Month End Video Game Wrap-Up: April 2024

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Princess Peach: Showtime! (Switch) – Cleared the game, enjoyed it. I can’t see it landing on anyone’s GOTY list, but it was cute and fun, and I certainly don’t regret putting in the time and effort to hit the 100% clear (though the post-game content is another story entirely).

Final Fantasy XVI (PS5) – Booted it up for the last(?) time to play The Rising Tide DLC. It was good! More substantial than Fallen Echoes, but the boss fight wasn’t quite as awesome. I like the new challenge mode too, though I’m not nearly good enough at the game to earn a leaderboard-worthy score.

There’s Something in the Ice (PC) – Indie horror. Vibe is a little like a cross between The Thing and Amnesia: The Bunker, but the gameplay is very much a basic walking simulator. Sound design and atmosphere were really good, but it doesn’t really stand out in its genre otherwise.

Continue reading Month End Video Game Wrap-Up: April 2024

Month End Video Game Wrap-Up: March 2024

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Half-Life 2: Episode 2 (PC) – Finished it, thought it was pretty good. Much better than Episode 1, at the very least. Now that I’ve played all of the (non-VR) Half-Life 2 games, I can more clearly see why the wait for Half-Life 3 has been such a big deal for so many people.

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Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth (PS5) – Chapter 9

Continue reading Month End Video Game Wrap-Up: March 2024

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: December 2023

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The Talos Principle 2 (PS5) – Yeah, I played it again. Had to get the platinum trophy on this one, you know?

Super Mario RPG (Switch) – Part of me wants to complain that not enough was changed and playing this remake just felt like going through the motions, but the other part of me says “Shut up, idiot! It’s still a 10/10 game! Just with better music now!” And also the new post-game content was very good, if a little too brief.

Final Fantasy XVI (PS5) – Out of the blue, a DLC expansion was released, so I purchased and played it. It was very cool (if a little short), and the new superboss was incredible! Also, finally finished my Final Fantasy (hard) mode playthrough.

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: December 2023

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: November 2023

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Super Mario Bros Wonder (Switch) – Classic Mario, but with enough tweaks and new mechanics to make it feel completely fresh. Most stages have unique Wonder gimmicks, and just about all of them change the stage in a really fun way. My favourite by far are the musical stages, which have enemies singing and bouncing along to the music. Happily played this one to 100% completion.

Mega Man X DiVE Offline (PC) – It’s a lot of fun and I really like the fanservice (of course). However, the story is just so boring and there’s so much dialogue. I’ll keep playing it to 100% because of that “a lot of fun” part.

Mega Man Battle Network (GBA) – There’s something to be said about the simplicity of the first entry in a series. Yes, it lacks the quality of life improvements from the sequels, but it also doesn’t have nearly as many gimmicks layered on top of the core gameplay. I had a great time revisiting it!

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: November 2023

A Wonderful Rant

Super Mario Bros Wonder is -as anyone could have predicted- a very good video game. Will it stand the test of time? Who knows! But my knee-jerk reaction now that I’ve 100% cleared it is that it’s the best 2D Mario since… Super Mario World, I suppose. It’s almost definitely one that I’ll be replaying on a semi-regular basis.

One of the new gimmicks in SMBWonder are badges. You’ll collect these over the course of the game and equipping them will grant your character some kind of special ability. You can only use one at a time, but you’re free to swap it out at any time on the world map, or if you lose a life in a stage. The abilities that badges grant range from allowing you to hold R to deploy a parachute, to hinting at secrets, to giving you a Super Mario Galaxy-esque spin-jump, to giving you a free super mushroom at the start of every course.

Most of the badges have some kind of practical use, but one stuck out to me as totally weird: the invisibility badge. All that this badge does is make your character invisible. Which makes the game way harder to play, being a platformer that requires a certain amount of precision. I guess maybe it also makes you immune to enemy attacks? I honestly don’t know; I never used the thing outside the two short challenge stages that force you to equip it.

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Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: October 2023

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Gal Guardians: Demon Purge (Switch) – Ran this one into the ground with the 100% clear. Read many more words about it here! Somewhat spooky.

Pikmin 1 (Switch) – It feels a little rough, coming directly from the incredible Pikmin 4, but man, it’s still such a good game. Would have been nice if Nintendo had added a few of Pikmin 4’s quality-of-life features for this re-release. Oh well! No spooks here.

Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition (PC) – After a little over a year of playing it on and off, it’s finally done! A little grindy, yes, but despite that, it was still pretty fun. And I got a nice, long YouTube series out of it. Hardly spooky at all.

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: October 2023

Nintendo Direct 9.14.2023

Another Nintendo Direct today! Though it seems like it really hasn’t been that long since the last one

Anyway, like last time, instead of typing out a sentence of knee-jerk reactions about every game like I used to do, here are some more in-depth thoughts about the two new Mario series games announced during this Direct:

Princess Peach: Showtime! isn’t quite the sequel to Super Princess Peach that I’ve been longing for, but it is the princess’ first starring role since then. I think. I also think that this looks like it could be a pretty good game! I’m still not sure what kind of game it is (platformer? adventure? mini-game collection?), but I’m certainly interested by all the different transformations.

It’s also worth noting that this one is really about Peach getting her actual own adventure. I particularly like the fact that there’s a new villain and Peach is getting to be the hero to a different kingdom’s people. Yeah, the story will likely have the depth and complexity of a kiddie pool, but at least there will be a whole bunch of new characters! Saving Toads from Bowser should be reserved for the traditional Mario platformers moving forward. At most.

I like how some Nintendo remakes will add an “HD” or “Remaster” or whatnot onto the titles, and some don’t. That’s how you know that the remake is there to actually replace the original game. What that actually means… I have no idea. I’m just typing nonsense as it enters my brain at this point.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is a continuation of Nintendo’s best effort to revive their GameCube library at the highest price points possible. Following the (somewhat expensive) ports of Metroid Prime and Pikmin 1 & 2, I’m actually surprised that this game is getting a full remake. Especially since the original Paper Mario never got that treatment. Of course, I’ll absolutely buy this and enjoy the heck out of it. It’s Paper Mario; even the bad ones are fun. (But this is a very good one.)

As always with remakes, I’m hoping that there will be more than a simple audio/visual upgrade here. There were plenty of things I didn’t recognize in the trailer, which seems like a good sign, but it’s likely just because I haven’t played the game since 2004.

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: August 2023

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Final Fantasy XVI (PS5) – While I don’t think it’ll make the list of my favourite FFs, I did thoroughly enjoy this one. The combat is exciting, the story is great, and it’s easily got the best Cid in the franchise. Also, Torgal! Can’t forget Torgal!

Paper Mario (N64) – I sometimes wonder if the reason that I hate the modern Paper Marios less than most people is because I’ve never really revisited the original. Now I have! And, well… I think I get why people want a “true” sequel. It’s got an excellent foundation, but I did get annoyed by a lot of little things throughout the journey. Like how slow Mario is, and the limited inventory, and the booooring Peach segments.

Dr. Mario 64 (N64) – It’s weird that I’ve never played this before, right? Anyway, it’s Dr. Mario. Played the classic mode a bunch, and story mode twice.

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: August 2023

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: July 2023

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Akane the Kunoichi (PC) – I remember playing the demo of this waaaaay back on Xbox 360. It’s a very 2011 indie platformer. Which is to say that it’s very simplistic in both visuals and gameplay. Not bad, but nothing special.

Peglin (PC) – Peglin a while, Peglin forever!!

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (Switch) – What an incredible ride. In my opinion, there’s absolutely no competition for Game of the Year 2023.

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: July 2023

Nintendo Direct 6.21.2023

Normally, when there’s a Nintendo Direct, I like to write down all my knee-jerk reactions while watching it. You know, give my honest first impressions of all the trailers shown. But I find that lately those reactions have either been “That looks great, I’m going to buy it,” “That looks great but I don’t have time to play it,” or “I have no interest in this.”

So today I’m going to do it differently. While there were plenty of cool-looking games in today’s Direct presentation, only two really made my pants get tighter. So I’ll just post the trailers for those and maybe some words, too.

A remake of Super Mario RPG is on the way! This year! In November!

Now, I’ve played this game at least a dozen times through over the years, so I’m really hoping that it’s going to have a little more than a touched-up paint job. There appear to be fully-animated cutscenes and a redone soundtrack, which are very nice to have. But otherwise, it looks like it’s going to be incredibly faithful to the original. At least, at a glance. I haven’t done a frame-by-frame analysis yet.

So what would I like to see changed? Well, maybe… better mini-games? Yeah, that would be really good. It would be nice if the puzzles were remixed, maybe some new spells would be nice. Definitely some additional text clarifying what some of the existing spells actually do. I don’t think there needs to be any new towns or dungeons or whatnot, but it would be great if some of the maps saw a little bit of change. Just to keep things fresh, you know?

Actually, a great example would be the sunken ship dungeon. When replaying the original game, I can just walk straight to the end, bypassing all the puzzles and monsters, and input the password (PEARLS) to the boss room. I would like for at least the password to be changed so that I’d have to engage with the dungeon as intended on my first playthrough of the remake. Ideally, the password is randomized every time, or the individual puzzles are changed so that learning the password is exciting again. Nothing that would materially change the dungeon itself, just some tweaks to make it feel fresh even for people who have already played the game into the ground.

Super Mario Bros Wonder, the first new Super Mario game since 2017, and the first new 2D Mario game since… 2012? Unless you count Super Mario Run, which I kinda don’t. I’m not really a big fan of the title, but man does the gameplay ever look solid!

Also, I have so many questions. Why does Mario turn into an elephant? Do the other characters turn into elephants, or do they all get their own animal? Are there more, unrevealed playable characters? What’s the deal with all those chatty flower-things? Why is there a goomba wearing a Toad hat? Is this game just one massive drug trip?

Fortunately, I won’t have to wait long to find out, as SMBW is due out in October of this very same year. How nice! While I was expecting something more along the lines of Odyssey 2, this is also very good. You will hear no complaints from me.