Tag Archives: Console 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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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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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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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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The Last of Us 2 is Just The Latest In Decades of Game Review Controversy

As of this writing I’m probably not even halfway through The Last of Us Part II and I didn’t read any of the reviews. What has alarmed me though is how, apparently, the game’s developers and fans have reacted to some critics, which has opened up a bigger conversation about other times game publishers and fans expressed displeasure with critics. This kind of stuff has been coming back over and over again at least since the early 00’s.

With TLOU2 in particular this is compounded by critics being barred from digging too deep into the game’s story so soon after launch, a whole lot of fans who need TLOU2 to be the greatest game ever, and people mad about its prominent display of female and LGBT characters. TLOU2 is more than just a game now to a lot of people, it’s kind of a symbol.

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Sony Showed Us The 2021 Next-Gen Transition Is Real

The central message I got from Sony’s PlayStation 5 unveiling this week is that the system — and really the next console generation since most of the games they showed will also be on Xbox Series X and PC, will have a strong first year in 2021. If you’re a big fan of Sony’s first party stable, the PS5 already looks good right off the bat.

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Where does Nintendo’s “Clubhouse Games” fit in a post-mobile (and COVID-19) world?

When I heard Nintendo was bringing back Clubhouse Games, first I was shocked they still remembered what I thought was an obscure minigame collection. After that I was shocked so many other people apparently enjoyed the 2006 original. 2006 was a long time ago though, and I wonder if this sequel can or even should occupy the same niche the original did.

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A 60fps Mandate Will Never Happen

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I’m a bit surprised at how much anger I’m seeing over Assassin’s Creed Valhalla possibly running at only 30 frames per second on the Xbox Series X. I only recently realized part of it was because Microsoft sort of promised a standard of 60fps for Series X games. Whatever you think that promise may have actually been, such a thing was never possible. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Breath of Fire II

breath_of_fire_2_snes_449878After finishing the first Breath of Fire for the first time I went right on into Breath of Fire II. Generally, I think Capcom’s Super NES RPG sequel handily upgrades every aspect of the first game, but still exemplifies all the flaws of that era of console role playing games.

My blog post on the original Breath of Fire was pretty much just my getting reacquainted with my preferences and pet peeves regarding Japanese RPGs. But that game in 1993 was so basic and boilerplate essentially because it was part of the “first wave” of 16-bit JRPGs. Breath of Fire II on the other hand, released in 1994 in Japan and in December of 1995 in North America, is contemporary with some of the titans of SNES JRPGs — games like Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger, and I’ve seen people list it among their top RPGs of its era. I haven’t gotten to FFVI and Chrono Trigger yet to compare them, but in many ways BOFII does feel almost as polished as a SNES RPG could’ve been. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Breath of Fire (1994)

breath-of-fire-snes-rpg Before my Nintendo Online subscription from that free Twitch Prime promotion a while back runs out (on the same day Doom Eternal comes out actually) I thought I’d try to get through some of the Super NES games included with the subscription, and I just wrapped up the first Breath of Fire game. I’d bought Breath of Fire IV on PlayStation Network for like a buck and wanted to check out its predecessors first. This is the first “traditional” Japanese RPG I’ve completed in several years (since people don’t like to count the Dark Souls games), so it’s let me take my first look back in a while at why my relationship with the genre is so complicated.

JRPGs can be some of my favorite games (my definition being “a role-playing game developed in Japan”). Building a good character or party with good tactics, exploring a vast world, and following a meaty story are the kinds of things I easily drop dozens of hours into. But the ones people include in the most traditional sense of the term — usually turn-based games where you travel from town to town across a world map until you beat the final boss (and even then I keep thinking of games JRPG fans include in the description that make exceptions to it) can be slow, bloated, and repetitive, and are so uncomfortably often. Continue reading

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