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.
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.
Some years ago there was a time I regularly played Phantasy Star Online 2, and it really got me interested in the series as a whole. Now I finally found the time to play its very first entry, a game that was developed before I was even born.
It's been a few years since I played Tales of Vesperia, and I haven't touched the series since. Bad reputations turned me off from Xillia and Zestiria, so I almost missed out on Berseria as well. Now I'm glad I played it. The story is really good, although nothing new for veterans of the genre. But that doesn't hurt the game much because the characters are great on their own and even better when they interact among another. The skits feel incredibly dynamic for sequences of still images. You don't get interactions amongst party members like this in many games, it's a stark contrast to games like Peronsa 5 where the party just feels flat.
I've been playing way too much this year and don't like the way updating this blog works. Already started work on a new blog software, but I keep getting stuck on stupid stuff since I'm using a framework I'm not experienced with so it's taking some time. Therefore it's hard finding time to write an elaborate review for every game I play, and I decided to make a couple of posts containing my main sentiments on the games I've played in the recent past. This way I also don't have to worry so much about getting a couple of screenshots for each and every game.
The Final Fantasy series has been reinventing its own gameplay mechanics with each new game ever since Final Fantasy XII, and the most recent entry Final Fantasy XV is no exception to this. It starts as unusually as it could get, dumping a full party on the player instead of slowly introducing party members over the course of the game. Then the game never tells you much about how the three guys that the party comprises met - you have to watch a series of anime shorts to learn that. The plot in general is as thin as you can imagine from the way the game starts. You can easily beat the game in 20 to 30, if not even less, hours unless you go out of your way and deal with the game's vast amount of optional content. Personally I'm not a fan of the story and the way it is told. In the early game you spend most of your time going from place to place, triggering the occasional cutscene that doesn't tell you much, and then near the end there's all the action and exposition that explains the villain and their motivation. All lumped together into the last few hours of playtime. The writing's pretty lousy with characters that have ridiculous, if any at all, motivations for their actions. Noctis the protagonist is after a girl he hasn't met in a decade and only knows from his childhood memories, while collecting mystic weapons to power up and be the hero that saves the day. The villain is a bad guy because he absorbed all the world's evil - very human and relatable. The party hangs out with Noctis because they're his friends and its their job, and there's barely if no development at all on that front.
Still, the post-credits scene left me with teary eyes, so it's not all as bad it may sound. Despite the lack of actual story events to properly introduce the cast, all the banter between the characters on their journey works very well to allow the player to become emotionally invested in the party. That gives plenty of motivation to see the rather lackluster story through to its end.
Big surprise: Beck is back! After the less than welcome reception of Mighty No.9, remembering that Inti Creates didn't even dare to sell MN9 merch at cons, I really didn't see this coming.