70 Reviews liked by caleb
Mario Kart DS
Kirby as a concept won me over the second I learned about this impossibly adorable fellow's signature abilities. However, what few Kirby games I tried or watched didn't click with me, I found them rather insipid when compared to similar games. That was until I gave this one a go. Its potpourri of modes are fun, varied and don't overstay their welcome, and it has sheen up the wazoo. Also, Meta Knightmare Ultra is sick as fuck.
Final Fantasy XV
this game is one of extremely high highs, and extremely low lows.
the combat feels satisfying, but its completely rudimentary, mostly involving getting behind an enemy to spam attack or holding block in exchange for a free damage move.
the story is basic and melodramatic, but the interactions between the main cast are down to earth and can be far more emotional than i ever expected they would.
the music is great.
for everything it gets right, it gets two things wrong. there are several chapters that are thrilling from start to finish and some that are just absolute garbage. there are some story moments that get me misty eyed, and some that make me laugh unintentionally. its a technological marvel with some of the systems working exceptionally well, but sometimes the actual gameplay can completely bug characters out of position and look jank as hell. its baffling that this game exists at all, and its baffling it ended up in this state. conceptually its a fantastic idea, and in execution its a pretty god damn good game. but its makes too many mistakes for me to come back to it any time soon.
Mega Man 2
Man, I really wanted to like this but I was very, very dissapointed.
I was very interested in this game when I read that it would portray death in a different way most mediums do, which is from the perspective of accepting the inevitability of it with optimism.
Sooo, what happened?
Gameplay is really, really boring. Nothing about it is interesting or fun. Managing your ship, building, and gathering materials is really dull and doesn't work at all. Every action requires little to no input so it's not entertaining, and while I understand this game is more aligned with the experience side of videogames instead of gameplay, it could have at least tried to do something cool with it instead of... this.
Then there's the writing... this was what eventually made me drop it. There's just nothing interesting nor engaging going on at all. Characters just spout the same three lines every. single. time. without changing it up or having significant development. All of them have a very one-dimensional personality and don't have an interesting backstory. There's not a single memorable character here, all of the dialogue is repeated ad infinitum and they're not specially likeable.
The only engaging part was when they go to die since they actually say a new line of dialogue for once.
Then there's the death aspect. It's ok, I guess? Didn't really make me reflect. It's just kinda there and since the writing is so uninspired, I couldn't really be bothered to care. Every single attempt at exploring the concept of death just feels like something I've seen before.
I really wanted to like this game, I was almost done with it when I just kinda stopped playing it and couldn't make myself come back to it. I just didn't see any reason to play this game to the end instead of doing literally anything else.
Spiritfarer’s emotional narrative gets shamefully wasted on its gameplay loop which seems to be satisfying at first, but turns out to be occupational therapy that fails to reward you even half as much as it should be — which is why I abandoned this game after 8 hours of gameplay eventually.
Spiritfarer made me ask a difficult question of myself, for me personally, just how important is gameplay for a video game. I know that sounds like a stupid question but stick with me for a little bit. Spiritfarer at it's core is a survival/crafting game about gathering resources to craft upgrades and progress through the game, and I found it's repetitive loop of gathering/crafting to be very irritating and bothersome quite a lot of the time. There are hours I spent with this game where I became very frustrated and bored that would normally just end with me uninstalling the game and never returning.
...and yet I can't deny that I found myself still falling in love with this game.
Because the game really is more than it's gameplay a lot of the time. The art and animation is always a pure delight to look at, the soundtrack is beautifully moving, and the writing is some of the most poignant and moving I've ever seen in any piece of media. There are many moments that I'm probably going to carry with me for years to come.
But was all of this worth it? I loved the game for it's art but simply tolerated it for it's gameplay. My gut reaction is to recommend Spiritfarer but I'm confident that there will be a lot of people for whom the gameplay will be simply too tedious for them.
Impossibly charming and warm hearted, but stretched too far and thin with the varieties of tasks available and requirements asked. A more focused version of this would be much stronger, even taking into consideration the value this games rightfully puts into spending time with people.
This game is kind of a mess. While the art is cute and the presentation is decent, it's a chore to play. It has a lot of gameplay mechanics that really only serve to fill time, for example, there really doesn't need to be multiple types of wood. The various islands are uninteresting, the art lacks character, the protagonist might as well be a refrigerator box. The characters, the "spirits," just monologue at you in paragraphs about their past and then die. I found most of them irritating and I didn't care about any of their stories. Ultimately, this game feels like it fell victim to scope-creep. It has a lot of systems that are dissonant, none of which are particularly well fleshed-out, and it doesn't spend enough time making its characters feel interesting.
A lot of charm bogged down by clunky performance and uninteresting town management. I experienced four crashes during my ~25 hour play through-- one of which happened during the final scene of the game. I'm a huge fan of the type of game Spiritfarer is, but the gathering, crafting, and questing you do rarely feels like it pays off.
There were a few mechanics that I specifically had a problem with. First, jumping from bouncy surfaces feels like a flat-out broken feature until you realize the correct controller input was just never explained. The built-in fast travel system still manages to feel too slow. The quest structure never felt rewarding-- especially the side quests aptly categorized in the quest log as "Shenanigans".
I loved the opportunity to get to know the characters, I only wish the accompanying game was a little more fun.
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