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Topic: Games You Recently Beat?

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Heavyarms55

I finished Steins;Gate Elite last night with the true ending. It is an outstanding visual novel. The way the adapted the anime back into VN format and then added in all the cut content that wasn't originally in the anime, including all of the alternate endings, is superb! This is simply a must play for anyone who likes visual novels, hard science fiction, or strong character driven stories! It's a difficult story to talk about without spoilers, but I can say it is without a doubt the best depiction of time travel I have ever seen in fiction. It examines the concept very deeply and manages to portray a sci-fi story that is both believable and fantastic at the same time. The likable, quirky and very memorable cast drive the story so well. Characters evolve and change throughout without losing a core that makes them who they are. There is a great deal of good humor, but this is not a happy story and likely several of the endings will leave you heart broken. But not all of them. #spoilers.

There are a few flaws however. For one thing, it isn't even clear, if you are going in blind, that this is a game at all. If you bought it blind you might think you just bought an anime where you need to press A to move forward. But ultimately your choices do matter. Another minor drawback is how heavily steeped in Japanese culture the story is. There are some things that will likely just not make sense to a western viewer unfamiliar with them. But these things are rare and shouldn't detract from the experience much. And the final gripe was the amount of science-babble. Steins;Gate does an excellent job of writing sci-fi from a very real science position, almost too good of a job. There are a few points that felt like sitting in a physics class. However that stops about a third of the way through the story.

The story does start slow, but once you get pulled in it becomes extremely hard to stop. By the end I flat out couldn't and played the last 2 and half chapters in one sitting, staying up several hours later than I intended.

If you like science fiction and anime, you owe it to yourself to experience Steins;Gate in some fashion. You could totally just watch the anime online, but if you want the full experience, Elite is absolutely the best way to do it!

Final note: VALUE! this VN is effectively the entire anime, plus all the alternate endings, at a price far cheaper than it would be to buy the boxed set new.

Nintendo Switch FC: 4867-2891-2493
Discord: Heavyarms55#1475
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Feel free to add me

Ralizah

Title: Yumi's Odd Odyssey (AKA Sayonara Umihara Kawase)

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

What is it?: The 3DS (and eventually Vita/PC) entry in an obscure, Japanese cult classic series that started on the SNES where you play as a girl named Umihara (or Yumi in this localization, I guess) who uses her fishing rod to grapple her way through levels that pose a variety of platforming challenges. Levels are completed by finding doors, and the structure of the game is such that you open up alternate routes through the game by way of somewhat hidden doors in certain levels. There are optional backpack collectibles to find as well, along with alternate characters to unlock.

Level of completion: 3/5 endings cleared; 39/50 total stages completed; 17/40 backpacks found. I could play it more, but, honestly, I feel like I'm pretty much done with the game.

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What I liked

  • The gameplay hinges almost entirely on the manipulation of a complex, physics-based grappling system which is your primary means of platforming through the various levels in the game. Lengthening and shortening your fishing line at various elevations and arcs of your swing will wildly alter how you progress through the level. I became proficient enough to progress through most of the stages, but truly skilled (primarily Japanese) players can perform awesome feats of skill and blitz through the most brutal of levels in a manner of seconds.
  • Alternate characters to unlock. Some of which have special abilities.

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What I disliked:

  • There's little enemy variety. Just a couple different types of mutated fish monsters that eerily lumber around the stages. They're totally at odds with the cutesy design of the rest of the game.
  • Of the special abilities available to your characters, only one, which adds a single level checkpoint which you can re-spawn at once, is of any real use. And then that is often poorly implemented, because it often doesn't reset other elements within the level. If you die from a fish monster boss near a checkpoint, for example, it's not uncommon to immediately die again upon re-spawning because the fish monster is literally standing in the same location where you re-spawned.
  • This game is ugly. Very bland visual presentation with squat character models. Very little variation in the backdrops, and they never seem to have any rhyme or reason to the way they're arranged. The level design is unimaginative as well, with platforms feeling like they've been arranged almost at random at times.
  • While I understand that the developers wanted to make your platforming success solely dependent on your ability to manipulate the complex physics related to your fishing line, I wish that controlling your character didn't feel quite so clunky as it does.
  • The performance, at what feels like a sluggish sub-30fps framerate, is disappointing as well.
  • There's no context for almost anything that happens in this game. You swing around, capture horrifying fish monsters, find backpacks, and enter hidden doors... cuz. This extends to boss battles as well, if they can even be called that. The game will just unceremoniously dump you in another level, except this time there's a larger fish monster lumbering around, and you have to find a way to get stuff to fall on its head. In the case of one particularly evil level, you have to grapple onto loads of fruit in the ceiling and use your body weight to spill them out onto the boss below (if you're, indeed, lucky enough for the boss to happen to lumber far enough over for this to happen). The fruit will knock you down to your death if it hits you, however, which means you have to swing away a split second after activating the spill. This, on its own, would be manageable if it wasn't for the fact that nine-tenths of the floor wasn't covered in spikes that insta-kill you. And even that would be OK if the swinging wasn't entirely momentum-based, which doesn't play well with split-second evasions.
  • For a game where death can come at any time, it's annoying to continually get booted into the level select screen upon dying.
  • Here is a screenshot I took of my 3DS on the results screen of the third ending stage. This game is brutally difficult just to play. This is a perfect encapsulation of the futility of my struggle. By the way, all 310 attempts took place in the same excruciating day:
    Untitled

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Final thoughts: The game isn't unplayable, by any means, and I can see how this might appeal to a certain type of player who is taken in by the unique system of locomotion in this game. With that said, even if I were a big fan of the game in this respect, it wouldn't excuse the lack of effort and polish in nearly every other aspect of the production.

Score: 3/10

Ralizah

NintendoByNature

Just finished my first play through of darksiders on switch. And wow, did that game blow me away. And very unexpectedly. Never knew much about the series going into it other than it being a zelda like. It was such a well done game from combat to puzzles etc. Some cool bosses and whatnot. I did love that alot of the extras and collectables werent so far out of your way which makes for easy gathering. Everything was fairly simple to learn and the game flowed rather smoothly. Might even give darksiders 2 a look now. 9/10 from this guy.

NintendoByNature

Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

So this isn't exactly my first time playing it (... It's the fifth over the past nine years 😅) but seeing as I now have a place to blast out my crazy ramblings, here's my thoughts on Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call Or Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne for the US/Japan readers.

Hope you enjoy reading it!

A little background

Nocturne/Lucifer's Call is the third entry in the mainline Shin Megami Tensei games by Atlus, which people are more aware of thanks to the offshot persona series (Me included) and the only mainline game to come to Playstation. PlayStation 2 in particular (Though it was released as a playstation classic for PS3. I can't attest to that ports quality, I've been playing the PS2 version)

Nocturne/Lucifer's call is a classic Japanese turn based Role Playing Game.

You play as a silent protagonist that you're free to name. First, surname and a nickname is all yours to do with as you will.

You're also able to name three other main characters in the game which are your teacher, a female school friend and a male school friend too.

As you can tell it involves high school students. But it also involves demons AND the end of the world.

... Except that within the first fifteen minutes everything aside from Tokyo (which gets turned into a weird small curved world) gets obliterated.

So... Not entirely your standard RPG.

If you didn't get from the previously stated fact of that I've played this through five times already (With one save file that's 250 hours or so (for three runs) and another that's 150 hours + (for two runs)) then I quite like this game... And maybe you'd like to know why?

You poor soul i mean lucky for you I'm gonna tell you


What I like

The atmosphere

I've never been one to really... Pick out a game's atmosphere? It's a bit hard to describe exactly. I've noticed the atmosphere in other games but I guess they've never leapt out at me?

SMT:LC is a very lonely game with your party being made up of the demons you encounter (or fuse) in the vortex world (Tokyo's new name during this... Transcendence)

You'll encounter a lot of npc's throughout the game. Mostly demons. But there's also your old friends, your teacher and two other humans. Plus Dante from Devil May Cry as the European box art loves to point out. (Unless you're playing the original Japanese release which doesn't have that content or the Japanese re-release of the director's cut which includes Raidou Kuzunoha from Devil Summoner instead) but there's no cutscenes/discussions/dialogue with your ever changing party of demons.

It's very old school in that regard... Like FF I or dare I say for a more recent example like Dark Souls.

Despite the fact you're always fighting with a party of three demons (Along with the main protagonist of course) in battle and have a stock of up to eight (twelve with the upgrades) at all times it is quite a lonesome game and I really enjoy that.

No voice acting

This may be a bit of contention to others, but I quite like it has no voice acting. Well not entirely at least.

It has SOME voice acting in that demons will occasionally roar, grunt, yell make some kind if noise during battle when attacking or getting hit themselves. But otherwise that's it.

Considering this was released in the west 2004/2005 for a lower budgeted game with quite a bit of dialogue this could've had a pretty bad dub. Thankfully it misses that entirely, but understandably that's not for everyone.

It does however let something else shine.

The Soundtrack

Persona 3, Persona 4 & Persona 5 (I don't like 5's as much at all admittedly) each have good, undeniably well constructed soundtracks.

SMT:LC is rather diverse with it's musical selection.

From the ominous and rather slow electronic opening music, the alternate opening and it's upbeat electric guitar to pump things up, a battle theme that has synthesised vocals accompanying an electronic beat and guitar to the end of the world accompanied by a slow paced piano & violin piece that bursts into an energetic and moody organ solo once the destruction takes place...

There's so much about this soundtrack that I love Metatron's grandiose boss theme is in particular a delight. The fiend battles that are accompanied by bells, electronic beat and wails (that give it an almost opera like quality) is also a bizarre treat , that I recommend you give it a listen even if you aren't interested in the game itself.

The battle gameplay

Battles in SMT:LC are turn based. Unlike persona 3 - 5 and it's "one more" system, SMT:LC features the press turn system.

You can have up to four turns (Depending on the party) You can gain a fifth/second turn for the protagonist in a second cycle if you complete the graveyard challenges in the amala labyrinth during your first playthrough .

This is shown by some icons in the upper corner of the screen and enemies can have at least six (Some bosses have a move that can give them more turns... One in particular has a nasty ai bug that can spam it)

Simply put one icon equals one turn and typically one action removes one icon.

If you get a critical hit with a physical attack, strike a weakness with magic or pass to the next ally, then instead of using up a complete turn, you'll only use only half a turn icon, allowing the party a maximum of eight turns in one round.

This also extends to enemies however.

If you're unfortunate enough to end up facing an enemy party of six (that's quite rare though) ... You could end up taking twelve turns of damage if you're REALLY unlucky.

There's a nice layer of strategy to fights because of this, especially in the beginning hours where you'll have less moves, a smaller stock of demons and more weaknesses on your allies in particular.

The game encouraging you to switch up allies on a regular basis (with 170 or so of them from cute and cuddly Jack Frost to the all powerful god of norse Mythos Odin) which also helps reinforce that atmosphere as you never really have a constant bar the protagonist.

At least til the mid/end game...


What I don't like

The Overworld & Directions

The game doesn't include objectives, or even a small note of what your current one is. If you've left the game for a week or two and can't remember what you're supposed to be doing... Then good luck with that.

The overworld is also a touch basic and sometimes the direction to get to your next destination can be a little unclear on where exactly you're supposed to head to ... Not helping matters if you're completely lost on where you were in the game in the first place.

Padding

Like in all rpg's there's padding. I'm not terribly fond of it in any game (playing FF III on DS lately has shown me some awful padding even if it's quite brief) ... The final dungeon in particular is a bit of a slog to get through with plenty of long floors (one floor in particular revolving around a bunch of teleports that's anything but fun to get through)

It's not too bad, but it's something to consider.

Story & peculiar cast decisions

The story's serviceable, a bit more low key for the most part (I don't personally mind that) ... spread a little thinly because of the atmosphere but it gets the job done. To be honest I'm not entirely sure how you could actually improve it.

Two characters eventually come up with their own plan for the new world. One a might is right aspect, the other a solitary everybody has their own existence ... Yet both task the player to do the work for them to actually realise most of their philosophy.

It's not so much inherently bad, just a minor niggle that's at odds with their own belief... Besides using you cus why not?

Demon Negotiation

The main character has a talk option and is the only one (Unless a demon has a learnt one of the many talk skills) to be able to recruit demons to the party during battle.

This system is COMPLETELY random, with the enemy asking for money, items, will drain your health or ask you a philosophical question.

You'll get frustrated at times as the demon will bugger off taking everything you've given them, heal you/give you an item THEN bugger off, get mad and do nothing ... Or attack you cus you've offended them and it going straight to their turn

It's easier as you go along with more resources with money and items being much easier to obtain and you could make a demon your "HM slave" with talk skills and the boost skill charisma (good luck in getting it though)


Additional points

Difficulty

There's two difficulty levels for SMT:LC. Normal and hard. Hard should be renamed nightmare or hell.

Random encounters are incredibly dangerous. You can quite easily die in the tutorial area. In fact I've barely got past the first dungeon before giving up on it.

Normal is already quite a challenge!

You COULD start it on a second run if you wanted... But that's cheating things a bit

Endings

There's six endings in game. The most satisfying (to me at least) is the one which involves you going through all five kalpas of the bonus dungeon The Amala Labyrinth before you enter the final dungeon The Tower Of Kagatsuchi (Going through the obelisk through the second time)

The others are obtained through dialogue options throughout the game (and occasionally a question from an enemy demon during negotiation may push favour towards one) , with one being fairly hard to trigger as it only has two choices as far as I'm aware in the game and it's much easier to trigger any of the other endings

Overall

If you don't like RPGs or JRPGs in particular, this isn't the 60+ hour game that's gonna convert you into loving them.

If you do like them however, haven't played it and want something a little different (or maybe this just inspires you to replay it) then hopefully you'll give this a chance! 😀

You don't need to save the world to find meaning in life. Sometimes all you need is something simple, like someone to take care of - Aigis, Persona 3

"No cost too great. No mind to think. No will to break. No voice to cry suffering" - Hollow Knight

Late

Just finished Pikmin 3 for the first time. This is a funny one. I preordered it back when it was coming out since it was only 30€ for some reason. I played the game for 2-3 weeks and absolutely loved it. Now, why haven't I finished the game if I played it for so long? Well, I actually only played the first 4 days of the story mode and everything else was multiplayer. Me and my sister got the best rank from most of the fruit collecting missions and played all enemy focused maps as well. My sister wasn't that into bingo battle, though. There was a little bit of skill gap so we didn't play that mode much. I still love it though.

Now we get to the actual single player story mode. There have been a lot of Pikmin videos lately, at least from the people I watch on YouTube, and I've been meaning to go back to Pikmin 3 for a while, so I finally did. I think the game had a bit of a slow start but it wasn't long until I started saying to myself "I still have so much left to do, just one more day". I really enjoyed my time with the game. But then I entered the last area today and it just wasn't for me. I lost Pikmin left and right, sometimes because I left them on one job so I can continue exploring and then I notice I can't easily get back, sometimes because of bomb rocks, sometimes because I'm just stupid and then the rest on the final boss. I basically tripled my dead Pikmin count in the last area. Once I dealt the final blow, I was just happy it was over. It wasn't the way I wanted to finish the game.

I'll still continue my adventure and collect those 10 or so fruits I have left. I still have some places to explore in earlier areas when I didn't have access to all Pikmin types. The game is great. The idea behind the last area was good too. I just didn't like the jump from casual exploring and fruit collecting to stressful and lengthy boss battles in general. I had the same problem with previous bosses too, just not quite to the same extent.

I programmed a simple tool that copies all Switch screenshots from an SD card and places them to folders according to the game:
Link

Switch Friend Code: SW-8287-7444-2602 | Nintendo Network ID: LateXD

NintendoByNature

After on and off, I've finally finished zelda: spirit tracks for the first time. It was better than phantom hourglass but not nearly as good as other entries in the series. I did love some of the puzzle solving in the game. The battles were kind of tough. Not because of the enemies or anything like that. But it due to your hand covering parts of the screen at times with your stylus. The last few hours honestly dragged on though in the tower of spirits. I still loved the game nonetheless, 9/10 I'd say, maybe 8.7/10 at the worst. It's worth a play through if you never have.

NintendoByNature

CanisWolfred

@Ralizah Yumi's Odd Odyssey isn't a stellar game by any stretch of the imagination, but the 3DS port was indeed pretty bad. I bought it for full price and it felt like I was scammed...

I am the Wolf...Red
Backloggery | DeviantArt
Wolfrun?

3DS Friend Code: 1418-6849-7569 | Nintendo Network ID: CanisWolfred

Maxz

Finally finished The Great Ace Attorney/DGS:NRnB, many moons after first starting. Because of the timespan, my thoughts might not be as joined-up or cohesive as they could be, but I’ll scribble a few of them down anyway.

In short, I enjoyed it. It’s basically the classic Ace Attorney setup retrofitted to the backdrop of turn-of-the-century Victorian London, with Sherlock Holmes and chums thrown in for good measure.

I’d like to say, “it’s as whacky as it sounds” (and does have its fair share of whack), but given the level of zaniness on display in the series’ more contemporary entries, I’d say it actually takes a more somber and grounded tone for the most part, which the Victorian setting lending the game a sense of historical weight and importance.

You follow our titular/eponymous/dude-whose-name-is-in-the-title protagonist on his adventures from Japan to the distant shores of the British Isles at a time when Japan is beginning to open up to the world and engage in wider international diplomacy.

Setting the game between two countries engaged in very new and delicate international relations is a fantastic device for ramping up the tension, as your actions not only have ramifications for the individuals involved, but threaten to being the whole diplomatic situation crashing down around you.

As for the individuals in question, I’d say they’re a slightly mixed bag of charming and likeable characters mixed with somewhat overblown caricatures who never really develop beyond a punchline. There’s quite a variety of character designs too; while most of the main cast looking relatively human, many of the side characters adopt rather more eccentric proportions. It’s a mix that is occasionally jarring but also equally often quite amusing, so I suppose I’m generally happy they allowed a little artistic license with these designs.

I won’t give too much away, but the story starts and finishes on a high note in my opinion; setting up your adventure by throwing you straight into the deep end of your own trial. The story is nicely tied together in the final trial too, although not without some unexplained mysterious (to nicely lead into the second game). There’s perhaps a little bit of sag in the middle where the plot doesn’t feel quite so driven, but it generally keeps rolling forward with enough pace to kee you interested.

Altogether, I’d say it’s an enjoyable romp. There’s something quite epic about sailing the stormy seas to distant lands at a time of equally tempestuous diplomatic negotiations, then trying to establish yourself in a whole new world. There’s also something very interesting about seeing Victorian London from the perspective of a fledgling Japanese exchange-student/defence attorney. It’s really just a very interesting setting to have chosen.

I picked up the second game at a secondhand bookshop, and I’ve heard people be quite positive about it, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck into that. But got the time being, I’m just proud to have seen the first journey through to its completion!

Edited on by Maxz

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Switch Friend Code: SW-5609-8195-9688 | Nintendo Network ID: Maxzly | Twitter:

SuperLuigiTime

I played and beat Knack last night. I know it has had mixed reviews, but I thought it was a decent game. I'm not sure what the public opinion on the sequel is, buti plan to play it sometime this weekend.

SuperLuigiTime

Switch Friend Code: SW-2814-0794-4500 | 3DS Friend Code: 0619-6949-4255 | Nintendo Network ID: tavorestye92

RR529

Farpoint (PS4/VR) - A Sci-fi themed FPS, where you're out to find your way off an alien planet after crash landing.

As a VR Experience: The few times you rode in a suttle (such as the opening scene where you were flying around a space station, plus the following crash landing) were really cool. The way the jumping spider enemies (the first enemy type you encounter) move is just right enough that they creep out your subconscious and make you jump everytime you encounter them (at least for the first few hours), and the sense of scale during the game's one boss encounter is truly mesmerizing. There is one stealth section that is pretty intense as well, as you'll constantly be looking over your shoulder to make sure a drone isn't swooping down from behind as you hightail it to the next area of cover. However, while there are a few interesting setpieces, most of the game takes place in a sort of canyony desert theme, and while I suppose it makes decent use of the depth effect, it's not a particularly interesting place to be, though a couple of later missions shake things up a bit. Oh, and there are also video logs (at the end of most missions) that make good use of the effect as well.

As a game: It's a pretty standard FPS. Kill things in a larger area, settle down as you walk along the path where you're either treated to a hologram that moves the story along, a setpiece, and or maybe a jumpscare ambush by one or two enemies, before coming to the next open area where you'll fight another large group of enemies, rinse & repeat (later levels tend to have less downtime with more constant large enemy encounters, but I honestly preferred the balance of the early game). It's not particularly great as a game, but they regularly introduce new enemy types & weapons so things never get boring (your gun is tied to the motion of your controller, so you physically have to look down the sight correctly in order to accurately shoot anything, which you'll know you're doing correctly when you see a lazer sight in the middle of your reticule, which is pretty cool). The main story has 8 missions which on average are an hour long each (at least for me), plus there is a challenge mode that sees you tackling the story missions in a time trial like environment, standard online multiplayer, plus a co-op mode of some sort (I assume online for that as well). I wasn't a big fan of how the story ended up, though.

Edited on by RR529

Currently Playing:
Switch - NSMBU Deluxe
PS4 - Moss

Ralizah

Just finished Deltarune Chapter 1. It was... alright. Definitely a good time for a free game. I wasn't hugely impressed, though. The world that was introduced just wasn't developed enough to give it a sense of character. Most of the new characters, outside of Susie, weren't terribly memorable. Making the sparing mechanic a constant part of the plot itself takes away from the subversion of typical JRPG tropes and the personal responsibility the player felt for behaving like they would in any other game (what unspoiled player didn't initially kill Toriel, only to feel a gut-wrenching sense of guilt when they realized what they had done?). Figuring out how to negotiate enemies out of a battle is still cute and fun, but it's too reminiscent of Undertale's system, and there's nothing quite as memorable as, say, getting the two guards to realize their love for one-another (was very happy to see them later in the game!). And the way you interact with Lancer is far too similar to initial run-ins with Sans and Papyrus in Undertale. It was very Undertale-lite. Diet Undertale.

With that said, I didn't dislike my time with it. I thought Susie's primary character arc was reasonably well-executed, even if it was a bit rushed. The game is still filled with the sort of wonderful humor that was so charming in the original Undertale. I also like how you gain TP when enemy attacks come close without actually damaging you, and there's an interesting risk/reward mechanic there. And the end of the game, where you get to travel around your home town and talk to the townsfolk, many of who return from the original game, was a lot of fun, and helped showcase the great character writing that is clearly the developer's specialty.

Also really liked the creepy cliffhanger at the very end.

If the rest of it was eventually released as a full game, I'd absolutely purchase, play, and enjoy my time with it. But I do feel like it needs to do more to distinguish itself from its predecessor.

Ralizah

klingki

I just finished Lifeless Planet, which I picked up on sale. Overall, it's not the best game in the world by any means, but I think it was pretty solid. It didn't review super well, so I have to say I was pleasantly surprised compared to what I expected. It got a 5/10 on this site, and while I can kind of agree with the reviewer's gripes, for me that stuff didn't matter that much. I'd probably give it a slightly-better 6 or 6.5 out of 10 (maybe 7 if I was feeling particularly generous).

The main issue for me was the slightly clunky jumping mechanics. Most of the game did not really require precise platforming, but there was a section or two that did, and it got a little frustrating. I get that you're in space, so the jumping should have some float to it, but I found it kind of hard to accurately judge your jump distance, and many times I actually landed on the intended platform, only to weirdly slide off because I ended up a bit too close to the edge.

Other than that, the story was good in general, though it has some weaknesses if you really start to think about it. The character model for the astronaut (the main character) was good, but the model for the other main character you frequently run into looks off. The environments were pretty nice, and I really enjoyed exploring them. Overall, I'm glad I did not buy this game at full price (I would not recommend it at that price point), but on sale for 50% or more off, it might be worth a shot if you enjoy exploration/walking sim/light puzzle & platform types of games.

klingki

NintendoByNature

Just finished cuphead on my first play through. Moments where i loved the game and moments where I wanted to delete it from my home page😉. But it all seriousness it was probabaly the hardest game I've beaten(not just played for a little while and gave up ). Only ahead of zelda 2 and zelda 2 was tough as nails for me. I feel like there were some cheap shots in the level that were definitely designed to make you fail, or in other words, no matter if you jump, duck or dash you were bound to take a hit which is kind of frustrating considering you only have 3 hits( 4 with a charm).

Other than the cheap shots and the game just being hard as hell , I actually enjoyed it alot. Love the animation, the music, the sound effects and my favorite part was that cuphead and mugman shoot out of their fingers. As hard as the game was, that light hearted nature and comic relief helped alot. You can tell these guys put alot of thought and effort into making this game as unique as possible. If you're a fan of run n gun, or platforming, and don't mind dying over and over, give this game a shot. It's probably a top 15 game for me on switch, maybe top 10, but I'd have to think about it a little more. 8.5/10

Edited on by NintendoByNature

NintendoByNature

Ralizah

Title: Star Fox Zero

Platform: Wii U

What is it?: A remake of the N64 classic Star Fox 64 (which itself was a remake of the much more rudimentary SNES original).

Level of completion: Unlocked all the extra routes, levels, and events, so I've beaten pretty much the entire game. Did not get the highest score on every level, however.

What I liked:

  • The fun animated short that was included that functions as a prologue to the story in the game. It's not going to blow anyone away, but I always find cross-media storytelling techniques like this to be, if nothing else, quite interesting.
  • So, in this game, you have two viewpoints: one on the TV that's third-person and gives you a sense of where your ship is, like in a traditional Star Fox game, and then one on the GamePad that's in first-person. Aiming in this game is totally liberated from the manner in which you fly your ship, so you use gyro controls to aim your blaster. And, despite my significant misgivings with this dual-screen set-up, I'll say that I really found the gyro aiming to be responsive and fun to use. As always, Nintendo reveals themselves to be the masters of the effective use of motion controls in gaming.
  • Ditching single-screen gameplay allows you to pull off some interesting maneuvers, such as shooting at a target while flying away from it, for example. It also allows you to have interesting camera viewpoints in some of the huge boss battles, instead of the game forcing the camera to stay locked behind the Arwing the entire time.
  • Some of the unlockable content is interesting. For example, there's one level that you can go back to after you receive a certain upgrade to your Arwing, and you can unlock a level where you play as Peppy Hare and take on a gigantic enemy battleship by yourself. It's not the best thing ever, but stuff like this is fun. You can also unlock some extra matches against Star Wolf's crew.

What I disliked:

Oh boy...

So there are problems in virtually every area of this game. I'll just start with the dual-screen set-up, which is the most immediate and obvious issue with this game: the unwieldy dual-screen set-up. Maintaining a sense of awareness of both is crucial, considering aiming is far too imprecise on the TV, but you still need to reference it to make sure you're not into obstacles or whatnot. This makes it where your attention is constantly split between the two screens, which is pretty much constantly stressful, even after you learn to adapt to it somewhat. Unlike a game on the Nintendo DS, where the two screens are extremely close, you're having to look down in your hands to up at a TV, back and forth, as you play. It's extremely unpleasant. What this does is rob this rail shooter of the operational simplicity that is the biggest appeal and hallmark of the rail shooter in the first place. It inserts this big, middling control issue directly in-between you and the game, and even after you learn how to manage it enough to complete levels easily, it definitely saps most of the fun out of the experience. It's even worse in free-range levels, with a lot of movement and dodging, as with certain bosses, where I constantly felt like I was fighting the controls more than the enemy itself.

That's hardly the end of this game's issues, though. For one thing, it's incredibly derivative. A lot of the missions in this game are just straight up lifted, aesthetics and all, from Star Fox 64, and, unlike that game, it almost never successfully introduces new level designs or engaging mechanics. There's a sense of "been there, done that" the whole way through. It's incredibly uninspired.

When the game does attempt to do new things, it's pretty much always to its detriment. One area where this becomes especially clear is when the game introduces new vehicles to the mix. The worst of these is the Gyrowing, which is a clunky, difficult to control, and slow moving helicopter of sorts where you spend the majority of a level awkwardly navigating your way from one boring environmental puzzle to another. I'm not sure what the game is going for in these levels, but it's pretty much the opposite of what you'd want or expect from a high-speed space shooter. The walker (or, as I call it, the Star Chicken, because it looks disturbingly similar to a chicken) itself is a total nightmare to control, and any level that employees it heavily often sees me frequently crash into walls as I try to navigate the level geometry. The game pushes Star Chicken transformations in boss battles, but, more often than not, I find it to be such a hindrance that I'll opt for the Arwing even when its not suited for a level. This becomes especially the case in the obnoxious final boss encounter with Andross, where the challenge really comes from trying to juggle multiple different styles of control simultaneously to even do something as simple as move, aim at the boss, and shoot where you want. Apparently the Star Chicken was introduced in Star Fox 2 on the SNES, but, having never played that, I don't know if it's any more tolerable there.

Visually, the game is bland, and reminds me of what a launch GameCube game might look like upscaled to 720p. This is probably due to the game streaming two different views of the game at all times, which must be costly in terms of resource requirements. Of course, the game doesn't do nearly enough new stuff with this to justify moving away from the series' traditionally single-screen gameplay.

The narrative presentation is especially unambitious and does nothing that the original Star Fox 64 didn't already do decades ago. The music is serviceable, but the best tracks are all taken directly from SF64.It fails as a story, fails as a tech showcase, and even fails the basic test of being a fun, approachable rail shooter.

Final thoughts: Innovative in ways that didn't require innovation and unchanged in ways that make it feel stale, this game represents a solid backward step for the franchise as a whole. I really wanted to like it, but I just didn't. Definitely not the worst game ever made, but I do think it deserved to be savaged the way it did. This lack of polish is totally unacceptable for a major Nintendo property.

Score: 4/10

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

SamusLv7

Just finished Zelda Breath of the Wild a second time (all Shrines, all Link's Memories, a bit more than 300 Korok Seeds and half of the Side Quests). Got to say the game's Hyrule Castle is one of the best dungeons of all Zelda dungeons.

Now playing:
Zelda BotW (DLC), Mario Odyssey, Octopath Traveler, Bravely Default, Yooka-Laylee, Bravely Second, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES N3DS), Megaman ZX.

NintendoByNature

Just finished yoshis crafted world. First yoshi game i ever finished and I shockingly loved it. More than I thought I would. Dont really feel like giving a full review but i loved it just as much Mario oddyssey in all honesty. Real talk 😊

NintendoByNature

RR529

Completed Onimusha Warlords (Switch) recently.

It's a bit rough around the edges in spots due to age, but it honestly had me hooked & had me wanting to go back for more every time I had to put it down. It had a fantastic atmosphere (I actually really dug the detailed pre-rendered environments, and I felt that with few exceptions, they still looked pretty sharp, at least on my 32" 720p TV), while the combat wasn't flashy by today's standards I found encounters with regular enemies to be engaging, it was nice to break up the action with the light puzzling elements (really, I quite enjoyed the whole "Metroidvania" structure of the game itself), and while the story is pretty standard, playing it in Japanese (with subtitles) really helped to bring me into it, given the theme. The only disappointment was that, aside from a couple exceptions, I wasn't too fond of the bosses (this is where the aged camera work really came into play). Still, I didn't find any of them too troubling (the last two maybe, but I had managed to find all health upgrades & stockpile the best medicine, so I was able to power through them), so not much of an issue in the end.

Definitely worth a look if you haven't played it before, especially if you like "Metroidvanias".

Currently Playing:
Switch - NSMBU Deluxe
PS4 - Moss

Ralizah

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - Torna: The Golden Country

Platform: Nintendo Switch

What is it: An expansive DLC prequel to Xenoblade Chronicles 2. You play as Lora, an orphaned Driver who is searching for her mother alongside her two trusted Blade companions, Jin and Haze. Through circumstance, she becomes involved in a wider-scale quest to help save civilization from a legendary Blade called Malos who is intent on wiping out human life.

Level of completion: The entirety of the main plot alongside the vast majority of side-quests. By the end, I logged about 30 hours into the game.

Thoughts:

  • First, this game is an expansion in the truest sense. While the game's 25 - 30 hour play time (longer if you want to complete everything) is a fraction of the time it'll take you to beat the epic base game (XC2 took me 105 hours to complete, and that didn't include most of the game's side-content; it could potentially take hundreds of hours to see everything), it's still incredibly impressive for a DLC campaign and compares favorably to the playtime of most AAA retail releases. More crucially, the game mostly puts this playtime to good use, and I was enthralled by the story from beginning to end. In any other genre, this would be a full-fat retail game. This feeling of "fullness" extends to almost every aspect of the production.
  • Arguably the defining aspect of this DLC, and its most controversial feature, is the extreme degree to which it puts an emphasis on side-quests. The two explorable titans in this game (for those unacquainted with XC2, the landmasses in these games are enormous flying creatures called Titans) play host to a large number of characters, and the majority of them are unique, named people who you'll help over the course of the game. The focus on sidequests is so central that there are several times that the game will stop you from progressing the "main plot" until you've completed a certain number of them (this is framed as adding people to your community: helping people via side-quests will win them over to your 'side,' to to speak, and this is depicted in its own sub-menu as an expanding circle of trust). While this is seen as a crippling flaw by some people, it didn't bother me too much.
  • Speaking of side-quests... they're excellent here. This is easily the best set of side-quests I've encountered in any Xenoblade game to date. Almost every one is substantive to some degree, so there's almost nothing in the way of plain fetch quests here. I mean, you might have to go fetch something, but it's to do something, and it ties into a character's life, and it's incredibly well presented. Also really neat, given this game's focus on community and learning about the lives of others, is gradually figuring out how the people you encounter throughout the game are related. This is all done very organically, so you get a lot of moments where you're surprised by a connection you hadn't seen before. "Oh, so this person is behaving this way because of the person I encountered in a side-quest hours ago." It's very neat.
  • The battle system has been revamped and streamlined. While combat isn't quite as deep as it was in the base game, it also seems much more intuitive now. Battles are generally faster and more thrilling. There's a cool "tag" system where drivers and blades take turns actively battling with enemies. Their "swap arts" can have different effects (if you've inflicted "break" on any enemy, for example, main character Lora can swap with her Blade, Jin, who will topple the enemy, temporarily subduing them and setting them up for a longer driver combo). Swapping with a character, in a neat, Bloodborne-esque twist, can also help recover recently lost health, encouraging the player to continually cycle between blades and drivers to keep their health up and continually set up new combos, especially for chain attacks. It's all very dynamic.
  • The weird fanservice moments and more risque character designs from the base game seem to be almost entirely absent. I'm apathetic about this, but it might make some people happy (or, hell, disappointed).
  • The soundtrack is still high quality stuff, although a bit conservative insofar as it uses a lot of the music from the base game. Still, the new battle theme is positively sexy, and older Gormott has a fantastic remix for its theme.
  • Torna has seen some sort of change in its graphics engine that has resulted in somewhat more stable performance and a higher level of detail in environments. The game is simply stunning on the TV, and I didn't notice huge resolution and framerate dips when the game was docked. This, unfortunately, is not the case in handheld mode, but it still fares better than the base game when undocked: things could get fuzzy in the midst of really heated battles with multiple enemies and flashy skills going off, but I never noticed the game reducing itself to an impressionistic smear on the screen when just adventuring around a large environment, as happened to frequently in the XC2.
  • The structure of the game is sort of brilliant, and reminds me, in a way, of the classic Nintendo game "The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask." As I mentioned before, a significant portion of the experience is structured around side-quests that allow you to help and befriend the people of (old) Gormott and Torna. The plot is also, as mentioned, building up to an incredibly tragic climax. As in Majora's Mask, it's a game where you continually insinuate yourself into the lives of people you know are soon going to have their worlds quite literally torn apart. This brings a sense of irony and sadness to even the game's silliest segments. The constant harmony between love and sadness, lighthearted reverie and crushing sadness help to give Torna: The Golden Country its very unique feel.
  • The final main story boss fight is more engaging than it was in the base game, and introduces a neat mechanic that helps boost the sense of urgency as you fight. And then the true final boss fight happens, and it helps bring closure to an element of the game you thought had been abandoned near the beginning. It also helps develop another aspect of the story that becomes more relevant in the base game.
  • Gort is actually a pretty good villain. Sometimes the most satisfying monsters to slay are the ones who live closest to home, as opposed to the ones who objectively pose the biggest threat.

Verdict: I loved everything about this game. This is the first Xenoblade game I can say I've well and truly fully enjoyed with almost no reservations about the game design. It simply excels on every level and, if it were longer, I would call it my favorite entry in the series. As it stands, I think it has to be considered alongside the base game it sprung from, which certainly elevates my already pretty high opinion of Xenoblade 2.

9.5/10

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

Vinny

Super Mário 3D World

It does look pretty good visually, and the level variety is much better than 3D Land.
There are many creative ideas, such as the Super Mario Kart inspired level and the shadow play one, but to me the linear design just makes the game feel somewhat limited. The boss fights were also 'meh' to me.

The upbeat jazz soundtrack is really good and I enjoyed the cat suit upgrade (it's actually making an appearance in Super Mario Maker 2)

Edited on by Vinny

This blue eye perceives all things conjoined. The past, the future, and the present. Everything flows and all is connected. This eye is not merely seen reality. It is touching the truth. Open the eye of truth... There is nothing to fear.

PSN: mrgomes2004

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