The Den: July – December 2022

Another year goes by, and another post looks back at the latter half of it.

As per usual, I write this post over a period of months, it can affect the writing style or flow. Please forgive any inconsistencies.


Where does one start with Killer7? I restarted this for my Twitch streams and it’s a really interesting game in places. Let’s get the bad news out the way first, the gameplay is pretty crap and the controls are even worse. The hit boxes for shooting are pretty bad too, I often ended up missing shots I thought were dead-on and sometimes getting headshots despite aiming for the chest.

The game takes place is a few different places, sometimes an apartment building, sometimes a school, and even a small town. Nothing crazy, but the layouts and how you get around them are a bit bizarre. In one of the boss fights I was running circles around the boss in a series of interconnected ambulances.

Speaking of boss fights, they’re probably the highlight of the game. The first one is pretty normal, shoot bad guy in the weak point type of thing. Then later I’m fighting a woman in a schoolgirl outfit and anime girl head mask in an empty car park.

I don’t really know how to explain the story. You’re just gonna have to play it. I will say that I didn’t like either ending. Nothing is particularly well explained. Maybe that’s for the best.

I wouldn’t say I like Killer7, but I think people should play it. Much like Drakengard.

Phantasy Star Online 2 – New Genesis

I liked the original PSO2 but there was a lot of bullshit in it. Minerals, random crap in my inventory, difficulty scaling not actually making any damn sense and just killing you instantly despite being a higher level than what you’re fighting, no real exploration, and so on. But there was a charm to it.

New Genesis fixes somethings and keeps a lot of the bullshit. There’s more exploration now because I can actually explore the world and get all those minerals and fight the same enemies over and over. To be fair, I’m spending a lot less time in loading screens and more time playing. In base PSO2 I spent most time wondering around the hub doing random crap or playing in the casino. And the missions I did were mostly the EXP boosting ones you got from the dailies. I’m still doing dailies in this, but there’s more interesting things to do and I can get side quests done in the process.

I do not know what the story is about. I don’t give two shits about it. So that’s all I’m gonna say on that.

My character transferred just fine, although I made a lot of changes.

Gameplay wise, I’m playing a Ranger and the archer classes, I did have Gunner as a subclass but switched for variety sake; and it’s pretty boring. There’s a lot of the same enemies and the amount of attacks I have is very limited. I’m not sure if I’m understanding the systems poorly but I don’t unlock any new attacks or abilities from the class menu. Maybe I need to fuck around with the other classes and see if that changes anything.

The streamlining isn’t all bad though. I no longer need to go to a bunch of different parts of a hub to do different things and can instead do them from a menu or just a single NPC. There isn’t a casino yet though. I suspect it’s gone. But the item enhancement is much better. No more secret items you need to reveal or multiple version of the same item to upgrade stuff. But there’s still a limit.

Welcome to the paywall. Want to upgrade your gun more? You need this specific item that you can only get via recycling a crap load of other items, the login bonus, or by buying it. Want to change the colour of your outfit? You need a Colour Pass which you get from Scratch Tickets, login bonuses, or buying them. And so on. The most annoying one is storage though. New Genesis shares storage with the original, so if you have a bunch of crap in there from base PSO2 so you’re very limited with what you can throw in there. Unless you pay, of course.

Last point, which isn’t as true now as when I was making notes for this post, there’s a lot of grinding to be done. Story content is gated off unless you obtain a certain combat level, which is a number that represents your level, upgrades, weapon potential, etc. in a general way. Think Light Levels from Destiny. I ended spending a couple of weeks doing dailies and side missions to boost my level up to where it needed to be so I could get to the next story part. Upgrading your weapons and unlocking class skills boosts that number considerably, as I found out at the end of those couple of weeks. Since then though, I’ve become over-levelled doing repeats of daily quests that give you a crap load of EXP.

New Genesis is alright. I’ll probably stop playing it soon though, unless something happens that grabs me. As of 7th of January 2023, I have uninstalled the game.

Final Fantasy X

I’m still pretty early into this. I stream this game with my friend while we chat about it. The HD Remaster is a bit of a mess and requires a mod to work the way I want. So I have PlayStation button prompts and Japanese voice acting enabled, making the experience a bit more bearable. However, the visuals a bit of a mixed bag.

The backgrounds look pretty good, especially the pre-rendered ones, but the characters look weird. Like their eyes are popping out and their face is rigid. Another issue is that various FMV cutscenes break and get replaced with a green screen, which is a problem with the PC port that is unfixable.

The combat is OK, it’s normal turn based stuff, no bullshit ATB system. I’m not super into the story yet, like I said I’m pretty early. I do like Lulu and Rikku though, but maybe for the wrong reasons. Blizball is fucking terrible, just layers of complicated statistical bullshit for something that really didn’t need it. Just make a handball game, don’t add all this crap.

God speed, kid.

I think Yuna sucks. And that’s all I have to say on the matter.

Shadow Of The Colossus

I started playing this again when I was doing research for that action game idea I’ve mentioned on this blog previously. I wanted to get a good idea for how the character moves and interacts believably with the world and the giant enemies. There’s a lot of animation systems at play here and to properly explain everything I learnt would take a blog post of its own. I’ll probably do that once the side project reaches a good point.

Anyway, I kinda got addicted to playing again and wanted to Platinum it on PS3, which was the version I was playing. It was going fine up until I had to do all the hard mode time attacks. Basically, the physics are bugged on the PS3 version due to the slightly higher framerate and some other changes. So movement on the Colossi causes the main character even more than in the PS2 version. This makes a handful of Colossi significantly more difficult that they should be, and it’s very frustrating. I’m struggling with the 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 15th colossi’s time attacks because I unable to get a good foothold to attack them with.

For the time being I’m playing other things, but I do intend on finishing those time attacks.

Splatoon 2 – Single Player

I liked Splatoon 1, but felt the single player portion was a bit lacking, but it wasn’t terrible. Splatoon 2 fares better in its offering content wise, but the quality of that content may vary depending on your tolerance for bullshit.

The single player works by having a bunch of different hubs with multiple levels and a boss. However, first time through each level you’re forced to use a different weapon. And this is where the problems begin. If there’s a particular weapon you hate using, you’re probably gonna have it force upon you for some really crap level.

The gunplay is fine, but the movement is slow and when using some weapons it’s slowed down even further. And then to top it off, there’s an alarming amount of platforming to do, especially if you’re weirdo like me that wants to find every collectable first time through. And if you suck at the platforming, even more bad news, you’re on a lives system. Die 3 times, and you have to start the level again.

The music is still good and there’s a lot of charm in the game. I did play the multiplayer a bit and even won a few matches. I did not play the expansion pack, not sure if I ever will.

Bayonetta 3

I would not call Bayonetta 3 disappointing. But I would say some of it’s ideas are really bad.

To start off with there’s multiple characters now, alongside Bayonetta there’s Jeanne and Viola. They both have their different playstyles, and in the case of Jeanne, a completely different genre for her levels. Bayonetta still plays pretty well, I can muscle memory the dodges most of the time but as I got further in it became more of a problem as I was rushing to just finish the damn thing and having timing issues due to the differences with Viola. But I’ll get to her in a minute.

There’s a good amount of exploration in this one, lots of branching paths leading to challenges, items, and so on. In one level there was a whole mini-dungeon hidden away. And all the collectables are stuff like music, models, things like that. Decent stuff.

A new thing they added, most likely nicked from Astral Chain, are monster companions during fights. They’re fully controllable and do quite a bit of damage, they add quite a bit to your combo. But much like Astral Chain, you’re completely vulnerable while controlling them and it’s awkward as Hell to use. The bigger problem is that they balanced the game around it, if you want high combos and high tier awards for each encounter, you have to use them. There’s also a fuck load of them, like 6 monsters or so. Each have different attacks and powers, so there’s a lot of experimentation to be had. Or you’ll just stick to a couple like I did.

Speaking too much stuff, there’s just as many different weapons to use and most of them are kinda awful. You get to preview them early in the game too, various challenges in the levels will often provide weapons that aren’t available at those points in the story on your first time through. Again, there’s too much and I ended up just sticking to the default weapons most of the time, although I did like whip.

Right, Viola. Absolute trash. The biggest problem in terms of gameplay with her are the major differences in controls and timings for dodges and Witchtime. The biggest control issue being that pressing block in time to parry causes Witchtime, and dodge doesn’t. For further annoyance, it’s on a different button. So my muscle memory for Bayonetta is useless. The dodging itself isn’t particularly effective either, mostly being more of a side step than an actual dodge. I’ll get back to the Witch Time problem in a moment. Her ultimate attack form thing plays a lot better than her base from at any rate.

Her personality is also a sticking point. She’s a bit of a whiny git, even in Japanese. She also does stupid things often to the point where I wonder if she’s taken one-too-many hits to the head.

Back to Witchtime, I’m not sure what they’ve done, but it seems very inconsistent. Often I would go into Witchtime and try and land an attack and half way through the animation it would just wear off. This is especially irritating during challenges that explicitly set that you can only cause damage during Witch Time. It’s not as bad with Bayonetta but with Viola it feels outright broken. There were challenges that were outright impossible because I simply couldn’t get Witch Time to work.

Last negative point, I wasn’t a fan of the ending. Looking at other people talking about the game, it seems like I wasn’t the only one.

I like the game overall, and I think it’s better than 2, but Platinum need to stop adding gimmicks for gimmicks sake.

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare Trilogy (Original)

It has been a while since I last played a COD game, and two of these I already played. Now I only played the single player obviously, because the multiplayer is either dead or a Hell hole. The campaigns are still very fun although there’s a clear shift in scope between COD4 and MW2 & MW3.

Before I get into that though, one small note. A had a weird application duplication bug that would occur when I changed my settings in-game. It would cause the game to open multiple instances of itself on my desktop and I literally could not end the process because I would get stuck in each instance. The only way I could close them was my logging out and logging back on again which would close most applications. This happened in all three games. But my settings did save so I didn’t need to re-do it again and risk the same bug.

Call Of Duty 4 is my clear favourite of this trilogy, it’s still incredible and very chilling in places. “All Ghillied Up” is still a fantastic mission, the levels are surprisingly challenging even on the normal difficulty. One thing this game does that the other two didn’t was unlock cheat codes for collecting the intel laptops. The other two don’t give you anything for getting them other than an achievement.

Modern Warfare 2 is still entertaining, but I always felt it was a little too short. A lot of the levels go by at a breakneck pace. But looking at my highlights from when I streamed it, it apparently was about the same length as COD4. But the levels are way more bombastic and absurd than anything in the previous one, and that makes it a little less memorable in my view. Not to say that levels like the oil rig and prison aren’t cool as Hell. But it’s also an easier game overall.

Modern Warfare 3 is the one game in this trilogy that I hadn’t played until this point. Just from the opening alone, it sets a very different precedent. There’s no training mission, no tutorial about how to shoot your gun and throw grenades, just straight into the meat grinder. In terms of pacing it works well and certainly makes a statement in terms of story that “Shit is fucked” and World War 3 waits for no man.

In terms of levels, I’d say it’s about on-par with MW2, although there are a lot more gadgets and in-game cutscenes. On that first note, there’s a level where you pilot a small robot tank thing that’s got a whole array of weapons attached to it and just riddle any poor sod daft enough to be in-front of it. That’s a semi-new gameplay idea.

The story is alright, can be a bit hard to follow what the Hell the overall world situation is. You’re getting thrown about all over the place and playing multiple characters, some of which only for a single level. The ending is satisfying, although it is a QTE sequence, but everything up to that point is a full guns blazing experience.

Something did irk me while playing through it, and that’s just the current state of the world. Tensions are very high right now, and the strong WW3 themes in this stated to make me feel a little uncomfortable. But that feeling has eased a little bit as of late. I’d glad I finally finished trilogy off though.

ANNO: Mutationem

When I first saw this game, it was on Indie LIVE Expo. A little while later, a demo for it appeared during one of Steam’s Next Fests. Something about the demo intrigued me so I wish listed it and waited for a sale because I couldn’t afford anything. Once it was cheap enough, I picked it up. And my general opinion on it is that it good.

The art style is on point and it nails the cyberpunk look. The sprite animations look pretty good, although a lot of it seems to be using 2D bone animation rather than sprite sheet, but I think it works well. The outfit selection stuff is nice, it has a couple of gameplay related events too. But dressing up the main character as a maid or office lady is pretty great.


Combat is alright. You get handful of different weapons, I mostly used dual-blades because I prefer fast attacking weapons and the katana wasn’t doing it for me. There’s a ranged weapon and a greatsword too. It got a bit repetitive about mid-way through the game as you get stuck in this underground section for quite a while and I eventually just teleported out of there and did side quests for awhile just to stop myself getting burnt out. Crafting is a element of this game, but it doesn’t really factor in until much later as you can’t really get the money or materials easily till you get to a harbour town nearing the latter part of the game.

I can’t say I cared much for the story though. The main premise is that the main character has a illness that causes her to become violent and uncontrollable, and her brother is looking for something to cure her. He ends up going missing, so you spend the rest of the game trying to track him down. A lot of the details of the background lore and explanations about what the main character is suffering from is mostly told through text documents and things you find around the environment. I’m not really the type of person to read that stuff, so I mostly skimmed through it.

This looks familiar.

The game is full of stuff reminiscent of Evangelion is you’re into that. Lots of crosses and large underground labs and such. It made me roll my eyes a lot.

It’s a good game, I’d check it out if you got the time.

Other Stuff I Played:


Short little flight game. Like a light Ace Combat. Cute art style. The controls are fine, although the emulated performance isn’t great. The auto-targeting has no bias, so trying to target your actual objective can be a pain. And the actual mission objectives aren’t all that fun. A bit of a disappointment unfortunately.

GTA III & Vice City

I hadn’t finished either III or Vice City until this point, I kept losing my saves. The first issue I have is the game logic being tied to FPS, so I had to hard-limit to 60FPS via the drivers. I installed Silent Patch and the Widescreen Patch to make the game more playable.

The story was more disjointed in III than I remember. You meet a lot of characters and then they often die soon after and you meet some new ones. The driving isn’t good, I flipped my car so many damn times. A lot of the missions are escort quests, which suck. The AI are very aggressive, and by the end of the game I couldn’t drive through many of the streets without getting shot at. Despite my complaints, the game was OK. I’m glad I finished it.

As for Vice City, I installed the same mods again. I played the whole game without its soundtrack, which is a depressing experience, but necessary for streaming on Twitch. The cars feel better, plus there’s bikes. There’s a few more weapons to use. The story is better told and follows the characters in a more sensible way, I had a much better understanding of what I was doing and why. The story does feel a bit short though, or at least it would do if not for the last part of the game being a massive slog because of all the business missions. It’s a real kick to the pacing. Better than III, but San Andreas still reigns supreme.

Call Of Duty: Black Ops II

Another game I never finished. The game has a bunch of story choices and branches, but I honestly didn’t enjoy it at all. Once you get to the end those story choices sort of play out in a disjointed manner. There’s a lot of gadgets and different guns, but I just stuck to the “Old reliables” of AR-15 style rifles and regular grenades. There’s no real reason to use them, which I guess is a downside of selectable loadouts is that the levels can’t be balanced towards certain tools.

The RTS/Tactical missions you have to do on the side are really half-arsed. It’s just a horde mode with a bit of objective defense ones. But the story around it doesn’t make sense and there’s no real reward for doing it. I’m not sure why it’s there.

Other than that, pretty standard COD campaign otherwise. Still a good amount of fun set pieces and missions.


HYPER DEMON. That’s a title. It’s from the same guy that did Devil Daggers, so you should know what to expect. It’s a very similar game, including the replay system. It’s a pretty fun game, but I’m really bad at it. Also my eyeballs start burning while looking at it. It’s fucking cool though.

A replay I made as a test.

Anime Corner:

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

I haven’t played the game, but I enjoyed this. The soundtrack is good, especially the opening song. The aesthetics are on point with the game. The characters are fun bunch, the story around them is interesting enough to watch it play out. And a lot of characters die in some really fucked up and gruesome ways, which is always nice to see.

Lycoris Recoil

Do you like girls with guns doing anti-terrorist things? You’ll probably like this. I know I did. There hasn’t been much in the “Girls with Guns” genre in anime for a while, so this and Maid Wars was nice to see. The main two girls have a dun dynamic, Chisato is basically an S-tier murder robot who refuses to use lethal weapons and Takina is a shoot first, ask questions later type.

The episodes are fun, a good amount of action and slice of life. The actual plot though probably could have done a bit more or gotten a bit more focus at times. It is elevated by a pretty good villain though who plays off Chisato very well. It’s good watch, I hope they make more of it.

Akiba Maid Wars

Speaking of girls with guns, I was not expecting this show to be anywhere near as violent as this was. The first episode is an incredible ballet of gratuitous murder, featuring a cross-cut between a song performance at the maid cafe and a maid shooting dozens of maids in a shootout on the streets of Akiba. It is quite the sight. I know the maid cafe scene in Akiba during the 90s was competitive, but bloody Hell.

The plot overall is fairly typical of something who’d find in a Yakuza film. Extortion, protection money, rival gangs, etc. But it’s all maids, and animal themed maids at that. The characters dedication to the cafe themes make me question whether they have any humanity left. Great show.

Yojouhan Time Machine Blues / Tatami Time Machine Blues

As a fan of Tatami Galaxy is was nice seeing these characters again. As you can guess the plot this time involves a time machine. They find it in a closet and use it to go back in time an steal a remote for the air conditioning unit in the main character’s room. There’s a crapload of foreshadowing for the time travelling shenanigans they’ll undertake, including something involving a Kappa statue. It actually does a pretty good job and tying up the loose ends caused by the time travelling nonsense and looping back on itself. Great show, I hope it gets a Blu-Ray release so I can keep the physical collection going.

Chainsaw Man

Let’s get this out of the way, Chainsaw Man is not the second coming of Christ. That said, I did like it. Some of the animation sequences are very well done, especially some of the character animation. The gore and violence are as visceral as you would want it. Power is hilarious and easily the most fun character in the show. Makima is good as a character, but I’m not sure they got the right voice actor for her.

All the episodes have wildly different ending sequences and although I like the first few endings more than the later ones, they’re all pretty well done and visually interesting to look at. The ED about Power is especially well done.

I really hope they continue the show though, because I think it ends just as it was starting to get interesting.

Bocchi The Rock

Well this show became a hit out of nowhere. I went into it with the mindset of it being a discount K-On. It’s not. It’s a premium product that is vastly superior. Cloverworks really outdid themselves with this. The animation styles are completely insane, with a good amount of stop motion, non-standard art styles, and real world images superimposed in. Completely insane. The music is top notch, the album that released after the show has become a best seller and I’m still listening to the songs even weeks after.

Bocchi’s reactions and faces are a real highlight. My favourite reactions being her just fucking exploding and lying down in her bed staring at a room covered in the same photograph and just cackling. The other characters are great too, I really like Hiroi. An absolute drunken train wreck full of best girl energy.

It’s an absolute must watch.

My Top 10 Games Of The Year

Released Games That I Wanted To Play Or Play More Of

AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES – nirvanA Initiative
Koumajou Remilia Scarlet Symphony
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

I wanted to play these, but couldn’t afford it. I did play the demo for Stranger of Paradise on PS4 though and had a pretty good time, but I wanted to play it on PC for better performance, unfortunately (As of time of writing) it’s still an Epic Games Store exclusive.

Worst Game Of The Year

Trek To Yomi

The art style could not save this one. The combat felt bad, it was really repetitive, and the story was nowhere near as good as it could have been. Thankfully I played it on Game Pass rather than buy it outright. Saved myself a bit of money.

And without further ado, the Top 8. Yes, 8. I didn’t play that many new games this year.

8. Forgive Me Father

7. Neptuna X Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars



4. ANNO: Mutationem

3. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

2. Bayonetta 3

1. Windjammers 2

If I had more money to spend, I would have played more games. But to be honest, this year was kinda week. Windjammers 2 is a fantastic game, but should it really be my number one? Well for the time being, it is.

Let’s actually give it some credits. It’s classic Windjammers gameplay, snappy, responsive, super fun. It’s got rollback net code, bonus modes, some single player content, and it’s reasonably priced. It’s a damn fine game and I struggle to find fault with it.

Just to answer a question; Yes, I played Elden Ring. No, I did not enjoy it.

And now for the other Top 10 list.

My Top 10 Anime Of The Year

Special Mentions:

Spy x Family & Koi wa Sekai Seifuku no Ato de

Worst Anime I Watched:

Hoshi no Samidare

And now the top 10.

  1. Koukyuu no Karasu
  2. Kawaii dake ja Nai Shikimori-san
  3. Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story
  4. Chainsaw Man
  5. Kakegurui Twin
  6. Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru
  7. Lycoris Recoil
  8. Akiba Maid Sensou
  9. Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Ultra Romantic
  10. Bocchi the Rock!

I bet you didn’t see this one coming. Shit year for games, but a pretty good year for anime. And Bocchi The Rock is one Hell of a show. It’s the kinda show that you watch and then every other anime after just looks like a pile of crap. It’s 10/10. Easily. The characters are great, the animation is great, the music is great. And it was blast to watch and talk to other people about it and see it just absolutely set the anime community on fire.

Watch this show. It’s fantastic.

And that’s your lot. 2022 is over and 2023 is now in full swing. Sorry this post took until late-January to get done. It was longer than I thought and I started working on it much later than I should have. I will try harder next time.

Hopefully things will get better this year.