Monthly Update: February 2015

Resident Evil Revelations 2

These monthly updates are a collection of extremely brief thoughts on the latest video games that I’m currently playing or have played in the past month. Explanation of the game’s story/gameplay are foregone in favor of quick impressions – these entries assume you have some knowledge of what the game is about, and if you want more info you can follow the included wiki link. Games are usually fairly recent although I throw a few retro games into the mix. I’ll also occasionally throw in games that I’m still playing but which I didn’t start during the month in question – for example, games like Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. I’ll try to do that when something else new comes out for those games to maintain relevance.

These are meant to be quick general thoughts, and not a substitute for a review. I’ve started an “enjoyment meter” where I state how much I’m enjoying the game from 1 to 10 in intervals of 0.5 – again, this is not meant to be an indicator of game quality, but just how much I enjoyed it (which I ultimately feel is the most important part of any game). I also include the price that I paid (I often buy games on sale), for those who aren’t familiar with approximate prices for each title. Finally, I designate a “Game of the Month.”

Games covered this month:
The End Game (PC/Mac)
MegaMan X4 (PS1 classics: Vita)
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii U)
Resident Evil Revelations 2 (PS4)
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (Wii U)
Chrono Trigger (PS1 classics: Vita)

Game of the month: Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii U)

The End Game (free): 6

The End GameHate philosophy? You can have fun with this game. Love philosophy? You might enjoy it even more.

The End Game is a side-scrolling platformer that forces you to make a choice at the end of each level which will help you understand yourself better. It incorporates self-discovery into fairly simple yet engaging gameplay, and then allows you to see how your responses stack up against other famous figures from our history. Pretty neat!

Even if you have no interest in understanding yourself more, there’s a solid good old fashioned video game behind it all. The conventional platforming might not be revolutionary, but a unique system of being able to manipulate and freeze shadows upon which you can then traverse to reach otherwise inaccessible spaces had me thinking on my toes on more than one occasion.

For me, though, I was most intrigued by learning more about myself. After playing about 25% of the game, I realized that I could answer all of the questions that normally come at the end of a level at one time, so I ended my game by simply providing answers and seeing that I’m apparently closest philosophically to Rene Descartes.

Yes, the game didn’t hold me long enough to finish the campaign, but it’s a fresh and interesting game that I recommend at least briefly checking out. Who knows, you might even learn something.

Megaman X4 ($5): 9

Megaman X4So many people have told me that this is the best entry in the X series, but I never played it because I haven’t bought into the playstation ecosystem until recently. Needless to say, as megaman is my favorite character of all time, I was pretty stoked to play this game once I picked up my PS Vita.

So far, people’s claims have been fairly accurate. So long as you can look past the dated 90’s aesthetics, music, and presentation, it’s a tremendously solid platformer with a good amount of replayability. You get to choose either Megaman or Zero for the entire campaign, and each character has a different set of skills and abilities which make for two very different experiences when you tackle the game. Long story short: Megaman has range through his mega-buster and a much larger variety of weapons after beating bosses, but Zero has the much more powerful but shorter range Z-Saber. You have to play the game in different ways depending on the character you choose.

Regardless of who you pick, the enemy design is solid and varied, the structure of the stages allows for a mid-stage break and reasonable respawn points, and the bosses are interesting and challenging. That last point deserves extra attention: this game is difficult. Maybe not if you’re playing these types of games often, but this game really kicked my ass. I haven’t even beaten it yet, though I definitely will finish playing through it – it’s just taken me a lot longer than I expected because I’m not as good at Megaman games as I used to be. Part of that might just be that I’m getting older and my twitch reflexes just aren’t what they used to be, but now I’m making up excuses.

Anyway, if you’re a megaman fan and haven’t played this game, I highly recommend it.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 ($10): 10

Read my full review.
href=”http://megaveggieman.com/2015/03/review-super-mario-galaxy-2/”>Read it to find out why!

Resident Evil Revelations 2 Episode 1 ($6): 9

Read my full review.

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse ($30): 7.5

Read the full review.

Chrono Trigger ($5): 6.5

Chrono TriggerYes, this is a really old game, and yes, it’s generally viewed very favorably by people who like RPGs. In fact, many people like the game so much that it’s on their top X games of all time list. I’ve heard so many positive things about it that I just had to give it a try, despite not really enjoying RPGs as a genre. I recently went all-in with Persona 4 Golden at the insistence of one of my friends, and that game rocked my world for 75 hours, so I figured it was worth the time investment. Unfortunately for all the Chrono fans out there, this game just didn’t do it for me.

I know this is a good game at the end of the day. I know that it deserves to be on the list of best games of all time. The battle system, intertwining story lines, varied endings, and interesting characters all show an exceptionally strong entry in the field of RPGs. But when it comes down to fun (i.e. my enjoyment meter numerical rankings), it falls short.

I played this game for 7 hours, which according to howlongtobeat.com, constitutes about a third of the campaign. I figure that is enough time for me to get the general lay of the land, and for me to make a judgment on if I should keep playing it. As much as I’d like to see it play out, I’ve got too many other great games in my backlog to spend time on a 20-year old game that I’m not enjoying.

First of all, I bought the PS1 version on my Vita, which was apparently a mistake. The loading times, including the time that elapses before and after a battle, are almost unbearable when compared to modern games. You run into an enemy, then you’ve got a chance to run out for a quick bite, digest the food, and visit the bathroom, and then finally the battle starts. The same problem occurs at the end of every single battle. Now this wasn’t a deal breaker, as you can see from my 7 hour investment, but it was quite frustrating.

I didn’t find the story particularly engaging, though I agree that the concept of time travel in an RPG is interesting in and of itself. I didn’t really enjoy the dialogue sequences either, and for quite awhile I found myself wondering why people love this game so much.

There are certainly some high points worthy of mention. The game looks gorgeous; it’s simply a masterpiece of that style. The music is great, although I’m not a particularly big fan of the battle sequence tune – which is unfortunate, seeing how often you have to hear it – but overall it is very well made. The time travel aspects and a variety of courses of action mean a good amount of replayability and variability in your path, which is also a nice addition.

But at the end of the day, it comes down to personal taste, and though I recognize it as a good game, it just wasn’t enjoyable for me.

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