For the week of February 26 through March 3

Click here to see the games I played last week

Two months of trying a different game are down, with another 10 to go! Honesty, I am surprised that I have been able to keep this going without any real issues. This week’s edition features a game that isn’t out yet but includes a demo where your progress transfers over to the main game. Additionally, I managed to try two games that I’ve previously featured in my “Most Wanted…” blogs from past years. To round out the week, we’re back to including this week’s free game from the Epic Game Store.

A gameplay section of Entropy Effect

Feb 26 – BlazBlue Entropy Effect

I don’t have much of a connection with the BlazBlue fighting franchise, other than its system/engine being used in the Persona fighting games. BlazBlue Entropy Effect isn’t a fighter but a side-scrolling action game similar to games like Metroid and such. 

This isn’t a Metroidvania. Instead, this is a run-based game where you’re gradually getting better gear and unlocking additional characters. Every character has a unique weapon and move set, so each run feels and plays differently. During my time, I unlocked a few characters, but the first one I started playing with was my favorite of the group.

This looks good on the Steam Deck and I could see myself playing it more as I unlock additional weapons and gear. I’m not sure if I’d be able to beat the game without investing a lot of time learning the intricacies of each upgrade. But, if for those wanting to invest that time, I can see them finding a lot of value here.

Kiryu fighting a foe in Like a Dragon Gaiden

Feb 27 – Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name

Having wrapped up Yakuza 6 over the past weekend, I immediately jumped into Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name. This was a smart move since the ending of Song of Life is more-or-less reenacted at the start of this new adventure.

I still haven’t finished Yakuza: Like a Dragon, but thankfully there hasn’t been any overlap. I am planning on jumping back to that, so it would be nice to at least get to the point where Kiryu appears in that game so I avoid possible spoilers.

The first chapter is fairly long, lasting over 90 minutes. There are quite a few tutorial sections, which I understand as they want to appeal to newer players. But, it would have been nice to make those parts optional. While I like Kiryu’s “web” weapon, it seems only to impact low-level foes, so its addition feels forced. It’s also nice that they went back to different fighting techniques, and the leveling-up system relies on money instead of XP from events.

Lastly, I wanted to try the game out using the English audio, and my goodness, is it bad. Kiryu’s voice actor sounds like someone trying to act older than they are. Kiryu is probably in his late 40s or early 50s and yet, he sounds like someone in their 20s trying to impersonate an older person. Moving forward, I’m returning to the original Japanese audio and never making that same mistake again.

An early cutscene from Unicorn Overlord

Feb 28 – Unicorn Overlord

I’ve only ever played one Vanillaware game: Muramasa on the Wii and its PlayStation Vita version. They are a developer I follow their work but I’m unable to invest the time needed to play their games. I own two versions of 13 Sentinels but have yet to try the game out. At the same time,  I’d love to go back one day and try Dragon’s Crown (note: I did end up buying the Vita version and will try it out soon).

So, starting up the early version of Unicorn Overlord, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The start of the game is heavy on the lore but still feels like they’re only giving you a sliver of the backstory. The combat is pretty simple to grasp in the first few fights but it does give off vibes that it gets much deeper the more you play.

I’m not sure if this is a game I’ll continue playing though. The “demo” allows you to play for up to five hours, so I’m not sure how much that entails story-wise. If this is a long game, then that barely skims the surface. Last year, Octopath Traveller II’s three-hour demo was more than enough to get me hooked and I spent over 90 hours with it. Maybe Unicorn Overlord can do the same and be the game that I slowly chip away in 2024.

Kratos walking through a snow area early in God of War Ragnarok

Feb 29 – God of War Ragnarok

When I wrote my Looking Back at 2018’s God of War, I said I would wait a bit before starting Ragnarok. Now, more than a year after the game’s 2022 release, I finally jumped in and tried Ragnarok. Although I only put in about 90 minutes, I was enjoying what was on offer.

I got just a bit past the Thor introduction and fight, which was quite incredible. I like the “fourth wall” breaking moment which felt fitting for this kind of game. The leveling-up system in the first game was a bit annoying and it returns here. Early on, you don’t have much to improve, and it still feels a bit overwhelming. It’s odd to feel this way, especially as the PlayStation 2-era God of War games also included similar mechanics.

To be honest, I just want to explore, do as much damage as possible, and experience the fantastic cinematics. While I started the game on the middle/default difficulty, I might want to drop it to easier just so I can see the 20 to 30-hour story. For me, that’s the main reason why I want to play this game.

Andreas talking to Lorenz in an early section of Pentiment

March 1 – Pentiment

With Microsoft going multi-platform for most of their games, I realized that of the four games that they announced would be going to other platforms, I only played HiFi Rush. I’ve wanted to try Grounded, Sea of Thieves, and Pentiment, so I decided to finally take that plunge. The first game of the three I experienced was Pentiment, and boy was I disappointed.

This game had a lot of hype when it was released in 2022. But the first hour or so of the game that I tried did not hold my attention. It moves at such a slow pace. There is a huge plot point, but the game couldn’t hold my attention long enough to get to it. 

The only thing that I found interesting was the brief section where you and a nun are discussing some books. I enjoyed how your character, Andreas, and the nun are integrated into the story. It’s not revolutionary but it just was kind of cool. But other than that, the interactions with the town folk and the monks at the church just did not do it for me. I can’t see myself continuing to play Pentiment unless I have to. With so many other games on my “to-play list”, I would be better suited playing any of those instead.

A completed puzzle from .projekt

March 2 – .projekt

When it comes to the PlayStation Portable, echochrome is one of my absolute favorites. This is a game/franchise that went criminally under the radar by Sony, even if it had a sequel and even a spin-off game, echoshift. When I saw the puzzle game .projekt, it instantly gave me echochrome vibes and I just had to give it a try.

This is a perspective puzzle game where you’re trying to place blocks on a grid so that you create shapes that match the shadows you’re meant to cast. It’s a simple concept but one that you can easily lose track of the time. The first dozen or so puzzles are pretty straightforward with none posing any real problems. But, once you get to the point where you’re giving a min and maximum number of blocks that you can use, the challenge takes shape. At this point, I went through a handful of these but never got anywhere near the max. Unfortunately, I also was never able to solve a puzzle using the minimum number of blocks. 

I played this on my phone, which works fine but I did encounter a few problems where the game registers me putting a block where I didn’t want to. There is a Steam version as well (it’s less than $6 CDN). While I suspect playing with a mouse is easy, I think this is probably better suited to using touch controls. I’m having a lot of fun with this and do plan on putting a bit more time into seeing what else there is to experience.

Wally running in Aerial_Knight's Never Yield

March 4 – Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield

The Epic Game Store’s Free Game this week is Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield. I didn’t care what it was, but knowing I never tried it before, I downloaded it and started playing. If I had known ahead of time that this was an endless runner, I probably would have skipped it entirely.

The Endless Runner genre had its popularity on mobile 10 years ago and it’s not a genre you see get much attention lately because of its limited gameplay loop. Unfortunately, that’s the case here as well. You only have four options: sprint, vault, jump, and slide. As you’re running, you’re trying to get away from enemies, avoid obstacles, and jump over barriers. But the levels are so repetitive and uninspired that I got bored far too quickly. 

I got so far as to start the fourth level (completing three levels, one boss fight, and unlocking a bonus stage). The only saving grace was the music. While it too does get repetitive, the futuristic/techno jazz soundtrack is pretty nice. I wouldn’t mind tracking down the soundtrack and giving it a full listen, but I don’t see myself ever returning to this game.

As always, thanks for checking out this week’s edition. With us now into March, I need to take a look at what are some of the bigger games coming out this month that I could try for the first time. For week 10, I might go into the backlog and take a look at some games from recent years that I missed out on. There are a few I’ve circled for the future, so this week might be a great opportunity to knock them out before we get more 2024 games to play with.