I’ve been hanging 10 this week with a paid vacation that has allowed me to play a LOT of great
Monster Hunter video games! Some of these are games I plan to review, others are games that I’m playing that came out last year in preparation for my all-important official Top 10 Video Games of 2017 Trash List! To those who are curious: I want to review the games I played from this year, 2018, so I will be reviewing those, but games that I’m playing for my top 10 list will not be reviewed (unless I have, you know, a lot to say about the game that just needs to be said and cannot be regulated under the confines of a countdown).
So let’s drop some fuckin’ impressions on your lap!
But before that, did you read this week’s earlier content? I reviewed Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (surprise that was a 2017 game even I can like boldly to your face vote me for president will ya?), I ranked my childhood with Street Fighter 2 Turbo Hyper Fighting, and I compiled all my Reviews and Impressions in some handy, clutter-free lists! I also changed the font! HOLY SHIT!
If you’re here after clicking a game from one of these new lists, I tip my hat to ya!
Well, I would tip my hat. I don’t wear hats.
I got this game shortly after it came out, managed to play the first month (in game), and then had to move on to other things. So it goes with Persona games. They tend to be fucking long. But if my hour count in Monster Hunter World says anything, I’m fully capable of sticking hard to one video game, so I’m following a recent desire and I’m trying to beat this game. I have to for my list anyway, because I know it’ll make it, I just can’t tell where it would land until I get much further, or beat, the game.
Persona 5 has style that bleeds in every aspect you can think: from the menu design, to the music, the color pallet, and even the disguised loading screen, playing animations from all the characters in your party. It’s a treat for the senses. I think presentation is important in video games but this is especially true of a menu based JRPG. If this game looked and sounded like shit I wouldn’t play it, even if the characters and the story remained in-tact. It’s just so captivating and fun to look out/listen to that I find myself slapping my own face in the real world for not playing more of this thing last year.
I don’t actually physically slap my face though.
I’ve played a lot of Persona 3 and SMT IV, so I’m familiar with the gameplay; of fusing Personas, and hanging out with people to build social links. Well, social links aren’t in SMT. But like I said, I’m familiar with the demonic pocket ghosts enough to get a sense of what they want me to do. It’s often overwhelming when the game gives you the freedom to choose what you’re going to do in an in-game day, but the inclusion of the statistical information, telling percentages of all other players’ choices, leads me on the path to making choices more easily. I’m not at that paranoid level where I’m actually checking guides to see how I should focus my after-school activities, but I’ve definitely felt that urge once or twice.
I’m still very early into the game (eighteen hours….that’s very early in Persona time), so I don’t have that much to say so far. The characters are really enjoyable and I love their interactions. The world is interesting, the set up pulls you in quite nicely and quickly, and the constant push and pull of the flash forward scenes really paints an intrigue that makes me want to know what happens next. There are some really good deviations from what you’d expect, even having played the games before, and that’s always a real treat.
It’s a good game so far, and that’s probably not surprising. Game came out over a year ago. You already probably know if the game’s good, because you probably played it, and if not you probably aren’t interested in playing it.
STEAMWORLD DIG 2
This is another game that I’ve been playing for my 2017 countdown. It’s one I wanted as soon as it came out, but held off on buying. I was glad I did, because I got to play the game for free with my Twitch Prime subscription. Cool dude.
Everything checks out as far as what I’ve heard about the sequel. It takes everything that made the first game good and does it better. It throws in some nice surprises while doing its best to charm your dang pants off.
For those who don’t know, the Steamworld games are about a planet full of humanoid robots. In Steamworld Heist, they actually fly space ships and engage in tactical battle with other robots. In the Dig games, you play as a miner who has to dig through the earth and find treasure. You exchange the treasure to upgrade your miner, and continue going until you eventually reach the bottom, and have to fight a boss. It’s a simple formula that works. It’s addicting to mine, addicting to progress your character mechanically, and along the way you find new items, new ways to move about the environment, new ways to dig deep. They’re good games that don’t take that long to beat. They aren’t too hard, but they’re fun, and they often contain some puzzles that do a great job of making the player feel smart even though they didn’t really pose much of a challenge.
Like Persona, I’m sure most of y’all have played this game already if you were interested in the first place. I know it will place on my list I just won’t know where until I play it. Yuh.
Street Fighter Alpha 2
So in my Street Fighter 2 Review and Ranking I discussed several Street Fighter games that came to the Super Nintendo, and one of them was Alpha 2. This game has a sick style that wasn’t served well by that port because the game simply was too much for the system at the time, and the fact that they got the game to run let alone work rather well is a miracle. I had heard the PlayStation port was really good, and I found out I could purchase this port on the PlayStation 3, so I did that. Okay?
This thing is super fun. I love the way it moves, the way it feels, but I mostly just love the way it looks. This game has such a fantastic style that adds character to what sprites Capcom had in the original Street Fighter II games, and I love watching their little motion trails as fighters move and strike. The supers are all really fun to pull off and they look really good. I’m not that deep into the mechanics and I’m not good at the game at all, but I did beat easy with Akuma and it was a blast.
The raging demon, by the way, is possibly the greatest fighting game super of all time, and it’s by far the greatest way to end a fight in a video game. For those who don’t know what a raging demon is: you input a combo that initiates a grab. But not just any normal grab. Akuma floats across the screen, giving the player a really good chance that they’re going to get that grab successfully. Then the screen goes black. You hear a bunch of fierce strikes. The screen flashes back to life with your opponent on the floor, and Akuma standing with his back to the camera, with his signature kanji flashing in red.
That kanji is ‘ten’, and in this context, it means that Akuma is fucking godlike.
His air fire balls suck in this game though.
TESLA VS LOVECRAFT
This game came out in January. It’s a dual joystick shooter developed by 10tons, creators of Crimsonland. 10tons has been straight dumping all of their indie games on the Switch, a good move for any game studio, and this game came to Switch same time as every other platform. It’s a great port, and a great game to take anywhere I want. The setup of the game is kinda neat, but rather pointless given the nature of gameplay, and what you’re doing. Basically, you play as Tesla, the inventor, and you have to slaughter hordes of monsters from the Lovecraft fictional universe. As Tesla you are given several gadgets, as well as a mech you can summon. Gameplay is wave survival as you traverse the isometric playfield picking up items, and shooting pathways through crowded areas. You have a good dodge button to get you out of situations. You also earn experience points when you kill monsters, and level up. Levels only count for that play session, and they award you a choice between two perks, such as extra health or faster shooting. Levels are mission based, and beating them lets the player unlock new weapons (that will potentially show up during other missions) as well as perks and gadgets. There’s also a survival mode where you just go till you die.
There are many, many missions, so content is stretched far and wide, but this isn’t a terrible thing. The gameplay is also quite mindless, but this also isn’t a terrible thing. The game is also really purple, and for me this definitely isn’t a terrible thing, because purple is the best color. I also like that I’m fighting Lovecraft monsters, because Lovecraft monsters are the best monsters. It plays really well, and it’s really easy to pick up and play if you want a short session, or even a longer one. I dig playing it in between sessions of the roguelikes I play on Switch. But I also find myself playing longer than I intended. This game would be good for anyone who digs shoot-em-ups, just keep in mind that 10tons has published A FUCKLOAD of twinstick shooters (and they’re all on Switch). My advice is to look for the one that has your favorite aesthetic, honestly. They all have a few different modifiers to the gameplay, but the general gameplay is twinstick shooter. My favorites are Crimsonland, and this one, which is definitely the most like Crimsonland out of the 10ton Twinstick Shooter Army. These games go on sale quite often. Grazie.
Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance
Recently I have been playing older games from my youth. I played some Mortal Kombat, since I had been playing Street Fighter and I wanted a comparison, and I marvelled at how shitty the games felt. I eventually plugged in my PS3 to play Mortal Kombat Trilogy, which was a release of arcade ports to PS3 and Xbox 360, and I realized that they were just shitty, beaten down ports. It gave me a real appreciation for those Super Nintendo ports, man. What a good fucking port Turbo was. Damn.
Anyway, that led me to plugging in my PS2 and playing a little bit of Deception and Armageddon. Deadly Alliance was the only PlayStation 2 Mortal Kombat fighter I didn’t own yet, so I went ahead and bought a copy from Amazon.
I did own this game as a kid. In fact, I have very fond memories of receiving Mortal Kombat PS2 games as gifts during Easter. Nothing says Easter like shitty fatalities!
I probably played Deadly Alliance the most, as this was when my Mortal Kombat fandom was at a fever pitch. But even back then I thought the visuals looked bad. This game sports some of the most terrible Mortal Kombat art of all time. Some of the alternative costumes are better, but my god just look at this shit:
Gameplay is decent. These games are 3D fighters, so it’s like a weird mix of Soul Calibur and Tekken without ANY FLUIDITY WHAT SO EVER because what would Mortal Kombat be without the THICK AS A TRUCK gameplay? So you got martial arts and weapon combat with Mortal Kombat special moves thrown in. Ones you can, you know, easily side-step. Fun!
The new characters in this game suck, by the way. Well, no, Kenshi is cool. He’s a blind samurai. I mean, come on! Have you seen The Matrix?
Deadly Alliance begun a Mortal Kombat tradition of packing their games with enough kontent to satisfy people who didn’t play in tournaments. This means you get a fully featured single player mode based on story along with the arcade ladder, you get some extra modes, and you get a ton of stuff to unlock in the game’s version of the store. In this game, you roam a graveyard laid out alphabetically. You get some art work and some videos, some of which are really funny. You can also find tombs that will unlock characters, and you have to look up which of these tombs does that, because the game doesn’t tell you. That’s sort of dumb. We were just gonna look it up anyway. The game also has different coins you need to get that are of different colors, and these currencies come at you randomly. You’ll just have to keep playing the game until you get enough of each currency to unlock what you want to unlock. There are also alternative costumes and stages to unlock. This is all pretty cool because it gives you an actual incentive to play the game if you aren’t just focused on getting better.
And I mean, let’s be honest, Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance needed that. The gameplay wasn’t good enough to make someone feel the need to be competitive.
I really like how the story mode is organized. You play some nameless dipshit who travels to and fro taking control of various Kombatents to learn their combos. What’s cool is, after the basic tutorial, you get to pick which fighter to play as, meaning you can pick your favorite character, and after you learn some of their combos you can then go to arcade mode and play as that character. I really like this feature because it prepares you better than just going into some training mode and practicing against a dummy. You’re also greeted with some biographical information about the characters before and after missions, and this was always fun to read. I love how Mortal Kombat has a lore to it, and each character seemingly has a relationship with each other character. It always made the series feel more epic in scale compared to something like Street Fighter even though the gameplay was NOWHERE near as tight.
In Arcade mode the difficulty scales up as you progress, similar to most fighting games, but it actually gives you a difficulty percentage, which is nice. I’ve only played on the Normal Difficulty and I got my ass handed to me over and over again by a Sonya Blade that was around 50%. Next time I’m going to scale back difficulty, and probably pick a different character. Honestly, Sub Zero isn’t that great in this game. I remember Scorpion being amazing but I’m going to wait until I try out other characters. I had always mained Scorpion when I was younger so these days I try to play everyone else instead.
Alright here’s your rapid fire:
I’ve also been playing Street Fighter III Third Strike, Binding of Isaac Rebirth AND Vanilla, Mortal Kombat X, Fallout New Vegas, MONSTER HUNTER WORLD, and I played a little bit of Soul Calibur I and II from the Xbox360 Arcade HD ports. Then, I’ve been playing a little bit of Grim Fandango on PC, that Telltale Borderlands game, I beat Celeste (review coming soonish), Fire Emblem Warriors, Enter the Gungeon, Darkest Dungeon, Titanfall 2, Dragonball Fighterz, Wizards of Legend, and I think that about raps up what I’ve played recently since I’ve done one of these updates. I flip! I flop! Gop gop gop. SHOT!?
Whatever dude I don’t know.
Games I’m looking forward to are Yogi’s Island Express, which looks like an AMAZING combination of pinball and metroidvania, and then I’ll be looking at buying Street Fighter V Arcade edition finally, because this Street Fighter hole is DEEP BOY!! I’m also waiting for my copies of Monster Hunter Generations (3DS) and Ultra Street Fighter IV (Xbox360) to come in the mail. Woo boy! My life is dumpsters circling rotting hogs on the beach like pheasants in the mall. What?
HEY! Stay tuned for my ranking the rogue feature where I look at Binding of Isaac original, reviews for Mercenaries, Celeste, and my childhood ranking of Mortal Kombats 1 through 3 and Ultimate 3. I’m going to be reviewing Alpha 2, and most likely Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance in the near future. BUT MOSTLY look forward to my e3 coverage coming next week. The show’s about to start and I can’t fucking wait!
featured picture credit: Edwin Huang (tumblr)
jumping heavy jumping heavy tatsu