Tag Archives: LTTP

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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Late to the Party: Mount & Blade. It’s Basically Elite And GTA With Horses, And There’s Nothing Else Like It

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For a while now it’s looked like the most anticipated game in PC gaming is Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord. For years I’ve seen some pretty strong emotions flare up on forums and other online communities ranging the gamut between big hype and utter despair over the development of the game. Developer TaleWorlds Entertainment announced it in 2012 and only recently gave us an Early Access release date for March 2020. PC Gamers have gotten uniquely crazy over this game, and maybe it’s because its predecessor — Mount & Blade Warband remains a pretty unique game itself. That’s what I can gather after finally trying it out a bit.

Actually, what strikes me about Mount & Blade is how much it resembles certain other sandbox and simulation games while remaining as unique as it is. It’s essentially a medieval commander simulator that manages to depict medieval battles with a scale and level of detail quite unlike any other game. Looking at the community surrounding Mount & Blade, it’s kind if incredible how much it has inspired simulation gamers, modders, and historians. Continue reading

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Steins;Gate At 10 — A Time Capsule Of Otaku Culture (Late To The Party)

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When I decided to play through Steins;Gate for the first time earlier this year I didn’t actually know the 10th anniversary of its original Japanese release was this year (if I put it on my list of anniversaries for 2019 I forgot). I’d downloaded the PlayStation 3 version through PlayStation Plus and was simply getting it out of the way since I don’t plan to re-sub. In any case, the most interesting thing about playing it in 2019 is that, culturally speaking, it really shows its era. 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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Late to the Party: Metal Slug

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After spending 80 hours finishing the main story of Generation Zero I wanted to do some shorter games before doing another large-commitment game, and SNK’s Metal Slug has been both on my backlog for years and a franchise I’ve looked at from afar since it showed up in arcades in the 90’s. As of this writing I went through the arcade modes of the original Metal Slug and Metal Slug X real quick and then got through some of Metal Slug 3.

I can clearly see these are still arcade games originally designed to siphon quarters, but they still have fast, precise action with varied level design and beautiful sprite graphics. Continue reading

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So What Is Ace Combat? (LTTP: Ace Combat 04)

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Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown — the awaited return to glory for Namco’s fighter ace franchise, should be coming out on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One around the time I publish this post. I’m getting it on PC so I have to wait until February 1st, but I did just complete Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies on PlayStation 2 for the first time and am taking this opportunity to write a post on what the series is about for people unfamiliar with it. I’d already played other Ace Combat games before this one but went ahead and got it out of the way before Skies Unknown dropped. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Resident Evil 3

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With the remake of Resident Evil 2 coming up (the demo to which just came out as I’m typing this), I decided to go ahead and play through the 1999 PS1 game Resident Evil 3 for the first time. I’d grabbed it on a PlayStation Network sale for like a buck a while back and it was the last mainline Resident Evil game I hadn’t played.

We like to think of the older games in this series as more focused on survival horror because of their fixed camera angles and “tank” controls, as opposed to the dynamic cameras and completely action-focused gameplay of the more recent entries following Resident Evil 4. The truth is that trend started with the original 1998 version of RE2, and seems to have continued with RE3. I just don’t know if that was a wise decision with that old control scheme. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Heretic and Hexen 1

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I’ve been on these games for the last few months but I recently finished the first two parts of Raven Software’s “Serpent Riders” series, Heretic and Hexen: Beyond Heretic. In my journey through old first person shooters, these two feel like an interesting milestone in FPS design. Continue reading

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