Lo Specchio Scuro:
[★★★★★] = 10/10
[★★★★☆] = 9/10
[★★★☆☆] = 8/10
[★★☆☆☆] = 7/10
[★☆☆☆☆] = 6/10
[½☆☆☆☆] = <6/10
Personal Ratings


On Schedule

Journaled games once a day for a week straight

Best Friends

Become mutual friends with at least 3 others


Gained 10+ total review likes


Voted for at least 3 features on the roadmap


Gained 3+ followers


Played 250+ games


Played 100+ games

Favorite Games

Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy IX
Dark Souls
Dark Souls
Silent Hill
Silent Hill
Disco Elysium
Disco Elysium
What Remains of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch


Total Games Played


Played in 2023


Games Backloggd

Recently Played See More

Tails of Iron
Tails of Iron

Jun 03

Shadow Hearts
Shadow Hearts

May 28

Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Xenoblade Chronicles 3

May 25

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water

Apr 29

Hogwarts Legacy
Hogwarts Legacy

Apr 01

Recently Reviewed See More

The game boringly re-enacts many Middle Ages tropes (especially the civilized world vs barbarian tribes one) and depicts a grim, brutal, and feral archetypal past mostly made of revenge, suffering, and loss - a quite common reverse-fairytale in which everything is forcefully violent and bad. In case you are a fan of these worlds this would even work for the short duration of the game (less than 10 hours) if narrative-wise the game wouldn't be so flat and devoid of memorable moments. After a brief intro, it feels painfully redundant and basically re-enacts the same procedures over and over. Rebuilding a kingdom has rarely been more tedious, and a good (although derivative) atmosphere has rarely become so rapidly tedious.

I didn't enjoy the first one (except for its philosophical overtones), and couldn't proceed with the second one due to how grossly it sexualized female characters and bodies and to how frustratingly it introduced gacha mechanics. Where the first sounded like a thesis - establishing the fundamentals of the whole series - and the second as an antithesis (by introducing dumb mechanics and horrible character design), this is kinda a synthesis between the two (intentional Hegelian lexicon here).
To begin with, let me be structuralist for once: many elements here are brilliant. On the one hand, the soundtrack is amazing, the directing style of main cutscenes is great, the plot is deep and captivating. By the way, the game is everything but perfect: the world and character design is still weak imho, and the gameplay loop is dramatically traditional (main, secondary, and extra quests are painfully reduntant and repetitive, you cannot complete the game without becoming a man-machine, objectified and machinized as Marx foresaw). Additionally, the plot reaches its peak around chapter 5/6 and the game proves to be overlong and diluted as its predecessors - with chapter 7 being immensely boring and cheap - basically a corridor filled with identic enemies and bosses.
Unlike the first game, XC3 evidently takes an existential route. As in many other Japanese fictional worlds and JRPGs, characters strive to escape the facticity (quoting our beloved Heidegger & Sartre) of their existence and strive to achieve existential freedom. The former is depicted as a temporal stasis and a never-ending fight between two armies of children, the latter as freedom of choice and self-determination (Foucault wouldn't agree with this). In addition, facticity and war are pre-determined by evil deities who play with human beings, another common trope across JRPGs and Japanese mainstream fiction in general.
If the struggle between facticity and freedom is quite didactic and uninteresting, the game manages to translate it into pretty interesting game mechanics. The only way to achieve freedom is by overcoming differences, finding oneself in the (and as an) other (Ricoeur), and challenging one's own identity with the aim of overcoming it. In the beginning, this takes the basic form of fighting alongside former enemies: after the very first hours, the party members become quite a lot (6-7 members fighting at the same time) with former enemies forced to fight together. Later, it takes the form of familiarizing with enemies, to the point you lose yourself within them and vice versa: every character has a unique class but soon you can freely switch their classes, techniques, and abilities - as a consequence, characters continuously change their clothing and dress as others. Weapons, abilities, and clothing, as identity traits, become interchangeable: characters' memories merge, their experiences melt, their feelings intertwine, and their iconic appearance becomes fluid. They can also perform ‘syntheses’, which means they merge in a single being highly echoing Neon Genesis Evangelion. The mechanics of the game, in this sense, are among the most meaningful I’ve ever seen in a JRPG: unlike in most other games of the genre, you don’t just brainlessly slaughter almost-innocent creatures or manga/anime-like villains. I mean, you still do that from beginning to end (and that’s painful as usual) but at least there’s something these mechanics are telling and proving you as you do that. Fights are also so chaotic, dynamic, and imbued with colors, effects, and data, that they resemble dances and senseless choreographies, with the characters that constantly use others’ identity traits and moves or merge with others – so fun to watch, so fun to play, so meaningfully hinting at a melting pot of identities.
Spoilers ahead.
As said, the game kinda loses its momentum as it progresses. It becomes one of those redundant JRPGs built upon slogans (“the future!!!”) and deserted monocursal labyrints. Overall, I’ve enjoyed it nonetheless, and yet I cannot but acknowledge its limitations and issues. It’s a pseudo-philosophical, ultra-pop pastiche imbued with cliches and tropes, and yet it manages to be even moving at times.
On a side note, it’s also full of explicit references: for example, we fight deities to break a looping time made of death and resurrections as in Final Fantasy X; group attacks are vaguely comic-like as in Persona 5; and we witness a promise made by two lovers as their respective worlds drift as in Kingdom Hearts – the final scene is almost a remake of KH’s ending, and yet it’s one of the most moving moments of all XC3.
As in KH, moreover, there are heroes who face their dopplegangers/future-selves/virtual-versions, in a costant struggle between hope&friendship vs nihilism&loneliness. Which here is quite good I must say.

After having liked the first episode of the series, enjoyed the second one, and endured the third, I had very low expectations of this. And yet it has been way worse than I expected.
Except for the lore, the game is so (both narratively and interactively) clunky, so obtuse in the aesthetics, so kitsch and machinic in its mechanics, so anticlimatic and poor in its atmospheres, so lazy in its nth borrowingn of j-horror... I almost can't think of a single good thing about it. Which is quite sad for a golden-age-survival-horror-lover like me.