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Is speed and 'style' the only thing we really care about? I guess I get the appeal, but Ultrakill it's just a gallery shooter boiled down to 'kill things as fast as possible, go to the end of the level as fast as possible'. There's almost no thought put into the enemy placement to make encounters somewhat interesting. While you can argue that you have to prioritize some enemies over others, this is nullified because you can just gain health quickly by getting close to them, thus essentially making almost any target priority -or thought into approaching the enemies- worthless. The massive movement options at your disposal doesn't help either, especially the whiplash, which may have been the dumbest inclusion in the game, as if it wasn't brainless enough...

And what about the scoring system? It's basically DMC, meaning that yes, it's fun, but devoid of any depth or interesting decision making beyond switching your weapons constantly and doing cool shit with them. Just like Dante!

On another topic, I really hate this trend of classifying any somewhat-retro-looking or mechanic intensive fps as a 'boomer shooter'. How the fuck does this game bear any resemblance to 90s shooters such as doom, quake or blood? Give me blood's corner peeking and prefiring any day of the year over this shit.

Ultrakill may be one of the most (if not the most) overrated shooters of the past years.

The revolver is cool at least.


TL;DR- A fascinating and freaky Noah's Ark "psycho thriller and hunting" JRPG on Sega Saturn which never made its way Westward, Linda Cube Kanzenban's wonderful art design, unique and challenging gameplay systems, top of class world-building, unforgettable characters, and dramatic, parallel-world storylines have made it a cult classic in Japan for good reason, and it's well worth playing if you get the chance.

Linda Cube is a Noah's Ark JRPG, or as its creator Shoji Masuda referred to it, a "psycho thriller and hunting RPG." Both are appropriate, valid descriptions. Linda Cube is not like other JRPGs—it has many unique systems and a unique setting which are not seen in other games of the genre. At the same time at its heart it is very much a JRPG with top notch JRPG essential elements. Despite my 5 star score I do not think Linda Cube is a perfect game—there is no such thing—however, it perfectly executes what it sets out to do.

Linda Cube takes place on Neo-Kenya, a planet doomed to death by a giant meteor in 8 years time at the start of the game. One day, a huge ark falls out of the sky, with a message from a mysterious god calling himself Anubis. It's a call for one human male and female to capture one male and female of every species of animal on the planet and upload them to the astro ark and launch it into the sky toward an unidentified target location before the meteor hits.

That call is answered by teenage protagonist Ken Challenger and his slightly crazy, blue-green haired tomboy girlfriend Linda. Having made a careless early childhood promise to get married one day, the two are already in a relationship when the game starts. Linda is brought to life by a stand out performance from Minami Takayama, the voice of Detective Conan, among many others. The relationship between the two of them forms the basis for the dramatic story elements of the different scenarios.

A defining feature of the game, Linda Cube is composed of three closely adjoined parallel worlds referred to as Scenarios A, B, and C. Different Scenarios are selected from the title screen, and a game save can only exist in that Scenario. This is the first of many unique systems the game uses to differentiate itself. Scenarios take place in different Regions of Neo-Kenya—each Region is essentially its own unique mini-world map. All Scenarios take place in the Eastern Region, with Scenario A also taking place in the icy Western Region of Neo Kenya, Scenario B also taking place in the blazing Southern Region, and Scenario C taking place in all of those Regions and one more. Each Scenario has its own unique story and main characters, as well as a unique number of animals required to be uploaded to the ark in order for Ken and Linda to launch it into space. The Scenario length and number of animals required to launch the ark increases from A to B to C.

One of the best uses of this Scenario System is how characters change between them. Characters who are villains in one Scenario may be allies in the next, and relationships between characters are usually similar but slightly different. A harmless comment or throwaway joke by a character in one Scenario will take on a sinister meaning when it appears in another. Other small details like Linda's last name will change between Scenarios. It's also impossible to catch all of the animals in the world in the first two Scenarios, which are more like tutorial Scenarios for Scenario C, where the player must upload at least 100 different species into the ark.

Capturing animals is the meat of the game. Animal sprites can be seen wandering region maps or in dungeons and bumping into them initiates combat. Some animals will run away from the player, some will run at the player. Animal behavior also changes depending on the season in game. Animals tend to run in large packs during summer and are found hungry and solo and closer to towns during the winter. Females may become more aggressive during egg laying season, and males more aggressive during the rut. Different animals will appear in different areas depending on the season, if they attacked the party while they were sleeping, if it is snowing, or if other more esoteric requirements are met.

Ken moves at a decent clip already, but the player can hold a button to make him run. Running takes a toll on Ken and requires a small amount of HP to maintain outside of towns, so running in bursts while hunting is more advantageous than just holding the run button down. This adds a nice element of strategy to hunting, and if the player attacks from the side or behind, it gives them an advantage in combat. Other elements like forcing an aquatic animal to fight on land will also give the player an advantage.

At first glance combat is your standard first person turn-based Dragon Quest or Phantasy Star style affair, but it has a unique twist. Animals can come at the party from one of four different cardinal directions. Each direction has its own mini-battlefield, and the player can freely change directions between these battlefields on their character's turn. Animals attacking from behind the party will inflict more damage, so it's good to keep an eye on where the animals are and have a party member face them during combat. Some animals will bounce between battlefields, and some of the player's moves will hit every animal in a battlefield, which helps make the combat interesting.

Another interesting combat element is hunting dog party members. Dogs can be purchased at Dog Centers or captured in the wild and tamed. Linda learns to tame dogs as her hunting skills improve, with that ability eventually allowing her to tame a few other animals into "hunting dogs." Up to two dogs can be in the party at a time. Dogs act and level independently in combat depending on their natural disposition and how strong their bond is with Ken. If the enemy is too strong or the dog has fallen in combat many times in the past, it's more likely to run away, taking damage from enemies and returning to the party only after combat is over. If a dog runs out of HP it must be taken to a Dog Center to be healed, where the vet will give the player a ridiculous list of symptoms and a bill. As Ken's hunting skills improve, he is able to give general orders to the hunting dogs and freely switch them out during combat with dogs in reserve. This is extremely valuable when trying to capture weaker enemies, as lower level dogs can be swapped in to fight weaker enemies without splatting them.

Animals are automatically captured by Ken's Trans Cargo System after their HP is reduced to 0 or a small range above or below 0. But, if an animal is hit too hard and their HP goes well below 0, they splat into tiny pieces. Splatted animals are not captured and give no XP. This adds an element of physicality and skill to hunting, as the player is encouraged to explore and engage with animals around their level, while dodging higher and lower level animal species. Animals visible onscreen can be examined for more info including what level they are as well as various data about them from the in-game hunter's manual. The natural volatility of these animals is also why modern firearms are not allowed in Neo-Kenya, as well as why the player uses simple weapons crafted from various parts of these animals to fight. A splatted animal is worthless.

But a captured animal is very valuable. Utilizing ancient technology discovered in the mysterious ruins of the planet, Ken's Trans Cargo System digitizes weakened animals which can then be uploaded from the system into the ark. Animals uploaded to the ark become a part of not only the astro ark, but a part of Ken and Linda. Depending on the sex of the animal uploaded the correspondingly sexed party member will receive permanent stat boosts, as well as unlock special skills and beast transformations which can be used in combat. Knowing which animals correspond to which special skills and transformations gives the player various options for pathing during repeat playthroughs.

Captured animals can also be turned into weapons, armor, and various treated meats. It takes 10 males of a species to make one weapon, 10 females to make a full set of armor, and 1 animal to make a treated piece of meat. Each of these items is unique depending on the animal used, and knowing which animals make great weapons, armor, and meats, is essential to becoming a full-fledged hunter. Treated meats are the main healing tool in the game, with Ken commenting on the unique flavor each time he consumes one, I.E "Tastes like earlobes," "Tastes like rust." Meats also have a danger value, which is a chance of giving the player a negative status effect. Meats can also be thrown on the overworld, in dungeons, and in battle itself, to lure animals or give them a negative status effect.

But the most defining systems in the game are the time-related ones. Spend enough time hunting and the seasons pass. Like Earth, Neo-Kenya has four seasons. And as the seasons pass, perishable items in your inventory go to rot, and different animals appear at different rates in various areas of Neo-Kenya. Different NPCs may appear or have different things to say in Neo-Kenya's towns and caves. Weather patterns change, with some regions becoming easier or more difficult to traverse. And when enough seasons pass, the years pass. And every year brings the player closer to an unstoppable meteorite in the summer of 1999. As the years pass, the cities begin to thin out. The Interstellar Federation has a planetary evacuation program in place, but they can only carry so many people at a time on their budget repurposed evacuation shuttles. Take the time to speak to every NPC you see, because they might not be there next time.

NPCs are always worth talking to, and a real highlight of the game. The NPC conversations are always entertaining, often humorous, and help build the world and deepen the feeling that Neo-Kenya is a real place full of real people. Many story elements are not explicitly explained, but clues as to what's really going on can be picked up from NPC conversations as you go along, sometimes even in different scenarios entirely.

The story itself is extremely dramatic and entertaining. The main theme is love. More specifically, it's an exploration of how strong the emotion is, and how long-term and wide-reaching its consequences can be. Story elements are naturally activated by uploading certain numbers of animals to the ark or progressing to certain seasons in certain years. This is reminiscent of the story trigger system in Uncharted Waters: New Horizons, and is an excellent way of implementing story elements in a free-roaming JRPG of this style. It keeps the player involved in the fascinating world of Neo-Kenya.

Neo-Kenya is prized not only for its unique animals not found anywhere else in the galaxy, but also for its native people, the Beastians. These often blue-green anime hair colored natives who proudly claim to be descended from beasts were already there when the shocked Earthlings first landed on the planet. A hardy people known for their sometimes backwards ways and traditions, they also have an incredibly high birth rate, something Earthlings in the game are severely lacking in. Breeding with the natives is seen as the hope for humanity, and Beastians have their own self-governed sanctuary towns with extravagant churches which are seen as tourist attractions.

But there are many mysteries surrounding them. How are Beastians able to find and control the fierce pteranodon-like creatures which make up the world's mass aviation transport system, Birdline? Why do they seem so prone to disastrous events, like the mass slaying of a Beastian village around a decade ago? Why do their legends speak of giant arks which fall from the sky just like the recent one sent by Anubis? Are their genes really so dominant that Linda's black-skinned legendary human hunter father Hume could have a white-skinned blue-green haired daughter like Linda? Is the Federation taking the Beastians into account with their evacuation program, or will some of the natives be left to face meteor-induced destruction? And why are so many Beastian corpses mysteriously disappearing in the middle of the night from the basement mortuary of the hospital corporation town of Hospico?

Hospico is one of several major towns and cities the player can freely visit if they are available in their Scenario. A few other towns include the spaceport town of Ozport, the Eastern region's transportation hub which has a teleportation pad to the Oz-sat satellite from which the planet's evacuation shuttle is boarded. (Of which the operators insist there hasn't been an incident of dumping a traveler directly into deep space in at least a year, making it much safer than Birdline.) There's the half-built and abandoned town of Parasido, which has become a den for outlaw poachers who finish building the town as they please. There's the town of Eterna, run by a massive pharmaceutical company which makes wondercures out of the unique local animals and where every day feels like a holiday. There's the last Beastian sanctuary town of Minago, where Linda and her mother live. And there's the town of Hardia, where the planet's Ranger Corps is headquartered, and where, despite living in the shadow of the Ranger Corps headquarters, Ken is late to work as a junior hunter in the Ranger Corps every day.

While not explicitly a silent protagonist, Ken is breathed to life by the player themselves. Ken has some voice acting and personality, but it's pretty mellow overall. This helps bring out the bombastic nature of the other characters introduced in the game, with main character conversations fully voiced. In addition to Minami Takayama's outstanding performance as Linda, Takeshi Aono gives an incredible Dr. Emory, the colorful doctor who is eerily reminiscent of a certain famous failed Austrian artist, and a main player in Scenario B. There's also a performance given during a certain bossfight of Scenario A which will the give the player chills, and possibly nightmares. The performances and stories work well to bring the characters to life.

One other extraordinary element bringing Linda Cube to life is the art design. The character design is from famous Japanese artist Cannabis, and is top-notch, with some of the best concept art of the generation. In addition to this is the acid-laced nightmare fuel animals of Neo-Kenya, which share names with Earth creatures but only vaguely resemble them. Every new animal is a new nightmare, and it makes capturing them more fun. There's also a few short anime cutscenes designed by Cannabis during pivotal scenes which are gorgeous and entertaining.

And that art is the last element that makes Linda Cube come together. The game's surface is the gorgeous character and animal designs which stand out despite the game's relatively simplistic graphical prowess. The game's skeleton is the very fun, challenging gameplay loop of catching animals and uploading them into the ark or turning them into resources while exploring overworlds, towns and dungeons. Layered on top of this fast-paced, still strategic JRPG gameplay is the dramatic storyline which is naturally triggered by phone messages the player can listen to as their capturing progresses. Its glue is the number of interesting and immersive systems as well as the solid world-building which keeps the player engaged. And at its heart is the love shared between Ken and Linda, which is constantly tested but stays true and real despite everything thrown at it. (It's also perfectly described in the lyrical version of Linda's Theme song unlocked later in the game.)

The game's music itself is excellent—what there is of it. Although great, some of the loops are quite short and there are not very many tracks in total. The most interesting use of the music is how the overworld theme changes depending on the season you're in. It's always the same core theme, but sounds more peaceful in spring, and downright sinister in winter. It's a great use of the medium.

As a final note it should be noted that the version I'm reviewing, Linda Cube Kanzenban, is actually the third version of the game released. The original was the PC Engine CD title, which was remade for the PlayStation soon after the initial release as Linda Cube Again. The Saturn version, Kanzenban, is a slightly touched up version of Again with a few extra unlockables, and is widely considered the definitive version of the game. In truth, all the games are amazing, and it's a crying shame none of them made it to the West on release.

Hopefully, by the time you're reading this, some version of the game has an official or unofficial Western translation and there are no barriers keeping anyone from having the opportunity to play Linda Cube. I do have some concerns about how well a translated release will keep the spirit of the original dialogue intact, but I have high hopes regardless. A cult classic in Japan since its initial release, I firmly believe the same will happen upon its Western release. Hopefully one day soon everyone will have the opportunity to experience its unique world-building, gameplay systems, and dramatic storyline. There's really nothing else like Linda Cube.

Potentially the best Tengo Project/Natsume title and easily my favorite of the bunch. Know I’m intensely biased towards Wild Guns, as it represented one of the first arcade (or, maybe more accurately, arcade-inspired) games I ever put any amount of time into, but it’s one I’ve only grown more fond of as I’ve played through it over the years.

If there’s anything close to a lynchpin mechanic here, it’s the Vulcan Meter- shoot down enemy bullets and you’ll build up towards a mode that allows for a brief period of invincibility and extra damage, crucial for some of the tougher bosses. The catch is that it triggers automatically, so the process of managing it upends some of your dominant defensive strategies: it’d be easy to get complacent and shoot down every bullet, but because this will leave you exposed on some of the tougher fights, tools like jumping, rolling, and bombing all get their place in the defensive hierarchy- anything to avoid unnecessarily activating it. It additionally helps in keeping some of the repeat fights engaging thanks to inherent variance brought on by these shifting priorities: fight the dualist miniboss on the first stage, and there’s little reason not to try and stun him to build a bit of extra meter, but later encounters will have you re-examining those same strategies, frantically jumping around shots you’d be otherwise tempted to counter.

It’s a system that also speaks to the game’s uncommon generosity among arcade titles, the combination of the game-changing nature of the Vulcan Meter and the way an extra life is always in reach thanks to the low scoring threshold making for runs where pushing through attempts, instead of endlessly resetting them, is encouraged. Improvisational too! Aside from the deviations of the brought on the player’s fluctuating resources, there are also randomized item drops, sometimes granting you extra-powerful weapons, sometimes saddling you with the near-useless “P-Shooter.” The result is a game where multiple runs can vary wildly from one another- and given that a successful clear only takes about 30 minutes to complete, makes the prospect of going for another one endlessly inviting.

I could go on: the way the scoring system encourages you to stay one place and keep firing to build and maintain your multiplier, eating through your special weapon’s ammo in the process, or the constant temptation to lasso and stun targets- a move that'll leave you momentarily vulnerable, but can be so, so worthwhile on some of the deadlier fights.

Remarkable that everything here gels so well together, especially given that many of the other Natsume titles at the time had the benefit of being based on older titles and the tight window of time for the game’s development. Would never have guessed its origin would be so unromantic, but regardless, the end result is one of my favorite titles of all time- if you’ve been thinking of jumping into this style of game, I’m hard-pressed to think of a better entry point.

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While we were waiting for our next subcontracted work to begin, our boss told us to develop a new game with two conditions: quickly and cheaply. I believe from the initial planning to the finished app it took us about five months. I’m sorry the answer is so boring!

Wild Guns creator Shunichi Taniguchi https://shmuplations.com/wildguns/


There’s a part of this where you can only see the boss you’re fighting through a rearview mirror and have to damage him by judging which of the three trains you’re running along the top of to decouple behind you, which is immediately followed up by having to raise a series of platforms said boss’ baby is standing on to prevent him from dipping your co-protagonist into rising lava via crane, both while dodging hails of projectiles. These just about make the top fifteen or so wildest scenarios in the game, maybe.

If Successor of the Skies (PAL supremacy) sounds crazy, that’s because it is, though it’s crazy with a purpose. Its mechanics seem straightforward enough initially: either flying or grounded, the player’s tools are exclusively shooting, charging up a more powerful shot, melee attacks or a dodge, and these are never added to from start to finish beyond minor alterations during certain setpieces. Only when you’re thrust into a genuinely overwhelming slarry of obstacles littering the screen from every angle is it that you’re driven to discover these moves’ less obvious nuances. The level I’ve referenced in the first paragraph has a great example of this, with a sequence in which enemies who are resistant to gunfire but get OHKO’d by melee attacks charge at you in such a rhythm that doing the full melee combo’s liable to get you hit (thereby teaching you that doing just its first one or two hits is sometimes preferable), but this kind of thing’s present in other areas too. A favourite of mine is how it handles parrying bosses – instead of telegraphing which attacks can be countered with a lens flare or something, as you might expect from other action games, you’re trusted to put two and two together when a boss enters the foreground and the intrusive thought of “What if I try kicking this gigantic claw swipe out of the way?” takes hold. Be it these, gauging just how much charge a shot needs to stun a given enemy or reflecting explosive projectiles back via melee, every interaction’s connected by the philosophy of nudging the player in the right direction without explicitly telling them.

How consistently intuitive it manages to be’s pretty staggering when you consider not just this hands-off approach, but also the creativity bursting out of it at every turn. As impossible as it is not to involuntarily grin at sights like a gruff military general splitting into three giant dolphins made of ink or a supersized lion wrapping a vulture around itself to become a griffon, it runs deeper than just presentational or conceptual levels. When a nominal rail shooter switches dimensions to chuck you into scenarios like a swordfight against a flying samurai lady or a fistfight in which you’re tethered to a particular spot on the floor, it’s tempting to think of these as borderline genre switches until the initial wow factor wears off and you realise that the moveset you’re utilising hasn’t really changed throughout the whole ride. As aforementioned, it’s never added to, though it is occasionally diminished to spice things up; apart from those examples, the segment following my favourite line in the game is an especially strong instance of design by subtraction, forcing you to approach familiar enemies differently both via said alien donkey/bike’s inability to fly and restricting your ability to fire if you hit the railings at each side of the screen. What gets me isn't just the fact the few tools at your disposal are versatile enough to be twisted into situations like this while never once feeling disparate from standard gameplay, it’s also that this isn’t even the only time that the borders of your screen are weaponised against you.

When the fact that you can legitimately never guess what’s up next on a minute-per-minute basis combines with the sheer amount of nonsense you have to navigate through at any given time, it’d be reasonable to worry about visual clarity becoming an issue, but it remarkably never does. There are enough actors, other interactable assets and particle effects jumping around that I frequently find myself wondering how Treasure got it running so smoothly on the Wii, although the hardware’s probably due thanks in this regard. Character models and environments being only so detailed hits a sweet spot in the same way that the visuals of the previous console generation did, teasing at realism enough to be immediately understandable while still being abstract and stylised enough to stoke the player’s imagination as to what else is out there in this bizarre vision of the future. It’d be myopic to attribute it all to working around technical limitations, though; the relatively muted palettes of levels’ backgrounds are clearly an intentional decision given just how much they help all the vital information pop out, from the seas of mooks you can’t take your eyes off of to the brightly coloured timer/score multiplier lining your peripheral vision. It’s a wonderful translation of art to game, which I think this wallpaper I can’t find the source of exemplifies pretty well (you’re welcome).

Although I like to waffle on about how much I value a game feeling focused, I’m pretty used to reading the parts of games I enjoy the most and which I couldn’t imagine them without written off by others as “bloat” or something similar to a point that my brain sometimes autotranslates it to “the fun parts.” Successor of the Skies is different to many of my favourites in that I genuinely can’t think of anything extraneous in it. So much as the file select music you hear when booting up the game is pitch perfect in terms of how well it sets the tone for what you can expect over the course of the next few hours, with all its boisterousness and excitement and undercurrents of melancholy. Don’t let how over the top it is fool you – not many games understand themselves as well as this one.

(Edit for the Hard Mode Update at the bottom of the review)

When it comes to Survival Horror, we seem to be in another golden age right now. The Puppet Combo games, Signalis and Alisa are only a couple of the popular titles to come out of the indie space in the last few years. All of them already highly regarded and entirly unique in their own right. And now 2024 has seemingly given us a fresh classic to add to that list with SFB Games newly released title Crow Country.

Crow Country puts you in the shoes of Mara Forest: sassy teenager and special agent on her way to the abandoned Crow Country amusement park. Upon arriving at the park, it quickly becomes apparent that this isn't exactly the safest place to be, as it tends to be the case in any horror story. Of course Mara still presses on in order to find the park's missing owner, the mysterious Edward Crow, while uncovering its dark backstory. If you played more than one horror game, then this setup will sound very familiar to you, in particular if you played Silent Hill 3. At the very least the setting and the attitude of its protagonist seem more than a little inspired by Heather and her horror trip on the PS2. It's good then that Crow Country isnt just a flat copy but manages to easily carve out its own identity. Survival Horror has always had a silly side to it, with its weird puzzles, contrived story lines and absurd unlockable items. In particular, Crow Country's spiritual big brother Silent Hill is famous for its cheeky secrets upon completing a first play through. There is still an unnerving atmosphere to the environments and you'll meet all kinds of sketchy characters, but the overall ton is closer to parody than anything. It really feels like a fun treasure hunt through a haunted theme park for about 80% of the game while the rest of its serious twists and revelations are reserved for the end. It all workes quite nicely in my opinion and I quickly learned to love Mara along the rest of the cast. Those who have played the game would probably now mention how predictable its main plot twist is, but I didn't mind it. The game itself seems to treat it more like a throw away gag anyway, making it fairly obvious from the very beginning. There is of course a whole other, better twist to the story, for those who are curious enough to piece together the clues. Thats all im going to say on that, without spoiling anything.

Speaking of curiousity, I think what got most people so curious about Crow Country is its look. Me included when I first played the demo during a Steam Next Fest. The style mixes the color choices of a Silent Hill, with the general chibi charm that made the original Final Fantasy 7 so memorable. What was used back on the PS1 out of necessity because developers still had to figure out hardware limitations, is used here as a stylistic choice. All the characters have this blocky look to them, clearly showing the connecting points between their limbs and coming off relativly simple in design. It not only works great as a charming throwback to PS1 era graphics but is also used to make each character distinct and recognisable. In a line-up of silhouettes, you would instantly be able to tell everyone apart based on poses and distinctive features. Enemies follow a similar design philosophies by being these very distinct but grotesque blobs and shambling, bloody corpses. They look like someone or something turned a human inside out. Its great. The environments are equally impressive, not lacking in detail at all compared to traditionally pre-rendered backgrounds. It doesn't matter if you're standing at the looming gate of the amusement parks entrance or try to get through a spooky hedge maze, there isn't a miss here. And the coolest part is the ability to fully spin the camera around, at almost all times during the game. You can always peer at the game at wich ever angle you prefer and everything looks like a diorama, a cute little playset of sorts. That is something I havent seen in any game before and im in love with it. And the ability to spin the camera around isn't just used as a gimmick either, it's cleverly given a gameplay purpose aswell.

When it comes to the gameplay, Crow Country is as traditional as a survival horror game can get, albeit with a heavy emphasis on puzzles. That is where the majority of the focus lies and where the ability to spin the camera is often used to suss out clues and secrets. To be perfectly clear: This game won't assault you with mind-bending brain teasers. Rather, SFB Games have made the very wise decision of handing out clever puzzles, that may have you stumped for a few minutes but never interrupt the flow of gameplay in the long run. Something a lot of puzzles focused games do wrong in my opinion, where you end up frustrated and just want to get the puzzles over with so you can move on to the next part. There is always have an easily understandable hook to it, never does it withold vital information, and you will always get a satisfying reward at the end. Its only one part of an effort to make Crow Country a very accessible game to everyone.

On the topic of accessibility: I have seen some people bemoan the lack of difficulty and the argument that this makes it a lesser game somehow, but I don't see the problem in making a genre accessible to new comers. Not when everything else is so rock solid. This is, in the best possible way, babies first survival horror game. The bones of combat and decision-making are still here, but without the looming threat of getting soft locked or getting stuck on bullshit puzzles. There is a limited hint system that will more or less guide you if you're stuck on the critical path, you can optionally turn on an extra life system, so you don't have to go back to your last save upon death. There is even an exploration mode if you don't care for combat.

Was it way too easy for someone who has played so many survival horror games ? Yeah, sure it was very easy, and ultimately it did hamper my enjoyment a tiny bit, which sparked a debate with myself as to what my final rating should even be. Do I take points away from Crow Country because of the lack of difficulty or not. In the end, I came to the conclusion that you can't always throw people into the deep end when it comes to new genres. There is a place for entry level survival horror, and I'm happy to welcome every new fan who might get into the genre through games like this. Besides, the developers have already posted a roadmap with various fixes and an additional hard mode. Once that comes out, ill update my review and bump up the rating, probably. Anyway, go play Crow Country, it's a cool little game about spooky crows.

(Hard Mode Update: So SFB actually managed to drop the new update pretty shortly after release, and I'm happy to say that this adds just about everything I wanted to see. After initially dismissing the hard mode as a bit of a nothingburger update, this luckily bumps the difficulty up to a significant degree. About halfway through the game, I found myself in the big old Survival Horror ammo shuffle. No trash can diving and vending machine kicking for you anymore young lady. Resources are now actually limited and enemies are way more aggressive. Having played through the game twice already, I had new moments of surprise where I had to stop and assess my current situation. I found myself considering the clever use of traps much more, and removing the ability to run whenever you're close to death adds a lot of tension to exploration. The game frequently threw me for a loop as I had to pay much closer attention to enemie placement and traps when doing trips back and forth across the map. Knowing where some of the secrets were hidden became a big advantage. When enemies are so much faster than before, every extra magnum bullet and weapon upgrade does seem like a godsend. If I had to nitpick one tiny thing, it's the fact that I would have liked to have seen more survival staples added, like limited saves and item boxes. It's not a huge dealbreaker and the rating system has been changed to punish frequent saves, but as it stands now the game doesn't really suffer from their absence. Together with the new unlockable item for beating Hard Mode, which can now be enabled in the main menu once you unlocked it (Thank you, why the fuck wasn't that there from the beginning ?), I now consider Crow Country the full survival horror package. Now, both perfect for horror game newcomers and veterans alike. Definitely one of the best games I played in 2024 so far, and one I'm will be happy to return to in the near future. Score gets bumped up of course, good job SFB games. More developers should listen to feedback from fans like this).

At first, Tuffy is the terror of jumping in your car to rush to the hospital, after getting the call that your pregnant wife has gone into labor, only to realize far too late, as you barrel towards the first intersection at alarming speed and your foot slams the pedal into the floor, that someone has cut the brake lines on your car.

Often, Tuffy is the frustration of climbing up the staircase in your office building, like you have done every day since you started working there. This morning you're running late and in a hurry, so you're taking the steps fast, two at a time, when you lose your footing and fall tumbling down the stairs, shattering multiple bones on the way.

Eventually, like any good platformer, Tuffy becomes the thrill of the parkour master who, after paying the toll of bumps, bruises, and breaks, has developed an intimate knowledge of their body's physical capability, as well as the layout of the urban landscape. In a semiconscious flow, they stylishly leap and bound between fixtures and over gaps that no human being with any sense of self-preservation would dare to try, for no other reason than it being really cool.

My favorite game of all time.

I don't really know where to begin with New Vegas tbh. I replay this game just about every single year or so and I never get sick of it, of course I'll add some mods to refresh my experience but even without mods that add more stuff to the game, this game is still an absolute masterpiece.

Obviously this game requires a few patches to get running in stable state because of the fact its an older game that was only made in a year and a half. However, this should honestly be expected with most older games and if you cry about having to spend like 5 minutes max installing NVSE and 4GB patch you're an absolute bitch LOL

I love pretty much everything about this game. Even if its dated, I still love the gameplay and how many different kinds of weapons and armor there are in the game that can allow the player to choose so many different unique playstyles.

This game has an absolute fuck ton of quests, way more actual quests than both Fallout 3 and 4 and also of much higher quality that doesn't just consist of shooting galleries or choices that are purely obvious/black and white.

The narrative and writing in the game is so great, it really builds upon the strongest points of Fallout 1 and 2's writing and world building. New Vegas focuses more upon a truly POST-apocalyptic world rather than a freshly apocalyptic world like the Bethesda Fallout games, this game's world feels genuinely alive and authentic.

The role playing in this game allows for so many unique choices for most quests that really makes the world change around you as you play then game, every playthrough can feel completely different.

I mean there's only so much I can say about New Vegas that people haven't already said, this game basically takes the greatest elements of the first two Fallout games and puts it in the FPS/Open World format of Fallout 3 and just completely improves upon it in every single way. I genuinely think all of the cons of this game all come down to how rushed the game was but even then, they're all so minor and do not take away from how amazing this game is.

Devil May Cry is a series I knew virtually nothing about before I played this, but if the rest of the series is like this game I can see why people like it so much. The Basic gameplay loop of fighting enemies by executing different moves and combos and collecting the red orbs they drop to get upgrades was pretty satisfying and addictive and the mission level structure felt pretty good and made sure no section outstayed it's welcome. The game's setting and atmosphere reminded me a lot of Resident Evil in ways, a secluded island with a large manor and evil creatures dwelling within it made for a really interesting place to explore and I was always wondering where the game would take me next. Probably my favorite thing about the game was just how damn goofy it was in the best way possible. Though he didn't get many lines seeing as the gameplay was clearly the main focus here, almost every word out of Dante's mouth was a riot, combine that with incredible early 2000s voice overacting, and I can see why people love this silly character so much. Apart from just Dante though, the story, dialogue, and overall vibe of the game felt cheesy in a way that felt endearing and I absolutely loved it. My only real complaint with the game were it's boss fights, some of them were ridiculously easy while others were punishingly difficult and there really was no in between. On top of that the game reused the same four bosses over and over and it just didn't feel that fun to fight the same thing over and over again as opposed to something original. Apart from that the game only allowed you to save at the end of levels (at least as far as I could find) meaning if you died in a level and didn't have any yellow orbs left to revive you then you had to restart the whole level over again which just took me out of the game a few times during difficult missions, overall this is more of a symptom of being an older video game rather than a problem with DMC specifically, but it still wasn't great. On the whole though, I really enjoyed Devil May Cry and look forward to playing more of this series.

When I played Resident Evil Village for the first time a few years ago I was absolutely enthralled by the insanely fun experience it took me on. It was only on this fourth replay since then that I started to realize some of the flaws in the game. Make no mistake, I still enjoy the game immensely (the 9/10 ain’t for nothing) but this replay and review were by very nature in favor of being more critical of it, and the more I think about it the more critical I get.

To start off with let me just say, the presentation and setting of this game is still excellent and probably my favorite thing about it. One thing admirable thing that Resident Evil has done several times throughout it’s lifespan is reinvent it’s setting and tone, and while it hasn’t always been successful (glares at 5 and 6), 8 continues this theme naturally and spectacularly. The moment when you first enter the Village at sunrise in this game is nothing short of breathtaking, the scope of the incredible looking environment before you and the thought that you’re going to have to comb through all of it to beat the game blend together to make what I believe to be one of the most interesting settings in the series’ history. All of the environments on this game are incredibly atmospheric, from an ancient but well-kept castle, to a lonely and eerie house in the mountains with a waterfall backdrop, to a menacing underground factory, all of it works as really effective environmental storytelling that shows you exactly what has happened in this village and what kind of creatures live here. Speaking of creatures, another thing I really liked about Village was how it adapted the common horror tropes found in other Resident Evil games to fit the setting perfectly. Instead of hoards zombies there are herds of Lycans, instead of evil scientists or corporations as the villains there are gothic horror monsters, and instead of a virus that makes people lose their minds there is the power of ancient evil that the villagers fear. All of this adds up to making what would otherwise seem like a really disconnected game in the series feel like it fits in just perfectly in terms of vibe and atmosphere.

Resident Evil Village is no slouch in terms of gameplay either, adapting the series main formula while also trying some new things that pay off excellently. The gameplay of Village divides itself into two distinct halves, the pure horror half and the action half and while some have taken issue with this system I’ve found no real problem with it, The first half of the game is excellent and clearly more enjoyable in terms of what I play a Resident Evil game for, being the horror. Having the main character enter a completely foreign setting and being powerless to do anything against the lycans and horrific monsters is a perfect way to breed horror in the game and is done excellently in the first few sections of the game. As you progress through the game though you get more weapons in your arsenal and start feeling less powerless and that’s when the action half of the game kicks in. While I enjoyed this half less I still think it’s alright, being able to take on anything and taking on the areas where you were oppressed by monsters in the early game just feels really good and satisfying, and although it comes at the cost of the horror, I still think it adds a lot in and of itself. There’s also a treasure system in this game that’s really fun to utilize to it’s fullest capacity. Throughout the village you’ll find locked up areas that you can return to later with the right item to discover what they have inside, this can range from new weapons or weapon parts to valuable treasures that you can sell to the merchant for tons of money, it’s really satisfying to find how to get these treasures and gives the player great reason to scour and explore the whole village. All of this as well as just the basic RE formula of managing inventory, solving puzzles, and knowing when to conserve ammo and when to fight all adds up to one of the best RE games to date in terms of gameplay.

At last I come to part which I feel is the weakest in Resident Evil Village, the story. On the first few playthroughs of this game I thought the story was passable, nothing groundbreaking or anything, but alright, now I see that I couldn’t have been more wrong there. While I still don’t think the story brings down the amazing gameplay present here, it is absolutely not something I’d call good. While Ethan Winters was not an incredibly likeable character in RE7 he wasn’t unbearable either, he was just a normal guy who got dragged into a messy situation, this is not the case in Village. In Village Ethan Winters is an unbearably annoying character who doesn’t seem relatable in the slightest, he makes increasingly stupid one liners that don’t sound natural from a character like him, asks increasingly stupid questions to other characters (usually along the lines of “What the hell is going on here”) despite things being completely cut and dry, and makes increasingly stupid decisions in every situation he finds himself in. Ethan isn’t the only one who’s dumb here, Chris’ decision to not tell Ethan what was going on when he shot his wife point blank and took his infant daughter at the beginning of the game will never not be confusing and a really stupid inciting incident, and Mother Miranda’s plan to split Rose up into parts and have Ethan go and collect them only to take Rose back instantly after he’d done that rather than just starting her evil ceremony with Rose instantly is a baffling oversight. It’s lazy writing like this that infuriates me that I ever thought this game’s story was decent, still if seen as just a means to end for the incredible gameplay it’s easy enough to ignore and doesn’t take anything away from that.

Resident Evil Village is a really fun game with some serious narrative issues. The incredible atmosphere and really fun gameplay still manage to save the game for me, but the bafflingly awful story annoys me greatly and is gonna make it hard for me to want to replay this game anytime soon.

ethan: urgh…damn it…what the FUCK is happening in this village…

heisenberg screeching over the intercom: ethAN wintERS. have you ever desired a man carnally?

three years late but whatever. stinks. simultaneously the least charismatic and most self-serious entry in a series that usually threads a better needle with respect to its tone than whatever’s presented here. ethan is an unlikeable psycho, thoroughly unenjoyable riff on the ‘it takes a village’ proverb. forgets to be an action game for half the game and then when you get to that part you’re mostly doing a bunch of eighth gen arena strafing with minimal target feedback. semi-competent machine games campaign but lacklustre resi title and every insistence the game makes on deriving aesthetic and mechanical inspiration from re4 falls totally flat while the rest of the game is too much of a ‘greatest hits’ reel to really have much of an identity of its own. between resi 7 and resi 8 the guys over at capcoms resi team need to seriously consider couples therapy. may have been more charitable if i was from eastern europe 👍