1465 Reviews liked by Ditdzy

Now that this DLC has finally been released I can admit that I never played the original DLC. Don't ask me why, maybe because I'm not the biggest fan of the original game due to the increase in action and the lack of horror.
After thoroughly enjoying the Resident 4 Remake, I was excited to finally play Separate Ways. One of the biggest reason was Ada Wong. Because I always found her very interesting but never really knew what kind of character she is.
To cut it short, yes I really enjoyed this DLC but let's go into detail.
I already liked Luis a lot in the main game and his relationship with Ada in the DLC is great. His dance at the beginning is alone worth the 9,99€.
It was also interesting to see that Ada has a robot eye with which she can track footsteps and other stuff. I liked this gameplay mechanic even if it wasn't too extensive.
One of the reasons why the remake is one of the strongest Goty contenders of this years is how extremely detailed the game is and this DLC is no exception. For example you can see the tracking transmitter on the back from Luis. Another example is that you can hear Ashley cry while you are outside on the roof of the church.
It was interesting how they implemented Ada's infection and in one scene she says that "the Raccon City night has changed her". Many games just throw stuff like that into your face but now really show it. But you can see the consequences and how she has changed in her actions, the dialogue and in her facial expressions. Besides that Ada is freaking badass, I enjoyed the gameplay with her grapple-hook and her acrobatic abilities. Sadly the DLC was a little but too dark especially in the lab in chapter 6 and 7. I turned the brightness all the way up and sometimes I still couldn't see anything. But maybe the daylight from my window was the problem.
One of the boss enemies called "Pesanta" was a pain in the ass and I think I bought the rocket launcher after dying a few times. Wesker is also back and it was cool to see in 4k with good facial expressions. They also included content that they cut from the main game in this DLC like for example the Skilift. Saddler on the other hand was kinda underwelming but maybe that was because I fully upgraded the Crossbow all the way to max. Which is awesome btw. it was my favorite weapon alongside the Red 9. Or maybe he was so underwelming because Ada is just a side character, just like myself in real life.
Overall is Separate Ways really incredible, it's the best DLC from this year for one of, if not the best game this year. Huge recommendation and it's worth every penny.

An excellent addition to RE4 Remake. I never played the original back in the day but this was such a great way to revisit the game 6 months after beating it. I was surprised by just how much content is here for the price point - some of it felt a bit unnecessary but all in all it was a really solid expansion to the base game's narrative. Ada's expanded traversal abilities were a lot of fun, and it once again felt great to roundhouse kick downed enemies.

I kinda wish I could give this DLC the complete 5 star treatment. When it comes down to it, this is just more Resident Evil 4 Remake. Retreading places you've been but see things from different perspectives and going through places you may have remember seeing at one point but now you get to really explore it. The gameplay is as solid as before, it really doesn't have any major changes it's just more added to the original and very much worth the $10.
So what's the issue?
I'm someone who didn't like the original Assignment Ada on the original RE4 and to be quite honest I never really liked Ada in any of the games she appeared in, so I already had an amount of dread when this got announced. I wasn't looking forward to using her to go through another set of chapters.
That was my initial issue...but it got worse when I realized she's voiced the same way in the regular campaign and having her monotone dialogue be the main part of the DLC and then hearing other characters being voiced very well, put a slight damper on experiencing the new parts of the story. Everything else about the game is fun and perfectly fine, until she talks and drags the immersion down.
Other than that, I had a blast and recommend to anyone who enjoyed the original campaign, but you already got it and played it by now right?

Not really worth the money and runs way worse than the base game even. New characters suck, but the ending was interesting

Calling the Teal Mask half-baked is probably too kind. It's basically still raw.
The performance issues from the base games feel significantly worse here — probably because the region is incredibly bland, just a mish-mash of standard series biomes that feels like a procedurally generated iteration on the base game's region. There's not even a real logic to where the new pokemon show up, nor are there any interesting locations or areas. Add to that that the entire DLC (not just the story, but fully exploring the region, completing the new pokedex, etc.) takes, generously, about six hours to finish, and even as someone who loved Scarlet and Violet despite their flaws, I think they'd have been better off just not releasing anything at all.
Dipplin is cute though. I will give them that.

It hit all the right notes for me. The only problem is those stupid out of nowhere QTE in the cutscenes. Cheap and completely pointless instant deaths.

Shadows of Bloodborne: Puppets Die Twice
This is a very odd game for me to review because my main commentary on its positives and negatives rely on two almost equally powerful items: the setting and the difficulty. I'll dive into those in a second, but I just want to commend Neowiz and the development staff on putting together a complete Souls-like experience from top to bottom out of seemingly nowhere. The amount of effort into creating this game and staying true to the genre, while also presenting something new in and of itself is a masterful feat of game design, however it came with some headache...
My major gripe with the game, as Souls veteran IronPineapple pointed out in his Lies of P video, is that this game is really, really, really damn hard. I've spoken before about difficulty in the Souls series and how its hard to actually score a game based upon such a category because at the end of the day, difficulty is subjective. What may exist as a tough move to block or hard parry to hit for you, could be done with ease by me. Now is a game "hard" because a vocal majority seem to say they can't power through the mechanics set in stone by the developers, or is it truly a difficult experience? This is again not easy to answer as someone who has played every FromSoft title post Demon's Souls, because I'm used to the way these games are played. I know how to navigate corpse runs, when to dodge towards attacks, the benefits of certain builds, etc... I went straight from Elden Ring to Bloodborne for example and beat that game with ease, with almost every boss being completed in less than five tries. I might call Bloodborne easy, but by the accounts of the many, it is not. It's with this commentary about Souls-like difficulty that I want the reader to approach my review.
I don't know if I'm more qualified than your average bear to say that Lies of P is objectively hard, but I will offer my two cents as someone who is now a "vet" of this genre. For clarity purposes I'll tackle the difficulty of Lies of P in two main categories: Rigidity and Fairness, starting with the former. There's one thing that I disliked about Dark Souls 2 more than anything, and that was how your i-frames on rolls were tied to the stamina stat. Now this isn't Dark Souls 2, but it does employ something almost equally annoying that makes the combat feel odd for an awkward amount of the game, and that's the P-Organ system. P-Organ sounds funny, and it is, but it's basically a tertiary skill tree separate from your main stat upgrades that gives the titular Pinnochio new moves or upgrades to items/abilities he already has. These P-Organs are split into tiers that each have four separate unlocks. These four unlocks grant certain abilities per tier like extra recovery for your estus flask equivalent or the ability to use multiple gold coin tree cubes (I'll get to this later too) per fight. The quartz required to complete each unlock grows per tier, one for the first, two per slot for the second, and so on. This was a cool mechanic at first because each of the quartz you input allows for you to augment either your offense, defense, pulse cells, or miscellaneous other stats. Where this got annoying real quick, was how certain life-saving moves were locked behind having enough of this finite quartz resource. I mentioned the EXTREMELY useful double dodge, but there's also the ability to roll from a knocked-down state, and also the aforementioned ability to use your cube twice in a bossfight which can vastly alter the way these fights go. I am very opposed, like I was in Dark Souls 2, to how the rigidity of fights is effectively locked behind a finite resource and how much it can change the way you play the game.
Outside of the success based stat upgrading, I felt like enemy hitboxes were rather dishonest. My qualm here is probably holdover from playing several of FromSoft's cleaner titles within the past few years like Elden Ring, Sekiro, and Dark Souls III in which I felt like the boss moves hit where they looked like they would hit me. Multiple times in Lies of P as the game went progressed, I'd get hit by moves that clearly did not touch but had clipped me League of Legends style because I'd dodged or parried after the game registered the hit. Not the biggest deal, but in those life-or-death moments that do so often occur, I felt like I'd had some momentum stolen.
Now for the elephant in the room, the difficulty of Lies of P. With the above added into consideration, this game starts hard and ends even harder. This is the first time in a game I've knowingly got the "good" or "true" ending and specifically chose not to do it because of the added on BS I was about to go through. The weird thing too is that I don't even know where to start, but I guess I'll begin with the health bars. My favorite game Elden Ring notwithstanding in the Soulsborne franchise is Bloodborne... for a lot of reasons. One thing Bloodborne did right was NOT give every boss a second phase, meaningful or not, and if they did it was packed into one healthbar. Once you get past maybe halfway in Lies of P, every single chapter boss has a second health bar. Not only does this cheapen the experience of making fights seem "special," but it also turned every fight into a marathon of resource management and heightened luck moreso than a battle of skill to will. In most FromSoft titles I felt like my learning of the bosses moves, mechanics, and timings would guarantee me victory over time, and it did. This contrasts to Lies of P, where often times you don't even get to the second phase to be able to learn the bosses moves because you spent the last lifetime fighting through the first healthbar. Once I killed the big first speed bump of the game and got through its first healthbar, I thought it made sense to have a second one too because it bolstered the importance of this character in the games lore and his stature as a strong opponent. As the game went on and I began to realize EVERY single boss was doing that, my enjoyment of Lies of P waned greatly. The game had gone from an endearing Souls-like to a poorly tuned title that was clearly intended to just be "hard" for the git-gudders out there.
As is tradition for me in a Souls-Like game, I went with Lies of P's strength build equivalent: Motivity. This was a grave mistake in part due to the health bar issue as mentioned above, but also because the attack windows on a majority of bosses through the latter half of Lies of P effectively do not exist. In some of the fights, especially in the ultimate boss fight, your window to attack is quicker than the blink of an eye, and going to slow will result in a massive chunk of your health bar disappearing. It wouldn't be the end of the world if there was a payoff for the risk of attacking the boss on the end of its rest cycle, but the bosses in this game straight up do not have hitstun. There's a loose stagger meter, and you need to use this to beat the game, but if you're stuck in animation lock on an attack (as strength users often are) you will pay the mortal price nine times out of ten. As someone who greatly enjoyed the risk/reward playstyle of the Souls games and heavier items, this was beyond aggravating. I made the mistake in the "easier" sections of the game in throwing my upgrades into strength and health, without realizing that I was just hammering myself down a path of furious anger. In fights where I'd summon my specter, I'd have to wait for the boss to aggro to them so I could use a heavy attack and stagger the boss into a critical hit. If it was just me against the boss because my specter had died (and I didn't have a second gold coin fruit to keep him up,) I would miss out on a grave majority of these stagger opportunities. This happened because of the lack of hitstun on the boss, as well as the stagger windows being exceptionally slow on special enemies. Of course you can upgrade this through the P-Organ system to give bosses a larger stagger window, but I felt like having the ability to dodge correctly was more important. I hope you the reader are now beginning to see the issue with the way Lies of P makes you choose between mechanics that just seem... like they should be granted right away.
Now that I've outlined my complaints with the fairness and rigidity of Lies of P, it's time to get into the rest. I wasn't a fan of most bosses having 270 degree attacks, nor was I an enjoyer of the fact that certain bosses could attack up to fourteen times in a row. Fourteen! 1 4!!! There were several moments I'd think it was time to stagger or heal up, only to see the grave danger in front of me wind up for its third set of whirling blades out of five to come. There was a boss in the final chapter towards the end who had me in complete shock in disbelief as I saw them General Grevious style spinning their sword for the nth time against my Specter and I. In the Souls series the bosses have their archetypes and what not, but within the games I feel like they are mostly different. In Lies of P it felt like they all had their own degree or BS that could stretch around their body, hit you from cross arena, or gap close. Sometimes you just want Covetus Demon man... not a two healthbar Malenia for the fifth time. Lastly in the qualm department, as I've mentioned it a few times, I really did not like the way the Gold Coin Tree was inplemented. Basically, there's a tree within the game that drops fruits you can use to augment yourself or your summoned specter in bossfights. This tree exists solely within a certain area and can be accessed freely once you get to the story point in the game. The catch though, is that it's tied to REAL WORLD TIME, meaning that every eight minutes it will drop a fruit which you can then use to purchase augments from the correct vendor. This felt... gacha to me. I strongly disliked having the success of boss fights tied to how long I waited in real life to get this extra currency that was immediately helpful. C'est la vie or something though, I beat the game and will not look back at the combat or its systems.
Now for the Good!!! Lies of P does a lot of good!!! Years ago I sat with my mother at bedtime and read our copy of Pinocchio as written by Carlo Collodi. It was addressed to my brother by my Sicilian grandmother, who used to read it to my father when they lived in Italy. It's with this that I always had an affinity to the world of Pinocchio and its roots as an Italian story as opposed to the Disney'd version that most probably first experienced it as. Lies of P does a FANTASTIC job adhering to the source material of Pinocchio while also putting its own spin on the story to make it the harrowing and decrepit story that the game is. Pinocchio is already a pretty depressing story at its core, but the way that Neowiz crafted a world in which puppets have run amok and basically overthrown society into a hotbed of chaos while a merciless disease shakes those who still yet live was a thing of beauty. There was a lot of work done into creating an interesting lore behind the world, motivations of each faction within the world, and the plagues at large. I have to applaud the developers on taking my gripe of FromSoft’s microdosed lore and spinning it into a great melding of direct and indirect storytelling. Characters like Geppetto, Cricket, Fox, Cat, and Romeo all make their appearances in the world of Krat with entire new meanings and motivations to their actions. There's a pretty awesome tease at the end of the game to as to which fairytale the team might tackle next, and man I expect everybody who came away with positive feelings toward Lies of P to get excited at it!
On top of staying true to the source material, Lies of P did one thing that FromSoft has had some extreme difficulty in doing: They made a Soulslike that ran well. This game is jaw droppingly gorgeous in its steampunkified late 1800's/early 1900 take on western Europe. Multiple times during my playthrough of both the demo and the main game did I stop and just look at the world as it fell into pieces around me. Moments where you climb to the highest tower, or take an elevator up a mountain and see the world of Lies of P under you had me seriously in love with the game. I may have been harsh on the actual playing of Lies of P, but when it came to crafting a believable horror fantasy world, this was a tremendous success. It looked great and it ran great, and in 2023 that's what we should be asking for.
All in all, Lies of P is truly a recommendation enigma to me. One on hand I would love to suggest to it to all of my friends who are either into the Souls-like genre or would appreciate the beautiful aesthetics of the game. On the other, I don't want to break their heads and hearts as they cleave and grieve their way through some draconian encounters. I don't recommend Lies of P to anyone unless their looking for a similar challenge as Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice with a tremendously respected IP as the backdrop.

Remember the whole mocap actor swap controversy?
Yeah, neither do I.

I never gave this game much thought from the glimpses I've seen of it up to release, but the quadruple combo of it being a shorter game published by Annapurna that got high review scores and is day one on Game Pass made it very hard to ignore. I'm glad I didn't as I can confidently say that Cocoon is so far my favorite Indie game of 2023.
The game never tells you how to do anything, which is one of my favorite things about it. It just feels intuitive, and its solely up to you to figure things out. I got stumped a lot but outside of something I'll get to in a bit, it basically never felt like the game was unfair. And even when things seemed impossible, every single time I found out the solution I was impressed with how clever the game was. The puzzle design is just simply excellent here and it feels consistently rewarding.
Now there is a reason this game is missing a star. A few smaller issues first: I didn't really care about the art style. It feels a bit generic but its not a bad looking game either so not really a negative. The soundtrack also exists. Its fine I guess, but I never really noticed it which feels like a missed opportunity. Also if this game has a story, its very vague. I'm sure there's some deeper meaning to everything but it very much takes a backseat. These three things are fine and didn't really bother me as the gameplay is still very engaging but they do stop me from fully loving it.
Now about the actual things I dislike about the game. It took me around 5 and a half hours to beat. This is a great length for a game like this, and the puzzles continued to expand and stay interesting the whole time. That being said, there were several moments that felt like finales where the game just kept continuing on after. It led to a conflicting feeling where I was enjoying the puzzles but still wishing for the game to be over. It was just a bit exhausting to be thrown for a loop that much. The only other thing I dislike about this game are some of the timed puzzles. For the most part these are perfectly fine, but in the last fourth there is three different timed sections each made up of three different parts. They're sort of like a boss battle but if you fail any part you have to restart the whole section. While other bosses do make you restart, at least they were based on skill, but this one is solely on timing. This led to a lot of having to redo parts I already knew how to just to get back to the part I was actually stuck on and it was quite frankly a pain in the ass. I don't like timed puzzles and this was a bad way to implement them. Otherwise the bosses are all sort of similar but still unique enough that their presence makes the game more interesting.
Overall, Cocoon is a fantastic puzzle game that's held back only by a handful of small things and the very occasional annoying section. None of its negatives take away from the fact that its highly creative and one of the best games I've played in an already stacked year.
Thanks for reading if you made it this far <3
Nancymeter - 85/100
Achievement Completion - 80%
Time Played - 5 hours 43 minutes
Completion #29 of September
Completion #192 of 2023