Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Review

I picked this up having enjoyed the previous two Shantae games and wanting to start 2017’s reviews off on a positive note before the inevitable parade of mediocrity that typically has to be waded through before finding another genuinely good game. Apparently this was the result of a Kickstarter campaign from back in 2013, which means I was three years too late to get in on any of those backer rewards, but it’s kind of nice to be able to experience one of these games around the same time as everyone else instead of years and years after the fact. Now, reviews generally exist to answer the question of whether something is good or not, but the answer to that question is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no in this case. In fact, if my notes are any indication, the answer is “yes, then kind of, then yes again, then no no no no why is this happening, then ehhh, then yes again,” which is a roundabout way of saying that the game is worth it overall despite having some pretty glaring issues. Read more →

I Am Setsuna Review

Chrono Trigger is easily one of my favorite games, not to mention a gateway drug that compelled me to get a Playstation 1 (for Chrono Cross, naturally) and subsequently discover all kinds of brilliant gems I had missed out on, so it piqued my interest when I Am Setsuna’s store page claimed to have been inspired by it. That’s a lofty claim, after all, especially in a world of endless Final Fantasy games where many jRPG developers seem to have lost track of what made their genre enjoyable in the first place. There have been occasional exceptions to that such as Chaos Rings 2 and other games that I similarly fell in love with, but Square-Enix pulled the plug on many Chaos Rings games not too long ago, effectively erasing them from existence outside of piracy. Giving money to something they published after that was a painful proposition. Still, curiosity outweighed my better judgment and I decided to give this game a try anyway. I’m glad I did—I Am Setsuna has its moments of being enjoyable—but the poor writing was enough to ruin the whole experience by the end and cause me to question why this game falls so short. Read more →

Gravity Rush Remastered Review

Gravity Rush originally came out for the Vita, and while I haven’t played that version, I’ve read that some of the control issues from that release were ironed out in the PS4 remaster. I can’t even begin to imagine how bad the original controls were if the clunky mess that is Gravity Rush Remastered is the better-controlling of the two, though, and awkward controls are just the first in an endless string of fun-killing problems—the mechanics are seriously rough around the edges and tend to make parts of the gameplay luck-based, the story is unremarkable trash that sets up a bunch of interesting mysteries and opts to subject the player to a bizarrely vanilla series of events instead of tying up any of those dangling plot threads, the missions are repetitive and gimmicky, and the main character is quite possibly the most shallow and self-absorbed female lead I’ve ever seen in a game (but the writing is so inconsistent that this comes and goes unpredictably). Read more →

The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (DLC) Review

It was around 2009 when I started getting interested in catching up on PC gaming classics, but it was only in 2010 that I built a computer specifically for gaming that could handle the graphically demanding fare that my old laptop was too ancient to run. Among my first purchases for that computer was a little game from a few years beforehand that I had heard good things about called The Witcher, and it blew me away with its atmosphere despite being incredibly glitchy at times. In fact, I was so impressed that I committed the cardinal gaming sin of preordering the second game, and while it was different than the first and had a pretty unforgiving difficulty (which has since been drastically reduced to be friendlier to newcomers), I nevertheless came to love it just as much as the first game. The third game I was less enthusiastic about—yes, it delivers in several ways, but many things were sacrificed in the name of mass-market accessibility, and so I ended up merely liking it. The Hearts of Stone DLC is where I started to see the game come into its own and deliver on the promise that was always there, but never really came through in the base game. Sadly, the bigger expansion that is Blood and Wine reintroduces many of the problems Hearts of Stone fixed and ended up leaving me underwhelmed as the final story in the series. There are some great moments to be found here, don’t get me wrong, but the main story isn’t really anything particularly special and there are some questionable plot developments that don’t make a great deal of sense. At the end of the day, Blood and Wine is enjoyable, but I was yet again struck by the sense that it could have been much better. Read more →

The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone (DLC) Review

I like to put off playing through DLC/expansion stuff until it’s all out, so I’m a bit late to the party on this one. Still, I can only learn and forget how to play this game so many times before it gets irritating, and my first steps in Hearts of Stone were every bit as embarrassing as you’d expect someone jumping into end-game type content having forgotten how to play to be. I died to everything as I fumbled around, desperately trying to remember how to do simple things like use bombs and potions, and the long loading screens (even on an SSD, weirdly) made that even more annoying than it’d be otherwise. It didn’t help any that I imported a save from my first playthrough, which meant that I was missing a bunch of items and pieces of helpful equipment that I only found on subsequent playthroughs. Despite those embarrassing initial troubles, however, I slowly pieced together how everything worked again as I made my way through Hearts of Stone for the first time. Read more →

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse Review

I didn’t have access to a computer outside of my laptop for a little over a week (and I refuse to play games on it because it’s my baby and gaming can be pretty harsh on laptops since they’re not great at getting rid of heat), so it seemed like the perfect time to grab my 2DS and jump back into Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. If you haven’t read my review of the previous game, this is something that I initially stopped playing in order to finish Risky’s Revenge—the second game in the series and the beginning of what could affectionately be considered “modern Shantae”—and thus have a better handle on how many of the characters know each other. It’s also helpful since the events of the last game are occasionally mentioned and could be considered spoilers for anyone sensitive to that kind of thing. Read more →

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