808 Reviews liked by poyfuh

this is obviously a huge departure from previous games, less of a stealth game and more of a cover shooter with melee takedowns, of the vein that would soon be popularized by the last of us. but, judging this on its own merits, it's pretty solid!
i really like the visual style. light and color feel threatening, if you see color that means you need to shoot something to get back to the safety of black-and-white. the aggressive auto hdr on series x really enhances this aspect, because the lights are so blindingly bright that i felt compelled to shoot them even if i didn't really need to.
the "immersive hud" does feel a lot more dramatic that having text on the upper left corner, and the cover-to-cover movement markers are probably the best of any cover shooter, allowing for easy diagonal movement.
unlike a lot of these "semi-stealth" games, the gadgets actually feel useful, and the encounters are designed for them. cover shooting is all about "getting into a good position", and the mark and execute system slides perfectly into that, because the game becomes about choosing your marks and carefully finding the best position to take them all out at once.
the game is pleasantly short, but there are still pacing-killers like the interrogations, which get old before the first one is even over, and the instantly forgettable storyline. i understand that the shakycam is trying to capture sam's anger and frustration, but it's excessive to the point of comedy. the only time sam's character is effectively communicated is when he gets so pissed off that he gets infinite free mark and execute.

I think, gun to my head, the first game is a bit better for two reasons.
1) It's a bit weirder.
2) Where's the fuckin' the. They took the the out of the title. Fuck that.
But in many other ways this one is an improvement. I kinda want to play it again with a different party composition, just to see what happens. They changed humans and espers to level up a bit more like a regular video game, but still more random than FF2, monsters felt worse and more random at first but became actually quite important to my strats by the end of the game, and robots are just cool as hell and feel busted while also sometimes going down like a sack of bricks. It's less stressful than the original for me without the permadeath and all, but you pay for it in just getting your butt wooped by tough fights.
Structurally the game is much like the original except it's a horizontal plane that you spiral towards the center of, rather than a tower. That's less cool, and I was less impressed by the themes of the areas, and the plot is just less interesting to me. More typical. But even so, it's a delight and there are a ton of strange gimmicks along the way, like a race track world for some reason. In conclusion Kawazu remains winning

I have Thoughts on this game:
• The first of the three sections of the game (Alluna) is genuinely one of the best things I've played in a long time. A really touching story of bonding through trauma and societal oppression.
It's generally less dark than the other two sections of the game, but only because the darkness of its themes bubbles underneath the surface ominously, rather than being directly used for shock (something that can't always be said about the second section of the game). While presenting extremely likeable characters, this whole game segment is permeated by an almost constant fear and sense of dread, that is poignantly coupled with the slow reveal of the traumatic experiences its protagonists have gone through.
It'd almost be a hopeful little self-contained tale about women finding community even through their lingering trauma and a hostile world, if it wasn't for its incredibly dark ending that sets ups the rest of the game.
• Alluna is also perfectly paced. I was sceptical of the "play 30 minutes of a dungeon crawler to get 5 minutes of visual novel" structure, but, especially this section, and to a point the whole game, uses the odd dungeon crawler/visual novel dichotomy to dictate pace in really effective and poignant ways.
• The second section (Alstella) is... messier. This game touches on some extremely dark themes, including sexual assault, and while the first section does that subtly and in a way that supports the game's themes; the Alstella section does seem to fall in gratuitous territory in a couple of instances. While I still want to believe that most of the storytelling in Labyrinth of Galleria is done in good faith, a couple of moments are definitely mishandled/unnecessary.
• The grand overarching plot does eventually kinda fall into anime/visual novel tropes. Aside from the shift to high stakes Sci-Fi/Fantasy (which I don't hate but also don't find as effective as the timeless abstract fantasy tone of the Alluna section), there's just so much... minute exposition of things that don't really matter to the emotional core of the story? Storytelling with this amount of moving parts can work, but in this case it just seems to run against the main strength of the writing, which is characters. This also ends up tanking the pacing during the second third of the game, as there end up being very long stretches of game where nothing interesting/engaging happens.
• I believe an amount of odd/spurious details are there to connect this game to other games in the series and... I'm just so tired of lore? Can we just stop?
• The problem with this kind of grand plot is also that, out of necessity, it tends to always end in the same kind of story beats. The likeable and well-written characters give Galleria a strong emotional resonance throughout its whole length, but still, a lot of the Alstella and Grand Cathedral endings feel a bit... uninspired. I'm just not sure how many jrpg speeches about "a flawed but alive world is better than a perfect static one" I can still take. Especially because the rest of the game, is like, very good, and not about that stuff at all. But once you add world-creation powers in the mix you can't really go anywhere else.
• It can't be overstated that the character writing is honestly incredibly good. A lot of the trauma explored in it hits a bit too close to home tbh. But, yeah, it's really good stuff.
• One exception to this is the big villain of the game. A lot of her motivation just... didn't make a lot of sense nor had any real emotional payoff. I get what they were trying to do with her (and with one of the final reveals, which gives a justification to her often bizarrely misaligned plans), but I feel like maybe this game didn't really need a grandiose villain at all. As mentioned, all other characters are complex and compelling and very empathetically written, so I don't think that the forces causing conflict in the world necessarily needed to have a "face" for the core conflicts presented in the story to work.
• Most of the dungeon crawling is excellent. The combat is deliberately designed to have an auto-battle focus, with most abilities being passive or automatic triggers. This is not something I've seen before, and it works really well for a game that's 100+ hours long but doesn't want to be a purely mechanically focused experience.
• The focus on navigation is something less uncommon, but still very well realized. The wall-break mechanic being one of the first things the player unlocks is specifically a really clever move. A huge part of the game is a pseudo-tutorial, which slowly introduces all of the game's mechanics, but being able to explore non-linearly and reveal secrets by breaking walls, makes the exploration feel organic and way less guided than it would otherwise be.
• The art of some of the later unlocked Facets is... problematic? not great? I dunno, it's not really a main aspect of the game, and it's easily ignorable, so I don't want to spend too many words on it, but still, shit like that still kinda undermines the drama of the game for me.
• I love the soundtrack. It follows the usual Disgaea/Tenpai Sato vibes, but with a more dramatic twist. Specifically, the boss theme and the apartment theme are absolute bops.
• Oh! The framing device, wherein the player plays as a phantom who is summoned by the various witches in the game, and not as the witches themselves, is quite clever. It creates a sort of effective detachment from the story which plays well with the visual novel-dungeon crawler dichotomy. I'm also glad that it's mostly an aesthetic and it never really becomes a heavy plot element. It's just a neat aesthetic choice and I can get on board with that.
Ultimately Labyrinth of Galleria is honestly great. I spent a lot of time focusing on the negatives, but overall this is a very powerful story told in an extremely creative and well-crafted way. It had me in genuine tears in multiple instances, and as much as I'm a bit of a crybaby, that's still an impressive task for what could have otherwise been dismissed as "just another mechanically dense dungeon crawler". But at the same time, it Is difficult to ignore this game's many contradictions, which often end up undermining its drama. Playing it definitely requires a high tolerance for this kind of uneven media, and of course, the willingness to play a 100+ hours-long dungeon crawler, but I can say that if you can get through that, it is a very worthwhile experience.

Doesn't really have that much to say in the end.

Uma adaptação do livro-jogo Sorcery!, que é por outro lado um spin-off da série de livros-jogos Fighting Fantasy.
Não joguei o livro-jogo original - e sendo bem sincero, tenho praticamente 0 familiaridade com a mídia, fora alguns CYOA bem simples. Não obstante, parece-me uma ótima introdução ao conceito!
... E só isso. Uma introdução. O jogo parece traduzir muito bem o estilo, com uma apresentação bem bonitinha bem próxima do que se esperaria de um RPG de tabuleiro. É bem legal brincar com o game, principalmente devido à facilidade de rebobinar ações e ver os resultados de caminhos diferentes e respostas alternativas. Mas ao final de sua aventura, a sensação é de que você apenas abriu vários fios narrativos para serem explorados devidamente nos outros capítulos. Sozinho, sem a presença de suas sequências, Sorcery! é um game sobre várias escolhas, mas quase nenhuma consequência.
Vejamos o que me aguarda nos capítulos posteriores.

I’m a poor girl so didn’t actually play this bc I don’t own a laptop but watched the video essay for it that’s going around. pretty fucking lame stuff tbh, it’s new sincerity through the lens of traumacore or horrorcore, adult swim aesthetics. feels weird and feels gross not in the way it’s intended to, just feels like a weird bastardization and exploitation of real trauma and real experiences real ppl go through all in the name of the game that is get updoot on reddit dot com. shrek and good doggo and picture of wholesome kitteh and unexpected yaoi, shit is genuinely evil and I think I don’t fuck with it for the same reason I think ari aster’s body of work is kind of soulless and dead eyed and fucking mean spirited. just exploitation by the everyman. cool architecture and like it looks good but idk dude put ur talents to something worthwhile. my bf made skyline chili bc we both have never tried it but have always wanted to and we had that while we watched the vid, very yummy even though it looked nasty lol

I considered strongly putting together a long-form critique of this game, but the most damning statement I could possibly make about Final Fantasy XVI is that I truly don't think it's worth it. The ways in which I think this game is bad are not unique or interesting: it is bad in the same way the vast majority of these prestige Sony single-player exclusives are. Its failures are common, predictable, and depressingly endemic. It is bad because it hates women, it is bad because it treats it's subject matter with an aggressive lack of care or interest, it is bad because it's imagination is as narrow and constrained as it's level design. But more than anything else, it is bad because it only wants to be Good.
Oxymoronic a statement as it might appear, this is core to the game's failings to me. People who make games generally want to make good games, of course, but paired with that there is an intent, an interest, an idea that seeks to be communicated, that the eloquence with which it professes its aesthetic, thematic, or mechanical goals will produce the quality it seeks. Final Fantasy XVI may have such goals, but they are supplicant to its desire to be liked, and so, rather than plant a flag of its own, it stitches together one from fabric pillaged from the most immediate eikons of popularity and quality - A Song of Ice and Fire, God of War, Demon Slayer, Devil May Cry - desperately begging to be liked by cloaking itself in what many people already do, needing to be loved in the way those things are, without any of the work or vision of its influences, and without any charisma of its own. Much like the patch and DLC content for Final Fantasy XV, it's a reactionary and cloying work that contorts itself into a shape it thinks people will love, rather than finding a unique self to be.
From the aggressively self-serious tone that embraces wholeheartedly the aesthetics of Prestige Fantasy Television with all its fucks and shits and incest and Grim Darkness to let you know that This Isn't Your Daddy's Final Fantasy, without actually being anywhere near as genuinely Dark, sad, or depressing as something like XV, from combat that borrows the surface-level signifiers of Devil May Cry combat - stingers, devil bringers, enemy step - but without any actual opposition or reaction of that series' diverse and reactive enemy set and thoughtful level design, or the way there's a episode of television-worth of lectures from a character explaining troop movements and map markers that genuinely do not matter in any way in order to make you feel like you're experiencing a well thought-out and materially concerned political Serious Fantasy, Final Fantasy XVI is pure wafer-thin illusion; all the surface from it's myriad influences but none of the depth or nuance, a greatest hits album from a band with no voice to call their own, an algorithmically generated playlist of hits that tunelessly resound with nothing. It looks like Devil May Cry, but it isn't - Devil May Cry would ask more of you than dodging one attack at a time while you perform a particularly flashy MMO rotation. It looks like A Song of Ice and Fire, but it isn't - without Martin's careful historical eye and materialist concerns, the illusion that this comes even within striking distance of that flawed work shatters when you think about the setting for more than a moment.
In fairness, Final Fantasy XVI does bring more than just the surface level into its world: it also brings with it the nastiest and ugliest parts of those works into this one, replicated wholeheartedly as Aesthetic, bereft of whatever semblance of texture and critique may have once been there. Benedikta Harman might be the most disgustingly treated woman in a recent work of fiction, the seemingly uniform AAA Game misogyny of evil mothers and heroic, redeemable fathers is alive and well, 16's version of this now agonizingly tired cliche going farther even than games I've railed against for it in the past, which all culminates in a moment where three men tell the female lead to stay home while they go and fight (despite one of those men being a proven liability to himself and others when doing the same thing he is about to go and do again, while she is not), she immediately acquiesces, and dutifully remains in the proverbial kitchen. Something that thinks so little of women is self-evidently incapable of meaningfully tackling any real-world issue, something Final Fantasy XVI goes on to decisively prove, with its story of systemic evils defeated not with systemic criticism, but with Great, Powerful Men, a particularly tiresome kind of rugged bootstrap individualism that seeks to reduce real-world evils to shonen enemies for the Special Man with Special Powers to defeat on his lonesome. It's an attempt to discuss oppression and racism that would embarrass even the other shonen media it is clearly closer in spirit to than the dark fantasy political epic it wears the skin of. In a world where the power fantasy of the shonen superhero is sacrosanct over all other concerns, it leads to a conclusion as absurd and fundamentally unimaginative as shonen jump's weakest scripts: the only thing that can stop a Bad Guy with an Eikon is a Good Guy with an Eikon.
In borrowing the aesthetics of the dark fantasy - and Matsuno games - it seeks to emulate, but without the nuance, FF16 becomes a game where the perspective of the enslaved is almost completely absent (Clive's period as a slave might as well not have occurred for all it impacts his character), and the power of nobility is Good when it is wielded by Good Hands like Lord Rosfield, a slave owner who, despite owning the clearly abused character who serves as our introduction to the bearers, is eulogized completely uncritically by the script, until a final side quest has a character claim that he was planning to free the slaves all along...alongside a letter where Lord Rosfield discusses his desire to "put down the savages". I've never seen attempted slave owner apologia that didn't reveal its virulent underlying racism, and this is no exception. In fact, any time the game attempts to put on a facade of being about something other than The Shonen Hero battling other Kamen Riders for dominance, it crumbles nigh-immediately; when Final Fantasy 16 makes its overtures towards the Power of Friendship, it rings utterly false and hollow: Clive's friends are not his power. His power is his power.
The only part of the game that truly spoke to me was the widely-derided side-quests, which offer a peek into a more compelling story: the story of a man doing the work to build and maintain a community, contributing to both the material and emotional needs of a commune that attempts to exist outside the violence of society. As tedious as these sidequests are - and as agonizing as their pacing so often is - it's the only part of this game where it felt like I was engaging with an idea. But ultimately, even this is annihilated by the game's bootstrap nonsense - that being that the hideaway is funded and maintained by the wealthy and influential across the world, the direct beneficiaries and embodiments of the status quo funding what their involvement reveals to be an utterly illusionary attempt to escape it, rendering what could be an effective exploration of what building a new idea of a community practically looks like into something that could be good neighbors with Galt's Gulch.
In a series that is routinely deeply rewarding for me to consider, FF16 stands as perhaps its most shallow, underwritten, and vacuous entry in decades. All games are ultimately illusions, of course: we're all just moving data around spreadsheets, at the end of the day. But - as is the modern AAA mode de jour - 16 is the result of the careful subtraction of texture from the experience of a game, the removal of any potential frictions and frustrations, but further even than that, it is the removal of personality, of difference, it is the attempt to make make the smoothest, most likable affect possible to the widest number of people possible. And, just like with its AAA brethren, it has almost nothing to offer me. It is the affect of Devil May Cry without its texture, the affect of Game of Thrones without even its nuance, and the affect of Final Fantasy without its soul.
Final Fantasy XVI is ultimately a success. It sought out to be Good, in the way a PS5 game like this is Good, and succeeded. And in so doing, it closed off any possibility that it would ever reach me.
It doesn’t really surprise me that each positive sentiment I have seen on Final Fantasy XVI is followed by an exclamation of derision over the series’ recent past. Whether the point of betrayal and failure was in XV, or with XIII, or even as far back as VIII, the rhetorical move is well and truly that Final Fantasy has been Bad, and with XVI, it is good again. Unfortunately, as someone who thought Final Fantasy has Been Good, consistently, throughout essentially the entire span of it's existence, I find myself on the other side of this one.
Final Fantasy XV convinced me that I could still love video games when I thought, for a moment, that I might not. That it was still possible to make games on this scale that were idiosyncratic, personal, and deeply human, even in the awful place the video game industry is in.
Final Fantasy XVI convinced me that it isn't.

Gave this a shot cause was genuinely curious about this and the possible application of tech like this though I have no clue how I feel about it just jammed into a remake of a game like this. Like I do get the hesitation people were having but I do think the way this was described could be a neat way to get around some of the inherent issues with text parsers in adventure style games possibly.
The problem here is that it's just a fuckin mess of implementation and basically nothing like they described at all. If anything it suffers from all of the same problems and much worse than other adventure games that have made better advancements and accommodations to player thought and actions. Like I checked out the OG game to compare and this works nowhere near how they hoped it would at all in comparison, shit it doesn't work. While I can respect them trying this experiment to test it and feel it out this just needed way more time in the oven than I feel it really got. This doesn't really react to the player and if anything is WAYYYYYY more annoying to use here because you have to constantly guess what the game wants you to exactly say and do. You're not having conversations or "natural flowing dialogue" with Yasu. You have to go down a laundry list of guesses and hope that eventually Yasu actually fuckin answers you after asking a million different variations of the same goddamn question over and over again.
Playing a bit of the OG game honestly having even just menu options and knowing that you have ways to actually ask questions, who to, what exactly you're asking, where a suspect or witness or whoever is an instant extreme improvement and it baffles me how little this game gives you to go on. Even using the NPL menu with "similar phrases to use" doesn't actually help at fucking all. Here it felt like every question I asked was met with confusion and eventually I hit a wall not knowing who to ask what and with the inability to present evidence to literally any of the suspects even though Yasu kept telling me that I could and should. I couldn't even ask most of them about their alibis or anything about any of the information they gave me. I dug looking around environments and pointing shit out to Yasu and picking stuff up on my own but wow the game does anything it can to stonewall you and that is definitely not intentional. Apparently using the "higher quality parser" and the voice parsing helps but it eats through VRAM like nobodies business and basically is only usable if your shit is fuckin good so I couldn't try it at all and honestly I doubt it if even the basic shit is fumbled this badly.
They should just rerelease the OG game for modern platforms and try this again with something all its own to really experiment with it down the line once they've worked more of this out or something cause as is this is a complete fuckin mess. Knowing Square though this is probably a complete one and done tho.
What a shame. On the upside its made me way more interested in finally giving the original game a shot so may or may not do that sometime soon. We'll see. If anyone's got any NES reccs feel free to go for it cause that's a huge blind spot for me honestly. Reminds me I gotta get on some PC-98 stuff too. I really need to play more detective/mystery/adventure games in general too.

really good. really really really good. probably my favorite mega man game. i like pretty much all of these stages and bosses which is really rare. upgrades are mostly fun to use and very fun to find. there can be some backtracking involved if you want to get all items or a good ending but i didn't mind because this game's levels, again, are ones i really enjoy. i think most people like this game a little less than X1 but for me it kind of blows it out of the water. worth mentioning that the soundtrack is bangers from start to finish also



wow. wowowow. what a fucking game man. nier goddamn 2010. nier gestalt. whatever you wanna call it. this is what video games are all about. i was prepared to enjoy it but i didn't realize just how "on board" i was going to be for all of this game's percieved bullshit. like early on i knew what i was getting into and i thought "man i love this jank 2010 action rpg combat and the weird tonal clash happening constantly but i am not really looking forward to getting all the weapons" and by the end i was thinking "fuck yeah i wanna do a million sidequests and fish in the desert for like an hour so i can get all the weapons". this doesn't ever happen to me normally so this was like a freak accident. but i loved this game's bizarre world and impeccable storytelling so much i just wanted to continue until i could see it all. and so i did. so i did.
final notes: i'm gonna miss my fishing records. been humming the junk heap theme all week. i think it's really funny that liam o'brien does the same voice he does in this for leviathan in skullgirls. i have zero interest in playing the remake. grumpy old nier 4 lyfe <3