Author Topic: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!  (Read 38767 times)

kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #75 on: February 07, 2023, 03:08:49 pm »
14. Kirby's Dream Buffet

Oh, Kirby. How? How is it possible that your cuteness continues to enrapture me so after all these years? This game feels like Monkey Ball meets Kirby's Tilt n' Tumble. I won't be writing a review for it but I'd give it like a 7/10. Also, there's no chance I'll be going for all 135 achievements. I'm currently around 20 or so. But! I can see myself picking this up every now and again when I need to kill time or just want to take a break from a story focused RPG. The timing of me playing this game couldn't have been better, either. Kirby's Return to Dream Land on Switch is just a couple weeks away. This game really got me pumped for it.

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #76 on: February 10, 2023, 09:06:24 pm »
9. Sonic Advance (GBA)

The Sonic Advance series has been on my radar for a while, however I completely overlooked these games back in the 2000s when they were coming out. I was never a huge GBA person, and quite honestly I'm still not big on it, but these games looked enough like the classic Sonic games with a fresh coat of paint that I really wanted to try them out.


I really appreciate what Sega did in creating these for the GBA from the ground up. The visuals especially have a certain Nintendo-ish vibe to them which somehow works really well, however I still prefer the original 16-bit Genesis Sonic games if we're talking 2D Sonic games here. Unfortunately the OST of this game doesn't even come close to the greatness present in nearly all the Genesis games, and unfortunately the gameplay is noticeably packing as well. While most of the movement controls are as good as they are in many of the other 2D Sonic games I've played, the stage design and some of the boss mechanics are pretty poor, enough to where I was getting more annoyed than I was enjoying the game. This was especially true in the later stages. I get they were trying to make them harder, but they honestly just made them more annoying and tedious to where I just wanted them to be over. Regardless, Sonic Advance is a decent game despite its inferiority to the mainline Genesis games. (2/10/23) [31/50]

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #77 on: February 10, 2023, 11:28:51 pm »
Sonic Advance 2 (GBA) (ABANDONED)

This is one of those games that can go into the disappointing category. Not because I had super high hopes for it going into it, but because I really enjoyed the first half of the game quite a bit! I loved it's more fast paced and streamlined gameplay compared to the first Sonic Advance, and I love how your constantly running while fighting the Eggman bosses at the end of each Zone. However it was the fifth level that broke me and may be the most poorly designed, bullshit Sonic level I've ever played. There are literally bottomless pits everywhere and the game punishes you for both taking your time and for going to fast in this stage. I did end up beating it, but the next stage is just as bad in its own way. I literally gave up on this game when I just could take the shit level design anymore. Somehow Sega (more accurately Dimps) thought poor level design was an acceptable way to make the game harder as you get into the later stages. Other than the awful level design in the last half of the game, the music and visuals are on par with the first game. I'm almost dreading what Sonic Advance 3 is like, but that will have to wait for another day; I've had about all I can handle from this series for one day. (2/10/23)

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #78 on: February 11, 2023, 12:18:34 am »
My wife's hogging our PS5 playing Hogwarts Legacy, so I can't play the PS5 game I'm currently playing so I've made it a GBA kinda night, hence the 2 previous GBA games.


10. Tekken Advance (GBA)

Tekken Advance has been a curiosity to me ever since I first learned of its existence during the early 2000s around the time it came out. I never owned it, but I did play it at some point, but I thought what the hell, I'm going to finally beat this game and see what it's all about. Tekken Advance is more or less (mostly less...way less) Tekken 3. Everything has been simplified however to run on the GBA and the end result is a game that barely resembles any Tekken game other than its name. There are small hints of a much deeper fighting system being condensed down to be playable on the GBA, but don't get me wrong, there is nothing deep about this game's combat. The graphics also look really blocky, murky, and there are far fewer of them compared to Tekken 3. Character models equally look gross too. However, the worst part of this game is its audio which offends the ears whether or not it's trying to emulate some of the tracks from Tekken 3. Still, for what this game is, it's not absolutely terrible and despite how short and limited this game is, I still enjoyed it for the 15-minutes or so it took me to beat. Still, I can't see myself ever picking this game up again given the compromised mess it is compared to any other Tekken game. (2/10/23) [27/50]

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #79 on: February 12, 2023, 09:35:57 pm »
7 - Dead Space (PC 2023) - BEAT - Took my time with this game as I know it's abit on the shorter side (Not in a bad way) and I'm glad I did, really savored it and it's such a solid game.  I was a big fan of the series, I even liked parts of Dead Space 3, though overall I was unhappy with the push to co-op and aspects of the crafting system.  From what I understand, this game is a pretty straight remake, very true to the original, with abit of expansion here and there and brought in some QoL elements that I think were from the sequel, but it's been so long, I can't say what.  I recognized a lot places and situations as I played and it feels weird to think that Isaac was mute in the original.

The game is just so good, great atmosphere, it's always so intense, gameplay is great, and even on medium it was a fairly decent challenge and I was burning through ammo, so it seems like you get a lot, but you can go through it very fast trying to dismantle Necromorphs.  It's top quality survival horror.

I'm curious what they do now, if this is a success, do they do the obvious and remake Dead Space 2? Are we going to get an attempt at a new Dead Space 3 eventually? Personally I'd love a DS2 and then make an all new DS3 that is very different.  Cut out co-op, probably a new story, keep more true to the first two games, just a complete or mostly complete retcon.  We'll see though, but I highly recommend this game if you enjoyed the original and want it cleaned up and nice, or if you enjoy creepy survival horror.

kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #80 on: February 13, 2023, 04:01:46 pm »
15. Tormented Souls

The good, the bad, and the ugly of classic survival-horror all in a somewhat modern package. There were a lot of great ideas. Not all of them landed. But, I give a lot of kudos for the efforts. I'm glad that I played this because it reminded me why I enjoy this genre: creepy atmosphere, a frightening journey, and some bizarre monsters. The ending was predictable within the first five minutes but that's what you get when you play enough video games.

dhaabi

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #81 on: February 13, 2023, 04:47:58 pm »
03. It Takes Two || PlayStation 4 || 02.12.23

"It takes two." It is a simple statement that summarizes the core basis for It Takes Two, the game. Remembering the reveal trailer, I was interested in what the game had to offer, as its production seemed high quality to pair with its interesting gameplay mechanics.

Introducing players to a family near collapse, It Takes Two tells the narrative of a husband and wife, Cody and May, and their pending divorce. Mixed in the issues at-hand, their daughter Rose mourns the loss of her parents' friendship and marriage while doing as much as a young child can do to mend their relationship. Taking a very real life situation that many people in relationships face, the game presents a player experience with a unique approach as shared co-op functionality is required, with both Cody and May being playable.

Despite the heavy-handed narrative, the game's writing felt underdeveloped. The problems Cody and May face both as partners and parents are not given much detail, and the takeaway players are left with is that their relationship has failed is due to the lack of effort put in to sustain it from both parties. Generally, the details are sparse and remain undeveloped throughout the story, and I can imagine this is so that the situation remains as inclusive and relatable to as many people playing. Nevertheless, while I can understand why the finer details regarding their marriage and hanging divorce were unmentioned, I don't think there would have been any issue with crafting a more individualized backstory for players to become invested.

As the story begins, it is apparent that Cody and May are set on the divorce happening. They sit down as a family to inform Rose what's to come, and everyone seems to isolate themselves as the divorce simply comes to be. However, through Rose's pleas, the couple enter a dream-like state as their consciousness is transferred to makeshift, personalized dolls Rose created. Now miniature and in a sort of fantasy environment within the real world, Cody and May are forced to work together to progress through a series of trials in solving how to regain their normal lives. Throughout this all, a personified relationship-building book guides them through their situation by engaging in forms of therapy sessions. With the narrative unfolding, the relationship Cody and May share slowly mends through their forced cooperation. In the beginning, the two are constantly bickering with another. However, over time, small moments of encouragement and praise arise, with the added awkwardness that comes with it as the two still both recognize the divorce as something that needs to happen.

Moving forward, the gameplay directly relates to the story presented as It Takes Two requires two players to play. As someone who is familiar with games, I felt as if the game is fairly user-friendly but approachable to those not normally playing games, although I cannot make this observation without any bias as this wasn't how I experienced my playthrough. I mention this because, given the game's narrative, I imagine that many couples may play this game together, and it is certainly not uncommon for people to be unfamiliar to the medium. All that said, the gameplay does not always excel in this regard as some segments demand a lot of fast-paced control and reaction from both players. However, the game does attempt to make it simple for all players through its forgiveness and accessibility, such as aiming assistance and lenient death system.

Unlike many other co-op games, It Takes Two places equal importance onto both players as both characters are crucial in solving puzzles and progressing in any capacity. Throughout each chapter, players are typically introduced to a new co-op gameplay mechanic through the form of personalized tools. This aspect succeeds in maintaining interest and engagement. In many moments, teamwork felt quite fluid and natural, as both players are often doing something specific to their character's abilities separately but for a unified purpose. Additionally, it is not uncommon to routinely view the other player's side of the split-screen to gain a sense of direction or idea toward how an action should be done. In general, I found the core gameplay to be fun and rewarding.

Throughout my time playing, though, the single most successful aspect I found lies in the game's environment and is perhaps a bold statement given the level of success the gameplay also reached. With that said, the numerous zones It Takes Two presents and their level of detail and interactivity is what I absolutely adored. With a detailed, livable world full of personality and fun being built, the game takes ordinarily mundane environments and presents them from a novel perspective. At some points, areas become quite spacious which grants an even more boundless sense of exploration onto players. Through each area, interactive moments are scattered for players to encounter, which only adds a greater sense of reward for players as they freely roam about. Alongside these moments, co-op mini-games are also available for players to experience which offer a short but fun respite from the main narrative.

Overall, It Takes Two offers a rewarding adventure for two players to experience together. As a forced co-op experience, both players are integral to the story's progression with neither feeling more important than the other. With a narrative complementing the gameplay, it admittedly could have been given a more unique story regarding Cody and May's relationship to reach higher successes, as I personally was left wondering how much more developed the narrative could have been. Nevertheless, I think anyone interested in the game would definitely enjoy their time playing regardless of their experience with the medium.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2023, 08:52:40 am by dhaabi »

telly

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #82 on: February 14, 2023, 09:48:51 am »
03. It Takes Two || PlayStation 4 || 02.12.23

Great review, I agree with everything you stated. I felt like a lot of people online were praising how approachable the game is to people not accustomed to video games, like "this is the game you should have someone who's never played games before try." On paper it made sense because of the co-op only gameplay, but in practice it wasn't so easy. My wife never grew up with video games, and the ones we have played together so far are 2D like Mario or whatever. Navigating 3D space with the camera was subsequently very challenging for her especially when the action started to pick up. We theorize it's some kind of motor skill/coordination that I've just developed over years of playing games that she just never had time to develop. We have some friends who also had similar issues.
Currently Playing:
Tunic (Switch)

My music collection | My Backloggery

dhaabi

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #83 on: February 14, 2023, 01:06:09 pm »
03. It Takes Two || PlayStation 4 || 02.12.23

I felt like a lot of people online were praising how approachable the game is to people not accustomed to video games, like "this is the game you should have someone who's never played games before try." On paper it made sense because of the co-op only gameplay, but in practice it wasn't so easy. My wife never grew up with video games, and the ones we have played together so far are 2D like Mario or whatever. Navigating 3D space with the camera was subsequently very challenging for her especially when the action started to pick up.

There are definitely far more successful games that ease in those foreign to the medium than It Takes Two. A few years ago, I came across the YouTube channel Razbuten which has uploaded several videos you may find worth watching. In the short series, they analyze their wife play games and the successes games have in being approachable to newcomers, as she is someone who is largely inexperienced with the medium. They're interesting videos that provide a good look at the many aspects of games that those accustomed to the medium take for granted as second nature while identifying problems with UX that inhibit new players from understanding. Their first video in the series is here, if you're interested at all. Perhaps some of the games featured may be good considerations for your wife to try, even, although many games shown focus on the shortcomings each game has regarding new-player accessibility, if I remember them correctly.

Before finalizing my thoughts, I actually had referenced your post about experiencing It Takes Two, since I had remembered you had also played it recently. It's a shame you encountered so many bugs, because the build's optimization wasn't an issue for my playthrough whatsoever. I had updated to the PlayStation 5 version beforehand, so perhaps that is something to consider.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2023, 01:21:21 pm by dhaabi »

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #84 on: February 14, 2023, 09:38:11 pm »
11. Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order (PS5)

Before I jump into my thoughts on Jedi Fallen Order, I do want to address the PS5 version of this game. While the vast majority of my time playing it was without issue, the game had some very weird graphical glitches and bigs during the last 10% of the game, the main one being where half of Cal's lightsaber was sticking out is back and I was unable to switch from using his double bladed lightsaber, which made certain portions of the final area of the game difficult to beat. With all that said, I definitely did not have this issue or the others I whitnessed when I played the PS4 version several years ago. Honestly, the game didn't seem to look or run any better on the PS5, which means I'll probably just play the PS4 version the next time I play Jedi Fallen Order. But anyhow, with that out of the way, let's talk about the game.


Jedi Fallen Order is without question one of the best Star Wars stories ever made, and certainly up there with the best of the EU. In a time where I felt jaded and betrayed by the franchise, this game (and season 1 of The Mandalorian) helped reignite my interest in Star Wars and allow me to start at least enjoying old Star Wars content again. Replaying this game again nearly 4-years later and I now feel like my love and appreciation for the Star Wars franchise is almost back where it was before seeing The Last Jedi, which is the singular event that nearly destroyed my interest in the series. It seriously doesn't get much better than Jedi Fallen Order when it comes to great Star Wars content and that is in no small part to the amazing gameplay, presentation, voice acting, and audio in Jedi Fallen Order. The amount of exploration, the amazing character writing, the amazing planets and settings, the excellent voice acting, and of course, the unbelievably good story all just make this game so amazingly fun to play. With all that said, however, I do feel like I enjoyed Jedi Fallen Order just a hair less than I did the first time I played and beat it. It may be because I knew what was going to happen, or possibly I don't feel as desperate to find a way to love Star Wars again like I did back in 2019, but regardless of the reason it was all slightly less fun for me. That isn't to say I disliked anything about my time with this game, in fact I enjoyed playing this game more than 99% of all other games I've ever played, even the second time around. I am now properly hyped for Jedi Survivor which seriously cannot come out soon enough. I just hope it's able to capture the specialness of the first game, but even if it doesn't I am so grateful Jedi Fallen Order exists at all, especially in the modern era of sub par Disney Star Wars content. (2/14//23) [46/50]




telly

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #85 on: February 15, 2023, 11:10:21 am »
03. It Takes Two || PlayStation 4 || 02.12.23

I felt like a lot of people online were praising how approachable the game is to people not accustomed to video games, like "this is the game you should have someone who's never played games before try." On paper it made sense because of the co-op only gameplay, but in practice it wasn't so easy. My wife never grew up with video games, and the ones we have played together so far are 2D like Mario or whatever. Navigating 3D space with the camera was subsequently very challenging for her especially when the action started to pick up.

There are definitely far more successful games that ease in those foreign to the medium than It Takes Two. A few years ago, I came across the YouTube channel Razbuten which has uploaded several videos you may find worth watching. In the short series, they analyze their wife play games and the successes games have in being approachable to newcomers, as she is someone who is largely inexperienced with the medium. They're interesting videos that provide a good look at the many aspects of games that those accustomed to the medium take for granted as second nature while identifying problems with UX that inhibit new players from understanding. Their first video in the series is here, if you're interested at all. Perhaps some of the games featured may be good considerations for your wife to try, even, although many games shown focus on the shortcomings each game has regarding new-player accessibility, if I remember them correctly.

Before finalizing my thoughts, I actually had referenced your post about experiencing It Takes Two, since I had remembered you had also played it recently. It's a shame you encountered so many bugs, because the build's optimization wasn't an issue for my playthrough whatsoever. I had updated to the PlayStation 5 version beforehand, so perhaps that is something to consider.


Yeah we've already watched all of them! Don't know if they've made any more though or if they tried to play It Takes Two. I remember they mentioned Portal 2 which is a game I've really wanted to try co-op but I'm worried how it would go based on our experiences with It Takes Two.  :(
Currently Playing:
Tunic (Switch)

My music collection | My Backloggery

kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #86 on: February 15, 2023, 04:10:01 pm »
Dropped: Jeanne d'Arc

I'm so over this game that they need to invent another word for "over." I'll admit, I went in with low expectations because Level 5 is one of my least favorite developers. But, I wanted to play a strategy-RPG, and I wanted to play something that I either never played or never finished. This seemed like the best choice. I made it to Chapter 4 before calling it quits.

I was able to put up with a fair amount of stuff. But, the straw that broke the camel's back was during an escort mission when the person I was trying to protect would kamikaze his way into enemy territory, invariably making him an easy target. Having only 75 HP AND pisspoor defense didn't help. I even boosted his defense with a defense tonic. It didn't matter. A stray arrow found his way towards his manflesh, poisoned him, and caused him to die the next turn. I couldn't heal him in time. That was enough for me. I'm removing this game from my backlog and my life.

undertakerprime

PRO Supporter

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #87 on: February 18, 2023, 11:13:31 pm »
1. Horizon Forbidden West

FINALLY beat my first game of the year. I just don’t have a lot of time to play and I’ve been playing some long games. More long ones coming up too…maybe I need to get some short ones under my belt before I start another.

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #88 on: February 24, 2023, 06:47:52 am »
04. Star Ocean: The Divine Force (PS5)
Has anyone here played the new one - The Divine Force? I've just about beat it and have had a blast!
It's very much like a PS2 era JRPG - And I mean that for better and for worse.

After SO5, I never thought the series would recover - it wasn't offensive but the most unremarkable experience I can think of. So news of the latest game had me anxious. I ended up getting as a Christmas pressie and have put a good 60+ hours into it.

The games premise is very much like the over games which features a sci-fi civilization crash landing on a underdeveloped planet and you explore the difference in cultures as they clash through a dramatic JRPG story. Overall i found the story very compelling! There is a lot of writing put into the game and the concepts it explores are interesting. The characters too are also a lot of fun to be around and very likeable – Each having valid reason to be apart of the journey. I think the problem with the story is how heavy dialogue the cutscenes are. It is clear the game still had a small budget and lacks many action scenes or suffers a little on certain attempts.
That said, I love the visuals of the game! I've heard a lot people complaining about the doll like characters but I think t hey look really detailed and nice! Also well animated too! The art direction is very strong too with each area having it's distinct feel – One of my favourites was this dark forest overridden with thick vines to climb. I was going up a hill and there would be toads and magical enemies in dark armour hidden in the depths to get you. The DUMA system really leads to a decent amount of verticality to t he map layouts.
The combat is a lot of fun too you can assign different commands to 3 face buttons. if you tap it you can assign a 5-hit combo which you can assign the moves from or hold to use a stronger attack - I mostly just used the hold attack. Then there is DUMA, A Sci-fi gadget which acts as a burst jet pack, it allows you to lunge in and strike enemies, I found the combination of this and the power attack to be fitting for most of the game.

The game also has a lot of complex mechanics its item compounding, it has like 7 different settings where you can mix different items and its really only accessible via a game-guide. What's worse is that it's not a matter of just having the items but there is also a percentage of the mix working - which leads to a lot of save scumming! This is essential to tackling the games post content dungeons too.

The game also continues its Private Action sequences which in concept is great, the idea of entering a town and seeing what the other characters are up to is fun. But sadly so has never executed this feature effectively. To get most of the scenes you have to return to areas which aren't story related later on and while they're entertaining they just don't fit into the pace of the game – As there is little incentive to return to these areas past their initial visit.. I still feel FFIX executed the concept better with its Quick Time Events – God I miss that aspect of the game!

I felt compelled to tackle the games post game dungeons and it kept me invested. It is a case of just breaking the game with it's components and accessories which take a lot of prep to get but quick to execute – you can max out your characters levels very quickly once you have the right equipment buffs. The last boss did create a challenge and while looking at advice from guides online I did venture into a little item conjuring of my own to build a set up to beat the Ultimate Boss – A little proud of that too!

Overall I found it to be an above average JRPG with heart. It's a massive step up from the previous game and if they would consider another Star Ocean game I would certainly be on-board!

kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #89 on: February 24, 2023, 09:20:30 am »
I enjoyed reading that write-up, Vivi! Somewhat related:

16. Star Ocean: First Departure R

This was the perfect game to wash away the stank of Jeanne d'Arc, to remind me why my favorite RPGs are from the PlayStation era, to remind me of why I love RPGs so much, and to ready me for The Divine Force. My qualms with it were the same as they were back in 2000 when I first played The Second Story because, let's face it, the two are basically the same outside of characters/setting/other small features. These problems aren't dealbreakers, but they are annoying: easily missable characters, lots of backtracking, constantly starting a battle surrounded or with a back attack. I could go on. But, the important thing is that none of those really mattered because the quest itself is so damn fun. It's one of the better games in the series when it comes to the idea of capturing that space-age, sci-fi feeling. And combat is a button mashing good time. I usually played Roddick, but playing as Ashlay and Pericci had its highlights. The last person in my party was Erys because I wanted a magic user with healing abilities. Pericci had Healing Dance, but I couldn't ever get her to use it no matter what her AI was set to. At any rate - I'm rambling. I'll write a review for this later. I'm excited since I'll be able to talk more about it.