realm722

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  1. Hahaha yooooo! You and I were in the exact same predicament with this man. I picked it up for $10 on the recent Holiday Sale expecting it to just be a distant "turn my brain off, just enjoy baseball while I play other games" and it ended up being the only game I wanted to keep playing for a week straight. Hell, I could play for hours in the evenings just listening to other shows/music due to how fun the gameplay is. You are 1000% on the money with how fun collections are - especially as someone who grew up collecting baseball cards. They really did an outstanding job making a fun sports Ultimate Team that isn't predator in the sense of forcing you to buy stubs. Sure, if you wanna pay 1-2 million stubs for some absurd 99 rated card you can, but you can easily manage a full diamond squad with borderline maxed stats without resorting to that. I also 100% feel your pain with self-imposed "limits". I personally try to ensure certain milestones are met (have to line up trophy points just right so it's the level up platinum icon, have 4 blues for plats before 1 green in a 100%, or as you put it - have a trilogy line up one after another). It's a pure curation of your profile for aesthetics but that's part of the fun of making it - and given how beautifully the Kingdom Hearts series looks on your profile I can't blame you for wanting to hold onto it.
  2. Game: MLB The Show 20 Analysis: I bought MLB The Show 20 for $9.99 back towards the very end of December in 2020 - the all-time lowest price to date according to PSPrices. Background: WOW this was awesome. I forgot how much I loved baseball games. So first, a bit of context. I am, at my core, a sports video game player first and foremost before any other genre. There has been a HUGE variety shift in my tastes from 2018 onwards compared to pre-2018 where I would say 90% of my video game playing time went to - Madden, FIFA, MLB The Show, and NBA2k. If you sort through my account history you'll see I have every single MLB The Show dating back to MLB The Show 14 - basically, every year that I've had a Playstation 4, I've at one point or another bought the corresponding game from that year. In 17, 18, and 20 - I achieved the platinums. In 14, 15, 16, and 19 - I was denied it. (Two times, in 16 and 19 - due to the fact that one brutally difficult online multiplier trophy would deny me from it's glory) MLB The Show 19 History: In fact, lemme go a bit more into detail about that since it never got an entry on here since I never platinumed it. I TRIED to get the platinum in MLB The Show 19. Not a brutally dedicated effort that I prolly could have invested even more time into - but if you look at my profile stats, my lowest trophy turnout in a month since Apr. 2018ish was... September 2019. WHY? I WAS OBSESSED WITH MLB THE SHOW 19. I loved the Diamond Dynasty mode to the point that I abandoned other games for awhile in an effort to build my team up and then play online. I played a good deal online, and if I could be arsed to reinstall the game, I'd tell my win-loss record but... ah, I can't be fussed. All I know is you needed to rank 800 or so and by the time I quit I was rank 400 - maybe peaked at the high 480's. I'm not that good at MLB The Show as I am at Madden/FIFA. I simply don't have the patience or hand-eye coordination required to hit at elite levels. Thus, the 0.30% rarity platinum in 2019 was denied for me, but even as it was denied, I still look very fondly upon my time I spent with it before moving on to other pastures (and yo - I could have been salty given I paid $20 for it on the PS Store only for it to go free for PS+ Users not too long later, could have been salty I repeat - I was happy so many others got to play it) So that's enough background on my MLB video gaming history. What makes MLB The Show 20 fun? Well for one, there is no brutally difficult online multiplier trophy. You don't have to win 20 out of 21 games with a drafted team(cough MLB The Show 16 cough) or be an elite player (cough MLB The Show 19 cough). In fact, here's a crazy fact - I earned all of the non-XP trophies in the game in 2 frigging days! Yea, I got busy right away with "March to October"'s mode as the Miami Marlins and managed to have us win the division and build this stacked roster of veterans in an effort to win the World Series only to flame out in 4 games to the Cincinnati Reds. From there I tested out a bit of Road to the Show playing as my Ryan Fitzpatrick pitcher for the Detroit Tigers from my MLB The Show 19 save - my guy continue to dominate and won AL Rookie of the Year, only to be traded in the offseason to the Los Angeles Dodgers. What morons run Detroit amirite? Anyways, that'll be fun to continue in MLB The Show 21. From there, I began testing the waters in Diamond Dynasty and lemme say, it has the best Ultimate Team mode of all the video game sports franchises. Bar none. I know the game has basically been out for 10+ months(it released on March 17th, 2020) - but the way you can rank up a nearly entirely full diamond squad in a matter of hours is bonkers to me. I cannot dream of FIFA letting you build an elite team that quickly. I had my 99 Larry Walker's and Ronald Acuña Jr's raring to go and I initially plugged away at moments, before discovering later on better methods to rack up XP. But before I get into that - I got the hardest "skill" trophy(scoring 1 run in every inning) playing as the MLB Legends team vs. a Double A squad and then going to the Polo Grounds jacking the sliders in my direction. Have fun teeing off against the baby brain AI, trust me, it's fun. So now let's get to the fun part. By the time I achieved all non-XP related trophies, I had only played the game for 2 days and was Level 25ish in the Bronze Rank. You have to get up to Level 100 in order to attain the "Silver 1" trophy that is essentially playing enough and collecting enough XP to unlock the platinum. I had done everything else in 1/4 the scheduled allotment of time so now it was all about scrounging up as much as experience as possible. How does one do that? Follow my simple tricks below. 1) DO THE PLAYER LIVE SERIES COLLECTIONS. You can pick up 10-20 for each team via bronzes/silvers doing buy bids for 5-10 stubs. I got from Level 29 to 55 this way. 2) Once you get the basics for player live series, focus on a few of the easier teams (Marlins, Pirates, Orioles, etc...) and fully complete their collections to unlock 3.5k XPs. 3) As you do this, you'll unlock Veteran, Rookie, Breakout, etc... cards and can start locking in cards for those collections. 4) Have my ABSURD luck. I packed 94OVR Jacob deGrom worth 135k. Most expensive live series card there is. Also packed 120k Justin Verlander & Stanton. 5) PLAY CONQUEST. You unlock an asinine amount of packs/stubs/XP this way. Especially on the 11th inning maps. It's boring and a grind but easy banks. Those are my 5 strongest tips. I managed to unlock to the entire National League and get the 99 Gary Sheffield as a result - funnily enough, I sold deGrom when I was Lvl 26 and bought him back at the end via enough stubs saved up to complete the Mets collection that essentially blockades you from completing it. The American League is way too hard given Mike Trout + Justin Verlander + Gerrit Cole going for crazy amounts. But this is all to say, while working on this - I discovered my new FAVORITE game mode on Diamond Dynasty and it is - Showdown. It's honestly kinda like the MLB Draft Mode where you draft a team at random, but instead of playing online you play in baseball scenarios. It could be, record 1 extra base hit and 2 runs in 2 innings. OR - make a huge comeback like down 0-3 with 12 outs to use try and comeback vs Yu Darvish. I LOOOOOOVED THIS MODE. So much so that even as it wasn't the most efficient way to win XP (it's still a decent method, but if you fail, you get nothing vs. conquest mostly being guaranteed and losing is just a minor inconvenience). Once I was Level 95 and nearing the end, this was the only mode I played given how much I adored it. It gave STAKES to the game that Conquest couldn't give me, without the annoying cheesiness of online play. Trying to comeback vs HOF pitchers knowing your chances are dwindling is exhilarating. HUGE round of applause for the folks at San Diego Studios for coming up with this mode, I genuinely can't wait to play it again in MLBTS21. To finish things off - just a few bonus details of things I enjoyed about and my general strategy. 1) Hitting strategy was easy - pull the ball on inside pitches with power guys aiming top of the corners and slap hitters (I you Kenny Lofton) to all parts of the field, unless they aggressively shift, in which case switch to a contact swing and scoop up easy doubles. 2) I loved 94 Chipper Jones and 99 Ty Cobb. Broken cards for me. 3) The soundtrack is a frigging blast as well. In the spoiler below I'm going to include my final team that I gathered after just about a weeks worth of play for a little bonus and memory for my future itself. I managed to achieve MLB The Show 20's 8.78% rarity platinum in just 1 week and 4 hours! Currently, that is the 4th fastest ever on PSNProfiles! (Props to the 3 dudes in front of my who accomplished it in under a week ya madlads). MLB The Show officially also earns the moniker as best active video game sports franchise going at the moment. A well-earned title and hey, two 8+ rated games to start 2021 is a hell of a way to kick-off the year! Panda Score: 8.0 / 10
  3. Hmmm... this is an interesting take! So I briefly checked out Ni No Kuni 2 via a let's player fo mine that I trust and to be honest, the protagonist turned me off a fair bit and after seeing the familiars were gone in favor of higgledies I eventually checked out around 3-4 episodes in. I'll 100% give it a reconsideration for the future tho(down the line, cuz forreal, RPGs are utterly mammoth and you can complete 3-4 "decently sized 20 hr games" in the timespan to complete one of them. Props to you for having both platinums in the series regardless!
  4. Game: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered Analysis: I bought Ni No Kuni 1's physical copy edition for $14.99 off of Best Buy back in mid-August 2020. Warning: This review is exhaustively detailed since I want to remember this game in detail, even when my memory for it fades in the future since time will do that to us with all experiences. You can skip the "background" section if you don't care about why I specifically choose this game for a genre I don't typically play. Spoilers from "A Rough Beginning" and onwards. You've been warned. Background: I am NOT an RPG guy. Despite the fact that Persona 5 is my #1 game of All-Time during the Playstation 4 era... I think it'd be fair to say that it is my only RPG that I played for the entire generation. You can look at my list of games on the front page. You won't find a single Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Monster Hunter, etc... (does Kingdom Hearts count? Okay if you cant that one then sure). Quite simply, they're not typically my style. I don't hate turn-based combat, it's just that generally in order to invest whole-heartedly in such a lengthy experience, I'm not gonna feel comfortable committing to one I know nothing about. Could you imagine being committed for 60+ hours to a game you... don't enjoy? I know, I know - this is where we can discuss whether or not being a "trophy hunter" is damaging since you shouldn't feel obligated to complete games you don't enjoy.... whatever. I like to complete games and get a platinum. It gives me the drive to finish them and an "endgame" besides the end of the game itself. I had watched TWO. COMPLETE. 100+ HOURS. of playthroughs involving Persona 5 - and I eventually played it myself. The case regarding why I decided to play Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was much foggier. I had watched an old YouTuber of mines, VintageBeef's playthrough of the game back on the PS3 all the way back in January 2013. Suffice to say - A LOT HAS CHANGED IN 7 YEARS. But I remember loving watching that playthrough when I was younger, and when I saw the remastered version was coming to the PS4 - I was determined to jump at the chance of playing it without first refreshing my memory. This was something I adored watching 7 years ago, would my memory be faithful and I love it - or would I have the awful realization of what may be fun to watch may not be fun to play, and what I may have enjoyed 7 years ago may be just that - an enjoyment of the past. A Rough Beginning: So lemme give some spoilers up right out of the gate. WOW my memory had forgotten A LOT. Bruh they freaking kill your mom in the opening sequence. What the hell? I do remember our good ol' lovely "innit" chap, Drippy and his Welsh accent. He's a bit of a ball buster but has a good heart and friendship with Oliver (or better said, Ollie-boy) and it's a pleasant dynamic. I had also completely forgotten you can transfer between this magical world and Motorville whenever you please. I had it stuck in my mind Oliver was trapped and would be trying to find a way back home... nah, not even a little bit. He's going on this quest to try and save his mom and bring her back to life, from the clutches of Shadar, the Dark Djinn. So whaddya know - we have our motivation and we're off! You also restore the hearts and feelings of "broken-hearted" individuals by finding extra cases of ambition, love, kindness, etc... - you visit cities ranging from the typical prestige Ding Dong Dell, a desert oasis in Al Mammon, the industrial Hamelin (this was the city I most vividly remembered, but I confused the steampunk in my memory for a train station, whoops!) to Casteaway Cove, Skull Mountain, Yule, Perdida, etc... all of it is quite whimsical. In fact, in a word or description I'd give to somebody to describe this game it'd be just that. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is the word "majestic" personified in an incredible world and atmosphere. Whether it be Studio Ghibli collaborating with Level-5 to recreate their iconic visual design, to the pure innocence of Ollie-boy with his crew of Ester and Swaine, to catching the vast assortment of creative familiars from Captain Whamtastic's, Demoliceros, and Lumberowod's, to just... I dunno man. The beauty in the simplicity of traveling on your dragon Tengri to obscure islands and helping people out. When you first get a scope of the map and see the various islands the realization hits you "holy crap this is gonna be a journey", and it absolutely lives up to that expression with how it takes you across the map and back multiple times. But.... I don't want to be misleading. I was not loving this game in the beginning. The intro was alright, and maybe I was contaminated by the fact I had a blurry memory of watching this game, but I honestly consider the first 15 hours of this game to be a slog. Ding Dong Dell, Al Mammon, even Hamelin... it just all felt so slow at times. I didn't think I was "rushing for the platinum" but uh, some scenes just dragged on forever, and the combat wasn't grasping me early on (Side Rant: I like the combat more than turn-based having played it fully now after 60+ hours. It's not an action game, but being able to run around the field, dodge attacks, set up moves, fire spells with Oliver, it's a nice pleasant system that doesn't detract from the experience). I feared that this would be me really trying to enjoy a game (Forgotton Anne, Owlboy) more so than... actually being taken aback but it's brilliance. But then, after I got Tengri(your personal dragon that allows you to fly and land anywhere), and around the 18 hourish mark(I was level 36 having just fought the Pirate Captain for one of Mornstar's gems or whatever) - I finally caught myself playing AND enjoying it. That's one hell of a time commitment playing something for that long that you don't enjoy. I didn't actively dislike it, but I wasn't loving it either, I was in the Graveyard Keeper phase of "playing, going through the motions". But that changed once the world opened up and you could choose between going to Yule, The Vault of Tears, or fight the captain ship. Perhaps it's because all the mechanics had become available - or the fact I could start properly making familiars my own and go wherever the hell I pleased, but the game really took an noticeable uptick for me where I would play for multiple hours on end and not want to call it quit - in fact, this brings me to a very important point I want to make about this game. I believe moving forward - JRPGs or any other massive games I play must fit into this category - I need to love just hanging out on them while watching other content on my laptop. I'm not gonna pretend like Ni No Kuni received 1000% of my attention all the time. I watched multiple movies while grinding for levels. I watched Joseph Anderson's Twitch streams on David Cage games. Hell, I watched Tim Rogers' 6-hour review of Tokimeki Memorial... twice. But yanno what the sign of a great game is? I'll pause those movies to watch the game when there's an intriguing story moment or cutscene. I did that numerous times for NNK (I love the villain cutscenes with the bird, Shadar, and the White Witch particularly) Completing the Story: Little did I realize how shortly after finally enjoying the game I was to finishing the main story, and that's not an indictment. I was 18 hours in to fully appreciating the game and enjoying hanging out in this playground of a world, and by the 30 hour and 55 minute mark - I had finished the main storyline. The game attempts to "fake you out" or hell, it doesn't even really do that because you can see the villain cutscenes but once you defeat Shadar at Nevermore, you think you're gonna get your celebration at Ding Dong Dell and peace out back to Motorville... NOPE! Cuz Cassopiea turns everyone into zombies! You save the 3 main cities, decide to head to hear Ivory Tower, whoop her ass back to normalcy, and finally beat the Zodiarchy to achieve true peace and happiness for all! Woohoo! You're done with the game right? Hahahha, no my friend. You have no idea. In fact, let me show you some playtime timestamps I took in my notes to point out when hit the 50% mark on your journey. 18 hours, 23 minutes - Lvl 36 - finally started enjoying the game 30 hours, 55 minutes - Lvl 66 - Finished the main storyline 45 hours, 27 minutes - Lvl 88 - close to finishing all bounties/errands 50 hours, 11 minutes - Lvl 99 - finished errands/bounties, colosseum 62 hours, 15 minutes - Lvl 99 - caught 250 familiars, 120 alchemy items That's right folks! Once you complete the main story, you're really just getting started since - Ni No Kuni 1 has some of the post-game content I've ever seen in a video game. I dunno if this is exclusively a JRPG thing but my goodness. The numerous new errands and bounties you had to focus on from going to these obscure forest glades you barely would have encountered or even touched if you were focused on the story, to the different boss battles that'll kick your ass if you immediately go for them without realizing they're "endgame" content (that Ulk in the Summerlands DESTROYED ME), you have the Conductor who unveils the games real secret final boss, you have all the elements of interacting with the fairies to these really long quests like delivering tikha mahala across the entire map for a guy in Al Mammon or rescuing fairies scattered across the world. The post-game content is mammoth, and that isn't even getting into the completionism aspect of catching every time of familiar when possible and making sure you gather the star sprinkling items sprawled across the entire map. My Familiars, Oh My Beloved Familiars: I'm going to list off my team of beloved creatures so they are not forgotten. (These were their stats by the end of the main storyline, I switched up my team for the post-game since I had easy "I-win" options now available to me after completing some of the errands. Oliver (Lvl 66): Lvl 68 Obscuroboros Lvl 55 Trapper Snapper Lvl 35 Pyromander (got him since I liked his speed, but eh didn't ever become a huge player) Esther (Lvl 66): Lvl 69 Flurongo (prolly the 2nd most important main story familiar, got the familiar trophies with 'em) Lvl 65 Sea Naiad Lvl 60 Madcap Swaine (Lvl 66): Lvl 58 Aye Aye Catcher (MVP of this entire journey, got last hits on Shadar/White Witch) Lvl 34 Paleolith (one of the best defensive familiars in the entire game) Lvl 56 Bone Brigadier My basic combat strategy was "psyching up" with Swaine using the Aye Aye Catcher (named Sieler, after Zach Sieler of the Miami Dolphins) and just crushing the competition. He's great for the main story content, but in the post-game the Bone Brigadier became my MVP for him, while for Esther I never deviated from Flurongo, but did get her a Lumberwood via Erwin's final familiar retrieve quests and Oliver I got a Dinoceros named Xavien as well which is... oh my god that familiar is so OP. I had read it was OP when doing research for the best familiar to sweep the post-game and couldn't for the life of me catch one in the plateaus above the Shimmering Sands, gave up on it, and when Erwin gave me a ticket I cashed that bad boy in and my goodness did he obliterate once I started leveling him up. Everything would be dead within seconds and nothing else really stood a chance - I'm glad I completed the main story and everything before then as it would have been far too easy and just an "I win" button otherwise. I'm Going to List a Bunch of Things I Hate About This Game: I thoroughly enjoyed this game but I just need to rant about a few unfathomably bad things it does. #1) Why on earth are YOU SO SLOOOOOWWWWWWWWW... in the overworld or running between towns. THE DEVELOPERS KNOW THIS. There's a reason they let you teleport after awhile from the start of Hamelin to the end of it to visit the prince. It's because it's agonizingly slow and it hurts... give us a sprint button. The upgrade from the bounty shop doesn't matter. It's still too slow. I hate it - and I think you could shave several hours off the playtime if they just let you freaking move more quickly man. It's not a "take your time and appreciate the art" it's "holy hell Oliver GET A MOVE ON WILL YOU". #2) Some story beats COMPLETELY missed the mark with me. I'm going to make a shocking revelation for you all, there's FOUR playable characters in this game. Oliver, Esther, and Swaine are the ones I've mentioned. Why is that? Cuz you get some jabroni named Marcassin you met way earlier in the game during the Hamelin sequence that I do not give two tosses about. Sorry, maybe there's a rabid Marcassin from Ni No Kuni 1 fanbase out there but I did not use him a single time in my entire 62 hours of play. Why would I? He was under-leveled, and more importantly, I needed Esther to catch familiars and Swaine to use mugshot to steal alchemy items. He did not receive one iota of my time and I doubt I'm the only one who played it like this. #3) Just... the animations are pretty but can we speed things up? I took for granted the fast-forward button in Persona 5 in battle. Once you're "grinding" for certain alchemy items or even just levels, seeing the same animation of your guys celebrating genociding the same poor small tadpole for the billionith time gets old. Let me skip it, please game. #4) Some of the storybeats of "Your Princess Is In Another Castle" are so goddamn tiresome because of how slow you are. There was a point where you fly across the entire map to go to a small island, read something, and then fly all the way back to where you were to report back. Once again, exacerbated by the slowness. #5) Grinding. I will list all the times I could not kill the boss in a level not because I wasn't skilled enough, but because my guys didn't do enough damage cuz I hadn't killed enough smaller enemies. #1) Volcanoe boss on Old Smokey first time around, #2) Jelly boss fight in Fairy Godmother for 2 hours #3) Grinded HARDCORE before Miasma Marshes as they destroyed me, until I was like lvl 53, #4) for some post-game bosses in the Ivory Tower. That's 4 grind sessions! (that's hot). I don't hate grinding, but it's just a mindless task where gamers with tighter time availbility to play games may not be afforded the luxury I had to just play a movie while doing so. Finally, #6) Grinding for alchemy items. This one wasn't so bad. The completionist time for the guide said 80 hours. I basically did it in 60 hours (clock rolls even when paused). But I did have to obliterate a few golden familiars in those Shonky Honkers and Hog Goblins to get some Scrolls of Truth and the such for Errand #78. I was saved by the fact I didn't have a 10-15+ hour alchemy grinding "end-of-game" sequence some poor bastards had to go through if they weren't prudent about collecting stuff in the overworld while going between various tasks. The Grand Finale: At the end of the day, I'm a simple man. If I love you look at you and enjoy your company, I'm gonna have a great time. That was Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch for me. Her combat or mechanics didn't have me entranced in it's moment-to-moment gameplay like Dead Cells or Sayonara Wild Hearts. It's story didn't grip me like Banner Saga or Pyre, and even if it's overall vibes didn't quite achieve the heights of Persona 5, I'm glad I played it. I'm not sure if I'll make it a habit to play 1 giant RPG towards the end of each December (2019 - Persona 5, 2020 - Ni No Kuni 1) - but I think it would be a great change of pace to bask in a world and all it's creations for a month and rest from trying to hit my quota of 4 each time. All in all, it took me 2 weeks and 2 days to achieve this 14.81% rarity platinum and damn if it ain't a fine one to kick-off the 2021 trophy hunting season. Unless I play a plethora of masterpieces that buries it, take your bets now as I guarantee Ni No Kuni will win at least one "end of the year Game Awards" in December 2021. I'm ecstatic to get back on the saddle for this next "season" of RealM722 Trophy Hunting and let's see if I can hit my goal of achieving 150 platinums by years end. Cheers to all those who made it this far and thank you! Panda Score: 8.5 / 10
  5. Maybe this was just a me being awful at video games thing - but I legitimately died so much just trying to complete the base game. So many game over's - especially on the sewer plant and flyship bases levels. I took nearly a whole year off from it and brute forced my way to finishing it. The game was brutally difficult for me, and hell the blue spheres will turn off virtually everyone who isn't intentionally going for them.
  6. I made the exact same pick in my playthrough so happy to see we're in the same camp! There's a lot of great options (Ann has people who dislike her since she's an obvious choice but she's very kind if a bit oblivious at times, Makoto's great, and some of the other ladies who prolly haven't appeared yet for you are really awesome as well)
  7. Bahahaha excellent job on this. First of all, on achieving this platinum in the 1st place. But my goodness... I downloaded Shadow of the Colossus when it became free for PS+ Users but REFUSED to play it until I at the very least, platinumed The Last Guardian. It's the latest game by Colossus' developer, Team Ico. I don't know how else to say this... I despise that game with ever fiber of my being. It is the worst Playstation 4 game I have ever played, and I have beaten the game 6 BLOODY TIMES and yet don't have the plat (need to do an unbelievably annoying hear all hints trophy+do a whole playthrough without leaving spears in your monsters companions body. To see that the EXACT same awful control problems are present in their title that led them to superstardom on a global stage boggles my mind. So having read your review, thank you for your sacrifice. For it tells me - yanno what, don't ever play this game, or at least if I want to, do it on a 2nd account and only do a 1-time playthrough. I can do and handle difficult games that require skill and precision. Wanting to fight the game CONTROLS themself though and have an infuriating experience? I'm good dawg. Don't need that in my life. Hell of a platinum to end 2020, I salute you.
  8. AMAZING job with the Sayonara Wild Hearts fastest achiever! Genuinely love that game and it ended up being one of my Top 5 in 2020 - and one of my Top 10 I've ever played on PS4. But to see you earn it in under 2 hours is just... mind-boggling. Obviously you had experience with it since you had played it before but not even goofing up on the A-ranks, or the no-death run, or some of the finnicky level specific trophies (0 points on car level, all those near misses on the cars, all the perfect hops on the deer level) - tremendous! I salute you!
  9. Haha thank you for the love! and yes, I highly recommend doing recap lists, even if they aren't as wordy mine. Really lets you reflect on a year full of accomplishments and also provides a great synopsis for keeping in mind for the future what you'd like to play. and yes! TLB2 was a quick and nice experience. I'd also be curious for your take on it given you actually have fighting game experience (Street Fighter V platinum O_____O) and see how it holds up for a game from the 90's. Absolutely! I was actually looking at Indigo Prophecy and Beyond: Two Souls as two potential "short" platinums, but after reviewing both, I strongly recommend B:TS over Indigo since uh... the old one has some very outdated game design(as expected of something originally released in 2005). I'm currently watching Joseph Anderson play it on Twitch and it's his favorite of the 3 and he's halfway thru so it is a fun time! I also agree with what you said about the hate. YouTubers have made this point plenty - but if you look up general trends, the "Top 10 Worst Games of 2020" will get more views than the "Top 10 Best Games of 2020" videos. People feed off negativity and it can be a strange form of unity "dunking" on someone/something no matter how toxic it may be. But generally I think it's a good idea to go against that wave since honestly, how are you better off for it? GENERAL ACCOUNT UPDATE: This is prolly gonna my longest "drought" without a game completion for awhile and that's a-okay with me! I took a little break after 100%'d TLB2 and recently have been playing Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. I am 20 hours in and am finally really enjoying it - I have a lot of thoughts on it but it is a mammoth game and I'll get more into it with the full review, but since it's one of those huge JRPGs I haven't really dipped into other games waters. I picked up a few more from the recent sale, but I think I'll coast for the end of 2020 as I already did my end of year reviews and awards and will comeback with a fury start of 2021. As of now, go Dolphins as we hope to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and stay safe everybody!
  10. List of Platinums Earned in 2020: #1. Aven's Colony - Jan. 6th (14.60%) #2. Yoku's Island Express - Jan 11th (39.47%) #3. Batman: Arkham Asylum - Jan 17th (14.76%) #4. Arcade Game Series: Galaga - Jan 30th (19.51%) #5. Persona 5 - Jan 31st (10.53%) #6. Madden 20 - Feb 7th (3.08%) #7. Sea of Solitude - Feb 7th (53.02%) #8. Kona - Feb 10th (30.36%) #9. LittleBigPlanet 3 - Feb 24th (1.84%) #10. Detroit: Become Human - Feb 24th (15.85%) #11. Owlboy - Mar 1st (22.94%) #12. Mirror's Edge Catalyst - Mar 5th (8.64%) #13. Castlevania Requiem - Mar 12th (19.53%) #14. Slay the Spire - Mar 29th (5.57%) #15. Batman: Arkham City - Apr 15th (9.71%) #16. Sundered - Apr 15th (16.15%) #17. Spyro the Dragon - Apr 21st (48.89%) #18. Subnautica - Apr 22nd (20.59%) #19. Hollow Knight - May 20th (7.33%) #20. Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage - May 26th (38.60%) #21. Arcade Game Series: Dig-Dug - Jun 1st (25.83%) #22. Children of Morta - Jun 15th (28.82%) #23. Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon - Jun 17th (35.90%) #24. Slime Rancher - Jun 21st (8.17%) #25. Need for Speed: Heat - Jul 2nd (17.20%) #26. Strider - Jul 19th (5.49%) #27. Ninjago: The Lego Movie - Jul 23rd (25.76%) #28. Beholder 1 - Aug 1st (12.79%) #29. VA-11 HA-11-A - Aug 4th (32.42%) #30. Unravel Two - Aug 6th (1.67%) #31. Stardew Valley - Aug 9th (1.02%) #32. Dragon Quest Builders 2 - Aug 30th (27.65%) #33. Valkyria Chronicles - Aug 30th (10.04%) #34. 88 Heroes - Sep 6th (9.48%) #35. Beholder 2 - Sep 15th (23.01%) #36. Risk of Rain 2 - Sep 30th (14.25%) #37. inFamous First Light - Oct 1st (22.15%) #38. Banner Saga 1 - Oct 15th (4.00%) #39. Life is Strange - Oct 18th (35.12%) #40. Graveyard Keeper - Nov 2nd (20.38%) #41. Sayonara Wild Hearts - Nov 6th (21.64%) #42. Afterparty - Nov 13th (18.88%) #43. Coffee Talk - Nov 26th (58.90%) #44. Banner Saga 2 - Dec 8th (6.74%) #45. Typoman: Revised - Dec 10th (13.63%) Total: 45 platinums, 5 ultra rares
  11. Let's Talk about David Cage games - views on him and why do people hate them? Why on earth am I talking about this? My favorite streamer, Papa Joseph Anderson - is streaming all of the David Cage for the month of December. Some of the discussion surrounding it in chat and in general is pretty gripping to say the least - and I think it would be a good time to ask, man - how good is this interactive storytelling nonsense in all reality. David Cage Games: #1. Omikron: The Nomad Soul (1999) #2. Fahrenheit (2005) #3. Heavy Rain (2010) #4. Beyond: Two Souls (2013) #5. Detroit: Become Human (2018) Why do people call them David Cage games? I think you would be hard-pressed to find a studio more known for it's auteur and creator than it's own studio name. The only ones that really rival Cage are probably Hideo Kojima back with Konami. Beyond that, the notion of an "auteur" or person with an over-whelming amount of control over what and what doesn't take place in their video games doesn't really apply to the vast majority of game studios. (Testuya Nomura is another one you can add to the group of you insist) When you're playing The Last of Us II - you may have Neil Druckmann's storytelling come to mind, but you prolly don't for the gameplay elements. Unless it's a game like Stardew Valley (Eric Barone) or a game like The Witness with Jonathan Blow - typically these big-budgeted studios are so big that while there may be a recognizable name and face at the top, they rarely receive all the credit and all the blame for the project they worked on. That ain't the case for Mr. Cage. If you watch somebody who knows who the hell he is, if there's an inexplicably laughably ridiculous line - they're prolly gonna mention him. If there's an over-the-top absolutely bonkers quicktime event - you know he's gonna be shouted out, and if there's ever a ridiculous shower / sex scene you know even more so. Everything that happens in Cage's games is believed to be his meticulous creation. But... is that accurate? I'm tempted to say... the really ridiculous parts, yea prolly. There's just far too many weird coincidences across these games that make me think an entire studio is repeating the same bizarre notes over and over again. It's the shower scenes, the ridiculous over-the-top mellow-dramatic elements, the insistence on a serious tone, and if you really wanna get into it - some of the more creepy elements found across all his productions(we'll dive more into those allegations later). So.... yea. I'd say, you're fair to refer to them as "David Cage games" even as it's a video game studio that employs 100+ people and has for well over a decade. Before we go any further, is David Cage a creep? * Sources: Eurogamer article on toxic work culture at Quantic Dream. Star of Beyond: Two Souls, Ellen Page - explored legal action against them. * #1. "Cage, particularly, is painted as a figure hard to work with. He is apparently ironically nicknamed "Papa", "God" and "Sun King" for his autocratic approach to working, for demanding long hours and for not listening to others." * #2. "Cage is also accused of a lack of consideration for female colleagues, and of making insistent dirty jokes, smutty remarks in the presence of his wife, and inappropriate remarks about actresses in his games." * #3. "Others have apparently witnessed homophobic or racist jokes. One incident involved a burglary caught on CCTV. After watching, Cage allegedly asked an employee of Tunisian origin, "Is that a cousin of yours?" * #4. "The most shocking [images] present Quantic Dream's collaborators in sexual positions, adorned with homophobic or sexist slurs, or even made up to look like Nazis," said Le Monde's report, translated by Eurogamer. * #5. "The Video Game that began with... pictures of Ellen Page" Let's stop there. Uhhhh..... I mean.... okay, how do I say this in 2020. I don't think David Cage is Harvey Weinstein. But I do think he's in that bizarrely completely lack-of-self-awareness area of "he doesn't even realize how awful some of the stuff he does". I don't know if anybody here has seen The Good Place, Season 4, but basically think - Brent Norwolk. I think David Cage would 1000% unironically tell a woman she should "smile more" and say absolutely nothing wrong with it. Why do I think this? Because I think he thinks he's an incredible writer who hits on these story moments so magnificently that only he could conjure up in his own head. I don't know if this is because he's never been told no, or the fact a game like Fahrenheit(which if you've never played, I STRONGLY recommend you watch Joseph Anderson's stream of since it's brilliant) - LEGITAMATELY WON AT THE 2006 NAVGTR Awards for "Writing in a Drama". Having never played it ans finally watching it... what on earth was the planet smoking in 2006. I mean, how can I even blame him for not realizing his own shortcomings? He's built one of the most successful game studios in France, with him as the auteur, received praise and awards from award shows, these games are beloved by real people... he's honestly, a more grounded version of Tommy Wiseau in a lot of ways. He believes himself to be brilliant and he kinda is... just, not in maybe all the ways he thinks he is. But back on topic for this section - is he a creep? Eh, I'll settle on the fact he's a 51-year old weirdo who will evidently make and do things in real life that'll make you cringe - and while he probably wouldn't have been called out on it in the early or even late 2000s, times are changing. I mean, the way he in general wrote women all the way up until Detroit: Become Human was... let's not even get into it. I burst out cackling when this happened in the aftermath of playing Fahrenheit - (David Cage's model dancing with Clara's model in underwear and her bra). Now, obviously, the harrassament in the workplace - making women feel uncomfortable, making tasteless race jokes, yea... cut it out David. But despite it all, I dunno, maybe I'm thinking he's too dumb to not realize what he's doing but... I root for David Cage. I think he's absolutely ridiculous, needs to stop being a frigging weirdo, and would probably be served if he took himself and his games a bit less seriously - but somehow due to how much he gets crushed in many gaming communities, I wouldn't hate it if his next release was this absolutely mind-boggling masterpiece that no one could deny. Perhaps that's easier to state from a distance. I don't know him, he's likely awful to work with and this cute persona I've created of him may make life hell for others, but at least that's where I stand today (and would be willing to change if yanno... new allegations and information came to light) Why do people love his games? Why do people hate his games? Why people hate David Cage games - Where to begin? The complaints can first start with the game designs themselves. These games focus on "interactive storytelling". In other words, you're not going to be shooting a gun, driving a car, or really even completing a puzzle for the most part. The vast majority of these games can be completed by hitting "QTE events" or buttons on your controller when they appear, and merely walking around environments clicking on items until the next sequence follows. Many claim this is "boring". Others say it's "awful" as "gameplay" can involve meaningless clicking X to sit down in an empty booth or check yourself out in a mirror. In essence, you're never going to be challenged in terms of completing a task while playing these games. If you gameplay is everything to you, these games probably aren't it. Another one is lambasting the "awful storytelling". It's fine to tell stories, but David Cage games don't ever actually tell them... well. Inevitably there will be ridiculous plot contrivances, absurd sequences where you'll be crawling on shards of glass, clicking QTE events for a strange out of place sex scene, and in general if you don't even have the buy-in for the story in THESE games of all games... my goodness you're gonna not have a very good time. Others like to rip on them for his writing of women which has admittedly been pretty lowbrow in virtually every release. Hell, some of the humor involving racial stereotypes in Fahrenheit really don't age that well. It wouldn't be that crazy to find why someone would be hard-pressed to find many redeeming qualities of these games. But..... Yo, I frigging enjoy them. I have played 2 of his 5 video games. Heavy Rain I scored a 7.1 out of 10, and Detroit: Become Human I scored a 8.0 out of 10. These aren't my favorite games - but I kinda question someone who can't find any enjoyment out of them. Are you a stick in the mud? Did you really not have a slight grin when Zlatko comes out screaming at his robot slaves "IM YOUR MASTA"? I'm not saying "these games are so bad, they're good." I believe there are sections and sequences that are 1000%, positively, GOOD video game set-pieces. Specifically in Detroit: Become Human involving Connor and Hank. That strange duo-cop dynamic working beautifully, and while Cage's detractors will point out a whole lot of that was ad-libbed. I mean... he still let it appear in his video game. I'll concede Kara's storyline was a solid knockdown, and Markus' uhh... complete focus was the lamest sections of the game for me but what the hell man - he stumbles into a good time one way or another, I can't take the good away from him and leave him purely with the bad. In general, I don't like the term "it's so bad it's good" because it often feels to me like a veil for somebody who enjoys something, but knows it's disliked and thus it's a nice veil for their "tastes". I dunno - I rated Heavy Rain as "good dumb fun" - would Cage be mad at me if he read that? It's probably not what he's going for given how much he talks at length about his emotional stories but come on! How can you not laugh at some of the stuff he includes? I don't think this is multi-levels of conspiracy where he actually takes his games intentionally over-the-top serious, knowing people think he's a joke, and thus they become all the more funnier when he's jedi-matrix fighting a druid on a snowy New York rooftop and people view it as the game taking itself as high-art. Some people are oblivious, I think David Cage is one of them, but dammit if I don't enjoy it. TL;DR - David Cage is not a monster, most definitely a weirdo, a genius, but not for the reasons he thinks, has made some good/fun games and video game sequences, probably completely against his own will and vision, but all the same... I root for this man, and I imagine it's in large part due to the fact so many highfalutin gamers are against him.
  12. Great job on this! I'll say that Yakuza is one of those series I honestly like to watch more for a playthrough on YouTube than play myself (simply because of all the time you'd have to dedicate in 0 and Kiwami to minigames) - but they're undeniably a favorite for so many, and I love how they toe the line between extremely serious life/death ramifications to goofing off and having a fun time with the ridiculous circumstances Kiryu finds himself in sometimes. Given the fact that the first 2 games are ultra rare plats while this one is at 11% (still no slouch) - well done! Looking forward to your review of Danganronpa as the games are... a trip to say the least.
  13. Absolutely incredible job with this man. I too was intrigued by The Crew since the notion of driving around a shrunken down version of the US really appealed to me (and I waited until The Crew 2's much easier plat to fully dive in, heh) But to get a sub <1% plat like this given all the grind, online, and potential for utter rage if the game had glitched out on you... def one of the most impressive additions to a collection. Well done and look forward to future reviews, seems like you have a number to get through given you platted this back in August!
  14. RealM722's Games Played in 2020 Year-In-Review It's that time of the year again!... the end of it. 2020 likely marks my most diverse gaming catalogue year of my life. For a year that's brought so much, hmm... negativity, to put it nicely, to so many - at least there's that. I personally set myself the goal of completing 4 games a month for 12 months that would get me close to the total of 50 games this year. I managed to exceed that benchmark, with the caveat that the vast majority of these games aren't very lengthy. 1 game in each month consisted of a short 100%, 1 short platinum, 1 intermediate platinum, and 1 lenghtier game here and there. This leads to the list below. I'm going to shake things up a bit this year and actually give out some awards based on Dr_Mayus post on here since I think it has a fun diverse amount of categorizes to give out. If you want to read how I felt about any game I played and don't want to go digging through 200+ replies, simply click on the game and you will be linked to my review and see how I felt about it. Typically, the better rated the game, the longer the review. Anyways, here's the list! (Side note: The RealM722 Game Awards of 2020 were deadlined between January 1st, 2020 - December 12th, 2020 - any games completed in December will be eligible for 2021 Awards. Games such as Burnout Paradise: Remastered and Need for Speed: Payback do not appear as merely their DLC were completed in 2020, thank you) Games Played in 2020 Ranked: #1. Persona 5 (9.50 rating) #2. Stardew Valley (9.50 rating) #3. The Banner Saga 2 (9.10 rating) #4. Slay the Spire (9.00 rating) #5. Sayonara Wild Hearts (9.00 rating) #6. Risk of Rain 2 (8.80 rating) #7. The Banner Saga (8.60 rating) #8. Dragon Quest Builders 2 (8.50 rating) #9. Batman: Arkham City (8.20 rating) #10. Detroit: Become Human (8.00 rating) #11. Unravel Two (8.00 rating) #12. Children of Morta (8.00 rating) #13. Hollow Knight (7.90 rating) #14. Slime Rancher (7.70 rating) #15. Need for Speed: Heat (7.60 rating) #16. Valkyria Chronicles (7.50 rating) #17. Yoku's Island Express (7.50 rating) #18. Graveyard Keeper (7.48 rating) #19. Owlboy (7.45 rating) #20. Beholder 2 (7.40 rating) #21. Mirror's Edge Catalyst (7.30 rating) #22. Journey (7.25 rating) #23. Batman: Arkham Asylum (7.20 rating) #24. VA-11 HA11-A (7.20 rating) #25. Beholder (7.10 rating) #26. Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rond of Blood (7.10 rating) #27 Afterparty (7.00 rating) #28. Strider (7.00 rating) #29. Aven Colony (7.00 rating) #30. LittleBigPlanet 3 (6.80 rating) #31. Abzû (6.75 rating) #32. Kona (6.75 rating) #33. Sundered (6.70 rating) #34. Life is Strange (6.60 rating) #35. Cel Damage HD (6.60 rating) #36. Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage (6.60 rating) #37. Island Saver (6.50 rating) #38. 88 Heroes (6.50 rating) #39. Sonic Mania (6.40 rating) #40. Subnautica (6.40 rating) #41. Dig-Dug (6.40 rating) #42. Coffee Talk (6.38 rating) #43. Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon (6.30 rating) #44. Madden NFL 20 (6.25 rating) #45. Thomas Was Alone (6.10 rating) #46. Galaga (6.00 rating) #47. Typoman (6.00 rating) #48. The Last Blade 2 (6.00 rating) #49. Spyro the Dragon (6.00 rating) #50. inFamous First Light (6.00 rating) #51. Lego Ninjago: The Movie (6.00 rating) #52. The Swapper (6.00 rating) #53. Sea of Solitude (5.50 rating) #54. Hatoful Boyfriend (5.00 rating) #55. Soccer Pinball (4.00 rating) #56. Dear Esther: Landmark Edition (4.00 rating) 2019 Year-in-Review List Wow! Quite the compilation! Just comparing it to 2019 where I completed 42 games, we went for 2 9's to 5 9's - that's significant given how stingy I am most of the time. For those who don't know my tier list - here it is briefly. A 9.00 is the cream of the crop, I loved this game, would recommend it to anybody, and it captivated me in a unique way that even other games I may think are mechanically superior didn't. A 8.00 are composed by some of the best games I played this year, but they were lacking something to launch them into the 9.00 category - perhaps they didn't demand enough of me to master in order to platinum it like in the case of Risk of Rain 2, or I thought they were a great foundation but their sequel expanded in just the right ways to get the superior rating (Batman Arkham City, Banner Saga). A 7.00 is a good game, I love these since they tend to be more quirky or unique than some of the higher stuff on the list - but quite simply, such as in the case of games like Hollow Knight - I thoroughly enjoyed them, but I know for a fact I just didn't love them like other people loved them. For someone else, Hollow Knight is a 10/10 Game of the Year. Having played it, I can't argue it - I just didn't vibe with it quite to that degree. You'll also have some hidden gems in this category like the Beholder's of the world. It's a fundamentally sound category that is full of good games. A 6.00 is a bit of a fall off. Maybe I found one or two things in a game I enjoyed, but I didn't greatly enjoy my time with it - if you wanna be extra mean, these are the "filler" games between the real captivating ones I find on sale. Many of these games are shorter experiences, or ones that I don't consider to be too bad, inoffensive, and something decent for a platinum in a few days. There are exceptions - games like Subnautica and Sonic Mania are beloved by many others, but for me, they just don't land with me the same - yet they land a 6.00 since I respect their design and acknowledge they're not bad games, just not games for me. Finally, in order to score a 5.00 or even a 4.00 you have to be games I actively did not enjoy and found little or next to nothing to appreciate. Thankfully, no big money was spent on these games. Sea of Solitude was gotten since I had already paid the #5 for EA Play to play Madden, and it was just a droning experience. Hatoful Boyfriend I hoped would hit some fun visual novel niche for me and just totally whiffed. Soccer Pinball was a worthless cheap 100% I got since I wanted a green on my profile, and Dear Esther is the most laughably bizarrely creation I discovered in an indie game bundle. All in all, it could have been worse. Easiest Game Hardest Game Grind of the Year --- --- Explanation: We're going to be breaking these up into 3 categorizes at a time. First of all, we have our easiest game of the year category. This was a late entry but I'd definitely say Coffee Talk hits this one to a tee. There's virtually 0 challenge other than remembering orders and ingredients, it's a very chill game for a few hours and even the mini-game trophies are a breeze to skip through. Some other nominees would likely be Life is Strange and Sea of Solitude. On the other hand - for hardest game of the year, this was a bit tricky to quantify for the simple fact Stardew Valley won it solely because of 1 trophy - Fector's Challenge. Here's the tricky thing - I mostly played this game in 2018... yet came back to get 2 trophies holding me over the barrell in the Journey of the Prairie King minigame. Yet I still say it deserves to land in the 2020 awards since 1) there were no 2018 awards and 2), it's kinda like Among Us for IRL 2020 Game of the Year Award stuff, it took off and was properly accomplished this year so it lands here let the other information be damned. Sitting down each evening just playing a few rounds of this brutally difficult bullet hell in which you must survive for 20 minutes straight without dying... that clinches it for hardest game of 2020. Finally, Grind of the Year was one I was initially a bit conflicted on since Slay the Spire took me 2 full weeks to complete, hell, even a recent entry in Banner Saga 2 was tricky - but nothing beats Graveyard Keeper. I spoke about it at length in my full review of it but the grind and tedium of it is real and other than FIFA 20 and Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Blow and the Blight Below - it may be the grindiest game ever on my account. Biggest Surprise Bust of the Year "I Just Don't Get It" --- --- Explanation: My biggest surprise of 2020 has to be the Beholder series. I had heard NOTHING about these games, especially the original - and merely purchased it when it was on sale since it had an attainable platinum and didn't seem like it'd take that long. To discover a world deeply stemmed in the Cold War and oppressive atmosphere of a fictitious authoritarian regime, I was all the way in. Whether playing as Carl Stein or Evan Redgrave - I was wildly impressed by both games and strongly recommend anybody to pick them up if they're intrigued by those themes. It's a bit of an upset that this didn't go to Banner Saga since I've fell in love with that series but figured I'd give it to Beholder just for a bit of variety in the awards. For Bust of the Year, I didn't play a single AAA game that completely disappointed me - but I will say inFamous First Light managed to leave me completely disinterested in checking out any of the mainline franchise games. It was a borderline 5.00 range game for me until the arena battles. I barely even remember the main girl's name (Fetch?, lol), side content is nonexistent, world didn't capture me, the movement was the nicest part but just eh... only other game I'd really put as nominees was the Spyro Trilogy since I see some have a huge affinity for the series while I just viewed them as empty calorie platformers to pad a platinum count. Finally, the "I Just Don't Get It" is a way of me saying "I didn't and don't love this game as much as other people do." - it's not even the fact that I feel a game is "overrated" which is a funny term gamers love to throw at a game they feel like they see get too much praise online, but it's just a game that didn't hit home with me. I hated Sonic Mania, and by bashing my head against a wall, managed to appreciate it's design and CD levels along with collecting blue spheres.... even if I just straight up don't love or even totally grasp why people dig the momentum based gameplay as much as others. That's okay. Other nominees here would be Subnautica(but I get WHY that game is so beloved) and Hollow Knight as a distant 3rd since lemme repeat, that game is amazing, but the super brutal boss fights and pantheon mode wasn't for me at the end of the day. Best Trophy Icon Worst Trophy Icon Best Trophy List --- --- Explanation: I feel like a great minor indicator of the amount of effort that went into a game is taking a look at it's trophy icons. If a game has meticulously detailed unique icons for each trophy - at the bare minimum you can say "hey they don't just view trophy hunters as complete morons" - and a game that accomplished that beautifully was Owlboy. I was a bit critical of it in my review as I felt the gameplay wasn't great enough for so many years of development, and it was really a game I was hoping would hit a homerun and be 9/10 tier for me - but now with months of hindsight I view it in a positive light, and there's a reason I went out of my way to make it my signature 4,00th trophy on my profile. I also really dug Banner Saga's platinum icon with Iver but once again, didn't wanna be biased towards more recent games so gave the nod to Owlboy. On the other hand, you have games that don't care whatsoever for trophies looking good and just make them all the same icon, making doing a minor distinction between a bronze, silver, and gold by changing their color. There are some awful examples of this in Madden 20, Sea of Solitude, Sundered, etc... but the worst offender has to be Need for Speed: Heat. They didn't even bother to make that distinction - the platinum is the same icon as a bronze trophy, and hell the way the game it appears on your profile is this dumb trophy symbol with a vaporware aesthetic. Hugely disappointing from one of the better Need for Speed games in recent years. But we do end on a high note in the best trophy list - it has to be Sayonara Wild Hearts! Hell, I think SWH may have the best trophy list of ALL-TIME on my profile. Just a genuinely fun list of unique challenges that asks you to master the game but isn't so absurd you end up disliking it. A perfect blend between skill and fun, it too could have won biggest surprise if I hadn't already heard some good things about it from indie communities. For me, it blew the rest of the competition so far out of the water I don't even have a 2nd or 3rd best candidate - I just knew when I was doing my rankings it would be the winner, so please, check it out if you have the chance! Best Man Best Woman Best Animal --- --- Explanation: Loved these 3 categorizes as they made me really think about what I've played this year and lemme say... I was kinda surprised by how weak a lot of the candidates were. For best men I played this year(what a sentence) - nominees were - Batman, Joker(Persona 5), Conner, Carl Stein, and Rook. In my mind, the best and most impactful man due to their performance has to be Conner. Especially when you consider how much better I think he is than the rest of the playable characters, and how he single-handedly elevated that game along with Hank to 8.0 status for me. Batman's awesome - but his character in Asylum and City pales to what he is in Knight for me. Joker's a silent protagonist and sort of a body to transmit the story rather than being an eminent force himself, Carl Stein is interesting but isn't to that level, and while I love Rook there's a lot more contributing factors that make the world and story of Banner Saga fascinating to me. So yea, Conner wins! As for best women - WOW this category is soft. The nominees were - Faith, Beatrix, Alicia, Max, and Lola. That is a shockingly soft group. Last year in 2019 would have also been awful but 2018 would have been compelling between Kat, Alloy, and Alyssa at the minimum. So why are this years candidates not great? Well Faith and the story of Mirror's Edge Catalyst did absolutely nothing for me and wouldn't even be listed up here if I had more options. Beatrix in Slime Rancher was again completely irrelevant to my enjoyment of the coziness of Slime Rancher. Alicia in Valkyria Chronicles was pretty cool due to the way she single-handedly shifted the tides of the war with her OP scout mechanics, she prolly finishes 2nd, and finally Max Caufield from Life is Strange is more enjoyed because of the mechanics and circumstances around her character more-so than her own personality. That leaves us with Lola from Afterparty and lemme say, she's awesome - I digged playing as her, and while her time is split between playing as Milo her friend, she wins for 2020! Finally for best animal just because I wanted an even set of 3, I guess we go with the Hollow Knight even though he has 0 dialogue cuz, I mean, the other choices were Yoku, Yarnzy, and the donkey from Graveyard Keeper. Best World Best Dialogue Best Art Style --- --- Explanation: These were really difficult for me. Honestly because it was the same games coming up over and over again in my head. For best world - I just think "what is a game that's environment I just love hanging out in" and what came to mind was Banner Saga even if it's not open world... but there's a few other good choices for a more specific "open world" type game. I didn't really play a Horizon Zero Dawn-like game, but a game like Hollow Knight has a simply breathtaking world that could easily take the category. Mirror's Edge Catalyst traversal came to mind. Hell, Persona 5 it's just fun to walk around to the different districts and chill. Batman: Arkham City also has a cool design to it... so I dunno - I just felt the need to let Banner Saga win an award and felt this best instead of making a "best vibes / atmosphere" category. As for best dialogue, lemme say... this category also kinda sucked this year. I need to play more games next year focused on women and good stories cuz sheesh. I couldn't seriously consider Detroit: Become Human or Life is Strange because come on, the low points in those games are really low. I enjoyed Arkham City and Persona 5's interactions but they sure as hell couldn't win given how soft it'd be as a victory - so I settled on VA11 HA11-A. It didn't live up to some of the lofty expectations I set for it before playing but it's prolly one the ones I've done the most reading and it won a nice category here. Finally, for Art Style - how can it not be Persona 5? Yet another one where I strongly contemplated Banner Saga but the aesthetic and even just the menu designs of P5... it stands alone as king. Best Soundtrack Best Gameplay Best Story --- --- Explanation: Now we're getting into the meat and potatoes of video games. First of all, I KNOW - literally if I had not played but 1-2 games, in any other year, Persona 5 would win in a landslide for soundtrack. I know, I know, I know.... but SAYONARA WILD HEARTS IS A GAME BUILT AROUND A SOUNDTRACK AND MUSIC. How can it not win? I too love Rivers in the Desert but Inside and the fact you actually need to get in-tune with the music in SWH in order to really master the mechanics and button prompts... it wins, and I'm not sorry for my decision. As for best gameplay, it's about damn time Slay the Spire got some love on these awards. This game consumed me for 2 weeks. It couldn't go the entire list without receiving an award for something, and the fact it wins for quite arguably the most essential part of video games for most people is a testament to it's greatness. It is a card game, yet the greatest card game I have ever personally played one and one that will engross you with it's depth if you allow it. That grind to Ascension 20 was no joke and yet I enjoyed it with how sound the game design was. I quite enjoy Stardew Valley's loop, Banner Saga's turn-based strategy is fun and engaging but it got edged out here, Risk of Rain 2 is an absolute blast and pure fun, and Arkham City and DQB2 are some others that come up just short. Finally - for best story, I went with something a bit differently here. Normally people would choose the likes of a Witcher 3, Last of Us, God of War, etc... but man - Journey's experience even as there isn't any dialogue is so moving between the relationship you have with your companion traversing these exotic environments, merely conveying emotion via body language and movement... it's one of the most unique gaming experiences I had all year - and for that, it wins best story. Best Game of 2020 Explanation: Come on... you saw it at the top of the list. Even as I completed it all the way back in January, and games that early in the year don't tend to win many awards, the greatest game I played on the Playstation 4, the greatest game of the generation (for me), even as I basically played half of it in December 2019... it wins all the categorizes. In my post about it, it didn't win best gameplay by a longshot - I don't love turn-based combat like that, and it didn't win best story either as I feel it gets ridiculously goofy and stupid anime nonsense at times I couldn't take it seriously... you may wonder, how on earth is this your game of the year for 2020? It's the combination of all it's systems and environment that make it a spectacular experience. It is deeply flawed. I don't care. I love it anyway. Hanging out with Joker, Ryuji, Ann, Futaba, Makoto, Yusuke, Sojiro as Coffee Dad, annoying ass Morgana always telling you to go to sleep, Miss Kawakami who at night services you as a maid named Becky, taking down stupid ass corrupt adults, shouting that you're the Phantom Thieves in public thanks to Ryuji, Pleasant Pancake Boy Akechi, hot detective mom Sae, I mean... I love all the jokes that come with it. It is distinctly personal to me even as many others may not "get it" - but the fanbase it's cultivated is evidence that I am not alone in my feelings toward it. I have watched 2 full 100+ hour playthroughs of it, and then played it myself for the exhausting platinum. Even if you don't love JRPGs, give it a run. Look at my gaming list. I'm not exactly chewing through Dragon Quest after Witcher after Final Fantasy... yet it's my Game of the Year for 2020. If you can tolerate some anime and love the idea of night-lighting as an average everyday high schooler in Japan while secretly being a badass in wild circumstances with your gang of friends, I have no doubt you will love this game. Thank you to everyone who's bothered commenting on this dorky ass thread of mine since it started in 2016, and have tolerated my long-winded gasbagging whenever whatever vomit that falls out of my mouth catches your eye. It has been a ton of fun playing games this year and I hope it continues onward in 2021! May you all stay safe and take care in these chaotic times. Deuces!
  15. Game: The Last Blade 2 Analysis: I bought The Last Blade 2 for $3.74 back on October 1st, 2020 - once again the cheapest price it's ever been as sourced by PS Prices. For the first time in my life I have finally played a fighting game! Yes, unless you count playing a few rounds of Super Smash Bros Ultimate at a few friends houses within the last year and a half, this is the first proper fighting game I bought and played on my own. The likes of Street Fighter, Tekken, Dead or Alive, DBZ, Injustice, Mortal Kombat, and Soulcalibur never caught my eye or attention... but for whatever reason this one did when it was on sale a few months back for less than $4. I figured what the hell, variety is the spice of life and who knows - maybe this would be a jaw-dropping discovery of a new genre I utterly love, and I am satisfied to report that was not the case. Yea... I love the idea of the fighting games. You have a cool badass roster (I really digged Mukuro the undead zombie, Okina the hermit fisherman, and Akari Ichijou), they all have distinct movesets and cool animations, you pick your favorite and learn to get better and better at the game, with a group of friends who enjoy it you can learn to see who's the best, it's really awesome... but that ain't exactly my circumstances. Honestly, the coolest stuff for me was seeing the wonderful artistry from an arcade game released back in 1998. I didn't really know what buttons to press and just mashed my way through all the 17 arcade game clear trophies by abusing Koryu's powerful "right dpad + circle" move (thanks to @Judgelighters for the tip) Then I proceeded utterly stomp the Time Attack mode with the same strategy. Somehow, I still managed to die sometimes due to the opposing Koryu being an utter monster - I understand he's the final boss but being "stun-locked into getting frigging rekt" seems like one of the more wack elements of the fighting game genre. Maybe that's something you just get used to or a novice like me just doesn't understand. I'm not gonna scramble to chew through the entire fighting genre library after this experience, but if I see another one on sale for fairly cheap with a straightforward and not-so frustrating trophy list - I may give it another go and may actually try to yanno... learn a few movesets and if it's an active game, see if I can beat a few people online. All 20 trophies earned took me just 1 hour and 54 minutes to achieve the 19.00% rarity 100% completion! Panda Score: 6 / 10