Final Fantasy 15 Screenshots

Considering their incessant hard-on for irritating DRM, killing off of the first three Chaos Rings games, and constant re-releases of classic Square games (like they’re totally the same company) that invariably have ugly new art or translations or other problems that ruin them, Square-Enix spent the latter part of 2015 and the rest of 2016 going out of their way to make me hate them. Imagine if Picasso had been possessed by some kind of mischievous spirit that granted him immortality, but also caused him to run around smearing excrement all over his most beloved paintings. That’s a window into the way I’ve come to view Square-Enix these past few years, and so I resolved to buy Final Fantasy 15 both used and at a price low enough to handle another Final Fantasy 13-tier disaster. The stars aligned and that happened surprisingly quickly, as it turns out, but don’t confuse my hatred of Square-Enix as a sign that I’m not willing to give their games a chance: Final Fantasy 15 is quite a bit better than 13 in terms of story (and as a result, better overall in my book), though its shameless forays into various types of “modern popular” trends and mechanics cause it to be unfocused, poorly paced, and frustratingly tedious. That’s not to say that there’s no fun to be had, of course. That fun is merely suffocated under 40-odd hours of maddening sidequest busywork. Read more →

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Screenshots

Okay, okay. I’ve been a bit lazy with the screenshots lately, but honestly, Simon the Sorcerer? King Arthur 2? Those aren’t really the types of games that would have benefited from screenshots, nor would they have been particularly informative. Screenshots for a Shantae game, on the other hand, can show off some of the areas and humor, so here: have some Shantae screenshots. Read more →

Tyranny Screenshots

Much like Pillars of Eternity, I went into Tyranny with almost no expectations. The early artwork I saw of it was depressingly bland, and that initial reaction was yet again proved wrong as the game ended up being surprisingly colorful and interesting. Arguably even more interesting than Pillars, in fact. That is, until the end. “End.” I’m sick of developers not finishing their stories, and having this game give you Fallout-esque “this is what happened to these places you intervened in” and cut to credits before anything has actually been resolved (and before you’ve managed to learn a single thing about the character around whom the entire game and game world revolves) is a giant middle finger that ruined all of the promise the rest of the game had. Locking story resolution behind sequels or DLC is the kind of scummy business practice that’s strangling the life out of this hobby, and for all of the entertainment Tyranny can provide, I can’t recommend something so blatantly unfinished. Especially since its incomplete nature seems to be deliberate rather than a problem of money or resources; numerous characters are in a position to reveal things to you, and simply don’t for increasingly contrived reasons. Read more →

Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara Screenshots

Side-scrolling beat-em-ups aren’t exactly my forte, nor do I have a wealth of knowledge about D&D (in fact, outside of what I picked up through the Baldur’s Gate games, I don’t know a single thing about it). That proved to be a bit of a handicap when playing through a game that stays loyal to its little eccentricities. “Why doesn’t magic work against this guy?” Because they’re apparently immune, and you’re just supposed to know that. That’s hardly the only thing this game leaves you to figure out on your own, either. Character-exclusive paths? Only know about them because I stumbled on a few myself and then looked them up. Sliding to quickly pick up dropped loot (basically necessary since you rarely have enough time after finishing off a boss to pick everything up normally)? Only know about it because I watched someone good at this game play through it. The so-called “ultimate spell” only existing in multiplayer despite hinting at it when playing solo and never making it sound like others are necessary to use it? Had to look it up, and I’m still irritated by that. For all of its annoying little problems, however, Chronicles of Mystara is a surprising amount of fun, even for a newcomer. Read more →

Fatal Labyrinth Screenshots

It’s been a rough month where I’ve had a lot of trouble finding games that actually appeal to me. Ordinarily, I’d use the occasion to replay something I enjoyed in the past and haven’t yet reviewed, but something about Fatal Labyrinth pulled me in. It’s a weird little RPG/roguelike for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive with randomly-created levels, and the goal is basically to get to level 31 of the tower and kill the dragon there. It’s also a fan of using cheap tricks to artificially extend your play time. Trap doors? Check. Sleeping spells that allow enemies to mob you? Check. An enemy spell that randomizes your directional buttons each movement, sending you helplessly in circles until the spell effect wears off? Check. It’s dumb. Games that screw the player over randomly like this are dumb and should be hated. Read more →

Cthulhu Saves the World Screenshots

The sort-of-sequel and companion to Breath of Death VII, Cthulhu Saves the World is a game that improves on its predecessor in several areas like art direction and text variation (no more identical gravestones!), but sports the same basic problems that made the previous game start to feel like a slog. The mazes in particular are still an issue here, and while they’re set up to be a little more intuitive with one or two glaring exceptions, areas are now so long that the end result ends up being the same. It gets very exhausting very fast, and doubly so if you have the same completionist urges that compelled me to play the Cthulhu’s Angels alternate game mode immediately after finishing the main game. It has an altered story, two new characters, and some different boss fights, but none of that does much to sugarcoat the fact that it sends you through the same mazes all over again. The humor here is arguably improved (depending on how much you like/dislike the previous game’s more referential humor and Cthulhu moving away from that to something more meta), but there’s a lot of really tiring gameplay between bits of dialogue. Read more →

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