Yakuza Kiwami (PS4): COMPLETED!

All the Yakuza games are, effectively, the same. Sure, they have different stories (although they’re not really that different), and some have different characters, but ultimately, they’re the same. And actually, that’s just fine.

Kiwami is a remake of the first Yakuza game, which I’ve never played. I knew some of the plot as there’s a brief catchup video before Yakuza 3 (my first Yakuza) and the others I’ve played reference it, but I was looking forward to doing it “properly”. Turns out it’s the usual backstabbing, betrayal, plot twists and punching everyone in the face. This time with added bikini girls dressed up as insects. No, really.

I won’t go into the plot as it isn’t that important, but it was a bit of a shock how Nishiki changed since Yakuza 0. There’s also a “feature” called “Majima Everywhere”, which is pretty self explanatory – Majima pops up constantly in the game and you have to fight him. Doing so lets you relearn all your forgotten Dragon stance moves, but in reality it’s just padding the game out and I rarely used Dragon stance anyway.

So I completed it (although actually completion percentage is just 26%!), and then wanted to start Kiwami 2 straight afterwards. Only I couldn’t because I hadn’t bought it in the PSN sale last month when I thought I had. Tch.

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Days Gone (PS4) – Completed

Completed Days Gone recently, here is some intense gameplay taking on a horde!

Hyper Sentinel (Switch): COMPLETED!

I’ll be honest, shooters are not really my bag, and I was never a fan of Uridium, which this is clearly a modern(ish) update of. Sure, there are shooters I do like, and I’m a fairly recent convert to the Church of Fantasy Zone, but I’m just making my stance clear.

I bought Hyper Sentinel because it code me about three pence. And that’s not even an exaggeration – it was 9 cents on the US eShop, and I had some Gold Points to bring it down even lower. The first few attempts at playing it were foiled by a crash-to-black screen, but eventually, I managed to get past that.

Each level is one screen high and several screens wide, with a sort of space ship or something that you fly over. The aim is to shoot all the targets on the ship, which triggers a boss fight. Beat that, and you do the next level. Do all 13 levels, and that’s it. And that was it – it wasn’t hard at all.

I think the point is, well, points. It’s an arcade game so you play it like a score attack, which isn’t really for me. I’d have preferred more levels instead, but what is there was fun enough.

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Pilgrims (iOS): COMPLETED!

This was a very short Apple Arcade point and click adventure game from the makers of Machinarium. You have to complete little tasks for people, some of whom join you in your quest, and then when everyone is happy, you win.

There’s not a lot more to say about it without spoiling anything, but it’s a nice little thing to play for the hour or so it lasts.

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Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (PS4): COMPLETED!

It was quite some time ago that I bought this, but as I’m trapped on the sofa recovering from an operation, I decided to start it this week. Which was a slight mistake to start with since I’d just had my stomach effectively torn open and the first ten minutes of Wolfenstein II has BJ also recovering from having his stomach torn open. In a much more horrific way, but still.

Anyway. I’d enjoyed the previous two games in the series, and this was almost as good. Or better. Hmm.

It’s somewhat different, in that you’re in America for most of the game, where Manhattan has been nuked. And, since it’s set in an alternative 1960s, it’s very hard not to draw parallels with Fallout for these reasons. The bombed out buildings and constant radiation, along with green-screen computers and the aesthetics on board your stolen Nazi submarine feel about as Fallout as you can get. There are other locations, which are less nuclear holocausty, though, such as New Orleans.

It’s also different in there aren’t as many giant dogrobots as in previous games, and there’s no weird Nazi experiments or messing with the occult. You do, however, end up on Venus for a while because the plot is utterly ridiculous.

But despite the differences, and the changes in personality for both Fergus and Engel, neither of which seem to fit with their previous characters, it’s an excellent game. It has fun weaponry, fast combat (I think it has taken a few pointers from Doom here, actually), and some great new characters. Apparently Youngblood, the followup to this, is a bit of a stinker, which is a shame as there aren’t many first person shooters I enjoy these days and another Wolfenstein would be appreciated. Maybe when it’s cheap I’ll try it anyway.

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Astral Chain (Switch): COMPLETED!

I always like the idea of Platinum games, with their amazing combat and bonkers stories, but I rarely hold them in the high regard a lot of other people seem to. Bayonetta is a great game, but is it worth the heaps of praise it gets? I’m not sure. The Wonderful 101 was, well, Wonderful, but it was a way from perfect despite the reviews.

Astral Chain, though, is really something special. I think, being half “adventure” and half combat has helped, with the story and setting being allowed to shine via the slower paced police work. The combat is complicated and rewarding, and reminds me a lot of the way you control your heroes in The Wonderful 101, as they’re in a chain of sorts, as your Legion here is chained to you. You’re almost as acrobatic as Bayonetta, and there’s also a couple of motorbike sections like that game, but they’re thankfully much better executed (and looking) in Astral Chain.

The adventure sections provide a fair bit of humour, with silly police missions like cat and balloon rescue interspersed with more serious stuff. In the early levels, the combat (especially against larger enemies) tends to take place in the sparsely rendered astral plane and sometimes your police investigations drag you there. It’s a neat way of both providing a large open area to fight in, rather than the enclosed streets of The Ark, and to reduce the number of scenery polygons needed to be pushed around so the big foes can look incredible. It’s a very, very good looking game, especially for a Switch game.

I wasn’t going to buy Astral Chain, but I saw it really cheap and picked it up on a whim, and I’m glad I did. I hope too that the world teasing in the epilogue, coupled with how well this sold, will mean we get a sequel.

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Tint (iOS): COMPLETED!

Tint is a relaxed puzzle game, where you use watercolour paints to colour in objects on each level. Mixing colours produces different colours, as you’d expect, and the trick is to make sure you don’t cut off routes from paint sources to objects as you paint.

There are a lot of these sorts of games around at the moment, such as Lines on the Switch, but this one isn’t grid based and gives you much more freedom in working out a solution. On the other hand, it can be a little fiddly weaving your paint line through narrow gaps without touching other colours already down.

It isn’t very hard, nor very long, but is an enjoyable little game while it lasts.

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Mini Motorways (iOS): COMPLETED!

Let me just address your question of “Alright deKay, how are you going to claim you’ve completed this?” right off the bat. Each level has an achievement for getting a certain number of cars on the map, and I hit this target and got all the achievements. Happy?

Mini Motorways is very similar in style to Mini Metro, which I have on many different devices and enjoy very much. It’s not surprising it’s similar as it’s the same developers, of course, but there’s something not quite right with it and I’m not sure it’s entirely down to me not being very good at it.

The aim is to join up houses with a matching colour building, by drawing roads, so people can get to and from work. If you can’t supply enough people in cars fast enough, then it’s game over. And here is the problem: sometimes you can’t through no fault of your own.

Of course, you can fail by causing too much traffic congestion, or having routes that are too long, or not making use of motorways, bridges or traffic lights most efficiently, but I was failing even when I’d the shortest possible route with no delays or junctions. The game simply wasn’t proving me with enough people to service the buildings, or was but randomly putting them far too far away from each other.

As a result, success was much more down to luck than planning, of which there was an element in Mini Metro but here it’s more obvious and there’s nothing you can do about it.

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The Get Out Kids (iOS): COMPLETED!

Another Apple Arcade title, and one that looked really nice but turned out to be pretty weak. There are lovely little dioramas for each location, with what starts out as simple point and click puzzles in each. Unfortunately, the puzzles are all far too simple throughout the game instead of getting harder or more complicated.

The story also seems to start out interesting, a couple of kids in the 80s sneaking out at night to watch a film, but then it veers into uninteresting vampire nonsense. Props for being inclusive with the characters, but they’re poorly written with shoehorned 80s references cluttering the dialogue and, well, just too much dialogue.

It’s not puzzley enough to be a puzzle or adventure game, and not clever or exciting enough to be a narrative discovery game, so ends up as a bad one or the other or in limbo between the two.

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Vice: Project Doom (Switch): COMPLETED!

I’d never heard of this game before, and I only gave it a go as I noticed it on the NES Online service thing on the Switch today. Surprisingly, it was actually pretty good.

I say surprisingly, because it very much reminded me of two terrible games I’ve played recently: ESWAT and Ninja Gaiden. Somehow, though, it’s much, much better than either of those. It has the same sort of platforming, bosses, and even a plot not too dissimilar to Ninja Gaiden, as well as interstitial dialogue like both other games. It plays much better, though, with tighter collision detection and baddies that don’t constantly respawn if you move one pixel back and forth.

As well as the platforming, there are a couple of Spy Hunter-like driving sections. These aren’t great, and actually play out more like a vertical shooter than a driving game, but they’re easy and quickly over. There are also a few Operation Wolf style shooting levels, which are OK but obviously suffer a bit as you can’t use a lightgun.

So yeah, it was surprising. Not the best NES game by any means, but above average and I’m amazed I’d never seen it until today.

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