Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
Danganronpa is such a weird thing. Not because it is actually such an absolutely, balls-to-the-wall absurd franchise of visual novels, but because it does all of that while making interesting (and believable) characters and tells a cohesive story. All the while, the game actually delivers a message that makes you feel something, and may even teach you a little bit about yourself.
Maybe I’m getting too rhetorical here, but either way, Danganronpa 2 is a solid sequel to February’s Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havok. Obviously, them coming out so close together may be a little draining on those like myself who don’t play tons of visual novels. If you’re looking for a memorable one, this one takes the cake, just like it’s predecessor.
Overall I think the first game is better, but the sequel gives some closure to what you learned in the previous entry, plus goes in a wholly new and insane direction. It never ceases to play with your expectations, and is all the better for it.
“Watch as the Gaming Community has an Existential Meltdown” would be an appropriate subtitle for Destiny. Activision and Bungie promised the Moon and beyond with this title, and when it finally hit shelves and turned out to like every other game, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. The plot was barebones, the world was pretty but empty, the extent of new galleries in which to shoot was quickly dried up. We were Ricky Bobby during his first interview. What do we do with our hands?
It’s common for most people not initiated into the MMO mentality to find little to do in this game. When the “story” stops, the gameplay takes center stage as Destiny begins to distill into its elemental parts: shoot, loot, repeat. But as a videogame Bane, I am initiated. From Guild Wars 2, to The Old Republic, or even WoW, I know this road too well. The most disappointing part of the general reaction to Destiny though, is that when we think about it, every gamer knows this road.
Any Call of Duty player (or any modern shooter after CoD 4) is tasked with grinding levels in multiplayer. Why? Better gear. Smash hit Diablo 3 showed up on consoles a month ago with pretty much the same premise, replacing first person shooting with top down action adventuring. The difference, I guess, its thats what these games were supposed to be.
In an appropriately symmetrical identity crisis, Destiny isn’t sure what it’s supposed to be either. The game we all saw back in E3 isn’t the game were playing, thats for sure. In its nooks and crannies are the remnants of a story that seems heavily redacted. A story left untold not purposefully to evoke a sense of wonder and mystery, but in a black-barred-by-the-government sort of way. Multiplayer is fun, but there needs to be more of it, or at the very least more customization (custom matches, you know, like from all of Bungies other games would be nice.) And for a game that wants you to do everything with people, there are extreme cases of missed opportunities when it comes to just random matchmaking. I have to find people on my friends list to do higher tier strikes and things like that, when I would equally accept just being thrown in with randoms. I don’t have/want friends, goddammit!
But its still the pinnacle of console shooting. Every shootout delivers a plethora of tactical options, thanks to how well designed area that house the best sorts of gunfights are. Instead of bouncy bunny hopping around the game, the verticality of space is explored in a practical way, and allows true freedom of fire and fury in all dimensions. At its very core, Destiny is a flawed, but extremely fun shooter.
Isn’t that all that matters?
Warframe, Halo, DC Online, WoW, Borderlands, A Realm Reborn. These games are not Destiny and Destiny is not those games. To think or expect so is limiting of your experience. Comparisons are easy to make, that’s human nature, but understand we’re allowed to enjoy something new. And yes, the parts may be the gathered wildly from many corners of the junkyard but some elbow grease to polish them and attach them to a great engine produces a solid vehicle for our enjoyment.
And this bad boy is going to get some miles.
Hard core online titles are not easily digested and the time investment required to get the highest return is not for the faint of heart, but Destiny has streamlined the experience right on the cusp of oversimplify it, even. The parts mesh best in the PvE with repeating Strikes and Raid grinding becoming your daily existence in this world and whatever is under the hood also finds a way to balance the experience no matter what level you are in the PvP arena, The Crucible. The powers are a factor about as much as any perk in a competive shooter, but each have their weaknesses if you’re a competent player.
With great expenses in marketing comes great expectations, and often with those come great disappointments as well. The foundation of the story is ultimately vague but The Stranger, a character you meet early on, offers much intrigue. The grand mystery will hopefully have a satisfying pay off, but for now the narrative is very sub par. Bungie should have at least given us a full-fulling story arc to garner further intrigue, but it felt like we were treated to a lengthy prologue.
Destiny is undoubtedly fun whether shooting waves of annoyingly intelligent mobs of aliens or the sometimes less intelligent players in the Crucible. Constant evolution is a trait that makes MMO titles stand out, offering new and more balanced experiences for gamers. Destiny embraces this ideal and those experiences are often influenced by the player base over time. These things increase the value of a title, stretching a gamer’s initial investment further and further. Shadows of Mordor, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and other titles similar will come and go. Bungie hopes we’ll jump back into their world on occasion and I, for one, most certainly will.
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When something is good, one of the greatest fears of the modern human psyche is the fear that somehow, someway, it will stop being so. Sequels, especially in gaming, have a pretty unfortunate batting average when it comes to assuaging said fear, but don’t count FutureLab’s Velocity 2X amongst that crowd. This game leaves you with the same good vibes you remember from Ultra (or as far back as the OG Velocity, for your super nerds.)
Some of the additions are both hit and miss, especially the 2D platforming that makes its debut here. As interesting as hopping out of your Quarp Jet can be to take matters into your own hands ala Samus, it eventually becomes a thing you could do without. Not bad in any real way, but not really necessary.
My review really hashes out my thoughts, but know that this game is, at the very least, everything a Velocity fan is looking for.
So imagine if you will, Dynasty Warriors mixed with the Legend of Zelda. What kind of game that would be? Over the top combos and specials? Check. Multiple unique character choices? Check. Going out into the field and having a mob of enemies in front of you but no attacks? Double Check!
Like other crossover musou games ala Dynasty Warriors Gundam, Hyrule Warriors is essentially that Dynasty Warriors with Zelda character. There is nothing more to say then that honestly. What you see is exactly what you get and if that is fun for you like it is for me, then you’ll enjoy Hyrule Warriors for what it is. Mindless, half-attentive, button mashy fun.
D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die
YOU SHOULD PLAY D4.
Stop reading, find someone who has a Xbox One and play this game. I say this not only because the pedigree of Swery 65 from Deadly Premonition fame but because it’s a unique game. Not exactly original or innovative, just unique. Unique in the way it plays, the characters, the interactions, the tone. It’s all truly something special. One of those games like when you first played Mass Effect or The Walking Dead where you HAVE to talk to someone after you go through it. D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is honestly my favorite current gen game and that is crazy and awesome all at the same time.
Hey guys you should really play D4. Seriously.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
Persona 4 Arena, though I was late to the party in playing it, blew me away for reasons I didn’t even think about before diving in. It was a “sequel” to Persona 4, but also a sequel to Persona 3, and seeing quite literally my two favorite sets of characters meet and bond was the best thing I could have wished for.
Ultimax takes that even further. The entire cast from Persona 3 joins in for a story that extends from the end of P4A, and delivers a triumphant finale to what it created before. All your persona users in one place, fighting against shadows.
The story follows one cohesive path for the P4 Story and the P3 Story, with returning characters to give you an idea of their fates from the end of both games. It just feels like the sequel to both games in an incredibly clever way, even more so than P4A, Ultimax takes into account those who finished Persona 3 FES and Persona 4 Golden. It’s a fantastic game, that I play for the story, but is held together by incredibly fun and even better combat at its core.