The Pile Days of Summer - Pile of Shame June 2023

A few hours early, make note! Also, I'm traveling tomorrow and will be limited to updating via iPad for the next several days, so I figured I'd better do this now while I still have a decent keyboard.

and yet... it still didn't prevent numerous typos. Maybe it's me and not the tools.

Some housekeeping notes.

If you're interested, trueheart78, has the 12 month 2023 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.

This month's Pick of the Pile is


"What will you leave behind?
Play as Stella, ferrymaster to the deceased, a Spiritfarer. Build a boat to explore the world, then befriend and care for spirits before finally releasing them into the afterlife." (Official Site)

Cities: Skylines - jdzappa
Elder Scrolls Online - jdzappa
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights - iaintgotnopants
Final Fantasy IX - Stele
Mass Effect Legendary Edition - jdzappa
Metroid Prime - AUs_TBirD
Returnal - kstress71
Shadow of the Tomb Raider - Forlorn Hope
Spiritfarer - Forlorn Hope
Trails in the Sky SC - JohnKillo
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth - brokenclavicle
Yakuza 4 - Forlorn Hope
Yoku's Island Express - kstress71

Endless Space 2 - LastSurprise
Humankind - LastSurprise
Inscryption - Chesterfield
Old World - LastSurprise
Orcs Must Die 2 - Chesterfield
The Textcorcist - kstress71
Total Warhammer 3 - jdzappa

Shin Megami Tensei 5 - JohnKillo

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon - brokenclavicle

Shining Force III Scenario 1 - brokenclavicle, JohnKillo

Carry over FF IX but I didn't play a minute after Zelda released. So maybe I'll get to it again.

I’m carrying everything over and adding Mass Effect cause I’m in the mood for some sci fi goodness:

Elder Scrolls Online
Mass Effect Legendary Edition
Cities: Skylines

Total Warhammer 3

Metroid Prime - AUs_TBirD

Carrying over Metroid Prime Remastered, which I don't think I even touched in May. This time I'm going to finish it. For realz!

Dropping Final Vendetta, which I had declared the past two months, for now. I can run through it on easy just fine (last stage is still a challenge), but normal makes me tap out around the halfway mark.

I have a feeling a good chunk of the month is going to be devoted to the System Shock remake, so I'm not going to declare anything else for now. It's the first game I've preordered and played day 1 in many a year, and I've liked what it has offered so far.

Also need to keep working on Kenshi for the CRPG club, and I think I'm going to start Final Fantasy IX from scratch on the Switch instead of continuing my disc 3 ps1 save. Being able to speed everything up 3x was just too nice in FF VII.

Have a good trip Hemi!

GRRRRR, I'm so frustrated to have to roll over more games from last month. Stupid job keeps getting in the way... Oh, and finally picking up a new PS5 created some significant distraction in Returnal. I'm not declaring that, though, since I stink at it and have no idea what it's going to take to complete.

So for now, I'll just roll over Cities: Skylines (PC) and Yoku's Island Express (PC) and hope to add more later. Thanks!

Super quick turnaround, Hemi! Thank you for keeping this thread series going.

For June, while I wait for my daughter to come for Summer Vacation and we both dive into Tears of the Kingdom nearly single-mindedly, I will put forth a couple of time sinks, methinks... Let's see... Mmmmaybe more than two...

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth (multi)
Shining Force III Scenario 1 (Saturn)
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)

Hoping I can kills these off before June 25th.

Shinning Force 3 Scenario 1
Trails in the Sky SC (Multi)

Carrying the same old.

Shin Megami Tensei 5.

Carry over and strike out Spiritfarer (Switch/Multi). Probably controversial but I didn't take the last 4 spirits to the everdoor before choosing to end the game. Was getting a little tired of it by the end but I still found it to be a very moving game. Glad I played it.

The next game I will try to beat is Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Epic/Multi).

For me, it's 4X month, and I'm declaring:

Endless Space 2 (PC)
Old World (PC)
Humankind (PC)

I think I've declared some or all of these before, but it is a goal this month to finish a full campaign in at least one of these games, maybe 2, and maybe all 3! I just have to get over that mid-campaign hump, and not jump right to something that's shiny and new.

I'm still working on Ender Lilies. I'm only two bosses in and will probably be spending most of the next couple of weeks playing Diablo so it may spill into July.

Missed last month, so I'll declare two to catch up:
Orcs Must Die 2 and Inscryption on PC. I bounced off of Inscryption last year, but am really into it right now.

Making good headway on one of my picks, though not so much with the other two. I will be traveling for the next few days, so I may get the portable pick down, but am not sure I'll actually be able to finish anything that I called as a pick. Did finish one other game that I'd been picking at here and there in small chunks for a few weeks (Sonic Forces), but not looking quite so good with my main squeezes.

I finished my Endless Space 2 campaign! Now working on Humankind. (And some other, undeclared games, because I can never just play 1 thing.)

I'm simultaneously declaring Returnal (PS5) for the month, and declaring it completed as well, since it's basically taken over my gaming life since picking up the PS5 recently. I've beaten the final boss and seen the credits and yes, I know that


there's still a lot to do, but it's basically story content unlocked by repeating biomes to find collectibles and unlock the true ending (wait, I have to beat Ophion AGAIN?!?!)

and I'm going to do that, but for this list, I'm calling it completed.

As a mini-review, I thought that God of War Ragnarok was going to be my initial PS5 obsession. Boy, was I wrong. Returnal has ruined my sleep schedule, my work focus, my interest in other games. It's the biggest reason I haven't finished other games I've declared. You ever feel like a developer must have kidnapped you and squeezed your brain in a juicer to produce an experience JUST FOR YOU? That's Returnal for me. Man, I knew Housemarque was good, but... THIS GOOD? For Housemarque, their progression from Super Stardust and Resogun to Returnal reminds me of From Software's progression from King's Field to Dark Souls. I can't wait to see what they cook up next.

Yeah it was pretty great, consumed me for a couple months like that back when it was new. Then you had to keep your PS5 in sleep mode and not update or play anything else to keep a good run going.

Credits rolled on Yoku's Island Express! This charming little game has been a welcome respite from other more stressful games with which I've been recently obsessed (RETURNAL). It took me longer than it should have to push through this, not because I wasn't enjoying it but because the other games had their hooks into me so deep. Highly recommended!

For anyone who's played it, did it make you a bit uncomfortable they way your little bug guy "used" the fish item to swim into deep waters? Seeing that, I thought, "Oh, that's cute, he's helping me swim deep and ..... EWWWWWWW!"

Oh, and on a side note, I'm declaring Cities Skylines ABANDONED. I didn't complete it, or even come remotely close. I commented in that game's Strategy Club thread about my experience, but to summarize, I respect the game although it's just not for me. So you can either delete it or cross it off my list. I don't know how this thread handles abandoned games, but it's off my backlog either way.

I'm going to declare The Textcorcist (PC). Neat little typing game for which I'm about halfway through (as far as I can tell). Might be able to finish before month end

Probably not beating Shadow of the Tomb Raider in time but I saw credits on an undeclared game, Yakuza 4 (Steam/Multi). Only 5 million other games in the series to go

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is down. I managed to get the "best" ending and managed to get all but two trophies. Said trophies are tied to the post-game dungeon, which I will be jumping into here and there, so I'll be getting the platinum trophy sooner or later.

Closing in on the end of Metroid Prime. I've got all the artifacts except three, and I know where two are. Also have all of the different weapons (I think). There's a large irradiated area I haven't explored yet - I assume I need a suit modification to do that.
Doesn't seem to be much left since I'm at 81% item collection and 88% scanned. I've also spent nearly 20 hours in-game to get to that point though, so if the best or good ending depends on a quick completion time, then I'm hosed.

Unless they changed it the original Prime endings were only based on %, not time.

Finished both Orcs Must Die 2 and Inscryption. Orcs Must Die is a create mindless downtime game, but Inscryption....whoa. I'll be thinking about that one for a while, and staying away from any floppy disks I find in the woods.
On another note, these threads are great motivation for me to pick up older games that I'd forgotten about. But now I'm looking at the latest steam sale and thinking "what game do I want to play in three months?"

Finished Metroid Prime Remastered with 93% completion after 22 hours of play. Had all tanks and powerbombs, but was still missing 6 missile packs. I was not about to spend another several hours hunting them all down, so youtubed the 100% ending - which totally wouldn't have been worth the extra effort.

So I first tried MP when it was first released 20+ years ago, but never made it to even the first major boss (in Chozo Ruins), mostly due to the controls. Not sure if part of it was me still not being very adept at using a controller for FPS games, but I got frustrated pretty quickly. Remastered controls WAY better than I remembered with the dual stick option. Some things were still awkward and in intense situations I frequently did the wrong thing (like rolling into a ball or switching visors when I really wanted to switch weapons). Overall dual stick controls were a massive improvement and actually made the game enjoyable, even if I did find myself wishing for a keyboard and mouse at times.

As I was playing, I did find myself wondering what else, exactly, they "remastered", as the game looked and sounded pretty much how I remembered it, just a bit crisper. So I looked up a graphics comparison video.
Oh. Oh wow. Did the original really look that bad (in comparison to the remaster)?
Well, my memory is terrible. They improved the graphics tremendously! The iconic music - the title track of which has been a favorite of mine for two decades now - is still as great as ever, too.

So is the world, actually. They did a great job reimagining a 2D Metroid world in 3D, and it was generally really fun exploring it. For a while. Eventually, you're no longer exploring, you're just traversing - trying to slowly get from point A to B, trying to remember which transporter is the correct one (the map is only somewhat of a help, and why can't I mark rooms in the remaster?), killing the same enemies and avoiding (or not) the same environmental traps. It's a gameplay element that works in the 2D examples of this genre; it becomes pretty darned tedious in 3D. I hope the sequels have some form of fast travel.

I might sound like I'm fairly down on MP, but I'm not. My biggest gripe - the traversal - didn't ruin the experience; it just tarnished it some, and I'd still highly recommend the remaster to anyone interested in a first person exploration "Metroid(vania)" style game.