Doing another one of these, though I may cheat a little and list older games that I’m just getting to now, or replaying…or that have been ported/remastered to a device I have…or updated.

Sonic Mania Plus (PC/Switch/PS4/XB1):
Okay, okay this is already cheating kinda as it’s more a light expansion than a proper full game. But, it was my game of the year last year and I grabbed the physi-erm, the DLC and it’s a blast. Two new characters, encore mode, 4 player competitive mode, some special effect changes, more special stages. It’s a really nice deal for $5, or if you don’t have the game it’s $30 I think. I have entirely filled every save slot with every character and gotten all the emeralds, beat encore mode it’s quite a lot of fun. It might be my favorite 2D Sonic title to date!

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
WELL this game is a bit of a hard one to tackle. It’s honestly a really fun game, it’s a game that was on the PSVita that got ported to PS4 then later the Switch and after like 3 delays spanning over a year (I think) it got a busted ass PC port that was later fixed (?). That’s not all. Apparently the localization was VERY janky… Which is odd considering NiS America has been doing this for a while now, you’d think they could manage a decent translation in this day n’ age. This isn’t the 90’s ya can’t really get away with many excuses- and they didn’t as they had to release a patch for this on all platforms. Oh dear.

BUT ANYWAY, on to what I like about this game! It’s very good, the music is amazing, might have one of my favorite songs in any RPG ever. It fits the gameplay well, fast paced adventurous and fun. What starts off as a hack and slasher quickly expands as your team gets new members with new skills. Each character being better at damaging certain enemies (sword on squishy enemies, rapier on flying, and anchor on shelled enemies). It’s a very odd game in terms of story because each game is connected but they don’t actually do much referencing of previous games. It’s Adol and Dogi, something goes wrong and they gotta get themselves out of it. Digging their way out this time from a island and having to gather people to help build a village and a team to search it.

The gameplay is a lot of fun, music adds to it and it’s a heck of a game. Fast and frantic and while there’s not a lot of characterization going on, what is there is simple and good. Worth a play on any platform but, just be aware the steam version MIGHT not work for you. It’s a port from the Vita so it’s not going to be like Monster Hunter quality of visuals but it gets the job done.

I really recommend this game, it’s great despite the issues it had early on. I haven’t finished it yet but I’m hoping to before the year is up. (Spoiler, I didn’t)

No Man’s Sky: NEXT (PC/PS4/XB1):
Okay, before you roll your eyes and skip ahead, yes this game was originally released in 2016 with a lot of ire from people the game got a massive, MASSIVE update recently that’s made it quite a lot better. I didn’t think it was particularly bad before (likely because I went in not knowing what was promised) but there is no denying that they didn’t go crazy with updating the game.

I played with my cousin for a few hours and it’s really giving me flashbacks to Starflight on the Genesis (a remake of a PC game). Just more depth to it in terms of visuals and the ability to build bases and what not. I experienced launching off a planet into space and going into a galaxy in Starflight but to do it in 3D and seamlessly with a lot going on? It’s wild. As a sci-fi nerd it’s a dream come true. Now again, I’m only a few hours into the update and I’m not sure what will come of this in the long run? But I’ll probably update this later.

Call this a cheat if you want, BUT, I’ll lay my claim here. Originally I got Bayonetta 1 as a gift on the 360. One of the few gifts my brother got for me on any bday ever. …And I NEVER GOT TO PLAY IT. 360 being the pile of junk it is (defenders you will hold your tongue, a 56% failure rate is NOT a good thing and that’s the time I had my 360) it failed several times, never had a console fail before you make some snarky comment. Defensive bits aside, with some discounts and gift cards from points I decided to grab this overpriced collection for Switch and I FINALLY got to play and beat Bayonetta 1 on it’s latest port.

Negatives: It’s price is way too high for games this old and seeing how one of the games is a download that goes onto a SD card that I gotta buy to store it, I think Nintendo is insane in BOTH scenarios here. Price, and having one a download. Should have been $30-40 if they were going to do that. I mean when Bayonetta 2 was NEW it was a good price to get the new game and the old for $60, especially given you got them BOTH on their own discs vs the Switch version where you get a cart and a piece of toilet paper with a download code for the same cost. You can’t even save money because the eShop downloads are priced HIGHER than the cost of the games normally. Bayo 1 is $30 (vs $10-$20 on PC, ya know, the better version) and Bayo 2 is $50. So, even if you’re just buying ONE of them, they jacked the price up unless you buy both. That’s DUMB Nintendo, really, really dumb.

Positive thinking! I really like the first game, haven’t played 2 as of typing this but it was really fun in the action dept, gloriously cheesy and was over the top and damn fun. Quite the challenge too, maybe a bit TOO hard on hard mode. Some of those enemies were just annoying and I was fine unless those ones immune to Witch Time showed up. So, didn’t beat hard mode but cleared normal. Really like this game, up there with the best Devil May Cry titles. The enemy design is awesome and the fights just kept surprising- the one surprise I didn’t like were the Quick Time Events as they’d instantly kill you quite often.

Will talk about Bayonetta 2 later I hope! (spoiler, I didn’t get to it)

Dragon Ball Fighterz
Well I’m not much of a fighting game fan but I do like some games: King of Fighters, Soul Calibur, Dragon Ball Tenkaichi 3, Melty Blood. So when I heard they were making a DBZ fighting game that’d be more normal I was like eh, I want more flashy, over the top and accurate to the show. WELL, hush my mouth- this is probably the most accurate to a show video game ever made. No game looks THIS accurate to it’s source material.

Heck if you showed screenshots to a friend who never heard of this, they’d probably be fooled into thinking it was the show, or at the very least 2D rendered sprites. And it’s trying to do that but my goodness it’s 3d and it’s some of the best 3D apeing 2D  I’ve EVER SEEN. Yes, some DBZ games have technically better stuff, bloom and different shaders bla bla bla, better effects doesn’t make it better looking nor does it make it more accurate. Oh, before you say “Guilty Gear looks just as good and-” I know, but that’s a stand alone thing, this looks like the show, Guilty Gear’s 3D titles …well they look like the 2D games, and they look just as good as DBFighterZ! ….From what I saw in videos

Erm, I realized I haven’t said much about the game. Probably for the best since I’m FAR from being savvy with these games. It’s fun, it feels simple but …hard to master perhaps? I got it for the spectacle, or rather my friends and I did. Enjoyed it more than I thought.

Monster Hunter World (PC/PS4/XB1):
I’ve been following the series since the PSP days, it’s a series I’ve always wanted to love but had trouble with it. The first PSP game had really bad load times, the game was slow as it was but having to load 5-8 seconds between every zone was really bad for pacing. Especially if things got dumb, run into area (LOAD), monster smacks you back out of the area (LOAD), run back (LOAD), friends run past you “the monster ran to area 4!”…run back (LOAD). The later PSP titles and 3DS games had much better load times but I had trouble finding friends who were either interested or even had the system it was on.

IN COMES MONSTER HUNTER WORLD! BOOM! …FINALLY on PC, I had to wait 8+ months for this game to hit the PC after the consoles got it. Comically, it was a bday gift, a very, very late one. (Thanks Clancy!) The game is much faster than previous entries, they cut out so much of the BS time wasting padding and managed to connect ALL the map into 1 large area and just made the game so good. The game is basically what Capcom loves to do, it’s a lot of boss fights, except you get to skin the boss and use it to beat another boss…Tribal Megaman? The game is magic. Draw two dual swords and turn into a human blender against monsters or get a big fuck off sword and dice them up- LITERALLY, carving off chunks of the monster.

The game has lived with very similar visuals since the PS2 games, they certainly got a bit better but were limited by the hardware the titles were on (I mean the 3DS is 240p!). So this is a huge, HUGE visual and technological leap. The game is super crazy with what can go on. I’ve been hunting a monster when suddenly out of nowhere another one jumps in and they start fighting! Smashing eachother into walls and shattering terrain around them. The game…there’s nothing like it. (Gods Eater doesn’t come close).

Probably my favorite feature is, there’s no leveling up, your personal skill is a big factor which is awesome but besides that it’s 100% down to your gear in terms of stats. Want to hit harder? Craft a weapon. Better defense? Against what? Physical? Lightning? Fire? Craft to fit the roll. Friend wants to join? You can help them out with your better gear or dress down to make them feel more equal to you. It’s really a crazy fun experience.

Er, anyway .This is probably going to get updated to be my game of the year. I’ve FINALLY got to play Monster Hunter with my friend across the country after waiting years, and years for the chance to. As of writing this I’ve put 50 hours into the game and he probably put more. Currently it has some things it needs to get patched but I really do like the game a lot, I’ve taken a lot of screenshots of it. It’s really helped me stay positive through some recent crap so, I’m happy to have it.

Update: I’ve put a lot more time into it and it’s been a lot of fun. Been playing with my friend Doughboy and Lu (from Piece of Me comic) and it’s just been a blast. The battles are big and having to coordinate against giant monsters with all the different things that can happen both because the monster itself is dangerous and has a lot it can do but the map also plays a huge roll in how the will play out. The different areas you fight have different elevations, different things to keep an eye out for. It’s such a good game. I know some of the long time fans are less keen on it since it misses some stuff from the older games but, having played them and played this there’s a lot here that makes this still stack up.

Octopath Traveler (Switch):
As of writing it’s currently only on Switch, judging by how well it’s done I’m sure that won’t last. Which is a good thing, it’s a game everyone should give a look at if they like them old school RPGs. First of all, I’d just like to say it’s comical that Squares Enix being the giant idiots they are insist that “turn based RPGs are dated and bad” and meanwhile this a SECOND new IP of games that feature turn based combat that’s doing extremely well. Nevermind the Enix side of things with the Dragon Quest series, so, good job Square-Enix, keep shooting yourself in the foot with your own dumb words and success of titles you seem to hate making- but do oh so well.

AHEM, the game. It’s good, great music, interesting visuals, solid voice acting and the combat (I’m REALLY early in at the moment, will update maybe probably) is fun.

Update: I’ve clocked about 20 hours into this game and while I do like the gameplay and what I’ve experienced the game suffers with it’s lack of character interaction for me. That’s always been something I enjoy even if it’s lightly done. Every character in the game has their own story but they don’t talk to eachother about these things. Not as far in as I am anyway. I’m not saying this is bad it’s just something that I look for in a game and it’s not really here. So I’ll probably play this till another RPG comes out and I’ll have to come back to this one. It’s a fun time, a solid RPG but just doesn’t catch me the way I hoped.

Monster Boy: And the Cursed Kingdom (PC/PS4/Switch):
I wasn’t sure what I was looking at when I saw this. Because it really, really reminded me of Wonder Boy: The Dragons Trap which got a remake last year. Mostly it was the pig man on the cover because that’s pretty spot on to the one in Wonder Boy. WELL, the backstory is complicated with this game’s history. What I will say it’s made by the same people, under a different company and has the same spirit as Wonder Boy: The Dragons Trap.

How do I put this, ya like Shantae? This game uses a very similar idea. You use different transformations to platform, fight and solve minor puzzles. Before you think it’s a ripoff- remember they made Wonder Boy which is a remaster of a Sega Master System game.

Anyway! This game is out so late in the year and it’s a busy time of the year. I’ve only put a few hours into it. What I can say is, wow it’s an impressive game. The visuals are 2D and hand done and pretty darned detailed. Change your boots? Your character reflects that. The music is super nice and really fits the game and the areas you’re in.

If you like Shantae I suggest you give Wonder Boy & Monster Boy a try. They’re on a number of systems and are worth the money in my opinion.