Tag Archives: Console Games

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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Why Cross-Generation Games Make Sense For Microsoft

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The closer we get to the launch of the next generation of game consoles later this year, the more it looks like Microsoft is stepping outside the box of what console users traditionally expect. Its latest controversial announcement is that none of its first party games for Xbox Series X will be exclusive to that system for a year or two.

Personally, I don’t think Microsoft stands to lose a whole lot by making games like Halo Infinite or whatever else it has in store for 2020 and 2021 still support the original Xbox One (not to mention PC). It makes sense when you consider what kind of company Microsoft is compared to Sony or Nintendo, as well as what really happens when new console generations start. And when you think about it, how important are next-gen launch exclusives today really? Continue reading

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Death Stranding’s Subtle-But-Significant Achievements

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My overall takeaway from Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding is that it’s a very good open-world game based around a unique gameplay concept. It generally maintains and builds on the parts of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain I liked so much. In particular though I wanna talk about a couple things that set Death Stranding apart from most other open-world games, and I think they apply to Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild too. Continue reading

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How Nintendo Software Droughts Disappeared

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If you aren’t one of those people who only owned a Nintendo 64 or only owned a GameCube during their respective console generations, let me tell you, it was pretty tough. Thinking about the difference between back then and the situation with the Nintendo Switch today puts into perspective how good we have it these days when it comes to the number of good video games available. Continue reading

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Dreamcast At 20: What Are Its Best Exclusives Today?

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Source: “The 1 Ross” at “The Dreamcast Junkyard” (http://www.thedreamcastjunkyard.co.uk/2018/02/dreamcast-hunting-in-akihabara.html)

In 2005 I already wrote what I believe to be my own definitive “Dreamcast retrospective” detailing my personal experience with the console, and I’ve edited and reposted it multiple times since. Last year when the 20th anniversary of the console’s Japanese launch brought up some buzz I did another blog post mostly about its flagship games, the Shenmue remaster among them. Even still, this week, the 20th anniversary of the Dreamcast’s famous “9/9/99” North American launch feels like the big one for a lot of people, myself included.

This year, even though I could’ve booted up Shenmue and Jet Set Radio on my PC or even installed Phantasy Star Online on it again, I decided to dust off my Dreamcast and hook it back up to my old CRT. Looking at it now, the big question that comes to me is “what are the best games that you can still only play on a Dreamcast?” Continue reading

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Yakuza 7: Why Turn-Based Gameplay Is Such A Big Risk

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So SEGA finally blew the lid off Ryu Ga Gotoku 7 — Yakuza: Like A Dragon, with a trailer and some gameplay. It’s turn-based. This is a shift unlike any I’ve seen, and reactions suggest this has already been a divisive decision. Whether or not I’m personally fine with it is gonna depend on a lot of subtle details when the game is finally in my hands, probably more than a year from now. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Contra Hard Corps

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I played the Nintendo Entertainment System version of the first Contra game, Super C, and Contra III: The Alien Wars for the Super NES growing up, but had actually never heard of the Sega Genesis Contra Hard Corps – which many apparently called the best Contra game, until many years later. I’m only just now learning the myriad reasons it’s so revered that involve what it does for the Contra formula as well as the circumstances surrounding its release.

Playing the game now, I’m astonished at how much it added to the series’ gameplay after Alien Wars. I think it’s officially known as a side game or a sub-series (it got a direct sequel on the PS3 and Xbox 360) but I honestly still think it’s close enough to its forbears to more or less be the “Contra IV” before WayForward made Contra 4 on the original Nintendo DS. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Castlevania (1986)

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Konami this week released its Castlevania Anniversary Collection, containing eight of the earliest games in the series. I guess this would be a good time for me to write about what I thought of the original 1986 Castlevania game for the NES, which I played for the first time last fall. Playing and discussing it with fans begs the question of whether you had to have been there at the time to really appreciate this game. Personally, in 2019, find it to be just alright. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Gunstar Heroes (And 8BitDo’s M30 Controller)

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I’ve been kind of on a run n’ gun game trip since trying out the Metal Slug series, and I thought I’d give Gunstar Heroes another shot as an excuse to try out 8BitDo’s new M30 bluetooth Genesis/Mega Drive controller.

I’d never heard of this apparently seminal 1993 shooter until probably over a decade after it came out. The first time I bought it was on Wii Virtual Console, but I ran into a brick wall at the game’s infamous “Seven Force” boss. Later I bought the PC version of the Sega Genesis Classics collection, copied the ROM out of the game files, and played it on the BlastEm emulator through RetroArch (supposedly the most accurate Genesis emulator yet made). Only just recently did I finally manage to clear the game, finding it to be a really intense but also really unique take on the genre, that likely inspired a lot of what came after it. Continue reading

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Days Gone: Open-World Games Need Interface Customization

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I decided to try out the early sections of Sony’s latest big PlayStation 4 exclusive Days Gone, and it generally seems okay. The graphics look great (it’s probably the best looking Unreal Engine 4 game I’ve seen yet), riding a motorcycle through the wilderness seems cool, it does all the other Open World Game stuff about as well as an Assassin’s Creed or a Horizon Zero Dawn. What really irks me though is its total lack of user interface options, and I’m starting to realize how important those are to me in games like this. Continue reading

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