GenericAperson

Your 2019 Gaming Diary

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Still playing Hollow Knight (Switch). I have passed through the City of Tears and ended back at the Forgotten Crossroads. Now just doing some general exploration to decide where to go next, I may have to go back to the City of Tears as I haven't explored the whole of that area yet but I also might want to grind Geo to afford some of the upgrades in Dirtmouth.

 

Wall jumping is really wierd in this game as you can basically hog one wall and keep jumping up it.

Movement feels so much better now after a few upgrades, the better nail, the wall jump and the dash make the whole experience that much enjoyable so I really want to see what other cool upgrades are in this game. I reached the fountain in City of Tears and was signposted by Hornet to go somewhere but I can't quite remember where. I did find this though:

 

 

 

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Long ago I played strategy. Now he tried a total war. I really liked . What can you say?

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After a bit of a dearth, I blazed through a handful of classics:

Sonic the Hedgehog

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The AGES rerelease for the Switch, which has all kinds of settings and goodies (including the ability to change that tacky frame). It came with the Arcade version of the game too (Mega Play), which I swiftly beat.

I've had little cousins visiting my house more and more often, so it's important to have the classics on hand, you know? Super Mario Bros. is already a sensation, but Sonic is bound to teach them the value of good old-fashioned hard work.

Garou: Mark of the Wolves

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I played this game at a few arcade cabinets back in the day. I gained quite a few fond memories of it, and always wanted to properly revisit it, so I bought it cheap on GOG.com a few months ago. Ever since Terry's been revealed for  Smash Bros. I found a good reason to finally play it thoroughly.

It was the year 1999, and Capcom had reinvented itself quite a bit throughout the decade. KOF had been doing well for SNK, but they needed an answer to SFIII, at the very least... So they decided to reinvent Fatal Fury. The saga of Terry and Geese was pretty much done after Fatal Fury 3, so how to proceed..? With a timeskip, a graphical overhaul, an entirely new engine, and a roster composed of a new generation. Our new main character is Rock Howard, son of Geese, raised by Terry. The new cast is mostly made of new faces too (other than a redesigned Terry Bogard, who's a mentor figure here), although some do have connections to previous characters. It was also going to have a sequel (there are design documents and everything), but due to SNK's temporary bankruptcy (long story), that project ended up canned.

Honestly, it's just as good as I remember it. Better even, since I'm now noticing details like Rock's flowing jacket, or the slick sound design. It's super easy to pick up and play, input commands are easy to perform (though the command list only exists thanks to this being port), and its deeper mechanics are really unintrusive. There's a rhythm to the gameplay that's very comfortable and cautious, which makes this fun and competitive for all skill levels. It's a very solid, yet very simple gameplay system. And it's available on Switch! [/shamelessplug]

Let's talk roster: other than Rock and Terry, we have a pirate girl, a wrestling bird, Black Dynamite (his name's Kushnood Butt, which is stupefying), a serious Taekwondoka, a goofy Taekwondoka, a Kung-Fu badass, a Kung-Fu girlie, a kid Ninja, a Navy SEAL with exploding punches, a creepy goth with slashing nails, a muscular masked boss, and a pretty boy boss. 14 in total, which makes for a solid roster. They're all very charming and memorable, thanks in part to the amazing spritework.

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The arcade mode, in classic SNK fashion, contains a basic story and ending for each character. Such things became common in other fighting games as well, but the polish that SNK gave here is fantastic. Almost all of the storytelling is visual (with those sprite cutscenes they're known for), with some dialogue here and there.

If you've seen my previous KOF reviews, I know I love what classic SNK Engrish sounds/reads like. And boy, does this game have that in spades! Unfortunately, I couldn't take any screenshots (dialogue cutscenes passed by really fast), but the cutscenes in this game have a lot of dialogue that feels cheesy in that unique "Non-anglophone tries to sound cool in English" kind of way. Terry says "Wake up and smell the Java" before calling the villain a weenie, the evil masked boss seamlessly alternates between "I am ultimate power. Fear me" and "I hear ya! Keep cool!", Rock blurts out bizarrely doofy one-liners like "I'm no Oedipus!" and "It's all Greek to me!". But my favourite is the following exchange during a dead serious moment:

"Are you the one who took my kid?"
"I've taken over this town. I have decided thus: the weak must die."
"You're pushing me to violence, dweebenheimer!"

Also, there's something I can't shake off: Kushnood Butt!? His name in the Japanese version was Marco Rodrigues, a fine Portuguese/Brazillian name, why the heck did the localizers think it was a good idea to rename him Kushnood Butt? Of all things!

So yeah, needless to say, I loved this game, and I'm just sad I didn't revisit it sooner. Even more eager for Terry in Smash, now!

But this wasn't the last classic fighting game I'd be playing this month...

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection

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Since this was on sale, and I've been bringing my Switch to local tourneys, I figured this might come in handy. Arcade versions of every single Street Fighter released between 1987 and 1999. Hilariously, half of those are SFII variants (I swear, anybody who complains about modern patches or DLC in fighting games should see what the selection menu looks like in this collection).

This collection was handled by Digital Eclipse, who also handed Mega Man Legacy Collection. That was an awesome package with fantastic extras/goodies, and so is this one. There's a "History" section that details different hallmarks for the series (including spin-offs) throughout the years, and each one comes with fun facts and additional artwork, which Capcom artists love to do. There's a "Sound Select" for every game, which is always nice. A "Making of", which shows concept documents & development art, which is always bloody fantastic. Finally, there's a "Character" section that gives you profiles with their bios and franchise history, as well as the ability to check their move animations frame-by-frame! These are some fantastic extras, a hell of a package.

As for the games themselves...Here's a mini-review for the main entries:

  • Street Fighter - Hilarious. This is what fighting games were before SFII, and it's so bloody clunky! Like, instead of punching when you press a button, it punches when you release it? Point-blank kicks can go through the opponent, characters just shimmy automatically for no reason... This is even rougher than I expected. It essentially boils down to picking Ryu and flailing wildly at your opponents. You might perform a Shoryuken or a Hadouken if you're lucky. Nothing more to it. Interesting experience, and a good history lesson, but man... I wonder if there are still any genuine fans at all of this.
  • Super Street Fighter II Turbo - My previous experience with SFII were arcade cabinets (can't tell you which versions of the game those were). Oddly, the arcade mode is way harder than what I remember, might be the increased speed from Turbo? Regardless, I got my ass kicked by the CPU far more often here than in the others. Anyway, solid game, as it's always been. Definitely feels simple these days, but its fundamentals stand true. Ended up using E.Honda more than anybody;
  • Street Fighter Alpha 3 - I used to play this one on the GBA quite a bit, so imagine my confusion when some mechanics are simply different here (like Throws being L+M, as opposed to just Side+H). Still, super fun, super frantic, arguably the best cast in the collection... But the biggest regret is that this version does not have the extra characters from future console ports (Fei Long, Dee Jay, T.Hawk, Yun, Maki, Eagle, Guile, Ingrid), as those really complete an already great roster. Regardless, I do love using Akuma here;
  • Street Fighter III: Third Strike - The main one I wanted to try out. For years I've heard how this is the pinnacle of fighting games, misunderstood by the masses, near perfect, yada yada... Gotta say, it really feels fantastic, and a joy for the eyes. Parry system turned out to be easier to understand than I expected, too. The rhythm and flow of the matches have the same smooth caution as Garou, too. The roster is so-so, some hits and misses, but the gorgeous animations more than make up for it. Especially liked Alex, who was my main guy here. However, I also had quite the epiphany... I think that Garou is better. :heh: In gameplay, roster... even the spritework there rivals this game. I think I'm a full-fledged SNK boy now.

There are technically other entries to see (the earlier versions of SFII and SFIII, as well as Alpha 1 and 2), but I checked those out more as a curious history lesson than anything else.

Overall, it feels surprisingly difficult to play any of these games on the GC controller, but the Joy-Cons work decent. Maybe this would bother me more if I played these more seriously, but I play Street Fighter very casually. It's a cool series to revisit, and always handy to have for friendly matches.

And as a classic collection, this is amazing. Digital Eclipse is killing it with these packages.

  My 2019 log (Hide contents)

Played/Beat/Completed:

-Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land (1994) Completed (January 30th)

-Dr.Mario (1990) Completed, I guess (March 18th)

-Furi (2016) Beat (May 1st)

-Noitu Love 2: Devolution (2008) Beat (May 9th)

-Fairune (2014) Completed (May 12th)

-Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (2003) Julius Mode (May 18th)

-Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (2005) Beat (May 31st)

-Chase: Cold Case Investigations ~Distant Memories~ (2016) Completed (June 6th)

-Adventures of Lolo (1989) Completed (June 8th)

-Severed (2016) Completed (June 24th)

-Crypt of the Necrodancer (2015) Beat (June 27th)

-One Night Stand (2016) Completed (June 28th)

-Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia - Rise of the Deliverance (2017) Completed (June 29th)

-Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: World of Light (2018) Beat (August 20th)

-Dragon Quest III (1988) Beat (September 9th)

-Garou: Mark of the Wolves (1999) No Goal (October 2nd)

-Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) Mega Play (October 3rd)

-Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection (2017) No Goal (October 8th)

 

Currently Playing:

-Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice

-Kirby's Dream Land 3

-Fire Emblem: Three Houses

 

Will always be Playing:

-Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

-Snipperclips

 

Dropped/Hiatus

-Tetris 99 (2019) Never won

-Super Mario Bros. DX (1999) Bad port

-Fire Emblem Awakening (2012) Hiatus

-Fire Emblem Heroes (2017) Need a heavy break

 

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After going back to open some of the stations in Hollow Knight (Nintendo Switch) I started to explore a bit more of the City of Tears which turned out to be the right way to go because that's when I found the Soul Sanctum. Yikes, this place is messed up. Then it ended in the best boss battle in the game so far. With the dash ability fighting this thing felt way more exhilarating as you fast dodge it's attacks and strike at the right time. I was almost caught out by the twist at the end of the battle too, but managed to beat it and obtained the next major powerup. I think I know where to use this thing, I remember a crumbling bridge in the Forgotten Crossroads so now I can break it open I guess I can explroe that area.

 

Meanwhile, played a round of draft of Magic Arena (PC) and had my best record yet, won 4 games before getting my third defeat. The funny thing is, I thought the deck was pretty bad in terms of card choice but it actually performed much better than expected. Probably because I drafted two Planeswalkers.

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The card just out of view is Ripscale Predator and there are also lands in the deck including one Evolving Wilds. The games went pretty well, I even had one game where I used Act of Treason to steal my opponent's creature, attacked with it, then used Bone Splinters to destroy it so the opponent couldn't attack back with it. The creature I sacrificed was a Sanitarium Skeleton which I could bring straight back again.

 

However, in the normal Online Play vs. mode when grinding for coins I did end up playing a game with an insane conclusion. I got my opponent down to 4 life, then this happened...

 

My opponent stole my entire field and gained 150 life in one turn, then proceeded to OTK me. I should have conceded but I felt like my opponent was being passive aggressive by spamming the Good Game button over and over again while he was doing it so I just let it play out and let him take the win, also because I was curious just how far he was going to go with this turn. Yeah, this was the most ridiculous turn I've ever seen in this game.

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Made some significant progress on Hollow Knight (Switch). I have explored all over the map unlocking several new areas. First of all I went to Crystal Peak and after rudely having to fight a boss battle just for a bench I eventually found a new powerup.

 

After some random exploration I stumbled into a pretty important location, the Resting Grounds, in what felt like a "half-way" point of the game as it were. I was given a new upgrade, the Dream Nail, and told to find three dreamers.

 

 

 

After that I did some Geo grinding so I could get the lantern as it looked like one of the dreamers was in an area I couldn't access just yet and perhaps the Royal Waterways held the answer. I explored that area and found the Dung Defender, the best boss in this game so far. Seriously, the dude has so much personality. As a result of beating him it turns out the City of Tears is twice as large as it first seemed and there was an entire second half to it.

 

 

It's at this point where I didn't know where to go next and caved into the internet in spite of trying to avoid directions because in a MetroidVanie part of the enjoyment is figuring out where you need to go next, what I had missed is that going down after the Dung Defender section instead of up takes you to an entirely new area and there was also a section of the Royal Waterways that I had entirely missed because I couldn't find Cornifer so I had no map for the area. So, with this knowledge in hand I venturered into the bottom half of the Royal Waterways and found a new powerup.

 

Then, I ventured into the Ancient Basin and defeated the Broken Vessel. In doing so it looks like the Forgotten Crossroads has completely changed. This was my map by this point in the game:

 

Far from done here, it turns out that broken bench was meant to be a clue and there's an entirely secret area behind it that leads to a rematch against Hornet to unlock more of the Ancient Basin. And the second half of the Ancient Basin is somehow the most dark environment in this game... and that takes some serious doing!

Now that I have the Shade Cloak I have decided to pursue the dreamers, starting with the one in the City of Tears. This may have been a bad idea, because the Watcher Knights remind me of Ornstein and Smough from Dark Souls. Good grief, this is an extremely challenging boss battle.

 

So this is where I currently am in the game now, at a boss roadblock that saw me take a break from Dark Souls. If I beat the Watcher Knights, maybe it will finally convince me to give Ornstein and Smough another go... or 50!

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Been spending some time with Final Fantasy XV these days. 6 hours since Friday, to be precise. The longest I've spent with a single-player game in that short amount of time since Slay the Spire.

Now...do I like it?

Yes, yes I do.

It took a while, though, for a couple of reasons:

  • talking to people is slow and I can't think of any reason why the devs thought it would be a good idea; but I got used to it and it's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things
  • menues after talking to people are slow (e.g. accepting hunts, ordering food, etc.)...yeah, yeah, you get it :p 
  • the fighting system
    • I had to get away from the idea that battles are like any other action game, i.e. you can fight and never get hit; maybe eventually you can but right now it seems impossible
    • once I understood that it's still a JRPG, the fights became a lot more fun; I got back into the rhythm of attacking, using magic, using techniques and healing via items; just like in traditional (and turn-based) JRGPs

Now that these aspects "clicked", I very much enjoy the game.

I know that the story isn't particularly fleshed out, in the sense that the narrative is pretty fucked. However, I do own the movie Kingsglaive (which takes place before and during the first 2 chapters) and there's an anime (Brotherhood) to watch, which both help getting deeper into the lore. I will watch both pretty soon.
If, in the end, those three sources of lore are not enough then FFXV and I will have a problem :p But that's something to think about when I'm done with the experience.

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Kingsglaive and Brotherhood do a good job of fleshing things out. You really should have at least watched Kingsglaive before starting the game. It's essentially the first chapter of it. 

Even with these two bits of media the story is still a rushed mess. Saying that, it was supposed to have been tidied up a bit with all the patches, so your experience may differ from mine.

It still annoys me that those of us who played and completed this during the launch period got completely screwed over with this game. :nono:

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1 minute ago, Hero-of-Time said:

You really should have at least watched Kingsglaive before starting the game.

I have. It's been a long time, though. I do, however, remember quite a bit :D But it's a pretty cool movie in itself, so I'll gladly watch it again :) 

2 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

It still annoys me that those of us who played and completed this during the launch period got completely screwed over with this game. :nono:

I hear ya. I've bought it a couple of weeks after launch and should've done my research before because I immediately sold it after reading about how fucked the narrative was and how there were plans to patch it.

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Decided to backtrack from doing the Watcher Knights which are still proving to be a bit too mad for me in exchange for doing some more exploration and hopefully finding health and nail upgrades.

 

 

I managed to grab myself a new more powerful charge slash from Greenpath and after further exploration found myself entering Deepnest for the first time. OK, this area is seriously messed up. Also so many crumbling floors and enemies which come back to life after being beaten. Also, this happened:

 

 

Having difficulty finding extra notches to use some of the charms I've acquired. I don't expect to be able to wear them all but even so I feel like what I have on at the moment is things that I need and anything else that I think I might need for certain fights needs the extra notch space. Unless I temporarily remove the compass.

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11 hours in, FFXV still got me. After a couple of sidequests I decided to follow the story missions for a while. Aaaaand I still have no idea what exactly is going on.

I'm trying to power up...sure.
A couple of people that look like bad guys/gals were introduced in a 45 second cutscene...great.
One of them threatened the fuck out of me...ok?
And this one overly suspicious dude just miraculously shows up to help whenever shit's going down...cool.

Now, do I know anything about those characters aside from the fact that they're trying to fuck me up in one way or another? No.
In itself that's not a big problem, but according to the chapter # that I've completed I'm 1/3 through the game and the story hasn't progressed at all. The game seriously needs to provide more context and plot soon.

But not for a while as I will most likely focus on sidequests again :D 

 

Anyway, the game does look pretty. I've chosen the "favour framerate" option so it's not as pretty as it can be, but it's still beautiful. I love looking through the photos Prompto takes.

Edited by drahkon
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Sounds like they haven't really fixed the story then, at least in the first third of the game. 

It's such a shame that the game ended up the way it did. I loved the battle system but the story, which is a huge part of any of FF games, just feels like a mess. The characters have so much potential and it's sad they never live up to their potential. I always wonder what Nomura's proper vision of the game was...

Still, there are some great set pieces and boss battles in the game. One fight feels like something out of DBZ/anime and then when this kicks in...

...it's such a hype moment. Easily one of my video game tracks of the generation. :heart:

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Made a tremendous amount of progress in Hollow Knight. I have now awoken all three dreamers and unlocked the path to the final boss. I have also visited just about every area in the game including Queens Garden.

 

 

I found the Tram pass which makes getting around between areas and traversing the map that bit easier. I then explored more of the area and was welcomed into the west of Deepnest with a bench... turns out it was a trap! Fortunately one of the dreamers was in the same area I was being held prisoner so I was able to take care of that one. Meanwhile I was seeking out Pale Ore and defeated a boss in the Deepnest area which reminded me of Mimi from Super Paper Mario in order to get one, with mind for beating the Watcher Knights.

 

Next stop was Fog Canyon, now that I have Isma's Tear and the Shade Cloak I was able to get into the right hand side of the area and lo and behold one of the dreamers was there complete with a boss battle that looked suspiciously like a Metroid. Took a few goes but eventually took it down.

 

The last dreamer was the Watcher Knights one, so I felt I needed to get a lot stronger and started exploring other areas. I found the Queen's Gardens and after full exploration and the final Spirit powerup I got stuck on another boss, the Traitor Lord.

 

It took many goes but...

 

Got half of something which is apparently needed in order to see the "True Ending" of the game so I might as well aim for the real ending of the game and get the second half of this charm. However, on top of this...

 

Yep, thanks to the Level 4 nail and changing up my charms to deal additional damage if I get hurt and make the Shade Cloak evade an attack for additional damage. The Knights suddenly were more reasonable to deal with it but it still took multiple attempts. I finally was able to reach the third dreamer though it didn't seem to be obvious what awakening the dreamers does. It apparently unlocks the way to the final boss.

 

So I guess I'm getting towards the end of the game now, all that remains is to go and do all the Dream Boss rematches to get enough essense to get into White Palace.

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9 hours ago, Hero-of-Time said:

Still, there are some great set pieces and boss battles in the game.

YES! I've only encountered one so far but I was completely absorbed in it. Haven't had this experience with gaming in a long time. It was an incredible mix between interactivity (the fight itself), "cutscenes" (scripted scenes from the battle), the interaction between party members, the visuals and the music (that track you posted).

Speaking of music: it's incredible. The battle themes are so good.

The piano is just amazing :heart: 

Oh and the battles...Obviously they aren't as tactical as turn-based iterations but they are fun as hell. Every move has some "weight" to it. You hit an enemy/get hit and you kinda "feel" it. Weird to describe it, but that's my eperience so far :D 

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10 hours ago, drahkon said:

11 hours in, FFXV still got me. After a couple of sidequests I decided to follow the story missions for a while. Aaaaand I still have no idea what exactly is going on.

I'm trying to power up...sure.
A couple of people that look like bad guys/gals were introduced in a 45 second cutscene...great.
One of them threatened the fuck out of me...ok?
And this one overly suspicious dude just miraculously shows up to help whenever shit's going down...cool.

Now, do I know anything about those characters aside from the fact that they're trying to fuck me up in one way or another? No.
In itself that's not a big problem, but according to the chapter # that I've completed I'm 1/3 through the game and the story hasn't progressed at all. The game seriously needs to provide more context and plot soon.

But not for a while as I will most likely focus on sidequests again :D 

 

Anyway, the game does look pretty. I've chosen the "favour framerate" option so it's not as pretty as it can be, but it's still beautiful. I love looking through the photos Prompto takes.

Well, the game sure has its flaws in story and especially story progression, but it'll make sense in the end. There will be a part in the story where many many things get explained in a short period of time. Another thing to note is that the current events of FFXV are not always directly served for you on a plate. Are you listening to the radio in the cities/ gas stations from time to time? You might heat tidbits about the current situation of other characters etc. in there. ;) I think there were also newspapers lying around. It's been some time since I completed the game, so I only remember vaguely that I found some interesting facts here and there. But overall I was pretty invested in the story and I think it's pretty well done, but its presentation could be improved a lot.

 

9 hours ago, Hero-of-Time said:

Sounds like they haven't really fixed the story then, at least in the first third of the game. 

It's such a shame that the game ended up the way it did. I loved the battle system but the story, which is a huge part of any of FF games, just feels like a mess. The characters have so much potential and it's sad they never live up to their potential. I always wonder what Nomura's proper vision of the game was...

Still, there are some great set pieces and boss battles in the game. One fight feels like something out of DBZ/anime and then when this kicks in...

...it's such a hype moment. Easily one of my video game tracks of the generation. :heart:

Well said, that is easily one of my favorite soundtracks ever, together with Hellfire!

 

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19 minutes ago, ThiophenSJ said:

Are you listening to the radio in the cities/ gas stations from time to time?

Yeah, but it's still all a little light on info. 

21 minutes ago, ThiophenSJ said:

There will be a part in the story where many many things get explained in a short period of time

Good. Here's hoping that it'll be enjoyable.

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8 hours ago, GenericAperson said:

So I guess I'm getting towards the end of the game now, all that remains is to go and do all the Dream Boss rematches to get enough essense to get into White Palace.

Nice to read about how you're doing with the game. Traitor Lord and Watcher Knights were the two bosses that took me a ridiculous number of attempts too. I think I somehow managed the latter pretty early on but only after what felt like a hundred attempts.

I would definitely, 100% aim for the true ending, don't even bother with the regular one, it's like a slap in the face tbh. White Palace is worth a visit.

Edited by Ronnie

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On 17.10.2019 at 12:52 AM, Hero-of-Time said:

 One fight feels like something out of DBZ/anime

I would assume you mean the fight against:

Spoiler

Leviathan?

What an incredible set-piece. So much fun.

Soooo...shit went down but still no real progress with the plot. Yes, Noctis' quest for power is still ongoing but other than that...nothing is really being talked about. ::shrug: I'm now 2/3 through the game (at least with regards to the chapter number) and I feel like nothing's happening. To make matters worse: There is so much potential for a great story. It's evident every single second...

Still waiting for some characters to come out of the shadows and have an actual impact.

However, I do enojy the dynamic of the group. The main characters are great and I love their interactions.

Anyway...Ardyn is weird. It feels like...

Spoiler

...he's only there to make Nocits stronger. He aids him, he attacks Luna so Noctis goes all ultra-instinct on Leviathan...I mean, he is a bad guy but maybe ultimately not really?

Very interesting character. I fear, though, that his part in the story will be neglected just like pretty much everything else.

 

Edited by drahkon

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Alright. FFXV seems to have put me on the "no sidequests until the end"-track and I'm ok with it. It has become quite interesting. I got some details about the history of the Gods and what the future might hold. It still pisses me off that it has been done in a way that only takes 2 minutes. This should've been spread out over the course of the first 2/3 of the game...

There are still many questions that I feel should've been answered by know but either will be resolved in the last 3 chapters over the course of 5 minutes or simply not at all.

The narrative is a mess and it's annoying to see that there is so much wasted potential. :( 

However, the game is great fun. I'm actually quite happy that I've neglected sidequests and grinding because fights are quite interesting and require some tactics and finesse. I would assume that if I had done most of the side activities until now, I would've been way too overpowered.

Now I'm at the start of the dreaded 13th chapter. You know...the one everybody complained about? :D Let's see what all the fuss is about.

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I think they fixed/shortened/done something with that chapter in one of the updates due to all of the complaints. Man, it was a mess. :nono:

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