You know what’s a great feeling? Picking up a random video game that you’ve never heard of and proceeding to have an absolute blast with it. That is the one-sentence story of my experience with Steelrising, a 2022 action RPG that takes a lot of cues from From Software’s Dark Souls family of games. But there’s so much more that needs to be said about this game!

Right from the get-go, Steelrising establishes a very unique tone, being set in Paris during the French Revolution. Yeah, not a lot of video games have used that particular period of history as a backdrop. But it’s not all aristocrats and baguettes. Steelrising adds a little zazz (and video gamey-ness) to this setting by adding robots. So many robots. The clockwork contraptions make up all the enemies in the game, as well as your main character, Aegis.

Aegis is a lady-like robot that has the unusual ability to think and act of her own volition, unlike the mindless automats that have overrun Paris under the command of King Louis XVI. You’re given a handful of options to customize Aegis’s look (7 each of “skin” colours, hairstyles, and faces) and then get to pick from four starting classes. Which class you pick isn’t really important, it just defines your starting weapon and stat distribution. I picked the “bodyguard” class, which is built for defense and begins the game with a slow-ass hammer weapon.

Continue reading Steelrising

Top 10 of 2022: Runners Up

These get a separate post because the main article is long enough as-is, but I still felt like they deserved a little recognition!

Triangle Strategy (Square-Enix / Artdink, 2022)

This was probably the hardest finalist to cut. I’ve never been able to truly get into any tactical RPGs besides Final Fantasy Tactics, but Triangle Strategy came real close. The story is interesting, the choices you make carry a ton of weight (and there’s almost never a clear “correct” choice), and the battles are great fun. Despite all that, however, I got pulled away from it when I was only halfway though, and never felt compelled enough to pick it back up. I keep looking at the case and saying “I should really finish that”, but I have a feeling it’s just not going to happen.

Continue reading Top 10 of 2022: Runners Up

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: July 2022

~ Game Over ~

New Super Mario World 2: Around the World (PC) – Completed to 100 percent, with many headaches along the way and some mild save-statery to smooth the especially rough parts. Generally speaking, a very good hack, though I cannot forgive the lack of the “beeooo-wip” sound effect when finishing a stage.

TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge (Switch) – Second playthrough as Casey.

Linelight (PC) – A simple puzzle game that provided me a good few hours of fun, and an hour of two of abject frustration. Frustration at how bad I am at solving simple puzzles. A YouTube series is on the way.

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: July 2022

Tales From the Lands Between (Volume 1(?))

I don’t plan on writing extensively about my adventures in Elden Ring, like I did with (most of) my first Dark Souls playthrough. However, I may feel like it’s necessary to share a story here and there when something really interesting/funny happens in the game.

For example, something that happened while I playing last night:

There are lots of skeletons in Elden Ring. They’re a pretty common enemy, and I’ve fought an entire legion of them by this point. I didn’t think that they were going to be the enemy type that surprised me, but lo and behold, it happened!

Continue reading Tales From the Lands Between (Volume 1(?))

The Eldenest of Rings

I ignored Elden Ring when it launched a few months ago, in favour of a different crazy-hard action-RPG. While it was the most hype game on the internet for a while, I really wasn’t especially interested; I didn’t follow any of the pre-release news or marketing, and I haven’t played any of the Soulsborne games aside from Dark Souls.

And then I started watching a let’s play series. A few videos in, I started thinking to myself: “This game looks like a lot of fun. Why am I watching this instead of playing it myself?” And then I bought Elden Ring.

The answer to my question is, of course, “Because I’m terrible at these crazy-hard action-RPGs.”

Continue reading The Eldenest of Rings

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: June 2022

~ Game Over ~

Monster Hunter Rise (Switch) – Worked my way up through the post-game elder dragons to prep for the Sunbreak expansion that launches… today!

LumbearJack (PC) – A cute indie game where you play as a bear, reclaiming the forest by destroying anything unnatural. My favourite part was slapping all the humans you meet along the way. YouTube video here.

TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge (Switch) – An exceptionally good throwback to the TMNT brawlers of the 90’s. Feels great, looks great, sounds great. I even recorded a playthrough for YouTube. 10/10 will play again.

~ Progress Notes ~

New Super Mario World 2: Around the World (PC) – World 14

Final Fantasy III (DS) – Cleared Goldor’s Manor

Elden Ring (PS5) – Exploring Leyndell, Royal Capital

Haunted Zombie School (Switch) – Stage 2

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: May 2022

~ Game Over ~

Evil Tonight (Switch) – A pretty darn good 2D survival horror game. Great pixel art, a unique story, and plenty of puzzles. I really liked this one, and am glad that I recorded my playthrough for YouTube.

Ys IX: Monstrum Nox (PS4) – While very similar in structure and gameplay to Lacrimosa of Dana, Monstrum Nox does a surprisingly good job of forging its own identity. I had a great time playing it, with my two complaints being that it’s a little too anime, and the trophies are basically copy-pasted from Ys IV and VIII. So, very minor issues!

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: May 2022

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up : November 2018

~Game Over~

MGSV: The Phantom Pain (PC) – Done but unfinished. Which describes both the game itself and our playthrough. Will we go back? Only time will tell! (But probably not.)

WarioWare Gold (3DS) – An excellent game that I’d love to invest more time into, but it’s just a little tedious to try to hit a target score on 300+ micro-games, you know?

Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4) – I spent an entire week off work doing very little other than playing this to completion. Do I feel satisfied with how I spent that time? Yes. Absolutely.

Mega Man 6 (Switch) – Rush turns into a jetpack and boxing gloves. Robot pelicans attack by spitting out robot fish. Submarines masquerade as clouds. MM6 is the hottest mess.

Mega Man 9 (Switch) – Would it kill you to turn the health drop rate up a little? Anyway, I’ve now beaten every Classic Mega Man game in 2018. Good job, me! And Merry Megamas to all!

XC2: Torna – The Golden Country (Switch) – Maybe the best DLC expansion I’ve ever played? It’s a complete mini-prequel, as opposed to simply more quests tacked on to the base game.

MechaNika (Switch) – The sequel to Agatha Knife, which I very much enjoyed. This one’s about an alcoholic seven-year-old who wants to build a mech to destroy everything that isn’t cool. Fun!

Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS) – It was time for a replay, I thought, seeing as this month marked OoT’s 20th birthday. It’s a very short game if you ignore heart pieces and gold skulltulas!

~Now Playing~

Save Me Mr. Tako (Switch) – A rare retraux game that pays homage to the Game Boy. So yeah obviously I bought it. Only made it through a handful of levels before distractions tore me away.

Dark Souls (Switch) – Dark Souls is sure great! But man, I just don’t have the time for it.

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate (Switch) – Still plugging away at this like once a week or so. G-Rank is a tough cookie, which leaves me at the mercy of online play to make progress.

Super Smash Bros for Wii U (Wii U) – Snuck in a few matches here and there throughout the month. As I post this, there are a mere SEVEN DAYS LEFT until Ultimate.

Star Ocean (SNES) – You have to wonder about a game that, two minutes into your playtime, pits you against a boss who can kill you in ten seconds flat. It’s actually not too bad, though!

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! (Switch) – I have so many thoughts about this game… But mostly it really makes me wish that I could have an actual pokémon. Pikachu is just so cute!

Minit (Switch) – A Zelda-like where you die and restart every 60 seconds. I don’t know if the experience would have changed appreciably without that particular feature.

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – October 2018

TGISGM! Thank goodness it’s scary games Friday month! I’ve been dying all summer because the sun doesn’t go away until like 10PM and I’m too old to stay up much later than that but now it gets dark super early and I can get some SPOOPS GOIN’!

I’m sorry. That was a really weird sentence. Anyway, since it’s that time of year, I’m going to be sort of rating the games I’ve played on how spooky they are. Like I did back in 2016.

~Game Over~

Mega Man 11 (Switch) – Not Spooky – Torch Man’s stage theme is “wandering around the woods at night” which is a little bit spooky, but less so with all the cartoon robots who live there.

Picross S2 (Switch) – Not Spooky – It’s picross. There may be like, a puzzle of a pumpkin in there somewhere, but it wouldn’t even have a face carved into it. No spooks here.

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate (Switch) – Not Spooky – Despite being all about monsters -some of which are mildly frightening- there’s nothing particularly spooky here.

Bayonetta (Switch) – Spooky-ish – Freaky lookin’ angels and demons all over, but there’s never really anything scary, you know? Except for the impossibly unbalanced difficulty.

Slayaway Camp (Switch) – Spoopy! – This game does a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of 80’s slasher movies, and then hamming it up to 11. Perfect blend of horror and humour.

Hollow (Switch) – Spooky! – You’re stranded on a derelict spaceship; presumably alone, until you realize there are hordes of mutilated boobie-zombies out to kill you dead! Eek!

Kemono Friends Picross (Switch) – Spooky-ish – It’s very subjective, but I find the whole animal-people theme to be a little creepy. Otherwise, this is way too cheerful to be spooky.

~Now Playing~

Onechanbara Z2: Chaos (PS4) – Spoopy at Best – It’s about zombies and cursed blood and copious gore, but really it’s just too dumb/goofy/cheesecakey to actually be spooky.

Dark Souls (Switch) – Spooky! – Yeah, this one’s a shoo-in for spooks. Have you ever seen the Gaping Dragon? Or any monster from the Painted World of Ariamis? Buuuh. Nightmares!

MGSV: The Phantom Pain (PC) – Not Spooky – There’s that one part with the parasite warehouse that is genuinely creepy and gross, but we passed that chapter months ago.

Nintendo @ E3 2018

This is it: the big collection of video game commercials that I’d been aching for since March. Okay, yeah, with that qualification, it’s obvious that I was 90% in it just for the Smash. But hey, there were other neat things, too! Let’s take a look at the sentence or two that I had to say about them!

Daemon X Machina – OOH ANIME MECHS. I LIKE. It’s like the best parts of Xenoblade X but made by Platinum and Suda51. (Except not. It’s actually Marvelous making it.)

Xenoblade 2 DLC – Speaking of Xenoblade… Hey it’s that promised story expansion DLC for the game that I’ve still only seen like 50% of. It’s a prequel with a new titan, I guess? I don’t know, the narration was Japanese and my phone was sitting on a stand that obscured the subtitles. Obviously I’m going in on it, because Xenoblade 2 is freakin’ sweet and yeah I’ll take any more of it that they’re willing to give me.

Pokémon Let’s Go – No new information here. Just Reggie pimping the lame Pokéball Plus accessory. But it does give you a free Mew, so…

Super Mario Party – I don’t have friends, so I don’t care. And even if I did, I’m sure they’d just dump all over it instead of playing with me. Dig the logo, though.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses – It’s Fire Emblem on Switch, which is so cool, which I’m down with. But I have played exactly one Fire Emblem game ever, and I have my doubts that I’ll be adding this one to the list any time soon.

Fortnite – Nope. Don’t care. I do like how not-gritty it is, though. And cool that it’s out NOW.

Overcooked 2 – I’ve heard many times that Overcooked is great, but again, with the lack of friends and all.

Killer Queen Black – Like, seriously. No friends. Okay, one friend. But that’s still not really enough to care about multiplayer party games.

Hollow Knight – Ah! A single-player game! There we go! But I’ve played it already, so… oh, what? It’s available today? And only $17? Hey, I mean, it’s not like I paid money to play it the first time…

Octopath Traveler – New demo with carry-over data… but I really don’t have time to fit that in at the moment. I don’t even know that I’ll be able to make time for the full game come July.

Sizzle reel – Mostly things shown at other presentations, or that are already out, or are getting DLC soon. Nothing that made me shriek with joy. Dark Souls still doesn’t have a release date, and Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate made an appearance. Hi, 5 seconds of Mega Man 11!

Super Smash Bros Ultimate – There was a lot to process here, so rather than trying to clean it up, here’s my stream-of-consciousness notes, hastily typed as I was watching: Oh Sakurai, you joker. Link has new moves!  Zelda is Link Between Worlds style!! (<3) Ice Climbers are back! Pokémon trainer! Lucas! Ryu! Ganondorf looks better than ever! Cloud! SNAKE IS BACK! Pichu! Toon Link AND Young Link! Wolf! MEGAMAN! Every fighter ever is back! This is amazing news!  BIG BLUUUUE! Daisy?? (Aw, dangit.) Inkling seems awesome, and I love the Squid Sisters assist trophy. But where’s Off The Hook? Bomberman assist trophy? Nice! Ooh and a deadly Fake Smash Ball! GOOD LORD RIDLEY MURDERED MARIO AND MEGA MAN.

Verdict: Super Smash Bros Ultimate is out on December 7 and that’s all that matters. Everything else was gravy at best, or I just didn’t care. Smash is all I wanted from this presentation. It’s all I wanted from this E3. And by God, they delivered!