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Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:13 pm
by I am nobody
89. Rivals of Aether (12/29)

I played a bit of the multiplayer over the holidays because my new laptop died (under warranty, thankfully) and the old one I hadn't sold yet can't run much more than that. It works amazingly well with a keyboard, and we had a good time with it, admittedly with the caveat that neither of us had any idea what we were doing, and that I went and played Brawl after a few matches.

I went back and did the single player today, and it's clear that this is a game designed for people who are really into Melee, which, as you might've guessed from that last sentence, I'm not. Like competitive Melee, there are no items, no stage effects, and most of the characters have something in common with Fox. None of those things is objectively a flaw (and my last point is exaggerated - Fox isn't the only character you could draw comparisons to), but they're also not things I'm looking for in a platform fighter. I think that, like competitive-style Melee, it's a game that can only really be enjoyed as long as everyone either has no idea what they're doing or are similarly dedicated to it, because anything else just devolves into a beatdown of the less-skilled player. Obviously, your mileage may vary.

Beyond that, I've only got a few minor complaints. The first is that this game has a lot of Pikachus and no Mario: Everyone has an annoying side-X will repeatedly send you off the stage while you're learning, and there's no character (at least of the six used in the campaign) that feels intuitive and tame enough to be a true tutorial pick. Next, and truly inexplicably, custom controller mappings do not seem to apply in the story mode, and the default mapping only makes sense if you're trying to force a DS4 to be a GCN controller. You can rebind them for seemingly everything else, and I tested it several times to make sure, but it reverts right back to the default as soon as you start the campaign.

I still had a decent time with it, but it's pretty obvious that this wasn't made for me.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:15 pm
by I am nobody
90. West of Loathing (12/30)

This is the longest six-hour game in the world. It's a comedy RPG that has about two hours worth of good material, and then pads that out by making you fight entirely too many battles with an exceptionally shallow system in which there's almost never any interesting choice about what to do on your turn. It's also stunningly unbalanced both for and against you. One potential companion gets an ability that will one-shot any skeleton, guaranteed, regardless of health or level, and which can be used every turn. Since the speed system heavily favors the player, it means any battle against one skeleton, even one twice your level, is a giant waste of everyone's time. Battles multiple skeletons, meanwhile, are basically just a check of whether you have enough HP to survive that many turns.

But you're still going to fail that check a lot in the final chapters of the game, because that's when the enemy balance breaks completely. Even if, like me, you've done most of the supposedly optional content in the previous 2/3rds of the game and had no trouble with required enemies to that point, you'll suddenly start facing things that wipe the floor with you in one turn. But not all the time - it's more like a 50/50 shot that any random battle or decision to fight will put you up against a battle that is utterly unwinnable, which just makes it more frustrating. You go from being the baddest gun in the West to reaching California and suddenly facing a single random rancher that has triple your health and can one-shot you. And this is on normal difficulty and following the game's suggestion to let it spend my experience for me.

I ended up beating it only because the save file is a JSON and the game doesn't validate any of it, so I could give myself 100,000 meat (gold) and a spell that did 1,000 damage to everyone. But the game had massively overstayed its welcome even before the balancing went to crap. There is some legitimately clever and funny stuff here, but it's buried under a mountain of tedious combat.

91. Steamworld Dig 2 (12/31)

It's a pretty fun game until the final boss. Think Spelunky without the rogue-lite elements and more puzzles. I got it to play during podcasts, and it served that purpose pretty well. It'd be easy to recommend if not for said final boss. I fought it six times, and four of those times ended in it bouncing me into an area in which there was literally nothing I could do except die, including one time in which it trapped me in a box of tiles I had no way of breaking with a pool of acid. This is not helped by the lack of mid-fight checkpoints or the only partially skippable cutscene preceding the fight.

That said, I didn't have all of the health or weapon upgrades, so if you're the type to 100% the puzzle content, that fight might be less frustrating.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:16 pm
by I am nobody
My gaming New Year's resolution was to finish way fewer mediocre games. To that end:

1. Nier: Automata (1/3) (bolding for 2017)

I bought [Nier on launch day back in March, played the first few hours of it, and thought I got it. It was a semi-open world action RPG with exactly the kind of fluid combat you'd expect from Platinum, a really impressive ability to pull off varied gameplay stlyes and perspectives, and a story that seemed like entertaining nonsense. I figured that combination of unpredictability in story and gameplay was what everyone was on about, wasn't convinced it was a better use of my console attention span than Horizon or Persona, and then left it on my shelf for nine months.

Technically, some of that was correct. Nier's unpredictability is a huge part of what makes it great, but those first few hours aren't nearly enough to appreciate it. From a gameplay perspective, the number of systems, playstyles, and modes on offer is truly absurd, even more so for the fact that any of them would have been enough to build the game around. It returns to some more than others, but there's almost nothing it's unwilling to try at least once. That dynamism keeps the gameplay from ever getting stale despite the game's considerable length.

The narrative is equally unpredictable, but I was horribly wrong about it being nonsense. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking it's just another "weird" game, something that could be mistaken for being deep if you squint at it, but that's really just a collection of someone's nightmares. In reality, it's just confident enough not to hit you over the head with what it's trying to say. There's no single moment when the plot stands up and goes "look at how philosophical I am!" or "look at all this meta!" like so many other games. Instead, the threads just keep building on each other until you get to a point where you realize it had been doing that all along and you just didn't notice. Although it initially seems like everything in the game is just random noise trying to imitate something more clever, you eventually realize that all of it had a purpose and meaning. Then you write a review of it, connect that with early parts of the game, and realize that that's exactly what it meant for you to do all along. Not that I knew that until just now.

It's also a really well done story even if you're not into all of the philosophical crap, but if you are, I haven't seen anything other than Zero Escape do such a masterful job of subtly connecting the ideas with the gameplay and narrative, and even that had to do mini-lectures from time to time. It doesn't care if you realize how clever it is; it just does its thing and figures you'll catch up eventually. I have no idea how anyone convinced a AAA publisher to back it, let alone without microtransactions.

That said, it isn't perfect. It's possible to reach some very high level quests before you're meant to do them or have any reason to know you're not meant to do them, and there's loads of unmarked points-of-no-return that'll wipe your active quests. Both of these become less of an issue with things that are added later on, but they're frustrating in the moment. It also has some occasional slow loads (on PS4, anyway), a map that's initially very confusing, and a few quests that are either buggy or poorly communicated. If you're not into what it's doing narratively, there are some decisions justified that way that could be quite frustrating. Any of these things could understandably be serious issues depending on what you want out of a game.

But personally, I don't care about any of them. This is one of the most innovative, smart, and thoroughly enjoyable games I've played, and I can't believe I left it on a shelf for nine months.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:50 pm
^ You write good reviews. I didn't have much interest in Nier but now it sounds pretty cool. I just thought it was another Platinum action game featuring anime girl butts, like a darker Bayonetta or something.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:50 pm
by I am nobody
I mean, it's definitely a Platinum action game with butts, but there's surprisingly little focus on said butts beyond what's basically inevitable from the character design. I kept expecting something cringey, but unless I've just forgotten something from back in March or it's hidden in the small amount of content I didn't see, there's pretty much none of that.

I didn't think it was very dark, but that's probably going to depend on what you take away from it.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:42 pm
I was only going by the trailers I saw, seemed kinda dark. Not like God of War levels but yeah.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:02 pm
by X-3
Nier Automata kind of differs from other Platinum games in that the action gameplay is more the framework of the game than the focus. Tone is more serious than necessarily dark especially compared to something like Drakengard.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:17 am
by Apollo the Just
Tales of Symphonia (I beat it a few days ago but still counts):

10/10. My favorite video game ever. There are games that I would recommend to other people before this one [such as the MOTHER series] because I think they have strengths Symphonia lacks and that their polish and successes are more obvious, but there will never exist a video game that has as much depth, replayability, and appeal to me as Tales of Symphonia.

Gameplay-wise, there is a lot that I thoroughly love about this game that prevents it from ever feeling like a chore even if I've gone through it over ten times. EX skills allow for builds of each character to make them INCREDIBLY fun to play as and kind of broken in some cases. Lloyd and Presea have so much aerial momentum that the lack of Free Run is honestly not a problem to me (Tempest and Infliction make it impossible to be cornered); characters feel very light and floaty and fast, so it feels fun to control them in contrast to how heavy characters feel in later installments that introduced Free Run. I also love experimenting with S-type and T-type techs and I think it makes for a very interesting variety of play styles - S-type Raine, for example, makes it actually enjoyable to play as the healer in multiplayer because you can anticipate injury/death and use Revive and Cure intelligently (PLUS you get Holy Lance!), whereas T-type is the basic fundamental for having a crappy AI control your healer instead. I love Symphonia's battle system so much. It's honestly my idea of a good time to go to a friend's house and bust out Symphonia multiplayer and try to fight Abyssion, after spending like 2 hours fussing over EX skills and techs.

It's a JRPG though, so obviously the real meat is in the story. The story and how it's told.

Spoilers ahoy if anyone even cares anymore.
First off-- Mithos Yggdrasill makes this game what it is. Tales of Symphonia has my favorite villain in any piece of media, ever. I love Mithos because he is tragic, well-developed, and because he (like all of the best villains) believes himself to be a hero, and the game actually presents compelling arguments as to why.

"Mithos literally enslaved and murdered thousands of humans to turn everyone into zombies, that's the most cliche evil bad guy schtick out there how on earth could you possibly consider him a compelling villain" hahahaha okay let's stop and back up four thousand years, okay? First I'm going to tell you HOW his story unfolded to BELIEVABLY turn him into the person he became, and then I'm going to talk about the way the game tells you this story that may or may not impact whether or not the player perceives him as being all that believable.

Mithos was simultaneously the Lloyd Irving and the Genis Sage of 4,000 years ago. He was the bright-eyed idealistic hero who wanted to save the world, journeying with his trusted companions to fight the bad guys and stop war and save everyone. He was ALSO the young kid who was raised by his sister because his parents died too soon, and whose entire youth was absolutely miserable because literally everyone in the world is a giant racist **** and he had the misfortune of being born a half-elf. He WAS a hero, who genuinely wanted the best for everyone and to change things for the better; but he was also *incredibly vulnerable*.

So what happens when his sister - aka his only remaining family, whom he relies on just as hard as Genis relies on Raine, and 1/3 of his entire support system as a growing and emotionally turbulent 14yo kid - is murdered by a racist human?

Bad things is what happens.

Mithos's defining traits and motivations as a villain are thus:

- His desire to revive Martel. He lost the most important person in his life and also a key figure of stability, so his resulting actions were reactionary, wild, terrible, and obsessive. The only two remaining members of his support system were so used to perceiving him as a "leader" (and also were themselves so stricken by loss) that they, despite being about twice his age, failed to support him or make up for her loss in any meaningful way, and merely enabled him in pursuing his grieving tantrum-ideals.

- Loneliness. The one person in the entire world who mattered more to him than anyone else was killed. His resulting actions (understandably) made him a LOT of enemies. He fabricated enough history about himself and his sister and the worlds that virtually everyone he interacts with in any capacity sees him as the persona he has created to act Mature and Cool rather than *himself*; by the time the game's events occur Mithos has virtually no actual real personal connections with anyone. Even his former comrades interact with him as a higher-up, and he treats them like underlings - but is visibly DEVASTATED when they betray him. The only person in the game we see Mithos honestly connect with is Genis, and the entire time you can tell he's uncomfortable because he is afraid of rejection and unused to genuine interaction. Genis tries to convince him to see their side but Mithos is so accustomed to seeing the world in an us-vs-them context, that he perceives anyone not bowing to his every whim as "betrayal." He's a lonely and **** up kid whose initial isolation after he lost a loved one exacerbated his loneliness until it became a Real Heckin Huge Enormous Issue.

- His desire to end racism. His sister died, and it was her last wish. He hates humans and elves with every fiber of his being but if Martel wanted a world free of discrimination he'll do what it takes to do it: purge everyone of their blood and make everyone the same. The thing about this is that it's so PAINFULLY JUVENILE that no one but a seriously unstable 14-year-old could think it's a good idea. But he does, and his 2 remaining adult figures enable him, and by the time he has some second thoughts it's 4,000 years way too late to stop what he's put into place.

- His fierce loyalty to Half-Elves. Similar to the last point but specifically he is so committed to protecting his people because no one was there when his sister was giving everything she had to protect him and cling to life for both of them. He created Exire as a haven where they could live in peace, he befriended and helped Genis and Raine even knowing they were fighting against him, he built an empire where they could play a role in shaping the world and not be seen as inferior. Granted, he then takes this to the next level by considering humans and elves INFERIOR and committing mass genocide at the expense of these people to turn everyone else into lifeless beings to end racism.... but in the beginning, his motivations were clearly to stand up for the people no one else would, before it went to **** along with everything else.

- More than anything else..... his own fervent belief that he is doing the right thing. He WAS doing the right thing for so long. He fought to end the ancient war to stop the suffering that killed the Giant Kharlan Tree, he and his friends were THE GOOD GUYS. But then everything went wrong, and he did what he thought was right: try to rescue his sister, try to end racism, try to protect half-elves, try to save the world; but he was grieving and desperate and went about it all in the worst way possible, was enabled rather than stopped, and became so single-mindedly obsessed with these ideals that he ceased to do what he was doing for the right reasons anymore, and continued doing it for the sake of Doing What Must Be Done. His descent into crazy JRPG villain over the course of 4,000 years is SO believable, because by that time it's become his entire reason for living and if he admits that any of it is wrong he loses his ENTIRE identity. The state he's in by the time the game takes place is SO natural. It makes sense and it's absolutely tragic.

Now, as promised, I'll address how the game conveys these points. First off I'll be totally honest and say if you do Colette's ending the way the game intends you to, Mithos's development is only about half as good. Because the best way to really understand his character is by doing Genis's ending, so you can hear straight from the mouth of a SYMPATHETIC GOOD GUY how his ideals sound really appealing if you're young and hurt by the same prejudice. The game tells Mithos's story by drawing parallels between Lloyd and Genis to him, so that even though we only see Mithos as he is now - deranged and bloodthirsty - we can IMAGINE how he was because we are experiencing Lloyd and Genis over the course of the game. By embarking on the same journeys Mithos did (making pacts with summon spirits, using the Eternal Blade, traveling across the world/s to make a difference) with similar perspectives (Lloyd's idealism, Genis's vulnerability, Raine's guidance) makes it very VERY easy to understand what his situation was like. It only takes a little bit of imagination to visualize how Genis might react if Raine was murdered, for example - bam. That's Mithos's real, lived experience.

So I think the game does EXCELLENTLY with its development of the villain through believable and meaningful parallels with the protagonist, and I also think some of the missable content where you can interact with him when he's posing as Mithos, the boy from Ozette, are really powerful (also the PS2 re-release has added Mithos-related content further expanding on his history and reflecting on what he used to be like). That said, since the majority of what we actually interact with in the game is Evil Douchebag, and since Mithos's development is a lot more missable if you don't do Genis's ending, I'll concede that the game doesn't make a deep understanding of its villain's motivations a total priority. His development is THERE and it's COMPELLING and it's SOUL-CRUSHING, but the way it's told, the devs are clearly 100% ok with you going through the game thinking he's a genocidal self-righteous prick with a sob story and nothing more than that. But it's there; it's all there and he is such a good character that not a single other villain will ever live up to him.
Also, I can't post about ToS and not talk about the affection mechanic. The affection mechanic is what sets this game apart from other JRPGs. It gives it replayability because focusing on each character reveals new things about their own story, but more importantly, some of them reveal ESSENTIAL highlights about the game's main themes. You are not getting the full picture of the ToS world and story unless you have played the game from each characters' perspective because there is something each ending adds commenting on something different - discrimination, sacrifice, responsibility, identity, life, etc - and if you have a favorite character the game lets you focus on them and explore their motivations specifically.

It's valid to criticize this game because it seems to be telling too many stories at once and lacks focus because of that, or if you choose to focus on the most obvious and blatant story it appears to lack depth. Personally I find this the opposite of a criticism. Each character's ending expands more on specific plot lines the game provides. Missable side-quests delve further into certain themes. There are a lot of different intersecting lessons to tell and the game gives each of them focus, some more than others obviously but none are ignored. I love that this game has so many different stories to tell because they are all interconnected and it makes the entire epic feel so much more vibrant to delve into. It's what makes video games unique as a medium for storytelling: unlike a book, the experience CAN be different each time you pick it up, and it CAN tell a slightly different story because you actively engage with it to create the experience. So if a game chooses to tell multiple stories so you can play it multiple ways and get multiple things out of it, I think that's a huge damn creative success.

It's also valid to criticize this game because the opening feels very generic, cliche, and uninspired. Ignoring the fact that the entire rest of the plot of the game is analyzing the EXTREMELY convoluted and forced mechanisms in place necessary to produce such a specific cliche "once upon a time" setting, it's understandable that this can put people off of playing it. I stand by its decision though, because like I said, it is necessary to start this way because the literal remainder of the game is a DAMN good analysis of just what kind of **** up scheme would be required for such a setup to make sense. It's a fascinating take.

The only 100% valid criticism is that ToS has "tell rather than show" syndrome in some cases; it has a lot of good points to make and it makes some of them really artfully, but at other points it's like "you just said that in awkward forced dialogue when it would have been 10000x more powerful if you showed it instead." Fighting Marble before encountering Clara and learning about Anna and Elicia? THAT was excellent showing, not telling. Reading books in the Tower of Mana that are filled with racially-charged and manipulated propaganda about the history of the Ancient War before you learn the truth? FANTASTIC storytelling. Unfortunately not every plot thread, reveal, and point is made in this manner. When it does it right it does it RIGHT but sometimes certain things are poorly conveyed via afterthought dialogue.

This essay was going to be more about other things with just a mention of Mithos but because of who I am as a person it became 99% about Mithos, oops. That spoiler box is just like a million paragraphs about Mithos. Tales of Symphonia is the best video game fight me

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:34 pm
by ScottyMcGee
Persona 5 (PS4)

Keep in mind I've NEVER played a Persona game - ever. First foray into the series. I heard about it for the first time earlier this year from another friend.

Ho boy - totally bummed that I never got into this series earlier. The game was such a tour de force. I just finished it today so there's a lot about it that I'm still digesting. I thought the final part of the game dragged on way too long. When you think it's over - it's not. At first I was like "Okay that's a cool twist" but then it keeps going and at one point I seriously got lost - picked a wrong choice - got a bad ending - and had to go back to my earlier save and try again. My brain was fried at that moment so when I was given a pretty important choice I was like "Wha---what's going on again? What will this do?"

Criticism about the plot/story (SPOILERS)
Like every JRPG ever, you end up fighting God. I totally didn't expect that - then again, I never played Persona before. But even so - I thought it was pretty contrived. The whole theme of the game is that you change people's hearts for the better and the morality surrounding that. When they included an all-powerful God who pulled the strings, it kind of ruined that theme. Now it's all "Oh, well, this was the thing that started it all so blame him."
Oh one more thing I forgot mention - so there are many girls and some women you can have relationships with. You can romance any (or all - with negative results, essentially cheating) of them. Each person you gain a friendship with has you unlock abilities, and your friendship with them also unveils a sidestory with that person.

One thing that definitely made my eyes roll was that EVERY SINGLE friendship you develop with a girl can be taken as a sexual innuendo. Take Hifumi, the shogi player. You meet her after you gain enough charm and she wants to "test her new moves" on you. Every time she texts you she's like "I need to test a new move on you." Really? REALLY? New move eh? Nudge nudge, wink, wink. Or Makoto - whose storyline involves you pretending to be her boyfriend. Or Takemi, the doctor who wants you to be her "guinea pig" for clinical trials. The most blatant is the teacher, Kawakami, who moonlights as a "maid service". The service claims she's just a cleaning lady but come on - of course---OF COURSE---I can't even--no.

The music is sooooo so so so so FANTASTIC. It's an ecstatic experience. Every single track is sublime. Beginning to end. It's a bit hard to understand all the lyrics to all the songs though. I assume the singer is Japanese so she pronounces English very differently.

It's one of those RPGs where if the main character dies in battle it's an automatic game over. I got annoyed at first since it's been a long time since I played an RPG like that but I fully understand because the game would be too easy otherwise. Like Pokemon, every character an enemy has elemental affinities and weaknesses. If you exploit an enemy's weakness, you can hold them up and finish them off or talk to them to get something, after which they retreat and you win. If there are multiple enemies though, you have to exploit ALL their weaknesses in order to hold them up.

There's SO MUCH to explore and do. You can't experience everything in a single playthrough. What's rewarding is that after you finish the game, you can carry on your stats and items from your first playthrough, even special items you get at the very end from characters you've bonded with.

I sometimes maybe felt a little claustrophobic about the world. You travel through the subway and look at a map and pick and choose where to go. Each city or town is self-contained, which made me feel like I was just jumping from one movie set to the next. What I mean is - the roaming around doesn't exactly feel flowing - rather a series of choppy bits you warp to. There are many nooks and crannies but I found myself disappointed when such places were only for show and didn't really have anything to interact with.

Love all the characters. Each and every one of them. Wasn't annoyed by anyone. They're all different and unique.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:49 pm
by I am nobody
3 and 4 are very similar, if somewhat smaller, experiences so it's definitely worth giving those a look if you enjoyed 5. They also don't have the choppiness you mentioned since they're not set in cities built around train stations.

P4 does have one of the more infamous accidental bad ending scenes, though.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:16 pm
by Marilink
Thanks for that TOS write-up, AJ. I don’t have anything really to say about it, other than to thank you for taking the time to write it. It really is a great game.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:52 pm
by Apollo the Just
im just glad someone actually reads my 18 paragraph annotated essays on the subject tbh so thanks pal

E: also going off of ian, please play p3 it's so good, p4 is good but more similar of an experience to p5 I think and it piggybacked a lot off of p3 in ways that don't always make sense.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:07 pm
by I am nobody
R-1. Ittle Dew (1/9)

Discovering I don't actually like Mass Effect 2 very much was a great candidate for the embodiment of why I'm going back and replaying games I used to like, but this is arguably an even better one. Boo coincidentally picked this for me right after I was looking at the 2013 Game of the Year thread out of curiosity. That was a thread in which I ranked Ittle Dew ahead of Brave New World and Enemy Within while also calling it the best thing to happen to Zelda since aLttP.

I can only assume I was under the influence of alien mind control drugs at the time. It's not that ID is a bad game, but it's nothing incredible, and it certainly wasn't anything resembling a revolution of the Zelda formula. It's basically what you'd get if you took Link's Awakening and made speedrunning its primary focus. It's a game that can be finished in 10 minutes without any kind of glitches if you know what you're doing, and the game came be completed with only two of the three dungeons finished in any order.

It's a neat idea, but it comes at the expense of character and coherency. ID isn't so much a world as it is a sequence of puzzles that exist for no reason other than to be in your way, and that rarely feel like they were designed with the next room in mind. The entire game feels like you're meant to skip it (because you are), and that just makes most of it feel pointless. It's almost like one of those debug rooms you could get to with Action Replays in older Zeldas - the mechanics are all there and you can have some fun with it, but it's ultimately a shell of a game. Unless you're looking to speedrun it, there's not much here.

(Also, BNW, EW, EUIV, and FE:A were all 2013? Holy **** that was a good year for strategy games)

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:45 pm
by ScottyMcGee
Can I just add that I can't stop listening to the end credits song of Persona 5? It literally makes me want to cry every time but in a good way. I can't help but feel nostalgia. What is wrong with me? IT'S TUGGING AT MY HEART. IT CHANGED MY HEART.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:29 am
by DarkZero
I am nobody wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:13 pm
Next, and truly inexplicably, custom controller mappings do not seem to apply in the story mode, and the default mapping only makes sense if you're trying to force a DS4 to be a GCN controller. You can rebind them for seemingly everything else, and I tested it several times to make sure, but it reverts right back to the default as soon as you start the campaign.
might be too late but there's a profile option in the single player menu that lets you use custom controls for solo modes:

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:16 am
by I am nobody
^I found that, but it seemed to specifically exclude the campaign mode. I could test it successfully in anything else, but as soon as I started that I'd be right back to the defaults.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:31 pm
by X-3
2017 in Review:
1-6.) Mega Man Legacy Collection (done before thread) (MM 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
7.) Tales of Berseria
8.) Nioh
9.) Zelda: Breath of the Wild
10.) Nier Automata
11.) Bayonetta
12.) Vanquish
13.) Hollow Knight
14-16.) Crash Bandicoot: the N-Sane Trilogy
17.) Final Fantasy XII
18.) LttP Randomizer
19.) Hyper Light Drifter
10.) Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
21.) Metroid: Samus Returns
22.) Wario Land 2
23.) Doki Doki Literature Club
24.) Mega Man X
25.) Cuphead
26.) Super Mario Odyssey
27.) REmake
28-31.) Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 (MM7, 8, 9, 10)
32.) Okami
33.) Specter of Torment but I don't remember when
1.) Baldur's Gate:

It's alright. Writing is adequate. This was more or less an intro to AD&D mechanics so it was a fun learning experience. Like a lot of WRPGs, I feel like quick-saving and quick-loading kind of trivializes stuff...which is why people challenge themselves by never reloading I guess. Overall kind of reminds me of XII but a lot better due to better combat encounters and story pacing. Think I would have preferred full turn-based though. Also I should have gone Fighter over Paladin but eh.

2.) Ocarina of Time:

Still a really great game. OoT and MM are definitely kings of atmosphere when it comes to Zelda, which makes it a bit of a shame that subsequent games haven't really followed suit. It's not about having a grimdark tone though. Also, despite being the first 3D Zelda, the long-winded cutscenes somehow have much better direction than the BotW ones. Go figure. This time I picked up on the Shinto influences, mostly I wondered why every evil in this game seemed to be "sealed" in some way. I've never gotten full 100% in this game because of the Deku Nut glitch, and I've only bothered with the Big Poe Bottle once. The Gold Skulltulas, in a way, can be seen as a predecessor to BotW's Korok Seeds: they're spread everywhere for players to collect, and there's more total than actually needed to get the final substantial reward. Good stuff.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:06 am
by Artemis008
2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Delta, Sonic 2 S3 Edition, and Sonic 1+2
I'm going to review these all together because they're essentially the same game in different forms. Each hack has its pros and cons though, and that's mainly what I want to cover.

Sonic 2 S3 Edition is hack of Sonic 2 that incorporates many features from Sonic 3 like Knuckles, separate act 2 music, and most importantly a save feature. Unfortunately, while this all sounds amazing on paper in execution it's falls flat on its face. Knuckles tends to get locked in place every now and then, the transition between acts and zones sometimes soft locks the game making a no save run nearly impossible. The emeralds don't save to sram, and the mini bosses are absolute trash. The first one is just Green Hill Zones boss from Sonic 1, and I don't even know what the second one is supposed to be. It just moves from left to right until you kill it. To top it all off, there are no mini bosses after chemical plant making them fell even more out of place. It's so disappointing because this is such a great idea but it just wasn't meant to be.

Sonic 1+2 is the simplest of the three hacks. It's Sonic 2 with all of Sonic 1's levels plus a save feature and a neat little arena mode. It does have a few problems though, to start off the difficulty curve is awful. Sonic 1 was already weird with its difficulty and this only makes it worse. I feel like the best way this could have been done was to change the level order completely. There's also a bit of lag, but it's nothing too bad. In the end I feel like this hack is well done, but it doesn't do anything completely new and ends up being the most forgettable.

Sonic 2 Delta is sort of a mix between the other two hacks. It's got all of Sonic 1's zones re arranged to create a smoother level curve. It's got Sonic 3's data select save system, and Knuckles as a playable character (and he's not completely broken). This is all well and good, but that's not all Sonic 2 Delta does. It's actual purpose is to implement scrapped mechanics and zones from the beta versions. It sadly doesn't do this particularly well. Of the new zones, Winter Hill is a bland walk from start to finish, Wood Zone is buggy and also very bland, Dust Hill looks really good but the enemy placement is so bad it makes Sonic Advance 2 look like a mastapiece, Hidden Palace has a really good first act minus the extremely slow elevator segment, act 2 is kind of bland. And Genocide City is just chemical plant different music and the oil ocean background. Despite that, I still think the good out ways the bad here and this is my preferred way of playing Sonic 2 on the Genesis.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:41 pm
by I am nobody
2. Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (Remake) (1/12)

(Spoilering this because it's really long. There are no spoilers whatsoever, mostly because this would've been a novel and taken all night to write if I'd gone into specifics)
I've brought it up a million times, so I'll keep the intro to this one short: 999 and its sequels have had locks on my top three games since they came out. 999 in particular was completely different from anything I'd played to that point, and it permanently changed what I thought games could be. I'd been telling myself I'd replay it soon for pretty much the entirety of the 8 years (or 9 by calendar year, har har) since then. Now that I finally did, does it live up to the absurdly high expectations I have for it?

I'll start by saying that the remake is, without a doubt, an inferior way to experience it versus the DS version. The original was rightly criticized for making you play through the entire game for every ending, aided only by a skip function, but the addition of a flowchart like in the sequels was as lazy as could be. Branches aren't clearly marked, there's no attempt whatsoever to explain the "locked/unlocked" symbols or what you need to do to remove them, and although the game lets you jump back to loads of specific conversations that have no relevance to the flow, one very critical decision can only be reached by replaying that entire room. I had to use a guide to get one required ending, and I've already beaten the game. It's great that you can see the same story in half the time now, but the branching of the original was built around the idea you'd be seeing things multiple times. Dumping VLR's flowchart on top when that game was structured in a fundamentally different way just doesn't work.

They also dealt with the lack of two screens by giving you a toggle to flip between seeing the game in the default "Adventure mode", where you only get dialogue, and "Novel Mode", where you get the game's full text. This is, again, the laziest solution they could've used. The most obvious issue is that, as a low-budget DS game with reasonably high-res assets, there's essentially zero animation in the entire game. That descriptive text wasn't there to wow you with its prose - it was there because you very often need it to know what's happening. More important, however, is that the two screens were an essential part of the story. They were clearly aware enough of that fact to not just ditch the second screen entirely, but their presentation of it as two different ways of experiencing the game completely defeats the point.

Less importantly, the casting for the voice acting is a bit iffy. Most of them do a decent job, but Junpei in particular is played totally wrong for a good chunk of the game. I know why they went for the actors they did, but better direction would've gone a long way.

The most glaring problems I noticed were specific to this version of the game, but that's not to say there was nothing wrong with the original. For one, there's a running trend I've got a very difficult time explaining in which the game presents a complex, multilayered mystery and drops philosophy lectures on you, then turns around and explains the same basic arithmetic in the same way for the 30th time in that playthrough. It clearly expects you're paying a certain amount of attention, because you're going to get basically nothing out of this if you're just mashing through, but then it treats you like an idiot every time some starts adding numbers. There are some other issues with the writing that feel like they're probably specific to the translation. For one, these characters sometimes have stunningly limited vocabularies - the wiki will tell you that "what the hell" is said 162 times in the 13 hour run, and at least 30 of those come in the first 45 minutes. There are also loads of scenes where characters are explaining things and, either because they're translating Japanese too literally or tying back into "we think the player is an idiot now", they'll repeat words and phrases multiple times in a few sentences and completely unnecessarily start explaining basic word substitutions. ("let's call them doors a, b, and c for simplicity"

It also doesn't compare particularly well to its sequels. The puzzles are less elaborate and less integrated into the plot, and a number of them can only be solved by clicking everything until you find all the arbitrarily placed objects. That last problem is not helped by the aforementioned lack of animation, nor by the often confusing sets of camera angles you're given to work with.

But, even acknowledging all of those flaws, it's still in a class of its own. I started out thinking that all I could get out of a second playthrough was catching all the little hints they dropped along the way. And there are loads of those hints. The game will repeatedly tell you exactly what's going on in ways that are, in retrospect, completely obvious, but integrate them into seemingly innocent conversation or less useful, more prominent hints in such a way that you don't think anything of them. As complex and off the rails as it gets, this is not only one of the rare mystery stories that you actually can solve on your own, it's one that practically taunts you with the solutions. More remarkably than that, those solutions aren't just to 999's mysteries - there are hints to some of the major themes and twists in both VLR and ZTD scattered throughout. Even if the later stories were written to fit those rather than Uchikoshi having planned out the entire thing the better part of a decade in advance, I absolutely love that.

Still, what was more impressive was what I didn't expect. All three games followed a pattern when I first played them where I enjoyed them, but wasn't completely in love with them, for the first 40-60%. After that, all the connections started to fall into place and I'd blast through everything that was left in a 5-6 hour sitting without even realizing how much time had passed. Almost no other game can hold my attention for even half that time, but what's most remarkable to me is that that happened again. I still remembered every major plot point - there was nothing significant left to surprise me, but it was still so compelling that I'd have gone through the last 5 hours just like that if not for having work in the morning. Other games have come close to matching specific parts of what makes ZE so special to me, but, so far, nothing has managed to replicate that complete experience.

It has many more scratches than I remembered, and the gap between it and its sequels is even wider than I thought, but there's still no doubt in my mind that it deserves its spot at #3.

Now I just need to pretend that the remake didn't also come with VLR for a bit so I can finally give Yakuza 0 some attention. It's great so far, but I have no idea why I thought I was capable of playing 999 and not-999 at the same time without the former consuming all of my attention.

Re: Review the last game you finished

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:12 pm
by Marilink
1. SteamWorld Dig 2

I thoroughly enjoyed the first game, and I don’t think I was quite ready for how much better this one would be. The first half of the game was me being reminded how much I liked the way this series does its thing. The second half of the game really transcended—basically, the moment you get the hook shot.

I won’t go too long on this one, other than saying that it is a great game and it was the perfect choice for me to take on my recent trip to Mexico. Beat the whole game on just flights alone. Short and sweet. The ending was a little abrupt, and I actually googled “SteamWorld Dig 2 ‘good ending’” to see if I had missed some story beat or important collectible, but no. Oh well, a minor complaint for such a satisfying game.