Bloodborne Review

There are certain games that are praised so universally that you can’t help but expect the world of them. I happened to buy two of them—Dark Souls and Bloodborne—on a whim based on this universality, figuring that I’d play through Dark Souls first to allow me to appreciate and assess the two games’ similarities and differences. After several hours of Dark Souls, however, I came to realize that it really wasn’t my type of game. Despite the incessant claims of its fairness I’d seen littered around the internet for years, I managed to kill a skeleton through a wall. Despite the gameplay being lauded to the point where many people would show up on forums to insist that X game and Y game copy Dark Souls’ allegedly sublime formula, I found it incredibly clunky, with a special call out going to the stupidity that is mapping center-camera and lock on to the same button and having the game decide which of the two you’re trying to do based on whether an enemy is nearby or not. Then there was stupidity like one of the items you can choose from in the beginning having an item description that’s patently untrue. How this hasn’t been patched out is beyond me. Eventually I realized that I wasn’t having fun, and fighting through a game for 10-20 hours in the hopes that it eventually “clicks” (as is said to happen after a groan-inducing period of not-fun) wasn’t something I was in the mood to do. Where I began expecting Dark Souls to pull me into Bloodborne, I was suddenly in a situation where I hoped the reverse would end up being the case. Read more →

Bloodborne Screenshots

Bloodborne is one of those games it took me awhile to make up my mind about. It starts strong, has a few insufferable sections that have to be fought through (mostly related to platforming), quickly becomes a lot of fun, then nosedives as it forces you through some tedious encounters required to make it to the end, where it suddenly becomes more fun than ever. It does a lot of things right, but it also does a lot of things very wrong, and while I’d say that I enjoyed my time with it overall, it could have definitely been a much more solid and well-rounded game. I will say that despite my generally positive impressions, all of the fans who gloated about it being the greatest game of 2015 were lying through their whore teeth. Fans and reviewers have got into the habit of overlooking deep-seated flaws in From Software’s games for fear of being accused of not “getting it” (because surely these genuinely not-fun things are intentional design choices), and I’m sick of it. Read more →

Peter Moorhead’s Murder Review

I often like to give little games I’ve never heard of a shot. Occasionally I’ll end up stumbling onto an underappreciated gem, while other times I’m made to wade through the depths of annoying indie pretentiousness to the point where I question why I even bother. Peter Moorhead’s Murder is most definitely the latter, and it’s telling that it’ll take me longer to write this review than it took to finish the game three times. Shortness isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, of course, but when the writing is cringe-inducingly terrible throughout and culminates in a middle finger from the developer, there’s really no excuse for the game to also be unfinished. Read more →

Rodea the Sky Soldier Review

Rodea is a game that apparently went through a troubled development. Blah blah blah. Every time I’ve seen the game mentioned, that seems to be the first thing people go out of their way to mention because drama is more important than the end product for a disgusting number of people. Basically, the whole brouhaha means that the 3DS and Wii U versions of Rodea are different than the Wii version (which isn’t even sold, only being included as an extra with the first batch of Wii U copies). I haven’t played the Wii original, but I watched some gameplay of the differences between versions to get a feel for the changes between all three. Consider this a review for the 3DS and Wii U versions, which are more or less identical save for some graphical differences between the two. Read more →

Rodea the Sky Soldier Screenshots

Bad games can be forgotten and moved on from, but games on the cusp of greatness that overcome several missteps only to squander all of their potential in their closing seconds are an entirely different beast. Rodea is such a game, starting out generic and unlikable, blossoming into something that’s actually a surprising amount of fun, and then throwing up annoying roadblocks that serve to force you to grind for upgrade parts in order to proceed. Even if you can forgive that, the final boss fight is designed to require precision that the game simply doesn’t afford you given its clumsy control scheme, which can cause many irritating failures that come down to the game’s inadequacies rather than player skill. Read more →

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Review

My history with the Assassin’s Creed franchise is a rocky one; the first game was one of the first newer games I played when I built my first gaming PC in ~2010 (though it was a few years old by that time, I had been playing decades-old games because they were the only thing that worked on my laptop at the time), and I liked it. It was slow and kind of meandering, but it was an interesting concept and I really liked the characters. Then Assassin’s Creed 2 happened. It was my first experience with always-online DRM, and if that wasn’t enough to make me hate the game, I found Ezio to be endlessly annoying. I know that the games that focus on him are typically revered by fans—and even many detractors—as the highlights of the series, but I found him to be an infinitely less interesting character than Altair in the first game, and his story was just so consistently dumb that I only barely made it to the end of the second game. Five minutes into the third game, I was fed up with his presence and the series’ lack of innovation and I stopped playing. Until I received Assassin’s Creed Syndicate as a Christmas gift, I hadn’t played through any of the other games or paid any attention to the annoying yearly releases. After the atrocious reception of Assassin’s Creed Unity, that decision felt like the right one. However, I figured I might as well give Syndicate a shot to see what had changed since I quit the series, and I actually ended up liking the game overall despite several annoyances and “I can’t believe this is still a thing” moments. Read more →

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