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FFWF last won the day on March 2 2019

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  1. Untitled Goose Game (Switch) - What a delightful game; everything I was hoping it would be and more. Who knew that what we all needed was a game that celebrates the joy of a thoroughly unanthropomorphised, uncharacterised wild animal wreaking havoc in a sleepy English village? This game is sometimes characterised as a stealth game; but that's not really on the mark, as there's much you need to do quite, quite openly; but perhaps it's there in the way, over time, you figure out the gameplay loop: In each area, you learn how the townsfolk behave and react, and manipulate them accordingly. The limited goals you are given range from the anarchic to the artistic to the quietly purposeful; a series of postgame objectives help point the way to squeezing every last morsel of interaction out of this intricate automoton. I played it in company - this seems to be the general recommendation; and with good reason, for this is a game which sometimes requires creative thought, and at other times merely demands an audience for its comedy. A short game, and it could easily be longer - but it accomplishes what it sets out to do. Luigi's Mansion 3 (Switch) - Is this truly a game? At times, it felt more like I was watching an excellent animated movie (and indeed I hope the team responsible for the Mario movie are taking notes). It's impossible to play this game without being wowed by its sense of atmosphere - and humour, for the genius in its choice of a cowardly protagonist who would never say boo to a goose is that he is so, so much more expressive than a tedious stoic hero. I increasingly feel it has a lot in common with Untitled Goose Game, actually; not just the inherent comedy of the enterprise, but the fact that much of the moment-to-moment joy comes from wreaking havoc on the heavily-destructible terrain, even before a single ghost comes in sight. With that said, it does have its drawbacks. The controls take considerable getting used to and almost demand a second right thumb in order to trigger every interaction you'll need in a moment; and the aiming for the occasional firing segments is needlessly finicky, and would have benefited from a far stronger auto-aim to home in on the actually quite limited set of viable targets. Further, while the sense of place in each themed floor of the hotel in which this game takes place is marvellous and quite distinct, one often comes away with a sense that more could have been done, that the depths have not been fully plumbed; that the game is rattling through more locations than it really has development time for. I also experienced a crash very early on, directly after a cutscene in which Luigi plummets down a laundry shaft; but the game's generous autosaving saved me from having to redo much - though I also don't understand why the game couldn't include a true save-and-quit, rather than requiring you to walk around until you find a door to go through for the autosave to kick in. But overall - a tremendously enjoyable experience, the sort of game I wished (after Dark Moon) the 3DS had more of, and which I'm now happy to have greater access to on the Switch. Etrian Odyssey Nexus (3DS) - I was right to position this as my between-games game. After well over a hundred hours, spread over, I think, well over a year, I'm finally ready to set this down and deliver my closing thoughts. I haven't truly beaten it - there remains one extra super-final boss who I just can't quite best and don't think I have the team for, and while I've done a lot better against it than I have on any equivalent extra super-final boss in previous Etrian Odyssey game, I just can't see it being worth the time, even if it probably is just about possible for me. But I've seen enough, overall. Nexus isn't a true mainline Etrian Odyssey; rather, it's a compilation title meant to celebrate the end of its time on DS systems, though despite this it still manages to have a better plot and character designs than Etrian Odyssey V - not great, but sufficient to retain interest. The amount of content packed in, thanks to undisguised asset reuse, is almost excessive, and the total number of floors in this game clocks in at I think literally double that of a regular EO game, with only two out of sixty floor layouts wholly recycled. The choice of which assets to reuse is sometimes, unfortunately, on something of a Sonic Generations level; there is a preponderance of first Strata, and so quite a bit of the game can feel quite samey. This isn't helped by the game's six new Strata all using more or less the same tileset and gimmicks, which gets pretty rough towards the end when the last three dungeons are all of this type. But the selection of available classes is better-chosen, with a reliance on classes which haven't appeared in a long time and less emphasis (as overall) on the most recent game, and the class bias and depth of character-building is as deep and sophisticated as ever; I used a Ronin/Hero/Pugilist, Sovereign/Arcanist party, with an emphasis on representing as many games in the series as possible and classes I hadn't used before, and this actually saw me through quite well - even on the hardest difficult, which I'd not attempted in the previous games. It's only a shame that the length of the game causes the magic and novelty to be severely diminished towards the end. What's really unfortunate, though, is that the game peaks early; the first two full dungeons, recycled from EO4 and EO1 respectively, feature some pretty massive twists on the traditional Etrian formula that really shake up the experience and add an assurance of unpredictability... but then no other dungeon (out of fourteen total!) tries anything similar again. It's hard not to put this down to a somewhat rushed development, which wouldn't be surprising; there's a convincing argument that this game started out as an Etrian Odyssey 3 Untold, and while I enjoyed this game a lot, EO3U would probably have been a better plan. But as a late 3DS game, I appreciate that perhaps it wasn't worth the risk, though I think the developers did nonetheless set out to give the buyer plenty of bang for their buck.
  2. Given that Sakurai was working on Byleth even before Three Houses was released, it's conceivable that he and Nintendo didn't anticipate it to be something of a damp squib selection overall; and by the time that became obvious, Byleth was well and truly locked in. Of course, the character does have eager fans; but it seemed to me that the reveal actually had quite an apologetic tone in places, with Sakurai more or less playing down expectations immediately before the trailer aired, and said trailer openly referencing the "anime swordsmen" critique chiefly aimed at Fire Emblem characters. I think they saw this coming, so... good thing it wasn't actually the very last DLC fighter, then? Equally, I think Sakurai's made his distaste for the Fighters Pass fairly clear, both here and previously; it's obvious he doesn't like the idea of people having to pre-purchase on faith alone. I wonder why they've upped the number of Challenger Packs in Fighters Pass Vol. 2? My suspicion is that they threw in a real crowd-pleaser as a send-off. All interesting stuff, though with a much longer release window then quite likely some of these reveals are going to be a bit more spread-out.
  3. My understanding regarding the (countless) videos regarded as falling under the "Elsagate" phenomenon is that they were quite specifically and often very cleverly targeted towards children for clear purposes of monetisation, and were equally clearly not satire - merely bizarre and unsettling. There's a decent summary of the situation on Wikipedia, but broadly speaking, it doesn't appear to be simply a situation of people misconstruing adult satire.
  4. Let's not forget what's really important about today's news, though: The inevitable Sinnoh remakes are getting another year in the oven! Let's hope it shows... I've been thinking about typings for the new Pokemon and forms. I'm pretty sure the Galarian legendary birds will be Psychic, Fighting, and Dark. Articuno is using obvious Psychic motifs, like hovering in place, having glowing eyes, throwing beams around etc., supported by its colour scheme; Zapdos is placing a lot of emphasis on the physical strength in its legs, and it's also coloured after the Fighting-type logo; and Moltres, whilst still fiery, is using a black and pink colour scheme in common with the Dark logo as well as being pretty plainly evil-looking. Of course, these types also form a weakness chain, for added coherence. One raises an eyebrow at the existence of Galarian variants of legendary Pokemon formerly assumed to be unique, of course; but one may as well question the idea of a unique Pokemon that's merely rare rather than the subject of creation myths. The two new Regis are pretty easy; the Electric one speaks for itself, but it took me a minute to see that the other one is a Dragon-type, its two outsize limbs resembling the upper and lower mandible of a dragon. Curious what the lore for them might be; curious about their names, too. The original Regis are plainly named for their type, of course, but that fell apart with Regigigas, and I suspect would have fallen apart anyway as soon as they hit a type that wasn't monosyllabic. For that reason, I'm expecting the names to be more along the lines of Regivolt and Regidrake - those two in particular might be too obvious, having been nabbed by two of the four Galarian fossils. Galarian Slowpoke is curious. It's lost its Water-type and is now pure-Psychic, and has yellow highlights from eating spicy berries, but it's hard to know where that's going. We get a brief glimpse of Galarian Slowbro; it's chunky, has purple paws and a purple tail-tip - and no shell on its tail, which is intriguing; by contrast, what we see of Galarian Slowking has a dark mantle and a glimpse of a headdress with eyes actually more like the Slowbro shell's. Are the two shells being swapped around? Or are the evolution items for these two Pokemon going to be about clamping something else onto them entirely? Very difficult to know what to expect from their typings, but I expect the two will be slightly more distinct from one another than their originals.
  5. While it's a shame that the base Sword/Shield will forever be rushed and undernourished, "new content" as opposed to "what the old content should have been" is probably the way to go, yes, and I'm actually quite intrigued by what they're presenting. Don't think I'll be grabbing the expansion pass just yet, though; I need to see a bit more.
  6. Way too early to be revealing the next main series title. I could only see that being the plan if it was a knee-jerk response to the bad press surrounding Sword/Shield... which would be symptomatic of exactly the same kind of rushing that contributed to that game's problems and is precisely what the fandom don't want to see right now. On the other hand, Home and Sleep and basically anything mobile-related would be pretty yawn-worthy... but that, along with a few Gigantamax reveals, are probably what we're getting. Worst-case scenario, Let's Go Johto. Absolute nightmare scenario, Let's Go Johto but the starters are still Pikachu and Eevee.
  7. To be honest, it seems ludicrous that we should accept what will probably be the only movie representing one of the series's most beloved characters as a completely different person for 90-100% of the runtime, and betrays an obvious lack of interest in the source material.
  8. Something cosmetic is fine for the most part, I think. A more substantial reward, as indicated above, has the counterproductive effect of making all optional material seem instead mandatory, something you have to grind through to get to the final bit of real content.
  9. Pokémon Sword (Switch) - See here. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch) - Link's Awakening (DX) was the first game I ever owned, and I was always somewhat against the idea of remaking it. I felt that, released from its technological limitations, it would lose some of its abstraction, the dreamy washed-out colours of the GameBoy Color's screen... And when this remake was announced, I was among those not a fan of the graphical style; the bobble-head toy and diorama look I felt really had very little to do with the original game and had missed the point in adapting the original graphisc too literally. (It would work perfectly for Minish Cap, by contrast.) However, I was nonetheless interested in seeing the spectacle - taking a nostalgic tour around the island still burned into my memory, reimagined as a cute little diorama. And so here we are. Happily, the advantage of an astonishingly literal remake of Link's Awakening is that the excellence of the original shines through; in the puzzleblock arrangement of world and dungeon, in the perfectly-tuned rhythm of unlock and exploration, in the sparsely evocative and bracingly unpolished dialogue (barely tweaked!). The expansions are by and large in the right place; additional Heart Pieces and Secret Seashells are unnecessary but very welcome simply as more things to find in this world, while the obvious QOL improvements bring out the best of the game rather than diminishing its artistry. It's a beautiful game, and I enjoyed immensely playing anew a game I've replayed many times. I do have some complaints. I strongly dislike how they've executed the Roc's Feather; it feels awkward, heavy, laggy, quite in contrast to the springy and flexible original, and its advanced functionality is more limited in consequence. I also don't care for what they've done with the map system; it now reveals itself by area, meaning that large parts of the endgame are revealed to you hours ahead of time, in contrast to the limited but elegant original which revealed itself per screen, thus perfectly tracking your progress through the game and immediately illustrating exactly where you had been or not been. I have a few quibbles with how some of the original music tracks have been adapted, and it seemed to me that the music in dungeons was weirdly quiet compared to the rest of the game. And then, alas, there are the Chamber Dungeons; a bit of a turgid experience in practice, with such cluttered functionality and choking limitations that it honestly comes across more as a not particularly enjoyable puzzle game. What's bizarre is that Nintendo really seems to have gone all in on the things, with the regrettable result that most of the game's ultimate rewards are single Chamber Stones, a number of which demand phenomenally grindy prices at the shop. It's a real misstep; a much better set of ultimate rewards would've been to break up Dampé's last full extra heart into the proper four pieces and use those as your final rewards instead. Overall verdict: I forgive it its existence. Link's Awakening was a great game, and still is. The question then becomes, of course: What next? The obvious route is to remake Oracle of Ages/Seasons in the same style (as a double-pack or bust), and that would be a fantastic experience... but I can't help but feeling the team's time might be better spent on an entirely new experience in this style, something we've never seen before and in which they would be unhindered by past decisions entirely. I would be happy to see a third iteration of the Oracles, or a reprise of Minish Cap that actually embraces its title mechanic. We're getting the Oracles, of course, if anything; but 2D-perspective Zelda is too good to waste on remakes. I'd like to see this style used on a game I haven't played before.
  10. Labour and Corbyn's record on anti-Semitism is poor, but how much of that can be laid at any one person's door is debateable. He's certainly not openly anti-Semitic, but what he is is a long-time supporter of Palestinian rights. That is in and of itself no bad thing, but it's possible that it blinkers him. My impression from some of the allegations I've heard is that some members of the Labour party have crossed a line from being pro-Palestinian and into anti-Israeli, and from there into anti-Semitic. I think sometimes these are wilfully conflated. The idea that Corbyn would "give Northern Ireland back to the Irish" is a new one on me and frankly pretty laughable. I have a hard time imagining how that would even work. It's debateable whether Ireland would even want it, because the peace process as it presently stands appears very much-loved and the biggest threat to that is new border checks because of Brexit.
  11. I finally completed Sword for myself a few days ago, and have been letting it stew before I write down my final thoughts. The short version (the long version is really long, I'm afraid) is: The game is better than I was expecting, but obviously flawed and unfinished. A big part of that is that, of all the things they nailed, they got the Pokemon right. This might just be one of my favourite batches perhaps even since Gen IV, perhaps helped by the fact that we see a more diverse revisit to the idea of regional forms and the triumphant return of cross-region evolutions. It's amazing that there are, technically, fewer new Pokemon here than in Gen VII - and yet somehow there feel like a lot more; perhaps because there isn't quite such an overabundance of legendaries and quasi-legendaries squatting at the end of the dex. The complaint overleaf that a lot of Pokemon feel more like individual characters now than plausible animals isn't unfair, mind, and given that there are some frankly weird Pokemon this gen (Stonjourner, Eiscue) then a few more at the more normal end of things perhaps wouldn't hurt. With that said, count me as fully in favour of the new fossils; not just a nod to early paleontology, but a fun mix-and-match game that fantastically subverts the traditional fossil process and makes it even a bit difficult to look back. In the final analysis, I think that GameFreak's less revealing PR campaign really helped SwSh's set of Pokemon; it was amazing to finally have that sense of discovery again, to keep on encountering new creatures I had no idea about. The only downside is the inane insistence on locking some Pokemon behind sub-5% encounter rates, and some of the more bizarre strategy-guide evolution methods (it's unacceptable that the arch that evolves Galarian Yamask has nothing tying it to the Pokemon at all). With that said... Dynamax is a bit undercooked. The range of Max Moves is pitiful and not at all comparable to the seeming plethora of Z-moves (...I think; I never used a single Z-move in two games), the power boost having a cap means that all moves end up looking very similar, and a lot of the additional effects spend a lot of time not doing much. Gigantamax forms mostly look good (though a few give the lie to the idea that it's all that different from Mega Evolution - G-Max Machamp is thoroughly uninventive), but the fact that they're functionally barely different from regular Dynamaxes makes them fairly superficial and uninteresting. And this isn't touching on how increasingly slow and clunky the current game engine looks, taking multiple text boxes every single time to say what could be said in one or even zero. And for all that vaunted talk of HD-ready models back in the day, a lot of the HD models actually don't look that great - specifically when it comes to features like faces and other details just being textured on rather than present in the model. Ferrothorn looks particularly pathetic, for a Pokemon that's clearly meant to be grooved and recessed. Ironically, GameFreak really would be better off tossing a lot of them out and redoing them from scratch. I did like the Wild Area a lot more than I thought I would, though. In the early game especially, there was something very satisfying about wheeling around checking out the new raids and occasionally going up against Pokemon that wouldn't naturally show up until much later in the game. It's not a system without flaws, however; when every patch of grass in an area spawns the same thing, without the corridor structure of routes, it's tempting to think that all that space is just a bit redundant - and as a long-time fan it's hard to get too excited at the sheer quantity of same-old-same-old wandering around (I do appreciate that Dexiters will feel very differently). It was a bold move of GameFreak to rush the player to this area so quickly, but at the same time, I wonder if it might've done with being pushed back just a little, as it's easy to get overlevelled in the early game... and in general; I had to make a clear decision never to use experience candies on my team, which actually led to the game being a lot more balanced than I expected. I'd be happy to see something like the Wild Area return - but with a bit more structure to it, rather than two big circles joined by a corridor. And with that mention of "corridors," we get to the big flaw and the point in which the game is clearly rushed and unfinished: World design. Oh, there are a couple of decent routes - but even those have nothing like the depth we've had in previous games, and some routes are barely-embellished straight lines, mere transitional areas. The triumphant return of gyms turns out to be the triumphant return of maybe three gyms, four tops if you're being really generous, with the final two gyms effectively not existing at all. Dungeons disappear completely toward the end of the game, with not one but two obvious final boss lairs reduced to elevator rides; and the various plot-revealing tapestries and statues would be well-served by being hidden at the end of dungeons, too. The lack of dungeons and lacking world design overall are an obvious symptom of a rushed game, and it feeds into the story, too - but I want to take a moment here to praise the characters, actually. Okay, there are some weak links; Hop spends too much of the game having his dreams crushed into the dirt by you and could use some of his post-game development bringing way forward, and Sonia's journey is badly undermined by the superficial nature of her research and the fact that she makes all the big discoveries, as I recall it, off-screen in foreign texts right at the end of the game. Bede and Marnie, though, I thought were quite effective. Bede is a good return to form for the jerk rival and has a decent arc which would only really be served by another appearance or two, particularly in his long period of downtime over the latter gyms. Marnie, meanwhile, is not what I expected, fundamentally a nice but perhaps standoffish kid with a lot on her shoulders that she doesn't really view as her responsibility; and again she would be served by another appearance or two to flesh her and her motivations out - which would frankly help the insubstantial and barely-relevant Team Yell, too. The real success story, though, are the gym leaders. Putting them all together in the opening ceremony near the start of the game was a masterstroke that made them feel so much more like real people with a place in the world, and this is helped by the fact that most put in more appearances outside their gyms later as well, with Opal and Piers playing fairly significant roles. Their League Cards and the postgame quest help bring them to life, too; and overall they're a really good mix of designs. The only ones which don't have quite as much going on are the game-exclusive ones - and frankly, that's probably exactly why they're game-exclusives, and it's a shame that Bea and Allister don't perhaps have something like the link between Gordie and Melony to bring them to life. It's for this reason that I'm actually quite happy that this game has no Elite Four, as they're usually the very worst when it comes to existing only to sit around in a room. However, I think the game missed a bit of a trick there; when I started the Champion Cup, I assumed that the "Elite Four" of the game would be me and my three rivals and maybe someone else thrown in for good measure, but... no, it's much more fragmentary. Frankly the Champion Cup would've been much improved the way I suggest; as indeed might the final confrontation with Eternatus, or maybe that's just me. But that brings us to the plot, and oh boy. While I appreciate that they actually did a Black/White and left the climax of the story until the actual end of the game, the result is that the pacing overall is atrocious, with long stretches of the game where you the player just jump through the hoops set out for you - while, insultingly, the other characters take care of interesting-sounding events off-screen. It was difficult to believe that they actually unironically wrote "Let the adults take care of this" - how tone-deaf, for a Pokemon game! But as it's entirely conceivable that there were events scripted which were just killed off by the game being rushed, perhaps it's simply a terrible excuse. Where it's far, far worse is in the execution of that finale, though. Eternatus comes out of absolutely nowhere, Chairman Rose acting like a supervillain makes no sense with his stated motivations, and overall the plot is weirdly third-versionesque, with the legendaries putting in some distinctly last-second appearances in which your character has minimal agency. I have to presume that a lot of this is simply because they didn't have time to insert the context; they just had to throw in what they had. There's something I want to talk about. GameFreak have said that the theme of the game is, I think, "ambition"; but I disagree. It seems pretty clear that the actual theme of the game is "passing the torch." Magnolia passing her professorship to Sonia; Opal, her gym leadership to Bede; Leon, his championship to you... The game is about a generation of adults finding young people who can live up to their goals. I almost wonder if something like that was meant to be the case with Rose; that, in despair at the upcoming energy crisis, he released Eternatus to provoke a state of crisis in which the best young trainers would have to step up, in which he might be able to find someone capable of taking on his legacy as the man who made Galar. Because he sure seems happy about being defeated, doesn't he? Add on top of that a very obvious and practically already written fossil fuel metaphor to Eternatus - sinister glowing engine to which we manically feed more and more ore until eventually it destroys us all... Sure reads a whole lot better than the game's current unbelievably poor final message, "it's crazy to make sacrifices now in order to avert an energy crisis in the future." What an appalling look in 2019. I have some more detailed thoughts about how you could rejig the game's pacing and plot, but honestly, I think we'll probably end up with some of them anyway. This is a game which absolutely needed another year in the oven, and unless they do an X and Y on us, it probably will get that, in the end... assuming they actually devote any real resources to it, something they clearly didn't do for Ultra Sun/Moon. The crunch has finally caught up with GameFreak and produced in Sword/Shield a very obviously rushed title, and it makes me deeply ambivalent both about the prospect of a remake of my favourite generation (even more so than the conservative and ungenerous ORAS did) but also about the prospect of paying again in a year or two for the game this should've been the first time around. I don't regret buying Sword, but it's clear that in future I am going to have to wait for the reviews. Mostly, they still have the necessary imagination to make a Pokemon game; but somehow, the most profitable franchise in the world somehow hasn't the time. It feels weird to be saying this, but: The longer we have to wait for the next game, the better.
  12. FFWF

    Doctor Who

    That looked quite promising. I wonder why they're being so cagey about the air date, though.
  13. Personally I'm missing actual route design, and the openness of the Wild Area isn't doing much for me so far. But I'm playing the game even more slowly, so there's an argument that I don't know anything yet. I'm just happy to be running into new Pokemon. With that said, my concerns about the potential quality of DPPt remakes have only intensified, so at present I can't really say I'm that enthusiastic about the prospect despite Gen IV being my favourite generation...
  14. AI: The Somnium Files (Switch) - How exactly to classify the genre of Kotaro Uchikoshi's work except as "a Kotaro Uchikoshi game"? But this game eschews Uchikoshi's usual visual novel roots for adventure gameplay that perhaps expands on the escape sequences in Zero Escape (plus a few crazy action sequences which almost read as parodies). Scenes are stuffed with props to be exhaustively examined (sometimes with different responses on revisits, so one gets a little obsessive about it), dialogue with characters is conducted via choices but with very few lines truly optional. The production values on show are obviously higher than those at work in Zero Time Dilemma, which the style evolves from, and it's more of a success here. Character design, too, is more exciting, with bolder colours and almost sci-fi fashion designs in places, fitting the game's five-minutes-into-the-future aesthetic. The plot, though, is classic Uchikoshi, covering more conceptual ground than half a dozen of your average games. Augmented reality vision, entering people's dreams, net idols, serial killers - and far more that I can't cover without spoiling the story. It maybe doesn't go in quite as deep as some Uchikoshi stories, but like all of his work, he prepares his ground by introducing a series of seemingly disconnected characters and then gradually revealing how they are all linked together by a buried truth. Twists of one kind or another are abundant. There are branching pathways, though not so many as in Uchikoshi's past couple of games; but they diverge perhaps more. They are also selected unintuitively, almost blindly, by means of arbitrary choices in the dream sequences; something I actually quite like, as it means I can't predict what the outcome will be. The plot itself may not be as wholly insane as some might expect - but the average level of the writing is utterly mad, with the characters zanier and bouncier than ever. It makes for a more fun read, less weighty and portentous but rather filled with greater heart that helps drive the ultimate ending home. I can't recommend it enough. It's a wild ride, and while you can't know what to expect, it's everything I wanted. Raging Loop (Switch) - So what did I go and do? Play another branching-paths visual novel straight afterwards! This is a more basic visual novel, though, where interaction is limited to advancing the text and, occasionally, to making choices. What distinguishes this game's "gameplay" is that choices are in continuity; deaths and bad ends, by and large, unlock "keys" which represent new information to the protagonist, which he can then recall at a previous route split to select a previously unavailable choice. What this means is that most "choices" are nothing of the kind and the game is actually very linear, with the major exception of a few infodump branches towards the end; but the keys and locks element contextualises the protagonist's ability to make different decisions by making those decisions informed and reasonable. It's not a bad idea, but it does mean you're likely to go into the game expecting more freedom than you'll ultimately get. Visually, the game is perhaps a step down from top-notch; it has a vaguely muted, lumpy sort of style that isn't especially appealing on its own merits, but it's appropriate to the subject matter and the occasional CGs are sometimes much more invigorating. The meat of the plot is a sort of Higurashi-Umineko-Werewolf mashup, a Shinto interpretation of a Werewolf (or Mafia) game transformed into myth and played out as deadly serious among the characters trapped in a lonely and impoverished mountain village. The characters are a better spread than they first appear; the customary visual novel standard of gradually exploring all the characters so they prove to transcend their apparently simple presentation is fully in play here. Much of the game's story, then, is taken up with battles of logic and deduction as the characters try to deceive and expose one another through careful ratiocination - or its opposite. This works brilliantly, and it's genuinely fascinating following the string of logic and trying to figure out everyone's true roles and motives. It's just towards the end that I feel the game is let down a little; the wrap-up, while clever, doesn't really follow quite the same logical or generic strand as the rest of the story, and makes some dubious decisions in terms of what it ultimately attributes to the natural and the supernatural (which is then complicated yet more by the game's bonus material). The game itself is aware of this problem, and I sympathise, but I think all or nothing would have been vastly preferable and self-consistent. Additionally, the game is stuffed with bonus material and extras. After completing the game, there are five bonus stories, special messages from every single voice actor, hidden endings - and even an innovative sort of visual novel New Game+, where an additional mode can be activated to unlock extra scenes showing the characters' inner thoughts and events where the protagonist was not present. There's actually enough of this that I haven't yet played it; from the looks of things, it's basically the size of an entire additional playthrough, so you might view it almost as a very extensive postgame. In other words, what you're getting with Raging Loop is a generous package; flawed, but giving its all. Coming up next: Innumerable; my back log has returned, more powerful than ever. But one game heads the list, and it's the one everyone's talking about right now. Bring it on, Pokémon Sword (Switch).
  15. FFWF

    Doctor Who

    For what it's worth, it seems that New Zealand TV schedules indicate that there's to be a New Year's Day special immediately followed by the new series, i.e. NYD would be the equivalent of Episode 1. Number of episodes unclear (ten or eleven?).
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