13 Reviews liked by steve520
A solid puzzle platformer in the vain of so many great games that have come before it, The Pedestrian lives and breathes in the world of signs, your 2D playing environments scattered around a lively 3D world. This setting allows for The Pedestrian’s greatest innovation, the ability to pick up and move these signs around, connecting them in new ways to alter the flat space your character will traverse. Early puzzles proved a little boring as some seemed to just throw as many signs as they could at you just to brute force the right combination of doors and ladders that will get you through them, but later puzzles really felt clever and by the end I felt plenty satisfied with the few hours I spent on The Pedestrian.
I love a good narrative-heavy game, so I was excited about Kentucky Route Zero, but it just didn’t sit right with me at all after the first chapter. I was bored to tears. Might be the highest ratio of time spent checking my phone to playing a game I’ve ever had, I’m not going to waste my time with the rest of this.
Back 4 Blood
There's plenty of issues here- unmemorable characters in a non-existent story, a card system that never really clicked with me, some very unintuitive menus, long loading times- but I had plenty of fun playing through this with my friends over the course of a month anyway. Co-op zombie killing is back, baby!
I love the attempt to reinvigorate the point-and-click adventure game genre with a big budget and an interesting hook- you're trying to piece together a mystery involving your wife and a murderous home invader in a world that's constantly resetting itself every few minutes. Unfortunately even for such a short game there is just so much repetition and wasted time every time you want to try something new. Some effort to make this more user-friendly (more shortcuts? selectable branching paths? fast-forwarding?) really could have improved the experience, and the payoff is pretty disappointing too.
MLB The Show 21
A reimagining of the relatively bare-bones Metroid 2, all that this game seems to keep from that one is the game-length hunt for 40 Metroids to genocide, and the ability to journey deeper into levels via drained lava after eliminating all the available Metroids. Otherwise we’ve got a standard Metroid game with a few new twists- a melee counter-attack, a magic bar, and a greater emphasis on puzzles and combat versus the exploration the series is known for. It was enjoyable, but I wouldn’t stray much further from the formula than this- that’s when you enter Other M territory. Eager to see what we’ve got next in Dread, which appears to be much more stealth-focused.
MLB The Show 21
On one hand, I can understand that it's gotta be hard as hell to go from one dedicated platform to four within the same yearly cycle as the previous games, but man, the changes just aren't doing it for me. Road to the Show being based on loadouts more or less instead of game to game progression is a slog. Even NBA 2K is more giving of its microtransaction currency to build up your white beard tall dude. In fact, seeing that perks can be bought with the game's stubs, we can safely say there's some microtransaction fiddling here, too.
Moreover, next gen has some shaky performance, mainly on cutscenes and not during actual play, to be fair, but nothing that seems to suggest we're getting the next generation of a sports title. Stadium Creator is neat and once they basically make it functional, like adding search features that could let us report the edgelord racist ones, that'll be cool. Just kinda bummed that I even had so many nits to pick on a game I usually just love every year, man.
I respect the hell out of Nintendo for taking a swing as big as this, mostly blowing up the Zelda formula and giving us something that plays out more like a Western RPG. It wasn't quite my cup of tea- my favorite parts of Zelda games is how incredibly dense and meticulously planned Hyrule always feels, whereas Hyrule here felt a little bloated and repetitive. But Nintendo took the "try the temples in any order" from Link Between Worlds to its natural conclusion, adopting that philosophy even inside the non-linear temples themselves, with a final boss you can take on an hour into the game should you feel up to it. I really hope the upcoming sequel strikes a better balance between this open-world ethos and the classic Zelda formula.
Halo 5: Guardians
Apparently I beat this years ago and didn't even remember it as I played it through recently. That said, it was a blast running around as Master Chief and defeating the... uh... wait... what happened? Where am I? What day is it? Can I have a quarter for the bus?
I'll say this for Fractured Minds- I can think of no better way to farm for Xbox achievements. 1000/1000 completed in about 20 minutes, and the game itself isn't terrible. 6 quick levels completely designed and programmed by Emily Mitchell, a young woman dealing with mental illness, trying to demonstrate how that feels. It pulls off a few neat tricks, my personal favorite coming after maybe 1 minute of play time. But there's just not enough here to make much of an impression unfortunately. I'm curious to see what Emily could pull off with some more resources at her disposal, as this almost feels like a first draft of what could be a much better game.
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