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The Chatterbox => Gaming => Topic started by: vladgd on January 21, 2022, 06:25:29 PM

Title: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on January 21, 2022, 06:25:29 PM
1. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

(https://i.imgur.com/hL05TLO.jpg)

So I've been kinda doing...nothing...the past while. Then I picked up skyrim again with the gf, and after obliterating that game on the 4th platform I own it on, I remembered I never beat oblivion.

This one was hard. I own the physical game on pc, played 80 hours...never finished. Tried again...nope. Started another file in 2016...nope. Downloaded it on steam to see if my old files were there...they were..

I was about half way through the main story so I literally booked it through the questline while ignoring all else.

Y'see, I think oblivion isn't a very good game. I put more than enough hours into the game trying to enjoy it, but I think this game is where people get at saying a TES game isn't worth playing without mods. I don't mod games, but god damn this game needs work. 5+ attributes mod MINIMUM so you don't have to worry about the atrocious leveling system. Sure it's the same in morrowind, but morrowind allows you to break that system, oblivion does not, also level scaling.

Basically oblivion to me was the fallout 3 (a game I actually enjoyed) beta test. I fail to see besides nostalgia, how anyone can enjoy this game. Playing it again...my opinion is unchanged.

NEW THREAD WEEEE
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: Spectere on January 23, 2022, 04:42:23 PM
Oblivion didn't strike me so much as a Fallout 3 beta test, but rather as that awkward transition from old TES to new TES. More of a proto-Skyrim, I suppose. A lot of people don't like the term "consolization," but Oblivion (and, to a greater extent, Skyrim) really feel consolized. Mechanics and complexity were stripped out in order to work with a more limited control scheme and a 10-foot UI.

I also don't think I've quite gotten over the lie on the back of the box—that is, the system requirements. When Oblivion came out I had a computer that was better than the recommended specs, yet the game was utterly unplayable. To make matters worse, if you had a graphics card with a certain feature level (like I did) you literally couldn't force the game to fall back to a lighter renderer in order for it to run better (though that had its own laundry list of issues (https://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=491)). There was a mod called Oldblivion that would force the game to run at lower detail modes, but support dropped off for it pretty early on if I remember correctly. You had to choose between bugs and horrific frame rates. I chose to play Morrowind instead.

(Also, looking at the comments for the blog post I linked, turns out the system I built in 2008, which could easily handle Crysis, had issues with Oblivion…holy yikes.)

From what I remember from the last time I tried Oblivion (probably 2014-ish?) I had more fun with the guild quests than the main story. I remember the Thieves' Guild and Dark Brotherhood quest lines being particularly great, especially when compared with their Skyrim counterparts.
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on February 02, 2022, 03:23:09 PM
Well before Crysis came out, people would be in the mindset of "my pc is so good it can play Oblivion!". Which I recall playing on pc fine enough, on lower settings. Most TES games the side chains are better than the main one, but I just wanted to get through the game. The setting/music/story isn't my gripe as much as I just don't like how the game plays at all. I gave it over 100 hours across 3 different attempts, it ain't for me. What is for me doe...

2. Pokémon Legends: Arceus


(https://i.imgur.com/fAz5Ygj.jpg)

First off, I need to stop reading Reddit. Every time, entitled crybabies. Then on the game specific subreddit, it's 80% "hey look at my shiny", which is better than straight 50page light novel about how nintendo touched inappropriately. However, it isn't really productive discussion about the game.

That out of the way, a few things to preface. This game doesn't look like trash because breath of the wild looks better. It's probably the best looking pokemon game of all time...but that is admittedly a low bar. Second, this is not the game for you if you want online battles, or a lot of trainer battles for the main game.

This game is all about the pokedex, and the main story is pretty small in comparison to that...like a lot of "open world" style games. Bee line the story, pretty short, take your time doing pokedex, plenty of girth here. To be blunt I think the combat in pokemon is bad, and has always been bad. The good parts of pokemon have always to me been the stuff outside of the combat, the exploration and catching 'mons and whatnot. Nothing much different here, one shot opponent or get one shot is still the deal...to a higher extent since the turn order is different. I've had the opponent go 3 times in a row before, and that's just guaranteed death even if your defense is high and you have a type advantage + 20 levels, you 'gon die.

Pokedex is more intricate than "catch pikachu, pikachu is done!".

(https://i.imgur.com/05z6AZM.jpg)

Every pokemon in the game has this list, you need to complete 10 objectives to "complete" a pokemon. Entries with red arrows count for 2 points, so the screenshot would be like completing 14. Tasks beyond this still give you points, these points level your trainer rank or whatever, and more rank gets you access to higher pokeballs, new items, new areas, etc.  So only 10 required to complete a pokemon, and if you want to complete ALL the tasks, you get a "perfect" which aside from more points, doesn't get you anything other than something to do, so it's optional.

It's a pretty good system, I kinda hope other jrpgs which lack random battles in the future have "some" kind of system besides money/exp to motivate you to fight various enemies. Like if SMTV had random rewards for iunno, successfully negotiating with a certain monster 5 times, it's more of a reason to get into a battle over just ignoring everything.

This is pretty much the pokemon game I always wanted as a kid, you can sneak around and catch pokemon without needing to get into a battle most of the time. In terms of nailing the fantasy of being a pokemon trainer, this game does that very well. It's fun, pretty hard to put down. I made it to the postgame where you get to the pokemon in the title and...you get a message...which basically means "complete the entire pokedex". Which is cool, but I might pass...But in the 42 hours it took me to get there, had a good time.

Gonna have to give this one a big fat RECOMMENDED. Literally the most fun ive had playing a pokemon game since red/blue/gold/silver when I was a young boy. Breath of fresh air in a franchise that has done nothing but the same thing it's entire existence.
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: Spectere on February 04, 2022, 03:05:39 PM
Well before Crysis came out, people would be in the mindset of "my pc is so good it can play Oblivion!". Which I recall playing on pc fine enough, on lower settings.

It was kind of a two-fold problem. The system requirements were lower than they should have been, and it was trying to force graphics cards that support certain shader models to go way beyond their capabilities.

Like, if I had an FX 5600 the game would have actually been very playable. Because I had a 6600GT, it wasn't, and there was no easy way for me to use the graphics level that an FX card would have used.

Most TES games the side chains are better than the main one, but I just wanted to get through the game. The setting/music/story isn't my gripe as much as I just don't like how the game plays at all. I gave it over 100 hours across 3 different attempts, it ain't for me. What is for me doe...

Oh yeah, no doubt. Like I said, it felt like an awkward stepping stone between the old and the new.

Probably safe to say that it wasn't as big of a deal for me as it was for you (though that level scaling can suck a draugr's dick). Fair enough. :)

2. Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Thanks for the writeup! I'm planning to get this after I get a few things sorted out on my Switch (like figuring out how to move my Hyrule Warriors save from EmuNAND to SysNAND without getting console banned…) and it's good to hear another positive take on it.

I'm honestly kind of glad that they didn't ramp up the graphics to an absurd level, because they did that for Hyrule Warriors: AoC and all it did was turn the game into a slideshow in some situations. The graphics look similar to HW:DE to me (basically, Wii U graphics), and that's perfectly fine. The important part is that in every gameplay clip I've seen of Pokémon Legends: Arceus, the gameplay looked smooth as silk.

The only real complaint that my friends levied against it is that the tutorial is painfully long. That just seems to be a thing with Pokémon games nowadays.

Edit: I snagged Arceus this past weekend and yeah! I like it. I think the tutorial issue was a bit overstated, as they don't feel nearly as heavy handed as previous mainline installments (Sun/Moon absolutely smothers you, while Arceus still gives you plenty of room to breathe between training exercises).

Graphics are generally fine, but the higher you go the less fine they get. Still, the complaints are a bit overstated, especially considering the game is on the freaking Switch. I'd much rather the game play smoothly (and it does!) than to have Age of Calamity graphics and all of its associated framerate canyons. Either way, they're serviceable. Plus, it has the best animations I've seen in any Pokémon game to date.

I think one complaint that I have from a gameplay perspective is the way the Alpha battles are tuned. It seems kind of obvious that they should be powerful, but the issue that I have is that Pokémon's battle system already has an extremely low time to live (I mean, level 3 mons can quick attack a level 13 mon to unconsciousness in 3 turns). When you crank the attack values up to the point where an Alpha that's a half dozen levels under you can one-shot your mon with single non-crit quick attack, all it does is exacerbate that problem. To me it feels like it's less a question of strategy and more a question of raw numbers and brute force. Still, it's not really all that bad as long as you don't have to face more than one at a time. I dunno. We'll see how I feel as I get further in.

That said, it's weirdly refreshing to see enemies that can actually knock out my mons. You don't see that often in the mainline games.

Speaking of mainline games, I wouldn't be at all opposed to the gameplay style of Arceus expanded upon and becoming the primary gameplay style. Having the player character get directly involved in the world makes you feel as though you're controlling an actual character rather than just a dot on the map.
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on February 10, 2022, 05:40:28 PM
Edit: I snagged Arceus this past weekend and yeah! I like it. I think the tutorial issue was a bit overstated, as they don't feel nearly as heavy handed as previous mainline installments (Sun/Moon absolutely smothers you, while Arceus still gives you plenty of room to breathe between training exercises).

When I originally read that I thought to myself "what tutorial?" If he meant the beginning of the game...I mean games typically have a starting period and I don't really see much wrong with Arceus.

Graphics are generally fine, but the higher you go the less fine they get. Still, the complaints are a bit overstated, especially considering the game is on the freaking Switch. I'd much rather the game play smoothly (and it does!) than to have Age of Calamity graphics and all of its associated framerate canyons. Either way, they're serviceable. Plus, it has the best animations I've seen in any Pokémon game to date.

Are there plenty of examples of Nintendo games that look better than Arceus? Yes. Do the game look like booty? ELL NAW. The way people are talking make the game sound like it looks horrible, it's still a good looking game...it's just not a GREAT looking game. People need to lay off the damn weed.

I think one complaint that I have from a gameplay perspective is the way the Alpha battles are tuned. It seems kind of obvious that they should be powerful, but the issue that I have is that Pokémon's battle system already has an extremely low time to live (I mean, level 3 mons can quick attack a level 13 mon to unconsciousness in 3 turns). When you crank the attack values up to the point where an Alpha that's a half dozen levels under you can one-shot your mon with single non-crit quick attack, all it does is exacerbate that problem. To me it feels like it's less a question of strategy and more a question of raw numbers and brute force. Still, it's not really all that bad as long as you don't have to face more than one at a time. I dunno. We'll see how I feel as I get further in.

That said, it's weirdly refreshing to see enemies that can actually knock out my mons. You don't see that often in the mainline games.

The battle system is still not that good imo, but it does it's job in an inoffensive enough way to not ruin the good stuff imo. One thing to note, if you don't sneak on an enemy, even if they're 60 levels below you, they usually can act first. This is fine because it just rewards you for sneaking around and getting back attacks and whatnot. It's still silly to see one of those beginning bird enemies move before my level 92 garchomp however.


Speaking of mainline games, I wouldn't be at all opposed to the gameplay style of Arceus expanded upon and becoming the primary gameplay style. Having the player character get directly involved in the world makes you feel as though you're controlling an actual character rather than just a dot on the map.

I'd be more surprised if they DIDN'T adapt the new gameplay systems introduced in Arceus to the mainline games. While the game feels complete, it also very obviously feels like a "this is the first time we've tried this stuff" kind of way that you could see a lot of refining happening in future games. Maybe more trainer interaction mid battle besides run away, use item, etc? It's a good start though. I've been lukewarm/negative on pokemon since the original gen 3, and this is the first game I REALLY enjoyed out of the series since gen 2, so I'm pretty optimistic to what they have in store for the future.

Mass Effect (Legendary Edition)(insanity difficulty)

(https://i.imgur.com/zR1g3MS.jpg)

Remembered I bought this during the time where I started living at my gf's place more, away from the desktop. Have the laptop so decided to polish this off. Not counting this for the count since I had beat the original like 18 times already, but out of the 3 they remastered, this one had the most changes.

Originally upset because they nerfed stuff...like seriously? The immunity power got nerfed into the ground, so the way I used to play the game can't be done anymore. They changed a lot of stuff, nerfed pistols, made weapons work differently, the UI is totally different, they totally "rebalanced" insanity difficulty. TLDR when one strategy becomes invalid, another one appears in it's place. I went infiltrator sniper and cleaned house in the "much easier" insanity difficulty...like...nerf the good shit from the original, then nerf the difficulty of the hardest difficulty? I don't see the point, but whatever, single player game needs balancing I guess. Rockets typically don't one shot you anymore, snipers still do so save often. Besides snipers and just playing smart, it wasn't all that bad to get through. They made the final boss a lot harder, instead of just the boss, who was always really annoying and not fun...it's the final boss + waves of geth ontop of him! So a fight that was already really annoying, even more annoying! YEAH!

If you already beat the originals and aren't a megafan like I am, would not highly recommend. I also had to re do the final fight...because my game crashed on the cutscene that plays half way through it...a more annoying fight made more annoying...then even more annoying...

The new graphics look great however, but also makes my laptop sound like a vacuum. COULD BE MY LAPTOP...but guilty gear strive, a new modern fighting game with AMAZING visuals, don't even tickle my machine in the 40 or so hours I've put into that. So IUNNO. Mass Effect 2 from what little I've played (insanity is very very hard in that game and I may not pursue doing the trilogy on insanity...again...) so I'm guessing it's mostly all the retooling they did on ME1.

It's not a terrible remaster, the best part is controller support (albeit kind of spotty and tricky to get working), which the original pc port didn't have. So worst cast scenario I have mass effect on pc with controller support, which is fine. I wish there was a few toggles, to say keep the new UI/graphics, but use the old balancing. If you want the original experience, or want to see how good pistols used to be, it would be nice to experience that in the remaster. It would be like if they remastered the original halo game, and you want to remember how awesome the magnum was...except they decided to nerf it for some reason. It just isn't in spirit of the original to do that, at least without an option to toggle it off, imo. I AM nitpicking, and I know this, but...it's enough to where I am annoyed enough to talk about it.

*honorable mention

I do remember in the original trilogy ON PC importing saves was kind of awkward, I think I recall some external bioware tool thing being used or something? Either way I remember it not being seamless. Booting up ME2 to import my ME1 save, it was just there, no fuss, it just worked, like the xbox 360 versions. Probably the best way to play through the trilogy for convenience alone...even though I would personally still prefer playing on 360, it's just way less convenient now a days.
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: Spectere on February 11, 2022, 10:05:02 AM
When I originally read that I thought to myself "what tutorial?" If he meant the beginning of the game...I mean games typically have a starting period and I don't really see much wrong with Arceus.

Agreed. Arceus basically just gives you a quick tour of the mechanics rather than handcuffing you to your "rival" like the previous games do. IMO, it's everything an early game tutorial should be.

Not sure how many of the newer mainline titles you've played, but their handholding is absolutely painful. The last ones I've played were gen 7 (Sun/Moon) and it took a long time before I was even able to play the damn game.

Are there plenty of examples of Nintendo games that look better than Arceus? Yes. Do the game look like booty? ELL NAW. The way people are talking make the game sound like it looks horrible, it's still a good looking game...it's just not a GREAT looking game. People need to lay off the damn weed.

The most important thing for me is that it runs smoothly, and it definitely does.

The battle system is still not that good imo, but it does it's job in an inoffensive enough way to not ruin the good stuff imo. One thing to note, if you don't sneak on an enemy, even if they're 60 levels below you, they usually can act first. This is fine because it just rewards you for sneaking around and getting back attacks and whatnot. It's still silly to see one of those beginning bird enemies move before my level 92 garchomp however.

Yeah, I definitely noticed that.

The battle system in Pokémon has always been frustrating, and it feels like the more mechanics they add the worse it gets. I think a big part of this stems from the low TTL, which I believe is largely due to the high encounter rates in the mainline titles. There's a lot of good ideas in the battle system, but in a casual playthrough it winds up being about little more than type advantages and high power attacks (with the occasional status effect).

Maybe more trainer interaction mid battle besides run away, use item, etc?

I was kind of hoping that you'd have some options like that, such as tossing a rock to distract the target pokémon and essentially take a hit for your 'mon. It'd probably be tough to balance, but it would be a neat way to get the trainer involved a bit more (and it would be a great way to deal with those gang encounters).

It's a good start though. I've been lukewarm/negative on pokemon since the original gen 3, and this is the first game I REALLY enjoyed out of the series since gen 2, so I'm pretty optimistic to what they have in store for the future.

When it comes to the mainline titles I've switched to exclusively playing ROM hacks. I ended up getting a hundred or so hours of time out of Crystal Clear (gen 2 hack) and am currently playing Pokémon Unbound (gen 3 hack) off and on. Same general mechanics, of course, but it's amazing how much more interesting the games are when they don't constantly coddle the player.

Mass Effect (Legendary Edition)(insanity difficulty)

I noticed that this is available on GamePass, so I'm thinking about diving into these games again.

That said, the remaster of NieR: Automata is also on GamePass, so I've got some tough decisions to make…
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on February 17, 2022, 04:19:26 AM
3. Bayonetta 2

(https://i.imgur.com/ivf3ojk.jpg)

So...I've been meaning to play this since the day I seen it was a Wii U exclusive and NOPED it along with captain toad treasure tracker. Both games are now on switch, and I snagged this one used like a year ago.

It's uhh, Bayonetta, but...yknow, a sequel. It's still silly, but feels more serious than the first game. Great combat, maybe a bit too button mashey, but still fun. You mentioned Nier earlier, and one of the reasons I couldn't get into that game which had "similar" combat, the psuedo rpg psuedo open world stuff, really really didn't like their execution of that. Bayonetta is just an action game with levels, you wanna go back to a level to farm money, you have access to the level select from the very start. This is what I personally prefer, I mean if I wanna get specific...Doom Eternal does it RIGHT, but no shade on a barebones level select.

Not too much to say other than I remember the first Bayonetta being fairly challenging, maybe on the "hard" end of the difficulty scale. Iunno if I got better in 10 years since I played that game, but I didn't even use a single healing item till the final boss, and at that point I was using items because I could, not because I needed to. Not the easiest game ever, but the normal difficulty is pretty easy overall. That said, it's more Bayonetta, it's not super different from the first one, but the first one was great, so more of that isn't something I'm going to complain about.

Bayonetta 3 should be out this year? Wanted to knock this one out for a while, so now it looks like im ready for that release assuming I have the spare cash at that time. Pretty good time, recommended. I do play the occasional NON RPG every now and then, see!

(https://i.imgur.com/YrCeEhX.png)

SEE SEE A FIGHTING GAME IN THERE and uhh...mountain blade is a game where you are a mountain that fights using a blade! yeah!....yeah...
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on February 21, 2022, 02:40:28 AM
4. Trials of Mana

(https://i.imgur.com/1kk895k.png)

First off lemme say this came out of nowhere. On a whim "ohh I own that, lemme give it a...shot..."

Few years back square was going to release a bundle called collection of mana, gameboy game, snes game, and special snes game. The special snes game was seiken densetsu 3, japan only release, in english for the first time. I waited a bit, and they announced some game called Trials of Mana, which is a remake of seiken densetsu 3...so I waited for the remake...then waited more for a sale...then waited a year ontop of that.

Not the longest of games, but a damn fine grand adventure. 24 hours played, game complete, postgame complete. I couldn't stop playing, its really good, like REALLY good. I typically view action rpgs as "lesser" to turn based, but combat aside, this game feels like a dragon quest or something in terms of scale. Many towns, many locals, world map. It's got all the tropes, the story fits that "save the world against evil", not reinventing the wheel, but also it's a game from 1995 with a fresh very nice looking coat of paint.

Unlike your typical jrpg, this one has 6 characters, you pick 3, and you pick 1 to be the main character. So my playthrough had the mage as the main character, with spear woman and beast man as sidekicks. I could have had beast man be the main character and have a different antagonist for the story, it's pretty cool, especially for 1995.

I think I was complaining earlier about the whole world calling this the easiest videogame known to man...it is not. It IS AN EASY GAME, but it do have some rough patches. Several bosses are outright horseshit (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WG5J0YrU1M), and being action combat with 2 other AI who like to die...well just say those certain bosses aren't the majority of the game. Near endgame though my worthless deadweight mage I picked for a main character, and used the beast man instead when controlling combat...became pretty much cheating easy mode. Talk about a power spike, she goes from the first HALF OF THE GODDAMN GAME NOT BEING ABLE TO CAST A SINGLE SPELL to nuclear apocalypse everything.

I knew people talked up seiken densetsu 3 as a good game, but these weird non final fantasy jrpgs I am encountering make me think how I stayed so "only final fantasy" for so long, because this game is head and shoulders above all but 3 ff games in my honest opinion.

You wanna play an epic dragon quest styled game with fun action rpg combat, and a unique "pick your own character" flavor? Give this game a shot, it's a bonafied classic in my book. I put this in that list of "greatest rpgs I've ever played" Many pros, very few cons.

Now are the other mana games any good? Story for another time!
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on March 12, 2022, 09:23:32 PM
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

(https://i.imgur.com/crergFy.png)

This doesn't count because it's the third time I beat it. First was light side melee, second was dark side force, this one was dark side melee.

FELT PRETTY DAMN OP NEAR THE END

This is one of the best rpgs ever made, they ported it to switch so I snagged it, got around to finishing it about a week ago. Decided to try out some new characters this time because the jedi party members are usually what everyone picks. Canderous and HK47, with a dark side melee build. Not much healing...but you can just swap to jolie or something to get some heals in in most places so it wasn't too bad. Canderous starts out garbage, and I always thought he was bad...now I think he's one of the best party members. He starts out kitted out for guns, when the man was made to be a melee powerhouse, he gets a feat all but like 2 levels, so by level 12 or so he's more or less immortal. HK is just kinda ass, till endgame you blow your money on infinite use stun and flamethrower, but by that point it ain't needed. He's just good for the banter, and worth keeping on a dark side for that alone, game isn't that hard to warrant min maxing party members. Opinion hasn't changed now as it did then, one of the GOAT rpgs, give it a play.

*edit*

DO TARIS AT LEVEL 2, it's very min maxey, gives you 18 levels of jedi, and it's not that hard if you just ignore the main character and use the wookee to shrek everything. HOWEVER, the arena at level 2 with what, 20 hp? KINDA HARD. Hit and run, use energy shields, and for the last two guys energy shield, concussion grenade, frag/plasma, conc, frag, ect. May take a few attempts but killing the final arena bounty is very doable at level 2, abuse grenades and you'll be fine. Game doesn't require min maxing, but, it's pretty fun getting through taris at level 2, then when you become a jedi you got a ton of power creep and it just feels satisfying.

5. Gran Turismo 7

(https://i.imgur.com/TZAsCnM.jpg)

I'm be honest, I didn't know you could beat a Gran Turismo, nor did I even expect to invest any time paying attention to this game. I play rpgs, I don't play racing games LET ALONE sim racing games. For reasons unknown I started getting into racing and whatnot, kinda like my random interests in basketball, baseball, boxing, this is the next thing to catch my attention.

And HOOOOOOOOOOOOLY SHET, it's hard to put down. I can't really compare it to it's contemporaries because I haven't played anything since sega gt on the og xbox...so...iunno...

I like this game, a lot, and I don't know why. It's got some issues like the diablo 3 "always online, no playing this game allowed offline or during server maintenance silly!"...not a fan of...and the music is mostly miss....with some good tracks that I only heard watching the credits, so more of a podcast game imo. But damn if there isn't something satisfying about driving a machine and if I go off that track, I know it's because of ME, not because of the game. Again I haven't played other games in this genre, so IVE HEARD people complain about lack of content, which MAY be true...but as a newbie with this as his first game...there's a lot here.

Let's see just after credits rolled, my playtime is 37 hours 43 minutes. I completed the cafe which is the main "story" mode of this game, as well as getting up to my S licence, A is required to beat the game, but I did the S. Which is not a trivial task. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHJEOmRqNSc) On top of the story and the licenses, there's 6 sets of 8 missions which all have different tasks, passing, drifting, drag racing, fuel economy, it's pretty varied. Then there's just racing for money, collecting cars, tuning said cars, online, it's a pretty full package from my PoV. Apparently earlier entries have even more content...but I mean, it's far from bare bones.

Runs fine on a stock normal ps4. Only issues are menus take a little bit to load, and loading into a race is like 45 or so seconds, but besides that, no regrets playing it on ps4. The game is pretty unbalanced with money distribution, rewarding doing the same course OVER AND OVER AND OVER (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79xX9vtDw3s) for superior income over just playing other races and getting rewarded appropriately. To be fair, SO FAR, that dirt course is fun as fuck and I still can't win it 100% of the time, so it's not too bad...yet... Would be nice to race whatever I wanted knowing it was a fair balance of time invested and credits awarded, because the last championship I did was like 1.5 hours long over 5 races. I took first and got 150,000, which is a good chunk of change...but I can earn that in 7 minutes on the dirt track...not very cool imo.

NOT AN RPG, SHOCK AND AWE! Ima get back to driving my ford focus group b rally car and get me some more credits...
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on April 02, 2022, 01:15:01 PM
6. Dragon Age Inquisition

So something I'm going to start doing more is not letting the game win. I put over 30 hours into this sucker, got about ~70% of the way through, and I just can't do it anymore. Uninstalled, no cute image of the game, not recommending this game.

In my honest opinion, this is the worst modern bioware rpg made from kotor to current. Not counting the destiny clone they made because I knew from the start it wasn't worth my time. When you hear from people "single player mmo" usually people are exaggerating, but after a while this game really feels like one, and by all means is it a negative connotation.

You know like in Cyberpunk how the game is like...fun? It has about 10 hours worth of main story beats, but I managed to get 90 hours of playtime out of it, ONLY stopping because I ran out of stuff, not because I wanted to stop playing. This game is like the opposite, it has about 10 hours of story beats, and...I've heard up to 200+ hours of nonsense to do. It's all run around, pick up resources, do trivial tasks, and it NEVER EVER ENDS. This is a bioware game for fuck sake and I'm SKIPPING ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL THE DIALOGUE, that was my red flag right there.

By all means as a bioware fan, I should be biased to unreasonable means. I unironically ENJOYED Andromeda AND Dragon Age 2. I enjoyed Dragon Age 2 enough to play through it a second time...and that game was an unfinished half ass mess of a game, but it still had that little something that bioware rpgs have that other rpgs don't. This game just feels like they forgot the soul, and that's just sad. This game is all bloat and no fun.

NOT RECOMMENDED, instead of finishing it, im going to use my time playing something worthy of my time.
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: Spectere on April 03, 2022, 01:11:11 AM
When you hear from people "single player mmo" usually people are exaggerating, but after a while this game really feels like one, and by all means is it a negative connotation.

No joke, the first time I saw gameplay of Inquisition I literally thought it was an MMO. I wonder if it was originally designed to be one before being shifted back into a single player RPG.

If not, this might be one of those cases where devs/publishers think “gee, well, people want AAA games to have more than 5 hours of content, and people get hundreds out of MMOs!!!!11” without realizing that people generally don’t play MMOs for the questing experience. I mean, yeah, it’s fun for a while, but there’s far more to them than just quests and a big world to explore. Even SW:TOR, which is probably one of the most story-driven MMO on the market (which, weirdly enough, is a bit of a downside…the dialogue system is extremely problematic when questing as a group), isn’t the most exciting thing. It still has that wide as an ocean, deep as a puddle issue in many ways.
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on April 03, 2022, 02:07:34 PM
When Origins was launching the company was so proud they were making a modern day Balders Gate style game. They would brag how hard the game was by destroying games journalists in demos of the game, and go off on how oldschool the game is.

For the most part they succeeded, it was an amazing and very hard game (didnt help my party composition was GARBAGE and made the game way harder).

Then 2 happened...and while I enjoyed it, we aren't talking about it for reasons obvious to anyone who played that game. But it went farther away from the original less "tactical" little bit more action.

Then inquisition where trying to do the tactical thing is so cumbersome that I just don't bother. The combat is so slow and boring it doesn't just feel like an mmo, but an old mmo where battles take longer than they need to. Minus the multiplayer part which turns games that are kinda bad (mmos without people) into something ok. I don't buy the people who play games for story argument that it'll make up for bad gameplay, because it doesn't. I don't want to slog through more slow boring mush, to see the next story bit I no longer care about due to the gameplay being so bad.  Curious how dragon age 4 keeps pulling the game in the polar opposite direction of the original vision. Light at the end of the tunnel was dragon age was biowares answer to balders gate, like mass effect was their original IP to not need the star wars license. Inquisition left a bad enough taste in my mouth to be highly critical of the 4th game...but a different company is working on balders gate 3, and seems to have some positive feedback of the work they have finished so far. We have gone full circle.

On ToR, that game was pretty fun. I only made it to Taris, but what I played was pretty cool...for a single player mmo...

I give it props for being different, I played the rogue subclass that's actually a healer, and had a tank NPC companion. Doing dps from flanking the back, while healing my npc tank in front, and having stealth and whatnot. PRETTY COOL, but as mmo's do the grind got to me and couldn't see the rest of the story due to not having the juice to continue. Enjoyed it, but bioware, it did not replace kotor.
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: Spectere on April 03, 2022, 04:20:06 PM
Yeah, the story has to compliment the gameplay. If devs want to mostly tell an interactive story they can make a walking sim. Excellent gameplay can generally make up for having a bad story, but the opposite is never true.

I think a lot of the shift in Bioware's focus has to do with the increasing amount of time they're spending under the EA umbrella, honestly. Mass Effect turned from detail-focused sci-fi to drama-focused sci-fi pretty much in an instant, and while I don't have nearly as much experience with Dragon Age (I've only played a few hours of Origins) it wouldn't surprise me if it wound up in the same boat. It doesn't help that many of Bioware's old guard is long gone.

I'd say that Balder's Gate 3 is in good hands. Larian Studios does some pretty fantastic work. At some point I really need to play through Divinity: Original Sin 2. I mean, you can play as a scaly dude(ette) (https://divinityoriginalsin2.wiki.fextralife.com/Lizard) so I'm pretty much obligated to try it.

Funny, most of the people I know who played ToR wound up dropping the game when they got to Taris, including myself (as Sith, so I would have been in the high 30s, I think?). I appreciate some of the really wonky ways you can play it, too (light side Sith, dark side Jedi). It was pulled off surprisingly well, all things considered.

But yeah, it's definitely not KOTOR. I don't think we'll ever get a Star Wars game of that quality (or that of the LucasArts classics: Dark Forces, TIE Fighter, X-Wing, etc.) ever again.
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on April 18, 2022, 09:53:31 PM
Yknow what would have made swtor a truly great game? IF THEY DIDN'T MAKE IT AN MMORPG. I used to be a big fan of the genre, and I'll admit there's still something about it to this day that draws me to it. But like you think about playing an mmorpg, and remember that 90% of it is just boring, or "podcast" gameplay. To this day I still like classic WoW, but like even that is still...90% boring with the majority of the appeal being nostalgia anymore. I enjoyed my time with them re releasing classic, but being a solved game, you can't really get the same experience twice. Too many people taking the game too seriously, second job all over again. I did download elder scrolls online, and I think what that game is doing is great...but, literally under 30 minutes into playing the game, I can see all the ways they design the game to keep you playing, and not in the fun way. I didn't want to play skyrim a 5th time, and that game isn't going to scratch my itch unfortunately. I think the mmo genre and the fps genre to me are more or less "that's neat, but I ain't going to play it" for a majority of them. There's exceptions like WoW classic (but not tbc..even though I enjoyed tbc), and DOOM!, but I think my tastes have changed.

I think that's it for my mini rant. Would be cool if there was less mmorpg, more traditional rpg with maybe a couch co-op or online co-op option? Didn't divinity do that? Another game on my ToDo list whenever I get to it.

6. Star Wars Episode I: Racer

(https://i.imgur.com/uXc6KRY.jpg)

So I was watching some youtubes, and seen this game...5 minutes into the video I said to myself "don't care if it's a barebones no effort port, TAKE MY $15!" ...and like 3 hours later I beat it...again...sorta?

I "beat" this game before, but it goes on the list because KID ME CHEATED! There's one stage called "The Abyss" that I remember being horseshit impossible. I somehow got a cheat working where the game went autopilot and won first on that stage.

...So like, I beat the tournament mode, all stages first place, without cheating this time.

Not really a racing guy till recently, but this was one of 3...racing games I enjoyed a lot as a kid. This game, Diddy Kong Racing, and F-Zero GX. I remember this game being stupid hard, even harder than F-Zero and beating it...well all of the other levels, was a big accomplishment for kid me. Even playing the game on the N64 years after the fact, the "rly fast rly hard" aspects of the game stayed in tact.

This port is straight up easy. The Abyss still kinda horseshit, but taking the 2 parts actually slow makes it not that bad. Doing some reading, I guess a lot of stuff works off FPS and higher FPS gives you more traction or something? Not to mention 60fps smooth as butter with a modern controller, I think those two things along make wrangling the sheer speed of this game a lot more manageable. Play the same thing on a real n64 with that horrible controller...not so easy.

This game still holds up. The port kinda sucks, online multiplayer would be cool...any kind of graphics update to make it not look like an n64 game would be cool...but as is the core game is still fast and fun. Tournament mode you win money to upgrade your pod, there's pit droids you can buy, a junk yard to buy cheaper but damaged parts(that pit droids can fix after the next race at the expense of doing said race with lower stats on a certain part), it's a cool little mode with some soft rpg features. Good roster of riders to choose from, 27 tracks...and that's more or less it. Not a massive game, but it's a good time. Not a great port, but for the price of a few steaks? Still a good value to me. Having finished tournament mode I may max out all my stats and keep the game on the switch to do time trials on every so often. It's a good pick up and play for a few races type of game.

Port was no effort but still functional, game still super fun, recommended!

*edit*

54 second hotlap on Abyss, what a way to take on a childhood nightmare but to turn the tables and get some good laps on the sucker. STILL PRETTY BULLSHIT LEVEL, imagine a race track where if you make a mistake on turn 1 or 2, you fall to the lower track which is 30 seconds slower...one mistake on any lap means last place baby!
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on April 23, 2022, 11:06:16 PM
7. Astro's Playroom

(https://i.imgur.com/G3QG1jp.jpg)

So Tuesday I get an email from sony saying "yo Wednesday, 2pm EST show up and buy a console". Which was like great, it worked. Throw them my email to buy a console, and roughly 3 weeks later they got consoles. Show up, wait, get put randomly in queue, wait more, get selected...try and buy the thing as fast as possible while trying to not make any errors in my information. AND...I got lucky, paid for the fast shipping because...these things don't grow on trees and I'd like it now, so it shows up Friday.

Cool, get the thing situated in the entertainment center and get things set up, go to transfer my ps4 saves/account stuff over. QUICK AND EASY That started at 5pm, "finished" at 11pm...alright. Pay $10 to make my Gran Turismo 7 the ps5 version, start the download...uhh...it's Saturday right now and the download should finish in the next 45 minutes...I ain't got the fastest internet and GT7 is a hundred gig game, but like...it'd be done yesterday if it was steam download speeds...at least the ps5 can download things in rest mode, which the ps4 and switch can't seem to do, so that's cool at least.

But my new toy! I've nothing to do with it! The heck is this game on my console? Well figured I'd mess around with it to test the new "Dual Sense" controller.

I thought this was just a tech demo for the controller, which it is...but it's a lot more fleshed out than it has any right being. Finished all the levels and got all the collectables, it's a pretty cool little mario ish thing. The new Dual Sense controller is actually really cool, the haptics feel fantastic. The mic sounds a thousand times better than the 20's era radio sound of the ps4 controller. And the triggers will give force feedback depending on the game, and they can take a good bit of force to depress. Even if using on pc with games that take no advantage of the features, it's somehow more comfortable than my previous favorite controller...the ps4 controller. The thing doesn't really look very attractive, but it makes using my switch pro controller feel like a significant downgrade in comparison.

The game...the game...it's cute. It's controller tech demo, but also PlayStation museum filled with cameos from crash bandicoot, to parappa the rapper, to death stranding, to more obscure stuff like vib ribbon. I know it's free, and if I wasn't waiting for GT7 to download I wouldn't even bother trying it. But it's a surprisingly good time, I wouldn't mind shelling $10-15 to play a small fun little platformer thing.  I was never a fan of the ps3 era (never owned a ps3, only played one like...twice, hated the controller, wasn't interested in little big planet, uncharted, killzone, whatever), and ps4 had Knack...which you couldn't pay me to care at all about that showing off the new console, but this feels charming to me. I like it.

Good job Sony, this was more than any controller tech demo had any right to be.

*edit*

GT7 on Dual Sense is crazy. The ps4 version looks great, and you can easily see the road in wet conditions, but on ps5 the wet spots are like photorealistic. AND THE CONTROLLER PICKS UP RUNNING THROUGH PUDDLES, the force feedback was already elite enough on ps4 to where I noticed how good it was, but this is next level. Mind you the ps4 version runs fantastic and looks fantastic, so the upgrade isn't THAT much better, but in the spots you see it, it shows. Dual Sense ain't replacing a DD wheel, but it is nice for those who (rightfully) aren't willing to invest in a wheel.

*edit*

I don't know how I just noticed this but outside of game the triggers have no force feedback so feel like ps4 triggers more or less. But in game when the force feedback is on, I actually notice the break trigger is a bit more stiff than the accelerator...

I didn't even buy a ps5 thinking about the controller one bit, but this thing is the coolest console controller I have experienced since my first time using an n64 analog stick.

Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: Spectere on April 24, 2022, 04:32:03 AM
Hey, congrats!

I haven't used a DualSense controller so I don't know how comparable the two are, but the trigger haptics on the XB1/XBS consoles made a much bigger difference than I thought it would. I'm glad Sony jumped on that boat. Same deal with allowing downloads during rest mode.

I just registered for their console drop e-mail thingie. Fingers crossed, I guess.
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on May 03, 2022, 12:14:11 AM
8. Final Fantasy VII Remake

(https://i.imgur.com/421SFbm.jpg)

Ohh boy how to summarize this game. SPOILERS will be talked about sorta probably.

~44 hours played, INTERmission DLC not played yet (but doesn't count for game completion so making this post while it's fresh)

This game, besides the combat, feels like the ultimate love letter for fans of the original ff7. What they ended up shipping feels to me like one of the best produced games ever made. In terms of characters, voice acting, music, graphics, there ain't many games that can take all of those things to THAT level. I played up to the second time you visit wall market on the original game before finishing this to get a gist of where this game is. They add a lot, A LOT.

Midgar is like 3-6 hours in the original game, and this game is like 40. Chapter 1-2, and the first little bit of 3 are in the original, then it's all original content up to...chapter 7? They'll take something insignificant like that Johnny character and make him into a full fledged side comedic relief character. I thought he was original to the remake, but he is indeed in the original outside the honeybee inn as a random NPC. Small scenes like the sewers, or climbing to shinra tower in the original end up as over an hour long fully produced levels.

There's easter eggs everywhere. From the save point icon being on the rest benches, to the "PH System" being what you use in hojo's lab to communicate between parties.

The music is without a doubt the best they have produced. To the point where I low key want "remake" treatment done with the ost for 8 and 9 as well. I don't even want to link any in particular because the whole damn package is so good.

The characters are probably the single best part of this game. They steal the show. Everyone is awesome, but in particular Aeri"th". They did a fan freaking tastic job with her. I didn't care about her at all in the original and didn't care when...she was no longer a playable character. They did a 180, I think she may be one of my favorite characters in videogames period. She's almost like a Yuna type roll in this game, where she is the important mcguffin character, but the way she's acted puts Yuna to shame. I could gush all day, so I'll stop, but to say they exceeded expectations is understated. I had no expectations or care for the character, and they made her a favorite.



Odds and ends, positives.

-Nice job showing off Reeve as a good guy, they do in the original but you can easily forget he's an important character.
-Red XIII + voice acting = muy muy muy bueno
-I love Barret, and they did him justice in this game.
-Do play Crisis Core FF7 on psp, the first Zach scene at the end of the game IS the end cutscene of Crisis Core...and either they go beyond, or retcon some stuff. Won't know until the next part.

Odds and ends, negatives.

-Combat...went from a 2/10 to a 6/10. Enjoyed it a bit more, but near the end of the game with all the bosses that wouldn't die...wished the combat was turn based jrpg.
-The end. Can't really knock this game because A LOT of games do this, but why did they have to add like 3 more bosses AFTER the original ended? Just gimmie the credits already. At least it wasn't a 4 hour cutscene like in Death Stranding...
-Hard Mode? I haven't played it, but I thought about it up till...the end of the game with all the bosses. Thinking about doing that without items, and with benches not replenishing MP. GONNA PASS, NOPE!
-Ghosts/time stuff. It sorta feels like the original game happened and exists, and the remake also exists but in a seperate timeline? And the ghosts exist to make sure the OG game timeline happens instead of any "new" events the remake may add? Again a part 2 will need to explain this, but I could have done without it. We also didn't need to fight Sephiroth or have that dumb ghost bayonetta boss fight at the end.

Besides that, I think I went a full 180 on this game. Once I got past Chapter 3, I had a hard time not playing it. I can say having finished it, DESPITE THE COMBAT I STILL DON'T CARE FOR, I REALLY REALLY enjoyed this one, to my surprise.

Will post in the game specific thread when I finish INTERmission.

*edit*

F it, Turks theme. My favorite track? No. Great? YES! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4sCG_a3jiY&list=PLh93Av0AE7bCZIvWIsoX5-a-0r3dtEhU7&index=58)
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on May 30, 2022, 10:52:33 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/vizsXMf.jpg)

So...physical ps4 copy, put in ps5, insert a $10 bill to make it into the updated "directors cut" version, could import old save...decide to play around on a new file and see the changes...fifty...five hours later...

I can't stop playing. This game is my minecraft or simcity or whatever, it somehow fills that "build stuff but make actual progress through a game" vibe that those other games don't do. It's such a unique game, I've heard people citing that it evokes the feeling of factorio, I've told people it's like euro truck simulator mixed with simcity with a dash of metal gear, it's just so weird. The GAME both is NOTHING like the first 3-10 hours tries to tell you it is, while being exactly what people say it is. You are a delivery man, you deliver stuff...that's 95% the game, yet...the way it's executed makes it hard to put down.

On the specifics of the Directors Cut itself, worth paying full price if you already beat the game? No. It's mostly the same game, but most of the additions are very welcome additions. Performance on ps4 was great, but ps5 comes with the better load times, and the dual sense specific features (mic, haptics, triggers) all really add to the immersion. Sam takes a step with his left foot, the left part of the controller will make a vibration, walking in snow makes audio of the sound it makes when you walk in snow, the triggers help you feel the weight sam has to carry, really adds that little "extra" helping of immersion.

Not to do a second review of the game, but spending a bunch of time on the original game on ps4, beating it. Going back to the game to put in another 15 hours postgame. Getting this updated version (again only $10 on my end), and putting 55 + hours into a new file...

This game is NOT for everyone, but I think it got shat on a bit too hard by even content creators I tend to respect which is always sad. I think a lot of people try to bee line the story ignoring building stuff...it's a way to play the game, but it is the wrong way to play the game. I think that's part of why the game got some flak, people ignoring 60% of the game mechanics. Or crazy people who want to play offline for the "pure" experience, that is also the wrong way to play. The entire game, the themes, the whole "keep on keepin on", the fact the character is called sam porter BRIDGES, you are supposed to connect with others. It's dark souls styled, but if I had a nickle for every time there was a rope on the right ledge when I didn't have one, or a motorcycle in the middle of the ass end of nowhere, or a bridge across that one spot, all by other players of this game, I'd have paid this game off already. It's literally a game entirely 100% about connecting with other people(the "exp" system is "Likes"  ffs), and to ignore that is silly.

Either way I'm basically a fanboy now. I got my hat (https://kojimaproductions-store.com/products/death-stranding-sam-bridges-replica-cap-1). Keep on keepin on. I literally got Elden Ring on ps5, and I took out the disc to play Death Stranding again for 55 hours, that game only got 30 minutes of my time so far...

Norman Reedus accidentally admitted to working on a sequel...

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FTQsy4baQAAO2s_?format=jpg&name=large)

Well that was Kojima's response, we getting a sequel baby. Day one purchase whenever that sucker hits shelves.

*edit*

Beat it a second time, may do a few other things, but I think im more or less done. Not a perfect game, chapter 13 is a whole nother load of up it's ass, just lemme skip please! But besides that, might be a top 20 game of all time for me. Easily one of the best games I have played in the past 5 years. I do not replay games lightly, and I especially do not replay LONG (50+ hour long) games lightly. I'm glad original AAA titles can still exist.

*edit*

66 hours played, all contacts 5 starred. Not going for platinum, to me that's basically doing 100%. I am satisfied.
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on June 17, 2022, 09:26:19 PM
9. Shantae

(https://images.nintendolife.com/ebd4c99accc71/shantae-cover.cover_large.jpg)

So...there was a sale for all the Shantae games...so...I...bought all of them.

Knowing nothing other than the first game on the gbc was a cult classic, released too late for the gbc after the gba was out. Years later they made a sequel, then another...now there's like 5 or something.

Either way, cute character + metroid? vibes, I'll give it a shot.

For an older game it's a bit rough around the edges, save points aren't very common, no save points at all in dunegons, instant kill megaman style spikes are pretty common, and enemies can spawn on you doing damage with no way to avoid it. That said, it's got Metroid 2 vibes of it's in that proto "metroidvania" feel, where it's like an old platformer in a non linear world...and no...map. I used a guide and after the second dungeon I resorted to the ingame savestate feature the switch port has. If savestates are the difference between playing the game to the end, and not, I guess it's an evil I'll dip my toes into. It isn't the hardest game ever, but the instant kill spikes and unfair lack of save points would make it more frustrating than fun in my opinion.

With that out of the way, it's a pretty damn charming game. I do see where the overall positive reception of the game comes from. It plays well for the most part, and oozes charm. It was a good enough time where I may be posting here with a sequel in the not so distant future.

Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on June 19, 2022, 01:24:24 PM
10. Shantae: Risky's Revenge

(https://i.imgur.com/rEWjDo2.jpg)

Pretty easy to chew through these when they're under 6 hours long.

This one is a bit more polished than the original, feels a bit shorter more compact because I think it was originally a DSi title. Controls feel better, enemies a lot less "bullet spongey", the original game I'd run past most everything because short range main attack and too many attacks to kill regular enemies. This game feels a bit more balanced, more save points, less frustrating to play.

Still has the same charm the original had, with really good pixel art at that. Biggest problem is while the game isn't huge, and it "technically" has a map, it's not a good one, and, cmon a real map would be great. Still, I got this on sale for like $5, and I'd say it was well spent. Fun little snack of a game.
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on June 23, 2022, 08:36:15 PM
11. Shantae and the Pirates Curse

(https://i.imgur.com/1X5SzXN.jpg)

This is rare, very rare for me. I am playing yet another game in the same series, in this case the third of five Shantae games. Of any to play in order I believe Riskys Revenge leads into Pirates Curse which is a direct sequel, besides that, you can play the other games in any order far as I am aware. So if you intend to play this game, it is recommended to play Riskys Revenge first...it's ~5 hours long, so not a big time investment.

So the first game was hard mostly because it was unfair, the second game was more or less fairly easy, this one starts off kinda hard, but overall isn't too bad. It does have some "kaizo mario" moments, but those aren't the majority of the game, no where near metroid dread levels of difficulty, but has some challenge. Speaking of metroid, this game I feel is more metroid than the past 2. It's structure is a bit different, you have different islands you visit, each island is like iunno, a brinstar from a norfair if we're speaking metroid. Due to story reasons you also don't have genie transformations in this game, so it's more "metroid" feeling in the upgrades in that this game feels like it has more traditional "metroid" style upgrades, like there's metroid style dash boots in this game.

Probably got the best story out of the bunch, very tongue in cheek, starting to see running gags, has some disgaea feels. It's light, cute, mostly fun. You don't play the game for story, but it's there, and worth not skipping. I kinda like that every game starts out in the same town, and the outskirts is the same...but since they are different games, they are different. In this game the town does change as you progress, and it's a cool touch.

This is the game where I am starting to feel what makes Shantae different from the games it would be compared to. I would go as far as to say if you've been looking at the series, maybe give one of these a shot...you'll see why more in the next post...
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on June 23, 2022, 08:45:06 PM
12. Shantae Half Genie Hero

(https://i.imgur.com/mQ8iCQH.jpg)

I said I bought all...ALL of the games didn't I? I didn't expect to play..all...of...them...

So this is the 4th Shantae game, and it's got a few differences between the rest of em. First is the art is no longer pixel art, it's like HD animated 2d stuff with 3d backgrounds. The art is REALLY REALLY good, really big fan of all of the art in this game.

Biggest change however is it's not really a "metroidvania" style game...but also has those elements...

This game is like 6...not super long? Levels, like iunno og snes level based action game levels like a castlevania 4 or a contra or whatever, but with shantae gameplay. Though these levels have a lot of "metroidvania" stuff in them, like the first time you go through level 1 you don't have the upgrades to get all the stuff, so you'll have to re play the level again later with the correct upgrade to get the collectables. It's very different, you got a hub town which is the same as in the rest of the games, and you just go to level select from there and mostly replay levels to find all the hidden stuff.

It is pretty fun, but at a point the backtracking is a majority of the game, and does get old after a while. Game isn't super long, so it isn't a huge deal, but could get annoying. Core game is fun, and there's a ton of extra modes, like a ton of unique ways to play the game, so there's no shortage of things to do if the main game isn't enough for you. Would recommend, still quite fun, but art aside, I think this one takes a step back from the last entry.
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on June 23, 2022, 08:54:44 PM
13. Shantae and the Seven Sirens

(https://i.imgur.com/6fjvwH4.jpg)

Yeah...umm, I beat all the Shantae games in a week...more or less. Uhh...I really can't beleive I did this, but the more I played, I kinda just kept having fun, so I seen no reason to stop.

This game is the most ITS A FREKAN METROIDVANIA of all of em. It has a real map this time...pirates curse did too, but this one takes the cake. Fantastic 2d art, pretty varied and good music, transformations feel more "metroidey" this time round. Pretty traditional game for it's genre, only in Shantae form. All the stuff about art/story applies here, very much has it's own identity. I would go out of my way to call this one my favorite out of the 5, not just because it's the most recent, because my second favorite is probably Pirates Curse, but more in that I really enjoy a good metroid or castlevania, and this scratches all the itches for me. Would I say it's better than a metroid dread, or even a bloodstained? No...but yknow, for what it is, it's still a very fun game, and a very good time.

None of these games are very long, and most of them aren't that hard, so it isn't really out of the question to binge these, so I did, and here I am talking about it. Now that I have caught up on this series I have always known about but never played, I do look forward to the next one whenever that comes out. Do you enjoy various levels of metroidvania, with a cute cast of characters in a silly not so serious adventure? Give these a shot.

Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: Spectere on June 24, 2022, 04:24:32 AM
Woo, that's a lot of mini-reviews. :D

That sounds like a pretty good length for those kind of games. Methinks I might have to go through them at some point.
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on September 07, 2022, 01:33:00 PM
14. Soul Hackers 2

(https://i.imgur.com/B3gq4Iq.jpg)

New megaten comes out, I play it.

Game is in the "Devil Summoner" universe, not persona, not mainline smt. Still has demons, fusing, same in universe spells and such. The game "feel" is that of a spinoff series while being rooted in megaten, as it should be, they did a good job there.

Graphics look really nice in 4k on my ps5 on this tv, smooth framerate. Really good music, not quite up to the standard of other games in the megaten umbrella, but good regardless.

Characters are really good. The main character...isn't a silent protagonist...I think all of the other megaten games I have played (p4, p5, dds1, nocturne, 4, 4a, strange journey, 5) all have silent protags. This one the main character has a real personality with really good voice acting, probably my highlight of the whole game.

Story can get kind of "anime cliche" at times which I ain't too into, but as a whole it works. The world is pretty cool, not post apocalyptic like an smt, not "cute school children being friends" like persona. Got this "cyberpunk" future aesthetic, and gets a bit more megaten crazy near the end of the game. It works. Music tracks like this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6vVz6aDo90) really fit in with the aesthetic.

Combat...is where this game would go from a 8/10 to a 6/10 for me though...

It isn't a pressturn system like megaten games from nocturne-current, or the "one more" system used in p3-5. You strike weaknesses and gain "stacks", at the end of the turn you do damage based on how high the stack gets. I am all for trying something different, and this system works for the most part. Feels like you rely on magic more in this game because not a whole lot of enemies are weak to gun/melee, however I feel more enemies are weak to gun/melee in this game to compensate for that. It does a good job for the most part because you'll make certain tactical choices based on what you have. Maybe strike an enemy who's weak to ice, to gain stack to kill that weakened enemy who is weak to an element you don't have equipped.

That isn't really my main issue with the combat and why I rate this game lower than I would like. It's just really...really...slow. Just the process of entering a battle and doing a move takes more time than it really needs to, they could speed up animations or something just to keep it flowing. It's fine for the first 10 or so hours, but I was pretty over it half way through the game. I don't like saying it, but I was honestly bored for 50% of my playthrough...and this is mostly because of how much of a slog the combat is. The combat isn't "bad" and it does some cool things I wish for them to keep experimenting with, but they gotta find some way to get you to chew through combats quicker, or have less combats in general or something.

This is a cool game, and getting a second megaten game within 10 months is great, but I can't recommend this title unless you are a big fan of anything megaten.

*edit*

Ohh, the biggest sin, I forgot. The ending. You can get locked out of the good ending based on not balancing the points you accumulate for your 3 party members throughout the entire game. Not knowing that getting 6 points for character A and B screws over maxing out character C, when if you put those points towards character C you would have the amount to also get A and B done. This forces you to play NG+ which gives you bonus points, and...that sucks. The moment I realized I am 6 points short, and no way to get them, I ignored all other side content and bee lined the game because what's the point. Just a feel bad moment that made me want to get the game over with, see the "bittersweet" ending and feel a bit less about the game than I otherwise would have.

Getting a good ending should be "hey you did the extra curricular side stuff you didn't have to do, you got the whatevers you need to get the good ending".

Not "ehh you didn't follow a guide and picked 2 wrong choices out of 30, so I hope you enjoy doing it again on NG+!"

LAME

*edit*

Thinking about smtv, and this game, what makes a (in my opinion) "proper" smt experience, is buffs. What makes these games...say, "lesser" than the others is the buffs have been reduced. High mana cost + set amount of turns before they expire. I mean I guess in other games the mana cost was high, but and even higher considering you could stack buffs 4 times AND LASTED UNTIL THE ENEMY REMOVED THEM...but they were really really good, like "use buffs in random battles" good. Obviously buffs are worth using in a lot of jrpgs, these games included, but being more "modern" companies like to balance things out a bit more...which kinda just makes things bland...

I did like the playstyle of debuffing the opponent like crazy, buffing myself like crazy, and going for one mega attack every 3 or so turns. It just feels like that style of play isn't really the best route in these two most recent entries. I mean, smtv you kinda do it, but...don't quite feel the same. I could even play this way in dragon quest 11 with Erik's busted ass, odd how they would discourage that playstyle.

I could be talking out my ass, but trying to understand why I think the combat in soul hackers 2 is bland compared to a nocturne or a digital devil saga, or even a dragon quest 11.
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on September 15, 2022, 09:07:28 PM
15. Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2

(https://i.imgur.com/i67LM7C.jpg)

So uhh after that last game I had a mini rant on "the old games were better rabble rabble rabble!". So, I got the ps2 setup to play some Katamari!...then I booted this game up to see where I left off back in 2020. Had a really hard time putting this sucker down I'll tell you hwhat!

First some cons.

The music in the first game is leagues better than this one, this game goes back to a stereotypical anime soundtrack or something. There are some good tracks (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX-PaueCRvQ&t=886s), but most of em are just outright inferior to the first game. Worst of all when I do want to listen to the great soundtrack of the first game, it's usually bundled in with the second game, so I gotta spend some extra time digging around for those good tracks.

This is a game where you have a party of 3, and more than 3 characters to use. Pretty normal RPG faire, but uhh, you should know to ignore Roland, and Argilla, use Gale and Ciello. Roland and Argilla go bye bye for roughly 1/3 or more of the game and only come back at the very end. Also the main character...goes away...then comes back, then goes away...so looking up what to do so you don't waste precious money and time on skills that'll go to waste will be important. Not a huge deal since I play most games with online resources to avoid bad things happening, but for someone playing it blind, feels like the illusion of choice with a big fuck you for not having the answers before you play.

The story starts off kinda terrible, didn't make any sense to me how in the first game you are a bunch of AI in a simulation only to be brought into the real world at the start of this game. Ontop of that you run into a character Roland who's a normal human, and after all this hubub on DEMONS SCAREY EAT PEOPLE NOMNOM, he just casually "turns into a demon" nonchalantly. None of it really made sense in the first game, but due to the setting I didn't mind, this game you're in the real world and that shit just don't fly anymore.

Then I get to the end of the game, and it made me realize even beating the first part, I had no idea what was going on. Most of the questions I had, and problems I had in the beginning were answered near the end of the game. Certain characters that had ZERO likable features in the first game ended up being outright heroic. These games should be treated as one game, and it was my bad for judging it before actually completing it. They do a good job wrapping things up at the end...and speaking of the end, everything goes crazy...like, you aren't even in reality anymore, it do a good job of just "feeling cool", not sure of a more elegant way to describe it without spoiling it. Final dungeon was long, kinda annoying, but as far as smt is concerned it wasn't too bad, and it visually looked great.

I completed this game in 37 hours, the first game I grinded wayyyy too much and put in 50. I decided I didn't want to do that in this game, also there is no comfortable grinding spots in this title so after I got the essential skills I wanted I booked it towards the end. This game difficulty curve I feels the opposite of the first one, starts out easier (not easy, easier), and by the end I don't feel half as overpowered as in the first game. Final boss put me through more stress than I would prefer, having 5 forms, and every time it was it's turn, it got 5 actions...every...single...turn...it did take me a second try and I won by the skin of my teeth.

Issues with soul hackers 2 combat, compared to say this game. This game has random battles, and a lot of them, that game does not and you can avoid most fights. On paper that game would be more pleasant to play, but when you enter a combat...it's just slow. This game say you do an action, the character does the animation, JUST BEFORE THEY FINISH even before your cursor changes to the next character you can move the cursor to the command you know you're going to use out of muscle memory, it just feels snappy. Plus this game uses the "press turn" system used in a lot of modern megaten games, and while I applaud soul hackers 2 for doing something different...I like my physical unga builds, and that game doesn't allow it. Physical doesn't even hit weaknesses, and only gets a free turn when you crit, however you can pass turns in pressturn games, which lets you say go twice with one character. Less freedom to do what you please in soul hackers 2, feels more stiff, and clunky. Not hating on that game, but playing this one right after it as a comparison point, this 20 year old game still holds up to the best of em today.

Ending the tl;dr as I have said enough. I still prefer the music/atmosphere/skill tree of the first game, but I do really like the character development and how the story wrapped up in the second game. I recommend this to any jrpg fan, but do not play one game without having the intent to play both IN ORDER. It is a two part experience, they are not stand alone like say a witcher or a mass effect could be.

(https://i.imgur.com/lMXvqHs.png)

Plus Kazuma Kaneko's art is fantastic. JRPG where "you are the demons, and you EAT PEOPLE!", I like it!

*edit*

It just hit me that the cover art for the game is 100% spoilers not even trying to hide anything. I guess if you play the first game, just uhh, don't look at the box art for the second game?
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on September 19, 2022, 05:43:59 PM
16. We <3 Katamari

(https://i.imgur.com/LIWpPu3.jpg)

I had finished like 2/3 of this game back in 2020, but never finished it because...2020...so with the ps2 hooked up, and my fancy brooks wing commander what allows me to use damn near any controller I want on ps2, polished this game up.

I was a big fan of the original, this game is the first sequel.

Gonna say, it's still katamari which is good, but they go a bit too hard on levels that aren't "get really big and roll up the universe" which you kinda do roll up the solar system which is cool...but most of the levels are objective based. The really annoying ones are "roll up a bunch of a certain kind of thing, then roll up the quest giver before time runs out", there isn't a map, and when you have 45 seconds left controlling a giant unwieldable ball of stuff without direction, kind of annoying to fail and have to re try.

Overall it was a good time, but having completed the original like 4-5 times on ps2, and again on the remaster I got on switch...I don't think I'll be revisiting this one. Not bad, just why bother when the original exists. There's plenty of stuff to do, I feel like this game has a lot more overall content and variety than the first game, so if it's your cup of tea, give it a shot. I personally wouldn't take it over the original.
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on September 20, 2022, 10:06:58 PM
17. Merchant of the Skies

(https://i.imgur.com/l5mjsMh.png)

This was one of those "browse the switch store page, looks interesting, wishlist and forget about it" games, till I impulse bought it on ps5 for some reason. I have not heard about this game, I have not seen this game, I only stumbled upon it looking around the store.

This game is really cool. I couldn't stop playing it until I completed the game. In essence it's a trading game with your little sky boat, and you get money trading stuff as you do. With money you can upgrade your ship, buy islands with resources to kit them out to provide for you, you always have to refuel/pay upkeep, any island resources need crew to harvest, etc.

It's just an addictive little gameplay loop that slowly gets bigger until you have islands/resources all over the map. You can even have a caravan setup to buy other ships to automatically deliver from one island to another. It's a bit rough around the edges, not all of the systems work seamlessly, but aside from some nitpicks, I only put the game down after I finished the game...good 10-12 hours of fun packed in here.

It's a cute game, doesn't require a huge amount of mental investment, for $15, easy to recommend.

Short games are great, you can play them, enjoy them, then you're done and you can play something else.
Title: Re: 2022 The Backloggening
Post by: vladgd on September 27, 2022, 04:01:54 PM
18. The DioField Chronicle

(https://i.imgur.com/GbaAYJi.jpg)

I seen this game, noticed it has a very dumb name kinda ignored it. Seen it again, seen it wasn't turn based...was gonna ignore it again. However I noticed it released the following day, so I looked it up a bit, and seen the combat is kinda interesting despite being "real time" so I impulse bought it.

I guess I'll start with the cons.

Story is kinda...all over the place? I don't think it knows what it wants to do, however the main character acting the way he do makes sense at the very end of the game nearing/after credits territory. Still not very likable, but it is what it is. Not all the characters are bad, but the more prominent ones aren't too likable.

Music/graphics are fine. Not gonna blow your socks off, but not bad, perfectly serviceable.

Gameplay tho...that's where this game goes from "meh" to "try the demo" because I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's like real time, but you can stop time to give commands, so think star wars KOTOR or dragon age, or balders gate, that kinda feel...but kinda more "rts" in feel somehow. Hard to describe, it's a tactical rpg, but feels like an rts in terms of how units move...but also after you get used to it, works really well on a controller. Flanking is a pretty huge part of the game, so positioning is important, and just feels fun to play.

If you can figure out that the main characters first skill is kind of just the way to go, and build your party around abusing that, the game isn't really too hard. That said, if you just "A move into dudes" you're gonna die, because with my party setup, only my knight lady could take hits (and she could take hits so well...I really only needed to spend healing on...not her, mostly ever, despite her taking 90% of the attacks), and the rest of the party felt pretty glass. So do use positioning and skills to keep enemies at bay. Easy it may be, faceroll it may not be. Originally the totally optional side objective of most missions is "complete in under x minutes" bothered me, but...after I got used to executing my way of playing the game, it was only a problem the one mission I didn't have access to the main character...and you can replay that mission at the mission replay thing, with the main character to get that side objective complete, so no problems.

Didn't need to grind at all, game gives you all the exp/money you need to get what you want. You may want to grind money to get certain things earlier, and that's fine, and the game lets you, but it isn't needed at all. I only really grinded to get the "character reach level 50" trophy, because...it was all that was left of getting a platinum trophy on the game, so 20 minutes later, easy plat. I didn't go out of my way to plat the game, it's just not a very hard game to achieve that, so why not spend the extra 20 minutes.

People call the game short, I plat the game in ~26 hours. If that's too short for you to warrant spending $60 on a game, that's on you. It's not a AAA game, but as a "AA" game, there was plenty enough for me to enjoy for my money. I am not a demo guy anymore, if I want something, I just buy it. However Square is doing a great job with demos keeping your save if you decide to buy the game and resume where the demo ended, so anyone on the fence should try that out. I had a pretty good time, but YMMV.