Page 21 of 24

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 6:00 pm
by DarkZero
Sonic Adventure 2: Battle (Gamecube)

OK so my opinion of this game has changed a few times. When I first played it when I was like 11 it was the best **** ever. Then when I got older I started to think it was actually not that good, everything felt too imprecise and unfair to me. But now I've been playing it again and realizing that Actually It's Good.

I'll start with the negatives.

The camera is pretty bad. Coming from the Dreamcast, which had no right stick, the camera is instead controlled by the triggers, so you only have horizontal control. This wouldn't be so bad except that you have to be standing still to move the camera around, so you need to interrupt your momentum entirely to get a good view of your surroundings. Also it has a tendency to get stuck on walls or otherwise give you really awkward angles sometimes, so it can be really frustrating and disorienting at times.

The mech stages are easily the weakest part of the gameplay to me. They're not without their fun value, but compared to Gamma from SA1, the mechs feel very strange and slow. The body moves independent of the legs when pivoting, so making turns means going in an awkward curve while your legs straighten out, and you also move very slow when this is happening. Considering how often you have to maneuver through stages and around obstacles, just moving around stages gets incredibly exhausting. Also I kinda don't like how you have this multiple-target homing reticle as part of the design, yet some things like breakable walls and boxes require you to just mash your normal shots. It's like, I have anti-mashing technology, but I can't use it here so it feels wrong.

Also some of the voice work, mostly Tails and Rouge's voice actors. They came off very flat and stilted a lot of the time, but not in an amusing way. Everyone else gave a decent performance for the most part.

All that said though, when the game was fun, it was VERY fun. I love the way Sonic/Shadow control, it's super satisfying to speed through stages and find shortcuts with the Jump Dash, and I love how fast the Homing Attack is in this game compared to the more modern Boost-style games like Colors onward.

This is probably an unpopular opinion but I actually love the treasure stages too. As frustrating as they can be, it's balanced by how satisfying they can be as well. It's fun to glide around and explore every corner of the stages, and trying to find the items as fast as possible with *just* enough of an idea of where they are. Especially if you find one out of order, with no hints or radar. Makes me feel like a **** detective.

Security Hall sucks tho.

Every stage can be selected in the Stage Select with five medals to earn in each:

1. Standard clear conditions
2. Collect 100 Rings
3. Find The Lost Chao
4. Clear The Stage In [Time Limit]
5. Hard Mode

These add a lot of replay value to the game, as well as a LOT of challenge. Some of these challenges can be insanely difficult, but if you're a REAL gamer then you can probably handle it.

Anyway final thoughts: Sonic Adventure 2, for all of the rust and dust it's collected over the years, is still an excellent game once you dive in and adjust to some of the things that haven't aged as well. I think the Steam version modernizes the camera control, which alleviates a big source of frustration right there, so that version might be worth trying if you wanna play this game.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 8:45 pm
by Apollo the Just
SA2 mechs suck but game is great, good take DZ

(imagine my shock when I went back and played SA1 and the mech gameplay AND tails gameplay were both actually fun)

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:57 pm
by X-3
The mech stages are actually my favorite part of SA2 to be honest. Locking onto enemies, figuring out whether to cash in or go for a few more, letting go and seeing the energy blasts fly all over the place, seeing the bonus points pop up with the voice-line...aaaaah yeah. Now feel my real power.

Eggman mech game never :(

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:05 am
by DarkZero
^thats valid. the mech stages aren't horrible to be fair, and the lock-on mechanics are definitely fun, but the cumbersome maneuvering just makes them the weaker of the three styles for me. I think if either they controlled a little more fluidly or they designed it in more of an on-rails style like Sin and Punishment, then I would find it a lot more enjoyable.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 2:16 pm
by Apollo the Just
Ok I finished ToS again so I can talk about it. I got a good Ymir Skip for the first time in over half a damn year so I have earned this.

Specifically, as you may have seen in my thread about the CRT I just got, I beat Tales of Symphonia on its native technology for the first time in about 15 years, and it was STUNNING.

The controls are so responsive. Menu inputs, battle inputs, movement inputs - they're virtually instantaneous. I have never felt so in complete control. I think I just got so used to playing it on modern tech and just accepted the built-in delay that I forgot what it felt like originally. Like, I had always sort of had this feeling that it didn't feel quite right, but it wasn't until I experienced it the same way I originally had for the first time over a decade ago that I realized just how MUCH I have been missing out on the experience of this incredible game by playing it on a tiny crappy LCD display.

The visuals are honestly great. I'm so used to seeing in crystal-clear high definition all of the slightly muddy textures in the backgrounds and the obvious cardboard cut-out trees, but seeing cutscenes on a CRT, where the pixels are rounded and lines blur into one another a bit more; the models and textures and objects all look like they belong together and the blurrier backgrounds just give a sense of depth. Like, for example; I have heard someone say that the low resolution textures of characters' faces on their sharply modeled bodies looks really ugly. But on a CRT you literally cannot discern that difference, the faces read very naturally on the rest of the models and it looks completely fine. The colors aren't as bright and yellow and harsh, overall it just looks much better blended together. Playing on modern tech for so long has competely blinded me to the way this game looked when it first came out; part of me had just accepted that "it's old so it doesn't look as great as new stuff" but THAT IS SO BESIDE THE POINT - it wasn't ever meant to look high resolution and sharp, it was meant to look like it was telling a story and creating a world in the definition that was contemporary to the time, and it made excellent use of that and looked absolutely stunning.

Playing this game on modern tech is basically revealing the back-end seams that were never intended to be seen. It's so easily to retroactively be like "lol lazy" or "lol ugly" but these techniques really flourish on their intended displays, and it is no one's fault that they look worse on tech it wasn't meant for.

And then you have the **** ass HD remake that just kept a lot of those low res textures and replaced others and just basically made everything even uglier and then had cutscenes where you can see the unmodeled edges of stuff because the new aspect ratio reveals stuff you were never supposed to see. god

Anyway best game ever made, fight me/10

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 10:46 pm
by I am nobody
1. Disco Elysium (1/2) (PC)

So it's no secret by now that this game is really good. It's an RPG that really deserves the title, with an incredible range of choices and actions to shape the amnesiac alcoholic detective you're playing. I will go so far as to say that I've never played another game that realized role-playing a character so thoroughly. It's remarkable, and even though a lot of how they did it comes down to limiting the direct impact of most choices, it keeps track of enough of what you've done in enough surprising ways that it always feels authentic. The game would be worth playing for this alone.

But it doesn't need to be, because it's also one of the best examples of world building I've ever seen. It reminds me a lot of Dishonored in many ways, but most critically in how it prioritizes making a space feel alive over making it large. The entire game takes place in a single harbor of Revachol, and most of it isn't even available until the endgame. And yet that space is packed with characters and places who all have their own stories and needs, along with multiple ways of accomplishing almost everything important. Also like Dishonored there's tons of detail about a larger world you never get to see, and I sincerely hope they get the chance to take us to the rest of in future games.

The world building goes hand-in-hand with moment-to-moment writing that can be remarkably evocative and draws you into events where the pretty, but limited graphics would not be enough. And it has to be, because reading and making choices are your only real interactions with Disco Elysium. It couldn't work unless the writing was clever enough to give you the options you wanted and functional enough to make actions feel like your own, and thankfully it's all that and more. The only place where it stumbles is in its representation of ideology. I think this is intentional, for some reason, but your only options are to be, as it describes it, fascist, neoliberal (read: anarchocapitalist), communist, or moralist. Political responses always map to one of these, and moderate responses map to one of the four just as strongly as extremism. The best message I can get out of it is that ideology (and neutrality!) sucks, but given that you're forced to pick one or wildly gyrate between them, I'm not sure what we're meant to do with that.

All of which would make it a shoo-in for game of the year, except that the entire structure of its brilliant role-playing rests on an the god-awful mess that is dice rolling. It's one thing to be rolling dice in a tabletop game where the DM and designers cannot reasonably be expected to come up with a good way of simulating fighting a dragon, or where one person can't always make a puzzle that's cleverer than everyone playing, etc. But Disco Elysium is a video game, and video games are supposed to make up for the fact that they can't be as reactive as a tabletop game by simulating our actions with something more compelling than dice. Dice aren't fun. There is interesting and exciting stuff in the world, and it isn't satisfying to be told I don't get to see it because I did all the right stuff but the dice came up snake eyes, and now I'd better go click random crap for twenty minutes or find the Undershirt of Composure to get another shot. I ended up save-scumming every interaction because I don't believe in RNG letting dictate how much fun I have, but repeatedly reloading the same scene isn't much fun either. It's a massive and fundamental flaw with an otherwise brilliant game. Also the ultimate payoff for the mystery is kind of lame. That has nothing to do with dice, but I didn't want to give it its own paragraph.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:38 pm
by I am nobody
2. Taiko no Tatsujin DS: Dororon! Yokai Daikessen! (1/4) (DS)

It's Taiko again, and that means pretty much what it always does. This one has all the features the first two DS games did, but the campaign mode from Nanatsu no Shima no Daibouken has been expanded to a lite RPG complete with random battles, boss fights, equipment, and even some basic overworld items. Its story has gone from being basically fine to actually pretty entertaining, as Don helps a young tanooki find her father and is misunderstood by everyone in feudal Japan in the process. The fact that all the items show up on your character and the various drums all make different sounds aside, none of it would've been remarkable in a regular RPG even 30 years ago, but this is a rhythm game. Aside from briefly player the Vita Taiko game before deciding to do them in release order, I can't recall any other music games that put in this kind of effort. It's a great evolution of an already solid series.

3. Little Big Workshop (1/10) (PC)

I'll never understand why they went with a name that's so obviously going to be associated with LitleBigPlanet, a game that this has practically nothing in common with, but thankfully they put more effort into everything else than they did with the name. It's a game about managing a cartoony factory to churn out silly things like plastic food, catapults, or mini race cars and ultimately become the best in the world. You do that by building and laying out workbenches that allow your operators to perform specific tasks, then picking a manufacturing plan and mapping all the required tasks to benches. Your staff put everything together, ship out the final products, and you get money to do it all again but bigger or faster.

It's a simple loop that stays interesting because keeping your workers busy and the production lines operating optimally becomes increasingly complicated as your plans grow from two or three tasks to twenty, and particularly as clients start asking for large numbers of the most complicated products on a tight deadline. You're further motivated by a series of challenge tasks that unlock more equipment and the slow collection of research points that increase efficiency and provide more unlocks. It never becomes so complicated as to really require your undivided attention, but that's even better because this is absolutely perfect as a podcast game. I don't think I'd have lasted the 17 hours it took me to complete the final challenge if I was just playing the game, but with a good book on in the background, this passes time like few things can.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:25 pm
by I am nobody
4. Link's Awakening (2019) (1/12) (Switch)

I love what they did with it visually and I mostly love the remixed music, but on the whole I wish they'd changed more. I'm not convinced that some of the design decisions in the original game, like the enemy variety or how most of the bosses pretty much just do one thing, were made for any reason other than the limitations of the GameBoy, and this was a great opportunity to fix that. The insistence on remaking the game exactly as it was also creates some oddities, like bombable walls that are nearly invisible with the new graphics and jumping that never quite feels natural because it's still secretly working with tiles.

It's still a good game, but I wish they'd applied the advancements of the last twenty years to more than the presentation.

5. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (1/18) (PC)

After the debacles that were the two new Battlefront games, EA finally decided to let someone make the single player Star Wars game everyone actually wanted. It's Dark Souls with the movement and presentation of Uncharted, and it all works well. No single part of it is truly amazing, but it's a fun take on SW, and it's been about a decade since we've had a good lightsaber game. I could talk about how the story just doesn't quite come together or how the fact it's all about lightsabers means there's nothing to really find, but that all misses the point. Sometimes it's good enough to just make lightsaber noises and push Stormtroopers off cliffs.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:29 pm
by I am nobody
6. Yoku's Island Express (1/24) (PC)

I bounced off (heh) this one several times because I don't actually like pinball and I was playing it on platforms with timed returns, which made it more important for it to immediately grab me. I finally accumulated enough free copies that I felt guilty about not properly playing it, and discovered pretty quickly after where I stopped playing that the whole pinball thing isn't really that important to a lot of the game. It ends up amounting to a Metroidvania with an unusual combat/puzzle system, and there were only a few times when it leaned heavily enough on pinball to frustrate me.

I think it's ultimately a game that's more unique than it is necessarily good - there's nothing about it that makes me go "Oh, you really need to check out Yoku if you like X" unless X is pinball, but it's different enough to be a solid break between more traditional games. Also, really solid as a podcast game.

7. Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest (1/29) (PC)

An odd tactics game by the Legend of Grimrock people. I say odd because even though it's ostensibly an RPG with levels and equipment, new levels and gear mostly only give you access to more (up to a point, and not necessarily even better) skills. A couple weapons hit very slightly harder than the default ones, and armor and accessories generally give you a few extra HP, but otherwise progression is all about adding skills and upgrading them through a gem system shared between all characters. Almost all skills have very limited charges by default, so even most of the upgrades just give you more uses rather than actually improving the base skill.

Unsurprising, then, that the combat revolves around those skills. As much as that limits the feeling of progression, it's arguably a good thing for the fights themselves, which become puzzles as much as standard TRPG fights. You've only got a handful of uses of your best skills, so firing them off at the correct time and place does more to determine the outcome than anything else. Every fight has a handful of bonus objectives that are generally good at pushing your planning just a little further than the fight itself would've, and completing them comes with extra gems and gold. Other than a few purely puzzle levels that are basically fine, that's it for the gameplay.

It's a great basis for a TRPG that serves 80% of the game well, and it might've been top 10 for 2019 if they'd managed to hit the last 20%. Unfortunately, with the skill and character pool being as small as they are, the game eventually runs out of interesting ways to use them and just starts dumping heavily armored enemies and in-level spawns on you to make things harder. It's made worse by the fact that your mage character is just incomparably more useful than anyone else, so everything devolves into figuring out how to do enough scratch damage with everyone else that he can get where he needs to be. The final boss, which randomly resets the battle 4 times as you whittle its health down, is just awful.

Nothing else is particularly worth mentioning. It's not a very pretty game, the music is thoroughly mediocre, and the story is just passable. It'd be one I'd forget in a week except that it allows custom character names, which led to some absolutely golden lines. No credit for that, though. Druidstone is a great TRPG until it isn't, which makes it weird to recommend. Yet another good podcast game, FWIW.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:35 pm
by smol Kat
^the million-dollar question: Did you end up just saying "heck it, game crashed, close enough" after all, or did you finish the fight?

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:11 pm
by I am nobody
Oh, yeah, I didn't even mention that the game crashed at the last second the first time I fought the boss.

I did end up finishing it legitimately, though. Added another 1-1.5 hours to the total time.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:22 pm
by smol Kat

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:56 pm
by I am nobody
8. Coffee Talk (1/31) (PC)

It's VA-11 HALL-A with coffee and urban fantasy instead of cyberpunk. That sounds reductionist, but it's as close to a reskin of that game as you can possibly get. It's a VN in a coffee shop where your only interaction with the game is serving drinks, which influence the story in ways that are not particularly clear. It wasn't a great mechanic in VH, though, and it's not really any better here.

So you're here for the story, which is a solid way to spend two hours. It's maybe a bit implausibly dramatic, and the world is so obviously just ours with different names that I don't know why they bothered with the fantasy races, but that doesn't hurt anything. My only complaint is that the end implies there's some metastory going on, but the gameplay is, like VH, so unintuitive that I frankly have no idea what I'd need to do to see it and can't be bothered. Maybe someday later when someone else has figured it out.

All in all, not a game I regret buying, but I'll be disappointed in 2020 if it's near the top 10 for the year.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:29 am
I've been looking at Coffee Talk but coffee seems to lend itself less to that style of game than booze, imo.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:25 am
by smol Kat
I don't see much of a difference, but yeah, game looked cool.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 3:51 pm
by Calamity Panfan
Yeah I was interested in Coffee Talk because I like the concept and aesthetic but everything I've heard since it actually came out was that it isn't much more than "fine."

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:51 pm
by DarkZero
NiGHTS into Dreams... (Steam)

So I've always had a fascination with the NiGHTS series, but never played the original until I got it for real cheap on Steam the other day. And unsurprisingly, it's just a very charming arcade-like game. It's fairly simple and not very long, but the gameplay's very fun and solid when you understand it, and I dig the aesthetics and feel of the game world.

If you're not familiar with NiGHTS games, you basically fly around freely in a 2.5D plane and collect blue orbs to complete laps. Each course has 4 laps, which take you around the level in different routes and exploring different areas within them. After collecting 20 blue orbs and freeing that lap's Ideya, you then enter Bonus Time, where you can go through the lap as many times as you want within your remaining time to acquire bonus points. Somewhat counterintuitively, you don't get any score bonus for clearing the lap early, so instead it's better to use as much of the remaining time to gather more points for better rankings. And you need to get at least a C on every stage to unlock the final levels, so you do need to have some understanding of how the points system works.

There's a boss at the end of every level, and they're a bit of a mixed bag in terms of how fun they are to fight, but I give them credit for making all the fights unique with creative ways to defeat them. But I really wish that losing to a boss didn't force you to restart the entire stage all over again. Especially because it's fairly easy to lose to a boss you've never fought before whose patterns you don't yet understand.

The Steam port is based on the PS2 rerelease, and you can play with either those remastered graphics or the Saturn originals (its purely a cosmetic change: all your save data applies between both versions and they seem to control exactly the same). It also comes with Christmas NiGHTS, which is a fun Christmas-themed reskin of the first two levels with a little story. Sadly it doesn't include Sonic into Dreams like the Saturn original, so if you were hoping to experience Sonic's first foray in a 3D space on a modern platform, then you're not getting it here.

Also the performance wasn't always great, though this is very possibly just because of my outdated and bloated PC. The Saturn graphics version tended to run a little better most of the time, so if that's a concern, you could try that.

ALSO I didn't even mention the music! The NiGHTS games have absolutely fantastic soundtracks, featuring the same composer as Sonic CD JP/EU, and a lot of the music is in a very similar style, so if you like that soundtrack you will almost definitely love the NiD soundtrack too. And of course the credits theme "Dream Dreams" is absolutely classic.

Anyway uhhhhh NiGHTS is a very feel-good series for me and despite the occassional frustration I'm so glad I finally got to experience the original game! NiGHTS 3 when

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:29 pm
I only tried the demo as a kid but I was mesmerised by it. 3D was really neat at the time.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2020 3:01 am
by Calamity Panfan
NiGHTS is a game I know I'd love if I ever actually play through it but I have never done that thing.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 2:11 am
by Apollo the Just
The last game i finished is this incredibly polished creation we produced for this year's game jam. It doesn't have an end screen because we didn't get to that but it does have a state at which you have either filled the progress bar or run out of sharks

I wrote these cool looping and transitional tracks to evolve over the course of a session for it, but then there is an awkard lag frame because of how we implemented it requiring the game to use that frame to decide which track to play (loop or proceed), but considering this is a game jam game that kind of **** is kind of just expected. 10/10 would recommend to absolutely everyone it has sharks wearing construction hats in it