You wake up at a train station in a small town with no memory of who you are, or how you got there.
Reminiscent of walking simulators (positive) such as Gone Home and Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Nostalgic Train isn't a wholly new gameplay experience, but what it lacks there it more than makes up for in its setting and the sense of place it has.
Between glimpses into the stories and memories of people around the town and trying to find yourself, you are invited to take in the lovely small town of Natsugiri.
The sunlight as it breaks through the bamboo at the peak of the day. The ever-present buzzing of the cicadas. The bookstore, shelves covered in books with no one but you to read them. The elementary school overlooking the burbling river that runs through the town. The train station at the heart of it all.
Where you are is reinforced time and time again, the memories tied to where they occurred, over the course of the game's story building a fuller picture of the town and its inhabitants. Places once lacking importance take on deeper significance as events progress. They may not be present but the more you learn of them, the more the lack of their presences is felt.
The game features both a Free Mode, in which you can explore the town, find scattered notes giving context and history to certain fixtures you'll find, and the Story Mode, over the course of which you'll come to know the town, its inhabitants, and quite possibly yourself.
Far from perfect but decently entertaining. Very much feels like a game taken out of the PS2 era with a mostly modern coat of paint.
Playing on PS4 is definitely not ideal, animates like everything has hitstop which is amusing to a degree but it's not smooth.
Battles have a decent flow to them and the different weapons all feel distinct. The escalation of abilities also lends to making you feel quite powerful.
You can definitely tell they strained against the budget but there's a pretty solid core.
Solid search action with beautifully tuned combat and mechanics.
Using bosses and their projectiles to replenish your resources feels really good!
Flipside to that is the graze hit box is poorly communicated, leading to inching forward to stationary enemies and sometimes accidentally running into mobile ones.
So close to perfection; game owns.
Everything that was good in the first game is refined and made to feel even better. The moveset customization within each weapon type allows for a very nice degree of freedom in how you play.
Loot is still absurd in this, but I can't deny how satisfying it is to have a boss explode like a piñata when you defeat them. Thankfully it's easy to offload large amounts of things, and those in turn become currency for levels or gear/items.
Team Ninja keep knocking it out of the park, looking forward to what's next. But first, that DLC.