Terry Randolph – Persona 5 (PS4)
Persona 5, that’s all I’m honestly going to want to (and probably will play). This game had me incredibly hooked the moment I started the game. The game is very confident of itself in providing a cohesive experience; atmosphere, gameplay design, music texture, art style…it’s a game I feel tailor made for me. The anime-like storytelling blends perfectly with the social sim-style and hardcore RPG turn-based mechanics. Persona 5 is a game that demands your full attention in every battle in order to survive – discover the enemies’ weakness before they can take you down. If you’re not careful and just auto-pilot through battles, enemies will have no problem killing you in one to two turns. There’s also the fact that you can negotiate with enemies to either become one of your persona, give you an item, or give you money. This is a game with a steep learning difficulty that makes it a high-risk, high-reward situation.
I’ve also enjoyed the confidant building via social simulation for this game. The characters that join your motley crew of Phantom Thieves each feel distinct and defined…even if they fall into anime tropes. The characters are fun to be around and make the story feel compelling to get through, even when it’s telling you to level grind to be able to beat the next few parts. The trait building system also makes the game feel like the player has complete control over their experience. That’s because the activities the main character does outside of the dungeon-crawling is entirely up to the player in order to build their stats, or their relationships with other characters.
Essentially Persona 5 is unapologetically JRPG 100% — and I love it for that. It’s becoming hard to say that Horizon: Zero Dawn is staying my GOTY…I might actually have two games.
Jake Rushing – Shovel Knight (PC), This is the Police (PC)
This week will be the week that I will finish Shovel Knight: Spectre of Torment for the sake of having a review. The campaign is pretty short, so it won’t take that long. I find the gameplay to be more refreshing than Shovel Knight’s or Plague Knight’s campaign. The campaign itself has gotten me infatuated with the game all over again! I can’t delve into details further without revealing much of what am I going to put down for my review. So for now, I will leave it at that.
I am taking a break from Xenogears to try out a game that I backed on Kickstarter about a couple of years ago called This Is The Police. What sold me on the project is the interesting gameplay aspects of This is the Police, oh and John St. John voiced as the narrator in this game (also the same guy who voiced Duke Nukem, if you haven’t heard about him).
Sean Willis – Lego Dimensions (Wii U), Spy Hunter (Arcade and NES)
I’ve been playing Lego Dimensions a bit more than I expected. A lot of the packs are on sale right now and I ended up with a decent collection. Sure some areas are locked out till you can get the required minifigure but it at least has a rental system to keep most users playing. Especially now that the some first season packs are discontinued. Many are on sale so it’s a good time to dig them up. The Jurassic World one seems hard to get for me so far but I’m seeing it here and there for full price. Still something fun and silly about the game even if it’s a bit simple that sorta just had me playing due to being curious. That and it’s included Midway arcade games (as long as you have the Midway lego pack) is a nice touch. The Wii U version has a bug that causes graphical issues when the arcade games are played in story mode. Not so much in the Adventure World mode oddly but it’s still there and kinda bothersome. Which leads me to the other game I’ve been playing.
Good ol Spy Hunter. I remember playing the NES game a lot back in the day and I kinda like it over the arcade version at times. Though the arcade version is playable using Mame and the long but it’s analog controls can be a bit much to tackle for some people. It’s emulated nicely enough on Lego Dimensions but you lose a bit of control. Better to play on PC with full analog setup. Certainly as hard as I remember it but there’s something fun about managing to get through the game for a longer run due to that difficulty. Also you can sorta change the car into a boat. Though Super Spy Hunter on NES kinda beats them both as a good shoot em up, sunsoft did some crazy work back in the day. Oh and Spy Hunter 2 was a thing…. It’s a little clunky but it’s sad it’s been so easily forgotten since it really tried to get a two player pseudo 3D style down.
Ben Fitzgerald – Baldur’s Gate II – Throne of Bhaal, Civilization IV (PC)
Baldur’s Gate II has occupied a large portion of my time for the last two weeks or so. I had just completed the ninth chapter and was about to begin my final assault against Melissan. However, some kind of glitch happened and a critical interaction that was supposed to take place after I killed my half-giant half-brother never occurred, meaning I can’t finish the game and fulfill my destiny. This is very depressing.
On the other hand, I’ve been playing Civilization IV again, and the Holy Roman Empire is preparing to go to war with Russia. I’ve maintained the peace for far too long, and blood needs to spill.