In 2016 at E3, Hideo Kojima revealed the new game he was working on in fantastic fashion: a trailer of a naked Norman Reedus waking up next to a crying baby, the baby disappearing and covering Reedus in black tar, and Reedus standing up and looking out over an ocean at five floating figures. Death Stranding.
For the next three years until the game’s release this past November, “what is Death Stranding about?” has been a question continuously asked by enthusiasts in the gaming community. Later trailers did not do much to help clarify: from Mads Mikkelsen commanding troops in a sewer to Reedus witnessing an invisible monster carry another person away, the point and plot of the game was shrouded in complete mystery.
Well after 52 hours I’ve completed the story of Death Stranding so I can tell you what the game is about. I can also tell you, surprisingly, that a lot of the weirdness that was shown off in trailers actually makes sense in the context of the game. Kojima, if nothing else, managed something very few others are capable of: drumming up interest and intrigue for a brand new IP without revealing any of the plot, really.
But did he make a good game?
That’s what I’m about to review. I’m going to spoil some things about the game (although nothing major related to the story), so if you want to go into the game completely blind it’s probably a good idea to skip this. But for the rest of you, read on.
Continue reading “Review: Death Stranding”
So I’ve put over 70 hours into Fire Emblem: Three Houses – probably the most time I’ve dedicated to a single game since Assassin’s Creed Odyssey last year. I’ve still not completed my first route (Blue Lions represent!) but I’m closing in on the end. I don’t know when I’ll get to the second and third playthroughs for the other houses, but I legitimately want to see everything from the other perspectives. That’s how engrossed I am at the story level.
The mechanical level has also hooked me, obviously. Three Houses is the best Fire Emblem has ever been on the tactical battle level. Critical battle information has been streamlined and made much easier to access. Leveling up your characters outside battle is also more engaging and you have a lot more options at your fingertips to create bonds between your characters. And the characters are all stellar. I love the Blue Lion house and their interactions both on and off the battlefield. The recruitment system has also allowed me to nab the characters I like from other houses as well.
I’m starting off glowing about the game, but there are a few low points which I’ll also get to. As a heads up, this review won’t contain any major main story spoilers, but might contain minor support conversation spoilers.
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I’ve been of two minds about finally doing a KH3 review. I finished the main story a few weeks ago and had mixed feelings about it. As time passed, my feelings ebbed and flowed like a river of Heartless. Sometimes reflection is needed after a game before final opinions come into focus.
So now I think I’m comfortable with my final thoughts on the game. I already talked about how I was disappointed with how the Disney worlds played out in an earlier post, so I’m not gonna harp too much on those themes again (but they will probably still come up). I’ll also try to avoid any specific story spoilers, but there will be general spoilers of what happens all the way up to the endgame.
Now let’s get into it.
Continue reading “Review: Kingdom Hearts 3”
Before I begin, I’d like to say that this is being posted on January 31st, which means I have officially made it through the entire month of January with posting some sort of content on my blog on every weekday. That is an accomplishment I’m very proud of and nobody can take it away from me! Aha!
Now with that out of the way and before I get completely sucked into the thrall of Kingdom Hearts 3, I’d like to focus your attention on this wonderful indie platformer game that I got on the Switch called Pikuniku. Devolver Digital published it and I saw an ad for it via their Twitter earlier in the month. The short minute and a half ad was so charming that I knew I had to get it when it came out.
And I’m really glad I did. It’s quirky and simplistic but amazingly fun. I haven’t quite finished it yet, but from what I understand it’s a fairly short overall experience. But if you’re looking for a quick 3-4 hour game that has a lot of humor and heart I highly recommend this one.
Well, I guess I’m getting ahead of myself and spoiling my own review, but who cares! Pikuniku is great!
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Last week I was on vacation in New York City and before I left I took advantage of the Black Friday eShop Sale. I wanted to make sure I had plenty of games on my Switch for entertainment while we were taking it easy. I added The Messenger and Valkyria Chronicles 4 to my library, in addition to having Pokemon Let’s Go, and I figured between the three that’d be enough to keep my attention.
It turned out I only needed to buy one game because The Messenger was all I touched the entire trip. I started it on the Monday train ride up and beat the last boss on the Saturday train ride back home. And let me tell you something: this little game kept my attention the whole time. I was never bored, frustrated, or wanting to switch it up with another game. Once this fun ninja platformer got its hooks in me it never let go.
This fun, amazing game released on PC and Switch at the very end of August – basically when I was avoiding starting or grabbing anything new in prep for the upcoming Spider-Man – so that’s why I didn’t play it when it released. But I’d heard good things about it so I thought I’d give it a try as a fun distraction during vacation down time. I was not expecting it to charm me and become one of my favorite games of the year.
So let’s dig a little deeper into why I loved the game in a full review – general spoilers for the game will follow:
Continue reading “Review: The Messenger”
So I’m closing in on 60 hours of playtime in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and while I’m still not finished with the main story (not for lacking of trying, mind you) I’ve reached a sufficient point where I think I can give a good review of the game. It’s pretty much the only game that’s had my attention over the last month (although there were a few others that I will go over in my monthly recap as well). I was a little wary going into the game because the last big game I played was Spider-Man and I was possibly risking burnout by jumping into another action-oriented open world game. Especially since Odyssey’s map is much larger than Spider-Man’s NYC.
I talked a little bit about my specific problem with Odyssey’s map design and traversal aspects in an earlier blog post, and they continued to persist as I got further into the game. I abuse fast travel like nobody’s business and often have my horse or ship auto-take me to the next place I want to go while I turn my attention to Twitter or Facebook for a few minutes. That is probably the game’s biggest flaw in terms of design – you do a lot of traveling from place to place in the game but the journey is never interesting.
But as the famous saying goes, it’s not about the journey – it’s about the destination. Wait, that’s not right. Well, regardless of how the saying goes, I’m going to take a deeper dive into my experiences with Odyssey and how it stacks up against other massive open-world games.
(Some main story and sidequest spoilers for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will follow.)
Continue reading “Review: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey”
Octopath Traveler is a very interesting game. I was originally only going to talk a little bit about it in a more general sense instead of giving a full review but after playing it off and on for the last few weeks I suddenly realized I’d accumulated 50 or so hours of playtime in the game. At that point I felt the game deserved an actual review instead and so here we are.
Octopath Traveler is a game that tries to hearken back to the old-school SNES days of JRPGs where sprites and beautiful enemy artwork were abundant. Despite the older games it tries to emulate, Octopath has its own unique graphical style that isn’t just “trying to be retro.” It’s one of the more perfect blends of retro and modern designs, unlike say Undertale that was fully pixel art. Not to say Undertale’s graphics are bad, but Octopath’s blend of 2D and 3D makes its landscapes pop and the beautiful art stand out.
Before I go any further in my review, I’m going to go ahead and give a mild spoiler warning for what follows – I’ll talk about a few plot details and the endgame and postgame content while giving a thorough overview of the whole game. So if you want to be surprised by gameplay secrets and what-not be warned I will go in-depth on them. I will try to keep any story spoilers as vague as possible, though.
Now let’s continue.
Continue reading “Review: Octopath Traveler”