A couple of games off the backlog recently.
First, Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, which really wasn’t stuck on to the backlog for very long. I preordered it, it showed up on the release date, it sat on the shelf for a couple of weeks because I was playing Steam games for a charity drive competition, it got taken off the shelf and deshrinkwrapped and played.
I’m the one weird guy who LIKED Star Ocean 4, so my opinions are probably highly suspect to long-time fans of the series, but I thought it was kind of a step backwards in most ways. It was still a good time, but one of the best things about the last game was the interactions between characters, mostly done in close-up cutscenes, and for some reason this iteration of the series decided to have the camera zoomed way out all of the time when characters are interacting, with only a handful of actual full-screen cutscenes.
It also felt like a very small game. While the environments were all very pretty – that next gen polish showing up – there weren’t a ton of them. Four cities, a handful of dungeons, and a half-dozen outdoor zones were a big step back from SO4’s multiple planets with multiple zones per.
Crafting was hugely improved from 4, however, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I had a lot of fun running around and farming monsters for drops to turn into weird food and new weapons and armor. The smaller-scale story also made things feel a lot more personal – you’re not trying to Save The Galaxy From An Ancient Evil, you’re just trying to keep a little girl safe. Sometimes a low key plot is a good thing.
So a solid 7/10 game, not that I DO the numeric scores thing, and I hope it does well enough that we get a SO6 in another few years.
Second, for a compl… you know, I’m going to just own this. For a “Komplete” change of pace, I played through the story mode from the 2011 reboot of the Mortal Kombat series. I got this as a gift from a friend a few years back and I had heard excellent things about the story, but I’m utter rubbish at fighting games in general and not exactly in the target demographic for the series’ trademark edginess and over-the-top gore.
I did like the Mortal Kombat movie, though. So I knew some of the characters, which gave me a bit of a pause when the opening cinematic in story mode shows all of them dead and most of them in various stages of dismemberment, with vultures eating them in far-too-well-realized detail.
Once I’d gotten past that, and gotten humiliated a few times, and set the difficulty level to Easy, and gotten rather a bit farther, and gotten humiliated a few MORE times, and set the difficulty level to BEGINNER… well, it turns out that the story mode actually was quite good. I mean, it’s a game about people punching each other in the face, and it’s got lots of ninjas, and quite a few of the ninjas die and get resurrected as DIFFERENT ninjas. We’re not talking literature here, by any stretch of the imagination, but lots of stuff blows up and there’s over the top angst and betrayals and revenge.
Which is pretty much all you really need for a story about ninjas.
Anyway, there’s other modes to the game, the typical versus modes and some sort of tiered challenge mode, but I’m happy enough having gotten through the plot part of things. I may even pick up Mortal Kombat X for its story mode, if it’s ever super cheap.
Since I can’t imagine the 2011 game will run you more than a couple of bucks, I recommend it to any fan of ninjas or punching. There are some serious difficulty spikes, and the character animation is strangely stiff for a relatively modern game, but you’ll get your money’s worth. 🙂