Month in Review – September

Good lord I’m tired.

I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot lately, so forgive me if this isn’t the first time you’ve heard me say it. I learned that Chives hasn’t been fixed last month and have had more than my fill of nights filled with her screaming at the top of lungs hoping to attract a mate. Hopefully we’ll have that sorted in the coming weeks so it doesn’t happen again. I think we’d both be happier that way.

Anyway, video games.

Blog

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Best Performer: Learning to Charge Backwards with May

I don’t have much to say on the blogging front about September. I’m pretty sure I wasted more time this past month trying to write an article about Wildermyth than I did writing all of the articles that were actually published. Sad thing though, I don’t have anything to show for my time on that front and likely never will. That’s just the way of things sometimes.

One thing that was notable though, we saw the second featured article on the site not written by me. Jason ran a pitch by me a couple months back and finally delivered the goods. I was a bit surprised, however, as the original pitch for the Wacky World of Video Game Editions was serious rather than satirical. Jason ultimately concluded his original draft wasn’t up to snuff and revised it to be a bit more tongue in cheek. I think it turned out pretty well.

As far as the coming weeks go I’d like to have a review of Boyfriend Dungeon posted as well as another article about Guilty Gear Strive. Other than that I don’t know what all will materialize on the site, so we’ll both be surprised on that front.

Video Games

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

I’m pretty sure I hate all Ubisoft games.

I am convinced, CONVINCED, there is a genuinely good game here, but it is buried under a mountain of bullshit. Kingdom Battle is one of the most charming games I’ve played, has an excellent score, and some really neat ideas when it comes to its combat. However, despite being in a genre I generally enjoy I found myself struggling to finish the game because all of the typical Ubisoft trappings came up and ruined my experience with the game well before the credits rolled.

I think the single biggest problem Kingdom Battle has is that there are too many indistinguishable missions. You could remove half of the missions along the critical path and no one would be the wiser. This stems entirely from how often players will see repeating enemies, environment design, and objectives. Killing the same foes over and over becomes really tiresome when the game seldom throws anything new at the player.

What’s a real shame is that after you finish the main quests in any of the game’s four chapters you can go through the chapter again to play ten bonus missions. These are meant to allow struggling players to accumulate bonus resources for empowering their characters and often feature puzzle like challenges where you need to figure out how to finish the mission in a single turn. I think if a handful of these missions had been sprinkled in among the main campaign it’d have felt a lot more entertaining instead of quickly running out of steam and sinking into repetition.

There are some other things I really didn’t like about the experience that I elaborated on during episode 25 of the Frosty Canucks. If your curious about my full opinion you can use the timestamps to skip to the relevant section.

Streets of Rogue

Let’s move away from the bad vibes and onto something good.

Streets of Rogue is what could best be described as a systems driven rogue-like. I suppose some may also call it an immersive sim given that genre owned the idea of having system driven gameplay for a while, but I think with recent games like Metal Gear Solid V and Breath of the Wild also being systems driven there is less of a case for using that descriptor. That said, Streets of Rogue is a hell of a lot of fun to mess around with.

Similar to my time last year with Prey, Streets of Rogue really comes into its own once players start to learn how different aspects of the world interact with one another. Tackling the game with only its most basic mechanics is fairly boring, but over repeated attempts in the meat grinder you’ll start to learn the rules that govern the game and can then manipulate them to pull of some hilarious and unconventional solutions to the different problems encountered.

It isn’t as flexible or expressive as some of the larger budget games, but Streets of Rogue is definitely worth checking out if you’re into system driven gameplay interactions.

River City Girls

I don’t think I have a whole lot to say about this one.

River City Girls is fun enough for a beat ’em up, but similar to other games of its ilk I’d have preferred having a wider array of moves at the start of the game. It’s really boring having to unlock the majority of a characters moveset, especially when the default moves don’t really cover all of the situations you’ll find yourself in. Once you get going it’s fun, but you’ll likely spend half of your time in the game getting to that point.

PHOGS!

Finally, Mir and I played PHOGS over the past month. I think we both walked away from it with a similar opinion. It’s fine, but we’ve played better co-op and backseat co-op games together.

We played a demo for PHOGS last year and both left the game feeling like we’d seen some of the best levels in said demo. The game has it’s moments, but largely feels very similar and having to struggle through with your partner doesn’t present enough unique challenges to mitigate some of the tedium. If you’re desperate for another co-op experience then PHOGS works, but compared to stuff like Overcooked or It Takes Two it feels a bit lackluster.

Community

As always here is five posts from around the community that you should check out if you haven’t already.

Ian | Adventure Rules – Unpacking the Ending of Boyfriend Dungeon

AK | Everything is bad for you – Politics in Art and the Value of Escapism

Meghan | Meghan Plays Games – Solo-Queueing in Pokémon Unite: A Tragedy

Dan | Indiecator – “This one’s the last one”

Irina | I drink and watch anime – How Reviewing Anime Has Made Me Trust My Eyes


Thanks for reading and stay safe out there!

12 thoughts on “Month in Review – September

    1. You’re quite welcome.

      Okay so there is a story there. I said it on the podcast, but on the weekend when I’m at Mike’s there is only on PC and that is both of our primary platform so we have to share it. When she is using it I look through the switch games she has and pick one at random. Kingdom Battle was one I’d heard a lot of good about so I naively thought, “how bad could it be”? As bad as every other Ubisoft game.

      There’s also an argument for playing a diverse range of games specifically to reinforce your existing preferences and to learn to better articulate why you like something. When you have perspective it can be easier to take about why you do or don’t enjoy something. This is part of why I still occasionally play open world and JRPGs despite despising the genres and the overwhelming majority of their standard conventions. Plus you never know when you’ll find your new favorite game trying something in unfamiliar territory (like SOMEBODY with Pokemon Unite).

      I was going to put a winking face after that last bit, but my boomer ass can’t find it on my phone. Yet another demonstration of my millennial incompetence. XD

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Persona isn’t presently on a platform I have access to. That said, the overwhelming majority of people think I’ll hate it with the raging intensity of a thousand Suns so that bodes well.

          I’ve been busy the last couple weekends and the weekend is the only time I could play it lol.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. We have discussed this multiple times already, but to me, it feels like Ubisoft has a ton of talented people (and god knows, they have the resources as well), but but they are forced to listen to some bullshit sales team by overly cautious management.

    I feel like their meetings go like this:
    Programmer: “We have some grade A tech and some brand new ideas. Here’s a demo.”
    Sales guy: “But market research shows that 9-14 year olds like racing events, 18-25 year olds enjoy slow, methodic gameplay, and people over 30 like horses.”
    Programmer: “Okay, I can make each of those work, just choose one. Which target demographic are we catering to?”
    Sales guy: “Yes.”
    Programmer: “…”
    Sales guy: “Also, I haven’t seen any climbable towers in the demo. We had them in our last 14 games, so we need those as well. After all, what if a whole 2 people liked those?”
    Programmer: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, thanks for the link! I had a good time writing that one.

    And because I read the conversation above with Meghan about Persona 5: from what I can gather about how you feel about JRPGs, I think you’d hate it too. There are a hell of a lot of turn-based battles (the usual thing with Megami Tensei — they’re not mindless battles and require tactical thinking and planning but do take up a lot of time) and there are some other typical JRPG aspects you probably wouldn’t like. A few admittedly dumb elements to the plot as well that annoyed me. I liked P5 a lot in general, but since I eat and breathe JRPGs that doesn’t work too well as a recommendation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re quite welcome.

      Who knows. Maybe P5 would break the pattern and be one of the select few I actually enjoy. Though it’s enormous length definitely wouldn’t be helping it on that front.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Poor Ubi, they do get a bashing. They sort of feel like the MCU of gaming studios at this point, producing consistent solid games that are generally the same but with a new coat of paint.

    Liked by 1 person

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