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Topic: User Impressions/Reviews Thread

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Th3solution

@RogerRoger Thanks.. and you’re welcome! 😄
I decided to get my review writing feet wet again with a piece on a game that I feel I have something to share, even if many people have played and discussed it before. Given most PlayStation gamers near ubiquitous exposure to Uncharted, I didn’t delve too heavily in the details of the game proper and its finer details, rather focused on my personal experience and enjoyment with it. I’m glad that it came off well.

And on the subject, the 007 Legends review was an extremely entertaining read. I’ve never played any 007 games, but your description of your experience to this entry made me smile and laugh out loud at times. I typically just skim the reviews of games that aren’t on my radar, but that review was just plain fun on it own, even as a piece of tragic comedy 😂. What’s that quote about what differentiates a tragedy vs a comedy?... something about “the only difference is whether it’s happening to you or to someone else.” So I thank you for playing 007 Legends so the rest of us don’t have to. 😛

I look forward to hear more about how Infamous 2 holds up. I am very interested in that since I really enjoyed it back in the day. And I’ll sure drop at least some impressions, if not a formal review, of the second Uncharted when I get around to it. I’ve not decided yet if I want to savor these and spread them out over the year, or if I want to binge them.

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

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Forum Megapoll 2020 - Best Video Game Box Art: Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Special Edition

mookysam

Brilliant review @RogerRoger, really well done. That is an immense piece; you must have put a huge amount of work into this, and I can only congratulate you for suffering through the end of the game and its DLC so we don't have to. And for coming up with so many great ways to describe just how awful it is! The game sounds like an absolute disaster from start to finish and is one I now know not to touch. Or be within several miles of if at all possible.

I would normally say that it's shame that the failure of such a game led to a studio's closure, but Eurocom should have been more up to the task, shouldn't they? Was it lack of resources? Lack of experience in developing a game of this scale for an HD console? I wasn't the biggest fan of their Goldeneye 007 reboot, particularly because of the ill suited Call of Duty-esque gameplay, but a quick look over their portfolio reveals they made quite a few well-liked games over the years.

@Th3solution Really nice review of Uncharted there buddy. I'm really glad to see another of your reviews (can I tempt you to write a God of War one?). I laughed out loud at your description of Nate being a mass murderer. 😂 That is actually the biggest issue I have with the series. He's this good guy, but also responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. He's a bona fide war criminal! I feel it's actually worse in the fourth game as there are a few scenes where his actions don't make sense given the moment to moment gameplay. Besides that, I love the games. The first has certainly aged and does fall apart a little by the final act, but it also feels the most adventurous. I have very fond memories of playing it with my brother and then replaying it in the PS4 collection. The platforming is still so good and I love the banter between Nate and Sully. It really was pioneering in its cinematic presentation.

#BlackLivesMatter

Kidfried

I haven't caught up on all the reviews from the last three months, but I did finish @RogerRoger's James Bond 007 Legends epic. Thanks for writing!

Kidfried

mookysam

Super Mario Sunshine

Platform - GameCube (2002); Nintendo Switch (2020, reviewed)
Completion: 111/120 “Shine Sprites” (including 162/240 blue coins of torment)

There is something rotten on Isle Delfino. A festering black ooze festoons much of this tropical former paradise, reducing tranquil beaches and sleepy mountain villages alike into warped grotesques. Welcome to Super Mario Sunshine.

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As the long awaited followup to 1996’s Super Mario 64 and helmed by Nintendo EAD and Yoshiaki Koizumi (who went on to direct Galaxy), Sunshine arrived on the GameCube to much fanfare in 2002. It was the first time since the release of the Japanese Famicom that there wasn’t a Super Mario game ready for a system launch, so Nintendo were keen to release Sunshine as quickly as possible in order to shore up weak post-launch GameCube sales. It certainly seems as though there was some degree of rushed development, as the game became known for its abundant bugs and glitches, as well as some padding and rough edges. Nonetheless Sunshine garnered rave reviews from most of the gaming press of the time. While I was not fully enamoured with Sunshine when I originally played it, I was excited to replay it as part of the Super Mario 3D All Stars collection and eager to see if my opinion would be more positive this time round.

The GameCube ushered in an interesting period where Nintendo were eager to innovate, although players reacted with genuine befuddlement over Sunshine’s central gimmick. The headline feature is the utilisation of the Flash Liquidiser Ultra Dousing Device jetpack, otherwise referred to by its rather awkward acronym, FLUDD, and used by Mario to squirt water and hover around Isle Delfino like an overexcited kid in a candy store. We’re informed that it’s designed by Luigi Mansion’s own Professor E. Gadd, in an unusual piece of Nintendo continuity. Nintendo have a crafty knack of making things feel organic, if not integral, and FLUDD is therefore an important piece of the overall Sunshine gameplay experience, eventually turning most of those anecdotally confused players round. I’m happy to report that FLUDD works for the most part, although the turning angle of the hover mode is quite narrow, and aiming the squirt function is akin to a geriatric amputee attempting to use a urinal.

Mario himself feels quite snappy and has a pleasing degree of fluidity to his movements, although precision platforming is at times tricky because of how sensitively he reacts to movements of the analogue stick. It’s therefore easy to misjudge jumps, rendering FLUDD a necessity in steadying Mario’s landing over platforms. It’s now easier to pull off certain signature moves such as the triple jump, side somersault and wall-jump, but Mario’s moveset is slightly more limited than in 64. Gone is the long jump, although its functionality is essentially replaced by FLUDD’s slower hover move. FLUDD does introduce some fun new tricks to Mario’s repertoire, such as the ability to quickly cover large distances by spraying a little water and sliding on his belly. He can also spray water all around himself after spin jumping via a twist of the analogue stick.

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Sunset on Sirena Beach

Core Mario games are not well known for their stories; usually the princess is kidnapped, it’s up to our stout moustachioed plumber to rescue her, and that’s that. It’s therefore surprising that Sunshine does have a slightly more involved story, complete with some horrendously voiced FMV cutscenes. One can only assume that as this was Nintendo’s first major foray into the brave new world of video-game voice acting outside of wahoo’s and mamma mia’s, they thought it would be okay to hire the office tea lady and a few people off the street before calling it a day. Some time after the events of Super Mario 64, Mario, Peach, and an army of Toads decide to holiday on Isle Delfino. Luigi isn’t invited, as usual. Upon landing they soon find that the island is soiled with black goo and red graffiti, and seeing as the perpetrator looks like a watery, shadow version of Mario, Isle Delfino’s famed criminal justice system pins the blame on real-Mario and immediately sentences him to clean up the mess. We don’t know what the implied “or else” is, exactly, so we’ll just assume that if he doesn’t do as he’s told he’ll be forced to play Wand of Gamelon for all eternity. As it happens Peach is soon kidnapped, but there’s a whole other disturbing subplot involving dinosaur sex that I won’t get into.

Delfino Plaza serves as the island’s capital city and the game’s hub world, from which all other levels are accessed. While it doesn’t have the same sense of grandeur and is more compact than Peach’s Castle from 64, its design is nonetheless fairly intricate and it effectively serves as a full level. Isle Delfino itself has a real sense of space; other levels can be seen far in the distance and each area is fully populated by various island folk, most of whom have a few lines of dialogue. This gives it a unique identity among Mario platformers, and is something that wasn’t really explored again until 2017’s Super Mario Odyssey.

When I played Sunshine in 2002 I felt that the tropical visual motifs of the levels were lacking in variation and imagination, but this reappraisal has changed my mind completely. Yes, there are sandy beaches, sunny skies and palm trees abundant, but level design is for the most part excellent, and the tropical setting is a breath of fresh air when judged against typical platformer staples. One highlight is a coral reef where the level has incredible verticality. An enormous cliff rises from the water, littered with caves and crevices that Mario can use to reach the higher portions. A later level includes a haunted hotel where most of the rooms' doors are locked and Mario must navigate an alternate route through its maze-like interior.

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Noki Bay

The massively increased power of the GameCube enabled Nintendo to craft quite a beautiful game by the standards of the time, with considerably more intricate level design and visual motifs. Eighteen years later it is still reasonably impressive; bright, crisp colours abound, and clever use of the system’s texturing abilities yield effects such as heat haze and motion blur, although it is the water that is the true star. While the GameCube was incapable of rendering the complex shader techniques we take for granted today, it did have a few tricks up its sleeve, resulting in absolutely gorgeous water effects. It’s easy to see why Nintendo placed such importance on this, given the tropical island setting and ways in which water is integrated into the gameplay. Mario himself also saw a huge upgrade, now more closely resembling his CG renders and modern design. In keeping with the setting he now wears a short-sleeved shirt under his dungarees, which is a nice touch. In terms of the HD port itself, this is a bare-bones presentation, with little done outside of a resolution bump to 1080p and new widescreen presentation. Performance is disappointing, with frequent stutters below its nominal 30fps ceiling, particularly in the Delfino Plaza hub. This is surprising for an 18 year-old game, perhaps suggesting that less time had been spent on the emulation process than Sunshine fully deserved.

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Bianco Hills lake

While this increased processing power allowed for intricate geometry and level design, it also meant that there was simply more for the camera to get stuck behind. As you may recall, the real battle in Super Mario 64 was not against the King of the Koopas, but his loyal acolyte Lakitu, who served as the game’s cameraman. This cruel and demented soul would not settle for shattering the spirits of all who played Mario 64. No, it was world domination he was after. After an epic showdown, a coven of medieval Sicilian witches at last managed to seal his physical body and video camera in the pit of Tartarus. But it was not to last. In the darkness his spite and lust for power only grew, and from the depths he cursed the Mushroom Kingdom and its surrounding lands to an eternity of torment and poorly framed camera angles. In Sunshine it often feels like Lakitu is directly manipulating events from his underworld lair. Naturally, his faithful servant Pat Butcher is back - no witch could banish her - and tired from an eventful Christmas Day episode down The Vic’ she’s now parked firmly in front of Mario so that half the time he can’t see a bloody thing.

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Pat Butcher

Nintendo’s answer was not to fix the camera, but to give Mario a silhouette when the view is blocked. Sounds good, right? The only problem is that level features such as platforms do not have a silhouette, so the player still has little clue what they’re doing. The silhouette doesn’t appear at all when the view is not technically blocked, although in these cases the angles are so skewed that it may as well be. A problem common to many 3D platformers is that it can be difficult to judge depth when jumping into the z-axis. Like some warped Lahaina Noon many platforms, ropes and poles lack shadows, complicating matters further.

Untitled

Untitled
I don't even remember what this was supposed to be

Sunshine follows the same general structural template established by Super Mario 64. There are 120 Shine Sprites (a tropical stand-in for stars), obtained by completing a predictable set of challenges, ranging from collecting red coins, winning races, and finishing boss battles. Boss battles are a genuine highlight; all are unique and feel more akin to Zelda bosses in terms of their size and the different methods needed to defeat them. My favourite is a giant oil-squirting Blooper squid in the port-themed level, where Mario must grab and pull off each off its legs. Much of the joy in playing a 3D Mario game lies in utilising Mario’s arsenal of moves in a range of uniquely designed environments, so while the challenges may be largely the same, the way in which the player goes about completing them will always be different. For much of Sunshine this principle mostly holds true, Lakitu and Pat notwithstanding. Shine sprites are split across discrete “episodes” in each level, and have to be obtained in order, excluding each level’s “secret” sprites. Each of the seven main levels contain ten shine sprites apiece, although there are also a total of 240 blue coins spread throughout the game. Delfino Plaza in turn houses a shop staffed by a shifty raccoon where ten blue coins can be traded in for an additional shine sprite. This undoubtedly pads the experience a little and there’s no real way of tracking how many blue coins are scattered in each “episode”.

Untitled

Unfortunately the whole experience is dragged down by the many challenges that simply aren’t fun. One level sees Mario collecting red coins atop a giant bird comprised of cubes of sand. If the random gusts of wind fail to push Mario off, then the bird’s frequent loop-de-loops will. Another challenge requires pushing a ridiculously fragile watermelon across an enemy infested beach. The theme park level, Pinna Park has a red coin challenge where the coins are scattered across a series of swinging ships, and a later shine sprite where Mario must ascend Satan’s private ferris wheel while the camera does its best to destroy the will of the player. This left me with the impression that the game would have perhaps been a far more polished product if it was given more development time.

All this is nothing, however, compared to the darkest terror lurking within each level. Dimensional voids are concealed in such inane locations as giant mushrooms, sandcastles and random caves, yet even medieval Sicilian witches are unable to divine their precise origin or purpose. Either way, upon entering these wretched domains Shadow Mario instantaneously appears and snatches FLUDD away, leaving Mario with only his wits and a bottle of gin to soothe his sorrows. In these levels he must then navigate a series of moving blocks suspended over a void of nothingness, in order to reach a Shine Sprite conveniently placed at the end, as if mocking the player. These platforming sections are among the most difficult and frustrating in the whole game given how integral FLUDD is to the wider gameplay experience. Without the device to steady Mario and correct mistakes, and joined by the rather uncooperative camera, he frequently falls to his death. It feels like some Sisyphean horror; time and again he’s plunged into the abyss, and by the time the Shine Sprite is finally grasped, yes, Mario has the golden trinket, but in return Lakitu has splintered the player’s soul into jagged shards and now holds them to your throat. A war of attrition, it’s fair to ask was it worth it?

Was it worth it? As an experiment within the timeline of 3D Mario platformers, there are certainly many aspects to enjoy. Sunshine both iterates and builds on the formula established by Super Mario 64 in some interesting ways, mainly courtesy of FLUDD. But it also grates and grinds. Its camera frustrations and the high difficulty of many of the challenges compound like a jackhammer. Super Mario Sunshine is an uneven experience, and in the end Isle Delfino is just a place festooned with festering black ooze.

Edited on by mookysam

#BlackLivesMatter

Th3solution

@mookysam Thanks for the props. Glad that you could relate the nostalgia induced by revisiting the game.
And equal measure of kudos for your well organized and wonderfully written Super Mario Sunshine review there. Not a game (or a platform) that I play or have any real involvement in, but I can recognize how well thought out your writing is; it oozes with personality.

And I am tempted to churn out a review of God of War, but I don’t know - I’ve plastered these forums with sufficient praise already. 😄

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

————————

Forum Megapoll 2020 - Best Video Game Box Art: Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Special Edition

Kidfried

@mookysam The non-FLUDD sections were actually my favorite parts of the game back then. I wish all Fall Guy levels were like this too!

But yes, Sunshine is incredibly hard. I was a wee baby back then. I have this game to thank for my platforming skills. (Not that I'm very good at them still, but I do have a lot of patience!)

Kidfried

RogerRoger

@Th3solution It came off very well; that's why I'd always encourage people to share their perspectives on anything they've played, no matter how popular. We could all play the same thing, at the same time, but we'd still all come away with unique points of view and that's awesome. Whenever you get around to Among Thieves, whether it's sooner or later, I really do hope it holds up for you!

And thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed reading my tragic tale! You know me, always happy to take one for the team. Should I stumble upon any more gaming garbage, I'll be sure to send up a flare!

I'll tag you with inFAMOUS 2 thoughts as and when. I doubt I'll write a full review; as much as I'm enjoying the experience, there's little I feel I could expand upon. So far, it's been the perfect example of how incremental improvements can turn a good time into a great one. I think that says enough!

"Always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind."

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

RogerRoger

Further thanks to @BearsEatBeets and @Kidfried for reading my Bond review. I'm getting a little overwhelmed by all the praise! Honestly, I just wanted to have a bit of a rant about the game, so this response has been a welcome surprise. I'm properly made up!

"Always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind."

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

RogerRoger

@mookysam Fantastic review of Super Mario Sunshine there, my friend! The more I read about this game, the more I'm convinced I'd enjoy it, dinosaur intercourse subplots notwithstanding. Your personal perspective (delivered with your trademark wit and affinity for uniquely vivid analogies) reinforces a lot of what others have said about the game's design, and the somewhat-rushed nature of the re-release, but your tactical deployment of Pat Butcher (boy, was I unprepared to see her delightful face this morning...) drives things home in a way nobody else could. I'm glad to see revisiting it wasn't a total waste for you, and that you've come to appreciate some aspects you overlooked in the past, but here's hoping you have (or have had) a more consistent time with Galaxy. Bravo, buddy!

Also, thanks for reading my Bond review, and for your kind words. I don't think Eurocom could realistically claim a lack of experience, even for HD consoles, because it's specifically why they'd kept porting their GoldenEye reboot to PS3 and Xbox360 in-house. When the dry run goes better than the actual attempt, you know somebody's screwed something up somewhere!

"Always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind."

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Ralizah

Sorry for the late replies, everyone.

@RogerRoger FINALLY got a chance to properly sit down and read your opus and, I gotta say, Rog, I'm stunned. Your encyclopedic knowledge of all things Bond-related, your natural wittiness, and your increasingly excellent grasp of the art of game reviewing all contributed to make this not only your best piece yet, but arguably the best piece of writing submitted to this thread to date!

It really was a vision of hell for you, though, wasn't it? You're such a good-natured dude that I was impressed with the sustained level of contemptuous snark you managed to muster for this game. Not that this is at all inappropriate, mind you: while I think we both agree most games are made by people trying their best and are deserving of some certain level of consideration for best efforts made, sometimes a game comes along that really is just ill-conceived in all regards and deserves a proper and public caning. In that regard, your piece reminded me of some of Roger Ebert's unapologetically (and hilariously) scathing pieces on films he hated.

I really liked the way you structured your cold opening. It flows brilliantly into the body of the piece, and the use of your first screenshot as a well-timed punchline was excellent.

The screenshot of Blofeld putting up his dukes is pretty ridiculous. I kinda like it, not least of all because I can just laugh at the idea of it being included in a Bond game at all.

Also, for the record, stealth missions in non-stealth games are pretty much always the worst parts of said games. And at least as late as 2017, developers were still including them in their games. Here's to hoping for the final death of the forced stealth mission.

RE: screen tearing, did you mess with v-sync on your computer? Sometimes older games have weird v-sync issues that require hardware-based solutions. It's really weird that the game doesn't support resolutions over 720p. Really, really weird.

Oh, and I'm impressed you created your own videos to show off music and compare tracks with other versions that appeared in Bond movies.

I should also note that you now have the notoriety of posting the longest piece in this thread to date, displacing the record held by my Three Houses write-up. Wear your crown of thorns proudly, my friend, as the curse passes onto you now until someone is foolish enough to try and beat the record again.

But yeah, incredible contribution. Truly.

@Th3solution

Great piece on Uncharted! The trilogy collection on PS4 is indeed a great way of seeing how the games evolved over time and adopted a unique identity (as you point out, the first game is more than a little reminiscent of the Indiana Jones films; I guess they all are, but subsequent entries felt more grown into their own mythology and narrative tone). I didn't have a great time with the first game myself, but some of that could be due to my using it as a test case for the viability of cloud gaming on PS Now. So, the unpolished old PS3 release plus the latency issues inherent to cloud gaming.

Even if it's not as slick as its subsequent entries, though, it does seem like the series started off on a solid foundation. Glad you enjoyed it, and would definitely be interested in hearing how your experience with this series evolves as you replay through the games via the Nathan Drake Collection.

@mookysam

I like the extended mythology you're establishing with Lakitu.

I played this game circa the mid 2010s and was still super impressed with how good this game looked on the GameCube. The water effects truly are out of this world, and the image quality as a whole was such a massive step up from the blocky, polygonal nightmare realm of Mario 64. I ended up liking this game less upon replaying it (probably primarily due to my insistence on doing EVERYTHING in this game, which led to some rather frustrating road blocks, and irritation at the blue coin collecting in general), but I think I still had a lot more fun with it than you did. At least, when I wasn't screaming at the TV during those chuckster shine levels, or after being knocked off the underside of the village for the millionth time during The Goopy Inferno level (Pianta Village really would be better off just burning to the ground). The 3D All-Stars Collection hasn't been treating you well thus far.

A fun read as always!

Edited on by Ralizah

ACTIVELY PLAYING
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine expansion; Gnosia (Switch)
Persona 5 Royal (PS4)

PSN: Ralizah

RogerRoger

@Ralizah I'm bowled over; you really are too kind. Thank you for making the time to read it all (it's just shy of 7,500 words... is that really a record for the topic? Eep, sorry!) and for making encouraging posts about it elsewhere in the forum as well, which was generously embarrassing of you, or embarrassingly generous... whichever one it was, it made me blush!

I was constantly searching for something to be positive about, and rescued as many glimmers of hope as possible, but I couldn't justify not slamming it every other line. It was a new and slightly frightening writing process for me; cathartic, I think is the word. It's nice to be nice but you're right, sometimes you've got no choice. I feel bad speaking ill of an ill-fated developer, and I obviously have no idea the pressures they were under, but you reach a point where the facts speak for themselves. It should've been a safe slamdunk, if not a groundbreaking one; instead, it's an incredible failure, as in it genuinely defies credibility.

I won't embed it directly, but here is a link to a video (not mine this time) showing all the instances of the abysmal Punch Out! mechanic. You even get to hear the mangled introductory line after the first fight concludes. Watch it at your own risk!

And no, I didn't tweak the V-Sync settings on my computer. I'll be honest, I didn't even realise that was a thing I could do, so I'm grateful for the tip! Not because I'll be replaying 007 Legends anytime soon, but because I've got a couple of other PS3-era PC games lined up, many of which weren't exactly famous for having smooth technical performances. If I encounter any screen-tearing issues with them, I'll have a play and see if I can balance things out. At least they shouldn't be stuck at 720p (he says, hopefully)!

Again, most kind. Rest assured that my reviews will be back to business as usual before long!

"Always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind."

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Ralizah

@RogerRoger

RogerRoger wrote:

Thank you for making the time to read it all (it's just shy of 7,500 words... is that really a record for the topic? Eep, sorry!) and for making encouraging posts about it elsewhere in the forum as well, which was generously embarrassing of you, or embarrassingly generous... whichever one it was, it made me blush!

Yeah, sorry about that. As a person who generally tries to be invisible as much as possible and avoids attention at pretty much every turn, it was uncharacteristic of me to draw attention to someone else's work like that. A while after I'd posted that, after people had already seen it, I did think: "I hope he doesn't mind too much that I called him out like that."

It's excellent work, though, and I wanted to get new eyes on it before it got lost in the shuffle.

So, again, sorry if that caused any discomfort!

RogerRoger wrote:

I was constantly searching for something to be positive about, and rescued as many glimmers of hope as possible, but I couldn't justify not slamming it every other line. It was a new and slightly frightening writing process for me; cathartic, I think is the word. It's nice to be nice but you're right, sometimes you've got no choice. I feel bad speaking ill of an ill-fated developer, and I obviously have no idea the pressures they were under, but you reach a point where the facts speak for themselves. It should've been a safe slamdunk, if not a groundbreaking one; instead, it's an incredible failure, as in it genuinely defies credibility.

It really is a rare game for me where I dislike it so much that I really just can't find anything nice to say about it. I'm impressed you got through it all. I generally stop playing games that I dislike that much, although now that I'm writing about the majority of stuff I play through, I do try to play through everything and be as thorough as possible.

Like I said, that someone as good-natured as you ended up being pretty withering about the game speaks volumes to its quality.

RogerRoger wrote:

I won't embed it directly, but here is a link to a video (not mine this time) showing all the instances of the abysmal Punch Out! mechanic. You even get to hear the mangled introductory line after the first fight concludes. Watch it at your own risk!

LOL I love how everyone grunts the same when being punched. And how the grunts sound like they were recorded in a bathroom.

RogerRoger wrote:

And no, I didn't tweak the V-Sync settings on my computer. I'll be honest, I didn't even realise that was a thing I could do, so I'm grateful for the tip! Not because I'll be replaying 007 Legends anytime soon, but because I've got a couple of other PS3-era PC games lined up, many of which weren't exactly famous for having smooth technical performances. If I encounter any screen-tearing issues with them, I'll have a play and see if I can balance things out. At least they shouldn't be stuck at 720p (he says, hopefully)!

A lot of modern monitors have a technology built into them where they dynamically adapt the refresh rate of your display to match the framerate of the game to avoid screen-tearing, but, sans that, you'll sometimes have to tinker with v-sync settings to avoid screen-tearing. Most modern games are well-optimized enough that you don't really need to worry about it on more powerful computers, but older games can be a pain. For DOOM 3, for example, I needed to disable the hardware-based v-sync solution I had enabled and played around with in-game v-sync settings in order to eliminate tearing every time I turned the camera. To this end, software that caps your framerate can be helpful as well. For the few occasions I've needed to use it (Ys I on PC has a boss that's borderline impossible to beat if you play it at an unlocked framerate, for example), the Rivatuner Statistics Server software is free and relatively easy to use.

ACTIVELY PLAYING
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine expansion; Gnosia (Switch)
Persona 5 Royal (PS4)

PSN: Ralizah

RogerRoger

@Ralizah Oh, no apology necessary! The only minor damage was to my humility which, since it so often holds me back, could do with taking a few knocks. As much as I would never normally admit this, it did feel nice to be championed, so my thanks again.

It's down to my obsession with Bond first and foremost, that I made it through. My love for certain franchises has carried me to the end credits of some truly awful games over the years, ones that I should really learn to abandon. Knowing that I could spin it into a bit of a warning to others did help (and, as you say, it's difficult to justify reviewing something you haven't fully experienced) but I do seem to possess an infuriatingly-permanent optimism, no matter how foolish it may be.

Gotcha; that's good to know, thank you. I've made a note of that software name. It does amaze me how some older games look stunning right off the disc, patch-free, and am surprised that I haven't had to do more frequent tinkering to make things work. The further back in time I go, the more I have to rely on fan mods and custom launchers, though. It's a bit of a minefield, but a navigable one.

"Always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind."

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

mookysam

@Th3solution Cheers buddy. I wasn't too sure how to structure this review, so I'm really glad you enjoyed it. And God of War can never get too much praise!

@Kidfried It often feels like the difficulty is unfair, given the various things working against the player. It doesn't have that fine tuning that a lot of other Nintendo games do. Kudos for playing it as a small child! I don't have as much patience the closer I edge to 40, so was a lot less forgiving of the FLUDD-less bits.

@RogerRoger Thank you, I really appreciate it. Hopefully you weren't eating breakfast when Pat popped up! I know Mario isn't typically your thing, but given how this is a little idiosyncratic and also has a very consistent aesthetic design, it may be more up your alley than other games in the series. I'm a little hesitant to say "yeah, you might like it, play it!", but there are enjoyable aspects, and it was certainly nice to appreciate things I didn't first time round. Back then I was so focused on the ways it wasn't Super Mario 64, but now I'm grateful for those differences. Just be aware of the wretched camera!
I am finding Galaxy a lot more consistent. My thoughts are so positive I may well struggle to think of some suitably vivid analogies!

Regarding Eurocom, I always found the disparity in critical reception between the Wii and HD versions of Goldeneye quite interesting. The Wii was a little barren at the time and wasn't exactly known for its FPS games (despite the potential of the system), yet judged against the greats of the genre on the 360 and PS3 perhaps it didn't compare quite so favourably. It's hard to say in hindsight just how much Activision meddled, but something clearly went very wrong somewhere down the line!

@Ralizah Thanks. I initially just imagined that Lakitu had been fired, but that didn't do him justice, particularly given how bad Sunshine's camera can be.

Yeah, the water was truly phenomenal at the time and still looks great. A lot of first party games still hold up reasonably well visually, which I think is testament to the skill of the original designers and their careful use of the hardware. On the GameCube I had a lot of difficulty with the chuckster shine sprites, but oddly didn't when playing it in the remaster, given how much other shines had me swearing like a sailor. The only sprite I couldn't get (other than the missing blue coin ones) is the poison water lily pad one, which annoyed me no end given how long it takes to get to the level. The pachinko level was hit-and-miss! Seeing the evolution of 3D Mario in 3D All Stars has certainly been an interesting journey so far, but thankfully Galaxy is still a blast to play.

#BlackLivesMatter

Ralizah

@mookysam So, the lily pad level was weirdly easy for me this time, considering I died 40+ times in the original trying to get it. I got the lily pad shine on my fifth try, although I prepared for 40+ attempts beforehand. I found that being more conservative with the water nozzle helped. Really, even getting out to that island turned out to be way harder than the challenge itself.

The pachinko level is weird, because, if you know how to hold the stick when you launch, it's really quite simple, but otherwise it feels infuriatingly random where you'll end up. Still an ill-conceived challenge regardless.

What really does me in with the chucksters is both the dramatic difference even the smallest change in angle will make and how often that angle being wrong equates to instant death. Also, some of those levels require you to manipulate a LOT of chucksters before you get to the goal. Ugh.

I don't mind the barebones presentation for the 3D All-Stars games in general, but it annoys me that Nintendo wasn't even concerned about stabilizing the framerate. As you point out, it gets positively chunky in Delfino Plaza.

But yeah, Galaxy is the true hero of this release, as expected. Playing the other two before it only helped to highlight how much Nintendo's 3D Mario games have improved over time.

ACTIVELY PLAYING
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine expansion; Gnosia (Switch)
Persona 5 Royal (PS4)

PSN: Ralizah

Kidfried

@mookysam I think I was 15 when I beat that game. And I remember being very proud, haha.

I like to think that I've become a better gamer since then. But reading your review makes me actually doubt that.

Those older games just were super difficult, weren't they?

Kidfried

RR529

@Th3solution, great Uncharted review! I'm probably the only person on this site (the world even) who has never played an Uncharted game to completion (I partially played the first on the PS3 through a rental, but that was it). Good to hear it still holds up. I think I have the trilogy thanks to PS+, so I probably should give it a try someday.

@mookysam, nice Sunshine review! I played it for the first time last year (on Switch), and while it is janky in spots, I do think it's a lot better than 64, and didn't run into any major problems with the camera, and quite enjoyed the FLUDD-less levels for the most part. It probably helped that I didn't set out to %100 it, though.

Currently Playing:
Switch - Blade Strangers
PS4 - Kingdom Hearts III, Tetris Effect (VR)

mookysam

@Ralizah No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't angle the nozzle properly, and it was either too fast or too slow. Once you're in the rapids with the lily pad at the wrong angle that's that! 😂 I wasn't able to decipher the laws of physics governing the pachinko one, as Mario would bounce around so strangely. There were so many attempts where I'd have seven red coins, and then Mario would get bounced to oblivion, but in the end I managed it.

I don't necessarily mind a bare-bones presentation, as Sunshine and Galaxy were already really great looking games (although Mario 64 could have had more done to it), but the dodgy frame rate In Delfino Plaza really irked me and the jaggies are surprising. I haven't noticed any frame rate issues in Galaxy so far, and would be very surprised if it doesn't match the original 60fps throughout.

@Kidfried

Those older games just were super difficult, weren't they?

They really were! To this day I still find it hard to believe that I completed Sonic the Hedgehog 2 as an 8/9 year old. Nowadays it would be impossible for me to get through it without liberal use of saves. Over the past few years I've been playing through the Ratchet & Clank games, and was quite surprised by the difficulty of the original trilogy. There's been so many general improvements to how games play it's easy to taken them for granted when going back to older titles. You're still probably a much better gamer than me though, I happily play most things on easy.

@RR529 Thank you. I'm increasingly convinced that Lakitu has a personal vendetta against me. The Mario games have improved with each new release, so while I had issues with 64 and Sunshine, it's still been interesting to play them back-to-back and see that progression. I'm probably a masochist, but past a certain point I wanted to get as many shines as possible!

Edited on by mookysam

#BlackLivesMatter

RogerRoger

@Gadjo Blimey, such a detailed breakdown! I'm flattered, thank you! I'll try to answer all of the questions you've asked and yes, just for the record, I am a total weirdo!

The stat screens vary from level to level. Sometimes there'll be a fade to black before they appear but, other times, they'll just be pasted over whatever Bond was last looking at. Die Another Day is the only time it happens at an appropriate moment, as Bond and Jinx make their escape from Graves' exploding plane via helicopter. Otherwise it's always in the middle of some death-defying escape, or atop some seemingly-inescapable location. Never fails to be awkward.

It's funny you mention Alpha Protocol, as I'll be playing and probably reviewing that soon.

Nope, absolutely no leaning or peeking option. If you crouch behind cover, you can pop your head up, but only when aiming a gun and only if you wrestle with two simultaneous inputs (over-complicating the simplicity of a single "aim over cover" button used in GoldenEye 007: Reloaded).

My snarky comment about "people keep moving" was more to highlight the uselessness of giving Bond a radar ping which requires both hands to use. Whether the enemies are strolling around oblivious to your presence or running and screaming right at you, you'll need to switch away from the radar and back to a weapon in order to take action against them. By the time you've done this (or by the time you've moved Bond himself) everybody is in a different place. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure I could simultaneously aim a gun with one hand a look at my watch on the other... in fact, I know I could, because I've done it before! So it just became another ill-conceived addition to the game's long list of useless bells and whistles.

Thanks for praising my music editing skills, particularly since I only used SHAREfactory on my PS4, and cut both tracks manually, by ear. I'm not clever enough for anything else!

Alas, most of my gaming library comprises licenced games. It's my curse. You'd think Bond would be a pretty safe bet, considering his history. The original GoldenEye 007 on N64, the console version of NightFire and the epic Everything or Nothing are among some of the best games ever made, licenced or otherwise. It's a shame Activision ended up making Bond a franchise of such extremes; nobody does it better, but nobody does it worse, either. Here's to IO Interactive redressing the balance because yes, I've been playing and reviewing these Bond games specifically thanks to that announcement!

"Always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind."

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

RogerRoger

@mookysam Oh, I've wrestled with enough atrocious cameras in my time, so I'm sure Super Mario Sunshine wouldn't be too much trouble in that regard. I'm grateful for your caution all the same! And you're right, sometimes it's tougher to write about a good game than it is a bad one. I'm sure you'll find an entertaining way to voice your Galaxy thoughts regardless!

And yes, you're absolutely right about the Wii's barren FPS library. That's an interesting thought about that disparity between the consoles of the seventh generation. I might see if I can find a proper breakdown of sales figures, merely out of the personal curiosity you've just triggered.

"Always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind."

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

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