Review the last game you finished

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#381

Post by I am nobody » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:06 pm

R-6. Pokemon HeartGold (12/4) (DS)

Everyone's played this, so I'll keep it short. HG is one of the most impressively content-rich Pokemon games yet made, and the inclusion of moves and mons from later gens does a lot to improve the variety of combat versus the original releases. That said, it also has the worst grinding problem of any of the games I've played recently, with an abrupt 15 level jump from the strongest encounter in Victory Road to Lance's infamous Dragonites, another 15 level jump from Blue's Pidgeot to the Lance's Dragonite in the rematch, and a further 13 level jump from that to Red's Pikachu in the finale. The game absolutely has the space to balance those spikes out, but a baffling decision to keep wild encounters in Kanto closer to their levels in RBY and to keep all Kanto trainers in the 40s means you really don't gain much XP in the second half of the game.

I think White 2 has taken the best-in-series crown from it, but it's still a great game that's easy to recommend.

67. Sayonara Wild Hearts (12/4) (Switch)

SWH is basically an hour of one of those music videos that pretends it's a game. It looks and sounds incredible, but like many of said music videos, it's a shallow and poorly designed game. If the most important part of a rhythm game is the player's ability to "read" the way the inputs sync to the music, then SWH is the Linear B of rhythm games: Some incredibly patient and devoted person out there will probably figure out what it's trying to say eventually, but for the rest of us it's just gibberish.

There's really two problems that cause that. First, the parts of the game that play a bit like Audiosurf are occasionally full of instant-kill hazards, but these almost never have anything to do with the music, are often placed so that dodging them is barely possible without prior knowledge, and are sometimes even in sections where the camera has been rotated to make your directional inputs unintuitive. Second, it's full of boss fights where you press A to match a circle, a la osu!, but the circles don't close at a constant rate and, like the hazards, are not connected to the music. Deaths rarely felt like my fault, and I took advantage of the skip feature three or four times for sections that were particularly bad.

I finished it just because it's so short and it was pretty enough to hold my attention for an hour, but it's definitely not worth anything close to the asking price.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#382

Post by I am nobody » Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:32 pm

68. A Plague Tale: Innocence (12/16) (PC)

I wrote this one off originally because it's so on brand for publisher Focus Home Interactive: An interesting concept for a game done with an AA budget by a studio without much pedigree. Whether it's Styx, nearly the entire Spiders catalogue, or Cities XL, they're remarkably consistent about making games that you can totally see being great with more time, but that have enough flaws to prevent them from attracting more than a cult following. And yet along comes Asobo Studio, maker of a handful of licensed Disney games, with the kind of third person narrative-focused adventure usually left for Sony first party and breaks the curse with strong reviews all around.

Plague Tale follows Amicia and her brother Hugo on a journey across the war and (surprise!) plague-ridden France of 1346 to find a cure for his mysterious disease and/or curse. There are a few puzzles per level, but for the most part the things in your way are more dangerous: The soldiers of The Inquisition, who want Hugo for their own ends, and the plague, which takes the form of swarms of light-phobic rats that can strip an adult to the bone like terrestrial piranhas. The former are usually dealt with via mostly lethal stealth, and the latter are sprinkled on to combat or puzzle sequences to make them more intense and dynamic. "Darkness is deadly" enemies have been done plenty of times before, but making it something as tangibly disgusting as a rat swarm and also as graphically brutal as their attacks are really elevates it to feel like a new idea. Gameplay-wise, my only real complaint is that Amicia is almost comically skilled with the sling - you lock on to heads almost immediately, never miss, and always one-hit-kill when not blocked by a helmet. I *think* this is intentional and meant to show growth over the course of the story, but it's weirdly inconsistent with the tone of the rest of the game.

Like Hellblade a few years ago, Plague Tale is an AA game that largely looks the part of the biggest AAA titles. Environmental detail is phenomenal across the board, the lighting system is, as you might expect, one of the best I've seen, and even the facial animations are great. They focused their effort where it really mattered and didn't waste time on models that weren't important. The Inquisition has a whole lot of twin brothers in it, and every now and then one rat in the swarm will act a bit wonky, but everything else is so beautiful that you're not going to care much.

Although generally strong, the story suffers most from Asobo's limited budget. You can tell that they wanted twice the 8 hours they had to work with, and almost all of the major cutscenes compress events together that really needed more space to be effective. Problems that would've been resolved over a chapter in a bigger game are dealt with in a conversation or two, and events that might've been spaced across a handful of cutscenes instead occur rapid-fire in one. There's nothing wrong with any of the components in isolation, but most of them don't have the space they need to be effective, and the multi-event cutscenes in particular lessen the writing's impact because it's so implausible that so much would happen in sequence.

The narrative pacing issues keep it from being one of the year's absolute best, but it's top 10 for sure and an easy recommendation for almost anyone. There've been rumors that a sequel is already in the works, and I'm excited to see what Asobo can do with (hopefully) more resources. It's great to see a dev break out of licensed nonsense like this.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#383

Post by Apollo the Just » Tue Dec 17, 2019 2:11 pm

ian as someone who only plays 1 video game and never even finishes it i just want you to know that i am being oppressed by this topic

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#384

Post by smol Kat » Tue Dec 17, 2019 2:26 pm

Apollo the Just wrote:
Tue Dec 17, 2019 2:11 pm
ian as someone who only plays 1 video game and never even finishes it i just want you to know that i am being oppressed by this topic
Finish a run then; problem solved!
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Re: Review the last game you finished

#385

Post by X-3 » Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:41 pm

X.) Disco Elysium: I'm on and off about finishing this one. The setting is interesting and the idea of a CRPG that focuses primarily on dialogue/speech checks even in regards to most of the character-building is a great take on a genre that usually has that aspect playing second third forth fiddle to slashing/blasting/stealing. As it turns out though, it's not really my thing right now. I've found that, after a long day, I'm not really in the mood to chat up weird NPCs about political ideologies, unions, strikes or hangings, not helped by the fact that I'm boring and go for boring nice guy answers despite my character being a washed-up alcoholic cop. I'll stay away from indulging in spoilers in case I ever come back to this.

15.) Katana Zero: When I first started playing this, I said to myself, "hey, this is like 2D platformer Hotline Miami." And indeed, it is, right down to the foreboding "woah maaaaan" cutscenes. But, hey, it's a fun gameplay loop. You try to clear out rooms of enemies with a katana and whatever you can find to throw nearby. Everything including you dies in one hit, so you'll often have to deflect bullets with your blade. A lot of rooms will seem nearly impossible at first, but as you figure out enemy quirks and begin to map out strategies, things get easier and easier until you're the last man standing. KZ also has a killer soundtrack and a surprisingly-intriguing storyline. Plus, when you beat the game you unlock speedrun mode, which lets you play levels sans stuff like cutscenes and most RNG (I LOST THE RUN TO) and gives you access to a harder difficulty that more than lives up to its name. So all-in-all, I liked it a lot.

Some complaints I had:

-Your sword's hitbox can be kind of noticeably weird in regards to diagonal movement, especially on stairs.
-As ian said the stealth sections are pretty unneeded. It helps that the annoying one is actually 100% optional but I think most players (including me) will think "well the harder option must be more rewarding" and suffer through it. But, as it turns out, there's a way to go through it violently and still get the same reward.
-Gun-Havers have the ability to knock you down if you get too close to them, and this ability of theirs feels pretty inconsistent. Sometimes it feels like they get you a milisecond before your sword comes out, sometimes it feels like they get you while they're shooting, sometimes nothing goes wrong. I'm not sure if it's actually inconsistent but it's hella annoying so it's here anyway.
-Also when you're knocked down they'll (unsurprisingly) follow up by shooting you before you can get up, but they'll shoot in a straight line and you'll still die. This makes sense function-wise but looks dumb.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#386

Post by DarkZero » Tue Dec 24, 2019 5:44 pm

Sonic 2: Pink Edition (Sega Genesis)

This is a mod of Sonic 2 where, instead of Sonic and Tails, you instead play as Amy and Cream, who use their abilities from the Sonic Advance series.

Before I get into it, I just wanna go on a little bit of a tangent about Sonic 1 vs Sonic 2. Spoilered because it's not really relevant but I just felt like rambling:

Spoiler.
I played a little bit of Sonic 1 recently, and being used to games like Sonic Mania, it caught me off-guard a bit when I remembered how un-Sonic-y the first game is. The speed sections where the game sends you through roller coaster-esque loops and bouncing off springs purely under the control of your own momentum are present even in the series' beginnings, but the majority of the gameplay is very patient platforming.

A lot of waiting around for moving platforms to reach your jump distance, waiting for them to take you to your destination, and a lot of waiting around for moving pillars to get out of your way. They're not unfair challenges, you can clearly see that the developers designed these to be fair and serve the experience, but the experience is surprisingly very tedious for a game about the fastest thing alive.

Green Hill Zone is, for the most part, not like this, and I think this is a huge part of why it tends to be the only zone that ever returns in later games.

Sonic 2 feels like the series started to embrace the speed a lot more and made much larger levels where Sonic is free to run around and blast through stages at lightning speeds. There are still some elements of the patient platformer style from Sonic 1 (infamously, the climbing segment in Chemical Plant Zone), but for the most part the game is much more streamlined in its level design. Platforming feels much more natural and can generally be done at your own pace.

Sonic 2 solidified what the 2D Sonic experience was like, and its influence can be seen in pretty much every Sonic game that came after (yes even the 3D ones, albeit in a somewhat abstract way due to the perspective shift). Sonic 1 may have created the franchise but Sonic 2 gave it life.

So, Pink Edition. It's the same exact levels from Sonic 2, with no changes in level design from what I can tell. However, because Amy's playstyle is very different from everyone else's in the Advance series (she doesn't have a spin attack and instead uses an attack button to hit enemies with her hammer), it makes the game feel very different. It definitely feels a lot more challenging at first since you can't simply spin through enemies to safely destroy them. Using Amy is a bit of a learning curve if you're not used to how she plays, but she's definitely got strengths.

The biggest thing Amy brings to the table in terms of a perk is her high-jump ability. By crouching and pressing the attack button, Amy will suddenly fly high into the air. This makes a lot of platforming challenges much much easier, allows for easier access to bosses during certain boss fights (such as Aquatic Ruin), and can even be used to sequence break. Though I should warn you that there are rare instances where this mechanic can get you in trouble; at one point in my playthrough I got stuck inside a section of Wing Fortress Zone from a high-jump and was unable to escape without being forced to reset or let the time run out. But this was the ONLY instance of a soft-lock in a full-game playthrough where I abused the hell out of this move, so... just be careful in that stage.

Cream mostly plays like a standard Sonic character with Spin Attacks and whatnot but... well let's just say that "Cheese" is very accurately-named. Just like the Advance games, Cream has her chao companion Cheese, who she can sic on enemies. It's even better here since she doesn't have to be facing the opponent (although Cheese's homing ability isn't as fast so he will ocassionally circle around the opponent and miss). She also has the ability of flight, which Tails doesn't actually have in Sonic 2, so this is also another way to progress through levels in unintended ways. However, she cannot swim underwater like Tails can in Sonic 3, so it won't help you much with the Chemical Plant climbing section. :(

Cream can also play sidekick for Amy like Tails could for Sonic. The result of this is that Amy now has access to Cheese, meaning that the struggles she has with offense are greatly mitigated by who is essentially a living homing missle.

It's definitely a very fun ROM hack of Sonic 2 that lets you play the game in a new and interesting way. I would recommend if you want to revisit the game in a different way, or if you just wanna break stuff with Cheese and high-jumps.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#387

Post by I am nobody » Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:14 am

Apollo the Just wrote:
Tue Dec 17, 2019 2:11 pm
ian as someone who only plays 1 video game and never even finishes it i just want you to know that i am being oppressed by this topic
I'm being oppressed, too! I finished around 90 games for the last three years! How did I do that, and why is it only 70 this year?
Spoiler.
It's probably because I played a bunch of long games and not many short ones.
69. The Wolf's Bite (12/26) (PC)

It's basically The Yawhg, but with The Three Little Pigs instead of storms. The Big Bad Wolf wants to make a restaurant, and the pigs want to sabotage him. I played as the pigs, which meant all of my options were funny ways to ruin everything, while the wolf player had a bunch of boring options about properly making a restaurant. I think mileage will vary a lot based on who you play unless restaurant management is a particularly appealing concept. Still, I had a good time and it's pretty cheap.

70. Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard (12/28) (PC)

Last year's Frog Wizard was a short detective game built around the concept that the developer was actually five. She wasn't, obviously, but the game had the basic art and overly earnest characters you'd expect if she was. It lasted about an hour and cost a few bucks, which is perfect for a game with that silly of a concept.

The sequel is more of that. It took me 45 minutes, got at least a chuckle out of me every few minutes, and wrapped up just when it needed to.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#388

Post by smol Kat » Sat Dec 28, 2019 11:34 pm

I am nobody wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:14 am
Apollo the Just wrote:
Tue Dec 17, 2019 2:11 pm
ian as someone who only plays 1 video game and never even finishes it i just want you to know that i am being oppressed by this topic
I'm being oppressed, too! I finished around 90 games for the last three years! How did I do that, and why is it only 70 this year?
Well according to Dunkey 2019 was only a good year for games if you like bad games, so I think you're pretty on pace
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Re: Review the last game you finished

#389

Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Sat Dec 28, 2019 11:39 pm

There was definitely some good stuff but it's obvious the industry is gearing up for next gen, current gen seems to slowing down.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#390

Post by I am nobody » Sun Dec 29, 2019 7:25 am

Is he one of those people that only plays AAA games? Because it was definitely an off year for those, but indies have been absolutely killing it.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#391

Post by smol Kat » Sun Dec 29, 2019 10:29 am

Probably. AI put this video on. Not really sure why.
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Re: Review the last game you finished

#392

Post by X-3 » Sun Dec 29, 2019 12:56 pm

I thought 2019 was a much stronger year overall than 2018.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#393

Post by DarkZero » Sun Dec 29, 2019 1:45 pm

people play games the year they came out?

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#394

Post by MeowMan » Sun Dec 29, 2019 1:58 pm

people play games?

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#395

Post by I am nobody » Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:32 pm

X-3 wrote:
Sun Dec 29, 2019 12:56 pm
I thought 2019 was a much stronger year overall than 2018.
2018 was a pretty weak year in general. There were some very good games, but nothing in genres I particularly like that'd normally have been a serious game of the year contender. The last couple games in my top 10 were really just a little above average.

That was probably inevitable given how crazy 2017 was, though.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#396

Post by I am nobody » Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:55 am

71. Cthullu Saves Christmas (12/29) (PC)

From the Cthullu Saves the World, it's that game's humor with everything else taken from the more recent Cosmic Star Heroine. I didn't finish CSH because it was full of tedious combat, and while the system in CSC isn't much better, you can set the difficulty to basically zero and skip most of the fights. That results in an RPG that's just funny enough to justify its two hours. It's also got a surprisingly good OST.

72. Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small (12/29) (PC)

A lazy port of a mobile game that couldn't even be bothered to change "tap" to "click", add tooltips, or resize the graphics so they're not comically huge. The game itself is also just less interesting than playing regular Agricola with two players, which kinda defeats the purpose of making a two player version. All around disappointing.

73. Jackbox Party Pack 6 (12/29) (PC)

Trivia Murder Party 2 improves on what was already their best game with some new Killing Floor events and better handling of early deaths. Joke Boat is incredibly hit or miss depending on how well your group can think of short, constrained jokes under pressure. Dictionarium takes too much time for too weak of a punchline. Role Models is a personality test that's both very accurate, in that we mostly all picked the same answers for each other, and very inaccurate, in that the personality types it picked based on those answers were all wrong. Push the Button is the earlier Fakin' It, but more reasonable for the imposter and with a dash of mafia.

Overall one of their weaker packs. TMP2 and to a much lesser extent Push The Button are probably all I'll really play from this.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#397

Post by I am nobody » Tue Dec 31, 2019 8:48 am

74. Worse Than Death (12/30) (PC)

Given the screenshots, I was expecting a 2D horror game in the vein of Lone Survivor with old survival horror puzzles. That's actually pretty accurate, except that it does all of that terribly.

There's only one kind of enemy in the game, and you can only interact with it in one way. It's a supposedly "unseen horror" that is actually kinda visible and would not be out of place in a Mario game, and it just walks back and forth saying "WHERE ARE YOU" and "IT'S COLD". You have to hide in lockers and stuff until it moves by, but it's actually not that bad if it sees you because it'll only look for about two seconds if you get into another room and hide again, and it'll give up immediately if you go into a third room. This thing isn't even scary or interesting the first time, but you'll have virtually identical encounters with it every few minutes for the entire two hours the game lasts.

When you're not running from the least scary ghost this side of Casper, you're mashing space on everything in order to check the environment for puzzle solutions. These range from almost insultingly easy, like a "put the pictures in order" sequence a toddler could solve, to tedious, like any number of puzzles that give you hints out of context before the puzzle and then make you walk back or guess because there's no way to check hints without being in front of them, to actively wrong, like a bottle that's clearly a child-proof lock but is actually opened by just spinning it around many times. None of them are fun.

That just leaves the story, which is predictable in a boring way except for a couple twists that don't add anything or even really make sense. They also have like three times more characters than a two hour game should, so nobody gets any development and there's no reason to care about any of them. We spent more time laughing at it than anything else, with a particular highlight being when the main character proclaims that a body "looks like it's been dead for a couple hours" when it's practically a skeleton.

It doesn't get any points for being easy to laugh at, though. It's a bad game.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#398

Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:05 am

That game sounds...

*shades*

...worse than death.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#399

Post by I am nobody » Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:24 am

I feel like you gotta be really careful that your game is at least decent if you're giving people a layup like that.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#400

Post by Apollo the Just » Tue Dec 31, 2019 12:16 pm

The ghost situation reminds me of the dementor portion of Prisoner of Azkaban in HP3 for console. You're in this spooky room lassoing yourself across platforms (you know, like in the books!) while a dementor spookily harasses you by like. kinda just chilling most of the time and every now and then "attacking you" which just means you have to Mario Party 1 the control stick a bit and then it goes back to just kind of hanging out. Very spooky

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