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Topic: Games You Recently Beat?

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Late

@Xyphon22 I happened to do the less exciting route first. I didn't like the game that much at first because the tone was so different from what I expected. But I did really like Moma who was a prominent character on that route but who barely appeared in the other ones. But that made it even sweeter when he finally came back in the final stretch. He's a lovable goofball.

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

Xyphon22

@Late Yeah, I was super excited after my first play because it was so good, but apparently I just happened to choose one of the best paths first because it went downhill for awhile after, but at least it picked up. I did like Moma, too. I think my biggest wish is I would have liked to see Mizuki fleshed out more. I suppose her personality was realistic given her circumstances, but she had the potential to be so much more. And some background as to why she was so incredible in that one respect that I won't spoil for those who haven't played it would have been nice.

Xyphon22

Switch Friend Code: SW-6252-6704-9514 | 3DS Friend Code: 5069-3937-8083

Tyranexx

Ori and the Blind Forest (Switch)

This game was a fun, immersive, melancholic Metroidvania. I finished it last weekend but decided to leave the write-up for a later time. Plus, I replayed the impactful ending yesterday evening as a refresher.

Positives

  • Ori is one of the most beautiful platformers that I've played. In terms of visuals, it stands up there with other recent masterpieces like SteamWorld Dig 2 and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. It holds up well in both docked and handheld mode, in my opinion.
  • The musical score is one of the best that I've heard in recent memory. I'll certainly be seeking out some of the pieces to listen to while at work and otherwise.
  • This game is excellent at telling a story with little text. It primarily conveys its tale through the actions of characters, the music, and environmental cues. It's a touching, if melancholic, tale.
  • Exploration in this game is beneficial and rewarding. The player can discover extra power-ups and shortcuts in this way.
  • Combat is pretty simple and intuitive. Ori doesn't technically fight; it's all done by your partner and guide Sein.
  • The skill trees are useful and fun to mess around with. If the player is persistent in their exploration and with dispatching enemies, they can fill in every single one.
  • While challenging, the game rarely felt unfair. I admittedly played on the Easy difficulty as I didn't want to deal with the extra stress of managing a limited number of lives. You will die. A lot.
  • There's some light puzzle solving in some cases, usually with environmental obstacles and hazards. Many areas of the game are well-crafted indeed.

Neutral

  • The controls are pretty fluid for the most part and are (mostly) intuitive. The only minor issue I had was the added amount of buttons used as you picked up more upgrades for Ori. This makes sense, but there were a few times where I sent Ori to her death by activating the wrong combination of actions.

Negatives/Nitpicks

  • The game takes a while to load the selected save, even in docked mode. Thankfully this doesn't happen after each death. It isn't a dealbreaker, but the load time is significant.

Ori and the Blind Forest is a wonderful, beautifully crafted Metroidvania title that is definitely worth your time. It's challenging, but not unfairly so. Moon Studios deserves a pat on the back for their hard work. Microsoft deserves a salute for allowing the title to even make the Switch. I hope that Ori and the Will of the Wisps also comes over with time. If not, I may be forced to get the game on PC.

Currently playing: Link's Awakening (Switch), WarioWare Gold

Switch Friend Code: SW-3478-2466-4791 | Nintendo Network ID: Zelda_By_Night

RR529

I recently completed Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD (Switch), an HD remaster of a Wii era title.
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Ready to go on adventure!

Gameplay:

  • A marble maze/obstacle style platformer, most levels see you tilting the stage around with the right analogue stick in order to guide a monkey (within a ball) to the end goal, avoiding obstacles & collecting bananas while trying not to fall off, all under a strict time limit. While simply getting through a level is one thing (and even this can become a challenge starting in the second half), real masochists can try to beat their high scores by shaving seconds off their best times & trying to collect all the bananas in a level (bundles of them are often just off the beaten path on perilous detours), the latter of which I wouldn't even dream of doing outside of the first few worlds.
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    An example of the kind of level you'll have to tightrope your way through in the post game.
  • There are two other types of levels, bonus levels (of which one exists in all 10 worlds, about halfway through), and boss levels (one of which caps off each of the 8 main game worlds). Bonus levels aren't all that much different from regular types, and see you trying to collect all bananas within them before time runs out or you fall off (there's no end goal other than collecting all the bananas, and you move on to the next level no matter whether or not you succeed).
  • Next up are the boss levels which see you fighting bosses most often in arena style showdowns. Your goal in these is to avoid their attacks as to not be knocked off the platform (make sure you don't fall off on your own as well!), until you get the chance to hit their telegraphed weak point. These can be really tough for a variety of reasons, such as the fact that they often eschew the "3 hit rule" most other 3D platformer bosses live or die by (instead usually taking 4-6 hits to beat, usually changing their tactics either halfway through or after each hit they take), combined with the fact one good hit is all it can take to knock you out (and make you start over), and the fact that the game isn't really designed around such fights at all. You don't have any control over the camera, and while this isn't much of an issue in the rest of the game where you're mostly moving forward all the time (the camera is set to turn towards whatever direction you're moving), it can be an issue with these arena style fights (though a couple regular levels in the first world have a similar setup, seemingly as a bit of a tutorial to help you get to grips with them). One exception is the 4th world boss, which takes on the form of the level itself (you just need to survive a gauntlet and reach it's weak point on it's head) and gameplay wise fits the rest of the game much better. Needless to say, these are very hit & miss in terms of their difficulty.
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    A couple of cutscene images of the thematically appropriate 4th world boss (while they appear mostly barren here, there are obstacles on each of it's segments you must clear/avoid during gameplay itself to reach it's head).
  • Outside of the main game there are 10 minigames to try out. The only ones I tried out are "Monkey Target", which sees you trying to glide as far as you can and land in the middle of a bull's eye, and one that was a scrolling shmup. They are decent enough, and although you may get more out of them if you have others to play with, you won't last more than 2 or 3 rounds by yourself.
  • There are six different monkeys to play as (they each have different stats for speed, weight, etc.), as well as Sonic the Hedgehog, who is new for this release and is unlocked after clearing the 8 main worlds (bananas are replaced with rings when playing as him), though he can't be used in the minigames.
  • The biggest change compared to the Wii release (other than the addition of Sonic & the HD resolution), is the fact that it now controls with an analogue stick rather than motion controls (I haven't played the original, but from what I've heard this makes this the better playing version, although much easier than other entries because levels were designed with the looser motion controls in mind, though I personally still found it to be one of the toughest platformers I've played on Switch, and gave up about halfway through the second post game world). Other than that the two post game worlds now simply unlock consecutively after clearing the world before them (in the Wii version they were unlocked after the seemingly impossible task of clearing all the main worlds without using a continue), and it lacks 40 extra minigames the Wii version had (probably were designed around Wii waggle and couldn't be translated well or meaningfully without them).

Audio/Visual:

  • It has many different world themes, from jungles, ghost ships, outer space, and more, and it's mix of a bright & colorful pallet, and catchy arcade style tunes, means that you can't get too upset with it, even if your on your 40th or 50th attempt to clear a level.
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    Various shots of levels, I even included a Sonic shot.
  • The theme song (I think BANANA~NA Love) is upbeat & irresistibly catchy (more than once I lingered on the title screen to give it a listen).
  • Being a remaster of a Wii game, it's not a surprise to say I noticed no performance issues whatsoever. It's a great port.

Story:

  • These sorts of games usually don't have much story, and that's the same here. It starts out with a pirate gorilla stealing a bundle of golden bananas, and while you take one back with each boss you defeat (with the aforementioned ape being the final one), there isn't any sort of theming tying them together, with few of them being monkeys/apes (half, if a yeti counts), and even less being pirates. It's really not an issue, though, though strong theming always makes these things better.

Conclusion:

  • This was a pretty fun, albeit tough experience. It may be easier compared to the rest of the series (as many claim, though I can't confirm), but taken on it's own it can still be a stiff challenge, and one of the toughest I've had on Switch. And even though it has it's rough edges (such as the bosses), a bucketload of charm keeps it from feeling too irritating.
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    The end to an exciting journey.

Currently Playing:
Switch - Blade Strangers
PS4 - Kingdom Hearts III, Tetris Effect (VR)

klingki

I finally finished Breath of the Wild last week. I've had it since launch, but since my tradition with Zelda games is to make sure I do everything, it took quite a while to actually get to the finish line this time around given the amount of content in BotW. Upgrading all the armor was very tedious due to the number of Star Fragments needed, so that kinda put me off and made me stop playing for a while. But I gradually started farming 3 fragments per day, and eventually I chipped my way down.

Overall I loved this game (no surprise there)! Felt very emotional at the end. Not really because of the story or anything, but just knowing that after investing so much time into this world (310+ hours) there is nothing left to do, it's kind of sad saying goodbye. I'll probably have to start Link's Awakening soon, haha!

I also beat the adventure mode of Smash Ultimate, but full disclosure, I just set the difficulty to very easy and plowed through it. Even then it still took forever. I guess I'm just not a huge fan of the adventure mode aspects of Smash, even in the other games. I'm really dreading the idea of trying to get all of the spirits. Are there and cheap/easy ways to just grind all of them out? I'm not above abusing some cheesy strategy, haha!

Finally for a smaller game, I beat Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise with my wife. She's not really a gamer, but she enjoys those types of games, so it was fun working through the puzzles together with her. For like a buck or two on sale, I was pretty happy with how that game turned out.

klingki

MsJubilee

Recently finished Cuphead & Luigi's Mansion 3. Cuphead was great, looked, and sounded great to beginning to end. Challenging but beating a boss that's been kicking your teeth in for the past 10 minutes is hugely satisfying! Would recommend if you have the patience for these type of games.

I am going to put this on the table right off the bat. Luigi's Mansion 3 is one of the best looking Switch games out there. It looks so incredible that it just oozes charm and personality in every room. The developers put a lot of love into this game, and I applaud them for it. But, like I every game out there it has flaws the controls are very clunky at times, especially when you have to aim to shoot the plunger manually, which is awful, everything else is fine. Also, the game is relatively straightforward. I didn't expect Dark Souls level difficulty, but I expected some challenges, rarely died (except on a dumb water boss). Another thing, money is virtually useless in this game, there is no reason to collect any of it except to buy items to help you find hidden objects. That's it; the game is great just has flaws.

I've died, there is no more me.

If it's bitter at the start, then it's sweeter in the end.

I am reading the second novel of The Saga of Tanya The Evil and Baki.

Switch Friend Code: SW-5827-3728-4676 | 3DS Friend Code: 3738-0822-0742

Vinny

The first Ratchet and Clank game. It was kinda fun and frustrating at the same time.

My main issue with this one is how far away checkpoints can be from each other. Sometimes there's long sections where there are lots and lots of enemies and if you die (sometimes close to the next checkpoint, aaaaaa), you have to kill them all over again.

In this one, you can't upgrade weapons by killing enemies, so in some sections it's less time (and ammo) consuming to rush and try to avoid them all until you reach the next checkpoint. Since what you get from enemies are bolts, which can be found pretty much everywhere.

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

Xyphon22

I finished up New Super Lucky's Tale last night. I mostly 100%ed it. I got all of the collectibles in the levels, but since I almost always did it first try I didn't collect enough coins to buy all of the costumes, but I have no intention of going back just to do that. Difficulty picked up slightly on the final boss and the platforming levels of the bonus world, so an overall really good game.

Xyphon22

Switch Friend Code: SW-6252-6704-9514 | 3DS Friend Code: 5069-3937-8083

Tasuki

Finally finished Golf Story, being on lockdown has made me gone back and finish some games that I have been meaning too. Overall I enjoyed my time with this one. It's a charming game and one that shouldn't be missed, definitely a must play for the Switch even if you're not a huge fan of golf like me. Now I just need to wait for Sports Story.

RetiredPush Square Moderator and all around retro gamer.

My Backlog

Nintendo Network ID: Tasuki311

kkslider5552000

I finished Doom. While I can't say its my favorite game ever or anything, it was both a huge breath of fresh air from anything else I've played in a while or the last time I played FPS somewhat regularly during the 360 era, and pretty awesome in general.

It's actually really strange how they brought back classic maps for this. It's a lot like when they used to put old games in the latest game in a series before they found out how to sell them as a downloadable game. But it added to the experience as the type of bonus you don't see in games anymore.

Non-binary, demiguy, making LPs, still alive

Bioshock Infinite Let's Play!:
LeT's PlAy BIOSHOCK < Link to LP

Tyranexx

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)

The original Link's Awakening (Well, the DX version on the GBC) is one of my favorite handheld Zelda games, so how could I NOT play this gorgeous remaster? Everyone lately has been gushing about Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and rightfully so from all the feedback, but I've been on an island adventure on Koholint instead. Such a mysterious place, all topped off by a massive egg stuck on Mt. Tamaranch....

Positives

  • First thing's first: This game is absolutely beautiful. I was one who didn't like the clay figure-like art style in the original reveal trailer, but 1. it has definitely been cleaned up and 2. it has grown on me. All the character models, the environment, monsters, items, et al are so detailed and really pop out to the viewer. It's almost like playing with a vibrant diorama.
  • The fully orchestrated music in this game is a treat to the ears and has improved on the already fantastic MIDI soundtrack in nearly every way. I didn't think it was possible to improve on the Ballad of the Wind Fish track, but I was wrong.
  • The fully animated scene before reaching the title screen is fun to watch. I'll admit that I didn't skip past it very often. They improved on an iconic intro scene from the original game in literally every way. The end-game animation is fun and captures the essence of the original well, too.
  • The QoL improvements to how inventory items in this game are handled are VERY welcome. For those who haven't played the original, the limited buttons on the Game Boy ensured that you were pausing the game almost constantly at times to switch items. They've also mapped some items (such as the sword and shield) to their own buttons automatically, so you don't have to bother putting them on the X/Y buttons at all.
  • Many of the characters in the game are just as fun and whimsical as I remember. Marin and Tarin are my favorites, but other characters are pretty great too.
  • Mabe Village has more to do in it this time around. There are reasons to keep revisiting the Trendy Game, the town shop, and the fishing hole, for example.
  • I never thought I'd have a reason to enjoy the River Rapids mini-game, but it's a fun (and useful) pastime! They've definitely overhauled it this time around.
  • Many of the dungeon designs are pretty decent, though they're carryovers from the original game. The later levels aren't anything to sneeze at and can take some time to work through.
  • Hero Mode can be unlocked from the start. In many ways, this adds to the challenge; enemies do double damage, and hearts don't drop. You have to rely on fairies, heart piece pickups, and magic medicine.
  • More heart containers are added in this game, upping the count from the original maximum of 14 to the normal 20 hearts found in more recent series entries.
  • They kept in all of those wonderful cutscenes and moments with Marin. Those moments still feel special and look even better with a HD coat of paint.
  • Totaka's Song can still be found here. 'Nuff said.
  • Bow Wow has a new use: it can detect secret seashells. This becomes less useful once the seashell sensor is obtained, but it's a nice improvement nonetheless.

Neutral

  • Both arranging and adventuring in Chamber Dungeons is simultaneously interesting and mundane for me. Arranging is fun for the first few tries, but past that I'd rather just storm through the dungeons. It's an interesting mechanic for those who want it as it's the closest thing that the Zelda series has to Super Mario Maker right now. I didn't dislike it per se, but it unfortunately has some items tied into it for 100% completion. I probably wouldn't have bothered with it as long as I have been otherwise. Some of the amiibo unlocks for it are fun to mess around with. I feel like there could have been more to this feature.
  • That shopkeeper is an extortionist. I didn't steal from him, but with some of those prices...he's almost asking for it.

Negatives/Nitpicks

  • The dungeon bosses (barring the final boss fight with Dethl, which is still somewhat challenging, especially since they removed the boomerang cheat) are pretty easy. I would find this passable on normal mode, especially for younger players or those who are new to the series, but this ease was present even in hero mode. I think that bosses in hero mode should be harder to take down. Part of this could admittedly be the advantage (or in this case, disadvantage) of knowing what to do for most of the bosses, however.
  • There's a bit of frame rate slowdown sometimes, typically in areas with a lot of assets (like Mabe Village) or when transitioning from a cave or dungeon into the overworld. This wasn't more than a minor annoyance and did very little to kill my enjoyment of the game, but I did notice it on occasion.

Link's Awakening is a much-needed fresh coat of paint on one of the more classic Zelda titles. The adventure is still fun, whimsical, emotional, and unique. A few minor issues aside, this is a must-play for fans of the Zelda series and is easy to recommend for newcomers.

Currently playing: Link's Awakening (Switch), WarioWare Gold

Switch Friend Code: SW-3478-2466-4791 | Nintendo Network ID: Zelda_By_Night

Ralizah

Well, it's done. My DOOM 64 review.

This can be kind of spoilery. I discuss pretty much every aspect of the experience. So if you want to go in fresh... don't... read it, I guess? I tried not to include any screenshots of the final boss for people scrolling past this.



DOOM 64 HD remaster

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC (reviewed)

Completion status: All Steam achievements completed over the course of three playthroughs, one of the original campaign on the second highest difficulty ("I own DOOM!"), another of the original campaign on the highest difficulty ("Watch Me Die!"), and then a third of the newly added post-game campaign that ostensibly connects this game to DOOM Eternal. All optional content was either completed or engaged with (I didn't bother to beat every single unlockable level, even if I tried them all), and all of the Demon Keys were collected across a second playthrough (more on that it a bit). This all took me roughly 28 hours, according to Steam's game time counter.

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DOOM 64 has a curious history. This title was actually developed by Midway Games (although there was extensive oversight by and cooperation with some of the original developers of DOOM at id Software such as John Carmack and John Romero), and although it has maintained a dedicated cult following over the years, it largely has been lumped into the same basket of 'lesser' console conversions as the inferior Playstation 1 and (especially) Sega Saturn ports of the original DOOM, and was largely overshadowed by other popular shooters on the system, such as Perfect Dark and Goldeneye.

This couldn't be further from the truth, though, or more of a shame. DOOM 64 wasn't a port at all of either of the previous DOOM titles, and is still considered by some classic fans to be the "true" DOOM 3. In fact, DOOM 64 was a remarkable console-only DOOM game that featured significant improvements over the original, along with extensive changes to level design and aesthetics that made it feel like one of the more singular entries in the series. Thankfully, this classic was finally remastered for modern platforms, allowing the game to be experienced the way it always should have been: with a mouse and keyboard (I jest... kind of).

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The first thing to know about DOOM 64 is that significant alterations were made to the DOOM engine, and all weapon and enemy sprites were completely overhauled. Indeed, while the basic flow of gameplay and subject matter are basically unchanged, the look of the game is pretty wildly different than previous iterations of the series.

The enemy sprites, for example, are much, much higher detail, and were created from 3D models, giving them much more of a sense of presence in the environments than they previously had. Guns, similarly, have so much more to them visually, and even the way they feel when using them can be somewhat different (I'm very, very partial to the physics, sound, and look of DOOM 64'd version of the chaingun; it's very satisfying to use. But the true hero of this title is the chainsaw, which blows any previous version of the weapon out of the water. I never used this weapon in previous DOOM games, whereas I opted for it whenever confronted with a horde of pinkies here, and even, in certain desperate, ammo-less moments, used it to take down Barons of Hell and Imps with little trouble).

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The hardware accelerated DOOM 64 took advantage of the N64's (at the time) reasonably powerful technology to change up both the look of the game as well as how it plays. Room-over-room architecture, scripted events that would have been unthinkable in previous games (one cool level sees you activating a device that literally alters the configuration of the stage by pounding down a flat surface until it forms a stairway to a lower level of one of the UAC bases), scrolling skies, more naturalistic water scrolling, environmental effects, and a dramatically improved use of color make DOOM 64 feel like an almost generational leap over previous games in the series.

Unlike the samey labyrinths of DOOM I and the godawful city environments of DOOM II, DOOM 64's various environments actually FEEL distinct. They range from distinctly high-tech (primarily through the use of vibrant neon colors and strobe lighting that you'd expect to see in a space facility, as well as limited interaction with technology), to gothic (some of the mid-game Hell levels see you trudging through medieval feeling demonic keeps and castles, complete with black clouds billowing overhead, lightning flashing in the distance, and honest-to-goodness fog effects in dank, demon-infested corridors), to downright diabolical (late-game Hell levels make much heavier usage of Satanic imagery than previous DOOM games, which means you can expect to see human sacrifices impaled everywhere, pentagrams, inverted crosses, giant stretches of chain fences and cages like in a Silent Hill otherworld, and, in the last few stages, the brilliant billowing of gigantic plumes of hellfire on the horizon, rising far over the buildings surrounding you, reminding you just how deeply in the nest of evil you are really situated.

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The soundscape of DOOM 64 has also changed pretty dramatically. As a supplement to the creepier visuals, the chirpy rock music of previous DOOM games has been replaced with moody, ambient tracks that sound much more like something you'd hear in a horror game, including one track that is primarily composed of demonic growls and moans.

It doesn't necessarily make compelling listening on its own, but combined with the revised visual design and strong gameplay it makes the experience that much more engaging and immersive. In many respects, DOOM 64 feels like a re-evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of previous games, and this extends to almost every aspect of the game design.

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One way in which DOOM 64 attempted to further its unique fusion of horror and action is with its use of in-game brightness. Simply put. this is a rather infamously dark game. Not DOOM 3 'need to use a flashlight' dark, but it's rather telling that even with this re-release, which seems to have been significantly brightened compared to even the highest brightness setting in the original game, a lot of my screenshots that I'd planned on using were just... too dark to make out much of anything with small screenshots. Granted, in a dark room, on a wide-screen monitor, the various dark tones look quite brilliant and moody, but I can see why being able to see properly would have been something of an issue for players of the original. For this reason, I've opted for brighter screenshots from the game.

One benefit from this, also related to mood, is the really striking use of shadows in this game. There are many sections of this game where you'll see a dark corridor with a weak bit of torchlight illuminating a section ahead of you, or where the room is almost bisected by shadows. Along with the more subtle and nuanced use of color, this also helps the locations in DOOM 64 to feel more evocative and present.

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DOOM 64's enemy variety is stronger than it was in the somewhat barebones original game, but it has lost a few of the more strategically interesting demons from DOOM II. Specifically, the Revenant, Arch-Vile, and Chaingunner enemies are nowhere to be found here. While you'll see a ton of Arachnotrons, the larger Spiderdemon is also absent (although given how frustrating that enemy is, I don't see this as a huge loss). In their place, there is a new monster type standing in as the final boss, and, on the regular enemy front, a faster and more powerful variety of the Imp enemy, called the Nightmare Imp, is introduced. It feels like the developers wanted to preserve the move away from almost entirely humanoid enemies while being able to keep more of the flow of movement in combat from the original (two of the three removed regular enemies pretty dramatically alter the flow of combat and force you to attend to them before anything else).

This attempt might not have been entirely successful, though. While most of the enemies don't feel substantially different in this version of DOOM, the Lost Soul has seen a crazy bump in aggression and damage scaling. Simply put, even one Lost Soul will often be more damaging to the player than more traditionally threatening enemy types such as the Baron of Hell due to how quickly it'll attack the player consecutively. Combine this with the much higher damage scaling involved with playing on the highest difficulty settings, and suddenly two or more Lost Souls become an existential threat to the player. As such, the Pain Elemental, a mere nuisance in DOOM II, has become arguably the most dangerous enemy you'll encounter due to its tendency to spit out Lost Souls at an alarming rate.

I should also mention the final boss, which is also new for this game. It's... well, frustrating, but probably the best final boss in the series to date. While it's clear the developers are still struggling to create a fight that feels climactic as well as fun, considering the Mother Demon final boss is just sort of unceremoniously dropped in the middle of the room after clearing out an epic swarm of enemies beforehand, but she feels significantly less gimmicky than the Icon of Sin from DOOM II, and, unlike with OG DOOM's Spiderdemon, you can't just hide behind walls and take pot shots at it to avoid death, as she has Revenant-style homing projectiles that will rip you apart. In fact, she's probably way too hard (unless you have a certain difficulty-to-obtain weapon, which I'll discuss next, that sends her down hard within seconds). I didn't obtain this weapon until my second playthrough, so the best opportunity I found to survive the fight was to get up in her face ASAP and rhythmically move to avoid powerful projectiles she kept shooting at me whilst stun-locking her with continuous super shotgun blasts to the face.

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Weapons-wise, aside from altered sprites that have some recoil/a somewhat different feel to them, not a lot has changed with the classic weapons aside from the chainsaw. The chaingun feels great, of course, but its functionality is identical to previous games. The super shotgun returns from DOOM II, and its as versatile and powerful as ever. The only real addition to your arsenal this time is the Unmaker (dubbed in-game only as "What the [email protected]#%* is this!" by Doomguy), a fleshy, demonic beam weapon that's unremarkable unless you upgrade it (that's right: the very first upgradable weapon in the series). Upgrading it involves obtaining three "Demon Keys," which can only be accessed by finding them in secret levels accessed via alternate level exits during the main campaign. Unless you're following a guide, then, it's likely your first time playing the game (like mine) will see you rocking and largely ignoring a base-model Unmaker. Assuming you do go to the trouble of upgrading it fully, though, you end up with a hilariously overpowered weapon (far more useful than the slow-as-molasses BFG in this regard, really) that basically melts down the strongest enemies within seconds (even the final boss!), making the only (considerable) restraint on its full-scale adoption late in the game the limited amount of beam ammo that is shared between it, the BFG, and the plasma gun. Really, it's best to leave this for Cyberdemons before the final level.

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One of the major changes made in DOOM 64 is in the puzzle/secret design and how you progress. Simply put, there's a significantly larger focus placed on environmental puzzles in this game. With some of them being real stumpers. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised how many of this game's secret areas and items were essentially hidden in plain sight, with the understanding that the player would read between the lines, so to speak, and figure out how to overcome a challenge. Granted, much of the game still is obtaining colored skulls to successively unlock different doors, but the game will also have you fire your gun at switches from certain vantage points (sometimes multiple in a row from different angles for particularly large secrets), use strobing lights and/or computer displays to communicate information about your environment wordlessly, make the player interact with switches in order to physically alter the terrain, remember and input simple codes from elsewhere in a level, and, in general, build entire levels around progression concepts that the player will need to grasp in order to progress.

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It's not all honey butter with this game, of course. As is practically mandatory for a classic DOOM game, the general strength of the level design needs to be off-set by something aggravating and stupid. In this case, there are a few levels where the game likes to drop the player into pits from which there is no escape. There's often not even any warning before it happen. In one sequence during level... six, I believe, if you hesitate before rushing ahead in a room, the floor will crumble in front of you and sent you falling into a black pit filled with demons eager to consume you. But even if you barrel forward, you'll likely plunge to your doom (heh) thanks to certain large enemies suddenly appearing and blocking your path forward. There's also a rather infamous part later in the game where you'll be sent plummeting into inescapable lava if you're standing on the wrong part of the floor when it starts crumbling underneath you. And, in general, there are just far too many spots where you can casually fall into a place from which the only return is death. The game also occasionally likes to force the player to run through elaborate arrow trap sequences in order to obtain colored skulls, and even if these don't kill you, you'll often lose a lot of carefully preserved health in the process. These sorts of cheap traps aren't terribly common, but they're so unfair and poorly designed that they contrast harshly with the generalized excellence of how this game handles challenges.

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While it's difficult to mention this as a negative, considering it's pretty universal among classic DOOM games, the narrative approach hasn't really changed, either. You'll get a few screens (with sensible color combinations this time that make them easy to read, thankfully!) with some delightfully overwrought prose, and a traditional descent into the heart of hell level design-wise, but otherwise, there's really nothing to the story presentation. The new campaign (which I'll discuss briefly soon) ostensibly connects this game to DOOM Eternal, but, really, what's to connect? It's just another set of levels, same as with any other DOOM game. Of course, nobody plays DOOM for the gripping narration, so it doesn't really matter. This apparently is a sequel to DOOM/DOOM II as well, but I wouldn't know that without researching the game a bit.

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In addition to the forementioned secret demon key levels, DOOM 64 also has a handful of other secret levels to access. The first order of business is finding the secret exit to the game's very first level. To do this, you need to destroy all of the explosive barrels in the level, which makes a secret elevator appear. Despite how utterly obscure this easter egg is, though, it gets worse: after you finish destroying all of the barrels, you have, maybe 3 seconds to high-tail it to that elevator near the start of the level, which means you actually need to destroy the very first barrel in the game last, and then hope you don't get stuck on a wall or something as you rush to access the secret level.

This level, called "Hectic," is... well, I can't think of a family-friendly word to use when describing it, so, instead, I'll use a roundabout method of describing what playing this level is like. Anyone who has ever played the game Super Mario Maker, Nintendo's charming and innovative creativity suite on Wii U, will remember how, despite the number of supremely creative and well-thought-out levels they encountered online, there were also a huge number of levels that seemed designed to do little more than make life hell for the player. Perhaps this was due to a creativity deficit on the part of the players, who couldn't seem to find a way to create entertaining levels, or maybe it was born from some sick, sadistic impulse to inflict suffering on others that these people might not have known lurked inside of them, but, whatever the case may be, you'd find levels that existed purely to inspire frustration, and were frustrating also because of how poorly designed they often seemed. That's what Hectic is like.

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The level is incredibly simple. You have one hub room that connects to three different challenge rooms, each with a colored skull key required to escape the level. This starting room entices the player by showing them nice stuff like armor upgrades and a Megasphere (a colored orb that doubles your health points by 100%). You quickly learn, however, that these are simply intended to troll the player: trying to grab the armor upgrade traps the player under a press that quickly crushes them to death. Similarly, if you grab the Megasphere, you become trapped in a tight space and watch as the ceiling above you slowly descends to crush you.

That really sets the tone of things, doesn't it? The yellow key challenge room is the easiest to to conquer, as it merely requires a few trial and error deaths. It involves crossing a small room filled with alternating platforms and traps that continuously spit out damaging arrows. It's irritating, but by my third or fourth death I'd found an optimal path that minimized the amount of damage I took. The next challenge room, however, quickly grew on my nerves, and took forever to beat. It traps you in a small room filled with three Arachnotrons (whose lasers can easily tear you apart in a couple of seconds) and gives you nothing but a rocket launcher to defend yourself. Now, rocket launchers are great against Arachnotrons... at a distance. Try to target anything close to you, however, and you'll endure inordinately large amounts of splash damage from the resulting explosion. So, cue a frustrating twenty minutes or so of me going into this room and trying to kill the Arachnotrons, usually to only end up killing myself with splash damage in the process. Somehow, I managed to get through this, and steeled myself for the last challenge. This one was less poorly designed, but seemed unfair and designed to frustrate as well. The floor space was limited to a few pillars erupting from the floor. Falling off these pillars meant certain death, as there was no way to climb up. Once you head into this level and collect the skull key, Hell Knights, four in total, appear on either side of the player and begin assaulting them with fireballs. So the player has to try to balance on these pillars, moving back and forth to avoid fireballs and kill all of the Hell Knights with rockets.

This is the section where I learned to regret that firing rockets actually knocks you back a few inches or so, as does taking damage from fireballs.

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So, forty falls into the bed of lava below, and I was done with Hectic! In fairness to the developers, the reward is actually pretty cool. You unlock a "Features" menu that both allows you activate certain cheats, like invincibility (although doing this will disallow you from being able to collect trophies), and gives you access to the helpful "Level Select" option. Not only can you use this to replay certain levels again (although, going into a late-game level with just a pistol is its own form of Hell), but you can also access the remaining hidden levels in this game, called "Fun" Levels.

So, playing these, which are four in total, you discover that what the developer considers to be "fun" is apparently throwing you in a small arena or in a set of hallways and then relentlessly puking high-powered enemies and rockets everywhere, which quickly turns into a mess. It's that Mario Maker-style of level design again. I won't go into any depth on them. I did complete one (after, many, many tries) for a Steam achievement, but it wasn't easy, and probably wasn't worth the effort.

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A significant addition to the re-release worth mentioning is the inclusion of a second campaign! As mentioned before, this campaign apparently connects it to the newest game in the series, DOOM Eternal, but, really, all you have here is a truncated campaign, maybe 1/3 as long as the original, that has to hit most of the same beats in less time. An interesting result of this is that these extra levels feel HARD. The developers seem to have designed it knowing that players will have beaten the game previously, giving these intricately design new levels the feel of challenge stages. This mini-campaign also has its own boss, which is pretty much identical to the original (it's the final boss' sister or something... no joke). Thankfully, the final boss fight here is actually quite a bit more fun, as it's set in a level where you can feel free to run, hide, and generally fight the absurdly powerful demon without having to resort to cheap exploits like stun-locking it.

But, yeah, once you finish the main campaign, selecting "New Game" will give you the option to play this mini-campaign instead, and I HIGHLY recommend everyone who enjoyed the base game do so. It's mostly more of the same, but considering the game, that's not a bad thing at all.

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CONCLUSION

There are some drawbacks to DOOM 64. Some frustrating oversights in the level design. Less enemy variety than in DOOM II. A final boss that is either overwhelming or pathetic, depending on how many of the secret demon keys you can access to by the time the final level rolls around. Yet this is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best game in the series I've played to date. It's so good as a whole product, honestly, that it puts previous entries to shame. I never replay games right away, and rarely go back to look for secrets, and yet I continued to return to DOOM 64 to uncover all of its secrets and unlock all of the achievements. I can't recommend this strongly enough to anyone who has any love in their heart for old-school shooters or horror shooters. You won't be disappointed.

Playing depressing games alone in my cold, dark room <3

JoeDiddley

@Ralizah great review!

Apologies for both the brevity and content of my thoughts 😊 ...

I finished Danganronpa 2 on Friday.

At first I wasn’t as gripped as the first game as it felt like more of the same so it wasn’t as shocking and slower paced. I preferred the setting and thrill of the new in the Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc. I’d never played anything like it before, so it’s unfair really for me to expect such a feeling from a great sequel.

But I loved the last 2 chapters more than any from the first game.

To ensure I enjoy the 3rd game to the fullest I’m going to give it a while before playing it.

Edited on by JoeDiddley

Switch: SW-2923-8106-2126
PSN: joediddley

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