Saturday 31 December 2022

Gaming of 2022

 Sigh, another year down and here I go with a summary of my gaming exploits for the year.  Oddly enough, it was a pretty cheap year.  

New games-wise, I think I bought only two, and even Saturn game wise, I didn't get that many probably because the ones I'm eyeing nowadays are the expensive ones.  So.... with that in mind, my good and only "local" friend challenged me to include games I've been playing on my 3DS.

Hrm, tricky, and... Just a tad... dubious because of.... reasons.  But I will add them, and while I'm at it, I will also include any games that may be old that I tried out through emulation.  Overall there aren't that many, so I'm gonna go one by one.  

Let's do it

Saturn Games:

Doaremon To Fukastu no sei:  Damn what an absolute pile of shit this game is.  It's almost at the point where it's insulting shit to call this game shit.  A licensed platformer that is fascinating in that it manages to do everything wrong.  Using Doraemon characters it should be able to do something good, but nooooo, piss poor story, piss poor character use, piss poor gameplay.  I think the entire budget went to getting the cartoon's voice actors in to do their parts and the programming was given to the cleaner, who also had to do their cleaning job at the same time.

Let's rip this apart, it makes me angry just thinking about it.

The story is plain and boring, Doraemon, Nobita and frinds go into space, do something stupid and have to save some planet they out in danger.  Presentation is total arse as each point gives you some still images with the VA doing all the work.  Doraemon is a huge cartoon (originally a comic) and I was shocked to see not an ounce of video in this game.  What is really fishy is the Playstation version has video, and for this game, they just use still images from the very same footage you see in the Playstation one!  What the hell??

Gameplay is crap.  It's a 2d platformer, I hesitate to use the term 2.5D.  Characters and enemies are pre-rendered sprites and the levels are polygonal.  Your character traverses the level walking on essentially a small guided footpath.  At times you will need to jump between the foreground and background to pass areas.  You have 5 characters to play as, but they all have the same abilities and weapons.  So, five lives essentially.  Doraemon, a robotic cat from the future that can do almost anything you can imagine (in the cartoon/comic) controls exactly the same as plebby elementary school kid.  You have some weapons to shoot enemies with, and I think they have limited ammo. Sometimes you can kill enemies, sometimes you can't.  There's a bird on level 3 that relentlessly attacks and the best you can do is stun it and then run the hell away.

Level design is boring and confusing as the screen tends to stay close, so its hard to see the other planes you need to jump to.  There'll be times where you get chased by something and have to run away, but it gives you no time to react and it can be difficult to work out what is going on.

Graphics are terrible. Well the main character sprites look nice, but they didn't need to be prerendered ones.  The level graphics are atrocious.  The entire level looks similar to any other point of the level. 

The assets used in the levels are badly thought out as well.  On one level, I had a big purple wall behind me which I needed to jump to as it was the background.  But I wasn't high enough, so I had to jump across some floating blocks on the foreground part I was on, BUT they blocks blended in with the big purple wall behind me. Like, perfectly camouflaged.  What the hell?

Bosses will show up and they are polygonal models.  Which look absolutely terrible.  It's like they made there bosses from a maths set

"Yeah, well we'll slap some triangular prisms around this rectangular one and.... there we go, that looks kinda like a thing of some sort.  How's a bit of green and brown, it is a forest type level.  Yeah looks good, must be beer o clock by now right?  "

"I don't care if it isn't I'm going to get one."

Above is an actual meeting I overheard them say.  100% no lies.

All of that doesn't even take into account the incessant slow down which happens for no discernible reason.  Nothing will be happening and there you are, walking through molasses.  In a diving suit.  Weighted down by a tonne of poop.

Man this game is so terrible.  And that's why I want to keep it, as an example  of how bad a game could possibly be.  Whatever you do, don't buy it, just, don't.  It's not even so bad it's good, it's just bad.

Starfighter 3000: A shooting game that looks similar to Bulk Slash, but with proper planes and stuff.  Haven't played this, but kinda picked it up as I have been going through a kinda stage of being interested in the erlier 3d games when people didn't really know how to do them, like Solar Eclipse,  Off World Interceptor etc and this game looked like that sorta thing.

Ninku: Tsuyokina Yatsura No Daigekitotsu!:  An interesting little vs fighter here based on some manga or somthing.  Hand drawn characters fighting over polygonal backgrounds.  You fight on a 2d plane and the background rotates around a bit.  Somehow the cartoon graphics manage to fit rather well with background as well as being decently animated.  Seems to play fairly well as well from my brief bashing on it.  I look forward to finding more out about it.


I gave this a brief bash and it's rather interesting.  A vehicular combat game with a selection of characters that is done from an overhead perspective.  Think of it as Micromachines Arena Combat crossed with Asteroids or something.  It uses the Hi res mode of the Saturn throughout the game, making it looks super sharp which is cool.  Character vehicles range in variety and seem whacky, but can be hard to spot.  I played as a small one and thought I was a different car on my first game.  I couldn't actually see where I was.  

It also seems to allow for an absolute butt-load of players on screen at once.  I thik this would've been an awesome party game.

3D Lemmings

Bought, but all I've done with it so far is to rip the music off it.  I'll include this one next year methinks.


Omega boost: Picked up as I had a demo of this back in the PS1 days and it played a lot like Panzer Dragoon.  Haven't tried yet. So I should probably include it next year!

Tenchu Wrath of Heaven: Went through this a bit at the start of the year. Still fun, looks nice  but I have been distracted by other games so is not finished yet.  I do enjoy it although trying to go for grandmaster is much more enjoyable using save states.

Tenchu Fatal Shadows:  This is the game the distracted me from finishing Wrath of Heaven.  I like this game, the smaller level layouts feel a bit better used, but you are very much directed where to go. Graphics are good, moves are fun and being able to swim is good.  Will continue.

Tenchu Stealth Assassins:  Full write up here: Not terrible, but not the best.  Has some good concepts, but is hindered by being on the PSP.  Would like to see parts of it adopted into a new Tenchu game for sure.  Will not play again.

Ape Escape 3:  I had this before as I liked Ape Escape 1 & 2 and thought being three, it must be good. Well, it isn't bad, but somewhere along the way it has lost some of the feel, dare I say, the soul of Ape Escape. I felt this way when I had an actual PS2 as well, which is why I sold it I think.  Ape Escape 2 is the better of the two.

Incredible Hulk Ultimate Destruction:  Man I thought this game was awesome, and it's still a load of fun!  Being able to boost graphics on the emulator is wonderful as well.  Heaps of moves to unlock, a reasonable story and lost of things to smash.  I find it baffling that this hasn't been improved upon.  Sure the Hulk on PS3 tried to do it, but messed it up some what.  I would love a sequel.

Transformers (Armada game):  Still a great game, but a pain in the arse to emulate.  Looks good, plays well, sounds great and is just all round good fun.

Sonic Frontiers:  I gotta admit that when I saw the first video news of this I was skeptical.  It looked a bit unfocused.  Then the first gameplay videos came out and they didn't give a good impression.  However, I thought I would get it and try it because at least they are trying something new.  More videos came out rather near to release and most of them didn't inspire confidence, however I suspect this was mainly due to they way they were marketed.  I.e. very badly.

Then the game came out.

Oh man I like it.  

The "open world" aspect works well and gives you a lot of space to run all over the islands while doing stuff to collect things.  Sonic in an open world setting (I'm calling it a sandbox from now on) is going to be tricky as he's fast and a merry jumper, but somehow they managed to get a good balance here.  If you go around unlocking the map, the flow of one are to the other manages to lead you quite efficiently and neatly around the Islands. 


To progress the story you need to collect stuff.

  • Tokens to talk to characters.
  • Tokens to unlock standard style Sonic levels which give
  • Tokens to unlock Chaos emeralds.
It seems a lot and in a way it is, but you get a massive heap just by running through the sandbox and you are rarely stuck grinding for stuff.  Even the Standard levels and their keys can be skipped if one is proving too hard, by going fishing if you so desire.  So far though, I have managed to generally get 3 keys per each level, which aint too bad.  So there is a nice bit of choice in how you want to play really.

Sonic has combat options now, which I unlocked the entire lot fairly early on.  It makes fighting with enemies quite a bit more fun and flashy than just homing jump attacking everything. 

As of writing, I have not yet finished it, but the story seems... ok.  Most of it is conveyed through exposition, but as the characters talk they make a bunch of references to earlier games which is nice.  

The game definitely was rushed, which I think was evidenced by the announcement of free DLC which will come later... Like a "live service" game.  They have offered free extra story modes for the non-Sonic Characters some sections of interaction between Sonic and his pals looks a bit under-animated at times.
Sonic's Santa Constume DLC

I actually enjoyed the Jimquistion's take on the game, which is odd as they bring up many valid points, and I can understand where they come from.  I think maybe that JSS there, didn't quite get into the right frame of mind for the game?  I dunno, it's a tricky one.

The game has even gotten the time attack Tets back in action.  Each standard level has a time limit for an S rank (top) and often they look attainable, so I've often found myself trying to get to know the layout of the level well enough to find shortcuts and how to blast through.  Most levels can be completed in under 2 minutes, so remembering the layout isn't tedious.  Well, they can be if you don't die all the time....  One took me about 10 minutes as I kept messing up at the same spot over and over again.  'Twas a bit embarrassing, that's for sure.

So yeah, at long last a real ripper of a Sonic game.  While not perfect, there is a lot to like and I would love to see them continue and expand upon this same idea.  They've tried something new and different (for Sonic) and I think it has paid off!  Would love to see more!

Sonic Colors Ultimate:  I might have picked this up late 2021, but I'm including it here as I didn't really play it until this year. I had this on the wii, but never finished it, however I generally did enjoy what I played.  I find myself enjoying it a bit less this time though.  The boost thing is cool, but Sonic doesn't feel right in the 2 d sections, almost all jumps need the double jump and while Sonic games should focus on moving forwards, there are many sections that slow you down.  

Oh and I'm not that fond of the wisp powers.  It's a Sonic game and yet every powerup you get turns it into a non-Sonic game.  I'm not too sure whether I like this or not.  I think I don't.  

PSO New Genesis: Downloaded and messed about in the character creation, which iis very impressive.  That's as far as I've gotten so far.  It's free and I'd like to try it out, just to see if it'll recapture the Dreamcast PSO feels of my adulthood.


TMNT Shredders Revenge:  Was rather looking forward to this one, but it just hasn't grabbed me as I thought it would.  It feels a bit too chaotic (and not in a good way) for me.  Fighting just doesn't feel as good as other BMUPS (specifically SOR4, which is seriously good) and I don't hate it, but don't love it either.  The thing is though, lots of people do, and I wonder, am I missing something?

I felt this way about Ninja Warrior Again as well.  People were ranting about how good it was, and it just didn't gel with me.

Sonic Origins:  Hell yes, widescreen classic Sonics are good.  And now Sonic 3 & Knuckles  in WS as well, albeit with not as cool music in some sections.  Bought for my Switch for convenience.  I love the classic Sonic games and these are good too.  Replaying thru Sonic 3 & K though has made me reassess some areas.  I used to have no problems with them, but a couple I was playing them and could see why people could not like them.

Incidentally, this nefarious red barrel was never a problem for me as a young'un.  So this recent angst about it I put down to youtube clickbaiting shills. Social media is a curse.

Sky:  A free game made by "That Game Company" who have made Flower and Journey.  I looked into it and I got a chill Journey vibe from it and since it's free, I thought, why the hell not?  

And it was ok.  The idea of the game is that it tries to encourage players helping each other out and I found most members to do that quite a lot.  It is rather fun when you just meet some unknown randomly, do some silly "quest" or challenge and then give each other a high five at the end of it.   I have had a couple of times of helping new people (I'm pretty new myself as it is...) through dangerous areas and it is good fun.  When you meet someone, you can only communicate with them through character gestures, that are unlocked from spirits, which is kind of fun.  Direct chat is locked to later levels of "friendship" or using specific areas and items. 

It's been interesting and I've talked to many people from China, South America, the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, and other places.

The idea of the game is to collect Wing light, which helps you fly further, rescue ancients (doing the aforementioned quest things), making to the end of the level and repeat for each level.  The final level is one called Eden which has you giving away your wing light to little statues and will result in your death, then rebirth with (hopefully) a boost gift from the elders you rescued.  You then start the collecting wing light quest all over again.  The game company folks manage to update it approximately each month and often have new content, or "story" type things for people to do, but I feel that once you've been through the whole rebirth side of things a couple of times, you've seen all that can be seen.

Now I'm at a level where I can comfortably go about regaining wing light to do the death level well enough, playing the game doesn't seem to worry me much.  Currently they have a thing called a "Season of Aurora" which has you travelling with Aurora spirits, but the entire quest just seems to need you to stay in a bubble to listen to the music.  A lot of the time, as you fly, the game just drags you along.  It ends up feeling a lot like a semi-interactive music video.   During December 2022, they had concerts in the game, so you have to log in, go to the area and enjoy the concert.  Kinda interesting from an online social aspect.  I've seen people having birthday parties, mini concerts where one person plays a tune on their instrument for listeners and all sorts of other stuff.

Currently it feels like most people's goals in the game is to gather in-game currency to trade for cosmetics.  I will freely admit that was my main driving force when I started, I really wanted a different cape.  Naturally there is a fair amount of grinding that takes place for this.  

An interesting game where it seems that the social aspect seems to override the gaming aspect.  I'll keep giving it a crack every now and then, just to see what's going on methinks.

After Checking my DS played games....

Fire Emblem Awakening: Recommendation by my local bud.  It seems ok and has a lot of similar things to Shining Force.  Just a couple of battles in at the moment and yeah, it's all right.  However, the way the script is written makes me cringe, it's done so badly.  I'm not too sure if they just wanted all the characters to be cool and millennial edgy for the kiddies, but oh gad, it's not without two minutes of story before I just sit there thinking, "I don't think the characters actually would talk like this."  Totally ruins the immersion.

So, game wise it seems OK. Story wise. Eayaaargh! 

Metal Slug Advance:  Haven't payed much to be honest, it seems to look OK, but something just feels off and I can't quite work out what it is just yet.

Sonic Battle: Still a rather enjoyable little game.  I like this one as it's simple and fun.

Radiant Historia:  I picked this up years ago as it was cheap and liked the premise and it's time travel thing going on.  Only just started playing it very recently and I'm liking what I've experienced so far.  The battle mechanics seem cool with the enemies sitting on a grid system, the closer enemies are able to do more damage and your team being able to push them around for extra attacks and combos and stuff.    Music ain't bad and the graphics are pretty nice.  I'm playing the DS version and also discovered there is a 3DS version. But hey, I'm good with this.

Game of the Year


Sonic Frontiers!

No one should be surprised by this.  It's just remarkably good fun for a Sonic fan to blast around in.  It's not perfect and has a few flaws, but they aren't so bad that I don't want to play it anymore.  Highly recommended.
Recommended, in spite of the shitty bits.

Above is two shitty bits, one is a boring and badly placed pinball game, the other some timed event that overstays its welcome.  But I think the good outweighs the bad.

Ones I think I should mention for whatever reason:

 Streets of Rage 4:  Man, this game is good.  I swear the disc has lived in my playstation for half the year as it's just so much fun.  Specifically, the Mr. X Nightmare DLC with the Survival mode and extra characters.  It feels good and responsive to play, things seem fair and there's lots there.  Although I got this a while ago, I included it because I just keep playing it and playing it.

Spiderman, Mile Morales: I restarted the game and the story mode is fun.  While horribly predictable, the combat is all right, and the swinging around is amazing.  Comparing it to the original game, it just feels a lot better to swing, so it gets points for that.  Another game to just pop in and have a swing through New York for an hour or so and then do something else.


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