Author Topic: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!  (Read 6186 times)

telly

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #120 on: March 18, 2024, 07:04:04 pm »
Game 5 - Final Fantasy VI (SNESc) - 31 Hours

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

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

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

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

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

So despite some issues with the storytelling and translations, I found FF6 to be a far more enjoyable experience on my second playthrough. It's not my favorite Final Fantasy game of all time, but I do understand why it's so beloved by so many.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2024, 10:41:12 am by telly »
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tripredacus

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #121 on: March 19, 2024, 10:05:05 am »
15. Doom (aka Doom 2016)
At first I wasn't sure, but it ended up growing on me. Known for being fast, the action was not as fast as it could have been. Being a Q3 Vogon HQ veteran (although it has been a few years), fast FPS is not a problem, but Doom was not what I would consider to be fast, at least to me. Also the beginning of my playthrough had some hiccups, as I was then using a terribly slow SSD, which I had been using for a few months now but when Doom had stuttering is when I realised I really needed to figure out what the bottleneck was. I'll break down this review into sections.

Movement
As I put above, I had expected the game to be faster. Crouch is rarely used and when used is set for toggle instead of hold. I did not see a setting to change this. There is no slide ability. Mantling is ok. Where you can mantle is mostly marked with a green light of some sort except for some secrets. A lot of areas cannot be mantled even if it looks like it should, so finding secrets can be something you just stop doing. It still uses invisible walls. Run by default but can seem slow sometimes. Strafe jumping didn't seem to work and rocket jumping (or plasma walking) do not work either.

Combat
Aim speed is fine but alt-fire ADS is too slow to be useful. Only 2 weapons can use ADS, the machine gun which does not have select fire and the railgun. Both animations are too long for a fast game ADS to be useful. Each weapon has their own crosshair and no crosshair customization options that I saw. Chainsaw to get ammo is a good thing, but I did not use this until the second half of the game because I didn't know. Having separate key for BFG is fine, but you can't get to it using next/prev weapon. Getting locational glory kills was difficult to figure out, still don't have the hang of it. Combat arenas were laid out for you do move around a lot, but I found myself not moving around that much and ended up exploring after combat was over.

Sound
General soundscape was good. Portions really reminded me of the music from the Quake series. All weapon sounds were fine. There is a bass-drop sound effect that plays in the glory kill animation that is too noticable. There doesn't seem to be a large variety of tracks used in the combat portions. Feel like combat music should be louder when it does come on. Idle monster sounds were annoying. You can hear when the low-tier enemies are around (through walls) as an audio cue, but the issue is that it is the same type of sound effect that you hear in all of those zombie video games. So it just made me think there are a bunch of zombies around.

Graphics
Everything was fine in this respect. I really like the Base designs and all of the computer terminals. Screens were clear but no ADS means you can't zoom in and read everything. The presentation was good. Also liked the electricity effect on doors that opened in Hell.

Bugs
Encountered only one that I can recall, being teleported into the ground due to Glory Kill. Also I have a feeling you can die in Glory Kill but didn't get it to happen. I suspect the best way to do it is to GK a cacodemon over a void.

16. Super Mario RPG
I didn't like the movement controls. My options for controller on SNES games is limited. I have an SNES USB controller but the plastic quality and the feel to the buttons is not good. It feels cheap. So often I will use the Xbox 360 Controller that I normally use. And the issue with that is in the emulator, the buttons are swapped AND I still do not have any automatic understanding of what buttons are which like I used to with the PS2 controller (I've since lost that as well). Couldn't get the timing down for the defend action. The RPG aspect is not strong enough for me to be interested in the game like that, it just seems like a Mario game then. I died against the Hammer Bros at the end of the first "Real" stage and called it a day.

dhaabi

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #122 on: March 22, 2024, 01:00:37 pm »
15. Greyhill Incident || PlayStation 5 || 03.08.24



After some of the trailers were published leading up to the release of Greyhill Incident, it didn't take long for the game to catch my attention as something I'd like to eventually play. I don't claim to be knowledgeable of every game released, but it seems like games centered around alien invaders are few and far between, which was a key reason for why my interest was piqued. As a budget title, I decided to go into this experience blindly without reading anything about the game's reception.

In hindsight, the trailers reveal more about the game beyond the general subject matter and gameplay than I had originally thought, should one analyze it in some depth beyond one passing view and their short runtime. While Greyhill Incident is a survival horror game, the game lacks in a serious tone as the writing mocks alien abduction stories and those who claim being witnesses to alien life landing in rural areas. Of course, some may feel like this sort of attitude is justified to mimic real-world attitudes in what many would claim are nonsensical beliefs, but this is a fictional game that could have chose to deviate from those perspectives instead of reinforcing them. Because of this decision, the game often veers more into comedy than horror, as characters proudly don tin foil hats and actively prepare for the possible threat of an alien invasion, even prior to the game's events. These alien conspiracists boast about how the government is lying about the presence of aliens, which is a clichéd viewpoint. Meanwhile, as the story continues, these same government officials cautiously advise the public with all seriousness to gather as much tin foil as people are able to find to protect themselves from the alien invasion.

Now that the game's atmosphere established, there is little to explain about the story itself. In brief, aliens have landed in a rural community, and the player-character Ryan's son has been beamed into their ship. With some neighborly guidance in mind, Ryan creeps around the farm community to gather supplies while responding to narrative events relating to other characters, as he works toward saving his son. Constantly, it is difficult to comprehend where to go due to low visibility relating to fog. Unfortunately, when raising the game's brightness settings, the environment only worsens with fog density. At one point, Ryan describes a scene as a "UFO parking lot," but the visual scene available to players was instead a huge gray block overtaking most of the screen's space, devoid of any visible characteristics. Alongside general visibility, the lack of variety in environmental detail introduces another problem as players wander about. Each house has a mailbox, so even something as simple as a number or name printed at their side would be a small but welcomed addition. Sometimes, lanterns can be seen faraway in the distance which somewhat help in guiding a player where to go. Still, throughout most of my time playing, the experience mostly felt like a blind journey with many repeated attempts. Needless to say, there is no map system, but the game's small explorable space doesn't warrant one.

Generally, I'm unfamiliar with modern control layouts for first-person games with shooting and sprinting mechanics due to that I seldom play these types of games. Nevertheless, I've been told the controls for Greyhill Incident are poorly implemented, only made worse by players lacking customization options. While exploring, players have access to a dimly lit flashlight that serves almost no purpose in functionality. It offers the most marginal of visual improvements compared to exploring without it, whereas alien scouts are much better able to spot the player as they hide in stealth. Nearly every button relates to one specific item or action, which the game doesn't provide an adequate time preparing the player to utilize prior to the game's action, which will inevitably result in many players' repeated deaths.

As Ryan, the player is vulnerable. Armed with a baseball bat and a handgun which has only about a dozen of bullets available to find throughout the campaign, most confrontation will rely on the former which can only stun enemies. Since Ryan's slow to attack with long pauses between each swing, it's in the player's best interest to sneak to avoid any enemy detection, although this action still works against the player's success. Enemies will see you regardless but only at a closer distance, even when obscured by set pieces like tall patches of grass. Running is also an option, but the player's stamina empties quickly, and more enemies will likely be attracted to the noise. To the player's disadvantage, there is no health system. Instead, once confronted by an enemy, it's likely that the player will die, but it isn't guaranteed. An on-screen prompt will instruction the player to spam the action button, but the event is designed to almost always fail. Once confronted by any more than one enemy at the same time, there is little reason to even prolong the inevitable, as players will be stun locked. Lastly, there are a number oh hiding spots to utilize such as under a bed, inside a vehicle, or even in a barrel, but the player needs to ensure they're far away when taking this action, so hiding is seldom the preferred action due to needed distance paired with limited stamina. Despite these design choices which will result in many repeated player deaths, I think highly of the game's resource management, as there isn't enough ammo to kill each enemy and ammo being difficult to find altogether.

While I take some issue with the writing's tone, another problem is the dialogue itself. For every NPC, dialogue feels rigid and devoid of emotion. In many moments, it sounds as if a majority of the actors are reading their lines without much, if any, context to the narrative, whereas Ryan's voice actor is the one outlier. However, while Ryan does convince players that he understands the significance of the situation, the result is instead on the opposite side of the spectrum. Routinely, he'll scream into the foggy void as his otherworldly pursuers patrol the fields and streets, well within speaking distance, let alone shouting distance. In conversation, the back-and-forth as a result of the vocal performances feels unnatural. Simultaneously, characters repeatedly talk over another as lines overlap. This problem is made worse by subtitles rarely aligning to the dialogue being spoken as it progresses too fast. Related to these issues is that NPCs may only be interacted with once. While there is a brief line of objective on the pause screen, it is vague in guidance and sometimes doesn't update at all. So, should players be unable to comprehend what to do, they're regularly left to wander aimlessly.

For better or for worse, Greyhill Incident offers a middling experience, but it's a game I ultimately don't regret playing despite its issues. Even at a discounted price (or even free, for that matter), it's difficult to recommend to others to try the game unless they're interested in playing it due to its subject matter.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2024, 09:37:20 pm by dhaabi »

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #123 on: March 24, 2024, 10:49:30 am »
5. Dabman: When Haters Dab Back Remastered (PS4)- Curiosity got the best of me on this game. It is a Meme-type game and is a game from 2018. It is a very simple choose-your-path FMV game. I didn't enjoy it at all, but is incredibly short so I got through it. I do not recommend it.

6. The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan (PS5)- Not much to say as I did this on PS4, but I was kind of surprised there were as many loading screens as the PS4 version.
Currently Playing: Game & Wario

 

dhaabi

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #124 on: March 24, 2024, 01:22:50 pm »
16. Passage || Browser || 03.22.24



Passage is a game I've known about for around ten years, and I may have even played through it before. That said, it wasn't a game I had given much focused thought until now. Only after mentioning it in another topic did I stop to consider properly engaging with it.

As the title suggests, Passage is a game about the passage of time. As the man, the player will age as they travel from one side of the screen to the other, entirely across a two-dimensional plane with a narrow point-of-view at all times. Looking forward, what lies ahead looks fuzzy, and what may exist below is completely unseen. For most of the game, this isn't immediately recognizable to new players as the man's sprite design incrementally changes, noted by clothing, hair color (and eventually hair loss), player speed, and posture. As the game is played (or even when idling), the player's fixed position creeps along automatically to the right. Simply put, so much of what Passage means greatly depends on one's playthrough. But, at the end no matter what sort of action was taken, all players will die. In that moment, you're now only represented by a gravestone, with the player's trivial score that's been accumulating hanging above as if that's what validates whether one's life was well lived or not. The game's strict five-minute end is unavoidable, no matter which sort of path or paths the player takes.

While an easier, preset path exists at the player's starting position which encourages horizontal travel, players have free control to also explore along the vertical axis, ridden with obstacles barring you from moving onward. Remaining strictly along the starting path, there are no obstacles at all, and the player's journey will arguably be more uneventful when compared to exploring below. It's important to note that the player's score only increases when moving east, although treasures exist throughout the labyrinth to the south. Much can be said about this diverging choice. To me, the game suggests that new experiences are more easily made when not dwelling on the present moment and the intricacies which may accompany it. When venturing downward, the environment remains static, implying you're stuck in one moment of time as you scour all options available to you in search of some reward. While treasure may be found, not all chests offer it. When taking this path, much of your labor yields nothing aside from time taken away from your life. But, when treasure is successfully found, a large score bonus is granted, but these occurrences are momentary and, ultimately, unfulfilling.

This is perhaps the very first choice players are offered, but another is available almost immediately upon starting. A short distance away, a woman stands who, if interacted with, will follow the man for the remainder of the playthrough as their life partner, the two experiencing life together in love. With the two together, the game obviously becomes less about the man and more about the couple. With every movement, the two are bound together. Obviously, there are benefits to finding love, but the game now presents a problem for those wanting to discover what treasures life may offer in any given present moment, down below. While traversal in the south maze is still possible, not every path is now available. There will be moments when treasure is one space away, but the two of you can't reach it. There will be times when the player won't be able to move forward at all in these depths, now being required to retreat above or even backtrack entirely. Unlike before where the man was only responsible for himself, there is now someone else to consider. No longer is he only living for himself. From one perspective, some may argue that Passage implies a life in love prevents an individual from reaping life's greatest rewards. Of course, these rewards are never straightforward in achieving with some work is required, but these offerings are sometimes unable to be reached altogether, even after effort was made. However, from another perspective, there is much to gain even when choosing to constantly move forward, ignoring life's opportunities. Devoid of all obstacles, the environment along the north path is constantly changing, allowing for far more experiences to be made.

With all this said, Passage can be played in a variety of ways (as a pair, one your own, finding love early in life, idling for however long at the game's beginning which may result in finding love later in life, and so forth.) As a short five-minute experience, I played through Passage several times. To my surprise during my first playthrough, I felt something once the characters approached the opposite edge of the screen, slowly aged by time. Nearing the screen's edge but not quite there, your partner abruptly dies. Again, I felt something, much more than before. When the woman dies, life continues on with the man more than capable to move forward, although their speed dramatically decreases as they seemingly struggle with grief. If choosing, a player may even decide to stay nearby the woman's grave, as if the man couldn't overcome this loss.

In truth, there is very little to understand about the game's message, and it's quick to understand the game's symbolism. Because of this, simply reading about the game may make it seem uninteresting, but, when pausing a moment to actually understand the events unfolding while playing, there are plenty of chances to reach some sort of emotional epiphany during the experience. Available to play for free, some may find Passage worth experiencing.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2024, 01:41:59 pm by dhaabi »

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #125 on: March 28, 2024, 03:14:38 am »
24. Return to Castle Wolfenstein (PC)

I got the itch to play a late 90s/early 2000s FPS game, so I decided to finally beat Return to Castle Wolfenstein, a game I have not played since around the time it first came out. A friend of mine was a diehard PC gamer back in high school, and we decided to rent the PS2 port while he spent the weekend at my house. Bar far, he was more into it than I was, but I still enjoyed it for the most part, and to this day the game has an pretty strong air of nostalgia around it for me.


I finally beat Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and while I don't adore this game like many others, I can still appreciate it as a really fun, and somewhat iconic early 2000s PC game. The gameplay has its issues when it comes to certain enemies and bosses being incredibly annoying and even poorly designed, and some weapons having few practical uses, but this doesn't distract too much from what is an otherwise enjoyable game. The visuals are also pretty good, although I feel like by 2001 there were certainly better looking games, FPS and otherwise. Audio is mostly good too, although I found the OST somewhat uninspired and a bit repetitive throughout the game. I also found the bad German accents to be funny and also have that early 2000s video game cheese that I usually really like. Still, I feel like in the grand scheme of things, it was more of a blemish on the audio and doesn't help this game age as well as it otherwise could. I would definitely say that Return to Castle wolfenstein is worth playing, but for me it's a game I likely won't be returning to, at least for a very, very long time. For what it's worth, I did enjoy it for various reasons, especially how much it brought me back to my life back around 2001/2002. (3/28/24) [35/50]

undertakerprime

PRO Supporter

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #126 on: March 28, 2024, 05:59:43 pm »
5. Afterimage (PS4)

Holy crap. Took me over 40 hours to get the good ending in this game. Not because it’s difficult (frankly, it’s on the easy side), but because it’s just so HUGE. By far the biggest world of any Metroidvania I’ve played.

Plus, it has 10 (!!!) endings. And to get the one, canon “good” ending, there’s so many steps I never would have figured it out without looking it up.
Anyway, here’s a rundown for the MV enthusiasts out there:

Pros:
- Absolutely GORGEOUS visuals
- HUGE explorable map
- Tight controls
- Fun combat
- Cool variety of weapons, each with their own advantages and special abilities
- A ton of secrets, things to do, and quests to complete
- Music is good, if unmemorable

Cons:
- Map might be TOO big, game takes too long to complete
- English translation is very iffy. Script desperately needs another pass by a native English speaker
- Story is very hard to follow, partly due to the translation issues mentioned above
- Voice acting is hit-or-miss. Some names and terms aren’t pronounced the same way consistently between characters
- Almost NO guidance (some might consider that a good thing, but IMO a map this big necessitates more guidance)
- Some powers and abilities are barely explained, or not explained at all (for example, the ability to heal yourself through prayer, or how to upgrade weapons)

dhaabi

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #127 on: March 29, 2024, 08:06:46 pm »
17. QWOP || Browser || 03.25.24



For many who have had some sort of online presence during the end of the 2000s and into the immediate years following it, the game QWOP will be familiar. It's also a game that I'm sure many of those same people have at least tried (and likely failed) at least once. I know that I'm one of those individuals, but I'm now also one who's completed its challenge.

To be brief, QWOP is a track-and-field game tasking players to reach the end of a 100-meter dash. Its premise is straightforward and simple, although the execution in how it functions is everything but, as the Q and W keys correspond to the movement of each thigh, whereas the O and P keys correspond to each calf. To make any forward movement whatsoever, achieving some sort of rhythmic pattern utilizing each of these four keys must be utilized. Otherwise, the titular runner Qwop will fail. In spite of the game's punishing controls, I reached the game's end after only three attempts, although this accomplishment was achieved with Qwop embarrassingly gliding along the track nearing the splits the entire way.

One thing to address is the game's difficulty: is it actually hard? That answer is yes. However, there is reason for that choice beyond designing it so simply for the sake of it, which is that performing an actual 100-meter dash is difficult. If it isn't immediately recognizable, this logic is the actual point to the game, far greater than its comedic tones. More than likely, a player will take several minutes to reach the goal, calculated by seconds. At the playthrough's end, the final numerical value is dropped, meaning that a time of 200 seconds translates to 20 seconds in-game. So, a player's time to finish could very well be a representation of real-world finishing times accomplished by professional athletes. (For perspective, the current real-world record for completing the 100-meter dash is 9.58 seconds, which would approximately be 96 seconds in-game.)

While playing, players may assume that Qwop is ill-fated to race altogether. After all, he moves like a ragdoll and is susceptible to fall in the most painful and non-lifelike ways. But perhaps we, the player, are simply bad puppeteers. This point goes hand-in-hand with the above comment as the player is likely not a professional racer equipped to speedily trek across 100 meters. Most people probably have little to no concept of the skill, form, and training required to perform such a feat in a competitive setting. So, this idea is replicated in a dramatized yet amusing way through QWOP. Whether a new player believes it or not, Qwop can be controlled with the movement of a real-world racer. Races can be accomplished with fluid motion, long strides, and well-timed jumps. But, for many like myself who manage to reach the sand pit at the path's end—or those who reject the game out of sheer frustration after having only moved mere centimeters forward or, even worse, fall backwards to a negative distance—they will instead resort to fumbling their upright body across the dirt as the only means of traversal.

At the game's start screen prior to player action, some brief introduction to what QWOP is may be read alongside the paraphrased closing quote "Remember, it's not about whether you win or lose." Which, to the game's creator Bennett Foddy, implies that it's giving one's best effort that's most important—not finishing the game. In this instance, instead of clumsily dragging Qwop's legs across the racetrack, would it have been better for me as the player to have studied the game's physics and practiced its controls to better execute them, even at the cost of never crossing the 100-meter mark? In how I'm interpreting creator commentary, yes. In organizing my thoughts, I came across a Reddit AMA from long ago which Foddy doubles down on this principle. He states that "you are free to [drag yourself along on one knee.] [..] I recommend you try to have some dignity, though" in addition to "if you're going to cheat at a game, why not just close the window and tell everyone you beat it?" Foddy seems to take the stance that games are designed to challenge their players and that failure only strengthens the experience while simultaneously denouncing the act of bypassing such design choices through exploiting any flaw in the game's mechanics.

In the end, whether I finished QWOP with merit or not means little, at least on an individual level. It gave me something to reflect about in detail, which is all that really matters.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2024, 08:34:56 pm by dhaabi »

kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #128 on: March 31, 2024, 10:43:58 am »
5. Afterimage (PS4)

Holy crap. Took me over 40 hours to get the good ending in this game. Not because it’s difficult (frankly, it’s on the easy side), but because it’s just so HUGE. By far the biggest world of any Metroidvania I’ve played.

Plus, it has 10 (!!!) endings. And to get the one, canon “good” ending, there’s so many steps I never would have figured it out without looking it up.
Anyway, here’s a rundown for the MV enthusiasts out there:

Pros:
- Absolutely GORGEOUS visuals
- HUGE explorable map
- Tight controls
- Fun combat
- Cool variety of weapons, each with their own advantages and special abilities
- A ton of secrets, things to do, and quests to complete
- Music is good, if unmemorable

Cons:
- Map might be TOO big, game takes too long to complete
- English translation is very iffy. Script desperately needs another pass by a native English speaker
- Story is very hard to follow, partly due to the translation issues mentioned above
- Voice acting is hit-or-miss. Some names and terms aren’t pronounced the same way consistently between characters
- Almost NO guidance (some might consider that a good thing, but IMO a map this big necessitates more guidance)
- Some powers and abilities are barely explained, or not explained at all (for example, the ability to heal yourself through prayer, or how to upgrade weapons)

Thanks for this thorough write-up. I have it in my backlog for when it's time for another Metroidvania.

kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #129 on: March 31, 2024, 05:29:48 pm »
I'm back from the Louisville Arcade Expo, and this year's might have been one of the best. It doesn't necessarily get better each year, but it consistently provides a good time. Especially post-pandemic era. I was able to sit down and knock out some excellent games when I wasn't marveling/playing the new pinball machines. Games I won't include as "completed" are Tekken 8, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Super Smash Bros., CarnEvil, The House of the Dead 2, Dragon Masters (another Street Fight II clone from the early 90s), Hatsune Miku Project Diva Future Tone, and probably a few more that I'm forgetting.

26. jubeat
Despite only playing this in arcades, I feel like I've gotten much better at it. The music really consume you, which makes tapping the cubes much easier than other music and rhythm games. This is also the most efficient music game; it doesn't take up too much space so I'm trying to rationalize having one in the house. ...half-joking.

27. Dance Dance Revolution Xtreme
I mean, if there's DDR, then you know good and goddamn well that ya boy is going to dance his ass off. I spent a lot of time with this one.  It was a blast, and proof that muscle memory is indeed a thing. As per usual, 1998 was the song I played the most. It's my favorite DDR song of all time. My DDR tattoo was admired during the process.

28. The Maze of the Kings
This one of the new games I played. It was first released in 2002 but didn't hear of it until now. It's a first person rail shooter that has a rogue-like element. So, the stages you move through and the enemies within are randomized. The gun is shaped like an Anubis head. The early aughts graphics were STRONG in this one, and the game was better for it. I love it when I encounter new things from yesteryear. But, this especially applies to one of my favorite eras of gaming.

29. Invasion - The Abductors
Just like The Maze of the Kings, this is another first person rail shooter I never heard of until now. And just like the above, it was released during that special period of gaming (1999) where 3D was the new big to-do. I went in with the lowest of expectations, but had such a good time that I ended up finishing it. There was a surprising amount of sleekness and polish to it that made it stand out from other games around the time like House of the Dead or CarnEvil. I would definitely sink quarters into this if I saw it outside of a free-to-play arcade.

30. Chunithm
It's like Guitar Hero, but with piano keys and a massive selection of J-Pop. Yet another game I never heard of. I think. There's a chance I played this last year but I've slept since then. This one was intense. The keys range in sizes, so the more difficult songs have smaller keys. There's also holding the keys, removing them at the right time, moving them across the keyboard, and elevating your hands at just the right angle. The music is intense and upbeat, and the way it all comes together with the keyboard is a musical masterpiece. Yet another one I hope to see outside a convention and in an arcade.

31. Rock Band
Normally, I wouldn't count Rock Band "completed" for something like this. But, I played A TON of this. Usually, I took vocals and would "sing" (see what I did there) while others played the instruments. It was a blast because it allowed me to meet and connect with other con-goers. Games and music are two things that tend to bring people from all walks of life together. Rock Band combines them in a solid way.

32. Music Gun Gun 2
I'm saving the best for last. Another game I never heard of until now. A shooting/rhythm game in all the best ways possible. Colorful graphics. A ton of music. Easy to pick up gameplay that is, naturally, close to impossible to master. Two-player options. Etc. In terms of gaming at the expo, this was the highlight. My favorite song to play was Cruel Angel's Thesis. All of the games above are fun, but this one is the one that would warrant a drive across state lines to play it. I hope to play this again in the near future, and I really hope this game comes back next year.

telly

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #130 on: April 01, 2024, 10:11:55 am »
Game 6 - Doom 1993 (PS4) - 13 Hours

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

There are some elements that felt a little outdated. Some of the level design was a little subpar. Several levels were quite labyrinthian which led to long stretches where I didn't know where to go, effectively killing the pacing. In addition, some of the latter levels require running over platforms which made which you had a jump button. Lastly, I was very disappointed with the overall score past the first episode (Knee Deep in the Dead). That episode has incredible music which always is mentioned in reviews of the game. However, the other episodes rely mostly on atmospheric subdued tracks which just aren't as interesting. I wanted it to be rocking the whole way through.
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Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #131 on: April 02, 2024, 10:36:21 am »
I don't know if it's what I'm playing or what, but I'm having one of the worst years making progress.  I've only beaten 9 games so far this year.  I've normally got that by the end of January.

On the one hand I'm playing longer games with no side games running, I'm generally not playing during the day anymore, and I've been sick pretty much nonstop since January... so I guess there could be reasons.


kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #132 on: April 04, 2024, 09:22:19 am »
33. Unicorn Overlord

I'm calling it right here, right now. This is my game of the year. I realize that Emerald SaGa and the next Mana are coming up, but this was gaming excellence in every sense. It combined the best of so many classics, poured over new features, had such a memorable cast despite its massive size, and looked/sounded beautiful from start to end. Vanilla Ware really stepped up with this one. I'm stoked to get a review going so I can continue to gush about it. It's officially made my top ten - something I never expected a modern game to do.

telly

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #133 on: April 05, 2024, 09:28:25 am »
Game 7 - Ring Fit Adventure (Switch) - 53 Hours

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

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

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

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

So all that being said, you might think that I was down on this game, but I actually think it's a lot of fun and a great way to get some routine exercise. It has just the right amount of story and mechanics built around the idea of exercise that come together nicely. I think using the ring-con was a lot of fun, and there are lots of different exercises that you can try out until you find the routine that works for you, along with a fun collection of minigames. The graphics and music are also very pleasant, leading to an overall enjoyable experience, the issues I mentioned notwithstanding. I will probably come back to do a new game plus with this game at some point, but for now I think I'm going to try one of the fitness boxing games on the Switch because I've really enjoyed exercising with video games and I want to keep that going.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2024, 09:30:26 am by telly »
Currently Playing:
3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3) Mega Man Battle Network 5: Team Protoman (Switch)

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dhaabi

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #134 on: April 05, 2024, 10:14:04 am »
Game 7 - Ring Fit Adventure (Switch) - 53 Hours

The other factor was that the game kind of runs out of ideas after approximately 30 hours of gameplay. The game just makes the existing exercies/courses longer in duration as a way to increase the challenge.

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

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

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