Monday, June 10, 2024

The 1000 Games I've Beaten (#453 - 473)

#453 Bioshock Infinite (Playstation 3) – Summer 2013

One of those games that I thought was a masterclass the first time I played it, only to find all kinds of flaws with it on subsequent runs. Nowhere near as deep as the previous two games. Basically plays like a Call of Duty, with the main "attack spell" functioning just like a grenade. Doesn't have the variety or the interesting spells of the previous games. Gets rid of traps and the weapon wheel in favor of "loadouts" where you can only carry two weapons at a time. There are more weapons, but even then they're heavily redundant (aka a bunch of them will do the same thing). The gameplay is lacking on this one and it's carried by the story and setting.

I really did love it the first time through though. It has some heart and soul, and it was probably the first real "multiverse" story I saw in a game/movie, or at least the first interesting one. This was before multiverse stuff was completely overdone in pop culture. However I'd take the first or even the second game over this one any day on gameplay and storytelling. Main thing going against this is that it's in the same series as an all-timer like Bioshock and if it were its own standalone game I wouldn't judge it as harshly.

#454 Suikogaiden (Playstation) – Summer 2013

Fun Suikoden series spinoff that is mostly cutscenes/cinematic stuff. Much like Radical Dreamers, it wasn't exactly an issue to "beat" this game. This touches on the Harmonia nation that the series never got into as much as I hoped for, so that's something.

Fondest Memory: How damn cute Sierra the vampire is.

Post HERE.

#455 Child of Eden (Playstation 3) – Summer 2013

Fairly obscure game that was intended to be a spiritual successor to Rez (which I got to later). It's a kind of "music-based shooter" on rails. This game is VERY tough, and much like Rez, it scales up significantly for the final stage (of five or so). The final boss took me many, many tries, and you go back to the beginning when you run out of lives. It looks pretty incredible, especially for the PS3 gen, and I liked this even if I had to play through it a bunch of times.

Toughest Part: The final boss has an absurd amount of forms and I barely squeaked by when I eventually got a win.

#456 Ys I (PSP) – Summer 2013

This was a great time, just a fun action-RPG. It's a total remake/overhaul of the original game and almost unrecognizable as such. I got through it pretty quickly, just a few hours. Soundtrack was great. Appreciated the series being streamlined like this with remakes, too bad it ended with the 4th one. The biggest thing that jumps out about this game is that the final dungeon, the tower, has one of the best video game tracks I've ever heard.

Favorite Tune: Darm Tower music. The PSP version has multiple versions of the soundtrack IIRC, but right here is my favorite of the tracks. I believe this track made a reappearance in Ys Origin later on but I might be wrong.

#457 Ys II (PSP) – Summer 2013

Same deal here for the most part. I think I remember this one being significantly tougher to get through. The entire second half of the game is basically the last dungeon, which is the biggest final dungeon to game ratio since FFIV After Years. So that took an age and a half and I got pretty tired of said dungeon as it went on and on and on for several hours. Other than that, good game.

#458 Assassin's Creed Brotherhood (Playstation 3) – Summer 2013

After what a great experience platinuming AC2 was, I had high hopes for this direct sequel. It is indeed a great game, but it falls a bit short of its predecessor in story and general novelty while largely doing a lot of the same things. The biggest change here is that you could build up a force of assassin minions and send them on missions, which was pretty cool. The downside is that it also trivialized the game once you discovered the "rain of arrows" ability, which was essentially a smart bomb that cleared an area of foes. That made the game easy, since you could just wait for it to cool down and then use it again on the next pack of foes. Without needing to really utilize the stealth mechanic or, well, play, I found this game to be kind of mid and forgettable despite how good it actually is.

#459 Assassin's Creed Revelations (Playstation 3) – Summer 2013

Another step down. This one brings back Altair from the first game to team up with Ezio from the second. However nothing about this game really worked for me. It eschews the amazing Italy settings of the previous two games in favor of more Middle-East and wilderness areas. Ezio is much older and much more mature, to the detriment of the game. I prefer his brash swashbuckling younger self. Now he's kind of old and "over it" which is understandable, but less fun. This one gets rid of the Brotherhood mechanics and most of what I liked, and tells a very linear story that at this point had worn out its welcome. I was ready to get on to AC3 by this point, with AC4 a few months away.

#460 Telltale's Walking Dead: Season 1 (Playstation 3) – Summer 2013

Good, but super sad, story-based game where you mostly point/click and make choices. Wasn't really anything about this that jumps out at me now, but it was good for a fan of the series and functioned as a story set elsewhere in the same universe. Later I played the second season as well, but that was about it for me. These things aren't really my bag. Know whose bag they are, however? Game Informer. This is basically Close-Ups Of Super Serious Game Character Faces: The Game. Game Informer probably got a year's worth of artwork for covers out of this game.

#461 Dynasty Warriors 5 (Playstation 2) – Summer 2013

Around this time I decided to go back and play the DWs that I missed, which means 1/5/6. I didn't do much with this one, just played through the story campaign with a couple characters fairly quickly. I remember it being good and thinking I stopped too soon with DW4. Now you may remember that I played DW3 and DW4 to death, but not the case with this one. Still, it's probably the best game up to this point in the series, if I'm remembering my experience right.

#462 Dynasty Warriors 6 (Playstation 3) – Summer 2013

This one I remember having some problems and being a step down, but at least it jumped to HD. Again, only spent a small amount of time on this.

#463 The Death and Return of Superman (Super NES) - Summer 2013

Played this around when I saw Man of Steel and it's a surprisingly good SNES beat 'em up. Unfortunately it's also super difficult, probably moreso than Maximum Carnage. Tells the convoluted story of Superman's death and eventual return, with a bunch of pretenders to the throne stepping up in-between who you play as throughout this game. Each one has distinct abilities, so that was pretty cool. Good luck getting to the end and seeing the culmination of the story, though, given the difficulty and length of this game. I tried this a couple times over the years and it was a bit of a pipe dream to see the end until I replayed it in 2013 on emulator.

Favorite Tune: The theme that plays in the last few levels when Superman, well, returns, and you play as him to face off with invaders from Darkseid's realm. This tune punches way above its weight. Check out the kick-in at about a minute in.

#464 Dissidia 012 (PSP) – Fall 2013

A Final Fantasy fighting game? My God! This was something I swooped in on during this PSP era. Unfortunately I didn't find it to be a particularly great game and it was largely unmemorable, with most of the game time spent grinding out fights to unlock the story. Not only is it grindy, but most of the fights are similar and most of the characters play similarly. The whole thing has this kind of flat, standardized feel to it, rather than making the characters as diverse as their source material.

This is actually the second game in the series, but it's a remake of the first that adds new stuff, so I didn't miss anything. Later games in this series would bungle the execution even more, so this was the only one I beat. It was a decent play, though it didn't get my motor running the way Ehrgeiz did in 1999 (the original "FF fighting game" even though it really isn't).

#465 Dynasty Warriors 1 (Playstation) – Fall 2013

This one was impossible to find so I emulated it. PS1 emulation is still spotty even today, and in 2013 it was even spottier. However, for a short game like this it was fine. This was actually a fighting game, not a Musuo like the rest of the series. Unsurprisingly it went largely unsung as a result, being lost in the sea of good PS1 fighters.

Post HERE.

#466 Assassin's Creed 3 (Playstation 3) – Fall 2013

The series finally learns to count to 3. At least it did this quicker than the Street Fighter series did. This one jumps forward a couple hundred years, from Renaissance Italy to 1776-era Boston and New York. I liked this one a lot, though it also caught a lot of flack from the fanbase for being very different from the previous games. There's less city-exploration and more wilderness. The buildings are much smaller and there's less to climb. The main character is dull and unlikeable compared to Ezio. But yeah, there's some really cool stuff here. Particularly liked playing as the villain, Haytham, for the first fifth or so of the game. AC4 is actually a prequel to this game starring Haytham's father, and AC Rogue also transpires in this timeframe. So they sneakily did another trilogy.

Fondest Memory: Running around in the snowy wilderness, which was pretty amazing-looking for the time, and hunting prey with a tomahawk.

#467 Homefront (Playstation 3) – Fall 2013

Red Dawn type game where North Korea invades the US...and somehow wins. You're part of a resistance that fights back, of course. It's a first-person shooter and a pretty good one, largely driven by the very interesting narrative and the parallel-world storyline where a different version of Kim Jong Un launches a charm offensive and successfully re-unifies Korea under himself, then becomes the dominant power in the region. Putting aside how North Korea usually just means "China but we can't say it for financial reasons" in movies and games, and how much more sense China would make as the antagonists, and how unlikely any of this is... it's a compelling story and a good game. I beat the game in about four hours on a rental and felt like it punched well above its weight. It got a sequel a few years later that kinda sucked and I didn't really play that one. This one, though? Worth checking out.

#468 The Last of Us (Playstation 3) – Fall 2013

This was originally going to be the 2013 game in the Three Decade Project before I ended up giving it to Tomb Raider. Much like Fallout 3, it's a potentially depressing game before you get into it. While that game had a massive and packed open world with a lot of interesting quests and short stories, this game is a more linear experience with one long narrative. It does what it does very well, and is sort of the next logical extension of the Uncharted series in a lot of ways. Took me another decade to get to Uncharted 4, incidentally.

This game is all about resource-management (ala the Resident Evil series) and stealth gameplay. Not a lot of heavily-armed shootouts to have here. That can often slow the pace to a crawl, as you find yourself just trying to get to the next cutscene. All of that said, it's one of the more classic games to be found in the 2010's.

Post HERE.

#469 Metal Gear Rising (Playstation 3) – Fall 2013

Super-stylish action game that has more in common with the DMC series than the MGS series. Konami responded to criticism of the "wimpy" Raiden in MGS2 by bringing him back as a deadly cyborg ninja in MGS4, then giving him his own game. This looked incredible at the time, with electricity zipping all around Raiden's sword as he did all kinds of acrobatic maneuvers. Just a brilliant little game that should be a lot more remembered than it is.

Toughest Part: Final battle with the evil senator. I played the entire game on Normal and turned it down to Easy for the last fight because that guy was so OP and overtuned that he was on a completely different level from the rest.

Path of Least Resistance: Turns out that the game's parry mechanic can be pretty much 'sploited by just tapping the right stick towards the enemy over and over. For the entire game. You'll block everything, just about.

#470 God of War Ascension (Playstation 3) – Fall 2013

A prequel game to the main trilogy that improved in some ways and regressed in others. Personally I'd put this one at the bottom of the heap (which is still a good game) along with Chains of Olympus and the first game in the series. Yeah, first game is awesome and started all this, but it needed some QOL improvements. Well, this one...yeah, I don't know, it was lacking.

Another thing about this game is that since it's a prequel, Kratos is back to being a mere human rather than a god. And since the series used up most of the cool/major deities in the previous games, they had to get into the weeds of the more minor power-players in Greek mythology to fill this one out. All in all it just felt like a smaller, weaker version of what already existed, and probably didn't need to be made.

Toughest Part: Trials of Prometheus, I think it was called. Near the end of the game. Absolutely ludicrously tough, especially on Hard if you're trying to get the platinum like I was.

#471 Dragon's Crown (Playstation 3) – Fall 2013

From the makers of Odin Sphere and Muramasa comes another memorable beat 'em up. I like this the least of the three, due to the more generic setting (standard fantasy versus Norse mythos or Japanese mythos) and the overdesigned characters. I like feminine/sexy female characters in games just fine, but I'm not into overdone big flopping boobs. Some of the characters in this game just looked stupid. Game was fine though. I wasn't as into it as the previous two games, but it was probably more refined.

#472 DuckTales (NES) – Fall 2013

Great NES classic that I have all kinds of fondness for even though I didn't play it until here in 2013. I believe this one was specifically to do a post, but I'm glad I played it in any case. Probably the most classic NES game left that I hadn't played at this point. Well, besides Contra... which I'll get to momentarily.

Post HERE.

#473 Beyond: Two Souls (Playstation 3) – Fall 2013

Interesting game, unlike pretty much anything else. It's narrative-driven and pretty linear. Basically a movie mixed with a game. It's also pretty depressing, since it's about this woman and her difficult life, and we follow it from the time she's a kid going through the ringer. I think it was made by the same people as Heavy Rain, which I never played. So it's basically another game like that. Lot of people liked this one, me included. Still hear it talked about a bit.

One thing that's kind of a funny coincidence is that the main character looks just like Ellie from Last of Us. No doubt, this caused a lot of people to get the two games confused when they saw screenshots. Her serious, dirt-covered face got to be a Game Informer cover right around when TLOU was out, adding to the confusion as I and a number of other folk thought it was TLOU on the cover.

Man, Game Informer was all about those super-serious, dirty face close-ups. Life is PAINNNNN.

Fondest Memory: The "Navajo" level has a really atmospheric, moody desert vibe to it that's hard to describe, but I really liked it. The whole game is moody.

That's another one in the bag. Once I get to 500 I'm taking a break. Almost there.

The 1000 Games I've Beaten

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