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On 6/6/2022 at 2:54 AM, lightcosmo said:

Another Yugi-oh player!?

Favorite Archytype to play as?!

Whoops did't see that.

But Dream Mirror? Amazement or Duel Avatar?

 

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5 hours ago, Sasori said:

Whoops did't see that.

But Dream Mirror? Amazement or Duel Avatar?

 

I simply mean monster archytype (I,E mine is Ritual Beast Tamer's)

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7 hours ago, lightcosmo said:

I simply mean monster archytype (I,E mine is Ritual Beast Tamer's)

I know. Which is why I named 3 different monster archetypes XD.

I have heard the name Ritual beast Tamer, but I don't think I ever played against them in master duel. I'm going out on a limb here and say its a ritual based archetype.

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3 hours ago, Sasori said:

I know. Which is why I named 3 different monster archetypes XD.

I have heard the name Ritual beast Tamer, but I don't think I ever played against them in master duel. I'm going out on a limb here and say its a ritual based archetype.

Contact Fusion, actually. The Ritual Beast tamer's fuse with the Spiritual Beasts to create stronger monsters. 

Bonus: I like their art designs!

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I'm in the post-timeskip part of my Azure Moon playthrough of Three Houses. Battalion Wrath & Battalion Vantage Dimitri is overpowered.

I thought Gilbert would be useless with his low movement and 2 speed, as well as him being only available after the timeskip, but 30 defense has proven useful on multiple occasions. I'm almost regretting making Dedue a grappler rather than a Fortress Knight... Almost...

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I recently played Thomas was Alone on the Nintendo Switch. It's a neat little puzzle-platformer, starring a colorful cast of quadrilateral Artificial Intelligences. Each one has their unique gameplay traits, and they must work together to make it out of... well, wherever they are. No dialogue, but the narrator gives them quite the personality. The atmospheric music is excellent as well, with fitting electronic stylings. Even though it came out roughly a decade ago, the visuals are still strong here, albeit in minimalist fashion.

I got it for $2 on the eShop, and found it definitely worth it. That said, it's a short game - even with the "postgame" chapters, it can be completed in under 6 hours, no problem. Had I paid full price ($10, I think), I would've felt a touch short-changed. Still, if you're a fan of puzzle platformers with charming British narrators, it may be worth looking into. Even if you don't have a Switch, it can be gotten on PC, Mac, or any last-gen consoles.

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I just finished my first Azure Moon playthrough of Three Houses. I quite liked it overall.

One thing I definitely liked was that the route definitely stands out on its own and is a story about Dimitri, unlike Verdant Wind where it was very clearly a recycling of Silver Snow and almost not really about Claude.

Dedue suffers from nonexistent speed and being gone for multiple chapters post-timeskip, but he is pretty much the ultimate War Master if he masters the class. His monstrous strength and defense combined with his personal skill and quick riposte means that he will always deliver two extremely powerful attacks per opponent on enemy phase without taking much damage so long as you keep him away from magic. He wasn't my best unit, but I was surprised by how good a unit he was by the end.

I chose to have my Byleth s-support Ingrid. I quite liked their s-support conversation.

Now just to decide if I want to try Silver Snow; it's the only route that I have yet to try.

 

I just started playing a small indie puzzle-platformer called ElecHead. Basically, you play as a robot in a world without electricity, and everything the robot touches (or, more specifically, everything the robot's head touches) becomes electrified. It's been very fun.

 

EDIT: I finished ElecHead. It was very fun, and, as expected from a small indie puzzle-platformer, very short.

I moved on to Portal, and I'm starting to wonder if there are any puzzle-platformers longer than ten hours aside from maybe Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. I figured that Portal wouldn't be a large game, but I was still surprised by how quickly I finished it.

In any case, I can see why Portal is so revered. The game presents a good façade of being a mundane puzzle-game with a thin excuse plot of being a human guinea pig in an evil company's test, only for the façade to slowly crack as you find "the cake is a lie" written on the wall and for GLaDOS, who initially just seems like nothing more than an automated guide saying scripted lines, says very... eerie things, and then the reveal happens when the end of the test is a death trap, the player escapes, and GLaDOS reacts to the escape. I already knew about GLaDOS and the deception thanks to pop-culture osmosis, I still appreciated just how well set-up the twist is and the fire trap still managed to be a scary moment.

The puzzles were very fun and imaginative, though I was surprised by how easy it was for the most part. I will admit that I was stumped once or twice, but those times generally were from things like not noticing that a wall section could have a portal placed on it due to a shadow making it look like a non-portal wall. Even most of the bonus puzzles weren't hard.

my one problem with it would be the moments that require platforming, such as jumping, in 1st person perspective; I thought that Metroid Prime Trilogy made me more used to 1st-person platforming, but I'm just thinking that 1st-person and platforming are incompatible. Mercifully, jumping isn't used too much, so it's only a minor problem.

Edited by vanguard333

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Oof, I've been kind of burying myself in various projects, so I've only played these quickies.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

Spoiler

 

God I love being a Turtle. I remember being confused at this game's announcement. Is it a remake of Turtles In Time? I'd say it's taking elements from all three of Konami's arcade games. But it's also got enough unique stuff to be called a fourth game. I have to say the online is really good. Fully drop-in/drop-out. Watching back the footage of a co-op session, I don't think it's peer to peer because when I was playing the connection felt flawless and way more fluid than what I see from the host's perspective (everybody I was playing with was one thousand to ten thousand miles away from me in reality). There was absolutely no delay on my inputs and only a little animation weirdness from the other players. I correctly guessed while playing that the game uses rollback netcode, because I could see the game making guesses at the actions of other players and simply updating in real time the minute details of those guesses. The developers must have been real wizards to get this working with six players at once. 

They must have been serious fanboys of the TV show too. I didn't catch half of these cameos. I have nearly no critiques on this game. It looks great, plays great, sounds great. I like that all the characters - even the four turtles - have an easy to grasp moveset but individual moves that are just different enough to get you to use different attacks. The only thing that sort of bugs me after several playthroughs are the boss fights where they only become vulnerable for a few short seconds. So it can feel like a slog when all you do is Taunt to fill your special meter, unleash when they become vulnerable, and repeat. It's not hard, it's just repetitive. 

I adore this game though. At time of writing I've played the game all the way through four times, three of which were in co op. And if I wasn't so busy I'm sure I'd go hunting for those last achievements as well. 

 

Mother 3: Opposing Force

Spoiler

 

Some of the ROMhacks I've played this year have been pretty vintage. Heck Super Mario 64 Star Road and Street Fighter x Mega Man are both turning ten years old this year. So I decided to play something fresher out of the oven. Released just weeks ago during Mother Direct 2022, Mother 3 Opposing Force is the first fully original game made out of Mother 3. In it you play several vignettes from the perspective of the villains. As a showcase of what's possible in Mother 3 hacking, there's some promising stuff. New party members with unique skills, some new spritework and music, and a good feel for the drudgery of being part of the Pigmask army. Maybe there were some new rooms in there, but I haven't actually played Mother 3 in at least a decade so I couldn't say for sure. As a gameplay experience there isn't a whole lot to sink your teeth into. The campaign asks you to hop from edited save file to edited save file, so none of what you do carries over to later parts of the game. Since it's not a continuous experience, you'll find yourself running past and from battles to get to the end of the chapter where an NPC will exposit dialogue about things happening offscreen and tell you which save file to load next. Please insert the next tape to continue. Don't need to bother grinding up money for better equipment because it's either gone or handed to you for free in a later chapter.

My favorite parts of the hack are the fourth and eighth chapters. Those are the ones taking you through full dungeons with a party member that actually learns new PSI skills when he levels up. (The Pigmask characters do not level up). There's a feeling of progression, and a point to battling enemies. I do indeed like Mother 3's battle system. Am I crazy or has there been no indie game that faithfully recreates it? There are a LOT of self-identified Mother-inspired games out there, but no rhythm based active time battle element ever seems to crop up. Maybe the reason why is that it's just not very well executed in Mother 3 itself. Identifying the rhythm of these battle tracks is easy, but with no visual cue to start your beat, it's a crapshoot getting the 16 hit combo started in the first place. Not unless you can put the enemy to sleep and the beat presents itself. It still feels obnoxious that the player has to go through that first step just to have fun with the system, and there's no guarantee the enemy is susceptible to sleep to begin with.

Should you play Mother 3: Opposing Force? Probably not, since the most you get out of it is the unique dialogue which you can still grasp from a youtube video. I am impressed with the work they've done here, but I hope its reliance on edited save files isn't representative of the current state of ROM hacking for this game. If you have an RPG where fighting battles is meaningless, then that's a major facet of gameplay that only serves to waste the player's time. Like a modern Paper Mario, the only joy to be had is in talking to the Joke-dispenser NPCs. Furthermore If the hack were centered around the Masked Man instead of these rando Pigmask troops, it would be much more compelling since he levels up and learns new skills.

 

 

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I finished Portal 1 and Portal 2. Portal 2 was definitely more... elaborate than Portal 1.

Both games are really good; the puzzles are fun and the story is neat. My main criticism of Portal 2 would be that there are no single-player bonus puzzles; there's only the single-player campaign and the multiplayer.

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Cleared Scarlet Blaze and Azure Gleam. Will probably take a little break for a change of pace before Golden Wildfire. Bearing in mind that my playstyle has somehow made my playthroughs take twice as long as the average.

 

I'm almost done with XBC2 so I'll probably just clear the story on the easiest settings to be done with it. Hoping I enjoy XBC1DE and Torna more. Will probably hedge my bets and get 3 on sale later down the line. It looks good, but 2 was so very not up to the hype.

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I just started mu first Silver Snow playthrough of Three Houses. This will probably be my last Three Houses playthrough for a while unless I choose to start a second Crimson Flower playthrough after this.

It's funny; despite the lack of chapters compared to other routes, I think Crimson Flower might still be my favourite out of all of them in terms of gameplay, as almost every chapter's battle is rather solid and creative. It definitely has the best version of chapter 12 at least; that's for certain.

 

EDIT: I also started Super Mario Galaxy on the Switch via 3D All-Stars. I had finished the first two Mario games in the collection when I first got it, but I never finished Galaxy. There are two main reasons for this: one of them is that, by that point, I was a bit burnt out after playing two other Mario games in a row, and other games caught my attention. The other is that there is one thing they did for the Switch version that infuriated me to no end and made it rather awkward to play:

I'm left-handed, and I always played Wii games with the Wii remote in my left hand because I find it much faster and more intuitive to control the Wii pointer with my left hand. With the Switch version of Mario Galaxy, despite both joy-cons each having a gyro, the pointer controls were mapped to the right joy-con's gyro, with no option to remap it to the left joy-con's gyro, so operating the pointer for me is far slower and more awkward as a result. And I know it's not that it was mapped to a gyro that's the problem, as in the brief moment I tried playing it with the joy-cons swapped, despite the extreme discomfort to my hands, I found operating the pointer to be far faster and less awkward in my left hand. I know that Nintendo has a deadly allergy to control options, but basic consideration for left-handed players shouldn't be too much to ask for.

I decided that, since I already bought the game, and it is ultimately still Mario Galaxy, I thought I may as well at least try to finish it. But this is the reason that, until Nintendo smartens up and shows basic consideration, you won't see me talking about games like Skyward Sword on this topic.


EDIT: I just obtained all 120 stars and unlocked the ability to play the game as Luigi. One thing I can say is that the game is a lot more padded than I remember it being: you essentially have to play the final mission twice to unlock the ability to play Luigi: the first time to unlock the purple coin challenges, and the second time to complete the playthrough. Combine this with the fact that you then have to 100% the Luigi playthrough to unlock the true final level, this means that you essentially have to beat the game four times (and you can't skip the cutscenes or the credits). How is it that, when placed alongside 64 and especially Sunshine, Galaxy is the most padded out of them? I guess at least it still isn't as padded as Mario Odyssey.

Edited by vanguard333

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I started a game you guys probably don't know, Three Hopes. 😛

More seriously, I also finished the A route of Nier Automata, it was about time I played it, and I love it, it's very contemplative, it has some pretty trolley design choices, but it's a great game that make me feel emotions in my tiny heart, while also being pretty damn fun.

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Silent Storm Sentinels

An expansion pack to SIlent Storm, a pretty good WW2 Turn-based strategy alt-history game. 

Basically X-com inspired but with a limited pool of unique units, you still have action points and a grid inventory.

Main big selling point is the very high destructibility, got a locked door? you can pick it open...or blow it open, or blow the wall next to it down, you can uniquely even extend this to floors, blow up a ceiling and your units can actually climb up/down through that ceiling to go up/down floors.

It has proper bullet penetration, so it's possible to outright shoot through wooden walls to kill enemies/break them down.

You will need to a get a digital version if this interests you, since I think phyiscal copies have starforce which will brick modern PCs 

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Just started Xenoblade 3. didnt expect i would play any game (with the intention of completing it) again this early after almost vowing not to play game anymore for the remainder of the year after finishing Elden Ring. But it happened, since my friend cant hold back from discussing it, sending footage, info and what not about this game, fully knowing i would like it... sigh.

Xenoblade should be a good reminder for Nintendo that they should upgrade the hardware ffs. the game constantly run on Dynamic Resolution in fear of the performance dipping no matter docked or not. some modder say the hardware can handle a little bit more proven by mods tweaking the internal setting. but there must be reasons why the MonolithSoft doing it like that. And this is a game thats undoubtedly become a golden goose for nintendo thats not zelda or pokemon in terms of quality, and expected sales. its the Triple-A of JRPG hampered by the bottleneck of Switch. on the flip side, you can really appreciate the game for what it is rather than how pretty it looks since they just cant compete with Bamco JRPG in that particular field. (it still looks pretty if you play it on emulator with good hardware tho)

still in early hours and can already tell whether or not the story linked with previous games or not even without the whole internet spoiling it. the gameplay are more refined and robust than beefore. it is packed with loads of mechanics, which is more optimized and streamlined that it will not make player overwhelmed in the early hours

On 7/10/2022 at 11:50 PM, Fabulously Olivier said:

It looks good, but 2 was so very not up to the hype.

care to give reasons? since i somehow skipped XC2 and doesnt feel like playing it, despite putting Xenoblade 1 as my top 5 favorite JRPG.

On 7/19/2022 at 10:17 AM, B.Leu said:

I also finished the A route of Nier Automata, it was about time I played it, and I love it, it's very contemplative, it has some pretty trolley design choices, but it's a great game that make me feel emotions in my tiny heart, while also being pretty damn fun.

great, now go and finished the other half of the game.

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34 minutes ago, joevar said:

care to give reasons? since i somehow skipped XC2 and doesnt feel like playing it, despite putting Xenoblade 1 as my top 5 favorite JRPG.

Bad first 15+ hours.

 

Unlikeable protagonist whose reaction to nearly every hardship is to whine until his blade or another party member saves the day for him with the new DBZ power of the moment. Not to mention that the game can't decide whether he's just a naive child, or someone capable of being in a love quandrangle with an older-than-she-appears loli and two adults.

 

More humerous tone in general that rarely lands. 

 

Gacha mechanics are awkward and unfun to play with. Game can't be designed around you having certain blades at certain points. Especially jarring when it comes to field skill barriers, which require you to have high enough numbers of multiple field skills to open the chest, traverse the terrain, etc. Best case scenario, you can achieve it by awkwardly shuffling your blades around, worst case scenario, you just don't have the blades for it, or they're sent out on an expedition.

 

Character designs are a mixed bag, putting it nicely. Zeke and Morag look pretty good, as do some of the blades. But then you've got Rex with one of the worst looking, most impracticable outfits in JRPG history - a diving suit with assless chaps and leg cutouts. Most of the female designs are so tasteless they'd make Camilla blush, and the game's tone knows what it's doing.

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I just 100% completed Super Mario Galaxy. That meant beating the game as Mario to unlock the purple coin comets, collecting all 120 stars and beating the game again, then doing all that again as Luigi, and then completing the Grand Finale Galaxy.

First, playing the game as Luigi is essentially no different from playing it as Mario. Luigi is a little faster, jumps a little higher, and is a little slipperier, but it's barely noticeable a lot of the time, and the levels are completely unchanged; the only difference being that the cosmic Luigi races are a little harder than the cosmic Mario races (and there are only three cosmic clone races in the whole game). I'm sure there were a lot of people who were excited to finally be able to play a 3D Mario game as Luigi, but I wasn't one of them, so playing the game again as Luigi didn't really provide anything; I only did it because I knew there was an additional galaxy if the player collects all 120 stars as Mario and Luigi.

As for the Grand Finale Galaxy... it works as a celebration that the player fully completed the game, but it is a little disappointing if expecting a final challenge or anything like that, as there is none: just collect 100 coins that are difficult to miss.

Anyway, while it was a little disappointing that there was that much repetition, it really is optional and isn't set up as required in any way to get the full experience; it really is completely optional.

As for the game itself... it's Super Mario Galaxy; is there anything new I can really say about it? Its level design is fantastic and imaginative and it is one of the best Mario platformers.

I've seen complaints about the motion control gimmicks, but I honestly didn't mind them; not even the gyro levels involving rolling a ball containing the power star. They take a bit of getting used to (especially in my case since I'm left-handed and Nintendo, ever allergic to control options, mapped the gyro controls solely to the right joy-con), but they really aren't bad at all. To be honest, I would've loved to see another manta ray surfing level and was a little saddened that there were only two. I'd argue that there are more problems when controlling Mario and Luigi normally. On larger planetoids, their movement is fine, but on smaller objects, they have an alarming tendency to suddenly run in circles when I'm telling them to run in a particular direction. I know it's not joy-con drift, as it only happens in this game and I have a brand new joy-con.

 

Anyway, I've completed Mario 64, Mario Sunshine, and Mario Galaxy all on 3D All-Stars (I've also completed Mario Odyssey and Mario 3D World), so now I guess the next logical step would be to play Mario Galaxy 2. …Oh, wait...

Edited by vanguard333

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16 hours ago, Fabulously Olivier said:

Character designs are a mixed bag, putting it nicely. Zeke and Morag look pretty good, as do some of the blades. But then you've got Rex with one of the worst looking, most impracticable outfits in JRPG history - a diving suit with assless chaps and leg cutouts. Most of the female designs are so tasteless they'd make Camilla blush, and the game's tone knows what it's doing.

this one afaik is the general consensus even within xeno fans, just like camilla is to FE fans, haha..

16 hours ago, Fabulously Olivier said:

Unlikeable protagonist whose reaction to nearly every hardship is to whine until his blade or another party member saves the day for him with the new DBZ power of the moment. Not to mention that the game can't decide whether he's just a naive child, or someone capable of being in a love quandrangle with an older-than-she-appears loli and two adults.

coupled with this.. yeah, now i got my reasoning why i avoid it all these years. 

and those final point, the 2nd game might not have any decision but somehow the sequel gives you blatant answer. so maybe its part of bad execution, while the writer or director actually knows what he want out of the MC

alright thanks, now im less troubled skipping the 2nd game and just go straight to 3rd game

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21 hours ago, joevar said:

great, now go and finished the other half of the game.

Your post just reminded me of peoplle who stopped playing it after Route A, and thought that the game was finished and nothing behind it.

And then I realized that my own made me look like that. Ah ah.

Hacking started as an annoying minigame, but it grew on me, I miss having two weapons though.

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Mario + Rabbids: Donkey Kong Adventure

Spoiler

Mario + Rabbids is better than we deserve. On paper, the idea doesn't work. Nobody was asking for a crossover between Raving Rabbids and any other IP, much less Mario, and probably not as a tactics game. The very idea of Mario carrying a gun is one of the most ancient shitposts that predates the internet - I'm sure several gaming magazines of the late 90s and early 2000s had that in their April 1st issue. But it happened, it's out there, and it's the most fun I've had in a tactics game that doesn't have fire Emblem or XCOM in the title. What sets it apart from others in its genre is its movement. Movement is by far the most important action at your disposal on every single turn. Not only can you pile on the damage while you're running and jumping around, and sometimes cross the entire map with the aide of pipes, you need to consider flanking opportunities and the distance between allies so that they can continue launching each other to better positions. And with only three units to control, devising a great strategy with so few variables doesn't take nearly as long as a player phase in Fire Emblem does, allowing them to have dozens more maps than you'd see in a fire emblem game while still ending up with a shorter runtime. Furthermore, the overworld exploration and puzzle solving gives your brain an opportunity to unclench after a tough battle - while some Tactics games just take you from battle to battle with only inventory busywork to manage.

Of course what I should be talking about is the DLC since that is what I played. It's unsurprisingly great. The Donkey Kong fan in me does wish that Rabbid Cranky was just Cranky Kong and that Rabbid Kong was replaced by King K Rool as the main antagonist, but they each have their comedic moments. Knowing how restrictive Nintendo gets about how these characters can be portrayed, I'm certain that having Rabbids allows for the greatest creative freedom in animations and cutscene gags. If it was Cranky Kong and K. Rool, they'd have to email Nintendo with details about every single thing they can do onscreen, even the stuff they're not sure will make it in the finished project. Besides, I got my fill of fanservice from Grant Kirkhope Re-composing several songs from DK64. I loved his version of Jungle Japes in that game, and now it gets its much needed comeback as I'm deciding who is about to be blasted by Cranky's Grump Jump. I can't imagine the level of restraint in these developers not giving DK a coconut gun that fires in spurts. The Bananarang that he gets instead is really damn powerful. The DK-inspired weapon designs are extremely charming and typically have great weapon descriptions in the shop as well. En Garde does not make a cameo appearance in his game, but it's insane to read that he signed off his own licensing rights for a remote control exploding sentry bot. I feel like the only missed opportunity is Rabbid Peach. She's got the same weapons and unlockable skills as in the main game, so there's nothing new to play with there. Clearly all the attention was spent on the two new characters.

The actual battles gave me a clear reminder of why these systems work. While the cover aspect of the game reminds you of XCOM, it's not there to for you to sit back and shoot at enemies from afar. Most enemies are simply unhittable until you flank their cover. It's there to encourage aggression, not passivity. That is legit the one thing most tactics games struggle with and yet this game makes it look easy. Unlike the main game, I quickly noticed our health refills completely after every battle, rather than after every two or three maps. I've never been so carefree about soaking up overwatch shots from the enemy. As long as none of us get KOd, the perfect rank is still possible. Rabbid Peach's Heal felt far less valuable, and I started using her as a close range bruiser. Getting surrounded by enemies, nailing them all with huge damage from her Dash, and then healing herself up when she's inevitably hurt. Donkey Kong is the star of the show. Picking up allies, enemies, even pieces of cover and throwing them is so fun to get creative with. And since he's the only guy that can vine swing across sections of the map, he's always enabling the biggest plays. This is what I wish Mario was in the main game. Mario's not a bad character. He's good at any range, and sturdy enough to bank on aggressive strategies, but he brings nothing unique to the party despite being forced in for 100% of the game. Lord characters in Fire Emblem can also take some cues from Donkey Kong.

Jak 2 & Jak 3

Spoiler

I really like Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. It may not be breaking too much ground, but it's a fair 3D Platformer collectathon game at a time where we didn't know that genre would die off so suddenly. I don't fault Naughty Dog for wanting to do their own GTA, because GTA3 was the biggest game of the early 2000s, but Jak 2 rejects the original game from the moment you press start. Within seconds of getting isekai'd out from their bright, cartoony world, Jak is captured and tortured for years before he utters his first words "I'm going to KILL Praxis". Imagine a Windwaker sequel with that setup, hearing Link speak for the first time, naked and angry "I'm going to KILL Ganondorf". Suffice to say, I've been making fun of Jak 2 since the game came out. An edgy, brooding teenager idea of what a mascot platformer ought to be like. The game that inspired Shadow the Hedgehog (the game, not the character, though I adore this theory presented in that video. It's extremely plausible for how funny it is).

For years I've been calling any edgy tonal shift in a video game franchise the "Jak 2 of the series". Like most edgy games, the "dark" aspects are mostly gone after the first couple of hours when you've acclimated to the setting and characters. Jak and Daxter are just reluctant anti heroes, constantly complaining about their missions, but excited to blow stuff up just like the player is. Think Ratchet and Clank if neither of them were morally good people, but rather just really annoyed to be here. The world of Jak 2 is ugly, dark, and lifeless. Every sewer grate and wall vent has a gross gas emitting from it. Haven is populated with NPCs with their heads hung low. If you steal somebody's car they won't offer a word of protest. Cutscene dialogue suggests that Jak & Daxter give hope to the people living in Haven, but there's no evidence of that. And nothing stopping you from going on a GTA3-style murder spree. Even just driving around town will have you plowing into countless innocents as you round corners. And if you're not stealing cars to get around faster, then you're playing the game wrong. But I'll at least offer that the big twist they're leading up to is pretty cool. The antagonist also lends the narrative to some moral grey. Sure Baron Praxis is a comically evil dude in every scene he's in, but he's also the reason why the city has survived so long against the metal head threat. He made Jak into who he is today, so I was expecting his heel-face turn to come from an angle of "I had to be bad to inspire the good in you". That nuance never gets spelled out though. His death occurs without comment and without Jak's input. What a waste of a setup. I'd be more amenable to what Jak 2 was going for if the execution was good. Overall this game just feels like a fleshed out tech demo of a better game.

The most remarkable thing about Jak 2 is probably its difficulty. I'd definitely rate it as no easier than the original Crash Bandicoot, though it exercises more skills than just precision platforming. This game pelts you with constant difficult missions, I can't really point to just two or three as significant roadblocks. I only cleared a few of them on my first try. Why does every driving mission need to have a time limit? Why do vehicles need to blow up after two or three bad crashes? Why are the streets filled with cops looking to ruin your day? Why can't I strafe or lock on to enemies - I can name PS1 shooters that gave you that much control. Why do some combat related missions hit you with a surprise time limit of 20 remaining seconds if you take too long? Why is the space between checkpoints so inconsistent? It's just a really mean game at times. Jak has 8 notches of health but I can't think of an instance of damage that isn't worth exactly 2. Health pickups are extremely infrequent. And the Dark Jak super mode is remarkably bad, if you even remember that it's there. I think I died every time I activated it, since most enemies have contact damage to dissuade you from getting close, and a string of melee attacks can quickly careen you over a ledge to your death. If you were invulnerable during Dark Jak mode, then at least it would have a last resort niche over just hanging back and firing from a safe position.

One thing I definitely recall of my Jak 3 experience growing up is getting annoyed at the reuse of Haven. "It's the same world!" I thought. My frustration at the reused content was not tempered by how this version of Haven is much better to navigate. For one thing, there are no cops constantly shooting at you. There's extremely little traffic - zero traffic in the abandoned portions of the city. And overall it's only a few reused districts, not the whole city. Compared to 2, Jak 3 rocks. It is precisely the "better game" that Jak 2 was a tech demo for. The combat feels better, the driving is more open, and yes the difficulty of Jak 3 is very toned down from 2. Driving missions give you a lot more leniency, enemies do half the damage almost across the board, Jak begins the game with more health than the previous game and your health bar expands further as you progress the story. And checkpoints, beautiful checkpoints keep the pace rolling. Not every mission has even one checkpoint, but most of them do at sensible locations and it is much appreciated. You also earn a skill to heal your HP with light eco, which is very powerful - more powerful than any other light or dark eco skill. Perhaps they over-corrected on the difficulty by making Jak so strong. I still failed missions dozens of times, but considerably less of my deaths were combat related.

There are many new mechanics introduced in Jak 3, but they don't get much an opportunity to shine. I laughed when my progress was barred by a giant spinning blade. An obvious use case for the light eco time slow down move - and it didn't work. The answer was something else entirely because the level designers forgot about that ability mere seconds after introducing it. Every move Jak has since the first game is still here and it results in about half of our moveset never being required for progression. Precursor orbs return as the game's sole collectible, but Jak 3 rewards the player handsomely for going out of their way to collect them. You can spend them on all sorts of upgrades in the Secrets menu. Minor items like weapon upgrades and aesthetic skins, but also the game breaking stuff like invulnerability if you save up for it. This is really cool, I just wish it wasn't hidden in the secrets menu. Something you might especially ignore if you're just coming off of a playthrough of Jak 2. The game will remind you of the secrets menu as you collect orbs, but not mention any of the helpful things the game was probably balanced around you picking up. Imagine if you were playing a ratchet and clank and all your weapon upgrades were redeemed from the secrets menu instead of leveling up right there in a fight, you might totally miss a huge part of the game like I did. But I like the system all the same. Very similar to Resident Evil 3 remake where the reward shop is there to facilitate clearing those achievements and tackling those higher difficulty settings, challenge runs, and high scores. They really went out of their way to make 100% runs of the game fun and that's not something I expected in revisiting these games. 

My only big critique of Jak 3 is that the story is remarkably dumb. Clearly trying to match Jak 2's edgy opening sequence with our heroes once again getting cast out from their earned good life. The premise for how they got there is extremely flimsy when you realize this "Council" is just one obviously evil dude. And the only other antagonist with a speaking role is a reincarnated dork from the previous game. The rest are just non descript killer robots and killer aliens. Lame. So to recap, I guess Jak 2 is still not any good, but maybe doesn't deserve my making fun of it all these years. I'm happy to say that I finally finished it two decades later. Jak 3 is legitimately good, and I think I'm in a better state of mind to appreciate that fact so far off from its 2004 release now that I can mentally separate it from 2 which bugged me so much growing up. I honestly never asked for a Jak 4 in my life. To me, it was a franchise that went bad and stayed bad. If moving on from Jak gives us Uncharted in its place, that's a net gain in my mind. But I'll admit there's a lot of talent that went into this trilogy. Even as a GTA clone, these aren't bad games. I can certainly name PS2 era GTA games that are worse than Jak 3. Heck, I'd stake a claim that no less than 75% of PS2 games are worse than Jak 3. Though that's more a statement on how much shovelware found its way onto the PS2 library. I sincerely doubt there have been talks of doing a Jak 4 at Naughty Dog since seeing the sales figures of Uncharted 1, but if they ever feel like doing this retro throwback, I'll check it out and leave my snarky comments at the door.

New Super Lucky's Tale

Spoiler

Certainly a game out of time. The cute mascot platformer that we scratched our heads at seeing in Microsoft's E3 2017. For me, I still had a fairly rigid idea of what an "Xbox game" looks like. But Microsoft was hard at work reaching out to indie developers, seeing what they can finance and add to their Game Pass lineup (launched that very same month). Yooka Laylee was brand new in 2017, leading to the uncomfortable question of whether mascot collectathon platformers can even "work" in the present day. Of course it can work. Though the version I played was NEW Super Lucky's Tale, which the developers claim is a remake, not a remaster. So I can't speak to how well the 2017 release holds up. 

The game that I played definitely evokes that late 90s era of collectathon platformers. Panning the camera around to see where you haven't been. Gratuitous use of puns in the level names. The NPCs speak with gibberish sound bites. If you replaced their eyes with googly eyes, then they'd feel right at home in a Rare game. Level design is reminiscent of Super Mario Galaxy. Worlds constructed of "floating platforms" rather than a seamless, believable environment. Lucky himself has a fairly small moveset. He can double jump, swipe his tail, and burrow underground when the ground beneath your feet isn't solid. The only collectathon game I can think of with a slimmer base moveset than that is, well, super Mario Galaxy, so I'm guessing it was a key model for gameplay. Lots of levels have unique gimmicks, and that keeps things from getting stale. But it wouldn't get particularly stale in the first place with a runtime of about 4 hours.

It's not especially lacking in content, the player is just allowed to move on from a world after getting less than half the Pages (this game's version of Power Stars, or Jiggies). The final world is the only one where the player is forced to play through each level to access the final boss. And after that you're treated to a post game world loaded with challenging stages. I really don't have any critiques of this game, it's solid. If they made a sequel, I'd just tell them to do more. Maybe add other playable characters with unique skills and game modes. That tends to be the trajectory of similar games of the past like Spyro and Crash. You could also go for a seamless, interconnected world instead of stages accessible from a hub world, but I think some of the genre identity is lost when you go that big. I like bite sized stages with a small checklist of goals and you can pan the camera around to see everything that's left to do. Rather than a giant zone area with hours of things to do, and a large fraction of those hours simply being the player bumbling around, looking for the one or two hallways they hadn't walked down. I dunno. Maybe the only thing DK 64 and Yooka Laylee are missing is a detailed map in the pause menu that helps you keep track of everything.

 

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Fire Emblem Three Houses:

Spoiler

After trying and failing to play more Fates (Got to the Swamp chapter where Arthur joins, beat it and quit due to how much the game was annoying me with the gameplay and it's story/characters.), I've been resuming my second run of this game.

Managed to defeat the DK for the first time at Remire so I have a Dark Seal, not sure where I'll use it but it's the first time I beat him, so I'm proud anyway, thanks to Lysithea being recruited into the BL House.

Amusingly got the DLC Quest for Byleth in the Arena, went in and Byleth did 0 damage to the first foe, I guess Priest Byleth has bit me in the ass, I maxed out the class so I'll go Merc Byleth for a while and hope to get my strength up.

Honestly I just have more respect for 3H now seeing how it handles stuff Fates attempted but much better. (Parent Death scene and a castle location between battles.)

I also managed to recruit Ignatz and hoping to get Linhardt on my team later and am hoping to maybe put Linhardt in one of the Dark Seal Classes.

 

Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising

Spoiler

A good early attempt at a console tactical shooter, even if ironically you'll still only want to play it on PC since it's the only platform with the mission editor.

Honestly wish more games took ideas from it, the AI and order system is still impressive, it's the only shooter I've played where the AI can take vehicles on it's own initiative when it has to travel long distances and weapon jamming is rare outside of games with durability systems as well as a system where you'll eventually bleed out after being shot if you don't bandage yourself, they're nice realistic touches you don't see outside of extremely mil-sim games such as modded ARMA.

It's honestly a decent compettitor to ARMA and replaying it, is still fun.

It's also weirdly a game where the "difficulty" settings only turn off the HUD/Reduce checkpoints to make it more realistic, the actual gameplay mechanics are unaltered outside of checkpoints being toned down. (Normal has more and dead squad mates are revived, Experienced has less and only alive Squadmembers are healed and Hardcore removes them entirely so missions have to be done in one go.)

Also the game that has given me PTSD from Helicopters due to how easy it is for a enemy helicopter to reduce you to gibs.

Only real issue is the lack of variety and how little the game gives you vehicles, hence why having the Editor on PC to make your own small battles ARMA-style is important or download other people's missions.

 

Edited by Samz707

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Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance- Figured I'd go back and play one of the older, pre-Awakening FEs (I also have 2 of the GBA FEs, Radiant Dawn and Shadow Dragon DS, but I'm prioritizing PoR atm). It's a pretty fun game so far (I'm currently at Chapter 15/16), and I'm liking it a lot. Ike and the rest of the Greil Mercenaries are a great cast of characters and I'm loving the story, too. That being said, Path of Radiance is surprisingly easy (Like, Sacred Stones easy). The only real trouble I've had so far was fending off those bird laguz bastards in that one ship chapter (The one where you recruit Jill into your army). It's not really a problem in my eyes, but it was an interesting change in difficulty compared to other FEs. Looking forward to seeing how Radiant Dawn continues the story once I finish Path of Radiance. 

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia- Man, this is honestly one of the best video game remakes that I've ever played. From the god-tier voice acting to the turnwheel mechanic that has saved me from many a reset to the explorable dungeons, Shadows of Valentia has a lot going for it. My only real problems with the game are the seeming lack of the iconic weapon triangle and some of the maps that took me longer to complete than I'd have preferred due to their design. Archers being surprisingly amazing and Pegasus Knights not being obliterated by arrows (unless the archer has "Anti-Flier") are interesting differences from the other 3DS Fire Emblems, but I kind of like the change. I also really like how you can control two armies across the continent, which gives you two perspectives to view the war from. I will say that I prefer Alm and his army over Celica's overall. I mean, c'mon, "The Deliverance" is such a cool sounding name for an army that I couldn't not like it. I'm currently at Act 4 at the time of posting this, so any additional thoughts I have will probably go into the Shadows of Valentia forum once I finish SoV. 

On 7/31/2022 at 2:31 AM, joevar said:

alright thanks, now im less troubled skipping the 2nd game and just go straight to 3rd game

But... what about the fanservice? Nah, I'm kidding. I even have the 2nd game and couldn't get myself to play past that one village I forgot the name of that Rex goes to for a reason I also happened to forget. I'm also just gonna go straight to XC3 (In fact, I might just play it today!). Maybe I'll go back and eventually finish XC2 one day for the sake of completion and all that, but for now, it shall collect dust on my shelf until further notice. 

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