797 Reviews liked by MrProg
Borderlands is back after a few years with much better gameplay, satisfying weapons and with some extra mechanics and polish that makes it feel like a true sequel.
In saying that, it also brings with it the same annoying writing and long playtime which outstays it's welcome.
I'd say it's that friend who never moved out of your hometown - you grew up, but he didn't, and sure he's fun to hang out with, but you find yourself unable to relate to him anymore.
Doesn't have much of a cinematic story and really doesn't need one. The world tells enough of a story on it's own. Every playthrough feels somewhat unique and Monolith Soft went ham on the level design. Masterpiece.
Oh the 4 dungeons are kinda mid but 5 stars anyways.
Super Mario 3D World
While 3D Land started the concept, it played the levels mostly safe. This game tries a whole bunch of new innovations and level themes. It just has so many ideas, not just for level design but even in types of stages, like having challenge boxes that have you go through a gauntlet of quickfire mini challenges - the last of which being 35 of them in a row and is one of my favourite parts of the game.
Instead of the main themed power-up being an old one that has been reworked, this time it's a brand new idea that adds a new dimension to the platforming, both expanding your options and acting as a power up should - making the game easier. Except unlike the tanooki leaf it doesn't break the game.
There's also some pseudo-power ups that the game uses to great effects in specific levels - the cannon head, the light head and the double cherries.
5 different characters all with varying strengths and weaknesses.
I just found it to be an overall great time. It can be pretty easy and fast if you only want to complete the game, but collecting all the green stars and the stamps feels like actual meat on the game and not just filler for the sake of making the player spend extra time. What DOES feel like that though is that getting the last 5 stamps and star on your profile involves beating the level with EVERY character. It's clearly intended for co-op play, but it's such an insane pain in the ass that a single player has to essentially play through the game 5 times to 100% it. That's my own downside with the game and it's an optional task.
I never played this growing up, but I have memories of watching others play it, and being mesmerized. Glad I got to play it all these years later.
The visuals have stood the test of time, and it was only during some tedious and outdated gameplay moments that I remembered I was playing a decades-old game.
I have so many mixed feelings about this game.
On one hand, I'm in love with the world and the characters and the music, and the idea of what this game is.
On the other hand, this is very clearly an unfinished and unpolished game with some major issues.
Stuff I liked:
- The world: I genuinely enjoyed Night City as a setting. I think its cool and it does feel lived in, despite the lackluster NPCs and broken police system. By the end of the game, I did feel an attachment to this fictional city.
- The side missions. CDPR knows how to make good side missions, I'll give them that. The optional stuff felt fleshed out and kept me engaged for hours. Theres different "types" of side missions here: story-driven character related side missions, gigs, and random combat missions. They all felt good for what they were. Obviously the story driven side missions are the most detailed, but even gigs were designed in a way that made them feel more than just your average fetch/kill quest.
- The music. This game has a killer soundtrack. Not much else to say here. I do wish some of the stuff for the later missions was better utilized though.
- The story + performances. Though not perfect, the plot was interesting to follow, and the character performances were pretty great.
Stuff I'm on the fence about:
- Combat. There were parts of the game where the combat felt pretty great and I actively sought more of it. The guns were fun to use and the enemies reacted well enough that combat felt fluid.
But... as I kept playing, problems started to get obvious. Melee combat, for example, is just broken. Its not responsive and hitboxes are weird. This is a shame because mantis blades are really cool.
Theres stuff you can do aside from just shoot, like hacking, but mixing shooting and hacking didnt always feel great. The best combat moments for me were the ones where i would use hacking and stealth first and then resort to shooting only if i was discovered. However, i really wish there was more to this.
- Choices. I have so many mixed feelings about this. I like that choices do change things a little bit. Depending on how you handle certain situations, you could find yourself with some cool prizes or extra missions, or an easier way out of missions. For example, helping certain characters do something landed me with some sweet vehicles. Or investing in certain skills allowed me easier access to missions. However, most main story choices dont have any long term effects on the story. Maybe its not fair to expect them to, since thats usually just how things are with games like this, but it would've been nice if CDPR delivered on some of the things it promised?
- RPG elements. Again, mixed feelings. Honestly, if this game was advertised as a sandbox action game, it probably would have been received a little better. Some RPG things are nice, like investing in certain points to unlock some additional options in side quests, but overall i didnt feel like my stats mattered all that much. The same thing applied to weapons -- i would just check the dps and nothing else because it didn't seem like anything else really mattered.
- The setting. I know I said i liked this, but i have a nitpick: theres a disproportionate amount of focus on sex in night city. I find it hard to believe that most of the ads and a significant amount of shops focus solely on selling sex. Its like CDPR ran out of ideas pretty early about what makes a cyberpunk city. Theres so much else you could show players about a futuristic city. This doesnt ruin Night City, but does make the ads around the city really annoying. Stop trying really hard to be edgy, CDPR.
Stuff I hated:
- Bugs and performance, obviously. I played on PC on v1.1 so I didnt have it as bad as console players on launch day, but I still saw my fair share of bugs. I had to reload the game every now and then to fix things, which was a mild inconvenience. The bugs broke the immersion for me multiple times. I would be getting really into the game, and then be forced to reload or have to see something ridiculous, which would just throw me off the rhythm.
Performance is pretty bad too. I saw dips every now and then, and my frames would drop by 10-15 during driving. I had to do some optimizations and install some third party tools to ensure a smooth framerate.
- Driving. The driving here is ABYSMAL. Its ridiculous how bad this is. I had to install a mod to make it better. I would have stopped playing halfway through if I had to play with the default driving.
- Minimap. CDPR, how did mess up a minimap? Its so zoomed in, it makes navigating incredibly difficult. The fact that a minimap mod is one of the top downloaded mods for this game shows how much of a problem it is.
- Cops. Again, just abysmal. Cops spawn out of nowhere at the slightest indication of an illegal activity and start shooting at you. And if u run away, they'll just pretend you never existed. The whole thing is broken. The game would legit be better without it.
- Being unfinished. This is not a finished game and it shows. A prime example of this is how you'll get random phone calls from unknown people introducing themselves and giving you jobs. These people are available on the map and you can visit them, but there is no sequence in the game where you meet most of them. It seems to me like there were plans to do this but were scrapped. It feels really unorganic.
Parts of the main story feel a little rushed, as if there was supposed to be a little padding somewhere but its missing.
The side quests, albeit really good, also feel like they were supposed to come together at some point in the main story, but they never do (barring some exceptions).
Some other things worth mentioning:
- I loved the unique reload animations on the guns.
- I think every mission name is the title of a popular rock song. I thought this was a neat detail.
Look, i enjoyed this game enough to finish most of the side quests and spend 40 hours in its world. I don't think its a terrible game but its so far from perfect, or even great. It needed a lot more work to get there.
I genuinely believe one of the reasons I enjoyed this more than most other people is because i never kept up with the hype. I stayed away from trailers and news about this game, so I never really knew what features were unfulfilled promises until after release when people started talking about it. I didnt have any major expectations from this game. However, I did want it to be good because Cyberpunk is a cool genre and I'd love to see other studios get inspired and create something in this genre too.
I also strongly believe this game was incorrectly and over-marketed. The fact that there was cyberpunk-themed hardware being sold way before the game was even released is ridiculous to me.
This needed more time in the oven, and less time on billboards.
Expectations should be tempered that while this does have some odysee mechanics, it does not port over those game's core features and it does play in the 3D world engine. Meaning that mario moves just like in Super Mario 3D world, which is less advantageous than other 3D mario titles.
5 hours to 100%, it's hard to complain about a free addition to a game I would have already bought, that provided me with a lot of fun. The cycle of bowers spawning to change the world state is interesting. The "open world" feel is something new for the franchise too. Overall, the whole experience is easy and mildly repetitive.
An absolute must play for a Mario fan, but not enough to rival or even fully compare to mainline Mario.
This really felt like Mario unburdened by many of the franchise chains - so in that sense, it's even more similar to Breath of the Wild than the lighthouse-tower comparisons would have you think.
No boot-outs. No level select. No game overs. Just pick up the game and play. As a test concept, it's brilliant. It does have limitations - even with the introduction of snow and fire islands, it's all got that endless ocean/tropical vibe going on. We don't even have a satisfying underground theme or series of challenges.
Plessie is a welcome companion, but it does kind of beg the question of what this would be like with other world-traversal options, including Yoshi and warp pipes. Dare we imagine traveling this open world with a wing cap? Would've been magical.
Still a great opportunity to open the door to more organic "the world is yours" Mario in the future. I really liked my short time with Bower's Fury, which I assume is also the sequel to Mario Sunshine and part of an ongoing commentary on climate change.
There really couldn’t be a better time for this game to rerelease. While acclaimed by critics, it was hit with a bit of a bad rap due to the context of the unfortunate console it released on and it’s stylistic safeness compared to the series’ other outings along with other variables that were simply out of its control — and it colored the perception of a lot of fans, me included.
Playing it now without that context I can confidently say that my opinion of it hasn’t really changed. Though going through it again with a retrospective lens it’s easy to see what exactly this game was going for and how much there is to appreciate in terms of its design and mechanical purity.
This game is very much structured like a New Super Mario Bros. game. With introducing an idea, then gradually expanding upon that core idea as you continue to progress. Unlike NSMB though, 3D World takes those ideas to entirely different level. Introducing a plethora of concepts that are central to level and fully developing them to an almost masterful degree.
Though I compared the structure of 3D World to NSMB series, the aesthetic of both are strikingly similar as well. You’ve got your typical grassy plains, and deserts and winter area et cetera but 3D World does something admittedly clever by subverting what you would typically expect from these aesthetically tired areas. Having you engage with the environments in subtle ways and introducing you to new concepts to play around with. Coming at the cost at any sort of thematic consistency, the solid amount of variety spliced into each level more than makes up for it.
As robust as they are, the levels are easily accessible to anyone and I think that’s exactly what the game was going for. A mechanically dense, but easily approachable experience that can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone.
So if you’re looking to soak in a beautiful atmosphere like with Galaxy and Sunshine, or to go on an unforgettable journey like with Odyssey — you’re not going to find that here. But what you can expect is a throughly and exceptionally designed, easy going ride and sometimes, that’s all you really need.
I had planned to give this a lower score but the inclusion of Bowsers Fury is too good to not edge it up just a smidge.
I've only ever played Bloodborne before in the Soulsborne series, and after starting this my immediate reaction was just how little the developers have evolved these games, at least from 2009-2015. Obviously that's not this games fault since it was the first of the kind. To be fair though this game does make shields useful which was nice, even though they become a bit useless near the end (at least the shield I was using, I never got a chance to use a huge one because my equipment limit wouldn't allow it).
For the first 2 or 3 hours of this game I was frustrated to no end, the lack of ability to level up before beating the first boss was infuriating when you got stuck on a section because there was no way to actually improve, and with each run your healing items would keep decreasing making it harder and harder. It didn't help that I chose what is apparently the worst starting class without realising. But once I beat the boss and the game opened up, I started enjoying it. There were times I had fun, there were times I enjoyed the challenge, and there were times I was angry. But as I kept playing the flaws started seeping through and it felt like with every new obstacle I came to resent the game more and more.
Anyway Demon's Souls is at its best when you're fighting one on one, and, funnily enough, in the boss fights. The game is at its worst almost every other time. I think it'll just be easier to give a full list of things I didn't like about the game:
-Combat is absolutely not suited for fighting multiple enemies at once. While using your chance to attack one enemy (and it's a pretty rare chance in later enemies), the other 5 enemies around you will be on your ass before your first sword swing animation has hit. Plus there's an amount of time after performing a parry or backstab where your character is finishing their animation but you can still be attacked. So... even when you get rewarded for a perfect parry the game still punishes you. It's also possible to be stunlocked after getting hit once, as then the next enemy will hit you and stun you, and while he recovers from his animation another enemy will do it and so on. I'm sure there are builds that can tackle multiple enemies, but it feels like you'd need advance knowledge of the games mechanics, weapons and spells to plan for that.
-Many of the locations aren't suitable for fighting, particular on stairs and bridges where you have no room to roll. And god help you if you're somewhere with no barriers. I remember trying to get to one specific boss room, but it was up a huge flight of stairs with no barriers, and half way up was a magician that had this AOE blast spell that would just knock you off to your death every time. It killed me more than the boss ever could.
-The game is VERY unintuitive and doesn't explain anything. In many cases this can be as little as missing out on a ton of items and content because the thing you need to do is so obscure you'd never work it out without looking it up (swapping items with the crow, wearing a specific outfit to unlock some stairs). But in some cases the game progress is even blocked behind a specific thing you need to do that is never told to you, such as a boss that will infinitely respawn if you don't kill a specific NPC first. Even the world and character tendency, something the entire game is built around and has an entire tab for in the menu, goes unexplained in-game.
-The above also applies to the level design, it's not unusual for the game to introduce new enemy types, or stage hazards in a non-safe environment, leaving you no time to work out what they can do and how to counter it.
-Just like Bloodborne (and I assume Dark Souls), other players can come into your world and just kill you. It once happened to me right after beating a boss and before I could go to the nexus, so basically I lost some world tendency without being able to do anything about it. A mechanic that lets uninvited players come and grief you just sucks ass.
-Just like Bloodborne the visuals are dull. It's just dark grey colours everywhere. They do have some pretty cool location concepts, such as mines and a prison, but it all just looks so bland in practice. Level layouts themselves were a mixed bag. Sometimes they were pretty good and offered shortcuts to reward the player for getting through them, or otherwise were a straight line to the boss but offered side-routes for exploration. Other times they were just a labyrinth where everything looked the same and if you died there was no fast way to get back to where you were (such as the tunnels or Valley of Defilement). You just generally spend waaaaaay too much time retreading the same parts over and over.
-There's this very annoying thing where I'd try to hit an enemy with the usual attack button but he'd just nudge the enemy instead. I never managed to figure out what caused this, even after looking it up, and everytime it happened it just screwed me over.
-The non-linearity of levels creates an incredibly unbalanced difficulty curve. I did 1-1, 1-2, then 2-1, 2-2 and 2-3, then went back to 1-3. After beating 1-3, the first stage of each remaining world was incredibly easy to the point where I'd often just make it to the boss and beat it in a single try. But then the second stage of each world would be a mix of enemies I could easily tank and big enemies that could kill me in 2 shots (and then the boss in x-2 would always be super easy and would do less damage than the big mooks for some reason?). When you let the player do stages in any order you really aren't able to balance the game with their progression.
-The swamp stage exists. I think that's my least favourite stage from any video game ever.
-And then there's the list thing that pissed me off. I was debating whether to give the game a 2 or a 2.5 for a while, but then I fought the 1-4 boss and I saw the message "Soul level drained". There's a boss that can literally undo your progress - multiple hours of your life - and you don't even get the levels back if you die, meaning that the boss you just lost to will now be even harder because you've just lost some levels.
-Equipment weight limit means you realistically only have 50% of what it says you have if you want to have any kind of chance. Also the world tendency thing, if you wanna do it right, means playing the game with 50% health the whole way through.
Basically I just don't like this game because it's boring to look at and its difficulty comes from ignoring game design 101; creating battles that are massively against the players odds by making the enemies attack much faster and stronger than you ever could. Throwing a thousand newb death traps everywhere so that players will often have to spend their time trekking back to their old spot, with the huge risk of losing their souls if they die on the way. Putting battles on stages that go against your defense mechanics, like making rolling impossible, making enemies that can't be blocked by a shield (and getting hit will stun you and turn your stamina to 0).
Weirdly even though Bloodborne is the technically harder game (I can at least say I never needed a co-op partner to beat any of this games bosses), this one felt way more frustrating with its unfairness.
There are definitely times when the game hits the sweet spot of being hard without just punching the player in the face and pissing on their corpse, but damn are they overshadowed.
8 Lists liked by MrProg