Author Topic: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!  (Read 4060 times)

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #90 on: February 10, 2024, 02:24:13 pm »
15. Castlevania: Dracula X

My Castlevania Advance Collection finally arrived. I thought I'd celebrate by finally, and officially, playing Dracula X. I guess I can say I got the worst out of the way. This wasn't fun. The stiff controls might have been too to playing on the Switch, but that's just one issue. Things just seem extra unfair in this iteration. I don't remember Rondo of Blood having so many "eff you" moments. Save states and rewinds were used heavily. Then, there's the lack of extras like playing as Maria and the different levels. It was just an all around unfun game. Luckily, it's short and included as part of the collection; no need to worry about dropping a couple hundred bones on that cart.


I played this game years ago and I was going in thinking it would be amazing, but in the end I just found it super frustrating. I somehow managed to beat the game, although Dracula feels damn near impossible. It's a fun novelty on the SNES, but most other 2D Castlevania games blow it out of the water.

kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #91 on: February 10, 2024, 03:14:54 pm »
15. Castlevania: Dracula X

My Castlevania Advance Collection finally arrived. I thought I'd celebrate by finally, and officially, playing Dracula X. I guess I can say I got the worst out of the way. This wasn't fun. The stiff controls might have been too to playing on the Switch, but that's just one issue. Things just seem extra unfair in this iteration. I don't remember Rondo of Blood having so many "eff you" moments. Save states and rewinds were used heavily. Then, there's the lack of extras like playing as Maria and the different levels. It was just an all around unfun game. Luckily, it's short and included as part of the collection; no need to worry about dropping a couple hundred bones on that cart.


I played this game years ago and I was going in thinking it would be amazing, but in the end I just found it super frustrating. I somehow managed to beat the game, although Dracula feels damn near impossible. It's a fun novelty on the SNES, but most other 2D Castlevania games blow it out of the water.

Yeah, and another perk to it is that it'll make Circle of the Moon (next on my list/in the collection) shine a little brighter.

kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #92 on: February 11, 2024, 10:06:12 am »
16. .hack//Quarantine

I can see why there are a few fans of this series. The characters and story were really something else. I'm going to miss the antics of Kite and his friends. I especially liked Sanjuro. His avatar is a badass samurai. Behind the avatar is a guy in South Dakota with a fascination for the bushido. It was great getting to know him and the rest of the squad. Oh, saving the world both in and out of the game was a nice perk, too. I watched the four Liminality DVDs after the game ended, just to round things out and see if there were any gaps. There weren't. But, it was a nice little side aspect of the universe. On the flipside, I can see why there are more (a lot more) haters. These four games were messy. One of the developers said that they wanted to make the games harder because they thought that's what Americans wanted. They weren't hard; just frustrating. I was in a menu constantly because the AI was dumber in this iteration. And still not having save points in dungeons added the wrong kind of tension. So, I'm glad I went through these four games. I doubt I'll go through them all again, though.

dhaabi

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #93 on: February 11, 2024, 04:47:16 pm »
12. Silent Hill: The Short Message || PlayStation 5 || 02.07.24



Having properly played through the first four Silent Hill games in 2022, I was anticipating to continue the series at some point by playing its console games in order of release. But, with the release of Silent Hill: The Short Message, I decided to deviate from that plan. Apart from the interactive media project Silent Hill: Ascension debuting in October 2023, The Short Message is the first game proper within the Silent Hill franchise to release since P.T. in 2014. As a fan of the franchise, I was curious how a modernized game from this series would be.

Waking up in an abandoned apartment complex, players act as protagonist Anita, a teenaged girl. While she's physically alone, her smartphone connects her with the outside world, as she frequently receives text messages from two friends, Maya and Amelie, with Anita meaning to meet up with the former. Paired with being in such a derelict environment alongside her mental health issues, Anita has little characterization beyond feeling worthy of her ongoing social ridicule and general trauma while feeling confused. That said, The Short Message focuses more on its themes than characterization, with the latter feeling noticeably underdeveloped. While playing, I felt as if, as Anita, I was walking around aimlessly without any clear goal in mind. Of course, the game's exploration depth is minimal, so there is no moment which the player would become lost or misunderstand how to progress the narrative, but, from Anita's perspective, most of the game's events felt as if they were looping.

Being broad in my descriptions, I found that game's storytelling is too direct with the troubles each character experiences, to the point where the player feels as if they're being patronized. Avoiding subtlety in every way, in-game commentary from both the player and through what's being observed follows obvious visual and written information which either answers or refutes previous ideas, leaving no moment for the player in any way to solve the narrative's questions. While voice acting is fair, dialogue is poor, though that isn't exactly unexpected. As a Silent Hill game, The Short Message struggles to challenge its players in any way, as topics of trauma never go deeper beyond a surface level. Instead, it remains comfortably at the she was sad, but I didn't know type of commentary. While I find nothing wrong with the story itself, its storytelling is a major issue.

Regarding the game's structure, it largely consists of walking through changing environments with a strong narrative focus. In a short section, there is one puzzle, although it's brief and simple. As the game prioritizes narrative over action gameplay, there is a lot of story to experience. Half of the story is divided into in-the-moment instant messaging and FMV flashbacks, whereas the other half relies on more traditional survival horror outlets such as articles and journals which may be inspected. With the former in mind, I found it to be lacking as a substitute for actual in-person conversation.

In certain segments which many would consider the game's actual gameplay, there are chase sequences. During these moments, there is no way to overcome the obstacle aside from running away, while confronting it results in an immediate stage fail. At its core, it is a never-ending chase until the player interacts with certain items, and there is no real strategy involved. At times, these sequences feel too strict and consist of trial-and-error mechanics. They do instill a fair amount of fear for some amount of time, but the player will almost certainly be forced to replay these sequences over and over again which greatly devalues any horror aspect. In many ways, the environment during these sections feels like a maze which is difficult to traverse and only made worse by the little sense of direction while in a panicked state, even when brightness settings are at maximum. While there are survival horror games focused on fleeing, hiding, and avoiding, they simultaneously require some sort of strategy while incorporating stamina, health, and strategy (however effective it may be.) On that note, The Short Message's chase sequences feature none of these elements, resulting in a gameplay loop that is both repetitive and lackluster. With all that said, The Short Message features no combat or resource management as it follows a linear path with some freedom to explore. In terms of The Short Message's genre, I feel firm in classifying is as a horror adventure game like many which have released in recent years and not survival horror.

Generally speaking, The Short Message does a fair job at modernizing the franchise narrative regarding its lore. Canonically, the game takes place in Germany in 2021, and articles specifically mention how psychiatric doctors are noticing a trend being referred to as the Silent Hill Phenomenon that's being experienced more often due to the real-world pandemic. (As an aside, I'll note how this term is quite poor, as it now seems that the town of Silent Hill is now recognized globally as some site of psychological hardship.) With that little we know of upcoming game Silent Hill F, the details presented seem to be lining up for future series entries. I'm not sure exactly how I feel about Silent Hill mimicking real-world events, as I prefer games be set with their own conditions and history. Nevertheless, I found plot details concerning COVID-19 and the effects caused by pandemic isolation to be integrated nicely.

In terms of the game's remaining aspects worth mentioning, the sense of atmosphere is presented strongly. This is especially true as the narrative progresses from real world to otherworld. There are also some welcomed references to past Silent Hill titles as well, including 3, 4, and P.T. Although there's only one monster, I found its design to be exceptional, but framerate problems frequently occur at its appearance. With music again done by composer Akira Yamaoka, it's also no surprise that it's deserving of praise. However, my opinion of the game's FMV sequences is opposite. While I have no issue with their inclusion and believe them to add a nice balance to the straightforward gameplay experience, there is a problem with how it's presented. As we know the game is set in Germany, it is troubling that FMV sequences are clearly being spoken in Japanese, which is only made worse that voice language options are only available in English.

There are other elements to consider when debating the game's success such as pricing and length, but, overall, The Short Message hasn't proved to me that the franchise needs a modern revival. With that said, those two other aforementioned factors aren't ones I believe are intrinsic to reviewing a piece of media, meaning that the weaknesses of this game outweigh its strengths. I know that, once the remake for Silent Hill 2 releases, I'll be playing it sooner rather than later. I'm neither skeptical nor energetic for its upcoming release, so I'll remain cautious.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2024, 09:28:49 am by dhaabi »

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #94 on: February 14, 2024, 03:02:25 am »
9 - Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain (PC 2015) - BEAT - Finally done with my second playthrough of the game.  I don't think it holds up as well the second time through compared to what I thought of the experience from back in the day.  I forgot how the game just spoils what shows up in every main mission, that's such a bad idea.  The game being unfinished, missing the final third of its story, you definitely feel by the end of the second part, like I forgot how random and out of place the final mission for the game is and how badly its handled.  I feel like it hurts the big story moment that comes before.

It is interesting re-experiencing this game after having played Death Stranding, how a lot of that game is an extension of what he did with MGSV, the similar execution of an open world you go back and forth through, doing story and side missions.  That being said, where MGSV starts to get very tedious with its side missions, some obnoxious stuff with doing multiple side ops in a row without a convenient fast travel (The game desperately needed the ability to treat the chopper like a fast travel point within the map), I've replayed Death Stranding twice, later this year it'll be three times and I love doing all the side stuff, it's so much more enjoyable.

I still love a lot about the game, it's executed kind of clunky, I feel it would be similar even if the story was completed, but there's still a lot to like with the game and if you wanted to beat the whole game, it's a solid 100+ hours for full completion, so there's still a decent amount of content. 

With the MGS3 remake coming up, and Kojima having a new action espionage game in the works, I've been tempted to check out the MGS Master Collection, re-experience MGS2 and MGS3 and actually beat MGS1, only dabbled with it back in the day, so that might be the plan for this year.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2024, 03:11:55 am by kamikazekeeg »

kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #95 on: February 14, 2024, 08:37:47 am »
17. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon

Playing this on the Switch brought back a lot of memories, both good and bad. The good was that it reminded me of when I first got my Game Boy Advance, and the first game to play for it was this. Circle of the Moon was my salvation during a very, VERY long family car trip that same summer. I'm glad I had the foresight to bring all those batteries. But, the bad memories were from the actual playing. DSS was a flop because it was the game's standout feature, yet it relied on luck/RNG. It was cool that this version would at least let you know which enemies had Cards as a drop, but it didn't increase the odds of obtaining a good chunk of them. There was also a crapload of palette swapped monsters and zero connection to any of the Belmonts. I still have no idea who the Baldwins or Nathan Graves are, but I don't care, either. This is another entry I won't be playing for a long time, if ever. However, it really jazzed me up for Harmony of Dissonance.

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #96 on: February 17, 2024, 02:52:28 pm »
2. The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope (Xbox One)- Nothing new to say about this one as I have finished it on other consoles.

3. The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan (PS4)- I decided to go back to this one to complete my goal of completing the entire Anthology this year! This is the first game in the anthology and also the shortest game. You can finish a playthrough in one sitting pretty easily if you are not worried about the collectibles. The story revolves around a group of vacationers stumbling upon a discovery of something called Manchurian Gold. In a twist of fate, they are kidnapped by a group of pirates and are led to the gold's location. It turns out the location is on an abandoned World War II ship anchored in the middle of nowhere and the crew is nowhere to be found. The group must find a way to escape while discovering the events of the ghost ship.

Of course, like all the anthology games, you will make choices that will determine their fate. I have to say I do love the game's setting. The ship does have a creepiness to it. However, when the plot twist is revealed...I am not a fan. I was kinda like, "Are you serious?" I can tell you this game is greatly improved with the Devil in Me update. It also has great replayability. There are multiple ways certain scenes can go. I also think it is great that they have both offline and online co-op options. To get 100%, you had to complete an online playthrough. Instead of a game lobby, you can only play with people on your friends list. My best friend joined me on the online playthrough and we were both baffled as we could not talk to each other during the playthrough. (In hindsight I understand why, but I kind of wish they handled it by only cutting off chat during certain parts of the game). I also found it a little weird that the game ultimately decides which character you and your partner are. Luckily the game tells you who your partner plays as. Overall the setting is great and like I said before it has great replayability. However, the game kinda falls apart with the big plot reveal. I also have to say the bonus features are great.
Currently Playing: Game & Wario

 

dhaabi

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #97 on: February 17, 2024, 04:43:52 pm »
3. The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan (PS4)

However, when the plot twist is revealed...I am not a fan. I was kinda like, "Are you serious?" [...] However, the game kinda falls apart with the big plot reveal.

Generally speaking, the conclusions for both Man of Medan and Little Hope are the same, but you seem to only take issue with one. Why is that?

kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #98 on: February 18, 2024, 01:45:23 pm »
Yesterday, I had the chance to hit up an arcade with Cartagia. Who, naturally, was quite the cool dude. We were able to finish some classics with our co-op skills!

18. The Punisher
I don't know a thing about The Punisher universe, but this beat 'em up from Capcom was a sleek and stylish one. It only took a couple of tokens a piece to finish, too. The enemy variety got a bit samey but otherwise it was a great game that shows the staying power of the genre.

19. Area 51
I finished this for the first time of my life. Cartagia was the better shot. I was a horrible marksman. And my arm got tired by the time the credits hit. Did those guns get heavier or am I just getting older? Oh well. Solid game. It felt like I was at every bowling alley ever.

20. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Was this game always this unfair? Even with some speedrun tips and tricks, this ate the remainder of my tokens right up. It was fun to reminisce and replay this but even with two players surrounding every boss that came our way, they would just do a swing or kick and BOOM! Health gone.

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #99 on: February 18, 2024, 04:50:02 pm »
19. Area 51
I finished this for the first time of my life. Cartagia was the better shot. I was a horrible marksman. And my arm got tired by the time the credits hit. Did those guns get heavier or am I just getting older? Oh well. Solid game. It felt like I was at every bowling alley ever.

Ok, my arms were getting tired too, but I didn't want to say anything!  And, as I mentioned, I played that game a lot, so at a certain point muscle memory just took over.  It was like I could see the code of the matrix.

And, kashell is also a pretty cool dude.


kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #100 on: February 19, 2024, 09:57:23 am »
21. The Last Faith

My second platinum trophy for the year. I look at this game with mixed feelings. Maybe after the dust settles, I'll have a different view point. But for now, this game is...not what I was hoping for. I might have been spoiled by Blasphemous 2. Or, it just wasn't as good. Or both. I'm not sure. In terms of music, graphics, and atmosphere? Tens across the board. Everything else? It would range from 4 to 6. I am so goddamn sick of the Souls-like story telling. Why is it so hard to just tell me what's going on instead of beating around the bush and having NPCs act as puzzle pieces? The boss fights were also a major disappointment. It's not because they were too hard. It was because most of them required you to be in the air to land a hit. Eryk can't attack more than once in the air. So it's a constant dance of jump, attack, jump, attack, jump, attack. And to add insult to injury, you're given a ton of really cool weapons, spells, and firearms that do jack-crap against anything in the air. Of course, boss' HP is spongey and bloated, but that's par for the course. I'll have more to say when I get a review written. But as of now, this was an upset that I paid way too much money for since it's digital only. Lessons learned.

undertakerprime

PRO Supporter

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #101 on: February 19, 2024, 07:29:05 pm »
21. The Last Faith

My second platinum trophy for the year. I look at this game with mixed feelings. Maybe after the dust settles, I'll have a different view point. But for now, this game is...not what I was hoping for. I might have been spoiled by Blasphemous 2. Or, it just wasn't as good. Or both. I'm not sure. In terms of music, graphics, and atmosphere? Tens across the board. Everything else? It would range from 4 to 6. I am so goddamn sick of the Souls-like story telling. Why is it so hard to just tell me what's going on instead of beating around the bush and having NPCs act as puzzle pieces? The boss fights were also a major disappointment. It's not because they were too hard. It was because most of them required you to be in the air to land a hit. Eryk can't attack more than once in the air. So it's a constant dance of jump, attack, jump, attack, jump, attack. And to add insult to injury, you're given a ton of really cool weapons, spells, and firearms that do jack-crap against anything in the air. Of course, boss' HP is spongey and bloated, but that's par for the course. I'll have more to say when I get a review written. But as of now, this was an upset that I paid way too much money for since it's digital only. Lessons learned.

I’m kind of in the same boat. I finished Blasphemous 2 and it was excellent, then got The Last Faith, and it’s just OK. Only a few hours in but lost motivation to play it. I’ll get back to it eventually.
The Metroidvania I ended up getting more invested in is Afterimage. If you haven’t tried it, you might want to give it a chance. It’s not perfect, and is VERY exploration-heavy, but it looks beautiful, the combat is fluid, and the control is almost as good as SOTN.

tripredacus

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #102 on: February 20, 2024, 10:42:40 am »
9. Fallout: New Vegas
I had previously played this game years ago, back when it came out or at least perhaps when Dead Money was released. When I had built my backlog program, I went and added old games I have played including any on Steam that I still had achievements left to do. I had some already, but some easy ones like reach level 20 were not ones I had gotten yet. Considering how I had already 350 hours into this game back during the XP days must have meant the obvious: that I was using cheats or console commands and achievements were disabled.

These days things are a little better, at least with the Fallout games where mods can be made to not disable achievements, and there was an option for this in NV just like in FO4. However, NMM sometimes does not launch the game properly and I have to check everytime I launch the game to make sure they work. I still do not have the other DLC including the one that lets you play past the end of the game, so this run was just a single main quest option that I'm fairly certain I had not done before and I hadn't.

There were some small issues I had to work around. First was how to destroy the BoS. I already had pickpocketed two of the keycards but I had to wait until I got a Stealthboy to get the last one. And then I was stuck in the bunker and took about 20 save reloads to figure out how to escape. It got real close to a failed run as it would be been better to have 2 stealthboys, but I managed it. And later the end-game for the House questline had to do with the Legate. There are multiple ways to "defeat" the Legate. The offensive one is to use SMG with AP rounds or the AMR, however in my run I only had pistols and LR. I also did not have any decent armor to use and no stimpaks. Another issue in the end is that it will automatically spawn extra enemies if you try to fight the Legate. The other option was to use Speech skill, which is what I did. I had 1 magazine to read and it let me get through all the speech checks, as well as the speech checks against the General of the NCR which talk to just afterwards. If I did not have that one Speech magazine, then it would have been impossible to do that section.

I was slightly disappointed that in the years I have not been playing FNV that the modding community was not as matured as I had hoped. There really isn't anything that interesting when it comes to mods. Perhaps there were mods that were good but are just not on Nexus anymore. Other than reliability patches and a couple replacers, I didn't really use anything that added to the game. Also, I had tried to play FNV a couple of years ago but it wouldn't work. Fortunately, the steps on PCGamingWiki helped me launch the game.

12. Kirby Super Star
I was really looking forward to playing a 190-in-1 bootleg NES game but I could not get it to load in any emulator. I tried 5 of them before I decided to skip it. There were also some other PC games that came up next that I skipped because I am not yet set up to play them. Shiva needs to get checked out, and I need to set up a Windows XP computer. Also my old toy room that I am partially converting into a computer room is not ready, I don't have a chair yet.

I tried out Kirby Super Star on SNES, and it is a nice game. Unfortunately for me, my taste in platformers in way in the toilet and I just "can't be bothad" with them most of the time. Even this one is easy enough and I could have pushed through it. I think that I'd rather just watch people play platformers than actually play them. Of course I give it a shot if I can. The 2nd player mechanic is kind of neat and maybe I could have done more if there was someone else to play with. I did finally try out the USB SNES controller I have, which felt better to use than the 360 controller. But it still feels foreign to me since my experience with SNES is so limited.

kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #103 on: February 20, 2024, 12:40:33 pm »
21. The Last Faith

My second platinum trophy for the year. I look at this game with mixed feelings. Maybe after the dust settles, I'll have a different view point. But for now, this game is...not what I was hoping for. I might have been spoiled by Blasphemous 2. Or, it just wasn't as good. Or both. I'm not sure. In terms of music, graphics, and atmosphere? Tens across the board. Everything else? It would range from 4 to 6. I am so goddamn sick of the Souls-like story telling. Why is it so hard to just tell me what's going on instead of beating around the bush and having NPCs act as puzzle pieces? The boss fights were also a major disappointment. It's not because they were too hard. It was because most of them required you to be in the air to land a hit. Eryk can't attack more than once in the air. So it's a constant dance of jump, attack, jump, attack, jump, attack. And to add insult to injury, you're given a ton of really cool weapons, spells, and firearms that do jack-crap against anything in the air. Of course, boss' HP is spongey and bloated, but that's par for the course. I'll have more to say when I get a review written. But as of now, this was an upset that I paid way too much money for since it's digital only. Lessons learned.

I’m kind of in the same boat. I finished Blasphemous 2 and it was excellent, then got The Last Faith, and it’s just OK. Only a few hours in but lost motivation to play it. I’ll get back to it eventually.
The Metroidvania I ended up getting more invested in is Afterimage. If you haven’t tried it, you might want to give it a chance. It’s not perfect, and is VERY exploration-heavy, but it looks beautiful, the combat is fluid, and the control is almost as good as SOTN.

I'll put Afterimage on my list, thanks. I need a break from Metroidvanias for a minute but will likely go with this one when it's time to start a new one. Moonscars looks too difficult and muddy to be worth trying.

kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #104 on: February 20, 2024, 02:31:28 pm »
22. Izuna 2: The Unemployed Ninja Returns

Thanks to Rondo of Swords, I decided to return to this. I finished the first Izuna years ago. I stopped somewhere in the middle of Izuna 2. And, after getting my ass handed to me time and time again, I remember why I stopped. This game is too hard for its own good. I may have to renege on my review comment where I said Izuna 2 was easier than the first. Sure, you have the ability to take more than one person in a dungeon, and you retain your levels. But every enemy starting midway through hits like a bus. I tried so many different combinations of gear and talisman to boost my defense but nothing seemed to help. So, the strategy was to just hoard healing items, bumrush through each floor, make it to the best, get the boss into a hallway, and hope and pray for the best. I often forget how brutal rogue-likes are, and this series is no exception. Apparently, there's a bonus dungeon that's 99 floors. Hard. Pass.