Lost Odyssey Review

I first played through Lost Odyssey around the time it came out, and several parts of that first playthrough stuck out so much for one reason or another that I was able to remember entire sections despite it being ~9 years later at this point. Most notably, I remembered the game being filled with brilliant little stories that fleshed out the game world far beyond that of most jRPGs and caused the game’s actual story to look pathetic by way of comparison. I also remembered that all of the characters get split up at one point late in the game, so I made sure to engage in soulless grinding to make things a little more palatable. At the end of the day, Lost Odyssey is a massively bipolar game that oscillates between brilliance and stupidity to such an extent that it’s simultaneously both highly enjoyable and undeniably aggravating to play, and while it’s definitely the kind of game that’s easy to recommend, it’s also the kind of thing that’s best run through only once and then left as a fond memory. Read more →

Okami Review

Ordinarily, I only use this site’s wider format for games I enjoyed overall, but I’m making an exception here because this is going to be long and I need the space. That’s not to say that I hated the entirety of Okami, though—there’s a slice of this game so good that I was able to see why it’s ended up on so many “best games ever made” lists. The first third of the game was painful and unimpressive, sure, but I was totally on board by the second third when things suddenly got awesome. Then the unnecessary, overlong, underwhelming last third of the game happened. How could I possibly recommend a game that I hated two-thirds of? My notes were overflowing with complaints about almost everything from the mechanics to the story to the quest design and even the graphics at certain points, and why it finally got out of its own way and found its own voice only to suddenly return to the same kind of stupidity that plagued the early parts of the game is beyond me. For reference, I played the 2012 HD version available for the PS3, widely considered the definitive version of Okami, so there’s really no excuse for the number of flaws that still exist here. Read more →

Ankh – Anniversary Edition Review

For the longest time, only Ankh 2 and 3 were available as digital releases and you had to find the original game secondhand on this site or that site, which turned out to be weirdly frustrating due to the game’s relative obscurity and the rarely-used “reverse the curse” line being used in some listings and not others. Needless so say, I kept kicking the can down the road so that I wouldn’t have to deal with untangling all of that. I was interested in the series, of course, being a fan of later Deck13 games and having an interest in their earlier stuff, but only if I could start from the very beginning without having to worry about accidentally ordering the wrong game. Then out of nowhere the developers released the digital Anniversary Edition of the original Ankh, which isn’t a remake so much as the normal game with support for HD resolutions. My interest was piqued, but I convinced myself that there was a reason the Ankh games received so little attention. Just days later, it showed up in a bundle for a price too good to pass up and I couldn’t help but finally pull the trigger. As it turns out, the original Ankh is an amazing game. It suffers from a few shortfalls like the occasional crash/bug and the beginning being a bit overwhelming, but it’s also filled with the kind of unabashed weirdness that seems to have fallen out of fashion since Rare’s heyday. Read more →

Puzzle Quest Review

I picked up Puzzle Quest and its sequel quite awhile back, but never got around to trying it until I saw a comedy video about it. That’s when I knew I needed to try it. Unfortunately, it really didn’t live up to my expectations, and I can’t help but wonder if the near-universal praise for it has something to do with the match-3 concept being more interesting back in 2007 than it is now that a million mobile games have exhausted it (many of which do it better than this game, in my opinion). Coming at this game without any nostalgia, I was blown away by just how shallow it was despite all of its complexities, with the vast majority of the game coming down to the same flawed matching system and feeling same-ish no matter what items and special attacks you have. That’s to say nothing of its non-story or the fact that the last third of the game is a giant, seemingly unending fetch quest, either. It’s just not anywhere near as enjoyable as its praise led me to believe. Read more →

NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits Review

The last few reviews I’ve put up have been negative, so I was on the prowl for something that I could enjoy to balance out the scales. That’s when I came across NyxQuest on sale at Amazon for $2.99 (normally priced at $9.99) and figured it looked interesting enough to be worth a try at that price. After looking around the internet a bit, I found the game’s dedicated website where it mentions that it’s “100% DRM-free.” I hadn’t noticed at the time, but the game’s base price on both its website and Steam seems to have been permanently reduced to $2.99, so the sale was a lie. Another red flag turned up before I had even launched the game for the first time; despite the website claiming that the game is DRM-free, it turns out that this is only applicable to the version from that site. The Amazon version with the artificially-inflated base price and Steam version both come with an annoying DRM scheme that requires entering a key, then activating the game via either the internet or phone. Sadly, things only got worse once I actually began playing. Read more →

Red Faction: Guerrilla Review

I really liked Red Faction: Armageddon, the fourth game in the Red Faction series, but it’s largely considered inferior to its predecessor, Red Faction: Guerrilla. I avoided Guerrilla for the longest time because it apparently had troubles with Games For Windows Live, which was only stripped out of the game at the end of 2014. After playing through it for the first time, however, I can’t help but wonder why it’s considered the superior game of the two; Armageddon had a sense of eeriness and progress as you pushed forward, whereas Guerrilla exists solely as a vanilla sandbox explosion simulator with a terrible story and terrible characters tacked on. That’s not even mentioning the low-gravity physics weirdness that makes the entire game feel like one of Mass Effect’s “Mako” sections. The only redeeming aspect of the game is the destructibility of the many buildings you come across, but sometimes they don’t even stay destroyed, and when they do, you never get the sense that they’re lived in or important so much as they exist solely to be shot at, making their destruction somewhat less fulfilling. Add on top of that the less creative arsenal—I seriously missed fun weapons like the magnet gun and many others from Armageddon—and it’s just a vastly inferior game. Read more →

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