40 Reviews liked by Rapatika

For the longest time, I thought that the prevalent issue weighing down roguelites/likes was excessive RNG. Later on, I slightly adjusted my stance: RNG was okay, but a lack of player control to combat any unexpected changes as a result of RNG was not. In one fell swoop, Mosa Lina has neatly proven both of those issues to be mere symptoms of the root cause: modern roguelites/likes overemphasize the macro over the micro.
This problem I think, stems from the genre's overreliance upon meta-progression and run investment. While these would at first appear to be opposite ends of the spectrum (after all, meta-progression often relies upon you throwing away successive runs to gain some kind of advantage/pass certain checks), they both point to the same core issue of ultimately not respecting the player's time. In the former case, the moment-to-moment gameplay often isn't interesting enough to sustain a run. In the latter, the player either succeeds with the "god-run" and has to chase the high through more grinding all over again, or throws it all away due to mistakes/RNG and feels like absolute shit, lamenting what could have been with their hours spent, just inches away from the finish line.
Mosa Lina doesn't fall victim to this, because it was never about winning in the first place. There's no end to the game: the core concept infinitely loops and you'll never hit the credits roll unless you decide to manually mash through them in the pause menu. There's a scoring system in place, but the descriptions themselves often mock how points are handed out arbitrarily. On top of this, there's no meta-progression whatsoever because practically everything is unlocked and randomized from the start: you've got three randomized toys to play with out of a pool of nine randomly selected for the particular loop out of 21 possible toys, and if nothing works (which the game outright warns you will happen), just reroll until something sticks.
As a result, the game solves two problems at once: the aforementioned issue of filling up a player's time with weak moment-to-moment gameplay, and the classic issue of "lock-and-key" solutions creating linear puzzles that lack replayability. Although the game characterizes itself as "a hostile interpretation of the immersive sim," I find it to be more indifferent if anything. It doesn't guide you towards solutions, it never provides any incentives for finding solutions, and it never even bothers to explain its underlying mechanics aside from listing the control scheme and being forthright with its unpredictability. Yet by doing so, it sets itself up as the perfect player-driven sandbox. The difficulty and learning curve is entirely up to you; sure the types of tools are randomized, but half of the battle is figuring out what to do with the tool combinations given and exploiting the game's floaty gravity and set pieces with your heavy character and tight jump. If you can't succeed, a refresh is just seconds away!
I don't think I've yelled so much at a video game since my high school days of grinding Dota 2 (a very dark period in my life, I'm aware). However, these were not yells of frustration or exasperation in the slightest. No, this was me shouting in excitement every time something batshit crazy happened on screen (read: pretty damn often). Sometimes the game really does ask for the seemingly impossible with huge gaps to cross/jump and absolutely garbage or ill-fitting tools that I can't even say feel balanced at times; I swear the fish have been useless in 80% of their appearances. That's what makes it so damn enthralling though: savoring the thrill of discovery when I learned how to bomb-jump in mid-air by properly timing my placements, or somehow finagling a solution by pushing and juggling around some crazy contraptions made of dead frogs, some wire, and a ladder. The possibilities felt endless, and while I do have some critique for the initially unintuitive aiming (you shoot upwards/downwards at a 75 degree angle from the horizontal and can't fine-tune your trajectory any further), this game really is the full and realized package it claims to be despite (or perhaps as a result of!) its lack of excessive streamlining. With Level Editor updates on the way, I can 100% see myself returning to mess around more in the future. I'm nothing but pleased as punch that a game which wasn't even on my radar has sufficiently blown me away: in a year of flashy major releases and tired conventions, Mosa Lina pulls back the curtain to reveal that the basics are all you need for a good show after all.

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.

+ unique 1-bit visuals ooze style
+ central deduction mechanic is singular in the medium
+ the murder mystery hooks you from the first minute
+ death memories are incredibly designed and full of details
+ the game tells a fully realized story in a handful of static scenes
+ supernatural elements add a lot of intrigue to the story
+ faces slowly appearing on the sketch serves as a smart guidance system
+ the three-correct-solutions design is a great idea
+ the guidance book is well-designed and mostly quick to use
+ clues can be gathered in many different ways and places
+ some murder scenes accept various causes of deaths
+ incredible sound design and voice acting
+ the game can be finished with any number of correct solutions
+ the soundtrack is tailored to each chapter and serves secret hints...
- ...but is far too blarring for my taste and cannot be volume adjusted
- no in-game system to record clues and possible connections
- memories play out twice for no apparent reason
- ghost animations after a death memory cannot be skipped
- memories cannot be played from the book
- not all causes of death are identifiable without some guess work
- some victims' memories can only be identified via other death sequences
- not all people can be identified in a given memory if they are too far away
- the final chapter is a letdown and reveals nothing interesting
Playtime: 11,5 hours with the entire book filled. A few solutions were lucky guesses.
Magic Moments: Realizing for the first time that there are supernatural elements to the story. Finally identifying that one guy with the beanie hat who is in practically every memory. Guessing corectly which place some of the crew disappeared to on my first attempt.
Most Difficult Deduction: The name and fate of the circus strong man.
Return of the Obra Dinn is nothing short of a masterpiece. Lucas Pope careful, precise creation of not one but 60 murder mysteries is simply incredible, and there are enough smart design ideas here to fill at least three other games. While the journey across and below the ship to each corpse and their death memories can get a bit tiresome over the course of a playthrough, the audio-visual style more than enough for it with a unique look that oozes style. It is save to say that Obra Dinn will feel just as fresh and exciting in the future as it did on its initial release all thanks to its daring but detailed art direction, even if the story of its crew and their often violent demise can only properly be experienced once due to the nature of the game.
One complete journey on the Obra Dinn however should be absolutely mandatory for any fan of deduction games, Sudoku riddles, or players interested in the dangers of maritime life in the 19th century. You will not regret it.

Redfall feels like the most progressive and considerate person you know making a holocaust joke, for not only is it horribly offensive, but also profoundly out of character. Arkane are one of the finest triple A studios in history putting out some of the best games that I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing, as you have heard by now this is not one of them. A comment made by one Yahtzee Croshaw comically speculated that Redfall was "an act of passive aggression" by Arkane to the publishers, holding a tendency of a "resentful spouse" towards them in response to the demand for something so cynical, what makes this so funny is that, as Schreier unveiled in his exposé, this was entirely true. Nobody wanted to make this game, a quality very apparent well before we were properly informed outside the experience, which is why I pity Redfall rather than be disgusted by it. Yet again, an oafish publisher gets a studio with the skill set to make single player projects and rips them to shreds in the name of making something with broader appeal and easily monetised multiplayer, yet again, another sickened example of what industrialisation does to art. A moderately interesting plot drowned out by repetitive missions and poor presentation, an utterly meaningless loot system which serves only to remind us that still nobody has grasped why Destiny ever worked, and an endless tyranny from technical problems. I can not in good conscience give this a positive score even if I had fun with it for most of the time I spent. You read that right, there is fun to be had here, the shooting does feel good even if the AI prevents the combat from engaging much beyond a surface level, but that is really all Redfall can offer. Shallow fun, so tragically shallow. The first hour will be the last you see of any elements of emergent gameplay, expect none of the immersive sim philosophy which has defined Arkane games for so long, in its place stands only a hollow co-op looter plagued by crashes. My friend and I tried so hard to meet this game half way, but in the end we were left exhausted before even getting to the end. I pity Arkane, and I want to waste no more time regurgitating everything other people have already said. If only Prey (2017) sold better we wouldn't be here, but unfortunately, gamers are mostly stupid creatures who don't engage with experiences like that, and so games of that sophistication will never emerge from the triple A sector again! The agony of Redfall is just eating what we ordered.

Remaking RE4 was always a pretty strange proposition. Unlike 2 and 3, 4 was already in the same general over-the-shoulder style of game as the 2 and 3 remakes. Sure, you couldn't move while aiming, and the aiming and movement were pretty clunky (I've been told this is "part of the charm") but it's still in the same wheelhouse.
So what, exactly, do you do with a remake? Other than the moving-while-shooting thing, that is. It turns out the answer is mostly "make it look better".
RE4R has, I'd estimate, about a 70/30 identical/new ratio. Nearly all of the Iconic rooms and setpieces are almost entirely untouched, but most of the connective tissue between them is new. That fucking water hallway? Still here. The hedge maze with the dogs? Oh, you know it's still here! It makes the few parts that were significantly changed really stand out, but I won't mention those here for spoiler reasons. I will say that, thank god, the Truck Drivin' Ashley segment is gone, replaced by something way funnier.
And if you're worried that the campy tone would be lost, have no fear: it's almost as stupid as the original. No, Leon doesn't say "your right hand comes off?" anymore, but he still mentions bingo and has a very funny repeated line whenever the Las Plagas pop out. Which happens a LOT, by the way. I feel like it was much more common than in the original, it seemed like half the enemies turned into Twisties.
Enemies are much more aggressive, as you'd expect. In the original, to compensate for your wonky movement and squirrelly aiming, they would spend about half the time pointing at you like Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers and slowly creeping forward. This time, they know you have controls that work, so they're coming for your ass. It makes the big fights feel so much more hectic and dynamic.
Apart from the game's general pacing issues, not really alleviated due to its fairly strict adherence to the original, most of its flaws are small annoyances. The crafting system sucks, for example, because the only things worth making are shotgun shells, magnum ammo, and flash nades. Those require more gunpowder, plus a "Resource™" (either Small or Large). This means you'll often be out of gunpowder but with lots of "Resources™" left in your inventory. And you can't put those into storage, you can only store weapons. Sure.
I'm not a huge fan of the original RE4, but I consider this pretty much a straight upgrade, just like the recent Dead Space remake. There's not much reason to go back to the original outside of curiosity or wanting to enjoy the more... "outré" camp factor.
I do wish the remake still had the stomping Little Lord Boy statue.

I can't really say anything about the setting of this game; I've heard mixed things on how accurate things are, but I simply don't know enough/pretty much anything about Japan's history and culture to say. But I can say that I love how this game plays. Starting out, I was playing defensively, focusing on parrying and dodging. About halfway through, I instead switched to be aggressive, attacking my opponents first or interrupting their advances. While I prefer the latter approach, the fact that both of them, along with other approaches, are fun and intuitive playstyles tells me that the combat here is very well made.
What's not quite so well made are the collectibles. I feel like they tried to make things varied, but most of the collectibles are either annoyingly time consuming with not enough reward to be worth it (my completionist ass went for it all, though), or are boring. I enjoyed traversing obstacle courses for the Shinto Shrines, the bamboo strikes were brief but satisfying challenges, and the onsets were good ways to break the pace while providing insight into Jin's mind and giving the most consistently fruitful reward of the collectibles. All the others, though? Not very fun, and I only really did them to see funny number go up.
This is one of the most beautiful games I've ever played. It's realistic without sacrificing color and the natural beauty of the setting. I found myself feasting my eyes enough that I would often just sprint to my destinations instead of riding horseback, just to see the world for longer. Music didn't really stick out to me, but it did the job; I enjoyed the more tranquil music that would play in moments of peace.
Characters are a mixed bag. I love Lady Masako, Yuna, and Jin himself, but many of the others are negligible or even bad. Not helping matters is the story is rather basic, only getting dynamic near the end, so the focus really is on the characters.
Overall, when it comes to the general combat and gameplay, This is pretty much a straight 5/5 for me, but it's bogged down by the extracurriculars and middling characters and story. Really hope to see more of Ghost of Tsushima. Um, in the form of video games. This really doesn't need to be a movie.
Note: This was written before playing the Iki Island DLC. Doesn't really affect this review, but just know it wasn't in consideration with this review.

Story: D1 > D2
Gameplay: D2 > D1
Level Design: D2 > D1
Played as Corvo since I'm painfully gay for that old man, and I didn't wanna deprive him of seeing his goth boyfriend. His abilities still felt really fun and fresh bc of the unique level designs, and I'm glad I chose him. I did a pacifist run, but not a stealth run bc fuck that. This game is already hard enough as is, and full stealth seems a lot less doable in this game compared to the last. Loved the drop and slide knockouts, kinda broken lol.
Overall this game was a lot more fun and dynamic than D1, but I much preferred the story in D1. I also think even though the level design was better in D2, I preferred the slightly shorter levels of D1 just bc the levels in this game got looooooong. Overall though I'd rate it about the same as D1, albeit for opposite reasons haha. Really fun time

I originally bought the Bioshock collection solely for the first game. It was just the most convenient way for me to play it at the time. I was honestly just not interested in either Bioshock 2 or Infinite from what I've seen from them. So I played 1, enjoyed it enough, then moved on. Only recently have I heard talks that Bioshock 2, while flawed in its own right, has been criminally overhated. After taking a small look of some more footage online, I decided to give it a shot. And what do you know, I ended up liking it more then the first game.
It just feels nicer to play across the board. The simplification of the tedious hacking minigame from the first, dual wielding plasmids and guns at the same time so you can shock foes while you're reloading, you tend to get special ammunition and plasmids at a much brisker pace, and no location feels like it overstays its welcome. Was worried about having to defend the Little Sisters in this game, but honestly they were never an issue. Bioshock 2, like the first one, provides a lot of traps that help even out the swarms of crazed splicers out for you daughter. Not to mention, I feel Bioshock combat shines when you're pre-planning for either a Big Daddy encounter or one of the previously mentioned daughter defending missions. Really satisfying when you're patiently hacking security bots and laying tornado or spike traps, and then absolutely thrashing the opposition as they ragdoll into the air as your turrets shoot them midair.
The story was better then I was led to believe. I am in the mind that 1 has the stronger narrative, but if I'm honest I felt more attached to the characters of 2. Especially when factoring Minerva's Den, a very solid 2-3 hour DLC with a strong emotional ending.
I think what speaks volumes about my experience was that I had this game crash while saving... and it erased my data. Thankfully there was an autosave, but it only saves at the beginning of the level. As I found out later, I was right at the end of that level before losing my file. It did demoralize the hell out of me, but replaying the whole level wasn't really exhausting at all. In fact I built my character in a slightly different way, so it wasn't like I repeated everything I did exactly.
I'm not sure if this is one of my favorite FPSs, I need to think on it more, but I'm really glad to have given it a shot.
(...Sorry, but Infinite is not happening. It literally got rid of everything I liked about the first two. I definitely wouldn't enjoy my time with it)

Outer Wilds made me less convinced of Games' potential as an art form. Im being provocative on purpose but How many goddamned times is the message of a game that is praised for its artistic merit be, to one degree or another "Memento Mori"? Spiritfarer, What Remains of Edith Finch, Persona 3, Pentiment, now Outer Wilds. I like all of these games to varying degrees but it just makes me hopeless if time and time again thats seemingly the only subject games are praised for tackling. "Your life is limited and you will eventually die" Yeah thanks game, I already knew that, I literally think about it every single goddamned day, to a degree that actively makes me miserable. I know its stupid but I cannot help it and no amount of whimsical space banjos is going to change that!
In fairness my main issues with Outer Wilds are personal. When you make a game such as this its going to be loved by some and utterly alienate others and that is fine. Outer Wilds is a game that requires patience, and I have none. Fuck it, this is already way too personal of a review : I'm 80% sure I have ADHD and am in the process of getting diagnosed. All of my academic pursuits thus far have been failures because I physically cannot pay attention to anything for more than a few minutes at a time and get extremely frustrated when things don't go my way. When I am forced to queue at the Supermarket I grit my teeth and subequently fantasize about bludgeoning the customers in front of me with my shopping so I can cut in line.
So whilst it was a valiant effort on the part of Outer Wilds fans to tell me to never look anything up because this is a game of information, it was never going to happen. I tried, believe me. I figured some things out and especially in the first few hours or so I had a great time just leisurely exploring stuff and reading text and trying to puzzle it all together. Unfortunately Outer Wilds is a game that is 90% failure and 10% victory/discovery. As much as there is no consequence for failure other than time, figuring out how to get to a place and having to redo the loop twice cause the autopilot killed you or a tiny mistake on your part is demoralising. And that is the word I would use to describe Outer Wilds, it demoralised me in almost every aspect.
Now, I did keep playing the game and finished it, which still puts it better than most games and for sure there is SOMETHING here I enjoyed. Once you get used to the slighltly clunky controls and learn to never use the stupid autopilot unless the planet is literally in a straight line from you with only empty space between its pretty fun to fly around and discover stuff. The couple of "Aha" moments I did have were gratifying but sometimes I had figured out what I had to do but hadnt quite figured out exactly what the game meant me to do (the detective game problem). The artstyle is quite good and the music is great.
The high points of Outer Wilds are high, but to me its low points are so low It just left me cold. The amount of times I left a play session after failing to do something and just feeling shitty for the rest of the day, I just dont play games for that man. I would still recommend Outer Wilds. It is better than Outer Worlds, but I would only recommend it to people who have a lot of patience.
On a last note, I can see why people like the ending but I didnt. I was already just wanting the game to be over after the nightmare that was the Dark Bramble which I left for the end, and the dumb item gather quest I found irritating and after all that the ending is just a downer. Yes I know its on purpose blah blah dont struggle against the end etc but it just makes the quest seem kind of pointless to me. I think the Nomai writings about the Eye wherein one of the scholars wonders if the Eye of the universe actually didnt call the Nomai at all, they just ascribed it that significance and in fact the eye may not give any amount of shit about them was supposed to be metaphorical about religion and the indifference of the Universe towards us, as well as mirroring the player's own realization that the timeloop was just a coincidence. You were not on some supernatural quest to stop a supernova, you were coincidentally roped in to a system no longer manned or overseen by anyone. And I get it, but again I just don't like it, it bums me out. Idk, I have no better way to end this unhinged essay so heres a song I like : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzfoSLP_w1I

this game reconstucted my brain when i played it and it is now so deeply engrained in the architecture of my being that the foundations of my subjective experiences are inseparable from it.