11 Reviews liked by strenkth

It's easy to take a glance at Cruelty Squad's unpleasant artstyle and dismiss it for being obvious and unsubtle about its intent, when most of critical praise seemingly rests on its ability to create a playable shitpost deep fried meme that bluntly satirizes the sewer corporate modern age we live in and not much else inbetween. That however would be understating the talent and craft that is required to make such effective "heavy handed" art like Cruelty Squad.

Baffling to realize that this was Ville Kallio's first shot at videogames, because he displays such a strong understanding of the medium and utilizes so much of its strengths in ways that no other developers have really tapped into to create what I can only describe as a arthouse masterpiece of counter intuitive art and game design. Our infactuation with cyberpunk dystopia has created such pleasing worlds to look at in all of fiction that the only thing Cruelty Squad had to do was present the existential nightmare we already live in it its true colors. Making a house the most expensive item that gates you from the rest of the game's content might come across as portentous hassle for the player and an easy cheap jab at Capitalism™, but it doesn't make its statement any less truer and effective.

Getting accustomed to Cruelty Squad vomit inducing textures ends up becoming an inevitability, and the game beneath it surprisingly reveals enough enticing complexity and kinesthetic gratification that will distract you from the uglyness of it all. DNA taken straight out of Quake make traversal in Cruelty Squad's industrial purgatory oddly satisfying and addicting to exploit as you discover there is fun in retrying missions to find new secrets in the open ended maze like levels and speedunning CEO and landlord assassinations, raking in the dough to invest and buy more expensive game changing implants that further blur the line between man and biomachine monstrosity. Sooner than expected, you end up forgetting the garish mismatched colors and low poly disorienting textures that assault your senses, and Cruelty Squad ends up becoming just another game to master like all the others that came before it.

Were this any other game, I would be taking down a couple of points for it losing its luster after the initial hours, but Cruelty Squad losing its repulsiveness over time just ends up reinforcing its message that much more. In the same way that Cruelty Squad visualizes what violent videogames must look like to our parents, it displays for a brief moment the reality and future humanity has devised for itself, as if putting on the They Live glasses for the first time. But eventually we get used to it. And we forget, we comply, we find pleasure in it. Luckily we get the chance once in a while to experience something like Cruelty Squad to remind us that we are all just meat sacks ticking up and down on a graph, selling ourselves short to the highest bidder.

PS: The easiest method I found out to make quick money in Cruelty Squad was to kill Elon Musk's personification over and over again and betting on the stock market right after. Something very poignant and cathartic about that. Don't tank my crypto next time, asshole.

The best game ever. Simply the peak of gaming industry and one of the most passionate expressions of art of the 21st century.

This game, as all good stuff, sorrounds about love, but not only the good part about love and loving, but the tough one that is the lack of it. The themes of grief through the game are very evident and Itoi doesn't miss the chance to crush the player's emotions anytime he can, still, the game never loses its optimism and hopefulness.

Lucas character development of learning to deal with sadness, grief and the absence of a loved one is amazing and you can feel all his emotions despite he not having more than 3 or 5 lines of dialogue in the whole game. The whole cast is also outstanding and vocative characters like Duster carry the emotions and feelings of the story in a explicit way. It's also really cool how much a thriller this game can get at times.

It's harsh, tough, merciless, and opressive. But at the same time it's lovable, hopeful, beatiful, and warm. Just like our own reality actually is.

Mother 3 is a game about letting go, a game about forgiving yourself and others and embracing love as a whole including all the suffering and anxieties that comes with it.

The message that this game carry plus all of the more objective qualities of it really makes it a easy pick for the best of all time, with no exaggerations.

Love is beatiful, and it's one of the most amazing things that God gave us, we can all love and we can learn to hug it and not letting it go. Love is much more than just the happy times, love is holding up and going through despite fights, angers, dissapointments and animosities.

And if your heart is filled with love, that will make you able to traverse.

Love wins.

With 3 legendary weapons completed and everything else done and pretty much every single achievement possible this concludes my huge nostalgia for MMO's.
After the closed beta I grinded as many gems as I could and after a 3 year break I was probably Bruce-Wayne-rich and have sent so much random gold to players. A true gem in my life

I'll be honest in admitting that the mental damage I endured over the years from purposefuly subjecting myself to the clutches of the internet had made me apprehensive and cynical of Disco Elysium's preceeding reputation, but having gone through its rollercoaster of drugs, alcohol and communism, I am truly glad to be able to add this one to the list of all time great CRPGs that continue to be undisputed as the smartest videogame experiences you can have.

Having the confidence that even Planescape: Torment lacked, Disco Elysium ditches the combat completely and takes the biggest strength of the genre to immerse the player in his own perceived virtuousity and egotistic idealization, dice rolling from a caricature of extreme ideology to the next, only to have such deified facade shattered and mocked as the cracks start to reveal what is behind the constructed mask. Dystopic and endlessly ravaged, Revachol opens up its angry chasm to reveal an unflincing sad mirror in its politically charged inhabitants that reflects back to us a vast ocean filled with boats blindly passing by each other in the mist blasting Sad FM.

Immensely thought provocking, always hilarious, and with some of the best interconnected writing I have seen in the genre, Disco Elysium has definitely cemented itself as a modern age classic that will make even the biggest game bro go "yes, please, keep politics in my game!". An unabashedly leftist game that manages to avoid falling into the usual misgivings of being obnoxious, obvious and self centered as its contemporaries often do, and that beautifully exposes our innate ability to project our deepest grudges and hangups into unreachable dreams and expectations that further disconnect us from the acceptance and understanding we so demand from others. In the end, everything is escapism. But we can never truly escape, can we? Whatever I end up saying about Disco Elysium says more about my view of the world than the game itself, but I think that's what makes it such a great piece of art.

You did look fucking cool smoking that cigarette, Kim. And you knew it.

Yes, I am indeed one of those shmucks to whom the unique online experience provided by Journey not only worked for but deeply had an effect on that still resonates to this day, so the prospects of a new TGC game acting as a spiritual sequel to it and iterating upon the design philosophy that defined that game and its artistic recognition was all game for me.

Sky's biggest issue is its familiarity. The new coat of paint does not do enough to disguise how big of a shadow Journey casts over it. Not only conveying its aesthetic and narrative through the same devices and mechanics as its predecessor, it also ends up repeating many of Journey's most recognizable and memorable setpieces. What worked in Journey's more linear focused and intimate co-op design, now constantly disrupts the communial premise of Sky, frustratingly funneling you into a rollercoaster towards the finish line with obtrusive cutscenes that undercut whatever human connection you manage to build. The result: a very impressive looking game that in its attempt to outmatch Journey's holistic expression, ends up falling into the same trap so many of its copycats do.

Getting past that first impression is not an easy pill to swallow, but once Sky is no longer rushing you, a new game presents itself. Brimming with nooks and crannies and secret optional areas to find, Sky is a co-operative BOTW like experience of discovery unlike anything out there. The simple act of offering a candle to another player to be allowed to see their appearance and communicate with them alone invites interaction and dialogue, and with Journey's two player limit now gone, Sky is filled with players flying past and around you, ocasionally allowing for the small bit of limited interaction before parting ways never to be seen again. Finding myself holding hands with newbies to show them where to go, having the rare occasional small chat with people from different nationalities who speak in broken english, and demonstrating my gratitude towards a helpful hand by shooting fireworks around them, it becomes hard not to feel some speck of humanity twinge inside this decrepid jaded body.

It's a shame Sky feels the need to worship Journey so much, when its minimalist MMO design is more than enough to stand on its own, removing much of the excess I have so much trouble getting past in the genre. Spending hours with a group of strangers trying to open a door, filling up the time with whatever ways we could come up with to be entertained, only to be rewarded by one of the most underwhelming and yet hilarious secrets in the game, had me feeling a special sense of masochistic comradery, and as I watched each one of them say their goodbyes and part ways, knowing I would never see them again, I felt the same way I did when I missed the chance to reach out to that one stranger who died alongide me in Journey all those years ago. I made up my mind about Sky then.

Plus, hey, it's free.

Simultaneously the best Borderlands game AND the best Telltale game.

What an accomplishment. I don't care about Borderlands at all and was incredibly tired of Telltale's formula when TFTB comes along and blows away all my expectations.



A short and sweet narrative walking sim with a really unique premise. The writing, for me, was hit-or-miss, but the performances hit much more often than they missed, and i think the high points easily outweigh the low. A lot of the quiet moments feel alternately tense and calm, and it's hard for me to place the overall vibe here, but it's very evocative. I cried during one scene, and another had me on the edge of my seat. Steam tells me I finished in in 78 minutes. I'll be looking forward to what Doc and the team do next!

Edit: I just noticed the achievements list (don't look until after you beat it), and it pleases me to know that if I wanted to revisit this game in a couple years, I can do some things differently. The game really masks that in a way that feels natural. I didn't think there was any wiggle room. I don't feel compelled to immediately hop back in, but that gives me a reason to replay it after some time away to ruminate.

Even People who profoundly avert the Musou genre should play this game, because it strips off many characteristics of the usual tropes. How ATLUS delivered state of the art storytelling time and time again over the past few years is beyond me. From characters to music to new style, Persona 5 as a franchise has been the biggest blast to play and contiunes to be a powerhouse of JRPG's and Strikers is no exception
Also this game has tons of references from JOJO's to internet culture to Shin Megami Tensei itself it's hilarious

It's insane for me to remember that my brother and I invested hundreds of hours and € while we were also playing Magic the Gathering all while having one of the highest rated worldwide accounts
I was friends with a blind person and he kicked some serious ass in this game. mesmerizing times

-The power and futility of images
-The unreconcilable friction between self expression, documentation, and occupation
-The urgency and necessity of cultural perseverance and joy, even as bloody torrents surge through broken dams
-The act of bearing witness to the places and people whose glittering specificity will be dashed and diluted by apocryphal, self-absolving media narratives scrawled by the servants of those who erased them
-The film reel collectibles are TOO SMALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 Lists liked by strenkth