17
Jul
18

Gaming Roundup of June

Haven’t done one of these in a bit, so figured I’d gather up the titles I’ve been playing and provide my thoughts on them.

In an earlier post, I mentioned I’ve been on a bit of a visual novel kick of late and my thoughts in general on the subject, so not much to add on those. Went through Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly, Code: Realize ~ Guardian of Rebirth, Nonary Games:999, Bad Apple Wars, 7s’Carlet and Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk. Things common to all of them: deep plots, existential crises, tons of reading, and minimal interaction. Of the specific highlights of each, 7s’Carlet and Bad Apple Wars don’t really have anything different to add, though I’ll say that I really enjoyed 7’sCarlet‘s plot and presentation, while I found Bad Apple Wars to be rather boring and didn’t care much about any of the characters.

For the differences, Black Butterfly and Nonary Games have actual gameplay elements; Black Butterfly has a target-shooting minigame which isn’t particularly deep, but at least broke up the static reading, and 999 has what it calls “Escape Sequences” where you’ll be playing something more akin to a standard point and click adventure, looking for clues and solving inventory-based puzzles to move to the next story segment. Code: Realize doesn’t change up the basic choose your own adventure style, but the presentation and characterization, with a steampunk backdrop and bumping elbows with famous literary and mythological characters added a lot to the charm. Ashen Hawk stands out by giving a bit more freedom in the paths you choose, with an actual map that you’ll have to explore and scenes to pursue in an order other than “which male waifu do you want to bother today.” It also is a lot darker and even its happy moments are bittersweet at best. There’s about 12 endings, and only three or four are “happy,” but only on the surface; looking into the context or how the heroine is essentially rejecting reality and delusional makes them almost as depressing as the “real” endings. I liked that.

In more standard fare, I’ve been picking at Yakuza 6, which is certainly fun. If you haven’t played one before, the basic gist is that you play a former Yakuza member, Kazuma Kiryu, who is always getting involved in the actions of his former clan. It’s very much “everytime I think I’m out, they pull me back in.” This time his daughter has been involved in a near-fatal car crash that may be more than it appears, and he’s tasked with solving that mystery, preventing clan wars, and figuring out who the father of his grandson is and how it ties to the rest of the mess. Along the way you’ll find time to dress as a mascot, play a bunch of Sega arcade games – though the UFO catcher sadly seems to be missing – and hit the batting cages and hostess clubs.

I’m mixed on this one. I enjoy it. Just like I have with the seven other games in this series. Maybe I’m getting burned out, or my brain just isn’t in the right mode for this – which is sad, because Yakuza Kiwami 2, Shenmue 1 & 2 HD (which is in many ways Yakuza‘s parent series) and Yakuza 7 are all on the way – but I’m not as invested in Kiryu’s weird world as I have been in the past. I’m really hoping its just a phase, and I’ll get back into the right mindset soon – if only so I can check it off the list before Kiwami 2 hits – but I just don’t know.

I’m also picking at Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, which is another visual novel, but has a lot more gameplay than most; point and click adventure phases where you look for clues to murders, Phoenix Wright style interrogations, and an action shooter cross-examination and evidence presentation game? It’s a blast. I’m not very far, yet, but I like what I’ve seen so far. I just want to cross 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward off the list before I really dig into it.

Lastly, I finally picked up Neir: Automata. Damn, son. Every utterly batshit Platinum Games hack-and-slash mechanic wrapped up in a bizarre mindfuck plot and deep RPG and customization mechanics? Yes, please. More, please. Like Danganronpa, I haven’t gotten a lot of time to spend with 2B and her crew, but everything I’ve seen, I love. Again, just need to clear some room in my backlog so I can tear it apart in the quest for the Platinum.

What about you folks out there? What have you been playing? What do I need to add to my pile? Let us know down below!

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