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Topic: Last Game You Beat

Posts 81 to 100 of 129

Krzzystuff

I just finished Haven last night. Good game. Really enjoyed the music and story, the loading between islands was a bit annoying, it was fast but just didn't want it at all lol. Spoiled i know. Apparently it's loaded with rare achievements as i got like 10 of them...if more people eventually get them do they become regular achievements?

Off to Tekken 7 before it's gone to rack up gamerscore for the January punch card.

Edited on by Krzzystuff

Krzzystuff

Xbox Gamertag: Krzzystuff

Fenbops

@Krzzystuff glad you enjoyed it, I got quite far into it and got fed up. The combat never clicked with me, found it really annoying especially with later enemies. Game had some performance issues too but it’s worth a try for anyone on gamepass.

Fenbops

LtSarge

Just finished Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia on Wii U. I've been playing this game on and off for the past 8 months and I'm just glad that I managed to eventually finish it after having taken a long break from it during that period.

Anyway, I had a blast with this game. This is my second favourite Pokémon spin-off series (after Pokémon Mystery Dungeon) and the whole gameplay mechanic of using your stylus to draw circles around Pokémon in order to capture them is very fun and addicting, I can never get enough of that! I remember playing the first Pokémon Ranger on my DS as a kid (probably 13-14 years ago) and I liked it but I thought it was a rather tough game. However, it feels like Shadows of Almia toned down the difficulty significantly. It's too bad though that I never continued with this series as a child, but at least the sequels are available on the Wii U eShop and for a very cheap price as well (€7) compared to buying second-hand physical copies at €40-50. I'm definitely buying the third game as well.

What I didn't like about this game is the side missions. They were fun at first and added more stuff to do besides the story, but then they started becoming tedious and not as fun anymore. Not to mention that you have to do side missions in between story missions before you can progress with the story, which was just annoying at the end when I just wanted to finish the game.

Overall though, it was a highly enjoyable experience that was reminiscent of the time I played the first game as a kid, as well as a throwback to a time when Nintendo was just going crazy with trying out different ways to play games with the DS and Wii. Sometimes I just need a break from using standard controllers and play something completely different instead. This did the job really well!

LtSarge

Krzzystuff

Ok so i finished the Tekken 7 story last night and...meh. I'm pretty sure it's just a Tekken thing as the game mechanics weren't for me and I recall it being similar way way back on PS1? The story was very lackluster compared to MK games. I tried it and now I know. It's gone Jan 15 if you're into fighting games.

After the disappointment of Tekken i booted up My Friend Pedro and man....that's a fun game. Enjoyed it so much that I finished it in one sitting at the cost of valuable sleep. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't played it yet, it's also gone on Jan 15th. The gunplay is a lot of fun and you get some pretty good kills bouncing bullets off a cast iron skillet... trust me it's awesome.

Next up it's either Gardens Between, Full Throttle or Day of the tentacle.

Edited on by Krzzystuff

Krzzystuff

Xbox Gamertag: Krzzystuff

urrutiap

been playing Final Fantasy IX for the past week and half.

Just beat the game and watched the ending late last night.

urrutiap

LtSarge

Just finished the Inheritance DLC for Layers of Fear and it was pretty good. Nothing special, it's basically more Layers of Fear but it was pretty interesting since it delved into the backstory of one of the characters in the game. Also, the DLC reminded me of just how good Bloober Team is at making you scared and confused because you have no idea what's going on in this game, lol. Love it!

@Krzzystuff Have you had a chance to play Full Throttle or Day of the Tentacle yet? I'm not too fond of point-and-click games but seeing as how they are only 4-5 hours long each, I thought I'd give one of them a try, especially since they are both on Game Pass. I'm always looking for trying out games outside of my comfort zone, so I'm hoping these games are beginner-friendly for people like me.

LtSarge

Krzzystuff

@LtSarge I'm maybe 30 minutes into Day of the Tentacle and so far it's pretty easy to use on a controller. It's too early to see how hard the game actually is. I recall Grim Fandango from my childhood so I'll be playing that at some point as well.

Krzzystuff

Xbox Gamertag: Krzzystuff

Fenbops

I just beat a game called Observation on Gamepass. I recommend it, it was really good. You play as a space stations AI called SAM and have to solve various puzzles as the game goes on. I’m not sure when it was made but the graphics are really nice, the station looks great. The story was good too.

It’s something a bit different and the achievements seem easy if you’re into that sort of thing (there’s only 11 and I got 7 without trying).

Fenbops

Fenbops

Just beat Halo 5, played through on Heroic. I’d heard a lot of negativity about this game and it started off really slow, I feel it really picks up around the middle of the game and I started to really enjoy it. Overall it was good but that 1 boss you fight multiple times was ridiculously annoying and I’m still not sure the Forerunners are all that enjoyable to actually fight. Had some really cool cutscenes though, and some of the vista’s and areas later on are great, be interesting to see how Infinite turns out at the end of the year.

Fenbops

Krzzystuff

So I finished Edith Finch and Little Acre. Edith Finch has a bit of an odd story but it was actually pretty good. Little Acre was fantastic, i absolutely loved that game. It's pretty short but it's a great simplified version of the Day of the tentacle type games. If you get stuck it gives you the ability to get a hint and the solution if necessary....all without having to find a guide on YouTube. If they had this for Day of theTentacle I would have finished that game. Was very surprised by it and I'll actually be replaying it again even after the achievements quest is due, i just really enjoyed myself with this.

Edited on by Krzzystuff

Krzzystuff

Xbox Gamertag: Krzzystuff

ralphdibny

@Krzzystuff I'm glad you enjoyed little acre in the end! I don't think I'd pay the asking price for it (£10 I think?) but it was well worth playing as part of a game pass sub. Do you reckon you'll get back on DotT now that you're more familiar with the obscure solutions that point and click games can require? I'm trying to think if there is another game that's kind of a step up from little acre but not quite as obtuse as Day of the Tentacle. Sam and Max Season 1 comes to mind as kind of a middle ground between the two. It was recently remastered but I'm not sure if it was released on Xbox. I only remember one really tough puzzle in that game where you play cards against somebody but otherwise it wasnt too hard.

Edith Finch is an odd one, seems to be marmite to some people in that they either love it or hate it. I quite liked it but I do enjoy a short narrative based game. Some of the stories in it were pretty horrible to experience like Gregory's story and Lewis' story. I guess because they are the kind of stories that are more likely to occur in real life so they hit home a bit more. But yeah, good game I thought!

ralphdibny

LtSarge

Just finished Resident Evil: Director's Cut (PS1) on Vita. What a great game! It was so cool to play this version after having played REmake first and you can tell that they spent a lot of time on making REmake the perfect version of this game. However, there were some differences that I honestly preferred on the PS1 version compared to REmake. For starters, there's no steep learning curve like in REmake. Sure there are fewer areas in the original but it's always clear where you need to go. In REmake, you could easily get lost and this would be an issue since you really need to find a safe room as soon as possible when starting a new game just to get access to an item box. Not to mention how annoying the Crimson Heads were in REmake, I'm so glad they weren't in the original. So yeah, I actually prefer the simplicity of the PS1 version, but it also made the game a lot shorter. I managed to beat it in 6.5 hours, while REmake took me almost 19 hours, more than twice that amount!

I can't actually believe though that I managed to finish a PS1 RE game. I used to hate tank controls, I was terrible at this game years ago and now I managed to beat it, even on Standard difficulty. It's a great game and it holds up rather well even though some aspects aren't really present in today's horror games anymore. But still, it's definitely worth playing just to experience the origins of this series.

Edited on by LtSarge

LtSarge

RR529

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition (Switch)
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The enhanced Switch remaster/remake of the now iconic Wii era JRPG. Although I've played XC2 (and it's Torna expansion), this was my first time with the original adventure. This release also includes the all new Future Connected adventure, but for the purpose of this review I'm going to focus on the core game.

Gameplay:

  • In terms of structure it's actually pretty standard fare for a JRPG, as you'll traipse across towns, field areas, & dungeons on your way to your next story destination, tackling optional quests along the way (I will say I found this preferable to XC2, which I don't remember having bespoke dungeons, just many open areas, followed by a series of more linear areas near the back end. While this game does have a series of more linear zones in the back half as well, I think in general it does a good job of mixing up it's open & more focused areas). Where it stands out is in the expansive scope of it's environments, which is so impressive I could honestly believe this was built ground up for Switch if I wasn't aware of it's Wii origins (it's not open world, but many of it's areas are large enough to invoke that feeling of wondering if you can get to that distant location in the distance). I can honestly see why it would have been viewed as a revelation of sorts on Wii.
  • The world comes to life with monsters that have different "triggers" when it comes to attacking your party (if they have an eye logo above them they'll attack on sight, a vibration logo means they'll attack if you're moving quickly, a nuclear looking symbol means they'll attack if you use an ether based ability around them, and no symbol means they'll only attack when you make the first move), and you'll come to terms with avoiding powerful enemies levelled in the 70's & 80's that can prowl around even early areas, which helps to establish the world as a living environment with apex predators (while there is lore mentioned in the occasional side quest that mentions some groups of monsters being enemies with others, monsters don't actually react to each other in practice however). Enemies also have color coded icons above them that let you guage their strength relative to yours from afar (Red is too strong, Yellow tough but doable, Brown equal, Blue weaker, & No Icon no threat), and if they have no color coded icon they won't attack you even if you set off their trigger. Of course you can always target an enemy to get it's exact level as well.
  • Exploration is very encouraged and you'll earn experience for arriving at new locations & landmarks (the latter of which act as warp points once you reach them), and you don't lose anything when you die (you're just sent back to the last landmark you passed, though you keep all experience, money, etc.), so you don't need to fret over getting bodied by a powerful enemy around the bend when you want to explore. It really cultivates a sort of relaxing vibe, and while the size of some areas may seem intimidating at first, if you keep up on side quests they generally send off to every nook & cranny over time. One other thing I'll briefly mention is that there are blue dots scattered over the landscape that are material harvest points (each area has it's own set of materials to collect, and while there is some randomness to what spawns where in an area, some materials will have a higher chance to spawn at night, during bad weather, etc. It's largely up to luck of the draw though, and a few materials are very rare to spawn regardless. This is definitely inferior to the system in XC2, where specifically marked harvest points will only spawn bugs, flowers, etc). You'll often need these materials for sidequests, and you can also fill out a "Collectipedia", which earns you rewards for filling out an area's material list.
  • As for the side quests themselves they don't tend to be anything fancy, usually just stuff like Kill "X" number of this enemy or collect this number of items, though the basic gameplay loop was fun enough that I found doing them preferable to grinding, plus there were a few interesting ones from a lore perspective (though I thought the whole Giants' Treasure questline ended up being pretty anticlimactic). While it is true that doing all you can will over level you for the early areas, quest opportunities generally shrivel up into the second half & I felt things kind of evened out (not counting the endgame quests that pop up right at the end. Those are tough, however doing them will let you plow through the final boss). I'll also mention that whenever you have a quest selected as your main one there'll be a blue "!" marking exactly where you need to go, so there's no running around guessing where you need to go, which is especially helpful whenever you need to collect materials that spawn randomly (you can just open up the map and see exactly where the materials you need have spawned). Environmental designs aren't as intricate as those in XC2, so I never had the issue I had in that game where I'd seemingly go to the right location for a quest only for it to be at a different elevation. It definitely made things a bit easier.
  • One issue I had with quests though is the whole affinity chart. You see, by talking to named NPCs & completing quests you're reputation in that area of the game world will increase, and when it increases more quests will open up, however that's not all there is to it. You see there is an affinity chart that displays how every named NPC is connected to those around them, and sometimes you need to talk to one NPC in order for some other NPC to give you a quest, and it's not often apparent that you need to do this, so if you want to attempt to do all the quests you can, you'll spend a lot of time talking to random NPCs to see if the affinity chart will update. This is slightly compounded by the fact that certain NPCs will only be active at certain times (though you can freely change the in-game clock to your heart's desire, and after you talk to an NPC once you can check their active times in the affinity chart), and of course certain quests are missable due to story progression (these quests are marked with a clock icon, so at least you know to prioritize those).
  • Early on in the game you'll run across a settlement that has been destroyed and you'll be given the optional game long task of rebuilding it by gathering materials (and paying lots of money). While the character in charge of the rebuilding program will give you hints where you need to find certain items, the game is never quite as open as it is when it comes to pointing you in the right direction with normal quests, but I found it worthwhile to tackle though as I liked seeing the city being rebuilt, plus doing so grants you access to even more side quests, shops, & more.
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    Sorry if this drags... on.
  • When it comes to the game's combat (it's about time I got to this, lol!) it has a real time system where your character performs basic attacks automatically, though there are a series of special abilities (known as arts) displayed at the bottom of the screen, and it's the player's job to activate them at the right moment (you can't spam them as they have cool down gagues that must refill before you can use one again). For example Shulk has an art called "Back Slash" which, as you can imagine, deals extra damage when you're positioned behind the enemy you're targeting. There is a gauge with three bars that fills up as you fight, and when fully filled it allows you to pull off a powerful chain attack (the action stops, and you're free to chain together a series of arts, one from each of your party members, into a powerful combo), based on your party's affinity (more on this later) you may get extra chances to string even more arts into the combo. Doing so is a gamble however, as expending one bar of the guage is the only way to revive a fallen ally (there are no usable items like potions & such as there are in other JRPGs). Untitled
    Certainly seems to be a lot to take in.
  • As briefly mentioned before there are no usable items in the game. This means that in order to heal yourself (or perform other buffs) in battle you'll have to make sure you have a character in your party with healing arts. Shulk has one that restores a small amount of HP to one character, but you'll largely be relying on Sharla once she joins the party a few hours in. I'll admit I was worried at first about leaving the health of my party largely up to an AI character (you can control characters other than Shulk in battle, but for reasons I'll get to in a bit, it's not something you'll likely choose to do often), but in practice it never presented any problems.
  • A key aspect of the game's combat that's unique are Shulk's visions of the future. Part of the game's narrative is that lead character Shulk can see the future, and this is worked into the battle system in a neat way. Whenever an enemy is going to hit a party member with a special attack that'll really wreck them (usually resulting in death, but not always), the action will be interrupted with a monotone colored vision playing out the attack. Once you're back in control you'll have a few seconds to keep the scenerio from coming true. While you can warn a fellow party member by walking up to them & pressing "B", letting you choose one of their arts to activate & potentially nerf the impact of the attack, your strongest course of action is to use one of Shulk's special Monado arts. The Monado being the game's sword of legend so to speak, Shulk has access to a special selection of powerful arts that can turn the tide of battle in these scenarios. If effective a Monado art will be highlighted with a "!", and if you select it in time the enemy attack will effectively be neutralized alltogether.
  • Another wrinkle to the combat are Mechon enemies. Robotic foes from Mechonis (more on this when it comes to the story) that are invulnerable to all attacks except those from Shulk's Monado. While other party members gain effectiveness against them as the story goes on, early on Shulk is really the only one that can harm them (one Monado art temporarily makes everyone effective against them, but activating it means you may not have another Monado art charged in time to stop a big attack if one is coming, so it's a bit of a gamble). Otherwise everyone can damage them if they are toppled or dazed. This is a mechanic that can be used against all enemies, but is particularly useful against Mechon early on (probably as a way to seamlessly train you to use it). Certain arts will have a chance to "Break" an enemy (arts with a pink icon can do so), which causes a gauge to appear above the enemy. They will then be "Toppled" if hit with a green colored art before the guage depletes, this causes the guage to be refilled and they can then be "Dazed" if hit with a yellow colored art before it depletes. An enemy will be immobilized with one of the latter two effects inflicted, and will take more damage as well (Mechon foes can be damaged by everyone as well while one is active). On top of this there are a couple early bosses that can only be damaged while "Toppled" or "Dazed" too. Also, your own party members can fall victim to "Topple" & "Daze", though similar to warning them about a future attack, if you are unaffected you can walk up to an affected ally and press "B" to get them back into the fight early (similarly, you can do the same thing to an ally suffering certain stat reducing status ailments, returning them to normal).
  • Being a JRPG there are many ways to strengthen your characters. Of course they can level up by gaining enough EXP (earned by beating enemies, discovering new locations/landmarks, rewarded after completing some side quests, and unlocking in-game achievements), and by equipping new weapons & armor (bought in shops, dropped by enemies, awarded for completing side quests). Equipment also has Gem slots (0-3 slots on weapons & 0-1 slot on armor pieces), which act a lot like Materia from FFVII Remake. New arts ARE NOT tied to Gems like magic is to Materia in FFVII, however they offer all kinds of various buffs (or debuffs to attacked enemies) for battle & exploration. Gems can be earned as side quest rewards or crafted from ether crystals (dropped by enemies or harvested from ether deposits in the environment). Also, it's important to note that the strength of your arts DOES NOT increase upon character level up like base attack/stats (rather you have to level up each art independently by spending from a pool of accured Art Points, which you also earn from defeating enemies. This is especially important for Shulk's Monado arts, as vision or not, you're not going to be able stop an upcoming onslaught if you don't keep these properly upgraded as you move forward). Of course with so many systems in play there's bound to be one or two you won't bother with, and for me it was the Skill Trees. Each character has three different Skill Tree paths (plus 2 extra ones earned after certain side quests, resulting for a total of 5 each), each containing 5 skills, and when you have a path selected you slowly unlock it's skills (which tend to be passive buffs) as you aquire SP (which earned alongside EXP & AP). You can also spend Affinity Coins (earned upon levelling up) to give the effects of an unlocked skill to another party member as well. This is something I rarely bothered with, mostly leaving everyone on their default Skill path & it never resulted in any noticeable trouble for me.
  • Outside of the Skill Trees I also never really bothered with Party Affinity. Party members gain affinity with each other by fighting alongside each other in combat (you can also have them give gifts to each other to build affinity), and if your party has a high affinity it earns you extra moves to add to chain attack combos (there's probably some other benefits as well). I really only ever used the same 3 characters, so their affinity was high with each other, but I never bothered to build affinity with anyone else outside of a certain side quest that required two female party members to have high affinity. This means I never got to see many of the Heart-To-Hearts (these are certain locations in the game world where two of your characters will have a personal chat, revealing more about themselves), which earn characters big affinity gains, but they usually have to have a pretty high affinity with each other to access them in the first place, kinda defeating the purpose, IMO.
  • Oh, there's also these little dimensional tear things you'll run across that'll take you to a psuedo dimension where you can take on timed challenges to earn rewards. I think there are different challenges for different characters, but I honestly never once bothered with it.
  • Another thing I never bothered with are the different difficulty modes. I played "Standard/Normal/Whatever it's called", however I know there's a "Casual" mode that at least weakens enemies, but probably has other effects too (being a Nintendo game, if you die 2 or 3 times in relatively quick succession it'll ask if you want to switch to the easier mode, which I ignored). At the other end of the spectrum is the "Expert" mode, in which EXP earned from exploration isn't automatically applied (it goes into a pool you can pull from at a later time if you feel like you need it), and you can actively de-level yourself if you think you over leveled & want a challenge (whether this mode actually makes enemies harder than normal I don't know).
  • In comparison to XC2, it seems like there's a bit of a step back with every step forward, but I think I actually slightly prefer XC:DE in terms of gameplay. While the moment to moment combat here has a good flow to it (and the vision mechanic is cool) I think I prefer the much more rhythmic flow of XC2's battle system, plus the second game has more intuitive material harvesting & I LOVED getting new rare Blades to add to my party. However XC2 also added one to many excessive systems, such as the Gacha mechanic to acquire new Blades (which was a grind), and the dreadful Field Skill system (you needed Blades in your party with certain adventuring skills to access certain areas, which hindered exploration & interfered with story progression occasionally), and I think XC:DE is better off without all that. At the end of the day I guess those two issues I had with XC2 were a bigger nuisance than the niggles I had with XC:DE. Untitled
    That was a lot to take in, but let's move on shall we?

Story/Characters:

  • When the world was young two titans (the organic lifeform Bionis & the mechanical Mechonis) did battle in a vast ocean. While it's said that Bionis won the day, the battle was exhaustive and both titans have long since been immobile. Bionic life (including Homs, fantasy speak for Humans) were born from the flesh of Bionis, and have lived on it's body relatively peacefully until one day they came under attack from the Mechon, robotic lifeforms from Mechonis. Powerless against their assailants, the number of Homs has diminished, and only a few of their colonies remain...
  • There was hope however, as the Homs found themselves in possession of the Monado. Said to be the sword used by the Bionis itself, one warrior was strong enough to weild it's power and singlehandedly drove off the Mechon, seemingly winning the war. This was a year before the start of the game's events proper, where we join up with Shulk, a young scientist in Colony 9 who is studying the fabled sword. After the Mechon suddenly show up and shatter the fragile peace of the colony, lead by a new kind of Mechon immune to the Monado (during the events of which it's discovered that Shulk can weild the Monado & see visions of the future with it in hand), Shulk & his friend Reyn go off on a quest to reach Fort Galahad (the Mechon stronghold from the last war) to seek out revenge. Of course being a JRPG there are many detours & narrative twists along the way, providing for a grand adventure.
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    Let's do this.
  • While it does have it's more lighthearted moments, it definitely strikes a generally more serious tone than XC2, which wasn't afraid to go out of it's way for a laugh at times. While I think I actually preferred XC2 in this regard, the story on offer here is still really gripping, and I can understand why fans who started with the Wii original may have not jived with the second game's tone.
  • It has a pretty solid cast of characters, and while it's not as prevalent a theme as it is in something like XC2 or FFX, I think the romance elements worked into the narrative were done really well. After nearly 120 hours of play time it was kinda sad to let go.
  • I really liked the lore they worked into the game world like the Giant's ruins, and other vestages of civilization that show life was once more prevalent on Bionis. I also really like that some groups of monsters seem to have some level of intelligence (like the Turkin/Chillken & Ignas) as they fight with basic weaponry & make small camps or reside in the ruins of abandoned civilizations. This was similar to how they were presented in XC2 as well, and I'd be really be interested if they expanded on it in a future title, like having them have cultures at least on par with the Nopon (cuddly little round bird creatures that have appeared in every Xenoblade game, and one usually ends up in your party), just in a hostile role.
  • On a side note, while it's pretty clear at points that it's connection to XC2 was probably only fully realized during the second game's production (who knows how much of that was actually pre-planned), by the end I was pretty satisfied with how well it does connect (how much they changed for this remake to retroactively make it fit better, other than a slight alteration to one character's design, I do not know as I've never played the Wii version).

Graphics/Audio:

  • As mentioned before the sense of scale in the game can be absolutely awe inspiring & hard to believe it started life as a Wii game. Cleaned up in the XC2 engine, aside from a rough edge here & there it could totally pass for a ground up Switch title. It has a wide variety of biomes in a unique enough world where even the standard grassland & jungle areas feel anything but generic, and many areas, particularly on Bionis, take the Avatar approach of making everything glow in the night (of particular beauty are Satorl Marsh at night & Eryth Sea during a meteor shower). There is an additional sense of scale as in many places you can see were other parts of the titan you're currently on are in relation to you (and the other titan as well), which is a really cool piece of world building. My only little bit of disappointment in this regard is unfortunately many of the Mechonis locations. Granted, they still have an awe inspiring sense of scale & some really cool set-pieces in spots, but whereas the Bionis' locales (even it's sci-fi ones) feel like a living, breathing part of a coherent world, many of Mechonis' locales kind of blend together in a kind of series of brownish rust gold, generic militaristic sci-fi hallways & lifts. Still cool in general though.
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    Shots from various Bionis locales.
  • In a neat touch every different piece of armor changes your characters' appearance where it's worn (there is armor for your head, torso, arms, legs, & feet), and new to this version is the ability to set your appearance to a different set of armor compared what you're actually wearing for stat purposes (as long as you actually have the corresponding armor), so if you want the benefits of wearing the best armor in the game but want to see Shulk running around in his undies you can do that (if you payed close attention to my environment shots you can see I briefly did that with Sharla 😏).
  • The British voice work is absolutely wonderful & helps to set the fantasy tone (coming from an American yokel in the Midwest).
  • Great soundtrack too. I'm not one to usually notice music in games, and won't be tracking down individual pieces for my review, but it has a wide variety of tracks for various purposes & can be suitably sombre, upbeat, ready for action, relaxing & much more when it needs to be.

Conclusion:

  • I'm not quite sure it's my favorite Switch title, but at nearly 120 hours of playtime it's certainly the one I've spent the most time with (and that's not counting the Future Connected bonus story, which I'll be reviewing on it's own!). Whatever the case, if your one of those people who've played BotW, Odyssey, and a few other Switch titles, complain that it doesn't have enough "big" exclusives and haven't yet played the Xenoblade titles (this or XC2), so so now.
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    Hold on guys, I think we're finally done!

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

RR529

Xenoblade Chronicles: Future Connected (Switch).
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An all new adventure bundled with Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition. While you can jump straight into it, for narrative reasons it's recommended you play through the main game first (I'll try writing this as spoiler free as possible).

Gameplay:

  • Like XC2's Torna expansion, Future Connected is a shorter adventure (I'd guess 10 - 15 hours, which is even shorter than Torna's 30 - 40 runtime) that features a completely new area, plus a returning area from the main game. The new area in question is the Bionis' Shoulder, which was a nearly complete area developed for the original game but cut due to thematic redundancy with a few of the game's earlier locales such as Colony 9 & Bionis' Leg (in short, it's a grasslands area). Gussie it up a bit and you've got yourself a brand new area for a story expansion. For spoiler purposes I won't reveal the returning location, though I will say it's one of the game's smaller locales, and you really don't spend a whole lot of time with it here.
  • Returning party members include Shulk & Melia, and they're joined by two new Nopon characters in Nene & Kino (two children of Riki, the main game's Nopon party member). Basic combat is the same as the main game, with Nene & Kino even taking the abilities/roles of Reyn (tank) & Sharla (healer) respectively (sorry Melia, I'm putting you on the side lines again, lol). Fitting that it takes place shortly after the events of the main game, you don't start out at level 1, but instead level 60 (with all your arts already at level 4 or 5). Of course the area's enemies are levelled accordingly.
  • There are 4 big changes to combat.
    1. There is no more future vision mechanic in place to counter killer blows, with nothing to replace it. This means you really don't have a need for most of the special Monado arts, though I did find a use for a couple. I never particularly found this to be a problem however, so enemy special attacks must have been relatively nerfed to sort of balance it out.
    2. Across your journey you'll run across a group of Nopon adventurers known as "Ponspectors" who'll join up with your party. There are 12 in total and mention this here as they ever presently follow your party of 3 while out adventuring & in combat (like active Blades do in XC2). During battle they'll randomly heal or buff party members & attack & debuff enemies (4 carry blue flags and have restorative effects, 4 more have red flags and attack enemies, and 4 others have yellow flags & debuff enemies). This is all AI controlled & involves no input from the player.
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      I hope you're not tired of Nopon.
    3. The Chain Attack mechanic has been removed (where you expend your whole talent gauge to chain an art from each party member into a combo). It is replaced with a mechanic where you instead call upon all Ponspectors to strike in unison. Performed under the same conditions as a Chain Attack, you'll have the option to have them heal all party members & provide a litany of buffs, do massive damage to an enemy, or automatically Daze & debuff the enemy. The effectiveness of the strike depends on the total number of Ponspectors you've joined with as well as a little 3 prompt QTE (I think it's the same one used when performing certain arts in XC2). You'll occasionally get an "Extra Chance", which lets you immediately choose another strike (though you can't pick the one you've already used again).
    4. Another new aspect is the presence of "Fog Beasts". These are regular monsters who have fallen under the influence of the "Fog King" (the big bad of the expansion who is brought up in the first hour, so not really a spoiler). They have a black aura around them & when engaged send out a shockwave that attracts the attention of all nearby monsters (& levels them up). They sound annoying, but in practice I never had any particular issue with them (all other enemies return to their regular level if the Fog Beast is killed beforehand).
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      There's something not quite right with these guys.
  • Adventuring is largely the same as it is in the main game (you gain EXP from discovering new locations & landmarks, the latter act as warp points, harvest points are random blue dots everywhere, etc), though there are a few nagging issues. First off, given that they've had to cram an entire adventure into this one location, it's entirely possible to take a few steps off the beaten path (particularly early on) and wind up in a space with enemies too strong for you (& I don't mean the occasional random super strong enemy you're supposed to tip toe around you'll get in the main game, just a space with enemies generally too strong for you early on). Secondly, the landscape can be quite "layered" in spots, and yet the map is depicted as one "floor". This means you'll probably run into the issue where you'll go to a quest marker only to look around and see it's on a plane above or below you (a problem with XC2 occasionally, but not one I had with XC:DE proper). Granted, these are small problems in the grand scheme of things (death is just as un-punishing as ever, and you'll know the entire area by the back of your hand before too long), but they are there.
  • Otherwise the game is streamlined in many aspects.
    1. The Skill Tree & all Affinity related systems (including all the charts) have been completely wiped. The "Heart-To-Heart" conversations scattered around the map (previously locked off by affinity requirements) have been replaced with "Quiet Moments". These are fully voice acted interactions between party members that are only ever locked off by story progression. Honestly this is a big load off your back as you don't have to worry about some obscure affinity requirement locking off a side quest or some such.
    2. While they can drop better weapons, enemies no longer drop armor (and the armor you obtain from quests is largely cosmetic). Better armor is exclusively obtained by buying it from one of the two shops in the game.
    3. There is no more Gem crafting system. An upgrade to your Ether Deposit mining gear near the start of the game means you harvest ready to go equipment Gems from Ether Deposits instead of crystals (enemies no longer drop crystals either). At some point you can do a side quest that improves the quality of Gems you mine as well (you start out mining level II & III Gems, and get level IV Gems afterwards) You still get a few Gems from side quests or treasure chests too, though.
  • 3 - 4 NPC side quests usually open up after every other story event, and while (almost) none of them reward EXP, they all reward large amounts of money (which is important, since you can only buy better armor as previously stated). Each Ponspector also requires you to complete a side quest before they join you, and while (almost) none of them reward money, they all reward large amounts of EXP. You run across the first Ponspector as part of a scripted event, and after that he'll give you the locations of a few others. Ideally after you get more to join they'll reveal the location of a couple others, so on so forth, but it's important to note they all load in after you meet the first one, so it's entirely possible to get them out of order (I got a few this way), though be aware one may give you a quest you're not ready for if you're not "supposed" to meet them yet. Unlike the main game none of the quests get locked off due to story progression, and unless I somehow completely missed it during my entire playthrough of the main game, another new aspect is that it'll tell you what level they recommend you be at to take them on.
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    Ready for duty!

Story/Characters:

  • A year after the main game ends, Shulk & Melia are taking a trip to [insert returning location here] to see how things are going, when a big laser fires upon their ship & they crash land on the Bionis' Shoulder. Joined up by Nene & Kino (children of the previous game's Riki) who had stowed away on board, they soon meet up with refugees from [insert returning location here] who were driven out by a foe they've dubbed the "Fog King", an etheral being who seems immune to all physical & ether (magic) attacks, which phase through it. To make matters worse is that racial tension has caused the military class to leave the civilian camp unguarded, meaning Shulk & Co. have their work cut out for them.
  • Despite the serious nature of the narrative, the game is a lot like XC2 in that it seemingly always balances out the more sombre moments with something a bit more light hearted, and that's largely where Nene & Kino join in. Yes, they're Nopon with all the speach & personality quirks that come with that, but they're also actual children, so the whole schtick comes off as much more genuine from them & they never fail to bring a smile. Despite the short run time of Future Connected, I probably care more about them than some party members from the main game.
    Untitled
    A surprisingly heartfelt duo.
  • By and large this is Melia's story though (kinda ironic considering I sidelined her, lol), as she was the party member with the most baggage left over at the end of the main game, and it provides a nice conclusion for her (and some expanded roles for characters around her narrative).
  • However, a lot (read: practically all) of the phenomena surrounding the sudden appearance of the Fog King is left unanswered, and I can't help but think that in that regard, this is as much prologue for where they want to take the series next as it is epilogue for where it's been. Unfortunately, unless some eagle eyed fan has noticed something that flew over me, there was nothing here that seemed to tie things back into XC2 (which I assumed there might be). Whatever the case, while the main game had a satisfying end & I shouldn't be itching for more after playing this cart for nearly 140 hours, that's exactly where Future Connected left me, wanting more.

Graphics/Audio:

  • While you'll largely be spending your time in one location, I think they did a pretty good job of bringing the Bionis' Shoulder to life, and there's just enough diversity to keep it feeling fresh (though in terms of native monsters, it kinda feels like they jammed a bit of everything in there, feeling a bit more of an ecological mishmash than the locations in the main game).
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  • While you can't carry over any equipment from the main game (for practical gameplay purposes), you can still use the appearance of armor you collected in the main game for cosmetic reasons (once you clear it you can set the appearance of Shulk's weapon too).
  • When you first load into an area (after warping or some such) or when things get really, really busy, I noticed the occasional dropped frame, which I imagine had to do with your little Ponspector army flailing their little flags about everywhere. It's not something that bothered me, but I figured I should mention it for transparency.

Conclusion:

  • It's brief enough that it's probably not worth buying XC:DE just for this, but if you've never played the original game (or are looking to re-experience it) this is definitely a nice bonus that sweetens the deal.
    Untitled
    A dessert worth digging into.

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

LtSarge

Just finished Leon A scenario of Resident Evil 2 (PS1) on Vita. This was my first time ever experiencing RE2 and I can definitely say that I enjoyed this game more than RE1. I could notice right away the increase in variety and just the various improvements since the first game. You encounter a new enemy type very early on, you can find parts to upgrade your weapons, there is an increased emphasis on story-telling and characters, there are more boss fights, the game had more jump scares and was overall more scary and so on. It just felt more engrossing than RE1 since there was always something new and different to encounter. I also really liked the plot, I think the dynamic between Leon and Ada was more interesting than Jill and Barry. Not to mention that the voice acting was actually pretty good this time around and not as cheesy as in RE1, which made the cut scenes more enjoyable to watch. Lastly, the diaries in this game felt more interesting to read than in the previous game.

All in all RE2 was simply a phenomenal experience and I would definitely put it up there as one of the best horror games I've played so far, even if I haven't played scenario B yet (which I will do eventually).

LtSarge

LtSarge

Well it's been a long time coming but I finally finished Yakuza: Dead Souls on PS3. It's kinda embarrassing but this was actually the first Yakuza game that I started playing all the way back in 2017. I never continued playing it because I didn't like Yakuza as much back then. Then I tried getting back into the game last year and that took a while as well. So finally I decided to get back into it now and managed to blast through the entire game in just a couple of weeks. I'm really glad to have this game done now. It was overall pretty fun but the more you play the more repetitive it became. The substories were mostly poor but there were some good ones in there. Moreover, the story felt pretty short and the missions didn't feel that meaningful. Not to mention that you'd constantly go through the same areas over and over again. The thing that will keep you going is the storyline and the characters that you know from previous games. So in that regard, the game managed to do a pretty decent job.

But all in all I wouldn't recommend this game at all. This is more for people who really like the Yakuza series, otherwise you'd just find a mediocre zombie game here.

Edited on by LtSarge

LtSarge

Mr-Fuggles777

Not a massive achievement but I've just finished Donut County. I actually really enjoyed it and although short, it stayed around for just the right amount of time given how repetitive it could have become.
Gotta love a game about Trash Pandas that use the holes out of a donut to hoard other people's rubbish and wreck a town populated with weird animals.

Edited on by Mr-Fuggles777

With no Power, comes no Responsibility!

Xbox Gamertag: CHAOS BADGER 77

LtSarge

Just finished Outlast Whistleblower DLC on PS4. I really enjoyed it! The first half was just a constant barrage of jump scares, while the later half felt more like the first Outlast with jump scares more evenly allocated. The main bad guy was also very interesting and it was cool how the overall DLC managed to fit in perfectly with the original game. All in all, great DLC content and I'm glad that I went back and played it.

LtSarge

LtSarge

Just finished Horizon Zero Dawn on PS4. I played the first 20 hours of the game back when it came out in 2017 but I never finished it. Now after an additional 47 hours I finally beat this game as well as acquired the Platinum trophy, which was fairly straightforward and fun. It's been a very long time since I thoroughly enjoyed my time with a game on PS4. I mean, last weekend alone I probably played the game for 15 hours in total, lol. It's just so good, I loved every aspect of it. It also takes heavy inspiration from Mass Effect in that there are tons of characters that you get to know and you get to see all of them participate in the final battle with you since you helped them out, which is totally optional. Stuff like that makes me think back to Mass Effect and I like that because ME is my favourite Western RPG, with Horizon now being a close second.

Anyway, this is one of the best games I've played on PS4 thus far and one of my favourite games of all time. What an absolute masterpiece, I can't believe the developer used to make military shooters before this game. They got so many things right on their first try, what an absolutely talented group. I genuinely can't wait to play the sequel now! Although I do also have the Frozen Wilds DLC to play as well, which I will be tackling at a later date since I want to take a break from this game, especially when considering that I've spent almost 50 hours on it this past week, lol.

Edited on by LtSarge

LtSarge

LtSarge

Just finished Dear Esther on PS4. Rather short game, I think it took me about 1.5 hours to get through it but it was certainly a stimulating experience. I've honestly never felt so relaxed playing a video game before. The music, the environments, the sounds of nature and the silence, it all meshed into a wonderful experience. It was maybe even too soothing (I almost fell asleep on numerous occasions, lol). I haven't played many walking simulators but this one was definitely a good one to start with, I enjoyed it a lot!

LtSarge

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