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Phew, just had a two hour gaming session with two mates. We've recently finished Borderlands 3 and all its DLC so it was time for something new.
As luck would have it, For the King is currently on sale on the PSN store so we decided to get it and give it a go.

What is For the King? Roguelite. Tabletop. Adventure.

The first and third...what's not to love :p
Tabletop in this case apparently means DnD. I've never had any experience with it so I don't know if that's accurate, but from what I know about DnD it sure feels like it fits.

Encounters, i.e. combat and overworld shenanigans are determined by "dice rolls". For example: Attacking an enemy with a sword requires strength. The higher your strength stat, the higher the chance that the attack lands and deals increased damage (I think this is a DnD mechanic?).
This also applies to what I labeled "overworld shenanigans". Encounters require a certain stat, depending on what kind of encounter it is and the same mechanic from above applies.

With the right strategy and a little bit of luck, success is always within reach.

Our journey had a pretty smooth beginning. Won a few fights, leveled up once, got some nice equipment, a good amount of gold and some healing items. So we decided to tackle a main quest and delve into a dungeon.

What do you expect from a dungeon in a typical RPG? Some fights? The occasional treasure chest with loot? Maybe a wandering merchant? A boss fight at the end?
We found all of the above. So...you'd think we would emerge stronger than before, right?
Here's the answer: A BIG FAT NO!

This is what happened in one fight in that dungeon:

One mate attacked with a weapon. All rolls failed. The weapon immediately breaks leaving him unarmed.
The other mate was poisoned and started to bleed in the first turn, which cut his HP in half.
I got attacked and suffered the "Acid" status effect.

Now what does it do? The in-game description says: "Acid destroys equipment after a while."
"After while"
My next turn: My weapon dissolves.
My next turn: My armor dissolves.
My next turn: My necklace dissolves.

We had no item/spell that could help me. :blank:

The results of our journey into the dungeon:

  • one of my mate lost his weapon and died two times,
  • the other mate had to use all his healing items,
  • I pretty much exited the dungeon completely naked.

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Oh well...we barely survived. We then traveled back to a town, healed up, bought some new gear and decided that we need a break :laughing:

For the King is awesome. :D

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Infamous First Light. A short but sweet story with the best power set from the second game. 

Bound. A very unique looking platformer type game, about someone dealing with family trauma. I wasn't really sure what was going on until the end, but I quire enjoyed the strangeness and the ballerina-based platforming. I found it interesting that there were easier and hard routes that you could decide to take. An interesting game.

Bulletstorm. I really enjoyed it. Feels like a bit of a mix of Gears of War and Doom, but I actually liked it more than either. Levels felt quite varies and combat was a lot of fun. 

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So with the Ratchet and Clank remake currently free to download on PS4. I decided though I've heard the game has a few issues on the story and cutscene side of things and its not as good as the original PS2 games its still a very good game and getting it for free you can't really complain. So... I guess along with Castlevania that's another game for the backlog once I finish Dark Souls!

 

Which may be a bit later because I found myself playing Pokken Tournament DX instead. Got done with the Blue League and made my way onto the Red League. Part of my reluctance to actually do the single player for this game is that I already beat it back on Wii U and knew it wasn't that great, so somewhat reluctant to do it again on Switch but I will try and push through. Still can't beat the Shadow Mewtwo fights at the end of every league though.

 

I also decided to get the second Season Pass for Soulcalibur VI. The main reason was that the extra character creation parts will help with making some characters more accurate but also opens up options for creating new characters like Hat Kid for instance, now there's a fighting style which makes sense to make Hat Kid for! Also gives extra story campaigns to play through for all the new characters. I don't regret buying it unless they drop the price later on down the road! Still, Hwang feels great to play so far!

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Made a little bit of progress with Battle Chasers: Nightwar.

I can now confirm that there are dungeons:

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And they are procedurally generated :p Each square is a room you can explore. There's fights to be had, lore to be found, chests to be opened, materials to be gathered, fish to be caught and more.
Here's the thing, though: Before you enter you can choose one of three difficulties: Normal, Hard, harder (can't remember the exact terms for those). Rewards for finishing the dungeon get better the more difficult it is. This is a pretty cool mechanic. I completed the first dungeon on normal and then on the highest difficulty. Got a sweet weapon out of that :D

Fights got even more interesting now that I've acquired the Burst Meter. When full you can unleash a strong ability. Depending on the character it's either an attack or supports your team. Awesome right? Yeah...but enemies started doing that, too, and sadly, you can't see their Burst Meter. It's a little annoying but eventually you get a feeling for when a big attack might be coming your way.

Found and entered the second dungeon yesterday. Highest difficulty, of course :D So far it's not too bad, I just need to be careful with my resources, aka health and mana potions.

Also: I'm spending a lot of time fishing when I find a spot:

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No idea what to do with the "fish parts" that I get, though.

 

Played more of For the King, as well.

Our three player run ended after about 3 hours...we immediately started a new one and put the things we've learned from before into practice :D So far, so good.

Yesterday one of my mates and I started a two player/character run 'cause the other one was busy. We decided to give it a go on the lowest difficulty because we figured that it would be way too hard with one less character in our team.
The first two hours we breezed through the run...it was actually ridiculous. Eventually, though, we got to a point where enemies hit harder and cause various dangerous status effects. Seems like things will ramp up a bit. :peace:

Edited by drahkon

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Posted (edited)

Been a little while since I've posted here, as I haven't actually picked up and started another game since around mid-February, when I finished up the game I'll be talking about today. 

METAL GEAR SOLID 4: GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS | 2008

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Set 50 years after Metal Gear Solid 3's Operation Snake Eater, and 5 years after the climactic events of Metal Gear Solid 2's Big Shell Incident, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots takes place in a dystopian 2014 where the "war economy" has plunged the world into an endless barrage of conflicts, fuelling the need for private military companies (or PMC's), the largest of which are owned by a single company, helmed by none other than Liquid Ocelot. You return to the fold as Solid Snake, in this game often referred to as Old Snake as a result of his advanced accelerated aging. Unlike in earlier games in the series, the game is divided into a number of distinct acts, each taking you to a new locale on your globetrotting mission to assassinate Liquid Ocelot as a favour to The Colonel, with many familiar faces from throughout the series turning up on both sides as the world slips towards destruction. 

In terms of gameplay, Metal Gear Solid 4 once again returns the focus to stealth as you navigate through the game's Acts, but this time the focus is often not on Snake taking on a certain enemy group, with your stealth efforts instead taking place on battlegrounds between PMC and rebel groups, often allowing you to sneak around the battlefield or join the battle. The Camouflage Index from Metal Gear Solid 3 makes a welcome return, this time in the form of a camouflage suit called "OctoCamo", which allows the wearer to blend into their surroundings in a matter of seconds, taking on its colour and textures. Giving Old Snake an appearance closer to Big Boss is the "Solid Eye", a device which replaces a lot of features from previous titles and puts them all in one place, such as the different types of binoculars, image intensifiers, and gives you a small map similar to - but harder to read than - the Soliton Radar, giving you a more accurate picture of which general direction to head in and the locations of enemies in relation to your position, but not much of an idea about the terrain you're making your way through. Another handy device you'll use throughout the game is the Metal Gear Mk. II, a short but stout robotic drone which you can send ahead to carry out surveillance and shock enemies, and also sees the return of the Codec, though this time much closer to what we're accustomed today with video calling than the form it took in earlier titles. The "Psyche Gauge" replaces the stamina meter seen previously, serving as an assessment of Snake's psychological state, and when in combat Snake's adrenaline will increase, allowing him to fire off rounds faster and take more damage; however, if Snake is near something which might stress him out (such as bad smells when hiding in an old dumpster, or overwhelmed by the chaos of the battle around him) or hears something debilitating in a cutscene (which is used to hilarious effect through the game), this meter will lower, decreasing Snake's accuracy and movement speed until replenished, which can be done in a number of ways, such as by removing Snake from the stressor, checking in with a familiar face for some psyche coaching through the Codec, or eating a bit of food. Overall, considering the narrative's focus on war - and more specifically at times, war-induced trauma and PTSD - it feels like a natural progression from the stamina meter for this particular game. 

While playing Metal Gear Solid 4, especially early on, I found it to be a mixed bag, and my struggle with that is clear to see in my posts in the game's thread as I made my way through. Technically, the game was extremely ambitious visually for the time of its release, but still, the number of distractingly noticeable dips in framerate - on gameplay and in cutscenes - as well as the abundance of loading screens hurts the pacing of the game dramatically in its opening act. I've seen many point at the game's long cutscenes as being an issue, and though there are some long ones in there, I personally enjoyed them as someone who has loved most of the story elements and themes of the series to this point, but I actually think a much bigger issue is the number of shorter cutscenes weaved in and out of short spurts of gameplay (sometimes we're talking about walking a few metres, a short cutscene playing out, picking up an item, another cutscene playing out, and so on). While I think it's clear that the aim was to deliver on a cinematic experience filled with setpiece moments which felt driven by the player, when this happens in the game, I think the game was perhaps trying to be a bit too ambitious for when it released in the PS3's life, as it isn't as seamless as we often see in games today (and even those later in that generation), which results in this stop-start nature at times, which is to the game's detriment. It would be interesting to see if they would try to make it flow better in a potential remaster for modern consoles, and I think that would definitely be a great way to implement fixes to the frame rate issues and loading screens. 

That this happens in the opening credits, of all places, results in what is by far the most limp opening to a Metal Gear Solid game that I've played through so far. And yeah, let's not get into how long the opening credits last, or how the title is flashed before more credits are shown, which results in "Kojima Productions Presents...Konami". I want to give them the benefit of the doubt on that, though, because I still find it hilarious, and struggle to see how that wasn't an intentional gaffe on their side (or just making a point of how silly opening credits sometimes are). If you want to take a look for yourself (12:38 for the "Presents...Konami" part): 

Which brings me onto my next point: Act I of Metal Gear Solid 4 might genuinely be the worst "level" of any Metal Gear Solid game I've played so far, too. I do think a large part of that is down to the stop-start nature of it all, but the war-torn streets and narrow alleyways of some Middle Eastern city just doesn't make for an interesting or great way to get yourself reaccustomed with the mechanics of the series either, which means if there's so much as a slight gap between you playing MGS3 and MGS4, you might end up like me, running around like a bit of a headless chicken for the first hour or so, accidentally pressing the wrong button on occasion and needing to run out of places, or just mowing enemies down. It's a way to play the game, sure, but compared to previous games, it definitely took me much longer to get myself familiarised with it all again. I genuinely think this level could have been shortened dramatically, as the story and gameplay doesn't really pick up until you meet Rat Patrol towards the end of this Act, and I feel similarly about how the game just throws a lot at you at once when you find yourself on a ship later on in the game. 

To cover some of the other issues I've seen people have with the game, I've seen some say the game betrays what came before it by going over the top, but I would have to disagree with that. While, yes, there is one particular character carrying a sword around who is at the centre of these seemingly ridiculous anime-like moments, which get increasingly over-the-top as the game goes on (okay, a couple of the ones in Act 4 might have got me close to rolling my eyes and laughing), that silliness and over-the-top nature of it all has been there since the first Metal Gear Solid. I had much more of an issue with the over sexualisation of Naomi, because unlike Eva in MGS3, there was no reason narratively or for her particular role in this story (and further, it's not a vibe I got from her in MGS either) for her to unbutton the first few buttons of her shirt and then never do them back up for no reason at all; yes, you've made an attractive character, but that's conveyed enough in her face design and how other people act around her, so we definitely don't need some of the camera angles we ended up with in the game, because it was borderline embarrassing at times. I also think Drebin's Shop - which gives you access to buying weapons, items, and ammo at any point in the game through the menu - really breaks the game at times? It feels like a decision to try to make MGS4 a potential entry point to the series, but with this game's story depending so heavily on having experienced earlier games and an ensemble of returning characters, I have to think it was a decision by committee to some extent. 

At this point you might be thinking that I hate the game, and I wouldn't blame you for thinking that, but I feel the need to acknowledge what I considered as low points, because I adored so much of what happened from meeting Rat Patrol at the end of Act I and onwards. Act II is fundamentally a level where it basically condenses down so much of the look and feel of MGS3, which finally allowed me to really get back to grips with the mechanics of the series, and heck, even some of the plot points, setpieces, and character interactions felt extremely evocative of that story. Act III had a long list of awesome reveals, probably my favourite trailing mission in video games (seriously, if you've played it, you know what I'm talking about; it just captures that detective noir vibe insanely well), an excellent chase sequence. The boss fights with the Beauty and the Beast Unit in this game are great fun to figure out, and feel like fresh takes on ideas we've already seen with earlier bosses in the series. We don't talk about Act IV, because there isn't much to say without potentially spoiling things, but...it's awesome. Trust me. It's awesome. Super awesome. From the location, to finally getting to kick the ass of a certain enemy type, to the chance to do something I could only have dreamt of when playing through MGS1 for the first time last year, it's one of my the most exciting levels to play through and is filled with hype moments, and I loved it. The game is just packed to the brim with excellent cameos and interactions with returning characters, it ties everything together and picks up pretty much every loose thread you could think of, and it does it all with you perched on the edge of your seat, giddy with excitement. It's really hard to discuss without spoiling, and I would hate to do that for anyone who hasn't played the game yet, but I loved it. I'll just stick my reactions from the game's thread in the below spoiler tags, for anyone curious about how that turned out: 

Quote
Spoiler

Rose and The Colonel suck, but we knew that from MGS2, so nothing new there. 

Raiden hype when he starts talking to us on the Codec. 

More Raiden hype when he turns up. 

Even more when he turns up and dishes it out to Vamp and those Irvings! 

Oh, and Vamp hype. 

And Naomi hype. Being super shady again (boo) and making my eyes roll that she won't bother to button her shirt up; I know Eva did something similar in the last game, but she was trying to seduce Big Boss, so at least it made some sense, and obviously fulfil the femme fatale archetype. For Naomi it just feels like straight up fan service (the wrong kind, and unnecessary at that), and some of the camera angles have been a little silly. The character's face is attractive enough as it is, I don't really see the need for cleavage in every shot she's in ::shrug: 

And Sunny hype for just being fun and Olga's daughter. 

And Liquid hype. 

And visage of Psycho Mantis hype. Curious about that one...

And duuuuuude EVA HYPE, I know I'm probably only part way through what she's digging into but when we met Big Mama, I was like "huh, kind of looks like The Boss. Weird." but nah, Eva instead, which I will gladly take. The reveal that she's the surrogate mother of Liquid and Solid definitely made my jaw drop, and it was great getting some more about the Zero / Big Boss backstory. 

Not to mention Big Boss being alive, in some form. Seeing him from MGS3 in a cutscene just when they were talking about him gave me chills. And don't think I didn't notice how we're currently now back at the plot from the first game, retrieving the body of Big Boss! 

Spoiler

Shadow. Freakin'. Moses. 

Yeah, I had it spoiled a long time ago that it was in this game, but completely without context; honestly, I was expecting it to play out playing through MGS if anything, like in the flashback where you play through the first minute of that game, because surely we wouldn't get it remade here? So glad I was mistaken. 

And The Best Is Yet To Come just kicked in. :bouncy:

Spoiler

So, yeah, holy cow, this Act is all kinds of awesome. Going back to Shadow Moses, seeing how things have changed (all the ravens still being around!), the memories playing out through dialogue or music or even when you get to play the first couple of minutes and we get that great transition in the helicopter from young, pixelated MGS Solid Snake to MGS 4 Snake. And then you've got Otacon and Snake reminiscing about how the Shadow Moses incident went down, talking about certain parts, but then hilariously having Otacon drop the "Swap to Disc 2" line, before we get Snake's "Damn it, Otacon, get a grip!" :laughing: gah, loved it all. 

That stuff is fan service done absolutely right (only similar example popping to mind right now might be in Pokémon, of all things, when getting to pop over to Kanto in the Johto games after beating the Elite Four), though I'll admit that it's funny playing through this with the knowledge of MGS V existing and thinking how this is very, very clearly trying to wrap a lot of threads up. 

Crying Wolf was a fun boss battle, obvious parallels to Sniper Wolf from MGS, but I think it shook things up enough. Hiding under the tank/truck made it super easy, but it did mean I had to play the waiting game a good bit. Quite enjoyed the battle against Raging Raven back in Act 3 too, which by the way, I thought was also a great Act. 

Then there's getting to the wrecked Metal Gear Rex, and as soon as I noticed it, I just knew we were going to be hopping inside at some point. But not before we got Raiden vs Vamp atop Rex, all the while taking up half the screen as Snake uses the railgun to annihilate the Irving's, which felt so, so good, given how annoying an obstacle they've been throughout much of the game. Loved the Snake vs Vamp fight, instantly knew what the solution was, feel like these games have always done a decent job of balancing what is told to you in the story and allowing you to use it mechanically. Naomi kind of sucks to be honest so not too much of a loss in my mind, Otacon loses a loved one yet again (dude is legitimately cursed at this point), and then it's jumping in Rex to escape and then take on Ray. 

Hell yeah, I loved that too. Grin on my face the entire time, seriously, why is a Metal Gear mech arena fighting game not a thing?! Oh right, Konami... :mad: 

Definitely some silly moments in this Act (Liquid running from Solid as he chases him and acts like a carefree child), but totally get what H-o-T means when he mentions it being like an anime at points, and it almost entirely revolves around Raiden. Turning up at the last second; cutting his own arm off to lend a helping hand; SOMEHOW SLOWING DOWN OUTER HAVEN AS FOR SOME REASON LIQUID STUPIDLY DECIDES THAT OF ALL THINGS, RAMMING OUTER HAVEN INTO SOLID IS THE BEST HE COULD COME UP WITH AFTER ALL THIS TIME. You catch my drift. I don't mind it too much to be honest on the whole, though him pushing back against Outer Haven was perhaps a little much too much for me. Out of curiosity, how is Metal Gear Rising? I am always down for Metal Gear, Raiden, and all of his anime antics. 

Spoiler

Wasn't the biggest fan of how the gameplay section of Outer Haven kicked off, if I'm being honest. Being surrounded and already on alert meant, to me at least, that the game wanted you to push on in an offensive manner, but the spaces are just too cramped to allow you to make use of your arsenal, and even when facing off against Irvings, there isn't enough of a let up in the waves of soldiers for you to take a good whack at it. The times I tried to go harder on stealth, one guy would always turn up out of absolutely nowhere and spot me instantly, which resulted in...well, the above. This part definitely felt a bit like Act 1 more than the other Acts in this regard, because it made the gameplay feel a bit more stilted. 

Getting inside, things were a bit better. Taking on the waves of soldiers in that room was a bit much, but taking on Screaming Mantis was good fun when trying to figure out what the game was asking of you and using previous understanding of the story to make things easier for yourself (again, love that syringe). And then Psycho Mantis turns up and is like "It was me all along! Let me read your personality..." and I'm laughing like a hyena because of course there's no memory card, and then putting down the DualShock again, loved it :D

That section running through a corridor just to get over to another corridor and being harassed by those black robots with three arms for legs was a bit annoying, I just resorted to constantly rolling through them, and then Raiden turns up at the most predictable time imaginable, without his arms and with a sword in his mouth. I love how silly it is at times, but again, Raiden always seems to take it a little too far, so I guess I can see why some might not be the biggest fan :p

Going through the hallway where you're bombarded with microwaves and seeing everything play out elsewhere in the top half of the screen was awesome (as was the music), digital graveyard was a little bit weird, Naomi turned up again, and of course Otacon can't keep his crap together :blank:

And then it's on the roof, Snake's lying down after all of this is over, but the game has very clearly been hinting at an MGS fist fight rematch with Liquid...and then a familiar looking guy turns up, and guess who? And thus ensues one of the most hype moments in video games (well, after a few minutes of cutscene sparring - Metal Gear Saga rules). 

I was pounding the air with my fist when the life bar from Metal Gear Solid turned up and that font, and then Encounter kicked in - I lost my crap! Love how for that first part he's trying to use his headbutt dash, just like old times. I knew they'd do similar for the others, so Tanker Incident kicked in after, then we got Revolver's hand gesture from Snake Eater, and Snake Eater kicked in, the life bars and font changed and the stamina meter came in, and I tried to keep my distance just so I could hear the song :D and then Old Snake kicked in, and Liquid's down and out, we get a hint at what's really going on with him being a mental doppelganger, before the good old "You're pretty good." Man, I loved every second of it. 

Then the game goes into cutscenes for a good while as everything wraps up, Raiden gets his happy ending, we learn Drebin's past, Snake...kills himself? Credits start, I'm like "No way, really? Weird..." and I look down for a little while as I soak it in, kind of in doubt and waiting for the end of the credits for some kind of answer, before looking up to see:

BIG BOSS - RICHARD DOYLE

Wait a second, Big Boss didn't have any lines in– HOLY CRAP

Credits stop. 

More cutscenes, but I really couldn't give much less of a damn, because I loved it. Wrapped pretty much everything left up (at least that I could think of) in a beautiful and poetic way, and then credits roll for real, and we get Here's To You. 

 

As ever, something which catapulted my appreciation of this game ever upwards was its soundtrack, once again led by Harry Gregson-Williams, Nobuko Toda, and Norihiko Hibino. Love Theme is the name of the song composed by Nobuko Toda and sung by Jackie Presti which we hear in the opening credits, this strange - almost primal - vocal track which fits the Middle Eastern setting of the opening act greatly. There are the strained, almost painful plucks of the guitar strings of Old Snake. There's the fitting, modern detective noir track Under Curfew, or the epic struggle of Guns of the Patriots. There's the amazing Here's To You which closes out the game, composed by the legendary Ennio Morricone. And there's Sorrow and Father & Son, which both hint at times to the main theme of the earlier games, but definitely resulted in feeling me left wanting the original main theme, and in some cutscenes, it even distracted me because of how much they hint at it but then subvert from using that theme. 

I've read up on the unfortunate development before the game's release back in 2008 that they decided not to return to the Main Theme of Metal Gear Solid, which I have loved every time it's turned up in previous games, as a result of the allegations made against the composer of the Main Theme, Tappi Iwase, that he had plagiarised motifs for the track from Winter Road by Russian composer Georgy Sviridov (you can listen to a comparison of the tracks here), and while I do think there are similarities, I do think it's just part of the composition business at the end of the day, and intentional or not, these things do happen, such as with John Williams and a great number of works when it comes to the score of the first Star Wars film in particular. I lean towards it being either a genuine mistake where Iwase internalised the composition to some degree (there are many videos online of this happening, such as with Deadmau5 accidentally recreating Darude's Sandstorm), or Winter Road was used as a temp track, and it's something Kojima or others on the team loved in particular and wanted Iwase to go with. Either way, I think the reason that they folded had less to do with the fact alone that the tracks are similar in terms of their motifs - as I've covered, it happens sometimes without any ill will - and more to do with the fact that it was allegations from Russia in particular relating to a track being used as the main theme for a fictional but American "Greatest Soldier to Ever Live". 

Now, the reason that I bring this up is to point out the absolute genius of Harry Gregson-Williams in this situation, who could have very easily just composed a theme evocative of, but enough of a subversion to, the main theme of the previous games, as was the case in Sorrow and Father & Son, which I mentioned above, as well as a number of the other tracks in the game. Instead, he used the secondary melody and set of motifs which opened his composition for Metal Gear Solid 3's Main Theme (0:51 - 1:57, which that link starts at if you want to have a listen) as the basis for this game's main theme, Metal Gear Saga, which is easily my favourite part of this soundtrack, not just for which epic moments in the game it is tied to, but also because it provides that through line which I think was essential to helping tie this game to the rest of the series musically, and almost subconsciously when you first hear it. I don't think it quite lives up to the original Main Theme, but damn, it gets pretty close to it for my ears at 1:57 and from 2:44 onwards once that guitar kicks in (and then those trumpets!). 

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is a flawed game in my eyes, without a shadow of a doubt, and perhaps what I would consider the most objectively flawed of the Metal Gear Solid games I've played through so far. Its first act is sloppy and poorly paced, it is jarring on a technical level, and yes, some cutscenes can get a little long in the tooth. 

And yet, it is undeniably Metal Gear Solid. With an excellent cast of returning characters, Guns of the Patriots tells an engrossing story founded on how someone's understanding of the world is lost when they die, and how their will - their core purpose - is left open to interpretation by those that survive them, for better or for worse, but also how we shouldn't let the idea of our ambitions being manipulated by those surviving us stop us from looking ahead and striving forwards. There's something very human - very hopeful - about that message, especially considering the focus the game also has on the world's growing reliance on technology, and how we deal with trauma, which continues to resonate with the world we live in today. That it did all of this, burdened with the weight of fans' expectations, and under an increasingly cynical magnifying glass, while also paying homage to what came before it, and delivering some of the greatest, chills-inducing, hype moments in video games? 

I came away loving it. Flaws and all. 

Spoiler

January

Suikoden (1995)

February

What Remains of Edith Finch (2017)

Mega Man 2 (1988)

Papers, Please (2013)

Sound Shapes (2012)

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008)

 

Edited by Julius
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Posted (edited)

Great write up @Julius :peace: Much of your experience echoes mine.

I think, to be pithy about such things, MGS4 is a very flawed game that exacerbated the very best and the very worst elements of the MGS series.

As a stealth game? MGS4 is woeful.  It actively discourages stealth at almost every point (outside of Act 3’s horrendously paced tailgating section).  As a video “game”? The ratio of gameplay to cutscenes is absolutely ridiculous! Cutscenes frequently go uninterrupted for 45-60 minutes at a time! You honestly do spend more time watching than playing!  And as an MGS game? MGS4 disappoints with its dull boss encounters and heavily streamlined level design.

However... MGS4 also absolutely revels in the absolute excess that the MGS series is known for.  Insane story twists, ridiculous characters, fun dialogue and all of the NANOMACHINES and LALILULELO that your brain can handle! MGS4 is completely batshit insane and is probably the most Kojima arse Kojima game imaginable; with some of the wildest scenes ever seen in a game (The Microwave Scene is still one of the hypest moments in any game ever!)

MGS4 is not a great MGS game per-say, or even a good stealth game; but it is an absolutely wild ride that is hugely entertaining all the way through.  I know I’d gladly take it over the absolute nothing that is MGS5!

Edited by Dcubed
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Started Ratchet and Clank 2016 (PS4) after it was made available for free through Play at Home. Game feels pretty solid so far... not sure about the cutscenes though. There are clear instances of how movie cutscenes have been stapled together.

 

However, it was really cool to see Planet Novalis in HD with a lot more detail in the level environments. Being able to strafe in Novalis was also good though I notice the strafing is slightly different from how it was when I played Ratchet 2 and 3 and they also added the option to use R2 as a Fire button... which makes sense I guess. Circle is also an option for classic controls too. Going to get round to playing more of it at some point.

 

 

 

Most of my time has been spent on Soulcalibur VI though and I can now reveal the fruits of those labours, here is the first episode of the new Soulcalibur VI Custom Character tournament.

 

 

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Final Fantasy VII Remake. I posted my main thoughts in the thread for itself, but essentially it's a very mixed bag, one great character, lots of annoying ones. Start and end were pretty bad.

 

Dark Void. A jetpack shooter. Has some really cool designs and ideas, and some cool vertically. Unfortunately, it's a bit fiddly and the main characters are a bit boring (Nathan Drake without the charm...even using Nolan North). I do have a soft spot for the game and I may do a big post about what I would do to improve. I would love to see another attempt at it.

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Posted (edited)

Battle Chasers: Nightwar progress:

I broke the game.

The cardinal sin of (J)RPGs: scale down exp you get from lower level enemies. I hate it, it's dumb and fuck you for implementing that system. :p
I came across an enemy:

6VzMkhk.jpg

King Slime. He had the wonderful ability to spawn a random Slime as a companion once you kill the first two. And I knew that those enemies give exp. Which got me thinking...can I farm those enemies?
I tested it: My party consisted of two level 18 characters and one who was level 11. The latter got a huge amount of exp for the level 15 slimes, the former not so much.
So I spent a few hours farming. And here's the result:

0gjXUw1.jpg

Max level for those three. Garrison and Red Monika are incredible at dishing out damage so I should be set. I don't like Knolan, or rather I prefer to have a different character (healer) which I sadly didn't level up via this method. Since King Slime was a boss, I can't repeat the process. My dedicated healer is still level 18 but who cares. I will wreck everything for the foreseeable future, so I'll put him on my team :p

This game is truly something else. The battle system is amazing. Very well thought out with the right amount of challenge (which I just destroyed :laughing:).
The overworld/exploration is pretty bland. Quite repetitive and samey,
The story and characters are so-so. It's refreshing to have badass characters right from the start who are just thrown in to stop an evil creature. But there's less (and probably no) room for heartfelt side-stories or twists and turns. It's pretty in-your-face.

I enjoy it, but basically only because of how good the turn-based battles are. And it's hart to overstate how much I enjoy them :peace:

Edited by drahkon
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Finished Battle Chasers: Nightwar just now.

Man, that final boss almost ruined everything.
I was at max-level, had legendary weapons for my team, was decked out with awesome gear, put on every buff I could find and I still got wrecked a few times. And not because I made mistakes or chose my moves poorly, nooooo...just because the boss switched from "cut receiving physical damage in half" to "cut receiving magical damage in half" every few turns. It can also put a non-removable curse on one of the party members that kills in 5 turns. Couple that with the fact that the boss couldn't be stunned at all, that it can dish out a ridiculous amount of instant damage and damage over time and its stupidly high HP and there you have it: A dumb boss fight.

I like difficult games, I live for them. But this wasn't difficult, this was borderline unfair. I did some reading around the web and it seems that only with one specific party setup (stats, perks, gear, etc.) the boss is pretty easy to beat, but that's not good game design. You shouldn't be forced to follow one particular route to have a chance while the others rely on a lot of luck.

Oh well, this took off at least one point on my "How much does drahkon love this game?"-scale.

I still love the battle-system because for 99% of the game it works.
Lots of things about the game are a little archaic, for example exploration and story, but overall I enjoyed Battle Chasers: Nightwar quite a bit.
I won't go for the Platinum, though, 'cause of NG+, the final boss and some other stuff. :p

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Finally went back to Dark Souls today.. I wasn't really stuck, just suffering from some anxiety and didn't feel like a game where you repeatedly die over and over again was a good idea to be playing while already feeling down. I tried going after Kalameet but got constantly frustrated so I changed targets and went for Manus instead. I'd heard he was harder than Ornstein and Smough but honestly, though I died so many times I felt like I knew what I was doing against him and Manus was a really good fight. A few problematic attacks but nothing really too out there especially after you've already beaten Artorias. Finding the Silver Pendant certainly helped against the raining Dark Magic attacks.

 

I have also been continuing Ratchet and Clank 2016. Just got done with the Blarg Station which was one of the levels I really didn't like in the original game as it was too easy to die in the original, but the new health and strafing made it more bearable to navigate. I also acquired the Groovitron which made enemies dance but I thought, "there's no way that this thing is going to work on vehicle enemies like tanks...

 

Imagine my surprise...

 

 

 

Also still playing Arena here and there, pretty much committed to an Arena video a week on my Youtube channel so here's the deck I've been playing recently.

 

 

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Danganronpa 1 & 2 (PS4)
Technically two separate games but my thoughts apply to both. A visual novel by the Zero Escape team, with Phoenix Wright gameplay and a Hunger Games-type setting.

41e4ee280ad45c08fad56913ec9afef5.jpg

Without trying to spoil anything, I enjoyed the twists and turns of the story, where often the identity of the culprit of the Phoenix Wright-style trials remains a mystery until the end.

I went into these expecting my decisions to effect the story, ala Zero Escape, but ultimately in between trials I was just playing out scenes & following the narrative. I wasn’t a fan of the humour, which was very teenage & a little hit-or-miss.

Ultimately, the trials were the big draw & I’m glad each one felt lengthy. I was often left guessing how it was going to play out, or how the crime was committed until near the end of each, like the best mysteries.

I love the premise and, even if I don’t think these are as good as either the Phoenix Wright or Zero Escape series’, I really enjoyed them. So much so that I’m now playing through the third game in the series too!

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Further to my last update I have now finally finished Dark Souls.

 

The final area was really cool imo, definitely going to be one of the more memorable final areas in a video game for a long time for me I reckon. The final boss took me a fair few tries but eventually came up with a solid strategy (no, I didn't parry) just by constantly backing away, poking in with my Balder Side Sword +15 with the strong attack and healing whenever I'm behind a rock so that I don't lose health whenever Gwyn attacks. What really sealed it was that after poking with my strong attack I would always roll backwards straight afterwards, this turned out to be the key to winning.

 

As for which ending I chose? In spite of everything my character did I felt that perhaps Gwyn's withered state was a sign that replacing him wasn't going to be the solution, so I just turned around and left the room. This game had one of the shortest ending cutscenes I'd ever seen and I looked on Youtube to see what the other one was like and it was even shorter. At least in the ending I got there was dialogue... that being said I do wonder whether thematically I chose the opposite ending to what my character was heading down due to both the main game and the DLC.

 

At any rate I'm happy to be done with the game. Going to focus on finishing Ratchet & Clank 2016 next and then its finally time to start Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

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It's been surprisingly long since I finished a game. As of late, I've been occasionally playing a couple of very different games, that nevertheless still share some unexpected similarities here and there.

First one was an Inti Creates series I've been meaning to try for a good while now. You may remember I bought it alongside Blaster Master Zero:

Azure Striker Gunvolt

Azure_Striker_Gunvolt_cover_artwork.jpg

"What are other words for 'Blue' and 'Bomber'...? To the thesaurus!"

Originally released in 2014 for the 3DS (the version I played, in fact) this was Inti Creates' first ever original IP. Not that they created it totally out of thin air, as IC had developed the Mega Man Zero and Mega Man ZX series back in the mid '00s, and Gunvolt was meant to be a spiritual successor to that sub-series (that I bet they were quite proud of). They even got Keiji Inafune on board with the project, just like an anime fan on prom night in the old times.

Now, MM Zero was defined by its smooth, fast-paced movement, alongside some badass gun-shooting, sword-wielding action, with some classy spritework bringing it all together. Gunvolt is very much like that, being able to dash, jump, having great air control... but not the combat, which is quite different, and a surprising departure from what Mega Man has been doing up until this point.

Gunvolt actually possesses electric powers, namely, a large flashfield around himself that tickles and staggers enemies (like static electricity). Like his name implies, GV also wields a gun, but it barely deals any damage. Instead, the gun shoots markers (think of them as tiny lightning rods) that stick onto enemies, and when GV activates the flashfield, every enemy with a marker (or more) gets electrocuted with massive damage. This is not an ability that you can use willy-nilly, as there's an energy bar behind it, and while you can take a second to recharge it, it depletes easily. If it depletes completely, you have a few seconds of cooldown to recharge, and those can be some looong seconds during a hectic fight.

(At this point, I should really say that, annoyingly, the 3DS version is set to my system's default language and does not allow me to change it, meaning I had to play this entire game in Portuguese. Brazilian Portuguese. I'll say more later, but the main thing you should know is that the flashfield in this version is called... Corona. Seriously)

Other combat options include "Skills" (powerful supers connected to a limited meter), extra guns that fire different trajectories (like one that fires markers over the ground, one that pierces enemies and walls, another one that fires all over the place, but isn't precise, etc.), extra equipment that offers different attributes (faster cooldown, higher defense, lower energy consumption, etc.), and equipment that grants new moves (double jump, air dash, etc.)

Guns are obtained through the story. Equipment is obtained via the synthesis shop (the materials to gather are semi-random rewards for clearing levels, but specific ones can be obtained via achievements). Skills are obtained via levelling up, which is a design decision I'm not on board with: games like these, you ought to git gud at them, not arbitrarily improve your stats via exp points. The way the synthesis shop is structured is also weird, since you need to unlock items by buying previous ones... but not only are materials random, I may not care to buy the "Items heal more" accessory, but I had to do it to unlock most of the others' availability.

So, by shooting some enemies a couple of times, then Corona-ing them from a distance, you can mow down enemies fairly easily. Sure, you can still get hurt along the way, but it does sound fairly easy if you keep your distance, right? As it goes, enemies are designed to prepare for this, meaning they're either quite aggressive, or their defences are top notch. Furthermore, bosses can give you quite some trouble, since their attacks can be very tricky to dodge. Basically, you gotta learn how to dodge while your Corona is active, it's not just easy mode.

...Except the game really wants you to play Easy Mode. First of all, you start with a piece of equipment that grants "prevasion", that is, any damage you suffer is taken from your energy bar instead. I quickly took that shit out because it's stupid to have the "Easy Mode item" on by default. But when you consider that there's a generous level up system, little consequence to dying in a casual run (you just return to the last checkpoint), and even a small chance to be revived when you do die, it looks like Inti Creates (or Inafune) really wanted reviewers to not complain about this game's difficulty. Casually, this game's accessible, almost boringly so (and I swear, prevasion was still somehow active at times, and I had no idea what was causing it. When it happened at one point, I tried to die by jumping onto a spiked floor, and I shit you not, it took almost a minute before my health was depleted)

So what challenge makes this game worth playing? The score system. By defeating enemies efficiently without getting hit, you gain "Kudos", which work as score multipliers. Doing it stylishly (with three markers, and/or while on the air, and/or defeating two or more enemies at once, etc.) earns you even more. If you get hit, you lose all your kudos. If you activate a checkpoint or use a Skill, your kudos get depleted, but they get added into your score. By the end of each level, you get awarded a rank (up to an S+) based on score and time taken. There are also achievements related to specific tasks in specific levels that motivate you to replay them in different ways, maybe with different setups. Under these circumstances, Gunvolt is a much more challenging, very replayable game, and these do motivate a player to git gud.

One main complaint here is that all of this means that the screen always feels super busy. The Corona is flashy, bright, and occupies a lot of the screen, and it's easy to get lost on what's happening. I've been hit a lot of times due to a projectile that eluded my sight over the bright lights, and in some cases, I even thought an enemy projectile had been destroyed when no, it was something unrelated that exploded. I don't blame anybody who says this game hurts their sight.

So, fun gameplay, despite its issues, how's the story, aesthetic, and setting? To my surprise, this was not a robot story like Mega Man usually is, rather, it's an anime cyberpunk setting with super-powered individuals called mutants adepts, each with their personal power called quirks Septima. A megacorp called Sumeragi oppresses, experiments with, and even employs adepts to maintain control over the populace. Gunvolt is an adept with electricity powers that belongs to a rebel group fighting Sumeragi. Shortly after the first mission, Gunvolt leaves the group on good terms, but still does mercenary work for them.

That's the premise on the simplest terms I can give you, because this setting's lore is way thicker than I expected. You can tell a lot of the script was reduced from its original intent (indeed, a lot of it got cut in the western 3DS version), but it's got the makings of an intriguing world, something that Inafune has done fairly consistently in the past. I find it rather ironic that he finally named a character "Asimov", and he's in the non-robot game :heh:

The game is structured like a Mega Man game, giving you 6 levels to beat in any order, each having a robot master Sumeragi adept at the end. I found these individual "case of the week" levels surprisingly engaging and well written, with these bosses actually having interesting personalities and even relevant roles in the story! I already liked how MM Zero handled such missions and bosses, but GV probably has the best execution of these concepts yet.

As I said, the overall story feels rushed. I did grow attached to the characters by the end, and I could see what the twists and emotional beats were going for, but the script needed a lot more meat to it. The original Japanese version had voices doing a lot of heavy lifting, with GV getting briefings and commentary through the levels, and even some trash talking with the bosses during fights. I can see why they removed it (it sounds mighty distracting), but the story we're left with got emptier as a result.

Didn't help that the Brazilian translation sounded like the corniest of animes, and even had some questionable decisions, like translating some lines too literally ("What 'are' you?" sounds good in English, but if you stress the same word in Portuguese, the line now sounds like someone reading a script out loud for the first time) or making up stupid gender-neutral words for a genderfluid character (this one really ticked me off).

But there's a choice I appreciated: One of the adepts, Carrera, says "You're Gunvolt?", and GV makes fun of his wording. I didn't understand why, Carrera was speaking normally. Then he proceeds to use increasingly eloquent vocabulary, and by the end of the cutscene, it finally clicked: he speaks with grammar from Portugal! In English, he uses thees and thous, so the BR version adapted that by using our dialect, which must sound ancient to Brazilians. They unfortunately got few things wrong grammatically (which is how I finally noticed what his speech was going for), but I appreciate seeing my accent being used nonetheless.

Anyway, sorry for the diatribe. As a whole, Azure Striker Gunvolt is a fun action game that, despite some misgivings, still manages to get a lot of things right, and I get the feeling the series can only improve from here. I want to check out Azure Striker Gunvolt 2, but I think I'll get it on the Switch 1+2 pack, as the 3DS isn't well suited for this game. Between the small screen and rigid buttons, it's frustrating to go for S-rankings. Furthermore, my R-button isn't working so well, and that limits how well I use the Corona. So I'll get a version of this game - alongside the sequel - later on a system with a Pro Controller.

And of course, that recent Azure Striker Gunvolt 3 trailer looks mighty promising, with a Zero-like character. Looking forward to it.

---

The other game I played also happens to be topical. It's the 3rd game in the critically acclaimed Hitman trilogy.

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Truly, graphics that the Switch simply can't handle

...Or maybe you've seen through the disguise? It's actually the 3rd game in the Hitman Trilogy collection:

Hitman: Blood Money

Released back in 2006, this was the 4th game in the Hitman series (IO really likes to pretend the first one didn't exist), and the one most gamers of this era remember.

As per usual, Agent 47 is an assassin that finds and kills his targets by blending in a social setting, and sneaking around a bunch until he can create the conditions to discreetly off his target. Between the variety of weapons, killing methods, movement options, disguises and interactions, and a litany of QoL features, this is the best realized Hitman at the time of its release.

Despite the slow-paced, methodical gameplay, Hitman resembles Gunvolt in that replaying levels in different ways is super fun and rewarding. There are always several options to take out your targets, from aiming for a "Silent Assassin" rating, to pulling off something cool, like trying to kill every target in the game with a Sniper or a bomb. Come up with your own strategy and see it realised.

Unlike the previous two games, you're no longer required to get the stealthiest rating to get decent novel weaponry, now you get paid proportionally to your level of professionalism, and use the money to buy custom upgrades for your usual weapons (as a side note, it's a sensible system, but I don't understand why they named the game after it). It's a breath of fresh air, and reduces a lot of stress. My preferred kills would sometimes be met with 2nd best or 3rd best ranking, but at least I get rewarded for them.

I personally always went for quiet assassinations that made sense as a strategy that an assassin would try (for example, spiking a drink in a busy bar with viagra in the hopes that only your target will drink it, which will then cause him to try to have sex in a specific room in a specific way where you can kill him without alerting the lady... is too farfetched. More reasonable to snipe him from a discreet angle and hide my tracks). I would also avoid civilian deaths, save for some methods that make so much sense, some collateral damage was acceptable (the one where a falling chandelier kills both the target and one of his bodyguards is one such instance).

Now, there are some obvious exploits here, and that's unfortunate. For whatever reason, pushing people off ledges counts as "an accident" and won't raise suspicions. Like, it shouldn't be that easy, people should find it suspicious that a seasoned sailor fell off a tall railing. Even worse, "accidents" don't count as collateral damage, so you have these SA runs consisting of pushing a bunch of potential witnesses off into the river, no casualties will be registered. Heck, even intentionally engineering freak accidents (like rigging a grill to set someone on fire) keeps your record clean, and that just ain't right. In those cases, I would often try to take out potential witnesses via incapacitation instead. The kicker is that "someone saw a woman have a drink, then pass out near the couch" lowers your score (because someone found an incapacitated body), but "everybody saw a rigged grill explode and kill the woman" doesn't.

Oh, and dogs count as witnesses! What the fuck even?! I understand a barking dog drawing attention to a body, but the dog witnessing me push my target off a balcony raises my notoriety? Come the fuck on!

*ahem* Anyway, one thing I enjoy about this series is the setting, or how the mission-of-the-week is setup. There's a small, interesting story behind each assassination taking place, and I love immersing into it. I dislike the ones that are just "Enemy fortress swarming with guards", and thankfully Blood Money has none of that. I think the USA was overused a bit in this game, but that's alright, because there weren't any American missions in the previous games, so this is catching up.

Since I bought the Trilogy in Germany, the game is entirely in German, including voices (Gunvolt shares the pain). Since Hitman is such an European Noir series, the German language didn't detract much from the experience in previous games, and even enhanced it in parts. However, it sticks out like a sore thumb here, with the abundance of US settings. It's so clear that certain NPCs are supposed to be speaking the southern dialect, or gangster jive, or even just the "polite professional American" type, but the German actors couldn't evoke any of those speech types at all. Sad days, back when language settings weren't common.

Alongside the isolated missions, there's usually an ongoing interconnected plot. In this case, there are cutscenes of a high-profile US government official talking about the missions that 47 has undertaken the past year. It's actually impressive how well these hold up, graphically and cinematically. Sure, the models are low-poly these days, but they're very expressive, and the lighting and camerawork are excellent.

But man, is the story underwhelming. Hitman 2 kept giving us small hints and foreshadowing the actions of the main villain until the fitting climactic confrontation (coupled with the only real moment of character development 47's ever had). Contracts gave us a smaller introspective story that coloured the setting and ambience of every mission (that once again, still built up to a satisfying finale). Blood Money does a lot of foreshadowing and building up potential plot points... only to show the resolution in 5 seconds, or off-screen. Credit where it's due, if you pay attention, the government official is omitting information and even straight up lying about some details, which is a nice touch... but it's one of those things that's build-up for no good payoff. It's actually impressive how mediocre the main conflict turned out to be, and the final mission was horrible. As such, I prefer to think of this game's story as a series of solid, if mostly disconnected missions. It's better that way.

In that sense, Hitman Contracts is a tighter game, since the whole thing feels planned from beginning to end. But Blood Money has better individual missions. Considering setting, missions, gameplay improvements, and overall feel, I'd say Contracts and Blood Money are roughly on the same level. They're both great.

 

  My 2021 log (Hide contents)

Played/Beat/Completed:

-Fire Emblem: Three Houses (2019) Beat (January 9th)

-Fatal Fury Special (1993) No Goal (January 17th)

-Art of Fighting 2 (1994) No Goal (January 19th)

-Samurai Shodown II (1994) No Goal (January 20th)

-The Last Blade (1997) No Goal (January 22nd)

-Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 - The Newcomers (1998) No Goal (January 22nd)

-King of Fighters 2000 (2000) No Goal (January 23rd)

-King of Fighters 2002 (2002) No Goal (January 23rd)

-Samurai Shodown V Special (2004) No Goal (January 23rd)

-Harmo Knight (2012) Beat (January 25th)

-Furi (2016) Completed (January 31st)

-Life is Strange (Episode 1) (2015) Beat (February 13th)

-The Stanley Parable (2013) Completed (February 14th)

-1979 Revolution: Black Friday (2016) Beat (February 17th)

-Azure Striker Gunvolt (2014) Beat (March 6th)

-Hitman: Blood Money (2006) Completed (March 10th)

 

Dropped:

-Perfect Angle (2015) (January 20th)

 

 

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Yesterday a mate and I finished our For the King two player run.

We played on the easiest difficulty as we figured that the lack of a third character would make the game much harder. That was the case only for a few certain moments, though: The start of the run an the final two dungeons.
In between we usually were decked out with great gear and had lots of money to spend on healing items.

The problem with the final dungeons was a pretty big difficulty spike. Lucky for us, we were equipped with armor and accessories that granted us immunity against the final bosses' status effects :D
In the end we didn't lose a life (my mate did die once, but he resurrected thanks to a blessing) thanks to the myriad of healing items we were able to acquire.

The game suffers from a few issues: A clunky inventory system, some occasional bugs that prevent you from doing anything when it's not your turn (sometimes you like to check your gear and all that) and a few disconnects annoyed us a bit. Other than that we had a lot of fun.

Our run took as about 7 hours and it was marvelous. A mix of joy, rage, despair and vindication. :peace:

Sadly our other mate is gone for a while so the three character run on normal difficulty will have to wait. It's gonna be very tough to complete it, even with knowledge about the final stretches of the game. Can't wait, though :D

Edited by drahkon
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Made some more progress on Ratchet & Clank (2016) though it was mainly just getting through Planet Gaspar. Acquired the Grind Boots and the Jetpack as well as getting the Infobots for Battalia and Pokitaru. The latter came from doing the grind rail mission on Battalia. That's how far I've got so far. Cool how they turned Gaspar into the bolt grinding planet in some ways like the desert planet from Ratchet 2.

 

Also been doing more stuff for Youtube with Soulcalibur VI. The custom character tournament continues...

 

 

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In February I only finished a couple of games, I kicked the month off by playing through Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble on the SNES online app. I've played the other SNES DKC games fairly recently so it was all very familiar to me but this one definitely feels easier than the earlier entries. I have the vaguest of memories of playing it when I was a kid, we must have rented it from Blockbuster or borrowed it from a friend, all that has really stuck in my memory from then is zooming around the lake in the overworld. It's impressive that Rare were able to crank these out annually but it does feel a little formulaic when you get to the third one, it was fun to play through but it didn't leave much of an impression.

Secondly I finally played through Resident Evil Revelations 2 on Switch. I really loved the first game on 3DS, it was such an impressive technical achievement at the time and I had a blast playing through it so I expected to love the sequel but it falls a bit flat most of the time. The episodic nature should suit a Resident Evil game but I felt like it wasn't that effective here, I think it would have been better if each episode had focused on one set of characters - basically splitting each episode into two distinct parts, giving a natural break between each chapter (meaning more, shorter episodes) but given they were charging for each one Capcom obviously needed to maximise value, but it works to the detriment of the game. I'm sure it must have had a similar sort of budget to the first game but most of the time it feels as if the developers put less resources into it, some of the visual presentation is quite poor and clunky at times. Mostly I enjoyed my play through though, there were plenty of frustrating moments but it had enough of that out there, RE charm to be engaging and fun. I had a good enough time to give the extra episodes a chance, I made it through Little Miss and thought it was pretty poor, but decided to press on with The Struggle anyway. It seemed okay, more of a raid/mercenaries kind of mode but the permadeath mechanic is so needless - I got killed a few times by one of those tentacle things in the final section and ran out of rations, I really can't be bothered to play through it all again and see it through to the end though. 

I hoped to get through 3D World by the end of the month but I got stuck on Champion's Road for bloody ages so didn't finish it until a week or so into March - I'll give my thoughts on that next month. I finally managed to get my hands on a PS5 too so I intend to spend a lot of time playing that in the coming weeks, knocking off the last of my PS4 backlog while checking out what the new generation has to offer.

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Remnant From The Ashes. Didn't know much about it, first seemed like a fantasy thing, then turned into a basic zombie premise but with monsters/demons instead of zombies. Clunky gameplay. Is designed for online coop with revival, so "special infected" encounters will typically kill you, sending you back to the start of the level with all enemies respawned. Ended up dropping it quite quickly.

 

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown. Despite some issues with colour (the "current target" marker is pretty much invisible a lot of the time), still enjoyed it. Your character is oddly mute. Some interesting levels and a fairly interesting (if confusing due to how it's told) story.

 

Superhot. It has some fun and interesting gameplay. It would be far better if it was just levels you select from a menu. The "story" and parts between the levels was just dumb and annoying, the game trying too hard to be edgy and cool. Some really annoying sound effects which actually made me turn the volume down so I could barely hear it.

Take this gameplay, create a sort of "Quantum Leap" story where you get placed in the bodies of people in danger and need to help out and it could be amazing. Could even have different time periods and stuff like that.

 

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Now that I'm done with God of War I needed to find something else to play and I remembered Frostpunk.
Last night at about 8pm I wanted to put one or two hours into the save file I started a few weeks ago. At 3am in the morning I lost the game and wondered where time has gone :laughing:

The game doesn't do a good job of teaching you every mechanic. The tutorial entries work, but there's so much more in play that isn't explained anywhere (as far as I can tell).

Things started to fall apart for my city once part of my population decided to leave to London unless I convinced them to stay. The thing is: I had no idea how to do that properly. The game told me to either achieve it with "Order and Discipline" or "Faith". Depending on what you choose you get access to certain buildings and laws that should've helped. I built what was suggested to me but nothing worked...

After some guidance from the internet I found out that my "Hope"-meter wasn't filled up properly and I didn't do much to fill it up :D Eventually peoples' constant discontent and lack of hope doomed me and I just let my downfall crash down on me.

Gonna start a new game later today and properly plan ahead. It really is not a good idea just to react to problems.

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Besides Super Mario 3D World, I haven't completed many games but I have been dabbing in a number of different titles on different platforms.

Rocksmith Remastered (PC)

 

I’ve been playing quite a bit of Rocksmith lately, after acquiring a big load of the DLC tracks. For those who don’t know Rocksmith, it’s basically Guitar Hero but with a real guitar or bass guitar. The difficulty increases when you play well, and that way you are learning to play the instrument and to play the songs.

 

I got a second-hand guitar and I’ve been playing a bunch of the easier songs available which is a lot of fun! On bass guitar I’m a bit more skilled so it’s been a blast playing through a variety of songs.

 

Inside (PC)

 

 

 

I have finally played Inside, and I’m glad to finally have experienced it! It’s a tricky game to talk about without spoiling it. Gameplay-wise it is a pretty straightforward game where you can walk, jump and perform an action (grabbing stuff, flipping switches). The obvious thing to do is compare it with Limbo and I think Limbo has the better puzzles (they were a bit more complex as far as I can remember). Inside though has a bit more variety in gameplay, and wins in the atmosphere and graphics department.

 

Story-wise it’s a pretty vague story, but I won’t go into it here. People who played it will know it and people who haven’t played should go in pretty blank I think. Small spoiler but not really a spoiler: 

 

Spoiler

what a twist at the end, the last half hour was a proper wtf experience!

 

It’s a pretty brief experience if you don’t go all out trying to find all the collectibles. In the end I only found 3 of those (out of the 14 or so) and the game took me about 3 hours. Definitely recommended, if you can get it in a sale you won’t lose much as it’s a short but bittersweet ride.

 

Burnout Paradise Remastered (Switch)

 

I never played the original (or any Burnout game for that matter, always was a Need for Speed guy for arcade racing). But I’m seriously enjoying my time with it! There is enough variety to keep it interesting, with different game modes, the secrets to find, cars to unlock and times and high scores to set. The DLC Surf Island is a great inclusion, it’s a more compact map but with a lot more verticality and I think I prefer it over the original city.

 

The open world is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand it’s great to be able to find your own route in a race, but I have on numerous occasions missed a turn or I just had the map wrong and then it’s game over.

 

Online has been fun as well, I’ve played a couple of games with people from here and Discord. Online the variety is there as well, with the different missions, races, marked man or just messing around in the free driving mode.

 

 

(Clownferret being an arse!)

 

Plenty still for me to unlock so I’m keeping this installed for my racing fix.

 

R-Type Dimensions EX (Switch)

 

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This was a bit of a disappointment. I bought R-Type in the last sale, because I have fond memories of the Game Boy version and this remake looked promising with the revamped graphics and the inclusion of 2 R-Type games.

 

You can play both games in the original graphics mode (and matching soundtrack), or with modern graphics and audio. What’s cool is you can switch on the fly with a push of a button, during a play-through. What I often did is play in modern graphics but switch to classic every now and then to see how a boss or environment looks in the classic graphics.

 

The disappointment comes from the fact that I just don’t enjoy the games. I think I can safely conclude that shoot-em-ups just are not for me, and especially these “unfair” arcade ones which are clearly made to replay dozens of times to learn the patterns. Luckily there is an infinite mode that has endless lives, otherwise I wouldn’t have made it past world 2 I guess. I just don’t have the reflexes or patience anymore to cope with these kinds of games.

 

I will play through them again on full classic mode though, but after that this can go into the archive.

 

Mario Tennis Open (3DS)

 

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I got a copy of Mario Tennis Open second-hand and I’ve been putting a bit of time in it. Played the minigames and unlocked the gold ones for those, and played some offline tournaments in singles and doubles.

 

It’s a pretty entertaining game, but I can imagine that if you got this on launch for the full price it is a bit barebones. To be honest I have had that feeling with more of the Mario sports titles and I always felt they could just make a Mario Sports game (kind of like the Mario & Sonic Olympic games) and throw in 3 or 4 sports.

 

What is there plays solid though, the option to do the highlighted power shots is pretty useful in the beginning but when the matches get a bit harder and I learned what button does what shot I started mixing it up a bit more. I’ll probably give it a couple of more whirls but I can’t be bothered to unlock everything.

 

The Legend Of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (3DS)

 

img_triforceheroes_2.jpg

 

I only put in a little bit of time in it, but just wanted to share my initial thoughts. As a single player game it is pretty decent, and the first few levels are okay but they didn’t really trigger me to play on. I got a The Lost Vikings kind of vibe from it, due to the switching between Links. I can imagine that when the levels get more difficult it will get a bit more hectic in single player though. The story is really quite forgettable though and a bit silly.

 

I found a couple of games online as well and when everyone cooperates it’s great. But I was in a lobby with a bunch of freaking annoying people who would just run around at the end of a level refusing to step on the circle. Bloody awful.

 

It would be cool if I could get a couple of you guys in to play it, because I think it’ll be a lot more fun that way!

 

And I think it would be even better if the next multiplayer Zelda title throws in additional characters and not just Links. Hyrule Warriors has proven that playing other characters from the Zelda universe adds variety, so I hope we can one day see a Four Swords Adventure type of game where I can play as Link, Zelda, Impa, a Goron, and so on. 

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I really enjoyed Triforce Heroes when I played it. It was mostly in coop (I remember Nintendo organised times for reviewers, so I played with other review sites).

Burnout Paradise is one of my favourite games, mainly due to the online. I played it on 360 for over 1,000 hours, managed to find a good group of people inside the game. It probably wouldn't have happened if party chat existed back then, the in-game chat was great when you found the right people. Completing all 500 online challenges was great.

Aso online stunt run is great (although a score of under 10,000,000 is a personal failure for me).

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Persona 5 Royal

Took me 102 hours over pretty much a whole year but I finally completed it just now.

Another solid Persona game overall. Maybe didn’t have the intrigue or Persona 4’s story or the best group of characters but still really enjoyable. I ended up maxing out all my stats but I think I had 6 social links that I didn’t manage to finish (one apparently I just forgot to start!).

The new Royal content actually seemed a bit disappointing for quite a while, not bad but a bit lacklustre but you hit a certain point in the game where you realise it was just a slow burn and it became some of my favourite stuff so I’m glad this is the version I completed.

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I just need to decide now what game to play next. It’s very tempting to just move straight onto Persona 5 Strikers as I’d love to carry on the story but to avoid burnout I might play something else for a bit. I’m thinking maybe it’s time to retry Red Dead 2 as I gave up on that relatively early at launch because I wasn’t enjoying it or maybe replay an Ace Attorney game as it’s been a while and I do love those games.

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12 hours ago, Vileplume2000 said:

The Legend Of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (3DS)

 

img_triforceheroes_2.jpg

 

I only put in a little bit of time in it, but just wanted to share my initial thoughts. As a single player game it is pretty decent, and the first few levels are okay but they didn’t really trigger me to play on. I got a The Lost Vikings kind of vibe from it, due to the switching between Links. I can imagine that when the levels get more difficult it will get a bit more hectic in single player though. The story is really quite forgettable though and a bit silly.

 

I found a couple of games online as well and when everyone cooperates it’s great. But I was in a lobby with a bunch of freaking annoying people who would just run around at the end of a level refusing to step on the circle. Bloody awful.

 

It would be cool if I could get a couple of you guys in to play it, because I think it’ll be a lot more fun that way!

 

And I think it would be even better if the next multiplayer Zelda title throws in additional characters and not just Links. Hyrule Warriors has proven that playing other characters from the Zelda universe adds variety, so I hope we can one day see a Four Swords Adventure type of game where I can play as Link, Zelda, Impa, a Goron, and so on. 

Would have thought the trolls would have moved on by now, the player base can't be that big at this point. I'm still up for some games, I think lockdown scuppered our previous attempt.

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Been playing Remnant: From the Ashes for the last few days.

It's dumb, it's clunky, it's janky, it's bland but I can't stop playing :laughing: 
Probably helps that a few mates and I do the occasional co-op session.

I'm close to finishing the (very short) campaign. I don't care for the story, the world, the lore, anything really. And yet, I keep playing. :D 

Weird times...

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