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Review of Disaster Report 4: 2020s best PS2 game

Making video games is a difficult task at best, but spare yourself a thought for the people behind it Disaster Report 4: Summer Memoriesthat finally came out for PC, PS4 and Switch in the west last month. I played it for the first time in 2009 at a game show in Osaka. It was running on a PlayStation 3 and I was wearing 3D glasses. It was a different time, of course – and the final release still feels like a step backwards.

Disaster report 4 was originally scheduled for release on March 10, 2011, but was delayed at the last minute until late spring. Then, on March 11, a devastating earthquake occurred off the east coast of Japan, causing a tsunami that killed nearly 1

9,000 people and triggered the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster. Disaster report 4, a survival game in an earthquake-stricken Japanese city, was canceled for a good three days later. Its developer, legendary Studio Irem, never released a remarkable game again, and many of its employees left the company the following month.

It was a sad ending for one of Japan’s more iconoclastic developers. Irem was best known for creating the R type Series that ended with the ultimate mic drop in the 2003 classic R-Type Finaland had recently produced titles like the uniquely charming PS2 role-playing game Steambot chronicles. The most sustainable creation from the past decade was, however Disaster report Series.

Raw danger.
Picture: Sony

Known as Zettai Zetsumei Toshi In Japan, which roughly means “Desperate City”, the games are about surviving natural disasters. The first title, known as Disaster report in the US and SOS: The last escape In Europe, you play a reporter trying to escape an earthquake. The continuation, Raw dangeris about two waiters trying to escape the apocalyptic flood on Christmas Eve. Both games were released on PS2; an exclusive follow-up for Japan, Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 3, came out on PSP in 2009.

These games may not have been what I would call “good” by traditional standards. They were technically incompetent, and the performance increased every time a building failed. The location was bizarre. Disaster report inexplicably, the original Japanese protagonist’s hair dyed blonde and named him Keith, with shambolic voice-overs representing an already intricate plot. The puzzles, menus and inventory systems made the PS1 resident Evil Games look airy and progressive.

And yet I love this series. Raw danger, In particular, it is an incredible exercise to shoot well beyond a team’s abilities and burst at the seams of its ambitious structure and multi-character narrative. Even in 2006, the game was a lo-fi disaster, but it was hard to find fault with its ingenuity and soul. Perhaps the next analogue to the mix of drama and humor is Yakuza because both series revel in the surreal pathos of helping normal people with everyday tasks in life-threatening situations. However, there is no street fighting machismo here. Your only real enemy is the environment itself.

Disaster report 4, revived by a new company called Granzella, which was founded by former Irem employees, lives up to this tradition. It’s not a modern game on a budget for a second, but that couldn’t stop you from falling for its quirky charms. The game starts with your created character driving on a bus – your purpose is up to you, chosen from one of many questions with multiple answers – before an earthquake breaks out and the city gets into chaos. This is how it begins Disaster reportThe unusual loop of exploration, survival, and chatting with random strangers.

It will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the series to learn this Disaster report 4 is not a technical miracle. Despite the simple graphics, the frame rate often stutters even on a powerful PC. The switch version is even more of a PS2 step backwards if that’s your thing. And while watching screenshots, you can give the impression that it’s a game of considerable size, set against the backdrop of a huge collapsing city. However, the environments are divided into tiny parts that are separated by screen loading. Playing through the game is more of a puzzle than anything else. You need to find the right person to talk to or use.

Despite this, Disaster report 4 achieves a certain level of truthfulness through the attention to detail and the clear passion that has been put into it. This is a credible rendition of Japan no matter how shaky the frame rate is or how rough the character models are. Writing is often clumsy, but it is serious and heartfelt, and it is hard not to get involved in a game that gives you so many opportunities to build your own character in your head. Disaster report 4 gives you the express freedom to say and do ridiculous things in the midst of a crisis, which is not always handled carefully, but has the unusual effect of making the obviously sensible decisions feel more meaningful. It’s far from certain role-playing games that limit your choices to “success” and “success as an asshole”.

I guess where Disaster report 4 will fall straight out of early adventure games for most players in its confusing internal logic and arcane puzzle solving. It’s not something an all-in-one solution can’t solve, but if you prepare to step in unprepared, you’ll likely have a frustrating experience if you don’t have time.

Let me give you an early example: after escaping a fiery situation, you will find yourself on the road with no clear destination. You enter a destroyed supermarket where products are scattered across the floor and angry customers are waiting at an empty counter. A worker is hiding in the staff room. You make your way to the bathroom – you have to go to the bathroom Disaster report 4 Finally, to relieve your stress – just to find someone who makes loud noises inside. (At this point, you can register your disgust or cheer them on.) They tell you that they run out of toilet paper, so look for something. For our current situation, there are none on the shelves.

You go back to the storage room, where you find an injured man on the floor asking for water. Even though there are several bottles of water in the store’s refrigerators, you can’t just give them some. Instead, the seller from the past gives you a shop uniform so that you can wear it and serve the disgruntled customers. (You can overload it and pocket the money to earn an “immoral point.”) Only then will he tell you where the toilet paper is in the storage room, and only then can you give it to the man in the bathroom – whom It provides turns out that it’s the Store Manager (that’s a different story) – and only then Can you buy water from him and give it to his own employee? For 10 “moral points”.

Does any of it make any sense at all? I would say no. But the satisfaction of Disaster report 4 has little to do with the feeling of having solved a well-designed puzzle. It’s more about existing in your world, referring to your character and doing your best to help. There are no random battles or magical spells, but it’s an RPG in the purest sense of the word.

This is certainly not for everyone, but it is one that an audience deserves. Even though Disaster report 4 Granzella has gone through almost the most lengthy development cycle imaginable and continues to support him after the game has finally made it. The developers even added VR support to the Steam version last week after it was made compatible with PSVR. This went beyond the original plan to make them playable in 3D on PlayStation 3. It’s not exactly the most elegant experience, but trying to immerse players further Disaster report 4The scenarios correspond to the intimate style of the game.

There is a good chance that you are playing Disaster report 4 and write it off as a mess that shouldn’t have been released in 2020. But there’s also a chance that it will connect with you on a personal level, confirming why Irem was one of the most popular developers of the PS2 era. Granzella’s next game, paradoxically titled R-Type Final 2, one will be seen.

Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories is now available on Steam, PS4 and the Nintendo Switch.

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