72 Reviews liked by caleb
Of all the games I expected this to be like, Persona 5 wasn't it. That is to say, there's some neat stuff here - especially aesthetically - but I just can't get past it being such a profound waste of time.
For every hour you spend in Loop Hero, I feel like maybe 10 minutes of it are actually engaging on a gameplay level, placing your blocks, risking your health balance and trying to make synergies work. The other 50 minutes are you waiting around for something to happen. Seriously, that's it. The maximum speed for getting your hero to walk about is way too slow and the battle speed can't be sped up at all, DESPITE YOU LITERALLY HAVING NO CONTROL OVER IT AND IT HAVING LIKE 2 ANIMATIONS AAAA.
And it's really a shame, because the game is pretty neat. The aesthetic and weird horror elements are by far the best thing the game has going for it, lending the whole thing this unique atmosphere which is like a more interesting darkest dungeon, and integrating map building with a deckbuilding game is actually fun and has some great synergy stuff going on at times. I also really like the music.
But yeah it should literally be going 5 times as fast as it does, especially as it can be paused. About 70% of the average run is spent doing micromanagement of your equipment that makes next to no difference BECAUSE THERE'S LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE TO DO.
There's also the shite progression system. If you just unlocked cards and classes, I'd probably be fine with it, but the basebuilding of the camp seems to do nothing but just make it so your early hours have even less things to do than the "complete game", which is effectively hidden behind tens of hours of even worse tedium.
So yeah, there's nuggets of gold here. And if you're into these bullshit skinner boxes whilst listening to a podcast, this will certainly make the hours go. But it's such a fucking waste of time.
If they patch it to go legitimately 3 times as quick or more, I'd consider giving it a go. Until then, avoid.
It's alright. Definitely not as deep as I wanted it to be, I thought that the gameplay being mostly idle-based would allow the game to go crazy with rpg/strategy mechanics but the game is still really simple even 10 hours in.
Also losing in this game feels absolutely terrible since you lose 70% of the resources you've collected if you die, and unlike say Hades or Dead Cells you can't go "Oh well at least I had fun on that run" because there is no fun gameplay loop to soften the blow of a failed run.
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 would find 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.
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