Candleman – The Complete Journey: Progress Log #2

[Click here to start from the first progress log]

Something I totally forgot to mention in the last progress log is that the candles littered around the levels can be seen regardless of how dark it is, even before they’ve been lit. This is one of those design decisions that ultimately has a huge impact, as having to constantly light to locate them would probably be a mess. Instead, you can freely wander around the darkness to find them if you want to, and that makes lighting them a much more enjoyable process than it’d be otherwise. Read more →

Candleman – The Complete Journey: Progress Log #1

Originally released for the Xbox One in January of 2017 and now being released for the PC on Steam exactly a year later, Candleman is a physics puzzler with an interesting angle: you play as a living candle who can light himself for 10 seconds to help navigate through darkened levels full of pits and miscellaneous hazards. Of course, that’s a slightly misleading characterization of what gameplay is actually like, as you’re also given 10 lives per level, and all of the wax dropped and candles lit along the way persist between lives, meaning that it’s actually more like 100 seconds of lighting per level. On top of that, levels tend to be relatively short, ensuring that even the 10 seconds of your first life are enough if carefully managed. The easiest way of getting a handle on what the gameplay is actually like, though, is to simply watch a video, and I’m including several below that highlight the evolution of the gameplay mechanics as you progress through the game’s chapters. Read more →

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 →

Omega Quintet Review

Call it superstition, but I always like my first review of a new year to be somewhat indicative of that year. That’s one of the reasons I had intended Omega Quintet to be that first review—to say that I’m out of my element here is an understatement, as this isn’t only a game heavily inspired by anime (which I’ve never been into outside of the token Cowboy Bebops and Ghost in the Shells), but also one that has heavy visual novel elements. Pushing outside of my comfort zone wasn’t the only reason playing through Omega Quintet was so appealing, though. Actually, I went around looking for reviews to see if it was worth my time, only to discover a vast canyon separating those who enjoy the game and those who hate it. Some people were sanctimoniously finger-wagging, of course, while others more familiar with the niche spoke favorably of it because of course they did. Lost in all of that noise was the answer to the single nagging question I had: is Omega Quintet actually a good game or not? Having now played through it for myself, I can confidently answer that question with a “sometimes yes, sometimes no.” There are truly enjoyable parts to this game, ones that have nothing to do with the unabashed fan service, but the fact that I managed to play through and review a different game as the first of this year because of the sheer amount of busywork standing between prospective players and the real ending makes it difficult to recommend. Still, I walked away from Omega Quintet’s practically unprecedented tedium with a lot of positive feelings intact, and that’s unheard of given how much emphasis I put on pacing. The game is just too adorably lighthearted and unashamed of itself to possibly hold a grudge against it. Read more →

Omega Quintet Screenshots

Omega Quintet is one of those games that I’m really on the fence about. On one hand, the amount of busywork required to get the real ending is absolutely maddening and exists solely to pad out the game’s length. Case in point, the screenshots below cut out something like 4-5 full chapters where nothing in particular happens. On the other, the music and characters are both weirdly likable, and the story never makes the mistake of taking anything too seriously. Also, the combat here is fantastically unique, and I managed to get through the final two boss fights without either of them getting a single attack in. That’s pretty special. Read more →

Flying Tigers – Shadows Over China: Progress Log #1 and only because I’m doing this super late

I’ve already reviewed Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China, which means that it’s a little late to be putting up a progress log, but I’m dealing with a new puppy at the moment and don’t have enough time to do a full review for something else. Shadows Over China jumps around in time rather than being a linear set of events, so let’s similarly pretend that I wrote this earlier; working with games that have an embargo is often difficult because being unable to post about them while playing them effectively doubles each day’s work, and I opted to dive right in with the review because authoring a bunch of progress logs that wouldn’t be able to go up right away carried the risk of cutting into the little time I have to sleep. Because again, puppy. Chaos, disorder, barking, wires getting chewed on, etcetera. Before the review went up, though, I explored some of the secondary modes outside of the campaign, and thought it’d be interesting to talk about the challenges a bit. Read more →

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