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Favorite Games

Fallout: New Vegas - Ultimate Edition
Fallout: New Vegas - Ultimate Edition
Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
Flower, Sun, and Rain
Flower, Sun, and Rain
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance
Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance

807

Total Games Played

089

Played in 2024

659

Games Backloggd


Recently Played See More

Shadow the Hedgehog
Shadow the Hedgehog

Jul 19

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Soul Hackers

Jul 19

Yakuza: Dead Souls
Yakuza: Dead Souls

Jul 17

Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog

Jul 14

Captain Rainbow
Captain Rainbow

Jul 04

Recently Reviewed See More

Ah, Devil Summoner...what is that exactly? If it wasn't already confusing from the name convention Atlus set up for this particular universe; Devil Summoner is a sub-series of Shin Megami Tensei. Main difference with it's parent franchise was the ability to get rid out of the desolated nature of the apocalypse in exchange for a fully functional society that works alongside/against demons in hopes of mantaining balance. Whereas in SMT they are always a threat to the very existence of living beings. These mythical creatures depending on which angle you look at it serve as a vessel to represent different cultures, believes and ourselves. Not literally us, but in some form of representation of we see the world. That in itself is incredibly human.

Alright, so what is Soul Hackers specifically? Take the Cyberpunk aesthetic...sort of. Blade Runner? Probably. Remember those strange, if a bit ridiculous mockups drawing that potrayed impossible to reality mechanical/technological creations made around the start of the 20th century? Well that is "Retro-Futurism" as it is colloquially called to describe old inventions that were way ahead of it's time. Soul Hackers takes this approach, but it doesn't use it's flashy aesthetic to trick people; it's rather grounded and more "boring" really. No giant neon signs, no flying cars, not anything fancy like that. But that in itself doesn't mean it has to be less interesting as it still retains the core concepts of Devil Summoner, just with a futuristic coat of paint. The fact that this isn't any apocalypse run by demons, or highschoolers saving the world opens the door for a lot of unique interesting ideas that could be exploited to tell a more relatable story again, more grounded to our world in general. Sadly, Soul Hackers doesn't do much of that. If anything, Soul Hackers doesn't realise all the potential it has under it's sleeve; it rather goes elsewhere in a place it doesn't need to be in or answer.

"Soul Hackers takes place in Amami City, a city fully connected through a colossal electronic network. The protagonist is a young man that belongs to a group of amateur hackers called the Spookies. While using his skills to hack his way into getting a beta invite for the new virtual world Paradigm X, he makes contact with a mysterious being named Kinap. Through a series of vision quests, the protagonist learns the secrets behind Paradigm X and the actions of a group called the Phantom Society that are working to steal souls through it. He and his friend Hitomi Tono, who has been possessed by the demonic entity known as Nemissa, work together with the Spookies to put a stop to the Phantom Society's plans."

The story starts out with an interesting premise, a strong striking start even. Several people are going after/work with this elusive Phantom Society, but have perish for one reason or another. It sets up the main antagonist group right from the start. We know what we are after, but not who exactly are we going against. Then the story folds, going from dungeon to dungeon and exploring more of what Amami City has to offer. One of the many weak points of Soul Hackers believe it or not is the story itself or rather how it is presented. It tries to do so much with so many little time it has to express itself. Hurting most of what the worldbuilding or characters have to offer. What we end up getting is a speedy recollection of cool ideas and concepts that go absolutely nowhere. I will not go deep into it since this is a spoiler-free review. But if you have played Soul Hackers 2, it uses a shockingly similar formula to make you engage with the story.

Personally I'm yet to play the classic Shin Megami Tensei titles: I, II, If..., etc. Soul Hackers feels old and antiquated, but old doesn't always mean is objectively bad. In fact Soul Hackers has a lot in common with JRPGs of the SNES/SFC era while sharing it's own set of ideas on top. Such as Magnetite, Monster Collection, Negotiations/Encounters and finally a 6-grid formation which allows some sense of player expression to form an optimal party. Soul Hackers goes much further with the inclusion of a Demon Loyalty system. The Demon Loyalty system is unique to this game, never done after. Basically it's as the name implies a system were demons decide to obey your commands or outright do their own thing on battle. Sounds already bad on paper, in execution...too. But hear me out, it's something that you can easily manipulate and exploit at your heart's content. Demons with high/max loyalty perform better on battle and demons with low loyalty either skip attacks or can do something that in the worst situation can indirectly harm you. It's a rather odd system since fusions can also affect loyalty, on top of other system that work together. Still, while the gameplay can be somewhat obtuse or antiquated with middle of the road ideas I see potential in them if enough polish.

While the concepts and ideas in Soul Hackers are great, it doesn't seem to know where to go or has a clear idea of how utilize these and make some cool twist along the way, it is what you get and less. It keeps itself safe without pressing on what makes it unique/apart from the rest of the series. It is 35th okay-ish, probably won't come back to it ever again.

The obscure but not so rare anymore version of Sonic The Hedgehog released exclusively for the Master System/Game Gear or the 8-bit Sega consoles had at the time. Well, it is isn't quite rare nowdays as I said having this game seen countless releases to other consoles just like it's younger 16-bit brother. Nonetheless, I still felt a certain attraction towards this version of Sonic The Hedgehog and I think it is quite interesing to talk about.

First, some context. This game wasn't made by Sonic Team, but rather Yuzo Koshiro's studio: Ancient. Ancient was a small studio led by Yuzo's mother, with the help of his sister as an artist/graphics designer. He already composed and well, helped Sega composing the music of The Revenge of Shinobi among others. With a team of 4, Ancient was tasked to develop Sonic The Hedgehog for the Sega 8-bit machines. But listen, this is not a 100% faithful recreation as it is Ancient's own take...or should I say spin?

As for the clear differences there are 3 whole zones exclusive to this release: Bridge, Jungle and Sky Base. Both being to some extent part of the Green Hill's non-technology yet not all mysterious nature aesthetic. Your green tall grass, with big blue clear skies. South Island as a whole is shown before entering a new zone, so this helps clearing the question on where each zone is located in the map. These little details helps the world of Sonic feel more real and not just like an average 90's thematic platform levels. Bridge which comes right after Green Hill expands on it, adding a sensation of verticality and being more platform focused and Jungle being the culmination of Bridge platforming challenge. These two zones makes the message clear: It is about consistency. The first half is nature, halfway through the adventure it is about the mysticism of Labyrinth Zone, the last half is Eggman/Robotnik's controlled zones.

How does this run without Blast Processing? Without the help of the Genesis CPU Sonic the Hedgehog doesn't move as fast as it's younger brother. The Master System/Game Gear version strips most of the speed spectacle to focus more on exploration and plaforming. So naturally Sonic is slower, or rather the level design is meant to accomodate to these hardware limitations. And without Blast Processing naturally, it struggles to run at a consistent framerate with constant slowdowns. This wasn't rare, lots of 8-bit titles suffer this also when there are too much sprites on screen; constantly flicking. However in Sonic The Hedgehog this isn't much of a problem, as it is focus on exploration and slow movement in general, only action heavy sequences have this problem. And by heavy I mean like 2 enemies on screen. The Chaos Emeralds now instead of being locked to a (in my opinion) really annoying bonus stage they are now scattered around certain levels either hidden or behind a little platforming puzzle. This approach works wonderfully with the slow-centric approach of the Master System version.

8-bit Sonic isn't perfect, as it has problems that the 16-bit version doesn't share. Jungle being a huge difficulty spike, at least for a newcommer. Eggman on certain zones can be a huge pain first time playing, since there aren't any rings in act 3 of any zone. Jungle Eggman being the hardest of the bunch by a huge margin, but once you get the gist of it it is really fun.

Sonic The Hedgehog 8-bit or Master System/Game Gear whatever name convention works for you, is without a doubt a small oddity in the franchise that is definitely worth a playthrough or two. It is fairly short too lasting less than an hour to complete, Chaos Emeralds included. How does it compare to 16-bit Sonic? Well, it is less flashy for sure. Less of a obvious technical showcase for the Genesis and more it's own thing, having it's own personality and set of ideas that may or not could have added something to the 2D Sonic games as a whole. It is....pleasantly unique.

Ace Attorney is a series of games which I wasn't interested with in particular. Part of it may have been because I didn't grew up with a DS, or any Nintendo portable system for that matter. So, that sort takes a huge role when consuming certain type of media. Like, there are games with a very questionable quality which I like only because they were my part of childhood. But it is never late, some games do resist the rapid and stressful change of times or rather live in this forever safe bubble that never pops up and it will always be understandable no matter what year you hop on them. See my review on God Hand which I do have similar some thoughts on. Botth published by Capcom oddly enough.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is all about solving cases-- legally speaking. The main goal is to trust whoever hired Phoenix as a defense lawyer. Which means it is up to you to prove how is your client innocent and prove it to absolutely everyone on court. There is something consistently funny about some of these clients: they always call last minute, a day before the trial. So each case naturally gets harder and complex as time passes. The story unfolds through these cases, and we start to discover not only more about the characters exclusive to each case but the main characters stole the spotlight every now and then with their own stories and moments that shed a light on who they really are. It was genuinely sweet to see them open up, specially a certain red dressed prosecutor.

Putting the main story aside, the cases themselves are really entertaining legal-drama. It starts with a fairly typical muder mystery, you already know who the murder is but you still need to prove your clients innocence after all. But that is just the beginning, the truth will be harder to discern as each chapters/cases are completed. Cases are split between two sections: Investigation and Court. In Investigation you'll have to gather evidence and testimonies from whoever was near/knows something about set crime. On Court is where everything you gather during Investigation is used in defense of your client and against the accuser. The game loops around this idea of Phoenix being both a detective and a defense lawyer at the same time which is really fun and never felt like either was more important than the other; they both need to exist. It woulld be kind of boring just having endless court sessions imo. Cases themselves while there aren't many in rough quantity, they are quite lengthy. My advice is to take each day or two (withn the game) a real life day, which is what I did throughout the enitre game. Except on Chapter 4.

What I like the most from Ace Attorney are it's characters, the serious but most of the time silly tone and interesting cases which loop around a layered mystery. My personal favorite one was Case 3: Steel Samurai. This case doesn't develop the main characters as much as prior cases, or Case 4 but the mystery was gripping. Always with the classic: "Ooh right, that's it!" moment.