691 Reviews liked by MrProg
I've collected the 120 main collectables in each game on this collection (Have not done the Luigi playthrough but I'm about 20ish stars into that its whatever I don't really consider it necessary for 100%) and I gotta say this is a real hard package to rate. The games all looks fantastic and run great. Sunshine in particular had the most work put into it visually to make it look great. It seems like in most cases for all 3 games where higher res source textures were available they were put in. The visuals overall look really great, the menu is no nonsense and just gets straight to the point, and gets you right into the game.
Super Mario 64 is arguably the weakest part of the collection, and even then it's only because of the aspect ratio. While Sunshine and Galaxy are both 1080p with (Galaxy being 60fps as well) 64 being in 4:3 720p is a little disappointing. That said this is the best Super Mario 64 has ever looked and this is the best it's ever controlled besides on original N64 hardware. They mapped the deadzones on the Switch joycons and pro controller very well and it doesn't have the problem that earlier virtual console releases and emulators/the pc recompilation has where the deadzones just feel like garbage. You really feel like you have full control over Mario at all times and theres a lot of visual improvements, even if they're more subtle to the casual 64 players. The rumble feels really nice which was absent from the non-1.1 release of SM64 which was previously JP exclusive. That said SM64 still has its own problems, namely Rainbow Ride and Tick Tock Clock being the personification of Miyamoto's paranoid schizophrenia. Those levels are so bad it makes me dread playing through 64 every single time, I can forgive it for just being 2 of 15 levels and it being technically optional compared to how much good Mario 64 has done and how great it was for the industry. 64 is a masterpiece for sure but it's definitely the game that's aged the "worst" if you can even call it that. Unless you really care about BLJ and speedrunning then this is the best official way to play SM64. I think it's pretty reasonable that they could patch in Widescreen support since it seems like something they could do, though the way the emulation for 64 works it might not be compatible.
Super Mario Sunshine is bar none the best game on this collection. That's it. No but for real I love SMS. SMS did "moons" before Odyssey did and had the good sense into making the exploration based blue coins add up into one collectable, instead of devalueing the current ones. Tangent aside, Sunshine definitely had the most work done to it. The games controls have been redone to work properly with the Switch and feel just as smooth as they did on gamecube, with tricks like Shotgun Spray being even easier to pull off. All the speedrunning tricks are in the game, and Sunshine's movement is still outclassed by any other Mario games. This game has also never been re-released before so it's pretty insane that it was and was re-released in such a beautiful way too. I mentioned earlier the textures in Sunshine were replaced in higher fidelity and they really really look good. The goofy charm of Isle Delfino is all here. Unfortunately the Switch release didn't add the ability to skip cutscenes, even though after watching them if they replay you can straight up skip them so the functionality to skip them exists in game, and they un-inverted the controls (I'll touch more on this point later), it still is just as fun to play Sunshine today as it was almost 20 years ago, and now you can play it handheld that's great I love it, favorite Mario bar none and I don't think another one will ever top it.
Super Mario Galaxy works surprisingly well. I hated Galaxy's IR aiming, I think the Wii's IR sensor was hot garbage because you almost could never get it in a spot where aiming and being comfortable were a reasonable option but with the Switch release they've fixed that. Sure you have to re-center the cursor but it's really a much better option than the Wii's IR sensor. The gyro motion controls for the other gimmick levels in the game also function way better than they did on Wii due to the more advanced gyro tech in the Switch. This is the definitive way to play Galaxy, and whether you use split joycon or the pro controller you'll have a great experience with it. The movement in Galaxy feels extremely slow in comparison to Sunshine and 64 and the contrast is probably the most noticable that its ever been, but Galaxy manages to hold up on solid level design and visuals that hold up to this day. The game is very confident in itself, and it really does hold up.
I think the biggest issue with this collection is expectations, since it leaked earlier this year and Nintendo had done nothing to get on top of the story people had higher expectations. With rumors that 64 would be a full remake or that other games would be included, Nintendo's PR should've handled this better. On top of that other collections like Rare Replay are half the price, contain more games and a ton of extra bonus content. There's no doubt they could've done more with the bonus features, and a beta rom of SM64 from spaceworld would've been nice, but the games all speak for themselves as masterpieces and I think without the influence of leaks it would've been received better by fans. That said, there's still some legitimate crimes. First and foremost the first person and camera controls in 64 and Sunshine have gone from inverted to the standard non inverted we know today. Sure that's great for new players, but Nintendo didn't have the good sense to add in some basic options to allow older players to switch it back if they're used to the way it was, or if they just prefer inverted controls in general. There's no defense of this its absurd, I shouldn't have to relearn one of my favorite games of all time because there's no options to revert the aiming to "normal". Another issue is that this is a timed release, I have a feeling I know why but that doesn't mean its a good idea. I think this package should stay available because its one of the best deals you can really get, it's 3 of the greatest games ever made and now you get to play them on a handheld, no doubt you're paying a Mario tax but 3 games for 60 bucks compared to the garbage thats been coming out these past few years and the absolute braindead move to move to 70 dollar releases by third parties and Sony (Microsoft hasn't said anything about that yet, maybe they'll have the good sense not to raise prices). At the end of the day is the collection worth playing? Yeah. If you've missed out on any one of these games it's 100% worth your time. If you've already played these games and want to revisit them its a great way to do so. If you own these games still but want to play them in handheld mode they are a great way to experience the games, and with a few patches like invert support and widescreen in SM64 I'd have no issue saying that this is a perfect collection but it's not. The only reason I rated it 5 stars is because all 3 of these games are 5 star games that helped shape the industry and set standards that are still felt to this day. Idk man it's Mario what more could you want?
Now this was much more like it.
After the more open ended hub based design in the main game, we get a claustrophobic linear experience the series started with. Add in some much needed intensity after the lack in the base game and a satisfying story connection for my favorite in the series since 2033.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE ENTIRE GAME
This is one of the harder reviews for me to write. Although I very much enjoyed the first game, I can't look past many of the flaws it has. On its surface the first game is a fairly simple story. Its quality mainly lies in the details present within dialogue and the way in which it uses the medium to its advantage. The outrage at the beginning of Part 2 and how inescapable it is when having any discourse about it is no coincidence. The Last of Us 1 does a fantastic job of making you care about Joel and the war he eventually loses to his selfishness. Many people confuse this with the idea that Joel is a good person, which couldn't be further from the truth. The end of The Last of Us shows him acting with no thought of the rest of the world, the person he's "saving", or the repercussions he might face. He dashes any hope of salvation for his world because he’s never able to let go of the memory of his daughter. A common complaint for the sequel is that Ellie is so much more brooding. She is no longer the cheerful but snarky sidekick that everyone loved in the first game. People have become so invested in Joel’s character that they infantilize Ellie in the same way he does. After journeying halfway across the country, she is robbed of the purpose she had in mind for herself. Not only this, but she is expected to be a normal teenager after being lied to about it again and again by the man who did it. Joel is not a good person, but The Last of Us Part 2 tests how much both the player and Ellie can look past this. It’s about the duality of love and hate, the lengths someone will go to for both, and the fulfillment that comes with letting go.
I think it’s appropriate to start with the focal point of this game, Joel’s death. To many players, the fact that Joel dies in concept is a very expected event. The man has incredible luck, and he has crossed so many people that it was bound to happen at some point. The unceremoniously brutal way his death occurs is what shocked me and many other players. It works so well as both a hook into Ellie’s story throughout this game and an introduction to Abby and her motivations. Although you know that Joel has had this coming for a while now, it still hurts. Even if you don’t feel for his character because of the things he did to hurt the world and Ellie, you still feel the echoes of the first game roaring back at you. Joel is a broken man. He gets beaten down by the world, but eventually comes to find his humanity by bonding with Ellie. You want so badly for him to be happy, but you hate the way he does it. In all the flashbacks throughout the game featuring Joel he acts like an awkward dad trying to navigate his frayed relationship with Ellie. You know how much it hurts when Ellie eventually cuts ties with him.In one of the final flashbacks he is given the opportunity to tell Ellie the truth about what happened at the hospital. She gives him the ultimatum that if he doesn’t tell the truth this time, she is leaving the settlement at Jackson and never coming back. It’s hard not to sympathize with Joel at this moment. If this was the old Joel, both choices would be identical. If lies again she’s gone, but what good would the truth do? To Joel at the end of the first game, never seeing Ellie again would be preferable to being cast aside by her. If Joel truly cared about Ellie as a person instead of a stand-in for his daughter, he would have told her the truth after saving her. That’s why the scene in Part 2 shows so much character growth. He regrets not letting Ellie live the life she wanted, and accepts the fact that she may never forgive him. The brutal irony is that he prevents her from living the life she wants even in death, but we’ll get to that later. The point is that the game makes the player feel the same things Ellie feels in that moment, even before you see the final scene; the wishfulness that a toxic relationship could work itself out in time, and the sting of regret when that time is taken away.
The complexity and fraught nature of Joel and Ellie’s relationship is what sets The Last of Us Part 2’s story apart from any run of the mill revenge plot. It’s not simply “kill this person because they hurt someone you loved.” In fact, the game shows this situation with Abby’s story. Abby had her dad taken away by Joel. This isn’t the same situation as Joel and Ellie. Abby’s dad was a truly good person with incredibly noble intentions. For the short time we see their relationship, it is immediately clear that they love each other very much. Her life is plagued by the same dream of seeing her dad dead on the ground. She wishes to rid herself of this burden by killing the man who did it. Her entire life is dedicated to this revenge. Unlike Ellie’s tirade of a few days, Abby’s revenge is prepared for with years. She lets a promising relationship with a man she loves go for the chance to exact this revenge. There is a clear attempt to mirror Ellie in this and many other ways. Abby is a truly kind person who has so much potential, but he funnels all of it into the hopes of a hollow victory to avenge her long dead father. Her dreams don’t go away when she kills Joel. The absence of love can’t be filled by hate. It’s not until she forms a bond with Lev and Yara, and risks her life to save theirs multiple times, that she finally finds fulfillment. One of the most powerful scenes comes at the very end of the story in Seattle. Ellie has gone on her tirade of revenge, the player now knows what Abby has gone through in this time, and you are ready to exact revenge on the character you started the game loving. You have seen the atrocities she committed, and you are ready to have your own hollow victory by killing Dina. Ellie tells Abby that Dina is pregnant, and Abby responds with “good.” She readies her knife for the kill until Lev calls her name, anchoring her back to reality. She remembers how much more happiness she has with Lev than with killing Joel or leading her WLF squad. She realizes that none of this matters, and that nothing can bring her friends or her dad back. Ellie is not so fortunate in her journey.
It truly hurts to play as Ellie. Not in the “it makes the player feel bad for killing” way that a lot of people feel the game is trying to hammer home. What hurts is seeing a character you once loved go down a path of self destruction after everything she has been through. As much as I love Ellie, she has not had a healthy life. The cruelty of the world in this game is on full display when it displays a quick and easy revenge for a person who is completely lost already. After losing her first love, finding purpose, having it taken away and then being lied to about it, Ellie is pushed over the edge and forced to take revenge for someone who she has yet to even forgive. It’s just soul crushing going on this journey with her. The need to prove her forgiveness to Joel, and knowing that he’ll never see the lengths she’ll go to for that is extremely upsetting. It makes the game difficult to play at times. Ellie, who is so talented and charming, will walk away from even the person she loves to try and find some substitute for making amends with Joel.
Hey at least it’s fun when you’re killing innocent people who are caught in your thirst for revenge! The gameplay here is much improved from the first game. The level design is the biggest positive here. Mostly gone are the multitude of waist high walls to wait behind while you take potshots at enemies. The levels feel much more suited to moving around while also being more natural. Some of my favorite arenas fighting humans are the group of houses, the hospital entrance, and the entire Seraphite Island. The fights against infected are mostly the same, and they don’t really benefit from the new level design as much as the humans. They are still terrifying, and the Shamblers are a welcome addition, but I wanted maybe one new type in the regular fights. The Rat King boss feels like a good Resident Evil boss. It’s pretty terrifying in concept, but too simple in execution. There are some new weapons and they’re pretty cool. I don’t have much more to say about the gameplay than that.
I guess I’ll take this time to say that this is a technical masterpiece. Between the visuals, animations, and sound design the game just left me stunned at multiple points. The forest where you fight the scars, the Seattle skyline, the burning village, and the farmhouse are visual spectacles I’m never going to forget. The music is also fantastic, but it goes without saying. I think the music of the first game is one of the most universally agreed upon good things about it. I noticed that the music in this game is more understated, and more willing to back off when needed. It’s the same composer, so you know what you’re getting even if you haven’t played the game (which I really hope you have if you’re reading this). That’s pretty much all I have to say. It’s a game that had a ton of money poured into it, and it really shows. I could talk about the story some more, and I might do exactly that later. I just feel like I need to get my thoughts about this game out there. I really love it, and I hope you did/do too.
A good (yet rather unpolished) platforming experience that feels rather standard in most ways, yet helms enough mechanical complexities in some areas to keep the game feeling - somewhat - fresh until the credits roll.
It's also extremely beautiful to look at!
The Last of Us is one of the best games I have ever played.
this is not an unpopular opinion, im sure you know, as The Last of Us put into the public eye a strong focus on narrative in video games while also balancing it with one of the most engaging combat systems ive seen in a survival horror game. the design of its combat paired with the excellent pacing of its story made it easily one of the most powerful games of the last generation.
i was not looking forward to a sequel; i was almost dreading one. the ending of that first game is so beautifully ambiguous that giving definitive meaning to it could only ruin it. joel and ellie's relationship had been so perfectly played out that there was nothing a sequel could possibly add to their dynamic, i thought.
but somehow, those sick, naughty dogs found a way to not only balance the intention of that ending with its new story, but elevate it to heights it had not seen before. never would i have expected this game to show so much respect to its prequel, and still expand even further upon its themes and characters without eliminating the choice that Joel made.
i could go on and on about ellie's journey and what it means for both her and joel, but its entirely worth experiencing yourself. the kind of complicated, personal questions it asks you are genuinely thought provoking enough to warrant a playthrough from that alone.
but that isnt all TLoU:P2 has to offer, because the already rich gameplay structure of Part I is also expanded upon, turning TLoU's Resident Evil 4 into full-on Metal Gear Solid 3 territory. the amount of new craftable items, unlockable weapons and upgrades, enemy variety, verticality, open-ended level design - its all to the absolute benefit of this game making it one of if not the most enjoyable Naughty Dog games to just pick up and play ever. I can almost guarantee that more than half of my time playing this game will be in exclusively the Encounter Select.
The Last of Us Part II improves on the original in so many different ways, that it almost competes with it's predecessor in quality. there is no way to say that lightly. Naughty Dog have beaten all conceivable odds and created not only a wonderful game, but a sequel that should stand as a symbol of what any continuation of a game should strive to be.
The Last of Us Part II is one of the best games I have ever played.
Sega Bass Fishing
Towards the end of the PS4's life I finally got around to playing what was considering the first "must play" exclusive. I wasn't massively impressed to be playing one of the best games ever, let alone on the PS4, honestly. It felt like a very average-good game.
This was also my first ever soulsborne game, so a steep learning curve was needed. It is pretty rewarding to see your own improvements. At the start I pretty much got walled by every single boss after the first 2, and needed co-op help, but by the end I was taking most bosses down in a few tries by myself.
However even once I "got good" the game felt like it was just hard for the wrong reasons many times. Having enemies that can kill you in 2 hits, even normal enemies that come in massive mobs, and can attack you far faster than you can attack, and have ranges far longer than you have, doesn't feel fair. With a few exceptions I never felt like I was doing any kind of strategy to beat anything, it was just a case of being overly defensive while trying to get a hit in every now and then with an extremely high consequence for any single error.
Speaking of being defensive, the amount of options is shockingly low. You have your dodge/side step of course which is what you'll use most of the time. Then there's the parry system which is pretty neat, but doesn't even work against 90% of bosses. And personally, although this is probably my own fault, I found it to be wildly inconsistent even on bosses it does work on. Sometimes they'll just ignore it and attack through the shot, sometimes my locked-on gun will just miss the target 1 foot in front of it completely. There's no blocking or anything like that.
Unfortunately the bad parry system also meant the gun felt useless 99% of the time too, since it's not really used as a ranged weapon but just as a parry button.
There are other annoying features that made it a drag to play. The whole losing souls system upon dying twice just felt frustrating and did little more than to waste the players time and efforts. Having consumables not be replenished after dying to a boss isn't "hard", all it means is the player wastes more time grinding for each try. Having the closest checkpoint to a boss be a 5 minute trek isn't hard, it's just a waste of time. Losing to a boss 10 times before finally figuring out how to beat it can be satisfying. Having to grind for potions and walk back to it every time only serves to be anti-fun, which is the worst thing a game can be.
The co-op system kinda sucks. It didn't work a lot of the time I tried to use it, or it took about 10 minutes to actually find a password-set partner standing in the exact same spot as me. And then you and your partner can only explore the single area you summoned them in, and if either of you die it doesn't auto-join back, and beating a boss will cause your partner to leave. So you have to constantly re-apply a summon if you want to play through with a friend.
Plus for some reason the game has some enemies that ring a bell, which will allow other plays to come into your own game and grief you. That happened to me twice while I was just minding my own business and I can't think of a worse system in a game that let's other plays actually just barge into you while you're trying to have fun and just ruin it for you. I could turn the game to offline mode, but then I'd lose all the player-written notes or the ability to see other players ghosts playing at the same time as me, and I liked those.
The game often felt like it struggled, having a few frame rate drops or weird pop-ins. And NPCs mouths that don't even move when they talk, making the animation in the game feel like ps1-era cheapness.
The entire atmosphere of the game is boring. Only like 2 locations actually standout while everywhere else looks exactly the same as everywhere else. However a lot of locations can be memorable through the experiences you have there, which in many ways is more impressive than simply remembering an area because it stands out.
The actual monster designs on the other hand look incredible.
The map itself is pretty great. It's highly explorable, and rewards you by giving you shortcuts back to safe spots, meaning each time you explore a new area you give yourself a way to traverse through parts you've explored faster.
There's quite a few great little details, hidden things, choices you can make etc. I had a friend who was walking me through the game so I found a lot of them on my first playthrough, but it's a system that massively rewards replays.
it really sucks to not like a game that everyone else seems to think is perfect, but I just don't get it. It's a game that at its best can be pretty fun with a lot of details to uncover, while at its worst it's dull to look at, is full of frustrating features and time wasting mechanics, and generally feels unpolished.
I absolutely loved this game, but it did a few annoying things that just makes me struggle to give it a perfect score. Things like breakable weapons and not being able to climb properly due to rain may be realistic and immersive, but they're also a pain in the ass from a gameplay standpoint. It especially sucks with the weapons because on one hand I love the idea that you can find and use so many different ones, but the fact they break so fast means you can never be too happy when you find a rare, powerful weapon because you know it'll only take down a few enemies before it breaks.
Motion controls during some shrines (which thankfully were very rare) also hindered some enjoyment.
Most everything else was great. I haven't had that much fun exploring a world in a game in a long time. Even after beating the last boss I still had a ton of optional content left to do, and that's not even mentioning DLC. Unfortunately I'll admit that I didn't go as far as I wanted with that because I wanted to start tackling other games in my backlog instead, but if I'd bought the game around release date so I could more freely take my time with it, there's easily over 100 hours of fun to be had.
One of the Switch's best.
I've beaten this game twice. I think this was one of the best uses of a $20 bill I ever had. I played it on release on Steam and gotta say that my first ever run of the game was pure hell. It's a game that will challenge you. The old styled animations and such are a treat to see. The game is pretty straightforward. If you've ever liked Gunstar Heroes or Contra, this game is right up your alley. During it's first release, it had it's glitches but at the same time it was still playable. Recently, during a stream of mine... I think King Dice glitched. How this glitch came about, I wish I knew. But this is still a good purchase and a good time whether you wanna do it all by yourself or with a friend. Be careful though as this game does not have online co-op but good ole couch co-op! For those of you on PC, Parsec is the way to go. For those of you going with console... hopefully your system of choice has share play or you have a sibling or friend nearby. Maybe not in these trying times but Studio MDHR did a swell job with this. Still waiting on my Cuphead cartoon and my sequel...
As my first Paper Mario it was a great surprise to see how creative and fun the writing was, with moments of true laugh and veeery sad ones (you know which ones), that was a delight.
The puzzle system is good, the boss fights were very interesting and sometimes i needed some time to figured it out, the things is, apart from that, the game drags this system for too long with random repetitive encounters that honestly i just wanted to avoid it, it wasn't even a puzzle anymore.
So yea, really good writing, good "combat" system, but only well executed on the boss, the game would be better if it were shorter, and also, let's stop with random encounters in any game, it's just not good
i enjoyed my time with this game for the most part. it definitely is one act too long, has some issues with over-tutorialization, and could have benefited from less focus on the combat, but overall i had a nice time. i like the abundance of coins they give you as an option to skip most combat encounters entirely. this game feels like it's being pulled in two different directions of wanting to be too similar to it's pure RPG predecessors and also wanting to abandon them entirely to just be an adventure game, and that's grating at times.
Wow. Incredible. This game showed me not only what it meant to be a boxer, or to be french, but what it meant to be alive. It tells a story that I think all of us can relate to, and leaves us with a message that will pierce you to your core. Simply masterful stuff.