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Brandon Howard

aircalibur421
Chantiment

Favorite Games:
  • Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
  • Bayonetta 2

71 games reviewed
63.1 average score
70 median score
32.4% of games recommended

Writes for:

Brandon Howard's Reviews

I've been playing video games for most of my life, and writing about them for about as long. I love strategy and role-playing games the most, but I love a good platformer or rhythm game. Aside from games, I love food, and I love to try new restaurants almost as much as I love browsing used game/book stores. I love conventions, but my favorites times are those alone, or with a few friends online.
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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
Jan 16, 2019

Little Dragons Café is an extremely tedious exercise in repetition. There's kind of an initial thrill to the idea of managing a café and picking out the recipes that it'll use, but eventually you realize that you don't do much to help out other than providing the basic ingredients and occasionally bussing tables. The only real reward for slogging it out day-to-day is a handful of character focused cutscenes that don't really feel like a meaningful accomplishment. Add in some truly awful field controls and a constantly skipping framerate, and you've got a true recipe for disaster.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
Jan 14, 2019

My Time at Portia is an excellent life sim for those who have always wanted to spend their time befriending everyone in their village.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
Sep 29, 2018

Overall, this Forsaken expansion has made Destiny 2 a journey worth returning to. The daily grind feels a lot more manageable, with more chances to obtain end-game gear. There are some exciting new modes to dip into, and the new bounties system really encourages players to dig deep into the world. Destiny 2 is still an end-game grind, but with all the new and interesting ways to obtain your favourite gear, it's a much more rewarding experience than before.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
Sep 15, 2018

Monster Hunter: World still has all the complexity expected from this series, but it dishes it out in much more palatable chunks than usual. It's still got a frightening amount of depth, but it feels manageable in a way that few in the series have pulled off before. Players may still feel a little lost from time to time, but a little guidance from series vets or other friends can drastically reduce the growing pains new players will likely experience. On top of all that, this is one of the best-feeling titles the series has had to date; so saddle up with some friends, and explore all the New World has to offer.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
Jul 17, 2018

Octopath Traveler is an extremely satisfying storytelling experience vastly different from other traditional JRPGs out there. The eight stories followed over the course of the game are all compelling in different ways, and each is engrossing in different ways. The combat is simple, yet nuanced, and building party compositions never stops being a fun exercise as the adventure presents each new challenge. The pacing does have some small missteps here and there, especially as the world opens up between each major act, but it's a tiny hurdle in an otherwise magnificent experience.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
Jul 13, 2018

Despite all its exterior polish, TurtlePop: Journey to Freedom is a bit of a mess. It's trying to pull elements from multiple different genres, but it does it in a chaotic way that leaves the player little time to process what's happening on-screen. It's a constant battle with the controls to switch between the various turtles you need to control, and to also manage the genie, all while various on-screen hazards endanger the player's shot at a perfect score. The co-op mode slightly alleviates some of these issues, but it doesn't do enough to fix the fundamental issues with this quirky puzzle-platformer.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
Jun 28, 2018

Wizard of Legend is one of those rare titles where it's easy to come back to it at any time. The game, for having so few bosses and levels, never begins to feel dull or repetitive. There's tons of variety in equipment and spell loadouts, and the dungeon changes enough each time that it never really starts to feel stale. It would be nice if there was a little more variety in the stages offered, but there are enough unique combinations that each adventure is always fresh and exciting.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
4 / 10 - Rainbow Skies
Jun 27, 2018

Rainbow Skies is not only uninspired, it feels almost like a cheap nostalgia cash-in for JRPG enthusiasts. The characters are generally annoying and mostly one-dimensional, and the writing is quite poor and riddled with syntax issues. The explorative nature of the game is something that players might be drawn to, but that's not enough to carry the significantly weaker portions of the game. The combat system is sort of cute in its simplicity, but it's not unique enough to keep players invested throughout all the annoying little quirks that fill up the majority of Rainbow Skies

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
May 18, 2018

The Destiny 2 experience might still be a little off, but this is a pretty good place to jump back into the action.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
Apr 2, 2018

While it gets off to a painfully slow start, A.O.T. 2 (Attack on Titan 2) ends up being an extremely pleasant surprise. It's a solid adaptation of one of the better anime franchises around right now, and the gameplay is definitely solid.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
3 / 10 - Dragon Sinker
Apr 2, 2018

Dragon Sinker is almost laughable in some aspects.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
Feb 21, 2018

The PC version of Dynasty Warriors 9 is frustrating, more for its wasted potential than anything else. The game is difficult to control on PC, and that significantly hinders a lot of the fun, fast-paced combat, which is all-too scarce at times. Additionally, while the open-world approach is a great direction for the series, it doesn't capture the epic battles that the series is known for in the same way. Maps are either too crowded, or frightfully empty. It's nice to see Omega Force taking the series in a new direction, but this entry hasn't quite found its footing.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
8 / 10 - Destiny 2
Feb 4, 2018

While Destiny 2 has a solid foundation and a robust story campaign, its endgame content feels a little lacklustre. [OpenCritic note: Brandon Howard separately reviewed the PC and PS4 versions. Their scores have been averaged.]

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
5 / 10 - InnerSpace
Jan 16, 2018

InnerSpace falls more than a bit short of the heights it aspires to. The levels feel hard to navigate and they aren't helped by the laggy controls and constant motion of the Cartographer. It feels poorly optimised for Nintendo Switch, with frequent camera stutters and choppy frame-rates. It's overall a very unsatisfying experience, which is made all the more frustrating by the sheer potential InnerSpace has. The beautiful environments and quietly haunting atmosphere are still enchanting, but everything else just feels empty.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
Dec 19, 2017

Curse of Osiris doesn't really do anything to enhance the Destiny 2 experience, aside from the new raid and some nice quality of life upgrades.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
6 / 10 - Lego Worlds
Oct 12, 2017

LEGO Worlds is so close to being a fantastic idea that all the little hang-ups feel way more annoying than they should. The creation mode is fantastic, but extremely touchy controls-wise; and it's gated off by necessitating the player to complete the same missions dozens of times each if they want its best tools. The idea of a digital LEGO sandbox is the stuff that dreams are made of and, honestly, it just hasn't been done justice this time around.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard

Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is a pleasant surprise, actually. The fast-paced combat is a welcome change from the tedious encounter system from previous games, and the story strikes a good balance of cutesy and interesting. Unfortunately, the gameplay gets really repetitive as bosses and enemies get reused level after level, so it's hard to want to keep at it for long. The balancing is completely off, and there's not a lot of challenge past the first couple of dungeons. Still, the gameplay has its charms, and the solid writing makes this one of the first Neptunia titles casual RPG fans and devout Neptune addicts might both enjoy.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
7 / 10 - Blue Reflection
Sep 26, 2017

Blue Reflection is a solid, if somewhat fanservice-y, JRPG that suffers from some poor pacing issues. The characters themselves are decently fleshed out, and it's worth sticking with them to see how their arcs develop, even if there is a lot to keep track of. The skill customisation is a lot of fun to mess around with, but combat is the weakest part. Despite the excellent combat tracks, most battles feel like a drawn-out exhibition more than anything else. As one of Gust's best titles in years, however, it's definitely worth checking out.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
2 / 10 - Moero Chronicle
Aug 11, 2017

Moero Chronicle is just straight up disappointing. It's a lacklustre dungeon crawler, with time consuming, wasteful mechanics that pad out dungeons. It's a subpar ecchi game far too invested in its own subpar story to excel at the fanservice it offers, and it does all of this with creepy undertones, frustrating interfaces, and an overall aggravating vibe. There might still be a niche Compile Heart fanbase that gets something out of this, but even then, it's a stretch.

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Cubed3
Brandon Howard
Jul 26, 2017

While the threat level system theoretically makes for some interesting moment to moment choices, it makes the campaign feel woefully unbalanced at times. Combat also lacks the smoothness one would hope for from the genre, with movement and aiming feeling choppy and imprecise. Between monotonous gameplay and a generally uninteresting story, Solstice Chronicles: MIA lacks the qualities that help shape a successful single-player campaign, and the co-op changes feel like a strict downgrade from its predecessor.

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