June 2022 was a momentous month for fans of beat ’em up games, with back-to-back releases of two highly anticipated titles: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: SHREDDER’S REVENGE, and FINAL VENDETTA. While TMNT is understandably getting the lion’s share of attention (and it is a pretty great game!), I’ve found myself far more captivated by FINAL VENDETTA.
Bitmap Bureau’s latest game is a rare modern beat ’em up that’s very explicitly – uncompromisingly, even – designed like a classic arcade game. Lots of games claim to be, but I’ve been very impressed with how well FINAL VENDETTA lives up to this ideal. It’s well paced, controls great, and has a finely tuned and engaging level of challenge.
Overall I’ve really enjoyed the game – I’d say it’s up there with STREETS OF RAGE 4 as a favourite of the genre in recent memory – but it’s not perfect. Here’s my analysis of what I think makes FINAL VENDETTA such a great game – and where I think it’s got some room for improvement.
Continue reading FINAL VENDETTA: What it gets right (and where it misses the mark) →
At the end of this year’s Capcom Pro Tour Finals, after a long period of leaks, rumours and speculation, Capcom finally unveiled STREET FIGHTER 6. As a lifelong fan of Capcom and Street Fighter, not to mention as someone with more than their fair share of opinions on the artistic direction of the series over the last decade or two, you can bet I have some thoughts.
Needless to say, we still don’t know much about STREET FIGHTER 6. All we really have to go on is a 40-second teaser which doesn’t really tell us anything concrete, as well as whatever we can extrapolate and predict from the series’ trajectory across the last couple of instalments. That said, I still find it interesting to dissect and analyse what Capcom has chosen to present as the world’s introduction to the next chapter of STREET FIGHTER.
To sum up my overall impressions of the reveal, I guess you could say I’m equal parts disappointed, frustrated, and… unsurprised. If you’ll indulge me, allow me to go into more depth and explain why.
Continue reading Thoughts on STREET FIGHTER 6, art direction, and Capcom’s continued failure to acknowledge its artistic legacy →
When METROID DREAD was unveiled at E3 2021, I immediately had mixed feelings – massive excitement for a new 2D METROID, naturally, but also tempered expectations as it was being developed by MercurySteam. I never had the chance to play their previous METROID game – SAMUS RETURNS – but I did play through their earlier attempt at the genre, the absolutely abysmal CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW: MIRROR OF FATE. That game showed such a fundamental failure to understand the appeal of this style of game, that even with SAMUS RETURNS having a decent reputation, I found it difficult to have too much faith in MercurySteam’s ability to deliver a worthy sequel.
Still, I knew that I wanted to play the game, for academic purposes if nothing else. I spent the months leading up to the game’s release playing through a number of 2D METROID games – some for the first time, some not – and as I kind of charted the series’ evolution from playing them all back to back, I became increasingly curious to see specifically how DREAD fit into that equation. Would it be a largely toothless retread of SUPER METROID the way ZERO MISSION had been, or would it actually incorporate aspects of FUSION… or perish the thought, break some new ground?
Continue reading Thoughts on METROID DREAD, 2D METROID design, and MercurySteam’s redemption arc →
In what started as an arbitrary choice to dig up some Halloween-seasonally appropriate games from my back log – and what quickly turned into a series mini-marathon – I’ve been playing through the three CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOWS games. I had never thought or expected much of the games, not having much trust in reboots of Japanese game series outsourced to western developers in general, and perhaps even less trust in Konami’s late-era output in particular.
The original LORDS OF SHADOW ended up… well, if not impressing me, at least exceeding my (admittedly low) expectations in some ways, while in other ways being even more mediocre than I would’ve thought. Still, at the end of the day I definitely came away from it more positive than I went in.
The same, however, can not be said for the 2D spin-off game CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW: MIRROR OF FATE.
Continue reading Thoughts on CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW: MIRROR OF FATE, or “How not to do a METROID-style game” →
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.
Continue reading Thoughts on the reveals of GOTHAM KNIGHTS and SUICIDE SQUAD: KILL THE JUSTICE LEAGUE →
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.
Continue reading Thoughts on STREETS OF RAGE 4: a brighter future for beat ’em ups? →
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!
Continue reading Jiggeh’s definitive ranking of BATMAN video games, part 5 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!
Continue reading Jiggeh’s definitive ranking of BATMAN video games, part 4 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!
Continue reading Jiggeh’s definitive ranking of BATMAN video games, part 3 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!
Continue reading Jiggeh’s definitive ranking of BATMAN video games, part 2 of 5 →