State of the Game: Current Events 2020

I don’t intentionally go so long between my State of the Game posts, but it seems that because I have focused more on just completing a game at a time I don’t have as many bite sized bits to talk about. Although I’ve started and completed several games over the past few months since the last round-up, I’ve somehow managed to start a few that I’ve already written about and wish to give updates on. As it goes, I haven’t actually completed (or really played) the games I talked about last time, but I can touch on some of the stuff I’ve been doing recently. This time around we’ll be talking about the Final Fantasy VII Remake, Wildermyth, Streets of Rage 4, and The Outer Worlds.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

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The Remake continues to impress, but has also begun to frustrate. I will admit that much of my nostalgia for the game weighed heavily on my decision to pick this one up, mainly because I absolutely loved JRPGs in the 1990’s. It turns out that older me is not as invested in the storyline, and honestly I’m not enjoying the combat all that much either. The camera gets itself into janky angles too easily, the AI of your companions is absolute dog shit, unlike older games where you could set the behavior of the AI (ala Dragon Age), and it’s twitchy but unresponsive at times. So basically I spend half of the time enjoying the sites and remembering bits of the original from my long term memory banks, and the other half of the time yelling at the screen with how stupid the combat can be. Sometimes it’s pretty straight forward and satisfying though, so I’m torn between loving and hating this game. I should note that I skipped The Witcher III entirely because of similar irritations with the combat, but I still feel like I need to see this one through. I may be that guy and turn the difficulty all the way down because I may not finish the game otherwise. I absolutely cannot fathom how they will implement things like Emerald and Ruby Weapon. They were impossible enough with turn based combat. Whatever the case, we’re starting to see various parts of the game open up a bit beyond the slums, with mini games like darts showing up, more music to collect, and I’ve even had my first couple of summons since then, though they work so much differently now I was a bit underwhelmed. I met a new character on a motorcycle that I don’t remember from the original, but he was interesting enough and I imagine since he did not die we might see him again. I have a friend playing the game who has been ahead of me and given some vague spoilers and it seems that there is more new here than old, so it’s more of a new experience than a remake, so it does keep me wanting to see what happens next.

Streets of Rage 4

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My original post about Streets of Rage 4 was prior to the game releasing, but my first hearing about it. I have since purchased the game and started playing through it over the course of last weekend. During that first session I discovered that most of the game’s features were progress locked, so you could only start off with Story mode or Battle mode. Playing solo I of course started out with the story. I picked Axel as he is the most recognizable character for me, and powered through almost the whole game in one sitting. I started getting frustrated towards the end and decided to take a break before picking it up again another day and finally completing it. From there I unlocked the ability to play any stage where you can try and increase your ranking as there are trophies for S rank on every stage and other such nonsense that I’ll never shoot for. Other trophies include beating the story with every playable character, and others that come from performing certain actions on various levels. I unlocked Adam (from SOR1) about halfway through the story, and unlocked the original pixel art version of Axel for completing his story. I assume the story will largely play out the same despite who you pick, but I also assume that you’ll unlock all of the playable characters and alternate models by playing through the game multiple times. The trophies seem to be tied to solo play, but you have the option to play through the story in co-op, and apparently up to 4 players can join in, but I’m unsure how that affects difficulty. It was clear to me that some levels would have been much easier as-is with more players, but perhaps more enemies are added if you are playing with more friends. There’s also online options that I haven’t looked into yet, but I assume you’ll be able to co-op or battle just the same as you could locally. Overall the game looks great, I love the new combat system and animations, but it’s still challenging because of timing and stuff that was more of a thing back in the 1990’s that we aren’t used to now, but the devs recreated to the letter. You really have to play it to understand what I mean (also need to be old enough to have played games back then). It’s still something I’d recommend for fans of the series or this style of game, but if you don’t like beat-em-ups you could probably skip it.

The Outer Worlds

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In my original post I had only spent a couple of sessions with The Outer Worlds but I already loved what I had seen. I actually haven’t played it much since then only because I’ve been distracted by the other games I’ve mentioned here, along with a couple of others that I have dedicated posts planned for. Whatever the case, I have enjoyed how the game has expanded beyond the early portion. Getting a spaceship has allowed my crew (and I say crew because I’ve recruited a couple of new bodies outside of the original girl that joined the squad while I was leaving the first planet. Different companions bring different skills to the crew, and some of their own quests as well. Some quests will also mention a crew member’s skillset needed for that particular mission so it’s advised to bring them along when needed. As such, you’ll want to keep them equipped with new gear. This differs from older games in this genre where you’d only have one companion and they were likely just a mule to carry your shit. Now you need to pay attention to the different members a little bit more, and you’ll have two of them with you at all times. Another nice feature is the ability to control their special moves which can turn the tide of fights single-handedly. Rather than being a big open world, the devs had designed this one as more of a Borderlands style setup, where you have some planet areas that are large, but they are bordered and you can fast travel while on them, but otherwise have to return to the ship to visit other planets. It’s also clear that sometimes you’re on the same planet but in a different region, and you can’t really travel between them without returning to the ship either. So it’s a hybrid open-world but it seems to work pretty well. You’ll be able to focus on the tasks at hand and then move on. I’ve visited several of the planets and completed quite a few missions. I believe I’m nearly level 20, I know I’m in the teens at least. I’m not sure the amount of content I have still left to go but I look forward to enjoying the ride.

Wildermyth

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I have less to say about Wildermyth only because I have only just started my second session with the game. In my first post I talked about the mechanics and gameplay, but also notated that I only played the beginner 3 chapter session. I have since started up a new game with the normal mode 5 chapter story. I was under the impression initially that characters would transfer between games, but it appears that your legacy is generated in different ways. When you have heroes die and you memorialize them, those memorials will remain in the game. Other characters who survived a story can reappear in new games, so I guess eventually you might see those characters again or perhaps their offspring. It’s not overly clear to me, and though I only played through one chapter before quitting that session, I didn’t seen any legacy stuff, so I guess I’ll write more about it when I figure it out. Whatever the case I have enjoyed starting a new story and getting to know some new characters. Having a new main enemy makes a difference in gameplay a bit as well. This time around I have a group of five, with 2 warriors, 2 mystics and a ranger, so I’ve switched up the configuration a little bit. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on this one sooner than later because I really enjoy the story telling here.

So there you have it. Some progress on all accounts. As I mentioned I have a couple other posts in the works for a couple other games I haven’t yet introduced on the blog, so stay tuned for that.

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