Five things that can make any game better

There’s no shortage of different types of games, and I think it goes without saying that there’s no one recipe for how to put together a good game (much less a successful one!). Even on a personal, subjective level, I might have a general preference or tendency towards certain types of games – arcadey and action-focused games in my case – but there are always exceptions. Certain games manages to either overcome some inherent bias on my part, or just appeal in a different way, for totally different reasons.

There’s no real central thread connecting what makes different types of games compelling, and as such, it would be sort of inane to suggest there are rules that any and every type of game should follow. Now, having said all that, throughout my years of obsessing over big and small details in games, there are a couple of things I’ve found can increase my enjoyment of a game – any game. So without further ado, presented in no particular order: Five things that can make any game better: Continue reading Five things that can make any game better

Thoughts on the DEAD RISING series and Capcom Vancouver going under

DEAD RISING is one of my absolute favourite games of all time. I could (and probably will, at some point) write at length about why I love it, why I disagree with most fans’ assessments of the sequels (DR3 is clearly the second best in the series, at least if you play it the right way), or why DEAD RISING 4 is a hot piece of garbage that pisses all over the series’ legacy (YouTubers Tehsnakerer and GhenryPerez have covered that last point pretty well though, so by all means check out their videos – I largely echo their thoughts). But for now I thought I’d share some musings on the state of the DEAD RISING series, in the wake of Capcom Vancouver (lead developer of the DR series starting with DR2) imploding earlier this year.

So DEAD RISING had been Capcom Vancouver’s bread and butter for a number of years, up until DEAD RISING 4 in 2016 (re-released and ported to PS4 in 2017 under the groanworthy moniker FRANK’S BIG PACKAGE). For a brief period Capcom Vancouver were also responsible for a much-maligned mobile free-to-play reboot of SUPER PUZZLE FIGHTER II TURBO. While that might sound like a great idea, CV’s PUZZLE FIGHTER not only looked absolutely hideous, it apparently played poorly too, quickly devolving to pay-to-win with the actual puzzle-solving aspect apparently second to building a sick deck with rare loot drops or whatever. I wish I could give a first-hand report on the game, but it was shut down before I got around to even trying it out. Continue reading Thoughts on the DEAD RISING series and Capcom Vancouver going under

Additional thoughts on Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

I finished YAIBA last night, and… well, I felt rather compelled to amend my previous post on the game.

I still largely stand by what I wrote – the game isn’t AS bad as rumors make it out to be, the combat is pretty serviceable, the semi-automatic jumpy platformy bits are a fun palate cleanser, and the writing and story are atrocious. But what I can say with the benefit of hindsight, is that before writing the other post, I had happened to stop playing right before an absurd difficulty spike that served to highlight and exacerbate most of the game’s biggest problems: Mission 5.

“Mission 5: Ryu Hayabusa” is essentially nothing but a boss fight. Having reached the point where I was mostly satisfied with what I’d seen and was kind of waiting for the game to wrap up, I was thrilled to see the level starting with you facing off against Hayabusa right off the bat, without the need to go through a long level. I didn’t really talk about it last time, but up until that point, the boss fights had actually been decently fun. They had certainly exposed some of the weaknesses of the combat system; many combo attacks make cancelling into dodging or blocking inconsistent and thus completely unreliable – but figuring out how to work around that sort of became part of the puzzle, and coming out on top was just hard enough to make it a satisfying challenge to overcome.

Unfortunately, Hayabusa throws all that out the window. Continue reading Additional thoughts on Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

Thoughts on YAIBA: NINJA GAIDEN Z

So as part of my silly 1000 Follower special thing over on Twitch, I’ve been playing – among other things – YAIBA: NINJA GAIDEN Z. This was one of countless games in my collection that I’d picked up at one point or another with no particular desire to necessarily play it, beyond a general sense of “eh, why the heck not”. YAIBA I suppose has more reason for being in my collection than plenty of other games I’ve bought; it is (theoretically at any rate) part of a series I have traditionally enjoyed, but more importantly it’s a game I’d been curious to try out since it has, er… a reputation. That is, a very, very bad reputation.

Anyone who is even somewhat familiar with my streaming/collecting/game playing habits may know that I have a soft spot for “bad” games. Obviously that’s not to say I enjoy not enjoying something, but I’m often drawn to games with poor reputations because one way or another, less polished games seem to often have more personality, peculiarities or unique quirks than the kind of polished-to-a-sheen AAA games commonly agreed upon as “good”. And sure, sometimes…. a lot of the time even, “bad” games are really bad. But I do find that more often than not, even the worst crap at the bottom of the barrel has something going for it – some kernel of fun, a good idea or something interesting and unique if you’re just willing to look for it.

So, YAIBA. Now, there were many reasons to not question the narrative surrounding the game – it’s an odd, western-developed off-shoot of a revered (if less so with each successive mainline entry) Japanese action game series, that neither seems to look or feel much like its source material, nor be something that anyone really asked for. On top of that, it’s a god damned zombie game! So I gotta admit – I was pretty surprised to find that I… don’t really hate it. Continue reading Thoughts on YAIBA: NINJA GAIDEN Z

hi

So I decided to start a blog after all. The idea is to use this site to help sort my thoughts on game design and stuff – and keep it in a hopefully easy-to-browse format should anyone, you know, want to read it.

Gonna have to figure out how to do WordPress stuff I guess, but hopefully there should be some content here sooner or later.