34 Reviews liked by Br0dee
The pinnacle of gaming, there’s so much to say about this absolute masterpiece. When I first played it back in September 2017 I was expecting nothing more than a free pubg clone but sure enough it ended up being a game that would completely consume me and pretty much everyone I know for the entirety of 2018 and beyond. The battle pass was a fresh idea that constantly had me engaged and the pro consumer initiative that epic was taking at the time made it so no one had unfair advantages so you didn’t need to pay to win. Everything about the game was perfect. Eventually Epic decided to start appealing towards casual players which effectively destroyed the fun ass meta’s of the game. They also added skill based match making which got rid of the suspense of not knowing if the person in the distance was a try hard John Wick or an easy ass bot. The lobbies felt less and less unique. The meta kept getting worse and the game progressively got worse. The best thing they did throughout this period was flesh out the lore which is insanely interesting. Chapter 2 Season 6 added a really interesting crafting mechanic which completely switched up the game and the meta, aside from bows, feels really right. This game is finally good again and is an absolute blast to play with friends. Will be interesting to see if epic messes it up again with the next season.
This was so underwhelming to me because even though I enjoyed seeing Nathan, Elena, and Sully's search for the El Dorado, the gameplay is so terrible to sit through.
Everytime you pop out of cover, you're practically aiming at nothing making enemies get free hits on you. Then, you have to stand around like a sitting duck to heal and this pattern repeats until the you reach the end credits. The controls don't help either because it still feels like a janky PS3 game.
Also, if you ever do decide to play this game, please choose the Easy or Normal difficulty options because the harder difficulties make this game unplayable. I barely squeezed my way through the campaign on Crushing after nearly getting one hit on every shootout I encountered. Especially during the speedboat level.
Not even Bluepoint could fix this outdated mess.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
I obviously don't need to say that this game is good, that's just a given. The levels are constructed with quality, and I honestly prefer them more than the first game's. The music is top-tier and the use of an orchestra is extremely appreciated. However, I do wish the movement was a little more fluid and not quite as slow and stiff. And although I did get the 120 main stars, I can't be bothered to get any of the green stars. Overall, I think I prefer this game over the original due to it having more cool moments and interesting levels. Definitely a fun experience.
A while back I decided to revisit all of Fates, and take it in what many would consider to be the recommended order (BR->CQ->RV) for the full experience. As someone who remembered Birthright being my least favorite at the time, I enjoyed this replay far more than I expected myself to.
Fates, as a whole, is a game that I think has far more merits than it is often given credit for. It has many flaws, most of which are extremely apparent and off putting at first glance (Corrin doesn’t really work as an avatar character and also really shouldn’t have had the option of marrying their siblings, each route’s story makes a few questionable decisions, it’s weirdly horny at times for some reason, My Castle is a bit of a convoluted mess, the baby dimension is stupid, etc.), but beneath all of that is an incredibly fun game with a likable cast and engaging mechanics that offer more strategic options than most games in the Fire Emblem series.
I see the gameplay as an evolution of Awakening's combat. For one, the way pair-up is handled in this game means having to make decisions on whether you want to play offensively or defensively. Even the children, while logically at odds with the story, make for an incredibly fun mechanical addition, and the way their paralogues are designed and the way that the level you recruit them scales with which chapter you're on greatly reduced the tedium of giving them the right skills and being battle ready for the main story. Weapon durability was also removed entirely, in favor of balancing certain weapons with natural drawbacks so that there would rarely be just one weapon a unit would use in every situation. The Weapon Triangle also received an advancement, now to include Tomes, Daggers, and Bows, which each contain the advantage and disadvantage of Swords, Lances, and Axes respectively. This places even more importance on your choice of weapon and makes it so that nearly every player unit has matchups that they wish to avoid.
Birthright in particular also feels unique in this series for its primarily eastern aesthetic that features many unique weapons and classes, which while accessible in other routes take center stage here. As far as other route-specific points go, this one was pretty straightforward with mainly "Route the Enemy" and "Defeat Boss" maps without trying anything to gimmicky aside from some Dragon Veins here and there. This is part of the reason I think Birthright is a good starting place for someone looking to fully experience Fates. I also found myself more engaged with the story this time, with certain moments at the end being genuinely impactful.
I think the main takeaway from my experience here is that there's no getting around the fact that certain aspects of the game will leave you shaking your head, but most of these are incredibly minor issues that don't really hinder the experience all that much from the perspective of someone fully aware of these flaws. As long as you're willing to accept some of these annoyances and suspend your disbelief a little, there's a worthwhile experience to be found here.
Persona 5 Royal
When life is getting too rough, when all I want to do is isolate myself and escape from reality even if it’s just for a moment, there is no better medium than video games; and there is nothing that better encapsulates that sense of escapism than Persona 5 Royal.
I could ramble on about how technically and aesthetically masterful it is but my love for it is a lot more selfish than that. To put it frankly - this game is my escape. To immerse myself in a setting that feels so lively yet comforting, to hang out with a group of relatable, down-to-earth classmates that provide me with the lovely taste of friendship and loyalty, or to have more traditional fun with its dungeon-crawling and stylish gameplay. It’s a personal sort of repose that is difficult for me to articulate.
For the past few years I’ve had trouble pinning down exactly how I felt about Persona 5 and what it means to me personally. I’ve had and will always have issues with it that even after this recent playthrough irk me. On the flip-side though, this recent playthrough has brought back my immense love for this game and what it provides me when I need it.
TLDR: GOAT RAWNESS SWAG KINO FUCK P5 HATERS
The first few worlds were fun but the wisps (especially Drill and Laser) were awkward to control with D-Pad. It wasn't until Aquarium Park that I noticed just how janky the boss fights were too. I didn't really feel anything during the ending either. It was just "Okay, I defeated Eggman. That's that."
This was just a very forgettable game for me.
Mega Man X7
Calling Mega Man X7 boring would be an understatement. The transition to 3D ultimately caused it to lose almost everything that would identify a Mega Man game. The precision of movements, level design, and enemy placements are gone. Replaced by vast levels, slow movements, simple platforming, and generally disappointing level design. There is little to no redemption for this title.
Shadow Warrior 2
One of the best first person action games I've ever played. It offers a riveting combat system that fuses classic hack n slash style with bullet hell mechanics seamlessly. A truly addictive combat system that'd depth is furthered by a plethora of weapons to choose from, accompanied by hundreds of unique upgrades that can be applied to them, and of course many physical abilities as well. Shadow Warrior 2 truly allows you to shape the game to your playstyle.
The level design advances that philosophy as well. The open level design in each level provides you with nearly limitless possibilities. Even the side missions are just as fulfilling as the main story. Full of great bosses, plot lines, and tons of unique weapons to gain as rewards.
The weakest part of Shadow Warrior 2 is the writing. It is not the deepest puddle in the parking lot, but it's serviceable, full of twists, and has a great sense of humor to go along with it. Pacing is the primary issue it falls victim of. It jumps back in forth from progressing the plot at the pace of a snail, to the speed of a cheetah.
Ultimately Shadow Warrior 2 is evidence that the indie and small budget game scene is not one to underestimate. I would argue that the combat system utilized is better than the vast majority of modern western AAA gaming.
I can wax lyrical about the first Xenoblade all day if you’d let me, but long story short: The main appeal of that game to me has always been its strength in weaving all of its elements (story, soundtrack, locales, gameplay, theming, characters etc.) to create a masterwork of a whole that is far more effective than the sum of its parts.
That is precisely why the second one has and will never work for me. When you develop a game that is so symmetrical in the way that all of its aspects coalesce, you can run the risk of not understanding the very structure that holds up the first game when developing a sequel. Monolith not only gravely misunderstood it but did it a disservice by following up that symmetrical masterpiece with something that I could only describe as formless and tactless.
Once those pieces don’t mesh together, that “whole” I spoke of is ruptured. That appeal is no longer present. So what did I get instead? Well I got Xenoblade Chronicles 2 — a game that you can argue is marginally better than the first in some areas, but I don’t see it that way.
None of it’s aspects have that elegant coordination from the first game that I had hoped for. Sure it looks nice. The areas are very pretty and aesthetically they may even be better than the first. The music is quite gorgeous I suppose and while the tutorials are infuriating, once you get the hang of the combat it’s fun. Though while playing I kept asking myself; where is the cohesion?
The soundtrack may be “gorgeous” but does it reflect the shifting tones and rising tension like the first game? The areas may be aesthetically pleasing but do they directly mirror the themes and ever evolving complexity of the story? They don’t. So what you get are bunch of things that are quite decent conceptually and in isolation, occasionally measuring up to the first, but hardly any of it correlates or connects in any meaningful way.
I have yet to mention its biggest sin however. The one aspect that is so poorly handled I am equally amazed and appalled that it was made by the same developers that created one of my favorite fictional works. That is — the story.
Forget about the cohesion bit for a second. Even if the game were mechanically, geographically, thematically or at all technically sound (which for the most part it isn’t lol) it would not save the travesty that is the writing. My god. Every cutscene and line of dialogue dripping with cringe-inducing cheese. Every caricature written to be as on-the-nose as humanly possible. Even when there’s a hint of an interesting theme for the game to explore, it does it’s DAMNDEST to ram it over your skull so there isn’t anything left to intuit on your own.
The central conflict, despite being somewhat interesting, has left nothing but a revolting taste in my mouth as it advocates for a lot of dangerous ideologies and world-views through its portrayal of the blades even though I KNOW that wasn’t its intention. It’s this thematic incoherency, these clashing ideas, the lack of any flow that makes this game feel like it’s essentially fighting with itself.
I’d have more respect for this game if it had just went all in with the trope-y anime bullshit instead of clumsily attempting to tell a narrative that it wants me to take seriously because I cannot further stomach this halfhearted and laughable mess of clashing ideas and themes, atrocious cutscene direction, and questionable to quite frankly problematic characterization and sexual overtones.
Xenoblade Chronicles wasn’t perfect. Though what I can say is that at the very least it had a vision. It knew what it wanted to do and did it with flying colors. What exactly is Xenoblade Chronicles 2 aiming for? WHO is it aiming for? What is its goal? What exactly is it trying to say? I couldn’t tell you, and neither can the game apparently.
I’m sorry to have this review be a comparison between the two games as I know many people are tired of that. But to illustrate why I dislike Xenoblade Chronicles 2, that necessitated a brief explanation of what made Xenoblade Chronicles tick in my eyes. And I realize while writing this that what appealed to me in the first game may not be what 2 is going for. Perhaps its appeal lies elsewhere. But after about 15~ hours I am simply not interested in finding out what and where exactly that is.