The Binding of Isaac Rebirth
I hate this game. I mean, it’s great, but goddamn is there so much wrong with it.
For the tall price of Zero Dollars for Playstation Plus users, Isaac Rebirth is a completely easy recommendation. It’s a twin-stick shooter meets all of your childhood nightmares, meets religious undertones that are far less than subtle. The game follows a rogue-like strategy, and has literally hundreds of different items that make every play through completely unique.
The complete randomness, the openness to experimentation, and the vastly different playthroughs from excellent to a complete mess. It’s fun, in an exploration kind of way. You find something new with every playthrough, which makes the game always feel fresh, with different bosses, items, and challenges. It’s worth looking into, especially for rogue-like fans.
A pretty odd proposition is the mobile MOBA. How do you capsulate that skill based, competitive action-strategy into something you can play in short bursts or on the go. The average game of League and Dota can take anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour; theres nothing bite sized about that. When’s the last time you stared at your phone for an hour straight?
Vainglory is a step in the right direction. It’s the best example of the concept so far, though admittedly there isn’t a lot of competition. Distilling the standard MOBA playing field down to a single lane, with an expansive jungle full of dynamic, game altering objectives to fight over, the pace is turned up to 11 immediately. Of the 12 characters present, most feel relatively balanced, though with team sizes of only three, team composition is that much more important. With about 20 matches under my belt, im ready to review this bad boy, so stay tuned.
Dragon Age Inquisition
Dragon Age Inquisition is the best in the series. This claim can be shouted from your highest peaks and into the lowest valleys with extreme confidence. It is the incredible open world exploration of an Elder Scrolls games, and that pitch perfect characterization that Bioware is known for. With the best parts of Origins’ combat mechanics intact, merged seamlessly with Dragon Age 2’s action packed tweaks on the formula, it plays like a dream. When it works, of course.
My first ten hours was marred with technical issues, including crashes that were way too frequent for my liking. Every once in awhile, menu options just don’t appear, or cursors to certain radial menus aren’t available (thusly not letting me use my potions, and letting me die a slow death.) Maybe HUDs vanish, so during battle I can’t tell whose doing what, and who is taking unhealthy amounts of damage. A glitchy, buggy mess: another Bioware standby.
But as with most Bioware games, I am getting more fun out of it that disaster, and at about 30 hours in, Im still finding new systems I haven’t scratched yet.
Tales of Hearts R
Tales of Hearts R is a remake of a game under the same name minus the R, which originally came out on the DS in 2008 in Japan only. As the title suggests, it’s story deals with the heart of living beings as well as their spirit (Spiria as it is called in the game). It revolves around a man named Kor, who ends up destroying the other main character Kohakus’ Spiria, leaving her as an emotionless husk, sending them off on a journey to find the shattered Spiria pieces to bring her back to normal. The story starts off very quickly and like all Tales of games, the situation becomes way bigger then it seems in the beginning.
As with most remakes, the game has some changes while also keeping some mechanics that could bother fans of the newer games. The environment now takes place in 3D models and the characters are fully rendered in and out of combat. Like in the original, battles are random and not seeable enemies on the screen like in recent games; Xilla, Vesperia or Graces. The combat takes away mechanics like air recovery when hit, but also adds a new system Chase Link which allows more combos to occur more easily. There is also a system like the gambit system in Final Fantasy 12, which I never delved into and was still able to beat the game just fine. Another turn away for some people is that there are no English voices, it is all in Japanese. Which bothered me at first, but then I ended up loving it because it fit the characters so well.
It’s an interesting Tales of game that every Tales of fan should check out *cough* Alex *cough*. The story is very touching and deals with the human emotion and how it can affect the world. This was one I wish got translated when I first saw it and I was not let down by this remake.
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Far Cry 4
Far Cry 4 is an incredibly fun game to play. So many options to approach a situation in any style you wish for it to be and so many random occurrences that come across make for some great personal moments in your gameplay. Unfortunatly for Far Cry 4, it feels like exactly the same thing I did in Far Cry 3 except for not as interesting characters or story for that matter. At the end of the main campaign I felt underwhelmed by how it concluded overall and how I didn’t care about anyone I meet in the game expect for 2 random potheads. Far Cry 4 is one best playing games of this year with the amount of freedom they give you, I just wished they put that much effort into your main objective.
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
Persona Q is that weird holiday special of your favorite 90s movie/TV Show. I know that makes it sound terrible, but it’s not. Instead, it’s a mechanical departure from Persona, but with all the Persona-collecting and weakness-exploiting combat you’ve come to expect from the latest installments in the series, but with a weird chibi coating and an odd side-story colliding two Persona worlds. It’s great.
It’s something that doesn’t feel like it’s part of the main story, thus the holiday special comparison, but it doesn’t take away from the Persona charm. The characters are all there, and if you’re like me, you’d do anything to spend more time with this cast of friends. The combat is there, and even more intense and evolved, with the ability to change all of your party members’ personas. Also, the Etrian Odyssey hooks of drawing maps and charting out the dungeon are very much included.
It’s a huge and solid package, and if you love Persona, it’s worth your time.
Super Smash Bros (Wii U)
This is it. The real deal.
I liked the 3DS version of Smash [citation], which had all you wanted in a smaller, less-pretty package, with some clear cutbacks as far as pushing the envelope on a visual front and in the levels you play on. The Wii U version suffers from absolutely none of those cutbacks.
For the first time, you can play an 8-player Smash, which is insanely fun and hectic. It runs perfectly, allowing for small squabbles to break out between the massive amounts of players. It’s just nothing but fun. Also, almost all the previous single player offerings are open to two players now. The multiplayer options just continue to stand out.
The soundtrack, the characters, the stages: everything looks and sounds beautiful. This is the all-out Smash, and it’s one that any group of friends can sit down and enjoy.
Mario Kart 8: Pack 1 DLC
It’s been awhile since I’ve felt DLC giving you a meaningful addition to a game rather then some pallet swap of clothes your character wears. However Mario Kart 8’s DLC does exactly that and then some with the amount of content, fanservice, and effort they put into it. Seeing that just putting in new characters wouldn’t really do much for Mario Kart 8 since it doesn’t really impact too much which character you play as, they instead provided 5 new courses and 3 retro courses to show of their talents. Every stage is just amazingly fun to play and look at with my favorite being Mute City from F-Zero. The next DLC for Mario Kart 8 releases in May and I couldn’t be more excited to see what they put into it.