My first blog post of 2018 was a recap of my favorite video games from 2017, so it only feels appropriate that I make this a kind of annual thing. It’s also a good chance to talk about games I meant to write reviews for.
Looking back at that post though, boy was I wrong, 2018 did not give me Kingdom Hearts III, so that won’t be on the list, though it will be coming soon and I can’t wait. It’ll likely be my first solo game review of the year (or Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition).
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth- Hacker’s Memory
Last year I said that this game would be my first review of the year, and…I lied. Didn’t even review it. For what it’s worth, I did beat it, though. This game, much like its predecessor, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, was a fun Digimon game. Unlike the first game, Hacker’s Memory presents a character with his own character who isn’t a blank slate for the players to relate to. He’s a reluctant hero, and for the most part it works. The game does have some problems though. Rather than feeling like a sequel it’s more like DLC, a side story in which there were a few tweaks and no real improvements. The gameplay for the most part is the same, there’s additional Digimon you can create, which was pretty cool, but the narrative of the game is a side story. For the most part it runs similar beats as the first game’s story and has cameos from previous characters which, while charming, are somewhat boring. But at the core of it all, it was an enjoyable game I sunk a lot of time into.
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
I think I might as well call this post, I had no time, sorry, because all I’m talking about are games I had no time to review. For this game I was too busy writing my thesis. Anyways, as for Ni No Kuni II, I hadn’t beaten nor played the previous game in the series, but after learning I didn’t need to know anything about Ni No Kuni to be able to play the sequel, I decided to jump right into it. I bought the deluxe edition that came with a pop up stand, and let me tell you, I never built that thing. The parts weren’t attaching correctly and I tried to get my little sister to help, but she just ruined the pieces.
Revenant Kingdom, plays quite differently than its prequel, being a real time action JRPG. The game had a lot of customization, in that you could switch weapons and the use of projectile weapons with close combat ones, and the mix of spells into it, we have a wonderful combat system that was fun to play. One of my problems with the game was that it was a bit slow. It felt as though the inputs of controls lagged a bit.
As for the story, it was fun, charming, brimming with life in every line, every character, every delightful conflict. The towns were different and fun, the narratives going on were entertaining. Roland was my favorite character. The system of building a kingdom, claiming riches through it, and establishing a series of subsections to help with crafting and item purchases was great especially since I love to manage a bunch of things at the same time. Overall, if you exclude the army battles (which I won’t deny, they were slightly fun) this is a game a lot people should try out.
God of War
I’ll admit that I hadn’t played any of the God of War franchise, and didn’t care for the franchise either, but after watching a few beginning playthroughs I felt a desire to dip my toes into the series….or at least just this entry. While I sometimes dabble as a try hard gamer, I decided to take it slow with this game, a combat system I didn’t quite know, a punishment I hadn’t felt like dealing with, so I chose the normal difficulty, and even that was challenging. The puzzles offered fun problems, the boss battles especially against “The Stranger” were epic, and the open world-esque elements kept me going. While there were some frustrating enemies like anything that shot lasers or the ones that constantly shielded, I felt as though they were measures for getting good. The use of armors and specific enchantments you could give Kratos and specific stylings you could set for boy the game allowed you to fight in a variety of ways outside of my early game style of throwing the axe and running away. And while it’s not bad to beat a game and just call it day, I’d say one of the setbacks was a lack of side story narrative or after game because once I finished the main story, despite other worlds that could be unlocked, I felt no need to touch the game again. But the main narrative, those structured moments were a fun adventure to take part of.
Back when I was nine or so, my mom frequented Walmart, and not just any Walmart, but specifically one located in Shrewsbury, PA. This was a time when there were Super Walmarts and regular Walmarts and they weren’t all Super and we didn’t question the company’s business practices and the internet wasn’t really a thing and because Facebook wasn’t a thing, People of Walmart also wasn’t a thing. Anyways, my point was that while my mom would spend hours in this Walmart, I would stand in the electronics section playing demos and what caught my eye was Super Smash Bros.: Melee. It was odd, a crossover of franchises I hadn’t really played, but recognized. That year I begged my mom for a Gamecube and that game became life, forget backyard brawls, I had free-for-alls with my friends. I learned tech and slowly shifted from playing casually with items to this pseudo-competitive player, like I knew how to wavedash. It was weird. I loved Roy because everyone favored Marth. Anyways let’s skip to December 7th. Joker, from my favorite game of last year was announced as DLC and I was waiting for Ultimate to download.
While I may not have the same friends as I had during my Melee or Brawl days, Ultimate gives me nostalgic feels. I love Smash so of course I’m going to enjoy this game. One of my small cons for the game is the “story” mode though. It’s not as fun as Subspace, and some fights they have in that mode…it made me question on several occasions, Sakurai, why? Who hurt you?, cause they’re stupid difficult. Other than that, with increased speed, reduced end lag on moves, certain move sets being tweaked, there was a lot to get used to with characters. Ganon doesn’t suck as much as he used to on WiiU, Roy is faster (I am happy), Zelda, who’s always been fun to play as, is cute as a button. And though I got my butt handed to me trying to unlock characters (pre-patch) and continue to get my rear handed to me via online matches and scream into the ether when World of Light decides to be ridiculous, I just can’t be mad at the game and love to play. All I want now is for Sora to be announced as DLC so I can be the tryhardiest tryhard that ever tried hard.
Dragon Quest XI
I’ve always said, and will likely forever say (at this point ironically) that turn based JRPGs are garbo. I say that even though Persona 5 was my favorite game last year. I say that despite playing every Pokemon game that releases. It’s just that if you show me other turn based JRPGs I’ll reject your offer to play them. They, especially when compared to action JRPGs, just don’t seem fun. I like to hack and slash and dodge and block when needed.
Also before this I had never played any Dragon Quest titles, but I bought this out of impulse. And boy is this game a beauty. When I saw that opening cutscene I immediately texted my small friend and asked her if I could marry graphics. This game on a visual level was just aesthetically pleasing. The story was also pretty top notch, not in that it did anything revolutionary with the narrative, it went the typical route stocked with JRPG tropes, but tweaked them in refreshing ways that kept me laughing and invested. I poured so much time into the game and though it didn’t have the flashiness of Persona 5, or the use of nostalgia like Pokemon, it was a challenging game with an enjoyable enough story that I easily gave myself to.
Also it was robbed for best RPG of 2018.
When I decided to download this game, I sang the Spider-Man theme and added hip hop beats to it for the entirety of my commute back home with the most awkward milly-rock you’ll never see, because it was that awful.
Now I’m not going to be one of those people who compares this game to its predecessor, Spider-Man 2, mentioning its web slinging mechanics. Rather I’ll compare it to my previously favorite Spider-Man game, Ultimate Spider-Man for PS2. That was a game I had never finished, because when I was twelve I rarely ever finished games, but I spent a lot of hours playing it. I made this odd story in my head where my main character from the comics I doodled, Rai (who in stories I now refer to as Jude), switched bodies with Peter Parker. It allowed me to make a narrative without doing any of the story missions. I just fought crime and played side activities. But I loved just gallivanting NYC.
As for Spider-Man PS4, I never had to do that, mostly because as an adult I’ve lost the need to integrate my own narratives, but also because the story itself was…spectacular (I’ve been waiting for this, but also hate myself for this joke). It was a real story that balanced Peter’s personal life and superhero life in a dynamic and fun way. We got to see him struggle as both a college grad adult and a protector of NYC. The side missions were fun. The easter eggs were fun. And it was the first time I was completely okay with just collecting things (I usually hate that).
Then there’s the combat. In my first playthrough, before DLC and patches, I played the then hardest difficulty, Spectacular. And it was thrilling to dodge around and have quick reflexes and just whoop criminal butts. Bases were an absolute joy and bosses, though they took some getting used to, looking at you Scorpion, had my adrenaline going. I could criticize the use of Mary Jane and Miles in that no one plays a Spider-Man game to do stealth missions with characters who aren’t (yet) Spider-Man (during one of the DLCs, I quit and yelled, I did not spend more money to play as MJ again!), but once you get along with better tools they can be fun challenges…for the most part. Those stealth missions actually encouraged me to utilize more web gadgets while playing as Peter, especially now that I’ve reached a point where even Ultimate (the new hardest mode), which tends to eviscerate me sometimes, can throw me fights that feel like I’m playing with my food. Like have you ever gotten a 100-hit combo in that game? Neither have I, because in Ultimate difficulty those rocket launchers and crooks with Sable tech always catch me off guard at some point (I’m talking about DLC at this point, sorry), like it sometimes seems like Peter’s spidey sense isn’t good enough (though given story cutscenes, that’s appropriate). Anyways this game gives me catharsis. I just play, collect things, beat up criminals and have a great time. Even though my love for the game has gone down since I’m ridiculously hyped for KHIII, I can still reminisce about the peak of my love for this game, and if you haven’t played it yet, please. Please. Play this game.
So that was all for 2018. I’m actually surprised by how low my games list was this year, but I mean…quality over quantity, right? I think I’ll leave you with the Final Battle Trailer for KHIII. Later days.