Monday, July 11, 2016

Mid-Year wrap up

 Sometimes, a dude just wants to write, but he has nothing readily available for him to write about, in which case, why not resort to what I've been doing the past six months? What lingers on my mind, what did I like, what did I hate, why was The Evil Within so good?

  It's incredible just how well Chrono Trigger has aged. It truly was a 'Dream Team' that was brought together to work on this game. While the characters aren't particularly deep, they are memorable, the plot is memorable, and the music, man, oh man, the music! I liked the game a lot before replaying it, but after the fact, I realized that I loved it.
  I remember being piqued by curiosity regarding Danganronpa, I wanted to invest on the entire franchise, but I wasn't too sure, so I opted to play D1 first and then see where it goes. It was fantastic. I mean, I think the gameplay was too convoluted to be any fun, and the sequel got even worse in this regard, but the story was fantastic. It wasn't perfect by any means, but it was engaging and kept me hooked until I finally finished it.
  Devil May Cry 4 is, in a lot of ways, what I would've expected of a HD successor to a game franchise. It was, when stripped to the bone, DMC 3 but prettier. However, the fell short on some fronts. Namely, playing as both Dante and Nero feels fantastic, heck, I'd say that at times it feels even better than DMC 3. But that's as far as the mechanics are concerned, the level design was.... It had some slow-paced sections that really brought the game down, like play with the razor top-spins in the ice palace, or the absolutely terrible dice sections. And, y'know what? I didn't really mind having to play both levels twice, but, BUT what I did mind was how little game was for either Nero and Dante. Sure, it's a blast to play, but there's so little to play in! If we could've at least played both versions of each level with both characters, then at least it would've given us more to play with. It's a shame really.
  DMC 1 has aged very, very gracefully, I think I wasn't able to appreciate it back in the day, as I don't remember caring too much for it. DMC 2 on the other hand, for whatever reason, I loved it... nowadays, while I wouldn't go as far as to call it terrible, as most people do, it was an undeniable step back for the franchise. DMC 3 however, it's so flippin' good. The combo system is phenomenal, pummeling on enemies feels fantastic and there's a lot of different weapons to play with, there's a ton of costumes to unlock, and then there's Vergil who comes equipped with his own style. And unlike DMC 4, you can play the entire game as both characters, and sure, Vergil doesn't get his own story or exclusive levels, but he doesn't need them, his own particular style is all he needs to offer a different experience from Dante.
  Cyber Sleuth was a pleasant surprise. I really liked how much it felt like a Shin Megami Tensei game, since I love that franchise. I've always felt that Digimon had better monster designs than Pokemon, but worse games, well, Cyber Sleuth manages to put Pokemon Y/X/OR/AS to shame, but I remain ever hopeful for Sun and Moon, since they've already had time to play with the 3DS' specs. But I digress, I loved Cyber Sleuth, but they reaaaaaaaaally need to tone down the grinding.
 DmC never had a chance. Never. Most gamers are very abhorrent to change, which is a shame. Look at Marvel and DC comics, they never manage to leave their status quo because of this. Sure, Doc. Ock might take over Peter's body, but you know that it's gonna revert back to Peter, because that's what the mainstream knows, and that's the only audience that they care about. 'Oh noes, the new Iron Man is a black girl!' Well, I'd care if only I didn't know that Tony will be back as Iron Man eventually, and this new lass will be given a new codename. Man, Marvel and DC comics suck. But I digress, and it wouldn't be an original of mine if I didn't, cause that's, like, my staple. And there I go again.
 Anyways, as soon as the new Dante was revealed, the game lost any chance of ever being successful. 'Fans' may argue that it's the 'braindead combat' that turned them away, but I'd argue that most people had already passed their judgment based on Dante's look alone. Fact: Old Dante was a bigger prick than New Dante, at least New Dante didn't get any innocents killed. Fact: The new game is easier than previous games. But it doesn't mean it's bad, 'easy games' are not bad by default, as if being 'easy' is a detriment to a game. And even then, there's multiple unlockable difficulties, like one-hit kills, if you really need to challenge yourself. And need I remind you that the only reason vanilla DMC3 was hard was because of Capcom USA thought it smart to turn 'Normal' into 'Hard'?
 But you can argue time and time again, it won't make a change, 'fans' hate this game, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. And, honestly, it's their loss.
 Megaman Powere Up and Megaman Maverick Hunter X were two amazing remakes. They aren't exact 1:1 remakes with the previous games, although level design was kept relatively faithful, you can tell that the 'physics' aren't the same. Regardless, most of the differences of this ilk are inconsequential to the enjoyment of either game, and in the case of Megaman 1, it makes it even better, damn, Megaman would skate all over the place on his first outing!
 But Megaman X was downright amazing, and Maverick Hunter X follows suit, adding a ton of extras to make the deal even sweeter. Not only do you get a fully animated Ova, Day of Sigma, which I will fully admit to not caring in the slightest about, but you also get Vice as a playable character. Vice's game is really good once it gets going. You see, when you start playing with Vice, he sucks. He is fragile, he has little firepower and the stages feel harder. Heck, I even died on the introduction stage, and I know I wasn't the only one. I almost quit since I couldn't get through Chill Penguin's stage, it was that hard. But I soldiered on, and it turns out that the more you play, the stronger Vice gets, and the more weapons he gets. By the end of the game, Vice is more versatile than X could ever become, and packs firepower to spare. It's so rewarding going from zero to, erm, villain.
 I'm done singing Megaman X's praises, but then there's X2, which managed to be almost as good as the original. As a matter of fact, I think that people who play X2 before X1 will like X2 the better. And after you are done with X2, there's X3, which... isn't quite as good, but it's still a great game on its own right. And then there's Megaman X4, which was all sorts of fantastic, featuring an entirely new, gorgeous spriteset and some of the best bosses Megaman X has ever had. And then you can jump right into X5 and... it really went down hill, didn't it? But at least it's a decent game. You want more? X6 is waiting for you!.... And X6 sucks. It has terrible level design, with a couple of obstacles that are unwinnable by design, or unless you managed to get the proper equipment, which can be lost forever. It features some of the laziest spritework yet seen in the franchise, joined by the worst bosses in the series.
 But at the end of the day, you got four fantastic games, a decent one and only one stinker, that's a knockout on my book!
  Extreme VS Force, you disappointing little game you. Gundam VS Gundam Final Plus on the PSP is one of the finest games you can get on that console, and Extreme VS is one of my favorite games ever. Now, imagine being able to take Extreme VS on the go with me, how amazing would that be? Particularly since these games lend themselves to handhelds pretty well.
 The initial release was a total clunker. You had about a third of the total amount of suits available on Full Boost on the PS3, and only one mode, 'Extreme Force', which while relatively decent, showed that the engine really didn't lend itself to that type of game. And, compared to the previous outing on the PSP, had less characters, less stages and less modes. Absolutely unacceptable. Subsequent patches had added a few more mobile suits, and finally a VS mode, but I think it was a little bit too late. And, while I can now acknowledge it as a great game, I haven't played it as much as I thought I would. While we have over 40 suits now, it still feels bitter when you think that you could be playing with even more characters on the console version.
 Back when I was younger, I decided that I didn't like Survival Horror, but I had at least dabbled into Resident Evil 1 and 3, and much later Code Veronica. Regardless, even though I hadn't played REvil 2, I still wanted to try it out, for whatever masochistic reason, and had already decided that Leon and Claire were my favorite characters of the franchise.
 Well, I finally got to play Resident Evil 2 this year, and it was great. I still like Leon and Claire the best, but at least now I have reasons to do so besides 'they look cool'. The movement is very clunky 'n all, but I really like it, dunno why. Maybe, maybe, eventually, this year, I might try my hands at Resident Evil 1 again, and get Resident Evil 3. Maybe.
 The Evil Within is still my runner for my favorite game of the year, this year. So far, since I discovered that I like survival horror, I prefer Resident Evil's gameplay(Both classic and modern), but prefer Silent Hill's story and monster design. Resident Evil games are fun to play, but Silent Hill games are fun to play through.
 Now, mix Silent Hill's psychological horror with the more organic enemy designs with Resident Evil's now trademark over the shoulder camera and you get The Evil Within. And I love it to bits. Interestingly, the other day I was thinking about it, I couldn't remember anything about the main characters, I didn't even remember that Sebastian was called Sebastian, which shows just how unremarkable they were. But the set pieces? The environments? The monsters? Those I remember very, very clearly. That moment when you finally get through the gate during the early parts of the game, and very organically, you realize that you've awoken dozens of enemies, and by that part it's impossible to have much ammo, so you instinctively choose to run. 10 outta 10 moment right there. What about the set piece with the rotating razor in the middle? I remember dying multiple times there, but it was fun nonetheless. There's also the caves, when you meet locker-head, and he kills himself in order to respawn near you. Awesome. By the end of the game, the horror elements kinda got a bit diluted and it turned into an action game featuring monsters, but it made sense, since the entire city had gone to hell, and now it was killed or be killed..
 The Evil Within is a top notch game, I've been contemplating replaying it every now and then, but then I remind myself of my backlog and how I should be making some progress on those games instead. Regardless, The Evil Within is, so far, my favorite game I've played this year.

1 comment:

  1. You should teach me how to play so many games in 6 months hehe.