Jump to content
HelenBaby

What game are you currently playing?

Recommended Posts

Return of the Obra Dinn (Switch) - A highly unconventional sort of detective game, your goal as a nineteenth-century insurance agent is to board a ship found adrift and identify the fates of every person on board, individually, with the aid of a pocket watch which shows you the moments of their death.  With an initially somewhat clunky interface which is probably exactly as flexible as it needs to be to allow you to draw connections between names, faces, and exact manners of death, the basic gameplay loop involves exploring the ship, using the pocket watch on any corpses you find, and interpreting the final moments depicted in the vision therein.  Names are rarely given, but clues exist in costume, association, ethnic background and so on.  The game confirms correct fates only in batches of three, more or less eliminating the possibility of guesswork, whilst at the same time apparently allowing for multiple possible fates to be entered for characters whose end is genuinely open to interpretation.

What results is a strangely unputdownable game!  The flow of it, the way each piece of information reveals more, and more, is brilliant at inviting you to continue delving into the past and using deduction to identify everyone on board.  The game is in 3D but uses a one-bit aesthetic that carries an extremely retro vibe which ties in with the historical period and gloomy setting; facially, characters are just distinct enough to be individual, though by necessity very few have anything resembling characterisation - though there are some more prominent than others, with the possibility even of emergent narrative as you follow individuals through other characters' fates.  The opening section of the game is just tight enough for you to get the hang of things before throwing you into paths of deduction that sometimes branch or require particularly careful investigation of the environment, but there are always clues, both to individual character's fates but also to the origins of the situation the Obra Dinn faced in its final voyage.  One last section of the game is locked off until you get absolutely everything else right, and strangely, I feel that's the game's only misstep; the secrets hidden therein don't feel sufficiently revelatory compared to, say, some of the instigating incidents or even the bitter end (which rightly is where your investigation opens).  But the basic detective process of the game is unmissable for fans of deduction, and I can only recommend it.

Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX - A spin-off of the mainline Azure Striker Gunvolt series, this game stars angry non-psychic Copen as a defender of humanity's last vestiges in a grim alternative future.  As the series's first Switch entry, the presentation is appropriately improved from the 3DS and features greater use of full-figure dialogue images, dialogue played out over actual art rather than stock figures, fancy effects and so on.  Copen's gameplay is still reliant on dashes and lock-ons, similar to Gunvolt's remote attacks but with a lot more aerial mobility, and over the game he acquires a considerable stock of additional weapons.  The only question is: Why is it so mediocre?

In gameplay terms, very few stages have notable individual gimmicks that stand out, level design is basic and repetitive, and the weapons gained, Mega Man style, from each boss are uncompelling in relation to the core weapon.  The camera is too zoomed in for Copen's extremely long-range dashes to feel safe, and no stage really takes full advantage of his range of aerial movement either.  Purchasable upgrades exist and are uninspiring.  Visually, the game's range of settings is extremely limited and more or less boils down to corridor after boring corridor, with little variation or stylistic individuality.  The bosses are more or less interestingly designed, but often disguised by so many flashy effects that one scarcely gets a good look at them; their untransformed designs feature even more briefly.  And, having criticised the same developer's Blaster Master Zero 2 for trading in its formerly restrained and fresh style for stock anime tropes, it is a huge disappointment to see this game feature no fewer than three separate visually underage girls who are also criminally underdressed; if a game feels obliged to pander to literal paedophiles, this says very little about their faith in the rest of their product.

The game's writing, too, largely falls flat.  Characters exist so briefly that they barely even have time to establish the stereotype they represent, let alone subvert it; certainly it's difficult to even care about the support characters Copen is fighting for, since they never do anything useful or interesting.  (Ironically, the most interesting, motivated character is the game's Gunvolt analogue, whom I'd happily play a game about.)  Copen himself doesn't even seem to care, as his characterisation shoots for "stoic" and ends up so flat it looks shallow.  There's simply no passion at work, nothing to move, no reason to care about the stakes - which don't really evolve at all from the game's start to finish; it feels like the whole game is just Act 1 to an undelivered Act 2.  Questions which the player should have, like how this game's plot relates to the main timeline or how Copen still looks the same as ever, are undermined by the game not troubling to even treat them as mysteries until they are at the last minute resolved.  The only good thing I can think of to say is that Copen's reinvention as defender of the oppressed is certainly an improvement from his former characterisation as psychopath who wishes to enact genocide upon the oppressed, though given that the game's premise implicitly validates his original racist characterisation then it's not much of an improvement.  I don't remember the previous titles very well, but I'm sure they had at least a little more meat to them than this - though frankly the whole experience was so dull that I eventually found myself rushing to the end.  I used to regard Inti Creates as fairly reliable; hopefully they'll pick up, but I'll be looking on their output with skepticism from now on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So in my typical CROW fashion I am playing several games once again and never going to finish at any rate

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Ok I absolutely love the Castlevania and I wanted to play a simple game so I picked up Bloodstained. As everyone knows by now its a Metroidvania that's Iga's love letter to the very thing he got kicked from making. I'm actually pretty on board with this game; Its just that I suck at the genre. I love the themes and atmosphere from the game as well as being a fun platformer with a ton of RPG elements. You know I was really surprised by the customization by this game because I equipped a stone mask for the stats and it actually appeared on Miriam's model and I burst out laughing because of how goofy it looks. Thankfully there's better customization options later on to the point where I made Miriam look like an Aikatsu character. Anyways the combat is simple effective and there's a lot of exploration to be had. Its just that I'm a complete idiot at navigating through the whole thing. There was this part in the library that was showing you can move bookcases with Miriam's hand and I didn't pick on the fact this would be in fact a mechanic used in the level so I ended up passing up on the level for a while before finding that out and learning that's where you get the double jump ability. But yeah still me problems aside its been a fun game so far and I really wish I didn't had to use a guide for it because I like learning new locales by myself but its life.

Sonic Team Racing

Who would had thought I'd be playing this game? I do plan on doing a review on this game at some point but I'll just generalize my thoughts here. Sonic Team Racing is pretty interesting as it tries to be different from the crowd with the team mechanics and it works? In Adventure mode they make sure everyone has a balanced team so you can pick whoever and your teammates will follow. Your team will always support you in some way like for example whoever is in your team is ahead of the back will leave a slipstream and riding it will give you a gradual boost called a Slingshot boost and if your teammate spins out you can recover them somewhat with a boost by driving nearby them but this sometimes doesn't work for me because when it happens to me I usually don't have control and fly off a cliff. I also like how they did try to make every character class unique too so they kind of play a role in the team like the Speed characters being able to deflect projectiles at the start of a boost for example. I was surprised how well thought out it was. However I found the game too chaotic for my liking as the CPU likes to crowd together and the race can change in an instant. I also for the longest time didn't know what any of the items did so most of the time I didn't know what was going on. But I noticed there was a distinct lack of defense here too since the only way I can tell for blocking is by using the Cube Wisp and the most dangerous thing is the Team Ultimate that works like a Star that everyone can use with the power of teamwork or something. The story is alright, the character roster feels kind of small, and the only unlockables is skins and cart upgrades. And there are some level gimmicks I don't like in Adventure mode like the Daredevil Challenges but eh its not a bad game, just an alright one. I think I'm rambling now so moving on.

Crystar

This was a genuine surprise for me. Crystar is a very depressing action JRPG similar to Drakengard and NieR where you play as a girl who accidentally kills her sister in the afterlife and now has to journey through it while gaining the souls of people to bring her back to life through the power of tears. The game itself is pretty simple enough as is; You hack and slash through enemies while getting bigger stats. It has quick attacks and heavy attacks like one but it lacks any defensive options other than a quick dash meaning you have to learn how to avoid damage from enemies to succeed. There's also special attacks that be done at anytime and can fit the situation when needed like a spin attack or a more damaging hurricane move. Its your typical dungeon crawler but I really like how it plays. There's also a super mode where after attacking or being attacked fills up a tear meter which activating when its full lets you summon your STAND to give you more damage and a super move. I think the real heart of the game is the story though. There's a ton of world building in this game, from enemy backstory to how things work in Purgatory. The story really does focus a lot on the character's issues as well and it wears its Drakengard inspirations on its sleeves because the characters know they're doing something wrong but go with it anyways because they're forced to do it due to being contracted by a pair of demon twins. I do find the characters relatable somewhat though because they're all going through some tough times. And goddamn I am in love with this game's visually and character design so much. I can't really describe what I really like about it but its moody yet mature about it? I don't know but I really love it.

I do have a few gripes however. I really don't like playing as Kokoro. She's fine as a character but she doesn't play too well. She's the hard hitting brawler of the group who focuses on single targets which isn't a problem, in fact I would be 100% on board with. Its just that her combo strings suck ass compared to everyone else. She only has 3 hit combos that just feel so clunky. If she does the full 3 hits she can't even combo into her strong moves. Rei is just so much better to play as due to having longer combo strings that can combo into her stronger moves while having a special moves that have utility like a spin attack to deal with crowds and a projectile. Kokoro just feels incomplete as a playable character and maybe that will change over time but she doesn't feel fun to play as. I also don't find the music to be memorable either. I remember the bedroom base music the most because I end up being in there most of the time. It doesn't help that this is the kind of game I'd play a podcast to. But overall I really love this game so far. It has a lot of things I love in a video game; Moody atmosphere, interesting story, and fast gameplay. I feel like this is the kind of game I need right now despite it being depressing because of how simple the gameplay is while having great characters.

I did buy a lot of games this week but I haven't really touched them yet because of Crystar but I'll get to them eventually. lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thoughts on BAYONETTA after revisiting it for the first time in like 5 years:

 

Spoiler

This cast of  character is a fucking joy, which is a good thing because outside of that this game wasn't the gold standard for action games that I remember it being. 

I've always been called crazy for being on the "Bayonetta games have good stories" train but I stand by it. The PLOT is kind of stupid and makes no fucking sense but on a scene by scene basis these characters are just too much fun for me not to adore them. Bayonetta is one of my favorite protagonists ever just because of her unique sense of style and how it comes out in the gameplay and story. The extended cast just exists to bring out different sides of her that just make you like her even more. The action scenes get the blood pumping and the jokes are great. 

I went in deliberately trying to use some new tech and weapons I didn't know about on previous runs and found myself short on places to use them on: The game is surprisingly scarce on just plain mob fights which is a shame because they're the most enjoyable part. The enemies are pretty varied and fleshed out. Some of them rely a little too hard on me hugging the dodge button but I was using dodge offset from the beginning which alleviated a lot of that. The core gimmick of witch timing and stacking on a bunch damage was still satisfying as hell too and I like the variety in terms of combat encounters. I was a little more aware of what each combo and move did this time too so it felt like I had more ways to mess around. I value how much you can fuck with your opponents in action games so I'm glad they don't disappoint here. 

The thing that bugged me more was how much the game relied on setpieces and QTEs in the second half. There are a couple of "gotcha" ones in cutscenes that are annoying but won't really be a problem at all after you know how to look for them: Maybe that's Kamiya's usual heavy handed way of encouraging players to replay levels for a better score. The ones where you have to mash the button seem ill fitting in a technical game like this since it doesn't feel like decision making, execution or timing are being tested. My hands just aren't built for mashing so it felt like I was taking free damage sometimes when it didn't seem fair. 

The game pushes for a lot of content and variety which is a good thing in a genre where the games can be a little on the short side, but a lot of the more "out there" sequences and bosses make replaying segments kind of a chore. There are lots of ways for me to do things differently on these mob enemy encounters but not so much on the  multiphase cinematic boss battles, puzzles or the minigame segments like the shoot em up or the motorcycle. 
 

It was still a fun time but I had to take it down a couple of notches. Below the DMC games and stuff like Ninja Gaiden/MGR but above most of the genre still. Well worth the price if you haven't played it though. It's fun.

Granblue Fantasy VS

Spoiler

I've been craving something slower paced since DBF S3 took off and this hits the spot. It's got some problems that come from conceding to less skilled players but I knew that would be the case going into it. There's still enough for me to dig my teeth into that I have fun with it. I don't really like to criticize fighting games too heavily while I'm still learning so I'll focus on the positives. 

It's a beautiful game and the characters are really distinct. I was drawn to Narmaya because of the stance switching and the general butterfly themed flair she carries with every sword strike but I like Zeta too. Despite how simple it is and how auto combos work I feel like the game discourages you from mashing and asks you to think more abut which buttons to press overall if you actually want to get somewhere. If you wanted to start learning how to play fighting games I actually think this is as good as it gets. It pushes all the fundamentals without being too overwhelming in terms of options. 

Again though because the focus is on being accessible some options feel just a little too powerful with how easy they are to use? Losing isn't always gonna feel great in any fighting game, but in Granblue it can feel unearned more often than I'd like with how many safe moves and completely batshit supers there are. 
 


Spyro Reignited Trilogy(I haven't finished it yet. )

Spoiler

I beat the first game and got close to the end of the second. I'm not sure when I'll get back to it but it's fun. 

The first game was cool but I was kinda "Over it" a while before I was done. Even though this was a remaster it felt like they were dedicated to retaining as much of that clunk as possible. More precise platforming and the flying levels didn't control great. Enemies felt kind of obnoxious to fight with their fast attack animations. The usual locks on progress unless you collect _ kept feeling arbitrary. It was never really all that difficult but it felt like it was poking and prodding me all the time with little annoyances. 

The second one in particular really clicking with me because of the additions to Spyro's kit. It's really fun to explore with him and the little "side missions" in each level are usually a good distraction. I like that the option is there to poke around each stage and play the side objective to get the most out of it or make a beeline for the goal. Each level definitely feels kinda formulaic but it's a good formula and no matter how you decide to play it it won't be long before the game is chucking the next thing at you. 

I like how they tried a little more with the storytelling. It's kinda basic but it's cute how each level has a little scenario that plays out like an episode of a cartoon. 


 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been on a Fire Emblem kick of as of late.

I got Three Houses for Christmas, and it is excellent, a must have for any Switch owner. I do have a few complaints (all spoilery) though:

Spoiler
  • Crimson Flower is only eighteen chapters long and they relegate the battle against Those Who Slither in the Dark to narration after the final chapter. Why? Edelgard has the most personal connection to them; Ii's baffling that her route would be one of the ones where you don't get to face them.
  • Silver Snow is just Verdant Wind without Claude. All the levels except are the same, except for the final bosses and SS skipping Blood of the Eagle and Lion. Plus the only major revelation that is made on SS that you don't get in VW is also covered by the new DLC story, making it even more redundant.
  • White Clouds is the same on every route. While its kind of to be expected it doesn't change that no matter what house you choose the first twelve chapters are 100% identical.

 

Then I got around to playing the copy of Path of Radiance I got a while back. It's definitely among the better Fire Emblem games. Pro-Tip: Set animations to fast if you don't want to spend an hour watching your Knights plod across the map.

After that the only logical thing to do was play Radiant Dawn, which I'm in the middle of now. I don't like that they removed support conversations but at least the base conversations and cutscenes keep the non-Lord characters from being the total non-entities they are in Shadow Dragon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bought inBento on the Switch.  Clicked right along through almost half of it before getting stuck.  Now it's taking me several brief sessions to get through some of the puzzles.  (I got it because I don't currently have time for long game sessions.)  Basically a short game, but was on sale when I got it, and very cute with the kitty-cat family photos unveiled as you progress.

No Man's Sky and Elder Scrolls Online continue alternately on the PS4.  Just earned a Living Ship in NMS, white with Metallic green trim, and got my first freighter on my day 1 save, so I can run frigate missions and bring in more cash. Mostly, I still just ramble like an old-timey prospector - no intensive farming or mining, just wander around exploring, collecting and selling what I find, plus the frigate missions and occasional trips to my small farm to harvest, construct and sell.  I can now expand my mechanical ship's storage space to max for a whole lot of units, so I'm occasionally adding more storage space. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Playing Pokemon White 2 for the first time.

Don't know why I never played it when it first came out. I mean, I always bought the "third" versions on release day, but this one, an actual full-blown sequel, I just...ignored. Then I bought it several years later and STILL never played it.

Now with my backlog cleaned out, I finally booted the game up. Fantastic game, of course. Got two more gyms to go. Can't wait to check out the World Tournament.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Starter Paper Beast on the PSVR - I've been waiting for it since it was supposed to come out in October (Oct 2019, that is).  Wonderful surreal creatures in an abstract environment with puzzles that I have twice spent large amounts of time trying to solve incorrectly.  (e.g. Huge pile of sand with 'jeweled crabs' moving it around in a cave.  I spent half an hour trying to get them to pile the sand so that I could reach the exit . . . only to finally realize it was the wrong 'exit'.)  I understand that the actual game playthrough is relatively short, but there's also a sandbox mode to set up your own paper critter-infested world.  Paper dog-likes, crocodiles, paper and shell tortoises who produce sand, a guide creature like a  multilegged wire sauropod and another like a paper ragmop.  The downside is teleport movement only (which actually doesn't bother me much in this game) and click turns (which DO).  But they should not be reasons to skip the game if you have VR.

Also bought Panzer Dragoon on the Switch but haven't started it quite yet.  Am keeping up with my Ring Fit, which just got jogging and rhythm games added.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CONTROL

Spoiler

From the jump this game doesn't waste your time, throwing you into the deep end of a pool filled with beings from alternate dimensions, telepathy, objects that possess reality bending powers and an organization dedicated to covering it all up that's finding itself overwhelmed by it. 

 

The main character, Jesse, defied what I thought I was getting from this game right off the bat by moving very fast. She feels refreshingly good to control, throwing weighty realism out for something much more responsive. The game in general has the snappy feel of any good action game: Actions are only delayed when it serves a mechanical purpose like the reload system. The bureau's mazelike offshoots and paths usually have shortcuts that lead back around to your next objective. Cutscenes are surprisingly minimal, with monologues, lore tapes and videos there who want to dig deep into the FBC"s history but the game is open for you to make a beeline through it if you want, too. It's a game that doesn't want to waste your time. 

There's some metroid-lite exploring and puzzle solving that's kind of hit or miss. There are a lot of nooks and crannies in the bureau, but most of it doesn't seem to be worth poking around so far as there's not a whole lot to find. Optional side quests serve as a fun distraction, but there aren't too many of those.

The real star of the show is the combat: where the sense of style running underneath the game's initial missions is embraced completely and you're thrown into chaotic, destructive action that feels like something out of a goddamn hollywood movie, but in a good way where you're in complete control of the whole thing. Jesse wields the Service Weapon: One gun that has a couple of different firing modes and generates it's own ammo instead of relying on enemy pickups. I didn't get why at first but it's one of those things along with the lack of a real cover system that controls the pace of the combat: You can't sit in one place or rely on your pistol forever, you have to change it up and rely on one of Jesse's newfound powers. 

Point the reticle at pretty much anything in a given room: A piece of junk. Furniture. A rock. A trash can. Jess will pick it up using telepathy and chuck it at whoever you want. It usually does less blunt damage than the gun but staggers your foes along with operating on a lock on making it easier to land in a pinch. It's an ability you can use at any time: Even when Jesse has nothing to pick up in her immediate vicinity she'll rip out a chunk of wall or floor. With almost everything in a given room being interactive and destructible in this way the combat makes you and your enemies feel insanely powerful as entire rooms are trashed by the conflicts. It feels like a big budget action sequence without ever taking control away from you.

The particle effects and destruction in the game can be a bit excessive. Playing the game on a base PS4 will lead to frequent frame drops that mostly get in the way of the fast paced action. This adds to the game's visual noise to produce and insane lack of clarity sometimes. In a game this reliant on making quick decisions based on observing your surroundings, this is a shame and probably my biggest problem with the game.

Overall though I'm enjoying it a lot. It's on sale right now so check it out if it sounds like something you'd bne into.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm diving deep into the Switch after I ignored it during December-January period.

Luigi's Mansion 3, Shantae Half-Genie Hero (Ultimate), ARMS (Trial), more Smash Ultimate and Pokemon Sword online.

I'd love to buy AC New Horizons but my plate is so full at the moment, I don't have neither time or money now, despite being still at home, I want to buy it as the it's the trend of the moment and it's making me excited.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aviary Attorney (Switch) - While this game makes absolutely no secret of its Ace Attorney inspirations, something which is welcome in this official drought for the series, it's actually got quite a bit more going for it than that.  Its fusion of the music of Saint-Saëns and the satirical art of J. J. Grandville (both supplemented with original material) create an entirely fresh and original atmosphere relative to Ace Attorney, and its setting in revolutionary France is surprisingly well-researched for a game about humanoid animals.  The trials themselves aren't quite the epic showpieces of Ace Attorney, but as bite-sized approximations they're fairly comfortable, though the final one for each branch feels a little brief; but it is impressive that the game does branch, that it remembers your choices and mistakes and takes them with you through your playthrough without ever shutting you down with a game over, allowing you to botch each and every trial and still continue to an ending.  The result is really quite a different experience from Ace Attorney; and feels perhaps closest to its inspirations less in its investigation-and-trial formula than in its eclectic assortment of lovably off-kilter characters.  I don't know if I got what I came for, but I got something I valued.

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition (Switch) (Act 1) - So I probably didn't need to get this.  I have something of a taste for classic RPGS (or perhaps more classic-style RPGs, which isn't the same thing), and am interested in important, landmark titles; but I'm still not sure whether or not I was right to buy into this, the latest entry in that most traditional of RPG series, Dragon Quest.  There's no doubting its quality, though.  The game is gorgeous, somehow even on a handheld Switch; the story is an old one, but well-told, and not without twists and turns that keep it interesting; and the characters and locations are all tremendously jolly and well-distinguished.  The battle system is largely brainless but each character has opportunities for customisation through a skill tree system, perhaps taking inspiration but much improved from Dragon Quest VIII, which also feels like a clear influence in the game's wide-open fields and routes which are nonetheless stuffed with details; the game feels like what Pokemon Sword and Shield wanted to be.  I've laid the game down for a while after what the fans seem to agree constitutes "Act 1"; it's a long title, and this feels like a good time for a pause, as between seasons of a television show.  But I'll be back for the next season, sometime in the next couple of months; but I want it to feel fresh and something to look forward to again, rather than getting stale from too long a duration.

Bravely Default II (Switch) (demo) - I would have considered myself a bit of a fan of the Bravely series.  I played both Bravely Default and Bravely Second back on the 3DS; and while they certainly had their flaws in the writing department, they were also excellent classic-style RPGs, largely in the customisation permitted by their Final-Fantasy-V-style job system, though their charming chibi art was also fairly appealing (if sometimes a deeply poor fit with its outfit designs).  So, I was quite looking forward to the eventual Switch entry, and keen, once the demo was announced, to give it a go.  So, the question is: What went wrong?  This demo feels like a straight botch on just about every level.  (Except perhaps the difficulty; they announce up-front that they're making it more difficult than the final product, a deeply strange choice, but once you level up a bit and get your jobs in place, it's not so bad.)

The menus are a strange mix of overwhelming information and obtuse use, with different buttons required for tooltips in different areas, panels covering up relevant data, a presentation that tries to be stylish but sucks the magic out of changing class.  Classifying the borrowing of another job's command list as a "sub-job" system, meanwhile, makes it feel quite unfair that you don't get a jot of JP towards it from each battle, meaning the game feels grindier than it needs to be.  The enemy graphics are charmless, as are the visuals in the demo's sole dungeon, an abominably-designed waste of space made up of large amounts of nothingness offset at perfect right-angles; clothes look weirdly flashy and reflective, and the camera in the town is zoomed out much too far, leaving you squinting at your character and the virtual stick figures he runs into.  Worse, in the graphics department, is the attempt to render the series's trademark chibi art in more realistic details, leaving the characters, who look great in their concept art, looking like horrid muscular infants.  But the biggest botch exists in changes to the battle system: Instead of queuing up your whole party's moves in advance and playing them out against the enemy, characters now take their turns individually, and different actions appear to have different, unpredictable levels of delay before their turn will come up again - with the result that you never have any idea whose turn it is going to be next, and strategy is impossible.  It's not unusual to take a turn, only for that character to then immediately get another turn!

Perhaps it's just because I've been playing Dragon Quest XI, but it feels like they tried to copy that game without understanding how it interacted with their own series's standards.  In fact, in general, the whole game presented thus far feels like the developers were making changes without understanding, without thinking about the consequences or indeed about what they were losing with each change.  There are a sparse few successes; the differing degrees of elevation on the world map are a cool touch, and indeed the world map is one of the few parts of the game that honestly looks good; and the designs of the new job classes are great, interesting and exciting all round and often avoiding the generic, or indeed the male-female dichotomy of boring-sexy which previous games' job designs fell into.  (It's just a shame that weird reflections and ugly character models detract from these fresh, interesting designs.)  But overall, from having gone into this experience fairly excited about the prospect of a new Bravely title, I now find myself actively turned off from ever getting it when it comes out, if it doesn't get some serious improvements... which seems unlikely with a 2020 release date on the horizon.  I would be comfortable with the thought of it being delayed into 2021 if it meant the developers overhauling their menu design, battle system, and lighting; but I don't expect it to happen, and so am left with the disappointment of knowing I'm probably not going to bother with the game.  What a shame - but a good thing they released a demo, though!

Trials of Mana (Switch) (demo) - This, on the other hand!  I have no familiarity with the Mana series whatsoever, but this was a definite breath of fresh air.  Everything is brimming with colour, life, energy in this short slice of the upcoming remake.  The graphics are lively and charming, the character designs are... perhaps better suited to 2D than 3D but I appreciate that they were so faithful to the original, and as an action game it's accessible and easy to learn in a way I appreciate as someone largely unfamiliar with such things.  I'm a little dubious about systems where you choose your party rather than getting a pre-set one which can have strong ties written over the course of the game, but Trials Of Mana papers over the cracks pretty well, and I appreciate that you have such a diverse set of options for your main character.  I'm not anticipating getting the full game, largely as I have a pretty massive backlog... but if I end up with a Bravely-Default-II-sized gap in my calendar, I know where I'll be looking instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Currently playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Sonic Mania.

New Horizons has mostly lived up to my expectations despite a few rough edges which are being fixed through updates. They also brought a lot back from the original Nintendo 64/GameCube Animal Crossing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Resident Evil remake on steam.  It's very tense and the limited save ribbons really make you think if it's a good idea to save your progress or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went back to DQXI to do the Tickington quests and there's a lot of charm to revisiting the old 2D style of Dragon Quest and seeing past worlds, some of which I can recognize and others not as much. I get really giddy with all the Dragon Quest V-related quests and homages, in particular when you find Sabre wandering around in the Chateau de Felix (DQVIII) and you need Bianca's ribbon to bring him home. It really gives me the itch to go back and play those older games and familiarize myself with the series. Though that does raise an issue with these quests as they are, in many ways, designed to be fanservice rather than just introductions to the older games. I've gotten more than a few questlines already that require me to travel to different DQ worlds to collect things or find certain characters to complete them. Sure I can just stumble around from one book to the next following hints in the questlog, complete other quests as I go along, and sometimes I get lucky that where I need to go is actually listed on the books in Tickington, but it'd be helpful if every book had summaries that tell you where you're going to land when you select a section. Still though, I'm having a blast experiencing these bite-sized moments of Dragon Quest history.

I'm also very slowly making my way through the postgame. I started it back in January, got a few hours in, and was rather put off by the premise of it that I honestly considered stopping there and didn't touch the game for months.

Spoiler

While not without interesting elements, the idea of going back in time to revive Veronica and effectively reset your party members to their states prior to them getting scattered in Act 2 really put a bad taste in my mouth that I'm not sure I'm going to shake even when I do decide to continue with the main quest. Veronica's sacrifice and the dark situation Mordegon threw the world into directly affected each and every single character in positive ways, extending their skill trees, giving them new abilities, and allowing them to face issues they were otherwise avoiding before. The main game's emotional core felt like it was ripped out for no reason other than to put Veronica back in the party. Sure, there's things to learn about Erdwin's Lantern but it didn't require this time travel storyline to do it.

It made me think of if Chrono Trigger, upon Crono's death, set off a chain reaction of events that led to the personal growth of Marle and the other party members as they effect positive change in the world while fighting Queen Zeal and Lavos, and when it came time to revive Crono it meant that all the effort was undone instantly--but you're also forced to proceed that way rather than having the option of ignoring it.

I get that Chrono Trigger and Dragon Quest treat time travel very differently, and thematically I think the idea of having to sacrifice all you gained to save someone else is powerful. I really liked Veronica, and was happy to see her again, but in the back of my mind I'm still thinking of the main adventure and what the party went through that it's always going to sour my view of the game a bit. It's entirely possible the rest of the postgame story might improve for me over time, but right now it's hard for me to overlook its premise as anything other than disappointing.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

La-Mulana 2 (Switch) - I like puzzles; and, for my sins, I like video game, exploration, dungeon puzzles.  So naturally I was aware of La-Mulana; but also, necessarily, of its reputation.  Eventually, I saw an LP of that game, and as much as I enjoyed it, some of the puzzles there seemed deeply dubious.  But La-Mulana 2, on the other hand, was reputed to be fairer; and, if true, it would be right up my alley.  I decided to give it a shot.  And let me say, no regrets!  It's been too long since I've played a properly explorey Metroidvania, with so many options for where to go at all times, so many secrets.  Tricky platforming, challenging multi-option combat that didn't go on too long - these alone would have won me over.  But nobody can talk about La-Mulana without mentioning the puzzles, and I was determined to tackle them right - even keeping an Excel file in which I recorded my own annotated maps, and a Word file transcribing just about every single tablet and line of dialogue.  And the result paid off!  The game has a good mix of trivial per-room puzzles and high-level puzzles requiring synthesising information from across a dizzying variety of locations; and by and large, they're all legitimate, fair to the player who's paying attention.  There are still a few wrinkles, though; a few things I looked up, because I wasn't sure if I was missing something or if the game wasn't telling me something - and there were instances of the latter (some I suspect of being down to questionable localisation - but what a hard game to localise at all, though!).  But overall, I'm really happy to have played this and to have given it my all.  Here's hopefully to the Hell-plus bonus dungeon arriving one day, and to any future efforts along these lines!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve been playing a lot of Golden Sun lately. It’s highly underrated. I played it before but never fully beat the game. I’m playing it again currently with the intent to beat it. This game still holds up well despite how old it is. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Xenoblade Chronicles DE on the Switch.  I played some on the Wii but something interrupted me and I never got back into it.  I did buy the 3DS version, but I'm not sure I even started it.  I actually remembered one of the early cutscenes, but only after watching several I had no memory of at all. 

I'll probably be doing No Man's Sky and Elder Scrolls Online on the PS4 until the PS5 comes out.  The 3DS doesn't get much use nowadays.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm currently playing Bug Fables, a spiritual successor to the classic Paper Mario games, and I am loving it so far.

I'm only three chapters in, but I definitely recommend it to turn-based RPG fans, and fans of the old Mario RPGs in particular. It's a great time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tatsunoko vs Capcom. I’ve been emulating it a lot on Dolphin since I got my new laptop. The game’s always been my personal favorite fighting game, and it’s super nice to be able to play it at a higher resolutions and with others through netplay. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well its been a while but I've been slowly cleaning things from my backlog. Yeah it got bigger but its being take care of, one game at a time.

Maneater

I actually 100% this game the other day and got the Platinum which is a very rare game. I really like this game for being dumb fun when I needed it. There's something rather cathartic about being a shark able to do anything with some funny commentary to boot. However it does have its flaws. Early game it can be pretty rough in the early game because alligators tend to be stronger than you and if you're trying to clear things away they will be a pain to deal with due to that massive power gap. The game itself can be kind of clunky at times; There's times where you have to make big jumps to get collectibles but I got really frustrated with the physics for this one licence plate because my shark wouldn't go far or high enough but also it sometimes did a flip so it just jumps back into the water. It kind of pissed me off. Also predators will always attack you, even if you're overleveled compared to them. I try to mind my business when doing missions but all of a sudden I get barracuda'd because I was there at the wrong time. But once you become stronger with upgrades the game gets really fun. I'll admit the game scared me at a few points, particularly The Gulf area where its a very vast and open ocean where the rest of the game takes place around cities so its scary because of that depth and the fact the Sperm Whales are pretty scary here that I didn't want to deal with the Apex. At the end of the day its just fun being a shark but I actually do feel hungry for more since it was easy to find everything thanks to the sonar.

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea

I beaten Atelier Escha (though I still haven't done Logy's story but that's for another time) and I wanted to move on to the next game so now I'm at Shallie and wow I'm actually in love with this game. Its about 2 girls both nicknamed Shallie, one is from a far off country who's looking to solve its water problem, the other is a girl who's living in the poor part of town and dreams of doing something but not sure on what to do. You pick one of them and they have their own stories. I was originally thinking of going with Shallitersa but I ended up really loving Shallotte to the point where she's my favorite Atelier protagonist. I really like her design, she's a fun character without being annoying in some way, a relatable character who's looking for a goal in life, and she's voiced by Sumire Usesaka which is a plus by me. I really love the setting they went with. The Dusk Sea is pretty interesting design wise. Its a massive desert but its actually a dried up dessert littered with whale bones and dead anemones which is the kind of imagery I like seeing. The setting does seem a bit bleak but its still pretty light hearted. I was happy to see Wilbell return as she grew up and she ends up being Shallie's master which is kind of funny but she came a long way from Ayesha. I really like the new characters too like Miruca the "rival" alchemist and Homura the hominculus who's like a wandering samurai. The game's fun and I feel bad for sleeping on it when it first came out but now I get to experience it. My only complaint is how different the alchemy system is compared to the last game; You have to put in everything at once but skills got nerfed because they need a slot to be used and most of the early game ingredients don't have many slots and most of the items don't seem like they can get their full potential out, at least yet. I have to play more but I am thankful there isn't a time limit anymore so I can play the game at my own pace at least.

Persona 5 The Royal

After thinking about it for a while I decided to grab this while its on sale. My experience with the original was ok but I was wondering what changes they've added to the game and so far outside a few scenes with Kasumi and guns having full ammo every battle I didn't see anything too different yet, keyword yet because I'm still starting out. The hype for this game kind of fizzled out so I'm trying to look at the game a bit more objectively. However this time around I am playing the game in Japanese because I heard there was an all star cast and I don't regret the decision. I love Nana Mizuki, Rina Sato, and Sugita but I lost it when I found out that Morgana was voiced by the voice of Pikachu herself Ikue Ohtani. I also can't take Ryuji too seriously because I'm used to Mamoru Miyano's more comedic roles but he does a good job. And lastly I was actually shocked that the Velvet Room twins were voiced by Aki Toyosaki which threw me into a loop because I'm still used to her higher pitched and sillier roles like Yui Hiwasawa and Uiharu Kazari, though I did hear her as Altair, the antagonist of Re:Creators which kind of shows her range. But yeah me geeking out aside I just started Kamoshida's palace but I might be having more fun than when my first playthrough. I do want to see what Royal changed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Switch) - Well, here it is, the new non-Castlevania Igavania from the man who made it his name.  It's got all the familiar tropes - expansive castle with all kinds of different areas, a light-touch plot as you run into characters on your travels, you can absorb powers from your enemies, there are crafting and equipment systems all up the wazoo.  Everything but the kitchen sink.  I'm a huge fan of this style of Castlevania.  So... why was I not feeling it that much?  Partly it must be, of course, the infamous technical failings of the Switch version; which I gather is largely the publisher's fault rather than the developer, but even so, it's there, with noticeable loading times between rooms and on loading (don't ever die) and graphical effects which don't quite gel (and occasionally glitch).  I didn't suffer any crashes, but the final boss got very laggy at times.  Additionally, I think it's that a lot of the last few Metroidvanias I've played have had slightly more depth to their areas - La-Mulana 2 and Hollow Knight are tough competition, and the various areas of this castle felt somewhat shallow and aimless.  The plot feels like a more complicated version of Order Of Ecclesia, with the protagonist blatantly derived from Shanoa but dressed in bad cosplay, and the cutscenes are so infrequent and so awkwardly-staged that it's hard to really care - though I did appreciate that there were a few twists along the way to the end.  A lot of what really nagged at me, though, was the ever-present shadow of grinding - oh, it was all optional, but there's so much stuff you can grind, grind numbers of your shards, upgrades for your shards, grind to fuse items, food, master techniques...  There's just too much, and it overshadows, I think, the simple fun of picking up whatever cool powers appeal most to you and blasting your way through with them.  The game is at its best when you're messing around with a variety of powers and choosing where to go next - but even that feels a lot less open past perhaps the early midgame; the bottlenecking is too transparent, and it's not hard to soon become aware that actually, you don't have all that many choices after all.  By the end, I was having fun; but I feel like they concentrated more on just chucking everything in without looking too hard at seeing if it sticks.  Still, first effort from a newly-formed development team, and once they're past the inevitable mountain of Kickstarter add-ons, I hope they'll take a hard look at what worked and what didn't, and build something narratively deeper and more liberating in gameplay to follow.  (Oh, and something which actually works on my console.)

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - Zangetsu Mode (Switch) - This, though, is actually a lot more liberating, strangely, for having so many fewer options available.  It's a classic Castlevania-style extra playable character, where the idea is simply to adventure around as you see fit with a wildly different moveset and none of the fluff or story (though there is a unique final boss).  With all your moves unlocked from the beginning, pathing your way around the castle is much more free as the only barrier is the strength of the local enemies; you can challenge yourself to go places you really shouldn't, go in the wrong direction, make a mockery of the original sequence, dancing around with your weird new moveset.  Still, it is pretty awkward when you happen to run into yourself (twice), and the tutorial on Zangetsu's moves really should have been tucked into his pause menu as well as in his starting room.  Furthermore, while this mode is pretty fast-moving, that also means that you have a tendency to end up wildly underlevelled towards the end, at which point Zangetsu's moveset honestly starts to feel rather restricting compared to what you had available in the main game.  All still beatable, though; but it becomes more of a challenge mode - and perhaps that's what it should have been.  I had to put far more work in to actually learn the bosses and read their moves than I ever did with Miriam, and I suppose you might say that that's what the game really should be like (as opposed to mulching the final boss in seconds with endgame equipment).  So, no regrets - and I look forward to the additional modes to be added later in the year.

Pokemon Sword: Isle of Armor (Switch) - I'm a single-player Pokemon player.  I don't care about multiplayer, competitive, bringing my Pokemon between generations - I just want to go on an adventure with my monster gang.  In that respect, the main game was a little bit of a letdown.  So I was actually somewhat surprised to enjoy this as much as I did!  The Wild Area overworld of the Isle of Armor is so much more interestingly-designed than that of the main game, a squirrely, interconnected maze of different biomes, that it was actually a lot of fun to explore and get lost in and did a lot more than the main game to sell me on the open-world vision of Pokemon.  Mind you, I will never stop wanting puzzles!  But this was compelling - more so than the Isle of Armor subplot, which is serviceable and has fun characters but is ultimately just a bit of fluff that serves to put a new toy in your hands.  Roll on Crown Tundra, then!

Brigandine: The Legend of Runersia (Switch) (demo) - An interesting taster for a strategy title that's fairly choice-rich in this market, if also distinctly on the esoteric side.  Six different sides exist in this game's conflict, each with their own (presumably rather sparingly-told) narrative, and you can choose any of them and reshuffle your available characters as you like, expanding across the map with complete choice in direction, very much like a board game.  When invading a new territory, you'll enter a hex-based map where you and the opponent will spawn in three characters each, alongside, and this is the major selling point, a variety of summoned fantasy beasts; and go at it hammer and tongs in classic strategy gameplay until one side emerges the victor.  There's a hell of a lot more to it than that; menus, stat screens, sidequests and training, all manner of micromanaging and economics to take care of; but the demo gives you a decent slice of what it's all going to be about.  This one will fly over the heads of most players - me included, I'm afraid; but I imagine its niche will lap it up.

Tangle Tower (Switch) - I've owned this game for a good long while, but only got around to playing it very recently, and I have to say: Why did I wait so long, as this is one of the most up-my-street games I've played in a while.  Tangle Tower is a cartoon-styled murder mystery game (with roots in the Flash era!), extremely distinctive and well-realised setting and characters, and surprisingly sensitive, compassionate writing.  The mechanics of the plot are very much rooted in the barely-possible, but there is genuine understanding of the human condition in the writing.  There's plenty of gameplay in there too, though, exploiting the possibilities that only exist in a game!  The game is rife with puzzles to unlock evidence; deductions, too, are presented in a game format where you have to choose the right evidence and the right interactions between evidence items to proceed.  More significantly, though, is the amount of freedom of choice you have in much of the game.  After the opening, you can visit any of the cast in any order, and proceed around the game's setting with almost complete freedom; it's very open.  Only once the game approachs its denouement does it narrow into a greater linearity - a fact which makes something of a farce of the game's chapter divisions, as the first one or two are pretty ample as you make your way around the setting, while the last... three, four?  Pile on in quick succession.  But that's not a fault.  If the game has faults, it's that it runs a bit brief in its denouement - there's one feature of the murder which I found particularly intriguing and which is ultimately unexplained, though that's not to say that it can't be explained (it can, I know how it was done, they just don't say it).  Similarly, there isn't really a sense of finality to any of the puzzles or deductions; never a sense that "this is the big one, no more after this so we're going all-out".  But overall, I have no qualms about calling this a great game for those inclined towards this sort of thing, and I eagerly look forward to a further installment.

Death Come True (Switch) - A curious experiment from Danganronpa maestro Kazutaka Kodaka, this title is less so much a game and more an interactive movie, playing out for a movie's length of runtime with periodic choices which, if you choose poorly, quickly lead to bad ends.  Rife with tropes from the Kodaka stable and with rather less choice than the marketing would imply - in a strange way, rather less of a cast than the marketing would imply, as a couple of characters barely interface with with the plot at all - this title feels strangely abbreviated, as if it were cut short from what was planned, or in some way only a demo or a testbed for a more ambitious project.  For what it is, though, it's rather fun; with the exception of a couple of howlers, the acting and costuming are serviceable enough, and the requisite quantity of twists and turns exist, with behind-the-scenes bonus content unlocked with each bad end discovered.  But you do have to remember that it is very much a movie, not a game; a couple of hours long at best, with nothing resembling a flowchart or scene select until you've been through it a couple of times... but with rewind and fast-forward, at least (no going back on your choices, though!).  It would be easy to be disappointed in this title if you went in with lofty expectations; but go in expecting a curiosity, possibly paving the way for something more ambitious, and this might just be a tasty evening's treat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

I know I'm late to the party, but I started playing a couple of months ago, and I've logged what must be around or near 275hrs in the game.

While it suffers from a few flaws, like Bethesda-esque copy-paste character faces, a limited voice cast, a steep combat learning curve, and some minor lighting quibbles, it is without a doubt the best historically-based videogame made to date.

The game world looks and feels more believably real than any other I've played, with wonderful attention to detail throughout. Walking to Sasau, taking a stroll up to Ledechko, etc, are just beautifully peaceful experiences.

While the game world is admittedly not a 1:1 representation of this part of the Sasau valley (e.g. Sasau is one additional river bend further to the northwest with Samopesh to its east, etc.), it is nevertheless still pretty much all there, the geography is more or less the same, and in general everything looks much the same today as it did in 1403 - though 600 years has passed, so you have to give it slack for that.

The combat is frustratingly tricky to get the hang of at the beginning of the game, but when you learn how it works, get into a few fights, it actually becomes quite satisfying. But unlike in many open world games, when mastering combat and acquiring the best gear makes you an unstoppable juggernaut living God, in KCD, you are always vulnerable. Go into combat unprepared, or get embroiled in an ambush, even by a group of peasant brigands, and you'll come to grief quickly. This game does not suffer a cocky player.

The quest lines are multitudinous and very satisfyingly varied; I've never felt that the side quests were getting repetitive, which is a common complaint of other historical game series'. Indeed, I've been very pleasantly surprised by how many wildly different things I've gotten up to in this game to date.

The characters are surprisingly well written and acted, and the stories are well told throughout. I've become emotionally invested in stories and characters to a degree that I just haven't for most other games.

Visually, the game is a treat, and the audio is just lovely.

The dice minigame, sadly the only real minigame present, is great after you learn how it works (and get a few lucky dice), though I do wish the NPC players had a few more specialized dice of their own, to make things more interesting.

The alchemy system is great fun, and makes crafting potions an absolute treat, and the game's map is gorgeous in ways I never anticipated it would be.

It's a wonderful, engrossing game, and I hope that it gets a next gen VR remake as well as a sequel, honestly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

You must read and accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy to continue using this website. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.