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danielkempster

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@sparky_buzzsaw: Dragon Quests I through VI, and also VIII, are all available on the Google Play Store. They're pretty heavily priced for phone games, but they're reasonably priced for JRPGs given the amount of hours you'll get out of them. I, II and III are (I believe) based on the SNES remakes of those games, while IV, V and VI are ports of those snazzy DS remakes that came out almost ten years ago. They play with the phone held vertically, which is kind of weird initially, but it actually works pretty well - if you think about it, the DS games were kind of like this anyway, with the two screens stacked on top of each other. The touch controls work just fine for the most part, although the eight-way movement is a bit finicky based on what little I've played of IV, V and VI.

The only one of the bunch that I wouldn't recommend getting on your cellphone is DQVIII. It's not a great port, it suffers with heavy frame rate drops, and they've both replaced the orchestral score and removed the voice acting that gave the PlayStation 2 original so much personality. It's competent if you have no other way to play it, but it's impossible to recommend it over the PS2 or 3DS releases.

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danielkempster

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Great write-up Arbitrary. I'm sorry to say I haven't played any of the games on your list, although RE7, Persona 5 and Prey have all made themselves comfortable in my backlog this year. I did play Horizon Zero Dawn though, which will definitely be marking it up as one of my favourite games of 2017. My experience with it felt incredibly fresh, especially the combat and crafting aspects, although admittedly I did go into it after taking a year off from the "AAA open-world formula" (my previous foray into something in that mould being Assassin's Creed Syndicate way back in November 2015). I'm really keen to get back to it, check out the new hardest difficulty that they patched in, and play through the Frozen Wilds DLC next year.

Wishing you a very merry Christmas, and all the best for 2018. Keep on bloggin' duder.

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danielkempster

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Having now seen the end of Chris Redfield's Standard campaign, I thought I'd come back to weigh in with a few updated thoughts on RE: Director's Cut. I finished up with seventeen saves and just under ten hours on the clock (a long time for this game, I understand, but I'm known for taking my time with things), and I'm happy to say I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Although this blog chronicles my first hour with the game, I actually ended up playing through the opening section three times trying to find the optimum route that wouldn't leave me struggling for ammo. I found that the west wing of the mansion's second floor had a lot less zombies to worry about, so I focused on clearing that side of things first and was able to amass a decent supply of ammo as a result. That in turn made exploring the east wing a lot less stressful, and gave me a better platform to continue on with the rest of the game.

I never found RE: Director's Cut's puzzles to be overly challenging. A lot of the solutions were clearly telegraphed, perhaps too clearly in some cases. Most of the challenge came from navigating the mansion itself, remembering which rooms to visit once the correct items have been acquired and trying to do it all without getting caught by the living dead or running out of ammo trying to put them down. The voice acting was terrible schlock throughout, and I feel like some of the finer points of the story may have been lost in translation, but I was able to follow the gist of it and enjoyed what story was there for what it was.

Perhaps the biggest thing working against RE: Director's Cut these days is the existence and recent ubiquity of 2002's Resident Evil remake, now available on PC, PS3, PS4, X360 and XONE by means of an HD remaster release. It's been a while since I played it but I recall it being better than its inspiration in just about every way - the campy B-movie tone is replaced by an incredible atmosphere so thick you could cut it with a knife, the puzzles are more developed and intricate, the graphics are mind-blowingly gorgeous, and it boasts a number of small quality-of-life improvements that add up to deliver a much better experience. With all that on offer, it becomes hard to recommend the original under any circumstances. Pretty much the only advantage I can say that RE: Director's Cut has over REmake is that you don't have to worry about any damn Crimson Heads.

Right now I don't have any plans to go back and play through the game again as Jill - a bit of research reveals that aside from some cut-scene dialogue I could easily look up on YouTube, there aren't really any drastic differences between the two that warrant me leaping right back in. I'm not ruling out the possibility of checking out Arranged mode at some point though - the prospect of playing through the same adventure with the presentation and puzzles all shaken up is an interesting one. If I was pressed to give the game a Giant Bomb review rating, I'd probably give it three stars out of five.

Oh, and sorry to disappoint you @arbitrarywater, but the version I played isn't the US Dual Shock Version, so sadly I didn't get to hear *that* soundtrack. The soundtrack that I did hear was largely contextually appropriate, with haunting melodies layered over tense strings and some nice frenetic combat/boss music too. The only music I didn't really care for was the tune that plays the first time Chris meets Rebecca - it sounds a little too much like Aerith's theme from FFVII for my liking.

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danielkempster

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Thanks for the little shout-out Mento. Considering An Hour With... was partially influenced by The Top Shelf to begin with, it's slightly weird to see the whole thing come full-circle.

This blog couldn't have come at a better time, because I finally wrapped up everything in the N. Sane Trilogy last week (and let me tell you, those three Platinums and the Lost Treasures DLC Trophies will go down in the annals as some of my greatest video game achievements ever). I've been hankering for more Crash and had been eyeing up Wrath of Cortex as a means of scratching the itch, but between your blog and some equally damning YouTube reviews, it seems it may not be the best way to go. It certainly seems faithful to the original trilogy, but it has the air of a game where the developers flung every idea they had at the wall to see what stuck, purely in the name of trying to make it bigger and more varied, rather than actually honing the core mechanics in any meaningful way. Perhaps I'll go with the idea of replaying Crash Team Racing instead.

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danielkempster

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Having now completed Resistance, I thought I'd post a quick post-mortem of my remaining time with it for anyone interested.

First, the good stuff. I'm happy to report that Resistance continued to mix things up as my playthrough progressed. The steady trickle of new enemy types (and new weapons to counter them) helped prevent combat from getting too one-note through what is a pretty lengthy campaign (this thing has THIRTY levels, duders). It was also fun on the brief occasions that the game put me in control of a Chimeran Stalker vehicle, a major step up from the regular vehicular combat sections.

Having said that, I still feel like the game could have done a lot more with its toolset. While every gun had an alternate fire, I found myself engaging with very few of them, with only the Bullseye's tagging beacons and the Fareye sniper rifle's slow-motion "concentration mode" proving to be of any real use. I wanted there to be more of these interesting weapons, but from what I understand the game locks a lot of the best ones behind the requirement of a New Game Plus-style playthrough. Considering I feel like I've seen all I wanted to of Resistance at this point, I don't think I'll be going back to check them out.

The game has some pacing issues too, with the last half a dozen levels in particular impaling me on a huge difficulty spike that was less rewarding to overcome than it was frustrating to keep running into over and over again. In a lot of cases I felt like this was down to the level design, which didn't really give me much in the way of cover or manoeuvrability. The back end of Resistance is FILLED with Chimera carrying Auger rifles, and their wall-penetrating bullets render cover pretty much useless anyway, so without the space to move around and avoid incoming rounds, firefights got pretty rage-inducing.

The story also fell really flat for me, building up an excellent War of the Worlds-esque premise in its opening chapters but then failing to do anything interesting with it. I was hoping more might come of Sgt Hale's Chimeran infection, but of the two sections that showed promise related to this, one (the notion that he might be controlled by the Chimeran Angels) ended up being a complete anti-climax, and the other (a post-credits epilogue showing Hale being picked up by soldiers) only hints at what might happen in a sequel. A sequel that I'm not overly keen to rush out and buy, I must say.

All in all, Resistance is a solid shooter with some interesting gimmicks that sadly don't live up to their full potential. If this were a review, I'd probably give it three stars out of five.

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danielkempster

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Great idea for a feature, and interesting to see you approach it via lists rather than blogs. Unless you're also planning blogs, and will tie the two together? Either way, it's cool and I'm looking forward to seeing how some of these games fare.

The games on this list that particularly resonate with me are Sonic 2, Pokémon Red and Blue, Spyro the Dragon and Tomb Raider. Really curious to see how you think they hold up under modern scrutiny. I'm going to say that all except Spyro have probably failed to stand the test of time - don't get me wrong, I have a lot of love for the other three, but I think they feel painfully dated. Spyro, on the other hand, I replayed earlier this year and still loved every single second of it.

Good luck duder. I'll be keeping my eye on this.

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@jjweatherman: Hey duder, good to hear from you! Hope you're keeping well. Thanks for taking the time to read the latest entry, and this one too. I appreciate the feedback, this feature is still in its infancy so I'm still feeling out what works and what doesn't. I'll be sure to bear your thoughts in mind for future blogs and cut down on the more unnecessary aspects.

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danielkempster

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I'm downloading this for future listening. Really looking forward to hearing your thoughts, as a long-term fan of the franchise. Just to clarify, can I expect heavy FFXV spoilers within? I'm yet to play any of it, and have somehow managed to avoid story spoilers up to now. If it goes any deeper than superficial story stuff, I may have to hold off on it until after I've played FFXV (which I'm planning to do this summer).

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danielkempster

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@arbitrarywater: LEGO Star Wars has 160 Gold Bricks - 120 tied to its main levels (3 per level and 2 bonus ones for each of the six Episodes), 20 are for completing Bounty Hunter missions, 6 are for completing the 'bonus' levels, and 14 can be bought with studs from the shop. From start to finish, it took me just under forty-five hours to get 'em all I'm not sure where that figure stands compared with other LEGO games, the only other one I've played is the 3DS version of LEGO Lord of the Rings and I can't remember how many that had. Grandia is definitely hella long, but (without spoiling anything for today's Backlogbook) it's definitely starting to come good on the promises it made thirty hours ago.

You've reminded me I still haven't played Lightning Returns. I should probably get on that at some point this year. Not before Grandia's done though, one JRPG at a time is more than enough for me.

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danielkempster

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@mento: It's good to know Grandia never gets worse than that scene in the Garlyle Base. When you put it like that, I guess the interplay between Justin and Feena isn't that unusual (the fact I need reminding of that tells me I'm clearly getting old), but it's hard to deny some of those earlier scenes are kind of uncomfortable. The whole thing in Feena's house with her panties? Yeah, could've quite happily done without that. I'm definitely feeling the shift to a more mature tone now, and I hope that continues from here on out.

@ohagan:Thanks man, that'd be cool. If you want to add me on Xbox LIVE, my Gamertag is 'dankempster'. I'm probably going to be around for most of this coming weekend, if you are. I'm in the UK, but hopefully we can find a time that suits both of us.