When people are asked about their favorite 16 bit RPG they usually answer with a Squaresoft title like Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger or Secret of Mana. Or at least that's the impression I have concerning the popular opinion on the matter. It's a shame Lufia II (just Lufia in europe) isn't rated higher by RPG fans because it's an excellent game.
This one's really polarizing, it seems most people who played this either really liked it or really hated it, and I think I can see why. There's things the game does very well, and then it screws itself by asking too much of the player. The game plays at a movie aspect ratio, so there's black bars on top and bottom of the screen present at all times. Lots of people complained about them, but they didn't bother me. It rather seems like the developers made good use of the graphics processing power they saved from those pixels, because the game looks really good for a PS3 release with great character models and proper visual direction. The Evil Within actually manages to create a scary atmosphere by restricting the draw distance, so when it's dark in game it's really dark and you stare into a deep black (assuming your monitor is properly calibrated). Most games today get this wrong and merely display dark areas in a tint of dark grey that looks flat and boring - apparently not many devs know about the importance of contrast in creating impressive visuals. I found the game worthy of playing for this alone. After all there's not many games with a real, oppressive horror atmosphere coming out these days - you gotta take what you can get.
Long have fans waited to get another Mario game akin to SM64 and Mario Sunshine. Before we finally got Mario Odyssey there was a span of more than 15 years without a game of its kind. The Galaxy games and 3D World are all great titles, but none of them offer anything close to the experience that made Mario's first two 3D games so memorable. In a way Super Mario Odyssey brings us back to the early years of 3D games.
Quick review because I think this game deserves some recognition. Maybe I just missed the discussions, but as far as I remember nobody on the internet talked about this one and there aren't many videos about it on youtube either.
Wow I put this review off for way too long. It's been more than 2 years since it was released and I haven't really played it in a while. And yet some aspects of the game are still vivid in memory that I want to lose some words on.
This is just a bonus game that came out of the kickstarter for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. But forget about this piece of info, because Curse of the Moon is a great game all on its own. It's so good I'd be surprised if the main game comes even close to this level of quality. Fingers crossed.
Finally done working on the software for my website. https://www.tohya.net/projects/2
With E3 you never really know what you get. Major presenters will sometimes deliver out of the blue, or do the opposite and have not much to show at a time when it's highly expected. This year's iteration of the convention is no exception to this. Considering the little attention the Xbox brand is getting you'd almost think Microsoft were to drop out of the console business, and yet they had one of the stronger presentations this year. Which came as a real surprise to me because in my book they're usually the annual loser of E3. Their press conference presentation was all about games and no moment was wasted on entertainment apps, sports and silly performances. It was straight to the point with one trailer after another, including announcements for new Halo, Gears of War, lots of big multi-plat titles and even the first look on the new major From Software title. Sony on the other hand really blew it. They had no real stage presenters, and instead cut to a commentary panel in the midst of their presentation. The games they had to show were all known, no surprises, little gameplay and all cinema. To be honest watching this made me kind of ashamed of owning a PS4, so now I'll be thinking twice about what next-gen console to purchase in the future. Bethesda actually announced Star Field which was rumoured to be in development many moons ago. Too bad they focused entirely on the new Fallout game and only acknowledged that Star Field is a thing. I dream that it may be the big space exploration title the market is missing, but no doubt it will be another bad first person action RPG. One day I'll have to dig in my memory and write about the terrible experience I've had with Skyrim...
Devolver Digital did the same cringe-show they delivered last year, surprisingly announced a release of Metal Wolf Chaos and at least had some good satirical commentary amidst the cringe. Gotta admit I really enjoyed the bid on sham-retro consoles. Not much I can comment on EA because I don't really care for their games. Then Nintendo had the direct that's kind of inbetween of what Sony and Microsoft delivered. They showed a lot of gameplay, especially in their post-presentation Treehouse streams, some nice surprises, but not the big surprises and trailers that fans were expecting them to show off. There was no word on the new game Retro Studios has been working on for years, nothing new on Metroid Prime 4 and no word on the 3DS. Especially with the latter I was hoping for some surprises - a new mid-budget Zelda game, since we haven't heard of one for years and there was lots of rumors about a possible remake of Link's Awakening, or maybe even a new Golden Sun title (because people have been talking about the games so much it was kinda suspicous, and I believed it was all a shilling campaign to prepare people for a new anncouncement). Instead there wasn't even a word on the Luigi's mansion remake. At this point I woulnd't be surprised if all 3DS projects were canceled or moving over to the Switch. Still the few games they had material on all look great. Everyone knows Smash so the 40 minute segment dedicated to it in the direct was uncalled for.
I was really looking forward to this game. It's a remake of Metroid II, the only game in the series I never got around to play. Apparently I missed out, because the remake turned out to be one of my least favorite Metroid games. Which is not supposed to mean that it's a bad one, as I overally enjoyed my first playthrough - just not enough to feel much like replaying it, and I replayed Metroid Prime Corruption multiple times inspite of it having been my least favorite in the series until Samus Returns. Fundamentally it's a good Metroid game that plays similar to Fusion in that the overall progression is rather linear while individual areas can be explored freely. The maps are well designed, there's a technique that allows the player to grab some items earlier than otherwise possible and there's the usual variety in Samus' arsenal and functions to facilitate lots of explorative possibilities. Boss battles feel too much like puzzles for my taste. They have very clear attack patterns that the player has to go through many and many times because of huge HP pools and the fact that most bosses show up multiple times and have to be beaten over and over.
Where to even begin. I loved Persona 3 & 5 and naturally was looking forward to this game a lot. While I didn't outright dislike playing it, it's still hard for me to deny that it disappointed me. The series always had pacing issues that never sat well with me. The earlier games held it at more or less tolerable levels, while Persona 5 has so many narrative events disrupting the bits of gameplay that even more than a year later I still can't bring myself to even think of replaying the game. With its prequels on the other hand I always jumped right into NG+. The smartphone chat app parts are the worst, characters in those would always say the same things irrelevant to the plot - what a waste of time. Others praise the new dungeons designs, while I still prefer the procedurally generated random dungeons employed by previous games. Now there's narrative events even inside of dungeons, breaking the flow of gameplay even more, enemy encounters are ironically nearly unavoidable. Apparently the stealth mechanics are there for the player to get surprise attacks on enemies, because fighting enemies is almost always the better choice to clear hallways for later re-treating and to gain precious exp. Sneaking past enemies just makes the game even slower, while running away barely works since there are very few save zones and enemies have the tendency to follow you for a long time. The tl;dr here is that the manually designed dungeons are very streamlined, with poor pacing and little tactical value since fighting every enemy is the only real option in most cases. Dungeons in P3&4 always had me considering whether I'd fight or avoid an enemy so those presented much more engagement for me.
The graphics look pretty good thanks to a nice art style. The characters have very static faces though, since the game still uses art portraits to display emotions. People somehow praise the "stylish" menues, while I find them offensive to the eye. To each their own I guess.
The soundtrack is great, but leaves something to be desired. I'm not a fan of the standard combat theme, and the soundtrack while exploring the overworld didn't feel as diverse as was the case in Persona 3 and 4. The few tracks the game has for those parts get old rather quick.