Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 28

Thread: Completion Thread 2021 -OVERTURE-

  1. 2. Steel Battalion



    Steel Battalion's controller is ridiculous, as everyone knows, and it's worth a quick rundown. The left-hand panel of the three-panel controller has a throttle for changing gear and a one-axis stick for rotating the entire mech. Atop this rotation stick is an analog thumbstick for turning your vision. Over on the right-hand panel you have a stick for aiming and firing your weapons that doesn't physically recenter. At your feet are a gas pedal, a brake pedal, and a third pedal for dodging. All around the center panel and spilling into right panel are buttons for secondary functions like controlling your sub-monitors, switching and reloading your weapons, and even a dial for communicating with your teammates. To top it all off, there are a bunch of toggle switches and a handful of other buttons that are mostly only used when you start up your mech each mission.

    What's genuinely surprising is that the software is even more absurd than the controller.

    Once you create pilot data you're placed into a besieged hanger where you're pressured to scramble through the incredibly cool mech bootup sequence (complete with choreographed lights flashing all across the controller). Immediately after this you'll fire on an enemy mech right at the hanger door and then stumble outside to fight another enemy mech a block or so away. This is the closest thing the game has to a tutorial. You'll figure out the basics of movement and aim through this, but it'll leave you with a lot of questions. Subsequent mission briefings will suggest you read parts of the game's beefy VT Operation Manual, and you'll wind up taking these suggestions seriously.

    Almost everything in the game is seen through the mech's cockpit, which is wonderfully detailed and clunky. The visuals in this game stand out a lot: the lighting looks all dynamic and there's all this post processing and alpha stuff going on that sells the dirt, clunk, and grime so well.

    The mechs are slow, but there's a lot of room for pilots to optimize and learning to do so is satisfying. Basic movement consists of managing the manual transmission, the leg rotation, the head rotation, and the arm rotation all simultaneously, so even doing your first strafing maneuver on an enemy feels pretty great. The big feel-good movement mechanic comes from the dodge pedal: at the expense of a shitload of fuel, you can mash that third pedal while either holding the movement stick in a direction (to dodge left or right) or leaving it neutral (to dodge forward or backward depending on the thruster's position). Jumping out of the way of enemy rockets with this never gets old, especially when you rip the thruster back into reverse gear before doing so. After spending so long getting familiar with the starting mechs, the game gives you access to sleek 2nd generation ones with new cockpits and a few unique mechanics of their own.

    Missions can get long (most fall in a 15 to 40 minute range) and have no checkpoints, so you'll learn an awful lot from failing at them. Running out of fuel in a mission makes you try to recognize enemy fire that can be avoided without dodging. Tipping over and eating dirt mid-combat makes you quicker on the draw with the fall recovery mechanic. Running out of ammo will make you learn to pay more attention to effective weapon ranges and suss out when and how an enemy will dodge. You'll learn to order supplies mid-mission, allowing you to replenish armor, ammo, and fuel, but this comes at a cost outside of the mission itself. You'll develop lots of mission-specific strategies.

    One of the most unique things about Steel Battalion is the way it connects in-mission performance with the broader game structure. Famously, the controller has an eject button. It's in the extreme upper-right, surrounded by warning stripes, and you have to flip up a little plastic shield before you can press it. When your mech takes enough damage for this button to start glowing you have to quickly eject because otherwise you, as a pilot, die, and in Steel Battalion this means that you have to start the entire campaign over again. This eject wrinkle isn't particularly complex and you'll learn to play it safe after a few tragic deaths, but survival means that you still have to buy yourself a new mech to retry the mission in. Cash is limited, and running out of it will cause your player to be demoted. This is, functionally, the same as dying. Your reserves loom over your head as you play, constantly pressuring you to be as cautious as time limits allow in new missions and to optimize your costs in missions you're more comfortable with. The less ammo you use, the less damage you take, and the more enemies you destroy during your missions, the more cash you can spend on retries and mid-mission resupplies in the future.

    There's a lot here. Normal mode is brutal (after a lot of it I decided to play through on Rookie, which is a bit more forgiving about the cash), and there are two or three difficulty levels above that. More importantly, after the credits roll, there's an entire second campaign longer than the first and it introduces more mechanics and a third generation of mechs. Like playing XCOM on Iron Man, this is something I'll have to come back to after recovering from this playthrough. Interestingly you can roll your resources from beating one campaign into starting another, so I have to imagine that the highest difficulties expect you to stock up with a few easier campaign playthroughs.

    Fittingly, Steel Battalion is a heavy fucking game. There's nothing like it.
    Last edited by Tain; 23 Jan 2021 at 10:03 PM.

  2. It sounds really cool. I have the box sitting in a garage somewhere. I've never actually owned an Xbox to play it. Lol
    look here, upon a sig graveyard.

  3. I’ve had my Xbox since around 2004. I remember seeing several of those at a nearby Game Stop. They had them marked down to $99. I should have picked one up, but paying around $100 for a single game seemed rather wasteful.

  4. Call of The Sea

    First-person exploration/puzzle game that just came out. It's 1934 and you play Norah. A year earlier your husband, Harry, left on an expedition to find a cure for your mysterious ailment. The prologue starts with you on a boat on the way to find where Harry went after receiving a mysterious package (and some weird dreams) at home.

    Through the six chapters (the prologue is one room on a boat and takes about 5 minutes) it's just you on an island. You arrive on the beach where Harry's expedition first landed and you pretty much follow the progress he made, figuring out each discovery he made with the notes he and other crew members left behind. The gameplay is very simple, more or less like Myst. You walk around and interact with objects and puzzles that consist mostly of switches, buttons, and dials. As you inspect, Norah writes down the important stuff in her notebook for you to reference for puzzle solving.

    Just about every puzzle is basically "unlock this door". I'd say there are 3 difficult puzzles. 2 of them I was able to reason out with the clues that are given to you (the organ in Chapter 3 is pretty ingenious, it took me a lot of time to get it right). I'd say they have a logic behind them that isn't some random shit that asks you to guess what the designer was thinking at the time. There is a good amount of trial and error though when you need to need to figure out how to line things up.

    For the last difficult puzzle, which is close to the end of the game, I had to look up the answer. It's a combination lock with symbols on murals and I could not figure out the key to spin the locks into the right position. I never would have figured it out. I had to read the solution multiple times to understand the logic (I didn't want to just watch the video, it bugged me that I couldn't figure out why I had to move the dials to those positions). There's also a bug in one puzzle room where you can't reverse the direction of an underwater gate once you interact with it the first time. So if you don't solve the puzzle on the first try, the game will not let you interact with the controls again. Thankfully the autosave is right before that, so it's not a disaster of a bug.

    That's my only complaint. I really liked it otherwise. Great production value. Looks terrific and the sound design is fantastic. The chapters are actually very small, geographically they keep you contained while giving you the illusion that you're in a very large space. If you ever need to backtrack, it doesn't take long to do so. Smart design decision, as they got to spend their budget on making their sets looks and sound great and keep tedium from setting in. It feels like the designers had very clear ideas and goals from the start and they were able to make exactly what they wanted along with some fun secrets.

    I like the story a lot too and despite knowing what's happening to her (it's not like they hide it and it's not original) the conclusion storytelling puts a good twist on things. I found the ending to be touching and satisfying (you have a choice to make, I went with the one on the left). I recommend it. I think it'll take at least 6 hours to complete without help.
    Last edited by Rumpy; 21 Jan 2021 at 10:06 PM.

  5. 3. Sisters Royale



    A genuinely arcade-styled Alfa System STG from a couple years back but just recently localized and released on Steam.

    I haven't played a ton of any single Shikigami no Shiro, but this game feels a lot like what I remember of Shikigami 2. The characters have pretty wild abilities, all of which are super different, and while I don't want to call them balanced in any way I'm not seeing any obvious choices towering over the others. It's a fairly easy 1cc on Normal, but it's a game full of unique patterns and some surprising stage gimmicks that are fun to adjust to. Finding the scoring sprites is cool and it's very satisfying to pop the x16 on bosses.

    Hard mode changes things up a lot. Haven't seen the final boss but I bet there's one more form at least.

  6. 4. Hitman 3



    It's absolutely more of the same, but the six stages of Hitman 3 are mostly huge, all great, and have some high points for the trilogy. I love how the stages from the prior two Hitman releases are neatly merged into this one massive, consistent game. Really, really hoping we see the VR mode on PC. Played on Master, which is an excellently balanced difficulty level, but there's always a ton to do in these maps.

    5. Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire



    Surely this game's weird third-person/first-person combat with extremely heavy autoaim was a big inspiration for Goldeneye 64 even if the floaty movement wasn't. The scope of a lot of these stages are pretty impressive for the time, and there's a decent amount of variety in their design: you'll hop between corridor shooting, hugging canyon walls, dodging obstacles on a moving train, jetpacking around, piloting vehicles, manning turrets, and taking on bosses in one-on-one arenas. The on-foot segments that make up the majority of the game are mostly good, but the bosses are the game's weak point: most of them feel like they're made to be exploited with incredibly obvious tricks, they're extremely dragged out, and a good chunk of them are almost damage races. Maybe in an attempt to make them stand out the developers seemingly disabled all forms of autoaim for these fights, and some of them make you play it extremely safe as you flail around with the manual stop-and-aim mechanic. Would have liked to see a sequel that built on the best of this game.

    6. Ninja Ryukenden (Game Boy)



    Very well-made action-platformer by Natsume, completely distinct from the arcade or Famicom games. This one plays more like Shatterhand, with Ryu moving at a slower pace to better fit the Game Boy's resolution. Everything is clean and focused throughout the game's five stages. It's ultimately pretty easy, but ramps up a little bit in the second half and would probably be fun to no-continue. Sick music, excellent final boss battle, and great visuals for the platform.

    I haven't played many Game Boy action-platformers. This is probably the best of those I have.

  7. Quote Originally Posted by Tain View Post
    ... 6. Ninja Ryukenden (Game Boy)



    Very well-made action-platformer by Natsume, completely distinct from the arcade or Famicom games. This one plays more like Shatterhand, with Ryu moving at a slower pace to better fit the Game Boy's resolution. Everything is clean and focused throughout the game's five stages. It's ultimately pretty easy, but ramps up a little bit in the second half and would probably be fun to no-continue. Sick music, excellent final boss battle, and great visuals for the platform.

    I haven't played many Game Boy action-platformers. This is probably the best of those I have.
    I played this when it came out. Even back then, a time when you would try to convince yourself that bad games were good because that was all you had, I thought that they developed a really good game with the limited resources they had. I thoroughly enjoyed playing through it.

  8. 7. Perfect Dark



    Not a lot of surprises here. It's Goldeneye with a bit more to it and a Deus Ex theme. Some of the warts are a little more prominent in this game: more frequent extreme framerate dips, more annoying objective failures because you didn't read the fulltext briefing or because an NPC ran in the line of fire. It's still impressive for the hardware, though, and the more outlandish setting, weapons, and sometimes enemies make it pull out ahead I think. The firing range is a neat touch.

    8. Perfect Dark Zero



    This one's a jarring one to play in 2021. The style is hilarious (nu-metal Bond theme, everyone's clothing, the UI), it's kinda repugnant in terms of character design ("Mai Hem" are you kidding me), and the environments sincerely look like they're out of Reboot at times.

    It's at least kind of impressive technologically for a 2005 release, though. It's kind of refreshing to play one of these pre-Gears of War games where the environments are a little bit sparse but use big ol signifiers (file cabinets, computers, etc) that are ALL physics-simulated. Tons of junk and ragdolls flying around. Halo 3 gives me a similar feeling.

    The scenario is a bit more grounded here, disappointingly, and this seeps into the weapons, enemy design, and mission settings. It's not terribly bland or anything, but it's definitely not as cool as the original.

    All of that said, this carries on with some of the original's strengths by having its share of standout weapon abilities, some fun gadgets, lots of satisfying enemy reactions, and a lot of objective variety. Thankfully the game's a bit less obtuse about what you're supposed to do, and I actually really love how it draws a subtle-ish path on the ground to help you find the next objective (only when you've been lost for a while and there's no way to ask for it manually). The cover and dodge mechanics are limited but occasionally useful, and the core mechanics are a step up by being closer in style to Halo than Goldeneye.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nei View Post
    I played this when it came out. Even back then, a time when you would try to convince yourself that bad games were good because that was all you had, I thought that they developed a really good game with the limited resources they had. I thoroughly enjoyed playing through it.
    Kinda crazy I hadn't heard of it sooner, chalk it up to the Game Boy library in general being a little overlooked outside of the big games I guess.
    Last edited by Tain; 31 Jan 2021 at 07:16 PM.

  9. Where do you find the time Tain?

  10. Quote Originally Posted by gamevet View Post
    Where do you find the time Tain?
    Hah, it's between pandemic lockdown (working remote thankfully), taking a breather from gamedev, and playing a lot of of short, old games.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Games.com logo