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Thread: WK's Top something or other... let's just say "games" and call it good list.

  1. #31
    Pinkasaurus Rex Cid's Knight Pumpkin's Avatar
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    I wonder how many games on your list I've played :3

  2. #32
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    89.
    Man, Fynn's blood is going to be boiling.



    So yes, let's discuss one of the high profile titles from Operation Rainfall, Mistwalker's The Last Story. This was a very interesting game, hell I can say that about all three titles from that whole Nintendo debacle, but let's just say it was probably one of the most refreshing and forward thinking JRPGs I've played in a long time. Even after all these years since playing it, I can't help but think back to some of the stuff it was trying to do and be amazed.


    So you play as Zael, a hopelessly optimistic and genuinely naive mercenary (yeah doesn't make sense to me either) who travels with his childhood friend and their fellow mercenaries to Lazulis Island, which is a major political power player for the empire on the main land, in order to gain work on the front lines of the war between humanity and the Gurack and hopefully become full fledged knights. While undergoing a mission to investigate some ancient ruins belonging to the royal family, Zael stumbles... well we all know where this is going, Zael stumbles on some ancient power and suddenly becomes a major focus of the royal court. There is also a princess who wants to escape her royal duties and not everything is as it seems...


    Okay I'm not going to sugar coat the fact that The Last Story's plot is by the book. in terms of JRPG Cliches and tropes. It does try to add its own twists as Zael kind of has this really bad habit of trusting the wrong people and Calista breaks standard heroine traditions by learning the hard way that acting out on her own interests despite her social obligations is a very bad idea. So I appreciate the fact the game kind of deconstructs a few of the usual tired cliches within the genre, but it never goes as far as better games that pull this off like Disgaea or NieR. With that said, the supporting cast is amazing and one of the best parts of the plot. The first time you're wandering through a cave and listening to the party banter, you quickly learn how everyone feels about everyone else and get a real sense of the team dynamics. I honestly felt this was a more endearing way of getting the player to like the cast than simply giving each party member a moment to relay their tragic backstory. Hell, for a bunch of mercenaries, no one really has a tragic backstory except Zael and his best friend Dagran. The politics of the world feel more like Suikoden than typical FF fare which was also nice, but none of this can quite save how absolutely cringe worthy Zael and Calista are. The scene where they meet is so cringe inducing it makes the Laughing scene from FFX look like Oscar bait for best performance of an on screen couple.


    "So if the plot is hit and miss, why the hell is this here?" you may be asking. It's largely due to the game design to be honest. The Last Story is an Action RPG with elements of a third person shooter and stealth, but what sets it apart is the game core mechanics which deals with Zael's power to basically control enemy aggro. He literally casts a spell that makes everything target him, but it offers other abilities like a wind slash that can be combined with elemental circles to cause massive AoE spells with various affects on the environment. Battles typically deal with balancing enemy aggro but also keeping Zael alive. What's actually really cool the battle system is its total immersion with the environment that sets this apart from other Action-RPGs. Zael not only has the power to take cover and ambush enemies for bonus damage, but you can order your allies to use their magic spells to damage the environment like a tower holding archers and set up traps (combined with Zael's ability to lead all the enemies to it) for the massive mobs that come after you. Its a sight to behold when you really get the flow of battle going, though the game is challenging enough to where you can easily lose momentum and find yourself getting overwhelmed.


    The boss battles are also not typical of the Action RPG genre, but feel right at home with Zelda or even MGS. Most of the bosses are puzzle bosses as opposed to straight up fights and so you have to find the right strategy to beat them such as having Zael transform an ice magic circle into a slippery floor so the boss will lose their footing during their powerful charge move and stun themselves long enough for the party to get some hits in, or a duel with a powerful knight that can own your ass so you have to basically use stealth to sneak around the garden your having the duel in and ambush them before retreating and finding a new opening. Its pretty refreshing but sadly falls into the same issues Zelda bosses have where once you figure out the strategy to beating them, the battle is essentially won.


    The Last Story is not exactly a big game, more than half of it takes place on Lazulis Island. There is only one city but its pretty big, about twice the size of Rabanaste from XII and at least three times more dense in content. What's kind of neat about the game is that barring a few quests, most of the sidequest content is not blatantly obvious and you'll actually need to explore and talk to everyone to uncover all the things you can do in the city. I was near the end of the game before I discovered that there was a minigame a la Breath of Fire 1 at the market place where I can set up my own stall and make money off my unused items.


    Hell two of the most notable sidequests are chapter long story missions involving an archeologist, except the quests themselves fall so seamlessly within the story that you won't even realize they were optional until you finish them. Several of the scenario designs for the chapter are also well constructed and feel like something out of the SNES/PS1 era FFs, especially the ghost house. I also appreciate the fact the game never takes itself too seriously during the downtime parts and there is even a challenge to see how many times you can have Zael slam his head into a low hanging door sign.


    The game also has a cool weapon upgrade system where you evolve the weapons you gain into stronger weapons before they transform into new weapons. If that sounds familiar, its because its something FFXIII tried to do but The Last Story makes it a much less tedious experience and the majority of the upgrades are actually useful. The real gem of the customization is that while your limited to only a handful of armor sets, you're given the ability to customize their looks in a variety of ways like removing bulkier parts and changing the color of the outfits as I see fit, which was a huge bonus for me coming off Xenoblade and sometimes having to deal with the ugliest outfits for my party.

    With all this said though, I will admit the game always has a knack for falling short with its ambitions. The gameplay offers a very deep experience but sadly, it just doesn't seem to utilize it to its full potential. The level design and bosses are clever but the game has an incredible bad habit of recycling areas and bosses which makes you realize the limitations the Wii placed on this game. Like anything I've played by Mistwalker, the game is brimming with cool concepts and ideas but is hampered by always being on a too small of a canvas piece to make the most of it. Its why I want this game to get a sequel on a better console because I feel a little more development and some better writers could turn this into a surefire franchise if given the chance but alas its probably not going to happen. If you have the chance to play this game I recommend it. Its not as fully developed as it should be, but I love its raw potential in design.

    Did I mention Nobuo Uematsu does the soundtrack?



  3. #33
    Pinkasaurus Rex Cid's Knight Pumpkin's Avatar
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    I played a few minutes of it but didn't get far because I haaaaateee stealth stuff in games. I do eventually want to try it again though!

  4. #34
    Taking care of business Cid's Knight Bubba's Avatar
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    Amazing to see Contra III pop up on your list

    I had the UK version called Super Probotector which replaced the men with army robots. Despite this upgrade they still died when hit by just a single bullet

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  5. #35
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Oh man, that's neat, I didn't realize they modified it when they brought it to Europe, I'm used to us getting the weirdly translated stuff.

  6. #36
    Feel the Bern Del Murder's Avatar
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    Well I am surprised Last Story cracked your top 100. It was a nice little game, but ultimately the flatness of the two main characters turned me off. They are about as flat as any I can remember. I actually rather liked the rest of the cast and the battles though.

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Del Murder View Post
    Well I am surprised Last Story cracked your top 100. It was a nice little game, but ultimately the flatness of the two main characters turned me off. They are about as flat as any I can remember. I actually rather liked the rest of the cast and the battles though.
    As I said, its the game design that keeps me thinking about it. Even though its been ages since I've played, it left quite an impression. It's a damn shame Zael and Calista make the story quite unbearable, but I feel the game design outweighs the cons. Its the same reason why FFII and VIII are still well liked by me, because despite their flaws, I love the potential they had for the medium.

  8. #38
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Okay, so I kind of made a mistake with my list that I just noticed, and I somehow ended up placing Amplitude on here twice, which while I like the game, its not good enough to deserve to be here twice. I'm not going to fix the list, partly because I'm too lazy and partly because I've mentioned before that the rankings are kind of tentative and based on my mood. On the brightside, this helped me correct a terrible wrong, because on reflection I did forget a game I really enjoyed that I finished for the first time last year. I'll have it written up a bit later this evening and thank you for your patience.

  9. #39
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    88.
    How the hell did I forget this gem? Especially since it really is one of the creepiest entries in the series.


    So last year, I was catching up on all of my Zelda games I had been collecting and finally got around to playing this beloved black sheep of the franchise. It was a very intriguing experience to me as are many of the Non-Ganon Zelda titles. So for a quick recap for those who never played, Majora's Mask is a direct sequel to Ocarina of Time. Link is on a journey to find Navi for reasons I and most Zelda fans can't quite fathom. He stumbles a mischievous Skull Kid wearing an ominous mask and his two fairy buddies who love to play tricks and rob people. Things quickly go south for Link and he loses both Epona and gets turned into a Deku Shrub. He follows the Masked Kid to a parallel world called Termina which is guarded by four great giants of legend. Hoping to get his stuff back, Link ends up irritating the Masked Kid who reveals the Mask has demonic powers that allow him to control the moon in Termina and has it on a three day course to crush it flat. Thus begins Link's three day journey to save Termina.


    This game breaks a lot of conventions and bears a striking resemblance to Link's Awakening in terms of playing with the series formula. The two biggest changes is the obviously the Three Day time limit which sets you off on a marathon to get things done quickly before you have to use the Song of Time and reset the cycle. What makes this mechanic so intriguing is that Termina is a living town whose inhabitants stick to a pretty strict schedule. I would honestly say the best part of the game is playing Groundhog's Day with the townsfolk and exploring all of their stories. From the carnival performers trying to prepare for a show they don't realize is cancelled, to the brat pack neighborhood kids who spend their free time helping the local residents, and the love story between a man cursed to be a child and his bride-to-be who helps run the inn. It's difficult not to get attached to the game's large and colorful cast of supporting characters and it can be a fun challenge to figure out how to complete each of their story arcs.


    The second major mechanics are the Masks, which give Link various abilities or privileges. Many of them are one-note wonders needed to complete a quest with one of the towns folks but the three key masks allow Link to transform into one of the various races of the new Zelda mythos such as a Goron, Deku, and Zora. What most people don't mention is that all three of these masks are essentially haunted by the spirit of some character who died tragically before the story begins and usually plays a large role in the villages of their respective race. These forms give Link some cool abilities and expand his repertoire of abilities in addition to the usual Zelda tools. Barring the various masks and the swords, most of Link's tools are pulled straight from Ocarina of Time. Overall, the Mask concept was really neat and I'm surprised it never resurfaced in some new fashion in later titles.


    The dungeons feel a bit rougher around the edges than OoT but that's probably due to them having a much heavier focus on puzzle solving, and having a few more things to do in them like collect fairies. In fact MM probably has more mini-games than any other entry and like any game overloaded with them, the quality varies from game to game. The bosses are a mixed bag as well with three of the four main dungeon bosses being surprisingly straightforward and easy to deal with and one boss and a few of the side bosses being more trouble than they are worth due to either dealing with the N64's funky control scheme or the A.I. just being an outright ass to you. The biggest stress factor for all of this is the three day timer, especially if you don't figure out or look up the Inverted Song of Time which effectively doubles how much in-game time you have to complete things. The dungeons and areas are surprisingly simple once you get a grasp of what needs to be done, but their designed in a way to eat up valuable time, so its not uncommon to take two cycles to complete a dungeon with the first run collecting all the items and the second run taking down the boss. This is pretty stressful in the beginning but eventually upgrades to annoyance as you get further in and simply screwing up a scenario like the stealth mission into the Pirates Den chewing up all of your time and forcing you to have to restart the whole scenario all over again.


    I spent a lot of my time playing this game debating on whether I loved or hated the time loop mechanic. On the one hand, I love what it does for the narrative and exploring the world and its inhabitants; and on the other hand, it made dungeon crawling more stressful and tedious than it really needed to be. There are also a few townspeople missions that you'll likely start and soon learn you can't actually finish them until you find the right item. Majora's Mask hits pretty hard and heavy with the chain of deals and over-reliance on plot coupons to advance the story and keep you from sequence breaking. Still, I feel the good outweighs the bad and I've never really played a game quite like Majora's Mask.

    What really caught me off guard, though several friend who had played it before me always mentioned was just how "off" the game feels. There is a general creepiness to the game that is difficult to describe and partly stems from a subtle but prevalent theme of death that permeates a lot of the stories within the game as well as the creepy models the N64 makes. The Happy Mask Salesman is a wonderful example because outside of a few bobbing motions here and there, he has a tendency to just kind of teleport into position like he's moving in a strobe light half his animations are missing to give it a fluid movement. I don;'t know if it was intentional or something due to memory limits but it works for the game and there's a bunch of other things that make Termina feel weird and unsettling despite the goofy inhabitants. After playing through it, I understand why this game is the subject of so many weird rumors and how the whole BenDrowned creepypasta came about.



    Overall, this is a pretty weird ride but one I recommend that most people should check out, even if you're not a fan of Zelda titles.

  10. #40
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    Confession: The only Zelda game I've ever played is Twilight Princess on the Wii, but I didn't really get in to it. Only played for a couple hours maybe at most? I've been toying with the idea of getting a New Nintendo 2DS at some point in the future so that I can give these titles a go but I'm afraid that I'll buy it and hardly touch it.
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    Pinkasaurus Rex Cid's Knight Pumpkin's Avatar
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    MM is second best game ever <3

    I agree that the NPCs are the best part

    Also did you make sure to use the song to slow time?

  12. #42
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fat_moogle View Post
    Confession: The only Zelda game I've ever played is Twilight Princess on the Wii, but I didn't really get in to it. Only played for a couple hours maybe at most? I've been toying with the idea of getting a New Nintendo 2DS at some point in the future so that I can give these titles a go but I'm afraid that I'll buy it and hardly touch it.
    To be fair, Twilight Princess is kind of well known for being a slow burn at the beginning and finally getting you into the thick of things. Majora's Mask is guilty of this as well but perhaps it was something else that made you disinterested.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pumpkin View Post
    MM is second best game ever <3

    I agree that the NPCs are the best part

    Also did you make sure to use the song to slow time?
    Oh I did, it just took me until I was almost halfway through the game before I figured it out.

  13. #43
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    87.
    Let me start off by saying that between the remake and the original, I liked the original a lot better. In a twitchy platformer type game like Mega Man and Castlevania, sometimes having smooth full 3D movements is more of a curse than a blessing despite being easier on the eye. With that said, let's move on.


    Most casual fans will probably notice that this game stars Richter Belmont, a character anyone who has played Symphony of the Night will know well since he's featured prominently within the story. The plot centers around on a doomsday cult controlled by High Priest Shaft (not that one) who is sacrificing maidens to resurrect Dracula and return his strength. This means they have to scour the local villages to find these girls and just so happen to kidnap a girl who is shacking up with Richter Belmont, considered to be one of the strongest members of the family within the series. Richter returns home to find his village under siege and clears out the vermin before heading to Dracual's infamous castle. Within the castle, you'll rescue various women that were kidnapped by Dracula's minions, including Maria, a young girl descended from witches with the power to summon powerful (and adorable) familiars to aid her in the battle. The ending to this game is technically the beginning of Symphony of the Night. I say technically because the original dialogue sequence was done a little differently and the hammy dialogue was just a little bit less hammy.


    Rondo of Blood was the last traditional Castlevania title before Symphony of the Night and the questionable N64 3D titles ended up taking over what people expected from the franchise. It's also considered to be the best of the traditional Castlevania titles, and to my surprise, the game actually kind of lives up to the hype for once. This game truly served as a bridge between the old school titles and the Metroidvania style games that come after as this game introduced a heavier emphasis on exploration than previous titles except maybe Simon's Quest. Basically, in addition to several important story NPCs you need to find in the game that unlocks a second character to play as and also determines which of the game multiple endings you get; you can also find alternate boss battles in each stage that ultimately determines which level you will go to. You need to complete eight different stages to meet Dracula and beat him, but there are actually sixteen stages in total with different bosses at the end of each of them and you'll need to complete a certain set to get the game's true ending.


    The addition of Maria is also interesting, while Castlevania has had games featuring more than one player to choose from before, Maria kind of feels like Konami's attempt at an easy mode since she is overpowered as hell due to having way better mobility than poor Richter like double jump, but also her familiars are straight up overpowered and will make short work of the most of the games challenging bosses. Playing as her has its own story mode, but it's far more lighthearted and feels more like a gag plot than Richter's. People familiar with how badass Richter was in SotN will be a bit disappointed to find that he has more in common with Simon and Trevor than his 32-bit version. In fact the only new feature Richter has in his repertoire is the Item Crash ability which thankfully was his best ability in SotN.


    The level design of the game is quite challenging and in fact, this is probably not a game I would recommend to anyone who get frustrated easily. I'm actually surprised my PSP survived my time with the game. The stages are sadistic, but well balanced surprisingly enough barring one stage that was kind of a "bonus" stage. The Bosses are all memorable and I've got give the game credit with breaking from tradition (though this happens more than people think) and Death isn't the boss of the Clocktower, but is instead battled on a ghost ship. The challenge of the game can be frustrating but incredibly rewarding when victory is achieved, and I always appreciate that in my games. The soundtrack is also pretty grooving as well. The anime cutscenes were cute, but I wasn't a fan of Dracula's anime redesign and preferred the remakes version instead.


    The joy of playing Dracula X Chronicles is that you can play the remake but also unlock the original Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night, so check it out if you never bothered picking up SotN.


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    Mad props for doing this undertaking WK. I can barely decide what my top 5 games are, let alone 100.
    Returners Represent!

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    86.
    We've now reached the first of several Yasumi Matsuno games on this list, and this one is actually his first major title for Quest that involves all the staff we know and love who us FF fans know as the Tactics Staff. With all that said, this is a pretty weird game if you go in with no preconception of what it is.


    During the Age of Zeteginia, the Kingdom of Zenobia stood in splendor against the rest of the world, until King Gran was assassinated by the Sage Rashidi, who has conspired with Empress Endora to take over the lands. Now in exile, the Knights of Zenobia have gathered around a promising lord (that's you) who will either liberate the kingdom from the imperial scum of simply conquer the land to become it's new despot.


    Suffice to say the premise isn't terribly original, but Matsuno, in his typical way, makes it very obvious that this isn't your cookie cutter rebels vs. empire shenanigans. As you begin to liberate the lands from the Empress, you'll quickly discover that the change in management has had some mixed results for the inhabitants of Zenobia, and that as idealistic as people talk about King Gran and his kingdom, it wasn't exactly as fairy tale nice for everyone involved.


    This all ties into a central mechanic in the game, which is your reputation and alignment. Your actions in the game will change how the people view you, which will ultimately change what classes you can unlock and which of the game endings you're going to actually get. Will they see you as the Liberation Army, freeing them from the tyranny of the empire, or are you simply the nefarious Rebel Army that is cutting a swath of destruction across the land for your own benefit? This all plays out based on factors like the type of decisions you make when presented int battle. Do you spare the enemy general since their motives were actually pure? Do you hunt down retreating enemy units to squash their resistance? Does the RNG hate your guts and you keep drawing bad karma Tarot Cards when you liberate a city or temple? Its a very intriguing concept that is only hampered by the limitations of the 16-bit format and how green the development team was at the time. Still, its kind of fun to play something with so much ambition. I also give them props because they do subvert some expectations as well. There is a mad scientist character experimenting on the populace that you have the ability to spare when you defeat her. Unlike most games, sparing her is considered an evil act cause she's not a very nice person, well at least in this entry...


    The game is an RTS where you build units with between three to five recruits in each that help you fight off the enemy forces and until you can take the enemy stronghold held by the boss. While you personally direct the units across the map so they can liberate cities, find treasures, and battle enemy units trying to retake their lost territory; battles are completely automated and work like classic Fire Emblem in some ways. When you engage a unit, you're taken to a battle screen that plays in auto-battle. You have no direct control of the units, but their attacks are based completely on how you set up their formation. This obviously makes formations incredibly important as some units have unique abilities depending on if they are on the front lines or back row. Most of it is logical such as mages only cast spell in the back row and fight with their staffs on the front, while knights get and extra turn to attack on the front lines but one one in the back row. It gets a bit more complicated when you start unlocking Samurai who can do two attacks on the front line, but gain an ability that sacrifices their health to do a very powerful attack that can hit any enemy regardless of row.


    So battles ultimately come down to how well you built the team as opposed to on the spot turn based shenanigans like a traditional JRPG, and I couldn't help notice the similarities to FFXII's Gambit system which works on the same premise. With that said, it's not all just staring at auto-battles because you can bring up a menu to give you a few other option such as retreating and changing the party A.I. to take advantage of the flow of battle. For instance, every unit has a designated leader, and killing them in battle will force the unit to retreat back to their home base to have them revived so they can be redeployed. The unit can still be attacked while its retreating, but this will affect your reputation and change your alignment. On the other hand, failing to destroy the whole unit means they'll be back after licking their wounds,so battles quickly transform into conflicts of holding territory and battling attrition. If your own unit loses its leader, they retreat back to the home base and are removed from battle until you spend money to redeploy them or use a revival item on them before they reach home. That's unless its your character, if he dies, regardless how the battle is going, its game over.


    Classes are determine by an overly complex set of conditions involving levels, stats, alignment, reputation and whether you have certain transformation items. You start off mostly with Soldiers, Wizards, and Amazons as starting units, but each one evolves into unique classes that follow a specific class tree much like the FFTactics series and Tactics Ogre. Monsters and unique races like Mermaids and Hawkmen just add more depth and things to keep track of. Unfortunately, we've now reached some of my gripes with the game. Like many early SNES RPG style games, the U.I. could be a hell of a lot better. Moving units feels sluggish due to poor delay from moving the cursor on the map with the d-pad, and is still noticeable with an analog stick if you're playing this through Wii-ware and a classic controller. The game does a poor job with showing all the information concerning a units stats so unless your on a specific screen which involves a bit too much menu searching for a game that has you micromanage up to 50 individual characters. Also, if you were like me and simply picked this game up on virtual console or chose to emulate it, I hope you found a great internet guide to explain what items do what and the conditions needed for the various class changes cause nothing within the game is ever going to explain any of this to you and as you can rightfully tell from the previous four paragraphs, there is a trout ton of stuff to keep tabs on.


    Its still incredibly charming if very rough around the edges but the spite work in battles is excellent, Sakimoto, Iwata, and Musuo made a pretty killer soundtrack. The gameplay is a bit more hands off than I would care for but the preparation and management of all of it makes this a very cerebral endeavor, so I've never actually been bored playing it, despite the large scale wars usually taking forever to complete. It might not be the best RTS, or Matsuno's best work, but the game is still super addictive and surprisingly ahead of its time.



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