PlayStation 5 Titles Part 2

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jun 18, 2020

Filed under: Industry Events 152 comments

And so this feast of consumerist speculation continues. The saying is, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” That’s usually reasonable enough. But in this case the publisher has decided to show us only book covers, specifically in an effort to get us to talk about them, with the ultimate goal of selling us an expensive chunk of consumer electronics and a bunch of these $60 games. They have backed us into a corner where our only option is cover-judging. So that’s what we’re going to do.

So let’s get to the snap decisions and half-baked reactions!

Resident Evil Village

That's a nice try, trying to make the word Village evoke VIII, indicating this is the eighth game in the series. (Ignoring remakes.) I don't think it totally works, but it's a clever idea. Even more impressive considering it comes from a Japanese-speaking company.
That's a nice try, trying to make the word Village evoke VIII, indicating this is the eighth game in the series. (Ignoring remakes.) I don't think it totally works, but it's a clever idea. Even more impressive considering it comes from a Japanese-speaking company.

As I’ve said before, I just can’t get on the right wavelength to enjoy Capcom’s games. This style of jokeless comedy and frightless horror leaves me feeling confused and annoyed. I know some people love this nonsense for the inherent absurdity of it all, but to me it feels like the author is asking me to take the world more seriously than they do. The tone is adrift in this odd no-man’s land where it’s too silly to be scary and yet not silly enough to be funny. On top of it all, the gameplay feels like it’s deliberately designed to be irritating and immersion breaking, where you’re constantly hampered by inventory hassles and save game restrictions that make the game harder through weird interface design that blurs the line between things that are literal and things that are gameplay abstractions.

The knife fight with Krauser in Resident Evil 4 is the perfect example of something that seems to be precision-engineered to annoy me: A horrendous nonsensical cutscene that you must loop through forever until you can overcome the spine-numbing tedium of the quicktime events. And then once you’re done with that garbage you realize the entire scene was a pointless waste of time that had no useful information for the audience. The dialog is a markov chain of random lowbrow action movie tropes, but it doesn’t do anything subversive or deconstructionist with the material. It’s just a modestly more stupid version of something that was already stupid.

In my book, you need to either take the goofy lowbrow material and make it smartYour mileage may vary. like Quentin Tarantino, or you need to exaggerate the flaws to lampoon it in the style of Naked Gun, or make something deconstructionist like Shaun of the Dead / Galaxy Quest. Resident Evil isn’t a satire of B-movie schlock, it is B-movie schlock.

I’m not saying that these games shouldn’t exist or that you’re bad for liking them. I’m just trying to keep my head and avoid doing anything foolish. See, as much as I hate these games, Capcom is really good at making trailers that appeal to me and my love for slow-burn Japanese-style horror. The trailers always try to sell us on this tense and spooky mood that never materializes in the game itself. My friends always tell me, “No this one is different, Shamus. I’m SURE you’ll like this one. Trust me!”

And then I’ll find myself sitting through an agonizingly nonsensical cutscene and I’ll realize I’ve been bamboozled again.

Still, that trailer did look pretty cool…

Kena Bridge of Spirits

This trailer made it feel like someone saw the Unreal Engine 5 reveal and decided to make a game out of it.
This trailer made it feel like someone saw the Unreal Engine 5 reveal and decided to make a game out of it.

Do we have enough of these games now that we can stop calling them “Zelda Clones” and give the genre a proper name? We’ve got Ōkami, Hob, the original Darksiders, and a smattering of others that escape me at the moment. The genre description boils down to “Feels like an open world RPG except with puzzles and you don’t level up from combat and also the art is stylized.”

I’d suggest “Adventure Game”, but sadly that descriptor is already taken by the various descendants of King’s Quest.

I realize that genres are inherently porus, overlapping, intersecting, ever-changing, and poorly named. But dang it, we need words to communicate these complex ideas. The term “Action RPG” is reductive and ambiguous, but it’s better than saying “top-down game where you kill large numbers of weak foes to feed a Skinner-box driven gameplay loop where power levels continually climb in order to gradually render your equipment obsolete so that you’re always driven by a need to find something better” every time I want to talk about something in the Diablo lineage.

Anyway, this looks like a charming little Zelda clone.

Stray

I was captivated when I saw this world inhabited by robots, and then kinda lost interest when it was revealed it was a game about being a cat. On the other hand, my wife didn’t express the slightest interest in the trailer until the cat showed up, at which point she was very excited.

Project Athia

Project Athia is just the working title. I think they should call it 'Adventures of Athia 3', just to mess with people.
Project Athia is just the working title. I think they should call it 'Adventures of Athia 3', just to mess with people.

I love how the end screen for the trailer proclaims in large block letters PLAYSTATION 5 CONSOLE EXCLUSIVE, and then says “Also available on PC” at the bottom. I saw this sort of thing several times during the PS5 reveal. It’s this weird message of, “THIS GAME IS ONLY AVAILABLE ON PLAYSTATION. AND ALSO PC BUT THAT DOESN’T COUNT.”

A dozen years ago, the PC gaming space was in shambles. DRM was both obnoxious and ubiquitous. Games For Windows LIVE was generating a never-ending steam of technological fuckups. PC gaming required a bit of technical expertise to keep up with the graphics card treadmill. All of this drove gamers into the arms of consoles, which made everything worse. Since the PC audience was shrinking, publishers didn’t see the platform as a priority. Which means nobody wanted to spend the time and money to do proper PC ports, which made a lot of console-first titles slow, buggy, cumbersome, and stripped of features on the PC, which sent even more people to the consoles, and so on.

As a result, the consoles were content to fight amongst each other and nobody cared about the PC.

But now? PC gaming is thriving. VR and streamingYou need a decent PC for streaming. And if you’ve got a decent PC, then it’s easiest to make that your default gaming platform., have boosted the PC platform back into competition with the othersAnd arguably, ahead of them. Statistics are tricky and it’s hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison.. Games for Windows LIVE is dead, and its heir is languishing in obscurity and irrelevance. Once-niche activities like modding, emulation, and retro gaming are a little more mainstream than they were in the aughts. Gaming input devices for Windows have solidified around the Xbox Controller and its various clones, which means the odds are good you can just plug in a controller and expect the inputs to make sense without needing to endure a lengthy configuration process. I don’t think we’re in another golden age, but it’s been almost two decades since things were this good.

EXCLUSIVE = 'Not actually exclusive.'
EXCLUSIVE = 'Not actually exclusive.'

So it’s kind of interesting that the publishers want to play keep-away on the consoles through platform exclusives, but are content to let developers port things to the PC. I’m not complaining. Again, this is just one more thing making the PC so nice these days.

In any case, I think this indifference to the PC makes marketing sense. Twelve years ago they didn’t care about the PC because they felt the platform wasn’t large enough to be a threat. Now they don’t care about the PC because they’ve (finally) figured out it’s not really a direct rival.

As I’ve said in the past: The PC vs. consoles is less about the technology and more about where you like to sit. Sure, fanboys argue about framerates, favorite titles, mouse vs. joystick, modding, and all the other details that differentiate the PC from consoles. But at the end of the day I think those things don’t really matter when someone is shopping for gaming hardware. Either you want something to put in the living room so you can play games on your couch, or you want something to put on your desk so you can play games in your office chair.

Also, this trailer would have been about 1000% more interesting without the ultra-generic HERO WILL RISE text that kept popping up. The text was completely vapid and the visuals were kind of charming, so it was a terrible idea to use the former to distract the audience from the latter.
Also, this trailer would have been about 1000% more interesting without the ultra-generic HERO WILL RISE text that kept popping up. The text was completely vapid and the visuals were kind of charming, so it was a terrible idea to use the former to distract the audience from the latter.

Where are you more comfortable? Is the living room available for gaming or do you need to share that space with a family? Is it okay to have violence and nudity on your television, or do you have little kids wandering around the living room? Do you have the technical expertise to maintain a proper gaming PC? Do you need to maintain a Mac computer for work reasons? Did you grow up on consoles?

If you’ve got an office area with an up-to-date Windows PC and the living room is controlled by your parents / children, then PC gaming is the path of least resistance for you. If you want to sit on your couch and shoot some dudes at the end of a long day of work, then you’re not likely to switch to PC because it promises higher technical numbers. Do you have the room and furniture for a full desktop gaming PC setup, or do you just need a small deviceYes, modern consoles are almost as large as a PC. But the PC also needs dedicated monitor(s), a mouse and keyboard, speakers,  and maybe some extras like a webcam / microphone setup. you can put beside the television?

PC and console fans argue over specs and exclusives, but that’s got nothing to do with how these decisions get made. This is a fight about furniture and living spaces more than technology.

Returnal

Everything is fine.
Everything is fine.

Last time we talked about Death Loop, and here’s yet another game built around the idea of looping time. And we had Prey: Mooncrash a couple of years ago. It’s interesting how these patterns emerge. Remember the dad game crazeThe Walking Dead (2012), Last of Us (2013), BioShock Infinite (2013), and God of War (2018). Perhaps partial credit goes to the original Dishonored (2012) and Heavy Rain (2010)? where you had a kid sidekick?

I wish I knew what this was. Like nearly all the other games in this presentation, the trailer was all cutscenes and no gameplay.

The pervasive darkness and death mechanics make me think this game is aiming for something Dark Soulsian. But then we have a voiced protagonist experiencing a predetermined plot through cutscenes, and that goes against the expectations of that genre. Then again, last year’s Jedi: Fallen Order kinda followed that same formula of “bonfires”In this context, a bonfire is a specific map location that will replenish your health and healing supplies, but also respawn all the enemies, thus creating a tension between the hindrance of using them and the risk of skipping them. + unforgiving combat + fixed character + cutscenes.

So I dunno. I suppose it’s good we can’t tell what a game is just by looking at cinematic trailers. For a while our genres have been stuck in a rut and it’s nice to see folks mixing it up again.

I’m hoping this one won’t be too punishing, because I really dig the look of it.

Ghostwire: Tokyo

It's SPOOOKY.
It's SPOOOKY.

So you wander around a depopulated Tokyo shooting ghosts and using superpowers? This sounds crazy enough to be really interesting.

Pragmata


Link (YouTube)

I don’t know how to begin to parse this game. What is it? A guy in a space suit explores an abandoned city. Then he uses some sort of holographic mist to find a robot girl and a transparent cat. Then the sky shatters like glass as if they’re inside of a Truman Show style bubble, and they go through a magic door to the moon. (The cat does not come with.) Then they have a short conversation and then space suit guy says something about freedom.

There’s no gameplay. Our spaceman doesn’t seem to have a weapon and his suit is much too bulky for platforming. So it’s anyone’s guess what sort of game this is.

I was intrigued by the surrealist setting, but then I saw the Capcom logo. Like I said above, Capcom is great at making smart and captivating trailers for their stupid and irritating games. The little girl seems like a fascinating companion, but she’ll probably turn out to be a screeching dimwitted nuisance that gets captured in every other cutscene, like the President’s Daughter in Resident Evil 4. The weird technology seems interesting now, but it’s probably just a blank check that allows the writer to make random shit happen in cutscenes without needing to establish rules or set up things ahead of time, logic be damned. The space suit makes our protagonist seem mysterious, but they’ll probably turn out be another dipshit like Chris Redfield, who stands around doing nothing in cutscenes while foes take an exposition dump on him before trying to murder him.

Okay, I know I’m being unfair. There’s no hint that this game will be stupid nonsense. But once again I find myself watching a cool cutscene followed by the Capcom logo. I’m just trying to stop myself from repeating the mistakes of the past.

Horizon: Forbidden West

Please tell me the title means that Kanye West is the final boss.
Please tell me the title means that Kanye West is the final boss.

I never got around to playing Horizon: Zero Dawn. I remember liking the looks of it way back when it appeared at E3, but somehow the game never made it into my playlist.

But!

Zero Dawn is apparently coming to the PC this summerFor context: Yes, I own a Playstation 4. But my PS4 is currently on loan. My youngest brother is a HUGE fan of Final Fantasy VII, and I couldn’t bear to play the remake before him., so I might check it out. We don’t have a release date yet, which is a little odd. I mean, summer starts in two days. It seems a little weird to be this close to release and STILL not have a firm date. More importantly, this game needs to come out before September. Cyberpunk 2077 comes out on September 17, and at that point no other games will matter.

But what if Horizon comes out on September 1st, Shamus? That should be enough time to play through it!

See, I don’t just need to play through it, I need to play through it and write about it. It takes at least a couple of weeks to play a game, digest it, do a bit of research, and write a few thousand words about it. Also, I’d really appreciate it if Horizon landed sooner, because this summer is promising to be particularly dry. Watchdogs: Legion, Bloodlines 2, and  Kerbal Space Program 2 have all been delayed. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is supposed to come out this year, but the year is halfway over and we still don’t have a release date.

It’s looking more and more like the end of this year is going to be a huge pile-up, and I’d really appreciate it if I could take a couple of titles out of the fall deluge and have them here in the summer drought.

What? I was supposed to be talking about Horizon: Forbidden West? Oh right.

I dunno. Looks interesting, but whatever. I have to get through the first game before I know what to make of it.

And the Rest…

This image is a space-filler / joke, NOT a movie recommendation.
This image is a space-filler / joke, NOT a movie recommendation.

Let’s do the rest of these in rapid-fire…

Oddworld Soulstorm: I’m not really a fan of the Oddworld series. I played Abe’s Odyssey Exodus years ago. I liked it at first, but a few hours in I hit this impassible skill wallI don’t remember it exactly, but you had to get past some slugs that could instantly eat Abe if he got too close. I had no idea what I was doing wrong, but I couldn’t take two steps across the screen without getting nommed. and gave up. I’ve avoided the series since then.

Jett: The Far Shore: How interesting. This is a game from Superbrothers. They made the 2D Sword & Sworcery back in 2011. I own that game and I found the art enticing, but I never got around to playing all the way through it. But here comes the team nine years later with a fancy 3D game. I feel like there’s a story that I’m missing.

Godfall: I don’t know why, but this demo gives me a sort of Warframe-ish kinda vibe? But then the developer describes it as a looter-slasher, with a Borderlands / Diablo-style loot grind. I guess it all comes down to what the combat feels like, and it’s hard to judge that based on footage. I don’t know. This could be a brilliant game with a high skill ceiling, or it could be a microtransaction-driven abomination that favors button-mashing and buying premium gear. It’s too soon to tell, but I do enjoy a good loot grind.

Solar Ash: Wow. This art is fantastic. This is by the same team that made Hyper Light Drifter. It’s amazing how distinctive this art style is. It’s instantly recognizable, even though HLD is top-down 2D and Solar Ash looks third-person 3D.

Astro’s Playroom: If you ever wanted to play Super Mario Sunshine with a robot instead of Mario, then your day has finally come.

Little Devil Inside: The Sony trailer was all style and no substance, but the team was nice enough to give us a gameplay demo outside of the PS5 presentation.

Bugsnax: From the people who brought you Octodad: Dadliest Catch, it’s more relentlessly weird shit! This one does nothing for me. I feel like it’s trying too hard to be cute. Or something. I dunno. It weirded me out.

So that’s the PS5 reveal. We don’t know what it will cost and we don’t know what the gameplay looks like for most of these games. But we’re all talking about it, so we’ve played into the hands of the Sony Marketing Department again.

Still, they need to sell us the system before any of this matters, and I’m not sold until I see a price tag.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Your mileage may vary.

[2] You need a decent PC for streaming. And if you’ve got a decent PC, then it’s easiest to make that your default gaming platform.

[3] And arguably, ahead of them. Statistics are tricky and it’s hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison.

[4] Yes, modern consoles are almost as large as a PC. But the PC also needs dedicated monitor(s), a mouse and keyboard, speakers,  and maybe some extras like a webcam / microphone setup.

[5] The Walking Dead (2012), Last of Us (2013), BioShock Infinite (2013), and God of War (2018). Perhaps partial credit goes to the original Dishonored (2012) and Heavy Rain (2010)?

[6] In this context, a bonfire is a specific map location that will replenish your health and healing supplies, but also respawn all the enemies, thus creating a tension between the hindrance of using them and the risk of skipping them.

[7] For context: Yes, I own a Playstation 4. But my PS4 is currently on loan. My youngest brother is a HUGE fan of Final Fantasy VII, and I couldn’t bear to play the remake before him.

[8] I don’t remember it exactly, but you had to get past some slugs that could instantly eat Abe if he got too close. I had no idea what I was doing wrong, but I couldn’t take two steps across the screen without getting nommed.



From The Archives:
 

152 thoughts on “PlayStation 5 Titles Part 2

  1. Christopher says:

    Kena is probably the one I’m looking the most forward to out of these. Mostly ’cause there were a couple of secods of actual honest-to-god jumping in here(which Astro’s Playroom also had, but Kena had the advantage of not looking like they ripped off multiple of Mario’s moves and animations). It’s pretty rare to see a new game with this fidelity have actual platforming instead of some sort of parkour or “climb this specific area” kinda thing. The combat also looked pretty neat, giving the horizon vibes with the bow and interchangeable glowing spear, but with more parries in the mix. Might be alright. At this point I mostly worry that the art is too generic and the story too childish to really work for me. I’d rather not have evil dark spirits literally making parts of the glowy fantasy forest darker if I can help it. It’s less giving me Ghibli vibes and more giving me PS2 also-ran platformer vibes, Insomniac Games’ cancelled game “Girl With Stick” finally coming to life lol. But it’s worth a shot.

    Oh, speaking of Ratchet & Clank, their new one is probably gonna be a perfectly fine and pretty game with some really lifeless and annoying writing again, at least judging by the trailer and gameplay showcase. I played through most of the series for my backlog last year and like it quite a lot, but at some point they stopped treating it more like a comedy and started treating it more like a self-serious generic kids movie, the kind that gets 21% on Rotten Tomatoes. Which is a shame, ’cause their older games had writing I really enjoyed, particularly the dry humor in the first game and the wacky comedy in the third. Still, their gameplay is fun, so it might be well worth blasting through. They’re doing some dimension-hopping alternate universe thing, and this is technically their reboot series, so maybe they’ll cross over with some older parts of the series I really like. All they showed in the trailer were places from the reboot, new ones, or Ratchet Tools of Destruction onwards, which is beyond where I really dug it.

    1. Redrock says:

      I actually went back and finished Ratchet and Clank 2016 just last week. I had abandoned it halfway through years ago, and only went back to playing it because I wanted to free up some HDD space. That writing is just painfully boring, to the extent that it’s hard to stick with the game despite the mostly solid gameplay. Maybe it’s okay for kids, I don’t know. I remember them being better, but then again, I was much younger when I played the PS2 games, and I never managed to finish the PS3 games, so maybe it’s just a franchise you grow out of.

      1. Retsam says:

        I didn’t play the 2016 reboot/remake, but from what I hear the writing was much worse than the game it was rebooting. In the original, Ratchet’s a bit more of a jerk and he and Clank are at odds for most of the first game, whereas the reboot more or less just jumped immediately to the part where they’re great friends, and bypassed a lot of the actual character development.

      2. galacticplumber says:

        The original had actual character arcs and themes.

        The game begins with Ratchet and Clank being completely amicable, and in a symbiotic traveling relationship. Ratchet wants to explore new planets, while clank wants to stop the villain from destroying planets. Both good goals.

        The intended method for stopping the big villainous corporation is finding Captain Quark and getting him to solve things.

        When they finally get to talk to him in person for the first time he immediately sets a trap for them. Ratchet is leery in the final leadup, but Clank is a gullible little week old or so and drags him in. Turns out Quark was working for the villain the whole time.

        Ratchet now only really cares about getting revenge on Quark, and is also deeply mutually antagonistic with Clank. They only travel together, because they literally CAN’T travel alone.

        This trend continues for numerous planets as more examples of general suffering go unheeded by ratchet until just about the time for the final showdown to settle with Quark. Ratchet starts to care about helping people in addition to revenge not long before the fight, and has it as his only goal afterwards.

        It is demonstrated rather swiftly with Ratchet’s home planet being targeted that eventually this would’ve involved him personally either way. Through teamwork and heavy ordinance the villain is vanquished, the day saved, and the rocky friendship testing arc complete.

        Like the remake, a corporation out for its own profit is the cause of all this misery. UNLIKE the remake pretty much everyone is greedy and self-interested. They charge you for even the most minor of help even as planets are threatened.

        Quark still betrays, but it’s purely for personal gain, and he only acts against the villain, a little, after being reduced to more or less nothing. Even the initial friendship with Clank started partially transactional.

        Between all the necessary story payments, and the economic balance this is quite literally the only game in the series where even weapons feel expensive, and sometimes even the ammo for some of the more expensive ones.

        These themes run through the entire PS2 series more or less, before the future series transitioned to a softer, sloppier, chosen one story that’s STILL somehow less boring than the remake. For anyone still here, thank you for listening to my Ted Talk. You’ve been a lovely audience.

        1. Cubic says:

          I only played the start of the remake and found it pretty terrible. On the other hand, the main games have always been a great source of entertainment for me, because I’m sophisticated like that. The first game, with Ratchet as benign college bro and Clank as four-eyes on a mission, defined a great friendship.

          The 2-3 PS3 games were maybe a bit too serious and dramatic in mood compared to before, but they kept things fresh and I really liked the gameplay.

          (Most of the mobile/handheld R&C games were trash, I’m afraid, though Secret Agent Clank was fun.)

          1. galacticplumber says:

            The main problem with the future games is that they completely abandoned their thematic identity to retcon the main characters into the last known member of their entire race of heroic galaxy saving super people, and literal invented son of essentially the god of time. Contradicting having literally met a Lombax before, and robbing both of their relatably humble beginnings.

            Instead of biting satire with a relatable heart in it we get a Saturday morning cartoon with good gameplay. Still better than the awful writing of the remake though yes. Even if the only part of it I actually respect a little is Azimuth.

            1. Cubic says:

              Well, I can’t say you’re wrong. I thought they overdid the whole pirates thing too, but that was big at the time, wasn’t it?

              I just looked at a playthrough of Tools of Destruction and they had a couple of beautiful space battle scenes in there. The art was good, occasionally great. The story concept was, as you say, questionable at best. I liked the first games better.

  2. MerryWeathers says:

    I know some people love this nonsense for the inherent absurdity of it all, but to me it feels like the author is asking me to take the world more seriously than they do.

    That’s Japan for you, I would advice you to stay away as possible from the Kingdom Hearts if that’s how you feel but I am morbidly curious to see what would happen if you made contact with it and was forced to do a full analysis of the series.

    I was captivated when I saw this world inhabited by robots, and then kinda lost interest when it was revealed it was a game about being a cat. On the other hand, my wife didn’t express the slightest interest in the trailer until the cat showed up, at which point she was very excited.

    The duality of man.

    Bugsnack: From the people who brought you Octodad: Dadliest Catch, it’s more relentlessly weird shit! This one does nothing for me. I feel like it’s trying too hard to be cute. Or something. I dunno. It weirded me out.

    See! Even Shamus felt something off about it, that game is definitely cursed.

    1. John says:

      Do not make Shamus play Kingdom Hearts. I don’t want his head to explode. I myself barely survived, and all I did was listen to some people describe the plot.

      1. Higher_Peanut says:

        I don’t think he would even have to play it. We could probably get a whole series of posts on how crazy it is to figure out how to follow the story across genres and platforms.

      2. Syal says:

        I’ll quote someone playing a completely different Square game: “This is not a story. This is noise.”

        1. BlueHorus says:

          I’ll raise you a random youtube comment I saw: ‘There is no plot. Only twists.’

          1. Mattias42 says:

            Know this Youtuber that did a pretty decent summery of the first four-ish games, in little over half an hour.

            With a LOT. A lot, lot, of snark. Not bad art, either.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjiHufVEc7g

            Honestly recommend it for the jokes and hearing the poor dude’s poor mind slowly buckle alone.

            1. Dalisclock says:

              I’ll raise you this one, which is 4 minutes long.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o1ieehttdA

              I have no actual experience with KH but it roughly lines up with what I do know. The same guy did a summery of the Metal Gear series in 7 minutes and that one I can verify is right on the nose.

      3. daevious says:

        As a slightly unrelated point, I’d be interested to see Shamus try Persona 4 Golden, now that it’s released on Steam. I got into the series precisely because I got sick of Kingdom Hearts weaving more intricate and convoluted plotlines, so seeing a series that could stick to a theme and deliver on it was a massive revelation for teenage me.

        If Yahtzee ‘I hate all JRPGs not named Earthbound’ Croshaw could like Persona, then there’s a good chance Shamus would like it too.

        1. tmtvl says:

          Oh man, P4G is so bad. Chie’s new VA sounds like nails on a chalkboard and the motorcycle subplot pissed me off so much I nearly had a heart attack. And it’s a shame because P4 was pretty good (even if Yosuke doesn’t hold a candle to Junpei).

  3. Olivier FAURE says:

    The part with the slugs is from Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus, I think.

    There’s a few variants, but usually the gimmick is that there are these really small slugs on the ground, and you must walk with the right timing to not step on them, to avoid waking up the big green slugs.

    I really, really liked the first two Oddworld from 20 years ago, but the every game they’ve made since has been a further departure from the original gameplay. It looks like Soulstorm will be closer to Munch’s Oddysee (group fight mechanics, inventory management, big health bars), than to Abe’s Exoddus. A shame.

    1. Higher_Peanut says:

      Isn’t Oddworld one of the classic tales of a developer promising the world? I vaguely remember something about Oddysee and Exoddus being 2 parts of a 6 part series. Then the puzzle style was dropped and the IP resurfaces every now and then in a new form.

      1. Erik says:

        As I recall, the creator claims to have that many games planned out, but the series was dropped back in the day and only restarted via a Kickstarter. I heard the great reviews of the first one, got it, and got stopped dead by a similar skill wall to Shamus (probably earlier – I’m older than he is and my reflexes are probably worse) and never went back. There are just too many games I want to play that *aren’t* reflex/skill-gated to spend that much time on one that is.

      2. Khwarezm says:

        I mean they had lots of plans, but they tended to actually deliver on a lot of the stuff they promised in the first few games. The ‘promising the world’ part was quite literal in the sense that they wanted to make more games set in that world but the franchise never took off enough beyond its cult fanbase for that to work.

        Abe’s Oddysee is one of my favorite games ever because of the highly unusual way you interact with the world, especially compared to other side scrolling platformers, and doubly so for such games made in the late 90s. Its as typically difficult and lethal as games in that genre tend to be, but they put a lot more thought into your interactions with the inhabitants of the environment than almost any other game in the genre. The main thing is communication, you communicate with entities almost as much as you run and fight from them, you talk to other Mudokons and give them simple commands to follow and help them since the main drive of the game is to save as many as possible, you have to learn how to imitate their speech at various points to progress or earn power ups, you rely on a mount called Elum at various points and can similarly give him simple commands and must overcome various breakdowns in communication at certain points to progress, Sligs can communicate with other Sligs, Slogs and the Mudokon slaves for various purposes, heck, Abe’s only ‘attack’ is a song he sings to possess the Slig enemies.

        I think the design here is just perfect, through the entirety of the game you quickly come to understand that Sligs are relentless and incredibly deadly, they will gun you down in an instant, Abe is always on the backfoot, having to run or sneak to avoid dying, he has very few real offensive capabilities, but if you get into a situation where you possess a Slig the tables are completely turned, you know have a proper, powerful attack and other Sligs won’t immediately suspect you until you start killing them. The game has special mechanics available to Sligs based on their own communications with others, like telling Mudokons to get down before you shot another bewildered Slig or getting the doglike Slog creatures to act friendly towards you and exploiting them to attack others in areas you can’t reach. Its great way of empowering the player in a way where it feels extremely gratifying when the rest of the game was so nail biting.

        Later in the game you encounter Paramites and Scrabs, in most other games they’d just be generic monsters, but in Odyssey they go out of their way to give them curious traits that make interacting with them more than just kill or die. The Scrabs are deadly predators who’ll chase down Abe to try and eat him on sight, but they are also highly territorial and if they encounter another Scrab they will ignore Abe and square off with each other, meaning you perversely want to lead these extremely dangerously enemies towards each other to clear out numbers and get some breathing space where they won’t pay attention to you. Paramites are even more complex, they aren’t actually hostile initially, but will get aggressive if you back them into a corner (they tend to follow you around if you find one) or if they end up in a group of more than one (the opposite of Scrabs in that regard, they seem to be pack hunters). They’ll also get easily distracted by pieces of meat that Abe can throw. Their segments tend to involve manipulating and corralling them so that you don’t set off one of their aggression triggers and can sometimes even get them to help you with certain puzzles if drop a bit of meat in the right place.

        All of this is wrapped up in some of my favorite visual presentation in any game ever, Oddworld is just so interesting looking, and a very engrossing story for such a game, Abe is just a good protagonist for this sort of story. Abe’s Exodus builds on this stuff, they make the communication system a lot more complex, you can now direct a large number of Mudokons to carry out more complex tasks to solve puzzles, and they make it so that Abe can possess Scrabs and Paramites, in addition to Sligs, with their own mechanics and communications. I remember some of the levels using Paramites in Exodus really being very satisfying, the mechanics really come together to make something very unique.

        I’m not so big a fan of Munch’s Oddysee, Stranger’s Wrath was really interesting, but that was a very different beast from the rest of the series. I think the move to 3D was very damaging to the unique visual style and overall atmosphere of the games, they remade Abe’s Oddysee some years back as ‘New and Tasty’, but I think a lot of things were lost in the remake, Matthewmatosis goes over a lot of my complaints here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkhDrngAQZ0

  4. Lee says:

    Bugsnax is not really my cup of tea, either, but you should probably at least spell it right. ;)

    I’m also waiting for Horizon on PC, and looking forward to the sequel.

    Though really, the (off topic) game announcement I’m most hyped about today is New Pokemon Snap. I’ve been saying they should have made a sequel to Pokemon Snap for years now.

    1. John says:

      I’m looking forward to Horizon: Zero Dawn on PC as well, though if and when I’ll actually get around to playing it is another matter entirely. I’m not normally one for Those Kinds of Games, but something about stalking robot dinosaurs in the wild is deeply appealing. I just hope the plot and story missions don’t suck the way they did in Shadow of Mordor, the last one of Those Kinds of Games I played.

      1. CloverMan-88 says:

        Having played both Shadow of Mordor and Horizon Zero Dawn, the latter is way, WAY better than the former.

        One, the setting is fantastic, feels coherent and lived in, and most sidequests help you understand it a bit better (so do most collectible doodads)

        Second, Horizon does something few AAA games dare to do – to get better at the game, you must learn how to fight your enemies. Not by remembering their attack patterns or grinding gear, but by remembering how to strip down their armor, how to disable their most powerful weapons, if they have any weaknesses you can exploit (like exposing their heat sinks after certain attacks, which you can then hit with flaming arrow for massive damage). At the end of the game I felt so comfortable fighting the biggest enemies the game could throw at me, not because I had better stats, but because I became a better hunter. It feels similar to Monster Hunter, but is less reliant on gear and less demanding.

        The game is not perfect, but the passion that was put into the project is clearly visible.

        I might buy it a second time, because boy do I suck at precision aiming with telia controller, thank god the game had slowmotion and slight autoaim. I still enjoyed immensly, but I’d enjoy it so much more if I could play it with a mouse .

        1. Syal says:

          not because I had better stats, but because I became a better hunter.

          Although I felt comfortable fighting them not because I had improved my hunting skills, but because I finally started using the Blast Sling and that thing is God Mode.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      Yeah. While I loved Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Bugsnax looks decidedly meh. Seems pretty clearly aimed at kids?

      The more I think about Octodad* and Dadliest Catch, though, the more I think it’s a case of lightning in a bottle that can’t be repeated.
      The gameplay is unique but very, very niche (also, it gets old); plus the concept is compelling and slightly subversive in a way I don’t think could be repeated.

      *Yep, different games. There’s a freeware demo version/original game available online, Dadliest Catch is the more polished sequel/final project that got Kickstarted.

      1. Philadelphus says:

        I’m kinda in the same camp, as I quite enjoyed Dadliest Catch, but watching the Bugsnax trailer I felt like all the non-humanoid critters were adorably cute, or at least charmingly weird, and all the humanoid ones were nightmare-fuel.

  5. tmtvl says:

    Zelda is usually grouped into the “Action Adventure” category, but that’s a broad genre. Zelda clone is also not that helpful a category because LttP/OoA/OoS differs from MM, which differs from WW, which differs from BotW.

    Playing a cat in a cyberpunk robot world could be interesting if we can have an outsiders perspective on daily life.

    I play on the PC. I have a workstation running GNU/Linux, without dedicated GPU (just using the integrated graphics card of my i7), so I can’t really run most games very well, but it’s sufficient for my purposes. GNU/Linux in itself is fun anyway.

    I do have some consoles (newest one being a PS3), but they’ve been gathering dust. Considering CDs can degrade (the outer coating can erode, leaving a silver layer exposed, and that layer will tarnish), I’m hoping to keep my collection alive by keeping copies of the various ISO’s around on a few drives.

    1. Joshua says:

      Beat me to the Action Adventure bit. That’s how TV Tropes have always categorized the Zelda games at least. And there was a game with level up mechanics, they just sucked. :)

      We pretty much do all of our gaming in the living room on the couches. Not only do we have the Switch and SNES Classic in there, but our laptops are more powerful than our desktops, so we do most of our PC gaming there too.

    2. Geebs says:

      I vote for “Gadget-gater” as the best and most concise alternative to “Zelda clone”.

      I’d also accept “Tool traverser” and “Utensil unlocker” I guess.

      1. Retsam says:

        Generally, I feel that more aligns with the concept of a Metroidvania game, where getting new tools and abilities unlocks the ability to access new areas of the map – which is often (but not always) a feature of Zelda games. For example, in Twilight Princess you unlock a BEYBLADE which allows you to traverse the CONVENIENT-BEYBLADE-SHAPED-TRACKS throughout the world.

        1. Geebs says:

          Not that it’s a bad game or anything, but I think you must be the first and only person in the history of history itself who heard the term “Zelda clone” and thought of Twilight Princess first :-P

          Really, the term refers specifically to copies of Link to the Past, so I suppose it’s more accurate to refer to the genre as “Copy-Past-er”.

        2. evilmrhenry says:

          Zelda clones and Metroidvanias have a lot in common; even more in common once they move to 3D and so lose the different perspective.

          1. Decius says:

            *Glares in The Adventure of Link*
            Different perspective?

          2. Lars says:

            Zelda itself is a Metroidvania. I do not know a single Zelda game that does not fit this description. Castlevania and Metroid do have those (annoying) platformer elements in addition, but Darksiders or Soul Reaver have their platformer elements as well and those are role examples of Zelda clones.

      2. Echo Tango says:

        I think “action adventure” already works, because games with more in-depth mechanics already have more specific terms. The Mario RPGs add levelling up and cute stories. Other RPGs encourage you to invest yourself into a character’s role. Human Revolution is tagged as “stealth”, but only has “action” instead of “adventure”. I’m assuming that’s because the protagonist is assuming to be a murder-happy anti-hero? The Zelda games are all broad action games without much depth, and the stories are all pretty standard Good Guy Wins stuff. “Action adventure” seems completely accurate to me.

  6. Simplex says:

    “Either you want something to put in the living room so you can play games on your couch, or you want something to put on your desk so you can play games in your office chair.”

    The beauty of the PC is that you can do either. You can put a PC in a miniITX/HTPC case in your living room, connect it to a TV and play with a gamepad (or a lapboard) from your couch. I also know people who did the opposite – connected a console to their PC monitor.

    1. Tektotherriggen says:

      Exactly. Standards like HDMI, USB, and 1920×1080 resolution make it trivial to connect a PC like a console. The only downside I can see is that you still need mouse+keyboard to use Windows easily, but Microsoft could give it a “Big Picture” style living-room mode for $trivial. But then that would stop people buying X-Boxes, so maybe it’s deliberate.

      1. Bubble181 says:

        They tried making a Big Picture style Windows with 8.0 and 8.1, and….Well, there’s a reason that one’s mentioned in the list of Millennium, and not the list with XP.

        1. Tektotherriggen says:

          I thought that was for mobile/tablet rather than for couch use? Regardless – their error was to force the new style on desk-based users, rather than making it an additional interface option.

      2. John says:

        I do a lot of couch computing. I’ve got a wireless keyboard and mouse and I made a wooden tray to hold them in my lap while I compute. It wasn’t that big a deal. The real drawback to couch computing is eyestrain. My desktop is set to 1920×1080. It’s the default resolution for my TV and it’s fine for most games–it’s what I want for most games–but it’s not so fine for general computing purposes. Text is often too small to read easily. You can usually fix that in things like web browsers and word processors by adjusting the zoom but even then things like menu text and tooltip text are still too small. And sometimes figuring out how to adjust the zoom is an exercise in madness. Between you and me, Android Studio is a work of pure evil.

        1. tmtvl says:

          If you’re running KDE Plasma you can set global scaling under System Settings->Display and Monitor. You can also set font and icon size in their respective settings, but global scaling is easier to adjust when (if) you connect a different monitor.

          1. John says:

            I’m running Cinnamon, unfortunately. There may be some Cinnamon accessibility options that I’ve overlooked. I should probably check.

            1. tmtvl says:

              I think Cinnamon has scaling under Preferences->General->Desktop Scaling, but that was in an older Cinnamon, so it may have changed in the meanwhile.

              1. Philadelphus says:

                I just checked (as I also run Cinnamon), the options are “Auto”, “Normal”, and “Double (Hi-DPI)”, so they exist, but are not particularly granular at the moment.

              2. John says:

                I found the desktop scaling options. Boy, is that disorienting. I think I’d rather just set my desktop resolution to something like 1366×768 or 1280×720. Or squint, even. But I also found the “Large Text” option. It remains to be seen how much good that’ll do me, but I’ll give it a shot.

      3. aa547 says:

        I just purchased a new gaming laptop (first new PC in 10 years but my old one was doing OK for the games I like up until the end) primarily so I could move between desk and couch as mood/girlfriend permitted. So far its worked out great.

        For those curious it’s one of the new TUF A15’s, with the new Ryzen chip and the GTX1660 TI. Pretty great little PC overall though it can scream like a jet fighter and the weird Canadian configuration I have uses only 1 RAM slot (an easy upgrade for a later date though).

    2. Maryam says:

      Speaking as someone who did use an HTPC as a gaming PC for a while, it’s not quite so simple. PC UIs are not meant to be seen from a distance. There is SO MUCH squinting. I settled on using a lower resolution than I normally like for PC, but it still wasn’t a great solution.

      Console games have the UI problem too, sometimes, but it’s pretty universal in PC games.

      1. Simplex says:

        Modern windows (Win10) has a pretty good scaling system. You can scale up the whole UI up to 350%.
        And there is Steam’s Big Picture mode.

        1. Erik says:

          That’s what I use – a 1080p projector and screen in the living room, being fed by a decent mid-grade PC tucked into the rack with the receiver. Wireless keyboard with trackpad, plus mouse for when a trackpad won’t cut it. I turn the UI up to 150%, which works surprisingly well (most applications respect the UI scale; only a few older apps fail) and I don’t use it much for heavy reading. It’s mostly movie/video, plus some gaming (although less than I originally expected) and a bit of reading at the end of the night when my wife’s fallen asleep next to me and I don’t want to wake her. :)

    3. Redrock says:

      I’ve been using a miniITX PC in my living room for years now – just couldn’t justify wasting the space required for a desktop setup. It’s been working perfectly for me. I have a wireless mouse and keyboard, so navigating Windows is comfortable enough that I don’t even bother with Big Picture mode in Steam – just use it as a normal PC. I even do some keyboard and mouse gaming with the keyboard on my lap and the mouse on the couch by my side. It’s not comfortable enough for high-level shooting, but works well enough for isometric RPGs or more relaxed first-person games.

      Now, that setup has a serious problem – namely that my PS4 Pro can be collecting dust for months at a time before I feel compelled to fire it up to play an exclusive. But that’s about the only downside I can think of.

  7. DeadlyDark says:

    I think, that’s why out of only RE games I ever played (4, remakes of 2 and 3), the only one I enjoyed overall was remake of RE3. It was just the right level of serious, stupid and humor and was short enough not to overstay its welcome

    I do still need to play remake of 1 and 5-7.

    To be fair, Shamus, you should look up Devil May Cry games – they learned not to take themselves seriously in this series

    1. Christopher says:

      I think Devil May Cry is a lost cause for Shamus and I’m not sure if any Capcom game fits the bill.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        Yeah, I get the impression that Shamus would hate the Devil May Cry series. Sure, it’s not taking itself seriously – but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s almost all Style over Substance.
        Extra-long cutscenes where very little seems to happen*, nothing that happens in the story seems to have any (narrative) weight and the laws of physics can go suck it.

        I’d agree that it’s well done for what it is, (Bayonetta was better, I’d say) but it strikes me as similar to inviting a guy who hates horses to go see a renowned rodeo.

        *As I recall, the main thing that happens in cutscenes during DMC games is extended, bombastic fights with no player input. Like the devs didn’t want to risk those players making their extra-cool characters look bad by losing at the game.

      2. tmtvl says:

        They probably aren’t worse than Rage 2.

    2. Joshua says:

      I’ve only ever played 3. It really did not appeal to me. The puzzle mechanics are immersion breaking (there’s a giant battery you need from the town’s main statue to power an elevator or something?), the deliberately bad fight mechanics like shooting at zombies your character can see but you can’t due to the interface, and whole annoyance of Nemesis bugging you through the game overall. I never felt scared, just constantly annoyed

      1. DeadlyDark says:

        I haven’t played the original, so can’t say how it was there

      2. Chad Miller says:

        The puzzle mechanics are immersion breaking

        This is a staple of the RE games, or at least the early ones. “giant battery” for a tower is positively tame compared to things like “collect four chess pieces so you can unlock the basement” style nonsense.

        https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2002/05/03

  8. Chiller says:

    Either you want something to put in the living room so you can play games on your couch, or you want something to put on your desk so you can play games in your office chair.

    As someone who has both: exactly this.

    1. Daimbert says:

      Same here. Especially now, as I’m working from home and really don’t want a gaming plan that relies on me staying in that one room for the ENTIRE day. If I couldn’t see the TV in the living room from the “office”, I’d play PC games even less.

  9. Zeddy says:

    There’s a button on your PS4 to start streaming, so you don’t need a computer at all to do it. I’ve used it with success when internet friends want to watch what I’m playing.

    1. Shamus says:

      I was thinking more “Streaming to strangers for fun and profit”. When you’re doing that, you might want a way to control the layout so you can overlay the chat, put your webcam feed in the corner, balance the audio levels between yourself and the game. Automatically play little celebratory clips when someone subscribes. Have a custom-built script that puts some text on screen. (A speedrun timer, kill counter, tip jar amount, etc.)

      To my knowledge, you need a PC for that.

      1. Richard says:

        These days you also need to be able to read the text ‘comments’ from your audience so you can ‘engage with your audience’ – shout-outs, answering questions etc.

        That means a second screen to display the stream chat alongside your actual game, so a two-monitor PC setup is now the bare minimum for a successful* Twitch/Discord etc streamer.

        * Whatever that means

        1. ccesarano says:

          I hobby stream with a friend of mine, and I can confidently say that if I wanted to stream professionally I’d do it with a PC rig. PS4 is “fine” if you’re just doing it with friends casually, but the PS4 chat display has character limits that don’t actually exist in Twitch, the word-wrap is primitive, and it reduces your screen space. I’m hoping PS5 has improvements so you can better customize the layout, but only as a hobby streamer. [url=https://www.twitch.tv/ramblepak64/clip/AntediluvianBillowingJamFreakinStinkin]This little clip[/url] has an example of the current layout, which was fine at the start of the generation when it was new, but really ought to have been updated by this point.

          1. Nimrandir says:

            That reminds me — I need to start messing around with the PS4’s streaming capabilities before the fall semester starts. If the pandemic keeps me from arranging a face-to-face game night, online sessions with students feel like my next best option.

  10. Lino says:

    Typolice:

    It’s amazing how distinctive this art style it

    Should be “is”.

  11. Redrock says:

    I think everybody knew that a Horizon sequel is coming, and yet I just can’t get excited for it. There’s every reason to expect a mechanically better game, especially if they include some more dynamic and fun traversal options, like a glider or something similar. But the main hook of the original Horizon for me was the story, the mystery of how this weird world came to be. Now that that’s revealed, I don’t see a good enough hook to play yet another open-world bow-and-arrow-in-the-wilderness game. I mean, I’ve still barely made headway into AC: Odyssey and haven’t even touched the Shadow of the Tomb Raider, so I’m good on bow and arrow action for a good long while. And the moment-to-moment writing of Horizon is nowhere near good enough to support it without an enticing central mystery. I don’t know. I’m sure I’ll get it eventually, but i won’t be the game that makes me buy a PS5, that’s for sure.

  12. C.J.Geringer says:

    Aren´t your so-called Zelda Clones simply “Action-adventures”?

    1. galacticplumber says:

      Yes, and so are like 3 in 10 games that exist. It’s not useful.

  13. Syal says:

    Horizon: Zero Dawn might be an exception to the “need a few weeks” rule, it’s pretty darn one-dimensional. Hope the second one drops all the “you’re a sex/race/class I hate” crap and just focuses on the giant robot animals.

    Pragmata has an A and an M in different color, so I’m expecting it to be a prequel game to I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream.

    BugSnax is probably a puzzle game? Seems like eating Snax grants movement abilities or something, so chase them into useful locations then eat them to solve puzzles.

  14. 0451fan0451 says:

    Astro’s playroom is so weird. Astrobot rescue mission was an amazing PSVR platformer, so it seems kind of weird to take out the selling point.

  15. Ghostowl says:

    Maybe its my friends, but there are at least 3 of them planning on buying the PS5 largely because of STRAY. But it seems like something about that trailer really resonated with what they want to play.

  16. Michael says:

    Cyberpunk 2077 comes out on September 17, and at that point no other games will matter

    And now that you’ve jinxed it they moved it to Nov 19 :( News went up 20 mins ago on the Cyberpunk twitter.

    1. Joe says:

      On the bright side, this is now after I move house. Still, I did want it sooner.

  17. Ander says:

    Cyberpunk has been delayed. There’s your extra time.

  18. Ninety-Three says:

    I realize that genres are inherently porus, overlapping, intersecting, ever-changing, and poorly named. But dang it, we need words to communicate these complex ideas. The term “Action RPG” is reductive and ambiguous, but it’s better than saying “top-down game where you kill large numbers of weak foes to feed a Skinner-box driven gameplay loop where power levels continually climb in order to gradually render your equipment obsolete so that you’re always driven by a need to find something better” every time I want to talk about something in the Diablo lineage.

    What’s wrong with “Diablo clone”? Less syllables, less ambiguity, and frankly less reductiveness than “Action RPG”, I understand why the makers of these games feel compelled to come up with something more dignified, but as players we should be all-in on calling things “X clones” because that communicates way more complexity than a vague genre name, especially when someone asking for a definition of the genre will be told “Oh, that means ‘X clone’.”

    1. Xeorm says:

      I’m not sure about others, but when I hear the phrase “x clone” I think of said game as being very similar, but inferior to the original. This is in comparison to phrases like roguelike or metroidvania, where I understand that these games are similar and are in the same genre as the original, genre defining games. So, yes. I would prefer that we make up genre names for new genres rather than use terms like “diablo-clone”.

      1. Shamus says:

        I get that same vibe. When I hear the term “clone”, I get the feeling of “inferior knock-off”. Maybe this is a result of all the bad “Doom clones” I played in the 90s.

        1. Syal says:

          Or all the clones in comic books being general cannon fodder.

        2. Misamoto says:

          How about “-borne” in vein of “Soulsborne”? I guess “Zeldaborne” doesn’t really roll off the tongue.

          1. The Puzzler says:

            But the -borne means ‘like Bloodborne’, which Zelda isn’t. ‘Soulsborne’ is one of those clumsy portmanteau words like ‘Metroidvania’. For Zelda to get one of those we’d need another well-known game in the same subgenre. If Okami was more popular, we could say Zeldkami.

            1. Syal says:

              Beyond Good And Zelda.

            2. tmtvl says:

              Like Monkey Hero? …what do you mean you’ve never heard of Monkey Hero?

            3. Misamoto says:

              Is that what it means? I thought that meant “Born of”

              1. Decius says:

                It’s what it means in “Soulsborne”.

        3. Liessa says:

          I’ve always thought of Zelda-style games just as ‘action-adventure’ games?

      2. Sven says:

        How about diablolike, in the vain of roguelike? Doesn’t have quite the same negative connotations of clone, maybe?

        1. Erik says:

          That does help – “clone” is dismissive, “-like” is comparative.

          That said, I still think a more general name is better, if one can find it. Having played none of them, I’m not the right person to come up with that name. :)

          1. Syal says:

            Don’t we have Hack’n’Slash on top of Action RPG? What else gets called a Hack’n’Slash?

            1. tmtvl says:

              Stuff like Twin Blades maybe? Although that’s pretty much just a beat-em-up with weapons, so I don’t know if anyone calls it a Hack-and-Slash.

              1. Nimrandir says:

                I always called the Dynasty Warriors games hack and slash. Is Twin Blades like that?

            2. Richard says:

              Hack’n’Slash, presumably?

              I don’t think Hack’n’Slash is actually a hack’n’slash game though.

    2. Cynic says:

      Because that’s a terrible, irresponsible, and insulting way to name a genre. Asylum films are “clones” of the films they’re meant to “parody”. We don’t call chequers a “Chess-like”, and we don’t call baseball a “cricket-like” (Don’t think the historical parallels match up, don’t care). You describe them by how they feel and group them based on that, and you definitely don’t elevated what you think was the first thing to do the genre, or popularise it, over everything else (Especially since if it perfected it or popularised it: It wasn’t the first).

      It’d be like calling slasher films “Friday-the-13th clones”. And yeah, sure, there’s plenty of crap that is cloney, but to name the genre it is giving up right up the start. Music is able to make up new genre titles and entomology for building on them-why don’t games, why are people using the brain-terminating cliches of “Doom clone” “Diablo Clone”. I’ve heard so many idiots say “Doom Clone” to refer to modern shooters (Ironically, they meant to diss modern shooters but INSTEAD they bring Doom down to their level because they’re stupid), that I can’t respect anyone talking like that, and there’s a lot of people who agree, it’s childish and only helps to compare a game to one that the other person has played. It also reaches EXACTLY THE SAME PROBLEM: You describe game genres entirely in reference to older games, and suddenly, you’re comparing apples and oranges, because some games have first person shooting but are different in key ways, but you can’t describe that because you defined the genre as relevant to an old game, instead you have to call them “Mobile Doom Clones(Anything with half a freerunning system)” “RPG Doom-Clones (TES et al)” “Horror Doom Clones (Amnesia, and the soft reboot RE games etc)” It’s a terrible system for naming, and it’s juvenile and disrespectful.

      1. Decius says:

        Google does not think that RPG Doom Clones or Horror Doom Clones are a thing.

        I would assert that Strife is the closest thing to an RPG Doom Clone.

  19. Nessus says:

    Hokay, gotta get something off my chest:

    I legitimately can’t understand griping about Ashley in RE4. Not her obnoxious voice: I get that. I mean people who seem to hold her up as an example of terrible escort mechanics who was always screaming and always getting kidnapped.

    She was literally famously the opposite. Or as close to such as possible if you hate all escort mechanics on principle, good or bad. She was so well designed to get out of the way and not inconvenience the player that it often felt like she was an escort subject in name only. Like instead of trying to invent good escort mechanics, the devs just removed the escort mechanics from the ostensible escort mission. Outside of a few specific setpieces, you have to be deliberately trying to get her kidnapped/killed in order for that to happen at all, much less constantly.

    I cannot fathom the level of cluelessness implied by someone having any actual, persistent difficulty with her. The only way this meme make any sense is if she’s the only specific example of an escort mission in general that people can actually remember, so ironically they end up citing her purely by default when they want to make a joke about bad escort missions. I have to give Shamus the benefit of the doubt and assume this is the case here.

    I’m not defending her as a character, or her voice, or anything else. Just her mechanics. And I’m not even saying she was actively good as such: as I said above, her mechanics are so aggressively smoothed-over that she barely even counts as an escort subject at all most of the time. Just that if one managed to have such problems with Ashley… then one must have had much, much bigger problems than Ashley.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      I think it’s partly because of the voice and partly because she’s so well known. She became the poster child for annoying escort missions by basic default ,despite being a good example.
      (Plus she did spend the whole game being useless, getting kidnapped and screaming. That part was spot on.)

      Mostly, though, I agree (though your tone seems unduly harsh). To paraphrase Yahtzee Crowshaw: Ashley stuck close behind you and didn’t wander off, ducked when you aimed a gun near her, in certain situation you could get her to quickly and efficiently hide during a fight, and – crucially – SHE NEVER TRIED TO HELP*.
      The voice was annoying, but compared to so many other NPC companions, Ashley was fantastic.

      …THAT SAID… ‘comparatively good’ can still be pretty damn bad. Escort / AI wrangling missions have earned their reputation.
      To this day I just don’t get how ICO became so famous and beloved. Everyone else remember how annoying trying to herd Yorda around was, right?

      *This one is the killer for most escort/AI-wrangling. GODDAMN IT YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING GIVE ME THAT GUN AND ALL THOSE HEALING ITEMS YOU CLEARLY CAN’T BE TRUSTED WITH THEM

      1. galacticplumber says:

        ICO got its beloved position by making pretty much everything about the game easy, and atmospheric while making the escorting that was the entire premise be the entire obstacle.

        Like the horse from Shadow of the Colossus, inconvenient, but realistic things are programmed in to attempt to make the subject feel more real, and less like a walking accessory. Whether you could enjoy ICO or not was based almost entirely on whether you were okay with this.

        1. BlueHorus says:

          Naturally, YMMV…but Yorda’s AI in ICO seemed especially bad to me. That girl went out of her way to misinterpret my commands at awkward moments.
          Running towards enemies instead of away; at first refusing to climb ladders then deliberately moving to a DIFFERENT ladder and climbing that one instead, just plain refusing to move when it was crucial she did (like timed moving platforms)…
          …she wasn’t just stupid, she was an *active hindrance* to my game. And it seemed in no way realistic, unless Team ICO were trying to communicate that this girl hated me and also had a death wish.

    2. Steve C says:

      The mechanics were acceptable. It was the narrative use of the character that was grating. Which Shamus describes as a “nuisance that gets captured in every other cutscene.” IE the cutscenes were the problem. It is similar problem to the knife fights he complained about in the preceding paragraph.

      The problem with that character wasn’t her mechanics. It was that she was kidnapped, rescued, kidnapped, rescued, kidnapped, rescued, kidnapped, rescued, kidnapped, rescued, kidnapped, rescued, etc ad nauseam. And that it was done in cutscenes rather than anything the player could interact with.

      It wasn’t that it was difficult to escort her. It was that it was impossible to escort her. The writer kept grabbing the controller away and kidnapping her by fiat. And how do you re-re-re-rescue her? Well there’s always a way: https://youtu.be/uoV1-fsFCmw?t=14

    3. Shamus says:

      I’d generally agree that she wasn’t particularly burdensome during gameplay.

      When I faulted her for getting kidnapped all the time, I was talking about cutscenes. I’ll never forget the one where she ran off and – for no particular reason – perfectly positioned herself against a wall so that magic restraints could pop out and grab her. Like, if you offered me $100 to do what Ashley did, I doubt I could pull it off on the first try. It must take a ton of practice to get your body in just the right position.

      Also, this turns into another instance of “failure is prohibited until its mandatory”. If *I* lose track of her, it’s Game Over. But then two minutes later the writer snatches her away in a cutscene and that’s NOT a game over.

  20. ccesarano says:

    Resident Evil VIII (Village)
    The trick with the number in the logo was done with the prior game, though thinking back I’m not entirely sure where in the logo they did it. That, and depending on your locale, the game was originally called Resident Evil: Biohazard, or Biohazard: Resident Evil.

    Regarding everything else, I’m curious what your experience with Capcom is, because it sounds like most of what you’ve played is in the Xbox 360/PS3 era (so roughly 2005-2013). That is basically their “darkest time” for a lot of fans, as they began to try and chase what they thought Western gamers wanted. Starting with Resident Evil 7 and Monster Hunter World, they’ve kind of been on a real kick, seeming to have rediscovered themselves in a way that can appeal to both Western and Japanese fans.

    Granted, I’ve also only had your impressions here to go on, and you mostly speak of RE4 and 5 (and man, 5 was rough, and 6 even more so…). Personally, I avoided RE7 if only because its demo and memories of Alien: Isolation have taught me that first-person horror is something I struggle to handle. However, I really enjoyed the Resident Evil 2 Remake, which seems to have dialed down the camp a lot and was probably one of my favorite games last year. So this RE8 trailer, which looks to increase the amount of combat and beckon back to RE4 in a lot of ways (though not tonally speaking re: camp), has me itching to go back and give RE7 a proper try myself.

    I don’t want to sit here and try and convince you, however. But, if you find yourself with the time to watch a solid 1-hour analysis, Night Mind has a fantastic look into RE7. Like, it legit seems like it’s a really good, thematic narrative. And if you ever find yourself with curiosity towards the RE2 Remake but don’t feel comfortable pulling the trigger, reach out and I’ll gladly gift you the game on Steam. I enjoyed it just that much.

    That said, and this will feed into later discussion, I grew up a console gamer, and a huge part of that has been Capcom. Street Fighter II, Mega Man X, Breath of Fire III, Rival Schools, Resident Evil Remake and 4, even Dead Rising, these are some of the biggest games of my life, and playing Dragon’s Dogma, Devil May Cry 5, Mega Man 11, Resident Evil 2 Remake, and Monster Hunter World, it feels like “they’re back” from the dark times of the Xbox 360 and PS3 generation. So I’m kind of in that fan position of wanting to encourage people to “see the light”, even though there’s a clear difference in gaming foundation and preference.

    Kena: Bridge of Spirits
    This game is one of the stand-out titles for me. In terms of genre, I mean, gaming genre just has issues altogether. Zelda is categorized as “Action Adventure”, but Assassin’s Creed has been as well. Basically, if you’re not a first-person shooter or a straight-up RPG, you’re shoved into Action Adventure. Heck, it even gets more complicated depending on perspective. You say action-RPG, and games like Secret of Mana come to mind, which only shares maybe half of the traits you listed with the genre name.

    Regardless, this game actually reminded me a bit of Mini Ninjas in terms of its animation and atmosphere, with some character-action combat more complex than what you get with most Zelda titles. I’m down.

    Stray
    I’m not sure what to make of this game yet. I’m not a big fan of cats themselves, so that doesn’t really intrigue me. Maybe if you played as a dog. However, a dog wouldn’t get around the city in the same manner that cats do. Curious setting, will need to see more.

    Project Athia
    PC gaming is still, in its own way, a weird sort of environment to jump into. You have one machine but you now have several platforms/services (Steam, Epic Games Store, Origin, UPlay, whatever Microsoft is doing today, GOG, etc.). It’s all one machine but your library is split apart, and you’re basically counted on purchasing digitally. While my current living space has a lot less room and thus I’ve moved towards digital as of late, I still like having physical copies as a sort of “back up” or preservation. I may end up purchasing a bunch of discs at a discounted price in the future just so I can have those games should servers take a crapper. Most gaming services don’t offer that, and I think even you have said that there’s no guarantee Steam will let you keep your library should Valve need to close up shop. I still have my SNES, and it can still play SNES carts, and while you can emulate SNES games, that gets into the topic of precision of an emulation and other trickery most folks don’t notice or know about.

    There’s also the matter that I got a graphics card from my cousin for free a few years ago that is good, but my processor needs an upgrade. To upgrade my processor I gotta upgrade my motherboard. I already had to purchase a new power supply when I upgraded my graphics card (and had to buy a whole new tower, in fact), and now I need to make sure the Motherboard has X slots with Y connectors and can handle Z power, etc. etc. Or, I could just purchase another tower (which is what I would have done if my cousin didn’t get me that graphics card).

    The thing is, games are the ONLY reason I’d upgrade this computer, and any $500-600 tower isn’t nearly as “future proof” as the minimum 5 years a console will get me. So I could go through the hassle of a major hardware upgrade, or just get a PS5.

    PC gaming is easier to get into and more cost effective than it’s been in the past, but in the end, the console is still a far more simple gaming machine that is built specifically for gaming and whose operating system is dedicated to gaming first. The Switch is my favorite in that regard. Quickest to boot up, quickest to start a game, quickest to get back into playing. And for me, I can play the Switch anywhere. It’s an under-powered machine, but what games it has I’m able to enjoy docked connected to a TV or laying in bed, using the JoyCons in my hands as I put the system itself in a tablet holder hooked to the bed frame (great when you got a bad back).

    Which isn’t to say one is better than the other. It’s a cost/benefit thing. But there are a lot of reasons that I still don’t really use my PC for gaming, even if a bunch of my gaming is done at my “work” station (it’s where I record footage for the YouTube channel, after all).

    As for the game itself, most of my interest comes from the fact that I liked Final Fantasy XV despite the mess it shipped in. It shipped as a mess because Tetsuya Nomura is a horrible director that gets distracted too easily and is more style than substance. The game was saved from his hands by Hajime Tabata, but by that point it was less about a creative vision and more about “How can we make this game shippable?” The end result is a game I liked a lot, but not without caveats. It was and still is beautiful, though, and while Tabata left Luminous Studios, I’m interested in seeing what the FFXV team can put together with (hopefully) more clear direction.

    I tuned out the generic text, though. Forgot all about it. So I’d have to agree that the trailer would have been better without that.

    Returnal
    I don’t even remember this game.

    Ghostwire: Tokyo
    This is an oddball one. The original director, Ikumi Nakamura, left the project (and studio) without really explaining why. There’s rumors and speculation abound, but I can’t tell what’s truth and what is people wanting to believe something as true because her charisma has captured many hearts. This was her first role as creative director, and then she left. Some think Bethesda was pushing for the game to be too action-oriented. We can’t say for sure, because she’s done the rare job of being an actual professional and hasn’t said one way or another (that, and Japan is all about face and it is unlikely she’d just up and trash talk a company she worked for to make ’em look bad).

    So the game looks interesting, but there’s a curiosity of what it was going to be originally that hangs over it. There’s also the fact that it looks like a game originally planned for PS4/Xbox One. Those character models look current-gen, and I feel like it is relying on the Ray-Tracing to create a “next-gen” look to it. Regardless, looks interesting.

    Pragmata
    Yeah, the Capcom logo intrigued me because it was nice to see them making a new IP. It’s also intriguing as a teaser trailer that doesn’t invoke more than curiosity. But it’s also a game slated for 2022. At this point, I’m tired of games being announced several years ahead of release.

    Horizon: Forbidden West
    I liked the fights with the big giant dinobots in Horizon: Zero Dawn. I liked the politics of the matriarch society in the starting zone. I liked some of the Uncharted/Tomb Raider/Assassin’s Creed platforming in certain underground zones.

    The encounters with other humans were half-baked stealth or just mediocre pseudo-third-person-shooter combat. I found Ashley Burch to be a most uninspired voice actress for Aloy, helping make her the most boring video game protagonist I’ve experienced in a long time. The further I learned about the world, the less and less interested I became in it.

    It also followed up The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for me, so… if Forbidden West has that rumored co-op, maybe I’ll get it to play with a friend. Otherwise, I’m okay passing on this one.

    The Other Guys:
    Bugsnax was probably the only presentation that I felt repulsed at. GTAV might have been an odd way to open, but Bugsnax was just… awful. It felt like the team got lucky with the goofy nature of Octodad and decided to wear random Internet humor as a brand identity.

    I’m surprised you haven’t commented on Ratchet & Clank at all. Not because I think it looks like your sort of game, but because I figured that’s where the tech would seem most obviously presented in the “gameplay”. It was actually both a highlight and disappointment for me, as the trailer promised more than I knew they’d be able to pull off. However, the actual gameplay was far less than I had expected, as most of it was just brief teleportation like in Dishonored. I was hoping for something that felt as impressive as the first time I saw the original Prey. A game that turned out lackluster, sure, but going through a portal, emerging onto a tiny moon, and seeing a giant monster walk in and look down at me… yeah, that was a cool moment that felt properly next-gen (and was swiftly made to look outdated when Portal premiered).

    In fact, I’m curious if you saw Mark Cerny’s presentation regarding the PS5. I only managed to comprehend some of it, but it gave me the impression that the PS5 was engineered, whereas the feeling I get with Xbox Series X is that it’s just a bunch of high-powered parts stuffed in a box.

    Astro’s Playroom is supposedly a pack-in title installed on each system as a sort of tech demo. In that regard, Sony really is learning from what Nintendo had done with Wii Sports and Nintendoland on WiiU, and to an extent 1-2 Switch (though that wasn’t a pack-in). No doubt they want a game that will showcase all the haptic feedback and microphone junk on the new controller. It looks a fun enough distraction, but I was hoping for a sort of Mario-style alternative. Sackboy looks to be closer in design to Super Mario 3D World, including the co-op. Regardless, these two games and Ratchet & Clank are a breath of fresh air from Sony’s otherwise prestige/Oscar-bait style titles they’ve been sticking to. I don’t expect it to last, however. Just long enough to convince parents they ought to get a PS5.

    1. Syal says:

      Stray is going to end up being a post-apocalyptic Untitled Goose Game.

    2. Shamus says:

      You pretty much nailed my experience with RE. I dabbled with the early Resident Evil games in the early aughts, but at the time I was looking for something like Silent Hill 2 or 3, and so RE wasn’t doing it for me. Then I played RE 4 and 5, and then figured that, despite their popularity, Capcom games were not for me.

      1. Don Alsafi says:

        That’s what I was figuring was your experience too. Which strikes me as both understandable and a little silly, to look at 2020 releases and say “Nope, that’s not for me!” … when your prior experience was 10-15 years ago.

        I mean, that feels like a more time-compressed version of someone saying “UGH, Doctor Who? Battlestar Galactica? No thanks – I saw those in the ’70s and they were really dumb.” Which, regardless of your feelings on those shows in either era – it’s pretty apparent that those were works being made by completely different creators, and with completely different intents!

        Anyway, just pointing out that at some point you miiiight wanna give one of the modern RE’s a try – because, like ccesarano says, a lot of us actually SHARE your opinions on the games that came out in the period you cite! And the newer ones really are something else. ;)

      2. ccesarano says:

        That era of Capcom games were rough for everyone, so it’s understandable. I think a lot of horror fans have also always seen Silent Hill as the superior in terms of narrative and actual horrifying tone, whereas Resident Evil is mechanically superior from a traditional standpoint (which is funny to say when you consider how much people complain about the original tank controls today). Resident Evil 4’s development was particularly curious, with the original build becoming Devil May Cry, then the next prototype including ghosts and being slower-paced with fixed camera angles, with the final iteration being a sort of blend of the two ideas.

        Resident Evil 5 is, I think, a product of just that era of Call of Duty exploding and sending ripples through the industry. Until Monster Hunter World, Resident Evil was Capcom’s biggest property. The original Resident Evil sold more than any of their prior franchises, which is saying something considering how both Street Fighter II and Mega Man seem like essential franchises to industry as a whole. So when Activision starts bringing in these massive numbers with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, as well as a few other select big seller, Capcom decides their tentpole franchise of Resident Evil needs to appeal to a broad audience to make the same numbers in order to play alongside the big boys. This is also where Bionic Commando gets his awful dreads makeover, and where you saw Lost Planet start as a third-person shooter with an Asian actor to appeal to Japanese audiences swap to a four-player co-op shooter with a faceless, nameless squad in its sequel.

        It was a weird time for Capcom, trying to figure out where they stood now that the face of the biggest games in the industry were changing. It was, quite frankly, the worst time to play Capcom games… and yeah, if you were playing Resident Evil for more Silent Hill, you were always going to be disappointed.

    3. Echo Tango says:

      Yeah, Bugsnax’ visuals make all of the characters look like they’re playing Team Hattress 2: Loot Box Edition. All of the characters seemed far better before they mutated. ^^;

    4. tmtvl says:

      Can we get a little Capcom lovefest going?

      Breath of Fire: great.
      BoF2: awesome.
      BoF3: awesome.
      BoF4: great.
      Devil May Cry 3: awesome.
      Dragon’s Dogma: my favourite game of all time.
      Monster Hunter: amazing.
      Resident Evil: as a child, wonderfully scary, as an adult, wonderfully camp.
      RE2: great.
      Rival Schools: I like Tekken 3 more, but still pretty great.

      1. Nimrandir says:

        I’m hurt that you didn’t mention any Street Fighter games. I’m too slow for Marvel vs. Capcom, but those are a heck of a lot of fun to watch. However, you described Monster Hunter as amazing, so we’re cool.

        Breath of Fire III is the only game in that series I played, but I enjoyed it. I also really need to get around to finishing Dragon’s Dogma.

        Finally, Mega Man 2 will always be one of my favorite NES games, and its soundtrack is the stuff of legend.

        1. John says:

          I’ll admit that I don’t much care for or about most of Capcom’s games, but I do love Street Fighter. Oh, how I wish that Capcom had followed through on the port of Street Fighter V they were working on for Linux.

        2. tmtvl says:

          I’ve actually never managed to get around to playing SF or Mega Man. Though I have heard that SF has a bad habit of changing the inputs for specific moves between games. I’ve also heard good stuff about Mega Man Battle Network, so I may check that out.

          1. Nimrandir says:

            That’s possible. I’m really only knowledgeable about the II and IV series, and I generally stick to charge characters (Blanka 4Life!), where there’s not much room for altering inputs. As such, I can’t speak to how the Alpha and III series evolved or how their characters were adopted into the modern games.

            However, I can’t remember a ton of changes from World Warrior through Super Turbo. Dhalsim’s Yoga Flame switched to a back-circle instead of forward, but that was probably a strict improvement (to avoid messing up fireballs). Chun Li’s Kikoken also switched off a charge at some point; I am unsure why.

          2. John says:

            Though I have heard that SF has a bad habit of changing the inputs for specific moves between games.

            That does happen, but the only specific example that comes to mind at the moment is Adon, whose inputs changed somewhat between the Alpha series and Street Fighter IV. Adon’s a relatively obscure character, however. To the best of my knowledge, the bread-and-butter special move inputs for Street Fighter perennials like Ryu and Ken have never changed at all. Capcom is not going to start messing with the hadoken or the shoryuken at this late date . . . although they’re not above giving Ryu or Ken non-standard hadoken or shoryuken variants in addition to the older stuff, depending on the game.

            To be fair, I have almost no knowledge of Street Fighter III, which I played once for about five minutes in the arcade.

            1. Christopher says:

              SFV mixed up a lot of charge and motion characters, often to differentiate clones more. Vega is no longer charge in SFV for most moves for instance, and Nash isn’t at all.

              1. John says:

                Ah. I’ve watched a lot of Street Fighter V, but I haven’t played it at all. I knew that it had changed some characters like Karin and Nash, but my impression was that it had mostly changed their special moves rather than their inputs (if you see what I mean). I suppose Nash still has a flash kick and a fireball as he did in the Alpha series, where he was basically Guile in a new skin, but the rest of his Street Fighter V special moves are completely new so that it doesn’t make sense to talk about Capcom changing those inputs. Karin is–I think–a somewhat better example of what I’m talking about. It’s been a long time since I played Alpha 3 and Karin was never one of my favorites, but based on the Street Fighter V matches I’ve seen she might as well be a completely different character. In Karin’s case, Capcom hasn’t so much changed the inputs as changed the character.

      2. Christopher says:

        I don’t mind Shamus not liking them, but I’m not opposed to give a little love to my favorite Capcom games. They’re probably only second to Nintendo in terms of making the most games I like.

        Street Fighter is easily my favorite fighting game franchise, and besides Smash the fighting games I enjoy all resemble it in some way. Street Fighter V for all its flaws has been my gateway into online fighting game playing, Street Fighter 3 is easily one of the most beautiful and good-feeling games I’ve played and Street Fighter 2 is a nostalgic hit that made the whole genre popular in the first place – before Street Fighter 4 made it popular again 17 years later.

        Shu Takumi’s games are delightfully plotted and written. I adore how much personality Ace Attorney it has while using so little resources to do it, and how it uses its unique investigate -> courtroom setup to create excitement. The characters are all memorable and funny. The Pursuit themes are universally some of the most hype music in gaming. Ace Attorney 1-3 is the most consistent trilogy of video games out there, largely from keeping on the same staff and not changing very much besides the story. Ghost Trick is an entirely different kind of game, but it has a lot of those same qualities is more unique to boot. Criminally underplayed, but fairly rated, most everyone who played it loved it.

        Dragon’s Dogma is a flawed gem that excels at what it brings to the table. It’s not as content rich or smartly paced as a Dark Souls, and the numbers could use some tweaking, but it’s one of few RPGs with actually fun action combat. It manages to be tense and exciting while still feeling more approachable than those Fromsoft games, and the movement for especially the ranger classes feels very freeing. I’ve been wanting them to make a sequel since it released.

        Resident Evil 4 is one of the only shooters I enjoy, a rollercoaster ride where each encounter brings something different to the table and you rarely need to deal with the things I dislike about most shooters – unavoidable damage from hitscan enemies, a restrictive first person perspective that’s nice for lining up shots but bollocks for awareness and presenting characters, or an oppressive military theming. I adore its sense of humor and I love the Striker. It’s one of the only games I played on the Wii where the remote actually enhanced a game.

        God Hand is a wonderfully unique take on action games, and the lightness of tone combined with the intricate gameplay really puts it up there for me as one of my favorite brawlers.

        Devil May cry has had its ups and downs, but 3 and 5 in particular are spectacular action titles. 5 is one of the cleanest, purest action games out there, with little in the way of gimmicks between you and the deepest combat system you can get. 3 is a couple of generations behind, but it’s not dissimilar to a less polished version of 5’s qualities. Both have remarkably fun stories – I think dunking on them for cutscene antics is a very party pooper sort of mentality. They know when to have fun and be silly, and when to reign it in and play on the heart of the characters instead. In a year where God of War had a story that frustrated me to no end, I was happy to play a game as positive and warm at its core as Devil May Cry 5 is. All the fun chuuni antics are the surface layer of a franchise that really cares about the bonds of friends and families.

        And that’s not mentioning the devs springing out of Capcom to start their own studios, like Platinum Games or Vanillaware, who’ve made many cool games of their own. Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising, The Wonderful 101 and Dragon’s Crown are Capcom games in all but name.

      3. Xedo says:

        Ghost Trick is one of my all-time favorites.

        And Breath of Fire 5 (Dragon Quarter) is a legitimately great game in its own right. It was a jarring transformation of the Breath of Fire franchise, but as a standalone game it would have been considered bold and visionary. (And apparently the Dragon Quarter team went on to make Dead Rising, which similarly had a mechanic to replay the game to get stronger).

        Also the entire dang Ace Attorney franchise is aces. Except for Apollo Justice, which is merely great.

      4. ccesarano says:

        This thread made me realize I forgot to mention the Phoenix Wright games in my list of Capcom loves. How could I?

      5. Dalisclock says:

        I rather liked BOF3 but BOF1 was kinda meh and while BOF2 was better in a lot of ways, it had some really obnoxious difficulty spikes, like when you were forced to fight a boss fight with particular character(Rand, I believe) solo. God help you if you hadn’t actually been using that character up to that point(and there was no leaked experience at all).

    5. Nimrandir says:

      PC gaming is easier to get into and more cost effective than it’s been in the past, but in the end, the console is still a far more simple gaming machine that is built specifically for gaming and whose operating system is dedicated to gaming first.

      This is pretty much how I feel about the difference in gaming environments. For me, the real cost of PC gaming is not money, but vigilance. I have to fiddle with either my machine or the game with most PC titles, while the greatest inconvenience presented by my PS4 is how it sounds like a combat helicopter.

    6. Decius says:

      If you’re aware enough of the SNES emulation situation to have questions about it, you should know that the current state of SNES emulation is that the actual SNES hardware isn’t consistent, but the current emulators mimic the hardware when it was new quite well. (The clock speed of the audio processors drifts slightly over time)

  21. Daimbert says:

    Last time we talked about Death Loop, and here’s yet another game built around the idea of looping time. And we had Prey: Mooncrash a couple of years ago. It’s interesting how these patterns emerge.

    This is also a far wider pattern, emerging in movies as well (Happy Death Day and its sequel are the two I’ve definitely watched, but I’ve heard of a few others in the same timeframe). So it would be interesting to try to figure out what social aspects are pushing their popularity. Especially since right now it seems more like the zombie craze than the dad craze.

    1. Syal says:

      Hollywood ran out of ideas, so they started re-using old ideas in the form of remakes, and now these timeloop stories are metacommentary on that.

      It’s very Adaptation.

  22. EOW says:

    “Cyberpunk 2077 comes out on September 17”
    CDPR pulled a 4D chess move and delayed it in time for your article.
    Which… worries me. One thing is delaying for polish. But when they pretty much admit the game is done there’s something more shady behind. I seriously fear another Andromeda situation in which the management wasted 6 years gazing at their navels then rushed the actual game in a year.
    It feels like they constantly change what the game is like every trailer and that’s never a good sign

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      One thing is delaying for polish. But when they pretty much admit the game is done there’s something more shady behind.

      I don’t understand this train of thought. Delaying for polish is the same that admitting that the game is done, they’re simply, well, polishing it.

      Yeah, the whole gameplay and content are done, but now they’re working on balance and bug fixing. This is entirely normal. This is how development works. Honestly, the fact that people freak out this way is likely why so many publishers decide to release what they have before fixing everything.

      1. Erik says:

        Longer polishing is not only normal (outside gaming, at least) but desirable.

        There’s a reason for the old software joke: The first 90% takes the first 90% of the schedule, and the last 10% takes the other 90% of the schedule.

    2. Nimrandir says:

      One thing is delaying for polish.

      How can you possibly be in favor of the publisher displaying prejudice against its own home people? The xenophobia on show here is just . . .

      . . . Oh. That’s not capitalized.

      [awkward pause]

      I’ll see myself out.

    3. Hector says:

      [quote]It feels like they constantly change what the game is like every trailer and that’s never a good sign[/quote]

      I’m not sure I understand where this is coming from. The gameplay on display was consistent from trailer to trailer. I’m not really sure what you even mean here, apart from the idea that they’ve put more of what’s in the final game out there over time. You *could* be correct, but I see no evidence to suggest that at all. More likely, the original delay was necessary (and a six-month delay is pretty normal in the industry), then the pandemic outbreak put them farther behind.

  23. Dreadjaws says:

    See here, Shamus. I am a bit of a diehard Resident Evil fan, so you might be tempted to ignore my opinion based on that, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that your opinion of the series has been awfully marred by having started with the most “Hollywood action” games in the entire franchise (with 6 being the zenith), particularly when you arrived to them looking for Silent Hill-like experiences.

    Now, it’s very tempting to believe that since the entire franchise is popular all games are like those, but reality is much different. There’s a strange quality to these games that makes them very popular whether they’re action or horror oriented, and whether their writing is serious or silly. I guarantee you since VII things are very, very different from what you’ve experienced.

    Granted, you have a more critical eye than I do and are more likely to find issues that I haven’t (or I simply chose to overlook), so I’m not going to go out and claim you’re sure to enjoy the later games, but I’m positive you’re still going to have an experience that’s at least different from what you’ve had so far with the previous titles.

    You should really check Resident Evil VII before making a judgement on what you might feel about VIII. Hey, it’s currently on sale in the Humble store. I can even gift you a copy if you promise to make a write-up on the game. Positive or negative, I don’t mind. It’s always interesting to read your analyses.

    1. tmtvl says:

      I started with RE1DC on the PSX and I found it to actually be a pretty decent horror game. Much later when I saw footage of 4 I was kinda saddened that the horror game of my youth became a 3D shooter with zombies.

    2. Christopher says:

      I said up there that I’m not sure any Capcom game would work for Shamus, but Resident Evil 7 does have one crucial advantage. To just quote Wikipedia:

      For the first time in the series, the narrative designer is a westerner—Richard Pearsey, writer of the two expansion packs of F.E.A.R. and one of the narrative designers of Spec Ops: The Line.

    3. Cynic says:

      He doesn’t have a critical eye here-he literally isn’t familiar with VII, because his comments can’t make sense if he is.

      Very obviously VIII is a hard sequel to VII. The camera, the engine, literally the same CHARACTERS. It’s not a return to the old school resident evil, it’s the Daniel Craig reboot, and this is the Skyfall of the series, where they bring back some of that old mythology and old characters, in a grounded setting, to give them a final, dignified, farewell. They literally suggested Chris Redfield will be leaving the series in the trailer, and showed it’s all the same gameplay from VII. It’s not original, but I’m sort of amazed they went from their “Casino Royale”, saw how well it worked and went “wait, we just did a Casino Royale, let’s do a Skyfall”-Resident Evil? Being direct? Not bombarding you with filler and melodrama? Who infected the heads of Capcom with the t virus to get them out of the way and deliver something decent?

      Which, instead of being the Paul W.S Anderson crap of the og games (I know RE fans hate the films, but come on, the games haven’t been any less dumb, retconny, or ridiculous), is more the OG Texas Chainsaw Massacre version of the same concept-a hardcore, upsetting, disempowering haunted house.

      His comments make sense as a criticism of 6, Revelations, but the last one he played obviously, was 5, released more than a DECADE ago. I understand skipping 6, it was a hot mess, and it showed it prominently in footage, but this isn’t a sequel to that gameplay or that aesthetic.

  24. Echo Tango says:

    Little Devil Inside looks pretty good to me – a lighter fluffier Souls-like, for when you don’t want to self-flagellate. :)

    1. Duoae says:

      I thought it looked good too. I hadn’t seen this gameplay trailer but now I’m a bit confused because the health/survival icons are identical to those used in Below and there are quite a few similar elements in the interface design. However, Below was developed by Capybara Games and LDI is being developed by neostream… Soooo.

  25. jerkface says:

    One of the issues with games “genres” is that they are not genres half the time. Very often they are the same game with a slight twist. Texas Hold Em and Poker Five Card Draw are two variants on the game Poker, not two games in the same genre. Boardgames do this way better. Card Game is an actual genre, because there are a ton of card games using different rules.

    But in video games, we say that CoD and Battlefield are only in the same genre even though they are basically the same game, which results in really awful genre descriptions which make little to no sense. In reality we have a couple dozen big games, which come with thousands of variants each, but the real genres are undefined.

    We often get hung up on technical differences, such as first person shooter, which of course does not include games that are about shooting in first person view like Portal and Minecraft, but excludes Gears of War which is still the same thing just with a slightly worse camera. The worst one is the infamous marketing creation MOBA, which of course does not include games where you battle online in an arena (e.g. Quake), unless it has three lanes and hero drafting (essentially requiring that the game must be a clone of DOTA or else it won’t count). Sometimes this goes completely off the rails, and Battlerite gets thrown into the MOBA genre purely because of its similar looks, despite having nearly nothing in common with DOTA and League.

    Genres are a complete mess, and defining every game by pointing to its ancestor is actually more useful than trying to shoehorn a random word on top. The video game industry has come up with shockingly few new games over the decades, and mostly iterated on what was before.

    Cities Skylines and Sim City are not just the same genre, they are the same game, as their differences are really just the quality of execution of the exact same mechanics. Oxygen Not Included is the same genre, but a different game. Concrete Jungle is about building cities as well, but both a different game and a different genre.

    But as long as marketing departments write the books, we’ll be stuck with awful genre names that make no sense and don’t tell us anything useful.

  26. Zaxares says:

    You say “Action RPG”, I just say “Diablo Clone”. ;)

    Also, you may have heard that Cyberpunk 2077 got delayed to November, so that Fall glut is a little bit less glutted now.

    1. Zekiel says:

      Hooray! Play Horizon Zero Dawn and let us know what you think Shamus!

  27. Agammamon says:

    “THIS GAME IS ONLY AVAILABLE ON PLAYSTATION. AND ALSO PC BUT THAT DOESN’T COUNT.”

    Console wars man. Console wars. The PC, literally, doesn’t count since its all about which *console* you like.

    https://youtu.be/aDMsGl_XxTk?t=78

    1. Cynic says:

      I…. don’t think you realise this video is making fun of you too.

      You’re saying this like the GPU and CPU manufacturers have you locked into the EXACT SAME cycle of brand loyalty and upselling.

      1. Agammamon says:

        I know it is. And its hilariously on-target.

  28. Agammamon says:

    Either you want something to put in the living room so you can play games on your couch, or you want something to put on your desk so you can play games in your office chair.

    Buuuut *stamps feet* the PC can do both!

  29. Agammamon says:

    Cyberpunk 2077 comes out on September 17, and at that point no other games will matter.</blockquote.

    Good news, everybody!

    Cyberpunk has been delayed until November.

  30. Content Consumer says:

    top-down game where you kill large numbers of weak foes to feed a Skinner-box driven gameplay loop where power levels continually climb in order to gradually render your equipment obsolete so that you’re always driven by a need to find something better

    Ah, yes, you mean the classic TDGWYKLNOWFTFASBDGLWPLCCIOTGRYEOSTYADBANTFSB genra, first popularized with Diablo.

  31. Sleeping Dragon says:

    That Pragmata trailer has a strong Death Stranding feel for me, it basically tells you nothing about the game and is meant to make you interested with weirdness alone. The thing is that it’s quite unlikely anything gameplay can do will rival whatever fever dream players will piece together from this kind of presentation. From what I’ve heard (it’s not out on PC yet) Death Stranding fell into this trap and it felt like it underdelivered.

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      It’s always a high risk trying to sell a game with an abstract trailer that says nothing about the gameplay. This kind of thing can work for sequels, where people more or less know at least something about what to expect, but I’ve never seen this strategy work for new IPs.

      Like, you might be able to get away with this sort of thing with a movie trailer, but a game requires at least a clue of what the gameplay is going to be like. The best I can say for this trailer is that at least it doesn’t try to oversell the game the way, say, the Dead Island trailer did. I’d rather have no expectations from a trailer than being given expectations that a game cannot possibly meet.

  32. General Karthos says:

    I think the price of the console is going to be absurdly high, which is why they haven’t given it yet. They want to get people hyped for games that are “exclusive” to the PS5 so that people will so desperately want a game/games that they’re willing to buy the console just for the game they really want. Or there are enough games that people want that they’re willing to stomach a $700 price tag for the real system. ($600 for the one nobody with any sense would buy because it doesn’t have a hard drive.) If they were going to make price a selling point instead of a disincentive, they would have come out with a price in addition to all these games. “Look at all the games we’ll have for the console! And the price is low too!” is a much better sales pitch to my mind than “Look at all the games we’ll have for the console! Price? Who cares about the price? Look at all the games we’ll have for the console!”

    So, yeah. Hype you about the games to the point where you really, really, really want one or all of them, then hit you over the head with a price tag and hope you suck it up and buy the system anyway because you really, really want that game/those games. Either way, this close to release, no price news is not good news. Every time they hype the games, that price point ticks upward in my head.

    1. tmtvl says:

      Yeah, it’s weird, why would a luxury product be expensive?

      1. General Karthos says:

        I’m not saying it’s wrong that it should be expensive. And it’ll be worth it to some people. Sony wants as many people as possible to think of it as worth it, and advertising games helps that. Furthermore, when I was thinking about it yesterday, I came up with another possible reason why they’re avoiding announcing their price. PS4 beat XBox One in the last round of competition in large part because its price tag was $100 lower at launch. Similarly XBox 360 beat out the PS3 because of ITS lower price at launch. Microsoft has vowed their new console will be priced competitively with the PS5, and perhaps that’s why Sony is holding off on announcing their price, hoping that Microsoft will announce their price and Sony will be able to slap the same sticker on their product or even sell lower. After all, you can sell the console at a loss and make it back through game and service sales.

        But the other possibility as I noted above is that their price is going to be high, too high for some consumers without a major reason to buy the product, and they want as many consumers as possible willing to pay high prices. So you show them the games that will be available, count on them accepting that a console will be cheaper than buying a new computer/upgrading the one they have, and announcing the high price of the console, hoping that as many consumers as possible will be on the hook for the new games and are willing to spend some real money to get those games.

  33. Cynic says:

    Why are you discussing RE5 to address a sequel in a series that is currently doing a reboot and remaster cycle?

    The stuff that looks like gameplay looks like the recent Resident Evil Reboot. It’s very obviously trying to do a reboot type look at the sort of environment suggested by RE4, but with a much more serious and horror based tone like the recent reboots. They don’t have the anime drama of the original Resident Evil games, they don’t have the sillyness. It looks like they want this to bring back in more of the mainline games, but it’s not anything like the ones you’re criticising.

    And I know them. RE got really bad with spin offs based around it’s weird silly universe, There is a lot of crap, made mostly just to sell crap. And most of the sequels after 4 are complete garbage-5 is worthless, 6 is exciting worthless, but still a nope.

    I wouldn’t call it frightless horror. The new games took all their cues from Amnesia and the games based on that, and grounded it in the grim physicality and the limited, disempowering control scheme of a walking simulator, to put you through a vicious haunted house. It’s fair for that not to be your taste, but unlike the others, it’s not for lack of trying, nobody would call RE7, the soft reboot, frightless-it tried and did many things right horror wise-that the originals had never even tried. I know what you mean about frightless horror, the games of even 6 years ago were doing that crap, but that is not a fair assessment of the game.

  34. Pink says:

    Ghostwire looks a lot like the Secret World Tokyo map(including the monster designs), except much nicer graphics. Curious to see what that actual game parts are like.

  35. EwgB says:

    I noticed the timeloop thing as well. Weird how those things coincide. Right now I’m playing through Outer Wilds, which is also based on a timeloop mechanic. It just came out on Steam (was an Epic Store timed exclusive before), and is down 33% right now, so that’s good opportunity to get it. That game is incredible, one of the most interesting games I played for a long time. Great story, cool mechanics, awesome music, just great overall.

  36. AncientSpark says:

    I know this is probably the thousandth reply to say this, but to sum it up.

    RE 7 is very very different than the previous REs. Many consider it much closer to indie-style survival horror than Hollywood horror that you’re describing (and describes RE 6 and before). Whether it’s scary enough for you or not is another matter and I will admit that there’s some very hokey, silly crazy stuff once in a while, but they’re very few and far between. And that’s why RE 8 looks interesting; it’s because it’s closer to the RE 7 style than previous RE games.

    It also helps that while RE 7 has links to the RE canon, they don’t have the immediacy to RE 7’s story itself, so you can go into RE 7 without having finished any of the other games. I’m not sure I’ll be able to say that about RE 8 due to the clear callbacks to those canon links hinted in at RE 7 though.

  37. TLN says:

    I don’t know that there is a single launch title that I’m all that interested in, which is fine by me I guess since that means I don’t need to be in any rush to get a new console

  38. Kai Durbin says:

    June 18: I hope Horizon: Zero Dawn comes out before September so it doesn’t get eaten by Cyberpunk!

    Four days later: Aw, shit! Cyberpunk’s been delayed!

    That ‘hope it comes out before September’ thing aged poorly.

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *