Rating system changed to another type I use - more simplified this way. Based on a Low-Mid-High scale, signifying how strong something is at the given numeric value it's at. Also bumped down Bioshock and Paper Mario numerically based off further contemplation (and Republic Command in terms of low-mid-high).
Link's Awakening (NS) [Finished February 28th, 2020] - Rating: N/A
Final Fantasy VII (NS) [Finished March 16th, 2020] - Rating: N/A
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen (PC) [Finished April 14th, 2020] - Rating: Low 8/10 - Great
Parasite Eve (ePSXe) [Finished April 23rd, 2020] - Rating: High 7/10 - Really Good
Metroid: Zero Mission (VisualBoyAdvance) [Finished May 5th, 2020] - Rating: High 8/10 - Great
Bioshock Remastered (PS4) [Finished May 11th, 2020] - Rating: High 5/10 - Good
Star Wars: Republic Commando (PC) [Finished May 14th, 2020] - Rating: Low 7/10 - Really Good
Halo: Combated Evolved Anniversary (Replay) (PC) [Finished May 17th, 2020] - Rating: Low 9/10 - Amazing
Okami HD (NS) [Finished June 11th, 2020] - Rating: Mid 6/10 - Good
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition (NS) [Finished June 17th, 2020] - Rating: Low 9/10 - Amazing
Hollow Knight (NS) [Finished July 5th, 2020] - Rating: High 8/10 - Great
Castlevania (NS) [Finished July 20th, 2020] - Rating: High 8/10 - Great
Paper Mario (Project64) [Finished July 22nd, 2020] - Rating: High 7/10 - Great
Mega Man 1 (Nestopia and then replayed on NS the next day) [Finished July 31st, 2020] - Rating: Mid 7/10 - Really Good:
A pretty strong first entry held back by a lot of bullshit game design. However, and I'll be honest, that bullshit game design often doesn't detract as much as you'd think, given the power of save states and rewind functions offered in the NS version. It's unfortunate that those gameplay flaws exist, a lot of trial and error and bad respawn points can fuck over newcomers. And some parts, like the beginning of Elec Man's stage (which will take most of your time in that stage, by far) are just flat out unfun. At the same time, a lot of the game design is helped by the idea of collecting new arms for you to exploit. Breaking the game or finding new ways to interact with it are super fun, and I think knowing some of the things that I didn't know the first two times I played it (like that the bombs you acquire from Bombman can be used to destroy the little roomba's that annoyingly attack you in the beginning of the aforementioned Elec Man section) will make it great to come back to. Also has a pretty great soundtrack, it's not one of the best ever but a decent amount of themes really standout.
Mega Man 2 (NS) [Finished August 7th, 2020] - Rating: High 5/10 - Mediocre:
Mega Man 2 took the formula of 1, and improved it in so few ways, while still having a lot of the same problems and even adding on top of it new ones. Right away the fact that most bosses don't have an obvious weakness, is stupid. I understand trying to add more depth to the roster by making the bosses various themes more complex, but obscuring their weakness to this extent just makes the rock-paper-scissors aspect of Mega Man nearly non-existent and less fun. On top of that, a lot of the weapons are virtually useless in most scenarios, making a lot of your arsenal pathetic. Even the level design, while generally improved, is arguably more obnoxious at times - like that level that basically forces you to have a certain weapon to play it at all (unless you exploit the rewind feature to have frame perfect timing, which I did), effectively removing the ability to do whatever level you want in whichever order. Mega Man 2 has some nice improvements, the physics are less weird, the game is generally more fair. But it’s just less fun in almost every way. The soundtrack is about as good as one too, with Bubble Man’s theme being possibly one of my favorite tracks in gaming history, but I also think there’s probably a few less standout tracks that one.
Super Metroid (Snes9x) [Finished August 9th, 2020] - Rating: Low 8/10 - Great:
In a weird way, I feel like this game getting a great score is rather tame. Like it gets it by default, just for being a good Metroid title. It didn’t really impress me in many ways, as someone who started the 2D entries with Zero Mission. It does contain some of the best music I’ve experienced from the franchise so far (Brinstar Depths, Jungle Floor, and Criteria Surface), but also some fairly standard tracks, and some that would later be massively improved upon (Vs. Ridley, Ridley’s Lair). The controls aren’t nearly as smooth as the GBA games and lack the functional simplicity. I might appreciate this a lot more upon replay, since there’s a lot of options and different orders you can go in. But I also wonder how much appreciation I could have without knowing speedrunning strategies or sequence breaks. The bosses are weird, they are sometimes cool but often too gimmicky for my tastes. Even the graphics are an area where I’m divided - the darker shading and more detailed boss designs create a more horror-esque artstyle which is attractive to the eye, but it’s offset with rather bland and dull color palettes for a lot of the basic enemies and environments. It’s frustrating, there’s a colorful and vibrant beautifulness represented in the GBA games which forgo the bleak undertone of the Metroid IP; whilst Super represents the depressing isolation of the series with few of the majestic alien qualities of the other titles. This is surely an area where Metroid Prime exceeded, ultimately merging the two styles. Similarly, upgrades in this game are perhaps a bit too hard to come upon, whereas in the GBA games they are far too easy to find at random. I give this game a lot of respect though for the tough-as-nails final Ridley battle. With only around 6-8 energy tanks (I can’t remember exactly) and few power bomb/missile upgrades, it took all I got to beat Ridley, adding a lot of playtime to an otherwise relatively short title.
Metroid Fusion (VisualBoyAdvance) [Finished August 22nd, 2020] - Rating: Low 9/10 - Amazing:
Metroid Fusion has the most obvious flaws of all the Metroid games I’ve played. It’s story is mostly stupid and inconsistent, it beats the player over the head, and by far the coolest part about it, the SA-X, doesn’t nearly live up to it’s full potential. And was quite overhyped by it’s fanbase, might I add, especially with such a disappointing final encounter, both being too easy when you first start by fighting the SA-X replica of yourself, and by being very unimaginative with it’s generic monster final form (not to mention that bullshit final chase sequence before encountering it, my god…). Still, what makes this the most fun I’ve had with a 2D Metroid on initial playthrough, is the pacing. It’s absolutely consistent throughout, and while I’m not keen on the lack of exploration, the game has very few stumbles. The bosses are also pretty good, if a little inmemorable visually. They have very tight damage boxes and very erratic speeds, but their patterns are fairly easy to figure out and they are always fun to fight. The overall difficulty of bosses is the best and most balanced in the series, nothing is extremely hard here but everything is somewhat challenging. I expected more to be done with the space station gimmick, but was mostly disappointed in this regard as I just ended up getting a robot guard or two. Even the ability to house multiple environments nonsensically through virtual “biospheres” maintained on the ship is not really put to much use, making the game progressively less linear by having the SA-X destroy the secured walls surrounding each environment could have been interesting, as we’d see the enemies and different atmospheres intermingle, but alas such is not the case. Still, this game is fun from beginning to end, never drags, and has the great controls of Zero Mission. There’s a lot to criticize, but also a lot to love.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (NS) [Finished September 23rd, 2020] - Rating: High 8/10 - Great:
One of the best stories I’ve played in a game. It would be the best, but not gonna lie … the fifth case dampered a decent amount of my enjoyment. It’s not even terrible, and it gets pretty good towards the end (similar to case 3, which also is one of my lesser favorites), but it ruins the pacing of the game considering it comes right after the original ending, and ends on a lesser note compared to that original ending. It feels repetitive, having somewhat similar story beats and also not completing Edgeworth’s character arc quite as neatly. Still, I really think there’s something to be said about how intelligently written this game is. Especially how almost every case leads back to Edgeworth. His trials and tribulations are really the spotlight that Ace Attorney shines so brightly with, and the game can be described more as a story about him than anyone else. But the fact that you have him, on top of one of the most relatable grumpy main characters ever in Phoenix Wright, and his lovable sidekick Maya, just adds so much flavor to the game. Great character writing with sometimes shakey gameplay reasoning, and a fifth case which feels unnecessary and kind of lessens the ending. Still a lot to love.
Paper Mario: The Origami King [Finished October 14th, 2020] - Rating: High 8/10 - Great:
No More Heroes [Finished November 4th, 2020] - Rating: High 6/10 - Good:
Despite giving this a 6/10, I actually don’t feel too disappointed with this title. Which is odd to say, because at its peak it was a 9/10 on an enjoyment level. The biggest takeaway from it is the presentation, not just the cell-shading and pixel art fanservice (which is great), but the way the game uses presentation and gameplay to serve the story. Not cutting to a different location after defeating each boss is a brilliant move, as it really brings home the gritty reality of your actions after each boss encounter, taking you down from the prior high. Doing manual labor in-between assassinations is also, originally, a neat novelty that makes a lot of sense thematically. However, what I think really brings this game down is the repetition of it all. As the barrier of entry for missions increases from a price-perspective, the amount of income from chores and low-skilled assassinations does not rise to match the inflation in pricing. So you get more repetition with side missions as the game progresses, which actually feels like it makes less sense from a story perspective. Wouldn’t an up-and-coming assassin have to do a lot more menial work to do than someone who’s proved themselves? It’s just bad for game pacing too, and comes off as padding despite originally being a neat concept. The biggest issue of all though, is the boss design. God, I despise the boss design of No More Heroes. At first it was relatively fine, but it quickly became a game of the bosses being relatively easy to hit … just … monotonous. They have invincibility frames active for 85% of their moves, so you can only hit them at very specific times despite always seeming open to interception (this is something Bayonetta and DMC did much better), and worst of all halfway through the battle they shell up so that the 15% of the time they are susceptible to damage becomes much less frequent. You also get a lot of bullshit gimmicks and one hit kills halfway through bosses, which can sometimes be activated unfairly on the player (this game is very guilty of allowing bosses to activate a one-hit-kill move too fast and too close to the player so that they can’t react in a reasonable amount of time). People accuse Dark Souls of being boring because “all you do is hit, then dodge and roll”, but at least in that game it can genuinely be hard to dodge the bosses, and attacks are much more telegraphed. No More Heroes’ bossfights are boring and repetitive to an insane degree, and it’s sad because they’re by far the parts that have the most charm in them. They are the meat of the game, as it were, but they also expose a lot of the titles biggest issues. What’s sad is that after years of hearing about how No More Heroes combat was too simplistic …. the actual skeleton of the combat system allows for a decent amount of complexity especially compared to other simpler action titles out there, it’s just never utilized at all. And the fucking power ups … my god. Not only are they usually useless, but they actually make gameplay worse in most occasions, by making the player slower and activating when you don’t want them to (why not make it like say, a Mario game, where you can put a power up in a single inventory slot to use when you want?) and just generally being counterintuitive to productive slaying. Also, the various subtext and subversion elements of the story kind of hit their peak halfway through the game and just weaken as it goes on. It becomes more self-parody by the end and somewhat forgets the main theme, I feel. Still, a pretty fun game all things considered. Just with a lot of major flaws.