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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, '15, 8:55 am 
I've been going through the Metal Gear Solid series for the first time over the past month or so before trying MGSV GZ/TPP (better late than never). I finally finished the 4th one last night. I'm personally terrible at stealth based games, and the MGS games are no exception. Despite that, I'm really digging the franchise; the only other stealth-focused game that ever appealed to me was The Last of Us, and even then, it can also be a third person shooter and you could technically Rambo your way through the game (unless you're on Survival or even worse, Grounded). I suppose the story in both MGS and TLOU was enough to get me hooked early on and let the gameplay grow on me, if that makes sense.

Anyway, I tried starting Peace Walker HD with my brother today, until we realized that there isn't local multiplayer... :grumpy: I'll probably let him play it first and work on beating Red in Pokemon SoulSilver in the meantime.

Last edited by Flames of Yagami on Wed Nov 11, '15, 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, '16, 3:50 pm 
I beat Yoshi's Island DS last night. And the question then becomes "how does it compare to the original?" Well, overall, I think the original is better, but YIDS is still pretty good in its own right. Overall, still cute and colorful, still fun, if a little fristrating at times.

Some of the issues with the original remain. The jumping physics are still a bit floaty and weird; I still find trying to do the flutter jump multiple times in a row feels inconsistent at best with it feeling like sometimes it works and other times it doesn't. The timing on it is just something I can't get down. The babies remain annoying, between having to chase them when hit and them still seeming to float to a place you cannot reach them (like a lava pool) whenever possible. Yoshi also feels more slippy-slidey on the ground, never helpful in a platformer. The difficulty curve was also not smooth at all. The first 3 worlds were a breeze, and the game gives out extra lives like halloween candy. Then midway through world 4, the difficulty spikes way up, then oscillates up and down the rest of the game like a seismograph positioned near a construction site.

While I like the idea of new baby characters granting different abilities, execution was a bit iffy at times, but it did lead to some interesting level design not in the original. You can switch mid-level at certain spots, but the game would not tell you if a specific baby was needed to traverse an upcoming area. Sometimes it was obvious, but when it wasn't, one of three things happened - backtrack a considerable amount to switch to the right baby, die because you find out midway through you need a specific baby, quit out of the level to start over because of a point of no return (rare, but did happen once or twice). The two babies that do have abilities with areas designed around them (baby Peach and baby DK), getting through them could be extra frustrating. Because getting hit generally meant falling to your death or falling back down to the beginning of the area. Which then often leads to running out the timer to grab the baby as they're slowly floating back down towards your position, but you cannot move up towards them. Feels a touch helpless and no-win.

The final boss, however, was an improvement, if easier and also less "epic". In the original, it really felt as if whether or not I hit baby Bowser when I threw an egg at his face was up to the game's whims and it was very cheap. Here, where to hit was clearer, and it seemed much better about detecting when I hit. I won on the first try, so maybe TOO easy, but I'd prefer that over the frustration of it feeling entirely arbitrary, which while challenging, is so for the wrong reason.

All that said, the game is still good. If you haven't played any YI games, I'd go for the original SNES over DS. But if you want to play a YI game but not replay the original, this one will do you just fine.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, '16, 9:53 pm 
I remember owning YIDS back when I had the bulky original DS (coincidently, my brother bought a red one at a flea market for $20 yesterday). IIRC, I got around halfway through the game before getting confused with one of the fortress levels, but my memory is a bit touch fuzzy get dizzy. I need to see if I still have my copy so I can give the game another go.

I just beat Metal Gear Solid V:TPP the other day and spent the rest of the week finishing up the last few side ops. From a gameplay standpoint, it's absolutely addicting, although the free roaming aspect isn't exactly as refined as GTA and Red Dead Redemption (traversing can be somewhat slow if you don't have a buddy/vehicle with you, and even then, it doesn't completely alleviate the issue). The story is okay, but not on par with the earlier games IMHO. On a whole, though, I enjoyed the 100 hours I put into the game. I'm debating whether or not I should S-Rank the rest of the missions and get the last few animals for 100%.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, '16, 10:38 pm 
I played it on my red New (still hate that name) 3DS XL. I have noticed that some DS games look a bit chunky on it, but YIDS looked alright because of the stylization behind it. Hope that stays true when I get to Okamiden. Thinking about it, I bet I could guess which fortress you got stuck on - the later worlds had a couple levels that were laid out like mazes, and you had find a number balls to throw at a specific object to open doors. I think the first fortress in world 4 was the first such level, which was when the difficulty spiked, at least in my opinion. I really don't like maze like levels in 2D platforms unless the entire game is designed with that fact in mind (a'la the 2D Metroid games). In YIDS, there just wasn't enough to differentiate areas in the in the levels, which made remembering where things were a bit more difficult than it needed to be. Still a good game though.

Nice on MGS: TPP. Glad you enjoyed it - I haven't played it, but I have watched my BF play it a bit on Steam. I'm glad that Hideo Kojima is ending his career at Konami on a high note, but I find it sad that the technology behind the game will probably never be seen again, given the path Konami is headed on.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 8, '16, 10:04 pm 
Finally buckled down and finished Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys. the first 2/3rds of the game are a bit hit or miss as far as gameplay goes, but the last third is fantastic, and there's a killer soundtrack throughout. The English fan dub patch is a little amateur hour, but certainly better than a lot of English redubs we actually would have gotten in 1993 (or a fair bit of the rest of the '90s).

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, '16, 5:11 am 
Just beat Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. It was a good game, but it unfortunately made a few things stand out to me that I wish Nintendo would just STOP in its games. But good stuff first - controls were generally good and responsive. Only exception to me was sometimes trying to pivot was a slower affair than it needed to be, and the precision of timing jumping on an enemy for an extra boost was STUPIDLY precise. Level designs were great. No complaints there. The rockets were fun to use, but some of the rocket sections were also absurdly hard.

Now the not-so-good, some of which I wish I would beat Nintendo over the head with a rolled-up newspaper to make them stop doing if I could.

1. Life system - Nintendo, stop it with the life system. Just STOP. We're long past the arcade days. Ok? There are no quarters to get from people. Losing all your lives anymore, just leads to undue frustration. Just STOP. There's a reason most developers have moved past the lives system. Time for you to follow suit.

2. Mid-level checkpoints - In some newer 2D platformers, like Rayman, if you die, you quickly respawn right where you died. Each attempt flows into the next. It allows you quickly practice a section that you're having trouble with without having to go back through a section of level, which feels like wasted time, progress and frustration. It allows a game to hit that elusive sweet spot between being challenging without being frustrating. Nintendo, as much as I hate to say it, you can learn something from Ubisoft there. It really is the best way to deal with player death and respawn in 2D platformers. Game flow is important, and breaking it is bad.

3. One hit kills - I hate hate hate hate hate hate HATE 1-hit kills in platformers. The reason is because platformers take a combination of reflexes, precision, patience and practice. 1 hit kills can screw most of those up, especially the practice, precision and patience - 3 Ps, if you will. There were several scenarios where all it took was 1 screw up to send you back to the last checkpoint, losing progress and denying me a good chance to actually practice a bit with a section that was hard, or with a new mechanic like the mine carts or rockets, and creating more trial-and-error than I think is necessary. It also just breaks game flow to have to go back, especially on particularly difficult levels.

4. Requiring precognition to get past a segment - oh, I'm so sorry that I didn't have the clairvoyance to know that that platform would crumble under me as soon as I landed on it without giving me the chance to perform the next stupidly precise jump. Oh thanks for sending me way the crap back to the beginning of the level. Better luck next time! Seriously, there was a lot of this and like item 3, led to trial-and-error gameplay and broke game flow, which feels more like the game getting a cheap laugh than being legitimately challenging.

Also the final boss can burn in the deepest, darkest, hottest bowels of hell. I died at least 70 times on it, and again, I feel like it was frustrating and hard for the wrong reasons. It had two attacks that were very hard to dodge, and it felt like luck whenever I did manage to dodge them. Did not feel like the timing was in anyway consistent. Not a feeling that is good to be having - if I do manage to dodge, I want to have some understanding of how/why, because that's where learning and getting better kicks in. When it feels entirely random and up to luck (or requiring precognition) it is not a good thing. Now, I'm sure that the timing is probably just stupidly precise and I never quite got down how precise, but again, there is a line between challenging and frustrating, and this crossed into the latter.

All that said, though, I still say it was a good game with the good far outweighing the bad. Just go in knowing that it is very hard, and may be extremely frustrating. It doesn't take very long for the difficulty to ramp up. Take it slow when you can, but sometimes the game will require you be very quick and precise at the same time. There are some sections that I don't think it is possible to pass on your first try. There were a lot of levels that ate my lives, but I still got through to the final boss. Persistence is key. But if you get frustrated and put it down, I wouldn't blame anyone.

Do note that I did not try to collect all the collectible widgets and I have no desire to. Just seeing where some of them were located as I just played through the levels was enough to make me say no. Maybe I'll go back someday, but I have more than enough games to get through that I feel no need to frustrate myself for 100% on this one.

Yes, I am fully aware that I have just criticized Nintendo quite a bit in this post (and my last brief game review in this thread) while my avatar is a Nintendo character.

Last edited by Wolf Bird on Fri Feb 26, '16, 5:11 am, edited 3 times in total.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 3, '16, 8:15 am 
I think there's a place for lives, but only in a very tightly specific and controlled type of design. In your usual Nintendo-esque platformer, yeah lives need to go.

But if you were to make a game like classic Castlevania, and to have some form of punishment for excess failures in the form of lives, that's fine with me. In that series, losing all your lives just undoes the checkpoint you had for the level (you almost always have infinite continues), and levels in CV aren't terribly long, especially if you know what you're doing.

However, in this type of theoretical game, earning extra lives is going to be a once in a blue moon thing where it's extremely relevant, and not handing out a billion of them so that they feel worthless.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, '16, 6:03 pm 
Just beat the original Kid Icarus (well, the "3D classics" version on the 3DS eShop) a few minutes ago. It's one of those games I had been playing on and off trying to beat for a while. This time I stuck with it long enough to actually do it. Personally, I think while the game is difficult in that old-school NES style of difficulty, the difficulty seems to be heavily front-loaded to the first world (the Underworld), which seems why a lot of people don't see much of the game past the Underworld. If you're careful enough and kill enough enemies in the Underworld to get the first couple damage upgrades and increase your life bar, the Overworld and Skyworld are extremely easy as long as you have somewhat decent platforming skills. I did die a few times on the first fortress, but once I got past the first boss (on my first try) I basically breezed through the rest of the game with only a handful of deaths, mostly due to my own carelessness. And in one case, having to reset the game on the Skyworld fortress because I got eggplantified (digression - IMO, that is STILL the absolute silliest status effect in any game I know of) and found the fortress boss before I found a hospital to get uneggplantified. Once you find a boss, you're locked in that room with them and can't go back, so I had no other choice but to reset, unless I wanted to sit and wait until the boss just killed me. You can't attack when eggplanted. I did not get the "best" ending, but whatever, I still beat the final boss.

Overall, once I got past the Underworld wall, the game was more than fun enough despite a reverse difficulty curve.

PostPosted: Wed May 4, '16, 3:04 am 
Just finished Dragon Slayer: the Legend of Heroes, the first of the Legend of Heroes games. This was a bit of a loop-throw, for reasons I would like to try to explain.

You see, you expect a certain amount of things to be off-kilter from the norm in a game like Earthbound, because while the gameplay is basically Dragon Warrior, it's Dragon Warrior in Norman Rockwell's America. This game is kinda the opposite because it's a fairly typical pseudo-medieval JRPG fantasy setting, except that it includes things that make too much sense to appear. Like there are a bunch of JRPGs out there where you play a teen prince, but not many where said prince has had a marriage arranged for him about a decade in advance that he'd better follow through with. Or the fact that a couple of countries have deep-seated political and social problems that can't be solved by killing the bad guys (and in one case it actually makes things worse because it just shows off how cowardly and incompetent the current leadership really is). Or that since the prince isn't technically an adult, he rarely has any say over who is or isn't in his party (one party member even taunts him over the fact that he has no authority to tell her she can't join the quest). It's not a great game, but in some ways it's bonkers enough to be compelling. I'm going to have to give this a much lengthier writing treatment than my normal reviews allow.

PostPosted: Wed May 4, '16, 6:34 pm 
I beat the Ratchet & Clank PS4 reimagining last night. While I found it enjoyable in its own right, I think the original R&C title for PS2 back in 2002 that this is a remake of is ultimately the superior game. My reasons are as follows:

1. Length - this game was very short. I noticed early on one of my favorite levels that's among of the first in the original (Eudora) got skipped. At first I thought "Oh, maybe it'll just be later." It never came up, and when the game leapt from Batalia straight to Quartu (skipping a ton of levels in between, including my two favorites, Gemlik Base and Olantis) I realized I was nearing the end. You visit the last area, then Kaleebo, then back to the last area. So significantly shorter than the original.

2. Hoverboard races - the new control scheme for these just wasn't great or the most comfortable. I much preferred the original setup for these segments. Fortunately there's only two throughout the game.

3. Writing - previous R&C games all had pretty good, witty writing. In this one the writing just didn't seem as good and a lot of the jokes felt flat. The voice acting also just seemed off in a lot of spots. Maybe I've just matured some, but still, it's there.

4. Ratchet himself - probably the most disappointing aspect. In the original game, Ratchet has a very well-done character arc. That's what makes him memorable. Yes, he is a jerk (to put it lightly) for about 2/3 of the original game and comes off as very petty, but that and how he grows out of it is what made him interesting. In this game, he is unfortunately very flat, one-dimensional and highly uninteresting. I think the cutting of some other things, like the return to Veldin at the end, is an unfortunate byproduct of making Ratchet a more archetypal hero instead of veering somewhat into the antihero camp. As a whole, even, I think dumbing down Ratchet made the plot in general a lot less interesting.

All that said, I still enjoyed it. Other than the hoverboard segments, it controlled well, played well, the weapons were fun, the upgrade system was good, the collectibles were fine, and the bosses were alright. And considering it launched at $40 instead of the usual $60 is certainly something worth praising, IMO. I am intending to go for the platinum trophy on this and started a challenge mode play through.

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