To kick off the new year I went on a trip to a fighting game tournament. Due to being on a plane I busted out my Vita and tried to see if I could finish Danganronpa 2. I started it when it came out years ago, but for some reason or another I didn't get very far. Upon returning from the trip I played it to completion. I don't think it's as good as the original, but it's still a decent product.
Halfway through the month, the new games started to flow. Gravity Rush 2 was the first one I picked up. It's a lot like the original, but better in almost every facet. The jump to PS4 did the game justice and it's doubly cool because now it will reach a wider audience. Sadly I have not finished it yet, because there is so much content and I have a problem where I need to complete every sidequest.
Yakuza 0 came out shortly after and it's just what you'd expect. It's a Yakuza game, but set in the 80's. All the goofy side missions and deathly serious Yakuza drama are back! I've had very little time to play it so far, but I have enjoyed myself so far. I set it aside to play Digimon World: Next Order, but that's a story for next month!
I've been buried in games, and I need to talk about them. However, this month I am going to try and keep each game to around three paragraphs. While I normally try and talk about each game for around sic or seven that can get a bit too wordy. I think I'll enjoy writing these a lot more when they're shorter, but we'll see!
The original Danganronpa wasn't even on my radar when it released a few years ago. Mainly because I didn't know what it was. The cover had the franchise mascot Monokuma on the cover art. So seeing a weird looking anime bear I wrote it off as a bad game and didn't look up anything about it. Somehow I stumbled across video of it and ordered it immediately. It's a visual novel, so there's a lot of text. However, you can walk around the map freely as opposed to moving through menus. The concept is that children are being held captive in an area and if they want to leave their captor says they must kill each other. So inevitably murders occur and then you have to have a trial in order to figure out who the murderer was. This is where it turns into a more frantic version of Ace Attorney with a bunch of weird mini-games.
The first game takes place in a school, while the second takes place on an island. Danganronpa 2 is a direct sequel. At first it doesn't seem like it, but by the end there's so much about the first game they assume you know I don't know if you'd understand anything without playing it. To me, that's a bummer because I really didn't like the overarching plot of the first game. So when it carried all of that baggage over I was a bit bummed out. The part about Danganronpa I like is getting to know all of the characters and seeing their interactions. The class trials are great too. Solving the murders feels good, with the exception of a few frustrating mini-games. So when the plot dealing with the world outside the murders comes in I can't help but roll my eyes. The last chapter of Danganronpa 2 gets so far up its own ass that half the dialogue is intelligible to the average human.
|Who's going to get murdered!?|
If the last chapter of the game didn't exist I would recommend it to anyone wholeheartedly. However, now I have to tell people about it with the caveat that the plot falls apart at the end. I absolutely love the core of the franchise, and am glad that it is continuing into a third game. What gives me hope about the third game is that it drops all of the plot from the first two games and is a completely different things. There is still going to be kids murdering each other, and I honestly hope that's all.
Gravity Rush 2
As you may have seen I beat the original Gravity Rush in December. Gravity Rush 2 is obviously a direct sequel that takes place shortly after the events of the original. The gravity controlling girl Kat and her police officer friend Syd were caught in a gravity storm and taken far away from their home in Hecksville. Initially you don't have control over gravity, but after a lengthy intro sequence Kat is able to do almost everything she was before. I've seen a lot of people criticizing the opening, but I personally didn't really mind it. Walking around the mining town without gravity powers makes them feel all the more special when you do get them back. As the game goes on you receive two more styles that change how your powers work. I only got the lunar style, which allows you to jump ridiculously high and fly at ridiculous speeds. It's a fun addition.
|Lunar Style lets you go stupidly fast.|
The remaster of the original looked fine, but having 2 be developed from the ground up on the PS4 did a lot for it. Now there is much more to the world, and a whole lot more people roaming around on the streets. The new town introduced early in the game feels very lively, and looks beautiful. As with the remaster you no longer have to control anything with the gyro in the controller. You can still move the camera that way, but it would often make me spin out of control. I turned all gyro off as soon as I could in the menu.
With that said I think that the game feels better as a whole. Now that it isn't designed around a Vita specific feature it's much better off. The game seems better as a whole outside of control as well. It characterizes all of the characters worlds better than the original, and actually tackles classism in a tactful manner. I've already played it for a long time, and I don't think I've even halfway. Whether or not the game can continue to hold my attention until the end remains to be seen. The developer said that this game would end Kat's story and as of right now I don't have any idea how they can do that. I guess a lot more has to happen in the story still. I just hope they don't cram it all in very poorly at the end. Video games tend to do that.
Yakuza has always been a niche franchise and I don't really know why. Yes, it's very Japanese, but it has a lot of things that popular western developed games have. It's one of the earliest open world franchises I can think of. I mean, sure, the world is just a sub-section of a city, but it's still open. It took me until Yakuza 3 to get on the train, but ever since then I've been singing the praises of Yakuza everywhere I can. So I find it very odd that now that this entry is being widely praised here in the U.S. Perhaps it's because it's a prequel? I guess coming into a franchise five or six entries deep is a bit daunting, but the gameplay stays largely the same between them all. Regardless of how it happened I'm not complaining, because maybe now we won't have to wait years for each new entry to be localized.
|I was going to pass on Yakuza 0 until I say this image. No joke.|
So now you're saying what is Yakuza all about? Well, it's about Yakuza, the Japanese mafia. They're tough guys who take no guff and have tattoos that cover most of their body. You play as Kazuma Kiryu in all of them, however in Yakuza 0 you also play as Majima Goro (Another series regular). Yakuza is essentially the evolution of old school beat-em-ups like Streets of Rage. You get into a fight and just beat the living hell out of your opponents. You can grab weapons and your opponents with them, or just throw a flurry of blows and grapples. Eventually your character have blue flames emanating off them, which allows you to push triangle for a heat action. These actions are brutal finishers that do a ton of damage. They're all over the top and a pleasure to see every time. The combat has been largely the same for a majority of the franchise so its refreshing to see Kiryu get some different styles to use. It seems that there are four styles and I've gotten one that allows me to punch people so many times they can no longer block. It's awesome.
I'm only around 2 hours in, but this feels like some Yakuza ass Yakuza. I have seen a lot of melodrama, and even a few men take off their shirts before challenging me to a fight. It's all happened before, but it's still fun. The fact that it's set before all the other games during an economic boom is Japan is really cool. Everyone has a ton of money and is trying to make their mark on the city. So far everything has been pretty tame by Yakuza standards, but I'm sure it'll ramp up as I get farther in. I guess what I'm saying is that you should really check out Yakuza. There's never been a better time to get in on the action.
All I can see are Digimon
On the last day of January Digimon World: Next Order came out and It's pretty much all I've been playing since then. Something about it grabbed me in a way that I could not shake off. Following its release I had two days off and I completely destroyed my sleep schedule by staying up until 7 AM two consecutive days. So next month you can look forward to me spouting off all about what a wonderful game it is.
Other than that the only other game due out in February is Horizon Zero Dawn, the much lauded robot animal hunting game from Guerilla games. It's nice to see them making something that isn't Killzone for once, especially something that looks really cool.
I'm sure something else will pop up for me to talk about, but I'll have to wait and see. I've had a fun time chatting, but it's time for me to get back to Digimon now...