Category: Action

Devil May Cry 1

Ah, this game. I really love this game. If you haven’t yet, you should go play this game. There’s an extra pretty remastered version for the PS3 and Xbox, but given both of those break if you look at them too roughly, I’d suggest the original game with the PS2, as that one breaks slightly less often and is significantly cheaper when the inevitable happens. Go now.

Devil May Cry was meant to be part of the Resident Evil franchise, but it was considered far too actiony. You can still see a lot of the influence in the setting, as well as how tightly constrained your resources and consumables are.

Is it horror? I don’t know. I certainly found it a horror game, but I admit I have no experience with these games at all and played it in a state of constant panic and confusion. (more…)

Shadow of Mordor

Here’s the story of Shadow of Mordor – You are a ranger guy. Orcs kill your wife and son, then you, in a ritual designed to bind a dead elf’s spirit to your corpse. It works. You resurrect with bonus ghost powers, like ghost arrows and ghost teleporting between ghost buildings and ghost respawning after being killed so you can never really die, in a clever melding of videogame and story.

You proceed to gruesomely murder your way through your surroundings. (more…)

Christmas Steam Games 2018: QuickRecs

Our sacred holiday tradition continues! I got so many this year that we get to divide this into recs and pans. Most of these are puzzle games; I suppose those are the ones that go for cheap.

Inside: Hollow Knight, Recursed, Ittle Dew 2, The Dweller, Zasa: An AI Story, NO THING, Quell, Qbik, Reveal the Deep.

I also got Hue, which Act already reviewed. It is wonderful and I second her recommendation.

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Finally got around to this, 4 years late. It’s good!

I think my most important takeaway from this game is that it’s very different from other Zelda games. It’s good at what it is, but it scratches a different itch. I wouldn’t want all Zelda games to be like this one going forward.

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Yahtzee Croshaw’s Dev Diary

In 2019, Yahtzee Croshaw (the game reviewer who does Zero Punctuation) challenged himself to make 12 games in 12 months and document his progress every fortnight. As someone interested in game design myself, I checked them out and I recommend you do too. They’re all short, free, and incredibly varied.

In this post I’ll give my own ranking, and short thoughts on each one.

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Unworthy

Unworthy is a Soulslike Metroidvania I found in a recommendations list somewhere. Its main defining feature is that you can’t jump. It accomplishes this much better than Mable and the Wood, mainly by not trying to be a platformer anyway. There are no bottomless pits and shockingly few spike traps. There is rather severe falling damage, but this is mainly to prevent you from bypassing levels and not as a way to create a disaster cascade from getting hit. There’s no knockback from enemy attacks at all, actually, which is both a blessing and a curse because there’s no mercy invincibility either, so enemies will quickly combo you to death if you don’t get out of the way on your own. There is a midgame upgrade that gives you the ability to move vertically, but it works very differently than a jump ability and I overall found it delightfully fun and inventive, plus it made moving around areas a breeze.

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Dark Souls

Yes, after playing several of its imitators, I finally got around to the original, only 10 years late!

After all the hype, I found it… underwhelming. My biggest takeaway is that the Soulslike imitators vastly improved upon and streamlined the formula, which isn’t terribly surprising. Dark Souls itself feels like it has a lot of design principles pulling in opposite directions, as well as a lot of tedious cruft that its imitators wisely trim.

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Fallout: New Vegas

Another oldie I’m finally getting around to.

Like all of Obsidian’s catalog, Fallout: New Vegas is a beautifully-written game that should have been a visual novel. The RPG elements, the shootouts with random suicidal raiders, and the endless trekking through acres of samey wasteland and copy/pasted buildings full of useless garbage items so thick you stop paying attention to item pickups altogether, add nothing to the experience. The Hardcore survival mechanics were an interesting idea, but are rendered meaningless by the fact the wasteland is a veritable Eden of endlessly-replenishing food, to the point you’ll probably accumulate more than you’ll ever need just by wandering around the starting areas.

But in between the chaff, the story is, as per usual with Obsidian, exceptional.

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Titan Souls

This is sort of like a bite-sized 2D version of Shadow of the Colossus. (Despite what the name may lead you to think, it doesn’t actually have much similarity to Dark Souls.) You play as a tiny human fighting massive monsters, with some environmental storytelling hinting at surrounding context.

Here’s the most notable about this game: You only have one hit, but so do the bosses. One hit to their weak point and that’s it, you’re done. This has blown my mind in regards to how I think about game design and game challenges, and I’m going to vomit those thoughts at you now.

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