As a whole, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is an enjoyable game filled with obvious artistry that ends up having its head clubbed in by repetition; 20-30 hours of this game is on par with or better than the best Assassin’s Creed games, but stretched over three times that, you’re afforded enough time to become familiar with (and develop contempt for) the numerous tiny faults that then snowball into problems.
Morbid: The Seven Acolytes does have some shortcomings that become apparent the first time you get stuck in a labyrinthine mess of dark pixels that make it difficult to tell which areas you can and can’t dodge to without hitting a wall. However, there are also some things that it does significantly better than other games in the soulslike genre, with its story being particularly noteworthy because of the way it combines abstract weirdness with enough actual information about the world and its villains that you won’t need to consult a wiki to figure out what’s happening.
Calling this game unpolished would be an understatement (in many ways, it’s outright broken), but the story is filled with enough absurd turns to work as a semi-comedic adventure, and the mechanics blend several genres together into something enjoyably old-school. Rune II: Decapitation Edition took its lemons and made lemonade.
The original Planescape: Torment is the very first game I ever reviewed here. It was an awful writeup that was eventually wiped from existence. Now, eight years and 499 reviews later, I finally have the writing ability required to describe why this game is so important to me and many others.
Noita is a game that I generally liked when it was in early access, but the problems that I listed over a year ago have been exacerbated, and the parts that I liked have been minimized by a barrage of new content that makes it harder than ever to piece together a worthwhile arsenal.
It’s not that Ikenfell is outrageously bad or anything—at least, not until the very end—but it suffers from being unnecessarily cumbersome and tedious, sporting a lack of subtlety that eventually comes across as preachy. More than anything, though, I struggle to forgive the fact that it isn’t a tactical RPG at all. Ikenfell is a standard jRPG with a positioning system that barely matters thanks to long-range attacks and enemies’ penchant for moving large distances and teleporting you around.
It’s when you begin to view Fallen Angel as a gameplay-centric game that things begin to click; between the unexpected openness of the world and the new weapons, perks, and melee attacks that are constantly being handed to you, you’re always given more than enough to break the difficulty wide open. And even when you feel absurdly empowered, it’s still possible for Fallen Angel to humble you with unexpectedly close fights.
I found much of the gameplay to be frustrating in a bad way, with plenty of cheap shots and unclear mechanics making the questionable momentum even harder to deal with, and yet I kept playing after unlocking the bad ending. I even kept playing after obtaining the normal ending, spending several hours slashing at random walls in search of the secret switches that have to be activated to get the best ending. Why? The easiest explanation is that the characters—most of whom start out as joke-and-sarcasm dispensers—had grown on me to the point that I wanted everyone to have a good ending. Despite all of my gameplay complaints, Batbarian has a surprising talent for growing on you.
There’s no better way of describing Foregone than calling it a Dead Cells-inspired action platformer that eschews roguelite elements in favor of hand-crafted levels and checkpoints. It is, for better or worse (depending on your viewpoint), a game suited to those of us who have become exhausted by the randomization and permadeath features many indie developers have been using as a crutch over the past half-decade or so.