blog #videogames

Thoughts on games 2016/2017 edition

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.

Final Fantasy XV Review (PS4, 2016)

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.

Mighty Gunvolt Burst Review

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.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild Review (Switch, 2017)

This game got a lot of press. Having the assumption that there's not only a bazillion of reviews out there explaining every technical detail of it, but also that everyone has either read up on or played it already, I'm going to skip the minute descriptions of BOTW's gameplay and get right to my opinions on its various aspects. I won't talk much about the story, there isn't very much to it anyways, but there's a mention that can be considered a spoiler. FYI.

Arc Rise Fantasia Review (Wii, 2009)

This review comes really late. I acquired this game in late 2013, already years after its release in 2009 (2010 in North America). Back then I played it a bit and had a lot fun, but stopped playing because my japanese wasn't quite at the level required to comfortably play the game in its entirety. That's changed years ago, but I kept putting it off because there's been lots of sequels to big JRPG franchises coming out lately. I played Star Ocean 5, Persona 5 and Final Fantasy XV back to back with bits of Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final in between, and then I had to consciously hold off on Nier: Automata to make time for this gem. Anyways, to say this much in advance: Out of all the games I've played in the past 2 years, this is the one I like most.

Star Ocean 5 Review (PS4, 2016)

By now it seems like this little game has already been forgotten. Released in the US and europe in late june / early july, there's been talk about the game for roughly 2 or 3 weeks until people apparently grew tired of repeating the same few arguments and watching webms of one of the game's character's ass. The yet uninitiated may perform an internet image search for "Star Ocean 5 Fiore" to see what I'm talking about, but I doubt that's a lot of people. Now regrettably it seems that Fiore's body & outfit was the only element of SO5 that drew people new to the Series in, although the developers had intended to reach for a wider audience with this iteration of the series. However with multiple early reviews shunning the game with scores below 6.0 this isn't very surprising.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse Impressions

So I borrowed Dragon Ball Xenoverse and played it a bit with a friend last night. We enjoyed playing the PS2 Budokai Tenkaichi games in versus mode and wanted to see if Xenoverse is anything like those games. Turned out we couldn't just go and check out the multiplayer right off the bat, because local versus mode is locked behind a good hour of solo content. And the game doesn't notify you when you're able to use the mode. Who thought that would be a good idea? Oh well.
Sadly we were quickly disappointed when we finally got to experience this game's local versus mode. It felt like the devs cheaply tacked it on in the last week of their development schedule. A real bummer. The game is a step back towards the PS2 era of 3D versus Dragon Ball games, which is good because the games on the PS3 weren't as fun, but it's still not quite there. The controls don't feel so good because they mapped some functions awkwardly to the shoulder buttons. You have to press the left stick to descend, press L1 to guard and hold L2 if you want to dodge. The combat itself is otherwise ok. It's Budokai Tenkaichi somewhat simplified, as you apparently can no longer choose the direction of your attacks and guards. As for the single player mode, I can't say that I'm a fan. The combat is a bit too repetitive for that. It might get better later on when you get more items and skills though. But the game doesn't excite me enough to bother playing much further.
However the part where you create and customize your own character is dope. We made a pink Frieza with a long nose and Cell-like chin, and then gave him sunglasses. The guy looks hilarious (considering he was summoned to play the role of a hero), so we had quite a blast with the game despite its flaws thanks to this feature

My messy HD retro gaming solution
Coupling a deinterlacer with a scaler optimized for progressive input sources.