26 reviews liked by MBCastro


The overwhelming stench of pure, unfiltered late 90's cool brottitude is legit what makes this remotely enjoyable. The problem is that I enjoyed that idea SO much more in Hypnospace Outlaw than the spinoff here. Visiting Zane's site here and there was a lot more "HA" than getting a constant stream of that. Because with the frankly kinda average boomer shooter archetype, it ends up being a real slog towards the end. And I got tired of that in like what, the 2.7 hours it took me to beat it according to game pass.

That said, it's not bad, I certainly had fun but it could've been more for me.

Que jogo... chato, isso, chato a palavra. De alguma forma tentaram fazer um metroidvania COM DANO DE QUEDA, minhas vontades de sequestrar o diretor desse jogo é enorme. E que castelinho frouxo, hein? Eu nem precisei fazer o básico de um metroidvania, que é pegar poder em uma parte para acessar a outra, aqui o jogo é linear, com sessões de plataforma chatas, e inimigos sem graça. Nem o combate ajuda, e muito menos a OST. Ah, a ost, não me lembro de nenhuma música do jogo, eu não sei qual é a dificuldade de fazer pelo menos um tema marcante, caramba konami, vacilou demais aqui. Eu simplesmente dei um rage quit depois da finalização da segunda metade do jogo; vamos lá, o jogo chega em seu climax para o boss final, quando do nada ele corta para realizar a campanha de outro personagem, aí ok, é pra reutilizar o cenário, e mostrar como as coisas se conectam. Mas aí chega denovo no boss final, e quando a luta acaba, denovo volta para mó cota atrás só para explicar a história de um personagem... tá de sacanagem? Você termina um jogo e quer que eu jogue ele só pra ver historinha?

De qualquer forma, a coisa que mais presta nele é a história, por mais que o pessoal odeie o envolvido, vou estar de cabeça aberta para aceitar que essa é uma outra realidade. Reconheço que ela é bem contada e tem um bom peso, mas o jogo é fraquinho de jogabilidade e não vale a pena. Dei rage quit depois da terceira parte, e assisti a conclusão no YouTube, que jogo arrastado.

It is not what you expect from a game tagged as "metroidvania", it only focuses on movement/platforming in a mostly empty world and gives the player no sense of progress, things that you would expect from said genre.

The fundamental problem is that exploration is not rewarding and optional power ups do not make a significant difference, since most of them are for combat which in this game is almost inexistent (even the last boss is a joke). Movement is great, responsive and satisfactory, but there isn't much to overcome once you get your mandatory upgrades: your character spikes too much compared to how the world is designed, which includes structures, monsters and obstacles. By this I mean that you can just ignore monsters that are guarding objectives like levers with no effort and sometimes you can even skip platforming sections while being bad at 3D platformers like myself (getting major key in underbelly or other minor parts). In other words, felt like the dev put too much attention to movement and ignored everything else. Art, both music and graphics are good, especially the music.

I'm a sucker for anything related to the N64 era. And this game visuals, music and platforming really evoke those years when polygons and muddy textures were everywhere.
Also is a one-man project as far as I know, which is even more surprising.

Controls are excellent, music is very good, and I totally dig the aesthetics.

However, as much as I want to love this game, three mayor flaws almost drive me insane:

1-The lack of a map. Metroidvanias without maps are like sandwiches without bread: they just cannot exits. The developer seems to be working on it (right now is January 2024) so I highly recommend to wait for the version that includes the in-game map. If you cannot wait, go to Steam forums and look for the map that one user kindly put together. It really helps a lot to enjoy the game.

2-Some unnecessary, frustrating platforming-jumping-stunts-parkour in the late game. I got is part of the experience, but man, they were no fun after like the sixth try. Or maybe I suck, I don't know.

And 3, AMAZING final boss... but if you want to go nuts with the speed of a battle and the amount of sh*t that is on screen flying at you, PLEASE make a camera that can keep with it. If not, then tone down the speed of the battle.

Amazing job overall. I hope future versions fix the small flaws it has.

Call me by your name lookin DIFFERENT

One of the wackiest AAA games I've ever played. Absolutely everything that happens in this one is straight up bonkers but done completely straight. The village hub area is awesome and feels like a smaller-scale Deus Ex city map, and the dollhouse is easily some of Capcom's best work in the horror department. I was enamored with Village the whole way through and fully prepared to give it top marks, but the last level was an utter buzzkill that, along with the post-credits scene, nearly soured me on the whole thing. Almost every Resident Evil has a disappointing final stretch, but this one is borderline insulting. Still, I loved the rest of the game, and am excited to see what crazy bullshit the devs cook up next.

The first Talos Principle is still one of my favourite games of all time, which is why I was very excited for the announcement of a sequel. The puzzle elements of the first installment were difficult, and therefore so satisfying to solve. The philosophical elements were also well-presented, but they were not my main reason for loving the game.

The Talos Principle II is a great sequel to the first, in that it introduces an insane amount of new puzzle mechanics. I was incredibly excited to see how they would all combine, to create puzzles just as mind-melting as TP1 and its DLC.

Every region introduces at least 1 new main mechanic, and every one of the 8 puzzles in the region shows off the unique applications for that mechanic. Gradually, the game builds up your arsenal, and does so quite well if you follow along with the story and numbering of the puzzles. However, the scale of the main puzzles remained quite small for some reason, making them easy to solve (at least to me).

The gold puzzles were more of a challenge for sure, which are only unlocked after completing every normal puzzle available. But there are only 12 of them, and even in these puzzles it felt like the mechanics were never really combined very well. Why not create some puzzles that use all mechanics? Or throw some curveballs into the mix by showing off some hidden qualities of items, like the DLC of the first game did? Frankly, I was left a bit dissatisfied, since there was really only 1 puzzle I had to think about for more than 15 minutes. Hopefully the developers will bring out some new content in the future that utilises much more of the awesome item capabilities than the base game does.

Now to move on to the story: I think the developers missed the mark a bit on the story of TP2. What made the first game so magical, was the mystical and tranquil wonderment of its world, coupled with atmospheric visuals and music. The visuals are definitely still there in TP2, but it feels like the developers wanted to shove some epic in there, even though this is not why most of the audience became a fan of the first game. In TP, you were allowed to explore and read philosophy however much you wanted. If you were just there for the puzzles, nothing would hold you back. However, in TP2, you're constantly bombarded with cutscenes, forced conversations and a lot of background babbling that I frankly wasn't really that interested in. Had I been given the choice to approach the story in my own way, I would have found it a lot more interesting. In addition, a lot of the calm magic of the first game felt lost to the grandeur of TP2, both visually and auditorily. Megastructures, datastreams, never before seen physics...I would have preferred a more introspective approach than the science fiction of TP2.

Next to this, Damjan Mravunac did a fantastic job on the OST once again, as it was very well fit to the atmosphere and story of the game. I will still listen to the OST of TP more than TP2, because it feels less bombastic and heroic, but I liked it nonetheless.

Lastly, I thought the ending I got was just exceptional. It tied the knot of the story, and had some of the best visuals I have ever seen in a videogame.

Overall, my enjoyment of TP2 was never really hampered by the developmental approach. Having said so, I highly recommend people to check out TP first. Especially its DLC, called Road to Gehenna, is an awesome treat for puzzle fans! If you liked the first game, I am sure you will like the second as well, even if you don't care much for the conversations the game has to offer. After all, you are still able to skip anything that doesn't interest you.

Below

2018

Never have I wanted to like a game more and just haven't been able. A truly beautiful game, with awe-inspiring visuals and a world that's begging to be explored.

It's a shame that the developers insisted on making this a frustrating chore to play. It's unnecessarily difficult and punishing, and it should never have been a roguelike. Even the 'Explore Mode' does little to solve these issues. A real shame.

Below

2018

This review contains spoilers

Criminally underrated, or so I thought.

Audiovisually (with particular emphasis on the audio), this is one of the most beautiful games I have ever experienced, and I don't know of any other game that captures the essence of descending into the deep dark unknown as well as this.

It starts out great. First, a 4-minute long zoom in (that’s gotta to be a record) from a star-like expanse that resolves into a vast ocean with a tiny boat. Then the island overworld, the discovery of The Lantern, and the unlocking of the entrance.

Tip: The spike traps at the beginning can be extremely frustrating. Use the lantern. It highlights them. You can also swipe at the spikes to trigger them safely and render them harmless.

Then caves (1-3), and an ice layer (4) that leads to the dark tech corridor and the first boss fight. Then onto the necropolis (5-6) and the catacombs (7-9), with those dual-wielding zombie cultist assassin dudes that gave me so much trouble initially.

Then a brief cliffside reprieve (10-13), which leads to… the dark abyss (14-19). And this is where things start to go sour.

The dark abyss is a long, repetitive, relentless, exhausting gauntlet played in near-total darkness, with spiders and tentacles harassing you every second of the way. It would have worked if it was just a level or two, like the ice section, but this goes on for 5 levels straight with little variation. The only resources are embers and rocks, so you have to come fully prepared (at least 5 bottles of stew, hundreds of light bits, some bombs/bomb arrows, and lots of bandages).

This is where the tension among the game systems begins to show.

BELOW is a survival/crafting game, but resources are limited and the game is constantly pushing you forward (in survival mode, old campfires are destroyed and made unusable).

It’s also a roguelike game, but there’s not enough randomization to make it worthwhile, and starting back at the beach feels like a huge setback. If you play carefully, it’s actually not, as you keep any lantern pieces you’ve collected, shortcuts are still unlocked, resources and campfires are reset, anything you’ve stashed at the pocket is still available, and you can retrieve the rest of your stuff (including the all-important Lantern) if you can make it back to your body. Nevertheless, the punishment for death, which can come in seconds, translates to hours of lost time.

If you can make it through the overly long abyss section, you reach floor 20, which is an underground sandy beach with ruined buildings? And another dark tech section with a boss that is exactly the same as the previous one, just slightly different attack patterns. And then there’s a hard-to-notice underground body of water that you swim through to reach… another shore with another boat? It doesn’t make sense.

So you finally complete the Lantern, take it up to the top of the lighthouse under the stars, and then you gotta go back to the middle of the nasty Abyss to reach the Sarcophagus. And If you think your new supercharged Lantern is going to make a difference against the tentacles, nope, it doesn’t.

Then you unlock the Sarcophagus, warp back to the shore where the island is cracked and falling apart, and then there follows this clumsy, poorly rendered, macro-blocky ending cutscene showing the wanderer getting squished into a red drop by the tentacles, which then take over the whole planet. You go from a 4-minute-long zoom in during the opening to a planetary jump-cut in the ending. It’s out of place, lazy, and demoralizing. I think the ending cutscene was something they created at the very beginning of development (this game was in dev for over 5 years apparently), and then threw it in with no refinements.

And while it’s not Game of Thrones season 7 tier awfulness, the ending just made the entire thing not worth it. I was expecting an epic boss battle against whatever those tentacles were connected to, and hoping that at the very least the completed Lantern could, you know, do something. But no and no.

After that crappy ending cutscene, the game just resets and loops back to the beginning. Some people on the Internet call it New Game+, but as far as I can see, there’s no “+” to it. All your progress is wiped and the game just starts you over from scratch with no changes. No ending credits, nothing. Just start over, exactly the same as before. A disappointment, to say the least.

My personal theory is that the developers just ran out of ideas, steam, etc., so they stretched out floors 14-19, threw in their rudimentary ending cutscene, and called it a day. Other players have said that this game is a capital-A work of Art, and I’m not inclined to disagree. There were moments of genuine transcendental awe in this game, and I will never forget swimming through the wreckage of the old ships on the north shore as the thunder crashes and the music swells. But even works of Art can be flawed or incomplete, and this game feels like both.

As it is, BELOW feels like 75% of one of the greatest games of all time, and that’s a damn shame.

Below

2018

This review contains spoilers

The first 5 hours of this game were one of the best experiences i've ever had in a video-game, there's the beautiful visual design, the incredibly immersive audio design, and of course, the game design, that even though it doesn't hold your hand, it is very intuitive and it encourages a very rare type of play-style, the perfectionist.

So, why did i say 5 hours instead of all the time i played? Well, as impresive as the game design is, it gets really repetitive, and when the gameplay changes, it goes from a game that you have to be a perfectionist, to a game that you have to be a speedrunner that hates tentacles, to, afterwards, be a collectible hunter just to end the game, because of those reasons, this game has a duality in me.

The only reason why i recommend it is because: not only the first 5 hours of the game are incredible, i am really looking fowards for new games of this ambitious game developer.