8 Reviews liked by donuts

Immediately one of the best RPG's I've ever played. Captures the indescribable magic of an in-person dnd session. Feels like everything I love about Dragon Age meshed with Larian's strengths as a developer--and it's sliiiiiightly more approachable than Divinity given the more intuitive engine of DnD 5e. I love this game.

Like the Bluepoint remake of Shadow of the Colossus, Ocarina of Time 3D is the type of remake that is mostly interested in preserving the original work. There is an extremely delicate balance between upgrading the visuals and preserving the charm of the N64 classic, and this game strikes that middle ground perfectly. As someone who plays Ocarina of Time annually, I feel pretty strongly this 3DS remake is the best way to play the game-- especially if it's your first time.

I'm just using Reborn as the basis for my Tactics Ogre review since it's definitely going to be/already is the definitive version.
Anyway, welcome to the deepest game of all time. There just isn't a game with more attention to detail than this one and the thing is, all those details matter. See Tactics Ogre is a game about fluidity, it's game that adapts to you as you adapt to it.
It puts you into situations not math problems.
One map chicken men are flying at you so you steal their purple dragon, you then take that purple dragon and use it in the next map to stunlock a random soldier before convincing that soldier to join you. Little custom, individualized moments of gameplay. True individualism in game mechanics.
Story-wise the game reacts to everything, everything you do is tracked. If a main character dies, the game continues, and every scene that would be with them is different. While all this is going you have genuinely the most detailed and thought out fantasy setting in maybe anything. It's the type of game to have it's own Wikipedia that it constantly updates over the course of the game. Tonally, the game is perfect. It avoids the sort overly sappy writing of SRPGs and also manages to have a lot of charm by not being incredibly grimdark.
It's something that no words could ever really do justice because it's ultimately a video game. You have to play it to really "get" it.

it's definitely a weird jrpg. you can finish the game without beating any encounters except the mandatory boss fights and get op by playing a card game. the drawing mechanic is a chore, but the junctioning system is extremely fun and customizable. the story is a bunch of random ideas compressed together but it still manages to be emotional and impactful.
wish the first three discs tried to be more weird like the fourth disc.

I initially played Fallout 76 on PC when it came out and while I didn't dislike it at the time, it didn't hold my interest that long (e.g. at the time there were no human NPCs in the game). I wanted to give it another chance with the added story missions so I picked it up on PS4 this year and I had lots of fun with it. Storywise it obviously doesn't hold up to the main Fallout series but if your favourite part about the games is exploration (like mine is), it's good fun! Probably great fun if you have a group to play with. Get it if it's on sale.

while I don't believe it has aged particularly well in terms of gameplay and systems design, the creative direction and ideas behind DoubleFine's debut game remains as impressive as ever, with brilliant writing and outstanding art direction.

definitely haven't binged a game this hard in a long time. this is a great refresh on the pokemon formula, although i have my fair share of gripes.
i'm not the first to say this, but the game is a technical embarrassment - it has some of the worst anti-aliasing i've ever seen; the way the colors change to light/shadows seems really unnatural; the landscapes are pretty barren and have lots of pop-in; and the performance is pretty choppy, despite not having detailed environments.
but all that aside, the gameplay loop just works - you run around and catch/fight pokemon at a blistering pace (the QoL improvements do some heavy lifting here), earn points with your clan, which lets you earn money/level up so you can catch more pokemon. you're constantly throwing pokeballs, items, etc. so the moment-to-moment gameplay is pretty compelling actually.
movement in the game feels better than i had expected, thanks to the pokemon that you ride in the game.
the game is much more difficult than a typical entry - which isn't to say that it's hard (i never whited out during my playthrough), but alpha pokemon and even just regular pokemon hit so much harder than normal, so you have to actually think ahead and be prepared. i really liked that change.
the animations for the battles actually looked pleasing to me - not every animation is unique of course, but they really make it work. the battles themselves were mostly good, despite a few frustrations. speed tiers generally dictate if you are going to get hit or not before taking your first move, but you don't know ahead of time what the speed tier calcs are. so that was kinda frustrating. i also wish they could have maintained the scope of battling from the mainline games, e.g. abilities, held items, and more diversity of moves/pokemon. but i understand some cuts here had to be made so they could be ambitious in other areas.
the one type of battle i really didn't like was the noble battles - they are not hard and don't require any clever thinking. they're a disappointing climax to each region in the game. i know they wanted to blend the feel of the open world gameplay into these boss fights, but it really didn't work. i would have preferred they find a way to make it a "classic" pokemon fight, but with some different kind of twist.
the writing in the game is pretty bad, which is par for the course for a pokemon game. but where it becomes problematic is in the final chapter. i won't spoil it, but for me the writing disrupted the core gameplay loop, put me on a linear path, and left a sour taste in my mouth as i completed the game. either they didn't know how to write an ending to this style of game, or maybe they literally ran out of development time (it feels really rushed). but i hope they can fix this in the next game of this style. maybe my opinion will change when i finish the post-game.
i think there is a lot that they got right here, and i want to give them credit for that. the reason i was so critical is because, if they can fix these mistakes, the next game has the potential to be truly special. i hope the sales are strong enough to justify another attempt at a game like this!

Absolutely amazing. A perfect showcase as to why games SHOULDN'T have dialogue skills: talking my way through all the conflicts in this game required actual thought at every turn and the final "boss" requires you to make callbacks to multiple other optional conversations in a truly brilliant moment of design. Absolutely deserved its nomination for best writing, and the opening's "Karen" dialogue option is one of the best brick jokes I've seen because while it seems incredibly stupid on the surface there is a punchline coming and the game doesn't even deliver it to you, you have to figure it out and laugh at it yourself. That's how much confidence is on display here.
Half a star off because while there is very little combat, the little that does exist is incredibly janky. But also you can get a legitimate ending in the first ten minutes if you realize you should just shoot a certain character in the face, and that alone makes the bad combat system worth it.
Also reminded me how much I love history, and that was great too.