10 reviews liked by TheSHChronicles

Surrealist arthouse horror with a clear creative vision, executed to perfection. The interspersed live-action and musical set-pieces add to a phenomenal narrative, while its consistently intense atmosphere and incredible cinematography lead to an unrivaled experience.

Sam Lake decided to try acid ONCE and play the entire Remedy Games franchise again and now we have to suffer the consequences

A neat and simple fishing game that constantly reminds the player to not trust whatever lurks in the waters. Watch out for randomly spawned rocks too.

I always feel bad with games like these, I feel compelled to apologize to this fictional woman for actively choosing the bad options so that I could see her not have fun for that one last ending...

One Night, Hot Springs (or "one night, hot springs") is a game I stumbled across just yesterday, and was immediately interested in. I looked it up, found it on Steam for [[wow]] zero dollars! and added it to my library to install later that night to play through it once I woke up the next day. Given my recent discoveries over the past several months, I've found it all the more valuable to read and understand more transgender stories, to take in other experiences, even if they might be written from different countries and/or cultures.

With such a difficult and personal topic as this, there comes a lot of discomfort. It's hard to place yourself anywhere, to know where you belong, or if you will at all. It's hard to introduce yourself to people without overthinking things, you're never sure if they'll accept or understand what you mean, and it's just as hard to try and explain everything in a way that won't dwell on more bad feelings. It's hard to give honest answers to even the closest people you know, because all in all, the whole process dwells on uncertainty. These things take time to get used to, and discovering yourself is never easy. Interestingly, I think that's about the most I could resonate with this game. The discomfort and inability to speak wholeheartedly.

It's painful sometimes. It takes a lot to go out of your comfort zone, and it can take a lot out of someone when things go wrong. It's understandable that, to some, the easy way out would be to simply avoid those scenarios altogether, prevent them from happening. Sometimes it feels easier to keep some things to yourself, rather than suffer the potential consequences of "burdening" someone else with your struggles and memories. Lord knows I've done the same for long enough, and still do so more often that I'd like to admit. But that won't get anyone anywhere. Nothing comes from airing your speech into the void for no one but yourself, or repressing them to maintain an atmosphere. The good part comes from finally letting it out, and finding the right ones that are willing to stick by you after the fact.

I can't say I relate to everything of this story. I had my realizations after I had already graduated and cut off everyone I knew I would be uncomfortable staying around. Naturally, there also comes the cultural differences between school uniforms, school structures in general, and uh... hot springs. But what's there is there, and I always appreciate knowing that there is common ground between folk. I can understand and feel the difficulties of introducing myself or being introduced to new faces, no matter their pre-existing relationships with those I already know. I can understand and feel the doubt and guilt that might stem from expressing trouble or discontent. I can understand and feel the discomfort from having to conform for society or legality's sake. No matter how short ONHS might have been, I will always appreciate a space to see and resonate with another's life.

Find your friends, and hold them close. Find yourself, and hold that even closer. With time, things will get better. Comfortability comes from experimentation, not being afraid to try and grow, and I think a powerful step in that direction is valuing and taking the experiences of those like yourself to heart. Thank you.

Since its initial reveal, this game has faced heavy backlash, but now it is widely regarded as the most creative & enjoyable title from Ubisoft in a while. Having played the game myself, I can confidently say that I share this sentiment.

Even though it has shifted in the genre, this new direction of PoP still manages to keep the three key PoP elements that I find to be very important: platforming, combat, and challenge. Despite being a 2D game, The Lost Crown takes these aspects to arguably a higher level, making it the most challenging game in the series since the classic 2D games. However, the controls are so smooth & precise that makes traversal as Sargon fun through platforming sections, and the clever level design ensures that it never gets stale.

I'm genuinely surprised by the combat; it's incredibly deep right from the get-go, even before unlocking new powers or finding items. I highly recommend taking on the training challenges to learn the mechanics and earn rewards. It's really useful to have a good grasp of the combos and the satisfying parry because enemies or bosses won't go easy on you if you mindlessly just mash buttons, even on normal difficulty. The platforming and puzzles, especially with the optional sections make this game much more challenging than any of the 3D PoP games. I'd say it's more in line with the difficulty of the 2D PoP games but without any unfairness or rough edges.

I wanted to emphasize how this game gets the essential elements of the PoP series so right & elevates it to another level. While it doesn't bring much new to the table within the Metroidvania it shifts into, that doesn't bother me because it is incredibly well-crafted and seamlessly incorporates the key PoP elements. The rewards such as amulets and powers that augment your abilities or arsenal, it ain’t just meaningless stat boosts like in many Ubisoft games. Additionally, discovering optional platforming sections, puzzles, and boss fights is highly rewarding, and the map is easy to navigate.

The memory shard feature in this game is a great addition though, allowing for screenshots taken during gameplay to be displayed on your map. However, the game doesn't offer much innovation to the Metroidvania genre outside of that. What stands out is how Ubisoft Montpellier incorporated PoP elements so well into that shift in genre on their first attempt similar to how Nintendo transitioned The Legend of Zelda franchise with Breath of the Wild. I would argue they did an even better job.

Let's talk about the presentation for a moment instead of focusing on the gameplay. I don’t care much for the character designs, but apart from that, the environments and animation are incredibly stylish and visually stunning. Combine that with the amazing atmosphere and energetic soundtrack created by the talented Ori composer Gareth Coker and newcomer Mentrix, and you've got a winning combination.

Now, I do wanna express a few complaints that I have about this game that I want to address to acknowledge its imperfections. The skins that you come across are quite disappointing, one minor character has a text-to-speech voice while others with less dialogue are voiced by actual people, and the pacing of the story in the middle is practically non-existent (although it does pick up again towards the climax). The last thing is that despite being well polished for the most part, the few bugs that I have encountered are noticeable.

To sum it up, I was expecting Ubisoft Montpellier to create a decent game at the very least when I found out about them making this new PoP game. However, it's not just good, it's exceptional. This talented studio known for bringing us Rayman 1-3, Origins, Legends, Beyond Good & Evil, Valiant Heart, and even the underrated gem Rabbids Go Home has once again delivered with The Lost Crown. It's great to see that this studio still possesses its magic touch and has brought Prince of Persia back to the forefront of high quality. I'll be genuinely surprised if this doesn't end up being my game of the year, and it's only the first month of 2024….

O que a Remedy faz é arte.
Alan Wake 2 melhora e expande tudo o que o primeiro fez.
E a forma que a Remedy faz é incrível, a forma que ela conta a história do jogo e como ela liga os pontos entre os jogos de seu universo.

Eu terminei e já quero terminar de novo.
Incrível. Simplesmente incrível.

Video review available here: https://youtu.be/-9WENBzuXoU

It's hard to believe I'm saying this, but Alan Wake 2 is nothing short of a masterpiece. Set 13 years after Alan Wake's mysterious disappearance in the eerie town of Bright Falls, this game plunged me into a slow-burning, psychological horror experience that seamlessly weaved in moments of heart-pounding survivor-horror action. Its brilliance lies not just in its gameplay mechanics but in the meticulously crafted world, the rich narrative, and the mind-bending twists that redefine the horror genre.

The story, spanning approximately 20 hours for me, is a tapestry of complexity and depth. Engaging from the outset, Alan Wake 2 took me on a riveting journey through two distinct realities. The game begins with the player assuming the role of FBI Agent Saga Anderson, investigating a series of ritualistic murders. Saga is a brilliantly written character; her determination and interactions with the world add layers to the narrative. Her partnership with Special Agent Alex Casey provides a compelling backdrop to the unfolding darkness.

Alan Wake 2 immersed me in the mystery of the game and the overarching story from the very beginning. The innovative mechanic of organizing evidence, character profiles, and collectibles on Saga's case board in her mind place not only enhanced the narrative but also kept me engaged and invested at moments where I might have been lost and confused. It's a rare gem in gaming mechanics that seamlessly integrates with the story, making every clue and discovery feel significant.

The game's story is a labyrinth of darkness and disturbance. It refused to hand me easy answers, forcing me to scramble, piece together fragments, and question the very fabric of the game's reality. The interactions with NPCs, the shocking appearances of characters from the broader Alan Wake universe, all contribute to an atmosphere that is consistently eerie and unsettling.

The enigmatic figure of Alan Wake himself plays a pivotal role in the game's deep mystery. His reappearance, washed ashore on Cauldron Lake, rambling about the enigmatic Dark Place, marks just the beginning of the game's mind-bending narrative. Shifting between Alan and Saga is seamless, with both characters pursuing their unique goals. The intertwining of their narratives creates a tapestry of confusion, blurring the lines between reality and fiction. The climax of the story defied my expectations, leaving me in awe of its complexity.

The world of Alan Wake 2 is a visual marvel. From the familiar Bright Falls to the bustling streets of New York, each location is meticulously designed, dripping with atmosphere and attention to detail. Exploration is not just encouraged; it's a necessity. The game offers environmental puzzles that add depth without feeling forced. The mechanic of Alan absorbing energy via a table lamp and redirecting it to create safe zones or new paths is ingenious. Saga, on the other hand, must find orbs that reveal plot elements, allowing players to manipulate scenes and distort reality. This mechanic is both mind-boggling and essential, adding layers to the gameplay experience.

Combat in Alan Wake 2 is a significant leap forward from the original. While some animations may have felt a little awkward, the satisfaction of burning shadows with a flashlight beam and targeting weak points on enemies is unparalleled. The addition of sprinting without constraints is a welcome change, enhancing the fluidity of gameplay. Dodging enemies felt infinitely better, providing me with a genuine sense of control and strategy.

Survival-horror elements, reminiscent of classics like Resident Evil, added tension to the gameplay and my experience. Scarce ammo and batteries forced me to strategize, while enemy variety, including sledgehammer-armed brutes, monsters, and wolves, kept me constantly on edge. Boss fights are thrilling, requiring quick thinking and precise movements to survive.

The game introduces skill trees for both characters, each with unique advantages. Saga utilizes a crossbow, while Alan relies on a flare gun. Upgrading weapons and abilities added a layer of customization, allowing me to tailor my playstyle to my own preferences.

Now, onto performance. Speaking from my experience on the PlayStation 5, the game's performance is nothing short of fantastic. While concessions had to be made compared to high-end PCs, the PS5 version delivers a brilliant experience. In quality mode, targeting 30 FPS, the game generally maintains that frame rate, though occasional drops were noticeable during specific missions when controlling Saga. Performance mode, targeting 60 FPS, admirably hits that figure indoors but occasionally dips outside or during combat. However, these minor hiccups did not detract from the immersive experience.

Before we wrap it up, I quickly want to acknowledge the incredible sound design and music. Both added to the game and made the experience immersive and engaging.

In conclusion, Alan Wake 2 is a tour de force in survival horror, blending intricate storytelling, mind-bending gameplay mechanics, and stunning visuals. Its ability to keep me engaged, questioning reality, and thirsting for answers is a testament to its brilliance. This game stands among the greats in the horror genre, offering an experience that is both terrifying and intellectually stimulating. Remedy has not just created a sequel; they have crafted a masterpiece that will be remembered as a hallmark in gaming history. Brace yourself for a rollercoaster of horror, mystery, and pure brilliance.

Played this with Weatherby here from Backloggd. We'd played a decent amount of the Shredder's Revenge base game together so tried this DLC and it's more of a mixed experience overall.

For more hardcore Turtles fans than I will get a bit more out of it. Though I'd watched the 80's cartoons and original live action movies I haven't really kept up with the Turtles since then except through Nostalgia. Fortunately I had a Weatherby on hand to explain to me who the new character in Dimension Shellhock are. Usagi Yojimbo a Samurai Rabbit I recognized and Karai who I'd never seen before. These characters are really the highlight and the reason you'd want this DLC. Both have their own unique move sets and mix things up from the base game's original roster. They both play well fitting in perfectly with the established team. The way Karai poses with her ass out at the end of every round or even when dead on the floor like Black Widow in a marvel poster will never not be funny to me. Someone at Dotemu is thirsty for sure....

Unfortunately that's kind of where my enjoyment ends. The new survival mode is just tacked on extremely bare bones and poorly explained. I think it bugged out on us initially giving no explanations for any power ups or how the mode works which it did do on subsequent attempts. Essentially you travel through multiple worlds collecting crystal's either from enemy drops or round complete bonus's until you hit the amount to move to the next one. The worlds are pretty varied, there is an 8 bit retro world, a comic book one, an Edo period etc. There are a few new enemies which were more annoying than fun to deal with and a variety of power ups to help you through like leaching health, starting the round in rampage mode etc. The most amusing was morphing into Shredder, Rocksteady or Bebop with a mini health bar but having extremely barebones moves, there isn't even a proper jump attack, just the ground one in mid air. when you die and end of world crystals you get unlock new upgrades like more hp, extra lives etc. but only for that particular character you play as.

Overall the mode is fun enough to play in co-op but feels thrown together. It's neither got enough new content to make it interesting, not varied enough to hold my attention and the mechanics aren't deep enough to justify the rogue like, survival aspect. It just doesn't feel like meaningful content. I did enjoy the new characters, and in their defense it's fairly cheap but I'd rather have had a couple of proper stages specifically for those characters, maybe an epilogue to Shredder's Revenge story wise with a couple of brand new boss fights. It would have felt less like an afterthought that they ended up with here.

+ Usagi Yojimbo and Karai are great new characters with fun move sets and animations.
+ New tracks by Tee Lopes slam.

- Survival mode feels like a slapped together afterthought.
- Lack of new bosses or other content.

My Game of the year.

Experimental, layered, innovative, brilliant. Could only work as a video game and could only be done by Remedy.

bugs made me depressed and miserable because they completely halted my progress for 2 days but they’re fixed now and the ending was so good that I completely forgive them. BUT I don’t wanna see that bullshit in a game ever again I nearly took my god damn life.

Not controversial to say that writing in video games aren’t anything extraordinary barring a few cases, but this narrative had me clutching my balls from the prologue all the way through to the cliff hanger conclusion. What starts as a simple murder mystery, evolves into a huge multi media, genre spanning survival horror experience.

The combat is nothing special whatsoever but it does what it’s supposed to do and I have no gripes with it, the few boss fights are fun and I’m glad they’re centred around interesting mechanics rather than bullet sponges.

Alan’s scene writing gimmick is one of the most coolest video game mechanics I’ve ever seen, I never got bored of it once and it’s so intuitive. Thank u next gen

Visually one of the greatest games out rn. The dense forests or the noire stylised New York, it’s jaw dropping every time. Some of the best environmental story telling I’ve ever seen, every pixel was designed with love.

As a Norse mythology enjoyer I was very happy to see it be a central theme throughout the game, it’s in your face while subtle at the same time, they respect your intelligence. Small note I haven’t seen mentioned much, Remedy filling the game with Finnish culture is such a nice touch. Specifically having Ahti sing Yötôn Yõ, I haven’t been able to get the song out of my head all week.

Speaking of music… it’s huge in this game. Every chapter closes out with a song with relevant lyrics, sitting back for 2 minutes and digesting the chapter you just played while the lyrics make you rethink everything again is an amazing feeling.

There are so many brilliant characters here, Brightfalls and Watery are so alive. There’s not necessarily any side quests or real interactions with the majority of npcs, but these places fill really lived in. So much personality displayed in every corner. Ahti, Rosa, Odin, Tor, Mulligan, Thornton, Booker, Door, all beyond exceptional. And this is just the side characters… Wake is as you’d expect, but Saga is a really great addition to the game. I think her voice work is a little rough at times but the character is brilliant.

Giving the choice to switch between either character and play at our own pace after the introduction was a genius move, I personally played through all of Alan’s side and then came back for Saga, but you can go in whichever order you please.

There’s foreshadowing thrown in your face from the get go, things are constantly being revealed while asking more questions, while also wrapping everything up in a nice bow and at the same time, opening the door for another sequel. I’m super invested in Remedy’s universe and will definitely will be playing Control after.

I haven’t actually said much of substance since I think it’s best you play this as blind as you possibly can. There’s more I wanna say but it’s 6am, pls just play the game

I have a real love/hate relationship with Mortal Kombat. I enjoyed both MKX and MK11 enough to put 80 hours into each of them, and yet my memories of them often involve why I got frustrated with both of them instead of why I had fun with them.

I tried to go into MK1 with an open mind, but I think I've settled on the conclusion that this game isn't for me. And that's fine. And it doesn't mean the game is bad, either! It’s certainly a gorgeous game, with a far more varied color palette than X or 11 ever had. And I’m glad the fatalities lean more into over-the-top absurdity this time rather than realistic depictions of torture, as the former was always the main appeal of Fatalities for me anyway. But I just can’t click with MK1’s combat system in the way others have.

If you've been following Fighting Game Community circles lately, you'll find that the topic du jour lately has been "player expression," or the idea that players should have freedom to play how they want instead of being limited to a single linear gameplan. But it feels like the common opinion these days is that longer combos means more opportunities for player expression, and….I don't exactly agree.

The argument in favor of MK1 is that longer combos compared to MK11 means more opportunities for improvisation, and yet if you play any ranked MK1, you'll find many players using the same assists (get ready to see Cyrax and Sareena a lot!!!!) with the same optimal combos. I think way too many people immediately blamed short combos for MK11's frustrating competitive play when I think the far bigger problems were the stale meta due to short-sighted balance changes and the inevitable mess that came from NRS changing their minds on allowing Custom Variations midway through the game's life cycle.

This doesn't mean I hate MK1's combo system, though. I admit that trying out combo strings in training and figuring out the best way to tie them together provides the same satisfaction one gets when building Legos into a cool starship. It's fun to see how a series of smaller combos along with kameo assists can come together into 40% damage. But being expected to do these kinds of combos in every match feels exhausting to me - I’d much rather focus on spacing and mindgames, but these combos are so important to the game that they take precedence. And while the mechanics are clearly borrowing a lot from “tag fighters” like Marvel vs Capcom, the slower pace of the matches means the chaotic, kinetic energy that makes a game like MvC3 so exciting isn’t really here.

Even people who dislike MK as a fighting game can admit that the games have always had a solid feature set, and while MK1 is no different, I feel like it’s less of a selling point now that its competition is finally catching up on the single player side. Outside of the story, there’s the usual ladders and the new Invasions mode, which is basically World of Light from Smash Bros. I’m sure some people will love the grindy nature of Invasions but I personally find it feels like busywork. But that’s a minor quibble, as anyone who has played a recent MK knows the main single player mode is the story.

The story mode has been the crown jewel of MK for a while, and 1's is no different. I genuinely enjoyed seeing the new spin on classic MK characters and lore; I'm glad Baraka and Reptile actually have solid backstories now instead of just being Shao Khan's lackeys (Reiko didn't get so lucky, unfortunately; sorry, Reiko fans!), and there's some really fun character moments like Johnny and Kenshi's hilarious bromance. My only real complaint is that the last few chapters feel like they came from another game; the story just kind of stops in service of an (admittedly entertaining) over the top fanservice climax. I hope the next story, whether it's dlc or in the next installment, is a little more cohesive and focuses more on having a satisfying beginning, middle and end instead of just a series of cool moments.

At the end of the day, I really can't say MK1 is bad. It's solidly made, looks great, and has plenty of winks and nods for longtime fans. It's just not what I want out of Mortal Kombat, and that's okay.