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 Last Game You Finished And Your Thoughts V3.0

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Shiny Shuckle

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PostSubject: Re: Last Game You Finished And Your Thoughts V3.0   Fri 11 Aug 2017 - 16:15

I'm getting Pyre next week after I hand in all my assignments. Alongside pirates I've always felt gladiatorial stuff has been criminally under used as a theme in video games. Have avoided all reviews and any information about the game aside from its colourful trailers.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Game You Finished And Your Thoughts V3.0   Sun 13 Aug 2017 - 23:06

Jimbob wrote:

Kinda short, but genuinely hillarious; plays on game (and pop culture) tropes without dragging you through the tedious bits. You can't really fail, so it's verging on not being a "game" as such, more like an interactive sketch. But it kept me amused during its brief playthrough. In fact I'd give it a
Sorry for interrupting the Pyre-talk. Just finished the Jazzpunk Director's Cut.
Pro from last time: The Japan level's twice as big - essentially it has an entire new level of its own, with more dumb references; there's a really good Macho Man Randy Savage tribute; there's a reference to Sliders for crying out loud.
Con from last time: I bought the DLC. This is crap as it really just references other bits of Jazzpunk.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Game You Finished And Your Thoughts V3.0   Yesterday at 15:23

Uncharted 4: A Thieve's End

I returned to this over a years after release so there's a distinct gap in between my playthrough which may have some bearing on my opinion of this game. It was a game I didn't think needed to be made when it was announced, as a trilogy the series worked very well but I understand wanting to build on the success of the series and the PS4. My initial memory of the first half of the game I played last year was good, it starts well paced, action and story both progress really well and you get to see how good the game looks with some of the early locations. Towards the end of my first half of play though I got to a section where you actually get to roam around with a car, jumping in and out of it if you like to discover treasures and notes, etc that'll go in to your journal and help uncover more of the story. This may have been why I let it fall to the wayside, not sure exactly why I did but this driving around, slightly free roaming-esque sections just didn't sit right with me.

Which brings me to the second half of the game, I've started to uncover more of the story and it shows in the gameplay as the pace slowed way down, action takes a backseat to uncovering the whereabouts of the treasure you're looking for and what happened with those involved which to be frank, just doesn't work for the series. When I play Uncharted, I'm expecting action sequences once after the other with occasional down time to take in the scenery and do a few puzzles but nope, it was bland jungle and bland jungle with little action and very few puzzles. By the time I'd reached the end game I'd grown a bit tired of it to the point I was forcing myself to play, something I've never had to do for the series. The action does pick up again towards the end and the story becomes interesting enough in the finale, the boss battle being great fun and well put together too but by that point the damage was done, this isn't really Uncharted at it's best and it made me feel perhaps it was best to let it stay as it was.

I will say the very final moments and the well paced start helped redeem what is a very poor middle section but by the series standards this was a disappointment, by no means a bad game but only a little above average as opposed to being excellent.

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PostSubject: Re: Last Game You Finished And Your Thoughts V3.0   Today at 5:08

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

So, despite my whole "this final map is boring me so much I don't know when or if I'll ever finish the game" spiel about a week back in the game's own thread I finally slogged my way to the finish line after throwing caution to the wind and suiciding half the cast to kill the big boss (this is why people shouldn't use casual mode in Fire Emblem folks, the game completely changes when you don't care about ko's).  

This one was a mixed bag.  The story went up in quality (at least in terms of presentation at any rate), but the gameplay, hoo boy that gameplay.  The gameplay was dumbed right the f*** down in this one, with even the franchises weapon triangle being removed.  A lotof the strategy went out the window in this one as it was turned in to a simple "use resistance to attack mages, use defense to attack physical units" game.  

But the biggest problem of the game was the map design.  You thought Awakening with its "enemies splattered around a square grid map" design was bad?  Well you ain't seen nothing till you see Echoes maps, vast open maps with for the most part nowhere near enough units to make events exciting, nor enough in the actual maps to change combat in enjoyable ways.  A lot of Awakening felt like the same thing happening over and over again, Echoes doubled down, nay tripled down on this issue.  

It wasn't all bad, there were some areas where the simplification was welcome, if only because it was cutting out some unecessary fat, such as the utterly tedious skills from Awakening and Fates (and yay no shoehorned children!), and weapons were, like Fates, different from the norm.  Rather than use the traditional ammo counter for weapons we instead saw characters limited to holding one item at a time, and a return of the idea of increased power having tradeoffs in things such as the speed stat.  

Still despite all that I haven't even gotten to my biggest problem with the game yet.  Returning to the design of the maps, which were often simple in the worst way possible, I would however like to recant that all maps lacked gimmicks.  You see some maps did have gimmicks.  Unfortunately these weren't the sort of gimmicks that we saw in Conquest, gimmicks that elevated a map and made it unique and a puzzle to solve.  No, instead we saw some of the most obnoxious mechanics I've ever seen in a Fire Emblem.  

You see once you hit Act 4 the game starts throwing new terrain into the mix, specifically "swamps".  These utterly onoxious tiles cut movement down to 2 spaces (3 for the more manueverable units, 1 for the lesser ones).  On top of that simply being on a swamp tile at the start of your turn hit a unit with a instant 5 damage.  

This alone wasn't the real issue though, war of attrition can be a engaging strategic hurdle.  No, what the real issue was that Echoes had one trick that it used for most of the game: enemies that can spawn more enemies.  At the start of the game these would make fun bosses, by act 4 they started to throw them at the player in waves.  The real issue though was that these enemies were weak, non-threats essentially.  What ended up happening instead was that maps would have their length artificially bloated five times the length they warrented, map progression would grind to an absolute halt as you slowly moved across the maps of swamps with these weak, boring, irrelevant enemies constantly swarming you.

This is not fun or good map design.  I could, perhaps, have given this a pass if they only busted this out for the final boss, a way of giving the player a taste of every difficult mechanic in the game at once as a final test.  Alas this was seen constantly in act 4, and it was an absolute chore to slog through.  I criticised Revelation for spamming maps with extremely slow gimmicks at the player, but this game made me miss even them, and by its end I was extremely fatigued and bored with the game.  

There are other issues with the game as well, such as Milla's Turnwheel, a mechanic that allows the player to rewind time (aka turns), a idea that in small doses could be a excellent frustration saver but is ultimately undone by being overly generous (when you can undo turns over ten times every map the challenge starts to go out the window, and even things like being punished for failing to pay attention ceases to be a thing).  Keep in mind that this is on top of the game having the now-constantly "Casual Mode" (their term) where felled units return at the end of the map and, as a first, revival shrines, which allow you to revive up to four units overall.  On top of the game's already simple nature these mechanics lead to the game simply never punishing the player for messing up, and in some cases like the Turnwheel smarter players can even exploit it to reroll for crits due to how many uses the game gives the player.  

Overall Rating - 6.5 out of 10: the game has undeniable polish, and I would love to see more games in the Echoes sub-series, but Shadows of Valentia was unfortunately a too-faithful remake of a very old game and as such dragged significantly.  The game is a good one for newcomers due to its simpler nature and more prominent story, but those after a more strategic experience will find this entry extremely lacking.
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