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Julius Caesar

Your 2018 Gaming Diary

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Hey all, hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year!

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What’s everyone played/been playing? Anyone completed a game in 2018 yet? Any 2018 gaming resolutions?

My personal goal is to try to be much more consistent when it comes to gaming this year, and I hope to round off certain playthroughs which I’ve been putting off for a while now (I’m looking at you, Final Fantasy VII and Horizon Zero Dawn) before I dive into anything new. 

Edited by Julius Caesar
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Objectives for this year:

 

1. Finish Dark Souls, then buy Dark Souls 2 and 3 and complete them

2. Finish Burnout 2. Been ages since I played it and need some time to warm up to it again.

3. Continue career mode on FIFA 18 and F1 2017 and try to finish Season 1 on both games.

4. Buy A Hat in Time and play that.

5. Finish Golden Sun

6. Possibly finish Donkey Kong 64

 

Having to re-evaluate much because I thought Xenoblade 2 might take me a whole year to finish, however the story is getting interesting and I may actually finish it by February which is a bit of a surprise.

 

Games I am looking forward to that might come out this year.

Kingdom Hearts III

Pokemon Switch (though I'm thinking that one will more likely be 2019)

Marvel's Spider-Man

Soul Calibur VI

Metroid Prime 4

 

For the time being though Xenoblade 2 will be the game I will focus on trying to complete. I may also do more of the Prince of Persia games I own as I started both but never finished either.

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I have one gaming resolution in 2018, that is to finally finish Skyrim.  Been playing different versions since 2011, and have never finished it.  I do plan to get a Switch in 2018 as well, but that will depend on if i get a new job or not (or if i save enough).

Looking forward to Spiderman and God of War coming this year.  And i might give Shadow of the Collusus a play as well

First game of 2018 finished, which is Gravity Rush Remastered.  Loved the gravity defying world that you explore, the combat can be a little fiddly but it was good none the less.

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5 hours ago, drahkon said:

Super

Hot

The most innovative shooter in years.

SUPER

HOT

I have it on PC, but I hope that game comes to Switch at some point.  It would be a brilliant little pick-up and play handheld game!

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I need to jump back on Superhot again, I really enjoyed what I played of it when I picked it up before Christmas but got distracted with other things. It'll have to wait till I'm done with Wolfenstein The New Order (playing it for the first time at the mo) which I'm enjoying so far.

I've decided to try and stick to a resolution game wise that you mentioned in another thread a while back @drahkon where I only pick up games that are complete/not broken at launch (so that'll probably only be a small amount then). So it's likely that most of my gaming this year will be backlog clearing and playing some smaller indie titles until the bigger ones are patched.

I have managed to finish a couple of things already this year. Put the finishing touches to The Frozen Wilds expansion for Horizon Zero Dawn. There isn't much more to say than it really was fantastic. Also finally finished Rime and it was not too bad. The ending might have been handled a bit better but a rather moving end to a wonderful little experience.

And I also finished up SteamWorld Dig 2 which I thoroughly enjoyed. A massive improvement over the first game and just really enjoyable from start to finish. The ending didn't quite hold up but still a really good game. If I'd have played it earlier last year I think it would have featured in my top 20 games of 2017.

Next up, working through Gorogoa, A Hat in Time and perhaps picking up Black the Fall, InnerSpace and Hob.

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3 hours ago, Ganepark32 said:

I need to jump back on Superhot @drahkonagain, I really enjoyed what I played of it when I picked it up before Christmas but got distracted with other things.

 

It's the most innovative shooter in years.

3 hours ago, Ganepark32 said:

I've decided to try and stick to a resolution game wise that you mentioned in another thread a while back @drahkon where I only pick up games that are complete/not broken at launch (so that'll probably only be a small amount then).

Well, @Hero-of-Time mentioned it first :D

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17 hours ago, sven said:

Anyone here tried the Mad Max series? I am not sure if its worth the price :indeed:

I think @lostmario enjoyed it when he played it sometime ago.

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On 1/16/2018 at 3:52 PM, sven said:

Anyone here tried the Mad Max series? I am not sure if its worth the price :indeed:

It definitely is, I highly recommend it. I put a good 50+ hours into it by the end.

There are a few issues with the framerate and glitches but I really enjoyed it.

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We’re almost three weeks into 2018 already, so it’s time for an update!

I haven’t had much of a chance to play on my PS4, so Horizon and FFVII are still lying in wait for my return. It’s also already become rather apparent that my studying is going to eat into my gaming until the end of my exams in June, so I probably won’t make much headway with regards to buying new games and completing them before then.

Because of this, I’ve decided to start burning though my DS/3DS catalogue for one last time (before I hopefully get a Switch after this summer). 

I’m just over 10 hours into Pokémon SoulSilver, and have 6 Johto badges. I’m actually surprised at how quickly I’m getting through this game, considering that this is the first time I’ve played through it in nearly eight years and that I’m making a point to battle every trainer I come across! However, because I’m battling everyone, something’s becoming rather apparent: this game was not at all designed to scale with the trainer’s progress, and I’m probably going to have to start a pretty focused grind prior to my challenging of the eighth gym. 

I’ve also played a few hours of Pokémon Link!, a fun, Tetris-styled game, which I really need to return to so that I can complete it at some point. 

New Super Mario Bros. DS is another game that I’ve returned to, and I’m really enjoying the music and level design so far. I’m about halfway through the sixth world now, and there have been a few times where I’ve found myself smiling at some of the smarter moments in the game. I mean, there are also some other frustrating parts in my Star hunting which has made me want to break my New 3DS XL, but that’s besides the point :p

Finally, earlier tonight, I started Pokémon Ranger for the third time, and I’m loving it. The ingenious incorporation of the stylus into the gameplay, the layout of the overworld, the art style, and the music have all been things that I’ve found vivid and appealing so far. 

I’ll be sure to return with more extensive thoughts on these games as and when they’re completed! :D

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8 Chapters into Xenoblade Chronicles 2 so far. The story is good overall but if I had to nitpick, most of the plot twists so far are all the reveals that certain characters are Blades.

 

Given that this isn't my game in terms of ownership, there are times when I don't have Switch access. So I went back to Burnout 2: Point of Impact. Such a good feeling racer after so long and easy to get pack into and pick up and play... and crash... a lot.

 

I managed to clear the second Pursuit mode but really struggling on the 6 track Grand Prix at the end.

Edited by GenericAperson
Spoilers
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On 1/18/2018 at 6:56 PM, lostmario said:

It definitely is, I highly recommend it. I put a good 50+ hours into it by the end.

There are a few issues with the framerate and glitches but I really enjoyed it.

Thanks for the heads up bro!

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Finished Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series.  Not a bad game, it did have a near game breaking bug in Episode 3

Spoiler

When you are talking to the Guardians in the bar, a fight is meant to occur between Gamora and Nebula.  You have to stop Mantis from talking otherwise Mantis will freeze on the table (she stands on it to talk, but comes down if you stop her) and nothing will happen.  And even then, afterwards you talk to Drax, Groot and Rocket which should start the fight between Nebula and Gamora, but it doesn't.  It'll work eventually, for me it worked when i spoke to Drax, Groot and then Rocket (in that order).

Otherwise, it's pretty good.  It's got the typical Guardians humour.  And it has it's own mini Awesome Mix soundtrack (which has an option to make it streamer friendly if you stream)

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On 20/01/2018 at 12:22 AM, Julius Caesar said:

We’re almost three weeks into 2018 already, so it’s time for an update!

I haven’t had much of a chance to play on my PS4, so Horizon and FFVII are still lying in wait for my return. It’s also already become rather apparent that my studying is going to eat into my gaming until the end of my exams in June, so I probably won’t make much headway with regards to buying new games and completing them before then.

Because of this, I’ve decided to start burning though my DS/3DS catalogue for one last time (before I hopefully get a Switch after this summer). 

I’m just over 10 hours into Pokémon SoulSilver, and have 6 Johto badges. I’m actually surprised at how quickly I’m getting through this game, considering that this is the first time I’ve played through it in nearly eight years and that I’m making a point to battle every trainer I come across! However, because I’m battling everyone, something’s becoming rather apparent: this game was not at all designed to scale with the trainer’s progress, and I’m probably going to have to start a pretty focused grind prior to my challenging of the eighth gym. 

I’ve also played a few hours of Pokémon Link!, a fun, Tetris-styled game, which I really need to return to so that I can complete it at some point. 

New Super Mario Bros. DS is another game that I’ve returned to, and I’m really enjoying the music and level design so far. I’m about halfway through the sixth world now, and there have been a few times where I’ve found myself smiling at some of the smarter moments in the game. I mean, there are also some other frustrating parts in my Star hunting which has made me want to break my New 3DS XL, but that’s besides the point :p

Finally, earlier tonight, I started Pokémon Ranger for the third time, and I’m loving it. The ingenious incorporation of the stylus into the gameplay, the layout of the overworld, the art style, and the music have all been things that I’ve found vivid and appealing so far. 

I’ll be sure to return with more extensive thoughts on these games as and when they’re completed! :D

Pokemon Gold and Silver are weird games. i look back at them with a tonne of nostalgia but Johto is absolutely TINY and completed underdeveloped compared to Kanto in Red/Blue. In Generatons 1,3 and 4, you tend to get to the Elite 4 with Pokemon around level 50-60, but in Johto is so short you would do well to get Pokemon to around level 40 by the end of the region.

It feels like the game is missing 2-3 major cities and storylines to get you interested in Johto. You tend to just go from gym to gym and the routes between each one is so short :(

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I’ve had an extremely busy start to the year, and it only looks like it’s going to get busier as I prepare for my summer exams; as a result, I’m probably going to end up updating this at the end of a month’s second week for updates on what I’ve been playing, and at the end of a month to give some more fleshed out thoughts on - and a list of - games that I’ve completed. 

Without further ado, then, here are my thoughts on the games that I completed this month!

January

1. Final Fantasy VII (1997)

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My first dive into a Final Fantasy game, and traditional JRPG with it, is - at last - out of the way! 

I played the PS4 port of the game and  the game holds up fairly well aesthetically, thanks in large part to its pre-rendered backgrounds and ahead-of-its-time full-motion video. I can absolutely understand why this game was a hit, as it took and executed a number of film elements and incorporated them into a video game extremely well, such as establishing wide shots; the camera swooping through environments; feeling like a film thanks to the change in angle with every change in area, which in many ways is similar to how shots are cut together in a film. 

This game’s music is easily some of the best video-game music that I’ve ever heard, and Nobuo Uematsu is an absolute genius. Every single piece of this soundtrack doesn’t just encapsulate whatever is happening with the character’s on-screen, but actually hints at the underlying themes and motives behind each scene, and this really helps to flesh out the characters and, in my opinion, is what raises this game from being good or great to being one of the best. I actually purchased this OST on my phone - the first time I’ve ever purchased a video game soundtrack, but surely not the last - and love just flicking through and remembering which pieces are tied to which scene/event/character. The only down side to this OST would be that One Winged Angel is cited as being Sephiroth’s theme, despite absolutely not being Septhiroth’s theme based on the contents of the game. In fact, the choral and menacing One Winged Angel, so far as I can remember, is only played once in the entire game, in the game’s penultimate showdown! 

The brooding and foreboding Those Chosen By The Planet is, by all means, Sephiroth’s theme. 

Music-induced rant over. 

Finally, onto what I think are the core components of a JRPG based on my experience with FFVII: the characters, the world, and the story. 

I don’t think that there’s any doubt in my mind that this game is remembered as fondly as it is because of its focus on characters. Despite the massive scale of the world and the massive scope of the game’s story, the first 50% to 70% of this game is almost entirely about character development, as we learn about each character’s motivations and backstory, but, quite noticeably, not always necessarily in that order. For instance, Barret’s motivation from the start of the game is very clearly to save the planet from the greedy Shinra Corporation, who have been destroying the environment for a large number of reasons. However, as the game goes on, we learn about Barret’s past and his fundamental reason for wanting to take out Shinra, whilst somewhat selfish, helps him to become much more relatable as a character. The decision to mix up how we are introduced to these characters, and the order in which we find out about their backstory and motivations, helps to keep the game fresh, and also to keep the characters from becoming a bullet-pointed list of events and emotions. I absolutely loved this game’s cast, and each character’s nuance, and the villains of the game receive a similar respect with regards to the backstory as the main cast of heroes.

I adore the cyberpunk look and feel to Midgar, and the world overall has a palette of distinct biomes and architectural designs which make it feel like a truly lived-in and tangible world. Because of this, journeying the world truly feels like an adventure.

Like I mentioned before, I think that the opening 50% to 70% of this game’s story feels like a very clear focus on character development, and I think that this focus works tremendously well for the purpose of the story. It makes the typical “the world’s going to end” narrative unique, and one we don’t want to see come to a head because of the characters in this world. That being said, I think that the story quality of this game comes to its peak in the Temple of the Ancients, or shortly thereafter. In my opinion, the game loses its previous sheer focus on its characters to focus on a confusing and muddied timeline and history, which ultimately contributes to the game’s ending feeling somewhat underwhelming (at least compared to the trajectory that I thought it was on before).

Whilst I really enjoyed my time with this game, I think that it has its fair share of problems, too. For one, it’s controls haven’t aged all that well, and it can quite easily make one dizzy attempting to navigate the world’s pre-rendered background. Another problem I had is that I couldn’t help but resort to guides and the PS4 port’s cheats (specifically to speed up time and get rid of random encounters), as the game became somewhat frustrating to navigate without those cheats turned on and without some idea of which direction to move in. 

Overall, though, this game had an excellent cast of characters, great music, and a mostly great story, and is a game which I look forward to experiencing again in the future!

Rating: 9.3/10

This game has really got me hooked into the idea of traditional JRPGs, and I look forward to playing Chrono Trigger, Dragon Quest VIII and Xenoblade Chronicles later this year to widen my appreciation of the genre. When I do eventually return to the Final Fantasy series, my plan at the moment is to tackle either VI or IX

2. Pokémon Ranger (2006)

pokemon_ranger_main_169.jpg

I’m going to try to keep this a little shorter than my FFVII thoughts, as that was my first time playing that game, whereas this was my third time playing Pokémon Ranger (my first was nearly 10 years ago!).

I think that this game is as solid of a good game as a game can possibly be: an interesting set of mechanics (and probably one of the most intuitive and memorable uses of the DS stylus); a catchy-but-somewhat-forgettable soundtrack; a not-so-great-but-not-so-bad story. 

However, during my time playing this game, there were noticeable glimpses of what I’ve come to think should be included in the Pokémon core series RPG for Nintendo Switch. For example, Pokémon appear in the game’s overworld, and calm or slow Pokémon can be easily avoided, whereas angry or fast Pokémon will often beeline straight for the player character, making for something of a mini-game experience in the game’s overworld alone. I walked into a room of Poliwhirl only for them to become shy when they noticed that I was there, running away from me and jumping back into the pool of water at the centre of the room.

But anyways, back to my rating for this game!

Rating: 7.5/10

Edited by Julius Caesar
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2 more games to finish up January 2018, which are Rocket League and Resogun.

I finally finished career mode in Rocket League this month, i know it's taken a while but it was tedious playing the CPU (who are not very imaginative to say the least).  And i finished Resogun on Master and with all available ships, still can't Save all the Humans in each level.  I'll get there soon enough.

Not bad, 4 games done this month.  Time to see what February has to offer.

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Finished Xenoblade Chronicles 2 the other week. A game which simply got better as it went along and the last chapter was amazing and really cool. I gave my thoughts about it overall in the Xenoblade thread so I will just skip to other stuff.

 

Been playing a bit of FIFA 18 here and there and playing career mode with my hometown team Swindon. Still in my first season and only just hit January. Was top for a long time but simmed a few too many games and dropped a few points to allow Luton to catch up. Then on Boxing Day there was a huge 6 pointer against Luton. So of course I was going to play it.

 

DVTZGUcVAAAZ59w.jpg

Luton are now top of the league...

 

On the bright side, made up for it in the next game...

 

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Also playing Dark Souls. Made some progress in the Undead Parish and getting towards the latter spaces now. Found a shortcut back to Firelink Shrine from the Parish which helps this not feel so much like a linear path and more like an explorable world. Now, if only I could get past the monsters in the chapel itself...

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12 hours ago, GenericAperson said:

Been playing a bit of FIFA 18 here and there and playing career mode with my hometown team Swindon. Still in my first season and only just hit January. Was top for a long time but simmed a few too many games and dropped a few points to allow Luton to catch up. Then on Boxing Day there was a huge 6 pointer against Luton. So of course I was going to play it.

 

DVTZGUcVAAAZ59w.jpg

 

Playing Lewandowski in nets probably doesn't help.. :grin:

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I played a few games over the past couple of months.

First up was Metal Gear Solid (Vita). I decided to play through this after sitting watching the Playstation Access playthrough of the game over Christmas. I usually hate Lets Plays but I wanted to see how Nathan and Dave got having never played the game before. Needless to say it was a very frustrating watch for me….and poor Rob.

Anyway, this got me in the mood to play the original MGS, which is quite fitting as this year is its 20th anniversary.

The game still holds up to this day and, while I still think MGS3 is the pinnacle of the series, the original is still an absolute piece of work. The game is something very special and is responsible for many gamers wanting a good story out of their games. The soundtrack is one of the best from that generation, with Sniper Wolf’s theme being one of my favourites.  It’s hauntingly beautiful.

It still baffles me how much Silicon Knights butchered the original game with the GameCube release.

Following that I decided to play Resident Evil 2. This was just sat next to MGS on my Vita screen and with it also celebrating its 20th anniversary this year ( man, i'm old :( ), I figured I would play through it again.

This is still the GOAT Resident Evil game for me. None of the others even come close. The atmosphere in the police station at the start, the original Nemesis that is Mr. X, the double playthroughs and zap system and the story all make this an amazing game. Despite playing through the game numerous times in the past, I still ended up jumping at a few points, mostly due to the Lickers dropping from ceilings or crashing through windows. :D

I’m hoping Capcom do the game justice when they finally show off the remake. I’ll be gutted if they end up ruining one of my favourite games of all time.

Next up, I played through Mario Party The Top 100. You know what? I actually ended up enjoying this. It doesn’t have any of the board game stuff in but this doesn’t really bother me. I was just happy to make my way through all of the mini games and have the game take me back to the past where I used to play the N64 versions with my mates when we were younger. I will say that I wasn’t too fond of them included games that relied purely on luck, but then that has always been part of the Mario Party series, for better or worse.

Minecraft Story Mode Season 2 was the next game I tackled. Nothing much to say about this one other than it carries on from the first game and is more of the same from TellTale and the Minecraft characters. I’m not sure if I enjoyed it more than the original game but it did certainly have it’s fun moments.

I finally finished Yoshi’s Woolly World on the 3DS. I had been picking away at the game for over 6 months! I loved the Wii U version and played the hell out of it back when it was originally released but this version didn’t grab me as much. Don’t get me wrong, I think they done an amazing job in porting the game to the 3DS, I just think that the game was far too fresh in my mind for me to enjoy another playthrough it. I started collecting everything there was to collect, much like how I played the Wii U version, but by the end of it I just got completely burnt out and was just happy to finish each level and then the game.

The final game I played before Monster Hunter World took over my gaming life was The Last Day of June.

I noticed it was on sale on PSN at the end of January and quite liked the look/style the developers had chose for the game. I watched the trailer for it and decided to pick it up. I’m really glad that I did because I loved it.

The gameplay is kind of a mix of Back to the Future meets Groundhog  Day. You play as a man who goes on a trip with his girlfriend. You both end up in a car crash and sadly only he survives. You then spend the rest of the game trying to change what happened by influencing other events that occur during the time that you are driving.

The game is very touching, the art style used is gorgeous and the gameplay I found to be very unique. It’s only a few hours long and I certainly think it’s worth the time and money. @Ganepark32 you play a lot of indie games, have you played this one yet?

I finished Monster Hunter World the other day. There’s still crowns to collect but they are just something I will pick away at. My thoughts about the game have been pretty much covered in the main thread. It’s a fantastic entry in the series, with so many QoL additions that make the game more streamlined than it’s ever been.

A game that I have been just popping in and out of is Pokemon Art Academy.  I’ve only done the first few lessons and then decided to have a crack at drawing a couple of things. First up was a drawing of Pikachu as seen on the box of Pokemon Yellow. I then decided to draw Rockruff because he is so darn cute. :D 

DWi20wNXUAEH8C0.jpg

DWi20wLX4AABycZ.jpg

 

Rockruff still isn't finished and could use some tidying up but overall i'm happy with them both. I’ll keep coming back to the game to see what other lessons it will teach me but I think I’ve done alright with what it’s shown me so far.

Staying on Pokemon, I really got into playing Pokemon Shuffle on the 3DS.  Like Art Academy, it’s a game I just keep picking up and playing every now and then. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve played so far, even though I’ve barely scratched the surface of the thing. It’s certainly something I wouldn’t be putting money into as I’m quite happy to just use all of my free turns and then wait until the gauge refills.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Hero-of-Time said:

It still baffles me how much Silicon Knights butchered the original game with the GameCube release.

Call me crazy but I love The Twin Snakes :D Maybe it's because that's the first MGS game that I ever played. The cutscenes were batshit crazy, but 14 year old me loved it :laughing: I do appreciate the original, though. It was way ahead of its time and an absolute masterpiece.

Speaking of music...there will always be one piece stuck in my mind when thinking about the series.

Spoiler

Said it many times but the moment you reach Shadow Moses in Metal Gear Solid 4 brought tears to my eyes. The music, the atmosphere, the nostalgia...it's still one of my favourite moments in video games.

Ah fuck, now I want to play the complete series again...

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1 minute ago, drahkon said:

Call me crazy but I love The Twin Snakes :D Maybe it's because that's the first MGS game that I ever played. The cutscenes were batshit crazy, but 14 year old me loved it :laughing: I do appreciate the original, though. It was way ahead of its time and an absolute masterpiece.

You be crazy! This is the kinda of comment I would expect coming from @nekunando, not from you! :D 

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4 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

You be crazy! This is the kinda of comment I would expect coming from @nekunando, not from you! :D 

How can you not love this? He freaking backflips onto a rocket. :laughing:

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1 minute ago, drahkon said:

How can you not love this? He freaking backflips onto a rocket. :laughing:

While fun to watch, it was just too OTT compared to the original game. The original had its share of wacky moments but it still felt grounded when compared to TS.

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2 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

While fun to watch, it was just too OTT compared to the original game. The original had its share of wacky moments but it still felt grounded when compared to TS.

I know, I'm pretty sure I'd just laugh at the scenes nowadays. But as I said, 14 year old me was into that shit :D I remember the myriad of Twin Snakes cutscene compilations I had on my old PC.

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