917 Reviews liked by MPK92

Final Fantasy IX was the first Final Fantasy game I finished, and I really enjoyed it. The game had a good story and solid characters. After a while I got tired of the random encounters, and the final boss was a real POS (I honestly didn't think it was going to be possible to beat him!), but with those complaints aside I thought this was a fantastic game.

I remember renting Super Metroid from the video store several times as a kid. I think it was the unique world sucked me in. I loved exploring the diverse environments and finding the well-hidden secrets and powerful upgrades. In the era where internet guides didn't exist it meant I had to fully explore this world if I wanted to get through it, and after a few rental periods I was eventually able to see the game through to the end credits. At that time, I considered Super Metroid to be one of the best games I had ever played, and it always held a spot in my memory as one of my absolute favorite games of all time.
Back in 2016 I replayed Super Metroid for the first time since I was a kid, and I wanted to see if it still lived up how great I remembered it being. Sadly, by the time I saw the game through to completion, I felt a bit disappointed. I still loved the overall gameplay, and I found the world design to be as interesting as I had remembered it being, but I found that I was continually annoyed by the game's lack of direction, and I missed some of the quality-of-life improvements that newer games in the genre had adopted.
This year I thought it would be fun to play through every game in the 2D Metroid series. I opted for the remakes for the first two games in the series (Zero Mission instead of Metroid on the NES, Samus Returns instead of Metroid 2 on the Game Boy), both of which I enjoyed quite a bit. Next it was time to play through Super Metroid. I was curious to see if my opinion had changed on it since my playthrough in 2016.
Honestly, there is a lot I liked about Super Metroid during this playthrough. The game looks fantastic! The sprite designs are beautiful and are well animated, and the world itself has a great look to it. Each new area looked completely different than the ones that came before them. Super Metroid's environments were a lot more varied than the ones in Zero Mission and Samus Returns. The game's soundtrack was fantastic too and it created such a unique tone from the very beginning right through to the game's credits screen. I'm honestly surprised that a soundtrack this good existed on the SNES. Another huge plus for Super Metroid was how Zebes (the planet you are exploring) was a much less linear environment than the planets you explore in Zero Mission and Samus Returns (this was both a pro and a con, but more on the con side in a minute). The planet is absolutely littered with upgrades and powerful upgrades to find, with some of them being incredibly well hidden.
While there was a lot to love in Super Metroid it wasn't without some faults, most of which were the lack of quality-of-life improvements that newer games in the genre have adopted since this game's release. First off, the game's map isn't great. It works, but the lack of simple things like the locations of doors is a bit of a nuissance. Also, the inability to add reminder markers to the map was a bit disappointing, but definitely not game breaking.
Secondly, I wish the game had offered more guidance on where you were supposed to go next. This lack of direction gives you more freedom to explore the world at your own pace, but it led to a few frustrating moments where I had no idea where I should be going. This led to me backtracking through the entire world in hopes of finding something I may have missed, and often these ways forward were incredibly cryptic or at least very well hidden. You didn't think to walk through the inconspicuous wall that shows on the radar as a real wall? Better go back through the world and hope you think to do that when you inevitably exhaust all other possibilities. Thankfully the X-Ray Visor upgrade helps alleviate some of this frustration, but even so it isn't a perfect solution.
Though I found that some elements of Super Metroid didn't stand the test of time as well as I had hoped they would it is hard to deny that this game is still incredible to this very day. The fact that this came out almost 30 years is astounding. The game's world is beautiful, it is fun to explore, and it is filled with unique (albeit hard-to-find) and powerful upgrades. The game also boasts one of the most memorable soundtracks of all time. Sure it's easy to get hung up on some missing quality of life upgrades that newer games in the genre have since adopted, but it is impossible to deny that Super Metroid still holds up incredibly after all these years. This game helped to define the Metroidvania genre, and it should be experienced by anyone that has yet to play through it.

The Dancer of the Boreal Valley made me want to launch my Series X out the window. The fight wasn’t even that bad, I just kept getting her to a splinter of health and she’d whip out moves I’d never seen before. Loved it.
This was actually the first Souls game I tried, but, as is often the case with things wholly unfamiliar, I just couldn’t get into it at first. Got to the big tree boss in the undead settlement and shelved it. So say what you will about my personal game of the year Elden Ring, but it broke down the door to the franchise for me.
My only issue with Dark Souls III is that most of the areas felt kinda same-y. The game even repeats some content close to the end, and has a major DS1 throwback area, but I thought they made it all work. Like with Elden Ring, it’s not even close to enough to really detract from the overall experience.
So, Dark Souls III aka Spooky Cathedral Souls wasn’t as sprawling or varied as Elden Ring or as thoughtfully intertwined as the first Dark Souls, but it’s still unbelievably high in quality and an easy recommendation for anybody who likes this type of game. It also runs particularly well after the 60fps update.

This review contains spoilers

The reason why you never see successful horror movies try to mix the tropes of Slasher Films, Monster Horror, and Historic Criminal Conspiracies into one plot is because that's too much shit to cram into a film and keep everything on track. Ghostface can't ALSO be chasing people around in the background of The Thing.
UNTIL DAWN tries this juggling act and flops, while also failing at getting you interested in the fates of its mostly unlikeable cast. Seriously, when you start your narrative off showing 80% of the cast participating in a prank that hinges on sexual exploitation, why would I WANT to ensure that any of them live? It's like this game was initially set up to put you in the shoes of a horror movie villain, picking off the cast as you please, until someone lost their nerve and was like "Give people the choice, but ENCOURAGE them to save everyone!"
The world-exploration aspects are very slow, and not entirely satisfying. RESIDENT EVIL 1 level controls make moving around any of the areas a chore. Some sections, like the 2-chapter long hike to the second cabin, drag out so badly that I wished this was an actual movie I could fast-forward through. Said experiences are made even more excruciating by the AWFUL dialogue. These characters say cringe lines that seem to have been mixed by dumping bottom tier Joss Whedon clichés into a blender with mid-2000s MTV Reality Show attitude. "Could you not hear me over your sluttiness?!" was a spoken retort that made my wife lean in from the other room and ask "What the hell are you watching?"
And at the end of it all is the not really expansive choice system. A game that touts the possibilities of using "The Butterfly Effect" to change future events in dozens of different ways is kneecapped by the fact that this is a game with a set throughline of events. You don't get to pick IF you want to go to the unsafe looking emergency tower or not, you get to pick if you go to the tower with your girlfriend mad at you, or with her in a good mood. There's literally a point where I was like "Wait, I wanted to save that one character, give me that choice," but Until Dawn is like "NOPE, you need to be ushered along towards the "dark conspiracy of the past" section of the story, so you're not allowed to make the logical second choice." Possibility teased, freedom denied.
The funniest thought I had playing is that this is likely the only time in history that Hayden Panettiere would receive higher cast billing than Rami Malek.

This is a challenging Metroidvania incorporating Souls-like elements both in gameplay (learning boss patterns, attack timing) and story development (abstract themes, worlds, and characters). There are Spanish culture and Christianism influences in the game.
The game is on the harder side but with enough patience, it can be conquered. There is a decent amount of backtracking especially if you are trying to get all the collectibles and quest items that reward the player with more skills.
Graphics are great for being an indie game, offering variety in terms of environments, backgrounds and even enemies and NPCs. Really enjoyed the theme of the game and the character/boss design, as well as the limited voice acting which was very well done and added a shroud of mystery to the characters.

Incredibly fun. Incredibly good-looking (despite being a desert). Incredibly repetitive.
But seriously, the repetitive gameplay is just a speck on an otherwise bloody perfect game. That's the Assassin's Creed gameplay scheme: go to the tower, discover the area, do stuff.
The visuals are stunning. Yes, even if it's a desert. In some of the high-ground camps, there's always a "lookout" point. You can find a couch or an armchair with a view of painstakingly beautiful panoramas (go to Crow's Nest at night and tell me I'm wrong, I dare you). Fire is almost hypnotizing to look at. Explosions would make Mr. Torgue proud.
Combat is extremely fun, both in the car and on foot. The fighting system is à la batman Arkham city...but much more rewarding

A man and his post-apocalypse quest for a V8 engine: the game. Surprisingly polished. Well iterated open world, solid driving and punchy Arkham-series inspired combat. Plenty of references to the movies. No Oscar-winning script or performances. Great turn-off-brain game.

“Be careful Leon, the residents in this police station are evil now”
“Even that one?”
“Yeah, that’s a Resident Evil 2”

You awaken in the dungeons of a world covered in darkness and suffering from Blight brought on by the Rain of Death, a once beautiful world now slowly beginning to rot. Towns, people, the kingdom, the wildlife all driven mad and cursed into warped beasts and form unrecognizable to man.
It is up to you, to find out why this happened, and purify what the Rain brought in to ruin.
None of this I knew before playing this game. I had bought it on the fact it was a Metroidvania type of game and it uses my favorite mechanic of summoning as it's lore and reasoning for combat. This was all I needed to get this game and I enjoyed it.
The story as told at the top is really good, it leads you along at a peace that if you're into it then you'll keep up and be ready for whatever lore is dumped onto you next. If you don't care about the story, then no problem, it's not front and center at all times so you can enjoy it as just the game.
The gameplay is pretty simple to explain. Find relics that act as your equipment, your "spirits" that act as your skills and weapons are closer to say MegaMan since it's bosses that give you these and not like Castlevania where you get them from most enemies or treasure chests or what have you. Platforming is your standard affair in this genre, nothing difficult, the map is actually pretty open, it doesn't feel like you're cutoff from exploring that often. Enemies are actually quite a challenge with patterns and keep you on your toes, perhaps a little too often in my experience. speaking of, you also level up with exp, but the game isn't very stat heavy, it's more skill than anything.
The graphics are quite beautiful, if you like the kind of art style that Hollow Knight and Ori bring with the character being a blooming white while the backgrounds are a dark goth-ish type setting, then you'll love this since it follows the same thing.
The music is also beautiful and somber, not much you'll find yourself humming, but music you'll remember the second you step in certain places.
If I had to say anything bad about the game, I can't really find anything major...as good as the game is, on a personal level, I couldn't bring myself to 100% the game after I beat it, for me combat doesn't give anything besides leveling up and the gameplay doesn't change much the more spirits and relics you get so after beating it I had no intention on cleaning up. But the game was amazing for what it was as I went through it.

Just to pin a sort of date to me finishing this game, this is the last of the mainline Final Fantasy games I had to finish, I've played all of them and are waiting for Final Fantasy 16.
On that note, this was THE Final Fantasy I was almost sure I was gonna hate. My first exposure to the game was watching a friend play like the first hour or so of it, in this my only thoughts were, "okay so it plays like FFXI and the setting seems very steampunk." (Mind you this was years ago when the only FF games I had under my belt were, 4, 6, 7, 11) So at the time the game didn't seem too interesting due to me playing FFXI at that time and the setting didn't look interesting to me.
Fast forward to now where I've played the whole series and this game was the last one and I gotta say it sounds weird, but I'm glad I waited until last for this one, I don't think I would have enjoyed it without the other entrees opening my mind to how different the series had become over time.
I guess let's start with the graphics...I usually don't put too much stock into how a game looks as long as it's playable and the graphics don't get in the way, but this game is beautiful! Everywhere I went, I loved how open and expansive each place seemed. Villages had many people and activities and you aren't forced to interact with them most of the time. The lands between the town are amazingly big and open, teeming with enemies that you can see and kinda act like they do things outside just being exp fodder, like some cast Protect or Shell as they walk around despite no danger.
The character's look amazing as well, it's honestly just a beautiful as a whole.
Next is the music, which honestly, it's hard to say much about, it's really good music, but feels weird it has a boss theme, but no battle theme at all. The music is very fitting while you are playing, but I can't see too many people remembering much of it outside the game. Also, odd note, but I really love the sound FX for casting magic and cure.
Now to my favorite part...the gameplay, I LOVE that the combat is seamless and out in the open, it feels like you can fight anything at any time, however you like, and by that, I mean the License System which acts pretty much as a job system of the past games, allowing you to learn magic, skills, set up different equipment and upgrades and so on. The License Board adds that extra incentive to fight battles, it's not just a grind to get levels up which is still a thing, but now you get points to spend on the License Board and build the team you want.
Along with this is a kinda odd system known as the Gambit System, if you've familiar with FFXI and have done macros for your skills then it's like that, for those not familiar with that, it's a sort of auto command that let's your party members follow a string of commands based on certain things being met, for example: "If ally's HP 30% or less then Cast Cura" so the character will cast Cura anytime an Ally has 30% or less of their health, it's a really good way of making the AI very useful and allows the player to customize how they like and reward for learning how the system works. I really feel other JRPGs needs this (especially the FF7 Remake).
And lastly is probably the somewhat weaker part of the game...story. No, the story is not bad at all, it's actually a very interesting one that I won't spoil, but I'll say the story didn't push me forward at all honestly, it was the gameplay, the story is just window dressing, though I'll say I do like all the characters in the story and it's pretty well voice acted...I think the story feels too much like a story you'd read just to read and not one you'd be emotionally invested in. I do gotta say I like Vaan though, I know he got a lot of flak as a character, but he's pretty decent.
So, I'm pretty happy my last Final Fantasy of the mainline games was good as it was, I can definitely recommend this game to anyone who just likes the idea of a classic feeling JRPG in a 3D setting with a really good world to explore.