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Played in 2023
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.hack//G.U. Last Recode is a very… unique game. It’s actually a remastered collection of 3 early PS2 games based on .hack//G.U. with some additional content, including a 3 hour epilogue.
The story is mostly standalone, but it is a sequel to the anime it’s based on, so some characters and plot points show up and the game assumes you are intimately familiar with these elements.
Characters are somewhat well written and voice acted, but a good chunk of the dialogue is weird, with characters often talking in a way that normal humans would never do.
Combat is pretty simple, but gradually adds more and more mechanics throughout the games. But it’s so easy to over level without even trying that you don’t even need to use most of them.
My favorite thing though, is all the meta stuff you can do. You see, you’re not playing a game, you’re playing as someone else playing an online game. You can log out of the online game to send emails to your friends, play an auto-battle card game, read news articles, browse the forums, and look at fan art. There’s a lot of cool character and world building in this side content, some of it not even being really relevant to the main story.
If you like not so distant future sci-fi or video game based stories, it’s definitely worth a playthrough.
Pirate Warriors 4 is a musou game, where you just mash buttons and kill hundreds of enemies. A classic genre that somehow doesn’t get old despite the seemingly simple and repetitive combat.
The only problems I have with PW4 is that:
1. The story is an extremely watered down version of One Piece’s story, with entire arcs being glossed over with barely a sentence casually mentioning them.
2. Without DLC, there are 43 playable characters. While that might seem like a lot for a video game, for a series like One Piece it doesn’t feel that way. There are hundreds of One Piece characters, all with unique abilities and powers that could be really fun to play as.
3. Another character based problem, PW4 cut out a good chunk of playable characters from the previous games, but some of them are still in the game as enemy units only. There’s a similar issue with pre-timeskip Nami, Chopper, Robin, and Franky, they only appear in pre-timeskip story missions. This doesn’t make sense to me.
Regardless if you want a One Piece flavored musou game, Pirate Warriors 4 is a good time killer.
I’ve never played a Sakura Wars game before, so I didn’t know what to expect besides mech fighting.
Turns out, despite being a mech game, the mechs aren’t really a focus? It’s more of a Slice of Life/Harem Visual Novel with simple hack-and-slash mech combat thrown in.
That’s not to say it’s completely bad, it’s just different than what it was advertised as.
The story starts pretty decent, but around the midpoint it kinda forgets it has a main plot for a little bit and just focuses on character driven plot lines. This wouldn’t be a problem in a longer game, but Sakura Wars is about 15-20 hours long, and this part just makes the main plot lose momentum.
Characters are for the most part well written, but after a certain point almost every interaction with your party members is ‘comedic misunderstanding’, where the protag is accused of being a horny pervert over the most random things.
Combat is super simple and doesn’t evolve or change in any way, except for one party member getting an upgrade. All the characters play differently though, but you can’t choose your party for most of the few combat sections this game has. Combat is also paired with awkward platforming.
If you need a quick mech fix, I’d recommend playing this for at least one playthrough.