Last game you finished

  • Dead Space 2

    I did play and loved the first game but never followed up on the series because - honestly - when I saw reviews for 2 with the swarms of humanoid baby monsters I decided I was not in the mood for that anxiety.

    Then played it for a bit when it became BC with the X1, mostly to check to see if it was 4k. It clearly isn't, it's still under 1080p.

    Now I was in the mood for some horror and finally decided to beat it.

    First of all, the use of colour and lighting in this game is amazing. So is the sound design. Be it the crunchy and textured synths or the organic gore and distorted vocalisations. Superb stuff!

    Good variety of locations, plenty of well thought combat situations. Some entertaining environmental puzzles to break the pace. Really enjoyed the tension throughout the whole game.

    The story is kind of whatever, but pretty effective in contextualising setting and fuelling characters arch.

    Then in the last 60 minutes things kind of collapse. Locations get boring, combat cenarios feel more random, even the art direction takes a hit. Final boss is a super short fight, feels clumsy.

    Overall I enjoyed it a lot. Weird that not that long ago EA was putting out some really high quality single player games.

  • @phbz I played the first one but also never got around to the second. Despite some of my favorite movies being Alien and The Thing, I couldn't really get into it as much.

    If you're interested and haven't seen it though, there's a really fascinating 3-Part Game Maker's Toolkit series on the evolution of the Dead Space trilogy I'd recommend. Really gets into why EA changed a lot of elements for each consecutive game.

  • @happygaming I'll check it out. Thanks! I remember when 3 released that there was some talk about shady practices from EA but don't recall what exactly.

  • Time for

    Mega Man X4

    X4 came out in two years after the third entry in the series, and in that time, Capcom built a whole new engine the game would run on. Now running entirely on CD technology, the game has sounds and looks much different than the three that came before. I'm a very big fan of the PS1 sprite look! I love the animations and how so much happens on screen now, in the background or foreground. Explosions really pop and even in the first level you see them throwing as much as they can at you with giant bosses and tons of robots to blow up.

    I can't say they hold up, but I'm also a big fan of the anime cutscenes. The 90's anime aesthetic really comes through in a charming way. However as much as I would like to say that it adds a new layer to the story, the majority of the time it just feels like extra dressing on what would otherwise be text in front of sprites like was previously done to establish plot events.

    Speaking of plot though, I did feel like there's a good balance to how the game adds a little bit more context to whats going on. It's not enough to get in the way or make you care about the boss enemies, but having a couple lines of dialogue before you fight a boss is a nice addition. On top of that, like in X1, there's more of an emphasis on what the enemy characters are actually doing in the world. It makes them feel more like they have a purpose and less like they're just bad guys waiting to fight you.

    Boss fights in this game as well I had a very good time with! There really are a ton of different environments and ways you need to tackle each fight. Unlike in X3 where bosses largely stay stationary on the ground and you can just wall jump around them, each enemy has a different style you'll need to master and get used to. Jet Stingray stays close to the wall so you'll need to stay on the ground, and Magma Dragoon has lava on both sides of the arena, making climbing the wall a risky option altogether. There's really a good encouragement in the boss layout to figure out new ways to maneuver and fight.

    In terms of level layouts, there's generally a very good emphasis on variety. Every area has a unique feel, color and setting that makes them feel visually distinct. The snow level is nice and chilly, and the fire level is hot and treacherous. However it's not just the visuals that set these areas apart; each level has a little quirk or differentiation that makes it feel and play different from the others. One level has a lot of elevator bits where you dodge spikes. One is on a jetski. One has you timing and dodging lasers beams. One has you on a timer to see how fast you can get to the end of set areas. Sometimes it isn't a ton, but the differences really help with making each area more fun to go through than some other stages have been in the past, where things can kind of bleed together.

    I think there were a good amount of upgrades in this one. Two health tanks, a weapon tank, armor upgrades, and a blue capsule that lets you start with more lives. Most of these are choreographed in a nice way to peak your curiosity, although one is a little out of eyesight, so may be frustrating if you're not checking every wall corner in the level. I also liked that there are two options for the X-Buster upgrade: You can get one that lets you shoot three charged blasts in reserve, or one that has a super powerful shot one time that leaves chip damage behind. It doesn't really change up how you play the game regardless of the one you choose, but the option is nice.

    I also wanted to touch on the music, as Mega Man music is some of my favorite in the industry when it's done well. This soundtrack is... just alright. The tracks are never bad or grating, but they almost never stand out as anything more than atmospheric. There are some nice rhythm and drums going on, but not really any stand out lead parts save for a track or two. This is disappointing considering when I think of Mega Man music, I generally think of fast hard guitar.

    Lastly, I wanted to touch on Zero. I played through the game in its entirety with both Mega Man and Zero and what I noticed was that this is definitely a game that was designed for Mega Man first, and Zero as an afterthought. A lot of the bosses are a lot more difficult as Zero just because they're not designed to be attacked at close range. Zero also doesn't get as many upgrades from bosses the same way X does. When he gets an upgrade, generally it feels like something that you should have already had instead of a cool weapon that will make you feel super powerful. You'll unlock things like a double jump, or an air dash, a more powerful Z-Saber. Save for a few weapons, it doesn't feel like they're additional powers to take on bosses in that addicting "rock-paper-scissors" style that makes you feel super powerful when you get it right against a boss, and makes Mega Man games so fun. A lot of the bosses just aren't as fun to tackle as Zero because you never get that sort of overpowered puzzle solving feeling. It would have been nice to have more upgrades in the sense that it actually compliments beating bosses, but also have more unique bosses for Zero in general. Each character gets one unique boss fight in their campaign, and it would have been awesome to have more of these that compliment each character's movements and play styles. As is though, especially some of the final bosses really show off why you can't just use the same boss with two different characters when one relies entirely on close range combat and the other uses only ranged. Bosses like Storm Owl are almost entirely out of range for close-quarters the entire fight, and makes it a trial in frustration to get through.

    Zero aside, this is the most fun I've had with a game in the X series since the first, and I'd say it just barely beats out the second for me. The new engine is beautiful and puts lots of noise and action on the screen. Every stage is a blast to go through, and every boss feels different and unique. It would have been nice to have a bit better music tracks, and it would have been excellent to have utilized Zero more for the game in general, but as it stands, Mega Man X4 is a very fun time!

    Final Score: 8.9/10

    if you only play as Zero: I don't know, 7/10?

  • Minit

    Something of a sleeper hit a couple years ago, and I have to admit I don't get it at all. I like short games that know what they are a lot, but this game isn't about anything. It's just a clumsy Zelda clone with a conceit---one that it does very little with. I guess it's dressed up ok? Like for its pixel art and monochrome I always knew what things were. I don't know what I was hoping for here. If it was the product of a game jam or something I might have appreciated it more.

  • @ringedwithtile I can understand. I loved the aesthetic of the game, but I would have liked to have a little more Zelda style adventure moments. The time limit feels to me like it would be more appealing if I were into speed-running games or watching speed runs, but that's not my thing. I'd definitely have enjoyed Minut more if I got to take a knee, take my time, and just generally appreciate the world and characters a little more, even though that's not really how the game is designed.

    Still, it was charming and kept me busy for a couple afternoons when I picked it up on sale.

  • GTA V for the second time-this time on PS4.

  • The Last of Us 2

    I didn't like the 1st one so recapped it before playing this. I still hate encountering enemies in these. As much as I agree that there are too many resources, the game forcefully limits your inventory which I hate even more considering there is possibility to have so many fights and end up fighting a boss without really anything. Gameplay has improved quite a bit but I felt I played this like an MGS game instead of like a ND game.

    The game is long but it had evenly good moments I liked and has lots of Uncharted 4 in it. ND is amazing giving you beautiful game with animations and subtle things. It is technically an impressive game and wanted to give them another chance but I just don't like this type of game that annoys more than pleases.
    I didn't mind too much on a story but I didn't hate it nor love it. It is what it is. And I did tear up couple of times.

    Final Score: 7.5
    -American Football Roller Coaster-

  • I don't really want to go into any detail since it's so short that even the most basic stuff is kinda spoiler-y but DEATH COME TRUE was pretty cool. I don't know much of anything about Danganronpa but it's made by the same guy so if you're a fan of those maybe check this out. And if you're not, hey check it out anyway it's only fifteen bucks.

  • Last of Us 2.
    (no spoilers)

    I feel like this game could have a few hours less. There's a whole chunk that could be better developed and made DLC but instead is squeezed in.

    There's a certain dullness to this game, starts to feel too familiar, until it isn't. Meaning that while at times it's way too predictable to the point of starting to feel boring it also throws you curve balls often enough. And then even at that becomes predictable too. "Oh no another setback, that like what the 50th?"

    But at the same time the moment to moment in this game is mostly superb. Combat is violent af but it is great fun to experiment with. Level design helps too. Locations feel real, offering good variety. Then when you're not fighting you'll be exploring the most detailed environments I've ever seen. Fantastic world building and environmental storytelling, well... except for the super lazy usage of letters and notes. And when you're not fighting or exploring you'll be watching quality passive storytelling. Which sucks, because me personally would like to see Naugty Dog pushing for more agency to the player's narrative.

    It is a really great game. Fantastic artistic direction and sound design. Very well written. Great combat from stealth to melee, all weapons feel great. Animation work miles away from the competition. Also stellar performances from the whole cast.

    Btw, impossible to play this game on my Pro without headphones. A literal jet engine.

  • @phbz said in Last game you finished:

    Btw, impossible to play this game on my Pro without headphones. A literal jet engine.

    Heard about this from a lot of people on the internet. It makes me so happy that I bought the Slim, lol. It's so silent.

  • Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
    Finished the main levels (collected 25 crystals), didn't do most of the extra stuff. The first few levels were pretty jolly and easy going, but my god, those last few levels are hard. Plus, the game still has some bullshit/annoying moments like in the first game, albeit way less often, which is a great thing. It amazes me that I still had quite a lot of fun, despite all of it.

    Compared to the first game, I really don't like the structure of this game. I prefer going through a linear world map like in the first game, it makes it way less videogamey and more like an adventure, despite being linear. I also think that the structure of this game makes the levels less memorable.

    Also, why is the subtitle Cortex Strikes Back? He hasn't struck anyone, he just kinda tricked Crash to doing his bidding. If anything, it should be Cortex's Deception. Bad subtitle!

    Overall, this feels like a step forward and also a step back from the first game. 6/10.

  • Mega Man X5

    I'm conflicted about Mega Man X5. It does some things that are definitely a step forward, but at the same time, it does take a step back in other areas as well. All in all, I don't think it holds up as well as X4, but I still had a great time with it.

    Starting from the very first level, it controls a lot better. X5 adds a crouch button that helps you get those pesky guys that are too short to hit with a normal shot, and generally feels a lot more polished in how it moves than the previous game. Depending on the character you choose to start the game with, you'll also either get a powered up X or Zero. At the beginning of each stage after the intro, you get the option to be either character now, so you're not stuck with either for the entirety of the experience. X now also accumulates armors, so if you power up X at the beginning by having him be your primary, you'll unlock his "Fourth Armor" from X4, alongside the standard Mega Man armor. Zero unfortunately never gets any new armor sets per tradition, but this means that when you unlock the other two armor sets for X, you can choose to use them in any level after that, or a different one of your choosing if it plays more to your style. The stages and bosses are all more balanced in a way that makes Zero more fun to play as well, which is a great step up from X4.

    The game leans a lot more heavily on narrative this time around. X4 dabbled in it a little bit, but sometimes X5 can feel like its forcing a lot down on you. Because of a Sigma virus you have 15 hours to get materials from bosses. This basically means that you get 15 chances to go through four stages, where if you don't, the game will just unlock the final boss stage for the bad ending. I feel like this was more of a way they were trying to funnel players to play certain stages first, but it really doesn't feel as effective in practice. I played the stages they wanted because I wanted the good ending, and never had any moment where I was short on time (you get even more time after beating the first four bosses, and you only 'lose' an hour if you leave a stage after running out of lives). I feel like beyond assisting the plot, it was better implemented in something like X2 where you have the extra bosses that roam around randomly.

    The stages themselves though are all pretty varied and fun to go through, though I wasn't a huge fan of all of them. The water level has a pet peeve of mine where you can only move as fast as the screen chasing you. Besides this one though, they're generally better paced than some in X4 that all had 2 parts to them. I felt like I went through stages much more quickly in this game. That is, I would, if it wasn't for Alia.

    Alia is the computer operator. Her role is supposed to give you intel from home base, but she constantly is stopping you to tell you very obvious things. Like "There are spikes up ahead. Be sure to avoid those", or "This area has bombs! We need to make sure to blow those up before they reach zero". Previous X games have all relied on you recognizing the situation and adapting and learning as you play, and Alia makes every stage feel so sluggish because she can't go two or three screens without stopping you to open a text box and open her mouth. She's useful a handful of times when she will hint at where an armor piece could be, or what a boss weakness may be, but generally the things she tells you are things you would already know just by walking two steps ahead. She even continues this in the post level screen where she tells you that you got a new power and you should try it on new bosses because every boss has a weakness. Even if this is your first X game, you need that information once, not after every single level. Besides this character though, I really enjoyed the other interactions, especially the banter between you and the boss before every fight (even though all the characters are pretty much new and we've never heard of them before).

    Music has taken a big step up. There's definitely a lot more energy coming out of each area, and each level is pretty easily identified by the theme. The water theme is actually a direct pull from the water level in X2 (which incidentally shares a lot of level design quirks as well), but the theme is remixed with more modern sound recordings. I really don't have a lot to complain about with this section. The tracks generally aren't as catchy or memorable as Mega Man at its best, but also definitely not where it is at its worst. They're awesome tracks and are really effective for pumping you up in that way you want.

    Some new game quirks, just like the time limit, aren't as successfully implemented. There's a new system where you accumulate buffs to attach to characters, like a super jump, or one that makes health pickups more effective. Each armor has a set number of slots you can set to these. The main problem with these is that they're never communicated in how they're given out. They'll randomly show up after each level like you got it from a boss. It's still unclear to me how you receive them. There are stray Maverick Hunters in each stage to help out who will give you an extra life if you save them, and its possible you get this from saving them. Alia also occasionally asks if you want to upgrade your health or energy, and its possible they come from this process. I'm not sure. With all the explaining Alia does, you'd think she'd tell you, but she doesn't. Besides it being a confusing mechanic, it definitely is cool to experiment with these new parts to help tailor the armors to your liking. If not though, it doesn't harm your experience if you never touch it at all.

    The mechanic of changing armors also has its downsides. It's super cool to go through a different stage with a new set of abilities, and to be able to do it when you choose to, but the armors have very specific purposes that you use maybe one time. It would have been super fun to discover alternate level routes designed around these specific armors if you've acquired them. There is usually just a small branch in some areas that utilize the armor's abilities a single time that hold an upgrade before sending you on your way back to the normal path.

    All of these things are minor annoyances, like Alia's talking, but they do add up to make the game a little less fun than it could be. With a little more polish, I would say this could have been even better than X4. As It stands though, it’s just a small rung below.

    Final Score: 8.7/10

  • @happygaming The Maverick Hunters you can rescue in each level are definitely the ones that give you those buffs, but you don't know who gives what until after the fact. If I remember correctly, they also disappear forever if you miss them the first time around, which is a baffling design decision.

    I found the post I wrote about X5 when I finished it, and I quote:

    And even weirder than that, with each hour that passes, the level of the bosses increases (giving them more HP). When you defeat a boss at level 8 or higher, it gives you a "Part", an equippable item which grants bonuses (jump higher, charge faster...). So if you defeat a boss on your first try, it'll be level 1 and you won't get a Part. So the optimal way to play the game if you want all Parts is to purposely lose and waste around 8 hours so that the bosses level up, and then beat them all. It's completely absurd and impossible to figure out without reading a guide, none of this is explained in-game.

    It's clearly a mechanic you're only supposed to try on subsequent playthroughs, for a perfect run, if you're into that sort of thing. It just left me with a sour taste, I hate when there's good and bad ways to play a game, especially a Mega Man game.

  • @axel I had absolutely no idea! I thought their level was honestly a thing for if you play on the Xtreme difficulty, so I just sort of brushed it off.

  • Just finished Okami and I don't think I could possibly have more respect for a game I don't enjoy. It's beautiful, it has a pretty good story with some excellent characters, the whole gimmick of how you play it is really neat, but man the combat is such an absolute drag and really brings the entire game down with how easy and braindead it feels. the most intense I ever recall it feeling was just whacking at a dude until he revealed his weakpoint.

    Really doesn't help that as cool as the concept of gaining new brush techniques is, like half of them amount to "draw a line from X to Y" and the other half don't really add much besides exploring the overworld bit more. And maybe it's just because I wasn't really feeling the gameplay but it felt like the story went on too long which only made things worse. Felt like it wanted to be this grand adventure across all of Japan, and it was, but after a certain point it felt like it overstayed its welcome. That said the final boss was really well done, despite not being all that hard either.

    Honestly I wonder if my gripes with the game come from the fact that I love The Wonderful 101 a lot too and it feels like it uses a similar gimmick to much greater effect.

  • @hanabi I've picked up Okami on the PS2, PS3 and the PS4 now, and I always try to like it. But for some reason it just never clicks with me. I share a lot of the same sentiments, but I think something else for me is the grating Animal Crossing voices that I didn't know you could turn down or off until my last play attempt. I agree about the combat from what I played as well; if it 's such a large part of the game, I wish it could be one of the funner parts of the experience.

    All that being said though, I appreciate how much work went into making the world and the visuals represented as they are. As much as I've heard the game gets better after the first five or six hours though, I just don't get excited to play that long. I would definitely recommend that Tim Rogers' Kotaku video about how many times he's tried to like Okami and failed, but keeps buying it anyways.

  • Colony Wars

    What a cool game. I'm not sure if it's a very good game, but it does some really interesting things. So it's a space combat sim with a branching storyline dependent upon mission success or failure. You complete your mission, your army does better in their fight against the insurmountable; you die or fail your mission, the game continues with your faction in more dire circumstances. This means no 'try again', it's do it or don't until the story ends. When the thing's over, you can jump to any major turning point and replay the game from there. I was able to get four endings: 2 good and 2 bad, though none were the result of beating every mission.

    The production value is really strong too. I like the UI, the cutscenes, and the scale of it---it creates an expansive atmosphere for big ships and vastness of space and the many objects in it, even if each mission is restricted to a battlefield. The gameplay is serviceable, with different weapons and pretty decent handling. The ships all decelerate and feel like they're underwater a bit, but it's not hard to get the hang of.

    The problem with it is the mission structure. They're often single objective missions that range from incredibly easy to 'oh, I guess I just lost'. Friendly units are useless (especially anything big), which makes any kind of protection mission a real pain in the ass. And most of the game is protection missions. Miss a fighter a couple times strafing your battleship and the mission can go down the tubes. Mechanics unrelated to dogfighting, like using the janky tow line, or taking down bigger ships, can feel janky and underdeveloped. That the story is told rather impersonally, with no characters to speak of, can make it feel more like a series of unconnected, inconsistent but nicely rendered space battles, rather than the epic war that the architecture or grander design is working towards.

    Luckily the game has two sequels, so I look forward to seeing what their approach is.

  • Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders

    A phone game. I don't play many of these, but I like the classic games that inspired this one and heard it was good. It's fine. It's definitely more Arkanoid than it is Space Invaders, with the goal being bouncing shots around to break blocks or hit the invaders. The primary gameplay conceits of Space Invaders aren't really here; you try to get hit by their attacks, there's no cover, and they don't march to the bottom of the screen inducing a failstate. The invaders basically just serve as moving blocks that provide attacks to deflect. As the game progresses, there are boss fights, and special blocks that to be switched in order to be destructible, and other complications. There are a host of characters with different powerups and everything, but the loop stays pretty similar throughout. Often times success feels more like luck or choosing the right character for the level rather than making choice shots or deflections. I'd like to say it's more than a phone game, but it isn't. It's a new coat of paint slapped on an uneven combination of a pair of thirty year old games.

  • Mega Man X6

    Mega Man X6 is a frustrating game. On its surface, there are a lot of cool pieces here; an RPG upgrading system taken from X5 that’s better explained, rotating optional boss fights taken from X2 that encourage you to replay stages or try new ones, among other things. A lot of these however are surrounded by, and forced through ideas that cause nothing but irritation, and as much as I adore the series, I haven’t ever been as upset at an entry in the series like I have with X6. I want to love the game, and there are parts that shine that I adore. But there’s so much that one has to wade through to get to those bits and appreciate the highs, it makes the lows all the more apparent.

    I should mention that X6 was done in less than a year. It was made to be done for a Holiday release after the success of X4 that had close to two years, and X5 which had a little more than three. X6 was done with X5’s engine in 364 days without the help of series creator Keiji Inafune. The crunch and personal absence are definitely felt.
    Starting with the things that the game carries over from X5, there are different armor sets to collect and change around as you see fit. You’ll begin the game with the Falcon armor, but over the course of the game you can collect two more (and Zero) to run through levels with. The game also carries over rescuing fellow Hunters in the levels, and depending on who you save, you’ll unlock upgrades to attach to yourself. These could be anything from a faster charge for your weapon, to an increase in your dash or movement speed. These are cool ideas to put together. However, they are both flawed in their execution.

    The armor pieces are now, more or less, in extremely conniving places. So if you plan on getting them, and you should because certain levels are next to impossible without one or the other, you’re going to go through a lot of trial, error, and cheap deaths. The upgrades aren’t handled like they were in X5 as well, where each suit can hold a certain number of upgrade slots. Now it’s tied to your Hunter Rank, which brings me to another downer for the game; the enemies.

    There are like ten enemy types in this game, and each level is largely populated 95% with one: the Nightmare Virus. These are special octopus looking enemies that when killed, drop an orb that you need to pick up to increase your Hunter rank so that you can equip upgrades onto your character of choice. Killing other enemies has no effect on improving your rank. This also means that because the majority of the enemies are now the Nightmare Virus, health and weapon pickups are extremely slim because these enemies only drop the orb needed to upgrade your rank. It feels lazy and tiresome. Some pickups like armor capsules, heart containers and sub tanks are all largely and frustratingly out of reach unless you’re able to equip one or two of the Hunter upgrades. But those upgrades can also just become permanently inaccessible if Nightmare Viruses kill the Hunters you’re trying to rescue, making the game more difficult as a result. So if you want to upgrade your character, you’re probably going to be replaying certain levels. A lot. You can’t even equip upgrades until you’ve improved your rank a little.

    Upgrades aside, I feel like the levels in X6 are okay. On paper they have interesting quirks that make each of them unique. One has you avoiding a giant robot’s lasers, while another has you defeating a giant circle enemy six times throughout the stage. These feel less like interesting ideas though and more the biproduct of not having as many enemies to defeat. They cause more frustration than excitement. One level in particular has a ceiling lowering on you while you’re trying to move through a backwards conveyer belt while also trying to avoid spikes. This was just not fun, and like fighting that circle enemy six times, was infuriating for me. If you’re able to get around those, the stages also have optional second parts where there will be a hidden boss at the end. This is the key to getting Zero as a playable character, and defeating the boss High Max will also let you start the final boss stages early. I generally really like the bosses floating to new areas, but felt like sometimes I was forced to fight an impossible boss with my current ability set, and had to die a full set of lives to try a new stage.

    So what’s good about X6? I feel like I’ve been very harsh on it up to this point, and I don’t entirely hate the game. If you’re able to upgrade enough and get the necessary armor pieces, blasting through levels is still fun in that Mega Man way. The Blade armor in particular made me feel like a Dragon Ball character with the way the air dash works, and that was very fun to use. The music in the game also has some of the most metal standout tracks in the series, however not all of them are as memorable. Blaze Heatnix though and Infinity Majinion are incredible tracks that are just what I want from Mega Man, and that level select song showcasing the bosses with its searing guitar gets me pumped every time. Beyond those things though and a few clever and fun level ideas, the game is overshadowed by bad ideas that take the whole experience down. The last set of levels is just an exercise in cruelty with large pits and spikes everywhere, and the final boss specifically feels more like a Castlevania boss than something I’d do in Mega Man, where you're more fighting the pit than the boss itself. X6 loves instant kill hazards. The stages sometimes feel like they fight you for trying to have a good time playing Mega Man like you have in the past, and maybe it should have looked more towards the past to see why a lot of the previous games play so well. But having just started X7, I don’t think that message came across.