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 →

Lost Odyssey Screenshots

Normally I try to post screenshots in chronological order, but Lost Odyssey has really been screwing me with the screenshot order lately and I can’t be bothered to fix them again. Part of the problem is that I started playing this way back in December, which means the screenshots had a 12- prefix that came after the 1- prefix automatically tacked on to them once the new year rolled around, and trying to fix that only caused them to be even more disorganized. As for the actual game, though, it’s okay. I certainly remembered it being quite a bit better overall than it actually was, but the little stories you find littered throughout are as memorable and gut-punching as I remembered. The rest of the game is kind of bland and generic, though, with a stupid plot filled with holes and characters possessing a special brand of stupidity until the situation requires somebody to remember something weirdly obscure and relevant to push everyone on further. Oh, and the random gimmicks! Infuriating. But hey, those little (mostly unrelated) stories make the whole thing worth it in the end, even if the rest of the game fails to live up to them. Read more →

Freemium trash: Fire Emblem Heroes Pt. 2

“But wait,” I imagine you thinking, “why would he continue to play an app he considers both trash and a cynical whoring out of his once-favorite series?” To be perfectly honest, I intended to stop playing, but then I caught the flu and spent a lot of time in bed. Besides, there are occasionally things being added, and I’ve figured a few things out since the last time I wrote about Heroes. None of that has changed my opinion of this thing that can only generously be considered a “game”—can we take a second to acknowledge how perfect it is that the acronym is FEH, as in “feh, I guess gaming in general just sucks now if this is considered good”—but I still thought it’d be interesting to cover, and it gives me an excuse to take some shots. Read more →

Freemium trash: Fire Emblem Heroes

Something like three years ago, I spent a little time delving into the waters of freemium apps in a small series I called “one hour impressions.” The series of experiences that followed filled me so much soul-crushing cynicism that I was able to write off the entire model as something best avoided, and yet my short impressions failed to truly capture just how predatory and disgusting such games can be. Then, a bit of serendipity: a new Fire Emblem game descended from the heavens onto mobile devices, dipping into the freemium model and deciding to show even less restraint when it comes to poor writing and fan service than even the Fates games employed. I’d seen it claimed that the game could be played without in-app purchases, which piqued my curiosity, so I dived into the game with an open mind to get a feel for just how far one can get without paying for anything. Now that I’ve finished (or at least come as close to finishing as one can get when the game itself is unfinished), though, I can’t pass up such a beautiful opportunity to highlight the many things wrong with both modern Fire Emblem and the freemium model. Rest assured that both are in ample supply here. Read more →

Gravity Rush 2 Review

If you’ve played Half Life 2 all the way to the end, you probably have fond memories of using the upgraded gravity gun to pick up enemies and launch them across the room. It was an absurdly fun, criminally short section that highlighted how much fun wielding that kind of godlike power can be in games. Gravity Rush 2 taps into this very same feeling of power, giving you the ability to pick up soldiers and use them as ammo. Need to take out a mech surrounded by soldiers? No problem—use your gravity powers to pick up the soldiers and then launch them at the mech’s weak spots, at which point shrapnel will come off that you can pick up and use as further ammo until it finally explodes. This isn’t the kind of thing you can do throughout the entirety of Gravity Rush 2, of course, but it’s certainly an example of the kind of thing that makes it truly special. That’s not to say that it’s without flaws, though, because many of the first game’s problems that ruined the experience for me are still present (even if they’ve been somewhat remedied in many cases); the game’s good moments are just so good that they more than make up for its many infuriating problems. Read more →

Gravity Rush 2 Screenshots

The first Gravity Rush wasn’t good. It just wasn’t. The second Gravity Rush, on the other hand, is half incredible and half groan-inducing, retaining several of the story and control problems from the first game, but giving you just enough freedom over what’s happening to mitigate the annoyance most of the time. With a couple huge exceptions, the awful missions exist as easily-ignored sidequests rather than main quest stuff, and there’s so much more variance in what you’re doing and how that even the annoying missions have to be appreciated for the clear amount of effort that went into them. Even the story, while eventually devolving back into stupid god magic and shooting itself in the foot by introducing plot-crucial characters in the final few missions rather than building up to them, spends its first half making you really like several of the characters in a way that simply wasn’t possible in the first game. Despite some pretty glaring flaws, I really like Gravity Rush 2. Read more →

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