Thursday, September 27, 2018

My Hero Academia Vol. 14 Review

Oh yeah, forgot to put this one up. Five more.

This was one was really easy to write for some reason.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

How does one define perfection in video games? Is it recognizing how one game brilliantly executes its main goal? Is it simply returning to a childhood favorite again and again? Or, perhaps, is it something as broadly simple as doing everything right? In that case, it's difficult to imagine anything more perfect in the Zelda pantheon -- or perhaps even all of Nintendo's library --  than The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. There are a variety of reasons for this, but more than anything, it's timeless in its accessibility. Consider this quality when when juxtaposed to Zelda's other masterworks: Majora's Mask -- which I still consider the the series apex -- demands an entirely different style of play that can be too stressful, Breath of the Wild and even this game's sequel in A Link Between Worlds may stray too far from the series formula for some, Ocarina of Time suffers from the same graphical degradation as the rest of its respective generation, and The Legend of Zelda is too archaic and impenetrable by today's standards.

Only Link's Awakening for Game Boy may match it here, and as masterful as that game's bittersweet balance of infectious light-heartedness and gradual melancholy is, A Link to the Past is instantly superior for presenting the greatest opening in series history -- as far as Nintendo games go, only Super Metroid and Metroid Prime may surpass it, and A Link to the Past may even trump those with its own title opener. After the Nintendo logo flickers on screen with the gentlest of harps, a majestic three-dimensional Triforce morphs into shape, embedding within the game's logo as the Master Sword pierces through, a triumphant score celebrating our arrival into the latest Zelda adventure.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Sleeping With The Enemy: Embracing Disappointment (Kirby Star Allies) (Hey Poor Player)

That's right: it's a brand new column by yours truly, and it's debuting on Hey Poor Player! Wowza!
As this came out of nowhere, I'm certain you're asking how Sleeping With The Enemy was born. Truth is, much as Biweekly Music Wednesday! interfered with my schedule, I treasured how it was the perfect outlet to discuss personal musings regarding the gaming industry, memories of games past, and the like. With it gone, I certainly had more time for reviews, but the loss of expressing everything else was sorely felt -- I love talking about games, but the passion and fuel behind that love is just as important to me.

The answer was clear: I needed a new column, but this time I knew Hey Poor Player had to be its new home -- not only would that extend my reach and relax Leave Luck to Heaven's focus on reviews, but it'd spice up the site's output. Everyone wins!

Coming up with the theme of criticism was a challenge: any ol' topic can serve just fine as individual opinion pieces, and it's not like everyone's fascinated with my stream of consciousness, so I needed an eye-grabbing hook to lure readers. "Criticism" was eventually decided through two factors: the epiphany I elaborate upon in my debut Kirby Star Allies article, and reviewing this BMW! installment revolving around an infamous Xenoblade Chronicles: X tune.

How do we handle criticism? How do we handle disappointment, or maligned critique of mechanics we fail to understand? I answer to aim these questions and many, many more. You can expect new installments every two to three weeks.

(By the way, my boss came up with the name. Works quite well in grabbing your attention, right?)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Silver Spoon Vol. 4 Review (Hey Poor Player)

A bit late on this one --- this week's been a killer.

I should mention that while Silver Spoon is localized by Yen Press, there were delays in Viz shipping last month's titles again, and combined with this month's manga, that makes about nine manga to review./ As I have no choice but to review these through October, the flow of game reviews here may take a hit, so please have patience.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Worldly Weekend: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis)

With Sonic the Hedgehog finally embedding the Sega Genesis into the mainstream -- enough to overtake Nintendo's own Super NES for the 1991 holiday season -- only one logical conclusion was inevitable: the need for a sequel. If momentum was to be achieved, being bigger, prettier and faster wouldn't be enough enough: nay, it must be better. If it must be prettier, than its pre-rendered 3D graphics musn't merely be for show, but instead highlight specially-earned sections of play. If it's to be faster, it must cut down on the momentum-killing puzzles and gimmicks from the first game to encourage more flow, upgrade the controls accommodate this venture, and then go a step beyond by the accompaniment a CPU-followable character that could be controlled via a second player. If it must be bigger, than everything just mentioned must play into every facet of its design.

What results is Sonic the Hedgehog 2, a game implicitly more confident than its progenitor. With the design lessons learned from the first title, the game could satisfyingly combine flashiness with enthralling gameplay, and so we have a game that is, for the most part, absolutely solid. It is a game of sufficient length (over ten zones -- just enough time for the practiced player to finish before supper), engaging feedback (the Spin Dash mechanic), and dense, captivating level design from beginning to end (not a single stinker in its zones, and all brilliantly capitalize on the original's multi-tiered design). No longer is Sonic a game meant to defeat Mario, but a game that can stand tall with Mario.