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Topic: Games you've recently beat

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Thrillho

@Gremio108 @ShogunRok You’re both going on The List.

I really enjoyed Kiwami and might actually have preferred the slightly tighter story compared to Zero, although that really is an excellent game. The Kiwami moves in fights were such a terrible idea though as even if you had the move unlocked and ready to go, the enemy still often got just as much health back as they had before.

The little nods to Zero they worked in were neatly done too. Zero is a great game but almost 100hrs was a lot (damn you hostess mini game for contributing so much to that play time).

Thrillho

Gremio108

@Thrillho Sorry! The plot was superb though, all the way through. I enjoyed it more than I remember enjoying the original. It was just the combat I had a problem with really. Some of those boss fights were a war of attrition.

Good job, Parappa. You can go on to the next stage now.

PSN: Hallodandy

Gremio108

I started and finished What Remains of Edith Finch today. I think this is one of those games which you need time to process before you really know what you make of it. In the initial aftermath I felt like the ending had sold itself a little short, but now, having had a few hours to think about it, I can appreciate the beauty of what they did.

The swing scene really, really got to me, I'm not sure why. More so than anything I've watched or played for a long time.

Overall though I think I still prefer Rapture. Maybe I'll feel different after another day or two of thinking about it. Which I definitely will be.

Good job, Parappa. You can go on to the next stage now.

PSN: Hallodandy

Ralizah

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - Torna: The Golden Country

Platform: Nintendo Switch

What is it: An expansive DLC prequel to Xenoblade Chronicles 2. You play as Lora, an orphaned Driver (a person who can resonate with a core crystal and share their life with intelligent, powerful beings known as Blades) who is searching for her mother alongside her two trusted Blade companions, Jin and Haze. Through circumstance, she becomes involved in a wider-scale quest to help save civilization from a legendary Blade called Malos who is intent on wiping out human life.

Level of completion: The entirety of the main plot alongside the vast majority of side-quests. By the end, I logged about 30 hours into the game.

Thoughts:

  • First, this game is an expansion in the truest sense. While the game's 25 - 30 hour play time (longer if you want to complete everything) is a fraction of the time it'll take you to beat the epic base game (XC2 took me 105 hours to complete, and that didn't include most of the game's side-content; it could potentially take hundreds of hours to see everything), it's still incredibly impressive for a DLC campaign and compares favorably to the playtime of most AAA retail releases. More crucially, the game mostly puts this playtime to good use, and I was enthralled by the story from beginning to end. In any other genre, this would be a full-fat retail game. This feeling of "fullness" extends to almost every aspect of the production.
  • Arguably the defining aspect of this DLC, and its most controversial feature, is the extreme degree to which it puts an emphasis on side-quests. The two explorable titans in this game (for those unacquainted with XC2, the landmasses in these games are enormous flying creatures called Titans) play host to a large number of characters, and the majority of them are unique, named people who you'll help over the course of the game. The focus on sidequests is so central that there are several times that the game will stop you from progressing the "main plot" until you've completed a certain number of them (this is framed as adding people to your community: helping people via side-quests will win them over to your 'side,' to to speak, and this is depicted in its own sub-menu as an expanding circle of trust). While this is seen as a crippling flaw by some people, it didn't bother me too much.
  • Speaking of side-quests... they're excellent here. This is easily the best set of side-quests I've encountered in any Xenoblade game to date. Almost every one is substantive to some degree, so there's almost nothing in the way of plain fetch quests here. I mean, you might have to go fetch something, but it's to do something, and it ties into a character's life, and it's incredibly well presented. Also really neat, given this game's focus on community and learning about the lives of others, is gradually figuring out how the people you encounter throughout the game are related. This is all done very organically, so you get a lot of moments where you're surprised by a connection you hadn't seen before. "Oh, so this person is behaving this way because of the person I encountered in a side-quest hours ago." It's very neat.
  • The battle system has been revamped and streamlined. While combat isn't quite as deep as it was in the base game, it also seems much more intuitive now. Battles are generally faster and more thrilling. There's a cool "tag" system where drivers and blades take turns actively battling with enemies. Their "swap arts" can have different effects (if you've inflicted "break" on any enemy, for example, main character Lora can swap with her Blade, Jin, who will topple the enemy, temporarily subduing them and setting them up for a longer driver combo). Swapping with a character, in a neat, Bloodborne-esque twist, can also help recover recently lost health, encouraging the player to continually cycle between blades and drivers to keep their health up and continually set up new combos, especially for chain attacks. It's all very dynamic.
  • The weird fanservice moments and more risque character designs from the base game seem to be almost entirely absent. I'm apathetic about this, but it might make some people happy (or, hell, disappointed).
  • The soundtrack is still high quality stuff, although a bit conservative insofar as it uses a lot of the music from the base game. Still, the new battle theme is positively sexy, and older Gormott has a fantastic remix for its theme.
  • Torna has seen some sort of change in its graphics engine that has resulted in somewhat more stable performance and a higher level of detail in environments. The game is simply stunning on the TV, and I didn't notice huge resolution and framerate dips when the game was docked. This, unfortunately, is not the case in handheld mode, but it still fares better than the base game when undocked: things could get fuzzy in the midst of really heated battles with multiple enemies and flashy skills going off, but I never noticed the game reducing itself to an impressionistic smear on the screen when just adventuring around a large environment, as happened to frequently in the XC2.
  • The structure of the game is sort of brilliant, and reminds me, in a way, of the classic Nintendo game "The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask." As I mentioned before, a significant portion of the experience is structured around side-quests that allow you to help and befriend the people of (old) Gormott and Torna. The plot is also, as mentioned, building up to an incredibly tragic climax. As in Majora's Mask, it's a game where you continually insinuate yourself into the lives of people you know are soon going to have their worlds quite literally torn apart. This brings a sense of irony and sadness to even the game's silliest segments. The constant harmony between love and sadness, lighthearted reverie and crushing sadness help to give Torna: The Golden Country its very unique feel.
  • The final main story boss fight is more engaging than it was in the base game, and introduces a neat mechanic that helps boost the sense of urgency as you fight. And then the true final boss fight happens, and it helps bring closure to an element of the game you thought had been abandoned near the beginning. It also helps develop another aspect of the story that becomes more relevant in the base game.
  • Gort is actually a pretty good villain. Sometimes the most satisfying monsters to slay are the ones who live closest to home, as opposed to the ones who objectively pose the biggest threat.

Verdict: I loved everything about this game. This is the first Xenoblade game I can say I've well and truly fully enjoyed with almost no reservations about the game design. It simply excels on every level and, if it were longer, I would call it my favorite entry in the series. As it stands, I think it has to be considered alongside the base game it sprung from, which certainly elevates my already pretty high opinion of Xenoblade 2.

9.5/10

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

Th3solution

@Gremio108 I’ve been interested to hear people’s report on WRoEF since it was given on PS Plus. I think I agree with you that immediately following the game I was impressed but not necessarily blown away, until I had some time to let it resonate a little. Looking back on it I think I am more smitten with what they did. The ending actually hit me pretty hard though, and I didn’t see that coming. I did realize she was pregnant but I think I was too dense to even think about her dying in childbirth. And it makes sense of her trying to connect with her cursed family, knowing surely she feels her days are numbered. To leave behind a baby, that’s pretty poignant. I’m not even sure I remember it all correctly, since I played it back a few months after release.
But the best section was the fish cannery section. The gameplay was so interestingly woven in and the outcome of how the guy bows his head and decapitates himself in the midst of the delusional waking hallucinatatory state in the midst of the mundane rhythmic work load... it just was so interestingly and hauntingly done
But many of the sections were very well done, but a few stick out more to each person, depending on your circumstance.

Edited on by Th3solution

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

RR529

Completed Onimusha Warlords the other night on Switch. It's obviously a tad dated in places, but as someone who never played it before it actually really sucked me in.

Currently Playing:
Switch - NSMBU Deluxe
PS4 - Moss

Gremio108

@Th3solution No, I didn't see the ending coming either, although I was kind of thinking something bad was going to happen to her. At first I was unhappy that we didn't get to hear the rest of grandma's tale, but then that's the point isn't it? Grandma Edie and her stories, that's the real curse, and after what happened to Lewis at the cannery, Edith's mum snapped and said enough is enough, and she got herself and Edith out of there. At least I think that was the point. That you can view a series of unfortunate happenings as a curse if you wish, but you're only perpetuating the idea. That's what I took from it anyway.

Good job, Parappa. You can go on to the next stage now.

PSN: Hallodandy

Splat

What Remains of Edith Finch.

What a depressing game. I mean don't get me wrong I enjoyed it but hit me in the feels...

"What do you reckon, we're gonna have to climb that thing?" ~ Chloe Frazer

"I reckon I'M gonna have to climb that thing." ~ Nathan Drake

PSN: Splathew

Ralizah

Title: Poochy and Yoshi's Woolly World

Platform: 3DS

What is it?: A 3DS port of a Wii U Yoshi platformer

Level of completion: Everything, apart from not watching all of the shorts. I will eventually, but it's not really content I'd say is crucial to game completion. Completing everything involves collecting all patches, all bundles of wool, all flowers, and getting to the end of all of the levels with full health. It also involves encountering all enemies, finding all secret paths, and, finally, completing the Wonderful World of Wool under all those conditions, the final unlockable level that's extra long and has no checkpoints.

What I liked:

  • Adorable and colorful visual design. Everything in this world looks like it has been hand-crafted, and the effect goes a long way toward giving this huge amounts of charm.
  • Excellent level design. There are plenty of alternate paths, hidden objects, and whatnot to access throughout the game. There is a great balance of linearity and openness throughout. Some of the levels are also surprisingly puzzle-heavy, which is not something I'm used to encountering in a 2D platformer.
  • A cool approach to difficulty and accessibility. While there's the usual easy mode that I didn't touch, there are also badges that you can purchase with in-game jewels that will make levels easier for you in some way. One badge might make all of your yarn balls larger. Another might make it where you can see invisible items. These are a great way to replay levels in different ways (and, if you're going for 100%, you'll likely be replaying these levels a LOT) and a good method for children to make certain challenging levels easier for them without nuking the difficulty across the board.
  • Adorable extras. One of the new additions in this 3DS re-release is a collection of 31 stop-motion animated shorts featuring Yoshi and Poochy. After each one, you're given an easy quiz about what you just watched and are rewarded if you get the answer right with more jewels that you can spend on badges. The really ingenious thing is how they unlock every 24 hours (after viewing the previously unlocked one), as this gives the player a big incentive to stay engaged with the game for a longer period of time.
  • Portability. This might seem like a weird thing to like in an inherently portable version of a game, but it's worth mentioning because I think this game only really shines in portable form. You'll be playing a lot of the same levels over and over while hunting for collectibles, and this is a much more enjoyable task on a pick-up-and-play handheld than it is on a home console that I need to clear TV time for. I already owned this on Wii U, but I finally picked up this 3DS version, and I think it was a pretty good decision, all things considered. This version is worth repurchasing just for its increased accessibility.
  • Creativity and Yoshi Designs. Like in the Wii U version, you can unlock different designs for your Yoshi as you progress through the game. Unique to this version, though, is being able to create your own Yoshi design. Not really anything I care about (I just stuck with Green Yoshi through the majority of the game), but it seems like a great inclusion for children.

What I disliked: Not much, really. Bosses are a bit easy and not up to the high standards of boss encounters in the best DKC games, but they still beat the pants off the boss fights you'd find in any 2D Mario game because they require some level of observation and problem-solving to defeat. Being a 3DS game, the photo-realistic yarn textures are much fuzzier and less detailed now, although, given the hardware, it's hard to really count this against he game. I suppose the presence of badges makes it tempting to cheat and make the game easier than it would otherwise be, but this is balanced by the fact that no single badge is going to make the entire game a cakewalk if you want to collect everything. The worst thing I can say about it is that there's no point in the game that I feel like it becomes singularly brilliant. Instead, it's just consistently polished and excellent, and I don't see that as a bad thing at all.

Final thoughts: A gorgeous, smooth, and consistently excellent platformer that succeeds on almost all levels. While it doesn't do anything to set new standards for the genre, it rivals Yoshi's Island and makes for a fantastic portable time-waster.

Score: 9/10

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

andreoni79

Soma.
Not a big fan of walking sim, but for € 5 I decided to try it and I loved it.

Praise the Sun, and Mario too.

Ralizah

What Remains of Edith Finch

Platform PS4

What is it? A walking sim where you stumble through and climb around an old house and learn about the fates of various members of your family via conveniently placed journals.

Level of completion The whole thing, obviously. It's, like, three hours long. With that said, I didn't get all the optional trophies, and I probably won't bother going back and getting them.

What I liked

  • Some of the vignettes in this game are quite interesting and creative. Two, in particular, come to mind: the comic book-themed presentation of Barbara's story and Lewis' daydreaming at the cannery, which makes very cool use of the twin stick setup of modern controllers to drive home what it was trying to accomplish.
  • The music is pretty good throughout. At points, it even plays recognizable songs to good effect, as when Barbara is investigating mysterious noises to the backdrop of the Halloween music, or when baby Gregory's bathtub playtime is set to the Waltz of the Flowers.
  • I played with headphones on, and the environmental sound design was well done. Hearing the wind so realistically really helped with the sense of atmosphere and place as I played.
  • The game is, in spots, quite pretty. Primarily due to the way certain scenes are realistically lit. I'm a big fan of environmental photography in real life, and I often take pictures when the sun and the shadows form a compelling confluence on the world around them. That only happens a few times here, but the fact that I actually bothered to take a few screenshots (I hate the PS4's screenshot tool, because, unlike the one on the Switch, it's not immediate; you press a button and are taken to a menu) says a lot.
  • Using the words from Edith's narration to guide you around the house is interesting.
  • For a game filled with so much death, the magical realist presentation goes a long way toward making this not feel terribly dour. It's a balancing act, and sometimes I feel like the game doesn't establish enough of a sense of gravity to make particular deaths feel especially impactful, but I also appreciate that a game that involves horrifically sad stuff like a baby drowning doesn't lean too hard on the realism at times.

What I disliked

  • The game's performance on the base PS4 is pretty spotty, with a stuttery framerate throughout (which is bad enough that even I, a person who doesn't usually fixate on this sort of thing, took notice), a very short draw distance with really blatant pop-in (although this becomes much less of an issue when you actually get into the house, as you're mostly confined to small rooms), and some really bad texture quality in spots. I know the PS4 isn't the strongest piece of gaming tech out there, but it shouldn't be struggling to run an indie walking sim, which points to some poor optimization on the part of the developers.
  • The controls during certain sequences are REALLY bad. Most notably in Molly Finch's story, where you play as certain animals, and they're all hell to control (especially that stupid octopus).
  • Walking sims are often accused of being narratively lazy. Some, like Gone Home, get around this criticism with an innovative focus on indirect environmental storytelling. This game is never so subtle, though, and, more often than not, your participation rarely even feels like it's required. As a big fan of visual novels, I have no issue with games that don't lean very heavily on the gameplay element, but I can't get over the feeling that this would have been better as a film or a series of animated shorts. The game rarely does anything compelling with its interactivity.
  • For a game built almost entirely around vignettes about how people die, a disturbingly large portion of these are kind of underwhelming. Some of them are just sort of... random deaths that leave no real impression (Edith, Calvin, Gus, Dawn, and Sam). Some of them feel like they're building up to something, only to end in a totally unsatisfying manner (Molly and Walter).
  • That leads into the unexplained elements of the narrative. I get it: things happen to people, and they're not always understood or resolved. But when you have large narrative threads that are just left sort of hanging with no resolution (the strained relationship between Dawn and Edie near the end; Milton's disappearance; etc.), it contributes to a lack of satisfaction about the game's story more broadly.
  • And, let's talk about this. For a "story game," this one has a really non-cohesive narrative. There's some sort of broader story about how this family feels cursed, but that's never explored to satisfaction in a more general way. Documents you find around the house continually refers to how the Finches are the most "unlucky" family in America, but, as tragic as some of these vignettes are, they don't give me the impression of a family that's doomed. A handful of people die over the course of more than half a century. That's... normal. A lot of the family drama, as I mentioned, doesn't ever really feel like it's addressed to satisfaction. As far as I can tell, it's about a pregnant woman clambering around a house, recounting how some people died, and then revealing that she died herself. There's no sense of scope to this. While this is the story of a family that spans generations, it doesn't have the complexity, scope, or depth of something like Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude or Isabele Allende's The House of the Spirits. You might think it unfair to compare a little indie game to masterpieces of world literature, but I expect story games to tell a satisfying story. Soma, for example, while not a fantastic horror game, IS a really interesting science-fiction narrative that's filled with ideas and has a satisfying beginning, middle, and end. I can't say that about this game. This feels totally incomplete: an unrealized grander vision dotted with moments of ingenuity.
  • I'll just say this: I don't like that they reduced Edith's role in the story to that of a pregnant woman who dies giving birth. It feels like it cheapens the experiences and role of the character in the story. Also, can we get just ONE narrative about death that doesn't, at some point, dive into the miracle of childbirth? I get it: life/death, beginnings and endings, blah blah blah, but it's so overdone at this point. You know to expect it.

Conclusion What Remains of Edith Finch is an interesting but very unrealized and unsatisfying walking sim that left me feeling like I had experienced the shell of a much better game. I wouldn't warn people off of it, though: it's pretty short, and, more importantly, it has its inspired moments. They don't redeem the experience, but I'm not sorry I played it.

Verdict 5/10

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

RR529

@Ralizah, on the point about PS4's screenshot mode, if you hold the button down instead of just pressing it, it'll skip the menu and just take the screenshot.

Currently Playing:
Switch - NSMBU Deluxe
PS4 - Moss

Th3solution

@Ralizah Thanks for the WRoEF impressions. Excellent mini-review, as always. I’m glad you felt some satisfaction out of he game, despite some of the shortcomings. You bring up some valid points, and some things I hadn’t thought about but do agree with. It’s been a year or more since I played it and yeah, it’s not the kind of game one usually returns to, although I did go back and mop up the trophy list. But like you know, I am a big fan of the game, and although I quite enjoy walking sims I think the game does other innovative things that brought me satisfaction regardless of my bias toward the genre. You eloquently alluded to most of those things so I won’t reiterate them. But a few things come to mind after reading your post —

  • I’m not a big screenshot taker either but I’m pretty sure the PS4 has a setting you can enable somewhere so that you can turn the share button quick double-press into an instant screenshot without having to go to the menu. I believe you have the option to make a double press either a screenshot or a function to start and stop videoing gameplay. I’m not sure which one is the default though. I was just pondering this yesterday while playing Injustice 2 where I wanted to capture some screenshots and pushing the share button to bring up the mini-menu is not practical while in the middle of a fight or quick action scene. I was too lazy to go to my settings and I’m not by my PS4 now, but you should be able to find it easily.
  • It’s strange because I don’t remember any performance issues. I also am not a tech expert or a frame rate and pixel count elitist, so things that bother other people don’t always jump out to me. I wonder if there was a new patch issue or something. It’s too bad that you had those problems because they certainly can break the immersion.
    I do remember some of the control issues like you described with the animals. That gave me a chuckle to read your description.
  • As for the narrative issues, the lack of broad closure, and the incomplete feeling you had, I think those are all good points. The game does leave many things unsaid, and all your comments regarding the story (or lack thereof) are valid. I did experienced it differently, however, and didn’t mind the open-ended nature of the world as a sort of added mystery to the family curse. For example, is it really a curse, or as you say, is it just a perception by the family, who misinterpret relatively normal amounts of “bad luck” and death? ie. Sometimes we find what we are looking for, whether it’s there or not.
    In the attempt to balance between concrete and detailed story and an open narrative sometimes games and story fall too far on one side or the other. And of course it’s all a matter of personal taste in the end. Such as with the game Virginia, the amount of holes to fill with my own interpretation was probably too much. With WRoEF I enjoyed a little of the mystery.
    But I do see your point about the resultant lack of depth to the narrative, the feeling of poor impact because of the disjointed nature of the individual stories that don’t give a wider perspective.

I’m glad you enjoyed aspects of it though and at least didn’t find it a waste of time. 😃

Edit: @RR529 got to it sooner on the screenshot thing. I thought it was a “double press”, but maybe it’s a “press and hold” then.

Edited on by Th3solution

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

ellsworth004

@Ralizah actually i think u can set the share button so if u press it ince it takes a screenshot, hold down to bring up share menu

ellsworth004

PSN: ellsworth004

Ralizah

@Th3solution I can definitely see why someone would like this game. As I've said elsewhere, I have an acknowledged bias against this style of game, so it's easy to see how I might have received it more favorably were my tastes different

RE: open-ended and minimalist narratives, you're always going to get people who receive them very differently, and both critical and favorable receptions of them can be perfectly valid. If you've ever played or seen Breath of the Wild, a LOT of gamers were critical of the minimalistic narrative and ending. And, you know, I get that. I think being underwhelmed by the way it approached the narrative is a perfectly valid feeling to have. It didn't take away from the game for me, though, and, when it comes down to it, how you receive something is mostly a mystery. It's an emotional relation that you can't explain, but when something works for you, it really works, right? I think this game's narrative approach really worked for you, and that's absolutely a beautiful thing. While I wasn't as taken with it, there were moments that I felt were quite inspired. Lewis' vignette (I believe that's his name: the young man who worked in the cannery and got carried away by his imagination) was, especially, a fantastic marriage of game mechanics and narrative that deftly used the monotony of processing fish while controlling the Prince in his daydream to forge a unique emotional connection with the character. It was very cool.

I don't think I mentioned this before, but I kept getting the feeling that this was an experience that would probably have hit closer to home in VR. It feels like a VR game to me, even though I don't think it has ever had a VR option. I'm surprised it's not, though, considering the way it continually situates you in new bodies with limited environmental interaction and immersive sound design, which seems like the perfect mix of elements for a manageable VR experience.

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

Th3solution

@Ralizah Well said.
Subject matter, setting, and tone also play a role in personal impression. Another reason the game resonated with me was the interesting setting. You mentioned Soma, which perhaps I need to try, but I just don’t particularly like horror and scary or gruesome settings. I really should give it a try, since it sounds like a story-heavy, walking sim type of game I guess, which is right up my alley. I’m just no fan of the macabre, which is why WRoEF was a nice fit for my tastes because of the almost casual treatment of death, fear, and tragedy. Occasionally I get in a mood for something frightening though.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Ralizah

@Th3solution Soma is definitely a creepy game. It's from the devs who created Amnesia: The Dark Descent, after all, which practically wrote the book on independently-developed horror games at a time when the genre seemed like it was dying. With that said, it is, at heart, an interesting existentialist sci-fi story, and if the scary monsters attacking you is what's putting you off, you should know they released a "safe mode" that keeps you safe from monster attacks throughout the game.

I believe this mode has subsequently been introduced to the PS4 version of the game as well.

I thought that the horror bits added to the atmosphere, but I'm also a horror fanatic who loves scary and gruesome subject matter. It's nice that this mode exists for people who just want the story without having to hide and run for their lives.

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

Th3solution

@Ralizah Nice! I might have to have a corner of my man-card removed for it, but I like the idea of the safe mode. 😆

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Th3solution

@Ralizah @ellsworth004 @RR529
Oh, and just for completeness sake. I’m on my PS4 now and under “Settings” —> “Sharing and Broadcasts” —> “SHARE button Control Type” —>
You are given two options for “Standard” which is press of the button is display menu and press and hold is take a screenshot. Vs “Easy Screenshots” where press is screenshot and press and hold is display menu. In both options the press twice mechanic is to start and stop saving a video clip.
Just wanted to clarify that.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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