I have scanned my games library and come to the conclusion that I am incredibly basic.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions had three thing’s working against it in regards to it’s popularity
1. Like you said, it was a Wii U game towards the end of it’s life cycle.
2. People wrote it off because it was neither SMT or FE enough for them aesthetically. When you hear Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, modern day Japanese celebrity culture doesn’t exactly spring to mind.
3. The Usual Suspects were mad because they toned down how sexualized the girls were in the NA localization. I intentionally say girls here and not women or female party members, because they are teens.
I genuinely believe that game didn’t get a fair shake and it is very deserving of a Switch port since it was the best game on the Wii U.
No, it’s mostly it’s own thing. It’s borrows heavily from SMT in regards to game play but that’s really it.
Oh wait there is a convenience store that uses Jack Frost as it’s mascot, the Hee Ho Mart
Torn on recommending Rain World because I think all the flak it got for its difficulty on release was more or less entirely deserved, but goddamn if that game clicks with you then it clicks. If you liked how Dark Souls or BOTW just drop you into a world with basically no direction, or the way the janky AI world sim in the STALKER games decenters the player, I’d give this one a second look. It’s an absolutely gorgeous, weird, sprawling oddity of a game, and goes to some places I genuinely didn’t expect.
It’s definitely a punishing experience, although the updates since release have made things a little more welcoming to new players, including an “easy” mode which mellows out the survival mechanics a great deal but IMO is still pretty tough. The game’s dedication to simulating an ecosystem above all else leads to a pretty significant buy-in (there will be at least one point where a lizard eats you immediately upon transitioning screens with no chance to avoid it) but also provides some genuinely thrilling, tense encounters. If getting lost in an alien world is your thing, this game is so, so good at it.
I’ve spent plenty of time playing games made in RPG Maker. There are some very good ones and very bad ones, but even some of the good ones feel as if they include certain features because their maker’s creative horizon was set by Final Fantasy VI. Not a bad thing (Final Fantasy VI was great!) but after enough iteration, obsessive repetition of certain elements–airships, multiple party members, convoluted ability systems–without a contextual reason for them to be there becomes exhausting.
What I love about Helen’s Mysterious Castle is how compact it is: every bit of it feels as if the creator put it there on purpose. Multiple party members? In this game, you only have one. Airship? The story is limited to a single dungeon, but one you gradually unlock Metroidvania-style. Convoluted abilities? Helen’s moveset is restricted to the handful of weapons and items you find throughout the dungeon, but their individual speed and type effectiveness is hugely important to surviving in battle. And if you die, your elf relative revives you with delicious steak that slightly increases your HP for future encounters.
It’s a charming game, too: Helen only speaks through punctuation like “…!” or “…”, the graphics are based on the (infamous?) RTP while being maybe the most polished iteration of that graphics set. And it’s cheap, and doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Let me explain to you why Toy Commander is an incredibly underappreciated game and arguably one of the best games for the Dreamcast.
The game is ostensibly a love letter to being a kid where you would spend all day making these elaborate scenarios with your toys all over the house. This game meant so much to me as a kid and has had such a long lasting impression that I think if I tried to write out why it is so good in paragraphs I would be writing for the next three days so I’m just going to start listing.
The game embraces it’s limited art assets by reusing them and the main locations in creative ways that make it feel like a kid actually threw them together with what toys they had
The physical environment of the room itself was sometimes interactable such as being able to turn off lights by shooting the switch or turning on the Dreamcast
Colliding with things doesn’t damage you even if you are in a flying vehicle.
“Ground” vehicles are allowed to drive on the walls and ceiling so long as you can find a ramp that lets you transition on to them
Landing a plane felt really good
Having a single joystick doesn’t feel limiting. Not being able to rotate the camera is hardly ever actually a problem something that Sonic Adventures struggled with immensely by comparison
Losing a vehicle doesn’t always mean a mission failure in fact some missions actually encourage you to sacrifice some
Fuel is a resource to manage but at worst if you run out all that happens is you move really slow until you find more.
It’s broken out into areas of the house and each has about 6 - 8 missions in it and the game understands some are harder then others or that you might not find them interesting so you only are required to beat about half
The levels feel huge and it’s amazing that they got them to render so smoothly on the hardware
The mission structure and immediately showing a high score table and letting you enter your initials upon completion makes it a really great pass around game
There’s a good in game audible beep if you go over the recommended time so you know when to restart
A good use of in game cut scenes at the start and end of a mission
The dopey grins on the peg people gives them enough character that while they hardly ever actually move running into them on a mission or rescuing them just makes them feel like they have character
All the missions feel unique, even the racing ones all feel different
Mission variety is huge and there’s a good balance of action and puzzle
A great soundtrack
Weapons and the sounds associated with them feel creative
A clever use of plastic army men as nothing more then stationary NPC turrets that you can pick up with certain vehicles leading to hilarious scenarios where you need to quickly speed into an area with enemies while spamming the “drop contents” button so you can have them fight the enemy soldiers before the start shooting at you
There’s a ton of vehicles and each one feels like it controls similar but still unique
The PvP was actually interesting in that it was fairly free form in letting you change certain settings like just disable the timer or kill count so you and your friends could just explore the level or set up elaborate race tracks. It also had a really fun cat and mouse mode.
I also think Fur Fighters was a great 3D platformer with guns that was incredibly underappreciated and again it had a pretty great soundtrack
The Surge yall, That Good Shit.
I know their last attempt at a Souls-inspired thing was Lords of the Fallen, which wasn’t that encouraging, but The Surge is legitimately fantastic and well worth everyone’s time. It grapples with some super interesting themes and for the most part gets satisfyingly wrapped up in them, rather than them feeling like window dressing, or vague aideas chucked at a wall.
The box pitch misses the interesting stuff I think. It focuses on the immediate setup, of you being stuck in a factory-like facility after the titular Surge hits and sends everything and everyone haywire. But the really interesting stuff is in the world setup: A Google-esque megacorp has been making huge profits in the buisness of fixing the Ozone layer. They’ve made the process super marketable and are pulling people all over the world to work in shitty Amazon/Tesla level working conditions. Only at some point their strategy stopped working, and behind the scenes everyone has been falling over themselves looking for even more drastic solutions.
It chooses to be ambiguous rather than drawing conclusions about a lot of it’s ideas, which leads to some petering off at the end of side quests, but not enough to sour me on them. They’re still fantastic little vignettes that are often very strange.
It’s also got super good combat, you can target individual limbs in a fight, and you gotta toss up between aiming for exposed parts for damage or hitting armor and weapon-holding hands so you can lop them off and nab it for yourself. It’s got audiologs, but I think they work perfectly here, where the risk of them being cut off because you walked into a cutscene is pretty much nonexistant. They’re also really good, lots of them furthering brill little side stories, including a mystery about a serial killer in the factory and a woman doing pretty much the same thing as you but always one step ahead, which is great for foreshadowing and also takes a fantastic turn later on.
Not suggesting it as the next one, but I think it’d be a great Waypoint 101 someday. Absolutely up a lot of people here’s alley.
You probably don’t expect a triple A game in this thread, but I want to mention Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.
It came out in the wake of the anger over Unity and general AC-fatigue, and it was followed up by Origins that improved and refreshed the series in so many ways, so it tends to be forgotten a bit.
But swapping the overly serious tone of Unity for a more lighthearted approach and making a kind of Charles Dickens-esque romanticised version of Victorian London was a good move. With the misty cobblestone streets and crows perched on barren trees while the thunder rolls over the asylum, it immediately scored on the charming meter.
In some way it reminds me of Odyssey with a lot of larger -than-life characters and more humour and surrealism seeping into the dialogues and missions.
It also does a helluva lot better attempt at diversifying its cast with a brother and sister duo as lead and also POC, plussize and trans characters. It has women as both heroes and villains and one of the protags confirmed as bisexual (although not obviously so in-game).
It’s not without flaws. As most fiction set in Victorian England it tends to romanticise the horrors of classism and racial issues of the time and makes a caricatures out of folks like Karl Marx. It does try to squeeze in some progressive commentary albeit very tame.
If you enjoyed the early AC games but got tired of it halfway AC3 or Unity, then I think Syndicate is really worth trying. It doesn’t bring the makeover and gameplay improvements that Origins did, but in terms of tone and characterisation it makes me happy
Games for Waypoint 101
GOTYLY2018: Game of the Year, Last Year (2017)
In my deliberation over weather to get World of Final Fantasy Maxima as a thing to do until I get Smash Bros as a chrimbo gift, I’m reminded of FFXIII.
Final Fantasy XIII has aged like fine wine. All the talk around release was about most of the game being pretty corridors and frankly I’ve only come to appreciate that aspect more. I swear to god, give me more RPGs that are just walking down ludicrously good looking corridors while Stuff happens to me. It’s great. I’d take a solid story too, but honestly FFXIII stacks pretty well as an unintentional comedy.
This game is mostly awful. It’s ugly as sin and extremely poorly animated, even for a 2010 game. The story is a mess of conspiracy cliche’s that are clearly sequel bait which, like, LOL. The performances are pretty uniformly stiff and one note, as are the characters themselves. Progression amounts to deciding what mechanic is going to merely suck as opposed to make you desire death, and actually playing the thing as an involved RPG is a fool’s errand (NEVER INVEST IN WEAPONS THAT AREN’T ASSAULT RIFLES, SERIOUSLY)
All that being said, Alpha Protocol STILL has the most reactive, open ended, conversation system I’ve ever seen and the conceit of having the protagonist be a super spy who’s specialty is manipulation is genius.
A big thing that “choose your own adventure” style western rpg’s tend to play up are the “real relationships” you’ll form with companions who feel like “real humans,” Alpha Protocol deliberately tosses that aside and tells you that these people are tools, not your friends. Would you rather have this perk or that perk? This guy as an ally, or that bit of intel? Well, act accordingly. I don’t know if the commentary was intentional, but AP lampshades how every single protagonist in every single one of these types of games is basically a complete sociopath. The game even has a character who, if you’re just trying to get under their skin, will point it out if it’s inconsistent with how you generally act!
No deliberate act of parody, like Saints Row 4’s “romances”, can ever cut as deep as that, folks. It’s the primary reason I love the game and the reason I keep coming back.
Dillon’s Dead Heat Breakers for the 3DS, tragically overlooked this year.
For those not familiar with the Dillon series, it’s a third person tower defense game where you control a cowboy armadillo. Mixture of planning out where to put defenses, third person fighting, and mini games in town to earn money.
Had a blast with this game! Extremely quirky and filled with little wierd details and mingames. My favorite was the one where you manage a grocery store (stocking items and ringing people up)
There’s a demo in the 3ds eshop.
(edit) Noticed it’s on sale for $20 until the 28th of nov.
For any of you Sudoku fans out there like myself, there’s Sudokube.
Like the original puzzle, you’re tasked to fill in each row and column so that they contain an instance of digits 1 to 9 without any duplicates on any one line. Instead of doing it on a 9x9 grid divided into 3x3 subgrids, however, you get a cube with a 3x3 grid on each side, and you need to ensure a digit on one side doesn’t sit along the same row or column as the same digit on a different side.