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Popular reviews

As I mentioned in my review for the first Dragon Quest, I bought the mobile versions of the original Dragon Quest trilogy on a whim years ago. Last year I decided to finally finish the first game, and now I've chosen to finish its sequel this year. Dragon Quest II is a sequel that is surprisingly a vast improvement to its predecessor.

In terms of gameplay, its exactly the same as the first game, but considering that Dragon Quest is a series known for following tradition that is no surprise. This time however, you're not alone. You get two party members to assist you on your journey, the Prince of Cannock and the Princess of Moonbrooke. Having these party members is pretty much a necessity as the character you play as doesn't have magic this time and the latter parts of the game, especially the final boss would be much harder without them. The other noteble addition is the ability to sail across the land on your ship which has been included in every other game in the series onward. These additions come a long way in making the game feel fresh and interesting in comparison to the first game.

Dragon Quest II is a massive step forward, but there were some things I didn't like about it. My first issue is something that bothered me with the original as well, and that issue would be the random encounter rate. While I can understand why they were a thing in the RPGs of old, it gets really annoying getting spammed with encounters every two steps I make, especially when I'm lost or trying to traverse a new area. My other issue is that the game can be pretty cryptic at times when it comes to finding all the things you need to progress. I looked up guides significantly more this time than I did for DQ1 mostly just to find out where to go or where to find a certain item.

As for grinding in this game? Surprisingly, it wasn't too bad. Enemies drop reasonable amount of exp to where if you do need to grind, you won't need to for long. It's probably just an improvement they added in later versions they made, but considering that grinding seems to be a gripe that most people seem to have, I expected worse.

Dragon Quest II is in my opinion an underappreciated game that laid a lot of the groundwork for the rest of the series. It felt much more like an adventure in comparison to its predecessor. Considering how the original trilogy is on basically everything these days, I'd suggest either emulating or dropping a couple bucks on either the Switch or mobile versions. It may not be as good as the entries afterwards, but with the amount of improvements it makes its definitely worth a playthrough.

Enjoyment - 5/10
Difficulty - 3/10

Days Gone is a fever dream.

I completely forgot to review Days Gone when I was doing my review rounds for the games I completed. I think that should tell you everything you need to know.
🏆

"There is no such thing as Art for everyone" said suda51 as a way to explain what the fuck he just made

So they remade Tomb Raider, pretty big responsibility huh.

I'll just start with the cold hard fax. Tomb Raider: Anniversary is an awesome remake and love letter to the Tomb Raider series. This was my first playthrough since after playing the original Tomb Raider, and I can confidently say that the developers achieved their ambitions:

“The old and the new; the familiar and the undiscovered; the mix of the past and the present that is at the core of every Tomb Raider experience was at the core of our effort for this game as well. A game that holds true to it's predecessor yet still stands out as a thrilling adventure all on its own.”

Excuse me for blatantly ripping off that paragraph from a heartfelt note for the fans found in the games extras, but I really think there's no better way to describe the vision than how the developers have done so.

Coming off the back of Legend, Anniversary manages to improve on it doubly from a gameplay perspective. The core level design here is just so damn engaging and honestly quite difficult to put down. It has a good difficulty curve, is very replayable, and going for 100% is a blast as it encourages two playstyles that result in distinctly different experiences.

The first is exploration based à la the search for artifacts and relics. Outside of a small few these are very well hidden and I had plenty of fun searching for them throughout every level, something I couldn't really say personally for most Tomb Raider games. The second is speed based throughout the time trials which I admit I haven't tried yet. If I revisit the game then I'm giving it a go for sure, the level design is too damn good for it to not be incredibly fun and potentially more challenging as well.

The most impressive part is how all of the above was implemented while simultaneously preserving the spirit of the original, and shaking things up to feel like a more contemporary experience. The amount of “I remember this part!” pointing at the screen moments I had while playing was pretty extraordinary for how different these sections actually end up playing (alright MAYBE I didn't point at the screen like a child but I definitely said it out loud to myself a lot!). I like to imagine if I could have been an older, more experienced Tomb Raider fan when this was released, those moments would have hit even harder.

Even though the story has been altered and expanded slightly, adding in some nice extra characterisation, they made the great decision of leaving that expansion to purely the cutscenes. This helped retain some of the original identity. It must have been difficult to resist throwing snarky dialogue in the levels like in Legend, considering just how FUN that was, but I'm glad they didn't in the end. It meant that various atmospheres are still present throughout: isolation, adventure, discovery, tension. Of course though, they aren’t exactly the same feeling. I'm being kind of repetitive so I hope you're sensing the theme I’m getting at here: The same, but different. The same,,, but different…

Anniversary does by no means replace Tomb Raider 1, it stands alongside it as a modern reimagining of, and alternative to, a great gaming classic, that anyone can enjoy. If someone was to only play a single Tomb Raider game, I would definitely point them in the direction of this one.




OH AND AND AND huge shout-out to Croft Manor. They turned her mansion into a freaking metroidvania bro. That's just frickin rad!! Sick. Awesome. Wonderful. Lovely.

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