Today I am here to tell you about two of those six games, and one of the rare few games I have actually finished this year. Surprisingly it was a 96 hour journey that I managed to finish...
Other than spending a ludicrous amount of time on Persona I played a little bit of Flinthook and Yooka-Laylee as well.
I feel like I've been seeing GIFs of Flinthook forever, but it only just came out a few weeks ago. It's a rogue-like in which you play as a little pirate man with a grappling hook. You run around pirate ships in space and shoot a ton of enemies. It's a very familiar game, except that you can use a sweet grappling hook. This is the "hook" of the game. The ships are split up into rooms, and each room is filled up with a bunch of grappling points. It's hard to describe, but the grappling hook is just straight up fun to use. It feels good to hook onto things. Everything is so fluid, and just feels right. I often find myself getting into a flow of grappling around and shooting.
|Grappling hooks have never felt this good!|
Like most modern rogue-likes you gain things that carry over after each run. In this you level up and get booster packs. Instead of cards they net you a bunch of powerups that you can equip to help you out. It works very well to keep you going. The powerups help, but so far I haven't found anything that negates the fact that you need to be good at the game. Like most games of this style it is quite difficult, but that's what makes them appealing to most people.
As a kid I was a big fan of Banjo-Kazooie. It's one of the few demos I remember playing as a kid at Target and being absolutely blown away. I managed to play through most of it again within recent years with the release of the Rare Replay Collection on the Xbox One. It's a whimsical platformer where you control the animal duo of Banjo the Bear and Kazooie the Bird. They worked in tandem to do cool moves and collect a whole lot of stuff. In recent years games like Banjo-Kazooie have become known as collect-athon games. It's an apt title, because you're really just collecting a whole bunch of stuff. In the years following the games release many other people partook in the genre, but it eventually faded out. However, now here we are many years later with a new one called Yooka-Laylee.
|It sure looks a lot like Banjo-Kazooie...|
If you're thinking that Yooka-Laylee looks and sounds similar to Banjo-Kazooie, you're absolutely right. Some of the original developers who worked at Rare on the original Banjo got together to make their own studio called Playtonic games. Their goal was to make a new collect-athon game in the vein of Banjo. They took to Kickstarter and the game was funded. It's out now and they certainly delivered on their promise of a Banjo-like game, but I'm personally not feeling it. It's one thing to pay homage to something you love, but it's another thing entirely to try and literally be what you love. Yooka-Laylee is trying to be Banjo-Kazooie in almost every way, but the downside is that it's not as good.
I don't want to say that our new Chameleon and Bat combo aren't fun to play as, but they're just not as fun as the Bear and Bird duo of yesteryear. It's a bummer, because I often find myself frustrated in this new game. The camera isn't great, the controls aren't tight enough, and the level design is so open that I often get lost. It's a game trying to be Banjo-Kazooie, but I feel like it doesn't have the same charm. I played Banjo within the past year and it still made me feel good. This game does not. It certainly delivered on its premise of being a new game in the collect-athon pantheon, but it's just not doing it for me at all.
Turn based RPGs are my jam, and it's not so often that they come around anymore. It's even more rare that they have a huge budget to work with, but that's what we got with Persona 5. Originally the game was slated for a Winter 2014 release in Japan, but a shift to the PS4 caused quite a few delays. Normally excessive delays cause me to worry, but with Persona I knew that I would be happy with the final product regardless of how long it took. This was one of the rare cases where I saw the original trailer and instantly knew that I was getting exactly what I wanted. I waited patiently until April 4th, and then pretty much just played the game for 96 hours. Sure, that was over the course of three weeks, but I did little else with my time. My takeaway from my time with Persona 5 is that I absolutely love it.
|This game has a ridiculous amount of style.|
The Persona series started as a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei series. It focused on high school kids who were given the ability to summon their true selves from within, otherwise known as Personas. With that power they took on evil demons and saved the world. It was a traditional turn based RPG, but in the third game it morphed into something a little more. It was still a turn based game, but it added in social elements as well. This formula carried over to Persona 4 and 5 as well. Now you go into dungeons and fight monsters, but afterwards you can hang out with your friends and get to know them on a much deeper level. On the surface it sounds simple, but the game revolves around you doing a multitude of different tasks while on a time constraint. There's only so much you can do in a day, so you have to choose how you spend your time very wisely. It's stressful at first, but very rewarding in the end.
Persona 5 focuses once again on a group of high school students, but this time they're a group of thieves. They call themselves the Phantom Thieves, and their goal is to steal the twisted desires of adults and make them atone for their crimes. They do this by using a special phone app to enter a person's mind, where they will steal their most prized treasure. It's definitely a weird concept, but one that the Persona team pulls off with a ridiculous amount of style. Persona is known for its stylish nature, but Persona 5 takes that style to a whole new level. If you're interested in hearing a bit more about my time with Persona, then you'll want to check out this month's podcast, which you can find here.
2B or not 2B
Instead of digging into my stupidly large backlog I decided to start Nier: Automata. So now I am playing through that and having a blast. Having played the original Nier I kind of knew what to expect, but man is Automata a weird game. The director Yoko Taro somehow manages to out crazy himself with this one. Also you have to play through it like five times to see the whole story, which is extra insane.
Lucky for me the only new game I'll be getting in May is Injustice 2, so maybe I can catch up on my backlog. So next month I'll definitely talk about Nier, and Injustice 2. See you then!