Disco Elysium describes itself as a “groundbreaking open-world role-playing game,” which is a slightly misleading way of describing a game that feels like the gamebook lovechild of Planescape: Torment and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. Its similarity to those classics is its greatest strength, though, keeping it afloat amid an endless tide of irrelevant factoids and a twin pair of mysteries that slowly build up the intrigue, only to fizzle out at the very end in a bizarrely unsatisfying way.
It’s difficult to put into words just how much profanity I’ve lobbed in this game’s direction while playing, and some of the criticisms my rage-addled past self brought up are real examples of Driven Out playing unfairly. At the same time, it occupies that enjoyably bizarre realm of “so difficult that it doesn’t seem difficult in hindsight.” Many of Driven Out‘s fights are downright fantastic and don’t suffer from any problems, and it’s during these that it shines. Low points are also common, however, thanks to some awkward animations that disable your ability to block for uncomfortable spans and a bevy of minor frustrations that create some very strange difficulty spikes.
Indivisible doesn’t have a great first couple of hours, oscillating between its serious and playful tones so quickly that both are meaningless. The game’s early boss fights are also horribly gimmicky thanks to a tendency to shoehorn awkward real-time sequences into the turn-based combat. Still, Indivisible finds its footing 5+ hours in and maintains a solid stride all the way to the final boss fight, which is one of the worst final encounters I can recall seeing in a game.
When the Argonauts’ ship, the Argo, is wrecked after an encounter with sirens, Argonus is saved by Athena and tasked with opposing a mysterious threat that’s turned his shipmates to stone. In the process, he encounters numerous gods and goddesses who require something of him and are often willing to grant something in return. This makes Argonus and the Gods of Stone a fantastic stroll through Greek mythology. However, the pacing becomes questionable toward the end, and the ending is so deeply unsatisfying that it feels like a large chunk of the story at the end is simply missing.
This remake of the classic 1993 adventure isn’t as polished as I expected, sporting a new physics system and camera angle that introduce entirely new problems. It’s wonderful to think that Link’s Awakening on the Switch will introduce one of Link’s most intriguing adventures to a new generation, but it’s obvious that the goal was to replicate the aesthetics rather than the feel.
Devil’s Hunt is a significantly clumsier game than its premise and marketing suggest, feeling like a series of linear Final Fantasy XIII corridors interrupted only by combat that plays like a poor man’s version of Batman: Arkham Asylum‘s freeflow system. Those who can appreciate jankiness will likely find something to enjoy, but those expecting Devil’s Hunt to live up to its considerable promise are bound to be disappointed.
Super Dodgeball Beats is unquestionably one of the most stylish rhythm games I’ve ever played. It’s also one of the least readable, with the timing of your inputs being dictated by quickly closing circles that frequently get covered up by opponent powerups and jostled by a screen shake effect that can’t be turned off. If you can get past that and are merely looking to play a multiplayer game that’ll result in someone throwing a controller across the room, Super Dodgeball Beats could very well be the game for you. Anyone looking for a single-player campaign that plays fairly is in for a rude awakening, however, with a number of the underlying design decisions here proving downright player-hostile in the harder tournaments.
There are so few events with such minimal upsides that it’s usually best to walk away from every single one, and that, combined with the forgettable story and bizarre difficulty spikes and valleys, leaves the gameplay feeling like a grindy jRPG that just happens to have extra steps and annoyances.
There’s a sense of interconnectedness that pervades everything Children of Morta does, and while some of its decisions sometimes result in unpleasant—and arguably unfair—difficulty spikes, the story beats always revolve satisfactorily enough to be worth a little extra trouble.