12 Reviews liked by melos_han_tani


I'm done.
I'm done playing you Pokémon. I'm bored. You're boring me.
You know, I can forgive a technical mess. I think it's quite frankly absurd that this is the most broken major release of a video game since Cyberpunk 2077 and if this was any other franchise we'd be talking about it in the breath as that game's disastrous launch. But at the same time, I'm the guy who likes Sonic 2006. I think it's perfectly fine to enjoy a game even in spite of its overwhelming issues. I think it's important you acknowledge those issues, which a large portion of the Pokémon fanbase refuses to, but it's entirely possible to see the good through the bad and find enjoyment in something so deeply flawed.
I'm much, MUCH less forgiving of a game that bores me, especially one that finally moved in the direction I had always hoped it would, only to massively drop the ball in the process. This game should have been a slam dunk in spite of Game Freak's incompetence, and that it isn't means I'm going to be immensely harsh in my review of it. I really had to force myself to see this through to the end, something I once thought impossible for a franchise I truly loved. New Pokémon games were an event for me. Something I looked forward to years in advance. But now I'm struggling to finish them. This was that uninteresting to me. It speaks volumes.
So how did we get here, especially after the disaster that was Sword and Shield? Those games that had previously put me off the franchise forever? Well, there are three answers to this. The first is that I got this game for free. Let's just say my uncle who works at Nintendo hooked me up with a copy. I vowed they wouldn't get my money after Gen 8 unless they delivered something different and of quality and I'm glad to see I was right in that stance. I realize this ultimately amounts to nothing as Scarlet and Violet will undoubtedly be the best selling games of the year. The Pokémon Company clearly realized long ago they didn't have to put real effort into these games when people just buy them anyway. Still, for my own peace of mind, I refused to purchase it.
Second of all, I have said I would at least be willing to give the franchise another chance if they drastically changed their approach to making these games, at least in terms of their design. Sword and Shield had many flaws but a major one was its inability to free itself from Pokémon's outdated handheld framework. Scarlet and Violet's switch to an open-world style certainly fits the criteria of a major change, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a bit curious how their take on that type of game ended up, especially as I do enjoy the junk food style of game that is the open world genre.
And third, perhaps the most simple of all to understand: the rubberneck factor. This game is a trainwreck from a technical perspective, and social media has been flooded with all manner of hilarious bugs and glitches consistent with a Cyberpunk-level disaster as previously mentioned. It's like noticing a car burning on the side of the road: you can't help but want to stop and see for yourself, and I certainly found myself drawn to Generation 9 in that regard. I wanted to bear witness to just what the hell went wrong here.
However, let's put the technical bellyflop of this game aside. That part doesn't even interest me, and I'm actually a little sad I didn't encounter some of the more egregious bugs in my game. It was largely just the standard jank and lack of polish you'd already expect from the latest entry in Nintendo's Madden series. The yearly releases of this franchise certainly doesn't do it any favors, and I imagine a lot of this could and would have been cleaned up if Game Freak were given more time to develop their titles. However, the fact that people pounce on this as the perceived singular reason for the game's lack of quality misses the larger picture. The problems go much deeper, and I simply do not believe this studio is capable of making this type of game regardless of how long you give them.
So let's work from the beginning. Like every Pokémon game, you start in your own home, pick a starter Pokémon, and head off on a grand journey. However, Scarlet and Violet have a bit of a twist, where you're actually enrolled in a school at the start of the game, which works as the framing device for your adventure. It soon becomes apparent, though, that this is nothing more than window dressing, as the school itself serves little importance and actually clashes majorly with the open world nature of the game. You're thrust out of your school almost immediately after arriving, and you're given few reasons to ever return. Why they felt the need to go this route, I have no idea, aside from perhaps a minor change of pace. But hey, at least it locks you into a school uniform for the entire game, restricting the ability to fully customize yourself that was present in the past several generation of Pokémon titles. Game Freak sure loves to take things away from players for absolutely no reason, don't they?
Also early in the game you meet Nemona, your overly-excitable rival, who also has a slightly different twist: she's already a Champion level trainer. In theory this gives you a concrete goal to strive towards, but in reality I never once bought her as a Champion, and if they wanted to go the route of having someone stronger that you felt incentivized to chase, a more antagonistic rival would have been preferred. But, at this point, Game Freak seems to be adverse to ever going back to that archetype, so it's almost pointless to complain. I wish they would ditch the rival aspect of these narratives altogether if they're going to keep doing this, much like they did in Pokémon X & Y where your rivals were more a friend group who all went through the same journey together as you did. I enjoyed that framing a lot better.
Before going to the Academy to officially start your adventure, you're thrust into an early taste of Generation 9's big shift in gameplay paradigm: the open world. There's a pretty large field to free roam about, crawling with dozens of Pokémon that you'll probably barely see until you step on them, because half of them are so small they can be hard to distinguish from the environment. I have no idea why this was such an issue this time around, whereas it never cropped up in Scarlet and Violet's protoform design of the Wild Area in Sword and Shield, but it bothered me the whole way through the game. I also didn't care for how many Pokémon this game throws at you in this first area, as you're never really given enough time to bond with your initial catches before moving on to the next shiny thing that pops up in front of you.
After your very brief trip to school, you're presented with the three narrative quests that form the backbone of Scarlet and Violet's adventure: Victory Road, Starfall Street, and Path of Legends. Victory Road is your standard Pokémon fare, where you seek out eight Gym Leaders, earn their badges, and face the Elite Four on the road to becoming Champion. Along the way to earning those badges you'll have to do Gym Tests before taking on the actual Leaders, and boy let you tell you, this is some of the worst excuse for "gameplay" you'll ever find. Do you love baby games like Hide and Seek? Simon Says? Where's Waldo? Game Freak has you covered! It's quite honestly embarrassing that the devs thought this was legitimate content, with the Olive Roll minigame taking the cake in terms of pure awfulness. It's like someone's first high school computer programming assignment. I can't believe they got rid of previous games' fun little gym puzzles for this garbage.
Starfall Street and Path of Legends both constitute part of the game's overall story and are required for the ending, but truthfully they feel more like long side quests. This isn't a bad thing, however, and I actually do wish these games leaned harder into their JRPG roots with more side content and character stories. Granted, the stories your follow in both of these (taking on the "villainous" Team Star and helping a fellow student track down Titan Pokémon) aren't particularly compelling, but at least they tried. Unfortunately, between these three quests, that's really all you're going to find in terms of content here, and leads to my biggest issue with these games and why I was so fundamentally bored with them: there's an open world, but there's nothing to do in it.
If you're going to make an open world game, you REALLY need to nail the actual world aspect of that. It needs to feel like a living, breathing, flourishing environment that you want to become immersed in. Scarlet and Violet does not do this. I quickly found myself simply going from Point A to Point B in my quests because there was simply nothing else to do. There are a lot of Pokémon to be found, for sure, but at this point in the series' lifespan just catching these things isn't enough anymore, and that's literally all there is to do! The game doesn't even force you into trainer battles anymore. There's just a small handful of them in every area, so spread out that you rarely encounter them. There's nothing to see, there are no interesting landmarks to explore, there are no dynamic events happening. You just go and catch the same Pokémon you've been catching for years, with a smattering of new ones, and that's only if you feel like it, as the game gives no real incentive for catching things anyway. Why would it, after all? This is no longer the "Gotta Catch Em All" franchise.
It's like they started from the baseline of "let's make an open world game" but didn't actually consider what goes into making an INTERESTING open world game. Instead it just retrofits the old way of playing Pokémon on top of this new system, with the only major change being the ability to do things in any order, even though you'll still mostly stick to what you're capable of anyway, lest you be severely underleveled or locked out of certain areas until you acquire new movement abilities. Open world games kind of work on a hamster wheel, always giving you something to do, something to work towards, something shiny to collect as you make your way through the world, but there's no hamster wheel here. You fight the gyms, you defeat the evil team, you take down big Pokémon with health bars - all stuff that's been in previous games. In between, you're helplessly bored.
Perhaps some of this could have been mitigated with an actually interesting and diverse region to inhabit, but instead you're stuck looking at the same five GameCube textured environments the whole way through. There's no sense of wondering what's around the corner because you know nothing will be there anyway. Towns and cities also suffer in this department, as they're purely cosmetic and feel more like the fake towns used for nuclear testing purposes than an actual lived-in human dwelling. You can't even go in buildings for fuck's sake, one of the most basic staples of an RPG. There's no exciting events, no weird back alleys to get lost in, and absolutely no one interesting to talk to. This is by far the most generic ass world of any game I've ever played. If you're expecting anything as whimsical as Fortree or Laverre City in this generation, you certainly won't find it.
A lot of people have claimed this is a Switch issue; that it's just not powerful enough to create big, detailed open worlds that perform at least reasonably well, but that's such horseshit. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 came out three months ago, guys. It's a perfect comparable to see just what Pokémon could be, but never will. Funnier still are those who claim screenshots of Pokémon that make it look bad are just cherry-picked out of context, when you can literally stand in any place in Xenoblade, take a screenshot, and have it filled with some of the most breathtaking visuals you'll see in any game, let alone on the Switch. As a Nintendo fan, I get it, graphics aren't everything, but it's really hard to get immersed in a world with this little effort put into it.
I'm not saying Game Freak needs to make something like Xenoblade or that they need to measure up to the impossible standard that is Monolithsoft, but is it too much to ask for at least some degree of creativity? It's not there, and with this being their fourth major release on the platform now, I think it's safe to say we have a body of evidence that supports that. I used to think Game Freak made their games in a vacuum and that's why they feel so behind the times, but it's actually more like they exist on a planet 10 light years away from Earth, where information about video games a decade ago are only now just getting to them. How else do you explain that they put goddamn enemy base raids into a Pokémon title, the most boiler-plate open world content you could possibly come up with? Enjoy letting the game play itself for you before fighting the same car five times in a row.
Don't even get me started on the Pokémon or character designs here, which are the absolute worst in a series that has traditionally has had some outstanding ones over the years. This new batch of Pokémon feel particularly uninspired, and I wonder if they're genuinely running out of ideas. Hell, they finally added a dolphin Pokémon after all this time, and then proceeded to make its evolution the worst atrocity ever committed in these games. Oh but at least there's a le chonkin' pig Pokémon, another kooky crab Pokémon, and oh yeah, a flamingo Pokémon. They didn't even bother to stylize that one; it's literally just a flamingo. In what I can only describe as an act of malicious compliance, I proceeded to use this stupid thing throughout the entire game. At least it was useful.
Presentation wise, it's just as bad, and it feels like there was actually negative effort put into this aspect of the game. Can we get some fucking voice acting already? It's 2022 for fuck's sake. I don't even care if it's bad voice acting, it's still better than what we have now. You can't keep putting musical acts performed by mimes in these games and expect me to get invested in this shit. It further underscores that no matter how far these games have come, no matter how much they try to sell you the illusion of doing something different, it's still just the same dated design philosophy it's always been. They couldn't even be bothered to designing cool and unique rooms for each of the Elite Four; you just fight them in a big empty room on a basic battlefield. Way to hype up what should be the culmination of your journey, guys.
That said, I will give credit to one thing, which is the end game story. Area Zero represents the one genuinely good idea Scarlet and Violet brings to the table, and the way in which your story ultimately coalesces around it is legitimately interesting. It's the most I've ever felt like I was playing a true JRPG in a Pokémon setting since Colosseum, something Game Freak didn't even make. Unfortunately, it's too little too late by that point, and I also can't help but feel that despite how interesting it is, it would have been done even better in the hands of a more competent team. The entire game really should have revolved around this concept instead of surfacing it to you at the 11th hour.
There are also plenty of little things that I haven't covered but honestly don't even care enough to delve deep into, like the new Terastallization gimmick, which hey, if you want to talk about running out of ideas, here you go. I thought dynamax Pokemon in Sword and Shield were a pretty lazy gimmick, but now make way for crystal hats that change your type. Real thrilling stuff here. There are some nice quality of life improvements, like the ability to press one button and instantly use potions to heal your Pokémon, but for some reason you can't do the same for reviving them or cleansing status conditions, so it comes of as a completely half-baked implementation of what should be a better feature. I can't stand how your map rotates with you, so whenever you open it, you're completely disoriented from where you want to go. The music is awful and sounds like AI-generated approximations of what a Pokémon soundtrack usually sounds like. The new ancient and future variation of certain Pokémon is an interesting idea on paper, but in practice they just look stupid, and why do these Pokémon have generic descriptions instead of real names? I hate it. I hate so much of this game.
The only saving grace of Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet is that this franchise can no longer hurt me anymore. I stopped caring after Sword and Shield ruined the veneer of what was my favorite series of all-time, but in doing so exposed just how shallow and dated these games actually are now. Don't let anyone tell you there's great ideas lurking under the game's serious technical problems; this is largely the exact same shit it's always been, and I'm bored with it. The open world design, the one thing I always thought I wanted for this franchise, turned out to be the game's biggest anchor in terms of enjoyment. They couldn't have missed harder if they tried, and now that they've pulled the trigger on this new style of game and failed, there's really nothing left to be hopeful for. This was their one chance to finally bring this franchise into the present day and make something of it again.
But they didn't. They failed. Please let someone else have Pokémon, because Game Freak will never change, never grow, and never be capable of delivering anything but the most barebones experience possible. It's truly embarrassing at this point. You'd never know it was a game in the highest grossing media franchise of all-time looking at it. But people keep eating this up, so I guess they're just giving the audience what they want. I guess I'm the crazy one to keep demanding something better for a franchise that deserves it.
Fuck you Ed Sheeran.

Flyff

2005

an addiction to this game laid waste to my entire life at age 11 and im still picking up the pieces

I’ve played a lot of Mega Man games in the last six months, and even when they start to show the signs of burgeoning narrative ambition in the X series, those games are too held up by their own stupidity and refusal to consider the implications of their own worldbuilding for me to say that they’re really About anything. By the year 1997 we’re at a clear point where the X series has established characters, sort of, and a jumble of recurring ideas, kind of, but there’s no real coherence to anything narratively, no actual throughline to that world. And that’s fine with me, it’s really not what I’m here for, it’s mostly something I focus on a lot in my writing about these games because that stuff takes an ever-growing presence in these games to thus far no payoff.
But that IS also what makes Mega Man Legends feel like such a breath of fresh air when it hits the scene on the Mega Man timeline. It’s not just the radical directional shift in gameplay this one adopts (though I do really enjoy that too), and I wouldn’t call it an entirely aesthetic thing either – no, this game is obviously one of the most beautiful and pleasant to look at in the history of the medium, but Mega Man has always had exceptional aesthetics, it’s the one thing that’s virtually unassailable across every iteration of the series so far. For me I think the thing that’s so immediately remarkable about Legends is the clear and deliberate focus on the voice of the game and the characters, something that has never been present in the franchise before. The series has a lot of CHARACTER, but it doesn’t really have characterS, right? Even X and Zero, the closest thing to fleshed out guys we have so far are kind of shallow and stupid caricatures of cardboard cutouts. Legends may not win any awards for MegaMan Volnutt’s personality but the fact that this guy has such a strongly defined voice and wants and, most importantly, that the cast of people around him is much more strongly defined and central to the game than he is, makes the game stand out immediately from its parent series.
Because as much as Mega Man Legends is a run n gun 3D dungeon crawler with light RPG elements it’s equally if not moreso one of those cool mid 90s to mid-00s Japanese games where you don’t have a lot of clearly defined goals (or if you do they’re not really urgent) and you kind of just vibe with all the side characters in a small semi-open world. This is a hard thing to describe but I feel like you know what I’m talking about right? Games like Majora’s Mask, Shenmue, Chulip, most mid-period Harvest Moons, maybe Chibi-Robo? The kind of game where when you were a kid it was easy to ignore the main plot and just chill out. I never played Mega Man Legends as a kid but it would have fit right in with that collection of “games that aren’t walking sims that I forced into that mold because I’ve always been like this I guess.”
This small island and it’s little city of comically fastidious bureaucrats and fantasy policeman who are just inept enough to be funny and unthreatening and workaday tradespeople baking bread and selling clothes and operating tv stations is outrageously detailed, full of little secrets and stuff that help you fill up your health bar during unexpected boss fights in normally safe zones or crafting materials that let your friend research new weapons for you, but it’s full of entirely superfluous stuff too, seemingly just for the sake of character. Multiple buildings and storefronts let you enter and are full of NPCs with bespoke dialogue that have no practical in-game benefit to you, with a fully modelled interior to explore. Lots of NPCs will give Volnutt a little yes or no question to answer for no reason, it’s cute! There are sidequests too but they’re usually stuff like help out the local kid gang with building up their clubhouse by finding a hammer and a saw, or hang out with a local sick kid, or find something this lady could use to add a little splash of color to her landscape painting. It’s a relaxed atmosphere, a game full of friendly people being generally nice, full of unthreatening villains and bright blue skies. The vibes, as they say, are immaculate here. I do want to shout out the voice acting in particular, which strikes that Saturday morning cartoon vibe perfectly but because it’s 1997 there’s not really an entrenched anime voice actor industry that just defaults into all of these roles, so you get a bunch of low budget Canadian tv people doing these voices instead in a way that gives this game some incredible character. MegaMan Volnutt himself is actually voiced by a thirteen-year-old boy rather than an adult woman doing an Anime Kid voice it’s a really distinct sound from anything you would hear today.
The gameplay is pretty slick too. I assume this is an unpopular statement here, I feel like it’s easy to see any game with tank controls and be like ah it’s clunky it’s old it doesn’t feel good or intuitive, and fuckin surprise surprise here comes ina crawling out of her well to defend an old game’s aged elements but hear me out a little bit. Anything that feels unintuitive only feels that way because we don’t have muscle memory for it, right? I have two really distinct memories from my childhood of Adult Non-Gamers pretending to take an interest in my video game at a family gathering and just being unable to conceptualize the basic movement controls of Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia and Dragon Ball Z Legacy of Goku II. These are not, these aren’t difficult games to parse, right, it’s just that someone who has literally never interacted with a game until her 50s doesn’t know how to do it. It’s fine!
So having the weird control scheme it has doesn’t automatically make Mega Man Legends unworthy, right? There’s more to it. You have to consider the game that’s built around those controls, and I think MML is pretty well constructed. If anything, the game is tuned a little too easy, with most enemies absolutely confounded by the very simple strategy of a nonstop circle strafe around them, which will serve you like 90% of the time. But by and large I found that enemies were placed pretty thoughtfully, platforming challenges were designed with the fact that your control over your character and the camera is slow and limited, and in general things are designed in such a way that I rarely felt that I was wrestling with the controller, it all felt really well done to me. There are a lot of movement options in this game too, within a couple hours of starting I was really just zooming the fuck around.
The ending of Mega Man Legends isn’t a triumph or a tragedy or a big sequel hook or anything. It has all of those thing but those aren’t the focus. The ending is the quiet few minutes where the car is getting packed up at the end of a trip and you have a moment to say goodbye. You’re encouraged to take one last lap around town, where all the important characters and sidequest NPCs are scattered around to let you know they’re gonna be thinking about you, and they appreciate the little stuff you’ve done for and with them over the last 15-or-so hours. It feels right. I did sing the praises of the dungeon crawling a bit, and I did like it, but the core of the game is fucking around, competing in game shows, helping out a pregnant woman, adopting cats, thwarting the world’s least threatening bank heist. It feels right to spend the real time saying goodbye to the stuff that matters, and spend relatively little on the actual plot stuff which is mostly pretty limp. Just like meeeee I’m very sick right now if this review is incoherent that's why okay I’m gonna go take a nap game good

I’m glad that people connected with Charlotte later on, but I miss something that got lost since this first game. May sound typical for this kind of RPG maker games, but to me the game is entirely about the peculiar and imaginative perception of the world from Charlotte’s view in videogame language.
If I’m allowed to make a guess, I’m pretty sure that most people who grew up with videogames being quite present in their lives have dreamt in videogame terms (specially as children, but also as adults), even daydreaming about them. Something similar must have happened with cinema and TV (camera angles, cuts and such being present in dreams and even when recalling memories) and Hello Charlotte has a lot of this new influence on perception. Her imaginary friend is someone never present that may seem (and may be) a fourth wall breaking reference to the player or just her thinking that she’s a videogame character. The multiple deaths act more as what ifs, what if the world ended if I touch this, what if the scary bear impales me. It may seem insensitive to think about these images, but to me it’s kind of liberating from the perspective of Charlotte, just her letting her mind express herself and experiment knowing that a bad end can always be rewinded.
What’s interesting about the mixed perception between videogames and real life is the point that I miss in the next two games. This perception happens (partially) as a way to connect very designed, even standardized simple rules and the bigger complexities of the real world. Think about little kids asking about “who are the good and bad guys” like if everything was a cartoon, not out of bad intent, but to try and grasp something unknown to them on their terms. The first Hello Charlotte is a quite well achived abstract adventure in the conventional sense with a lot of personal quirks in its presentation that lets glances at Charlotte’s deepest worries. If I’m allowed to take a picky example, Episode 2 represents Charlotte social troubles in school through RPG Maker standard combats. The first game is the imagination running free while still being inevitably attached to who Charlotte is and her life, the second one feels like a failed attempt to represent social anxiety in those terms, ignoring both the way that is really perceived and how the imagination tries to make some sense out of it.
My biggest shame is that the dreamy yet way less abstract influence in the next games does come occasionally incredibly close to my dreamy perceptions, apart from the cinema and videogames presence. The mix between everyday places with something always off, but something that seems normal unless you stop to think about it, and the meaning that such small changes carry (like everything about the school structure, for instance think about how the way to it requires the students to take a mortal drop into a mattress, a process that makes sense but only under a specific non sensical logic). In some way, a perfect match about videogames' constant failures at replicating reality by nature and yet the convincing sense that their obvious fakeness brings. I appreciate the attempts to try to have more focused thematic ideas later on, but while I never found my footing in those, I always yearned for that more natural expression of intuition from the subconscious. Charlotte lets herself see without noticing while dreaming of being herself.

10 Yakisoba Pans out of 10!!!
Vanillaware's greatest accomplishment by a landslide. Hyper-ambitious, utterly indulgent, and convoluted as all fuck, but miraculously never buckles under the weight of its own intricacies. 13 Sentinels pulses with a sense of delirious vitality and freewheeling passion that is so so rare in games with this level of production value and craft. 13S' disarmingly dense story construction feels a bit like the tangled web of plot complexity in the Kingdom Hearts series, but it actually uses those twists in service to its own emotionally resonant characters and conceptual intentions (instead of rendering everyone a charmless exposition machine giving you truly insane loredumps that ultimately dont impart anything that meaningful). The nonlinear, fragmented story delivery is filled with literally hundreds of galaxy-brain twists and turns and occupies dozens of genres at once; different character narratives make up an amalgam of pastiches including Evangelion, Perfect Blue, Macross, Sukeban Deka, Madoka Magica, Barefoot Gen, and more... and it all feels TOTALLY fitting in a game that's clearly a meditation on the experience of coming of age while awash in Japanese history and cultural memory--without a lens of pure nostalgia and nationalism. There's real nuance to the game's exploration of Showa Era Japan's wartime suffering/shame and its eventual globalized cultural/industrial recovery here, and I felt this deeply even from my semi-clueless outsider perspective. It's actual thought provoking stuff that the nonlinearity totally works in service to, and also happens to be an extremely well-crafted and fresh style of story delivery for its' own sake.
Much has been said about the gorgeous illustrative art within the Remembrance portion of the game, and I could gush about it for years (PLEASE MORE PUPPET JOINTED/PERSPECTIVE WARP 2D ANIMATION IN GAMES I LOVE IT) but I feel like the Destruction segments are being a tad undervalued! They're extremely snappy and fun (especially if you play on Intense, which is totally surmountable for average players like me but raises the strategizing requirements considerably). I've seen a lot of responses lamenting that Destruction doesn't share the vivid, illustrative style of the Remembrance segments and can see why people might think that from the trailers, but I totally disagree after experiencing the game. The depersonalized, infographic-style representation of truly harrowing, wide-scale mech carnage feels like a very conscious and effective creative choice to contrast with the intimate and sentimental visual novel sequences. Both visual styles absolutely work in harmony with one another, and the juxtaposition only serves to strengthen them. The combat music is some of the best shit EVER too, who needs fully illustrated mechs when the bops are this massive
Also, I was totally blindsided by the FUN AS HELL queer stuff in this game! It's definitely not "perfect", but said romance is so charming and allows its complicated, lovable characters to be confused, flirty, devious and loyal in ways that few other games do. While there IS some (funny!) humor surrounding one character's klutzy and confused queerness, same-sex attraction itself is never treated as an absurd joke, only validated: the joke is that said character is too bone-headed to admit to himself what's plainly obvious (and beautiful!!!).
anyway I lub dis gaem you should play it it's v special and a truly rare experience. Props to Vanillaware and thank you for toning down most of your skeevy fanservice to a degree where I'm not irritated by it constantly

this game has only been out for a year and its already caused an irreparable amount of damage

I used to pretend to be dumb and give people my password and let them steal my account. i would then wait 3 months or so sometimes to use the recovery system to get it back and by then they would be using my account as an extra storage. So id come back to my account with more money and items than i started with :) (I was 11 btw)

the fragmented pieces of a perfectly fine Dark Souls IIII, awkwardly spread across a world as bloated with tedious busywork as any of the other modern open world games so many people seem to believe this is so different to

This has to be in the top 5 most interesting games I've ever played. Not for the gameplay or even the story, but just for the feel of the whole thing. Everything is slapdash and weird; it's like the games' seams are showing on purpose. The dialogue is fun and snarky, the levels are more engaging than I initially thought they'd be, and there are some legitimate emotional moments packed in there.
I was looking forward to 100%ing this, unfortunately I was having trouble getting certain events to occur, so I gave up on that. It's a shame, I definitely wanted to spend more time with this weird world.
In the end though, the standout aspect of this game is the soundtrack, which anyone who knows this game talks about. It really is great; I recommend listening to it if you don't feel like playing this.
I'll miss this game

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