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Cum Dignitate Otium et Ludus

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Cum Dignitate Otium et Ludus

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Post about a game that you recently finished Anonymous 11/07/2021 (Sun) 09:32:45 No.1362
And whether you had fun
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Herdy Gerdy – a forgotten little gem from the early days of PS2. I actually have a bit of a history with this game, I remember seeing it in a magazine way back when, before it even came out, and it was one of those games that represented the then new 6th gen for me, with that sort of happy-go-lucky colorful platforming vibe of the early ’00s. Though I never got around to playing it until now. It’s actually not what I was expecting it to be. It’s sort of a “herding” game, as the name implies, but it’s really more like a simple puzzle game – you have to figure out how to trap enemies and herd animals to their corresponding pens while avoiding danger. Ultimately there’s only one optimal way to do it and figuring out the solution becomes pretty fun and addictive. The game is fairly easy, clearly targeted at a younger audience, but there’s this soothing and satisfying zen-like process to it. The main draw of the game is these large open levels where you can run around freely and do some light platforming; pretty impressive for the time. Every level is vibrant and very comfy, and the art direction is really interesting for a western game, with this subdued color palette and cell-shaded look imitating a ’90s cartoon aesthetic. That being said, they probably got a bit too ambitious for their actual abilities, the game looks good but runs at like 15 fps which undermines a lot of tighter platforming moments. There are also a lot of loading times every which way. At least restarting a level is surprisingly instantaneous, which helps a lot since redoing the level until you figure out the optimal solution is mandatory. The camera is also a bit clunky, it always slides off the position you want it in, and there’s no vertical movement of the camera at all. That alone would be manageable but together with the framerate it just really hard to be precise with your movements at times. You get used to it eventually, it’s not a game-breaking issue or anything, they just didn’t optimize it very well. I think one disappointing aspect is that there’s really nothing to do outside of the main gameplay, there’s nothing to find or to collect on all these large levels. You instinctively want to explore them for stuff but there’s none. No currency, health items, or any other items. You can’t die anyway. Well, there are these bells to collect for some art galleries but you can only start collecting them once you’ve unlocked all the abilities, waaay by the endgame, so you just ignore them throughout most of the playtime. Definitely a wasted opportunity here. There’s also only one actual boss that you have to platform around, weird they didn’t do more to add variety since you do have some platforming skills. Like I mentioned, the game does look great, performance aside. The texture quality is excellent and all the models are nicely detailed and animated. The weirdest thing is that they have these cutscenes with very impressive animations which were made in-engine but what they used instead are recorded videos of those with atrocious compression. Don’t really understand the reason for this, kinda ruins all the work. On that note, there’s sadly no story to speak of, it’s basically an arcady collection of levels. Which is fine but I feel like with that whole unique art direction there was an opportunity for something here, some interesting narrative, and it’s generally nice to have some story urgency, but it’s kinda wasted here. Music on the other hand is nice and chill and the audio mixing is great in general. Voice acting not so much, it feels like they had three people to do all the voices, and they suck at all of them. Definitely a very comfy experience, decently long too, like up to 15 hours if you wanna be thorough.
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Pretty fun game with some clever puzzles, it really felt like the place is haunted. Some of the enemies were a nightmare tho (fuck the grim reaper), and the boss fights were a fucking joke (you literally fight the same guy over and over again lmao).
>>1363 Oh snap reviewbro, nice to see you alive. Is it you right? That game i have never seen in the open on used game stores or flea markets, if it is Eidos perhaps it must've been an Euro-focused game. >like up to 15 hours Pretty long for an arcade game back then, even today that's nice. Also if you want to repost some of your favorite old reviews you are free to do so, you do look into fairly obscure games that have few gameplay comments in the internet as a general whole.
>>1369 Hi anon, I'm the one who posted back on 8ch /vg/ and jula/v/ indeed. >it must've been an Euro-focused game Yeah definitely, it was released in Europe first. PAL version even has a 60hz switch. >even today that's nice. Well today it'd be 7 hours long and the rest would be DLC. But yeah, the game has a lot of varied locations, even a stealth level by the end. It's nice playing games when they were actually substantial on release. >Also if you want to repost some of your favorite old reviews you are free to do so Sure, I was planning to as well.
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Monstania – a wonderful gem for Super Famicom. It’s kind of an isometric tacticool RPG but it plays in real time, you can move as much as you want but enemies move with you. There are attacks that cost points per use but you get a basic free one as well, and points can be regained by standing still, though at your own risk. Don’t know many games that play like that. But there are only two characters to control – main hero and several others that swap places as the story progresses. Kind of a shame really, it plays so well and is very addictive but two characters mean there aren’t that many enemies, which in turn means that battles are pretty short and not too demanding. This could have worked wonderfully with a much larger party, can’t imagine it being a technical limitation but who knows. I wouldn’t call the game too easy though, it actually can get somewhat challenging since you have very little HP and enemies will drain it in no time. You definitely need to approach battles strategically and learn how to fight efficiently with abilities at hand, but once you do the whole game can be breezed through in about an hour. It is criminally short in general, even with the learning curve and taking your time, the whole thing barely lasts about 4 hours. Though I did split it across several days, which is probably the best way to go. Shame you’re never allowed to explore anything, like towns and such, you only have control during battles; that could have extended the playtime nicely, like in Bahamut Lagoon for example. But at least there’s a nice variety of tasks presented, you’re not just doing the same thing over and over or fighting in the same manner, there are even some light puzzles to solve. Graphically the game looks very nice, everything is beautifully detailed and animated, and the color palette is so pleasing in that distinct SuperFami way. But music in particular steals the show here, it’s absolutely phenomenal. Every tune is a funky masterpiece and on technical level it sounds borderline CD-quality. Super Famicom never stops to amaze me in that aspect. It was actually composed by Noriyuki Iwadare who also did all of Grandia and Lunar – two series well known for their top-tier OSTs. The story is also pretty good I have to say; this is a surprisingly verbose game. And despite the short length it feels like a lot has happened so you end up being satisfied when it’s over. This feels like a complete one-off, nothing else was ever done with this IP, sadly. Disappointing but not uncommon in an era with so many games, just reminds you how spoiled we used to be. An excellent game all around.
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Moon Crystal – a nice simple platformer for Famicom. It was quite enjoyable. The main thing about this one is the fluidity of character animations, inspired by the likes of Prince of Persia. There are turn frames and even added momentum to your movement; it’s very uncommon for this generation and looks rather impressive. Also similarly to Prince of Persia you can grab onto ledges to pull yourself up or drop down from them, although sadly this isn’t heavily utilized. But these elements definitely give the game a bit of a unique feel that stands out from a lot of contemporary platformers. One thing I didn’t like is that everything in the game resets with each new location – your health, weapon, ability. It’s not hard to regain them as they are sufficiently peppered throughout levels but it’s a disappointing busywork that deprives you of the sense of progress. Just as you get used to the double jump it’s taken away from you. Speaking of the double jump, there’s some noticeable unresponsiveness with its execution that can lead to some frustration. Maybe it’s just my gamepad but I doubt it. Other than that, the game is very easy and straightforward in nature, and can be mastered in no time. Except for the final boss, that fucker is quite tough initially but that’s not unusual. All the other bosses can be just rushed head-on, if you tap the attack button fast enough (there are tricks for that) they are toast no matter what. I wonder if this was an international strategy the devs had in mind. The graphics are pretty good and nicely detailed to go along with the intricate animations. The music is equally good and has an interesting sound to it. There’s also a neat little story told with animated cutscenes, which is definitely a nice touch. The game in general has a rather dark tone, going almost for horror sort of atmosphere. Shame it’s so short but like I said very much enjoyable.
Flight of the Amazon Queen – a classic '90s point-and-click adventure goodness. Exactly what I was looking for, I played most of the well known ones but this one somehow slipped past me. It’s right up my alley with the whole exotic adventure thing that I like the most. The game is a bit too joke-y for my personal taste, but ultimately I quite enjoyed it. The puzzles are pretty good, not too hard and with just the right amount of challenge. I wish you could interact with more things though; there are at times entire chunks of the screen that aren’t utilized at all. A few questionable design choices here and there but it’s expected and nothing significant, goat puzzle those are not. Although I think they slightly overdid it with the temple at the end – you get so many items by that point and only four slots to view them in, which just becomes an annoyance. There’s also some technical issue where hovering your cursor wouldn’t show the interactable text properly, it’s solvable by shaking it about but that can lead to missing something important early on, I missed an entire screen and got stuck because of that. The graphics are kinda primitive for ’95, looking inferior to the Fate of Atlantis which came out 3 years prior, but they are still charming in their own way. Since the game goes for a more comedic, cartoon-y vibe it’s really not that big of an issue. The music present is alright, it’s understated but works well for creating the necessary atmosphere. And the voice acting is also alright, especially since everyone is doing an intentionally silly accent. Like I mentioned, the story is pure meta buffoonery and I’m not really a big fan of that, but there’s just about enough effort put into it to keep me invested. Especially later on, when it clearly heavily borrows from the LucasArts’ Indiana Jones games and almost becomes serious. And I do like lighthearted stories with a serious core. Interestingly, it deals with the famous crystal skull and aliens just like a certain film that doesn’t exist. I wonder if the whole crystal skulls legend was already well known at the time. The writing itself is actually pretty good, I chuckled at a few jokes. This is a real must for all the point-and-click savants.
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Devil May Cry – featuring Dante from the hit Devil May Cry series. Last time I played the original DMC was somewhere in the mid '00s so this was basically like playing it fresh. The first thing that really struck me was just how gorgeous the game looks, the art direction and lighting are absolutely incredible, it can honestly rub shoulders with DMC3 in that aspect and this is a 2001 game. It’s definitely up there with early gen trailblazers like MGS2, Shenmue2, FFX and the like – games that looked like something out of distant future in an unbelievable leap from the 5th gen with its barely definable blocks to something that still looks good today… Man, the 6th gen shift was truly the greatest in all of gaming; you almost feel bad for newfags who will never experience something as groundbreaking, with modern vidya doing just light cosmetic upgrades every new gen. But anyway, gameplay wise it’s still very much recognizable as a DMC game but understandably humbler. Kinda amazing how a lot of core elements carried over all the way up to 4, although the control layout is different to the rest of the series and it took forever for my brain to adjust. Where it definitely differs is in variety of objectives, you’re mostly just meandering through castle grounds collecting keys in a very down to earth manner for someone like son of Supada. It’s quite comfy in its own way and there’s much more flavor text than in any other entry to go with it, but all that definitely cements the game as Resident Evil with swords. There are also uncharacteristic underwater FPS levels that had the potential of being a major pain in the ass but thankfully they are so short that it's not really an issue. Boss battles however are excellent, just what you'd expect and probably where the game stood out the most at the time as this new sub-genre. They're not as tough as DMC3 but have a nice flow and still provide some decent challenge. Music is good but it doesn’t leave such an impression as it did in 3 and 4, there’s much more ambience and kinda flaccid one-note techno rather than the KUHRAYZEE techno rock of the sequels. The story is mostly bare bones, more of a premise really, and instead it's more interesting to look at it retroactively through the prism of the franchise. For instance, even though I vaguely remembered that the mysterious knight was Vergil, I didn’t expect to actually see his face in this game and even some iconic moves like Summoned Swords. Or how Trish did nothing of value but forced herself onto Dante to give her free housing. So the original DMC definitely aged like fine wine, good time.
>>1477 They really went all hands on deck in the 6th gen transition, some early games had the art style pinpointed hard and makes sense, some devs had the concept art and theory behind doing them for years, waiting for the technology to come while they were polishing stuff. I remember playing SSX around early 2001 and being amazed at how solid it felt and looked, for someone who had just recently grabbed a N64 it was a shock, you well said it, it's unfathomable to think a leap like that will happen soon. Now i am curious what do you think about DMC2 heh.
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>>1519 >some devs had the concept art and theory behind doing them for years, waiting for the technology to come Right, and it makes sense - for almost two decades they had to work with extremely limited technology, art from adversity type of thing, where art design was king that carried the game. And so in that peak form they suddenly got access to this new technology that allowed previously unimaginable results. They weren't yet thinking about visuals in terms of "re*lism" but rather how far they can push the artistry with this new tech. >I remember playing SSX around early 2001 and being amazed at how solid it felt and looked, for someone who had just recently grabbed a N64 it was a shock I haven't played SSX but looking at it, it definitely looks very impressive for a 2000 game with that lighting and all, arcade quality. Definitely mind blowing at the time for a home console game. >Now i am curious what do you think about DMC2 heh. I actually hunted down DMC2 recently, was looking for it for quite some time. Wasn't easy, it's a relatively rare game in good condition and for a reasonable price. Will play it sometime next year already seeing how there's only one month left.
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Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne – I got a sudden hit of nostalgia to replay Max Payne 2, to see if it holds up, used to play the shit out of it back in '00s. And the answer is, well, sorta. The gameplay is still fun and I especially appreciate that oldschool non-scripted mayhem. This was the dawn of Havoc physics and the game utilizes them to the fullest, for good and bad. A lot of great memories of fucking about with them all day long, and it’s still pretty impressive to have every object affected by your mass and bullets. Also it’s like they programmed every guy to fall down only in the most comedic way possible. The combat is very simplistic, there are no mechanics or anything, but there is something appealing in that simplicity; you just get a lot of guns and shoot at enemies while jumping at them in slow motion. Sometimes it's the simple things in life. And I still remember everything, first person MP5 in bullet dodge mode is how you do it. Graphically the game looks subpar overall. Not so much in polygon count or texture resolution, but more in art direction department; it’s pretty drab. It does somewhat compensates for that with its weird and moody atmosphere. Though it works fine it is also somewhat sloppily put together – all the in-game cutscenes are clunky as all fuck, objects would clip through camera, hands not align with weapons, something would just pop-in, and so on. In the game itself you often encounter something like a story related dead guy who’s been Havoc dropped in a bathtub in the most comedic fashion. The devs went to great lengths to allow you to flush toilets and switch coffeemakers off but no attention was paid to such in-game esthetics. It is the game’s good fortune that it decided to tell its story largely through a graphic novel, if it was done with clunky cinematics you would be hard pressed to take it at all seriously. I know it’s a western game but still. Speaking of the story, it actually holds up pretty well – a depressing noir detective drama in constantly rainy Noo Yoik. Good shit. The voice acting is surprisingly really good as well and elevates the entire experience. Interestingly, I remembered the game having good music but I guess that was one of those Mandela effects because there’s barely any music at all, with the main menu theme and the main song being the only standouts. It’s largely just ambience. Kinda sucks but at least those two compositions are strong enough. Also the game still has the worst sounding weapons. Maybe because I was constantly replaying it back in the day it wasn’t apparent to me, but the game is pretty short. Naturally I remembered where to go and what to do but it would still probably take about 5 hours max to complete without rushing things. Overall this was very nostalgic. The game is still fun but it’s one of those cases where none of the individual elements are particularly strong but they do come together nicely to create something special.

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