Thursday, May 9, 2024

The 1000 Games I've Beaten (#395 - 410)

#395 Catherine (Playstation 3) – Winter 2012

A game about women...and pushing crates around. It's kind of fitting that this is what I was playing when I started dating my longest-term girlfriend. Fitting because she is best known for pushing giant crates around. Wait a minute, is this game a metaphor for helping women move into a new place?

In any case, this is a great puzzle game, and it's stylish as all heck. Some of the bosses are really freakish. Yes, it's a puzzle game with bosses. Everything about this game is good, and it's super unique too because I haven't played anything else in whatever genre this is.

It also has the interesting side story of a guy trying to juggle two women who don't know about each other (that was his first mistake). Later they remade the game and added a third chick to this freaky non-throuple. Unfortunately the main dude is also a Shonen Protagonist so he mostly stands around scratching his head and spazzing out while these multiple chicks obsess over him for no apparent reason. Guy has zero game and makes zero effort besides the effort it takes for him to keep his lies going. So that aspect of the story kind of sucks. Would be awesome to see a Shonen Protagonist who actually acts like they give a damn, or does anything to earn all their unearned female-attention.

Toughest Part: Axis Mundi, the fourth and final world of the optional side-towers of the game. I never actually finished that one. I think I did everything else. It's like the postgame.

#396 Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Wii) – Winter 2012

Finally got around to the copy of this game that a friend had given me 8 years (Jesus) earlier. I stalled out early on with the stealth-heavy fortress and mostly just ran around the first town, throwing things into the volcano. Well, at this point in 2012, it was time, so I opened the windows in my wood-paneled room and spent a portion of a weekend and a few weeknights playing through this game.

This is a happy and bright/colorful game and I'm pretty sure it can cure depression. I'm glad it exists for that reason. I only played through it that one time, over that one week, and I wouldn't play it again because I don't want to disturb that memory. I could definitely see this being a lot of people's favorite game (people who grew up in the mid-00s with the original, or people who grew up in the mid 2010's with the remake).

Favorite Tune: Wind Temple. This song is best listened to with the windows open and an evening breeze flowing through. Even though I didn't play this until 2012, this tune gives me someone else's nostalgia.

#397 Mass Effect 2 (Playstation 3) – Spring 2012

I'd been playing this one for a couple months at this point when I finally finished it. My favorite of the trilogy and the one I spent the most time on, by far. They're all action-RPGs, and the first went a little too far to the RPG side while the third went way too far to the action side. The second one struck a good balance. Again, I went Vanguard for this one and had a blast dashing all over the place and knocking down enemy shields with electric pulses. The game also has the best DLCs this side of Fallout 3, with some good side-stories. I went out of my way to do everything and check out every planet.

Fondest Memory: Being on the Galaxy Map for the first time. Awesome music, a ton of places to check out, basically a dream for anybody who grew up on Star Trek. Most of the worlds are created for the game, but almost all of the star systems are real places. I studied star maps as a kid and knew all the star names, and playing this 20 years later was a trip. Even learned some new stuff. This was a legit magical experience to play. So were Catherine and Wind Waker in some ways.

Favorite Tune: Galaxy Map, of course.

#398 Power Blade 2 (NES) – Spring 2012

This on the other hand is a meh NES game that I played just to do a post for it. It's a sequel to one of my favorite NES games...that I found to be a big letdown. The levels are a lot less distinct and they all have the same "refinery" visual theme. A lot of late-era NES games seemed to make this mistake for some reason, Ninja Gaiden 3 is another one. I think they also did away with the stage select. Big disappointment here. It slipped in while I was waiting for Mass Effect 3 and I gained an understanding as to why this game is forgotten while Power Blade is fondly remembered.

Toughest Part: The bosses were pretty mean in this one. Also most of them are pallette-swaps of each other, which is disappointing after how interesting the bosses were in the first game.

Post HERE.

#399 Mass Effect 3 (Playstation 3) – Spring 2012

Another sequel that was a letdown, I was super gung-ho about this game leading up to its release. Was a day one purchase and play, which I had rarely done before this point. Rarely have I been more excited for a game than I was for this one. The culmination of a story that I'd gotten into over the past few months, this one had the long-awaited arrival of the Reapers. It's like the Saiyans arriving on Earth, times about a thousand.

Unfortunately not only was the story a letdown, with a lame culmination, but so was the gameplay. It seemed like all the RPG mechanics were really toned down for this one and they went balls-out with the action. At times it just felt like a regular shooter game with a cool setting. Instead of going Vanguard like the other two games, I went Soldier for this one, and... bleh. Gameplay was far more boring as Soldier and it turned into just a standard first-person shooter. Not a class I recommend. If I ever play this series again I'm going to go with Adept and try out the "spell-casting" class.

A lot of my dislike for this game probably came down to my class choice, picking the most generic class by far. However, it also had the big problem of its ending. Seemed like absolutely nobody liked the ending of this game, to the point that the devs drastically altered it in a later patch. For me, the ending was the least of the game's issues though, as I found it to be subpar to the first two in pretty much every category. They also really phased out the RPG mechanics by this point, which was a mistake. Still, it was an exciting time and an exciting playthrough part of the way at least.

Review HERE.

#400 Wario Land 2 (Game Boy Color) – Spring 2012

ANOTHER sequel that I was let down by. The first Wario Land is one of my favorite games on the Game Boy, but I never got into any of its sequels when they were current. They all kinda flew under the radar. Well, there's a reason for that. While some people love these Wario games, they have a lot of problems. The devs decided to make Wario invincible to regular enemies and challenge the player in other ways, which didn't really work in practice. I found this game to be pretty mundane and bland overall. Was worth playing once to do a post, which is the only reason I played it. I was stoked to finally get to this and...yeah. Well, some players really liked this game, so it might just be me.

Post HERE.

#401 Wario Land 3 (Game Boy Color) – Summer 2012

Lot of people swear by this being the best Wario game, but I didn't like this one either. The level system is a total maze, and I never had any clue how far I was from the end. With the levels bouncing all over the place randomly, there was never any "theme" for any level sets like in a traditional game with worlds. It all came off as almost procedurally-generated or something. Was so not-into it that I barely got to the end (basically just for the post's sake) and put off the fourth game for a couple months.

Fondest Memory: Playing this while my GF was at work, in her room, because I had nowhere to be that day. was probably the first time in 2012 that I actually felt like I was wasting my time with a game though. Still, I was going to get it done and do the post and finish the Wario Land series, and I did.

Post HERE.

#402 Fl0w (Playstation 3) – Summer 2012

This is a very special game because I don't think anything relaxed me or helped me think the way this did. It's one of the simplest games of the modern era, and consists of moving a single-celled life form around in a primordial sea, absorbing other lifeforms. You get bigger and take on different shapes as it progresses, like the jellyfish seen here. It's basically an "early life in the ocean" simulator and it really makes you think. Is also made by the same people that eventually made Flower. Highly recommended, this one. The whole game can be finished in an hour or so, it probably costs very little these days, and there's a PS4 remaster.

Fondest Memory: Playing it in my wood-paneled game room and pondering questions of life and primordial seas. Why did I ever move out of that place, anyway?

Review HERE.

#403 Aliens: Infestation (Nintendo DS) – Summer 2012

My new-found love of Aliens continued with this solid Metroidvania type 2D game. Even though it's slow-moving controlwise and probably an acquired taste, this is one of the most worthy "hidden gem" games I found on the DS. Most people don't know it even exists. It's a shame because Colonial Marines got so much attention only to be a dud, while this one just flew under everyone's radar. People should give this one a shot, provided they like 2D Metroidvanias.

Fondest Memory: All of the numerous Alien references that crept into this game. Whoever made this had a ton of respect for the source material and made sure to give the players lots of fanservice. This game really does punch well above its weight. The only issue with it is that it was a fairly brief experience and over quickly.

#404 Fire Emblem 10: Radiant Dawn (Wii) – Summer 2012

Had this sitting for a while on my game shelf, and regarded this as the better thing I had to play through FE9 to get to. Turns out it was the other way around, FE9 was considerably more interesting while this game was pretty dull and played-out in comparison. It DID look very nice for the time, though, and had a few memorable characters I liked. The box art is also one of the best in the series, maybe THE best.

Other than that, not a whole lot stands out about this one, and it was the last main-series Fire Emblem game that I played for a very long time. It's an FE game, it's on the Wii which needed one, and that's about it. I think I mainly just pulled this one off the shelf and played through it so I could avoid playing...

#405 Wario Land 4 (Game Boy Advance) – Summer 2012

The last game in the Wario Land series on Game Boy. This one jumped to GBA which at least gave me some hope I'd enjoy it more. Unfortunately I had some of the same issues with it that I had with the previous two. At least this one is the prettiest by a mile, and that made it much easier to get through. Overall, while I didn't like any of the sequels as much as the original Wario Land, this one was definitely the closest to it in terms of actually being a fun time for me. This is very much a "your mileage may vary" situation though.

Post HERE.

#406 Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Wii) – Summer 2012

Moved into a new place (big mistake) right around this time. This is one of those games that I mostly just remember how hot it was (no AC again) when I played it. It's a Jedi game on ROIDS, with you playing as a guy who is basically the Broly of Jedi/Sith. He can pull Star Destroyers out of the air with the force, and he dual-wields lightsabers while throwing Sith Lightning. There's no way this guy is canon 'cause he makes everyone in the movies look like jobbers.

All of that said, is the game good? Yeah, it's a lot of fun. Very short though, which is alright because being a wildly OP Sith/Jedi (he's kinda both) runs its course after a while. There was only so much they could do with him.

#407 Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (Wii) – Summer 2012

Similar feelings to the first one. This one could have been a lot more than it is. Another very short action romp, and the story doesn't really challenge any of the material. The shot above might be the PS3 version because it looks way too nice for the Wii. In any case, these two games are a ton of fun and I really liked them, but I'll never play them again and wish more had been done with this concept. A third game, or just a decently longer campaign in the two we got, would have been nice.

#408 Robocop Vs. Terminator (Sega Genesis) – Summer 2012

This was pretty much solely so I could do a post about it. It's kind of a ridiculous idea, because Robocop should be no match for a T-800 yet here he is blasting his way through a bunch of them. Ended up being a cool game though. Not sure what prompted this playthrough other than doing a post.

Note that there are two versions of this, on the SNES and Genesis, and they're very different games. The SNES version appears later.

Post HERE.

#409 Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii) – Summer 2012

This is the point in time where my game-finishing kinda took off like a rocket because I decided I wanted to get to 1000. But first, I had two heavy-hitters to deal with in Xenoblade and Fallout 3. This one is noteworthy because it was a battle to get Nintendo to release it in the US. We've seen with Mother 3 how sometimes those battles don't pan out at all. In this case it did, and we got a very solid modern-day RPG.

Personally this wasn't my favorite game once I got midway through it, and I had to power through to the end. I had huge hopes and expectations going in, due to being a fan of the Xenosaga series and obviously Xenogears. However this game has almost no connective tissue to any of those games, especially compared to its sequels. I liked the voice acting, the premise, and especially the world. This game had a gorgeous world that shouldn't have even been possible on the Wii. However, the battle system didn't click with me very well and I found myself frequently having to stop and level grind. I was probably doing it wrong.

Toughest Part: That one boss with the claw hands who you fight in a snow field. IIRC he betrays your party earlier. That guy obliterated me and I had to go level grind a lot.

#410 Fallout 3 (Playstation 3) – Summer 2012

Gave this game much more of a chance than I did in 2009, and still had the encyclopedic guidebook. What I got was an expansive open world with a zillion things to see and do and no real way to go wrong with it. It's basically the furthest evolution of the formula pioneered by the original Dragon Quest. You can walk in any direction and get to the other end of the world right at the beginning of the game, and the only thing stopping you is the power of the enemies relative to your character. However since the enemies and your character are usually not that far apart, the main issue is equipment and what gear you've got. As you learn more skills and get better equipment, your ability to travel further expands.

My overall strategy with this game was to get a Plasma Rifle as quick as possible. I specced for energy weapons even though you don't have one for a bit, and used the guide to find the location of one. I believe it was a quest in Rivet City, one of the cooler locations in an RPG. It's a city made out of the hull of a giant boat, full of quests and armories and NPCs. It took a lot of effort to find the right place and do the right quests, so once I got that rifle, I was hooked.

I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the DLCs, because this was the first game I ever played where the DLCs were truly a must and debatably on the same level as the main game. There are 5 of them and each one is a very different expansion to the main game. One raises the level cap from 20 to 30, which is notable because it follows the same framework as Dragon Quest: You need about level 20 to beat the game comfortably, and anything beyond that is just flexing on the game. I liked the cap increase because it made the DLCs much more enjoyable (given that I could continue to gain levels as I did them). Each DLC also took place in a completely different setting, with one of them having you explore a crashed spaceship with 50's sci-fi style alien menaces onboard. Some really zany ideas here.

Fondest Memory: The giant official guide book that I got to go with it. That book was like an awesome encyclopedia, and smelled like a library. Really helped with the vibe of getting into a huge world with this game. This is hands-down "Game of the PS3 Generation" for me, though Bioshock and Mass Effect 2 are both nipping at its heels and great in their own ways.

Honorable Mention: Fallout New Vegas

Went straight to this one after FO3 and it might be even better. This one was developed by Obsidian rather than Bethesda. I prefer FO3 personally but I've seen a ton of people prefer this game and make strong cases as to why. It's longer, more RPG-like, and has a very different vibe to it. Less apocalypse, more futurism. I mainly prefer FO3 because the world there is considerably denser while this one has a lot of empty space. However the stories and dialogue in this one are definitely a step up. I didn't finish the game (yet) but I played a lot of it in this timeframe. Lots of good DLCs in this one too. While FO3 IMO had better DLCs overall, this game's Old World Blues is probably the best DLC in either game. Again, this followed the scheme of feeling like an old Twilight Zone season with all of its quests amounting to short stories in this bizarre and off-kilter world.

Fondest Memory: Eating lots of canned food while playing this, to get the full Fallout experience (since my character was doing the same thing). I'd say I played at least half the game here. I'd finish the rest at some later date and I'll say a bit more about it whenever that is.

Pretty much.

The 1000 Games I've Beaten

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