Nananaya's Blog

Games Played in 2020

January 04, 2020 @ 4:37 pm

Here we go baby 2020 WOOOOOOOO

Top 10 games played in 2020:

  1. Xenoblade Definitive Edition

  2. Half-Life: Alyx

  3. Persona 4 Golden

  4. Disco Elysium

  5. Ghost of Tsushima

  6. Dragon Quest Builders 2

  7. The Wonderful 101: Remastered

  8. Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner Mars

  9. Doom Eternal

  10. Higurashi Ch.8 Matsuribayashi

Completed: 81 Dropped: 43

Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner Mars [Completed]

  1. Still the best mecha game ever made. Action is smooth and fun with flashy attacks and a variety of useful subweapons to play with. The artstyle remains perfect and hasn't aged at all. Jehuty and Anubis are still some of the best mechs ever designed. The boss fights are varied and the gimmicks never make the fights annoying. The story is cheesy and fast-paced which fits the game to a T and the poorly directed voice acting combined with the strange dialogue is campy and endearing. The soundtrack remains great as well. The only problems worth noting come from the shoddy port. While being in Jehuty's cockpit in VR is cool, the limited view compared to 3rd person is disappointing and not being able to see Jehuty in action takes a lot of the cool factor out of the gameplay. The game starts in VR mode and turns on my headset and starts up steamVR before asking if I want to play in VR mode instead of after which was very annoying. The sound is very quiet and only solvable by changing a setting in the volume mixer and going back to turn it off after I'm done playing the game. Vsync also broke the game entirely and performance was poor at the start of the game for no reason. All that being said, ZoE2 is still fantastic.

Wattam [Completed]

  1. By far the most wholesome piece of media ever concocted. Lovely aesthetic, fun happy little inanimate objects. Great music and sounds of laughter to force a smile out of you. The tasks are incredibly simple so any difficulty comes from trying to remember that the camera is controlled by the triggers and not the analog stick. The movement can be too clunky and slow and while this may have just been my PS4 being old or something, the performance was terrible which got very annoying. Thankfully the problems didn't have much time to set in since the game is very short. It was a memorable experience with a very beautiful ending. It's just a shame the issues couldn't be ironed out before release.

A Plague Tale: Innocence [Completed]

  1. A very cool linear story experience very fitting of the year of the rat. It's not so long that it overstays its welcome and not so short that I couldn't get invested in the story. The setting is fresh and the plot even moreso. Most of the characters aren't very developed but are handled well despite their simplicity and the way they help you during the gameplay sections does a good job of endearing you to them, particularly Rodric. Amicia and Hugo are more nuanced and make a good pair of main characters. Amicia is strong and determined but the game doesn't forget that she's not some trained soldier or a mother or anything and she has a hard time dealing with everything going on around her while having to take care of Hugo. She's capable with her sling and alchemy, both properly set up by her parents, but she's still way too weak to handle any trained soldier who catches up to her. This makes for a good power balance that kept me from feeling too weak or too strong in any situation besides the end when you become the rat wizard. Hugo has his annoying child moments but they're kept to a minimum and he was more often a cute and likable companion I wanted to protect. Another thing that helped the characters was the fact that the game wasn't made in America so the characters don't all look like horrid gremlins while still looking realistic. The rat imagery is exceptional throughout the game and there's a lot of cool setpieces in every chapter that kept me intrigued. The moment-to-moment gameplay is pretty simple and there's rarely any difficult situations to solve, but the variety in sling ammunition and enemy setups keeps the gameplay fresh. My only issues with the game consisted of an ending that was very very quick to wrap up and a random issue that would cause my sling to randomly not fire which caused a few deaths. The rat wizard duel finale was lit though.

Monster Hunter World Iceborne (PC) [Completed]

  1. Just as fun as on console but with high FPS and minimum load times as well as the ability to hunt with my friends. Tons of great additions to the monster roster and a fun clutch claw to use. Not really a change by the game but I was much more prepared equipment-wise this time so the fights were less annoying. The story and unskippable cutscenes are still unbearable.

Rez Infinite [Completed]

  1. Cool soulful rail shooter. I love the cyberspace aesthetic and the stages have a lot of cool visuals to enjoy, especially in VR. But while it is an amazing visual experience, the gameplay aspect is pretty simple and repetitive. I would say Gal Gun is more fun as a rail shooter. Area X adds a fun spin on the gameplay by giving you freedom of movement but it's more fantastical and lacks the oldschool cyberspace appeal I was fond of in the original levels. The music is also pretty rad and fits the levels very well. The most annoying aspect of the game for me was I could only use my left VR controller despite being right-handed.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 [Completed]

  1. This one took a long while wew boy. The game oozes with charm from every block-shaped orifice and is simply a joy to play. The goofy dialogue, lively characters, great music, and Toriyama artstyle all come together in a soulful hotpot of adventure. The long length of time you spend on every major island in the game helps a lot in endearing you to the characters and world and I really felt like I was making a difference in every section. The story, while pretty simple, still manages to be compelling thanks to the likability of the characters and the elements connecting it to DQ2 are very well-implemented. The connection between my character and Malroth in particular was very endearing and I'm glad they didn't stick you with some unlikable stick in the mud for the whole game. The gameplay is fun and comfy. I have a hard time getting into Minecraft since all the enjoyment relies on my own creativity, so I much prefer Builders' process of giving you blueprints to build and missions to complete instead. My favorite moments were the ends of each chapter where the people you've been helping for hours finally get the inspiration to help you build and you get to see them come together and quickly produce huge structures that would've taken ages alone. As for my few issues with the game: the number one would be how mind-numbingly slow the master of destruction's dialogue is. Every time he pitched in I would alt tab and browse the internet for several minutes while he spelled out his dialogue at a blinding one word per hour. I also feel the game tends to hold your hand too much and there's a tad too much dialogue at the beginning. If the devs are going to give me the ability to move the camera, I would like them to also trust me to look around and find the items of note that they want me to interact with. But yeah so far best adventure of 2020.

Virgo Versus the Zodiac [Dropped]

  1. Round of applause for the first dropped game of 2020. The artstyle is nice, music is pretty good, and the writing is enjoyable enough. However I find the gameplay pretty dull and frustrating. Your combat options are few and for the harder fights it feels like making one mistake can ruin the whole fight due to the inability to completely negate damage no matter how good your timing is. For the easier fights, it's just a slow back-and-forth of QTEs. Some variation in the QTEs would've helped to spice it up a little but in the first couple hours there were just 2 types and even very little variation in the timing of them. The search for quality yuri games continues.

Hades [Completed]

  1. Fun stuff. The only other roguelite I've played extensively is the Binding of Isaac and this feels much better to play. It's also somewhat easier than BoI and I managed to beat the final boss in less than 20 runs. The variations in olympian boon combinations make the runs interesting and unique. The large amount of unique dialogue also helps to keep the runs feeling fresh. I would've liked the Hydra and Minotaur/Theseus to have some alternate bosses in their place from time to time like the Furies but they're fun enough as is. The artstyle and voice acting is great, as expected of supergiant, and the writing is pretty good as well even though the story is currently lacking a conclusion. Probably my favorite part of Hades is the permanent progress you get after every run in the form of the mirror powerups, weapon aspects and underworld renovations. I would feel much less inclined to keep trying again and again if I wasn't making at least a little permanent progress. Most of the weapons are fun to play and they're all substantially different from each other in playstyle so switching weapons per run keeps everything feeling all the more fresh. I'm excited for it to come out of early access.

Dragonball Z Kakarot [Completed]

  1. Disappointing game. The RPG elements that permeate the entire game are uninteresting and only serve to drag down the actual good aspects. The levels, items, crafting, and skill trees don't add anything enjoyable to the game and the reliance on "stats" detracts from the decent action combat by bloating HP numbers and drawing out fights. The main story is a fine enough retelling of the DBZ story and I appreciate that it actually goes through the buu saga unlike plenty of other DBZ games. While the models and world look nice and certain cutscenes look fantastic, a lot of the story is just presented with characters standing around and talking to each other with textboxes which feels like a waste, the buu and android sagas also felt pretty rushed. The combat is flawed but okay. Animations and flying are pretty good and the attacks look great but fights got repetitive since you rarely do anything besides punch punch punch kamehameha. The lack of variety in player options could've been made up for with more variety in enemy situations but there's rarely any attacks you can't easily nullify by dodging right or holding block with very little timing required. Some bossfights have special attacks that spice up the fights a bit but they're rare. Enemies also enjoy randomly deciding to start charging superarmor attacks mid-hitstun which is extremely annoying. The open world is beautiful and fun to fly around in but there's very little interesting things to do. I stopped doing sidequests after finishing the frieza arc because there were pretty much 0 sidequests that didn't devolve into "collect X items" or "defeat this group of random grunt enemies" like I was playing a lame MMO. The enemy mobs on the map are incredibly lame and lacking variety. Cooking requires gathering materials which is much duller than just moving on with the story so why would you when it isn't even necessary? Special moves which could help the combat feel more interesting are locked behind a skill tree which requires collecting medals scattered randomly around the map which I didn't want to bother with. The community board system is a fun little minigame but it is ruined by the lackluster nature of the other systems since you end up having no reason to put emblems on any board that isn't the fighting or exp ones. The music is largely unmemorable besides the versions of cha la head cha la which are great. I liked the little throwbacks to dragonball at least. Overall this game brings very little to the table compared to other DBZ games.

Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada [Completed]

  1. Mmmm musou goodness injected directly into the bloodstream. This probably has the best story in a musou game thanks to it's more focused plot surrounding the Sanada clan rather than jumping all over the place. Yukimura is a pretty typical shonen protag but by the end of the game he is plenty cool enough to make up for it. Sasuke's development is nice albeit predictable, and Masayuki is quite compelling since you get to follow him for so long. I would've liked if the Sanada trio had some fun interaction while they were older to help drive home the family theme. I also quite liked the direction of the ending. I can't really verify this but it felt like it was trying to be more historically accurate than other musous and I appreciate that. That being said I might still prefer Dynasty Warriors 7 just because I like the Three Kingdoms more than the warring states period. While the focused approach is great for the story, the gameplay does suffer somewhat because of the lack of variety in playable characters. You spend about 70% of the game playing as either Masayuki or Yukimura and another 10% playing as Kunoichi or Sasuke. This is a pretty big problem since moveset and character design/personality variety is important in maintaining the fun of a musou game. The stages are generally enjoyable and the Stratagem/Feat system does a good job of giving you objectives to juggle instead of just making you plow through enemies nonstop. The exploration missions and material nonsense are completely boring, unnecessary, and do nothing but drag the game down and there's unfortunately a substantial amount of them. The combat is the same as samurai warriors 4 so there's not really much to go over there except it's still fun. I hope they never do away with the dash attacks. The game can look nice in cutscenes but a little upgrade would be nice. The village tunes were also great.

Rakuen [Completed]

  1. A short and sweet emotional journey that really tugs at the heartstrings. I have a deep respect for any piece of media that can make me feel some significant amount of emotion and Rakuen pulled this off in a very genuine and heartfelt way. The character stories are all very compelling and hit hard while also having a bizarrely "family-friendly" vibe to them that felt very fitting. The art looks very nice though the animations are pretty janky. The music is great and very emotional, particularly the vocal songs. The dialogue has an endearing charm to it that kept the game feeling uplifting when it should despite the overarching dread of where the plot is going and the fate of the characters. Even though I was carelessly spoiled on the basis for the story, the small revelations of the events before the story pertaining to the boy's family and his hospitalization still kept me invested. The only problem I have with the game is the lackluster controller support that wouldn't allow me to use my D-Pad and the fact that I had to patch it to be able to sprint which felt like it should be in the game by default.

Maximum Action [Completed..basically]

  1. The core gameplay is fun and the aesthetic is nice but I've never seen a more "Early Access" game. It's been in early access for more than a year and has less than an hour of content not counting the endless mode where you just fight the same two or three enemy types over and over again. The small amount of uniquely designed levels are too short and simple. I hope the game ends up getting a substantial amount of content because it has the makings of a good game.

Alice Mystery Garden [Completed]

  1. A nice little gimicky VR game. The cute presentation and main character make for a jolly time and the VR puzzles are quite fun. The VR aspect makes it feel substantially different from every other puzzle game. I did have some problems with the control of the game, though it's mostly attributed to having to use my WMR headset's touchpad to move instead of the analog stick. The physics could also be a bit finicky at times and the game looked unusually blurry. The game's not long but it was also super cheap and I got my money's worth.

Banner of the Maid [Dropped]

  1. I feel bad about dropping this one. The game clearly had a lot of hard work put into it with it's great pixel artstyle and character art. It's a decent fire emblem clone for a while and the idea of making a more modern fire emblem-style game in a more modern setting is great. The writing is decent enough though the english language beta can be a bit shaky at times. I like the cute girls in the game, particularly Eugenie which is why I would've liked to continue the game. Unfortunately as the difficulty of the game increases, the losses feel more and more unfair and it feels less like putting together your own strategies and more like figuring out the one or two ways you can clear a mission with little leeway given the frustratingly strict defeat conditions a lot of the time. I probably could have just repeatedly grinded with optional missions but I didn't want to waste time with that especially since the missions are probably just going to get harder and require more grinding.

Sin and Punishment [Completed]

  1. Truly bizarre game. The story is a crazy rushed sci-fi anime that makes very little sense but it's fun to watch at least. The english voice acting despite the game not coming out of japan was strange and added to the odd tone. The gameplay is pretty fast and satisfying and the bosses and setpieces made each level feel quite enjoyable without having it get too stale. It's a short game but that's fine with me, I think rail shooters should be short since the gameplay style can get repetitive faster than the average genre. The character models looked pretty awful but the environments and the dynamic camera were very cool. Overall while it wasn't a very impactful game, it had a lot of classic japanese soul.

The House in Fata Morgana [Completed]

  1. Very good VN. Short and very well-paced. Fata Morgana handles its themes of empathy and acceptance in a mature manner and I quite enjoyed it. The writing is good and maintains a decent balance of casual dialogue and flowery narration. The first portion of the story with the doors isn't too engaging, the twists are surprising to various extents and they do a good job building up the basis for the main plot and conflict but the tragic endings can get a tad tiring and predictable. The latter part of the story focused on finding the truth behind everyone's motivations and saving Morgana, as well as the relationship between Michel and Giselle is great and enthralling. The ending ties up everything perfectly and I really liked how everyone wasn't just forgiven, but pardoned with mixed emotions. The characters all end up feeling realistic and sympathetic regardless of the magnitude of their crimes. I also felt the VN treated its setting respectfully and didn't shy away from problems of that era in fear of offending people. The music is good and fits in most cases, but at times the vocals can be so loud that they distracted me from the reading. The art is great for the most part aside from Mell's freakishly small arm in the first chapter and I liked the character designs as well. If the game had a normal anime artstyle, I feel it would've detracted from the mature nature of the story. Good stuff.

Einhander [Dropped]

  1. Game's got a cool style and all and an especially cool title but it's too hard for me. Maybe it's just because I'm bad at shmups in general but isn't having the player die in one hit while also barely telegraphing boss attacks bad game design? It infuriates me at least.

Superhot VR [Dropped]

  1. Really cool game, I'm sad I couldn't finish it. The game expects me to move forward too much in my limited space and I accidentally hit my monitor so I don't wanna take the risk of doing that again. That being said, I cleared almost every level before this happened so at least I got the experience. The gameplay and style are very cool, but there are some big issues like throwing with VR being incredibly unreliable and the mind blast attack being extremely inconsistent. These might just be a problem with my WMR controllers however. Also with some levels it felt like the enemy actions were inconsistent enough where what felt like the only solution to a situation wouldn't work 100% of the time. Maybe if I had more free range for movement there would be more opportunities.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma [Completed]

  1. I think Ryu Hayabusa is a 10/10 action game character stuck in a 6/10 action game. Fighting grunts is the best part of the game because Ryu's moveset is so robust and killing stuff feels so good. Combos are fast and fluid while also not being too difficult to pull off and the Izuna Drop may be one of the best attacks in a video game. The enemies also all pose a threat to some extent so unlike in DMC you have to constantly be on your toes. The problems arise in literally everything else. While Ryu's fast far-reaching jumps are good in combat, they end up being a liability during exploration platforming sections. Countless times I intended to do a wall run and ended up running straight up the wall instead or I just wanted to jump forward and Ryu decides to cling to random nearby structures. The levels are fairly uninteresting both to look at and traverse and this is especially bad given the amount of backtracking you need to do. While fighting grunts generally is fun, the military level manages to make even that subpar by dumping you in an area full of enemies with guns so someone is ALWAYS hitting you. The GHOST FISH are absolute abominations and drag chapters 17 and 18 down tremendously. The bosses are typically either frustrating, unfun, short, or some mixture of the 3. Bosses lack any sort of personality and I wouldn't really describe any of them as fun or memorable. The way they seemingly decide when to block your attacks at random and nullify your techniques likes ninpo, flying swallow and izuna drops makes them intrinsically less fun to fight than grunts. I realize most people prefer ninja gaiden black so I poured over all the differences I could find to make sure I wasn't making some big mistake by playing Sigma instead and I can't say I would've liked Black much better. The Rachel missions are pretty lame but they're short and I didn't mind them too much. The ability to fire projectiles mid-jump is good and makes fighting flying enemies and the helicopter/tanks much more bearable. The new burning village chapter was pretty good as well. I also don't really like Rachel that much, I think her outfit looks really stupid and I would've much preferred playing as Ayane. I didn't really dislike the game and as much as I got frustrated, I still had plenty of fun thanks to how good the combat is. I would really like to see a new Ninja Gaiden with at least half the personality and level/boss quality of the DMC games.

Sin and Punishment: Star Successor [Completed]

  1. A wildly fun arcade experience. Star Successor is a big step up from its predecessor with tons of over-the-top setpieces and boss fights making good use of the updated hardware to better convey the original vision. The gameplay is still very fun and the new challenges let it shine much better than before. The story thankfully still makes very little sense but I quite liked how casual the main duo was and it ended up feeling more natural for better or worse. It also helps that the game was about 3 times longer than the first, but still a reasonably short length to keep it a short and sweet experience. My only problem with the game would be that some of the boss fights near the end are too challenging for my tastes. The jump in difficulty especially for the final boss felt pretty unfair. But besides that, good job Treasure.

Jet Set Radio Future [Completed]

  1. All the fun of the original and more. I'm glad this is the sole game working flawlessly on the xbox emulator so I could enjoy it. The artstyle still looks beautiful today, the gameplay is smooth and improved over the original and the music is super funky with the exception of birthday cake which made me want to tear my hair out every time it came on. The areas are fun to traverse and painting all over the place is still really satisfying. One thing I prefer in the original is the cast of player characters but I do prefer Beat and Gum's new designs so I just alternated between them. The bosses were all pretty fun to fight and made much better use of the game mechanics than in the original though the extendable arm dude got out of his vulnerable state way too fast and the flamethrower chick was hardly even a fight. The bit of voice acting in the game by professor K and gouji is great and really livens things up. The game is just oozing with personality from top to bottom. I don't have many problems with the game, just birthday cake, weak camera control, and the few areas where you can fall down but not die causing you to waste a lot of time going back to where you were.

Metroid Prime 3 [Dropped]

  1. Didn't play much of it, just the first couple hours. The atmosphere of the first 2 games was gone, the story felt like a star wars cartoon, the frequent motion controls were annoying on mouse and keyboard and the game just generally didn't run well with a lot of stuttering. Maybe it gets better if you play with an actual wiimote and the atmosphere returns later on. Might look into playing it again when it inevitably gets ported to the switch.

Ganbare Goemon 2 [Completed]

  1. Decent SNES sidescrolling action game. The goemon soul is present but not even half as cool as the N64 game since it felt like a fairly standard sidescroller. The platforming action is alright but can feel pretty unfair at times. The town sections are simple and kinda just make me wish there was a sprint button. The best part of the game is the thematic styling of the stages like the toy castle that look pleasant and distinct. Also kinda sad I couldn't play as Yae. The Goemon Impact parts were very similar to their N64 counterparts and were fairly enjoyable.

Mega Man Zero [Dropped]

  1. Fun game bogged down by it's frustrating design. Playing as zero and slashing enemies feels great and the game looks good too. The game is extremely short and they very clearly tried to mask this by making your HP as low as possible so you would spend forever dying and retrying. The assist save option in the collection alleviates this for the levels but the low health during boss fights can be extremely frustrating considering how difficult it can be to avoid a lot of their attacks. The stages are less frustrating but still pretty poorly designed and filled with a lot of small unfair obstacles. It's a shame because a lot of the bosses would be pretty fun if you had more leeway healthwise. The final boss in particular is a nightmare and caused me to drop the game. The upgrades are pretty uninteresting compared to classic megaman since all they do is change your damage values against specific bosses with no special effects or anything. The story is weak and uninspired but ciel is cute at least. I'll still play the sequel because I hear this is the worst one by far and I can tell it has the makings of a great game hidden beneath the frustration.

428: Shibuya Scramble [Completed]

  1. A very very fun journey from start to end. 428 handles the constant switching between the main characters excellently and it makes for a very dynamic and enjoyable story with frequent tone shifts and twists. The story doesn't end up being particularly impactful or anything but it's a ton of fun with a lot of likable characters and good presentation. Osawa's sympathetic parental plights, Tama's scam hi-jinks with Yanagishi and Chiri, Kano's buddy-cop action with Stanley, and Minorikawa's overflowing charisma mesh better than I could've hoped and made for a large variety of quality scenes. At first I was perplexed by the lack of proper mouse support and manual saves but I quickly realized it doesn't really hurt the experience at all. The lack of text speed options did get pretty grating though and honestly the game probably would've been about 2 or 3 hours shorter if I could properly skip through text I've finished reading or scenes I've already viewed. The music is pretty good, particularly when it's bombastic like in Tama's scenes with Yanagishita though the somber tunes in Osawa's story fit very well too. Each story brought something to the table and was enjoyable in its own right, though Achi's could be pretty weak at times with his shonen-ish personality and typical romance scenes. I was very happy with how each character played a significant role in ultimately saving Shibuya, including best boy Minorikawa. I also appreciate how the Keep Outs and bad ends forced me to go through each story together instead of just going through one story at a time in its entirety which helped me get engrossed in the bigger picture and how everyone's actions tied together.

SMT: Nocturne [Completed]

  1. A unique and very good JRPG mostly carried by its gameplay. Nocturne has cool atmosphere and the process of building both your character and your team of demons to overcome the many challenges is a great time. The story is very very sparse and that makes it incredibly difficult to really sympathize with any of the characters and it makes the neutral choice the obvious one since every other character is stupid. Isamu and Chiaki could've been handled better by making them your party members for a while in the beginning and giving you some insight regarding their pasts and how they lead to their respective Reasons, but as is they are just people you barely know that suddenly go from normal kids to power-obsessed weirdos. Despite the story not really being much to care about, the dialogue is fairly well-written and the NPCs and demons tend to have fun little comments. The presentation during the story scenes is also great and makes the scenes intriguing enough even if the characters are weak. Nocturne has nice difficulty in that as long as you regularly update your team and have a good enough build yourself, you can handle most challenges once you figure out the bosses' gimmicks. Matador is probably the only blatantly unfair thing I came up against in the game, he should've been placed one area later. The game does have some notable gameplay flaws however. The demon fusion not letting you pick the skills you carry over is a huge annoyance and demon negotiation is absolutely random and that is terrible. Thankfully some of those frustrations were alleviated through liberal use of save states.

Atelier Ryza [Dropped]

  1. Only played for about an hour or so but the beginning was so slow and uninteresting I didn't really want to play any further despite how attractive Ryza is. What little of the combat and alchemy I experienced didn't really give me the idea that I might enjoy it later down the line and the lack of english VO is kind of a downer.

Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter [Dropped]

  1. I thought it was going to be an action RPG or something based on how polarizing it is among the BoF fanbase but I was pretty disappointed when it just ended up being a pretty by-the-books turn based JRPG. Not a fan of the character models either.

Megaman Zero 2 [Completed]

  1. Big improvement over the first game. Level design and bosses are much more fair and thus the game is a lot more fun than frustrating. The story is better but still nothing really special. It does suck that you have to fight the 3 boss characters from zero 1 again with few changes but thankfully you only have to fight them once each. The new chain weapon is cool but the swinging is kinda janky and it could get pretty annoying when they had you use it to get over spikes. I also miss the jump spin attack I had in zero 1 but I think it's probably relegated to one of the forms. The forms and EX skills are a much better incentive to get people to play the game longer than just jacking up the difficulty but I only ever ended up getting one form since I like to use just the z-saber so I didn't really get to enjoy them much.

Megaman Zero 3 [Completed]

  1. Best in the series so far. The levels are smoother and more fun than in 1 and 2, there's more boss variety, the cyber elves being split into options and usable items makes them much more interesting, and you actually get some nice upgrades like the double jump and auto-charge. Story still isn't really worth caring about but it was fine. The new tonfa weapon is kind of lame since it doesn't really act differently from the z-saber besides pushing enemies back at the cost of less speed and range. Also the ability to finally skip cutscenes is VERY much appreciated.

Megaman Zero 4 [Dropped]

  1. They were doing so good with each zero game being better than the one before it but 4 is lame. I appreciate that they tried to go for more gimmicky stages to keep things fresh for the 4th installment but a lot of it just ends up being annoying and the bosses are more similar to the unfair nature of 1 with attacks that are really difficult to dodge in the small space they give you. I generally liked what I saw of the writing in this one more than the others but the humans in the settlement are pretty obnoxious. The changes to the elf system seem cool enough but the weird crafting system feels stupid.

Megaman ZX [Dropped]

  1. I might just be burnt out on the megaman Z games but the unnecessary shift to metroid-style progression doesn't help. The music's cool and Aile is cute and I get my spinning jump slash back finally but all the downtime and running around between missions and complete lack of difficulty in the early part of the game is just too dull for me. I'm also not a big fan of megaman X so being restricted to basically playing X for the first hour or so was pretty annoying as well as having to change back and forth between robo and human form in the city.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask [Completed]

  1. Pretty standard fare for Layton which means it's pretty good. The puzzles are fun and it makes the jump to 3D very well. I like that the story is less sparse than in the original games but it does suffer from an extremely predictable plot twist and a lengthy ruins exploration segment that removes the varied puzzles for some repetitive boulder pushing and avoiding mummies. Overall it was a fun time though.

Touhou Puppet Dance Performance [Dropped]

  1. Really nicely put together game. The visuals are great, particularly the sprite animations, and the music is good too. Unfortunately aside from a couple bizarre difficulty spikes, the game was extremely braindead easy from what I played of it. I never had to use more than my nazrin's hammer throw for 95% of the fights and the writing is really uninteresting as well so I just don't have the motivation to continue.

Shanghai.EXE Genso Network [Dropped]

  1. An extremely well-crafted fangame with a lot of love for MMBN. The spritework, gameplay and music are all perfectly reminiscent of the battle network games with its own touhou touch. That being said, the story feels weird to me since the touhou characters are reworked into school kids and it just ends up feeling like a battle network game that just uses touhou designs. I'm certainly not even a big touhou fan but it still bugged me, particularly the inclusion of the writer's original "tsubaki" character which just felt out-of-place with everyone else being a girl from touhou. I enjoyed most of what I played but the difficulty takes a big leap up around the middle starting with the fight with Reisen and the tournament and I can't be bothered to keep struggling against it with how fast you die to the bosses. I got my fill anyhow, especially since it hasn't really been that long since I went through all the battle network and starforce games anyways.

Etrian Odyssey V [Dropped]

  1. Pretty standard dungeon crawler with some annoying difficulty spikes and slooow grinding. I like the art and character designs as well as the music, and there are some interesting events that arise during your dungeoneering. Unfortunately the game is just too slow for me. Average random encounters take too long, drawing the walls on the map is boring, and characters gain exp far too slowly. There's also not really a story to keep me going or anything.

Glove on Fight [Completed..basically]

  1. Glove on Fight 2 is clearly a massive step up from this since this one is super barebones, but it's still pretty charming in its simplicity and getting to beat up the chick from Kanon with dejiko was pretty fun.

Kara no Shoujo [Completed]

  1. KnS handles its 50s murder mystery drama in a mature and compelling manner. The setting feels classic, the music is nice, the characters and their interactions are fun and interesting enough. Reiji is a solid main character and holds up a lot of the maturity with his dry reactions to a lot of the murders, though his lack of emotional reaction toward Toko's condition and kidnapping at the end of the game feels strange and lessens the impact. The story ends up feeling like it's juggling a few too many characters given how short it is and there's the occasional out-of-place sex scene as well, so overall the story feels more lacking than it could've been. The murders and their grotesque imagery do a good job of driving home the depravity of the antagonists and making you want to solve the mystery just as much as Reiji, but the gameplay unfortunately sabotages this with its unnecessarily complicated choice requirements to reach the ending. Having to check the walkthrough at every choice was a pain but it's better than wasting a dozen hours trying different choices. Anyhow, I'm looking forward to seeing the continuation of the story in KnS 2.

Saya no Uta [Completed]

  1. Horror schlock made to appeal to teenagers. Saya no Uta has an interesting premise, and at the very least it made me want to play to the end and find out what happens, but the writing is subpar, the short length leaves no chance to get attached, and the main characters are completely impossible to feel sympathy for. The most interesting part of the story, Saya's background and the science behind her, is relegated to a very small 5 minute section so they could make more room for sex. The awkward sex scenes are very clearly just there to sell the game to coomers who associate their lust for saya with actual care. Frankly the best part was Koji beating Fuminori with a steel pipe and Ryoko blasting Saya with a 12 gauge Resident Evil-style.

Touhou Luna Nights [Completed]

  1. A great homage to castlevania with excellent visuals, great music, and a well-implemented timestop mechanic. It's a tad short but at least most of it is high quality. The bosses are fun to fight, though most of them are a tad too easy. The last couple levels are unnaturally difficult compared to the rest of the game which can get annoying. I'm not a big fan of normal attacks costing MP and i think that should've just been relegated to skills. So far this is the only good 2hu game i've played so good job guys.

Nioh 2 [Dropped]

  1. More like Nioh 1.5, Nioh 2 is generally an improvement over the first game but the difficulty throws a wrench in my enjoyment. I like that I can make my own character this time around since William being a set main character didn't do the first game any favors. The story is a little better but still an uninteresting mix of japanese history and characters you have very little reason to care about. The level design is much better but Nioh 2 retains the problem of lacking enemy variety and you generally fight the same things 20 hours in that you fought in the first 2 or 3 hours. The loot system is still completely unnecessary and decreases the value in exploring the levels. The co-op is practically nonexistant but that's more likely the fault of there being so few people helping others out. The AI companions are some of the most incompetent I've ever seen in a video game and serve absolutely no purpose in anything besides a 1v1 human boss fight. The combat system is still fun at its core, but the enemies are radically unbalanced and do far too much damage. What caused me to drop the game was the process of spending 10 minutes fighting a boss or going through a level without any incident, then dying immediately after making one or two mistakes because every enemy can 2-shot you. A ton of enemies and bosses also happen to have extremely powerful grab attacks which is very annoying considering how poor the telegraphing is on most of the attacks in the game. The difficulty just left me feeling tired even when I pulled through in a desperate situation and I just wasn't having a lot of fun. The weapons, while fun to use, have very large skill trees with very few actual useful skills. The fact that they're still each tied to a different stat is also annoying because it basically means you have to build for about 2 weapon types at most, while in something like dark souls you can switch between many different types of strength or dexterity weapons any time throughout the game. The yokai abilities are cool enough but the snake ability is so powerful there's very little reason to use anything else, especially when a good amount of them have lengthy animations that don't make you invulnerable.

Doom Eternal [Completed]

  1. Doom Eternal is an improvement on 2016 and probably my favorite Doom game and one of my favorite FPS games overall. All the weapons feel great, there's plenty of enemies to fight, the boss fights are pretty well-designed especially for an FPS. The difficulty is at a constant high with highlights like the slayer gates and marauder fights and it kept my blood pumping throughout the whole game. A lot of people seem to have an issue with the amount of platforming but I find it really fun and satisfying. The areas are much more interesting and fun to traverse than those in 2016, especially with the dashes which greatly improve the momentum. The shortage of ammo at all times keeps the fights hectic and the flow of switching between shooting, glory kills and the chainsaw feels really natural and kept me on my toes. The sword and big punch were awesome too and add to the combat variety, though I would've liked if the normal melee was stronger. The story was serviceable but the cutscenes were entertaining as well as the constant doomguy circlejerk. It was also really surprising when doomguy actually spoke and I enjoyed it quite a bit. While I love collecting upgrades throughout the game, a lot of the upgrades in eternal felt like filler, especially the praetor suit upgrades which is a shame since those are the ones they shower you with nonstop. While I enjoyed stomping everything in 2016, the constant challenge and triumphant feeling of overcoming difficult encounters makes Eternal a real winner for me.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt [Completed]

  1. A big ol' fun adventure for the whole family. TW3 is an impressive game with the sheer amount of voice acted and directed story content it has and the story is certainly compelling. The writing and dialogue is good enough to make up for the fairly lackluster combat and Geralt is a great main character whose neutral stance does a good job of letting the player freely make the choices they want without them clashing too much with an already established character. Even so, the few parts where Geralt actually shows emotion such as the scene where he finally reunites with Ciri are great and really made me feel for him. Geralt and plenty of the other main characters are charismatic and it's fun to see where they go in the story despite my complete lack of experience with the franchise. While there are plenty of highlights in the story like the bloody baron questline and the defense of kaer morhen, the Wild Hunt themselves are pretty underwhelming as the main threat. I would've been fine with them if they kept their masks on and maintained their image as a cool-looking army of ghost knights even if they're absent for a large portion of the game, but revealing that they're a bunch of elves with human motivations just makes them typical uninteresting power-hungry warmongers. As previously mentioned, the combat is lackluster but at least it's simple so it didn't impede my enjoyment of the good parts and it can be fun enough to cut up lower-level enemies. The batman detective vision sections are pretty dull but inoffensive, and I quite enjoyed the parts where I was just riding through the nice-looking environments on roach. Hopefully if they make another witcher game they'll remove the swimming.

The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone [Completed]

  1. A great expansion. The quests are longer and more in-depth than those in the main game and the new characters Olgierd and Vlodomir are interesting and endearing. The party quest with Vlodimir was a ton of fun with all the goofy thing I got to hear from Geralt's voice actor and Vlodomir ended up being a really likable and sympathetic character despite appearing to be a common bandit at first. Olgierd's plight with his wife and the further exposition on Gaunter O'dimm's character were also very compelling and the finale was rock solid. The heist was fun and different from the other things you do in the game but lacked the endearing nature of the party quest. Getting to hear Geralt call someone a cuckhold was fun though. The only thing I disliked about the expansion was spending all that time with Shani, thirstiest maiden in the land, and not getting a single option to tell her I was already in a relationship with Yennefer.

Arms [Completed]

  1. Fun geemu. I really like the characters, style and music of Arms. The gameplay is fun but I can't really see myself playing a lot of it since the fights all end up feeling pretty same-y despite the variety in arms. I would've liked to see all the great characters in a more traditional fighting game. The difficulty of the AI in the arcade mode is impressive for a modern nintendo game, though Hedlock is stupid and begs the player to cheese the fight. The minigames are fun enough but the AI can't figure out how to play them. The online works surprisingly well for a modern nintendo game as well. I also like all the art you can get in the gallery, plenty of soul. Min min best girl.

The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine [Completed]

  1. Another great expansion that surpasses the quality of the main game. While the characters aren't as endearing as in Hearts of Stone, the story is longer and feels more fleshed-out. Toussaint is an excellent area and is surprisingly large to boot. The area music is fantastic and the colorful environment is a pleasure to traverse. The sidequests are great, I particularly enjoyed the one where Geralt has to sit in a bank for hours trying to get the forms he needs to make a withdrawal and the one where he's the subject of a painting with a comical result. Getting my own vineyard was nice even if I didn't spend a lot of time there, it at least gave me something to spend my money on. Participating in the knight competition was also very cool even if a tad too easy and it's nice they added a new mutation system to help with unnecessary skill points. The main quest is very eventful and compelling, particularly the fantastical fairy tale segment and the vampire action. While the duchess and the villain were fairly unlikable, Regis, Detlaff and the knights of Toussaint made up for it with their likable personalities and sympathetic plights. I also quite liked how Blood and Wine works as a conclusion to the game overall with Geralt finally getting to happily live in peace with Yennefer in his own comfy vineyard.

Shenmue III [Dropped]

  1. I didn't want to drop it but I'm not going to force myself through a game I'm not big on just because of what series it's from. Shenmue III is unfortunately stuck in a spot where it's desperately trying to recapture the soul of the original which it simply can't because it's not a dreamcast game. Shenmue I and II had an intrinsic soul thanks to their pushing the limits of the dreamcast's power with a semi-realistic artstyle and lovingly crafted environments. Shenmue III retains all of the clunky aspects of the original games but lacks the soul that would make up for the more shoddy aspects and even turn them around and make them endearing. The artstyle has an uncanny cartoon-y look to it that is generally unpleasant to look at for every character but shenhua and the environments are reminiscent of unreal engine tech demos. The combat somehow feels worse than the original games with a serious lack of impact on the hits like every opponent is a human-shaped sandbag. Also for some reason you lose health for running which is a poor decision. What really pushed me to finally drop it was learning that the game does not even conclude the Shenmue story which is ridiculous even if the series was initially stated to have like 6 parts, because Yu Suzuki and his team should've known that managing to put out this game was a miracle in and of itself. I fear that conclusion will never come now. If I can praise the game for one thing, it's that they managed to get Ryo's original voice back and he somehow sounds exactly the same which is a nice walk down memory lane.

Resident Evil 3 Remake [Completed]

  1. Good game but fairly disappointing as far as remakes go. Compared to RE2, there's much less content and the more action-oriented nature dampens the survival horror aspect just like the original. That being said, the gameplay is still very enjoyable, particularly the revamped dodge mechanic which is actually reliable enough to use now. The game does suffer from not having a "main" area to explore like RE1's mansion and RE2's RPD but the areas are still well-designed with the exception of the clock tower area which they removed even though it was the part I was most looking forward to. I would've liked for them to expand the raccoon city streets substantially. Nemesis could have been a great step up from Mr.X if he actually followed you through areas as you completed them but instead he's mostly just relegated to setpieces and boss fights. To be fair, the boss fights are good but he could've been implemented much better. Jill and Carlos are handled pretty well but Nicholai is a weak villain and I think they should've just left the villainy to Nemesis. Fighting hunter betas as Carlos was a pain in the butt since they can use their one-hit kill when I'm at full health and his weapons can't handle them very well which was extremely annoying. Overall the game really doesn't feel like it was crafted with half as much love as RE2make, but it was still enjoyable enough.

Acceleration of Suguri 2 [Dropped]

  1. Enjoyable enough when playing with a friend because the fights are a whacky mess, though I don't really have an interest in playing the story. Also I really dig the main menu.

Doom 64 [Completed]

  1. Fun classic doom action. Doom 64 has great levels with fun action and nice atmosphere. It's unfortunate there's not really any new weapons to play around with besides the red laser thing I barely got to use, but the original arsenal is still enough to have plenty of fun. The final boss was terrible with her homing missiles but besides that, the difficulty is generally pretty well-balanced and I hardly ever got frustrated. There was a tad too much of pulling switches then having to look for what door opened or what platform dropped and the like but most of the puzzles were well-done. Also I would've liked if they added mouselook considering it's a modern PC release and it's a given in fanmade versions of Doom 1 and 2, but the classic auto aim style wasn't too bad.

Tekken 7 [Completed..basically]

  1. Pretty fun. As far as 3D fighters go, I prefer soul calibur and DoA but Tekken has it's own charm with its large roster and customization options. The music's pretty bad but the game looks good and the treasure hunt mode is pretty fun. Online is pretty solid too. Only thing I'm not really a fan of is the skin textures which have an odd plastic look to them.

Kara no Shoujo: The Second Episode [Completed]

  1. I was weary of KnS 2 to begin with due to the first couple hours consisting mainly of incredibly dull slice-of-life high schooler antics. Thankfully it serves the purpose of introducing a lot of the primary players in the main mystery and afterwords we get right back to the main appeal of Kara no Shoujo: The detective drama starring a mature tired adult. KnS 2 is a straight upgrade from the first game thanks to it's beautiful art, tone-setting music and focus on a single larger overarching mystery with a complex string of branching sub-mysteries that tie into it. The first game suffered from being rather short and still splitting its focus between 2 cases and antagonists even if they did tie into each other, while KnS 2 is much longer and more focused. While Reiji is a great protagonist, it's nice that the game regularly switches perspectives to different characters like Ayato for a little bit just as a change of pace since the game is so lengthy. It was a bit disappointing that Uozumi and Takashiro are pretty much absent from KnS 2 but I do like Yaginuma having a larger presence since his antagonistic-yet-competent-and-understanding demeanor contrasts well with Reiji and makes for some entertaining scenes. The new side characters like Toji and the takoyaki merchant are great additions as well. Aside from the intro, the game proceeds at a good pace and the cool 50s detective drama atmosphere makes up for the slower parts. The mystery is complex with enough bits and pieces to keep you from figuring out everything for 90% of the story, though it can spend a bit too much time on blood type analysis. KnS 2 also ends very well with a cathartic but depressing conclusion reminiscent of Max Payne 2. While a part of me would've liked for the story to be a bit more connected to the first game, I appreciate that it's set on the backburner as a closed case much like the search for Toko.

Sega Bass Fishing [Dropped]

  1. It has some dreamcast soul and the process of actually reeling in fish is pretty fun but actually getting them to bite is so inconsistent that it saps out a lot of the fun. The controls are pretty clunky as well, particularly switching between reeling and moving the rod. Some variation in the music would've helped as well.

Touhou 15.5 [Dropped]

  1. I had decently high hopes for a 2hu fighting game and the gameplay seems solid enough but the single player content sucks and I don't want to go through the hassle of port forwarding for multiplayer. The spritework is great and the music is good as well. The fighting is interesting enough with plenty of attack variety but I would've preferred if you had free range movement rather than jumping up and down. The story mode has a very simplistic story with short and uninteresting character interactions and the fights all play out the same way with one braindead 1st round that has no reason to exist since it lasts 5 seconds and a second round where the opponent uses one or 2 attacks over and over again while the fight is artificially extended by a shield that removes the counter-plays usually seen in fighting games. I couldn't find a way to consistently block bullets so the opponents would frequently fill the screen with bullets that I had no way of effectively dealing with in the later stories. Maybe I was just missing something but I pressed all the button combinations and the game has no tutorial so I don't feel I can be blamed for that. I was told dashing would make me invulnerable but it didn't seem to work 80% of the time.

Resident Evil Resistance [Completed..basically]

  1. Can't say I really expected much out of this tacked-on multiplayer mode but I definitely wasn't impressed. There might be some fun to be had if you play with friends or get into a room with people of a similar skill level, but there are so few players I got stuck in a match with experienced players that sped through the level while knowing the location of every objective and completely nullifying the threat of the mastermind. The matchmaking itself also took like 5 minutes and was awful. The big damage numbers when you shoot stuff is also bad. Same with the lack of the dodge mechanic from the main game. Yeaaaaaah not a great time.

Animal Crossing New Horizons [Completed]

  1. Exactly what you'd expect from animal crossing I guess. It looks nice and the island atmosphere is super cozy. As always I really like collecting fossils and fishing. I'm not a fan of the very slow drip-feed of content and the easter event was terrible. I like the crafting for decorations and such but having to constantly craft replacement tools is nothing but a waste of time. I like the idea of completing certain objectives to increase the island ranking but being told to plant more flowers every day for a week was very boring. The game lacks some pretty obvious QoL features like crafting multiple objects at a time and skipping dialogue you've heard dozens of times. The online system is very archaic but I didn't use it too much. I might have just gotten some bad villagers but my villagers never really had anything interesting to say, especially the two jock types who were extremely one-note. Besides the gathering of bugs, fossils, and fish, there's not really much to do so it feels pretty barebones despite knowing that you're really supposed to just play it for half an hour each day. It may just be nostalgia but I feel like I got a more complete package from wild world on the DS.

Half-Life: Alyx [Completed]

  1. Best game I've played all year and the best VR game period. Alyx is more of a survival horror game than an FPS but it melds the two perfectly. The immersion of VR enhances everything from shootouts to exploration to puzzles to scavenging for ammo and resins. It doesn't rely on gimmicks, and instead has great level design and a large variety of environments, setpieces and confrontations. The gravity gloves are fantastic additions that make collecting items feel great and keeps the annoying height issues surrounding picking things up to a minimum while still feeling natural. Weapons are satisfying to fire, upgrades feel substantial and the game is short enough that only having 3 weapons doesn't get dull. The banter is rarely funny but it's endearing and generally appears at the right times. The atmosphere of the levels is great, particularly sneaking around Jeff and the wild ride in the finale. The ending is great and takes the franchise in a very interesting direction. The only issues I really had with the game are that there's a tad too many puzzles, sneaking around barnacles is annoying without really having a good grasp of how wide your "body" is, and not really the game but my headset's tracking could get a bit wonky. Can't wait for Half Life 3.

Boneworks [Dropped]

  1. I'm guessing this is a lot better with an index. Boneworks was physically uncomfortable for me, not because of the motion but because there's no toggle for holding items and weapons so I was stuck holding 2 trigger buttons on one and sometimes both controllers for extended periods of time which was hard on the hands. The physics are impressive but I spent more time struggling with them than being immersed. The melee combat felt awful and the combat encounters were generally bland. The levels overall didn't really have much spark to them but the music was great.

Skyrim VR [Dropped]

  1. It's nice that you can play the entirety of skyrim in VR, and it's a pretty cool experience for a while. Unfortunately, once the novelty wears off you realize it's just your 10th skyrim playthrough with some slightly more entertaining combat. The novelty wears off relatively faster than with other VR games since it had the bare minimum adjustments made to make it VR and there are very few ways to interact with the world. You even have to mod the game just to see your own body when you look down.

Kid Icarus Uprising [Completed]

  1. Very well-made game kinda let down by the fact that it's on the 3DS. The controls are fine for the air battles but are hard on the hands for the ground battles and I just really don't like controlling the camera with the touchscreen especially since I don't have a stylus. The game also would've benefited from a dodge/dash button instead of having it rely on sudden analog stick movements. The small screen could also get pretty cluttered at times. Aside from that, the game has a lot of visually appealing and energetic levels with fun dialogue and charming characters. The character models look quite good for a 3DS game and the character designs are varied and memorable. The music is quite good as well. Even though the game was relatively short, it does kind of feel a bit padded out with some levels not really bringing anything interesting to the table. The bosses, while varied and generally well-thought-out, die surprisingly fast so they don't really stick in the mind. I would like to see a sequel on the switch or something with improved controls that gives the cast more time to shine since a few characters like phosphora and pyron barely got to appear.

Beyond Good & Evil [Completed]

  1. I was seriously impressed that Ubisoft of all companies managed to make something this good once upon a time. BGE has a surprisingly great soundtrack, fun gameplay, smooth setpieces, likable characters, well-written dialogue, and a compelling story. Collecting pearls is enjoyable, especially since they provide substantial upgrades, are very necessary for progression, and rarely require going through repeated or uninteresting content. Taking pictures of animals is also fun since the creatures are pretty unique and it gives you pearls. The combat is simple and most of the game is pretty easy to breeze through but killing enemies feels good enough to make up for the lack of difficulty. The stealth sections require more thought and balance out the braindead nature of the combat. The game has a nice enough artstyle for a gamecube game but could use a remaster. There were some frequent audio bugs where voice lines would overlap or cut each other off. The only other issues would be the game not really telling you need to get a flight stabilizer before the domz would attack the lighthouse, the last phase of the final boss being a big pain in the butt, a tad too many stealth sections, and the game ending on a cliffhanger that probably won't be resolved any time soon.

Panzer Dragoon [Completed]

  1. A very short, pretty cool rail shooter. The 3D saturn graphics have a neat look to them and the stages are atmospheric. The soundtrack is also pretty good but it can be hard to hear over all the shooting. The story is simple and not very interesting and the intro cutscene goes on for too long but the dragon and rider designs are good. The gameplay is pretty standard fare for a rail shooter, though it's cool that you can rotate 360 degrees at all times. I'm never a fan of movement being tied to aim but it's only really an issue in the tighter spaces. I don't really have a problem with the length since I didn't pay for it but I do feel they ramped up the difficulty to compensate for it and that can get annoying.

Panzer Dragoon II: Zwei [Completed]

  1. A big improvement over the original in every way. Zwei's gameplay is smoother with faster shots, easier movement and a better camera. The areas are more visually interesting and the music is great. The story is still pretty simple but it's much better than the first one and easier to follow and care about as well. It's also cool how they incorporate some ground sections for variety. The difficulty feels more fair in this one though the last couple levels can be a pain to get through in one go. Also the final boss fight is awesome. Sega just can't stop pumping out the soul.

Final Fantasy VII Remake [Completed]

  1. A really good game that really likes to waste my time. FF7R has great presentation with some nice-looking areas and great music. While the graphics are generally good, there are some muddy textures that stand out and a lot of background characters look poor next to the main crew. The combat is some of the best I've ever seen in a JRPG though I would've liked at least some invincibility on the roll and some encounters just don't take into account that Barret might not be equipped with a ranged weapon. The difficulty is consistently challenging enough to make you consider enemy weaknesses and strategies without being frustrating. The voice-acting is pretty good overall but some actors were lacking and the dialogue mostly wasn't anything particularly special. The new renditions of the original characters are handled very well and I didn't have a problem with any of them. My biggest issue with the game is that it is often padded out with uninteresting or tedious content just so they can say it's the length of a full JRPG. The retread of the sewers in particular was mind-numbing and a lot of sections and some boss fights just go on for far too long. The game also likes to force me to slow down and slowly slide through tight spaces to hide loading times which became infuriating since it happened every 5 minutes or so. The side quests, while not really interesting storywise, often have unique combat encounters and offer substantial enough rewards to make them worth doing. The materia and weapon upgrade systems make customizing characters fun and it's always a really pleasant feeling when I find a new weapon since they're not just iterative number upgrades. The story is pretty solid and it does a good job of covering the midgar events from the original with a fresh take. I'm glad some of the goofier aspects of the original like the honeybee inn, the gym and the hellhouse enemy are still in and even expanded upon to make them even more ridiculous. The time ghost stuff was pretty annoying because for the majority of the game they do nothing to change the story besides awkwardly flying around random scenes and removing agency from the characters in scenes like cloud failing to stop shinra from dropping the plate or cloud saving aerith from the shinra soldiers at the church. Thankfully they're building up to something interesting at least in the coming sequels which I can only hope is handled well. The finale stretches on a tad too long but the final boss fight with sephiroth is pretty cool.

Policenauts [Dropped]

  1. I really enjoyed the prologue but I had to jump through so many hoops to switch discs only to be met with frequent screen flickering and an awful ear-destroying audio bug so I figure I'll just watch a playthrough at this point before I go mad.

Umihara Kawase Shun [Completed]

  1. Excellent platforming gameplay, a great visual style that evokes a nostalgic feeling, comfy music, what more could you ask for? I suppose my only issue would be that some doors are a massive pain to get to and some stages require using the rocket jump which is really tough to pull off. I also prefer Sayonara's allowing you to restart stages without any limits but Shun's lives and continues are generous enough.

God of War 2018 [Completed]

  1. I was pretty down on this game to begin with but it ended up growing on me as I progressed and got more combat options. The gameplay is pretty solid and less simplistic than the original games with meaty hits and pretty frantic fights. Atreus is actually really useful in fights which I appreciate and the boss fights are fun in addition to being cinematic. While the gameplay was very solid, I do think it gets kind of stale in the latter parts and I think it could've used more weapon variety, enemy variety or something else to keep help keep it fresh. The puzzle rooms actually weren't bad and they were generally fun to solve, but the uncharted-like climbing segments could've been culled a bit. The menus were a hassle to navigate and the crafting/stat system seemed kind of superfluous. I didn't end up going for any of the side content since I could tell I would end up getting burnt out on the gameplay but as a result I barely got enough stats to unlock any skills with stat requirements. Though I ended up spending a huge amount of my exp on Atreus since it was just a straight upgrade in combat with pretty much no trade-off. The story is pretty alright. The setting is cool but the plot is nothing special. There are a lot of cool setpieces throughout the story and getting the blades of chaos was real cool. I do think you go all over the place too much and all the back and forth kinda hurts the feeling of progress. The ending was good, if only for the sentimental tossing of the ashes. The end reveals of Atreus being Loki and Faye being a giant who knew everything didn't really have any impact for me. Daddy Kratos is a big improvement over angry mash-square man and it's nice seeing him become more human as he deals with taking care of a kid. Atreus constantly fluctuated between "Alright" and "Insufferable". They clearly wanted him to go through phases to show development over the course of the game but subtlety is tossed out the window when he gets moody or arrogant and has a line of dialogue every 10 seconds to remind you how moody or arrogant he is. The section where he finds out he's a god and becomes arrogant was positively infuriating and the speed at which he changes from normal to arrogant and back to normal is ridiculous. The visuals were very nice and I really appreciated the lack of loading screens as well as the scarcity of "fake loading screens" where they make you slowly move through tight spaces or force you to walk to hide loading. Overall, pretty good game.

Cardfight Vanguard Zero [Completed]

  1. I've been waiting a long time for the ability to play vanguard online officially in english with automated systems but this is more than a little disappointing. The rules are obnoxiously simplified to appeal to mobage players and a ton of the depth is removed thanks to the over-simplification of the guard system and as a result, player choice is greatly reduced. There's also not much deck variety available and that's limited by having to roll the gacha to construct decks. This wouldn't be so bad if you could pick which clans you want to roll for but every gacha has cards from every clan which makes building specific decks a pain. While it's nostalgic to go through the original story in the story mode, the presentation is seriously barebones with poorly-animated sprites and low-quality clips from the show with japanese audio and no subs. I guess I'll be waiting a while longer for a better client.

Kingdom under Fire: The Crusaders [Dropped]

  1. I have to respect this game for feeling like it was made by some fat 20-something year old guy in the 90s who loves DnD and metal and it seems really cool for it's time. The hybrid of action and RTS gameplay is interesting, the music is pretty cool and the story, while uninspired, feels genuine. I completed Gerald's story but the RTS aspect of the gameplay is just not for me, especially with the targeting line getting stuck on every nearby enemy in the line of sight so when it gets more difficult I'm sure I'll just get frustrated. I quite liked Gerald as a main character too, especially his weird chewing animation in the cutscenes and his voice acting when he goes ballistic on the orcs. The port is also not perfect with plenty of odd audio mixing problems and the inability to alt tab to desktop. The strangest thing..was that whenever a character would say "Patriarch" that word alone would be cut out of the voice line. But yeah, cool soulful OG xbox game, just not really my cup of tea.

Xenoblade 2: Torna - The Golden Country [Dropped]

  1. Really unfortunate, the decision they made for this one. The combat system is a slight improvement over the main game and the music is great. Addam is a fun character and Lora's at least more compelling than Rex. The story up until the point I played 8 hours in was pretty average and I can't really say I was invested but the character interactions were nice enough and it was cool seeing Jin before he went down the villain path. Unfortunately where Torna takes a big dive is the awful community system and frankly I didn't want to waste a big chunk of my time doing MMO-tier fetch quests with dull NPC interactions just to proceed in the story. It wouldn't have been so bad if it was just getting to level 2 which took a decent amount of time in itself, but after hearing I would have to reach level 4 to finish the story, I lost all interest.

The Wonderful 101: Remastered [Completed]

  1. Admittedly it's not the 10/10 I masterpiece I remember but I think I was just overcome by the finale the first time which is still a 10/10 finale. The combat is still a blast for the most part and it's really fun to bust up enemies with the fist and sword. Unfortunately there's not a lot of use for the other weapons besides the enemies specifically designed for them but I suppose that's not too different from most action games. The only such case that annoys me is the spike enemies that require use of the whip because they are boring and tedious to deal with every time. Some encounters can end up with way too much flashy junk onscreen at one time and that can make avoiding enemy attacks and hearing audio cues more difficult than it should be. Using unite guts to counter and unite spring to dodge feels really good but some attacks that feel like they should be blockable with unite guts just aren't for some reason and that trial-and-error process can be really annoying. The camera is generally fine but sometimes it's hard to have a good balance where you're not either too zoomed out to keep track of your character and enemy telegraphs or too zoomed in to keep the enemies onscreen. While TW101 tends to do a good job keeping the gameplay fresh with variety, Kamiya's obsession with blending genres is at its worst and the various shmup sections and parts where you control the virgin victory are awful. The punchout parts were still great, however. The story, aside from Luka being a brat, is great with a bunch of likable characters, fun interactions and some of the best voice acting in the industry. Wonder Red in particular is a fantastic main character who's really fun to follow. The cutscenes can be a bit long-winded sometimes but the overall package is an absolute joy to experience even a second time. The QTE sequences are also awesome and do a good job punctuating the end of each chapter. The remaster itself is done well enough but they clearly didn't bother updating a lot of the assets and the models/textures that already looked pretty bad on the wii u look worse when blown up to a higher resolution. I'm just glad it's not trapped on the wii u anymore. I'm sure this mostly sounds negative but it's still a fantastic game and one of the best I've (re)played this year.

Metal Slug [Completed]

  1. This was a blast. Great sprite art and satisfying action and it's really quick-paced. Of course it was really short since they don't expect you to play with unlimited "coins" but I had my fun so whatevs. The co-op is some tasty icing on the cake and the credits sequence was full to the brim with soul. Can't wait to play the others.

Yakuza 3 Remastered [Dropped]

  1. Even though I'm generally tired of the yakuza formula, I was interested in playing 3 for the new environment. For what it's worth, I did enjoy the first few chapters in Okinawa with the refreshing island atmosphere and the chance to see Kiryu as a father figure doing what he truly wanted to do rather than just being some confused problem solver fumbling around in some greater crisis. Unfortunately that's quickly what it returns to being since they decide to toss me back into kamurocho for the 20th time for over half the game. Even running around doing the substories which is usually the biggest appeal of these games was underwhelming thanks to the constant dull random battles and the substories themselves all feeling rather samey like kiryu having to fill in for a missing movie actor or a couple working together to scam him with some convoluted plot. The chase segments, while relatively sparse, are annoying. The combat is much worse than I remember from Yakuza 4 with enemies constantly blocking all the time, heat moves being mostly useless, and my options for attack being pretty much limited to sidestepping behind opponents constantly to get off a decent combo. The graphics outside the big cutscenes have also aged very poorly with a lot of NPC faces looking absolutely atrocious. The main plot was decent but not enough to make up for the rest of the disappointing aspects.

Higurashi When They Cry Hou - Ch.8 Matsuribayashi [Completed]

  1. Matsuribayashi is a great ending for the series that promptly ties up every conflict and provides a lot of emotional payoff after the long journey. Overall, it's not as impactful as the other chapters since it's an all-around happy ending and the most hard-hitting parts of the other chapters were the deaths and failures of the main characters. However, the victories of the characters that have suffered in so many different scenarios feel very fun and well-deserved and I could feel the creator having a good time as he finally gave them some sixes on every dice roll. That's not to say there's not any tension, the conflict very much feels like its against overwhelming odds which makes their victories all the sweeter. The heroic, almost cartoonishly so, return of Akasaka in particular was very exciting and uplifting. Even Hanyuu, whom I was pretty annoyed with previously due to her pessimistic attitude, had a great turnaround and fit in with the rest of the cast perfectly. Takano is developed very well after appearing to be a saturday morning cartoon villain who just wanted to be god in chapter 7 and I genuinely felt bad for her throughout a lot of the story. I was happy that most of the main characters got their shining moments throughout the final chapter but Rena and Keiichi felt like they were sidelined a tad too much. Mion being propped up as a great leader was great but it was a bit of a jarring turnaround after she was so often shown to be a weak normal girl in most of the other chapters. I was intrigued by the "gameplay" aspect in the earlier part of the game but there's not really any choices to be made aside from the one specific combination that leads to the secret ending so it sadly pales in comparison to the ludo of Umineko Ch.8's mystery deduction. The music is still fantastic and amplifies the impact of every scene dramatically. I still prefer Umineko overall but Higurashi was an excellent emotional rollercoaster and I'm very pleased with Ryukishi's ending.

Sakura Wars [Completed]

  1. A very charming game that holds up surprisingly well. The presentation is very well-done with a lot of nice-looking anime sprites, cgs and cutscenes. The character designs are all pretty nice and distinct and the voice acting is plentiful and good. The story is pretty cliche but the 90s saturn charm makes it really endearing. There are only a few groan-worthy parts like Iris being an annoying kid in her chapter and Sumire/Kanna's chapter making you go through pretty much the same scenario twice in a row with zero self-awareness regarding how identical they are. Aside from that, the story is fine enough and proceeds at a surprisingly rapid pace. The quick-response choices were fun as well and spruced up conversations. I honestly think the game could've used a few more laid-back parts where you can go around and view SoL scenes to let the girls connect with eachother more. I was pretty pleased with how much unique dialogue Sumire got since I focused on her throughout the game but Sakura felt unnaturally minor despite being the titular character. The many minigames I got to play throughout the story were also fun little diversions that added to the soul. The strategy gameplay was pretty simple throughout but the animations were good and it was nice that it allowed me to speed up movement. Also the theme song is ballin'.

Daytona USA [Completed..basically]

  1. The music's fun and the tracks look nice for its time. The gameplay is alright but I'm not a fan of how the drifting feels.

Sonic 3D Blast [Dropped]

  1. I quite like the aesthetic and the music is good as expected of sonic. However the 3D aspect brings a lot of depth perception issues so the game just isn't really that fun with all the chasing of small animals and missing because it's difficult to judge distance.

Bulk Slash [Completed]

  1. Very neat saturn game. Bulk Slash has soul coming out the ears with its low poly aesthetic, solid soundtrack and seamless integration of the co-pilot's anime face popping up on the screen all the time. The combat is decent but the controls take a bit to get used to. The levels are all fairly distinct in terms of design and objectives and the boss fights are pretty fun too. Difficulty is pretty low throughout but that was fine for the style of the game. Couldn't understand the story since it was all in japanese but it didn't seem to matter until the ending anyways and it doesn't seem very complex.

Silhouette Mirage [Dropped]

  1. Treasure's presentation is charming as always and the color gimmick makes for an interesting mechanic but it also makes the gameplay pretty annoying. The shots don't really feel good and the color system requires constantly trying to stay on one side of the enemies or going through a lengthy color-switching animation just to mash the shot button with no other mechanical changes besides hitting or not hitting.

Virtua Cop [Dropped]

  1. Incredibly easy to the point of being dull. I'm guessing the gameplay would actually be pretty fun if I had a light gun accessory but I do not. At least the voice acting is funny.

Burning Rangers [Completed]

  1. This game's super cool. The premise is cool and original, the character designs are great, the music is cheesy yet catchy. The gameplay is pretty clunky due to the limitations of 3D on the saturn but it still manages to be fairly enjoyable. Shooting out fires is fun but the aiming is a hassle, jumping feels satisfying but not nearly smooth enough for the platforming they want you to do. Hearing the explosions coming and quickly jumping out of the way isn't difficult at all but it feels cool, and rescuing people while your character comforts them makes you feel like a real firefighter. It's pretty easy to lose your bearings in the game but thankfully the directional voice system is usually accurate enough to keep you on track. Overall the game is pretty easy and the bosses tend to be pretty simple on top of the whole game being like an hour long, but it has plenty of soul to make it an enjoyable experience. The voice acting and story aren't the best but they're endearing and have a classic cartoon feeling to them. Also Tillias is really cute.

Guardian Heroes [Dropped]

  1. This game's actually pretty fun for the most part. Juggling enemies is satisfying, especially as Ginjirou and the action is really frantic and lively. I got to the end of 2 playthroughs, one as Ginjirou and one as Han and the endgame levels really just kill the fun with the tanky enemies becoming a wall of death forcing you to just use your safest moves over and over again to slowly chip away at their health.

Metal Slug 2 [Completed]

  1. Still plenty of fun. I prefer the 1st game cuz I wasn't a big fan of 2's egypt level/boss and the credit sequence was significantly worse but it was still a blast to go through and I like the girl characters they added. Also the laser weapon and shift to ALIENS was cool.

Drakengard [Dropped]

  1. From a gameplay perspective this is probably the worst game I've ever played. I thought it wouldn't bother me since I play so many musous but this is the most monotonous combat I have ever seen and it feels awful. The story and tone are great and all but frankly I don't think it's worth 10 hours of that.

Forza Horizon 4 [Dropped]

  1. Not a fan of realistic racing games but it came with the xbone so I figured I'd give it a go. It looks great and it has a good sense of speed when you get above 80mph or so, but having to slow down so much for turns is a massive annoyance. I'm really not sure what anyone finds fun about spinning out the moment you try to make a minor turn at high speeds, isn't it the point of a racing game to have fun going fast?

Panzer Dragoon Orta [Completed]

  1. Even better than Zwei, Orta retains the fantastic setting, visuals and music from the prior games while developing the gameplay in a fun and natural way. The dragon forms make the gameplay far more involved and complex with just a simple button press and the gliding is a great way to make the movement and positioning feel less restrictive which is nice in a rail-shooter. The levels are all distinct and difficult while rarely feeling unfair and even the story was more developed this time around. While the story still wasn't particularly impactful, it at least gave me some characters to recognize and care about this time around and I quite like the designs of both Orta and the antagonist. Too bad panzer dragoon's dead.

Ninja Gaiden 2 [Dropped]

  1. I was pretty happy with this sequel to begin with and I thought it was better than sigma for a while. Unfortunately 2 is plagued with some of the worst bosses in an action game, some annoying enemies with random hitstun resistance and high-damage unblockable throws with nonexistant telegraphing, and an overabundance of repetitive combat scenarios with relatively little enemy variety. I was annoyed at the platforming sections in sigma so I was initially pleased that they toned it down and focused more on action but without non-combat sections to keep things varied and with the increased enemy count in every encounter, the constant fighting gets very tiring. To its credit, the fighting is generally more fun than in sigma thanks to the enjoyable new weapons and the UTs so it could've been great. The checkpoints at the start of boss battles and new episodes are also a great addition. The story is also just as weak as sigma's but at least Sonia has some nice bazonkas.

Metal Slug 3 [Completed]

  1. More of the wild fun expected from a Metal Slug game. All the pros and cons of the others are still present but 3 has the most enjoyable levels yet and the best music as well. It was really cool how you spend the last level saving your favorite character in a constantly escalating alien battle. The fat status effect was an odd inclusion since it rarely pops up and the credits sequence still isn't as good as the first game's and those are my only real complaints.

Pikuniku [Completed]

  1. Decent cute little game. I like the artstyle and the movement is surprisingly enjoyable. The dialogue is okay but it does get a little too "lol so quirky" for me with its overly simplistic delivery and purposely incorrect grammar. The music was pretty nice as well and while the difficulty is generally nonexistant, the minigames and puzzles are still enjoyable. My only real gripe with the gameplay is that some parts of boss fights (the saws on the first boss not giving any sign that they'll pause, mr.sunshine shooting out popcorn way too fast in the final chase) could be annoying compared to the laidback nature of the rest of the game.

Yoku's Island Express [Completed]

  1. The pinball gimmick was pretty cool and made moving around the world plenty of fun. The visuals are real nice and the music is pleasant, if forgettable. The setting feels pretty generic as far as nature-focused fantasy settings go and none of the story/characters are particularly interesting even though they try to give you a lore dump at one point. While I had plenty of fun over the course of the game, the ending is totally underwhelming with a lame twist and anticlimactic music. I don't really have any complaints about the rest of the game except that the pinball foundation for the gameplay means there's a lot of trial and error that can really put a damper on important parts like boss fights.

Metal Slug 4 [Completed]

  1. Fun time as expected of metal slug. Nadia's cute and the difficulty feels more fair in this one but it was also a less memorable experience overall. After the wild escalation in 3's ending, 4's robot twist was pretty underwhelming and the reduced difficulty wasn't compensated for with more content so it ended up being even shorter than normal. The music in the last stage was great and it was still fun for what it was.

Jet Force Gemini [Dropped]

  1. Vela has a cute design but the gameplay has not aged well at all.

Perfect Dark [Dropped]

  1. Shooting sucks and I somehow failed the mission because I accidentally put a hacking device on the side of a computer instead of the front.

Fable Anniversary [Dropped]

  1. Ugly artstyle, poorly animated cutscenes, uninteresting setting, lame combat and what appears to be a weak morality system.

Ace Combat 6 [Completed]

  1. Pretty alright as far as ace combat goes. 6 completely falls flat from a story perspective with uninteresting characters, awkward writing, middling voice acting, poor facial animations, and a ridiculous overuse of the line "dance with the angels" to a cringey degree. From a gameplay standpoint it's good, given that it's ace combat. The first half or so places a bit too much focus on ground targets which can get pretty dull but it picks up later with more mission variety. While the game obviously doesn't look as good as 7, it still looks great and the missile trails in particular look very cool during the larger dogfights. My favorite aspect of 6 is that your team is actually competent and helpful and you can tell they're fighting alongside you all the time. While the story and mission dialogue isn't good in general, Garuda 2 is a good wingman and I did feel for him when he revealed his wife and daughter died during the war. The music was still good, but unmemorable by ace combat standards aside from Liberation of Gracemeria.

Burnout Paradise Remastered [Completed..basically]

  1. This game's a blast. Feels great just to drive around the city breaking through shortcuts and busting down billboards. The different missions are fun but get repetitive fairly quickly. I got a B rank license and I probably would've felt compelled to go further except it resets the mission completion every time you get a new license which really demotivated me. Taking down other cars also feels great, especially online. Also I'm sick of hearing paradise city, I don't care if it matches the game make it stop.

Shin Megami Tensei IV [Dropped]

  1. I got 12 hours in and fail to see the appeal. The gameplay is more or less the same as Nocturne but far less satisfying since there are no 3D models or animations, meaning no matter how many demons you fuse they may as well just be a list of abilities. The gameplay also feels less balanced than Nocturne with its stupidly difficult intro dungeon followed by most things just being a cakewalk. I did like some of the additions like using app points to get upgrades for the protagonist and some variability through the use of equipment as well as thankfully being able to choose which skills to inherit in demon fusion. I appreciate the stronger focus on story but it still fails to be compelling from what I experienced and it just seems to be the standard SMT song and dance of "ruined civilization needs to be directed by GOD, SATAN or FENCE-SITTERS" with shallow characters. Demon negotiation is just as awful as ever but even more annoying now that I can't abuse save-states like in Nocturne to minimize frustration. SMT4 also feels like a step down aesthetically from Nocturne with less atmospheric areas and generally lame new demon designs. My biggest complaint is the complete lack of direction in Tokyo. Encouraging exploration is all well and good but Tokyo manages to be both uninteresting to explore and unnecessarily convoluted. Paths you can walk on are hard to tell apart from those you can't, areas aren't labeled so you have to enter them to remember what they were, repetitive enemy encounters are around every corner, and most areas just consist of NPCs telling you you're not allowed there with no implication of what you need to do to proceed. I really don't have the patience for it.

Panzer Dragoon Saga [Completed]

  1. A very unique and interesting JRPG. Saga follows a fairly standard revenge plot for most of the game but it carries the excellent atmosphere, setting, art direction and music that comes with being a panzer dragoon game and the story becomes more nuanced later on. The game is really short for a JRPG and well-paced aside from a couple areas that were a tad longer than they should've been. There are few characters but they're pretty likable thanks to the well-written dialogue and solid voice acting for such an old game. I was confused by the language swap in the beginning for a while but the explanation for it in the ending retroactively made it awesome. Edge is pretty standard for a JRPG MC but he tends to have good interactions with the other characters, especially Azel and Paet. The 3D models are pretty outdated but they are well-animated which, in conjunction with the well-done voice acting, makes the cutscenes still feel natural and intriguing despite the low-fidelity models. The areas, enemies and dragons look great thanks to the stellar art direction and flying around on the dragon is way cooler than running around like a normal JRPG. Saga does have an issue with certain spots not really guiding you on where to go next and others guiding you too much (i.e blasting open a hole in the floor then having Azel tell you you can go down now). I like the battle system a lot thanks to how fresh it is compared to other JRPG systems and how well it implements the style of normal panzer dragoon gameplay. There are a lot of battles that are so easy they might as well have just given me the EXP and saved me some time, but it was just a minor annoyance made up for by the cool boss fights.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary [Completed]

  1. A shining display of awful level design. It's cool and all seeing the origin of Halo but actually playing the game is pretty painful. The shooting is alright and the final mission was fun. Some levels are more bearable than others but a ton of the campaign is just slowly going back and forth through samey corridors and getting lost because it's so easy to forget where you have and haven't been. Enemy placement can feel pretty unfair with swarms of stronger enemies, one-shot grenades/rocket launchers and energy swords. The story is nothing to write home about but master chief is still cool at least. Also the flood are a massive pain to fight.

Titanfall 2 [Completed]

  1. I originally played on PS4 so getting to play it with mouse and keyboard now makes it even better. Titanfall 2 still has one of the greatest FPS campaigns ever made with fantastic movement, shooting, and level variety with fresh and fun gimmicks that never overstay their welcome. The story is nothing groundbreaking but the bond between Cooper and BT is great and it's fun going against a villain team that feels like they came out of a japanese studio. The only notable flaw with the campaign is that it is very very short. I also encountered some annoying glitches in the airship level that I had to die to restart for multiple times.

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition [Completed]

  1. Still the best JRPG of all time in my eyes. The story is great and stays compelling throughout the entire experience. The gameplay is fun and active with its focus on positioning and each character having unique playstyles. The party is full of lovable charismatic characters with the exception of maybe Sharla and the voice acting is still the best in the business. The world design is spectacular and is only improved with the graphical updates brought by the definitive edition. The sidequests are still pretty weak but they're not necessary to complete so it's not much of a problem. I do wish more of them provided EXP for completion though. My only notable complaint about the gameplay is the penalty for fighting higher leveled monsters which did force me to grind a few times. As for the definitive edition, the graphical updates are fantastic for the areas, but I do miss the darker shading of the original character models. The new ones are easy to get used to though. The soundtrack is still one of the best in a video game but some of the remixes feel a little lacking compared to the original. Future Connected is alright, the story is pretty inconsequential and I'm not a big fan of the changes made to the combat. The bionis shoulder is a great area but there are a few too many hordes of enemies especially with the way fog beasts work. The nopon weren't annoying but it's annoying how you have to either have 2 nopon kids in your party or deal with CPU shulk/melia not knowing how to fight. It does pretty much force you to do sidequests but it's not as egregious as what Torna did so it kinda just ended up being a decent little chance to see Melia and Shulk again.

Kero Blaster [Completed]

  1. Fun little game. I haven't played Cave Story in a long time but from what I can remember Kero Blaster is weaker in nearly every aspect. Still a nice little game with satisfying weapon upgrades, some atmospheric areas, nice music and fun bosses. The story is okay but the game's short length kind of hampers it. The mutated president did genuinely unnerve me somewhat and the ending was cute. The gameplay is generally fun but I often had some small troubles with the controls that could get annoying considering how quickly you can die. Sometimes my character would keep moving without my input and changing directions while shooting/switching between shooting up and forward was pretty clunky. I like that the unlockable hard mode has remixed levels and a new story but my issues with the gameplay and the fact that I already had some trouble with the end of normal mode makes me not really want to go through it.

Ikaruga [Completed]

  1. While I did technically beat it thanks to infinite continues, I can't really rate it cuz I spent most of the game dying. I did fine enough for the first couple stages but my brain just isn't wired right for shmups so the rest of the stages were far too much for me to handle. I did enjoy the cool presentation of the game and it's nonsense story and polarity was a cool gimmick at least.

Sonic Generations [Completed]

  1. Actually pretty fun. There are some weaker levels here and there but for the most part both the 2D and 3D acts are enjoyable and have a good sense of speed and fun setpieces. Unfortunately it carries the usual flaw with sonic games which is if you stray from what the developer intended for you to do at all it will completely break the flow and result in annoying deaths or break up setpieces. The game wants you to go fast but the faster you go, the easier it is to miss the developer's intended path and makes these problems pop up more often. Visually the game was pretty alright, the outdoor areas looked nice but the rest of it, including the models and animations, could've looked better. The music was good as usual. The story in the first part just felt like boring stuff aimed at children so I skipped a lot of it to focus on the gameplay. The hub is a nice idea but it's annoying to navigate and doesn't really integrate normal sonic gameplay too well. The bosses are a mix of fine and bad with the final boss being the worst. I modded the game to play as Amy since Amy is cute so that improved my experience substantially. Also modern sonic telling classic sonic to look forward to his future was very funny.

BallisticNG [Completed..basically]

  1. A great love letter to Wipeout. In fact it's so similar to Wipeout I'm almost baffled Sony hasn't taken legal action. Great sense of speed and aesthetics, a decent amount of tracks substantially boosted by the steam workshop which has plenty of high quality modded tracks, and some fun challenges make it a great time. I also liked how simple it was to play my own custom music in the game and it ran really well too. My only real issue with the game is the difficulty spike in the time trial challenges which felt absurd compared to the other challenges. While I was still cruising through the races and zone challenges with a nice difficulty curve, the time trials quickly required everything I had just to barely get bronze after the first two or so. Also a minor complaint but having to move to the back button to get out of every menu instead of just being able to click B was annoying.

A Way Out [Completed]

  1. A genuinely great time and a fantastic co-op experience which is hard to come by these days. A Way Out has extremely likable main characters with tons of fun dialogue which make for a very compelling jailbreak/revenge story. A lot of the game's charm stems from it being an american story created by clearly foreign quirky people resulting in something similar to The Room but genuinely competent and enjoyable. I really didn't see the twist coming and was pleasantly surprised by how emotionally impactful the ending sequence ended up being. In terms of gameplay, the depth and difficulty are practically nonexistant but the guided linear structure centered around QTEs was good enough to keep me and my partner invested in the setpieces and story. Speaking of the setpieces, the ones in A Way Out are fantastic and varied. I especially liked the hospital sequence with fun dialogue, the connect 4 minigame, and an amazing chase sequence that even incorporated a 2D beat 'em up section. The music was surprisingly good as well.

Persona 4 Golden PC [Completed]

  1. Still the best friend simulator ever developed. The PC port doesn't change much but it does free it from the vita shackles and the higher resolution is great. I expected load times to be instant since it's a PS2 game and I have an SSD but it's fine enough. As for the game itself, the soul is overflowing with the japanese country town aesthetic accented by graphics with the right amount of low fidelity models and a fantastic soundtrack. The gameplay is pretty good as far as JRPGs go but a way to skip all-out attack and combo attack animations would help immensely. I like that they allow you to turn up exp and money gain in the settings so you can still have a normal gameplay experience but without grinding. Finding and hitting enemy weaknesses as well as trying to get flush bonuses in shuffle time after battles keeps the dungeon crawling fun and the dungeons are often nice aesthetically even if they're mechanically the same. The story holds up much better than I expected and I can tell that if I wasn't replaying it, I would still have been super invested in the mystery. The characters are extremely likable and genuinely feel like real friends. Most of the social links are well-written and it feels great to build them up. Managing time to efficiently raise every social link also makes for a great gameplay loop. The main characters have excellent natural-sounding voice acting despite the inevitable awkwardness that comes with honorifics and "senpai" in an english script. Troy Baker and Yuri Lowenthal in particular felt really into their roles and I never skipped any of their voiced lines. I was also very impressed that the game could still elicit an emotional response from me despite me already knowing everything that would happen. I nearly cried when Nanako "died" in the hospital, felt exceptionally happy when my friends thanked me, laughed at a lot of the goofy antics the main characters got up to, and much more. For that reason I can't give the game anything but a 10 even with the dungeon crawling not being too special and Marie being a cringelord. I also came to like Yukiko more this time around and she feels like such a natural romance with the MC that it felt bad going with Ayane this time as well. But Ayane was too adorable so it couldn't be helped.

Sonic Robo Blast 2 Kart [Completed..basically]

  1. Very impressive for a fangame. Large variety of stages and and a solid roster with some fun modded additions as well. The music selection is pretty nice and the visuals are very well-done. Unfortunately the gameplay is more similar to the original mario kart so I'm not a huge fan of that aspect. Would love this kind of treatment for sanic all stars racing.

Umihara Kawase Bazooka [Dropped]

  1. Probably a decently fun time with friends or well..anyone but of course the online is absolutely dead. The concept is neat with combining action and traditional umihara kawase gameplay but the singleplayer content is way too simple to be any fun on its own. Shame cuz the roster is pretty cute all around.

Metal Slug 5 [Completed]

  1. Pretty by-the-books quality metal slug game. Since I couldn't play it on fightcade, I got to learn that metal slug is far less fun when played alone. The constant deaths are much more annoying when you don't have a second player to keep the action going and the game just pauses for a few seconds. The new slide move is a nice addition but it ended up getting in my way more often than not when I wanted to jump and shoot down. 5 doesn't really deviate enough from the rest to stand out to me, not even keeping the new character I liked from 4. There are some cool vehicle segments but they're still held back by your shooting direction being decided by your movement. The final boss is really cool but also very simple and only has 2 attacks.

Disco Elysium [Completed]

  1. One of my favorites this year for sure. Disco is a very well-written, heavily text-based game that uses the medium exceptionally well to draw you into the story. Picking the right choices, passing and failing check, leveling up stats and internalizing thoughts to pass checks and gathering items/clothing are all compelling gameplay aspects that amplify the narrative and really make you feel like a detective doing the dirty work. It feels great to pass checks and open people up, and even better when you end up earning some respect after starting the game at rock bottom. A lot of the characters are interesting and nuanced, my favorite being trusty sidekick Kim Kitsuragi. There are few games that can replicate the positive feeling of getting Kim to trust you and seeing his genuine concern and support later in the game like in the tribunal, karaoke and the ending. The surprise tribunal event was an excellent climax and it was nice to get a moment to show everyone I really was a good cop. I'm sure the game could be more entertaining if I goofed off and played the drunk superstar cop angle but I quite liked my "repentant cop trying to put his crazy drunk life behind him" story and I felt like it really came together well by the end. One thing I would've liked to get was an epilogue or credits montage showing the aftermath of my actions but it does kind of feel like they want to set up a sequel or something so it's not too bad. The game has a great artstyle and that, combined with the melodic and tone-setting music, really built a great atmosphere in revachol. The voice acting could sound a little awkward sometimes, but the use of uncommon voice actors and some heavy accents made it feel very distinct. Disco might not be my favorite game of the year, but in terms of recent releases it's really up there.

Pyre [Dropped]

  1. Probably the weakest of the supergiant games. Pyre has a very unique concept and gameplay system and it's enjoyable for a while much like Transistor which was also very novel. However, unlike Transistor, Pyre goes on longer than a few hours where the gameplay starts to lose its novel appeal and after the first liberation rite the only ones you can play against are opponents you already fought before so I kinda lost motivation to keep going. The lack of english voice acting for most characters was kind of a downer since it's usually such a strong aspect of the other supergiant games but the way language is used in the setting is pretty neat. The lore was pretty uninteresting though. The artstyle and character designs are very nice and the music was fitting but it generally didn't stand out to me.

Assassin's Creed [Dropped]

  1. Played the first hour or so and it was mind-numbingly boring with constant tutorials for what amounts to extremely simplistic gameplay, long dull conversations, and climbing sections that were monotonous at best and annoying at worst. I can kind of see why it would be cool to people 8 years ago but nowadays there doesn't seem to be much reason to play it.

Outward [Dropped]

  1. Downloaded so my friend would stop bugging me to try it and saw there were hunger and thirst mechanics. NOPE.

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 [Completed]

  1. An improvement over the first game in many ways. The game is longer, has more characters, and is reasonably more difficult with some great boss designs. The music is still good and the stage design is still very fun as well. The new characters are just as fun and distinct as the original cast and the game even manages to tell a nice little story with some fun interactions between stages. I played on casual difficulty since I've never though that getting knocked back when hit or having limited lives has ever made for fun difficulty, but I would've liked an inbetween difficulty that removes those without giving a boost to health and weapon points. One thing that bothered me was that while Hachi's momentary invincibility can be fun to use to blast through certain hectic rooms, some sections and boss attacks make it feel almost necessary to avoid damage which can be very annoying if Hachi is dead or not present in that part of the game. It's also annoying that Zangetsu's moveset is gimped for most of the game for lore reasons. I would've liked if there was more variety between episodes as well. Getting the OG cast back for an episode is cool and having the small changes to the bosses is nice too but it's not really enough to keep the stages interesting when you have to play through all of them 4 times. The final stage with the shmup section and the final boss were very cool though.

Mother [Completed]

  1. Glad to finally play this after being put off by the grindy reputation for years. The easy ring added in the translation rectified that issue but it did simplify the gameplay aspect a lot which I didn't end up minding too much. While I wouldn't say it's as good as Mother 2 and 3, 1 still has a plethora of fun moments and trademark Itoi bizarreness. It was nice seeing how they still managed to squeeze in a lot of charm despite the hardware limitations and the music sounded surprisingly good as well. I quite liked the dancing scene near the end of the game and seeing Lloyd man up to protect the others. I wish Teddy was in the game longer though. The dungeons are a bit of a pain with how mazelike they can be, especially near the end with the horrific enemies on Mt.Itoi. Another annoying aspect was that allies wouldn't attack one of the remaining targets if the first target died before their turn which is common in every other JRPG. Also kind of disappointing not having the rolling health system that's so prevalent in the other games but I guess that's a bit much for a famicom game.

Blade and Sorcery [Completed..basically]

  1. Fun enough for like an hour and a half. Unfortunately I'm not much of a psychopath so the enjoyment of killing dozens of the same NPCs over and over again doesn't last long. Also the combat can be pretty janky with enemies getting back up after crushing blows to the head, stabs to the heart and throat, and several cuts to the legs and other such things. It's also hurt by the inability to actually get resistance when hitting enemies. The modded weapons and maps are nice enough at least like the bloodborne trick weapons.

Lost Odyssey [Dropped]

  1. This is a sad one. The presentation is really well-done and the music is very good. The premise of the main character and others being immortal is really fresh and neat. The game's greatest strength is the Thousand Years of Dreams stories that reveal moments from Kaim's past which are really well-written and often tug at my heartstrings. Ironically the quality of the dream stories makes the main story feel pretty weak in comparison. The battle system is fine as far as JRPGs go but the animations are really slow and that, combined with the reliance on magic that can be delayed by any attack, can make most battles an excruciating slog. Also it's a weird problem to have in a JRPG but running around and examining things/talking to people feels really awkward.

Star Wars Battlefront II (EA) [Completed..basically]

  1. Actually a pretty good game now that the ptw stuff has been removed. The presentation is phenomenal and for the most part it plays a lot like the old battlefronts with some more flare and a progression system. I guess I don't really have any major issues with it besides the shooting can lack some impact due to them being laser weapons I guess.

Hot Dogs, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades [Dropped]

  1. I like to have fun shooting without going through a tedious reload process every 3 seconds thank you. The weapon variety is impressive though.

Halo 2 Anniversary [Completed]

  1. A big step up from the first game in terms of level design and story presentation. 2 has much more varied and well-designed environments with very little backtracking or re-used assets. The story, while still not groundbreaking or impactful, is reasonably compelling and the switching between Chief and Arbiter was cool. The music that occasionally kicked in was pretty boppin' too. As for the gameplay, the new weapons and vehicles are fun to use and the addition of dual-wielding is neat but otherwise there weren't many improvements. The lack of Reach's sprint is still disappointing. I don't really have many problems with the game except the flood still exist and it relies a lot on dumping brutes everywhere in the later levels to create difficulty which leads to a lot of running past enemies.

Halo 3 [Completed]

  1. Nice revisiting one of my childhood favorites and it holds up really well. Improves upon 2 with more weapons and vehicles, higher quality presentation and a great conclusion. It's cool having chief and arby working together the whole game but it would be nice if they interacted a bit more. The music was really good as well and really accentuated the more intense setpieces. The additional grenade types and equipment system were nice but didn't really make a noticeable difference in the moment-to-moment gameplay.

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology [Completed]

  1. Radiant Historia is a very cool JRPG. The setting isn't anything special with its magical medieval fantasy war and separation between humans and beastmen and everything, but it's handled in a mature and competent way reminiscent of stuff like Suikoden. With the exception of Aht, the party is full of composed, competent adults with established jobs and skillsets. Stocke is a great main character who's smart, perceptive, and good at dealing with people. He really fits his role as a lieutenant in the special intelligence unit of the military. The political conflict is handled in a compelling way and the time jumping mechanics help make it more interesting as well with the need to make certain choices to get past roadblocks in the plot. It can be a little annoying trying to find the right nodes to jump to for completing quests and things but overall it's cool. The positioning-based grid combat is pretty fresh and setting up big combos on enemies that are clumped together can feel really great. Unfortunately if the enemy is a boss/mid-boss with a lot of HP the fights become a slog and there are a few points in the game where a lot of slow grinding is needed. The voice acting is pretty solid and I'm surprised how much of the dialogue was voiced. I like Eruca's redesign but overall the artstyle of this version is a downgrade from the original and you can only get the original art as DLC which is a shame. I liked the bittersweet ending until I realized I missed one sidequest for the true ending which ticked me off.

Super Mario 3D Land [Completed]

  1. A decent enough handheld Mario game that really just feels like a prototype for 3D World. The levels are fun but there are almost no original ideas, the presentation isn't creative, and all the bosses are just boom boom, ninja boom boom with a ponytail, and bowser. There are some depth perception issues that pop up and playing with a 3DS circle pad can get annoying. All that being said, it's still fun enough for a mario game and it looks pretty good too.

Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax [Completed]

  1. Decent little fighting game. Mechanically it's pretty fun but character movesets are rather lacking. The roster of playable characters is pretty small but it's also endearingly weird with its odd selection of LN characters and the mix of sega content with dengeki characters is interesting. The spritework is really well-done but the singleplayer content is pretty weak. There's just an awkwardly-written arcade mode but being able to unlock Akira with the final boss was really cool.

Ghost of Tsushima [Completed]

  1. A top class open world game. The presentation is excellent with beautiful saturated colors and aesthetically pleasing environments covered in leaves and snow and whatnot. The music is very atmospheric and does a great job of accentuating the exciting moments like the battle for yarikawa and the end of act 2. The world is nicely compact and dense with things like fox dens, shrines and hot springs that make it satisfying to explore in conjunction with the beautiful environments. Things like upgrading resolve and health, getting good charms and collecting the nice-looking armor make the exploration feel very rewarding. The combat is very satisfying and a lot more hectic than I expected going in. The fluid animations and quick stance switching really make you feel like a cool samurai and all the quick-fire tools and the bow are useful and fun to use. For the first half of the game or so the combat can be surprisingly difficult with all the enemy types you have to manage but later on when you have more skills and stance upgrades it gains a different satisfaction by trading intensity for feeling like a real killing machine. The duels are awesome with their climactic presentation and arenas and the closer focus on sword-based one-on-one combat. One of my bigger gameplay complaints would be that standoffs in act 2 are unreasonably difficult compared to those in act 1 and the ones in act 3 are practically impossible no matter what trick you try to use to see it coming. The "heavily defended" mongol areas could have been blocked off in a more immersive way, though the juggling arrows were pretty funny. While the game is mostly very polished, there are some funny janky aspects like following an NPC into a house for a quest and having them shut the door in your face before you come in because they can't leave doors open. I was initially disappointed with the quality of the lip syncing for japanese audio but the english voice acting was really good so I didn't end up minding it too much. The story is very compelling and covers a setting that I haven't seen in any other game so it was very fresh. The character tales are interesting as well with every major character having prominent flaws in their personalities that keep their issues from being too black and white. Jin is a very likable main character and seeing his desire to save Tsushima clash with his sense of honor and love for his uncle made me sympathize with him a lot. The haikus and hot spring reflections also helped with this. I guess one problem I had storywise was that I wasn't really given much of a chance to warm up to Ryuzo before his betrayal so I couldn't sympathize much with Jin's anguish over it. Even before the betrayal he was pretty antagonistic toward Jin. The conflict between Jin and his uncle was much more hard-hitting and the finale was kino for it. The khan's final encounter was cool as well but I would've liked if they didn't dump a bunch of mob enemies in his fight. Overall it's easily one of the best PS4 exclusives and sucker punch still hasn't let me down.

Spyro Remastered [Dropped]

  1. My second time giving spyro a shot, and it still doesn't impress me on any metric. Gameplay is braindead easy aside from some annoying jumps that require you to glide at a very precise point. Visuals are nice but the world design is pretty uninteresting. Spyro's controls aren't very tight and a lot of the time it just feels like he's sliding around. There's no charming cartoony writing or anything, most dialogue consists of really obvious tutorial information or really simple unfunny quips. Collecting treasures is alright but not as satisfying as collecting more significant things like the jiggies in banjo kazooie or stars in mario 64.

Bravely Default [Dropped]

  1. It's not a bad game, really. It has a very solid battle system and job system. The brave/default system is interesting but ends up being a lot more shallow than you would think since it often just ends up being used in 2 ways: spamming brave at the beginning of a random encounter to end it quickly and defaulting to the max for boss fights and unloading all the attacks at once. The only reason to ever really break away from those strategies is spending however many BP you need to do healing with a white mage. There are some smaller nuances that appear around the halfway point like one or two enemy attacks that drain BP and some jobs that use skills with BP costs, but it's not enough to radically change the combat. That being said, the brave/default system only improves on the typical turn based combat so it's a welcome addition. As with any other game with a job system, it's fun to level up jobs and the support abilities you can carry over makes it feel more rewarding to level up multiple jobs, but none of the jobs I got were very interesting compared to other games. The artstyle is very cute, and the music is nice but severely lacking in variety. My biggest issue with bravely default is that it falls into the worst pitfall a JRPG can have, and that is that the party members are not very likable at all. Tiz is an extremely generic hero, Agnes's naivete and distrust of others just comes off as annoying, and Edea and Ringabel have the same back-and-forth in every other scene. From what I played (up to the end of chapter 3) the plot was nothing special. The only promise for something interesting was the twist I had already been spoiled on for some time but I know that with that twist comes having to repeat the first half of the game all over again with minor changes so I didn't have the motivation to go on. I can see why people like the game, but the flaws were just in spots that I couldn't ignore for the sake of a job system I've experienced in several other games.
4 comments


Games Played in 2019

January 09, 2019 @ 3:59 pm

As a counteractive strategy against my terrible memory, I will document my experiences with games which should hopefully help me solidify my feelings about the things I play.

Current top 10 games played in 2019:

X. Mahjongsoul

  1. AI: The Somnium Files
  2. DMC V
  3. RE2make
  4. RDR2
  5. Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth
  6. Death Stranding
  7. Ace Combat 7
  8. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
  9. Higurashi When They Cry Ch. 7
  10. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Prey (2017)

  1. Surprisingly great game. Had a very good sense of progression where I felt every neuromod I installed was useful and deciding which one to get was always tough. The space station had a nice dark atmosphere and exploring felt very satisfying. Combat was fun albeit repetitive. The guns felt powerful when upgraded and the Typhon powers were fun to use as well. I did feel some enemies like the telepaths and poltergeists were kind of a pain to fight but there aren't too many of them compared to mimics and phantoms. Did not find the story too compelling, felt like a large portion of the audio logs and emails were either there to reveal key locations or complain about their messy relationships. The twist was very cool and well-done however, so it left me with a positive impression.

Last Window: Secret of Cape West

  1. So far it's just more Hotel Dusk which is fine by me. Likable characters, great dialogue, excellent music and Kyle is still one of the best main characters in a video game. Also still has the trademark "I hope you're not emulating this" puzzle which was very annoying. Gotta say it still loses out to the first game so far because it doesn't have some of the more likable characters like Louis and Melissa.

  2. After completion, I have to conclude it was another great gem of a game. True to the first game it presents a compelling mystery, extremely natural dialogue and a cast of characters that all serve a purpose throughout the story. I would have to say I enjoyed the first game more, mostly due to its novelty but also because I prefer the first game's cast. Wil and Betty feel underused while Marie and Rex feel like they bowed out of the spotlight a bit too soon. Last Window has a lot to love as well, however. Tony was a bro just like Louis and had a surprisingly emotional scene where he revealed his own insecurities. Dylan was a perfectly executed character you should hate and the folks at Lucky Cafe did a great job at making you feel at home just like Kyle. Also the Christmas Eve section was just pure good vibes all around. I also appreciated the writers delving into the subject of Kyle's family and I felt like Kyle's attitude toward it was very mature and realistic. His goal is to discover what happened to his dad but he doesn't become uncharacteristically emotional over it, even when he's looking at the same view his dad had when he took a bullet. Overall it was a very enjoyable experience and a very solid followup to one of the best games on the DS. Too bad the dev's dead RIP.

Suikoden II

  1. Feels like the first game but with more substance, less novelty. I do kind of miss the simplicity of the first game and I'm not as compelled to play this one, though that's probably because it just hasn't been long since I finished the first game around Christmas. Nanami's a qt, Jowy's a punk, Luca Blight is a chad the likes of which the world has never seen.

  2. Finally finished it, only took a whopping 3 months. Great game, probably in the top 10 or so JRPGs. The struggle between the stars army and Highland was enjoyable to follow and collecting the 108 stars of destiny was a satisfying experience (aside from Gordon who I would like to personally fire spear through the gut). Luca Blight was delightfully evil and the final duel with Jowy was pretty kino. I really liked being able to recruit my Suikoden 1 hero and having a neat little section act like an epilogue for the first game but having to go to gregminster to recruit him EVERY TIME when the game likes to clear your party between plot events was a huge pain. It also sucked having a large chunk of the cities unavailable due to plot reasons when I'm just trying to collect stars but I understand why they did it. The strategy battles are also lame with the damage being so inconsistent. Overall the game was a complete step up from its predecessor and I think it mostly lived up to its title as one of the best JRPGs around.

Red Dead Redemption II

  1. Extremely comfy cowboy sim. Looks great and sounds great. I feel the "maintenance" you need to do for your character and horse were blown out of proportion by everyone online so far. Holding X hurts my thumb eventually but I am thoroughly enjoying it. I think I prefer John to Arthur at this point. It's kind of odd I constantly choose the lawful good options in every situation but I still have Arthur constantly saying "I'M A BAD BAD MAN SIR, I AINT A GOOD MAN" but if you look at it from a different perspective it can be seen as him trying to cover up his good nature, I guess.

  2. Now I have finished the game and wew boy what an adventure. Arthur is one of the most sympathetic video game characters I've ever played as. I felt worse about him catching tuberculosis than I feel about most characters' deaths. His voice acting was phenomenal and the progression of his feelings regarding Dutch was perfectly executed. I felt his pain when Dutch tried to leave him to his death at the oil field and when he stepped on the gun in the final scene. He also singlehandedly raised my opinion of realistic graphics in video games because I doubt the best scenes would have had as much of an impact if I couldn't see the subtle expressiveness of his face. Aside from Arthur, the game is just riddled with excellent highlights like the assault on the Braithwaite manor, Arthur's last conversation with Reverend Swanson, and the whole epilogue which retroactively improved the already great RDR1. The soundtrack was also outstanding, which is a very rare thing to bring up when talking about a western AAA game. Songs like American Venom and That's the Way It Is are perfectly used and really accent the scenes they appear in. The only cons I could raise against the game would be the Guarma chapter was kinda lackluster, the gameplay is satisfying but can get repetitive in long sessions, and Sadie got annoying sometimes, but overall it was a great journey.

Shenmue I HD

  1. Going through the first game after a decade and it's by far the most soulful game ever created. The soundtrack resonates with me and I wish I could live in Tomato convenience store and take daily walks to the You Arcade to play Hang On. Pure unadulterated comfy. Surprisingly the voice acting isn't grating at all, maybe just because of the nostalgia but I feel Ryo's voice fits very well. A lot of people these days say there's no need for Shenmue in the current industry because Yakuza is just better but they offer completely different experiences. I like how nearly everyone in town knows Ryo and can have casual conversations with him. It's a good refresher after the over-the-top nature of Yakuza.

  2. Finished the first game for the 2nd time. The story becomes more compelling in the second half with confronting the mad angels and rescuing Nozomi as well as becoming bros with Goro and saying an emotional farewell to Tom. I didn't notice as a kid but having Ryo finally decide to just take a break and eat a hot dog right before Tom leaves was a great touch. Working at the docks is surprisingly comfy but I feel having to do it for 5 days in a row is a little much, more if you miss something they want you to do on that day. The amount of waiting around you have to do and some annoying combat encounters do drag the game down a bit but in the grand scheme of things the amount of soul poured into the game makes up for it in spades. Overall it holds up a lot better than I expected and I look forward to finally playing Shenmue 2.

Valkyria Chronicles 4

  1. They certainly took it to heart when people asked for "Valkyria Chronicles 1 again please" because it feels extremely similar. Can't say I don't enjoy the return to form. I enjoyed the substantial anime vibes in 2 and the edgy tone of 3 but it really feels the best to just be part of the good guys fighting the good fight as respected adult members of the military. That being said, they didn't have to get rid of the branching classes in the handheld games or go back to the annoying book format. Characters are likable but I haven't gotten too far yet. I miss Edy. I miss Welkin too, Claude aint so bad though.

  2. After finally FINALLY beating it, I can just say it was a good game. Kinda just like VC1 but without the novelty and some things it brought back just got more and more grating as time went on such as going back to the scene select every 10 seconds or having Miles tell me how great my R&D upgrades are every single time. Thankfully the characters remained likable but the villain felt weak and frankly beating the europan empire for the 4th time didn't have much of an impact. Raz was based, maps were fun, final boss was a pain. I really wanted more of that QT DOGGO and he should've been a playable character.

Ace Combat 7

  1. Ace Combat is BACK BABY. Excellent gameplay that's the perfect fusion of simulation and arcade, phenomenal music, gloriously cheesy writing, outstanding visuals. It is also the hardest AC so far but the stress just makes every accomplishment feel that much better. Also the multiplayer is absolutely nuts. Can't wait to try out the VR mode.

  2. Having beaten the game I can confirm it is GOTY 2019. I'd have to say I enjoyed the story of Zero more and there were some annoying parts in the missions but overall it was an outstanding experience with tons of heart-pounding moments like the dogfights with mikhaly, uniting the osean and erusian forces, dropping the shield on the arsenal bird, launching as the independent 3 Strikes squadron, and flying out through the space elevator. A brilliant return to form for one of the best video game series.

Resident Evil 2 Remake

  1. So far everything a remake should be. A revisiting of the creator's vision that's different enough to be fresh while still retaining what made the original so good. Exploring is still satisfying and the new combat feels great besides those fuggers in the sewer. The complaints about the enemies being "bullet sponges" feel silly as the zombies don't really take much more hurt than the ones in the original. I do find myself running low on ammo much more often than the original and it feels more difficult in general especially with the reworked Mr.X. The visuals are fantastic as well and Leon looks the best he's ever been though Claire still looks off for me. I would really like some of the less good REs like 3 and Code Veronica to be remade in this style, they could benefit a lot from it.

  2. After beating it, RE2 remake is one of the best RE games and pretty much the ultimate evolution of the RE formula. I have pretty much no complaints aside from the scenarios not really intersecting well and the G-ADULTS IN THE SEWERS CAN FUG OFF. Mr.X was implemented really well and his meme game is on-point, can't wait to see how they build on it with Nemesis in REmake 3. Wasn't feeling Claire at the beginning but she grew on me and it was kino when she dropped down to fight Berkin. The Sherry section was also kinda annoying and stealth in non-stealth games should be banned by federal law. The Hunk mode was also I N T E N S E and I need info on my extraction point.

The Stanley Parable

  1. That was alright I guess. Pretty creative and the dialogue was fun but there's so little to it. I'm just glad I finished it in under 2 hours so I could refund it or I would have a much more bitter opinion of it.

What Remains of Edith Finch

  1. Similar to the Stanley Parable in that it was very short and I thankfully got a refund. However, Edith Finch was much more intriguing and the presentations of each family member's story as well as the smooth transition from one room to the next were top-notch. My favorite was the druggie brother working at the harbor and engaging in maximum escapism. Cool blend of storytelling and gameplay. I thought swimming out of the womb to the credits was pretty goofy though.

CAWADOOTY 4 MODERN WARFARE

  1. COD campaigns are pretty fun. It held my hand a tad too much but the shooting was satisfying and it's nice going through a simple easy shooter once in a while.

CAWADOOTY MODERN WARFARE 2

  1. same, the missions were more fun in this one though and there was some surprisingly good atmosphere during the EMP attack. Really got on my nerves when I had to sneak past enemies and they couldn't see me in broad daylight.

Furi

  1. Absolutely LIT 1v1 swordfights and maximum tension dodging and parrying with a boppin' soundtrack and oozing style. Don't know what the fug was going on in that story but i don't care because it was absolute kino. The Burst can fug off though.

Cuphead

  1. A total blast. Beautiful visuals, exciting and difficult bosses all with totally unique battles, great controls. It got frustrating at times but that's what made victory all the more satisfying. I guess I'd say my only complaints are that there's no online co-op and very little reason to change your equipment since you can buy the smoke bomb dash right away and giving that up would be pure lunacy.

Ori and the Blind Forest

  1. Dropped after the first hour because it was really boring. Felt like it was trying too hard to be "beautiful" and ultimately felt soulless instead and the combat was more tedious than fun.

Crysis

  1. The epitome of "fine". Shooting is decent and the powers are cool but the story is lame, combat encounters in the later half are weak, and they limit your usage of the powers too much for you to really have fun with them. I think I had more fun using the speed and cloaking to skip encounters than actually fighting. There were also plenty of annoying bits like anytime you're chased by a helicopter and didn't keep a missile launcher just in case and most of the alien fights seriously overstay their welcome. The game usually keeps a good pace though and the human fights can be enjoyable when you're not needlessly overwhelmed.

Bamham Arkham Knight

  1. Weaker than Asylum and City. Batmobile sections get repetitive and overused quickly, the villains are weak, too much running between the GCPD and movie studio, and the true endings are locked behind a lot of busywork. That being said, it still has the semi-addicting gameplay loop, it's still cool to be batman, the puzzles generally stay creative enough to not get boring, and the conclusion to the story is pretty cool. The arkham knight had a cool design but his identity became way too predictable the moment jason todd was brought up and it never really feels like he's a real match for batman. I would've completed more of the side content if half of it didn't require mindlessly flying around the city hoping for stuff to pop up.

CrossCode

  1. It's hard for me to say it's a bad game because the core gameplay is enjoyable, the visuals are nice, the puzzles are demanding and there's plenty of exploration. However, 15 hours into the game I cannot take anymore. The story is not engaging, the dialogue is basic, and I've done nothing but the same style of puzzles and combat over and over with little impetus to move forward. The quests are uninteresting but if you do not do them you end up underleveled and every fight becomes a chore. The elements you unlock do not change the fights at all and the upgrade tree only contains minor stat boosts so there is no real sense of gameplay progression. I feel I could have trucked on if I was close to the end but after finding out I was barely at the 50% mark I could not continue. Real shame because it's clear a lot of heart went into the game and I suppose I did get my money's worth.

Yakuza Kiwami

  1. One of the weaker yakuzas but it's sort of forgivable considering they were clearly trying to stay true to the original. I will not forgive the terrible bosses abundant with unnecessary super armor and ESPECIALLY JINGU AND HIS DUO OF GUN-WIELDING BUTTFACES. The side stories were also not really up to par with those of the rest of the series and the amount of fights you have to deal with around town between majima (especially breaker majima) and the random thugs got very grating over time. Aside from those flaws, it is still a very enjoyable game with a decent story, fun combat, enticing gameplay loop of completing sub stories, and just generally cool action all over the place. P.S pocket circuit is rigged and the girls in mesaking are too plastic-looking to make the minigame enjoyable.

Spongebob Squarepants Battle for Bikini Bottom

  1. Surprisingly fun action platformer. Good jumping and sliding sections. I'm glad they got most of the voice actors from the show except for mr.krabs and mermaid man although the writing was very weak compared to that of early spongebob. The boss selections were also pretty lame. King Jellyfish is good but the prawn and a bunch of robots based on the playable characters? They could have taken more from the show.

Thief Gold

  1. The core mechanics are good and I appreciate the sound and light systems but for every good mission (stealing the sword, looting the mansion and getting the talisman from the opera) there's 3 overly convoluted and tedious maze-like missions. The Thief's Guild in particular is one of the worst video game levels I've had to endure up there with the lair of the blind ones from turok 2. Too many of the missions are filled with same-y looking hallways and rooms so it's too easy to just get stuck wandering around hoping to find an area you haven't visited yet. Alongside the tedious missions, the mechanics are often inconsistent. Sometimes a guard will instantly detect me across a hallway or anywhere within a 10 meter radius, other times I can chase after a guard and miss a couple times before knocking him out somehow in total silence. The music sucks and can get obnoxiously loud at times and the story is average. Garret has good voice acting and his quips can be fun but they are few and far between. The ending was also very weak with having to wait for Constantine to finish his very slow ritual after swapping the eye in after the first statue thing is activated.

Slipstream

  1. Very cool game. Aesthetic out your ears and a smooth soundtrack. Strong sense of speed, satisfying to dive into the SLIPSTREAM and dash ahead of your opponents. There's a sufficient amount of good-looking tracks to race on (special applause for the unlockable cup with unique tracks) though they don't vary much gameplay-wise. There's also a good amount of different modes to play on, though I preferred just doing the grand prixs. One problem with the game is the rival characters which were very clearly submitted by kickstarter backers considering their utter lack of charisma in every possible way. I physically cringed when the neckbeard character popped up and said "teleports behind you" like i had jumped back to 2015. I also dislike how every race is 5 laps because my fingers always hurt by the end of them and the first 2 laps are generally rigged so that you always fall behind and only catch up by lap 3 which is just annoying. Also while it's not really a flaw, I would've liked for each stage to have music specific to it to make them stand apart from eachother more but the music is good enough that it's not so bad.

Mister Mosquito

  1. Okay it's pretty bad. Maneuvering around people to succ their blood is tedious and the constant analog stick spinning is taxing on my thumbs. The visuals aren't great and it's only an hour long. That being said it was a goofy and interestingly unique game so I don't regret playing it. The cutscenes were funny and the voice acting was wonderfully atrocious. When the middle-aged man started shooting ki blasts at me, I knew I was playing the best game of 2019.

Darkest Dungeon

  1. Difficult and rewarding and a big ol time investment. Top tier aesthetic and atmosphere, great narration, and a fun gameplay loop. The characters are cool and there's plenty of customization to enjoy. I also enjoyed the moddable anime skins a fair bit. Problems being that it goes on too long, a lot of the bosses are reskins, and a lot of the RNG is just frustrating. I wish I had played on Radiant. Leper is based and I look forward to the sequel.

Devil May Cry V

  1. The absolute peak of the action game genre. 3 distinct and incredibly fun characters, a compelling story with tons of great moments, a rockin' soundtrack, tons of enemies, fun bosses, and it looks great to boot. The few minor complaints I have would be that playing V hurts my fingers, Vergil and Trish didn't make the jump to the RE engine very well, and the co-op system is pretty underutilized. I also would've liked more wacky cutscenes like in DMC 3 but I appreciated the more serious tone since it was done rather well and it made the few crazier scenes stand out more. It surpassed expectations and I want to PLAY AS VERGIL RIGHT NOW.

Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX

  1. A game truly filled with soul. Much like ALTTP the world is fun to explore, dungeons are satisfying to complete, bosses are enjoyable and unique compared to other 2D zeldas (albeit a tad easy). Much of the game's charm stems from it being isolated from the usual zelda elements and characters and the story manages to be delightfully odd and somber at the same time. The dialogue in this game in particular felt a lot more lively and creative than other zeldas, I just wish there was more of it so the ending would have more of an impact. That being said, the little moments you can spend with Marin are a joy and every interaction with the owl felt fittingly dreamlike. I don't really have any complaints except the drums sound bad, turtle rock is annoying to explore, and I hate that you need to read about the "new feature" of the compass every time you pick one up. I'm disappointed the creators' ambitions are not being realized with the 1:1 remake.

Monkey Island 2

  1. Just as charming and humorous as the first game. The puzzle solutions are still pretty out-there and I spent half my playthrough looking at a walkthrough but it was still a very enjoyable experience so I don't really feel bad about it. That ending twist was truly one of the greatest revelations in video games.

Another Code: Two Memories

  1. Very short but sweet puzzle adventure. In terms of presentation, puzzles and writing it is entirely weaker than hotel dusk but it's still nice in all aspects. Exploring with D is pretty cozy and Ashley is cute. The music is pretty good too but the sound effects for completing puzzles and stuff are not very satisfying which is kind of a let down. The ending can also be pretty unsatisfying if you happen to not restore all of D's memories which is a pain because there's no indication of what will and won't restore them.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

  1. Very fun and intense combat. It's pushed me harder than any action game I've played before, mostly in a good way. Killing things is very satisfying and the deflection mechanic is cool. Really feels like it recaptures some of that feeling of playing Demon's Souls for the first time with how rewarding it feels to find and beat areas since they're each such a large portion of the game. The game has tons of great scenes despite the story itself not being spectacular. Nearly every boss fight is good but a fair bit of them can get unnecessarily frustrating at times (sword saint isshin). Highlights include Owl, Genichiro, Lady Butterfly and the Divine Dragon. While the mechanics are mostly solid, hitboxes (particularly grabs) can get too wonky which is a big problem in a game where you often die in 2 hits to most bosses. It's also annoying how your posture recovers more slowly when you're at low health which seems to counteract their intention of making you play offensively to win. Other faults would be the lackluster soundtrack, nearly every prosthetic besides firecrackers being useless outside of 1 or 2 specific situations, dragonrot not actually mattering, and enemies that require rare consumable items to defeat. It's certainly not a perfect game, but the ambition and step away from the souls formula combined with the style of the combat make it great.

Gal Gun 2

  1. Kinda mixed on this one. The girls in this one are better and there's more locations and thus less repetition. However the VR focus kind of makes the gameplay less fun just in the way that you have to teleport everywhere so you don't get the little running animations between shooting. I also constantly encountered a problem in which the cursor would freak out and throw my aim off which was annoying. There's also only one boss fight now compared to like 5 from the first game which was disappointing. I did like being able to decorate my room even if it is a really insignificant thing. Also I'm TICKED because I completed Nanako and Chiru's routes and they stuck me with Chiru instead of letting me pick just because I did her's second even though I DID NANAKO'S FIRST BECAUSE I LIKE HER MORE.

Megaman 11

  1. Dropped before finishing Block Man's stage. I thought it was just the wall jumping and charge shots in X but after playing this I realize I only enjoy playing classic megaman down to the jumping and shooting. Everything past the NES excluding 9 and 10 just doesn't feel right to me. Also just not a fan of megaman's voice and the aesthetic feels cheap.

Warriors Orochi 4

  1. Decent game that satiated my musou thirst. The roster is impressive, of course, and the magic system is a nice addition to the musou formula. The story is uninteresting and the interactions between the characters are fairly weak aside from a few of the goofy side stories. The game is also lacking the fun guest characters like ryu hayabusa and ayane. In the last chapter I had to turn the game down to easy, not because it was difficult but because the enemies become absurd damage sponges which defeats the entire purpose of musou. Another large problem was that every character joins at level 1 regardless of your progress in the story which means even around the halfway point of the game you can't use the characters you get without sticking them in training for a whole chapter or dumping the growth points you've saved up for several battles. This basically wastes a large portion of the cast for the sake of an uninteresting level system. While I did enjoy the game overall, it definitely feels like a rushed work to take the heat off of dynasty warriors 9 and is comparatively weaker than warriors orochi 2 and 3.

Gorogoa

  1. Very creative game. My mind was properly stimulated by the clever puzzles and good art. Thankfully I did not pay for it because it was a sub-2-hour game that costs 8 bucks on sale but I appreciate the high quality experience. Honestly no idea what story it was trying to tell but not knowing what was going on added to the atmosphere anyways.

Baba is You

  1. Very intelligent and innovative game. Unfortunately I'm not galaxy brain enough to finish it but I really appreciate the creative solutions they thought up. I admire anyone who sets out to make an original puzzle game.

Risk of Rain 2

  1. Personally more enjoyable than the first one, granted I didn't play it much. Nice aesthetic and combat but the jellyfish boss sucks and it's very clearly unoptimized in its early access state.

Thief II: The Metal Age

  1. Substantial improvement over the first game. The solid core gameplay is retained and the annoying maze-like levels are replaced with grounded ones that let the gameplay shine the most. The levels are large and open without being a pain to navigate. The story is pretty average and is mostly carried by Garret's voice and dialogue. The villain is completely obnoxious and I had no idea what he was saying half the time, made even worse by the fact that every robot shares his voice as well. The final mission was kind of a snore and the ending basically saying PLAY THIEF 3 LOL was awful. Overall a pretty good time.

Return of the Obra Dinn

  1. Excellent presentation with fun and nuanced logical deduction. The story of a ship being cursed because they tried to take something they shouldn't have isn't very novel but watching it go down is a blast. The spider monsters were super spooky. Music was great and really fit with the scenes. A few problems consist of the logic of some fates being a real stretch and they make you sit in a newly discovered fate long after the scene is done playing before you can actually start investigating it. I also really would have liked to be able to view previously-seen fates straight from the book instead of having to backtrack all over the ship.

Shantae and the Pirates Curse

  1. Good lil game. Serviceable metroid-ish progression with very simple gameplay. The character art very much carries a lot of the game's appeal and the interactions are entertaining. Combat is okay, bosses are pretty weak besides the final boss which is pretty cool. They make you backtrack to scuttletown before every dungeon and it is very unnecessary and tedious. Jumping is too floaty, level design is pretty simple, items you get don't see much use besides the dash and the cannon but the cannon comes too late to get a lot of use. Minor gripes include me not liking how shantae's eyes are all green in her sprite and squid baron breaking the 4th wall to talk about his status as a miniboss is cringeworthy. Enjoyable time.

DUSK

  1. Very fun throwback to old shooters. Satisfying weapons, decent variety, mostly good level design, cool enemies and tight atmosphere. I didn't really find it spooky like they were trying to convey and the bosses were lame. The voice acting of the narrator also sounded awkwardly like a guy putting on a deep voice. Was also not a fan of small things like areas where you can only see with your flashlight and that weird tumble you do sometimes when you fall and makes you lose your direction. Moment-to-moment gameplay was fun enough to make up for the flaws.

Metro Exodus

  1. I was excited for an open world metro when it got announced but upon actually playing it, I realized the atmosphere of the metro tunnels was what kept the game fun and interesting. The surface is boring to traverse and explore, the enemies are not fun to fight and their tendency to be in large groups practically forces you to stealth or lose all of your ammo in a shootout. This is fine for a stealth game but in metro, crouch movement is tediously slow and sometimes the ability to knock out someone just does not trigger. The lack of russian voice acting also hurts the game and what I saw of the narrative was pretty weak. The closer metro gets to AAA games, the less appeal it has.

ABZU

  1. Very pretty game. Visuals and music are stellar, setpieces can be pretty majestic. The game is hampered by obtrusive swimming controls and the devs tendency to go NO THE SETPIECE IS ON THIS PATH DO NOT GO THAT WAY which often stopped me from going the correct way until the fish decided to move that way too. It's only a little over an hour long but it suits the type of game it is and I didn't pay for it anyways so whatever. I would like to ban all media from using the theme NATURE GOOD MACHINES BAD from now on.

Umineko: Golden Fantasia

  1. I appreciate the umineko fanservice but without another person to play with it is just not very fun. Special inputs are unusually finicky and successfully using a meta attack or even just a regular special feels almost random sometimes. The sprites are nice and the backgrounds and movesets had a pleasant amount of work put into them but the character art is pretty weak. The biggest problem is the arcade mode difficulty which is too hard on normal but way too easy on easy. On normal the first round is usually fine oddly enough, but in the 2nd round the enemy AI steps up and becomes a chore to beat and without another person to play with, there is little motivation to get better. Besides all that, the game feels pretty barebones with arcade mode having little uninspired dialogue and the only other options being the typical versus and online versus.

Shenmue II HD

  1. Finally after a decade I've completed the sequel. I prefer the first game because japan is just so much cozier than hong kong or kowloon but I recognize the merits of the 2nd game well enough. The ability to skip to the next story event when you get to the destination is a godsend, the hong kong section (particularly the temple and learning from the wude masters) is pretty good. The final section of the game with shenhua, despite mostly just being walking around, made me feel the shenmue soul hard. However I do not like the kowloon section of the game which is a pretty big problem because it is half the game. The buildings are same-y, it's hard to navigate, it's flooded with annoying QTE segments, the entire "shadowing yuan" part sucks, the part where you have to get to the top of the building by crossing like 20 beams sucks, the 17 floor yellow head building is not fun and they have an issue with repeatedly telling you what to do "run when the lights go out" says Ren every single time. That being said Kowloon has some nice aspects too, there are some fun interactions between Ryo and Ren, the story beats are alright, and some of the martial arts challenges are fun to do like catching the acrobat or beating up the half blind guy. The boss fights also suck. Shenmue's combat isn't great to begin with but having every boss feature a QTE near the end that makes you restart the fight if you fail is terrible. Not to mention half the bosses are unbeatable and the other half require a strategy of "constantly dodge and sometimes throw a few punches". The QTEs also felt unreliable in general which leads to most of my other gripes but that may just be because my controller is a little messed up so I won't blame the game for it. It was a good experience overall but I definitely prefer shenmue 1 and I'm really looking forward to 3.

Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal

  1. I didn't play much of it since the story and characters are nothing new or interesting. The new models and animations are good and the hitstop on the attacks makes hitting stuff more satisfying but in terms of the gameplay flow it's just more of the same. While the hitstop helps the feel of the combat, it really slows it down considering how much enemies you have to kill. I hope these improvements are implemented in a new game that tries to break the mold a little more, a 3D fighter would be cool.

Megaman Battle Network 5: Team Colonel

  1. About as good as every other battle network since the gameplay and plot structure remains mostly the same. I appreciate that they largely cut down on the amount of backtracking you need to do and the liberation missions are pretty fun. Colonel is cool and getting to play as other Navis like shadowman and toadman was really nice for a change of pace. I think the story was somewhat weaker this time around and the problems to solve didn't feel as dire as in prior games so that balances out with the gameplay improvements.

Contact

  1. Very interesting game in the way it implements you as part of the story and the setting being more creative than the average rpg. The elder scrolls-ish leveling system is also a nice idea. Contact is unfortunately hampered by its slow, repetitive combat and reliance on grinding since you can't buy armor. The harder fights are also dependent on having healing items since there are few opportunities for you to avoid damage by dodging. The healing items can only gotten through grinding up cash and buying food which doesn't heal for much, or going all the way back to your ship to go back to the deserted island to spend time stocking up on potions. You can cook in various places but you have to be wearing the chef outfit which drops your defensive abilities which is a pain in the butt and you can only change into the chef outfit at the ship. I appreciate the game's ambition but the systems they thought up hurt the game too much for it to be an enjoyable experience.

Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception

  1. A good portion of the game consists of serviceable slice of life scenes with a likable cast of characters. The scenes with the girls could have been trimmed a bit considering how many of them are focused on food and romance and it begins to feel repetitive. Haku is a fun main character when he's not stuck in harem-esque antics and the scenes centered around his past are some of the most compelling in the game. The ending is absolutely kino and really brings up the whole experience. I would have liked more scenes with the male characters interacting for some variety, especially considering how fun characters like Ukon, Sakon and Maroro can be. The combat gameplay is decent, mostly made fun by the QTE attacks though the strength of the enemies can feel inconsistent at times. The CG art is great but the presentation of the silly little chibi models can take the oomph out of some scenes, especially in the first war. The story is unfortunately prone to relying on cliches at times but makes up for it with a strong underlying plot. Overall I'd say it was a good followup to the first utawarerumono and I'm interested in seeing where the story goes in the 3rd entry.

Mahjongsoul

  1. RIICHI PON NYA CHII NYA KAN NYA TSUMO NYA

Flower, Sun, and Rain

  1. Suda did it again. FSR does a much better job keeping you engaged than Silver Case mostly due to the 3D environments and character models but also just for the more lively atmosphere. As usual the dialogue and plot are nigh incomprehensible but it's weird enough to be entertaining and the constant strange interactions with new quirky characters every chapter make the backtracking much less of a slog than it could have been. The gameplay is still pretty weak and the game isn't free from tedious sections but it's expected at this point. Also while the game's puzzles benefit from the DS touchscreen, everything tends to look way too blurry and the framerate can take a hit in the larger areas which is annoying.

Katana ZERO

  1. Hotline miami but cooler and less fun. Killing dudes is satisfying but the constant need to deal with long-range opponents gets tiresome after a while. Didn't really care too much for the story but the scenes with the little girl were wholesome and the boss fights were really cool. Good aesthetic and music, ending it on a cliffhanger was pretty lame, focusing the plot on cyberpunk drug withdrawal felt derivative and the "neat" things they did with the dialogue choices were cheesy. Filling the whole screen with the edgy "Kill the child" option? Seriously?

Remember 11: The Age of Infinity

  1. Dangerously high IQ VN. Remember 11 cuts out a lot of the fat found in other VNs and has some of the best pacing I've seen in the genre. The constant dynamic switching between 2 completely different settings and groups of characters keeps the game from feeling slow and important events and interactions appear at a steady pace. This does unfortunately have a drawback in that since you spend little time interacting with the characters normally, you don't really get attached to them. Characters like Satoru and Yomogi are likable in how dependable they are. Kokoro and Hotori are fairly inoffensive. Keiko, Yuni, and Utsumi are interesting due to their importance to the plot. The twists presented in the game, while interesting and clever, don't have the same impact as those from Ever17 or the zero escape games. That being said, that's only referring to the twists presented to the reader in an easily understandable way. The other mysteries presented by the VN blew my mind when reading the analysis afterwards and captured my interest with the ridiculous amount of thought put into the underlying plot elements. While I love the answers I got and seeing all of the hints and truths I missed in my reading, it's difficult to credit the game for it considering the ending is blatantly unfinished and does not make an attempt to clarify many of the mysteries presented in the rest of the story. It's also fairly annoying that important tidbits are spread throughout the bad endings which are annoying and time-consuming to get to despite the fastforward mechanic since it doesn't just let you skip the whole scenes outright. Also the music is nice and the art is noticeably better than Ever17's. In conclusion, while it's hard to say Remember 11 as it is is a great VN, I respect the depth and subtlety put into its plot as well as the moment-to-moment dire atmosphere and compelling mysteries regardless of the incomplete finale.

Megaman Battle Network 6: Cybeast Gregar

  1. In my humble opinion it's the best battle network game by a little bit. Best gameplay in the series, the best story (although still nothing amazing), and very little padding. The chips are fun to use, annoying enemies are absent, and optional content in the form of classes and cross navis are implemented instead of tedious backtracking making for a very pleasant experience. The context and dire situations from previous BN games are present after being half-baked in 5 and the network is much more painless to traverse. The bosses are fun to fight besides circusman who's a nuisance and the final boss which is terrible as per usual for the series. I'm not sure who thought it would be fun to keep the player from using any direct-shot chips because it isn't and restricts playstyle significantly. I quite liked the villains this time around but the friendly cast was relatively weak. Mick is a brat and Tab barely exists so I would've preferred if Yai, Dex and Mayl just moved with Lan instead. Elementman's stage was probably my favorite in the entire series. It's sad thinking the series ends with this game but there are a lot of series that wish they could get half the amount of games BN got so I can't complain. It would be cool to see a modern revival sometime.

Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends

  1. Since I recently finished the Three Kingdoms TV series I wanted to go back to the dynasty warriors with the best story presentation. The PC port is awful with graphical glitches in cutscenes and a horrendous default control mapping that is annoying to change. Only keyboard inputs are shown on screen as well. The cutscenes are still great but the gameplay in general does feel dated, particularly with certain weapons like the bow which just aren't any fun. The combat is also very unbalanced in that you can only kill officers in less than 20 years by using musou attacks which isn't very fun. Also I only played the wei story and part of the jin story so this might not be a problem in other stories but they seem reluctant to let you use the rather large roster and instead make you do multiple missions as the same characters like xiahou yuan and xiahou dun. The music is also still lit.

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast

  1. I love arcade racers. The music is rockin'. The driving is smooth and has a great sense of speed. The stages are all short but the variety is great and each one is not only fun to drive through but are also surprisingly aesthetically pleasing for a PS2 game. The heart attack mode has some fun objectives but unfortunately not enough to keep you playing for a long time given you'll be driving around on the same short tracks over and over but the short time I spent with the game was very fun.

Yakuza Kiwami 2

  1. Solid game. The dragon engine makes it look a lot better than the other yakuza games and the combat feels fresh due to the new physics and wider combat areas. The lack of heat actions is disappointing. The story starts out well enough but the police/mafia plotlines were dull and cliche. Kaoru was an annoying character who constantly switches between prodigy super cop who is tougher than the rest of the force and pathetic heroine who can't stand up to a few random thugs. The twists at the end were particularly stupid and if I hear "Jingweon mafia" one more time I'm going to flip. The chapter where haruka is forced back into the story was terrible, including a bad boss fight with some tigers and an extremely gimmicky castle area with annoying enemies. There are 2 chapters where you just wander around doing substory-esque missions with haruka which is unreasonable considering it just drags the pacing down when they could have simply just been more optional substories. Goda Ryuji is one of the only likable parts of the plot (even if he's dragged into the jingweon nonsense later too) and the final fight with him was pretty great. The scene where kiryu gets stabbed was very good until you realize it has no impact on the rest of the plot and he's back in business like normal just a couple scenes later. While the main plot was pretty disappointing, that's pretty normal for a yakuza game and the primary appeal still lies in just running around and completing substories, fighting, and doing minigames and kiwami 2 serves this purpose quite well. Virtual-On is radical.

Bladestorm: Nightmare

  1. I think this is a pretty cool game. It's got soul reminiscent of the early PS3 days and the idea of playing as a mercenary in the hundred years war is really cool. The atmosphere is nice and trampling over the enemy with your overpowered halberd squad is a blast...for a few missions. The game is unfortunately very repetitive and unlike with dynasty warriors you don't even get new stages or variety beyond your chosen weapon (which is restricted by levels you need to raise individually). The game wants you to spend a lot of time equally leveling up every class but if you just level up the one you like, there are pretty much no penalties and it makes for a much easier experience. The story is also sparse and you need to go through many copy-pasted missions between cutscenes which are short and typically of little importance. The fame bar increases too slowly unless you avoid easily completing the objective to run around and mindlessly kill enemies which makes no sense considering a mercenary that could end a battle in minutes would surely be extremely famous. It's unfortunate the game has such glaring flaws since being in the bar with all the other mercenaries and taking requests from the bartender just feels great. The character creator is actually pretty nice too.

Pathologic 2

  1. It's interesting at least. In the first few days you're just having a fun time talking to cryptic europeans and watching strange events unfold with great atmosphere. Sadly it becomes far too bogged down in its survival mechanics and you have to go around collecting resources to survive every 5 minutes. Some other problems include the tedious walking between objectives, only partially salvaged by sprinting which is limited by a stamina bar that is restricted by thirst which is never alleviated for long. The game also performs poorly despite not really looking that great.

Dragon Quest Builders

  1. I actually find the game quite cozy, but I dropped it because playing on the vita is kind of a pain with how small everything is and it feels like the kind of game where the sequel will basically be the same experience but improved in every way. I'm dropping it to keep it as fresh as possible when I eventually get the sequel on switch or something.

Dead or Alive 6

  1. Pretty standard for DOA. The story is a mess that constantly jumps around all over the place with little to no context. Cutscenes are all 10 seconds long or less and characters fight over absolutely trivial things. The fights are also all only 1 round each and super easy. Honestly I would've preferred if they dropped the silly Raidou plot and just stuck with having goofy character interactions throughout the tournament. The gameplay is fun and the girls are cute but sadly the content is lacking. Even the costumes are irritating to unlock considering you can only get them RANDOMLY while playing the lackluster DOA quest mode. While it's still a decent fighting game, the 3DS game was better at providing a complete quality product.

The Great Ace Attorney

  1. As Great as you would expect from the man with the plan Shu Takumi. The brand new cast, while mostly not as charming as the one from the phoenix wright series, is a welcome breath of fresh air and certain characters like Holmes and Asougi go toe to toe with the best from the OG series while the side characters continue to be consistently entertaining. My only complaint character-wise is that Gina is annoying but you can't win everything. The presentation is absolutely stellar. The animations are top notch as per usual with the rest of the series but the brand new deductions are a step above the rest and feel fantastic. The jury system is a welcome addition and it's bizarre the jury doesn't come up more often in this series. The jury members can be a little one-note sometimes and there are quite a few later on that talk about nonsense without stating their actual verdict/reasoning so you have to press them when they should be on-topic in the first place. The music as well is great as usual but I thought the cornered theme was relatively weak. Naruhodo is very similar to Phoenix in a lot of ways but thankfully feels different enough most likely due to the recurring culture divide throughout the story. I appreciate the differentiating of cases by having a couple that were just trials and one that was just an investigation (substantially boosted by the deductions) but overall I felt the mysteries were comparatively weak and I faced a LOT of situations where I figured out a trick and had to wait a long while before they were brought up but that is pretty common for the series. As a final note it is annoying that there are some plotlines left unfinished such as the hounds of baskerville and the morse code message, particularly given how long it took to just get the first game translated, but overall it's not a big detriment or anything.

Phantasy Star Online 1 & 2

  1. I wanted to go back and check out the single player but it's unfortunately not up to snuff. I should've figured from the name but it's definitely intended to be enjoyed solely online as the single player content is repetitive and the story is too sparse to really make up for it. The gameplay doesn't really salvage it either since it's been vastly improved in the later games.

Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls

  1. It's not often I pick up a game and within 10 minutes realize how little effort went into its creation. I barely played this game but immediately noticed the rehashed combat, stages, character setups, and music. The appeal is apparently supposed to be how IF can freely explore the stages but all the traversal sucks and invisible walls are everywhere. IF is also one of my least favorite neptunia characters so that is some added bias. I was hoping maybe the charm and humor of the SeHa girls anime would carry over with the girls but I could tell it was just the same old neptunia writing. Unfortunately IF's butt in the crawling sections cannot save this uninspired spinoff.

Prototype

  1. Pretty fun gaem. Normal combat is satisfying and you have a lot of tools to use but the bosses all SUCK especially elizabeth greene and the final boss. The story isn't very interesting but Alex has good line delivery. Moving around the city is alright but the glide should've been a little better. As the game goes on the missions tend to get more frustrating which is unfortunate but it's not too long so it's not a huge detriment to the game. I was really impressed by the level of chaos going on in a decade-old game.

The Sims 4

  1. I figured I'd try it out since I've never played a sims game before. Turns out watching NPCs do nothing interesting is not fun.

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins

  1. Being a ninja assassinating people in ancient japan is cool but not with these clunky controls. I'd probably enjoy one of the later gen ones.

Megaman Star Force: Dragon

  1. Finally replaying this after like a decade was a fun experience. It's a surprisingly good transition of the battle network games to DS. The story is better than a lot of the BN games with the dire situations actually having character motivations behind them rather than HAHA FOR THE ORGANIZATION. I would've liked a tad more lighthearted scenes though, especially with Geo being such a downer. The gameplay is still the fun grid-based combat but the restriction of only being able to move left and right makes it much simpler which is a shame. The trade of difficulty for freshness is good enough for me. The DS minigames can be pretty annoying with a mouse too but at least most of the stage gimmicks aren't as annoying as they could be in the BN series.

The Curse of Monkey Island

  1. As with the other monkey island games, the dialogue and interactions are marvelous. And as always, I babied out and used a guide because point and clicks are a poison. It didn't really hamper my experience though, thoroughly enjoyed the story from beginning to end. I did find it odd that it ignores the ending of monkey island 2 but it still ended up being a great time so I guess it's not that big of a problem. The animations were especially nice and I quite liked the different artstyle.

Earth Defense Force 4.1

  1. Missions are too slow in single player and I have to wait for my friend to get a better computer until we can go through it together. Fun game though.

Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni

  1. Senran with a worse artstyle but better characters. Combat is decent but missions are repetitive and there's not a lot of character variety. The designs grew on me as the game went on but ultimately Nan's designs are still superior. I did enjoy the character development and interactions, particularly Mana's whole personality and Viola and Koharu's deepening bond. The characters all interacted with each other regularly rather than just in pre-determined pairs which I appreciated quite a bit and the cast was a breath of fresh air after the many senrans. The main plot is pretty average but the conflict presented near the end is pretty compelling at least and it's a shame there most likely won't be a sequel. The difficulty spike near the end is completely obnoxious and Gundari should've been removed from the game. The lack of outfits was also pretty disappointing and I'm not convinced they couldn't have easily just moved a lot over from the senran games.

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition

  1. Probably the 3rd best Tales game? The plot is decent but kinda drags on near the end and Duke's motives were stupid. Estelle can get too apologetic and self-sacrificial at times but it's a japanese game so it's to be expected. The rest of the party is great and Yuri is one of the best JRPG main characters of all time with his no-nonsense attitude, wonderful Troy Baker voice acting, and resolve to kill people who really need to die. The other characters are very likable and have a lot of fun, natural interactions as expected of a Tales game. The combat takes a bit too long to get really fun and there are a few annoying difficulty spikes like Gattuso and Alexei. Zagi was also a terrible and pointless villain. The artstyle looks nice but the animations aside from the special cutscenes can look pretty stiff sometimes. The dungeon puzzles thankfully weren't too annoying but the amount of monsters you have to fight could make the exploration kind of a pain. It's very much a decent game largely boosted by the party which pretty much describes the Tales series in general. I wish Rita and Estelle hooked up, that would've been cute.

Omega Labyrinth

  1. AAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH WHY IS THIS STUPID BOOBIE GAME SO HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARD THAT FINAL DUNGEON IS BONKEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERS

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

  1. Very pleasantly surprised with how this game turned out. Perfectly captures the feeling of the old castlevanias, the visuals were thankfully greatly improved and look pretty good, the music is on-point, movement and combat feel smooth and satisfying. The bosses are great (minus the final boss which is awful but nobody's perfect). I particularly liked the twin dragons fight which felt very dynamic and fair. Miriam is a cutie and customizing her outfit and hair was fun, it's a shame the bunny outfit is locked behind a specific power that changes the moveset. The voice acting was overall pretty good. Getting David Hayter as a samurai was quite a treat. I don't really have any notable complaints beside the final boss sucking, the kickstarter backer integration was jarring, and the way you get the ability to swim is pretty poor. Good job Iga.

Super Neptunia RPG

  1. I should really steer clear of these neptunia spinoffs. The visuals actually don't bother me that much aside from neptune's dash animation but the controls are clunky and the battle system is an absolute snorefest and judging by what everyone else says it doesn't get any better. Getting MMO-tier fetch quests right out of the gate is also a very bad sign.

Rhythm Heaven Megamix

  1. I GOT NO RHYTHM

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

  1. I'm upset that I skipped this for so long because I didn't like the sound of the rental system. It's actually a great 2D zelda. Lots of fun dungeons that are well-designed without being too long or tedious. The bosses are fun to fight, if a little simple. The rental system is not a problem at all and allows for more open-ended progression by letting you get any items whenever you want. It adds sorely-needed value to the rupees as well. The story surrounding Ravio, Lorule and Hilda is pretty compelling by 2D zelda standards and most NPCs are full of life and fun to talk to. I physically felt the soul when I paid the musician to play some songs in the dimly-lit milk bar. The warp girl Irene is also very cute, certainly a highlight. The painting gimmick is used in a lot of creative ways and didn't intrude on the normal gameplay too much. Not a huge fan of the aesthetic but it grew on me and it certainly looks better in action.

Secret of Mana

  1. The combat is just not fun without a co-op buddy. Just a loop of attack -> wait for enemy to get up and attack power to charge back up to 100 -> attack again while hoping the sketchy hit detection doesn't decide you miss and make you wait more. The AI companions just either run in and die quickly or stand back and do nothing. I'm sure if I was playing with a friend it would be a lot more fun but SNES emulation multiplayer is a mess.

Muse Dash

  1. An alright rhythm game. Songs are hit-or-miss but the aesthetic is cute and the controls are simple but fun. Only problem is that unlocking characters is a huge pain since you're more likely to get parts for the elfins or illustrations. Also Buro should be using her plane and not the bear.

Monster Hunter World

  1. That PC port is a poorly optimized mess.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

  1. Probably the weakest 2D zelda game I've played. Very nice artstyle and a generally cozy atmosphere especially in Hyrule Town. Gameplay feels solid as per usual and the dungeons aren't necessarily bad but they're not strong either. One of the worst points for me was that most optional puzzles and exploration lead to useless rupees or kinstones which really bummed me out after ALBW's strong rupee economizing and frequent heart pieces. Kinstones especially are annoying because they take the SOLVE PUZZLE -> GET REWARD process and needlessly extend it to SOLVE PUZZLE -> SEARCH FOR RANDOM NPC TO TRADE KINSTONES WITH -> TREK HALFWAY ACROSS THE MAP TO GET REWARD which was a pain in the butt and caused me to stop doing optional stuff. The bosses were usually fine except the final boss which could be a nuisance. The flying one was cool though. Fighting stalfos was also a huge annoyance. I have mixed feelings on the shrinking gimmick because it is a cool concept and it is used in creative ways but finding the correct places to shrink and having to go back to those specific places to unshrink every time was tiring along with all the barriers when you're tiny which don't feel like they should stop you at all. The game also suffered from some needless padding such as hunting down the library books but I suppose it didn't hurt the pacing too bad. While it does sound like a big list of complaints, minish cap is still a quality 2D zelda experience and it has quite enough soul to offset a lot of the annoyances.

No More Heroes

  1. Glad I finally managed to play this one. A truly bizarre game filled to the brim with Suda soul. The combat is pretty basic and easy but it also manages to be one of the only Suda games that's actually fun to play with the satisfying vibration of the wiimote that comes with killing enemies. The menial task minigames are actually pretty fun in their simplicity as well. Travis's bike is an abomination and is not only a pain to ride around but also just a pain to even get on. The assassins are obviously the highlights and they're all full of personality and come with generally fun fights and bizarre cutscenes. The only fight I would really complain about would be shinobu which can be just plain unfair at times with the sonic blade barrages. The bench press minigame is also a nightmare on my hands and I hate it dearly. The stages leading up to boss fights could get pretty repetitive so I'm glad they mostly got shorter as the game progressed and there were some fun little gimmicks to keep things fresh along the way like hitting the baseballs in the stadium or playing the shmup on the subway. The ending, including the final boss fight and the context surrounding it, is hilariously strange and I expected no less from Suda. It was quite an experience.

Samurai Shodown 2019

  1. I actually like the gameplay well enough. The lack of reliance on memorizing combos really appeals to me but unfortunately there's barely any characters I actually like. I like Wu's design the most but her zoner playstyle doesn't appeal to me at all. I'll probably come back and play the story mode for nakoruru's sister at least when she comes out. The single player content is very lacking and I don't have a lot of interest in playing random people online if I don't substantially enjoy the characters. The visual style is nice, the final boss sucks.

SMT Strange Journey Redux

  1. Just very dull is all I can say. Mainline SMT just has no appeal to me.

Bullet Girls Phantasia

  1. The missions are repetitive, the enemy variety is extremely lacking, enemy A.I is braindead, and the framerate is abysmal. That being said, it gives me the vibes of the 6/10 cute girls doing cute things anime I enjoy and the girls are cute so I still found it fairly enjoyable. It was also nice just having a cute anime girl game where you can shoot stuff which is surprisingly rare. The fanservice was great too, no shame. Could've have more outfits though. I especially enjoyed the part where I started the final boss fight and the boss immediately glitched out and died.

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

  1. This game feels like a downgrade in everything but variety. The cutscenes feel like they were made by fans of the first game who exaggerate the aspects of it that they remember. Wrestling is referenced everywhere and the added anime-like craziness and violence take way more focus than they should. Travis is also made out to be way more "cool" and it makes him substantially less likable. I wasn't a big fan of the open world in NMH1 but when you cut it and the money-making process between fights out, the assassin fights themselves feel a lot less distinct and important. The combat also feels a lot worse. You get stunned too much, enemies don't get stunned enough and soak up too much damage, and the motion controls feel much less responsive. The minigames aren't very fun but the variety is nice. The gym games suck even worse than the bench press from 1. The music is great at least. Overall it's just really lacking in Suda soul.

Super Mario Maker 2

  1. Can't go wrong with limitless mario levels. I don't have any interest in making my own levels but I still get quite a bit of enjoyment from playing everyone else's and the 100 story mode levels are fun too. There's not really much else to say.

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled

  1. Great remake. Takes a little bit to get used to the controls and turbo boosting but once you do, it's a lot more satisfying than mario kart. The characters are lively and fun but the fact that they're tied to radically different stats is annoying since speed characters outclass all the others and I want to play Megumi. The boss challenges are also pretty annoying, ESPECIALLY Pinstripe. The stages are mostly great in both gameplay and design. The story mode is a bit short but they went through the extra effort of adding in some cutscenes as well as some tracks from other games so I can't fault them for the game being short. It's a fun time.

Final Fantasy V Advance

  1. Had a great time with this one. The always-fun ATB battle system, extensive job system, likable characters, fun dialogue and fairly decent story all come together for a great classic JRPG. The visuals are alright, still not a big fan of classic FF sprite style. The music is great as always. Gilgamesh and Galuf are great characters and Galuf's death is one of the most impactful in the series, but I do wish Exdeath was a more compelling villain besides the funny tree memes. I definitely prefer V to IV.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons

  1. Probably my least favorite 2D zelda so far but still a good game, much like minish cap. The characters are all weak considering the one i liked the most was a kangaroo I interacted with for like 5 minutes. Dungeons were generally well-designed and the switching between the overworld and subrosia was interesting. I do think subrosia was pretty underused but it didn't impact the game's quality very much. The game also would have benefited from giving you more of a connection with Din but I guess they generally don't give you any more with zelda either and Din was cute at least. The rings and gasha seeds were a neat concept but the effects were negligible and it ended up being a very forgettable system.

Megaman Star Force 3: Black Ace

  1. I would consider this the best in the BN/SF series. Great story with some genuine emotional moments, a real sense of urgency for the problems you have to solve, compelling twists and turns. The gameplay is improved from SF1 and the changes to the card system along with the new noise change system help it to compete with the depth of the BN gameplay after it was simplified in the first game. I am also very grateful that they removed the touchscreen minigames and replaced them with decently fun normal ones. I was going to say they babied out by having mega and kelvin return home in the end but it was too sweet for me to dislike it. I liked all the new characters as well besides Jack who is a twerp. It was also fun skipping star force 2 and having edgemaster Solo thrown at me.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages

  1. Okay this is the weakest 2D zelda I've played. The dungeons are decent but more complicated than the ones in Seasons in an annoying way. The time travel gimmick, while interesting, is tedious and overused to the point where the novelty wears off and you are just frequently warping back and forth to try and figure out where to go in either time. The mermaid tail and jabu jabu's belly were a serious drag since they change the simple and perfectly fine swimming controls to requiring hectic tapping in whatever direction you want to go which was a real pain for my thumb. The story is more compelling than in seasons but is still nothing remarkable. The switch hook and solomon's cane were interesting items but the cane did not get nearly enough use. A big complement I can give to this and Seasons is how different the two games are despite being released at the same time and that they're both decently long games without the padding of minish cap. They share the same assets and a chunk of the items but in terms of the dungeons and areas they're completely different. The way they link together so you get the true ending in the second game is also very cool.

Project X Zone 2

  1. I promised myself I wouldn't play it after the first game left me a soulless husk but I figured I should at least check out the changes. Turns out the combat isn't different at all from what I saw which is a shame since the character interactions are usually enjoyable. I'm not going to put myself through 40 more hours of it but I do hope they make a PxZ3 and put more effort into making it less monotonous.

Koihime Enbu RyoRaiRai

  1. As an avid fan of the underappreciated and very much alive koihime musou franchise, I felt I had to try this out. The gameplay is actually surprisingly great. Controls are smooth and the sense of impact on hits feels very good. Most of the girls are cute and play pretty differently from each other. I'm not a fan of the 3D models for the characters but it's not very noticeable during the actual fights. The stages and music are cool as well. Sadly single player content is extremely limited besides a typical arcade mode with terribly difficult A.I in the later stages. I would really like to see a new koihime enbu by arcsys in the current day.

Higurashi When They Cry Ch. 7

  1. As expected of the master, Ryukishi, Chapter 7 is as amazing as the rest. Rika's perspective is very interesting and while Hanyuu does tick me off, I acknowledge that she has an important role in the story. The intense emotional payoffs are rampant in this chapter with Satoko finally standing up to Teppei and the spiraling disaster at the end. Chapter 7 manages to tell a story that's both extremely hopeful and heavy at the same time and it felt good to ride the emotional rollercoaster. I am a bit sad that the mystery is all but gone now but the story continues to be enthralling nonetheless and I can't wait to see how Ryukishi closes it out in chapter 8.

Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishment

  1. Enjoyable mystery game. Sherlock's eccentricity makes for a jolly time and the connecting of clues to make conclusions felt very satisfying, especially since you can get them wrong. That being said there are some annoying leaps in logic you have to make but it's not usually a big deal. The voice acting was pretty good and writing was decent as well though the ending felt a little weak. Also the game was a little janky, particularly the movement, lip syncing and the glitch that forced me to skip the garden case by indicting the cult. Fun game overall, I want more mystery games.

Fire Emblem Three Houses

  1. Biggest pleasant surprise of the year. This game looked terrible pre-launch but it really absorbed me and took up a ton of my time. I'd say it's easily the best in the series. Activities in the monastery became a very comfy routine due to everything feeling beneficial to my campaign. The characters are nearly all likable and feel more human than the ones in every prior Fire Emblem game. The writing is actually surprisingly good. The plot won't blow your mind (besides how mature it feels for a big nintendo game) but it's well-written and localized by competent people who cared a lot about the game so the support conversations are mostly great and really motivate you to get closer to the characters. The political conflict is very well-realized and the conflicts post-time-skip are pretty kino. The gameplay is as solid as ever. Map design is good and encourages strategy without the annoying gimmicks from conquest. The removal of the weapon triangle is pretty inconsequential and relegating it to skills you unlock further on (lance/sword/axebreaker) achieves a similar result without turning every encounter into nuanced rock paper scissors. The class system is cool but master-tier variety is lacking and skills don't increase quickly enough to get a lot out of it like FF5 or FFT. The music is quite nice and the voice acting is very solid. Graphics and performance are probably the game's biggest problems. Environments sadly look pretty underwhelming and movement in the monastery is very awkward and janky. The game is also very very long and while I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it, it left me too burnt out to consider going through the other routes for a long while.

Total War: Three Kingdoms

  1. For my first Total War game it was a fun experience. Gradually conquering China and seeing your color take over the map is very satisfying and building up your cities and armies is comfy. I love the RotTK setting but the lack of an actual story in the game doesn't really do it justice. The repetitive voice lines (both units and narrator) are also very grating after a while. The performance was also a big problem with the game constantly turning my laptop into a make-shift grill.

Kill la Kill the Game: IF

  1. Absolutely screams low budget. The 1v1 gameplay is actually somewhat decent, if a little simple. The models look good but animation in story scenes is pretty stilted. Lip syncing with english voices is some of the worst I've seen and what I saw of the story was poorly strung together. Very few characters and only having story mode for 2 characters is pretty bad. Having to fight multiple enemies at once in the story is horrible. Sound mixing is generally bad with songs suddenly stopping with a second of nothing before the next song starts up, sound effects sometimes just aren't there. It's a shame there's a half-decent game lying in here but it apparently needed double the budget or dev time.

VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action

  1. Exactly what it says when you boot it up: a comfy time. Great atmosphere, music and visual design really set you in the mood. The writing is generally pretty good and it's fun learning about all of the likable customers and the world without the usual oppressive cyberpunk tone. I'm fine with some characters not really getting a "conclusion" since it feels more natural that way but it does feel like a lot of them didn't get enough development like the brain who only got like one scene. There's also a bit too many references with no subtlety at all and it does feel like the writer was thinking too hard about what he liked and how he could implement it in the worldbuilding. The YIIK stuff was way too awful though, patch that out for the love of god. Also while the music was great, having energetic music playing while Gaby tells Jill her ex died was pretty awkward. I think the game would've had a much more solid ending if they spent more time with the new years party and had one last interaction with everyone.

Panel de Pon

  1. Cute and fun game but my brain cannot figure out how to consistently do combos so the difficulty got too high for me. Hope Lip makes her return though.

Ion Maiden

  1. Very very fun throwback FPS in the same vain as DUSK. Great level design, satisfying shooting, entertaining main character. Very nice having a shotgun that isn't useless over a distance of 5 feet and a starting pistol that remains useful over the course of the entire game. The game is also longer than I expected which, while good, does present a problem where you get all your weapons early on so they do get kind of stale later on. They also nailed the visuals and soundtrack. Enemy variety is decent but he missile guys were pretty annoying. All in all great game and worth the wait.

Dragonball Advanced Adventure

  1. Fun little game. Nice to get a good Dragonball game after the yearly flood of DBZ games. Combat is a little simple and the sidescrolling parts can get pretty repetitive but with the minigames and fighting game segments they keep it fresh enough. Visuals are great and stay true to the artstyle and they do a good job of covering all the major parts of the show even if the dialogue is heavily truncated.

Mobile Suit Gundam vs. Zeta Gundam

  1. I like the artstyle and the use of Zeta's bumpin' OST. The mobile suit variety is also nice. Unfortunately I'm not a fan of the gameplay. I appreciate the attempt to make the mechs feel weighty but it just makes the game slow and clunky in an unfun way. All the melee attacks just locking enemies into autocombos is also pretty weak.

Gleam of Force

  1. Fun going back to french bread's origins. You can feel the soul from the cute amateurish sprites and the fighting is actually real fun with a lot more impact on the hits than most fighting games today.

Metal Wolf Chaos XD

  1. As much as I enjoy the cheesy cutscenes and voice-acting, the levels typically either bore me or annoy me. Damage feels inconsistent in that sometimes my bazookas will destroy things in two hits and other times in 10 combined with stomps and machine gun fire. Damage from enemies also feels inconsistent since sometimes I can survive in the middle of a group of enemies no problem and other times i have to run from a couple. This inconsistency combined with the lack of checkpoints gets very infuriating. The levels also just generally feel pretty same-y in both visuals and gameplay with the only differences being some target locations and time limits. I've also had my fair amount of crashes which were very annoying.

Fallout 4

  1. Well it's about what I expected. Gunplay sucks, very few RPG elements, utterly unimpressive writing. I thought the anime race mod would make it enjoyable enough but with it being a primarily first person game and the fact that the mod only changes you and a few companions it doesn't make much of a difference. I guess if the shooting was better and you actually could make notable choices it would be a fun distraction but as it is now I can't see the appeal.

Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit

  1. Average rhythm game with boobs. Though the boobs part is pretty underwhelming when you realize it's just using the models from shinovi versus. The rhythm game part is easy and the music isn't really anything special. I do feel sad if I don't go back and see the senrans every now and then though so it filled that void at least.

Minoria

  1. I wanted to like this one since I enjoyed Momodora RUtM quite a bit. The atmosphere is nice and I like playing as a cute nun but the controls feel janky and the balance is awful. Enemy attacks have much less telegraphing than they should given the insane amount of damage they do and even the telegraphs they have are difficult to see in combat if there's more than one enemy to deal with. The roll also feels like it should be more effective than it is given how unreliable the parry is. The almost complete lack of hitstun even on the smallest enemies can also get pretty annoying. Real shame.

Control

  1. I had sort of high hopes for this game considering my enjoyment of max payne 1 & 2 and alan wake. Though I did hear quantum break was mediocre so I went in with considerably tempered expectations. There's a lot of neat visual presentation going on in this game but I couldn't get myself invested in the narrative at all and I found the main character and her inner monologues to be painfully dull. The combat is average and the one boss fight I encountered was underwhelming. The gun doesn't feel bad but giving enemies health bars in shooters usually dampers the satisfaction. The telekinesis is alright but simple in its execution (particularly with the auto-aim aspect) and annoying to use on keyboard.

Senran Kagura Peach Ball

  1. Actually pretty fun since it's pinball and all. Fanservice is decent enough and the presentation clearly shows the love of the creator for pinball and boobs. Sadly there is very little content and it crashes constantly for me on 4th story chapter. The infinite potential of the oppai pinball genre will never truly be realized.

The 25th Ward: The Silver Case

  1. Excellent presentation let down by mind-numbing writing and extremely obtrusive interaction. Very similar to the silver case but this time without the novelty of the presentation or the hope for a big payoff later on. Having to interact with the world through a strange dice menu is unique but very annoying especially considering how vague the game is with what you need to do to progress. The writing, while not necessarily bad, lacks any sort of energy or flare and I constantly find myself getting sleepy while the annoying detective woman slings slurs at the guy. I didn't dislike the silver case and it did pick up a little near the end but my motivation to push myself through another VN that is identical in style and writing is slim to none. The art and music are great though.

Astral Chain

  1. A very good game with some missed potential. The combat is a blast, especially as you get more legions and learn to utilize their abilities. I did feel the dodge was a little too weak though, especially compared to other platinum games. The presentation is great and the action is always fun to look at as expected of platinum. The story is decent enough but I couldn't really get invested in it very much. There's too much non-combat stuff in the game and it got pretty tedious past the halfway point. I typically appreciate the variety but stuff like tailing missions and carrying boxes just isn't fun. The exploration sections in the gates could get pretty annoying, particularly involving the chain jump platforming that sprang up way too much. The investigations were also pretty weak and didn't really sell the cop aspect of the story since most of it just boiled down to "track this person/thing to the gate where they got snatched". There were some fun characters hanging around the police building and sadly they were underutilized. I think an Astral Chain 2 that expands and improves upon the police aspect with funner minigames and more interactions with your fellow officers would be a fantastic time.

Undertale

  1. Actually a good game. It's clearly inspired by Mother but it's still very creative in its own right. Most of the characters are fairly likable and charming aside from alphys (beyond the intended point). I feared most of the game was going to be HAHA WE MAKE BAD JOKE AND ACKNOWLEDGE IT BAD but that's mostly just relegated to sans and toriel and it's pretty subdued. That being said the general sense of humor didn't really appeal to me either but it was in a somewhat endearing way. The serious part of the story is interesting and well-made but it didn't particularly strike my emotions. However, it was very annoying going into the game knowing I should be a pacifist but being unable to do a true pacifist run because you need flowey to tell you not to kill anyone first which goes against the overall message of the game. This was even more annoying when you start the second run and flowey says "hey don't kill anyone, I shouldn't have to tell you this". The fights are fun and do a good job of staying unique throughout the entirety of the game. The music is great and the visual style is also pretty good but the main character's sprite annoys me. In the end I don't really have many complaints about the game but it didn't hit me as hard as it did a lot of people. Even hotland which was my least favorite part of the game due to alphys was salvaged mostly by mettaton and the music. I feel kinda silly for staying away from the game for so long due to the fanbase.

Outer Wilds

  1. The exploration seems cool and it has good ideas but the movement annoys me to death. I wouldn't have a problem with the time limit but when i have to spend half of it trying to get anywhere with my ship or jetpack it is too grating.

Goemon's Great Adventure

  1. As much as I liked Mystical Ninja, I can't really bring myself to enjoy this one very much. I like the characters but the levels have too many enemies to the point where you have to pause for a second constantly just to swipe at them because of your low HP. Platforming requires too much precision to the point of being annoying. A lot of the content seems to be repeating levels with slight differences. It's also just kind of disappointing to lose the exploration and sense of adventure that came with the full 3D world of the first game.

SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy

  1. It's not good, shocker. Fighting is overly simple and the items are nothing but an annoyance. Even the fanservice is lackluster due to the low quality of the models. At least the art is cute.

Atelier Rorona DX

  1. Just feels like a less polished Sophie with a time limit which I do not want in my comfy game. Rorona was cute though.

Blue Reflection

  1. A real shame this isn't better than it is. I really like the presentation and the idea of playing a magical girl show. I don't really have a problem with the characters even though they didn't spark my interest too much. The music is pretty good and the visuals are great compared to all the other gust games I've played. The problem lies with the gameplay. Battles are overly simple and easy. Everything in the game is SLOW down to the walking animations, battle animations, and performance as the game is very poorly optimized. It's also just really demoralizing knowing you only get the starting 3 party members for the entirety of the game. I'd like to play a more optimized and fleshed-out sequel.

Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth

  1. A perfect conclusion to the series. Vast improvement on the already good Mask of Deception. The story is more compelling throughout, there's an emotional roller coaster of great moments and the cliches have decreased in quantity and obnoxiousness. The battles are generally more difficult and involved. Every plotline is interesting and everything is wrapped up perfectly. Moments like the Uta 1 cast showing up to help the crew against Woshis's cronies, Haku's visit to Oshtor's mom, and the very end of the epilogue with Hakuoro in particular were big highlights for me. Raiko and Woshis were both good compelling villains, though Raiko was definitely more likable and sympathetic. Haku is a perfect cinnamon roll and his character really excels through the undertaking of Oshtor's persona. The music is fantastic as always, as well as the art. My complaints with the game boil down to it feeling a tad too long due to the multiple points where it feels like the game could've ended but didn't (the rest of the content was good so this didn't bother me too much) and it's kind of annoying having a large number of girls fall in love with Oshtor/Haku, even Kuon despite her not being sure if it was really Haku or not. In the end my complaints are minor and my praises exceptional.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

  1. A pretty good expansion. All my compliments and complaints regarding the original remain the same. The new monsters are nearly all really cool and fun to fight. The difficulty seems to be ramped up a little too much in response to everyone saying the base game was too easy with a lot of the new monsters doing very high amounts of damage and having very frantic movesets like tigrex. The more annoying parts of the expansion were the master rank versions of previous monsters like legiana and beezlegeuse but thankfully you're only required to fight them once. The story is still completely uninteresting and the fact that it keeps you from doing multiplayer until you see the cutscenes amplifies this problem. That being said, the cutscenes showing the monsters in action were very cool so it kind of balances out.

Untitled Goose Game

  1. Fun little game. Good artstyle and charming interactions/premise. Very short but I didn't pay for it so whatevs. Some of the tasks are a little annoying to do but it makes them a little more satisfying upon completion. Not really much else to say.

Skies of Arcadia Legends

  1. Extremely soulful JRPG. Wonderful sense of adventure and a very likable cast of characters. Vyse is a great main character and one of the few JRPG main characters I would genuinely describe as "cool". The villains manage to be quite compelling and likable as well so none of the interactions are very dull. The setting is interesting and fresh and the story is actually pretty well-paced, if a little standard. The on-foot battles are pretty simple and changing colors all the time can be tedious but the way it changes how you unlock magic is cool. The ship battles are annoying in the beginning but fun later on when you can take more than a couple hits and you have more to play around with. The biggest problem with the game which is mostly alleviated by dolphin's fast-forward function is the slow animation and movement speed combined with the relatively high encounter rate. This wasn't really an issue for me but having to hold the fast-forward button down for 90% of the game was a little annoying.

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure

  1. I actually love the premise of this game. Playing as a dandy old british gentleman in a 2D platformer where you occasionally stop to play panel de pon for power ups sounds great. Unfortunately it was really just fun for one level. The platforming part feels pretty mediocre and the panel de pon part comes up too frequently. The voice acting is also pretty funny.

Breath of Fire III

  1. Breath of Fire tends to fill the DQ-ish void of JRPGs that don't really do anything ambitious but deliver a fairly enjoyable classic experience to make up for it. I enjoyed 2 and 4 a lot but 3 just doesn't grab me. 4 has it beat in the visual department and 2 was much more fun to play due to easier grinding. 3's high encounter rate combined with the abnormal difficulty of the encounters and the basic nature of the combat makes it a real drag. I could put up with it if the story was more interesting but it's not. The party members don't interest me too much either. Nina's cute as usual but she's so fragile in this game she's a hassle to use.

Shadow Hearts

  1. Pretty cool flawed gem of a game. The horror tone isn't scary at all but it's rarely ever seen in jrpgs so it felt quite fresh. The party is interesting but Margarete and Keith don't feel like they have enough of a stake in the fight compared to Yuri, Alice and Halley. Besides bosses, the fights are pretty simple and repetitive with long animations thankfully mitigated by emulation speedup. The ring system thankfully keeps battles more involved and interesting but having to use them for items and some story segments is a bit much. The story isn't great or anything but the tone and likable characters did a good enough job of keeping me invested. The presentation of the game could've used a bit more work. It's difficult for the cutscenes to have impact when they're mostly low quality 3D models jarringly imposed on a 2D background doing very simple animations. The music is also very unique for a jrpg and fits the tone well. I'd like to see a full remake that can do the tone and setting justice.

AI: The Somnium Files

  1. My favorite game this year so far. Uchikoshi brings the magic again with a big return to form after Zero Time Dilemma. Presentation is massively improved although still with a bit of jank. But I think that jank adds to the charm. There's a lot of interesting imagery in the somniums, models are pretty high quality and animations aren't bad. The characters have a lot of fantastic interactions and Date is a wonderful main character who makes every scene entertaining, especially with his fantastic chemistry with Aiba. The story is very compelling and consistently throws out unexpected twists and turns while still cleanly wrapping up every loose end by the credits. I do find it odd that Mizuki's super strength wasn't explained but since it was established early on and isn't abused too often I didn't mind it too much. Every route offered interesting revelations and even the somewhat annoying characters like Iris and Ota still brought great things to the table. The psync with Ota's mom even got me to tear up a little which I wasn't expecting to do in Ota's route of all people. My only real problem with the game is that the somniums, while consistently interesting, had some pretty nonsensical solutions which is annoying when you're on a time limit. The game also has one of the best credits sequences in a video game I've ever seen, rivaling God Hand. I'm glad Uchikoshi's still got the touch.

Sengoku Rance

  1. Don't really see the appeal. Maybe it just starts slow and gets better later but the game feels like a slog. You only get 2 actions and you pretty much have to use them on war stuff every turn even though there's so many events to see. The war stuff also feels slow due to how many times you have to attack an area to conquer it and the slow, unimpressive battle animations don't really help. The writing, while funny in its brash nature, loses its novelty pretty quickly as well. Honestly the porn aspect of the game isn't good either despite having some good character designs.

Indivisible

  1. Glad I wasn't too excited for this game, it's pretty disappointing. Character designs and animation are on-point. The unique cultural influences are neat as well. Unfortunately the writing is pretty poor. It felt like they wanted to try and get you invested with Ajna's dad dying in the beginning but they just CANT WAIT to start being "quirky" as is the norm for a lot of western indie games. Razmi is pretty much the embodiment of this with her only role being to say something whacky every conversation. The plot, despite the original setting and influences, is incredibly generic and uninteresting. The gameplay loop, while interesting conceptually, gets repetitive and boring very quickly and I've heard it only gets easier and less involved later on. The game feels like it could've just worked better as a fighting game which lab zero knows much better.

Touhou 6 & 8

  1. I simply don't have the mental dexterity to handle these games, shame cuz the music is ballin'.

Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes

  1. It's like a modern day xbox live arcade game. Completely unfun and repetitive. Thank god NMH 3 got announced.

Ciconia When They Cry Phase 1

  1. Good start. I have my fair share of problems with Ciconia so far but thankfully my expectations were tempered from the start due to the setting and scale. The abnormally large and varied cast is handled fairly well and they have good interactions. The non-wartime parts are entertaining and do a good job of endearing you to the characters while building up the world. The wartime parts end up feeling very repetitive with a lot of redundant dialogue regarding the WALLS OF PEACE and DONT KILL DONT DIE and generally uninteresting action scenes. It feels like every other scene features ryukishi using the game as a mouthpiece to tell the reader how bad humanity is and how much war sucks and it ends up detracting from the story. The themes are meaningful and interesting but the lack of subtlety makes it feel very tiring after a while. Often I was subjected to scenes where everyone would be all buddy buddy and spend 5 minutes talking about how much they'll support peace which is annoying when anyone with more than a couple brain cells knows from the start that they will end up killing each other. Presentation is upgraded from the other WTC games but it doesn't really get a lot of chances to shine given how few legitimate fights there are. Music is good as usual but not really as memorable as umineko's or as impactful as higurashi's. The multiple personalities thing feels less like a way to flesh out miyao and more like an easy setup for twists later down the line. Despite my problems, the ending was great and I'm interested to see where the story is going to go from here now that they've built everything up quite a bit.

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth

  1. Very cool game, especially for its time. The plot, setting and tone are rarely ever seen in a JRPG and they're handled pretty tastefully. The story is decently written and greatly enhanced by its freshness. The character stories are a bit of a mixed bag with some clearly having more effort put into them than others but they're generally well-done and do a good enough job endearing you to the characters for the amount of time spent on them. I think I would've preferred getting less party members in exchange for more depth but the wide selection has its own appeal. The voice acting isn't great most of the time but it adds a lot of soul given how rare it is to get so much voice acting from an old PS1 JRPG. The progression of the game is very simple but liberating in a way. Getting to choose which artifacts you keep to exchange evaluation with key items, choosing which characters to send to odin every chapter, picking from a large cast of characters for a varied party, it all comes together very well. You're technically locked to just a few new areas per chapter but just giving you the choice to fly to any of them at any point during the chapter feels much less restrictive. It also helps that you never spend too long in one place besides Lezard's tower so it feels well-paced. Speaking of Lezard he was a joy to watch in action and I would've greatly preferred him as the primary antagonist over Loki but I suppose it would also feel weak to not give the god side of the plot any noteworthy plot elements. The visuals still look great to this day thanks to the good spritework and backgrounds and the music is stellar and memorable. Combat, while unique, can be pretty repetitive and difficulty is weirdly inconsistent. 70% of the game is a cakewalk but there's sudden spikes in difficulty like Lezard's tower and Bloodbane which makes for a rather annoying experience. Having to follow a guide to get the good ending is also pretty lame.

The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa

  1. I greatly appreciate the presentation and concept of this game but the life management sim aspects just don't appeal to me. I'm sure it would be my jam if I had more patience but as is I can't stand trekking all over the place with no map trying to find some way to trigger events while also having to worry about the time.

A Hat in Time: Nyakuza Metro

  1. Fun levels with a lot of fun design going on. Short, but I didn't have to pay much for it anyways. Ending is extremely disappointing since you get absolutely 0 closure with the nyakuza boss and it left me wondering where the actual end of the DLC was.

.hack//GU vol.3

  1. This is a lot worse than I remember. I had always thought the gameplay was better than IMOQs and only fell short on the story but playing it again, the gameplay is terrible. It's a boring slog of running around and mashing X to hit damage sponge enemies and occasionally pausing everything to do a rengeki attack. The structure is very repetitive and the tournament setup is immensely generic to couple with the cringe anime story. Unlike IMOQ, the characters no longer feel like people playing an online game, but instead just like shonen anime protagonists in a setting that just happens to be a game. The quests are dull and samey. Even when they get the chance to make something more creative like looking for the hell hound in the dungeon by tracking a trail of smoke or setting up devices in a triangle around a lake to summon a monster, all of that creativity is squandered by either making the dungeon so small that you don't have to look for anything, bashing you over the head with what you're supposed to do, or making all progression in quests take place in cutscenes rather than leaving it to the player. This is especially sad since there are in-game forum posts by people looking for the solutions to the quests that would've given the edge to people who take the time to read them. As for what I can compliment the game on, the presentation and visuals are fantastic for a PS2 game and everything outside of the game like the forums and news are stellar and I'd honestly rather engage with those for 20 hours instead. I especially like the anime clips added to the news articles and the artboard that you can get wallpapers from.

Shadow Hearts Covenant

  1. A bittersweet sequel in a few ways. The gameplay is polished, the length is increased, visual presentation received a much-needed improvement, voice acting is better and more abundant but still not great. A lot of improvements were made but at the cost of the horror theme that made the first game stand out so much from the rest of the genre which is a big hit. The story also unfortunately meanders starting around the halfway point and Kato's late shift into the villain role really hurt his quality as an antagonist. It would've been better if he was the antagonist from the start instead of nicolai since conceptually he's a much better antagonist due to his connection to the first game and its contrast with yuri's own personal conflicts. The lighthearted tone that permeates the story in place of the horror aspect isn't actually that bad and the characters are pretty likable with fun interactions but the cost feels much too great. Karin's role as Yuri's love interest doesn't feel very believable considering how few romantic scenes they had and it just comes off as awkward with Yuri's residual feelings for Alice taking a front row seat later on in the game. Despite that, the scenes with Alice were actually really compelling so even though Karin is cute I kind of would've preferred if she just wasn't in the game.

Dragon Quest 1

  1. Very comfy classic grandpa game. The simplicity and grind focus make it a joy to just put on some videos in the background and level up for hours. It's also fun going back to when you had to talk to random NPCs and explore to progress in the game once in a while.

Heartbeat

  1. Very pleasant solid RPG. Heartbeat has a lot of likable characters and a very comfortable atmosphere aside from when it gets serious at the end. The writing, while nothing extraordinary, is entertaining enough and doesn't fall into the expected indie trap of characters trying to be quirky and make sarcastic jokes every other line. I was also pleasantly surprised by the sheer amount of well-done character designs throughout the game, a lot of which belonging to characters that didn't even get much more than a couple scenes to talk. The artsyle is very nice and I like how it's clearly anime-inspired but with enough of a western touch that feels different without going into tumblr territory, kind of like crosscode. The music is good though the sound effect for clicking on options can get kind of annoying. The battle system is a solid iteration of JRPG-like turn-based combat and it does a good job of making you want to use status effects and buffs/de-buffs though enemy HP can be a bit too high sometimes, especially in the early game. While the combat is good, I do feel there's a bit too much of it, particularly in the finale. The story is decent but I wasn't emotionally invested. I was also greatly annoyed by missing the requirement for the true ending and having to be set back by a decent amount of progression to get it. Aside from that, I don't have many complaints about the game besides not getting to choose your party members throughout the game, or at least one of them and only making you use Eve, Klein and whoever is relevant in the story. I'm also kind of disappointed there's hardly any feminine characters in a game where nearly every major character is a girl. Pretty much every party member besides Io and Stolas have the appearance of a standard anime boy. Good game.

Pokemon Sword

  1. Entertaining but underwhelming. Starting with the positives: It's a pokemon game. They could've put out another gameboy game and I'd still be entertained by travelling through a region and building a team. The graphics, while not great, are an improvement over the previous games and the character models in particular look pretty good. Some of the new pokemon designs like Falinks and Hattrene are good. The wild area is a good step forward in the right direction and the difficulty is much better balanced around the team-wide exp share this time around. The gym leaders are likable and interesting and their gym challenges are some of the more creative parts of the game. Bede, while poorly cut out from the main plot halfway through the game for a silly reason, is at least interesting, has an arc, and doesn't exist to stroke your ego 24/7. Leon and Marnie are likable as well. I like the QoL improvements like being able to access the PC from anywhere and the bike automatically transforming to take you over water. Playing dressup was fun as well. Now for the negatives. The game is, for all intents and purposes, an upscaled 3DS game with a complete lack of ambition despite being the first mainline pokemon on a console. I didn't personally care much about a bunch of old pokemon being cut but it becomes a pretty noticeable problem when there are so few good new designs. The pop-in is egregious and is particularly annoying in the wild area where random pokemon you don't want to waste your time with suddenly pop up while you're on your bike and force you into a fight. The wild area is pretty uninteresting since there's so little to do besides the shallow camping minigame and raid battles online but the online interactivity is hampered by awful framerate issues. There's nothing interesting to find in the wild area, you just ride around on your bike and hope a pokemon you want is walking around. The pacing of the game is all over the place, near the middle of the game you'll go through like 3 gym leaders in less than 2 hours because apparently they expect you to go screw around in the wild area between gyms for no reason. Routes are mostly short and simple and dungeons are nonexistent. Animations are sill bad and battles still don't take place on the overworld. Characters and pokemon still lack the ability to move in anything besides straight lines with record-player-like rotating. The story is one of the most uninvolved stories in a pokemon game with Hop and Sonia constantly dragging you away in every city to dish out extremely dull dialogue about some story that's impossible to care about. Hop is an extremely repetitive character and his interactions are little more than wastes of time. The twist introduced at the end so the game can have an antagonist is poorly foreshadowed and stupidly executed. Team Yell is the worst team in the franchise and their silly reasons for their actions would be endearing if not for the fact that there's no other antagonist for the entirety of the game and they block your progress despite the game having no reason to be linear with its already-implemented level scaling. The gym leaders are the most likable part of the story but you spend very little time with them. The few times something noteworthy seems to be happening in the world aside from your gym challenge, you are told to ignore it and let Leon take care of it instead and you are forced to do so. The postgame, despite having the fairly entertaining royal twins, is a trial of patience with repetitive raid battles and a 1000th battle with Hop. It's also very short and the only other thing it has to offer is a battle tower which I've never been a fan of. Overall it's an entertaining game, a lackluster pokemon game, and a downright disappointing first mainline console pokemon game.

Dragon Quest 2

  1. I enjoyed this for quite a while. It's very clearly an ambitious sequel to 1 with the expansion of the world and addition of party members and enemy encounters with multiple enemies. There are some more creative parts like equipping the wind mantle and using it to fly from one tower to another, the inn at beran randomly making one of your party members sick and requiring you to get a yggdrasil leaf, and using the mirror of ra to heal the princess's curse. Unfortunately the expansion of the world combined with the high enemy encounter makes travelling from one place to another very tedious. Your hints on where to go and what to do are more sparse and vague compared to 1 which is annoying and pushed me to use a guide which I'm pretty used to doing for older JRPGs but the natural flow of 1 was definitely superior. What really tanks the game is the grind at Rhone immediately before the final boss which is just a trial of patience and the final boss himself is a total pain to fight and more or less requires good luck on his patterns to beat. While I still had an enjoyable time thanks to the convenient features of emulators, 2 is definitely the most poorly designed DQ.

The Saboteur

  1. RIP Pandemic. This was a very solid GTA clone. Good but not really as good as Sleeping Dogs. The shooting is pretty satisfying but the bullet sponge enemies near the end are kind of annoying. The sneaking is clunky but fun when you abuse the system to get through a mission easily. The driving is decent but the narrow streets keep it from being fun. Having to escape from nazis because I stopped just a little too close to the checkpoint was a pain in the neck. Restoring color to the world by completing missions and strengthening the resistance was great and made your accomplishments feel more substantial than a GTA mission. I enjoyed the music in the game but the quantity of songs was lacking. The story, while simple, was compelling and Sean had good quips and interactions with the other characters. The finale was classy as well and the game wrapped up in a pretty satisfying way.

Gun Gun Pixies

  1. Pleasantly mediocre. Similar to Gal Gun in that it feels like it comes from a team of guys who wanted to make a fun fanservice-filled time but it is definitely less fun than Gal Gun. The premise is cute and I enjoy the localized conflict and small-scale interactions. The gameplay sections are fairly repetitive and not very smooth. I wish the hookshot was unlocked for any room you had already explored once. Character designs are cute and Bee-tan and Kame-pon make a fun protag duo. Some mission objectives are annoying like having to search specific spots where you can't see the hint sparkles from anywhere in the room as well as "eliminate all the enemies" missions. Difficulty is nonexistant and it's probably easier to S-rank every mission than it is to C-rank every mission which makes missions where you just have to kill enemies very boring. Thank god they took out the fall damage or I would've dropped the game ASAP.

F-Zero

  1. Fun stuff. Impressive 3D effect for a SNES game, good music, distinct stages, tight controls. Getting bumped around by the AIs can be pretty annoying but beating them is satisfying. I was very annoyed that they never told me I had to hold down to make it over a gap in the one stage it required and I'm thankful I live in the age where I can quickly google that. It's pretty short but considering its age and how I got it for free, I don't have a problem with it. I hope we get another one some day.

Omega Labyrinth Life

  1. Cute little game. Appeals to my specific tastes with its cute main character, average cute girl anime plot, cute characters with yuri-tinted interactions, and gratuitous fanservice with decent art. Gameplay is typical mystery dungeon fare which I enjoy. Only big gripe I have with the dungeon gameplay is the fact that your partner can often be more of a hindrance than a help due to enemies becoming extremely overpowered if they kill someone. Thankfully the final boss wasn't a nightmare like the first game so it went relatively smoothly. The gardening minigame is a boring hassle but thankfully it's not too important. The PC port is annoying because for xbox one controllers the shoulder buttons don't work so you have to turn off the controller to use the keyboard just to get out of some scenes. One last complaint would be that having DLC costumes only changes character sprite appearances in certain scenes and doesn't even change the 3D models but I didn't pay for them so I don't mind too much.

Sayonara Wild Hearts

  1. Excellent colorful and well-animated presentation. Great narration by uh...Queen Latifah. Music is good and fit the stages well but none of the songs really specifically appealed to me or stuck in my head. Content is lacking for the price but it's the right length for what it is and I got a refund anyways. Gameplay is simplistic and enjoyable but the sense of speed is lacking in a lot of sections. Projectiles and enemies also often have inconsistent speed so it might suddenly throw a fast-moving projectile at you with little warning and it'll throw off the rhythm of the stage. Besides that, difficulty was low and it was easy to speed through the whole game in an hour. The story was the kind of simple story I enjoy similar to Gitaroo Man and NiGHTS in which the main character goes through a surreal world-saving adventure and that ends up helping them in real life.

Death Stranding

  1. Well I thought it was great. The atmosphere when hiking around and completing orders was stellar. The story was compelling, unique, and very well-directed. Of course Kojima could use a little more subtlety in his writing but as is I find it pretty endearing. The cutscenes were a little front and back-loaded but since I exclusively did story missions it didn't feel nearly as sparse as MGSV, especially with the mails and small codec conversations you get. The actors that Kojima somehow gathered together did a great job, particularly the guy who played Die-hardman. I do wish Sam had more lines throughout the game though, it's kind of awkward when he makes a delivery and the people who receive it basically talk to themselves. The way Fragile talked kind of annoyed me and that's about my only complaint with the actors. I was also annoyed by Higgs's lame makeup but Troy Baker did a great job as he often does. The music was fantastic and when the Low Roar music kicked in as the destinations came into view, it felt extremely satisfying. I actually liked the polarizing gameplay quite a lot. I found the hiking comfy, the management engaging, and I've never felt more grateful for other players than when I came across other players' structures that helped me to my destination. When I had to get through a field of BTs without my BB to guide me and I spotted another player's zipline on the other side that I could zip to with my own, I truly felt connected. My only complaints with the gameplay would be that a few chapters drag on too long and the vehicles were pretty underpowered. I feel there were probably better ways to limit usage of the vehicles besides having them get stuck on anything more than flat ground and nearly grinding them to a stop on any slopes. Death Stranding is probably one of the prettiest games I've ever played and there's a ton of very cool-looking imagery throughout the game. The boss fights are pretty simplistic but the bosses look fantastic and they do what they can with the limited combat system while being excellent setpieces. Fighting Cliff like 3 times was a bit much though. The ending was kino by the way.

Super Punch Out

  1. I really liked this game. The gameplay is very fun and knocking out opponents is an excellent feeling. I did enjoy Punch Out Wii more but that's mostly because I got filtered out by the reaction times and memorization needed in the Special Circuit.

Game Tengoku CruisinMix Special

  1. It's cute. Charming cast of characters and fun-looking arcade-themed stages. Too difficult for me since I suck at shmups which didn't impede my progress since there are infinite continues but it made for a pretty unsatisfying experience. Not nearly enough content for the price. The classic games overview doesn't let you play the games, but it at least has some cute funny commentary where they dunk on old game posters and stuff. Music was fun and poppy too.

Gensou Skydrift

  1. Pure doujin geemu soul. The gameplay is pretty fun as far as kart racers go but of course it can be pretty janky. There's so many turns to take that I couldn't get much use out of the speedier characters and didn't switch characters too much unless their spellcard bar happened to be full on a straight road. Graphics are low quality but endearing. Story is super barebones but that's to be expected for a kart racer and the premise is super cute anyways. There was a weird VN-like segment at the start of the story that didn't get re-used at all later on and the characters just repeat what they say after that segment anyways so it feels like it was left in on accident. The music is great since it's 2hu. The controller and resolution configurations are terrible and better left alone. There's also not nearly enough content to justify the pricetag but I didn't pay for it so it doesn't matter much to me.

Judgment

  1. I prefer Judgment over most yakuzas. The detective drama story is much more compelling than yakuza power struggles or real estate schemes and the new cast is fresh and fun. Yagami is a more likable and interesting protagonist than Kiryu even though Kiryu makes for funnier sidequest situations. The english dub was actually pretty good besides the natural awkwardness of honorifics and it helped to separate the game from the typical yakuza experience. The side quests are generally weaker than in yakuza from what I saw but I didn't get to see a lot of them because I couldn't be bothered to look for the ones that didn't just have icons on the map. The friend system is cool in concept but the friend quests themselves are pretty weak and a lot of them just involve repeatedly shopping at places. The dating was fun but felt a little out of place with Mafuyu being obviously set up as Yagami's love interest. The performance of the game on a normal PS4 was pretty bad and the dragon engine turned my console into a makeshift wind turbine. The lockpicking and chase minigames were fine but the tailing missions were terrible and there were far too many of them. Combat was standard yakuza fare but it did feel like the enemies blocked too much and made the crane style mostly useless outside of the EX attacks. It may sound like I just have a lot of complaints but the story and characters along with just getting to enjoy kamurocho with a fresh new view kept it good for me and I quite enjoyed it overall.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

  1. I was pleasantly surprised with this game. The Souls-like combat with the added flare of the force powers and flashy combos is very enjoyable and on Jedi Master difficulty there's actually quite a few challenging combat scenarios and boss fights. The puzzles, while never really difficult, make good use of the force powers and are satisfying to solve. The worlds are large and open and generally fun to explore when the game isn't trying to be uncharted with all the climbing and shimmying through loading screen cracks. The force/life upgrades and lightsaber parts are nice to find but exploration would have been more satisfying if you could find lightsaber color crystals in the worlds rather than just having them all dumped on you near the end of the game. Mantis and BD-1 colors are alright but the customization of cal's appearance is too limited. One of my bigger complaints about the game would be that movement feels too slow. The sprint feels like it should be much faster and the jump should cover more distance after how mobile jedi have proven to be in past series. Also Cal's running animation looks really bad. The music, while not memorable, was good and fit the tone of star wars. The story is decent and feels like Star Wars without just copying the original trilogy. The main characters are pretty likable and the primary villain is compelling enough. Cere's bug eyes never stopped being annoying to look at and the nightsister wasn't around long enough after she joined.

Kirby Super Star

  1. Pretty alright game. I don't think the combat or platforming in kirby are very satisfying but I enjoy the copy abilities well enough. The game is pretty light on content despite touting 8 games in one or whatever. The jolly simple nature of kirby somewhat makes up for the weak gameplay but the low difficulty means the main game segments go by pretty fast. The minigames are pretty fun but without a player 2 they don't last very long.

VRChat

  1. I absolutely love just being in VR. I don't even talk to people I just love walking around the different worlds and seeing people with all kinds of different avatars interacting.

Monster Hunter World on PC (again)

  1. Now that I have a computer that can actually run it, it was great just like on PS4. Even better with loading times practically erased on my SSD and a few mods to smooth out the experience. Can't wait for iceborne.

Beat Saber

  1. The final game started in 2019 which I will most likely be playing for a long while. Very fun gameplay combined with good music is a sweet combination and it's a good workout as well. Sadly I tend to run into some glitches, particularly with downloading songs. There's also fewer songs that I know than I would like.
0 comments