Metroid 30th Anniversary

Today marks the 30th anniversary of Metroid’s release in North America. It launched on August 15, 1987 for the NES. Five years ago I covered the series (one and two) and at the time the state of Metroid and Metroidvanias was dire. A couple things have changed since then. One, I’ve learned a lot since my second year of doing this stuff. Two, while Nintendo is finally giving Samus the proper resurgence she deserves, the indie scene has been ablaze with Metroidvanias for years. Games like Axiom Verge, Guacamelee, and the most recent hit, Sundered. They honestly give Super Metroid and Symphony of the Night a run for their money.

 

So while we haven’t been in any kind of a dry spell, again, it is nice to see Nintendo finally acknowledging the franchise. Even Konami allowed that Castlevania anime to be made by another company. It’s not perfect, but the show is still pretty good. Hopefully 2017 marks the revival of both of these great series. For now let’s take a look at Metroid’s past triumphs and mistakes in the accompanying video retrospective. Enjoy!

PS4 Review: Nidhogg 2

Nidhogg 2 is more or less the same game from 2014 albeit with a few tweaks. Does the game offer enough of an evolution from the original, or is it a baby step backwards? Find out in my review.

Special Notes: I received a PS4 review code for Nidhogg 2.

PS4 Review: Sine Mora EX

Sine Mora EX is an enhanced PS4 port. The original game launched on March 21, 2012 for the Xbox 360 and has since been added to the PS3, PS Vita, Ouya, iOS, and PC. Each one of these ports offered something new to the original package in some small from, but Sine Mora EX goes a step beyond that. Does it offer enough for veterans to jump back in five years later and will it attract new players as well? Find out in my review.

BioShock 10th Anniversary

This month marks the 10th anniversary of the BioShock series. The first game released on August 21, 2007 for the Xbox 360 and PC, which was developed by Irrational Games. It was followed up by BioShock 2 in 2010 from a different team and then back to Irrational Games with BioShock Infinite in 2013. That’s just a brief snippet for now. I get into more detail in the accompanying video retrospective. Enjoy!

PS4 Review: Sundered

Sundered is a hand-drawn Metroidvania with RPG elements, which takes place in an ever-changing world akin to a roguelike. That’s a mouthful isn’t it? It’s the second game from Thunder Lotus Games. I was admittedly not a fan of their first title, Jotun, but I thought the art was gorgeous. I had high hopes for Sundered to be better. Did its hodgepodge of gameplay mechanics coalesce into an excellent experience, or was it as boring to traverse as Jotun. Find out in my video review. Enjoy!

Special Notes: I received a PS4 review code for Sundered.

Armored Core 20th Anniversary

This month marks the 20th anniversary of FromSoftware’s mecha hit franchise, Armored Core. The original game debuted on July 10, 1997 on the PS1 in Japan. The North American version launched in the same year, but strangely on Halloween. Not really a spooky game, but whatever. While the series has graced the Xbox 360 and mobile phones, primarily Armored Core has been a PlayStation series. This includes the PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP. Sadly there hasn’t been a game released on either the PS4, or PS Vita yet. Will that change soon? Hard to tell, but for now sit back and relax with some more history behind Armored Core in my accompanying video retrospective. Enjoy!

PS4 Review: Fallen Legion Sins of an Empire

Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire stars a young empress desperately trying to hold her country together as it tears itself apart in civil war. It’s an RPG with roots similar to Final Fantasy Tactics and Valkyrie Profile. Does this obscure game have a chance on taking on the big boys, or is it simply not worth your time? Find out in my review. Enjoy!

Special Notes: I received PS4 and PS Vita review codes for Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire.

Harry Potter Retrospective: Griptonite’s RPG Trilogy

As I teased in my Harry Potter video game retrospective, there was a unique trilogy that spanned from the Game Boy Color to the Game Boy Advance. Contrary to the other games based off of the first three movies, which were puzzle-based platformers, these versions were RPGs. The now defunct Griptonite Games, who specialized in handheld ports, developed them. Is this obscure trilogy worth playing for Harry Potter, and or RPG fans, or are they just as bad as all the other Harry Potter games? Find out in this new video retrospective. Enjoy!

Dynasty Warriors 20th Anniversary

It’s time to give props to one of the longest running series out there. Dynasty Warriors launched on the original PlayStation on June 30, 1997 in North America. Omega Force developed it, which was a newly formed division of Koei. It’s based on a set of Chinese historical novels and another Koei series, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which debuted in 1985. Today the series is well known as a hack and slash RPG, but it began as a weapon based fighting game. It’s no Street Fighter, or Soulcalibur to be more precise, but it’s still pretty good.

 

Omega Force and Koei didn’t immediately turn Dynasty Warriors into a cash cow. Instead they worked on three other projects. Enigma was an adventure game, which only released in Japan, Destrega was another fighting game albeit on a more DBZ level of chaos, and WinBack was a third-person shooter. They’re all pretty decent although I can’t say much about Enigma since it was all in Japanese.

 

After this experimentation Omega Force brought back Dynasty Warriors with its second installment arriving on October 26, 2000 in North America for the PS2. This is where the common gameplay elements of today started and it’s been like this ever since. Critics may chastise the series for being too “samey” but if you take a look every generation evolves ever so slightly. With better graphics and engines the team has a lot more to play with. More enemies can appear onscreen, maps get bigger, and heroes get broader. There’s a deeper bond fans have with Dynasty Warriors aside from the endless mayhem of slaying thousands of dead eyed warriors. That’s the co-op. Omega Force is one of the few remaining developers that constantly incorporates couch co-op into their games. For the most part that is.

 

I’m not saying this series doesn’t have flaws. For example, the one thing I miss from modern iterations is localized voice acting. The English actors in Dynasty Warriors weren’t winning any awards for their performances, but their cheesy portrayals added to the games’ charm. Japanese voice work is usually better, but it’s hard to read text while in the middle of battle. And yes it can get repetitive if you’re not playing with a friend so I understand where the haters are coming from. That said sometimes it’s just fun to turn your brain off and wail on some dudes. Understandably that sort of sensation isn’t for everyone though.

 

Since the second game Omega Force has pretty much become a Dynasty Warriors printing press, but there has been a series of spinoffs in-between each main release. Their first was Samurai Warriors, which was based on Japanese history instead of Chinese. They’ve also tackled various anime properties like Gundam and One Piece and video game adaptations too like Zelda and Dragon Quest. I could go on, but I’ve written enough for now so it’s time to throw it on over to my two accompanying video retrospectives wherein you can learn more about the main Dynasty Warriors games and its spinoffs. With that I wish Dynasty Warriors a very mighty 20th Anniversary!