1008 Reviews liked by TheBigBurger

The black panther for dudes who literally get no bitches and stack zero paper

This review contains spoilers

What I really appreciate about Shadowbringers is that right from the start, we get transported to this new world and with that it can tell a fairly isolated story, without needing to consider the Source much. While it does connect to the Source later on, it works really well to establish this world and focus on what's important to the people living here. With that we get our recurring cast that has already been living there for a while due to time shenanigans, allowing us to be clued in on the world as they know it through the eyes of characters we know and care about. I kind of love how every Scion ended up in an area that really fit their capabilities and personality.
The return of Ardbert was something I kind of knew would happen, but not in what kind of fashion and I love how he was incorporated into the story. A wandering spirited, forced to roam the lands, kind of tied to the WoL because they're the only ones who can see him. And through the WoL he learns about things like Seto's sentimentality towards Ardbert. Especially his journey through Shadowbringers, coming to terms with the role he has to play as a spectator up until the very end as the second half of the WoL is not only incredibly satisfying to see, it's also a beautiful development of his character. He finally came to understand that there was still something good he was able to do, despite everything.
G'raha... The man that you are. Completely shrouded in mystery through most of the story, he tries to be a comforting presence and help out everyone as much as he can, ultimately planning to take all the Light within himself and dying with it. He had such a great planned out character arc, I couldn't help but cry when he was about to die. His 'end' having a similar line to Zenos's 'end' hurt so bad, because it shows a sense of satisfaction with his end. An appreciation for all the WoL has done. The parallels were so good.
Every Scion has been really good in this expansion, particularly Thancred and Urianger are incredibly strong characters. Thancred has been struggling with the loss of Minfilia and now finding her again in a little girl who he chooses to protect, you can tell how desperately he wants to protect her so the 'real' Minfilia can come back. But over the course of the expansion he learns, he becomes more protective of who Ryne really is. She's fragile and insecure, she doesn't believe that Thancred would truly want Ryne to choose for herself. She wants to do what would be the best outcome for Thancred, but she doesn't realize that along the story, what became more important to him was that she felt like she could make her own choices and be whoever she wants. Thancred would die for her without a second thought. And he almost did. That fight with Ran'jit and the cutscenes after were some of the best stuff I've seen in this game yet. I'm glad he survived so he could give Ryne her real name after. The bond those two share is so touching. And Urianger being there to support Ryne when Thancred felt like he couldn't, he's like the sweetest uncle figure ever. Shadowbringers brought a new emotional side to Urianger that we never saw before. Especially when it came to G'raha, yelling at the Scions to not interfere while G'raha was lying about using the WoL all this time. He took his secrets and protected them, for the sake of their two worlds and for the sake of G'raha. Just beautiful.
And Emet... Emet... I didn't think he would die in Shadowbringers. I have a suspicion his story isn't quite done yet, but I don't know if he ever comes back. From the start, he's been shown to have a clear self-interest, slowly revealing more, bit by bit. He tells us early on that he wants to bring the worlds back together as they once were, but he hides and suppresses that emotionality of it. He's closed off to the WoL to the very end, only clueing us in at times that theres more to him than he's saying. He shows us his world, a replica, yet empty shell of it once was. Empty souls wandering around in Amaurot, telling us of the past and what had happened to it and the people living in it. Hythlodaeus especially was so interesting. Claiming that they and Emet were close friends in the distant past. I really hope to learn more about them. I wonder what made them say that they and Emet were close friends. If something happened between the two. Because Hythlodaeous seems to understand the conflict between Zodiark and Hydaelyn, I think, talking about the half of Ascians that gave their lives. And there's so much more to Emet that made him such a strong character and the decision to have him walk amongst you instead of form an antagonistic relationship with you, until the end, allowed the story to tell us so much about him. He truly cares and loves the people that he lost all that time ago. And as stated before, a lifetime alone, living the way he did can only turn out badly. I feel so bad for Emet, even if it's wrong to erase the lives of everyone who lives in the now so he can have what he lost, I do understand why he would do that. He's a very tragic character and I can only hope his end brought him some solace. Right before he disappears, he says to remember his people. That they once lived. And with the impact he had on the WoL and all the Scions, he will be remembered for as long as they are alive. A beautiful end to a beautifully tragic character.
Overall Shadowbringers has been a tight expansion with lots of amazing characters, with its new environment telling a whole new side of the story that we already know. Even when the story felt slow, it was consistently engaging and the slow parts in retrospect work really well as a reprieve from the constant peaks. I thorougly enjoyed myself all the way through. The visuals, the music, the environmental storytelling and especially the characters were all a huge step up from the previous expansions. Stormblood was my favorite prior to this, with some really fantastic characters that I adored, but Shadowbringers had a dozen characters that were that same quality or even better and as someone who values character work the most in stories, that was the biggest hook for me and I can safely say that Shadowbringers is now my favorite expansion.
I'm very excited to see what post-Shadowbringers is going to do with characters like Zenos and Elidibus especially. Hopefully I'll get more insight into Emet, particularly his past, as well to really complete that character arc of his. Because I feel like there's still pieces of him that could be told, but maybe I'm just coping because I want more of him.
Throughout Post-Shadowbringers the objective is to bring back the Scions to the Source, because their link between soul and body is weakening. This already is an interesting set-up and gives a sense of urgency to the quests. While I found 5.1 a bit weak at the start with Beq Lugg, everything was efficient enough. From the start they start cooking with Zenos and his return to Garlemald, killing Varis right after returning to his body. If anything, 5.1 made me very excited for what was to come after. It was interesting that they never did much with Black Rose, but it doesn't bother me since we got a sidestory with Estinien and Gaius out of that and a really fun duty from Estinien. In 5.2, the story really starts setting up some amazing stuff. Ardbert's return, inspiring the people of the First to become Warriors of Light was incredibly interesting and finding out Elidibus took host of his body only made me more interested in what his plan was and how he would even act it out with the people wanting to be heroes. While not too much happened in 5.2, it continuously builds up content for 5.3 and Endwalker, making it a job to experience, even giving some extra content and characterization to characters that have already been gone like Emet-Selch.
But 5.3 ruined my life. This has got to be some of the best content in the game, alongside the ending stretch of 5.0. Learning about Elidibus was not only enlightening but extremely emotional. As a primal, Elidibus lost himself, not even sure why he's doing the things he does. He only has sight for his duty and nothing else. To bring back the old world. Going through history, learning how Hydaelyn and her supporters acted through Venat and learning more about Zodiark and why Elidibus became its heart was just incredible storytelling. The reveal that Elidibus became its heart when he was a child, for me it clarifies so many of his actions and why he cast aside, even if unintentional, his sense of self. Like the kid he is, he only ever wanted to become a hero. 5.3 completely elevated Elidibus and made him one of the best characters in this game and I couldn't be sadder about the way it all ended for him. His journey is incredibly tragic. I'm really happy with the way 5.3 ended for Elidibus, but also for G'raha. Even though he comes back through his own memories, G'raha turning himself as one with the Crystal Tower and essentially sacrificing his being in the First, was an incredible character moment. There's still a lot to be said about the fight against Elidibus, but I feel or hope, more about that will be revealed in Endwalker.
5.4 and 5.5 were obviously not as good as 5.3, but it was still really great content all the same. We've had Fandaniel and Zenos building up their plans in the background, while the Scions try to help those in the Source afflicted with the primal diseases. 5.4 was about making allies and curing people which I found really enjoyable, even if some particular quests were a bit weaker, I feel like this is only because 5.3 came prior to that. In 5.5, I truly felt like we finally got some real set-up for Endwalker. Towers sprout across the lands, summoning primals for Fandaniel and Zenos's plans, to bring back the Final Days. Fandaniel seems to only want to bring chaos and destruction to the world so he and everyone else around him can die, while Zenos knows this will lure the Warrior of Light so they can fight once more, the one thing he only truly wants, the one thing that brought him true satisfaction. There also seem to be some seeds planted for Ascian lore as well as the twins's family, but I will wait until Endwalker to properly judge those. All I can say is that it all makes me very excited for what Endwalker has in store.

Tears in my eyes. Smile on my face. Depression cured. Second wind activated. Energy levels replenished. Broken heart repaired. Overcame my sadness. My joy is back. My will to live is stronger than ever.

just a casual update on this. prior to the game's newly implemented master rate update - which introduced ELO as a separate, zero-sum figure which factored into matchmaking and more clearly delineated skill in players - a charitable interpretation of the game's ranking system would be as an extension of the game's thesis, the idea that the journey for strength is never-ending. and there was certainly an appeal to that: now that you've reached master rank, you'll have to duke it out with every other person who put in the time and managed to make it to the top.
on a mechanical level, though, this felt tangential at best, and over time would likely only result in an increasingly lopsided system where most players had managed to get into master rank just by playing the game over a long enough stretch of time. having master rate now lends each and every battle this genuine tension & palpable weight. after all, nobody wants to be at the bottom of that leaderboard. nakayama's team designed sf6 with the notion that the versus mode is philosophically endgame content, a mode that, for absolute newcomers, should best be reserved until after the completion of world tour and some additional reps in practice. with this in mind, master rate goes beyond just 'endgame' content - it feels like a high level expansion where you're invited to prove your salt.
for my part, i've enjoyed two brief stints in the top 25 north american dhalsims, although as it turns out the mantle is hard to keep (as of writing: #45). is it impressive? i dunno, i feel like i have a lot more to learn and my character is underplayed by a margin of almost 200,000 players (as of august 14, there were around 221824 ken users. this is to be contrasted against a paltry 29183 dhalsim users). im not actually really a competitor in the FGC, but id like to keep growing stronger and keep fighting strong opponents. so i dunno, we'll see where this goes.
it's a significant motivator, then, that this is probably my favourite street fighter at this point, as well as probably my favourite fighting game. not to say that this is without fault - i appreciate world tour's inclusion immensely but it's half-cooked, the in-game economy leaves something to be desired, battle passes suck and the devs need to do more to encourage casual retention (further costumes is one thing but what about alternative winscreens, a functional music player, further customization of titles and versus screens, etc), matchmaking needs to be further expanded to utilize the game's strong netcode (why am i somewhat region locked), and no, you're not imagining things, the game's input register really is kind of wacky.
but i think a lot of other complaints at the moment stem from the amplification of certain voices on social media - as well as the fact that these people are also vying for a million dollars in the capcom pro tour and need things to resolve in their favour. so if we can learn to accept third strike as one of the apexes of this genre, a game constructed around problems with no clear, safe answers, a game where half of the normals kind of feel like shit, a game where chun li and yun and ken and all manners of bullshit are allowed to run rampant and free, then we can accept sf6 as a similar work in progress too. an evolving slate, one in which we have to learn - with time - to deal with strong characters and strong universal systems and strong offensive options.
this game really hits this absolute sweet spot of accessibility and depth of systems without presenting straightforward or clear solutions in a way that gets my brow furrowed in concentration and my brain eager to keep playing. i come from a samurai shodown background so everything to do with this central notion of not going on autopilot and guarding against the tendencies of players, in a sense moreso than worrying about the characters they inhabit, strikes a resonant chord with me. im really excited to see where it goes, and of course it goes without saying EVO top 8 this year belongs in the pantheon of fighting game tournaments. just a total gem. thank you capcom for giving me aki on my birthday
addendum: KB0 third strike review, november 2020:
"rather than establishing new legends, this game is about characters unsure about what the future entails, about what their next move should be, about what it even means to continue fighting - they waver, they fail, they practice, they move on. "
what a joy, then, that this is the overarching idea that propels world tour! street fighter has never really had traditionally good narratives, but when it chooses to it has pretty good vignettes and pretty good character writing, both of which world tour thankfully has in spades. very smart to organize a narrative around each character kind of just doing their own thing instead of trying to wrap them all into a sweeping narrative ala SFV.

i genuinely don't understand why yakuza fans don't like this one
this game is just as ambitious as its themes suggest. while it sometimes struggles to stay coherent and achieve the standards it set for itself, ultimately it's held together by its massive heart. yakuza 5 is the most "yakuza" yakuza game, in the best and worst ways possible.
i think a lot of people miss that "YUME" is repeated so frequently in order for the theme to be subverted -- rather than be a simple "chase your dreams!" message, yakuza 5 is concerned with the sacrifices people are forced to make in order to achieve their dreams and aspirations, and challenges its protagonists to reflect and consider whether or not it's right to even continue to stand behind them. there's a reason haruka openly ruins her chances of becoming an idol at the dream line concert, and it's because she loves her father more than anything else. to haruka, no dream is worth giving up her bond with kiryu.
yakuza 5's combat is just incredibly fun... it's not as mechanically deep as 3 or 4's, and doesn't feel as crunchy and arcade-like as 2's, but it's still a blast to fuck people up as kiryu in his dragon rage mode or just do literally anything with saejima. overall, the game is the most fun i've had with this entire series. the combat's solid, the side content is expansive, and you're treated to five whole cities to mess around in.
approaching y5 like an anthology of 4-5 different stories allowed me to tolerate the pacing a lot more than others. to me, i went in with the expectation of giving up at least a week of my time to this game, and it paid off well.

Happy to finally play the original Yakuza game and not just keep saying I'm going to play it and put it on the back burner, Needless to say, I think Yakuza 1 is a fantastic first entry and in my opinion the definitive way of experiencing the first Yakuza narrative. To get the major issue out of the way, yeah the combat is far from perfect and has some severe issues. The tracking on Kiryu's combos isn't the greatest, the locked nature of his combats can feel off, a lot of the counter abilities for me kind of hard to land consistently despite being able to do so in practically every other RGG game are just fun, the fact enemies can interrupt your combos is annoying, and the overabundance of i-frames can be annoying with a bunch of enemies and make the game feel awfully inconsistent at times. These are some serious issues I think that the franchise got a lot better with over time, with that said I think a lot of them are manageable and you can get a bunch of tools to really push through things fine IMO. The game is also rather extremely easy. This is one of the easiest games in the series but that's chill since I think the general flow is fun and it isn't as if the gameplay is disengaging. I think the entire heat actions giving you EXP thing is also really funny especially since you can get like 20+ levels worth of exp on bosses just by spamming heat actions alone and that helps with the progression a lot in this game, honestly ahead of time do that. I think the progression is broken in that regard but you don't get damage boosts out of upgrading so I don't think it is really a major issue.
Now with that said, everything else? I really fuck with! The story is really enjoyable, I think a lot of the people who want to label this game as "ps2 era ass narrative" as an issue are stupid fools who can't read subtext, though I will say the narrative of Yakuza 1 while does have a thematic consistency regarding a lot of the series staples (familial bonds, the corruptive nature of ambition, causality, the impact our legacy leaves on the world, and so on) with the same level of interesting duality the series always excels at, the plot does goof off here and there to focus on elements not tied to the overarching plot for stuff that could feel off. I don't think it's a serious issue though, Kiryu is a pretty great protagonist from the start of his series and he is utilized well and I love him. <3 Generally a lot of the emotional conflicts are really well handled in the narrative which matters to me a lot! One huge aspect about the original I adore is the pacing, the remake of Yakuza 1 really did dampen a lot of the pacing the original Yakuza 1 went for which dragged the experience down in Kiwami (which I still enjoy the experience but blegh) a large margin. In comparison, the way the plot is handled in OG 1 is a lot more enjoyable. The side content is a bit more basic than what the series would be known for, but it helps in establishing an effective tone in the narrative and a lot of things feel pretty weighty in this title in the general emotional beats. The atmosphere of the game is also extremely strong and I vibe with it a lot, though the fixed camera angles on occasion did mess with my sense of direction playing the game which is a bit annoying but nothing game ruining. In general, the original Yakuza is absolutely worth playing if you haven't tried it, I played it with the undub patch so I can't comment on the dub aside from all the meme-y stuff people talk about, but the original Japanese acting is as stellar as the series has kept it. I'd suggest someone play this over Kiwami 1, but I can get why people might not want to give the experience a shot and I wouldn't fault anyone for playing the remake. (Especially since the remake's combat is really good and has a lot of depth if you looked into it long enough.)
I will come 4 u soon Yakuza 2.

While initially this feels like a fun fanservice game, this quickly delves into its own characters and story and really stands on its own as a separate Yakuza story. While the roles and characters are similar to the ones that share their faces, i really felt like the ones with even just a decent amount of focus are entirely their own characters and their faces only serve as an introduction to give you an initial impression of them. It took me a few chapters to actually get invested in the story, but once it grabbed me it didn't stop being amazing. The combat was fresh, engaging and some of the best in the series and the mini-games and side content are quite easily the best. The only gripe I have is that the antagonists aren't particularly engaging, especially compared to their counterparts, but the Shinsengumi and any other characters make up for that a lot.

Yeah so this is a masterpiece if you're an action game fan. Among DMC and Bayonetta it has gameplay that is just as snappy and intense as them with potentially even better environments and level design. Likeable characters, fun story, good balance of humor. Finally, an XBOX exclusive that's my style.

In a friend of mine's review, he said the following:
“nothing gets left out, nothing is undercooked, and most importantly everything is impactful. yakuza 5 is the quintessential embodiment of what this series stands for.”
This is almost wholly true for Radiant Dawn. I’ve been playing this game nonstop for two weeks, constantly thinking about how I want to get my thoughts out on this one. Radiant Dawn gets a fair amount of distaste these days because of what it does wrong, and it’s totally fair, but I can’t get myself to dislike this game even with the myriad of problems.
For every stupid thing RD does, it does three other things that are pure genius. The sheer scale of everything makes this the largest and most ambitious FE game to date, even outdoing Genealogy of the Holy War. There’s a huge amount of map variety, with objectives and units constantly changing to help tell the story. It’s far from being a boring FE game because the game never stops mixing things up every chapter or so. While it can be very hectic both in gameplay and story, I can’t help but admire what was done here. Every single map, even the ones I disliked, made me go “wow, that was a neat concept for a map and it feels unique compared to everything else so far!” The gameplay-story integration is also up there with the Jugdral titles, especially the finale of part 3 which is one of my favorite maps in the whole series. When in tandem with the fantastic Tellius mechanics such as shove/rescue and BEXP it also creates an immensely fun gameplay experience.
The story is mixed overall and i think PoR had a more solidly constructed narrative, but RD has a lot of interesting concepts and plot threads that are thrown around, and when combined with the ludonarrative aspects of the gameplay, makes it super engaging. There’s definitely a lot of “huh” moments closer to the end, though, and the final part is a really odd curveball after the very dense political drama the rest of the game was, but the themes it uses are probably the best use of said themes in the entire series.
I dunno man, I adore Radiant Dawn. There’s like 800 problems you could pick at with this game and I still wouldn’t give a shit. It’s the quintessential Fire Emblem game in my eyes, it has something for really any fan of the series. Maybe not the whole package will jive with someone, but I think you’ll get at least one section of the game that appeals to your tastes. Radiant Dawn is messy, ambitious, and maybe tries to bite off more than it can chew. But at the same time, I almost wouldn’t have it any other way.
I adore this series, I don't know where I'd be without it, and I just have to sincerely thank everyone who made me so invested in it. It's bordering on unhealthy sometimes, but Fire Emblem manages to almost always truly make me happy when playing the games. Thank you.

Every dollar you spend on this game is given to people who would be consciously willing to name their kid “Clive”
Think about that before you purchase this game