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Video Games Finished in 2020


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Welcome to Video Games Finished in 2020! 


It's that time of year again! I've your participated before, you know what you're getting into! If you haven't, well, it's not terribly complicated!  We keep track of the video games we beat each year, and post them in this thread! So welcome, one and all! Let's try to play and beat as many as we can this year! Last year, we collectively beat 361 video games! Can we top that? Let's find out! 



When you beat a game, post the name and the system. That’s it. 

No photo needed. We're going by the honor system here! So don't lie! After all, it's your backlog, so the lie hurts you most of all. 

Want to review your game? Go for it! It's by no means a requirement, but you can let us know how much you enjoyed- or didn't enjoy a game in this thread. Want to share a picture proving you beat a game? Go for it! It's not a requirement, but shots of the "The End!" or the credits are always welcome. 


If you want a way to keep track of your backlog, go to backloggery



1) Make a new post when you beat a game, so I can easily see it and count it. Game and system is all you have to post. However, having either your first post be a master post or keeping a running total on each new post helps me double check and make sure scores are accurate.
2) No emulators unless you actually own the game (or otherwise stated). 

3) You may finish a game you started playing in a prior year and count it. That's fine. In fact, I expect several users will beat games in January that the started playing last year. All I ask is that you don't open up a save file from years ago that is right before the final boss, beat it, and then claim beat the game. That's just goes against the spirit of the thread.
4) You can however, feel free to go back to a game you haven't played for year(s), start from the beginning and beat it and count it. That's fine. It is OK to beat the same game multiple years in a row. 

5) Beating a game multiple times in the same year will only count once. This includes the same game on different consoles and remasters. Consideration is offered to DLC campaigns and remakes. 

6) There is no Rule 6. 

7) Digital downloads count for the system you played it on, physical copies count for the system they were made for. 

8) Mobile games in the nature of gatcha, slight story, etc such as; Fire Emblem: Heroes, Puzzle & Dragons, Star Wars: Heroes, etc, can all be considered complete after beating all stages. For example, every story mode and paralogue stage in FE:H, all normal stages in P&D, all light, dark, cantina, and mod battles in SW, etc. These requirements can change if more story missions or stages are added. Just finish the levels available to you. I won't hold it against you if you claim a gatcha game as beaten and more levels are added later. Of course, if this happens, you can't claim to beat the game a second time in the same year. 


1) Console – Switch, Xbox One, PS4, Switch eShop, PSN, XBLA, Vectrex, etc.
2) Handheld – 3DS, DS, Vita, PSP, GBC, 3DS eShop, PSN, Wonderswan, etc
3) PC – PC and Steam Box
4) Mobile – Phone and Tablet games. 
5) Overall – Add up all categories above to get a total


NOTE: Since some PSN games have cross save functionality, you pick whether you beat it on PS4/PS3/PSV (if applicable).
NOTE: Physical copies of games count for their original system, digital copies of games count for the system you beat them on. You might remember this as Rule 7! This is true of emulators as well- if you own a physical copy of the game, it counts for the original system. 


Challenge Game of the Month:

I'm skipping the challenges this year (unless I see a sudden and unexpected demand for them) but will continue with the Challenge Game of the Month. Each month, I will select a newly released video game as a "Challenge Game." Beating a challenge game gets you a challenge point. Just like Whose Line Is It Anyway, these points don't matter! 


January: Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore, Switch (the Wii U original also counts) 

February: Vitamin Connection, Switch

March: Doom Eternal, Any

April: Streets of Rage 4, Any

May: Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, Switch (Wii and 3DS versions also count) 

June: Star Wars: Episode I: Racer (any version) 

July: Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing In Disguise, Switch

August: No Straight Roads (Any version)

September: Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy (Any version) 

October: Pikmin 3 Deluxe (Switch, original Wii U version also counts) 

November: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, Switch

December: Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & The Blade of Light, Switch



Username - Games Beaten - Challenge Point

Eliwood8 - 122 - 11

devilsKnife - 65 - 1

Link, the Hero of Dreams - 41 - 2

EH_STEVE - 41 - 0

blcdude1 - 34 - 0 

ArmoredFrog - 34 - 0

Irondog666 - 30 - 0

Tyranogre - 21 - 5

Laclipsey - 13 - 1

K - 5 - 0

Igneous42 - 4 - 0

purple_beard - 3 - 0

Pichi - 2 - 0 

Youngster Joey - 2 - 0

ace - 1 - 0

lazurwolf - 1 - 0

mikecamper - 1 - 0


Updated through this post. The games beaten can be viewed on this Google Doc.


Leaderboard History:

Igneous42 --> blcdude1 --> Eliwood8 --> devilsKnife --> Eliwood8



First Game Beaten in 2020: Dragon's Crown, PS4, by Igneous42

Tenth Game Beaten in 2020: Link's Awakening, Switch, by Irondog666

Twentieth Game Beaten in 2020: 198X, Switch, by K

Thirtieth Game Beaten in 2020: Sonic Adventure 2, PC, by devilsKnife

Fiftieth Game Beaten in 2020: Touhou 06 ~ The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, PC, by devilsKnife

First Game Beaten by Multiple Users: A Hat in Time, by Eliwood8, Link, the Hero of Dreams and devilsKnife

64th Game Beaten in 2020: Monster Hunter World: Iceborne by Igneous42

First Challenge Game Beaten: Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore by Tyranogre

100th Game Beaten in 2020: Super Street Fighter II by Irondog666

All For One (111th Game Beaten): Curious Expedition by Eliwood8

150th Game Beaten in 2020: Bioshock by Eliwood8

First Person To Beat 50 Games: Eliwood8

175th Game Beaten in 2020: Sayonara Wild Hearts by devilsKnife

200th Game Beaten in 2020: Persona 4 Golden by Link, the Hero of Dreams

7-11 (First Seven People to Beat 11 Games): Eliwood8, devilsKnife, blcdude1, Irondog666, Link, the Hero of Dreams, EH_STEVE and Tyranogre. 

250th Game Beaten in 2020: Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, PS2, by Tyranogre

300th Game Beaten in 2020: Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD, Switch, by Eliwood8

333rd Game Beaten in 2020: Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, Vita, by devilsknife

350th Game Beaten in 2020: Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, PC, by Link, the Hero of Dreams

New High Score (362nd game beaten, surpassing last year's total): Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, Switch, by Eliwood8

One-A-Day (366th game beaten in 2020): Celeste, Xbox One, by EH_STEVE

Total Games Beaten: 420

Edited by blcdude1
Link to post

Console: 31

Handheld: 1

PC: 2

Mobile: 0

Overall: 34



Games Beaten:
1. Pokemon Shield, Switch

2. Fitness Boxing, Switch

3. Defunct, Switch

4. Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire, Switch

5. Gal Metal, Switch

6. Syrup and The Ultimate Sweet, Switch

7. Contract Demon, PC

8. Lonely Wolf Treat, PC

9. Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas, Switch

10. Pocket Mini Golf, Switch

11. Fantasy, Switch

12. Guerrilla War, Switch

13. Miami Law, DS

14. Street Smart, Switch

15. Beast Busters, Switch

16. Sasuke vs Commander, Switch

17. Ikari Warriors, Switch

18. Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road, Switch

19. Ikari III: The Rescue, Switch

20. SAR Search & Rescue, Switch

21. Altered Beast, Switch

22. P.O.W.: Prisoners of War, Switch

23. Time Soldiers, Switch

24. Donkey Kong, Switch

25. Gunbird, Switch

26. Muse Dash, Switch

27. Gunbird 2, Switch

28. Samurai Aces, Switch

29. Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time, Switch

30. Corridor Z, Switch

31. Tuff E Nuff, Switch

32. Star Soldier, Switch

33. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, Switch

34. Virtua Fighter 2, Switch

Edited by blcdude1
Link to post

My list: 


Console – 35
Handheld – 4
PC- 4
Mobile- 2
Overall – 45


1/14- SSX Tricky for GCN 


SSX Tricky was a wonderful masterpiece on the GameCube. I'm not a sports person myself, but the skateboarding and snowboarding era of the late 90s/early 2000s was a great time to be a part of. I even had my own skateboard and scooter for a while, and I once went to one of those community skate parks. I never did any tricks, and I said "once". Still, there were the Tony Hawk games, of course, and I really liked Rocket Power when it aired on the old-school Nick. I don't remember how I got SSX Tricky, but it was one of the few GameCube games I loved as a kid. But, about twenty years later, is SSX Tricky still as fun as it was then? Was it only the name and theme song that everyone really likes about this game?  

SSX Tricky does not have a story mode in particular, but the whole premise is basically downhill snowboarding fun. The game is split into races and show-offs. Races are between six competitors, which includes the player, and show-offs are basically trick-making events. The main goal in racing is to get first place. Show-off is to make as many moves as possible to earn first. Simple. Still, each character has a rivalry against another, and if their aggression is strong, they will not hesitate to hit the player. The player can shove other players to get a larger speed boost, but that will raise the aggression of other players. As for the show-off, there are many tricks to pull off, and there also multiplier items flying over certain areas. But, more on the trick system later.  

Do I need to mention the intro? Each character has a moment to shine, while they dance and have fun. And, I'm certain It's Tricky by Run-DMC got a lot more sales after the game came out. Even if the game might have aged graphically, it's still wonderful and vibrant to look at. Each track, character, and board is unique. Eddie is the hipster of the group, while Psymon is clearly psychotic. The tracks take inspiration from a few locations, even some which would possibly never see snow, like Hawaii. If there was a little negative, some of the obstacles are placed in some directions that I often tended to go to. Maybe call it bad luck. And even if It's Tricky is the only song to get stuck inside one's head, the rest of the soundtrack isn't bad. The music changes constantly while the player is in the air for some time. And, it's all accompanied by a DJ who knows how to have a great time. 

Like I mentioned, the game is setup between races and showoffs. A player can customize their racer and board. The controls are executed well, but it takes some time to get used to the layout of some buttons. I used the trick book tutorial to help myself get familiar with the tricks, since I haven't played this game in a while. One button is used to accelerated, while a few others are incorporated into making tricks. If a player makes enough tricks, they can use it for a "trick boost", which increases a board's speed for a short while, and/or even activate the TRICKY meter. The TRICKY meter allows a racer to use the UBER tricks, like the worm. If a player makes 6 UBER moves in a row without failing, then the racer can use the trick boost for the rest of the race. Still, unless there's a moment that one's racer is stuck somewhere, they should beware the reset button or whatever. Doesn't really help when a racer is pulling off a sweet move and then it happens. One thing I noticed is that the flipping and such is kind of slow, and the tracks often don't work with that system. At least during a race. I could say the turning and jumping also felt a little loose too, but maybe it was my character. Not every character has the same stats.  

Put all of that together with satisfying unlockables, and the game becomes a joy to play with. Sometimes, there are random cheap moments, but the game also rewards players for finding shortcuts and secrets in the track design as well. I loved SSX Tricky as a kid, and even though I'm aware there are some things that aren't perfect, the whole of it is fine. I'm disappointed when I sold it years ago, since I still appreciate this game as I did back then. Will I play other games like this? Who knows. SSX Tricky is a fun game to play, even if the snowboarding culture has diminished over the years. And even though it's not in my Top 100, don't let that fool anyone. I still love this game.  


1/16- F-Zero X for WiiU 



I wasn't planning on playing this game till way later, but I think it was SSX Tricky that got me into a racing vibe. It's been months since I tackled the first game in the series, and I thought the game was mediocre. Yes, I said that. I didn't forgive the game's hardcore design, and even though the emphasis on F-Zero was basically survival of the fittest, that doesn't excuse course layout and obstacle placement. However, this is F-Zero X for the Nintendo 64. Surely my complaints about the first game were dressed in the sequel, right? 

Like last time, this game requires the player to use a guide. Seeing how I played this on the WiiU, I'm calling that design kind of weak. But, this game ups the stakes and has thirty unique individuals on the tracks at all times. There might have the same number in the last game, but every car has a distinct racer in this game, and not just the main four riders that return. One of the newcomers is Black Shadow, Captain Falcon's rival in this game. But, out of the thirty racers, only six are playable. Unless there's cheats, that's all. There's three cups, but now there are a total of eighteen tracks, even if some are repeated about twice more. At least the game uses a fair point system, so even though I was fifth once, I had enough races to stay up on top. None of that continue system from the last game.  

Most of the locations from the last game return, but the 3-D spacing allows for more dynamic layouts. Still, even though the obstacle placement is better, some of the narrowness returns, and because of the nature of steering, there's a lot more falling off of pits. And, I think the depth perception is atrocious at times because of a fog effect or the like. But, considering what I went through last time, this game is easier. The soundtrack might not be as good as the last game, but I cannot deny how energetic it is. I love the rock version of Mute City. 

The gameplay is similar to the last game, but I feel like boosting is actually better to use in this game. But, with the pits and walls, I recommend caution. There's also a lot more to do, since the game is a multiplayer game. 

And that's all. F-Zero X is basically F-Zero, but with a good enough improvements. I'm sorry that I don't understand the appeal. I'm not going to play GX. Nope. I heard it's insanely difficult. I'm good here. ... Or maybe I'll play Maximum Velocity. I just feel apathetic to the series.



2/3- DBZ: Kakarot for PS4



About two decades ago, I played a certain GBA game called Buu's Fury. It was the last of the Legacy of Goku series, and I began to hate a little for its grinding elements, and the fact it was just a retelling of the Majin Buu arc. Needless to say, I didn't like the stuff I had to go through to get to the ending. So, in 2020, a new game called called Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot was released. It was like those three games all over again, but now in an over-world 3D setting. AND WITH THE POWER OF THE PS4! But, the problem is that the series has been told countless times since then, and fans nowadays don't just want only the Z series again. Dragon Ball, GT, and Super have released since then. So, was there any necessity to make this game? 

I'll just skip the story. It's just another retelling of the show. The game has collectible pictures of what happened in Dragon Ball, and has certain side-quests that pertain to old characters, but there's not really anything new. 

The game is beautiful during the cutscenes... even if they didn't recreate some moments faithfully, like Nappa's mouth cannon not being present. As for the in game models, they're fine, when they're not in certain frames and close-ups. They're passable. The music itself is about the only highlight of the game, even if I would've wanted to hear more. And as for the voice-acting... it's serviceable, although there's a certain Godzilla game that it reminds me of. (Don't get me started on those horrible loading screens. They make the Z-Encylopedia unbearable!)

The gameplay is also decent. The fighting controls are like the current Xenoverse games', but with a few tweaks. And, sometimes, that's a pain, because sometimes the enemy can envelop super-armor unfairly. The flying controls at times feels too lose, but even though this reminds me of another game, flying to get orbs through hoops feels a lot more manageable than Superman 64's. Do not try the Nimbus and other vehicles. The main draw of the game is to level up and battle. For every fight and level, characters can get certain skills and special attacks, like Super Sayain and the Big Bang Attack. But, the EXP for normal enemies pales in comparison to regular main story fights. And, even making meals and eating can make the gap in levels manageable. Still, the bosses are fun, even though that super-armor crud makes things not fun at times.   

The side-content gets really boring after a while. Most NPCs just need the player to battle the same kind of enemies over and over, or fetch certain materials. And, even those side quests don't offer up too much EXP as well. Some reward the players with these Soul Emblems, which increase certain effects while they're on a certain board, like the Adventure or... Adult community. Yes, this game is a little... ahem... The other stuff, like fishing, and gathering resources just exist. Making meals kind of breaks the game sometimes, but again, one will have so much leftover Zeni/money to buy the same food capsules.

I really wanted to like... no love this game. The problem is that fans of the 2000s have been here before. It's likely to have been made for those of the current generation, but YouTube exists now. They can watch the older episodes or Kai. Heck, even Crunchyroll exists. It's not a bad game. It was just overwhelmingly disappointing.


2/16- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time for SNES 


This is one of the best beat-'em-ups and cartoon video games ever. But... ow, my hand playing hard mode. I like the true ending, but I went through heck just to beat this game. It doesn't help that some of the enemies and bosses are either cheap or a lot difficult. Looking at you, crazy turtle and Tehcnodrome Shredder. But, my qualms aside, it is a fun game.   
2/24- Cindered Shadows DLC for Three Houses. 
Good, just not worth the 25$ price range.


2/25- A Hat In Time for Nintendo Switch



Super Mario Odyssey was a juggernaut of 2017 with its open world design. There were a few platformers that year that tried to follow in its footsteps that year. One was Yooka-Laylee, which I heard sort-of failed, and the other was A Hat In Time. Going into A Hat In Time, I thought it was going to be a mediocre game. So, after two years since it came out with new DLC (which I haven't played), what do I think of this indie game?  

The story begins in space. A girl named Hat Kid is planning on going home, when a goon of the mafia accidentally opens the hatch of her spaceship. She, and the forty hourglasses she uses for fuel, land in the nearby planet. She wakes up after a while, and later comes across another girl named... Mustache Girl. She has a mustache. Hat Girl is set on retrieving all of them, and after some events happen, Mustache Girl really wants to collect them herself. The hourglasses have the potential to rewind time, as shown as when Mustache Girl accidentally breaks one herself.  Mustache Girl wants to rid the world of all the baddies, and because Hat Kid says no, hates Kat Kid and thinks she is selfish. So, now it's a race to find the hourglasses. 
The game is cute and cuddly, even when the performance is lacking at times, and the camera can get on my nerves every once in a while. Super Mario Odyssey camera control, it isn't. But, the music fits the four worlds that accompany it. Yes, this game is really short compared to other platformers. Except for Bubsy. But, the characters and the four worlds make up for its length too. I love the second one itself, even if it has a gimmick that I hate in platformers. 

Hat Kid can jump, double jump, slide, and even jump after the slide, like in Super Mario Odyssey. Except, she cannot the hat as another means of jump. Hat Kid can jump from ledges, wall-jump, and can use the slide on the ground and midair as an attack. Speaking of attacking, Hat Kid can use her umbrella to hit enemies with. Now, what about her hats? Hat Kid can equip and use a few hats for basic world puzzles. The new hat she immediately gets allows her to sprint. The hats need yarn to be made, and they're scattered in every world. She can also get badges that do a few other things, like being able to use a grappling hook. And, compared to Super Mario Odyssey, that's all. It's a basic twist on the platforming genre with nothing really complex. 

Although it's a basic platformer, I wish I could say it was great with the level design. Sometimes, getting onto ledges and platforms was a real pain. it was a true trial in the fourth level. The bosses are a bit challenging, but after one gets the hang of their moves, the bosses go down no problem. The final boss, and even last level, uses all of the techniques Hat Kid can use effectively, while implementing genius new tactics. They went down after thirty minutes. Although I won't complete the game and play its DLC, A Hat In Time was definitely a different experience. It's a comfy game, and if one wants a simpler platforming game, then I can recommend A Hat In Time.



3/3- Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn for PC 



Okay, so, wow. This will be the first time I ever have defeated the base game of a MMORPG. I never defeated World of Warcraft, DOTA, or whatever else can be a comparison. Until a few years ago, I didn't have a steady income to pay for monthly subscriptions. I was a college student who focused too much on studying to apply for a job. And, I wasn't too much of a fan of the series until around that time as well. I eventually defeated I-VII, with the exception of II, and even Tactics of all things, and I thought that I would beat IX, X, and XII before XIV. (But, IX can wait. I'm not in the mood for it yet). My favorite game of the series will be VII for now, but that doesn't mean I'll find a FF that will surpass it one day. Back to the matter at hand, I was a little hesitant to beat it because I didn't know if I needed prior knowledge of all the games beforehand. Turns out, the games I have defeated were good enough to make me understand the game. So, with all this in mind, how amazing is Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn? 

First, let's get that Realm Reborn subtitle to use. The beginning starts with the old Eorzea completely destroyed thanks to Bahamut Prime (I think). The end. 

...Of the first incarnation game. Thanks to the powers that be, Eorzea exists once more. Years later, new nations are born, but a beast-tribe is bent on waking Primals to destroy the land in their own image. Meanwhile, an empire rises and wages war on the other nations too. The player avatar becomes a Warrior of Light thanks to a big huge divine Crystal, and is told to save the world from ruin once more. And that's the general plot. When it comes to the stories in between, I didn't care. I didn't care about giving a solider some soup or some random emote. I couldn't care less about saving a city from some worthless minions. And I didn't care about retrieving items. Skip. Skip! SKIP! When it came to saving the world on a larger scale, that felt way more important. Because, some of the bosses in this game are incredible. One can even face off against some familiar faces. And, find certain homages to the series too. 

The game is gorgeous, even when it drops in frame-rates at times, and the characters at times emote and express too generically. The music... might not be the best of the series, but it is wonderfully orchestrated. Honestly, it's incredible that this game plays well! 

The gameplay itself it rather complex, so I'll just mention some of the basics. Customization when it comes to creating the avatar is amazing, such as hair color, size, and race. There's a lot of armor and weapons. Grinding is a thing. When it comes to combat speed, it's like FFIV, XI, and XII combined. By that I mean, actions have a cool-down effect, but you can execute some at different times than others. But, enough of that: what is Final Fantasy without... JOBS?! XIV has a total of 15 jobs (thanks to the amount of expansions over the years). Some are really iconic to the series, like the White Mage and Monk, while others are a bit lesser known, like Scholar and Samurai. Trust me, as a person who played THOSE games, I went with Black Mage and Dragoon first. Yes, one can change jobs by simply changing the weapon being held. Still, each class and job is categorized into their respectable uses. White Mages are healers, while Paladins are tanks. And, because of the Duty system, those roles are important. There are missions within the game that require certain party make-ups, so balance is important. Except for a few moments of frustration, rarely did this turn out against my favor. This game is tricky at times, but fair, challenging, and rewarding. Just, don't do the Crafting and Gathering classes, unless one really wants to be a perfectionist. 

And, with the amount of bonus content it gets month after month, this is a Final Fantasy worth getting, right? Yes, but again, I think playing the first seven games (without II), if one can get a hand on those, should be the stepping stones before playing this game. They'll miss out on the references, and think of which job to get based on player preference. Now, what do I think of this game? It can get a little too grindy at times, but the payoff of getting new skills and progressing the story is worth it. As a homage to the series it's based on, it exceeded my expectations for the most part. But, could it be the best Final Fantasy? Only time will tell for what I think of it.



3/14- Shovel Knight: King of Cards for Nintendo Switch


It's been a while since I've played Shovel Knight, but I finally beat the last campaign mode of this game: King of Cards. After playing the mediocre Plague of Shadows, and the great Specter of Torment stories, I wondered how well King of Cards, and King Knight himself, would be. I'm a Yu-Gi-Oh fan since the early days, so I wondered if the card system would hold up to my expectation. 

King Knight wants to be the very best at a card game called Joustice. He roams the lands to become the champion by beating all other players. Basic and simple. But what sells this game is King Knight and his relationship with his mom. His mom still sees King Knight as a kid, while King Knight is going through that awkward phase of not being embarrassed. It's cute, even though what happens in the end is tragic. This takes place before the main campaign. Along the way, King Knight meets other characters who join him, but out of reluctance. And like Specter of Torment before it, there are new stages and bosses to encounter. Not all of the stages require fighting a boss, so that was an interesting change itself.  

Game sounds and looks beautiful. Next.  

Controlling King Knight is similar to that of Wario in the Wario Land games. He has a tackle, followed by a little twirl, similar to the shovel bounce. He gets other abilities, but those two commands are fine on their own. Each stage challenges King Knight on his performance to tackle and twirl, with other gimmicks thrown in as well. Not going to lie, I really hated some of these stages, because sometimes the tackle and twirl are a little bit hard to work with. King Knight can also roll after the tackle, but I rarely used it. 

But, what about Joustice, the card game? Players move cards from one space to another to occupy spaces with gems. Get the majority of gems, and one will win. It seems simple, but each place within the four "regions" have cards which drastically play differently. Most of the cards have an arrow, and moving cards require facing the "back" direction. Cards cannot move with opposite directions, except in certain situations. Although it's a cool concept, I wish the AI weren't so cheap, especially the regional experts. They get to use BS boss abilities. So, it's a good thing there's a cheating system in place as well. Losing really hurts, when the opponent CAN TAKE ANY ONE OF YOUR CARDS. Best advice: don't play with really rare cards. One can buy them back, but the rare ones of course cost the most. And because I like Yu-Gi-Oh... Joustice become the one thing I loved and hated in this game. Now that I finished the game, I won't go back to it. STILL, THANK GOSH IT ISN'T REQUIRED TO BEAT THE GAME. I just did it because of an odd obsession.

King of Cards sadly left a sour taste in my mouth for the end of the first Shovel Knight game. While Shovel Knight and Specter Knight play wonderfully, I wish there was some more playtesting with Plague Knight and King Knight. The overall experience is not that bad. I just can't wait for the next Shovel Knight game now. ... Not that puzzle game thing, the next platformer game.


4/15- Persona 5 Royal for PS4 



Last year, I played Persona 5, one of the greatest games of the last decade. It had perhaps the best plot, the best artistic design, the best soundtrack, the best boss designs, and the best NG+. It is also perhaps the best RPG of all time. So, I was curious how or if the Royal version could top that. To my surprise... yes. 

The Royal edition adds in a few more confidants and another semester. It also expands on a certain important confidant, made a great improvement on the script in a few ways, and adds a good amount of lovely portraits. 

I love the music of the original game, and many of the new songs in Royal aren't half-bad. But, I don't really like the new ambush and opening cinematic music. Sorry, but Last Surprise and Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There can NEVER be replaced. Sure, Last Surprise still plays normally, but ambushing is a huge part of the game. Don't get me wrong, I will forever love the soundtrack, flaws and all. ... Oh, and the game still looks fabulous. 

There are wonderful improvements to the gameplay too. First is the addition of the grappling hook. Its effectiveness is dungeon-exploration deviation and a more effective ambush. Ambushing enemies with the hook also rewards status ailments on enemies.When an enemy or party member is hurt really badly, there will be a prompt to saw “SHOWTIME!”, which involved two characters doing wacky stuff in an odd scenario, where a Shadow is always the victim. The first with Mona and Ann is priceless. Next, after leveling up a confidant, some will call Joker. The answer Joker gives will give more confidant points, which are necessary to get to the next level. Some confidants have new rewards and revisions, making certain rewards faster to get. Joker can now read books in the Cafe Leblanc, after getting rid of the customers. New shadows, attacks, equipment, and items have also been added. You can talk to Caroline and Justine, the helpers to Igor, outside of the Velvet Room. Taking them to different places rewards Joker with skill cards. Speaking about skills, abilities have also been added, which boost many effects of many Personas. A few new locations have also been added, and one is the location of the new confidants and a few new great shops, hang-out areas, and a shrine. Go to that big new city as much as possible, I say with all seriousness. Because of it, the Baton Pass has a bigger buff in battles. Mementos, the most grindy and one of the blandest dungeons in the game, has gotten a bigger overhaul. Not only are there new deviations, but a new character named Jose is collecting stamps and flowers. Joker can find the flowers in Mementos, and can trade them for a various amount of items. As for the stamps, in return for giving them to Jose, he can affect the money, items, and EXP gained in Mementos. If one doesn't like the choices they made, Jose can reset the outcome by being given flowers. Each Palace also have Will Seeds. Collect all three, and they will fuse into a crystal. Give the crystal to Jose, so that he can make powerful accessories. Last is the Velvet Room. After challenging many opponents in the Palaces and Mementos, a siren will go off. The siren will affect the outcome of the Persona fusions and power ups. However, doing too much during the siren time will eventually cause a failure. One can also take part of challenge battles, and the battles against Minato and Yu from Persona 3 & 4 are DLC. They're hard, but they reward one with many rewards. There's more DLC to enjoy too, such as costumes. There might be other noticeable changes to the gameplay that I forgot about, but this expanded version has done so much wonderfully. 

The last greatest bonus is the Thieves Den. One can look at different statues, movies, events, music, art, and even play cards. It's a big thank you for the fans. 

Persona 5 Royal evoked a lot of emotions like the base game did, but they came out more powerful. To appreciate my love for the game, I'll forever hold the steelcase versions of both Persona 5 and Royal. To that, I say... thank you Persona 5 Royal.



5/2- Streets of Rage 4 for Nintendo Switch 


I played the first two Streets of Rage because of a duo that pitted the series against the original Final Fight Trilogy. Even though they're not my favorite games, I will admit Streets of Rage 2 was really close to being in my Top 100. Decades later, fans finally got a fourth game in the series. Even though much has changed since the 90s, the game is thankfully a two-player 2-D beat-'em-up. Still, Double Dragon Neon (from what I'm told) and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World were some of the best when it came to 2010s standards. With the revival of certain Sega games coming out early this decade, how does Streets of Rage 4 fare? Does the series need to continue on? 

The game begins ten years after Mr. X and his syndicate are no more. Even though peace seemed to be permanent wherever the crew lived, a new organization headed by Mr. X's siblings, the Y Twins, soon takes over the streets. Axel Stone, with the assistance of his old partner Blaze and two newcomers Cherry (daughter of Axel's colleague Adam) and Floyd (a student of Dr. Zan or so), now take it upon themselves to rid the streets of the new threat in town. The plot might seem basic, but there are some genuinely interesting twists. Even though the cutscenes feature only those four protagonists, one can eventually unlock old pals, like Adam. The story can be picked up from any stage, so if one gets a game over, they don't have to play the entire game all over again. As a gamer who hates the "old school game over" mentality, I welcomed this pace.  

Some people might not appreciate the new art style, but I think the style fits perfectly for how much time has gone by. It has a comic book-like design, and the cutscenes do make it stand out as well. The cutscenes do not have voice acting, and are short and skippable. That doesn't mean all the levels are beautifully, because some of them are dreary. When compared to the amusement park ghost part of Streets of Rage 2, it's really unappealing. The music might not hold up to the bops that were in Streets of Rage 2, but I think it fits the whole techno vibe of the 90s. It feels energetic, and that's what I want in a beat-'em-up. 

The gameplay of Streets of Rage is nearly the same, so what has changed? New characters means new gameplay balance. I can't say how they differ, because I so far only played Axel, Blaze, and Adam. Sorry, I wanted to go to my roots when it came to this game. The only thing I think is new are the super moves. In each level, each character starts with only one star, but can collect more as the stage goes on. Press certain buttons, and they'll use a star to do a super move. Against bosses, it is vital. There might also be a combo system too, but pulling off big combos also drains health. The only way to regain health is to beat up more baddies and acquire meals. So, I didn't do those often. 

So, I should say that I think the game is easy, right? No. It has some of the challenging enemy design of the 90s, and falling off means half of the health bar is gone. And, the game is too brutal to play alone. Even with horrible internet randos and lag, I was able to beat some stages, and to an extent, all of the bosses within a day. The game might be B.S. at times, but the game on a first playthrough will be short. Unlocking other stuff will take more time and effort. If you're a fan of beat-'em-ups, simple stories that can be done within a day, and/or cartoony art styles, Streets of Rage 4 is a satisfactory game. It too might not me in my Top 100, but I'm glad I didn't ignore it this year. 



5/10- Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen for DS 



Dragon Quest III was one of the most genuine surprises I played. After not getting into the series for some time for who knows what reason, I think that Dragon Quest III was one of the best retro games I missed out on. About a year later, I finally gave the sequel a try. I thank one of my brother's friend for letting me borrow their DS copy, because Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen is a solid game. 

I think the reason for my appreciation of Dragon Quest IV is how it reminds me of Octopath Traveler, in terms of structuring its narrative. The plot is sliced into a prologue and five chapters. The prologue begins with a child version of the Hero of this game. Everyone from his village is barred from going outside because of monsters. But, he has a childhood lover keeping him company for now. Chapter 1 begins with Ragnar, a knight of Burland. There's news of monsters kidnapping children from nearby towns, so he goes to save them. But, he soon hears about the evil villain Psaro and his desire to rule the world. In Chapter 2, Alena, a princess of Zalenagrad, and her retainers, knight Kiryl and sage Borya, escape her father's castle to save the world from the forces of evil. She and her friends saves a town's women from being sacrificed, heals her father's voice using a certain item, and saves Endor's princess from marrying Psaro by competing in a gladiator tournament. (She doesn't fight Psaro in the finals, and that's perhaps a good thing.) But, she gives a dangerous accessory to criminals in exchange for a woman who pretended to be her, and later discovers that her father and everyone that was in his castle have disappeared! More questions than results. Chapter 3 is a bit unorthodox. Torneko is a merchant who works at a weapon shop, and tends to his wife and kids. A player could pretty much stay on this daily loop for a while, because there is no one from telling Torneko to be a hero or do something else important. Or even LEAVE. His kid does tell him that a man wants to see him, and the man tells Torneko about a treasure, but it's up to the player when things should be different. After getting the treasure, Torneko goes to a nearby castle. The king wants to invade the closest kingdom of Endor, but the prince says that he has a huge crush on Endor's princess. The bridge between the kingdoms has been destroyed, however, and the architect is nowhere to be seen. After revealing the illusion of a mirage town full of trickster foxes, the architect finally returns to work and repairs the bridge, and Torneko gives a love letter from the prince to the princess. The kings agree to the marriage of the lovestruck duo. After receiving permission from the king and paying off the money, Torneko has his own shop in Endor. After some more merchant and treasure hunting work, Torneko gives an elderly man the money to hire workers to dig a tunnel to the east. Torneko's wife says she's fine with Torneko's new adventures, and Torneko takes the new path to the rest of the world. Until I voluntarily decided to leave the town, I thought Torneko's chapter was perhaps the worst and weakest in an RPG setting. In fact, I still think Torneko has the worst motivation in this game. But, he makes up for it by other means. Chapter 4 sets the stage for the darker parts of the plot. Maya, a dancer, and Meena, a fortune-teller, are twins of a late and great alchemist. Their boss tells them it is time to leave the troupe and to track down their father's killer. They also hear that the king of Palais De Leon has been murdered. After some events happen, the twins come across their father's killer and the current leader, Balzack. The twins momentarily defeat Balzack, but a new monster, Marquis de Leon, overpower the twins. The duo escape the castle, and board a ship to a world unknown. Chapter 5 is where things pick up. Psaro and his minions have finally found the home of the hero, and begin slaughtering the townsfolk. The Hero's girlfriend morphs into a copy of the Hero, sends them into a secret underground room, and later dies. Thinking that they killed the real Hero, Psaro and his minions leave the town. The Hero's friends and foster foster family have died. The town is in ruins. The Hero has no choice but to leave and embark his quest to defeat Psaro. But, it will be impossible to do so alone. The Hero will also have to find those whose lives have also been affected by this new evil. Ragnar, Alena, Kiryl, Borya, Torneko, Maya, and Mileena will be in the party eventually, and a caravan will join the group anytime to allow party formation and customization. Compared to Octopath Traveler, I think this structure in this game is a lot better. Because all... most of the main characters' struggles come from Psaro, there this a huge motivation to defeat him. Torneko's reason for joining is actually ridiculous and coincidental. He was just chased by monsters thanks to the tunnel that was made and needs bodyguards. Or something like that. It's not because of revenge or justice. 

I love most of the art design in this game. The human characters are simple, and the monster designs are both simple and unique. Still, some of the NPC like the town men and women models look mean because of their eyes, and some of the city, kingdom, and dungeon layouts seem similar with colors. And, I never had much of an issue with frame rate, but it seemed sluggish in some areas. Last, some of the places allow for 3D rotation, while others don't. This made navigation sometimes annoying. Still, nothing seemed out of place. And, the animations of the attacks from both the monsters and the playable characters are fluid. I think for the DS generation, it's a lot more fluid than any of the Poke'mon games. Thank you, Akira Toriyama! The music in this game is great, even though I wish there was more in terms of dungeons, boss battles, and other areas. There's nothing wrong with the current soundtrack, it's just that I got bored hearing most of it after a while. 

Ragnar, Alena, and perhaps Kiryl are the heavy physical hitters of the game, Kiryl and Mileena are the healers, Torneko's a tank and a random loose cannon at times, and Borya and Maya are the destruction mages. The Hero is the jack of all of them, or maybe queen. But, each one of them have useful abilities inside and outside of battles. Torneko's the only one who can summon monsters, while Kiryl has the only moves that can buff team mates. Even if a player thinks they'll never use Ragnar, Torneko and so on, they'll be thrown into a loop. EVERY. ONE. IS. IMPORTANT. Like what Octopath Traveler did. Speaking of which, the caravan allows for more moments to change party formations than Octopath's towns. And, it allows those not in the main party to use magic outside of dungeons and towns. The change I had to get used to were enemy formations. I don't remember if III did it too, but some enemies were grouped up, while others were by themselves or part of another group. Certain spells and attacks don't hit everyone, so prioritizing who to hit is key. Some battles, including boss battles, were tricky because of this new train of logic. For example, the destruction mages went off against the grouped ones, and the physical hitters went after the lone wolves. That's how I did it at least. The Hero can also be female. I'm not sure how that changes the game, since I never played as the female version.      

Dragon Quest IV can be beaten within a week. That is, if one knows what they're doing, and if they naturally grind. Quite simply, the game does not tell the players what to do for some story beats, and it's annoying to be lost at times. Some of the enemies and bosses are also cheap, and the order of who goes next seems to be random at times. There's not much consistency in battles. Still, even though the last boss is a nightmare, I defeated this game with my characters around the early to late 30 levels. Though, maybe that's because of how EXP and the monster variation are handled. By the time my game ended, some of my characters were more powerful than and had more levels compared to the Hero. Other than that, this game may be a bit short. I know the casinos and the mini-medals were also the biggest parts of this game, but I didn't care much about the collectibles and so on compared to other RPGs. There's also post content in the DS version too, but I'm satisfied with the ending I got. Dragon Quest IV is a fun game. Both III and IV are big highlights of the series from what I can tell. Maybe I'll play V, or VI, or VII soon. 



5/16- Dragon Quest V: Hand of The Heavenly Bride for iOS 



After I played Dragon Quest IV, I thought with Mother's Day still in my mind, and my dad's birthday a week later, I thought it was a great time to play a game about family, Dragon Quest V. But, looking at the physical DS prices, I went for the wallet-friendly mobile port. But, why is Dragon Quest V acclaimed as one of the best in the series? And, has age made this game worse or better at all? 

Dragon Quest V's story is a bit personal. A king is waiting patiently for his son's arrival. The avatar's birth. But, after the queen delivers the son, she is soon kidnapped. The king and his newborn son go around the world to look for his wife and the legendary Zenithian Hero. Yes, the stories of IV, V, and even VI, are connected by Zenithia, a heavenly utopia. Time passes, and the duo return to the father's new hometown. The father is now living his life as a swordsman, and has a friend named Sanchez, who I think is of Latin descent in the international version. (It's in the dialogue.) The avatar, still a child, retrieves an item for a shopkeeper, goes to a spooky mansion with a new acquaintance named Bianca, gets a new interesting pet, and enters the Faerie World to help their people change the seasons from winter to spring. When one think this game gets any more happier... it gets really sad. The father-son duo head off to a castle. The king of Coburg needs his own son to behave, and wants his son to get along with other children. The prince, however, is kind of a jerk. He fools the avatar to fetch a badge from his chest, which is empty, and seemingly disappears from his room. The son eventually finds out there's a trick staircase, and confronts the prince about his actions. The prince is kidnapped, and the father goes to save the prince from his kidnappers. The son decides to follow his father's whereabouts, and soon comes across ruins. He eventually finds his father and the prince. But, things don't go so well, as they are eventually cornered by an evil wizard and his two chess pieces... I mean two commanders. The children are knocked out, and when the father still decides to fight, the evil wizard uses the son as a bargaining chip. Either the father dies... or the son dies. The father has no choice but to die slowly by the commanders' strength. Before he dies, the father tells his son that his mother is still alive somewhere. The evil wizard then takes the children into custody.  

Years pass by, and the two children have now become men. And they are now slaves to a cult bent on resurrecting their evil lord. The prince has regretted everything he did, and wants to make things right. Some stuff happen, and the avatar, prince, and a woman who regrets ever being a part of the cult escape in a barrel to wherever it goes. They wash up near a church. Although the woman stays at the church to atone for her past, the avatar and prince head off to their homes. The avatar's home is ruined, and it turns out the prince's step-mother is now in charge of Coburg. More stuff happens, and Harry becomes the rightful king of Coburg once more. Harry then asks the avatar to resume his father's mission to find his mother and the Zenithian Hero. The avatar later finds his childhood pet again, and arrives at a mansion, where the master will allow anyone to marry his daughter if they retrieve two rings. (The avatar has met the daughter and her sister briefly when he was a child, but I hardly remembered that over Bianca. Speaking of...) After the avatar gets the first ring, he then goes to a village and meets the adult Bianca. The two get the last ring, and Bianca asks the avatar who he really loves. After staying the night at the city's inn, the avatar chooses Bianca, Nera (the daughter up for wedding), or Debora (the DS/iOS exclusive sister of Nera, and basically Kate from Taming of the Shrew). Whoever the avatar chooses, he gets married, and he gets an important item and a boat from the master. The avatar and the bride sail to his father's old kingdom. He is welcomed by everyone, and finds an older Sanchez there too. The king, the avatar's uncle, will allow his nephew to rule if he passes a rite, even if the chancellor is baffled by the king's decision. Still, that's not the only surprising thing. The wife is pregnant! When the avatar returns with the right item, the king begins the coronation, and the wife has delivered twins. During the night, however, like the avatar's father before him, his own wife has gone missing! The whole kingdom is now pursuing the kidnappers. Even though the lovers are reacquainted, the evil wizard ruins their moment. He turns them into stone. A pair of relic thieves or whatever find them and begin to sell the duo. A merchant buys the avatar's statue, while the thieves hold onto the wife's statue. 

More years go by, and an old man accompanied by two kids see the statue. The girl undoes the stone curse on the avatar. The children run around, the avatar might be a bit confused. The children tell him... they're his! The twins finally found their father! But, the mother is still missing. As it turns out, the mother was actually a descendant of the Zenithian Hero. The avatar's son is now the rightful heir to the Zenithian Sword and so on! The evil wizard was kidnapping wives and children to stop the legend from happening when his leader came back. Now, the avatar has to to find his mother and wife, get all the Zenithian Armor and Sword for his son, and stop the return of another demonic lord.  

If there's any parallel story that makes me think of this game, it's Geneology of the Holy War. Even though this game is a bit personal with the avatar, the stakes are much more raised in Geneology, and there's a much darker and serious tone in that one too. The evil wizard isn't as complex as the bad guys in Geneology. The beginning is a lot more cheerier, because not much tragedy has happened to the avatar as a kid. Things seemed to have gotten better as an adult, even though he was robbed of his will, and his friend a kingdom's. That was temporary. And after years of being turned into stone, the kids undo that. There's not much deus ex machina in Geneology to save the day. And I won't say anything about the tragic moments that happened in Geneology, but it's one of the most depressing Fire Emblem games.  

The game in the iOS version borrowed much from Dragon Quest's IV update, so the art design and music are similar. Though, thanks to grinding, I turned off the music for the most part. And, the overworld theme is strange. There's a weird series of notes that sound unnatural. And, I think this game borrowed songs from IV too, and not just the main theme. 

So, what was new in this game that stood out? Boomerangs and whips can be used by mages to attack enemies, so now they don't have to use MP from time to time. Though, those items barely do much against minibosses and bosses. And the big draw of this game is monster taming. The original game did it before Poke'mon came out. So, one just has to battle them, and there's a chance the monster asks to join the party. Seems simple, right? *Flashbacks on hours spent on getting metal slime* Yeah, no. Unlike catching Poke'mon, it's a lot more tedious. Especially for those who think they can run and flee. Also, not every monster in this game is tamable. So, even though the taming mechanism would have been been horrific, it's not work battling metal slime knights and metal slime kings. Just K.O. those guys! I spent days on ONE monster with a horrible tame rate. What I got out of it was... it soloing 1/3d of a really hard boss fight. 

Like IV before it, this game does not do well of how to guide the player. As for difficulty, I think because this was even worse because of the new taming mechanic. And I could not count the times I gave the middle finger to the last dungeon. It's not the Crystal of Tower from Final Fantasy III, but it was close. The last boss, Nimrod or whatever, is a worse reveal and has a worse design. And, he was worse to fight by this game's gameplay too. That said, I won't say I regretting paying ten bucks for the iOS port. (Too bad we never got the PS2 version.) It has some really great things about its story, and the taming mechanic was the inspiration of Poke'mon. But, is it better than III or IV? Nope. Like a solid 3rd as of now. As for the next game? Either VII or VIII. 



6/27- Persona 4 Golden for PC 



I cannot understate how much I love Persona 5 and its Royal edition. It introduced me to an RPG series I never knew of, and wanted to get into. So, Persona 3 and 4 were good choices after that, I assumed. Still, there were a few roadblocks. Persona 3 has a few other editions that are not on par with the original game, and the base game itself does not have some features the next two entries do. I might plan on not completing P3, should some frustrations arise. Then, there's Persona 4 Golden. I heard that the game, even the base version at that, is really phenomenal and just as great as 5, but since I like a more complete package, I wanted to get Golden. However, for a long time, it was stuck to... the PS Vita or whatever. And I wasn't going to get a PSTV for just only one game. Then, out of nowhere, the Steam announcement. Golden was finally on another thing I could reasonably play it on. Still, jumping from a nearly perfect game as Persona 5 Royal to Persona 4 Golden meant I had to accommodate to a nearly different game. How was my experience in the rural Inaba going to be different than that of Tokyo, Japan? 

First, the story. The main guy this time around is Yu Narukami. He transferred to a town called Inaba because his parents are working abroad for a year, and will be staying with his detective uncle Dojima and his cousin Nanako, a grade schooler. At school, he meets his classmates Yosuke, the son of the manager of Junes (a big supermarket company like Walmart), Chie, an avid Kung-Fu lover, and Yukiko, the daughter of future heiress of a local inn and a close friend to Chie. Some stuff happens, like a reporter dying, and Chie tells Yu the legend of the Midnight Channel. With nothing better to do, Yu waits for the rain to settle in and for midnight to appear. An image shows, and Yu puts his hand in the TV.  The next day, Yu tells Chie and Yosuke about what happened. Chie and Yosuke jokingly tell Yu to do the trick again at Junes' electrical department. They of course are shocked when Yu manages to put his upper body in a bigger TV. Yosuke has to pee, and in their panic, Yosuke, Chie, push each other and Yu into the other side. In this other world, the trio come across an image of a disturbing room where the reporter was last seen, and... a talking teddy bear. Named Teddie. He wants to have peace and quiet, but someone has been in his world recently. So, he shoves the three out of the TV. The next day, an urgent school meeting happens. A female student passed away, and one Yosuke really loved. Yosuke thinks her death is related to the reporter's, as they were shown on TV and on the Midnight Channel before their deaths, so he plans to enter the TV World to figure out who's responsible. After cooling down from the situation, Teddie agrees to join Yu and Yosuke in order to stop the one who's been throwing people into his world, though he's more of a navigator than a fighter. Teddie takes them to the deceased female student's father's liquor store, where it is revealed that the girl only hanged out with Yosuke because he was the manager's son, despite her father's objections. Then... the literal Shadow of Yosuke appears and flat out says that Inaba sucks, and says he only gets attention because he's the manager's son. Yosuke, afraid of facing the truth, denies it, and the Shadow becomes stronger because of Yosuke's denial. Yu fights the Shadow with his Persona, an oppressed self which takes form when the person truly accepts themselves and the manifestation of one's true heart. In order for the Shadow to go away, Yosuke has to confront the negative aspects of himself. He admits that things sucked since he moved, but his love for the dead girl was real. His Shadow then becomes his Persona. The two teenagers return to the real world, and Chie has a real meltdown, because the original plan to bring them back to the real world via a rope did not work as planned. Yosuke and Yu apologize and treat her to steak. Did I forget to mention Chie loves meat? A few days later, Yukiko appears on the TV, and a sexy princess version of herself appears on the Midnight Channel. Chie joins Yu and Yosuke to save her best friend, and make their way to a castle. The story gets a bit more complicated, but it is comprehensible to follow.  

Now, this is where I'll compare 4 to 5. 4 has a slow start to get to its combat, whereas 5 is instant. Inaba has a lot less places to go to compared to Tokyo, but to its benefit has less places to get lost, and doesn't need a fee to get to other places. And, it's stylishly prettier and more breathtaking than Tokyo. There might be arguments if less or more things to do in each makes the other game better. I like the many options in 5, but 4 has plenty to do as well. 4 also has sports and clubs, something not even 5's school has. I think I like 5's premise a little bit more, only because Ren is mistaken as a delinquent, whereas Yu is Mr. Popular City School Kid day one. Ren has to earn the respect of other people in an entirely different way. Everyone has made the joke of Yu being the ultimate bro without even trying. Ren has to work for it. Though, the who-dunnit murder mystery is a lot more consistent than the next series of events the Phantom Thieves have to go through. Speaking of the main cast... Ms. Kawamaki is miles better than King Moron. Alright, I'll give my thoughts on the Investigation Team later. And, I wanted to actually study when the teachers didn't have hideous faces.

Okay, now that I've had the time to think it over, the opening to Persona 5 is still the best I've seen hands down. I'm sorry, but the animation in Persona 5's opening is much more stylish, and the opening song is better from how they begin. Shadow World starts strong too early, while Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There builds and builds. And, I love how different the latter is used, only because one doesn't hear much symphonic jazz in video games compared to pop and rock. And, the whole thing about the style of Persona 4 Golden's opening could be said for the rest of the game. Inaba might be prettier to look at, but Persona 5 is better in style and animation. The characters in 5 emote a lot more than those in 4. Sorry, but the portraits are at least 1/3rd of that means of expression. There's also a lot more fluid movement in 5 as well. And, I might get a lot of hate from P4 fans, but I also think P5's soundtrack is better too. There are some amazing songs in 4, but I'm not really in love with 4's singers compared to 5's singer. I would like to bring attention to Your Affection, which has some of the weirdest notes. At least 5's singer feels more comfortable in her vocal range. Also, like I said, symphonic jazz is unique compared to pop and rock, even if Persona 5 does have some rock songs. Though, I'll Face Myself is a better boss battle song than Blooming Villain. Last, the cutscenes in Persona 5 are better to look at, even if Persona 4 has the better anime series. As for the dungeon themes, I like Kamoshida's castle more, the art museum more, the bank more, the game more, the space station more, and the casino more. But, I chose heaven over the ark. 

Instead of listing everything in Persona 4 Golden when it comes to how it plays, I'll mention what this game has that 5 doesn't and vice-versa. First, it's darkness instead of curse. Second, no guns, and no nuclear and psychic attacks. Three, there's no means of negotiating. Fourth, the biggest hurdle was player advantage. Since I couldn't hide and ambush like a Phantom Thief, getting the player advantage in this game was trickier. Speaking of trickier, the enemies. I swear, even on the easy difficult, the enemies dodge a lot more than Persona 5, LOOKING AT YOU GLOVE FREAKS THAT ARE WORSE THAN THE TREASURE SHADOWS! Fifth, because there's no negotiating, there's Shuffle Time... Which is only good for restoring HP/SP, getting Personas, and more EXP and money. Sixth, there's no showcases, although something similar happens with a few pairings. Seventh, a few other status effects, like energization, which makes characters forget their actions, are present. Eighth, there are a few activities, like catching bugs, that Persona 4 has over 5, and vice-versa. Ninth, it's a lot easier to track and find the Confidants in 5 compared to the Social Links in 4. Tenth, 4's deadline system is a bit more confusing than 5's, since Yu has to constantly watch the news for when fog comes after rain, and in Persona 5, the game conveniently puts the numbers of days left on the right side of the screen. Eleventh, 4's information gathering is also a bit excessive at times. Twelfth, there are a few more seasonal events in 4, like going on a campout and visiting Port Island from Persona 3. Thirteenth, Persona 4's bosses don't have exploits like Persona 5's, so the bosses in Persona 4 are a bit harder. Fourteenth, the Social Stats are different by name, but some are similar in concept. Fifteenth, because of the RNG of the dungeon-making, I like Persona 5's Palaces simple designs than the unknown floors of Persona 4. Also, there's a lot more to interact with in Persona 5's dungeons, and each part of the dungeons have their own rooms with their own floors. I love the organization and simplicity of the Palaces a lot more, and there's more puzzle variation in them. Last, even if Mementos might have been bland, at least there was a reason to do more in it. There's no real reason to go back to the places in Persona 4, but maybe just grind THOSE GLOVE SHADOWS... Oh, and Sojiro and Morgana don't make you stay inside at night as much as Dojima. (If there's anything I missed, please tell me. I know there's some stuff I might have overlooked.)  

Now, my opinions on the cast from the order of when they appear in their stories, and some confidants. I still like Ren more. As for Ryuji and Yosuke, I enjoy Ryuji a lot more. Ryuji might not get to say fiddlesticks, but at least he's not a total pervert like Yosuke. Plus, I like his struggles of regretting what he did to the track team more than Yosuke's pity party. As for Chie and Ann... the less I hear about TRIAL OF THE DRAGON and steak, the more I can appreciate Chie. I like Ann more. Then, there's Yukiko and Yusuke. Yukiko wins hands down, only because Yusuke is a bit of a pervert himself, even if his art is admirable. Yukiko's Social Link is a lot deeper than I gave her credit for. Then it's Kanji vs. Makoto. Makoto, hands down. As much as I like Kanji's conflict of what it means to be a man, Makoto is tied to 5's story through her sister. Next are Rise and Futaba. Even though I like Rise, Futaba's skills as a hacker gives her more credibility as a navigator than a pop star. Plus, Futaba is also tied to 5's story and is a complete social awkward dork. Last are Naoto and Haru. Since Haru contributes little to no help during 5's story, Naoto wins by at least having a bit more screen time to develop their character. ... Oh, there's Teddie and Morgana. Morgana. Morgana has a cooler voice, doesn't make as much terrible jokes as Teddie does, and doesn't swoon over all the girls in his story, besides Ann. So I like 5's main cast a bit more, but there's still the supporting characters. Besides drama chick, Nanako, and Dojima, none were as good as those in Persona 5's. That's because 5's Confidants had skills that were beneficial to the Phantom Thieves. Still, Nanako, Dojima, and Yu are the better family. And, Nanako's perhaps the best Social Link. Still, I like Caroline and Justine a lot more than Elizabeth. Even if they're weird, at least they contribute to the story.

There's also the matter of the endings, surprises, and bonus content. 5 has the better ending, only because it doesn't hide the true last boss behind Social Links. (I don't plan on doing that, because the anime exists.) Looking at you, Izanami. I can also say that Akechi and Shido make better villains than Adachi. (Laugh about the pancakes, but I got cabbages on the line.) Yaldabaoth is a better final boss battle than that eyeball thing. 5's ending dungeon is a lot more creative than 4's murky and confusing dungeon. Heck, even the music is better. 5 Royal has a better extended epilogue compared to 4 Golden's because of the dungeon design and whose dungeon they're about. Kasumi is a better added character than Marie. Also, Persona 5 Royal has DLC and other new challenges to boot.  

I loved my time with Persona 4 Golden, even if I think Persona 5 is the better game. Persona 4 Golden might have kept Teddie spinning, but Persona 5 and 5R are the closest to perfection in the modern Persona series. That's not to dismiss Persona 4 Golden for what it accomplished. Without its success, who knows where Persona 5 might be. It's one of my favorite games, for sure.


7/1- PERSONA 3-5 Dancing Bundle for PS4 


After beating the fourth and fifth game, and spoiling myself for the third, since I'll likely never finish it, I was really curious about the dancing games. Persona 3, 4, and 5 were known for their really amazing soundtracks, so I wanted to know if the games would transition and remix the songs well. I was perhaps partially right. Not as good as Guitar Hero 3's story, but they're still serviceable. 

Persona 4 Dancing is the only one with a true story. A girl group's members have been taken by the Midnight Channel thing or whatever, so the Investigation Team tries to save them. It's similar to Persona 4, but it's a lot less darker, since it's about dancing. Meanwhile, it's basically a competition for SEES and The Phantom Thieves. Maybe that's why both those games in the bundle were disappointing, but I'll get into that later.

The games are gorgeous and run well. The characters and their stages are wonderful. The dancing looks phenomenal. I'll get into the songs later. 

Players only need to use the down, left, up, triangle, circle, and x buttons. Some notes need to be held in rapid selection, while others held. Moving the right analog stick scratches the song. Basically, it's like PaRappa the Rapper. Persona 4 has the best victories, since after the song, the users summon their Personas, and the Personas play a distinct instrument fitting for them.

This is where my opinion on the soundtracks come into play. While I thought Persona 3 & 5 Dancing's soundtracks should have had more songs, Persona 4 Dancing has at least twice their soundtrack. Though, Persona 4 was a pop and rock combination. Persona 4 Dancing also has better remixes than Persona 3 & 5 Dancing's, but I like some remixes over others. The Persona 3 and 5 Dancing games also being released in 2017 meant no Persona Q2, Persona P-Bomb! 2019, nor Persona 5 Royal songs.  

Each game also does their collectables in different ways. P4 Dancing has a store, while the other two get collectibles through Social Links and Confidants. I'm not good at the gameplay, but I love seeing the teams in action. The DLC might not be worth it, so I'll just watch the live versions and be okay with the current costumes. Everyone's Battle For Their Souls shouldn't have been a character specific song. Fun game, I just play the songs I don't think are garbage. I'll play BlazBlue Cross Tag or Persona 5 Arena when the Phantom Thieves get their own fighting game. 


7/16- Azure Strike Gunvolt for 3DS 


Looking at the games I felt like taking care of, there's a pack I've bought but felt like should've been at the end of the list. The Azure Striker Gunvolt Striker Pack. Among the games for the popular handheld 3DS, I never really gave the series a chance, even if it has been one of the best indie success stories of the last decade. Maybe because I was bored and curious, I gave the first game a shot. 

Azure Striker Gunvolt takes place in a future where people with superhuman powers known as Adepts exist. However, a group known as Sumeragi wants to experiment and enslave the Adept population. It doesn't help that Sumeragi is currently transporting an Adept that can control and brainwash other Adepts. But, coming to the rescue is an Adept named Gunvolt, who can control electricity and works for an organization named QUILL. QUILL wants to liberate and free all the Adepts that Sumeragi is capturing. The leader of QUILL wants Lumen, the Adept that has the brainwashing powers, dead, but Gunvolt can't kill find it in himself to kill an innocent girl. Gunvolt frees Lumen and quits QUILL, and becomes a freelancer. He is given work by QUILL to take care of seven other Adepts controlled by Sumeragi. During one of the missions, however, a human named Copen faces off with Gunvolt with a gun able to suppress any Adept's power. Copen retreats after a battle, and warns Gunvolt that he will defeat every Adept, including Gunvolt. So, a lot of similarities to Mega Man, and that's not all of the comparisons. 

The detail for the stages, enemies, and so on are very unique and interesting. Gunvolt's hair makes him unique and stand out from most other characters from his generation in a good way. The bosses are based on the seven deadly sins. And, each level has a different gimmick, even though I prefer some over others. And just like the Mega Man X series, the songs are catchy and fast paced, but some fit well with a serious tone. 

Now, the gameplay threw me for a loop for the longest time. Gunvolt's unique electric abilities allow a ball of lightning to surround him. However, his powers aren't permanent and can allow him to overheat, which makes him more susceptible to damage. Even then, the ball of lightning does not stop most attacks. But, pressing down twice allows him to recharge his electricity faster when he's not overheating. Still, on its own, the ball does not hurt enemies fast enough. So, what helps? By normally shooting enemies, they'll be tagged with certain indicators, purple being the best. The ball will increase its power based on these indicators. Just like the ball, however, the indicators aren't permanent, so shooting from time to time is necessary. The ball is also used for great platforming mechanics, even though I cheesed through most stages on retries with ease. Most other of his powers, like dashing, also work like X's. And, he also has other super abilities that can heal him or pull off a powerful attacks. But, his equipment and gear can also be synthesized at shops, which need materials randomly earned at the end of each mission. 

So, with my great appreciation for Mega Man X, I would also love Azure Striker Gunvolt too, right? Not to the same extent, and that's because of the bosses and endgame shenanigans. Unless one knows what they're doing, they're basically bullet sponges. Not to mention, some bosses also have some cheap moves as well. They have poor archaic Mega Man trappings; but they're even worse considering they have three different attack pattern stages, with the last having desperation attacks. They weren't all bad, but the last few bosses were seriously B.S. at times. And, there's a bad ending that has the old collectible hazard like Rare games of old. Some of these aspects should've been extinct decades ago. But, I beat the game after looking at some hints. 

Azure Striker Gunvolt is a great game, but it does have some shortcomings. Hopefully, the sequel is better than I imagined.


7/18- Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 for 3DS 


In my opinion, Azure Striker Gunvolt is one of the best successful indie games of the last decade. Even though it had a few shortcomings, I found it to be really fun. So, since I thought that the next game was going to be as short as the first, why not play it immediately after?  

Gunvolt took down Sumeragi's plans for Lumen, and his former boss from QUILL. A while later, a new force called Eden, a group of Adept users, wants to try their luck on taking over the world. Zonda, one of the bosses of the past games, never really died in the events that happened and is in fact the leader of Eden. Their first plan is to kidnap a girl named Mytyl, who is Copen's twin sister and doesn't seem to have any real importance. Gunvolt and Copen arrive to stop the ship Mytyl is on from crashing. The two fight, but Zonda and a henchman interfere, trap them, and shatter Joule (an adept who merged with Lumen and is living within Copen because of the true ending of the last game). Most of the shards, and most of Joule's power, is taken by the forces of Eden, but Copen and Gunvolt each have their own shard. Gunvolt asks Copen to join him, but like last time, Copen still sees Adepts as a threat to humanity. Gunvolt needs the shards to get Joule back to her former strength, while Copen needs the shards to help cure his sister from a terminal illness. And, this is where things get interesting. Players can control Gunvolt or Copen in their own stories. Each protagonist gets their own supporting casts and three unique stages. They both have one stage in common, and face their respective normal stage bosses in the late game. And even though the last stages have different routes, it all comes together with a challenging final boss that uses a different desperation attack depending on the character chosen. And, that's pretty much all. The stakes are just like last time, but just with Copen being playable. And, even though he wants to save the world, Copen might is so driven by revenge and hatred that I genuinely don't like him. His relationship with Gunvolt never changes, even though they both have parallel goals. Copen might be the worst anti-hero ever. 

Like the last game, game, stages, and characters are amazing, so it would just feel redundant talking about the detail. 

Joining Gunvolt this time as a playable character is Copen. His gun is very powerful against normal enemies, but like Gunvolt, battling against bosses require him to tag. But, his guns don't do the job like Gunvolt's, so how does he tag? He can use his dash to tag enemies, although doing so drains his energy and makes him susceptible to more attacks because of his close range style. Copen is also accompanied by Lola, and AI that can produce similar abilities used by Gunvolt and can also use other Adept's abilities when they are defeated in battle. Lola's abilities work a little bit differently, so dodging attacks is not as easy as before. Copen also can buy and equip gear to help him in battle, and can make use of his own skills. Think of Gunvolt as X, and Copen as Zero from the Mega Man X series. 

So, what about the ending? I got to say, the way to achieve the true endings and the true final bosses are not as bad as the last game. And, the false final boss isn't as punishing as before. Still, the endings, like before, are not really happy, as Gunvolt and Copen both have to leave behind the person they care for the most and move on. And, from what I know, it's not the end for the both of them. 

Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is a great sequel, but it has some nitpicks I really think could be handled better in the third game. Will the tagging system be better implemented?! Will the true final boss and so on not have a B.S. way to get to them? And will Copen have a redeemable character arc?!... Still, there are the other expandable games in the Gunvolt universe. Maybe I should check them out.  

None of them are on my Top 100, but it's just me for now.


7/18- Mighty Gunvolt Burst for Nintendo Switch 


A great 8-Bit Mega Man homage where Gunvolt and Back from MN9 team up, and it's perhaps the best use of the MN9 un-ironically. Sometimes unfair and challenging at times, but it's a Mega Man homage. What else did I expect?!  


7/29- Dragon Quest VII: Journey of the Cursed King for 3DS 


The last three games I played in the series, III, IV, V, all prepared me for the moment of playing perhaps the most highly acclaimed of the series: VIII. I had to know if it was just hyperbole, so I downloaded the game from the eShop days after V. And... it instantly grew on me. But, would that feeling last forever? 

The story begins with two men, one simple (Eight) and the other a brute (Yangus), accompanying a small troll and a horse. The troll and horse were once a king and a princess of a kingdom, named King Trode and Madea, but an evil jester named Dhoulmagus stole a magical scepter belonging to the king. Dhoulmagus turned the king and princess into their current state, turned the staff into green statues, and destroyed part of the castle with humongous thorns. Somehow while on guard, Eight is knocked unconscious, but is not turned into a statue. With no clues on where to go, the four set on a quest to defeat Dhoulmagus to return things back to normal. On their journey, the company is soon joined by Jessica, a prodigal mage, and Angelo, a flirtatious knight, who also have good reasons to hunt down the jester. Although the goal of the game is to defeat Dhoulmagus, there's still a sense of underlying and unknown dread that comes around during the halfway point.  

The 3DS version might have some frame-rate and pop-up issues, but I will say that the I still really enjoyed the style of it. I'm a huge sucker for Akira Toriyama's work, and with the original transition of models going from 2D to 3D, it makes each character stand out more. Heck, even in battles, the cameras show everyone now, including the main fighters. Even though the 3DS game is critiqued the use of the MIDI samples (because the composer is a well-known snob or whatever), the music in general is pretty amazing. War Cry is one of the greatest and most simple battle themes of all time. And, I especially love the boss music and Dhoulmagus' theme. The instrumentation is top notch... even when it is sometimes louder than when characters need to talk. That's right; for the first time in the series, there's voice acting. Compared to the delivery of two other Square Enix games that came before it, Final Fantasy X and Kingdom Hearts, I think this one is perhaps the best. Though, it too has its moments of corniness at time. And, most of the actors have formal British, Cockney, and Scottish accents. Stereotypical, perhaps, but the series is known for its Western-influenced ideas. It would be better if the music didn't blaze over the voice acting, however. Still, there is a way to adjust the volume for each, so maybe I should do something about that. 

Even though I jumped from V to VIII, I will only talk about what VIII and the remake brought to the table. Characters can raise their tension to deal more damage, but I myself never used it recently. One quick Oomph spell is all I need. Alchemy can be used to create items out of others. When leveling up, the main party can acquire skill points to increase the potential of certain weapons and to gain certain skills, like Heal and Kafrizzle. In the 3DS version, there's no random encounters. Instead, they can now be seen in the overworld. If one person thinks that's a blessing, it's also a curse. Some monsters WILL hunt the party down real quick. But, with the turn the camera, new enemies can spawn. Because I was looking for a certain EXP monster for some time, this exploit actually helped me in the long run. There's two new characters that join the party, but I only got one of them through a story beat. New content has been added as well, but I played this game for the main story mostly, and the photo stuff seemed really unnecessary. But, I will get to the rest of it later. But, the biggest surprise is learning that the bosses in the 3DS game are harder and have more hit points. This really frustrated me, as some of the bosses by the end were huge jerks because they were able to attack twice in one turn. But, through sheer force, I defeated them... when I ended my EXP monster grind. If this game is playing dirty, so will I.  

I can understand why Dragon VIII is so beloved by its fans. It perhaps made the series once more famous after a decline after IV came out. To be perfectly honest.. this is the best Dragon Quest game I've played as of now. Sure, it might not have the best story, the best bosses, the best characters, and/or anything that makes this game stand out in terms of gameplay, but it perfectly captures the essence of the series: character customization. (I haven't played VI nor VII, so they might have done that better, but I won't play them.) For now, since IX is a bit in a tough situation with co-op, and X is an MMORPG only available in Japan, XI: Echoes of And Elusive Age for the Nintendo Switch will be my final Dragon Quest game in the series. But, due to VIII taking a long time to beat, I'll play it later. As for this game, it's in my Top 100.


8/15- Bloodstained: Curse Of The Moon 2 for Nintendo Switch 



For some time, I refused to play games from the "Halloween-ish" genre until October. That also goes for Ritual Of The Night. But, maybe out of sheer curiosity, I felt like playing this game. I thought the first game was a really amazing successor to Castlevania, so I had to know if Curse of The Moon 2 would genuinely surprise me as well. 

Zangetsu is still fighting demons as before, but this time it's also because a priestess named Dominique told him of a fabled "Demon Tower". Joining him on this journey this time are Dominique, a sniper named Robert, and a steam robot thing piloted by... a corgi of all things. (The game says it's by alchemy.) What was really interesting is that Zangetsu seems okay being with these new characters compared to his old allies in the first game. I'm pretty sure he liked being the solo guy before, as he was okay with killing potential comrades back then. (This game doesn't have that option too.) I think not getting the NIGHTMARE ending in the last game and not playing Ritual Of The Night might have skipped some context of his character arc. Sure, Robert is the skeptical one at first in this game, but he too starts to see Dominique and Hachi the corgi differently. (He and Zangetsu apparently knew each other by the beginning of this game.) I forgot to bring up alchemy, the church, Shardbringers and other key things about the lore of this series in the last review, but it's still the usual strange team of misfits joining to save the world from evil cliche here. 

Since the game is visually and audibly stunning like the last game, I'll jump straight into the gameplay. Zangetsu still plays like his old counterpart, so what about the rest? Dominique uses a spear similar to Eric Lecarde from Castlevania: Bloodlines. She's also the healer of the group, as she can grow fruit trees by using stamina. Robert is a sniper. He can attack long range, but his health is pitiful, his attack size is small, and bigger enemies pose a threat to him. He can also wall-jump, and his sub-weapons make up for his stortcomings. Last is Hachi. Hachi rides a slow-moving mech that can destroy hazards, has the most health, can easily hit most things in his range, has a hover ability that has a time limit but uses no stamina, and can slam the ground beneath him. As for his special move, he drains stamina to turn invincible. The only drawback is that Hachi works as a CQC fighter, and he lacks attacks that hit smaller enemies. His hover ability to some players could also feel awkward to perform as well. But, Hachi is the best used in most boss fights because of his special move and long health. I'm not sure if they were in the last game, but players can also acquire upgrades like HP Boost Up in certain secret places. This game is full of nonlinear paths/ different paths and shortcuts that lead to the bosses. 

This game also brings back the Casual, Nightmare, Veteran modes, and the challenging boss fights. But, getting to the true final boss might be less frustrating but more tedious this time around. In the last game, playing it on Nightmare allowed players to fight a demon-controlled Zangetsu using his allies. For my sanity, I passed on playing that game again. This time... it plays out like Ghosts N' Goblins. Defeating the game once unlocks Episode 2. Episode 2 is nearly like the first round, except that because of story-related events, Dominique is unplayable, one can control all of the other characters from the start, and there are new enemies. But, there's more! Defeating Episode 2 with certain requirements unlocks the FINAL EPISODE. Remember Alfred, Miriam, and Gebel from the last game? They come back, because they heard that... the demons' headquarters is on THE MOON. So, Alfred suggests using the blueprints of Hachi's mech to create a huge ship. But, he needs parts to make the trip to the moon more functional. So, Zangetsu goes to the stages in the game, recruits the other six characters, and beats up the six bosses a third time to retrieve the parts. ... Let me just say that in a game about fighting demons the thing I really never saw coming was flying to the moon. Words have been truly evaded me. So, going to the moon turns the game into a shoot-em-up. Lives are depended on the total members recruited among other things. The boss there was a complete joke. Finally, the gang arrives on the moon. Moon physics platforming in a game with Castlevania controls. It's not perfect thanks to no mid-air control, but it's not impossible. So, onto the final boss. The boss' pattern are maybe too fast in this scenario, but with well placed timing of HACHI INVINCIBILITY, and attacks from Dominique (because she's the only one with a multi-directional spear), and sacrifices of the other five team members who don't really help as much, the true evil goes down eventually. The fortress on the moon is gone, and the demons as well. It's a happy ending compared to the last game. I got to say, even though the true last boss and the first two playthroughs of the game were maybe a bit excessive, the first 3/4ths of the third playthrough were extremely satisfying. What kept me driven after a lot of hours of going through each stage three times was how the whole moon section would play out. Preparing for, going to, and finally arriving at the moon are the best moments of this game. Take that moon away, and this game would've been like Ghosts N' Goblins. Some people don't want to replay a game again for mediocre and unsatisfying results. If this game cut the first two playthroughs, and integrated parts of the first and second playthrough into the third, this game would've been more fun as a result. Replayability does not have to be taken literally. Games like Mega Man X do it better. But, with my critique aside, this game is better than the first. Maybe I should play Ritual Of The Night now. 


8/15- Galaga '88 for Nintendo Switch 


I got an ending. Thank you save-scumming!  


8/16- Bubble Bobble (Arcade) for Nintendo Switch 


Two people turned into dragons rescue their girlfriends. Clever enemies and level designs are seen, but the soundtrack is something to be desired. Gameplay consists of putting enemies in bubbles and popping them to get food. 99 levels of pure puzzle-solving and platforming are placed, and there is only one boss at the very end. 2 Players recommended, but one can beat the game by themselves. Secret ending hidden by other requirements?! No thanks! Once one plays a few levels, THERE'S NO GOING BACK. I don't care if this spoils the game, since Bubble Bobble is a simple arcade game. Really re-playable. I haven't played the other part of the 4 Friends package, so I'm not sure buying this game for the price of $40 is really worth it. Cute game, deceiving and addictive gameplay. 


8/25- Final Fantasy IX for Nintendo Switch 



After playing Final Fantasy VII a long while ago, I knew I would never play the black sheep VIII. So, I eventually would have to defeat IX, a game that catered to the fans of the series since the series' inception. Before playing this game, I placed VII over the other games in the series. But, would my opinion change after playing a game many people probably turned away from because of its predecessor's reputation? 

The game begins with a simple premise. A theatre troupe arrives at the kingdom of Alexandria to perform a play "I Want To Be Your Canary", the princess' favorite play. What the theatre troupe is actually there for is to kidnap the princess herself. Still, the game throws the player through a loop, as Garnet, the princess, DESIRES to be kidnapped, because she needs to escape her mother, the Queen Brahne. The queen has not been herself since her husband's death, and wants to conquer the world. So, Zidane, a thief with a tail who is part of the theatre troupe, helps with her escape. Things become a little more hectic, as Steiner, a knight of the Pluto Guards and a loyal follower to the queen, tries to stop the kindapping, and Vivi, a Black Mage, get involved. The four meet on the stage located on the back of the troupe's airship, and a Bomb arrives behind Steiner. The three others tell him to turn around, but Steiner does not listen. Eventually, the four leave on the airship, but the plane itself has taken a lot of hits thanks to the kingdom's defenses. It crash lands in the Evil Forest. The objective now is for Zidane to escort Garnet out of the forest to another kingdom, with a stubborn and brash Steiner and a shy and timid Vivi joining them. Although the beginning seems like the game is going for a more comedic tone compared to most other games in the series, the game does not shy away from themes of fear, war, grief, and... existentialism. Most of the main characters go through loss, pain, and identity throughout. Vivi gets the worst of it, but I won't say why. There are some genuinely hilarious and tragic moments, so this story gets an up from me. 

The detail of the locations and characters definitely have gotten an upgrade since VII. But, I think Zidane during cutscenes and Eiko's in game model look totally cringy, and some of the textures look muddy and weird at times. Still, this game has a better look and better and much more cutscenes than VII. If there's anything to really appreciate about IX, it's the fan support and appreciation. Some character designs, items, monsters, and location names are taken straight the first six games. The first four party members are basically the typical black and white mages, knight, and thief. I'll come back to the other homages later. The music... is fine, but except for a few songs, none don't really stand out as much as IV's, VI's, and VII's. I guess it's just preference. 

So, back to homages, this time in gameplay. First, from IV, is ATB, Active Time Battle. Combat is spontaneous and flowing, unlike turn-based combat. Next, from I, III, IV, V, and VI are job abilities. Zidane can steal, while Vivi can cast Black Magic. From VII, battles are in a 3D environment, followed by a camera. From III, IV, and V, VI, many summons have returned, like Bahamut. From V, each character can get abilities by acquiring AP after battles, this time from the weapons, armor, and accessories they equip. Last, returning after a while since VI, is the trance system. Unlike Terra from VI, who was the only one who could Trance in VI, each party member is able to do it in IX. There's no Limit Breaks in this game, but the Trance system is a fine replacement. Of course from I and II, transportation like airships and Chocobos return. VII's various Chocobo perks also return. But, wait, what about VIII?! ... A card system. Which I think is worse than Joustice. I don't think I'll understand it. ... But, that doesn't mean I put some hours into it. I could go on with the homages, but the game does it really well. With all this homaging, what does IX bring to the table itself? Active Time Events. Just watching other characters do their own little scenes. YAAAAAAAAAAAAWN. Not all of them are mandatory. 

So, if this game has some really fantastic stuff going for it, what don't I appreciate, except for the stuff I went over? Well... 75% of the bosses suck. I could not count the times I thought to myself: "This boss is so not intimidating as I thought it would be". They seem harder than VII's, but my characters barely had any attachment to most of the enemies in the game. But, when the bosses are amazing, they are amazing. Except for the final fourth. And, because of a Switch trick I used, beating a certain annoying superboss was easier than taking on Ruby Weapon from VII for me. Oh yes, like VII's port, the skipping battles and fast forward features are back in the Switch version. Also, I don't know what was going on, but during sutscenes, the game would randomly crash. Thankfully, the Continue feature picks up from where a character loaded. IX is amazing! The best game in the series? Who knows.



9/3: Super Mario Bros 2: The Lost Levels (SMBAS) for Nintendo Switch 


This game is a lot easier thanks to the rewind button, and can be easily beaten within a few hours. But, really, what can I say? It's Super Mario Bros., but harder. This was before Super Mario Kaizo and the Super Mario Maker games existed. The one thing I'm glad most games forgot was the WIND physics. Since the U.S.A. version is also on the Nintendo Online Service, maybe I'll think about playing that too.    


9/6- Super Mario Bros. (SMBAS) for Nintendo Switch 


Even if it's not the best Mario game, it is still an iconic piece of gaming history.  


9/12- Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 for PS4 (These are two games remastered, so they count as two) 



I remember having a lot of fun with Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, 3, 4, and I even used to have Downhill Jam. Never played the first, and will dare not play the 5th. The cheats, the tricks, the characters, the music, the locations... were wonderful as a kid who was maybe ten years old at the time. Even though I'm not a sports guy, skateboarding was the %&#^ in the 90s! I had a board myself, even if I barely rode it, and I never did go to a local skate park. I think scooters were cool too. So... THE NEWS CAME. I was hyped as all heck! Told my mom to get me it for my birthday. Had to wait a little because Amazon service delayed the order... But, I eventually got it and played it on the same day when it arrived. And... all of the nostalgia came back!  

The game's... games are about a variety of skaters doing a lot of tricks, competitions, and objectives. A player can even create their own. I made an Officer Jerk, because I felt like something was missing at first. Do stuff to level up, get BETTER, and unlock a variety of stuff, like new stages. By the end, players will get to [redacted] and [redacted], two of the most insane courses in the series.  

Game... Games look beautiful. From the Warehouse to the Hangar, nothing looks jarring or visually weird. Even those places that I won't mention look incredible! Most of the songs from the two games return, with even new songs. Though, I wish there was an option to make a customized playlist of one's one choosing, like the SSX reboot did. I also realized there's new characters, since I don't remember a Riley Hawk! 

 There's a lot of tricks to do in... this combo game, so I won't go over that. The main goal is just to collect things, score points, and find secrets. But, the most efficient thing to do is make combos with grind rails and manuals. But, beware of the balance bar, or else it can trip a player up. If a player doesn't know what to do, look it up online. Because if one has tried their best to do it once, there's no shame in looking up solutions. Or just use mods. Because these games were made for the cheat codes too. But, unlocking a certain character means one will have to master to combo system. And, it can get pretty insane at times. But, I got them. The less I say about the BS I'm dealing with another unlockable character that I cannot get through a glitch of some kind, the better. But, this game rewards mastery of the controls and exploration. 

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a solid remaster combo of two well known classics. Moments of happiness, rage, curiosity, and hype all rolled into one. Along with Spyro 2 & 3, these games were my childhood. (Well, just only the second, to be honest). I beat the games 100% of their original completion within a week, and it felt so good getting Officer D. voiced by Jack Black. If one has heard of the series and wants to see what the fuss is about, I recommend these games. And, there is a lot of customization, with a character and stage maker selection! Out of the games to have come out when it did, I'm glad I got it.



9/20- Super Mario 64 for Nintendo Switch 



I've played and beaten Super Mario Odyssey, which I think has Mario's perfect controls in the 3D sandbox genre. It has most of the moves of his former games, and it has Cappy, a game changer on how to interact with enemies. The game also doesn't reset its stuff after Mario dies, and there are no lives to be lost. But, there's more to SMO than that. After playing it, I wondered if there was any reason to go back to the older 3D games. Sure, Super Mario 64 was revolutionary in helping 3D platforming where it was now, Super Mario Sunshine... uh... and Super Mario Galaxy is one of the best Wii games, but why should people care about those games NOW? Thankfully, because of the announcement of the 35th Anniversary Super Mario 3D All-Stars Pack, I was proven wrong because when Nintendo knows how to celebrate something momentous, they never back down and make a huge bang. I have had some history with Super Mario 64 more than Sunshine and Galaxy. I remember one of my friends and I playing the game at their house for some time. Cool Cool Mountain flashbacks and all of that. I was a PSX guy around that time, but Super Mario 64 looked really fun. And, when the DS came around, I played the DS remake. And eventually, I stopped playing it. The thing is, until now, I never really beat Super Mario 64. I don't know what stopped me before; maybe it was because I wasn't really much of a platformer person, and really loved Poke'mon so much more. After nearly 20 years of its release, I have on the newest Nintendo console. I have both the original 3D foundation and the recent 3D perfection on the Nintendo Switch. I plan on eventually taking care of the other two games, but I knew I had to buy the bundle for Super Mario 64. What do I think of the game that elusively escaped my mind twice before? Does Super Mario 64 still have merits years later? 

Princess Peach invites Mario over for a cake at her castle. He comes over, and Bowser has taken over it, and has stolen Peach once more. Not only that, but he has hid all of the Power Stars, energy that fuels the castle or whatever, into fifteen locations and places inside the castle. Mario must navigate the castle, enter several paintings, and retrieve the Power Stars to find Bowser and rescue Peach. It's a simple story like before, but now Peach's castle acts as a hub world to all these new locations. It's no longer linear of how Mario progresses. At least, after Mario explores the first course and after each time Bowser is defeated.  

The jump from 2D to 3D is where Super Mario 64 needs to be looked at. Most of the characters from the old 2D games that appear in this game look incredible. But, Bowser and the Goombas look bizarre in their first outing. Poor Bowser looks like he hit his teen years again. Still, most of their sounds and grunts sound fantastic, even if most of the death sounds are copied and pasted. The best part of the game is seeing how each enemy and NPC reacts to their own predicament and Mario. Something about taking down a penguin who thinks he can beat THE MARIO is pure satisfaction. And even though his dialogue is corny, Bowser somehow still comes off as comedic and imposing. And, the bosses sometimes talk about how you're never going to take them down by doing something Mario can obviously do. I think it's poor hubris on their part. And, the soundtrack is one of the most iconic 3D staples of all video game history. Including some remixes of former tunes, there's also Bob-Omb Battlefield, Slide, and the Power-Up songs. It's timeless and still memorable. Last, Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario, absolutely nails Mario in his first outing. Go listen to his lines when he sleeps. In the 3D All-Stars Bundle, there is a noticeable line missing, but because Charles still does Mario well, I didn't care. 

Mario can jump, double jump, triple jump, long jump, crouch, climb, hang, run, spin, crawl, slide, ground pound, swim, kick and punch, wall jump and kick, jump slide, jump kick, somersault jump, break dance, and backflip as his basic moves. If there's anything else I'm missing, let me know. But, now all of the power-ups are gone. The only things to have returned are the coins and 1-Ups. The coins also have a red and blue variety, but I'll get into those later. So, what's up with the power-ups. By activating three switches, Mario can gain the temporary power-ups Wing Cap, Metal Cap, and Vanish Cap. The Wing Cap is nearly identical to the Cape from Super Mario World, but there is a timer to it, and it's more of a gliding move than a flying one. The Metal Cap allows Mario to become completely indestructible, but Mario can't float with it (which is okay for some objectives). The Vanish Cap allows Mario to avoid attacks and walk through some walls and the like. The power-ups are limited by time, and cannot be used outside their courses. Speaking of, Super Mario 64 is a sandbox game. Instead of going from point A to B under a certain time, Mario must do a variety of objectives, like help return a baby penguin to its mama or beat a boss in an arena. Each of the 15 courses are accessed within Peach's Castle. But, a few are hard to locate, even if the NPCs and signs give off some clues. For instance, to access the Boo's House course, one has to ground pound one of the Boos in the courtyard to reveal a cage-like diorama. That diorama is the entrance to the Course. Not only that, but most of the stages have a secret seventh star which pops out when Mario gets a hundred coins. Coins are inside enemies, on the course itself, and in boxes. Red coins count as two, while blue count as five, so it's good to collect those too. The problem is is that if Mario loses a life, the counter and objective starts all over again. And, he's booted back into the castle. It's also the same when he beats and objective. Super Mario Odyssey has it beat there. Mario also seems off with his control at times, drifting aside in this version. Sometimes, his collision seems wonky, he jitters, he doesn't get onto platforms and somethings hangs onto an item before he gets on, he fully commits to a slide with no need to stop, he has a little too much momentum, and his turning is a little too much. None of these are totally game-breaking, but it makes me think that Odyssey handled him so much better. I guess years of experience hasn't made his first outing in 3D too fresh. But, some of the objectives are so fun, that his old control doesn't dampen the game too much. Also, one can play any objectives out of any order. But, there are some objectives that require the certain suits in order to beat them. 

Because I had some internet help, Super Mario 64 can be beaten within three days or less. Most of the bosses are fun to beat, even though I haven't taken down a few because of this game's progression system. Even though Odyssey has surpassed Super Mario 64 in everywhere, I won't deny that there's still some joy in playing Super Mario 64. From the courses, to the music, and to Martinet's performance, Super Mario 64 is important to 3D gaming and is still playable after over 20 years. Hail to the Mario!



9/22- Super Mario Sunshine for Nintendo Switch 



After playing Super Mario 64 after over twenty years, there was one game I nearly regretted ever going back to. Super Mario Sunshine. Like 64 before it, I played it, but never beat it. The GameCube was the first Nintendo console I grew up with, but maybe because of the unusual premise and controls, I gave up. And this perhaps started a weird time where I played and then eventually gave up on playing other Mario games, like the New Super Mario series. I never even touched Galaxy and its sequel when they came out. Maybe being a Poke'mon fan in my teens was the other huge cause. But, again, I knew I had some unfinished business. Thankfully, I'm not the only one who found this game weird, thanks to the power of the internet. Still, I was more determined to finally conquer a giant from my past. Were my fears of ever beating this game finally put to rest, and what did I think of the sequel to a critical hit? 

Mario, Peach, and a bunch of Toads head off to Isle Delfino for a vacation. But, when they get onto the airstrip, they see a bunch of goop covering part of it. Peach sees a silhouette of a metallic Mario, but it disappears before Peach looks again. Mario retrieves a device named F.L.U.D.D. that can get rid of the goop using water. After defeating a goopy Piranha Plant, Mario is sent to jail, and is put onto trial for stealing Star Shines and making a huge mess with the goop. Peach objects, but the judge overrules and Mario is sentenced to clean up the whole island. Mario is framed for an imposter's work, and now he has to do community service. The first thing I did was to spray water at the Pianta policemen who tell Mario to do his job. If one couldn't tell, I'm not a fan of this story at all. It doesn't help that there's voice acting in this game, and it's really bizarre and perhaps horrible and corny. And, the imposter? Bowser Jr. It's his first game, and he thinks Peach is his mama and that Mario is a bad, bad man. This game feels like a melodrama more than a conventional Mario game. Next, maybe Daisy and Luigi make cameos, and Daisy announces that she's dating Wario! Seriously, this plot is laughable! 

Story aside, the game is beautiful. Mario, Peach, the Toads, and even Bowser look like proper characters now. The water looks incredible, and better than 64's. Still, there is a good discussion of whether the whole game taking place in aquatic settings like a harbor and shores diminishes the variety seen in 64, where there were mountains along with snowy worlds, or makes the game a bit more cohesive. Also, the world feels more connected, since in each area, Mario can see other places in the distance, like Pinna Park from the cannon of Delfino Plaza. It's no longer that strange jumping into a painting aspect, where there's a huge difference between Peach's Castle and Jolly Roger Bay. A lot of the music is memorable and catchy, such as the main theme. When Mario rides Yoshi, the percussion joins in, like what Super Mario World did. 

In Super Mario Sunshine, Mario can no longer long jump, crouch, crawl, jump slide, jump kick, kick and punch, and break dance. Even all of the power-ups are gone. So, what's new with his arsenal? Mario adds balancing on ropes. He can control the camera a lot better than what 64 offered. His control feels a lot more natural than 64's. F.L.U.D.D. acts as the new gimmick, as Mario can spray water onto enemies and goop and can hover in the air for a little while. Mario can spray while running, can control the water's trajectory in place, and can hover after jumping. The water's not unlimited, so Mario has to replenish F.L.U.D.D.'s fuel with nearby sources of water, like the beach. Speaking of beaches, because the amount of water and the hover ability, fall damage and lost lives don't happen as often as 64. Still, some stages come with bottomless pits, like the special stages. I'll get into those later. But, after acquiring more Shine Sprites, more places begin to open up on Delfino Plaza, and Mario can use Yoshi and two other nozzles, the Turbo and Rocket nozzles. Turbo is more situational, since it jets Mario across a path with no means of turning, and the Rocket Nozzles allows Mario to jump to higher places without much control in the air. Both also use a lot more water than the first two nozzles Mario acquires. Yoshi acts nearly like F.L.U.D.D., but his tongue can destroy Boos in their place, and his flutter jump seems more useful as a safety net than the Hover nozzle. One has to feed him a certain random fruit to make him hatch from his egg every time, and he changes colors when he eats a different fruit.

So, the better controls, and the new additions of Mario's moveset makes this game a breeze, right? Not really. The episodic nature of the game doesn't allow for freedom and how one wants to finish it. It's not like 64, where I can go to any course and do any Star out of order. I can't race Il Piantissimo in Gelato Beach until I clear the Sand Bird episode. I can't get the Red Coins in Bianco Hills until I defeat the secret levels. The secret levels aren't really that fun too! Bowser Jr. steals F.L.U.D.D., and it becomes clear some of these secret levels are annoying to play as base Mario. Not impossible, but just annoying. My most favorite is the Pianta Village one, as getting to face the Pianta the right way to throw Mario in the right direction leads to a fun time and it has an easy 1-UP location; but my least favorite one is in Noki's Bay, which has one of the worst requires mastery of Mario's controls, and even trying to enter it from Noki's Bay is really annoying. Still, entering the secret levels is a struggle sometimes, with Pianta Village's being the worst. 

To a beginner, that sounds hard, and would turn them away from playing it. And they would want to skip it, but it's the last episode before they confront Bowser Jr. as Shadow Mario. And the player needs to beat Shadow Mario in all seven regular stages in order to unlock the final boss stage. In order to confront Shadow Mario, the player has to beat the first six episodes of their respective stage, which includes the stupid secret levels, Blooper riding levels, the Sand Bird riding level, and red coin missions. And, the mission episodic difficulty feels inconsistent at times. After the Sand Bird episode in Gelato Beach, which is one of the hardest episodes, Mario can race Il Piantissimo in a fun and easy race and can later collect coins in a coral reef, which is one of the easiest episodes ever. And, Shadow Mario isn't really that threatening! He just runs away, while Mario sprays him with water. He rarely changes his pattern for all of his seven battles. 

Heck, even the other boss battles are a joke, with the exclusions being Mecha-Bowser, Petey's second fight, and Bowser. F.L.U.D.D. points out their weakness at times, and there's even an arrow where to hit the bosses when they're down. Mecha-Bowser has Mario shoot Bullet Bills with water and the boss with a rocket while Mario rides a rollercoaster. Petey flies in the air, shoots goop balls, and makes tornadoes in the second battle, and the best way to hit him is with these flying water big things. Mario has to ground pound these five platforms from a height that requires the Rocket Nozzle, while Bowser shoots fire, aims Bullet Bills, and shakes his steamy bath to stop him. Those three fights gave me more trouble than the rest do. To be fair, at least I defeated the bosses in this game. 

If Sunshine took an approach of making the bosses mandatory, but allowed for the free roaming nature of 64 of when to choose a certain mission before Mario goes to the stage in order to make the changes of each stage plausible, and switched up the mission layout structure to make each stage harder as the missions go on so that it gives different players the choice to go from easiest to hardest or such, then Sunshine would've been a better game by means of difficulty, flow, and pacing. Heck, maybe it should have blocked off Pianna Park first until the other six Shadow Mario "fights" were done to make Bowser Jr.'s reveal all the much more impactful. Or, if the reveal was at the perfect half-way point, make Bowser Jr. do other stuff than just run away. Make him clone himself into other two Bowser Jr.s. Bowser Jr. is horrible in his first game, but at least the other games he's in make him an easier Bowser mid-boss rip-off. Bowser. Jr., along with the Piantas, are perhaps the worst contributions of this game. Petey Piranha is perhaps the only true star of this game. But, those things that flip Mario around in Gelato Beach are fun too. 

And, I shouldn't forget the Blue Coins and the other secret Shine Sprite locations. Mario can trade ten blue coins to these tanooki in a hut to retrieve Shine Sprites, and the blue coins are everywhere! Some require to spray a shape or X and go to where the other shape or X is. It's a good thing Mario can save after each one. Though I haven't played them because I'm sane and don't want to complete the game for a B.S. prize, I've heard horror stores of the lily pad and... pachinco game levels. Controls ruined over glitchy and buggy design. I've even got Yoshi stuck on a base of a mushroom tree or whatever underneath the Pianta Village level once. He wants to jump, but he's stuck in place because of slide physics as well. Instead of exiting the level, I jumped off Yoshi and fell to my demise.  

Super Mario Sunshine has the foundation of a wonderful Mario game with its controls, setting, music, and characters, but I felt like the episodic structure, the voice acting, the bosses, Bowser Jr'.s reveal, the pacing, and most of the secret levels are should be removed or worked on and fine-tuned. That's why I love Odyssey more! While the ship is the worst hub-world, the pacing seems a lot more natural, the bosses seem fitting for when they're introduced, and the secret levels are optional. And I can choose what Power Moon to get in that one, whether it's simple or really hard! I don't care if there's too many of them, I can get however much I want at my own pace to finish the story! Sure, it might be a completionist nightmare, but as a regular gamer who doesn't always do that, I don't care. I also admit that some of the kingdoms got the lower stick of design than some others, but I still remember them for good reasons! They were fun and unique, even if they were different takes of the grass or water levels! Retro Kingdom is obviously my favorite! It's not like 64 or Sunshine suffered from that as well! Not all games will have equally favorable locations. I don't think Sunshine is a bad game. I just think there's flaws the later games addressed and improved on.



9/22- Hydro Thunder for Nintendo 64  


 Back in my young years, I went to a kiddy golf park named Boomer's. My friends and I would always play golf, enjoy the race car track, and then eventually go to the arcade and games section. I spent coins on ice hockey and basketball shots, and sometimes the DDR machine. But, if there was one game I constantly remember, it was Hydro Thunder. It was similar to Wave Race, but it was a Midway arcade beast. Easy to learn, really hard to master. Knowing arcade machines are expensive, I bought the next best thing. A port, and this time for the Nintendo 64, home to another classic water racing game called Wave Race 64. And, I forgot how challenging this game was. So, if the game was going to be like that, I I had no choice but to use cheat codes. GameShark. I might be cheating here, but the AI is ridiculously fast sometimes. And, the progression system is nowhere near as fun as Mario Kart 64. So, what do I think of Hydro Thunder. 

There's no story, but to unlock races and stages, one most beat the other racers from third to first place, depending on the difficulty. The tracks are really a sight to look at, where it's the Arctic, or a drowned N.Y.C. Even though the grand and atmospheric music is undercut by the sounds of the boats and random NPCs on marine ships, thankfully there's an option to lower the SFX. The music isn't really anything to hum to, but it fits the many locations. 

Hydro Thunder is a gap racing game, where sometimes there's a track like most conventionally Mario Kart, and sometimes there's a downhill race similar to Mount Wario from Mario Kart 8. There's turning, a boost button, a steer button, and an acceleration button. Each boat accommodates for the different water terrain and difficulty. It might seem simple, but some ways to hit the boost blocks are sometimes difficult, as they happen to move. And, sometimes, the physics of the boats, water, and collision into other things feel very loose. Bumping into a cruise ship is pretty much making the boat spin really high in the air. The other 15 racers can be jerks too, since they sometimes hit the player's ship without warning. The real problem is that one has to start at number 15. Knowing when to do certain actions is never really simple. So, I had to cheat. The game is a product of an arcade system, it was made by Midway, and most arcade games were known for cheat codes. It was inevitable. After spending some time on the game and finally beating it my way, I realized that time has not always been kind to some of the games I've played for fun.    

And, even though the unlockable Bonus tracks are fun, the Bonus vehicles are just fun nods to its own game and nothing else. I thought Hyrdo Thunder would be fun. It was just fun playing it in the arcades.


9/24- Final Fantasy X HD Remaster for Nintendo Switch 



After I played Final Fantasy IX, which I really loved, I was unsure if I was going to play and beat Final Fantasy X. I heard the good and the bad. I thought X was one of the most hated games of the series, but other people have proven me wrong on a lot of things. So, I got it. And I can't believe I defeated it. I have really conflicting emotions with this game. There's stuff I genuinely despised, but there are other things that work with this game. Should Final Fantasy X be a bit more forgiven due to the stuff it brought, or does its negatives really sour the experience? 

The game begins in a lively city named Zanarkand, with a huge crown waiting for the upcoming match of the big water sport... blitzball. One of the star players named Tidus is getting ready. He has a lot to live up to, since his father, Jecht, is considered the greatest player of them all. Tidus doesn't only hate Jecht because he's jealous, but because his father left the city ten years ago and hasn't been seen since. During the game, the stadium is attacked by monsters, and Tidus eventually runs into Auron, a family friend. The two try to escape, but are sucked away by the enormous power of Sin, a huge whale-kind of monster. Tidus finds himself alone in a dark dungeon. When he's attacked by monsters, I group of people enter to stop the monsters. Tidus tries to say thanks, but the people in question are shocked that Tidus was there and speak in a different language. They capture him, and later force him to help fix an underwater machine. Later, when Tidus tells the female of the crew who can speak his language, Rikku, that he's from Zanarkand, Rikku reveals a shocking truth: Zanarkand has been in ruins since a thousand years ago. Tidus can't believe it at all, and comes to the conclusion he might have time traveled. Rikku warns Tidus to be careful of talking about Zanarkand, since it is a rather holy place. Tidus is once again taken away to another place thanks to Sin, and wakes up at the shore of a new place. A group of blitzball players, including the team captain Wakka, are surprised at Tidus' skills when he does an impressive trick. Wakka takes Tidus to the nearest city, but begs him to join their team, the Besaid Aurochs, because they've been a long losing streak for a decade. Tidus agrees, and Wakka later takes him to the town's temple. Wakka is an upcoming guardian to the newest summoner Yuna. The summoners are a great deal to the world of Spira, since they're the ones to temporarily stop the wrath of Sin, and each must take a pilgrimage to the ruins of... Zanarkand. With no other choice, Tidus also helps Yuna get to her destination, so that he can see the truth of his home for himself. He's also joined by Lulu, a gorgeous black mage, and Kimari, a feline-warrior of the Ronko race who is the nearest thing to a dragoon and blue mage of the group. The story seems simple at first, but the whole game is overwhelmed with the implications of a religion-based government ruling the masses who scorn heretics and those who don't abide by the laws of their teachings. Because Sin came around then a lot of machines and so on were used, the people of Spira outright condemn any machine and any person who uses machines, including the Al-Bhed. And Rikku is an Al-Bhed, so when she joins after Wakka does, there's a good amount of tension between the two. And, Auron joins the party as well, since he was one of the guardians who protected Yuna's father and promised her father to protect her too. Yuna's father was also accompanied by Jecht, which Tidus cannot believe. There's also a lot of great plot twists and foreshadowing to these twists that happen in the game, and I really appreciate them too. They might not be as hard hitting as VII's huge one, but they're just as impactful. With that said, I didn't like the whiny and bratty teenager Tidus and the overzealous Wakka. Maybe it was their voice acting, but maybe it was just more than that. 

Although some of the models look rough in an HD setting, I cannot get over how much more natural the characters, the NPCs, and the enemies look. The game brought in races with somewhat humanoid features or just a different language. The game also looks a lot more fantastic than the previous games with its various locations. One place is a road with lightning strikes, the other is a cold mountain path. Speaking of the world, I think Spira has perhaps the most complex lore of the series ever, not only because of its rich tropical backstory, but also because of the religion that applies to most of it. A lot of things happened in the world because of the people's recurring battles with Sin throughout the years. And, the many races of Spira have dealt with the teachings in some way, whether it's apathy and distrust or devotion to the cause. Each party member discuss about the religion differently, whether it's Wakka's prayers or Yuna's eventual questioning of it. The cutscenes, even the HD ones or whatever, are fantastic. The original jump from the PlayStation to PS2 made these moments all the more emotional. The music is also phenomenal. It might not be my favorite of the series, but Zanarkand is perhaps the biggest highlight of the game. Too bad Nobuo Uematsu did less in this game, and would touch the series' style less and less following it. But, Nobuo is still one of the best video game composers ever. 

... Oh, yeah, the voice acting. Some of the acting is really horrible. I never really liked Wakka's and Tidus', since they sounded like bratty teenagers. I know the person who voiced Wakka also voiced Jake from Adventure... (Wait, I never really got into that show, so maybe I don't like the voice actor after all.) The rest of the main cast is fine. Even though Seymour is a terrible villain, there is something so delightfully campy in his voice. Auron and Jecht are my favorites. But, because of those two, I muted the voice acting, and only listed to the amazing soundtrack. That did make me miss out on the character banters in battle, however. 

 The combat gets rid of the ATB system, and goes back to turn-based with a twist. Entering battles are a lot more instant. The camera has more dynamic takes on the characters and their actions. Characters from both sides can go in any order based on their agility, but now there's a chart or so of when each character will go next. I thought Octopath Traveler introduced this, but it was Final Fantasy X. Or maybe something else before that, but FFX was the first to come to mind. Slowing the enemy and hasting the playable characters means more moves for the team. Instead of Limit Breaks, Overdrives can happen with different actions and can be used at any time. Regular actions can happen before the Overdrives are used. And, the Overdrive bar can come back full in the next battle. The bar never depletes. Characters can switch out and in at any time during battles. Eidolons can be summoned, and act as solo temporary party members. They too have their own set of moves and overdrives. Once an eidolon is defeated in battle, it can't come back in the same battle. Skills and Special moves can happen when a character unlocks their sphere in the... Sphere Grid. Unlike most conventional methods of leveling up, characters get sphere levels which allows them to move on the Sphere Grid. A character must use a type of sphere to unlock a specific ability, stat, or magic. Yes, magic is tied to the Sphere Grid. Getting Curaga in the game takes a longer time than it does in the other games. Character progression is tied to the Sphere Grid. I had the bad luck to work with the Expert Grid, which made things a lot harder for me. I outright randomized where my party went with laughable results. Yuna eventually got DualCast with Ultima, making her an EndGame savior. But, her getting Ultima was never my true end goal.  

By the way, in order to get ready for the final stretch, I decided to get my party buff. I decided to get more sphere levels and some rare Spheres, but I didn't get them with the usual fastest way possible. I captured monsters for the Monster Arena, only to find out the superbosses I wanted to defeat were hard as heck. So, I looked up to see the best options. Wakka's Overdrives and Celestial Weapon were amazing choices, but they were unlocked behind a minigame I dreaded. Blitzball. Blitzball is perhaps one of the worst minigames I ever spent hours on. I hate sports, and this was a tricky sports sim. After about perhaps 10 hours of wasting time there, I got my stuff, and after more time wasted, I upgraded the World Champion. I later realized that unless Wakka is tougher, he sucks with the weapon. So, that'll mean more grinding.    

I stopped grinding for Sphere levels after a while, and I went after the final boss. Actually, the last part of the game is really weird. The fights leading up to the real final boss were challenging but fair, while the real final boss being easy but annoying. I realized I was powerful enough to beat the game. I didn't need to beat the superbosses. As much as they could have been fun, there is a distinct gap between them and the normal bosses. I was exhausted after nearly a hundred hours of game play. And, those 100 hours are strange, considering I put less time into most other games in the series than this. Still, they don't have the nightmare that is blitzball or the cruddy minigames. There's no way I'll dodge 200 bolts of lightning. At least VII's minigames and optional bosses were feasible.  

There's also one thing I was a bit cautious of when playing this game: the linearity. Okay, maybe the other games did have a sense of linearity of where one could go, but at least in most of those games, one could backtrack to all of the other places to do quests and minigames with no problem because of access of mounts and airships. The airship in this game is accessible 9/10s of the way in the game, and the player doesn't even ride it. Sure, there's a lot to do in this game, but it's mostly left out until near the very end. There's also the fact that there's a map on the screen, and there are arrows telling the player where to go. In dungeons and whatever. Other games put the map on the overworld, something this game lacks. Sure, some games did this by blocking off places in unique ways, and V cut off one world until adventure in other was done, but there was incentive to go back to other places before the ending parts. Sure, the other games started off in a linear way, but they at least opened up to exploring the whole world. Yes, the game does have exploration in terms of its collectibles, but picking the coordinates on a tourist guide kind of thing than just flying over the world to find a secret area is really lame. Heck, the chocobos are only usable in two locations. They made riding stuff less fun. How'd Square do that?! They had a great world to explore, but it's very bland.  

Still, I think X has some of the best puzzles and puzzle-solving ever. Even battles feel like puzzles, like when there's armored enemies that need a great pierce attack, or flying enemies Wakka can hit with his blitzballs. With the switching out and in mechanic, everyone has a chance of AP (or EXP for the Sphere Levels). And, the bosses in X felt a lot more triumphant than they did in IX before it. Still, I might hold off on the optional bosses. Unless that damage cap is removed, beating 1,00,000 HP bosses with 9,999 damage takes a long while.    

Final Fantasy X, like I said, is odd. I don't like some characters, but the rest of them are decent and the world of Spira is incredible. I don't like a few voice overs, but the rest do a fine job, and the music does a great job making me get over it, and the cutscenes are really charming. The story might be strange and odd at times, but its themes make it a worthwhile experience. I might not like the Sphere Grid in execution and the amounts of random minigames, but the amount of customization is great for those who want Wakka to be a thief. Still, even though Spira is a beautiful place, exploration and back-tracking is very limited compared to the other games. I don't think it's the best Final Fantasy. I do think it gets more hate than it deserves. Some elements of the game aren't as great as I wanted them to be, but the rest exceeded my expectations.



10/3- Resident Evil 3 Remake for PS4 



After waiting after nearly a year since the Resident Evil 2 Remake, I was really hyped for the remake for what I thought was perhaps the hardest game in the series: Resident Evil 3. I really loved RE2M, that I was genuinely curious if Jill's story would get justice, since that game is not really seen highly as much as the first two games. Now, here's the thing. I planned on playing it originally when the game came out. Problem was... real life kind of imitated art. The game had the unfortunate timing to come out when a pandemic was hitting strongly in the world. So, to save it for a better time, I waited till October, when I thought it would be better. (Though, THAT'S not gone by the time of this review.) The time to be scared. Now, before I played it, I great question came to my mind: How would Nemesis, the main villain in this game that I think outshines Mr. X because of his relentlessness and much iconic catchphrase, make a comeback after nearly 20 years of being in video games, besides crossovers?! 

Jill Valentine, a S.TA.R.S. member who was sent on a mission to the Arklay Mountains and a nearby mansion, is waiting for her time at Raccoon City to be over with. Or just a vacation. Her crew didn't have much evidence or whatever to put down the Umbrella Corporation, the ones responsible for the T-Virus, and it seems like the local government and Umbrella are in cahoots. Or at least, that's what I know from the other games. After a frightful nightmare, Jill wakes up and gets a call from Brad, the trained S.T.A.R.S. pilot, that something is after her. Nemesis pursues her until she comes across Carlos, a mercenary hired by Umbrella. They rest at a subway station full of survivors. Although Jill has nothing to do with Carlos and the rest of his team, she will help the rest of the survivors look for an escape. In order to escape the city, Jill needs to turn on the power of the subway cars by searching the city. A lot of familiar beats happen in this game, but a few places have been added and cut. And, because there's no choice system or whatever, outcomes in the game don't matter as much as the original game. It took me nearly six hours to beat the story mode this time, because even the puzzles were simpler this time around. The strange thing was that I didn't care about those changes. The premise still worked, and nothing stopped me from getting Jill outside Raccoon City. Though, instead of Jill going to the Raccoon Police Department, it's Carlos, and that takes place after the subway cars finally move. Resident Evil 3's story begins before the adventures of 2, and ends after the events of 2, so it's more like another story of events in Raccoon City, but with the lock-pick loving Jill. (And she has the lock-pick, don't worry!) I've always liked Jill the most out of the protagonists because she's serious when she needs to be, but can have a funny and sarcastic side when it matters. Plus, her transformation from the first to the third game is really intriguing. After the events of the first game, of course she would be a little bit more pessimistic and realistic, but it's not like she gave up hope. I'm not sure if it's PTSD, but her first scene in the remake is a dream where she becomes a zombie and picks up a gun to kill herself before likely infecting others. She has to deal with fear the most out of all of the protagonists because she experienced it before, and has to again weeks after the events of the first game. And now because the whole city is in chaos and there's a huge monster after her, there's a big question if she can make it this time. The Arklay Mountains Incident was just a small warm-up compared to what happened next.  

Like Resident Evil 2 Remake before it, the game is beautiful, even though this time I found a lot more visual glitches. Plus, some of the models just look weird. If I can think of anything new, it's the electrical tower. underground sewer, underground maze or whatever, and underground laboratory. The park and clock tower from the old game are gone, which used to work with expanding the world of Raccoon City. But, even though they might be iconic set-pieces, does the remake really need more hunters? And getting rid of them doesn't really change Nemesis, Nicolai, or Carlos, and the new places give Raccoon City more of an industrial feel and something separate from the nearby mountains. Plus, dang, Carlos and his team, Jill, and Nemesis look really fine in this game. It helps that their voices fit their characters, and they made Carlos sound more sexy than just a dork. But, to dock off my positives again, Jill says her iconic line way too early. At least the translators knew that they could never take that away from the original game. As for the soundtrack, it's alright, even if it's atmospheric. 

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was the starting point of when the series became a lot more action-oriented, so what has the remake changed? ... Less puzzles. More stuff to shoot with. A better dodge mechanic.  The over-the-shoulder aiming. The live selection thing is mostly gone. There's more Quick-Time Events. Carlos is a playable character, and takes Jill's auto-firing gun or whatever and her visit to the police department. The tank controls have left. Normal and assisted mode don't use the ink ribbons. The combination of ammo is back, with new grenades to boot. It's a good thing that the item needed to combine ammo doesn't appear in this game. They for the most part copied what worked with Resident Evil 2 Remake and put it here. 

But, what about Nemesis? He doesn't stalk Jill as much as the original game. I'm kind of fine with that, since Mr. X basically stole his groove when he reappeared in the remake he was in. Maybe the people at Capcom had to in order to make Nemesis an individual, or didn't realize there were fans who also wanted a Resident Evil 3 Remake and were put into an odd position. Plus, personally, I hated that Nemesis seemed faster than Jill in the original. At least Mr. X in the 2 Remake was a lot slower, so maneuvering around him was a bit easier to pull off. Still, Nemesis now transforms zombies into these weird eye abominations, gets a flamethrower, and has brand new transformations. His roar even momentarily stuns Jill, and he also jumps like he has rocket boots! How did Nemesis get so athletic for a thing his size?! Getting away from him is a lot more fun and suspenseful, since those pesky tank controls are gone, and the dodge mechanic works a lot better. That doesn't mean Nemesis is a pushover this time, however. Normal bullets can't hurt him in the remake, and it still takes as much effort to defeat him as the original. I say "defeat", because like Mr. X, he keeps on coming back. And I like Nemesis more than Mr. X because of his constant battles with Jill and his methods of trying to kill her. That, and "S.T.A.R.S.!" will always be more memorable than boots thumping on the ground and a big guy wearing a trench coat and sunglasses. Plus, whereas Mr. X was probably just an updated Tyrant, Nemesis evolves to get stronger and even learns how make himself better to outsmart Jill. And, the encounters, action sequences, and battles with Nemesis are more impressive than anytime Claire and Leon deal with Mr. X. I think he's also the best villain of the series because he's the complete opposite of Jill. Cold. Cruel. Driven to kill. Relentless. Logical. Their character dynamic is perhaps unmatched in the series as a villain-hero duo, but I haven't played VII to give that one a true verdict. 

I defeated the game in about six hours, compared to probably a day's worth for the original, but that's because I began to master the controls to my benefit. There are more zombies in most places compared to 2, more enemy variety compared to 2, and is possibly harder than 2. 2's strength relied on good old puzzle-solving more than action, whereas it's the reverse for 3. And, it was really nerve-racking when I saw the grand return of the hunters. Those jerks were a pain in my playthrough of the Resident Evil Remake, so battling and running away from them in this remake felt like a true triumph. Plus, this game has an interesting shop mode, where Jill can acquire more stuff to make the next playthrough a lot smoother.  

That just begs the question of why play 3's Remake, when everyone really wanted 2's Remake more since the remake of the first game. The original 3 was known for being a rushed side-project that became 3 when the other ideas for it weren't working well. There were two stories and a lot more to do in 2 and its remake, so why bother with 3's remake? I think if a person likes action over puzzles, and wants to see what the fuss about Nemesis is about, then they should try this game. But, playing the first remake should be a priority, because Jill was in that game too, and it would be a little bit confusing if no one understood the details of what happened before 3 began. It's like playing Bowser's Inside Story before playing Superstar Saga. Of course, references to past games would fly over people's heads. 

But, it will take some time to reflect on which remake I like more.


10/7- Crash 4: It's About Time! for PS4 



The N. Sane Trilogy is one of the best remade collections of a classic trilogy: Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot: WARPED! WARPED! used to be in my Top 100 for a while, but my main problem with the trilogy was often how Crash controlled and the tight platforming from time to time. That does not take away the often great level design, characters, the gimmicks, music, stories, and comedy. So, when Crash 4 was announced, I was a little bit cautious. I accidentally forgot its release, and bought it the next day. Would my problems be unfounded in this new adventure made by Toys For Bob, who also made the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, or did they surface once more to ruin this game? 

Crash 4 takes... some time after the events of WARPED! It's never stated when, since Dr. Neo Cortex and N. Tropy are stuck in another space and time thanks to what happened in the last game. Uka Uka uses all of his power to create an inter-dimensional rift, and possibly dies after after making one. The two doctors leave him behind, and proceed to take over all of the dimensions. Aku Aku notices the disturbance, and tells Crash to find what the problem is and go to N. Sanity Peak. When Crash arrives there, he meets a blue mask, but a big spirit chases them before they have time to chat. When the two meet up with Aku Aku and Coco, Aku Aku sees that the blue mask is Lali-Loli, one of the Quantum Masks. Lali-Loli tasks Coco and Crash to help find the other three Quantum Masks, close the inter-dimensional portals that have been opening up, and stop the plans of Cortex and N. Tropy. But, knowing Crash and Coco will try to stop them, Cortex sends N. Gin and N. Brio to impede the bandicoot's progress. Along the way, a Tawna from another dimension comes along to help the duo, and Dingodile (possibly an alternate version too) gets forced into the story because of the rifts and just wants to return to his diner. They are playable characters with their own missions, but instead of being fully-fleshed levels, their levels provide explanations on how certain events happened, and continue with Crash or Coco from where said event happened. Since I didn't care about getting the collectibles, I ended their levels when the events happened. I didn't need to play a familiar level again, and these Dingodile and Tawna scenarios are just shorter than just the usual levels. The game could have longer scenario levels which ended when the events happened. Dr. Cortex is playable too, even though through most of his scenarios he's just trying to make things harder for Crash and Coco. Still, there are some interesting twists that happen, not only the usual double-turns. I love this story, and think it's Coco's and Crash's big adventure yet. It's too bad Uka Uka doesn't get a mention after the first scene, since Aku Aku seems like he had a connection to him in the third game.

Crash 4 is gorgeous, and it's all thanks to the inter-dimensional travel. What story about it wouldn't feature a pirate world or an apocalyptic world?! The new main character models seem really weird at times, and I'm not sure if it's a positive or negative yet. So, I replaced Crash's and Coco's models with skins that I acquired by doing certain requirements, even though they don't change during some cutscenes, I think, and they change when Quantum Masks come into play. Skins are obtained by mostly getting all of the gems in a stage, so I just only got the ones that referenced the past games. Though, Toys For Bob didn't shy away from the corny humor and innuendos of Crash old, like Bear Repeating. If there's one thing I like a lot about this game, it's the comedy. And though I'm still out for my feelings of the new character designs, at least the animations are fluid and cartoony. The new Quantum Masks look really fine too. The voice acting is fine too, and RIP the original voice actor for Aku Aku. At least he's mentioned in the credits. As for the music, it's okay, even though it doesn't hold a candle to that of the WARPED! soundtrack, in my opinion. The ending music really sucks. 

My biggest fear of Crash was how his N. Sanity design controlled, so how does this new game manage its gameplay? First, players can choose between classic and modern modes. Classic sticks with the lives and game over system, while modern removes all of that. As a modern noob who never got really used to Crash's physics or whatever, I really appreciated just playing the game with a trial and error system that doesn't force me to start over from the beginning of a stage after a game over. Still, that doesn't remove some of the frustration and tight platforming the series is known for. Yes, I still have a problem with Crash's movement, but because of the modern mode, I'm a lot more forgiving of when things don't go my way.  

Players go on a linear adventure like the first game, but it keeps a similar approach to WARPED! where Crash goes to different worlds and times, not just only through time. Gems and and relics return, but there's more gems for each stage based on how much Wumpa Fruit the bandicoot gets in a stage and how many lives Crash lost in a level, and there are hidden gems to boot. The new collectibles are the flashback tapes, which take Crash and Coco back to the 90s and Cortex's training facilities, and the N. Sanely Perfect Relic. The flashback stages are not only obstacle courses, but nice callbacks to the first game. The N. Sanely Perfect Relic requires the player to get the Box and Wumpa Fruit Gems without losing a life. With how arduous the classic trilogy handed these collectibles, I straight up refused to give myself to that torment and beat the game normally, even though the best endings are always put behind those stupid 100% achievements. Crash returns most of his abilities from the last three games, but the sprint and Wumpa Rocket are gone, and the Death Tornado Spin and double jump are not just rewards now. 

Though, there might be some changes in the slide, high, and double jumps with their momentum. Crash can now swing on vines and ropes, and can grind on rails, like a certain hedgehog. Crash can also use a different kind of spin in place to destroy one box in a group of two and more. For example, if there's a TNT box above a normal Wumpa Fruit box, Crash can hit the Wumpa Fruit box without activating the TNT one. As there are many gamers who hated how the old games did it, a new move like that is satisfactory to those who want to complete this game. Notably, only the chase and the riding animal sequences returned from the first two games, with no vehicles from the third. I'm fine with that, since the game doesn't take away what makes Crash unique. The sequences themselves don't take up all of a level compared to the N. Sane Trilogy. If any of the games after the classic trilogy did it too, then perhaps it isn't new, but it is interesting. The jetboard from 2 also makes a comeback.  

As for the new controllable characters, Tawna can wall jump and use a hookshot to destroy far away crates and enemies and to travel long distances. She can kick stuff, but it has somewhat of a pitiful range and does not last long as the Death Tornado Spin. Dingodile can use a huge vacuum to suck in boxes, including TNT and Nitro Boxes, and can use it to hover for a few seconds. Dingodile can shoot TNT back at enemies and other obstacles, but he loses the hover until he lets the box go. Dr. Cortex can use a jetpack and can use his blaster to destroy boxes and turn enemies into regular or bouncy platforms. However, he is the shortest of the group and lacks the aerial height that the other playable characters have. 

That just leaves the Quantum Masks. Lali-Loli, the master of phasing, can make platforms and obstacles exist, but the trade-off is that other platforms and obstacles disappear. For example, Crash is standing on a platform can disappear, while there is a platform across him that has yet to exist. If he wants to jump onto the next platform, he has to use Lali-Loli's power to make it exist, but the plaform below him will vanish. So, a well timed jump and switch are needed.  The next mask introduced is Akano, the master of dark matter. Crash can use him to deflect projectiles and spin similar to the Death Tornado Spin, but the movement feels a little slippery, and TNT and Nitro Boxes are his weakness. Next is Kupuna-Wa, the master of time. Crash can use her to slow down enemies, platforms, and obstacles (including those pesky Nitro Boxes), but time itself doesn't stop, slowing down is not permanent, and there's a cool-down period after each she is used. And last is Ika-Ika, the master of gravity. As long as there's a platform, Crash and Coco can be on the ceiling or on the floor. But, there will be enemies and obstacles on the ceiling as well. The Quantum Masks appearance are a welcome addition to Crash's moveset, even if they make some levels even more challenging in design, especially by the end of the game. In order to combat their probable abuse, the masks can only be used in certain parts of the levels. I'm fine with that, since Crash and Coco are still fine to control in the rest of the game. But, they are also used very well in the boss fights.  

The bosses, except for N. Brio, I think are some of the best and most challenging in the Crash series so far. N. Gin uses a rhythm based machine and attacks similarly to the boss Noize in River City Girls. N. Brio attacks like he did in the first game. Cortex uses a variety of weapons and minions to destroy Crash. The last two boss fights are some of the best and most creative fights in the game, as they use the Quantum Masks for and against the player. 

Crash 4: It's About Time! is perhaps the perfect almagamation of the classic trilogy with a new mode, new collectibles, new moves, and new playable characters. And, I haven't even mentioned the cool N. Verted levels, which turns the stages' art design into a weird neon look and mirrors the level design as well! Sure, I think the way to get 100% in this game is really difficult compared to the trilogy, and not all of the unlocked levels are worth getting to this time around, but beating the game normally does give a satisfying ending much more than the trilogy. Plus, I can always look up the 100% Ending online, like the other games before it. It's About Time is perhaps the best Crash game I ever wanted, even if I have mentioned some negatives. As for Top 100 material, who knows.



10/9- Resident Evil 2 Remake for PS4 


I still love this game, a year later! I even got to play with the unlockables and the old soundtrack this time around! 


10/11- Resident Evil 4 for PS4 


I finally beat Resident Evil 4 months after conquering the mainline games (RE0 and the classic trilogy remakes), even if it felt really weird getting used its controls. Still, I prevailed, and I finally conquered what people say is one of the best Resident Evil games. Still, with all these remakes out now, and the the world of horror changing back to the classic genuine horror after years of action horror, does Resident Evil 4 still belong as an important landmark of spooky scary video games? 

After the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3, Raccoon City has been wiped out, and Umbrella no longer has the funds to stay active. A few years later, Leon S. Kennedy, a former R.P.D. cop and current agent of the U.S., is tasked to retrieve the U.S. president's daughter, Ashley Graham. Rumors are that she was last spotted in a rural village in Spain, so he and a few local cops check it out. However, the insane townspeople try to kill Leon to stop his rescue. Leon takes them down one by one, and comes across Luis Sera, a former researcher of the Los Illuminados and the Las Plagas. Las Plagas is a parasite that differs from the viruses before it, as the villagers are able to have somewhat reasonable minds and teamwork, and everyone is controlled by a dominant host. Leon is eventually captured by its chief and infected with it. After breaking free from a sticky situation, Luis panics and leaves, and Leon enters a church and finally finds Ashley. However, a priest by the name of Osmund Saddler tells Leon and Ashley that they both have been infected with Las Plagas and that his plan is to make sure Ashley directly gives the same parasite to the U.S. president. So, it's a race against time not only to stop the Los Illuminados and its leaders Saddler and Salazar, the latter who is an infected Spaniard nobleman, but to find a cure Leon and Ashley before the Las Plagas takes complete control over them. Along the way, Leon also comes across a certain mysterious lady from his past who wants the Los Plagas for other reasons, and finds other interesting developments. Even though there are some plot threads tying this game to the games before it, the in-game story stands on its own with its unique creatures, villains, and setting. The game also takes an episodic approach compared to the mostly straightforward plots of the classic trilogy. Now, even though there's a clear horror element, there's more Hollywood action cheese compared to the games before it, and Leon has comebacks and jokes for everything. Leon himself is a lot snarkier than his last appearance, because like Jill Valentine before him, he has seen some crazy stuff before in his life. And, there are certain moments, like Leon running away from a moving boulder, that make this game tense and strangely fun. Even though the classic horror is replaced, that doesn't take away the corny enjoyment I appreciated from this game. 

Although the remakes have changed their original games for the better, Resident Evil 4 still looks fine to this day. The various locations stand out from the last few games because of a mostly bleaker design, besides maybe the lab at the end. Heck, all of the characters move smoothly, and the villagers act faster than most enemies of the classic trilogy. Though, it's mostly 90% villagers that Leon has to face, and not much in terms of other creatures, like the hunters. Still, a few creatures by the late game did genuinely annoy me. The voice acting and delivery is some of the best of the series, even though the script has the smell of cheese. The cutscenes are really amazing, even though the Quick Time Events are a bit intrusive. As for the music, it's fine and atmospheric. 

Resident Evil 4 changed the landscape of video games in a few ways. First, instead of the static cameras of old, players can now control the camera in whatever direction. Still, Leon gets around by a modified version of the tank controls, which work a lot better in this game because of the much more intuitive camera. The biggest change is the aiming, which takes an over-the-shoulder approach. While Resident Evil 4 might not have introduced it, this new aiming helped third-person shooters and third-person shooting in general for years to come. Next are the Quick Time Events, which are a gameplay element most gamers have critiqued since its inception. Basically, it's the pressing or holding of a button or a combination of buttons to determine an outcome of an action or event within seconds. The QTEs are reaction-based and could upset players who don't know the game has those. In fights, chases, and battles, they possibly come out of nowhere, which leads to either lost life or death. Besides that, Resident Evil 4 has a lot more enemies compared to the classic trilogy and a lot more weapons and ammo. Although the weapons Leon acquire are ridiculous at times, the villagers can attack with and throw weapons, operate machinery, protect themselves with shields, masks, and armor, climb ladders, and run. There will be a lot of times when enemies move in a large group. And, if one thinks a classic headshot might do a trick, the villagers seem more resilient than before, and some grow the Las Plagas parasite heads out of their bodies. The new heads have a ridiculous range and can even make a swift combo attack. But, even though the game might seem cheap at times, the enemies now reward players with random ammo, herbs, and money. What can Leon do with the money? Buy weapons and other things from a strange merchant of course! This merchant appears in different locations to give Leon the means he needs to beat those enemies. But, some weapons aren't cheap, and it's strange that the merchant sell a supply of any ammo. Last, the loading and reloading times are much faster, the knife is a lot more useful, the puzzlers are a lot simpler, this is the first game to allow players to save without the use of those pesky ink ribbons, and the inventory system takes on a puzzle-like element. 

... I forgot Ashley! Sometimes, Leon has to... escort her. She's not a truly horrible A.I. is some people make her out to be, but she does nothing but cower in fear, yell "LEON! HELP!" when she gets captured, and can lose life if she's hit. It's a game over when she dies or her captor exits the door with her. Still, Leon can order her to hide and stay behind while he takes care of the enemies, and she's useful in helping Leon with some puzzles and some situations. 

The bosses in this game are a blast to defeat compared to the older games, even though none compare to the thrill of Mr. X and Nemesis. Though, this game has a strange means of difficulty, where it's determined how good the player gets as they play. Sometimes, it feels like the game is unnecessarily unfair at times with its waves of enemies and random rewards. But, it makes defeating the enemies so much more victorious. After the game has ended, there's more modes and other stuff to obtain. As my true objective was to beat the main story only, maybe I'll play those at another time. Resident Evil 4's take on action-oriented horror makes the game really fun and replayable. Although the genre of horror went in a bit of rough phase until years later, Resident Evil 4 is a gem of the horror genre. It might distance itself from the classic survival horror trilogy, but Resident Evil 4 has a lot of charm to it. And, it's better than the confusing and grittier messes that came after it. It was influential, for better and for worse, and was insanely enjoyable to play.


10/14- Metroid: Zero Mission for Wii U 



The Metroid series has been iconic in the horror genre since the 1980s, for better or for worse. The original game introduced the world to some of the scariest of enemies, including the infamous Metroids, parasitic aliens that suck the life force of any other life form it makes contact with. It's been over thirty years since Metroid came around, and since it was the time to be scared when I played it, I wonder how the remake of the original, Metroid: Zero Mission, holds up. I have barely any nostalgia with Metroid, and the only game that I played and eventually gave up on was Metroid Prime, so how does this remake hold up?  

Metroid: Zero Mission stars Samus, a galactic bounty hunter, whose orders are to prevent the Space Pirates from releasing the terror of the Metroids all over the universe. The whole mission takes place in Zebes, and it's Samus' job to eliminate the dangerous threats. And, that's pretty much all. The game has a clear goal, and there's no unnecessary surprises and twists. But, the game has a bit of lore with the Chozos, a now extinct race of humanoid birds, who once took care of Samus in her youth. Yes, I'm heading straight into the biggest shock: Samus is a woman. The twist in the original game's ending doesn't have the same impact as it used to, but Samus being a woman was a game-changer in video game history. 

Even though the remake was on the Game Boy Advance, the art designs holds up really well, and it smoothly updates the old design of the original. Every character looks simple and rarely untouched. Zebes is also very distinct with its sub-worlds. The game also features cutscenes straight from a comic book, and they are animated well. With that said, the updated soundtrack might not be as iconic as the original music. But, it still fits the unwelcoming vibe of Zebes, and there are new songs to boot. 

Metroid: Zero Mission takes a lot of mechanics and weapons from Super Metroid (and also apparently Metroid Fusion), like the famous Screw Attack, and for the most part, they work well. That does not mean platforming is one of Zero Mission's strongest suits. Samus has some of the strangest air range thanks to the two jumps she can do, and I got visibly upset when she didn't land on a platform precisely. Then again, a good amount of the platforms in these games are maybe too high at times and too short in length. It's a phrase I like to call Crash Bandicoot Syndrome: sure, veterans might get used to the air control after time, but I'm not one of them. Also, knockback in a 2004 remake. WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHY?! But, my problem with Samus' jumping aside, Samus can destroy enemies in seconds. Her beams, missiles and, to a lesser extent, her bombs are very powerful tools. Most enemies can do down easily with just the beam and morph ball bombs at first, while others that have higher defense and shields require upgrades and missiles. If one thing Metroid always did well was the exploration and discovery, although it was a lot smoother since Super Metroid. Zero Mission has maps and Chozo Statues that can map the next destination of where Samus needs to go. But, even though it might seem daunting at first, Samus always has the means to progress through the game. Still, that doesn't mean some of the secrets are probably too hidden for my liking. I had to look at an online video walkthrough a few times. 

The bosses in this game were really well planned... except for maybe Mother Brain and Meta-Ridley. There's constantly a barrage of attacks for both, and with Mother Brain, there's only two platforms over a pit of lava. With knockback and Samus' jump, Mother Brain was a chore to defeat. Plus, both have very few windows of taking damage. The one I had a joy to defeat was Kraid, but that's because the monster is insanely huge compared to most bosses of that generation! To my surprise, the Metroids look bigger than I imagined them, but maybe that's taking Super Metroid into account. 

But, as one might have noticed, Meta-Ridley wasn't in the original game. A new location and two new suit for Samus opens up after the evacuation of Zebes. Samus lost her Varia Suit and its powers, and has to traverse a new place featuring new enemies. But, the situation is harder, as Samus' Zero Suit takes more damage, and she can only stun enemies for a brief time. It's basically Metroid Gear Samus! After some time playing hide and seek, and a fair and challenging boss fight, Samus acquires the Gravity Suit and later Power Bombs. After the fight with Meta-Ridley, another countdown begins. Thankfully, countdowns in video games are always fair.  

The game has a few rewards for certain completion and speedrun aspects, but since I think Castlevania: Symphony of The Night handles its completion rewards better, I'll stick with just finishing this game. Beating it in any percentage unlocks the OG Metroid. As much as the original is a classic, it hasn't aged well, and I'm not a fan of some NES games. But, Metroid: Zero Mission surprised me how shorter and less scary I thought it was going to be. I guess playing Resident Evil games kinds of removes that factor after a little while. Still, the series helped pioneer the horror genre, and I'm glad I played the remake of the first game. Here's hoping Metroid: Samus Returns keeps my interest. If not, Super Metroid it is!



10/16- Super Metroid for Nintendo Switch 



Metroid: Zero Mission, despite my complaints about the controls, is still a superb game. Because of certain reasons, I jumped from the remake of the first game to Super Metroid: one of the best games of its generation. (I plan on defeating Metroid: Samus Returns eventually.) So, knowing the controls were nearly the same as Zero Mission, how did I enjoy my wild ride in Super Metroid? 

Super Metroid takes place after the events of Zero Mission and Samus Returns. Samus defeated the Space Pirates on her old home planet, and nearly destroyed all Metroid life forms on their planet. Samus allowed a baby Metroid to live, and gave it to the Galactic Researches for them to study. However, soon after she leaves, a distress call comes from the Galactic Research ship. It is attacked by the Space Pirates, and when Samus arrives where the baby Metroid was, she is suddenly attacked by Ridley. They battle, but an imminent explosion of the ship begins to happen. Ridley flies with the baby Metroid, and Samus gets back on her own ship. Samus follows Ridley back to Zebes, back to the beginning. She once again has to stop the Space Pirates and rescue the Metroid from its predicament. After that intro, the story doesn't continue until the very end, where the biggest of surprises happen. Super Metroid has a much grander ending, and I love how insane it gets. 

Super Metroid is a very atmospheric yet colorful game. The various life forms and locations of Zebes burst with wonderful detail. Super Metroid also has some of the best visual effects and Mode 7 greatly enhances the experience. And, I think the locations this time are a lot more vibrant than Zero Mission. And, although the music doesn't get as much notice as other games', it is spectacular to hear. Some songs are booming with the bass, while others go for a much softer tone.  

Super Metroid introduces a lot of attacks and movement options that would become iconic in the series, such as the famous Screw Attack. Now, although there's also moves Super Metroid teaches with these adorable aliens that seemingly came from nowhere, my complaints from Zero Mission still happened. Samus' midair movement is still too odd for my liking, and there are still those stupid short platforms. Also, knockback. But, since it was 1994 when Super Metroid came out, I'll be a bit more lenient on my hatred of it. Now that I think about it, Super Metroid has some of the best upgrades in video gaming. Still, even though the series is known for its exploration and discovery, Super Metroid might seem too large in scope. The jump from old Zebes to new Zebes was incredibly stress-inducing. It doesn't help that I think Zero Mission had the better map layout, and there are barely any hints. I needed some walkthroughs again. But, this and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night were responsible for the exploration of a gigantic building and world which featured many collectibles, later coined "Metroidvanias". Super Metroid's impact and importance cannot be ignored. 

 Super Metroid has more and better boss fights which pushes Mode 7 to its limits. Ridley's fight is a lot better, even though the battle still takes place in a confined space over acid. Mother Brain Part 1 is still as annoying as Zero Mission's, but the real joy is in Parts 2 & 3. If Part 1 didn't exist or was improved with its barrage of attacks, Mother Brain would rank higher as a final boss. But, it has one of the best moments in any video game. Super Metroid might not have been as perfect as I wanted it to be, but I think it's genuinely better than Zero Mission. And, 2D and psuedo-2D exploration had been more integral since it was released.



10/27- Hollow Knight for Nintendo Switch 



As I was waiting to play Metroid: Samus Returns, there were a few indie games I wanted to get invested in that catered the Metroidvania fanbase. Hollow Knight is probably the best talking point people bring up nowadays, so I got it and played it. For most of my near 50 hour playthrough, I really enjoyed the game. But, after I defeated it, how was my joy as the credits rolled? 

Hollow Knight stars a cute bug thing with a helmet, cloak, and a knife called a nail. He drops into the Hallownest Kingdom, more specifically Dirtmouth. When he arrives, only an elder greets him, as most of the other inhabitants are minding their own business elsewhere. With nothing else to do, it's time to explore. The knight fights off enemy after enemy, explores the world and finds many things that expand the lore of the kingdom, and runs into a weird cast of characters. One of the NPCs even challenges the knight for the test to see if he's ready for what's to come. And even though a few look dangerous and creepy, they'll help you, like the charms lady worm or whatever, or an odd grasshopper thing that sells useless charms. But, the knight eventually learns about this infection, and these once heroic beings named Dreamers that sealed away an evil being named Hollow Knight. By either some action of the knight or the seal being broken little by little, the knight must now defeat the Dreamers and stop Hollow Knight from corrupting the world again. But, even though the knight is to prevent all of this, he's not a good person as well. Sometimes because I needed an item, I had to kill what I think would be otherwise harmless creatures and ghosts. And, because of an upgraded item, I could read their minds as well. In fact, not all of the NPCs are good people. There's this Zote guy who say's he's amazing, but he gets captured twice, and in an optional arena, the knight can fight him. He's pitiful. There's a giant bug thing that wants to eat the knight, because nothing around it is particularly edible. Oh, and the Old Stag is adorable. He's trying to find his home, but the rest of his kind have disappeared, and the whole world is too big to find out where it is. With the help of the knight, he eventually does, but learns the HARD TRUTH.  

The game is gorgeous. A lot went into the game's areas, from the forest in the west to the crystal caves in the east. Even though the color scheme is heavily muted, Hallownest is full of various locations that breathe life. Still, the world is perhaps too large, and there are a lot of places that can be overlooked because of how the foreground and background looks in certain areas. And, when enemies are in the mix, expect some cheap shots at times. It doesn't helped that some secret paths can be unconventional found by the noise of rubble. Still, for the most part, Hollow Knight doesn't gate places with upgrades. Again, for the most part. This is a Metroidvania. And, most of the enemies are bugs. Even spiders. And bees. Okay, because some of the sound effects were like really strong, like the noise of the bee enemies, I muted the game sometimes. And that's sad, because the soundtrack is amazing, even if during suspenseful moments, it's really ambient. But, nothing makes more nervous than Shade because of his theme. Forgot his attacks, Shade is creepy.             

Unlike Metroid and more like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the knight gets one close-ranged weapon: the nail. Its range is pathetic, and Hollow Knight can rebound from enemies when attacking with it. He can also absorb SOUL by hitting enemies to recharge his health or use spells. I often chose the former, since Hollow Knight has low HP in the beginning, and some bosses and enemies are jerks sometimes. Later, he receives other abilities that use SOUL, finds and buys charms to help his way through, finds items to increase his health and soul meters and amount of charms he can use, and upgrades his sword and finds nail techniques. Like Metroid. But, some bosses are no pushovers, even though most of the bosses are fair in pattern recognition. But, this game does have moments, even with is platforming, where I swear the wrong thing happens at times. Though, the gratification of beating something in this game is justified, because those bosses and obstacle courses can be so hard at times. Looking at you, Queen's Garden's horrible vine thing. I hated it more than the optional White Palace. Oh, thanks to an item, the knight can also fight dream bosses and boss variants that reward essences. The higher the number, the better the prize. The same goes for a few other NPCs too. There's an old worm caterpillar looking for its children, and one by one, the knight frees the captured guys. Though, a few turn out to be mimics. Ew. Also, exploration can be a bit of a pain, since the knight needs to buy a map first, and find new places for them to show up on the map. And, unless he equips a charm, finding his location on a map of Hollow Knight's scale can be overwhelmingly confusing.  

I beat the game. Loved fighting Hollow Knight. He's the best. Fair patterns and I've beaten him a lot... I would say a different tune for THE RADIANCE if she didn't have too much, like quick and large attacks that cause two bars, teleportation, different phases, and was properly mentioned. And, beating her is lame. Hollow Knight and the knight die in both endings from self-sacrifice, but an NPC I didn't really like lives. Still, I got 94%, so that's something. There's DLC too, like Grimm's Troupe. If there's anything like some of the fast bosses I've faced, then no thanks. Hollow Knight is a great game, even though some parts of it are a bit too challenging to Metroidvania newcomes.



11/15- Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair for PC 


A while ago, I played the first Danganronpa game: Trigger Happy Havoc. Despite my complications with some of the gameplay elements and the ending, it was a fun murder mystery visual novel involving teenagers. I knew there were currently two other mainline Danganronpa games. Eventually, I was going to beat 2, but... I spoiled myself about a year before, thanks to an online playthrough. Still, even though I remembered some huge events, it's not like I remembered most of the smaller details. So, did Goodbye Despair fix what I hated in the original game and improved in other areas? 

Goodbye Despair stars Hajime Hinata and fifteen other students from the world renowned Hope's Peak Academy. Hope's Peak Academy is a school that nurtures talented students called Ultimates. Although they wish to learn at the academy, a magical rabbit named Usami teleports the students to a tropical paradise. Usami wants everyone to get along and not fight each other. Essentially, she wants peace. But, after the students decide to go swimming at the beach, a familiar creepy voice has returned. Monokuma somehow came back, and Usami tries to fight him off. However, Monokuma beats the life out of Usami, destroys her Magic Stick, and transforms her into an abomination. Monokuma gains control. He then tells the students that in order to leave the island, they must kill each other. But, a class trial will begin to decide if the killer lives and the rest die, or the rest live and the killer dies. Some references to the past game are mentioned, and a traitor is revealed to be among the group. Like the last game, this game is split into 6 chapters. Who lives? Who dies? I won't spoil it. As for the cast, I think I like this cast more than the first game's, even though there are some obvious ones who will be on the island and I can't wait to see die.  

Goodbye Despair does a lot more visually and audibly, even though the game uses some assets from the first game. First off, the tropical setting makes the game a lot more colorful than the stale school setting of the first game. And, there's a lot of places that would fit on the six separate islands. Plus, I like the cast designs more compared to the first game. But, the biggest upgrade is the music. Beautiful Ruin or whatever sounds a lot more pleasant than Box 15 and the like.  

Goodbye Despair made several improvements in gameplay. Exploration is a little bit better, by allowing Hajime to run in overworld locations. As the amount of locations and islands are a lot, it cuts down on needless time wandering around, looking for the right location. Also, location investigation has been streamlined a lot too, since the game won't allow Hajime to leave until he looked around that area thoroughly. There's also no reactions when talking, making dialogue a lot more manageable. Hope Fragments are like what happened during talking in the first game, but it seems giving people items makes a bit more progress than before, and the items are not randomized this time around. All one needs to do is use Monokoins at the Rocketpunch Supermarket. Also, random Monokuma stuff will appear in the background and will reward Hajime with Monokuma Coins. Hajime can also take care of a virtual pet, even if it seems it does nothing.  

The Class Trial is mostly the same, but most of the stuff is new or improved. Non-Stop Debates now contain truths, which Hajime can confirm with evidence. The puzzle and rhythm minigames have returned, and have been given some much needed attention. The Closing Arguments are a lot better, since a row of certain panels have to be used before another row comes along, and there's also hints. Rebuttals happen when a character is often confused, so Hajime just needs to cross swords and present evidence. Logic Dive is a racing snowboarding minigame where Hajime answers basic questions. So, yes, it's mostly better, even if the rhythm minigame really sucks. 

I enjoyed the ending a little more this time, even if it was really insane and got a lot more philosophical than the last game. But, it was still a lot more fun than the first game, for sure. Can't wait to play V3. My heart is in anticipation! 




12/9- Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony for PC 



My journey into the Danganronpa series has been mostly positive. Although I thought the first was decent, I found the second game to be better in almost every way. Then, I realized that the next game was a spin-off shooter, and the continuation of the first two games was an anime. Last, I remembered that V3 is so far the conclusion of the series as a whole, even though fan support has still grown strongly since then. But, what's going on? Is V3 really the last game the fans will ever get, or was that just a prank since 2017?  


V3 takes place some time after the events of the first two games. Players take control of Kaede, a seemingly ordinary girl who wakes up and falls out of a locker in a classroom. A boy named Shuichi comes out of the locker near her. They are confused about their situation; and when they walk out of the classroom, things get worse as a big machine chases after them. The two race to the gym, where they find fourteen other teenagers just as confused as the two are. Then, all five of the machines show up in the gym, and five bear-like creatures named the Monokubs jump out from the machines. The Monokubs realize that something is "wrong" with the pathetically normal high school students, and give them interesting clothes with matching Ultimate talents to boot. The game seems to have started again, with Kaede remembering her talent as the Ultimate Pianist, and Shuichi as the Ultimate Detective. While exploring and finding the other students, they learn that they are in school grounds of the Ultimate Academy for Juvenile Delinquents and a trapped within the confines of a huge wall. Back at the gym, the Monokubs and the machines known as the Exisals return. Monokuma makes his grand return, and explains the rules of the killing game as before. As for the cast, I think it's perhaps the best in the series, even though I like some of the characters of the first two games much better. But, the problem is that unlike 2, there's no foil to Monokuma like Usami, and the Monokubs can't really make that same magic. And, don't get me started on RISE AND SHINE, URSINE! But, unlike the first two games, where the emphasis was about hope and despair, V3 also takes in account two contrasting themes.   


Now, I have mixed opinions on the visual designs. Because of the jump from 2 to V3, there is a lot more color used. Or maybe it's the design of the world. I'm not sure if there's a lot more freedom of the characters' clothes compared to 2, but the characters seem to have more animations and expressions. Also, during investigations, there can be more than one character on screen using different frames! I love that new detail! Still, even though there's a lot more greenery of the Ultimate Academy compared to Hope's Peak, I really prefer the island setting of 2's Jabberwock Island. Plus, exploration once again mostly revolves around moving in the first person, whereas it was first and third person in the second game. If the Ultimate Academy took place in an artic world, then that would've stand out a lot more than the first game. But, the music is really astounding, and it's mostly original this time around. Some tracks do return, but the soundtrack is nice and fresh. It even got me listening to Clair De Lune by Claude Debussy. 


The investigation system is borrowed from the first two games, but the Hidden Monokumas and the Monomonomachine are a step back. The Hidden Monokumas I feel are way too hidden, while the Monomonomachine uses the lottery system like the first game. Still, players can now get Monocoins by knocking down stuff, and there is a casino where certain other unique items can be acquired for making relationships. There's also a Love Hotel thing... but I never used it. There is an Observe thing that locates clues that help some players find clues too obscure for them. I rarely used it for help, and it being mapped to Y was weird.   


The Class Trial has been improved most of all in this game. Along with Non-Stop Debates, Mass Panic Debates exist, where three characters at a time will talk over each other. The puzzle and rhythm minigames have returned once more, and are perhaps the best iterations.  The rhythm minigame has turned into something similar to that of Hatsume Miku. The Closing Arguments segment should've been implemented the row system from the second game, instead of using the locks. Psyche Taxi is an improved Logic Dive, since the only true obstacles are cars, and the music is a lot catchier. Though, I could've done without Mine Mind, and they should've turned into simple mutiple-choice questions. But, the best new additions are Lying/Perjury and Mass Scrum Debate. Instead of using people's evidence against other's now, there are chances where lies are used to protect another character. (And, sometimes, they are followed by interesting Back Routes indicated by the change of music.) Mass Scrum Debates are used when two parties are nearly split among themselves, and correlating bullets are used to refute the other side. The music of the Mass Scrum Debate is wild! 


However, even if this game surpasses the first two games in many aspects, it does have perhaps the weakest and worst ending of the trilogy. First, there is a time limit to the investigating because a certain robot wants to destroy the Ultimate Academy. I thought it was an automatic game over if the time limit ended, but apparently I did not have to restart from the very beginning of the case. Two, the first case is retried, with one of the most boring characters ever, Tsumugi, in the series being the culprit. It not only completely screws up the killing game rules, but also perhaps makes the first case weaker by affiliation. Then, the villain JUNKO ENOSHIMA HAS RETURNED, and it turns out the survivors were given false "memories". In fact, the whole story was fake. The killing game is being televised by an audience who wanted it, and it's currently in the 53rd season. Shuchi, Himiko, and Maki say that they no longer want any part of this, but Junko says it's not up to them, as one of the other survivors, K1B0, is a robot told what to do by the audience. The audience and Junko wants the killing game to continue, but the others don't listen and DO NOTHING. Because even if they were fictional, everything they felt was real to them. When voting time happens, the survivors, and even Tsumugi, rely on the audience to choose on whether the killing game will continue or not. The audience surprisingly do not vote, and it feels like they don't want the game to continue. The Ultimate Academy blows up, and only Maki, Shuchi, and Himiko remain. What happens next is unknown, but for now, the killing game has finally ended. So, because of the ending, a lot of people really hate that this game is perhaps the last in the series. It also feels too meta-narrative and too complex for its own good. The second game might have taken inside a game, but for the whole series to be fake to its own characters is pretty out there. But, by making the characters self-aware, it also means that the game somehow gave a metaphorical middle finger for those who actually liked playing the games with this ending. Because of that, some people HATE that this is perhaps the last Danganronpa game we'll ever get. The only positive I really see from this is that the ending at least got people talking years later after its release, whether good or bad. I like most of the cases in the game, but the final case is perhaps the worst... well, there is the dreaded third case too... With that rant aside, V3 is worth the money, even though I got it on sale at Steam and the button schemes with a 3rd party controllers needs to be worked on in the Steam settings before playing the game.



12/20- Assassin’s Creed II for Xbox One 


It’s been over a year since I defeated the first Assassin’s Creed, and started my journey into the sequel. While I thought the first Assassin’s Creed was okay, there were some obvious gameplay problems, and there was a huge cliffhanger at the end of it. Hopefully, the sequel helped those questions in my mind. Why was that assistant Lucy wearing clothes with blood? What was Abstergo Industries looking for? What was the Apple and that Piece of Eden? 
The story begins with Desmond and Lucy escaping the facility of the first game. They stop at a warehouse, and Lucy introduces her friends and a new Animus. Lucy wants Desmond to link his mind to Ezio Auditore, a new assassin from Italy, not only to inherit Ezio’s skills and abilities to become a better assassin, but also to find out where the other Pieces (yes, Pieces) of Eden are. 
Ezio lived his life in Rome with his assassin family up until he was 17. A close friend of his father’s betrayed his family during a political struggle and ordered them to be executed. While he, his mother, and his sister escaped, his father and his two brothers died in the public. His remaining family retreated to the countryside, where they were given shelter by his uncle Mario. Mario trained Ezio to be an assassin and told Ezio to seek out the ones responsible for his family’s deaths. While Ezio travelled across Italy for revenge and justice, he gained many new allies, including a young Leonardo da Vinci who was instrumental to Ezio’s growth.  
Many interesting developments happen as before, and because the game took place in 2012, a shocking but now horribly dated theoretical calamity is soon discovered. The same old discussions of truths and lies and morality are still present.  
And here is where I’ll claim the second game is better than the first not only because Ezio is a much more relatable assassin than Altair ever was, but because… I like Italy and the Renaissance a lot more. The game even uses Latin, and I’m a huge sucker for a dead language.  
The game looks very beautiful, and I like the creative freedom they had when making the Italian settings. Although the number of locations is shorter, I feel like there is a lot more depth and scale for each city Ezio visited. Also, there is a day and night cycle. If it isn’t obvious enough, I love this game for the Italian scenery. The music is still as atmospheric as before, but I won’t give the game any flak because if that. But, some of the faces look uglier than before.  
Assassin’s Creed II did a lot to improve on the original’s gameplay. Eagle Vision can be used in the third person and can be used while moving. Like before, Codex pages can be found, and this time researched by Leonardo for upgrades and new weapons. Swimming and using gondolas have finally been implemented. Although the combat has been updated, the actual combat is still counter-oriented and hiding is still just as important. Speaking of which, Ezio can hide among any group, rather than just a few. The many ways of assassinating and distraction have also been increased, such as smoke bombs and killing from haystacks. A new notoriety system replaces the Social Status icon, depending on the good and bad actions Ezio performs. Ezio can also leap while climbing, making impossible feats in the last game feasible in this game. But, climbing is still a little bit awkward and not totally perfect. The mission system has also seen some changes. Ezio also has a frequent use of a base in the form of his uncle’s villa. Ezio can use the base to not only review his collectibles, but also upgrade certain shops via to receive certain discounts and even income. …Those darn bards are just as annoying as the beggars… And, finally, quick travel. THANK GOSH!  
Less time is also spent on Desmond, even if he has a few minutes to test out his new assassin skills. But, a big concern happens in the second sequence where he is playable. It turns out the Animus can have long-term mental side-effects if a person stays in the Animus for too long. And Desmond figures out one of these soon enough.  
If there was anything negative about the game, the final boss fight is just ridiculous as it sounded. And, the stuff afterwards really dates the game. It’s not as bad as the first game’s ending, but history has proven the ending very wrong. Still, besides some gripes with facial designs, the bards, climbing, and the combat, Assassin’s Creed II is leagues better than its predecessor. There’s a lot of bonus content that comes with finding every collectible, but I can just look it up online and not really care. There’s also Altair’s gear and sword, but because I like Ezio’s white robes more, I only got the sword. Now, even though there’s a III, Assassin’ Creed took on the Kingdom Hearts approach and gave Ezio two more games. With “current circumstances” still present, I think it’s best for me to finish the trilogy. No matter how good or bad the sequels are. Then again, I do like Italy and Ezio. Maybe they’ll be just as good as II.  


12/20- Fire Emblem Heroes Season 4 for iOs 


I forgot we could do this. Fairies, Dream World, more Three Houses characters and I forgot what else. Season 5 is looking really weird though with that sci-fi stuff! 


12/23- Samurai Shodown II for Nintendo Switch 


Just the first game with an updated cast. It's okay as an arcade game.  


12/24- Metal Slug 4 for Nintendo Switch 


Metal Slug 3 but now with robots. Okay.

Edited by Link, the Hero of Dreams
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Eliwood8's Games Beaten in 2020


Console: 122

Overall: 122


Full games list:



1. We Happy Few (PS4)

2. Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (Switch)

3. Into the Breach (Switch)

4. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War (PS4)

5. Donut County (Switch)

6. A Hat in Time (Switch)

7. World to the West (Switch)

8. SpeedRunners (Switch)

9. Valfaris (Switch)

10. Starlink: Battle for Atlas (Switch)

11. Transistor (Switch)



12. Knights and Bikes (Switch)

13. The Outer Worlds (PS4)

14. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Switch)

15. Bridge Constructor Ultimate Edition (Switch)

16. Darksiders Genesis (Switch)

17. Borderlands 3 (PS4)

18. Ghost Parade (Switch)

19. The Witness (PS4)

20. Soma (PS4)



21. Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince (Switch)

22. Felix the Reaper (Switch)

23. Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore (Switch)

24. Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Switch)

25. Shadow of the Colossus (PS4)

26. Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – Gold (Switch)

27. Pikuniku (Switch)

28. Super Crush KO (Switch)

29. Timespinner (Switch)

30. Outer Wilds (PS4)

31. Curious Expedition (Switch)



32. Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout (Switch)

33. Lost Sphear (Switch)

34. Shovel Knight (Wii U)

35. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Wii U)

36. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Wii U0

37. Feudal Alloy (Switch)

38. Battle Chef Brigade (Switch)

39. Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD (Switch)

40. A Case of Distrust (Switch)

41. Vampyr (Switch)

42. Persona 5 (PS4)

43. Trials of Mana (Switch)



44. Picross S3 (Switch)

45. Bioshock (PS4)

46. Wandersong (Switch)

47. Bioshock 2 (PS4)

48. River City Girls (Switch)

49. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)

50. Bioshock Infinite (PS4)

51. Piczle Cross Adventure (Switch)

52. Arcade Spirits (Switch)

53. Call of Duty: WWII (PS4)



54. Resident Evil 3 (PS4)

55. Wilmot's Warehouse (Switch)

56. Moving Out (Switch)

57. Metro 2033 – Metro Redux (Switch)

58. Metro: Last Light – Metro Redux (Switch)

59. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition (Switch)

60. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition - Future Connected (Switch)

61. Star Wars Battlefront II (PS4)



62. Boxboy! + Boxgirl! (Switch)

63. The Wonderful 101: Remastered (Switch)

64. Spirit of the North (Switch)

65. Metroid Prime – Metroid Prime Trilogy (Wii)

66. #Funtime (Switch)

67. Rainswept (Switch)

68. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX (Switch)

69. Paper Mario: The Origami King (Switch)

70. Murder by Numbers (Switch)



71. The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines (Switch)

72. Erica (PS4)

73. Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise (Switch)

74. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered (PS4)

75. Earthlock (Switch)

76. Phoenotopia: Awakening (Switch)

77. Catherine: Full Body (Switch)

78. Manifold Garden (Switch)

79. Evergate (Switch)

80. Streets of Rage 4 (Switch)

81. Rise of the Tomb Raider (PS4)

82. Steamworld Heist (Switch)

83. Florence (Switch)



84. Cat Quest II (Switch)

85. Street Fighter V (PS4)

86. Jenny LeClue - Detectivu (Switch)

87. Party Hard 2 (Switch)

88. Super Mario Bros. – Super Mario All-Stars (Switch)

89. Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels – Super Mario All-Stars (Switch)

90. Blasphemous (Switch)

91. Super Mario Bros. 2 – Super Mario All-Stars (Switch)

92. Super Mario Bros. 3 – Super Mario All-Stars (Switch)

93. Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD (Switch)

94. Super Mario 64 – Super Mario 3D All-Stars (Switch)

95. Super Mario Sunshine – Super Mario 3D All-Stars (Switch)

96. Death Stranding (PS4)

97. Skully (Switch)



98. Super Mario Galaxy – Super Mario 3D All-Stars (Switch)

99. No Straight Roads (Switch)

100. Mario's Super Picross (Switch)

101. Hades (Switch)

102. Blazing Chrome (Switch)

103. Ministry of Broadcast (Switch)

104. Return of the Obra Dinn (Switch)

105. Bloodroots (Switch)

106. Carrion (Switch)



107. Pikmin 3 Deluxe (Switch)

108. The Last of Us Part II (PS4)

109. Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling (Switch)

110. Control (PS4)

111. Bastion (Switch)

112. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Switch)



113. Picross S4 (Switch)

114. The Last Campfire (Switch)

115. Aer: Memories of Old (Switch)

116. CrossCode (Switch)

117. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light (Switch)

118. Immortals: Fenyx Rising (Switch)

119. Pumpkin Jack (Switch)

120. Kentucky Route Zero (Switch)

121. Indivisible (Switch)

122. Spiritfarer (Switch)


Challenge Games Completed:

Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore (Switch)

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition (Switch)

Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise (Switch)

Streets of Rage 4 (Switch)

Super Mario 3D All-Stars (Switch)

No Straight Roads (Switch)

Pikmin 3 Deluxe (Switch)

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Switch)

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light (Switch)

Edited by Eliwood8
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As always, I beat what I beat, when I beat it.


To start the year off I have these in progress


Octopath Traveller

Monster Boy Cursed Kingdom

Trials of Mana 3D




3/13 Luigi's Mansion 3 / Switch


4/7 Trials of Mana 3D*DEMO* / Switch


6/16  Trials of Mana (SNES/CoM) / Switch




Edited by purple_beard
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Games Beaten 2020


1. Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch) 1/8/2020



2. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (Switch) 




3. NiGHTS into Dreams (Saturn) 3/17/2020

4. Blazing Star (Switch Download) (3/18/2020)



5. Life Force (3DS Virtual Console) 3/18/2020



6. R Type (Nintendo Switch) 3/19/2020

7. R Type 2 (Nintendo Switch) 3/19/2020

8. Earth Defense Force (Switch SNES App) 3/20/2020



9. Gradius (Switch SNES App) 3/20/2020

10. Popn’ Twinbee (Switch SNES App) 3/20/2020



11. Steel Empire (3DS) 3/23/2020

12. Super Street Fighter II (Switch) 3/29/2020

13. Street Fighter Alpha (Switch) 3/29/2020

14. Street Fighter Alpha II (Switch) 3/29/2020

15. Road Rash II (Genesis) 4/3/2020

16. Battle Unit Zeoth (GameBoy) 4/11/2020

17. Mega Man V GameBoy (3DS Virtual Console) (4/12/2020)

18. Dragon Warrior I (Game Boy Color) (5/13/2020)

19. Resident Evil Revelations 2 (Nintendo Switch) 6/9/2020

20. Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4) 6/15/2020

21. The Last of Us Part II (PS4) 7/6/2020

22. Demon's Crest (SNES App) 7/17/2020

23. Yoshi’s Island (SNES App) 7/21/2020

24. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Game Gear) 8/31/2020

25. Vampire: Master of Darkness (Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console) 9/2/2020

26. GG Shinobi (3DS Virtual Console) 9/6/2020

27. Phantasy Star (Nintendo Switch) 9/13/2020




#28 Mario 64 (Nintendo Switch) 9/29/2020






29. Castlevania Collections: Castlevania I (Nintendo Switch) 10/6/2020

30. Doom 3 (Nintendo Switch) 10/ 10/2020


C: 22

H: 8

O: 30


Edited by Irondog666
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Grabbing my spot.  going the motions like usual, only to probably never post again all year like usual, lol. 


The good news is I finally goddamn started Breath of the Wild recently, so I'll be able to post that on here later on down the road.   Though so far I've only made it up to the first of four Divine Beasts.

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1/8: Dragon's Crown Pro (PS4) 


Hey look at that I'm actually getting an early start this year. I had started this just after the holidays so knew I probably wouldn't finish before the new year, but that's ok it gives me a bit of a head start for 2020. I think I've added Dragon's Crown to a Ninfora Games Beaten thread 2 times before this so not gonna try to not go too crazy about thoughts but still gonna add a spoiler block to save space. 



Everyone talking about their favorite games of the decade is pretty much what prompted me to play this again. Dragon's Crown may not be a super popular fan favorite but it was easily one of my favorite games of the decade. In fact, I'm pretty confident in saying it'd secure a place in my "top 10 of all time" though I haven't really sat down and thought about such a list in awhile. While I do still own the PS3 version I picked up the Pro version because it was only 19.99 digitally. TBH it's half just convenience because I don't always have my PS3 setup, having it digitally is nice too.  


The additions to Pro are light, I knew that going in and honestly the game doesn't feel aged at all anyways. It's stylistic look has aged well  and it's gameplay still feels fluid and fun. Aside from the orchestrated soundtrack, which to be fair is fantastic. This time I went with The Fighter. It's actually weird that I've yet to do a FIghter Playthrough because that's normally the first kind of character I'd play. I think when the game first came out I was hoping some of my other friends would be more down for couch co-op so I held off on using the fighter. That sounds kind of sad I guess but it's never really bothered me. 


The biggest surprise playing it in 2020 nearly 7 years after it's release is that I actually had a pretty easy time finding some other players for the later half of the game when co-op opens up. I was expecting a ghost town, but I actually matched pretty often and quickly with people and even had a couple runs with 4 human players. I'm sure the Pro version helps but even that is already over a year old. Overall I still enjoy the heck out of this game and it's been fun to revisit it again after awhile, especially since my last run was a bit of "cheesing it" where I used higher level NPCs to help get through the game fast. I actually started a new save file this time. I could have transferred my save from the PS3 but decided I wouldn't really gain much from that other than a cluttered inventory and less excitement from gaining new rewards since I held onto a good deal of powerful equipment from other characters runs. 


That was still longer than I wanted it to be, but one final thought: Dragon's Crown would be incredible on Switch. I know it's probably a pipe dream but having it be able to switch between TV and Portable mode would be awesome and the touch screen when portable would be great for clicking treasures and doors.




Igneous42 2020 Games Beaten

1/8: Dragon's Crown (PS4] 


C: 1


Next up will probably be finishing up Three Houses: Silver Snow. I beat the other three path's so close together it's weird that it's taken me so long to get through Silver Snow. Perhaps after three pretty consistent playthroughs I just needed a break. I'm pretty confident that will be the next game I add and hopefully it won't be too long. Though I'm still planning to enjoy Dragon's Crown a bit more so we'll see. 

Edited by Igneous42
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Beat: Fitness Boxing, Switch


So I've been playing this one near daily since last May. Not even joking on the near daily part- at one point, I had a streak of more than 100 days in a row playing this game. The game kept track, not me. 


So this is an unusual beat, to be sure, but having previously three-starred every routine in the game, I have now unlocked all outfits. The last of these outfits takes 198,000 punches to unlock, so it's a matter of sheer attrition. I'll still be playing, I just won't have any more in-game presents to open up. 


For those wondering, as of this morning, I'm down 62 pounds. I'm still fat, but I'm that much less fat than I was last May. 

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- We Happy Few (PS4)
I was so intrigued when this game was first announced, but the final product is such a disappointment. Even putting aside the noticeably poor frame rate or the fact that the game crashed on me like every couple of hours, the gameplay is just not polished at all. It's clear the developers took a big swing at making a huge, elaborate game with stealth, crafting, varied approaches, survival mechanics, etc., but it doesn't quite come together and ultimately feels like a lot of mediocre ideas instead of a single polished and well-realized idea. It's a shame because I still really enjoyed the setting and characters, but yeah this is a swing and a miss.
- Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (Switch)
Didn't love how tedious the titular lair was, even with a full complement of Beettalion Guards, but otherwise there are plenty of fun side-scrolling platformer challenges to enjoy here.
- Into the Breach (Switch)
I didn't realize just how long I've slept on this game—I thought it came out last year but it was actually August 2018! Anyway now that I've finally given it a shot I really enjoyed it. Took me a bit of time to get used to the game's unique win/lose conditions, but I think I've gotten the hang of it now.
- Middle-Earth: Shadow of War (PS4)
Awfully satisfying to run around knifing orcs in the back, dominating the captains, and generally just being an absolute terror in Mordor. I also really appreciate how fluid the open-world mechanics are—so nice to be able to climb most anything, and quickly too. The story felt a little lackluster, but the gameplay makes up for it.
- Donut County (Switch)
What a delightfully weird little game. I liked it, particularly the humor which is done well—which isn't terribly common in video games—but it is a bit of a bummer that the game is so short with no replay value. Some kind of score/time attack mode might have been nice.

Console: 5

Overall: 5

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Beat my first game.  That is Link's Awakening on the Nintendo Switch.  I beat it twice actually. Regular Mode the first time and Hero Mode the second time.  100% on Hero Mode.  It is a great remake to one of my favorite Zelda titles (still not as good as A Link to the Past but it is close).  I am working on several games right now.  I am playing Zelda II on the Switch NES app (never beaten it) and having a difficult time with it to say the least.  I have tried to play it on the original cart (which I do own) but could never get anywhere with it.  I need the save states to have any chance in hell of beating this game.  This is one of those games that if you used a Game Genie back in the day, I really couldn't have knocked you for it.  Over on the 3DS I am doing Oracle of Seasons (another one I never beat, never got to play either Ages or Seasons back in the day).  I really am going to be focusing mostly on my backlog this year.  Obviously, there will be some replays of some favorite games of mine like every year but I am really trying to knock this backlog down.  Back in school and going for my Master's Degree on top of having a Graduate Assistantship Position as a TA, so I am going to be busy with that, but I will make time.  If you haven't added me to backloggery yet the link to it is below.



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Beat shitty ass Zelda 2 lol. Wow that was easily the worst Zelda I ever played. I guess as a NES game it is ok but how the fuck anyone beat this on the original NES back in the day is beyond me. I have it on the NES but there was no fucking way that was ever happening on the original console without being able to save wherever.  Still had fun with it but even on the Switch app, it was pretty ridiculous.

Edited by Irondog666
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  • 2 weeks later...

- A Hat in Time (Switch)

It was disappointing to see how poor the visuals and technical performance of this game was on the Switch, but then it was really disappointing when compared to screenshots from other versions.
- World to the West (Switch)
Another game that I've left on my wish list for a long time and finally got around to playing thanks to new year's sales. Ultimately I felt like the gameplay was stretched a little too thin, but I did like the concept of swapping between four characters in an adventure game.
- SpeedRunners (Switch)
Story mode is pretty short, just a standard racing game "beat the AI" sort of thing, but the game shines as an easy to pick up and play party game.
- Valfaris (Switch)
An improvement over Slain, but the super difficult format still left me feeling more relieved that the game was over rather than satisfied by a job well done.
- Starlink: Battle for Atlas (Switch)
It's a shame that this game even bothered with the whole toys-to-life feature because it's a pretty solid sci-fi space shooter and I feel like the concept of purchasing ships/guns really hurt its marketing. It also definitely suffers from some bloated open-world game design but overall it's fun, and I hope Ubisoft continues to make surprising games with Nintendo IPs.

Console: 10

Overall: 10

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