Tag Archives: Sega

All-Time Top 5 Local Multiplayer Games

While I’m very much a fan of online multiplayer in games, some of the finest experiences  to be had in videogames are with friends in the same room. For this list I’m focusing on the very best of these titles (according to the very scientific method of “these are the ones I like most”).

With the exception of number 4 on this list, I’ve picked franchises here, where there are multiple versions in the series available with (usually) the same core gameplay. Feel free to interpret it as your favourite version in each case. I’ve also avoided 2 player games, but will concede that a winner stays on approach to games like Street Fighter also takes some beating. (ahem)


5) Mario Kart

I think depending on nostalgia, which version of Mario Kart you’d choose for this will vary. Personally the Wii version (providing actual controllers are available and no one has to use the heinous motion wheel) was my favourite for a long time. I can see how Mario Kart 8 may hold the crown for many now, but I don’t own the hardware for it, and have no immediate plans to purchase any. These days my go-to would be the best Mario Kart, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. (This is obviously very surprising coming from me).


4) Overcooked

Kind of hoping this gets to become a franchise in the future. Overcooked is also the only primarily co-operative title in the list, although the rage it can inspire does sometimes make you feel otherwise. When things are going well though, you do feel unstoppable. At making burgers.


3) Micro Machines

I’m torn on this one for a favourite between Turbo Tournament on the Mega Drive, or V3 on the PlayStation. I’d also accept Mashed on PS2 / Xbox. A pity the recent reboot took some missteps really, as we’re well overdue for some quality racing in this style.

header (1)

2) Worms

There are seemingly hundreds of entries in this series, and after Worms World Party, they were mostly sub-par. Things started to improve with the Xbox Live Arcade versions, Worms and Worms 2:Armageddon. Though it was when Battlegrounds / Clan Wars came along that I really started recommending it again, and now with Worms W.M.D. they truly have made a return to form. It’s at least as good as as the classics, and personally I think it might be my favourite. Mostly on the strength of the Dub-step Gun, wub wub.


Sega Saturn Joy

1) Bomberman

As with Worms, I suspect there are more bad Bomberman games than good ones. However, the good ones really are great. My personal favourite version is the Saturn one, as evidenced by its appearance in my All-Time Top 5 Games. Bomberman remains the very best game to play with friends, and I want a new one.

Almost made it:

Everybody’s Golf

This really was close to making it, I imagine you could also include the Mario Golf games in this section. Everybody’s Golf is a gem of a game. I’m sure many people would give it a miss based just on an apathy for the sport, but it really is worth checking out. It’s a satisfying single player experience, but excels in the entertainment stakes once you throw a few friends into the mix.

Halo 3

Although I still enjoy the Halo series, and am currently playing through the Master Chief Collection in co-op, my time with the competitive multiplayer seems to have passed. However, where Halo 3 really shined was when you had 4 players in your lounge, playing online with other randoms. It was absolute carnage and I loved it. I’ve got dibs on driving the Warthog.

Puyo Puyo Tetris & ZooCube

Both of these puzzle games are superb fun (see another top 5!), but unfortunately I haven’t managed to get 4 people who like them into a room together to try the local multiplayer. I can see how they could make the list in principle, but have yet to try them out. Since I wrote about this previously, it is now available as a European release on PS4 and Switch, so definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already.


Just a couple more things…

Party Games

They don’t quite fit into the context of my original list, but with the right group of people, SingStar and to a lesser extent Just Dance, are highly entertaining games to break out at parties. For a more subdued but no less amusing experience, the Buzz series and more recently the Jackbox titles where people play along using their mobile phones, are definitely worth checking out. Sony seem to have begun to embrace this idea, with games in their ‘PlayLink’ series using this model of mobile phone as controller.


I expect many people would put Goldeneye into a Top 5 of this category. I get it for the nostalgia, but it’s pretty much unplayable now, so let it rest in peace.

What about Smash Bros?



All-Time Top 5 Racing Games

Racing games are still amongst my favourite game genres, despite my general apathy towards cars in real life. I’ve approached this list in my usual way, taking into account nostalgia and enjoyment. There was the normal amount of ‘almost made it’ games, so they’ll follow at the end.

Reverse order, as ever:


5) Forza Motorsport 7 (Xbox One)

This very nearly didn’t make the list at all, and I strongly considered using an earlier entry. Once you’re in a race, I’m of the opinion that there is no better ‘realistic’ racing to be had than Forza 7. They’ve also improved the single player career mode to make it much more interesting than the last few iterations, 5 and 6 particularly were so very stale in that regard. However, in their ongoing bid to cash in on every possible additional revenue stream, the lootboxes, mods and pointless ‘Driver Outfits’ have made much of the experience incredibly tedious. Coupled with huge load times, this stuff grates even more. So annoying, because ‘in race’ it’s superb and looks stunning. Argh.

ePSXe 2014-09-08 19-40-41-69

4) Rage Racer (PlayStation)

Could easily have been any of the original PlayStation era Ridge Racer series, but this is the one I still choose to go back to now. I think Ridge Racer Type 4 is almost certainly the better game, but I just didn’t spend as much time with it. The art style of Rage Racer is really distinctive, and stands out against other racers not just in the series but across the 32 bit era.

Sadly I never got on with any of the Ridge Racer’s post PS1, and mostly just pretend the series ended with Type 4.


3) Sega Rally (SEGA Saturn)

I still remember when I first saw Sega Rally running on my Saturn. It was the first time it really felt like I had ‘Arcade quality’ games at home, and also when I really started getting into Racing Games. Before the Saturn & PlayStation appeared, the racing games I liked tended to be of the top down variety, i.e. Micro Machines, Super Sprint. I always found it difficult to really get into the ‘driving into the screen’ style of racing games, even classics like Outrun, because I couldn’t escape the feeling that the car was staying still and the track was rushing towards me. Once polygons arrived, this was mostly mitigated for me, and I’ve never looked back.

Sega Rally remains an absolute joy to play, and it’s a testament to the quality of the game that many otherwise forgotten arcades around the country, manage to have a functioning Sega Rally twin cabinet amongst their gambling machines, and that it still draws in players.



2) WipEout Omega Collection (PS4)

While the demise of Studio Liverpool has made it very unlikely we’ll get a true new Wipeout game, their last few releases had been refining content from earlier in the series. This latest collection put together by new developers is a masterpiece, and pretty much essential for a PS4 owner. All the content from the PS3 and Vita games, remastered to be a full 60 fps at 1080p. It’s gorgeous, and just as fun as it ever was. This month should see them release a free VR patch, which makes the entire game playable in PSVR. I can’t wait.


1) Forza Horizon 3 (Xbox One)

When the original Forza Horizon first appeared, I really wasn’t convinced. I was much more into Forza Motorsport 4. This changed when I got my Xbox One though, I picked up Forza Horizon 2 and fell in love. It has the polish of the Motorsport games, but is just so much more fun, and easier to play in short bursts. I find I can play for half an hour in the morning before work, and make good progress in events. Horizon 3 was even better, giving an all new map and it didn’t hurt that when it arrived it was the best looking game on the console. The 2 DLC packs, Blizzard Mountain & Hot Wheels, are also outstanding and pretty much essential.

While this third game in the series is comfortably my favourite, what I like about  Forza Horizon is that the maps are so different, it is still worth playing the earlier games. I’m hoping they follow their own pattern, and release Forza Horizon 4 this year.

Other mentions:

Mario Kart (DS & Wii) – This probably would have made my list if I’d been making it a few years ago. Although the series would likely be in my top 10, I have drifted away a bit. I adored the DS and Wii versions, and put many hours into multiplayer on both. However, 7 was a bit of a disappointment on the 3DS, and I’m yet to own either a Wii U or Switch to spend time with 8. Maybe that’ll change in the future, but neither console is on my radar yet.

Porsche Challenge & Rally Cross (PlayStation) – I have great memories of both of these, and on nostalgia alone they’d probably be in my top 5. However, when I started drafting this list, I went back and played a bit of Porsche Challenge, and unlike Rage Racer & SEGA Rally, it hasn’t aged well at all. Borderline unplayable, I was too scared to go try Rally Cross.

Drive Club (PS4) – I have no doubt that this is now a great game. It was admittedly a mess at launch, but the developers worked on it with frequent updates and it is now a very polished racer. Until Forza Horizon 3 came along it was the best looking racing game I’d ever played. Unfortunately I find it too difficult, and was unable to make too much progress. I got quite a bit more mileage out of the Motorbikes expansion, but just not prepared to put in the extra time to improve. Ultimately Forza Horizon and Motorsport series are better games and I’d sooner spend more time with those.




December Gaming

Probably should have posted this before doing my top 5 of the year, but I only completed one game during December that came out in 2017, and it wasn’t going to make my top 5. At least I should wrap it up before the games I want to play in 2018 post, and happily acknowledge that I managed to complete at least one game every month last year.


Games completed during December
header (6) Doki Doki Literature Club – PC

This game is frankly bizarre, and to talk about it is to spoil it. It is free to play though, so if you have any interest at all, it’s worth grabbing and trying. The first hour is absolute dross though, so prepare to force yourself through that. (Unless you like Visual Novel Dating Sims I guess, they might all be like this). After an hour or so the game takes a major twist, and from then on it’s excellent.

header-9-1Batman Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart – PC

I intended to go back to this and just play through some of the side missions I passed by on my first play through, but then discovered I owned this piece of DLC I had never tried. Glad I took the time to correct that though. The DLC still ticked the festive box I was aiming for when I picked the game up as something to play during December, although unlike the main game it’s set on New Year’s Eve, rather than Christmas Eve. Although Origins is probably the weakest Batman game in the Arkham series, this is the best bit of story DLC for any of them. I am now tempted to pick up the “Return to Arkham” remastering of the first two games, and play them again.

retro_review_christmas_nights_into_dreams_titleChristmas Nights – Xbox 360 / XB1 BC

Compulsory to play over Christmas, although little more than a demo, it’s an absolute joy and can’t help but make me feel festive.



Also played in December

header (1)Worms WMD – PS4

Always great to be able to get this out for some local multiplayer, so much fun. Also makes me happy that it has little Santa hats for the Worms to wear.

main_imageDirt Rally VR – PSVR

Grabbed this in a sale, as what seems to be the best option for a racing game on VR. (At least until the Wipeout patch). It looks amazing, feels great to play, and I didn’t experience too much motion sickness. Only felt a bit ill the third time I rolled my car down a hill, fortunately that properly broke my car and I was forced to retire. More practice needed!

PSVRUntil Dawn: Rush of Blood and Thumper – PSVR

Spent a bit more time with these now I have my own headset. Both are amazing games, I’m working through an ‘Insane’ play through of Until Dawn, and maybe one day I’ll manage a normal completion of Thumper too.

3de1c108c46be0894bb939bd9dd922b99e69628aOvercooked! – Xbox One

Found time for a bit more local multiplayer, this time it was for an evening of ‘Overcooked’. Given the season we tackled the Festive DLC first, and then went back to try and progress the main game. The three of us are definitely improving, but we need more practice. And chef’s hats.

November Games

Only one real completion in November, but I’m going to throw a second in on a technicality. Well it is my blog.

Games completed this month

header (2)Nights into Dreams – Xbox 360 / XB1 BC

Although I did play through this last year on Steam, Nights was recently added to the free Games with Gold on Xbox, so I sat down to clear the main story with both characters in order to unlock Christmas Nights, ready to play over the holidays.

injustice-2-listing-thumb-01-ps4-us-06jun16Injustice 2 (again) – PS4

Yes, I’ve counted Injustice 2 before, when I first cleared the story mode. I’ve put a lot of hours into this during November though, and thought I’d record another couple of milestones. Firstly I went back and cleared the alternative choices in the story mode that I couldn’t do on my original play-through (unfortunately this meant siding with Superman, urgh). This month I also cleared the arcade mode in the multiverse with every character to unlock all their unique endings. I’m aiming to get every character to level 20, albeit with the AI doing a lot of the grinding. In this manner I’ve been using remote play on my Vita to play the game as almost a Superhero management sim, so I still gain XP / loot and contribute to my guild’s progress, when I don’t have time to break out my arcade stick.

Also played in November

headerAxiom Verge – Vita

I had been waiting for a deal on the Vita version of Axiom Verge, as although the Steam version was often available for very cheap, it seemed more suited to handheld play. I’m glad I waited as it is excellent on the Vita, and a great game all round. I’m probably around half way through, although my progress has been somewhat derailed by using my vita for Injustice 2. I’m going about this a bit backwards, as I never really got into any of the 2D Metroid games, but playing Axiom Verge has definitely bumped Super Metroid further up my “to play” list.

everybodys-golf-1_1Everybody’s Golf – PS4

This game is a joy. I played a fair amount of Everybody’s Golf back on the Vita, and am thoroughly enjoying this new version. It’s perfect for a quick game, with a round of golf taking around 10 – 15 minutes.

38923-Punisher,_The_(Europe)-1459753927The Punisher – Mega Drive

Safe to say I’m a late comer to this port, but this year I discovered it is one of the best brawlers on the Mega Drive. Playing in co-op with my partner, we’re yet to beat it, but we are getting there! One or the other of us has made it to the Kingpin each time, but I think we’ll need to get there together (and with some spare lives!) if we’re going to beat him.

header (5)Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened – PC

Still playing this, about 70% of the way through. Hopefully I’ll be able to tick it off in December, I seem to have too many games on the go again!


November Pick Ups

PSVRPlaystation VR

I almost made it through the whole Black Friday / Cyber Monday farce unscathed. The only bit of hardware I was keen to pick up was the PSVR headset, as I wrote about after trying it in August. Before the sales started I set myself a hard limit, if I could get the Headset alone for less than £200, I’d bite. I already owned some games, the camera and move controllers, so I wasn’t interested in a bundle. The sales included some very impressive bundle deals, which rapidly sold out everywhere, but nothing on the standalone headset.

That was until I discovered that Amazon had a blanket 20% off all of their Amazon Warehouse deals. In the end I picked up a ‘like new’ headset for £191. I’m very pleased with it, the outer packaging was ripped, but inside everything was mint, with all the protective plastic film still in place. So far I’ve mostly been playing the games I talked about in August, but hopefully my library will increase a bit over Christmas. Particularly keen to get Star Trek, a racing game, Rez Infinite and a few smaller titles like Batman, VR Worlds, and probably the VR addon for Super Stardust HD.

September in Gaming

Decent amount of games played and completed this month, almost a return to form.

Games completed this month

headerMurdered: Soul Suspect – Xbox One

This has been in my backlog for a while. I had a couple of days sick in September, where I was stuck on the couch, but couldn’t bring myself to play any of my usual games. This turned out to be just the right pace. It’s only slightly more involved than a Telltale Game, but it ticks along nicely. Has a good story, and includes several interesting game mechanics. Did leave me wanting to watch the Salem TV series though…

custom-disc-labels-for-the-saturn-panzer-dragoon-gamesPanzer Dragoon – Sega Saturn

I’ve technically been playing this on and off for years, as I originally had it with my Saturn the first time round. This month I fired it up just to test my machine because another game was crashing a lot and I wanted to make sure it was the game not the console. However, I managed to clear the game for the first time ever, which was very pleasing! Might crack on and see if I can beat Panzer Dragoon Zwei next.
Ori & the Blind Forest: DE – Xbox Oneheader (1)

A fun and adorable little metroidvania (yeah I like the term, sue me). I’ve mostly really enjoyed this, although the ‘temple escape’ sections are frustrating. No interest in going for a 100% completion, but still an easy game to recommend.

507156bc-fa81-4f82-b487-5c69ad1c671eForza Motorsport 6 – Xbox One

Just in time for the release of Forza Motorsport 7, I managed to clear the Career mode of 6. I’ll probably to continue to play this on and off, and I’m also dabbling with Forza 5 since it appeared in the free Games with Gold, and as with the Horizon games, it’s good to contribute to my Forza Rewards level.

Also played in September

ChildOfEden_HeaderChild of Eden – PS3

After last month’s fun with PSVR using the move controllers, I decided to stick with them and revisit this. Still in no danger of completing it, but it remains fun. Pretty similar in gameplay to Panzer Dragoon so I may keep coming back to it. Also reminded me that I should at some point play Rez properly…

header (2)Pinball FX3 – PC / PS4 / Xbox One

Had a little trouble getting my PlayStation & Xbox tables imported, but on PC via Steam the update was seamless. Really like the new polish, and have spent a bit of time with some of my Marvel tables again. PC version is lovely to play on my vertical screen too.

April in Games

Games completed during April

Strong mix of well regarded indie games and Forza this month.

headerEpistory – PC

Loved every minute of this, the typing mechanic is a lot of fun. A few challenging moments but never got stale. Hope to see more games like this!

journey-ps3-logoJourney – PS4

As hinted at last month, I felt I should play this before making a start on Abzû. Probably should have left it in the pile! I expect it might have been more impressive if I’d played it back on PS3, the experience kind of left me cold. It does look pretty, but the desert setting isn’t too inspiring. When I finished I was a bit concerned I’d made a mistake in picking up Abzû…

header (2)Abzû – PS4

I needn’t have worried, it’s easy to see where the Journey comparisons came from, but this was a much more enjoyable experience. I expect this is mostly because I was much more interested in the undersea setting than the beige boredom of the desert. It did leave me craving a new Ecco the Dolphin game though!


Forza Horizon 3 & Blizzard Mountain – XB1

As started last month, I stuck with Blizzard Mountain until I’d mostly finished it. (Cleared the story and some of the extra challenges, but I’ve got no interest in going for the ‘3 star all events’ type stuff.) Forza-Horizon-3-06-HD

Once I’d cleared the expansion I found I was back into the main game again, and finished the story there too. I’ve found myself well back on the Forza wagon.


header (3)Inside – PS4

Really glad I picked this up, it’s very much “Limbo 2”. Identical gameplay system and story-telling but that’s no bad thing. New setting and manages to be even darker. A real gem, if you haven’t played these, I heartily recommend both!

1384846394forzahorizonForza Horizon – XB1 / 360 BC

I didn’t like this when it first came out, but it turned up free on Games with Gold, backwards compatible on the Xbox One, and I thought I’d give it another go. It helps that the ‘Forza Hub’ awards bonuses in each Forza game based on your overall performance in the whole series. Gave me the motivation to stick with it, and I’m glad I did. Had a lot of fun playing through the story, and still going back to mop up some of the other challenges.

24626644906_bc9f14df15_bKing of Fighters XIV – Story – PS4

Picked this up in the sale as a bit of a gamble. Street Fighter V has been a let down, and I’m keen to find something new to get stuck into. It’s going to take some getting used to, but I’m enjoying it so far. Put a bit of time in and cleared the story mode, trying to get a feel for which characters I’ll use. My buddy picked it up too, so looking forward to trying out some friendly versus combat

Also played in April

downloadRetired – Banjo Tooie – XB1 / Rare Replay

Meant to include this in March. I’ve shelved Banjo Tooie, possibly for good. A pity since it was one of my goal games for 2017, but I just wasn’t enjoying it. Did make way for the next game on my list though…


headerYooka Layle – PS4

My pre-order arrived for launch, and I’m largely a fan. I’ve mostly cleared the first two worlds. One major issue though, the game gives me motion sickness if I try to play more than an hour. I hear a new patch is going to address some of the camera problems, so I’m hoping this will improve. It seems most of the criticism is valid, it’s not a great game by any means, but it’s certainly not bad either. Plenty of fun to be had! (Nausea not withstanding)

C9z2xE0WsAA6ZkGWonderboy: The Dragon’s Trap – PS4

Another game I pre-ordered. I have fond memories of playing this with my Bro-in-Law back on the Master System, but I was too young to really ‘get’ it. This remake is an absolute masterpiece. Preserves the great gameplay, and brings it up to date with excellent modern graphics and sound. I know some people have complained about the art style, but I really like it. It’s also a really nice touch that you can switch between any combination of modern & old for graphics, sounds and music. The graphics can be switched on the fly with a single button press, much like in Halo: Master Chief Collection, it’s oddly compelling. (How the title screen changes if you play as the girl character is a nice touch too!)

Hopefully I’ll complete this during May, I’ve just unlocked Hawk Man, hurrah.

Forza-MS6A-04-HDForza 6 – XB1 & Apex – PC

With my Forza love safely resurrected, I’ve been back to these two as well. Lots of ‘Forza Hub’ points to be obtained. It’s funny, when the first Horizon game came out, I was well into Forza 4 and much preferred the more serious 507156bc-fa81-4f82-b487-5c69ad1c671egames to this new open world approach. With Horizon 2 and 3 though I now would rather play those than these serious ones. I’m not sure if it’s a general decline of the main Forza Motorsport line, but the Career mode in Forza 6 is very stale. The racing is second to none though, just wish it was a bit less ‘dry’. I never played Forza 5 and am wondering if it’s worth picking up for the Hub points. Would like them to add Forza 2,3 & 4 to Backwards Compatibility though so I could at least see if they’re as good as I remember.

1fc40618-68a8-45a2-bc11-6656400d9877Forza Horizon 2 – XB1

In for a penny… I also went back to this during April too. Moping up achievements across all 3 Horizon games, first thing I did was drive all the roads in each game. It’s really nice to go between the games because of their different geography. Unlike how similar the Forza Motorsport games are from one to the next, the fresh location for each Horizon game really helps. I’m also really looking forward to the Hot Wheels expansion coming to Horizon 3, has some exciting potential!

Games picked up

H2x1_NSwitch_PuyoPuyoTetrisPuyo Puyo Tetris – PS4

With this finally getting a Western release, I was very happy to be able to pick the English version up, and put aside my Japanese copy and my 30 page print out of menu translations. It’s still the finest arcade puzzle game of all time and it’s great to see how many people are now getting to experience it. I’m still not interested in getting a Switch, but I can see how this must be a perfect fit for that machine.

All-time Top 5 JRPGs (wot I’ve played…)

Yeah a bit of a cheat this one, as I’ve only properly played 5 Japanese Role Playing Games (JRPGs) so that’ll be why your favourite isn’t in the list… I have tried to play plenty, but never got more than 2 hours into anything other than these 5.

I have really enjoyed the ones I have played (well the top 3 anyway) so I wouldn’t rule out playing more in the future. Anyway, on with the countdown!

Number 5 – Final Fantasy VII (PSX)

headerMy first JRPG, and apparently, the first one many of my friends played too. This game was a major event back in a high school, and for a while it seemed everyone was playing FFVII. I was quite enjoying it, albeit a departure from my usual choice of game. I do remember that trying to navigate the world map while also dealing with random encounters tested my patience, but the whole thing collapsed when my memory card corrupted around 20 hours in. I appreciate in the grand scheme of things, 20 hours isn’t very long, but that was pretty huge for me at the time, and certainly more than I’d be happy to play over.

I pretty much swore off the genre after this, and it would be quite a few years before I was to try them again.

Number 4 – Bravely Default (3DS)

BravelyDefault-810x449I gave this a go when struggling to find something other than Animal Crossing or Mario Kart to play on my 3DS. Discussions about it described a game with a similar feel to Final Fantasy VII which made me think perhaps I’d enjoy it. I was aware of the “outrage” at the changes made for the Western release from the anti video game censorship crowd, but they all seemed like changes for the better to me, so figured I’d give it a go.

I mostly enjoyed the game for maybe 18 hours. The story was nonsense and even with the localisation there was a a sufficient creepy ‘ick’ factor that never quite went away. (I think it was hard to distance from the fact that these characters were originally written to be 15 years old). However, the gameplay mechanics were fun, and I liked the ‘job’ system in building my party. It all got a bit grindy and dull though, and I just lost the will to come back to it.

Number 3 – Lost Odyssey (Xbox 360)

landscape-1481743951-lost-odysseyA game I played mostly by chance, got a bargain on release without knowing anything about it and fired it up just to see what it was. I was blown away by the graphics, it was easily the best looking game I’d seen so far on a console, and at first was just playing to admire the aesthetics. I got sucked in though, and it became the first JRPG I ever saw through to completion. The story was ridiculous, which I suspect may be an essential criteria for a JRPG, and the costume designs left me questioning the usefulness of such armor in a swordfight.

I really liked the combat though, and the timing based boost you could give to your attacks was surprisingly satisfying. I sometimes think I might replay this, but then I laugh at the thought of me replaying anything, never mind a 40+ hour epic, and the impulse goes away.

Number 2 – Panzer Dragoon Saga (Sega Saturn)

Panzer-Dragoon-SagaOnly played through this for the first time last month, and I am amazed how well it has held up. I was a big fan of Panzer Dragoon and Panzer Dragoon Zwei first time round on the Saturn, and this is doubtless the main reason I took to Saga the way I did. The art style was consistent with the previous games, and immediately felt like a comfortable return to that world.

The shift to turn-based combat was a concern before I started, I didn’t know how the previous rail-shooter style would translate. I need not have worried, the combat is superb, with the two basic attacks being lifted straight out of the other games to feel instantly familiar. The need to constantly keep re-positioning around the enemies and the bonus to attack speed granted for attacking as you move ensures that the combat remains engaging.


I found the controls in general to be very well done, particularly in the parts where you’re navigating the world on your dragon. When revisiting early 3D games you often have to make allowances for the controls and/or camera, but I can honestly say I had no issues with either.

While the story here is no exception to my understanding of the JRPG norm, I did find myself happily reading all the subtitles and enjoying the many cut-scenes. This extra flavour for the world is a big part of why I’ve gone back to playing the original games, and why I’m optimistic that I might even beat them this time round.

Number 1 – Eternal Sonata (Xbox 360)

Eternal-Sonata-810x456Or, the one time I liked cel-shaded graphics.

I know about as much about JRPGs on the whole as I do Classical Music. The only composer I really like is Chopin, so the premise of this game immediately had me intrigued. The game is set inside a dream Frédéric Chopin has while he dies of Tuberculosis. Yeah. We’re well set up for another nonsense story, but this one did really hook me.

Until Eternal Sonata, I always found cel-shading to be a bit of a novelty. It’s such a perfect fit for making the whole game feel like an elaborate cartoon. It’s joyful, twee and yet manages to be interestingly educational at the same time, as along with the story cut-scenes it also has video history lessons relating to Chopin’s life. (From reading some commentary these weren’t to everyone’s taste, but I loved it)

The music in the game is obviously Chopin influenced, and accordingly spectacular. There are very few game soundtracks I listen to outside of playing the games, but the 4 disc album produced for this is still a staple on my iPod.

I remain annoyed the PS3 release afterwards had extra content, as I didn’t want to start over from the beginning after I completed it on the 360. I think I’d happily replay it now though if it was given a refresh for the modern consoles.

I’ve heard plenty of critique about Eternal Sonata, more than one person declare it “the worst JRPG I ever played”. I take some amusement from this, as it seems likely that as a generalisation, I can still say I don’t like JRPGs, and perhaps I like the ones I do because they are outliers within the genre.

What next?

I remain open to suggestions from anyone who can suggest games I might like based on what I’ve written above. I’ll be honest though and say there is next to no chance of me playing anything 16-bit or earlier.

I am thinking of playing Skies of Arcadia Legends, it always sort of appealed to me on Dreamcast, and now I’ve got the GameCube version which I’ve heard is generally an improvement.