Cassylvania

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  1. Hey, look. I get to compare yet another game to Dark Souls... Platinum #242 - Lords of the Fallen Gather around, my friends, and let me tell you the tale of Harkyn. Harkyn was a simple man. He liked cosplaying as Kratos and having the personality of a stale biscuit. His favorite line was, "I don't care," which wasn't too far off what the writers were thinking when they came up with the plot of this game. When asked why his game needed character builds when all Harkyns play the same, Harkyn just grunted and said, "Me swing sword or me swing bigger sword!" And when you have trophy names like No time for losers, Real men don't need a map, and This! Is! Keystone!...well, he who wields the biggest sword wins. Let's be clear. This is not a great game. It's obvious they were trying to mimic Dark Souls, and I think if you go into this game expecting it to be like that and on that level of polish and design, you're not going to have a good time. The maps and enemies are all very similar. There are maybe...twelve bosses in the game?...and most of them play just like a larger version of the trash mobs you're used to fighting. They're also not very good boss fights. It's hard to explain, but have you ever watched a really bad movie? I'm not talking Catwoman or Jack and Jill or just about anything Nicolas Cage has been in since National Treasure. I mean the movies that barely qualify as movies, that look like something a high school student would make in his backyard with a couple of his friends. Stuff like Birdemic. You watch it and you notice things that are just off. Things you just expect and take for granted in a movie by any competent director. For example, you wouldn't see a 30 second shot of the protagonist getting out of his car and slowly walking up to a restaurant. That would be called fat and it would get cut. Well, Harkyn is fat. Sorry, but he is. There are so many things in this game that have the right idea, but the execution is off. It doesn't help that they tried to imitate a game that walks a very fine line of being too cryptic and unforgiving. If you're going to take anything from the Souls series and put it in your game, it has to start with the design. Harkyn...it kinda does the same thing as Dragon Age 2, where it forces you to play as a premade character (with a very similar name). They give you the option to choose your class (warrior, cleric, or rogue) and your magic tree (not sure what their names are, but it's basically warrior, cleric, and rogue again), but none of that feels necessary. I played a faith build the first time and it was terrible. Just go strength and two-hand a greatsword. You can kill every enemy in the game by running at them and pressing R2 twice. There. I got you your platinum. If you want to play it slightly safer, do the same thing with a shield. Shield charges will break the only enemy that will give you trouble in the game (namely, the dudes with shields). Once you realize THAT, the game...actually, it's not bad. You can't play it like a Dark Souls game. You have to play it like a God of War game. Forget the builds and the magic and trying to figure out how the checkpoint/potion refill thing works. You just gotta strap on your big boy pants and be reckless. I actually screwed up pretty bad on my third playthrough. I ended up not having enough faith to use the Prayer spell to glitch out the final boss. That meant I had to fight the final boss for real (and for the first time). Didn't matter. Didn't even matter that I had to kill him with an extremely weak DLC weapon, despite the fact that he would heal himself constantly. Why? Because just like Dark Souls, you eventually master the game's combat and mechanics, and that felt surprisingly good. It helps that the second R2 swing of a greatsword does like 500+ damage when you have a strength build. You play this game for the same reason you watch a really bad movie. It's to marvel in its awfulness. And yet, I don't think I'd put myself in the "so bad that it's good" camp. I legitimately liked the game. It's not an 8 or 9 out of 10 or anything, but it was short enough to be inoffensive and I thought the visuals and audio were good, even if the story and core mechanics were subpar. I'd compare it to a blind date where you both mutually agree that you shouldn't see each other again halfway through the night, but you still want to finish the date because you paid for these reservations and you start to find yourself having a good time once the tension of trying to build a lasting relationship is over. The DLC sucks.
  2. Yeah, Actor perk + stealth seems to be the way to go. But in that case, I think Invisible, Inc. did it better, since the whole game was built around the stealth mechanic (something I usually hate in games). I think it's OK. I'm glad to hear the campaign isn't very long because I don't think it's going to hold my interest as long as XCOM. I've found ways to cheese most bosses. 😂 My favorite was the Guardian, who was a total asshole to fight normally. The downtime they gave you between attacks is...bad. Like, enemy design overall is bad. Bosses are just reskins of other enemies, who are in turn reskins of each other. They're all just dudes in armor (a complaint I always hear about DS2, even though I thought the variety was fine). I'm almost done with my third playthrough. Kinda taking my time because I missed a few trophies on the first two playthroughs (like the potion upgrade, which probably would've been useful on NG+), and I really don't want to risk a fourth run. I'm probably going to end up in the same group as you. I liked the game for maybe...the first six hours or so? The dip in quality after the first area is REALLY noticeable. I didn't even bother with the story in the second half. I have no clue who these characters or are why it matters. Harkyn doesn't seem to care either. I just gave him the voice of Lennie from Of Mice and Men in my head and run around screaming, "I WANNA PET THE RABBITS, GEORGE!" as I hack through enemies. That's the only way I can enjoy this game. And yes, that's something I do often. I tried it a few times. It crashed once or twice, but I couldn't get by the second boss anyway. Furi is in my backlog. I'm not sure how high up it is right now. It's kinda in that same pool as Sundered, Flinthook, and Risk of Rain, which are all fairly short (?) but somewhat difficult indie games that are supposed to be really good. I opted to do Children of Morta first because it's shorter and easier than the rest of those. And if you're wondering why I did DQH2, despite knowing what I was getting myself into...honestly, I liked DQH1. I don't mind mindless button-mashers. I can watch movies or work on other things while chipping away at some of the more annoying trophies out there. It's actually the games that require the most attention, like multiplayer and story-driven ones, that give me the most trouble because I'm not able to multitask. Probably why I make typos a lot. And why I submitted this post ten minutes before I was finished. I get distracted very easily. What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Bianca was cool.
  3. Hopefully the last paragraph did it too. Looks like you both are working on that. I actually bought it not too long ago. Just haven't gotten around to it yet... Well, if you haven't looked at my profile and gasped in horror lately, you'll notice I decided to start both an XCOM clone (Phantom Doctrine) and a Dark Souls clone (Lords of the Fallen). I can see why reviews are mixed on both. I probably like them a bit more than the average person because I'm willing to look past flaws in genres I love, but both games really dropped the ball when it comes to combat (PD because it actively discourages it and LotF because it's like playing encumbered all the time). Fortunately, I don't think they're going to be as long or as hard as the games they were inspired by. We don't need another DQH2 on our hands. I haven't decided whether to tackle KHBBS or Ys Origins next. I kinda knew it was just a matter of time before I beat Slay the Spire or DQH2. It was simply a question of how many runs it would take. With KHBBS and Ys Origins, though... I really don't know. I'm not particularly good at the challenges they present. I think I can probably beat Mysterious Figure with Terra (I did it with Aqua without too many fails), but Ice Cream Beat may be beyond my skills. I can't do rhythm games. It helps that my tinnitus seems to be gone, but I can't blame that for all my struggles. Ys Origins is just bullshit. We'll need more good indie games to keep us occupied in the meantime.
  4. Three little bitches huddled together in the forest. They had been running for a while now, but they thought they were safe. They were wrong. "Laz, did you always have that sword sticking out of your face?" Ventus asked, shortly before his purple-haired friend fell to the ground. Ventus was not very bright. Platinum #241 - Dragon Quest Heroes II ... I don't even want to review this one. ... ... Just look at those smug assholes. Teresa is there like, "You came to the wrong neighborhood, bitch." ... ... While Laz is like, "We're gonna fuck you over so bad." ... ... God, I hate them... ... ... There are better ways to spend your time, guys. You could take up pottery. Maybe a sport. Maybe binge Games of Thrones again. They make coloring books for adults, you know. ... ... Go away. There's a monster at the end of this book. ... ... ... ... ... Fine. We'll do this. You want to know every way in which this game will waste your time? Let me count the ways. First, you have to kill the “wanted” version of every monster in the game. These are rare spawns that only appear after you've been killing the normal version of monster in that area for a while, and they’re much stronger. Some of them can kill you in one shot. Others take forever to appear because they only have one spawn point on the map, so you have to keep killing it and coming back until you get the “wanted” version. And there over 150 of these. Gotta kill 'em all. But don't worry. That's the least of your problems. You're going to have to kill every monster hundreds of times anyway because each of them has a very low chance of dropping a monster medal, which lets you briefly summon that monster in battle. Yeah. You're gonna need one from every monster in the game for a trophy. But you know what? That's not a problem either because you'll need to kill tens of thousands of monsters anyway to get every weapon to level 20 proficiency. This is when the game starts getting stupid. To point things into perspective, the cap for proficiency is 15 until you beat the main game. When I beat the main game, I had only one weapon maxed out. Oh, and it takes longer to go from 15 to 20 than 1 to 15. AND there are more weapons than characters in the game, so you'll have to cycle through them. Which is fine because you need every character in the game to “puff puff” you, which is…I don't know, a Dragon Quest thing, but it’s basically a random cutscene that can happen when you talk to a character on your team after you’ve been using them for a while, but only after you beat the main game. Nobody knows why it happens. Nobody knows why it exists. But at least it's easier than it was in DQH1. That's the last nice thing I'll say about this game. Because all of that pales in comparison to Well-Armed. This fuckin' trophy requires you to obtain every weapon in the game. How do you do that? First, you have to buy every weapon the merchant has in stock. The most expensive variety of each weapon costs over 250k gold. You can sell them back, which is nice, but you're going to lose a massive amount of money each time. Second, you need to buy every weapon from this giant duck with the most annoying voice I’ve ever heard. But he doesn’t take gold. He takes mini medals, which are MORE rare drops from enemies. Even if you take advantage of the fact that mini medals are refunded to you in NG+, you still need something like 500 of them to buy every weapon. Then there are some weapons that can only be found in chests. (Don’t worry – you have to open every chest anyway for another trophy.) You get other weapons from completing quests. (Yup. Trophy for doing all those too.) But that’s not even the worst part. Did you think I was done? Let’s talk uber weapons. Every weapon has an uber version. You cannot buy these. These are a RANDOM reward at the end of SOME dimensional dungeons. Follow me with this one. First, you have to unlock the dimensional dungeons. These get progressively more difficult, but only the harder ones give the rewards you want. The easiest dungeon I found to farm was Bad Guys' Base (mainly because you're only fighting trash mobs, even if some of them can turn invincible for a while). IF you win (because it's not a guarantee, even if you're max level), you’ll be given one of a few possible rewards. The one you want is a would be weapon. "But wait, C-Dawg," you say. "I thought we wanted an uber." The game doesn't care what you want. Welcome to the middle finger lottery. Step right up, ladies and gentleman, and witness the pure gamble that comes from turning a would be weapon into an actual weapon! Only 50k a ticket. Yes, the game charges you FIFTY THOUSAND GOLD to “appraise” a would be weapon, which then has a CHANCE of becoming an uber weapon. That's maybe a bit too harsh. It actually has a really good chance of becoming an uber weapon. The problem is twofold. First, it could become a giga weapon. What the fuck is a "giga weapon," you ask? It's nothing. It doesn’t even count for the trophy. It's just a DLC weapon for a DLC character for the multiplayer that nobody plays. And there are a bunch of them. Almost as many as playable characters in the game. That's right -- all your favorite scrubs from DQH1 are back to take your ubers away. The second problem is THERE IS NOTHING STOPPING YOU FROM GETTING DUPLICATES. GUYS. GUYS. WHY IS THIS A THING? I AM NOT EVEN DONE. Think you can scam the system? Think you can save scum to get the weapon you need? Did you SEE Teresa and Lazarel's face up there? They drink your gamer tears. I didn't even know this was possible, but the seed is set before you EVEN PICK UP THE WOULD BE WEAPON. Let me reiterate: your "random" reward is pre-determined. If you do Bad Guys' Base three times, get a would be weapon each time (unlikely, since you can also get trash), appraise all three to see what you get, and then restart the game, you'll get the same three weapons in the same order if you do it again. So, with something like 16 ubers in the game and a bunch of useless gigas, your odds of getting a weapon you need begins to diminish fast. And just to REALLY rub salt in the wound, you have to appraise weapons IN THE ORDER IN WHICH YOU RECEIVE THEM. So, even if you know the first three are duplicates, you can't check the fourth one until you pay 200k (150k for the first three + 50k for the fourth). There is a solution. It's a terrible one, but it exists. It’s called Maze of the Mighty. Maze of the Mighty is a dimensional dungeon that usually (but not always) gives you something you need for an uber weapon from a character in your current party. Notice I said “something you need.” It's not a would be weapon. You get a shard or an essence. Now, an essence is essentially the same thing as a would be weapon, except you actually know what the end product is (eg. a card essence will give you an uber card, a greatsword essence will give you an uber greatsword, etc.). Still gonna cost you 50k a pop, but at least you can jump right to appraising it. A shard is the game's way of giving you a partial middle finger because you need five shards to make an uber. Why? This games hate you. And if you’re thinking the game loves to give you four shards for a weapon before dropping an essence on you, you are correct. It also loves to give you an essence of the one character on your team who does NOT need an uber (which will be Meena, because you're not going to do MotM without a healer). The problem, because you know there is one, is MotM is locked behind a ridiculously hard dimensional dungeon called Lair of the Dark Master. Your AI partners are useless here. I haven't even talked about the combat in this game, but your party of four is basically a party of one. They’re either standing around doing nothing or standing around taking shots to the face. Multiplayer is theoretically an option, but let’s be real. Nobody is playing DQH2 online in 2021. I'm not even sure they were when this game came out. But it's doable on your own. I did it. I unlocked MotM, and…did you think it was going to be easy? MotM is three randomly-chosen dimensional dungeons in a row. The first one always seems to be a normal battle, but the second and third are usually bosses. And yes, you can get the LotDM boss, which might as well be a game crash because you're not beating that a second time. In fact, there were several battles where I'd just let myself die, such as the one on the rooftops that takes 45 minutes to complete. I know you guys would prefer hearing my opinion of a game over its trophy list, but here's the thing: there is nothing separating this from DQH1. From what I can tell, they just used the same engine and character models. Most of the cast is from previous games (I assume, since every one of their intros plays out like a undeserved wink and nod to the player), and the plot around the two main characters is so bland that I didn't even realize the "twist" was supposed to be a twist because I assumed that was the story all along. The game looks nice. I'll give it that. And since this is a Japanese game, by tradition, we have to choose our waifu. Now, Bianca was my girl in the original and she's technically still here, but you can only use her in dimensional dungeons...which you'll be wanting to do with the main cast, for the reasons I stated above...so I'll reluctantly go with Meena. It's not a hard choice. She has one of the best ranged attacks in the game, a spell that can lower an enemy's defense, and the all-important group heal. She also has purple hair. Just don't put her on the same team as Maya because you'll have a hard time telling them apart in the heat of battle. In short, if you're getting the itch to play a DQ game, just play DQXI. That game was amazing. I gave it my GOTY award the only year I did those awards. Or play DQ Builders. Or its sequel. Very fun games. Hell, play DQH1 if you're getting really desperate. Just don't do this. Be better to yourself. Time to platinum: 190 hours. Have a "Cry some more" stick!
  5. Me too. There were even some relics, like Self-Forming Clay, that I never saw until I was almost finished with the game. Anyway... We had a rare double plat day yesterday. I guess the trophy gods were feeling generous. Platinum #240 - Aven Colony If Slay the Spire is the standard for deck-building games (which does seem to be the case, considering how many clones there are out there), then Cities: Skylines is the standard for city-building games. And while I don't think Aven Colony comes close to meeting that standard, it's a decent game in its own right. If you're new to city-builders or don't want to spend 300+ hours waiting for a blue tornado to appear, then Cities: Skylines Lite might be just the game you're looking for. There's probably a sandbox mode, but I don't see a reason to play that. You're mostly going to be navigating through a series of increasingly harder story missions that have you trying to create a fully functioning society in a futuristic alien world. You need to build mines to harvest for resources, grow crops and other weird plants for trade and manufacturing, and try to fend off shard storms and this nasty stuff called creep that will surely destroy your first city because you weren't prepared for it. The problem is, once you are prepared...there's really no challenge here. Every map can basically be tackled the same way. Probably on any difficulty. Food is VERY easy to farm (you're more likely to run out of storage space than inventory), a few turrets will take care of any external threats, and the only losing condition I know of (i.e. losing a referendum) isn't even a problem once you realize you just need to build an excessive amount of air filters to keep your people happy. Seriously, why do these assholes want to breathe so badly? I don't really understand the mechanics of the game. You don't really need to. I'm going to assume it's more efficient to have tunnels connecting your buildings, but you could just stack buildings on top of each other if you want. In fact, it's probably better to have a condensed city because you can get by with a smaller amount of shared resources. I very rarely expanded out past the starting area, except on the one or two missions that required it. The only reason to would be to build additional mines or geothermal generators, but you'll probably finish the mission before your original mines are tapped out and you can just as easily generate electricity by using solar panels. You need 200 of them for a trophy anyway. Speaking of trophies, there's a speedrun trophy for some reason and another for beating a map on the highest difficulty, but I did them both on the first map on my first try. The rest will probably come naturally or with little effort on your part. There's a story here, but it's not worth mentioning. The voice acting is okay. I honestly wasn't listening to it much. This is one of those rare sims that I think can be beaten in under 20 hours, but I probably spent a little longer than that on it. You guys know the formula I use to judge what a game is worth, but I think $20 might be a tad too high for a game that doesn't have a whole lot of extra content after the first two or three missions...so I'd honestly wait for a sale or even for it to be offered for free on PS+. It feels like something you'd get for free on mobile. Is that too harsh?
  6. It's story time, guys! Four little bitches were sitting around a campfire, having a gay old time. One of them, a spiky purple-haired twat named Lazarel, was downing his fourth pint of ale of the evening. The others were pretty sure he wasn't even of age to be drinking, but that didn't stop them from joining in the merriment. "...and then the developers hid every weapon necessary for the trophy in a loot box with a virtual paywall, and you're just as likely to get a duplicate or random DLC weapon that doesn't even count for the trophy!" The others burst out laughing. Milk came shooting out of Ventus' nose. Hugo, who looked just as young and baby-faced as the other two, began slamming his fist against the log he was sitting one when he remembered that people paid actual money for his game. "That's nothing," Ventus said, wiping the milk-stained snot from his face. "My players have to play through my game THREE TIMES." But Hugo was not to be outdone. "Well, they have to do mine six!" "Wait. Really?" "And I crash all the time!" Hugo threw his arms in the air to simulate an exploding firework and rolled over in laughter. The others joined in until they were red in the face. "That's hilarious," Lazarel said. He poured himself a fifth pint and turned to his attention to the only member of the group who hadn't spoken up in a while. "What do you think, Spire?" There was no response. "...Spire?" They turned their heads to their uncharacteristically silent companion, only to see a frozen look etched on the old man's face. The pointed metal tip of a blade was protruding through his chest. Slowly, the blade was withdrawn and the old man slumped over to reveal a very angry hollow knight standing in the darkness. "It's over," I said. "You are all going to pay." Platinum #239 - Slay the Spire My experience with card games is limited to Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (barely even a card game) and Frost, that quirky little indie game that is always on PS+ sales for like $0.69. I guess maybe that dice game I played a few months ago whose name escapes me right now, and that godawful mini game in the Shovel Knight DLC. But I'm partial to strategy games and I had no doubt that I would enjoy this. I just didn't realize it would be the most addictive game I've ever played. Every run is about an hour long (sorry, successful run), but I never found a good stopping place. If you win, you want to keep going. If you lose, you want to try again. If you're in the middle of a run...well, hell, you can't stop there. You'll forget what you were doing when you pick up the controller again. I blame whoever suggested this game for ruining my sleep schedule for the past four months. Anyway... Yeah, one of the best games I've ever played. I don't even feel the need to explain why. I'm just going to check my stats right now. Ironclad (27-111) 65 hours, Silent (6-21) 27 hours, Defect (4-9) 13 hours, Watcher (2-7) 6 hours. I don't know if that's good or not. What I do know, though, is I have the platinum and I want to keep on playing. XCOM 2 is probably the only other game I've felt that way about. Usually, as soon as I see the platinum pop, I take the game out (sometimes before even closing the application), shove it back in the case, and delete it from my console. I may or may not hurl the case across the room. For this one, I just kinda sat there, not wanting to be done. I feel like I barely even touched the surface of what this game has to offer. But, for this review, I can at least share some of my parting thoughts with you. Understand that this is a game that I think you have to become intimate with. It's not enough just to look at her Tinder profile for a few minutes and feel like you know her. She's a sophisticated woman. You have to take her on at least five or six dates before you can even begin to comprehend the complexities of...what the hell am I talking about? Let's do this shit. I think a lot of players will struggle with this game initially because of preconceived notions of "builds" in RPGs. When you play something like WoW or Dragon Age, you pick your class and then select skills that are tailored to how you intend to play that class, like a frost mage or a tanky warrior. It's easy to fall into that trap with StS because the Ironclad, Silent, and Defect look like a warrior, rogue, and mage respectively, and they do have skills that suggest various ways to place them. Early on, you might think to yourself, "I want to build a shiv deck and play lots of cards every turn for 0 energy," but there are at least two major problems with that. First, the game seems intentionally designed for any one strategy to eventually fail. If your strategy is to prolong battles until you build up a lot of strength, eventually you'll encounter an enemy who can counter that. Second, you don't get to pick what cards and relics you find. Not really anyway. You have the option after every battle to pick one of three random cards, and you can technically buy one or several cards and relics from the merchant, but you're mostly having to deal with what the game gives you. That's the real Spire. The RNG. See, the strategy is there, but it's something you have to make on the fly. That sets it apart from other games. What do I mean? So, a "game" is broken up into three acts. Each act has a boss, who is a chosen from a pool of three possible bosses, and every act has several elite fights along the way, who are also chosen from a pool of a possible three. You know which of the three bosses you're getting when you start the act (once you can recognize their image), but the elites are hidden from you. You can sometimes avoid them, but they drop valuable items, so it's usually suggested to go after them. The thing is, that's where most runs die. The elites are brutal and trying to take them on without a strategy can get you wrecked. Unfortunately, it's kinda like Dark Souls (here I go again) because you need to die a few times to understand what you're up against, but you'll learn from your mistakes. So, just to describe the first act, there are three possible elites you can encounter: Tri-Sentinels, Crab Cakes, and Red Devil. Pretty sure those are their names. Red Devil gets stronger every time you play a skill, so you might be better off taking those big hits to the face so you can kill him quickly. Crab Cakes is a slower battle because he's asleep for a few turns, allowing you to set up powers or clever synergies. Tri-Sentinels fill your deck with garbage. The strategy you use on one will likely not work on the others, or at least not as well and certainly not as easily on higher ascensions. What you're trying to do when you build your deck is come up with a plan that can handle any encounter along the way. To that end, you shouldn't be taking the cards you want, but the ones you need. If something doesn't help you win these battles, you're probably better off skipping it. Bosses, of course, are more of the same, but you have more time to figure them out. Your strategy that worked well against the Act 1 boss may not work against the Act 2 boss or the hallway fights along the way, so you're going to have to select cards that can do the thing you need to do, even if you don't like them or don't feel they fit your "archetype" (which is apparently a no-no word when it comes to this game). The WORST thing you can do, and how I did my A20 run because I'm stubborn like that, is try to force a particular "kind" of deck. For example, I really wanted a thin Ironclad deck with Rampage as my main damage card. The card gets stronger every time you use it, so my idea was to keep recycling it with stuff like Headbutt, Pommel Strike, and Battle Trance. That works well when you get it to work, but the game generally didn't offer me the cards I needed when I needed them. I would've been much better off dealing with the literal hand I was dealt. In fact, even when I was able to get Rampage as an early merchant card, I got Snecko Eye from the Act 2 boss, which made those low energy cards a lot less valuable. But that's OK too. Sometimes, especially in Act 1, you're just looking to survive. I lost a lot of early runs because I was too focused on building a dream deck, but a dream deck that can wipe out an Act 3 boss on the first turn doesn't do you any good when you're dead on the 21st floor. You have to be patient. You have to plan out your moves. Even something as simple as knowing when to drink a potion that raises your max HP by 5 can make or break a run. Or, you know, just Corruption/Dead Branch your way to victory. The trophy list isn't bad. I recommend just learning the game first because you're likely to get some of them without even trying. A couple of them seem really RNG-based, like killing the Transient (which requires not only encountering the Transient, but being able to do enough damage before he runs away), but you'll often stumble into a deck that does that thing perfectly. That's the beauty of the game. Like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. Unless you're allergic to chocolate. Then I guess you're going to get hives. Slay the Spire will give you hives. That's my review.
  7. I went with Ironclad. My lower ascension runs centered around Barricade, but Corruption and/or Snecko Eye got me the rest of the way. My successful A20 run was the first time I relied on Demon Form, with Rampage as my main damage card. Avoided elites in Act 2 and 3, rested at every campfire with Regal Pillow, and burned through a Lizard Tail during the final boss. My favorite run was picking up Searing Blow early on and then upgrading it at every opportunity, including using Armaments in combat.
  8. I've thought about save scumming it. If you save at the start a run, figure out what cards/relics you can get and when, then it's basically like speedrunning any other game. Probably helps to have a build that can kill things quickly, though. I had a pretty hilarious run last night on A6 with Barricade/Brimstone/Searing Blow +8. The latter two have obvious synergy, but being able to build up block every turn helps to negate the downside of Brimstone. It's too bad it's very unlikely you'll ever have the same deck twice. I would love to do that again. I've decided to attempt A20 on Ironclad. I know Defect is probably easier, but I feel between Corruption and Snecko Eye, I'll always have at least one out when things get tough. Defect seems more like you actually need to know how to play. The Watcher feels like playing four-dimensional chess.
  9. I've had my eye on Aven Colony for a while. I'll save my thoughts for the review (since I will presumably have the plat soon), but I do want to say that I became a god in Slay the Spire tonight. I've been having a rough go with the game lately. Most of my runs have ended in disaster. I managed to beat the game with every character now, but some of the random trophies were giving me trouble. Until my last two runs. In the first run, I got Dropkick early and had enough remove card offers to get Minimalist (despite getting the time snail boss). That also helped me to get Purity (still don't understand the trophy requirements) and You Are Nothing, which I was worried about. (I actually would've gotten that latter trophy twice. 😂) In the second run, I thought I'd try the next ascension with the same infinite deck strategy just for laughs, but it quickly flamed out when Dropkick was nowhere to be found. I had a Feed, which I had in my first run too, and I somehow made it to the donut boss, despite having almost no health for the majority of the run. That's four trophies...on a night when I was only trying for one! I still don't know who I'll be taking to A20. Fair enough. I just thought SotN was so bland that I was better off remarking on its trophies than its gameplay or story. I'll have a lot more to say about my current active games, if I ever get around to finishing them. (Seriously, Big Game January became Big Grind January, and I still don't feel I got anywhere.) That's how I feel with the Vikings. Since Zimmer became coach, it's like they only know how to play defense in odd numbered years. Who do you want QBing the Bears next year? (Assuming they don't have the goods to get in the Watson sweepstakes.)
  10. Makes sense. I don't think I would be a true Vikings fan today if it wasn't for Randy Moss. He just came around at a time when I was kinda into football, but didn't have anything or anybody to rally around. Seeing him shred the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day is still one of my favorite NFL memories. 😁 The Packers have a lot of fans because of three great quarterbacks and their storied history, not because people live in Green Bay. I think the thing I hate most about sports -- football, in particular -- is that there's no inherent loyalty among players. Fans are expected to stick with the same team ("laundry, not the name on the back"), but players and coaches get moved around all the time. Just this season, I saw a slew of former Vikings on the Bills, Browns, and *gasp* Cowboys. How am I supposed to accept this? I don't know how it could be "fixed," but I do notice a part of my interest in a team goes away every year when I have to watch my favorite players get traded away or lost to free agency. It's just not the same when you see Diggs catching passes from Josh Allen or Adrian Peterson fumbling for someone else. If anything, I feel like I secretly want Buffalo or Arizona to do well, because that little part of me still wants to see them succeed. (Is that who AP plays for now? I lost track.) Sometimes it's hard to rally around someone. Favre was a hard pill to swallow. I imagine it would be the same for Steelers fans, if Brady had gotten traded to Pittsburgh instead. I hope Rodgers retires with GB. As much as I wish he'd disappear to the AFC South, I don't feel like a Vikings' victory over the Packers would be the same if Rodgers was in a different jersey.
  11. I did. I feel like that was intentional, though. Yeah, it sounds disappointing. I'll keep an eye on it for a full review or maybe a few patches/price drops, but there are other turn-based combat games that I'd rather get to first. Phantom Doctrine, perhaps? Platinum #238 - Spirit of the North You know, it's occurred to me that I really should be reviewing the trophies of a game, rather than the quality of the game itself. After all, you can go almost anywhere to find out what people think about a game. Metacritic. IGN. Wikipedia. YouTube comments. The bargain bin at Walmart. But where can you go to find out if a game is worth your time trophy-wise? That should be my gimmick going forward. Why do I say that? Because fuck this game's trophies. I mean, the game looks nice. One of the reasons I became a Minnesota Vikings fan wasn't because I like sports or understand football -- I just like Nordic culture. And the environments here are great to look at while you're trying to figure out what the hell you're supposed to do. That's the problem with the game. No direction. No direction for the trophies either. A game like this shouldn't have collectibles. I guess they're not technically missable since you can use chapter select after you finish the game, but good luck finding them without a guide. Hell, good luck finding them with a guide. You try to make a map of this game. Go ahead -- try it. The areas are big and everything looks the same. The game is at its worst in Chapter 7, where you have to wander around and interact with 28 identical-looking characters, many of whom are constantly moving and without any sort of tracker to help you. Doesn't help that everything is coated over in blue paint either. The platinum rarity is more indicative of the length of the game than the requirements of the trophies. I'm not sure if it's better to do a blind playthrough first and then do a collectibles run, or to try to do everything in one shot. I feel like either way is going to ruin some of the enjoyment of the game, which is why I think the trophies are very poor. I give SotN's trophy list a C- out of 5. I also played and finished Never Alone, which doesn't have a plat (but much better trophies). It's the month of the fox, I guess.
  12. I think StS is one of those games that would've benefitted from having a progression-only trophy list. I keep failing runs because I see an opportunity to maybe go for one of those random trophies, but it never works out. The rest of the game is just so well-designed that it seems bizarre the developers threw those in there in the first place. Anyway, if this hasn't become obvious by now, we've entered a very dark area in my gaming career, guys. Between Ice Cream Beat/Mysterious Figure, Ys' Nightmare Boss Rush crashes, DQH2 wanting to suck every second of free time out of my life, and StS's giant middle finger, I think I'm finally starting to feel the weight of trying to complete every game. I may not be able to finish any of these. I need some time to figure this out. I figured maybe I'd take a voyage. On a ship, perhaps. Nothing bad ever happened on a ship, right? Platinum #237 - Return of the Obra Dinn Somebody suggested this a while back. I finally got around to it. First, I'm going to say I loved the art style. Not everybody will. I think a lot of horror games can get away with this because having that lack of color and lighting can make for a more immersive experience, but when you realize the majority of the game revolves around deduction, not being able to make out the things in front of you in full detail can be frustrating. This is one of those games where I think you need an imagination, which is...honestly, how a lot of games were back in the 80s. They gave you enough information to paint a picture of what you were looking at, but it was up to you to fill in the details. In that sense, the graphics actually work very well with what the rest of the game is doing. So, what's it about? Basically, the Obra Dinn is a ship that had 60 people on board. They're now all dead or missing, and it's up to you to figure out what happened to each of them. To do this, you have a journal and a magical pocket watch that can let you witness a person's last moments on Earth. Come to think of it, the journal is kinda magical too, because it fills itself in... Hey, I said you need an imagination to play this. It's a bit like Clue. You need to figure out who each person is (you have a manifest, so you at least know their names, and an artist's sketch of the whole crew), determine how they died (or escaped), and who/what killed them. This brings us to what I always think is one of the most interesting design choices in a game like this: how do you deal with correct/incorrect answers? If you're too lenient, the player could brute force it. If you're too strict, the player could get pissed off when they have to restart the entire chapter (more on this when I finish Phoenix Wright). Obra Dinn lets you guess as much as you want, but it doesn't let you know anything until you have three correct selections at the same time. You may or may not be able to find a way to abuse that. I did. I'm not sure how well I played the game. I did everything without a guide except for one person, and that's because I didn't know what they wanted me to put for his cause of death. (I realize now there may be more than one "correct" solution.) I'm pretty sure I brute forced others. I don't want to say I did it on purpose, but sometimes it was like...OK, this is a Chinese name and this guy looks Chinese, so is it wrong of me to pick that? Turns out there may have been a better solution for that too. So, yeah. We have a mystery here. That means I can't really talk much about the story, which is the best thing the game has going for it. I'd compare it to Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, where you feel you've entered the game after the most exciting thing has happened, but Obra Dinn is a lot less direct about it. You get to know or at least feel like you know the various crew members, even though the dialogue and visual details are very limited. I don't think I can think of another game that does that. Thomas Was Alone perhaps, but that had a narrator who more or less made the game. This feels different. Definitely worth a buy, even just for the experience. I think $20 is a bit overpriced. You're certainly going to get more than 4-5 hours out of it if you're doing it legitimately (no clue why the only trophy guide says that), but I'd wait for a 50% off sale. Some games become exponentially better when you're not overpaying for them. Thanks for the recommendation.
  13. Good to know. We'll put this one pretty low on the priority list. I think I've bought three or four more games on the sale since I made that last post... This could end up being a very busy year. Good job keeping the thread alive while I attempt to make progress in anything. Platinum #236 - The Messenger So, it's a 2D platformer that becomes a Metroidvania. I liked it, but I could've done without the collectibles. It just got really tedious backtracking all the time. Would've been nice if you could at least warp between save points, since you've already proven you can do all the platforming necessary to get there... Solid game. Good music. Decent controls. Story...exists, I guess. Definitely worth checking out if you like retro games. Or if you're really getting sick of grinding in other games. Looking at you, DQH2. Looking at you, Slay the Spire. Looking at you, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. Looking at you, Ys Origin. What have I gotten myself into...?
  14. I imagine this Holiday Sale didn't help. I only picked up three games: Monster Sanctuary, Warsaw, and Wintermoor Tactics Club (which I'm pretty sure wasn't on sale). That puts me back over 100 in my PS4 library backlog. And to think I was close to 80 at one point... Sekiro was OK. I liked Bloodborne (and obviously Dark Souls) much more. I'd put Sekiro about on par with Nioh, not only because they're similar games and I played them around the same time last year, but I think they both just fell short of capturing me the way the Soulsborne games did. Maybe I'm just not into ninjas. Remnant from the Ashes, huh? Never heard of that one. I guess I can watch a few reviews... Congrats on 100 plats! You couldn't have picked a better game. (I assume the remake is just as amazing as the original, if not more. It sure looks sexy from screenshots.) Anyway, back to the post that I've been trying to make for past two weeks... *ahem* Happy New Year, everybody! I know this thread has been kinda dead the last couple of months, but that's what happens when you try to juggle seven active games at once. And as you can see, I thought it'd be a good idea to add Dragon Quest Heroes II, with its ~200 hour grind, into the mix. It's almost like I have as little respect for my free time as the developers who make these trophy lists. One tradition I don't think I've ever shared with you guys is BIG GAME JANUARY. What is Big Game January, you ask? Well, every January (give or take), I pick a ridiculously long RPG to play through. It's my way of coping with the long winter ahead. Up until now, winter has been magical, but these next two months are some of the slowest, most miserable weeks of the year. I'd say it's like what Frozen 2 was to the original, but I never saw it. I just wanted to get my obligatory Elsa reference in for the year. Past BGJs have included Dragon Age: Inquisition (2016), Disgaea 5 (2016), World of Final Fantasy (2017), Horizon Zero Dawn (2018), XCOM (2019), and Kingdom Come: Deliverance (2020). I realize two of those are not technically RPGs. They were still long games. Now, will DQH2 count as my BGJ or do I have something else in store? Is there a long RPG that I've had sitting on my shelf for an immeasurable amount of time, or has this shtick finally run its course? Tune in tomorrow... Same Cass time, same Cass channel.
  15. Wasn't really planning it, but... Slay the Spire My Lucky Day Win a Daily Climb.