It’s been almost four years since I played through The Longest Journey and Dreamfall back to back, and to say that I was looking forward to revisiting Stark and Arcadia and finally having my lingering questions answered would be a huge understatement; the original Dreamfall left a bunch of plot threads dangling when it released back in 2006, and 10 years later, Chapters is finally complete and in a position to answer the leftover questions. Unfortunately, this is easily one of the worst games I’ve ever had the misfortune of playing, and not only does it raise yet more questions that’ll remain unanswered for the foreseeable future, but the long-standing questions that do end up being addressed unmask this entire “Dreamfall” arc for the ridiculous, pretentious nonsense it is. This game is drowning in technobabble mixed with vague undercurrents of spiritualism, neither of which are ever given a solid basis for players to grasp the rules of the world like was possible in The Longest Journey. As a result, there are never any stakes, and the game ends with an absurd Final Fantasy XIII-esque intervention from someone you never get enough back story to understand the importance of in order to fulfill a prophecy that’s never revealed to you. It’s spectacle over substance, a bunch of flashy new graphics (which don’t even look good half of the time, yet manage to make the game run worse than much prettier games) covering up the fact that no one working on Chapters understands what made the previous games good. Read more →
Have you ever played a game that made you angry? I don’t mean the type of anger you feel when you’re invested and affected by a story that intends to make you feel that way, but the type of game so bad that you can’t believe someone can charge money for something so poor and get away with it. Few games have ever made me truly angry like this; Final Fantasy XIII did it, Lifeline did it, Infinity Blade did it, and that’s about it. Until Dreamfall Chapters happened, at least. I loved The Longest Journey and talk about it all the time because it got me into adventure games, and the original Dreamfall was enjoyable enough despite not living up to its predecessor, but Chapters is such a half-baked betrayal of everything that made those games good that it’s rage-inducing. I hate this game, and even that statement isn’t quite strong enough to convey just how pathetic Chapters is. It’s full of plot holes and inconsistencies, padded with some of the most monotonous gameplay I’ve ever experienced, and prone to bugs and performance problems even though this is an episodic game that’s been out in some form since 2014. Lifeline is still the worst game I’ve ever played, but Dreamfall Chapters is a very close second, worse than even Final Fantasy XIII (and they share many of the same story problems). I’ll never buy another game from Ragnar Tornquist or Red Thread Games. Read more →
This is normally around the time I’d post a new game review, but the game I’m currently playing is padded with annoying filler and is proving painful to play through. This makes for a potent one-two punch of suck that’s seen me running through it at a fairly slow pace, so instead, here are some screenshots for a game I played a little of recently but couldn’t finish because of its punishing difficulty (resource management isn’t one of my strengths, apparently). Since I couldn’t get anywhere near the end, I don’t feel comfortable reviewing it, but it was an enjoyable enough game from what I played. A bit repetitive, maybe, with some events popping up more than others, and some of the writing was a bit too quirky-casual for the “I’m wandering around in space and in near-constant peril” premise, but it was an enjoyable distraction that kept me interested for a few days. Read more →
Okay, so it’s that time again and I’ve moved to a new host. Hopefully this means the daily error 521 and 522s are a thing of the past, and if I can write reviews without constantly hitting a 500 internal service error when I preview posts, that’ll be great, too. The site also seems to be a bit faster overall. As with all site stuff, though, various things might be broken. Hopefully not, and I did take a look through stuff and fix a couple images that didn’t survive the transfer for a weird reason that seems to have something to do with capitalization, but site maintenance stuff always carries the risk of something unexpected no longer working. Mostly because this stuff gets complicated and I go into monkey-with-a-hammer mode.
(Mind the Gravity Rush header image; I just had a bunch of screenshots left over.)
Gravity Rush originally came out for the Vita, and while I haven’t played that version, I’ve read that some of the control issues from that release were ironed out in the PS4 remaster. I can’t even begin to imagine how bad the original controls were if the clunky mess that is Gravity Rush Remastered is the better-controlling of the two, though, and awkward controls are just the first in an endless string of fun-killing problems—the mechanics are seriously rough around the edges and tend to make parts of the gameplay luck-based, the story is unremarkable trash that sets up a bunch of interesting mysteries and opts to subject the player to a bizarrely vanilla series of events instead of tying up any of those dangling plot threads, the missions are repetitive and gimmicky, and the main character is quite possibly the most shallow and self-absorbed female lead I’ve ever seen in a game (but the writing is so inconsistent that this comes and goes unpredictably). Read more →
Ordinarily, I try to use this screenshot section to cover each game’s plot in broad strokes. Gravity Rush doesn’t have a plot, though. Things happen, sure, but nothing is ever explained, and the big conflict I expected turned out to be a big pile of nothing capped off with a deus ex machina that’s literally a machina ex deus (which is to say a machine comes out of a god for convenient magical reasons). Like everything else, this is never explained. The main mechanic of the game that pairs you with a shadowy cat who gives you the ability to change the direction of your gravity? Unexplained. The history of the world? Never explored. Who Kat sees in her visions/dream world and what that actually means? No dice—she sees them, but the angles are set up so that the player never does. What’s truly sad is that this pathetic non-story is just one of a million little problems that plague every aspect of the game and drown out the occasional whimpers of fun it should have embraced but instead chose to bury in busywork and needless, gimmicky awkwardness. Read more →