Soul Calibur 2 Review

The last time I reviewed a Soul Calibur game was in 2012, just a month or so after I started this site. My reviews for Soul Calibur 4 on the PS3 (because my PS3 could still read discs back then) and the Dreamcast original were awful 400-600 word abominations that completely missed the point—as was the case with so many reviews from those days—but while my opinions and review style have evolved over time, there are certain games that I feel as strongly about as I did back then. Case in point, Soul Calibur 2. Awhile back, someone caught me yelling at the game and asked why I was so frustrated given my love of Soul Calibur, to which I instinctively replied, “I love the original, but this is the sequel and I hate this f***ing game.” The fact that I went into both Soul Calibur 2 and its basically identical HD remaster with a totally open mind and came out hating it more than ever speaks volumes about how bad the game really is, and while I’m sure a large number of nostalgia-fueled apologists would be willing to put on their love goggles and argue that I’m wrong about its quality, this is an objectively worse game than what came before and after. Read more →

Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader Review

I typically aim for 4 reviews per month, so when I recently hit that mark earlier than usual, I decided to use the extra time to jump into something a bit more expansive that would likely take longer than a week to play through. Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader had been sitting around on my desktop for 8 months, so it seemed like the perfect game for the occasion; a cRPG that user reviews claimed devolves into more of an aRPG later on, I pictured it being something like an Arcanum that eventually turns into more of a Sacred. That didn’t quite end up being the case. Instead, its flaws were apparent from the very beginning and only became worse the further I played. The beginning city that I saw constantly praised? Depressingly bland, it turns out, with a long sewer section on top. To be fair, Lionheart’s cRPG elements didn’t disappear from the game, though its primary focus is definitely on soulless dungeon-crawling instead of reactivity. Add in some terrible design decisions, unclear mechanics, suicidal companions, and terribly uninteresting writing, and you have a recipe for a game best left forgotten. Read more →

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker Review

There’s this topic I’ve been toying around with writing about for the longest time, but haven’t got around to as of yet. It has to do with the differences in a normal game-player’s tastes and those of someone who plays through a lot of games to review them (and how that experience with many other types of games that succeed and fail in similar ways makes one less forgiving of flaws), and it’s something that Wind Waker demonstrates wonderfully. Once upon a time, I enjoyed this game greatly and found it to be a refreshing change from the previous games, which is why I decided to replay it in the first place. Going through it again with a critical eye, however, I’ve come to see it as a low point for the series. In fact, I was so disgusted with its busywork that I couldn’t even finish it this time. That’s not to say that some people don’t or won’t enjoy it, but glossing over its flaws because “it’s Zelda and Zelda is good” isn’t possible when you’ve played through enough good and bad games to recognize just how bad Wind Waker’s missteps truly are. Read more →

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 Review

Obsidian’s Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, more commonly referred to as simply KOTOR 2, is a game I fell in love with something like a decade ago, and yet it’s also one that I’ve put off playing for just about as long. Part of the reason I’ve left it alone for so long is the fact that I still have the jewel case with four install discs rather than having re-bought it on a digital site in a more convenient form, so I had to dig out my USB CD-DVD reader and keep the “play” disc in it whenever I started the game. Little things like that seem so archaic and annoying now despite being little more than a minor obstacle when the game first released. Still, the Star Wars hype machine has been in full force lately, so I figured it was finally time to revisit what’s considered one of the best Star Wars games ever made. Read more →

Sid Meier’s Pirates! Review

Pirates! is a game I’ve had installed for an absurd amount of time, and its long period of neglect was largely due to my worry that I didn’t have enough time for it; not only do the Civilization games bearing Sid’s name manage to be a black hole of a time sink, but the Pirates! series includes two other games in the original DOS version and its Gold remake that I felt obligated to play through in order to get a feel for how the games have evolved over time before reviewing the 2004 incarnation. Lately I’ve been working on playing through the depressing number of games I’ve installed and ignored, however, so I braced myself and finally began to play through all three games. Read more →

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons Review

What can be said of Oracle of Seasons? Widely considered to be the better of the two Oracle games developed by Capcom, it actually started out life as a remake of the very first Zelda game. In fact, the first dungeon and boss character are almost directly taken from the first game. However, the Oracle games became something else in the end, something like Link’s Awakening spinoffs with unfortunate animal cameos (like a boxing kangaroo) and less interesting items. Designed to be more about combat than the puzzle-solving that Ages revolved around, Seasons is a solid Zelda game that also suffers from a few questionable design decisions. Read more →

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