Three recent games you might have missed

Game Names
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Metal Wolf Chaos XD
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

By Gieson Cacho // The Mercury News (TNS)

Before the holiday season arrives and a deluge of games hits the shelves, it’s best to clear the slate and check out titles that have gone overlooked during the summer.

The one that is a definite must-play is Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Developed by Koji Igarashi, a visionary behind Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Bloodstained carries much of the DNA that has made the Metroidvania genre so popular. It features a labyrinthine castle and a hero who must traverse its elaborate architecture.

Bloodstained unfurls an enormous amount of depth by giving players a wide pool of shards, weapons and armor to choose from, and that in turn opens up several playstyles. It’s an incredibly polished adventure that shows what Igarashi can do with time and resources, and one of the best adventures of the year on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The Nintendo Switch version has technical issues at the moment and isn’t as good as the others.

A Blast From The Past

While Bloodstained updates a reliable formula, Metal Wolf Chaos XD remasters a cult classic to broaden its appeal. Originally developed for the Xbox in 2004, the original Metal Wolf Chaos didn’t see a release outside of Japan. Despite that, it drew an underground fandom, and thanks to Devolver Digital, the game is being released in all of its glory on PC and consoles.

Metal Wolf Chaos puts players in the shoes of Michael Wilson, the 47th president of the United States, who is a victim of a coup d’etat by his vice president, Richard Hawk. He decides to create a resistance movement and take back his country by piloting the titular mech.

Despite being nearly 15 years old, the game and subject matter holds up remarkably well. Part of the Metal Wolf charm is in the Japanese interpretation of American patriotism. It’s over the top and absurd, featuring a singular form of camp. The awkward script full of catch phrases, bad jokes and taking patriotism to the extreme highlights a goofiness that I haven’t seen since Clover Studio’s God Hand.

Bringing Heroes Together

The wait for Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to be agonizing. It will be at least 10 months until fans will find out what happens in a post-Thanos world. In the meantime, they can check out Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order.

The third entry in the franchise is heavily influenced by the films of the past 10 years but takes place in a separate universe from the first two games of the series. It involves the Infinity Gauntlet and Thanos as heroes who unite to find the powerful stones and keep them away from the mad titan.

The game features the simple dungeon-crawling gameplay that made the series popular. Players take control of a team of four and button mash their way through hordes of enemies. They can switch between members of the squad with the directional pad or they can ask a friend to join for a co-op experience.

Although Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is a solid experience, it does have several blemishes. The camera angles are bothersome. The characters and action are sometimes hard to distinguish amid the chaos of skirmishes. Lastly, the game will require players to grind for levels if they want to beat some of the more difficult bosses.