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Hades, it's really good, even for early access that just came out on Steam, by the people who made Bastion and Transistor.. Considering I like both rogue-lites and greek mythology I was surprised to learn about this one.

It's still got a decent amount of development time left before it becomes a "finished" game, but the structure is probably the most complete I've seen for an early access game.

Edited by Tryhard

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I'm currently playing Specter Knight. I like the feel of when its going well but I'm rather grumpy with it. The gameplay is build around wall running but what differentiate Specter Knight climbing the wall or him just bumping against the wall and falling into the abyss is a mystery to me. This is a pretty steep handicap when the game pretty much immediately throws you situations where its wall running or death and I've had multiple deaths were I know exactly what to do but die anyway because the demented Specter just refuses to do what I want of him. 

The game itself doesn't exactly explain how to properly wall run either. They say that you just have to run into the wall to start wall running but doing that leads a bottomless pit just as often as it leads to success. 

Edited by Etrurian emperor

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Right now, I'm playing Star Wars: Dark Forces 2 Jedi Knight. Probably one of the best Star Wars games ever released if you ask me. It's a super fun FPS game, and Kyle Katarn is one of the best Jedi to ever exist-even if he's no longer canon. (Screw you Disney)

After I'm through with it, I'm going to take it upon myself to tackle The Witcher trilogy. In preparation for Cyberpunk 2077, I'm going to play through CD Projeckt Red's previous work to see what kind of developers I'm dealing with.

 

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I've been playing Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. As expected, it takes more gameplay ideas from the second game than the first. Mission based gameplay set in one of several sandbox levels. This game has even more playable characters. And with so many gimmicky scenarios I found myself wondering if there'd ever be some classic stealth-driven gameplay. The answer is mostly no. Stealthing around enemies is mostly a suggestion or a means of robbing them for loot which gets you upgrades. All characters can dispatch enemies very easily and your health bar generously absorbs a lot of damage. This is a game where you can have the sprint button taped down at all times and the gameplay would be mostly unaffected, so I can't comfortably call this a stealth game outside of one or two missions.

But I can make comparisons to another popular stealth game series. This game relies heavily on cutscenes and radio conversations, taking up four hours in total, which is about 30-40% of the game time. None of it is skippable. The game is very set piece-ey and I'll admit some story beats are fairly entertaining due to good animations and good writing, but there's no way to skip or speed up scenes of two characters merely standing around and talking. I often found myself distracted by the game's slow pace. And I hate to pick on a mid 2000s cartoony game for this, but the voice acting is pretty poor all around. I rate the game a 6.1 out of 10. Also kind of impressed that the eventual Sly 4 really does pay off on such an outrageous tease for a sequel. Maybe I'll buy and play it one of these days.

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I've mostly been playing Earth Defense Force 5, Dragalia Lost, and Another Eden.

* * * * *

Earth Defense Force 5

A fun game where you take your weapons and blast giant insects to smithereens. I finished the main story on single player on Hard difficulty, although I did have to lower the difficulty for one particular battle (Mission 100) as there was no way for me to properly take out giant monsters on top of the swarms of smaller enemies with the firepower I had. For that particular mission, you have to be overleveled or be in multiplayer as playing solo is almost impossible if you get caught out of position.

Now, while the EDF series may seem like mindless fun and blowing up things left and right (and it is), the later missions really start to become tactical on how one approaches them. Strategies such as only pulling certain sections of the mob or kiting foes around the edge of the map may have to be utilized.

While I finished the main story solo, I've been messing around in the multiplayer as playing as the other classes with other people is always fun. A shame the VA work on 5 is a step down from 4.1, but the gameplay in 5 is excellent.

I do need to pick up the mission packs at some point, but then again I never really got around to finishing the mission packs I got for 4.1...

Dragalia Lost

As always, I play Dragalia Lost causally so I'm not too concerned about 100% efficiency in getting the dailies/weeklies done. I also tend to auto most content, so it's sorta odd to say I play Dragalia Lost, save for the fact I mostly just level up my units, the Halidom, and see numbers go up. This is probably because I mainly just have my phone do DL stuff while I actually do something else...

I am a bit worried about the powercreep in DL, but they seem to be handling it better than other games that I've played. Then again, this may be because I'm not too invested in DL. The generosity they give to the players though is insane and I love the constant updates and the roadmap for DL content. For now, I'm basically satisfied with how things are going.

Save for Nobu. Dragalia Lost has a Nobunaga now and I want one. Even though my first Nobunaga was from Samurai Warriors (a proper dude), the Nobu of FGO ended up winning me over and the one in DL is also awesome.

Another Eden

Slowly but surely making progress in Another Eden. I managed to finally clear out my 3rd "Episode Story" by getting all the rewards (Arc of Ocean Palace), and am now working on finishing up the Time Mine (which I now realize why its called the Time Mine) and IDA 2 (a "school" story with mystery and the like).

I also managed to finish Part 1 of the "1.5 Ogre Wars" storyline as I attempt to move forward to the current main farming area which is locked behind "Arc 2 Main Story" content. Some of then new areas are huge with high encounter rates and I'm starting to miss some of the simpler dungeon maps, but I guess things getting more complex is how it is as the story progresses.

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My brother and I knocked out Sonic and the Black Knight in two gaming sessions. Woof. I thought Sonic Heroes made the strongest case that the series doesn't need combat elements but I guess these developers didn't get the memo. It's the second and last of the Sonic Storybook Series of Wii games. Although the game now requires nunchuk, it sees few improvements over the abysmal control of the previous game, which asked you to hold a wii mote sideways and tilt to steer left and right. Attacking enemies is slow and always brings Sonic to a complete stop. Electing not to attack causes Sonic to bump into them and get hit if you're not mashing jump to escape. However, I advise just steering and jumping around the enemies as much as you can. Boss fights are a bit of a joke, only testing whether you remember where the guard button is with no strategy. The last two boss fights have QTEs, but they were very frustrating. A well timed waggle of the wiimote may not sound difficult, but there's a near second delay between you doing the physical motion and the game picking up on that input. And the time window for such QTEs is far too short, forcing me to sometimes guess when they are coming.

As frustrating as the game is to play, it's mercifully short at only 2-3 hours if you continue for the true ending. I'm very appreciative of the quick clear, but it leaves me wondering how rushed the game was. Seeing as Sega clearly intended to make at least one more game in this series, the decision not to was probably made partway through the second game's development, and they just pushed what they had onto store shelves to cut their losses. Sonic and the Black Knight released between Unleashed and Colors, which were the first well received Sonic games in a while, so the shift in interest to the new Boost Formula games seems clear. I rate Sonic and the Black Knight a 2.7 out of 10. Despite such a unique concept and setting, the game is plagued with all too familiar issues of poor controls, incompetent level design, awful combat elements, janky animations, and a nothing story. 

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Since Christmas, the only thing I've been playing is Civilization VI. I wanted to try out the genre, and the game was on sale, so why not venture into something totally new for me?

After several frustrating games I just scrapped entirely because the game is sooooooo unfriendly to beginners, I went online for tips and are now having quite some fun with this game. I've done three full plays so far, once Science, Cultural, and Religious, and now I'm working on another Science win, with Australia because it interested me. Australia's production capabilities are insanely good, it could easily win any kind of victory, even if its Domination path encourages waiting for the enemies to strike first.

 

I want to do a Domination Victory, the logistical challenges of maintaining a giant army interest me, but I feel too guilty at taking out the other leaders. Sure they're only pixels in a game, with zero writing going into them, in the case of some like Tomrys and Gligamesh, they weren't ever real people, and real others like Harold Hardrada and Catherine de Medici did some pretty bad things. Yet, I feel much more guilt wiping out their civilizations than I ever did offing the characters of FE3H of the other houses, even after playing said other houses.

Not helping is Civilization seems to cast the other victory methods as reflecting humanity's nobler instincts, so playing Domination feels like it's the "bad victory". And yet, they devoted a good bit of effort into making all the units, policies, and abilities, so it feels not right skipping on Domination too. Mixing some offensive warfare into another victory style doesn't seem like a good idea, since unless you eradicate an entire civilization, a conquered city's yields are halved, so why conquer?

EDIT: Oh, using diplomacy for acknowledgement of my conquests restores city productivity to normal. That makes mixing offensive warfare into my other victories much more reasonable. And Cyrus never suffers the occupation yield penalty either. I still feel guilty though.

Edited by Interdimensional Observer

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Over the past few days, i've been playing Vestaria Saga, a Not Fire Emblem game created by Shouzuo Kaga. To start with the positive, the music. Kaga did not have to go that hard on the music but he did. The gameplay feels like an upgraded FE3, at least early on. The story is pretty neat too though the lack of Supports makes it hard to care about most of the cast.

However, from Ch.13 and onwards, Kaga completely shit the bed. These chapters are not fun in the slightest. And after Ch.15, i kinda don't want to play anymore. Vestaria Saga is a Kaga game through and through. There's a lot of bullshit in the game. If you're a fan of Kaga Emblem, then you'll probably enjoy this game but if you like good post-Kaga FE, then you may want to stay away from this one.

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21 minutes ago, Armagon said:

Over the past few days, i've been playing Vestaria Saga, a Not Fire Emblem game created by Shouzuo Kaga. To start with the positive, the music. Kaga did not have to go that hard on the music but he did. The gameplay feels like an upgraded FE3, at least early on. The story is pretty neat too though the lack of Supports makes it hard to care about most of the cast.

However, from Ch.13 and onwards, Kaga completely shit the bed. These chapters are not fun in the slightest. And after Ch.15, i kinda don't want to play anymore. Vestaria Saga is a Kaga game through and through. There's a lot of bullshit in the game. If you're a fan of Kaga Emblem, then you'll probably enjoy this game but if you like good post-Kaga FE, then you may want to stay away from this one.

If you arent enjoying it, then it's probably best if you don't continue, or what's the point?

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11 minutes ago, lightcosmo said:

If you arent enjoying it, then it's probably best if you don't continue, or what's the point?

Yeah, that's how i'm feeling. Which is a shame since i actually enjoyed the first 12 chapters (minus Ch.10). But i guess Kaga remembered that if his games aren't fun, it's not a real Kaga game.

It's a better game than FE4 and 5 but that's not exactly a high bar. But i will say i do like the implementation of 5 turn saves. Being able to save every five turns is a good middle ground between the exploitable nature of the Turnwheel and FE4 saves and the restrictive nature of the DS FE mid-chapter saves.

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2 hours ago, Armagon said:

Yeah, that's how i'm feeling. Which is a shame since i actually enjoyed the first 12 chapters (minus Ch.10). But i guess Kaga remembered that if his games aren't fun, it's not a real Kaga game.

It's a better game than FE4 and 5 but that's not exactly a high bar. But i will say i do like the implementation of 5 turn saves. Being able to save every five turns is a good middle ground between the exploitable nature of the Turnwheel and FE4 saves and the restrictive nature of the DS FE mid-chapter saves.

If it really is that way, that's too bad. I cant say since I enjoy FE4 and 5, but still, sorry to hear that you dont enjoy it, it's a shame. 

At least you can find a silver lining there, that's good!

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Knocked out Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate HD, the sequel to a game I played a couple weeks ago. I think a game like this was made mainly to cater to Castlevania fans wondering "hey, if spoiler is spoiler, where does that leave the Belmonts?". So the game has us take control of this universe's Simon, Trevor, and Alucard in their 30 years fight against Dracula. The gameplay is also a callback to classic styles. Instead of being a linear hack and slash action game, the game world is free roam, and several backtracking sequences with newly acquired traversal techniques. Calling it a "metroidvania" feels like a stretch, as there are no customization elements, and leveling up from experience only provides new combo moves, never a boost in health or damage. Furthermore, you don't progress only through your sense of exploration, since the map always clearly highlights where you should be going next. It's very accommodating, but would be a very divisive feature if we called this a metroidvania.

I encountered some issues with the camera. Particularly grapple points that are just out of view. I dunno if this is an issue exclusive to this HD port, but it lead to some frustrating moments where I find out a dead end is not actually a dead end just because something that should be easily visible is being cut off by the camera's current position. It's seldom as bad as the average metroidvania game, but still hampers the experience. The multiple playable characters is also a bit disappointing when you find they have identical movesets outside of special abilities and sub-weapons you obtain for them. Combat really avoids being stale by virtue of the game's fairly short ~5 hour campaign. I rate it a 5.9 out of 10. Never impressive, but also never outright bad, and the story's compelling too, though we get almost no closure for the characters, or lead in to the next game.

Edited by Glennstavos

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Just played through Dragon Quest XI on the switch and oh boy, is this a long game! It's pretty great, though. I was surprisingly impressed.

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So I beat Witcher 1. It's....not good. It's aged about as well as a rotting potato if you ask me.

Hopefully Witchers 2 and 3 are much better.

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I bought a Nintendo Switch a little over a week ago. I received enough Christmas money that I decided I may as well get one, and I bought three games along with it:

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I mean, what can I say that hasn't already been said already? This game is huge, this game is beautiful, and I can point at any place I see and confidently say "I can go there". It might require a few upgrades to my stamina first, but I know it is only a matter of time before I can climb any mountain. I'm still amazed at the freedom this game gives you, and remember going the opposite direction several times or making a beeline to the next objective just because I saw something interesting earlier when exploring. I haven't gotten far enough to comment on the story, but I am curious on seeing how things unfold.

The only thing I'm not a big fan of is the weapon durability. Items break WAY too easily in this game, and while it's thankfully compensated by the sheer number of weapons you can find, I find it much less satisfying that it should be to find a cool new sword, since I know it's just going to break two or three rounds of combat later. I also thought enemies did a lot more damage than they should have, though I imagine that's mostly an early game problem and becomes less of an issue as the game goes on and the player gets more armor, health upgrades, and stat boosting items.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Again, do I really need to explain why this game is good? It's fast paced, I can jump right into to every single mode the game offers, and I can do a few fights at a time before moving on to something else, or I can spend several hours without breaking a sweat. Ultimate was the right subtitle to give this game. Every single character from every Smash game, plus several more? Over 100 stages, and a soundtrack that takes over a day to listen to completely? Lack of content is not a complaint I have towards this game, to the point that I agree with the sentiment that this should be the last Smash Brothers game for a long time.

The Spirits mode is the only negative thing I can say about the game due to being a time sink. You use spirits to fight spirits to get even more spirits, and it doesn't affect much outside of that. Like missions in previous games, some of the battles are fun, others are painful, and some make me glad wrist straps are a thing or else my TV would have entered the afterlife by now. I still have a lot of fun with this mode, it's just easy to see it as, again, a time sink. I'm also disappointed that Spirits don't have a description of the game they're from, as learning about games I wasn't familiar with that was my favorite thing about trophies (even though I understand why those were removed).

I also found the classic mode giving each character their own themed battle to be a double-edged sword. I do enjoy that fights are actually relevant to the character now in both obvious and subtle ways, but if a character I enjoy using has a fight setup I'm not fond of, well, sucks to be me, I guess. This does obviously range from person to person, and I did enjoy the randomness aspect of previous classic modes, but again, I still have a lot of fun with classic, and the fights getting progressively harder the better you play is a wonderful addition.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

I'd say I'm liking though not loving this game. I went with the Blue Lions since I heard they have the easiest starting units, and I'd rather I'm taking a very "wait and see" approach, as nearly every aspect of the game, from the story to the monastery to battalions to combat arts to monsters and so on, I could see either becoming more interesting as time goes on... or I could see IS seriously dropping the ball. I know some people love the game while others don't, so I'm curious to see what my final thoughts on Three will be.

So far, I would say that the writing and voice acting ranges from okay to great. Nothing has blown me away so far, but there's also nothing I can call bad. While the characters are still kinda tropey, I do appreciate that it's not at the forefront like it was in Awakening and Fates. As much as I enjoy Awakenings cast, I also thought their handling was a double-edged sword, since while it was very satisfying to unlock supports and see there was more to them than what meets the eye, it also meant that if you didn't use a character, you were stuck with a  questionable first impression. I also noticed that the Three Houses seems to be deconstructing several series archetypes, such as Dedue showing how scary and hypocritical blind loyalty can be (when characters like Fredrick had it kept in check by being an adviser), Syvian's womanizing is not treated as a harmless joke by other characters and he lacks some of the more immediately likable traits that previous philanders had, some characters see Glenn's sacrifice as noble and others as senseless, Dmitri fights with his inner demons while being an otherwise noble man, and I know Felix wastes part of his life in several of his endings due to his singleminded focus on becoming a stronger fighter. I don't know how well this is handled throughout the game, but so far I am impressed and intrigued where some of these will lead.

The two things I can say for certain I'm not a fan of with Three Houses is the animations and slow pace. I understand that Shadow of Valentia's awesome battle animations were a result of several years working with the engine, and that the switch to the, well, Switch would mean they wouldn't be quite as strong, but I was still surprised and disappointed at how lackluster Three Houses battle animations turned out to be. While I don't think they're bad per se, they don't have the same sense of speed (why are arrows traveling slow slowly in a glaring straight line, when previous games hid that through having the arrow travel quickly? And why does it seem like a second passes between the first and second strike when a character doubles?), strength (lords poking their enemies is at its most egregious, but in general attacks range in how hard it looks like they hit the enemy), and fluidity (sometimes, characters will repeat the same attack animation, even when earlier it was shown that there does exist a separate animation for when someone doubles) that SoV did. Battalians also look extremely unpolished, with them popping in and out of existence if a unit so much as moves an elbow into their personal space. If you told me the game was delayed twice, I wouldn't be able to tell that based on visuals, which makes me wonder if said delayed focused more on either on replacing mechanics and ideas that were cut and/or adding in more content that took more time than originally  expected.

The game also takes a while to get going. I understand that some of this is to ease the players into the monastery mechanics, which to be fair can be overwhelming at first, but I still can't help but notice how at the 6, 12, and 18 hour marks that I would be much further along in other Fire Emblem games than I was in this one. Again, I'm remaining cautious over the game, since I see it potentially getting both better and worse as I proceed through.

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8 hours ago, Hawkwing said:

I bought a Nintendo Switch a little over a week ago. I received enough Christmas money that I decided I may as well get one, and I bought three games along with it:

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

I mean, what can I say that hasn't already been said already? This game is huge, this game is beautiful, and I can point at any place I see and confidently say "I can go there". It might require a few upgrades to my stamina first, but I know it is only a matter of time before I can climb any mountain. I'm still amazed at the freedom this game gives you, and remember going the opposite direction several times or making a beeline to the next objective just because I saw something interesting earlier when exploring. I haven't gotten far enough to comment on the story, but I am curious on seeing how things unfold.

The only thing I'm not a big fan of is the weapon durability. Items break WAY too easily in this game, and while it's thankfully compensated by the sheer number of weapons you can find, I find it much less satisfying that it should be to find a cool new sword, since I know it's just going to break two or three rounds of combat later. I also thought enemies did a lot more damage than they should have, though I imagine that's mostly an early game problem and becomes less of an issue as the game goes on and the player gets more armor, health upgrades, and stat boosting items.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Again, do I really need to explain why this game is good? It's fast paced, I can jump right into to every single mode the game offers, and I can do a few fights at a time before moving on to something else, or I can spend several hours without breaking a sweat. Ultimate was the right subtitle to give this game. Every single character from every Smash game, plus several more? Over 100 stages, and a soundtrack that takes over a day to listen to completely? Lack of content is not a complaint I have towards this game, to the point that I agree with the sentiment that this should be the last Smash Brothers game for a long time.

The Spirits mode is the only negative thing I can say about the game due to being a time sink. You use spirits to fight spirits to get even more spirits, and it doesn't affect much outside of that. Like missions in previous games, some of the battles are fun, others are painful, and some make me glad wrist straps are a thing or else my TV would have entered the afterlife by now. I still have a lot of fun with this mode, it's just easy to see it as, again, a time sink. I'm also disappointed that Spirits don't have a description of the game they're from, as learning about games I wasn't familiar with that was my favorite thing about trophies (even though I understand why those were removed).

I also found the classic mode giving each character their own themed battle to be a double-edged sword. I do enjoy that fights are actually relevant to the character now in both obvious and subtle ways, but if a character I enjoy using has a fight setup I'm not fond of, well, sucks to be me, I guess. This does obviously range from person to person, and I did enjoy the randomness aspect of previous classic modes, but again, I still have a lot of fun with classic, and the fights getting progressively harder the better you play is a wonderful addition.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

I'd say I'm liking though not loving this game. I went with the Blue Lions since I heard they have the easiest starting units, and I'd rather I'm taking a very "wait and see" approach, as nearly every aspect of the game, from the story to the monastery to battalions to combat arts to monsters and so on, I could see either becoming more interesting as time goes on... or I could see IS seriously dropping the ball. I know some people love the game while others don't, so I'm curious to see what my final thoughts on Three will be.

So far, I would say that the writing and voice acting ranges from okay to great. Nothing has blown me away so far, but there's also nothing I can call bad. While the characters are still kinda tropey, I do appreciate that it's not at the forefront like it was in Awakening and Fates. As much as I enjoy Awakenings cast, I also thought their handling was a double-edged sword, since while it was very satisfying to unlock supports and see there was more to them than what meets the eye, it also meant that if you didn't use a character, you were stuck with a  questionable first impression. I also noticed that the Three Houses seems to be deconstructing several series archetypes, such as Dedue showing how scary and hypocritical blind loyalty can be (when characters like Fredrick had it kept in check by being an adviser), Syvian's womanizing is not treated as a harmless joke by other characters and he lacks some of the more immediately likable traits that previous philanders had, some characters see Glenn's sacrifice as noble and others as senseless, Dmitri fights with his inner demons while being an otherwise noble man, and I know Felix wastes part of his life in several of his endings due to his singleminded focus on becoming a stronger fighter. I don't know how well this is handled throughout the game, but so far I am impressed and intrigued where some of these will lead.

The two things I can say for certain I'm not a fan of with Three Houses is the animations and slow pace. I understand that Shadow of Valentia's awesome battle animations were a result of several years working with the engine, and that the switch to the, well, Switch would mean they wouldn't be quite as strong, but I was still surprised and disappointed at how lackluster Three Houses battle animations turned out to be. While I don't think they're bad per se, they don't have the same sense of speed (why are arrows traveling slow slowly in a glaring straight line, when previous games hid that through having the arrow travel quickly? And why does it seem like a second passes between the first and second strike when a character doubles?), strength (lords poking their enemies is at its most egregious, but in general attacks range in how hard it looks like they hit the enemy), and fluidity (sometimes, characters will repeat the same attack animation, even when earlier it was shown that there does exist a separate animation for when someone doubles) that SoV did. Battalians also look extremely unpolished, with them popping in and out of existence if a unit so much as moves an elbow into their personal space. If you told me the game was delayed twice, I wouldn't be able to tell that based on visuals, which makes me wonder if said delayed focused more on either on replacing mechanics and ideas that were cut and/or adding in more content that took more time than originally  expected.

The game also takes a while to get going. I understand that some of this is to ease the players into the monastery mechanics, which to be fair can be overwhelming at first, but I still can't help but notice how at the 6, 12, and 18 hour marks that I would be much further along in other Fire Emblem games than I was in this one. Again, I'm remaining cautious over the game, since I see it potentially getting both better and worse as I proceed through.

Breath of the Wild is an amazing game, so have fun with that one!

Smash Ultimate: Yeah this game did a pretty impressive job compared to Smash 4. About classic mode: it was a good idea, but unoriginal fights like Marth vs Lucina were things I was hoping they would avoid... they didn't.

Three Houses: I can agree about the animations, they are pretty bad. But it sounds like your enjoying it, so that's a good sign, at least.

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I picked up Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor on the cheap for PS4. I wanted a chill, turn-your-brain-off open world game, and what I got was a frustrating mess. The game has no difficulty settings, but I feel like I'm playing some poorly designed hardcore mode where generic enemy health is tripled and bosses deal enough damage to one shot. There isn't major penalties for death, but this is a game that explicitly doesn't have checkpoints (instead incorporating our main character's ability to resurrect into the narrative, allowing bosses to react to you challenging them again), so one mistake can result in replaying 20 minutes of busy work to get back to that boss. The boss strength is also exemplified by them being immune to a laundry list of things as the game goes on. On more than one occasion I was up against multiple foes all packing any three of: Immunity to ranged attacks, immunity to combo finishers, immunity to traps, immunity to animal friends, and immunity to stealth attacks. This doesn't enhance player strategy, it inhibits it. And I rely on cheap tactics that the AI can't handle, like stealth striking somebody from above, climbing a building, waiting for them to de-aggro after five seconds, then repeat.

Despite the combat controls being 100% the same as in the Batman Arkham games, there's one small tweak that had me taking hits all the way up to the end. In Batman, you can't cancel an attack's animation into a counter, but you can counter immediately after the strike connects. In Mordor, it's the opposite. You have a period of cooldown after striking where you're vulnerable to attack, but your attack animations before then are freely cancelled into counter. The reversal of risk and reward was frustrating.This is already a game where basic attacks are near useless due to inflated enemy health values and constant mob fights of 20+ enemies. You want to stick to instant takedown strategies. I also encountered bugs like boss health refilling to 100% right before my eyes as I was beating one up. I'm sure my terrible experiences are chalked up to insanely bad luck and programming quirks, but it's the only moments I'll remember. I rate the game a 5.6 out of 10. The final boss was a pushover that I killed in one minute, and the final boss after the final boss is just a QTE despite so much build up.

Edited by Glennstavos

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On 1/13/2020 at 9:45 AM, lightcosmo said:

Breath of the Wild is an amazing game, so have fun with that one!

I am! I love the amount of freedom you have in this game. It's almost always rewarding to go out of your way to explore something interesting I see in the distance, even if I end up a fair distance away from the objective. It reminds me of the best parts of the Elder Scrolls series, except Breath of the Wild has a climbing mechanic.

On 1/13/2020 at 9:45 AM, lightcosmo said:

Smash Ultimate: Yeah this game did a pretty impressive job compared to Smash 4. About classic mode: it was a good idea, but unoriginal fights like Marth vs Lucina were things I was hoping they would avoid... they didn't.

The moment I heard how they were going to handle classic mode in Ultimate, I already knew what my sentiment towards it would be. That sentiment remains largely unchanged, but the speed of the fights makes it easier to dash through classic mode with each character. It is also a nice change of pace when I want to do something other than smash fights or spirit mode.

On 1/13/2020 at 9:45 AM, lightcosmo said:

Three Houses: I can agree about the animations, they are pretty bad. But it sounds like your enjoying it, so that's a good sign, at least.

I am enjoying the game, although I am taking a cautious approach towards it. As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of aspects about this game that I can see becoming even more interesting later on, but just as easily I can see them ending up as missed opportunities. I've seen several varied opinions about Three Houses, and I'm curious what mine will turn out to be after I beat the game.

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I treated myself to the Castlevania collection for my switch recently. I'm already a longtime fan of the first game, but decided to skip ahead to Super Castlevania IV. What a fantastic game, each level had me hungry for more. There were some awkward moments, very precise platforming sections leading to cheap deaths. But altogether I found the same tough but fair design as in the first game. The difficulty is toned down some, but like in the original it's designed to encourage the player to keep trying. Continues are infinite as usual, but extra lives are plentiful for those more difficult screens. Regular end of level bosses are perhaps a tad too easy, but only because they lack a checkpoint anywhere nearby. It does feel weird how many could be brute forced if your health is high enough. I was warned about the difficulty in this game, but I'm happy to say I wasn't bothered even a moment by it. Not even by the final boss which I'll admit took over an hour of attempts. It was my favorite boss for sure.

The whip control was difficult for me, particularly the whip dangle. Hold the attack button too long, and your whip goes into dangle mode, which causes an added delay before your next attack. It will also cut off most of the whip's active hit frames. It took a lot of practice before I was getting those quick press and depresses when whipping in various directions as I control my air drift. Very tricky maneuvers that proved vital for the fights with Death and Dracula. If it weren't for those fights I would have suggested the ability to change your jump arcs in midair is largely superfluous in this game. But really it's just another layer of advanced techniques allowing you to attack and retreat at once. The system of obtaining double shots is also interesting. I didn't know while playing, but you can earn double shot by knocking out many candles and enemies in a row with the sub weapons. I guess I prefer it to the random drops of the first game, but not even the game's manual mentions how to obtain double shot, much less the game itself. This is a game where the whip upgrades are handed to the player for free on any screen they may have died. Had I designed the game, I would have made double shot more plentiful as a guaranteed drop and the whip upgrades not so much. Spending 98% of the gameplay with a fully upgraded whip is no doubt the major contributing factor to critics pointing out the whip is too good in this game.

I rate Super Castlevania a 7.5 out of 10. I only nitpick games this hard when they are this good.

Edit: And as it happens I cleared another game in the collection, Castlevania: The Adventure, often regarded as one of the worst entries in the series. The most noteworthy issue with the game is your movement speed. It really feels like the game is running at half speed, or slower as the frame rate dips when more than two things are on screen at once. When paired with the large startup delay of whip attacks, some enemies with projectiles can hit you before the player can reasonably react. Thankfully you can whip projectiles out of the air, but that takes exceptional accuracy and anticipation. Some level design and hazards are pretty creative though, particularly all of stage 3 in which you try to escape walls and ceilings trying to crush you. I also have to admit the final boss was a lot of fun to learn. Though I eventually broke down and dropped a save state at his front door since, unlike other Castlevania games, there's no continue point just before the final boss and I was getting tired of redoing the final stage.

Also it feels...scandalous to play a Castlevania game in which the health recovery items are hearts. I rate this one a 3.7 out of 10. I don't think it's as bad as the hellish experience of Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest. If anything it reminds me of Mega Man's game boy entries that have gone mostly forgotten. They were a poor substitute for the NES games, but on modern hardware they're inoffensive when you go into them expecting none of the greatness that its brand implies.

Edited by Glennstavos

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I'm playing Total War Three Kingdoms since the latest DLC came out a few days ago. I'm actually having a lot of fun with it, but I need to get used to the new battle tweaks since it's been a while since I dived into the game. It's apparently a pretty buggy update, but I haven't encountered any issues so far.

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Just finished my first playthrough of Fire Emblem: Three Houses (CF). While it was far from perfect, I had a lot of fun and the OST is incredible. I don't know yet if I wait for the DLC before starting a second playthrough or not.

Now? If I decide against another playthrough, I'll be playing Mario Odyssey and Control.

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I triple dipped into the Castlevania Collection for Castlevania 2: Belmont's Revenge. Well, it's the best game I've played titled "Castlevania 2", I'll say that much. As a sequel to The Adventure on Game Boy, it makes the obvious adjustments. Movement speed has been increased to a more playable standard, getting hit no longer downgrades your whip (except when hurt by a specific, returning enemy from the previous game) and they added sub weapons to the game, though I seldom found them useful. There are also less instant kill hazards, and a more generous checkpointing system in which the second to last checkpoint you reached is your new continue point, so you won't have to start a level over from the very beginning. Once again though, they neglect to set a hard continue point before the final boss. And defeating him requires nothing short of memorizing pixel perfect dodges. You also have a Mega Man style level select for the first four stages before you can raid Dracula's castle, so there's some non-linearity in how you tackle the game. I think its definitely one of the better game boy games out there. I can only nitpick the difficulty curve shooting way up for the final two boss fights. 5 out of 10.

Continuing on I played Kid Dracula next. This game is a very transparent rif on Mega Man, with only the first stage having any aesthetic resemblance to Castlevania. Dracula charges his shots like Mega Man, obtains new weapons from bosses like Mega Man, and even shares Mega Man's idle stance and walk animations. The only thing its missing is the ability to select which stage to play next. It's a very easy game until the final level in which they forego checkpoints completely and also don't give you any health upgrades. The gameplay has little depth and is ideal as a casual experience, hence why I think it's unfortunate the game decides to be difficult only in the end as if to rob the player of a cute little ending. I rate it a 4.6 out of 10. And as expected, they censored the swastika tattoo on the first boss.

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Vestaria Saga I: War of the Scions

A thoroughly beautiful game that goes above and beyond in terms of game design and story then I could have imagined in a game with no budget. It just keeps getting better and better as the game goes on... only, to stumble in the final chapter. I do like it conceptually but I'm sure the execution could be improved a lot. But hey, I take experimental bullshit over interchangeable monotony every day of the week. Definitely looking forward to another run or two.
7/10

 

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition

Gotta double check that I don't get the names mixed up. Anyway Tales of Vesperia is... not good. Only time I recall feeling enjoyment with the game is when the final boss had a lengthy conversation with the party's dog. Otherwise the game was very much devoid of humor or any other kind of joy.
In terms of story the game just never goes anywhere. Combat is fine, but it's not like it's any different from the other tales games that I put hundreds of hours into. Asset recycling also seems even worse then in other games in the series as far as I can tell. I'm currently 30 identical floors into the secret dungeon and it still keeps going. Hard to feel any sense of progress when every room looks the same. Which really embodies my whole experience with the game: Tedium with no payoff.
2.5/10

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