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lostleader here, and still as ambitious as ever to getting through my 60 year game challenge done! Finally making it to the end of June, but I still have the rest of the summer of games that I have beaten that need to get up here on Dtoid! Here are the games I beat for 31, 32, and 33 of my 60 game year challenge!

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia date beat June 19



Impressions:

Order of Eccelsia certainly is an oddity in the castlevania series, not that itís different ,but that it combines two different things to make something new all together. Itís like combining Simonís quest and Symphony of the Night, it has the challenging gameplay and exploration of SotN along with visiting different locations like Simon's Quest. I donít know how to exactly describe it ,but a lot of this game makes sure that skill wins overall. Sure there are RPG elements from the older metroidvania games, but if you can't beat the boss because you lack the skill, grinding to higher levels won't make it easier to beat the boss. There are also plenty of new areas to explore ,but a lot of the exploration is more like traveling to different locations then actually exploring them. In fact the vast amount of these areas are pretty straight forward and some of them donít even have a save point, which can be rather bothersome your first time playing through them and hoping for one. Thankfully enough the game designers werenít so cruel to leave you stranded ,and they give you a magic ticket that lets you travel back to a village you frequent so you can save and plan your strategy for the stage youíre at. That may seem like it makes the game too easy, but you will be needing those tickets throughout the game. This is mainly due to the game throwing too much at you at once, and gives you no save point in sight to make sure you are actual progressing through the game. Course this leads to a lot of backtracking throughout the same areas you been through so while it can be tedious, it never gets quite so tedious as Simon's Quest did.
Speaking of biting off more than you can chew, the bosses in this game are impossible to beat! Or at least it seems that way at first. The majority of OoE is just figuring out boss patterns, adjusting your play style to them ,and living long enough to beat them. And frankly I love that about OoE. Sure I didn't like it at first, but I kept pressing forward and when I finally beat that boss I've been struggling with it, it gives me a certain sense of accomplishment that is rather rare in games these ages.I remember screaming phrases like "oh ya I beat you, but you didn't think I could do it, did you?" or like " hell yeah I won!" Just bursting out with joy when you beat a boss, not the game, a boss? Ya I haven't had that feeling in a while. Course OoE isn't all about beating bosses as it does have a story to it, and while
the story itself can be heartwarming at times itís just not really there. In all honest the game really only focuses on one character throughout the game, and unfortunately itís not the main one. It would be nice if they actually treated Shanoa as an actual character rather than a tool throughout the game that the player uses but itís just not the case.In the end I truly do like Order of Ecclesia, it just gives you that ďI did itĒ moment and frankly that is rather rare nowadays.As well it even borrows a page from SotN ,and pretty much has a second game to unlock after you "beat it". Still though, I really would have liked Shanoa to have explored better, but I suppose that was just asking too much.

Conclusion:
Order of Ecclesia brings back old Castlevania toughness with some metroidvania style gameplay. While it can be tough grinding now and again, a lot of this games fun comes from overcoming what you thought was impossible at first, and thatís something every game should try to offer!

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon -date beat June 21



Impressions:

After playing Order of Ecclesia I have to say this is quite a disappointing bunch of bosses. I know it's rather harsh to judge past games because of what the newer ones had, but in truth the old castlevania games also had some of the best bosses. But CotM? Save for a Dracula that can pretty much K.O. you in one go, these bosses are really easy. Throughout most of the game I was a bit under leveled yet I had no problem taking any of them down, in fact the toughest time I had with this game is just walking to the next location to progress.There are just many reasons why these bosses just don't work, and for one there actually aren't a lot of bosses compared to other castlevania games. The majority of the game is just traveling around, and finding equipment to get better at moving around the castle instead of fighting a bunch of bosses. Second, the bosses are just honestly kind of dumb, playing a majority of castlevania games throughout this challenge, I have to say these are pretty weak bosses and references compared to the rest of the series. A lot of the other castlevania games have a lot of references to mythological creatures, but this one just kinda dropped the ball. The difficulty was a big problem too, all the bosses patterns are rather easy to get down, and the "boomerang" weapon easily breaks this games difficulty. I seriously killed death on my first try simply because I spammed boomerangs, it really gets to the point that no other weapon should be used. It is not so much an issue of a broken weapon, I love those in single player games, but the fact it just distracts so much attention to actual strategy in a castlevania game is sad. One of the bigger parts of Castlevania is fighting "monsters and demons" from different myths and having a difficult time till you finally nail a pattern down and beat them. This castlevania however was all about boomerang spam.
Aside from boss fights though I do like this game a bit, and I have to say its one of the better GBA castlevania games.The story is sub par, really isn't there the majority of the time, but the music is a nice call back to the old school games. I like the fact you can use a whip, but this is probably due to using a lot of different weapons in the games I have been playing before it, either way it makes a nice design choice as a lot of the game really does make use for the whip itself. I also really like the fact this game plays a bit more like metroid then it does castlevania compared to the other ones. See in castlevania its simple grind and exploration, but with metroid your always looking for something to further your progress. CotM however works more like metroid making its main focus on exploration and movement, compared to bosses and grinding, which I suppose is the trade up for what was mentioned earlier. Nonetheless I have to say I enjoyed this game quite a bit, especially considering I played through it within a matter of two days. While the game is indeed short, especially for those a little more skilled, CotM does have a nice niche of replay value as you can play through the game again focusing on different aspects of the games mechanics. If your more into spells you can be a magician instead, or if you want to focus on strength then you can do that. Its an interest bonus for sure, and frankly should be added to more castlevania games. But for now I think Castlevania is better off following the lead of Order of Ecclesia then Circle of the Moon.

Conclusion: What it lacks in creative and challenging bosses, Circle of the Moon makes up for pure exploration, nostalgic music, and interesting ways to replay the game. While I can't recommend this over most of the Castlevania games I played, it still as the addictiveness of any castlevania game, and that should be a good enough sale for anyone.

Pokemon Conquest date beat Ė June 27



Impressions:

When I first saw Pokemon Conquest I realized it was the type of game that was ďjust so crazy that it might workĒ. And wouldnít you know that phrase matches this game perfectly. I never would have guessed I like playing a game with as much micro managing as conquest gives you. Literally the whole main game is a tutorial to teach you the basics of what you are going to do post game. This kinda makes post game a big downer in the way just like cakes feel like lies. I just grew so attached to my units, and having to start over from scratch really doesnít feel worth it, but overtime with two post game episodes under my belt I have to say it could be worse. Sure I may have lost all linking percentages, and everything may feel like a lie, but it is for the greater good. If I had all my broken units there be no challenge in the game, and post game certainly offers so much more then what the main game lets on. See in the main game the AI is terribad, nearly never responding to empty castles or putting up a great fight. In post game everything changes, enemies are more aggressive and strategy is a lot more involved. As well I barely scratched the surface of post game, with nearly 4 pages full of side missions and already 25 hours under my belt you beat this would take a large amount of time to complete all the episodes.
As for the main game itself, itís a little disappointing that it ends up being one big tutorial, but it does give you the opportunity to do what you want and leave you room for grinding. That can help in post game if you plan things correctly, but only if you actually plan it. Really wish a lot more strategy games did make you play through a main story like Conquest did though, as its an easier way to not baby a player, and actually adds to the game more than it hinders it. In a way itís like Lynís story in FE7, it pretty much is its own game, but sets up for the bigger adventure, without just throwing you in the deep end. The story itself is also a little bit interesting as it provides for a nice little history on Nobunga, but blends ruthless dictatorship with cutesy pokemon sprites so it ends up being a lot more light-hearted than what history would like you to believe. But that's probably why Conquest is so interesting, blending two things that shouldn't match make for an interesting recipe, it could end up horrible like Street Fighter in 3D or wonderful like Kingdom Hearts.Conquest's gameplay is also quite addictive, just finding each units best link or as I like to call it, OTP (one true pairing), and managing units to go to certain castles really burns a lot of your time and you find yourself picking it up for 10 minutes only to find a hour has gone by. And really that's something that doesn't happen to me often, but Conquest is just one of those games that gets you wrapped up in itself.

Conclusion: Pokemon Conquest works so well that it wraps you into things that may seem tedious at first, but makes them come out as fun in the end.With tons of episodes for post game, getting the best out of resources, fighting and defending from enemies, and making sure you make your army the best they can be, conquest gives you so much to handle that you will never be truly bored of it. Conquest is also the best spin-off Pokemon has had since Pokemon Snap, and while itís a bit of a shame it took so long, it is well worth looking into for any Pokemon fan or tactic RPGer.



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