This review contains spoilers
Ya like quick time events?
[I open my trench coat to reveal "A Plague Tale: Innocence"] I've got some fuckin QTEs here for ya. Best QTEs on the market. Whole game full of 'em. Nothing but QTEs in this game, I promise.
I beat this game in 11 hours and it spent 10 hours VERY slowly building good will with me to the point where I had decided that "you know what, it's actually fine that this game is just quick time events on rails, it's a good story and good characters."
Then it hits me with easily the two worst sequences in the game BACK TO BACK ("Protect Yourself With the Cart" and "Kill Vitalis") and squandered all of it. By the time the credits rolled I hated this game.
Which makes the reason for the final post-credit chapter very obvious. I assume playtesters set down the game after getting to the credits, pointed at the devs and said "Fuck. You." So they threw in that final little chapter just to claw back a little good will.
Mind you, I'm not complaining about the story. It holds up. My complaint is purely with the god damn mechanics of these two sequences. Whoever put these in the game at all should be embarrassed, and whoever decided they should both be together right at the end should be fired.
The only reason this game gets 3.5 is for story, setting/environment, and characters. Honorable mention for a few very interesting mechanics used pretty well throughout the game, and then maliciously ignored or wasted by the end.
This is my first ever Metroid game, so I don't know whether I'm commenting on a series staple or a game-specific addition.
Overall, I really liked Metroid Dread.
I have a top 3 things I liked, although there are tons of great things about this game:
1. I like the door/key mechanic in games. In Metroid it's via suit and weapon upgrades which are also useful in combat. Feels great to get progression permanently, and then be confronted with a new thing you need to unlock.
2. I like upgrades! Too many games have tech trees, or point buy systems. In Metroid, you get an upgrade and then you just have it. New skill, new passive, or even just more shooty bang gun. It's great! This is linked to progression, too, but fundamentally just getting an upgrade is fun and rewarding! Even just upgrading missile capacity is rewarding!
3. Bosses are a skill-based learning experience. Even the hardest bosses felt accomplishable because I could slowly learn the perfect counters and sequences. I understand, now, the boss mechanic in other games. I also understand how they get it so wrong. In Metroid, you're always ready with a skill or an upgrade and you can progress just far enough into any fight to start learning movesets before you're killed. Many games throw you into a boss fight that is so brutally punishing that you have to luck into the right combo of button mashing to get a foothold, and then repeat that random luck through enough of the fight to eventually learn something. These games learned only that "boss fights should be hard" and not "and also discoverable." Metroid boss fights feel like a well deserved accomplishment!
I have one very major complaint about some bonus items in the game. I got 100% of the items in Metroid Dread, but it was an infuriating chore. Some of the puzzles, most notably the Shinespark/Speed Block puzzles depend on millisecond button accuracy in long chains of presses. These puzzles are just punishing. I felt only relief when I finished them, not like I had discovered a secret.
Anyway, this is a great game!
Timberborn is a really fun game that suffers from a "district" concept that limits your build capability and separates resources into distinct pools that the beavers will not share.
An "outpost" that extends your supply chain(s) and build area would be vastly better. The districts concept really sucks the fun out of the society management sim and turns it into non-stop micromanagement. You will spend all your time past the first hour or two fiddling with your districts and trying to shuttle resources back and forth. It's very painful.
Sadly, I think districts are core to this game, but I hope the developers add some ability to toggle a setting where instead of new districts, you can simply extend the build area of your existing settlement.
This game is fun, and I recommend it, but I do so with a ton of hesitancy ONLY because of the districts mechanic. The game is quite good otherwise, probably ⭐⭐⭐⭐⚫ without districts (which you can mod out)!