Monday, October 23, 2017

Now Playing: Bloody Roar 4

 Kind of a sequel? Kinda? Maybe?

 Bloody Roar Primal Fury has a contested place as a sequel, but nobody seems to doubt Bloody Roar 4's worthiness to the number... despite it recycling character designs and models from Primal Fury. And we lost Ganesha and Chronos for series' newcomers Ryoho, Nagi and Reiji.

 Regardless, I started career mode with Bakuryu and... everything feels off. I still don't quite get how to enter Hyper Beast mode and everything feels slow. The feedback you got from landing hits is also gone, and everything feels floatier and... looser. Not good.

 The new system that makes both Beast Gauge and Health bar needing to be depleted is garbage, seriously, human form is nigh useless and you can just spam Beast Mode by expending a little health.

 All in all... I'm not feeling it. I don't think it's quite as terrible as people make it out to be, but I wouldn't call it great either.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Review #484: Bloody Roar - Primal Fury

 Is it a port or is it a sequel?
Not a good cover, not at all.
 When talking about Primal Fury one question usually arises, is it a port or is it a sequel to 3? No place seems to agree, but after having played both games back to back, the truth is somewhere in the middle, leaning towards full-blown sequel. Y'see, while it feels like the same game, the art-direction has shifted completely, the storyline is completely different, every character sporting new designs and a few changed moves(But only a few, and only some characters), the mechanics have been tweaked a bit and there're about two new stages... reusing the rest from 3 and there're two new characters. Basically, it's more like a very meaty expansion pack than a true sequel.

 BR 3 was a bit light on modes, and Primal Fury set out to remedy this by offering an Arcade Mode, VS Player, Time Attack, Survival, Team Battle and VS Team Battle. 'Extra Modes' has been swapped with 'Cheats', which works like 'Custom VS' from previous games, only that it affects every mode. Cheats, basically, let you tweak a few things, like walls on stages, playing as super deformed characters(It returned!) or fighting at a higher/lower speed. The new characters are fairly interesting, Ganesha the Elephant and Chronos the Penguin... who's Hyper Beast Mode is a Phoenix. Enjoy these new characters, because as fun to use as they are, they won't return in the next, and final, game.
The new designs are hit or miss, but characters only have two costumes/colors now. Lame!
 The game plays pretty much the same as 3, on which I expanded on the previous blog entry, but Hyper Beast Mode has been change a lot. You no longer need to wait for a full beast gauge to unleash it, instead you can trade health in order to use it at any time. It lasts only 12 seconds, but you can use it as many times as you wish, and why wouldn't you, as much health as it costs to use, you can just use Beast Drives, which will heal you a little whether they hit or not. Hyper Beast does seem to do less overall damage than before, probably to make up for how easy it is to access it.

 Balance... is still pretty bad. A few characters have been tweaked a bit, mostly in order to add new counter moves, and Long does seem a bit toned down, but Uranus is still too strong when compared to the rest of the cast. Chronos too is pretty tough, but not because of his Phoenix Mode, not because he can actually rob you of Beast Gauge energy, but because his Penguin Form is so short that it's hard to hit him!
C'mon Xion, make those devils cry!
 The new art direction is very... animu, to say the least. There's an anime opening, and there are hilariously mute anime endings for every character, save for Kohryu and Uranus who get the short end of the stick here too. Character designs are a bit softer, some characters have been getting edgier and grittier by every game, but here they just... started wearing normal clothes? Look at Yugo, he went from an anime fighter, to a hardcore pugilist to a leather-jacker sporting Jin Kazama wannabe to a... skater dude? Well, to be fair, it's a bit hit or miss, Long looks better than ever, while Shina doesn't come off as badass as she did before, while in turn Alice doesn't look as animu as before. Your mileage may vary depending on the character.

 Primal Fury is... pretty much Bloody Roar 3 with a few new bells and whistles. While I think that BR 3 had the better art direction and Hyper Beast Mode worked better too, I can appreciate the efforts taken to balance the rest of the characters... even if making Hyper Beast Mode something so easy to cheese. Overall? A different flavor of the same game. Not necessarily better and not necessarily worse, just... different.
 8.5 out of 10

Review #483: Bloody Roar 3

 Xion was Dante before Devil May Cry was a thing.
The art isn't as dark as it used to be, but it's still neat.
 Bloody Roar 2 was pretty dope and took the series in a bold new direction with the grittier art-style and cooler character designs. But then came the PS2, and thus a new game was bound to happen harnessing the power of the new consoles. Bloody Roar 3 is everything a fan of the franchise would've wanted.

 As far as modes go, we've got Arcade Mode, now with hand-drawn prologue and ending stills, VS Player(No VS CPU, which sucks), Survival and Practice Mode. Fulfilling certain conditions, most of them involving Survival and Arcade Mode, you can unlock Extra modes, which are hidden beneath the options screens and have the series staples like No walls or everything-cancels-into-everything. Kids mode, big arms and big head modes are gone. The selection of Modes is alright, but man does it suck not having VS CPU. As for the character roster, every character returns, with a few new moves and new designs. There're three new characters, Xion the Unborn(A cockroach looking thing), Kohryu the Iron Mole(Bakuryu from the first game, plays very similarly to the new Bakuryu) and Uranus the Chimera.
Characters have three different costumes and/or colors to pick from.
 The gameplay remains the same, two attack buttons(Punch and Kick) as well as the beast button that turns you into a beast as well as doubling as another attack button while in beast mode. Beast Drives, AKA Super Moves, return, but now with universal motions for every character as well as two of them for each. Sidesteps are turned on by default now, and the game plays way faster than before, something I welcome quite a lot. The biggest game changer is Hyper Beast mode, once your beast gauge is full, press R1+O+Square to enter Hyper Beast Mode, which lasts 12 seconds and once time runs out you lose your beast gauge, but makes you incredibly overpowered for 12 seconds, letting you spam Beast Drives non-stop, yes, the supers that normally should turn you back into a human and heal some of your health back.

 While Hyper Beast Mode makes every character overpowered, there's no escaping the fact that the game, as a whole, isn't very balanced. Long, Xion and Uranus are simply too strong when compared to the rest of the cast, although I've heard that every character has access to some very simple infinites...
That's not Guyver... I think.
 Bloody Roar 3 is the culmination of the beautiful mess that the series is. Any attempt of being a balanced fighter is gone out the window in favor of offering fast-paced button mashing action. It's the most markedly unbalanced it's ever been, but it's also the most fun it's ever been. The series will never appeal to some people, and that's fine, because there's definitely a place for this game.... but it'd be nice if they could tone down a few characters, yes?
 8.5 out of 10

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Review #482: Bloody Roar 2

Furries rejoice!
Hey, there, Gado, I heard you are the new final Boss now?
 Bloody Roar 1 was a very original fighting game back in the day, I mean, you could turn your humans into furries versions of themselves. It was definitely a button masher, not much depth to it, but it was fun to play thanks to the long combo strings each character had and the simplicity of it all. Bloody Roar 2 is exactly the same in that regard, it's not deep, it's very simple... but it's also a load of fun.

 The game offers these modes: Arcade, an 8-man ladder, Story, a 6-to-8 fight ladder accompanied by fantastic hand-drawn stills, Survival, self explanatory, VS Player and Custom VS. Custom VS can be played against another player or another CPU, and it's a mode in which you can alter a few mechanics, like turning on side-stepping, making everything cancel into everything or having characters look super deformed, these options must be unlocked, however, by fulfilling a few conditions like clearing Arcade without using a continue. As for characters, Yugo the Wolf, Alice the Rabbit, Gado the Lion and Long the Tiger return, Jenny the Bat takes Fox the Fox's place, while Stun the Insect and Busuzima the Chamaeleon borrowed some moves from Greg the Gorilla and Mitsuko the Boear, then there's a teenage Bakuryu the Mole, the successor to Bloody Roar 1's Bakuryu. There're three other new charactes with new moves, kinda, Shina the Leopard, Uriko the Half-beast and Shenlong the Tiger, who actually uses Long's BR1 moveset. It's a neat 11-character roster
This game's aesthetics are fantastic.
 Bloody Roar 2 plays pretty much exactly like the previous game, there's a punch and a kick button, while circle is used to turn into your beast form, and then acts as a third attack button. Beast Mode lasts as long as your beast gauge has some energy in it, but you lose it as you get hit, once out of Beast Mode you must fill the entire gauge again, by landing hits, in order to transform again. Beast Rave has been removed entirely, and in its place are Beast Drives, devastating super moves that drain your gauge completely and turn you back into a human. Beast Drives are much better than Beast Rave, if you ask me.

 Bloody Roar 2 looks much better than the first one, animations are smoother and the character models are prettier. Moves flow much better into each other, and it feels like a faster game. The character designs are much better too, I don't miss any of the characters that didn't return since their successors are much cooler or interesting.
Japanese fighting games don't tend to have this much blood in them.
 Bloody Roar 2 is so much better and polished than the first game that it makes it hard to go back to 1. Sure, it's missing a few characters, but I'd rather play as any of the newcomers from the sequel, plus, Beast Rave didn't work too well while Beast Drives are an interesting new mechanic. The game is still a button-masher, however, so people looking for something deep should look elsewhere.
 8.0 out of 10

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Now Playing: Bloody Roar 2

 How can a roar be bloody? You spit blood as you roar?
Gado looks just like Rugal now.
 I don't know on which game I spent more time playing back when I was younger, Bloody Roar 2 or 3, but dang, is 2 good.

 Apparently, the game's reception was... lukewarm to say the least, people said that it was the same game but with more characters... but it isn't. Kinda.
 First of all, they got rid of the sillier characters(Fox, Greg, Old Bakuryu and Mitsuko(Which I think was the only interesting design of the four)) and replaced them with newer, cooler characters like Bakuryu 2, Jenny the Bat, Shina the Leopard(Quite badass), Stun the Insect and... well, Uriko is kinda cute and Buzusima is weird, but the game needed a weirdo. The artstyle is so much better, the game looks so much better, moves flow into each other much more smoothly and the game feels much faster.

 Like, the game isn't so different from the first one, but all the little enhancements and tweaks do add up for a much better game. And, by the by, this game totally fits into my October Halloween Extravaganza, I mean, I've braved Vampires, Skeletons, Deadites, Ghosts and even Natural Disasters, now I have to take on werewolves.

...and werelions. And wereleopards. And weremoles. And insect people.

Review #481: Raw Danger!

 Open the floodgates!
Just so you know, the Localization Team made everyone blonde because 'Murica.
 Welcome to Raw Danger, a survival game in which you must survive a flood catastrophe. It's a very original and unique game that's pretty much one of a kind on the PS2, barring the original game of course.

 The story takes place in an Island City, in which a dam breaks and the whole city starts falling apart. There're 6 different scenarios and 6 different characters, all of them intertwined and taking place throughout the 24th, 25th and 26th of December. What really makes this game special is how choices you make affect the subsequent chapters. Each chapter has a ton of choices for the player to make, some are merely cosmetical or superfluous, while others can either impact how the present chapter pans out or things about the remaining stories. Heck, there're a couple of different endings for every chapter as well as the overall ending, and depending on what you do on the first chapter, you will get an alternate chapter 6 with an alternate character. Frankly, the story itself gets sillier and generic-er as the conspiracy starts unraveling but, but the way the game treats your choices makes it very enjoyable to go through, it's always fun seeing how something you did before is affecting this other character. Which also means that there's a very high replayability factor here.
There's rarely a dull moment in Raw Danger!
 What you should know before taking the plunge is that the game is very wonky at a technical level. The game is very, very ugly but to its merit, it completely nailed the atmosphere it wanted, everything looks and feels cold, damp and wet, so bonus points there. But even setting aside how ugly character models are, the clunkiness extends to the gameplay, as you'll notice that collision detection can be a bit off at times. The game is very forgiving, and the poor collision detection can either work in your favor or against you. Oh, and pushing objects around is horrible, luckily it's not something you'll be doing very often. And then there's the framerate, which can get pretty horrid pretty often, all the rain and water effects do take a toll on the poor, ol' PS2.

 But if you can look aside its technical flaws, you'll discover a very enjoyable survival/adventure game. There are no enemies to be beaten, although villains are involved, you don't have any means of offence, instead, your main objective is surviving. There's no traditional health meter in here, but rather, you must keep your Body Temperature(BT) in check, as the rain and/or the flooded streets will dampen your colds, in turn making your BT decrease faster. As it lowers you'll lose the ability to run, and eventually, fall unconscious(Meaning, Game Over). Luckily, the game is very forgiving, at least on the normal difficulty setting. Savepoints are rather frequent, and they can dry all your clothes and fill your BT gauge to the top, hassle free.
Water's your biggest in the game.
 There're a ton, and I do mean a TON of items laying around that you can pick up, but do be careful, carrying capacity is limited. Heck, often times you're better off leaving items on the ground, as you'll come back to a few places with the other characters, and you don't want to leave them without supplies, now do you? There're a few Trash Containers in which you can deposit items for other characters to pick up if they come across the same container, or drop them with a recurring NPC. As for the items, they come in a wide variety, you've got the mandatory key items require to handle obstacles, there's food that can be cooked for a temporary BT protection, as well as heat pads or energy drinks that also prevent your BT from lowering for a while, as well as various clothes. Clothes are either cosmetics or some do offer some extra protection from the water and cold.

 Overall, Raw Danger is a fantastic, unique game on the PS2. All the choices you can make, all the items there're for you to collect and the interesting mechanics make for a very engaging experience that makes no two playthroughs the same. That said, you've got to be willing to forgive its technical shortcomings.
 8.5 out of 10

Friday, October 13, 2017

Now Playing: Raw Danger!

 And not it's time for natural disasters.
Look at their hands!
 It's still October, and I've fought Skeletons, Vampires, Psychic nutjobs and zombies, but there's one type of horror I haven't delved in yet.... Natural disasters. I actually wanted to play Disaster Report first, but it's a bit hard to find, so the sequel will do for now.

 I just spent 30 minutes, a few more if you count the tutorial, and damn boy, where has this game been hiding all my life? The entire set-up was brilliant, the whole party thing, having to act like a waiter, a ton of different decisions(Some that alter how things play out!), attention to detail(I grabbed the bag before the game told me so, so guests asked about it!) and then, the arrival of the flood. The pacing and the setting make for a sublime first impression.

 Movement is a bit clunky, to be fair, and moving stuff around(That step ladder!) is an absolute nightmare, but I think the game's charm and originality will pull through its technical problems.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Review #480: Resident Evil 6

 It only took me, what? About a year?
That's the ugliest 6 I've ever seen.
 Resident Evil 6 was very polarizing to say the least. Back when it first released, it was subject to either very high scores or very low scores, Destructoid's Jim Sterling even gave it a brutal 3 out of 10. After playing through the game.. I think it's high time people realized that Resident Evil was always about the action first and stop being so harsh on 4, 5 and 6!

 The story... is divided into 4 interwoven, 5-chapter campaigns. First we've got Chris and Piers', who you are told is the most action based... which is a lie, it's got as many chase sequences and vehicle sequences as the rest, and it even has its slow, horrory moments. Then there're Sherry and Jake's, who's campaign follows Resident Evil 3 scheme... except not, the Ustanak, this game's 'Nemesis', is just another element of a bigger setpiece, always appearing when the script says so, and there's always one way of taking him out or avoiding him. There're chase and vehicle sequences too. Leon and Helena have the next campaign, touted as the one focused on horror... which is not true either, the first two chapters are glorious, yes, but the next three feature just as many vehicle and chase sequences as the rest. The final campaign is unlocked after finishing the other three and is the plot dump campaign in which the 'why' and 'how's are explained. There're vehicle and chase sequences too. What I mean to say is... the idea that all four campaigns are focused on different themes or gameplays is a lie, all four campaigns are pretty much the same. As for the overall story.. it's pretty silly, although it tries to take itself more seriously than ever before, there're no crazy scientists, mad dragqueens or weird, pale midgets. Overall, the story was entertaining enough, but not something that moved me or hooked me.
The chaos had never been this much wide-spread before. The stakes are higher than they've ever been in REvil.
 I think that dividing the game into four campaigns was a mistake though. I would've much preferred a more focused campaign, and one that didn't move in a breakneck speed. Y'see, something that will probably turn off quite a few is the fact that the game advances in a set-piece to set-piece fashion. There's never a dull moment, and if the action slows down is because something is about to happen soon. Even Leon's first two chapters, which are rather slow-paced, are like this. Sidenote, the first two chapters in Leon's campaign are exactly what a story-driven Zombie game should be like. Overall, the game is rather lengthy, chapters take about an hour to complete, Leon having the longest chapters(Some going as far as 1:30) while Ada has the shortest(Most shouldn't break an hour).

 As far as gameplay goes, it's pretty much an evolved version of Resident Evil 5's over-the-should third-person shooting mechanics. There're a ton of new maneuvers, not only can you move while aiming, you can also dodge to the sides or even jump back. You can lay on the floor or roll on the floor as you aim and shoot! While characters are as heavy to turn and as agile as a sack of sand, the new abilities do make for more frantic action. Melee can now be performed at will by tapping R1, although the really strong melee moves are reserved for dazed enemies, by hitting their limbs. There's a new stamina gauge that governs how much you can use your melee attacks, so you can't just spam them. Overall, I adored the new additions to the gameplay.
For as many complaints as the camera received, I felt it was just fine.
 One thing I really liked were the new enemies, the J'Avo. These monsters will mutate in different ways depending on where you harm them. Hit their torsos? They might develop an armored body. Hit their legs? Now they turn into half-man-half-flesh-grasshopper-thing. While there's not a huge amount of variety, there was enough to keep things interesting. Leon and Helena get exclusive enemies in the form of zombies, which may mutate into red zombies, as well as fat and screaming zombies, but I didn't care too much about them, same old, same old.

 There's a new Skill system in place too, sometimes enemies or boxes may drop skill points when felled, which can then be used on different passive skills. While you can only have three at a time, finishing the game lets you have up to eight different, three-skill sets to switch around mid-gameplay. A ton of people disliked the new system since 'you may be running out of ammo or health and get skill points instead', but... how the hell did you run out of ammo? Health is restored to full upon dying and restarting on a checkpoint, so being low on life is no excuse, and as for ammo... if you are using your melee attacks, which if you've been playing REvil since 4 you should know how strong and useful they are, you shouldn't be hurting for ammo. I will admit that ammo is limited, but I never, EVER found myself without ammo. EVER.
Some setpieces are shared between campaigns, if you play online, you can have four different players together at times!
 I've heard horror tales about AI Sheva's uselessness in REvil 5, but I found AI allies to be pretty darn useful. They've removed their inventories, so the will never pick up stuff, which is good news for people that play in Single Player, although the real-time menu remains, which is kinda annoying in my opinion. They've tweaked how herbs work, and you must now store them in your pellet case and then eat them as individual pellets? It's kinda cumbersome, since it involves going through a second inventory(Directional pads switches weapons, triangle is your entire inventory) just to put them inside the case. It also doesn't make much sense what your maximum capacity of pellets is, since sometimes it wouldn't let me store them even though I shouldn't be hitting the max. Weird.

 Still, the worst returning offender is, or rather, are... the QTEs. There're way too many QTEs, and they are incredibly annoying, as per usual. And you CAN turn them off... if you set the difficulty to amateur. Seriously??? I read some complaints about the camera, and while it is true that I felt that your character took up way too much screen time, it never got in my way. I always knew what was going on and didn't have issues figuring out where to go, and no, I didn't have the patch that let you zoom-out the camera. My only issue with the camera is during the way too frequent chase-sequences. which have you and your partner escaping from different things while the camera does its best to disorient you. Speaking of disorienting, Capcom thought it'd be cute to give all four couples a different HUD, which can be a bit of a shock until you get used to them.
The game looks amazing, and the framerate is pretty stable to boot.
 Mercenaries return, although there are only 3 scenarios. Mercenaries is a mini-game, unlocked from the start, that has you trying to defeat as many enemies that you can while under a time limit, which can be extended in various ways. There're unlockable costumes for every character, but the guys get stupid, joke costumes and the girls get fetishistic slutty cop costumes, basically, none are worth it. There's a new, online-only, mode, 'Agent Hunt', in which you can invade other people's campaigns and play as the monsters, trying to kill the players. I didn't get to try it out, but it sounds amusing.

 In an era where games had already started to be released incomplete, Resident Evil 6 is quite the package, featuring a very lengthy campaign, with a few neat extras. Look, if you're a die-hard Classic Resident evil fan, this game won't sway you, and the new setpiece-to-setpiece pace will probably alienate a few, but as someone who likes this brand of third person shooters, with heavy and slow characters and the horror elements.... I can't help but like the game a lot. That said, I think I prefer Resident Evil 5 for the simple fact that it had a more focused campaign, and one that had much better pacing. Look, the setpiece-to-setpiece approach makes for a very exciting game, but there's not much build up, and as such, these epic, semi-scripted moments lose a lot of their impact. And as much as I adored the new gameplay elements, the campaigns get very repetitive with the multiple tacked-on vehicle and chase sequences. And the QTEs need to follow in the way of the dinosaurs.
 8.0 out of 10

Monday, October 9, 2017

Review #479: Corpse Party - Blood Drive

 This game is a corpse, but there's no party to be had playing it.
Damned, tempting extras at a low price!
 So there I was, browsing Play-Asia for a new purchase and I came across Corpse Party Blood Drive's Everafter Edition at 20 bucks. 20 bucks. It came with a fancy box, an artbook and a soundtrack CD, of course I had to buy it. I had to. Plus, it was a franchise I was looking to get into, even the 3DS re-release of the first game was on my sights. Was. After playing through Blood Drive I've no intention of ever dabbling in it again. Ever.

 I came at Blood Drive knowing NOTHING about the previous games... which is a big mistake. Blood Drives assumes you've played previous games, even the ones that never made it outside Japan, and if you want to get the full experience, it's better if you've dabbled in side material too. Still, while I got half the plot, what little I got I despised. Where should I start? There're overly long drawn-out descriptions of things that happen all the time, which are so boring to read. And this comes from someone who adores visual-novel styled games like Phoenix Wright, Danganronpa and Lux Pain, to name a few. The dialogue and script are very poorly written, it's hard to take anything that's happening seriously when everything sounds so... like it's trying so hard to be 'cool' using profanity and expletives, which has the offset of coming out as very cringey since the game uses a super-deformed style for the 3-D graphics, and the 2-D art is so childish and looks like your average, generic anime. And it tries so hard when it comes to describing gory stuff, it tries SO hard, but it's so hard to take seriously. And the characters? Every single character is a walking anime trope. You've even got Magari who represents everything wrong about anime, walking in a glorified string bikini while inside a zombie infested, decrepit and rundown school. It makes no sense and looks so stupid that makes it impossible to take anything that's going on seriously. As for the plot itself, EVEN if I knew the series' background I would have found it boring and cliched, ending with the characters having to save the entire world. I'm not kidding.
Ayumi is an idiot, coming back to Heavenly Host was a big mistake, and so was joining her in her quest.
 And when the game isn't boring you to tears, you'll be walking around the Heavenly Host high, a rundown highschool filled with zombies, ghosts, fleshy red things on the walls and broken floors. The entire gameplay portions of the game takes place in here, and all you'll be doing is running around, collecting items, solving puzzles(all of them are of the 'put the correct item in here' variety) while avoiding pursuers and traps on the ground. But nothing works well, nothing.

 Let's start with exploration: You've no map and everything looks the same. Seriously, there's no way to know where you are because there're no unique landmarks or what have you to guide you. And you have to go round and round and round searching for objects that need to be used in different places in order to proceed. The game is divided in 10 chapters, and every single time you'll have to retread old ground since for whatever reason objects appear out of thin air from chapter to chapter. It doesn't make sense. It's particularly egregious in a few chapters that after triggering something, new stuff appears in rooms you've already been to, with no hint whatsoever, so you are expected to go round and round and round and round again, examining every single room, again. It's so boring.
It looks scary, but it isn't. Trust me, I was deceived too.
 You are given a flashlight, which runs on batteries, but.... by pressing Select you can make batteries unlimited. Just like that. Your character also seems to run out of stamina pretty fast, which is supposed to make it so that you simply can't run away from pursuers, but... it makes exploration a drag, since you walk oh, so slowly. Plus, every now and then you'll be given choices 'enter the hole or 'do nothing', 'trust her' or 'ignore her', and if you choose the wrong answer... you lose. Just because. It's not fun, these 'bad endings' are interesting either since you don't even get a CG, just a boring, over-drawn description of what murdered you. Hopefully you saved earlier, because it's always fun to lose because of a random event that has a 50-50 chance of survival.

 As mentioned before, there're pursuers in the game, usually black ghosts. Once one tracks you, it will pursue you until you die or you run an absurdly long amount of time. You can hide in closets, but every single time I tried it I got caught, or... you can run towards a save spot, save and reload. Bang, the pursuer is gone. That's what I did, once I figured it out, since pursuers are relentless and once one spawns there's basically nothing else you can do, unless you have a Talisman which will instantly kill it. It's particularly bad because you also lose health from various traps laid on the floor, such as broken glass or splinters, which are hard to avoid when you're running away... which is probably why save spots heal you completely.
As dangerous as a super-deformed mannequin can be.
 Alright, so the exploration is boring, the chases are a drag and the visual novel parts put you to sleep, what else could the game screw up? Well, it runs like hot garbage. There're load screens everywhere: Open the menu? Loading screen. Use an item? Loading screen. Enter a room? Loading screen. And these are pretty long, 4-5 seconds affairs(Sometimes more) and they pile up because they are so frequent. The framerate is particularly pathetic, but once you turn on the flashlight, oh boy, does it get bad, hopefully you like playing as if your characters were underwater. Pro-tip, turn Flight Mode On, it makes it run a tiny bit better. I heard that the game was also prone to freezing, but I didn't come across any, albeit I did use Flight Mode most of the time I played the game.

 There's a bunch of extras to collect, like extra chapters, which are entirely in visual-novel form, and 'Name Tags', from dead alumni, and each tag comes with a colorful description of how the person died. And that's about it.
The game is probably more enjoyable if you can't understand the drivel they are spewing.
 Corpse Party - Blood Drive is a bad game. It is. Even, even if you liked the story, maybe you've never watched anime before so everything seems new to you, or maybe you're a hardcore anime nut and don't care that anime recycles tropes and cliches, even then... the game runs so poorly, it's an absolute dredge to play through. There's not a single redeeming quality in Corpse Party, and I usually like to find redeeming qualities. But there's none here. This game should've stayed in Japan, alongside the other games in the franchise that never made it through.
 0.5 out of 10

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Review #478: Galerians - Ash

 Pretty Psychic Boys return, now with more Aliens and less Friday the 13th.
Now with more sci-fi and less horror.
 Remember Galerians? You probably don't, it was this obscure PS1 survival horror game featuring kids with psychic powers. But that's OK, the game uses footage from the movie, Galerians - Rion, to provide a lengthy recap... or you could read the game's instruction booklet for an even lengthier recap. The game spoils the original, so I will do so as well.

 Six years have passed since Rion gave up his life in order to stop the evil super computer Dorothy, however, Rion, being an AI, got stuck in a loop fighting her inside the data world. Lillia accesses the data world and managed to pluck Rion right out of it and download his conscience into his body, which she preserved after that faithful fight. Everything would be honky-dory, but the last remaining humans are now trapped in a building as the Last Galerians are making their way up, and guess what, only Rion can stop them. Remember how creepily eerie the first game could be? That's done, Galerians - Ash went towards the sci-fi route, specifically, Aliens. You're still fighting psychic loons and the such, but the ambiance and setting have much less horror in them, and it's more about surviving alongside the group of soldiers that distrust Rion. As for the plot itself... try not to think too hard about it.
Even the monsters lack a je ne se quoi that made the menagerie so much more creepy in the first game.
 Much has changed, but much also remains the same. Let's go over combat first: Rion now has 180 degrees of freedom when it comes to fighting, tank controls are gone, you can lock-on enemies, strafe around them, dodge around them(Circle button) and even guard by holding R1. Whereas in the previous game you had different levels of charge for your attacks, in here you have to charge the entire gauge before attacking, Nalcon being the only power that can be used with a single tap(But it's better if you charge), which takes a while getting used to if you come directly after finishing Galerians. Nalcon, Red and D-Felon, you psychic powers, return, but there're two new drugs, Bustanor, homing energy boomerangs of sorts, and Breakaron, devastating lightning. Bustanor is incredibly useful and Breakaron is incredibly powerful but you'll rarely get to use them since they come in very small supply. Also, I think you can accidentally skip them if you don't talk to the right NPC when they become available. Speaking of skipping, the Skip drug returns and now it can permanently boost any five of your powers and your shield, up to level 3, you usually get them after finishing a boss, but there's four hidden ones.

 The combat is much more fun than before, that's for sure. Each power takes a different time to charge, and you get rooted to your place when charging, but you can cancel it at any time by dodging. It's faster, and you gotta consider that every enemy is particularly susceptible to different powers: Bio-Plants fall faster to Red, human-like enemies get wrecked by D-Felon and robots can't do a thing about Bustaron(But you'd better save it up for the final bosses), and while Nalcon isn't particularly effective against anything, a few enemies resist it rather well, a tradeoff for being so plentiful I guess. There're RPG elements in place here too, every single enemy you defeat will drop a supply item or a permanent upgrade, either to your HP, AP or your maximum capacity for every drug, which means that the more you kill, the more each drug refill will last you and the more damage you'll be able to resist. Nalcon, Red and D-Felon are plentiful enough so that you can take a break to grind for stat upgrades or hope for recovery items and don't be too concerned about running out of ammo, just don't take it for granted. And the game sorta wants you to do it, enemies will respawn for a long, long while before stopping, heck, one of the hidden Skips requires defeating 600 enemies in a particular room. Yes, this means that the game went Resident Evil 4(Focusing on Action, and making ammo more plentiful) before Resident Evil 4, fancy that eh!
And you thought the Arabesques from the first game were tough!
 The AP gauge returns, for the uninitiated, AP is a gauge that once full will make Rion go berserk('Short'), he becomes invincible and every non-boss enemy dies by just looking at him funny... but it constantly saps your HP, you're reduced to a very slow walk and can only get out of it by taking a Delmetor or getting to one of the very rare, only two in the entire game, 'glowing lights' that restore your HP and AP. The system has changed a bit, for instance, you AP threshold can be extended by defeating enemies and how fast your AP rises depends on the 'radiation' of the zone you're in, other factors that make it rise higher is taking or receiving damage, shielding and dodging. While you'd think that Shorting would be beneficial for grinding, enemies defeated while Shorted drop smaller stat buffs.

 By now you probably think that the game is a banger, since the combat system is so much better. But it's not. The exploration aspect of the game is absolutely horrid. Let me tell you how the game works: You're stuck inside the top floors of a building, you are briefed at the top of the building(Floor 4) and must now find your way to floor 1(Lots o' walking and loading screens) to do whatever you need to do, many times you'll have to travel between floors doing busywork before being allowed into floor 1, afterwards you complete the mission and... must go all the way back to floor 4 and be told of some new development which has you... going down to floor 1 again, but probably taking a new route since the previous one is now blocked because reasons. That's the entire game. Well, there's another area, the Uranium Depository which must be visited twice, and the Data World which must be visited three times, and you have to repeat the same puzzles all three times because you're interrupted the previous two. But of course, you have to reach the place that you were at during your last visit and then do some more busywork. LAME. It's incredible how the got away with that one.
You make their head spin right round and round like a record baby, ro....
 Not that the puzzles are any good either, let me show you how the first 'big' puzzle in the game goes. You start off on floor 4(of course) and must get to a Warehouse. You try to open the door and it's a no go, of course, so you need to turn on the Power Generator. The next thing you have to figure out is that you have to interact with a door's button and not the door itself, otherwise it will appear as 'locked' in the map and you won't be able to open it. Fun. Now you are in floor 1, and there's no explanation as to why. Well, maybe you came across a certain key when you first came here, but since you didn't need it the game didn't let you pick it up, so hopefully you remember where it was. Alright, whatever, you're a psychic so you figure out that you need a key and that the key is here. you fetch it and go back to Floor 2, which isn't as simple as climbing a stair, you have to go from floor 1 to Laboratory 2 to Floor 3 to Floor 2. Fun times, I tell ya. Alright, you get to the generator, you enter the Start menu go to the Item label and use the key. You think you're done so you go back to the warehouse and... still no power. You go all the way back to the generator, but now you spot a broken cable. Maybe you came across a spare cable that the game didn't let you pick up because you didn't need it back then, but you remember where it was, somehow, so you go fetch it and... nothing. You actually have to examine the goddamn broken cable, because even though you aren't blind, Rion is, so unless you interacted with the broken cable you can't pick up the new spare cable. Alright, you interacted with it, got the spare cable and now you go into the menu and.... you can't use it. You have to turn off the generator, use the cable and then turn it on. You think you are done, you really think so, but... nope, now someone is standing in your way towards lab 2. So now you have to figure out that you have to talk to the dude guarding the stairs to floor 1 because NOW he feels like letting you in. I wouldn't blame you if you gave up during this entire waste of time.

 The game is very obtuse in telling you where it wants you to go next, or how to get there, so if you want to use a guide feel free to, the game loves to waste your time, be it having you retread old ground in the Data World, having you go up and down the same four floors or having incredibly annoying puzzles. Scratch that, use a guide and don't waste your time.... which is not to say that the game is devoid of fun ideas, there's a very fun mindscrew 3/4ths into the game, and it features a very WTF ending, although, all things considered, the ending is rather unfulfilling. And don't try to think too hard about some of the things that happen, or you'll find out that they make no sense or aren't properly explained. And as an added note, the game loves to be cheeky, so items only appear when you get annoyingly close to them, forcing you to comb areas if you want to find supplies.
These psychic-plants reminded me of REvil 2's zombie-plants.
 Galerians - Ash is a bit of a mess, but a mess I liked. Kinda liked? Sorta-somewhat liked at times. I liked having a bunch of new Galerians to fight and I somewhat liked a few of the characters, like Cas and grown-up Rion. Combat was fun too, thanks to the audiovisual feedback, it feels so good to shoot giant waves of fire, or have your enemies spinning up on the air. That said, Galerians Ash is for hardcore fans of the original only, and even then I'm sure that the it won't satisfy everyone, a lot of the horror elements are entirely gone, and the plot will be very hit or miss depending on your sensibilities(Yaoi fangirls rejoice), finishing the game I was left feeling unfulfilled, and the more I thought about the plot... the less I liked it.
 4.5 out of 10

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Now Playing: Galerians - Ash

 Pretty Psychic Boys the Sequel.

 Remember how Rion sacrificed himself at the end of Galerians? Don't worry, he gets better and he got a sequel too. I've already sunk 20 minutes into the game and boy, have things changed!

 For instance, enemies now respawn for a long, loooong while. They do stop respawning, but after a while. While resources are limited, you are encouraged to spend them, since enemies drop permanent upgrades as well as supplies! Rion is much more mobile too, with targeting and dodging. It's interesting how it makes you fight Dorothy again, since the game starts in a truncated version of the last game's final moments. It's too early to have better thought-out opinions, but I think the game seems good. Seems.

 Lastly, I used to play this game when I was younger too, even though I hadn't even finished Galerians 1! I don't remember how far I got, but I do know I got to play as adult Rion.

Review #477: Galerians

 Drugs, exploding heads, clones, psychic powers.... it's 90s anime alright.
3 discs, 4 hours. Those pre-rendered backgrounds must be heavy, eh!
 Welcome to Galerians, a survival horror game that trades guns for psychic powers and monsters for psychic loons. It's an interesting angle, and makes resource management even more taxing on the player thanks to the constant threat of 'Shorting'. It's also really short, the game's backcover boasts about 50 hours but I got through in under 5!

 It's a bit tough to make heads or tails from the plot, but what you need to know is that you play as Rion, a kid who's been experimented on and developed psychic powers. As you explore the Michelangelo Hospital you'll start regaining your memories and learning about Dorothy, a super computer that grew sentient and wants to replace humanity with her own psychic loons, the Galerians. Now Rion must find Lillia, a girl with a virus implanted on her that can destroy Dorothy. The story is a bit cliched, the dialogue is stilted and the voice acting is horrible, but the setting is very interesting and the whole psychic powers thingie makes it very different from other games of its ilk.
That oughta hurt.
 If you've ever played a Survival Horror before, you know the deal, tank-controls, pre-rendered backgrounds and fixed camera angles, having to scavenge the environments for supplies as well as key items to solve puzzles, etc. The most important thing in the game is learning to manage your resources: Energy for your psychic powers is limited, restorative items are limited, inventory space is limited(although key items don't occupy any space) and some monsters respawn. So you'll need to learn when it's best to avoid encounters or kill enemies, or maybe it's better to trade a bit of health, avoiding enemies, and save up your energy.

 But, that's not where resource management ends, below your health is the AP gauge, or Anger points. This gauge fills up constantly, whether you attack, move around or even breathe, the AP gauge is constantly on the rise. Once filled, if you try to attack you'll 'Short'. When you short you lose the ability to run, being force to slowly walk around, and you start losing health at a steady rate, on the flip side, anything that you look at will die(except other Galerians). The only way to heal the Short status is with a Delmetor. It's a really interesting mechanic, because Delmetor occupies inventory space and is limited, but, the Short status can be really convenient when you are swamped with enemies or must fight tough battles. I mean, it's annoying having to play, basically, under a timer, but it's a mechanic that can work in your favor too, which means it's more fun than it sounds(Except when you're about to short and there's no Delmetor around).
The final stage is brimming with supplies, so don't panic if you are short on them after Stage C.
 You've three different psychic powers: Nalcon(Force push?), Red(Fire blast!) and D-Felon(Manipulate gravity) and they are all useful in their own way. Except, maybe, D-Felon, which you obtain very late in the game and it's useless on bosses, so you get to use it very little. Each of them has their own energy gauge, so they each have their own source of ammo. The controls are very clunky, even attacking is clumsier than in other Survival Horror games, first, you have to aim, second, you have to charge with R1(You can't move while charging!) and finally you have to press X to unleash your charge. Some fights can be downright cruel, since you have to run around enemies, wait for an opening and hope that you have enough time to charge before you yourself are attacked with Nalcon. A few areas in the game almost require you to short in order to deal with how tough a few of the ambush battles can get, battles that you can't avoid.

 As for the difficulty, it's very spotty. Resource Management is the biggest obstacles from Stage A to Stage C, but the final Stage, D, gifts you with all sorts of ammo and health items so it's almost impossible for you to lose at that stage, but going from Stage A to Stage C it's very tough managing your Health, Ammo and AP. Bosses too are poorly balanced, the first boss is the easiest of the bunch, but the second one is easily the hardest, being bombarded with projectiles all over the place and a very small window to counter-attack. The next two bosses, while no run in the park, are easier and then the last two bosses are easy as pie.
Some stage, like B, have a single save-room, so you'll be visiting this place often.
 The puzzles on the other hand never get too complicated. Rion, having psychic powers, can 'Sense', by pressing triangles, an get hints on how to open locked doors or where missing items are, so it's hard to not know where to go next. That said, in Stage C there's a puzzle in which you must knock on a door with a very specific timing which is all sorts of obnoxious, since the game is very particular with your timing. Galerians also has a real-time map, which is very useful although not as detailed as it could've. You'll have to consider the Save Spots too, which are very limited, as a matter of fact, Stage B and Stage C have a single save-spot each.

 Alright, so Galerians isn't the best Survival Horror you'll ever play. Even by the genre's standards the controls are clunky, the difficulty is uneven and poorly balanced and the story could've used a bit more thought put into... but when it comes down to it, it's pretty good. The setting is interesting, the AP mechanic is entertaining and fighting with psychic powers, even if sloppy, is fun.
 7.5 out of 10

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Now Playing: Galerians

 About time I played another obscure game, eh!
A leather choker, injecting psycho-drugs, heads exploding... this game is edgy alright.
 And now, in the spirit of Halloween, let's go with something more survival-ish, Galerians. It starts off brutal, I died twice after starting the game. First I went into Short-mode and died while searching for a Delmeter. Second attempt, I tried shooting my powers to no avail, shorted again BUT discovered that Delmeter was on my inventory from the get go, so I let myself die before starting again. Third attempt went swimmingly and now I'm 22 minutes into the game, on the second save spot.

 The game is original, I'll give it that, but boy oh boy, you've a limited inventory! And unless you're counting you won't know when you hit the limit! And Save points are so sparse, goddamn! And how about the fact that merely breathing increases your AP which makes you Short? And shooting your powers? You have to charge them and THEN press X, charge too little and you'll do negligible damage, charge too much and you lose the charge. It's tough, man!

 I used to play this in my youth, and I think I never got out of the hospital, my last memory of the game is when the Rabbits jump on the bottom floor and crowd Rion.

Review #476: Evil Dead - Regeneration

 And now the king is gone, baby.
Oh, I've a bone to pick with the newest addition to the mythos...
 A Fistful of Boomstick was an alright game, it wasn't the end all be all of licensed games, but it was pretty decent and THQ wasn't about to loosen its grip on the franchise, so then came Regeneration. It's a markedly different game from its predecessor, with a tighter combat system and more emphasis on action than the loose survival horror elements from the previous game.

 A Fistful of Boomstick? Never happened. Army of the Dead? Never happened. After Evil Dead 2, Ash was imprisoned in a mental institute, society thinking him crazy... but not all is as it seems, turns out the director got his hands on the Necromicon Ex Mortis and has been experimenting with it, and when all hell breaks loose it's up to Ash, and his new sidekick, half-human half-deadite all obnoxious, Sam to save the day. The humor, setting and character design is all on point and faithful to the franchise, however, Sam turned out as trying too hard. He isn't funny, him being immortal and thus dying over and over again isn't funny, him being obnoxious isn't funny. Sam's easily the weakest element in the entire game.
If there's a hole in it, you bet you'll have to kick Sam inside.
 The game tries a lot to be like Devil May Cry: Your guns have infinite ammo, you've a small variety of chaisaw combos, a few which involve pausing your button presses, and Ash even gets a Devil Trigger in the form of Evil Ash. Sadly, it falls flat on its face. The game doesn't have a strong combo system, there's no canceling, no juggling(And I tried, even with the harpoon gun, the most you can do is shoot or perform a simple combo after shooting an enemy it into the air), no nothing. Every single combo has pretty much the same outcome, whether it ends with a slash, a jumping slash or a blast, except the five-button chainsaw combo which usually ends in an instakill so there's no reason to use any other combo but that one.

 Ash gets three different guns and three different arms. The pistol, the shotgun and the bomb-lance have their different uses, but as soon as you get the bomb-lance the other two will become a bit redundant. As for his arms, there's the chainsaw-arm, the harpoon-gun and the flamethrower-arm. The last two don't have any combos and while they can be used in combat they fall short of the chainsaw, so you'll mostly be using them to solve stupidly easy puzzles, like burning gas or harpooning doors. Kind of a waste really, and it's not like you can buy new combos for the chainsaw or anything. What it all amounts to is a ton of potential, but a very lackluster execution.
Weapons have infinite ammo now, so have fun.
 And then we've got Sam, the small midget that can't be killed. Well, he can, but he'll respawn immediately. He'll aid you in combat, and he is not half-useless, but you can also kick him towards enemies, in fact, some enemies and bosses can only be beaten by kicking him into them. You can also kick him towards objects in order to solve simple puzzles. In some instances you'll also take direct control of him to, you guessed it, solve simple puzzles in order to open up a way for Ash to proceed. These moments aren't too obtrusive, but his sections aren't particularly memorable even though they are so repetitive, usually having you searching for a monster to ride so that you can destroy a wall and they always end with Sam dying in the unfunniest of ways.

  Speaking of Sam, you know how beloved escort missions are? There's four different escort sections in the game. FOUR. And you have to repeat the procedure 3 times each. Y'see, sometimes you'll come across a cyclops that must be fed, so you must find 3 souls, 1 at time, have Sam consume it, protect Sam until he gets to the cyclops and then kick him into the mouth, because that's supposed to be funny...? The game is about 10 stages long, and four of them have these dumb sections. No bueno, no bueno at all.
Bosses are easy to figure out.
 The saddest part about Regeneration is that the developers really tried. I mean, just going over the visuals you can tell that the game had a pretty decent budget, and Bruce Campbell brought his A-game, as always, to voice Ash. Even in the game's basic gameplay you can tell that they wanted to make something Devil May Cry-ish but simply ran out of budget or time to add substance to the combat. Evil Dead - Regeneration is a bit half-cooked, but if you're into the franchise it's worth a look, provided you're willing to suffer Sam.
 5.0 out of 10

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Now Playing: Evil Dead Regeneration

 Ash is back in business.
Sam the Deadite is voiced by Ted Raimi, the director Sam Raimi's brother....
 I just finished the first level and first boss, and dang, it's good. They managed to get the humor just right, I haven't checked if it was made by the same dev team, but kudos. As for the gameplay, it's a bit more focused and less chaotic, we've got combos, infinite ammo and a Hulk version of Ash! You've also got Sam, the Deadite sidekick, but I just found him so I haven't seen how his puzzles work yet.

 I'm diggin' the gameplay, I am, but... is there a point to having different combos? Why would I want to use a combo over another one? There's no juggling system, and the damage-stun doesn't seem to lend itself for fancy combo-making, so I dunno. As for the unlimited ammo, I don't know if I'm gonna like that. At first I thought 'Why would I use the gun over shotgun???', but the first boss proved that it was easier to gun him down with a fast-shooting pistol than the slow-as-molasses shotgun, so maybe the different guns will have different situations so as not to make any one gun obsolete. And it was kinda cool how chainsawing the boss while he had electricity coursing through him instantly killed me, I hope the rest of the bosses have details like that.

 Last thing I wanna mention is... oh boy, we've got a budget now! This game looks TOO good for a licensed game, even facial expressions are well animated. I dunno, judging from the first level, this game looks pretty friggin' good.

Review #475: Evil Dead - A Fistful of Boomstick

 This is ma boomstick!
Yeah... the cover art isn't very good.
 The last Evil Dead movie, at the time, released at around 1992 or so, so why would it get a videogame in 2004 is beyond me, but where there is a franchise there is money to be made, so THQ was quick to bring it to the PS2 era consoles. A Fistful of Boomstick is an action-adventure game taking place after the Army of Darkness, in which you, as Ashley Williams, must stop the Deadite invasion.

 There're two modes of play Story Mode and Arcade Mode. Story Mode puts Ashley in six different zones or areas, which you must traverse as you fulfill goals from your 'To-do list'. Ash can equip two different weapons, his Chainsaw arm can be outfitted with two types of saws, a flamethrower and even a minigun, while he carries another weapon, mostly guns but a few melee weapons like swords and shovels or even dynamite. X uses your Saw-arm while Square uses your other weapon, hilariously enough, you can only target enemies when you have a gun on your left arm, but you can't aim if you are holding a sword but have the minigun equipped!
You'll be visiting the woods throughout different eras, so get used to it.
 There're various spells too, that consume energy from a green gauge, that range from making you stronger to allowing you to possess enemies or even summon Deadite dogs to aid you. You fill this green gauge by defeating enemies, and you shouldn't be too lavish with your casting since many puzzles require spells in order to proceed and if you lack the magic points, well, you gotta go around town and defeat enemies until you can cast it. Most puzzles and goals are fairly easy to figure out, but there're a couple that are impossible to figure out on your own. How was I to know that I had to throw a dynamite stick on the strip club's courtyard? Everything hinted towards me needing a key to enter through the back. how was I supposed to know that I had to throw a Dynamite stick to get out of the room I entered with Dog Possession? Absolutely nothing hinted towards that object being destructible. There were a few other poor design choices, quite a few times I had to go around the entire stages again to see if something new triggered after talking to a new NPC or what have you, which is pretty lame.

 While this is mostly a very simple action game, there're a few survival horror elements in place. Ammo for your guns is limited, but to be fair the game is fairly generous with it, and medikits are limited as well, not to mention that the game doesn't restore your health after clearing a stage or a boss. Saving can only be done by collecting save tokens or clearing a stage. It's a bit weird having these elements in the game, but they aren't intrusive nor add anything to the game.
I think the State of Emergency engine worked well for this game.
 The game is relatively short, but you unlock all six areas in Arcade Mode by beating them, Arcade Mode being a mission-mode of sorts which tasks you with doing silly, self-contained missions and aim for a high score. Yay? As for the game itself, as bland, simple and sometimes poorly designed as it is... it's kinda fun. The combat is clunky, but tearing deadites apart is fun sporadically. Still, the game's biggest draw is how true to the franchise it is... well, to Army of Darkness anyways, the humor, dialogue and setting feels very natural and faithful to it. There's time travel involved, and Ash even gets to meet his ancestors, on most games this plot device would've been meh, but here they knocked it out of the park. What I mean to say is that it actually feels like I'm playing a continuation of Evil Dead 3.

 Evil Dead - A Fistful of Boomstick is nothing to write home about but as an Evil Dead game it passes with flying colors. Even if you're not familiar with the franchise, I think the game might be entertaining since the humor, setting and Ashley Williams himself are very entertaining on their own. That said, as far as gameplay goes, it's nothing special, just your average, everyday third person shooter.
 6.5 out of 10

Now Playing: Evil Dead - A Fistful of Boomstick

 Evil Dead of Emergency.
A fistful o' shovel considering how good that weapon is.
 There were three Evil Dead games released, or at least three that really did matter, Hail to the King on PS1/Dreamcast and A Fistful of Boomstick and Regeneration on the PS2-era consoles. I was familiar with two of them, HttK which was an awful, awful survival horror game and AFoB which ran on the State of Emergency engine and thus played a bit similarly.

 I just finished the first... mission? World? Stage? Whatevs, it's pretty alright. I mean, it runs on the State of Emergency engine so there's only so much you can do. The game is a bit flat, so I hope we see stages with more verticality, although considering white men can't jump and Ash Williams seems to be no exception... I'm not too hopeful.

Review #474: Darkwatch

 Halloween begins with Halo. In the Wild West. With Vampires.
Mind yer step partner, this ride might be yer last.
 Welcome to Darkwatch, a society that hunts down the undead, also, the name of this very first person shooter set in the Wild West, albeit one that's infested by vampires and the such. Also, a game made infamous by a sex-scene that happens midway through the game, but trust me, the game is more than cheap titillation.

 You play as Jericho Cross, who's latest heist will make him a rich man... except that he happened to raid a Darkwatch train, carrying Lazarus the vampire, who thanks Jericho by siring him. Now Jericho teams up with Darkwatch in order to stop Lazarus and save himself. There's not a lot of story in the game, but it gets the job done of presenting you with a thread to connect your shootouts. The gothic art direction meshes relatively well with the western setting, albeit in their need of having fanservice, Tala's skin-tight latex suit doesn't really mesh well with the rest of the Western-styled uniforms.
You'll be raiding a few trains throughout Jericho's tale.
 If you've ever played Halo 1 you'll be right at home here. Jericho can only carry two guns with him, and you've got a miserable amount of life points, but you're aided by a regenerating blood shield that works just like Halo's shield. There's a metal-cart-jeep-thing section not unlike Halo's own vehicle sections too. Hell, you also get a naked blue ethereal chick companion to guide you! Basically, Halo in a vampire western setting. That said, Jericho has something that Master Chief doesn't: Vampire powers. Defeated enemies drop souls that can either heal you or fill your blood powers gauge, if your life is full, once you fill this gauge you can use any of your acquired powers, about 5 of them, out of a possible 10.

 Y'see, throughout the game you'll be allowed simple moral choices 'Save the civilian or feed from him/her' which will eventually grant you powers. It's a very simple system and it doesn't affect the ending in any way, what does affect it is single a moral choice 3/4ths into the game. The game is overall pretty short, and has way too many turret sections but only a couple of sunlight sections. The two stages that involve sunlight are pretty interesting, since they force you to seek shadows, lest you lose your vampire powers, including your shield! As short as the game is, you can play the entire game in co-op and it also features a versus mode, with two different types of matches!
Nothing says Vampire Slayer like a crossbow.
 Most of the game is relatively fun, although a few sections were a bit boring. Specifically a few shoot-outs that took place in very open arenas, but with few and sparse monsters. By the end of the game you'll be swarmed by enemies, which is better. The game could've done with more variety in the weapons department, but at least it's got the basics covered: Pistol, Shotgun, Rifle, Dual Pistols, Rocket Launcher and even a crossbow for good measure, sadly, Jericho's six-shooter is lost once he turns into a vampire.

 Darkwatch is a fun but brief first person shooter. It has a few overused tropes and a few underutilized mechanics that could've been better juggled to make for a more compelling overall game, but what's here is still pretty good. It was probably too much of a Halo clone to make much of a splash, since it put it directly in competition with that juggernaut of a franchise in its heyday, so now it's easier to appreciate it by itself.
 8.0 out of 10

Monday, October 2, 2017

Now Playing: DarkWatch

 It's high noon, and Halloween is nigh...
Welcome to a Vampire Western. We've got Cowboys VS Aliens too, all we need now is Samurai vs Cowboys.
 Alright, it's not high noon, but every good Western starts like that, right? It's the month of Halloween, also known as the best month of the year, and what a better way to start it with than with High Moon Studios' Darkwatch, a criminally forgotten FPS with vampires, cowboys and six-shooters.

 I've done the first few stages, just finished the cemetery, and it's been quite decent so far. A few of the shoot-outs were a bit on the boring side, since enemies are too slow and far too sparse for the wide-large areas, but it's otherwise pretty good. I like the art direction, although this 'Tala' chaaracter, which I came upon searching for the game's cover, is an awful, terrible character design that must've come out of a 12 year old's mind.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Month Overview: September 2017

 Tally:
Floating Runner - Quest for the 7 Crystals 3.0
X-Men - Mutant Academy 2 7.5
Stretch Panic 8.0
The Simpsons - Hit & Run 7.0
TMNT(PS2) 4.0
Psychic Force 2 8.0
Gouketuji Ichizoku 2 8.0
Devil May Cry 8.0
Devil May Cry 2 6.5
Devil May Cry 3 10
Dragon Ball Z -  Idainaru Dragon Ball Densetsu 8.0
Dragon Ball Z - Ultimate Battle 22 3.0
Seven Samurai 20XX 6.5
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate 7.5



 Thing I did this month: Finally played all PS1 Dragon Ball games. Things I regret this month: Playing all PS1 Dragon Ball games. I kid, I kid, Idainaru Dragon Ball Densetsu is pretty cool. It was a pretty decent month, I finally finished Monster Hunter 3... kinda, that game is eternal, but I got my money's worth out of it and then some. I replayed the entire PS2 DMC games, and even this soon, they still held up.

 Game of September 2017:
 Probably the greatest action game ever made. Probably. Like, what is there not to love about it? The action is phenomenal and feels great to land hits, the cutscenes are nonsensical but amazing, there're tons of possibilities with the combo system and the game is pretty lengthy. And then there's a second character that brings an entirely different set of tools into the table. DMC 3 is nothing short of amazing.

 Runner-up:
 It was tough selecting the number one spot, and it almost came to a draw between Idainaru Dragon Ball Densetsu and Stretch Panic, but I went with this one since I adored the originality and creativity.