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  1. 6 points
    I mean, there's definitely enough material out there to get some lewd fan fiction going... I think that's enough internet for today.
  2. 6 points
    How can you have Slalom at 160, and Backbone at 159?! They should clearly be the other way around. Utterly ridiculous, I can't take the rest of your list seriously.
  3. 5 points
    Well, I can't not talk about this. For some perspective, this is a move nearly six times as big as Take-Two's recent acquisition of Zynga (which as of this moment, until the Activision Blizzard deal is finalised, is the largest video game industry acquisition) and nearly nine times larger than the Bethesda acquisition in 2020. It comes in just below Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox in 2019 for $71.3 billion. Some things that go without saying are that, firstly, and maybe most importantly but is sure to be lost in the long run to the pettiness of console warring: this is awesome for those Activision Blizzard employees. It's yet to be finalised, but I can feel the relief from here, and fair play to Microsoft because I can't remember the last time we heard a whiff of discontent or controversy from their teams (*touch wood*), so hopefully they'll be in much safer hands as and when this deal gets across the line. Secondly: I'd much rather it be Microsoft than a Chinese company like Tencent or ByteDance, or heck even Embracer. Honestly, it's hard to feel any different to how I felt back in 2020 when they acquired Bethesda. The smaller acquisitions that they spent a few years making have quickly fallen by the wayside (I still think they did Obsidian dirty by having them announce their fantasy game only to acquire Bethesda), and this is yet another case where - while there is a working relationship between the two companies - it's not as closely knit as, say, Bluepoint and PlayStation were, or Next Level and Nintendo, where they've already got a relationship founded on already working together to produce a game. The term I used back when the Bethesda acquisition was announced was that this was an example of inorganic growth, and I'd more than stand by that with the Activision Blizzard acquisition. We all know big money acquisitions have been on the table the last few years with some of the deals we've seen in the gaming space, but like with Bethesda, this acquisition is almost aggressive. You aren't nurturing smaller teams and helping them realise their dreams with greater financial security as seemed to be the case a few years ago, you're buying a developer with an IP - Call of Duty - where the threat of pure console exclusivity could legitimately bring PlayStation to its knees so that Microsoft can have their way with them in the boardroom. Others have said it, but much more than was the case with Bethesda, there is too much money to be left on the table by having their games be exclusive, so which permutation of events do we see? Pure exclusivity and a massive middle finger to those who have already purchased a PS5, as well as the rest of the industry? Bending PlayStation over backwards to push Game Pass onto their platforms, with Call of Duty not being available anywhere but on Game Pass for PlayStation owners? Continuing to release Call of Duty on PlayStation until the end of the generation to make a hell of a lot of money before winning the next generation before it begins by then making it exclusive? None of these outcomes are positive for the industry. There is no-one to compete with Microsoft right now as a platform holder when it comes to these acquisitions. Sony straight up do not have the money lying around to make an acquisition of a company like Square Enix, let alone a company big enough to rival the purchase of Activision Blizzard, like EA. Nintendo meanwhile are twiddling their thumbs in the corner and, as always, have zero interest in what's going on with these acquisitions. It certainly raises other interesting questions: do we finally see PC games like World of Warcraft come to console and smartphones, because I mean imagine a game as popular as that running on xCloud on your phone? What does it mean for Overwatch 2? Will Toys for Bob be revived get a second chance now, meaning more Spyro, Crash, and Tony Hawk entries? If COD becomes exclusive and Xbox sales rocket, will they finally start reporting their sales again? Where the heck does that leave games they only published, like Sekiro? On an individual basis, I have been avoiding Activision Blizzard games like I have Ubisoft games, just with everything going on within their companies, and their games aren't going to move the needle for me. I'm genuinely happy that those working at Activision Blizzard might finally get a chance at some semblance of normalcy, security, and stability in their workplace. From a business perspective, this is a move that makes sense. I question just how much of the industry has to be bought up before we actually see the powers that be question if the industry is being monopolised, and this is an insanely aggressive move, but this was a one in a million chance to acquire one of the biggest publishers after a year of nothing but negative press. I'm more surprised that it was Activision Blizzard first rather than Ubisoft, or even EA. As I mentioned last time with the Bethesda deal, if not for monopolisation laws Microsoft would have aggressively acquired Sony ten times over without even flinching, and slipped Nintendo into their back pocket. I've said it before, and I'll double down and say it again, because I would say the same if this were PlayStation or if this were Nintendo: In the long term, this can only be a bad thing. I don't care if you're silly enough to align yourself with one platform holder over another, these billion dollar companies are destroying the ceiling for growth and creativity in a medium I can safely say that we all care deeply about. They are commodifying the few big companies that remain for the price of the many, in that this will be a price that the rest of the industry - in the long term - could pay for dearly. And that continues to be a worrying thought.
  4. 5 points
    Belated Merry Christmas everyone, hope you all stayed safe and had a great day Christmas and my birthday are back-to-back, so got a neat little pile of books, films and games from them both (EDIT: and also a GameCube controller and Switch adapter which aren't pictured!): Not related to gifts, but I've spent the last two weeks practicing my baking skills for the first time in a long time, trying to recreate a chocolate clafoutis I last made around a decade ago (with no access to that recipe, I ended up tweaking another one I found based on taste and feel). On Christmas it meant I could bake them for all my family, and they turned out great! Wish I took a picture of the gooey inside, but I was too hungry to wait, so that didn't happen
  5. 5 points
    I was really happy this year because I got pretty much nothing. Usually, it’s a real pain having to find something to do with a load of stuff I don’t actually want but this year I just got a bit of money from my Dad and that’s it. Unfortunately, my son now receives an even bigger pile of crap than I ever did - so the problem continues. The main thing this year was: And yes, the power drill and hammer in the background were needed to put it together. As someone that usually has no problem constructing things, this was the most ridiculous thing I've ever built - I real mission. Still, he seems to love it so it was all worth it.
  6. 4 points
    It's a new dawn, it's new day, it's a new life year for me us, and I'm we're feeling good. Well, that didn't really work. Anyways, here's the 2022 edition of the Gaming Diary thread. I'll start: I've finished two games on my PSVita already. And both from my backlog. First one: It was a PS+ title back in 2014. It's actually a PS4 and PSVita game but I'm counting it as completed on the latter device Aaaaand it was mediocre. A tower-defense game that relies more on quick actions than actual strategy is not a good tower-defense game. Second one: Oh yes, it was finally time to play this one. A launch title for the PSVita back in 2012. I bought it, played it for a bit but haven't finished it until today. Can't remember why I stopped, but something must've gotten in the way back then. It's definitely the worst entry in the Uncharted series, but still a solid game. Pacing is a little weird and the PSVita features overstay their welcome, but it's Uncharted...it's fun Also: It looks absolutely gorgeous. For a game from 2012 on an outdated handheld it still holds up 10 years (!!!) later. Framerate dropped to low 20s at times, but with a lovely overclock plugin it managed to stay at 30fps for most of the game. There's some great music, as well. Yeah, it was a fun ride Next up: Killzone: Mercenary on...you guessed it, the PSVita It was a PS+ game in 2015 and it's gonna be my second Killzone game after Killzone Shadow Fall, which I barely remember.
  7. 4 points
    First post of the new year here, huzzah! The first two games I technically played mostly in 2021, but damn it, I'm going to post it all here and not split up the post. Let's a go! Sine Mora EX (Nintendo Switch) Another one from one of the end of the year sales, Sine Mora EX was heavily discounted and I bought this on a whim. I don’t play a lot of shoot-em-ups, but this looked good and reviews were positive as well. It is definitely one of the better shoot-em-ups I have played. First of all the game does look amazing, with plenty of cool visual effects and a lot of detail in the background. Maybe even a bit too detailed, as sometimes it is a bit tricky to make out enemies. Their bullets are highlighted, so that at least helps. The music hasn’t stuck with me, so that did not leave a lasting impression. It plays well too. It follows a couple of the standard shoot-em-up protocols, like upgrading your weapon from a single shot to a multi-hitting monster by collecting drops. Getting hit means your power-ups get scattered, and you have a couple of seconds to recollect them. In story mode you play a number of different characters, all with a different “ultimate attack” and slightly different primary fire. And then there is the skill to slow down time to make dodging a little bit easier, although this cannot be used limitlessly and you need to collect items to refill. Highlights are the number of bosses encountered; mostly screen-filling robots or creatures that need to be taken down in phases. One boss is a bit of a mess to navigate through, but the rest is fine. The game is difficult in parts but doesn’t feel overly unfair, something I often experience in shoot-em-ups and bullet hells. The only real downside? The story. It is a convoluted mess involving rape, genocide and time travel. Other than that a pretty great shoot-em-up for the couple of euros it cost me. The last shoot-em-up I played before was R-Type Dimensions EX and that cost more and was a lot less fun. Dark Souls Remastered (Nintendo Switch) New year’s day 2022, and since I didn’t have a wild party I was hangover-free, which meant I could finally deal with Dark Souls Remastered once and for all. And praise the sun, on the first day of this year the final boss fell by my pyromancy skills and Dark Souls Remastered was completed! This truly feels like my biggest gaming achievement yet, mostly because it took me several years and restarts to finish the game. Looking back it is an amazing adventure, but not without flaws (the game severely lacks guidance or explanation of mechanics at moments, and controls still are clunky from time to time). Those are all forgiven though thanks to the amazing world building, exceptional bosses and the constant risk vs reward cycle. Never have I been so tense during sessions, fearing what would come around the next corner and where in a moment of relaxation even two lower class enemies can kill you. I have to admit I have used a guide here and there to look up a mechanic, route or weapon upgrade path, because as said some things just aren’t apparent and I would have to rely on trial and error, grinding for drops etc. But the game is already long and I didn’t want to devote time to it. And on one boss I opened the online so I could get help from another player, which helped me take that behemoth down. For the rest I haven’t used online much (and this is also a part that is not really explained in detail), so I haven’t invaded others, and have been invaded myself only a couple of times. I think @Julius mentioned he has yet to play the DLC; I’d say go for it as it has one of the greatest bosses in the game. A lovely bit of more Dark Souls. I doubt we’ll ever get 2 and 3 on Switch, but I must say my appetite is still there. It is one of the few games where I feel it almost needs a second playthrough, as now knowing what I know, it could make a whole different game (plus I want to use other class weapons as well). I can rave on about the good and the bad but the conclusion is this is indeed a game like no others, and it has been one of the most impressive gaming experiences I have had in the last couple of years. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Google Stadia) Before talking about the game itself, some words on Google Stadia. Playing the game through Stadia has overall been a very pleasant experience. I never felt like I was playing a game in the cloud, loading times were good, graphically it looked impressive enough and I never experienced big dips in FPS. On two occasions the game froze up when I was quickly changing from one loadout to another, but I don’t know if this is a game problem or a Stadia problem. Anyway, onwards to Bloodstained! This truly is Castlevania DS in all but name. The Belmonts and Dracula are missing, but the rest is all there: Different weapons including whips, a giant castle to explore, different kinds of spells to equip that you get from enemy drops, and the classic MetroidVania structure. Throw in some extra stuff like crafting, being able to power up your spells and cooking recipes, and you have an awesome game. Instead of one of the Belmonts you now play as Miriam, a woman who has the gift (or curse?) to absorb shards that give her extra powers. These range from fireballs to chainsaws and from summoning bats to summoning massive dragons. You can also equip a passive spell (for example, increased recovery) and a familiar (a character that hovers around you and supports you in battle). I won’t go into the story, as it is a pretty standard story about someone opening the gates to hell and the church is involved and more like that. It is there but it is not why you play this game. You play it for the exploration of the castle, finding new routes after you learn a new skill and taking down bosses. The bosses aren’t as great as in the DS Castlevania games, but some of them are pretty impressive. There are also a couple of optional ones which are amazing, The music is top notch, and the game looks good as well. The only flaw I have is that the bosses could have been a bit more impressive, and on occasion it is not too clear what you have to do next. Other than that, one hell of a game. Dare I say I enjoyed this more than Metroid Dread? I think it’s mostly due to the bigger number of collectibles. Cuphead (Nintendo Switch) Pfew, this is a long post. But that is on me as I have played quite a couple of good games so enough to talk about! Next up is Cuphead, the 50s cartoon boss battler that got a surprise release on the Switch. To be honest, when I started this I thought it was a bit of a different game. I expected a much more traditional level structure, with run and gun platforming levels with a boss at the end. Instead, this game is actually mostly boss battles, with only a couple of run and gun levels. And to be fair I think I liked it this way! It means you can jump in to tackle a couple of bosses, and don’t need to get through a level first each time. Yes, you will die a lot but you can just restart your fight. The levels are mostly for collecting coins, which you can spend to buy weapons and power-ups. For the rest it is hopping from boss to boss, collecting their soul contracts for the Devil. Because that is what you do as a come-to-life cup with a gambling problem. Most bosses have various stages, and their moveset changes in each of them. What the game does well is that if you die, you see how far the boss was down, and the stages are marked with a line. So you know exactly how close you were to beating the boss, giving you plenty of incentive to keep going. And then it is all about learning the boss’s patterns, remembering what it does in which phase and keep dodging those attacks. Sometimes go out of the fight and get a different loadout and try again, until you make your way through all of the 4 worlds and defeat them all. The game is shorter than I would have expected, but it is actually a good length. The art style is sublime, hand-drawn graphics, with a crackle in it like you are watching an old tv show. Some of the boss designs are very creative, and all is supported with a jazzy soundtrack. Two things I didn’t enjoy that much: there is a parrying system where some (but not all) projectiles can be parried. These can be recognized because they are pink. However, sometimes there are purple objects which you think you can parry but cannot, and I found the mechanism for that a bit clunky. Second, loading times are relatively long. Especially since you die a lot (you can check in-game and I think I had something over 250 deaths?) and levels are short, the loading time in between feels too long. Other than that? Definitely recommended, and I am curious to see how the DLC is going to be.
  8. 4 points
    Done! 1 unintentional death in Rusty Bucket Bay (Because of course it was there). Got all 24 honeycomb pieces, the three Cheato Cheats, every Bottles Bonus Challenge, and the 7 Stop N' Swop items for what I'm coining "One hundred and Tooie percent". Outside of one small visual effect being missing (reflections in the ice cube enemy), the emulation is perfect. It's really impressive!
  9. 4 points
    I'll do a proper response when I'm not tired and on my phone but this is one of my favourite (joke) responses to the news story:
  10. 4 points
    If Microsoft puts its foot down on the utter disgusting behaviour the company is ripe with, then for once, I'm completely fine with a company getting bought out by a console maker. But then again, it's the gaming industry, so I'm not exactly getting my hopes in that regard. BTW, I only found out about this because the best Twitter account decided to make a reappearance for this news. Always on the mark!
  11. 4 points
    I've definitely been around long enough that I rememer being N64-Europe. Unfortunately my memory's a bit foggy overall, so I don't remember much in between. If there are any dots people can join I'd love to read them. There are a lot of names I haven't forgotten though, and I wonder where those people ended up. I used to enjoy making signatures and wallpapers and sharing them on the old "Creative" board. Back then we would regularly have best signature and avatar competitions - I eventually became a mod of that board. I honestly don't remember how I went from that position to taking on the responsibility of rebuilding and hosting the site, but it happened somewhere along the way. It's kind of a dream of mine to give the site another design, but inspiration's never quite hit right. I did actually recently replatform the site though, which opens up a lot of possibilities. I could now quite easily rapidly develop new sections and functionality for the site. Ashley and I had a good idea for what to start with, so keep an eye out for that Happy to see the old faces of those who still pop in, and the enthusiasm of those old and new that still love Nintendo and gaming in general.
  12. 4 points
    Been a while since I've posted an update in here, so with 2021 over and me being in a reflective mood before looking ahead to 2022, I figured it's a good time to get caught up and close the book on my last 12 months of gaming. I've talked about a few of these games elsewhere, so I'm probably going to cheat with those and grab what I said elsewhere, what with there being quite a few games for me to go through and wanting to not take too long, so I might be really brief on some games, especially ones I've talked about recently. We'll see how that goes I guess JUNE PORTAL | 2007 Portal is a game I went into having heard a lot about -- not in terms of its content, but in terms of its critical acclaim down to its innovation in combining the mechanics of its famous portal gun with great level design. And it's absolutely deserved. I played the game from start to finish in one sitting, frequently getting goosebumps from the fun and genius of its physics-based gameplay with a number of puzzle elements, which naturally includes the use of the portal gun to entire in one portal and come out of the other elsewhere. Working my way through the Aperture Labs puzzles for the first time was an absolutely blast, and its light but efficient story quickly turns chilling as you get closer to the end. The most succinct way I can think to describe it as someone playing their first Valve game was that its level design and mechanics are exactly what you'd expect from Nintendo on some of their best days. I played the PS3 version, which obviously isn't the best way to play the game, and boy did it make sure I came away knowing it: a few frame rate drops throughout and terrible stick sensitivity meant I had to turn the horizontal and vertical sensitivity down substantially from their default settings, and these two elements combined with the fact that this is a first-person game meant quickly becoming nauseous early on. Only real big criticism I have is that the first 17 chambers (i.e. levels/puzzle rooms) slowly ramped up the difficulty, with it feeling fair and fun, meaning I breezed through the early part of the game, and the story kept pace. Problem is, once the game's story started to take over, I found that puzzles became increasingly obtuse, so you've got a story moving along to its climax at 100 mph but leaving you behind, which resulted in some really poor pacing in my playthrough for the latter parts of the game. A minor criticism would be that there were some objects in those latter stages where you could find yourself caught on objects on the floor, obstructing your movement. On the whole, though, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and cannot wait to start up Portal 2 once I get my hands on my Steam Deck later this year *touch wood* and potentially even return to this game too. Oh, and Still Alive is a banger of a credits song (beware if you haven't played the game, though, because the lyrics of the song are a bit spoilerish). STAR WARS: SQUADRONS | 2020 Star Wars: Squadrons is a game I initially started back in 2020, but got ill shortly after starting only a few hours in, so I had to drop it. Going back to it, I started over. Honestly, I thought it was such a mixed bag of a game: the music isn't anything special by Star Wars standards; it being based on Motive's work on starfighter combat in Battlefront II is great, but the lack of an option to play in third-person and locking players into only a third-person perspective meant I felt like I wasn't getting as much fun as I could out of the game, due to the limited cone of vision you have from the cockpit and how quickly ships can whiz by; the increased complexity from Battlefront II in diverting power to different parts of your ship, as well as customisation options for your weapons loadout, was really cool; but, perhaps most importantly for a licensed game - besides capturing the look and feel of the IP they're adapting (which this game does just as well as EA's Battlefront games) - the story and characters were just so unbelievably dull and forgettable that, looking back, I struggle to see how I continued playing. Probably because it's Star Wars, I guess. Unfortunately, I came away feeling so much of this game was a missed opportunity. ICO | 2001 Playing ICO for the first time after having played a From Software game before was almost trippy -- the atmosphere, the music, the ambiguous nature of the story, the way the castle is so expertly interconnected, it just all screams that it inspired Hidetaka Miyazaki greatly. Now, the camera has aged miserably, calling useless Yorda over and the Shadows grabbing her and having to beat them with a stick is a pain in the ass, but so much about this game - especially it being Fumito Ueda's directorial debut - is still of such great substance, even today. Could absolutely do with a remake, but well worth going back to check out if you've never played it before in my opinion. RATCHET & CLANK: RIFT APART | 2021 SEPTEMBER GHOST OF TSUSHIMA: IKI ISLAND | 2021 I waxed lyrical about Ghost of Tsushima back in 2020, and so getting to return to it for the Iki Island DLC a bit over a year after the game's initial release pulled me back from the depths of a video game burnout and thrusted me back into one of my favourite open worlds. Lives up to the main game in every regard - music, characters, story, visuals - but fails to really innovate, serving more I feel as an epilogue for the game as the wait for its inevitable sequel begins. Getting to pick up the blade of Jin Sakai once again was wonderful, and I got to spend 10 hours more with a game and world I already enjoyed immensely. OCTOBER DARK SOULS | 2011 So much has been said about Dark Souls that I honestly don't know where to begin, or if to. I originally started the game way back in June, but found that I didn't feel pulled back to it for a long time after reaching what I think is probably the game's climax - the room lying beyond the formidable pair of Ornstein & Smough - and perhaps also in part due to me talking about the game in too much detail and too frequently in its own thread (a lesson I think I can learn from). The opening half - really, it's more like two thirds - of Dark Souls is masterful: the atmosphere the game creates with its muddy hues, fog, and overwhelming ambience outside of boss encounters is almost flawless; the enemy compositions in different areas and rooms seems purposely calculated; the heft of my broadsword and knight's armour sees my avatar somewhat slowly - but purposefully - step forward, headstrong and ready for whatever comes his way, particularly in the form of some of the best boss fights I've faced this year. The opening two thirds of Dark Souls are so well paced that despite being pretty open, it still manages to feel linear, and this is thanks to its great design. But, as I mentioned before, unfortunately this veneer was chipped for me once I had conquered Anor Londo. Ornstein & Smough was like the experience was for most: challenging, and at times, very much not fun when they would pull off some moves which feel downright unfair (I'm talking about them hitting you through their counterpart, who is often obstructing your vision; they remind me a lot of my time with Adjudicator in Demon's Souls, though not quite as bad and with much better music). Everything in the game felt like it was leading up to this climactic boss fight in Anor Londo, and your reward? Finding out that you're going on a fetch quest for the final third or so of the game, which instantly stalled my sword-raising and want to carry on at the time; again, I think it's this combined with me talking about the game too much which basically made me burnout at this point. If anyone's seen what I'm like in the Demon's Souls and Dark Souls threads, it's that I'm stubborn to a fault. I pick the games I'm going to play carefully, playing games one at a time, and I can't remember the last time I actually outright dropped a game. And so, naturally, after Ghost of Tsushima's DLC helped pull me back in, I returned to the game with some resolve and saw my journey through to its end. Unfortunately, its the weakest part of the game in my eyes. The areas you visit for your fetch quest seem like they don't have as much to them as earlier areas in the game, as if they didn't get the time they deserved to be fully realised, and for me, some of the jankiest moments in the game happen in the final third. As a result, and especially with some areas being much more open, the pacing of the game somewhat plummets as you warp from bonfire to bonfire, taking on areas which sometimes feel taped onto other parts of the game. The music is still great, the atmosphere is still there, but the thing driving you on - at least for me - just seemed so hazy at this point in the game, and to be honest there are some of the weaker areas, enemy designs and compositions, and bosses in this final section. And speaking of which: Bed of Chaos sucks, but it did lead to some hilarious moments. As did the hydra. It's such a shame that I feel like Dark Souls suffers in its final third, because its other two third are practically flawless as far as I'm concerned. Meaning, that for all of my criticisms, it was still one of the best games I played in 2021. I do still need to go back and play Artorias of the Abyss at some point, so I'm looking forward to that! METROID: ZERO MISSION | 2004 LITTLE NIGHTMARES | 2017 I sat down with my sister on Halloween to play Little Nightmares from beginning to end in one sitting -- funnily enough the last time we did this was with INSIDE when I played it way back in 2016, and this definitely riffs off the skeleton of that game. Part charming, part creepy, and with someone else on the couch a whole lot of fun, the grotesque inhabitants of Little Nightmares are sure to see me again in their sequel this Halloween. NOVEMBER SUPER MARIO GALAXY | 2007 POKÉMON BRILLIANT DIAMOND | 2021 DECEMBER IT TAKES TWO | 2021 I played It Takes Two with my younger brother across two sessions, and we had a blast playing this game together. The diverse range of mechanics throughout the game breed a variety of wildly unique areas and levels, and so the game constantly feels like it's throwing something fresh and exciting at you. Josef Fares gets a lot of flak for wearing his heart on his sleeve and being a bit loud-mouthed, but there's no denying for me that he is a talented director and his team at Hazelight are producing the best two player co-op games right now. It's not hard to see why this got the GOTY at the 2021 Game Awards, and why it's rated so highly by many who played it. However, personally? I preferred A Way Out, as I think the story it tells grabs you a bit more beat by beat, and most importantly for me and my brother, focuses on an almost brotherly bond between its two protagonists. With It Takes Two, I do think it's firmly targeting an audience with its story of people who are either in a relationship and perhaps even playing with their partner, if not people who are experienced with relationships -- both of which my brother and I are not, so while some beats definitely still hit, there were certainly a few misses in there too. Still, I think it's well worth checking out if you get the chance and have someone suitable to play it with! RETURNAL | 2021 I've said a lot that I want to about Returnal in its own thread, but unfortunately for me I can't really cheat here as my thoughts are split across a number of posts and stitched together it doesn't flow that well. For me, the game does a lot well. It's combat and traversal is tight, it has some of the best boss fights I faced in 2021 (a Boss Rush mode would be perfect in my opinion), it makes excellent use of the DualSense's haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, and it looks simply breathtaking, which combined with oppressive and alien hues of blue, green, and red makes the game's atmosphere feel very unique. The enemy designs are great too, and while I don't think there's a standout track, it does have a solid soundtrack. It's a third person shmup which feels like it takes some concepts seen in games like NieR: Automata and dials them up to eleven. It's heavily skill-based, too, which I love. However, as someone who is new to roguelikes (disregarding Mystery Dungeon games here as they're very different besides a very basic similarity in skeleton), I feel like this game is a terrible first roguelike. I don't mind getting used to weapons and mechanics myself, but I honestly think anyone new to this genre might be best served looking up a guide to its mechanics before hopping in -- I'm not talking here about the roguelike nature of the game in its cycles, but rather the mechanics around that, such as augments, etc. The game almost assumes that you're well versed in roguelikes from my experience, which made it awkward when I was still figuring new things out half way through the game. I also don't think it had to be as much of a roguelike as it ended up being, with runs potentially lasting upwards of an hour and, besides a few abilities scattered throughout the game after overcoming a biome and its boss, there isn't much carried over that feels like true progression. While this suits the narrative - which is interesting - and helps show Selene's descent into madness, I feel like having a critical path which stays consistent but then having randomised rooms to the side could give the best of both worlds, in that in restarting a run you could then just look around for a decent weapon and augments knowing that you can sprint towards the end of the area after attaining these items. I think you'll probably know if Returnal is a game for you -- that's probably the most succinct way I can put it. RED DEAD REDEMPTION II | 2018 The final game I played in 2021 I binged across 10 days (well, more like 8, as I didn't play on either my birthday or Christmas) to completion in around 73 hours. Red Dead Redemption II is a goddamn masterpiece. I'm still digesting it to be honest with you, after finishing it a few days ago, so I'll probably lean towards keeping things on the brief side, especially when it comes to story, and my thoughts might dart around a lot. It has the best looking realistic open world of any game I've ever played thanks to its gorgeous skies, outrageously realistic lighting, and phenomenal fog. Not only that, but there is a sense of heading from one plot point to the next and getting lost doing a million other things like in my other favourite open worlds, and there's so much detail to explore and stuff to do throughout the game that honestly, critical pathing the story to me almost seems like you're missing out. The characters are some of the most nuanced from a cinematic and story-based game that I've played, with wonderful performances across the board, but in particular I feel the need to highlight Roger Clark as Arthur Morgan, Alex McKenna as Sadie Adler, and Benjamin Byron Davis as Dutch van der Linde, as for me they were the standout performances of the game, with many of the key scenes and story moments hinging on their interactions. The score, the work on which was led by Woody Jackson, is a goldmine, and with tracks like Outlaws From The West is of the highest calibre when it comes to cinematic game scoring, to the point that I think it matches up some of the greatest soundtracks in the pantheon of spaghetti western greats. The story about Dutch van der Linde's gang in the dying days of the cowboy is, hands down, one of the best narratives for me in all of gaming that I've experienced so far, enhanced so much more by the decisions you make throughout your time in Arthur Morgan's boots, and also my decision earlier in the year to play through the first Red Dead Redemption, for which this game is a prequel. Now, this isn't to say that the game is without fault, because despite the reports of overwork and crunch amongst Rockstar staff throughout development of the game, there are so many moments which can only be best described as what you'd expect in terms of "open world jank". I saw a horse and its carriage striding up the side of a barn wall, I lost count of the times where - with no gun in hand - I would focus on someone by holding L2 only to find myself drawing a gun (who the heck thought the focus and aim trigger being the same was a good idea?), and because the game is similar in mechanics to Rockstar's golden goose in GTA V, an accidental bump against someone can escalate to a bloodbath in the space of 15 short seconds because the engine is designed to almost thrive on chaos. Beyond this, from a storytelling perspective there is one particular chapter which stands out as the weakest - and it is also the shortest and worst paced, almost feeling like a parody of another AAA game from another studio with a focus on storytelling - and there are often moments of a borderline lack of cohesiveness between the story of Dutch saying "we need more money" for the thousandth time and the fact that no-one ever questions just how much money you need, after a bank job in the first half of the game leaves you with flush with cash. The game is also so richly detailed that it's almost a fault of the game, because there are so many systems which you actually don't need to touch in the game. But these are, honestly, me trying to find minor nitpicks with the game which I could expand upon but honestly don't matter too much in the big picture, as I often try to do with my favourite stories and games. And yes, as you might have picked up by now: this is now my favourite traditional open world game, bar none; sorry Ghost of Tsushima. It's equal parts a feast for the eyes, a well-crafted story from beginning to end, expertly portrayed cast, a wonderful world with wonderful people to meet, and a musical masterpiece. So, to cut myself short, here are some stupidly good looking screenshots from the game. I've been careful to pick my favourite screenshots from only the first two chapters of the game, but to emphasise how good I think this game looks: I took well over 2000 screenshots of the game in my 73 hours with it. And that's it for catching up on 2021 -- onto playing games in 2022!
  13. 4 points
    That just about covers it I reckon. I need to get that Gaming Diary thread updated at some point!
  14. 4 points
  15. 4 points
    The year's almost over and I doubt I'm going to finish any more games before 2022 begins. Which means...WAKE THE FUCK UP, TIMMY! It's time for drahkon's gaming statistics. "..." To start with: How many games have I played and finished? Take a guess, everybody. HERE IT IS: Alright then. Next question: How many games have been from my backlog? Phew, next up: Which gaming devices provided most games this year for me? And now the big one: Scores! A few thoughts on my gaming year: selling the Switch was my best gaming decision, closely followed by buying a PS5 (which happened in 2020, but still ) - Nintendo lost me long ago; their new games don't bring me a lot of enjoyment, anymore, to the point where I don't want to spend money on them Sony has crushed it this year with PS5 games - stellar experiences, further enhanced via 3D Audio and the DualSense ohhhhh boy, the DualSense - I'll say it again: haptic feedback and adaptive triggers are the next-gen feature and a game changer the XBox App on PC is ass - Gamepass is a nice service, but I would never pay full price for it; I will always prefer actual ownership of games The Gunk is one of the worst games I've ever played so is Remnant: From The Ashes, but it is slightly better - I also got the Platinum, for whatever reason speaking of: I got 22 Platinum trophies - my favourite? Outer Wilds, which also gets my "favourite game I played this year" award! And to end this post, here's my GOTY:
  16. 3 points
    (the remaster) Man, what a bad campaign that was. Now, don't get me wrong. I know what it did for the FPS genre on consoles. And by "it" I mean its multiplayer. But goodness me, the campaign is a constant string of repetitiveness. Mission after mission you fight in two or three locations that get repeated two or three times. It's lazy, it's not creative, it's boring. The pinnacle was a mission where you basically just play a previous mission in reverse with one added objective (that, funnily enough, you have to do three fucking times, as well). There have also been a myriad of bugs, mainly in the sound and music department. SFX and songs randomly cut out, either never to return unless we restarted the game, or to come back 20 seconds later. Some gameplay glitches softlocked us. No idea what caused it, but in some missions a completed objective didn't register and we were stuck. Not a good look for a remaster. Normally, I would've abandoned the game halfway through, but playing it in co-op with a mate we were able to look past the glaring issues. I made it my mission to bitchslap at least one Marine in each mission they appear. My mate was horrible at flying Banshees. I was horrible at driving Warthogs. My mate was very trigger happy and killed me many times with the shotgun (most of the kills were unintentional, though, surprisingly). I bitchslapped my mate many times. There was also a glimpse of how the plot could evolve in the sequels. The Flood is a boring antagonist, the Covenant is just all over the place, but the story and twists surrounding Halo were pretty intriguing. Yeah, all in all...very mediocre. We will finish the entire series (at least the FPS games), though
  17. 3 points
    I'd describe it as a roguelite reverse bullet-hell auto-battler. Enemies come at you fast, you kill them via auto attacks (some of them attack in a random direction, some of them in a fixed direction). Level up, add weapons, improve weapons, increase stats, rinse-repeat until you die. It's in early access so not finished, but there's still an end to reach, even it's just an inevitable death. Will be interesting to see where Vampire Survivors will go and how the game will improve over time. For now, it's an absolute steal at 2.39€ (on PC via Steam). There's another game I've finished on my PSVita: Timespinner. A very pretty, small-scale Metroidvania with generic mechanics, that's still enjoyable for one playthrough. And one more for the best handheld ever to which Sony definitely needs to make a successor (): Habroxia 2. I've played the first one and loved it. This is even better. Plenty of improvements make this one a very fun shmup. Will definitely go for the Platinum 8 games in January, so far. Not bad, not bad. Probably won't be able to finish much more, though. Still playing Halo: Combat Evolved with a mate and we also started Nobody Saves The World. Both of which are not very good... Halo is repetitive as all hell. Even back then I would've thought its level design is outdated. It also introduces one of the most boring antagonists ever... Still, there's something to the plot and it's a joy playing this with a mate. We just josh around a lot with the game Nobody Saves The World...so far? Meh Very slow start and an annoying co-op mode make this a game we might drop soon. If one player opens the menu, it opens for both. If one player talks to an NPC, the other is teleported to it. There's a million quests which improve your characters but most of them are just "use this skill a gazillion times". Basically fetch quests with a different coating. And the best part? You need to do them to advance... Not a good first impression. The game does, however, have pretty funny writing. But that's to be expected from the makers of Guacamelee!
  18. 3 points
    If you're saying this is a Monster Hunter pastiche, it certainly looks like they've been working on it since the PS2 era so I'm not sure how many more years you could wish for them to have. Oh, come on. Stop playing coy with us. We all know this will be your game of the generation.
  19. 3 points
    This is part of a wider Twitter thread explaining their experience with the game (mild spoilers in that thread) but thought I'd post these two as part of the summary
  20. 3 points
    Nintendo eShop new releases (week 02) This second week of releases, (just gone) sees 17 new digital games, 5 DLC's and 4 demo's added to the eShop. There are some Platformers, Fighting Games, and a cel-shaded Racing title. Highlight this week is the shmup Eschatos, which seems to be a solid title for just over £20, lncluding two extra Wonderswan shmups as well. Check the article for the full roundup.
  21. 3 points
  22. 3 points
    I'm presuming the third site is porn. Pokémon themed.
  23. 3 points
    They must've really wanted Geometry Wars back.
  24. 3 points
    Right! I've put this off long enough. Let's get this year finished! I'll be starting off this list with some games that I started and had to drop along the way for various reasons... The Legend of Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon You all know this game, its reputation proceeds itself, but how many of you have actually played it for real? How do you really know that it's as bad as it's made out to be!? There's only one way to truly find out... and that means experiencing it first hand, on a real CDI! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Welcome to Nintendo's dark little secret, the unholy bastard child of the early 90s SNES CD failure fallout between Nintendo & Sony that gave birth to the Playstation (oh yes, you have Sony to thank for the Unholy Triforce!). Chances are that you are already well aware of the story behind the CDI and the birth of the original Playstation, so I won't dwell too much on this game's history, but I just want to link to a lovely little interview with one of the lead designers on both this game and Faces of Evil; which helps elucidate a bit about the circumstances behind the creation of these games. Long-story short, each game was made on a miniscule budget of just $600,000, with graphics and cutscenes that had to be outsourced to Russia, with no support from Nintendo whatsoever, and were pumped out within just a year; on a platform that was explicitely not designed to play games, that had no in-built background scrolling hardware or any sprite-based tilemapping support. Quite frankly, these guys were dealt a bad hand; and Phillips hilariously squandered the two biggest licenses in all of videogamedom. A majestic titlescreen. That's about all of the Nintendo you're getting here. So how's the actual game itself? Honestly? It's better than I was expecting! I love Zelda 2, it's a terribly misunderstood and underappreciated entry in the Zelda series; and there really isn't much else like it. The closest we ever really got to a follow-up to Zelda 2 was Faxanadu; and that wasn't even a Zelda game... or a Nintendo game at all! So I quite appreciate the designers' attempt to follow the path not taken by the mainline series. If it weren't for the wonky jump physics, broken hit detection, horrendously shit & unresponsive controls, incredibly choppy framerate, super limited menu navigation, ridiculous Castlevania 2 esc obnoxious secrets and nonsensical game progression? It might actually be a fairly decent game. But sadly, that is indeed the case, so it's a frustrating and broken mess of a game that ends up being oddly entertaining both because of, and in spite of, its very numerous flaws. Good luck not getting hit Zelda! The Legend of Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon is a refreshingly simply action sidescroller, that attempts some neat environmental navigation mechanics that incorporate the use of an item inventory system. Be it through the use of lamp oil, ropes or bombs; it's yours my friend... as long as you have enough rubies. Unfortunately, this game is on the CDI, and that means that you're limited to a mere two buttons with no start or select button (because the CDi is a crap console that didn't have a standadised controller); this makes using items and/or the menu a complete nightmare, as you have to press up to jump and press joystick down + button 2 to open the menu, which is just as awful as it sounds. Because the CDi is one of the worst machines ever made, the game also runs at about 5FPS with incredibly choppy scrolling, the hit detection is about as reliable as a busted shopping trolley and the lack of tile mapped graphics also makes for an exercise in frustration in figuring out what parts of the scenery are interactable and which are not. The plus side of being a CDi game however? The music is surprisingly good! It's totally funky fresh and completely tonally inappropriate! It's great! Honestly! I'm not joshing! It's well worth a listen! Here's a couple of choice cuts... (Dat Frog croak backing!) Cadence of Korodai I actually genuinely enjoyed my time playing this game; it's actually nowhere near as bad as its reputation makes it out to be, but really, its faults come from the console it was made for. The CDi is simply NOT designed to play games; it was a complete piece of shit, even for its time. Quite frankly, considering the circumstances, it's a miracle that this game even got made and runs at all. Sadly, I had to give up on playing this game and Link: Faces of Evil after my CDi's save battery gave up the ghost... and after finding out what ridiculous measures you need to take to replace a CDi battery? I quite rightly gave up on finishing this game on CDi... I should try out that fan-made PC Remaster that got made recently, I bet it would be a much better game than the original version... Pictured: Phillips circa 1993 Superman 64 What is there to be said about Superman 64 that hasn't already been said a thousand times over? You know it's shit, but HOW shit? Well... Pictured: Abjact terror and despair There basically isn't anything that this game gets right whatsoever. Everything is so incredibly unfinished and broken that it is genuinely funny; it actually makes for a pretty enjoyable experience, in the same way that one enjoys watching a good trainwreck play out. Just the basic act of moving around feels absolutely awful, every area looks like identical green shit, there are basically only 3 pieces of terrible music throughout the whole game, the objectives make no sense and barely even function without glitching out; it's thoroughly entertaining! You know what? Screw Lois, I never liked her anyway Now, what I didn't know before starting is that playing on Normal difficulty only gives you half of the True Superman 64 experience. As it turns out, you only get to play through about half of the game when playing on anything other than Hard mode, with a good chunk of the Ring levels stripped out (thank God!), the requirements for completion made more lenient, and the game actually allowing you to carry on from where you left off when you inevitably fail a challenge. The "downside"? You don't get to play the final stage and see the ending. After I found this out? You bet I didn't attempt to play on Hard mode and called it quits there. I'd seen enough. Sorry Lois, but you're staying trapped in Lex Luthor's N64 dungeon. No Krypton Factor can save this complete shambles But hey! It's officially NOT the worst game I've ever played, or even the worst game I've played this year. (It was at least an entertaining mess!). No, this year's honour goes to Perfect Dark Zero; fuck that game. Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania Total shit. Stick with the Gamecube original. Panzer Dragoon Remake Total shit. Stick with the Saturn original. The Gunk The Gunk is so boring that I don't even know what to talk about with it. After less than 5 minutes, you've already seen everything that the game has to offer. There's barely any environmental interactivity to speak of and the gameplay is so completely one note & uninteresting that there really isn't much to discuss at all. Neat graphics tech demo, horribly boring game. I expected MUCH better given Image & Form's pretty stellar track record and couldn't stand more than an hour of this goopy mess. Psychonauts 2 A long time coming, the much anticipated sequel to the original Psychonauts comes a whopping 16 years after the original. Now, I was never a big fan of the original game myself; for all of the charm it had, and for how much I liked the originality on display with its setting and concept, the original game is just not a very good platformer at its core. It's janky, the level design is bad, the physics and game feel are very poor; it's a neat idea, but the core gameplay just isn't very fun. This game however? It's a big improvement over the original in basically every respect. It's a LOT more fun to control, the level design is much more interesting, the combat mechanics are much more refined and feel much better; it's just a far more polished and well crafted experience than the first game. It's actually a pretty rare example of a 3D platformer not made by Nintendo or Rare that actually has competent core gameplay mechanics! Add some genuinely interesting and charming settings & some pretty interesting gameplay mechanics and you're well on your way to a winner. I mean, it has a hospital casino!! Haven't seen that one before! The combat mechanics are also streamlined and refined significantly from the first game, with abilities now mappable to all four shoulder buttons (though these abilities are confusingly unlabelled, meaning that I'd often forget which each one does!). Everything feels good to use, unlike the first game. There's a cool zipline mechanic, and some bespoke sliding sections; and even some proper Zelda style boss battles! I'm really impressed with the gameplay on offer here! And the production values are absolutely through the roof! Unfortunately the game's pacing slows to an absolute crawl after the first couple of minds that you dive into; as the platforming gameplay takes a backseat to an endless barrage of dialogue and fetch quests. See, this game isn't just a platformer, it's also an adventure game; and quite frankly, the adventure game elements just aren't all that interesting. They drag the pacing down tremendously, and the dialogue just goes on and on... and it's nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is. The adventure part of the game is ultimately the bulk of the gameplay and I just gave up trudging through it to get back to the platforming gameplay. It's a shame, because the good bits are really good! But I just don't have the patience to run around aimlessly, looking for people to talk to to advance the story and get back to the actual fun part of the game. Hotel Mario You know the story, you know the memes, but do you know the game itself? Probably not. This is a surprisingly solid little single screen arcade Elevator Action style game where you are tasked to (I shit you not), close every door to complete a stage. You move with the d-pad, jump with the 1 button and close doors by pressing up on the d-pad; and that's it. Shockingly, this game sports some surprisingly responsive and solid controls! No mean feat for a CDi game! (No doubt helped tremendously by the lack of background scrolling), with decent hit detection too! It's a very simple gameplay setup that introduces a decent variety of new enemies and obstacles along the way to keep things reletively fresh. Mario's just being a friendly neighbour There's a whopping 75 stages to complete, which is honestly way too long for a single playthrough; hence why I ultimately gave up once my CDi's save battery died. But honestly? It's not a bad little arcade style platformer! It's... certainly an odd gameplay hook for, you know, a freaking Mario game of all things; but it's actually not bad at all! It's a very simple game, but it features tight controls, enough enemy variety to keep things interesting and some reletively nice visuals for the platform (for what it's worth). It's probably the best game on the CDi; shame it's, you know, stuck on the CDi! Right! Time to talk about the games I actually finished now! Kirby's Dreamland DX As the title and screenshot suggests, this is a mod of the original Kirby's Dreamland with a splash of colour! (No more white Kirby!). The first version of this mod was pretty janky and not very well done, but thankfully it has received a myriad of updates since and is now in a good state that is well worth playing. I've written about the original Kirby's Dreamland before in a previous gaming diary post, which I can't seem to find, but since making a full post about this game would take longer than it would to actually complete the whole game; suffice it to say that I'll give you the short n' sweet version here. Kirby's Dreamland is the first ever Kirby game, and it predates his ability to steal copy powers; so the gameplay is very simple. This game was designed to be beatable within a short bus ride, and that makes it super replayable. It's a fantastic quick blast of fun that you can smash through in less than 30 minutes; with not a single bit of chaff to be found. Even though the gameplay is decidedly simple compared to later games in the series, it's remarkable just how much HAL got right the first time around; it's fast paced, inventive, charming and bursting at the seams with interesting ideas and set pieces. It doesn't waste your time at all. And the music is absolutely legendary; it's no wonder why it was such a smash hit when it first came out in 1992. It's the perfect portable platformer, and I still go back to it with a smile on my face every single time... well, until I try the hidden Extra difficulty and proceed to get my arse handed to me! Seriously! Extra is no joke!! Happy 35th Anniversary Kirby! Super Princess Peach It's Super Mario... but for girls! You know, those things that cry a lot, get angry for no reason and generally can't control their emotions? I bet that'd make for a neat gameplay mechanic! Let's get Mario kidnapped by a random Hammer Bro and let Peach slap and cry her way to victory! Super Princess Peach is a... problematic game, shall we say. There is absolutely no way that this game would fly today; it's quite possibly the most sexist game ever made, and in an industry as sexist as the games industry? That's really saying something! Made by Tose, the famous ghost developer that normally doesn't take credit for their work (other than this one and the Starfy series), Super Princess Peach is a strange game that feels really random for its time; beating New Super Mario Bros to market by a good 7 odd months and feeling a bit like a GBA port in many respects. It's a 2d sidescrolling platformer in the same mold as Yoshi's Island, being focused on exploration and collection. The similarities also extend to the hand drawn visuals, level design and enemy selection (many of which return from Yoshi's Island). Of course, this game's main gameplay gimmick lies in Peach's emotions (sigh), which allow her to use Anger (to set fire to things), Cry (to water things and run very fast), Joy (to spin things around and fly for a limited time) and Calm (to restore health) using 4 buttons on the touch screen. Enemies can also be affected by emotions too, which alter their characteristics accordingly (including the terrifying Angry Boo!). This'll be sure to appeal to women! Like Yoshi's Island, there are various mcguffins to find in each stage; including three Toads (mandatory to open up the final stage and see the ending), minigame collectables (which unlock touch screen minigames) and puzzle pieces (used to unlock gallery photos). Thankfully, getting all the Toads isn't too much of a pain; it's certainly not the absolute torture that Yoshi's Island is to 100%! Unfortunately, the level design just isn't very interesting. It's all quite flat and pretty ho-hum, lacking the interesting setpieces and crazy gameplay mechanics of the SNES Yoshi's Island; while the vibe powers are basically just relegated to being glorified keys that activate accompanying switches. This really drags the game down, as the gameplay is ultimately pretty bland behind its pretty visuals. There just isn't much interesting going on here that you haven't seen done better in other platform games; it's all rather forgettable really. Likewise, the boss battles are perfectly ok, and the music is decent, but nothing special. It's all just very middle of the road. There's a few tacked on touch screen minigames before each boss fight, and the title screen changes depending on the time of day with the DS' RTC; which is about the most interesting thing going on here. Super Princess Peach is ultimately a decent 2D platformer and nothing more. It's thoroughly ok. It's fine. It looks nice though. Newer Super Mario Bros DS Now I'm not normally one for straight up fan games, normally they're just not at the level of quality that makes it worth my time to play... however, this one is absolutely an exception to the rule. Made by the same team that made the excellent Newer Super Mario Bros Wii; this game is a complete conversion of the original NSMB into an entierly new game. And when I say entierly, I really mean it. NOTHING has been left untouched, the soundtrack is entierly new (a mix of remixes from other Mario games and completely original music), the front-end has been completely revamped more in the style of SM3DW, there's new bosses, enemies, cutscenes, gameplay mechanics and even powerups! Yes! The Hammer Bros suit is back, and it's badass! The toughest flower you've ever seen Unlike most fan games and fan hacks, this game has actually been designed to have a reasonable difficulty curve that feels reletively close to an actual Mario game; and the level design is generally excellent, with good pacing and interesting layouts. The sheer amount of new mechanics that the Newer team have managed to cram into NSMB's shell is just incredible! From minecarts to Sumo Bros to terraforming land to anti gravity to Yoshi Coins to Angry Suns & Angry Moons (yes, really!); there's a crazy amount of custom coding and completely new mechanics that have somehow been put into the game! It's amazing what they've managed to pull off here with all of these new mechanics and it kind of puts NSMB 2 to shame. You got Donkey Kong Country in my New Super Mario Bros! The sheer amount of effort and polish that has gone into this fan game is just incredible. They even have the title screen change depending on what world you're currently on! Oh, and Luigi is fully playable too, complete with Luigi physics. Quite simply, it's one of the best fan games I've ever played; right up there with Smash Remix, Newer Super Mario Bros Wii and AM2R. A must play for anyone with the means to do so! Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder This is the true sequel to the original Golden Axe, not that weak Mega Drive junk. Built for the powerful System 32 arcade board in 1992, this game never got a home release until the launch of the Astro City Mini in 2021 and it is a BELTER of a belt scroller! Most beat 'em ups tend to run out of steam and become repetitive and a bit boring before the end of their running time... not here though. This game keeps things fresh by making the environments hazardous and interactive all throughout and constantly throwing new enemy types your way all the way till the end. The game feel is absolutely perfect, hits have awesome impact, with brilliant art and sound design that really sells the impact of each hit. The visual presentation is a big step up from what was possible on home consoles at the time and goes a long way towards making the game feel fun to play; while the Conan The Barbarian style soundtrack really pumps you up all throughout! Still freaking cool looking 29 years on! The game is paced incredibly well and no stage feels like it outstays its welcome; with numerous branching paths in place that keep each runthrough feeling fresh. Each stage also introduces numerous gimmicks that keep the gameplay from becoming stale too, such as falling bolders coming down and even into the screen with cool scaling effects! Or waterfalls that push you and your enemies around; and there's even some platforming to contend with! I'm not the biggest beat 'em up fan in the world, as most games in the genre get pretty boring not far in; but this is absolutely one that I love. While I'd still say that Streets of Rage 2 is the best of SEGA's efforts, GATRODA is a very close second in my eyes. Clockwork Aquario Quite possibly the most delayed game of all time (a whopping 28 years from initial announcement to release!), Clockwork Aquario is the final arcade game to be made by Westone; the creators of the Wonderboy series. This is an excellent little action platformer that was originally designed for the SEGA System 18 arcade board. A straightforward run n' jump affair, this game calls to mind titles such as Ristar and Super Mario Bros 2; though more straightforward than those two titles, it borrows their lifting and throwing mechanics. The controls are simple, you run, you jump, you pick stuff up and throw; oh, and you can punch as well if you're not holding onto anything. Its fast-paced stages constantly throw enemies and platforming challenges your way in a manner that brings to mind the Ghouls N' Ghosts series (though nowhere near as hard!). It's generally light and breezy in terms of difficulty, which is, quite frankly, very strange for an arcade game of this vintage! It's a white knuckle thrill ride that sees you romping through 5 stages of arcade action goodness; you'll blast through the whole thing in about 30 minutes, but you'll want to come back for more. Very much like Kirby's Dreamland actually! Each level is dense and beautiful It's a great game that does not waste your time, offering thrills a second that you will want to replay again and again. I'm really glad that this game finally got a release, I'll be coming back to it again and again for some great single player and co-op action! Right! That's your lot! I'm not writing anymore, I'm knackered! Onto 2022! (Metroid Dread's write up will go in the Metroid Dread thread when I eventually get round to it)
  25. 3 points
    Ah, I didn't realise forum banner images were hosted on the main site server. Even if it wasn't for the https warning, that image isn't there anymore. I can sort that later. Edit: sorted
  26. 3 points
    N-Europe Turns Twenty-Four Five days after the date, with a repurposed banner from two years ago, but it's up on the main page. Some ramblings, observations and gratitude for this site, forum and everyone who has made it all possible. There's some Nintendo game related talk, especially as this site started with the N64, and the platform has renewed interest thanks to Nintendo Switch Online. At least we have (almost) a year to potentially prepare for the next anniversary. Thanks, everyone. And all the best for the year ahead.
  27. 3 points
  28. 3 points
    Completed this just now. Fiddly controls and repeated mini-bosses aside, absolutely loved it. Only a half-formed observation which might not stack up, but I feel like Dread bucks the trend with other Metroid/Nintendo games in the way it rewards precision - particularly through the 360-degree aiming. Super satisfying to clear a room quickly by exercising that extra level of finesse, even if it's rarely necessary.
  29. 3 points
    I would like to accept my Nostradamus award on behalf of all the people who believed in me, my family and friends, and of course, the Lord.
  30. 3 points
    A Plague Take: Innocence I was honestly expecting a kind of “walking simulator” from this, but it’s very much a stealth-puzzle game with a heavy focus on story. A Plague Tale is set in 14th century France, you are the daughter of a lord, your brother has a mysterious illness and you are both forced on the run when the inquisition attacks, killing your family. For the most part, I found the story to be very engaging, even if it is filled with a ton of young adult fantasy tropes. The game also crosses the line for suspension of disbelief, the game starts off feeling very realistic before this plague of rats comes along, which I had no option with, but then the game introduces alchemy as though it just a regular thing, with you meeting a 10 year old apprentice who acts like a complete master. The main mystery kept me going, although the game leaves a lot open to be answered in the sequel. The gameplay is a stealth game, and getting spotted almost always results in death, you can’t run away, hide and try again. Throughout the game, you will gain lots of tools to throw or use with your sling, such as basic rocks, flaming rocks that can set things on fire (things like wood, you can’t just set armoured people on fire), or pots to cause a distraction. Each stealth section is like a puzzle, where you have to work out which objects to use and where to get past the enemies. These objects need to be found or crafted, so there is limited supply. This makes things suspenseful, but it does mean that you can run out of things and be unable to progress, having to restart the chapter. I almost got to this, but ended up finding rocks by walking most of the way to the start of the level (you can only use rocks found in bags, I walked down a long stream with loads of pebbles to find this bag). It’s also possible to be caught in a bad checkpoint and have no other option. There are a few sections where direct combat is the only option, with you having to use the sling to kill enemies running at you. These sections are quite annoying, and there’s one really bad section in the final chapter, where you can miss enemies through what seems to be random chance. There’s a lot to like about A Plague Tale, but also a lot of annoyances. Hopefully these can be sorted for the next game. Sunset Overdrive Crazy, over the top and a ton of fun. Sunset Overdrive is stupid in all the right ways. An energy drinks company (who happen to be the biggest company in the world) releases their new drink ealy in Sunset City, but has the unintended side effect of turning everyone into mutant zombies. You manage to escape to your apartment then get roped into helping the remaining survivors. Sunset Overdrive is an open world “superhero” game (the main character doesn’t have “superpowers” as such, they’re just naturally awesome). The main thing that makes Sunset Overdrive so much fun is the traversal mechanics: you can jump high by bouncing off objects, grind across many things and even dash in the air or on water. Getting from point to point is just so satisfying and immense fun. As you move across different objects, you’ll increase your “style” meter and combo. Even though it’s used in combat, I found myself trying to get a high combo whenever I had to go from A to B (the game has fast travel, but it’s best to ignore it). Combat itself is also lots of fun, as it encourages killing while being stylish, jumping around and grinding while taking out loads of enemies. The weapons are whimsical and enjoyable to use. The way some enemies explode – with their “goo” literally making words like “POP” is so satisfying and adds to the style. Sunset Overdrive never cares about being serious, it constantly breaks the fourth wall, even with background enemy dialogue (such as enemies talking about how they can’t run out of ammo because they’re not the main character). While this is a regular occurrence, it never gets to the point where it feels like too much, there’s still plenty of its own humour, with some interesting characters and moments. I found myself enjoying even the most basic side quests due to the fun traversal, combat and entertaining dialogue. If you haven’t played it, I highly recommend it. The Pedestrian I was expecting a simple platformer, the novel concept of running through signs seemed interesting, but I had no idea that the simple idea was such an important part of the gameplay itself. You play as a stickman – the generic kind you see on various signs (like the toilet sign). You run through signs and complete puzzles. At any time you can “pause” the game and are able to move some of the signs around, and connect doors and ladders together (they have to be facing opposite directions). Manipulating the signs and doors in this way is the main core of the puzzles, and the game will introduce new elements as you progress. I don’t want to go into too much detail due to spoilers, but I thought a lot of the puzzles were taxing, but it never got to the point where I felt like giving up. There’s a lot of clever ideas and solutions, and for the more complex puzzles I didn’t think “finally” or “that was stupidly obvious”, my response when finding a solution was “that was cool”. The concept of the game also makes more sense when you start to interact with the world beyond the signs. There’s an early section where you encounter a shut door, and only when you manipulate the lift the sign is inside (by activating buttons on the sign) and move it upwards can you continue. The fascinating thing is that the game explains all these complex actions without any dialogue or text. Everything is explained via symbols and pictures, with new sections having very basic puzzles to explain by making you do something. I never felt confused as to what I had to do, and it gets its mechanics across to the player in a surprisingly clear way. If I had any complaints about The Pedestrian, it’s that the last level is short. The mechanic introduced there felt like it would have a lot of possibilities and I really wanted more puzzles using it. Gorogoa A very unique puzzle game, with lots of beautiful art. You are a young boy who sees a dragon, and must gather 5 fruits to make an offering (or something, the story is done via imagery alone) and you must help him. This one is quite difficult to explain. You essentially have 4 “panels” (like comic book panels). Dragging the panels will either move them, or drag off a “layer” to create a new panel. By manipulating these panels, you can lead the young boy to the five magic fruits. The game is quite fascinating, although I found myself to be just moving stuff around to try and progress in a few areas. Some solutions are extremely clever, while others I just did by clicking on something and not quite knowing what I did. It’s a very short game (about an hour or so), so for cheap (or Game Pass), it’s worth experiencing for how unique it is.
  31. 3 points
    Personally I’m more weirded out about going from Mario Kart 8 all the way to Mario Kart 64… what the hell happened to the other 56 Mario Kart games!?
  32. 3 points
  33. 3 points
    My top 3 games of 2021 would be Monster Hunter Rise, Metroid Dread and Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury. Monster Hunter Rise is an amazing instalment in the series, it improved in all the right places while keeping the good bits of the franchise. Especially the ease of playing online is a godsend. Metroid Dread is a great Metroid title, and although I've only played through it once, I still feel I got my money's worth from it. Finally, SM3DW+BF; it was the first time I got to experience 3D World and I enjoy the more level-structured approach it has. The game looks, sounds and plays so well. Bowser's Fury is a good addition and a nice experience and I enjoyed going through it. If I take games played in 2021 into account, three games stand out for me. On PC, I really enjoyed my time with Jurassic World Evolution. I actually played most of it in 2020, but I finished it in January. It's not the deepest sim game but the gameplay loop was addicting enough, plus dinosaurs. Immortals Fenyx Rising is a game I can recommend to any Switch owner as it can be picked up cheap quite often. The presentation is really done well, and although it doesn't play as fluently as BOTW, the gameplay is more than adequate, plus you have an amazing moveset you can use. I really enjoyed my time with this. And finally Dark Souls Remastered. I bought it at the end of 2018, played it for some hours but stalled. A couple of months later I started it again, and stalled again. This year I started it for a third time, and after hours of perseverance (and the help of a guide here and there), I finally finished it on January 1. I'll talk about it more in detail in the Gaming Diary thread, but finishing this was one of my highlights of 2021, and possibly ever.
  34. 3 points
    Nintendo of Europe shared a list of the 22 most played titles on Switch in 2021: 1. Fortnite 2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons 3. Minecraft 4. Pokemon Sword 5. Pokemon Shield 6. Zelda: Breath of the Wild 7. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 8. Rocket League 9. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 10. Super Mario Odyssey 11. FIFA 21 Legacy Edition 12. Pokemon Unite 13. Monster Hunter Rise 14. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe 15. Super Mario Party 16. Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu 17. Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee 18. Splatoon 2 19. FIFA 20 Legacy Edition 20. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury 21. Super Mario Maker 2 22. Luigi’s Mansion 3 Quite an interesting list. Seeing both FIFAs there (guess 22 arrived a bit too late to make the chart), Fortnite #1, Minecraft #3. Zelda still high in the chart. No Metroid, maybe it's too short of a game to make it in. Would have expected Monster Hunter to be higher as well. And Splatoon 2 is still being played apparently.
  35. 3 points
    I've re-enabled tapatalk. Tbh I didn't think anyone used it and the annoyance of the banner for every user that doesn't, seemed to outweigh it's use for the couple that do. However, if it's causing more trouble than it's worth, I've reinstated it
  36. 3 points
    Due to unforeseen circumstances, I ended up playing a few more short games than expected before the year's end. The Shivah "Particularly those 'The Ihfrit' jokes I've been hearing. Stop it, they hurt." After Four Travelers on a Winter's Night piqued my interest, the name "Dave Gilbert" popped up in related discussions. He's apparently one of the founders of Wadjet Eye Games, a company specializing in serious and mature Point&Click adventure games. I checked out their history, and found out I already had a Wadjet Eye game on my backlog (Gemini Rue)... but the first commercial game by Dave Gilbert was called The Shivah, and since GOG happened to put this game on sale at that moment, I decided to get it on the spot. This game actually predates the existence of Wadjet Eye Games, since it was released back in 2006. It was later remade in 2013 because of mobile ports, and that remake was the version I played. I must say, I was impressed. This is actually a Detective Noir story (and I'm fond of those), starring Russell Stone, a rabbi from Manhattan, investigating the murder of a former member of his congregation. There's no wacky puzzles or hijinx, only a hard-nosed man following leads. There is some humour, but it's mostly dialogue-based, realistic banter in conversation. A lot of this game's themes are based around USA Jewish culture (since Dave Gilbert himself is Jewish), but despite both the culture and the faith being somewhat alien to me, I appreciated how accessible the game is about it, to those of us who know little or nothing (there's even a Yiddish dictionary in your inventory). I can at least understand the overall moral struggles that the rabbi faces. Gameplay-wise, it's a traditional Point&Click that features a lot of modern QoL features (most notably, it avoids pixel-hunting), with a couple of other features, like an inventory for "clues", that is, names or knowledge of certain events. You can bring these up in conversation (some older games, like Final Fantasy II, feature something similar), or you can combine related clues to make something more cohesive and concrete than before (hello, Miles Edgeworth). Another uncommon quirk is how much computers feature into the puzzles in this game, with the player needing to use the search function to find out addresses and other relevant info for the investigation. As such, I appreciate that this game does not spell out solutions for you, and you do need to use your gray mass to figure out several things. The dialogue is fully voiced, and it apparently features mostly the same voices as the 2006 version, but it's actually pretty good, aside from a few technical hiccups (like one of the characters speaks with a background echo that nobody else has, and another one peaked his mic with a scream at one point). It's a very short game (about an hour or so with a steady pace), which means that a lot of what it does well feels underutilised... but certainly not badly utilised. Its short length felt fitting, and it made the replay with the dev's commentary all the quicker. There are also 4 distinct story paths depending on your decisions (technically 3 endings, because two of those paths lead to the "neutral" ending), so seeing them all is trivial. As of right now, colour me impressed with Dave Gilbert. I'll be checking out some of his other works for sure. Symphonia Beautiful is this game, hard-to-google is its name Continuing the streak of short games from GOG, Symphonia is a free game that popped into my recommendations some day. It was released in 2020 by Sunny Peak, a young company based in France (and according to their site, this is still the "student version", so they must be working on a full game). It looked great, despite its middling reviews, so I gave it a shot. And yeah, it's actually really good! It looks beautiful (like a more colourful Hollow Knight), it animates really fluidly, and its soundtrack is made up of classical-sounding music. Better so, as the entire game is about a fancy maestro using the power of magical music to kickstart the cogs of a deactivated mechanical concert house (that's a mouthful, but I promise the concept is simple). The whole thing feels like a wordless short from the Golden Age of Animation, down to the length (there's about 30 minutes to this game, tops). Mechanically, it's simple platforming with a couple of quirks: you can use a conductor's baton to jump higher (think Shovel Knight) or stick it to a red surface, either to hold on to it, or sling yourself in a different direction. There's a also a dedicated "play violin" button, which you can use to activate devices, or to just entertain yourself (think Shantae's dances). As for why the reviews were so middling... I played this with a gamepad, so I found no issue, but apparently, the developers treated the keyboard like an afterthought. Not only do they not say anywhere in-game what the keyboard controls are, they were actually mapped with the French keyboard in mind! Since there's no way to remap buttons, this led to several low user scores, which is a sad situation. I totally understand the issue (no, Super Meat Boy, I still haven't forgiven you), but it does feel bad to see a young project get review-bombed. Hopefully this game will make it onto consoles where this won't be an issue. I managed to finish the game with all 200 music notes collected (the "coins" to this game), and I definitely liked what I saw. I recommend keeping an eye out for this game in the future, and also... they might change the game's name eventually, due to how easy it is to confuse this with Lloyd Irving & co Samorost The first! I... did not like this one. The first game in the Samorost series by Czech developer Amanita Design, Samorost started out as a humble Flash game in 2003. Its sequels would be released commercially, but the first one never made it out of Flash until recently. And it's now available for free on GOG (and probably Steam too). It's a point&click game that's too bizarre for me. It only lasts around 10-15 mins, but I likely would've quit earlier if it weren't that short. Not that the game is bad, I just... don't gel with it. In the slightest. I don't like the aesthetics, the puzzles, or anything really. Now that I know their style isn't for me, I'll remove other Amanita games from my wishlist. I already have Machinarium on my backlog, and that's the one other chance I'll give their games. Fire Emblem: Three Houses Cindered Shadows The return! Hah! You thought this would be all tiny indie games, yeah? Too bad, Fire Emblem time! I've had the Three Houses DLC for a while now, and considering 3H was the first game I finished (technically) in 2021, I wanted to bookend the year with the Ashen Wolves campaign. At first, I thought the extra maps were all paralogues and extra content introduced into the main story, but as it turns out, there's a full-fledged, 7-chapter side campaign that's independent from anything else. You get handed 6 characters (Claude, Edelgard, Dimitri, Ashe, Hilda, and Linhardt) at level 20 with preset classes & certificates, the Ashen Wolves join you, and off you go to do 7 maps with this makeshift party. Byleth's chosen House for this mode is irrelevant. I enjoyed it a lot. Since this campaign removes support levels, class exp, weapon exp, activity points, and other time-wasting micromanagements, the whole thing advanced at a brisk pace. The story itself was also compelling, doing a bit more worldbuilding for Fódlan (as well as some twists I only half saw coming). The new music is fantastic too. The real star of the show are the maps themselves, though. After the main game had several "meh" maps, the developers decided to go all out when designing these new ones. There's a "Seize the bossless throne" scenario, a de facto defend chapter, the best dang Escape map I've seen in the series yet, and more. My only real complaint is that nobody except Yuri had any sort of movement assist skill. I decided to pick Hard Mode from the get-go, thinking it would be the same as the main game's Hard Mode. Not so, as Cindered Shadows is considerably more difficult. On one hand, I really appreciated the legit difficulty, forcing me to better ponder my choices. On the other hand, Chapter 6 contained some of the biggest bullshit I've seen in this series. Felt like a fanhack at times. Regardless, I do think Three Houses was in need of truly challenging and compelling maps such as these. Just make sure to start in Normal Mode. All in all, I'm satisfied with Cindered Shadows. Had great fun with it, it was a good way to revisit this world, and I think it was a creative use of DLC. That's 43 games that I finished (or otherwise satisfied with), plus 7 games that I dropped, 1 that I replayed, and 1 DLC campaign. And also, one dropped randomizer. All in all, that's 50 new games I played this year, which might be a personal record! Can't say they're all from my backlog (there are plenty which I bought this year), which means I need to try harder to only buy games I'm planning to start, like, that week. My earlier goal to "do a few short games per month" ended up being really tiring. For 2022... I'll try to come up with a different system.
  37. 3 points
    Haven't photographed everything, as I'm not home yet, but my main things: Also got a Paloma Faith record, some t shirts, a set of D&D dice and a Gameboy mug.
  38. 2 points
    It’s bought! Will be picking this guy up on Saturday, maybe before if everything goes through OK.
  39. 2 points
    This one slipped under my radar somehow, but the 3rd entry in Nintendo's Ask The Developer interview series (Basically the new Iwata Asks) is out now! This time it's about Big Brain Academy Switch! https://www.nintendo.com.au/news-and-articles/ask-the-developer-vol-3-big-brain-academy-brain-vs-brain Here's the previous two entries in case you missed them... Vol 1: Game Builder Garage: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/News/2021/July/Ask-the-Developer-Vol-1-Game-Builder-Garage-2000494.html Vol 2: Nintendo Switch OLED Model: https://www.nintendo.com/whatsnew/detail/2021/ask-the-developer-vol-2-nintendo-switch-oled-model-part-1/
  40. 2 points
    More and more often I find myself reaching out to the good ol' internet to look up info about the game I'm playing. Whether it is for understanding a mechanism, where to go next, find a particular item or how to tackle a hard boss. Younger me would have detested this, but currently I'm noticing that I'm fairly okay with me doing this. Mostly it is an issue of time versus effort. I have quite a backlog of games I want to play, and limited gaming time available. If a game is interesting enough and has me in its grip, I don't mind putting in some extra time figuring things out, although even in that situation I now have limits as to how long I want to be stuck. For example, I'm currently playing Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night and I knew I had to find a certain room. It would have meant going through the whole map again taking up maybe half an hour to an hour, but my urge to finish the game made me just look up the location of said room, saving me precious time. In that case I didn't really miss anything story-wise and it just saved me time. But sometimes it feels like it takes away a bit of the experience. It's a great feeling when you figure something out yourself, that AHA! moment. As opposed to looking it up and thinking, oh yeah, why didn't I think of this? There was this moment in Dark Souls Remastered where I was feeling pretty mixed. On the one hand I wish I figured it out myself, but on the other hand I know it would have led to quite some time loss and frustration. Another risk is, as you are googling stuff, you come across the occasional spoiler which you did not want to know. Someone mentioning the next boss or something similar. But all in all I take these things for granted, as being able to finish off more games in a shorter timespan outweighs these feelings of cheating or not getting everything out of your game. It also gives me a better closure, reading for example that I've found every optional boss in a game for me gives me the feeling I finished a game as far as I want so I don't have to replay it again (this can be a completely different discussion; are there games you would love to replay but don't because you don't have the time for it due to other games?). Again Dark Souls Remastered, some optional stuff in the game I would have missed completely on my play-through if I hadn't used a guide here and there, and now I feel like I got everything from the game. So, how do you feel about the use of internet help when playing games?
  41. 2 points
    At mine and @Goafer's school we had the "Hold B + Down" for a better chance to catch a Pokemon in Blue & Red. I didn't realise until years later that this was fairly common but every group seemed to have their own button combination.
  42. 2 points
    "HI!" Release date confirmed - March 25th 30th anniversary celebrations planned too
  43. 2 points
    Yes he did but if you think the focus of the tweet I posted was about the twist then you're either very innocent or very unobservant 😋
  44. 2 points
    I'm late to the party but screw it, I'm putting this out there to the universe! I want to pass my Personal Training course, lose at least 2 or 3 stone and try to jog 5K. The last one I used to be able to do very easily but since I've had my foot injury, it's not been so great. However, it's feeling a helluva lot better so I'm going to try and do it in intervals and take it slow!
  45. 2 points
    There is literally nothing unexpected in that report. Yeah, no shit, Nintendo are currently working on Switch 2 launch titles (of which, MK10 would be one of them). And there’s something new in the game? Wow! Really impressive crystal balling there Nostradamus!
  46. 2 points
  47. 2 points
    Just finished the first episode of The Book of Boba Fett. Scattered thoughts: Overall, a solid but subdued opening episode, hopeful for next week!
  48. 2 points
  49. 2 points
    Merry Christmas to N-Eone and all who read this! Hope Santa came.
  50. 2 points
    Got a great haul this year, mainly from the new girlfriend. got the remaining sets from the first wave of Mario Lego, so should have all of them now (lucky as they were retiring soon. And lots of other cool little bits and bobs. Love the jumbo Gizmo Funko Pop.
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