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Review the last game you finished

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by I am nobody » Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:17 am

#73, #74, #75. Deathsmiles, Mushihimesama, and Ikaruga (10/29)

I cleared out my bullet hell backlog while listening to an audiobook last week. Didn't review them until now because I don't have much to say. Deathsmiles is the best of the lot mostly due to what seems like pretty decent replayability and the horizontal scroll being pretty neat. Mushihimesama is the worst because the movement speed is so slow and it's hard to make out enemies and bullets against the background and pickups, although the game does have a fantastic soundtrack. Ikaruga also has great music, but far too much of the game is spent fighting nondescript bits of metal that shoot tons of bullets in patterns that aren't very interesting.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by I am nobody » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:34 pm

76. Final Fantasy IX (11/5)

Gonna lead with a disclaimer: After a very early boss (Black Waltz #1) turned out to be a level/item check and I couldn't be bothered to grind, I turned on all the boosters and kept them that way for the rest of the game. I finished the game ridiculously quickly (14 hours) as a result, but I can't really comment on anything to do with combat. Not having to deal with random encounters was definitely welcome, though.

My two favorite things about FFIX are the soundtrack and the art direction. Neither of those is particularly surprising considering the series' pedigree, but they're standouts even with that context. Save for a few disappointing moments when boss fights kept the music from the preceding cutscene, the music is consistently effective, and it's probably going to join the list of OSTs I keep on regular playlists. Similarly, the art (aside from the overworld, anyway) manages to make familiar environmental tropes feel fresh and interesting throughout the game, to say nothing of when it's completely original. I was already looking for FF art books, but this is further encouragement.

That said, while FFIX undoubtedly stands among the series best on those elements, I play these games for the stories. IX starts off strong on that front with a great play sequence that's mostly slapstick. The game is almost always successful when it takes that tone, and had it stuck with it for the entire plot, I'd probably be considering it for the best FF game.

Sadly, it doesn't. Most of the game is played entirely straight-faced, and the writing is bad. If you told me that 25% of this game's dialogue consisted of "[character name]..." or just "...", I'd believe you. It's like the audio and visual teams stole all of the writer's creative abilities and left them as husks capable only of regurgitating genre tropes. Pick any fantasy JRPG cliche and I can almost guarantee this game does it, probably paired with embarrassingly amateurish dialogue like "Do you know what it means to meet your maker?" It alternates between being so predictable that you call every plot twist from the moment it begins to develop and randomly tossing out new developments and characters without any buildup or narrative justification whatsoever. I'll admit that it's significantly improved from the utter nonsense that was FFVIII's story, and even that it's better written than most of the games that came after, but it's still a long way from being good.

Overall, it's alright. I can see why someone more able to ignore the writing than me or who is less familiar with genre tropes might enjoy it. I spent too much of the game groaning at the plot to feel much of anything positive.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by I am nobody » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:35 pm

77. Super Mario Odyssey

Despite all the praise this got, I went in with pretty low expectations. I'd already been majorly disappointed by BotW building itself on ludicrous numbers of tiny challenges instead of a few big ones earlier in the year, and Odyssey seemed to be following that model. Possibly by coincidence, everything I'd seen of the game up to that point had been challenges that amounted to getting moons for free, like the musicians, and none of it looked remarkable. I ended up buying it only because a friend insisted I had the wrong idea and I figured I could resell it for almost full price.

Well, I had the wrong idea. Odyssey absolutely does have gimmee moons, of course, but they're just a tiny fraction of the hundreds upon hundreds in the game. The overwhelming majority are clever environmental puzzles, many of which in turn have clever-er environmental puzzles within them, or classic platformning challenges. The main moons in each world are just as substantial and enjoyable as they've ever been in 3D Mario, but the paths to them are littered with smaller events that frequently steal the show. There were plenty of times when I thought I'd rush through a world as quickly as possible only to finish with three times as many moons as I needed because I just couldn't stop finding fun distractions.

There's really almost nothing I can criticize about it. I wish it would stop trying to harass me into using motion controls and that they'd made better use of the buttons (why does air dive require two presses when A/B and L/R both pointlessly do the same thing?), but those were only minor annoyances that I was mostly over by the end game. It was also a little disappointing that the story was that dull in a game that's otherwise so creative, but I can't pretend to care much about that in a Mario game. There's nothing I'd consider a major flaw.

In that sense, this review is broadly interchangeable with what I said about A Hat in Time. They're both near-perfect 3D platformers that are definitely better than anything I'd seen from the genre previously, and even though I don't enjoy the genre enough to seriously consider either of them for game of the year, I can completely understand why others would go even further than that. Which is really just a roundabout way of saying that it's awkward that the best Mario game came out right after I said another game was better than any Mario game and that I'm not going to comment on whether that's still true right now. It's really close. >_>
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I kind of want to go back and give Galaxy another shot now, but I still have 600 moons left. Choices.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by Marilink » Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:03 am

I'll also give some thoughts on Mario Odyssey.

I loved this game.

The movement in the game was always responsive and felt great. The objectives in the game were fun, and I have not felt bored with any particular thing in the game even after getting my 700th moon. The story was simple, but I still thought it was very fun. The side characters and new races are all endearing and great to have around. The music is so good that I've been listening to the level themes basically on repeat for the last two weeks. The boss battles are the best in any Mario game to date, and I'm not exaggerating. The costumes were just fun, and I still have a good time switching up my outfit whenever I'm in a new world. The level design is brilliant, especially seeing all of the ways that the different capture-able enemies are put to use in specific situations. And the visual conveyance of game mechanics is deliberate and effective--I never needed to ask myself "Ok, how do I control this thing or use it to my advantage?" I could always figure it out by simply observing the world and how things interacted.

It's hard to say anything about this game that hasn't already been said, unfortunately. This game is the evolution of the Mario franchise in an incredibly positive and encouraging direction. The game is just joyful from front to back. It had some nostalgia pieces along the way, but it never relied on them to accomplish anything other than icing on an already-delicious cake. I'm close to 100%ing the game, and I'm excited to accomplish that. (I've been able to do it so quickly because the game came out right as my wife left town with my daughter for a long weekend, so I poured...a lot of time into it while they were gone)

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by X-3 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:17 pm

19.) Super Mario Odyssey

It's too late to read this sentence. This is easily the most disappointing game I've played this year. Now that you've read that large text first and I've forced your attention, let me tell you how I really feel. This is easily one of the best games I've played this year, if not the best, and it wasn't actually disappointing. It feels like Banjo-Tooie with crisp movement, "transformations" worth using for more than once, size-appropriate worlds with tasks properly spread around, world inter-connectivity, and more. Unlike most Mario games, coins in this game stay valuable to collect until the very end of post-game, which is surprising and appreciated. Moons are in someways an evolution of the Star system in previous Mario games, in other ways a freak side-mutation. You can find them by doing a variety of tasks. Some will make you go "aha!" and make you feel like you're the smartest player ever. Others will make you feel like you can press the A or B button and move the control stick. They can't all be winners, I guess. While SM64 vets like me might be a bit put off by being unable to 100% clear stages on a first visit, the benefits of such design soon become apparent: you're encouraged to squeeze out all you can out of a first visit, leave when you've had enough, and then return much later. There is also a much appreciated QoL addition in regards to hunting for Moons and Purple Coins: if you revisit, Cappy will tell you if there's anything still there to collect, and tell if there's nothing left. Oh, and the game has a lot of fanservice, some of which goes places that I would have never anticipated. Avoid spoilers like the plague.

I do have some minor complaints off the top of my head:
-as stated earlier, some Moons feel almost criminally easy to get. Others can end up being "yeah just ground pound here I guess." There's also Moons that feel rather routine from world-to-world, like talking to a recurring NPC or catching an animal. Sometimes they manage to vary the task so it feels unique to each world, but sometimes it literally is just talking to a NPC.
-There are two Kingdoms in particular that would make for great settings but end up as small samplings instead. Additionally, one early Kingdom feels underdeveloped and almost entirely outclassed by a later Kingdom.
-Purple Coins can end up being a bit of a pixel-hunt to find, with no real way to track them down outside of...an amiibo.
-The game never really gets particularly "tough", even in post-game. This is only a minor complaint because the focus is not on difficult stages but rather the thrill of exploration and discovery. Well, at least there's no Rainbow Ride-tier level. (edit: okay one or two mini-games are tough but they're different)
-I noticed you reusing those 2-3 side-areas, game!
-there is one Kingdom that has a really cool theme but ends up being a bit disappointing. Actual spoilers ahead
Spoiler.
Bowser Kingdom is, as it's name says, knee-deep in Bowser's territory. It has a really cool Japanese fortress theme going on with Japanese architecture, music and clothing, (Samurai Mario) making you anticipate just what'll find inside. What do you find? Some peasant Goombas that appear once, some spinies, a lot of weird poke birds (that you capture to scale walls over and over again) and some oni Whomp. Where are the Samurai Koopa? Where are the Shinto Magikoopas? Why are the shopkeepers at the Crazy Cap humans? Why are there no Koopas in the land of the Koopas? Argh!
If I had to summarize the root of most of my minor complaints, it'd be "I want to play more of this game." If someone complains about that I'd say you've made a pretty good game.

6/12, it's the Citizen Kane of being okay

edit: Oh, and the game runs at a smooth 60 fps most of the time which is cool.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by Booyakasha » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:27 pm

I am nobody wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:17 am
#73, #74, #75. Deathsmiles, Mushihimesama, and Ikaruga (10/29)

I cleared out my bullet hell backlog while listening to an audiobook last week. Didn't review them until now because I don't have much to say. Deathsmiles is the best of the lot mostly due to what seems like pretty decent replayability and the horizontal scroll being pretty neat.
Man. Good old 'Deathsmiles'. I should play that one a bunch again. I'm not good at bullet-hell shooters, but that doesn't stop me.
boo-----------------------few who look upon his yucky elongated wiggle-hands live to tell the tale

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by I am nobody » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:17 pm

^Same. There's a few I'm okay at, but many continues were used in getting through those three.

77. Emily is Away (11/11)

Humble gave me the sequel, and this was both free and 20 minutes long, so I figured I should play it. I don't know why I keep trying these desktop simulator/found phone slice of life games when I've hated all of them.

Emily is Away was one of the earlier entries in this bizarre subgenre, but it's no exception to the rule. You spend 20 minutes talking to some faceless person about eachother and some even more faceless people each of you supposedly know. The relationship between the main characters is initially unclear, but you get railroaded into apparently being involved even if you don't say anything to remotely suggest that. Similarly, the game repeatedly tries to get you to say you're involved with another character who is almost literally just a name no matter how many times you say otherwise. Nothing interesting ever happened, and I never cared about anyone in the story.

I will readily admit that, as someone who wasn't in college in the early 2000s, went through no notable drama in high school, and mostly kept to myself in college, I am not the target audience for this game. But a good story isn't dependent on the audience having lived exactly the same life as its characters, and plenty of other games have overcome exactly the same barriers. Persona 5 and Night in the Woods both did it within the last year.

tl;dr: I talk to myself while playing games, and my reaction on finishing this one was "What the **** was the point of that?" Hadn't intended that as a review, but in retrospect, I can't top it.
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I did end up briefly playing the sequel afterward to see if it was any better. It is a very accurate simulator of those times in high school when people I was barely friends with somehow caught me in the minute I was logged into Facebook and I got stuck talking about nothing for 20 minutes.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

Post by Apollo the Just » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:41 am

Sonic Forces is the best game in the franchise with phenomenal visual storytelling in its levels, a damn killer OST, and of course avatar customization which is literally the best thing to happen to Modern Sonic. see my other thread for more details

I'm not "done" tho bc I'm gonna be grinding for all the customization options and individual level ranks for the next always.

Check out my edgy OC posing next to my currently-7th-best worldwide time on Imperial Fortress, which is a good enough level I have spent 2 solid days grinding it and trying to skip pretty much all of it with the drill wispon:
Spoiler.
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