By Leah McDonald / June 12th, 2023
While we here at Operation Rainfall love covering the latest in gaming news and sharing our reviews of titles new and classic, we also just enjoy playing games in our downtime. So with that, sit back, relax, and check out what the oprainfall gaming crew have been up to this week!
Final Fantasy XVI demo is here, baby! Of course I had to play around with it. This is probably my most anticipated game of this year. As detailed during the XVI launch event, the demo is the roughly two hour prologue to the game, and any progress you make will carry over to the retail release. I’ve spent a little over an hour with it as of this writing (curse my day job). It’s pretty cutscene heavy, which I expect out of RPGs in general and FF in specific, but that doesn’t mean it’s without its exploration and battles. But let’s start at the beginning. The demo kicks off with an older Clive out on a mission to find the Iron Kingdom’s Dominant, who wields the power of Shiva. The Kingdom is currently at war with the Dhalmekian Republic, but Clive’s relationship to either side is unclear. We get some politicking and get to watch a couple Eikons duke it out before Clive is incapacitated and we’re thrown into an extended playable flashback. Now only 15, we get to control Clive as he heads out into his first real battle to prove his prowess.
Combat at this point is pretty bare bones, but it feels good to play and is very, very responsive. Clive has a standard melee attack combo on Square, can cast fireballs using Triangle, and a natural gap closer called Phoenix Shift that will teleport him to whatever enemy he’s targeting when you press Circle. You can combo up to four melee attacks, and if you use a fireball directly after your combo you get an extra damage explosion. Clive can use both melee and spells while Phoenix Shifting, and pressing R2 and Square gives him access to a special cool down attack that’s best used after you’ve staggered an enemy. You can stagger enemies once you’ve depleted their Will Gauge, during which they take increased damage. You can also dodge and parry attacks, and with good timing you’ll leave the enemy open to additional attacks. As with any good RPG, you can also gain new skills and abilities through the Skill Tree, which opens Clive’s repertoire to spice up fights. So far, I’ve only really fought one enemy type, so I can’t speak too broadly, but the normal mobs were really easy to dispatch. I just zipped around the battlefield using Phoenix Shift and whacked shit until it died. The boss fight, on the other hand, actually did require use of dodging, parrying, and smart combo use, and it felt really good to play. The perfect dodge timing window is pretty generous, and I found parrying timing came naturally. My only real complaint is that the boss felt like it had just a little too much health and overstayed its welcome, but considering I was really concerned that enemies would be damage sponges, I’ll take it.
Exploration feels kind of limited right now, but I’m hoping it opens up the farther I get, since this is just the tutorial section of the game. You can find items scattered around if you go out of your way, and when in town you can listen in on people’s conversations. You can tell the demo assumes you’ll play using English voiceover, because the mouths do not match the Japanese dialogue at all, and it’s a bit distracting. Crossing my fingers this is just a demo issue and that the full game will have better mouth syncing. Overall though, I had a blast and I’m super itching to get back into it. Once you finish the main demo, it unlocks a bonus battle demo where you can go ham with Clive’s abilities from later in the game, and I really want to see how much more combat opens up compared to what I’m using now. I’m happy to say the demo has only made me want the main game more.
On the complete other side of the gaming spectrum, my sister and I finished playing through Resident Evil 3 Remake and we’ve moved on to Code Veronica X. I really enjoyed R3make for its bombastic set pieces and over-the-top action bits. The Nemesis encounters were a lot of fun, and as a baddy he was super memorable. Carlos gives Leon a run for his money in the dreamboat department, too. I like him a lot. Going from that to Veronica is almost like whiplash, but I also enjoy the old style of RE so it’s not a bad thing. Enemies are more damage spongey than I’d like but I can also avoid a lot of them, so it isn’t too big a hassle. I love the B-movie acting and setting, and there’s some pretty good tension when exploring the island. I still hate dogs with a passion, they are the worst enemy type ever. I’ve only had one jump scare that I wasn’t expecting so far, but even with the PS2 models and brightly lit setting, Veronica still manages to ooze personality and atmosphere to provide that requisite level of spooky I expect from my horror games. It might not have the same sense of dread that the remakes were able to create through visual fidelity, but RE‘s sound design has always been on point, and having zombies moaning from all directions but unable to see them is fantastic. As much as I prefer the modern camera and movement of the remakes, that fixed camera and tank controls of classic RE do their job at delivering tension. – Leah
What games have you been playing this week? Let us know in the comments!
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