For all their merits, traditional JRPGs haven’t exactly positioned themselves as videogame’s most cohesive narrative experience. One reason is foundational to the genre: the separation of world exploration and menu-based combat breaks player immersion from the story and characters. The other reason is true for the majority of games period: they all know how to implement a story but few understand how to exist as one. While still very much a traditional JRPG, Mother 3’s story takes root at its core, finding ways to incorporate all its elements into a whole that is surprising and emotional.
For a decade across the 8 and 16-bit generations, Mega Man had been an action-packed dynamo, but after some twenty odd games, his aging framework was in need of some vital upgrades. Powered by the PlayStation hardware, Keiji Inafune and his crew of robot masters successfully forged a new Blue Bomber, translating his action concepts onto a three-dimensional world.
The new 32 bit tech gave the series a chance to break away from the techno-future aesthetic found in both the Classic and X series with their cities dependent on robots for manual labor. Mega Man Legends is an adventure in a world covered in endless water where diggers explore the ruins of a lost civilization amongst the scattered land masses for Zenny and treasure.
For anyone who used to make believe with a box full of Tonka Trucks and action figures, Rare’s Blast Corps is a special kind of game, one that takes you back to the timeless parts of your childhood that don’t fade just because you’re now an adult. It allows you to relive the freedom that comes from the act of playing and the simple joys that come from pretending that you’re taking control of a roughneck crew out to save the world through demolition.
Mega Man 9 fixed Mega Man by distilling the Blue Bomber’s staid gameplay to its essentials: moving and shooting. By striving to limit itself to the restrictions of twenty year old hardware, Inti Creates game highlights how bogged down with its own design the series core gameplay had become over its evolution. What they made is a long lost NES game.
The story immediately sets the tone in sprites full of personality. Having again been defeated by our blue hero, Dr. Wily swears off his evil ways. But its not long before the residents of Monsteropolis are in danger from a collection on renegade robots again. But its Wily that steps up to protect the city, claiming innocence and insisting the robots were created by the good-natured Dr. Light. To clear his name, Mega Man heads out.
Go immediately left from at the start of Metroid: Zero Mission and you’ll find the Morph Ball upgrade exactly where it was in the original Metroid. This is the first in a series of discoveries that shows how the remake beautifully modernizes galactic bounty hunter Samus Aran’s first adventure that celebrates the past while recognizing the journey her series embarked on following it, rebuilding the original release in the structure of influential classic Super Metroid.
A child’s eyes see a simple world. For centuries, fairy tales have been tools to give those eyes a view on the world they might not see on their own. They are a means of teaching lessons and giving metaphors, to see villainy and sorrow overcome by heroism and bravery. In Bastion, Supergiant Games has crafted a new fairy tale in videogame form, one that allows you to revisit your youth while celebrating the games you loved when you were small and the world was big.
Videogames attempts to marry gameplay to music have long suffered from a case of ‘this’ or ‘that’. Narrative or pure mechanics, simon says memorization or notes on cue. Music rhythm games have been largely forced to pigeonhole themselves into working with a single mechanic with little flexibility. None of those games are Rhythm Heaven Fever.
More than any other medium, videogames possess the ability to immerse people in worlds, of giving them a sense of place, one that can be populated, filled out and come alive before our eyes. But great worlds contain memorable characters with their own personalities- Pokémon has long had one of those worlds. Pokémon Snap is built around this singular idea- it puts would-be photographers on a Safari in a Pokémon nature preserve and equips us with a camera to witness, interact and record.
Originally released on Japanese MSX2 and PC-8801 machines in 1988, Snatcher is a cyberpunk adventure dripping in dark themes and dystopic style. In many ways, Snatcher is a classic Adventure game- but this one was designed and directed by Hideo Kojima, his second after Metal Gear. Continue reading “Snatcher: A Cyberpunk Adventure”