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About FalconGR

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  1. I am playing through the Dark Souls trilogy back to back. I am currently half way through 2, which I've never played before, and I think is far better than a lot of people give it credit for (I've completed 1 and 3 multiple times, so having a completely new one to play through has been great). For me, From Software games are the perfect way to deal with any anxiety and stress. They have the grind aspect and repetition that is very therapeutic. But more they demand complete attention, so occupy your mind entirely whilst playing them. And the general fantasy setting and lore acts well for escapism. Finishing 2 and playing through 3 should occupy another month or so! Other than that I play some Wipeout HD with my brother, which is a nice palette cleanser.
  2. Surely the satirical write ups are the entire point of this thread? I at least look forward to them each year. If I really cared which game Rllmuk voted 8th I could just go through the voting thread and add all the points up myself. The value here is in seeing what Benny at al say. If anything I vote for more sass.
  3. I completed F-Zero GX on Master difficulty just using the basic Blue Falcon car, which I thought was pretty good at the time. I can still win the first two cups, which is not bad for having barely touched the game in over a decade. Probably the only game I was ever legitimately quite good at.
  4. This is incredible! It feels just like time-trialling did in F-Zero GX, minus the L/R shifting in that game. That is high praise indeed. I can see myself getting hours and hours of practice out of this.
  5. My view is that Bloodborne and Dark Souls are on a different level to the other entries in the Soulsborne series - they are some of the best games of all time. The others are merely extraordinarily good games - DS III gets extremely good after the first third, but I doubt anyone would hold it up as one of the best games ever made. So Dark Souls Remastered is a good choice. I think it's a bit like asking what the best Zelda is - Bloodborne and Dark Souls are on a par at least with the very best Zeldas, which to my mind means Link to the Past/Ocarina/BoTW. The others are like the rest of the Zeldas, by which I mean they are still far better than almost any other game, but not the best the series has ever been. But the level design in the first half of Dark Souls is unparalleled anywhere else in the hobby, so I think everyone who like games really ought see that to get what the fuss with this series is all about.
  6. As good as Mario Kart 8 is, I think the one thing that disappointed me was that it was a little slow (bar 200cc which doesn’t suit the courses that well) and so had a relatively low skill ceiling. You don’t really get punished that heavily time wise if you miss a couple of power slides or make a mess of a few corners. The racing line basically doesn’t matter all that much apart from avoiding massive errors. This means that most races are basically determined by who gets off to the best start. If someone separates from the pack then they can only be caught by weapons and so most races are effectively over as contests after half a lap. Or else someone gets blue shelled and is bitter. I realise MK is supposed be arcadey but previous games had a better balance. If you clip the curb in SMK you can lose all momentum and multiple seconds of lap time. Likewise in Mario kart 64 if you powerslide better than your opponent you can really make up a lot of time. Basically it should be possible to catch an opponent just by outracing them, and in MK8 that isn’t really possible if you are both half decent at it. Also I would like the clock and lap times back in GP mode - it’s nice to have some measure of how you are doing.
  7. It may be a slightly controversial one, as it's not a series per se, but I always put Team Ico games in this category. Don't get me wrong, I love each of Ico, SoTC and The Last Guardian in their own way, and all are some of my favorite games ever. But I can't help but feel that as the `series' has gone on Team Ico's ambitions have got greater and greater, and in someways introduced some issues with the technical aspects of their games that weren't there in the original. As a result I feel Ico still stands as their best game. The game has the spectacular art design and atmosphere that characterizes all their work, and the relatively simple gameplay let's this shine without any distractions or frustrations. For example the somewhat clumsy controls in their games are not really a problem in Ico given the slow paced nature of the game, but I think they are more of an issue in SoTC where you have to do relatively involved platforming under pressure. Likewise in the TLG there are the frustrations many people have with dealing with Trico that can distract from all the amazing things the game does right.
  8. I have found that using the Loaded Axe in combination with the Fang and Blade skill is a great way to deal posture damage (press R2 then R1 for a combo once the enemy opens themselves up). This can fill up the posture bar of some of the minibosses with just a couple of combos. It made SES, LSL and even the first GA far easier for me once I realized I could deal posture this way, as my deflecting skills are still not perfect even though I am quite far through (beat GA2 and now about to fight CM). I am really enjoying this, but in some ways it is a rather unusual game to play. My favorite part of the Souls games was always the way in which combat and exploration seemed to work harmoniously. Souls 1 in particular created this incredibly rich world, and if the combat was easy you would fly through it and miss all the interesting aspects of the design. That's why I think the difficulty of Souls is perfectly justified. The difficulty of the standard enemies forced you to replay areas over and over and become deeply familiar with every nook and cranny. It was almost like archeology, slowly chipping away at the rockface to uncover this remarkable world that had always been there waiting for you. Here it's almost the opposite. The grapple hook allow you to fly through the levels and so you don't really get to know them in the same way. And then after flying through exploration you inevitably become stuck on bosses for several hours. The things I will remember most about this game so far are these spectacular boss fight: LB, GA, the other GA. This is somewhat inevitable given how much time you will spend fighting them, relative to exploring the world. As I said I still enjoy this style, but the game has a certain staccato rhythm that takes a bit of getting used to. I feel that's why some people may be having such a hard time with it.
  9. I am continuously surprised that people who come on this forum (and hence I assume are quite interested in videogames as a hobby) would come on here and bash a magazine like Edge based on a small discrepancy over a review score. I am currently playing God of War and it is excellent, yet it feels like all of an 8, 9 and 10 are perfectly justifiable reviews based on one's perspective. However my main point is it seems to me that is an overwhelmingly good thing for the industry that Edge exists, as essentially the only serious representation of videogames in print. I am rather proud of Edge as a representation of the medium/industry I enjoy so much, as something that takes seriously the creative power of games and discusses them at the level of any other design or creative medium. I *learn* new things by reading Edge, about the process of designing games, and the challenges that the industry faces, and that for me is fascinating. I don't always agree with everything they say, but on the whole I broadly agree with their perspective, and I think it is great that a kid or parent can walk into somewhere like WHSmith and see the medium reflected in a far more mature way than anywhere else on the internet or in print. They do a fantastic job at supporting an industry we are all fans of, and heavily invested in through finance and time. So bickering over minor disagreements seems rather churlish to me, no matter how vehemently one disagrees with a score (I for one had a lovely time over the years playing the all-star cup on Mario Kart DD).
  10. FalconGR

    EDGE 315

    Since I moved to the US I have become a big fan of the Edge app on my iPhone - that has done a great job of helping me keep up to date. Amusingly the newsagents outside Harvard (I am in Boston) stocks a small selection of international magazines, one of which is Edge. It is typically a couple of issues behind, but there is something rather fun about seeing Edge over here!
  11. Mario Kart is without doubt my most played gaming series of all time - I must have spent over a 100 hours on most of the entries, which is frankly scary. But I have a twin brother, and there are few finer pleasures in life than a local multiplayer grand prix. This has probably greatly influenced my selections, but I think I have converged on something like the following top 3. 1). Mario Kart 64 - I think the reason this is so divisive ultimately comes down to the fact that in single player grand prix mode, this is pretty awful. Like really bad. In fact I have probably only done each grand prix once or twice on my own (although time trial in this can be excellent). But in local multiplayer the grand prix mode really comes alive. The only other game that comes close to the genius of playing an evenly matched opponent on this is probably Halo 2's multiplayer. I think the key, as has been mentioned above, is the sense of speed in this game that has been lacking in every Mario Kart since. It feels like you really have to push on the edge in order to win at this, and you are constantly trying to just keep hold of your car. Can you fit in an extra power slide around that corner, or are you going to lock your wheels and spin out for pushing too much? It feels like a proper racing game, where mistakes have consequences and can cost you the race. The Star Cup is also perhaps the single greatest set of courses in Mario Kart history: Wario Stadium, Sherbert Land, Royal Raceway, Bowser's Castle. 2). Mario Kart 8 - This really is a fantastic game as everyone has said above, and to be honest I don't have much to add in terms of praise. It is outstanding - good handling, excellent course design and just a sheer delight to play. In single player it is almost a masterpiece, although it is hard not to feel a 175cc mode would be perfect. 150cc is still slightly too slow, and whilst 200 cc is fun, it doesn't feel like the courses were designed to be played at that speed. The DLC is also a fantastic and generous addition. However, at least for me there are a few drawbacks too and these stop in taking that top spot. In particular it is basically just a bit too easy, and the handling, although fun, is pretty forgiving and easy to master. After a relatively short time you get pretty good, after which you can easily beat the computer pretty much every time. In single player this doesn't matter so much, the game becomes essentially a time trial but in stunning courses, and is still incredible. In local multiplayer it is a huge problem. What happens is that both you and your opponent can easily win if you get out in front. Every race then essentially becomes decided by the first corner - whoever can hit their opponent with a weapon first and gets in front will win. They can make serene progress, but the opponent is now back in fourth or fifth for the time being. Inevitably they will be hit by a few weapons before escaping from the pack, and the lead has already become unassailable. A shame, as otherwise this would be a 10 for me. 3). Super Mario Kart - The original and in someways still the best. It certainly has the deepest and most rewarding handling system, where you feel like you are sling-shotting your way around the course and gathering an unstoppable momentum. The huge range in lap-times (it is not uncommon to improve lap times by a factor of 2 as you get quicker throughout the race) make this a great time trial game and almost closer to F-Zero GX in style than some of the other games. The track design is outstanding - Donut Plans 1, Ghost Valley 2 and Bowser's Castle 2 are perhaps the highlights, but the entirety of the first 2 cups is outstanding. The only downside is that I think it is fair to say the courses do become a bit less inspired as the game goes on - the Koopa Beach and especially Vanilla Lake courses are not great. The above three are all absolute classics, and really could be put in any order. And if you mostly played MK64 in single player then clearly it should be far lower down. 4). Mario Kart Super Circuit - At the time this was something of a marvel. It felt incredible to be able to carry around a full Mario Kart on the handheld (compared to something like Mickey's Racing Adventure on the GBC this was a miracle). Also it was a nice touch to allow multiplayer with a single cartridge, and the addition of all the original courses was fantastic. Only really held back nowadays by the fact that it has dated technically quite a bit, and perhaps the new courses were not so inspired as in other games. 5). Mario Kart Double Dash - Obviously a game that has its flaws, but I think it is often underrated. There are certainly far too many weapons, and the central two character mechanic is not particularly good (or even bad). However this contains some of the best course design of the series - Peach Beach, Yoshi's Circuit, DK Mountain, Sherbert Land... basically the whole Star Cup again. It was also a really good time trial game, and the all-star cup ( a grand prix of all the courses ) is something we had a lot of fun playing. 6). Mario Kart 7 - The handling is rather weird at first, but once you are used to it this becomes another really excellent handheld Mario Kart. There isn't much else to say - the new courses are consistently pretty great ( all except for the Wuhu Island ones and the last 3 track in the Special Cup are fun). Absolutely perfect to take on a plane or train to pass the time. 7). Mario Kart DS - Again a very competent/good Mario Kart, but with a couple of well-known problems. Firstly once you realise you can use the powerslide to 'snake' on this game, it rather spoils it. Also, at least on the original DS, if you try and play this for more than half an hour your hands will be in complete agony from the way you have to grip the controller. It's genuinely a problem unfortunately! 8). Mario Kart Wii - Awful. Just terrible. But a lot of people seem to really like it, which is great. There are more than enough more hardcore Mario Kart for me to play, and so widening the appeal isn't a bad thing. But I do think this is one of the worst racing games I have ever played. Also a shout-out to Diddy Kong Racing. Pretty much every Christmas we still get the N64 out and play through this again. It is an absolute pleasure in single player, and the coin collecting really subverts the course design in an original way. Local multiplayer is pretty poor, and made worse by the fact that my brother is insanely good at this game and hence it isn't a lot of fun for me (except the hovercraft courses, which for some reason I am fantastic at). Finally, whilst we are on the subject of racing games, there is a rather fun N64-era racer called SCARS. It is essentially a karting/rally game where you race as animal based robot cars. It is generally considered a pretty average game, but for some reason I am very fond of it. Some of the more interesting game-play ideas, such as underwater levels and two exchangeable weapons have since filtered through to later Mario Karts and so it's worth checking out.
  12. FalconGR

    Nintendo Switch

    It's seemingly impossible to get hold of this in the US - Gamestop are expecting their next delivery some time around Easter, and the only options they have are > $500 bundles. The guy in the shop said they received something like 500,000 stock and this is the most successful console launch they have ever seen. Whilst this sounds great for Nintendo, I can't help but think they could have done with making even more consoles available here. I haven't been able to get one despite trying for months (they were taking pre-orders only for 24 hours and I missed out). Once the Zelda buzz has died down it may be that the interest in the console fades. I am still going to get one eventually because (a) I always end up buying every Nintendo console and (b) I travel a lot for work. But that might not be the typical scenario, and it feels like Nintendo might have missed a trick here.
  13. I moved to the US in August. I think that today will justify this decision.
  14. The PSN sale for this is really good (at least in the US). I just got Rez Infinite, Life is Strange and Inside for 40 something bucks!
  15. I am getting this for Christmas and I absolutely cannot wait. There is something about Pokemon I just can't resist. Of course it's the nostalgia, but mostly I think it's the way building a little squad of critters and training them up gets you so helplessly involved in the whole process. I have never really got hardcore RPGs based around loot etc - I couldn't care less what my character looks like in a game or what gear he has. But give me a little Charmander to train up into a mighty dragon and I am all in. Going to break with the convention of a life-time for this though and go for the Owl starter. I want the bat as well so it looks like it is the Moon version for me. Admittedly I may be overdoing flying based pokemon, but then on Blue my final squad read Charizard-Ninetails-Rapidash-Rhydon-Onix-Nidoking. Alas I didn't fair so well in the playground, damn water types.
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