Rar Grr

Recordkeeping: Castlevania COMPLETE

Beating Lycanthorn reminded me that I never actually finished NES Castlevania.

Well, that's that done then!

Back when I was a kid I never got past the third stage, the one with the heavy blue tones and the ravens that would slap you around and the best music track in the game, "Wicked Child". ("Heart of Fire" is pretty good though. And everyone loves Vampire Killer of course.)

Having legit finished the thing, I don't know if I missed all that much. There's some serious challenge in later levels though. I spent a lot of time logjammed against particular sections involving heavy-armored axe-throwers. A couple of times I just put my head down and sprinted and went "nope nope nope" past as many enemies as possible.

Still, Castlevania's a legend of a thing for a reason. Great soundtrack. Strong atmosphere. Good game formula. Just a solid everything, all around.

Not that you need me to tell you "hey, Castlevania is good". I feel a touch extraneous, lately. I am no longer interested in comments on Livejournal. Please comment on Dreamwidth. Comments here will not be replied to and are unlikely to be read.
Play with me.

Recordkeeping: Lycanthorn 1 and 2 COMPLETE 2X

So these were... pretty solid? Lycanthorn dares to ask the question "What if Castlevania really existed?" with a GZDoom-engine standalone game where you play a werewolf monster hunter wielding a great big axe. I really liked the melee-centric gameplay, the chunky pixel art, and of course the absolutely banging soundtrack.

So then I go to Lycanthorn 2, which is kinda a little Simon's Quest, kinda a little Link's Awakening, kinda a little Castlevania 3 where you have four characters to swap between. Except three of them are kinda lousy, and that includes Rain, the werewolf protag of the previous game.

Oops.

You've also got an engineer, whose power is "owns bombs and a gun" and who (aside from unlocking a bombable brick for you) is reduced to boss-shooter because his Special Move melts about 50% off a health bar, you've got a suit of armor which is great for sequence-breaking because it has a weird uppercut that launches you over walls and up mountains on the overworld, and you've got a vampire whose power is that he can shoot bullets out of his fingers by pointing at them real fast.

So you're basically walking around like "CHECK OUT HOW COOL MY RAP POINTS LOOK" for 90% of the game. Sometimes you swap to the other ranged dude so he can massacre half a boss fight and then swap back to Fingers McPointy.

I dunno how you'd solve this problem. I don't know that it IS a problem. Ah well.

Anyway both of these were real fun and I'm glad I played them but you don't really have to. I am no longer interested in comments on Livejournal. Please comment on Dreamwidth. Comments here will not be replied to and are unlikely to be read.
Sqrl Barbarian

Recordkeeping: Tales from Candlekeep - Tomb of Annihilation COMPLETE

Hmmmm.

I can see why people wouldn't like this much. You've got these four adventurers...

Birdsong, a pretty catperson bard, with the power to make other people roll better!
Asharra, pretty birdperson wizard, able to cast spells and cause crowd-control lockdown!
Dragonbait, pretty lizardperson paladin, able to tank and do damage and buff!
and some human dude ranger i don't care

...and they go off to the jungles of Chult. Chult is a really fun word to say. Chult is also a campaign area in D&D (because this is a D&D game) and, uh anyway you play a board game. Tiles drop down, you have a move action and a do-stuff action, you fight random monsters... there's like 12 quests and a bunch of side quests and they're ALL done on a board of tiles.

There are two tile sets in-game and you don't see the second for -hours- so that's a bit dull.

Anyway, you can collect items to craft better gear and ... this looks like it would take EXACTLY FOREVER to actually get to the top-tier gear, or you can just buy it on Steam for actual money if you want to I guess cheat your way to full buffness. Also you can buy a fifth player character but he's a human druid and I didn't care at all about humans, why are they even IN D&D god go away humanity.

That said, you go into a tomb and fight a lich and it's... like, this isn't bad for a quicky D&D-like experience I guess. I had fun and kept playing. But it's kind of surrounded by this aura of "You should pay us more" and I didn't feel like it, so instead of playing through again on high difficulty levels I just got the credits and quit. I am no longer interested in comments on Livejournal. Please comment on Dreamwidth. Comments here will not be replied to and are unlikely to be read.
Rar Grr

Recordkeeping: Genesis Noir COMPLETE

I finished this but I sort of regret it. By the end, I just didn't care.

The premise was great. You're a PI in the Constant. Miss Mass (she's very attractive) has been murdered by Golden Boy, causing a Big Bang. Jump through time and space and everything ever to find a way to stop it all.

It got... very art game. I guess that was to be expected. I kept playing it, I kept going "This next bit seems neat. Maybe this is where it'll grab me."

Never did, really. I mean, I finished it. But...

Mmh. I dunno. Sometimes this happens, I guess! I am no longer interested in comments on Livejournal. Please comment on Dreamwidth. Comments here will not be replied to and are unlikely to be read.
Play with me.

Recordkeeping: Donut County COMPLETE

An interesting idea, I hope someone makes a game out of it someday.

*sigh* Okay, that's a bit facetious, but really there isn't much here at all. You control a hole (or a raccoon controlling a hole I guess). Each level, you make things fall in the hole. Between levels, the residents of the homes you've sucked down the hole yell at each other.

Eventually you get a catapult to shoot things out of the hole, but you really only use it a few times and for incredibly telegraphed purposes.

This is cute, and the writing is ... okay, but there's just nothing much here. I finished it in about 110 minutes according to Steam's tracker, and some of that was paused for the bathroom or drinks, or flipping through the "Trashpedia" of collected objects.

So call it 90 minutes and done, and I was still kind of wondering "Man, is this really still going?" as I went into the fourth-to-last stage.

It's cute. I'll give it that. I am no longer interested in comments on Livejournal. Please comment on Dreamwidth. Comments here will not be replied to and are unlikely to be read.
Rar Grr

Recordkeeping: Trash the Planet COMPLETE

Man if that last one didn't count this won't either, but again, I'm the tallykeeper so tally-ho.

Trash the Planet is an environmentalism-themed game about raccoons getting way too good at emulating human society, with an ending that you can see coming if you read the title of the game.

I liked it, but it was pretty heavy in theme and writing. I feel like, oops, I let myself relax and then I got spiked upside the forehead.

Anyway capitalism is terrible but I'm probably more complacent in it than I really think about. Happily, I'm not in a position of leadership, so that's probably fine. I am no longer interested in comments on Livejournal. Please comment on Dreamwidth. Comments here will not be replied to and are unlikely to be read.
Message for you!

Recordkeeping: Reventure COMPLETE

Reventure is edgy and cynical about video games, yet it comes from a clear place of affection. Nobody draws pixels this sharp and chunky unless they genuinely intend to, it does not happen by accident. I didn't always enjoy the game but it delivered absolutely everything it promises.

So, you wake up. You're a hero. You go get a sword from the local cave. You decide to stab the old man who gives it to you. That's an ending. You get a unique cutscene.

You wake up. You do not grab a sword. You grab a stack of bombs instead. You plant a bomb and sit on it. You die. That's an ending. You get a unique cutscene. You wake up as an ambulatory pile of ash in the shape of a man. New skin unlocked.

That's two out of 100 endings. I'm not spoiling any others. Every item you collect is a verb, to be rubbed against every noun in the game or enable you to get to other verbs you can bash against other nouns.

This is a frighteningly well-laid-out game, every time I thought "Surely THIS is a softlock" I discovered that, no, there was in fact a secret passage out of the jam I was in or a clever way to use items to bypass it. There's a LOT of secrets in this thing and if you want to genuinely complete the game you're going to need to become intimately familiar with them all.

The humor of this game can feel mean-spirited at times. Getting all the endings requires a lot of shameless murder, and a willingness to do absolutely suicidally stupid things for the sake of an achievement and some pithy text. Like old Sierra adventures, half the fun is casting about and inventing new ways to die, or seeing what the latest game over animation is. That's great, I respect that. I didn't always laugh at the joke but I loved the process of getting to each one, mostly.

I say mostly because by the time you're down to the last, call it 25-ish endings you'll probably know exactly how to checkbox each one OR you'll be completely in the dark as to what the game wants from you. Happily, collectable hint scraps are plentiful, and there's a wiki off-site if you really need it.

You can also grab new skins from the Steam workshop or find them dangling in cages around the game world. (Even ones that, uh, are playing a bit loose with copyright. When I wrecked one of these and the Black Mage from Final Fantasy dropped out, I had a very "what?" reaction. Still cool though.)

I feel like this game would probably appeal most to explorers and achievement-hunters. When you're down to that last clump of items on your checklist and you're facing the slog of walking around the map doing things in a particular order AGAIN just to get another stamp on your card, it can be fatiguing.

Still... yeah, on the whole this is pretty great and I'm looking forward to whatever this team does next time. I am no longer interested in comments on Livejournal. Please comment on Dreamwidth. Comments here will not be replied to and are unlikely to be read.
Ducks

Recordkeeping: Soul Blazer COMPLETE

After the long experience of Immortals I decided to play something lighter: A SNES game about being the avatara of God on a quest to unseal lost souls from a world ravaged by evil.

You know, for kids.

Soul Blazer's a pretty good game, something of a sequel-in-spirit to Actraiser. I mean, not Actraiser 2. Actraiser 2 was a different game. But you still build up towns, by rescuing people in a very close-up way, stabbing dozens and dozens of monsters that pour out of monster generators that turn into buttons when you beat them all. In a way, that's all you really do... but it was enough to carry the game and be pretty engaging.

It's also one of the most ... friendly games I've played insofar as grinding goes. Beat every monster in the game exactly once and you're probably cool for the end boss. I did some extra XP-farming on the next-to-last screen of the game by stepping into a teleporter, killing some monsters, stepping back out, then repeating.

It took about three minutes to gain two or three levels and then I was like "yeah m'good" and just powerhoused the last boss.

I had a lot of fun here. Good game. Maybe I'll play the sequels. I hear they're better. I am no longer interested in comments on Livejournal. Please comment on Dreamwidth. Comments here will not be replied to and are unlikely to be read.
Moogle, Sqrl

Recordkeeping: Immortals - Fenyx Rising COMPLETE

Doing the "wacky narrators" thing that the Cary Elwes 'Bard's Tale' did, and with a very Video Games! aesthetic, Fenyx is kind of... odd? It has the general feel of ... what if there was an open-world PS2 game (but bigger) with lots of puzzle-rooms and very button-mashy combat? The go-to example everyone's using is Breath of the Wild but I don't feel that much at all here.

Still, this is light cartoony fun. I had objections here and there. There's some parts I just... don't want to do (like anything involving the Mountain That's So Cold You Lose Stamina, fuck that) but for the most part I had a great time here.

What I do feel is that this game's a direct response to God of War in at least one story beat, and unfortunately we need to go to (somewhat vague) spoiler-space to discuss that.
Collapse ) I am no longer interested in comments on Livejournal. Please comment on Dreamwidth. Comments here will not be replied to and are unlikely to be read.
Play with me.

Recordkeeping: Halo 5 - Guardians COMPLETE

I am of mixed moods about this.

The gameplay is fantastic. Everything Mass Effect 3 did for mobility and ease of combat, Halo 5 did for its combat. Guns all actually matter worth a damn. Nothing feels useless. Character-specific perks are interesting or useful. You can jump and mantle and slide and shouldertackle through walls and ground-pound through the floor or land on enemies like Spartan Mario.

The plot... uhm.

Why do sci-fi authors fear and hate trans-humanism SO MUCH, you guys? You would think they'd be all up ons that shit. You would think that "we engineered our way into a vast AI revolution destined to end all war and suffering forever" would be like the ideal outcome.

But if that's the outcome then we can't have military shootings in our game about military shootings I guess so like...

*disaffected arm waving* urrrrgh

Anyway game was good but they didn't, like, finish it. In the grand Halo tradition of "they didn't finish it" I can only assume the actual ending is in a comic book or webnovel or short film somewhere I've never seen.

Oh well, was fun. I am no longer interested in comments on Livejournal. Please comment on Dreamwidth. Comments here will not be replied to and are unlikely to be read.