Review the last game you finished

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Re: Review the last game you finished

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Post by I am nobody » Sun May 26, 2019 3:42 pm

30. Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark (5/26) (PC)

It's a strategy RPG that doesn't try to hide how much it was inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics. In terms of gameplay, it's basically fine. The maps are mostly interesting enough, and there's a good variety of enemies, but the decision to limit you to six characters per battle when they're are 20 classes and you ultimately end up with six story characters is a little baffling. You're never able to explore that possibilities that thoroughly because the protagonist is always forced to be in your party, one of the other named characters is just objectively better than any alternative, you absolutely need a healer or two, and one of the other story characters inevitably ends up being best for the last slot. They tried to rectify that with the injury system, whereby any character who gets knocked out takes a 10% stat penalty for the next fight unless they sit it out, but since there's no XP leak, it's almost always better to go waste time replaying the trivially easy first fight rather than trying to win a real mission with characters that aren't ready. You can pay money to recruit a character at the right level, but they won't have any abilities unlocked, so there's no way to get a character who is properly leveled and skilled for the fight you're facing unless you've been grinding extra characters the whole time.

Which could be a real problem, but it's also not very hard. Maybe it's just that I'm used to Devil Survivor's willingness to wreck you for any minor mistake, even before the fight starts, but I felt like I could coast by on the same strategy for almost the entire game. I think this combination could've been fine if the game was maybe half as long. As it stands, you're probably looking at 30+ hours if, unlike me, you don't get bored halfway through and edit the save file to make all your characters level 99. I think it says a lot that, having done that, the remainder of the game still felt too long and the battles weren't significantly less interesting than when I actually had a chance of losing.

Which leaves the story. Alas, it is garbage. The three main characters are all as blandly heroic as it is possible to be, with any supposed personality traits coming primarily from other characters insisting they exist rather than any demonstration in their dialogue. Everyone else servers some one-note purpose and is otherwise at best barely significant to the goings on. It clearly recognizes the importance of twists in this kind of story, but executes them so staggeringly by the book that nearly every one will be obvious to anyone with even a passing familiarity with RPG tropes the second it's set up. It's so boring that I ended up using this as a podcast game, which I don't think I've ever done with an allegedly story-focused game before.

tl;dr: Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

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Re: Review the last game you finished

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Post by I am nobody » Mon May 27, 2019 10:04 pm

Only took 'till nearly June, but I finally found an unqualified recommendation from this year!

Not this first one, though. It's from last year.

30. Shape of the World (5/27) (PC)

Trippy walking simulator. I got it free and it was a really good podcast game for the whole hour it lasted. Probably not going to remember it in two weeks, though.

31. Yuppie Psycho (5/27) (PC)

Slay the Spire's first real competitor for 2019 is also a strong contender for worst game name. It sounds like it should be a gratuitously violent Hotline Miami ripoff, but it's actually Silent Hill, Inc. It's got all the fascinating weirdness and body horror of that game, but themed around working for a large corporation rather than rural cults. That describes the gameplay pretty accurately as well: There's no combat, but otherwise it's a familiar mix of avoiding enemies and solving puzzles in a world that expands and morphs as you progress. Also like SH, it's rarely if ever reliant on jump scares to create tension, so people that don't normally get on with horror games (like me) can finish it.

This is an extreme case of benefiting from not knowing much going in, so I'm reluctant to say more than that it's a phenomenal at that sense of things just being wrong. Other than that the ending is just okay in what's an otherwise brilliant game, I honestly don't have any criticisms of it.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

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Post by I am nobody » Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:09 pm

Turns out you can finish a lot of games really quickly if they're all 2 hours or less. Who knew?

(She and the Light Bearer comes to Switch this week!)

32. Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders (5/31) (PC)

Di Renjie is the Chinese equivalent of Sherlock Holmes, except that he was an actual guy and also about 1,200 years earlier. I hadn't heard of him before this game, but it's definitely gotten me interested in other media about him. It helps that, besides the idea of a detective story set in the 600s AD being interesting enough on its own, he served primarily during the reign of China's only empress, Wu Zetian, and all the intrigue surrounding her ascension.

The gameplay is rather standard fair for an adventure game, and the player doesn't actually do much crime solving, but the setting is sufficiently unique that it really never bothered me. It's a pretty good game elevated to something pretty special by expanding game's exploration of history.

33. She and the Light Bearer (6/1) (PC)

Mojiken Studio is an Indonesian outfit that's rapidly becoming one of my favorite indie devs. They put out a couple free games on Steam last year (A Raven Monologue and Banyu Lintar Agnin) that were both ~30 minutes long, touching, and artistically stunning. SatLB is a paid game that brings the run time up to 2 hours, but otherwise continues that trend. It's a fairy tale about a firefly who has to save the forest by reaching its center and waking Mother. Although never a challenging game, it's consistently entertaining and tells a solid story. I'd compare it to the old Humongous games in that it's a very child-friendly and accessible adventure game, but unlike those games, it's also fantastic as an adult.

And I really can't emphasize enough how good beautiful this game is. Pyre is the only game I can think of that compares, and that's about the highest praise I can give. Just look at it:
Spoiler.
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34. Bright Memory: Episode 1 (6/1) (PC)

A 30 minute introduction to an FPS-by-way-of-DMC by somehow made by one guy. The toolset is a little limited, but combat still feels great and the boss fights are a blast. The only things I can complain about are things that it's unbelievable a $6 game by one guy even has: the voicework is a little iffy and the translation from Chinese could use another pass.

35. A Hat in Time: Nyakuza Metro (6/1) (PC)

The first DLC for the game had me a little worried about my claim that it was better than Super Mario Odyssey. Seal the Deal was a cool idea ruined by confusing level design and a woefully unprepared camera. Thankfully, Gears for Breakfast learned from that mistake and delivered something brilliant with Nyakuza Metro. It's 8 challenge time pieces in an open level that's far and away the most detailed in the game, and while it's still easy to get lost at first, there's enough cool stuff to find that losing your way never feels frustrating. Add in some creative new platforming gimmicks, a story as silly as the name implies, and loads of new customization options and you've got the game's best content.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

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Post by Booyakasha » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:43 pm

I played 'MechaNika'. I thought it was charming, if a little short. 'Agatha Knife' is better, and Agatha is by far a more likeable character. Nika's kind of a mean little devil-child------------Agatha's a sweetheart.

In fairness, 'MechaNika' came first. It's good that Mango Protocol made 'Agatha Knife', a better game, next. You want to improve, yeah. Bloom and grow forever.
boo---------------best doggone dog in the west

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Re: Review the last game you finished

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Post by Apollo the Just » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:46 am

I had to actually sit through the credits of ToS again to update my NG+ file for runs because there’s a memory circle in the temple of darkness that saves a couple seconds that I never bothered to get before now.

Barring me feeling like spending 20 hours grinding 80 million extra gald to save me a total of 8 inputs over 6.5 hours, I think I’m finally 100% completely finished with my setup file and can just focus on runs.

The memory gem system is interesting but honestly I don’t really get the purpose. It forces you to fight enemies if you want it but you can just save on the overworld and casually that’s 10000% what I did because I was too lazy to fight monsters to find the memory gems, and as a speedrunner you literally don’t fight anyone except forced battles and bosses so I’ve never actually had a save file with all the memory circles, lmao.

Anyway for some reason saving there and loading when all the darkness blobs are on the last staircase warps them down, which saves time. So 8)

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Re: Review the last game you finished

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Post by I am nobody » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:26 pm

I did #30 twice. Counting is hard. So is keeping rack of when I have things to review, apparently.

37. FAR: Lone Sails (6/2) (PC)

I misremembered the reviews for this one and thought it was generally considered meh when it's actually pretty well regarded. Whoops. It's from the LIMBO and INSIDE school of 2.5D puzzle platformers, except that it's about piloting a ramshackle train-thing across a dried out lakebed rather than existential horrors. It isn't hard at all, but there's just enough busywork with the train and things going on in the background to keep it engaging for its 90 minute runtime. Overall, it's not as memorable as its inspirations, but it's a good time nonetheless.

38. Spinnortality: A Cyberpunk Management Game (6/3) (PC)

The premise here is incredible: The Illuminati has given you startup money to be the new Apple so you can make loads of money and make body replacements to keep them alive forever. You die if too many of them die or you go bankrupt, and you make progress by researching new products and marketing them to all the different regions of the world. Said regions have different cultures that make certain slogans more or less appealing and different governments that may ban more advanced products, so you've got to play a balancing game to allocate your resources in a way that keeps churning out new products without letting your reputation slide too much or getting new products banned.

And it lives up to that promise for a long time. The problems begin when you run out of things to research. If, like me, you're going for the goody-two-shoes win condition of restoring democracy worldwide and whatnot, you can't actually do much when your products get banned, and since they're banned by level of technology, that makes a lot of research progress pointless. The win conditions are also involved enough that you'll exhaust pretty much everything the game has to do long before attaining any of them, and then you're just left to grind out product relaunches to keep your company alive until you tick the last few boxes.

With some rebalancing and a bit more depth, this could be a phenomenal game. It's still pretty good as-is.

39. Void Bastards (6/17) (PC)

Wasn't going to get this at launch because every roguelite FPS goes pretty much the same way: It's hard for the first handful of lives, then you figure out the rhythm and blast through it all in one go. Well, I ended up getting to play it for $1 as part of Microsoft's E3 promotion, and I also shored up that theory.

VB is a very British space comedy about rehydrated prisoners assembling bits of machinery to get around the automated bureaucracy of their ship. You do that by boarding other ships with a dozen or so mutated enemy types and some gameplay that's very System Shock. It's fun at the earlier levels of the nebula, but I wasn't as engaged fighting the later, tankier enemies and it becomes clear about halfway through that avoiding combat is in most cases both completely viable and the best way forward. It's a decent podcast game, but I don't think I'd go seeking it out for any other reason.

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Re: Review the last game you finished

#307

Post by Marilink » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:46 pm

Trials of Mana

it's really good. still.

Posting my thoughts in the ToM thread.

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