Ghost Giant (PSVR, 2019)

In a recent group chat with close friends, the question was asked, “Which Pay-Per-View would sell better: Batman versus Captain America or Goku versus Superman?” Of the four of us, we were evenly split and equally set in our reasons why. 

For me, I voted Batman versus Captain America because, to borrow from wrestling, Goku versus Superman has no heat to it and, despite agreeing that it would be an epic spectacle, I could not come up with a reason to care about the fight. Contrast that with the battling ideals of Captain America and Batman, and it’s easy for me to see a story that makes that fight even more intriguing.

That is a long way of saying some people value spectacle over substance. There is nothing wrong with that, but I almost always choose the thing with something to say over the thing with a lot to show.

When it comes to videogames, especially talking about video games, most of the conversations we have are about their most spectacular elements. We hype up graphics and frame rates, we talk about the importance of draw distance, we gawk over animation quality, etc. Often (and I am guilty of this myself), we forgo an uglier, better game for a prettier, worse one. Yet, in our modern era, I am finding more and more games with things to say (regardless of their appearance) are finding a foothold.

This brings me to Ghost Giant, a game for Playstation VR I recently completed.

In Ghost Giant, you play as a giant ghost. You awaken one day in the forest to the sound of a crying boy named Louis. At first, he is surprised by your presence, but you quickly become friends. As the game progresses, you learn that only Louis can see you, and that he desperately needs your help to get sunflowers planted at his mother’s farm. 

Gameplay is a blend of point-and-click tropes with puzzles and a storybook diorama-esque feel. It was not my favorite part of playing Ghost Giant or even the reason I finished it.

For me, what made Ghost Giant click was the story. Louis feels all alone because he is alone. He managed to ruin his friendship with his only friend, and his mother is clinically depressed. Louis has taken her depression and inability to get out of bed on his own two shoulders. Like her, he refuses to seek help because he fears she might go away. It a tragic, heartbreaking piece that, even with a happy (but realistic) ending, left me crying inside a VR headset – not recommended.

Obviously in Ghost Giant’s case, it does a good job with presentation (spectacle) but excels most at story (substance), and neither of those things are mutually exclusive, but I love that games like this exist. 

I can have a ton of fun in the latest Mario or Call of Duty, but, as with every other medium – books, movies, television, music, you name it – I really, really dig something that can make me feel on spiritual level. I love walking away with a new perspective or feeling drained from the inside out. Just like finishing a good book, Ghost Giant weighed on my mind for many hours after finishing, and, nearly a week later, I can still recall the emotions it conjured up within me. Video games are largely accepted in the mainstream, but it’s these kinds of experiences I wish more people who do not play games would think of first. Or, better yet, experience for themselves.

Sure, books (and other mediums) can accomplish something similar, but each does so in subtlety different ways. Nothing reminds me of being human more than something like Ghost Giant, a game about a ghost who talks to animal-people. The gameplay, however inaccurate and frustrating I found it be, still managed to make me feel like a larger-than-life being helping a little boy through a traumatic time in his life. And that’s pretty damn cool in a way only a videogame can pull off.

PSVR Thoughts

I couldn’t find that I had posted this. I found it lost in old drafts. Enjoy or enjoy again!

Objectively, the PSVR is an expensive add-on that feels like a beta test of its hardware and software. It is not a mature platform. It has few, if any, “killer apps”. Setting PSVR up optimally is not for the weak willed and is a frustrating experience most of the time. The screen resolution prevents games from ever looking like the trailers that Sony and other developers use for marketing. The headset, though not heavy, does get heavier over time and as you move. Plus, it does not breathe at all.

But subjectively? Subjectively, it has all been worth it.

Whenever someone asks me about my Playstation VR, I am always reticent to talk about owning one in detail. I struggle hiding my passion and enthusiasm, so I can protect the other party from buying into my hype. As a PSVR v1 user with a Playstation 4 Pro, my living room setup is ludicrous because of the lack of 4K passthrough. To take advantage of my PS4 Pro’s better graphics (you know, the whole point of the system) I had to either keep the PSVR disconnected all the time or find a third-party solution. Until I found that solution (a HDMI splitter), I never used the PSVR because it involved so many steps to get just right.

I had to:

  • Make sure I had the right HDMI cable(s) connected.
  • Pull out all the wiring associated with the PSVR headset.
  • Setup the camera for an optimal viewing angle.
  • Figure out which controllers I needed (two PS Moves, one dual shock, etc.) and make sure they were charged and ready to go.
  • Put on the PSVR helmet and make multiple adjustments to get the right viewing angle/comfort.
  • Get up and make further adjustments to the camera positioning because I never get it in the right location the first time.
  • Micro-adjust other specialized settings within the software (for example, height and distance adjustments), if needed.
  • Hope that the software or hardware doesn’t bug out for a variety of reasons.
  • Put everything up when done because no one wants a heap of wires and other expensive hardware laying around in front of a television.

Keep all these things in mind when I say to you that I love being a PSVR owner. While I could probably do better with more expensive setups or more expensive platforms, the PSVR just works (once you figure it out) and does so in the convenience of my living room where I have the most space. I could put my PC there too, but the thought of playing my normal PC games on my television horrifies me, as does moving a PC tower back and forth.

When it comes to PSVR games, I favor movement over immersion or multiplayer. I never played organized sports as a kid, but I enjoy a pick-up-game. In adulthood, it is a lot harder to get the sports-like activities in, so being able to do a virtual reality equivalent is fantastic. I love Knockout League for its Punch-Out!!!-like approach to VR boxing. More recently, I have been playing Beat Saber, which feels like a hybrid of dancing and air traffic control that works out similar arm muscles as tennis. Speaking of tennis, I have also had success playing Holoball though it is shallower than the other two games mentioned.

Even games like Superhot, which is not in anyway a sports game or sports-like game, adds a certain degree of physicality in VR. In that game, the enemies only move when you do, so dodging a bullet can mean maintaining a crouching position for a prolonged period as I survey the battlefield for my next move. That engages muscles that sitting never would.

Of course, VR isn’t just about swinging your arms like an idiot. I have also had a lot of playing old favorites like Rez or new favorites like Astro Bot Rescue Mission. Even Tetris benefits from VR in Tetris Effect, though I quickly got tired of wearing the headset for an admittedly minimal impact on the gameplay.

There are a lot of other experiences I am looking forward to having or may have forgotten about while writing this. Moss is a big standout there, but also the upcoming remake of Space Channel 5 to sate my inner Dreamcast fanboy. Many of these games are short or repetitive, but I do not view that as a negative. Rather than overflowing with weak gameplay bits like most open world RPGs, these smaller experiences are tighter and more focused on stronger gameplay.

Despite being a rough, unpolished experience, PSVR has sold me on the future of the platform (and VR gaming). Assuming it can’t be any worse to setup, I am almost definitely getting PSVR in whatever form it takes with the future Playstation 5. If they can add features like a wireless headset, better screen resolution, or a simpler setup, then I may even get it day one. As a gamer who doesn’t mind moving around, PSVR is a perfect match for me and something I frequently look forward to playing when I have the time.

The P in PSVR Stands for Passion

Objectively, the PSVR is an expensive add-on that feels like a beta test of its hardware and software. It is not a mature platform. It has few, if any, “killer apps”. Setting PSVR up optimally is not for the weak willed and is a frustrating experience most of the time. The screen resolution prevents games from ever looking like the trailers that Sony and other developers use for marketing. The headset, though not heavy, does get heavier over time and as you move. Plus, it does not breathe at all.

But subjectively? Subjectively, it has all been worth it.

Whenever someone asks me about my Playstation VR, I am always reticent to talk about owning one in detail. I struggle hiding my passion and enthusiasm, so I can protect the other party from buying into my hype. As a PSVR v1 user with a Playstation 4 Pro, my living room setup is ludicrous because of the lack of 4K passthrough. To take advantage of my PS4 Pro’s better graphics (you know, the whole point of the system) I had to either keep the PSVR disconnected all the time or find a third-party solution. Until I found that solution (a HDMI splitter), I never used the PSVR because it involved so many steps to get just right.

I had to:

  • Make sure I had the right HDMI cable(s) connected.
  • Pull out all the wiring associated with the PSVR headset.
  • Setup the camera for an optimal viewing angle.
  • Figure out which controllers I needed (two PS Moves, one dual shock, etc.) and make sure they were charged and ready to go.
  • Put on the PSVR helmet and make multiple adjustments to get the right viewing angle/comfort.
  • Get up and make further adjustments to the camera positioning because I never get it in the right location the first time.
  • Micro-adjust other specialized settings within the software (for example, height and distance adjustments), if needed.
  • Hope that the software or hardware doesn’t bug out for a variety of reasons.
  • Put everything up when done because no one wants a heap of wires and other expensive hardware laying around in front of a television.

Keep all these things in mind when I say to you that I love being a PSVR owner. While I could probably do better with more expensive setups or more expensive platforms, the PSVR just works (once you figure it out) and does so in the convenience of my living room where I have the most space. I could put my PC there too, but the thought of playing my normal PC games on my television horrifies me, as does moving a PC tower back and forth.

When it comes to PSVR games, I favor movement over immersion or multiplayer. I never played organized sports as a kid, but I enjoy a pick-up-game. In adulthood, it is a lot harder to get the sports-like activities in, so being able to do a virtual reality equivalent is fantastic. I love Knockout League for its Punch-Out!!!-like approach to VR boxing. More recently, I have been playing Beat Saber, which feels like a hybrid of dancing and air traffic control that works out similar arm muscles as tennis. Speaking of tennis, I have also had success playing Holoball though it is shallower than the other two games mentioned.

Even games like Superhot, which is not in anyway a sports game or sports-like game, adds a certain degree of physicality in VR. In that game, the enemies only move when you do, so dodging a bullet can mean maintaining a crouching position for a prolonged period as I survey the battlefield for my next move. That engages muscles that sitting never would.

Of course, VR isn’t just about swinging your arms like an idiot. I have also had a lot of playing old favorites like Rez or new favorites like Astro Bot Rescue Mission. Even Tetris benefits from VR in Tetris Effect, though I quickly got tired of wearing the headset for an admittedly minimal impact on the gameplay.

There are a lot of other experiences I am looking forward to having or may have forgotten about while writing this. Moss is a big standout there, but also the upcoming remake of Space Channel 5 to sate my inner Dreamcast fanboy. Many of these games are short or repetitive, but I do not view that as a negative. Rather than overflowing with weak gameplay bits like most open world RPGs, these smaller experiences are tighter and more focused on stronger gameplay.

Despite being a rough, unpolished experience, PSVR has sold me on the future of the platform (and VR gaming). Assuming it can’t be any worse to setup, I am almost definitely getting PSVR in whatever form it takes with the future Playstation 5. If they can add features like a wireless headset, better screen resolution, or a simpler setup, then I may even get it day one. As a gamer who doesn’t mind moving around, PSVR is a perfect match for me and something I frequently look forward to playing when I have the time.

Marvel’s Spider-Man, Spoilers Only (PS4, 2018)

If you want me spoiler-free post about Spider-Man on Playstation 4, click here. Otherwise continue on for a spoiler-filled take on the game.

SPOILERS AHEAD! (more…)

Marvel’s Spider-Man, 100% Complete (PS4, 2018)

I preordered Spider-Man late last year, but it was less because of hype and more because of necessity. Target was running their annual Buy 2, Get 1 video game sale and it applied to preorders as well. I decided to get God of War (for me), Kingdom Hearts 3 (for Diane), and I needed a third game to round out the deal. I went with Spider-Man because I loved the comics as a kid and I wanted to be positive about getting a good game for the property despite so many lackluster attempts over the years. As I am sure you realize from the title of this post, Spider-Man was totally my jam.

((No spoilers in this post other than general opinions.))

Insomniac Game’s Spider-Man takes place in its own universe which immediately resolved several of my initial concerns about the game. First, it isn’t an origin retread (thank God). In this game, Peter has been Spider-Man for eight years. Second, it didn’t place in any comic continuity where I would feel completely lost. Insomniac’s version of the character works as a “Best Of” album that assumes some familiarity but not so much that I ever felt lost.

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I was also worried about it being open world. Yes, the game suffers from a lot of repetive content (same models, same animations, same quips, etc.), but it stays fresh enough. What makes it all work though is the movement, controls, and all the animation work that goes into making this the most accurate depiction of Spider-Man yet. I didn’t care about repeating the same car chase a couple dozen times when it meant more time swinging freely through a photorealistic version of New York City. The combat also borrows heavily from the Batman Arkham series with a greater emphasis on stealth and dodge mechanics which keeps it from feeling too much like a button mashing action game (though ultimately that’s all it is).

I am rarely a completionist, but Spider-Man scratched the same itch that Horizon: Zero Dawn did before it. From the very beginning, you have access to the entire map and total freedom in regards to swinging. As the story progresses, new activities unlock. Each of these activities rewards unique currencies which are then used to buy new suits with special suit powers or upgrade gadgets. In addition, you level up by gaining experience which provides for progression through the game’s skill trees.

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Every time an activity unlocked, I only did that activity until I had cleared it in all sections of the map. This made things feel a lot more repetitive but it was a strangely satisfying kind of grind. It also takes nearly the entire story for all activities to be unlocked, so it isn’t the kind of game where you will be able to do all of the side stuff within the first five hours. Everything is gated but remains useful (in terms of rewards) throughout the game.

All of the side quests were forgettable give or take a couple. Some activities I hated (research labs and superheroic environmentalism nonsense). The challenge activities were all fantastic though. I also loved all of the crime activities, despite their repetition, just because it never got old swinging to the scene, dropping from the sky, and dropping some bad guys.

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Finally, and most importantly, the absolute best thing about Spider-Man is its story. I won’t spoil it here (stay tuned for another post) but rest assured that this game understands Spider-Man, creates a branch of his universe I want to revisit, and freshens up the relationships with all of the characters we expect to be in a Spider-Man story. Overall, the story stays true to the essence of the characters without feeling stale or dated. It is superb and I recommend you at least watch a playthrough if you don’t want to play it yourself.

With another platinum trophy added to my list, I still want to play more Spider-Man. I haven’t committed to preordering the DLC, especially at $24.99 spread over the next three months. I am hoping it is worth it but the problem with most DLC these days is they don’t have the budget/attention to add more story, which is what I really want. I may hold onto my copy of the game to see what comes of the new content but at this point, I am more hyped for a sequel than anything else. Too bad it will likely be on the next generation of systems, if it happens at all, so there will be a long wait!

 

Donut County (PS4, 2018)

This review is going to go differently. I bought Donut County for Diane and she recently finished it. Since she doesn’t like to write these posts for me, I decided to interview her instead.

Q: What is Donut County?

Umm … it is a game where you swallow everything with holes. And that is all you do.

Q: Seriously, that’s it?

Well there’s a catapult sometimes so you gotta launch shit, to choose to swallow more things with the hole. But the controller – literally – joystick and one button.

Q: What did you like best about Donut County?

Sometimes you swallow stuff that causes explosions. Or the part with the Ferris Wheel where we launched a Ferris wheel at a castle. It was also kind of satisfying to swallow up the characters themselves. Hmm. And the dialogue, especially the Trashopedia, was pretty entertaining.

Q: What’s a “trashopedia”?

It teaches you what each item in the game that you swallowed up was (except for the characters). It is very educational if you take the time to read it.

Q: Did you like the characters? If so, why?

Yeah, I did. They … they are a group of characters that seem very comfortable with each other so there are a lot of friendly insults thrown at one another and no one really took offense. It’s kind of how I am with my friends. So it felt like, despite the predicament they were in, they were still a good group of friends.

Q: Other than swallowing everything with holes, would you say Donut County is really about friendship then?

I would say it is more about redemption. There is a pretty good redemption arc in there. And education courtesy of the trashopedia.

Q: Was there anything you didn’t like?

Not really. I can see some people finding the whole all we are doing is swallowing things in a hole repetitive, but there are a variety of puzzles that add to the game. And it is not terribly long, as you probably expect, so it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Q: Favorite scene, character, or level?

I thought that the game over screen was a nice touch. I wasn’t sure where it was going to go and then it leads to a surprise cutscene. I am not sure if it is actual canon or not, but I feel it adds a little layer by potentially breaking the fourth wall with it. It felt like a nice surprise. As surprising as a game over screen can be in a game where you swallow things in a hole.

Q: Any final thoughts or anything else you would like to add?

Quack.

(Not So) Hollow Knight #Review #NintendoSwitch

 

hollow_knight_title_large_blackFor a game called Hollow Knight, the game’s setting, mechanics, and extras are incredibly dense. Originally launched in 2014 from Australian Team Cherry, I finally had a chance to play it on the Switch after it released earlier this month. I will save you the trouble of reading the rest of this post: Hollow Knight is, to me, equivalent in quality to the masterpiece Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and worthy of equal veneration.

Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania game. If you are unfamiliar, it is a genre of games that mimic classic series like Metroid and Castlevania. The genre is known for having an equal blend of platforming and action combat, as well as environments you constantly have to retread as you unlock newer ways to explore and progress.

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Exploration and discovery are vital to a good Metroidvania as well.

I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy Hollow Knight, but it hooked me quickly. The controls are phenomenal. They feel as smooth as Mega Man II or Megaman X. Like other games in the action-platformer genre, I found just navigating the Hallownest (the game’s setting) was pleasant. The combat is also tight, complete with great animations, and a variety of attacks and spells to unlock to spice combat up a bit as you go.

As much as I enjoyed exploring (both platforming and fighting) my way through the game’s dark and dreary setting, I wish there had been a bit more story. The little information you do get comes secondhand from a cast of strange characters you meet or through rare tablets you find hidden. I am still piecing it together even though I am at a 103% completion rate (thank you DLC).

Despite lacking story, Hollow Knight firmly establishes its tone and never lets go. All of the characters are bugs of one kind or another. The art is fantastic and the level variety is incredible once you start finding new areas. I also really enjoyed the music, especially the extra boss Nightmare King Grimm’s theme. I learned to hum it over the two hours of practice it took for me to finally vanquish him.

Now, to address the elephant in the room: is Hollow Knight challenging?

I am not the type of person who actively seeks out challenging video games. If a game is hard, then it is not automatically good. I tend to avoid especially hard games because they often frustrate me and I hate being frustrated.

Hollow Knight challenged me but I never got frustrated. The game does a good job of not punishing the player for a loss (outside of potentially losing geo, the game’s currency).  Rather than a game over, you wake up at the last bench you sat on and they are relatively plentiful. Certain boss fights take place in the dream world and if you die in those, you wake up at the start of the fight, no money lost and your health restored.

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I thought the Grimm Troupe DLC was weak outside of its final boss which I loved.

I have heard Hollow Knight compared to games like Dark Souls. I have long avoided that style of video game since I rarely seek out challenge over other things. While I cannot share my opinion on the comparison, I think Hollow Knight is a fun, engaging, and sound game that doesn’t try to cheat you of overcoming its potential difficulty with cheap tricks.

Furthermore, I really liked some of the additional late game areas. The White Palace in particular contains some very serious platforming that I would easily compare to a platformer-only game like Super Meat Boy. It even has the bouncing on saw blades that you see in hardcore Super Mario hacks. It was entirely optional, but I think it speaks a lot of what Team Cherry has managed to do with the controls in Hollow Knight that they executed a pure platforming area so well within a game that typically focuses on combat and exploration.

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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night holds a special place in my heart. It is one of the few games I have beaten multiple times on multiple platforms. Elevating a game like Hollow Knight to be its equal is a huge honor in my book. Deservedly so because the nearly 40 hours I have already put into Hollow Knight isn’t nearly enough even if I am running out of things to do. I cannot wait for more with the game’s next DLC!

Let’s Talk About Ni No Kuni II

It is rare I finish a game I am so mixed on. Released earlier this year on PC and Playstation 4, Ni No Kuni II is a solid roleplaying game that will likely be loved by many. It has a young protagonist out to make the world a better place. It has stats, gear, and all the other bells and whistles of a typical Japanese roleplaying game. It also manages to perfectly capture what I have enjoyed more recently about JRPGs: their relaxing and familiar gameplay loops. But, for me, Ni No Kuni II was only just okay.

Ni No Kuni II is not a direct sequel to the first game released on Playstation 3 by Level-5 (Dark Cloud, Professor Layton, Yo-Kai Watch, etc.). It also lacks the involvement of Studio Ghibli though the aesthetic is similar. That helps because I never played the first game so I have no reason or ability to compare this Ni No Kuni to the original.

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Nothing like a furry page boy!

First and foremost, Ni No Kuni II is an almost too saccharine game. The game’s lead, Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum, is the child king of Ding Dong Dell, a kingdom divided by animosity from its ruling class (cat-people called Grimalkin) and Mousekin (obviously mice-people). After he is ousted in a coup, he sets out to unite all of the world’s kingdoms in peace under the banner of his brand new kingdom. He does so with kindness, generosity, and the understanding that most bad rulers are not evil.

I do not think there is a better JRPG to use to introduce younger gamers to the genre or to play as a family. At least not one that isn’t far older. Ni No Kuni II looks great (especially on the Playstation 4 Pro) and I never got tired of the character or enemy design, even if it frequently repeated itself.

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The game’s biggest boss battles are varied and interesting but there’s only four of them.

Even better for younger gamers, this is not a particularly difficult game. Battles focus on a single character with a limited array of combos and other abilities. Controls are responsive and animations are crisp. Enemies explode into a variety of items (mostly materials for crafting) when defeated. The combat never stopped being fun for me despite its simplicity. You can switch characters at will and each has a different weapon type they can use which further differentiates them when you need a change of pace.

While I failed to get into Persona 5, an obviously superior and deeper experience, Ni No Kuni II does better what I like JRPGs to do. I love being able to fire it up for some brief farming or to complete a few side-quests. Ni No Kuni II also has a limited city building element that reminded me of Bravely Default which kept me engaged as well. I loved how all of the loops feed into it. Farm enemies for resources to complete side-quests to recruit new citizens of your kingdom who then help you build up that kingdom or produce better weapons/armor/spells.

 

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Yes, this game has Facebook and, much like my own profile, I never used it.

I wasn’t achieving much nor was I overcoming any challenges. If anything, Ni No Kuni II had more in common with mobile clicker RPGs which satisfy players much the same way a slot machine satisfies grandma. That isn’t a bad thing though I wish the game was harder or had harder challenges.

Beyond the simplicity of its gameplay and characters, I did appreciate the games story even if it got to be a bit silly. It was a nice change of pace being the one who wanted to conquer world (though in peace rather for my own personal gain). In the opening, it is revealed that the secondary main character is essentially the President of the United States transported into a fantasy land moments before witnessing the presumed beginning of a nuclear holocaust. It is easily the most unique opening in any JRPG I have ever played.

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The President has a handgun, of course.

I won’t spoil it here, but I also enjoyed the main villains backstory once it was revealed in the game’s final act. Like all of the villains in Ni No Kuni II, he starts out twirling his mustache and ends with pulling your heart strings. That seems to be a story trope of sorts often used by Japanese writers (villain of the week becomes best friend for the remainder of the series) and it works perfectly in this game’s narrative.

Overall, I think I recommend Ni No Kuni II though maybe not at full price. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone that wants a hard game to play, but it’s perfect for those of us who need something to relax while playing or something that’ll allow our brains time to rest between more narrative-intense video games or dense television like Westworld. If you haven’t yet, you may want to give Ni No Kuni II a shot.

Persona 5, I Yield

I am dropping Persona 5. Before some of you burn me at the stake for my sin, do know that I really have no issues with the game itself. “It’s not you, it’s me” is cliche but accurate in this case. As much as I wanted to love Persona 5, the more I tried to play it, the less I did, and the less I played the more I realized this was not a JRPG for me.

In general, it is hard for me to enjoy any JRPG that is not strictly fantasy. The only exceptions would be various entries in the Final Fantasy series, but those at least had “Fantasy” in the title. It didn’t dawn on me until I went to write this that I have not completed any JRPG that had a modern or science fiction setting. I dropped Xenosaga about three hours in, though I always attributed that to having sat through about two and a half hours of cut scenes before getting to the half hour of gameplay. I tried a Star Ocean game once and managed to get really far, but when I realized I had gone too far in the game’s final dungeon and was going to need to grind to get anywhere, I dropped it too. Xenoblade? Hated.

That’s a shame too because I would’ve loved to watch Persona 5 as an anime. The setting and characters didn’t grip me as a game, but this is exactly the kind of show I’d enjoy. It’s bizarre to me that I have such a cognitive disconnect. Maybe it is a time commitment thing? It’s one thing to spend my time and attention on a full season of an anime, and another thing entirely to experience the same story in game form of a much longer period requiring much more involvement.

Further annoying me, Persona 5 was fun, at least when I felt like I could play it. The game takes its time introducing things, which I enjoyed, but it never stops introducing things, which I hated. I even enjoyed all the atypical bits, like training your character’s skills or building character relationships. I am not sure I enjoyed both together though.

The combat I did like. I loved the weakness system and wish I had more time in my 15 hours or so having played the game. I also enjoyed recruiting monsters, though the whole system was a little weird and likely needed more time for me to really get the hang of it.

Other things I loved: presentation and humor. Persona 5 is a gorgeous game graphically, but, more importantly, it is a gorgeously designed game. Even the font has a sense of style and bravado. I loved every single random encounter because once I was done, my characters walked away triumphant rather than standing in place doing a dumb dance until I hit the button. I also laughed a lot at this game. It is hands down one of the funniest games I have played in recent memory and I enjoyed its insanity all the more because the character’s recognized how crazy things are too.

I could easily see myself regretting this decision and trying again another time. I don’t plan on deleting my save at least. Persona 5 has a lot to love, and I wanted to love it, but when something doesn’t hook me I rarely find much success in forcing myself forward. Worse, with so much choice and so many awesome games out there, I hate the feeling of wasting my time as I force myself uphill in a battle I know I will ultimately lose. Persona 5 is probably the great game that so many have recognized it as being, but we aren’t sympatico, at least not yet.