56 Reviews liked by aughhhh


was this game good? probably not. who's to say?
did I have fun looting, making a sexy vault dweller and flirting with maccready? I absolutely did

Amy: “little scrunkly died I’m sad”
Sonic: “ye I don’t give a shit lol cya”
(played seven hours straight on release day. it may be shit but it is my shit. the shit.)

It ain't even got no point to the game, you just walk around drawin' lines on shit.

Back when this came out, I was playing it while my new girlfriend was over. She sat down and watched quietly for a little while, and I said, genuinely:
"Here, I'll turn this off so we can do something else."
She replied:
"No, keep playing. I like watching you be smart."
I beat this game 100% without looking anything up. We're married now.
Five stars.

DOOM

1993

i'm in france bady!!!!!!!!!! yeeeeeeeeessssss and just played a masterpiece of a game I don't wanna waste your time so i'ma just say good for now 9/10

Elden Ring is at its best when you realize you're deep into a unique sub-area such that you can't easily ride in to reclaim souls afterward but warping out would waste a lot of progress, or you fear you might not get so lucky next time. So you push on. You start exploring with the caution appropriate for such environments, pay careful attention to every detail, try to anticipate ambushes and hidden enemies. Just scraping through and reaching a site of grace with empty flasks feels outstanding. Contrasts meaningfully with reaching a bonfire in Dark Souls which is often a more conditional relief; yes I made it this far but and there's the next section ahead of me, versus I made it this far and I have no idea where I'll end up if I keep heading this way and I don't have to unless I want to. Neither is necessarily better, just trying to articulate my admiration for FromSoft finding a way to instill a new feeling into a basic component of their game design over a decade after it was established.
All that said, the thing about game loops in open-world games is that for all their variations in quality, scope, the feelings they evoke, etc., they are all loops. Circular and consistent, a pattern; a treadmill that may alter the intensity or incline or programs but can never make you step on anything other than its deck. Elden Ring (a game about a broken circle) exhibits herculean effort to make it feel like it isn't operating with loops in its front half. Not to argue everything in Limgrave, Liurnia, and Caelid is unique and bespoke game design, but the ability to ride and fight as far and wide as your wits and nerve can carry you is a powerful antidote to the treadmill sensation.
Hitting a true edge of the map on such a ride yields complex feelings. Either the vista before you offers some landmark that cannot be reached straightforwardly or it's the ocean. In the former instance, you may wonder if this game is showing you that landmark honestly, as a location you can explore eventually and by what unpredictable steps you might set foot there. In the latter, you may wonder at the endlessly stretching sea and sky, and wish for a moment that you could swim; not as a game mechanic, but because that is how you feel seeing the ocean. But you cannot swim.
Leyndell is an excellent capstone on the first half/two-thirds but it is also the moment after which nothing will challenge your understanding of the world and you will stop expecting it to. You've probably found a way to the underground, explored enough catacombs and caves to know their patterns, heard or seen hints of all the locations you can get to, seen some quests through to completion, slain enough field bosses to stop feeling fear. The game remains beautiful and satisfying, but every loop is effectively a known quantity.
This is when it becomes necessary to curate your experience to prevent burnout, because open world games are definitely not seven course meals but also not really buffets either; they're more like entire kitchens that vary in how well they are stocked and equipped to allow for you to sustain your enjoyment. I'd say I had as good a time as I did because I didn't strip the cupboards bare, tried out some unconventional recipes along with established favourites, and figured out as much as I could on my own until it became clear what I still didn't know was never going to occur to me organically. When I started to feel bored, I spent time away from it. When I felt ready to reach a conclusion, I peeked at info online and coasted on moonveil/DMGS and spells. Not feeling a strong desire to go back, but had a lovely time.
That's all I have to say about Elden Ring as a game I played. As a game a lot of people played, well...
Just about anyone who's spent more than a week on the internet since 2010 has probably been suckered into vocalizing the "who asked for this?!?" sentiment. I say suckered because two honest answers to this posturing rhetorical question will come easily if you're willing to bring some good faith to a bad faith exercise: "lots of people, you just don't know or don't like them" and "nobody, but lots of good stuff was never asked for". That this question is typically offered before the product or artwork or whatever in question is actually available underscores the prejudice it entails.
Was anyone asking for Duchamp's Fountain? For the paintings on the walls of the Chauvet Cave? For In The Mood For Love? Maybe in an abstract sense people asked for the boundaries of art to be broken, for images to be lasting, for two of the hottest people alive to be sad in gorgeous costumes and lighting, but those requests could be fulfilled any number of ways. Was the most beautiful person you've ever seen everything you asked for: perfect physical features and proportions, always knowing what you want before you think of it, always agreeable and always present and always supportive and sharing every interest you have? Or were they just someone you took a chance on getting to know, and you found love together? Nothing and no one great I've ever encountered in my life was something or someone I could have described in advance beyond the vaguest terms. I think real love depends on specificity, surprise, and challenge to exist.
We say "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it" not only because of monkey's paw scenarios but also because there is always a hollowness to simply asking for something and frictionlessly receiving it. There are no good wishes in the hearts of consumers, or in our hearts when we allow ourselves to think more as consumers than as people.
Video games as a medium seems to repeatedly go through cycles of "here it comes at last: the ultimate game, the game you can play endlessly, the game that renders other games obsolete". I remember in junior high some kid was so sold on the marketing of Spore that he seemed ready to drop out and live in it when it finally came. When No Man's Sky hype was at its peak, I recalled that kid and wondered if he was putting his eggs in such a basket once again, if he still believed he could play just one game forever. I think (or hope) people are grasping this futility more in an era where so much popular culture is focus-grouped horse-designed-by-committee slurry pumped out by corporations too big to fail employing artists too small to rebel; that getting exactly what you thought you wanted doesn't fulfill you and tends to suck actually, and that anything worth holding onto demands you changing yourself to reach it.
Dark Souls but open world, Dark Souls with a mount, Miyazaki and Martin together, why not make the whole game look like Alan Lee, William Blake, Kentaro Miura, Caspar David Friedrich, Gustave Doré, Yoshitaka Amano, and so on. Elden Ring was undoubtedly Asked For and here it is: a consumer's wish upon a star, a moment before you need more happiness. I believe this is why many people love it, why it spawned many nit-picky critiques, and why it left a good number people on here (particularly those who felt a deep connection to previous FromSoft games) cold. This too is a loop: the one that constricts any big game that attracts the label of "masterpiece", regardless of whether it courted that label (in this case it undeniably has), and sadly tends to wring out the fascination and identity a work is steeped in. There are still rich stretches of inspired design and imagery where Elden Ring transcends the feeling that it is a product satisfying market demands. But it feels caught on this ever-spinning reel, and I want to go back to things that begin and end. Something more about swimming than circling. Something no one asked for.

deeply flawed and frustrating the face of its charm. it has some adorable presentation, the opening act culminating in the stand-off was really exciting. and GOD i love Virginia, the rest of the cast is sorta middling but FUCk she's so fun. not that i hate any of the other characters, but Virginia outshines them so hard that she should've been the sole protagonist somehow. i shouldn't have to say shit like this but having a JRPG with a great, fun female protagonist where NO ONE says weird shit about her or objectifies her and she's just allowed to be cool and the leader? fucking refreshing. LOVE her. the idea of playing through a wild west themed JRPG as a young girl off to find her destiny and become a (capital D) Drifter armed with dual revolvers and undying optimism hooked me the second it started.
but then the rest of the game started. and oh. the first big problem i encountered was in Gallows' prologue section. you need to find a temple, issue is i had no fucking clue where it was. and i couldn't exactly explore to find it considering the enemies that spawned in the overworld were all unwinnable battles. cool. turns out you actually need to just spam the square button around anywhere there might be an area, because i guess every town and temple in this world is under a cloaking device and our yeehaw asses can't see for shit. the combat itself is fine. like, it's okay. has some great customization, but it's not anything particularly involving. the system of force/medium moves have a unique balance that's more cute than compelling, most regular fights won't have you getting enough FP for it to really matter. same with the encounter dodge system, it's a cute concept but the sheer volume of encounters leads it to barely even matter. dungeons are generic, puzzles are simple. camera's kinda awkward.
Wild Arms 3 has really cool ideas and characters but it's just a bit too undercooked and lame as fuck in some areas. HOWEVER. i'm glad it exists just for Virginia Maxwell though. give her a remake or something she deserves it she fuckin RULES

Removing a tank does ease the bloat that Overwatch 1 had become, so that's nice. Overall, however, it's just the same game with a more predatory monetization system.

3 Lists liked by aughhhh