FUSER and the the big problems with the modern rhythm games

I’m Kinglink and this week I wanted to talk about music games and my love of Harmonix. 

If you don’t already know the name of Harmonix, this is the team who made Frequency and Amplitude, two of the best games on the PS2.  They made the fantastic Dance Central, as well as Fantasia: Music Evolved and…. 

Ok yeah, Guitar Hero and Rock Band.  Those are the games everyone will know them for, and sure they started both of those franchises and dominated the gaming with them, but they also have so much talent and made so many different games, it’s a shame they aren’t known outside of those titles. 

So as I said, I picked up FUSER, Harmonix’s newest game because I wanted to talk about my love of the music games and rhythm genre.  Unfortunately FUSER instead is better to highlight a lot of problems these games have.  

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Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues Reviews – I’ll just watch the show.

Cobra Kai the television show has made huge waves as it’s now reached its third season. The first season started by recontextualizing the original Karate Kid movie by giving the villain of the first movie, Johnny Lawrence, a more in-depth backstory and a redemption arc.

From there, the second and third seasons have grown the world and gave us interesting stories and a fresh take on the original franchise, though at its core is Johnny Lawrence’s Cobra Kai versus Daniel Larusso’s Miyagi-do.

It’s not surprising that someone has finally decided to capitalize on the growing franchise by creating a video game out of it. It’s just a shame that this is the result because everything feels wrong with Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues.

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Train Station Renovation Review – The Zen of Renovation

Train Station Renovation is what you expect, you arrive at run-down train stations, renovate them, and then move on quickly.

The simulation genre of video games has been a popular one recently. It seems almost any job ever has a simulator attached to it, and while train station renovation might not be a direct job, someone’s gotta do it. So we might as well simulate it too.

What I find interesting in Train Station Renovation is that there’s nothing inherent to the Train Station as part of the game. This easily could be a game where players flip houses or pick up public parks. Players can drop large bins for garbage and just collect trash.

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Yakuza 3 Review – A major misstep and a dated experience

Yakuza 3 is finally on PC, and it’s the fourth game in the Yakuza franchise chronologically.  However, it is now the most dated for the franchise.  Where Yakuza 0 was released in 2015 for the Playstation 4, and Yakuza Kiwami and Kiwami 2 were remade in 2016, and 2017 and also released for the Playstation 4, Yakuza 3 was originally released in 2009 and for the Playstation 3. 

The version on PC, Ps4, and Xbox One is the remastered version, which has all sorts of bells and whistles fans would expect.  There is a higher graphic fidelity and more standardized 1080p resolution. There is also content that was cut from the original English version that has been restored, and a retranslation that removes important mistranslations. 

I bring this up not to just enumerate the changes, but to dive into the big issue with Yakuza 3.  Yakuza 3 is a remaster.  While it has a large amount of additional content and gameplay, this is ultimately a PS3 game with a slight graphical upgrade.  Where the previous Yakuza games are beautiful, Yakuza 3 is dated by the simple fact that this game originally was made for the PS3.  

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Why are Open World games like Horizon Zero Dawn boring?

I’m Kinglink and let’s talk about open-world games for a bit and why they have been bothering me recently.  This is more of a rant than normal, but I think there’s a big problem that doesn’t get discussed.

When Horizon: Zero Dawn was released in August of last year I rushed to play it right after Death Stranding, and in that review, I talked about some thoughts about the open-world format of the game and how it didn’t really feel necessary.  

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Life is Strange Review – A near perfect execution of the Adventure Game formula

Telltale really made the modern “Adventure game” iconic in a number of ways, mostly in how formulaic they are.  The Telltale formula is to take a well known IP, and then add a new story to the world with minimal changes and choices that the player will have control over.  Players are just along for the ride, and ultimately it’s similar to a storybook.

But whether you pick up the Batman, Walking Dead, or Guardians of the Galaxy, as long as you like the IP, you’ll probably enjoy the journey.  If you don’t, well, it might be the wrong game for you. 

Dontnod’s entry into the genre is therefore quite odd.  Instead of attaching the storybook idea to an IP they instead decided to make their own world and tell a story there.  It definitely was a risky venture as having no established IP meant everyone would-be newcomers to the series and trying to make the “storybook” approach interesting to new fans could be challenging.  

But it’s only with great risk can great reward be obtained, and I think Dontnod is deserving of a massive reward.  

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Gris Review – Shades of a great game

Gris is a game primarily defined by its style and beauty. The game starts with a woman who appears to have lost her voice sitting on a stone statue’s hand and then falling as the statue collapses. It’s a strange opening that defies explanation at first, but it exhibits so much of what Gris is about. Gris is a game designed to be more about the visual environment connecting with the player rather than a deep gameplay system.

Gris’ world is beautiful and delivers on this promise. While the opening starts with a simplistic black and white world with some greyscale, the player is soon given their first color, red, which begins to add more color to the world and from there Gris slowly evolves the world from the dull opening to a beautiful experience that adds more color and variety each time the player completes a section of the game.

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Superliminal Review – A unique perspective on puzzle game

Superliminal is a fresh game from Pillow Castle Games that focuses on perspective puzzles. It’s an interesting concept that has made the jump into an exceptional game over its five years in development.

Superliminal starts with the player focused on exploring a dream-like space. It’s a common theme for puzzle games with the player being put in some nebulous danger by the story and then asked to pass through numerous levels to get free or safe. As a concept on paper, it might seem thin, however, Superliminal also has a great design and interesting levels that elevate the simplistic design.

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