3 Reviews liked by ESPizza

Unlike soulless trite that exists merely for cheap thrills like Silent Hill 2, Garten of Banban is a truly meaningful and impactful horror experience. It is a clear commentary on how capitalism ruined education as an institution, turning it from something that existed for genuine development of the mind to something with the top priority of preparing children to be merely another cog in a machine of capitalism. The core contrast between the "wholesome" drawn depictions of the creatures and their real, more radical counterparts is a very clear reference to Lenin's The State and Revolution and the particular quote "attempts are made to convert [revolutionaries] into harmless icons, to canonize them, so to say, and to hallow their names to a certain extent for the 'consolation' of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter, while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarizing it." While gamers will hail meaningless trash like Disco Elysium and Mother 3 as "masterpieces," the people who truly understand gaming's potential as a form of art will know that Garten of Banban is the true gold standard that games should strive towards.
Actually just kidding this game fucking sucks lmao

Darkest Dungeon 2 is the second darkest dungeon to conquer.
While the first will still be the first.
Let’s just get this out of the way. If you would like to enjoy Darkest Dungeon 2, then go into your save file and simply with a .txt editor of your choice and unlock all the heroes abilities. You’ll thank me later.
Darkest Dungeon 2 is different to its predecessor but also it really isn’t that different at the same time. Fascinating how the synthesis of difference works.
So what is the difference between the two? Well, for starters—DD2’s combat isn’t the equivalent of a vapid mobile game from the early 2010s. There’s a lot more going on with it, alas the tokens/statuses, i.e the inclusion of “combo” and “dodge”. As well as the heroes being designed to hold more variety in their abilities, like most can do some utility (self heals, stress heal, debuffs, etc.) Paths play into it and can drastically change the hero's abilties for better or worse—it matters what you're looking for. (There are paths that should probably be reworked.)
People enter this game thinking “I need a stress healer, a party needs this role” which is incorrect, you can take whatever you think will help you, as long as you’re doing damage. This comes up with plenty of other turn based combat games—video game or not— damage is the end all be all . The only way to reach the end state of this game is to kill every single enemy that comes in your way during your run. Sure, is having a dedicated healer/stress healer nice to have? Occasionally, yes. But, this is where combat items come into this mix. Why lose out in damage when you can take care of a lot of statuses and missing health with a combat item, it’s a free action to use them. Of course it’s another resource to think about during your run but the right combat item, at the right situation can be a game changer. (This isn’t even that different to DD1 but combat items—I would argue are more powerful, and significant in this one.)
What else is different? Nothing.
You see DD2 is if I picked up DD1 and shattered it into a pile of shards and told you to put it together again.
You see, a lot that people think is “missing” in the sequel that was from the original is in this game. It’s just somewhere else than it was before. It is an image, an idea, a problem, reconstructed into something entirely else.
“Where’s Hamlet, where is my simulation of taking care of mercenaries during the darkest of times???!!!” The inns and candle of hope, as well as the relationship system (which is a lot better than it was before. Polyamory was a REAL problem back in the day.)
“Where is my dungeon crawling!! Fuck this stage coach.” The world is a dungeon, it’s just big enough for your stage couch. There’s plenty of forks in the roads and perhaps at most three routes, for a difference of navigation. Oh—right. We’re going up, instead of going sideways Wow, what a difference. Oh and we can’t back track anymore?? NOOOO DROPPED!!!
“WHERE’S THE CRUSADER!!!” In the fucking grave.
Here’s a question: What is the difference between bringing four Antiquarians in a run to make a lot of gold for your town and bringing four heroes with the wanderer path so you can make a lot of candles for your candles of hope? The only difference here is one is four Antiquarians and the other isn’t.
You see, boys and girls.. Darkest Dungeon 1 and 2 still— fundamentally LOVE to waste your fucking time filling out lists and doing groceries. So with Darkest Dungeon 2 you’re going to be at the crossroads, picking out your party comp and going “what am I going to do today? Going for candles, are we trying to waste our time finding hero shrines, what boss are we doing. Do I even fucking bother doing a boss?” Wow, what fucking game does this remind me of? This is why, and I’ll admit it here, right now. Because this is almost exactly how I feel about the first one. This game— at it’s best is when you are using heroes who have their skills all unlocked so then you can theory craft and strategize a party comp that will synergize their way to fucking victory.
(Also adapting when bullshit happens but the thing is you have to have the ABILITY to adapt in the first place—making it more difficult to do that when you begin the game. But you also have HighwayMan and MAN AT FUCKING ARMS-AKA THE BEST CHARACTER IN THE GAME so if you die it's kinda a skill issue, sorry lol jk kinda.)
If it wasn’t for the fucking hero shrines I would say this is what DD2 does better, it does it better in every way until the fucking hero shrines. Listen, I like the backstories, don’t get me wrong, I think that’s fantastic and works well with it’s themes of the game but holy shit WHAT A TIME SINK it is to unlock all the abilities for ELEVEN characters! Life is too short! I’m too sexy for this! Fuck you!
DD2 is just shards of familiarity that was DD1, moments of reminiscence, pure past of the original darkest dungeon displaced into a sequel. DD2 is making a mistake and reminiscing that mistake, then allowing other mistakes from the pure past into the present. Forgive yourself or don’t— I don’t give a shit.

Imagine you're on your death bed and the light is starting to fade, then suddenly from the void you hear, "HERO TIME" and then you have the strength to play a life-saving minigame

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