Idle Hands and the Devil's Backlog - Pile of Shame March 2024

Sorry for the delay, kid turned 18 at the beginning of the month and work has been a clown rodeo for weeks. Enough with the excuses... on to the games!

Some housekeeping notes.

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.

If you're interested, trueheart78, has the 12 month 2024 pile plan thread over here.

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

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim


IMAGE(https://blog.playstation.com/tachyon/2020/06/FI49996192013_988114683f_k-2.jpg?X-Amz-Content-Sha256=UNSIGNED-PAYLOAD&X-Amz-Security-Token=IQoJb3JpZ2luX2VjEHEaCXVzLWVhc3QtMSJGMEQCIBX9diW4uQ9eT%2FuZ4%2FuGL5UMwKiELd8x9ce2162dWc9rAiBjmcIslSU6CvV3EqDW8fBM%2FuqtPodTjtsCdgIzdzmnRSqGBAia%2F%2F%2F%2F%2F%2F%2F%2F%2F%2F8BEAAaDDU3NzQxODgxODQxMyIMhqyFvOoMO6Kudqj%2BKtoDInRO4UNKRRPFtvuTwhlPtafXsOZxqj9LnNEQ0RaEkkqPJhqMDyh9gWsScCyrxG5988D98q8Ge2j6kJYVEzZNMuJeB7mehymhCeRN%2Fltji1NWDQOUwjqFfq8achbN3uCrFFvTvxEq3b2lezei9HIbNEFCvxo3uQ0PmP%2BqoOV4Fug9aT5X2w677vbj5FQTiguiMocq0jzsRT0X7ZqxNx0gSfYkd%2B6ieWs4CwL6BpIcvMptiEi1YDdvmM9T3eE2LAco0CvAKNqDmsc%2BTs57oBk1EzlVCcVr1aLo1zOHRYDuO%2FMBHtz51qEcuDCYFa4WO4jC%2BilUeKVJmcP8oSWYzgufcn6bNM4o6KlUC2qX1umtPaIupewL7CcECzUZiKvsZOZOWH3%2FYbSKa8G93tpyj3tCtMoWjeejWjujHInC2W3cSu8IWpziB1LhyDzVWjRnN18v3CU%2BoHa64pTOuKVS3xshxh90Uv39Wk9DGifDDFJ6ChqHp7lkzVf7zkv01KMxZYiZ1FV0eyzJatM7Bi3G3thwZcsiFlMpqPgkV9WZnk%2B3yptMPhEaUMxAUdtLo5svVgREFFXXE1sf2G61Ba9NvSOULxwr0332fYZn5bYd%2Fhy4DeJ427WFQkRfdHJ4MOaLvbAGOqYB%2FQgdasUjc0lMUb%2BsihKQGxMVdMJE4H8Lx%2FnyI5ujiq10oYlAfO7qkjiompibPU8aBukrPJDHGKnZMsAU3AoDw%2FqEFbzidSYIbsZS0MwmUIAUZ7YGCfT%2BLzG2EPzDlzwWStfvZ9PS7nji1SpCXZB18LJCIzs5H7V8lhIcxrmEYKRmxSp23PBnhibEI0iTS1s29Cwcx8RU%2BofzIEVSfWVHDeUqWZfNOw%3D%3D&X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Credential=ASIAYM4GX6NW7BND7RJF%2F20240405%2Fus-east-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Date=20240405T004624Z&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Expires=900&X-Amz-Signature=1546262a7669b735430b923006cc51196e7cf468a6a48c5e803abd2faf1de9a4&resize=1088%2C612&crop_strategy=smart&zoom=1)

"Vanillaware, the storytellers behind Odin Sphere and Dragon’s Crown, craft a sci-fi mystery epic spanning thirteen intertwining stories.

Uncover the truth and delve into a 2D sidescrolling adventure featuring gorgeous art and environments. Then, battle the kaiju in fast-paced, top-down combat. Customize the Sentinels with an arsenal of mechsuit weaponry, and fight to defend humanity!" (Official Site)

Multi-Platform
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim - TheMostRad
The Baconing - brokenclavicle
Bugsnax - brokenclavicle
Crusader Kings 3: Fate of Iberia - jdzappa
Crusader Kings 3: Wards and Wardens - jdzappa
Darkest Dungeon - jdzappa
Darksiders Genesis - mrtomaytohead
Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Stele
Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn - jdzappa
The Legend of Dragoon - brokenclavicle
Midnight Suns - jdzappa
Ori and the Blind Forest - AUs_TBirD
Season - brokenclavicle
Silpheed - AUs_TBirD
Yakuza 6: The Song of Life - Forlorn Hope

PC

PS5
God of War: Ragnarök - Stele

Switch
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom - Forlorn Hope
Metroid Dread - Forlorn Hope
Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition - mrtomaytohead

Wii
The Last Story - AUs_TBirD

N64
Perfect Dark - AUs_TBirD

Turbografx-16
Cyber Core - AUs_TBirD

Having some troubles with cloudflare and posting the banner. Trying some work arounds.

Last month, I didn't declare anything because I was in the middle of Tears of the Kingdom. But I'm happy to say after spending a 150 hours, I finally saw the credits. So I'll declare and cross off The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (Switch). I'll probably put another 150 hours into it over time but for now, I'm ready to move on.

I'll also declare Metroid Dread (Switch) which I'm close to the end. My only worry is the final boss but I'm trying to be hopeful. And I'll throw in Yakuza 6: The Song of Life (Multi) (Steam). Less confident in beating this one this month but I hear it's shorter than some other Yakuza games.

My monthly commitments:

Midnight Suns
Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn
Darkest Dungeon
Crusader Kings 3: Wards and Wardens
Crusader Kings 3: Fate of Iberia

Put me down for Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition (Switch / Multi?) I'm near the end of the main game, and intend to wrap the DLC as well.

Funny enough, my kids have been in and out of the room for some of the story and were convinced I was at the very end, but I know there's more to the story and they just cannot fathom it as the last thing they saw was me about the face the leader of the 'bad guys'. Good times.

Uh...

God of War: Ragnarök (PS5)
Divinity: Original Sin 2 (PC)

I haven't played either in over a week since someone gifted me Helldivers 2. But hopefully I'll get back to them soon. I was having fun.

Popping in to keep the post handy, but I've nothing to declare as of yet. Everything I want to start is way too big to commit to and the same could be said for BG3, which I've neglected in the last week but want to return to.

Thank you for the carryover, Hemi!

I'll also be adding to relatively short games to my picks.

Bugsnax (multi)
Season (multi)

Congrats on your kid's young adult's 18th birthday!

Declaring:
Cyber Core - (Turbografx-16) - Tougher than I expected, which is why I didn't see the end last month. Maybe I'm just old though.
Silpheed - (SegaCD/multi) - Longer (and tougher) than I remembered, which is why I didn't see the end last month. Maybe I'm just old though.

Ori and the Blind Forest - (Switch/multi) - About a quarter of the way through. It's fun, but I'm still not completely used to the movement, which has led to lots of deaths. Maybe I'm just old though.
The Last Story - (Wii) - Picking this up for the third time, and going to see if playing through with Darkhaund will help. I've always lost focus on this game in the past. Maybe I'm just old though.

Thanks Hemi!

Finally saw the ending to Cyber Core - an interesting bug-themed shmup with a neat power-up system in which you try to rid an Earth that has been overrun by giant bugs by partially becoming one.
You (Rad Ralph!!) and your ship evolve into one of four different bugs and their higher forms - each with different offensive and defensive abilities, depending on which color power-ups you pick up. Most enemies are destroyed in the air, some can only take damage by bombing them on the ground, and some pop up from the ground and charge you. Luckily, evolving also enhances your bombing abilities.
Evolving also grants you the ability to take more hits before dying, as each hit beyond what your shield can take regresses your ship to its previous evolutionary stage (kind of like Dragon Spirit or ReZ). Because each evolutionary step also increases the size of your ship - and therefore its hit box - it makes the process of not getting hit harder.
Not getting hit is often a challenging affair. This is not a bullet-hell shooter with slow(ish), predictable patterns you have to skillfully weave through. These projectiles are often fast, and often come right at you. Sometimes they even follow you at high speed.
Reviews of the game are sharply divided on its difficulty. Some say it's far too easy because of the numerous hits you can take before dying. Others feel that the game is borderline cruel at times, and even a fully powered up ship will sometimes be taken out in seconds. I tend to agree with the latter, and hardcoregaming101 sums my feelings up nicely:

Despite all of the potential power at your fingertips, Cyber Core pushes back with a harsh challenge that occasionally crosses the line into being unfair. Enemies come in packs and are fast and aggressive in equal measure, with an annoying emphasis on firing projectiles that curve suddenly or home in on you. In fact, certain hazards are fast enough that advance knowledge almost feels necessary to avoid damage.

The challenge I faced ended up being more than I bargained for, and I feel no shame in admitting to save-stating frequently in the latter part of the game. I still like the game and am glad to have finally seen it through, but if I play on original hardware again, I will most likely stop after stage 4 to avoid excess frustration.

Heck with it, I'm gonna finish this fight before DDog2 comes out:

Declaring 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim (PS4/5)!

So I'm halfway there with Xenoblade. Thanks to the kids being out of the house, I rolled credits this weekend, but I still have the DLC to go through.

I also have a surprise finish that also happened this weekend to the most recent game in one of my favorite franchises. Playing co-op with my wife, we've taken our time completing Darksiders Genesis (Switch/Multi) and I had a good time despite it's shortcomings. The interaction between War and Strife is great. War's deadpan responses caused multiple laughs. Actually, almost every time the two had a conversation there was something funny about it. I already bought it on Steam a while back and am looking forward to playing through again.

So spinning my wheels lately and now being kicked into part time means more gaming. I’m going to focus on Trails from Azure and Tears of the Kingdom.

13 Sentinels is done and swept away from my pile!

Beat Crusader Kings 3: Wards and Wardens (well raised some genius kids so counting that as "beaten").

Sadly, my Conquest of Spain game fell apart when my second son murdered my genius heir and plunged the realm into civil war. So I'm starting over for my April game.

Restored the world in Ori and the Blind Forest, which was beautiful, fun, and really, really tough at times. Luckily retries were nearly instant.....IF you save nearby.
I got all powerups, maxed out Ori, and explored 99.1% of the map, so that is a good indication that I liked the game a good bit.

Declaring and marking as finished:
Perfect Dark (N64) - I imagine I would have been very impressed with this in 2000, but boy has it not aged well. I've started it a few times over the years, but never played past the office building.
The primary factor that made PD tough for me was not knowing what to do and where to go. The pre-mission briefings are not enough - you sometimes MUST read the additional material in the pause menu. At one point I was so lost, I gave up and looked up hints. Ah, I use xray glasses to find rooms behind a wall. So I did that, and used my explosive to blow up the wall - only it didn't. Wrong rooms behind the wrong wall. Ugh....off to youtube.
A framerate that can sometimes be best described as "chugging" would make the combat tough, if there weren't the generous auto-aim and the fact that most enemies make Storm Troopers look like expert marksmen by comparison. However, if you leave auto-aim on, you (afaict) cannot defeat the final boss. It took another trip to a youtube longplay after multiple game over screens for me to discover this.
Other gripes are how Joanna doesn't carry over any weapons between stages, how the missions have little connecting them to eachother (feels like "make stages, and we'll story them together somehow" game design), various plot holes (I was in one set of clothes when there was an accident, but I wake up in full survival gear afterwards?), and....I really didn't like Elvis all that much.

However, the game remains impressive as heck for the hardware, I like the idea of more objectives being added to the level on harder playthroughs, there are bunches of different gadgets and weapons with various firing modes, some pretty great music, and it's just ambitious as heck for the N64. The feeling of being a superspy is sometimes there. I sound really down on the game, but I did mostly enjoy my time with it; I just wish they had achieved that ambitious vision in a more thematically unified way with better performance.

Like Monolith did in No One Lives Forever.

Alright, so, two games beaten on the same day, both of which I've been carrying since January.

The Legend of Dragoon is down and Platinum'd. Not a bad game. I mean, it's pplayable,a nd the story is alright. I think it definitely showed a lot of promise, narratively, but they just didn't get the time to do everything the devs wanted. That, at least, is how it seems to me and according to a couple of videos on its development, it may be true. It was satisfying, though the limited item inventory really ground my gears. The last series of dungeons, heck, the last dungeon alone, took me three sittings. The boss gauntlet at the end wasn't terrible, but a lot of those bosses have instakill attacks and there are only so many items one can carry. Thankfully, I had an accessory - only one, sadly - that prevented this attack, so that mitigated it somewhat. I would only recommend this game to those who played it around the time it launched and are pining for that nostalgia kick, or to those who, like me, just like getting into some of the oldies one did not get to play back when. It is a solidly mediocre JRPG that, while it has some interesting bits that show its wasted potential, doesn't really do anything all that interesting, even when put in the context of its place in time.

The Baconing is also done, but no trophy completion there. I daresay, the second game in the trilogy is the best. So where does this third game rank? Hard to say. The second one felt like the best balanced mechanically. This one feels like they went too far with enemy damage and the whole block/ripost mechanic. It was still enjoyable, but I never spent as much time trying to avoid getting hit while munching on periodic healing items in the other two games as I did in this one.

I wasn't sure if I was going be able to but I finally beat Metroid Dread. I retained my slowest Metroid player rank too with a clear time of 16 hours and a total play time twice that which means I spent half the game bashing my head against the bosses. I think I struggled the most against Experiment No. Z-57, the X-Parasite Chozo Warriors and the final boss but they were all hard. The accomplishment for finally learning all the attack patterns and beating them was satisfying but did they really need to hit that hard? All that said, I think this is probably my second favorite Metroid after Metroid Prime 1. Samus has never felt this good to play, the pacing was great, the bosses were fun if not a bit challenging and it just felt good collecting all the different missile/energy tanks spattered through out the game. Maybe I'm ready for Dark Souls after this... (probably not)

Spoiler:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/wIURG21.jpeg)

Well, in spite of a good push this past week, I didn't finish The Last Story. I'm close though, and 2-3 more evenings should do it. I don't think I touched Silpheed all month, but I hold out hope that I will still see it through.

So please carry over:
The Last Story (Wii)
Silpheed (SegaCD/multi)

Well, my pile pick completion for March was .500 so not terrible, right? Will be carrying over both Bugsnax and Season. Not sure if I'll add any other picks; I'm playing a few things but don't know if I'll have the bandwidth to complete any of it before May comes around.