Games I've Completed: 2019
List of and brief writings on games I've completed in 2019
On: Nintendo 64
This, I believe, is the third time I've gone through and completed Banjo-Kazooie, and it probably will not be the last. I've loved this game since I first played it so many years ago, as it scratches multiple itches I have in regards to platforming, mass collection, and incredibly endearing characters. There's a reason the pre-finale quiz game is such a breeze whenever I play it, and that's because I love it (and playing it a few times prior certainly helps). In fact, I think when the time comes for me to do my first speedrun for the site, I'll try and make it a 100% run of Banjo-Kazooie, see what I can do there. This definitely, in all cases, includes the Stop 'n' Swap items for me, which since they were never fully implemented, are the only times that I ever use the game's cheat codes. Having the items, even if through cheating, feels like a miracle that was never meant to be. All in all, fantastic game!
On: Nintendo Gamecube
I'm glad I finally got around to completing this again, because as of the last time I played through this, I remembered not liking it so much. In my memory, there were a lot more missions involving cleaning things up off the ground then there actually are, and the ones that are there (such as the manta ray level) are among my favorite levels in the game. I chalk this up to being a kid and finding mechanics that I considered new in my Mario game to be strange and tedious. The main trouble with this run was the blue coin hunting, as they aren't always that easy to find. The good part about that is, though, is that there is of course a set amount of them (240), and there is a running counter to refer too so you can see how close you are to finishing your collection. Just make sure you don't trade them in until you have them all, or the counter will be depleted by increments of 10 for every Shine you get in exchange for them. Not one of my favorite Mario games, but it was way more enjoyable than I remember, and the new mechanics are not nearly as bad as memory serves.
On: Playstation 4
What a great game, I definitely consider this the best AAA title that released last year. The most annoying part of completing the game was probably the Benchmark aspect to it, with many of the items on the list not even nearing completion by the end of my first playthrough. I went through NG+ mode with the different Benchmarks I needed to complete in mind, and still couldn't get them all done until post-game. Getting gold rank on all of the challenges wasn't even that difficult, it really was the Benchmark's that were my least favorite aspect. Unfortunately, there aren't even any trophies for accomplishing this feat.
On: Playstation 4
This game has received a lot of flack from fans of the franchise, and I understand why. The writing, as stilted and expository as it is, has always been that way with no improvement. However, there are threads that are opened (such as with Maleficent and Pete), that are seemingly dropped without even the slightest bit of payoff. Additionally, the game is extremely easy compared to other iterations I've played in the franchise. It took only a week to complete the game 100%, and I started off playing on the hardest difficulty in order to try and get a difficulty based trophy quickly. Only one secret boss as well, which is pretty easy, and all together the game is focused more on trying to close Sora's story as quickly as possible. A few things were added in to vary gameplay (Hidden Mickey's, the pirate ship mechanics), but there are combat based things like the Colosseum which are no where to be found, perhaps replaced with the far easier combat areas. The truest problem is that the game feels hollow.
Olympus Colosseum has two cool secret-type things in it, the ability to collect a piece of armor by collecting a series of Hercules dolls, and the ability to collect a unique shield by completing a puzzle in the Olympus Forge, which can be considered hidden. It feels like more care was put into building the Olympus world than was put into other areas (though they all look beautiful), and more care could have been taken to make the worlds feel like there are things outside of standard gameplay to explore.
Lastly, a minor gripe, I wish the summons added were characters new to the franchise. Wreck-It-Ralph and the Dream-Eater are newcomers, with the other summons just being repeat characters, even with this being Ariel's first time as a summon. Believe it or not, a large draw to the Kingdom Hearts games are the Disney elements and people are always looking forward to what will be included. New characters not used before, perhaps even obscure entries, would've been appreciated.
On: Nintendo Switch
This is a nice little game, and I completed it in an extremely short amount of time. I can't say that there was any outside draw to it other than how cheap it was, because the main reason I got it was because I had Nintendo Store coins and was looking for cheap puzzle games and, well, there you go. The manipulation mechanics feel directly inspired by Braid, with the ability to go forward and reverse time based on movement, and with certain objects either being affected by it or not, depending on what context they are used in. The story wasn't entirely clear, it seemed primarily about two youngsters who live next to each other growing up. At times it made it seem that the story was going to be about them growing apart over time as well, though that never really happened and, well, hence my confusion as to the point of it. Overall, not a bad game, but definitely on the short side and I don't know if I would pay regular price for it based on what it gave me.
On: Playstation 3
Finally, after starting and stopping this train-wreck 4 times since I first got the game years ago, I finally committed to starting a new game, playing through all the campaigns, and getting every Soleanna Coin and S Rank that can be obtained. And why did I do this? I honestly could not tell you.
Maybe it was some form of Stockholm Syndrome, or maybe it was more so all the time spent getting well acquainted with the game while playing it, but I could begin to see past how terrible it was and see where it could've succeeded in a similar way to Sonic Adventure 1 & 2. The mach segments are the bane of most player's existence, but it isn't a terrible concept or idea in and of itself: Sonic runs fast and people tend to like it when he does go fast. The segments just have too much going on and are riddled with the same game-breaking bugs that everything else has. The same can go for the ball puzzle with Silver, having a puzzle utilizing Silver's force push isn't awful, but if it wasn't broken and was something that was used throughout his campaign, it wouldn't be awful. The worst part about it is probably the fact that the number on the ball drains out of nowhere sometimes because the game is broken to all hell.
As for the bugs, I can't place too much blame on those that programmed it; it's well known at this point that the game was rushed in development, which is usually a disaster story in the history of game development. But imagine if you couldn't control characters in cutscenes and accidentally kill them, imagine if the frame-rate didn't drop to 2 making Sonic the slowest thing alive, just imagine that there weren't 5 grotesque human models used for everything. Maybe there's something wrong with me, but I wouldn't mind this game being remade someday, improving everything wrong with it but still keeping the core ideas. The story would still be strange and nonsensical, but I thought Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 had awful stories too and they can still be enjoyable. All I'm saying is, with the new movie coming out and Sonic's reputation being long gone (even with Mania), why not try and remake it? What's left to lose?
On: Playstation 4
So, I actually completed this game last year within the week that it first came out, but for some reason I never added it on to Completionator, so I decided to just add it to this year's instead. The new God of War was an amazing game, and had I not played The Messenger last year, it would've been my Game of the Year pick for 2018. It's nice to see Kratos in a situation where his usual rage persona needs to be curbed at times in dealing with his son, as he isn't exactly sure how he should act as single-dad to this child. Another story beat I loved was the touch of adding hints at other mythologies by way of paintings inside of one of the dungeons, hinting at the possibility of future God of War games delving into things such as Egyptian and Celtic myths, which I would be all for.
For gameplay, it feels a bit more refined than the other God of War games, as even though the other games had special attacks and weapons to be used, God of War 2018 has the weapon perks, crafting for new armor and weapon hilts to be used in combat, and the ability (and sometimes the need) to switch between Kratos's sweet new Ax and his old Blade of Chaos, which both handle very differently. The being that the blades are much more fluid while the ax can be aimed and thrown to freeze enemies for a period.
Lastly, where completion is concerned, the hardest difficulty of the game is no joke, and the final Valkyrie battle had me tearing my hair out, but boy does it feel rewarding. Collectibles like Odin's Ravens I eventually used a guide to finish, whereas others like the "Lore Cabinets" as I'm calling them, were much simpler to find. My favorite part of the collection aspect to this game is that there are more Health/Magic Upgrade Chests than are necessary to get fully upgraded, so missing one or two is quite literally not a big deal for completion. Miss two chests in one dungeon? Its fine, chances are you can just make up for it in another dungeon later.
From the creator of Pony Island comes another experience explicitly designed to mess with the very concept of playing a video game. Long have I been wanting a video game that actually manages to incorporate so many different genres of game into one, and I think this game handles that fairly well. You don't spend to long playing one particular style of game, so if you aren't a huge fan of it (i.e. turn-based strategy, like me), you won't stay there for two long.
As with Pony Island, the art style has stayed the same, though I don't think it works quite as well here. You are playing as multiple characters, most of which are decidedly human, even if they are game characters in-game (confusing), and so the art style looks more ugly than anything. In something like Pony Island, everything is represented as a demon/weird creature, so it isn't as noticeable. That really is my only gripe with it though.
As for completion, the a majority of them are fairly difficult/confusing without a guide. The hidden trophies especially, as some tasks can be way out there. The longest/most grueling would definitely be one which requires a ton of grinding in the RPG section, and it can be mind numbing when you consider this isn't a game that's really geared towards that style of play. While I do like this game, primarily for the story/meta-ness of it (which at the time was still relatively novel), I don't know that it really has any replayability to it.
On: Playstation 4
I completed the vast majority of this game last year, when the game came out. However, due to circumstances out of my control, I didn't have a PS4 to play the game on for a while. I eventually came back to it recently, though, and finished up unlocking the secret sword in game, and unlocking the remaining extras, all of which were time-trial based or playing-on-easy-difficulty based.
For the game itself, it is completely faithful to the original, mainly due to the fact that it is still the same game with update graphics and a few unlockables. So, anything I say about this game now, will more than likely transfer to any playthroughs I do of the original and the PS3 release. I love this game. In fact, it's my favorite game, and I've been saying that for years. The controls can be frustrating, but I don't feel they're bad, just controls that need to be gotten used to. The cope is amazing, the music is beautiful, and the design and layout of the landscape is hauntingly magical. The ability to easily get lost in any game is usually not something that is viewed fondly, but in this instance, I love how open the world is. There are areas with incredibly lush greens, and others that are a desolate places with nothing but sand and rocks, and given that the story states this location as being a "forbidden land" does nothing but add to the feeling of desperation while playing. I could go on for paragraphs and paragraphs about why I love this game, but just play it. I really think that is the best way to grasp what makes this game great.
On: Playstation 4
First thing is first: I LOVED The Cat Lady, and I have yet to actually play Downfall, though I do have it purchased and installed. In fact, I need to go back and play through The Cat Lady again and complete it for this site, as last time I played it was years before I had a Completionator account. Any ways, this game is the final entry in the Harvester Games trilogy (so they say, anyways), and... it's ok. I like it just fine, it managed to give me what I wanted storywise and connected itself to The Cat Lady in a way that I wasn't really expecting, as I thought they were using the term "trilogy" a lot more liberally than they actually were. Comparing it to The Cat Lady, I would say that Lorelai is not as suspensful or scary, but it is a lot darker in its tone, so do with that what you will. Additionally, there isn't a lot of back-and-forth between the real world and the world of The Queen of Maggots, which isn't a bad thing either. It gave me something with similar gameplay elements, but a different story. Wait, not just a different story, but a story that was structured in an entirely different way from The Cat Lady as well, which was appreciated. Completing the game is a bit of a nuisance, as if you miss any achievement it will require you to go back through and play again. ANY ACHIEVEMENT! This is due to the fact that Lorelai uses an Autosave feature (quite frequently I might add) that cannot be overwritten, and there is no means for a Chapter Select either, more than likely since actions in Chapter 6 effect outcomes in Chapter 7, and I guess it would be odd to have a select that excludes certain chapters.
Lastly, the game is still relatively new, but I must say - it needs to be fixed. My computer crashed 1 or 2 times, and another couple of times the game broke while I was playing it. Granted, the Autosave features happens so often that quitting and starting back up the application wasn't that big of a hassle, but still, it is quite a problem when you try to do a simple action and Lorelai moves through the floor, never to be seen again. Overall, I enjoyed myself, I think The Cat Lady manages to be a better game because it feels like there is more there in terms of gameplay and story, and it isn't broken either, but I don't think Lorelai should be written off at all. Now, I just need to play The Cat Lady again and to finally experience what Downfall has to offer.
On: PlayStation 4