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discord: chainyy

i use that p3 edition for the favs because its the only one that looks good

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Favorite Games

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Persona 3: The Journey
Persona 3: The Journey
Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy VIII
Dark Souls
Dark Souls

338

Total Games Played

018

Played in 2024

080

Games Backloggd


Recently Played See More

The Silver Case
The Silver Case

Apr 21

Marvel's Spider-Man
Marvel's Spider-Man

Apr 20

Shin Megami Tensei II
Shin Megami Tensei II

Apr 03

Unicorn Overlord
Unicorn Overlord

Mar 25

Devil May Cry 2
Devil May Cry 2

Mar 11

Recently Reviewed See More

I won't be the first in line to praise the Batman Arkham series as the pinnacle of the medium or anything, but there's something to be said about how they do seem to hone in on some specific ideas. I can feel a genuine respect for Batman as a character, attention paid to how his gadgets work, interesting scenarios with his enemies and at least very competent combat.

I say all this to say that Spider-Man doesn't really have this feeling at all. I don't mean to say that it's the worst game ever, but it also feels like Insomniac lacked any spark of creativity or even the will to at least make something thrilling and fun. Not every part is bad, but the sheer amount of parts of this game that feel mediocre reflect the worst aspects of AAA development.

I haven't played one of these big budget Sony games in a while, so I was immediately taken aback by the frustrating handholding and lack of trust in the player to do anything on their own. Once I pushed past all of the obnoxious tutorializing, I did make a genuine effort to dig into the gameplay, yet I still find it pretty unrewarding. Spider-Man's combat is just plain uninteresting most of the time. His basic 4 hit combo feeling gross on it's own is one thing, so it's clear the gadgets are the emphasis, right? It seems like Insomniac thought that this was their way to add depth, but it also fails. The gadgets are all very similar to each other, some felt like they should only be used on a whim like the drone or tripwire ones which still end up being used identically to the other ones. More enemy varieties that need different gadgets to be taken down would help, but this won't mesh with the progression system (I'll get back to this). The funniest part is how missions will just tell you to use a certain gadget to fulfill a condition as if just bothering to dust off the drones for once is some kind of challenge run lmao.

Even past all of this, some of it just doesn't function very well. The dodge system isn't broken, but it also isn't polished at all. Enemy wind-ups are made fairly obvious, but the weird timing particularly on melee attacks makes just spamming dodge the ideal option. Melee enemies will often change speeds between their wind-up and attack, which can be pretty confusing and defeats the point of Spidey's agility and senses.

This emphasis on breadth of mechanics rather than depth of mechanics rears its head even more in other ways. The aforementioned progression reeks of AAA broad-appeal approach. "We can't design enemies around gadgets, because players may not care to get those gadgets. But we also want people who do want them to get them, so put activities that give you crafting points everywhere. But we also still want everyone to be able to just run into them so make it really easy to just naturally get the materials to get upgrades."

A few conflicts of interest there huh?

Getting a bit all over the place here but the point is that these activities are simultaneously unrewarding while also hurting other parts of the game. There's 30 different varieties of open world check box things to do, yet they rarely feel unique from one another. Either chase a thing or fight some guys or both, usually in the same arena every time for the same rewards. The backpacks are the closest to providing some real value, which is probably why I got all of them while also Petering out after my 5th fight with convicts or demons or sable or whatever. Credit where credit is due, the swinging makes these more fun than they should be. It was probably the area of the game with the most focus, and while it probably isn't the best Spider-Man traversal it does make taking detours something that feels quite natural and enjoyable. I also appreciate how many of the combat encounters are just naturally in the open world even though they don't make for the best arenas.

The mostly decent plot is decent but can't escape from the AAA "overload of things" in a few ways. I appreciate a lot of aspects of it, Martin Li is an interesting character and Peter's relationship with Doc Ock works quite well. Obviously the May scene at the end is great. Yet the AAA rushjob yet again permeates throughout with how choppy the pacing is. So much time is spent on Mister Negative and the demons, but it leads to a weak twist and weak conclusion as he ends up getting backseated for Doc Ock. Otto forming the Sinister 6 feels like something that happens on a whim more than anything, with like one scene before this happens. It feels like Insomniac figured we already know these characters are villains and didn't bother to explore the setup as much as they should. It ends up feeling pretty disjointed. I don't think it helps that the spectacle itself is a lot weaker than I expected. Getting back to gameplay here but the same spam web shots then press square loop for every boss feels like it undermines their uniqueness, and the flat boring arenas don't help either.

Much has been made of this game's worship of the NYPD. I don't really have anything interesting to add, but I will say that it was more eye-rolling to me than a dealbreaker. It's bad but at the same time it's nothing out of the ordinary for comics. However the odiously liberal worldview does make Spider-Man a lot less likable in that regard too. He feels less like a "neighborhood" hero than ever, just like another Batman type who flies around beating up criminals except with epic funny quips about how they should try getting real jobs. Like everything you do in this game is dealing with some sort of criminal attack and not the fun everyday stuff that comes with a more grounded hero like Spider-Man. JJJ and Silver Sable are also examples of why this portrayal is so annoying. JJJ is supposed to be some sort of right-wing crank podcast host, and Sable runs an authoritarian militia, but the game kinda operates that these people are only bad once they start hating on Spider-Man and what they do is pretty much okay otherwise. It's a shame because I really think Yuri Lowenthal's performance would've fit a more fun and grounded Spider-Man a lot more but he's constantly forced to just tell criminals that they should love jail and hate drugs. I'm not saying he hasn't been portrayed like that plenty of times but I still feel like this game chose the wrong direction.

I've written a more rambling negative review than I intended for a game I described to people as the "textbook definition of mid" but I've also expunged all of my thoughts about why this game makes me kinda sad now. I quite like Spider-Man and yet this just completely lacked his appeal for me for the most part. I really question if Insomniac ever will understand that, and even if they did, would the suits even let it happen?

The Arkham games are alright I guess.

"A Rebirth Of Tactical RPGs"

I can't confess to having played Ogre Battle, the series which Unicorn Overlord has been compared to the most, however I've played enough Fire Emblem to appreciate the goals it set out for. This phrase, which was all over the marketing, touts it as a "rebirth", which implies that it will lean the most on being a throwback. If anything however, it's the fusion of old and new here that makes Unicorn Overlord work so well.

If we never get a Genealogy of the Holy War remake, I can at least relish in the fact that we got another game where a blue hair prince on a horse is fighting battles on maps that are 1:1 to the world map. Vanillaware considered this game their biggest undertaking yet, and it shows in how impressive the scale of it is. Each battle is elevated both by the sense of immersion that fighting on chunks of the overworld brings, and it's also a satisfying 60 hours or so of seeing more and more territory reclaimed. It also extends even further than Genealogy by letting you actually spend time in the world you are fighting through. The town rebuilding may not be the most mechanically satisfying, but it is also integrated well enough into just normal exploration that its never a nuisance. Alongside the other overworld sidequests, it helps to add enough texture to the world to make reclaiming it feel rewarding.

Of course it takes plenty of elements to make a great strategy game, and the great mechanical base that Unicorn Overlord has makes it worthwhile in it's own right. The unit system is an excellent way of forcing frequent optimization, paying careful attention to which pieces to mix and match. On top of this, the sheer variety of classes that keeps being introduced until the end keeps this process going strong. For even more depth, the Tactics system is a fantastic turn on the automated battles that most SRPGs have. A FF12 gambit system-styled form of programming provides a lot of room to further fine tune every aspect of the combat. In a lot of ways, this works well with the enemy design to elevate the somewhat basic map design, however the maps are still probably the biggest flaw. There are some interesting wrenches thrown in here or there, like a fog of war chapter or ones with strict time limits, but it feels too afraid to commit fully. A common sentiment I have seen is that this game is too easy, which is true, but Vanillaware's goal being accessibility is fine enough. Yet I still wish they were more willing to make players feel uncomfortable, which I think Fire Emblem succeeds at while also being fairly accessible. It's never easy to demand more content, especially in a game like this, but I wish they went further with what they DO have.

Speaking of a common sentiment, the majority of criticism has focused on the games story. It's fair for people to call it "generic" but it's also somewhat misguided to me. While I also rolled my eyes at first seeing the Tolkien-esque setting and the deposed prince premise, I don't think this is entirely an issue. While many of the elements of the world are trope-y, the countless smaller stories within them give them a unique flavor, particularly for the individual characters. In taking influence from Fire Emblem, Vanillaware must have wisely noted how invested people are in the characters in these games. Thus the rapport system serves as a valuable way to add more story where needed while also never being intrusive on the core experience. I would say it even surpasses FE supports in a way with how much it lets you pick and choose with what you want to do, and the sheer scope of interactions you can have is impressive.

Yet simultaneously that scope is what leads into my actual issues with the story. It's impressive to have 5 distinct regions with their own cultures and histories, yet we don't get nearly enough insight as we should. Being generic isn't an issue, there's genuinely interesting ideas being hinted at in each region yet it's hard to really get invested in them. Even though the game is 60 hours, if you split that up into 5 it doesn't leave much room for each area to shine as much as it could. Part of that is because so much of it is core gameplay, yet I would trade maybe a couple filler missions for some more narrative depth. Simultaneously this would make up for the main story with Alain being not that great, but it makes it come off a little worse instead. It feels like he lacks agency a lot of the time and has to take a backseat to these situations which would be fine if they had gotten more depth. There are some choices in the game, but they feel like pretty obvious ones most of the time. I respect the width it guns for, but its easy to see why it ended up unsatisfying.

Of course it's worth putting all of this in perspective too. This game took just under a decade to develop and Vanillaware ran out of money. 13 Sentinels also had a long and arduous development concurrently, with most of the focus being on the story. This isn't to say that Unicorn Overlord is made better by knowing this, but it would be also unfair to say the ambitions were misplaced ultimately.

Obviously one of the worst games ever made but it's also just bad in such a fascinating way. I can point to the million things wrong with it but they've all been said before. It's just so interesting to me still. There are probably worse games out there! Like this isn't just some soulless lootbox vehicle, or some purposefully awful joke game, or something programmed by like a 10 year old. It is made by a real team with real talent on it! Yet I also can't say it was a loving work that was just deeply flawed but had good intentions. This is such a fundamentally broken product that you can feel it the first time you swing Dante's sword lmfao. The teams experience isn't felt through jank or something like that it's more like every decision in this game is so incompetent that I started to wonder if they did ANY playtesting. I don't have much else to say other than I think this game is worth playing just to see such an interesting piece of action game and Capcom history. With most bad games it's obvious what the thought process was that made them that way, but even knowing the tumultuous development of DMC2 I spent so much of this just completely baffled.

I would say it's only a quick 3-ish hours at least, but they were the longest ones of my life.