Author Topic: What is the last game you beat? Thoughts/impressions?  (Read 441877 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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