As the two posts I previously wrote on Final Fantasy VII this year alone can attest to, the adventures of Cloud and friends from Square-Enix have held a special place in my heart for over two decades. With an (at the time) absurd 50+ hours of side quests, monster battles, and world saving, this epic made quite the lasting impression on my former tween self. While I've loved many Final Fantasy games since then (special shout outs to VIII, X, and XV), none stands out quite as much in my game loving heart. For the past five years since it was initially announced way back in 2015, Final Fantasy VII Remake has oscillated in my brain between sky high expectations and trying to put my guard up to shield myself from the inevitable disappointment. So, did the remake gods manage to pull it off or were my hopes crushed like poor Sector 7 under the weight of Shinra's greed?
All you need to know about the recently released remake of 1999's Resident Evil 3: Nemesis can be found in a five word exchange that occurs about a third of the way through the main campaign. Just as the game's protagonist and proven action hero, Jill Valentine, has seemingly escaped the clutches of Raccoon City's apocalyptic zombie outbreak aboard a subway train headed for safety, the back of the train is abruptly pulled off in a glorious display of strength and bad-ass flames by the Umbrella Corp's bioweapon du jour, the titular Nemesis. With all hope seemingly lost, a grizzled old mercenary, whose name escapes me because it was never important, defiantly utters the sure to be iconic line "Get off my train, shitbird" before heroically sacrificing himself and buying Jill some time via suicide bombing. Truly the bard himself could have never concocted a more beautiful turn of phrase, and peak Schwarzenegger couldn't have hoped for a more fitting sendoff.
Twenty-one years after the original's release, I still count Resident Evil 2 among my favorite games of all-time. It was everything a zombie-loving thirteen-year-old me could hope for in a video game. I didn't simply play the game. I devoured it like one of those aforementioned zombies with a member of the S.T.A.R.S. team. Compliments of an official Prima guide and the lack of any societal obligations aside from attending school, I had managed to memorize the entire game map throughout my 10 or so playthroughs. Every licker's location, every confrontation with the menacing Tyrant, and ever statue puzzle had been embedded deeper in my mind than the latest algebra formulas from my teachers. Raccoon City wasn't just a place to face your fears. It was a place that showed teenage me just what video games were capable of.
For almost two months, my Nintendo Switch ruled my gaming life with a string of charming Indies and some nice ports. While these games made for some fun late night adventures, I found myself searching for a gaming experience that felt much more grand and truly epic. As a result, I decided it was finally time to try out the recently released remake of one of the most adored games of all time, Shadow of the Colossus. From the second I lifted my ancient sword to guide me toward the first mammoth beast I was to slay, I knew my wish for something truly remarkable was going to be granted. Each creature was magnificent and the challenges seemed daunting but never insurmountable. Over the course of a week, I felled each increasingly elaborate behemoth while bonding further with my faithful steed, Agro, and growing ever closing to resurrecting the poor maiden no matter the cost.