Wo Long is a fantastic soulslike action game. It is fast paced, frenetic, features a robust and satisfying parry system (Sekiro Fans will love this combat) and brings over that boss-rush feel from Nioh in triumphant fashion.
Unfortunately, that's not all it retains of Nioh's DNA. The loot system is so unbelievably obnoxious that it almost feels like a parody of itself. It's a needlessly complicated statistical nightmare. At the end of the day, this is an ACTION game, that excels when you are PLAYING it. Managing your inventory for 30 minutes in between every mission so that it doesn't fill up is a chore. There's no way to sugarcoat this. It feels like homework from your least favorite class.
Wo Long is, ultimately, Nioh meets Dynasty Warriors. If you ever played the DW titles when you were younger, you're going to have lots of "hey wait a second!" moments, and I loved that about this game. Characters, plot beats, weapons and attack patterns. It's varied, and it's recognizable, and it's super cool. And personally, I thought the best Dynasty Warriors entries were the ones that didn't feature endless loot, but that instead allowed you to choose a weapon, and then level it up by USING it. That always felt best. No worries about inventory management or nitpicking over almost entirely irrelevant stats. Just play the damn game, and it will allow you to keep up by dishing EXP points for your gear of choice.
I WISH Wo Long did this. But instead you're getting loot, man. SO. MUCH.. LOOT! People have been complaining about this since the first Nioh title. I was shocked when I read that Nioh 2 was going to do nothing to fix it. So shocked in fact that I didn't play Nioh 2. But here we are, 6 years after Nioh, and Team Ninja is still drawing a fat blank on this. How can they be this tone deaf?
I understand the notion that perhaps 1% of people who play these games enjoy playing them multiple times. Content creators like fashioning cracked builds and sharing them online. So I suppose the complexity and variance on display here with the weapons and armor will enable those types of players that extra dash of fulfilment. But for the rest of us? We're just trying to play the game, man. And you HAVE to stop getting in our way like this!
At one point I simply gave up on it, and figured whatever, I'm just not going to look at the loot at all. But then my inventory filled, so I was forced to go sell. I had hundreds.. HUNDREDS of items to look through. Sifting through this trash, trying to sort out what's good (it's not easy to do, since items are all discovered at different levels, and there's nothing to tell you if a weapon, a helmet, will be better or worse than yours were you to level it up to the same degree) absolutely sucks. I hated it. I wish that they'd trim the fat on these systems so that we could just play the game and feel that power fantasy as our gear leveled itself up.
Anyways back to what makes this a good game! The level design is really tight. Lots of fun branching paths, begging you to double back, but not winding themselves into such a labyrinth that you're lost or confused. A really intriguing "Morale" system which serves as a soft level-gate system self-contained by each individual level. Your own morale rank goes up and up as you mercilessly slaughter demons and humans alike, which serves as really good motivation to try to see and attack everything rather than just running on by. You'll also find magic-user enemies who are putting up shields, and downing them serves to lower the enemy's morale rank. So, if you scour the area and play the game with patience and precision, you'll be maxed out by the end of each level, and the area boss will be somewhat diminished. It's a really cool system that clicks and really helps to enhance the game's addicting qualities!
The weapons are sweet, the martial arts techniques are cool, and the fatal blow system (though confusing at first) is awesome. Deflecting enemy attacks feels good from the first second of the first level, and remains a blast all the way to the end. Deflecting a succession of enemy attacks without allowing them to hit you will fill their stagger gauge, and once that sucker snaps you can deliver a grueling hit courtesy of a number of epic animations, lopping off a significant chunk of their health in a single blow. The game uses this system to reward patience and accuracy, and it's surprisingly forgiving considering the average difficulty level of a game of this nature.
The game is longer than you might expect, with plenty of levels to carve your way through. A nice variety of environments, and a gigantic array of cool boss battles. Some of them SUCK.. (Aoye, I'm looking at you) but most of them are perfectly balanced to give you a challenge but not prompt you to tear your hair out. Oftentimes you'll get one-shotted, or dunked on within moments, by a new foe. But a few attempts later, you'll be taking his ass to school. As with so many soulslikes before it, Wo Long is about learning your enemies attack patterns, the timings of them, and when it's safe to attack. It's really good stuff!
So, yes. Given the shoddy nature of the PC launch, I was tempted to rate this game lower. I had to turn the graphics way down and the effects all off, even though I'm running a 3070 and an i7 11700k processor, to avoid having the game chug itself to death. and even still, it would occasionally drop frames to the point that I was watching a slideshow. Which.. given the type of game this is?.. that's unacceptable. But I can only imagine they'll have that patched up at some point in the near future.
I had a couple really entertaining afternoons with Wo Long. Once it had me in its grasp, and I had entered that coveted flow state with it, it became a joy to experience.
This was the most conflicting game I've played in at least a decade. I couldn't even figure out how to score it. Based on gameplay alone, I'd have ranked it much lower.. but the way the story ebbs and flows, the way Mick Gordon's soundtrack hits, the way the highs reach SO high.. it's bizarre! On the one hand this feels like true event gaming, the kind of project that should be on the tips of everyone's tongues these days. And yet on the other, it's a frustrating, jank disaster.
Where to begin? At the beginning? Sure. The game's world building is easily one of its strongest elements. It borrows liberally (perhaps too liberally) from the Bioshock franchise. In fact there's an homage within the first 3 minutes. So it wears it on its sleeve, at least, and from that foundation it totally spins off into its own thing. The way the timeline is expressed to the player, as well as our protagonist's intentionally vague role within, is crafty as hell. The first two hours trade off explorative gameplay, huge cinematics, an endlessly intriguing soundtrack.. you feel like you're slowly but surely being sucked into the pits of hell, and if you're anything like me.. you like it!
Then you wake up in Jurassic Park, except robots. And here's where it all spins out of control. It SHOULD rock. It really should. The fantasy that Mundfish has set out to convey here is that you're in a very dangerous place. Despite your capabilities, you should NOT be here, and survival is an absurd concept. And damn, man, if only actually playing it felt this way.
The game can't get out of its own way. Ironically, it's poor AI that disassembles so much of what is being aimed at here. Perhaps down the line it'll be all patched up, and it'll be a much better game, and it'll be the talk of the town! But if you're asking me, it feels fundamentally broken.
The devs have gone to great lengths to provide us with an open world well and truly worth exploring. We're meant to gaze at it in wonder, desperate to solve the mystery as to what's around the next bend. They even go as far as to give us car mechanics, so we can hop into these little beaters and get where we're going faster. And there are a plethora of optional dungeons, rife with cleverly designed puzzles, placed clear as day. The goal is to collect blueprints for weapon upgrades that will make the game more FUN!
But goddammit, it's NOT FUN. The way the enemies endlessly respawn in this open world makes it feel like an overtly hostile place, and not in a fun way. It seems the only reasonable tactic is to make a beeline for the next quest marker, and to hell with all of that optional garbage! The game begs to be stopped and looked at for a minute, breathed in and considered thoroughly, and yet if you so much as take a piss break, you're dead, Comrade!
So I don't know what to make of it. I couldn't figure it out. I rolled credits on this stupid game and I still don't know how I was supposed to play it. The explanations as to how the open world functions are quite limited as well. I spent a while having to google answers to basic questions because I had no idea what the hell the game even wanted me to do for the first little while.
So anyways I beat the whole thing having only completed 2 of the 11 or 12 optional dungeons, and as much as I think that's a shame, I felt like I had no other choice. I HATED being out in the open world. I felt constantly antagonized and I never had any clue where the danger was even coming from.
But let's go back to the story for a second. Atomic Heart has some of the most insane story beats in any game you're likely to see this generation. There were sequences that had my jaw on the floor, and my head spinning. It's nuts. When those big moments hit? They HIT. And Mick Gordon ensures that they HIIIIIIIT. The potency and craftsmanship of this story just makes it all the more disappointing that the game itself is so uneven and unwieldy.
But even the story isn't bulletproof. When it's being delivered to us via cinematics, it's wild. How much did these cinematics cost, I wonder? Some of them are total bats8#t and I loved them. But the majority of the story is told during gameplay, via fast-paced dialogue. And this is.. most unfortunate. You've doubtless already heard many complaints regarding the protagonist and his .. er.. douchiness. These complaints are well founded. Though I must say! The douchiness DOES fit the guy. If you give it some time, you'll come to understand this grouch, and that his anger is born of an intriguing concoction of backstory elements. I actually kinda liked it.. but jesus the delivery, man..
I'm not even talking about the Voice Actor. It has more to do with the pacing of it all. It never stops. And the overlap is enough to make you want to put a drill through your own skull. No matter where you are, there is a f&*king cavalcade of dialogue cocked and loaded and ready to let rip. You and your glove are going to say a lot to one another. A LOT. And the NPCs in the world are going to compete for the prize.
It's so annoying. And the fact that it's annoying is annoying! Because the story is really cool! And the writing is honestly really good! There are so many insane ideas packed in here, such a unique promise. It's totally unprecedented. But the way it's all getting machine gunned into your brain, typically two or three layers at a time, is maddening. You'll have an audio log going, and then some asshole will start shouting mainline dialogue at you from down the hall, and then you and your glove will start having a sidebar, and then you'll hit up a vending machine and it'll start trying to smoke you off. And all of this is just railing your ass all at once. it SUCKS. And honestly? I don't know how I'd fix it. The pacing of such things has got to be one of the most incredibly difficult aspects of game development. And unfortunately, Mundfish just doesn't have this down yet.
So.. yes. I don't really know how to rank this. It'd be such a travesty to rank it low, but it'd be a complete lie to rank it high. When the bosses are flying circles around you, and the smoke and particle effects are popping off, and Mick Gordon is slappin bangers straight into your drums, and you know that a HUGE mystery is about to unfurl around the next corner.. you're going to feel like you're playing the best game that's been released in a long time. At least, the best single-player FPS. That's for damn sure. But when you're trying to drive down a road, and you hit an invisible barrier, and the windshields blow out and the car lights on fire, so you hop out only to get jumpkicked by a robot that's apparently been instantly repaired even though you just expended all of your ammo only moments ago taking it down, and alarm bells are going off and lasers are ripping through the air around you, and now there's a miniboss in the picture, and it's the 7th time you've seen this miniboss, and it wraps you up in the same stupid QTE sequence you've seen time and time again, and your quest marker keeps changing position so you're not actually sure where to go, and the map's sure as hell not going to lend a hand, and then oh shi# one of the robots just kicked you up against a wall and now you're frozen.. and you're dead... and oh god damn it you've just been loaded into a file from 30 minutes ago.. shiiiiiiiiiii-
Yeah that all happened. At least 3 times.
The first 15 hours of this game are everything a Harry Potter fan could possibly ask for, and then some. The design of the castle itself is absolutely spellbinding, and I'll never forget staying up until 4 in the morning picking apart every corner of it. If you were a fan of the books before the movies, you'll be delighted by the easter eggs on display. Things that were mercilessly cut from the 700 page tomes for the feature films to fit their ~2 hour runtimes, and subsequently lost to time, are back! And sharing screen real estate with all of the other, more familiar elements.
The graphics are unbelievable, and although I experienced an avalanche of bugs pertaining to the lighting, I was stopping to take screenshots constantly. I just wish there were an easier way to make the HUD vanish so I could do so.
The combat is slick, and the open world is vast. But I must say, once you've done enough of it, every fight does unfortunately become the exact same routine. The lack of enemy variety, and the lack of strategy required to pop the differently colored bubbles, makes bandit camps eventually become a rote spinning of the wheels.
The broom traversal is superb. The animations and the control scheme, once you get used to it, really make you feel the speed and handling of the thing, and it's a joy to pop on and off of it as you explore. The downside here, though, is that once you've unlocked the thing, hoofing it on foot begins to feel too slow by comparison. But once you're beelining from one objective marker to another on the map, up in the air, as the crow flies, you're suddenly missing out on all of the intricacy of the design down on the ground. I don't know how I'd solve this problem, but the game lost a bit of its magic the second I had access to the broom.
The story is, unfortunately, the weakest part of the game. When I started this experience, my internal monologue was going "game of the year! masterpiece! 10/10!" but as I hit hour 30, hour 40, and beyond, I was gradually feeling myself entirely losing my grip. Well before its runtime had ended, the illusion had diffused. Where once I was hypnotized by the majesty of the castle, and finally seeing all of my favorite HP lore brought into the AAA spotlight, by the end I was frustrated and sobered by the realization that the story just wasn't very good.
Any time Avalance went off book to create their own slice of this world, they failed to conjure up any magic. The characters have backstories and whatnot, but there's next to nothing compelling going on. People praise Sebastian's subplot, but I found it to be about as predictable as one could imagine. The overarching narrative of the goblin rebellion never feels even remotely threatening. The game lacks the air of mystery that was so crucial to the books. The lengthy dialogue sequences during sidequests are hamstrung by the same 6 camera angles every. single. TIME. And altogether, it eventually had me wanting to skip the voice acting altogether. I really, really wish I cared more about the characters. And my young self would kick me for saying this, but I wish I got to spend more time in the classroom! I was looking forward to the wizard student simulation, and that aspect was available in extremely short supply.
And this is what has me worried for the inevitable sequel! Hogwarts itself was by far the best part of this game, and you can't really cast that spell twice. Simply making the open world bigger would do absolutely nothing for me, not because elements felt copy-pasty (necessarily), but because zipping from Merlin Trial to Merlin Trial on a broom becomes a tiresome activity even in small spaces. And if Avalanche attempted to bring the second game to a NEW castle, one which did not have a massive pool of lore to draw from, I am not sure I'd trust this team of writers to do anything truly compelling with it.
One last thing - the loot. Drove me nuts, man. Shouldn't be randomized at all times. Finally getting Alohomora Lv 3, and rushing to that chest I'd always wondered about, only to pull some green Dragon Spectacles out of it that were about 30 pts lower than my current facewear.. yeah.. that was disappointing.
When I first booted Kena, I'll admit to some skepticism. It felt very much like any other Unreal Engine game. Here's your character, here's the world. I felt as though I could see through the cracks of it as I maneuvered around the map.
Blissfully, the wizened, jaded part of my gamer soul was soon treated to and sent into the afterlife by our titular hero.
This game clicks in every way. The smooth-as-eggs combat, fun from the start but gradually becoming more exciting as you collect upgrades. The Zelda-esque semi-open-world collectathon layouts, and the dungeon puzzle design. The absolutely brilliant lighting, that shines with a 4K HDR display, and the sweeping soundtrack that will immerse you to the point of childlike wonder if you're wearing a pulse headset.
The story is neither here nor there. It was cute, and optimistic, and inclusive, but I felt like it could've played out without dialogue and I'd have understood everything. Perhaps that's a strength, actually.. there's little complexity, but there's a ton of heart.
There is a new game + mode, and plenty of trials to complete, so if you're loving this world and want to stick around, it gives you the means to do so. But I personally was whisked along by its brisk pace and felt that it respected my time to the perfect degree. By the time I'd completed the game, I felt very little desire to double back and collect what I'd missed. But it is exceptionally rare that a game actually tickles that bone so that's hardly a mark against.
It's a brilliant game, that harkens back to the pre- Last of Us ages where video games were allowed to simply be video games, and AAA development didn't need to concern itself with photorealistic graphics and dark narratives.
Kena is a winner.
I'm not a DMC stan. Aside from taking brief stabs at the original game as a kid, and at a Switch port of DMC3 during the pandemic, I have zero experience with the franchise. And you know.. I was really hoping that this flashy 4K 120fps next-gen entry might convert me. I'm disappointed to say that this game just absolutely wasn't for me. I saw it through to the bitter end, but it was an act of OCD more than anything.
It looks great. It sounds awesome. It's fun, tongue-in-cheek and stylish. Disassemble the thing and it all looks to be perfectly in order! But there's just something about the way it plays.. I couldn't get 10 minutes into a session without finding myself frustrated as all hell. Whether my combos were falling apart thanks to Nero's jilted combat, or I'm playing as V and my panther won't stop getting hung up on environments. The game just kept getting in its own damn way.
I'll admit that a lot of the issues I had with the game were due to my own lack of skill. I looked up some videos on YouTube and sure, people are absolutely cracked at this game. But I don't believe that an astronomically high skill ceiling makes a game good automatically. I shouldn't need to take a set of tutorials into the Void for 6 hours just to make the game interesting for myself. It should be fun to play for everybody - there should be a middle ground between sucking horribly and being ready to compete at a national level.
The game's really a fighting game, disguised as a hack n' slash. (And yes, I understand the ire a lot of this will draw from DMC fans. I can hear them now.. "Has this guy ever even PLAYED a DMC game?!") Fans of fighting games, of intricate movesets and hard to pull off button combos, will feel right at home here. The game absolutely gives back what you put into it. But I was expecting something a little bit more fluid, a little bit more easygoing. And those expectations were dashed.
There's something about the timing of the combos. Having to hit attack.. wait.. hit it again.. wait... then start mashing. The timing of something like that really doesn't line up with the timing of everything else that's going on around you. And the 3D nature of the combat arenas, combined with the finnicky camera, means that your Lock On + Back to Forward + Attack move probably isn't going to trigger every time you tell it to trigger. What is BACK, anyways, when you're lodged into the top left corner of the screen, facing yourself, and getting hammered sideways by an enemy?
Your combo meter, which is arguably the entire heart and soul of the game, is constantly dipping on you. Enemies with all sorts of conflicting attack patterns are converging on you. All you want to do is get into the thick of it and keep swinging. As Dante, that makes it really difficult to pause for something to charge up, or to get into one of your many sword combos that isn't just an endless torrent of swings. As V, who is easily the most frustrating character to play, any attempt to move your character while commanding your demons will result in them cutting their move short, teleporting across the map (away from the badguys) and using a different move you weren't telling them to use.
There is SO much depth and complexity to this game, but I just didn't find that the level design, or the enemy variety, or the AI, or the fluidity of it all, fit together in a way that complemented said depth. It felt like a mush, and I just didn't have the patience to become a pro at the game first before diving in.
To give it SOME props, I will say that once I had Dante unlocked, alongside the bulk of his weapon set, I started having a pretty good time. I was getting the feel for his different stances, and the way each one changes each weapon's move set. I was genuinely impressed by the sheer breadth of options available to me in combat.... theoretically.. but again, once combat actually began, the way it all flowed just didn't seem to want to allow me to let loose.
There are tons of interesting boss encounters. Ridiculous names and designs, flashy animations, funny intro cinematics. And I had a good time with a few of them. But far too often I felt like I was just driving bullets home into a bullet sponge, waiting for it to end, occasionally getting drilled by a seemingly unblockable attack and dying, using a golden orb to rez, rinse repeat until it's over. I was pounding my head through a brick wall by the finale sequence.
Just wasn't for me.
Floaty platforming, zippy traversal and decent gunplay. This is a time trial puzzlebox in the guise of a first-person shooter.
There's an easily achievable flow state that's extremely satisfying to dip into, thanks to the combination of the excellent, pulse-pounding soundtrack and the punchiness of the gameplay. One second you're thinking critically, the next you're allowing muscle memory to take complete hold while your jaw tightens and your face inches closer and closer to the screen.
It's really fun! But it's also not entirely my kind of game. For the first couple stages I redid each level until I had all the medals and the extras, but around the halfway point I just wanted to play.
I'd also be remiss not to mention the brutal dialogue.. which pains me to say, given that I bought this game day 1 based solely on the knowledge that the legendary Steve Blum (the voice of Spike Spiegel in the Cowboy Bebop English dub) was the voice of the protagonist. It's not the VAs fault at all. The dialogue is cringe teenage dating sim shmuck with a sneering sense of humor that would feel at home in the sweatiest of basements. Just not for me.
Game's REALLY fun, though :P
What a pleasant surprise. Typically you see the synopsis for an experiment like this one, you wait with bated breath for a few years, and then you are promptly disappointed. You think to yourself "ah, what'd I expect anyways? there was no way that was gonna pan out.."
But in the case of High on Life, it panned all the way out. Here, Justin Roiland triumphantly demonstrates all that Squanch Games has learned about game development over the past 5 years. Except now they've moving on from the VR realm to the notoriously fickle land of AAA development.
In a world where subscription services bring us countless new options on a weekly basis, and gamer's attention spans are at an all-time low, new IPs have their work cut out for them when trying to captivate the imagination of the general public. And High on Life has done just that.
The unique blend of of Roiland's trademark humor (delightfully joined by a cast of other comedians, most notably Joel Haver of YouTube fame) and surprisingly slick first-person shooter game mechanics, had me slurping this game up. I found myself wishing I could clone myself so that I could play it twice, and then subsequently kill that clone so it doesn't come after me later.
The laughs really are the center of attention. I've seen quite a few complaints online about the dialogue being annoying, or overbearing, and to that I say that those critics simply aren't this game's audience. They shouldn't even be writing about it. It would be like me trying to write a review for Disney's Dreamlight Valley. Keep that s*** away from me, btw.
If you play the game at a steady clip, keep things slow enough that you don't have characters delivering dialogue over top of one another (which is, admittedly, a frustration I had with it at times) then you're due for pretty consistent belly laughs. The game gleefully breaks the fourth wall in every way imaginable, to the extent that it even drops meta jokes about other properties that do the same thing. It jokes about game design, it jokes about player expectation, it jokes about what can and cannot be done in media today. And in the end? It tells a surprisingly compelling story! I actually loved it. And man, the easter eggs. Everywhere you look, there's something to stop and stare at. Full movies play out in the living room of your house, just in case you're a little TOO High on Life and you need to chill for a moment. Hilarious, clearly improvised animations beam from every screen in the city. NPCs will surprise you with additional dialogue depending on how you interact with them. It's all phenomenal. Prior to the game's release, I'd had it in mind that it may end up being a bit of a throwaway title - played for a few cheap laughs and then forgotten about. But every inch of this journey is lovingly crafted, and it shows.
As for gameplay? It's really polished! A few of the movement mechanics you'll unlock as you go will certainly surprise you. They didn't HAVE to go this hard, honestly. It's no DOOM, but it doesn't need to be. And as an FPS I found it to be more fun to play than most modern offerings. Call of Duty campaigns are becoming rote as hell, and most popular FPS titles forego story entirely for the sake of evolving games-as-a-service playstyles. So High on Life was a breath of fresh air. Almost felt like I was gettin high on a sweet, sweet human.
I'm a storied gamist, but stealth is not my forte. So please take this review with a grain of salt, as I may not know of what I speak. This review could be blasphemy.
Requiem is bigger than its predecessor, Innocence, in every conceivable fashion. It's longer, it's prettier, it's more bombastic, and it's broader in scope.
Is this a good thing? .. ehhhh..
Here's the thing. Innocence was a beautiful surprise. A deliberately designed stealth game that felt lovingly crafted from beginning to end. Each level was nicely contained, each stealth section felt like there was a set way to go about it, and the pacing was pretty airtight.
In blowing everything up a notch, Requiem loses some of that focus. Particularly around the middle of the game, it's just TOO big. I found myself dreading certain stealth sections. I'd load into a mountain valley, and I'd see no less than 10 patrolling scouts in the distance, and there'd generally be very little innovation on display. I'd know I'd have no choice but to throw a rock, distract four of them, and then WAIT. Stealth should be about being proactive, and thinking ahead. It shouldn't be about sitting and waiting.
Combat is a little hairy as well. The game's got all of these systems in place.. crafting, upgrades, skills. And yet none of it matters. This is a gripe I had with the original game as well. You stress over finding all of the pieces, the tools, the resources, so that you can stay on top of the gameplay. But if the game ever NEEDS you to have something, it'll just hand it to you. It's much ado about nothing. You burn yourself out searching every nook and cranny for a certain type of ammunition, and boy is it placed sparingly, and you think man this is going to be rough.. then you round a corner and there's an encounter, so they immediately give you more than you can carry.
What it all amounts to is this sense that, while the game has numerous excellent ideas, and while each individual component is engineered with a striking amount of polish, none of it fits together in a way that feels like you're playing a good old video game. It's more of a tech demo, and an astonishing bit of experimentation.
Which isn't all bad! I mean I'm not giving this thing a failing grade, here. This game is CRAZY! The narrative, the graphical fidelity, the risks it takes in so many ways. It's truly a sight to behold, and it really is an experience that you should have if you're at all interested in playing. The story of Amicia and Hugo will take you to some seriously drastic places, and the devs relish in every opportunity to show off a little along the way. There is some imagery towards the end that would've made Kubrick blush.
Anywho. I'm not a stealth gamer so. Don't listen to me.
What an absolute rush. This is history's most iconic look at how far a couple hundred million dollars can take you in the gaming biz, thus far. I've yet to see cinematic glory like this anywhere else, in any creative medium. The mocap, the direction, the facial rigging, the performances, the camera work. This is clearly the product of a bunch of industry-leading geniuses, at the absolute peak of their game, doing a sultry lil dance together for 5 years. I was nailed to the screen for the entire 30 or so hours it took me to complete the story. As with God of War 2018, I loved the puzzles, the narrative and the combat all in equal measure.
Where it really fell apart for me, unfortunately, was in the post-game. Perhaps it's unfair to criticize a game over an experience I had when I was already technically "finished" with it, but the game clearly wants you to do this stuff so here we are.
Revisiting realms to collect things you've missed is a chore at the best of times, and a total piss-off at the worst of them. The compass and the map function with the exact same flaws as the first game, which is mind-boggling given how much time they had to improve on this sort of thing. The lack of spawn points, the crippled fast travel system, it's all so aggravating. And those final optional bosses? Get outta town with this garbage, SSM. The challenge is remarkably unfair, and it'll boil your blood.
Took me forever to get around to this little ditty. For some reason I thought it was just a glorified tech demo. "Look at the rat physics!" cries Asobo, the team responsible for Microsoft Flight Simulator, of all things.
Turns out I was a dick for assuming anything, plain and simple. This game is wonderful. Especially if you play it with headphones. The performances are second to none here; you'll find yourself caring deeply about the main characters, and you'll take the stealth VERY seriously because you simply won't be able to bear seeing these kids get mucked by an axe.
The stealth is really fantastic, given the deliberate level design. The combat.. ehhh not so much. The game falters in its final act, when it tries to amount to more than it truly is. But it's a journey worth taking. You can bet on it.
This game done got did dirty. If you ask me, it's a huge shame that it released right at the same time as Horizon and Elden Ring. The top of 2022 was heavily front-loaded, and Ghostwire got lost in the mix. Had it released any time between May and September it would've been a topic of discussion, for sure. It takes a little while to get going, and the gameplay may at first seem somewhat clunky, but once you're into the meat of the open world it's a total joy to behold. Traversal, combat, side questing, collecting, it's all good stuff. Play it late at night in a cold room, under some blankets.
What a pleasant surprise! I pulled this one off the ol' backlist shelf when PS Plus Extra went live and opened up a whole treasure trove of goodies. The way this game homages multiple eras of retro gaming is nothing short of extraordinary. It's hard to discuss without spoiling anything, which I actually think worked to the game's detriment when it was initially marketed upon its release. But trust me, you must take this out for a spin.
I will forever be pissed off that I spent over $100 on this mess.
Cute cat game is cute. The atmosphere is wholly enveloping. At first blush it seems the story might just blow your socks off. But as it goes, it has a tendency to repeat itself a little too often. It's a short game, which works in its favor, as it's quite unlikely to overstay its welcome with the average player. But I did find that the final act dragged its paws, and unfortunately the way it crawled across the finish line tampered with my overall impression of the experience.