Late to the Party: Hot Takes!

Wherein I delve into my ever-growing back catalog to make misguided and rushed judgments on games that most of us finished years ago…

 

Catherine

Developed and published by Atlus, released for PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2011. I played it in September of 2017.

Even on Easy Mode, this game is a beast. And it doesn’t help that it’s mostly set in a bar. Which makes me want to drink. Which makes the nightmare puzzles even harder. Still, it’s an addictive drama/mystery/soap opera.

TL;DR May cause dreams of electric sheep…

Psychonauts

Developed by Double Fine and published by Majesco, released for Xbox and PS2 in 2005. I played it in December of 2017.

I’m only about an hour in but I’m too excited to not say something, so this is truly a hot take on a party that ended more than a decade ago. I snoozed on this because I thought the art looked a little off, and I still do. But I was excited Xbox One was going backward compatible all the way to the OG Xbox, and thought it best to celebrate by playing something that was actually new (to me). It’s easier to excuse the muddy textures and blergh color palette now that this game is officially ancient. The platforming is a little floaty, but it works. But man oh man is the writing spot on! The voice work is above average, especially for the time it was originally released, and the dialogue and story are witty and charming. I don’t know why I’m so surprised. It is a Tim Schafer game after all…

TL;DR This game is as good as everyone who has actually played it said it was.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

This 2D Zelda follow-up to the SNES classic A Link to the Past, was released in 2013. I played it in April of 2018.

I was in a fight with Nintendo ever since they put all their eggs in the Wii basket, so I missed a lot of great games. I recently accepted the Switch as Nintendo’s personal apology to me, and just to show I’m going to seriously try to make this relationship work, I also recently bought a New 2DS XL. Which brings us to A Link Between Worlds.

It’s amazing. I was actually replaying A Link to the Past through the 3DS Virtual Console, but decided to check out A Link Between Worlds. It’s very cool to play both games side by side. ALBW is a perfect modernization/re-imagining/follow-up to ALttP.

Once again Nintendo, I’m sorry I was away for so long. Lay off the motion controls.

Earthbound

An SNES Square RPG originally published in 1995. I have been slowly chipping away at it on a New Nintendo 2DS XL throughout 2018.

I read about many people discovering this game late, because it only recently became available on the 3DS and WiiU Virtual Consoles and the SNES Classic. Most of the chatter comes from people who were too young when it first released, if they had been born yet at all. My situation is the opposite. I was nearly 21 when Earthbound first released, and I mistook it for ‘Baby’s first RPG.’ I thought I was too old for it.

It’s one of the more difficult JRPGs I’ve ever played. More importantly, it’s got some of the best writing and localization, best music, and best uses of player information I’ve seen in the genre. It asks for a bunch of custom inputs at the beginning of the game, outside of any context, so when characters are introduced with your friends’ names, or your Mom tells you to go eat your favourite food, it can feel disarmingly personal.

And when you rescue the girl, she informs you she could have saved herself, but she knew you were coming so she waited to meet you. Girlpower from Japan in 1995!