Right, so I haven't been posting in this thread this year. In fact, I've been posting very little. This is because real life has been very busy, and is likely to remain so. I've had little time to play videogames, and even less so to come here.
I still like to write reviews on the games I play, so I think I'll pivot my priorities towards writing really short reviews. Like, just a paragraph or two. And a 5 star rating
With that in mind, here are the games that Jonnas has finished (one way or the other) in 2023:
Played it a long time ago, replayed it on 3DS.
Not as good as I remembered. Robot Master weapons aren't that hot (and overshadowed by the upgrade system), the Mega Fist is kinda clunky, the level design is a tad simplistic as there aren't that many alternate routes... Music is cool, though. I'd say the biggest hook is the plot/setting/premise, really, the Stardroids feel like a refreshing change of pace compared to the usual Robot-Men.
4 stars. Upon retrospect, I think I like Mega Man IV more
Briefly played it a long time ago. Tried to play it in earnest on 3DS.
Very disappointing. It's a top-down action shooter where you can move wherever. It's pretty dull, there's the same kind of enemy over and over, you can explore, but what you can find is profoundly uninteresting, the hitboxes are kind of janky, the playable characters are all the same, the music is forgettable, and the live system is unforgiving. Oh, and having to play a mashing mini-game to confirm you killed a boss? Terrible idea.
1 star. At least the dialogue is still goofy.
(the font is super loud and obnoxious, so FYI, this game is called Super Bomberman R)
Bought it on Switch for multiplayer. Decided to give the story a go.
It's fine Bomberman for multiplayer. Single-player leaves a lot to be desired, not that the concept is bad, but the execution... It's hard for the wrong reasons. The camera angle is poor for visibility, icy floor tiles are really hard to tell apart from regular tiles, there's a lives system that turns every World into a gauntlet, and the bosses are obnoxious, being arbitrarily invincible 90% of the time. One of the bosses has this banger of a boss tune, but I otherwise don't recommend the Story Mode.
3 stars. Soundtrack is mostly obnoxious, but you can play as Goemon, Metal Gear, and Castlevania characters, so it balances out.
Bought it recently for the Switch at a very cool price. Always wanted to properly get into this series. For those who don't know, it's a weapon-based fighting game that focuses on replicating the drama from Samurai films.
This collection is amazing, containing development history, developer interviews, hundreds of artworks, design documents, and even recordings of competitive matches! Digital Eclipse is doing divine work, here.
Samurai Shodown 1
Promising start to the series. Hits the slow-moving, intense-slashing style it's aiming for, but it feels very stiff and choppy. Best to think of it as the prototype for the excellent Samurai Shodown II.
Samurai Shodown 2
I played this one before! It's the quintessential SamSho game, and the one that really nails the "Samurai Film Drama" the series is going for. You can tell that SamSho 2019 modelled itself a lot on this game's rhythm and pacing.
Samurai Shodown 3
"We can't improve upon the perfection that is SS2! Let's try something different". Samurai Shodown III aims for a faster pace, with rolls, spot-dodges, high jumps... I don't like it. It's too busy, visually, and detracts from the point of the series. Plus, the hitboxes feel very unintuitive, and the animation is choppier than it needs to be.
Also, it introduces the "Slash" or "Bust" system, that is, the concept that each character has two different movesets: classic (Slash) or "evil" (Bust). Same normal moves, different special moves and mannerisms. Not a fan, it's just a way to introduce Echo Fighters for the entire roster. I will admit that Bust Nakoruru (who fights with a wolf instead of a hawk) is a pretty distinct character, and makes the best use of the concept.
Samurai Shodown 4
"Well, we can at least improve upon SS3". This is a game with the concepts introduced in Samurai Shodown 3, but refined to the point that they're actually fun and enjoyable. Reuses the same sprites, but it's much more fun to play. There's also a consistent dark tone to the game, as the story says that an evil castle has appeared out of nowhere, and sure enough, you can see it in the background of every stage (it matches the map you see in Arcade Mode). Plus, when a character gets low health during the final round, the villain's face will appaear in the background, cackling, like he's pulling the strings.
There's also this cool concept in Arcade mode where you can only fight the bosses if you reach them within the time limit. More engaging than usual.
Samurai Shodown 5
The series lay dormant for 7 years before some bloke decided to revive it while SNK was bankrupt. Samurai Shodown V really feels like they were throwing a bunch of ideas at the wall and trying to see what sticks. Like, they did away with the Slash/Bust system, but split some Bust versions into their own characters. They also introduced some bizarre concepts for characters, like Elvis Tokugawa, Mina the Archer, and a big hulking monster that has no place being in this game. They're also reusing the same sprites from SamSho 3.
I will give it credit, it's fairly easier to pick up and play than its predecessors. I also like its minibosses (sadly not playable). But it definitely feels like an oddball experiment.
Samurai Shodown 5 Special
Same thing, but more refined gameplay (new mechanics, smoother movement, etc.), and lacking the minibosses. The tasteful fatalities are back. Oh, I also played this one previously.
Samurai Shodown 5 Perfect
A never before seen Neo Geo ROM! Digital Eclipse somehow found a surviving copy and put it into this collection! It is now officially the last game to ever be released on the Neo Geo! Holy smokes!
It's almost exactly like Special, but with some adjustments here and there Not even a new character. There's a new story mode that encourages you to try out its mechanics, so that's cool. Very sweet piece of history, but it's underwhelming that it's mostly what it is.
Samurai Shodown 6
SamSho I gets 2 stars
Samsho II gets 4 stars
SamSho III gets 2 stars
Samsho IV gets 4 stars
All versions of Samsho V get 3 stars
The collection itself is 5 stars. Simply fantastic.
(All sprites taken from FightersGeneration.com)