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Topic: Games You Recently Beat?

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Ralizah

Disclaimer: I spoiler-tagged my discussion of the game's ending. I don't think it matters, because anyone with a lick of sense will see where this game is going after five minutes, but if you're especially sensitive to spoilers, there you go.

Actual Sunlight

WHAT IS IT?
A two-hour long RPGMaker game where you play as an overweight, middle-aged man struggling with depression.

PLATFORM
PS Vita

LEVEL OF COMPLETION
Everything. All the trophies. Actually had to replay half the game to snag the last one, but considering the game's length, it wasn't a massive sacrifice.

Untitled

PRO

  • There... aren't any real bugs that I encountered.
  • The game is almost entirely devoid of typos and grammatical mistakes.
  • In general, my issues with... almost everything aside, it's fairly well-written.
  • It's mercifully short.
  • The occasional CG that shows what the characters look like aren't too bad. Character portaits in text boxes aren't the worst thing in the world, either.

CON

  • Have you ever been trapped in a conversation with a deeply unpleasant and negative person, but feel like you're sort of obliged to listen and just want to get the conversation over with? That's what playing this game feels like. The bitter rantings of the main character feel like they were probably derived from a first-hand experience with depression, and I've had some similar thoughts myself at various points in my life (I think everyone has), but the authenticity, or lack thereof, of the main character's self-negativity doesn't make it any more entertaining or enlightening to read. You can very easily go on a random social media website and find someone crying about how fat, stupid, and ugly they are without having to pay $5 to experience it (unless you were lucky like me and got it via PS+ one month). There's no grace, art, humor, or insight gleaned from this game. It's just a day in the headspace of a deeply emotionally unwell human being. And, frankly, anyone can vomit out the nastiness supplied by one's inner critic into a short script and call it a day.
  • Please don't keep mentioning the main character's tendency to pleasure himself while swallowed by feelings of self-remorse, game. It's gross.
  • I was tempted to call this a visual novel, but it doesn't really deserve that distinction. It's a plain-jane, ugly RPGMaker game with reams of text that scroll by anytime you click on anything in the environment, except that text often has nothing to do with the thing you clicked on.
  • The irritating, fax machine-esque noises that issue every time text scrolls by in this game is truly appreciated. On the other hand, there's no voice acting, and basically no music, so there's no real reason to keep the sound up, either. But I didn't want to miss audio cues or something important, either. Joke's on me, I guess.
  • There's a bizarre message that scrolls by at one point when you examine a couple of people outside (as I said before, the text that appears often has no relation to the object you chose to examine) that basically tells the player that, unless they're 25 or older, their problems aren't real or significant. But once you hit your 30's, like the guy in this game and (presumably) the main developer, well, it's too late to turn things around. That's the implication, at least. Might as well jump off of the roof if you don't have a good thing going for you by then.
  • Oh, the roof. So, there's a grand total of, like, five different environments in this game. One of them is the roof of your apartment building. Its inclusion here is obvious: at some point, the player character is meant to throw themselves off of it. Sensing this early on, and quickly developing a headache from the irritating noises and cloying self-pity in all of the game's monologues (90% of the text in this game, as mentioned, is the main character talking bitterly about himself and his life), I was hoping this game might be the Breath of the Wild of suicide sims, and let me jump straight to the end once I felt like it, but that didn't turn out to be the case. You have to go through the motions and endure the requisite amount of mental self-abuse before it finally sends you up to the roof: and, of course, once it does, it won't let you reconsider or go back.
  • While the emotions sound authentic, I don't believe for a second that the developer has ever actually even talked to a real therapist. The main character mentions at some point that his therapist tells him to "come back when he has real problems," or something like that. No professional is going to do that; or, if they do, they need to have their license pulled. Depression is a real thing, and mental health professionals take suicidal ideation very seriously.
  • My biggest issue with all of this is probably that there's no real narrative here. No movement. No evolution. The main character begins as a deeply depressed man who apparently has no interests in life (he buys new video games, but doesn't appear to enjoy them), and ends as... a deeply depressed man who apparently has no interests in life, only, after a five year or so timeskip, he's finally ready to end it all. He has no character arc; no revelations; nothing to connect A to B aside from the necessity of the game needing to be sold as a finished product, I suppose.
  • There are other characters in this game, during the middle section when it briefly decides it wants to be a satire about corporate alienation or something, but they're introduced, get a few lines of dialogue, and... that's it, really. They're never developed enough for you to care what happens to them. The main character apparently develops a loveless relationship with one of them, but this is hardly even touched on. Nobody here gets an arc or evolves or is ever anything interesting, either.
  • The words from the title do crop up in the game at one point, but it's part of some off-hand phrase, and it's a bit weird that it became the title of the game. My guess? "Depression Quest" was already taken, and the developer(s) hunted through the script to find some combination of words they thought sounded good together, and settled on "Actual Sunlight."

Untitled

CONCLUSION
I feel a little bad ragging on this, as I suspect this game is deeply personal for the person or people who made it. This is pathetically low-effort, though. This is the sort of game you might make as the final in an "Introduction to Game Design" course. It is certainly not something the developer should have been selling for actual money. I've played numerous free games that felt like more engaging, complete experiences. This fails as a game; fails as narrative; it reads like a series of blog posts from a teenager who is unable to process their emotions

Untitled

VERDICT
2.5/10

Edited on by Ralizah

ACTIVELY PLAYING
Switch Lite: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

MrManBummer0

I did the super Mario maker 2

A

Switch Friend Code: SW-5861-4125-3617 | My Nintendo: NoMan00000

NotTelevision

@Ralizah Actually your description of the game has me a bit interested. Don’t know if I’ll play it, but I like the idea of a video game using this kind of protagonist even if I don’t identify. Sounds like they didn’t succeed in making it all come together though, which is a shame.

As much as I like the escapist wish fulfillment games I most often play, it’s interesting to see one that takes the opposite approach.

NotTelevision

NintendoByNature

Ghostbusters Remastered for switch. It was a real shock how much i liked it. I didn't think it would be all that good, as most games based off of movies are rather meh. But it had all the original cast, 3rd person shooter, Some light puzzles, ghouls and ghosts, an awesome library scene as well as a graveyard scene. The dialogue was really fun and ghostbusters'eque. Story was spot on ghostbusters. If you're a fan of the movies, you like 3rd person shooters, and want to get in the Halloween mood, it's the perfect game for you.

8/10

NintendoByNature

Magician

XBLAZE Code Embryo - a visual novel game. It's a side story to the BlazBlue series of games. It might be a cool thing to experience if you're a BlazBlue diehard fan. But for me it was a waste of time, roughly eight hours of my life I'll never get back. 3/10

Nightshade - another visual novel game, this time in the otome subgenre (basically a lady dating sim). Now...compared to XBLAZE Code Embryo, Nightshade was a breath of fresh air. An interesting plot line, good music, good voicework. The story isn't on the level of Steins;Gate: Elite, but I enjoyed my time. 6/10

I find myself warming up to the visual novel genre. Having a hands-free style of game while enjoying a cup of coffee in the early afternoon...it's nice. And now that the PS Vita is dead and buried we can expect publishers like PQube, Aksys Games, Idea Factory, D3 Publisher, and others to begin translating a whole bunch of these games for the western market. Even LRG is getting in on the act by distributing the western release for Clannad.

Switch Physical Collection - 673 games (as of November 28th, 2020)
Currently playing: Va-11 Hall-A (Switch)
Favorite Quote: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -Arthur C. Clarke

Ralizah

@NotTelevision In fairness, most sites have awarded it pretty decent scores. 6 - 8 range. I stand by my criticisms, but most people who have reviewed it don't seem to share them.

Have you played Hellblade? I'm really curious to get to that. There aren't a ton of games out there that explore mental illness as a serious subject.

ACTIVELY PLAYING
Switch Lite: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

BruceCM

I'm halfway through Hellblade on my Switch, @Ralizah .... I do intend to return to that So far, I'd say it's great, especially for the mental health side.

SW-4357-9287-0699
Gamertag: BruceCM

NotTelevision

@Ralizah I will say that the presentation, motion capture, and audio are all excellent in Hellblade. I’d recommend playing it on the strongest machine you have, since the graphics are fantastically detailed and it is a relatively short experience. No reason to take it on the go.

My biggest criticism of the game are some of the boring environmental puzzles which drag down the pace of the experience. There also are some cutscenes where Senua freaks out that came off a bit overcooked/overacted.

Overall I’d say it’s worth to pick it up on a sale, mainly for one particularly tremendous boss battle and the great emotional payoff.

NotTelevision

Ralizah

@BruceCM Still blows my mind that the game is even available on the Switch. And, soon, so will The Witcher 3. On a dedicated handheld, even. Strange times.

@NotTelevision My plan is to pick it up on PS4 at some point when there's a particularly good sale. I'm not terribly interested in the gameplay, but the use of 3D audio in the game sounds awesome.

I'm sure it'd probably look nicer on my more powerful (though still quite old) PC, but ease of use trumps everything in short game like this, and I plan on plugging my headphones directly into the controller.

ACTIVELY PLAYING
Switch Lite: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

BruceCM

Headohones definitely recommended, @Ralizah .... I'm sure you'll let us know how you get on with it, whenever you get around to playing

SW-4357-9287-0699
Gamertag: BruceCM

DenDen

Marvel ultimate alliance 3: The black Order.

Yust finished it took me 35hours (also did extra stuff)

Im glad I bought this second handed so for 25€ thats what the game is worth for me I give it a 6,5 / 10

Now playing
Nexomon
Spiritfarer
FC - SW 2926-4689-1966

Switch Friend Code: Sw-2926-4689-1966 | My Nintendo: DenDen

brendathecat

@Heavyarms55 hi there, I'm afraid I just can't get on with mario 64 either. Having played most of the others to completion and being a huge fan of the genre I put it down to the controls of mario himself and the early 3d camera.
I've been trying off and on to click with mario 64 since 2007 and I always get really frustrated around the 30-40 star mark.

Looking for animal crossing buddies on switch FC is SW-7803-7785-1593

brendathecat

I finished links awakening most recently and I compare it to putting on an old movie that makes you feel good but it doesn't challenge you anymore.
Having never done the colour dungeon before I was quite disappointed when I had done it in ten minutes and it lacked any challenge or complex puzzles bas d round the dungeon theme.
Feeling a little buyer's remorse for buying digital and being stuck with it, but I may us the game to introduce my niece to the series

Looking for animal crossing buddies on switch FC is SW-7803-7785-1593

Heavyarms55

@brendathecat Well I will agree that the controls haven't aged well. If you didn't get used to it back in the day, and are used to modern controls, I could see that being an issue.

Nintendo Switch FC: 4867-2891-2493
Switch username: Em
Discord: Heavyarms55 / SW 4867-2891-2493#1475
Pokemon Go FC: 3838 2595 7596
PSN: Heavyarms55zx

brendathecat

@Heavyarms55 yeah! Mario sunshine was the first 3d mario I really fell in love with and even going back to those controls takes some adjustment. Mario slips around a lot and is prone to clicking his heels and side jumping.

Looking for animal crossing buddies on switch FC is SW-7803-7785-1593

MsJubilee

Just recently beat River City Girls. It was alright(great soundtrack though), but there are some problems I had with the game. The dialogue and story are cringy, it tries too hard to be cute and quirky. Reminds of Horizon Zero Dawn's horrible writing, thinking about that game makes me want to vomit and that's not what you want developers. Another thing, some of the voice acting is mediocre, but the last two bosses are simply horrible! But in the end, they all have great designs(sadly the dialogue gives them nothing to work with), so good job there Wayforward.

The gameplay is fun, don't know why they made the same button be used for multiple things. When you get in a fight, you're gonna have a problem, cause one button is used for picking up items and for the screen transition. Which it's frustrating in a fight! Also, the block and items are terrible, they're so laggy that they're useless! To wrap this up. There's too many enemy spawns(some don't even give you exp or money) and the bosses are mediocre to just plain terrible. Especially the third boss, ugh so bloody tedious.

Like I said before this game is alright, but it has a handful of problems and for the asking price of $30? This game is not worth it, wait for a sale and this game will be fine for a day or two(it ain't long, it's super short).

Edited on by MsJubilee

I don't enjoy suffering alone. However, I don't mind making others suffer alone.

I'm reading PTSD Radio and In/Spectre.

I am playing through Sniper Elite 3(DLC as well) and Dishonored 2.

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

Tyranexx

@Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy Thanks for this! I haven't read your full write-up yet but intend to when I have more time later. I've loved the Digimon franchise for years but haven't played a game related to the series since Digimon World: Dusk on the DS.

Currently playing: Secret of Mana (CoM/Switch), Pushmo

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

RR529

Astral Chain (Switch)

Pros:

  • Combat is deep and satisfying, and they introduce things at a pace so you're never overwhelmed. While normal encounters can be dangerous if you're not paying attention, the bosses in particular were pretty great.
  • It's mostly a very smooth experience. The only notable frame drops I noticed were during a boss fight about halfway through (it's a very large enemy, and the frame drops occur once it's health gets low & it starts running like crazy along the side of the buildings around the arena), but even that wasn't very distracting.
  • While it's an action game at it's core, it's actually a pretty well rounded package that breaks things up with investigations, environmental platforming & puzzling, the occasional stealth section or on rails shooting section, and a few other optional minigames (such "moving block" puzzles, delivery minigames, and even a retro game minigame), which are mostly quality experiences themselves.
  • It's very replayable if that's your thing. Of course it has what you'd expect for an action game, outside of the easiest difficulty, every section is graded so you can replay scenarios for a better score, and it has an unlockable harder difficulty. Outside of that though it has a decent photo mode (which can be used to unlock character, enemy, & location entries in an extensive encyclopedia), hidden cats & toilets to find in every mission, and an in game achievement system that can be used to collect goodies. There's a lot of accessories & a few different costumes to collect as well.
  • Even if you're not into replayability it's still a pretty meaty experience for an action game, lasting roughly 35-40 hours for a run (I played on Pt Standard, and finished about 38 hours in). It also has a post game chapter, so even if you're not into replaying past missions, you can get some extra playtime from this, though I haven't really delved into it.
  • It's a very visually appealing game, with great art direction.

Mixed:

  • the story is okay. I like the worldbuilding & some of the characters, but it ultimately devolves into typical anime pseudo-science technobabble.

Negative:

  • You can't 100% most missions the first time through, as there will be some areas/items inaccessible due to you needing an ability you don't yet have. This works well in more open world or "Metroidvania" games, but is less appealing in a chapter based game such as this (also, you can only replay previous chapters via a PC you can only access at the start of a chapter at HQ).
  • While most gameplay elements are quality, the platforming is a bit rough (probably because it centers around having your Legion yank you across gaps, and if you happen to as much as brush anything you lose all momentum & fall like a rock, and your character won't grab ledges & pull themselves up even if you're right at the edge). It's not so bad that I had any issue with any of the main objectives, but there's quite a bit of goodies off the beaten path only accessible past tricky platforming, and that's where it becomes an issue.

Overall my criticticims are pretty minor and it was a great experience. The most engrossing Switch exclusive I've played since year one's BotW, Odyssey, & XC2, IMO. As a disclaimer, I played it exclusively docked.

Edited on by RR529

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

Tyranexx

@Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy No prob! I found it pretty informative! Going by your write-up, it's similar in some ways to the two DS entries I've played.

Heck, it's safe to say that this is one of the games that has made me seriously consider picking up a PS4 more than once. Unfortunately I barely even have time for the systems I do own lately.

Currently playing: Secret of Mana (CoM/Switch), Pushmo

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

cryptologous

I'm not sure what constitutes completion but I recently filled out all diary entries in Voez. Never played rhythm games before Voez aside from messing around on stuff like DDR and a few other games at Japanese arcades but Voez stole my attention the day I purchased it and I've played it on and off ever since. Not very good at the game but I've managed a few special 15+ S ranks which feels super sweet.

A cool thing I learned going for some of those final all-perfect challenges was that all-perfecting a track wasn't necessarily any easier on lower difficulties, and that mirrored my experiences playing the guitar. Unless you specifically train yourself to play at all tempos, you'll likely develop a subconscious proficiency at a select few tempos and anything faster or slower can throw you off. I ended up all-perfecting tracks considerably more technical than the easier songs in the game while missing a couple of notes every time I attempted said easier songs because I wasn't acclimated to performing at those tempos. Patience pays off I guess! Might have to practice with a metronome!

cryptologous

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