Author Topic: 2022 The Backloggening  (Read 2299 times)

Spectere

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Re: 2022 The Backloggening
« Reply #15 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.
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vladgd

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Re: 2022 The Backloggening
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2022, 12:14:11 AM »
8. Final Fantasy VII Remake



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!
« Last Edit: May 03, 2022, 12:26:36 AM by vladgd »

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Re: 2022 The Backloggening
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2022, 10:52:33 PM »


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. 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...



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.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2022, 03:40:42 PM by vladgd »

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Re: 2022 The Backloggening
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2022, 09:26:19 PM »
9. Shantae



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.


vladgd

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Re: 2022 The Backloggening
« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2022, 01:24:24 PM »
10. Shantae: Risky's Revenge



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.

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Re: 2022 The Backloggening
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2022, 08:36:15 PM »
11. Shantae and the Pirates Curse



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...

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Re: 2022 The Backloggening
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2022, 08:45:06 PM »
12. Shantae Half Genie Hero



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.

vladgd

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Re: 2022 The Backloggening
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2022, 08:54:44 PM »
13. Shantae and the Seven Sirens



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.


Spectere

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Re: 2022 The Backloggening
« Reply #23 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.
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vladgd

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Re: 2022 The Backloggening
« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2022, 01:33:00 PM »
14. Soul Hackers 2



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 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.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2022, 12:22:24 AM by vladgd »

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Re: 2022 The Backloggening
« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2022, 09:07:28 PM »
15. Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2



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, 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.



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?
« Last Edit: September 15, 2022, 10:18:16 PM by vladgd »

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Re: 2022 The Backloggening
« Reply #26 on: September 19, 2022, 05:43:59 PM »
16. We <3 Katamari



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.

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Re: 2022 The Backloggening
« Reply #27 on: September 20, 2022, 10:06:58 PM »
17. Merchant of the Skies



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.

vladgd

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Re: 2022 The Backloggening
« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2022, 04:01:54 PM »
18. The DioField Chronicle



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.