Holy Pork-Pies, May was a better month than April for me! I haven’t found a new job but I’m in a good enough place with my current job that I’m not as worried about not being able to have enough for rent so with that bit of anxiety safely in the closet I can starve to death in the luxury of my tiny bedroom! Somehow, I think I played more games this month than I did last month but as I go down the list it’s actually pretty even; last month I wound up with 10 and this month....well, it’s 10 again once I go ahead and explain myself. Unlike the previous months I’ve been keeping this journal thing, this is the first month wherein I decided to physically write down which games I’m playing in the order that I start playing them, or trying to play them. This month the list looks like this:
(Woo! Doodles! The stars mark games I've beaten. Yeah, there are 2 on Xenoblade)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a game I’ve been talking about since my February Game Journal and this is likely going to be the last time I mention it until Xenoblade Chronicles X2 or Xenoblade Chronicles 3 or Xenosaga Switch or whatever comes out and I go into full-on fan mode. In fact, there really isn’t much that I need to say at all since my most recent journal before this one is a look at that game which you can check out here:
I’ve been playing around with the wires behind and around my TV like the active 30 year old I am and such tinkering has lead me to getting somewhat back in touch with my trusty old Retron 3. One of the game I played on it is the classic launch (window) title for SNES, Gradius III. This is a game I’ve been playing on and off since I was about 5 or 6 and I don’t think I’m ever going to beat it considering how casually I play it. I’m sure I can beat it if I spend time dedicating to memory things like enemy formations but my anxiety-ridden old man brain tells me that I might simply be too old to respond quickly enough to actually beat this game. I did make it farther than usual during my most recent playthrough so I suppose I should just ignore it when my brain tells me such negative things. This is a side-scrolling, arcade style, space shooter from 1991 so there really isn’t too much to say about this game since a lot of the enemies are other ships, giant space bugs, dragons and, bubbles. This isn’t one of the sexy shooters or one of the really weird Japanese ones, it’s just a really fun game to hop into every now and then.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (or Link to the Past 2 if you’re reading off of the Japanese box art), is one of my favorite Zelda games. After playing Ocarina 3D last month, I felt the urge to continue playing Zelda but I didn’t want to play Majora’s Mask, I wanted to play a Zelda that I really enjoy. Breath of the Wild was out since I was still playing Xenoblade this month and Link to the Past is also out since my copy of the original is in storage down south so I went with its 3DS follow up. I’ve only done one 100% run and this one wasn’t one of those.I mainly wanted to just casually go through the game but even playing like that I was easily able to purchase every item from Ravio and upgrade them thanks to Mother Maiamai (sorry about the 27 Maiamai I didn’t find though). The music didn’t really strike out at me like the music in Ocarina of Time (except for Yuga's theme which is absolutely incredible) but I like the dungeon layouts and puzzles here somewhat more. I specifically love the Thieves’ Hideout, Swamp Palace and Lowrule Castle. Rather than spending several paragraphs going on about why I love this game so much, I’ll mention that my biggest gripe about this game is the fact that the game doesn’t tell you what the Bosses names are. You get a short intro scene when you enter the boss chamber but I have to visit Zeldadungeon.net to tell you how Stalblind is my favorite 2D Zelda boss.
Origin isn’t a service that I use too often but I remember about a decade and change ago when I owned an Xbox 360...well I still own an Xbox 360. Anyhow, I recall a time in 2007 where there weren’t too many games to play on the console. I can’t recall if Peggle launched on the 360 before or after Gears of War but I definitely remember a drought period after Gears, after Dead Rising, and after Crackdown. Peggle got me through about 2 days of that drought and when Origin slashed the price of the Americanized Pachinko game by 100%, I grabbed it and played for about 3 or 4 hours. I don’t think I’ll go back to playing Peggle since it just isn’t doing anything for me and the woodlin, cartoon critter things really put me off.
Predator for the NES is a game that exists. Back in like, 2011 (I think) it became the subject of a meme because members of Screwattack started Lets Playing it, the ‘Ride the Scorpion’ meme came to be, at Magfest not long after when I met ProJared I told him that it was his fault that I bought a copy of this game for myself and went on to beat it...more than once...once with the Power Glove. I’m old, I’m nostalgic and, I put some time into a crappy old licensed game that plays like Contra if they only had 6 weeks to program it.
There is (or was) a demo out for Blazblue Cross Tag Battle! I downloaded this for the Switch and I had some pretty positive feelings going into it. Arcsystem Works are masters at 2D, anime fighting games and this is a pretty long running series. I put in some time with Dragon Ball FighterZ a while ago and I put in significantly more time playing Guilty Gear XX: Midnight Carnival on the original Xbox. I was all ready to jump into this game and have an amazing time! Then I played two or three more matches and deleted the demo. I should have experimented more I guess and tried to find characters who felt right but the first match I played felt very slow to me. I couldn’t say if it was an input delay or what the deal was, I was playing single-player and offline so that shouldn’t have been an issue. Before my second match I tweaked the controls a little bit just so it felt more natural to me but I just couldn’t find any characters that felt good to play as. When it comes to Guilty Gear and FighterZ though I feel perfectly comfortable playing as a majority of the cast. Maybe Cross Tag is just a bad entry to start with but since Guilty Gear is still relevant I think I’ll just keep myself over in that camp and let Blazblue do its thing without me.
Pinball FX 3 gave me a free table which I appreciate and if E3 doesn’t go my way it might be the only way I’ll be able to enjoy Fallout on my Switch. I played a bit of the one free table (some Grabbed by the Ghoulies, kids-in-a-haunted house, kinda thing) and that’s a fun table but I went ahead and shelled out for the cheapest table I could find and spent most of my time playing the Portal 2 table. Pinball FX 3 is a fantastic approximation of real-world pinball and in this apocalyptic Hellscape of a world we live in drastically needs more pinball as it is. I mostly played this with my Switch docked while I used the Pro controller so the HD Rumble wasn’t as great as what the Joycon provide but it’s still highly effective at emulating the feel of playing on a real pinball table. The advanced graphics and moving parts however make sure to convey that I am, in fact, playing a video game. The Portal 2 table is considered ‘beaten’ after completing 6 tests, fighting GLaD0S then escaping from the lab via the timelessly transcendent medium that is pinball. My high score in Classic Mode on the Portal 2 table is a respectable 70,151,407. There are other point values that Pinball FX have been calculating but I don’t really care about those.
(Pinball FX3 has a screen-flip feature by the way)
Super Burger Time, by Data East, is the arcade original from which my fondly remembered NES classic was derived. Both games share the same core mechanic though: You play as a funny little anime man (I think he looks like Anpan-Man wearing a chef hat) who must climb ladders and run over giant food stuffs which causes them to eventually fall to platforms directly below. By doing this you make hamburgers but this is an arcade game from the 80’s and these games are made to make money so if you think you can do this without being bombarded by tons of enemies than you thought wrong. It’s possible to defend yourself with a pepper grinder at first but you can also find other weapons like a water gun or a giant ske wer but the hit detection is kind of iffy so I wound up dying a whole lot. Unlike the NES version (I think) the arcade version available on the Switch eShop has bosses and of them, the first killed me far more than any other. I don’t want to over-emphasise this but this game is a product of the 80’s so the bosses are kind of weird. One of them was a giant bird who you can’t even fight until you kill its nest of chicks. The boss I mentioned earlier which killed me umpteen times though was a giant wasp hive that kept spitting bees at me. The other bosses are giant balloons and a giant smiling king who wears melons as a necklace. It’s a weird game and I’ll probably pop it back on in the coming months when I’m in between bigger games.
The next two entries on my list are especially noteworthy considering they’re pretty major titles. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard...er, Bioha7ard: Resident EVII_ - Cloud Version on the Switch and Mario Tennis Aces. Both are trials and both are currently unplayable. I didn’t realize this when I downloaded it but the Mario Tennis demo is only available between the first and third of June 2018 so obviously I was unable to do much other than admire a couple of menu screens. As for Bioha7ard, that’s unplayable because the demo must be streamed from a source on the other side of the planet relative to where I live. I tried a few times to play Bioha7ard but only made it as far as the portion of the opening cinematic wherein Ethan is driving through rural Louisiana. I didn’t notice anybody else mentioning this but I would like to point out that the cloud version of Bioha7ard does give you the option to play with English voice acting and menus. Capcom would be insane to keep the Switch version of Resident Evil 7 confined to Japan but one would also argue that it would be insane to restrict Bioha7ard to a stream-only type of...rental service. Nice job Capcpom!
Tox n Torests isn’t a game I’ve heard of but I’ve been really looking forward to Fox n Forests I just didn’t realize it was going to go all in with such a strange looking logo. I wanted to go into this game kinda blind but of course I couldn’t go into it totally blind. When it comes to games like this, mascot platformers featuring named anthro characters, it’s not my favorite genre of all time but I do like dabbling every so often. This one resonated with me since it had a neat Robin Hood vibe to it and the weather changing mechanic seemed really cool. What I didn’t realize was that this game takes a note from Super Princess Peach in that if you want to complete this game you need to collect all of the things. There’s a reason I haven’t beaten Super Princess Peach and it’s the same reason I haven’t beaten this, Banjo Kazooie or Donkey Kong 64: I am no good with collectibles, kinda stubborn when it comes to guides and those factors are likely to lead to me not talking about this game in my next games journal. I do enjoy the gameplay for the most part but I do feel like the levels are a little bit over-long and the way combat works feels clunky. What I mean is, you can only use melee attacks while crouching and jumping, you can’t shoot your crossbow unless you’re standing still and when you change the seasons it drains a magic meter which can be further drained by using any arrow that isn’t your standard arrow. I don’t dislike the item and resource management but I feel like there’s a lot of space in the game that could have been better utilized. A lot of these levels could be cut in half and made into 2 levels, there should have been more of the shooter levels and, the one vertical level in the third stage was just an absolute nightmare. I didn’t even care too much for the characters once I really met them: the main character is a fox named Rick (a name I can’t take seriously anymore) and he’s helped by Patty the Partridge. When we meet the duo, Rick is trying to decide on the best way to eat Patty. Rick is a jerk throughout the adventure but it’s only really endearing at the end of each level, where you launch Patty off of a see-saw which I found kinda funny. Fox n Forests is a game that frustrates me and it’s really hard for me to say that I dislike it or like it at all so stay tuned to see if I get back into it.
Heavy Rain is a game that David Cage made after he watched Saw, Seven and, probably a bunch of other crime drama movies. What makes this game distinct for me is how by completing it, I’ve earned my eighth Platinum trophy! This is the second time I’ve played through Heavy Rain, the first time was when it was new on the PS3 and I either played it for free because I worked at Blockbuster at the time or I bought it like a sucker (I think I rented this and bought God of War 3 like a sucker). During the final days of May I flung myself at the game in desperation to just unlock all of the trophies. I want to talk about this game in depth but I don’t know how much I can say without spoiling the plot of the game or giving away any other important details that people may care about. I would like to point out though that I’m really bad with names in general and I could be incorrect but I’m pretty sure we have the opportunity to see Madison’s nude body before anybody mentions her name. We also have a chance to see Ethan’s nude body before anybody says his name but my point here is it seems kinda unfair that we see nude female breasts and butt but we don’t even get any shadow or side-schlong. As for whether or not I’d recommend Heavy Rain, I would strongly recommend playing the game twice. The story doesn’t change outside of several endings that the four playable characters go through but a second playthrough with forethought of certain things makes certain scenes make a bit more sense. If you only want to watch the endings though I highly recommend Tears in the Rain as it’s undoubtedly the most hilarious ‘sad’ ending I’ve ever seen in any video game ever.
(Getting this felt like a job)
As I type this it’s May 32nd and I’m not completely sure where to go from here. Heavy Rain was the last game I beat and even though I have a backlog of games that I should be going through I always feel a crushing sense of emptiness after I beat a game. I have no idea why but it’s a brand new month and that feeling never lasts long! Last month I downloaded a couple of demos that I haven’t played yet, I have a copy of Detroit and Beyond: Two Souls on my PS4 just waiting for me to start them. I really want to get back into Breath of the Wild but I also have Curse of the Moon on my Switch that I’ve been holding off of since I didn’t think I could beat it in the last couple days of May. News of a new Pokemon and Fallout are making me want to replay Fallout 3 and possibly download Pokemon Crystal on the 3DS since I’m not quite ready to delete my data on Omega Ruby or Y or Sun. I’m very tempted to pick up a few games actually but June is E3 season so I’m probably going to want to play a lot of games that I won’t be able to play for a few months...Woo. What's free on PS+ this month anyway...I'M PLAYING XCOM 2 THIS MONTH!!
(This is what I want....C'Mon dammit, THIS IS ALL I WANT)