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Your 2021 Gaming Diary

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First game of 2021 down.

Last night I finished off the final few levels of Halo: Combat Evolved on PC and my god I fucking hate the flood.

I finished this game WAAAAAY back in 2002/3, I think and had forgotten just how annoyingly relentless they are. I was thinking the only appeared in The Library for some reason, which I slogged through back in September. I had the final three levels to finish off and thought it was basically - Assault on the Control Room backwards, Truth and Reconciliation 2.0 and then Pillar of Autumn (encore), which it essentially was + a shit ton of Flood. The par time for the final three levels was 55 minutes, and they took me over 3 hours and many, many deaths. The experience was not a great one, to be honest. Combat rust + not remembering what to do made it quite a laboured experience, especially the final level where you need to destroy the engine and the enemies just never stop respawning.

The first Halo game is such a tale of two halves. The opening few levels are absolutely sublime, right up to the Library, then it seems to nose-dive a little once the Flood appear. Can't say I enjoyed it anywhere near as much as I have done replaying the first 5 levels over the years. There are some nice set-pieces to experience in the final three levels, particularly swiping a Banshee in Two Betrayals and the Warthog section at the end of the game, but the Flood just get tiresome well before the game's conclusion. 

Anyway, it's done, and now I can move on to Halo 2. 

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Finished Jedi Fallen Order. I really enjoyed it but it just seemed to end a bit abruptly, I think it needed another larger planet. It's a really fun game, and I enjoyed the characters and story and I'm planning on getting all unlockables and trophies. 

Loved that there were plenty of nods to the prequels, would have been nice to get some more flashbacks. Wasn't expecting any references to the sequels, so I was pleasantly surprised by that (especially as it confirms a popular theory). Interested to see where it goes if there's a sequel.

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10 minutes ago, Cube said:

Wasn't expecting any references to the sequels, so I was pleasantly surprised by that (especially as it confirms a popular theory)

Yeah that was a great nod to the sequels.

Spoiler

Starkiller Base was always planned to be Ilum though, the reference book that released on the same day as The Force Awakens had it down as the exact same (small) diameter, 660km.

 

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Posted (edited)

First game of 2021 has been finished:

Demon's Souls on PS5.

What a great beginning to a new year of gaming.
The game that started it all, that created a genre...perfectly recreated to show off the power of Sony's new console. :peace:

Given my experience with the Soulsborne series it was actually very easy...only died three or four times I think.
Had a lot of fun and can't wait to play it again, this time completing NG+ with a mate.
And only a few more trophies (pretty much just a matter of playing through the game again, taking care of a boss related and a certain trap related trophy) and the Platinum is mine :)

Now I'll put my focus on Yakuza: Like a Dragon and throw in a level of Yooka-Layle and the Impossible Lair here and there. :D

Edited by drahkon
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5 hours ago, Nicktendo said:

I was thinking the only appeared in The Library for some reason, which I slogged through back in September. 

Time to git gud.

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Crazy to think it was 9 years ago when I last played through the first Halo game. :( 

I honestly don't mind the flood. I like how frantic and chaotic fire fights become once they arrive. It's so satisfying getting one to pop on a bunch of enemies. :D 

I know you mentioned on the podcast how you enjoy the lore of the series but can't remember if you said you had read any of the books. If not, I highly recommend you do. They REALLY flesh out the characters and add so much depth to the Halo universe. The same goes for the Gears of War books.

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First major activity on Magic Arena this year is to take part in the Historic Brawl event that's going on.

 

I decided this would also now be the basis of a week long series of videos so here's the first in that series where we play a Boros deck in Historic Brawl:

 

Yes, the use of the Smash Bros variant of Brawl logo was very intentional!

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2 hours ago, Hero-of-Time said:

Time to git gud.

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Crazy to think it was 9 years ago when I last played through the first Halo game. :( 

I honestly don't mind the flood. I like how frantic and chaotic fire fights become once they arrive. It's so satisfying getting one to pop on a bunch of enemies. :D 

I know you mentioned on the podcast how you enjoy the lore of the series but can't remember if you said you had read any of the books. If not, I highly recommend you do. They REALLY flesh out the characters and add so much depth to the Halo universe. The same goes for the Gears of War books.

I will never, ever get that achievement. I can barely finish most levels on Normal, let alone Legendary :grin: You have my respect though, I think the library took me 1hr 45 this time round. Absolutely insane, it's just corridor after corridor after corridor.

As for the Flood, I'm not keen on them because it's almost impossible to outsmart them or use tactics that work on the Covenant. Yes, it's cool to have two completely different enemies, and the exploding ones are super fun, but it is often just too relentless. I often end up get stuck between the beefy lads and a wall with no where to move. It's frustrating as hell. Tearing through small waves of them is great fun, but when it is just non-stop, I just can't be arsed with it.

I haven't checked out any of the books, but will definitely look into them! Speaking of Gears, I got GOW5 on Steam at the back end of last year for a pitiful amount. Not played one since the first so it'll be interesting to see how that holds up later in the year. Not very high up my list, just thought I'd give it a shot when it had such a low price tag. 

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11 minutes ago, Nicktendo said:

I will never, ever get that achievement. I can barely finish most levels on Normal, let alone Legendary :grin: You have my respect though, I think the library took me 1hr 45 this time round. Absolutely insane, it's just corridor after corridor after corridor.

As for the Flood, I'm not keen on them because it's almost impossible to outsmart them or use tactics that work on the Covenant. Yes, it's cool to have two completely different enemies, and the exploding ones are super fun, but it is often just too relentless. I often end up get stuck between the beefy lads and a wall with no where to move. It's frustrating as hell. Tearing through small waves of them is great fun, but when it is just non-stop, I just can't be arsed with it.

I haven't checked out any of the books, but will definitely look into them! Speaking of Gears, I got GOW5 on Steam at the back end of last year for a pitiful amount. Not played one since the first so it'll be interesting to see how that holds up later in the year. Not very high up my list, just thought I'd give it a shot when it had such a low price tag. 

Gears 5 is pretty average but then I had certain expectations going into the game that simply weren't met. 1-3 were fantastic games that all tied into the books nicely but 4 and 5 were well below the quality of the original trilogy. I feel exactly the same when it comes to the Halo series. 1-3, ODST, Wars and Reach were all amazing but everything 343 have done has been shoddy in comparison. I have very little excitement for their vision of the Halo franchise.

As for the Halo books, yeah definitely check them out. The original trilogy of books (Fall of Reach, The Flood, First Strike) are all cracking reads. Fall of Reach goes into how the Spartan program was created, why John was picked and how the child soldiers were trained. I kinda wanna give it another read now. :D 

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Hey! Go back in time and read my 2020 catchup post!

 

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I 100% Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 yesterday.

For Christmas, @Dcubed got me a GameCube! And Shadow the Hedgehog... If a present ever symbolised the back-handed compliment, that was it.

Thankfully, he also got me every Tony Hawk game on the system, so I've been playing Shadow and whenever I can't take any more for the day, I switched to THPS3, so I can play a game that isn't crap.

But yeah, completed it. (Well, with one character, I ain't got time to do it more than 20 times these days) @Dcubed said that he got a bit rusty with Tony Hawk games when he played his copy recently. (He got himself all of the games as well)

But not me, clicked almost immediately, it's like riding a bike! Which is ironic, because I most definitely play Tony Hawk games better than I actually ride a bike.

Three hours later, I'm moving on to the fourth game. Bigger budget on this one. For starters, it has the skaters actually voiced by their real life counterparts.

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Finally completed Untitled Goose Game yesterday. I downloaded it when it came out but only had a small session on it, but when I saw that there had been a co-op update I decided to jump back in with my other half, and we ended up completing the game in two sessions.

For an environmental puzzle game, I thought it was pretty fantastic overall. I can't recall a single time where I thought the solution to a puzzle was too abstract or difficult, and I really enjoyed the music and art style. I hope they make a sequel, with cats.

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On the dinosaur world in Crash 4 now. Did the first level of that world and also went back to previous level to get some of the gems, I have the red and green coloured gems too.

 

Snow world was pretty awesome, I especially liked how one of the levels had a remix of Snow Go's theme on it, was one of my favourite themes in the game for years and it's nice it's getting a lot more recognition for that in recent years.

 

 

 

 

Also, Historic Brawl week on Youtube continues with a wolf deck. We're gonna have fun with this thing!

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Went back and finished off the World Tour mode in Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory.

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It's the only time you'll ever see me finish a Kingdom Hearts game on Proud difficulty!

That artwork on the right isn't even remotely accurate. Shimomura soundtrack and not a single violin!

Still plenty to do, but the main meat of the game is done at least.

Edited by Glen-i
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Finished the dinosaur world in Crash 4. Managed to get two box gems in the last two levels which were namely Dino Dash and it's alternate timeline level. Somehow missed the box gem in the second level in the world by one every single time, I guess I missed a different box both times...

 

Also put out a couple more videos on Arena since the last time... the last two in the series

 

 

 

 

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Finished the Star Wars Squadrons single player. Really enjoyed it, is a bit in between X-Wing and Rogue Squadron in terms of style.

It was more than I expected. I was thinking the missions would be the same from both sides, but both the Imperial and New Republic pilots have completely unique missions, it's also s bit longer then I thought.

I may go through again to try and get the medals, and perhaps a higher difficulty.

 

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I finally got a Jirachi in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX.

Huh? That doesn't sound like a big deal warranting a post? Then you don't know how insanely difficult this is to pull off.

Jirachi is found at the end of Wish Cave. An absolute hell hole of a dungeon that consists of 99 gruelling floors that will make you want to throw your Switch at a wall.

"But Glen, it's only Level 45" I hear you cry, "You must have a level 100 team by now, just steamroll it with that."

I would then say, "That's cute, play more PMD."

Wish Cave is one of three dungeons in this game that upon entering, reset your Pokémon to level 5. Making the game almost a true rogue like.

I managed to eventually conquer it thanks to overpowered death Pokémon, Kecleon, and 50 Joy Seeds. (It was still touch and go at the halfway point, Kecleon's bonkers stats are more of a gradual thing these days instead of being instantly maxed out at level 40 back in the DS era, so he's only half bonkers at level 50)

But I never have to go to Wish Cave again! And Jirachi fulfills it's only useful role in Pokémon history of bragging rights.

Now there's Celebi, who is in another level reset dungeon, and it's even harder than Wish Cave! You're only allowed 1 Pokémon and you can't bring in items. So Kecleon isn't viable because it levels up way too slow! Gonna spend another 300 hours attempting that...

Edited by Glen-i
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Just finished the space world in Crash 4. And that means I have beaten N. Tropy. That fight was the most epic fight I've ever seen in a Crash Bandicoot game...

 

 

 

The correct answer to that one by the way was that I completely missed the Bonus stage, replayed the level and managed to get the Box Gem.

 

 

 

 

Also there's a female version of N. Tropy from another dimension that the male N. Tropy is flirting with, This whole concept makes me laugh but it also makes sense!

 

Oh yeah, the N. Tropy boss fight was really good. You fight the two Tropys through this epic platforming challenge where you have to reach them first before you can even do any damage. Grinding through all dimensions before using the masks to help you cross certain platforms and then the actual fight part against the Tropys is pretty intense and not a copy and past of Crash 3. Though I suppose the fact that you have to cross several different platforms to reach them is a reference to the original Crash 3 fight.

 

Yet somehow... the game isn't over yet. That Tropy fight was such a grand final boss scale and Tropy wasn't even the final boss? Hmm...

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Ready to make my first 2021 post! It's been a long time coming, but it's finally done. After 165 hours of recorded game time (but surely 200+ hours in practice), I finally finished:

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

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I feel so attacked right now

After months and months of slow progress, I finally beat my first (and hopefully the longest) campaign in this game.

I've been intentionally exploring as many aspects of the game as I could (trying to master several classes, complete every paralogue that came my way, went for a few rare beasts, read the vast majority of the dialogue, saw every single support, etc.), hence the long playtime. For future playthroughs, I'll likely be much more efficient, even if I keep focusing on the plot.

As a whole, I actually liked the different pace of the game, compared to other FEs. In Garreg Mach, we can talk to our units during peace time, read up the lore at any time, interact with other characters in smaller situations that make sense, influence character growth and supports a lot easier... On one hand, it becomes easy to exploit the best paths, but on the other hand, Maddening exists.

Loved playing as the Golden Deer, and I definitely enjoyed soaking the world's lore from that perspective. In fact, I love how this game possesses such a thick lore, but rarely spells it details out loud. So many reveals weren't reveals at all, but left for the player to find or figure out for themselves (or even just talked about in a different route). Also, it's fair to say Claude is now one of my favourite lords in the series, and I now want a prequel starring his parents, Blazing Blade style.

Plot-wise, there's a lot to dissect, but I'm overall very pleased. It's a bold choice to do a grey conflict like this again (being able to choose any of the sides), but they actually managed to do it very well, and I enjoyed the results. The worldbuilding is fascinating, and its conveyed in a subtle way that reminds me of Elibe, which as high a praise as you get from me.

Even without the lore, the characters on their own easily carry the game. The writing and voice acting are easily on the same level of Shadows of Valentia, and that helps in creating a huge lovable cast you can easily get attached to. I also want to give a shout out to Tea Time, a surprisingly good "Date Simulator", even if I think it still needs some extra polish.

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Shamir, why do you keep hurting me with truth?

Gameplay-wise, I like all the toys we're given. The gauntlets, the gambits, the monsters, the combat arts, the utility spells, the various Rallies, the versatility of picking your dancer... Lots of good stuff, once you understand how it all mixes together. My main complaint is that the endgame jobs are so weirdly implemented (Why does Mortal Savant feel worse than Swordmaster? Why aren't Assassin, Fortress Knight, and Paladin considered Master Classes? How am I supposed to build a Great Knight? Why the fuck are fist-leaning classes barred from women? Heck, why are the Dark Magic classes male-only, when only 3 people learn dark magic, and two of those are women?!), resulting in a system that feels far more rigid than it should be. The DLC classes help in this regard, but I do think they're patching an issue that shouldn't be there in the first place.

(P.S.: I don't like Divine Pulse, and that's all I'll say)

Map design was unimpressive. A lot of missions had cool ideas in a vacuum, but bizarrely designed maps (like, a lategame map has a treasure chest in a far away corner, surrounded by enemies. If you risk going there, you're rewarded with... a Brave Sword that you can buy in Garreg Mach. Why even?). I thought the most impressive thing about the second half of the game is that you're implicitly encouraged to spare enemies and finish missions super quickly (something that barely any FE game has convincingly done), but I can't help but feel that this was a fortunate accident.

Presentation-wise, a lot of fun has been made of jpeg oranges. Rightfully so, they're hilarious. But overall, the graphics are more than serviceable, what matters is that the anime cutscenes look great, and the art style is expressive, memorable, and bright. Music-wise it's phenomenal, with some impeccable music choices in key moments, using a soundtrack that's gorgeous on its own (I had listened to Chasing Daybreak before, but hearing it in context is to experience it properly). I'm also personally proud that I managed to avoid hearing a single note of God-Shattering Star until I reached that battle myself.

There are a few other flaws scattered throughout the game, though to avoid rambling (like with the job system above), I'll just say that there are a lot of rough edges in design and/or writing through the game still. It's normal for a game of this scope, and minor in the grand scheme of things. I'm only saying that, as much as I loved this game, I'm not blind to its flaws.

tl;dr

Narrative..........5/5
Characters.......5/5
Mechanics........4/5
Map Design......2/5
Graphics...........3/5
Music................5/5
Game Length.................................................../5

Overall, an ambitious (but still excellent) game that accomplishes most of what it wants to do. Can't ask for more. It might be in my personal Top 3 for the series, but it's hard to say right now.

In the future, I'll play the Cindered Shadows missions (I bought the DLC some time ago), followed by a Crimson Flower run. Just not right now.

  My 2020 log (Hide contents)

Played/Beat/Completed:

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

 

Currently Playing:

-Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light (1990)

After finally felling this juggernaut, I can be content with 2020. As for 2021, it feels like an open book right now. I want to do more of my physical backlog, but I'm also pondering a potentially fun way to help thin out my digital backlog... Hopefully I'll put it into practice this month.

Edited by Jonnas
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My first completed games of 2021:

  1. Tetris Effect: Connected
  2. Doom Eternal

Tetris Effect was cool, I really liked how well it blends your gameplay with the visuals and audio. Lots of variation with all of the different themes as well, although a few of the vocal ones were slightly too cheesy for me. :shakehead The co-op multiplayer mode is genius though, that moment when each player's individual screens connect and you can then momentarily work together across the entire puzzle... epic stuff! :cool:

As for Doom Eternal, well I was definitely impressed with the presentation (something I wasn't really expecting, coming off Cyberpunk 2077), it looks amazing! :o Super well crafted and everything is so crisp, not a single dodgy texture in sight. But as for the game itself, while it was enjoyable at first, the longer it went on, the less fun it became. :hmm:

I think I just got tired of the extreme and relentless pace of it, there's basically no downtime at all. It was exhilarating initially, but the later levels started to take the piss, they basically throw multiples of every enemy type at you all at once, at which point it just becomes a complete and utter clusterfuck! :laughing: I get that it's supposed to be overwhelming so that you feel like a badass after finally defeating all the demons, but it's absolutely ridiculous at times. :heh:

Also, I wasn't a fan of the "platforming" at all. Lost count of how many times I fell to my DOOM (sorry :grin:) as a result of the flaky climbing/jumping mechanics. Oh, and the online multiplayer isn't my cup of tea either. Was expecting it to be like the 2016 version, but instead it's this weird 2 demons vs 1 slayer malarkey. :blank:

Anyway, still glad I finally got to check it out, but yeah, also happy that it was via Game Pass and I certainly never want to play it again! :hehe:

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33rd floor of Purity Forest on PMD: Rescue Team DX before I fainted. Stupid Dugtrio and it's stupid Earth Power...

After studying what possible moves every Pokémon can have at Level 5 (Don't bother, I already know how nerdy that is), I think Heracross might be my best hope of success.

Pros

It can start off with Arm Thrust, a multi hitting move. Multi hitting moves are stupid powerful in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon!

It can also start with Bullet Seed, another multi-hitting move that can hit from a distance! That's literally one of the best moves in the game!

I gave it the rare quality called 'Rapid Bulls-eye', which makes all multi-hitting moves have perfect accuracy. In case multi-hitting moves aren't broken enough.

Guts is a pretty decent ability that boosts Attack if Heracross has a status effect.

If I manage to find an Empowerment Seed, then Heracross can Mega Evolve! Apart from the obvious stat boost, this changes Guts to Skill Link, which makes all multi-hitting moves hit the maximum amount of times.

Cons

Will literally have a heart attack if pecked by a Pidgey.

Heracross isn't a Kecleon, so it's stats are pretty average.

Gonna give this dungeon another attempt today.

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Resumed my most recent save file last night on 160 Stars and reacquainted myself with Starshine Beach Galaxy today.

It's such a boring level :sad:

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After @Hero-of-Time and I had a brief moment discussing the best DS game ever created, Super Princess Peach... imagine my surprise when my OH told me that there was a bag on the stairs with some old games in that he’d found when boxing things up for our upcoming house move. 
 

The bag was stuffed in a box from the last time we moved house like 5 years ago, and there were so many gems in there... including this! 
 

D3za5L6.jpg

So, I’ve fired up my 2DS and this is going to be my night time ‘before bed’ play. 
:D

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To this day, I still have no idea how Mario managed to get blindsided by some random Hammer Brother. How is he not Bowser's right hand turtle after pulling that off!?

But wait! He's a Hammer Brother with a grey colour scheme and horns! Woahhhh! Totally on another level!

In today's culture, I highly doubt Super Princess Peach would ever be tolerated if it was released today. Not as it is.

Decent game though.

Edited by Glen-i

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12 hours ago, Aneres11 said:

After @Hero-of-Time and I had a brief moment discussing the best DS game ever created, Super Princess Peach... imagine my surprise when my OH told me that there was a bag on the stairs with some old games in that he’d found when boxing things up for our upcoming house move. 
 

The bag was stuffed in a box from the last time we moved house like 5 years ago, and there were so many gems in there... including this! 
 

D3za5L6.jpg

So, I’ve fired up my 2DS and this is going to be my night time ‘before bed’ play. 
:D

Er7cjkrXYAEWJAL?format=jpg&name=large

👍

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1 hour ago, Glen-i said:

 

In today's culture, I highly doubt Super Princess Peach would ever be tolerated if it was released today. Not as it is.

Decent game though  

Wait why?! 

Edited by Aneres11

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