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:

  1. DMC V
  2. RE2make
  3. RDR2
  4. Ace Combat 7
  5. Sekiro
  6. Prey (2017)
  7. Last Window: Secret of Cape West
  8. Valkyria Chronicles 4
  9. Cuphead
  10. Furi

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.

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