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Eternights is a very easy game to misunderstand. On one hand, it tries quite hard to channel an essence similar to that of older Japanese romance visual novels/dating sims. On the other hand, it also takes many cues from more recent games, especially the Persona series, which may have the same roots as those VNs, but ultimately has grown to be its own thing, with a different set of expectations. Eternights tries to be a lot of things, but at its core, just like the VNs/dating sims of old, it's fantasy fulfillment. It asks the question: what if you're the key to saving the world, and you can score some baddies in the process? It's a cliche that has been fantasized countless times, and yet Eternights stands out due to its earnestness in its goals. It's not trying to be something greater than it is, and it's a big part of the game's charm.
The story itself is nothing special for the most part, but what I like about it is that it keep things simple by not overexplaining things and having too much dialogue and exposition. It's not about the lore or other worldbuilding aspects, it's about you and the gang, getting closer to each other (and maybe getting real close to at least one of them), and being the heroes of the story. The humor is either chuckle-worthy or mildly cringe, while the romance feels appropriately cheesy and wholesome. There's also some stereotypically anime vulgar moments that might not be for many people's tastes, but they don't overstay their welcome. All in all, it's a casual story that doesn't take it self too seriously.
The cast of characters is pretty good overall. There was a short period in the first 2 acts where the MC's best friend was annoyingly unlikeable, but he's cool in every other time. I liked Sia's backstory the most out of all the girls, but Min's just too adorable most of the time. Yuna seems like the least interesting one for me, but I have a disinterest for showbiz stuff so it's not a surprise for me. And yeah, Yohan is a pretty good twink. I can't say I care for the villains at all though.
The combat feels very janky, but there's a lot of fun to be had here once you know how the game wants you to play. Your normal attacks can't interrupt enemy attacks, and it can mess with how you think about dodge timings and such. It promotes a more reactive approach, like only attacking after you dodged an enemy attack, rather than attacking first. The combat also starts pretty slow in the first hour, as you're very limited in abilities, but you can get more abilities later on, like being able to parry, throw energy waves, and so on. It doesn't take long for you to be able to commit the combat's most fun sin: being able to delete bosses within a short period after breaking their shields without letting them attack. It's quite a flashy display, but there's still a hefty amount of jank to get over. At least there's some okay-ish puzzles in the dungeons to take some weight off the combat's shoulders.
There's also confidant skills, which are extra skills you can perform (if the character who owns them are with you), like Yuna's healing ability, or Min's protective shield. You can upgrade or earn new skills by getting closer to each character. Each character also has their own elemental attacks, which are essential in breaking down bosses' shields. These are also upgraded in the same way, and it only adds to the value of advancing your relationships. The relationship system is very similar to the recent Persona games, so I won't explain too much other than that it is well made enough.
One of the lesser parts of the game is the overall audiovisual presentation. Most of the game's music is just unsophisticated ambient music that is barely good enough to set the mood. The environments are similarly one-note as well, it always has the same vibe of being in a neon-lit dark corridor. At least the characters themselves look more competent, even if their animations can be a bit lacking. There's also some other issues, like weird audio mix in some scenes. But considering that this is made by a very small group of people, it's something that I can and willing to look past.
As a final note, I have to say that the final act (and the little gimmick at the very end) made me bump up the score a bit. It's perhaps a good way to encapsulate the experience: even with all its faults, Eternights still hits the most important goals, and for a hyperniche game like this, it's something that can't be taken for granted.
One Night Stand
After finishing Silent Hill four times in a row I wanted something cuter to cleanse my palate a bit, and did this fully deliver!
The entire world Klonoa was intentionally made to look like a children's fantasy storybook, something that you whould read a kid before sleep to have sweet dreams, this is not only one of the prettiest PS1 games I've seen, but it might be the one with the strongest art direction. Everything from the colors, character and level design, even the way characters talk in cutesy gibberish during cutscenes, but some things like names are clearly heard, like we're listening to some fantasy language, it all oozes that childlike joy that I also relate a lot to some artistic trends from Japan during the late 90's (specifically the movie Catnapped or Little Nemo) and that I also consider very pretty and nostalgic.
I wasn't expecting the game to be a bit sad at times. Of course it is still within what you'll expect from a fairytale where our hero or their world must go through some hardship, it was a surprising touch that added a bit more to what is a simple yet very enjoyable story if you still remember those old childhood fables.
Gameplay is simple, but it takes advantage to every avaliable action that can be performed into a 2.5D space to the max. Making the player able to see platforms on a different plane that you can later explore gives a great sense of depth to the levels, moreso in the cases when we can interact with them by throwing enemies (quick detail here that I forgot to mention, the enemies on their ball forms are adorable, every single one could make great plushies) or just to keep the space consistent. Even the lackluster glide Klonoa does makes all the difference in some late game jumping distance.
A small detail that I notice is that besides map modeling, only the bosses are fully 3D modeled, I don't know if it's just me but I think it may be a way to convey how otherworldy and different these enemies are now that they are influenced by the power of nightmares, Ghadius being in that state constantly adds a bit to his presence...
Overall a very cute and worthwile experience (even if a bit short compared to other platformers), with fantastic visuals, cute and heartfelt vibes, and great music.
So Starfield… everyone knows what this is and everyone knows how Bethesda RPGs usually turn out, so will just give thoughts on what their new IP supposedly “25 years in the making” does well and what it falls short on compared to their other games. I’ve done all the main and faction quests in my playthrough, and pretty much got my fill of it aside for NG+
First off since it’s likely to be the biggest point of contention about it for most, this isn’t much of an exploration game despite Todd’s unsurprisingly exaggerated marketing claims. In fact I’d even say that despite being set in space with “unparalleled freedom” to explore, this felt like the most constrained and segmented game Bethesda’s made so far. As unlike their previous titles, the gravitation toward just going out on your own and getting lost in their open world was very limited to me for a few reasons
For one there’s no actual overworld like in Elder Scrolls or Fallout, and space itself is not seamless like say No Man’s Sky. Planets you land on and space stations are broken up into hub areas, with central attention clearly going toward the various cities in the game. It may technically be true that there are over 1000 planets, but that’s pretty much meaningless to me as I’ve had little reason to ever venture away from the main systems. If you do decide to land on any procedurally generated planets that aren’t connected to quests, you’ll likely find little of interest on them other than sticking around for outpost building or resource gathering (both of wish I didn’t care for much)
You do own and control a ship which is cool, but it’s only used for dogfighting in zoned areas or docking onto stations. Thus you can’t actually use it to travel directly to planets without going into your starmap and selecting it in the menu. On land you also aren’t able to venture too far from your ship without hitting a map boundary, and obviously this means there are no land vehicles of any kind. Though this honestly didn’t come up enough to matter in my opinion
And on the topic of not being seamless, Bethesda’s made no advancement on limiting how frequent load screens are in their games. They’re still pretty much everywhere, from going into your ship to landing to just opening random small stores in the cities. It’s thankfully just a few seconds at least cause of the SSD, but would probably be unbearable otherwise. So sufficed to say it’s still very dated in this regard, and probably isn’t going to change as long as they stick with their everlasting Creation Engine
I guess a more accurate comparison for how this game actually is would be The Outer Worlds (albeit with a much bigger budget). I don’t exactly think this is a bad thing, but it’s also not really what it was advertised as either. Starfield’s universe tries to give off an impression of how vast in scale it is, but compared to before it ironically doesn’t feel anywhere near as sprawling
Having said all that, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy my time with it. What it actually does well is different than I expected, it’s kinda as if their focus flipped entirely from exploration to just taking quests. The majority of time I spent was just in dialogue talking to characters in the city areas, which are generally well done and surprisingly dense with a lot of side content. The game does make a pretty poor first impression (the intro especially is not good and jarring in how quickly it pushes you from being some random miner to a member of Constellation), but did get sucked into the game the longer I played once I started focusing on faction questlines or the smaller side ones
There are caveats to this, for one Bethesda’s writing can still be hit or miss and quest design itself is still behind the likes of other RPGs. The main story is… eh, the ideas it has are cool but feel it goes by too quickly to really leave much of an impression. For most of it though I think they’ve improved especially compared to Fallout 4 which bored me to tears with its quests. The Settled Systems is fairly interesting and while the lore isn’t quite as extensive next to Elder Scrolls, it’s solid enough as a sci-fi setting. In regard to companions there’s only 4 main ones, but they’re definitely better than before also. Especially since there’s an affinity system and how they can talk about your decisions often, I mostly stuck with Andreja in my playthrough and she had comments for basically every quest I’ve done which was cool
Starfield is still combat heavy of course, but it’s decent. If you were fine with Fallout 4 then this is pretty close to that with a few improvements in mobility. You get a boost pack and can actually climb ledges which is nice, plus combat slides if you unlock it. Few issues though, not sure if it’s just busted right now but stealth felt pretty worthless. Enemies always seem to detect you regardless of your stealth level or equipment, which got especially annoying when doing stealth focused missions and you can’t avoid getting caught. In those cases I just stopped trying after having to reload a bunch of times
Aside for that, third person combat remains supremely janky to control for me so I only used it just to look at my character. The enemy AI is also as you’d figure if you’ve played their other games (not good), little improvement’s been made there. I also didn’t like how clunky it was to browse the inventory and encumbrance which I’ll forever hate as a mechanic
In regard to visuals Starfield is… mixed? In general it’s a pretty great looking game, the art design for most locations is pronounced and lighting is strong especially with interiors. There are a lot of NPCs walking around in the cities which is cool, but they aren’t exactly detailed either. And when you look at faces (which is very often), it has Oblivion energy with the exact same close up zoom and dead stares when talking to NPCs. It’s an odd thing to still have when even Skyrim didn’t, but I guess has nostalgic charm somewhat
It was said that Starfield’s their most polished game and that’s mostly true in my case, though only relative to their standards. On Series X it’s only 30 FPS and there’s still a fair amount of minor bugs throughout with occasional slowdowns in the city areas. But for the most part it’s fine and not as bad as it could get before
I guess that’s about it for now (this review’s already super long). Ultimately I wouldn’t really say Starfield lives up to the hype it’s built all these years, as it still feels like not enough’s evolved with Bethesda’s formula compared to Fallout 4 almost a decade ago, which holds it back from impressing me more along with its general flaws. That said I did enjoy it more than F4 overall, and if you go in knowing what to expect it can still grab you if you let it, seeing as how I’ve managed to put in over 50 hours already lol
Kojima can not write for the life of him (Agness Kaku, the localizer for MGS2, even agrees with me on this), so having a game entirly based of Kojima's dreadful Lethal Weapon fanfiction were you play as a sexually perverted fiend doppelganger of Mel Gibson, yeah, you know it's gonna be a fucking terrible slog. How fucking dare you make space so fucking uncool, you nerd! Stop being a fucking dweeb and explaining needless shit constantly, no one fucking cares AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Much like the previous DLC expansion, this is a quality addition to the Golden Idol package, concluding the prequel chapters leading up to the events of the base game in such a way that one might be tempted to play the story chronologically instead of doing the DLC last.
All well and good if not for one thing: this is a hard DLC, with some conclusions that I cannot call anything other than logical leaps. One character in particular has motivation to do a certain thing, but the game then escaòates their role to such a point that you might end up confused by how you were expected to figure it out.
All that aside, which your mileage may vary on, as this is the sort of game where people get stuck in spots that others find trivial, this is yet more great content, though not quite on the level with the original. Like the previous DLC, it's definitely missing much of the appeal of the base game's story and setting but there is absolutely no reason to skip it.
There's some bullshit here with the second and third puzzles requiring very specific words in certain spots that I really don't feel is fair especially cause there are also synonyms in the same clue list. That said, still mighty fun figuring things out and a decent enough swan song for the game considering this is the final DLC.
Final Fantasy XVI
FFXVI is quite an unique experience in both good and bad ways. The story starts incredible strong but declines over time and it ends in a very standard FF manner: Fighting against a god that does not understand the "bonds" between humans.
The combat is pretty good, but once you have unlocked a couple of powers there is little reason to exchange them as they offer the best powers (I spent all the game with the Fire, Wind and Earth powers) and the only use of Ability points is to powerup said powers.
And while I loved doing side-stories (and some are very useful to help you improve your item bag and weapons), to be honest they are very similar. You need to go talk to someone, go to place, beat some enemies and come back. A lack of variety on this aspect is very noticeable.
Despite this, I really enjoyed my time with the game. I can lament the lack of RPGs element in the game, but I also loved the battle system (I especially liked parrying with the Earth power). Overall, it is a great game marred with a few noticeable flaws.
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