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Review the last game you finished

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Post by Apollo the Just » Mon Apr 03, 2017 2:32 am

Mother 3 long review, as promised:

[spoiler]I found it very, very interesting that one of the major themes of Mother 3 was the corrupting powers of technology / the "nature vs. civilization and tech" dichotomy. I found it mostly interesting because the game appears to argue on some level that nature is good and wholesome and technology represents the perversion of the ~natural order~ ........ which is definitely something I've seen before in plenty of other media............ but this moral "lesson" is being presented in the form of a video game. And not just any video game, but an incredibly purposefully self-aware one that constantly draws attention to the fact that it is a video game.

There's no way the creators of this game honestly 10000% view technology as The Root Of All Evil In Mankind, because they wouldn't be so lovingly investing themselves in making video games if they did. That would be like an author writing a book about how all books are sources of misinformation and brainwashing and we should all burn them and go back to oral tradition. It's obviously ironic to some extent. More on this later, but it definitely caught my attention.

Another thing I thought was really cool (and that I'm 99% sure is connected to the first point, but bear with me for a sec while I talk about this one) was that this game was, especially toward the end, a game about the process of playing video games. Like, it's meta as ****, but the fact that it is meta is used to address the player's relationship to the game, which is something I have literally never experienced before and I absolutely loved. [Earthbound definitely touched on this as well, and I already loved it there, but Mother 3 was much more explicit and delved a lot deeper].

Basically everything in Leder's long ass expositional monologue, and the post- end? screen pre-credits scene, is what I'm talking about here.

Leder talks about how everyone was mind-wiped and became clean slates, taking on made-up roles in a made-up story. How there's not a lot of mythos and backstory and people don't know that much about their own history because they ran out of time to flesh out their story before becoming a part of it. ("Sorry about that.") That bit was hilarious, but also really really intentionally lampshading the limits of video games as immersive worlds - ran out of time to create mythos whoops, also look at these NPCs with Super Specific Roles to play. The plot of the game as Leder tells it is more or less fabricated to explain why the characters and places in this game are the way they are, even though it's not something the player thought to question because that's just how things are in video games. He literally calls the way people exist in the game part of a "story" (and there's that one NPC in New Pork who says "if you were reading a book, I would say this would be chapter 15 out of 16.") and it frankly does not get more obviously intentionally meta than that. This game wants you to be hyper-aware of the fact that it is a video game, and that it has a story to tell.

This was great, because it then used that portion where you play as You on the end screen to address the process of playing this game it has so explicitly defined as a fictional story. This is the only video game I have played that brought my attention to the fact that it is a video game for the express purpose of addressing my role in playing it. I walked around as Me and characters said "thank you" and "goodbye" and "we'll meet again, right?" -- it seemed really obvious that the game was meta-communicating that this story only exists when it is being played. We will only meet again if I decide to re-play Mother 3 OR JUST LOAD UP SMASH LMAO but anyway. The point is, IMO all the super-extreme-meta-ness of this game is played for laughs but also meant to make a point about how video games as a storytelling medium rely on the interactions of the player in order to tell their story. Just like books can't tell their stories without readers, games can't tell theirs without players - players who must engage on an additional level and actively seek out the story for it to be told.

I'm likely projecting a bit in the above, but at the very least the following seems like a very intentional message: "some things about video games [2-dimensional NPCs, lack of nuanced history, limited worldbuilding] can be contrived and limiting as a medium for storytelling; but video games do rely on an interactive relationship with the player, which is something special." And what better medium to convey that message than a **** video game. [[[[Especially one that successfully tore your heart out minutes before, despite the meta, bY THE WAY]]]]

Anyway, now that I've gone off for like 3 paragraphs, the reason I bring up both of these two points is because I really can't help but think they're connected. Or at least that they're both meant to be considered. On one hand, there's a message about valuing simple things and nature and peace and loved ones and not being consumed by materialism. On the other, there's an equally prominent message about the unique and special experience that video games provide the player. I don't think the NATURE VS TECH dichotomy is as one-sided as I have seen some folks on the interwebz claim, because the game makes just as much a point about celebrating the uniqueness of video games - a very specifically technological experience. Anyway, this is just food for thought. But I definitely came out of that game feeling very strongly that THE WORLD IS BEAUTIFUL AND SHOULD BE PROTECTED AND CONNECTED WITH, and also that VIDEO GAMES - PRODUCTS OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY - ARE WONDERFUL AND MAGICAL AND THIS IS AN EXPERIENCE I CAN'T GET FROM ANY OTHER MEDIUM. These values don't have to be contradictory. We can take both to heart.

****, I love this game.

Anyway, a third thing I absolutely MUST talk about is the music. I love love love LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the rhythm battle mechanic. This game has a **** fantastic OST to start with, but I did not in my wildest dreams expect that jamming out to its OST would be an advantage in battles????? MOTHER 3 IS A RHYTHM GAME LIKE WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED. Part of me wants to think about how this might be another facet of the game's calling attention to itself as a game. Players are going to listen to the BGM as they play as part of the experience, so introducing a battle mechanic that forces them to interact with the BACKGROUND MUSIC seems like another way of celebrating yet another thing that is unique to video games. If not, it's at least incorporating a really fun mechanic from an entirely different genre of video game into this one, and made it a helluva lot more fun.

But, like, seriously, the OST is so good. I love EarthBound's OST for what it is - a blend of uncanny atmosphere and melody that REALLY successfully sets its tone- but Mother 3's is a **** masterpiece album I will be listening to for the next month on repeat. Like, it's so good, guys. So good.

(I also appreciated the presents scattered across the overworld that just played cool rhythms and tunes when you opened them. And the ones that just shot out fireworks. Or farts. I don't know what to make of them other than silly gags, but they were cute and fun.)

Anyway, I don't think I really need to touch on the in-game plot or the final boss because everyone already knows what there is to say about that. It's soul-crushing, it's awful, it's incredible, it's the worst thing to ever happen, it's the best thing to ever happen. It was **** fantastic. It killed me ten times.

I DO want to talk about the ~final dungeon~ though because THAT **** WAS GODTIER. EVERY OTHER FINAL DUNGEON CAN GO HOME. The toilet floor in particular had me absolutely losing it???? I can absolutely guarantee you that was the last way I was anticipating the Ultimate Chimera to resurface. I was not expecting to enter a toilet and insta-die from a plot point 2 chapters ago. I was also not expecting to enter a toilet and find every single friendly ghost from Osohe castle. anD **** POKEY'S TOILET ROOM WAS THE MOST RIDICULOUSLY EXTRA **** I HAVE EVER SEEN. The whole final dungeon was just gag after gag but it was SO GOOD. I'm not over how **** hilarious that whole thing was.

I also want to talk about how much I love the frogs. There isn't much more to say than "I love the frogs so much." Ghost frog for best frog? Y/Y???????

Tanetane Island is a whole other megapost for a whole other day if I ever do get to it. That was such an emotionally draining but also hilarious experience and I loved every second.

Feverish, like Homesickness in Earthbound, is a really great way of humanizing the player characters via **gameplay** (again, developing characters and telling its story by a means specific to video games... I'M JUST SAYING) rather than gameplay and plot/character development feeling separate. Loved this.

Anyway I'mma cut myself off here. I loved this game's story and characters very much. I also loved its critique and celebration of video games as story tellers. I also love that this game has confirmed 100% that queer people are magical all-powerful beings that transcend time. I love this game so much.[/spoiler]

Oh, also, I feel obligated to point out that one of the major plot points and thematic points in Mother 3 is also EXACTLY LITERALLY THE SAME as one of the major plot points and thematic points in the How to Train Your Dragon book series, and that's important and essential. That is all.

I'm afraid these reviews are coming off a bit like M3 >>>> EB, but I honestly don't feel that way. I don't have a favorite between the two. I absolutely loved Mother 3 for the reasons stated above and many others, but I also am very drawn to EarthBound's ambiguity on certain points and earnest charm and all the things I've said about it in other posts. These are easily 2 of my favorite video games now. I mean, get back to me in a month, but I think I will still feel this way.
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Post by X-3 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:22 pm

2.) Breath of the Wild

it's a game

3.) Nioh

Team Ninja's 'answer' to Dark Souls draws from their work on the Ninja Gaiden series and thus manages to stand on its own pretty effectively. The weapon variety may seem low at first, but each of the six weapon types has a customizable moveset that can be upgraded further. The Ki system (essentially stamina) is punishing, but fair: if you run out of Ki and get hit, you'll be left exhausted and wide open to attacks. However, this rule also applies to almost every enemy in the game and becomes an integral part of your battle strategy. Its use of heavy historical fiction makes for a very interesting setting that caught me off guard when I first booted up the game. It's very interesting to see the ways in which they portray certain historical figures. The enemy variety is pretty lacking however, and the game uses its level-based structure to reuse areas between missions. Furthermore, the levels themselves aren't terribly interesting in layout or design. The more story-heavy focus is different, not necessarily better or worse. Overall it's a pretty good game that makes its mark through fast-paced gameplay that makes Bloodborne look sluggish.

edit: Oh, and the option of choosing between 60 fps and 30 fps with better graphics is great.

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Post by I am nobody » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:14 pm

22. 9.03m (PC)

9.03m isn't really a game, and it's completely up front about that fact. It's really a visualizer for the scale of the 2011 Tohoku tsunami, both in terms of the amount of water involved and the number of lives lost. With that context, it's quite effective.

Also, they gave their money to kids who lost their parents in the disaster. I'm not about to nitpick it.

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Post by X-3 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:59 pm

4.) Nier Automatata

Yoko Taro is known for weird and/or depressing games such as Drakengard and Nier, and has earned a cult following. These games, however, have generally had pretty mediocre gameplay which has often has hampered their greater popularity. Thus did his overlords at Square-Enix arrange for an unholy matrimony between him and Platinum Games, known for good gameplay but pretty disposable...a lot of everything else. Their demonic project was to become a sequel to Nier, and its announcement in 2016 sent shockwaves throughout the world.

So, on the Platinum side of things, we have what is a competent action RPG. All-in-all, I don't think it's quite as deep as other Platinum games such as Transformers, but it's still very competent mechanically. One problem I do have is that the combat system never seems to truly get a chance to shine the way it does in games such as Bayonetta, MGR or Transformers, which is a shame. There's a lack of really good or memorable boss battles, and (like Transformers' loot system) the RPG elements will eventually make fights more of a push-over than they should be.

Another problem I have is one that's common to many character action games: area repetition. There's honestly not that many different areas to visit in this game, which does feel noticeable. Unlike most character action games, you're not revisiting these areas on a higher difficulty or anything, but rather because the plot takes you there for a brief visit.

The plot is exceptional, and I say that as someone who generally holds their nose up at plot-focused games. On the Yoko Taro scale of madness and sadness, it ranks as being sane but also pretty bleak. It took me a month past release to start this game and boy am I glad I avoided any and all spoilers until then. It's powerful, philosophical and occasionally really funny. (in a good way) Can't really talk too much about it without spoiling it. The music is also phenomenal. So yeah, overall it might be my goty thus far. :shrug:

BONUS TIPS FOR KIDS!

-The PC version isn't a good port last I checked, but you can improve it with FAR. (Fix Automata Res)
-Hold off on doing side-quests until you get the ability to quick travel. Also, do side-quests.
-You don't need to play the original Nier to understand this one, but it doesn't hurt to get some basic information on it or read a Let's Play or something.

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Post by I am nobody » Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:21 pm

23. Beyond Eyes (4/21) (PC)

As much as many people hate them, I think "walking simulators" can be brilliant games. Beyond Eyes, however, is a perfect demonstration of every legitimate criticism everyone has ever had the genre. I could list all that out, but this game wasted enough of my life already, so I'll sum it up in two points:

1. This is a game about a blind girl who befriends a cat only for it to disappear. Can you guess how it ends? Of course you can. Trite does not begin to describe the story.
2. One level forces you to wander 5 minutes out of your way because ****ing seagulls are blocking your way. Once you find the bread to distract them with, the girl throws the crumbs right in front of her, forcing you to take another 5 minute detour all the way back to the start of the level to get past said seagulls. This would be unforgivably bad level design even without the ludicrous premise of seagulls blocking someone's way.

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Post by Random User » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:47 pm

Finally finished up Danganronpa. Ending was a tad disappointing just because I wanna know what happened what the protagonists do, but I also get that it would have bogged down the motif of the game as a whole. I am really ready for Super Danganronpa 2.

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Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:59 pm

I heard you gotta watch the anime to fill in the blanks and wrap up the story which sucks.

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Post by I am nobody » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:17 pm

Danganronpa 2 is far superior if you're in it for the mystery stuff. The lore about the world is best ignored.

Speaking of being best ignored, Despair Girls. You'll be much happier pretending there are currently only two games in the series.

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Post by Deku Tree » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:31 pm

I beat A Link Between Worlds recently. I thought the main mechanic of going 2D against the walls was really cool, though I somehow found myself slow to remember I could do that for a few puzzles here and there. The puzzles and boss fights were all well crafted, I thought. Hilda was kinda cool.

Kinda didn't like the items being available at the start and mostly knowing I'd only be getting rupees all the time.

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Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:17 am

^ The wall gimmick wasn't interesting and the item system wasn't fun. I quit that game rather early. Doesn't seem bad but just not a good successor to LttP.

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Post by Marilink » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:33 am

Carthago delendum est

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Post by Random User » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:05 pm

[QUOTE="I am nobody, post: 1628260, member: 34539"]Danganronpa 2 is far superior if you're in it for the mystery stuff. The lore about the world is best ignored.

Speaking of being best ignored, Despair Girls. You'll be much happier pretending there are currently only two games in the series.[/QUOTE]
It's too late, I already own Despair Girls.

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Post by I am nobody » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:19 pm

At least it has a hilariously stupid ending, I guess.

Not that you're going to see it unless you can put up with inane writing that repeatedly goes to places it really shouldn't have.

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Post by I am nobody » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:21 pm

24. Slime-san (4/26) (PC)

I couldn't play Super Meat Boy because I can't stand looking at it. Slime-san is, I think, a pretty similar game except for the fact that I can stand looking at it.

It's a 2D (mostly) screen-based platformer that expects you to die a ****load. Ladders and an ill-conceived flappy bird aside, the controls are very responsive and the levels are well designed. The standouts are the 5 boss fights and anything featuring a ghost of your movements that kills you when you touch it. It's got 100 levels and that probably killed me an average of 15-20 times. There were some major outliers.

I liked it, but platformers aren't really my genre, so I don't have much else to say. It's perfect as a podcast game, but at the same time, I wouldn't have finished it as anything other than a podcast game.

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Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:23 pm

^ I agree regarding SMB. It has very unappealing visuals.

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Post by I am nobody » Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:15 pm

25. Inside (4/28 ) (PC)

I don't know how anyone managed to write more than a paragraph about this game in reviews. Almost everything I could possibly say about it is a spoiler, and it's one of those games where surprise is an essential part of the experience. You're a kid trying to escape what's probably a creepy cult. It's a 2.5D platformer with really clever puzzles that almost never repeats itself. The ending sequences are amazing.

I'm not quite as in love with it as some critics were, but it's still a great game with some unforgettable moments, and I'm not going to tell you about any of them. The only real point against it I can think of is that, while all of the puzzles ultimately felt logical, a few of them came so abruptly that I think they're almost guaranteed to kill you the first time. That's not much more than a mild annoyance, though.

If you like 2.5D platformers or atmospheric horror at all, it's definitely worth a look. As a 3 hour good game, it's also worth a look if you are, hypothetically speaking, someone who wants to keep their finished game quota up despite also working on a 100+ hour JRPG. Not that I know anyone like that.

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Post by Booyakasha » Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:15 pm

Replayed 'Banjo-Kazooie' for the first time in several years. It holds up really well. Only thing I'd say against it is the XBLA version (which is what I was playing) has some wonky controls. The right-stick controls the camera, but they made 'trigger plus right on right-stick' activate gold feathers, so occasionally I would waste a gold feather whilst trying to aim eggs accurately. It was especially annoying because the game didn't use the bumpers or stick buttons for anything. Ehhhh. Picking at nits. Game is still great.
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Post by Apollo the Just » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:42 pm

I re-played through Subspace Emissary recently.

It was even better than I remembered???? The cutscenes are wild and the platforming is pretty creative and a lot of fun. Lucas and Red best fictional friendship in history. Every "choose your character" screenshot is incredible, the creators had more fun than they strictly should have putting this together. The team match ups are straight up crack fan fiction levels of ridiculous, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Can't believe Samus rescued Pikachu from captive enslavement. Can't believe Diddy kidnapped Fox because he needed a homie. Can't believe Yoshi just joined Link bc he woke him up from a nap. Absolutely **** incredible, 10/10.
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Post by Random User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:01 pm

I've beat Cave Story+ at long last. Oh man, it's a short game with a good bit of backtracking, but for the most part it is a really fun experience. I got the true ending, of course. It was a simple but compelling story. The gameplay was fun and it's rewarding when you get better at playing through it. Currently replaying on Hard Mode, which gives you 3 health for a majority of the game.

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Post by I am nobody » Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:50 pm

Today on "Ian has a sudden desire to binge This American Life, but cares about P5's audio too much to have them both on at once, so instead uses it as an excuse to clear out his Steam backlog" [working title]...

26. Aragami (4/29) (PC)

This is an interesting one, because as a $20 third person stealth game, it's really in a market by itself. It has a lot of the problems you'd expect from a budget indie entry in a genre dominated by AAA offerings - the camera sometimes get stuck in objects, the AI won't be competing with Dishonored 2 any time soon, mission objectives are repetitive,the animation budget couldn't even cover lip movements, etc - but it also gets a lot of things right that bigger games have struggled with. It's got mostly solid boss fights, believably scary ranged enemies, a competent (if highly predictable) plot, and, since it's so focused on one ability (jumping between shadows), its level design is able to constantly take full advantage of that power. It's not going to be a revelation for anyone, but I think it's about everything you could hope for at this price point. I'll be interested to see where Lince Works goes from here.

Also, it doesn't really take off until the third level. I actually gave up on it a few months ago partway into the second level, but I'm glad I gave it another chance.

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