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Itís that time again!



To complain about video games?



To blog about not having a sex life?



NOOOOooOo its time to learn the lesson of My 60 game year challengeÖ



Well I learned that I havenít played a lot of gaming series. I mean going through 60 games you tend to realize there are a lot of games apart of a series and you still havenít played them. So thatís exactly what I plan to do! While itís probably not as difficult as beating 60 games in a year itís something I need to do to increase my knowledge on gaming! So for this challenge, this New Yearís resolution of 2013, I plan to beat 8 whole gaming series. Why 8? I like the number, and whos going to stop me? you? I donít think so.

Anyway, 8 gaming series within a year, I think itís a very good challenge, and while I canít say I know how many games Iím going to play or what series I will play I know I will at least get done with the Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy is a series I really need to beat and thus is automatically one of the series I will beat for this challenge. The rules apply a little differently for Final Fantasy because two of the main series games are MMOs, thus games I just donít want to play. But in their place are 3 other games that are semi-main game titles, FF X-2, FFXII: Revenant Wings, and FFXIII-2.

The Rules are somewhat the same, if not a bit modified for this challenge.

1) A series of games must be at least 3 games long and must have at least 3 games I havenít beaten yet.

2) It must be a whole series, so as long as there is one game I havenít played I have not beaten the whole series.
3) I have from Jan. 1 till Dec. 31st of 2013 to beat 8 game series.
4) I must shout out my thoughts to the unhearing people of the internets

4B) Any game previously beaten before this challenge must still have thoughts record on it like the rest.

4B1) Games beaten on my previous challenge, 60 game year challenge, are considered recorded.

5) Final Fantasy must be one of the series I beat; itís been far too long to not do so.

5B) Not counting 11/14 as they are MMOs, but including FFX2, FFXII:RW, and FFXIII2


Wish me look yaíll I fear this may end up being harder than the last one! I don't know when the next time Ill post, but Ill try to make it as quick as possible! Feel free to join in on the fight with your own challenges if you want!








Well Dtoid, people of the internets I'm finally done! After almost but not quite a year I have beaten 60 games! It has been a long journey throughout, and sometimes I didn't think I was going to be able to do it. Thankfully though, I beat my challenge, I got rid of a good chuck of my backlog and increased my gaming knowledge by 20%. I'm rather surprised at all the games I haven't played yet, and picking games up throughout the challenge I have to say I still have a long way to go to beat the rest of the games I have. But i will continue to playthrough these games and hopefully still report my thoughts on the internet in hopes that someone cares. At the very least I played a good chuck of games that were awesome, and some that I would be extremely sad to have never seen me play. Will I do something like this again next year? Probably, but it will be different because I like to shake things up a bit. For now though I think I earned a little celebration, and for you people out there, here are the final 3 games for my challenge.

Special Thanks to PK493 for being one of the first to cheer me on, and any other commenter that said anything to me. While I don't always respond, I do appreciate the thought people have when commenting and makes me want to keep beating games.



Game 58: Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors Ė date beat November 30th



Impressions:

Despite my hate for the last Dragon Quest game I played, VI, I still love the series, and strive to play as many games from the series as possible. It really is quite charming, and even with its supposed bad titles they can still be miles more entertaining than most games. I understand why Dragon Quest Swords isnít really heard of, but to hear that itís really bad just makes me wonder what game people played. Sure, DQ Swords isnít great but for such an out of the box experiment, it works. Personally, I like DQ Swords a lot more than DQVI, and think that more people should play the game because its overall enjoyable, short and sweet game.

While I understand that people may be put off that this DQ game is short, it certainly doesnít make it bad. The fact that it changed the perspective and made the game work and even more enjoyable is great. While the controls arenít top notch, it gets the job done and it really makes you feel a little more immersive in the DQ world. As well, the game requires a lot more skill than most DQ games do and for that I love it. I just love when I can go through games unaware that Iím under leveled, only to realize that I was simply too good. Or the simple idea that any stage is beatable no matter what level you are, as long as you play well. This is what makes DQ Swords so enjoyable for me, skill matters more than grinding. Itís the type of action RPG I have come to love and respect. The fact that Square Enix was able to make such a bold move for a well-established franchise, and make it work impresses me and I really wish they continue this series again. The story was pretty good too, which is something I just donít understand is another gripe about this game. It held my interest throughout, didnít drag on for long, unlike a certain DQVI did, and it had some pretty good voice acting if you ask me. I also love that the stages are replayable and there is a scoring system to them. Where all the hate comes from for this game Iím not really sure, but perhaps I love this game so much because I bought it at a 5$ price tag; I mean if it was higher than 10$ I probably be mad at this game too.

Conclusion: Dragon Quest Swords certainly isnít a horrible game like some fans may claim it to be, but it certainly isnít a prize winner either. With a decent story, a unique take on a franchise, and somewhat decent controls, Dragon Quest Swords is a game that can captive any fans interest, as long as they are interested.

Game 59: Street Fighter X Mega Man Ė date beat December 17th



Impressions:

Like many out there I was very upset that Capcom cancelled Mega Man Legends 3. The fact they let fans participate and give feedback was wonderful and it really was going to be a way to get me into the Mega Man Legends Series. Sadly it didnít come true and in the coming months it seemed that Capcom really wanted nothing to do with Mega Man, with cancelling projects left and right and not letting Mega Man join in any Marvel vs. Capcom games, it really felt like the end for the blue bomber. Then they announced Street Fighter X Mega Man, and that it was going to be free to play and was inspired by a build by a big fan of the Capcom games. Sure, this isnít the greatest start to building a bridge to fans everywhere, but it is still a start. And I for one welcome this new genre that Mega Man has crossed into.

As for the game itself, it really was quite wonderful. I probably put this game somewhere along the lines of MM3 and MM2 in all honesty. Sure itís a fan made game that Capcom help build, but it really itís an apology to Mega Man fans from Capcom USA. It has the same classic feel of older Mega Man games, along with the same level design and boss patterns to memorize. The fact it combines two franchises style and makes them both work is very appealing as well. Street Fighter characters work well in a basic pattern mind set, almost following flow charts that are used to mock how some people play certain characters. Not to mention that, all the Street Fighter characters have cute little sprite animations that just work so well that it really feels like youíre seeing an 8 bit Street Fighter 4 game. As well, Mega Man still has the same tight controls as before along with the same challenging gameplay. It really is just fun seeing Mega Man and Street Fighter characters go toe to toe, and really makes me want to see more of Mega Man versus games. I also love the fact you can now use multiple weapons at once which makes for an interesting way to play Mega Man than it is originally intend. The game is also just so atmospheric and pays homage to SF and MM so well. The music and stages are all so unique compared to the rest of the franchise and make for an interesting treat. This game really feels like Mega Man moved up to the next level in sprite designs, and uses the 8-bit graphics as more of a charm rather than for graphics.

That being said there a bunch of little problems I have with SF X MM. For one, why do I have to do this all in one play through? Seriously, I thought we were passed the days in which progress saving was not an issue. While I personally donít have an actual problem beating this game in one playthrough I know most will. Despite its levels being somewhat easier than most Mega Man games, and that your weapon energy is always refilled when you die, the bosses themselves are still challenging. So for some to beat the bosses and not want to move on to the second course of stages is an acceptable thing. So when you donít have the option to save or use a password it can really suck. Thankfully though the game is fairly short so itís not a huge problem, but it is one that can easily be fixed. As well, the last sets of stages are quite short. With only 3 stages and 2 possible boss battles I have to say I was hoping for more of a fight. I mean, itís supposed to be an anniversary, why canít I face Sagat? Or like whereís bisonís stage? Why is Balrogís stage so short? It really just seems like the ending half of SFxMM couldíve been more, but itís just played as an afterthought.

Conclusion: While there is still a lot of untapped potential and small fixes that should be made to Street Fighter X Mega Man there is still enough there to give any fan a few glees of excitement over. With lots of good music, some great level design, awesome homage to franchises, and wonderful boss battles: Mega Man is back.


Game 60: The Last Story Ė Christmas Day



Impressions:


Finally at last! The last game in my 60 game year challenge, The Last Story. I have to say that overall I was impressed. Iím fully aware that if it wasnít for the efforts of Operation Rainfall the states wouldnít even have The Last Story, and that would have really sucked. I didnít play this game as my last game for this challenge for the sake of irony though; I truly did want to play The Last Story because it really did look interesting. The timing was perfect. I found a limited edition copy of The Last Story at my local gamestop, and it was selling for 40$. So I figured it was destined to be.

As for the way the game turned out though, well itís wonderful really. While I canít say that itís one of the best games I have ever played, it certainly is a great one at least. The way the stories told, the way the game is played, and the ways the characters act are all a little bit different than a typical JRPG. The Last Story, in a way, feels more real than a game in the sense that it works off characters rather than tropes in JRPGs. While I understand that most of the characters in this game are still very much a trope, they also have a little something off about them. I canít say I can really explain it without exposing the story, but for the most part all the characters are more than just one dimension. That is honestly what I think makes the game shine, and the cast of voice actors makes this game all the more fun to watch and play. The music is wonderful too and offers to set the mood throughout the game. This is especially true for the last few battles in the game and really makes me want to find the OST just to hear those last few battle songs.

As for the gameplay itself, well, itís much different than most JRPGs and RPGs that I have played. While there are still a lot of concepts that are borrowed from both, all around youíre just dealing with a different monster when you play this game. There is a little bit of tactics, a little bit of grinding, a little bit of mindless button mashing, and a lot of fun to be had. While the game tends to give out a lot of information all at once, and often stops the game so you can learn, itís still pretty simple to play and about an hour or two in youíll get the hang of things. Itís also interesting to note that throughout the game you play as different characters from your party from time to time; this mix up of play can sometimes make the game even more engaging due to it not feeling like only one character is in charge of the game. Not to mention there is a co-op online multiplayer to be had as well, which Iím sure makes for some rather fun runs than compared to most solo runs.

However, as much as I like a lot of The Last Story, its real fault is just taking a while to get really good and break away from traditions. While the chapters are a nice touch to help show progress throughout the game, it can also be a bit of a hindrance. Sometimes chapters just end up being misleading and may sometimes question whether or not a chapter has really ended because of how long or short they can be. As well, it really does take a while for The Last Story to build their characters and break away from their one dimension and make interesting character arks. Frankly, most of beginning chapters are just cutscenes and tutorials lessons so it can be very off putting for people that just want to battle a bunch of monsters. The Last Story may like to build its characters too much, and while this isnít a bad thing, more often than not, they lose an audience that doesnít want to stick around because it hasnít become good yet. Some areas are also repeated so it can be somewhat annoying when there isnít new scenery around, but TLS does divide the use of already used areas quite well that it isnít too over used, or all that noticeable in the long run.

As well, The Last Story isnít exactly the prettiest girl in the ball, and while it isnít bad to look at, it certainly is outdated. Often I heard my wii cry out in terror because so much was going on during the game that it just couldnít process it. The cutscenes also look more like they were from the PS2 era with how often the lip syncing can be off and the stiff character motions that are shown.

Conclusion:

The Last Story is a great edition to the RPG genre that mixes up story elements and gameplay elements often enough to differ itself from the rest of the crowd. While it may take long to build up, and the graphics may not be the best, The Last Story has a lot of heart to it, and proves itself to be a wonderful game throughout.








Well Dtoid, its almost Christmas and soon enough it will be the start of new years day. With only one more entree to go and one more game to go I think I will accomplish my goal. Its been a long ride, and with the world not ending it looks like I truly have to finish this challenge. Still I only have a little less than a week left, its a bit surreal. But for now, my thoughts on games I have beaten.


Game 55: Castlevania Ė Date Beat November 1st



Impressions:


Castlevania is a wonderful game, but man is it challenging. The last boss alone took me about as much as the rest of the game to beat. Weíre talking like 5 hours ongoing, all just for one boss. Castlevania just demands so much from the player that it can often be overwhelming. I literally started playing around February during this challenge, but once I got to the final boss I just couldnít do it. 2 forms, only getting a chance to get hit 3 times, it was intense! But when Halloween drew near I knew I had to get back on the trolley. So during Halloween I spent several hours trying to beat Dracula. I still couldnít, struck with defeat I decided to turn in for tomorrow, and try again later. And well during school I decided, after a friend stated ďit was easyĒ that I had to beat it then and there. Focused, I finally won the battle, but as for myself I was still feeling adrenaline rushing through my body, and my hands shaking. To say the least, Castlevania gave me a challenge of a life time, and for that I thank it.

See Castlevania has this wonderful system of challenging you throughout the whole game. It never really stops testing you, and you always have to be on your toes and sharp as a whip. The fact the game bases everything on the direction youíre going through is amazing, and really something more developers should focus on. Itís just one of those games that give out tough love, itís not trying to sugarcoat anything for you, and thatís what makes it so fun. I tired as hard as I could, but when I failed the game simply said try again. Sure I was mad, but it still gives you the tools to get things done in the end. The way to the reaper, and the way to Dracula are paved with everything you need to take them down, so even if you die, you still have the tools available to you. So you still have to earn everything you do, but you fill so much more enjoyment when you actually beat it. For this reason, I say the first Castlevania game is the best I have ever played. Itís not just the monster lore, the catchy music or the visuals, but the game design itself. Itís rewarding, challenging, and thatís what makes it fun.

Conclusion:

Castlevania has everything going for it, and you can see the love the designers put into it. The visuals, music, enemies, power-ups, everything about it is just top notch. But what truly makes this game shine is the challenge it provides, itís never too difficult to get past, but just enough to always keep you on edge.


Game 56: Sonic Advance 3 date beat November 20th





Impressions:

As someone that is an avid fan of the sonic series and the advance series, SA3 just doesn't cut it. I understand that people like it, and ya itís not a bad game, but itís the weakest of the series. Just everything about it doesn't grab my attention like other advance games do. There are just a lot of little problems I have with it that don't make it fundamentally a good sonic game to me. Sonic thrives on fast place gameplay mixed with well-timed jumps and speed running tactics, and that's something I don't really see in SA3.

Zones are, for some reason, there to explore rather than acting as a nice way to divided all the acts. As well, the way these zones act are already a big turret for me to even play the game. I understand they were trying to go with a sonic adventure vibe, but the zones are just far too shallow and pointless to really make anything worthwhile by having them there. The game would have easily benefited with a quicker menu option.

Getting chaos emeralds are even more tedious than ever as well. While in the first two games getting chaos emeralds was simpler, you got the chaos emeralds by both collecting 50 rings and finding a spring to the special stage or collecting 7 rings scattered throughout certain levels. SA3 however, has you collecting all the chao's in a zone, and SA3 doesnt just stop there, as after getting the chao's you then have to find a key found in one of the acts of a zone to unlock the special stage and then past the stage in order to get the chaos emerald. This new way to get chaos emeralds is really off putting to me, and it just ruins the concept of skill in getting a chaos emerald, and replaces it with tedious treasure hunting.

On top of that, the majority of the ending levels are just too long for their own good. In my opinion, Sonic does best when each level is around 3-4 mins long around the first time beating it, and about 2-3 during speed runs, if not faster. During my playthrough however I sometimes got to around 5-6 mins. just trying my best on getting to the end. While I'm not the best sonic player, I have to say that a lot of these levels just drag on. It gets annoying when you keep dying at one spot only to realize you were only half way through the level. Not to mention that a few levels have small loops here and there that makes progress annoying as hell because if you mess up on one part itís pretty much back to start. I also want to know why partners are able to hinder your way through a level; its just really dumb to see the CPU use up a platform that will fall if you or the CPU land on it.

As for the other parts of the game, mainly the new partner system, not a fan. While I usually have something good to say or something of the like, SA3 just makes me mad at what might have been. The partner system just seems a bit broken to me. The way it gives advantages and disadvantages toward certain pairings just makes it control bad, and itís just awkward in the long run. Too many things change with each different character in order to play them like you usually would pending on your partner. For instance, having pretty much anyone but tails as your partner automatically makes sonic lose his tricks and his ball when he jumps. This makes for a lot of annoying mechanics rather than nice additional ones. I understand they donít want to make a truly broken pairing which breaks the game, but changing the way the character moves, runs, and walks makes playing a game based on physics really hard to adjust too. Frankly it just got to the point of just sticking to sonic and tails because they seemed to be the only pairing that actually worked.

Conclusion: Sonic Advance 3 is easily the weakest in the series, and this is due to a lot of interesting ideas being executed in a mediocre fashion. While SA3 certainly isn't a bad game, it really tries too many things at once to really create a robust system for any of the new ideas it wants to try. At the least, SA3 can be enjoyed by fans, but itís better if everyone else plays one of the earlier games in the advance series.



Game 57: Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation Ė date beat Thanksgiving day




Impressions:


While I normally like Dragon Quest games, DQVI I have an utter dislike for. Everything about DQ6 could be right, but itís just not, itís just long, drawn out, boring, hallow, and dumb. The biggest problem I have with it is the constant padding throughout the game. There are just so many things this game could cut to make it shorter and thus less drawn out, but the game constantly insists to waste your time. Truth be total the padding wouldnít be so bad either if the random battle rates weren't that bad either, but that isn't true. My game clocked in well above 50 hrs. and it really got to the point of just wanting to stop for the longest time.

The story itself just isn't interesting either, and while it does try to get interesting it really just ends up being a hallow mess of interest. The fact that the game starts out with amnesia characters is bad enough, but the way they develop them is slow and then increasingly fast, then none at all. I personally had more emotion for side characters in DQ9 than I did for the main characters in DQ6. And you'd think that the idea behind a dream world and real world would be a little more interesting, but it just doesn't quite get there. And also the fact that there are even more areas to travel make me incredibly annoyed because there are just so much bloody space on the map, so itís like why donít you use all of it? On top of that, the game doesn't give you a strong sense of direction not even half way through the game; I'd say it took about an hour in to start wondering where you should go. But perhaps the worst part about this game is that it just doesn't end, and it goes so slow. Iím really not sure if I would have beat this game if I didnít watch all of the supernatural series while playing this game throughout the episodes.

Perhaps, the only redeeming note DQ6 has is the vocation system. While itís somewhat present in DQ8, I have been missing how great it was like in DQ9. While DQ6's vocation system isn't as robust as DQ9's vocation, itís still a fun system that can help boost characters and make them better than ever. Just something about making your characters your own personal healer or attacker or what have you, makes things a little more enjoyable to play the game. But overall, DQ6 is just really weak as a game, and I strongly suggest even fans to not play it, itís not bad, but man is it disappointing. What probably hurts more is that it was just now a recent port to the states.

Conclusion: Dragon Quest 6's only good contribute to the franchise is the vocation system, the ability to choose what class you want to be gives a sense of customizing and itís a fun, exciting system. As for the rest of DQ6, itís a pile of mess that is way too drawn out, and not nearly as in depth as it wants to appear to be. I strongly suggest scratching your Dragon Quest itch with a different game.








We are getting down to the wire Dtoid! While I only have half this month to go, and still two games to beat, 6 to write about in total, I really feel like I'm going to beat this challenge! Its been a long ride, but we are getting really close! As such I like to thank this challenge for having introduced me to some new series I haven't even played before. The reason why I'm thanking my challenge now is because this post is packed with series I wouldn't have been playing if it weren't for my challenge. Thankfully I did this challenge and played these series, and well I have to say I really feel like I'm doing my gaming duty! Anyway this is what I thought about the inFAMOUS series and perhaps the best Dragon Quest game I have played to date!



Game 52: inFAMOUS Ė date beat October 17





Impressions:

I find it odd that both inFAMOUS and Prototype were released around the same time, with nearly the same concepts and gameplay. I mean, while I played inFAMOUS I was like ďthis is like Prototype but betterĒ. Itís just weird how two things can look the same, but one is clearly better. inFAMOUS is just far more realized and fleshed out. Heck, the story is actually interesting, and gave me a few surprises, but it was all in context and I could actually understand this story without any holes in the way. The bosses were actually more creative than Prototype as well, ditto for the powers that you get throughout. It just kinda makes me mad that Prototype probably stole some of inFAMOUSís thunder (pun intended) just because they were released around the same time.

I donít have much bad to say about inFAMOUS save for the lighting, ya, I suppose Iím being a bit punny today. Just sometimes you lose a battle with the enemies you fight simply because you canít see. It doesnít help when the overworld can literally be a shade of grey. It just got to the point where the contrast of lightning shooting from your hand and the nothing but blackish-greyish area in between really bothered me while I was playing that I just wanted to get the game done. I like to explore, but seeing the over world become like all grey? No thanks. Some of the missions can be pretty repetitive too, but itís nowhere near as bad as Prototypeís side missions. Also the whole good and evil thing seemed a bit pointless after a while, ya it did impact the story a bit, but it just wasnít nearly as present as it lets on. I personally think the game would be better off without the good and evil mechanics. Just make Cole out to be a hero that is perceived as bad I think thatís a better dynamic than just choose if youíre good or evil. Cole just seems much more complex than that, especially considering the ending of this game.

Conclusion: The best way I can personally describe inFAMOUS is the better version of Prototype, although I suppose itís exactly the opposite. While I personally have a problem with the lighting inFAMOUS provides, and the fact it wants you to stick to either a good or evil motive, inFAMOUS still lights up my spirits of new IPs making waves in the gaming world.


Game 53: inFAMOUS 2 - date beat October 21





Impressions:

After the first inFAMOUS I really did wonder how well the second one would improve on it. Not that inFAMOUS was that amazing though, just that I was wondering how much better it really got. Well as it turned out, inFAMOUS 2 is a great improvement on the first. For starters, the actual karma choice mechanic actually makes more sense now, and effectively enough to not see the series going anywhere without it. The things that happen, the choices you make, well they aren't always what you think they be, and for that I thank it. The first game was just too obvious, but thankfully the second one gave a much more subtle approach. Little things like finding blast shards, climbing up faster, and certain moves have been enhanced to make them far more useful than in the previous game as well. Not to mention that most of the main characters are actually developed more in the 2nd than the first one. Itís gotten to the point where I can't see myself enjoying the 1st inFAMOUS because of the marginal-able improvements the 2nd has.

The only things I really have to complain about this game are minor, and for the most part barely worth mentioning. The only true complaint is that climbing seems to be a lot stickier in the 2nd than the 1st; I just keep grabbing walls sometimes when I didn't want to. It was a bit annoying to only have two islands/cities as well, but both are varied enough to say that itís far more of an improvement. Each city has landscape and areas that are just a bigger contrast to one another. All the newer characters are interesting as well, same goes for the story too. While the first one took about half the game to actually get interesting, the second takes far less time, and makes for an exciting ride. The endings especially are better, and even though I only finished the evil side, I know that both are distinct and fitting. I haven't actually tired the UGC yet either, but the fact itís there to give you something new to play with makes postgame far more worthwhile than the first inFAMOUS.

Conclusion: inFAMOUS 2 is a great sequel to the first game, and truly makes me like this series for existing. The story itself is far more interesting, the powers are far better this time around, and the characters even have more depth. This is certainly an IP I want to see more of.

Game 54: Dragon Quest V: The Hand of the Heavenly Bride Ėdate beat October 25





Impressions:

I really do love the Dragon Quest series a whole bunch, and if it wasnít for this challenge I donít think I be playing any of the games at this point. DQ5 is a particular gem that I would be very sad to see myself not play, now that I have played. Itís just so different in terms of story in RPGs, and frankly it baffles me that Dragon Quest can be so revolutionary yet still the same to its predecessors. I mean, playing DQ5 still felt the same, the monsters, music, and battles are all similar to the previous 3 Dragon Quest games I have played, and yet the game presents itself so differently that I canít keep myself away from it. Just the fact that you pretty much play an RPG of your own life is awesome. You have a childhood and go off adventuring, become a teen and get married, then have kids and go off as a family to save the world. Itís so surreal and wonderful how itís executed. The characters, mainly the wives, add so much charm to it too, and doing this run on the DS version I pick Debora as my wife because Iím a softy for women that are tsundere types. Itís just amazing to watch her grow as a person when youíre with her as her husband, she changes, and you can tell she does throughout the story. Just little things like that that make me love DQ5 all the more.

Course, DQ5 has its flaws, but there is only a minor and major one I see, but they are tolerable. Minor problem DQ5 has is in one particular area where it really isnít made clear what youíre supposed to do. Like I literally had no problems knowing where to go till I got to this a certain point in the game, and bam! Stuck. The game just kinda loses ya because of how fast itís going. It got really annoying, but again itís a minor problem and it doesn't really happen again. The major problem I have with DQ5 though, the bias of the wives. While the game gives you a choice, it sure does guilt you do making the one it wants you to make. Like it really gets annoying with the amount of ďyou should marry BiancaĒ guilt, like is it really giving me a choice? Kinda like your parents giving you an option when clearly they want you to do one and not the other option. I mean, it gets to the point where itís shown in the gameplay, like the other two wives, Nera and Debora, you have to grind them to decent levels and even then they are then unusable for the majority of the game. Like why even give us a wife to use, when we canít even use her? I know it sounds like a lot of complaining for something so trivial, especially considering that this game pretty much invented pokemon, but I really did like the wives in DQ5. They were a really cool concept, and I suppose I didnít want the honeymoon to be over, perhaps I just have some issues to work out?

Conclusion: Dragon Quest 5 did something I really donít see RPGs do, and yet it still was the same game from the same series I grew to love. Aside from a few hand selected problems, DQ5 charmed me with its life growing story, interesting characters, and inspiring monster/ally system.








Well Dtoid its coming close to the end of the year, and I've reached the home-stretch of my 60 game year challenge. We finally enter into the 50's and I personally only have 2 more games to go...and 9 more to write about. Thankfully, I'm done with my finals and now I can focus on the important things in life, video games! Anyway,here is the next batch of games from my challenge, and expect the next batch soon.


Game 49: Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn- Date Beat October 3



Impressions:

Radiant Dawn really is a fine example of storytelling through gameplay. Playing as pretty much each individual nation and then seeing each of them fight each other really makes you more emotionally involved then just seeing these characters through some sort cutscene. I really do love Fire Emblem because the characters help create the universe youíre in and make it feel just a little more real. Tellius is, perhaps, the most real Fire Emblem universe to date. Itís not just the fact that Radiant Dawn goes through several different parts showing different sides of opposition. Itís the fact that RD builds these sides based off the game that came before it, and largely owes much of its success because there was a predecessor.

Course, not everything is great with Radiant Dawn, and it does have a lot of glaring issues. For one, itís a hard game. Even Fire Emblem veterans like me donít have an easy time with this game because of how hard it can be in the beginning and near the end. Itís not just hard, but it also doesnít steady its difficulty, some chapters may take you forever and others will be a breeze. Radiant Dawn just never quite cuts the player any slack, and itís quite maddening to play through a whole chapter in one sitting just to see one little thing get screwed up, and making you start over again. Luckily, Radiant Dawn covers such a cruel fate with the new addition of battle saves, and something that truly saved my sanity. For the first 6 chapters I didnít use battle save, assuming it was only a quick save, but once I found out how useful it was, and the ability to abuse it was present RD suddenly did a 180 on difficulty. Now instead of getting headaches over chapters, I was getting them over leveling up my units, the way I normally play.

The other issue RD presents is the availability of units, something not present in most fire emblem games. The vast majority of your units wonít be around for most of the chapters so there is a lot of micro managing in terms of who gets to use who, which units should be used, and not always being able to use people that you want. The main problem, in all honesty, is that RD just has too many good units and you kinda want to train them all, but you only get some much time with each of them so then you have to quickly narrow down who you train. Many units even suffer greatly from their short usage, and end up being nearly improbable to use. Also thanks to the great deal of units, many of the supports that were once there to give great detail about characters are now nothing more than an add bonus and a generic dialogue tree. This really did disappoint me greatly as supports are one of the best aspects of fire emblem. Supports gave the characters depth, and reasons to like them more, so we get angry more when they die on the battlefield.
In spite of all these issues though, Radiant Dawn really just ends up being a different beast of a fire emblem game. Sure, RD still has the same old level up systems, the same old weapon system, and the same old animations. Pretty much everything that made fire emblem good, stayed good in RD. But the thing that is ever present in RD, and what separates it clearly from other fire emblem games I have played is how grand it is. Everything is set in a grander scale; chapters are far longer than they used to be; the amount of units you have far outclass any fire emblem game I have played; and the story expands even between two games. Radiant Dawn feels like it was an experiment of how big a fire emblem game can be, and for that I thank it and wish more of it.

Conclusion: At times Radiant Dawn can provide to be too big of a mess of sorts, with its odd sense of difficulty, support system, and choosing which characters to exactly use throughout the game. But if you invest time in Radiant Dawn it will provide you with a grand experience, with a story, cast of characters, and game that match that.

Game 50: Breath of Death VII: The Beginning Ė date beat October 7




Impressions:

Seeing many reviews mentioning Breath of Death VII, an indie game, as a great RPG to pick up for only a dollar peaked my curiosity into this game. Further through these reviews I saw that it was hilarious and had a battle system that could change RPGs forever. The battle system in question, having a limited number of random encounters, had me sold; this was the RPG for me. The fact it was humorous was just icing on a chocolate mountain. I bought the game, and began to sing praises of it throughout the land. I told many of my friends about this awesomely awesome game that was super cheap and funny. Then when it arrived on steam along with another charming game, Cthulu saves the world, I bought it again. I even bought a few for packs of BoDVII/ CStW for my friends because I love Breath of Death so much, and along with another game it was easy to give it to my friends to play. Course, I did all this without even touching Cthulu Saves the World or even beating Breath of Death, a game I had for well over a year. I overhyped this game so much to my friends whenever I mentioned it, and I didnít even beat it. If there were ever a game I personally needed to beat for this challenge, it be this one.

After playing through the whole game, was it worth all the praise I gave it? Well sorta, accounting everything like price, gameplay, story, and whatnot BoDVII was good. The game itself is a dollar and what it gives out is unique to its own genre, and effectively enough, BoDVII is revolutionary. Yet there is this slight distaste I have for it, perhaps I praised it too much, but needless to say it didnít live up to what I sold it on. Yes, the game can be quite funny and the battle system was everything I made it out to be, but for the largest part of playing through this game I kept fighting sleep. Perhaps I should blame this on the fact I usually played this game at the wee hours of the night, but the game could just not grab my attention enough to make me stay awake. There are a lot of moments throughout the game were the battles can get somewhat tedious, as many random encounters can end up unchallenging because how you abuse the battle system it gives you; one where you can just fight all the forced random encounters at once. Perhaps I made the game boring, but perhaps the game needed a little something more. I mean this game can get really challenging, and I did die from certain bosses numerous times. The combo and do or die battle system is also one of my favorite combat systems in RPGs. I like the fact that if I spend too long on a boss, or I use a wrong move the game will effectively kick my ass. I like the fact that I can grind easily enough and then go exploring without interruptions. But the thing I didnít like in this game was a constant need to grind to get rid of random encounters, this made the game just take too long, and what made me want to fall asleep.

Such a complaint however only tampered my experience for this game a little, and for what this game was, it was still enjoyable and funny. While it can be a bit repetitive, and the story can also be a bit lackluster, if only for the sake of humor, the game wins a lot of points for how cheap it is, how unique its battle system is, and for creating challenging, fast pace battles. Iíll still recommend Breath of Death even though it wasnít the God sent I was hoping for a RPG, I may down play my recommending this time as well, but needless to say Breath of Death does deserve praise.

Conclusion:
Breath of Death VII: The Beginning is an ambitious indie RPG that is not only cheap to get, but also has a revolutionary battle system to boot. While BoDVII is short with a mediocre story it also provides to be witty and replayable with its custom skill tree and score attack mode. To say the least you are getting a lot of bang for your buck.


Game 51: Bloodrayne: Betrayal date beat October 10




Impressions:

When I first saw Wayforward was making BloodRayne: Betrayal, I was ecstatic. Betrayal was looking to be like a Castlevania game, but with a badass female as the lead character. I really donít know much about the BloodRayne series itself, but if this was supposed to be there big comeback game Iíd say Wayforward delivered, well, mostly anyway.

Itís not really that I have a big problem with Betrayal, but there are a lot of things that kind of damper my spirits when playing this game. For instance, about 1/3 of Betrayalís levels have conflicting shades in the background that make it extremely hard to see your character and actions while playing through the game. I understand that itís largely there to be ascetically pleasing to the eye, but it also lowers my eyesight during gameplay, to the point Iím just guessing where Iím go. Some of the level design is also questionable, itís not really that itís flawed, but there are points in the game where you really question how it escalated so quickly. Whether itís a large wave of enemies, the death traps throughout the levels or a combination of the two, Betrayal will eventually let you know that itís not fucking around. Course these sudden spikes of difficulty are always welcomed with checkpoints, mostly in well placed areas. These checkpoints then allow you to practice these areas of difficultly over and over again till you get it right. This is, of course, I nice change of pace from the gaming industry as Betrayal doesnít baby you, nor does it ever become too difficult to pass. Youíll just have a few frustrating moments, but eventually youíll be able to pass an area of difficulty as it becomes easier and easier the more you learn it.

However, the bigger problem is the somewhat odd physics Betrayal has, at certain points Rayne will end up with unpredicted momentum and can easily screw you over and kill you. Rayne is also kind slippery as a whole, so itís hard to stop on a dime like you would normally want to in a platformer such as this. Rayne also tends to get locked up in whatever move she is currently doing so she canít always dodge the way you would want her too, and her recovery is horrible as you can recover at the exact moment that another enemy hits you, leaving you unable to retaliate. Overall though, much of Betrayals problems can easily be conquered with practice.

While Betrayal doesnít really have much of a story going for it, much of its art direction does. Many of the backgrounds, which can be annoying, are also stunning to look at. While playing the game I was sometimes just distracted because of how pretty the background can look. Also the fact that I canít really see Rayne is somewhat bothersome because the camera is always in a locked position that makes sure that Rayne only covers a tiny part of the screen. Bosses in Betrayal are also rather hit and miss, itís not that the bosses arenít challenging or different, but that they lack a certain appeal. Rankings were also rather lackluster as much of the ranking system just seems harsh. While it certainly isnít noticeable at first, the fact is that you have to play to near perfection if you want the highest rank possible. I understand that I canít get higher ranks my first run through, but sometimes I legitimately try to do well, and Iíll still get an F Rank because I didnít kill my enemies fast enough, collect treasure, or got injured. The game simply wants too much of me and in the end I donít care about the rankings because itís simply too hard.

I know I complain a lot about Betrayal, but I really did have fun with it. The music is stellar and the graphics are pleasing to the eye, for the most part. It also reminds me of my times with Castlevania and how hard it can be, and thatís why I like Betrayal, its challenging. Sure it has a lot of trial and error moments, but in the end it feels more so challenging rather than tedious. If you set out and play this game just donít look to play to perfection as much of it is just too demanding and youíll just end up being frustrated in the end. But if you look at this game as a mountain to conquer, youíll find it to be an enjoyable experience.

Conclusion:
BloodRayne Betrayal is far from a perfect game, aside from excellent music and visuals the game has many glaring issues with combat, level design, and ranking systems. But Betrayal also provides to be a challenging game that ends up feeling very rewarding in the end, and with that note Betrayal is still a good game.








It's that time again Dtoid. While thanksgiving and black friday weekend maybe gone now and everyone gets back to work, I'm getting back to writing.And with that I am ever so much closer to completing my goal of 60 games in a year. Currently I am 57/60, so I'm at the home stretch, and I already know what game I will be making that 60. For now, here are my impressions of games 46-48.

Game 46: Mighty Flip Champs! Ė Date beat September 16



Impressions:

Wayforward is a company that crawled into my heart and laid a parasite there to dwell for all eternity, and Iím fine with that. Thereís just something about Wayforward that always makes me enjoy their games; Mighty Flip Champs provides for a great example about how awesome Wayforward can be. See MFC only has 2 buttons, the d-pad and a Flip button. Now, normally you wouldnít think you could make a game with such simple controls, but Wayforward goes out of their way to do just that. Heck, you canít even use both the dpad and flip button at the same time. MFC is just so simple, and yet it provides a lot of challenge and thinking. Thatís why I really like this game, simple concept executed in not so simple ways. Wayforward is just able to make such basic things enjoyable that it just makes me love this company so much.

There are a lot of stages in MFC, which at times can seem like it has no end. The game provides to be challenging throughout these stages so beating each stage can get somewhat tiresome, tricky, and frustrating to do. But MFC works best as a pick up and play game, and often you will find yourself spending more time than you thought you would because you want to beat a certain stage. On top of all the stages it has, it also has rankings you can get for each stage so there is even more to do when you actually manage to beat the last level. Beating a stage is a simple matter of reaching the goal while managing to collect any animals (sometimes none) along the way. This can get a little dull at first, but MFC always provides to throw in something that makes the challenge a little harder or trickier to do, and this is where the heart of the game shows up. Such a simple concept of flipping and collecting animals starts to get more confusing and challenging with simply adding different obstacles, different paths to choose, more layers to flip through, and even giving a time limit of how far you can go. Things start to get really challenging, and with only flipping as your main weapon it provides to make a wonderful brain teaser of a game.

Conclusion: Wayforward manages to make a simple concept harder and trickier to do with simply adding a few different hazards in the game; providing for an even more challenging and enjoyable experience on a simple concept. This makes Mighty Flip Champs such a unique experience in gaming because of its simple, but hard to master style of gameplay, and I recommend this to anyone that is a fan of having their brain pushed to the limit.

Game 47: Sonic Generations date beat Ė Sept. 23



Impressions:

I have a very odd chemistry with Sonic games. Just the way they are designed often frustrates me, and if you ever caught me playing one I probably be cursing up a storm if I made one little mistake. But by no means do I hate Sonic; itís just that I demand perfection when playing through the game, even when itís the first time Iím playing a stage. I usually do end up falling in love with most Sonic games because of how they are designed for speed runs, and finding ways to go through as fast as possible is always fun. So when playing Generations I did curse a lot, and I was constantly yelling at the game, but I have to say in the end it was pretty dang fun.

Generations certainly has a lot of flaws though, and while playing through it I made sure to tell the game what it was doing wrong, although that may just be me yelling at it. For one, playing as Classic Sonic just has some weird physics to it. You just canít jump pass a certain height, nor do you carry much momentum when jumping, and curling into a ball while running actually slows you down opposed to speeding you up like it used to. On top of that, Classic Sonic gets a very heavy knockback whenever he gets hit by enemies, which can be quite annoying when you get hit again when you are recovering from just getting hit.

Modern Sonic has some odd physics too, but it just takes some getting used to. Like his homing attack will pretty much cancel any momentum you had and drop you straight down after itís done with the attack. His other main feature, boosting, can help you get further than a homing attack, but its far harder to control and more often than not just send you dying if you use it wildly. Boosting is still pretty great as it still uses the unleashed physics, but it can get really troublesome when the stages switch from a 3D to a 2D layout. And thatís the main problem with Modern Sonicís stages, unleashes physics just donít work well with a 2D design as it was built for a lot of room and the ability to see where you are going. So when you are boosting as Modern Sonic this can often lead to some untimely deaths that where just not able to be seen. But 2D only happens a few times throughout levels and really isnít noticeable till the last few stages.

The story in Generations also failed to meet my expectations. What could have been a grand adventure through time and space just felt like ďhey, guys remember this level? Pretty awesome right?Ē For the most part, none of the stages were original, and often left me wanting something a little new and fresh. Perhaps, I would have like this game a lot more if at the least the story gave some kind of connection to each stage with like a cutscene or something. I mean, we are traveling through time and space right? Iíd like to hear a better explanation then, letís just randomly go to some of the best levels in the Sonic universe! Perhaps, Iím being too harsh on this game, but the story really left room for desire. Sure there are a few inside jokes, and a somewhat decent amount of cutscenes, but I just felt that they lost a lot of potential storytelling, something Adventure 2 excelled at.

Still, Generations is still a blast to play through, and it nowhere near has as much problems as the Sonic Adventure series, or Sonic Unleashed did. All the stages that come back are well picked, and are iconic to the games they are from, but unfortunately there are no space levels, despite being the usual last zone. The challenges the stages have are also some of the best challenges the Sonic series has ever had; with many of them being varied and never getting dull. One challenge in particular, the Episo grappling hook one, is something I want to see more of. Generations also has a well thought out design for online ranking called 30 second trials. I was very impressed with the idea of getting as far as you could in 30 seconds, and I would certainly like to see more in upcoming sonic games. Most of the bosses were also very fun to play against, and wanted me to play more bosses like them, especially the rival boss battles. The only boss battle I hated was the last one, because in the end it was just mindless boosting. But by far the best thing about Sonic Generations: all the new organized music. Just a lot of the remixes and remakes of the songs of past Sonic games make generations soundtrack stand out so much, and the fact you can play them on any stage once unlocked? Wonderful.

Conclusion: Sure, the Story is subpar and the physics require some getting used to, but Sonic Generations simply offers too much of the good than the bad. All the returning stages were well picked, and seeing them in new 2D and 3D renditions is a blast. The challenges for each stage are also the best any Sonic game has ever offered. The remixes of past Sonic music are also well done and are clearly a love letter to the fanbase. Overall, if you ever wanted a brief history on Sonic, Generations would be your first stop.

Game 48: Double Dragon Neon Ė Date Beat October 1



Impressions:

I really do love Wayforward, they are just able to do so many great things with games that it makes me wonder how much they love games. Double Dragon Neon really does feel like the biggest love letter to the Ď80s. The gameplay, music, and presentation are just so rad that they could have been in the Ď80s if they had the technology that we have today. This is especially true for the soundtrack, Jake Kaufman did just such an amazing job on the soundtrack that it made me fall head over heels with Neon without even having to play it. The levels and gameplay themselves are no push over either, beating down on enemies never felt this rad before. With a bunch of mixtapes and stances to make sure that you can adjust your playstyle to whatever you want, makes Neon one of the best beat-ups this generation.

The world that Neon creates is also radical with how many different places that you seemingly, randomly visit. You just never quite know where Neon is ever going. The Story is also just as ridiculous, in a good way, with what little dialogue that is there its sure to make you smile with one of their one liners. And while I have only just beaten it, Neon is looking to offer a lot more than just what I played. I still have to do a bro-op run, play on two other difficults, and get all my mix tapes together. While it may have not taken me long to beat Neon, it will take me far longer to complete it.

That being said, Double Dragon Neon is a rather short game, only expanding to about 10 stages total, and with half the stages actually having a boss. I literally beat the game within a matter of 4 hrs, including several repeats of stages, and a small amount of grinding. Neon also has some grinding mechanics as well, which isnít exactly cool. While the aspect of leveling up certain moves and stances are nice to have, having to upgrade with either random drops or store purchases in a select amount of areas is a bummer. It then becomes an extra pain when there are only two stages that have shops to upgrade your mix tapes. As well, both characters in Neon move slow, and it can often get annoying walking around like a tank everywhere. More often than not, youíll want to run everywhere rather than walk because of how slow the characters are. It also would have been nicer to have a little more to the story as well, as a lot of the dialogue that was shown was quite humorous, and it would have been nice to see a little more interaction between the villain, damsel, and hero. But these are all just really harsh nitpicks, and in the end Double Dragon Neon still shines brightly, and its soundtrack is quite amazing, really if you donít plan to buy the game, get the soundtrack at least.

Conclusion: While Double Dragon Neon maybe a bit on the short side, there are just too many things on the plus side to say that itís not worth your time. The game offers so much from different playstyles, Bro-op, and an amazing soundtrack that any nitpicking seems to be unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. Neon is a great game, and anyone looking for a beatíem up or a Co-op game or even to listen to some really good music should play it.