The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards that I’ve devised in collaboration with the community as an excuse to celebrate the games, experiences and fanbases that have left a particular impression on me in 2018. Find out more and leave a suggestion here!
This award was suggested by The Night Owl from The Late Night Session.
Retro gaming can be a bit of a minefield at times.
Sometimes you’ll return to a game you absolutely adored in your youth only to discover that it’s an unplayable garbage fire by modern standards, for all manner of reasons.
And sometimes you’ll pick up a game that you really enjoyed in years gone by, only to discover that age has been extremely kind to it — and it’s actually even better from a modern perspective than it was originally. I’ve come across a few games like that recently, but if I had to pick one, ooh, ooooooh….
And the winner is…
Continue reading The MoeGamer Awards 2018: The Least “Retro” Retro Game
One of the things I find kind of interesting about how gaming culture in general has developed over time is how people feel about “arcade games”.
Back in the 8- and 16-bit eras of computers and consoles that I grew up with, the seemingly unattainable dream was to have “the arcade experience at home” — or, well, more accurately, an authentic arcade experience at home. This was kind of strange when you think about it, because a lot of home computer and console games already offered experiences of greater complexity, depth and duration than your average quarter-muncher, but still the dream persisted.
Once we got to a stage where our home gaming hardware was more than up to the job of providing an “arcade-perfect” experience, however, many people had become so accustomed to those longer, deeper experiences that the dream of “arcade games” kind of fell by the wayside for a significant proportion of the gaming audience. And consequently, I suspect a fair few people missed out on highly enjoyable cheese like Sega’s Ghost Squad.
Continue reading Wii Essentials: Ghost Squad
Yes, yes, yes, I know it’s also on Xbox and Gamecube, but I’ve always thought of TimeSplitters as a PlayStation thing, so that’s where it’s getting categorised today.
Ahem. Anyway. TimeSplitters 2 is, unsurprisingly, the follow-up to the excellent TimeSplitters, a game developed by ex-Rare folks who previously worked on GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64.
The original TimeSplitters has aged very well. Its sequel is even better. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading PS2 Essentials: TimeSplitters 2
A while back, I wrote about how Granblue Fantasy spreads out what would be the “endgame” experience of a more conventional MMO throughout its entire duration. And, unsurprisingly, given the developer the two games has in common, Dragalia Lost works in much the same way.
Dragalia Lost doesn’t have linear progression. Sure, you have a player level, but that’s more a measure of how long and how much you’ve played rather than anything else. And sure, you have character levels — but there are numerous ways to build these up, plus a strong emphasis on building a selection of teams and characters rather than just one “main” group.
The nice thing about the way Dragalia Lost does this — much like Granblue Fantasy also does — is that it provides the fun, mechanical, progression-based aspect of MMOs without one of their most irritating aspects. Let’s take a closer look at what I mean.
Continue reading Dragalia Lost: You Don’t Pay My Sub
One interesting difference between “conventional” MMOs such as Final Fantasy XIV and mobile games with MMO elements such as Dragalia Lost is how they handle side stories and multiplayer “raid” content.
In your average MMO, raid content — typically defined as a series of significant challenges that are dependent on a much larger group of players than the game’s usual multiplayer aspect — remains present in the game after its introduction, but gradually declines in “relevance” as time goes on. In cases like Final Fantasy XIV, where there’s a significant narrative component, it remains worth engaging with to enjoy the story, but the more time that elapses since its original launch, the less helpful it becomes to players in mechanical terms.
In mobile MMOs, however, raid content is typically a limited-time affair, confined to an event that offers special rewards to everyone who participates for a short period of time. And that’s exactly what’s going on in Dragalia Lost right now.
Continue reading Dragalia Lost: Loyalty’s Requiem
I’ve tried numerous times to “get into” fighting games over the years with varying amounts of success.
Back in the SNES era, I had a good time with the original Street Fighter II and managed to beat it with most of the characters — but my skills have gotten severely rusty since then. Beyond that, my main contact with the genre has primarily been the Dead or Alive series, which I enjoyed for a combination of its cast of beautiful people and its enjoyably fluid, reasonably accessible action.
But I’d always find myself hitting a wall. I’d never be able to pull off impressive combos, I’d struggle to reliably trigger special moves and I’d have difficulty understanding the underlying strategy that is fundamental to the fighting game experience as a whole. Oh, what to do, what to do?
Continue reading SNK Heroines: Fighting is Fun
It’s funny how the advancing years can affect how you perceive a particular game.
TimeSplitters is a great example. Developed by a team of ex-Rare staffers who had previously worked on N64 classics GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark, this PlayStation 2 launch title was positively received on its original release — but also drew some criticism for, in some respects, seeming like a step backwards from its spiritual predecessors, particularly in terms of narrative and storytelling.
Returning to it some 18 years after its original release, however, paints a somewhat different picture… and makes it an absolute delight to play.
Continue reading PS2 Essentials: TimeSplitters