Now Playing at SUPERJUMP, Issue 22

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Now Playing at SUPERJUMP, Issue 22

We're back with another issue of Now Playing at SUPERJUMP! Our Editor in Chief joins us again this week with some love for Dragon's Dogma 2. Elsewhere, the rest of the team is partaking in a widely varied assortment of gaming goodness, from massive AAA titles to well-regarded indies, and physical card games to boot! Enjoy this week's entries and we'll see you back here soon with more recommendations and odes to the games we love!

James Burns (SUPERJUMP Editor in Chief)

I'm a little late to the party, but I've been playing Dragon's Dogma 2 this week. I almost bounced off the game, in large part because I wasn't enjoying the combat at all. For reference, Mage was my chosen vocation (class) initially. The mage combat felt sluggish, highly imprecise, and lacking in kinetic impact. Fortunately, it's fairly easy to change your vocation in Dragon's Dogma 2 (and the process of opening up new vocations, involving various side quests, can be a lot of fun). I then switched over to the Fighter class and immediately had a better experience.

Fighters are a great middle-ground between defence and attack, as they wield a single-handed weapon and a shield. Switching to this vocation gave me a much greater appreciation for how combat works in Dragon's Dogma 2. In particular, I'm impressed by the ability to "grab" pretty much any enemy. If you grab small enemies, you can actually pick them up off the ground. This opens up some interesting tactics: for example, my party got overwhelmed by a group of little goblins. We were fighting near the top of a large ravine with a fast-moving river at its base. So, I simply began picking up goblins and throwing them off the edge! One of my party members even commented that this was a novel strategy they hadn't seen before.

Source: Press Kit.

When it comes to larger enemies, you can actually grab one of their limbs to encourage them to trip and fall (this can be extremely useful when fighting huge ogres, who are already not terribly steady on their feet). This not only makes it easier for your party to deliver critical blows to an enemy while it's down, but it also combines with environmental effects in interesting ways (for example, you can sometimes tilt a large enemy towards a big drop, causing them to take significant fall damage). As well as grabbing limbs, you can literally climb up on top of large enemies (Shadow of the Colossus style) to deliver powerful blows to vulnerable spots on their bodies.

My gaming time is fairly limited these days, so my progress through the game is super slow. But now that I've changed vocation, Dragon's Dogma 2 is really starting to pull me in. It's not without its faults; some of the jankiness is pretty funny, but I've had a couple of bugged quests that I can't progress and I've also encountered some weird UI and gameplay inconsistencies that can be annoying to deal with. Still, I'm willing to forgive at least some of these problems due to the sheer fun I'm having. I can see why this one is already a cult classic.

Guilherme Alves

Guilty Gear 2 is an odd duck - it's a "2" in a big fighting game series that is not a fighting game. In reality, it's a kind of single-player MOBA game, with towers, minions, and strategy elements to take them, while the main character is controlled like a normal action game with a drifting mechanic. It's hard to imagine something like this happening nowadays, seeing as Arc System Works is known for its fighting games, while the Guilty Gear franchise is more mainstream than ever.

The thing is, it's really fun to see how that all comes together. Guilty Gear is a very interesting pastiche of influences, and the team clearly sees it as a world to be explored. Every new game has a story mode with no fights at all, just hours of non-interrupted scenes as if they were movies, and GG2 is a clear sign of that exploration coming to fruition. Its systems are also a pastiche of other games to try and create a new identity, and it succeeds in being quite unique among its contemporaries. I can only hope that we'll have more weird Guilty Gear projects in time. I hope EVO never takes it away.

AI: The Somnium Files – Nirvana Initiative. Source: Steam.

C.S. Voll

AI: The Somnium Files – Nirvana Initiative is the game in my metaphorical disc tray. Before jumping in, I noticed some reviewers didn't enjoy it as much as the first entry. I still took the plunge and I'm glad I did! The somniums are more fun in this entry, I think because they don't punish a little experimentation or exploration. If you're worried that it might have lost the humor of the first game, then I can assure you that's not the case. Characters are still not afraid to voice their most zany thoughts; very few people seem to have a filter in this world, that's for sure.

I agree with some of the critics that Ryuki is not as charismatic as Date, the lead from the first game. That's one factor that might be a big negative for some players. Nonetheless, I've enjoyed Ryuki's struggle with his own mind, which is something that's of course quite relatable to a lot of people, myself included. My opinion might change when I reach the end of the story, but so far AI: The Somnium Files – Nirvana Initiative has been a fun ride. I'm so happy we live in a world where some bright, eccentric visual novels actually get a Western release. Until recently that wasn't always the case; long may it continue.

Robbert Boeijink

Lately, I've come across the term FOBO (Fear of a Better Option), which resonated with me. Instead of deliberating over what game to play, last weekend I decided to put my entire backlog in a digital wheel of fortune, including some retro games. This resulted in the fact that yesterday I played Portal 2 on the train to work, A Link to the Past on the way back, and some GoldenEye 007 in the evening. I thoroughly enjoyed them all and would otherwise probably not have played any of them. I now have the idea to do a piece on this personal experiment; working title: Backlog Roulette.

Cat Webling

This week I tested out an early demo for Liftlands by Doublecap, and I'm having a blast! This sim game has you playing God to a group of "wildlings," building out a community in the primitive forests. You collect resources, build out your village, give your wildlings jobs, collect experience and special powers, and defend yourself from goblin attacks. It's a lovely, slow-paced game that's quick to learn while remaining challenging, but not frustrating. I'm excited to see what the full game entails!

Nathaniel Kelly

Early this week I spent a lot of time grinding out Gran Turismo 7. The game is insanely beautiful and super fun to master, however, I’m in the trenches of needing to clear all of the License Exams and they can be a little grueling. These challenges are present in other Gran Turismo games, however, this is definitely the most difficult that the racing school has ever been to achieve Gold. Safe to say I’ve conceded for now. Getting Bronze in every lesson will have to do until I’ve refined my racing skills.

As a break from racing, I played a lot of card games. I played the new Kellan, the Kid in a few Magic the Gathering Pods with varying success. Regardless of its win rate, it’s fast becoming one of my favorite decks to pull out because of how unique and dynamic it feels to play cards from anywhere but your hand. Also, as a 3/3 with Lifelink and flying he’s super formidable even if the engine hasn’t always been working.

I’ve also been messing around in a few true solo games of Marvel Champions and Legendary Encounters Alien. Playing these solitaire-style games lately has been a nice break from the usual social space that tabletop games tend to be. Aliens has been a staple for me, but Marvel is a new game on the shelf and it’s an amazing cooperative/solo game. I immediately understood why this game has been so popular in the board gaming community. My roommate joined me in a Spider-Man and Black Panther versus Rhino game and the thought behind each turn was really appealing to the combo-obsessed Magic players that we are deep down. This is a dangerous move for my wallet but it’s going to be a great way to spend a lot of evenings.

Bryan Finck

I've been on a break from Stellar Blade because the kid is here this week and is monopolizing the PS5 (he's going through 11th-grade exams, I can't say no to him). So I went to my Steam library and landed on GRIS, a game that's been lauded as an artistic masterpiece, and rightfully so. It is absolutely stunning in every regard; you truly feel like you're playing a painting come to life, a sublime experience that feels as good to control as it does to watch.

When I'm feeling overwhelmed by life, I'm a sucker for a linear platformer, one that takes me on a journey of the developer's choosing, that tells me the story it wants to tell, letting me forget about choice and options and freedom for just a while. Craft a beautiful world, make it enjoyable to progress through, and I'm there for it. GRIS is all that and more, and I've been thinking about it every moment I haven't been able to play. Once I finish it, I know I'll be craving Nomada Studios' next adventure, the soon-to-be-released Neva. If you haven't experienced GRIS yet, do so as soon as you can; I promise you won't regret it.

That's a wrap for this week's Now Playing at SUPERJUMP! Thank you for checking out the veritable treasure trove of games our team is playing right now, and be sure to check in next week when we're back with more.


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