Phantom Brave (Wii) - Fun little 2D strategy RPG from Nippon Ichi, so basically the studio's signature style. I've been steamrolling through the game because of an exploit early on where, on one stage, there's an enemy who gains a level each turn without actually becoming stronger. So you just wait and let it get to the level cap, then kill it, and are rewarded with tons of experience and money.
I don't understand why they put this in the game - it's a well known trick and not a glitch or anything, but I'll take it. In the late going, the enemies are catching back up with me anyhow.
Looking through my old saves, I see that I purchased it shortly after it was released in 2016, played it very aggressively for about three weeks and then dropped it.
Returning to it, I see why.
Oh my god, guys. It's so depressing. The developers have said the core theme of the game is sadness. The title and the character from whom it is derived come from the Japanese word "setsunasa" one of which is sadness or sorrow. It's bleak and snowy all the time and the music is all these melancholy piano chords.
Mechanically, it's a throwback to SNES RPGs. It has a Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger vibe to it, with a modern sheen. I enjoy playing it, and I think I'm going to see it through to the end, but I'm not sure I'm ever going to want to come back once I'm done.
I've been looking for a proper sequel to Planescape: Torment for ages. Tides of Numenera is good, but it wasn't quite it. Very nearly, but it didn't quite grab the atmosphere of the original.
Disco Elysium is the one. There's nothing that prepares you for the kind of shenanigans it gets up to (like your character traits actually fighting one another in the dialogue tree):
It is quite something, isn't it?
I wish I had more time for really sitting down and get into it.
It is VERY clever.
No wonder they got prizes for this.
Oh, I know, right? Utterly brilliant. The creators already have plans for an expansion and a sequel.
The other two I've been looking at are Deadfire (petulant gods and salty pirates) and Black Mesa's new "Xen" chapters. The work they've done on realising the "border world" is fantastic to see, astonishing to actually play through. It's the first time in a first-person shooter that I've felt reservations at a game forcing me to bring weapons into its setting. I just walked through the first couple islands like it was Myst.
"Courage isn't a matter of not being frightened you know; It's being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway."