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blcdude1

Video Games Finished in 2020

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- Jenny LeClue - Detectivu (Switch)

Loved it; charming visual design and voice work, fun mystery story, and good (though perhaps not great) puzzles. Shame that it's only part one of the overarching mystery—it'd better not take years to see this whole story resolved!
 
- Party Hard 2 (Switch)
Some improvements over the first game, though still pretty repetitive at times. Most of all I just want the game to load faster if dying/retrying/testing new strategies is going to be such a common thing.
 
- Super Mario Bros. – Super Mario All-Stars (Switch)
I'm pretty rusty at the original SMB so I made prodigious use of continues, but I did play through every level, no warp pipes!
 
- Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels – Super Mario All-Stars (Switch)
Talk about frequent use of continues. I know it's basically a hard mode for SMB but man there are some devious little sections in this game.
 
- Blasphemous (Switch)
Took me a while to warm up to this one since it's so punishingly difficult at first. It's still difficult late in the game but at least you have more healing potions and items at your disposal. Once the game felt a little more Metroidvania and a little less Souls I got into it.
 

Console: 90

Overall: 90

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As a matter of fact...!

 

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.

 

Edited by Link, the Hero of Dreams

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Zelda II: The Adventure of Link -  Nintendo Switch

 

Feels so good to finally finish this game. I never thought I would, the difficulty level is insane. A pretty great game if you deal with it on its own terms. If it had a few tweaks to the difficulty and some other aspects I think it would be as legendary as the original game.

 

 

Console - 18

Handheld - 1

PC - 31

Overall - 50

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We Happy Few - XB1 - All 3 Acts

 

The game is not without its flaws. Hell it's on GamePass for free and practically every achievement is "diamond", so very few people who play it, play it for very long. I mostly kept going for answers to some of the stories questions/mysteries (it was decent enough to finish and not look up spoilers) and they don't even deliver on giving you any real answers. And the randomly generated world for each playthough, not a good idea. You get hit with load screens, long-ass ones, all the time. This lead to a few game crashes, and some of the generations put 2 fast-travel locations very close to each other and left huge areas of map with none with some missions requiring frequent back-and-forth travel.

 

Neat concept, poor delivery.

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Fire Emblem Warriors (Switch): Took me three years, but I finally 100%'d the game. All characters leveled up to 150, all A-supports with each other, all crests unlocked, all skills learned, all personal weapons decked out with attributes, all missions on all History Mode maps completed with S-rank, all Story Mode chapters cleared on Lunatic difficulty with the Infernal blessing active, all badges earned.

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Super Mario 64 - Nintendo Switch

Katamari Damacy Reroll - Nintendo Switch

 

Got 120 stars in Super Mario 64 for the first time. Totally classic game with a few warts. I made a tier list of all the levels.

 

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Beat Katamari Damacy again for the first time in like 15 years. Such an addictive charming game.

 

Console - 20

Handheld - 1

PC - 31

Overall - 52

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My tier ranking of stages from Super Mario 64 from D to S, with no secret stages- 

  

D   

 

Shifting Sand Land. Only went here to get one star. And, for personal reasons, I hate deserts.   

Wet-Dry World- Ocarina flashbacks. The whole premise here is just obnoxious.

 

 

Lethal Lava Land- Bowser's stages are lava, so a stage being like this is redundant. And, I hate those bullies.  

Dire, Dire Docks- Like Jolly Roger Bay, but Bowser has a submarine. Okay... I discovered this place by accident too.  

Hazy Maze Cave- It's a maze, and unless one gets the Metal Cap, a part of this place is hard to get around it.  

Tall, Tall Mountain- Too long for its own good, and that monkey wants to steal my hat. Bad monkey! 

Tiny-Huge Island- A great concept from Super Mario 3 returns! Although, the enemy AI is rather weird.   

Rainbow Ride- A lot of this stage is just waiting. But, its appearance in the Smash games help it stand out.

 

B

 

Jolly Roger Bay- Even though the swimming physics are odd at first to get used to, at least the underwater setting and music are neat.  

Whomp's Fortress- A harder Bob-Omb Battlefield because of bottomless pits, and a boss that's just okay. Nothing really bad about it, just nothing special.  

Cool, Cool Mountain- The slide part of this stage is annoying. The baby getting part isn't bad, but I wanted the baby to shut up. Also, I hated steering that body of snow. But, I love the music. 

Tick Tock Clock- Unless I pull off that secret, I hate this stage a lot. But, it getting some love in Mario Kart DS and 8 Deluxe is cool.

 

A

  

Snowman's Land- Not all of the stars in this level are hard to get. 

Big Boo's Haunt- Nothing really bad with it, I just don't like scary places.   

Bowser In The Fire Sea- Just goes on for way too long.   

Bowser In The Sky- Goes on for way too long too. Maybe longer. If they wanted challenge by means of progression, maybe throw in stuff from the second and third floors, and as for the second Bowser stage the basement stages. The next game at least makes the road to Bowser a lot more fulfilling.  

 

 

Bob-Omb Battlefield- One of the most iconic 3D opening stages. Easy to learn the mechanics, and hard to mess up here. And the song is sooo good!

Bowser In The Dark World- A perfect way to introduce what Bowser and his stages will be about, and it has a great first Bowser.  

 

But, I'm not here to discuss that. I finally beat another game. 

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I love the concept of Tiny Huge Island but the execution sucks. It's full of the kind of level geometry where Mario slides off for absolutely no reason and there's almost nothing underneath to catch you if you do.

 

Rainbow Ride might be my fav level in the game along with the Bowser levels, the difficulty level is just perfect. Some tricky platforming but not too tricky. It's got the structure of the more defined obstacle course levels but it also has tons of branching paths to keep it feeling open. Cool visuals too.

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We are updated through here; I have no clue what would constitute beating a game like Dead by Daylight. 

 

As usual, let me know if I missed something. 

Edited by blcdude1

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

Keeping this Mario train rolling with this oddball Mario game. In retrospect I'm not sure why the release of All-Stars prompted me to replay these when they were all available on the NES Online app already, but oh well.
 
- Super Mario Bros. 3 – Super Mario All-Stars (Switch)
Here we go, the NES Mario game I know the best. Went through the game without warp whistles but I did skip any unnecessary levels. Also tried to use items more liberally rather than hoard them like I usually end up doing.
 
- Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD (Switch)
Really shows its age. It's neat as a window into a few game generations ago, but a bit more of a remake instead of just remastering would've really helped the experience, at least for someone like me who didn't play the original.
 
- Super Mario 64 – Super Mario 3D All-Stars (Switch)
The controls and especially the camera definitely feel dated but I was pleasantly surprised to see how much of the game holds up. Also surprised by how much I remember about the game; I really flew through the first half, remembering exactly what to do.
 
- Super Mario Sunshine – Super Mario 3D All-Stars (Switch)
Hoo boy, I didn't remember too many details about this game and that includes how shockingly difficult it can be. This game is downright cruel at times. I'm glad to have replayed it but it might be another eighteen years before I give it another go.
 
Challenge game beaten: Super Mario 3D All-Stars
 

Console: 95

Overall: 95

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