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Topic: Games You Recently Beat?

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Tyranexx

Two completions recently:

Bravely Second: End Layer: I absolutely LOVED this game. While I wouldn't say that it's 100% essential to play Bravely Default first, it's a definite benefit; this game often references events in that game, particularly if you engage in the side quests. Two of the playable characters from the previous game also return as part of your party.

Positives

  • While the plot wasn't award-winning, it was definitely entertaining and well done overall. The nice thing about the Bravely series as a whole is that there isn't a lot of clear-cut good guy/bad guy, black/white scenarios. There are a ton of gray areas. The motives of those in the antagonistic faction, the Glanz Empire, in this game are explored quite well. I also love how they went into more detail about the events surrounding the Great Plague and what led up to it. The plot DOES get pretty weird near the end, but it's by no means bad.
  • Like the previous game, the main playable characters AND antagonists are fleshed out quite well. Reading their interactions, learning their likes and dislikes, their motives, and their eccentricities really turns them into more than just pretty faces. The side quests also serve to further expand upon some characters from Bravely Default as well.
  • The side quests themselves are, on the whole, well-written and entertaining in many cases. None of these are essential, but completing them will earn the player jobs that were available in the previous game.
  • Experimenting with jobs in this title is more fun (and easier, more on that in a sec) than ever. Many of the new jobs are fun and useful. A few jobs from the previous game are missing (I particularly miss Arcanist, but that combined with another job was borderline broken. XD), but the new jobs more than make up for that.
  • Combat is quite fun for a RPG and can be chained to make leveling the characters and their jobs much faster. The Brave and Default system is back and just as exploitable as ever, and the wild card that is Bravely Second also has its uses...particularly with bosses later in the game.
  • The musical score is quite a pleasure to listen to, and a couple of tunes jump immediately into my mind: Path to the Celestial Realm, Gathelatio's theme, and Tiz's theme.
  • This game, as well as its predecessor, is among the most visually pleasing on the Nintendo 3DS. Where the art really shines is when the player is in a city or another important area. Some of these assets are reused from the previous game, but great care was made to portray the vastness, majesty, or foreboding edifices of many areas of the game. This is truly one of those games where I think playing in 3D is to the player's benefit.
  • The fourth wall breaking. Hoooo boy, this game takes that to a whole new level.

Neutral

  • This game reuses many dungeons from Bravely Default, but most of these are completely avoidable if the player avoids side quests. Even so, there are items to gather here and, for Bestiary completionists, new monsters to beat up. The game does introduce some new dungeons.

Negative (These are more personal nitpicks than true negatives; clearly some will feel differently.)

  • I sort of feel like Yoko was shoehorned into the plot. Her backstory is interesting, sure, but I don't feel like she contributed very much overall other than some foreshadowing and her asterisk. The part where she appeared in the main plot sort of seemed like filler.
  • I wish we had learned more about Ringabel's involvement with the multi-dimensional organization he was in, but that was mostly explored in a side quest. Maybe this could be expanded upon in another game in the series? If I recall, a third game has more or less been confirmed to be in development....

In short, BS: EL is how you do a sequel right. I highly recommend this to any JRPG fan, but I encourage anyone interested in this game to play through Bravely Default first.


Super Castlevania IV - Shorter game, shorter impressions. I enjoyed this game overall, though some later stages seem to exist to annoy you more than anything.

Positives

  • The music was definitely my favorite thing about this game. The tracks were well-done. Very atmospheric and catchy. Go 90s!
  • The backgrounds and some of the enemies, when considering the time period this game released in, have aged pretty well visually. They definitely nailed the Gothic atmosphere. Simon himself seems pretty blurry, but that could just be how the game is rendered on my TV screen. (I played this one on the SNES Classic)
  • They had some pretty cool mechanics in the backgrounds and stages here. That rotating trap level (Stage IV?) was especially cool. The game certainly must've put the original SNES through its paces.
  • The combat/gameplay here was pretty fun overall. Not only can you throw various weapons and use some pretty cool artifacts besides, but the whip definitely has more functionality here. I'll be honest: I've never been able to get into the first three Castlevania titles due to their sheer trolling difficulty.

Negatives

  • Minus a few cases, most of the boss fights just weren't that exciting for me; I found them annoying more than anything. There were only two that I truly enjoyed: The lovers/dancing couple and Dracula himself.
  • Personal nitpick: While I know that this game is by no means meant to be a cakewalk, I still found some of the borderline trolling in later stages to be annoying; I do not enjoy being repeatedly knocked off of a stage and to my death due to a fireball that JUST edged its way in where it wouldn't at other times or because some enemy was lucky enough to throw a bone through the floor. The game usually didn't feel unfair, but there were a few times where that did seem to be the case.

Overall, I recommend this game to someone who's looking for something a bit dark and challenging. Again, it normally doesn't feel unfair, but some later stages can certainly seem that way.

Video Corner: How SM3DW Actually Started (language)
Currently playing: Dragon Quest IV (DS), Yoshi's Island (SNES Classic)

Nintendo Network ID: Zelda_By_Night

Dogorilla

@Tyranexx I played Super Castlevania IV recently too. It was my first Castlevania game and I was expecting it to be unfairly difficult, but it actually had a fairly smooth difficulty curve. It did get very difficult towards the end (that bit with the spiky wheel thing chasing you up a vertical wall section was infuriating), but the save states on the SNES Classic stopped it from getting too frustrating so I really liked it overall.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NCyD3XoJgM

Tyranexx

@Dogorilla This was also my first proper Castlevania game if you disregard a demo I played for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate on the 3DS several years ago. I'm not ashamed to admit that I used save states as well; I avoided them for the most part at the beginning but found that they made progress less of a hassle before long.

I agree: the difficulty curve itself is fairly smooth and tolerable most of the time. Most of my frustration really came from running into things that I couldn't see just off-screen, then getting knocked off. Also apparently only doing so much as sneezing on spikes in this game is an automatic death. That section with the moving/rotating floors and spikes (same section with the spinning wheel, I believe) tested my patience. XD

To this game's credit, it's much, MUCH fairer than the somewhat similar Super Ghouls'n Ghosts.

Edited on by Tyranexx

Video Corner: How SM3DW Actually Started (language)
Currently playing: Dragon Quest IV (DS), Yoshi's Island (SNES Classic)

Nintendo Network ID: Zelda_By_Night

KarateLuigi

I finished Pokémon Y yesterday, including the postgame episodes and it had me remember why I enjoyed X so much back then.

I really love the backstory and lore (the war, the whole thing with AZ and Floette and how it ties past and present together), the soundtrack is pleasant, Kalos is pretty and doesn't have any area I found downright grating (Lumiose City is a pain to navigate at first but I think it really captures the overwhelming feeling of being in a huge city for the first time and while Pokémon rides are awfully slow those sections aren't long), I absolutely love the player characters' designs, "older gen 'mon fatigue" wasn't as strong as with other entries, good starters, postgame that doesn't drag on (not a fan of postgame stuff), also it's low on the mandatory HM front.

That isn't to say the game's without issues and it's not my favourite Pokémon entry (that'd be B/W) but I've always had fond memories of it and that's been reestablished now.

Currently playing: ACNL, HM ANB, Pokémon AS, Stardew Valley, Portal Knights, Mario Tennis Aces, Overcooked 2

Looking forward to: Overcooked 2 DLCs, Pokémon SW/SH
Hyped for: ACNH

Pokémon marathon
Done: Pt, W, W2, LG E, OR, Sun, UM, Y
Up next: US, LG P

Magician

Anthem

Easily the worst Bioware developed game I've ever played.

I never thought I'd see the day when I would play an average Bioware game.

Switch Physical Collection - 369 games (as of July 20th, 2019)
Currently playing: Dragon Quest Builders 2 (Switch) Mary Skelter (PS Vita) Borderlands The Pre-sequel (PS4)
Favorite Quote: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -Arthur C. Clarke

Magician

Ralizah wrote:

@Magician Was ME Andromeda above-average, in your opinion?

Haven't played it yet, and I doubt I will. I was one of the few folks who wasn't upset with how ME3 ended, pre-patch. I checked out on the franchise at that point. So I was spared that less than stellar experience.

However, I had assumed that ME Andromeda only suffered because it was allegedly developed by Bioware's "B" team. The "A" was working on Anthem. Knowing that, surely Anthem was going to be the better game, right? Unfortunately...not so much.

In my eyes, the old Bioware is dead and gone.

Switch Physical Collection - 369 games (as of July 20th, 2019)
Currently playing: Dragon Quest Builders 2 (Switch) Mary Skelter (PS Vita) Borderlands The Pre-sequel (PS4)
Favorite Quote: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -Arthur C. Clarke

Ralizah

Title: Poochy and Yoshi's Woolly World

Platform: 3DS

What is it?: A 3DS port of a Wii U Yoshi platformer

Level of completion: Everything, apart from not watching all of the shorts. I will eventually, but it's not really content I'd say is crucial to game completion. Completing everything involves collecting all patches, all bundles of wool, all flowers, and getting to the end of all of the levels with full health. It also involves encountering all enemies, finding all secret paths, and, finally, completing the Wonderful World of Wool under all those conditions, the final unlockable level that's extra long and has no checkpoints.

What I liked:

  • Adorable and colorful visual design. Everything in this world looks like it has been hand-crafted, and the effect goes a long way toward giving this huge amounts of charm.
  • Excellent level design. There are plenty of alternate paths, hidden objects, and whatnot to access throughout the game. There is a great balance of linearity and openness throughout. Some of the levels are also surprisingly puzzle-heavy, which is not something I'm used to encountering in a 2D platformer.
  • A cool approach to difficulty and accessibility. While there's the usual easy mode that I didn't touch, there are also badges that you can purchase with in-game jewels that will make levels easier for you in some way. One badge might make all of your yarn balls larger. Another might make it where you can see invisible items. These are a great way to replay levels in different ways (and, if you're going for 100%, you'll likely be replaying these levels a LOT) and a good method for children to make certain challenging levels easier for them without nuking the difficulty across the board.
  • Adorable extras. One of the new additions in this 3DS re-release is a collection of 31 stop-motion animated shorts featuring Yoshi and Poochy. After each one, you're given an easy quiz about what you just watched and are rewarded if you get the answer right with more jewels that you can spend on badges. The really ingenious thing is how they unlock every 24 hours (after viewing the previously unlocked one), as this gives the player a big incentive to stay engaged with the game for a longer period of time.
  • Portability. This might seem like a weird thing to like in an inherently portable version of a game, but it's worth mentioning because I think this game only really shines in portable form. You'll be playing a lot of the same levels over and over while hunting for collectibles, and this is a much more enjoyable task on a pick-up-and-play handheld than it is on a home console that I need to clear TV time for. I already owned this on Wii U, but I finally picked up this 3DS version, and I think it was a pretty good decision, all things considered. This version is worth repurchasing just for its increased accessibility.
  • Creativity and Yoshi Designs. Like in the Wii U version, you can unlock different designs for your Yoshi as you progress through the game. Unique to this version, though, is being able to create your own Yoshi design. Not really anything I care about (I just stuck with Green Yoshi through the majority of the game), but it seems like a great inclusion for children.

What I disliked: Not much, really. Bosses are a bit easy and not up to the high standards of boss encounters in the best DKC games, but they still beat the pants off the boss fights you'd find in any 2D Mario game because they require some level of observation and problem-solving to defeat. Being a 3DS game, the photo-realistic yarn textures are much fuzzier and less detailed now, although, given the hardware, it's hard to really count this against he game. I suppose the presence of badges makes it tempting to cheat and make the game easier than it would otherwise be, but this is balanced by the fact that no single badge is going to make the entire game a cakewalk if you want to collect everything. The worst thing I can say about it is that there's no point in the game that I feel like it becomes singularly brilliant. Instead, it's just consistently polished and excellent, and I don't see that as a bad thing at all.

Final thoughts: A gorgeous, smooth, and consistently excellent platformer that succeeds on almost all levels. While it doesn't do anything to set new standards for the genre, it rivals Yoshi's Island and makes for a fantastic portable time-waster.

Score: 9/10

Ralizah

CanisWolfred

Magician wrote:

Anthem

Easily the worst Bioware developed game I've ever played.

I never thought I'd see the day when I would play an average Bioware game.

Calling Anthem "average" is an insult to average games. It's just plain bad, IMO. At least on the same level with Extinction.

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

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

Magician

CanisWolfred wrote:

Calling Anthem "average" is an insult to average games. It's just plain bad, IMO. At least on the same level with Extinction.

There are some redeeming qualities about Anthem. Unfortunately it's dragged down by poor choices in multiple areas such as the loot system, story, customization options, etc. Games like Borderlands and The Division do the looter-shooter genre more justice and it appears that Bioware ignored the example those games set and everything other looter-shooters did that came before Anthem.

But Anthem is a bad game? I can't agree. Anthem is a solid 6/10 in my book, a deeply flawed yet good game. Conversely games like the Switch ports of Ark: Survival Evolved and WWE 2K18 are what I would consider to be bad games.

Edited on by Magician

Switch Physical Collection - 369 games (as of July 20th, 2019)
Currently playing: Dragon Quest Builders 2 (Switch) Mary Skelter (PS Vita) Borderlands The Pre-sequel (PS4)
Favorite Quote: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -Arthur C. Clarke

CanisWolfred

@Magician I'd argue that there isn't a single redeeming quality in Anthem that isn't entirely superficial. Everything from the quest design, the gunplay, power scaling, world design, story, dialogue, pacing, UI, loot system, boss design, enemy AI - nothing in this game stands up to scrutiny, and even after a multitude of patches, it seems like they've only achieved the minumum level of playability you'd expect from a game you could buy on a store shelf. It's well known that the game was essentially slapped together in ~6 weeks, so it's not even surprising anymore what kind of state it launched in, and many of its problems will probably never be fixed, as too many of its problems are baked into the core of the game.

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

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

NintendoByNature

Even though I beat bayonetta 2 a while back I went back and played bayo 1 for the 1st time. I actually loved it more than the 2nd one. Probabaly one of my favorite games actually. The whole outfit thing with Nintendo characters was really cool. I'd give it a solid 9 out of 10. Oh....and I'm on Dracula in castlevania the adventure so ill finish that tonight too

NintendoByNature

NintendoByNature

Beat castlevania the adventure. Not as bad as people say..sure it has its flaws but it's also a game boy game from 1989. I had a decent time playing it even though there were a few oddly placed enemies. It's only a couple hours long so if you grabbed castlevania collection, it's worth a quick play through. I'd say just under 7 out of 10.

NintendoByNature

Ralizah

@NintendoByNature Eh. Even by Game Boy standards, Castlevania: The Adventure is pretty bad. I wish Konami had included the Wii remake of the game instead. Thankfully, the sequel, which is also in the collection, is a much better time. Obviously not up to the standards of the better console Castlevanias, but a proper good time for an ancient Game Boy title.

Have you played Bloodlines before? I'm excited to finally see that game getting re-released.

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

NintendoByNature

@Ralizah yea I feel you. There are definitely more deserving titles. I still thought it was ok for the time. Each stage had its own setting or ambience with different gameplay styles. One was mostly platforming while the other was light puzzle solving. Lack of subweapon kinda blew I had a good time and the length of the game was just right. As for bloodlines I haven't played it yet but I'm most excited for that out of the collection along with kid Dracula. With that said I'm saving bloodlines for last. I may skip Simon's quest though..

NintendoByNature

Ralizah

What Remains of Edith Finch

Platform PS4

What is it? A walking sim where you stumble through and climb around an old house and learn about the fates of various members of your family via conveniently placed journals.

Level of completion The whole thing, obviously. It's, like, three hours long. With that said, I didn't get all the optional trophies, and I probably won't bother going back and getting them.

What I liked

  • Some of the vignettes in this game are quite interesting and creative. Two, in particular, come to mind: the comic book-themed presentation of Barbara's story and Lewis' daydreaming at the cannery, which makes very cool use of the twin stick setup of modern controllers to drive home what it was trying to accomplish.
  • The music is pretty good throughout. At points, it even plays recognizable songs to good effect, as when Barbara is investigating mysterious noises to the backdrop of the Halloween music, or when baby Gregory's bathtub playtime is set to the Waltz of the Flowers.
  • I played with headphones on, and the environmental sound design was well done. Hearing the wind so realistically really helped with the sense of atmosphere and place as I played.
  • The game is, in spots, quite pretty. Primarily due to the way certain scenes are realistically lit. I'm a big fan of environmental photography in real life, and I often take pictures when the sun and the shadows form a compelling confluence on the world around them. That only happens a few times here, but the fact that I actually bothered to take a few screenshots (I hate the PS4's screenshot tool, because, unlike the one on the Switch, it's not immediate; you press a button and are taken to a menu) says a lot.
  • Using the words from Edith's narration to guide you around the house is interesting.
  • For a game filled with so much death, the magical realist presentation goes a long way toward making this not feel terribly dour. It's a balancing act, and sometimes I feel like the game doesn't establish enough of a sense of gravity to make particular deaths feel especially impactful, but I also appreciate that a game that involves horrifically sad stuff like a baby drowning doesn't lean too hard on the realism at times.

What I disliked

  • The game's performance on the base PS4 is pretty spotty, with a stuttery framerate throughout (which is bad enough that even I, a person who doesn't usually fixate on this sort of thing, took notice), a very short draw distance with really blatant pop-in (although this becomes much less of an issue when you actually get into the house, as you're mostly confined to small rooms), and some really bad texture quality in spots. I know the PS4 isn't the strongest piece of gaming tech out there, but it shouldn't be struggling to run an indie walking sim, which points to some poor optimization on the part of the developers.
  • The controls during certain sequences are REALLY bad. Most notably in Molly Finch's story, where you play as certain animals, and they're all hell to control (especially that stupid octopus).
  • Walking sims are often accused of being narratively lazy. Some, like Gone Home, get around this criticism with an innovative focus on indirect environmental storytelling. This game is never so subtle, though, and, more often than not, your participation rarely even feels like it's required. As a big fan of visual novels, I have no issue with games that don't lean very heavily on the gameplay element, but I can't get over the feeling that this would have been better as a film or a series of animated shorts. The game rarely does anything compelling with its interactivity.
  • For a game built almost entirely around vignettes about how people die, a disturbingly large portion of these are kind of underwhelming. Some of them are just sort of... random deaths that leave no real impression (Edith, Calvin, Gus, Dawn, and Sam). Some of them feel like they're building up to something, only to end in a totally unsatisfying manner (Molly and Walter).
  • That leads into the unexplained elements of the narrative. I get it: things happen to people, and they're not always understood or resolved. But when you have large narrative threads that are just left sort of hanging with no resolution (the strained relationship between Dawn and Edie near the end; Milton's disappearance; etc.), it contributes to a lack of satisfaction about the game's story more broadly.
  • And, let's talk about this. For a "story game," this one has a really non-cohesive narrative. There's some sort of broader story about how this family feels cursed, but that's never explored to satisfaction in a more general way. Documents you find around the house continually refers to how the Finches are the most "unlucky" family in America, but, as tragic as some of these vignettes are, they don't give me the impression of a family that's doomed. A handful of people die over the course of more than half a century. That's... normal. A lot of the family drama, as I mentioned, doesn't ever really feel like it's addressed to satisfaction. As far as I can tell, it's about a pregnant woman clambering around a house, recounting how some people died, and then revealing that she died herself. There's no sense of scope to this. While this is the story of a family that spans generations, it doesn't have the complexity, scope, or depth of something like Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude or Isabele Allende's The House of the Spirits. You might think it unfair to compare a little indie game to masterpieces of world literature, but I expect story games to tell a satisfying story. Soma, for example, while not a fantastic horror game, IS a really interesting science-fiction narrative that's filled with ideas and has a satisfying beginning, middle, and end. I can't say that about this game. This feels totally incomplete: an unrealized grander vision dotted with moments of ingenuity.
  • I'll just say this: I don't like that they reduced Edith's role in the story to that of a pregnant woman who dies giving birth. It feels like it cheapens the experiences and role of the character in the story. Also, can we get just ONE narrative about death that doesn't, at some point, dive into the miracle of childbirth? I get it: life/death, beginnings and endings, blah blah blah, but it's so overdone at this point. You know to expect it.

Conclusion What Remains of Edith Finch is an interesting but very unrealized and unsatisfying walking sim that left me feeling like I had experienced the shell of a much better game. I wouldn't warn people off of it, though: it's pretty short, and, more importantly, it has its inspired moments. They don't redeem the experience, but I'm not sorry I played it.

Verdict 5/10

@NintendoByNature Good call. Castlevania: The Adventure is a lot of things, but at least it isn't obtuse. Simon's Quest is obtuse. It's an interesting failure, but it's a failure nonetheless, and absolutely miserable to play today.

Ralizah

NintendoByNature

Just beat super castlevania. It was pretty solid. Classic castlevania thru and thru. Not gonna lie though I had to abuse the save state on Dracula. It was pretty tough towards the end of the game. Mostly to the point where I'd create a save with each new room. Either way I really enjoyed it. The whip shot ( or swing) was a pretty cool mechanic. The "spinning room" was pretty Notable. Graphics were pretty great for a 25 year old game and I of course enjoyed the different displays and frames offered from the collection. Solid 8/10.

Now, need your help folks. I've decided I will not skip Simon's quest so it's open for recommendation, but what should i play next? Only beat the adventure before this. I'm considering either Belmonts revenge or kid Dracula. But, still open some thoughts.

NintendoByNature

NintendoByNature

@Ralizah cool ill fire it up tonight or during lunch tomorrow. Then again, I'm probabaly grabbing my copy of resident evil origins tomorrow mid sales call so I may also play that on my lunch. Either way, bloodlines is next. Only 2 hours on howlongtobeat.com so I should be able to play thru in a couple days.

NintendoByNature

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