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Forums > Contributor Zone > Review of the Week Sept 7-13:

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Author: JoeTheDestroyer (Mod)
Posted: September 15, 2020 (03:25 AM)
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Hello, hello again. I know I've been silent on the site for quite a bit, but it's not like I haven't been working on anything. As you can see, I've pumped out a couple of reviews recently (Skyborn and Grandia II). Expect some others for Grandia HD Collection, Chronos Twins DX, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, and Neutopia II in the future.

Not a lot has been shaking lately. In the obligatory "talk about what you've been playing lately" section, I went through the aforementioned stuff, and some other goodies:

Bendy and the Ink Machine- A fairly decent "scary walk" where you venture through a rundown animation studio, with hints of the occult lingering around every corner. Plus, you occasionally get attacked by cartoon demons, so that's fun. I like it so far, but getting through it isn't much of a priority.

Mute Crimson+- Super Meat Boy meets Ninja Gaiden, but much more approachable. It's a tad difficult, but not overwhelmingly so thus far. I've gotten through the first two bosses without much difficulty, but we'll see how it turns out in the next few levels.

Ara Fell: Enhanced Edition- I can't say I've played many RPG Maker/Unity roleplayers that I would call enchanting, but this one certain fits. It's a lot like Skyborn, as it sports a likable female protagonist and a crafting system, but the devs behind this one didn't half-ass the crafting. Hell, you need to craft in order to obtain improved equipment, because you don't buy weapons and armor in this one. I'm in chapter two, and so far I'm loving it.

The Witcher: Enhanced Edition- Toss a sigh to your witcher, o Valley of Disappointed. The game's got an okay combat system, but it plays lout ike a poorly edited, straight-to-video fantasy movie used to cash-in on Lord of the Rings. I mean, it isn't bad, but so far I'm struggling to see how this game spawned two highly successful sequels, with rumors of another one hiding just behind Cyberpunk 2077's much-anticipated release. I'm still pretty early in the proceedings, though, so it might improve.

Blaster Master Overdrive- I had to give up on this game because it's just....so....tedious. It's got the franchise's trademark difficulty, exacerbated by segments that sometimes take ages to traverse because you need to tread carefully. To put it into perspective, I had to carefully voyage across a certain set piece loaded with powerful cannons whose firepower is unavoidable. You either have to spend ages carefully picking them off or blast through their barrage and hope for the best. After that, you return to the same room and try to negotiate some platforms positioned above those cannons. If you miss a jump, you start the whole process over again. Finally, the path leads you to a top-down section and a bullet sponge boss. If you die at the boss (which is not unrealistic), you start back at the save point and must venture all the way back through the same nonsense again. I don't have time and patience for such drawn out titles, especially mediocre ones like this.

Rainbow Islands: Towering Adventure- This is my first sincere attempt at a Rainbow Islands game, and you know what? To hell with this. It's just not my thing. Never again...

Robox- Not to be confused with the robot boxing game on Switch, this is a slow, dull and challenging (but somewhat original) Metroidvania game. I didn't put much time into it because its protagonist's slack movements combined with sprawling map and cheap, unavoidable enemies ensured that my soul would scream loud enough for me to stop playing forever.

As for the reviews...

Brian- Splinter Cell
I had this game on Xbox, never opened it, donated it to Goodwill, then rebought it on Steam because I felt bad. I still haven't played it. There's a bit of repetitive wording through this piece. The segments talking about stealth elements (lighting and sound) are well done, but the plot section brings up some good points. Ultimately, this is a good write up, but one that would be better without the repetitive wording.

CRB- Brutal: Above the Claw
Ugh, this game. I played and greatly disliked it a few years ago, and won't even bother with the first one as a result. Anyway, the review starts off with a long sentence that would read better if it was broken up a bit. This review offers up good reasons why to avoid the game, and works well as a quick review. However, it would go over better with some more detail.

THIRD PLACE
Overdrive- Hamilton's Great Adventure
In what Stygian depths did you discover this thing? Pickhut's game had a title that sounded weak, but this moniker makes it sound like a Dizzy knockoff on Amiga that maybe five people bought. And really, despite your lively and comical intro, this game sounds about as interesting as its title implies. You described the game clearly enough, and it just sounds unremarkable, although the reflex-based part sounds legit dreadful. Ultimately, this is a good review of a painfully uninteresting game.

SECOND PLACE
Honestgamer- Marvel Strike Force
I can relate to playing a mobile game for a long time, because I have yet to quit playing Pokemon GO, just about to my detriment. I feel I've become too obsessed with the shiny hunt, and need to scale back my play time. The temporarily powered-up incense doesn't help (where they now last an hour and attract a new Pokemon about every 45 seconds to a minute, and possibly spawn rare or shiny ones). You make a really good point in this review, that you're getting a lot of great content that other people are paying for. I've never thought about freemium games this way before, but then again I'm one of those people funding the one I play (not with massive amounts, though). I don't really have much to point out beyond that insight. This is a well built review for a game that I'm not terribly interest in, that impressively details its numerous mechanics efficiently.

REVIEW OF THE WEEK
Pickhut- Mad Age & This Guy
What a weird title. It almost seems quirky enough to grab your attention, but it's ultimately just so anticlimactic that it lightly whispers, "Just ignore me." You do a fine job of stacking the game's strengths against its weaknesses, showing us that it had the potential, but squandered it by pacing its new features. The end result: the game blew its load early on, and had nothing left in the tank to entertain after that. Your examples and descriptions are clear enough that anyone can visualize this game without actually having to play it, plus the demonstrate your points effectively. Nice work!


The only thing my milkshake brings to the yard is a subpoena.

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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: September 15, 2020 (10:37 AM)
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Thanks for the comments and placement. As for your question, I found this bit of mediocrity where I've been finding most stuff I'm currently playing -- on PlayStation Now. The only reason I played it was because my last name was featured in its title, so I figured it'd be a fun tie-in to a potential review. And allow me to say that I actually am partly using PS Now to delve into genres of game I usually don't touch. Hell, one day, I might even play one of those pointy-and-clicky adventures that some people here (mainly EmP) seem to like.

Or not, as one thing a person can take from this (and I certainly have) is that there are a LOT of games available on that service that I'd really like to play. And instead of playing a Bioshock or a Saint's Row or a Trails of Cold Steel or a Infamous or a God of War or a Souls knock-off or a fanservice-y Compile Heart game with a bizarre-ass name (Fairy Fencer What or Megadimension Who or Omega Guh? or Dark Rose PLEASESTOP!!!) or...you get the point, I was playing this. Like I'm currently playing Knack and Mars: War Logs and thinking the same things. Well, not so much with Knack. It's at least tolerable and pretty fun, if repetitive. But Mars: War Logs...I've heard that over the years, Spiders Software has gotten pretty decent, if not up to the level of the BioWare stuff they try to emulate. But this game takes clunky and awkward to a level that one does not normally see. Makes Venetica feel like Skyrim!


Oh, as for the first Witcher, in my opinion the game will get better. If you're expecting it to turn into Witcher 3 and be super-great, you might want to adjust your hopes for the future, but the farther into it you get, the more enjoyable you'll find it, at least if your experience is comparable to mine. It is a bit glitchy and pretty clunky at times, but from my perspective, the prologue is...a prologue and the first chapter is dullsville. But things pick up in the second chapter after you've done some stuff and gotten a few levels and can start to fully explore the available area (ie: leave the city when you want and go to the swamp and NOT find yourself getting killed with regularity).


I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle

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Author: pickhut
Posted: September 15, 2020 (03:32 PM)
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Thanks for the RotW! That was a surprise.

I don't get the game's title, too. Nothing within the game or its story really explains it, so I just figure it's either a reference to something or it's just being weird just to be weird. Glad you were able to understand the blandness of the game; this was something I could have easily completed on an off day, but I spread it out for nearly a week because of how boring it became. The game bummed me out since it really only needed a bit more variation, nothing too grand, and it would have been fine.

Thanks again, and to all who participated this week with solid reviews.


I head spaceshit noises.

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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: September 15, 2020 (06:59 PM)
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Indeed. Thanks for the topic and feedback, and thanks to all who participated in another competitive week. I love those things!


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto on secret doors to another world

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