form of melee and ranged weapons, shields, grenades, support items, and various deployable traps, and the resulting gameplay variety is probably the best I've seen outside of Enter the Gungeon. Stat upgrades, random weapon abilities, and unlockable perks give you even more choices. It's brilliant stuff.

This is the part where I'd like to say it's one of the best roguelites I've ever played and is my new favorite for 2018, but the industry is cursed this year and everything I'd like to say that about has to have some massive flaw.

In Dead Cells' case, it's the final boss. One of the key parts of designing a roguelite is making sure that there aren't any massive difficulty spikes, because they lead to situations where the player has to grind through levels they've already mastered to even have a chance at practicing the new challenge. DC is mostly great about this - the midbosses can be challenging, and the later levels will severely punish mistakes against even single regular enemies, but it always feels workable. Then you reach the final boss, which takes up a good third of a tiny platform with spikes on either side, does huge damage from a large pool of attacks, and resists all sorts of tactics that could've easily gotten you to that point.

All of which would be fine in a normal game where you could just reload the checkpoint and try again until you worked it out. But DC is a roguelite, which means you have to spend up to an hour (if you're being thorough) trudging through levels that are no longer particularly challenging to get another shot. Worse, the game has a hidden unexplained mechanic where your damage against bosses is capped, but their damage is based on your number of stat upgrades and is uncapped. So if you do the logical thing and comb every level for every possible upgrade to make the fight easier, you end up making it even harder and wasting even more time. I've heard the fight is easier with shields, but I don't find shield combat interesting, roguelites should've learned from FTL that nobody likes it when you make certain strategies abruptly useless against the final boss.

I made 6 legitimate attempts before learning to mod the game and just making everything die in one hit. That run was actually still pretty fun, which is a testament to the game's design, but it's really unfortunate that it came to that. DC gave me a fantastic twelve hours followed by a frustrating and pointless six, and it's hard to forget the latter.

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