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gollum has made a severe and continuous lapse in judgement and was forced to make a twitlonger apology

The fact that the quote "I go wherever the wind takes me. As sure as wars never end, I will always have a place in this world." comes from this game and not like, an actual Metal Gear Solid game, haunts me to this day.

Lucius III is one of the most bafflingly misguided games I've ever played, a game so deeply rooted in its developer's shortcomings that the only things going for it have little to do with the game itself. Part of me could forgive all of the faults of Lucius and its clumsy sequel because both were the lovechildren of just five people. But to do the same for this threequel would be disingenuous. Lucius II kept a piece of the first game's identity, which helped it feel less confused despite everything else being on fire. But in its attempts to bridge the design differences of the first two games, Lucius III only comes off as myopic in its search for a soul. A shell of its former self, the only thing Lucius III manages to accomplish is becoming its developer's least compelling work to date.
Perhaps the biggest failure in the careers of all five employed during development, Lucius III wastes your time on a narrative that only manages to flounder the goodwill earned through its premise. On paper, the intention is noble. Lucius was a B-Move that you'd see on cable television late one afternoon. The tale of a family's disintegration and the player's involvement held little to the imagination, bringing no profundity to the action on screen. Similarly, its successor is a story about betrayal and destruction told with seventh-grade reading comprehension. Story isn't a concern with this series; it's meant to be stupid and enjoyable popcorn entertainment for horror enthusiasts to chew on. And this is the first area where Lucius III immediately shoots itself in the foot: the developers tried here. Cutscenes don't have the violent kineticism they did in the first game, instead choosing to be more static in nature. The game sets the stage for a darker, moodier take on the universe than established previously. Then, it does something incomprehensibly dumb and undoes that with impeccable timing. Lucius was not a god in the first game. All of the deaths you had to orchestrate relied on clumsy handheld appliances perfect for the rich and ignorant. In the second game, you have to earn all of your powers from the ground up. But in Lucius III, the power scale is all messed up. The first kill in this is probably the worst of the lot, if only because it absolutely murders any expectations you might have been hanging onto. All it takes for the titular antichrist to obliterate someone is a lack of biblical imagery in the same room and bloodstained determination. From the moment Lucius is able to kill the mayor by magically separating his skull from his head, any attempt at a new direction for this floundering trilogy is thrown aside. Narratively, kills are rarely ever given any attention after the fact. Sometimes, it's intentional; "they won't miss this guy, and they think he's going out of town." But you can also kill five children; their parents never grieve for their loss or act worried about their disappearance. The perfect stay-at-home mother who is always in the kitchen cooking something for her offspring still has the handle of a frypan in her hand if you decide to go to her house after massacring the people that food is meant for en masse. There's never a moment where you click on a character, and they say something like, "don't worry, Lucius, she's in a better place now." Moments like that were commonplace in the original game, but the scale of III dwarfs most transparently. Part of that scale is supposed to be a more fleshed-out story with rich characters. Lucius III follows Lucius as he pairs with McGuffin, formerly a detective sent to investigate his various murders in the original game. The two are buddy-buddy now, but there's a catch: McGuffin is mourning the loss of his partner and child. His son, who died in the same freak accident his wife did, looks almost identical to Lucius. And this is where things go from bad to significantly worse. The premise of Lucius III is so rich with thematic potential that, had it been handled by another developer, might have had the opportunity to become one of the greatest horror stories ever told in a game. The story, as told by Shiver Games, has nary a twist to its name. It's horribly offensive for the sake of shock value alone. Since I didn't put a content warning on this review, I can't describe just how bad it gets. Rest assured, it outdoes BioShock Infinite in terms of wrongfully appropriating historical context in just one scene alone. But the biggest sin of all is that it never questions the ethics of the relationship at its core with more than a cursory glance. A premise like this brings to mind ideas of morality, religious contradiction, and whether or not truly terrible things can be done for the greater good. But by completely disregarding any introspection on its core duo, the only question it manages to make you ask is why you're still playing. By all accounts, Lucius III should be McGuffin's story, but he's relegated to cutscenes where a lot of his personality comes off as one-dimensional due to shoddy character writing and worse voice direction. The one scene where he's allowed to grieve is short-lived and unintentionally hilarious. Whether it was a lack of budget or trying that made the developers unable to hire a woman to voice act a few short lines, the result is that they ended up using a free Text-To-Speech program for a dramatic scene. What should come off as slightly harrowing instead feels hysterically absurd and entirely indicative of how incredibly rushed production had to be. But the effectiveness of that scene is amputated by an entirely different beast: the cutscenes in Lucius III are given worse direction than anything else this series has offered. Remember the kinetic energy I mentioned the first game had? There are shots in Lucius III that don't follow the rule of thirds. Other shots cut off abruptly, and when it's not breaking fundamental rules of composition, everything looks awkward and stilted. There's one moment near the end that looks jaw-dropping and picturesque, but that's the only time this game ever stunned me with its cinematics. Past that, the final act of Lucius III is so contrived that any momentum gained in earlier areas of the game is stopped dead in its tracks. It doesn't help that McGuffin is the only compelling character in a sea of tropes presented as individuals and that his presence in the story comes to just as abrupt of a stop. Lucius III is a game that starts with a series of tantalizing questions and ends with one of the most profoundly disappointing "what if"s I've ever seen in a game.
What makes all of that as bad as it is is that Lucius III is not a good game. Even by the lax standards of adventure games, it's an archaic, confusing mess. The prologue of Lucius III hands you a camera and tasks you with taking pictures of the main cast to keep in a journal you use to track your progress. That camera isn't used again, and you can't technically take pictures with it. It's only used as a prop to trigger a cutscene. This is where another comparison to the first game rears its head. One of the puzzles in the original game has you taking a picture of two people having sex so you can blackmail one of the maids into suicide. You can take as many photos as you want, and each one is considered a physical object. It's not a detail that matters all that much in the grand scheme of things, but it's one tiny detail in a sea of them that make the Dante Manor feel alive. Consider the fact that Lucius III is an Open World game. It should be brimming with those small details, yet the only objects you can hold are the ones in your inventory. But even by the standards of traditional adventure games, it's not up to snuff. You can't combine objects in your inventory. You can pick up objects to use later on other objects, making puzzle solving feel like a tedious checklist of going to the right place and using the correct object. I assume that it's a decision made primarily to cut down on one of the staples of the adventure genre. You can't combine everything in your inventory to get the right tool if it's not in the game. But this does nothing to cut down on pixel hunting. Keen observers might spot a toy robot in Lucius's room, but it's so easy to walk past that you might not even know you have to interact with it to solve a puzzle. Verbatim, this is a repeat mistake from one of the puzzles in the original game. Forget interacting with a toy robot; did you check the fridge? One of the most significant issues with turning Lucius into an Open World game is that it means the guesswork becomes less rewarding. The item you need to solve a puzzle might be in one house, let alone two or three, and you wouldn't know it unless you decided to click on everything before you needed to. The problem with many adventure games like this is that a core part of them is interacting with objects whose purpose isn't defined until later, lest you feel like the game has cheated you in any way. Lucius's attempts to modernize the formula by putting it through a cinematic framework never addressed this issue, only deciding on making the space you were playing in limited to one location. Lucius III could benefit from the reinvention that the first game teased but instead decides to give you something vaguely similar in an environment that's harder to keep track of. And then there's platforming. That sentence should evoke dread in anyone, and it's no different here. It's pointless and frustrating to deal with, and the animations for it hit a new low in a series "renowned" for how janky its animation is. The animation isn't the only part of Lucius III that scratches through the bottom of a barrel with wood rot; the character models, for one, look fucking hideous. Contrary to how atrocious the voice acting is for them, the children of Lucius III got lucky. Anyone who isn't a child is uncomfortable to look at, which is fitting for this game in a way that's too uncomfortable for me to divulge (the children in this game are treated horribly). The experience of having to go to a place to talk to the redhead who has a cigarette super glued to his lip so he can make a hand gesture in the most robotic way possible is repellant enough for me to consider the charm of the developer's lacking talent completely absent.
But let's say you can forgive the narrative dribble and unimaginative gameplay. This game has an Open World, and that might draw you in. Lucius III is many things, but it is not technically competent enough to pull an Open World off. The only thing that manages to be impressive about it is that they tried. The map may be small, but they've managed to pack an impressive amount of variety into it. Although it's evident when they have to reuse a few models every now and then, each locale looks different from the last one you were in. There are neighborhoods, churches by the sea and stores that rest by the doc, a police station right next to an industrial-looking tower, and fields of long grass to walk through. It's hard to admire all of this, though, when the draw distance makes far-off areas look like they're a part of Silent Hill. Only, they're not covered by fog. No such attempt is made to mask technical limitations, and it fails to embalm what is, otherwise, a lifeless world. Exploration feels arbitrary and rarely rewards you with anything tangible. The developers tried to get around this by giving the player the option to explore the world through the eyes of a crow, but controlling the crow feels stiff, and the player isn't discouraged from stocking up an absurd number of crow hearts by gathering them every time a crow respawns. The best way to experience the map of Winter Hill is to take advantage of your Crow hearts to unlock all of the fast travel points in quick succession, so you spend less time wandering the long roads between Point A to Point B. On one hand, this completely removes any incentive to use the crow hearts. But on the other hand, it's entirely justified, and I challenge anybody who says otherwise to give me a valid reason as to why that's the case. It doesn't matter if that person exists; exploring Winter Hill exhausted me to the point where my desire to replay this game begins and ends with watching somebody else do it on YouTube, so the boredom is mutual.
In probably the least surprising turn of events, Lucius III is technically inept. I said the same of Lucius II, but it's especially true here. The pop-in and draw distance issues fail to distract from this game's glaring problems with audio. Lucius III is one of the few games I've played where you can be close to an audio source and still not hear it properly. If you're standing ever so slightly away from it, or your camera is positioned in a funny way, prepare to feel like you're hearing things from a mile away. You can also easily get stuck in areas that the developers never intended you to be in, and although you can find sluggish ways out of those areas, the best option is always to reload your last save instead. But these pale in comparison to the fact that I had to restart my game every time I decided to plug my Xbox controller in. This might be a problem on my end, but it's a problem I've never had with any other game. Trying to play Lucius III with a controller, no joke, makes it unplayable. Your camera will always be spinning, even if you aren't touching the right stick, and unplugging the controller does nothing to fix the issue. This would be something I'd report to the developers using the handy dandy feedback button they've implemented here, but it's been about three years since they've reared their heads in any way.
The "good" parts of Lucius III, the things I alluded to at the start of this review, feel so small compared to everything else. The particle effects look great here, and when the HDR effects aren't making a bright room look dark for no apparent reason, the lighting can be pretty good, too. But it would be ridiculous of me not to mention that these things are part of the engine the developers chose to use, which they had no hand in creating. There's also a fantastic cover of The Animals' House of the Rising Sun, which is so good that it transcends the game it's in, and I strongly suggest you give it a listen when you have the time. Once again, the developers had no hand in creating that cover. The music they created, though, isn't all that bad. This is the one thing I'll be willing to give to them; the only reason this game has such an ominous and adventurous vibe to it is because the music is surprisingly good.
I hate to be this negative when it comes to talking about games. The well is a bit poisoned for me because I was one of the few weirdos looking forward to this game when it came out. But in hindsight, my anticipation is tied to that one cover song. A good song can make even the lousiest of trailers enticing, and there isn't a more excellent example of that than Lucius III. Everything I've said here can be inferred from the first trailer the developers put out—especially when it comes to the tasteless handling of sensitive subject matter. But at least they were honest. And that's what really drags this whole thing down. Lucius III is a sincere game. But unlike what typically happens when sincerity falls flat, it's not fun to laugh at. Laughing at it feels sad, kind of like you're mocking someone for following their dreams. If I can discourage that on my platform, I will. There's nothing inherently wrong with following your ambitions; it's just that sometimes things don't work out the way we want them to. I've been unnecessarily harsh on Shiver Games and the five developers behind that banner for the duration of this review, but that's not because I haven't considered their desires. From a critic's perspective, I can only be harsh toward Lucius III and bitter about the trilogy overall. But as a regular person, I admire that five regular people tried to make a game, even if I hated it.
(If you would like to see how I feel about the other games in this series, please feel free to check out my list ranking them from best to worst).

Playing this on the Adult Swim website as a kid made me come to terms after several "am I a lesbian" quizzes with the fact that I am not straight whatsoever

TotK is to Super Mario Galaxy 2 as BotW is to Super Mario Galaxy, and not entirely in a good way. TotK may technically be stronger on a gameplay level, with its great Ultrahand and Fuse mechanics and more fleshed-out questlines, but it's nowhere near as cohesive thematically.
Everything about Breath Of The Wild created a sense of isolation and discovery. The map was filled with hidden secrets and memorable landmarks, NPCs were sparse with some even turning out to be disguised Yiga, the difficulty curve is steep at first, the Shrines looked so alien and unique, and the abundance of flashbacks worked for a story about the ruins of a kingdom long since destroyed. There's a vibe to BotW that really resonated with me that TotK just doesn't hit.
Despite Ganon being promoted heavily these last few weeks, I was surprised to realize that I thought less about him than I did when I was playing BotW. He seemed like such a constant threat in that game, but between your more powerful moveset, the increased number of NPCs, and the fact that your home base is right next to Hyrule Castle makes him seem less intimidating somehow. I remember how excited I was for TotK to be the "darker sequel" ala Majora's Mask but I feel it's more light-hearted than BotW was.
The sense of discovery isn't there either, with not even the new areas being as exciting to explore. The sky is sparse, the depths are barren, and the caves are repetitive, and the rest of the game is re-exploring a map I've already invested 100+ hours into completing. TotK is a great sandbox game, it throws you into a massive world and lets you do whatever the hell you want, but because of that it lacks the sense of adventure that BotW tried so hard to emphasize.
Once again, TotK is still a really good game but it feels like there's something missing here that all of these extra gameplay elements are unable to fill. Breath Of The Wild feels like it had a vision, everything in that game felt purposeful. Tears Of The Kingdom, on the other hand, just feels like it ever so slightly disrupts the balance its predecessor struck so perfectly, and feels like a lesser game for it.

Everything that made BOTW so special (e.g. the exploration and sense of discovery) are mostly not here since is essentially the same map and mechanics. Sure the new habilities are something to write home about but they're just not enough to make this game special and memorable. Maybe I'll change my mind once I resume playing it. But for now, I can't give it a higher score.

It's an improvement over Breath of the Wild in a lot of places, but the writing/voice acting, technical bottlenecks and shallow game design choices are really holding this back from being really exceptional.

Played on an emulator, it's just recycled BOTW assets and a different story. Also I hate nintendo so there is that

I think everything in this game takes too long to do and gets repetitive.

Due to being sent into the desert five times Ciel had to remove the sand from his joints with a power hose after the events of this game