5 Reviews liked by A_GameOdyssey


Really enjoyable game, it felt like an improvement over Ys VIII in almost everything but maybe the story and the OST. It's not really much different to its predecessor, as far as the combat or the structure of the game goes, with the main difference being that it's going for much more open areas that take advantage of the game's new mechanics. Personally, I loved these additions, as the movement in the game is incredible, and while exploration hasn't really changed much, the added verticality makes it more fun. I really liked the cast as well, I felt much more connected to them than the party members in Dana. Overall, it was more of Falcom, which is definitely welcome.

MINOR SPOILERS
I was told over and over again that Cyberpunk didn't have anything to say, but after finally playing the game I have to respectfully disagree with that take.
Cyberpunk is one of the most politically heavy-handed and thematically cohesive games I've ever played! Night City depicts the logical endpoint of hypercapitalism, a world where businesses and corporations have successfully subsumed every aspect of American culture, creating a country where the bottom line supersedes any consideration for human life.
This game is CONSTANTLY touching on hot button issues like universal healthcare, police brutality, worker's rights, the dehumanization of sex workers, immigrant labor, political corruption, gun violence, poverty, and social inequality - constantly exploring how these issues would look if they were to go unfixed 50 years in the future.
Could you imagine a world where corporations are legally allowed to discriminate towards employees and even force them to undergo cosmetic surgery? Or where snuff films are a popular form of entertainment for a population that's become emotionally numb to constant gun violence? Maybe a world where a privatized police force drops any facade of protecting the peace and opts to brutalize anyone who gets in their way? Where sex workers frequently wipe their memories to avoid the psychological fallout of dealing with abusive clients?
This isn't the 'apolitical politics' of Far Cry where the game dunks its head in the sand and pretends its narrative has no ties to the real world.
This isn't the milquetoast commentary of Bioshock where the game vaguely gestures towards complex ideas while saying nothing of value.
And this sure as hell isn't the misanthropic satire of GTA, aimlessly shitting on anything and everything without a hint of humanity.
Instead, Cyberpunk is making pointed criticism towards Capitalists, abusive power structures, and the hollow promise of the American dream while still managing to show empathy to those suffering from this broken system.
This game sounds like it’s all doom and gloom, but it still finds time to tell deeply personal and intimate stories about the people of this world. Nearly every quest is about trying to find peace and comfort in the apocalypse, trying your hardest to do right by others when the system has beat any sense of happiness and love out of them.
One mission has you checking on a neighbor who has shut himself off from the world and refuses to talk to friends or family after witnessing the widespread corruption of the NCPD
Another mission has you comforting a death row inmate who wants nothing more than redemption and forgiveness for his actions and struggles to give back to a world that only wants him dead
Sometimes you're snuggling up to your best friend on a couch, babysitting a single mom's kids as she cooks dinner, helping an old friend come to terms with their fading legacy, convincing a soon-to-be father to stop his risky money making schemes or - my personal favorite - leaving messages on a friend's voicemail as you come to terms with their passing.
It's rare to see a game depicting such a dark and cynical world while maintaining a deeply emotional core. And it does it all with a concise script that drip feeds character development, world building, and plot without relying on fat exposition dumps - the writing in cyberpunk is snappy and lean, fitting an expansive rpg adventure in a 30 hour runtime without feeling rushed or underwritten. There’s a large cast of characters that get little screentime but immediately leave a lasting impression through their back stories, personal beliefs, and excellent performances. To top it all off, Night City is a beautifully realized world with an incredible attention to detail - everything you see has a history that steadily unfolds the more you slow down and pay attention to the environmental design, codex entries, and optional dialogue. Where are all the animals in the city? Why are buildings on the edge of town obscenely tall? What the hell is a braindance? Slowly piecing together answers to these questions was extremely satisfying and gave me the same feelings I had when discovering the RPG worlds from games like Mass Effect, SMT IV, and Fallout.
While I have a 1,000 great things to say about the narrative, the gameplay systems are consistently mid
Combat is a simple run 'n gun shooting gallery that's largely devoid of strategy - just walk into a room full of baddies and click their heads til they die. You can approach levels from multiple directions and use stealth/hacking abilities to spice things up, but each of the routes are functionally samey (and typically converge into 1 path anyways), stealth is incredibly slow, and hacking is nowhere as fun or efficient as just shooting people.
That being said, even though the combat is shallow and lacks the systemic depth of something like Deus ex or Prey, its fast pace and solid kinesthetics make it enjoyable in a ‘dumb fun’ kind of way. Personally, I would take cyberpunk's mindless run n gun nonsense over the flacid gunplay or janky melee of similar rpgs like Fallout or Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines. It also helps that combat is rather infrequent! If you stick to the questlines and ignore the dozens of random filler mercenary gigs (jesus there’s SOOO much filler), you'll find that combat is rarely the focal point. Most quests actively discourage conflict or have zero combat altogether, opting to focus on the narrative and world building instead.
There are other flaws like the game's insistence on hand-holdy setpieces that disregard player input, or a dull skill tree centered on tiny statistical buffs (+2% dps! Wow!), or the game’s need to signpost everything with gaudy quest markers - but they're easily forgivable compared to the game's AWFUL LOOT SYSTEM. This system is a poor man’s Diablo, centered on number bloat and raw vertical progression rather than meaningful trade offs or interesting synergies.
You find level 3 booty shorts only to replace them with level 4 booty shorts and then level 5 booty shorts - so on and so forth.
You find a level 6 handgun and feed it crafting materials until it's level 7, then 8, then 9, all the way up to the cap of 50.
Finding loot doesn’t open up new abilities or strategies or playstyles, you’re just inflating defense and attack stats in a linear fashion, making combat at level 50 nearly identical to combat at level 1. To make things worse, you’re absolutely DROWNING in loot with no way to filter rarity or instantly sell all.
This system is bad and does nothing but introduce tedious menuing and arbitrary difficulty spikes. Dying to an enemy who's 10 levels higher than me and kills me in 2 hits isn't fun or interesting or give me anything to learn from. Opening my inventory to sift through 100 similar pistols is boring, boring, boring. This might seem pretty tame to some people, especially since most AAA games have similar systems, but I think a system that actively detracts from a game without adding anything of value shouldn’t exist in the first place. This is cdprojektRED's 4th rpg and they STILL struggle to provide interesting itemization despite decades of crpgs providing examples of how to do it right.
I have problems with Cyberpunk and I wouldn’t blame anyone for hating the game (especially if you got scammed with the ps4/xbox one versions), but it has some of the best writing and world design I’ve ever seen in a videogame and stands with Yakuza, Disco Elysium, and Mother 3 as one of the few narrative games that left an emotional impact on me. Hopefully the game gets more attention once it’s fully patched cause I would hate for it to get forgotten.

A gorgeous game with beautiful music and a mystery plot that will keep you going for the 3-4 hour runtime. Easily recommendable if you are a fan of walking simulators and the likes of Firewatch and What Remains of Edith Finch in particular.
// taken from my Steam review

Finished: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (2017) | 4.0/5.0
Developers: Naughty Dog
This was a fun weekend playthrough, but I regret exploring such a strong entry in Naughty Dog’s catalog far sooner. “Lost Legacy” may be more of an extension of 4 in terms of raw gameplay, but it’s combination of clever puzzles and ND’s signature writing and voice work made this truly work on its own, and god DAMN I love these characters.
What works:
I absolutely love what they’ve done with Chloe. She was always the “hot girl” to Drake in the mainline series, and despite being charming and funny, she did lack the depth of Elena who ended up stealing his heart in the end. I’m sure it helped keep the competition between the two down to a minimal, but it was pretty obvious who had the legs for such a romance. So they really made her “bad girl” persona an inherent character flaw, and it was rewarding seeing her grow and develop through her selfishness over the course of the campaign. Nadine is given far more material here too compared to her appearance in 4, and honestly I found her to be a complete badass.
Puzzles are usually a mixed bag in the series, but they were really fascinating and difficult enough to twist my brain a few times. Shooting is solid and set pieces are what we’ve come to expect from the franchise, but the last chapter revisited a popular train chase from the beloved second game and they completely beefed up the excitement. Hopping convoys and dodging mini guns is enhanced with the grapple hook mechanic from 4 and I was utterly delighted by all the intensity. Stealth is as strong as it ever was, with mistakes being my fault nearly 100% of the time. I’d argue that these portions are more dynamic and tighter than those in Sony’s own Metal Gear Solid franchise, but you all aren’t ready for that conversation.
What doesn’t:
The more open-area design was introduced in the last game, and despite its added versatility in firefights, the less linear environments made me feel like I was constantly shot at from all sides with little ability to ever find good cover. On normal difficulty, I found some sections to be almost brutal and I have no idea how the crushing difficulty will be fun at all. Linearity is not a bad word in my vocabulary, so I would have preferred more encounters with a wall at my back. Similarly, the open world portions with the car felt too much like a chore. Luckily the length of that bit is down to whether or not you want to find all the collectibles.
Overall:
I questioned giving this a higher score for a while there, but the lack of anything truly new makes this more a solid addition to the fourth game than a legendary new entry in the franchise. Naughty Dog’s staple attention to their characters and the writing puts many television shows and movies to shame, and I honestly teared up in a few moments just because I felt so connected to the story being told and the culture they so elegantly explore. A particular moment with elephants left me in awe, and anyone that remembers the giraffes in “Last of Us” know exactly what I’m talking about. This is another winner in Naughty Dog’s repertoire, and I can only hope they revisit this series in the PS5 generation.

On its surface, Beyond Blue appears to be little more than an educational sim.
But as the game progresses, a profound story about family and the state of the planet creeps in. Providing an emotional backdrop to relaxing underwater exploration.
Beyond Blue is very well polished, with some fascinating documentaries as extras. Sea creatures provide a fun collectable element, as they provide viewable models when scanned. Many will leave this game with an appreciation of ocean conservation.
Although the game is rather short, it did not feel rushed. There is no "game over" or action, it's just a relaxing experience with a narrative. It does what it does well.

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