31/01/2024 – Global Game Jam 2024

Global Game Jam has come and gone again, and I made another game for it. This year’s theme was “Make Me Laugh”. I spent a good chunk of January learning Godot for this year’s GGJ, and as part of that, I made a quick prototype of a 2-player robot arena game. I made it because my friend and I were discussing the lack of Robot Wars-related games and thought about making one for GGJ.

As it happens, the theme fit quite well with the idea, so we decided to fill it full of ridiculous items instead of robots and hope that it would be funny. We thought it was silly, but when we presented it to the sleep-deprived audience, it didn’t get much of a reaction.

But anyway, here’s an outline of the game. 2-player robot arena. You can choose a character body, which will have a set amount of weapon placement points each. You then pick a weapon, and then you spawn into the arena. The arena is a 20m x 20m area. There’s a pit that can be activated via a button on the wall and a dropzone where random items drop.

Here are the body models. I’m personally quite fond of the man holding axles model, as it is way more horrifying than I expected it to be when I came up with the idea. And I quite like the box, too. But I should probably note that I modelled both of those while my teammate did the cheese and the toilet. But I did the textures for all of them.

With a bit more experience with Godot, development this time around went a lot more smoothly. However, that’s also because I was in charge of the programming for the most part. Not to say that I’m a better programmer than my friend, but more to say that I spent a lot more of my time doing the work.

Either way, I used the C# version of Godot 4.2.1 and found the programming side of things to be OK. But there’s still a lot of issues I have with Godot, predominately the general hierarchy of things. Accessing nodes is the biggest pain in the arse, and prefabs don’t really work in the same way they do in Unity. You can’t drag and drop something from the files into the inspector; you have to load it as a packed scene and then convert it to the correct node. But not every node is accessible through code. If you wanted to instantiate a vehicle body via code, for instance, you couldn’t. Hell, you can’t even access it.

I also had issues getting information on the root node of an object, and for one of the scripts, I ended up using GetParent() five times on one bit of code just to get the name of the player object. However, soon after the event, I remembered that Node Groups existed, and I probably should have used that instead.

But the more pressing issue with Godot is just how buggy some of the node types are. For the game, we heavily relied on the VehicleBody3D node to drive the player models. But for the first few days, the wheels on the player models simply went through the floor, and I couldn’t figure out why. And after researching, it turns out that the node by default doesn’t really work how you’d expect and suffers from many bugs. That said, I did eventually find a post that suggested altering the stiffness of the suspension plus some other values until you got the behaviour you wanted. After about 30 minutes of tweaking the values, I eventually solved the issue.

I have no real complaints about the art side of things; Blender is pretty robust these days, although I did learn that the GPU compute option wasn’t configured correctly, and after fixing that, rendering stuff took literal seconds instead of minutes. What bothers me is that this option was always there, but I hadn’t set it up properly. Considering I upgraded my PC primarily to improve productivity, I wonder if I had checked the right boxes, I could have saved a bit of money.

That’s really it as far as GGJ goes.

As for the new stream layout stuff, I finished greyboxing the gaming part of it, and now I just need to set up the textures. I also need to get started on the game dev scenes and the transition animations for both.

Hopefully, I can get all this sorted out by March. I don’t really want to be working on this instead of playing through Dragon’s Dogma 2. On the gaming side of things, I’m making my way through Infinite Wealth and having a blast. I also gave Graven ago and had mixed feelings about it. Persona 3 Royal and Granblue Fantasy Relink are coming soon, with the former being on Game Pass. Relink is a bit too expensive for me at the moment, so I might wait for a sale.

Anyway, till next time.


09/01/2024 – 7DFPS And Future Plans

7DFPS happened again, and I submitted a new game. And this one is better than that god-awful zombie game from last year, I promise.

Making a VR game was easier in some ways than I was expecting, and weirder in some ways. I definitely didn’t like being tied to Unity’s pre-built systems as tightly as I was. That said, although the game isn’t as fully developed as I’d like, it’s definitely an improvement.

I’m not gonna write too much about the game because I made a video about it, along with some other info about stuff I’m working on that I’ve previously written about. Here’s the video:

Plans For 2024

My plans are a bit of a mess for 2024 so far due to some things taking a bit longer to do than I expected. However, for January, my focus is on Global Game Jam, which starts on the 22nd.

Alongside that, I’m working on improving my stream layout with new art and transitions. It’s going to be quite the challenge. But things are looking good so far with some of my early brainstorming.

Beyond that, I’m gonna focus full-time on Cybersurfer. I’m really close to a breakthrough with it, and I can’t wait to get back to it after GGJ. And in regards to game dev, my stream schedule for it is going to change. It’s still going to be on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but now I will stream in the evenings as well. It won’t be consistent because of how my evenings can be, but it will give me more time to work on stuff.

The gaming streams are going to change a bit. Alongside my regular playthroughs of games, I’m gonna try doing one-off variety streams with many games. I’m then going to take those streams, cut them up on a per-game basis, and put the videos on YouTube as scheduled releases. Probably just one a week to give me some time to make content. I’m not sure how frequent these streams will be, but I’ve got plenty of weird ass games I want to check out.

A bit of a short one, especially after the bloody long post that the end of year one was. Keep tuned into my Twitch and YouTube channels (Both of them), and I’ll see you guys next time.


ADMAN’s Den: July – December 2023

Another year, another list of games I played. As always, I write this over a period of months; please forgive any inconsistencies in my writing style.

Only Up!

This gained some popularity as a stream game, and it was cheap, so I decided to give it a go to see if I could get even a small morsel of an increase to my average viewer count on Twitch. I tried Jump King back in the day, which is a very similar kind of game, but I really didn’t enjoy it. But this game seemed easier, and it was.

That said, it’s pretty fucking jank. The controls are messy, and the collision detection is spotty at best. The physics are very much tilted against you. There are a couple of points where the game will forcibly knock you off and force you down to the bottom of the map to start again. Thankfully, the devs added a lift that gets you back to the midpoint if that does happen.

Another thing that’s annoying is the voiceover, which is a bunch of nonsensical motivational messages. And you can’t disable them, as the sound options do absolutely nothing.

Reference to a better game.

It’s not that good of a game, and I kind of wish I hadn’t bothered with it.

Happy Game

Despite the title, this isn’t all that happy of a game. This is made by the same folks as Machinarium, which I didn’t play much of. But much like that game, it’s a point-and-click adventure type of thing with some pretty messed-up visuals and morbid puzzles to boot.

The game is about a kid having a series of nightmares around various objects and a pet, constantly trying to get back the items the dream is taking away from them. The one involving the dog was especially uncomfortable, and I went and petted my dog right after finishing the game.

The visual style kind of reminded me of the music video for “Welcome To The Machine” by Pink Floyd, although more bloody and gross.

It’s quite a short game; I think I finished it in under 2 hours. Worth playing? Kind of, but don’t spend too much on it.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty

Well, since the last time I talked about this game, I have finished it. And it’s a pretty good game despite the technical issues, and probably the sole reason I had Game Pass as long as I did this year.

But yeah, I kept playing it and made my way through some pretty average bosses and a couple of decent ones. The highlight of which was Lu Bu, whom I fought twice. He has a deceivingly normal fight that seems harder than it actually is. But if you bait out his special attacks, you can exploit him pretty consistently and eventually get him in a critical state where you can deliver a high-damage attack. His second fight is definitely easier than his first, although most of that is due to knowing what to expect from him. But don’t get me wrong; it still took me a few tries to get him.

The other bosses can be interesting, but very few stand out. The only other example I can think of besides the last two main mission bosses is a boss that has three phases. Two phases are on one health bar, and then after defeating it, it revives and spawns another health bar, and then spams you with charge attacks that you have to parry and get the boss in a vulnerable state to do heavy damage.

The very last main boss is pretty fun. It’s a one-on-one fight against a human enemy, which is actually fairly refreshing considering what the previous fights were up to that point. It’s not difficult either; it only took me two tries. After that fight, in the post-end game, there’s not really much at all. There are a handful of more difficult missions and the option for new game+ and I think there is an endless mode as well, but I can’t remember.

Either way, technical difficulties aside, I had fun with this. Nioh is still probably a better game overall, but the additional platforming and verticality are nice additions. I like the parry system, although some instances of it can come off as bullshit at times. And the Chinese short sword and associated moveset are really fun to use.

Don’t pass on it; it’s better than you think.

A Plague Tale: Requiem

The second game I’ve played to completion on XCloud. And with my improved Internet speed, it was a much better experience than the last time. I could actually see what I was doing instead of getting excessive amounts of macroblocking.

Anyway, Plague Tale: Requiem is very similar to the first game, but with some refinements. You still need to avoid rats, and there’s now even bloody more of them. The stealth stuff has been improved, and you can now avoid a lot of combat if you want, especially with new tools that get rats out of the way. The tar mechanic is quite effective.

They’ve doubled down on the rats acting more like a liquid simulation, which has led to some additional mechanics for how they work. Although these mechanics are frequently used only once. There’s a section where Hugo is able to shoot out geysers of rats from the ground at will to stop incoming enemies. Late into the game, there’s a section where the rats pulse out towards you like waves, and you have to take over so they go around you. The game is full of these one-and-done types of game mechanics, and most of them are well implemented.

A new weapon you get is a crossbow, and as you can imagine, it adds a few more mechanics to the game, like shooting rope or bait to lure the rats away. You don’t get a tonne of ammo for it, but it’s pretty neat.

I’m struggling to say too much about the game because I can’t remember much due to how much time has passed since I played it and when I started writing this post, but also because I don’t want to spoil the story. But I will say this: I think the ending is extremely underwhelming and abrupt. It very much soured my view of the whole game. You do all this work dealing with rats, puzzles, and stealth gameplay, and your reward is unfulfilling.

It’s pretty, at least, and looks pretty good via XCloud.

Chronicles Of Riddick

I’ve been meaning to play this Vin Diesel simulator for a while. Jokes aside, these games are considered cult classics. I’m a fan of this era of Starbreeze, being a big fan of the first The Darkness game. But this game is a bit mixed. Some highs, some interesting things, and then a good dash of bullshit thrown in.

The game is about Riddick, an extremely competent killer, going to a prison called Butcher Bay. This is a prequel to the movie Pitch Black, where the prison is mentioned in an off-hand comment. I actually didn’t watch the first two films until I was most of the way through Butcher Bay. There’s a lot of extra world-building that is quite interesting, but unfortunately gets put to the side in favour of everyone’s favourite baldy anti-hero.

But I digress. Riddick gets sent to prison. When in prison, you talk to the inmate and get side quests to do, including killing other inmates or getting specific items for them. Although The Darkness also does this, I wasn’t quite expecting it from Butcher Bay, considering how linear I was expecting it to be. There’s other optional stuff that’s worth doing too, and some of it can be missed as the game doesn’t always tell you that you can do it. There’s a bit early into the game where you break into the warden’s shower room. Here, you can change into one of their uniforms and go through the rest of the area without the guards bothering you. However, I didn’t know about this and proceeded to kill everything between there and the objective.

Stealth is a fairly major part of the game, but it’s kind of wonky. Enemies will often see you in the dark. Noise is a big factor as well, but it’s hard to tell how loud you’re actually being. Enemies’ sight ranges are pretty ridiculous as well. Especially once you get to the mines section, the stealth starts breaking down, and you’re turned into mince meat. And I died a lot. You get near bugger all health, and it melts away in a fraction of a second in most combat situations. For a while, I thought it was an issue with the unlocked frame rate, but it wasn’t. You just get rinsed on normal difficulty.

Still looks pretty good despite its age.

There is a section in the Dark Athena game that does have FPS-dependent physics, however. There’s a gravity chamber that will pull the player towards it if they don’t fight against it, but at a greater than 60Hz frame rate, the moment you enter the room, you’re flinged straight at the damn thing, killing you.

The game’s visuals still hold up for the most part. The environments look great, but the character models look a bit dodgy, and the animations can be a bit stiff.

Just to end on a high note, there’s some mech sections in the game that are pretty fun because it’s the only time where you’re able to obliterate enemies while negating most of their damage.

Good game, but a little rough these days.

Call Of Duty WWII

I played this as part of my WWII COD Marathon streams (Collection for this game here), with this being the last game of the marathon (I don’t own Vanguard yet) and the one previous being World At War. And the immediate difference between this game and that game is the order of magnitude improvement in the graphics. Holy shit, it looks good by comparison. To be fair, we are comparing an early-ish PS3 game to a late-PS4 game, and the changes in technology between the two games are pretty substantial, but playing them back-to-back was a bit jarring.

Playing through all the WWII CODs was a bit of a slog by the time I got to WWII. At some point, the repetitiveness of shooting Nazis (With some Italians, Japanese, and Socialist French thrown in for good measure) gets a bit tedious. WWII changes that formula by adding in some much-needed gameplay variety. Stealth sections, optional objectives, and changes to the pacing bring some much-needed diversification. In addition to this, allies have specific abilities that can assist you, whether it’s giving you health packs, ammo, or even artillery support. It’s a nice addition and kind of reminds me of kill streaks.

Generally, I found the gameplay to be a breath of fresh air compared to the other WWII games.

I also want to make a small note about the sound design. COD has always had some pretty good sound, but this game takes it a step further and really hammers in the audio detail. The bullets whizzing by, the sounds of metal hitting metal, lead hitting flesh, and the explosions all have much higher fidelity than the previous games I’ve played.

So what’s the bad part? Its inaccuracies.

There’s a lot of Russian guns in Normandy, and although the Germans did modify and use Russian weapons, there’s no evidence to support the idea that they made it that far west. There’s also a whole mission where you kill the guy running Paris alongside the French Resistance, but in reality, that dude surrendered without issue. Hill 400 is renamed completely, and you and your company go and take it. But in reality, The Big Red One battalion took that hill and was even covered in Call Of Duty 2. Some dude did a video on all the inaccuracies; I’d highly recommend searching it out if you’re interested.

The last negative point is just the story. It’s a bit shit. There’s a couple of dumb scenes that lead to characters getting killed, which didn’t really need to happen. Or rather, the setup for them is so bad you look at it and think, “If they had just used their head and done something a bit different, they could have lived easily”. There’s also some scenes regarding war crimes that are just far too short to be impactful.

Other than those negative points, I actually enjoyed my time with the game quite a bit. I was expecting it to be much worse based on what people had to say about it.

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk

I played Jet Set Radio Future some time ago and really enjoyed the aesthetic and music, but the gameplay is dated at best and clunky at worst. Very floaty jumping and getting speed were issues, and there were a lot of dumb platforming and combat sections. So when Bomb Rush Cyberfunk was announced, much like everyone else, I was stoked to play it. And after a number of years, it’s here. I played it, and I love it. It’s really damn good.

Imagine if Jet Set Radio made sweet love to the Tony Hawk series; this is the kind of game you’d get. You like skateboards and BMXs, along with the already existing stable of inline skates. Each has their own unique ability, which helps you get into specific places to get collectables.

But why do I say Tony Hawk? Well, besides the previously mentioned skateboards, the combo system is very reminiscent of those games. Pull off more tricks, get more combo multipliers, and get more points. Doing things like wall running and grinding into corners also increases the combo multiplier.

As a cherry on top of the movement option, you get a rocket boost back. Using it while doing tricks lets you do a special trick, which also has the bonus of renewing your combo timer while doing manuals and such. The entire suite of movement options is just perfectly tuned. It feels so good to play.

As for the minute-to-minute gameplay, you go from district to district facing off against rival crews, challenging their lines, and eventually having a face-off where the crew with the higher score wins. None of that is particularly difficult. The other side of the game is dealing with the ever-intensifying police force. Get a high enough heat level, and they will send freaking mechs at you.

The only three negatives I have with the game are: the combat is kind of blows; the police get really annoying later on when you’re trying to explore and do stuff; and once you finish the game and do all collectables, there is NOTHING to do but grind around. If they had nicked Skate’s Own The Spot feature or something or some kind of score competition between your friend group, that could help lengthen my playtime a bit.

And I really do want to play more of it. Since I finished it, it’s been on my mind since. Mostly the soundtrack, which I’ve been listening to almost every day since. It’s a damn good soundtrack.

The devs still update the game and have been adding a lot of quality-of-life improvements, and the modding scene is getting pretty wild. Custom maps are soon to be available too, so I might check in again once some good ones get made.


This is my first experience with this type of game. The genre seems to be referred to as “Auto Shooter Survival”. In other words, it’s something akin to “I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!!1” but instead of having direct control over when you attack, it does it automatically. You gain extra attacks and abilities the longer you survive and level up.

In case you’ve been living under rock, this game is a HoloLive fan game featuring VTubers and their greater “lore”. You play as the VTubers, and you fight against representations of each of their fanbases. Usually made of chibi versions of animals or objects. There’s a lot of references in there that someone more obsessed than me would likely appreciate. Especially a lot of weapons you get and the combination weapons you can craft from them.

The pixel art is really well done. The girls are very cute in their chibi forms, and the various enemies emote quite well in their simple animations. It’s got style.


However, once you get late into a stage, it becomes a complete clusterfuck of lights and colours. Not necessarily in a way that impacts gameplay. I never felt like it was getting in the way of me being able to see where I was going or what I was aiming for. But it’s certainly a little overwhelming.

When I started playing it, I did start to get a Tetris-Effect-like response from it. Seeing the play symbol pickups in my dreams, along with hearing the coin sounds. After a while, it stopped, but it was an interesting observation nonetheless.

The game is still in active development as of writing this, and I’m looking forward to more characters and weapons being added.


Gun is Neversoft’s answer to Red Dead Revolver. But unlike that game, this one is actually open-world. It’s a little rough by today’s standards. It required some file modifications to get working on my PC correctly. It only runs at 30FPS, which feels pretty bad, but it’s mostly consistent, at least framerate-wise. The controls are not great by default, but with a little tweaking, you can make it feel a little better.

What I found surprising was just how violent this game was. I’m not talking comical over-the-top stuff either. Yes, you can blow limbs off and that’s all good, but you can also find people in agony after a gunfight and finish them off. Or scalp them, which you can do to pretty much every enemy. You can’t sell the scalps or really do anything with them, but you can do it. You also see some throats get cut, which are surprisingly more detailed than you’d expect.

I suppose in this day and age, some people might look at this game and condemn its “racial stereotypes”. But I found that it was only skin deep; once you actually look at the characters and see how they act and do things, you realise it’s a bit more complicated than that. It’s hard to explain in detail, but it ends up making sense.

I wasn’t super compelled by the story, and most of the side quests were pretty bad. But it’s kind of fun for the time I had with it. It’s also another game I streamed and you can find the collection here.

Star Wars: Republic Commando

Over the years, I’ve heard nothing but good things about this game, about how underrated it is, and about how everyone who played it desperately wants a sequel. And I fail to understand why.

The game has an interesting point of view. You’re a 4-man squad of elite clone troopers during the clone wars. You get to see a bunch of different battles from the films from that perspective, but you also get some original missions that fill in a few gaps between the movies. It also introduces General Grievous, although I don’t know if this is his actual first introduction into the universe as the characters seem to know who he is already. But it’s the earliest piece of media I’ve seen him in. Anyway, it takes you to all these places, but the actual story is very bare bones. I think there were a bunch of logs and notes that I picked up during the game, but there’s no cutscenes at all. So there’s a lot of detail that’s lost on me.

As for the minute-to-minute gameplay, well, it’s a lot of shooting. And the gunplay is bad. Enemies are really bullet-spongy, especially the Super Battle Droids. The guns lack recoil and weight, so shooting them feels really awful. You also can’t gauge their power. Throw that in with enemies that do not go down easily, and you just feel like someone trying to take on a tank with a pea shooter.

The game difficulty is a bit all over the place too. There’s often parts where you’re just blasting through, mowing down everything in your path, and then one section will bring it to a screeching halt and kill you and your teammates over and over again. There’s a section late in the game on a bridge that I had to do over and over because I just kept getting minced by the Supers that spawned there. There’s little to no cover on the bridge, and my teammates kept getting killed.

Another aspect of the combat and level design is setting up tactical positions for your teammates. Sniping positions and turrets specifically. These sections would be a lot better if my teammates were more effective at eliminating the enemy and if it played more like a tower defence situation. As is, they’re often quite short, and I don’t think the idea was fully fleshed out.

To top it all off, the game is just very repetitive. It brings very little to the table besides shooting people in corridors, even in outside environments. There are definitely some ideas here, but they just aren’t fully realised. I suppose those shortcomings are due to the time constraints of getting this game out in line with the Clone Wars TV series and Episode III. I’m disappointed, but it is what it is.

You can watch my playthrough here.

Dusk Diver

I’ve had this one on my to-play list for quite some time now. I first saw it during the Indie Live Expo, where I thought the combat looked interesting. Well, now I’ve played it, and I can say I’m a bit disappointed with it. The combat is probably a highlight, but it’s still only decent at best. It’s not terribly deep, but it’s responsive enough. The real problem is that every combat section lasts for WAY too long. A typical video game encounter might have a dozen enemies or so, right? And a typical game wouldn’t spawn more. Here, it’s more than that and usually spawns about 2 or 3 more rounds of them. So each encounter ends up being a massive slog.

The enemy variety isn’t too bad, but some of the bigger ones end up having way too much health. The boss fights end up being a highlight, but at some point I just wanted to finish the game and be done with it.

Outside of the combat sections, you get a Yakuza-lite experience. You run around a borough of Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei; unfortunately, the name is too long for me to remember. Around the city are collectables and side quests. You actually need to collect the collectables, known as Shards, to be able to continue the story. Thankfully, the game offers you the option to talk to a dude, give him money, and then they’ll be highlighted on your map. Even without that, I never got blocked from progressing.

As for the side quests, they mostly involve running around town, talking to people, taking pictures of things, or having more fights with the usual bunch of monsters. A lot of it is fairly meaningless.

To top it off, the story is excruciatingly dull. Basically, you gain a bunch of magical powers, you control some small monsters that turn into humans, and they assist you in combat. And you spend the whole game trying to stop the world those dudes are from and your world from merging. That’s about it. It drags that plot out quite a bit.

I’m a bit disappointed with it. I have no idea if the sequel is better or not. If you want to watch my playthrough you can do so here.


Sprawl makes a great first impression but gets worse as it goes on. With the highlights being the movement mechanics and the environment art.

The game is set in a cyberpunk world where machines have taken over control of the central government. You play as an assassin. And you work your way through the level, murdering dudes and robots.

As I said, the movement mechanics are pretty good, taking a page out of Titanfall’s book with wallrunning, sliding, dashing, and more. The larger environments lend themselves well to those mechanics, with a lot of space and height to run around in. Unfortunately, the game also spends a lot of time in smaller environments like apartment buildings and sewers. Plus, there are several places where it’s just open-space arenas.

That said, when it works, it works. But Titanfall is still king. And I mentioned that the environments look great. Very worn and filthy, full of Chinese characters as you would expect from a cyberpunk theme, despite the fact that no one actually uses the language. The atmosphere is definitely on point when you’re running around urban areas. The industrial places are a bit too dull. Like I said, they’re more or less sewers.

But how’s the shooting? Decent. There are a lot of difficulty options, including how much damage you take and receive. I would personally recommend that you ramp up the player’s damage output to its maximum, as the enemies are bullet-spongy as fuck, to the point where it’s a detriment.

The difficulty is all over the place in general. I got through most of the game without issue, but in a few places I would just die repeatedly and quickly. I’m not sure if it’s due to bugs or if I just wasn’t paying attention to my health.

The weapon selection is pretty crap. Nothing is all that crazy; nothing really does the damage you’d expect. And the shotgun is terrible. It takes about 2 seconds to pump and is a complete piss-up in regards to how much damage it will do. Some enemies will get minced in one shot at point blank range, and then another enemy will tank 2 or 3 shots under the same scenario.

I’m a bit disappointed in it, but I did finish it. And you can watch the playthrough here.

Like A Dragon: Gaiden – The Man Who Erased His Name

Despite their best efforts, Kiryu is back again as the protagonist of a Yakuza- Wait sorry, Like a Dragon game. Although this time he’s called Joryu. Why? Well, play Yakuza 6, and you’ll find out why. But due to those events, he is unable to return to the orphanage and is now working for the Daijouji faction, doing odd jobs for them.

Anyway, this game runs somewhat in parallel to Yakuza: Like A Dragon / Like A Dragon 7 / Yakuza 7 (Jesus fucking Christ, this naming system somehow managed to get worse). And I’ll stop talking about the story because you really should just play these games already if you haven’t. The story is such a huge part of it that spoiling it would be a significant disservice.

So let’s talk about the side stuff and general gameplay.

Kiryu 14 seconds after being freed from the responsibilities of running an orphanage.

They brought back fighting styles, just two this time. You have the classic Dragon Of Dojima style, which I pretty much used exclusively as it does a lot more damage, and the Joryu style, which lets you use gadgets and is more focused on counters, grapples, and fast jabs.

Don’t get me wrong, Joryu style isn’t awful or anything; I just found the gadgets to be somewhat lacklustre in terms of power and a bit gimmicky. There are three gadgets to use: a grappling hook, which is probably the most effective, an explosive cigarette, and a swarm of drones.

Combat in Gaiden seems to call back to Yakuza 3 a bit, with a lot of enemies getting hyper-armour and blocking your attacks frequently. Compared to 6, where enemies got thrown around a lot from Kiryu’s punches, kicks, and getting walloped from a bicycle. Plus, Kiryu gets stunned and knocked down a lot more in Gaiden. You feel a lot less powerful over all. Furthermore, there are many more fights in general, which now take longer in general, which slows the pacing down. Considering the length of the main story, that’s probably intentional.

Kiryu on the town

Story progress is actually gated behind getting a certain rank on a casino boat (Long story, play the game), which unlocks new areas of the ship to progress the story. How do you get higher ranks? Akame’s Requests and Colosseum battles.

Akame’s Requests take the place of side stories from the previous game. There’s quite a few of them; some of them are simple, like giving a person a healing drink, and some are more complicated, involving getting pictures of certain monuments, finding rare materials, and, in one case, doing a series of quizzes. They can get really tedious, and some are downright a pain (Karaoke and Pool specifically). But, if you’re already familiar with the series’ side quest stuff, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

The Colosseum battles are pretty dull. There’s some variation, but for the most part, you fight the same enemies over and over. There’s also team battles, where you use teammates that you get from various side quests, DLC, and recruiting. These fights are a bit different as your teammates use special abilities, plus you can play as other characters if you want. But I just found the whole thing to be a drag, notably near the end of the game where the Platinum fights require your teammates to be levelled up to be strong enough to stand a decent chance. And the way you level them? Either talk to a trainer and pay an obscene amount of money to train them, which can also fail, or do the lower-ranked fights over and over.

Do you like hurting other people?

In terms of other side stuff, karaoke is back, of course, but so is pool, which is surprising as I thought the Dragon Engine couldn’t support it. That said, considering how it behaves, I suspect they took the code from Zero and jammed it in there like some unholy blend. However, thanks to that, something else has returned. Pocket Circuit.

I spent an alarming amount of time playing Pocket Circuit, as is per tradition when I play these games. I’d wager it added about another 10 hours to my play time. There’s not much more I can really add to that because it’s not that much different from its previous incarnations. The surrounding characters around it aren’t really all that noteworthy either. But hell, I still did all of it.

And for the last thing, it comes with a demo for Infinite Wealth. It’s pretty rare for a game to come with a demo these days, let alone a demo for its own sequel. It’s not terribly long; you play a bit as Kiryu and then play as Ichiban for the rest. You can walk around town and collect trash, and then you continue the story and get a boss fight. There’s actually two experiences in the demo; what I just described is the story demo. There’s a “Hawaii” demo, which is just an exploration demo where you can do various side quests, whizz around on a Segway, and do a small handful of mini-games. One of those is karaoke, and the other one is a Pokemon Snap-esque thing where you take pictures of perverts from a tram car.

And don’t worry, I will rarely ever mention Pokemon on this blog.

Anyway, if you want to see my full playthrough of Like A Dragon: Gaiden, you can view the collection here. But I’ll warn you now, a lot of it was Pocket Circuit.

Atomic Heart

Atomic Heart has been in development for what seems like eons. Every once in a while, I’d see a bit of a tech demo of it, whether it be a weird shader, some really neat mechanical animation, or horrifying monsters. And in 2023, it finally did come out. Although I didn’t get a chance to play it until very late in the year.

The whacky art style is certainly retained in the released game. The mechanical animation is excellent, and the Soviet-era utopia art design is pretty interesting. The music is fantastic as well, especially the choices in licenced songs, which of course include a couple of songs from my favourite Russian band, Kino.

Now, I did stream the game, and it does come with a “streamer mode”. So why did I hear the licenced songs? Simple: The streamer mode doesn’t work. Weirdly, none of the songs got me muted on Twitch, but the music that plays when using the upgrade machines did.

As for the gameplay, it’s a very weird genre mishmash. You’d be forgiven for thinking that it takes its ideas from Bioshock, and in some ways it does. But there’s other influences, like Far Cry, thrown in. Let me explain.

You get a bunch of Bioshock-esque powers that you can upgrade, as well as a bunch of weird weaponry. But then you get outside, and suddenly there are a variety of other small housing areas you can visit and do stuff in. Much like Far Cry 3 onwards. You can even drive a shitty red Lada to each of the places while listening to the radio.

There is a point to going to these places; there’s a series of dungeon-like areas you can access that have a series of challenges or puzzles to face. As you progress through them, you find chests that contain upgrade parts for your weapons. Which you’re going to need, but I’ll get to that later. The dungeons can vary from OK to dreary. A couple of them have annoying boss fights in them, while others (If not all of them) have stupid puzzles involving magnets, valves, or both. They’re neither interesting nor difficult, so near the end of the game, I was really sick of them. Thankfully, there’s only about 8 of these places.

But getting back to the gunplay. In a word, it sucks. Particularly early on when they do near bugger-all in terms of damage. Enemies feel bullet-spongy as a result, and I spent most of my resources early on crafting ammo. The shotgun in particular, is disappointing. Often taking 4 or more shots at point blank range to kill a standard enemy, regardless of where you hit them. With upgrades, it does eventually become the 1-hit wonder you’d expect it to be at close range, but you’re basically at the end of the game at that point.

The bosses could be better. A lot of them aren’t actually difficult to deal with, but rather just eat all of your ammo. More often than not, I would have to reload a save before a fight, stock up on rocket launcher ammo, then go into the fight on slightly more even ground. However, none of them stood out that much.

The most interesting part of the game, which only comes up a couple of times, are the surrealist dream-like sequences where you’re platforming around a bizarre looking environment filled with odd architecture and clown versions of military equipment. These segments really remind me of some of those earlier tech demos, and that’s what I was expecting more from this game.

The last thing I’d like to mention is that the main character occasionally calls people “Crispy Critters”. This doesn’t mean much in English. But apparently the original Russian line is a bunch of nonsense that translates to “Fucking Pies!”. A friend who was watching my stream let me know about this, and now I’m trying to find a way of using it in my general vocabulary.

You can watch my playthrough here.

Gal Guardians

Originally called Grim Guardians, Gal Guardians is a Classicvania-style game featuring characters from the Gal Gun series. Which, admittedly, I haven’t played much off. And for once, I’m not lying for a joke; I really haven’t played much of the games. I played a bit of Gal Gun VR, and that was about it.

Anyway, you play as two characters, kind of like Portrait Of Ruin (A Castlevania game I still haven’t played), with two very different weapon sets and sub-weapon sets. Maya uses slashing attacks and magic; Shinobu uses a submachine gun. Yes, you read that correctly.

Shinobu & Maya

The art is pretty good, the player characters animate well, and there’s a lot of neat details. The enemies look pretty good too, although they’re fairly standard types. They would not look out of place in a Castlevania game. Then again, Castlevania has even crazier enemies, like maids and mirror monsters.

As for level design, well, like I said, it’s Classicvania. Mostly linear levels with a boss at the end. But there are branching paths like Rondo Of Blood, but most of these either lead to additional secrets or just loop back around. Once you get to the ending section, even more pathways open, and you can unlock even more stuff and find more students to rescue. And there is one alternative version of a boss. These additional pathways do make replaying the levels a bit more tolerable as they provide differences in level design, environments, and enemies.

The endings are worth noting, as there are three of them. One is a “Normal” ending, one is a “True” ending, and one is a very direct reference to Gal Gun. Getting the first of the three is easy; the second one requires you to find some machine parts; and the third requires you to find every student in the game.

Endings being gated behind collectables can be a mixed bag at times, but here it’s not too bad. At least compared to the endings in some of the Castlevania games, which require you to obtain some pretty arbitrary items hidden in some rooms and break some random wall somewhere.

Pretty good game, you should check it out. And if you want to see my playthrough, it’s here.

Other Stuff I Played:

Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae

I remembered people talking about this game some years ago and how good the combat was. And the combat is pretty decent; however, in every other respect, it’s awful. The camera is bad, it’s really repetitive, and the bosses have really cheap attacks. I played it for about an hour and never touched it again.

Metal Wolf Chaos

I could tell you in words how I feel about Metal Wolf Chaos, or you could watch me play the whole game in three videos.

But I think it’s fair to say, it’s a life changing experience.

Hi-Fi Rush Spectra Doors

There’s one last thing for me to do in Hi-Fi Rush, and it’s the Spectra Doors, a series of challenge rooms you can find throughout the game that are only accessible in New Game+. The first 8 aren’t too bad, but the following 8 that unlock after that are considerably more challenging. Unfortunately, to get the secret ending, I need to finish these, but as of the time of writing, I still haven’t done that.

Need For Speed: Unbound

I played this on Game Pass, first via XCloud, but then I downloaded it so I could play it at a higher framerate. Unfortunately, the improved frame rate doesn’t solve the problem of the cars handling like boats. It also doesn’t solve the problem of the God awful voice acting and shit music that plagues it. This is another game I played for a couple of hours and dropped. I’m not surprised it didn’t sell well.

Wild Arms 5

I’m quite early in this still, but the hex-based combat system seems pretty good. I started playing this on my phone on a day when my power was out. I’m playing an undubbed version, so I get all the Nana Mizuki goodness. Or I would if the game had more voiced lines. I still need to finish the other games in the series, but I will play more of this periodically over the next year.

Heavenly Sword

I remember enjoying this game back in the day, but I never finished it. So I decided to finally rectify that. The combat is mostly fine, but I had forgotten how broken the blocking mechanic was. It simply doesn’t work. Parrying does work, but I only started using it in the last fight to fling projectiles back at the boss.

The cutscenes are a lot fucking weirder than I remember. King Bohan is extremely horny, and the behaviour of the other characters is borderline nonsense at times. Plus, the cutscenes often feel very disjointed with what you’re doing in the gameplay at times.

Nariko is a pretty crap character. I think the games industry is bad at writing women now, but this character back then has all the same issues as female characters now. Overly arrogant, borderline delusional, and completely unable to listen to reason. Every other character is more or less exploited in favour of her deranged worldview. I don’t really want to go on a rant about this, so I’ll leave it at that.

Finally, emulate this game if you can, it runs terribly on PS3. And you can watch my playthrough here.


This one is still in “Early Access”, or, to be more specific, only Chapter 1 is available. Some people have compared this to Blood, which I can certainly understand given the movement mechanics both these games have and their love of throwing dynamite at people. The art style is pretty cool, quite dark, and retro-inspired. The guns are designed well but a bit wimpy to use, but you can upgrade them. I’ll be keeping my eye on this one.


A game dedicated to rock climbing. The gameplay is pretty solid, and the controls work well enough. The rope-swinging stuff is really fun. I might try to emulate it for SandSurfer if I ever get to that point. It’s fairly linear, but there are some multiple paths and additional exploration to be had. It’s fairly short too; I got through most of it in a day. It’s pretty neat, and it’s on Game Pass. You can watch my playthrough here.

Kannagi Usagi

Imagine Sekiro, but with a bit clunkier of a combat system, as a boss rush game, and with anime girls. That’s Kannagi Usagi in a nutshell. For what it’s worth, it works quite well. The animations are stiffer than I’d like, and there’s no animation cancelling of any kind, but for what it’s offering, the execution is pretty decent. It is quite graphically demanding. I suspect that’s due to some advanced Unity features, high poly assets, and the fact that characters are VRM models. Which you really shouldn’t be using for characters in a game.

Did I mention it’s completely free? You can watch my playthrough here, here, and here.

Wild Hearts

Another game I haven’t played much of. It’s a Monster Hunter clone from Omega Force and Koei Tecmo that EA of all people published. It’s available on Game Pass, which is how I’m playing it. The combat is snappier than Monster Hunter, and the monster designs are a bit more grotesque. Unfortunately, it runs like absolute shit, even on the newer rig. I’ll play a bit more of it and see if I like it more or not.

My Top 10 Games Of The Year

It’s that time again. This year was better than last year for releases for me, but my top 10 might still surprise you. But before that, a bit of other stuff.

Released Games That I Wanted To Play Or Play More Of

There were so many games I missed out on this year due to lack of finances, so I’ll just list them in bullet points.

  • Star Wars: Jedi Survivor
  • Street Fighter 6
  • Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon
  • Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters
  • Hogwarts Legacy
  • Resident Evil 4 (Remake)
  • Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising

There’s also Ion Fury: Aftershock which I do own, but I haven’t played yet because I’m still working my way through the base game.

Worst I Played

I think Only Up is probably my least favourite game of the year. It’s not hard to see why; it’s a streamer bait game, one I fell for hook, line, and sinker for. It didn’t really bring new viewers to my channel, just spam bots. And it just sucks. It’s jank as fuck, and the reward for finishing it is non-existent. Fuck this game.

That said, worse games did come out this year, but I did not play them.

Right, now here is my Top 10:

  1. Planet Of Lana
  2. Kanngi Usagi
  3. Jusant
  4. Gal Guardians: Demon Purge
  5. HoloCure: Save The Fans
  6. Like A Dragon: Ishin Kiwami
  7. Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name
  8. Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
  9. Hi-Fi Rush
  10. Bomb Rush Cyberfunk

I actually managed to play 10 games I liked this year. 1 & 2 were very close for me. But Bomb Rush edges it out by a hair. The movement mechanics are just so good, the music is amazing, the style is great, and there’s so much potential for more. Hi-Fi Rush is excellent as well, and you should absolutely play it, but Goddamn, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is good.

Anime Corner:

Suki na Ko ga Megane wo Wasureta

This anime is bad for my heart. The two main characters’ interactions are cripplingly adorable. The character animation is also very well done. The backgrounds are 3D, but they’re not completely awful to look at. The whole plot of it is that an eccentric girl forgets her glasses, and the boy sitting at the desk next to her starts realising how cute she is as she has to rely on him to help her do things with her poor eyesight and gets closer to her to share textbooks and so on. Bit of a slow-paced show, but worth watching.

Uchi no Kaisha no Chiisai Senpai no Hanashi

A typical office romcom, but the girl is a short but buxom woman who is a senpai to the male character. Kinda like Uzaki-chan, but with less teasing and bullying. Instead, various characters are pushing the two together romantically, and the interactions and scenarios are pretty good. They don’t get too pervy either, which helps on the believability side, even if you’re the type of person who prefers fanservice. Worth checking out.

Under Ninja

It’s probably the weirdest show about ninjas I’ve ever watched. It’s got international conspiracies: a pregnant woman in a rubber suit disguised as a strange old geezer, a 20-something-year-old bum pretending to be a high schooler, and a cat riding a motorcycle. That said, the manga seems way crazier and more vulgar, with a lot less censorship. Maybe the BDs will add more, but I suspect they won’t. So check out the manga instead.

My Top 10 Anime Of The Year

Special Mentions:

Oshi no Ko

But only the first episode, which is technically a prologue movie. It’s really well done, and I enjoyed the show overall, but that first episode is really stand out.

Under Ninja

I already talked about it above, but it’s weird and entertaining. But again, read the manga.

Bungou Stray Dogs 4th & 5th Series

This is quite a long-running series at this point. But the 4th and 5th series really turn the status quo on its head. The gang is now wanted as criminals against a force so insanely overpowered that it seems borderline impossible that they would overcome it. However, the way they handle that situation is why this is only in the special mentions section and not the top 10. But I still enjoyed it.

Worst Anime I Watched:

Keikenzumi na Kimi to, Keiken Zero na Ore ga, Otsukiai suru Hanashi

The guy’s a virgin; the girl isn’t a virgin. Drama ensues, and it made me want to slam my head against the wall with how terrible the character’s responses to these situations are. Don’t watch this; it’s a waste of time.

Top 10

  1. Uma Musume: Pretty Derby Season 3
  2. Uma Musume: Pretty Derby – Road to the Top
  3. Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story Season 2
  4. Kimi no Koto ga Daidaidaidaidaisuki na 100-nin no Kanojo
  5. Tomo-chan wa Onnanoko!
  6. Kaminaki Sekai no Kamisama Katsudou
  7. Uchi no Kaisha no Chiisai Senpai no Hanashi
  8. Princess Principal: Crown Handler 3
  9. Kimi wa Houkago Insomnia
  10. Suki na Ko ga Megane wo Wasureta

I’m going to clarify something. If you check my MyAnimeList page, you’ll notice that the anime I ranked the highest for 2023 is Birdie Wing, and yes, I enjoyed it a lot. But the anime that has had the longest impact on my mind and that I still think about is Megane. Insomnia was also really good, but some of the drama was a bit daft at times. My tolerance for teenage angst is still quite low, even after all these years of wasting my time watching Japanese high school anime.

Pretty interesting year for anime; there was a lot of stuff not even in my top 10 that I would still strongly recommend, like Pluto, Nier Automata, Dekiru Neko wa Kyou mo Yuutsu, and more. Some might not like a lot of the shows that came out this year, but you can safely disregard their opinions as they are likely casual as fuck anyway.

And that’s it. Look forward to a slightly more normal blog post soon-ish about 7DFPS and my plans for the year.