Julius

Your 2020 Gaming Diary

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Played my yearly playthough of Banjo-Kazooie, with all notes, jiggies and honeycomb pieces. Managed it in 6h and 3 minutes (I don't do any glitches so can't really compare to speedrunners, just timing for fun). Spent about 5 or so minutes posing tome teddies for some tweets, has to return to Bubblegloop Swamp for a honeycomb piece I missed, and fell down the tree in Click Clock Wood, so still plenty of time for improvement.

 

After that, decided to do also play Banjo-Tooie. Didn't go a 100% completion because some of the game is a right pain. It's still a fine game, but the levels are just too big (without having that much in them, they could be condensed massively without losing anything) and there's a lot of back and forth. While it's fun to be Mumbo, a lot of his sections are unfortunately just walking to a button (nothing interesting to be done along the way) and pressing B, sometimes having to repeat the same journey multiple times. I do think it's great that you start with all moves from Banjo-Kazooie and they manage to add a load more. 

 

Now I'm on Donkey Kong 64, which I never completed as a kid. I got all bananas, but couldn't complete the DK arcade a second time. I have no idea how I got all the bananas as a kid, though, because some parts are frustrating. 

One thing that is annoying is that the "widescreen" option does not work on the Wii U virtual console. The way it worked on an N64 (as it could technically only output 4:3), was that it rendered it wonky and then relied on the screen to stretch it to the correct resolution. The Wii U, however, outputs the signal s a 16:9 output with the game in 4:3 and black bars. Luckily, my new TV has a manual stretching mode so I was able to sort it out myself, just a shame that Nintendo didn't put much effort into it.

The controls and camera are the biggest enemy in DK64. Walking along a plank is incredibly difficulty, especially when the camera does not want to be behind you. There are some areas with a "fixed" camera but then places platforms close to walls, but because of the non-moving camera you can't actually see that there is a gap between the platform and wall. I'm now wondering if it's because it's an N64 game, and these things were improved in the 360 ports of Banjo. 

The strangest thing I've encountered is a jetpack section where you have to fly through rings. The big problem is that the rings are 2D (the effect used so they're always facing the screen), meaning it's almost impossible to tell precisely where they are. Sometimes it looks like you've flown through one but it just doesn't register. 

Due to this, I am kind of cheating. I'm utilising the save state feature on the Wii U's emulator, to massively speed up restart times for these bits. There's nothing more annoying than a really unfair section than having to do bits before it again to get back to it.

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Got back into Soul Calibur VI again... so decided to upload a video of all my custom characters I've made up to this point...

 

 

 

Immediately after that I went and made another...

 

(I have tweaked the design a bit since this screenshot)

 

On a related note I'm doing a Youtube collaboration with a friend on Magic the Gathering Arena in the future, we thought since we both had the means to record the game that it would be good to do a collab, that's planned for the new year.

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Ladies and gents,
welcome to a new segment called "drahkon's (almost) 50 games of 2020".

"Why 'almost', you annoying little shit?"
Good question, Timmy. This is because in the app I'm using the "finished-list" currently has 48 entries and some of them are DLCs.
"But why not call it 'drahkon's fourty-something-games-plus-DLCs-list'?"
Because that's a stupid name, Timmy. Now shut the fuck up and go to your room.

I've started using the app Game Backlog to track my gaming progress this year. It's a neat little app that let's you track games you're playing and games you've finished (and even a backlog, if you're willing to put in every single game). Throughout 2020 I've set my limit of games that I'm currently playing to 4 and in the backlog-list I've put down those that I wanted to take a break from. So far, I've finished 48 games ("PLUS DLCs!", screams Timmy right before being struck by a tranquilizer dart) this year. Not too shabby. And yes, we all know @Hero-of-Time has completed 8 million games in the last 72 hours and yes we all know he's a great person and yes we all know that I DON'T GIVE A SHIT.

A nice little feature of the app: you can give games a rating (x out of 5) and also write a review. What I've done is: Give a rating and write down a few words about how I felt about each game.
And because this is all oh so interesting I've decided to share it with you in the order of completion. So buckle up, people, it's about to get

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Spoiler

Astral Chain

2/5 stars
"Tedious, unfocused mess that's only fun at times."

Yup, I stand by what I said. I remember some horrible platforming sections, bad fights, boring characters and a dumb story. It was enjoyable occasionally but overall quite overrated.

Spoiler

Super Mario Odyssey

3/5 stars
"Lovely platformer. Way too easy, though, and bosses are reused a lot."

I liked it, but it was not difficult enough. And fighting those rabbit bosses got old very fast. There are much better Mario games out there.

Spoiler

20XX

4/5 stars
"Great rogue-lite Megaman-"clone". Cool music, nice graphics (cut scenes look a little cheap) and fun gameplay."

Very much enjoyed the concept. Tight controls combined with Megaman-esque gameplay and rogue-lite mechanics make for a great time.

Spoiler

Dragon Quest I

4/5 stars
"A classic that defines JRPGs even now. A little obscure but never too cryptic. A wonderful but short journey."

YES! I've finally played the first game of my favourite JRPG-series. Funnily enough, I've only played DQI, DQVIII and DQXI, so lots to catch-up with.

Spoiler

Shovel of Hope (Shovel Knight)

4/5 stars
"Great old-school platformer. Highly enjoyable. Awesome music."

What else is there to say...it's a good game.

Spoiler

Golf Story

2/5 stars
"Tedious fetch quests, boring story, bland characters. Good golf mechanics, though."

One of the biggest disappointments this year...I'm still cautiously optimistic for the sequel.

Spoiler

Super Mario Kart

3/5 stars
"Classic kart racing. Insane rubberbanding."

Well...it's fun, but quite unfair at times.

Spoiler

Plague of Shadows (Shovel Knight)

1/5 stars
"Too floaty, unbalanced and simply not fun"

Yeah...the Shovel Knight series could've done without this one.

Spoiler

Spectre of Torment (Shovel Knight)

4/5 stars
"Same quality as Shovel of Hope."

Says it all, I think.

Spoiler

Dead Cells

4/5 stars
"Great rogue-lite metroidvania with top-notch combat."

Ah yes, Dead Cells. A game I've followed for quite a while. Many game changing updates made this one even better. Highly recommended.

Alrighty. 10 games down. A couple more to go. :D

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Timmy, wake up! It's time for another round of "drahkon's (almost) 50 games of 2020"
"Leave me alone, you creepy old fuck!"
SHUT UP AND LISTEN.

Spoiler

King of Cards (Shovel Knight)

4/5 stars
"Great conclusion to an awesome game series. On par with Shovel of Hope."

Indeed a nice finish to a mostly enjoyable package.

Spoiler

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX

4/5 stars
"Fun rogue-like. Main story was quite easy, though. Gets very repetitive post-game."

Nothing more to say. Well, the art-style is incredible. Quite the gorgeous game this is.

Spoiler

Super Mario Maker 2

3/5 stars
"Story mode was lackluster. Great replayability due to user created content."

If you're willing to wade through heaps of garbage, there are some incredible levels/worlds out there. Nintendo's inability to create a robust and useful online service makes this an exhausting experience...

Spoiler

Blaster Master Zero

1/5 stars
"A mediocre at best Metroidvania. Gameplay is split into two parts: The "on foot part" is horrible. The other one is at least tolerable."

@Hero-of-Time will like this short review :p Sorry, but this is a garbage game and you liking it makes you a garbage person.

Spoiler

Cuphead

5/5 stars
"Difficult boss rush and platforming game. Great mechanics make for an awesome time."

Played this with a mate and we had lots of fun. But there was quite some rage involved, too. :D

Spoiler

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

4/5 stars
"Wonderfully relaxing game. Not perfect, because some QoL changes are needed."

Nothing more to say.

Spoiler

Q-YO Blaster

2/5 stars
"Mediocre shmup."

Says it all, really...

Spoiler

Tangledeep

5/5 stars
"Incredible rogue-like with many systems in place. Tactical, fun, gorgeous and great music."

Loved this one. Came out of nowhere for me.

Spoiler

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech

4/5 stars
"Short and sweet. Great mechanics, funny writing, lovely audiovisuals. A little too easy, though."

This one also came out of nowhere for me. Got it for free and enjoyed it a lot.

Spoiler

The Messenger

5/5
"Perfect. Tight controls, hilarious writing, beautiful graphics, banger soundtrack."

Quite possibly the best game I've played this year. It is perfect.

There you have it, folks.
Tune in next time when I annoy the fuck out of Timmy again.

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Found some new games to play. Neither of which I actually own, both are owned by my sister but even so.

 

We have Castlevania Anniversary Collection on Switch and at the start of the year I wanted to make Symphony of the Night a game I acquired this year. That never happened! It's becoming a personal meme of mine now (or rather a running joke, since being a meme would require it to actually go viral) or when I'm ever going to download Symphony of the Night but this collection is a way to finally get into this long running series that has so far eluded me for most of it's existence.

 

I started with the original Castlevania on NES. Being an NES game it's brutally hard, died loads of times. Fortunately the anniversary collection realises that the game is too hard without modern conveniences and makes use of the fact its being emulated to allow you to create save states. Thanks to this I was able to reach the third level of the game. That's as far as I've played so far.

 

We also now have Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time. This is a game I really wanted to play at some point but bypassed on launch. The reason? Activision. Regardless of the game's quality I find it difficult to support the game's publisher when the money I am giving is just going to line Bobby and Co's pockets with minimal payout to the people who actualyl deserve credit for making a potentially good game. Judging by Activision's approaches to the Crash and Spyro remakes I figured that the game would eventually come out on Switch anyway so while I'm interested in getting it I would only ever buy the game second hand, never giving Activision my money for it even though they effectively hold the rights to one of my favourite franchises and the game is actually a good game.... it's complicated let's just say.

 

At least, that was the initial plan but I guess my sister had other ideas, asking for it on PS4 for Christmas. I stuck to my guns on not wanting to give money to Activision for this game, but it has worked out somewhat in that barrier has been passed and I'm very eager to actually play the game now. Been a while since I played a proper Crash game. That being said, our wide difference in attitudes when it comes to keeping/selling games (I am one to keep a collection of every game I own, she tends to sell most of the games she buys upon finishing them) means that the game will probably end up leaving the household once we're both done with it anyway. I hear the game is a miserable slog to complete but I might try to do so anyway or at least go for the box gems but it's still a great platformer regarldess. At any rate I should just be happy that Crash Bandicoot of all franchises was able to get a revival like this.

 

On another note we also have a random copy of Star Wars Battlefront II on PS2 in the house now. I might have to try it sometime but we don't actually have a case for it and it was sitting in the other PS2 for multiple years unaware that we actually had the disc, though thankfully the original owner of the game has allowed us to keep the game. Being in the middle of a pandemic however we don't have any spare DVD cases and I can't exactly going out and get one, so the game still sits before I can get a case for it and print the game's original boxart out onto paper.

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Did a bit more of DK64. I have the Nintendo coin, something I was never able to get previously, which means I definitely have to finish it 100% now. 

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I'm watching him. And I'd feel sorry for him if he didn't lump me with Sonic Chronicles last year!

BTW, real talk, Wand of Gamelon has a soundtrack that's way too good for the game it's lumped with.

Yes, it doesn't fit a Zelda game at all. But taken on it's own, it's really funky!

Edited by Glen-i
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12 minutes ago, Glen-i said:

I'm watching him. And I'd feel sorry for him if he didn't lump me with Sonic Chronicles last year!

Don’t worry.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy your copy of Shadow the Hedgehog I got for you this year ;) 

Edited by Dcubed
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2 hours ago, Cube said:

Did a bit more of DK64. I have the Nintendo coin, something I was never able to get previously, which means I definitely have to finish it 100% now. 

You need both the Nintendo Coin and the RareWare coin to ACTUALLY BEAT the game. Never mind getting 100%. These are absolute necessities. The game however doesn't let you know this until you're in the last room of Hideout Helm where the 8th key you need to unlock the final boss awaits...

 

Anyway, I have a new video for you all... going to be going Arena videos on the channel on a more regular basis after i decided to do a collaboration with a friend on the game. We're going to be playing a few mono coloured decks against each other and then combining them, so here's the first video profiling one of those decks:

 

 

In addition to this I have now started playing Crash 4: It's About Time. Enjoying the game so far, but I have to say I have been dying an awful lot more than I would like. Guessing I must be a bit rusty...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Aperson said:

You need both the Nintendo Coin and the RareWare coin to ACTUALLY BEAT the game. Never mind getting 100%. These are absolute necessities. The game however doesn't let you know this until you're in the last room of Hideout Helm where the 8th key you need to unlock the final boss awaits...

I found that out when I was a kid. Had completed everything else except the DK arcade. I managed to complete it once for the banana... but the second time I never could do. So I was never able to fight the final boss.

 

The biggest issue I'm having now is the colours. I can mix up the red/green/yellow and blue/purple. Means a lot of extra back and forth due to picking the wrong Kong for the bananas I need.

 

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44 minutes ago, Cube said:

I found that out when I was a kid. Had completed everything else except the DK arcade. I managed to complete it once for the banana... but the second time I never could do. So I was never able to fight the final boss.

 

The biggest issue I'm having now is the colours. I can mix up the red/green/yellow and blue/purple. Means a lot of extra back and forth due to picking the wrong Kong for the bananas I need.

 

Donkey - Yellow

Diddy - Red

Tiny - Purple

Lanky - Blue

Chunky - Green

 

Though I will admit having to run around the entire map to find certain colours of bananas only to have to switch Kongs is a massive problem with this game. At least with the last level Creepy Castle they kept all certain Kong's activities closer together.

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6 hours ago, Aperson said:

Donkey - Yellow

Diddy - Red

Tiny - Purple

Lanky - Blue

Chunky - Green

I don't think this list is going to help with his color blindness. :p

Edit: There, I fixed it.

Edited by Magnus
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5 hours ago, Magnus said:

I don't think this list is going to help with his color blindness. :p

Edit: There, I fixed it.

Yeah, I'll spot some blue bananas and think "I need to come back here with Lanky" and when they do they'll still be faded out because they're actually purple. I'll get there eventually but now I've got the one thing that eluded me as a kid, I need to finish it now.

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I realise I haven't posted in here for quite a while. The end of the year has been quite busy for me so I'm trying to make up for that now.

Having accepted defeat at the end of the year and not coming close to beating 52 games, I'm going to try and start next year with a bang. I have Luigi's Mansion 3, Part Time UFO and Doom 2016 all close to completion, so will get them done in early Jan to get a boost out of the gate :grin: - going for a much healthier and realistic target of 40 games next year. 

Anyway, because I always drop games after a few hours and start a new one, I've been playing through Final Fantasy IX for the first time ever. Because why not..?! ::shrug: I'm about 8 hours in so far. The game starts with a bit of a bang, I was hooked within the first 20 minutes and thought the theatre segment in Alexandria was really well done! The cast of characters is great, especially Steiner and Vivi, I'm really enjoying the dialogue and the active time events which are used to flesh them out. The combat doesn't feel as intuitive at VII or VIII initially and I'm not quite convinced by the ability and equip system, it feels like it needs to be micromanaged too much. The difficulty is also a little all over the place - I can steamroll some battles and get destroyed in others. I wandered into a cave (can't remember the name - you open doors with bells) and I got decimated by the boss at the end. Tried about 6 times and then realised I'd missed a party member when I went back to level up a bit. 

When I went back with a party of four, I managed at the second attempt thanks to a lot of potions and a couple of phoenix downs. This was the battle, however, when the battle system clicked a little. I'm normally one of those players who goes all-out-attack, but this just wasn't a viable strategy this time. Ended up using Vivi's Slow ability and Silencing its magic via Zidane. It was enough in the end to neuter it enough to get the kill. More strategic battles like this will help me warm to the system with time I think, but enemies really do an incredible amount of damage, meaning you only have two or three turns before you inevitably lose a character. Need to read up a bit more on the systems probably.

Overall, a great start and classic Final Fantasy. The world is interesting, the soundtrack is superb and the pre-rendered backgrounds are lovely - you can really see the step up from FFVII.

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1 hour ago, Nicktendo said:

Final Fantasy IX

Hell yeah, love that one.

I know you already defeated Gizamaluke, but here are a couple of tips that could help you in later battles:

  • Pay attention to elemental weaknesses. Gizamaluke was weak to Thunder, for example, and some later equipment allows you to become immune to certain elements;
  • You don't need to learn every skill you come across right away, but remember to change equipment around if you need a specific skill you haven't fully learned yet. This might be important for characters who only know one healing spell, or for using Zidane's Soul Blade attack (which varies with which weapon he has equipped), for example. Or more frequently, if you need status immunity, don't be afraid to return to that old hat that teaches Insomniac or Bright Eyes;
  • Steal from bosses. They have some good stuff

I remember my friend missed that extra party member during his first playthrough. Having them should make things easier going forward, though I don't remember exactly what kind of Blue Magic you can get right now.

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5 minutes ago, Jonnas said:
  • Pay attention to elemental weaknesses. Gizamaluke was weak to Thunder, for example, and some later equipment allows you to become immune to certain elements;

How can you find that out? Is there an ability like Scan in FFVIII?

6 minutes ago, Jonnas said:
  • Steal from bosses. They have some good stuff

I've been ignoring this ability against tough enemies so far. I usually survive by the skin of my teeth so not attacking / defending makes is more difficult. Probably need to level up a bit before bosses to make up for that. 

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6 minutes ago, Nicktendo said:

How can you find that out? Is there an ability like Scan in FFVIII?

Scan is in this game, yes, and it's a White Magic skill, though I don't quite remember which equipment teaches it. While you're Dagger-less, your best bet is trial-and-error with Vivi, check if a spell does more damage than usual (or some intuition. I remember Gizamaluke's weakness because he's water-themed).

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So I'm playing through Terra's path on Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep and I have to ask why so many bosses so far constantly combo you to death? You get hit once and you basically lose 75% of your health!

It feels really unfair.

Edited by Glen-i

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12 minutes ago, Glen-i said:

So I'm playing through Terra's path on Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep and I have to ask why so many bosses so far constantly combo you to death? You get hit once and you basically lose 75% of your health!

It feels really unfair.

You can get stun locked pretty easily in the game if you don't block and have effective counter attacks. Dodging can obviously help but many attacks are better to be blocked than avoided. Terra is also the hardest character to play as due to how sluggish he is when compared to Aqua or Ven.

Make sure to make use of the melding option and make yourself some good spells. Some of them are really useful and very OP.

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23 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

You can get stun locked pretty easily in the game if you don't block and have effective counter attacks. Dodging can obviously help but many attacks are better to be blocked than avoided. Terra is also the hardest character to play as due to how sluggish he is when compared to Aqua or Ven.

Make sure to make use of the melding option and make yourself some good spells. Some of them are really useful and very OP.

Oh yeah, I've been melding like mad, desperately trying to good abilities like Once More and Leaf Bracer, but no luck yet.

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4 hours ago, Glen-i said:

Oh yeah, I've been melding like mad, desperately trying to good abilities like Once More and Leaf Bracer, but no luck yet.

Must admit when I played BbS I wound up using the internet to find out what good abilities I could get for characters. Though I only really started doing it during Ven's playthrough in the latter half which then saw me spend quite a bit of time grinding in Aqua's playthrough to get good abilities.

 

Anyway, made some more progress on Crash 4, getting onto the Pirate overworld after spending a long time trying to get the Box Gem on A Real Grind...

 

 

Don't know why the PS4 capture bugs out with screenshots when it comes to Twitter but it keeps posting two screenshots when I tweet from the PS4. The right hand image is supposed to be the one that is displayed.

 

Also the second MTG Arena video from my gameplay sessions on that game in preperation for a collaberation is now up:

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Aperson said:

Don't know why the PS4 capture bugs out with screenshots when it comes to Twitter but it keeps posting two screenshots when I tweet from the PS4. The right hand image is supposed to be the one that is displayed.

When you hold the share button, it takes a new screenshot. This new screenshot is already selected for uploading, so you have to unselect it if you want to share a different one.

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