Category Archives: Games

[Dreamcast Day] Late to the Party: Ikaruga (and Shmups)

After realizing Wednesday was Dreamcast Day, instead of doing my usual thing and playing one of my favorite Dreamcast games for a bit like Grandia II or Shenmue, I decided to look at the top Dremacast games I’d actually never played. That’s when I remembered I’d finally pulled the trigger on buying Ikaruga a while back (on PC of course). Trying it for the first time has left me with some thoughts on how ports of arcade games could be better tuned to the home console experience.

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What Nvidia’s Ampere Reveal Means For Next-Gen Gaming

Nvidia just rolled the curtain back on its new line of PC graphics processors — the RTX 30 series, and predictably there’s already talk about whether they’re more exciting than the upcoming next-generation consoles — Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X. Personally I think it all has to do with timing, and which one is best will depend on each individual person’s situation. There are also some very important cards that still aren’t on the table yet.

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Smart Delivery Was Supposed To Make Cross-Gen Games Simple

When Microsoft initially unveiled its “Smart Delivery” feature by which cross-generation games would get you the Xbox One and Xbox Series X versions with one purchase, it was immediately speculated upon as to which game publishers would actually follow through with this. A few months later it seems some of the biggest blockbuster games have started to complicate the whole process.

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Black Myth: Wu Kong is the Latest Sign of Rising Asian Video Games

This week the announcement and gameplay trailer for Black Myth: Wu Kong came out of nowhere and seems to have taken everybody by surprise. It’s one of the most visually-impressive in-development games we’ve seen so far, and it’s a sign that Chinese video games may be reaching a new level. If you’ve been paying attention, better and better games from various Asian countries have been popping up over the last several years.

When most people think of Chinese games they probably think of free-to-play games on PC and mobile phones. While that has probably been most of the country’s output, as it’s been the quickest way to make money in gaming, there does seem to have been a small crop of premium singleplayer games coming out of the sinosphere for a surprisingly long time.

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Could Price And Launch Lineup Blunt The Next-Gen Console Launches?

There are going to be more announcements from both Sony and Microsoft between now and when their new consoles launch this holiday, but based on recent announcements and speculations, I’m tempted to say they’ve essentially conceded to a soft-launch for next gen. I’ve suggested as much before, but the more we learn the more it looks that way.

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PlayStation August 2020 State of Play: What Lies Between Now And Next-Gen

As soon as Sony announced its most recent State of Play presentation which it used to show off some indie and third party games this week, it immediately tried to temper expectations. If you take a step back and look at what was actually on display though, there’s actually a lot to be interested in between now and the holiday season depending on what you’re into. Personally, a lot of these are games I’d be hyped about if it wasn’t for some small issue or another I have with each of them.

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The Small-But-Important Differences Between Ghost of Tsushima And Other Open-World Games

Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima is a game I went into with cautious optimism because of my exhaustion with its “open-world go from waypoint to waypoint until you’ve cleared all the icons on the map” design. I couldn’t finish the 2018 Spider-Man game or either of the last couple of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed games because of this. Actually I don’t think I’ve cleared the map of a Ubisoft open-world game since Far Cry 3 back in 2012 — the game that arguably popularized this whole formula. After a few hours of Tsushima, I’m pretty much fully committed to the game, and the differences between it and the aforementioned games are actually pretty subtle.

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Microsoft’s New First-Party Games And The Cross-Gen Transition

With the launch lineups for both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X pretty much laid out (not exact lineups and dates, but we have a good idea of what’ll be there this holiday), it’s looking more and more like each of them will have a soft launch of sorts. Most of the heavy hitters at Sony’s and Microsoft’s presentations are probably going to be coming out throughout 2021 and 2022. The “launch period” this time around looks like it’s going to be a year plus. Taking that in mind, right now it looks like Microsoft’s upcoming first-party stuff might not match up too badly against Sony’s

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Umurangi Generation Is One of the Most Interesting Games of the First Half of 2020

When the public demo for Umurangi Generation first showed up on Steam I did a little post here about it, and when the game came out I did a Q&A with the developers. I never formally wrote down how I felt about the final game though because I didn’t really have the time until now. You’ll be able to read a version of this on my Steam reviews page.

Umurangi Generation is pretty much the ultimate “lo-fi beats to relax/study to” game. There’s not really a whole lot to playing it. You just walk around taking pictures of things in environments that are totally static except for characters going through animation cycles. And yet its culmination of lo-fi graphics and music is still absorbing enough that I played through each level multiple times and got 100 percent completion.

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The Last of Us Part II Feels Like It’s Apologizing For Being A Third Person Shooter

One criticism of The Last of Us Part II I skimmed past one day said it felt like Naughty Dog never let it go after people pointed out the “ludonarrative dissonance” between the lighthearted tone of its Uncharted games and the fact that you kill hundreds of people in those games. I think that pretty much encapsulates how I feel about not only TLOU2 but the original The Last of Us as well.

They feel like they were at least partially conceived to create an environment where the inherent violence of AAA shooters “made sense” in the context of a serious storyline. Perhaps ironically, I think the story and themes TLOU2 goes for are actually held back by its nature as a shooter. The whole time playing it I couldn’t help but compare it to other video games that honestly handled the same themes better, but aren’t as highly praised or commercially successful because they had much smaller budgets and don’t look as pretty.

Spoilers for the whole game follow.

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