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8 game series challenge: AND THE REST - Destructoid




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Ya this is pretty much were the series challenge ended itself, Metroid and Final Fantasy. A big part of this challenge was to simply finish Final Fantasy, but it turned out I can avoid that pretty easily. I certainly will try to extend this challenge personally for myself in 2014 (not that most of these are personal). But for now here is where I ended.

To be fair I was able to beat around 84 games last year, and I already plan to do something a little more different for next year. Hopefully it will all work out, and maybe I can even just carry this challenge into 2014? Maybe even get the rest of my thoughts on all those other games I've beaten? For now though, I'm finished with this, and almost done with my set up for the next challenge. In the mean time, my thoughts all the rest of these series I tried to beat.

Series incomplete: Metroid



Metroid I actually completely beaten save for the actual first game. I consider myself to have beaten the whole series because I have beaten Zero Mission, but not completed this challenge because I didn't write my thoughts on everyone of the games I beaten. At the very least though I beat 3 games I have never beaten before in this series, and well, I guess I'm glad for it. For what its worth, my favorite games in this series are Metroid Prime and Zero Mission.  

Metroid Prime Pinball ~ Date Beat 4/16/13



Thoughts:

Pinball games tend to not have a lot flare to them. Aside from Pokemon Pinball, I never really pursued other pinball games, just classifying them as “just another pinball game”. Course I know this isn't completely true, but the idea that Metroid Prime would be in Pinball form didn't really have me excited for it. I love Metroid Prime, but I have never really liked pinball so I figure it wasn't for me. Eventually though the game went right around my price range, and I decided to buy it because it was still a Metroid game and frankly it did look like a lot more fun than my other gaming options at the time. The game sat on my shelf for about 2-3 years not really being play with, save for a few times when I really wanted to play pinball. Heck, I didn't even know you could beat it till a few weeks before hand. But once I did I was adamant to actual beat the game, and knowing that I could beat it I could put the Metroid series within this challenge.

Metroid Prime Pinball is perhaps the 2nd best pinball game I have ever played, 1st being Pokemon Pinball on the game boy color. But being 2nd best at a genre I don't like is still pretty good if you ask me. A lot of the reasons why I don't like Pinball is because there isn't a lot of action to it nor any kind of story or goal to work toward save for a highscore. In all honesty I didn't really know about the mechanics of pinball games, save to constantly hit your balls away from the dead zones. But Metroid Pinball really made me learn that there is a lot more to pinball than I previously had thought. Metroid Pinball really makes you learn that you have to time your shots and see where they are going, as well as deciding what your next goal should be. It also helped a little more that Metroid Pinball gave me more of incentive that just scoring higher points. Essentially Metroid Pinball put in a lot of things I don't normally see in pinball games, like mini-games, bosses, and even a story. Sure its loosely based on Metroid Prime, but it follows it nonetheless. And with that extra incentive to hit the right targets in order to advance the game I learned how to play pinball correctly. 

As mentioned before Metroid Pinball adds a lot of new elements to the whole pinball routine. Not only are you fighting for a highscore, but you're also trying to get all 12 artifacts to advance to the final stages of the game where you face both Meta-Ridley and Metroid Prime. This extra distraction really helped enhanced the overall gameplay and importance of extra balls. Not only would you've ended your high scoring record, but also all the artifacts you collected. Which meant that you had to do all the things to get them in the first place again, which could be quite tedious if you don't know what you are doing. Artifacts also helped spice up the boards by giving you a bunch of little mini-games to play in order to earn them. There's the classic muti-ball round where you'd score as high as you could with 3 different types of balls. The phazon ball mini-game, which two different balls are placed on the field and you have to hit these pieces of phazon in order to rank up a high enough score with. Shooting mini-games where you control Samus outside of her morph ball form and shoot various creatures that inhabit Tallon IV's over world. And varies rounds where you had to clear the map of certain creatures that were on the board, some of them including Metroids. Then if you are lucky enough to be able to move to another stage you could chose to go to one where you get a new ability and fight a boss too. Metroid Prime Pinball just added a lot of neat things to the pinball formula.

The only thing I really didn't like about Metroid Prime Pinball was the fact that it was too hard to collect all 12 artifacts. It's not really that I couldn't collect all 12, but I tended to get a couple of bum balls and was unable to continue because I had so little lives left. This really could have been fixed by adding a difficult setting or just giving me an extra life a little earlier than in the 2 million point mark. But overall Metroid Prime Pinball really does make pinball a little more fun with its cool looking graphics and awesome music from the Metroid Prime series.

Final Thoughts:

Metroid Prime Pinball is the 2nd best pinball game I have ever played and for good reason. It adds a lot of new elements to the pinball formula that keep it from getting trying, and is able to be just as aesthetically pleasing like Metroid Prime was. If it weren't for the fact that extra balls were hard to come by or more boards to try my luck in I would probably like it more, but as it stands its still a nice game.


Metroid Prime Hunters ~ Date Beat 4/29/13



Thoughts:

When I first got a DS and got first hunt, the demo for Prime Hunters, I was excited. The idea that Metroid Prime could come on the DS was amazing to me. There really didn’t seem like there was anything inherently wrong at the time. Sure the demo was a bit, eh, but I'd figure with as much time as they gave it for it to come out the game itself would be really good. Much time past since I actually decided to finally buy Metroid Prime Hunters and even more so when I actually decided to play it. And boy was it just bad, and I bought, played, and beaten Metroid: Other M when it first came out.

Really it just makes me mad at the whole thing. Prime Hunters took a long time to come out and even longer for me to get and actually sit down and play. I knew the control scheme hurt your hands, I knew that it took some getting use to, but overall the game just doesn’t work. Not to say that it couldn't have worked, they had enough to make it work, but it just doesn’t. The control scheme is even worse when playing for extend hours of play, the controls are often wonky and constantly makes it so even the simplest jumps can be missed because you didn't angle yourself correctly. Whats even worst is the fact that the majority of the gameplay is incredibly the same formulaic bull that makes an awful games worse. You constantly go around each planet finding three artifacts to open the portal the the boss room, and are only then greeted by some generic lameness.  All the bosses save for the last are the exact same two bosses only made harder, totem pole and ball guy. Then after each boss you are subjected to having to leave the planet in a hurry before it explodes for some unknown reason. What makes even littler sense is that you do this twice per planet! The Hunters themselves aren't even present like I thought they would be. They might as well be generic enemies or metroids for all I care because they really add nothing to the story. Nothing is just done with them, they are just there to be an annoyance. Seriously, why make all theses hunters only to waste them as generic super enemies? Why not make them bosses themselves? Was it really that hard? Instead of recycling the same 2 bosses you have 6 other potential candidates to work with! And that’s what Prime Hunters is, a waste of potential. 

Aside from all its faults, the game does provide with a lot of fun areas to explore, and that alone makes a worthy notion that it should probably be made into something better. The music is even like the Metroid Prime games. But really this game is just crap.


Final Thoughts:

I never thought I say it, but there is a bad Metroid game; Metroid Prime Hunters is that game. It had a lot of potential to be good, with the areas it provides to explore, the lore built within the game, and the interesting new hunter characters. But it just overall fails the process with its horrid control scheme and terrible formulaic gameplay. Stay away from this game!


Metroid II: Return of Samus ~ Date Beat 11/5/13



Thoughts:

The idea of hunting down the rest of the Metroids is certainly a fun one at least, and the fact they have so much impact on the environment that you actually change it by killing them is cool. It really brings a different sense of exploration to the Metroid series and honestly its really fun to hunt them all down, despite the ability to easily get lost in this game. Metroid II also gave Samus her more iconic look of today, and the handy dandy, spider ball, which is a really cool ability you get early on and makes exploring through the planet a lot more fun. The majority of the game is fairly linear though, but more often than not feels like the opposite with all the twists and turns the game gives. But perhaps what makes this game actually good is the semi-look at the Metroid cycle as we experience the same way Samus does. Despite the lack of any actual narrative, Metroid II is a bit of a nice experience to watch a species grow as you hunt it down through the depths of its home planet, only to find the final form defending itself from extinction. And that's what perhaps makes Metroid II so compelling, it tells its story through gameplay, and it gives us a look into what a Metroid actually is. 

Despite this though, Metroid II does feel like it lacks a lot and a remake is what this game truly needs. Its still a good game though, but the majority of what could make it really stand out were elements that were barely being realized in the past. Metroid II has a lot of good qualities, but the majority of the bad ones could have easily be solved if it were from another time or simply had a remake. The two biggest complaints being the lack of map and the fact that the game uses templates to design areas, largely making a lot of the areas look the same. This however can be solved by a remake so that areas are designed differently, and the ability to check on a map is added. Metroid II is very much a small game, and simply on my first run where I kept getting lost constantly and had no idea where I was, I managed to beat it in under 6 hours. As well, the major enemy in this game is rather dull to fight after a while; after learning the patterns of the given Metroid forms it simply becomes routine to fight them and not at all challenging. The only interesting fight in this whole game is the Queen and honestly is what helps make it remember-able. Even that aside though, it never really feels like the planet is alive or mysterious till the very end. The majority of routes consistent mostly of obstacles getting in the way of your jumping and the very few enemies in this game are fairly spread out. And because everything looks nearly identical it often feels like you're exploring a void. All these problems honestly just keep coming to my head as this game needs a remake and honestly with its premise it make a good one.


Final Thoughts:

Metroid II is a compelling entry in the Metroid series for its ability to tell its narrative through gameplay only, while still making it a fun experience. However the game has aged incredibly, and the need for a remake feels dire. The ability to use a map and graphical enhancements to areas alone would make this game far better than what it is right now, but despite all that Metroid II still remains a fairly good game.  

Series incomplete: Final Fantasy



For what its worth, I have beaten Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy IV before I beat II and VI in my previous challenge. So effectively enough I beat the 8 and 16 bit series, minus IV's completed addition. I still don't know exactly what makes me stop playing this games so much, but I think the way Final Fantasy handles game overs is discouraging. The fact I can play Dragon Quest or Pokemon without worrying about all progress being lost if and when I game over really helps me continue playing it. The way that final fantasy just throws you back in the last save point, with the same levels, its just backwards to what the game truly wants you to do. Anyway here are, sadly, the only two Final Fantasy games I was able to beat.


Final Fantasy V ~ Date Beat 12/12/13



Thoughts:

Final Fantasy V is a good RPG, but I can't really say I enjoyed it as much as previous Final Fantasy games I have played (I,II, IV,VI). I'm not completely sure why that is, but I think the main villain and story just wasn't that interesting. Despite FFI and FFII 's limited abilities to actually tell a proper story, I just think that their stories were more interesting than V's was. The idea of an infinite loop against a paradoxical bad guy or a rebellion against an emperor that conquers both Heaven and Hell just seem a whole lot cooler than a dude turning into an evil tree. I know I'm simplifying far too much, but really I do think  FFV's story was just weaker compared to the rest. It's a very basic story about a mad man's power lust , and the merging between two worlds, which I suppose is cool and all, but IV and VI did it so much better. The only thing I can really say FFV has in terms of story is the characters themselves. While the  main story certainly isn't interesting, the main cast very much is. Coming from completely different backgrounds as a rag tag group reminds me a lot of FFVI's cast, and I assume was inspiration for it. Each character is just different from each other in terms of both personally and background, and it makes an otherwise boring quest a little more interesting. 

The main thing that helps FFV's case of being a good game though is its job system. On top of the ascetically pleasing look a lot of the team members get pending on what jobs they have and who they are; the game makes it easier to level and support team members mastering or transitioning jobs. With the ability to use two different abilities, one being the job class ability you have,and the other an ability you learned from another job, it makes the difficulty of having a healer or magic caster a breeze. It isn't as big of pain to have your whole team be exactly the same job class either, and later on gaining jobs becomes much easier in the last dungeon. As well, FFV gave the series Gilgamesh, a dude with a bunch of swords and words, but not a lot backing up either. He's really a good character all around and actually gets some good character development throughout the story, and is pretty much responsible for anything really memorable in this game. But really aside from the job system and characters (mainly Gilgamesh), FFV doesn't really offer much else to the typical Final Fantasy fare. The game still has a good soundtrack and the graphics, for their time, are top notch and still pleasant to look at. But honestly looking back at this game, its just like the void in the last dungeon, you remember bit parts in it, but mostly forget the rest of it. FFV just isn’t that remember-able, and the majority of its ideas were pretty much done already and better.


Final Thoughts:

Final Fantasy V is perhaps the least remember-able Final Fantasy game I have played so far; the story was rather generic and the game is a typical Final Fantasy affair. It's still a decent game, but aside from the job system and Gilgamesh, I wouldn't really be able to tell ya much about it.


Final Fantasy III ~ Date Beaten 12/23/13



Thoughts:

After doing a bit of research on this game and hearing horror stories from a friend, I was very considered with my adventure through Final Fantasy III. Having only played it for an hour made me even more worried as the directions in the beginning just aren't clear, but after sometime and some walkthrough looking, FFIII sprung from being a huge pile of mess to a fairly enjoyable experience. Ill totally admit that FFIII doesn't really have a lot going for it, aside from the introduction of the job system and some mild humor, FFIII just doesn’t impress. Its really a very average experience, and the game doesn't really lend itself to even core gamers out there. Its a game more so for the fans who want to simply enjoy some franchise history, and not much more is really going for it. The game is just too average to really forgive any short comings it has, and the things it offers are done better in nearly any other game. The story itself is very basic, and doesn't have many interesting characters or concepts. On top of that, the remake just doesn’t add enough or fix enough of the problems to make it anymore desirable from the original.

It really is just hard to sell this game as something to play even to a final fantasy fan out there, and its completely understandable why. The game is just so outdated for its time, and the remake just doesn't fix these problems well enough. For starters, the remake tries to add in a little more storytelling in the beginning of the game, but really it just starts out fairly confusing and easy to get lost in. In all honesty, the beginning's remake feels like it needed a lot more work to really make the changes it wanted to make. All the characters are given distinct enough models, and semi-different personalities compared to the original, where they were all the same, but what it really boils down to is some more half-hearted dialogue that you have to sit through compared to the original opening. Its not that I don't admire the effort, but its fairly obvious that this was more of something they forgot to fix before release. As well, the remake still has a lot of issues with difficultly spikes still being rampant throughout FFIII. Some parts of FFIII you are simply not prepared enough nor are given enough warning to warrant the sudden spike of difficultly. So this can easily led to mindless grinding and failed run attempts all in the vain of precious hours of your life lost forever. This wouldn't be nearly as bad however if it weren't for the fact that switching jobs makes your stats go to crap till you “get the hang” of your new job. I understand that they didn't want to make jobs too overpowered, but using a transition period merely ruins the fun of trying out different classes as it takes far too long to switch between jobs and being able to run properly in battles. So because its far better to stick with the job you are given, it is almost essential that you never switch jobs till near the end where you get the more powerful jobs in the game. As for the remake, apparently they were trying to rebalance a lot of the job system, but simply to say, it just didn’t work well enough. A lot of the jobs are still very one sided and only a few, mainly the last jobs you get, are honestly worth any time to put into. But because most of these jobs are near the end of the game, and start at the basic level it makes for another mindless grind to getting up to a proper job level before the final boss. On top of that, the remake, mainly the DS version, makes one of the more powerful jobs and weapons you can get a sidequest that requires waiting several hours or timeskipping via DS clock to get them along with the use of Friend Codes and WiFi connections. This is also without discussing the horrible boss battle that takes place in a town castle that can easily be engaged without any warning to the player. Not only does this battle nearly require that all your player characters be Dragoons so they can take down the boss easily, but the boss simply does too much damage to go about it any other way, aside from mindless grinding. Put all of this on top of the transition period for jobs makes for a lot of grinding for only one boss in the entire game. On top of all this grinding, marks another horrible thing about FFIII, the last dungeon, or more specifically the world of darkness. The world of darkness is the point of no return for FFIII, and I’m sure the bane of many’s existence. The world of darkness has no easy save point, the closest being right before the dungeon before it and between the dungeon before that, meaning you have to travel roughly 3 full dungeons relatively unarmed enough to fight the final boss. On top of all this the player must defeat Xande, 3-4 Xande's clones, 4 dark crystal bosses, and then finally the final boss itself. All of these battles must happen while no save is present and you still have to go through the dungeons with normal enemy encounters. I personally don't know what I would have done if I didn't fully prepare enough to beat the final boss in one try, but thank goodness I did because all those cutscenes and boss fights were not something I wanted to see twice over.

Perhaps the only thing that Final Fantasy III really has is the soundtrack, the introduction of many series main stays, and the fact that its one of the  hardest, if not the hardest Final Fantasy game of the series. But unfortunately its a rather dubious award as a lot of this difficult is due to poor design and limitations of the system it was made for. But if you are really looking for what old school Nintendo hard was like, Final Fantasy III has just the view for ya.    



Final Thoughts:

Final Fantasy III is a very outdated, average, and difficult game. The game really has little to no redeeming value to it, and only serves as a reminder of how Final Fantasy, as a series, has progress. To be fair though, I'm sure a few more hardcore Final Fantasy fans will enjoy it, and the soundtrack is pleasant to listen to, but that is really all I can say about that.





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