Weekend Gaming Review – September

Well…it’s been another month and as I was away this weekend I thought I’d write up another review of some of the games I’ve been busy playing the last few weeks as well as any assortment of gaming-related thoughts(i.e. rambling). I was away from my home this weekend as we traveled to my in-laws, so naturally, I brought along my Switch and still got in some time to play some games.

Link’s Awakening – I was able to finish my first run through of the Link’s Awakening remake on my Switch several days ago. I finally began to notice instances of a slight drop in frame rate while playing, which is fairly unusual for a Nintendo title such as this. Hopefully this is something that can get ironed out with a patch or two. It didn’t hinder the gameplay in a very significant way, and is certainly less noticeable than the frame rate issues that would pop up from time to time in Breath of the Wild particularly while playing with the Switch docked. I can confidently stand by my initial thoughts of the Links Awakening remake and believe it will end the year as one of my favorite games of 2019.

Game Demos – Over the last few weeks I’ve played a few game demos here and there to get a taste of what a particular game has to offer, especially if it’s a game I’m on the fence about or a franchise I don’t have a lot of experience with. I also say this knowing full well there are games that haven’t exactly wowed me after trying the demo or beta but have gone on to provide a fun gaming experience and the demo/beta couldn’t convey an accurate representation of the full game within such a short timespan in the same way movie trailers can completely misrepresent the tone of a particular movie(Kid Rock’s “Bawitaba” playing during one of the trailers for Gladiator?).

Dragon Quest XI S: Definitive Edition – Over the weekend I was able to finish up the demo for Dragon Quest XI for the Switch. I really enjoyed playing it and have every intention of picking up the full game shortly. The DQ XI demo included the first 8 or so hours of the full game with the option to directly download the full game at the game and keep playing. The longer I played it the more fun I had and began to feel like I understood the combat and what to expect from playing the entire game. I’ve mentioned previously that I had no prior experience with the Dragon Quest series and felt this would be a good introduction to the franchise, the fact that your progress made in the demo can carry over to the full game is a nice feature too.

Daemon X Machina – Another game announced for the Switch back in February that looked intriguing as what’s not to love about giant mech battles? A demo was released after the September Direct which contains the Prologue section of the game which, like DQXI allows you to carry over any progress made in the demo to the full game if you so choose. I really enjoyed Daemon X Machina after a few missions when I feel like I got the hang of the camera and controls. The game was released on September 13 and has received generally positive reviews. I didn’t anticipate Daemon X Machina to quite get the hype around it compared to preceeding its release like Fire Emblem: Three Houses or Astral Chain and the fact it may get passed over because of a Zelda game being released the following Friday. I enjoyed the game, but don’t see it as being something going to have as broad appeal as other titles, especially as this fall is downright crowded with big releases. It’s a bit of a shame this game may get overlooked, as the art style is great and the controls seem to work well enough….and it’s piloting a mech fighting other giant bosses, definitely not a common gaming experience anymore.

Contra: Rogue Corps – I was cautiously optimistic when Nintendo showed the announcement trailer at E3 for Contra: Rogue Corps, a beloved franchise not seen on a Nintendo console since Contra 4 on the DS and decades since you could play a Contra game through your tv(on Nintendo at least…). I saw many people say how terrible this game looked after the announcement trailer, but I still held out hope that something good would come of this game. I mentioned above that for better or worse, your perception of a game can fall simply on playing a beta or demo, this demo however….ugh. I played through the short, uneventful demo on my Switch and had trouble figuring out exactly what the hell I felt after playing through that mess. I could not have been more disappointed with what I played, to the extent that I felt bad because I really wanted this game to be good and could already hear everyone who had talked about the game saying “See? I told you it looked terrible!”. I have read multiple reviews and watched a few different videos about the game and it seems I’m not the only one who played the game and were overcome with feelings of disappointment and disgust. The shooting is quite bad in the game, yes…the shooting is awful in a Contra game. For a game series comprised of non-stop running and gunning, it’s baffling how the core game mechanics could have gone so wrong. I haven’t even mentioned about an overheat meter for your weapons(which renders most of your guns barely usable for longer than a few seconds) or generic enemy and level design. A couple days ago as a palette cleanser, I downloaded Blazing Chrome – a game created by indie studio JoyMasher that looks and plays(wonderfully too!) far better than what Konami was able to create.

Sony State of Play – I watched Sony’s State of Play event this past Wednesday, mostly out of curiosity to see what surprises Playstation has in store for the upcoming months. I found the event to be mostly underwhelming, with a few exceptions. Arise: A Simple Story looks like an interesting indie-type game with a beautiful animation style and more laid back gameplay(from what we were shown). The long-awaited remake of MediEvil is releasing in a matter of weeks and the Short-Lived Demo was released after the presentation. This being another demo I was able to play through within just a few minutes, I guess “SHORT-Lived Demo” was accurate. I wasn’t overly impressed with the demo, but the game is still mildly intriguing, as I remember seeing and reading about it when first released on the original Playstation, though I never played it. And of course, the moment everyone was waiting for…..

The Last of Us Part 2 – The mega-anticipated follow up to Naughty Dog’s much lauded 2013 release – The Last of Us. I watched the trailer showing Ellie as she seems to be adjusting to life within a relatively safe settlement before what is assumed to be a tragic circumstance leading her to set off on a mission to exact her revenge on the perpetrators. The trailers conclusion also showcases Joel, the main protagonist from the prior entry who is tasked with escorting Ellie to safety to the Fireflies. The trailer also ends with the date February 21, 2020 indicating the release date of The Last of Us Part 2. While I don’t want to completely over-analyze what little was actually shown during the trailer, I do have a few thoughts about the game. The first is the fact that Joel’s inclusion in the trailer is meant to be a reveal of sorts, as if we thought Naughty Dog would actually NOT include him in the game. Joel’s “reveal” in the most recent trailer was also met with much surprise and joy. The way many fans see Joel as the “good guy” in the first game seems really….odd to me, given his actions in the final chapter of the game(No spoilers here). Also, the tone of the next game is already looking to be even darker than the original(which was downright bleak at times), if what we have seen so far is any indication. In The Last of Us, you are able to dismiss much of the brutal violence as simply self-defense, our very humanity has seemingly crumbled along with our civilization due to the outbreak at the beginning of the game. From what has been shown of TLOU2, it’s implied Ellie is seeking revenge against those who are responsible for killing someone she loves. It feels like the tone of the story and game have taken an even more grisly turn, which I don’t have a problem with, but it has struck me as a bit unsettling so far(which is most likely the point). Creative director Neil Druckmann has stated the game is a story of revenge and the violence in the game is not meant to be a “fun” experience. I always felt Ellie was the more interesting character of TLOU, more so that Joel. I will definitely play The Last of Us Part 2 when it comes out, but I’ve had some feelings of apprehension about the dismal tone of the game.

Lastly, I came up with the brilliant idea of a “Halloween BLOGtober” where the primary focus of any blog posts will be games fitting of the Halloween season(original idea, huh?). I won’t be doing daily posts like with the Geek Out Challenge, but I do plan to have at least two posts every week with mid-week “Mini-Boss” posts featuring shorter games or a series overview and a longer, more in-depth post each weekend leading up to my glorious Halloween plans of watching Young Frankenstein and playing Luigi’s Mansion 3. It’s a Halloween countdown to Goo-igi! What are some creepy games you plan on playing for the Halloween season? Let me know in the comments, I think that’s enough rambling for now….Thank you and goodnight!