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Before playing The Silver Case, the most experience I had with visual novels was playing through the original Ace Attorney a few times and then eventually giving up on all of those playthroughs from both boredom and my previous lack of consistency when it came to completing games. I eventually did finish a third playthrough I started of that game late last year, partly thanks to The Silver Case as this was the game that gained both my interest and respect for the genre.
The Silver Case is a great visual novel that will captivate your attention with its interesting story, characters, and its unique presentation. While its story can be a little hard to grasp at times, the game's episodic nature and switching between Matchmaker & Placebo were good ways to give players a better understanding of what happened and at keeping players interested.
The puzzle solving isn't the best in this game, but luckily you have the option to skip through them if you just want to progress through the story. There were also some parts of the game where it is easy to get lost or confused without a guide. I briefly got lost in one part involving the Typhoon apartments and in a previous playthrough I remember spending a lot more time than I should have on those ten towers toward the end of the game. Other than those two gripes, there isn't really anything else I can say bad about the game.
The Silver Case is a great visual novel that not only is one of Suda51's best works but also got me to give a second chance to a genre I previously did not care for.
Pokémon Snap's concept is a genius idea that really takes advantage of the vast amount of different Pokémon that are featured in Pokémon Red. Blue, and Yellow. The concept of the game is to go out to a handful of different environments to get as many good photographs of the various Pokémon you'll find on each stage and bring them back to Professor Oak who will then judge the quality of the photos you give him. Not only is it a clever way in bringing Pokémon to the big screen, but also seeing how they live and interact with the world and other Pokémon around them.
The items that Professor Oak gives you not only help you get better photographs of the Pokémon but also require you to get creative in how you'll get the ability to get snapshots of certain Pokémon you otherwise wouldn't see or even how you'll unlock a few of the levels. The best examples I can think of are when you have to knock the Magikarp into the waterfall with your items to evolve it into Gyarados or when you have to use items on Squirtle & Mankey to unlock one of the levels. It makes the game a bit less linear while also adding a level of interactivity that allows the player to get a deeper sense of immersion while sightseeing in the Pokémon world.
I'm probably asking a bit too much given how much work it would take to animate all 151 Pokémon and the limitations of the system, but I think the game should have added all of Gen 1. It could have allowed for a few extra levels to be included in an already short game and it would satisfy those whose favorite didn't get featured. I know I would have loved to see Poliwhirl and a fully animated Mewtwo make an appearance in this.
When it comes to getting a deeper look at the world of Pokémon and in utilizing its unique concept, it delivers. It not only is a game I'm glad I played, but it also made me interested in playing its sequel which took way too long to come out. I hope that one features more of my favorites in it.
Sonic Unleashed isn't a terrible game but there are enough gripes I had with it that made the game a slog to beat. The werehog levels while sometimes enjoyable overstayed their welcome and the combat isn't all that great. The sun & moon coins were also a pain in the ass to collect for a good chunk of the game and will probably take up a good majority of your playthrough. It gets a bit easier to get the amount required to complete the game once you unlock the extra acts, but unless you really pay attention as you play the levels, you're going to find yourself replaying them quite a bit if you want to make progress. Eggmanland is one of the most infuriating levels I have played for quite some time. Not only does it have an absurdly big difficulty curve from every other level, but the level drags on longer than the other werehog levels. Considering my lack of skill at Sonic games, I'm honestly surprised I managed to beat it, let alone without having to grind for extra lives. Even with that in mind it still took me over an hour to do it.
I've complained enough about the downsides so I'll go into the positive aspects this game has to offer. The regular Sonic levels are fun to speed through and there is a lot of variety among the levels which is something I always am clamoring for in a game. The graphics are impressive and hold up nicely in 2023. Despite the werehog levels being far from perfect, I can still appreciate that they at least tried to do something new and unique.
There is a good game underneath some of the issues it has. What Sonic Unleashed really needs is a remaster that adds some QoL changes. Those few small changes can come a long way and are all Sonic Unleashed really needs for it to truly unleash its potential.