Bio
Just some dude who loves RPGs, Mecha, Indie and everything in between.

Score is based on how much I enjoyed the game

5 stars = Unforgettable Masterpiece
4.5 stars = Close to a Magnum Opus
4 stars = Fantastic, with minor imperfections
3.5 stars = Two thumbs up! Though YMMV
3 stars = Passable, except big red flags
2.5 stars = Situational, depends on some things which vary from person to person
2 stars = Ehhhhhhhhhh
1.5 stars = Something in the mud
1 stars = Terrible
0.5 stars = Run away and don't look back
0 stars = At this point. I need to time-travel to stop my past self from playing the game.

Youtube link above is my channel where I try to upload videogame reviews when I have the time and walkthroughs. To help others and give a shoutout to games with my 2 cents.

If you want to chat about games you can find me at Discord - Detectivefail
or Steam
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Favorite Games

Outer Wilds
Outer Wilds
NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139...
NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139...
Xenogears
Xenogears
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions

400

Total Games Played

018

Played in 2024

017

Games Backloggd


Recently Played See More

Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Jul 18

Mad Max
Mad Max

Jul 16

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men

Jul 12

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy

Jul 11

Hellpoint
Hellpoint

Jul 09

Recently Reviewed See More

In 2013, Josh Sawyer, a developer from Obsidian talks about “why don’t developers make more historical RPGs” He brings up a slew of excellent points because he’s been thinking about this matter for fifteen years. I’ll paraphrase the important bits from the 23-minute video. According to Sawyer the reason why we don’t see more is owing to developers not liking history academically, believing it's boring, and a belief that players will become lost in an ancient setting. He brings up the Assassin’s Creed series which he considers highly of, saying he liked and disliked certain entries as a good example of using history as a foundation. Going further he touches on a 1992 game that does this well, called The Darklands, proving in the past, a precedent not only for RPGs in general as a major influence, but ones following it. Sawyer thinks "nobody wants to play a historical game due to no planning for it." Meaning there's plenty of work, and dedication involved when a market shows not much interest. But he rebuttals that notion, bringing previous examples not in the same realm of genres like Age of Empires Though not an RPG, he speaks highly of an untapped platform, and it must be presented in numerous ways.

Pound for pound I can’t disagree with Sawyers' reasonable evidence, rather I'm fully on board. If we break down the guidelines he sprouts then to to avoid pitfalls for such types they must:

-Have developers interested/motivated in reaching the entire chronicle to create a solid foundation.
-Don’t be boring, have to be cool, and you can embellish within reason.
-Avoid reticence feelings on history from the past, and embrace it.
-Keep it grounded, don’t go nuts with conjuring full-on conspiracies.
-Most importantly no reading material is required prior, similar to DND, you don't need to know who Drizzt is to enjoy the medium.

Hmm, I seem to recall another RPG that achieves all guidelines, in a powerful way without integrating any fantasy, magic, supernatural, sci-fi, stuff. Steeped in authenticity, accurate to the ages, and set in the medieval ages of our world. Before I say the name I have to connect the matter to a certain franchise. While awaiting the return of the Mafia franchise with the fourth still in development I couldn't help but miss the complex narrative, open-world structure with pillars of realism setting the foundation. 3 points and a franchise I'm fond of, so it's a major surprise to hear Daniel Vávra an important figure who supported the series as director/lead writer in the first and second installment leave 2K to co-found Warhorse Studios. With a Czech team, they pitched an ambitious project a decade ago, I remember those memories vividly, I saw them break their 300K initial goal on Kickstarter. To two million, With a roaring success, I avidly read their patch notes for four years, up to version 1.0 finally released in 2018 to mixed reception. Undeterred by the launch issues, I decided to wait once more, until 2024 arrived. After 130 hours completing 99% with DLC, I am thrilled to announce Kingdom Come Deliverance(KCD) created with Cryengine has successfully given me the most similar experience as playing Witcher 1(TW1), spliced with the three points I stated earlier, and accomplished another milestone to grant audiences a new historical RPG.

Good o’l medieval non-Witcher itching successfully scratched. Both are rough around the edges causing the other qualities to shine, such as the writing, a nice blend of serious conversations matched by amusing tales, and continuously injecting mature themes alongside thoughtful quest design keeping in mind the setting. Employs weird combat maneuvers, in TW1, mouse clicking and timing them on hit to cause attacks to deal damage consistently, kinda like a rhythm game a bit. KCD, on the other hand, decides to unleash a jammed pack star point formation with stabs, slashing, whacking, and determining HOW you want your weapon to attack. Offers gentle music to vibe with and keeping the visual presentation steady and no overzealous colorization in certain color spectrums! Voice actors are plentiful so you won’t notice the same kinds repeatedly. Animations I compared, since it can be a bit stiff infrequently, you’ll spot some actions then witness them again in an idle routine, yet these instances don’t take away the charm the two games present. A rich, brutal world and a story worth playing, frequently calling it a Peasant/Medieval simulator. Sakra! Even the way both main characters' names roll off the tongue. Move aside Geralt of Rivia! Henry of Skalitz has come to see us!

Yet underneath the comparisons. Lies a large open-world action immersive role-playing game set in first person with many systems and mechanics bulging at the seams connecting everything. A rundown of what to expect: Classeless jobs means you can hit classic DND archetype such as warrior, archer, thief, and more like becoming an alchemist or horse rider. A perk system is involved as you increase your skills in any profession ranging from mundane to useful. If you thought herb picking was useless, think again! I got gains in strength due to picking flowers from the grass fool! An in-depth reputation network split between speech and charisma and changeable depending on what you wear, looks are everything - look suspicious, be taken as suspicious, look like a knight be treated as a knight, Be like a nobleman be treated like so. Classic CRPGs do the usual helmet, body, and pants with limb to slot a weapon or shield in the inventory screen, here you have 20 equipment boxes. Check this image Six for the body, four for the face, six on weaponry + accessories, and four for your lower body. Oh man, I love fashion and this ticks my checkboxes, bye Skyrim! We fashioning Henry the peasant like a tanky knight! Keep in mind, to clean our clothes regularly because nobody wants a dirty guy stinking up the place! Anyways, you’ll also have to contend with a hunger/sleep mechanic which can affect your overall stamina. Alcohol can be a factor as well. A degradation mechanic is in place. So equipment needs to be maintained lest you lose their quality. Fight unruly bandits? Best use a repair kit, travel to a local blacksmith to pay a fee. Or try your luck as a blacksmith’s son and do it yourself! Additionally, foods will spoil. Some last longer than others, but it is generally not advisable to stack mountains of food on poor o’l Henry’s back. Weight is everywhere and the MC has a limit of what he can carry. Thankfully, we have a mule. No, we can’t train them to use HM moves like in Pokemon you’ll gain a horse with a separate inventory system to assist, and having a stash at home is instrumental. Finally, quests can be completed in a variety of methods, convince, kill, fail, pursue alternate solutions, etc. All the above sounds overwhelming and it can be. I would gently advise taking things slowly, and not rushing headlong lest what awaits is frustration. Everything is designed to be as realistic as possible, often to its detriment. Growing, learning, and surviving I became entrenched on the ins and outs, elevating my experience. So armor up fellas his trials are only beginning!

Bohemia’s rich chronicle in lore, world, story, gameplay and skills, combat from 1400s

Lorenut appreciates historical accuracy, and the Warhorse studio have taken lengthy strides to consult historians and architects to realize this. As a student and lover of world history, I am fascinated by the ancient period, but a cool RPG to educate newbloods on their country's rich annals, the Czech Republic now, used to be called Bohemia. A place where my boy Henry lives in turbulent times, a critical war broke out in 1403, factions divided and the poor sod is stuck in the middle of it! His story is a vital part of many stories told, connected into the over-encompassing narrative surrounding two major figures, King Wenceslas the Fourth and Sigismund of Luxembourg feel alive than reading them as a reference point, don’t worry you’ll get to learn these important dudes as you boot up the game with a fabulous intro. Sure certain liberties are taken to embellish things, but if I wanted accurate readings I’d head to the library and learn from books with 1st hand accounts with the possibility of my eyes slowly drooping from becoming bored. I’m playing a game, and I’m here to enjoy. As such when you combine my favorite passions(History + Gaming) you receive a wonderful combo, the Codex. A handy ‘little’ lore book is the bread and butter to understanding everything that occurs, by my estimates an excess of 200 to 300 valuable pages of text to peruse about enclosed in-game. Tabs of tutorials, characters, society, events, locations, and general, a mix of game and genuine as I can see accounts, detailed in non-complex terms to understand. Probably an elementary student to high schooler can comprehend the text within, yet it's handled with loving care to differentiate and point out what is real and what the game fictionalized. Praise Jesus Christ. Already my worldbuilding recommendation is passing out on the floor while raising two thumbs up! HELL YEAH! This is what games should strive for. Exerting maximum effort on lorebuilding and most importantly differentiating what’s real and not, and keeping it simple to complex for those various readers! Heck, as you venture off into anywhere the codex will pop up on the top right-hand corner to tease viewers to study upon. Knowledge is power. And boy oh boy does learning as much as you can in the Codex aid to pay off in sizable dividends as you progress, yet I must confess.

I didn’t read everything! Uncommonly I just wanna play the game and not have to worry, touching the systems, mechanics, hidden stuff, and lore texts! And that’s very understandable and valid. Playing without these essential texts is viable, hitting a single criteria of the guidelines I stated earlier in Sawyer’s video. And that’s how I like to roll generally, I don’t want to review pages of texts to understand the game coughs in Pathfinder homework Yet I was slowly lured like a student hungry for new forbidden information to learn. I dived headfirst like a knight Rambo and suffered for it, accepting the consequences of my actions as a learning experience. I was caught stealing and served my punishment in jail. Thankfully these guards aren’t like Elder Scrolls IV guards, zeroing in on my location as if I have a permanent tracker. They’re dumb, but also smart, reminds me of Thief’s series guard AI. I didn’t care toward hunger and sleep and was brutally killed during combat against foes with lower fighting power. I was flabbergasted. Turns out I need to eat and sleep properly to maximize my overall stamina. No stamina? Well, good luck son, on executing a strenuous move. Jumping, running, shooting a bow and arrow, and slashing with a weapon takes a greater toll on being handicapped. I didn’t care on reputation a earthshaking amount and was looked upon with suspicion for wearing black clothes whilst filthy. Trust me it's not cool stopping in front of guards and interrogated uncommonly…

After such a harrowing learning experience I decided to buckle down, studiously check the tutorial sections in my codex, and fix my earlier mistakes. Once I did, the whole game started to become clearer in my eyes. I noticed NPC’s have routines, nice to watch them roaming around the surrounding area, accomplishing their chores, or working hard at their respective jobs. Cleaning latrines, carrying water from the well, and setting commodities in stalls. The open world feels alive and real, the landscape is gorgeous, blooming with countless healthy grass and lively trees on the horizon and filled to the brim with deep forests loaded of animals and secrets, struggling people with wooden houses feel as though a single earthquake could topple them, roads due to the periods don’t always have concrete. Thus the muddy road is life and you better embrace becoming dirty as plenty of filthy peasants are around. Lighting and darkness are given care to allow a sneaky guy to commit skullduggery with no remorse! Just gotta make sure no sound is heard when picking locks via a mini-game and knocking out fools from behind never gets old! If I had my blackjack. Garret from Thief would be proud of Henry, I'd utter! Though, fair warning. It’s not guards you have to contend with, the commoners will react to sketchy activities like entering their house. What are you a burglar! Out with ye! Needless to remark, it's a critical idea to check your surroundings when in stealth-mode. Noise can alert nearby people! Vital because once you stray back into the light 1400s society is just as dark as its citizens. Despite the sunny atmosphere when morning arrives, everyone to a degree has an agenda. Seldom you will find naive, innocent pure souls, usually coming across as noble people taking advantage of the peasants by either power, money, or using their knowledge against those illiterate and dumb. Likewise, peasants also have their ways to even the score by undergoing seedy underbelly professions like thievery, killing, banditry, and etc. Tough life out there and the grayish duality of man is in bursting force to throw my main peasant for a loop de-doo as either unwilling lackey or manservant. However, for the trials he undergoes I can’t help but appreciate a remarkable earnestness, he’s naive, innocent, and untested in a harsh world.

And honestly vulnerable as a humpty dumpty. Yet the frail body in the inception, Henry's story is a treat to witness and partake, and growing stronger, these moments and conditions emerges a personal identity depending on his actions and consequences as you progress on yer adventure. The complex narrative is a bit simple in the commencement, climbing as he experiences a lot for a young guy and I relate to the lad on occasions as I grow and learn struggling in trying ordeals. I wouldn’t announce this hits the highest emotions, rather it excels quite well in setting the stages of struggle thrown our son of a blacksmith's way. His methods dealing with the incoming events/figures with an eagerness to please and contend with his darker tendencies, the methods he conjures establish him as a newbie still learning the ropes of the old Czech lands. His naivety and innocence becomes tested in hard days is a noteworthy endeavor to witness as I mingled with both common and noble folk. And Daniel Vávra(+team) maximizes their tenure from the Mafia series to rekindle tight, realistic segments to keep my interest steady on him and important figures intertwined. Reminded me a bit of what Shulk's ordeals from Xenoblade Chronicles, yet it’s not always about these protagonists 24/7, always layers hidden underneath.

A sliver of a peek into my guy from the beginning to end, without spoilers. He endured: an incredibly tough traumatic event, forcing him to seek both unhonorable and honorable paths to exact wrongs, a fumbling idiot who with patience and effort molds his tongue to charm, bewit, and convince many un/fortunate souls, brushing elbows with commoners and nobles delicately walking the path of a jokester to a diplomat. Undergoes a rigorous profession in disguise, following the herd to unearth a mystery, much like an assassin blending with harmless folk. The addictive feeling of staying on the path of light and facilitate without reward is a gratifying feeling, as is delving into the seedy dagger-wielding road when the above cannot be achieved. Hell, man can be a drunkard with solid fist-fighting skills and if that doesn’t work a bow and arrow job as a hunter works. Live life away from the turbulence. Or if you fancy a life of alchemist and sweet-talking maidens sure that way is also viable. Apt humor is present to balance the seriousness, won’t delve into further detail, but I did get probably over two dozen moments of me chuckling.

Periodically I felt KCD is like an Elder Scrolls game except not, they have enough to stand on their own feet. For example, suppose notions you can exploit. Got it? Now then lemme tell ya to throw it away. The title surrounds itself with checks and balances to prevent obvious exploits in favor of creating a realistic world, for better or worse, thus an Immersive RPG arrives with emergent gameplay succeeding in granting me a fun-filled playthrough. Extremely satisfied on plenty of freedom to approach situations at your leisure. Fail quests at your discretion, perceive outside the box maneuvers to crazy acts or kill every soul in your objective, take a stealth-based manner to complete your objectives, or suave your silver tongue around and manage to twist foolish fools daring to engage in conversation with you! Miraculously, convincing them to do what you want! That’s al- Nah man, There’s more! You can poison enemies, knock them out, and bait them towards an area. Honor Duel!? Meh, I’ll swipe out the armor before the fated day! Sabotage works! Do you want me to detail each job? Sorry, that's spoilers. But I'll give you a cool number. 17+ professions are possible, some of which are only available in multiple missions. Varying in quality. In three tiers. Main quests(MQ), sidequests(SQ), and activities. The best kinds can be found in the MQ and SQs. Activities are mostly fetch activities. But not boring to the gills, since you have numerous options to undertaking them like I said above, often I found working my skills repeatedly, bolster a bunch to combating the harsh kickoff. Aside from the principal stats: strength, agility, vitality, speech. He has a big wheelbarrow of skills to invest in. From battle, he can improve defense, warfare, axe, bow, mace, sword, and unarmed. From general skills, he can nurture alchemy, drinking, herbalism, horsemanship, houndmaster, hunting, lockpicking, maintenance, and pickpocketing I can speak excess, but you probably get the picture. Simply repeating the same activity will increase your abilities in their respective category. Theoretically, you didn’t hear this from me. You literally have the power to grind early on and become buff Aragorn instead of a physical weak Frodo. Thus I was immensely satisfied with the prominent systems and mechanics of progression. The rate of leveling up, and earning perks made me believe the devs loved the Fallout series because earning a new perk to choose never fails to bring a smile to my face. Imagine our main character as a jack of all trades, where every action is valuable. I recommend them for the rewards early on since he is weak as hell. Dude sucks. And that’s the truth. He’s not a veteran Witcher from the star, not a fella you can set from a preset of races from Dragon Age, Nor is he capable of using countless cool abilities from the Divinity, He’s a youngin and forced to mature in a comparable way as the MC from Baldur’s Gate In a humongous rough land of Bohemia with no fantasy, supernatural, magic era. Similar in distinct respects to the cruel state of the Stolen Lands in Pathfinder.

Combat is realistic, weighty, and intense

Outside of Sekiro, and Ghost of Tsushima, among others I could discuss I would firmly plant Kingdom Come Deliverance into the category of intense duels to engage in. All three games excel by utilizing their personalized fighting mechanics to the maximum effect.

Sekiro’s - Posture and stagger are invaluable to starting, maintaining, and adjusting battles in various degrees by arsenal or skill. Allowing a stuffed range from very balanced to roughly difficult boss fights. Thus an excellent tug-of-war emerges, where you can’t beat them ASAP, takes effort.

Ghost of Tsushima - Duels, especially in Lethal mode, transforms the whole game into an always dangerous world, a single hit is the difference between life and death. Applies to both mobs and bosses. Clashes transform into silent faceoffs as you wait for the enemy to move before you summon an Iaido strike to win. Fail and you will have to try again. Blocking, parrying, dodging when needed. Bouts are not as long as Sekiro’s but in terms of quickness and telegraphed attacks they become easier to learn. Therefore the skill ceiling isn’t as high as Fromsoft’s aforementioned title above. Takes work though. You can beat them in an instant or prolong battles if you wish. Depends on skill.

Kingdom Come battles are always fair and challenging even until late game, You’re never over-powering with stats because a skilled swordsman can wipe the floor with you. I’m very impressed honestly to share, this is one of the most balanced IP's I’ve played for duels. Armor reinforces a great deal, but when my foe is whipping out a shield and chain-combos, then I can only spam attacks, well you can see the difference in skill already. 80 hours in I still wasn’t strong enough to beat 1v1’s of master knight quality. I was a scrub the whole way and enjoyed emulating that profession greatly. He retains being a clumsy swordsman even as he gets better. However, not a mark against him. He is a peasant, As you grow with him, he can grow a deadly fighter, with enough skill and effort, starting from garbage into something respectable, sure the journey wasn’t instant and I had to train to reach an acceptable level. But the sweat and pain once I had beaten masterful knight dudes who would’ve given me a 1 hit slash and now lay dead on my feet is a cathartic feeling, granting me a deeper appreciation for action systems in general.

Back then critics could remark its cumbersome, unruly, complex, and hard to understand, like Captain Klang, a contributor for a passage in the CRPG book(I conceive of this like a Big ol CRPG bible) tells readers on KCD's entry on pgs 564-565. "Combo's are worthless-" My brother in christ. I respectfully disagree. I didn’t realize the magnificence of combos until late game. And this was double-digit hours after I had a tutorial. Combos are the opposite of worthless and turning fights from brutal engagements into a dance. I button press and swing my analog sticks in certain directions like southwest slash to west then east and bam! A new animation occurs. He will slap the sharp edge of his blade to the combatant's cheek! Holy S%^&. MC basically did a bit%&slap! In dark ages! What’s more, you can execute combos as you upgrade your sword skills. Becoming increasingly proficient and allowing the player to utilize extra combos. Hell, even maces have them too! Single-handedly made it fun and super enjoyable than before. I admit I’m not the sharpest tool in learning stuff until late game. But the sheer feeling of joy as I discovered the proper use was unparalleled. Combos are awesome. Period.

I perceive it as an imperfect system trying its best to emulate medieval combat, it is why I liken it to Witcher 1 in the same vein. Sure baby pants Cd Projekt Red didn’t make it as in-depth as I would’ve liked and it leans heavily towards simplicity in concept, yet the ambition to construct it different from distinct weaponry fights proves its weight in gold. Stands out alongside CRPGs and Duel-worthy titles. Give me a game with changing up a battle system to be fresh concerning sword fighting? Probably out there, but I haven’t had the pleasure of playing them just yet.

Hmm, where did I leave my DLC thoughts

Before I dive into my mixed feelings let me share extra thoughts on various DLC. Hopefully, this will help prospective buyers interested in them or not.

Treasures of the Past: Weakest content offering from the whole DLC bunch. You get maps, to figure out the treasure's location. Didn’t find much use in my memories, only stumbled on a couple to dig deep, if you can get it on sale at a dollar or less then it's fine to install. Useful for certain items/equipment to sell and use or for a nice handful of rigged dice when participating in the minigame.

From the Ashes: Surprised to spot a town-building component. A wicked concept, that needed spare time in the oven to work out its roughness. You can activate during your session or postgame. But be warned it is a MAJOR money timesink. I was not able to finish it in its entirety. My citizens rebelled since I didn’t have enough to pay for upkeep. Oof, trust me, I found my whole playtime challenging to make bank either by selling, stealing, or making a profit by selling wild game. From what I read online you need nearly 100K or at the very least 20K+ investment and choose the right options to let your town earn profit for you to collect. I was not able to earn a profit and kept having to find a way to produce bundles of cash quickly. Though, this presents an uphill battle because traders don’t have an abundance of wealth to spare and not a chunk of dough opportunities to strike rich. Still for what it's worth. I enjoyed and the bucks I had to offer to choosing which buildings to erect, what people to employ, and settling conflicts as Bailiff were a nice change of pace from the turbulent adventures of Henry of Skalitz. If you can buy it for less than 2 bucks, I believe it's worth it, At MSRP. Hell no.

The Amorous Adventures of Bold Sir Hans Capon: One of the enjoyable sidequests within. You can activate the same as the above or right before the primary game ends, assisting Sir Hans Capon as his wingman in his ‘love’ pursuit. Satisfying amount of well-placed humor and shenanigans I found amusing and hilarious what our duo undergo, doesn’t take too long to complete and offers a refreshing laughter-filled venture from the seriousness of the campaign, bonus points for allowing him to accompany silly adventures with his friend. If you can buy it for less than 2 dollars, I believe it's a steal. At maximum price, questionable.

Band of Bastards: By far a favorite of the DLCs. You join a mercenary band in a handful of side missions in the region. Familiarizing yourself with the band, interacting with them in silly stuff like dice mini-games, and asking pivotal questions concerning honor, mercenary life, and beliefs. Also provides our main character with companions rather than lone wolfing for a substantial period in the campaign outside of a few exceptions. So if you’re up for different sorts of requests than usual with buddies! Then look no further than with the Bastards. An absolute steal if you can buy at less than 2 buckaroos. The highest price is again questionable.

A Woman’s Lot: Almost a must-have DLC, technically 2 parts. First part allows the protagonist to ask his friend regarding the events that happen in his hometown, where you assume the role of the MC's friend at the start. Freaking blew my mind, with her own stats and capabilities. Satisfying length of hours contained as her story is conveyed what she had endured from her perspective. I'll withhold the spicy details to state, but I was very shocked to glimpse what happened to her. Thus making the events, in the introduction, further impactful and contextualized of what she had endured and achieved. With KCD II coming, I wish she will return. Cause, I’m tired of playing as guys in the medium, always nice to hear from a new gender perspective.

The 2nd part consists of assisting an old female friend of our protagonist except we don’t re-enact the same role as the previous part. Instead, she experiences mysterious visions. What for? Not sure! It’s up to you, the son of a blacksmith! Has a handful plus of assignments to her name filled with an interesting religious topic that is barely touched upon in the narrative. Tis a bit slow at first, but the finale is a tantalizing endeavor. I figure every player should try out by looking at a walkthrough. Demonstrating the best parts of the speech/reputation system and taking into account past actions conducted, was surprised to observe how the DLC fit in line with the post-game despite the fact you can activate it over the primary story. If you can buy it for less than $3. I fully believe it's a steal of a deal. At max price, I'm hesitant. But offers an appealing different perspective I found satisfying to finish.

A Witch Hunt of Mixed Feelings

Sadly, I did happen across a fair amount of mixed feelings. Not a positive or a negative simply concerns I had that vary in degree amidst my long 130+ hour playthrough doing everything I can. Regard these as notable notes!

First, performance is demanding, both Console and PC depending on specs. I tried it on my poor to midtier PC and I was hitting 30fps solid, which looks fine. But it seems optimal for higher frames. As a result, I played a copy on my PS4 Pro and that was far better for me. Whichever case you pick, I would advise testing the game out on Steam via the 2-hour window then refund if unsure your PC will run it well. Do keep in mind comparison videos on the game over five years ago could be outdated on the grounds of new patches. So what you scrutinize from before vs. now may seem a tad different. Not a deal breaker I imagine, just a gentle reminder to double-check videos creation date. I didn’t link each videos, since I’m hesitant to give a circumspect comparison between each version without definitive proof.

Second, sometimes when you pass a speech check it doesn’t work in spite of climbing over the requirements, at least Stat-wise. For example, Let's proclaim he has 10 speech. And the individual he’s conversing with has 8. Uncommonly you may in a failed result upon trying to persuade them. I did a lil deep sleuthing and discovered the system isn’t as hard by the numbers to win. Rather dependent on several qualities. The social status, dangerous looks, and the silver tongue. Using the above example, since we failed an alternative, then we must use the diverse options. Intimidation by the attire you wear to look like someone not to be trifled with. The reputation of the individual such as being a noble(as well as clean and not filthy) is a key factor. And the sweet talker’s persuasion is a third fair choice. A fourth option does exist by the usage of bribery too! So if an option fails despite having a number advantage. Then most likely the varied choices will fare better. I should’ve read the tutorial better… D’oh! Here’s pictures of the way, it’ll turn in case of confusion.

Third, timed & missable quests - if we realized how realistic the world is and the manner NPCs operate with their routines. Then rare operations are limited by certain days and therefore missable. But, fear not! Usually, the NPC giving the objectives will detail urgency along with a set limit so it’s not doom and gloom 24/7! Jobs give you ample space to complete them and I wasn’t overly stressed on the limits. Rather I view it's important to highlight this aspect so players who leisurely take their activities completing optional stuff will know the immediate magnitude to finish as soon as they can and not dilly dally. Otherwise check a solid amount from howellq compiled. Only peek inside parentheses from the official names.

Fourth animations can take a while and vary in length. The devs made it very painstakingly obvious our main character's actions takes time. Physical activities from reading a book, sleeping, fighting, picking flowers, and unsheathing will play a short amount to operate. Not the biggest issue I faced, but I feel that generally it's may be slow to deal with, having to watch a small animation execute. Reminded me of picking up plants in Farcry 3 wish there was a skip animations setting turned on, I like quick action ya know!? Thus players do seem to say that a VR-like perspective emerges and coupled with the jank here and there can accumulate into an annoyance, the impact of this problem is extremely minimal.

Fifth mechanics of save, hunger, and sleep are nothing to get stressed over. The systems are fairly generous to survive in Bohemia of the knightly & noble/commoner dates. A clever way the developers solved the hunger mechanic is having every house I've visited and gathering between people in camps have a pot of food. You have free reign to eat around then act on yer business. Sleep is a non-issue as well. My boy has sleeping quarters he can sleep in, kill unscrupulous bandits and use their camp, or pay a super tiny fee to procure a room in the tavern. A well-rested lad excels with enough energy than a person constantly closing their eyelids and sometimes falling asleep in the midst of the day due to tiredness. Saving is perhaps the biggest ordeal I’ve heard. Out of my finished CRPG’s, this takes the cake for realism at its finest. You can’t save or quicksave like other RPGs. Rather you need various requirements to fulfill. One is to drink a savior schnapp which is a saves potion. Can also be made using alchemy. A substitute is sleeping in a bed you own or rent can allow for saving. A final way I love to abuse is the save and quit in the pause menu. Perhaps the implementation of the save mechanic may seem unnecessary and I would’ve agreed with you in the beginning, however after ruminating a long while I believe I’m on board with the execution.

Usually in RPGs, I make it a habit to quicksave regularly. As someone who’s enjoyeda plethora of Bethesda games, such a practice becomes commonplace. In the Warhorse studio game, the method is thrown away in favor of adding realism to the world. Accepting the consequences of our actions. Heck we can’t change armor/weapons or heal ASAP during skirmishes! You either win, run, or die. There’s no quick loading to save the skin of your teeth! But for me, I just use the save and quit method to circumvent this heh.

Sixth, slow-burn introduction - Primarily caused by the rough and harsh world as you struggle with barely anything along with MC's deplorable stats. Investing a decent amount along with covering a reasonable space to truly appreciate what the devs are trying to do aside from immersing the player into the rough climate of politics and upheaval of the status quo in Bohemia. The mechanics and systems present offer an interesting interaction between the mechanics and the systems in place. Sure, they don’t need to know every little bit. Much like an individual having fun in Dragon’s Dogma regardless of having hidden stuff underneath. Immensely gratifying to witness his growth from a weak boy into [blank,] entirely different from the past. Rome wasn’t built in a day man! Takes effort, and a lot of sweat and tears to buildhim into a force to be reckoned with. And I love in defiance of my character at maxed level, the difficulty and balance continue to not waver in the weaponry struggles. Clashing against a veteran will prove challenging and I was pumped! To endure the duels in the endgame. Or cheat by launching an arrow to the face if unarmored hehe.

A Final Letter

Despite my mixed feelings, they didn’t greatly impact my playthrough, akin to a rusty but reliable blade, once maintained properly can metamorphose into a truly shining blade to behold. Taking everything into account served to enhance the charm of what is presented, a medieval, realistic open-world RPG game immersive to the gills while still being very enjoyable in its entirety. Looking back among other historical games I’m glad this type of game exists, we’ve had our Sid Meier's Civilizations, Age of Empires, Assassin’s Creeds, Total Wars, Mount and Blades, Pillars of the Earth, Pentiment, indies, and notables I can’t think of off the top of my head right now. Yes they to varying extents do NOT follow history to the most authentically 100% accuracy. As a game, we need to recognize that it's okay for developers to not always be factually correct lest we bore our audience and show what is real or not, significant how our aforementioned title conducts itself by employing the codex, balancing annals and thus we are treated to a great chronicle foundation with passion. If I wanted to dive deeper into Czechian history I'll head to the library and search for them. In the end, seeing a sequel coming to the franchise is a breath of fresh air and a welcome surprise, especially in the genre. As their predecessor once achieved in the past with a cool story to learn about a humble team from Mafia transitioning into a whole new category and applying their experience by utilizing Kickstarter to prove to investors and further, there was a demand for a Western RPG purely set in the 1400's. Removing fantasy, supernatural, and sci-fi in favor of harnessing historical accounts to craft a worthy game to the masses according to their portrayal, bringing forth familiar feelings and wonder, like my time with the first Witcher game. Where Polish devs would one day lay the foundation of a series in a market tapped for mature fantasy storytelling, so too do I behold a similar example with Czech devs on Kingdom Come Deliverance. Easily a must-play for those interested in a peasant-medieval CRPG narrative, and hey Henry’s adventures are not done yet! Turns out Warhorse Studios is cooking up a sequel coming soon this year! Never too late to try KCD or make one in the niche market like Americana Dawn! Heck, a Sawyer guy did! If he can do it, so can you!

8.4/10

References & Additional Material:
Josh Sawyer’s - “why don’t developers make more historical RPGs’
Daniel Vávra Mobygames Full Credits
Kingdom Come Deliverance Kickstarter
CRPG Book - Tis free. No catch. Author made it free for everyone!

Helpful Links:
KCD mixed reception - KCD inventory example - KCD Speech and persuasion - KCD timed quests - KCD Before I play - Emergent gameplay

Back in my school days, a common game we would play was the Telephone game. The rules are simple. You say a phrase or word and pass it along to the next until the last person hears the supposed words and if it has changed from the original. Often I found the result to be different from the beginning. To put this in the category of remakes/remaster’s shoes. The Demon’s Soul’s remake by Bluepoint(BP) has shifted in ways I have extreme concerns over. The 2009 title was reworked into something entirely dissimilar in the end. And while the product didn’t have multiple remodels, the same principle of passing along the message applies in a similar vein. On the practice done within, what is the intent? Thus it is important to analyze what has changed. For the better or worse? Must play over the premier? Definitive edition or not? These are vital questions that never fail to pop up associating the revamp category. The action roleplaying game initially created by Fromsoftware now remade by Bluepoint deserves scrutinization.

What constitutes authentic reproduction? Is it the adherence to uncompromisingly making every facet recreated a hundred percent without blemishes? Does adding quality-of-life features whether small or great help in this instance? Does the soundtrack need to be redone again when the pioneer is serviceable? Perhaps minor tuning is needed? And yet at the crux of the matter consumers often deal with the rise of remasters and remakes of a poor job to a good job in varying degrees. So where does BP's Demon's Souls lie? For me, it lies smack dab in the middle teetering on the precipice of being unfaithful and disappointing for the aesthetics. With the gameplay an altogether improvement.

There’s quite a lot of good marred by plenty of mixed feelings proving to be troublesome. Certainly, I enjoyed the bits that were worth playing enough to complete multiple times. Making this my 3rd run-through if I include the foremost. But some truly baffling things arise upon closer inspection. Enclosed below are sizable factors I endured during my playthroughs I feel are worth nothing to varying degrees that are neither positive nor negative. I’ll discuss them before I head to the good stuff.

World 1 - Demon’s Souls Art - Why does this matter?

Underneath Bluepoint's attempt to transmute Demon Souls(DeS) is a clever illusion to hide the cracks within. The added photo mode includes filters you can toggle anytime in the menu to display the whole game in the original atmosphere. The music has taken a humongous backseat to become more bombastic, adding depth when it is unneeded. The unsanctioned artists taking liberties to deform and transfigure initial enemy/boss/level designs like the Fat Official, Adjudicator, Latria, Firelurker, etc. leaves me in a state of absolute confusion. Considering I praised the hell out of the Shadow of the Colossus varied versions, and yet now after experiencing everything the latest Demon Souls release had to offer I wonder if at this point in my life, my previous delight was a carefully induced dream!? Doesn’t help Advance Wars Reboot Camp shattered my expectations of a proper remodel so now I’m spiking my critical senses of witnessing the old and fresh adaptations. Regardless, I'll try to fairly judge this transformative product to determine if it's worth it for newcomers.

Before I delve into the specifics of why I have qualms on Bluepoints entry by Fromsoft I have to talk about Literalism vs. Lateralism. The former according to Merriam-Webster's definition calls this as “adherence to the explicit substance of an idea or expression.” Which I perceive as the most sensible, 1st thought if anyone utters an idea or expression. If I state dog or wraith. Immediately for dogs, I think of the basic characteristics of a dog. Barking, what kind of breed they are, man’s best friend. The wraith I’ve been Tolkienized so I imagine Nazghul wraiths as the insidious interpretations of a ghost. With malicious intent. The latter, lateralism according to Wiktionary pertaining to the distinct definition from Barry McCrea, in the Company of Strangers - "…a parenthetical vision in which any given account of reality is constantly revised and expanded to house ever more elements that have occluded or excised." In explain like I'm five format I observe this as moments someone is given a statement, then it could be analyzed from not just outside the box. But rather to change our approach to understanding. From preconceived notions. If I imagine a puzzle game from Portal and I’m not able to solve the obstacle, then in accordance with lateral thinking I have to approach the angle from a variant point of view in solving it. Another perspective from exhausting available options. Confused? Don’t worry a better explanation will be given soon.

This is vital because DeS is steeped in lateral design. And Bluepoints metamorphosing attempt has shifted the visual aesthetic identity from a Japanese origin into that of a Western viewpoint. Michael "Kayin" O'Reilly a developer dives into this issue quite readily. In their 2016 article Design Literalism vs. Lateralism OP(Kayin) gives awesome examples of literal such as McCree from Overwatch and spacecowboy and lateral. Bayonetta from Bayonetta, Sam from Metal Gear Rising, Johnny from Guilty Gear and many visually striking forms from the Megaten series. For those above PG-13 then you may know how they interpret Mara. Kayin describes lateralism as “Divergence from the expected interpretation.” A perfectly summed up statement to describe and I wholeheartedly agree with it. The above examples move away from the conventional characteristics we associate and therefore we are treated to an artist's interpretation. An essence they profess profusely is that a company has willingly revised and overhauled to varying effects that stray from the headmost vision. Considering they view “From Software excelling at "Lateral design", a fact I agree 100%. And critically offers a complementary statement on their feelings: “...designs like this leave me feeling nothing. This design does nothing to excite the imagination, or inspire curiosity.”

I’m not an art expert. But at its most basic, since coming around to my past exposure visiting art museums and behold plenty of wonderful pieces by talented individuals. Even I can feel art has to conjure something within the person’s mind to think differently. Subjective for everyone, yet ask a filled room what a Rorschach splat means to them or what image is conjured whilst tested by Doc Mitchell from Fallout New Vegas right at the very beginning. Then you will have a host of varied answers. Fromsoftware is no stranger to taking risks from being inspired by dark fantasy views or directly from the late Kentaro Miura’s Berserk manga. Yet ask any person who has played their works and I'm sure veterans or sprouts can immediately describe the experience/feeling from their catalog. From the Lovecraftian horror edge of Bloodborne to the dark fantasy of the Souls series inspiration and interpretations are everywhere.

Consequently, a Western brush altered the original Japanese formations. I am waist-deep in a tough dilemma arising from the blatant disregard to treat the predecessor with proper respect. Once I eye a miniboss changed from a sinister clown into a fatman I go no no. If I spot an early boss modified from goofy into nightmarish I go please stop. The mindflayers have reformed too! Becoming sinister-like instead of the weird otherworldly vibe they encompassed prior! Now I’m closing my eyes in distress! When I notice a shield shift from simple to complexly horrifying I’m shaking my head. Another boss has converted into a grotesque not slimy creature whereas the former had a slimy, ritualistic, along with markings adorning their body to evoke a mystical side. I don’t perceive the mysticism currently. Alternatively, I am throwing a bucket of ice-cold water on my eyes. By far scrutinizing an iconic adversary overhauled into an amalgamation from Diablo, Balrog, and lava. Now I’m throwing my hands in the air! These may seem harmless from a green perspective. But let me ask if YOU created a game. And a fella decided to meticulously tinker with your created works and revise them entirely distinct. Can YOU confidently announce you’re proud of the differences? Forgive me for not going the full nine yards into the exact differences in full list form. Rather, I'd point out how these revisions vary in quality. I simply chose the ones that stood out to me. The rest of the visual corrections differ and depend ultimately on the user. This isn’t to shout that distorted styles are a significant stain upon humanity, but to note going forward after studying the undocumented fluctuating mutations I've found thus far. Furthermore, these tweaks make me believe it was a conscious philosophy to undertake transfiguring initial blueprints into something else. As if I came across a subtly disparate telephone game from the first message, then resulting in a peculiarity in the end. Creative liberty was given priority instead of close examination to adhere back to the primal intent. Altering without respect and forcefully distorting the 2009 classic.

Let us slam the greatsword deeper. I have a massive quandary with a certain world. Where the addition of music has completely and tonally transformed distinguishable from their predecessor. In the preceding model, there are no soothing sounds to accompany this big zone, leaving it haunting, frustrating and most of all a harsh place to venture. Yet Bluepoint's executive decision decided hey. Let's add a music track. Just for the heck of it. Wowzers! This is equivalent to taking the Mona Lisa and slapping on a green or piss filter on top of it. Or redrawing using digital techniques in lieu of the previous methods used! Imagine if you formed a creation and someone decided to add their own markers and proclaim this is a remake! Thus, the fresh account has undoubtedly remade a divergent vision from which their audience will undertake. Now my ruminations as I run through the latest release are: soothing, not as scary, and not as unsettling and isolating. Glimpse the differences? It’s mind-blowing to me.

Let’s drive the sharp blade, so extra blood is gushing. Hydef Hyde dives further with an art critique of the product with comparisons to Dark Souls 3. These unnecessary changes in the environment are depicted as real than unnatural. This extends and reinforces what Richmond Lee opens a topic regarding eastern vs. western aesthetics. Tracing the origins we can catch a single foe is inspired not just by the god warrior from Nausicaa but also pre-90s Western fantasy art. Lee posits several reasons why the redesign is so. An influence is drawn akin to Nurgle from Warhammer. That may align better with another archenemy in the same zone. A statement I can get behind upon looking at the images. Yet another reason to sum up these differences is that Richmond states “The original Demon’s Souls team is hugely influenced by both Japanese and Western art of the 70s and 80s. Meanwhile, it looks like the team behind the remaster are more influenced by more recent Japanese and Western games.”

We reach the crux of the matter demonstrating further credence over the artist's liberties on a timeless classic for a PS5 piece. For better or worse. A multitude of reason/s why we don’t alter the classics. We look upon the genuine product with fresh unblemished eyes to descry into true nature and infer based on our findings anything that arises foremost. Consequently, a remake is supplanting and offering something I find distasteful in an aesthetically distorted eyeful from the primary. A grimace forms on my face when I see the top search engines compile the latest rendition and thumbnails blatantly giving focus on a BP fruit that has given rise to the new shiny toy on the market. Whereas the leadoff is a sensibly fair choice yet is not offered on current modern platforms. Only the last title. Such a change is unforgivable as if to erase our precious history as relics from the past should be delicately cared for and maintained with love and proper good faith. Therefore, I cannot in my fullest conscience call this faithful from an artistic perspective.

World 2 - Adding ‘Excess’ in the Musicscape Department is not Always Superior

Aside from the visuals. The music I think could be better. And I can’t believe I’m proclaiming this. Considering the prime composer Shunsuke Kida is back for a reimagining of the soundtrack. Usually, I'm on board with the soundscape if the previous composer returns. Yet the full range of each track leaves much to be desired. I’m no sound expert though. But the majority of the score misses the point of the pioneer in my opinion. Patrick Gann from RPGfan said it best: “1970’s sci-fi fantasy movie…excellent use of silence… non-lyrical and as a dirge…a ‘historical style’ and mesmerizing.” The latest installment doesn’t evoke these qualities completely. Rather…

The profound usage of orchestral equipment dampens everything. Fragmenting the whole. In the 1st track of BP's version the track “Demon’s Souls” the orchestration is on full blast, lessening the impact of the singers. As a result, we don’t hear much of their voices displaying a haunting choir. Now muddled by extra noise. The 2nd track “The Beginning” also goes through a dramatic modification. The accessory instruments in creating orchestration lose the simplicity, tone, and rhythm of haunting eeriness. Listen to the latest carefully. The spare vocals in the background ruin the simplicity while trying to add extra as premium-worthy upgrades when simple and clean worked wonders. “Tales of Old” also receives unnecessary vocals, higher keynotes, and a focus to make it ‘epic’ whilst the previous did fine without alterations. The somberness is matched by a melancholy tone. “Maiden in Black” perhaps is the most egregious example of the overhaul. The added vocals and orchestra in the foreground massively ruin the smooth pacing, and the silence between intervals of notes and add too much focus on etherealness to the extent of utterly massacring what the predecessor upheld. Simpleness in notes matched by pauses creates a tranquil vibe.

At present, I can barely listen to what it's trying to evoke beyond the orchestration. One last example using a favorite track of mine. You can already guess my feelings on how the result turned out. Poorly enhanced. The above examples are used constantly infusing unnecessary instruments such as drums. The vocals and orchestration wipe out the majestic tone and harmonious uniqueness in the 2009 account. The strings and piano reign supreme in a consistent rhythm. Here it’s all muddled with noise. Please take a look at the two interpretations. Lets shift equipment on the credits for each team. Please take a look at the contributors for the sound team of the past and latest. The former versus the latter. Immediately what springs to mind is the tremendous revamp to 'enhance' by adding an orchestral, pipe organ, along with unfamiliar fellas to help create a “modern reimagining.” This type of modern remodeling completely misses the vision. But I believe music if redone should at the very least stay true to the antecedent work. As closely as possible to keep their essence. A fan track I firmly believe offers a ‘what could’ve been’ yet retains the qualities unique to the prototype minus the egregious rework. A remix cover by Alex Roe. Presently. The current soundtrack is horrifying and incredibly painful for me to listen to. I could go on and blabber extras on each track, but I won’t mince words and repeat the examples I’ve given repeatedly. To those who love the ‘new’ soundscape, I am genuinely happy for you. And this isn't to besmirch Kida's work at all. Due to the fact it's not horrendous by itself. I simply prefer the original, thus I’m sadly shaking my entire body in distress at what’s offered. What’s extra damning is the reality I can’t even listen to the premier as an option in the 2020 release. I am left with a soulless rendition that doesn’t offer anything substantially fresh to the table. Only a pitiful hollow husk croaking at the heels of greatness.

A Small Interlude - A Case of Code & Constant Praise

If anything, considering they're running the same code. They should’ve offered a simple mode if you prefer the initial portrayals versus the remake. With a press of a single button. Comparable to how the Halo 1 Combat Evolved Anniversary did. A single press of a button allows the player to transform the depictions in the foremost graphical style. The fact Bluepoint doesn’t offer this leads me to believe they were not confident in proving to veteran Fromsoft fans that this is a faithful work. This leads me to wonder if the filter to transform the atmospheric perspective if entering the option in photo mode was tucked away and not activated from the get-go. It becomes clear the developers are asserting their own vision on top of the prime release. The 2009 title cannot be bought currently on modern platforms. It's stuck in the PS3 store/hard copies or employing emulation. To speak it plainly. Please play our modern, updated, version of an old classic! The store page from the Playstation store adds to this. By saying “Entirely rebuilt from the ground up and masterfully enhanced, this remake introduces the horrors of a fog-laden, dark fantasy land to a whole new generation of gamers. Those who’ve faced its trials and tribulations beforehand can challenge the darkness in stunning visual quality and incredible performance.” - keywords being stunning visual quality. It is indicative of a PR move to move eyes away from faithful. Nowhere does it state in the description of the word and it further adds evidence in my eyes the good is merely a showpiece proposal to “stun” and express the might of the PS5’s capabilities. An eye-candy element for those interested in graphics over content.

I find it discerning if we take every remaster/remake and irrevocably rework their aesthetic/music styles among other things. Come the next decade and we study another shot at modernizing/updating in the same category. What modifications are created then? Can we sincerely defend this a ‘smashing’ release once again!? These discussions, debates, and arguments always without fail pop up. It seems inevitable to appease every audience. However, it's important to witness these distinctions with fair critique. Lest we fill developers with clouds of praise.

World 3 - Genuine Warnings on the Brutal Nature of Demon’s Souls

Let's tread onto greener pastures from the artful & sound facet. I must discuss major warnings for anyone looking to eagerly try the remake or classic. And that is DeS is a pretty tough JRPG. Coming from me who is used to Fromsoft's genre-defining entries. Nevertheless, I am not an expert. I am not a big fan. I was beaten until I was knocked outa the ring, but I kept returning coming to the Demon's entry. And this applies to both versions due to the fact I still struggled. Consequently, I persevered because I desired to discern the entirety offered. Both the mixed feelings and the satisfying parts. If I could name a singular quality defining the ordeal it would be as Miyazaki articulates in 2010 “The strongest asset DeS has is experience, and that can only be experienced to be appreciated.” Hidetaka Miyazaki, the director of the aforementioned title states. It’s, to be honest, a weird statement. Yet at its core, the action role-playing release is steeped in offering a hardcore avenue for players to try. The difficulty was intentionally high. This presents a high barrier of entry for folks to try and I align with the barriers. And hey I’m not alone since the initial sales in the past garnered weak sales in the areas of 20-30k copies in the 1st week of Japan. Yet word of mouth and perseverance to overcome the initial hurdle in the beginning finally reached a goal of 100K. Such an outcome is evident in the gem being polished and exhibits consumers' appreciation as a whole rather than the harsh inception. Investment in double-digit hours unearthed a gratifying experience than an unfulfilling, sufferable, frustrating inception. See the difference? Heck, the president of Sony's Worldwide studios Shuhei Yoshida at the time during 2012 called the 2009 model “This is crap. This is an unbelievably bad game.” So I put it aside.

It’s taken me years following 2016 to solidify my decisive thoughts on the game. Primarily because of two reasons. The reduction in health bar and world tendencys. The former is an unnecessary handicap to limit the player's full health bar. If you die once, you enter a ‘soul form’ where your maximum health is cut by 50%. If you’re a mage class struggling with health then guess what fella, you have less hp to live. And I loathe painful mechanics with a burning passion. Sure there is a ring called the “Cling Ring” you can retrieve very early on to mitigate the lessening of your precious life pool. But this hampers build diversity by taking up a single-ring slot. The game exclusively grants two. Methods are available to purify yourself of ‘soul form’ and return to 100% health. But they’re finite and not plentiful. Using an item to restore your body, defeating a boss, or engaging with the summoning system to help another player or invade. Sadly no simple mechanic to revert into human form freely. I have zero remorse for detailing this out the gate to newcomers. Because I feel it is important before starting the intro and wondering why my lifebar is shortened. Personally, it was an annoyance I suffered through as I played farther and added stat points into my vitality to increase my lifebar and thus survivability. I can look at why the developers would add this handicap to induce added difficulty. But in my opinion, it's needlessly punishing and purely serves to heighten a reliance on stat importance and less on build variety due to being handicapped.

The latter world/character tendency gives me horrible indigestion as my friend states. But I’ll try to give it a fair overview. Think of it akin to a karma system but lateralized. Good deeds are denoted by a white color and bad deeds a black color. Each level has separate world tendency meters. Everything is neutral in the baseline and defeating a major opponent transforms the corresponding area tendency to white causing: enemies to not be as difficult, HP at max potential and item drops from opponents are tiny. Dying countless times causes the aforementioned name in the environment to turn ebony. Therefore, mobs are tougher, you gain boosts in currency and improved drop item rates. General attacks are stronger and HP is lower. Furthermore, changing colors can cause different kinds of NPC’s to appear depending on the color. Character tendency is dealing with your protagonist's alignment. Help fellas, destroy evil, and be rewarded corresponding to a paladin way. Do the opposite and kill NPCs or invade and Bam! You’re a dastardly evildoer! Honestly, you’re fine not paying too much attention to the character part compared to the counterpart since this only affects attributes in a minor capacity for increasing/decreasing HP/Attack. There’s a surplus I could assert, in regards to the mechanic but I believe it's fine to give a sample than vomiting every little bit. So I'll refrain and spare y'all. A breakdown can be read on the wiki. Try not to incur a headache...

My all-around feelings towards the tendency mechanic can be summed up as cool concept, and poor execution. To be frank I quite admire the changes you can make to shift the ‘karma/alignment’ in various ways while checking out unique events for NPCs during pure white/black sides. Don't often espy that in equivalents. But it's tedious and punishing if you die consistently. Making attackers brutal as you shift into the darker side of tendency. Any gamer worth their salt shouldn't have to be punished yonder for dying. Instead, we should help the struggling player to overcome challenges. Some do this as easily as the Trails series by offering a retry with a weaker enemy option and in the case of the Souls series, they do not provide layers of difficulty modes to switch at the press of a button. Forcing newcomers to engage with their systems and mechanics for better or worse. If it was up to me, I would’ve made the requirements to change the colors easier by offering souls to an NPC to modify it according to my currency on hand. A percent off the total for example. This would in effect lessen the tediousness and tougher darker angle. Or at the very least add in an option to stop the mechanic to drop to sable. Keeping it at a base neutral. Still despite my grievances. I think its wicked Demon’ Souls offered a personalized mechanic that adds to the unique identity.

Lastly, the runbacks are painful. When I mean runbacks I mean from the get-go point/return point(if you die) in levels to the boss. In the beginning of a zone, the start isn’t so linear to progress. Certainly, you can evade hostiles and push/click levers and switches to unlock shortcuts, clear obstacles, and evade mobs to reach your archfoe. Though, this presents a tedious if not monotonous travel time for players to endure. Punishing having to trek through a complete level again(Some areas are too egregious than others) just to face your fated enemy. No bonfires to light in the middle, no checkpoints to check, and no hidden save feature to save your character if they die during the run. Sure I persevered enough on my multiple playthroughs, but I dread the feeling of dying, losing my money, and having to return to the last depths of a dungeon to fight my mortal enemy. With re-spawned assailants spawning to terrorize, harass, and chase after you. Tolerable individuals don’t care towards these cause it's a minor issue, but I care a great deal considering the punishing approach. Thankfully later entries in the Souls series from then on are not as horrible as here. So I appreciate the prototype in a way to tweak runbacks in future titles.

World 4 - Enduring the unforgiving universe of Boletaria & Punishing Mechanics. What remains is a challenging yet very triumphant game

For starters, if we for the moment embrace these handicaps and obstacles early on then you can sort of become immersed in the universe of Boletaria and what it has to offer. In my case. I accepted the hurdles and pains early on because I knew other Souls handiwork following this entry. Can be steep for the difficulty yet players can break their limits to win against insurmountable odds and triumph. Where, cheesing if applicable becomes commonplace and grinding to be strong as hell, learning the ins and outs of enemy patterns and mastering my capabilities immensely gratifying to overcome a troublesome adversary or dungeon. Even without the above recommendations. It is a worthy feeling of achievement claiming a hard-earned victory. And this sentiment is replicated to varying degrees as you overcome numerous uphill bouts within DeS. If I can do it. So can you!

For me, I experienced similar thoughts, but as I continued my journey, I was struck by the feeling of accomplishment throughout. This was my third entry in the Fromsoftware library after DS1 and DS2. I was pleasantly satisfied by enduring the harsh circumstances pertaining to similar and dissimilar the predecessor to Dark Souls 1. For instance a short overview; there’s not an interconnected world. Instead, we operate on a hub and then choose archstones denoted by numbers as world 1-1, world 1-2. 2-1, 3-1. With each first numerical value equating to a distinct level. So 1-1 is diverse from world 2-1. Think fresh biomes if that helps. The next values after that are designated as the next. So if I’m in 1-1 and I defeat the last archenemy. Then I can move on to 1-2. Featuring unfamiliar connected sections and a novel hulking hostile at the final zone of the dungeon to defeat. The disconnecting choose your path paves dividends by adhering to freedom of choice. You are not barred into an underlying linear progression to face the next dungeon. The decision is ultimately yours.

The structure is kinda familiar to Zelda-like yet dissimilar. We have common switches, levers, and extremely minor puzzle methods to defeat the bosses. Multiple floors and shortcuts to unlock. The caveat is that dying makes you lose every ounce of money. And you have a single chance to travel to your previous death spot to retrieve them. Playing with vigilance is heavily advised and going Rambo, as I often do, is ill-advised. Every big dungeon is strikingly varied from the last. I’ve come across a ruined rampart leading to castles. I’ve ventured into caverns which oddly enough remind me of Moria from Lord of the Rings except steeped into a dark fantasy. I’ve stumbled upon a desolate place with roaring storms on an old outpost that connects to ominous ruins. And I’ve had the displeasure of cautiously exploring a prison that continues to give me the Heebie-jeebies. Suffice it to say it's not a fun place, and I always get chills on my spine whenever I muster enough courage to fight through a haunting zone. Levels are steeped in medium-length dungeons and it's delicately fabricated to take advantage of both verticality and horizontal arrangement to not become super confusing. Anyone who’s played a Zelda game will be instantly familiar with their structures will undergo and the devs have crafted careful placement to not confuse players to the nth degree. Granted this could be a YMMV for those unused ground plans.

Moreover, what separates this from similar RPGs is the familiarity of freedom to choose how to play and evolve your main star. By stats, equipment, or spells. Mostly found in Western RPGs, a wonderful freedom can be achieved early on to gallivant off the beaten path and travel on their path. Whilst a linear path to undertake the progression of dungeons exists underneath. You can mix and match your jumping of locations to fight and overcome numerous labors. Similar again to Zelda-like tendencies. Yet, the cool thing is that by defeating bosses/numerous enemies you can accrue a form of currency to upgrade your character in a variety of stats to choose from. Vitality, intelligence, endurance, strength, dexterity, magic, faith and luck. Keeping in mind your equipment load to prevent fat rolling! A handful of classes to choose from so you can have basic DND archetypes: paladin, knight, rogues, and bandits are available. Yet adhering to your class is up to the player. You can follow your class road or decide a mixed profession is your cup of tea. As long as you can pay the currency in the hub world by conversing with an NPC, the 'Maiden in Black.' You have absolute freedom to choose and match progression in a variety of studies. Always satisfying constructing progress stat-wise. I often become a paladin type. Big o’l shield, sword on the other hand. With switching buttons to change to a relic and cast miracles. Nothing is forbidden, the skies the limit on building your class or hopping onto the jack-of-all-trades train!

By far the boss engagements are a treat to fight against, and regardless of both my sound and artful dispositions, the feeling of engaging a major larger-than-life enemy is a hell of a rush. I never get disappointed entering 1v1 duels, all of which often contain some exploitable gimmick analogous to a Nintendo franchise I mentioned earlier. Not strictly a certain item to win, but to pick apart obvious signs of weaknesses in their patterns and visual indicators to surmise a critical blow. A crack, a pause, a relentless blow, switching to magic, etc....any approach your character can do is viable as long as you can summon enough power and not choke in the midst of furious combat.

From a technical perspective on the gameplay and combat it holds up to the premier. With smashing alterations to enhance rougher edges within. First, right off the bat, the jump in evolution from PS3 to PS5 is immediate. The fast SSD makes load times near nonexistent. Graphically speaking, it looks at a glance a AAA rendition of the current console generation. Boss fights are larger than life and there is a clearer audio-visual crunch as the dualsense controller makes use of sounds and haptic feedback. Attacks are visceral to the point of horrifying as is the uncanny valley of witnessing NPC mouths moving is surreal. Man, I didn’t remember this in the early days. The clean user interface is smooth, though I miss the visual distinction that makes the interface appealing in matching tones. The controls and updated omnidirectional movement make this a reasonably sound and impressive showcase for a PS5 starter case for newbies eying the trailblazing shiny console on the market with cool graphics & features!

Not a substantial amount of harmful elements to say on the gameplay side as a whole. The dev’s assembled improvements such as the drop rate of certain stones have increased, and faster ladder movement, if inventory is full while out pillaging, you can immediately send them to storage. Crystal lizards are easier to eliminate, and an item to permits users to teleport to distant zones forgoing returning to the hub.

Though the questionable limit of healing items I have contention with because it limits our healing capability. It was ultimately a minor blip. I didn't have many problems with healing. The haptic feedback is decent. Though I find it as just fluff. In conclusion, the positives of the console jump plus minor additions to the technical state are a welcome slice. I often groaned near some zones screen-tearing my eyeballs in years past. So I'm happy to report the smoother frames are a very welcome and appreciated feature.

World 5 - Two Significant Messages

Despite my mixed feelings and overall score, I genuinely hope my thoughts do not deter prospective buyers. I despise gatekeeping. And my rating shouldn't be a TL:DR consensus on what to buy or not. I simply try to inform to the best of my knowledge my experience and hope it helps a troubled confused and perhaps clueless soul wondering what’s the hubbub. When all is said and done, it’s your choice. Irrespective of what I said before and after. Playing the 2009 title on prime hardware is equally as valid as trying it out via emulation or through Bluepoints version. For what it's worth, I enjoyed the remake enough to replay. I simply have qualms on the disrespectful modifications done to be fine-tuned appealing to newcomers and not giving the maximum love and care veterans wish for. It’s disappointing to hear a production remade offering pre-order exclusivities, locking the online mode behind Playstation Plus whereas the previous didn’t need it as far as I know. Slapping sans remorse, a soundtrack with no soul. And altering certain artful purposes with a Westernized grasp. Brushing off the lateral in favor of literal. It reeks of sloppiness in the wake of a brutal world to contend with. The rigorous difficulty, health modifiers, and a tendency mechanic add to the unique identity presented. Boletaria does not match familiar chops I once had the pleasure of playing. And this saddens me greatly since I thoroughly enjoyed the gameplay from a technical perspective. Satisfying, achieving victory against many bosses I previously had trouble with. Grinning to the max I conquered multiple dungeons and evaded in ways identical to a cheeky Patchy fella who guards the secrets from ages ago.

Worthwhile perhaps to pick up a PS5 catch of a PS3 classic if mainly to experience it. Terrific if you could snag a copy on a sale. Dangerous to tour without research so check out this handy link. Always good to save money! Or if possible snagging the digital one currently available via the PS3 store is fair game. Sadly you need to go into your PSN store inside a PS3 to purchase it. Thankfully the listing is still up! Best make haste before the delistings come running! Ugh game preservation needs to stay afloat. But that’s a story for another day.

Moving on, heck the SSD load times and silky smooth 60 fps mode make areas I had trouble navigating in the past due to poor framerate an absolute pleasure undergoing this time with smoother frames and loading. Notwithstanding…

In the long run, I can generally call BP's 2020 piece not either passable, must-play, highly recommended, or decent. I have to gently utter it's situational. What separates this from absolute dogshite has to be everything being wrong. From graphics to gameplay to mechanics and yet to Bluepoint's credit it doesn’t delve into that territory. Merely the most some may assert would be the artistic reinterpretation in their means. And the complete overhaul of the classic soundtrack is unneeded. They did proclaim running the base code onto the top of their version. So the old code is largely unchanged. If this is a 100% loyal remake then from the ground up must be spotless, absent of blemishes. Bonus awards if finished by the prior studio instead with the identical director and same artists. Then and only then I would broadcast “Welp, this must be as true-blue as it can get right?” And possibly so! Sadly we are not in that particular timeline and so were left with Bluepoints Demon Soul’s adaptation in disguise. And sure, I have mixed reservations on the development, the foremost vision and tone having altered beyond the base formula. Up to you to decide as the credits roll how your final thoughts/feelings emerge. Reminiscent of the Telephone game. The end result presents an illusionary epic not truly a 1:1 designed to bait newcomers and veterans on a genre-defining launch title for the PlayStation 5. Albeit the predecessor evoked a mysterious, strange, and unsettling vibe. Now the current vibes are tarnished in favor of eye candy ‘upgrades’. I fear this essence will become lost to those who are unaware of the remake's undocumented changes. It is my hope the earlier texts grant you a delicate circumspect view of a Western interpretation of an otherwise Japanese product that unashamedly hides the best of what the original had to offer.

5.8/10 for BP’s release
7.7/10 for the original release

References & Additional Material:
Sources - Too many links. So I figured I’d slap them all in a pastebin link.
Before I play - Useful tips! Trust me you’ll need it.
World Tendency Wiki - Wiki to help explain since I think my explanation of it earlier could’ve been better.
Example of routes to take in DeS - Don’t have to follow this. Merely displaying it as an example.
OG Demon’s Souls on psprices - Link is busted on website. But I checked the PSN store in my region and it looks like the listing is still up. So you can buy the original for $20 if you have a ps3. If not, a hard copy or emulation will suffice.
'New' Demon’s Souls on psprices - a handy playstation deal website to keep track of deals. This one is set for the remake. Save some money and get it on a sale if you can! Why pay full MSRP when you can buy a copy cheaper eh?

-
Slight tangent since I barely covered game preservation above. But another game is about to be delisted. Forza Horizon 4 - on Dec. 15, 2024, from Steam and Microsoft stores
Edited 6-28-24 - Replacing wiki links with a better one. Big thanks to @ProudLittleSeal for the recommendation!
Edited 7-2-24 - Edited flow of sentence structure per Red's feedback. & Fixed some choice words in music section along with added clarification. Thanks for the constructive feedback @RedBackLoggd!
^ 98% of whole text still intact

“...We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.”

- United States President John F. Kennedy's "We choose to go to the Moon", 1962 speech.

"Magnificent Speech. Ain't it? But how is it relevant?"

“Uhh well sir. Kinda evokes a similar ideology about our mission. Ya know in Outer Wilds(OW). Plus our newest astronaut for the program has some interesting logs to see. I think you should see them.”

“Hmmm. Reports are only forwarded to me urgently for outstanding experiences. And you say he has one?”

“Without a doubt sir, I think it may shed some light on why the speech is given among other things. Though do mind his first day. The results were… not pretty on initial impressions. He also tends to label our project as a game/simulation at times while referencing relative sci-fi films… Which is odd, but not harmful.”

“Hmph, I’ll be the judge of that. He better not write anything concrete. Due to the secretive nature, it’s imperative to keep things close to the chest so to speak. If I find SPOILERS in the above mediums. I’ll expel him post-haste and zero remorse.”

Log 1 - An extremely short slow, boring beginning to a grand adventure

Initially I thought learning about space and whatnot boring. Yet decades later on I couldn't help but amusingly remember those naive days. Here I am weeks after joining the program. And I must say The Outer Wilds is odd. I signed what felt like books of NDAs, and the only thing I can definitively concerning this secretive game is that it evokes a whirlwind of cathartic emotions. Steadily rising higher despite its demure appearance. Steam succinctly describes; “open world mystery about a solar system trapped in an %^&(%^& loop.” With bolded phrases such as: “Welcome to the Space Program! Mysteries of the Solar System… A World that changes over time and lastly grab your intergalactic gear!" Statements sound interesting at a glance, but nothing to entice everyone except those with an interest going farther than our little globe in real life. Pointing at the biggest question of 'how,' 'what' & 'why' during your stay here are primary motivators to unearth the beautiful diamond. And I must whisper after trying for a small amount of occasions…

My first impressions weren’t positive. I love getting to the action real quick. So when I'm delegated to walking and reading early on. Doesn’t excite me to move on especially since I already want to progress past the atmosphere. And usually, there’s a clear prerogative of what to do. Here there’s not a hand-holding overarching narrative to follow consistently. You have to build your own goals and discover what lies in the vastness of the universe a bit. A central 'plot' does exist though, so don't worry if you think this is purely a sandbox. Moreover, upon finishing the basic tutorials on thrusters, scouters, signalscope and finally getting the launch codes. Took 30 minutes flat and I was ready to sleep. However, once I entered my ship and said goodbye to my friends. Activating thrusters and Yahoo! We're in space! Didn’t have difficulty navigating the solar system… Until I ventured to a distant foreboding sphere. Where my breath was taken away and silenced. And my previous hurdles are eradicated. Wish I could march back in a hot instant to slap my past self silly for thinking ridiculous nitpicks. Because I’m so glad to be wrong.

“If it wasn’t for the last sentence. I would’ve ordered you to flag him for disposal.”

“B-b-boss?”

“Nevermind. The 2nd record better impress. Or else…”

Log 2 - Appreciating the fear of the unknown

I’ll try to describe my emotions on the first planet. Any interstellar film or game worth its salt needs to evoke the presence of horror, hopelessness, anxiety, and tension. We can use examples from earlier works like Alien(1979) by Ridley Scott or Mass Effect(2007) series. The former needs no introduction where we see struggling survivors encountering a deadly alien threat. Managing to keep our suspense intact and the ‘surprise’ of what occurs in the future moving. Among other elements of horror such as fear. The latter presents a decent spread of hostile and friendly species to converse. Yet the traits differ. You never know what to expect despite talking to them. The element of ‘surprise,’ is inherent in the above aspects. Thus I am treated to a host of emotions I find unsettling. But not off-putting. The closest example I think is during a segment of Independence Day(1996). Where the protagonist must venture off on a final mission. Not a spoiler, most films have this action during the last act. A final hurrah. I felt a sense of uncertainty despite cautiously maneuvering my small vessel in an unknown place. Feeling lost and embracing the zero-g is a sense I felt intimately. The sentiment is further connected to a growing climb of wonder and excitement. Upon discovering something I found incredible and increased my resolve to learn further.

“Boss, you’re smiling.”

“What?! Nonono bits of food stuck in my mouth, had to move my teeth a bit.”

A cough is heard.

“A-anyway let’s move onto the 3rd report please.”

Log 3 - Fleeting wonder and magically enraptured from beginning, middle, and end

One of the main pillars is Wonder and magic is everywhere. The sensation of actually embarking on a solo declaration is fulfilling. Discovering new facets you seldom knew before is equally as powerful. Encountering and struggling against different varied biomes is a treat both planet-wise and in astral territory. Mirrors our lived life in making goals and acting upon them in a unfamiliar environment. Ya know the first moment you see snow? And you wanna build a snowman immediately? Remember those memories. The awe and jaw drops are plentiful. I’m reminded of the second when I first became enchanted by Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace(1999). Not because of the cool action sequences as a kid, but the big ol question mark on my face witness Tatooine. A harsh desert with a cornucopia of species living around. Beyond the nearly unlivable conditions, my eyes were glued to the racers speeding along the canyon highways in a deadly race. Different from NASCAR, the Olympics, horse racing and plenty vehicular competitions out there. The phenomenon never escaped as I climbed higher in age brackets. Games and films both share a wonderful quality to capture something different, and unique. We gaze and transport ourselves into a fictional world to our liking, dislike and nuances in between. Exploring, discovering, being lost, trails connecting pieces of lore. And starting anew, reborn with the knowledge gained. A gratifying cycle emerges. I can’t escape. But do I need to? Hmmm…

Capturing the immediate and prolonged interest of any individual varies. The dullness I experienced initially reversed course upon investing additional time. Helped by a strong point. Every 22 minutes a [censored] occurs. [Re%^&*ing] my character with intact launch codes. And crucial wisdom gained previously. Ready to start another venture. I wasn’t enthused on the mechanic early on. But after hours passed by unnoticed, I realized it's an innovative narrative helper. Demonstrating the consequences of our historical actions and what methods we can induce next. Not adhering to strictly player-centric design. The state of everything continues with or without our actions and causes self-reflection. The last point is significant. I’ll touch on it later as I dive into the process of elimination and frustration. On the opposite side, I calmly steered my cruiser to another location since the previous place scared me enough to not travel back there till I scrounged up extra courage. I traveled to a decently fast-moving object which I didn’t think was possible. Landed surprisingly safely. I was riding high on the accomplishment. Until I came upon an old recording. Turns out an ancient civilization left their findings! I learned a clue and after checking what I could, which isn’t a whole lot. I return to my vessel. Only to witness it’s not there! I recall what my translator deciphered revealing the cause. I facepalmed not registering the different data prior to later. I promptly yeeted myself into the sun to restart. What a horrible 2nd try. On my third attempt, I traveled to a fresh site.

You know the idiomatic expression the third time's the charm? Well let me tell you how it's true. I can’t dive into specifics of what I saw. In terms of relatability and vibes, I found it breathtaking. An animated film I still love today is called Treasure Planet(2002). A story about a young lad coming across stories of a cool wandering pirate with the ability to disappear with nary a trace. To the point he has amassed a great treasure. Enchanted by his tales, he resolves to follow in similar footsteps. I won’t discuss anymore, but if you splice the movie with Interstellar(2014)’s planetary discovery, with displayed awe in both protagonist's facial expressions. Then you can figure out what my face turned into. The sentiment is unsurpassed and instantly hooked me to delve deeper into the cosmos and what mysteries to unearth, understand, and utilize to the fullest extent. The magic of discovering other passages connecting to clues and answering my questions left me satisfied to a greater degree I would equate to circumspect. A notion I love to bits when connecting wonderful lorebuilding.

“Hmmm. I don't appreciate disclosing the exact minutes, but I'm happy he at least censored the important bits. To leave fresh greenies their own imagination.”

Gently smiling. The assistant silently passes the 4th transcript. Wondering if it was a trick of their eye, but they swear a slight smirk instantly emerged before vanishing. A blink if you miss it event.

Log 4 - For now a little step. Later, a giant leaps for lorebuilding

The fourth spot I journeyed to I would equate to a familiar segment from Interstellar(2014) except mixed with an animated film called Titan A.E(2000). Both deal in matters of heavy topics I won’t spoil. But it is deep and conjures mature themes. Enhancing OW’s careful lore building. Mirrors similar human fascination with space and what can we glean from minute information given to us using advanced technology. Using a suit and gadgets helps us to create a better picture. Although it can be hypothetical we can at least infer with evidence and prove claims. Therefore, I can’t help but smile whilst I'm reading texts of dialogue again where previously I thought was boring.

The genius of worldbuilding worth its salt is the ability to strongly capture an individual’s attention and let the user form their conclusions based on information given from religion, culture, laws, physics, and other info. There's merit in connecting. In video games, we discern this through dialogue given by NPCs and books we can read. Two elements work in tandem to enrich the player beyond the main plot. For better or worse, we identify an excess and perhaps too little in some cases. Here, a careful methodology concerning the non-handholding story and vital lore texts emerges. Maximized to the fullest effect I'm astounded to witness from a non-RPG. And I’ve played a decent amount removing the RPG element. What blows my mind further is the placement of lore exercised to the fullest limit. Knowledge is extremely instrumental in conducting further actions. Thereby the primary strengths result in the varied text. Ancients in humorous stories and hobbies full of quirks yet it doesn’t detract from their passion in their craft. Goals, missions, incentives, and purpose all become linked and shared. Far from piling an ever-stuffing pinata or treated to a plate made by a five-star restaurant. Rather familiar... a certain fella I watched growing up from Discovery channel. Dr. Michio Kaku who can break complex terms into explanations like I'm five format. With a dash of compelling interest. Then cooked to an extent I'm savoring the taste. With the power of my handy ship reports, I can connect lore automatically. Arrows lead me to my next destination based on evidence previously. And data entries compiling alternative bits to complete an informational packet. Categorized, neatly in concise portions of longer post-it notes. It is a miniature, but effective companion twisting the noggins in my brain not too hard unlike the Talos Principle. Disregard thinking it could be a chore. Quite the opposite.

Throwing out conventional design. From coding to world-building- constructing a trail that is rich, emotive helped by sound design, and purposeful. Yet it does not retain the intrinsic building blocks we usually associate with storytelling; the character ‘A,’ will detail information to us to character ‘B.’ We read text records instead. Some may see this as boring as hell as did I, early on. But stick with it, and you will see the splendor of their capabilities. The genius and creativity of the writings revolve back to the narrative, the curiosity. Then the question arises. What is the underlying incentive that moves the participant so much to continue? I’ll answer that by pointing to the sky beyond our planet and asking “What lies beyond outer space? And what else can we derive from there?” The incentives look plain, but usher in a tug-of-war gently luring me into the mystery and eating the delicious carrot. And it's funny because my philosophy teacher posited multiple questions to extrapolate from anything similar to the pursuit of education, and the limits of our current understanding of science. He used a pencil as an example. Why is it sharp? Why is the material wood? Can it be broken? What is the eraser made of? How long does it take to create a single pencil? What’s the cost? Why am I using a pencil instead of a pen? These questions can be applied coming across each concept or tangible stuff during a sweep in OW. Yet it doesn’t become a chore to look underneath every nook and cranny. Purpose and clues which lead to further clues and discoveries in a cyclical manner rewarding the patient and observer. Listening and understanding are key component blocks in understanding things greater than we initially perceive. Lean into the minimalistic design without being overbearing. There is enough to ride the fine line of not extracting over-complicated to the point of excess. And I 100% believe 99% of everything here is gold. Loan Verneau(Other designer) emphasizes the characteristics from a 2020 Noclip documentary.. “Minimalism is actually advantageous.”

“Boss, here’s some grub. You should eat ya know.”

“Yeah yeah don’t worry, I'll eat when I finish chronicle 5. Don’t worry.”

The assistant turns around, rolls his eyeballs around, and cheekily smirks as he watches his employer avidly reading more entries. He nonetheless hands him the fifth log.

Log 5 - Secrets, have secrets. And the critical usage of tools

Much in a minuscule vein of the Marvel Cinematic Universe(MCU) Avenger films, there’s always a layer behind a character or plot and usually you can apply the concept to films and videogames in reading behind the scenes or underneath the underneath. Underlying messages, themes, and possibly commentary on a variety of issues without implicitly being said. OW operates similarly. I follow breadcrumbs, I learn additional details, shifting the layers of my comprehension from literal, non-literal, lateral, etc. A delicate move that eases youngins and removes the over-complicated. Toeing the very fine edge of a black hole. Not descending entirely, but enough to make me struggle. My thinking process was in overdrive to determine various possible links. Frustration and impatience emanated from my head. Almost to the point I wanted to put this as a negative. But taking a deep breath, re-evaluating my options, the process of elimination, and a cool head kept my logical process running smoothly and not overheating such as a PC.

I hesitate to call this a 'puzzle' cause it's not. In the vein of Portal & Talos Principle. Where it is clear and linear of what you have to do. Definitely puzzle inspired. Elements through the environment in a non-intrusive manner. Designed in a way to be beginner-friendly yet as you gradually hit the end credits slowly ramp up. Not too cryptic and not too direct. Easy to connect the dots in my opinion. Forgive me for not enclosing the exact method or describing further, once again spoiler territory. But if you enjoy those ‘puzzles’ I mentioned earlier, then probably the process is favorable of how the developers implemented here. Tying to the lore and narrative. Enriching my overall experience, akin to pursuing an oasis in the desert after days of not eating or drinking. I was hungry, thirsty, and ravenous to continue. Here’s a hint, use the rumor and ship records to help you pinpoint possible solutions. It may not matter much early on but try to make it a habit to check. The results will surely surprise you.

Moreover, the tools gained are used to the fullest effect. You can attain most of them by equipping your suit. But also don’t forget about them! I can’t track the countless occasions I died forgetting to equip my gear. Don’t be a silly fool like me. Remember! It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this! A special craft, jetpack, scouter, translator, signalscope, A reliable suit equipped with an oxygen tank and fuel for the jets! You’ll need these essential tools before descending on new ground. Lest you die of lack of oxygen heh. The tools are a nice fusion mixing into the raw fun immediately. In expected and unexpected ways. I lost sight of my liner. Heh easy peasy, I use my jetpack to jettison slightly into the atmosphere where I can behold an overview of the planet I'm currently on. And it's fun wrestling with different forces of gravity. A past memory allowed me to soar freely, enjoying the freedom of zero-g. And testing the effects of denser gravity life. Is a super struggle to jump a mere foot. Such careful implementation, where physics and movement are acted upon deserves special praise. Always fun to test out various gravitational fields and actively maneuvering my ship based on my momentum is satisfying by demonstrating you can’t easily become a master with enough tools and tricks at your disposal. Revolves back to always something fresh to learn and discover and using that knowledge is priceless.

Navigation I found to my pleasant surprise isn’t tough. To me, I found the experience easy to get a sense of orientation to decide your ensuing travel destination. Helped by the fact you have your globe compass. Thankfully entire locations are not absurdly complex. Plenty of locations are developed with care. Distinct enough to stand on its own. Standing in the middle of nowhere, you undoubtedly easily find themselves lost on where to forge next! Well, my friend the signalscope is a radar, compass, and a handy sound detector. Simply following the source can lead to incredible discoveries! A reliable suit can protect you from various hazards so keep an eye on your health! It’s not just the vastness of the unknown that can be scary. I’m reminded of the warning Stephen Hawking once said regarding alien civilization. Maybe that will help or not. Who knows… Anyway! You should use the scouter. While it seems useless in the beginning to throw a pocket-size machine out in the distance rendering images such as mobile Mars rovers. Invaluable in checking out what’s in the distance. You rarely know what kind of matter you’ll come across. If safe to land, dangerous terrain to traverse, hell the additional light source emanating is vital in scouting too! In the darkest of moments, I determine solace in the illumination. Lastly, a handy translator to decipher old texts. Minus this little guy, I probably would’ve quit entirely! A tool to transcribe what was said long ago. Man. Wish we had this for our main cast back in Arrival(2016).

“Arrival is a damn fantastic film! A must watch along with the other sci-fi films touched on.”

“I agree, boss. Weird they haven’t watched Kubrick’s famous space film. Think he could’ve had substance to articulate about him.”

“True, perhaps they have not watched the film yet… Shame.

“Best of the best… Ah, here's the latest text.”

Log 6 - It's okay to make mistakes. History is full of them

I believe one of the hardest and maybe underappreciated qualities is to capture the attention of an individual for a prolonged period depending on the fun factor. Overcoming obstacles, finding new treasures, discovering secrets, winning against an opponent completing an objective, and my favorite is learning supplementary erudition that can be used retroactively to encounter alternate paths and solutions to obstacles. A slice different from metroidvanias with required items/abilities to progress. Similar, but different from how a rogue-lite conducts after failure. Operates by handing you enough necessary devices, not ability-gating, but sending them off at their own pace is an immensely enjoyable endeavor. 'If you can go there, you can reach it.'

But also exhibit a manageable learning curve. Thereby allowing astronauts and astralfarers to continue unabated without major insurmountable hurdles. A phenomenal example is akin to Mario falling into the abyss and we restart immediately is a simple and earliest example. Here the presence of failure and not giving up is palpable. Embracing mistakes can often lead to interesting outcomes. Making the most of what you can do within a limited ordeal reminded me heavily of my recent trip to Japan. Where I tried to do the most of what I could physically do while staying within ‘x’ amount of days. You have to embrace the logistics and persevere to rise above average motions to do as much as possible. Granted you don’t have to follow the ideology to a T. I love doing whatever you want at your leisure.

My experience in Japan was a proverbial light-bulb in parallel history of what I conducted. I didn’t come to this realization til dozens of attempts of failing, dying, and befuddlement. Concerning the failed attempts. I stand and try again. It is why I appreciate the [blank] loop occurring within 22 minutes clever. Sure a restart is feasible, but considering the full breadth is not player-centric. Enough distinct events occur within a small time frame. I won’t bring out anything explicit. But this core facet is a robust pillar holding up what makes OW remarkable. I’m reminded of the Apollo program to reach the moon after a world superpower equivalent entered the race by sending Yuri Gagarin as the first person to fly in past our blue home. Countless citizens of the Liberty Nation felt fear of being left behind. I was never born during that era, but the texts in history books detail the significance greatly of landing on the moon. The sensation of rivalry, anxiety, feasibility, capability, and what if’s are borne fruit within the OW project. How many adventures will my tiny craft be able to exert? Before I redo the whole start again? What untouched goals can I scrounge aside from virtually landing on my moon? Can I fulfill my mission parameters? And most importantly why am I doing this myself?

As a student and lover of world history: encompassing socio, technological, cultural, and countless others. Fascinating to grasp, but also our experiments to blast outside our atmosphere. The simulator has an alluring way of increasing my curiosity constantly. By approaching early interstellar travel through a museum. You don’t need to understand everything inside, but I find what’s displayed enchanting. Unseen creatures cute but terrifying. Text writing given in an untraditional manner. Artifacts changing senses of physical orientation and the mysterious Nomai talked in reverent tones leave me intrigued for new material. Teasing me, luring me to learn extra. It's lovely, the devs managed to send me into a similar fascination I had long ago as a young lad. I was enthused on entire interstellar matters and reliving the experience now. In a distinguishable manner by actively transforming a viewer's perspective into that of an active participant. “I read tales of cosmos history” takes on a whole new meaning when I traveled to the “moon and beyond.”

Despite my slight struggle in the beginning. The journey is bloody significant it in my honest opinion. It's up to you to decide the methodology a journey will advance. They say ignorance is bliss. And knowledge is power. Blah blah blah. Entertain the two notions and subsequently witness a slow, but gripping plot of pioneers embarking on treacherous expeditions and meritwhile voyages. Embracing the unknown like a partner steadily balancing their fear on a tightrope. To what end? Up to you! For what awaits fellow travelers mainly a wonderful trek to the stars.

Log 7 - My Mixed Feelings is Zero, as I Expected

I’ll be frank. I have zero mixed feelings. No negative nitpicks, and frustrations were due to the fact of my inability to jump the gun and Rambo my way to the credits. A shameful bad habit I still have trouble deterring myself from. Although, I’m glad I played until I finished the final act. The lesson I gently reminded is exercising a lesson in patience. Breathing deeply and re-focusing on my priorities whilst undergoing a process of elimination. Determining what I haven’t explored and what I couldn’t pass before, but with extra information gained. Surely I can do what I was unable to before. The backtracking wasn’t a sore spot. And sure the beginning can be slow, but I believe it's worth delving into to understand fully the tutorials. Gently nudging the player through the do’s and don’ts of star travel and the dangers that come in your travels. I’m at a sheer loss to add anything concrete regarding suggestions and I cannot for the life of me conjure meaningful examples. Everything is self-contained and at your disposal to succeed. Mayhap a gentle reminder that self-reflection is key and organizing your next list of priorities transitions into an easier task to undergo were vital to remember. Here’s a tip reviewing what you already accomplished might bring a different insight. Keep notes my friends!

“Kid already left huh? Damn. My is stomach hungry. But that can wait. I have naught urge to eat nor sleep right now.”

“Funny, I too experienced the same feelings after I entered the organization.”

Log 8 - Stories & mysteries. A positive appraisal

I always love heavy stories. It's the primary reason I look for within the medium. Everything else 2nd. So I'm extremely shocked to play a title where the plot is [redacted] in a way I didn’t expect. I’m no stranger to storytelling methods of unreliable narrators, ludo narrative dissonance, and connecting essential literary elements to craft a compelling plot. A climax full of importance and gawking. Supposedly with a loveable cast as well. I received none of these yet achieved an indescribable experience using a non-traditional progression. Which I find enormously challenging to describe in minute details. Within the confines of the simulator, I encountered many memories I don’t believe I'll forget. A stack I reminisce fondly. An aspect, so moving is a solid top quality. Ever seen any seven wonders on Earth? Or presumably some iconic nature-made landscape to leave you breathless? Same energy! In my struggle, all that's left are the sensations conjured during the moment and everlasting memories. Usually, players detail the conclusion as the ultimate moment. Others, the journey. And for a certain side the beginning. As I take my final steps into the end credits I can chiefly remark that everything is priceless, precious, and potent passion resonating to my very heart.

“Yes, I do agree the overarching story has incredible value striving towards. It's enormously challenging to display in a raw form. But I sincerely and wholeheartedly agree with their assessment.”

“Oh man, two left. Nights getting late… I have work in the morning... Meh I'll keep reading.”

Log 9 - Tips, hints, and a single weird outlier- A confession and the choice

Despite what I said early on with having zero mixed feelings I will confess to using a FAQ and hint guide near the very last stretch of my playthrough. I won’t say specifics. I primarily missed two things but I already knew beforehand and the execution. I simply missed the diminutive connection. This isn’t advocating to check FAQ or a guide. Merely suggesting if you need help. Or contacting a close friend. A blind playthrough is still highly recommended. However, this doesn’t deter me from gently conveying if you’re struggling to be careful of spoiling yourself on YouTube or a harmful thumbnail blatantly showing what to expect. It is extremely rare I would resort to such a tactic considering 99%, I found everything by myself and I suspect if I hadn't checked I would’ve eventually found the answer. I don't think there’s harm in searching for hints/tips since its impossible for every person to be on the same wavelength in understanding and processing logical thinking. It's why we don’t notice universal praise 100% of the time and barely to none flaws in every single product made. There’s always something to remark.

“Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I’ll give their assessment a valid shake. It's honestly impossible to make a program and run to the finish line. Hitting the mark consistently. Playing blind to successfully reaching the ending every instances without help. The ultimate undertaking is still not within our capability. But by fine-tuning it we can achieve a close number to the triple digits. I believe Noclip demonstrates the history and the multiple developmental iteration stages in getting there. Seems the work was very challenging, but worth it. Cool guys. Was nice watching behind the scenes.”

“Oh. The last texts…”

Log 10 - The Final Log

I think the testament to a magnificent quality is the ability to grab anyone from any reasonable age and outside of searching for auxiliaries fully explore and in their understanding comprehend what is given. To an extent where the player deeply appreciates what is conveyed through memorable experiences, deep themes and reigniting a blazing heart of what makes videogames so moving. In neither too complex nor too simple aspects. Rather it strives to hit every range in the spectrum to capture the essence of what I feel is the zenith of pure discovery, supreme wonder, and incredible satisfaction through the act of accomplishment. At the very core, the devs toe the fine line to the point of frustration. Excelling in qualities I look for. And punches its weight limit beyond the super heavyweight class. Heck, shooting for 100% isn’t required either! You don’t need to worry on performance achievements. They're akin to extra credit points. A relief in my eyes. Thereby lodging a wonderfully thoughtful fun loop that keeps me coming back frequently until the final track is conveyed. Danny O'Dwyer, from Noclip puts it in the best way possible.

“...Outer Wilds is more than the sum of its parts. It's the type of game that leaves you with a feeling that can’t be explained. It has to be experienced.”

I echo the same sentiment. The herculean effort the developers at Mobius Digital created is truly one of a kind. Infrequently have I played a science fiction type hitting utterly the things I love and fear from the cosmos yet contained in a moving revolving door of themes tiny and grand. I found the grand finish line of my expeditions. Sure there were bumps on the road to get there. But OW travelers experiences hardship differently and manages to resolve them in a method to their satisfaction. For me. The venture was arduous yet left me with a marvelous sense of immense satisfaction. A sensation anyone knows intimately. Whether it's to defeat the most difficult boss, triumph over the hardest puzzle, climb the tallest pillar, or journey a thousand miles whilst completing many mini-challenges. The same feeling never escapes. The moment of victory, the HUZZAH always reigns supreme. A phenomenal caliber reverberates in spades beyond my imagination. Always surprised me to the nth degree yet ne'er blew my suspension of disbelief into a catastrophic supernova. Elevating by not prescribing to conventional designs. Connecting the sweet Chekov’s gun beautifully comparable to an intricate web. Whereupon I was helplessly comprehending every morsel of lore and thus achieved a peak Everest of worldbuilding. Through gaining knowledge. And harnessed to the maximum effect. Removing egregious copy paste areas. This wasn’t the largest universe I’ve explored, nor the prettiest graphically nor does it contain a tour de force soundtrack and an always gripping plot to unearth coupled with a loveable cast. Doesn’t hit the limit of fun gameplay. Outer Wilds is none of these. Yet the sum of its parts as Danny eloquently said earlier along with playing as blind as possible are the hallmarks benefiting an increased multiplier to the X degree. Tying the above to excellent points by a duct tape machine and launching my ship to uncharted territory is an unparalleled impression.

I implore any curious souls looking for an excellent sci-fi space adventure such as this as a one hell of a wake up palette cleanser to try between games, game pass, or even if they had an experience a stark contrast to mine then that’s entirely fair and valid. What matters is how your journey started, during, and ended. What you find at the closing of the day is the sincerest conclusion you reached with both hands and mind. Literally and figuratively. For better or worse. The cosmos exists, but so do we. And thus we venture forth to the stars. Undeterred, unbowed, and unflinchingly in the face of its daunting expanse, striving past our normal means. Similar in some respects to a tiny excerpt from a famous speech proposed decades ago.

.
.
.

"Oh by the way Boss. I have something to report-"

The assistant gradually opens the door to the office. There he spies his superior sleeping soundly in the chair snoring softly. Peering closer he witnesses the final log close to his chest.

He sighs softly and gathers a jacket nearby to drape over him. But in doing so, a light object falls to the ground.

A piece of paper.

“Oh for me?”

The assistant reads the confines slowly. Eyes growing wider as paragraphs fly by until...

A single final line…

10/10 - Get me their number. We need to talk.

References and additional material:
1962 - JFK Moon speech
2020 - The Making of Outer Wilds - Documentary by Noclip
Before I play: Outer Wilds - Useful tips!
Spoiler safe FAQ - literally saved my bacon. No joke
My spoiler thoughts of Outer Wilds
Special thanks to Hotpoppah, _YALP & Phantasm for recommending OW to me.