Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation (DLC) Review

The header image for this review could be better; I certainly have enough quality screenshots to allow for a clearer, more suitable replacement, and yet I chose to use the one above for whatever reason. If that kind of unimaginably dumb decision bothers you, Fire Emblem Fates games probably won’t be your cup of tea, especially when it comes to the DLC-only “true path” that is Revelation. Put simply, there are a staggering number of of issues it suffers from, the kind of things so glaringly obvious that even a second-rate indie dev would know better, and this somehow manages to be true of everything from the mechanics to the story. Revelation is a train wreck so profoundly dumb and patronizing that my loyalty to the series has finally reached the breaking point, a pale shadow of Fire Emblems past coated head to toe in bad anime fan fiction where everything magically works out once the hero gives a lame speech about the power of friendship. Every facet of this game is a disaster, and while it’s hard to say whether it or Conquest is the worst game in the franchise, both are at the absolute bottom of the pile. Read more →

Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright Review

Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest was complete and utter garbage, but I still ended up feeling like I could have looked past many of its more questionable changes if the story didn’t out it—and this whole “three paths through the same basic game” stupidity—as a giant cash grab that rendered each path an unfulfilling, incomplete fragment of a whole game. Fortunately, Birthright surprised me by having a much more coherent story, and even the gimmicky map stuff ended up being dialed back so that maps proved far more conventional and in line with previous games in the series. That’s not to say that the game is perfect, of course, because there’s still an exhausting amount of random stuff that really has no reason to exist beyond fan service/pandering, but I was nonetheless pleasantly surprised by how much better Birthright is. We’re still talking about a game that’s dangerously close to the bottom of the barrel as far as the series is concerned (it has a great deal in common with Shadow Dragon and I’d consider the two about on par with one another), but after the crushing disappointment of Conquest, even its middling, inconsistent experience proved a breath of fresh air. Read more →

Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest Review

Anyone familiar with either me or this site knows that I’ve long been a huge Fire Emblem fan. I started with fan translations of Fire Emblem 4 and 5, and when the series finally started getting localized in English, I jumped at the opportunity to purchase the games. Radiant Dawn remains one of my all-time favorite games for any system. Awakening was a pleasant surprise. In my review of Shadow Dragon a long time ago, I even made a point to mention that the worst Fire Emblem game is still better than most games. Sadly, that’s no longer the case, because Conquest is most definitely worse than most games. Earlier today I saw a review on Youtube for a completely different game where the reviewer mentioned that sometimes developers seem to change things just for the sake of being different, even when it’s not actually to the game’s benefit, and that summed up my frustrations with this game surprisingly well; what we have here is a franchise that’s only ever made small alterations to the combat suddenly changing things in much bigger ways, in the process eroding the balanced strategy that was the cornerstone of the series. If this was all that was wrong with Conquest, though, I could find it in my heart to look past some of the questionable changes. Unfortunately, the changes to the mechanics are nothing compared to the butchery that’s been done to the story. Read more →

Firewatch Review

There are two types of game players: those who are all about the journey, and those who are more focused on how things fit together as a whole. The first are bound to enjoy Firewatch because of how thoroughly enjoyable it manages to be right up until the end. The second are doomed to have their positive experience invalidated by the stupid story developments in the game’s final moments. Sadly, I tend to fit more into the latter group; a game is only enjoyable for me if it follows up on its initial promise, so story cop-outs (especially at the very end where resolution is expected) have a way of ruining everything that leads up to them if there isn’t some creative gameplay present to keep the ship from sinking. Firewatch lacks this, buoyed solely by ancillary elements like graphics, music, and voice acting that make it pleasant to look at and listen to, but do little to make up for the story flubs. Read more →

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 →

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 →

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