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Messages - telly

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General / Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« on: April 05, 2024, 10:24:12 am »
I agree with this opinion, but I also believe that the same can be said of any exercise routine. After a certain point, you simply go through the motions which isn't very exciting in itself, slowing adding more reps and sets as muscle is built. Easily, the game's biggest motivators for continued play is the inclusion of titles to earn alongside being able to compare your personal data with friends' data, with the former being the main reason I played the game for a lengthy amount of time (without checking, I think somewhere between 120-150 hours.) The game also offers a rhythm mode and maybe even other types of alternative forms of exercise, but I never did explore those options.

It's doubtful that I'll ever go back to Ring Fit Adventure since I was playing during the height of the pandemic while staying indoors. Maybe one day, though.

If I'm remembering correctly, my least favorite exercises were overhead presses (specifically when being tasked to perform them in quick succession) and seated forward presses. Meanwhile, my favorite exercises were planks and mountain climbers. These two, to me, felt most substantial toward actually feeling active. Did you have any particular exercises you enjoyed or disliked?

I adopted a mixture of some intense and some lighter workouts throughout my time playing. I don't have any particular favorites, I was mostly looking at damage/types/number of targets. but the ones that I did frequently were thigh press, leg raise, mountain climbers, thigh twist, bow pull, ring raise combo, and squats (not wide squat/overhead squat because those never worked for me). I liked the yoga poses too.

General / Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« on: April 05, 2024, 09:28:25 am »
Game 7 - Ring Fit Adventure (Switch) - 53 Hours

Final game stats
Time spent exercising: 25 hours
Calories burned: 9663
Miles run: 49
Ring presses: 12432

I first started this game as part of an exercise routine in February of 2021, meaning this has probably been the longest time it's taken for me to finish a single player campaign. There were a couple reasons for this. The first is that when I started playing, I lived on the ground floor of an apartment and was free to jump, move around, and run in place as I saw fit. Since then I've been in a couple much older houses with basements and old wood floors. I'm an average size person, but I just didn't feel comfortable jumping on our floors for extended periods of time like that.

So, I tried playing the game in silent mode, which was downright awful. Instead of running in place, you have to do squats to move your character forward. It was like... tripling the effort required for maybe half as much actual progress. So I then played in undocked mode for the remaining time in my basement, which was also not a great experience. The screen is so tiny that you can't see any objects in the levels and you have to squat down and squint at the screen to see any of the text. So my own personal play environment definitely was part of the reason why it took so long to finish. I also had consistent issues with the leg strap not registering certain exercises like high knee lifts, wide squats, mountain climbers, leg lifts and other exercises. Maybe it was my height, I'm not sure.

The other factor was that the game kind of runs out of ideas after approximately 30 hours of gameplay. The game just makes the existing exercies/courses longer in duration as a way to increase the challenge. All in all, it got very repetitive after that 30 hour mark, and I didn't really feel motivated to keep playing. I would rather use our exercise bike or go outside. I also did every single stage on each level and set the game to finish all exercise sets even if enemies are defeated partway through, which increased the time it took to finish the game.

So all that being said, you might think that I was down on this game, but I actually think it's a lot of fun and a great way to get some routine exercise. It has just the right amount of story and mechanics built around the idea of exercise that come together nicely. I think using the ring-con was a lot of fun, and there are lots of different exercises that you can try out until you find the routine that works for you, along with a fun collection of minigames. The graphics and music are also very pleasant, leading to an overall enjoyable experience, the issues I mentioned notwithstanding. I will probably come back to do a new game plus with this game at some point, but for now I think I'm going to try one of the fitness boxing games on the Switch because I've really enjoyed exercising with video games and I want to keep that going.

General / Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« on: April 01, 2024, 10:11:55 am »
Game 6 - Doom 1993 (PS4) - 13 Hours

I can finally say that I've finished the original Doom, a game that is obviously a cultural and technological touchstone for video games as a whole. My experience with this genre of FPS is admittedly a little weak overall. The closest contemporaries I've finished to Doom are Half-Life and Perfect Dark, so I don't have a lot of the contextual knowledge about this game when it came out nor have I played Doom's immediate successors like Quake, Hexen, Duke Nukem, or Unreal Tournament, or predecessors like Wolfenstein. I will say that it's a total blast to play, and it's easy to see why this game made such an impact at the time. I would say the game still holds up in many respects. The gameplay is fast and responsive, the hit detection, while biased, favors the fast-paced action. The levels are challenging with loads of secrets to uncover, and the weapons are all satisfying to use. The game's art style is really cool, and at times creepy and suspenseful. I really liked the challenge the game offers. When you die, you lose all your weapons, but you have unlimited lives and it's pretty easy to find all of the weapons you lost in each level.

There are some elements that felt a little outdated. Some of the level design was a little subpar. Several levels were quite labyrinthian which led to long stretches where I didn't know where to go, effectively killing the pacing. In addition, some of the latter levels require running over platforms which made which you had a jump button. Lastly, I was very disappointed with the overall score past the first episode (Knee Deep in the Dead). That episode has incredible music which always is mentioned in reviews of the game. However, the other episodes rely mostly on atmospheric subdued tracks which just aren't as interesting. I wanted it to be rocking the whole way through.

General / Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« on: March 18, 2024, 07:04:04 pm »
Game 5 - Final Fantasy VI (SNESc) - 31 Hours

Ah yes, the legendary Final Fantasy 6. I've been meaning to replay FF6 since I first beat the game on the PS1 about 10 years ago. Reason being is that I didn't really care for the game that much the first time around, and recently I've been wondering if I wasn't giving it a fair chance. At the time, my biggest issues with the game stemmed from the game's story. This time through, I definitely enjoyed playing a lot more, so here's a review of the things that improved for me this second time around along with the flaws that I still think are present.

First, the story. My biggest issue with it was really those first 10-15 hours, where the story is kind of cheesy and not that interesting. What I found on this playthrough was that I actually really enjoy the character-specific story threads quite a bit, which really become the focus after the World of Ruin. The stories behind many of the characters, including Locke, Celes, Terra, Setzer, Cyan, and Sabin/Edgar, to name a few, were incredibly compelling. And there are some other standout moments like the opera scene that remain excellent to this day. Funnily enough, those stories are tangential to the main plot (aside from Terra), which is why it just didn't jive with me.

On the topic of characters, let's discuss Kefka. To be honest, I don't agree with the general consensus that he's an excellent villain or even all that great. To be fair, at the time, he was definitely a departure visually from classic video game villains. But his personality and motivations as a deranged nihilistic nutjob with absolutely zero backstory are about as cliche as you can get for an RPG villain. He's definitely evil though, I cannot deny that.

My last piece of criticism extends to the game's translation on the SNES, which is quite rushed and filled with errors. It's understandable given how short a timeframe the game had but it's still not a great translation which not only sours the mood of impactful moments but also is misleading in places. If you look at the translation comparisons that are out there it becomes very clear how many things are wrong in the translations. I know these are largely fixed in later versions of the game.

Now, let me end by remarking on how incredible this game is with it's gameplay, spritework, and music, which are masterful, and ultimately make the game worth your time even in the face of more modern, polished competition. I love the use of expressive spritework for the characters which do an incredible job of making the game come to life. The environments and use of mode 7 are also really fun to watch and a total visual treat. The gameplay, while nothing special, is still incredibly fun to experiment with and master, and there's tons of hidden areas and secrets to explore, particuarly when the game opens up in the latter half of the story. The music is so amazingly good, and is one of Nobuo Uematsu's best with the series. That opening with the lighting and organ gets me every single time I watch it, even after all this time. Simply astounding.

So despite some issues with the storytelling and translations, I found FF6 to be a far more enjoyable experience on my second playthrough. It's not my favorite Final Fantasy game of all time, but I do understand why it's so beloved by so many.

General / Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« on: February 24, 2024, 09:01:46 am »
Game 4: Pokémon Violet (Switch) - 45 hours

Okay, so full disclosure, I haven't played a Pokémon video game on release since Sun. They've just dropped so drastically in quality with the move to the Switch that I never bothered to give them a shot. However, my interest in Pokémon since 2016 has not abated whatsoever. Between Pokémon Go and the trading card game, I've been enjoying Pokémon in honestly a bigger capacity than ever before. I think it's because those aspects really bring out the community power of Pokémon more than the games ever could. It's been such a fantastic experience connecting with other fans of the franchise in new capacities than the video games, and as a result I didn't feel the need to really play the games anymore.

The reason why I ended up playing Pokémon Violet was actually because my wife wanted to play it. She played it for a couple hours when it came out in November of 2022, went through all the initial story beats then gave up and I took up her save file and continued on. And I've been playing it off and on over the past couple of years. That said, my playstyle with it was so fragmented and weird that a lot of the story elements are not really what I'm going to be focusing on.

I did find the story to be mostly... fine? It wasn't anything special. I do like the school-based focus of the story early on, but it's largely split into three smaller storylines and they ranged from pretty enjoyable (Arven) to a total slog (Penny). One of my biggest problems with modern Pokémon is the lack of voiced cutscenes that are presented in-engine with no amount of polish or care put into them. It makes going through the story an absolute chore because they are so lazy and sloppy. There's just no excuse for no voice acting at this point and it would exponentially improve my engagement with the story.

Speaking of lazy, the obvious issues that everyone points to is the game's performance. There are so many issues that persist to this day even with the game's numerous patches. The game has consistent framerate and animation problems, pop-in, low draw distance, clipping issues, crashes, and other blemishes that really take away from the overall experience. Also, no clothing customization options? Why did the game take such a huge step back in that regard? Makes no sense. My third largest gripe with the game pertains to the open world design. I really think it was a mistake not to have level scaling. It meant that my experience playing was a total rubber band. I'd either be getting rocked by high level Pokémon or it was a total cake walk. I was looking for something in between.

But, with all my complaints you might think I'm down on this game. I actually really enjoyed my time playing when I wasn't doing story stuff and was just exploring the open world, catching Pokémon, collecting items and setting up a picnic or two. It's very relaxing in that way. That's why it took me so long to finish the story because all I wanted to do was just explore and take my time. The game has fantastic music and atmosphere in both the wide open expanses and the towns, that can really suck you in. Overall, I like most of the new Pokémon designs. There are some that I don't like but others that I got really attached to. Some of my favorites include Smoliv, Fidough, Bellibolt, Orthworm, and a bunch others. I think one of the strongest aspects of the Sword/Shield era was the Pokémon designs, and this generation is a bit of a step back but still has some really great ones. I really like the concept of future and ancient Pokémon too.

In summary, I find myself in the middle with Violet. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. There's definitely some good bones here that I hope get expanded upon in the future. I don't think it's as bad as people say it is, however.

Modern Video Games / Re: Pokemon Presents 02/27/24
« on: February 21, 2024, 04:21:33 pm »
It's always puzzling to see discussions (always from adults) about how Pokémon has either noticeably dropped in quality or that the games aren't difficult anymore since it is, and always has been, a children's franchise. No one in these discussions is the target audience. While the franchise's young target audience doesn't excuse its quality, it does help explain it, as many children's games are low quality. As long as the franchise's popularity remains within that age bracket, the games won't improve, because kids often don't have standards needing to be met. Regarding the difficulty of the games, they've always been straightforward to understand, but I imagine a huge number of players being introduced to the series at a young age, whenever that may have been, faced challenges in understanding the mechanics and strategy required. Obviously, since the games have purposely stagnated to catch the attention of children every few years, veteran players won't find newer entries challenging.

The Let's Go entries are objectively remakes with new features to entice veteran players to play co-op with new, younger players as their introduction to the series. Any handicapped and removed features are intentional design choices for this audience.

It should go without saying, but anyone outside of Pokémon's target audience who's looking for a more fulfilling experience with this type of game should seek out other games with the same structure, or even Pokémon fan games.

I don't agree that because Pokémon is marketed as a "children's franchise" that it explains the poor quality.  Most, if not all, Nintendo franchises are made with the same broad design philosophy, so it doesn't check out that Pokémon gets the shaft in terms of quality with every iteration while games like Mario, Zelda, Kirby, Animal Crossing, etc. have some of their best entries on the Switch. The games are rated E for everyone after all, and are enjoyed by both kids and adults. But I, along with many fans, am frustrated that given how much damn money Pokémon makes for Nintendo, their games come out in such a state.

If there's anything to blame here, it's just the time in the oven. Pokémon games take a considerably long time to develop, but they are pushed out almost yearly whereas the time between flagship Mario games or Zelda games can be sometimes 5 years or more. And in Mario's case it's a much simpler game.

Pokémon as a game is situated within a much larger franchise of merchandise, trading cards, the TV show, and other products that are on very strict schedules which push the games out to release date whether they're ready or not. The games bring about the new merchandising opportunities, which is why you will never see a Pokémon game delayed no matter how bad it is. There's too much in the pipeline at stake. While games like Animal Crossing NH and Fire Emblem Three Houses could afford that luxury.

Regarding stagnation and difficulty, I feel like Nintendo has been struggling with those things for all of their franchises since the Wii. I don't really think that's a uniquely Pokémon problem.

General / Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« on: January 31, 2024, 10:47:49 am »
Game 3 - Celeste (PS4) - 7 Hours

I thought this was a fantastic game. It's polished to a mirror sheen down to the tiniest detail. The controls are astounding and despite it being a very hard game, it never was enough to make me stop playing. There are maybe 5 screens across the whole game that I found were very difficult. The last area in particular goes on a little too long, but otherwise I really enjoyed playing. The smooth gameplay and controls are punctuated by a beautiful soundtrack and a simple yet touching story with some very likeable characters and a great overall message. I'm really glad I got around to playing this.

General / Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« on: January 27, 2024, 07:58:34 am »
Game 2 - God of War: Ragnarök (PS4) - 41 Hours

I didn't realize when I started this game that I would have needed to have a minor in Norse studies beforehand ;) Jokes aside, I did enjoy my time playing this game, though as you can probably guess, I didn't really enjoy the story. I knew it was going to be a bad time after I watched the GoW4 recap and still had no idea what was going on in the first game. I dunno, it just never really clicked with me. It was very long, very twisty and convoluted with tons of lore and backstory that the game just assumes you know. And even with all that, I found the story to be boring. It's ultimately a story about not trying to follow a preordained prophecy and then following it after all? That's what I got out of it anyway. I also really didn't like the voice acting, particularly for the older Atreus and Odin. Odin in particular was a very boring and cliche villain. Again, something that I know is well praised about this game, but just didn't connect with me personally.

What did connect with me though was the combat, exploration, and visuals. The game is very beautiful just like the first, and scored masterfully. My favorite moments in this game were just exploring the world, riding in my boat, doing quests as they became open to me and enjoying the game's satisfying combat. Were there a lot of glitches? Yeah. Are there arguably TOO many combat mechanics, weapons, and equipment to manage? Sure. Did I die more times than I thought I should have on normal? You bet. Nonetheless, I didn't want to stop playing purely because I was enjoying the gameplay that much. It was especially nice to be able to visit all of the realms this time around.

Looking back at my previous review of GoW4, I was not surprised to read that I basically have the same thoughts about this game as I did the previous game. Great combat, great visuals, great exploration, kind of a bad story. Not a bad experience though at all.

General / Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« on: January 05, 2024, 02:29:51 pm »
Game 1 - Donut County (Switch) - 3 Hours

The first game of 2024 has been finished! I found my time with Donut County to be a pretty enjoyable one. It definitely reminds me a lot of Keita Takahashi works that I've played in the past (the Katamari series as well as Wattam), and the fact that both this game and Wattam were published by Annapurna also says something. I found this game to be really funny with adorable graphics, great music, and fun physics-laced gameplay of dropping progressively bigger objects into a giant hole. The game sports a cute little story with some fun characters and I found the writing, while a bit on the immature side, fit the wacky world that you play in.

Like those other games mentioned, I found that Donut County, while a charming experience, to be pretty light on the actual gameplay. It felt most like Wattam where the gameplay really never takes off beyond the most basic level. You're essentially moving a hole under objects sequentially for about 75% of the game with no real challenge or puzzle-solving to make it more engaging. Unlike Katamari, for instance, your hole can move freely about the map so you don't have to worry about size challenges as you accumulate objects. The latter levels do add some needed challenge and variety, but mostly the game just isn't as deep (pun intended) as I would have liked. Most of the levels consist of only one screen and can be beaten in about 10 minutes or less. And with only about 25 levels there isn't much to keep you playing. Regardless, it still was a very cute, endearing, fun experience and I enjoyed my time with it.

General / Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« on: December 30, 2023, 06:04:58 pm »
Total Numbers
Total games played: 40
Total games finished: 24, or approx. 2 per month
New /replayed: 31/9
Games released in 2023: 4 (counting Casltevania, Contra, and Mega Man collections as one each)

Play Time
Longest game played: The Legend of Zelda, Twilight Princess HD (Wii U) - 46 Hours
Longest game beat: Also Zelda TP
Shortest game beat: Mom Hid My Game! (Switch) - 2 hours

Average to finish a game: 17 hours

Games Played per Platform
Switch: 24
PS4: 7
Wii U: 5
PS1: 2
PC: 1

2D platformer: 10
RPG: 5
Action: 5
Party: 4
Strategy: 4
Action-Adventure: 3
Tactical RPG: 2
Puzzle: 2
Exercise: 1
Survival horror: 1
Simulation: 1

Nintendo: 13
Konami: 8
Indie: 8
Capcom: 3
Ubisoft: 3
Square Enix: 2
Sega: 1
Rare: 1
Naughty Dog: 1
Rare: 1
Santa Monica Studio: 1

Top 5 Best Games Finished in 2022
1. Subnautica (PS4)
2. Inscryption (PS4)
3. Last of Us Remastered (PS4)
4. Pikmin 4 (Switch)
5. Luigi's Manion 3 (Switch)

Top 5 Worst/Most Mid/Most Disappointing Games Finished in 2022
1. Mom Hid My Game! (Switch)
2. Mega Man Battle Network (Switch)
3. Kardboard Kings (Switch)
4. Valkyria Chronicles 4 (PS4)
5. The Messenger (Switch)

General / Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« on: December 29, 2023, 08:58:39 am »
Game 24 - Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (Switch) - 11 hours

In what is probably going to be the last game for 2023, here's a review of Castlevania Harmony of Dissonance. I found this game to be in some ways an improvement over Circle of the Moon but a letdown in other ways. Where this game excels is it's graphics and environments. They really pushed the GBA hardware in interesting ways and there are some fantastic monster designs and gorgeous creepy environments. The monster design is as great as ever, with a plethora of bosses to fight, though there are a few too many "giant" walking boss monsters that feel like filler after a while. The different spell books you can unlock add a lot of variety to your subweapon and they are all visually stunning. Overall, Harmony of Dissonance brings a visual spectacle while still being a fun game to play.

I think where this game falls short is it's controls and music. For all the flashy graphics and monster design, the music is kindof awful. It's like bad Game Boy music, and doesn't live up to the high standards of games previous. I found the game to be a lot floatier and less precise than Circle of the Moon, though I got used to them eventually. I didn't like that your subweapon and spellbooks can't be used simultaneously, you either have to pick one or the other, which was different than the DSS system in Circle of the Moon.

It's funny how many Konami games I've actually beaten this year between Castlevania and Contra. I'd say this year was a great gaming year for me and bring on 2024!

General / Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« on: December 27, 2023, 09:34:32 am »
Game 23 - Castlevania: Circle of The Moon (Switch) - 9 Hours

It felt really good to play a Metroidvania again, this time from the well-beloved Castlevania franchise. I haven't played one of these since Symphony of the Night maybe 10 years ago, and I've never played the entries on the Game Boy Advance. I found this collection to be a great way to play these games just like the other Konami collections. This version has some additional helpful tools you can turn on, for example, in this game you can tell which enemies will drop cards for you to collect.

I found the first Casltevania game on the GBA to be excellent, despite being released very early in the system's life span. Later GBA entries in the series would up the flashiness and visual spectacle, but Circle of the Moon still brings a lot to offer to the table with crisp, clean graphics, excellent controls, impressive monster design and gorgeous music. It's a simple game, but a damn effective one. The card system is the new spice added to this game which adds a new magic element to your gameplay and RPG decision making and I experimented with all the ones that I was able to pick up while playing. The addition of a run button was a nice bonus as well. While the story isn't anything amazing, and I wish enemies would drop items a bit more frequently, I really enjoyed my time with it.

General / Re: VGCollect 2023 Secret Santa!
« on: December 27, 2023, 08:57:29 am »
I'm so glad you liked your gift and that it arrived safely!  :) I was worried that it wouldn't find it's way to you since you live so far away from me! Happy Holidays!

General / Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« on: December 26, 2023, 10:10:02 am »
Games Finished in 2024
1. Donut County (Switch) - 1.3
2. God of War: Ragnarök (PS4) - 1.26
3. Celeste (PS4) - 1.28
4. Pokémon Violet (Switch) - 2.18
5. Final Fantasy VI (SNESc) - 3.17
6. Doom 1993 (PS4) - 3.30
7. Ring Fit Adventure (Switch) - 4.4

Additional Games Played in 2024 (endless or not finished yet)
Untitled Goose Game (Switch)
Moon (Switch)
Enter the Gungeon (PS4)
The Last Guardian (PS4)
3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)

This year I'm adding a list of games I plan on playing this year. The big challenge I want to do is try and finish at least one game on one of all my consoles: a "console tour" if you will.

- Celeste (PS4)
- Bloodborne (PS4)
- 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
- Mega Man 6 (PS2)
- Alundra (PS1)
- Tunic (Switch)
- World of Horror (Switch)
- Super Mario Wonder (Switch)
- MMBN 5 and 6, (Switch)
- Pokémon Violet (Switch)
- Ring Fit Adventure (Switch)
- Metroid Fusion (Wii U)
- Mario Advance 4 SMB 3 (Wii U)
- Super Paper Mario (Wii)
- Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life (GC)
- Final Fantasy VI (SNESc)
- Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge (SNES)
- Flippul (GB)
- Pokemon: Leaf Green Version (GBA)
- Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask 3D (3DS)

Previous Lists
2015 List - 27 finished, + 10 played but not finished
2016 List - 32 finished, + 16 played but not finished
2017 List - 26 finished, + 13 played but not finished
2018 List - 23 finished, + 6 played but not finished
2019 List - 20 finished, + 9 played but not finished
2020 List - 45 finished, + 10 played but not finished
2021 List - 24 finished, + 15 played but not finished
2022 List - 18 finished, + 11 played but not finished
2023 List - 24 finished, + 16 played but not finished

Off Topic / Re: Music in 2023
« on: December 20, 2023, 11:08:24 am »
Many of my favorite artists put out new albums in 2023, including Matt Corby, City and Colour, Ben Folds, Logic, Teskey Brothers, Hozier, Little Dragon, and St. Paul and the Broken Bones. While I wouldn't say any of their albums were spectacular or the ones that I listened to the most this year, it was nice to have so much new music to listen to!

I also went to the most concerts this year than I think I've ever done in my life, including Hozier, Teskey Brothers, St. Paul, and Fleet Foxes.

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