Sunday, January 3, 2016

Gaming Recap 2015: JRPGs Killed the Video Stars

To avoid to have my laptop falling victim of this summer's heat and burn to ashes, I decided to make one single Gaming Recap for all 2015. Without further ado...

Dark Souls II The Dark Soul franchise has the (in)famous reputation of being one of the must ruthless and difficult ones of this age of gaming, and that's why I felt appropriate to resort to one of the oldest cheats of all times. What would it be, you ask ? It's simple: playing the game with somebody who already finished it a couple of times and had a better chance to surpass the most difficult parts of it. Now, some might be curious to know if such unconventional choice ruined my playthrough and the answer is not even a single bit. On the contrary, both me and my (younger) friend brought our share of expertise to it: while he was more familiar and prepared to the horrors that lied ahead, I had some more years of experience as a gamer in general to bring to the table.
The whole process was so fun (yes, you read well: fun) that I agreed to buy the three expansions (that my friend never played as well) and beat them all together as well. If there is something that DSII told me is that being in good company can turn even the most frustrating deed into a pleasant one.

Warriors Orochi 3 DLC Stages Packs With the 11 DLC Stages Packs, KoeiTecmo gave another good example of "Downloadable Content done right". With a reasonable price, these packs altogether brought to my copy of the original Warriors Orochi 3 (and the Ultimate version as well, the day I'll decide to buy it) enough content to bring me back mashing the square button for hours. These additions do also very well in terms of story (provided you even bother acknowledging its existence, of course): not one of these optional stages explains some pivotal parts of it, and yet they deliver some interesting insights to the backstories of the many characters that were barely seen in the original iteration of the game. Of course, there's also a considerable amount of "joke" stages, created only for the purpose of making the player more familiar with said neglected characters and the massive roster in general.

Breath of Fire II I have to admit it: I had average expectations about this game, and even then BoFII managed to be mostly a disappointment. If you like the idea of roaming the world to prove the innocence of one your party members to the law, this game's plot is going to be a blast for you - because that is what you will be doing for a consistent part of the whole storyline. Sure, new members will join you in your quest for truth and freedom, but you'll have to wait until the later parts of the game to know their backstories - and when you will finally know them enough to care about them, the story itself will much probably end soon. BoFII is relatively short, and yet it manages to pull in all the things that made me hate to love this genre, ranging from story quests that have no logical correlation one with the other to being forced to have X member in your party at every turn.
The only true positive thing that I can say about playing this title is that it marks my long-awaited retirement from this genre, at least for a long, long time... so now you know what this recap sub-title it's all about.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag When this iteration of the Assassin's Creed franchise came out all you could read about it were good things - and there is no wonder why. Black Flag brings the age of pirates to the AC continuity, and it does it so well that I honestly recommend this game as a stand-alone experience in the case you (like me) don't even care that much about the franchise as a whole. Black Flag is, to put it simply, one of the best examples of immersive open-world games combined with a great story that will keep you hooked until the very end. There are indeed some issues with the gameplay (sometimes you character will do the most insane acrobatic deeds but will simply refuse to jump to that wall just in front of you), but the overall experience is so engaging that you won't regret even a second of (almost) yelling at the screen.

Stranglehold A quite obscure, lost gem of the first age of the PS3, Stranglehold brought John Woo's cinematic style to my console in such a successful way that I started asking myself "Why didn't they made a sequel ?" even before I was done with it. Yes, this game is very short indeed, but if you like third-person shooters where you can shoot dozens of thugs as you jump over tables in slow-motion while things explode around you, this is the game you would have already beat several times if you only knew it even existed. Look up some videos and prepare to spend about 20 bucks (and about five to ten hours) if you'll find it at your local store: you can thank me later.

I am currently (presumably) about halfway through Farcry 3. At the moment, I'm enjoying it very much, but that will be another story for another year. With that said, until next time.

NOTE: I wish to let know to the reader that I usually set a game's difficulty at Easy whenever I got the chance. If you find a certain game more difficult, unfair or unbalanced than I did, that might be a good reason.

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