Thoughts on the reveals of GOTHAM KNIGHTS and SUICIDE SQUAD: KILL THE JUSTICE LEAGUE

So, as part of DC’s “FanDome” online event this past weekend, we finally got our first look at what Warner Bros Games Montreal and Rocksteady have been working on for the past several years, something I’d been looking forward to for a long time. I feel like I’d expected to see Rocksteady’s game for a couple of E3’s at this point, and with WBGM quite conspicuously teasing their game just before E3 2019, by this point its unveiling had started to feel overdue. With the cat(s) finally out of the bag, I sure have some thoughts.

WB Montreal’s game was something I’d been very anxious to see since it was first teased over a year ago. With their previous game BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS being my all-time favourite Bat-game, and with five years passed since the kind of underwhelming ARKHAM KNIGHT, I was really excited about another WB Montreal-helmed ARKHAM style adventure. The teasers all seemed to point towards the “Court of Owls” storyline – which I know nothing about, but is apparently very well regarded, so sure, cool.

However, what we’re getting seems to be, uh… not that.

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The DOUBLE DRAGON Series Retrospective – now on YouTube!

My major project for this past summer was something I’d been planning for and building up to for quite a while – a deep-dive into the seminal DOUBLE DRAGON series. I’ve written about the series and my adoration for it in the past, but reflecting on how many games, ports and other incarnations I really didn’t know very well, I decided I wanted to change that.

Five-six weeks and a couple of dozens of hours streamed later, here we are! The full series of approximately 50 Double Dragon games played, inspected and analysed is now available for easy viewing on YouTube. Check out the playlist here!

I will likely return with more thoughts on these games and this project in written form in the not-too-distant future, but right now I’m a little bit Double Dragon’d out – so for the time being you’ll have to make do with the usual analysis in video form. ✌

Thoughts on STREETS OF RAGE 4: a brighter future for beat ’em ups?

It’s not a secret that I was looking forward to STREETS OF RAGE 4 with some trepidation after its announcement in 2018. As a huge fan of the series since the first game, having dreamt up my own fantasy sequel(s) for the better part of the last 25 years, the announcement was of course a happy surprise. But on the flipside, between questionable artistic choices and my general lack of faith in reboots of old games, I felt there was a significant risk they’d screw things up.

After trying out a demo build at EGX 2019 I became significantly more optimistic. I did – and still do – have some misgivings about the artistic direction, but going hands-on with the game convinced me that the developers had the right idea where it truly matters: game mechanics, pacing, enemy design – ie “gameplay”.

Now, having had a few months to think about and digest the final game, let me give you my full Thoughts On STREETS OF RAGE 4.

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Jiggeh’s definitive ranking of BATMAN video games, part 5 of 5

We have finally arrived – the final part of the definitive bat-game rankings, and my top 12 favourite Batman video games. This one’s a doozy! I reckon at least a few of these would go on most people’s top 10 lists, but I’m also pretty sure pretty much noone in the universe would agree with my ranking order. But hey, that’s pretty much the entire point, right? In any case, let’s get this show on the road!

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Jiggeh’s definitive ranking of BATMAN video games, part 4 of 5

We’ve arrived at part four of five in our Batman video game rankings, and with that we’re starting to get to some actual quality stuff! I’m gonna need less and less qualifiers for calling these games interesting (or even good), which is fun, but I reckon we’re also starting to get to the games that people actually care about and have opinions on! You know what that means – we’re definitely entering Hot Take City. Very excited for people to yell at me about how wrong I am!

But I digress. Part four of my definitive Batman video game rankings, which will take us from #23 to #13, begins here. Let’s go!

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Jiggeh’s definitive ranking of BATMAN video games, part 3 of 5

It’s time for part three of my ranked list of all the Batman games I played for The Caped Crusade – this time we will be taking a look at the games ranked #34 through #24, taking us up from the bottom half and into the… good games? Well, technically it’s all smack dab in the middle of mediocrity I guess, relatively speaking, anyway. In any case, let’s find out which games make it to these, uh, coveted spots. Here we go!

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Jiggeh’s definitive ranking of BATMAN video games, part 2 of 5

Continuing from where we left off last time, here are my continued rankings of every Batman video game I played for the Caped Crusade over the past two years or so. This time, we’ll check out games #45 through #35 – how many hot takes are going to be served up this time? Well, let’s read on and find out!

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Jiggeh’s definitive ranking of BATMAN video games, part 1 of 5

So over Easter weekend, I finally finished The Caped Crusade, my quest – two years in the making – to explore the history of Batman video games. While I sadly can’t say I have played through every single Batman game (I elected to omit a number of mobile and arcade games due to unavailability), I can say that I have played an awful lot of them. 56 to be exact!

With all this experience under my belt, the capstone to these two years of Bat-adventures seemed obvious: Review and rank all 56 games! The ranking itself was originally done live on stream in a single 8+ hour sitting – so these rankings are essentially my gut reaction based on my experience with each games, and the criteria I use to rank the games may (and likely do) vary wildly. That is to say, I make no claims that this is an objectively, definitively correct list, but it is my list – and with several hundred hours of research going into it, I dare say it’s at least a pretty well researched one.

So without further ado, here is part one of five of my collected Thoughts On the 56 Batman games, ranked from worst to best.

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Pacing, tempo and tedious grinds (or: “Short games are good, actually”)

Although my tastes have evolved and my particular interests have changed over the years, I think it’s fair to say I’ve always had more of an affinity for mechanically driven over narrative driven games. Of course, there have been plenty of story-heavy games which I have fallen in love with in large part due to the writing; THE SECRET OF MONKEY ISLAND kickstarted my passion for point & click adventures as a kid, and in more recent years I have sunk hundreds of hours into the YAKUZA games. And I’d probably be lying if I said the narrative and storytelling of DEAD RISING wasn’t a big reason I fell in love with that game, too.

Still, these examples all feel like outliers to me. If I were to attempt listing the aspects of a game that typically draw me in, I’d say it’d be kind of a toss-up between aesthetics, tone/atmosphere and game mechanics – if I enjoy the narrative it’s still usually secondary to one or all of those. Most of my favourite games or series of games are things like STRIDER HIRYU, VIRTUA FIGHTER, PRINCE OF PERSIA, BAYONETTA, BARE KNUCKLE, etc, etc.

Long story short, I tend to favour short-form, mechanically focused (if not mechanically dense) action games. Games which more or less inherently invite repeated play by making the act of playing the game the goal in itself, as opposed to making it to the end of a journey. This all probably informs my long held hot take: more often than not, games are like, way too long, man.

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Thoughts on Double Dragon, Technos Japan, and a liberal approach to intellectual property

For about as long as I can recall, I’ve been a big fan of Technos Japan. The DOUBLE DRAGON and KUNIO-KUN games were absolute favourites of mine in formative years, and almost certainly a big reason why I’m still very much fond of beat ’em ups. Although not every Technos and Technos-related game over the years has been of the highest quality, I’ll always have the utmost respect and admiration for the company and their games for their innovation, creativity and sheer personality.

Like many game companies from the 80’s, Technos eventually went under, even if some of the same people, brands and games stayed active in one form or another. As of 2015, The Technos brand and associated IP is owned by Arc System Works, who – so far – seem to be doing a commendable job keeping the spirit of Technos alive with quality re-releases and even brand new KUNIO-KUN games, among other things.

But perhaps the most delightful thing about Technos’s newest incarnation is how it seems to maintain one of the things that fascinate me the most about the company: their unusually relaxed handling of their IP.

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