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Cube

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Everything posted by Cube

  1. 59. Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood Original Platform: DS Where to get: Second hand A turn based RPG, which is a kind of game that I don’t really like. I’ve attempted a couple, but Sonic Chronicles is the only one I’ve actually completed. As far as the combat is concerned, I found it a bit more engaging due to the POW attacks, as you have to play a sort of rhythm game for full damage (and do the same to protect yourself when the enemy does one), but as I don’t really know the ins and outs of the genre, I can’t comment on the quality of it. One thing that Sonic Chronicles does pretty well is story, it has an engaging mystery of what this mysterious group is up to, and when you enter a portal you meet some interesting entities. It feels a bit like Doctor Who in a way, as Sonic can negotiate with the people of these various worlds as they’re not the mindless brutes as they originally seem to be. The new characters introduced are rather interesting, and I would like to see some of them return. The biggest flaw with the story is that it does end with a cliffhanger ending (the main plot is, thankfully, tied up), and a sequel was never made, presumably because the developer – BioWare – became part of EA. I also really enjoyed the dialogue. Like a lot of BioWare games, you can make dialogue choices. This doesn’t have any impact on the overall story, although if you are nice to Amy, it can lead to an additional conversation where you can set up a potential future romance between her and Sonic. The conversation options allow you to ask some questions, or if you really want to, you can just make Sonic rude and obnoxious with some funny dialogue choices. Getting around the world I found to be a bit annoying. To access different areas, you need to have certain movement abilities in your party, so sometimes you’ll need a specific character with you, or you’ll encounter some chao eggs or rings you can’t access until you return at a later point (but not too late, there are multiple points of the game that lock you out of previous areas). To trigger this ability, you just tap an icon on the screen. I have particular trouble in the Metropolis area as I didn’t notice I could jump down a platform and searched for ages to try and find the route to get to where I was needed. I did enjoy Sonic Chronicles overall, due to the charming writing, although some aspects were a let down (the music is just…there, and is the most forgettable music in a Sonic game), the only thing I really disliked was that it was a turn based RPG. 60. Tails Adventure Original Platform: Game Gear Where to get: 3DS eShop, Sonic Gems Collection, Sonic Adventure DX This really wasn’t what I expected from a Tails spin off on the Game Gear. For starters, the graphics are really nice for a Game Gear game, looking a lot closer to the Mega Drive games than the other Master System/Game Gear Sonic games. The gameplay itself starts as you would expect, it’s a platformer where you have to reach to the end of the level, slower paced than typical Sonic games. Tails is equipped with a bomb, which can be thrown in an arc, one of the classic frustrating weapon types as when an enemy is close, you just throw bombs over their heads. As you progress, you’ll unlock new items, such as a remote control robot for activating switches and remote bombs. Tails can only hold 4 items at a time, so you’ll eventually hit a dead end and have to back out of a level to return to Tails house to swap items. As you find more items, you can access more areas – it’s a bit like a linear Metroid game. It is very frustrating releasing mid-level that you need a completely different set of items to the ones you brought, especially when you have to return multiple times because you get further and discover you need something else. It’s still a rather interesting game, and has some neat ideas, such as the remote control robot being used for some puzzles. (Also, I really want to add an apostrophe to the name of the game)
  2. Making 'big' decisions

    I honestly have no idea, it kind of just....happens. My biggest decision that I made on my own was moving back to Wales from Manchester, as I felt a semi-fresh start (and potentially getting back in touch with friends from school). I was lucky in that it lined up nicely - my boss asked if I could continue working from home, a rental house popped up at the perfect moment, so that was the two more difficult aspects taken care off. I think I mostly go with my gut. I've never fully studied a choice, there's just a feeling that something is the right choice.
  3. House buying is the worst

    Mine simply went from a resounding "no" to actually getting a mortgage, but that was through an independent financial advisor finding a company for us. Also, my vendors are having trouble with the chain. One of the properties was converted into flat/holiday let and is classed as different properties, and getting it re-classed as one property could take 8 weeks. However, our vendors have been looking at non-chain properties and have viewed some, and are potentially putting an offer on one. Even though we have said that we are in a situation where we can wait (although we've said that ideally we want to be in before Christmas), they are concerned about us looking elsewhere and pulling out. The estate agents have advised that if they stick to the original plan, we are likely looking at mid-December, but if one of these other properties pan out for them, then mid-November.
  4. There's something really pleasing about the graphical style of this. It's like an evolution of GBA style graphics.
  5. Playstation 5 Console Discussion

    Sony have also bought Firesprite, a Liverpool-based studio, who in term have bought Fabrik games, a Manchester-based studio. Both companies were formed from staff who used to be part of Studio Liverpool.
  6. General Switch Discussion

    Hopefully it means Nintendo supporting the Switch for a decent length after this supposed new model/new console is released. After Nintendo's output on the Switch, I'll likely be waiting until near the end of the next console's lifespan anyway.
  7. General Switch Discussion

    Although this section Seems like it would either have a very limited release, or not release until 2025 at the earliest.
  8. The Star Wars Thread

    Hopefully it's short so there isn't a long wait for Mandalorian. Still odd that one of the few characters worse than Jar Jar is getting his own show.
  9. Your 2021 Gaming Diary

    Superliminal Superliminal has some very interesting mechanics regarding perspective, with a Portal-like “test chamber” setting and a narrative about using dreams to beat depression and the feeling of not being good enough. The main concept is using perspective to alter the size of objects. You will encounter drinks cans, chess pieces, boxes and other objects that you can pick up. When you drop them, they will be close to the wall away from you (or the floor under you), but the same visible size as when you picked it up. So if an object is further away, but still looks the same size, once you move closer you’ll see that it’s much bigger. You’ll resize objects to make platforms to climb across, push switches or knock stuff over. The “test chamber” style is only the very start of the game and you’ll quickly find out that the narrative aspect of Supeliminal is its main component, with more focus on spectacle rather than puzzles. You’ll encounter a lot of neat optical illusions and tricks, but at times it feels more like a ride than a game. What doesn’t help is a lack of consistency in the game’s mechanics. The main resizing mechanic itself is the same (except for one section of the game, where you randomly have a completely different ability for a bit), but the objects you can pick up are very specific. At first I thought it was the same kinds of things – like drinks cans or chess pieces, but then I entered a room and couldn’t interact with the chess pieces in it. It means that you’ll end up looking around for your crosshair to change to find out what you can and can’t interact with. Another example is that the game tricks you early on with a chess piece you can’t pick up, only to find out that it’s warped paint that just looks like a chess piece from a certain angle, but the next section of the game uses the concept of finding the correct perspective (using paint on walls) to turn the pain into a 3D object you can move. The lack of consistent rules just adds to the feeling that it’s a theme park, not a puzzle game. So while the puzzles are underwhelming, Superliminal’s short length makes it worth playing just for the visual spectacles the game has. The interactive part of it is still important, as you will move around to examine the optical illusions. The objects you interact with are always everyday objects (one of the notes you can find lampshades this by asking why nobody dreams of any interesting or fictional objects), but I think they enhance the absurdity of it somewhat. There is an additional challenge mode. This lets you replay the puzzles from the game but with some restrictions, such as only picking up X amount of times or jumping X amount of times, but I find this just ruins the fun of messing about and it just amounts to remembering the final solution and just doing that. It would have been nice to have new puzzles to solve. Last Stop Last Stop is an “interactive film” type game set in London. It follows the daily lives of three characters – John, Meena and Donna – until they end up encountering some supernatural elements. On a chapter-by-chapter basis, you can choose which order to play them in, but must play through all three before you can start the next chapter as anyone. John Smith is a middle-aged single dad, looking after his daughter Molly. An incident with a stranger causes him and his neighbor – a mid-20s game designer called Jack – to switch bodies. They try to act as each other with some really fun heist-style segments (with John’s daughter, Molly, commenting on it and pointing out flaws), while also trying to figure out how to go back. Meena is an agent for a mysterious agency, while at home she’s keeping an affair a secret. It takes a while for her story to pick up as she’s rather unlikable, and the best parts of her story are when she starts encountering the other characters fairly late on. Donna is a high school student, who encounters a strange man with glowing eyes. Her friend knocks him out and, worried that he’ll go to the police, they tie him up and take turns watching him, who stays silent until it’s just him and Donna. The gameplay of the game is quite simple, you walk around as each character, interacting with the small amount of things it allows you to (although sometimes even walking will be automated). You will get conversation options, but these just slightly alter the tone of the conversation and won’t affect the overall story, there’s no “wrong” option, you’ll end up in the same places no matter what. There are a few minigames, such as pressing musical notes or throwing bottles, which are a nice distraction but failing doesn’t change anything. That said, the characters and dialogue are very engaging, especially in John and Jack’s segment, and the mystery will keep you wanting more until you get to the end. Unfortunately, the ending itself is a bit of a let down. The final section is very over the top, and then the game will give each character a choice on what they want to do. Meena and Donna are pretty much given a “no good option” choice at the end, while’s John’s choice is to swap bodies or to keep his new one – a choice which comes out of nowhere as for the entire game he never gives it a moment’s notice, clearly being offended that someone would think he would be so low when other characters suggest it. I can think of a better choice John should have been given, but can’t go into details without spoilers. That said, Last Stop is still worth a playthrough, for all the moments leading up to the ending, and especially the interactions between Jack, John and Molly. Sable Take one look at Sable and the most striking thing about it will be instantly obvious: it has an incredibly unique art style for a video game, inspired by Mœbius. It looks absolutely stunning and most screenshots look like a hand drawn 2D image, it’s amazing to look at and is pulled off extremely well. During the day, you’ll see an impressive amount of beautiful colours. However, at night (and in some locations), it opts for a more washed out style, and can even go to a single shade of grey with just black lines. The lack of colour is something I found off-putting, and I wished you could skip until the daytime, but the only thing you can do is let the game run. Unfortunately, over half of your time will be spent playing the game with the washed out colours, it’s a big shame when you approach something that looks impressive for the first time, but don’t get to see its true beauty. I even drove into water occasionally as when the colours are washed out, you can’t tell the difference between water and land. There are also a lot of visual issues which can sour the looks of the game somewhat, such as flickering shadows (particularly in the main city), and the sky flicking between two vastly different colours instead of transitioning between them. The game will also freeze a lot for very short (half a second) periods, making it very choppy. Some people will also find the animation framerate for walking, which is intentionally low, nauseating, but I personally loved the look of it. Sable is heavily inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, with similar exploration, climbing and gliding mechanics. There’s no combat in Sable, so it focuses entirely on exploration, fetch quests and a bit of puzzles and platforming. Climbing is not quite “climb anything” like BOTW, as there are lots of areas you’ll never be able to climb up, and some surfaces can’t be climbed on (frustratingly, some surfaces you have no idea you can’t climb on until it’s too late). The world of Sable is….very empty. I felt like it could have been condensed a lot, as vast areas will have absolutely nothing in it. The top left half of the map, for example, doesn’t seem to have anything to interact with or find at all. When you do discover stuff, it does feel amazing, and at its best it feels like you’re a true explorer, but most of the time you are traversing an empty land on your hoverbike. The hoverbike itself should be fun, but unfortunately Sable fails to deliver on this aspect. The bikes (you can buy parts and customise), will bounce around, seemingly hitting invisible objects and spinning out of control. It spoils the flow of the game and is a constant reminder that you’re playing a game. If you get separated from your bike, you can call it and it will drive to you in real time. The pathfinding is not good at all, and your bike will often fall through the map when trying to get to you, meaning you have to fast travel a few times to try and get it to respawn properly. There are a lot of other bugs in Sable, too. Fast travelling only to find an empty white void, objects clipping through the main character, menus getting broken, controls becoming unresponsive, the camera swerving unresponsively in a random direction, quests getting deselected (which happens every time you pick up an item) and many others. The oddest is probably encountering many bushes with a “talk” symbol, which vanish when you try to interact with them. There’s also a lack of detail in some areas, such as some text not fitting the text box, so you can’t read the full description. One major bug can also cause you to be locked out of one of the larger quests if you explore one of the locations in it too early. The story of Sable is about the young heroine (called Sable) setting off on her “gliding”, a quest to find masks and discover what your purpose in life will be. You need to collect badges to turn into masks, each one representing a different way of life (such as cartographer, machinist and guard). Once you have a couple of masks, you can return to make your choice (the end of the game) or carry on exploring until you feel you are ready. The masks have no gameplay relevance (even though the descriptions imply they do), but you will occasionally get new dialogue due to them. The background lore is very interesting, you will find small snippets in crashed ships and get to piece together the history of this world, although some details are still kept under wraps. Dialogue is charming, especially the “narration” style for Sable herself. It will make you want to explore and find people, even with the heavy amount of bugs. The music is also extremely wonderful, matching the atmosphere perfectly. In its current state, I can’t recommend Sable at all. Hopefully the game will get patched enough to feel completed, but at the moment the bugs, as well as other annoyances, impact the gameplay far too much.
  10. I wanted to post this awesome DKC (based on the show) fan animated short as it is awesome: And figured a thread about fan content in general would be nice as well.
  11. I never realised how big the bezel was on the Switch (then again, I've never used the screen).
  12. Perfect Dark and GoldenEye also have dual analogue options, using two controllers. Hopefully if either get a Switch release, they'll make use of that but adapt it to a single controller. I doubt they would, but they really should.
  13. Although DK64 was designed with slowdown in mind, so some parts of DK64 on Wii U are impossible to complete without save buffering or abusing save states. Not to mention the widescreen doesn't work at all (unless you can manually stretch the image on your TV). It's a feeble attempt compared to the amazing versions of Banjo and Perfect Dark on XBLA.
  14. When I tried the NES/SNES games, I got the impression that player 1 runs the game and streams it to player 2, so only player 2 will get lag.
  15. I would love for those companies to come to an agreement (I'm not sure if Activision would be involved any more, no idea who it publishing iO interactive's Bond game, but there's also Amazon now due to them buying MGM), but it seems extremely unlikely. I would especially love the remastered version to get finished (I played it and it just needs a few final touches). Supposedly, the biggest people are the individuals in charge of the franchise, as they have very specific things about the franchise and GoldenEye was blocked from being re-released and re-made due to blood or something ridiculous.
  16. Saw an IGN article talking about the mobile port for BioShock. This isn't the iPhone version, but rather a Java version, for flip phone style old phones. Lots of games got Java versions, but usually they're 2D versions. BioShock starts off as you would expect, the opening cutscene is static images, and you press buttons to progress. Then the game properly starts and...it's the main BioShock game, just with really toned down graphics to make it work on that type of phone. Lots of things have been cut in the graphical and sound departments, but the result is still very impressive for the devices it was made to run on. https://www.ign.com/articles/bioshock-mobile-game-2k-tridev-development
  17. So, on top of the footage used in the direct looking different, the images also use different versions of box art. It seem if a game had multiple languages, it will be the PAL version, while other versions are NTSC. https://twitter.com/LuigiBlood/status/1441396625704849417/photo/1 Hopefully there will be an option to choose which version while inside the app. Apparently you can create a US account and download the NSO "game". One issue is that it will affect multiplayer due to being different versions of the game (Lylat Wars will be the main issue from the announced games).
  18. If both options were available, people who like to buy will buy, people who like to subscribe will subscribe, and some subscribers who really like certain games may do both.
  19. Some overall thoughts: Chocobo GP, a Final Fantasy racing game. It looks fine, probably won't be as good as Sonic Team Racing for singleplayer, but probably fun in multiplayer. The Switch probably won't get its own Mario Kart, so these other ones will have to make do. Kirby looks incredibly charming. I've not really played a Kirby game before, but the style of the trailer and 3D movement has won me over. Definitely looking forward to it. More Mario Golf stuff is great, especially for free, but just makes me want to wait longer to get the game so I can play it in one go. KotOR is interesting, as it's only the first game. Including both games (and optional downloads for the main mods) would be great, but just the first isn't anything special, especially when it's very cheap elsewhere, plus a remake on the way. The new Nintendo Switch Online stuff. The service for me always seemed low on value, so N64 and Mega Drive games could help with that...but then it's an unannounced increase in costs to access that stuff. On top of that, there's still no way to purchase games separately, they're all locked behind a subscription. I want to buy the games, not rent them. On top of this, I think N64 games haven't ages particularly well and need a bit more effort put into them than just emulation. Banjo-Kazooie on XBLA is a perfect example: it runs in a higher resolution, has widescreen support, better framerate, looks much nicer while still looking like an N64 game, the controls feel great on a modern controller (especially the camera) and it fixes an issue that the original had due to a memory limit on the N64 (remembering the notes you collect). When I recently played through Rare Replay, Conker's Bad Fur Day felt pretty bad to control as it was just the N64 version, while Jet Force Gemini got an update after release to improve the controls and was much better as a result. Banjo-Kazooie is just one of the games which has a better version available elsewhere. Ocarina of Time and Lylat Wars have improved versions on 3DS, Super Mario 64 got a slightly improved version on Switch (which has been removed from sale), or a much nicer fan port can be played on PC (if Nintendo put that much effort into re-releasing games, I would happily pay for it). N64 games are wonderful, but they deserve more than to just be shoved into an emulator, they need some tweaks (especially to account for the C-buttons turning into an analogue stick), and to run better in a higher resolution. It's a shame that Nintendo have opted for a very low effort solution, and one you can't even buy. Splatoon 3 has me very excited. The heavy focus on singleplayer has me very interested (I enjoyed Splatoon 1 online, but don't play online enough to pay for a subscription). The Octo Expansion for Splatoon 2 was brilliant, so if it can expand on that, it will be a wonderful game. Edit: People analysing the footage suggest that we'll get the 50Hz versions of games, too: https://www.videogameschronicle.com/news/switch-onlines-n64-games-could-be-50hz-in-europe/
  20. Yup, pay a second subscription on top of the £20 a year to rent the original Banjo-Kazooie, or pay a fiver to own a much better version, alongside also owning Banjo-Tooie, Nuts & Bolts and a load of other Rare games. It's a shame Nintendo continues to treat the Switch so poorly.
  21. Sounds like N64 and Mega Drive games will require a second subscription
  22. The unfinished Game Boy Colour port of Resident Evil is crazy They didn't try to skip on features or make it 2D (like they ended up doing with Resident Evil Gaiden), they went ahead trying to make the whole experience on the CBC. The fact that it functioned as much as it does in the unfinished version is an astounding feat in itself. Driver 3 for the GBA is also far more than what you would expect from a handheld port
  23. Your 2021 Gaming Diary

    Hades Not too long ago, I played Transistor, which had a gameplay style I didn’t like (pausing to plan combat), but surprised me in how much its charm, style and gameplay all made me end up enjoying it a lot. As someone who isn’t a fan of roguelike games, I decided to try Hades as I thought I could end up enjoying it a lot. As with all of Supergiant’s games, the aesthetics in Hades are gorgeous, with a lovely artstyle, amazing music and great voice acting. Every screen is stunning to look at, and the characters are all incredibly charming, with lots of great dialogue as the various Greek gods (and other characters) comment on things you have done. You play as Zagreus, the son of Hades, who wants to escape the underworld. You will fight room-by-room throughout four areas, facing a boss at the end of each one. While it is possible to finish on the first run, you will almost certainly die, getting sent back to the house of Hades, giving you a chance to talk to people and prepare for the next attempt. Throughout each escape attempt, you will collect different resources, boons (powers) from gods and various other upgrades. Most of this is temporary and will only last for one escape attempt. The different powers you get, which will alter how you play the game and the tactics you’ll use, and the weapons you can unlock will keep the game feeling fresh. The three main resources you will keep at the end of a run are darkness, keys and gemstones. The keys will unlock new weapons and talents, the darkness will let you upgrade talents and the gemstones let you add helpful elements to the maps, such as rooms with healing. The downside of this is that it just turns into a game of just grinding until you think you’re good enough for the proper escape attempt, just collecting the various resources you need until you’re good enough to go. However, I actually never got to that stage. The various boons from gods, along with other upgrades you can find (such as a Dedalus hammer, which upgrades your weapon in different ways) can vary massively in usefulness depending on how you play the game, making each run extremely luck dependent. I was focusing on a grinding run when I ended up getting an extremely powerful batch of powers. First was a second attack for my special attack, which dealt a lot of damage to all enemies nearby, then some boons which improved my special damage and added a critical hit chance (which seemed to also apply to the extra attack, too), then on top of this a boon which improved chances to get a second critical hit on an enemy and some which improved healing. This meant that I could mash the Y button and breeze through all the encounters. Now, there is a lot more you can do after a successful escape attempt, there’s more dialogue to be found. I messed around a bit afterwards, unlocking the final weapon, along with a system that lets you upgrade the weapons. You also unlock a set of modifiers, which add additional challenges to mix things up, but ultimately playing through the same areas just doesn’t appeal to me, especially as it seems it’s more about grinding or just getting lucky than it is about learning how to beat the game. I did really enjoy my time with Hades, even if it ultimately felt that the game itself decided it was time for me to beat it, and loved talking to all the characters. The core gameplay itself was fun, it’s just that the main elements of the structure of the game aren’t for me. I Am Fish From the creators of Surgeon Simulator and I Am Bread comes I Am Fish. It’s a platform game with the “frustrating control” style of gameplay, hiding its difficulty behind an incredibly adorable graphics style, which looks way too nice for a game about fish that want to escape to the ocean. Four fish: a goldfish, pufferfish, piranha and flying fish, are fed magical bread while living in a pet store, gain intelligence and become friends. Three of them get purchased and taken to different homes, while the goldfish gets transferred into a small fish bowl and placed on a higher shelf. Although a bit of artistic license is taken and fish bowls in the game’s universe are perfectly spherical with a watertight lid. While Surgeon Simulator, I Am Bread and other similar games are difficult due to purposefully bad (but still functional) controls, controlling the fish in I Am Fish is pretty simple and feels very responsive (although there is an option for a ridiculous control scheme). The dilemma is that you’re always controlling the fish itself, and the fish starts off in a ball. As it takes time for the fish to swim to the edge of the bowl, it means there’s a delay in moving, which you will have to calculate while manoeuvring around. If this was a game about moving containers around and you controlled the container, the controls would feel pretty sluggish and bad, but the idea of controlling the fish means that you understand why things feel delayed, and as a result the controls themselves don’t feel delayed. You’re playing as the fish, not the bowl. Most of the time, there’s usually a path to follow, with some visual clues finding the way (and checkpoints that are clearly marked from a distance so you know you are heading the right way. The bowl smashes very easily, so to get down from high places, you’ll have to figure out the route down. You won’t be spending all of the time in a bowl, as you will swim through various bodies of water like ponds, lakes, puddles and sewers, and end up in other containers, the most common being mop buckets and jars. The mop bucket is the easiest container to move, but the jar will cause the most frustration. In the jar, you can’t just move in the direction you want by swimming that way, you have to push forward at the left and right corners of the jar to turn it around, then in the middle to push it forward. It’s very difficult to get used to it, but quite rewarding when you get the hang of it. One you finish the goldfish’s missions, you get to play as the other three fish, all with special powers. The pufferfish can puff himself into a ball, rolling along the ground for short periods and launching himself out of the water, the piranha can bite and destroy certain objects and the flying fish can, well, fly. Well more glides, soaring between different bodies of water. There are 12 levels with the individual fish, all of which are great fun. They’ll all have some really tough moments, but there are lots of creative ideas that make them worthwhile, along with the satisfaction of having bested the game. You’ll swim through swers, shops, farms, markets, hospitals and more. There’s a surprising amount of variation for a game with a simple premise, and background details and story elements that you can overhear from humans talking. After all the fish are in the ocean, you’ll get one final mission where you can swap between all four fish. I wish there were more levels played as a group as I really enjoyed the puzzles in this one, utilising the abilities of each fish to progress. There are puzzles in the individual levels as well, but they’re more straightforward as you only have a limited amount of tools. I Am Fish is a surprisingly fun game, the difficult controls make a lot of sense and there’s an immense amount of charm in the game, with some really fun and unique ideas you’ll encounter in each level. It does have some issues, such as checkpoints occasionally being really far apart, and seagulls being annoying (like real life, I guess), but I think it’s definitely worth checking out. skateBIRD SkateBIRD is a Tony Hawk-style skateboarding game featuring birds (including a Tiny Hawk). For a fun premise like that, a game doesn’t have to be astounding to be enjoyable, it just needs to have decent gameplay (even if it’s mostly copied from another game) and some fun levels, missions and dialogue. That’s what I was hoping for from skateBIRD, nothing mind blowing, but a cheesy, fun experience. Sadly, I ended up very disappointed. Starting up skateBIRD, you’ll get to customise your bird, choosing from many different types of bird (all control exactly the same), hats and various other accessories. You can’t rotate the bird, so you won’t know what some of the back accessories look like until you start playing. There’s a lot of fun things to choose from, with more to find hidden in levels. You’ll skate through five different levels: a studio apartment, the top of a building, an office, a server and a different studio apartment. The majority of the game is just grey and brown, and there’s very little in the way of background detail to look at. It’s all very drab. To make matters worse, there’s some kind of effect (depth of field perhaps) that makes things not directly next to your bird look like a blur, so most of the time the only things you can see clearly are the bird and floor. The texture of the floor itself (and other scenery) is fairly low quality, while ramps made out of magazines (and the cat photo) are extremely well detailed, creating a mitchmatch of things that just don’t fit. The levels themselves have very little structure to them, different areas don’t flow into each other very well and you won’t find yourself chaining combos between different sections of the level, instead focusing on just getting a score in one small section. The missions also rarely use the levels well. In Tony Hawk games, sections of levels seem specifically designed for missions, while in this it seems they just came up with random ideas for missions and just worked them into somewhere in the level. Missions will involve getting a high score, doing specific tricks or collecting objects. There’s a “arrow” in the shape of a bird at the bottom of the screen that tries to lead you towards objectives, but doesn’t take into account that thing can be on a higher section of the level, meaning you have to take a long route to try a different height. The dull colour scheme also means that items don’t stand out, and there’s no highlight or “glow” on them. There’s one in particular where you find paperclips and they’re difficult to see even looking directly at them (the image below actually contains most of the paperclips). The cutscenes are (apart from two or three instances) focused entirely on the birds, so won’t show a rough overview of where you need to go. I haven’t even touched on the core gameplay yet. Take one of the older Tony Hawk games (before they added things like tricks while grinding) and this aims to function in the same way. Sadly, everything feels floaty – not “better air due to bird” floaty, but in a slow and delayed way. There are a lot of corners, nooks and crannies that your bird will get stuck on, grinding only works when it feels like it. One big difference between the gameplay of Tony Hawk and skateBIRD is the “FANCY” meter. As you perform tricks, it will fill up. This isn’t a combo meter (although that also exists), but determines your speed and how high you can jump. Crashing or bumping into something will reset it completely, although sometimes the game likes to reset it on its own. Filling it up also feels very inconsistent, sometimes a small amount of tricks on the ground is enough, sometimes doing 5 kickflips and a spin off a ramp won’t add anything. As having a high FANCY metre is necessary, the issues with it, and the control issues that can cause it to empty, lead to a lot of frustrations, and will require you to reset the missions a lot. It’s a really horrible game mechanic that isn’t fun in any way. Restarting missions a lot also comes with other annoyances. The music in skateBIRD is surprisingly good, starting off with some odd but entertaining tracks where people give bird facts in tune to music (it feels a bit Jet Set Radio), with a bunch of rock songs you can unlock throughout the game. Starting a mission, restarting a mission and ending a mission will make the game skip to another track, you’ll unfortunately mainly hear the start of each song a lot. The starting cutscene for each mission will play every time, and you’ll have to tap A repeatedly to skip. There’s also another really odd thing about the start of missions: the place you start at (and respawn if you have to reset when you get stuck) seems to be the position your bird is in for the cutscene. This means that for a lot of missions, you start off facing away from where you need to go, sometimes facing a wall or a few times just aimed right at a drop (which means if you mash A to skip the dialogue for slightly too long, you’ll jump down when it starts and have to restart again). The dialogue is mildly amusing. I didn’t encounter anything hilarious, but it would be entertaining enough if the gameplay was fun. One really nice feature is that you can “birbify” the words with a slider. The more “birb”, the more it sounds like a kid being silly with purposefully misspelt words and bad grammar. For skateBIRD to be an enjoyable experience, all it needed to be was a semi-decent Tony Hawk clone. Sadly, the gameplay itself is incredibly frustrating, inconsistent and, frankly, a complete mess. It’s something you would expect from an Early Access title, not the final release.
  24. Apparently it wasn't intentional, but I always thought that Dreams of Absolution was based on Green Hill Zone
  25. Your 2021 Gaming Diary

    Halo 2 The pacing throughout Halo 2 seems really off. The first Arbiter section really drags on (especially the Banshee part, which is very dull), and the game feels like it ends before it's supposed to (I’ve played Halo 3 before, so Halo 2 ending and leaving an unexplained gap in between felt really odd, too). It seems like you’re building off to a big climax...and the main character just leaves and takes himself out of the Halo 2 story. The gameplay feels a bit mixed. When it flows nicely, it’s a ton of fun, but some sections just drag a bit and it just feels like you’re going through the same rooms again and again. There are also sections where it’s extremely difficult to tell apart enemies and allies. You also seemed to be forced more into using certain weapons throughout the campaign, with fewer human weapons. One big problem was that the voice lines were really difficult to hear, characters would be talking in the middle of big battles, with explosions happening on two screens, so you end up missing a lot of dialogue, and the Master Chief Collection version completely lacks subtitles during gameplay. There’s still fun to be had in split screen, but I think this is the weakest Halo game I’ve played so far (all FPS ones up to Reach). Halo 3 Even though it hasn’t been upgraded to support widescreen in co-op, the gameplay in Halo 3 is still a ton of fun, it feels incredibly smooth and is simply a joy to play. The gameplay is mixed between shooting and vehicles in a way that keeps the whole game feeling fresh, with different scenarios. It gives you different weapons, but never feels like it is restricting your choices, and there’s usually a mix of human and covenant weapons. The second player being The Arbiter also makes it feel more like true co-op, although he does seem to have very little relevance to the story itself and does feel more like a background extra. I do really like that the developers realised that, while flying is cool, long flying sections do get tedious, so we get one main short flying section, followed by an optional one where you can jump onto scarabs, and there were sections that feel like you have a bit more freedom to how you approach it. Again, there’s the issue of no subtitles, but dialogue seemed much easier to hear, and I still absolutely love the enemy dialogue in this game, something which none of the others have managed to replicate the tone of.
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