36 Reviews liked by Lorazx
Lies of P
halfway through: one of the better soulslikes thus far, but it's still kind of a fucking mess lmao. everything is so overtuned - all the bosses hit super hard, they're super aggressive, they're super mobile, and they have shitloads of HP. and there's almost always a phase 2 with a new health bar. even the minibosses are just tediously tanky. every status effect feels as severe as scarlot rot. it's not inherently super difficult, it's just balanced so punishingly that there's almost zero room for error, and that kind of sucks.
i do have some issues with certain aspects of the design (the largest being the skill tree, and what's on it), but most of those would be minor nitpicks if the game gave you a little more leeway on the big fights. there's not much you can do when you hit one of the many brick walls - there's basically nothing to explore, all of the major upgrades are locked behind the game progression, and the NPC spectres are rarely helpful. if you thought fromsoft games need an easy mode, or if you rely on summons to get through the tough fights, this game just isn't for you.
Lies of P
Yeah I gotta drop this shit I'm getting filtered too hard. I honestly hate parry gameplay because I don't wanna learn that shit! I want a damn greatshield and I want to 100% block everything. I still think the game is good (for the most part), it feels pretty damn good and I wish I never had to fight a elite enemy or boss ever! Elites and Bosses just have super fucking annoying moves always.
I'm just gonna start with some compliments cause this game does a lot of cool things! The weapon system is pretty fun. I didn't like the moveset of the starting greatsword too much (too much thrusting), but I found a police club with a moveset I liked (have a chargable overhead), but attack range was too small. I put the long greatsword blade on the handle and boom, it ruled. I do wish you could swap scaling on handles without needing unique materials (just use souls like elden ring), cause that means I don't get to experiment really. I liked the vibes and enviroments, wish i got to see more!
The smelter boss I think is actually just loaded with the most annoying moves imaginable. Both him and the electric boss set ground traps and like, I dont want that shit! Elite enemies are too spongy, might as well be bosses with less moves. The ganksquads in this game way more annoying than any other game i've experienced, and they don't have the buffer of me thinking Miyazaki is being a mischievous jokester. Stagger system needs a indicator/bar or something.
Side Note: I think games should start adding an option to increase the your parry window. I felt like I kept fucking up parries by like frames, so I think I would get the same enjoyment as anyone if I was allowed to make the window a little bigger for accessibility.
Side Note 2: While playing I thought about what if a parry based game just put up a Guitar Hero fret board when an animation started, and when the note reached the circle, thats when the attack would hit you (whether you are near the attack or not). I would probably fuck with parrying there because dev's love obfuscating attack animations to troll timing.
ADDENDUM: I also am getting sick of the item scarcity? item management? Whatever it is that keeps me from using consumable items. I think everything should just be recharged at bonfires. Get like a couple throwable items that get recharged. Things that remove debuffs get recharged. Also the souls system they took from Hollow Knight thats tied to the weapon arts is fucking annoying because that also doesn't recharge at bonfires, you have to grind them back up slowly. It makes me not want to use them during boss fights because what if I die, then i have to fucking GRIND them. Dark Souls 3 Cinder mod/Sekiro easy mod just like opened my eye to how much fun a souls-like could be if it was way more lax on the item/mana limitations; you have a fun movekit, i wanna use it!
she throatin me playing starfield call that sloppy toppy
It's a shame that the admirably cobbled together creation engine ver. 100 was spent on this game when it could have been given to writers and designers that aren't forced to make content sludge. The game does look pretty good, facial animations are about as accurate as I predict this engine will ever get unless they start mocapping (they won't). It runs fine on a 4080 at 4k/ultra, but this game is disgraceful as far as loading screens are concerned, even for a bethesda title. You'll find yourself looking at literal loading screens and "false" loading screens (take off cutscenes, grav jump cutscenes, airlocks opening/closing) for lengths of time unprecedented for any game I've ever played. New Vegas on the PS3 didn't do me this dirty.
Starfield opens with one of the weakest hooks of any Bethesda game. you're a miner on a far off planet, and you're mining. Eventually you stumble on a relic that precipitates the main story. There's no stakes, you're just a blue collar wagie sating your curiosity and doing whatever your new best friends tell you. The lack of emotional interest is a consistent theme that pervades any of the game's very long quest lines. I never cared about what was happening to any of the characters or the direction of the story.
Bethesda hand holding reaches a new low in this game. Bethesda pushed everything bad about Fallout 4 to new and exciting boundaries. Every named NPC is essential and there's no roleplaying beyond the milquetoast option of telling every NPC you love credits. There are no evil companions, which is fine because the aforementioned lack of roleplay will railroad you into being a benevolent knight errant anyway. Even the "evil" pirate faction can only be joined under the pretence that you're infiltrating them for the space navy.
They were onto something with
the Thieves Guild Arasaka Ryujin industries questline, a new and interesting story where you play a corporate fixer embroiled in schemes and espionage, but it's unfortunately let down by some awful stealth sections and the new lockpicking minigame. Without going into spoilers, the space ranger cowboy questline is the game's worst offender when it comes to the lack of an emotional hook.
Gameplay is a slog and involves going to cookie cut locations on desolate planets and massacring the hostile pirates/robots that call them home. Gunplay is more of the same from Fallout 4 (it's decent). Space combat is ass but can be avoided for the most part.
The attempt at worldbuilding is commendable considering this is a brand new IP. You're given hard sci-fi explanations for space travel, a barren earth (damn I guess humans were the real virus), and tidbits about the geopolitics of the milky way in 2330.
Hanging out on your ship in space is comfy, shipbuilding is ok but the controls are janky. the UI and keybinds are a console port nightmare.
Todd's game of the decade unfortunately didn't last me a week.
Oh Bethesda, now that you have made this gigantic game in "fuck you" size, can you just make stuff at most the size of skyrim from now on.
Couldn't really get into this because I was 2 hours in and fucking I saw no opportunity to explore anything cool looking really. I honestly do not care about flying ships or exploring planets.
I was so happy they added punching back as a real skill tree, too bad punching animations are still gamebryo so they fucking suck and feel bad. I did get what I wanted in that I got to punch an alien animal and that was awesome.
I also hate crafting so much, I'm fearing that Besthesda will include that forever onwards.
Purely judged as a remaster, this would easily be 5 stars. The overhaul does far more than a simple texture and resolution upscale. Almost every asset in the game has basically been remade from the ground up to fully utilize the hardware of the Switch, from the lighting and character models to even the polygon counts in the environments. Everything received a makeover, and as a result, you could easily mistake it for a native Switch title and it borderline looks like something that should require PS4-level hardware in order to play, but nonetheless magically runs on the Switch; all of this while maintaining 60 FPS to boot.
If there is any complaint I have about its graphics, it's mainly in the odd decision to redo Samus' arm cannon animation such that it's much more muted and stiff during movement now. Previously in all other versions, there was more of a sense of tactile sway when moving around in the game, and it was just generally more pleasing on the eyes. I am not sure why they felt the need to change this animation, but nonetheless they did, unless oddly enough, you select the pointer-based control scheme from the Wii trilogy, and then for some reason it defaults back to the old animation. It's a curious choice, but overall not enough to seriously deduct any points from the game. Tallon IV looks more gorgeous than ever, and the aesthetic they chose for the update, while slightly different, is mostly quite faithful to the game's original art direction.
Minor nitpicks aside, Metroid Prime Remastered is a technical marvel to behold. However, a game is more than just graphics and eye candy, and while Prime Remastered brings plenty of this in spades, gameplay is still equally important, and an aspect that I think the fanbase has far too often overlooked when it comes to its many flaws.
For instance, many Metroid fans will vigorously rail against the so-called "pixel hunting" sections of Other M for being tedious, frustrating, and time-wasting affairs, but curiously have nothing at all to say about the MANDATORY artifact hunt at the end of Metroid Prime, which serves as nothing more than pure multi-hour-long filler with no upgrades or rewards for collecting other than to just gate your progress to the final boss. Nor do fans have anything to say about the numerous backtracking sequences in general during the latter half of the game, as well as the excessive over-abundance of scannable objects; most of which have very little interesting to say or add to the story, unless you're the type of person who enjoys reading random articles on Wikipedia for fun. I would surmise there are no less than 50 scannable objects within the opening space station section alone, which if one were to scan and read them all, could easily balloon the length of this prologue segment from 15 minutes to instead well over an hour. As far as I'm concerned, any complaint regarding Other M's pixel hunting sections comes across as disingenuous without also acknowledging these far more egregious time-sinks in Metroid Prime.
Furthermore, Prime is often lauded for its "bold" decision to switch to a first person perspective in its transition to 3D, yet at the same time fans will often downplay any discussions surrounding Prime's gunplay and combat because it draws attention to the fact that the game doesn't actually benefit at all from this change in perspective. After all, what does Prime truly gain from switching to first person? Certainly from a platforming and mobility angle, all this does is hamper Samus' movement, making her more sluggish to control. This is especially apparent if you compare this to Metroid's other recent (and much superior) release, Metroid Dread. Samus is far more agile and fluid to control in Dread, making the act of movement in itself fun to just hop, flip, and swing around as you please. With Metroid Prime on the other hand, Samus chugs along at the pace of a Resident Evil protagonist, but without half as interesting or challenging combat to make up for it. She even outright loses her screw attack and speed booster abilities, and switching to morph ball mode takes at least twice as long as it does in Dread because the camera has to adjust to a third person view.
So if Samus doesn't gain anything from the movement side of things, what else are we to expect than surely a greater emphasis on gunplay and combat? After all, this is where a first person perspective tends to excel. Yet anyone being truly honest with themselves knows that Metroid Prime's gunplay pales in comparison to the likes of Halo: Combat Evolved or frankly any sufficiently competent DOOM clone. It just doesn't feel all that good. Functional, yes, but ultimately pretty bland by comparison. Samus' weaponry is fairly limited compared to other shooters, and most encounters merely involve locking onto the target and letting the camera handle the rest. There's rarely any aiming involved.
This is the point where someone may be quick to exclaim "Metroid Prime is not a first person shooter though! It's a first person adventure, you see." But as I've already noted earlier, if the goal of the game is to place a greater emphasis on exploration and adventure, then wouldn't it be prudent to make the actual act of movement or, well, adventuring, feel more fun and satisfying, not slow and tanky as it is in Metroid Prime? Also, if it was the developers' intent to de-emphasize the shooting in order to focus on more adventurous elements, then why is it that the phazon mines largely consist of a series of hallway fights with inflated-health space pirates, or infuriating phazon-infused metroids? Why are the boss battles some of the longest in the entire series, with the Metroid Prime in particular clocking in at roughly half an hour on average (and that's assuming you didn't die and have to start all over)? At the end of the day, we are often forced to engage with the game's combat mechanics for extended periods of time and there's simply no excuse why those mechanics couldn't be more fun or interesting.
Calling this game a "first person adventure" as a means of sweeping its mediocre gunplay under the rug is not doing the game any favors, because whether we're comparing its platforming and movement mechanics to other metroidvanias or its gunplay and combat to other first person shooters, it doesn't stack up on both accounts. Which just brings me back to my original point: why does this game need to be in first person? Are the small gains to immersion so important that we literally have to weaken all aspects of the gameplay for it?
To the extent that the first person perspective offers any genuinely unique gameplay aspects at all, it is in the introduction of visors. Yet in practice all of the mechanics these visors bring to the table feel more like chores than satisfying new abilities. As I already mentioned, the scan visor amounts to nothing more than a glorified Wikipedia browser and creates massive pacing issues in a game that already suffers from many pacing issues, and the other visors do nothing more than make cosmetic changes to how you see the environment around you; most often in ways that only make it harder to see what you're doing, so you just want to get through with it quickly and turn the visor back off. Literally the sole new feature that Prime's first person perspective offers is just a nuisance more than anything, so there's no point to any of this.
The truth of the matter is, we now know through developer interviews that the only reason this game ended up in first person was because some business brainlets over at Nintendo of Japan insisted that Retro Studios should do this in order to make the game more appealing to a western market. It had nothing to do with presenting an interesting new gameplay angle to the series; it was just a marketing gimmick for the west. That's it. And Retro's devs rightfully fought against this decision quite aggressively, but eventually Nintendo won out. It's honestly astonishing that it was an error on Nintendo's part, as usually they have better instincts than western developers when it comes to gameplay considerations, but this was a rare case of the reverse. It's a shame Retro didn't push back just a little harder; things could have turned out so much different.
Yes, I just spent over half this review fixating on Prime's first person perspective, but it's because this single design choice influences every other aspect of the game in ways that I think many vastly underestimate, and it cannot be overstated how much it detrimentally affects the core Metroid formula. Solid platforming and movement is central to any good metroidvania, and it's very hard to translate those mechanics to a first person environment. Imagine how disorienting it would be to play a Mario game entirely in first person for example. Sure you might be able to get it functional, but any slightly more sophisticated moves like backflips or mid-air ground pounds would feel pretty awkward not being able to see the full environment around you. Inevitably many aspects of the gameplay would be compromised, and with Metroid it's no different. It's simply not a good idea, which makes it especially frustrating to me that the fanbase has so thoroughly latched onto this as the definitive 3D Metroid formula.
If Prime Remastered receives criticism at all from anyone outside of myself, players tend to focus on its lack of checkpoints or fast travel. However, I think this demonstrates a misunderstanding of where its real problems lie, as any proper Metroid game should never need any of these additions. After all, the numerous hallway fights with space pirates in the phazon mines wouldn't be such a slog if the shooting in the game actually felt fun, and the artifact hunt wouldn't feel half as laborious if Samus could move as nimbly as she does in the sidescrollers. Part of the fun of a good Metroid game is basking in the immersive atmosphere of its world and wanting to spend more time exploring every last corner for hidden secrets, but this gameplay loop only works when the movement mechanics match the quality of the world design. Backtracking never feels like busywork in Super Metroid because speed boosting and screw attacking my way through Brinstar never grows tiresome. So the key to fixing Metroid Prime isn't making it easier to skip over content, but to actually make that content fun to engage with in the first place.
Prime's design is incredibly devious because it's so good at tricking players into thinking it's much better than it actually is through sheer bedazzlement with its production values and atmosphere. Despite all my complaints about the first person perspective, lackluster combat, and sluggish movement, most of this is subtle and slips under the radar at first to the average player. The game distracts you with its absolutely stunning visuals and casts a hypnotic spell with its impeccable soundtrack, all the while initially being careful to not make enemies too aggressive or annoying, and mixes in some solid puzzles for good measure. But by the time players encounter the back half of the game and are bombarded by a barrage of frustrations from the likes of the chozo ghosts, phazon mines, artifact hunt, and obnoxiously lengthy final boss battle, the idea has already solidified in their minds that Metroid Prime is a great game, and even if they end up quitting from the extreme padding before they reach the end, all they'll likely remember is that strong first impression. Yet we must be willing to point out how problematic these gameplay elements are because I truly believe they are holding back the franchise from greatness.
Contrary to what some may believe after reading all this, I criticize this game because I love Metroid. I expect better of Metroid. It deserves better. I think we can have a 3D Metroid that has all the shiny bells and whistles of a AAA production, but without sacrificing the quality metroidvania gameplay that equally made this series so special. Just free Samus from the chains of first person already. I promise you, there are many, many more ways you can design a 3D Metroid game besides this or Other M. Imagine what it could be with the speed and fluidity of Dread combined with the jaw-dropping immersive visuals of Prime. Sadly with Metroid Prime 4 now on the horizon, I fear we may be in for another couple decades of this franchise being held back by a stale and deeply flawed formula.
But, at the end of the day, Metroid Prime is a competently made game with impressive visuals and an atmospheric soundtrack that all lives up to the franchise's pedigree. It's just too bad that it couldn't be more than only competent and very pretty to look at.
It's good to be playing new games again [Metroid Prime, Resident Evil 4, Dead Space...]
2002's Metroid Prime was my introduction to both the Metroid series and the search-action genre it spawned, and as far as first impressions go, I can't fathom it going much worse. I had such an unpleasant time with the game that I convinced myself I just didn't like the genre as a whole and cordoned myself off from it for nearly two decades. However, after playing Castlevania: Symphony of the Night back in 2019, I finally found the motivation to sit down and run through the classic 2D Metroids, and I thought they were pretty damn good.
I think it's important to reappraise things. After all, people grow and tastes change. I thought I hated Metroid, but now I am one of the initiated, immersed in Samus Aran's struggles and excited to get lost in strange, alien worlds with her. With the announcement of Metroid Prime Remastered, I thought "Holy shit they're charging 40$ for this, huh?" and went back to picking lint out of my belly button between rounds of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai. About two weeks later I saw actual footage from the game and realized it was a more substantive overhaul than I initially thought, and I shifted my thought process to "you know, there's no better time to replay this game than now." So I promptly bought a site-to-store copy from Wal-Mart which was cancelled because they ran out of stock, then I drove over to Gamestop and they were also out of stock, then I called the other Wal-Mart in town and they were out of stock, and then I went to Target and they had precisely one copy left which I bought for full price along with a Spectra Pro Controller because I refuse to ever play another game with those dogshit Joycons ever again and oh my god finally... Metroid Prime. It's been a long road.
Metroid Prime's opening aboard the space pirate's research station is one of the most iconic sequences from gaming's sixth generation. Every beat was immediately recognizable, as comforting and familiar as visiting a childhood home. Even the ensuing two hours on Tallon IV are remarkably smooth, with near perfect pacing and excellent level design that subtly guides the player onto the game's critical path, acclimating them to Samus' ever-expanding kit of suit upgrades in a way that is deliberate yet never overstated. Needless to say, I found a good groove with Metroid Prime early on and started to question what negatives I ever saw in it to begin with.
Having finished the game only a couple weeks prior, my friend Larry Davis has been pontificating to me about how bad Prime is. Worse than Other M, even! I disagree with that because not a single minute of Other M is good, and I've encouraged him to go through the arduous process of whipping a Wii out and refamiliarizing himself with that nightmare, but his greater point that Metroid Prime is a game that only becomes more agonizing the further you progress is one that I agree with 100%. The Phendrana research facility was my personal turning point, and the area that I feel highlights a shift in Metroid Prime's rhythm that is for the worst and which persists until the credits roll.
Backtracking is a pillar of this series, and it is not something I have an issue with inherently, but the way it manifests in Prime feels like it exists to pad time. Upon gaining the thermal visor, you must trudge your way back out of the research facility and march a considerable distance across the map to find your next objective, with little changing along the way other than a few rooms now have the lights off. Whereas the opening two hours has very fluid and naturalistic pathing that doesn't tread on your agency, the remainder of Prime sees you zig-zagging between distant locations with very little sense of where or why. It's like someone at Retro threw a dart at a map to determine where your next upgrade is, with even less consideration given to making the run there enjoyable.
Making things even more tedious is the fact that most areas are designed around specific one-time combat encounters and events. What was once a thrilling set piece is now a hassle that far more encourages you to simply zip past enemies and carry on, assuming you even can as a considerable amount intentionally create bottlenecks to force you into a fight. Unfortunately, combat feels patently underwhelming. Enemies are incredibly spongy and derivative, and the only real strategic element late in the game entails switching to the correct color-coded beam to take out elemental-infused rehashes of previously fought pirates and Metroids. Fun fun fun fun.
Metroid Prime Remastered does make a number of improvements over the original game, at least. The most obvious is in appearance. This might be the best-looking game I've played on the Switch. Environments feel much moodier and more atmospheric, and I really love the soft lighting of locations like the Chozo Ruins. Metroid Prime has always had good art direction, but the increased fidelity really helps it shine. I can only imagine how much better this would look on current hardware, but it's impressive for a game that's a generation behind. That said, I have heard from at least one friend who is far, faaar more familiar with Metroid than I am that the filters for the various visors are straight fucked. He claims the thermal visor made him physically ill, and although I did not have quite that severe of a reaction to it, the processing going on for the thermal and X-ray visors is so intrusive that they rob them of their functionality.
Controls are improved as well, though with a couple important caveats. By default, the game now has dual stick support, allowing you to play Prime like a normal first-person game.
To be fair, in 2002 this sort of control scheme had yet to be codified, and I can only think of two games off the top of my head that supported it: Quake 2 for the PS1 and Timesplitters, I believe, although if you wanna stretch it, GoldenEye technically did if you wanted to do some real freak shit and whip out a second controller. (Correction: Halo: Combat Evolved predates Prime by a full year, and I consistently forget this.) However, you can tell that Prime was not built around this more free-wheelin' control method given how targeting still seems to be the most efficient way to approach enemy encounters, though having total control over the camera otherwise makes exploring Tallon IV feel more immersive. On the other hand, I do have some beef with how combo-weapons are mapped. You have to charge your weapon and tap the missile fire button, which requires you to awkwardly paw the controller with your middle finger on the trigger and index on the bumper. This is opposed to, for example, just having it set to charge a combo-weapon by holding the bumper itself. It's archaic and unnecessary and dampens its utility in a fight, which - in all fairness - is probably the point.
By hour four of ten in this game that has no business being longer than five, I started to think about how Metroid Prime is so clearly a game made by an outside studio, not because I have that knowledge in my head already but because that's how it feels. There's a reverence for the material, but a lack of understanding on what makes Metroid feel good that can only be communicated through its shortcomings, and the way it fumbles crucial elements like the routing of its critical path. Playing this again 21 years later has not given me an appreciation for Metroid Prime outside of the quality of life and graphical improvements the remaster has made. It has only reminded me of why I steered clear of the series and genre for such a long time after. Two stars for being Metroid Prime plus an additional half star for looking purdy.
We eat the sacred cow and together we burn.
So this is the Disco Elysium I've heard so much about!
I remember when I discovered these two fellas via clips from the animated series, and in that moment, a new obsession began to form... and by obsession I mean just watching more clips. It took me a while to even play one of their games, and I've finally did it, and man, they sure hit the road, I didn't think they had it in them.
I've said in various occasions when I talk about certain games that they ''oozes'' charm or that they are funny or something like that, but I might have to re-check my standards, 'cause holy mother of yeti this has to be one of the games with more personality I've ever even touched. Sam and Max are some of the most charismatic protagonists I've come across, and I don't really know if they are the only cops I would trust, or the ones I'd trust the least. The whole game game has this feeling of comical indifference and absurdity, but these two represent it the most; their interactions are pure gold, each hilarious and they roll of each other incredibly, combine that with the visual gags, most coming from Max suffering the wrath of the universe but not giving a shit, and the crisp animations and we have a pair that I wish they got a movie or something, the possibilities are endless.
While everyone's favorite sociopaths are the most bizarre beings in all of the game, the rest of the cast and locations doesn't lack in weirdness and charm either. The premise of solving a case while traversing different tourist traps and trip stops is executed fantastically, each being a hilarious parody of roadside attractions, and the originality and hilarity seems endless. All the secondary characters are funny, all the puzzles go absolutely bonkers, and even if the story never takes itself too seriously, you still are compelled to solve the mystery of the sasquatches and defeat the little turd that is the villain. I swear, I loved that country singer punk, I just wished he got more screen time, but hey, at least he even gets its own villain song! Now that's quality. It's also filled with references, that where actually pretty cool and funny, even the game does them correctly instead of being jarring or unfunny!
The originality sips into all the aspects of the game, and that includes the puzzles themselves, which while sometimes is amazing, sadly, more often than not, I found it problematic. I admit, I'm terrible at graphic adventure games, maybe I'm just dumb or maybe I haven't played enough of them, but even if I'm terrible at them and sometimes I have to looks up the solutions, I'm able to recognize when a puzzle is well done and the solution is smart and makes sense, and that's the problem, even if there are a lot of parts in this game that are really well made and communicated, others just... don't. The game feels too obtuse at places, it doesn't make it clear when you have to go and what to do, and things that you think would make sense end up being the totally opposite solution; it's a game that really suffers from the ''needs a guide'' syndrome. Combine that with the average problem of this genre of games of the 90's, like hunting for pixels or having to go back time and time again to already seen places more than six times, and you have the elements for making this game not feel as good as it could have been, all capping off in a cryptic scavenger hunt that feels more like padding than an actual important plot-beat.
But, at the end of the day, being incredibly confusing is part of the charm. I really didn't expect to laugh this hard at these monotone voiced characters and the insane world they live in... that would being the USA of course. I can't bring myself to considering it something else than good, it's just so damn creative and unique, and I'm so excited to see what other misadventures the freelance police had over the years.
So yeah, they hit the road, they sure proved me wrong, but... ain't no way they save the world, right??
This review contains spoilers
Love lingers so close to flame it casts an engulfing void, before itself igniting in a grand combustion and being reduced to ash. Love's not so simple to keep down though, akin to the spiritual embodiment of the great phoenix, it rises from its ashes to start anew in one form or another.
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