Gaming Update - July 25, 2020
July 25, 2020

I play a lot of games. Maybe too many.

As Jason alluded to in his thought provoking blog post that I failed to respond to, there's so much damn choice, and so little time. In the old days, we'd use our time to play the same favourites over and over again and so we'll never forget those experiences.

Now we spend our time roving, grazing, traipsing from game-to-game, giving each a cursory look and nothing gets locked in, everything is fleeting. The impetus for making this post was primarily to force myself to slow down and take stock of what the hell I've been doing. In the process, there was a lot of, "Oh, right, I beat that game, didn't I?"

Gaming's first world problems. Or something.

Here's what I've been playing over the last month or two:


Fire Arrow Plus
Forgettable time attack-based vertical shmup.

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2
Fantastic sequel to an amazing game, which was a tribute to one of the best games ever (Castlevania III). This might see a review. If I still wrote reviews.

Panzer Paladin
Gary sent me this code, so I have to review it. It started out as a pretty cool hack and slash platformer starring a girl in a mech and a nice NES look and pretty funky music. And then it overstayed its welcome.

DoDonPachi Resurrection
Another entry in what's probably the best bullet hell shmup series ever. I prefer Blissful Death in the same cannon, but it's hard to go wrong here.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
I missed this the first time 'round. Turns out, you can't really go back. Well, you can, but it's difficult. Compared to today's sandbox games, like say, GTAV, it's clunky and looks terrible, so it's challenging to see what all the fuss was about, but of course you had to have been there. And I was. But I was playing R-Type Final at the time.

Micro Mages
Great puzzly precision platformer -- presently my favourite genre. Four worlds, each with two regular stages and then a boss stage, for a total of 12 levels on normal. Then you gotta redo everything on Hard, which is where I am, but I've lost interest and... I get the idea. Still, it's definitely recommended.

Squidlit
Here's another title meant to look like a GameBoy game from ye olde days. I think Jason reviewed it and said it was nothing special. I think Jason was right.

Tengai
I was on a Psikyo kick for awhile lately, and I played the shit out of Gunbird, which is absolutely timeless. I thought I'd try this, their attempt at applying their manic shooter making skills to the horizontal realm. It's good, but it's not Gunbird (or Samurai Aces, even).

Cathedral
Kind of glum and repetitive old school sidescroller that kind of looks like a very subdued Shovel Knight, but is no where as much fun to look at or play. It goes give you that fix for a short time though.

Awesome Pea 2
Monochromatic precision platformer that lends itself to speedruns gets a sequel. The sequel is much harder, much less forgiving, much less fun (surprise!).

Glare fall
"Fall" really isn't capitalized here, it's not just me. That might be the most notable thing about the game. It's a very basic sidescrolling shooter featuring a girl who emits very few bullets and very few come at her in return. It's easy and over in minutes.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Definitive proof that we don't need Nathan Drake to make a great Uncharted adventure. But I definitely miss Nathan's Theme -- that song was everything. It's Naughty Dog, so the roster is progressive (a pair of female protagonists, an Indian bad guy), the attention to detail is mind-boggling, the graphics are stunning, and the set pieces are something to behold. I won't say it's better than A Thief's End, but I did have more fun with this one.

The Last of Us 2
I should really write a very late review of this. It's both the bestselling and most divisive game to come along in a long time. Again, Naughty Dog give us amazing action sequences, and some of the best visuals you've ever seen. But the storytelling is purposefully subversive and some say, too clever for its own good, managing to undermine the authenticity of its narrative to make its point, which to be fair is worth making and well made, but at what cost? Besides all of that, the game feels much too long and drawn out and repetitive. 25 hours of scouring ruined rooms for pills and parts and skulking about in tall grass. Do they have an editor? I replayed some of the first game right afterwards and found that the pacing was better, and the chapter-to-chapter storytelling much more compelling. Bigger and better, they were going for, but bloated joined in the fray. Still, if you loved the first game, how do you not sign up to play this one? You just... have to, flaws notwithstanding.

Anyway, that's it. A few reviews should be forthcoming. But I mean... at least one since I'll be forced to do it.

It occurred to me that I might have an RotW to do, but Emp hasn't been harassing me, so I'm not sure.




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overdrive overdrive - July 25, 2020 (11:23 PM)
I agree with you on San Andreas. I played it and loved it, but I tried replaying it once, a handful of years after I got into the 360 and I just couldn't. Made it to the area where you're kind of in between the Los Santos and San Fierro regions and just had to move on in that "you can't go back home" kind of way.
Masters Masters - July 26, 2020 (08:25 AM)
There's so much of that, isn't there? Which is why it's so precious when certain games DO hold up. Castlevania Collection really proved to me that it's still possible. Castlevania III is still one of the best games ever to play... NOW.

And I get that it's easier to say that when you grew up with the game and you're just revisiting. But I remember getting to Gate of Thunder 12 years after its release -- and it was still awesome.
honestgamer honestgamer - July 27, 2020 (11:02 PM)
I've definitely played NES games for the first time, many years after their initial release, and found that some are a delight to play even today, with no past experience. And some aren't. ;-)
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - July 28, 2020 (09:31 PM)
-Throwback platformers are getting tiresome. I get that a lot of modern devs grew up with them, but I kinda wish the industry would move on. Maybe not so much that we never see another 2D platformer, but enough so there aren't several new ones every month.

-That said, Bloodstained: CotM2 looks badass, and I'm excited to one day play it.

-I feel that everything you say about San Andreas could also be said about Morrowind. I still plan to give that game a fair shake, but man, that slow melee combat is hard to not notice.

-I wrote the Squidlit review.
EmP EmP - July 29, 2020 (03:22 PM)
I've said to you on IM that my plan this year is to buy zero games and work through the backlog, but I consider it a huge success thus far. I still get new games because Jason Venter exists and hates the idea that I might go outside or sleep at some point, but I've dropped a lot of games that I've been meaning to play for year. Some have failed to hold my interest (Like Observer - massive letdown) but most have been worth the wait and I've been free to pick away and play to completion.

Obligatory go write your RotW/do a review slacker outro.
Masters Masters - July 30, 2020 (10:56 AM)
Jason: Oh yeah? Name one!

Joe: Ah, so it was your review. And yes, CotM2 is awesome. I never thought I'd hear an old ass gamer like you complain about retro efforts! I mean, granted, Steam is full of them and most of them aren't good, but you could say that of any genre on Steam these days.

Emp: Okay, so it IS my turn. Is this another week where you'll win the day by beating out no one?
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - July 30, 2020 (02:53 PM)
Fair enough. It's kinda my fault, too, because I'm just like "I'm going to buy every platformer that comes out. There couldn't possibly be a negative outcome to this."
overdrive overdrive - July 31, 2020 (08:06 AM)
Hey, I have a review in this one, too!

I have played NES games for the first time in the last decade or so and found they do kick ass. Generally shooters that I never saw back in my youth and sometimes action-platformers. The more complex and "adventure-y" the game is, the more primitive it comes out in comparison to today's stuff. But a shooter like Over Horizon, for example, holds up better. Generally when it comes to the simpler sorts of action games, the big pitfall to worry about is how so many of those games have obscene difficulty spikes down the stretch. You'll have fun for 75% of the game and then hit a brick wall and the game goes from "fun" to "what the hell?!?!".
Masters Masters - August 04, 2020 (07:11 AM)
Joe: "I'm going to buy every platformer that comes out. There couldn't possibly be a negative outcome to this." Yes, I'm guilty of that too, especially when it comes to metroidvanias. Then you get to act surprised when you're bored of everything and everything seems the same.

Rob: You're right in that the more 'ambitious' games of the past tend not to hold up well. But! When the story they tell is really good, they tend to get away with it. Like Silent Hill is an early third person title and it has a serious case of the jaggies and tank controls but it's still playable because it's so compelling. And everyone loves Ocarina of Time despite how it looks now.

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