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Steam Replay 2023
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Nov & Dec 2023

Well heck, time is getting away from me. Luckily, it is making the catchup for reviews a lighter load (for better or worse). I’ve just started a new job that no longer requires two hours of my day just travelling to and from. Needless to say this time can now be spent killing that backlog that has been getting away from me (and sadly a bit bigger…). Well, a month and some change late, but here’s to a new year!

November

Half-Life 2

Boris and the Dark Survival

4.2 hours
no achievements

After my disappointment in the first Bendy game I was hoping that this would bring forth much needed improvements and changes… but ended up being far worse than I imagined. In fact, the game doesn’t even really build upon the story of the series at all. It’s just an isometric procedurally generated and repeating strings of fetch quests. It’s probably the worst direction it could have possibly gone in. Not to mention the fact that all the bonus items you need for any semblance of progress is randomized and theoretically could never be obtained depending on your luck (and possibly bugged). What’s worse is that though the game tracks your successful attempts… it’s all reset when you close the game. So, any “high score” you want will have to be done within each session.

Recommend? God(s) no.
Rating? 1/10

Half-Life 2

Shantae and the Pirate's Curse

9.0 hours
27 of 44 achievements

An exception sequel to Risky’s Revenge that removes the weird layer travel it used for level navigation and focuses on a more classic 2D metroidvania-ish approach. The abilities you get to progress are far more useful in combat now and make every boss battle all the more enjoyable. The writing is still consistent and provides plenty of laughs while the story is fairly interesting with a great cast.
All in all an excellent game.

Recommend? Yes
Rating 8/10

Half-Life 2

Strider

6.7 hours
25 of 30 achievements

Metroidvania-like that has excellent combat and movement flow. Boss battles very and some are truly dynamic though some feel like they can be cheesed a bit with some later abilities. The game also gives you some tutorials for mechanics that you don’t really get into for a while which gave some confusion both early on and later. There’s not much to the story and doesn’t feel particularly interesting, but it never felt like it was something to focus on. Though not expected, it was a bit of a shame to not see a way to bring over collectibles in future playthroughs.

Recommend? Yes
Rating 8.5/10

    FFVI

    Final Fantasy VI

    PSP
    No Trophies

    Easily the most ground-breaking FF of the 2D era… but it’s always been one that I have dropped almost immediately after picking it up again and again over the years. The feeling of wanting to drop the game, sadly, persisted throughout various parts of the game. I just had no interest in it’s stories and felt the characters uninteresting and forgettable. The characters I did find some interest in ended up having terrible abilities that were almost useless mid to late in the game. Still, I can’t discredit all of the great stuff it does. Varied gameplay that masks some of the standard turn based RPG elements, Relics (which very obviously inspire materia in VII), split story paths focusing on different characters, and the various unique abilities assigned to each person. Overall, a game that certainly deserves the praise it gets… it just wasn’t for me.

    Recommend Yes.

    Rating: 6/10

December

Half-Life 2

Blood: Fresh Supply

7/10
21.9 hours
10 of 20 achievements

An updated version to a classic horror themed boomer shooter that is far too difficult for it’s own good. Unlike Doom, this strays away from the Sci Fi and keeps it pure horror and magic. It even goes the Duke Nukem route where it parodies and references many famous horror flicks, including Evil Dead, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm St, and more. For this alone I greatly appreciated this game amongst it’s general spooky aesthetic. Unfortunately, it has the gall to be incredibly difficult, even more than general classic game standards. It gets to the point where some scenarios seem downright unfair. Luckily, one can (and should) save scum, but that doesn’t reduce any frustration or exhaustion.

Recommend? Yes, though this may take you a while.
Rating? 7/10

Half-Life 2

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015: Do You Still Shower With Your Dad

5/10
12.0 hours
21 of 21 achievements

It has been many years since I last endeavored the completion road for this game. Many a showers were had, many with a dad. Yet, it seemed impossible… some achievements thought to be broken. Yet, as I make a return I not only see updates to the game, but that people have in fact gotten the remaining achievements. REJOICE! The last showers were had, the last showers with me and my dad.

If you aren’t familiar with the game, it is an accumulation of minigames that revolve around the theme of showering with dads. It’s fairly sfw and provides an assortment of humor and dad jokes.

Recommend? Yeah, I guess if you can get it for cheap.
Rating? 5/10

    PowerWash Simulator

    PowerWash Simulator

    PS5
    0 2 3 7

    Relatively relaxing and definitely time consuming cleaning game that has you power wash various vehicles, houses, and other objects. With various upgrades, extensions, and other equipment you can go about your tasks in many ways. However, some equipment just didn't seem all that useful for any situation, particularly soaps that generally failed to be worth the price. I wouldn't say I obsessed over this game in enjoyment, but I had trouble leaving mid project as I just needed to get a little bit more done... which that little bit turned into a lot a bit and a few more minutes turned into at least another hour. Needless to say, it will absorb your time. There is an underlying story that the game hints about but it is not much of a concern when you have power washing to do. There are also many updates including crossovers that are available including FF7 Remake, Tomb Raider, Spongebob, and supposedly a 40K one coming out.

    Recommend? Yes, but beware as you will lose much time and go crazy trying to find the remaining specks of dirt you had missed.

    Rating? 8/10

Oct 2023

It would appear I let the year get away from me more than I realized… whoops.
Also, to remind, every October I do a streaming event with a group of people and we rate each game’s scariness by skeletons, so you will see that during this month’s reviews.

    Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

    Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

    3 hours playtime

    Though this sequel adopt the darkness from the first, it does abandon just about everything else save for some shred of physics puzzles. No madness or advisement to stay in the light though the enemies do still patrol various areas. That is the majority of the scariness this game holds. Save for a few moments the game does not build much atmosphere nor give many or strong horror events. Most puzzles are extremely straight forward and often are as simple as a push of a button (or few). Though a few puzzles will catch you by surprise in their cleverness. Despite that, this game more feels a bit closer to a walking sim with some stealth and the occasional chase sequence. What the game does particularly well is the themes it portrays and the visual symbolism that grows as you draw closer to the end and figure out what lies in the past of this new protagonist. In the same breath I would say the story still lacks a bit and at times things feel as though they are just happening. At the very least it is a bite sized game.

    Recommend? It’s a fine game though nothing of great interest nor does it pull much from it’s predecessor.
    Skeleton Rating? 3 out of 10 skeletons
    Rating? 4/10

    FAITH

    FAITH

    6 hours playtime

    Truly a unique experience that gives much nostalgia for old Atari games. Despite it’s bit restrictions it actually does quite well with it’s horror. Certain events will make use of rotoscoping and jagged rough designs that will give you absolute unease. I would have liked if it had used it more, to be honest. It also uses text-to-speech for it’s dialogue, though for some people it may wear thin after some time. The game is composed of 3 chapters with several endings per chapter (not to mention a plethora of secrets and lore) so there is plenty of replayability. The minor grief is that some chapters feel far longer than others so going back to find what you missed can be tiresome.

    Recommend? Absolutely. It is a one of a kind experience and holds it own and the realm of horror.
    Skeleton Rating? 6 out of 10 Skeletons
    Rating? 8 out of 10

    Fran Bow

    Fran Bow

    7 hours playtime

    A creepy point-and-click adventure that starts out fairly strong but loses itself quite a bit in the middle. Fran, a child stuck in a mental hospital after her parents horrible murder. She finds a bottle of pills that allow her to switch between realities, which you must use to solve puzzles and make your escape. The difference and suggestions between realities is absolutely horrific and great all the while maintaining a slight palate cleansing humor to stop from full morbidity. Though, as I said, the middle chapter takes a strong turn from it’s core concept and drags it quite off the path before circling back. Still, a cozy and endearing little adventure that kept things interesting… for the most part.

    Recommend? Yes
    Skeleton Rating? 2 out of 10 Skeletons
    Rating? 6.5/10

    The Mortuary Assistant

    The Mortuary Assistant

    4 hours playtime

    Easily my favorite game that I played during the month. Something about having you do generic work to keep your focus while having creepy events occur around you is just the perfect mix for my horror fix. Even when certain spooky events reoccur they are still just as scary as the last thanks to the focus with the task(s) at hand. As you may guess, you handle dead bodies in a mortuary. Essentially you go down a list of tasks for each body and execute them in order. Though, you’ll quickly find you are not alone in the mortuary and must find a way to expel the demon as escape is no longer an option. The game is just riddled with secrets and since there is no linear story path, you can enjoy each session as it’s own thing. Allowing each night a chance to uncover more secrets, see new events, and just enjoy the gameplay loop. The only grievance is that for important tasks or general gameplay that some important steps or moments that are not particularly clear. As well, the game could desperately use a snap to option controls for mouse and keyboard.

    Recommend? 110% you will pee your pants.
    Skeleton Rating? 10
    Rating? 9/10

    Alone in the Dark 2

    Alone in the Dark 2

    6 hours playtime
    no achievements

    From the get go this game is far more action packed than the first. Upon taking your first step you will be swarmed by enemies with guns… maybe even unfairly so (something consistent throughout the game). This may have been done to offset the lack of insta-kill moments the first game loved so much. Needless to say… due to it’s age and time… the combat just didn’t age well. Still, it did have it’s fair share of odd and unusual puzzles to solve… maybe even a bit more unusual than usual but certainly there. It’s hard to explain other than the over reliance on poor combat but it just kind of fell a bit more flat than the original.

    Recommend? Not really.
    Skeleton Rating? 1 out of 10 Skeletons
    Rating? 3/10

    Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach

    Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach

    29 hours playtime

    DLC: Ruin
    Taking place after the events of the base game, a friend of Gregory is in search of him and must traverse a much more broken down Pizza Plex in order to find him. To start off, it was a treat revisiting this place even despite it’s disrepair. The new mechanics and old enemies were a nice mix for the downloaded content. That being said, I wasn’t a fan of the general level design in this. The levels were much more linear but ended up being more annoying and down right unfair at times for certain encounters (especially for collecting everything). Not to mention I rarely felt any genuine danger from the greater enemies.. save for one specific encounter (which was great and terrifying). Performance, though a bit better from the original release of the game, still suffered a bit and I encountered far more crashes, glitches, and what have you throughout my playthroughs.

    Recommend? Yes, though maybe discounted.
    Skeleton Rating? 6 out of 10 Skeletons
    Rating? 7/10

    Happy's Humble Burger Farm

    Happy's Humble Burger Farm

    6 hours playtime

    Another game that uses a mix of generic job tasks while sneaking in horror throughout to create an enjoyable horror game. Sequel to the Burger Barn game you must manage and handle a fast food restaurant all the while engaging in odd encounters. Though you are not limited to your job as you will find you have a home and a small town to traverse in that may just hold a few secrets. Visually the game is super gritty and has a fantastic Playstation original graphical vibe to it. The general gameplay loop is great, finding secrets for progression is fairly intuitive, and the encounters give much unease. Later in the game as you uncover more it is clear to see there were dropped events and areas that were never quite developed. This is a bit disappointing especially when you end up wasting your time investigating everything. Additionally, there seems to be several points of no return which is not terrible in itself unless you wanted to return to the (seemingly) unending gameplay loop. That being said, there is an endless mode but it was not quite what I expected. Essentially you start a shift that never ends… until you die anyways. I was more hoping it was just a constant day in day out work flow that had every possible option available each shift. Still, an enjoyable experience with lots to offer.

    Recommend? Very much so.
    Skeleton Rating? 5 out of 10 Skeletons
    Rating? 7.5/10

    Visage

    Visage

    13 hours playtime

    Atmosphere. Atmosphere is the one thing that this game does best. It’s not always in your face scary, but it builds up and when the tension is highest… it pulls the trigger. You are “trapped” in a house that you must investigate. Though the game is split up into chapters, you are always exploring the house in between them and can access them in any order. Each chapter has a focus as well as it’s own set of lore and collectibles. They can range a bit with some being absolutely terrifying and deep while others don’t quite hit the same mark but still have great ideas and themes within them. It should also be noted, and the game is clear about this too, that this game does NOT hold your hand in the slightest. You must absolutely be prepared to use your head and eyes to figure out puzzles and notice details to make any semblance of progress. Even saying that I would not say the game is always at peak difficulty or requires some sort of higher cognition but it will require your full attention most of the time. For me, I took a long time to notice a simple thing… so much so it took me out of the horror element for a bit but it was my fault alone. The only issues I found, other than a lackluster chapter and maybe slightly dissatisfying end, is that the game occasionally has some bugs and even had it crash a few times at a particular scene.

    Recommend? Without a doubt, this is a great horror game.
    Skeleton Rating? 8.5 out of 10 Skeletons
    Rating? 7/10

    Late Night Mop

    Late Night Mop

    PC
    No Trophies

    A short game made by Lixian (Editor for Markiplier) that held some surprisingly decent scares in it’s very short game. You are hired to clean up someone’s apartment. There are multiple endings and even some neat little modifiers to mess around with.

    Recommend Yes! It’s free and well worth your time.

    Skeleton Rating? 7 out of 10 Skeletons

    Rating: 7.5/10

Replayed Games:
Resident Evil 2 - PSX/PS3 - Leon A and Claire B
Fatal Frame - PS2/PS3 - Rank C
Silent Hill 3 - PC - Hard Difficulty, 4.9 Stars
Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles - PS3 - Normal Difficulty
The Evil WIthin - PC - Nightmare Difficulty, 150 Deaths

Sept. 2023

Well, it’s that time of year again! …or I should say was, in that it WAS October which is my busiest time of the year and thus did not have time to write two months of updates (hooray…). So, kind of rushing these out but at least getting them out. Though nowadays with two fighting games out (MK1 and Street Fighter) a lot of new DBD content coming up, and starting to edit videos again, I am having trouble finding time to do any actual backlog killing… Well… time is what we make it I guess. Until the next (and hopefully very soon) update. ^_^

    The Talos Principle

    The Talos Principle

    10 hours playtime

    A worthy puzzle game that offers a plethora of different and engaging puzzles to challenge you as you progress through a philosophical based world to make you things like existence itself and what it means to be human/alive. To be honest the latter held little interest to me as all I wanted to do was solve puzzles. Luckily, knowing the story matter little for progression. Each puzzles is in it’s own sub world and sectioned off into self contained areas (much like Portal). Solving each puzzle earns you a puzzle piece which is color coded which can be used to unlock new areas and/or puzzle item mechanics. Each contained puzzle tells you what mechanic you’ll need (in case you didn’t unlock it) and use. It will also tell you if you have already gotten the item and any secrets (if any). For the most part, a lot of the puzzle mechanics are neat the recording one in particular caused some interesting though processes and solutions though it felt like I was solving puzzles in a rather unintended way at times. As stated before, there are secrets to get some of which seem to require some weird solutions outside the bounds of the puzzle to which I rarely bothered with as it seemed like too much for my brain already. Though I did enjoy the general 3D puzzles I absolutely loathed the puzzle piece ones towards the end. They offered very little and felt excessive and obnoxious at the end.

    Recommend? Yes!
    Rating? 8/10

    Bendy and the Ink Machine

    Bendy and the Ink Machine

    13 hours playtime

    At the start Bendy offers a great classic cartoon styled horror game that delivers in spooky ambiance and a charming art direction. Unfortunately, the game very quickly loses steam due to lackluster final chapters and an absolute metric ton of softlocking glitches that will have you restarting the game from scratch. You wouldn’t have the need to restart if you could save in chapter select but they did not include that feature. Even when it does save, a glitch could have already occurred and there is no way to fix the situation.

    Sample Glitches/Bugs:
    -Saving can glitch out and even manual saves will stop working (Fix: must restart game if you notice the save icon sticking around)
    -Progression triggers can fail to execute properly. i.e. a lift refusing to move, key items not appearing, or an enemy not going into a kill zone. (restart game and hope it works but not guaranteed)
    -Loading into a save can result you being inside a locked room with no escape. (No solution except start a new save)
    -etc.

    It is utterly disappointing that this game has as many bugs as it does with seemingly no response from the developer and no genuine solutions.

    Recommend? NO
    Rating: 2/10

    Dungeon Siege

    Dungeon Siege

    36 hours playtime
    no achievements

    CRPG with a party system. With a party system of up to 8, it is not only almost imperative to find 8 members (not difficult) but incredibly hard to manage. Trying to get someone to fall back will often incur misclicks to make a different party member move, cast, etc. You can set party formations but they often matter little and do not function the way they would wish. Facing enemies gets to be incredibly overwhelming and found no clear way for my party members not to fall consistently. Luckily, if a member falls they are not necessarily dead, though there is a chance they could where they have to be resurrected by spell or scroll but they also leave behind a loot explosion which becomes far more tiresome than it’s worth. Thus save scumming is incredibly advised. Each party member lacks little personality or story, so you are basically looking at pure stats for each. XP sharing and management can also be problematic as you may end up under leveled due to the size of your party. Due to these various issues the game feels like it may be more suited for it’s multiplayer mode rather than single player. What makes this version worse is that there is no ending. You beat the final boss, he drops loot that you can’t pick up, and then straight to credits. Supposedly other versions have the ending but it is very bizarre this was ported without, not to mention no way of capitalizing on end of game loot.

    Recommended? Nope, but hopefully in future titles they halve the party members you have to manage.
    Rating: 3/10

    STAR WARS Jedi: Fallen Order™

    STAR WARS Jedi: Fallen Order™

    20 hours playtime

    The Dark Souls of Jedi Games… well just about. Though it doesn’t quite capture the difficulty of the souls-like genre it still keeps quite a few staples including bonfires, loss of currency (unless a skill point has been earned) upon death, respawning enemies on death/resting, and some general combat flow.
    The story follows Cal Kestis, an ex Jedi who survived Order 66 (which seems to be an ever increasing amount in the current Disney timeline). Though he lives as a scrapper he very quickly finds himself being chased by a Sith Order called the Inquisitorius.
    Overall, I found the game to be… just alright. A lot of the maps are annoying to navigate ESPECIALLY when returning to areas for missed items/lore. On top of this the actual UI for the map itself makes things worse. Exploration feels a little unrewarding as you mostly just get different ponchos for Cal to wear or skins on either BD or your ship that you probably wouldn’t look at. The combat is fine though, like the game itself, can be a bit buggy and awkward. Characters are written well enough and have decent interactions. A decent experience in general but leaves a lot to be improved and desired.

    Recommend? Eh, maybe if it’s on sale.
    Rating: 5/10

    Forward to the Sky

    Forward to the Sky

    75 minutes playtime

    Simple platformer, with some generic combat, and a light story told throughout. The world can feel like a pretty generic 3D world as it is basic platforms just in the sky. The story is given both in general dialogue bye the character as you progress and if you collect all of the stars (strewn about the world and earned by defeating all enemies) you get bonus story which is possibly needed for the final battle. Nothing about the movie game seems to particularly excel or impress in any field however some of the mechanics/puzzles are neat and the story is a nice light and bit of a heartwarming story. That being said, some of the puzzles seem to not work well. In particular, rolling the stone balls.

    Recommend? Maybe on the cheap.
    Rating 5/10

    Mutiny!!

    Mutiny!!

    7 hours playtime

    Potentially lewdy VN. From Bar Wench to Captain, you must lead your newly acquired crew to either rags or riches and possibly find love and companionship in the process. The game has some decent scenes early on but is clear it frontloads it as a lot of potentially great situations are never expanded or explored later on. Not to mention a couple of routes were behind DLC and some characters never ended up getting their promised routes at all. There are some non-VN esque points where you do ship battles but they are either incredibly straight forward or entirely guess work which is pretty lame.

    Recommend? Eh. It would be better had the game been complete with all routes, even if some ended up being DLC. The game clearly just does not get the same love towards the end as it did from the start.

    Rating: 4/10

    Mortal Kombat 1

    Mortal Kombat 1

    PS5
    0 1 14 34

    Time has been reset once again (and once again making us suffer terrible naming schemes) giving old characters new beginnings. Liu Kang, once the Keeper of Time now the protector of Earth Realm, seeks to keep order in his new timeline. Despite his seemingly flawlessly constructed timeline someone seems to be tampering with fate behind the scenes. As per usual, NRS does generally well in their cinematic storytelling. Seeing everyone’s new origin and interactions starts out fairly strong as the game starts with a strong movie-like presence. However, its eems as the ball rolls everyone shouts their quick background exposition as they start leaving a bunch of subplots open and unanswered (Is there more to Mileena’s case? Jerrod’s death? Relationships between certain people?) and would have much preferred some to be expanded on. Even some events that actively happen seem to just kind of gloss over. Thus the story gets a bit messy towards the end despite having a pretty great concept in the final chapter. All in all, this story did not feel like one of a main line title but moreso a spin off than anything. The new conquest mode (invasions) explores fun little stories each season that also gives you limited time to unlock a plethora of skins/palattes, gear, etc. in theme of said season in a board game style adventure. Much improved from the super armor heavy and item overloading of it’s first season I find it to be much more pleasant than the time towers of 11.

    The very short time between the game’s announcement and release (a mere four months) left me incredibly uneasy despite some excitement. At this current moment I think both were quite warranted. On one hand the game is incredibly fun and have not enjoyed an NRS game since the time of MKX and Injustice 2 (though the latter was a bit grind heavy) and on the other it seems more and more clear that this was pushed out early to make up for WB’s lack of earnings. Things such as plethora of bugs/glitches, egregious price gouging in simple items, inconsistent and/or lack of information between the devs and actual implementations, and more that point to the idea that this was pushed out much too early (again likely by WB). That being said, it does seem like NRS is making considerable changes such as improving the previously sluggish and annoying Invasions mode, reducing the price on seasonal fatalities to be reasonable (though some may still prefer them to be free), balances (mixed reactions), fixes, etc. Though I’m a bit mixed if I should praise the game for fun gameplay with assist based kombat in an MK game or if I should be critical that this was pushed out far too early with a lot of issues (though slowly being fixed). I think I’ll stay somewhere in the middle though feeling optimistic that NRS will make something even greater out of this through continued support. Perhaps that is something we have to decide for any release these days when buying a game and trusting a dev/publisher to follow through despite taking our money.

    Recommend? Yes, I have yet to tire of the gameplay and look forward to experimenting with both the current roster and those that will be released later on.

    Rating? 7.5/10

August 2023

    BANZAI PECAN: The Last Hope For the Young Century

    BANZAI PECAN: The Last Hope For the Young Century

    3 hours playtime

    Anime style arcade beat em up that fails to deliver upon the potential provided by it’s core gameplay. The actual base combos against the various mob enemies are actually semi enjoyable (if not a little redundant later on), however due to clunky and generally awful controls (if using a controller you will have to enable it upon every launch of the game) it ends up being a relatively irritating experience. Bosses are also disappointing in that I found each one needs a similar strategy if you don’t want to get caught in tedious and unenjoyable button mashing loops instead of the unique experiences that I would hope for and expect. The art style feels a little cheap at times and feels verging on adult only content but has it’s own charm in a way. Story is… not too serious and honestly wasn’t sure what was going on for most of it but has plenty of references that I found myself able to enjoy.

    Recommend? Eh, keep it cheap.
    Rating 4/10

    Borderlands GOTY Enhanced

    Borderlands GOTY Enhanced

    21 hours playtime

    Enhanced Edition Review
    All the content of the original Borderlands but with more problems and no noticeable improvements. The first and biggest issue this game is packet overload via voice chat. Even when turned off the voice chat causes such a high volume of packets that it will cause severe lag and disconnection rendering co-operative play nearly useless unless you go into the game’s files and turn it off there (recommend looking up a guide to ensure everything is correct). Past that a lot of the bigger issues tend to be invisible walls, random unseen bumps causing cars to flip, and even some bugged enemies and triggers (though mostly rarely). On the plus side… you get some new heads that have never been in the game before.

    Recommend? Kinda, but maybe just play the original GOTY
    Rating? 6/10

    FATAL FRAME / PROJECT ZERO: Maiden of Black Water

    FATAL FRAME / PROJECT ZERO: Maiden of Black Water

    15 hours playtime
    no achievements

    So glad to finally have an official Western release and hope the success of this and Black Water not only get Koei Tecmo to bring the first trilogy to Steam but hopefully a new entry all together.

    Though the game itself is probably the weakest of the series it is still a great entry. The remastered graphics do make the characters and lighting much more detailed and vibrant… however a lot of wall and floor textures, as well as animations, still look very dated. Still, great and creepy atmosphere with wonderful sound design. In particular, the resident rooms provided excellent use of these to create individualized and unique characterizations and feel. The story is fairly easy to follow, for the most part, and has a nice unsettling premise to keep the characters moving forward. Though a strong theme isn’t present as it was in III we do still get a solid narrative.

    The game play itself is pretty standard for the series. Though I found many a fights stuck in hallways where ghosts would spend a great deal in the walls, and follow up fatal frame shots always seemed to auto track to a “non-hit” location (though this may be due to some aim assist). Not following some specific paths can trigger scenes to play out of your view thus missing some photo shots and the very slow movement speed does not compensate for this in the slightest. There is a shop system that feels a little too generous in the players favor. Yet, the introduction of mission mode and new game plus gives this plenty of replayability.

    All in all, any fan of Survival Horror, Fatal Frame, and Psychological Horror should give this a try.

    Completionist Notes: Beating the game on harder difficulties does not award you the lower difficulty achievements. This may be due to the difference in endings based on difficulty height (even though the harder difficulties only give the same ending+). That being said you will need to do multiple playthroughs anyways to get the remaining photos with post game unlocks.

    P.S. I’m not sure why but the BLAO doesn’t register this game as having any achievements even though it does.

    Recommend? Yes!
    Rating: 7/10

    Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection

    Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection

    33 hours playtime

    Street Fighter Alpha
    Based on the SFII animated movie based on the game. Alpha takes an interesting cartoony/anime art direction that is very clearly inspired by the wildly successful SF2 movie. This art style is sure to define the series for sometime and be the main style of Marvel vs Capcom (among others). Though we don’t see a ton of returning characters we do see some returning enemies from SF1 and even new entries. In addition the super meter new has three bars to fill, these can be used one by one or in multiple to perform stronger or different supers. Using a light medium or heavy attack in your specials will also now perform different results than just the speed or range of the attack. For instance, Rose’s reflect can either just absorb the attack (light), reflect it horizontally (medium), or reflect it upwards (heavy). Finally we seem to get a psuedo parry system though I think it requires some of your meter to do so. It wasn’t very present as of yet and the AI sure didn’t utilize it. Unfortunately the game is held back by some chunkiness in it’s gameplay and very bland backgrounds. I’m not sure if it was because I just came from SSF2T but I welcomed the much more fair difficulty in this game and most matches (save for Birdie) were quite enjoyable while challenging.

    Rose was an interesting experience. I appreciated her reflect and anti-air grab when they worked as intended. Her projectile requires a half circle, which I’m not a fan of. Her super illusion also didn’t make much sense to me and could never get it quite figured out.
    P.S. There were supposedly secret characters but I could not seem to get them even in random.

    Rating: 7/10
    Fighter of Choice: Rose

    Street Fighter Alpha 2
    A much MUCH improved version of Alpha with much more fluid gameplay, better backgrounds, and overall a great time. In fact, this may even by my favorite SF game so far. The UI does change a little bit and feels a bit weird as it now as a longer bar to show what level meter you are at as well as a guard meter. Characters look great and love all of these Alpha series costumes we get for a lot of the mainstay characters. A larger roster with both returning characters, supposed secret characters from the last, and even more entries from games like Final Fight and the original SF game. Parries appear to be far mroe a thing now and both you and the AI will likely utilize them at a drop of the hat.

    Dan Hibiki feels a bit of a joke chracter who has mostly weakened shoto moves. His fireball doesn’t actually go further than a few feet and doesn’t cancel out other projectiles. His super shoryuken is completely in place which felt pretty useless. He does get a jumping forward kick which can be pretty effective though leaves him quite open.

    Rating: 9/10
    Fighter of Choice: Dan Hibiki

    Street Fighter Alpha 3
    Though the game does keep it’s very cartoony/anime art style they do changeup the sprites and I can’t quite describe the difference. For me, it didn’t look as good from a still visual standpoint but the motions seemed much more fluid which is an okay trade off. This game throws a lot of new stuff at you including different kinds of meter gameplay (A-ism, V-ism, and X-ism), more moves, and a much larger roster. The difference between the isms were generally how your meter and some gameplay reacted. A-ism was the typical Alpha 3 meter gameplay, V-ism was the traditional SF2 single meter gameplay with reduced moves but stronger attacks, and X-ism was some sort of custom combo mode that could be pretty broken if used wisely. Theoretically this game could be even better than Alpha 2 but there was just two much to get used to that I did not spend enough time learning. I’d certainly like to loop back to this game someday and see if I can’t learn more though I think my favor will still lean towards the simplicity of Alpha 2.

    That being said I still had a lot of fun and in part this may be because I chose Sakura who turns out to be an incredibly fun character despite being another shoto. Very quick, a nice assortment of moves, I only wish I could understand her dragonpunch kick special better. Her supers are each useful in their own ways so you never feel like one is particularly better than the other.

    Rating: 8/10
    Fighter of Choice: Sakura

    Street Fighter III: New Generation
    Now that we are back onto the “main” series we find a peculiar line of entries that are almost… not Street Fighter. New Generation bolsters a lineup of all new (and incredibly weird) fighters and almost wasn’t even a SF game to begin with until they decided to add Ken and Ryu and slap that popular IP onto the the title. For what it’s worth, this places the foundation for a later entry to become the best fighting game ever (for most). Unfortunately there are several issues. Aside from a bunch of missing mainstays, we do get some peculiar new entries that just seem bad (looking at you Necro). Parry’s are fully implemented and not tied to your super gauge but they are almost punishing to use as you can rarely get a follow up after. We do get to now choose your super per fighter and get the multi gauge super like you do in the Alpha series. Moves and mechanics feel a little clunky especially things like throws and stuns. We also get introduced to a new boss who is notoriously hard throughout each of the SF3 versions, Gill. Bolstering a color on each side and a revival ability all of which is showing off the tech and programming of it’s time, but man is this guy brutal.

    Since the roster was filled with such weird characters I figured I’d start with one of the weirder and that is… Oro. Single armed goofy hermit man. I was a little displeased that he was a charge character, but likely it was only two moves and relatively easy to pull off (save for maybe his uppercut). He’s got some decent projectiles with his super projectile being crazy effective due to it’s size and bouncing trajectory. Easily his best move is his ability to hop onto his enemy which was the lifesaving strat to face off against gill. He does have a command grab which is nice but also annoying that it is a half circle. Overall a decent character to pickup.

    Rating: 6.5/10
    Fighter of Choice: Oro

    Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact
    Not too much to say about this other than that it feels like a more polished New Generation. We do get some new characters (Hugo, Urien, and returning character Akuma), some changes to colors and arenas, and some changes to moves/Gill. Gill felt a bit easier but it may be due to my character of choice this time around. All in all, more of an update to New Gen than a full on new entry.

    Dudley, the boxer extraordinaire. Much like his counterpart, Balrog, he is entirely punch focused but he brings plenty of his won moves to the table including a counter, a stance, dive bombs, uppercuts, etc. The counter is definitely the strongest move he has save for his downward spiral which, again, was such a crutch for me when facing GIll. I only tried one of his supers which ended up being a series of uppercuts which I felt like most characters had some variation for that so I wasn’t too impressed from my experience in that aspect.

    Rating: 7/10
    Fighter of Choice: Dudley

    Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
    There almost isn’t anything to say about this game that isn’t already known. In fact, most people (myself included) probably didn’t even know the previous two versions existed. Easily, from several points of views, this is the best game in SF history let alone fighting game history. The game is incredibly polished, music and arenas bring so much character and individuality from most of the fighting game so of it’s time. Parries have been perfected, almost every character is not only viable but great. The only exception to this is apparently Sean who received a major debuff. There are unique character interactions depending on the match up. There is also an interesting arcade progression system where you get to pick 1 of the 2 fighters to face next. This means if you know you have a bad matchup against a certain character you could choose the other path instead. I did try to do some online with this game but… Akumas everywhere and let me tell you Akuma is an absolutely nightmare to face off even against a novice user.

    I thought I’d go a little out of my comfort zone and give Hugo a try. I’m not usually a heavy command grab character but Hugo was an interesting experience. save for a lariat rush and a clap, every single special is a command grab of sort. Most are in place save for one that ends up being a great setup and an anti-air which was my bread and butter. Unfortunately I did not learn to combo very well with him but his powerhouse strength felt nice. Mostly used Megaton press which was an advanced version of his Anti-air but considering people like to jump in the game it was as easy to input as it was to land. Granted so many airs seem to hit me out of it… but that’s neither here nor air.

    Rating: 10/10
    Fighter of Choice: Hugo

    Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice

    Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice

    3DS
    No Trophies

    What almost was a better game than the last two iterations we get an incredible mess of choices and executions. We get an entirely new setting where it further leans into the Spirit Medium vibe that was always around (if not partnered up with us) throughout the series. The Far Eastern Kingdom of Khura'in.... except when it isn't and takes place in the regular Ace Attorney settings. The back and forth of locations between cases feels really bizarre and unexpected. These cases that are away from the new setting do not seem to really carry the story much and more feels like intermissions rather than actual cases. When we are in Khura'in we do get a new mechanic which is the Divine Séance which is essentially a POV video of the victim's last moments. You must use all of their sensations to find the contradictions. Aside from the back and forth of settings, we also get worse versions of previous mechanics. Forensics and Perceiving all have very slow movements and had plenty of clunky hard to ready points of evidence. Speaking of slow, some characters in particular wish to waste my time with extended animations and talking. What starts to take the cake, for me, was towards the end when we get a mixture of some semi-nonsense connections and even worse reactions from already established characters. To say the least we get some background on a character that really didn't need expanded background.

    Worst Characters: Emma, Sahdmadhi

    Best Characters: Rayfa, Dhurke

    Recommend: Maybe

    Rating: 5/10

    FF4: Interlude

    Final Fantasy IV: Interlude

    PSP
    No Trophies

    Only available in the PSP FF4 Complete Collection, thank you fellow BLAO member for letting me know about this. Taking place not long after the events of FF4 we get about a 2 hour of classic FF gameplay that hits on some relatively minor plot points. Mostly that kingdoms are rebuilt and everyone is going to have children. Difficulty is a bit everywhere. It goes from really easy to crushingly difficulty and oscillates between the two. The bigger crusher between the random upticks in difficulty is that you don't have free reign on the map or your location. The issue comes into play in the term of items and that you don't have as much access to buying them, receiving them, or healing yourself which means you could softlock yourself quite easily. Luckily it is a short game but still a bit discerning.

    Recommend: Eh

    Rating: 5/10

July 2023
“So our first witness is… a cardboard box?” - Dual Destinies
Ah! Finally got around to revising my non-steam game templates though I am now borrowing an incredible lot from the BLAO generator. Still want to work on that some more, but another time. Kind of shocked at my current progress, but with FFXIV and Dead by Daylight events I haven’t had a lot of my free time to dedicate to progress. SF: Anniversary collection has also taken up a considerable amount of time considering it’s multiple entries, so I am starting to review each game within the collection. Most importantly, Fall is right around the corner and I can’t wait to be justified for more spooky games.

    Final Fantasy IV: The After Years

    Final Fantasy IV: The After Years

    41 hours playtime

    This direct sequel takes place several years after the last game and splits up it’s stories into a bunch of different episodes across a plethora of characters. Most episodes save for the first few and last few can be done in any order and will have you take control of a different protag (save for the last) with their own team, though there is some crossover. I found this to be quite unappealing. It was like starting a new RPG over and over again while most of the stories don’t really tie in much and sometimes feel pointless. Part of this is due to the original 3DS release having purchasable episodes so you potentially didn’t have to go through all of them like here. This is why, in the final episode, you get to choose which episodes you want to bring towards the final chapter. This carries over items and levels. There really isn’t any point in not choosing all of them unless you just want less items and characters. Speaking of, a lot of the newly introduced don’t get enough time to really make any interest and found myself using a team of some of the classics. All being said the final chapter does get kind of interesting and has the most weight.

    This game does not use much of the mechanics of the 3D remake of FFIV, but instead adhere to a more classic FF approach both in mechanics and UI. No longer can you choose your character’s abilities or set them for auto-battle. It feels a bit weird going more retro for a sequel of a remake that kind of gave a lot of QoL and new mechanics. They did, however, double down on the secret items you can find and made them much more grindy by not only keeping them at a low drop rate, but scattering them between episodes (most of which can be found in the final chapter) and requiring multiple of them.

    There are several bugs with this one that I could not find a fix for. Sounds files would sometimes not load so some areas or even victories were just silence. I did have a crash once. By far the biggest one is that inputs would get stuck. This meant pressing left once could make your character constantly go left or opening the menu causing the menu to open and close constantly. There was no noticeable trigger it would just happen and the only way to fix it was to re-enter that exact same input. Though it doesn’t affect too much it does mean you may not make as clean as a journey and sometimes cause battles to last a bit longer as you have to readjust your cursor due to scrolling all the way through your items or selections.

    Recommend: Not really
    Rating: 4/10

    Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney

    Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney

    3DS
    No Trophies

    An attempt to bring a new protagonist forth on a new generation of handhelds the game dawns a younger attorney who, much like Phoenix, was just starting his Defense Attorney gig. Personally, I didn't mind the change. Genuinely I liked all of the new characters. In fact, it wasn't the new characters that were the problem... it was the recurring ones. Phoenix. This may take seven years ahead of when we last see him but he's done more than have off screen character growth to the point where it feels like a whole new character. Had they kept some of his quirks it would not have been as bad but there really isn't a shred of similarity. It doesn't help they add a bunch of details to trick the player into thinking something that gets revealed later for little reason than plot. Being the 3DS we get more animated scenes. They generally look fine in most contexts, but one scene without filters looks incredibly rough.

    This game probably has the most linked and cohesive story yet where every case is linked. It even wraps up with a nice theme about the judicial system. This game does have a good and bad ending, but goes about it in a super weird way that makes it super obvious which ending you get to the point where it feels like it defeats the message of the ending. There is a much bigger focus on forensics which I super appreciate. Getting to use all sorts of tools to get evidence and details feels right at home. Though it sometimes hand feeds you a bit, the game doesn't require nearly as much beating around the bush in these cases save for a couple of moments. We also get a "Perceive" mechanic where looking for lies/secrets lies in a person's impulses when they say certain things. Though I somewhat doubt the validity of pointing out such things in a real court, it is a decent replacement for the magatama system. I only wish they didn't take multiple moments to explain a relatively easy concept.

    Worst Characters: Brushell, Meekins

    Best Characters: Trucy, Mr. Hat, Vera

    Recommend: Yes

    Rating: 7/10

    Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies

    Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies

    3DS
    No Trophies

    Though the previous game had some very scarce 3D cinematics, we instead get 3D models throughout the game. Though the 3D looks much better than that of the previous I think that a lot of the characters look much more dopey and plasticy. To say the least, I much prefer the drawn variations. It's not all bad as there were some interesting 3D effects and decent use of animations... but it doesn't quite compare. We also get full on anime cinematics that prelude the start of the episode and various intermission. Though I didn't mind the animated cinematics, I do feel they got really into the various anime tropes throughout the game. One in particular was a bit over the top and damaged my opinion on Athena. Speaking of we get another character introduced though she doesn't quite take the main protagonist role as she usually acts more as an assistant and a segway into the new mechanic. She's kind of just a basic single trope character throughout most of the game, so I didn't think much of her until near the end. I also think it's really dumb that she wears a gadget that says what's on her mind. It seems disadvantageous, especially as a lawyer. The story, once again, has a general theme though it feels a bit repetitive with the previous game's. It also jumps around time wise which can be a little jarring all for a lead up that makes me question a past case in particular.

    Gameplay is pretty standard, but with a new mechanic and a whole slew of quality of life changes. These changes include indicators of what is examinable, what you already have examined, and auto progression once you examined all key items. This makes the investigation process a lot more streamlined and a whole lot more enjoyable. No more re-examine the same thing three times because something was actual considered a part of a whole or missing a small note entirely. No longer do we have to go through a maze of locations to get to specific places but can select all places within the same menu. A quality of life that reduces loading in and out of areas so very much. Though we do still see splashes of previous mechanics (perceive and magatama) we now get one based on psychoanalytic analysis which is neat idea but the actual execution I feel is a bit hard to believe to be used during court. Much like a testimony you will go through a series of statements, but instead of simply pressing or presenting you must target an emotion or an object that is causing one of the four emotions. More than a few times I felt that some of the answers could be kind of vague and open to interpretation as one person's reaction to a feeling may not agree with another's.

    All in all, another decent game and much better than I was expecting but definitely feels messy and lacking consistency between trials. Though this game is more about proving innonce or guilty, it does often spoil the true culprit in the opening cinematic of each case which is kind of a bummer.

    Worst Characters: Florent L'Belle, Aristotle Means

    Best Characters: Simon Blackquill, Jinxie

    DLC Completed?: No

    Recommend: Kinda?

    Rating: 5/10

    Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection

    Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection

    27 hours playtime

    Street Fighter
    Fightstick
    What a rough start to the series. A psuedo fighter where you only play as Ryu (and maybe Ken?) against a series of fighters that are absolutely programmed to wreck your shit. Sure, old arcade games are going to do that, but the controls are so inconsistent and the difference in speed and power is a little insane. The only chance you have is by utilizing your specials. However, getting your specials to actually work is a mess as the actual inputs often fail to follow through. In fact, I ended up having to do an extra dragon punch just to get out a simple hadouken. To make matters worse, you deal with the exact same losing dialogue and winning dialogue with each opponent. It gets old fast to say the least. It feels like almost a miracle the series got another chance, but it’s a good thing it did. As for this, well it really isn’t much of a game at all and offers very little for a fighting game experience.

    Rating:1/10
    You’ve Got A Lot To Learn Before You Beat Me Become A Mainstay Franchise.
    Try Again, Kiddo Capcom~

    Street Fighter II
    Fightstick
    Holy crap this is some whiplash compared to the first. A mere 4 years and this game far exceeds the original. An actual fighting roster that is fairly diverse though small, solid BGMs, good sprite work and scenery, and a fair bit of surprises. The portraits for each character can seem a little rough nowadays but they have their charm, especially since they have differences between victory and defeat. This game had yet reached the age where combos were really a thing so it mostly relied on specials and footsies, a term I’d reckon was created from the game itself and it was best in the business. It was this game where we start getting flooded with re-releases, turbo editions, etc. that almost oversaturates the fighting game and arcade scene.

    Rating: 7/10
    Fighter of Choice: Ken Masters

    Street Fighter 2’: Championship Edition
    Fightstick
    More of a “definitive” edition to SF2 as all the characters are now playable along with some additions. Overall it plays pretty much the same except it does feel like the AI was turned up a bit in difficulty and cheats just as much.

    Rating:7.5/10
    Fighter of Choice: Sagat

    Street Fighter II’: Hyper Fighting
    Fightstick
    All around the same but now at a higher speed and everyone’s default costume is an alternate palette. The faster speed feels incredibly great and how SF2 (and maybe all SF) should be played. That being said, the Hyper gives the AI way more room to cheat. For instance, Guile AI doesn’t charge at all which makes him an incredible threat and Zangief has some super sonic ora ora punches that shouldn’t even be possible. Speaking of charge, I decided to give a charge character a try. The back forward was simple enough but the down up seemed to only ever work half the time due to either missed input, timing, or CPU being able to interrupt it (before and after). I don’t understand how you really would use a charge attack in a combo which makes it weird that most of the characters have charge specials.

    Rating: 8/10
    Fighter of Choice: Blanka

    Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers
    Fightstick
    It’s a little weird that this title was not titled as a sequel rather than another variation. We get entirely new sprite work, a plethora of new characters, new maps, improved and new music, updated UI, additional moves, and a genuine combo system. Though this does stop the series from having gotten to something like SF16, I’m not sure having several different versions per game is any better. Still, the game overall is great. The sprite work is great and how it utilizes soft pixel transitions to make seamless animations is nothing short of amazing. Speaking of animation, the new opening cinematic is probably one of the best the series has. Ryu facing the camera (as if he’s facing you in combat) bouncing back and forth before firing a hadouken. Simply perfect. Music has been improved, especially the loading match screen which fixes the tumbling piano sound by adding some guitar riffs. The new characters introduced is fairly incredible ranging from some originating from the first game to new characters who would become iconic mainstays (including my girl Cammy White).

    The game is back at normal speed compared to the previous turbo edition. Difficulty overall is much more tame as it builds up per match. However, there are some absolute sufferable fights where even AI cheating aside, some characters have some abusable moves. For example, Vega may no longer have his cheating and unique wall climb ability but his air grab is damn near unavoidable as anti-airs will cause you to get sucked into it and most of the arena is unsafe to try and dodge it. I also found that there were quite a few questionable hit boxes and enemy speed depending on the phase of the match, but this gets into the AI cheating which is nothing new for early fighting games. Generally, it feels a lot like SF2: Championship Edition. This is not a bad thing, but would have liked a more equal ground with the AI and faster paced combat similar to Turbo. We’ll get that in the “final” ver. of SF2.

    Rating:8/10
    Character of Choice: Cammy <3

    Super Street Fighter II Turbo
    Gamepad
    Again, a faster paced SSF2 but it does have a fair bit of new additions. New moves have been introduced for each character including the now staple super moves which require a full meter to be built. Interestingly enough, meter is built upon hits upon the enemy (including blocked) and using your special movies even if they don’t hit though buildup does not carry over between rounds. We get much of the same opening cinematic, which is great, but between thunder flashes we get weirdly drawn animations of Cammy and Chun-Li which I could have done without. This was the first game in this collection I had to move from the fight stick to a gamepad.

    At first glance I thought I lost all my ability and training when going through the opening matches because my butt was getting KICKED. Only to find out that in the original release of the game on arcade (for America) there was a bug that made the game always at it’s hardest difficulty. This bug is in this copy of the game as well. I cannot stress how incredibly difficult it is to get even through one round let alone the whole roster of characters, especially if you wanted to fight Akuma. This difficulty essentially meant that enemies hit at least twice as hard, took half as much damage, rarely had any flinch, and could do moves at speeds not capable by humans. You simply cannot play the game in a way you would normally play fighting games. Thankfully, save states are a thing and not only helped me get through the game but also face Akuma (for better or for worse). At it’s core, this is one of the greatest entries, unfortunately the bug makes the single player experience miserable.

    Akuma Defeated? Yes
    Rating: 7.5/10
    Fighter of Choice: Cammy

June 2023
Finally quit my second job which is not only a massive weight of stress off my shoulders but also frees up my weekends. That which hopefully will now be more dedicated to my backlog among other things. Considering I had bought both FFXVI and SF6 and not touched them was a big sign that this was needing to happen. Oh, I also started FFXIV so I may have just traded work time for full time dedication to that :) So much for progress.

    System Shock

    System Shock

    25 hours playtime

    A fairly surprising true to source remake. A lot of remakes, reboots, and even some remasters will either had quality of life changes or simply make the game easier for the modern times. System Shock instead keeps it pretty original and makes you work for your gaming experience. There are no HUD direction indicators, added notes, free healing, etc. I think the only quality of life they may have added is the ability to add markers to your map which is highly recommended and wish I had utilized it earlier. Otherwise, Just a classic old school game experience with very great overhaul of graphics and voice work. I’m not sure how it compares to the original, but the difficulty settings have multiple sliders. One for combat which focuses on damage, enemy frequency, etc. Another for story where the hardest has both permadeath and a time to beat lest you feel defeat. Puzzles which are mostly just panel switch related. Finally, Cyber which deals with the FPS bullet hell hacking minigame where the hardest can flatline the Hacker if they fail. Overall, story is decent and straightforward. I only wish the final encounter was not so abrupt. It really lacked any real finality or provided any aftermath/effects from the incident. Not to mention the final battle itself lacked intensity or even have much communication between the Hacker and Shodan.

    I very much appreciate the keeping to the classic standards as I found myself totally absorbed into the game trying to figure out what needs to be done, exploring, and fighting for my life. That being said, there were a few moments that even with going through audio logs and notes were not as clear as they could be. Some of it was on me where I completely forgot about an unexplored area, but others didn’t really seem to get mentioned or feel logical. On top of that, key cards (very important items for opening doors) can easily be missed. They don’t particularly stand out in any way and could just be on the floor somewhere or even in a random dead guy’s inventory. Even with my thorough scouring various areas I managed to miss one which got me stuck for a while. Combat is fairly solid as far as FPS goes though the game can get tough on higher difficulties and it doesn’t seem like enemies have any fraction of being interrupted or caused to sway their shots which means the game relied on a bunch of peek around corners and waiting out shots rather than bother taking risks. Melee is also surprisingly strong with the right equipment and supplements as I found I completely bypassed most bosses with such. Cyber hacking was… okay. The minigame felt a bit lacking and more than a few enemies proved to be more annoying and healthy than it should have been. It can also be pretty hard to navigate and control the cyberspace sections in general. Puzzles for the most part were enjoyable and differed between either getting the power levels to the right amount or completing a circuit.

    All in all, I had a relatively positive experience save for the final encounter and having a few stuck moments. The biggest notes of negativity go to a few things like the inventory where inventory management grows cumbersome very quickly. Thankfully, you can drop weapons and even go to other floors without them despawning as you will not have room for everything (be sure to use your marker system to keep track). The recycler only being a 3 x 3 space which means trying to scrap random items becomes even more tedious, especially since some items cannot be scrapped in their non-vaporized state despite having recyclable credit amounts. Adding to that, it seems weird that you cannot scrap weapons you don’t use anymore. I guess this is to help prevent soft locking yourself, but after upgrading or finding better weapons, older or excessive weapons just feel like they don’t have use and could better go to funds.

    Recommend: Yes
    Rating: 7.5/10

    Final Fantasy IV

    Final Fantasy IV

    95 hours playtime

    Another story focused entry that even has scripted battles that are here for story purposes rather than actually winning. Classes are no longer picked by the player but instead are pre-chosen similar to that of FFVII and FFX. Unlike those games, you don’t choose who is in your party and instead is dictated by story something somewhat similar to FFII. It’s also worth noting that this game is very clearly influenced by the oh so popular Star Wars Franchise with both’s its themes and story beats.
    The core gameplay is fairly consistent with the series though the 3D version mixes it up a bit. Bosses are a little more interesting as they have certain phases and interactions that require figuring out and strategizing against their mechanic. All the 3D models look fairly great though there is some clipping in animations. Secret pathways are much more hidden and annoyingly hard to navigate as you are wandering through the dark knowing very little if you are moving or not (especially in towns when you have no individualized map for the area). Voice work is great.

    The introduction of augments is an interesting addition though not nearly explained enough as it should be. At the face value finding and using an augment grants a character an action similar to that of a class skill. However, these augments are used up once used and are fairly obscure to get. Some are gained through story or beating the game… the rest are a bit more complicated. Most will need to be found after certain story events (usually beating a boss then scouring a previous dungeon) or giving 3 augments to a character and when they leave (for good) they give you their own separate augments. This being said there are a ton that are missable. The final thing that is not noted about augments is at level 70 and above your equipped augments are your sole source of stat ups per level. This information can easily make or break endgame, especially if you are fighting superbosses and on hard difficulty no less (something I ended up doing both).

    Notes: I very much recommend looking up an augments guide (especially if you are a completionist) as the game does a terrible job of informing the player of the vital uses and locations of these. There are also a number of .4% item drops that are insanely hard to find let alone figure out which enemy drops them, again guide/lookup info recommended. The newly added Namingway questline is easily my favorite part of the game, that is all.

    Recommend: Yes
    Rating: 7.5/10

Monster Hunter: Generations
3DS
43 hours
There’s a certain idea on paper that would have made this a good game and on certain aspects it is. Unfortunately, I don’t think the execution was quite there. As it sounds it combines quite a bit of the previous games including the various villages and monsters. However, this creates an absolute excess of monster variants that make this game a slog. The first few hunting stars are just overflowing with Jaggi/Genprey variants and it took so long for the game to pickup when you start to get more interesting hunts. Additionally, since it takes a lot of the monsters from the other games it seems like that’s all the more hunts that do not contribute towards upgrading your weapons/gear. On that subject, the new UI for weapon upgrading is very bizarre where the base weapon has levels and each level eventually unlocks another path. It felt really confusing on top of the egregious random materials needed and getting lost once you do branch off of the original path. Most weapons also did not seem to particularly vary much in terms of damage and sharpness. On the other hand, the game introduces Weapon Arts which absolutely improves and diversifies the same old formula. I only wish it related more to doing certain actions to unlock these rather than specific quests.

If you’re looking for some sense of story or buildup… you chose the wrong entry. Instead you will find that you will be bouncing between each hub to clear out every conversation and potentially pickup every menial task. Even with fast travel I felt I was spending far more time tracking down each notification rather than taking on hunts as each hunt triggered more meaningless conversations. The great finale to the base adventure was a Glavenous which left me dumbstruck when the ending animation and credits started to roll. Certainly afterwards you unlock post game final bosses from previous entries, but to end on a Glavenous left me unsatisfied but not enough for me to continue post game content into the high ranks.

Should also be noted that the small monsters seem extremely aggressive, even moreso than other entries. Which gets downright annoying and confusing as you get interrupted by lowly animals that should be running for their lives. I guess there is no self-preservation in this world.

It’s a shame that this was such a mixed entry because it does introduces some great combat additoins and even reworks maps to remove the horrid underwater elements. However, the slog the beginning has and the unsatisfying conclusion was just… not enjoyable.

Weapon of Choice: Chargeblade
Best Mons: Zinogre
Worst Mons: All the early game variants and the Bulldrome.
Recommend: No
Rating: 3/10

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
3DS
Relatively enjoyable VN with detective and court-room themes. The music, art style, and animations are pretty excellent and improve both the general plot and humorous moments. Though I do wish there were more cases outside of murder, they still offer plent of varying story beats and a small variety of characters to meet. That being said, it does feel like the do regurgitate quite a few characters within this trilogy a little more frequently than expected.

The original game is fairly straightforward while the second two introduce a spiritual knowledge checks to uncover individuals secrets. It is more of the same as the court cases are fairly similar but those instead offer a difference of pressing certain dialogue and presenting evidence whereas uncovering secrets is merely presenting. It feels a missed opportunity where they could have offered more detective work as showcased in the bonus episode of the first game where you had to uncover prints, etc. On that note there are a few relatively minor vices with these games. First, some evidence isn’t quite as clear as I would like. Usually the description makes up for the small picture however, there was a case where it suggested that there were marks on a cup that I genuinely thought was the design of the cup and not an external factor. The bigger grievance is there are occasionally weird solution paths where you have to press an unrelated dialogue statement before presenting an equally unrelated evidence, needing to ask a certain question before even finding a piece of evidence, or requiring an oddly specific evidence when several pieces fit the case. Some can be due to personal error but felt it was far too frequent even if I was being dumb.

Personally, it’s hard to play much of this game in a short span, but is nice to play a case every once in a while.

Best Character: Miles Edgeworth/Godot
Worst Character: Larry Butz/Oldbag
Ranking Game Order: Trials and Tribulations (3), Original game (1), Justice For All (2).
Recommend: Yes
Rating: 7/10

May 2023
I swear I am still playing games but man is the time just going by and almost no progress. What’s worse… my backlog has grown. Here’s hoping time begins to become free and I can revel in it’s passages.

    SLUDGE LIFE

    SLUDGE LIFE

    2 hours playtime

    5/10
    Though I try to avoid adding more to the backlog this was published by Devolver Digital and free for a time so my hands were tied (plus it definitely seemed like a quick entry). It has that very weird, very grungy feel to the game that I would expect from this publisher. Neat little things like throwing the menu screen away when you leave it and weird little details are nice. Also the sort of isolated island in a sea of oil and cell shaded(?) art added to the sort of grunge aesthetic. The game is a little too simple for me as it just revolves around tagging buildings (with only a few variances in spray paint design) and getting to the end marker. Frankly, the game just lacks that little extra oomph to make it a genuinely decent game. As it is, it is just okay.
    Recommend? Eh, for free or VERY cheap.

Like A Dragon: Ishin
PS5
7.5/10
Finally getting this in the West I could play Yakuza but with Samurais focusing around my favorite group (thanks to Gintama) the Shinsengumi. Other than being based on the historical Edo period in Japan this game does not connect to the rest of the Yakuza series. So, though we do see A LOT of familiar faces, they are by no means ancestors to the Yakuza characters we know and love today. Instead, it’s more like a play and characters like Majima, Kiryu, etc. play a historical figure that more or less fits them quite well, in my opinion. Story, overall, is great and it’s always exciting to see who the next character we will see is in Like A Dragon fashion.
The game still has pretty standard gameplay beat-em-up style with a style system reminiscent of Y0. However, the gun stance feels REALLY broken and that a lot of challenges are a breeze just by blasting your problems away. There is also now trooper cards you can gain to use in battle which act as special powers. They trooper system is a bit overwhelming and trying to figure out what to keep, level, and combine is kind of a mess.
There are still a lot of great mini games and side stories which the series is known for. The only caveat for this is that there are also a LOT of side quests that require you to build friendship. This usually means you have to visit them every so often to give them an item. This creates an incredible slog and lacks any real connection or interesting sub plots. In fact, that is the one issue with this game. There is so much slog and GRINDING. To get better guns/swords/weapons/etc. you have to get material from enemy drops, purchase, etc. You’ll need the material, insane prices, and even then you have to upgrade the store by purchasing from them, donating weapons, etc. and it takes FOREVER. It is just not enjoyable and I will loathe when I get around to perfecting the game.
Recommended? Yes!

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
3DS
3/10
Pretty standard 3DS era MH game though it does lack the quality of life changes 4U and Generations will bring. The one big issue though… it has a underwater battle focus. I’m not sure if there has ever been a game where underwater movement/battle has ever been THAT enjoyable or even downright decent. With this being the first MH game to include it, it is everywhere. Nearly all maps are at least half water and most of the monsters sure as heck utilize it. The combat is just downright clunky with it and either end up getting hit a bunch, awkwardly dodge, or slide against the monster’s body instead of hitting the desired spot. There is also an 02 gauge but it never really seemed to come into play until the story’s final boss. Which, by the way, was pretty lackluster and boring. I also just found the overall threat and story pretty underwhelming and could not feel the threat or excitement of dangerous foes. There were also times I did not understand what or where I was supposed to do something.

Weapon of choice: Sword & Shield
Recommend? Nope, and I will be forever glad that underwater MH battles will ever be a thing again.

April 2023
Bethesda… Bethesda Never Changes

Once again too busy to really get into my backlog and… sadly… I have bought more games… Keeping it short because I have yet to change up and relearn my coding to collapse non-Steam reviews.

    No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

    No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

    6 hours playtime

    4/10
    Port Review
    Despite the previous game’s port I was slightly optimistic going through the game… until I realized that none of the achievements have been unlocking about half way through the game. It was about then that I started getting game crashes and it got fairly consistent. Some achievements did start unlocking but it wasn’t consistent there.

    I wish I could recommend more games in this great series, especially as it could have bloomed on other platforms (though it will always miss the charm of motion controls).

    Recommend? Unfortunately, no.

Fallout 76
PS5
2/10
Taking advantage of the free opportunity I decided to give this a try and try to complete one of the final Fallout games I have yet to play. At first… things were alright, but continuous gameplay revealed it has not come as far as I have been lead to believe.
With three expansions the game does feel like an actual game. HOWEVER, since it is an MMO there is a serious lack of content int the long run and it relies on overly tedious grinds (and believe you me I will get back into this later). The main story mission line is pretty lack luster and doesn’t give much impact to your person or whatever end goal you are going towards. The Various expansions don’t improve much on this either. The world often feels fairly empty with infrequent enemy encounters and often empty locations. The supposed great threat of the Scorched are pretty much just slightly different Ghouls and far overused yet seemingly underutilized in the actual story.
Base game trophies are fine enough, but the expansion trophies are absolutely ridiculous. Settlers expansion requires you to repeat the same two to three daily missions to slightly increase bonds with factions. Old, repetitive, and unrewarding. The Pitt expansion as you need to get a weapon requiring 1000 stamps. You need to do three daily missions to charge your battery (i.e. you can only fully charge once a day) so you can do 1 of 2 expeditions to earn a maximum of 10 stamps. Not only will you need a party (which is hard enough in this dead game) but you can only lead an expedition once a day. So, theoretically you would need to do 100 of these missions and thus could require about 100 days of playing to get the stamps required for this trophy weapon. It is a massive waste of time, resources, and has far too limited of expeditions to make this any reasonable ask by Bethesda.
Bethesda is known for having buggy games, and not only does this very much follow suit, it is not getting a pass. Various graphical glitches including the world failing to fully load, words appearing in the air, the world temporarily vanishing, and de sync. Mission can fail to progress (entirely sometimes), fail to fast travel, and fail to progress conversations. If you load into a world where your camp placement is taken, you have to move yours. However, that building you took hours to build will likely not be replaceable and will have to be built from the ground up despite it saving the blueprint. Of course, the crème de la crème, is that there are most definitely crashes.
Recommend? It’s may or may not be hard to believe, but no. This is easily the worst Fallout experience yet.

Resident Evil 4: Remake
PS5
9/10
An action packed remake of one of the most important games in the genre. Yet, it doesn’t quite replace the original as much as it offers another and different experience. The story is overall the same while switching up a few beats and expanding on some characters, some for the better others for the worse. Luis, for instance, is given a much more present role and gives more to his character and past… though he is a much dirtier version of himself (physically). Ashley feels much more involved in your quest as she actively helps you in, out, and around situations as you play rather than being just an one giant escort quest. Her interactions with Leon are great and really build each other up as you go. Ada though was more or less the same character failed on the line delivery portions, in my eyes. There were also some questionable decisions made by her as well as abrupt absences that feel incredibly pointing towards a potential DLC. Lastly, Saddler. Again, some of his line deliveries were kind of inconsistent in the beginning and I’m not sure how I feel about his character yet. He genuinely didn’t feel like the end goal this time and lacked some build up. There was some cut content, but I can more than imagine seeing it in the potential DLC of the game. There are also a nice set of side missions that can increase exploration, creates a neat secret shop system, and some alpha enemy variants.
Onto the meat of the game, the gameplay. The gameplay is so incredibly polished and it is very much thanks to the new parry system. An incredibly great way to improve and speed up the high octane 80’s action from the original had initially brought to the series in the first place. At the risk of damaging and putting your knife temporarily out of commission you can parry attacks (just about everything at that), stealth kill enemies, escape grabs, and execute or do bonus damage against stunned or downed enemies. This new mechanic, though not completely necessary for most of the game, creates a very high skill ceiling and leads to increased satisfying gameplay. With such a powerful mechanic at your hands, this means the enemies can be all the more ruthless and swarm you just as hard. Sequences like the village and the cabin become just as intense, if not more so, than the first time I played them in the original. We also get some early enemy variants to flesh out the village a bit more though they are technical reskins of older characters. Most bosses that were included have been improved, while some remained relatively the same and one felt worse for the wear (the big cheese).
Cinematics, scenery, and music are both visually and aurally appealing though it doesn’t feel quite to the latest generation of gaming that the console has to offer. Particularly water looks the roughest. Additionally, as far as PS5 gimmicks go, it felt like the game really lacked the haptic feedback side of things. Understandably, it is not an exclusive but with the series having exclusive variants in the past, it would be nice. Some segments were far too short to my liking and would have liked to see expanded versions and/or more encounters. You also get introduced to the parasite far earlier than I would like. It is also fairly apparent with some encounters their hunting areas and thus the aspect of “cheesing” an enemy becomes apparent and loses some of the fear factor.

Also the shooting gallery is so amazingly improved that you can lose just as much time in there as you do in the game.

Recommend? An incredible game that in no way eclipses the original but offers a way to re-experience the original for the first time.

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
3DS
3/10
Luigi back at it again as he is forced to help the professor reseize control of a mansion gone wrong when the Dark Moon is broken and stolen.
Despite my love for the original, I could not enjoy this. The new mission based progression was annoying and tedious which made the normal mansion feel far more repetitive. A lot of the ghosts were not enjoyable to fight. Motion controls were pretty much mandatory and awful. This paired with the fact it was difficult to tell which way you were pointing did not make things better. A lot of bosses end up being fairly repetitive or uninteresting while there was a lot of pointless exploration and collectibles. The game is late to introduce items that you have to use in earlier missions, so that means more repetitiveness.
Recommend? Sadly, no. I hope the third game harkens back to the original’s format and quality.

March 2023
Productively Unproductive
Well… with February producing no results and this month showing very little… The year I felt I was going to kill the backlog now seems to be distant stardust dream. Even worse, with the 3DS/WiiU eShop closing down I looked to secure exclusives that I may never get again, thus increasing my overall backlog. Despite my limited time in these 7 day work weeks, may there be hope I can retake the time and ambition to wear down the backlog and not fall to despair.

Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright
3DS
3/10
After the success of Awakening they took the child bearing mechanic and implemented it nonsensically into a new set of titles. This isn’t the sin that makes me begrudgingly finish the game. After all, the concept of Samurai vs Knights is a decent idea (my game is taking the Edo Samurai side because I’m a huge weeb). However, it is implemented poorly at just about every step. Most of the cast are either very generic and lifeless dolls or watered down versions of Awakening characters past. The US version was also censored to have the alone time with characters be limited and feeling pointless.

Some of the new classes (like Diviner) feel like they are overcomplicated by sheer mass of spells and plenty of useless skills to boot. The gravest error of all is that there are absolutely terrible level designs littered throughout. One in particular was an optional recruiting mission where your potential recruit was across the map, surrounded by higher level enemies, and unintentionally suicidal. Other poor designs included general layout, movement potential, and enemy placements versus any counter characters you seem to be overly limited in use and availability. The story was also pretty subpar but I haven’t played a thrilling FE story as of yet.

Very much not interested in trying out the other story sides featured in the other cartridges.

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D
3DS
2/10
Why? Just Why?
Don’t get me wrong, this is the kind of Multiplayer game Capcom should be releasing for RE… just not on this system. It can barely handle what it has, let alone a 3D horde of bioweapons. Anything more than a few feet from you seriously drop frames as well as intelligence as some will do little to no movement or, occasionally swing around in circles. You’ll also run into situations where you just can’t find an enemy or “oops all enemies” with neither being particularly consistent. On the other hand minibosses and bosses are weirdly quick and sometimes feel they appear right behind you a lot.

A lot of actions are bound to the same button. I.e. you can trigger an execution while trying to shoot your gun, thus cancelling your shot and leaving you with a less than desired effect. All the while a single face button press is dedicated to emote (because why?). Knives have to be equipped which means breaking boxes will often require consuming ammo (some characters don’t even have knives). Half the characters feel like their loadout is just plain bad and I’m unsure if they have any special skills or how to activate them. All maps and difficulties are tied to mission lists instead of being able to pick a map and difficulty and running it. The missions also take a while to pickup as a good half are basic tutorials and don’t even implement combos until about half way through. Additionally, the game puts emphasis on using the map and icons on the map which pretty much never come up again in later missions. Missed opportunity to use that for time extends and combo chests, the latter being easy to miss. Difficulty takes a while to become competent but at the very end it ramps it up so high making it difficult as a solo experience.

What the game does well? There are a decent cast of characters from the RE series all with their own QTE melee variants and costumes. Missions are a good way to create a single player sort of progression with unlockable challenges, medals, and post game (though I wish there was just a free play mode). Running and gunning are relatively smooth. Decent array of enemies from 4 and 5 (although heavily leaning towards 5) but I do wish there were more plaga variants.

Sly 2: Band of Thieves
PS2
5/10
Gains much more of it’s own identity compared to the original. This game puts much more emphasis on actually stealing items and planned theft than just simple sneak and don’t get hit gameplay of the first. Additionally, your partners in crime become much more part of the team as they are not only playable but have there roles within each operation (and not just stuck to some poor racing minigame). Level design and missions are relatively decent though there are some actual garbage ones mixed in. To be expected for a game that gets to be a bit long in the tooth. There are a plethora of abilities to buy, but getting most of them takes a lot of money and most are just not useful in the slightest.
Despite all the praise I give it for truly becoming it’s own thing, I am finding out that I am really just not that into this series. Still, I must finish them all…

Jan 2023
“Boy!” - GoW 2018

A month late and a breath short (or a few). After picking up 2 jobs and working 7 day weeks I have been more than a little tired. Despite my best attempts to get ahead of this… I just never got around to wrapping it up and posting. January was supposed to be my cleanup month where I focused on completing games I have beaten and very quickly got derailed. Still managed to clear off the final Soulsborne game and wrapped up GoW ‘18. Hopefully I can make time for my Feb. update and start to make some progress on my backlog again.
Edit: It turns out I made no progress in February…. So… caught up at least…

    Aliens versus Predator Classic 2000

    Aliens versus Predator Classic 2000

    5 hours playtime
    no achievements

    3/10
    Scrapping some Steam cash I decided to get this as it always seems to be on sale for pretty cheap.
    It’s interesting to see how an older title handles all 3 campaigns and playstyles. Unfortunately, it’s age and time incredibly hold this back. In general, slopes are not your friend. Even the slightest incline will make it difficult for you to run over and will cause major slippage. General platforming can be very rough either getting caught on corners/edges, trying to make jumps, and the very little height it takes to receive fall damage. The AI can get very weird where Aliens will just jump 10+ feet in the air and run in circles (when they aren’t swarming you anyways). Lighting is pretty atrocious. Though most campaigns give you some alternate ways to light up your view they can be less than ideal and usual have a drawback more than may be intended. There is some audio and FMVs that play in the background but you are often too busy getting swarmed to be able to listen to what is happening and the subtitles doe not appear correctly. Lastly, with a bunch of fairly similar looking rooms and doors, it can be unclear where or what your next objective or path is.

    Marine fairly standard boomer shooter gameplay though I do wish there were a finite amount of Aliens per mission but instead they seem near infinite (which carries it’s own pro vs cons). Lighting is absolutely the worst in this campaign as your night vision can absolutely work against you and the flares are pretty limited in scope. There were some particular bugs with the final fight where the Queen would sometimes get stuck and cause issues with the final trigger.

    Alien being able to crawl on all walls and try to take a more stealthy approach was interesting. HOWEVER, stealth really isn’t viable at all in old games like this. The alien has a special ability to eat heads to gain health which requires you to aim at said head while close and attack. Unfortunately, it is unreliable on living targets and if you decapitate them first you for some reason can no longer om nom on said head. I wish there was more to the Alien playstyle like being able to summon facehuggers from their eggs or coordinate strikes. This campaign probably has the more confusing layouts and challenging fights due to the lack of texture variety, direction, and projectiles.
    Predator one of the cooler campaigns as you have a big variety of weapons, variety of vision toggles, and consistent enemy variety on top of getting a final boss. It is still not without it’s issues as it often has you making buggy jumps and unclear pathways. The togglable visions also have a very annoying and heavy audio when it is on. Though it’s what plays in the movies it usually only shows it for moments at a time, but the different visions are a constant necessity and the sound over stay it’s welcome.

    Recommend? Not really.

    Men of War: Assault Squad 2

    Men of War: Assault Squad 2

    33 hours playtime

    4/10
    Not really good at these sort of war real time strategy games so a lot of this was completed on Easy which I believe restricted me from accessing quite a few levels. Despite that there is A LOT to do. Several missions per faction with five factions. Each faction has their own set of units and specials. I found some factions just have objectively and far better units than others and so the balance feels incredibly off. Unfortunately, each factions set of campaigns have the exact same objectives layout with the only discernable changes being the maps and even at that can feel pretty similar to one another. As a general set of issues, units can be incredibly dumb sometimes by taking weird paths, standing up despite you telling them to go prone, indefinitely repairing a vehicle you can’t use, etc.

    Recommend? It’s decent enough, but not my cup of tea.

    Middle-earth™: Shadow of War™

    Middle-earth™: Shadow of War™

    40 hours playtime

    Blade of Galadriel
    5/10
    Takes up the story post-game following your elven assassin cohort. Though this does bridge the gap in the end game story, the actual combat addition, changes, and missions are a bit lack luster. Instead of branding orcs you now have the ability to fill them with light. If imbued with enough light they are not only dazed but can potentially be executed. The big issue with this is that most of your abilities are now swapped to light damage. This means if an orc is resistant or adapted against the light, most of your abilities go right out the window without the proper augments.

    Desolation of Mordor
    7/10
    In contrast to the previous DLC, this has a much better focus and variety in combat but offers very little to the overall narrative. This time you take control of Baranor, a fairly regular human now wandering from the castle he once protected. There are more than a few changes with his campaign, the biggest being that this campaign is a score attack rogue-lite. You no longer respawn/revive but instead start the campaign over only retaining a few upgrades/tools. As he has no special ring or powers he gets a variety of new tools, combat, upgrades, and recruitment options. Recruiting is now done through a mercenary group where you spend gold to hire these men as generals, bodyguards, and outpost leaders. Though I do wish it was a little more of a regular campaign I absolutely appreciated the fairly different contrast in gameplay this DLC brought.

    Celestial Crossing

    Celestial Crossing

    4 hours playtime

    3/10
    A pretty underwhelming VN that takes a slightly more unusual concept but doesn’t quite deliver with the endings. The unusual concept is that it takes the isekai trope and reverses it a bit. Instead of a regular human travelling to another world, a game character comes to ours, specifically one from a game that the protag plays. Specifically, a purple skinned elf warrior. The contrast from her world to yours obviously creates plenty of hijinks as you try to figure out how this mess was created and how to fix it. Not only that but your next-door neighbor and love interest lives right next door.
    The immediate issue is the sound balance out the gate is pretty terrible. 10% Music and 100% Voice. On top of that the voice acting is not great to say the least, especially the elf. Lastly the endings are incredibly anti-climactic. Though there are 4 endings, they are all fairly the same ending with slightly different situations as opposed to more traditional endings where you have at least 1 ending per love interest, possibly a harem ending, and a bad ending. It all just makes it feel like no payoff and the fact that there is only one romanceable option disappointing.

    Recommend? No.

*GoW (2018) **
*PS4

7/10
Beaten -> Completed
Anything new to note? It may be due to having played in some time, but many locations felt confusing to navigate. Collectibles such as ravens don’t give strong enough indications when looking for them and some blend in with the light making just about invisible.

Sekiro
PS4
7/10
Beaten -> Completed
Anything new to note? The number of skills you have to unlock but can’t use without swapping them out over each other is ridiculously high. This is especially egregious as most do not seem particularly useful or advantageous to most/any situations.

R&C: Deadlocked
PS3/PS2
3/10
An attempt to focus out the multiplayer aspect on what has primarily been a single player game series and this was back when online gaming was not as popular yet for consoles. Pretty much if the coliseum was just the entire game, but plays kind of like a cheap Unreal Tournament. Story is pretty arbitrary and non-existent. Gameplay is relatively standard R&C just without Ratchet. Though weapons are mostly fine but despite it being a lot of arena maps, there are a lot of times where ammo does not respawn making situations an absolute slog. The final boss (among many others/maps) are poorly designed and not very fun. It may be the PS3 port but I was experiencing constant visual glitches. These included weird stutters in character models and models having things like their teeth protrude their lips.

R&C: Full Frontal Assault
PSP
2/10
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but certainly not another multiplayer focused R&C game that revolves around base defense. Again, as with Deadlocked, there really isn’t much of a story to be worth mentioning. Other than the capture the point objectives, it plays pretty standard. You can buy and upgrade turrets/barriers to protect your base while you are away. There are some weird changes made, however. First off, everything you gain during each level are kept within that instance. This means any bolts you earn and even weapons. Though this keeps you on your toes, I found that you can get some absolute garbage weapon loadouts, especially if you did not get a chance (or choose) to level them up yet. The final boss is poorly designed and does not seem to scale for a 1 player experience.
Recommend? No

R&C: Into The Nexus
PS3
4/10
It’s very hard to believe this came after A Crack In Time. Just about every aspect of this game feels like a downgrade. The graphics suffer, the frames absolutely chug, story is lackluster and short, and the unique mechanic is a letdown.
Story revolves the around a very edgy and rebellious villain trying to free cthulu creations from their entrapment in The Nexus. The new mechanic lets you traverse the Nexus (as Clank) and it is incredibly misused (and barely used at that). I’m pretty sure the majority of the use of this mechanic revolves around one planet and the boss. When you do use it, all you do is use it to blow up some walls. Has interdimensional travel to a Hell/Cthulu-esque other realm and essentially uses it as an explosive. The only slight appeal is that travelling it requires you to change gravity at well making for some multi-directional travel at a whim. I’ll admit, some of the guns were neat (scare mines and shooting cthulu ghosts to eat your enemies), though I do think they are mostly just reskinned and reused weapons. Plus some worlds have a horror focus, but would have liked them to be more consistent with it.
Recommend? No.