For at least 12 hours, I've been trying to think of a hook for this review without sounding painfully pretentious. I love this game, but that 4 stars? I feel like I can't give it any more than that. Does it make sense? I don't know anymore!
This game isn't a zelda game. It shouldn't have been a zelda game. There, I said it.
Everything about this game screams comfort and despair at the same time. The inhabitants of Termina live in a state of disarray; A moon seems to be falling down, a super important festival is supposed to take place at the same time. People have regrets, people have pressing matters, people are, in the end, lost.
Enter Link, or in my save file, COOLMAN. Without taking in account all the theories about this game, let's just say that Link fell down a really long hole and landed on something soft. He's in a new world, trying to make some sense of it. To leave this place, he has no choice but to save it, and so, he meets the new people there.
The bomber's notebook helps you manage all of the world's day to day actions, knowing what events await them for the three (repeating) days of your stay. As a kid, I dreaded doing these. I just wanted to do the dungeons. It was all I looked forward to for a Zelda game. Of course, I was an idiot back then, and I said "only 4 dungeons? this blows" and still got all the masks and beat the game. I loved zelda back then, so I couldn't just sit there and not beat it. Today, it's the opposite for me: I dreaded doing the six (yes, the pirate's fortress and ikana castle count) dungeons, and I wanted to help the world ease their pain as their doom invades their mind, whether they liked it or not.
The world matters in this game. As a kid, I met those NPCs as quest givers. Today, I've met them as people. I met the people taking care of Romani Ranch. I've seen the consequences of not helping them and felt awful for it. I've met Anju and her husband. I wanted for them to be together. I made those chicks grow into mighty roosters to assuage the lonely man's regrets. I've helped the world with their issues, and I felt good about it.
But it doesn't matter when you go back in time, you'd have to do it again.
Even when you helped them, you want to do it again. I have saved the ranch from aliens, of all things, but now I have to go back to day 1 and finish a dungeon. I couldn't help but imagine the distressed, pained faces of the ranch as I couldn't help them. I just wanted out of that dungeon. Dungeons (save for Stone Tower, let's be honest here) feel like an afterthought. They don't have that oomph that Ocarina of Time's dungeons had. They're thematic, sure, but they lack the fun of its predecessor. That's why I say this game isn't a Zelda game: To save the world, you have no choice but to go through the dungeons. And yet, you only want to be with the world.
What if this game weren't a zelda game? What if there weren't dungeons? It's a pained world, and you'd have to find a way to save it by any means. I want to see that some day. For now, COOLMAN has saved Termina, and ultimately, its people. If only he'd stay and celebrate with them.
2018. I'm in Minneapolis, attending Summer Games Done Quick.
I was about to join some people into a hotel room to go watch some hentai, but I never got the room number. Feeling left out, I go to the event's DDR Extreme cab for a round of dancing. Afterwards, I'm empty: I put all my desires of the night to go watch and riff at hentai with people I barely even knew. And so, I ask on twitter, where I knew that someone within the premises could answer my question: Is there anything going on right now?
I get an answer: "Come to the practice room, we're playing Pringles."
Oh fuck. What did they mean by that? I'm curious, I've got nothing else to do, so I go.
The practice room, home of dozens of televisions. Consoles and chairs galore. It'd be full during the day, but it's currently 2AM or so, so it's mostly empty. A bunch of people are huddled around two specific televisions. The pringles mascot is bouncing around, bouncing on chips and yelling "No Way" whenever he'd bounce on an oversized cylinder of pringles.
This is so dumb. But I've got to play it. I sucked at it. I spent 2 hours playing through the game while others are either spectating or waiting for their turn. We're all doing it casually, in good fun. We were playing Pringles as the developer intended.
The next day, I was craving for more Pringles.
Once again, at night, two pringles stations were set up and ready to go for anyone to play. Only this time, the person behind it, Seckswrecks, was timing people. We were officially speedrunning Pringles. I got totally and utterly sucked in: what would be a flash game from the aughts hypnotized me to play it for hours on end, enticing me to get a better finishing time, to bounce on those chips and get to the end goal in record time.
And record time, I did get. I was glued to the seat. Not a lot of people wanted to play, so I kept going. I'll never forget the discovery I made as I frantically post in the newly created Pringles Speedrunning Discord Server:
"Guys, holy shit, I found a time saver."
People hurried in the practice room, speeding directly to the Pringles station to find out this exciting new development. I found out that you can hold a button to make the main menu's animations go faster. Those animations blocked us from going from level to level until it was done. I just saved a whole bunch of time.
This speedrunning development cemented my love and dedication for this game. I returned home with hours upon hours of experience already in the game. I ordered a genesis and a bootleg cart on aliexpress. I played more Pringles at home and showed it to my friends (they had a laugh. all in good fun). I have always wanted to speedrun a video game, and I was able to do so with Pringles.
This trend continued in SGDQ of 2019, where there were, once more, two pringles stations in the practice room. Even more people joined in and had a go at the speedrunning leaderboards in real time. I've loved the game, the event, the people, all over again.
A game about a food mascot has given me some of the fondest memories of my life, and I will never forget them.
I think it's only fair to review my favorite game of all time while I suffer from executive dysfunction in relation to, well, everything right now. As it turns out: work fucking sucks the life out of you. And then some.
Speaking of sucking. Kirby does that. I'd go further on that, but the common mind would waver into the depths of juvenility. Instead, I'll just mention that Kirby can obtain abilities. That's the point of this character, right? This is the first game in the series where he... they??? they can do that. Kid me was fucking pumped for that. Did I mention this was the first game I've ever played in my life? Would that count as some sort of bias?
Either way, whether it's the first game I've ever played or not, it's also the game I've played the most times. Of course, we're not going to count playtime, that'd be cheating. I'm talking about playing a game and finishing it over and over again. I can't ever get enough of this game. Its pacing and action is so much fun. Even if it's on the easy side for an NES game, it still provides unparalleled entertainment for such a primitive console. A lot of people would complain about the framerate being bad, well I've gotten so used to it that I've been using it to my advantage. After all, what doesn't kill me, makes me stronger.
The graphics are so colorful and the palettes are used super well for each world. Every world has its own thematic and, as a kid, I would dream of going to the many castles Kirby would visit there. I still remember those dreams. I was like, 4 years old. The progression of the worlds being from more down to earth, to straight up being in nothing but a dreamlike setting, just hypnotizes me. It's something that's so hard to explain, I just love the atmosphere of this game. I want to live there.
What with the graphics comes the audio, oh god, the audio. Permanently cemented on my mind is the rainbow resort track. Nothing in this world has come close to emulating a literal dream. I am dreaming when listening to the soundtrack, I am dreaming when seeing the world of Dreamland. Sakurai just understood from the get go on how to create a literal dream world.
This game holds a special place in my heart. I bought it for every single possible platform, yes, even the 3D one on 3DS. I'm gonna piss you off however and say that Nightmare in Dreamland on GBA is not Kirby's Adventure to me. It's not the same, it just ain't. I will forever treasure the japanese copy I bought from ebay, I'm ready to call it my family heirloom.
You should play this game, I think. Dream about it, if you will.
"You want to become stronger? Then get out there and fight!"
Never have I experienced a game so deadset to motivate you to play the game and improve as you go. Fighting games have always had a steep learning curve and, if you don't dedicate yourself to the genre, you will fall behind many other players by more than a landslide. Street Fighter 6 is not only a love letter to the fans of the series, but to the genre itself: Characters and references by the hundreds, game modes specifically designed to make you learn and improve (can you guess which one I'm talking about?), whole mechanics made for new players to pick up and play, and the list goes on. Every day, I learn something about this game that encourages people to improve and it astonishes me (in a good way, obviously) how much this game cares about your path to greatness. Never has a fighting game done this to this degree.
Street Fighter 6 loves you, and you will love it back.
The sequel to the grandfather of what could be considered dating sims. It's an archaic format nowadays, sort of, but 1999 has never seen a visual novel of this grandeur.
What this game takes from its predecessor, takes it and gives it a nice spitshine. It sounds derogatory, but I don't think I have any other word to describe it. Mechanics are more or less the same, but with quality of life changes, especially with the dating system. You don't take notes as often, or at all, with this game, compared to the first one. It makes for a more streamlined playthrough where you get to manage your character and the girls you have to deal with, until one of them decides to activate bomb mode and ruins your plans for the next 3 months or so. That's the name of the game, and for some reason, I like it.
The characters range from pretty damn annoying to level headed, which doesn't mean much, but there are enough archetypes for the majority of people to find a character they "like", so long as you don't go for the teacher/childhood adult figure, you weirdo.
My main concern is over how easy it is to get a certain ending. No, not even the one where you don't get any of the girls, I'm talking about Hikari. She's head over heels for your character from day 1, so playing nice will most likely result in her ending, rather than another that you poured 90% more effort into. Tokimemo 1 had a character like this, but she wasn't the main poster girl. It feels weird to have your protagonist be a complete 180 from the 1st game in terms of route difficulty, making the game entice you perhaps a bit too much to be friends with her, leading to most likely a mistake.
I still got Kotoko though, so suck it.
This is it, the ultimate adventure game.
I have a feeling that this game would have severely changed me as a person had I played it when I was much, much younger, albeit would have been the MSX version. I've played the remake. Alas, I've only gone through it this year and I deeply regret not having played this for as long as I could have.
La-Mulana is a metroidvania that prioritizes on puzzles, and by god does it throw puzzles at you. I'm not talking sokobon minigames or whatever, I'm talking literal "jot notes down or you'll never beat this" puzzles. The locations you visit, you will visit again and again throughout the game until the very end. Puzzles are easily missed and secrets are plentiful. I've obtained every possible item and I still didn't find all of the secrets.
Starting as a weak, simple adventurer, you'll delve down the ruins of La-Mulana, obtaining powerups to make your Lemeza stronger. As you get stronger, you get more confident. As you get more confident, the game will tell you to sit down. It's relentless, it does not waver and it does not hold your hand. This is, again, the ultimate adventure game.
Even if this is 5 stars, I still have a complaint, and that is the Hitboxes. They're seemingly inconsistent and sometimes irritating to deal with, but it's such a minor complaint that I can't in my right mind dock a half-star for that reason. I love this game. It's a new favorite and I am now going to pester my friends to experience it.
If you want to experience this game, you need to do it without guides. No hints, nothing. Get your pen and paper and start solving the mysteries of La-Mulana. If you do look up guides, you will disrespect the philosophy of La-Mulana.
Thank you, NIGORO.
SMT never fails to disappoint.
JRPGs always had this issue with balancing. The SMT series, for quite some while, has struck the right balance between challenging fights and, uh, bullshit. Sometimes.
But the bullshit is far and few between, it serves as a warning to not be too cocky when playing these games.
Digital Devil Saga is wonderful because it limits much more on the bullshit than other SMT games (sans persona, of course). Building your characters become more about figuring out what the next fight will be, rather than having a long run build. It incentivizes strategy in and out of fights, making dungeon crawls much more interesting and, interactive? Not sure, but the point is that the system works flawlessly and I love it.
Boss fights have been a wonderful challenge. Even when I'm overleveled it can be tough. That's because the name of the game isn't about numbers (although it helps to have better numbers, of course), but the status effects, the resistances, the weaknesses to exploit. It's a game about setting your offense and defense for each fight, rather than building it over the course of the story.
The story itself is a bit lackluster, but that's only because there's a second game that's a direct sequel, which is why not much is explained here. That's fine, I can't wait to see what's up with DDS2.
I think the only reason I'm giving this 4.5/5 is because some puzzles leave me either wanting more or, worse, wanting less of. You know what I'm talking about.
this is the most video game ever.
and by that, i mean that it takes its damned time. so much to do and, while the side-content is actually relevant and good, the amount of it is overwhelming.
game's good, combat is good, story is fine, characters are a high point (for once, in a jrpg!) still suffers from jrpg-itis in some aspects, but it'd be a spoiler if i were to mention anything related to it.