Nintendo’s Dastardly Scheme to Sell more Switch Units: Dark Souls

You ever get mad at a game and throw your controller? I bet you have. We’ve all done it once or twice. Well, i think i just figured out Nintendo’s plan in increase revenue for the foreseeable future: Dark Souls. With the announcement that the incredibly difficult game will be coming to Nintendo’s portable system, i can only imagination they are hoping people are going to throw the entire thing at a wall when playing in portable mode, forcing them to buy a new Switch console after every few bosses. It’s just the kind of evil genius we should have expected from the company that first leaned to weaponize nostalgia.

Okay, before Nintendo sues me into oblivion, no i don’t really think that’s their plan. But that headline was too good not to use and you know, you just know, that story’s like that will start popping up right after release. But if i’m being completely honest, i’m okay with this but i don’t really see the point as much as i do with other ports the Switch has been getting lately. The games that have done the best are the ones you can play portable, and i don’t think that’s true for Dark Souls. Boss fights can last for a while, and simply getting to them can take just as long. That kind of extended play session runs counter to the reasons portable gaming is a thing. I’ll be the first to say i could be wrong here, hell i’ll even go so far as to say i hope i am. But for right now that thought is hard to get rid of. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in a few months.

Dark Souls Trilogy Box Set Announced. In other news, Heaven is Real


Something something ports of last gen games are bad something something….look, i’m biased here, ok. Dark Souls in my all time favorite game and this is a simply stunning collection. A Remastered Dark Souls 1, along with the other two games in the franchise, 6 CD set of the soundtrack, plus bookends art work and an item encyclopedia….yeah, i’m into it ok. What i’m not into is the saddening $450 price tag and the fact that this has only been announced in Japan for the moment. So even if i could afford it, there’s no grantee it’ll even be available to me. However, i’d be lying if i said i expect this to stay only in Japan. Dark Souls began life as a niche title for hardcore games who wanted a little more bite in their games, and then became a worldwide sensation. Simply look at how often Dark Souls is used as a point of comparison (for good or ill) and it’s hard not to say it’s the most influential game of the last generation. As such i’m sure From Software is going to ring as much as they can out of the franchise while they can. And so long as they are providing material as extravagant as this, i’m ok with that.

The Games I Loved in 2017

Okay, let’s get one thing strait before I start: this is not a “best of” list. I haven’t played nearly enough of the big games that came out this year to feel truly comfortable making that kind of list. This is just a few games I played this year I either missed the chance to talk about or want to remind people about because they left an impression upon me like few other games did this year.

1) Nioh

If you know me then you probably know that I fucking LOVE Dark Souls. The original game still ranks among my all time favorite games and I even wrote my first editorial for this site crediting it with my current school success, and now that I’m interning a real university, I still feel the same way about it. But even with all the acclaim I heap upon it, after four games (yes, including Demons Souls too) of medieval fantasy, I was hoping someone would take the formula in another direction. Take the core game play that I loved so much and move it somewhere new, like what From Software ended up doing with Bloodborne. Thankfully for me Team Ninja did just that with Nioh.

Nioh is everything I could have wanted and more. The game is every bit as challenging and rewarding as Dark Souls, but with a faster and overall smoother combat feel that felt almost more akin to Bloodborne but with more defensive options that made Dark Souls battles so tense. On top of that, the game is simply layered with complexities that you can ignore, but added so much more depth than anything any of the Souls games ever had. Three Stances for each weapons, seven types of hand to hand weapons, elemental damage, magic and ninjutsu skills, and on top of that, something like 20 different guardian spirits offering different bonuses. Add to that the beautiful Japanese setting that mixed real life historical events with Japanese mythology, and you have the first non-From Software game to truly equal the Souls games. Nioh truly feels like Team Ninja studied everything From did, then made a game using the best parts from every game, yet they still managed to give the game it’s own personality.

2) Persona 5

I wanted Persona 5 since before I knew there was going to be a Persona 5. I jumped on the Persona bandwagon with P4 on the PS2, then went back and played 3. Those two also near the top of my all time favorite games list. But each one has a pretty major flaw. P4 has a great story, but it takes forever to get going and a lot of the dept was lost in the years since P3. Persona 3, on the other hand, had the dept I wanted, but you could only control one party member which I hated and the real story didn’t even begin until you were ¾ done with the game. And Tartarus was a simply boring dungeon.

Persona 5 feels like the best of both worlds. The story is fantastic, and while it is still slow the game opens with a bang and keeps things at a much more reasonable pace. Like with Persona 4 each dungeon is a representation of it’s master/boss, but the fact they were all hand made make each one infinity more interesting and memorable than they were in the previous game. The game wasn’t perfect; I like everyone else didn’t appreciate Morgana constantly telling me to go to bed, but in the end the best thing I can say about the game was that it was 100 hours long and it never felt its length to me. And that opening theme was a jam.

3) Dusk Episode One

I haven’t gotten to episode 2 just yet, which may be the only reason it’s not here. But as far as Episode One is concerned, I cannot recommend this enough. It’s as old school as it can get yet never feels dated, which is a true triumph of game design. And yes, if you red my review you know a large part of my love of the game is that it gave me the chance to take pot shots at the kinds of backwards-thinking renecks I grew up around, and I do like taking potshots and backward-thinking redneck troglodytes.

4) Bear With Me

I think Episode One of this came out last year, but Episodes 2 and 3 were released in 2017 and….god damn do I love this game. I don’t want to say too much because I still have a review for Episode 3 coming out, but if you like point and click games, I highly recommend Bear With Me. This is the game I could nit-pick the easiest, but for all the issues I had with it I never once fell out of love with the game.

5) 20XX

At first mention, a roguelike tribute to Mega-Man doesn’t sound like the best idea. But since getting the game it i’ve found 20XX nearly impossible to put down. What makes it so good is that the game does two things i’ve never seen another roguelike do: 1) It actually manages to tutorialize new concepts. When a new trap or platforming mechanic was introduced, it was always introduced in a way that made it feel like there was some genuine level design at play instead of having the typical roguelike issue of simply having to try your luck when something new is brought in.
The second thing it does is have a consistent difficulty curve. In most other roguelikes a really good or really bad run near the start can make the best of the game either too easy or too hard. While 20XX only has three level types, new enemies types are introduced as you go and bosses have new challenges as you put the off. So a boss that might be super easy if you fight them first can become a pain in the ass if you wait too long to fight them. If nothing else, I home more roguelike devs take note of this and try incorporating some of it’s ideas into their games.

6) Little Red Lie

Like I said in my review “Little Red Lie isn’t a fun game. Hell, it’s not even a pleasant one. But it is gripping, engaging, and honest.” It’s a game that took me way too long to get through as it was so damn heartbreaking that I couldn’t stand to play it for more than an hour at a time. If you’re into interactive fiction, go get Little Red Lie.

7) Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

The only thing holding me back from saying that Yacht Club Games are the best indie developers currently working is the fact that they have technically only made one game. However, both peaces of Shovel Knight DLC are full games in their own right and change things up so drastically that to call them merely DLC feels like an insult. Here the team took a platformer and made it feel almost like a rhythm game and continued their tradition of wordlessly conveying a relationship using the same core mechanics are the rest of the game. I cannot wait for the last expansion but i’m even more excited to see what this team does next.

8) SuperHot

It’s the most innovative shooter I’ve played in years. It’s the most innovative shooter I’ve played in years. It’s the most innovative shooter I’ve played in years. It’s the most innovative shooter I’ve played in years. It’s the most innovative shooter I’ve played in years. It’s the most innovative shooter I’ve played in years. It’s the most innovative shooter I’ve played in years. It’s the most innovative shooter I’ve played in years.

(I Played on PS4, so it counts)

9) Cosmic Star Heroine

As it is with many of us, I love me some Chrono Trigger. It’s one of my all time favorite RPG’s, and as an RPG guy, that makes it one of my all time favorite games. Cosmic Star Heroine reminded me of Chrono Trigger in the best of ways. My biggest complaint with the game was that it felt like it was made for a mobile platform and I was playing it on PC.

10) Hollow Knight

I’m not going to lie, in a year where I was more productive this would have been relegated to an “honorable mention”. I took me a while to warm up to the game, and it never quite resonated with me the way it did with other people. The early hours had too much grinding and it is obviously trying to get by on the admittedly beautiful artwork and music. But after a while, around the time you get the dash I did start to see enjoy myself. I’m sure this is going to end up on a few “best of” lists, and I don’t fault anyone for that, but personally I don’t think it ever got to be that good, but i’m not upset that I put time into Hollow Knight either.

PS+ starts 2018 with a Bang

Sony’s PlayStation + service has offered games ranging from “pretty damn awful” (See my Review of Zombi from a while ago) to “pretty ok actually” (See my review of Furi from a while ago….i need the page views, ok). Personally, while I’ve kept adding the games to my library it has been a while since I’ve bothered to download and play any of them. Well, it seems like that might change next month as the two free games coming January are both pretty big names.

First up is “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided”. While i wasn’t as big on “Human Revolution” as most everyone else was but it wasn’t bad and i was very interested in seeing where the story went. While the game was pledged by controversy before it’s release (Which i wrote about….like i said, i need the page views) the reception upon launch was still rather positive.

The other game is Telltale’s Batman. This one i was a little worried about upon it’s original announcement, becuase i am so tired or “Mature” takes on Batman as they almost always turn him into a Frank Miller style violent sociopath that i find simply tiring. But from what I’ve heard that’s not what this does. I’m still not 100% sure i’m sold on the idea of Telltale doing a more action based franchise, but it is undoubtedly an interesting step for them to take.

All in all, it’s not a bad way to kick off the new year, especially for those who are going to be a little short on cash after the holidays….or just in general….god i hate being poor.

The Council Episode One Trailer and Impressions

Mystery and Detective style games are hard to get right. Give too much information and it’ll feel like the player is being patronized, but throw out too many red herring and the experience simple becomes frustrating. However, it is a challenge i’m glad to see devs taking. I mean, i had my issues with LA Noir, but it was enjoyable enough in my opinion. How will The Council handle this? It’s way too early to tell, and this trailer gave us nothing to really go on. That’s certainly disappointing, but so far the presentation has me interested. The game has a strong visual resemblance to Dishonored and the voice acting is pretty good….although i am kind of worried that we never see anyone talking. We hear plenty of it, but we never see any one talking. That might sound like a dumb complaint, but hear me out: the voice actors might be selling the shit out of their roles, but if the facial animations are crap or not fitting with the delivery, that’s going to make the game as a hole look bad. This is the kind of thing i normally wouldn’t think about unless it was super obvious, but the way they went out of their way to cut the trailer so we don’t see it draws attention to it. That’s not to say this will be an issue, just that it comes to mind.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this, but for right now i’m just hoping for a trailer that has something i can really talk about.

Witchfire Trailer and Impressions

The makers of “The Vanishing of Ethan Carter” are making a retro style FPS in the vain of 2004’s “Painkiller”…that’s one of those sentences that i never expected to have to write. But it turns out that this isn’t exactly as crazy as it first seems. Three of The Astronauts co-owners were also co-owners of People Can Fly, the team that made Painkiller, which makes this scenario make a whole lot more sense. It also makes it make more sense out of just how damn good this looks. I mean, Painkiller is exactly as good as Yahtzee made it sound like it was, and even with out knowing the pedigree behind the game it’s hard not to see the resemblance.

The only real complaint i have with this as of right now is that, as it always is with reveal trailers, is that i very much doubt this will be representative of the final game. So long as the end game keeps to the spirit of this trailer i’m sure it’ll end up pretty damn good, but it’s hard to get too excited just yet when you know we’re not looking at in game footage. I’m keeping an eye on this, for sure, but i hope we get something with a little more substance soon.

School is Finally Done

So, as of today, Friday December 8th, i am done with class. I still have finals Tuesday through Thursday of next week, but this is it for the quarter. And with that, i’m done with Community College. In a week or two, i will officially be a college graduate. Granted this is only my AA, but god dammit, i’m proud of myself. Back in 2013, when i first started college and ended up flunking out, i never thought i would make it this far. I never thought i’d end up going to a university; i never thought i would have a future of any kind, let alone one as bright as mine is looking right now.

This also means i’ll be able to spend some time playing games and writing over the next few weeks too! I’ve got two or three games to review that i haven’t been able to torch over the last three months, so it’ll be nice to clear those out. The only question now is, will steam get through all the updates in time for me to play something before my break is up….i kind of doubt it.