Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: July 2014

I touched on it briefly last month, but as you’ll see if you keep reading, I’m really getting into the swing of my personal Steam Train. It’s time to start actually playing some of the 150+ games registered on my Steam account! Also I had a week of vacation early in the month, so I had a lot of extra time for gaming this month and this may be the longest MVGW to date.

I would like to direct your attention to the banner below, which was uploaded and visible when this post went live, as opposed to a few days later. Maybe I’m actually starting to clean up my act here?

~ Now Playing ~

Tokyo Jungle (PS3) – One of the two PS3-exclusive games that I have any interest in, I’d say that Tokyo Jungle is worth owning the console for. For me, at least. It gets awfully repetitive, but there is enough randomization and a huge roster of animals (50ish, then even more as DLC), so it’s stayed fresh enough for me to pour a good number of hours into it. I’ve still only started unlocking the cooler animals though, so there’s lots and lots of game left for me to experience.

Toki Tori 2+ (PC) – Working to scratch more games off my PC to-do list, I booted up Toki Tori 2+, and it’s quite a unique game! It’s a puzzle platformer, but every puzzle has to be solved with a only two actions and the way those actions affect the environment and other animals. It’s pretty fun, and some of the puzzles are downright devious. I’ve gotten myself stuck though, and I think that I might like this game enough that I’m not willing to consult a FAQ just so that I can move on. I feel like this one is worth solving on my own. But nuts to gathering all the collectibles. That’s a fool’s errand if I’ve ever seen one.

jul14n

Borderlands (PC) – A long-time friend of TE hooked me up with a new computer last month, so now I can play all (or most, at least) of those games I’ve been collecting through Humble Bundles and Steam sales. Borderlands has been sitting there untouched for months, and being able to play at full graphics and full speed has certainly improved the experience. I still wonder what multiplayer would be like, but that’s not really my bag anyway. There’s far more game here than I’d anticipated though (I’ve felt like I should be nearing the end for several hours now), so God only knows how long it’s going to take me to actually beat it.

Sacred Citadel (PC) – A side-scrolling brawler based on a series of mediocre PC RPGs. It’s surprisingly fun! And now that I can run it at full speed (felt like it was moving at about 80% on my old machine), it’s that much more playable. There isn’t really anything that I feel makes it stand out among brawlers, but I suppose that I play so few of them that even the generic ones are enough to entertain me. I’ve only cleared the first world to this point.

Surgeon Simulator 2013 (PC) – Lodged somewhere between fun and frustrating, this is a game like a super-complicated QWOP, where your keystrokes affect the fingers on a floating hand with which you need to complete organ replacement surgeries. Honestly, it’s designed to be so imprecise that it’s extremely hard to get anything right without plenty of practice. Kind of makes it feel authentic, I guess. But just goofing off and throwing organs and syringes around is a great time, so there’s something for everyone here. I’ve completed the three standard procedures, and am more than a little wary of trying the ambulance stages.

Super Smash Bros (N64) – Sometimes I play the original Smash just for the lulz, though said lulz are usually coming from the computer, directed at me. See, the first game doesn’t let you customize your controls, and the control scheme does not play nicely with the Wii’s classic controller. Or, it’s different than the way I set it up to play Brawl. I suppose I could alleviate this problem by playing the actual N64 cartridge instead of the Virtual Console version.

Super Godzilla (SNES) – This is a weird game. I was thinking that worst case scenario, it’d be like Rampage but with enemy monsters. In reality, it’s much, much worse. The first part of each stage is directing Godzilla across a grid-based map, where you pick up power-ups, stomp on tanks, and search for enemy monsters. When you do find another monster, the game switches to this weird combat mode based around rhythms. It’s not really any sort of rhythm game though, and it’s very, very difficult. Level one was doable, but things ramp up to an insane degree on level two. I probably won’t bother to finish this one.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES) – I started playing this one because I wanted to finally tackle the one Zelda game that I’ve played and failed to finish. I spent hours upon hours on this thing as a kid, and never got very far without my trusty Game Genie. It’s just so darn hard! This time around, I cleared the first palace, made my way southward, and then promptly forgot about it. I don’t know if or when I’ll ever get back to it.

Rayman Legends (WiiU) – Bought this on sale, played the first couple of worlds. I don’t know. Like, it’s entertaining enough that I don’t feel like it was a waste of money, but I really don’t see what the hype is. I’d rather just play a Mario again. Or at least, that’s how I felt until I had my brother over and we played it together. The game really benefits from multiplayer, the Murfy levels especially, which cease to be tedious and become total laugh riots.

Command & Conquer (PC) – I loves me some C&C, and it’s a shame that they changed so much after Red Alert 2 that they no longer sated my RTS hunger. I’ve begun playing through the series again, and I’m already roadblocked halfway through the GDI campaign in the first game. Maybe a little more than halfway. Point is, it’s nearly impossible to establish a base when you have very little money and enemy troops are consistently rushing you. I can make it through the first two waves, but once those flame tanks show up…

Donkey Kong Country 3 (SNES) – In my year-long quest to beat the SNES Donky Kong Counrty trilogy, I’ve reached a bit of an impasse. DKC was fine, but DKC2 was brutal and honestly not a ton of fun past the first world. DKC3 is weird and not nearly as good as I remember. I don’t hate the game, but I don’t know if I have it in me to put up with its crap after DKC2. It’s better off just being a happy memory, is what I’m getting at. I’ve cleared the first two worlds so far.

Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) – Played up to the end of the first dome. I want to get to the end, but I don’t know if I’ll bother. It’s a wonderful game and all, but I’m not really feeling it.

Super Sanctum TD (PC) – I really liked the original Sanctum, and I have a bit of a thing for tower defense games too. This one is just not clicking with me. Maybe because Fieldrunners was just that good, or maybe because it bears the Sanctum name and style, but not the unique Sanctum gameplay. I don’t know. I’m only at level four though, so I’ll give it some more time.

Final Fantasy III (SNES) – I was doing so well at burning through this one last summer, and then I abandoned it for some reason. The problem with picking up the game in the World of Ruin is that you don’t really get a sense for where you are or what you should be doing. Exploring the whole damn map again isn’t the best way to be spending my time…

~ Game Over ~

Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep (PSP) – It’s over. What a slog. I mean, the gameplay was fun enough and I love the command system and the styles and whatnot, but damn all of those cutscenes really wore on me. Luckily, each game is short: less than 10 hours if you don’t grind, under 7 if you skip all the cutscenes. Aside from that quibble, it may be the best Kingdom Hearts. If only because I was able to play all three stories without ever feeling the need to earn 100%. That’s always nice.

Gauntlet Legends (N64) – I haven’t played a Gauntlet game in over a decade at this point, and it was nice to go back for a while. I wrote a whole thing about it, in fact.

The Last Story (Wii) – This is a great game. I don’t know why I shelved it for so many months when I was only half-done. When I picked it back up, I immediately got sucked back in and played through to the end almost non-stop. The only low point was the penultimate boss, who had a finnicky gimmick to him with seemed like a load of bull. Everything else was smooth sailing though, and it’s really too bad that this one came out once the Wii was already dead. It’s definitely worth playing if the idea of a JRPG with Gears of War-inspired combat sounds at all good to you. Also you get tons of armor customization options; I’m convinced that the dress-up mode is the real game, and the RPG is just there for the sake of tradition.

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Armillo (Wii U) – I don’t buy a lot of indie games on any of the online video game shops, at least not unless they come in a Humble Bundle. But Armillo caught my attention for some reason, and I’m so happy that it did. Armillo is five hours of pure joy, and even more if you decide to go for 100%. It feels like a shorter, more focused take on Super Mario Galaxy, and I loved every minute of it. Well, of the main game. I’m not overly crazy about the 2D special stages.

Shovel Knight (WiiU) – I could keep playing this forever, but now that I’ve completed New Game+, it’s time I put it aside for a bit to give some other games a chance to shine. I want to get good enough to earn the achievement for beating the game without dying, but I really don’t think I’m capable of that kind of thing anymore. I did get the achievements for beating the game without spending any money or collecting any relics, so I’m pretty proud of that.

Final Fantasy IV (DS) – Finally, it’s over. Lunar Subterrane was a horrible, weeks-long slog. There are plenty of random encounters that can kill you quickly, and far more mini-bosses tucked away in there than I’d expected. But I did it. I stuck to my guns and powered through. Now I will never have anything to do with FFIV again for as long as I live.

Donkey Kong Country 2 (SNES) – If the first DKC game is tough, this one absolutely hates you. I got so fed up in fact, that near the end I started abusing save states. At the very least, it’s kind enough to let you keep any secrets you find when you die, so if I feel compelled to 102% it at some point (I don’t think I will), it’ll be easier than actually beating the game.

Richard & Alice (PC) – A fairly heartrending story told through sprites and text boxes. Maybe not the best way to tell it, but it’s more convenient to spend 2½ hours on a game instead of many more on a book. And that’s essentially what this is. There are some “puzzles” strewn about, but too much of the “gameplay” consists of slowly wandering through the snow. Still, I’d say that I liked the story enough to justify the $2 expense.

Antichamber (PC) – While I mostly just have a lot of PC games on the go, I do occasionally finish one. I played through to the end of Antichamber in a single evening, though I’ll admit that I stayed up past my bedtime to get it done. The maze of chaos was a good deal of fun and frustration to puzzle my way through, but the “ending” bit was really boring and totally out of place. There could have just been a little room at the end of the maze where some confetti falls down and there’s a little sign that says “Good Jorb” and that would have been more satisfying.

Barbie: Super Model (SNES) – Honestly, I think the less said about this one and the circumstances under which it was played, the better.

~ Re-Runs ~

Silent Hill (PSX) – I love the first Silent Hill. It’s probably my favourite Silent Hill. It’s goofy, but also really atmospheric for a PS1 game. And Harry is such a lovable moron, how can you not like him? That’s the source of my biggest grudge against Silent Hill 3, in fact.

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Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (SNES) – I’m not sure why I started playing this one again. It’s not a great game, but it’s good enough. I guess I thought that it’d be a nice, short playthrough, but I had topped 12 hours by the end. That’s still short for a Final Fantasy anything, but it’s a little longer than I would have liked. I’d say that I got sick of it about the time I made it to Pazuzu’s Tower.


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