All right. We’ve established that Ace Combat 7 absolutely has its own sense of style, that the VR mode is something rather special and that it strikes a great balance between arcade action and more realistic simulation. What about the actual missions, and the overall “game” experience?
Well, for those who have been hoping for a true next-gen Ace Combat experience, I am delighted to confirm that you will absolutely find this in Ace Combat 7 — both in terms of its narrative style, and in terms of how it plays.
Actual combat is where the game is at its most unrealistic — but also its most fun. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Delving Into Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown – #4
I finally beat Ace Combat 7’s single-player campaign the other night, and the whole experience is indeed a fine addition to the franchise.
Today I thought we’d talk a bit about the mechanics and controls of the game, including where it fits into the overall franchise from this perspective, and into the broader concept of “flight simulators” as a whole.
Suit up and get ready, pilot; it’s time to scramble.
Continue reading Delving Into Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown – #3
I’ve been playing a lot of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown since it released the other day. And I wanted to talk about it a bit!
I’ve elected to use the “Delving Into” format, because that also provides a suitable framework for me to explore (and revisit) the rest of the series along the way, too. For the unfamiliar, my “Delving Into” pieces are more immediate, personal reactions to games or series I want to explore over the long term, but which don’t really fit into the Cover Game structure.
Each article will focus on a particular aspect of the overall experience, or something that I’ve found otherwise noteworthy. Let’s kick off today with my impressions of the game’s overall sense of style, based on my playthrough of the single-player campaign up to mission 17 so far.
Continue reading Delving Into Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown – #1
You know sometimes you just see a game and think “I’m going to enjoy this?” That was very much me and Riddled Corpses EX.
There was something about the game’s excellent use of convincing 16-bit style pixel art and the suggestion that it would incorporate two of my favourite shmup subgenres — bullet hell and twin-stick — that made me pretty sure I was going to have a good time with it. And I most certainly did.
If you’re yet to check out this enjoyable blastathon, either in its original PC incarnation on Steam or its all-new “EX” version on PlayStation 4/Vita cross-buy and Xbox One, then grab yourself a sturdy controller, strap yourself in and get ready to perforate some cadavers.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Riddled Corpses EX
It’s interesting to see how the Raiden series has evolved over time, what with it being one of the longest-running series of shoot ’em ups that is still relevant today.
Raiden V is probably the biggest “reinvention” the series has seen since its inception — and consequently may take a little adjusting to for series veterans in particular — but it’s still very much recognisable as an installment in this classic series.
For those less familiar with shoot ’em ups — or those interested in getting involved in the modern side of this challenging, fascinating genre — Raiden V is certainly something of a trial by fire, but it’s a very rewarding journey to take.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Raiden V
Those with a longstanding interest in the worldwide shoot ’em up scene may well be familiar with German developer Hucast Games.
A developer primarily known for helping resurrect Sega’s defunct Dreamcast platform for modern audiences through the release of original, new arcade-style games for the system, Hucast’s work has had mixed reception over the years — though not necessarily entirely due to the quality of the games themselves, as this article from Segabits in 2015 explains in more detail.
As we move further into the “digital age”, however, it becomes a lot easier for developers such as Hucast to ply their trade — and, should mistakes occur, to correct them. Which is how we now find ourselves, two years after its original Dreamcast release, with an HD version of Hucast’s shmup Ghost Blade for Windows PC, PS4, Wii U and Xbox One.
And hey! It’s really good.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Ghost Blade HD
Final Fantasy XV drew some raised eyebrows from certain quarters for its focus on an all-male cast, but this was a specific decision made in order to support the overall tone and character of the story.
Despite what this might sound like, however, Final Fantasy XV does not make any particular effort to explore concepts such as traditional (or indeed “toxic”) masculinity and the like. In fact, at numerous points over the course of its narrative, it subverts expectations through the interactions between its main cast and the supporting characters.
Not only that, unlike most previous Final Fantasy titles, the experience is not intended purely to be judged on its main scenario. Instead, as we explored last time, much like other Japanese attempts at open-world games such as the Xenoblade Chronicles series, the intention is clearly to build up a comprehensive picture of how the game world as a whole works, supporting the main scenario with numerous intertwining side stories and background lore to create a setting that feels well-crafted and truly alive.
Continue reading Final Fantasy XV: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation