Valkyria Revolution Screenshots

As seems to be the case with all my Xbox One screenshots, some of these may be slightly out of order. I really need to start renaming them before putting the batches all together, because something about the naming scheme throws everything out of whack. Thankfully (and also kind of regrettably), Valkyria Revolution is so filled to the brim with meaningless filler that it really doesn’t matter what’s in the middle parts so long as the beginning and end are in roughly the right place. Really, that speaks to the quality of the story that so little of what happens matters to anything. Read more →

Dragon’s Crown Screenshots

My completionist side really got the better of me on this one. Dragon’s Crown is a game where after beating it, the difficulty is cranked up a bit and just enough is left incomplete to compel you to keep playing. I refused to call this one finished until I had unlocked all of the art, which meant beating the story three times on the easy/normal/hard difficulty equivalents and doing a ton of sidequests. Oh, and playing through the story on the starting difficulty using all 6 different characters, too. I can now confidently state that Dragon’s Crown is like candy—it’s sweet and fulfilling at first, but repeatedly cramming it into your eye sockets for 40 hours probably isn’t a good move from a health or sanity point of view. Read more →

The Surge Screenshots

The Surge is a game I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, I love Deck13’s games; Venetica was one of the first games I got back when I constructed my first gaming PC back in ~2010, and I have fond memories of playing through Ankh (undeniably good) and Blood Knights (possibly Stockholm syndrome). On the other hand, Souls/Souls-y games haven’t ever really captivated me to the point where I’ve become willing to overlook their numerous, unaddressed flaws. Bloodborne was decent enough to warrant a positive review despite said flaws and I definitely like The Surge more than that game as a whole, but it also feels like these types of games follow the formula so strictly that they put themselves in a box and fail to live up to their potential. I mean, why do these things always send you through dark, mazelike corridors that are littered with screaming, lunging enemies hiding behind things? It’s not even scary anymore because a single one of these games teaches you to check behind things with the camera before charging blindly ahead. Read more →

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 →

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 →

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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