Author Topic: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?  (Read 502370 times)

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Offline broodwars

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1050 on: July 22, 2022, 10:33:34 PM »
After multiple attempts to get through Xenoblade 2 to no avail, I finally broke down and forced myself to get through its Torna DLC expansion.





I maxed out all my Blades & gathered all the Community members except the final one, who requires that you kill 4 superbosses. There's no way in hell I'm ever grinding my characters up to Level 100 to take on a superboss who will probably pull some party-wiping bullshit out of his ass halfway through his healthbar (like seemingly most of the Unique Monsters do in this game), so that'll have to do.

Overall, as the Nopons would say, "meh". Combat and character progression is considerably more enjoyable than what I've played of the main game (which I've put a similar amount of time into) just by virtue of ditching the Waifu Lottery and implementing the Vanguard system. I don't have to constantly roll the dice and restart the grind every time I run into a field effect I want to use, which does so much in terms of making Torna so much less tedious than the main game.

However, inventory management is still a total clusterfuck of managing a constant stream of vendor trash with stat effects so inconsequential that I just gave up on even bothering with it until the end of the game. The game features 2 Titan landmasses, and one of them is just recycled from the main game so exploration got old fast. Side quests are particularly generic and uninteresting, which is particularly unfortunate since this game is nearly entirely based on them.

As for the story, it's...well...mostly inconsequential and not altogether compelling until literally the last 5 minutes. It seems largely concerned with setting pieces up for use in the main game without actually establishing them in Torna itself, leading to an odd scenario where the Setup isn't itself actually setup. It's just assumed that you know who these characters are, presumably from the main game. Malos in particular feels undercooked and shoehorned in just to give you something to fight at the end. Gotta say, he is the master of attacking you with single digit framerates in that final battle.

Overall, I enjoyed exploring the one new Titan and seeing how Xenoblade 2 might have played if it didn't rely on mobile game gacha mechanics to pad out its run time. Torna is better then the main game in some ways, though that's really not saying much considering how tedious the main game is.
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Offline azeke

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1051 on: July 27, 2022, 04:05:26 AM »
Metroid Prime (Wii, as part of Trilogy)

Super Metroid and Zero Mission at times had wistful, almost mystical atmosphere. Metroid Prime took that atmosphere and remade into 3d, walkable environments.

Game is more of an action-adventure game than FPS, the closest similarity would be Half-Life 1, which also has a lot of platforming and wandering around despite billed as pure linear first-person shooter.

Getting used to controlling game with wiimote and nunchuck took me a while -- and the problem isn't even in aiming. Having shooting on A and jumping on B (trigger) seemed backwards but it makes more sense once you start playing because you occasionaly need to mash shooting and that's harder to do on wiimote's trigger button. As game goes, all kinds of new finger tangling button combinations are introduced. Even for map or options you have to press 1 and 2 which is cumbersome when holding wiimote vertically.

Because of lack of buttons beam and vizor switching were relegated to wiimote flicks and they can be unreliable. Every once in a while game wouldn't recognize my flicks or i was getting confused and pressing vizor button when i wanted beam or vice versa. To add to frustration beam switching animation also takes a bit of time. Animation of shooting a rocket also wastes time because it switches arm cannon to rocket mode and you need to press shoot button an additional time to revert to blaster mode. It's a difference of 0.5-1 seconds but it starts to matter later in the game when you're swarmed with enemies.

Designers of this game really, REALLY thought the vizor is important. The UI, rains drops on the vizor glass, even occasional reflections on it -- they really wanted to keep reminding you that there is a piece of glass between you and the world. Many enemies LOVE to mess with your vizor, they spit on it, jam it, overload with flashbang explosions. Getting blinded for several seconds isn't even that bad but vizor shenanigans also interrupt your shot charge and drop lock-on, messing up combat.

To justify vizor's heatvision mode some rooms are completely dark. These are easily the worst parts of the game. One specific part in Phendrana drifts is a sequence of completely dark rooms filled with space pirates and drones. That part frustrated me so much i made a point to never return there again.

As much of a nightmare that was, dark rooms in mines are worse still. You have to deal with darkness, platforming AND combat metroids! You need to look at metroid outside of heatvision to determine which beam kills them, but then you have to go back to heat vision to stay on a platform, and also keep switching beams while you're doing all that. Absolute nightmare.

Bosses also get frustrating, especially when you run out of rockets during the fight. Game in general is starving for rockets and power bombs are even more rare. But they're worth it, because power bombs can triviliaze encounters and bosses that you'd rather nuke than fight through which is often a slog.

Rocket deficit is very deliberate it seems, one puzzle is even designed so you're forced to spend 36 rockets and if you leave the room -- puzzle resets. The reward for it is wavebuster -- proton pack looking beam great for destroying pesky drones (for pun's sake i also tried to bust some Chozo ghosts with it -- but regular charged shot works better against them). However wavebuster consumes lots of rockets so now you're even more starved for rockets, yay.

At least in big boss fights game has a mechanic where game reorients you towards the boss automatically after you uncurl -- really helpful, especially with wiimote turning being as slow as it is.

Final challenge of finding artifacts ended up my favourite part of entire game. Figuring out the puzzles just gave me another chance to enjoy atmosphere and location design. By that time rooms are filled with annoying enemies but at least you can just run past them or use x-ray visor for ghosts.

I actually got several artifacts before game allowed me to read hints for them, so when i came to artifact plaza, statues activated and when scanning it just said "artifact obtained". Now i kinda wish to know what the hints were.

Also while running around i was wishing Phendrana Drift had direct access to main hub on Tallon surface because having to get there through Magmoor Caverns got old. Because of that Magmoor Caverns feels more like a corridor between zones than a proper area.

In fact most of the rooms are just linear corridors with no additonal exits. It is probably this way because of 3d design but it leads to longer time traversing between levels especially with Samus not able to speed boost or even run in Metroid Prime.

My first playthough with 67% took me 16:17 hours but real time was a lot longer because of restarts -- a lot of them on Omega Pirate and last sequence of bosses because they to so long and i died on them several times.

I don't think i can go for 100% on this one -- in modern 2d Metroid games map indicates if room has an item or not and these games are the only i got 100% for. Prime doesn't do that so there goes that.

Metroid Prime music is more techno and ambient which i often use as synonym for "generic and unremarkable" but tracks in this game are very memorable. Phendrana Drifts is a classic and Magmoor Caverns is a great remix of Norfair theme from Super Metroid. I wished Metroid Prime Trilogy still had original menu select theme but for some reason it was replaced with generic choir.

Overall: Prime is a fantastic conversion of Metroid atmosphere and gameplay into 3d, great art style keeps it looking great even 20 years later, the best musical score since Super, but dark rooms suck and boss design is aggresively tedious.
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Offline Stratos

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1052 on: August 09, 2022, 02:01:07 PM »
Prime was so good and reading your comments makes me want to go back to it again. Aside from time the only thing that keeps me from replaying the Wii Trilogy is the inevitable remake/rerelease on Switch.
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Offline azeke

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1053 on: November 20, 2022, 09:45:56 AM »
Another Metroid 2 Remake aka AM2R (PC, version 1.4.5):

Aside from 1 hiccup where i forgot spiderball is a thing, game's first playthrough is very streamlined. Most of the items are placed right along critical path, the game feels deliberately designed so you get most of the items on your first playthrough. Considering that you must kill 30+ bosses just to complete the game, this is a very smart design that allows two-hour speedruns (and probably 100% two hour speedruns?).

Original Metroid 2 tried to make main quest of eradicating Metroids more varied by placing them in different environments -- in the sandpit, over a lava pits and so on. AM2R largely follows that example but the fights themselves still don't evolve except for changed room layouts. Ultimately, all Metroids are killed by spamming rockets at them -- with enough energy tanks you barely even need to dodge too -- just stand under them and keep shooting rockets.

Highlights of the game are special events and special bosses: escaping exploding power station is a hectic action setpiece, exploring Federation's science ship is fun with nice Metroid Prime series feel and funny log entries, activating digging machine, turning the lights on inside the Tower (depending on the order you do it -- you might have to fight Omega in the darkness).

For art, game pulls some sprites directly from official games but it also has original assets, some of them look a bit amateurish (Torizo boss) but game looks great otherwise.

Music is okay and mostly relies on Super Metroid remixes, Hydro Station is a pretty cool remix of Green Brinstar theme. Electronic theme kinda reminded me of Binding Of Isaac: Antibirth soundtrack which also came out in 2016 -- compare item room ambience and very similar ambience sound after finishing the boss in Antibirth.

Close to the end game unlocks pneumatic tubes connecting all areas of the map and they are great implementation of fast travel. I really liked figuring out where rooms with pneumatic tubes are on the map. I still don't understand why one of the pneumatic portals is closed in the first half of the game, but then gets blown up by something in latter half...

After first playthrough game starts showing collectibles percentage on the map and it's weird how it's not tied to the current area you're in. Metroid counter is local to the area, but collectibles progression is global for the whole map. That actually prevented me from getting 100% -- i just couldn't find last several rockets for the life of me. I scoured all over the map and even found several shortcuts for speedrunning but couldn't find the rockets. If item indicator could show which area exactly i am missing the last 2% in, it would be over in less than 15 minutes probably.

My first playthrough took me 07:18 with 89% completion. For second playthrough i picked New Game+ and Hard mode. NG+ removes all lava restrictions unlocking most of the map from the start. This might be a good idea for speedrunning (?), but it ruined my run because without lava telling i am done with that area, i kept going deeper than i should have. Additionally Hard difficulty turned out too hard for me especially fighting those pesky Metroids on a tricky terrain. I gave up on a game for a while.

Few weeks later i had a chance to borrow Playstation Vita for a few weeks and it happened to have AM2R port on it! I guess it's a sign!

AM2R (PS Vita, version 1.0):

Playing AM2R on a Vita felt weird for the first hour so. Most of it, i spent in options menu setting up controls so they match my setup i had on PC with SNES Mini controller. Buttons more or less match GBA Metroid control scheme with one additional face button doing morphball.

Despite that Vita is a bigger handheld it somehow feels more cramped to play than on 3DS. Thankfully, i got system with a hand grip and it made holding the system more comfortable. Analog sticks feel fragile and they had a drift (despite that original owner already changed them once already). I fixed drift by increasing deadzone in game's settings, but stick is still placed too close to d-pad, so i found myself touching the stick accidentally when controlling the game with a d-pad.

Port is wonky and prone to slowdowns and crashes. But i was saving often enough so i wasn't too annoyed and took each crash as an opportunity to improve my time. However when i reached underwater area with enemies that shoot bullet hell patterns on dying was way too much for Vita port. Then i reached Serris and the boss is completely bugged -- only the head shows up and then he disappears leaving me alone in a room hard-locked.

After looking it up -- there are other ports that fix these and other bugs but i couldn't be bothered enough to learn how to install/update homebrew on Vita. I guess that finishes my experience with Vita port -- back to original PC...

AM2R (PC, version 1.5.3):

I updated the game. Apparently, the community around the game are still adding all kinds of things to it, like crazy time-trials levels, multiplayer mod (?), randomisers, horde mode (?). Base game too has been updated with newers sprites (no longer just copies of GBA games!), new effects and logs.

I restarted and completed the game, and again got stuck with 98% completion with over 2 hours time. This time i gave up, and googled map to check what i was missing. While referencing the map i also discovered that in-game map also doesn't show collectables if they're on the same cell with unlockable items like wave beam and such. Yet another way how AM2R's map is bafflingly worse than Fusion's and Zero Mission's despite emulating them in every other respect.

Getting 100% shows a special cutscene -- a story hook for Fusion and unlocks Fusion mode -- take that Samus Returns: no Amiibo required!

Continuing comparison of 2 remakes i found myself wanting to parry enemies that charge you, which proves how natural of an evolution parry ended up to be especially against Metroid 2 enemies. Funny how both remakes ended up doing similar decisions to spice up monotony of killing the same metroids over and over again, adding Chozo-made robot bosses.

Watching some youtube videos about AM2R i saw many people praising it for "inventing" morphball/unmorph shortcut, which i feel is misplaced. AM2R is a product of active Metroid modding community where such shortcuts have been a standard for more than a decade now (see Project Base for example). AM2R didn't invent instant morphball or Metroid Prime-style tractor beam but i think so few people are aware of Metroid mods, everything that repackages community's ideas in a more accessible package feels like new.

Even if Samus Returns places morphball button rather awkwardly on a touchscreen, parry button works also as an unmorph which is the functionality you need the most.

Overall: a great fan-service game. I wished map's item indicator was a better but otherwise it's my only nitpick.
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Offline azeke

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1054 on: December 12, 2022, 05:36:52 AM »
Luigi's Mansion 3:

Kinda crazy to say but i think i liked 2 better?.. Next Level games basically re-did the exact same game and not only didn't improve on annoying features of Dark Moon, but feels like doubled down on some of them.

Structure-wise they just renamed separate mansions as floors and made more of them. Even removal of mission structure doesn't make as much of a difference and is even detrimental in some ways: in 2 because each mission has a linear path where you're going from point A to B you can tell which gem is where by its placement, i.e. the first gem is somewhere in the starting area, third gem will be after the second gem and so on. The sequence is broken with gems of 3 which can be anywhere on the floor.

With more than dozen bosses, you could feel how NLG ran out of ideas -- gimmick from Dark Moon's ladder  quessing minigame is back and no less than four later bosses (including the final one) force you to play magic 3-cup game. Another recurring gimmick -- making boss a piece of wooden furniture -- ladder in 2, piano and pirate ship floor in 3. In general, fighting most bosses is just surviving through their attacks and waiting for that one phase where you will are allowed to harm them. It becomes tedious especially if you die on later phase and have to replay it.

Game's good bosses were memorable for the story and humour reasons and not for gameplay like the movie set ending sequence, dancing hall -- other ones felt generic or just bad like naval battle on floating ducks.

LM3 makes good use of physics -- it's fun to throw and break everything around you and watch the money float down. Environmental physics especially shines in circular saw and super suction sequences -- it is just exciting to destroy things at that scale.

Graphics-wise, Luigi's Mansion 3 is the best looking game on Switch. It's probably a single first party Nintendo game that uses anti-aliasing. Image quality, camera and cutscene direction is fantastic and animation is top-notch as always.

Overall, a good game but it felt like it's just Dark Moon but bigger and longer instead of a return to somewhat metroidvania structure of 1. Collecting boos and gems for 100% also kinda annoyed and soured me on the whole, but it was fun 40 hours nevertheless.
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Offline azeke

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1055 on: February 15, 2023, 01:46:38 PM »
A small update:
AM2R (PC, version 1.5.3):

Today, i got recommended a video about the current state AM2R which i think very detailed and largely reflects my thoughts on remake:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu37NDqxtH4

It's rare for video about AM2R not just go deeper than "DMCAd AM2R vs Samus Returns" debacle but also describe major updates game has been receiving over the years.
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Offline Ian Sane

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1056 on: March 06, 2023, 01:51:16 PM »
Pokemon Scarlet

I completed the Pokedex yesterday.  I don't have online but my brother does and he has Violet so I was able to get the version specific Pokemon by linking with him locally.  The one tricky one was the third starter, but he got it from a co-worker and bred a new one for me.

This is the only Pokemon game I have ever filled the Pokedex in.  Now I don't play every game.  When I get a new Nintendo handheld I tend to get the first Pokemon that comes out since then and then generally lose interest and never get others until a new system.  So I've had Blue, Ruby, X and now Scarlet.

Lots of focus has been on Scarlet's bugs and general jank.  It's a shame because there's a reason this is by first complete Pokedex and it's because this feels like the Pokemon game I imagined as the logical progression of the series, when I assumed it would get a console release back on the Gamecube.  You explore the world and can see Pokemon out in the field doing their thing in their natural habitat.  This is what I always wanted.  It's what I hoped X would be as a proper 3D Pokemon and was disappointed to find that it wasn't.

Now regardless of that and the bugs, it still has some clear design issues:
  • Tera Raid Battles do not provide experience so they're not that useful.  They do give you items and you can catch Pokemon using them but since you can't level up your Pokemon with them, I find I didn't do them often despite them being all over the map.  Grinding to fill my Pokedex was a chore at the end but if I could have used the Tera Raids to do it I think that would have been more fun.
  • Area Zero has no map.  That makes it very difficult to find your bearings when you're in there.  That just seems unfinished to me.  Also when linked with my brother we could not see each other in Area Zero.  That's just an unacceptable bug and without a map it made it even more difficult to tell each other "hey, there's a rare Pokemon over here.  I'm, uh, near the big rock I guess."
  • There is no way to mark anything on the map aside from one destination.  A few times I found something I knew to come back to later and I couldn't remember where it was.  Part of the game includes finding ominous stakes around the world.  There is no indication where they are, which I'm fine with because I want to look over the whole map to find them.  The problem is there is no indication of where they WERE.  So I need 8 but I've found 6 or 7 but that was weeks ago and I don't remember where I already found them.  So I see on the map areas where I think they likely would be and I find nothing.  Was there one already here and I should look somewhere else entirely?  Can't remember.  If I could have marked the areas where I already found one it would have made it so much easier to narrow down where else to look.
  • I barely used the sandwich system which seems like something they focused on that isn't that useful.  The shops in the towns tend to focus a lot on this so the towns just aren't that interesting.  There are lots of buildings that you can't access and the shops are the same sandwich shops or item shops that you find everywhere.

Still it's a great game but one that seems half-baked and unfinished.  In that sense it shows how strong the Pokemon concept is that if you make a halfway decent open world game out of it, it's a lot of fun.  I can't help but think that a later game building off of this will be really amazing.  So if you're interested but don't intend on jumping in right this minute, it probably makes sense to see what the next Pokemon game has to see how it improves.

Offline Mop it up

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1057 on: March 07, 2023, 03:11:22 PM »
Tera Raid Battles do not provide experience so they're not that useful.  They do give you items and you can catch Pokemon using them but since you can't level up your Pokemon with them,
The raids are mainly something to do in multiplayer, but they can still be used to catch quite a few Monz instead of doing trades, which is nice. They are used for weekly events to offer extra challenges and sometimes catch a new Mon not available elsewhere. Also, one of the rewards for completing them is XP candies, so the raids can be used to level up your Monz and is generally a faster method than fighting Monz out in the wild.

I barely used the sandwich system which seems like something they focused on that isn't that useful.
I hear it's mainly useful for shiny hunting but I never tried to figure out the effects meself. This is another thing that's fun to do in multiplayer, as having four players attempt to build up a big sandwich without any of the ingredients falling off is quite the challenge!

Offline Evan_B

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1058 on: March 09, 2023, 08:23:13 AM »
Inscryption is not the last game I beat, but it is the best game I last beat.

It’s difficult to discuss as a full experience, but the roguelike loop is one where you can trick yourself into hyper-fixating on “progression” without actually learning anything. I stumbled into a broken mechanic that made me realize how fully-fleshed out each segment of this game really is, and that’s a welcome surprise. I’d argue Inscryption, much like Anodyne 2: Return to Dust, features the best kind of surprise that a game can implement: gameplay twists. The knowledge that a game won’t just fall into a predictable loop from a gameplay standpoint can be fertile grounds for engagement, but to know that the formula will be given a twist multiple times during an entire playthrough is a triumph for any developer, let alone an independent one. It is a beautiful thing, and while it might not maintain its momentum throughout its s three-act structure, it still manages to triumph.
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Offline azeke

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1059 on: March 13, 2023, 08:17:03 AM »
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (Wii U, as part of Prime Trilogy):

This game is weird. Different artstyle hits immediately with Samus's new-ish suit and ship with unnecessary weird ridges and other details. Starting environments, also, looked like B-tier sci-fi post-apocalyptic movie with dusty tents in the desert. Dark suit that you spend most of the game in, looks even more gaudy

Majority of rooms in MP1 were glorified corridors (Magmoor Caverns for one is literally just a line) sequel's level design is more condensed and grouped together. Now all 4 hub-like locations are connected with each other in a Mercedes-Benz star logo pattern. Unlocks' progression is mostly localised to one level until you're done with it and go to the next one. Because of a more compact layout walking distances are reduced greatly.

More complex level design, doubled again with light/dark worlds makes the map UI even more important. But sometimes map shows a door or a portal but doesn't show it is behind a fence or pile of denzium, so you can go all the way there only to get disappointed once you see you can't get in there.

You have to plan out your expeditions into Dark world and because 3d map can't show both variants at once you will need to memorize your path in and out before your set out. Because of this i spend way more time staring at the map than with the first game.

Both times i got stuck, were kinda map's faults too:

1. Finding seeker missiles in Hall of Honoured Dead. Hint showed me i have to go back from back to Temple grounds and insisted i must go to the room directly under Great Temple but no matter how i looked at the map i couldn't figure out the way how to get in there -- all i could see were 3 elevators up to Great Temple but not to the room under it.

2. Getting Power Bomb from Torvus Bog. The stupidest thing was -- hint was showing the place where i could get it -- but the room was behind Power Bomb-locked door! So i had to have the item to get the item?!.. Eventually i figured out there must be another way to get in there and arrived there from the Dark side but it took me a while to realize that this is correct and there is a trick to it.

Apparently i wasn't the only one who had problems with these 2 unlocks.

First trips into Dark world felt scary at first, but as you get more energy tanks life loss gets increasingly mitigated. Dark and Light concept is also represented in ammo system which simultaneously feels too restrictive but also pointless -- why even demand to open door with light/dark ammo if you can still open them with charged shots even if empty? Similarly why make player fight enemies in closed rooms if they eventually disappear and doors unlock by themselves? The implementation is so half heartedly done it's like developers weren't sure in their ideas themselves.

Guardian bosses are frustrating at first, but i got to appreciate their design afterwards. Some really inventive uses for Metroid abilities. By comparison, Dark Samus boss encounters feel dumb -- you just shoot it with regular beam occasionally switching visor.

UI styles designed as solar system is annoying to use. I constantly kept messing up the direction i need to spin menu items.

Screenshot tool costing a bunch of achievement badges is so stupid. Judging at how many badges it costs, i would have to complete all three games and potentially even play multiplayer and do the whole friend codes thing just for the privilege of being able to take screenshots.

If Nintendo/Retro ever get around to remastering Prime 2 the biggest improvement would be removing cutscene of going into the portal. I presume Switch must be able to load and keep both worlds of 20 year old Gamecube game in it's memory. That alone would cut ~20 minutes off playthrough time because you have to go back and forth hundreds of time. One room in Sanctuary Fortress alone has four portals inside it.

Once again, game blocks the last story bosses behind key hunt. I liked artifact hunt in MP1 because it was all about exploration -- best part of these games. Sky temple key hunt feels better in MP2 because the map is more interconnected and the puzzles are a bit more involved. Game no longer spells out name of the room, so i had to actually roam a bit based on A-Kul's hints to find last 2 keys.

I finished the game with 80% completion at 22:21.

MP1 was a trailblazer, they had to invent so much stuff with controls, lock-on, visors, morphball, boostball and all kinds of camera modes. MP2 has good guardian bosses but artstyle and ammo felt like misses to me. I liked Retro trying to incorporate space jump into 3d levels but it felt janky and unfinished -- hitting a corner or a ceiling trying to get into some room was annoying. Same with Dark/Light worlds concept and most of the combat. I wasn't keen on combat in MP1 either but i enjoyed the atmosphere and levels of the first game way more.
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Offline azeke

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1060 on: March 20, 2023, 03:42:36 AM »
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (as part of Trilogy):

It took me months to finish Prime 2 and years on and off to complete Metroid Prime 1. I enjoyed 3 so much i finished it with 100% in a week. Time on "mission complete" screen was 18:54.

I never finished previous Prime games with 100% before because until this game they didn't show items on a map. UI in general, is improved across the board -- no more weird planetoid menu items, scanning is more smooth, you can also select and deselect individual rooms on a map as bookmarking of sorts.

Level design feels like it took all the best elements from previous games. Skytown is like a better version of Sanctuary Fortress from 2, Valhalla is a great spin on Metroid/Alien staple "spooky crashed ship". Bryyo is a very good Metroid Prime 1-style dungeon with fantastic lore to tell, and Skytown's lore about Elysians was pretty interesting too.

The art-design is a strong comeback after moody and weird Echoes' style that just didn't gel with me. None of the suits look as ugly as Dark Suit and environments are more varied. I remember saying "wow" when entering Skytown and Valhalla for the first time.

Game has many great memorable moments: initial exploration on Valhalla felt like something straight from "Event Horizon" or similar horror sci-fi flick, when you see soldiers' bodies turning to dust for the first time. Skytown is a beautiful level by itself but also has funny old 50s movie robots clumsily walking around. Destroying them is somehow comedic too whether you're just exploding them or melting them. Warping to Ice part of Bryyo for the first time and music adding a hint of Phendrana Drift was a magical moment.

I am playing this as a part of Trilogy so change in controls went smooth because i only played these games with Wii pointer controls. Occasional motion controls to extract batteries and open doors are slightly cumbersome but not that bad and relatively unobtrusive. The only motion you have to do in combat is pulling motion with grapple hook and it works fine.

More important change in controls is removal of beam selection -- now all beams stack, upgrading beam weapon as you progress through the game. + button on wiimote now controls hypermode and you have to hold it to activate. Because - and + buttons are operated differently i no longer confused visor and beam button. Hypermode is a combat enhancer like Devil Trigger and it is just fun to activate it and go ham on enemies.

Beginning of the game is heavy on Galactic Federation game. When starting the game i got the impression Metroid "went mainstream" imitating more popular military shooters like Halo and Call of Duty where you are part of a big army effort, but that is over pretty quickly and after that game becomes usual Metroid style exploring abandoned worlds alone. I am guessing Retro didn't want to "reduce" Samus in her own game so Galactic federation are kinda useless -- half of the campaign is you saving and babysitting them and in the final battle cutscene there is zero point of them even being there because you still do everything. There is only one part where you actually work as part of a squad with them and that does feel like a small Call of Duty campaign but it only takes 10 minutes.

The more proactive characters are other bounty hunters. Their introduction feels like beginning of Metal Gear Solid game where new characters and their abilities are established so you know who you will later be facing as bosses. Bounty hunters were okay, they could have done even more with their characterisation but what is there is pretty good -- ending cutscene where Samus reminisces about them is nice.

In the beginning, unlocks are paced in a linear, rigid formula: you land in an area A and then go as deep as you can until you're blocked. Then you're told to go to another area B, get the unlock there and come back to area A. It all feels like you're constantly walking back and forth the same rooms. Game makes sure to compensate this adding slightly different combat and story scenarios on returning trips but it doesn't mask backtracking in the beginning.

Sometime after i reached Skytown game structure opens up and i was more free to expore and collect items on several different planets at the same time. Valhalla also opens around the same time and it is this game version of final artifact hunt. You need to collect 12 batteries that will be used as keys to go deeper into Valhalla until you reach final room that unlocks end game. Batteries are spread out more evenly and you get most of them just by playing the game. I only had to get out of my way to find 2 of them -- 1 was just lying there in docking bay of Valhalla and i just never noticed it until i actively started looking for them. The other was in Bryyo and it probably the only tricky battery. It required my ship to place some part in top of a structure. I had no idea what part exactly game was asking me to get -- so i just went over all rooms in that part of Bryyo with Command Visor turn on look for the part. Only took me 5 minutes -- i actually spent more time trying to think about it logically and failing.

Each planet is divided into smaller parts accessed by ship. Ship acts as fast travel system and gains other upgrades throughout the game. Apparently you could even use it to bomb enemies on open areas -- but i only discovered this function at the last hour of the game so i only use twice if that. Ship also works as kinda toy to mess around in between levels like you can check your in-game stats and your Corruption status.

The game is supposed to conclude Phazon trilogy so theme of Phazon corruption dominates everything, hence the title. Everyone gets Phazoned -- Galactic Federation, bounty hunters, space pirates. Reading lore entries how Dark Samus creates splinter cult of Space Pirates that are worhsiping her and calling her "our glorious leader" was amusing. Samus herself also gets Phazon abilities and hypermode adds a fun risk reward system because it consumes your life when activated.

Bosses were pretty fun if not as inventive as guardians from Prime 2 Echoes (but also not as annoying). Risking dying in this game is even more fun because -- game checkpoints before every big combat encounter and boss battle so even if you die you go back to it almost immediately.

All these badges (basically achievements) is was getting in 1 and 2 were apparently introduced in this game. But in Corruption you have achievements for more than just beating bosses and getting items -- there are all kinds of achievements for doing specific feats, getting scans -- very similar to achievements system on Steam and Xbox.

Music is a bit generic but still competent enough. Overall i think this is my favourite Metroid Prime game -- quality of life features (map, UI) go a long way for me but also nice art-style and atmosphere, great all around levels and satisfying combat. Now i am really looking forward how Metroid Prime 4 will look like.
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Offline Khushrenada

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1061 on: March 20, 2023, 10:59:59 AM »
I remember saying "wow" when entering Skytown and Valhalla for the first time.

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Offline azeke

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1062 on: March 22, 2023, 07:25:51 AM »
I will be returning my friend's PS Vita, so might as well write down impressions about games i finished on it.

Flower:

Nice artsy-fartsy experience. Tilting Vita to control petals' movement didn't felt precise enough but the game doesn't really require it. Night rain level was so dark i could barely see what is around me, i wonder if it was because Vita model i had wasn't OLED...

Tearaway:

It's alright, though i never really liked tone in Sony's games in genres that are close to Nintendo games (like this one and Little Big Planet) -- it comes off as insincere and saccharine to me. Gameplay-wise it's a decent 3d platformer -- even if you can't jump for the first hour or so. Utilizing all of Vita's features works okay and gimmicks don't have the time to get old until the game ends. Though the one where you need to cut out hats, crowns and other character's features out of coloured paper -- i never really bothered with it and the characters were happy no matter how half assedly i made their thing.

Gravity Rush:

This game's movement is fun. Pressing shoulder button to change direction of gravity and "fall" in any chosen direction is exhilarating. You can also press another shoulder button to turn artificial gravity off and fall down naturally to reorient yourself or get a quick breather on solid ground when you need to refill your gravity gauge. Flying is pretty fun though it can get disorienting -- i was even getting dizzy at times. I guess this explains Japanese name "Gravity Daze".

The city you're in floats in the air and has many levels with lots of skyscrapers and towers. I always liked complex vertical architecture like this in videogames, Gotham in Batman: Arkham Knight comes to mind. There are crystals floating on top of every roof and under every bridge so you can just collect them for a while and upgrading your abilities without even touching any story missions. Just traversing this city is fun by itself.

Story missions also unlock challenge missions these are probably the part where game's movement mechanics really shine. I spent many hours optimizing's my routes in race challenges. Gravity slide challenges were harder to do because sliding controls are kinda broken -- you need to touch bottom corners of your touchscreen to start sliding and direction is motion controlled. It kinda works but making tight corners during sliding is almost impossible.

Combat challenges i stopped bothering with because unlike movement combat is pretty boring. All the more shame that story is filled with combat especially later in the game.

Story itself is kinda baffling. It doesn't really explain anything, things just happen, story arcs keep piling up and not get resolved at all, even the ending is more of a cliffhanger than a proper wrap-up.

Overall, very fun game with great movement and cute main character but the story and the combat are kinda meh.
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Offline jarodea

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1063 on: April 03, 2023, 05:53:23 PM »
Paper Mario Origami King.  A game I liked a lot more than I thought I would.

Offline azeke

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1064 on: April 20, 2023, 01:46:13 AM »
Pikmin 2 (New Play Control, Wii):

Last time i touched this game was in 2014, with 4th game coming out and third game still largely unplayed i decided to finish it.

First Pikmin game felt like a short but nicely designed puzzle game. Jankyness of mechanics didn't to get old and meta-game of speedrunning the game to collect all items in 30 days provided just enough incentive to play (and replay) the game efficiently.

Second Pikmin game feels like such a big swerve, moment to moment gameplay is largely the same but meta-game is completely changed from speedrunning to survival game. Instead of striving for more efficient time management on the surface you are now playing roguelite dungeon crawler with constantly dwindling squad as you go deeper and deeper. Not losing your pikmin is technically possible but it is extremely tedious because mechanics are still janky and randomly generated layouts can sometimes can spawn you right near the enemy or hazards.

For me, surviving in the caves feels more stressful and less compelling than working around time limit in 1. Despite that game Pikmin 2 doesn't have "game over" (you can't "die" technically) a misplay can rob the player of a good 20-30 minutes run unless you're constantly resetting which i ultimately was forced to do. Resorting to press Reset button on the actual console when some random mistake costs you half of your pikmin feels so bad. It also doesn't feel like an actual solution to bad game design at all, they just made it relatively easy to restart a floor rather than prevent cave generator do unfair layouts.

Because bosses at the very last floor are so hard you will often have to make several expeditions -- one to scout the place out and collect easier items, 2nd to get to the boss and check his patterns, 3rd (and maybe 4th) to actually kill the boss, and yet another one to collect all the remaining treasure. This is way too much time spent replaying the same level. And designers definitely knew about -- that's why deep caves have geysers mid way that instantly transport you to the surface.

It's not a coincidence that game's best cave is the only one with fixed layout. It's also really short unlike some other end-game caves that can be as deep as 15 floors. Submerged castle is short, has an actual level design and a fun gimmick -- everything all other castles are not.

Challenge mode is the closest sequel has to Pikmin 1 gameplay with timed missions. But even that is executed badly because there are so many of them and they require perfect play for final reward.

In general Pikmin 2 feels like a sequel that subverts structure of original game making it too long and tedious for no reason. New Piklopedia describing items is nice and has wholesome writing and there are new mechanics, enemies and bosses but it all drowns in tedium of caves and having to constantly replay unfair floors over and over again.

Unfortunately, Pikmin 4 looks like it brings back caves again -- hopefully they're no longer randomly generated.

Metroid Prime Remastered (Switch):

I wasn't in a hurry to replay the game after finishing Prime Trilogy, but i felt like getting physical version anyway. Nintendo probably didn't make enough carts, so Amazon delayed my physical version till middle of April.

I just put the cart into the Switch to test it and check new shiny graphics but once i started i just couldn't stop and spent most of the weekend playing it again.

New controls make a bigger difference than i expected. It took me a while to get used to standard dual stick controls after playing entire Trilogy with pointer controls. Gyro also doesn't improve the game as much as i hoped, so i eventually turned it off.

However i did turn off all on-screen helmet ridges and UI and the picture looks really nice now. Not being able to tell how much stuff i have doesn't harm the gameplay, except for when you have to save power bombs.

This was my first time when i was going for 100% item and scan completion in Metroid Prime and i got 88%. I tried to listen for humming sound but most of the ones i missed where tucked so far away you can't hear them, like the the ones in underwater caverns or the one in a hole behind bushes. "Gotcha" secrets like that make me glad both 2d and 3d series evolved to explicitly mark items on the map.
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Offline Luigi Dude

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1065 on: April 20, 2023, 10:29:36 PM »
"Gotcha" secrets like that make me glad both 2d and 3d series evolved to explicitly mark items on the map.

This is something that drives me crazy about a lot of these indie Metroid/Metroidvania titles.  They love to copy the map system of Super Metroid, but refuse to mark items or tell you if you've found all the items in a certain area, something all the 2D Metroids after Super did.

It's like seriously, this was such a great QOL improvement that actually makes it fun to get 100% completion in later Metroid games because it removes much of the tedium in trying to find everything.  If I beat the game with 91% completion, it's nice to know what parts of the game I found everything in so you don't waste time looking in those again.  This is something that should be standard in every Metroid style game and yet it seems to be the opposite from most of the ones I've played.
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Offline Ian Sane

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1066 on: May 01, 2023, 03:38:41 PM »
So here's a funny one:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Wii U.

With Tears of the Kingdom out in less than two weeks I figured I should go back and wrap up the earlier game so I would know exactly what's going on story wise.  I had played the game when it was new and did something that I've had a tendency to do where I finish the entire game except the last boss.  I don't really find that kind of thing that fun so I tend to leave games hanging like that.  Zelda in particular has the problem where the story is not usually very interesting and the gameplay I like the most is exploring the world.  So when I've explored the world, I've essentially gotten everything I want out of it.

Turns out I was really close to the end because I wrapped things up in one afternoon.  Prior to storming the castle I did the Xenoblade 2 mission (which I guess downloaded at some point?  Didn't remember anything about) and found a shrine as a warm up.

This game is really hard when you haven't played it for five years and don't remember the mechanics.  Somehow the button mapping seems completely different than anything else I've recently played.  As I expected I was getting destroyed by routine enemies.  As a result my approach to get into the castle was stealth.  Still had to beat Ganon though and I'm rather surprised I did so since I was so inept at the combat.  I barely beat his first form and took three or four tries to his second.  I had to look up how to use updrafts which are required as I just don't remember how the game plays at all.  The horse in the final battle also kept running in the wrong direction.  Is this a random horse or one the ones from my stable?  If so I was training a new one up so maybe it picked one I hadn't tamed yet?

But I'm happy to have wrapped it up.  Ending is not much beyond "hooray you saved the world!" which is precisely why I so often don't have the drive to beat Zelda games.  Though now I'm a little more hyped up for the sequel, having gotten that little taste of the gameplay again.  It will probably be really fun when I'm learning the system again and not throwing myself into the final boss battle without remembering how to play.

Offline azeke

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1067 on: May 14, 2023, 07:10:34 AM »
Pikmin 3 (Wii U):

Pikmin (and the rest of Nintendo games) finally went HD, and it's probably the most beautiful game on the console. Natural miniature landscapes really pop and whimsy pikmin and weird monster designs really benefit from increased resolution.

3 lost swarming functionality from 1-2, so there is less control over the shape of your pikmin crowd, pikmin following you are more of a mob retreading your tracks, and it's hard to bunch them in a compact formation. Pikmin are a bit "smarter", but their AI can still lead them falling off bridges or just walk into the water. 3 games in and that's still an issue. Another aspect of "smarter" pikmin AI is that for jobs that are continuous like building a bridge or collecting spice berries they go back the mining place instead of staying near spaceship landing zone. It's good if you just want to assign 2-3 guys to farm berries at the start of the day, provided you don't forget to pick them up at dawn.

Bigger problem than pikmin just walking into water are boss battles which require quick and precise positioning. To somewhat fix this, Pikmin 3 introduces dodging so you can command your entire platoon to jump away from boss attack. Coincidentally, Pikmin 3 also introduces lock-on for easier targeting. With both lock-on and dodging Pikmin is now officially more of an action game than real time strategy. Now that i think about it, "Charge!" command is also yet another replacement for swarming mechanic they took out.

Though i suspect lock-on was introduced because Pikmin 3 was after New Play Control version on Wii and going back to previous analog control scheme feels super bad after precise targeting with a wiimote. I played with wiimote, but the game annoyingly forces to use gamepad for map. Having to switch controllers and screens isn't as bad as how the map is displayed as bird's eye view making parsing environment harder than actual proper abstract map where you can clearly tell if there is a lost pikmin or a treasure or whatnot. At the start of the campaign i was losing a lot of pikmin in the field because i couldn't understand the map and couldn't see where strayed pikmin are. "Go here!" UI also took me a while to get the hang of.

Game structure went back to Pikmin 1 levels, thank god no more 15 floor deep caves. Each Pikmin game so far (and even upcoming Pikmin 4) adds new types of pikmin so switching between different kinds of pikmin and captains becomes more and more cumbersome.

Final level took me a long time and many retries. Just getting to final arena is hard enough let alone also fighting the boss itself. Thankfully final level is designed to replayable as you open more and more shortcuts to get to final arena faster. I really liked the concept and design of the boss and other enemy for that matter -- signature Pikmin monster creepiness is at the height in this game.

Levels have hidden cards with digits on them, i wondered if that these are some kind of collectible for 100% but apparently these are secret codes. Player was supposed to use Wii U internal browser to go to the game's official site and enter codes manually to get a short video. Really, Nintendo? I kinda wanted to collect them all but after looking it up and realizing it's just a video (not even in-game) i gave up on it.

Just like 2, 3 has some of challenge levels (including DLC levels i got from gold coins on My Nintendo) and bonus modes, but i guess i am good for now.

Overall Pikmin 3 is probably my favourite game in the series, looks great, great bosses, weird enemy designs, i just wish map wasn't on the gamepad. I looked up videos about Switch Deluxe port and some of the features there look really nice, but i really don't want to throw pikmin with analog stick.
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Offline Adrock

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1068 on: May 31, 2023, 10:31:04 PM »
This ended up being longer than expected. 🤷‍♀️ Also, unmarked spoilers.

Metroid Prime Remastered

This was a rare full price game for me. I read conflicting reports on whether this was intended to be a limited physical release so I picked this up ASAP just in case.

I can't find the interview, but I vaguely remember reading the developers didn't want to change too much because they considered Metroid Prime to be perfect already. To that: Ehh, the game is still good though it definitely shows its age in certain aspects. Game development and design have advanced to much in 21 years so what was fine in 2002 feels kind of janky in 2023 like the platforming.

Some thoughts:

1. The texture work here is amazing. I probably wouldn't have fully appreciated it had I not seen it side-by-side with the original. The remaster looks the way I remember the original.

2. The original controls are... fine. I opted for the default dual stick though switching between beams and shooting missiles felt less natural. Overall, movement felt better while combat felt worse.

3. Morph Ball jump was added though I would have preferred it be mapped to the B button like in first person mode, or for an option to swap jump and boost in Morph Ball mode.

4. Beams no longer cast dynamic lighting that illuminate the environment. Digital Foundry speculated that this may not play well with the new lighting system or it could be a performance issue. I didn't think I'd noticed when I watched their video, but I definitely did because...

5. While the lighting system is collectively much better in Metroid Prime Remastered, some halls and rooms are really dark now making navigation more difficult since you can't see as well (not the rooms that are pitch black on purpose). Adding new/more light sources and/or being able to shoot beams into those areas for depth perception and overall placement of self and other objects/enemies would have gone a long way.

6. In my old age, I simply cannot stand any area in games where it's pitch black. I get the effect the developers are going for, but you know......... don't. It isn't fun. In this game, this is usually accompanied by enemies you can only see with a different visor. Collectively, all of that is a bad time.

7. I forgot how Chozo Ghosts just start popping up in other rooms at a certain point. They're just as awful in 2023. Sometimes you can simply walk by them to the next room while others you actually have to fend them off because you have to do a thing in that room. And fellas, y'all didn't have to go so hard on the Chozo Ghost music.

8. The world is not as connected as it should have been. Going back to Phendrana Drifts and especially the Phazon Mines often felt like a chore. There's an elevator to the Phazon Mines that leads to the Frigate Crash Site but the door isn't accessible from the ground. I understand gatekeeping during the first pass, maybe even the second. After that, it's just a pain in the ass to navigate. Adding some floating platforms later on would have been a game changer.

9. I'm a little disappointed Nintendo didn't throw in Jennifer Hale's narration that leaked like 15 years ago as a bonus.

10. The Spider Ball sound effect is 🤌.

11. Semi-hot take: There should have been a third person mode added in Metroid Prime Remastered (similar to Capcom with Resident Evil Village). Granted, that would have been a ton of work. While Metroid Prime doesn't need a third person mode, it would have been nice to see the game in a new way after all these years.

Anyway, I probably won't play Metroid Prime again. I really should stop replaying games I loved as a much younger person. I'll always remember how I felt playing certain games for the first time. And while those memories remain, there's no way to recapture that feeling so there's at least a tinge of resentment when a game isn't as good as my memories of it. For that reason, I probably won't replay Super Metroid ever again either (will likely play a remake though). Still, I try to be mindful of this when assessing a game years down the line.

That said, while Metroid Prime may not be as good as it was 21 years ago, it still mostly holds up, and this is a great remaster. A lot of care went into sprucing up the visuals without negatively affecting the original's absolutely wonderful art design. While it was nice to revisit the game, I need to start crossing games off my backlog. Speaking of...

Metroid: Samus Returns

I started a new save file since I hadn't played the game in nearly six years. I wanted to officially finish Samus Returns before returning to Metroid Dread which I also didn't finish. I'm also stalling on returning to Breath of the Wild because I haven't found the motivation to practice Trial of the Sword until I'm good enough to beat it.

I previously dropped Samus Returns in 2017 because I couldn't beat Diggernaut. This is especially hilarious because if you forgo 100% item collection after this boss, there's maybe like an hour of game left. The Diggernaut boss has one move that sucks you in and causes an egregious amount of damage. If only there was a way to remain planted on the ground to prevent this. Straight up bush league game design. Not really. You're supposed to use Spider Ball. My dumb ass straight up stopped playing a game because I forgot that one of the game's most used mechanics existed. 🤷‍♀️

Anyway, this remake is fine, good even. Some thoughts:

1. The gameplay is on point. It has the requisite exploration and hidden upgrades the series in known for. The Melee Counter feels like a natural evolution for the series, like a better implemented SenseMove/Counter Attack from Other M.

2. The level design is not as refined as I'd like it to be, making SR388 feel disjointed. The various areas flow sequentially and are not interconnected in any way. Warp points feel out of place in Metroid. However, they're kind of functionally needed in Samus Returns due to how self-contained and isolated each Area is. Super Metroid had intentional shortcuts between sections, allowing you to consider the best return path. Without those, backtracking can be kind of a slog.

3. There were some places where you have to go through a few rooms to get a power up. The developers could have added a crumble block in the last room to drop you off at the first room. Instead, you just have to backtrack through all those rooms. The strangest thing is they only do this sometimes; other times they don't. It's such a weird design choice.

4. The Metroid fights were not particularly fun which is a bummer in particular due to how many there are. It's a lot of waiting, usually for a Melee Counter white flash. Also, some Zeta Metroids flee to different rooms. Why? Overall, just a bad time.

5. MercurySteam did its best with the controls. Not being able to run and aim hurt the combat particularly in some boss fights. There are too many functions for the limited inputs of a regular 3DS. Mapping beam and missile switching to the touchscreen is less than ideal. Mapping instant morph ball to the touchscreen felt intentionally offensive (especially given how some of the collectable upgrades are obtained).

6. A New Nintendo 3DS control option would have been greatly appreciated.

7. Samus Returns looks good for a 3DS game though it could definitely use a Switch/Switch 2 remaster. The textures are pretty muddy, and some areas are just Purple, The Room®.

8. There are too many lights on Samus' suits, ultimately bogging down the design. Every upgrade just adds more lights. Generally, these kinds of design cues are intended to make a character stand out. That isn't really the case here. I never had trouble seeing Samus. Silver lining: nothing is worse than the last suit in Metroid Dread (which got spoiled for me). Yikes.

9. Adding Ridley was a mistake. I like the surprise of a new final boss; I just wish it wasn't Ridley again.

10. The extended Last Metroid sequence felt tacked on. From a gameplay perspective, it functionally acts as the final power up but only for collecting optional upgrades. This only drags out the end game similar to Other M's epilogue. And while it may add depth and context to other games in the series, it's an unnecessary change. That one particular scene in Super Metroid doesn't require further contextualization. It accomplishes the same thing on its own more effectively and in far less time.

11. Yo, that part in Area 8 where the Metroid counter increases was 🤌.

12. Feature locking Fusion Mode behind Amiibo was pretty crummy. Mind you, I won't even touch regular Hard Mode. I don't support the practice of locking this kind of content behind Amiibo out of principle. The Samus Returns 2-Pack Amiibo was really hard to get at the time and is hella expensive now. Granted, you can get unofficial NFC cards on eBay for like $15. You shouldn't have to do that though.

I realize these are mostly criticisms. However, I actually liked Samus Returns. Collectively, it's a good game, and I don't regret spending time on it. I won't play it again, not on 3DS anyway. From what I played of Metroid Dread, some of these issues have already been addressed such as the controls though admittedly, that's more a criticism of the hardware.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2023, 03:30:17 AM by Adrock »

Offline Ian Sane

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1069 on: November 15, 2023, 12:12:10 PM »
So over the weekend I beat Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.  So it took me about six months and this was pretty much the only thing I played on Switch, aside from the odd demo here and there and little bit of Addams Family pinball.  I didn't 100% the game but unlike Breath of the Wild I actually did complete every shrine.  I wasn't originally thinking of doing so but realized as I got close to the end game that I was only a few shrines away so I gave it a go.  Had to resort to a map to find the last one though as it was in a cave I had visited at some point but gone past it and forgotten about it.  It was a Shrine quest that some person gives you but for whatever reason I never talked to that person so it wasn't in my Adventure Log.

Ending wise, it's Zelda so it's pretty much just saved the day, everything's great, etc.  The experience of playing the game is where the enjoyment comes from in Zelda, less the story.  My brother had beat the game months before and had warned me about the last boss battle and then he sat dumbfounded on the couch as I almost effortlessly beat it.  He noticed I used a defensive approach while he's more offensive and it seems that my approach was the better one.

This is one of the best games I've ever played but I will say I was getting bored by the end of it and ready to play other things.  The game is maybe a little too big or would benefit from taking breaks in playing it so everything freshens up each time.  Or just don't go for every shrine I suppose.  I was worried that the re-used map from Breath of the Wild would be a problem, but it isn't really and having played both games it is fun to see how things have changed.  But a third game using this map would be overkill.  They had their one chance to recycle things and have it not seem like a cop-out.  Though it does result in a strange situation where I feel like this is the better game but it works best if you're familiar with first game.  So you have the play the weaker first title and if you were to play them both back-to-back it would probably be a slog.  You need a few years between them.

My favourite part of this game that made it better?  Weapon Fusion.  The constant breaking of weapons was such a pain in the first game and while the feature is still here, the ability to fuse weapons with other items makes it fun.  The fused weapons tend to have a longer lifespan and the customizations gives it more of a strategic element.  I think it "fixed" the breaking weapons concept.

Offline lolmonade

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1070 on: November 16, 2023, 10:51:28 AM »
Thirsty Suitors is the latest on my beat list.  The story follows Jala, a first generation daughter of immigrants returning to her hometown and confronted with a gaggle of jilted exes, an icy relationship with her mother, and a sister whose getting married that won't speak to you.  On top of that, you find the youths being indoctrinated by a cult led by a person in a big bear costume.

The gameplay is split between several different game types.  The world is segmented out on an overworld map with points of interest like your home, a wilderness area where the cult resides, and the town center with lots of different shops and a diner.  Jala explores these areas on a skateboard, and the spaces are littered with different platforms where you engage with the skateboarding mechanic.  Skateboarding is a chore - the general movement is sluggish, so to get across spaces efficiently you'll need to grind across the map.  But grinding doesn't feel good good either.  You'll zip through the map but the game has trouble figuring out which rail you're jumping from next, and I ended up getting bogged down in endless grinding loops rather than getting to master the system.

The combat is the most mature system in the game.  It plays out as a lite RPG with lots of quick time events.  Other than the basic attack, all moves require a set of inputs (pressing A at the right time, pushing a left stick direction at the right time, tapping the X button repeatedly, Holding the B button until a meter fills), and the quicker you complete the task, the more attack power you gain.  The same rules apply for defense, with better inputs blunting damage.  The real meat is the weakness system.  You can choose taunts ranging from rage, heartbreak, thirst, and shock.  If your opponent has a weakness to that type, it'll stun them and allow you to use more potent skills that deal greater damage.  There are battles you can engage in via map icons, but I didn't find leveing up necessary, as I jumped from Ex to Ex boss battles.  Those boss battles were diverse enough to be interesting if uncomplicated, and through them Jala reconciles her past with them. 

There's also a cooking mechanic.  It's a process which involves completing a set number of quick time events in the premise of following step-by-step instructions that are then played out in exaggerated, fantastical actions like leaps, spins, and mandalas when you execute well.  There's a heat system as well, where basic actions build up a pepper meter that can then be consumed by powering up one of your actions or buttering up your mom for a better score.  What you cook can then be used as a consumable in battle that'll do things like heal, increase your MP, and offer other buffs to your character.  The problem is it's just as tedious to do constant QTEs here as it is in battle.

The story and characters flatness is probably what disappoints the most.  The intent is clearly meant to be a story about a woman coming back to her old haunt and make amends with those left in her wake, as well as reconciling her modernity against the traditionalism of her mother.  But Jala is unlikeable to a fault, and makes it hard to root for her cause.  She has an internal second personality that looks like her sister and acts like a Tyler Durden trying to prod more "hard truths" to people.  It makes conversations a little messy, because you'll choose a dialogue option (that often doesn't feel like the prompt properly translates to the kind of comment you want to make), she'll intervene with a snappy comment either deriding you for being a coward or egging-on more aggression, and then it'll have an exterior conversation with a character that feels like no one's true voice.  The broader characters feel like a cardboard cut-out archetype of different personalities, races, and sexuality.  In a game with better writing i'd say I wish they'd take some time fleshing out the people, but I don't know that they have it in them to do so with any care.


For a game like this, it's almost like they started with a story they wanted to tell and then backed-up to build a game around it.  I've seen a lot of glowing comments in reviews writ large, but it's a underdeveloped story with underdeveloped characters and underdeveloped gameplay.  If they take another crack at this type of game, I hope at least they work on streamlining the gameplay down to a few mechanics fleshed out deeply, step away from the quick-time-event Kool-aid, and work on building a more fleshed out world & characters.

I'd give it a 5 or 6 out of 10. 

Offline lolmonade

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1071 on: November 30, 2023, 09:53:46 AM »
Jusant is a lovely game about mountain climbing.  It's quiet with environmental storytelling and a charming artstyle.  Also fairly brief & on Gamepass.  Highly recommend.

Offline Ian Sane

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1072 on: November 30, 2023, 11:22:45 AM »
Strider 2

Picked this up a while back when the PS3 store was closing as I grabbed a couple PS1 games that are expensive in the retro market.  I beat it in about an hour and not because I'm so talented but because the game has unlimited continues that plop you back into the action as if nothing happened.  The game still has a ranking for how you did in each level (I got a nice 'E' on every one) so there is some objective for avoiding dying.

I still had a lot of fun though.  I have the original Strider on the Genesis and the arcade version in Capcom Classics Collection but I'm not very good at it.  I play the arcade one more because I have unlimited continues as I struggle to get to level 2 in the Genesis version.  Strider is very much a set-piece game with all sorts of cool bosses and action sequences and there is a lot of fun to be had in just experiencing it.  I'm not going to take the time to get good at it so the unlimited continues is almost a feature for me, to just experience the game.  Ideally they should have let you restrict it though and set the amount of continues you want.

Something I couldn't help but notice is how the whole presentation is a great representation of what was cool during the PS1 era.  Teenage me would have been all over this.  As a result it created a sense of nostalgia, not for the specific game because I didn't play it at the time, but for the time period.  The graphics also add to that as it uses 2D sprites on a 3D background.  This doesn't really look that good and it looks old and dated, but again I find it has a certain charm to it.  Blocky 8-bit sprites eventually became an intentional aesthetic and I feel like 32-bit polygons have that potential as well.  PS2/Gamecube era polygons look too similar to present day games so they seem just like a lower res version but 32/64 bit polygons look distinct.

Now in terms of the ending, well aside from defeating the bad guy I really couldn't tell you what happened.  The bosses have a few lines of dialog when they appear but it's in Japanese with no sub-titles so I have no clue what they said.

Offline Stratos

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1073 on: December 24, 2023, 01:31:28 AM »
I beat and 100% completed Mario 64 on the 3D collection earlier this year. It was much tougher either because my muscle memory was atrophied, or I was too used to the N64 with its octagonal edge for the stick to be guided by when controlling. Well I'm replaying again with my daughter and I have the N64 Switch controller...its not the controller. Either its too loosey goosey, or I got used to it back in the day and the more tight modern controls of games have spoiled me. I still really enjoyed Mario 64 when I beat it, but I'm almost through the main quest this run and I am just going to clear Bowser and be done. I may also avoid playing some other old games for a bit from that era until my daughter is older. I've moved over to Mario World, Yoshi's Island, and Donkey Kong Country. I like playing them with her, but she's not even 2. I don't want to burn myself out from them until she is older and able to actually play with me. This is just some dabbling to show her some old games and spend some time with her when she isn't absorbed in Paw Patrol or something.
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Offline ejamer

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Re: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?
« Reply #1074 on: January 01, 2024, 12:08:24 PM »
Woohoo. Just finished Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 (Wii).

Getting past that last checkpoint in the final mission sucked... twice I was about to jump to freedom, only to be shot down from behind and have to restart. Other than that, it was pretty satisfying. Game shows some age in both graphics and level design, but does a pretty good job of showcasing the better features of Wii controllers (good use of pointer; novel use of built-in speaker and rumble; keeping use of motion controls limited).

I'd play it again in Arcade mode sometime, because you can never have too much light gun-style gaming!



Now to select another Wii backlog title to clear out... maybe The Last Story? Still haven't played that game, and really should.
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