Exploring The Metroidvania

In June of 2017, the Retronauts podcast released their first episode in a series on the evolution of the Metroidvania, a term used commonly used to describe platforming games with a heavy focus on exploration and expanding powers. Over the course of several episodes, the hosts established a historical through-line from the prototypes that laid the groundwork to the genre defining games Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

I’d never played any of the games they discussed, but setting the games within their historical context piqued my interest.

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Order and Chaos in SMT: Devil Survivor Overclocked

The Persona series has quickly become one of my favorite JRPG franchises. The last few of these games have struck a wonderful balance of character driven story and engaging gameplay. I’m not the only one who has come to appreciate the series in the last decade. Persona 5 was well represented in “game of the year” discussions last year, and it certainly deserved to be included in those conversations. I thought it was great.

While Persona has become Atlus’s flagship franchise, it’s was originally marketed as a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei series. If the Persona series has become the popular younger brother… then the SMT series is like the unfriendly older brother who pushes you around to remind you that you aren’t as clever as you think you are.

But I’ve been waiting for my chance to stand up to the older brother… and prove that I can be somebody! So I picked up a copy of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked.

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The Kingdom of God in Kingdom: New Lands

When I finished playing Middle-earth: Shadow of War, I needed a bit of a palette cleanser. Something that wasn’t predicated on the slaughter of orcs. And rather than choosing one of the 600 unplayed games in my Steam account, I went looking for something new.

It’s ok. I don’t have a problem. I promise.

After poking around in the Steam store for a few minutes, I found a game that looked quite interesting. Kingdom: New Lands.

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Middle-earth: Shadow of War

Before E3 2017, I had no idea that Monolith was developing a sequel to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. But from the moment the trailer slid into the E3 live-stream, I was hyped. I was determined to have an equally absurd amount of fun with Middle-earth: Shadow of War as I had with its predecessor. Then the game was released to a chorus of bad reviews.
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