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Below, you can see the 20 most recent posts in the forums, starting with the most recent post first and working backwards. Signatures, avatars and other related information have been stripped so that the page will load quickly. Each post contains a link to the thread where it was posted so you can click to see it in its original context.

Post-March update.

Persona 5 Royal
PS4
https://store.playstation.com/en-us/product/UP0177-CUSA17416_00-PERSONA5R0000000

Added.

I thought about talking about why I was reviewing the game, but it's pretty mundane stuff. It was added the the steam curator pile, I mistook it for a point and click, and it's good to get # done in an alpha run. Anyway, thanks for the words written about the words I wrote, and congrats to Marc and DE.

Thanks for the comments on both of my reviews Venter, and of course for the win. I was interested to see which of the two you would like better and I got my answer which was going to be interesting either way. Good on you for getting the topic up so fast. Stay safe.

Until yesterday, it was looking like I was going to have a very easy week to judge. Then, three more reviews came in just under the wire. So now I get to judge reviews from three individual contributors, rather than one, and of course that's much better for the site even if it means I have more work to do before I can kick back in a lawnchair munching bonbons. On with the reviews!

The Tawashi (PC) by Masters

This is a solid review that tells me what I need to know about the game, somehow dismissing it summarily without sounding as if the author is bored by the process. That's a difficult balance to manage, and props are given and deserved, but of the two submissions Masters contributed this week, I liked the Super Panda Adventures review more.

Third Place: 1912 Titanic Mystery (PC) by EmP

This review's tagline is so good, and the Titanic has been discussed so often over the years, that I feel like a "ship out of luck" reference must have been made a few times in relation to that infamous historical disaster. But I don't care. I still love the tagline, and I'm not even going to search the Internet to see whether it's wholly original or not. It fits! One thing that doesn't quite seem to fit is your decision to play this game when you don't particularly care for the genre. As a reader, I am left to wonder: why? Why subject yourself to that torture? But anyway, you do a good job of explaining why this is a lackluster entry in said genre, despite the few things it gets right, and I liked your concluding paragraph that sums things up so beautifully.

Runner Up: Deus Ex (PC) by darketernal

This is a really strong review only occasionally let down by very minor stumbles that aren't even a big deal except in a competitive RotW topic. For example, there's this sentence: "The epic undertones that flow through the game are often highlighted with biblical references that are often presented in a subtle manner." The double use of "often" is a bit much, and yet so minor that it illustrates just how tough such competitions can get. There also are some really fun lines, like this one: "And all the fun routes involve explosives and grieving widows." So yes, this is overall another strong review in a week of strong reviews.

Review of the Week: Super Panda Adventures (PC) by Masters

This review takes what feels like the natural, obvious approach, but it's only natural and obvious because the writing made it that way. Yes, the intro tells us, this game looks like all of those bad things you expect from budget platformers. No, it doesn't deserve the comparisons and here's why. The description of the game's chief flaw is executed similarly well, and the score at the end--while at a glance seeming like it might be high for such a title--feels exactly right. Good stuff!

Thanks as always to all who contributed. I hope a bunch of you are having fun staying safe/healthy and playing video games during these largely house-bound times, and that next week will be another week as strong as this one!

I'll spot this one late -- appreciate the props and congrats to the fine fellows around me. Appreciate the typo, which is tidied away, and the kind words. Azur was a.. it was a thing that I played, all right. There's no denying that. On to the next oddity!

Thanks for the topic.

Thanks for the win, Rob. Sorry I missed the topic for a few days; I thought I had already posted in here. Old age. And drinking. Glad to see new blood on the podium, too.

Hey, thanks for the feedback, that third feels really good. I'll be sure to get those pesky line breaks under control for the next review I do, and congrats to Masters for the winning entry!

Thanks for the words, OD! Glad you enjoyed reading about Ultracore, especially looking back and thinking that I almost didn't want to review the game at first. But I convinced myself, since it's not everyday that you get to experience a game that was cancelled around 25 years ago. I didn't mention this in the review, but I think I understand why Psygnosis decided to pass on publishing the game at the last moment, especially since everything felt wayyyyyyy too samey. By the time I reached the final stage, I was like, "What? That's it?"

Congrats to Flob and Emp for placing, and Masters for nabbing, yet again, another RotW!

Kind of an unusual week with six reviews by six different contestants. Usually, there's at least one or two people with multiples, so this is kind of neat. I guess it's kind of an unusual week for other reasons, as well. Current events and my realization that reMind is a horribly cynical cash grab by Square Enix for their Kingdom Hearts brand and not remotely worth the $29 I spent to download it (or $19…or probably even $9). The bulk of it is essentially you re-doing the final couple hours of the game, but enhanced a bit (some new stuff added in and the ability to control another character for some of the fights) and with its own framing story (Sora using the "power of waking" to save Kairi, something that happens off-screen as part of the main game's ending). In other words, take out the framing story and this is a patch to improve the final couple hours of the game that you have to pay for. The remainder of it is super-tough variations of all the Organization members where you likely have to grind for a few hours to be tough enough to have a realistic chance — something that was provided for free in the HD upgraded version of KH II if you did a tough optional dungeon requiring you to have about every skill mastered. JOY!!! My review of the main game will be 3.5/5. This DLC…not likely to get anything better than 1/5 or so. Maybe 1.5 if I'm feeling generous.

Hopefully for you guys, when giving these critiques, I'm feeling more generous than I expect to feel when reviewing reMind! Which, I guess, will be easy to do because the one and only positive to reMind seems to be that it did get me to keep playing KH III in order to do the post-game Battlegates in order to grind levels quickly. And since one of those gates hosts the base game's tough optional boss, that's something, I guess?

For the three honorable mentions, Pickhut came super-close to placing. Like to the degree that I went back and forth over this more than one might think a person would while typing up these things. I did really like this review. There's something cool about getting to play one of those "never got released" games for a classic system — a big reason why I got so excited way back when I discovered the ROM translation scene. And much like many of my experiences with games there, you wound up being disappointed. And when you have a five-level game where four of those five are little more than the prelims for the fifth state, which actually has some sense of size and diversity, there will be disappointment! You did a good job of illustrating how this game gives the illusion of vastness, while actually being linear and repetitive.

CRB's review had a bit of roughness to it, but I did like how it was more detailed than a lot of yours. Maybe it was just the fact you were playing an action-RPG instead of a pure action game, but you did a quality job of diving into various mechanics of the game and illustrating just how many optional/side things there are to do in this game, as well as discussing its non-linear style and how you can't unlock certain things until you've accomplished other things in other parts of the game's world. The occasional bits of roughness or awkward phrasings may have kept this review from being "the total package", but it was definitely an in-depth and informative read.

Overall, I dug Brian's review. Had a good amount of personality and told me a lot about a game I had no knowledge of in an engaging way. My issues come from (and I'm definitely NOT the one to talk about this; just ask anyone who judges my reviews) how some of your side-discussions to interfere with my reading enjoyment. Mocking Epic Games is one thing, but turning it into a sub-section of the review (complete with Twitter-pic) BEFORE you've even gotten into talking about this game any more than mentioning how it's a good score-attack game felt a bit out-of-place. And that entire "cost vs. contest" conversation just felt convoluted to me. Three paragraphs breaking it down in detail when I have no idea what the issue is or if there is one because I have no clue how much the game costs or if people have complained greatly about this. But when you're talking about the game, what makes it work and what flaws it does have, this is a very engaging read that I found pretty informative.


THIRD PLACE

Flobknocker's A Hat in Time (PC)

Flobknocker had a few problems with line breaks above the first picture break, but still did a good job making a game I had no familiarity of look like it's really good and something I might want to play in the future. I mean, if its PS4 port was included as something free on PS Now, there'd be a bigger chance of that happening, but still, I was impressed by how you made the game sound. Your love of this game really shined here. I mean, from your early paragraphs, I expected it to — one better not be calling a review their "love letter" to the game and then sound all buttoned down and professional — but I did really like how you mixed in those gushing phrases into your discussion of mechanics and environments. Fix those line breaks and this is a really good review without anything really standing out as a negative. Hell, you even get into the stuff you can do with mods, DLCs and extra game modes after beating the game. Not necessary, but when you're talking about a game you love, it is a nice added touch to focus on those "I beat it, but still want to play it and LOOK AT THIS!!!!" things.

SECOND PLACE

EmP's Azur Lane: Crosswave (PC)

Since you've been so kind as to inform me of my recent grammatical blunders, I did catch in your second paragraph "massive cast of girls on offer are packed full countless returns" and there definitely seems to be something missing or poorly phrased there. Seems I caught something else, too, but that was yesterday when I read everything and picked my order of placements and this is today that I'm actually writing my critiques and slightly less than 24 hours is still apparently too long for my brain to remember details. Anyway, to more meaty stuff (and I'm not talking about the figures of the girls in that first pic, honest!), I have to admit that you are really good at finding weird-ass games that apparently are actually a real thing. Man, I had to read a couple sentences multiple times just because the subject matter was wacky enough it took me aback. It's probably a testament to your writing that I liked this review. To me, it looked like you just sort of embraced the insanity and just tossed in casual little reminders of it here and there to remind readers that this isn't just any old game. Like, I loved this sentence: "Here, you’re forced to blow up (or be blown up by) massive destroyers, self-destructing speedboats, dive-bombing aircraft and cat-eared cuties in a weirdly cut kimono that offers up all the side boob you could ever want." Bonus points for that aforementioned pic (situated just below that line) offering proof of said side boob. Really, if I was going to offer any objection to the review, it's that it does come off as pretty positive for a mediocre score, where your main issues revolve around the overabundance of anime tropes, how fights are pretty simplistic and you're not personally familiar with the subject matter…but your overall opinion reads to me like this was a pretty cool experience despite any of that and that it would just be enhanced if you had familiarity with the characters or series as a whole.

REVIEW OF THE WEEK (aka: Overdrive Place)

Masters' Rage Among the Stars (PC)

There's a great sense of authority in this review's writing. You do a good job in the opening paragraphs to compare this to Super Meat Boy, mentioning that fans of that game likely will be looking for anything that is in that vein. And then do a good job deconstructing this game from being a worthy successor to being a very flawed game that is kind of like it, but doesn't match up to that standard. First, it's the imprecise wall-jumping combined with tons of spikes on said walls. Or that there is nothing to the protagonist other than "guy you control". Or that moving platforms are as bad as the spikes. Or that your main takeaway is that this game is fun at times, but best played on easy, which probably isn't something that one should say about this type of game. I think you did a really good job of emphasizing that you love this sort of game and could find ways to get through really annoying areas, but that this isn't a game for people not fans of the SMB style of play and when you add in the voice of authority factor, that was enough to get this one into first place.


So, there ends another week of RotW; we'll hope to all be alive by the time my next one comes around!

Title: Ultracore
Platform: PS4
Genre: Action
Developer: (don't know the exact answer to this one)
Publisher: Strictly Limited Games
Release date: (again, not sure. exact release date for this is a nightmare)

Added.

Thanks.

Yep, Sept. 2015 is when I reviewed Alphadia, which was the first legit Kemco Khallenge review! There was Grinsia a while before that, but that was a random 3DS Shop game I picked up, never knowing it was one piece of a giant monster of blah gaming.

Thanks for the comments and placement. And, yeah, the extremely long-winded intro was by design. Gary's always ragging on me for my rambling ways and I figured that since I was reviewing a particularly bland Kemco game, it'd be really funny to really over-exaggerate that element of my writing. I guess it might have been better if it was for one of his weeks to do RotW, but I didn't exactly plan things out and by the time I got time to write the review, I'd have had to wait a couple weeks to post it.

Appreciate the nod. I wasn't sure that Devil's Kiss joke would translate, so I'm glad it landed. Clockwork Lair's a really clever game, so doing it some justice is an added bonus.

Thanks for reading, and for the quick topic turnaround.

Happy Tuesday, all. Join me as a rank game reviews in the apocalypse.

Only three reviews this week, in actuality, but five are eligible for this week's judging, because Emp had two holdovers that I've managed to remember to include. Either I remembered, or Emp wouldn't stop pestering me to include them. One or the other.

And so, we've got another one of those situations where only one contributor is left off the podium, so my apologies in advance to that person -- especially in this case, where I really had a tie for bronze, but ties are presumably not allowed (why not!). Anyway.

Rob's Dark Seven

In response to Rob's profound tagline, I would say this: we're only on this planet for a finite amount of time, and I spent some of that time doing this RotW. I think I have you beat... Was the Kemco Khallenge really started a few years ago? Time does fly. Your actual intro paragraph is excellent here. But... then there are a further four paragraphs of introduction which veer into self-indulgent/blog material to be sure. You poke fun of it yourself; we know you're aware of it, but that doesn't change the fact that we don't touch on Dark Seven until, as you say, paragraph five. The flow of the review and quality of writing is top notch; everything you do to close the review out (analysis of the game's numerous failings and highlighting of its two plusses) is done well, it's just that it takes so long to get to.

Joe's Wild Arms 2

Here's another J-RPG review with a great intro, and Joe gets to the nitty gritty of the story pretty quickly. Although, is "raggest" a word? I think something is missing in this line as well: "However, thanks to his super powers, the massive explosion that engulfs him and the subsequent plummet to the ground..." The writing here is as masterful as always but in an attempt to showcase the madness of the game's story, the writing itself comes off a bit listy and manic. So many characters and other games are name dropped, it's difficult to keep track. It's always an uphill battle to reveal how all over the place a game is without... being all over the place. Joe's writing here is typically good, but it'd guess it's purposely kitchen-sink, and as such for me it's atypically difficult to digest.

mariner's Sparklite

Mariner comes through with a very good review which opens with his ambivalence towards rogue-like adventures, before taking to task a promising Zelda-rogue-like by examining pros and cons of the approach and wondering aloud why more wasn't done to exploit those pros. The fifth paragraph which goes into detail about the failings of the rogue-like system as it is applied in Sparklite loses quite a bit of the good head of steam the review had built up to that point; it's a bit unwieldy and not the easiest analysis to digest. But mariner brings it back around with a nice final paragraph and specifically, final few sentences.

Gary's corner

Gary has two holdover reviews, as I've mentioned. One is for Devil's Kiss, a visual novel that sounds awfully lame. High points for using the word "antediluvian," but far fewer points for using it in a phrase that's not quite a sentence. The two sentences to follow are confusing because we don't know which 'he' you're referring to. That aside, everything is vintage Emp: ten dollar words in weighty clauses, irreverence and snideness abound. Then he checks to see if you're paying attention by concluding with really the ultimate in-joke. It's a fantastic ending which comes out of nowhere, both because the review feels surprisingly short at that point, and because of the 'oh no he didn't moment' -- if you haven't checked out the review by now, you should.

Gary's other review is for another game in the same series: Lair of the Clockwork God. Thankfully, it's an amazingly well written short review -- easily the best of the week -- because if it weren't, I would have had to award Gary's other review the win, and who wants to reward gimmicks? Not me! This Lair review then, is so smooth, from word choice to transitions, to how easily and casually it covers different game functions in other game function paragraphs so as to be the farthest thing from a 'sectioned piece' and yet cover everything we need covered with style and thoughtfulness and levity--truly excellent. There are so many good passages: about what genre it fits in, about the fourth wall, about the writer's need to write less. Go read it.


And so, the REVIEW OF THE WEEK is Gary's Lair of the Clockwork God.

The runner up goes to mariner's Sparklite.

And the bronze medal as it were, goes to Rob's Dark Seven.

That's it for this week. Stay safe and virus-free.

Hi. Please could you add A Hat in Time to the list? The time is right.

A Hat in Time
PS4, XB1, PC, Switch
https://store.steampowered.com/app/253230/A_Hat_in_Time/

Thank you very much.

Added.

Thanks, Gary -- it's nice to get a win here and there. Maybe if the rest of us pool our points we can catch Joe in Site King as a group.

Thanks for the comments and placement. Yeah, if there is one thing I seem to struggle with a lot, it's accidentally capitalizing the second letter of a word IF THAT LETTER is an "I". Apparently, from "home position" on a keyboard, my finger moving from "K" to "I" almost always moves more quickly than my finger going from "A" to "shift" can get off the shift key. And it only happens if the second letter is an "I".

As for the commentary on the review, I definitely understand what you're saying. The "two version of Scholar of the First Sin" bit led to me scrapping and rewriting the intro a couple times before I got it to where I at least thought it was decent AND it was a bit hard for me to not lapse into comparisons between the two last-gen Dark Souls games, simply because they were so similar with many of the alterations being smaller things, rather than any huge overhaul to the mechanics. I'm glad I maneuvered through all that at least skillfully enough to get second, as I also did a fair amount of trimming before even handing it to Jason.

Oh, and "running out of" these games? In my backlog box at home, I have Bloodborne and Dark Souls III and Sekiro is one Amazon order away! I do have some degree of interest in Dragon's Dogma, but man, unless it gets dumped on PS Now for free, that could take a real long while to even think about. The backlog isn't getting any smaller and that PS Now library is only adding to my "stuff I gotta play...sometime...maybe...I hope?" catalog. I'm gonna have to find a way to extend my natural lifespan by 30-100 years, I think.

I'm not sure I agree mentioning the price necessarily "dates" a review in a 2020 sort of world.

Most games on the eShop retain the same price for many years, until finally they just disappear one day either on a publisher's whim or as that particular system's presence on the eShop ends... in which case a discussion of its price is still relevant for people who might wonder after the fact what the game cost. After all, we're only occasionally talking about fluctuating prices for physical releases in this era when something like 90% of games never get released in a physical format (and even a lot of the ones that do are offered in limited quantities by a company such as Limited Run Games).

With that said, I didn't actually expect to place well with this review, since most people who handle RotW topics do seem to find tower defense games outlandishly dull by their very nature, even though the gaming public at large--that includes me in particular--finds them especially enjoyable/addictive.

Thanks for the timely topic, anyway. And congratulations to the winners, who submitted some stellar reviews this week. Thanks also to all who participated to ensure I had basically no shot at the top three. Despite what that does for my Site King standings, the activity and quality make me happy!

If I had a VR set up, something like a Space Channel 5 game would be exactly the kind of offbeat thing that would tempt me. Alas!

Thanks for the placement, EmP. Speaking of prices, this was honestly one of the more tougher decisions I had to make buying a VR game. I kept thinking, "What if it really sucks?" But at the same time I was like, "But I get to save the galaxy by dancing. With Ulala. >_>" So the choice was obvious. For me, at least. Still highly recommend anyone with a PSVR to skip unless it sees a huge drop in price during a sale. Controls are solid, but the game as a whole isn't.

Congrats to OD for second placement, and Masters for nabbing yet another RotW!

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