“It’s The Ones Who Don’t Look Like Bad Guys Who Are The Real Bad Guys.” - NMH3
“Always Stop By The Toilet If You Find One.” - NMH3
“Living every day, being exposed to the emotions of the masses, having to interact with other people even when you don’t want to. That cycle can really wear a person down. I wonder if from here in out this will change into some sort of lighter, easier form.” - The Silver Case
I’ll have to apologize in advance (partly to myself) as I had all the reviews written up in my head as I was beating them… but then I delayed and had to brute force it a bit. This is probably why some of them get pretty long as I try to reach for what I originally wanted to say.
Other than that Spooktober is finally here. As always some co-streamers and I stream spooky games every day of the month. It’s exciting to get to experience new scares with those that appreciate the genre. This duals as both an effective means to clear some backlog, but also keeps me incredibly busy. Here’s to hoping you all have a spooky (but safe) month of October.
Top Games this month:
No More Heroes 3 Currently my game of the year (Sorry RE8, you were great, but this was better)
BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Extend The VN Fighting series that just keeps getting better and better.
The Silver Case Suda51 making me fall in love all over again.
What if you combined a generic Lara Croft character with the visuals of Babydoll from Sucker Punch, the design of combined that with some writing and dialogue akin to Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room”, and finally made it into a hack-slash platformer? You would get Blades of Time.
I’m going to start by saying that this game has a lot NOT going for it. The design of the character is reminiscent of early 2000’s female gaming stereotypes with a little over sexualization. Don’t get me wrong, I like playing/seeing hot people being hot in my video games (Lara Croft, Nathan Drake, Lady, Dante/Nero, etc.), but this seemed a little too much. You do get some costumes that make it a bit better, but overall bleh. The character is clearly inspired by Lara Croft as she is a treasure hunter with a British accent and even monologues like the most recent iteration of the famed Tomb Raider. This wouldn’t be so bad if the writing and the dialogue is awkward and just god awful. She often states the obvious or just weird random things to say to herself and her enemies. Not to mention the story is kind of hanging by just a thread with a fair share of holes and inconsistencies.
Despite all this, the combat is actually pretty darn good. You start with a pretty basic hack-slash formula of basic/heavy attacks along with air combos, but slowly gain various other abilities such as burning and freezing your enemies. Various other skills are combined with these such as further immolation or giving your twin swords an element boost. You also have a rifle (though you can pick up some other two-handed guns) which you can more easily dispatch enemies from afar. Of course, you also have your standard dodge/slide and an air dash of sorts.
However, the best mechanic of this game is the ability to rewind time. Somewhat similar to Prince of Persia, but still it’s own variation. You yourself do not follow the reverse in time. Instead you will stand there and watch as everything else around you rewind. Enemies, their health, any objects. This also means you do not get any health back. The cool part about this is that when time starts back up, you will have a clone that follows through the actions up to the point that you started the rewind. Doing this multiple times gives you a plethora of clones stacking damage and giving your current self a damage multiplier. This is useful for breaking shields, creating combos, and performing awesome finishers. This is also important because they will be needed not just for combat but puzzles as well.
Visually the game looks pretty good and has you go through a bit of diverse locales. Enemies vary decently both in gameplay and design. Nothing crazy great, but decent.
Lewd? The outfit and hair of MC is a bit much, but other than that, no.
Recommend? Despite all the bad, this gameplay is still pretty fun and would recommend this. You can skip the DLC though, it is more of the same without all of the cool powers and more annoying level design.
Every BlazBlue game just gets better and better. A bigger sequel than Continuum Shift Extend, this one takes all the pieces that were placed in the two previous games and finally sets them in place. The anime cutscenes have considerably more work put into them (though they are still fairly rare), sprite work looks amazing, combat keeps a lot of the solid groundwork built from past and adds a little speck of improvements, and a full roster that very nearly includes all of the characters we have seen so far.
For a 2D fighting game that has yet to dip it’s toes into the weird 3Dish cosmetic that SF and KoF have starting to take, it looks pretty damn good. Again, sprites are clean, solid defining colors, and well-done animations.
The main story is now a little more streamlined in that you follow three main branches of story instead of a bunch of individual character trees. Each branch represents an individual story which connects to the other two. This means there are points where you will come to a roadblock as it waits for you to catch up with the other two. This is extremely necessary as everything may not make sense immediately in the solo scenario. I think with a game that has such a complicated and terminology heavy game such as BlazBlue this can make understanding a bit all the better. If you are still confused, they have the anthology chapters for the previous two games, “Help Me Miss Litchi” program makes a return with the chibi poorly drawn characters, but informative review, and a Library section that lists all the characters and terminology. As always, there is arcade mode and each character get their own additional story, but they seem to mostly be small and short events that mostly have nothing to do with the overarching story (if they are canon at all).
The “Extend” portion of the game includes an additional 3 side branches that help expand events and characters that may have only been touched upon in the main scenarios. Of course, there are a plethora of gag endings and Extend gag chapters to give a much needed and well-earned laugh. The extra chapters don’t stop there as there is a side side story that deals with a genderbent character attending the school. It is fairly slice of life, short, and has an overarching mystery.
As stated previously, the roster is bigger and better than ever. Characters we have seen in the past make their return and debut in the fighting arena as well as totally new entries. It does seem like most of the new entries, however, don’t do much for the actual story, sadly. Not a terrible thing. Not everyone can be an important piece, but you have to wonder how some of them fit in at all. Still, I was happy to try out some new characters, and learn more about them as I dive deeper into the knowledge seither.
Favorite Characters: Noel (once my main, always my main), Bullet (lover her rushdown), and Kagura (he really grows on ya, and interesting stances).
Lewd? Definite suggestive language, scenarios, etc. Spectacles of Eros make a return
Recommend? Yes! A Fighting Visual Novel series that is in my top fighting game list. This, so far, seems to be the best yet.
I was feeling a bit nostalgic and decided to go down memory lane that faintly smelled like Pizza Hut Pizza.
It was interesting to see the visual changes, what was once a mass of spiky polygons was now furry and smooth. Visually this game is stunning, from character/enemy designs to the levels and effects they provide. A blend of cartoon and realism in a singular wumpa fruit box. The gameplay is still very much of the same with some minor issues. Some edges seem extra slippery, which, in a game where precision jumping is often key, this can cause some issues. Once you learn to jump a little early, however, this problem becomes less of an issue.
If you haven’t played or seen Crash Bandicoot before, it is a platformer that has you go through various levels in order to stop the evil doctor s Neo Cortex, his minions, and other great evils. The levels differ wildly as they can have you in a variety of perspectives. Either you are running forth into a multipath level, side-scrolling levels, or even running towards the camera as Crash frantically runs from a great danger all the way until the level exit. It’s a lot of fun and keeps you on your toes as to not miss any jumps, avoid enemies, and collect any wumpa fruit/collectibles you find along the way. As a wee Bandicoot, you will find you are frail, taking any amount of damage can put you in a (somewhat humorous) death animation. The best way to avoid this is by collecting shaman masks which follow you and take a hit for you. Consecutive masks will give you more hits to take, and on the third will give you brief invulnerability. Boss battles are fairly straight forward as you figure out the enemy’s gimmick, do the thing that damages him (sometimes hit him or an item around them), rinse, increase boss difficulty, and repeat until defeated.
Games in 2 and 3 do add more to the series as they go. This includes some racing levels, gained abilities, water levels/vehicles, and the ability to play as the cool lovable sister of Crash, Coco. I will say Crash does look a little goofier with his updated looks. So, despite gameplay is the same, I really liked playing as Coco. She’s cool, adorable, and has some sick dance end of level dance moves.
Recommend? Absolutely, getting over some minor issues you can find that this game has a lot to offer to both old and new fans alike.
Decided to get this as I both enjoy Dishonored and wanted to enjoy the online experience while it was still fresh.
Play Colt, an amnesiac stuck on an island filled with people that want to kill him. Whether they succeed or not doesn’t really matter because come end of day… the day loops back and he is back to waking up at the beach with his inventory emptied and only his notes to help him figure out the mystery of the loop. Even all of this wasn’t already bad enough, there is also Julianna who is not only aware of the loop, but is absolutely determined to kill you each time so that you cannot break the loop. What’s more is that Julianna is played by another player, effectively invading your world. This means no AI to exploit, only you versus someone who has the same if not more information and abilities/guns than you. The one benefit you have over Julianna is that in each area, you get three lives while they only have one. Other than that, it is a matter of using the abilities and weapons you find to take them and the Visionaries out.
The game plays out like this. You have four times of the day and can explore one of four sites during those times. Certain events and people can only be found during those times. Slowly figure out how you break the loop by visiting these at all times of days and once you do figure that out, do it within one day cycle. Normally, you lose everything (guns, abilities, etc) when the loop happens. However, you gain the ability to infuse weapons/abilities so that you can keep them for future playthroughs. This is key, but not necessary. Guns are fairly standard, and the abilities you get are fairly similar to those in the Dishonored series. As always you have sneak and full assault options and a multitude of access points. If there’s one thing the Dishonored team does well, it is level design, and this is true for Deathloop as well. There are almost always a few different routes and solutions to the same problem and can give you a sense of uniqueness in playthroughs of the game.
The story is pretty good, but the writing and dialogue is pretty fun. Colt feels like a real person with perfect reactions to the situations he’s in. He doesn’t just blow off a close encounter, he swears and gets freaked out. He tells himself jokes and tries (but often fails) quips back at Julianna. He really feels like a real person and it’s great. The banter between him and Julianna is fun and it is the filler for a lot of the time transitions. Other characters in the world also have very defining personalities from the strong identities of the Visionaries even down to some of the random enemies who walk around and have chats/unrelated story lines.
Lewd? Nope, only suggested themes.
Recommend? Yes, I quite enjoyed this game. Being able to play through Colt’s story or play as Julianna and stop Colt’s progress is both fun. I assume that the actual amount of invasions will decrease rapidly over time due to player base decline.
A very enjoyable metroidvania that has you pilot a traditional UFO ship to go through (wait for it) an Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet. This planet seems to send off corrupting objects to other worlds and it is your job to traverse inside of it and stop it. Inside this planet are dark tendrils and creatures to stop you. Find various upgrades to stop them and unlock new paths/puzzles. There are also various collectibles that help tell the story of this planet which provides the only context in the game.
Traversing the planet is fairly smooth, the map is not all that complicated so finding your next destination is easy, and all of the gadgets you find are either interesting and/or fun. Combat is relatively simple as you have one laser (can be upgraded) but it is more important to learn how each enemy attacks and reacts. Of course, your other gadgets may be able to be used in combat such as a directional shield. Bosses are both of interesting design and enjoyable gameplay. Most puzzles are clear in what you can interact with and able to be logically figured out (there was only one that I needed to look up, I’m also probably just dumb).
More of the same in the Lego series. Go through the story from the Order of the Phoenix to the Deathly Hallows from the Harry Potter series (movie focused). Use your team of wizards/witches to use the spells semi-unique to them to solve puzzles and fight.
The good: It’s a simple game, using general gestures and sounds from characters to build the narrative in a somewhat humorous way). The combat is usually very generic, just cast spell at enemy = win. There are boss fights where you enter duels with another wizard/witch. This entails of you matching their spell color with your own.
The bad: It may be my experience with Lego games, but I tire of the absolutely immense amount of characters to unlock/play. It seems so bad in this game that you have multiple variations of the same character (which is mostly clothing). I’ve also noticed that this game can be quite buggy/glitchy as there were more than a few times an object or person becoming stuck when it shouldn’t be. Furthermore, some puzzles/solutions just really are not apparent and could use further instructions or visual hints to benefit the player. Lastly, the duel idea is cool for bosses, but not only overused but poorly implemented. Despite facing a multitude of bosses, you are fighting them in the same way. Match the color, cast it, mash repeat. Occasionally they will throw objects at you that you will have to throw back. It is all so repetitive. What’s worse is that the duels are done poorly as they don’t give the user much time to switch spells, the water one in particular is almost instantaneous on the AI side.
Recommend? Meh, generally no unless you have a fix for more Lego wizardry.
Play as a small yellow raincoat being that lives in a world of giants (or we really are just that small). The atmosphere radiates horror and the giant pursuers/humans you see give off a very Tim Burton vibe. You must platform and solve puzzles in order to make your escape. Note there is no dialogue, but rather it is told through actions and surroundings. Along the way you will find other small beings, Nomes, that run-in fear of 0everything around them. That is until you sneak up on them and hug the heck out of them for a much-needed palate cleansing wholesome moment. The amazing visuals and general designs really do create the atmosphere that helps give you unease as you escape your pursuers. As you progress, you will learn what exactly Little Nightmares is about.
The DLC is also fairly great and just as creepy (for me) as the main game. You will play as a different shaggier small kid(?) who must make their way to escape as well. You’ll revisit some familiar areas and often explore entirely new ones with new horrors.
Recommend? Yes! Puzzles were often very logical, atmosphere is spooky, and the story really was a constant unexpected turn of events.
Every time I play a Suda51 game that I have never encountered before, it becomes my favorite over the rest and fall in love with him and his developer’s storytelling and weird game play. If you are more of a new age Suda fan, you’re experience with him is probably mostly through hack and slash games such as No More Heroes and Lollipop Chains. The Silver Case is a bit different as it released well before all of that and it is primarily an adventure VN. Between Visual Novel cutscenes and dialogue, you can move your character in several directions, interact with objects you are looking at, and solve some minor puzzles. Each chapter has you taking on a different case, but are all connected somehow with Kamui, a well-known serial killer who has a major cult following. You play as a survivor of Kamui, originally part of a special forces team and joins the Heinous Crime Unit to solve these cases and the overall mystery. There is also a side story that ties in with the main, each side chapter unlocking after you complete the next main segment. Instead of playing as your main character, you play a journalist who often runs into the HCU with his investigations. This side, though a bit dryer gameplay wise, does well to further explore the scenarios and world in this game.
The visuals do well to create each character to seem really life like as well as create their character’s personality with just a glance before you get into their looks. Not to mention the atmosphere each drawn scene creates fits the theme/mood it is trying to convey. The writing continues to build the characters and the world around you while maintaining a level of believability. The gameplay itself can be a little varied, a little complicated, and sometimes bland, but it has its own charm that I really grew to love. Finally, the music, holy heck the music. Even just hovering over a chapter gives you a unique song that I instantly needed to put into my collection. Anything from the music from a specific scene or chapter, to the transitioning music were pleasant to the ears and bridged each section beautifully.
Lewd? Kinda, mildly suggestive themes.
Recommend? Very much so. This just very well be one of my top 3 Suda51/Grasshopper Manufacture games, and seeing all the references in his later games to this makes me love both more.
I’ve already reviewed this before, so I’ll skip the majority of the game and just go over my experience since then.
Undoubtedly, I can say I enjoyed this game. At the beginning, I was fortunate enough to get kind players and generally welcoming experience. However, over time the toxicity bubbled through and you get the worst part of the multiplayer experience… the other people. Post-game chat brings the worst out as people complain over reasonable actions, unreasonable actions, and things that are entirely irrelevant. Calling cheating, not cheating, derogatory terms, all to the point where I have had players comment on my Steam profile.
Past the verbal issues, we then run into a huge problem… actual cheaters. I’ve personally run into a number of users who actually teleport from the locker to other locations, to the point where I could actually surmise and watch as they teleport to their new location. I’ve also been on the Survivor side where fellow survivors are travelling at the speed of light. There’s supposedly a team at Behavior who handles these things, but I consistently see the same hacks over and over, often robbing me of a good game and/or achievement.
When it is not cheaters breaking the game… it is Behavior itself. There are still a constant number of bugs and issues that the game experiences. This includes survivors getting hit without actually taking damage (their character yells, blood appears on their screen, yet no actual damage has occurred), some doorways/textures cause issues interacting with various objects and/or moving. Not to mention questionable buffs, nerfs, and changes.
Alright, with the negativity aside, I do still genuinely enjoy this game. It is still growing with new content being added, older content being remade to look and play better, and a player base that still has a shining light of hope to be better with those that are there to just enjoy the game and support each other.
Achievements are plenty and some are downright ridiculous (Mike Myers Tier 3 with 4 kills nearly drove me made), but once you get caught up it is fairly easy roads… until they release an achievement that is broken…
Favorite Killers: Trickster (Oh My God He’s Hot), The Shape (Evil Tier 1 sneaky), Ghost Face, The Spirit.
Least Favorite Killers to play: Twins, Trapper, Hillbilly.
Least Favorite Killers (to face): The Cannibal (100% chance of Facecamp), Oni, Clown.
Lewd? Nope, but boop that snoot.
Recommend? Yes, Behavior and the games player base can cause issues for the game at times, but I still can jump into a game at any point and generally have a great time.
Originally a lewdy RPG (and still is, patch needed) where you, a great devil lord, starts off by being defeated by the heroes. In your weakened state you revert to a cute female human form and must go on a quest to become more powerful and defeat the hero who bested you.
Despite the potential lewd and machine translation, the game actually has a decent story and plot development. Your character can make choices, develop as a character, and show various emotions and interactions with others. Combat is fairly standard classic JRPG.
Recommend? Yes, okay combat, good story, great scenes.
Kind of a puzzle game similar to that of Lucius. The game is setup in chapters where you must figure out how to escape the once cruise now turned murder game. Essentially go to quest holder, find objective, learn how to complete objective, don’t get caught. There really isn’t much more to say about it.
Recommend? The game is okay, but not necessarily fun. I believe the multiplayer variation is a little more interesting though likely dead as heck.
Demon’s Souls Remake
Demon’s Souls was at the bottom of my Soulsborne ranking back when I played the PS3 version last year(?) and this is still true for this game. To first note, I do generally like it and the remake really is amazing. The game is smooth, it looks beautiful, multiplayer is available, and there are some decent areas. The problem lies more in the base constructions of Demon’s Souls that was always there. Some areas just absolutely suck, and it really hasn’t changed for the better in this. In fact, most of the areas are harder than 90% of the bosess. This is also, in part, due to the fact that most of the bosses are gimmick based. Meaning there is no challenge to them once you know their quirk. Gimmick bosses are good occasionally and/or if they are just well done gimmicks. I would not say this is true for most of the bosses here. What’s worse is that the gimmick bosses that were innately easy for some reason had some of their abilities taken away. For instance, the very blind and way too big for his own good Old Hero. He already can barely find you and most of his attacks missed. However, he used to have a projectile attack at the end of some of his swings that could still get you. This has been removed in the remake.
Other issues with the game (again revert to original issues) is the multiplayer and the tendency system. The tendency system works like this. If you are in human form and die in a world, that world’s tendency goes a shade darker. This gives enemies more health, more damage, more enemy spawns, but better chance to drop better loot. You can only make the world lighter by defeating bosses, killing specific black phantoms (only appear in darkest tendency), colorless demons (only appear in darkest tendency), or killing invaders. As such lighter tendency makes enemies weaker. Both lightest and darkest world tendency can unlock secret events/areas. This means the worse you are at the game, you struggle more. It’s likely the true precursor to the “Git Gud” mentality and laugh as those that suffer… suffer more while everyone else sits on their pure white tendency thrones. Now, getting darker tendency only happens if you die human (which means you have full health max), however if you stay in soul form (around half original health max) you won’t get hurt, but you are already challenging yourself as is. The only way to get Human form is eating an item (fairly rare), defeating a boss, invading and defeating a player, or assisting someone else defeat a boss. This is where it gets really dumb. YOU CAN ONLY INVADE OR ASSIST A PLAYER IF YOU ARE IN SOUL FORM. This means if you are trying to help a friend through the game or just want a pure multiplayer experience, you have to be in soul form. This also means after every successful invasion or assist, you have to kill yourself to go back to soul form. There is one last tendency that only matters, kind of, and that is character tendency. Similar to World Tendency, your character can become lighter or darker if he kills black phantoms or regular NPCs. The character tendency affects your soul form/human form health and can create a couple of events.
Improvements on the game such as sending items to the storage from anywhere, multi-directional rolling, new items, mirror world (flips the level design), etc. make this a proper remake. It is only a shame that they couldn’t fill that final archestone for a little bit of extra content.
Recommend? I would say everyone should probably experience this once. It may be my least liked Soulsborne, but it is still good.
No More Heroes III
This is the reason I bought a Switch in the first place. Well, that Bayonetta 2 &3, and Deadly Premonitions 2. Still, it is no light thing to say that Travis Touchdown is a huge influence on the deciding factor of this console, and it was well worth the wait. Taking place after Travis Strikes Again, it seems aliens calling themselves Heroes have invaded the Earth and are welcoming challengers as they have now been ranked in the assassination ranking. Travis, looking a little worse for the wear steps up to the plate with a few tricks up his sleeve. Of course, he has his trusty, but, new and improved beam saber to take down these viral visitors of the third kind.
The gameplay is absolutely wonderful. It combines the traditional hack and slash we see from 1&2, but also includes the abilities (dropkick, slowdown field, etc.) from TAS. We also get a similar enemy variety that we saw in TAS, meaning battles are much more diverse and exciting. You’ll have to learn what each enemy does, strategize who to take out first, and what the best method of execution is. Boss fights are killer as always each with their own gimmicks that don’t necessarily define them, but definitely play a part in a battle. Each boss is unique and an enjoyable experience. In order to fight bosses, you need to pay the proper fight fee. You earn money by fighting and doing part time jobs. Part time jobs are mini games, more akin to NMH1, but a lot more enjoyable. Leveling up is a bit different as Travis no longer needs to hit the gym, but uses points he earns in battles and challenges to increase his stats which includes health, attack, recharge, abilities, etc. We also see the return of chips that enhance abilities or mechanics, but these have to be crafted. You get three slots and chips do not get directly upgraded.
A E S T H E T I C. This game has a lot of that and it is so very awesome. Even from the first beam attack, to surreal cutscenes, and just designs all around. We see a lot of 80’s design and references too, such as when introducing the full cast of ranked aliens they are all presented as 80’s action figures in an (redundant) 80’s commercial with a slightly fuzzy filter and all. I cannot stress enough how cool and great this game looks and feels. Continuing aesthetics, Travis once again gets to buy shirts, though buy is a strong term. There are alien vendors that require you to do certain challenges to earn the shirt they currently offer before moving onto the next shirt. All of the looks of the shirts/outfits are so cool that I wish I could buy them in real life. Unfortunately, Suda/Grasshopper do not plan to manufacture these, but I’m sure someone out there will take my money in exchange.
Speaking of aesthetic, let’s talk about music aesthetic (not really sure if that makes sense). The bottom line is that the music is amazing. It’s not just the boss tracks, it is all the tracks in the game. They stick out, each area’s music fits the theme perfectly, shop music gets you pumped, fight music pumps you further, and an OST needs to be released so I can add it to my collection. Please Suda, just take my money already.
In case you were worried, the writing, story, and dialogue are all very No More Heroes right to the bone. Travis is still very much Travis, and his interactions with all of his enemies/allies are so very fitting. The game is funny when it wants to be and serious when it needs to be. Hype moments are exciting, and everything feels perfectly in place. There are also numerous callbacks/cameos/references to all of the NMH games as well as some of Suda’s other work (such as The Silver Case).
Lewd? Suggestive themes, but nothing crazy.
Recommend? Very much YES! This game really is the culmination and cumulation of the series. It takes all of the good ideas/mechanics from each game and makes them even better. This game very much benefits fans of the series, but can still be enjoyed by newcomers as well.