Few games perfectly define the term “cult classic” in quite the same way Rez did. What can only be described as a rhythm action shooter was originally released on the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 in 2001, and was developed by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, now of Q Entertainment. Mizuguchi would go on to design games like Lumines and Child of Eden, but Rez is arguably the game that put his name on the vast map of gaming.
My history with the Final Fantasy series has been rocky at best. I started with the remake of Final Fantasy III on the DS and absolutely loved it. I went on to love IV, VI and IX as my favourites in the series, but never really liked VII, VIII or X; XIII was seen by many fans as a complete abomination, too, for a number of reasons.
Dark Souls, and its PS3-exclusive predecessor Demon’s Souls, were undoubtedly two of the most rewarding experiences of the last generation. Featuring challenging-but-fair gameplay in a semi-open world environment ripe for exploration, they gained both critical and commercial success through word of mouth, encouraging gamers of all kinds to rise to a challenge that was largely absent in a console generation full of hand-holding tutorial fests.
The PlayStation 2 was a great console for JRPGs: the Wild Arms series, Persona 3 and 4, Growlanser, Tales of the Abyss, Dark Cloud 1 & 2 and (arguably) Final Fantasy X are all classics that helped keep up the sheer quality of the PS2’s extensive library of games.
After hours of rhythmically mashing the left and right buttons on my mouse, I think I can safely say I’m pretty much a master of martial arts. As hundreds of armed men approached from either side, all it took was a simple stroke of the finger to swat them like flies. Sometimes I’d use a lightsaber, or laser nunchaku.
Note: To avoid spoilers, this review will only describe the premise of Danganronpa. Any story elements or important plot points are left for you to discover!
A glaring issue with Japanese-made games is that the vast majority of them never make it to the west. We’ve seen this recently with the perfect scoring Yakuza 5, its upcoming counterpart Yakuza Restoration, even games that should have been released over here, such as Ace Attorney Investigations 2. More recently, though, we’re lucky to have publishers stepping up to localise such games; Rising Star Games and NIS America have been doing God’s work in this regard, releasing a plethora of interesting (and often superb) Japanese titles for our enjoyment.
The beat ’em up genre has sadly been neglected the last few console generations. The days of slotting coins into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or ruining controllers in the name of Streets of Rage are unfortunately, mostly a thing of the past. It’s true that there is the occasional game following similar formulae, and the genre is enjoying a bit of a revival among indie developers with games like Charlie Murder and Guacamelee!, but rarely is the beat ’em up touched in a bigger budgeted environment.
The “Rocky Element” is a term I like to apply to certain games. Games that keep you coming back no matter how many times they’ve previously beat you down. Some of you may know it as the “Tubthumping Effect”. A perfect example of this can be found in games like Dark Souls, the Armored Core series, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, and PaRappa the Rapper, to name but a few.