I fancied a bit of a change from OutRun this week, so I present to you one of my all-time favourite arcade racers: Split/Second, developed by Black Rock and published by Disney.
Split/Second is a tragic tale, really; it was a spectacularly good game that came out at a bad time, had no marketing whatsoever and consequently flopped so badly that Black Rock had to close down and Disney stopped doing anything interesting like unusual cinematic arcade racers ever again. Booo.
Still, at least Split/Second still exists, and we can still enjoy it for ourselves, so let’s do just that!
Continue reading Sunday Driving: Rigged to Blow
We’ve already talked about how distinctive Blue Reflection’s visual aesthetic is thanks to the contributions of Mel Kishida — but its music is worthy of some discussion, too.
It will come as no surprise to longtime Gust fans to hear that Blue Reflection has an excellent soundtrack — though it’s an interesting score overall in that it blends a variety of different styles to create something altogether unique.
It complements the action well and, between it and the visuals, means that Blue Reflection is one of the most distinctive games Gust has put out for a long time. So let’s take a closer look… listen, whatever.
Continue reading Blue Reflection: Sounds of School Days
With the recent announcement of a release date for Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero’s physical Ultimate Edition, I thought it was high time we showed the girl herself some love.
She’s been the star of four separate games to date, as well as making guest appearances in a number of other titles such as Blaster Master Zero.
I’ve actually earmarked June of 2018 to explore the Shantae series as a whole, so we’ll talk more about her in detail then, but in the meantime let’s contemplate the majesty of this belly-dancing half-genie and why she’s so appealing.
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Shantae
The MoeGamer Awards are a series of made-up prizes that give me an excuse to celebrate games, concepts and communities I’ve particularly appreciated over the course of 2017. Find out more and suggest some categories here!
Music is a massively important part of the modern gaming experience. As technology has improved, particularly in the storage department, we’ve seen a notable shift away from game systems synthesising music in real time using built-in sound chips — a process that often produced a distinctive and instantly recognisable sound unique to each platform — and towards more traditionally recorded music.
While this does diminish each modern platform’s individuality in terms of the distinctive timbres of their games’ soundtracks, it does leave composers free to let their imaginations run wild and express themselves — and for us as listeners to focus on the compositions themselves rather than admire how the musicians got around technical limitations. Today’s award celebrates a delightfully eclectic and enjoyable soundtrack that blends a variety of styles together into one coherent whole; the kind of soundtrack that simply wouldn’t have been possible back in the eras of chiptunes or synthesised MIDI music.
And the winner is…
Continue reading The MoeGamer Awards: Most Eclectic Soundtrack
“Video games aren’t movies.” That’s a line of criticism that those who prioritise mechanics over narrative like to level at cutscene-heavy games, particularly those by creators such as Hideo Kojima and David Cage.
And while it’s true that making effective use of games as a form of interactive media tends to emphasise actual interaction over passively watching cutscenes, one can hardly deny the spectacle offered by strongly movie-inspired titles, and the flexibility that entirely computer-generated scenes and characters can provide creators.
Which makes it all the more unusual that so many games focus on movies as their primary inspiration rather than other forms of media. Sure, some role-playing games might be rather operatic in tone, visual novels are effectively “Books Plus” and rhythm games provide a new way of experiencing pieces of music, but video games have never embraced the idea, of, say, musical theatre.
Or so you thought…
This article is also a video! Hit the jump to watch it, or catch it on YouTube.
Continue reading Stormblood: The MMO as Musical Theatre
Japanese role-playing games have long been known for having some of the most memorable soundtracks in all of gaming. And, surprisingly, mobile takes on the genre are no exception.
The news that Cygames’ incredibly popular Granblue Fantasy has a fantastic soundtrack will probably not come as a surprise, however, given the incredibly strong pedigree of the talent behind it. The work of longstanding Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu and his bandmate Tsutomo Narita from the Earthbound Papas, Granblue Fantasy’s soundtrack covers a surprisingly diverse range of musical styles, and is clearly one of the areas that has had the most love and attention lavished on it.
That sounds like a good excuse to enjoy some of its finest moments to me!
Continue reading Granblue Fantasy: Sounds of the Skydom
The Senran Kagura series has a particularly striking aesthetic that makes it instantly recognisable — and this is the work of not only its visuals, but its soundtrack, too.
Combining the distinctive character designs of artist Nan Yaegashi with a delightfully rockin’ (and varied) soundtrack, Senran Kagura clearly has a keen awareness of the fact that successful series consider their identities carefully. While it clearly isn’t on the same scale in terms of budget as today’s most lavish triple-A titles, what it does do within the constraints of its medium, console hardware, game engine and presentation style is a significant factor in what makes it one of the most fondly regarded Japanese franchises out there.
Senran Kagura Estival Versus is the most impressive installment to date — and while it shines on the lovely screen of the Vita, it’s an absolute delight to behold on a big TV thanks to the PS4 version.
Continue reading Senran Kagura Estival Versus: Sights and Sounds