Author Topic: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!  (Read 14590 times)

kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #150 on: April 29, 2024, 10:59:43 am »
38. Samurai Shodown IV: Amakusa's Revenge - Shizumaru

I feel like it's important to take a break from Soul Hackers 2 since I want the platinum but don't want to get too burnt out on things. So, I'm playing shorter games in the interim. Up first is a game from my favorite fighting series: Samurai Shodown. The fourth entry isn't my favorite but it's one of the most polished. I got a game over and a bad ending when I played as Basara, but managed to get through the entire game with my homie Shizumaru. The translation is terribly funny, and I'm still not sure how to do the C+D combo. But, this is a gorgeous 2D fighter that is tight on controls and characters. I definitely recommend it.

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #151 on: April 29, 2024, 11:31:53 pm »
26. Breakers Revenge (PS4)

I played the first Breakers game on the Dreamcast after finding out it was a port of a pretty obscure Neo Geo fighting game from the mid 90s. I did find some redeemable qualities while playing Breakers, overall though, it left a very bland taste in my mouth overall and mostly felt like another forgettable off brand 90s tournament fighter that was trying to be Street Fighter 2 or King of Fighters so badly, but fell short. Unfortunately, the same can be said about its sequel, Breakers Revenge. What surprised me most is that Breakers Revenge came out in 1998 despite looking like a game from the early 90s. In fact, I'd say overall it looks worse than the CPS1 version of Street Fighter 2. With that said, the sprites and character animations are still pretty good, however most of the stages are bland, generic, and forgettable. Speaking of bland and generic, these same adjectives can be applied to Breaker's pretty small cast of playable characters too. The audio, while someone pleasing, isn't really that memorable either. Gameplay is decent overall, however some annoying balancing issues and fairly shallow mechanics make this just as generic as the rest of the game. I really was hoping Breakers Revenge would somehow surprise me as a hidden gem on the Neo Geo, but unofortunately it ended up being about what I expected; a justifiably forgotten obscurity from the 1990s tournament fighter craze that most people forgot, and even more people never realized existed at all. (4/29/24) [29/50]

dhaabi

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #152 on: May 01, 2024, 11:06:09 am »
20. Tappingo 2 || Nintendo 3DS || 04.25.24



Having played and enjoyed the debut entry around ten years ago, I was curious to see if Tappingo 2 would leave the same kind of positive impression on me. At the same time, I was wanting to know if the gameplay would vary any in this sequel entry or if, instead, it would be more like an expansion to the first game.

In short, Tappingo 2 is a puzzle game which players are tasked to create an image—usually some sort of ordinary item—by moving blocks in a certain order. For each selectable block, a number printed on it indicates how many spaces it needs to expand outward, acting like a tape measure of sorts. Obviously designed for a dual-screen system, the game utilizes the bottom screen for player action whereas the top screen shows the puzzle being solved in real time, which is a small inclusion to help elevate the game beyond its straightforward gameplay. I'll also note here that the game requires precise movements best accomplished with the stylus. I can't imagine successfully progressing through the game without it.

To the game's advantage, gameplay is simple to understand once actually playing through a stage or two. The game's biggest puzzle elements come from blocks requiring to be moved in a specific series of steps. Otherwise, the path of adjacent blocks will either be barred from reaching their intended destination or, oppositely, overreach which disrupts the path of neighboring blocks. Generally working from side to side or corner to corner, I found it generally easy to visualize the steps needed to take for sections of the puzzle, although stage difficulty does increase once puzzle design relies more on color gradients and puzzle size becomes larger. Easily, mistakes can be made resulting in block paths needed to be retracted, which will inevitably cause neighboring chains to alter as well. At this point, the player will be forced to retract numerous blocks to then find another means to complete the puzzle. Fortunately, there isn't any major penalty for making an incorrect move despite the later minor inconvenience of needing to retract a small section of blocks. When a mistake is made, the game's puzzle system efficiently communicates when a certain action is incorrect in real time.

Accompanying the gameplay, stages are also timed to track how quickly puzzles can be solved. I suppose this aspect is a neat novelty which I can see more being utilized to compete with another player more so than besting one's personal records. While the game's stage count of 104 puzzles may sound high, it isn't really. On average, I'd estimate that I completed the first half of stages in 90-120 seconds per puzzle, whereas the second half of stages was around 3-4 minutes.

While offering a degree of fun, Tappingo 2 does become repetitive and a bit tedious given how many stages there are with little variety. One may assume that puzzle artwork matters little, but it's more than one would think. For instance, there are a total of about ten puzzles which the layout is a circle, resulting in the same types of block patterns to solve. In my observations, puzzles with unique layouts require different manners of thinking for specific sections. Additionally, the gameplay never evolves past what was introduced in the debut entry, and there is only one game mode. Only the most basic of features are offered, such as pause and restart. Something else worth mentioning is the lack of music. Across 104 stages, only four or five tracks exist. I suppose this is a suitable amount for a low-budget game, but tracks can't be individually selected. Instead, the only way to cycle through them is to reset the stage.

Compared to other logic puzzle games, Tappingo 2 is much more casual with its easy-to-pick-up qualities. Instead of forcing players to think critically, it feels more like a means to relax, although some degree of focused thought is obviously required to progress. If I'm being honest, I remember enjoying the debut entry much more than the sequel.

kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #153 on: May 02, 2024, 08:25:50 am »
39. R-Type Final

I finished this game on the easiest setting appropriately named Baby. I'm not a shmup person in the slightest, but as always, I think it's important to get out of your comfort zone and play something different. Also, it further helped cleanse the palette before getting into my second file of Soul Hackers 2. I had no idea that R-Type had such a long history starting all the way back in 1987. At some point, I'd like learn more about the series. In terms of this one on the PlayStation 2, it was a lot of fun despite my lack of skill. There was a ton of variety in terms of ships, enemies, levels, weapons, and secrets. Outside of some slowdown the game still looked and played smoothly. I'm glad I took a chance on this one.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2024, 08:28:40 am by kashell »

dhaabi

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #154 on: May 02, 2024, 07:11:48 pm »
21. Don't Look Back || Browser || 05.01.24



Wanting to play more games like Passage, I soon became introduced to Don't Look Back. I don't think I knew about Don't Look Back until this point, but I am familiar with its creator, Terry Cavanagh, so I had certain expectations prior to playing given Cavanagh's development history. To many, Don't Look Back is also recognized as an art game.

As a game of about 20-30 minutes in length, Don't Look Back succeeds as a narrative-driven action-plaformer, albeit one omitting dialogue. At its core, the game is built with a room-based level design emphasizing a touch of difficulty, although such difficulty ultimately isn't too concerning as failing results in an immediate retry with no progress lost. Still, despite the consequences being minimal, the game introduces an appropriate amount of challenge. Moving room to room, players will likely be taken by surprise each time some new type of obstacle to overcome or avoid appears. In these moments, the game necessitates quick reaction and tight movements. For many if not all of these encounters, player action beyond running is not a requirement, as enemies may be avoided through successful, well-timed platforming. However, I'm not sure if there is any incentive to adopt such play style. Nevertheless, some rooms seemed intentionally designed for the player to avoid danger instead of vanquishing it.

Regarding narrative, it concerns death, the loss of a loved one, and the inability to accept the situation. In fact everything about Don't Look Back alludes to the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice. With that understanding, it's important to mention that, throughout the game's first half, the player is permitted to look back behind them and even backtrack to previous rooms. But, until a room's enemies are defeated, they will all continue to respawn. That said, the player is not only discouraged from looking back in the second half but also unable to, as an immediate fail state occurs. Fortunately, only platforming sequences are present during this shift.

By the game's mid-point, I imagine that most players will assume how the game concludes, or at least have a faint idea, and especially so if they're aware of the source material being referenced. I certainly had my expectations, anyway. However, when I reached the game's conclusion, it felt as if the game had subverted that expectation to take on another layer of meaning. While the ending written is an interesting twist, it unfortunately doesn't leave a lot of room for interpretation. Although, perhaps that level of thought isn't necessary, as the end development is enough of a revelation on its own.

Apart from gameplay and narrative, the game's presentation utilizes a minimal art style employing large pixels, empty environments, and a selective color palette of four colors. While graphics are paired with a single looping track, the music actually doesn't grow tiresome and complements the game's other elements.

In the end, Don't Look Back offers a demanding experience which doesn't overstay its welcome. Like how other games of its kind are created to evoke a certain feeling or thought, Don't Look Back also achieves this, and rather abruptly too. Here, the finality presented offers only a moment to analyze in the context of the events before it, whereas other games often force the player to think critically throughout most of the events and action. However, this isn't necessarily a critique, as there is still a fair amount to deconstruct. Also, whether one's read any of the translations and interpretations of the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice matters little, although I think being aware of the tale prior to playing will enhance the adventure.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2024, 04:52:13 pm by dhaabi »

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #155 on: May 02, 2024, 11:18:01 pm »
27. Mega Man X2 (PS4)

I've decided to branch out beyond the Mega Man X games I grew up with and played around the time they first came out. Aside from X on the SNES, I never played X2 or X3; I returned to the series for X4, but was so underwhelmed by X5 that I would drop the series once again. I need to replay X4 and X5 since it's been probably around 2 decades since i last played them, but for now X is my baseline for all the sequels that would follow.


X2 is a pretty good game for the most part, however I found it inferior to the original X in neraly every way. Mostly everything is slightly worse, but that's not to say X2 isn't a good time, because it is...mostly. The level design, the boss design and mechanics, as well as the power ups you receive by beating them just feel under developed and at times even poorly designed. I also found Mega Man's upgrades like the heart and health containers to be a lot more obscure and difficult to obtain for the most part. I thought the inclusion of the X Hunters was pretty cool, but I still prefer how you obtain Mega Man's suit upgrades more in X. The audio in X2 is pretty awesome, and while I disagree that it's as good as X's, it's still pretty rockin and one of the better ones I've heard on the SNES, which is saying quite a bit. While I certainly don't like X2 as much as X, it was still worthwhile to finally play it, and I'm curious to see how it stacks up against the later titles in the X series, especially X3 which seems to be the game that fights for X2 for second place when it comes to the best Mega Man X game on the SNES lol. (5/2/24) [33/50]

telly

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #156 on: May 03, 2024, 09:28:10 am »
Game 8 - 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3) - 17 Hours

I found this game to be a very charming experience. It's a simple classic take on a Zelda-style adventure game but with some modern ideas under the hood. The most striking is the 3D pixel look which is very unique visually, even though it felt more like a gimmick to me. I think where this game really stands out is your 3D sword that you can suspend in midair and increase it's length and width to cover more of the screen. It's honestly really interesting to use and separates the gameplay from Zelda just a touch.

Other than that, it's essentially the same. You do have an expansive world to explore with plenty of secrets and side quests to indulge in. There's also a huge collection of minigames to try out and they're actually pretty fun! I think the dungeons were kind of tedious and a little boring though. The game doesn't really throw much at you that's super interesting. There's also very little puzzle solving - everything is either communicated directly to you by your fairy friend or you have a magic spell that will straight up tell you the solution.

Lastly, this game had a lot of charm to it that I really appreciated. As a total throwback to classic games, the game sports a very "retro" style to it with a lot of hidden secrets and 4th wall-breaking dialogue. This also comes through in the music which is very retro, but is a little inconsistent - some of it is great, but a few songs are really bad - the fire temple in particular was awful.

Other than that I had a good time playing - on to the next stop on the console tour, the PS1 with another Zelda-style game - Alundra!
Currently Playing:
Tunic (Switch)

My music collection | My Backloggery

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #157 on: May 04, 2024, 01:38:36 pm »
28. Raiden III (Switch)

I've mentioned this often when discussing my history with the SHMUP genre, but the Raiden series is was initially got me interested in the genre way back in the 90s. Since then, I've played and beat every Raiden game, including the spinoffs, except for what many consider to be one of the best games in the series, Raiden III. I will say, me not beating Raiden 3 until today was not due to lack of trying, but rather bad luck. I've owned Raiden III on the PS2 for probably 15 years, however I found out years ago my copy did not work. I then bought another copy, didn't play it for years, and then when I tried to play it, it didn't work either! Finally, i ended up picking up the Switch release and finally got to jump into this cool SHMUP.


Raiden III has surprisingly balanced, and well designed gameplay. My only major gripe is the movement speed of your ship which feels way to slow given what the game typiically throws at you. Still, with enough planning and good reflexes you can dodge most of what this game has to throw at you. Visually, Raiden III is pretty good looking and even has a somewhat cinematic quality to it at times. However, given that it's in full 3D, it did make me lament how amazing the 2D sprites looked in the older titles. Still, for a 3D SHMUP, this game looks great; the stages are interesting and cool, the bosses look epic and unique, and everything else is also visually pleasing for the most part. The audio is probably Raiden III's greatest asset, as there was almost not a single bad or forgettable track in the entire game. It certainly holds the distinction of having one of the best OST's in the series, that's for sure. I'm glad I finally got around to playing Raiden III and seeing what all the fuss was about with it. (5/4/24) [34/50]

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #158 on: May 04, 2024, 03:49:25 pm »
Game 8 - 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3) - 17 Hours

I found this game to be a very charming experience. It's a simple classic take on a Zelda-style adventure game but with some modern ideas under the hood. The most striking is the 3D pixel look which is very unique visually, even though it felt more like a gimmick to me. I think where this game really stands out is your 3D sword that you can suspend in midair and increase it's length and width to cover more of the screen. It's honestly really interesting to use and separates the gameplay from Zelda just a touch.

Other than that, it's essentially the same. You do have an expansive world to explore with plenty of secrets and side quests to indulge in. There's also a huge collection of minigames to try out and they're actually pretty fun! I think the dungeons were kind of tedious and a little boring though. The game doesn't really throw much at you that's super interesting. There's also very little puzzle solving - everything is either communicated directly to you by your fairy friend or you have a magic spell that will straight up tell you the solution.

Lastly, this game had a lot of charm to it that I really appreciated. As a total throwback to classic games, the game sports a very "retro" style to it with a lot of hidden secrets and 4th wall-breaking dialogue. This also comes through in the music which is very retro, but is a little inconsistent - some of it is great, but a few songs are really bad - the fire temple in particular was awful.

Other than that I had a good time playing - on to the next stop on the console tour, the PS1 with another Zelda-style game - Alundra!

I really wanted to love that game, it's so cool, but the hardcore depth of field visuals killed it for me, it's like the extreme version of what was done with the Link's Awakening remake, another one I didn't like.

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #159 on: May 04, 2024, 10:59:58 pm »
29. Raiden V: Director's Cut (PS4)

I played Raiden V years ago around the time it first came out, and while I remember not liking it, I almost regret replaying it because I like it even less than I did. Raiden V may be one of the worst SHMUPs I've ever played. From a presentation standpoint it looks worse than the two games that proceeded it. On top of that, some of the levels make it hard to see the projectiles flying at you, creating an unfair situation that is squarly the game's fault. The OST is decent, however the chatter of various characters that accompany you throughout the game never shut up and create this constant chatter that drowns out what is otherwise a decent OST. I cannot stress how annoying these NPC character's chatter is as they are talking for 95% of the time you are playing. It would be one thing if they were actually saying anything interesting, but they're not and it just sounds like they're mumbling half the time. Other than that, the gameplay is okay, but often comes across as sloppy and poorly planned out. There is an additional fire mode called the Cheer system, but it amounts to little more than an alternative bomb attack that you can only use under certain circumstances. Raiden V is absolutely a stain on this franchise and I game I will remember never to return to. (5/4/24) [20/50]

dhaabi

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #160 on: May 05, 2024, 05:38:00 pm »
22. Flow || PlayStation Portable || 05.04.24



Being familiar with thatgamecompany's works, I've never before set out to play through their first title, Flow. Long ago, though, I do believe I had tried out the Flash version, but not at any noteworthy length. So, my time playing the game now felt quite new still.

As a simulation game, Flow has players assume the role of a microorganism consuming all other life in its vicinity, allowing it to grow exponentially in size and capability. While only having one specific organism available at the game's beginning, players will eventually unlock a total of five different lifeforms, each with their own play style. Despite the subtle changes each playthrough brings, the objective remains the same: become the top of the food chain by growing and evolving to the point where you reproduce by laying an egg, resulting in stage completion. Once an egg is laid, it is hatched upon being selected at the main hub area, which is when it then becomes the vessel you control in a new life as a new playthrough.

Regarding stage design, each stage is comprised of sixteen layered levels, which the player is freely able to ascend and descend to any freely. Across each level, other organisms to consume exist in addition to non-living cells which either restore health or help bring forth evolution. As players progress deeper and deeper one layer at a time, enemies will frequently become hostile, although many are non-confrontational and largely serve as fodder. To overcome predators, players must navigate strategically to consume them one health segment at a time. Of course, these enemies behave similarly; once the player's health has been depleted, they are sent upward one layer, so the penalty for death is minimal.

However, there is no requirement for the player to behave as a predator. Instead of consuming life, players may instead descend to the lowest layer where the current playthrough will end. Of course, such a play style may be difficult in levels which enemy hostility is high, and, naturally, avoids most of the game's in-game systems and gameplay mechanics. With that said, I didn't take the time to properly understand the evolution system and how it relates to player health, but I'm sure there is some balance of the two. Instead, I merely consumed all cells in any order as I neared them, which didn't cause me any concern.

Like later game soundtracks from thatgamecompany, Flow's music offers calming ambiance, but I seldom had the chance to properly listen to it. The reason for such is due to the constant barrage of interactive noises which serve as an audio feedback to life consumed. In deeper levels where cells move about by the dozens, there is little opportunity to avoid them even if wanting to, so the soundtrack becomes a distant sound. Since there are no in-game menus, audio control is not available. Having played the first half of the game with headphones, I found this issue quite bothersome.

Overall, Flow is a relaxing game which allows players to experience what's been created without much consequence. There is simplicity to it which allows for a certain element beauty to come forth, no different than later works made by the team.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2024, 09:39:59 am by dhaabi »

tripredacus

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #161 on: May 06, 2024, 10:07:43 am »
17. Dragon Age: Origins
Time played was 44 hours, and I had started this over a month ago but I had taken some breaks. I was super hooked on Heroes of Might & Magic III that I was spending big hours on playing that. I had to get to a point where I basically had run out of things to do with that because I kept going back to it. I'm still not going to bother with the campaigns but I had put in 381 hours since the beginning of the year or whenever I had put that on my list.

Back to DAO, it is a fine game. Has too much lore and I just am not that into delving into game lore like I did in Morrowind. Even when Skyrim came out I didn't care about reading the books like the previous games. So the codex was something I'd only look at when I needed a break. Nice to see the choices matter type in this game. Moreso that it can effect your party. I didn't look into spoilers because in general I did not run into many situations where I didn't know what to do next. Like I killed Wynne in the mage tower and didn't know until later she could have been recruited. I never ran into Zevran that I am aware of. Some in-game choices can make a party member rebel such as some choice I made where the chantry rogue decided to side with an enemy in a dungeon. Or when I spare Loghain and Alistair decided to just leave.

Issue with the ability for party members to rebel is that you get to gear them, so if that happens they are going to be using good items. The Chantry girl didn't have anything good yet but Alistair did. I always had in the back of my mind to try to bribe Alistair with gifts because I wasn't sure if I could beat him in a fight. Until I got to a point where I knew he couldn't beat me is when I stopped caring whether he liked me or not.

Sound and music was fine. Story was fine. The only big issue with story was the ending where it said someone had died but I never did the quest to kill them. I only played the Origins part and have not yet done the additional content that comes with the remaster or whatever, including the expansion pack. It did get me to watch that Dragon Age BD I've had for awhile and it makes me a bit more interested in the other games.

telly

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #162 on: May 06, 2024, 01:02:47 pm »
I really wanted to love that game, it's so cool, but the hardcore depth of field visuals killed it for me, it's like the extreme version of what was done with the Link's Awakening remake, another one I didn't like.

Yes I didn't mention it but there were some issues with the visuals. Part of it was that when moving down the screen you can't see what's in front of you so sometimes you just run into enemies. Also the water effects were really weird and blinding upon loading a level.
Currently Playing:
Tunic (Switch)

My music collection | My Backloggery

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #163 on: May 08, 2024, 08:17:15 am »
I finished the remaster of Advance Wars.  Pretty mixed feelings on this.  The tone is pretty bizarre with how light and fluffy it is even though it is very specifically about urban warfare and a lot of death.  It also has an intense difficulty spike at the end of the game which wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't really easy up to that point.  I do generally like gameplay, though - aside from the fog of war mechanics.l, which I really didn't care for.  Fog of war makes sense in games like this, but it's not implemented  super well because moving and attacking aren't separate actions.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2024, 01:58:59 pm by Cartagia »


kashell

Re: 52 Games Challenge 2024!!!!!
« Reply #164 on: May 08, 2024, 08:21:02 am »
40. Soul Hackers 2 - Paradise Lost Ending

Along with going through New Game Plus and getting the true ending, I was also able to get the platinum trophy. All demons in the compendium have been fused or summoned. All of the teammates had their soul levels at 200. All Soul Matrices have been explored. Everything else fell into place in the first playthrough. This was a very fun game. I enjoyed it way more than Persona 3. The main SMT series will always be my favorite, but Soul Hackers deserves some flowers. I liked its neon and techno vibe, the characters were relatable and likable, and the game didn't outstay its welcome. Doing everything took a good 60 hours across two files. There isn't too much else to say that hasn't been said from my previous post about it. I'll just end this update by recommending it to RPG fans.