Persona 4 review

alex9234’s Sunday Review – Valentine’s Day Special

Welcome to another episode of Sunday Review, and this episode is my Valentine’s Day special. Though Valentine’s Day officially lands on Friday, we’re only 5 days away, and since February is the “Month of Love”, why not review a game that would fit well for Valentine’s Day and the month of February? It does have dating sim elements, after all. Though I could have reviewed a game like Fire Emblem Fates, a Senran Kagura game, or a Growlanser game today, I’m just going to go with this one. Yep, we’re reviewing the 6th gen classic Persona 4, which came out in 2008 for the PS2 and in 2012 for the PS Vita.

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A Hat in Time Review

More About Hats, Less About Time

It took me a while because of money and other games in my backlog, but I finally got my hands on a Hat in Time for the Nintendo Switch. And after completing it last night, might as well right my review of it.

A Hat in Time was originally a PC game developed by Gears for Breakfast and published by Humble Bundle. It is another indie game inspired by 3D platformers of old, though its gameplay structure mostly takes cues from Super Mario 64 and Sunshine. You take the role of a nameless alien girl called the Hat Kid, who travels through various worlds to retrieve the hourglasses she lost from a freak accident during her space travel. However, there’s another named Moustache Girl, who plans to use the hourglasses you lost to turn back time and rule a villain-free world, so you also have to stop her too once you collect about 25 hourglasses (there are 40 in total).

Not counting the DLC, there are 4 worlds in total to explore, with each having their own level platforms to maneuver through and obstacles to get past through with a required ability you should’ve gained earlier. These abilities come in the form of the different hats you wear, such as a sprint hat and a time stop hat, and the badges you collect (the hookshot badge is completely mandatory for your playthrough). There are also special levels hidden each world called “Time Rifts,” which is where the Super Mario Sunshine inspiration comes into fruition, and these were the most fun I had with the game. Activating certain Time Rifts requires collecting relic pieces, which are also scattered around each world, and putting them back together at your main hub area. And then there’s Rift Tokens, which are used to unlock cosmetic things like palette swaps for the Hat Kid and music remixes.

Karma’s a jerk

The hat abilities stays true to the “Hat” part of the title, but for the “Time” part, not so much. Other than the time stop hat and the plot revolving around the hourglasses’ ability in turning back time, there’s nothing else related with time both gameplay wise and thematic wise. None of the worlds take place in different time periods as they all co-exist within the same timeline. It’s no Super Mario 64 either because the jumping physics can be off at times, and the camera can sometimes be your worst enemy. As far as presentation goes when it comes to the Switch version, people would’ve remembered this conversation From Gears for Breakfast a few years back:

And their reasoning behind it is due to the difficulty of reworking the game from scratch to function in consoles, being a small studio and all that, and they’re not wrong. The optimization for the Switch port is horrible, and I heard the same with the other console ports. When first started the game and reached the first level of the first world, I received and error and kicked me back to the Switch menu, and that was not a good sign for me. Fortunately, it was the only time it happened to me throughout my playthrough, but there were times where it came close.

At our old Disquis channel, I posted a review article on the first Yooka-Laylee game and how I mentioned that it plays like a Banjo-Kazooie game yet doesn’t feel like one at the same time. Both that game and a Hat in Time get compared on which is the better 3D indie platformer. And now that played both, I can conclude that a Hat in Time is the better game of the two. The camera is still a pain in both games, but a Hat in Time is also more forgivable, especially when it comes to final bosses, and its large worlds aren’t as empty as Yooka-Laylee’s. Its collectibles aren’t needlessly excessive either, making it feel more balanced. Regardless, it’s still not as good as the 3D Mario platformers, which have better control physics, optimization, and level designs. And thus concludes my review for today.

Famicom Detective Club Part II review

alex9234’s Sunday Review

Back with another review, and this time I’m going to review a game from a series that Nintendo NEEDS to bring back from the dead. Which series? Famicom Detective Club. It’s a little known visual novel series from Nintendo where you are sent to investigate murders, and find out who the culprit is. This series borders on horror and mystery, so be prepared for some really scary moments, especially at the endings. There have technically been 3 games in the series, two on the Famicom Disk System – Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir (1988), Famicom Detective Club II: The Girl in Back (1989 – a prequel to the first game), and one, oddly enough, on the Satellaview which is called BS Detective Club: Lost Memories in the Snow (1997). I’m unable to review the first game because neither an English patch or script exists for that game and my Japanese is not that great, nor Lost Memories in the Snow because the Satellaview service was discontinued back in 2000 (Why, Nintendo?! WHY?!). But the second game was remade for the SNES via the Nintendo Power service in 1998, and got an English patch, so I’ll be reviewing that one.

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Parasite Eve II review

alex9234’s Sunday Review

Welcome to yet another episode of Sunday Review, and there was almost no review from me today, because, well, I didn’t know what to review. I was at the second to last Red Wings game at Joe Louis Arena during “Farewell at the Joe” weekend, and during that game, the crowd was presented with nostalgic recaps on the JumboTron from when the Red Wings were on the top of the NHL world and won back-to-back Stanley Cups in the late 90s. As I was leaving Joe Louis Arena, I was thinking that maybe I should review a game that I have that came out from that era. I thought about it for a while, and then it hit me. I said to myself, why not review another PS1 Square game? And that’s what I’m doing. Today, I dive into a game that some fans are divided on, and that game is the sequel to Parasite Eve: Parasite Eve II, which came out on the PS1 in 1999 in Japan and 2000 in the West.

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FLASHBACK: Square President Apologizes to Nintendo and Takes Responsibility For Ending Their Relationship

Hisashi “Nao” Suzuki, President and CEO of Square from 1995-2001

This is something that I’ve mentioned before on this site, but I believe it deserves more attention.

Because you won’t find the truth on either Nintendo or Square Enix’s Wikipedia pages, Polygon’s 2017 article on Final Fantasy VII’s development, nor any mention of any apology from Square to Nintendo in any of those pages. Which is already suspicious enough as it is.

However, insiders know.

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Parasite Eve review

alex9234’s Sunday Review

Well, here’s another Sunday game review from yours truly. This time I’m going to dive into one of Square’s lesser known but still respected franchises from their PS1 heyday. Have you ever wondered what Resident Evil and Star Ocean would look like if they got thrown together into a blender? Well, if you try that crazy combination, you get Parasite Eve, which came out on the PS1 in 1998 – the amazing Survival Horror & JRPG hybrid which was Square’s answer to Resident Evil 2.

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Top 10 Female Characters For Smash DLC

After a few months of nothing and an omission at the 2019 Video Game Awards, the 5th DLC fighter has finally been revealed, and it’s Byleth the main protagonist of Fire Emblem Three Houses. Fan backlash aside, this ends the first Fighters Pass and begins “Volume 2,” where we’re getting 6 more characters into the roster. Since Byleth is an avatar character who can be either male or female, this somewhat fulfills the quota of having a female character into pass of mostly males (Kazooie doesn’t count since she’s only part of Banjo’s moveset). So for Volume 2, why not add more female characters? There’s still more female leads who seem like perfect fits to be included in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and while the number of slots is limited, I would be satisfied if we got at least one of these top 10 girls I’ve personally picked for this list.

Just a few things to note, the list is ranked from #10 as least likely to #1 to most likely, and it will not include female characters who are already in Smash as assist trophies, spirits, mii costumes, and/or cameos. And to make things more fair, it will be one female character per company.

10. Tracer (Overwatch)

File:Tracer-portrait.png
Cheers, love!

Although Blizzard previously commented that Masahiro Sakurai can use whichever Overwatch character for Smash and its female cast is more popular than its male cast, Tracer is more than likely to be picked among the 20+ heroes due to being the series’ mascot. Her being a dual-wielding gunner with the ability to teleport back in time would make her a fine addition to Smash. Unfortunately, she is also the least likely female character to be picked due to Overwatch becoming less popular as the years go by and Blizzard’s recent drama with the fans regarding on kicking one of them for supporting the Hong Kong Protest last year. It’s gotten to a point where even Nintendo wants to avoid the drama by cancelling the launch party for the game’s Switch release.

9. Neptune (Hyperdimension Neptunia)

What if a SEGA console wore a Super Crown?

Never heard of Hyperdimension Neptunia? I don’t blame you, it’s a rather super niche game series developed by Idea Factory (hence why it’s #9 on this list). The story is basically a human moefication of the console war, with Neptune not only representing SEGA but also the series’ main protagonist. The series uses a third-person turn-based battle system with each character having their own stats, weapons, and specials, with 4 main titles and remakes plus plenty of spin-off titles, it warrants dear Neptune some potential for Smash.

8. Artoria Pendragon/Saber (Fate Stay Night/Fate Grand Order)

People die when they are killed

Believe it or not, the Fate series did started out as a game series, for Fate Stay Night is a visual novel, which is considered as a gaming genre (saying otherwise would also mean Phoenix Wright shouldn’t be considered for Smash), and its owner Type-Moon is considered as a Japanese gaming company. Artoria Pendragon, otherwise known as Saber, is a rule 63 variation of King Arthur and is the poster girl of the series. Despite its massive popularity in Japan, spanning merchandises and everyday household items, it’s pretty niche overseas. What’s more, she’s an anime-ish swordswoman with light-based properties, so her questionable uniqueness puts her this low on the list.

7. Haruka Amami (the Idolm@sters)

The Namco rep everyone sleeps on

Regurgitating from my predictions for the final two DLC characters for Fighters Pass 1, the Idolm@ster series and its first main character, Haruka Amami, are often slept on by every other Smash speculator when it comes to a new Bandai Namco rep. Like Saber, the series is incredibly popular in Japan but niche overseas (in fact, neither of its games were exported overseas). But unlike Saber, Haruka’s role as an idol makes her more unique than her. If Sakurai can make a fitness instructor work in Smash, then so can an idol using different dance choreographies as attacks. I’d be down if she got the Bowser Jr./Hero treatment where her alts. are different idols from the series (providing that they share a similar height size as her).

6. Reisalin Stout (Atelier)

thicc thighs

The Atelier series has been around since 1997 and has a span of over 20 installments, with Atelier Ryza being the most recent entry that came out last year. Its main character Reisalin Stout has gained popularity on the internet for her “unique” figure compared to previous Atelier protagonists. Of course lewd fanart on Twitter on Pixiv isn’t what makes her a consideration, there’s still moveset potential, which she thankfully has due to weapon crafting being the main premise of her series. However, she’ll have to wait until Ryu Hayabusa gets added into Smash since he’s pretty much Koei Tecmo’s mascot like Terry is to SNK.

5. Amaterasu (Okami)

Goddess Doggo

With Jill Valentine deconfirmed as a spirit, the only female Capcom character that’s realizable is Amaterasu from the cult classic Okami series. There’s really no need to tell you how unique she’ll be from the other 2 quadruped characters (Ivysaur and Duck Hunt) in the roster, just look up Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The only thing stopping her is the arbitrary “3 reps per third-party company” fan rule to prevent Capcom from having more reps than the others, including Konami and SEGA. And speaking of SEGA…

4. Arle Nadja (Madou Monogatari/Puyo Puyo)

She’s a bit older than she looks

Arle Nadja was one of the few characters speculated to be Fighter 5 prior to the January 16th Smash Bros. Direct due to circumstantial evidences regarding images Sakurai was posting on his twitter account each day before the direct announcement. But why her instead of Sakura Shinguji (from Sakura Wars)? Well like Terry, she too is a legacy character, at least when it comes to the Japanese audience. She and her series of origin, Madou Monogatari, debuted the same year as Fire Emblem, which is 1990, making her a pioneer to the JRPG genre (because her series is a first-person dungeon crawler RPG). So her moveset potential is already there. She and her supporting cast were originally owned by Compile Heart until SEGA bought the rights to them alongside Puyo Puyo, so whether or not she breaks the aforementioned arbitrary fan rule depends if you don’t count Joker as a SEGA rep and instead an Atlus rep.

3. Reimu Hakurei (Touhou Project)

Take it easy!

Smash speculators have been becoming less confident in indie characters becoming full fledged fighters with Shovel Knight as an assist trophy, Shantae as a spirit, and Sans as a Mii Costume. But if there’s one indie series, in terms of getting a female character, that has a better chance, it’s gotta be the Touhou Project series. Now then, my main reason on why its main protagonist Reimu Hakurei is high on its list despite its niche to almost non-existent presence overseas is due to the current rumors and whispers, which are yet to be debunked, of a doujin circle (fan community) working on Touhou music for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, along with talks about how it’s meant to tie-in with the Switch version of Antinomy of Common Flowers, an official Touhou fighting game which Reimu’s moveset will be based around. And with Fighters Pass Vol. 2 being a thing, her chances can’t get this much higher.

2. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

The original Nathan Drake

No third-party female character is more important to the mainstream than Tomb Raider’s own Lara Croft. She is hands down the most iconic female video game character of all time (with condolences to Samus and Chun Li). With her own series now being owned by Square Enix, who has 2 characters in the roster thus easier to negotiate with, and realistic guns no longer being a major issue, it would be sacrilegious for western audiences to see her left out from fighting over top video game icons like Mario, Sonic, Ryu, Cloud, and Pac-Man.

1. Ring Fit Protagonist (Ring Fit Adventure)

This gal’s lit (literally)

Since Super Smash Bros. is primarily a Nintendo series, first-party characters are the easiest to negotiate. And thanks to Byleth, we now know that characters from 2019 games have a shot at being DLC, providing that they do not have a spirit event prior (R.I.P. Daemon X Machina, Pok√©mon Sword & Shield, and Astral Chain). Ring Fit Adventure, Nintendo’s sleeper hit new IP, is one of those titles, and luckily it has a female protagonist (as the default gender at least, a male option still exists in the game). Joke about her being a Wii Fit Trainer echo fighter all you want, but the ring itself and the abilities it can have through doing exercise routines will make her stand out.

Honorable Mentions:

– KOS-MOS (Harada’s recent statement about the lack of consumer demands for more Xenosaga hurts her chances)
– 2B (CERO may have problems with her skirt and butt)
– Sakura Shinguji (Arle is more popular than her)
– Morrigan Aensland (SSBU is for good boys and girls of all ages)
– Adeleine & Ribbon (Possible Sakurai bias for Kirby games he was personally involved with, which Kirby 64 isn’t one of)
– Miriam (It’d be like having Yooka-Laylee in Smash after Banjo-Kazooie)
– Asuka (See Morrigan and also the resignation of Senran Kagura’s creator)
– Alex (Steve is the default gender)
– Shiori Fujisaki (Implementing a moveset for a dating sim character can be difficult)
– Kasumi (Ryu Hayabusa is highly prioritized)
– Kat (Sony’s own stubbornness)
– Hat Kid (Western indie character)

Which female character would you like to see as DLC? Is there anyone else I may have missed out? Be sure to tell me in the comments below, and for the first question, make sure it isn’t someone already in Smash in some shape or form.

Growlanser II: The Sense of Justice review

alex9234’s Sunday Review

Welcome to another episode of Sunday Review, folks. This time I’m going to review a game from a very niche Atlus franchise that almost none of you who follow this page have heard of (besides pimpalicous, Ray01X and maybe Joshua). I decided to check this series out when I found a copy of this game in my local retro game store, and discovered that it’s publisher was Atlus. So I did more research about this series, and discovered that this game, and some others in the series had made it stateside. This was the first game in the series that I played, and hey, it’s not too bad. This game is Growlanser II: The Sense of Justice, created by Career Soft (which is now part of Atlus), animated by the legendary Satoshi Urushihara, which came out on the PS2 in 2001 in Japan, and in the west in 2004 as part of the Growlanser Generations collection from Working Designs which contains this game and Growlanser III: The Dual Darkness.

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Policenauts review

alex9234’s Sunday Review

Happy new year, and welcome back to another episode of Sunday Review. This time I’m going to review the only Hideo Kojima game that has never seen the light of day in the west. But it’s one that is very popular among Kojima fans, and received a major amount of exposure in the gaming media just a few years ago. The game finally got a fan translation for the PS1 version back in 2009, and it’s been one of the most popular fan translations ever since. It’s so popular that even popular YouTubers like Super Bunnyhop have covered it. SPOILERS! He didn’t like it though:

What game is this you ask? Policenauts, which first came out on the PC-98 in 1994, and was then remade for the 3DO (Yes, the 3DO!) in 1995, and was then ported to the PS1 in 1996. However, I’m going to review the Sega Saturn version of the game, which came out in 1996, and is considered the best version of the game.

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Star Ocean 3 review

alex9234’s Sunday Review

Welcome back to another episode of Sunday Review. This time I’m going to review one of the most underrated JRPGs in the PlayStation 2’s lineup. The game that takes place last in the Star Ocean timeline, and what is the last great game in the series, Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, which came out on the PS2 in Japan in 2003 and in the West in 2004. This is also the last game that was published by Enix before Squaresoft and Enix merged.

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