313 Reviews liked by jarsh
I guess that one of the biggest compliments that I can give OneShot right of the bat is that it has seriously made me revaluate my opinions in other games that attempt to hit the same notes and have the same impact, so yeah, funnily enough, in a way it made me see the light.
OneShot isn't scared of showing what it is, from the moment Niko wakes up in that dark and dusty room, it lets you know in what kind of voyage you have set yourself and the child you control into, and from there it only becomes more and more magical.
While I wasn't aware of the specifics, I knew that this game would break the fourth wall in different ways, but whereas others use this narrative tool as a way to inject themselves into reality, creating a small sense of unease or even mock you as a player, this world literally calls you a god, everyone knows that you are in some king of outer plane, while only a few understanding fully the gravity of situation.
Puzzles will require you to break the bounds, both to think outside the box and to see beyond the window that encapsulates this broken land; this sadly leads to some parts of it being a little bit more confusing than they should: you may be unsure to what to do next or where to look, how to properly interact to some things or even find certain rooms and objects… but in a way that also helps the overall experience. You arrive the same way as Niko does: not knowing a fuck about this place, its people and its rules; you may have more power than anybody, but that doesn’t stop you from being confused. It’s through that confusion that you and Niko connect: you see his fears, his illusion, his confusion and his wonder, and alongside him you learn of these places, of this characters, and it’s all so… lovable. I believe that it’s genuinely impossible to hate this not cat person and the curious inhabitants of the different places you both come across, it’s impossible to not feel care towards all this poor people, trying to live their lives the best that they can, as well as to care for Niko, to feel the sadness of the fact that is he whom must bear such burden.
Grief, loss, hopelessness, defeat and inevitability are words that came throughout the little voyage and ones that I go back to define the experience as a whole; it’s an extremely sad game, and it never gives you clear answer of what might come next… but it also has this… comfort, I think it’s the best word. The interactions, locations and especially the fantastic soundtrack fill me with this feeling of nostalgia for a time I never got to live, for a place I never got to see on its prime; Niko also feels this nostalgia, and even though this pilgrimage may be scary for him at times, it also makes him smile, and it makes you smile and feel wonder too.
You both push forward, defying the improbable and answering the unanswerable.
Here, at the top of the tower, after the truth has been told and machine and author and powerless to do anything, a final decision remains.
And it’s hard, man.
Fuck FromSoftware and its games, this is the true most challenging part of any game, it will even make your eyes sweat- NO I’M NOT CRIYING YOU ARE CRIYING!
OneShot’s first run Is only comparable to the best experiences I’ve had in the entire medium, and it made me feel and care in a way I really thought it couldn’t. It’s a tale of victories and defeats, of unresolved finales and sweet conclusions, and one that will end in one way, but it’s up to you which it’ll be…
…But what if it hadn’t to be like that?
You even defy the core objective of the program, and what is left is one last pilgrimage to the tower, this time it will be different. I will be scarier. But it’s a risk worth taking. There may be hope for all. Or maybe there won’t.
I really don’t want to go into much detail about the ‘’Solstice’’ ending (nor the game as a whole) ‘cause I really think it’s worth experiencing it. I understand those how of it as redundant or that it detracted from the original experience, I myself thought it was counter-intuitive to do something like that in such a game… but once again, it surprised. It still retains what makes OneShot special, and more importantly, it expands on certain themes left in the air, themes world exploring. Themes about the living and the machine. How the line between the two is not as defined as we think… and how something ‘’fake’’ can be so, so real.
One Shot isn’t perfect, and I understand how some could see more flaws in it than I did, but… It ended being so special at so many levels I couldn’t even begin to re-tell it. It knows what is, but it’s also so much more, more than anyone could have ever thought it could ever be. It’s a bittersweet tale, one you may think is better off with a bittersweet ending, and you may be right…
But a happy ending is warranted, always…
Especially if it makes us smile.
Earthworm Jim 2
To me, Katamari Damacy is the margherita pizza of video games. It's one of the simplest yet most innately fulfilling concepts in the medium: roll up things with your ball to become big to roll up more things. While this description is accurate however, it doesn't do justice towards the game's underlying complexity. Committal tank controls combined with the seemingly strewn about yet carefully placed objects of varying sizes means that Katamari forces players to consider both the micro and macro design which the game effortlessly excels at. The player must weave in and out of clusters of increasingly large objects, building up their sphere while also mapping out the optimal paths (snagging relevant objects while keeping in mind how their shapes, once collected, will alter the roll) and keeping in mind how larger objects must be avoided at first and later consumed in the growing mass as the world appears to shrinks around you. For this reason, I think it's not just a simple power fantasy, and instead more closely resembles pure obstacle escalation. Katamari Damacy really drills in the sense of player progression from how the world unfolds from sense of scale (which is why it manages to get away with only three distinct stages) and even seemingly inverts its own concepts with side stages that force you to avoid smaller themed objects just to get your katamari to the perfect size for the ultimate outcome: the reward is made that much more gratifying with just a bit of restraint.
This all works seamlessly because Katamari is the king of player feedback. It can certainly feel frustrating at first, getting tossed around like fireworks by these moving objects that dwarf you, but the game knows exactly how to communicate your inherent progress. As your ball exponentially swells, these moving objects go from sending you flying, to lacking any significant impact upon contact, to eventually spotting the player and running away from the growing catastrophe. There's nothing more viscerally satisfying than coming back to mobile obstacles that were pushing you around and flattening them, hearing their cry as they too become stuck in the jumbled mess of rolling flotsam while the King of the Cosmos quips in the background. Simply put, the concept never outstays its welcome.
Going back to the opening metaphor, it requires much finesse to make all these different concepts sing together with little friction in a video game, this fusion of audio-visual presentation and player input. That said, to successfully disguise its intricate design and depth beneath its far-reaching artistic vision and simple yet realized gameplay mechanics takes a master's touch. Katamari Damacy does not try to explain why it works or how it succeeds, because it simply is, and it just does. Perhaps I've moved onto greater and grander things since that have built off of this, but I have to admit that sometimes, you just can't beat the basics in life. It's always worth going back for a slice or two every now and then, just to remind yourself that this is why video games exist in the first place: because underneath all this talk of focus and cohesion, video games are just goddamn fun.
Also, it's fantastic hangover food for you and your buddies after a long night, when they come calling you for content and suddenly it's 3 AM in a packed Discord call where everyone is wailing "YOU'REEEEE LONNEEELLLY ROLLING STARRRR" as this growing, screaming ball of flailing limbs bounces helplessly about for yet another awry creation. Let the good times roll.
Planet of Lana
Wario Land 4
The reason why Wario is in such a hurry to leave each level is because, if he's not fast enough, he'll get caught by his freaking ex-wife! To think, after getting all that treasure, he'd have to give half of it to the old ball & chain!! Am I right fellas?!!!
Destiny 2: Lightfall
Despite some of Nimbus's dialogue, I actually liked this a whole lot. The art design reminded me of odst/reach, but with a bit of mass effect and destiny's own design language, and for the most part the levels felt like a solid step up from witch queen. Also, at least this expack had a coherent theme to it!
The significance of music is truly something I could never speak highly enough about. It comes in so many flavors and moods, and in such different styles that I find it hard to imagine anyone could possibly be grouchy and curmudgeon enough to go, "man, I fucking hate music. Get that shit out of here".
Sure, it's an old version of Tetris with the usual endearing clunk to be expected from it's day, perhaps even slightly more so going off the poor emulation I was using, but with someone like me who's too foolish to focus on the gameplay aspect, I could only find myself in a permanent state of zen thanks to the musical contributions of Jim Andron and the scenery of our beautiful planet. Even with the awful control scheme I had to use with my mouse and arrow keys, I didn't mind a damn thing, because I was happy as can be. Heartwarmed as always to find the wholesome comment section on Youtube of all places for Tetris CD-i's OST with Jim Andron himself there thanking everyone for enjoying his work so much later after the CD-i's demise.
I may have said it before already elsewhere, but I do truly love composers who put the work in no matter what game or system they're on task for. They're among my favorite people ever, and I couldn't possibly thank them enough for making video games even more memorable. Thanks to them, this particular version of the classic did indeed become a legend....
Admittedly, I haven’t played many visual novels. I played Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors a year or two back, some of the Ace Attorney games, like half of Steins;Gate, and, like, the social sim parts of personas 3-5 kinda count I guess? Regardless, it’s just not really a genre I’m intimately familiar with. With that caveat out of the way, Toumayhem is probably the best visual novel I’ve ever played.
I mean like, the characters? Each one is WILDLY loveable. The art? Gorgeous and expressive! The plot? Windy and twisty and mysterious, with intrigue at every turn. But really the biggest strength here is the writing I think. Each character’s got such a unique voice to them, but they all fit together in the larger story so perfectly, so seamlessly, and you can really feel the writer’s voice show through every line as well. The most surprising part to me was that honestly, this game is hilarious! It’s serious and never breaks tone, but sometimes a line comes out of left field and BAM you’re scream laughing on the couch.
I’m a little biased, to be fair, since I’m friends with Crescendo, the main person behind the game, but I really think Toumayhem is something wonderful and special that will probably resonate with you if you like any other visual novel-shaped games. You should definitely play it!
Also the OST is BANGIN AND BUMPIN
I don't really think there's much to say about this game that hasn't been said, so I'll keep this short. I wasn't a huge fan of the hit detection or like, overall feel of the game? Too often I felt like I was in the wrong place, or attacking the wrong way, and it just kinda felt mushy to me. Also, some of the late game dungeons throw back to zelda 1 in terms of opaqueness and lack of direction. ANyways pretty much the rest of the game is wonderful, and I get why so many people love this game, even if I don't really. That world, and all the ways you get to explore it at your own pace, would certainly be magical if I was a kid, and had all the time in the world.
fucked up to think that randy "usb drive" pitchford directed this game, but i guess something about clocks being right twice hey.
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