Sunday, November 1, 2020

Review Round-Up - October 2020

Despite the collection feeling phoned in by Nintendo, the trio of games featured in Super Mario 3D All-Stars was
 more than worth the price of admission for SPC's Featured Game (or in this case, Games) of the Month.

Hey, all. Here's hoping your Halloween was a spooky and ultimately safe one! October was a scary good month of video game reviews here at SuperPhillip Central. What else can you say when the lowest grade handed out this past month was a B-! Before we say "goodbye" to the month that was, it haunts SPC one last time with the Review Round-Up!

We began entering into the hell that was unpaid internships with the abundantly clever and creative take on the rogue-like, Going Under. It received a B- with notes in its personnel file for needing some slight improvement. (See what I did there?) Moving on from there, we went old school with a retro review of the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive cult classic Decap Attack, digging up a B- grade as well.

We continued our frightful look at some scary, Halloween-themed games with the incredible force that was Resident Evil 3, which had its own unstoppable force inside with the hulking menace known as Nemesis. The game strong-armed its way to an A-.

Following up Resident Evil 3's remake was another game--well, trio of games in one collection--that tied the highest grade given this month, Super Mario 3D All-Stars. It, too, ran, jumped, and slid into its deserved A- score. 

Wrapping up the month were two more games fitting of the Halloween spirit and festivities. The first was Hollow Knight, a long awaited review that saw me rewarding the game with an A- as well. Last and certainly not least, Crown Trick was another rogue-like game that brought something new to the table, and it earned a satisfying B- grade due to how much fun I had navigating its nightmarish dungeons.

As is customary for the conclusion of each Review Round-Up (well, at least since last December or so), here are some excerpts of each review along with a link to the full reviews themselves. Finally, this is your reminder to check out the SPC Review Archive for all of the reviews ever published on this site.

Going Under (NSW, PS4, XB1, PC) - B-

Unlike actual internships, I enjoyed my time at Fizzle. Combat is a bit loose and clunky, lacking a lot of variety that will keep most players from coming to back to the game, but Going Under otherwise keeps an elevated level of quality throughout its relatively short campaign. The optional added accessibility and assist options makes for a game that while still challenging, offers a game that can be custom tailored to a given player's skill level. Thus, anyone with a love for Roguelikes but not necessarily a love for their general difficulty can enjoy this game. Overall, Aggro Crab has done a good job with their first game.

Decap Attack (GEN) - B-

It was a thrill (in more ways than one) returning to the macabre world of Decap Attack and once more taking control of Chuck D. Head in his adventure to save the world, defeat Max D. Cap and yes, get the surprise ending of him becoming human as reward for his good deeds. While there isn't too much here that pushes the platforming genre forward--and it would otherwise be lost in a sea of similar platformers without its unique atmosphere and vibe--Decap Attack remains a solid 2D platformer right down to its bones. 

Resident Evil 3 (PS4, XB1, PC) - A-

Resident Evil 3 brings a welcome return to Raccoon City, delivering a more action-oriented romp than the previous Resident Evil remake from last year, yet remaining a tense (and intense) game all the same. Though there isn't as much longevity in the base campaign, that made for me a campaign that could be enjoyed multiple times in various ways without a sign of burnout on my end, quite unlike my experience with the otherwise excellent Resident Evil 2. All in all, revisiting the horrors of both Raccoon City and Resident Evil 3 made for a gloriously gruesome and great gaming experience.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars (NSW) - A-

All of this notwithstanding, it says a lot about how excellent the games included in this otherwise ho-hum package are in that I still recommend Super Mario 3D All-Stars. The games are just as good as, or in some cases, better than they've always been. The lack of Super Mario Galaxy 2 is certainly a bummer and very much missed, but ultimately, Super Mario 3D All-Stars' trio of games is some of the best games in this industry. That alone puts it as an easy recommendation for me, not because of Nintendo's decidedly lazy approach to packaging these games--but despite it.

Hollow Knight is the definition of a modern classic, and it takes its inspirations from games like Metroid--with its world structure--and Dark Souls--with its penalty for dying--and expands upon them in brilliantly clever ways. The ability to not be bound to a set path and instead be able to explore the vast world freely, offers a fresh, welcomed take to the genre, and the added Focus ability is one of the smartest additions to a Metroidvania that would otherwise be impossible to complete. At the same time, it's no "win" button either with how it makes you vulnerable upon using it. Hollow Knight is a fantastic Metroidvania, and if there's one true gripe I have, it's that I waited all this time to finally play it.
When it's all said and done, Crown Trick is a mostly well made and well executed rogue-lite that allows for plenty of opportunities for planning and strategy with its turn-based movement and combat. Our heroine Elle's ability to Break enemies' defenses and Blink around rooms to evade attacks and better position herself in battle are smart, worthwhile mechanics. Add in pleasant and stylish visuals (though not without performance problems on the Switch version), and you have a rogue-like that's easy to recommend but absolutely hard in both how difficult the game is, and how hard it can be to put it down.
Games of Halloween past and present rounded out the rest of SPC's reviews for this themed month.

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