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Alright, almost falling behind here so time to post my next 5 write-ups:


Last Year


(Box) Art



Persona 3 FES

Persona 3 is a bit of a lobsided experience with a lot of excellent elements and some that are lacking. The story is one of the excellent elements with an epic finale as well and the music is another one with a top tier soundtrack. There are also several interesting characters both in and outside of your party which is great since half the experience of a Persona game is interacting with those characters. Unfortunately, the other “half” of the experience, the dungeon crawling, leaves a lot to be desired. Tartarus is quite simply repetitive with more than 200 randomly generated floors with mostly just aesthetic differences, and the combat, while not terrible as such, is very limited by the fact that you only directly control one of 4 party members. Now it is true that the later PSP version fixed this problem, but unfortunately it was a downgrade in many other regards, leaving Persona 3 in an awkward place with no one definitive edition, which is why (as unlikely as it was) I explained last year how the game could benefit immensely from a ground-up remake. To quote myself “a man can dream at least”.

Update: Dream came true, RELOAD here I come!



The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (3D)

So yeah, 99 on metacritic and often hailed as the greatest game of all time; it’s no exaggeration to say that Nintendo knocked it out of the park with the first 3D Zelda game and it laid the blueprint for probably the most critically acclaimed (sub)series out there. It also brought with it lock-on targeting which works damn well here and helps make its combat feel great even if it’s not the most advanced. And of course, the dungeons are the star of the show with lots of varied and memorable ones here. I wouldn’t call it a perfect game though as I think there are some flaws to speak of, but the 3DS remake did address some of them such as improving the controls and allowing for easier item switching, which makes it my version of choice.



NieR: Automata

2017 was really a packed year for great games, so I think many, myself included, only got to try out this gem a bit further down the line. It has long been clear that Platinum knows what they’re doing when it comes to combat and yep; they nailed it here as well. Throw on top of that a beautiful semi-open world and some great characters and it’s a recipe for success. I have to admit that the story itself is a bit up and down for me, but when it hits, it hits hard and there are certainly some parts in there that I won’t soon be forgetting.



Super Mario Odyssey

Well yeah, it’s Super Mario Odyssey what can I say? It’s fun, it’s charming, the open levels are a blast to explore and the new moves Mario can pull off with Cappy allow for more advanced platforming than ever. It’s a pretty easy game to beat for sure, but also provides some challenges here and there for those that are up for the task. I think my one issue with this platforming masterpiece was that the many, many moons were sprinkled a bit too generously around the levels. It does kind of devalue them a bit when sometimes you can get one for simply ground-pounding in the right spot. But regardless of its questionable moon economy I would most definitely call Odyssey one of the best 3D platformers out there.



Persona 4 Golden

Interestingly it was to a large extent the high praise I heard for Persona 4 that got me interested in the series in the first place, but it wasn’t where I started and since it was a bit of nightmare to get in Europe, combined with general backlog bloat I only got around to finally playing this year when it came to Switch. And well, the best praise I can give it is that it’s a Persona game. Another game with excellent characters and side-stories, amazing music, a compelling time management aspect and somewhat repetitive dungeon crawling. It’s a step up from P3 in some of these aspects, but falls short of P5 in, well, all of them. It also admittedly has the weakest main story of the three, but to that mostly speaks to how good the other two are. It’s still got both epic and emotional moments along the way, including a bad ending that I almost liked more than the real one; the definition of bittersweet (kind of like the game itself?).

All this makes it a very difficult game to place because on hand it’s definitely among my biggest game experiences in recent years and dragged me in like few other games, but on the other hand it’s hard not to see it as the game that’s not quite Persona 5.

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2024 OpenCritic Prediction Leagues:

Nintendo | PlayStation | Multiplat