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Everything posted by Eliwood8

  1. Eliwood8

    General movie discussion

    How do you rank the MCU films? Use this handy rapid-fire quiz to set your ranking of all 21 films. My results are perhaps not quite what I would have decided upon if I were given more time to decide, but overall it's pretty accurate (not sure how Captain Marvel ended up so high and Black Panther so low, but eh). Go here and click "Start the Quiz" to make your own list.
  2. I imagine the Joy-Cons not having their own headphone jacks was a major reason to abandon it on the pro controller, but still, what a waste. I don't even care about using it for voice chat, sometimes it's just more convenient to use headphones *cough* playing games way too late at night *cough
  3. A vengeful spirit embarks on a quest for revenge in this stylish stealth-based action game. Aragami: Shadow Edition bundles together the original 2016 game as well as its prequel DLC/expansion for a ton of satisfyingly sneaky gameplay in one package. Despite some rough edges and a slow build up, stealth fans will appreciate the addictive nature of flitting from shadow to shadow, eliminating any guards in your path. You play as Aragami, a shadow spirit summoned by Yamiko, a girl who is being imprisoned by the oppressive Kaiho clan. In order to free her you'll need to collect a number of talismans and defeat the Kaiho generals, all before sun-up when your shadowy existence will disappear. It's a decent enough story even if it quickly becomes predictably melodramatic—don't expect any particularly fresh writing takes and you won't be too bothered by the lackluster dialogue. It doesn't help that the game does not feature voice acting, and trying to read text while sneaking from shadow to shadow is a bit awkward, especially when you need to be at the ready at all times. Aragami covers the classic elements of stealth gameplay—in each level you need to reach the goal while avoiding roaming Kaiho guards—but as a shadow spirit you've got a few neat tricks up your sleeve. For one thing you can teleport to any shadow within range, which includes jumping up to ledges and even passing through guards while in shadow form. Shadow leaping is your most basic and most invaluable tool in Aragami, though it takes a little getting used to at first. The controls aren't quite as smooth and responsive as you might want out of a stealth game where timing is everything, but after a bit of practice you'll lock into the rhythm of leaping from shadow to shadow and it'll be easy to appreciate the smooth sense of movement that Aragami offers. You also have a handful of other abilities at your disposal, but these have to be individually purchased by collecting scrolls hidden within each level. It's a smart way to encourage a bit of exploration—and perhaps even taking some risks to grab a scroll—but it also makes the first few chapters of the game feel slow and tedious. Once you have the ability to dispose of guards' bodies so no one else raises an alarm, throw kunai to kill enemies at a distance, or even just create a distracting noise, the game opens up and becomes far more engaging and interesting. You can choose to focus on more defensive or offensive techniques, and even the more overtly powerful abilities like temporary invisibility feel pretty well balanced. Even if Aragami has a bad habit of recycling objectives (you almost always need to destroy a barrier in order to progress), the variety of tools helps keep the game feeling fresh from level to level. Naturally the game wouldn't be challenging if you were able to use abilities wildly, so you're limited to just two uses before you have to recharge at a prayer shrine, and even your shadow jump ability relies on a stamina meter that gradually refills while you're hiding in shadows. This is where things get a bit muddy for Aragami though, and it comes down to an awkward disconnect between the visuals and gameplay. For one, it's too difficult to tell if you're able to shadow jump to a point at a glance. There's also a difference between low and bright light, where bright light drains your stamina, so it's important to avoid. This kind of information is vital to take in quickly, but the game's art style makes it hard to tell what is a safe point and what isn't. Secondly, your stamina and ability charges are stylishly displayed on the back of your cape. It certainly looks cool but again interferes with gameplay since it's hard to tell exactly how much stamina you have remaining—this gets even worse when your cape is billowing in the wind. Lastly, aiming your shadow jump in order to ascend a ledge is far too finnicky. Oftentimes it feels like the cursor has to find a hidden sweet spot to work correctly and finding it totally breaks the fluidity of sneaking around in the shadows. The controls in general feel a bit too stiff in fact, though it gets a little easier with practice. Aragami has a lot of fun stealth gameplay but it has some undeniably unpolished aspects as well that make the game more clumsy and frustrating than it needs to be. The game isn't terribly long if your goal is simply finishing each level once, but like a lot of stealth-based games there's an addictive quality to perfecting each stage and completing them without being detected once. As such Aragami makes up for its relatively short length with plenty of replay value. Additionally you can bring a friend along for the ride with online co-op, which offers a fun twist on approaching obstacles. And of course this Shadow Edition of the game includes Nightfall, the prequel expansion that adds new levels, playable characters, and gameplay mechanics. The core gameplay is unchanged (including its obnoxious quirks) but the fresh challenges and new abilities make a welcome addition to the base game. The presentation in Aragami is somewhat of a missed opportunity. The cel-shaded look is fantastic and makes both Aragami himself and select details in the environment pop is a beautifully stylish way. At the same time though the overall art direction feels somewhat bland, as environments have little interesting detail in them and enemies are repetitive and rather drab. Without more engaging character designs the cel-shaded style feels a bit wasted. The music is somewhat similar thanks to, perhaps, an over-reliance on light ambiance music instead of engaging, memorable songs. Even for a stealth game the prevailing quiet makes for an aurally dull experience. Aragami: Shadow Edition offers up an engaging stealth adventure that feels held back by some unpolished elements which can make the core gameplay a bit awkward and frustrating. If you're willing to work at it though and overlook some of its flaws, sneaking around enemy camps and carefully eliminating guards before you're noticed is always a fun time, especially once you have a few of the more useful abilities at your disposal. Stealth fans in particular will feel well rewarded for sticking with Aragami. Rating: 7 out of 10 Shadows
  4. Eliwood8


    I might go for the Castlevania collection depending on what the last four games are, but so far I'm not that interested in having yet another platform to play I and IV on.
  5. Cadence is the main character of the game Crypt of the NecroDancer, a rhytmic Roguelike game where you explore a dungeon while moving/attacking to the beat of the music. Enemies also move in a rhythmic pattern so you can anticipate their attacks and dodge. It's a lot of fun and has a fantastic soundtrack (check it out) but like most Roguelikes it can also be quite difficult since sometimes it just feels like luck whether you succeed or not (since maps and items are randomly generated each time you play).
  6. Press release: A lot of cool looking stuff here, and so much of it is new! I'm finally going to have a chance to play Cuphead (though the difficulty scares me), Cadence of Hyrule looks great (though I hope that one is also easier than Crypt of the Necrodancer), and I'd forgotten about My Friend Pedro, good to see that has a release window now. Rad, Katana Zero, and Creature in the Well all look interesting too.
  7. Once upon a time, Nippon Ichi Software created a side-scrolling puzzle-platformer that followed a princess and a prince on a storybook adventure through a dark forest. Playing the game isn't a complete fairy tale, though. Despite a charming story and a beautifully unique visual style, the gameplay in The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince leaves something to be desired. The plot of the game reads just like an old fairy tale: each night in a dark forest, a monstrous wolf sings a beautiful song, attracting the appreciation of a young prince. Separated by the darkness the two grow close, but when the prince tries to see the source of the beautiful voice, the wolf panics and accidentally blinds the prince. With the help of the old witch of the woods, the wolf transforms into a princess to try to help the prince regain his eyesight. The story is extremely cute, a little sad, and wholly charming from start to finish. It's not too often that you get to enjoy a modern fable with poignant reflections on self-identity and appearance that still captures the feel of a classic fairy tale—cutscenes in the game are even presented as a storybook. It's easy to be charmed by the fairy tale format of Liar Princess. The gameplay is a little harder to love, though. You play as the princess who is able to transform between a wolf form and human form. As a wolf, you can attack monsters with your claws and are mostly invulnerable to damage yourself. As the princess, you have to take the prince's hand and slowly walk him forward, avoiding obstacles and falls (you'll die from shockingly small heights as a human in this game). In essence, Liar Princess is one long escort mission, and I fully acknowledge the kind of baggage that comes with that term. Walking the prince around can be slow and plodding—though thankfully it's easy to leave him alone to take care of enemies or hazards yourself, so you're not constantly worried about his safety. Still, the gameplay can feel quite meandering at times. To spice things up a little, there are plenty of simple puzzles you'll have to solve using both the princess and the prince, i.e. pressure sensitive switches that require you to leave the prince behind while you find another route. For the most part these are quite simple puzzles though. Anyone that has played a decent number of platformers won't be surprised by the kinds of challenges Liar Princess cooks up and, given the slow nature of walking the prince around, the gameplay can feel particularly sluggish at times. To be fair there are few bad puzzles in the game, outside of one or two finnicky controls moments or a particularly obtuse riddle (which, to the game's credit, the game even warns you about and offers you a chance to skip it entirely). Instead the puzzles in Liar Princess are, by and large, just kind of there. Not terrible, but nothing particularly inspired either. The game is also quite short, and can easily be finished in just four or five hours. Combined with the somewhat basic level and puzzle design, it can't help but feel like Liar Princess is a rough draft that was never fully fleshed out. Still, it has a certain charm while it lasts, and each level has a handful of collectibles which unlock concept art and additional story lore, both of which are well worth checking out. The presentation, like the storytelling, is the saving grace of Liar Princess. The storybook / sketchbook style to the graphics is gorgeous and totally charming for the cute fairy tale plot that unfolds here. There aren't a ton of different elements at play here—you really only encounter a few different types of monsters—but the style is undeniably appealing. There are also adorable details like how the princess and prince smile while holding hands. The soundtrack is pretty great as well. There aren't that many tracks since there are only about twenty stages in the game, but the music hits the right balance of whimsical and eerie that feels perfect for this slightly dark fairy tale. The game's cutscenes are also voiced, but only in Japanese—somehow it doesn't feel too out of place, though. The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince offers up an adorable little fairy tale that will easily charm you with its endearing protagonists and simple story of bonding. The gameplay rarely manages to feel like more than a mostly by-the-numbers side-scrolling adventure though, and your progress isn't so much limited by challenging game design as it is by the prince's slow walking speed. Still, players interested in a beautifully designed and charming story should appreciate the brief journey of the princess and the prince. Rating: 7 out of 10 Fables
  8. Always happy to see what indie games are coming up. Right now the only ones that come to mind are Truberbrook, SteamWorld Quest, and Indivisible.
  9. Eliwood8

    Smash Saturdays Returns! See Updated OP

    We could do Smashdown "manually," it'd just require a good bit of Discord coordination to ensure no one duplicates picks.
  10. Eliwood8

    Axiom Verge Wii U physical finally gets released.

    Wow, kudos to them for committing to it, especially after having such trouble with BadLand Publishing.
  11. Eliwood8

    Smash Saturdays Returns! See Updated OP

    I'll be around if you guys are playing.
  12. Eliwood8

    Baba Is You Review

    What if you could rewrite the rules of a video game while playing it? That is essentially the premise of Baba Is You, created by developer Arvi Teikari, aka Hempuli. In this puzzle game the rules of each level are written on the screen, and by moving the words around you're able to turn an impassable wall into harmless scenery, or a simple rock into an invaluable key. Baba Is You leverages this inventive puzzle game premise into hundreds of mind-bending levels for a puzzle game that is consistently surprising, challenging, and delightful. Baba Is You takes a very literal approach to the idea of "rewriting the rules," as each level's rules are written as text in the level. For example, you'll generally see "Baba is You" somewhere on screen, indicating that you can move the odd little character Baba around. Another rule might say "Flag is Win," indicating the end goal of the level, but the rule "Wall is Stop" might prevent you from reaching the flag. However, rules are only in effect when written in a straight line (horizontally or vertically), so by simply pushing the word "Wall" up one space the rule is now broken and you can pass straight over the wall. Explaining this in text doesn't have the same effect as simply playing the game—it's a devilishly simple but ingenious puzzle gameplay system, one that any player can immediately pick up. This word manipulation system is so delightfully clever that I finished most levels while shaking my head in amazement at the puzzle design. Once you get past the introductory levels, solving these puzzles truly requires out-of-the-box thinking, but Baba Is You also makes it easy to experiment and slowly work through solutions at your own pace. There's even an undo button that allows you to rewind by one action at a time. This is especially important given that changing one rule can have a huge effect on the stage overall, plus it can be easy to accidentally work yourself into a corner (literally, since Baba can generally only push words and not pull them, so pushing a word into the side of the screen will leave it stuck there). Even so, Baba Is You doesn't pull any punches. The game isn't afraid to throw some seriously challenging puzzles your way, and given the nature of the game you may find yourself floundering for a bit. There aren't any in-game hints to nudge you in the right direction either, which can make some of the particularly difficult levels feel frustrating. Baba Is You simply isn't the kind of game you can rush through though. It's a game that rewards light experimentation as much as careful planning, and it's a game that will particularly appeal to players that enjoy mulling over a puzzle, examining it from all sides, and trying to find the key first step that puts everything on the right track. And thankfully, even though the game doesn't offer hints, the levels unlock in a mostly non-linear fashion—if you're truly stuck on a puzzle, simply skip it and tackle a new one instead. Sometimes the best way to solve a puzzle in Baba Is You is to leave it be for a while and come back when inspiration strikes. The game drops you straight into the action with no storytelling build-up, which is a bit of a shame, given the uniquely surreal visuals and setting in the game. The graphics are simple but undeniably striking in their own way and give the whole game a charming sense of style. There's also something impressive about the way the developer has given each world a personality using only a handful of different background elements. The music is sort of in the same boat—the soundtrack isn't overtly flashy but it adds a catchy, mellow vibe to the game, perfect for when you're staring at the screen trying to solve a particularly tricky puzzle. Puzzle games, naturally, rarely have much replay value, but the sheer amount of puzzles combined with the challenging design means you can rest easy with spending your money on Baba Is You. With over two hundred levels, it's easy to spend hours upon hours with the game. However, if you're just trying to "beat" each world and progress, you'll also be pleased to hear that many levels are optional, so if you get stuck you can move on to a new puzzle anyway. Baba Is You is a fiendishly clever puzzle game, one that does an excellent job of establishing a simple set of rules and then twisting them into all manner of challenges. The simple art style and catchy music add a welcome layer of charm—important, given how long you'll be staring at these screens trying to work out in your head what you actually need to do. But even if the puzzles can quickly feel overwhelming, their inventive design never fails to impress and the satisfaction of completing one is consistently tantalizing. Rating: 8 out of 10 Babas Review copy provided by developer Baba Is You is available now on the Switch eShop for $15.00.
  13. Eliwood8

    Video Games Finished in 2019

    - Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition (PS4) This game is all kinds of gratuitous chaos. Still, rewarding the player for doing flashy kills is a nice change of pace for an FPS. [image] - Liar Princess and the Blind Prince (Switch) Really cute little game. Gameplay is pretty light but overall it's still a fun experience. [image] - RICO (Switch) Everything about the game feels pretty half-baked. Could've been at least an okay arcade-esque FPS if it were a little more polished. [image] - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered (PS4) That was a trip down memory lane—I remember playing the original a ton in college with my friends. I don't think I'm going to put in the time to unlock decent weapons in multiplayer, though. Too tedious to feel so underpowered until you rank up a bunch. [image] - Kirby Super Star (SNES Classic) Wrapping up the last couple of games on my SNES Classic (that I actually want to play at least—I'm not going to struggle through Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts). Kirby Super Star is a game I used to love as a kid but we never bought it for some reason, so I would rent it several times just to play it over and over. Still love it, though it's harder at times than I remember (certainly harder than modern Kirby games!). [image] C : 25 H: 0 P: 0 M: 0 O: 25 Challenges: 3 points
  14. Eliwood8

    RICO Review

    Plenty of games try to capture the excitement of a buddy-cop action flick, but few do it by focusing solely on the door-kicking action and gun fights like this one. RICO from developer Ground Shatter and publisher Rising Star Games puts you in the shoes of a loose-cannon cop, either solo or with a friend, where procedurally generated buildings are packed with criminals in need of merciless justice. Quick, arcade-style action and local or online co-op don't do much to fix RICO's rough gameplay elements, though. In the town of San Amaro, crime runs rampant, especially due to the slow nature of prosecuting organized crime. That's where you come in: as a member of the RICO elite police task force, you have just 24 hours to take down a criminal empire, which means working your way through the lower ranks until you reach the kingpin himself. Unfortunately that's about all you can expect as far as storytelling is concerned, as there's no other cutscenes or story elements outside of the opening cutscene, but to be fair RICO is a fast-paced arcade-style FPS, and you've got no time to waste if you want to defeat the crime boss. Either solo or with a buddy (both local split-screen and online), your goal is to sweep through one criminal warehouse after another by kicking down doors and shooting anyone you see inside (when you've only got 24 hours to finish a case, due process takes a backseat). Essentially RICO focuses entirely on the satisfaction of breaching and entering rooms with tactical efficiency—you'll even be treated to a slow-down sequence when you first enter, giving you a chance to quickly pick off each enemy in the room before they can react. You'll also have to collect evidence and make a speedy escape before you're overwhelmed by reinforcements, and later missions will add further challenges such as taking out a high-ranking target, destroying criminal servers, and frantically defusing bombs before they explode. It's undeniably satisfying to sweep through rooms as either a one-man or two-man wrecking crew, but the problem with RICO is that it doesn't offer more than this one thrill over and over. Every level is procedurally generated to add variety and as you begin a case you'll be given a branching path to reach the boss, so you can plot your path to some degree, but the game is still mindlessly repetitive and some of the extra challenges make the game more frustrating than rewarding. Defusing bombs is easily the biggest problem, as you're given a short countdown to find every bomb in the area as soon as you find one. Given the randomly generated level design, this more often than not means you're given a nearly impossible challenge to break through enemy lines to reach the bombs (and why are so many criminals just standing in a room with a ticking time bomb anyway?). Roguelike mechanics sometimes mean you're simply dealt a bad hand, but in RICO the balance is too often tipped toward frustrating challenges rather than rewarding ones. The other basic elements of the game don't do much to make up for the tedium of each playthrough. The controls are flat out clumsy—even with a good bit of fiddling with the aiming sensitivity settings it's hard to find a happy balance between either wildly too loose or molasses slow. You basically have little choice but to rely upon spray 'n' pray shooting. The guns themselves aren't terribly inspired either thanks to a limited variety to purchase/upgrade and a lack of a satisfying sense of weight or snappy aiming. The fact that reinforcements can spawn from seemingly anywhere is discouraging, especially when you're frantically trying to find a bomb. The destructible environments—most of all the doors that you kick down—are novel at first but too often a flying bit of timber will obscure your view for a clean headshot. Even the game's UI is a little obnoxious given its black and white color scheme that makes it hard to see what item you're actually highlighting. It's unfortunate, then, that RICO is based entirely around replaying the same basic playthrough over and over when so many of its gameplay details feel lacking. If you're willing to put up with some repetitive, unpolished gameplay though, you have full cases with different difficulty levels, daily challenges, and of course the option of going solo, with a friend, or playing online. But RICO never quite finds the right addictive formula to keep you coming back for more. The presentation isn't much more polished than the rest of the game. The cel-shaded design is certainly stylish when you first start up the game, but the cracks soon appear. Environments are repetitive and lacking in interesting details, the criminals themselves are much the same with only a handful of different looks, and even details like headshots aren't given much visual flair, to the point that sometimes it's hard to tell if you've even landed a headshot. There's virtually no background music and the sound effects can be oddly balanced at times—too often you'll hear a thug screaming at you from three rooms away. Sadly the audio and visuals do nothing to buoy the repetitive game design. RICO focuses on one element of FPS gameplay—breaching and entering rooms full of bad guys—but unfortunately doesn't even manage to do that particularly well. It's all too easy for a procedurally generated Roguelike game to fall into tiring repetition unless the core action of the game is polished enough to be engaging and satisfying no matter how often you do it. That's just not the case with RICO. Kicking down doors and bursting into a room guns a-blazing is fun for a moment, but RICO's rough design isn't able to sustain the excitement for even one playthrough. Rating: 5 out of 10 Kicked Doors Review copy provided by publisher RICO will be available on the Switch eShop on March 14th for $19.99.
  15. Eliwood8

    General movie discussion

  16. Eliwood8

    Capcom and test games

    Holding games ransom unless another game performs well is bullshit, doubly so when the two games aren't even in the same series (though I guess you could say these are similar genres). I don't know if Devil May Cry 5 can even run smoothly on the Switch though, which makes this case particularly obnoxious.
  17. Eliwood8

    General movie discussion

    Captain Marvel was a lot of fun. I wouldn't put it in the top tier of MCU movies but to be fair there's a lot of stiff competition up there. Very minor spoilery thoughts:
  18. Eliwood8

    Golf Story Review

    One part sports game, one part RPG, Golf Story revives the unfortunately all-too-rare genre of story-driven sports game, one that retains all of the key gameplay components of golf while offering a more engaging sense of progression than simply collecting tournament trophies. Although Golf Story isn't the first game to blend these two game genres together, it does so with an undeniable charm. You play as an average golfer with dreams of hitting the pro circuit after being inspired by his dad as a child. Though he starts out as a nobody in the golfing world who can't even seem to get a coach to give him a chance, a bit of tenacity helps him gradually make a name for himself as he conquers each of the themed golf courses in the game's suspiciously Australia-shaped island. The basic plot isn't terribly exciting, and even the protagonist is a bit bland, but that's only because he plays the straight man to the game's multitude of oddball characters. From rapping hoodlums to aged country club snobs, it seems like everyone in the world of Golf Story loves golf, and that means you'll meet all manner of fun and funny characters and strange scenarios—the country club's werewolf scare being a notable highlight of the game's writing and sense of humor. It's great to see a sports game that just has fun with its setting, and even the corniest jokes are a welcome break between playing a round of nine holes. No matter how the story or side content is presented, the core of Golf Story is still classic virtual golf gameplay—if you've ever played a golf video game you'll instantly be familiar with the key gameplay mechanics here. Golf Story really doesn't do much that's new on the basic aiming/swinging mechanics, though to be fair, why try to fix something that isn't broken? Selecting a club, lining up a shot, adjusting for wind, and locking in the power of your swing with a quick button press are all totally standard golf mechanics by now and they remain engaging, if somewhat repetitive. Golf Story isn't afraid to think a little out of the box when it comes to course design, though. The layouts and hazards may not be quite as wild as some Mario Golf entries, but there are far more tricky and inventive obstacles to deal with here than on any real life course. Even so, Golf Story is overall a fairly easy game. Sure you might have some trouble on certain holes, especially if you get too ambitious about skirting the main path in favor of riskier shortcuts, but the key moments required to progress the story aren't going to push you to ace every hole—oftentimes just hitting par is good enough. As such there may not be a ton of depth to Golf Story in terms of either mechanics or difficulty, but it's a breezy, enjoyable course all the same. The game is also advertised as having RPG mechanics, though these are admittedly relatively minor to the game. As you progress you'll earn experience points, and when you level up you can boost your stats, such as power, accuracy, handling, etc. Your main stat is power, but increasing power affects your other stats—i.e. increasing power will make your accuracy go down—so you'll want to keep your stats balanced by not increasing power without adjusting other stats as well. Hence, there's not much variety in terms of how you level up. If you wanted to give yourself an extra challenge you could try leaving your accuracy on the low end, but for most players divvying up these stat points will be fairly mindless. You can also equip different clubs, but there aren't a huge variety to find in the game. There really isn't much variety in terms of how you approach Golf Story. It is, perhaps, not too surprising that a golf game would fall into a fair bit of repetition. Even with eight different courses, each with its own quirks, you have to really enjoy golf to keep up the energy throughout the fifteen hours or so that it takes to finish Golf Story. It doesn't help that the game forces you into repeating courses occasionally as part of the story, which gets a little tiresome. If you do want some extra gameplay though there are numerous side quests and challenges you can take on to earn a little extra EXP and money. These can feel mindlessly repetitive at times as well but they're also a good way of sharpening your skills since they tend to focus on one aspect such as aiming, chipping, putting, etc. And if you want to play a round without jumping into the story there's also a quick play mode which can support local two-player versus matches, just in case you need to settle who the real golf pro is. A big part of the game's charm comes down to its simple yet fun pixel graphics. There's nothing flashy in Golf Story, and across the game's eight themed courses the environments never stray from anything that would typically be seen in a video game, and yet there's an undeniable sense of style in the sprite work, one that perfectly suits the story's droll sense of humor. The soundtrack isn't half bad either. The music has a ton of personality in it, perfect for the somewhat-grand adventure of becoming a golf pro, even if it's hard to pay attention to the music when you're focusing on lining up your swing. Golf Story is a charming little game and a great revival of the subgenre of sports games that emphasizes adventure and story progression in addition to sports simulation. Although not a huge step forward for the golf genre and slightly bogged down by repetition, the game's light-hearted humor will easily pull in any virtual golfing fan. Rating: 7 out of 10 Clubs
  19. For what it's worth I highly recommend Child of Light, and $10 sounds like a great price for it.
  20. Hot on the heels of 2017's remake of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap comes a brand new entry in the Wonder Boy franchise: Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. Cursed Kingdom retains the classic side-scrolling platforming of the series as well as the monster transformations of The Dragon's Trap, all with a beautifully hand-drawn art style and lovingly crafted soundtrack. As good as the presentation is though, Cursed Kingdom has some rough edges when it comes to the gameplay design. In Cursed Kingdom you play as Jin, a young boy thrown into a chaotic quest to save the world when his uncle—seemingly drunk on royal nectar—uses a magic wand to transform all the people of the Monster World Kingdom into anthropomorphic animals. To reverse the curse Jin has to collect five magic orbs—a classic adventure quest. The game doesn't try to do anything new other than rehash the old tropes we've seen hundreds of times, but as an homage to a classic 80s series, the cliché plot doesn't feel out of place. Cursed Kingdom nails the feeling of an old-school action-platformer—perhaps too well, in fact. Because while the game recreates the look and sound of 80s platformers, it does little to modernize the gameplay. There's a frustrating clunkiness to the action that means your movements and attacks never feel quite as smooth as they ought to. Unlike a lot of other action games, Cursed Kingdom never quite finds the right rhythm to give the player that satisfying sense of fluidity. Instead combat just feels choppy, even by the end of the game, often due to clumsy hitbox detection which means you'll stumble into attacks and hazards far more often than you'd think. The combat just never feels satisfying. The platforming side of the gameplay fares a little better, thanks to the variety of abilities that your monster transformations give you. As a snake you can climb mossy walls, as a frog you can swim freely underwater and use your tongue to grapple things, as a pig you can…cast magic for some reason. Regardless of the specifics, the monster transformations also transform the way you play and interact with the environment and offers up plenty of fun and clever puzzle-platformer scenarios that rely upon one form or another. The game's pacing on giving you these transformations feels a little off—obviously the last transformations will be the most powerful/useful, but the first couple are downright boring at times—but still, each new form offers more variety to the platforming gameplay. Cursed Kingdom is also a challenging game, surprisingly so in fact, and too often for frustrating reasons. There are old-fashioned annoyances like enemies that swoop in from off screen to attack you and bothersome quirks like how coins bounce away so you have to chase them down, but the most difficult aspect of the game might just be the fact that you consistently feel underpowered. You can equip different swords/armor to boost your defense a little, but these are mostly used for the special effects they offer, such as a frost sword that can create ice blocks in water. Even with the right equipment enemies hit hard, easily draining your energy in just a couple of hits, but the short range on most attacks means you have to get up close and personal. This is what makes combat so frustrating, since your range and movement don't feel up to the task. As such you'll likely die/retry a lot in this game, but the checkpoint system can be annoyingly limited at times. There are a number of checkpoints scattered throughout the game, granted, but their placements mean you'll be stuck replaying certain difficult portions of the game every time you die, and at that point Cursed Kingdom just feels tedious. Ultimately, the game doesn't balance its difficulty with rewarding gameplay and instead relies upon some dated mechanics. The one area of the game that is perfectly modernized though is the presentation. Cursed Kingdom retains the cartoony style of the previous games in the series but recreates it with beautiful hand-drawn graphics that are not only gorgeous but utterly charming as well. It's the details in the smooth animation that brings Cursed Kingdom to life and gives the game an adorable, playable-cartoon vibe. The music is also pretty incredible—it captures that childlike sense of heroics that defines classic cartoons and classic video games, but does it with modern sound design that's a joy to listen to. Even at its most difficult moments, Cursed Kingdom's presentation is wholly charming. At around fifteen hours Cursed Kingdom feels like the right length for its adventure. There are a number of locations to visit and a good variety of challenges that don't get too repetitive. In Metroidvania fashion there are also plenty of hidden power-ups and collectibles to find which often require retreading old areas with new abilities, and thankfully a warp system makes backtracking a little easier. Completionists can get a little more out of the game by finding everything, but even at that point Cursed Kingdom feels like a single playthrough kind of game. Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is clearly a loving tribute to a classic franchise, and maybe that's why the developers seem to have missed the fact that plenty of old-school challenges just aren't fun anymore, and certain gameplay elements are best left in the past. Still, if you're willing to look past the awkward combat mechanics and cheap deaths, Cursed Kingdom boasts incredible audio and visual design as well as a decent variety to the platformer side of its gameplay. Just be prepared for some frustrating elements along the way. Rating: 7 out of 10 Monsters
  21. I imagine some titles would need a bit of an overhaul, either for SD graphics or focus on Wiimote controls, but it would be good to see some of the Wiiware exclusives moved to another platform.
  22. I finally took the time to finish Classic Mode with every character, including Piranha Plant. For the longest time Marth had the high score, but in the end Chrom beat him by just a few thousand points.
  23. Eliwood8

    Video Games Finished in 2019

    Personally I wouldn't consider any Battle Royale, or more broadly any multiplayer-only game, to be a game that can really be "beaten." If I had to include it though I'd say a first place win is the only scenario that would make it a "beaten" game.
  24. Eliwood8

    Jet Grind Radio (Dreamcast) Review

    I only played this game for the first time a couple of years ago after hearing it hyped up for a long time, and I mostly agree that it's a cool concept that never quite fully clicked with me—just too dated to try playing it 15+ years after its initial release, perhaps. I loved the game's style though and would definitely be interested in seeing a revival of the franchise.