74 Reviews liked by ResonanceJay
This review contains spoilers
It was pretty enjoyable and spooky.
The nightmare was a mechanic that I did not get the point of considering how easy it was to avoid.
The ending (atleast the one I got) was a bit weird considering it was a 10 second cutscene of you ship leaving the station then the MC saying “sometimes I have this dream” with an abrupt cut to credits.
(EDIT ABOUT THE ENDING)
It was a post credits scene? I mean sure but why?
Oh and fuck the imposter cook
"This is what you people want, isn't it? A narrative full of mystery, deceit, and conspiracies? I gave that to you."
A young girl decides to attend an elite private school for the wealthy. She quickly catches the attention of the student council, each of them eager to try and take her on a date. And wouldn't you know it, she'd be happy to accept.
She has to find out which one of them killed her father, after all.
WKMFA was included in the itchio racial justice bundle a while back and I always meant to give it a shot. But I was always afraid that its core premise wouldn't end up landing. And in the first, oh, thirty minutes of gameplay, its hard not to think that WKMFA isn't treading dating game subversion narrative that hasn't already been tread better before.
But the game isn't its first half hour. Its a LOT more than it appears.
The narrative swings that this game takes is truly inspired. Going through each route and learning about the different nuances and tragedies behind the different dateable boys is exactly as compelling as any good dating sim should be. But its given these additional layers through the fact that you're manipulating them for information. You and the protagonist are toying with the feelings of these kids for the sake of your gain. And that's where the real narrative commentary comes through, as you encounter endings where the protagonist wonders if she did the right thing, outright telling the player "I hope this was all worth it to get to the next route." You and the protagonist are in a transactional relationship: you get your story, she gets the ending she wants. But the game is careful to give nuance and weight to different decisions on different routes and it creates just... a really compelling narrative.
I don't want to get too much into detail because its a game best played with minimum spoilers, but the number of twists and turns and meta-commentary swerves that land so much harder than they should are just stunning. An absolute hidden gem of a game.
I went into this title with low expectations, mainly due to having already played Samus Returns for the 3DS (developed by the same folks at Mercury Steam) which was okay but not as good as the other mainline titles or as AM2R -the fan remake of the same game- and the fact that no official 2D Metroids have ever come close to being as good as Super Metroid 27 years later and I have come to terms with this.
Having finished my first playthrough, I can say this game blew away my expectations.
The best way I can describe Metroid Dread in a short paragraph is it being a cross between Fusion and Super with improved movement and controls.
The controls have been fine-tuned very nicely, they feel precise and responsive. Controlling Samus to do the actions you want is seamless but make no mistake, this is probably the hardest Metroid game out there along with Fusion but it manages to accomplish this for the right reasons.
The new combat options Samus has in her arsenal are very fun and are implemented very well, out of all of them my favorite has to be the 'Flash Shift' which is basically a dash à la Doom Eternal but you can do multiple in a row; you will need to take advantage of this movement option for some boss fights and puzzles. This ability and some other are balanced by the Aeion bar (brought back from Samus Returns but implemented way better here), the bar auto-recharges over the span of 2 seconds or so which don't deter you from using them but it's just enough for you not to spam them in boss battles (which will get you killed anyway).
Speaking of boss fights, that's the main thing along with E.M.M.I. -which I will go into later- that makes this game more challenging than the other titles in the franchise. The boss fights all feel fair and are the best out of any Metroid game out there by far, I found some of them very creative and they demand the use of your powers and new movement options, I also liked the fact that you usually have multiple options to defeat a boss while keeping the high difficulty which is not an easy thing to accomplish.
My only complaint with the bosses is how you fight some of them multiple times (I'm talking 4 or 5) but at least they are fun, well-designed boss fights.
E.M.M.I. is what SA-X wanted to be but at the end failed to, my problems with SA-X stem from the fact that it was way too easy to escape from it and all the encounters felt very scripted in nature (because they were) so you didn’t feel any fear at all. Here on the other hand, encounters with E.M.M.I. make you genuinely fear for your life and there are many moments in which you will manage to barely escape from them which feels very good given the non-scripted nature of these encounters.
Added to your arsenal is the 'Phantom Cloak' which lets you turn invisible for a limited amount of time at the cost of limiting your movement and Aeion (or energy after Aeion runs out), this comes handy in E.M.M.I. encounters. All of these things make for the E.M.M.I. encounters to be a very welcomed addition while not hindering exploration as they are limited to E.M.M.I. zones.
The only bad thing about the E.M.M.I. being limited to these zones is that you kind of know when to expect them and as such they are not very scary outside of these zones; that is to say, you won't have the feeling of dread in the back of your mind while exploring the other parts of the map. This is a good compromise to make exploration fun if you ask me, it strikes a good balance between a survival horror and a metroidvania.
Now that I have talked about the best this game has to offer, I will go for the things that while good I thought could be improved.
The map design in this game is superb for the most part. Most areas are interconnected which is something I like but something I don't like so much is the way these are interconnected -by elevators, teleport stations and shuttles- which I know is very much a Metroid thing but I wish there was an exception or two -like the magic feeling of going from Brinstar to Maridia in Super for example-, other than that I feel the map design was mostly good but for some exceptions.
Those exceptions are 'closed doors' and 'thermal doors'. The 'closed doors' should have been called 'walls' because there's no way to go through them unless you progress in the game, this would be fine if they required an upgrade or something but just shutting them down feels like a cheap way of accomplishing things.
I'm also not very keen on the thermal doors spread throughout the beginning of the game -where you are forced to redirect thermal energy in order to open them- but at least they are only overused in the beginning of the game, probably to make the game more accessible and direct new players in the correct direction. This is pretty much the only hand-holding this game has and it’s done in a tasteful way instead of an AI pointing to the exact location you need to go; it’s only for the beginning so it’s not too bad.
The soundtrack is very ambient and sets the mood very nicely for the inhospitable World of ZDR but it also feels kinda underwhelming at times, not bad by any means but I cannot think of many tracks that stick out after beating the game other than 'meeting with Quiet Robe'.
I feel the atmosphere was just right, the film grain in the E.M.M.I. zones was done masterfully and the backgrounds were a big step up from Samus Returns, not nearly as much seems copy-pasted. I also really like how some areas have very muted colors, they really transmit the feeling of Samus not belonging there perfectly.
Because this is a Switch game I feel the need to mention this as well: the framerate; an important aspect of the game considering its difficulty and fast-paced nature. The framerate aims for 60FPS and it almost always delivers it, it only drops at times but it doesn't hinder the experience in any critical way because the drops are not massive; it’s not NGII on the 360 is what I’m trying to say.
On another note, I don't really get all the complaints about this game being linear, just barely a week has passed since the game's release and many sequence breaks -some seem intended, some others unintended- have been discovered (you can even skip the Drogyga boss fight lmao).
This is my 2nd favorite 2D Metroid after Super and has become one of my favorite games, I will see if that opinion changes on subsequent playthroughs but I doubt so.
Now onto Hard 100%! :)
Team Fortress 2
"give 'em a gobful!"
whoo boy, how to even begin with this one? team fortress 2 is my favorite game of all time, let me just get that out of the way quick. I've been playing this game since I was 11, and I'm 20 now. it has fun gunplay, weapons, lore, characters, maps, and cosmetics. the years have been very kind to tf2 in most regards, it still holds up amazingly well, and is free to boot. every aspect of this game is so well made, you can spend thousands of hours, like i have, and not even come close to mastering everything in it. only issue i have is the bot issue you're probably aware of in this game. casual is a lot less fun, and valve better step to the fucking plate with it, for real. i have some faith in valve, though i can't say i like the company too much. they'll probably do something eventually. either way, tf2 is an undying titan. so many games have come and gone, but not my baby. she's still here, and she won't leave. the trailer says it all 'the most fun you can have online'
Fallout: New Vegas
"playing it, that's not the hard part. it's letting go"
fallout new Vegas is by far, in my opinion, the best fallout will ever be. the 'fun' gunplay of 3, but with the amazing writing of the older fallout games, whose gameplay is, to me, not fun whatsoever. this game has a wonderfully political conflict that is just so fun to get sucked into, I still see hour long video commentaries on YouTube over this game and the politics in it. almost every quest has two or more options with substantially different outcomes. the main quest especially gets across the feeling of change. you can still find people arguing what the best option for the Mojave is, and I think that's a sign of a well written game. this is the kind of game I will always come back to. I love it dearly, and I can only hope fallout can somehow reclaim even half the glory this masterpiece has.
"soy milk again? fuck off man"
as much as I do love this final version of Isaac, I don't have too much to say on it. it's just, in my opinion, the best rougelike ever made. solid, solid gameplay as well as a very balanced and fair rng system (most of the time). don't really have any emotional connection to isaac, but god damn is it fun. if you're ok with a game that needs to be won with a dice roll, this is seriously the best version of a game like that
"is this the one with the British robot people want to fuck?"
portal is a solid, well written puzzle game, but is totally outclassed by it's kid: portal 2 I would say there isn't even much of a point to picking this up before portal 2. it's very short, a lot less diverse than 2, and also handles the visual aspect of portal travel nauseatingly. it's a solid puzzle game, but if you play portal 2 and play this you will feel this games age. with all of that being said, it's a good game! just totally outclassed for years now. it's worth a buy during summer/winter sales you can get it for like, less than 50 cents. i wouldn't pay full price for this one, as much as i like it
"wanna defeat capitalism? throw a bunch of stuff in an abandoned building!"
stardew valley is the kind of game where there's no good way, at least for me, to put into words why it is so amazing. there's a lot I could praise. the characters, plot, gameplay design, music, how cute the game is, or that it was made by a single talented young man. but none of any of that really matters for me in regards of this review. the most important thing to note about stardew valley, is the emotion it makes you feel. from the second you step off that bus, you are now in a world separate from your own. stardew has this amazing power to just calm you down, it's something another video game has never been able to do for me. the town of stardew valley, it's citizens, and just about everything else you can see or hear, makes it so easy to forgot about your real world problems. you are no longer someone who needs to constantly worry about making rent on time, you're a farmer who gets to pet 20+ every single day. you're not so tired from work you just lay in bed, you live every day of your life in stardew to its absolute fullest. more than anything, stardew is an escape. it's an escape from most, if not all, worries of modern society. nothing matters in stardew, but you feeling good, and helping others. this game is truly magic, and i would never be able to articulate this to you accurately enough to do justice to this game. please, play this game immediately.
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