Community Backlog Blitz Season 12 - Runs July 1 through September 30 with a raffle at the end

gabbo

MetaMember
Dec 22, 2018
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Finally completed Serious Sam 2.
I haven't hate-finished a game as part of the Blitz before, but man, this game is the first
The game loop did not deserve a 10 hour game, there was maybe enough actual content for an hour, since it's just the same arena over and over again with bad dialogue and stiff animations. I've never appreciated SS3 so much (although I prefer big chin Sam from this to the horror-show he is 3).
I guess the odd number games are good in this series and the even are bad?
 

Kvik

Crossbell City Councillor
Dec 6, 2018
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Downunder.
I finished with Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age over the weekend.



If we're talking strictly about the Ivalice games, TZA is probably one of the weakest one in terms of the story. It's rather curious since the game has a lot of going for it. It probably has one of the best localisations a Final Fantasy game has ever gotten. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised with Alex O. Smith handling the translation duty. Not only that, the western voice talents really shines and brought Yoshida's character designs to life.

It's a shame the story feels rather disjointed at times and ultimately fell short.

Venturing outside the norm for a bit, this game has a pretty decent PC port. Turbo mode, graphics options, soundtrack options, controller handling and remapping that doesn't make you want to pull your hair out in frustration. Sadly, the FPS unlocker mod doesn't work anymore on the most recent patch, but the frame pacing remain consistent, and it doesn't look half bad with HDR tonemapping via SpecialK. There are plenty of mods for it too, ranging from a simple texture mod, to a license board restoration, and to a full-blown difficulty mod.

The addition of turbo mode definitely has improved the gambit system a lot. I know people dislike the gambit system in the original PS2 release, but with proper gambit assigned, watching enemies melt away at 4x turbo was rather fun. I suppose Dragon Age II cribbing the whole gambit system from this game has their heart in a right place, but I suppose FF XII shared its unfortunate curse with DA II as well. If I have any suggestions on how the gambit system can be improved, perhaps it would be more variation of the gambit types, and the ability to switch gambit presets with the press of a button.

I didn't end up finishing the superbosses/extra espers content since I can't get enough ribbons for all the party members. I did complete the Hunt sidequests, though. It feels like monster hunter lite. Like I said, it's fun watching the marks melt away with a proper gambit system. Except perhaps the final few marks, which has alternating immunities between physical/magick attacks. It's a bit awkward to switch party members mid-fight because they'll need to be disengaged before they can be switched over.

If there's something I don't like about the game mechanics, it's the randomised chest/loot tables. I simply don't have enough patience to keep rezoning until decent loot appears. Trying to obtain the ultimate weapons is a nightmare with something like this. If I ever want to do a NG+ run, I'll probably use something like The Insurgent's Toolkit to make the loot table fixed. At the very least, it should reduce the amount of grinding in order to challenge the extra dungeon/superbosses.

To address the story, I feel that they should've made Ashe the protagonist, or make it so that we follow each character's struggles. While Ashe, Balthier, Fran and Basch's personal quests are pretty well told, I find Vaan's story rather lacking, let alone Penelo whose only job in the game is getting kidnapped … and providing comic relief of some sort. It's sort of like Gaius from the Cold Steel series, although to be fair, Falcom has finally given him something to do in CS III/IV. But I digress.

The antagonist of the story is kind of one-note as well. Apart from the small bit in the beginning of the story, the main cast hardly interact with them at all, and their motives were only told in passing. Even the judges has more fleshed-out background, for the better or worse. Having said that, I find their second phase boss form rather amusing.

Despite my lukewarm feeling on the story, I enjoyed my time with the game. The location variety is great and The Hunt side quests are fun to do. There's a bit of fan service for long time Final Fantasy fans in there too. It's probably not the best Final Fantasy, but probably one of the most polished experiences I had with the series. Now, if we're talking bad experiences, that would be reserved for the next number…


Onwards to Final Fantasy XIII this weekend.




 

Parsnip

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FF12 is one of those games where you can really tell that the development fell apart at some point for one reason or another and the back half of the game feels like everything is stretched real thin. Super long dungeons that only feel like they are there to pad the game out to an "expected length". The turbo mode really saves it. I sometimes wonder what we could have had if they had had another 6 month or a year to massage what they had. Or if Matsuno had not left the project. Or if Vagrant Story hadn't failed commercially, would we have gotten the Basch game it was initially meant to be. And many other things.
 
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Kvik

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Super long dungeons that only feel like they are there to pad the game out to an "expected length".
I don't actually mind the dungeon crawling bits since I like DRPGs too, but yeah, it would've been nice if those long stretches of dungeons can be interspersed with party banter or even little story bits in between. If only they budget for these things as much as they did the bestiary. :flare_lmao:

Imagine my surprise when the final “dungeon” is not a dungeon at all. :flaregalaxycat:
 
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ganmo

My Neighbour Totoro
Dec 10, 2018
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Finished Quantum Break some weeks ago, and now I also finished Yooka-Laylee.

Impression on Quantum Break, it was pretty good I think. A bit bummer that it doesn't have more endings. I thought it would have different endings since you could make story impacting "choice" during the game. But regardless of choice I made it all leads to the same ending.

Yooka-Laylee though gave me some blast from the past. Starting it out I didn't like so much, and I was thinking to maybe quite and select some other game to play instead. But I kept playing and it grew on me, maybe it is because this game was striking similar to Mario 64. One bad point with this game though, was that level design started to slowly go down. Other than that I would recommend this game for anyone which enjoy playing Mario 64 back in the days :D
 

Parsnip

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Sep 11, 2018
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I'm probably going to swap one of my remaining games out for Horizon Zero Dawn. Not sure which one yet though.
 

Futaleufu

Laughing Chojin
Mar 14, 2019
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After completing Middle Earth Shadow of War I finish this season with 5/5 games.

Decent combat, many small open worlds and an improved Nemesis System makes this game very enjoyable. The only negative part is that orc pit fighting/recruiting can glitch in the endgame, with the AI even fixing the matchmaking by replacing combatants before the start of matches. I hope a WB game brings back the Nemesis tech soon.
 
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Derrick01

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Oct 6, 2018
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Finished xenoblade 3. I wrote brief impressions in the thread for it but the short of it is I found it to be a downgrade from xb2 in almost every way. I still think it's better than 1 and is an ok game overall but it has huge issues with the story, characters and environments. 6/10 overall.
 

Kvik

Crossbell City Councillor
Dec 6, 2018
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Downunder.
It only has been one hot minute since I've finished Final Fantasy XIII (well, mostly anyway since I didn't do the post-game content) so I figured I better write something down before the week is done.



When I started this game, I tried to recall my impressions from having played the PS3 version on release all those years ago. I remembered not being overly impressed by the corridor dungeon design for half the game, and having completed the game again on PC, that impression still stuck with me. This second time around, the game has a new coat of paint via mods, and despite its shortcomings, the game is now very nice to look at. And with the help of Cheat Engine's turbo mode, fighting trash mods weren't such a chore like it once were on PS3.

To address the state of the PC port: it's still not great. The advent of FF13Fix has alleviated most of the issues apparent upon release, but not all. There are still frame pacing issues and audio noise related to multichannel audio, and the worst offender: it refuses to work with Steam Input. Steam Input must be disabled in order to have the controller working. An issue which also present in FF XIII-2, iirc. I remember reading Durante's article and reading about the performance issues. The same exact issues are still present today, and while an RTX GPU seem to mitigate this to some extent with the help of FF13Fix's frame rate unlocker, this is pretty much what we can expect out of this port.

While FF XIII's modding scene isn't exactly thriving these days, there are still people dedicated enough to make mods for it. The revamped difficulty mod is still getting updates, and there's a modder dedicated enough to make 4K-upscaled FMV mod. I'm not crazy enough to try it, though, the 1080p FMV mod alone has eaten 100 GB of space by itself. I didn't check how much space the 4K mod will consume in total, but the download size for Chapter 1 FMV alone is nearly 20 GB (against the 5 GB of its 1080p counterpart).

The ATB/Stagger system feels as fluid as it once did on PS3. The only problem is, once you have a proper paradigm setup, there's very little difficulty in defeating even the bosses with extremely deep HP pools. As an aside, I dislike that you have to remake the paradigm pallets all over again if you swap the active Battle Team members. The battle system feels like it has the trappings of SMT games, for better or worse: once you know the enemies' weaknesses, exploit it, don't neglect healing, and you're pretty much done. In FF XIII, it's pretty much the same: double/triple ravagers paradigm setup until it staggers, then shift to Relentless Assault paradigm until the enemies' stagger bar run out. Shift immediately to double medic paradigm to withstand special attacks for boss fights, and shift to the ravagers paradigm again to bring the stagger bar back. Rinse and Repeat. That's about it.

Now let's take a look at the story and how I feel about it now when compared with my first play through. While I don't feel the linearity isn't a problem, the sub-par expositions and the generally sloppy storytelling is. I tried to read the datalog as much as I can; as I once did on PS3. But for a game with a fast-paced mechanics like FF XIII, pausing for a few minutes to go through the datalog will certainly take you out of the pacing for a bit. Especially when the cutscene expositions are poor, and you feel like you need further context from the datalog.

While I felt that the characters has decent personal arcs, there's something about them that didn't speak to me at all. Even the antagonists feel like one-note and feel like they're just there to pad the game to a certain size. The lack of emotional investment apparent in earlier FF titles is also somewhat lacking in FF XIII. There are some moments of brilliance, like Sazh's attempted suicide or Lightning trying her best to be a “big sister” figure to Hope. However, for some reason, it didn't quite have the same impact as the other FF titles did in the past.

The lack of notable side quests and mini-games in this game is also one of the reasons why I feel FF XIII is lacking. Sure, there is that 64 Cieth Stone
missions to go through, but I can't help feeling that it lack the same flair as the Hunting missions in FF XII. At least in FF XII, you need to talk to someone to “accept” the mission and reconfigure the gambits accordingly. In FF XIII, the strategy barely changes. Once the party completed Level 8/9 of the Crystarium, they are strong enough to mitigate any kind of status debuffs, with maybe some consideration to equip proper gears for marks with gimmick AI. Unfortunately, I don't feel like doing the entire 64 missions just to find out if alternate strategy is needed for high-level marks, especially when Soul Hackers 2 is just around the corner.

To sum up; while I enjoyed the battle system enough to go through the game once again, sadly, my opinion of the entire game barely changes since my first play through. It's clear that Squeenix was trying to recapture that “Ivalice Alliance” magic once again with “Fabula Nova Crystallis”. However, as the opening title, the narrative in FF XIII is somewhat lacking and not the strong start I had hopes for, and it's definitely a hard sell to recommend this title to anyone except for historical or nostalgia reason. As it stands, it is probably my least-liked Final Fantasy title so far.

Next up is FF XIII-2, but I'll probably switch this one up with Soul Hackers 2 and push Lightning Returns to the next blitz season.






 

Parsnip

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I do not remember that part about Sazh you spoiler tagged at all. Wild. Really most of the game is kind of a haze to me.

I liked XIII-2 much better overall. Helps that I really ended up liking both of the protags much more than anyone in XIII. The modded whitemage outfit is the goat.

Also throwing Mog around makes me irrationally happy.
 
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ganmo

My Neighbour Totoro
Dec 10, 2018
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Finished my fourth game which was Control. Another wtf game o_O. Why? because from the start until the end I thought the plot was very strange. You are thrown into a situation without any background to why, and I don't think it explains it very well during the game either. Maybe I should have read the collectibles? But it was all presented as wall of text so I didn't felt to read through each of them... Perhaps there are some YouTuber which explains the story in depth though which I can watch? :unsure:

All in all it was a nice action game, although the confusing plot. :geek:
 
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kio

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Apr 19, 2019
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Managed to finish all my games
  1. TROUBLESHOOTER: Abandoned Children - [PC][100h] Very good XCOM-like that ends abruptly and has a few too many mechanics that ultimately barely serve any purpose but I have to admire the ambition on display - 5/5
  2. Ori and the Will of the Wisps - [Deck][16h] Much better than the original and played perfectly on the deck - 4/5
  3. Gamedec - [PC][14h] There are few things in life I despise more than dishonesty and this game has that in spades. It paints itself as an rpg where your choices dictate the narrative but the choices are meaningless as they all lead to the same results and the "rpg mechanics" serve no purpose - 1/5
  4. Tangle Tower - [Deck][6h] - Neat little detective P&C adventure. The only fault I found was that at times it felt a little like a proof of concept for an hypothetical bigger project from this dev team. - 5/5
  5. Call of the Sea - [Deck][5h] - Apart from draining the deck's battery like crazy, there's not really anything bad to say about this game. It's a small puzzle adventure with a, somewhat, silly story and a slightly farfetched final twist. - 3/5
 

ganmo

My Neighbour Totoro
Dec 10, 2018
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Finished my last game which was Little Nightmares. I didn't have the DLC so I actually watched play through for that part, and what a twist without spoiling too much. This game felt for me as a dark version of Spirited Away, and to still my curiosity I google more information on it. It do turns out that Spirited away served as inspiration when they made this game. TBH I think this game was very well made and was kind of perfect example of an interactive story based game should be.

If you haven't played it yet I very much recommend it, and if you can get it for cheap do get the DLC as well, since it was kind of a twist which connected the base game together with the DLC.
 
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Parsnip

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Sep 11, 2018
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Finished Horizon Zero Dawn. It's fine. The story is kind of whatever and weirdly I feel it lacks any kind of impact. Stakes are high but lots of is so forgettable. Like in the last mission with your allies, and I could barely remember who some of them were. Nil was really the only memorable side character and only because they really leaned in on his whole shtick.
Anyways, 3 games done.

I also switched Paradise Killer to Axiom Verge 2.

Though before I start on that or Deliver Us The Moon, I'll probably do Horizon DLC first.
 
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Wibblewozzer

Wibblewozzer

Robot on the inside
Dec 6, 2018
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August I was just into other stuff (manga, vtubers, annnnnd that's about it) so I completed nothing all month but I did get back into gaming more this month and finished Assassin's Creed Origins last night. Pretty good time. I like the more classic style of Unity and Syndicate more overall but I still had fun and I'm hopeful the next games expand and improve on this style so I might like them quite a bit more, too. I do have all the DLC available for Origins and might still try to get through those but I'm uncertain since I kind of just felt done and was ready to move on. I own Odyssey and Valhalla with all DLC now so I'm prepped for them as well.

I started back up my fourth game, Ender Lilies, briefly just to get back into how it plays. Plays pretty well and I'm super early so I'm curious to see how I feel as things grow from where I'm at. Pretty excited to put more time into it.
 

ganmo

My Neighbour Totoro
Dec 10, 2018
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August I was just into other stuff (manga, vtubers, annnnnd that's about it) so I completed nothing all month but I did get back into gaming more this month and finished Assassin's Creed Origins last night. Pretty good time. I like the more classic style of Unity and Syndicate more overall but I still had fun and I'm hopeful the next games expand and improve on this style so I might like them quite a bit more, too. I do have all the DLC available for Origins and might still try to get through those but I'm uncertain since I kind of just felt done and was ready to move on. I own Odyssey and Valhalla with all DLC now so I'm prepped for them as well.

I started back up my fourth game, Ender Lilies, briefly just to get back into how it plays. Plays pretty well and I'm super early so I'm curious to see how I feel as things grow from where I'm at. Pretty excited to put more time into it.
I hope they would revisit China again. They made kind of a 2d spin on it, and I don't think it got any good reviews. So at least I am awaiting for them to make proper AC game during one of China's dynasties.
 
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Wibblewozzer

Wibblewozzer

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I hope they would revisit China again. They made kind of a 2d spin on it, and I don't think it got any good reviews. So at least I am awaiting for them to make proper AC game during one of China's dynasties.
I played all three of the Chronicles games in the last year and I actually had some decent fun with them. They're not great but they play well enough and have a very stealth puzzle sort of design as each level is split into smaller chunks that mostly are just about getting from one side to the other with ideally no alerts. I wouldn't strongly recommend them but if you want something that's a little like a classic Prince of Persia + stealth it's not the worst time that can be had.

But yeah, a proper full release in China would be pretty good.

Edit: And the India Chronicles game really makes me want one in India. They did a really great job with some of the art in that Chronicles game that a big budget one could look super amazing.
 
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Wibblewozzer

Wibblewozzer

Robot on the inside
Dec 6, 2018
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Finished my fourth and fifth games!

Ender Lilies started pretty weak. I wasn't into it much at first and honestly my enjoyment was a slow ramp up until it plateaued at a good level around halfway through. Some of the abilities really improve things and it gets a lot less frustrating overall as you get more abilities, relics, health, etc. It's still a difficult Metroidvania but as you get deeper that eases off and makes it more fun.

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors was something I completed closer to it launching on DS but I wanted to finally get back to Virtue's Last Reward so I picked 999 as a Blitz game so I could then properly play VLR. Glad I did as I definitely didn't remember a lot of the specifics and largely only remembered visual elements (most all the puzzle rooms were very familiar but not the specific puzzle solutions).

Finishing my Blitz games also means I'm mentally free now to play whatever so that's always a relief until the next Blitz!
 
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Kvik

Crossbell City Councillor
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Downunder.
Finished my 4th blitz game over the weekend, Soul Hackers 2.



I talked about it a bit more in the OT, but I enjoyed my time with the game despite its shortcomings. I can't recommend it at full price, but perhaps at 50% discount if anyone is interested in getting it. Still, I'd definitely still be getting the soundtrack once it's available on digital, though. The final boss fight theme has MONACA's fingerprint all over it.

Time to go back to Final Fantasy XIII-2. I only have a week and a half to complete it. :flare_lmao:



 
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Parsnip

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I finished Axiom Verge 2.
It's quite excellent. Really the only bad thing I have to say about it is that weird viewport transition when you move between rooms that are different heights.
Got 100% of everything, but don't plan to get all the achievements since there are stuff for speedruns and such, those are not my thing at all.

Deliver Us the Moon is my one remaining game, should be able to do it in time I think.
 
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Derrick01

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Finished my 5th game Sakuna of Rice and Ruin. It was a game with a surprising amount of depth in its farming. I went in expecting harvest moon style gameplay but there's like a 6 step process to growing and harvesting rice and WAY too much information on how it's turning out. But it was a fun little game that got a bit repetitive in the last quarter.
 
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Parsnip

Riskbreaker
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Finished Deliver Us The Moon.
It's totally fine.
Didn't realize it was a Kickstarter game.

Anyways, that's my blitz done with a few days to spare. 💪
 
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Wibblewozzer

Wibblewozzer

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And that's a good reminder that we're nearing the end! The new season is days away so make sure you're wrapping up your final games, updating the spreadsheet, and just maybe start preparing what might be your next Blitz titles?

Let's go!
 
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Kvik

Crossbell City Councillor
Dec 6, 2018
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Downunder.
I've finished with Final Fantasy XIII-2 over the weekend, marking my completion of this season's Blitz.




I find it a bit curious that even though FF XIII-2 have much better pacing when compared to the former game, I find the two leads doesn't have nearly enough charisma to carry the game. I prefer the whimsical tone which FF X-2 have in spades. Perhaps it's the bleak world/universe setting that didn't quite grab me, since time travel is supposed to be fun, but the two leads simply didn't have nearly enough chemistry together.

The one and only antagonist in the game is an improvement over FF XIII, since they actually delved into Caius Ballad's backstory and motivation (and as true to tradition, since he is as insane as FF antagonists gets). Serah is --in my opinion-- is not a charismatic leader at all. While the player can “mould” her personality based on the option they pick during Live Trigger events, some of her internal monologues or moments of self-introspection doesn't reflect these choices at all. It would've been a nice bit of role-playing if these Live Trigger choices build her character rather than just means to get free items.

Noel as a co-lead also didn't fare any better, since I don't feel he has a unique personality. Perhaps this can be explained in-universe, because he came from a dead world, and it affects him greatly as a person. However, I feel he's just trudging along for most of the game, giving Serah positive encouragements here and there, and basically giving out trivia concerning whatever timeline they landed in. By the time we saw his character develop, we've already been through 3/4 or the game.

It is not until the final two locations of the game that both of them have something meaningful to say. While I'm aware that the final conclusion was telegraphed from much earlier in the game, it ends so abruptly that neither the cast nor the player have time to process it. Almost immediately, I installed, modded and booted up Lightning Returns to see how they will pick up where they left off. An hour or so later, I started thinking that it's kind of amazing that they green lit Lightning Returns and tried to retcon everything again for the second time.

Anyway, I didn't feel like doing the post-game content, since I had my fill of the combat, and some fragments require clearing out multiple area to 100%. It feels too much like busy work. And with only a few days left in September, I'd rather spend it playing something else.

The next blitz games would be Trails from Zero, Lightning Returns and FF XV for starters. Still unsure about the rest. Maybe Yakuza 3, since I'm already more than halfway through that game.




 
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Wibblewozzer

Wibblewozzer

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Pretend I posted the Majora's Mask Dawn of the Final Day image here.

Wrap it up! I'm going to just squeeze in a final game in September which will change up my upcoming Blitz picks so that's fun. As per usual feel free to talk about and list your next Blitz picks in this thread and then just plan to post them again in the new thread or hold off until the new thread goes up. I'll have it all updated and in place roughly 24 hours from now and will also do the raffle somewhere around there. Make sure you've updated the spreadsheet!
 
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Wibblewozzer

Wibblewozzer

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I successfully was able to get through VLR before the month ends. I was going to have it on my next Blitz but just jumped right into it in the last week. So instead I'll have Zero Time Dilemma in my next Blitz.

I'll do the raffle and new thread later tonight, probably 12-16 hours from now. But I did go ahead and create a tab for the next season of Blitz for anyone that wants a little bit of a head start picking and listing their game choices.
 
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Wibblewozzer

Wibblewozzer

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All right, time to have a winner for this season of the Blitz! It may not be midnight everywhere but it's close enough and you should have made your updates and not wait for the final hours for those farthest west!

So this season's winner is Ascheroth !

Congrats on winning this season's Blitz! You can thank the one game you completed this time, A Plague Tale: Innocence, for being the lucky game that got picked at random!

You've got $23.69 in prize money available to you and as per usual it doesn't really matter what store you find something at as long as there won't be any region shenanigans (I'll be buying from the US). Go ahead and send me a PM when you make your pick.
 

Ascheroth

Chilling in the Megastructure
Nov 12, 2018
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All right, time to have a winner for this season of the Blitz! It may not be midnight everywhere but it's close enough and you should have made your updates and not wait for the final hours for those farthest west!

So this season's winner is Ascheroth !

Congrats on winning this season's Blitz! You can thank the one game you completed this time, A Plague Tale: Innocence, for being the lucky game that got picked at random!

You've got $23.69 in prize money available to you and as per usual it doesn't really matter what store you find something at as long as there won't be any region shenanigans (I'll be buying from the US). Go ahead and send me a PM when you make your pick.
Whoa.
Actually I finished 2 games, but I forgot to update the sheet. Whoops. Not my best season either way though 😅 :grimacing-face:
 
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Wibblewozzer

Wibblewozzer

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This weekend I completed both Yoku's Island Express and Batman Arkjam Knight. The former is great mix of a short metroidvania with a pinball game. The later is a finely crafted open world game. The Batmobile takes some time to adjust to and ends up as a great addition to the end of the saga.

That's 3/5 this season. I have Middle Earth Shadow of War as the 4th game, Late Shift is game nº 5.
Just so you know, not updating your last completed game did have another significant impact as we had 68 completed games without whatever your other one was. That'll hang over your head knowing what could have been for the rest of time.

But congrats for completing games and winning!
 
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Parsnip

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Just so you know, not updating your last completed game did have another significant impact as we had 68 completed games without whatever your other one was. That'll hang over your head knowing what could have been for the rest of time.

But congrats for completing games and winning!
:toucan:
 
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Derrick01

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Oct 6, 2018
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Finished Expeditions Rome. It was ok but pretty repetitive as you don't really do anything different for the whole game after learning everything midway through Act 1. It just goes on the same pattern for another 25-30 hours with only a solid plot backing it up.
 
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Parsnip

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Sep 11, 2018
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I finished Paradise Killer, just need to check a few things about it and its structure that I'm curious about before I'm moving on.

Will probably play a non-blitz game next.
 
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Valdien

✵ Chaos! ✵
Mar 26, 2020
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