Stay Home! Play Old Games! - Pile of Shame April 2020

In addition, wash yo hands, ya filthy peoples....

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Shout out to first responders and the medical community. Help them out by keeping yourself at home. With all this time it's a great opportunity to organize you desk, clear out your closets, etc... Who am I kidding? Log in to you work IM program to appear online and start playing some games. The backlog awaits you.

Some housekeeping notes.

If you're interested, m0nk3yboy, has the 12 month 2020 pile plan thread over here.

A quick reminder, in order to be considered "Pile of Shame" the game needs to be at least three months old. Otherwise, it's just a new game you haven't gotten to playing yet.

Also, if you are curious about some of the previous threads, Picks of the Pile, etc... Please go here and check out the spreadsheet I setup.

Let's get on to the games!

This month's Pick of the Pile is

Slay the Spire

Multi-Platform
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) - Hemi
Dragon Quest V - bobbywatson
Dragon Quest XI - charlemagne
Grim Fandango - AUs_TBirD
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC - JohnKillo
Little Nightmares - brokenclavicle
Paw Patrol: On a Roll! - AUs_TBirD
Prey - mrtomaytohead
Shadow of the Tomb Raider - Eleima
Slay the Spire - JohnKillo
Spyro: Ripto's Rage [Reignited] - brokenclavicle
The Surge - mrtomaytohead
Unravel - AUs_TBirD
Ys VIII - Darkhaund

PC
Botanicula - AUs_TBirD
Hades - JohnKillo
Ion Fury - AUs_TBirD
The Last Express - AUs_TBirD

PS4

Xbox One

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo 3DS
Bravely Second - Darkhaund

I started Dragon Quest V thinking it was going to be my commute game. Then, I no longer had to commute, so it's been sitting there in my DS, not being played. So, I will declare it again this month! We'll see how it goes. As I try to get off of sleeping pills, I predict a steady amount of insomnia over the next few weeks, so who knows, I might get to the end of it!

Tagging in. But since I'm still working remote full time and Animal Crossing is taking all my free time after my daughter goes to bed, I'm not sure anything is happening to the pile this month.

I started ashes of Singulariy but bounced off pretty hard. It seems that after Red Alert and Star Craft, my taste for RTS has waned.

Having too much fun with HOMM III on random maps.

Declaring
Ion Fury (PC) - About 1/3 through it so far.
Grim Fandango (PC/multi) - guessing about 20% done.
The Last Express (PC) - not yet installed
Botanicula (PC) - also about 1/3 done.

Stretch goal: Unravel (PS4/multi) - also....yep....about 1/3 done.

Finished up my first game of the month yesterday:
Paw Patrol: On a Roll! (Switch/multi). I've been playing through it off and on for a few months with my 3 year old....meaning that 95% of the time he would tell me what stage to play and where to go, and I'd have to do it. Increasingly he would replay larger portions completed stages by himself as he gets better with a controller and with language. It's a simple, no-fail platformer, but also decently made.

It also raises many questions to my adult mind.
- Does Ryder really have nothing better to do than to call his squad of super-dogs every few seconds on their phones to tell them to do the things that they're already doing, and in some cases have been doing for hours?
- How do the dogs answer their smart phones without opposable thumbs?
- Do ducks really need saving from a pond?
- Is this utopia since there are dog treats scattered all over the place that appear to be safe to eat rather than laced with poison?
- If this is utopia, why do animals/people in need call a team of kitted out puppies led by their child-master rather than actual rescue services?
- Every dog in the game can double-jump. You'd think this superpower would appear in the actual show. On the other hand, none of them ever speak in the game. Did they trade the power of human speech for a double-jump? Was that a good trade?
- Why do my pups have to get out of their vehicles and run for miles up a mountain/through fields/other terrain when at some point they will call another pup for help who just drives up in his/her vehicle, does his/her thing, and then just peels off again (sometimes multiple times), and I have to keep running??
- At the end of 20 minutes of running through difficult terrain, Sky shows up in her helicopter to help out. Wait...we have a HELICOPTER! Why the @%$&! are we going on foot...paw?!! It's the bleeping eagles from Fellowship of the Ring all over again!
- Why do the pups have to tediously move the seat of a ski lift to progress when they could easily step 3 feet to the left or right to go around? I see the platform. It is wide enough to allow this. As a last resort, why not use their famous double-jump to vault over it?
- Have I truly fallen so far as to now consider replaying a 20 minute stage in order to get the ONE puppy treat out of 200 I missed "a good use of time"?
- If my child takes the controller moments before the end of that 20 minute stage I'm replaying to get the single missing pup treat, causing us to miss that pup treat again.....is that justifiable homicide?

AUs_TBirD wrote:

- Have I truly fallen so far as to now consider replaying a 20 minute stage in order to get the ONE puppy treat out of 200 I missed "a good use of time"?
- If my child takes the controller moments before the end of that 20 minute stage I'm replaying to get the single missing pup treat, causing us to miss that pup treat again.....is that justifiable homicide?

This made me laugh out loud. Been there before, friend.

Mine is 10 now and I'm worried he's going to break a controller or his TV based on how bad some of his NBA 2K20 games sound like they're going.

I can understand that. My gaming stuff (some of it nearly 40 years old, some of it pretty valuable based on ebay) is currently mostly in danger of being chewed on. I'm not thrilled of the idea that in a few years, blunt force trauma could be another danger to it.

So been playing... More Trails in the Sky 2nd Chapter. Big surprise I know.

I'm also been playing Slay the Spire and Hades. Slay the Spire just because I want that first win gosh darn it. 40 hours as the Silent alone.

Hemidal, thank you for carrying over my extant pick from March! Much appreciated.

Thinking of what else I might polish up this month given the advent of Resident Evil 3's remake and Final Fantasy VII's remake both showing up some days - I hope - after their release (I live in a tiny Central American country) and I honestly don't think there's much I can commit to. So, just to chime in and put words on the thread, I'll stick to the one game already listed.

I started Bravely Second and Ys VIII on the vita

In a shock to myself... I finished the MW campaign last night. So, I'm going to claim it.

In a related story, I also capped the battle pass and season rank, which is what may have prompted me going back to the campaign.

Well, six days into the month, and given the fact that my new games will take a while to arrive (RE3 and FFVIIR), I am feeling like doing some Platforming play sessions with emphasis on relatively short games... So I'm adding two platformers(-ish?) to the month's pile picks:

Medievil Remake (PS4)
Spyro: Ripto's Rage (Multi) [Reignited]

Let's see how far I can get before my new games drop!

Well it’s tough finding free time these days, buuuuut I’ll declare Syberia 3 (multi) and Shadow of the Tomb Raider (multi).

Wrapped up Shadow of the Tomb Raider! It was... okay I guess? It got frustrating in a few areas, and it lost its sense of urgency in the endgame once it failed you several times on a jump. It's much like its predecessors, to be honest.

Well, after a few hours of really struggling with some rather inane design decisions, I have quit on Medievil Remake for PS4. The appeal to nostalgia was clear, having enjoyed the originals back on the original Playstation. The remake, however, somehow decided to keep most if not all of the terrible design decisions of the original. Much of it, back in the day, could have been attributed to system limitations. Today, however, none of these decisions could be justified. There are remakes and then there are remakes, and Medievil falls on the side of terrible ones.

I understand remaking a game 1:1 when there's really nothing or not much that could do with some proper retooling or revamping. Medievil, the original, was not a perfect game and, to be honest, not a great one even back then. It was fun, sure, and I loved it, but I was only removed a few steps from archaic game design norms of the 16 and 8 bit eras. Anyone in their right mind would look at the source material and say to themselves that it needed some serious reworking.

I'm disappointed greatly, and I didn't expect too much, I think. Just the basic common decency of remaking a classic with more modern design sensibilities.

Would not recommend, but for pile purposes, it is now done.

AUs_TBirD wrote:

Botanicula (PC)

Done!

Eleima recommended this as a great game for kids, so I played through it with the oldest who LOVED it! After the credits rolled he wanted to restart it again right away and still keeps asking about the "spider game" days later.
The level of imagination and joy present is amazing, and the art style is extremely unique (unless you're familiar with the developer's other games like CHUCHEL or Samorost). The puzzles are tricky enough that I got stuck a few times, too, but they were never unfair. Just clicking on things often reveals little secrets which have nothing to do with the plot but are merely there to make you smile. The music does its part to keep those smiles coming as well.

Great recommendation!

AUs_TBirD wrote:

Ion Fury (PC)

...and done.

It was a strange experience playing a "modern" BUILD engine game. On the one hand it felt great playing something so familiar, and on the other it reminded me that some things aren't always as great as you remember them.
Ion Fury (formerly "Ion Maiden") is fast. 90's FPS fast! That took a little while to readjust to. It also took much of the game to remember some of the more unique movement types of the era, (still occasionally seen today in games like Quake Champions). The enemies are also pretty adept at tearing you up, so you either move at high speed, or quickly duck in and out of cover. There are lots of different weapons, most with secondary firing modes. I probably had the most fun with the default pistol and the semi-homing bombs. At the same time it seemed like there were some odd omissions - no rocket launcher? No scope for the crossbow (sniper rifle equivalent)??
And now we're already in the negative part of this writeup. The BUILD engine, while powerful for the time (destructible environments!), also has certain limitations. The most obvious one in Ion Fury is being limited to +/- about 80 degrees on the vertical axis - meaning you can't look straight up. This would occasionally be useful... Also typical of 90's shooters is that there is a story, but I can't remember any of it other than I'm chasing some scientist named Heskel through various thematically only marginally connected levels. I don't remember why I began doing this, and it really doesn't matter tbh.

The developers really took the style of first person shooters of the time to a new level, with the game taunting you for wanting to quit, constantly informing you that "real gamers" would do better, and peppering incredible amounts of secrets and pop culture references throughout nearly every level. I only found 42% of the game's secrets, and I found LOTS of them during my playthrough. Some of the ones I missed I could see but couldn't figure out how to get to. Some I found by accident and realized that there was almost no way to have known they were there otherwise. You could really feel the love the developers had for the era, as there were so many callbacks that often made me smile or chuckle. Just a sample:

Spoiler:

The Ninja Turtles hideout in the sewers
the Quake grenade bounce, and getting to use it against Quake-like sewer zombies
Dopefish lives!
microwaving a hamster in the Maniac Mansion kitchen
-- Heskel's House of Horrors was just a all around fun level
various Duke Nukem references
Carmageddon car!
Blade runner origami

There were also numerous references that I either didn't catch at all, or simply didn't recognize. I also just saw on youtube that:

Spoiler:

they recreated the room from Silent Hill 4: The Room, including sound effects! Holy cow!

I honestly don't know how much appeal Ion Maiden would have to someone who started gaming after 2000/2005. For those of us who grew up with it, however, it's a FPS journey worth taking, even if it does have a few warts.

So very, very pleased to see the love for Botanicula! <3

Well, super late declare but I think I'll be able to finish Dragon Quest XI (switch) by the end of the month.

Yep, called it! All done with Dragon Quest XI. Got the true ending as well

The Surge 2 falls. Not really much of pile game for me, since I beat it with only stopping to play and beat Prey this month before it dropped off of Game Pass PC, but definitely qualifies overall. Does Prey count, too? Both PC/Multi. Both I didn't really take a break from playing once I started them, though.

AUs_TBirD wrote:

Grim Fandango (PC/multi) - guessing about 20% done.
Stretch goal: Unravel (PS4/multi) - also....yep....about 1/3 done.

Finished both up in the last week. This month has been pretty good for me. Beat 4 of my 5 pledges plus one extra, and made notable progress in some other games (halfway through Doom64, for example).

Unravel was a gorgeous experience with an interesting mechanic. The challenge was usually fairly low, but there were about 3 puzzles (including the water one early on) that I got stuck on. The story was sweet, but also left me a bit sad at the end. Since that's what it was going for, I'll call it a resounding success. Definitely recommended.

I was also very glad that the adventure game club gave finally provided me with the incentive to play and finish Grim Fandango, which was a very fun time. Lovely story, characters, music, and art deco architectural style that really holds up. My main niggles were with the controls (neither keyboard tank controls nor point-and-click were ideal), 2-3 items that I did not recognize as something I could interact with, and some loose ends (what happened in the second major area??). Highly recommended to adventure game fans.

I never got around to starting The Last Express, so I'll carry that over.

Hey, hey, hey! I forgot to update this thread, I finished Shadow of the Tomb Raider on the 12th. Ended up dropping Syberia 3, though. :/