Back in December, I bought the PlayStation Classic because the original PlayStation was one of the first consoles that I played. However, I barely played any of the games on it since I had a hard time figuring out the controls of the games I did try. This week, I wanted to spend some time playing it so I didn’t feel that I wasted my money on the console.
I ended up playing Wild Arms, one of the games I haven’t played that was installed on the Classic. Wild Arms was an RPG that I heard about from time to time, but I never thought about playing it. Being a RPG enthusiast and knowing that it was considered to be one of the better ones in the genre, I thought it would be the game that would get me to play the console more.
Even though I only played a little over an hour, Wild Arms left a good impression on me. The in-game graphics and models reminded me of Harvest Moon: Back to Nature and a little bit of Golden Sun, which fits for the time the game was released. I like that the game starts of by playing short chapters for each of the three main characters and introducing them that way. This allows the player to learn about enough about each character’s backstories and their goals before they eventually meet up with each other, which is something I don’t see in most games in the genre.
Gameplay-wise, Wild Arms plays like a typical turned-based RPG but with dungeon exploration aspects similar to Zelda games. When you travel through dungeons, you have to solve puzzles like blowing up walls, pressing switches, pushing blocks, etc. For me, it is a good change of pace in an RPG since I feel like I am actually controlling the character on screen instead of choosing their actions from a menu. The only complaint is that the battle menu UI is confusing since most of the choices you have are icons. I ended up figuring out what each icon did by looking it up online, which isn’t something I should do, but I know some RPGs in the 90’s did that due to hardware limitations, like Phantasy Star IV.
Overall, I believe that I will enjoy this game when I put some time into it. However, I probably have to put the game on my backlog due to the games coming out in the upcoming weeks.
A game that I forgot came out this week that I had to buy was SEGA AGES: Out Run on the Switch. This was one of the first games that I played as a kid, since my parents owned a Sega Genesis and it was one of the few games they owned. Out Run blew my mind with the way it made me feel like I was driving fast with the illusion that the game was 3D. However, I wasn’t that good playing it at the time because I did not understand that slowing down was the key to make difficult turns. I am now able to get past the beginning of stage 2 and almost making it to the end of one of the routes. The challenge of making through one route and having multiple pathways makes Out Run one of the best driving arcade games out there. Even if you get to the end of one route, there are other paths with different aesthetics that you might have not seen and that gives you incentive to replay the game. I definitely will play this in small bursts when I feel bored throughout the near future.
Last week, I started to play The Messenger and it started to catch my interest after I got past the area I stopped in my previous playthrough. This week, I was able to complete the game and it might be one of my favorite games that came out in 2018. The game went from a linear 2D platformer (similar to the original Ninja Gaiden) to an addicting Metroid-vania game. With all of the skills you get throughout the first half of the game and the time traveling mechanic in the second half, exploring previous areas was refreshing instead of feeling repetitive. Although some prophecy hints felt confusing, it wasn’t a problem as long as I visited the unvisited parts of the map. I also like that you can use time shards to get the exact location you need to go next since you end up getting too many time shards in the second part of the game. My only problem is that there are a couple of rooms in the game that did not seem to be designed with backtracking in mind. There was one section in Glacier Peak where I had to make a very precise jump to make it to the platform while avoiding multiple obstacles, which made it very frustrating.
Overall, I enjoyed the game and I consider it one of the best indie games I have ever played. The aesthetics are beautiful for an 8-bit/16-bit game, the soundtrack fits with the retro-styled game while surprisingly original, and the controlling the messenger is fluid and tight. The Messenger does everything that I want to see from an indie game. If I had to rate the game, I would give it an 8/10. Anyone that is a fan of 2D platformers should definitely pick the game up.