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 →

Final Fantasy 15 Screenshots

Considering their incessant hard-on for irritating DRM, killing off of the first three Chaos Rings games, and constant re-releases of classic Square games (like they’re totally the same company) that invariably have ugly new art or translations or other problems that ruin them, Square-Enix spent the latter part of 2015 and the rest of 2016 going out of their way to make me hate them. Imagine if Picasso had been possessed by some kind of mischievous spirit that granted him immortality, but also caused him to run around smearing excrement all over his most beloved paintings. That’s a window into the way I’ve come to view Square-Enix these past few years, and so I resolved to buy Final Fantasy 15 both used and at a price low enough to handle another Final Fantasy 13-tier disaster. The stars aligned and that happened surprisingly quickly, as it turns out, but don’t confuse my hatred of Square-Enix as a sign that I’m not willing to give their games a chance: Final Fantasy 15 is quite a bit better than 13 in terms of story (and as a result, better overall in my book), though its shameless forays into various types of “modern popular” trends and mechanics cause it to be unfocused, poorly paced, and frustratingly tedious. That’s not to say that there’s no fun to be had, of course. That fun is merely suffocated under 40-odd hours of maddening sidequest busywork. Read more →

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Screenshots

Okay, okay. I’ve been a bit lazy with the screenshots lately, but honestly, Simon the Sorcerer? King Arthur 2? Those aren’t really the types of games that would have benefited from screenshots, nor would they have been particularly informative. Screenshots for a Shantae game, on the other hand, can show off some of the areas and humor, so here: have some Shantae screenshots. Read more →

Tyranny Screenshots

Much like Pillars of Eternity, I went into Tyranny with almost no expectations. The early artwork I saw of it was depressingly bland, and that initial reaction was yet again proved wrong as the game ended up being surprisingly colorful and interesting. Arguably even more interesting than Pillars, in fact. That is, until the end. “End.” I’m sick of developers not finishing their stories, and having this game give you Fallout-esque “this is what happened to these places you intervened in” and cut to credits before anything has actually been resolved (and before you’ve managed to learn a single thing about the character around whom the entire game and game world revolves) is a giant middle finger that ruined all of the promise the rest of the game had. Locking story resolution behind sequels or DLC is the kind of scummy business practice that’s strangling the life out of this hobby, and for all of the entertainment Tyranny can provide, I can’t recommend something so blatantly unfinished. Especially since its incomplete nature seems to be deliberate rather than a problem of money or resources; numerous characters are in a position to reveal things to you, and simply don’t for increasingly contrived reasons. Read more →

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