Persona 3 FES (PS2): Finding the Will to Live (Detailed Review)

Persona 3 | What I wanted most

When people think of the biggest JRPG series, what do they usually think of? Likely Final Fantasy at this point but the series is no longer what it once was. There’s also Dragon Quest if you are in Japan or are a total weeb like myself, there is also the Tales series if you are a weeb as well. But the face of new console JRPGs for the last decade or so has arguably been the Persona series.

Persona 3 was the first new entry in the Persona series in 6 years when it originally came out. The original Persona was pretty popular in Japan but it just kind lingered in obscurity in the US since it was a JRPG released before Final Fantasy VII. The first entry in the Persona 2 duology was not even localized at the time and as far as I know the second one wasn’t successful.

It was Persona 3 that decided to change its entire approach and that was almost single-handedly responsible for putting Atlus on the map. I first played Persona 3 almost a decade ago and had yet to replay it until earlier this year. While it is not without flaws, it is an immensely powerful game and is likely to remain a cornerstone in the genre for quite some time. There is a lot to talk about with Persona 3 both good and bad. Read more

The Last of Us (PS3/PS4): Why I Don’t Like AAA Games (Detailed Review)

The Last of Us | Joel and Ellie

TW: Gore, Death.

There perhaps, has not been a game as overhyped and lavishly praised as much as The Last of Us since the PSOne era. Not since Final Fantasy VII and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has there been this much hype towards one game in particular. However, both Final Fantasy VII and Ocarina of Time were legitimately good games. Ocarina of Time was one of the first 3D action adventure titles and there was very little else like it at the time. Final Fantasy VII, while not exactly revolutionary in its design, did create one of the first great cinematic gaming experiences and did so in a way where, to this day, people still miss the point of what made it a great game to begin with.

Fittingly enough, The Last of Us is one of those games that took great influence from what Final Fantasy VII brought forth whilst also missing what made it a great game to begin with. Unlike the aforementioned titles, The Last of Us could not have any less original unless it stole code from other games.

Originality is not always necessary to being a good game however. Maybe people could have just gave it all those game of the year awards because it just did everything so well. Yeah and maybe we will discover that Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, Freddie Mercury, Tupac Shakur, and Michael Jackson never actually died and all plan to collaborate for a comeback album but you never know. Read more

Amazing VGM: The Dark Colossus Destroys All (NieR)

Ah yes, three of my most shilled games in a row for Amazing VGM. I’d normally do something from Saya no Uta since I just reviewed it but I kinda hinted at this one last week so I better follow through. Anyway I’ve been meaning to touch on this one for a while since it really is an amazing track from an amazing game.

NieR is known for its outstanding music after all, so it’s time to cover a track that was good enough they made it twice! Starting with the original. Read more

Standard Review: Ghosts ‘n Goblins (Arcade/C64/ZX/NES/Amiga/GBC/WS/GBA/PC/IOS/Android)

Ghosts 'n Goblins | Level 1

Ghosts ‘n Goblins was always infamous for being one of the hardest games ever made. That statement is pretty much 100% accurate, Ghosts ‘n Goblins is so difficult that it is only on the border of how difficult a game can be while still being playable. One should note that I am using the word “difficult” and not “challenging.” The reason I say this is because being challenging is generally a good thing as it implies that a game brings you up to its own level by being demanding and through its design.

Ghosts ‘n Goblins, on the other hand, is just difficult in the sense that it is very patience trying and unfun. Before I hear the parade of apologists proclaiming “git gud” I should make it clear that I did beat this game twice, and yes I am counting it as twice regardless of that stunt they pulled the first time. Ghosts ‘n Goblins may be beatable, but it isn’t exactly an enjoyable game to play. Most players will be having far more frustration than fun and beating it serves no purpose other than bragging rights. Read more

Amazing VGM: Gods Bound by Rules (NieR)

NieR | Boxman

It’s been a little while since I covered a track from NieR as an amazing VGM hasn’t it? The last one I did was “Weight of the World” from NieR Automata and that was at the end of December of last year. This time, I’m going to cover one of the more underutilized and thus underrated boss tracks in the original game; “Gods Bound By Rules.” Read more

Amazing VGM: The Path is Open (Persona 3)

Persona 3 | Thou art I and I am thou

This week’s VGM is a special track. This track has an especially notable significance to me in not only how it sounds, but also what it represents. In the past I have often made Amazing VGM pieces that connect to me personally in regards to my very own struggles in life, I believe that games have a very significant personal element to them that many are often discouraged from sharing for not being “objective,” and I feel this greatly undermines the medium as a whole.

Anyway this week’s track is from Persona 3, a flawed game in many ways but nonetheless one of my all time favorites. I have been replaying this game and I’ve just about reached the end of The Journey portion of the game. While I find the overall musical output of Persona 3 rather average, there are some standout tracks that have a very deep and meaningful impact when you hear them. This track is one of those.

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Amazing VGM: Buccaneer Beach (Pac-Man World)

Pac-Man World | Buccanear Beach

Yep, another “VGM from a game I just reviewed” piece here today. There isn’t really a set plan more so than reviewing a game just makes me remember its music so I have it stuck in my head later. I may not have enjoyed Pac-Man World 1, but there was definitely some finer points to it. I only briefly mentioned the music because most of the music didn’t stick out but I remember it being good. The obvious exception to this is the first level theme, “Buccaneer Beach.” Read more

Pac-Man World (PS1/GBA): Aged Like Milk (Detailed Review)

Pac-Man World | Box art

Few gaming icons have had quite a fall from grace as much as Pac-Man. One of the most iconic video games of all time that even your grandparents recognize has not been relevant in how many years? Aside from the arcade games, the only games I have seen that are remotely well received have been the Pac-Man World trilogy of 3D platformers. I am quite fond of 3D platformers contrary to what those who think I only play RPGs and visual novels believe, so I thought I may enjoy this game.

I initially bought it during a PSN sale in 2016 along with Heavenly Guardian, but I barely played it. It seemed alright enough but didn’t interest me enough to keep me playing. Within the last few months I started it up again for no real reason other than that my PS3 happened to be set up and I had it there, and I figured I likely wouldn’t play it any other time so I should do so now. Read more

Standard Review: Heavenly Guardian (PS2/Wii)

Heavenly Guardian | Box Art

Heavenly Guardian seems to have been a game that was a victim to some pretty poor reception if its metacritic page is any indication. Ultimately I would have to say that, while criticism towards this game is not entirely undeserved, it is a bit much to claim it is a bad game because of it. A lot of these reviews simply made claims that the game was “dated” and touched on production values rather than talking about important gameplay elements that can make or break the game as a whole. Read more

Standard Review: The Legend of Dragoon (PS1)

The Legend of Dragoon | Logo

This review was certainly put off for quite some time. I should let it be known that I am reviewing this two years after I beat it, but my memory is pretty good in regards to these things. I don’t quite remember why it was that I didn’t write a review at the time but I’m finally going to write it now. The Legend of Dragoon is a fantastic game and quite simply put, it deserves the praise it gets.

The Legend of Dragoon is far from the most original JRPG out there and if you are looking for something unique to the genre then this likely won’t satisfy you. In fact, the game actually had mixed reception at launch. Former IGN reviewer David Smith once said “Games like Legend of Dragoon and Shadow Madness rank among the worst of the previous generation, regardless of genre” only a year after he reviewed it and gave it a 7 out of 10. Yeah, IGN reviewers being incompetent bought out morons is hardly a recent phenomenon. Read more