24 Reviews liked by wavebeem

why are the wall kicks so hard dude what the hell

The storytelling is a bit uneven throughout, but up until the final chapter I was convinced this game was going to be a game of the year contender for me. However, the last chapter is a serious dip in gameplay and it actively sucks the fun out. I know there's an implication with Souls inspired games that you must get good to progress, but the final chapter throws out all that you've mastered. Instead it's just abrasive and unrewarding, both literally and in the narrative payoff sense.

I love GNOSIA. I love the vibes, the mystery, and the characters, who are all unique and fun. I loved gradually gaining bits of information to see how the characters tie into the mysteries.
Even got a couple of great, explicitly non-binary characters (notably, the player can also play as non-binary).
I almost didn't take a chance on this, as I'd never gotten into any games categorized as "roguelite", and the concept doesn't generally appeal to me. I feel that there's narrative utility in the repetitive gameplay loop, in really feeling the situation wear on the player. For me, it was a somewhat immersive aspect.
For anybody who enjoys this gameplay despite the repetition, this game has a lot of replay value. After one full playthrough, I'm still coming across a lot of new things. It's kind of amazing.
The computer AI is "smart" and well designed (as a single-player social deduction game necessitates). Catching subtle hints based on NPC behavior is fun, as well as developing one's own strategy in order to influence the NPCs (lying gave me such intense anxiety though, LOL). The different characters each have unique ways of behaving in different situations, and varying inherent (and circumstantial) affinity towards other characters, including the player.
I wish they would allow for a multiplayer mode (separate from the story)!! I would love to play simultaneously with both the computer AI, and a friend.
I also wish I could casually spend more time with the characters. There's so much to work with here!
Cotori's lovely artwork, and the unusual music are the perfect dressing.
It's exciting to see such a cool game come from such a small development team.

Without Uchikoshi I would never get to experience an anime girl with pink hair explaining Jung's theory of the collective unconscious.
Overall really enjoyed this game. A good story with good twists and didn't feel overly convoluted, and one of the best uses of a flow chart I've personally experienced. It actually felt significant to see these different possibilities play out, although as I always tend to feel with these types of games I did begin to grow tired of working my way through similar feeling content just to get to the end. Some of this is alleviated by a great cast who I was very invested in.
I have to ding the game in a few areas. Again, the flowchart means repeating some of the most annoying content (for me this is stuff like the action sequences - I can only sit through so much of the same joke). The somnium sequences were a bit hit or miss for me, and wow the performance issues on the Switch got quite frustrating. But it really speaks to the quality of the story that I eagerly powered through all of that to get the conclusion to the mystery.

More Breath of the Wild, warts and all.
The skinner box grind is still entertaining enough and I ended up completing more of the game (90% of shrines) than I expected given how little they did to address issues I had with BotW - lackluster dungeons, storytelling, and progression systems all remain. But it's impossible to deny the charm of even a phoned-in Zelda title.
I think my bitterness is more a reflection of Aonuma's claim that this is what the future of Zelda games looks like. It's neat enough and it has mass appeal, but the "every solution is valid!" nature of open-ended puzzle design in these BotW-era Zelda games means there's fewer "a-ha!" moments in finding intended puzzle solutions (not that any of the puzzles are remotely challenging anyway). So much of the game is (still) defined by the dominant strategy of climbing and gliding everywhere - and for being such a long game it's pretty sad that there's less modulation in your traversal and puzzle solving abilities than earlier Zelda titles. I just need to accept that Nintendo will never make a dungeon with the complexity of Stone Tower Temple again - especially not now that Zelda sells more copies than Mario. This is not a franchise to do weird experiments with, anymore.

The good:
-The map is huge, and it's packed with content.
-Most of the new mechanics like fusing and recall are very fun to use.
-Exploring the islands was very fun and easy to do.
-Creating your own machines is fun, and it offers thousands of possible inventions. Despite the battery being a big problem, the huge amount of freedom the developers give you to create your machines is great, and I wish most of the game gave you this much freedom.
-It has a way better final boss and story than BOTW.
-The new abilities offer a lot more uses compared to BOTW.
-Obtaining extra parts to build machines is very quick and easy.
-You can fuse several solid objects and items with your shields like bombs, springs, mine carts and a miniature flamethrower which you can also use while shield surfing to give you several new ways to travel.
The bad:
-Combat wise, Link feels very stiff and hard to control. Several boss fights boil down to flurry rush spamming.
-Traversing on land takes way too long. Most of your time is going to be spent running with a stamina bar that depletes in 3 seconds with a character that runs and walks very slowly.
-The majority of the weapons break in 10 to 25 swings.
-Unlocking anything in this game takes way too much time and effort. It also requires you to do a lot of uninteresting side quests and grinding.
-There are a lot of unskippable cutscenes.
-It's so tedious to complete quests, mainly because it revolves around a lot of back and forth location wise.
-The hitboxes on most enemies are way bigger than they look.
-If your bond meter with your horse isn't maxed out, your horse is going to occasionally steer away from where you are moving. The horses can't teleport near you, they will only run towards you if you're very close to them, and they refuse to jump off any cliff that is 5 feet tall and higher.
-Link easily ragdolls from most enemies and bosses attacks, making fights very tedious. Ragdolling becomes an even bigger annoyance whenever you're trying to fight a dragon without a bow, since most of their attacks will knock you to the ground.
-Even though creating your own machines makes exploring easier, it still requires you to grind a lot to upgrade your battery capacity and to unlock most of the machines, since the first options they give you are too slow and inconsistent for traversal.
-Shrines were too easy most of the time.
-The camera is mostly awful when fighting a singular enemy, and it's even worse when fighting multiple enemies. The targeting system doesn't help much either because of how it constantly focuses on the wrong enemy and because of how it turns the camera to the side, making it difficult to backflip to avoid attacks.
-Despite the story being better, Ganondorf is still a very bland villain, since most of his character revolves around hatred and vengeance.
-The amount of weapons, shields, and bows you're able to hold is so little that it revolves around constantly fusing whatever weapon and item you can find, making it very repetitive. Upgrading your inventory is easy at first but becomes very long and tedious the more you upgrade since each inventory upgrade is divided into weapons, shields and bows, and each upgrade further increases the price by one korok seed. You can only obtain one extra inventory slot per upgrade.
-Exploring caves is such a drag because of the insane amount of boulders that cover most of the caves. You also need to use weapons that are fused with rocks to be able to destroy it, which revolves around breaking several of your weapons and constantly fusing the new ones that drop from inside the boulders with nearby rocks.
-Outside the main story, the characters are very bland and forgettable.
Even though I wrote a lot of criticism about this game, I honestly had fun when I wasn't being forced to grind for hours and hours. I just think that the developers should've given the player a more consistent way to travel near the beginning of the game. For example: In Elden Ring they give you a horse in the beginning of the game that doesn't get tired, runs quickly, can jump in the air, can teleport to you and follows anything you tell it to do. Another problem that even Elden Ring suffers is annoying upgrade systems that slow down the pacing of the game by a lot. Finally, I just think that the fun and tedium are constantly at odds with each other until you put in like 60+ hours to unlock most things.

(Played Through Legacy Collection)
they say it was the first game in this whole series but maaan were some of its flaws really exhaust me to finish this game.
The combat is,fine. it's not overly complex as i thought it would but it stays relatively simple and some of the bosses in this game are pretty cool.
The story is basically monster of the week type beat with world ending threat,i honestly couldn't care less aside from very early 2000s dialogue here and there.
The soundtrack was......okay i guess?idk some songs hits but some really torture my ears especially the dungeon ones and now let's move on to the dungeons,or the progression of the game.
The game overall lacks any direction for player where to go,this not only happens in the dungeon but also in DenCity,there's a lot of time where i have to wonder what or where the fuck should i even go and it doesn't help that the dungeon designs are awful combine this with very high random encounters as this only creates exhaustion rather than challenging.
Battle Network 1 is a game that not only suffers from first game syndrome but also has many flaws that can't just be overlooked by first game syndrome or a GBA launch title,i'm still looking forward to play more titles in the franchise more but as of right now it was certainly a game.

This game was a banger.
You may know that the main mechanic of this game is walkin'. You're a porter and you deliver stuff from point A to point B. The game does this really well. Planning your trips by figuring out what to bring with you and optionally plotting a route to roughly follow feels like a puzzle, and it's incredibly rewarding to make a plan that works out. Walking in this game feels very good. It honestly feels as close as you could possibly come to emulating how it feels to hike using only a controller.
Most of what you do is walk, but it's far from the only thing you do. There is combat. I wasn't a huge fan of how the actual violent combat feels. I don't know if this is because it's been a little while since I played a game where you shoot a gun using a controller rather than mouse and keyboard, but I had difficulties moving and aiming at the same time. But I think this might be intentional, because Sam is, well, a porter. He's not a soldier. And luckily for me and for Sam there isn't a large amount of combat required to finish the game.
There's also stealth, generally performed when trying to avoid "BTs", which are essentially just ghosts that can really mess your shit up if they catch you. Sneaking around BTs was, besides just walkin', my favorite part of the game. The trick to making this part work, I think, was the fact that you cannot see the BTs -- you have to rely on your funky fetus in a jar to tell you where the BTs are. The tension during these moments is fantastic, and the sound design here imparts the perfect sense of unease.
There is also a very cool aspect of the game which is the internet connectivity. You don't ever directly play with other people, but there is a way to connect that is similar in concept to Dark Souls messaging but wider in scope. The biggest thing here is that you can build structures in your game, such as bridges, generators, and ziplines, and these will show up in other players' worlds for them to use. This is not only extremely helpful when you're trying to navigate the difficult terrain of the game, but it gives a sense of connection and collaboration with other players. I don't want to talk too much about the story but this ties in well to the themes of the game.
Speaking of which, the story was a wild ride. This is a Hideo Kojima game and there is no way to mistake it for anything but. There were certainly times that I groaned at a line a Very Famous Actor was made to say in this game. There's often a sense of whiplash as the game tries to be incredibly serious but also goofy at the same time. This game loves jargon (maybe more than it loves Sam's naked body and fluids). I was confused about the story many times.
Yet I loved it. Death Stranding has a lot to say about humanity, about connection and disconnection, about grief, and about country. I found it completely fascinating.
If you haven't played this game yet and this sounds remotely interesting I strongly suggest giving it a shot. I hadn't considered playing this game since it was released in 2019, but I was curious after seeing the trailer for the sequel, so I took a chance on an $11 physical copy of the standard edition and I'm so glad I did.

A gorgeous game with fun and rewarding gameplay. Feels like some kind of blend of Zelda and Dark Souls, in a very nice way.
The difficulty level is a bit inconsistent, but for the most part I found it to be a nice level of challenge. The game (almost) never feels unfair. The doors (checkpoints/portals) are frequent enough, and you don't lose anything from dying, so even sections where I was dying frequently didn't feel too frustrating.
Progressing feels great, when you unlock a shortcut there is a real feeling of accomplishment. The puzzles are not very difficult but are fun and engaging.
The reason I took off a half star is the final section of the game, which is a very long boss fight with multiple phases. It was a big difficulty spike and was very drawn out. I like what they were doing here in theory but I desperately wished for a checkpoint every couple of phases so I could stop redoing the same boss phases over and over.

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