181 Reviews liked by CtheIronblooded

Above all else, Evil West is a video game ass video game and that's what I love about it.
The marketing knows this too, it has a trailer featuring goddamn Danny Trejo where it boasts not having lootboxes and making fun of the absurd monetization of games. "I just want to play a game!" he proclaims. If you're beyond a casual consumer (which I assume is the case if you're using this site) you'd find this trailer a bit cringe. It's basically just yelling that its a single player game without a bunch of microtransactions (ignoring the fact it has a pre order bonus skin lol) which yknow, isn't really all that uncommon. But there's something that makes you just wanna vigorously shout "Hell yeah" about that statement and well goddamn Evil West sure is a game.
Saying something "sure is" a game or a movie is usually used as a bit of an insult but for Evil West it is not only a true descriptor but its a bit of a refreshing one. You're just a badass cowboy with electric gauntlets that rips vampires and werewolves in half. There are upgrades and perks, which may be a bit of a mandatory and exhausted system these days, but they only enhance the gameplay and add on to the glorious variety this game has to offer. For most of the game there's constantly new mechanics thrown in. It's entirely designed to make the game more fun and thats what Evil West excels at, being fun. There is an argument to make that the game is a bit simplistic. As many others point out its reminiscent of an older gen title. Non interconnected levels, gruff badass protag and a silly story. Looking at it objectively you can sum up the game as combat arena, slight exploration, combat arena, slight exploration, small puzzle, combat arena, cutscene and so on. But you can really boil any game down to something like that and dismissing Evil West because of that is denying just how fun and cool it is. Maybe its not anything new but it doesn't need to be to be a fantastic time on its own. Hell, even the cover is a form of the "generic cool guy with a gun" but the way its presented and the art style just makes it look sick as fuck.
Throughout Evil West, you'll face a lot of repeat but unique enemies throughout with an occasional new one thrown into the mix. But it's the way enemies are thrown in together and the badass arsenal you're given that still make it so every fight feels different. I was never left with a feeling of boredom or that it was repetitive. It's hella challenging too. I played the whole game on normal. Usually I find games aren't balanced well but Evil West I thought was the perfect level for me. So many of the fights toss a huge amount of tough enemies at you. I was constantly audibly saying "Jesus Christ" or "Fucking hell" at the constant bullshit this game gives you to deal with. But because of how well this game is done I was never left feeling defeated at the constant deaths or like that it was too impossible to win. The only part of this combat I don't like are the suicide bomb enemies. They do cause you to change your play style up a bit but in every game they're put in they're more of a nuisance than a meaningful feature. There's only a few actual boss fights but all of these are quite fun as well, except maybe for The Parasite and thats only because it featured a bunch of the suicide dudes. I nervously laughed at the final bosses transformation. Fighting it, watching some of its surprisingly creepy animations and getting my ass kicked but still killing the fuck out of it in the end was when I knew for sure that this game had succeeded in everything it set out to do.
Now that i've beaten in the fact that the gameplay is super fun (without actually spoiling the mechanics) let's talk about the rest of Evil West. Firstly I want to note that the game gives you an arachnophobia warning (and the option to turn off spiders) at the start which I appreciate. As someone who is deathly scared of them but also didn't want to lessen the overall experience I didnt use this option, and fuck are there a shitload of spiders lmao. Its just a nice little bit of accessibility that I think deserved its own bit of praise. Onto the story, I don't have anything bad to say about it. It's obviously not the selling point. I do honestly wish it was a bit more over the top but I was curious in the direction and it was enjoyable. The ending is slightly abrupt but I still found it to be satisfying. Graphically Evil West isn't the best looking but something I very much appreciated was how much visual variety the levels had. Almost all of them had their own unique setting, color and feel to them. Lots of unique locations is one of the things a game can do to earn a spot in my heart and I was really happy that Evil West committed to this. One thing stopping me from giving it a full 90 is that it was a bit buggy. it was nothing game breaking. The basement of your main base has a lighting glitch, there were two instances where I got stuck in the floor during combat and had to restart. And there were a few audio glitches where just this really loud annoying sound would loop. This was all kinda a pain in the ass when it happened but everything was fixable with a simple restarting checkpoint or death. Playing on performance mode I only ever had one lag spike (that happened every time i got to this section either after death or when replaying for a trophy) was when three big bat demons spawn simultaneously. Otherwise it was never choppy or anything of the such. Another thing worth mentioning isnt a bug but a little silly and definitely a product of budget. When you're at your home base and you walk by an npc they will talk but their mouth wont move or anything. You spend such little time here that it doesnt matter but I thought it was funny enough to share.
That's kinda all I've got to say about Evil West. I really do like this game. In a year where i've gotten lots of games on launch that ended up pretty disappointing, It was nice to play a game I expected very little of that ended up being a surprisingly good time. This year has taught me a lot about both how lame critics are and how terrible I am with money.
Thanks for reading y'all <3
More stuff is on the way.
Nancymeter - 88/100
Trophy Completion - 56% (18/30)
Time Played - 15 hours 12 minutes
Game Completion #150 of 2022
Game Completion #4 of December

cant wait for zoomers with an attention span of 30 seconds to say this game is boring because they had to watch a 2 minute cutscene telling them not to be a fucking moron.

now THIS is the game I wanted 2018 to be.
improves SO much of what 2018 laid out but it wasn't afraid to call back to the original series. combat is satisfyingly similar to God of War 3 in its animation, down to the executions. animation itself isn't afraid to let loose, no longer stiff in combat and in transforms and allowed to actually flow nicely.
the story blows 2018 and even arguably most of the 'prestige' Sony games out of the water. They did not hesitate to make you laugh, make you cry, and make you feel a satisfy end to Kratos's story (and the beginning to Atreus's). This game has what 2018 didn't have - personality. Hell, at time I felt like I was watching an actual play!
nearly every problem I have in the new series has been addressed and fixed in this entry. i'm glad i had the privilege to actually play it right to the end, and it's post credits content

This review contains spoilers

God of War: Ragnarök is the type of sequel that builds on nearly everything that was set up and established in the previous game. Everything here is superb, and at a level of polish that should be the golden standard for all AAA games. Everything from the story, the combat, the exploration, the performances, the visuals, and presentation blew me away. God of War: Ragnarök is absolutely one of the best games of the year.
The story is a bit less structured and personal than the last game, but what it lacks in a more personal touch, it supplements it with grand scale and a plethora of both new and returning characters that have an incredible amount of depth. The writing here is superb. The story has so many twists and turns, and moments that will make you emotional. This is also helped by the great dialogue and truly fantastic performances from the entire voice cast. There isn't a weak performance in the bunch, from our leading characters to even the most insignificant of sidekicks.
The main gameplay is fantastic. It is a great mix of linear levels and huge open areas for you to explore and complete a ton of quests in. Some areas even open up further as you progress in the story, going from one big area to an even BIGGER area with more interesting lore and quests to complete. I never got bored of seeing what quests awaited me in each realm.
You do get to visit all 9 realms in this game, which is a real treat. It provides a ton of variety to the game's beautiful scenery. Not all of the realms are big and explorable, but I am fine with that. Not every realm needed to be this huge, open area.
Combat is more finely tuned from the last game, which was already a very polished system. This time, Kratos starts off with both of his weapons from the previous game, giving the player a lot of variety early on. Things will continue to open up for the player as their progress their skill tree for both Kratos and Atreus, gain new armor, and upgrade their weapons.
The visuals are stunning. Every location is incredibly well-realized. Their isn't a bad looking place of the bunch, and each realm gives you visual variety as you progress through the story. This is complimented by another incredible score from Bear McCreary, who did the last game's soundtrack as well. There are so many great pieces here. I have been listening to the soundtrack on repeat since finishing the game, its that good.
Now while this game is absolutely phenomenal, I do have some issues with it. However, some of these complaints go into spoiler territory. You have been warned:
The Atreus sections are...okay. I enjoyed getting to play as him in his combat sections, as he provided a new way to engage in combat scenarios. However, his sections, at times, felt like padding or too drawn out. For example, Jotunheim felt like a toooooon of standard video game padding, with slow movement and lots of little fetch quests (though admittedly it has a fantastic boss battle at the end). Atreus is a very interesting character, but his sections detracted from the main story at times, which I didn't appreciate.
While talking about spoilers, I just wanna say how much I loved the characters again here. Odin was done superbly well, being written and acted in the way a true manipulative narcissist would behave; at times even fooling the audience into thinking he isn't a half-bad person. Thor is also great. His depiction of alcoholism and inner struggles with losing his sons from the first game was incredible to see. But of course, the star of the show is Kratos, as he continues to strive to "be better" not for his own salvation, but for his son's. It was incredibly powerful towards the end when he spares Thor. Kratos has quickly become my favorite PlayStation mascot with this game.
To close, I want to say just how special this new GOW series is. These two games have made me believe in big, bold, and beautiful AAA games again. Something that not only looks great, not only plays great, but also uses its story and themes to touch your heart. Everything culminates to a gaming experience that I won't soon forget.
Man, its going to be HARD to pick between this and Elden Ring for GOTY.......

Tips for any new players: make note of all IPCA Techs you grab if you're going for completionism. These unlock a special weapon in the postgame but there's no way to track which ones you already grabbed.
Anyway, I really enjoyed my time with this game. The gameplay is pretty fun, with nice gun play that's decently visceral (though not at the level of something like RDR2 at all, but better than Far Cry for example). Playing on Survival I, the early game is particularly fun to me as I was forced to use stealth and every trick I had to kill my enemies. For example, drawing a nearby horde to an enemy camp and making the Freakers and marauders kill each other while I watch. It's a bit less interesting later on though, as I became so powerful that I just ran around shooting everyone and everything, but it's still fun. Enemy AI for humans is particularly fun to mess with, but they're not as smart as they try to appear. The bike is great though it starts out rough, fun progression there. Not much I can complain about other than wishing the game went harder on survival elements than it does.
The open world is perhaps where I have the most issues with the game, when it comes to gameplay. It's a great map with lots of unique locations and jack shit to do in them other than scavenge and kill Freakers and hostile humans. And you don't even need to scavenge much, because it takes a while to get good crafting recipes for pipe bombs and shit. Then you also have a small inventory space for each material, so I just barely bothered to scavenge. Oh and I should be clear, you only ever find materials. There's no meaningful weapons to find, only breakable melee ones. All guns and the like are unlocked through camps and story progression. There's also very few events in the world, so there just isn't much going on other than riding from point A to point B. Survival removes fast travel too, so I did a lot of riding. Shame because the map itself really is great and also looks fantastic.
Speaking of looks, the game just looks amazing, specially the lighting and faces (except Tucker and Rikki). Not much more to say there.
Now, story. I found it surpeisingly good, having expected an excuse plot at first. The characters are great and believable and Deacon is a great protagonist. He's such an ass for so long that it really made me enjoy seeing his character development. The third act and finale of the game are particularly amazing, though the cliffhanger post-game stuff is sad since a sequel was rejected by Sony. I would really enjoy seeing a sequel that irons out the kinks like the empty open world and continues the story.

Phenomenal experience. This game and Control probably have my favorite combat in gaming. The mechanics are so innovative and fun to use. Remedy's expected excellent storytelling through collectibles is present plus a genuinely intriguing (and expectedly confusing) sci-fi time travel story. The unique structure of live-action TV episodes in-between gameplay acts was incredible and I really wish that we could get a sequel to this story in the same way. It could definitely be better but for a first attempt at something so fresh, it's hard to complain because it was plenty effective and entertaining. The final boss fight mechanics drove me nuts and was the only time I remotely struggled in combat. Otherwise, most of my issues are minor and will be easily forgotten because my memories will be of how immersed I was in this world for 12 hours over two days.

I see a lot of people on here complaining about this game's themes. I really wish I had an opinion of them myself, but this game was so goddamn boring I checked out a little over the halfway mark and was trying to learn "Forever Is a Long Time" by Yngwie Malmsteen on guitar during every cutscene from then on. That descending scale in the main riff is a bitch and a half, I swear Yngwie's inhuman.

It's well made but also just, really boring

Just as strong as its predecessor.

This game was so much more enjoyable from the first. Im not quite sure on all of what they changed but it just felt so much better to play. You're not getting staggered constantly, the enemies arent insane bullet sponges and it just felt a lot more balanced and rewarding than the original. The puzzles were also a lot better, so much less frustrating and a lot more enjoyable. I do wish there was less of an emphasis on them though, I feel like the game has way too many and that makes it kinda drag a bit more than needed in the middle. There were still moments the game pissed me off and initial impressions were not great, but the gameplay really stepped it up in the end and I appreciated that immensely. The story does suffer a bit though, It's notably weaker than than the first. Another review mentions this but it definitely suffers from middle child syndrome. The ending especially is pretty akin to Halo 2, a great set up for 3 but a bit of a disappointing finish for the game itself, that being said its not quite as abrupt and I didnt mind it too much
Overall, despite some slow moments and a noticeably weaker story, God of War II is an immense improvement over the first and a genuine joy to play. Hyped to see how this trilogy ends.
On a side note the medusa-like enemies are fucking stupid and I fucking hate them
Trophy Completion - 100% (Platinum 193)
Time Played - 18 hours on the dot
Nancymeter - 81/100
Game Completion #54 of 2022
May Completion #4