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Played in 2023
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Ya'll hated this game? It's trashy and far from high art but's kinda neat. I really like how it personalizes its story and cutscenes, and even though the gameplay is simple it's also pretty distinct--I love any fighting game that shakes up the point B beyond "empty their health bar". Also I don't know if you all noticed, just a small detail, but there's some really cute girls here!!
You will find a deeper combat system with a lot of options in Devil May Cry. You will find QTEs and spectacle that balances and adds to gameplay in an active way in Bayonetta. You will find challenging boss battles that test your mastery of various gameplay mechanics outside of just mashing attacks in Metal Gear Rising. You will find genre shifts and mini games that offer freedom and malleability while still asking a good deal of you as a player in No More Heroes. Asura's Wrath doesn't manage a single one of these with it's overly forgiving, one note gameplay. If the pagentry of the story and characters wasn't so bombastic (and rightfully impressive at times, earning it a bit of credit from yours truly at the end of the day), I cannot fathom it'd be as well remembered as it is, because I can't remember making a single interesting decision besides mashing circle when the game tells me to. Any of the games I mentioned above make this one look like a joke, and as I reached the halfway point of this game, I couldn't fathom spending another second on it instead of one of those if I crave a character action game.
I played a lot of Castlevania inspired indie games that just wouldn't click with me--and playing a real fuckin Castlevania made me realize that the hyper specific situations made by the game's eclectic line up of weapons and interesting enemies is what makes Castlevania one of a kind in the first place. Macabre, badass atmosphere and super interesting level design for the SNES era (MODE SEVEN CASTLE CYLLINDAR) are compounded by some of my favorite boss fights ever. I'm admittedly kind of a yo yo and not afraid to use save states on games like these, but this is truly the kind of game where any number of brute force retries won't help you if you don't grasp the boss characters' patterns and specific weaknesses. Presicely what I wanted this era's update of Castlevania to be.