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.

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