In the depths of the Nintendo eShop lies a treasure. Navigating through randomly generated sales offers, new releases and upcoming titles, you’ll find this gem buried somewhere a few pages back. Chasm is an ambitious game that takes the modern procedural approach and applies it to the classic handheld Castlevania formula. Groan, another randomly generated game? I know, I know. I am sick of them too, but I picked this game up because I wanted a new GBAvania experience so badly. There’s a lot of action games and loot games in the formula, but nothing based on exploration quite like this. It’s a very specific itch that needed scratching.
This game starts off in the most disorienting way possible, with a dramatic climbing sequence in the snowy mountains full of quick-time button prompts. Press A. Press X. Twirl the stick and mash Y. It’s a great way to not learn how this game plays at all. It’s not too hard, just confusing. You’ll be holding up on the analog stick most of the time, watching Lara jump perfectly across gaps and grab her wall of choice. You are left guessing which direction Lara is going to jump as the camera swings wildly on its own. Just press A and hope for the best. Press X to grab the wall. Oh, okay. I did that I guess? Oh no, I fell. Wait, I’m meant to fall. Really got me there, game. The whole scene is just overly stressful despite barely any button inputs happening at all. It gave me a horrible first impression as the game felt very phony and I hadn’t even played a Tomb Raider game before and didn’t know any backstory to this game. I was ready to delete the game after this and move on.
We’re approaching the end of 2018 and I’ve just got myself a brand new Xbox One S, five years into the lifespan of Xbox One. It’s a new world for me as I’ve been playing nothing but Nintendo stuff for the last few years, having a great time it must be said. I never had a PS4 either so this is my first time dipping into the 2013 “next-gen” console family, which is now this-gen, or half-gen to the Pro and X which will be last-gen again next year. Phew. Whatever you want to call it, I have a lot of gaming to catch up on and I thought this was a unique perspective worth a little writeup. I was lucky enough to get my XB1S bundled with Red Dead Redemption 2 and Forza Horizon 4, two very expensive new release games. The whole bundle was $100-200 AU cheaper than a Switch or PS4 by themselves, which is ridiculous. Xbox is priced very well and has huge support in Australia, and I was in a good spot to take advantage of it. It just felt like the right time with Nintendo’s Switch holiday lineup mainly focused on two games I’m not that interested in. I got home with my new Xbox and it felt like Christmas again. The old, fun, child-like Christmas, not the new HD remake “Adult Christmas” which is full of disappointing social engagements. This was going to be fun on my own terms.
A week isn’t that long in the lifespan of console hardware, but I thought it was long enough to give more thoughts after my day 1 writeup. I’ve noticed more things, played more games, became a Pro, and felt more Joy. Perhaps the most significant thing however, is that I haven’t actually turned my Switch off. Sleep Mode is so good, that at first I didn’t even realise the difference between Power Off and Sleep Mode. It’s so good, that there IS no Power button on the console. If you want to power off you have to hold the Sleep button for 3 seconds, like some secondary function. Open your eyes, Switch.
I’ve just woken up from some of the most amazing hours of my life. I’ve got my Switch, set it up, played some games and I thought I’d write some impressions while they’re hot and I’m sleep deprived. Firstly, I’m extremely grateful that Australia was part of the worldwide launch, as it basically meant we got the console first after New Zealand. Pretty exciting.
A few days ago I received a package from a mysterious company named Nodens Enterprises. It addressed me as Grubdog so I knew it had to be gaming related, but how did they know my address? Inside was an interesting art book with characters and locations, but no writing or context. Looked cool, but I was confused. I’d never heard of this game and I didn’t order anything like it. I dug through the package and found a letter.
I’ve heard a lot of bad things about this game, but I know better than to believe game journalists these days. I avoided Devil’s Third mainly because I couldn’t justify a $90 game where you shoot with the analog stick. With the game inevitably bombing I was able to do a deal with the devil and get a cheap copy. Sad but that’s life sometimes. With Switch replacing the Wii U it’s a great time to pick up some cheap games you missed. The unique design of Devil’s Third stood out to me, and even if it was bad, at this point I didn’t care. I had to try it, when a game gets such a polarising reception there is usually something special about it. I popped the disc in today and I’m blown away. The game is not polarising at all, and quite simply fun to play.