The best games I didn’t blog about in 2015, part 2

Back again, and it’s the same deal as last time. After the last post, I felt even more strongly the importance of putting out these posts given some of the gems I experienced this year. Part two has arguably fewer interesting titles than part one, but I know I’d regret it if I failed to report on Disaster: Day of Crisis at least. Let’s go and save that girl!

Metroid: Other M (Wii)

metroid other m wii

This game… ever since it came out it’s had this aura… the “they pulled a Sonic” aura. As a result I went into Other M with low expectations, and turned out to be pleasantly surprised. The story, which Metroid fans kicked up a fuss about, is silly nonsense, but not in a bad way. Really, I’m just not invested enough in the Metroid series or Samus as a character to care one way or the other about how her depiction contradicts or confirms her character in other games. The cutscenes are very impressive to look at, they also aren’t overly frequent nor long, plus, if you look past the campy elements, the story is surprisingly decent.

Beyond its “controversial” aspects, the game is very fun and satisfying. The speed of the gameplay is a joy after years of Metroid Prime games (which, thanks to this game, I’ve realised I’m not a fan of), and the action is satisfying and intense. The only complaint I can make about this game is that exploration is a bit lightweight, particularly compared with previous Metroid games. But I can hardly fault the game when the final experience is so streamlined and elegant.

Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)

Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)

I was always curious about this game, but my interest in it increased dramatically after playing Xenoblade Chronicles at the start of 2015. I had a question: “How did Monolith Soft go from Disaster to Xenoblade?”. I don’t know that I really came up with an answer to that question. The two games for the most part look and feel completely different from one another. Still, I did learn that Disaster is a pretty fun game, if rather shallow.

It’s certainly funny, thanks to a bevy of cliched Hollywood action film tropes from start to finish. To give just one example, there’s a “defuse the bomb” portion of the game during which you wield pliers and dramatically agonise over which wire to cut, the red one or the blue one, while another character radios instructions to you through the Wiimote speaker. I could also mention the frequently hilarious dialogue, which sees the main character reiterate numerous times, despite his habit of disrupting terrorists’ plans for initiating a nuclear war, that his sole goal is to save “that girl”! (I may have made this up in my mind, but I’m pretty sure there’s even a scene where our boy Ray tries to exchange a nuke in his possession for the woman he wants to save – talk about desperate!)

Underappreciated Nintendo character that he is, I hope you will join me in a chorus: Ray for Smash Bros., Ray for Smash Bros., Ray for Smash Bros…

Incredible Crisis (PS1)

Incredible Crisis (PS1)

So I have to admit, I had an idea of doing a “comparative Crisis” post, which as the name suggests would see me comparing Incredible Crisis with Disaster: Day of Crisis, based solely on the shared use of “Crisis” in the titles (don’t mention the Time Crisis or Dino Crisis series…). The idea worked insofar as it got me to play through both games to completion, but that’s about as far as I got. I worked on a post but never finished it, because despite the arbitrary decision to compare them, it turns out these two games are practically identical. We might as well go ahead and refer to this as Disaster’s spiritual prequel. Brothers from another mother.

OK, so there are some differences. Where Disaster takes itself immensely seriously, Incredible Crisis is very, very tongue-in-cheek. But like Disaster, Incredible Crisis is a minigame collection set in and around convoluted disaster situations. One of the funniest situations involves a true or false quiz in an ambulance, where the protagonist is trying to prove he’s conscious to hospital staff. To prove you’re conscious involves answering a total of ten questions correctly, without being wrong too many times. Some of the questions are simple arithmetic and geography, while others give you ten seconds to decipher an impossibly long maths question, or to multiply numbers in the thousands. Such absurd questions all but guarantee your answer is pure guesswork, and the game revels in a similar sense of cheekiness throughout the game. Another minigame sees you massaging a young lady on a ferris wheel, filling up her “pleasure metre” while (in)appropriate groaning sound effects play. In typical fashion, later you discover this same young lady is a terrorist bent on world destruction.

There’s also the soundtrack for this game. Composed and performed by Tokyo Ska Orchestra, I’d recommend giving it a look. Plenty cheerier than the Hans Zimmer-esque tunes in Disaster!

Jet Set Radio Future (XBox)

Jet Set Radio Future (Xbox)

What’s to be said about JSRF? I greatly enjoyed the original for Dreamcast, and the sequel was no different. Despite sharing a lot aesthetic-wise, Future changes things up substantially from the original Jet Set/Jet Grind. Time-based levels in the original are open-world in the sequel, and the trick mechanics are also greatly expanded. While that does bring a few small drawbacks (sometimes you just want to menu click to a specific area but you have to travel manually), in general I think the game really benefits from being open. Several locales in the game feel similar to levels in the original, only expanded. You could see that as laziness on Smilebit’s part, but I was very happy to see those environments return in some fashion – they are just so damn good!

One of the bigger changes is with tricks, which play a more integral role in this game, and there’s a cool new timing element that gives you more control over when and what tricks you pull. Altogether, the changes to the game make Future feel closer to the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series than the original Jet Set Radio – no bad thing in my book. Recommended.

That is the end of this brief series of posts, and while there were several other games I played for the first time in 2015 which I didn’t blog about *cough* Symphony of the Night *cough*, these are the cream of the crop, the games on top. Will the Ghost of Games Past pay another visit in 2016? Wait and see…

 

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7 comments

  1. pine717

    Did I miss something or was that a sly dig at Symphony of the Night? lol

    I’ve heard so much division over Other M. I’ve been interested in playing the game for some time to decide for myself, but it remains incredibly stubbornly priced here. I often see it on clearance shelves, but still marked up at its original price! I’ll get around to playing it someday, but I’m not quite willing to spend full price for a game that sounds so conflicting.

    • veryverygaming

      I can definitely see how that could be interpreted as a dig! Really, all that happened was I played SOTN, learned why it’s considered a classic, and that was about the end of it. I just didn’t feel that I had much to say about it except that its reputation is well deserved!

      Other M is divisive, no question (see Wizard Dojo’s recent review for evidence of just HOW divisive it can be: http://wizarddojo.com/2016/01/31/metroid-other-m-review/). Its reputation was the main reason I avoided playing this game since release. I wish I hadn’t now, as it’s excellent in my opinion. Like I said, people complain about Samus’s character and the story, but if you don’t care about those in the first place, Samus and Adam’s abusive relationship is great comedy! I’m absolutely shocked though to hear that it’s still full price! I take it this in the US…? Given its reputation I wouldn’t have gone for Other M had it been full price. You’ll be shocked though to hear that in the UK I picked up Other M for just £3.50 in a shop a few months ago, only later to find it in another shop for £2.50. Man, I was ripped off 😛 It’s very unusual for a first party Nintendo game to sell for so cheap, I can only assume that it sold poorly.

      • pine717

        The copies I found at full-price were new, sealed copies. I don’t think the game sold particularly well, so I have no idea why they haven’t dropped the price. I’ve found that used copies are kind of hard to find. A few months ago, I went trawling through all the local game shops to fill out my Wii collection, and that game was the only one on my list that I just couldn’t find anywhere. I just looked and I see a lot of copies are now available on ebay for ~$10, so I might end up just having to get it from there.

        • veryverygaming

          OK, I see. Well at that price I’d say definitely go for it and see what you think. Whether you end up liking it or not – and I hope you do – it’s a short game (took me roughly 8 hours) so no huge investment either way!

  2. moresleepneeded

    I have only played Metroid: Other M from this list. I have similar experiences about the Metroid series, as I have only played the Metroid Prime trilogy. I found Samus’ backstory and character seem like new additions to the game (as little of her backstory was revealed in Metroid Prime and she seemed to function as a silent character). I liked the gameplay for this game as it was less disorientating (rather than quickly spinning around in first person). While I enjoyed exploring the wrecked spaceship, I preferred the range of environments used in the Metroid Prime trilogy. There was something a little depressing about entering a area with interesting aesthetic, only to change it into an industrial room. What campy elements were there?
    The Disaster: Day of Crisis looks like it is a serious game, is it actually a spoof? Or is it just unintentionally funny? The Incredible Crisis game looks like a Wii game. How does this game work on a PlayStation 1? Do you play the same character? Or is it just a collection of comical situations?
    What is Jet Set Radio? The image looks like it is from an RPG, but the description of the gameplay seems like a sports game. I like the graphics.

    • veryverygaming

      Yeah, in general Samus has been a silent (or near silent) protagonist in the Metroid games. She did have a backstory but I believe it was mostly explored in a manga comic in the 90s? I’ve not read it but the gist is that Samus was raised by the Chozo (benevolent creatures who appear in many Metroid games). As for campy elements, well, I’ve heard several people online single out “the baby” for mocking, but personally I thought “the Deleter” was funnier. The other thing that stood out as especially weird and unconvincing was the whole thumbs up/down scenes with Adam and the crew.

      Disaster is a weird one, because even though it’s crammed with Hollywood cliches and has many ridiculous elements that often feel like satire (Hey look, a tornado! Hey look, a tsunami! Hey look, a volcanic eruption!), the game takes itself seriously. Think Time Crisis… or even Other M, now I think about it!

      Incredible Crisis is cool, it’s a bit like a Warioware game if you’ve played any of those. You play as four different characters (they’re all family members) as they go through one crazy day. The situations they end up in are insane and over the top, like the son gets shrunk by a laser, stuff like that.

      Finally Jet Set Radio. Yes, it is a gorgeous looking game! It oozes personality. I can see what you mean about the look (the anime-inspired Tales RPG series comes to mind) but in action it’s much closer to a Tony Hawk or Dave Mirra game.

      • moresleepneeded

        I remember finding out about Samus’ backstory in the manual for Metroid Prime. I notice the manual did not mention Samus joining the Federation army. The thumb-up and thumb-down idea was strange, considering they are supposed to be soldiers and Samus does not seem like a rebellious teenager.

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