Capsule Reviews

There are just some opinions on games, because I always have opinions on games, that I've cared to jot down here. I'm not a journalist or a thinking man's thinking man, so there's no real point in writing anything major, and thus this page of short reviews.

Death Come True

An interesting FMV game written and directed by Kazutaka Kodaka (aka "the Danganronpa guy") which doesn't quite live up to his expected standard. The whole thing comes off just a tiny bit "stage play", and I wished the secondary characters (especially Jiro Sato as a news anchor) had more of a role in the plot. The story has its twists, as you'd expect, but everything — the story, the acting, the story path choices, the consequences of choosing actions, etc. — is somewhat unsatisfactorily shallow. Still, it's enjoyable enough and makes for a couple hours of entertainment, it just feels more like an incubator project game than a full experience.

Grade: C (2021-05-07, PS4)

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!

This game goes places, but the real fun is in the fourth wall-breaking interface aspects to the horror. It's pretty effectively done horror, though — the major "oh shit" moments are foreshadowed well, yet still land with a good punch, a compliment to the writing. I've always enjoyed being unnerved when computer stuff glitches out (or worse!) in horror fiction, and DDLC Plus! has that in spades. A definite "play it in solitude and let the chills run up your spine" kind of experience. Seeing all the game's content once is a blast, but 100%ing it wears thin, and the side stories introduced in Plus don't deliver.

Grade: B+ (2021-08-28, PS4)

Late Shift

Pretty standard FMV fare. The base story is pretty alright, and takes a fair number of turns, though some of them feel a bit too tenuous of a link. All that said, most of the acting is decent, some of it is a bit funny, but it all generally lands intact even if it's a bit too earnest. There's sadly not much branching to it, in the end, so getting all the endings and whatnot gets tedious after the first couple playthroughs. As an aside, maybe it's just my sound bar, but the audio mixing has most of the dialogue at an abysmally low volume, so there are some quality of life issues. But, you can squeeze a fair amount of FMV-ness out of it.

Grade: B- (2021-06-29, PS4)

Yakuza 0

It took a while for me to fall in love with the series, having played a bit of Yakuza 4 in the past, but Yakuza 0 is the one that clicked for me. Its goofy writing intermingled with a serious crime drama hooked me, and with time, the combat began to make sense and then everything just gelled. Weaving together the stories of Kiryu Kazuma and Majima Goro is a great slow build throughout the game, and Majima's introduction as top shelf bad-ass is a definite classic. Great characters with tons of side content to enjoy.

Grade: A (2021-09-13, PS4)

Yakuza Kiwami

Remaking Yakuza following Yakuza 0, this version of the game assuredly improves elements of the original, but you can still see a lot of evidence of the game's early roots. Some main story elements and side missions feel barely there, and the quirky elements and silly writing found outside of the main story are present but sadly lacking. Still, it's a lot of Yakuza, again, and with the Yakuza 0 engine, that makes for a pretty good time.

Grade: B (2021-08-30, PS4)