Recent Activity

7 hrs ago

strenkth finished Road 96

Man, this game is so interesting and I am really glad I finally decided to play it on a whim without really knowing what it was about.
The narrative structure is fascinating and generally works incredibly well with the story it tells, stitching together roadtrips with vignettes featuring a distinct cast of characters. These vignettes offer great variety in settings and tones and the narrative puzzle revealed bit by bit through these character moments is genuinely interesting to follow because you never know for sure what you will get with each new vignette. I really can't say enough nice things about the narrative design, structure and gameplay loop of Road 96.

So... why this score?

Well, I didn't talk about the actual contents of the game yet. Road 96 is unabashedly political through every fiber of its narrative. And therein lies the problem. I adore games willing to take on politics and having the guts to stand for something.
The politics of Road 96 are messy and not supported or conveyed by the most amazing writing I have seen around, to be generous. The chosen characters and their roles in the world are certainly diverse and interesting, but it often dips into territories you wouldn't go with as the player, lacking the meaningful application of player agency and the hamfisted parallels to the real world are played for laughs and irony for the most part but can't help but reveal the superficial depth we can expect from its handling of politics. The performances are emotional for sure in key moments, but also really do not stand out as anything but servicable for the most part.

The main issue I had around the narrative problems was the lack of reactivity or guidance from characters and the game on what my decisions mean. Disappointing a staunch anarchist by choosing the moderate dialogue option got me a disappointed one-liner but...okay? There are generally three options you get, 1. everyone for themselves, 2. fuck the system 3. go vote pwease, which seem to accumulate in the background for something...maybe? I am not sure if there are even any consequences to these flavor choices you make, maybe it's so seamless that I didn't notice, but in any case there is just this total lack of bite and reaction to every choice because of this, leaving the player in this ambigous space where they just play along until credits roll.

Maybe, that's just me. It is still absolutely worth it to play this game, I can't emphasize this enough, Road 96 fascinates me to no end and it has a lot going for it, if you are at all on the fence about it, I will absolutely recommend it, at the very least you will find a lot to like, maybe even dismissing my criticisms, in which case this game could be loved by a lot of people, I believe.

1 day ago

strenkth is now playing Road 96

4 days ago

strenkth finished Neon White

The defining achievement of Neon White seems to be turning people with no speedrunning or highscore-chasing ambitions around to do just that. That's certainly the case with me.
I didn't chase for the global leaderboards, shaving off milliseconds, but I made it a mission to get every Ace medal and collectible in every level, because doing that is less of a challenge to perfectly take each corner but instead distinct puzzle solving of how to use the tools available to you to get to a seemingly unreachable spot or solve the alternative path that is highlighted in the built-in hint system.
The reason why I was striving for the completion of every challenge is the excellent game feel and fantastic soundtrack, effortlessly putting you into a flow state within seconds. You also quickly learn that you can rely on the game being fair to you, gradually increasing the intensity but never forcing you to beat your head against a wall or requiring pixel perfect precision.
The writing I unfortunately didn't care for at all, it is -very much- woven out of internet culture, memes and tropes and while it combined with the voice acting probably evokes a semi ironic nostalgia for beloved english anime dubs, it certainly failed to make me care for the characters at all and the little vignettes that you unlock by collecting gifts in the levels felt hollow and pointless for the most part unfortunately.
This would normally be a bigger deal breaker for me than it actually ended up being, just because of the strength of all the surrounding elements. It is just so unbelievably fun and I can't help but love Neon White in its entirety because of that.

5 days ago

strenkth is now playing Neon White

14 days ago

15 days ago

15 days ago

strenkth is now playing Persona 5 Strikers

22 days ago

24 days ago

Filter Activities