Author Topic: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!  (Read 23769 times)


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #315 on: November 04, 2023, 09:12:22 am »
54. .hack//Infection

I'm not even sure what compelled me to give this series another try, especially since I found the GU games to be dull as ****. I saw all four games (CIB) at the store, I had the credit for them and...before you knew it I was walking out with them in the bag.

I'm assuming it wasn't a super cheap total considering Quarantine's market value. Here's to hoping you continue to find the series fun and engaging. I played through the first two entries a few years ago and greatly enjoyed them, but I never began Outbreak. I didn't want to get further invested on account I wouldn't have the chance to play through Quarantine since I'm not willing to pay its asking price. It's a shame too, because Mutation ends on a really high note.


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #316 on: November 04, 2023, 10:26:48 am »
It wasn't too bad. I was able to get rid of some store credit I've been holding onto for a while and offload some other things that just weren't feeling at home in the collection. I'm in the middle of Mutation now. So far, so good.

I had a thought about these games, at least the first two, as I loaded up Mutation. I finished Infection in about 16 hours. This was after doing the postgame stuff and raising the three Grunty types in the theta server. Had I played these when they were first released, and had I spent my hard earned teenage allowance/parttime job money on Infection only to wait x number of months for Mutation, then I would have been upset. Similarly, I think I would have felt slighted after hopping into Mutation only to see that the rare weapon I got for Kite upon defeating the Parasite Dragon was obsolete since a bunch of NPCs have new weapons for him ready for trading.

But, present day me has a different outlook for some reason. I'm back into The World with Mutation doing things like reading message boards, checking emails, gifting friends useless items, and mashing the X button as I get through dungeons. I shouldn't be having fun with this but I am. Seeing what happens next is enough to keep my trucking through.


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #317 on: November 04, 2023, 09:06:47 pm »
Two games finished in the past couple of days! These were the last two games I was planning on playing for Halloween alongside Inscryption.

Game 18 - ZombiU (Wii U) - 14 Hours

As a third party launch title on the Wii U, this game is surprisingly good. I'm shocked it isn't talked about more often. The first thing that stood out to me is that the game has a plodding, clunky combat system that evokes older survival horror games. It's definitely a tense experience with just the right amount of challenge. Interestingly, the game also borrows a lot of elements from Dark Souls including a permadeath system and an online message system with AI-controlled zombies representing other players that you can fight. These characters give you a lot of ammo and supplies which can be very helpful, though they respawn every time you enter an area so it can be easy to use them to stock up. Having to start as a new character each time adds just the right enough amount of emotional connection and I genuinely felt upset when my character died or was infected.

One of the most unique aspects of this game is the use of the Wii U gamepad. I found the gamepad to range from useful to gimmicky. My favorite aspects were checking your backpack and using lockpicks while still being able to scan around you for infected, using the gamepad as a sight for your sniper rifle, and using the gamepad as portable radar and scanning device, kind of like Metroid prime. Other aspects were not as enjoyable, like having to tap the screen multiple times to open barred doors. Overall I thought the gamepad was well integrated into the game and added to the experience.

While the game isn't the strongest graphically, I also thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere, particularly the music and sound design. The atmosphere gels great with the story, which is steeped in conspiracy theories and dark government secrets and I thought it was pretty entertaining. There aren't that many strong characters though outside the prepper, but his relationship with the player doesn't make much sense once you've gone through about 10 different characters but each time he picks things up with you as if you've always been there with him the whole time.

Overall ZombiU was a surprising experience on the Wii U with some interesting gameplay elements combined with excellent atmosphere and tone.

Game 19 - Kid Dracula (PS4) - 5 Hours

This game is so cute! I don't really have much to say about it. Just a fun but still moderately challenging platformer with some fun powerups, delightful music, adorable enemy design, and silly minigames sprinkled in. The last level was pretty hard, but with unlimited continues and ample chances to earn extra lives, it was a very good experience and worth checking out if you have the collection.
Currently Playing:
God of War: Ragnarok (PS4), Mega Man Battle Network 5: Team Protoman (Switch)

My music collection | My Backloggery

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #318 on: November 05, 2023, 11:35:51 pm »
I'm under 10 games away from completing 52 games this year. For whatever reason, this has been a very challenging year to reach the 52 games goal. However, with the extra hour afforded to me by the end of daylight savings time I decided to play some a fighting game that's been on my backlog for a while, as well as another fighting game I played to wash the shitty taste of the first game out of my mouth lol.

45. Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition (PS1)

As I said above, this game has been a longtime resident of my gaming backlog. I knew before playing Wild Ambition that is was looked on as one of the least favorable titles in the Fatal Fury series. Still, I like to form my own opinion, however, this didn't end up being one of those situations where my opinion on a game strayed from the majority. Wild Ambition, like many 2D fighting franchises that decided to make a 3D entry in the late 90s, is not a great game, in fact, it's kinda bad. The gameplay is very cumbersome and clunky, and just feels slow. There are also some egregious balancing issues, most notably how the game goes from very easy to very hard by the time you reach your third opponent in Arcade mode. There is also a side step mechanic which is how it takes advantage of taking place on a 3D plane, and it's not implemented particularly well, nor did it lend itself to making the game more dynamic and fun. Other than maybe the first Fatal Fury game, this one has maybe the most annoying gameplay in the franchise. Visuals were not much better. I will say the 3D models for the characters were pretty well done, each stage takes place against a fairly blurry looking background with buildings, people, and other objects that look very out of place with the 3D elements. There have been 3D fighting games that have done this much better, for example the Street Fighter EX games, but Wild Ambition's are just ugly and jarring. The audio is a slight improvement, but overall its fairly forgettable and does little to enhance your enjoyment of the game. Unfortunately, Wild Ambition will go down as one of the worst fighting games I've ever played, and one I'd tell anyone else to avoid if they were looking for games in the Fatal Frame franchise to play. (11/5/23) [23/50]

46. Street Fighter Alpha 3 (PS1)

I am very familiar with Street Fighter Alpha 3, however I'm less familiar with its PS1 port despite having owned it for many years now. It's definitely an inferior version, mostly as a result of its frequent loading screens which are mostly not present in the Dreamcast version, but other than that, the gameplay and everything else is there to fully enjoy what's become one of my all time favorite fighting games. Alpha 3's gameplay, presentation, audio, and everything else about it are stellar, and every time I play Alpha 3 I'm immediately reminded why I adore late 90s arcade games so much. Alpha 3 might be my favorite Street Fighter game of all time given how insanely addictive and nostalgia inducing this game is. I hadn't played through Alpha 3 in a couple of years, and i ended up not jus beating it once with Ryo, but again with Akuma. It's just that enjoyable! (11/5/23) [42/50]

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #319 on: November 06, 2023, 02:22:12 am »
I wasn't quite ready to call it a night, so I decided to play one more quick one before bed.

47. Metal Slug XX (PS4)

I've wanted to play Metal Slug 7 for a while now, not just because it's the newest mainline Metal Slug game, but it also just looks the coolest from everything I've seen about it. Luckily it delivered on my preconception about it in pretty much every way. While a few Metal Slug games have it beat in terms of presentation and audio, it's still no slouch in those departments and absolutely delivers on the presentation. Where Metal Slug XX really shines is its gameplay, which is dare I say the best in the series. While it still has its fair share of cheap areas and sections, the level and enemy balancing is pretty good overall, but most of all, it has the most fun, most crazy boss battles in the franchise. Seriously, the bosses are freakin epic. While Metal Slug XX is no masterpiece, it's still really enjoyable and an improvement over most of my grievances with many of the previous titles. (11/5/23) [35/50]


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #320 on: November 06, 2023, 10:17:48 am »
49. Zoop

I had tried this before years ago. Not sure if on my own or for the Sega-16 project. I remember it being a bit fiddly but like the concept. So this time I decided to try in the emulator. But there the control issue was still present. Perhaps if the game started slightly slower. Losing immediately on level 2 seems to be a thing. It is too bad about this game.


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #321 on: November 08, 2023, 11:20:01 pm »
55. .hack//Mutation

Part 2. Disc 2. Whatever you want to call it. It's been finished and once again the series left me with a cliffhanger of an ending. The last boss came out of nowhere. Some warning would have been nice. I thought we were going along with the story and then this massive creature appeared causing noise, and then we were in another big-boss arena. Thankfully, I got him on my first try. Black Rose is best girl. Anyways, this was another enjoyable game that has me wanting more. In terms of gameplay, everything was the same as Infection but I expected that. The only thing new is the mini-game where you race your Grunties. Surprisingly, it's a lot of fun and the rewards are great. After I finish the bonus dungeon, I'm not sure if I'm going to immediately hop into Outbreak or not. I don't want to get burned out the way I did with the GU series. Still, I really want to see what happens next.

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #322 on: November 14, 2023, 11:40:38 pm »
48. Battle Circuit (PS4)

I really felt like playing a 90s arcade beat em up tonight, and decided to go with one that I've not only never played, but never heard about until years later. Battle Circuit is one of the games included on the Belt Action Collection which is a fairly solid collection of 90s Capcom Beat Em Ups. Unfortunately, Battle Circuit might be the weakest one of the bunch. There really isn't much to distinguish Battle Circuit from most other run of the mill beat em ups from back in the day. Sure, you play as a space bounty hunter and the enemies in the game are umm...strange to say the least, but it's all just sort of meh. I felt bored with this game pretty much 1 stage in and towards the end I was so ready for it to be over. The gameplay is alright as far as beat em ups go, but nothing really makes it stand out in anyway or make it more fun to play. The graphics are also sort of meh, and there's a real lack of enemies as well which is fairly disappointing. The audio is probably the best thing going for Battle Circuit as it has some really great late 90s Capcom music. This is definitely not a game I ever plan on playing again, but for what it's worth, it was a nice little distraction for half an hour. (11/14/23) [28/50]


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #323 on: November 15, 2023, 06:53:05 pm »
33. A Hat in Time || PlayStation 4 || 10.04.23

Still wanting to delve some more into the 3D platformer genre, I settled on playing A Hat in Time, a game I've known about for a number of years, perhaps even before its release. To my surprise, A Hat in Time offers a rewarding time, although it isn't something without its faults.

To begin, I was not expecting a narrative-driven experience prior to playing. While this aspect to the game isn't groundbreaking, relevant to the game's simple premise, or even needed at all, it was still greatly enjoyed. With a plot that doesn't take itself seriously in a nonsensical universe focusing on a colorful cast of characters, A Hat in Time exudes loads of charm. The game's level structure is divided into worlds which are further divided into individual stages, and each stage builds upon that world's ongoing narrative. I'll mention it now rather than later, but a majority of dialogue is voiced which only brings one more positive element into play, as actors all seem to be having fun with voice work which translates to a more enjoyable story. However, it was disappointing to see the game forgo all of these strengths by the fourth and final world.

As the player progresses, new hats each with their own unique abilities will be acquired to use alongside basic battle actions. Cycling through hats is quick and easily accessible, so being able to don one after another in fast-paced battle situations is made easy within a split moment while time is slowed down. For the most part, each hat is significant. One hat in particular is only useful in very specific circumstances, but the remaining ones allow the player to use them to their own personal play preference. As a 3D platformer, A Hat in Time features collectibles and in-game currency to gather, although the latter isn't necessary to collect. The reason for this is that in-game currency is almost exclusively able to be spent on cosmetic prizes gained through a slots mini-game. That said, whether in-game currency is necessary or not, it is still fun to collect these cosmetic options since collecting is such a hallmark of the genre.

A defining feature of A Hat in Time is its wide, open stages that are easy to get lost in. For some, this could be a weakness, but I often regarded it as otherwise. Covering all ground to simply explore the game's environment is always fun to do, so being a little bit lost while not knowing exactly where to go is sometimes a reprieve from always being exactly told what to do and where to do it. As mentioned before, each world's narrative slowly unravels as more of its stages are played. Quickly, the game offers one world at its introduction to three. In a sense, the game is exploratory and player-driven, meaning the players can freely choose which available stage from the various worlds to continue next. But, at a point, the player will be barred by ability requirements not yet unlocked. As I mentioned earlier, the final world is limiting in regards to narrative. An effect of this relates to guidance to players, as its sandbox structure without any goals or sense of direction robs players of any hint as to what to do. This may sound like a direct conflict as to what I just mentioned, but the complete lack of instruction paired with a large, open-ended world that is confusing to understand its map structure was harmful to the player experience.

Continuing along with the game's flaws, I can't ignore what is perhaps A Hat in Time's biggest issue: its camera. Difficult and somewhat uncontrollable, self-driving and restrictive, the camera always seems to be acting on its own volition. Zoom capabilities aren't ideal, and the player's third-person viewing perspective rapidly closes in on its own for the worst. In what is a terrible decision, camera movement is tied to the right analog stick, which causes issues more than not. All of these aspects worsen action gameplay mechanics, as it is hard to rightfully balance player movement and action at all times. Merely existing as the player-character is often a frustrating experience.

However, I will backtrack to what is the game's greatest strength: its level design. Without wanting to divulge much of what's beyond the expected 3D platforming and simple battle mechanics, I will mention that there are a variety of minor gameplay additions distributed throughout worlds where they've helped design entire stages. They all are developed quite effectively and feel natural to the game's progression while providing a welcomed change to the general collect-a-thon mindset. In addition to these additions, I'll also mention that boss segments do exist that are genuinely challenging. More than likely, multiple attempts will be required as successfully completing these stages relies more on memorizing boss patterns than player skill. But, no matter what style of level of design is being incorporated, it's important to note that platforming and player movement is never sacrificed and is still very much the game's emphasis at all times.

In the end, A Hat in Time is clearly a game with a vision that largely exceeds as what it sets out to accomplish. Overall, it has all the makings of a successful 3D platformer, but it's glaringly obvious that it's not an exemplary model of the genre due to the camera mechanics alone. Despite these shortcomings, the game is still manageable to play—it's only a bit cumbersome, is all.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2023, 06:59:37 pm by dhaabi »

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #324 on: November 15, 2023, 08:04:40 pm »
49. Dungeons and Dragons: Tower of Doom (PS3)

While I've known about DnD: Tower of Doom for a very long time, today was actually the first time i'd ever played it. I'd heard this was a fun beat em' up, but somehow the game still exceeded my expectations of it and ended up being one of the best DnD style video games I've ever played. The game really captures what makes DnD so amazing and fit it into a very dynamic and engaging beat em up. The fact you have branching paths, non-linear progression, a pretty interesting story, and the ability to change out spells and weapons is just so awesome. Not to mention, this game just looks the part of a DnD game as well just adds to all this. There are also a lot of really cool bosses and enemies, and the various stages you'll find yourself in are all pretty well done. The audio is also pretty good. When I finished my playthrough of this game, I actually replayed it just so I could make different decisions and see different parts of the game I missed the first time. I'm almost angry that I never came across this game in the 90s when I was a kid, because as much as I love it now, it would have blown my mind back then. Still, it's one of the better beat em ups I've ever played which is saying a lot. (11/15/23) [37/50]

50. Dungeons and Dragons: Shadow of Mystara (PS3)

Immediately after my second play through of Tower of Doom, I jumped into its sequel, Shadow of Mystara, and unfortunately I found myself very disappointed in the end. My biggest grip is the game literally takes 90% of the enemies and various other content in Tower of Doom and just recycles it in this game. And to make things worse, various changes they made to the gameplay either made no different in making the game more enjoyable and in some cases made it worse. The story and progression just felt less immersive and engaging than Tower of Doom too. I've certainly played worse beat em' ups, but overall I was just left very bored and disappointed by the time i reached the end of the game. It's obvious Capcom through this game together quickly and probably on a very limited budget, so they just recycled most of Tower of Doom again. While I can definitely see myself playing Tower of Doom again in the future, I've probably had my fair share of Shadow of Mystara for a lifetime. (11/15/23) [29/50]


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #325 on: November 17, 2023, 03:15:49 pm »
56. Mato Anomalies

I was looking through the list of games I finished throughout the year, and I think I can confidently say that Mato Anomalies is the worst. It had such a strong start. I felt like I was getting a Shadow Hearts setting (during the Asia segment) with a neat premise. The prologue and first chapter lead me to believe that this would be continue throughout the game. The game just didn't drop the ball in the second chapter. It threw the ball so hard it bounced back up and hit it in the face multiple times. This game was bad. The story tried to tie everything together nicely by the last chapter but by that point I was so beyond over it. I'm going to write a review here soon because I have a laundry list of things that this game did wrong.

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #326 on: November 17, 2023, 03:41:23 pm »
I made an effort to catch up last time, I think I got close, but then today I was 20 games behind again.  I've caught up to the point that I'm only 10 games behind now, but I'm going to try to finish catching up.  Who am I kidding, it's almost Thanksgiving week, I'm not gonna get anything written other than what I can get written today.


Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #327 on: November 17, 2023, 05:22:03 pm »
I hate how far off I got from keeping up with my logs.  I pretty much only come to VGC at this point to update this stuff.  I might look at making another place to post this stuff publicly and making it searchable so I can find reviews easier than digging year by year.

Another place within the forums, you mean? If you're ever wanting to find a specific review for a game, the forum search tool is quite capable. I searched for "100 Hidden Birds 2" at random as a game you finished earlier this year and found its attached post without issue. In fact, it's the only post that shows up in search results when searching that specific term while specifying you as the poster.


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Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #328 on: November 20, 2023, 03:10:01 pm »
57. Blasphemous II (PS4)

I rarely buy a game anymore that’s not marked down, but I couldn’t wait for this one. Blasphemous is among my personal top Metroidvanias ever.

Overall thoughts:
Combat is MUCH improved over the first game. The 3 weapons offer much more variety and options for defeating bosses. I ended up using Veridicto (the big incense burner) most of the time due to its power and range. The rosary sword was useful against certain opponents. The sword & dagger were near useless, just too weak to justify using them.

The pixel art is still gorgeous. I miss the awesome pixel cutscenes, but I saw a making-of video where the Game Kitchen says they were expensive and time-consuming to make, so they went with the animation instead. However, IMO, the story, music, and overall atmosphere are much stronger in the first game. In this one, the bosses are not given quite as much backstory, thus making them less interesting. For example, basically all the backstory given to Orospina, whose design I find fascinating, is “she’s a demented murderer.”

Toughest boss by far was Eviterno. Took me maybe 15-20 tries to beat him, with judicious use of the time-stopping spell. In contrast, the final boss was far too easy. Endings seemed a bit short, and ZERO New Game+….very weird when the first game had 3 different new game options and multiple colors to unlock.

Definitely not saying this one is bad, far from it. I’m actually going to start another playthrough. I just think I prefer the first one.

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2023!!!
« Reply #329 on: November 21, 2023, 01:54:39 pm »
Finished The Callisto Protocol today.  What a resoundingly meh game.  It looks incredible, but so much of it just feels derivative of so many other games.  The biggest issues are the decision to put so much emphasis on the melee combat, which isn't very good,  and the total lack of enemy variety.  There are huge sections that were just ridiculously slow paced "stealth" against blind enemies.

It's not the worst game I've ever played, but you could save your time and play Dead Space, The Last of Us, or any of the modern Resident Evil remakes.