I largely agree, the combat feels fun and it’s building up to be a good action game. Anyway, I won’t belabor the difficulty discourse except to note that there’s nothing in the second stage (including its two boss encounters) that compares even remotely to the first boss. I can’t tell if I’m an extreme outlier with that first boss, if the difficulty curve of the full game is wildly haphazard or if they wanted to weed out any player who can’t “git gud” early on.
Will likely pick the game up at some point down the line. In the meantime I have my Nioh 2 playthrough to continue with.
After some dalliances with games that are not Resident Evil, I’m back on my bullshit babeyyy.
I’m taking it back to the epochal nadir of the franchise with both 2012 Resident Evils (I do Not count Operation Raccoon City), starting with Revelations.
Visually, I kind of wish I was playing this on the 3DS.The HD version for the 8th gen consoles is feels like it’s three 3DS games standing on each other’s shoulders under a trench coat. In purely technical “how advanced are the graphics” terms, it’s squarely between Evils 4 and 5, which also works out timeliness-wise. Sidebar: Resident Evil 5 still looks better than most games being released today. For Revelations though, it looks inert and boxey and small compared to the less advanced, but more ambitious Resident Evil 4, a game who aesthetics are so cursed once you progress past the village section that the Remake will beat it out by default.
I do however love some shlocky nautical horror and this game has it. I love the enemy designs of the main BOWs here. You can definitely tell the same lead creative team would go on to make Resi 7.
So far, it’s going down easy. Also; while P3 may be grabbing headlines as one of the most annoying characters in recent memory, I would take the crispy critters over Jessica pouting about her “sweet ass” and Chris’ refusal to pay it reverence any day.
Second sidebar: Chris doesn’t fuck, he lifts. Jill definitely fucks. Claire would if she had the time but who has the time? Leon is a virgin volcel, which is why he’s so powerful. Ada’s sex life is, frankly, intimidating. Barry is missionary-only with the lights off. And Wesker, to paraphrase Noah Gervais, doesn’t take his glasses off before, during, or after. Ethan empirically has fucked once but even then I’m not so sure.
I have been playing a lot of Destiny recently. I spent February catching up on the witch queen campaign and all the seasonal content from the past year. Lightfall is not what I expected, but I am hopeful that the rest of season of defiance and the new raid will be a lot of fun
Spent two entire months playing The Witcher 3. It’s good! Still mulling over the balance of open world content to linear story ; there’s a lot of meaningless icons to clear and straightforward go-kill-a-monster quests, but it does work to make the map feel like a big world where you’re just a witcher living your life. Even sailing the boat is pretty fun (when you don’t stop every 30 seconds to go diving after one of the million sunken treasures around). We’ll see how I feel after going back for the DLC.
After finishing that, I grabbed The Pale Beyond. The demo made a strong impression on me last year; I love the idea of a survival game focused on resource management and character interactions, instead of going in a base/city-building direction. The atmosphere is fantastic, with beautiful portraits of your crew over the icy wasteland backgrounds, and the sound of the chilling winds blowing outside your tent.
You need to balance the health of the crew, your dwindling stock of supplies and the loyalty of the people who come to you with requests every week. The game manages to thread the needle of keeping the tension high without locking you in a death spiral quite well; whenever you start to feel like you have a handle on things, some kind of catastrophe occurs to keep you on your toes. I like how the story, despite the harsh and desperate atmosphere, displays support and solidarity among the crew instead of hostility and violence.
The conclusion felt slightly unsatisfying (the meta macguffin gives you the incredible power… to do what you could already do at anytime? What’s the point), but not enough to seriously impact the experience. It’s a good (and stressful) time; maybe just wait a bit for more bug fixes, I had UI issues at several points. Oh, and serious Content Warning for animal death. The dogs are adorable, and you can pet them, but Bad Things happen
I also played through Three Lilies and their Ghost Stories, the new visual novel from milk+ (who made soundless, a very good, very trippy horror VN about abuse in a religious community). This one is lighter in tone, though the separate stories offer several distinct atmospheres: melancholy ghost tale on an isolated island, spooky happenings in the suburbs, and a horror/action thriller on a floating city. All the main characters are cool queer ladies and they’re pretty well written; the stories are short enough (around 1h each) that I would have liked to spend more time with the cast, but the pacing doesn’t feel rushed.
The stories are all interesting but I particularly enjoyed the last one; despite the action movies vibes, it managed to deploy some genuinely unnerving imagery, and the cinematic presentation (with a moving camera over the sprites and backgrounds) is very effective. It’s also dealing with climate anxiety, which is more and more relevant every day… Overall a fun little slice of horror while waiting for Halloween!
Spent the last week tooling around with Phantom Brigade. Briefly, mech combat good! I’ve gathered that it’s not the only game that uses simultaneous turn resolution, less sure about the ‘predictive algorithm’ in the fiction that allows you to see exactly what the enemy is going to do during gameplay, but I’ve never played anything like it. Seeing where the arc of an enemy shot will land, sliding my mechs into cover at exactly the right moment, and having them pop out to ventilate the opposition basically never gets old.
After taking a few provinces back from the enemy, though, I’m finding the mech management aspect of this mech tactics game pretty hollow. The obvious comparison is Battletech and there are a lot of similarities - you’re not managing money, but you are managing your supplies of ‘liquid fix’ that means you can’t just string battles together indefinitely and need to think strategically on the world map. But Battletech’s economy, the pilots actually having skill trees so they developed over time, the variation in environmental design between different planets, even stuff like the tonnage restrictions on certain missions all leave Phantom Brigade feeling pretty same-y after a while.
Other than the visual flair (and I’ll admit: I’m loving a lot of these mech designs), it mostly feels like a game of ‘numbers go up’ as I acquire new equipment. Do I give my heavy mech the Vidar 6 legs or the Vidar 7? Well the Vidar 7 is level 7 so it’s going to be that. There’s some nuance in the components - especially in juggling different reactor cores, thruster types, and mobility enhancements to make sure the heaviest mechs don’t get completely weighed down, or squeezing the most speed out of the lightest ones - but I think the numbered/level-based equipment was mostly a mistake as it really sucks the air out of any sense of progression.
I’m curious whether I’m just not seeing much of the late game stuff because the map is gigantic and I’ve only taken a few provinces, yet the capital district - my presumed goal? - is right there. I’d need to quickly encounter some much more compelling stuff if I was going to be persuaded to clear the whole world map and not just make directly for the capital. Unlike Battletech, there’s no narrative pulling me along; unlike a Total War campaign, there’s no real pushback from the enemy, no give and take of provinces to divide my attention. It’s a shame because the core gameplay is so strong, but the campaign built around it feels undercooked. I know some features were scrapped from the 1.0 release to get it out the door, but it makes me wonder if this should really be considered an extension of early access and nothing like a final release because there’s so much room to improve.
Also I realized that they have basically taken every good idea that was in Radical Heights. Namely money that persists between rounds and tricks on bikes. There’s something real fun about feeling like you got a good enough start that you’re going to drop 1k on items and rolling for augments.
Hammer being disabled right now is also very nice. Fun weapon but it sure does feel like a mandatory item.
Phantom Brigade looks so dope. I’m currently deep into beating Nioh 2, but it’ll be fun to dive into it properly soon.
Speaking of Nioh 2, this is such a dope action game. I’ve come to appreciate that instead of a story driven action game, it’s an RPG looter.
You know, a rooter.
Well, for regular story progression you won’t need to replay older missions to grind for gear, but for advanced play that is what opens up a ton of options for builds. I’m doing a simple, minimal loot poison build with a sword + spear focus, but of the around twelve weapons available you can head into … anything, really. Speed focused tonfas, magic based switchglaives, guard breaking great hammers, it’s all here*.
The flow of combat being based around combos, into Ki pulses to regain stamina, into switching stances or weapons for larger damage feels phenomenal. Even for someone who is barely capable of stringing that together. Enemy design is largely good and compared to the first game there’s a bit more variety in side levels and the level design is a bit better.
So yeah, if you’re up for a tight and quite challenging (at first, it gets easier as you go) action game with swords, ninjutsu and magic, maybe check this out? I think it goes on sale quite regularly.
* A tip which I didn’t know at first, each weapon has 1 main + 2 minor stats that it scales with so make sure to 1) level all stats somewhat, not just the major stat, and 2) pick weapon combos that complement each other reasonably well stat wise
You’re right about Phantom Brigade. It has a couple of incredible strengths.
The WeGo combat + timeline prediction + loose physics is just a great experience for the Tactics brain. Dashing to rooftops, only to have the building collapse, or just absolutely domino-ing one enemy mech into his buddy with a shield charge are things that this game does that I’ve never seen before. The damage/concussion/death model produce frequently surprising outcomes (how is that mech still going? How did that guy blow up so easily) that gives each battle a nice bit of tension that you wouldn’t expect from “you can predict enemy behaviour perfectly”.
The Mech Designs towering over McMansions and other residential buildings on maps is such a good artistic choice.
The rest is pretty bland oatmeal. It’s been like this throughout EA and I got the feeling that the ambition of the Combat Layer ended up eating time that might have gone to better flavour + campaign mechanics. Pilots (and enemy pilots) were supposed to be a lot deeper and drive the narrative more. And I absolutely miss the friction that BattleTech’s environments would put on loadout choices and Mech designs.
That said, the strengths are so strong that I still heartily recommend it as a “paint the map one amazing battle at a time” game. And the devs are great folks IMX, so I hope it does well enough to merit a followup.
Heyaaa, a Resident Evil 4 Remake demo just dropped.
So I played it.
Tank controls forever, you know I’m on that shit.
But this remake seems good as all heck, still. Now to be fair, it features the best part of the original game, so what can stand up to that? But it’s still goofy and while free aiming is … IDK, it feels just the right kind of non-standard (?) for me to buy in.
Like, you can run without pressing the left stick, the absolute worst button press imaginable. Good job, team!
Also played the demo. It has the juice! They made it real hard to hit a headshot, but this game doesn’t have the slightly drunk feeling of character movement that RE2make and RE3make had.
As a documented “Resident Evil 4? More like Resident Evil 3.5/5!” person, this is probably a day oner for me. RE4 has too many ideas and not a cohesive enough mood, aesthetic, or set of level design principles to be an all-timer for me. If there’s something that the REvival era has in spades, it’s confidence and a cohesive approach to both new and old material. If they manage to adapt the bizarre tone of the original to this, it’s an easy win.
Sorry for the double-post. I need to speak my truth about Resident Evil 6.
This game rocks. I’m wrong, but I don’t care. I once played some back in 2014 with a friend over co-op with the expressed intention of laughing at it. This is also the recommended approach to playing Dead Space 3. Resident Evil 6 is thankfully a much more enjoyable work than that.
The hump I think lots of people never got over with this game was that it’s incredibly idiosyncratic, despite appearing to be a run-of-the-mill third-person shooter. The game lets you play it like any other shooter, and by that I mean it let’s you get forced into onerous QTEs and run out of ammo constantly. However, it wants you to be using the quick-shot, parry, and prone mechanics to gun-kata you way through enemies. The problem is that this game does a strikingly poor job of tutorialising those mechanics, and throws you into a campaign that punishes you the most for not having learned those lessons already.
Leon’s campaign is absolutely deranged in its construction. A good third of it is dedicated to a single-boss fight. It experiments with large-scale battles with NPC back-up. Multiple hold-out sequences! A rolling TLoU Z-day opening that refuses to relent for over an hour! It’s astonishing that this was how they chose to introduce players to these mechanics. It has a 5-minute quick-time sequence for a tutorial! One of the most distasteful boss-fights in modern gaming! I can’t just keep listing things that happen in the first quarter of this 30-hour smorgasbord.
Having an inkling of how this game works however, I was able to get into the rhythm of it. Once you have that down, it all starts to make sense. A delirious, febrile coke-logic to be sure, but logic nonetheless.
I also adore this game’s look. The mix of high and low fidelity that characterises id Tech 5 game is also something that MT Framework has in abundance. That combo of blurry, shaderless art assets with crisp character models and gorgeous post-processing affects? That’s that 7th gen skung baby, and I love it. This game also has damage location-specific mutation tech that makes The Callisto Protocol’s implementation seem quaint. It is the funniest thing in the world to see a guy have all his limbs mutated into weird insect appendages while keeping a regular torso. All Resident Evil games are comedies and I have gotten multiple belly-laughs from this one.
RE6 good. They’re putting some of its best mechanics in RE4make so it’s time to do a revisionism.
So I coincidentally wrapped up The Last of Us Part 2 just as the finale of the show’s season 1 aired, and I think I’ve finally figured out what this series is about. It’s not about love, or hate, or even if humanity is worth saving. No, it’s about plot armor. Basically, the world of TLOU is about these special few people that can walk through impossible situation after impossible situation and come out each time. Perhaps traumatized and worse for the wear, but they implicitly understand they will survive and continue to make poor decision after poor decision that keeps putting themselves in danger. The rest of the world? Well, they’re NPCs and don’t particularly matter (especially if they’re not white, although at least Joel is implied to be Latinx in the show). Part 2 is all about the special people coming across others with even stronger plot armor who make even dumber decisions.
At least the stealth sandbox is great; it’s got me itching to replay MGSV.
I was traveling for a bunch of Feb which on top of being wonderful on its own was a welcome break from games. These past few week I spent settling back in at home and finishing up Dragon’s Dogma, a game I absolutely loved and couldn’t put down but am having a profoundly difficult time finding the words to say why haha. Its a tough game to write about and I take some comfort in the fact even writers I deeply admire like Austin have struggled when talking about it.
Here’s a place to start maybe; Amidst a murky collection of mechanics and story Dragon’s Dogmafeels fun to play. There is a lot in DD that feels foggy and obscured the story is only slightly more spelled out than a Dark Souls game, side quests play by their own rules and will progress and disappear unless attended to, and there the world itself which has that beautiful vasaline blur I love in games of this era. But as a player you cut through this word like a finger across a fogged mirror. Every button press, every character animation feels so sharp, deliberate, and weighty its almost shocking amidst the obfuscation of the rest of world. I can’t stress enough the difference between watching and playing the game either. The prime example of this probably being climbing enemies, something I always thought looked pretty silly in gameplay videos but in action feels dynamic, dangerous, exciting, and fun.
Theres a lot more the praise in the game (the story, the music, the world design) but I want to reflect and read a bit before writing any more. The game is a masterwork tho, you can’t go wrong.
This deserves its own post but I’m currently working my way through a replay of Life is Strange 1 and Before the Storm and its been a really rewarding exercise! I’ll go indepth later this week once I finish up the game.
Almost finished with Jake’s campaign in RE6. No doubt this game is a turkey but I think it’s interesting to examine why. The closest analogy I can think of is Tom Hall’s Anachronox: a sprawling western interpretation of Japanese RPGs released just after the absolute peak of the genre’s popularity.
There’s a specific and considered effort to adapt the motifs of Call of Duty and Uncharted into something that makes sense for both Western and Japanese audiences. This game deeply earnest in ways I wasn’t really expecting, and the fact that Village’s Chris wouldn’t have been such a terrifying asshole without the events of this game (the turtleneck!!) speaks to my belief that Capcom weren’t “out of ideas” for this game. They just thought the ideas du jour were the ones worth implementing.
It is fucking bizarre though. So many mechanics! So many setpieces that look they’re ripped straight from the Naughty Dog playbook but just don’t quite work that way!
I think my favourite example of this is how the laser sight works. While you can unload a full mag in seconds, the spread is much wider than you’d expect and what the game actually indicates. Single shots from all the automatic and semi-automatic weapons are actually very effective and almost necessary to avoid running out of ammo. But crucially, even a single shot will pull your laser dot out of alignment with the center of the crosshair, and it will take a good couple of seconds for it to return to center. Did Resident Evil 6 attempt to simulate losing and regaining your sight picture after each shot? Evidently so.
This is possibly what I love most about this game. You don’t stop discovering new and strangely-implemented mechanics, even 15 hours in. You come away more convinced than ever that they needed the reset that was RE7, but also that the “RE5 & 6 didn’t happen” attitude voiced on certain podcasts is both dismissive and incurious.
I’m back into Destiny 2 after being away from it for years. After futzing around in the free content I decided to buy the 30 year anniversary pack, because I’m an old fan of Marathon and I saw they had S’pht armor for Warlocks. Then after I got tired of playing Dares of Eternity I bought Lightfall and am working through that content.
Meanwhile, on my Switch I keep jumping from game to game that I can play during work. I started playing Phantasy Star 3 through the Genesis Mega Collection, then after listening to Abnormal Mapping’s Phantasy Star podcast I started playing Phantasy Star 1. Then that Castlevania expansion came out for Dead Cells and I’ve been playing that. I can’t seem to stick to one game.