Vikings: Wolves of Midgard Screenshots

Sometimes a fandom is so unrelentingly terrible that one can’t help but stand back as an impartial observer and wonder what possible series of events could have allowed it to become so infested with bad apples. Die-hard Dark Souls fans would definitely be a group like this (you know the type—“this game isn’t exactly like a Souls game, therefore it’s inadequate”), and there are several other groups equally guilty of similar internet zealotry, but I can’t think of any worse than die-hard hack-and-slash aRPG fans. The ones who review bombed the third Sacred game because it dared be different than the abysmal second Sacred. The ones who refuse to accept the worthiness of an aRPG unless it tacks on an endless, procedurally generated grind that allows them to feel warm and fuzzy as countless hours of tedious, same-y gameplay cause an arbitrary number to tick up a small bit. It’s absurd; literally any other genre can get away with having the game end after the story (even the ones that don’t include a new game + option, which this one actually does), but if it’s an aRPG, it’ll be crucified for not toeing the line in every conceivable way. That’s not to say that Vikings is a perfect game, because it’s very much not. The story is stupid and often makes no sense, the keyboard and mouse controls are vastly inferior to using a controller, and the boss fights get a bit repetitive toward the end. It’s just ridiculous to see the same people throw yet another developer under the bus for daring not to kowtow to the frothy-mouthed lunatics who demand sameness out of every game in their preferred genre. Read more →

ReCore Review

When deciding what to play next, I weighed a bunch of factors and eventually narrowed the pool of possibilities down to either ReCore or Dragon’s Crown. The latter obviously takes many cues from the legendary Tower of Doom/Shadow Over Mystara, which piqued my interest, but I eventually decided to go through ReCore under the assumption that a newer game would make for a more relevant review. After all, it’s been only 6 months since its release as of this writing. It didn’t hurt any that I’d heard comparisons to everything from MegaMan Legends to Metroid Prime (the latter of which was apparently worked on by some of the same people if the box is to be believed)—stellar company to be in—and there was an adorable-looking robot dog on the cover. I went in knowing almost nothing about ReCore except that critics had given it middling scores for whatever reason. Imagine my surprise when I realized that many of them hadn’t gone far enough in describing the train wreck that this game is, even after 6 months of patching. This is a game that’s middling at its best and soul-crushingly tedious at its worst, a prime example of an open world that exists solely for the sake of having one, not to mention a stunning indictment against the Unity engine when in unskilled hands. Playing through this game eventually begins to feel like actual work, a repetitive slog to find X thing so you can unlock Y thing so that you can collect more contrived Z orbs to unlock a contrived game-y door to actually continue the uninteresting story, which despite being an afterthought nevertheless manages to include internal inconsistencies. When I finally got to the credits and saw how many people worked on this game, the only reaction I was capable of having was astonishment that it took so many people to create so little game of such a low quality. Read more →

Torment: Tides of Numenera Review

When I first created this site, the very first review I put up was for Planescape: Torment. The review is horrible (all of the early ones are, really; it took awhile to figure things out), but that nevertheless speaks to how important the game was for me that I wanted to start out with it. Then there’s Torment: Tides of Numenera, a spiritual sequel to Planescape: Torment in the same way Pillars of Eternity was a spiritual sequel to Baldur’s Gate and Wasteland 2 was a spiritual sequel to a bowl of old Jello that’d fallen on the pavement and subsequently been left in the sun by uninterested passersby. In some ways, comparing the two does a disservice to both because of how stark the differences often prove to be. In other ways, however, Tides of Numenera invites and embraces such comparisons by taking elements from Planescape: Torment in ways that are probably a little closer to plagiarism than inspiration. Even the flaws detractors will point to as each game’s Achilles’ heel are nearly identical, which is a nice way of saying that T:ToN’s combat is complete and utter garbage that makes even PS:T’s widely (and wrongly, I’d argue) maligned combat feel wonderful by way of comparison. Then there are the problems so unusual and rare that I can’t remember the last time they actually stood out and distracted me. The clinical/drab UI would definitely fall into this category. Let’s get this out of the way early—Torment: Tides of Numenera doesn’t live up to or supplant Planescape: Torment in any way, shape, or form. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a worthwhile game on its own, however, and even a simulacrum of something as justifiably venerated as PS:T feels like a welcome bulwark against the waves of mindless games that ask nothing of the player and offer nothing in return. This is a game for those who love lore and large chunks of flavor text so overwhelming that one could conceivably drown in them, and while that makes the game impenetrable to those mass-market gamers who require an easily digestible story and lots of visual pizzazz to enjoy a game, it also allows it to be incredibly rewarding and memorable for those willing to put in the time to read through it all. Read more →

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 →

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