[Game] Shin Megami Tensei IV

Shin Megami Tensei IV.jpg

Game

Shin Megami Tensei IV returns to the roots and tells a very similar story to that of the original SMT… which is kind of underwhelming after Nocturne, but then it also retains the characteristic dark atmosphere and the awesome hardcore game-play that just never grows old.

Positive:
Negative:
Beautiful artwork
Outdated visuals
Cool soundtrack
Doesn’t offer much in terms of story that prequels didn’t already
Dark, creepy atmosphere
The game-play is pretty much the same as the prequels
Thought-provoking on human society
Low-effort side-quests artificially extend the play time
Fantastic, hardcore turn-based combat
Challenging difficulty

 

[Game] Visage

The Visage

Game

As an early access game Visage is very rough around the edges, but holds a lot of potential. It’s without doubt one of the scariest games I’ve ever played and I imagine it could outright stop your heart in VR.

I just hope it gets finished properly as there was a sense of developers running out of ideas toward the end of even this demonstration version of the game.

Positive:
Negative:
Beautiful visuals
Awful controls
Genuinely scary
With no indication of where to go, you end up walking in circles a lot
Potential VR support
The latter part felt like a bunch of random stuff thrown together

Top 50 Best Rates Games in 2018

This was another great year for gaming, and while it didn’t see as many great JRPGs as last year, with Dragon Quest XI being nice but nothing particularly special, and Valkyria Chronicles 4 and Octopath Traveler kind of continuing the already paved path, there were a lot of notable indie games, especially platformers.

My favorite of the year was Celeste that combined fantastic game-play with a pretty good story, but then we also had The Messenger that brought back the classic Ninja Gaiden of all things to life, Iconoclasts that really caught me off guard with its fascinating setting and characters, Yoku’s Island Express that combined pinball with platforming, The Missing:JJ coming from the crazy guy responsible for Deadly Premonition, Guacamelee! 2 which carries the already established legacy, Dead Cells which is equal amounts frustrating and fascinating, Just Shapes & Beats which is a rad if very short experience, and though I didn’t like it that much, the audiovisual spectacle that’s GRIS.

The other indie games include my second favorite game this year, the underwater survival and exploration simulator, Subnautica, that’s though rough around the edges is a beyond incredible experience in VR. Then there was a detective-like game Obra Dinn which is probably like nothing you’ve played before, and Unavowed that does a worthy homage to the 90s adventure games.  And I nearly forgot my new favorite turn-based game, Into the Breach, which though short is mind-blowing addicting.

It really makes me think that indie games might be the way of the future, though we had some pretty cool triple AAA titles as well this year, like Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War (2018), Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Monster Hunter: World. …All of which I have yet to play, but I’m sure at least one or two of those would end up in my personal top ten of the year.

There was also a resurgence of the city builder genre with a worthwhile successor to Theme Hospital and an ice-age themed survival builder Frostpunk, which turned out to have a much more involving narrative than I’d expected.

[Game] Guacamelee! 2

Guacamelee 2.jpg

Game

For better or worse, Guacamelee! 2 is just like its prequel. It offers the same kind of pleasant experience, but it feels a lot less fresh the second time around.

Positive:
Negative:
Attractive, colorful 2D visuals
The story’s pretty generic
Pleasant, unique music
Combat mechanics are a bit repetitive and can get dull
Cool Mexican setting
Some of the levels drag on for too long
Well-written, genuinely funny dialogue
Plays a lot like the previous game, making for a less memorable experience
Good boss fights
Good platforming with lots of gimmicks to keep things fresh

[Game] Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep

Game

I was never a huge fan of Disney, so I’ve got to admit, when I first heard of Kingdom Hearts it sounded like a pretty stupid idea to me, but the first and especially the second game of the series ended up growing on me as they had just enough of the Final Fantasy flavor to keep me interested… and the Disney worlds were surprisingly fun to explore as they still were something I experienced and enjoyed as a kid.

Birth by Sleep, though a prequel and not as grand as the two flagship titles, still offers a pretty genuine Kingdom Hearts experience and is definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of the series.

It’s just too bad that the convoluted naming and ever-changing platforms of Kingdom Heart game releases have made it so aggravating to even figure out what order they are supposed to be played in.

Positive:
Negative:
Fascinating setting that combines Final Fantasy with Disney
The story has a lot of parts that are hard to take seriously
Interesting, likable characters
The convoluted nature of the overarching story will turn many people off
An interesting story with lots and lots of lore
An odd delay before blocking makes the gameplay feel clunky on higher difficulties
Surprisingly interesting plot that you explore from multiple angles
It’s nostalgic and nice to visit the worlds from your childhood movies
Challenging, fun action game-play

[Game] Soul Calibur VI

Soul Calibur VI

Game

Soul Calibur VI offers the same awesome and flashy fighter game-play as its many prequels, but it barely feels like a new game at this point. It being a reboot not only takes you backward in the story, it means you have a smaller roster of characters to select from (as it takes place before they’re introduced).

It feels more like a step backward than forward, and I don’t think I’d be able to tell the difference between it and V or even IV if I was looking at the screen from a distance.

Positive:
Negative:
Beautiful visuals
Underwhelming story that alternates between dull and cringeworthy
A large cast of interesting and memorable characters
Barely feels like a different game from the previous installments in the series
An actual story mode (though it’s not very good)
Actually offers a smaller roster of characters than the prequels
Top-notch 3D fighting mechanics
Subpar localization

[Game] King’s Bounty – The Legend

King's Bounty

Game

An interesting strategy and computer role-playing hybrid that plays like an RPG version of Heroes of Might & Magic. It’s just too bad that its story reads like bad fanfiction.

Positive:
Negative:
Satisfying strategy game-play
The story reads like bad fanfiction
A well-designed world that’s fun to explore
Long battles start getting tedious towards the end