A Short Hike
the video game adaptation of Animal Crossing
Ghost of Tsushima
ghost of poo-shima but no really it was pretty good
Sony has had their fair share of open-world titles, to varying success. more often than not, they fall under traditional open world cliches most prominently set in stone by the likes of Far Cry 3; where some open world games like Dark Souls or Wind Waker prioritize exploration, other open world games like inFamous Second Son or Marvel's Spider-Man are more about finding collectables and liberating enemy camps - both of which to clear the map and add towards a 100% completion goal. Ghost of Tsushima, at first glance, tries to have it both ways.
One thing i initially liked a lot about this game is that there is no clear way to clear the map or where the collectables are - you have to let the wind guide you. at first, its awesome just being led around this gorgeous world and finding its hidden secrets naturally. it feels like a real place with lots of hidden depth that I, Jin Sakai, am really exploring. quickly, though, this pretty facade falls apart.
There's little in the way of actual exploration in this game. More often than not, the most *efficient* way of finding something is choosing from a menu what you want to find and then spamming the windpoint in the direction of level-ups. rarely will something surprise you in this game without you directly asking to see it.
it really is a shame, too, BECAUSE the game looks so good. this game has been praised to no end about its environmental visuals, and it truly is something to praise, even for its mechanical purpose. trees and grass swaying in the direction of the guiding wind looked and felt incredible, and in some story missions that didnt have clear guidance there was usually a nearby fire blowing in the direction of progress.
and those visuals hold up in the combat and enemy animations, typically with very obvious telegraphs that were consistent but varied enough to sometimes catch me off-guard. combat as a whole generally felt very good, minus some moments where i couldnt parry out of a combo-ender.
the only real problem is it's variety.
taking this game as just its linear missions and campaign, its quite short. only about 24 missions in all, most with a very strong focus on combat. problem is, new enemy types only appear per Act (of which there are three) and even then, there are only really about 5 to speak of. that may seem like plenty for a short game, but any variation they get is typically just more health or at worst, forcing certain strategies like dodging instead of letting the player parry (which seems like a decent mix-up, but functionally its an identical system, both even have the same upgrade that lets you get extra damage off if you do it at the last second.)
that wouldnt be a problem if the player had a wide variety of options to handle opponents with, but you dont. parry, dodge and guard break is your lot, as far as base samurai combat goes. there is also ghost weapons that usually function more as wide, enemy-clearing bombs or one-shot insta-kills like the kunai or bow, but more often than not i would just use them to eliminate the more annoying enemy types like brutes so that parrying the other guys would just be more enjoyable. i guess this could be construed as a good thing, but as it stands they feel like more and more ways to make your character overpowered than making combat more interesting to engage with.
duels are awesome though.
i have a lot of nits to pick with this game, but i do wanna stress that it is a very enjoyable experience. combat is viscerally satisfying, but lacking in the kind of mechanical depth that'll keep me coming back to it. exploration is gorgeous, but still sometimes feels more like chasing waypoints than truly partaking in a world. i didnt touch on it, but the story can ocassionally be powerful and well-written, though often doesnt dedicate enough to its themes of honor and tradition to make anything truly special, perhaps barring the ending.
a lot of this game is good, sometimes even great. but its not confident enough in itself to really thrive.
Resident Evil 5
one of the peak co-op experiences. too dumpy to call the whole thing great but full of so many wonderful cheesy moments that its an instant classic. still, play co-op
Super Mario Galaxy
while it doesnt quite live up to the hype its received over the years, this game's simple gimmick can lead to some solid platforming challenges and every now and again reaches that level of magic its been lauded to deliver.
yeah ill play the cute demon girl game, why not
The Last of Us is one of the best games I have ever played.
this is not an unpopular opinion, im sure you know, as The Last of Us put into the public eye a strong focus on narrative in video games while also balancing it with one of the most engaging combat systems ive seen in a survival horror game. the design of its combat paired with the excellent pacing of its story made it easily one of the most powerful games of the last generation.
i was not looking forward to a sequel; i was almost dreading one. the ending of that first game is so beautifully ambiguous that giving definitive meaning to it could only ruin it. joel and ellie's relationship had been so perfectly played out that there was nothing a sequel could possibly add to their dynamic, i thought.
but somehow, those sick, naughty dogs found a way to not only balance the intention of that ending with its new story, but elevate it to heights it had not seen before. never would i have expected this game to show so much respect to its prequel, and still expand even further upon its themes and characters without eliminating the choice that Joel made.
i could go on and on about ellie's journey and what it means for both her and joel, but its entirely worth experiencing yourself. the kind of complicated, personal questions it asks you are genuinely thought provoking enough to warrant a playthrough from that alone.
but that isnt all TLoU:P2 has to offer, because the already rich gameplay structure of Part I is also expanded upon, turning TLoU's Resident Evil 4 into full-on Metal Gear Solid 3 territory. the amount of new craftable items, unlockable weapons and upgrades, enemy variety, verticality, open-ended level design - its all to the absolute benefit of this game making it one of if not the most enjoyable Naughty Dog games to just pick up and play ever. I can almost guarantee that more than half of my time playing this game will be in exclusively the Encounter Select.
The Last of Us Part II improves on the original in so many different ways, that it almost competes with it's predecessor in quality. there is no way to say that lightly. Naughty Dog have beaten all conceivable odds and created not only a wonderful game, but a sequel that should stand as a symbol of what any continuation of a game should strive to be.
The Last of Us Part II is one of the best games I have ever played.
beautiful story about robots dealing emotionally with surrogate parents
like many of you im sure, ive played this game a couple hundred times. im logging it only now because there was a long stretch of time where i just didnt replay it until now, and wanted to see if my opinions still held up.
they did. for a sequel to Portal, one of the most critically acclaimed and iconic puzzle games of all time, there is a distinct lack of puzzles in this game. it could be classified more as a cinematic platformer visual novel than anything else. there is an absurd amount of time in this game spent walking around decrepit environments with the puzzle being what bit of wall to shoot a gun at in order to progress.
despite that taking up what feels like a majority of the playtime however, when it does decide to be a puzzle game it can stand toe to toe with its older brother, possibly even outmatch it at times. there were several puzzles that stumped me, and they all hold they same ideal the first game has that once a puzzle is solved it should take almost no time at all to go through with the solution - something that inherently feels immediately satisfying and something that makes the first game so easy to go back to. even when its not being a satisfying puzzle game - something it clearly can be, just isnt all the time for some reason - it does have its shining moments. particularly, the writing.
i once heard this game described as a competition between three writers to create the best character ever, and it ended in a tie. Wheatley, GladOS, and Cave Johnson are all so charming, cleverly written, and fantastically voice-acted that listening to them is a reward in itself. Wheatley as an antagonist is serviceable for what is demanded of him and Cave Johnson is only in a small portion, but its how they tie into GladOS that makes them special. Her sharing the main character role with Chell fills the gap of a silent protagonist which the first game didnt need to worry about like this does and lets the writing really glow when Wheatley or Cave Johnson speak to her indirectly and open up more about her character. i could just write "the cave johnson part" for this review but then i'd have to give it a perfect 5/5
it is a truly great game, for sure, and there are some glimpses of pure perfection, but there just is not enough game in this game for it to stand as one of the best of all time for me.
also, not a single slice of cake in this game. god bless valve. may they rest in peace.
rhys during one scene burps in the middle of a sentence and explains himself with "Sorry, that was breakfast." that wasnt rhys, that was actually troy baker. they just left it in.
this is the last good telltale game
yeah it definitely is a video game