Author Topic: 52 Games Challenge 2021  (Read 36787 times)


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2021
« Reply #105 on: March 25, 2021, 12:40:42 pm »
13. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows || Nintendo Switch || 03.24.21

Despite having also played Plague of Shadows once before, I realized that I didn't remember too much about the story, which allowed for a subsequent playthrough to be more enjoyable than I had expected.

In the same vein as Shovel of Hope, Plague of Shadows brings players back to the exact setting—even the same moment of time—as the first game. Behind the scenes of the initial campaign, character Plague Knight has selfish schemes and goals of his own which require for him to undermine his allegiance to the Enchantress and his fellow knights of the Order of No Quarter. As the player progresses through the story, Plague Knight's intentions become more transparent, and I questioned if he was even to be considered a villain, really (although he certainly isn't a hero, either.)

While the Plague of Shadows campaign is largely similar to Shovel of Hope as the player traverses through the same levels while facing the same enemies with little varied battle tactics, the game remained fresh and distinct on its own from Shovel of Hope. While one can expect the same platforming and battle mechanics, how these elements are implemented are vastly different in this second campaign. Just as Shovel Knight, Plague Knight has his own arsenal of upgrades and skills to unlock, in addition to his own unique default controls and play-style. However, from my own personal experience, I do believe Plague of Shadows suffers slightly, as the core mechanics and level design were recycled from the initial campaign which was intended to be played as Shovel Knight. That being said, both the level progression and boss fights felt a fair amount easier to get through than in the original campaign.

I'll be continuing to play the final two campaigns of the Shovel Knight series, which I've yet to play before. I only hope that they vary more than what I've experienced so far, as a third and fourth playthrough of mostly similar aspects may become stale.


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2021
« Reply #106 on: March 25, 2021, 12:46:04 pm »
I'll be continuing to play the final two campaigns of the Shovel Knight series, which I've yet to play before. I only hope that they vary more than what I've experienced so far, as a third and fourth playthrough of mostly similar aspects may become stale.

Yeah, I took a break between Shovel of Hope/Plague of Shadows and Specter of Torment/King of Cards because of things were starting to feel stale.
Currently Playing:
Tunic (Switch)

My music collection | My Backloggery


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2021
« Reply #107 on: March 26, 2021, 05:48:20 pm »
14. Bound || PlayStation 4 || 03.26.21

Having purchased Bound on a fair whim at a discounted price some time ago, I only knew that the game was a short platformer before starting. Before I get started, I must say that Bound is difficult to recommend while being a game I'm not sure if I enjoyed for what it is.

As I began to play, I learned that Bound's core gameplay is nestled in an abstract frame narrative told from the perspective of a pregnant woman who arrives at a beach-side environment. As the woman sits down, she skims through her sketchbook of abstract illustrations which represent her childhood trauma. With the woman's intentions for this visit to confront her past trauma in the hopes to overcome it one page—one memory— at a time, the player is allowed to select an illustration in any order which transports the player to the inner thoughts and trials that the woman must navigate through.

In this abstract world, you are now a child. You are trying to make sense of the newly-wrought broken environment as your frustrated mother sends you away to solve these problems. Taking control of the player-character, the player moves about with a dancing rhythm. Understanding shortly later that the end-goal for Bound is to overcome the pregnant woman's ongoing trauma, I recognize that this form of movement and the freedom it grants is the driving force behind achieving her goals.

As the world is in disarray, traversing through the rubble requires extensive platforming. And it is this aspect—the chief gameplay of the game—that I am disappointed with. Certain segments have narrow platforms to reach with plenty of error to be experienced that seems to never work in the player's favor. I fell at one specific segment nearly a dozen times. Being able to long-jump, there is a short window of length to be taken with the action, as the player is faulted again and again and is punished by the player-character stumbling to their feet which requires slowly getting up to readjust themselves on good footing.

Exploring my surroundings, I had no idea where I was going at any moment of time throughout my playthrough. With the world's environments having no real differentiation within itself, I simply move in the direction that seems as if the game is guiding me toward. I understand that the narrative explains that this world is destroyed, but the player is left with a strong lack of understanding from beginning to end. At some point, I noticed that the environment would frequently even leave a small trail of breadcrumbs to follow, which proves that progress seems to be intentionally designed difficult.

At some point, I realized that each level has an open-ended design with branching paths. Collectibles are scattered about each level, so venturing throughout each area to find these may be rewarding to some (especially since certain trophies are tied to collecting everything.) While the open-ended design allows for subsequent playthroughs, I just don't envision the casual Bound player exploring more and more of each stage at a later point, as, again, making sense of where is where and what is what is challenging.

As a short aside, Bound also offers a VR mode. However, I opted to play the game without this feature. And, looking back, I'm not sure how rewarding any additions that may be gained when playing in VR would be.

Overall, it's difficult to broadly recommend Bound to others, as I enjoy the sense of working toward an end-goal with at least a fairly-defined sense of progression. Throughout my time playing, I never know how far along in a stage I had gone, as the level design made it difficult to know much of anything. More often than not, levels would end abruptly. That Bound has these shortcomings is disappointing. While nothing is wrong in its approach to telling a story with platforming elements in a 3D environment, I think that Bound ultimately crossed some line and would benefit from re-evaluating certain aspects.

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2021
« Reply #108 on: March 27, 2021, 01:19:15 pm »
Realized it's been over a month since I beat anything. No doubt this is because work and a variety of other factors that have kept me from sitting down and playing a game. I was actually going to play some Genesis games last weekend, but my SCART cable decided to have a literal meltdown and fry itself. Spent the rest of the night trying to figure out what happened and luckily it was just a faulty cable. This weekend though I'm committed to beating at least one game, or at least starting something.


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2021
« Reply #109 on: March 29, 2021, 10:43:07 am »
18. Borderlands (Game of the Year Enhanced)
Beat the main quest (killed The Destroyer)

Talk about a backwards way to play a game series. My history goes like so:
1. Borderlands 2
2. Borderlands 3
3. Borderlands the Pre-sequel
4. Borderlands
Still haven't played the Telltale game yet, but it is on the list.

I don't have any real review of this game, just some thoughts about mechanics.
Gunplay: The game has a real sighting problem. It isn't tied to accuracy or handling like in previous games. Even with a 98.5% accuracy stat on a sniper (and with a +40% mod) you can put the crosshair on a head and miss completely even at close range. There is a surefire way to get crits and it involves going into or being in ADS and move left/right onto the target before firing. If you fire right at the time of putting the crosshair on the head, you get a crit every time. Literally every time. If you ADS to the head and fire you miss, 90% of the time. This is true of any scoped weapons. During midpoint I was relying heavily on pistols with hipfire because they were doing more damage than snipers. At the end of the game I was using a sniper and a slow firerate SMG, but basically using the SMG like a sniper.

Pathing: I was able to cheese most of the boss battles and some of the badass fights by getting the enemies stuck behind something, or putting myself onto some part of the scenery where they couldn't path to me. This allowed me to take on skull enemies, which unlike other Borderlands games, skull enemies 3 levels over you are big problems. There is also a range limitation for many enemies, where they enter an idle animation if you are too far away. Using a sniper you can just sit there forever and shoot without having to worry about running away. One example I can think of is how you can shoot Bone Head from inside of town and he doesn't shoot back.

Driving: The cars in this game do 1 hit kills on enemies unlike later games. This means if you are fighting something tough out in the open, even a skull enemy, just hit them with a car and that's it. Too bad I couldn't use that car everywhere, it would have been great.

Aside from the learning curve with shooting I had to deal with, the only other things about this game that I notice are just the things that were added in later games. There doesn't seem to be as much walking around like in BL2, so the need for fast travel wasn't really a big deal once you can get a car. It has the same ammo and item pickup mechanics of BL2, which is not as good as BL3 but it is manageable. And it is missing the rarity color on the item card for your equipped gun when looking at a ground gun.


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2021
« Reply #110 on: April 01, 2021, 10:46:40 am »
19. Payday 2

The game seems easy enough, and is also way to complicated regarding skills and confusing regarding items and the loot crate system. Such as, you can get skins or mods for items you do not own. For example a gun that requires a DLC you haven't purchased... and there is a LOT of DLC apparently.

While it is/was possible to continue playing the game outside of the "story line" I didn't want to just be randomly clicking on things on the map. I abandoned the game because it has forced stealth missions where it is an automatic game over if you screw up. I think it was only the 3rd mission (in the story line, I had played others on my own) where you could not raise an alarm. It puts some crazy obstacles in the way. There are multiple paths inside of the building, but most are blocked off by interactables that cannot be unlocked until much later on. It does say you can replay the mission, so maybe that is why they are there. I did eventually manage to get into the building but then the second issue arises. You cannot steal anything outside because there are a dozen people out there. My path into the building only had 2 people but inside you cannot open any boxes without a crowbar... and guess what, I have no crowbar. Is there a crowbar in the building somewhere? I wandered around that place for a half an hour and couldn't find one. Then I find a giant safe and the narrator basically says you can only open it with MP and not bot teammates. And for such an early mission where you can't make any sound, this is also before you unlock the ability to get a supressor. You have a suppresor in the tutorial missions, but not here. So I bring guns in that I can't actually use. I only was able to kill the 2 guards because I had a knife.

I really do not like a game that forces you to complete a task in a very specific way. Especially since it tries to say that you can complete things in different ways. Having stealth options are perfectly fine, but automatic game over screens are something I can't stand. If these stealth missions gave you the ability to see if you could survive blowing the stealth portion, that would be another story.

There is a mod system for the game that uses LUA scripts. I looked into it just to see if the kill screen could be disabled.... and there was a way to do it. Unfortunately, I wasn't hooked on the game and wasn't interested in getting involved with figuring out the mod system. So I just tossed the game into the bin.


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2021
« Reply #111 on: April 01, 2021, 07:58:08 pm »
legend of zelda: the windwaker HD
i think a big critique of this one is that overall, the map spaces are empty, and yet the world is big, leading to big empty world syndrome. and i see the point, but i don't find it quite as dull as most. maybe because i'm filling out a map, and if breath of the wild and etrian odyssey have taught me anything, it's that if you have me fill a map out, i like the area way more than i otherwise would.

windwaker was the first zelda game i owned and beat so i'm insanely biased in its favour. the HD remake really adds QoL that would make going back to the original difficult (no swift sail would be awful) for sure. however, windwaker is also extremely easy, especially after having played the NES and SNES classics. i also cannot understand moving the hero charm from early-mid game to post-final dungeon, it makes it worthless, and i don't think it carries to NG+. very lame.

i like the characters in this one, and i like how expressive they are. grandma's soup elixer is a charming added touch too. the final ganondorf fight is really flashy and neat, and i love dual-wield 'dorf, what a badass lookin dude. i think his motive is realistic, too. i like that zelda has a lot more action, and of the games i've played so far, this is by far my favourite rendition of her character. i like the idea tho maybe not as much the execution of link interacting compared to previous games, using a conductor's wand/baton to display this. tho i understand command melody to basically be mechanically necessary, because, well, we know how AI is when you need precision...

i like the dungeons and puzzles, tho i still dislike the wind god dungeon with makar (makar is super cute tho). and boy do i hate trying to enter the forbidden forest, there's a lot going on there, and a lot of room for error and failure, and i just feel it sets up a difficulty spike that never really gets delivered. it sucks, and i'm honestly shocked it wasn't edited to reduce or eliminate the peahats that can knock you in the water near the entrance.

i consider myself having completed this one, as i did everything except the nintendo gallery, which in many games would not be required for 'platinum trophy' but as addition to. i got all treasure maps and their treasures, every tingle statue, all supplementary maps, completed every giant octorok and platform and submarine and secret cave, had full upgrades (health, rupee, magic, bombs, arrows), had the magic armour and hero charm, 4 bottles, every type of chu jelly potion, completed the trade sequence, got to the final floor of savage labrynth, had the extra magic-using spin-attack and a completed sea chart.

i'm probably going to take a break from zelda before returning to majora's mask or continuing to twilight princess. i'm a little intimidated by TP's length, so it would be best to hold off i think.

One of my many gaming goals I have for this year is to play at least one new Zelda game I've never played before. Fortunately there are a lot that fit that into category for me.
yea same actually~ the only ones i put serious time into were windwaker, OoT and breath of the wild, but i'm on a roll rn~
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 08:30:48 pm by necrosexual »

if i'm an NPC, i want to be the secret boss in a low tier niche JRPG.

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2021
« Reply #112 on: April 02, 2021, 12:50:01 am »
March Update

Games Beat in March
Bulletstorm - Full Clip Edition.  I don't think I've ever played a game with a bigger gulf between polished gameplay and absolutely atrocious writing.  It out-bros Gears of War in every metric.  Fun to play, hated the story and characters.  Beat Mar. 7.

Hitman 2.  Same as the previous game.  Super fun, but surprisingly short if you are only playing for the campaign.  More overall options here though.  Big recommend if you like these kinds of games.  Beat Mar. 12.

Cyber Shadow.  Hot damn I loved this.  There were a couple of small issues with the directional controls not being a finnicky as I would have liked - too sluggish for what it is asking you to do in  couple of places.  Hard, but not obnoxiously so.  Beat Mar. 17.

River City Girls.  Decent beat 'em up.  Not enough enemy variety for a modern game, though, and the bosses were a big difficulty spike before going back to the same boring fodder enemies in every stage.  Not the best in the genre, but still quite passable. Beat Mar. 22.

Games played in March
After not playing for the first 2-3 weeks I went back in hard on Minecraft this past week.  It's just such an easy fun way to pass the time.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2021, 09:39:23 am by Cartagia »


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2021
« Reply #113 on: April 04, 2021, 08:36:59 am »
Game 5 - Return of the Obra Dinn (PS4) - 10 Hours

Absolutely phenomenal game with a fascinating core gameplay mechanic that completely sucked me in. I haven't played a ton of puzzle games before, but this felt unlike anything I've every experienced. Part of what made the game so engaging was the unparalleled sound design, voice acting, and soundtrack which help build an incredible and engrossing atmosphere. Another portion is the visual design, with a unique retro/minimalist black and white aesthetic that provides a original visual experience (although is is a little hard on the eyes at times).

Obra Dinn's gameplay revolves around the player using logic-based deductive reasoning to determine the identify and fate of all the people on the ship, and the game then uses this core mechanic to piece together a tragic (albeit somewhat cliché) story of greed and betrayal on the open sea. The game provides the player with a variety of easy, moderate, and hard puzzles to solve, but allows you to do some guessing if you aren't entirely sure about who a character is and what their fate was. I really liked that middle ground the game struck by being challenging without being frustrating.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this game, and I'm glad I picked it up as a physical copy because it's absolutely worth owning.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 12:35:26 pm by telly »
Currently Playing:
Tunic (Switch)

My music collection | My Backloggery

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2021
« Reply #114 on: April 06, 2021, 10:25:26 pm »
Monster Hunter Rise (Switch 2021) - BEAT - Didn't expect to "beat" this so quick, as before I knew it, I was hitting the credits.  It's like half as long as World was at the very least.  Not that you play Monster Hunter for the story, at least with Rise and World, it's not handled well, but still would've liked a little more thought put into it lol

Not that I'm done with the game even slightly, I still got new monsters to unlock, the credits is almost like "Hey, you've done a 15+ hour tutorial, here comes the real shit" lol Game is a real good time though, better than I was expecting as I was sorta worried that being on the Switch would be way too much of a downgrade from World on the PS4/PS5.  It actually runs and plays incredibly well, surprisingly so, Capcom nailed it.

It's hard for me to say if I like Rise or World more, they both have their pros and cons that make them stand out in their own way, like I wish Rise looked and ran as good as it does on PS5, the UI is way smoother and nicer looking, just the overall menus and such are way better in World.  Rise on the other hand introduces some really cool verticallity to the game, new mobility that is a lot of fun and works well with the normal gameplay, and Wyvern Riding is way cooler than mounting monsters. 

I think my preference with them is just gonna come down to if I'm sticking with Rise as much as I did World.  Combined with Iceborne, I put 450 hours into that game with stuff left to do, I think I maybe put 200 hours into base World, so we'll see if Rise keeps on pace.


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2021
« Reply #115 on: April 07, 2021, 08:15:55 pm »
Game 6 - The Last Blade 2 (PS4) - 8 Hours

So disclaimer: fighting games are my least favorite genre of game out there. Even though franchises like Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, and all the offerings from SNK are hugely popular, I never played any of these games in the arcade or on console as a kid, and I think that factored into my overall lack of interest. However, when I bought my GameCube several years back, it came with a copy of Capcom vs. SNK 2. That game did teach me one thing that I like about fighting games which are the unique and colorful characters. So it was because of that that I decided to go out on a limb and buy Last Blade 2 to give this genre of game another shot because of some of the fun characters I played with in CvSNK2.

As I played through Last Blade 2, it really solidified all of the reasons why I don't like fighting games. These games are ultimately designed to take your money at the arcade first and foremost, and so they are brutally unfair and frustrating. And that was what 90% of my time playing this game felt like. Even on the lowest difficulty, I found myself constantly wanting to pull my hair out over the unfair, unbalanced, and brutal opponent AI. This game (like many other fighting games), require lots and lots of practice and memorization of button combinations and enemy movements in order to do well. And I will admit, I'm really bad at this game and fighting games in general, but I simply don't find myself wanting to practice and get better, because the reward for getting better at this game is so not worth the investment. It isn't like Dark Souls where there's story, new bosses, and environments to be explore upon overcoming the game's challenges. This game will reward you with nothing but the same fights against the same opponents (which you can play as yourself mind you so they aren't interesting at all) in the same 10 environments with nothing else to keep you invested in playing. Yeah, that's how fighting games are designed, but it's not a progression mechanic that I like at all. The only other reward is being able to beat your friends, but I highly doubt I'll meet anyone who would want to play this game with me, and I'm definitely not interested in playing against foes online.

So that's my overly long rant about why I don't like 2D fighting games, but Last Blade 2 has a couple other aspects that really soured the experience even more. Almost all of the dialogue and text is untranslated, which makes for a bewildering and incomprehensible story experience. What is translated is horrendously done, which doesn't help matters at all either. These two issues ultimately make the "story mode" laughably anemic, silly, and inconsequential, which is typical of this genre unfortunately. In addition, many fights play with no music at all which can feel pretty jarring. With only a paltry few modes and a simple gallery, there really isn't that much else to say about this game in terms of content. You can get the entire gist of the game and story from the 1st hour of play.

There were some things that I did like, though. As I've already mentioned, the game has some really interesting and cool characters. The background environments are absolutely gorgeous and the animations are very smooth and nice. And for sure, there were some moments of gameplay that felt really exciting and exhilarating to experience too, don't get me wrong. But I would say that the vast majority of my time with this game was not really that great. Maybe if you were a fan of the game as a kid, but for me I just don't get it. That might just be me though.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2021, 06:56:09 pm by telly »
Currently Playing:
Tunic (Switch)

My music collection | My Backloggery


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2021
« Reply #116 on: April 08, 2021, 09:57:54 am »
20. Betrayer (abandoned)
Interesting concept. Abandoned due to save file corruption and not fun enough to bother replaying. Of course the save became corrupted due to my own mechanations, but I was already at the point of giving up. I think I had made it about half-way through the game and came to one point where, no matter how I approached it, I could not get past. This was not a case of the game having some limitation, rather it was a large jump in difficulty that occurred for apparently no reason. No lead up to get you to think a particular battle was coming. So there are these totems that you find in the dark that have a black smoke effect on them. This means there are undead (or evil) in the area that needs to be killed in order to proceed. I've run into these before, you go up to it, it makes a shreik sound and then some skeletons come out of the ground and you have to kill them. Usually 2-3 skeletons depending on whether you aggro'd some before going up to the totem. But this particular one spawned 5 skeletons and 2 thieves. The skeletons are not entirely terrible, it takes 3 shots to kill them, they are slow and you can kite them easily. The thieves on the other hand are fast and I'm not entirely certain that I've ever killed on, even with explosives. This particular totem spawn the thieves and I would die immediately, every time. All of the monsters are ranged also, so while I could exploit the physics engine to get into unroutable spots (or for example, enemies can't jump and do not path around fallen trees), it doesn't help because they switch to ranged. The thieves also teleport (disappear and reappear, or maybe they go under the ground, idk). Anyways the story was not that interesting but the concept was nice.

21. Serious Sam 3
Now this was a good game. Fast but not super fast (couldn't do the proper turn around with the mouse) and very few annoying aspects. The witch enemy was really annoying because they restrict your aiming. Kleers can be at times because they move fast to you, but do not do that much damage. Great engine and would like to see more games made with it. Did the Campaign and bonus mission on Tourist. Cheesed the last boss of the bonus campaign (he got stuck on the environment) which was good because I didn't have any ammo and ended up killing him with shotguns at long range. Also the way to kill the final boss of the main campaign is something I would never have figured out for myself. I had to watch a video of how someone else had done it, then it was easy.

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2021
« Reply #117 on: April 08, 2021, 04:20:56 pm »
Override 2 (PS5 2020) - DROPPED - Unfortunately, this is just not a good game.  It's basically a budget PS4 game that they slapped a PS5 branding on, and it doesn't take advantage of anything on the PS5 in particular as it has performance issues and some pretty standard loading times.  I wanted to like the game, it's giant robots duking it out, but the gameplay is pretty basic, not a lot to it, the AI is fairly poor and predictable, the customization is bad, and the story mode with leagues has absolutely nothing going on.  It's not super terrible, I imagine that maybe just playing with friends alone might be okay, not sure if it has couch co-op, but that's the only thing I'd recommend it for.  Having Ultraman characters is neat, but it doesn't save the game at all.

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2021
« Reply #118 on: April 12, 2021, 10:31:57 am »
Main List
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Quote from: Legend
bold games are games that have been beaten, previously beaten, or are unbeatable.
italicized games are in progress.
standard games are games I am not currently trying to beat.
strikethrough games are games that have been abandoned.

89. Xeodrifter (PS4)
I wanted to play something short and different after playing Nioh, just as a sort of palate cleanser.  How long to beat listed this as like a 3 hour game, so I figured 2 streams tops and I'd be through.  Managed to get through in one go with a bit over an hour.  I watched a short review of it or something and was like oh yeah, this will be quick and easy... and it was.  Boss fights were largely the same with some minor changes.  Gameplay mechanics were actually quite good, but the game is just too short.  Like I'd dub this game a microvania or something because it's just so small.  Some of the mechanics were a little tough to get used to and some of the fights felt cheap, but overall a really good short game.
Rating: Soft recommendation.

90. New Pokemon Snap (NS)
I got this on the cheap with a deal at Gamestop, my wife immediately was like "Oh, I'm gonna play it" and then immediately abandoned it because she said it was too stressful.  I kinda laughed at that and was like "That's the whole shtick with the game, you make multiple runs through the level and try to get better pics".  I remember the original game having a lot of "lure pokemon over here and they'll do a thing" and I feel like this game didn't have much of that, but I also might need to look into guides or something.  That said, this game didn't capture my attention like the OG game did, and that might be because I was more attached to pokemon back then and I knew all of the pokemon back then and now, I just don't.  It's not a bad game, but it's just not for me.
Rating: Soft pass.

91. Strider (NES)
I, both, had not intended on playing any Strider games and not intended on doing a Strider franchise run... but someone suggested I play Strider on PS4, so I started that game.  But I also decided, hey, if I'm going to play one Strider game, I might as well play them all.  There was no clear cut list out there of Strider content, so I had to make my own list.  Strider (Arcade), Strider (NES), Strider Returns (Gen), Strider 2 (PS1), and Strider (PS4) seems to be the full list.  While I could've started with Strider Arcade, I decided to save that for when I hit Strider 2 and play the PS1 version.  Now I did play these games all back to back, so hopefully I can keep things well separated.  The whole series is very hack and slash platformer, but this and the reboot are the only Metroidvania-esque titles in the franchise.  A bit like Xeodrifter in that you have to go back to "base" to swap locations, but you constantly revisit locations to gather new skills and reach previously inaccessible areas.  This game suffers from all of the lack of QoL of an NES game, so I won't hold that against it, but I will say the Triangle Jump (wall jump) was just too difficult, and it's unfortunate they couldn't have designed that to work better.  I literally spent the better part of 20 minutes trying to get past the wall jump sections before I unlocked the Jump skill.  That was literally the hardest part of the game, had that been better I'd say this is a fantastic game, but that alone nearly had me abandon the game.
Rating: Soft pass.

92. Strider Returns: Journey from Darkness (Gen)
This is the non-canon, non-Capcom produced sequel to Strider.  As such, I probably could've skipped over this entry, but I decided to go for it.  It felt very Western 16-bit era, which is an era of games I never really got into growing up.  This game didn't play like the previous one, it was stage based, and very much felt like it was made by someone else.  It's not a bad game per se, but it deserves to be non-canon
Rating: Hard pass

93. Strider (PS1)
Started this one immediately after the last one.  Definitely plays arcade style.  Some sections are arcade hard, where you can tell it's designed to just eat up your quarters, luckily game has infinite continues and just places you at the last checkpoint constantly, you just lose your score.  So I got a good way through the game and kept getting game over at this couple of sections of platforming that were just painfully difficult.  I see a lot of stuff in this that I've seen in the 2014 Strider reboot, so it's kind of cool to see how a lot of stuff was before it was reimagined.  No metroidvania elements as the game is just a straight arcade game.  I feel like this is one of the few instances where the "inferior" console port winds up being a better game... yes I know the NES release wasn't an arcade port, but you know what I'm getting at.  Regardless, this game isn't necessarily bad, it just suffers from the terrible design decisions that came with arcade games to make players waste money... that said, the fact that it has infinite continues makes the game at least playable.
Rating: Soft pass.

94. Strider 2 (PS1)
This one was the best of the Strider games mostly in quality of life, as Strider (NES) was quite a good game, just the triangle jump ruined it.  That said, I'm not a huge fan of games with sprites thrown into a 3D world, also not a huge fan of 2.5D stuff in general as it is.  That all said, game is pretty short and straight forward.  5 levels each with 6 scenarios for a total of 30ish "levels", most levels are super short.  This one didn't suffer from the same arcade design flaws, but it also had infinite continues which again is very nice.
Rating: Soft pass.

95. Shadow of the Ninja (NSO)
So I don't think I've talked about this yet, but one of my lesser advertised goals is attempting to play a game from every year starting back at some random year.  I don't pick a random year as much as I'm starting from whatever year is the oldest I happen to be playing anyway.  At this point I was missing 1990 and I just didn't know what to play.  I had a few ideas of what to go with, but this one was on NSO so I decided to go with it.  I'm also missing 1994 I believe, so I might play something NES/SNES on NSO for that as well.  This seemed at least mildly relevant to me playing the Strider games.  I don't believe the character you choose makes a difference really, just a choice.  Not a great game, but not a bad game per se.  Just a level based action platformer.  Not really a fan of health carrying over from level to level and not healing, but eh that's just QoL stuff.  Overall not really worth your time though.
Rating: Hard pass.

96. Mega Man Zero 2 (NS)
I started this around my Strider franchise run, I think after I started, but I can't quite remember.  I got towards the end of this game and then put off finishing it because I wanted a clean run through the Strider franchise with no games breaking the run, but then stuff happened and I still haven't beaten Strider 2014.  This time around I made sure I took advantage of the Casual Scenario mode because while most of Mega Man Zero was a great game, the final boss was just painfully difficult and I just wasn't having it.  Casual Scenario really lightened the difficulty by getting rid of most instant death things (spikes, fire, etc), lowered damage taken, and raised damage dealt.  It honestly turned the game from "normal" difficulty to "very easy" difficulty, takes away a bit of the fun from the challenge, but definitely makes the game more "enjoyable".  A lot of reuse in terms of enemy bosses, which wasn't something I was expecting from a Mega Man game as they usually introduce new bosses each game, but not a huge deal.  Story is definitely a continuation of a tale, whereas I feel like Mega Man [X] doesn't feel like a cohesive overarching story.  Overall more enjoyable, thanks to Scenario Assist, but I'm sure Zero would've been too.
Rating: Soft recommendation.

97. Mega Man Zero 3 (NS)
Jumped straight into this one after Zero 2.  First thing I noticed in this game was the chips, I won't go too much into it, but there are 3 chip slots, and it works out perfectly.  Head chip has one where it auto charges both weapons so you don't have to press and hold... oh my god is this the greatest thing ever.  Charging shots in games is always my bane, it hurts my hand to press and hold and let go and repeat over and over, maybe I'm pressing too hard, maybe I'm not good at the motions without being too hard, that's on me, but I just can't do that stuff without hurting myself, so this was a fucking saving grace.  The body chip is for your elemental stuff and some other things.  Foot chip has a bunch of different stuff, but they have an equip all chip for the foot so just have that on, I don't know if that's a casual assist thing or what, but this stuff is fantastic.  Now casual scenario mode on 2 made the game too easy, almost unenjoyably easy, not a hard play, but just kinda too easy to enjoy.  This game, the bosses were hard enough and even the final boss was hard enough that with casual mode, I had some challenge... so that said, without casual mode, I probably would've been mad like with Zero 1.  So I'm gonna have to give this a conditional ranking like 1.
Rating: Soft recommendation, Solid recommendation with Casual Scenario.

98. Strider (PS4)
This game man.  I started this at the recommendation of a guy on discord.  It'd been on my shortlist of Metroidvania games to play.  Honestly, didn't enjoy this one.  It suffers from the same shit I hate in Mega Man, and that's the charged shot shit, at least Mega Man usually lets you remap controls so I can minimize the pain I get in my hands... this game however does not.  So I get to suffer in excruciating and violent agony.  Also, this game has difficulty options, but you can only set it at new game and can never change it, which is just BS.  It's one of my most hated features, don't even offer difficulty at that point.  I get all the way to the end, want to change the difficulty but then I have to start over?  Might as well abandon the game at that point.  So I powered through despite wanting to break something.  Controls are infuriatingly confusing, in that I kept pressing the wrong buttons because it wasn't intuitive.  I also didn't use many/any special attacks until the end of the game because it was never clearly conveyed, I forgot it existed, and I didn't really need it... until the final section before the final boss.  I died like 10 times and got so sweaty that I needed to take my shirt off to get through that final section.  The final bosses weren't as hard as that final elevator leading to the boss.  Game's map glitches out and doesn't work 90% of the time.  There is no fast travel, so if you want to explore before the final boss and collect everything, it's gonna take a while.  Plus, there is no post-game exploration, so you gotta do everything pre-final boss if you care... which I am not about with a broken map and no fast travel.  The game also suffers from what I dub XBLA era design, which I just don't care for.  I don't know how to explain it, but the design patterns, choices, and even art style feel like something out of mid aughts XBLA games, which I always have trouble enjoying.  It's an okay game, that right at the end showed its true colors and became a not so good game.
Rating: Soft pass.

99. Claymates (NSO)
I chose this game, to be quite honest, solely because it was released in 1994 and I needed a 1994 game for my weird goal for the year.  I definitely wouldn't call it necessarily a good game, but it has some interesting things going on.  Normal-ish platforming gameplay where you change forms to different animals which have different skills and such, pretty straight forward, but between levels you've got little puzzles to do to move to the next level.  Platforming is pretty basic and not that noteworthy to be honest.  The puzzle stuff between levels was unexpected and thus frustrating, but it's a novel concept and if I had been in the mood for it I probably would've enjoyed that.
Rating: Hard pass.

100. Hades (X1/XS/Cloud)
I'm gonna preface this review with the statement that Xbox claims I played this game for roughly 100 hours.  Game club game #5 after my 2 picks were ultimately ignored. ::)  Anyway, lots to unpack with this one.  I played mostly on Series X which played pretty well, but achievements just wouldn't work no matter what I tried.  I also played quite a bit on Xbox One X so I could get achievements to unlock, most just unlocked, but it took a lot of closing the game, turning off my xbox, turning it back on, loading the game, and then loading a save.  A lot of achievements however required you to meet the requirements for the achievement all over again to get it to pop, so that wasn't fun.  I also played some on XCloud because I wanted to lay down while playing.  I hurt myself at work, still not recovered, might be a hernia, not fun.  That said, Series X played best, but no achievements; Xcloud played second best and achievements worked, but it is linked to having useable internet and my bedroom is a wifi deadspot; Xbox One X plays the worst, still playable, but noticeable lag at parts where I'm concerned the game is going to crash and achievements work.  Moving on from technical issues, the game is quite good.  The story is great and the characters are likeable enough to push you to keep playing.  The dialogue between characters seems plentiful to the point that even dying you have the conversations to look forward to.  That said, the gameplay is pretty solid, but I feel there isn't enough of a persistence feature for me personally.  Even the inclusion of "God Mode" wasn't accessible enough for my tastes.  God mode just ads 20% damage reduction which increases by 2% every time you die to a max of 80% damage reduction total.  I found that at 50-60% damage reduction I had little issue completing the game.  I found at 80% damage reduction it took too long to die when I wanted to kill myself, so that said, it might be good enough in that it forces you to play through several (30) failed escape attempts before you hit max, encouraging you to take in the world and the characters before you can "beat" the game.  So yeah, I will say God mode is good in that it makes the game get easier every time you fail, up to a point that the game should still maintain a level of challenge without offering you the potential non-fun of being invincible as I know from experience that that can actually ruin the fun of a game.  But that said, "God mode" feels misleading and potentially makes you feel bad for using it, I however highly suggest using it, but that's me not being a true fan of roguelike in general.  1 successful escape gets you to take in the whole experience, 10 additional escapes gets you to the end credits and completes the main story, an additional 10 escapes + a lot of other goofy as requires that will honestly take you like 70 escapes total gets you the epilogue, and finally another 5-10 escapes gets you the rest of the bond with all of the characters.  I did the first escape and said to myself that I cared enough about the story that I wanted to get the credits to pop.  I got the credits to pop and said I care enough about this story that I want to get to the epilogue.  I got another couple of runs and said to myself "I'm close, I'll keep going", and then did that another like 6 times, until I eventually got the epilogue, during this point I started getting sick of the game, the gameplay loop, and even the characters.  I then proceeded to play a little bit more to try and tie up some stuff that I was close to finishing, but I finally said no and turned it off.  Having taken in the whole Hades experience, I'd say escape once and decide at that point if you care to see the story through, if so, proceed.  At that point, do the ten additional escapes to get the rest of the story, and then stop playing.  Maybe watch a youtube video of the epilogue.  If you really love the game and don't mind the loop, go for it, play to your hearts content, but know that the epilogue is so small and honestly so obvious, it isn't worth the time you have to sink to get to it.  If this game had 2 additional things, I think this would be nearly the perfect experience for me in terms of rogue-like.  1) More persistence, let me have the ability to buy even more starting health, or armor, or damage resistance; let me be able to start with a couple of boons of my choice; let me upgrade my weapons to be stronger and stuff and not just these simple aspects.  Matter of fact let me use multiple aspects.  2) When I buy/unlock cosmetic stuff, let me display it all.  Some of it doesn't make sense to do that and that's fine, but let me display multiple paintings instead of replacing one another.  If I could display all simultaneously, I'd be more willing to put in the time to unlock it all.  I reached towards the end of the game and I had tons of darkness and gems and I was only using the gems to convert to higher quality items for other stuff, which is a great use of otherwise useless resources, but I just felt like I was accumulating stuff for no good reason.
Rating: Soft recommendation... Solid if you care about Greek mythology.

101. Xena: Warrior Princess (PS1)
I was talking to my wife about picking a new game to play after being done with Hades.  My wife said she has a suggestion, but I can't laugh or whatever.  I said ok.  She suggested this and I was immediately like Ok, I don't know why you think I'd laugh, I'll play it, you just gotta sit there with me.  So in one 3 hour stream I managed to playthrough all of this game.  Riffed on it pretty hard, lots of laughs, but my mic's sensitivity didn't save correctly so the game's audio has some bad echo to it.  Gameplay isn't great, but isn't the worst.  Story seems non-sensical, but it's Xena.  Most fights are pretty infuriating.  Some levels are pretty infuriating too, especially since you can have a checkpoint, but it's a one time use checkpoint where if you die again you have to start the level over.  That said, levels are like 5 minutes max.  Final boss was the most infuriating thing because if you fail on the final boss, you have to redo all of the pre-final boss boss fight stuff again.  It was good fun to play this with my wife, so this was an enjoyable experience for me, and I may look fondly back at it, but it's not a good game, and I don't recommend it.  It doesn't even have the official actor's voices.  I don't think I mentioned it originally, but the facial expressions in the cutscenes are pretty amazing and if anything meme worthy.  Definitely makes me feel like it could be made into a good LEGO game.
Rating: Hard pass

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« Last Edit: August 24, 2021, 09:31:53 am by ignition365 »


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2021
« Reply #119 on: April 12, 2021, 01:02:00 pm »
doesnt that mean you have most of the year to still beat 12 games?
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