Grant E. Gaines
I would be hard-pressed to say Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part Two was a bad experience. It honestly made me appreciate Doom Eternal's desire to make every weapon have some kind of purpose, be it destroying armor or instantly blowing up an enemy, but the conclusion is a mixed bag. At most it makes the seemingly endless waves of demons seem manageable and Doomguy legitimately feels like the killer the story suggests he is, it just doesn't stick to landing. It doesn't add much of a new experience and one the conclusion hurts more than it helps. I don't think anyone will dislike Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part Two, though I also don't think anyone will be blown away by it either.
For the most part, Sword of the Necromancer is decent fun in a rather flawed package. I can't imagine anyone could have fun playing with decreased levels and losing gear since even without that stuff it isn't particularly amazing. Toss in lazy enemy names, kiddie pool level depth, and a generic story, and Sword of the Necromancer falls short of where you want to be. Especially when there are so many other games that handle rogue-like elements better. Maybe if it goes on a deep sale it might be worth it but at full price, it's a hard sell.
In so many ways I want to like Mad Rat Dead. It has an art style I love and the music is so good I legitimately want the OST, it just isn't fun. Most stages come down to trial and error, to the point where you basically need a practice run before doing a real one. People more in-tune with the concept will do better but for most, it can be frustrating. I still think there is a good enough game to warrant visiting and enough side content to get past those hurdles, there is just no denying these shortcomings prevent Mad Rat Dead from being as enjoyable as it could be.
What makes Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck difficult to review is, the core game is obviously fantastic and the dialogue makes it fun, yet it really isn't that impressive of an expansion. Familiar locations and expected storytelling take away from the journey, as does the need to play so many things safe. It is fine as part of the season pass or an additional bonus adventure, it just struggles to make the journey worthwhile. At least when compared to the other expansions, which had more to say, do and experience than Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck offers.
To be perfectly honest, I could probably write another 1,000 words explaining just how hollow this experience is. When you figure you have a bland indie fighter, set in largely linear stages, that has, at best, three modes to play, it's not an attractive experience. Toss in stiff animations, extremely frustrating stages, underwhelming characters and it's hard to find something redeeming in Bounty Battle. Heck, I unlocked every costume and can only seemingly use them in one mode, which brings into question why even bother. The really unfortunate thing is, a lot of the problems can be fixed and likely was the goal when it got delayed sometime back but in its current state I struggle to find something positive to say and that is really unfortunate.
It's easy to understand why Mr. Driller DrillLand was so beloved. The mini-games are fun, the core concept is a blast and it works amazingly well as a pickup and play the game. Adding an easier mode, so you don't need to stress as much about difficulty was a welcome addition, plus there is just so much to do. Sure, some of the games are slight tweaks and it takes a lot of practice to be good, at least this is an experience that is worth putting in the time and seeing where that takes you.
In some ways Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath would work better as separate pieces of content that could be bundled but as a rerelease, it is shockingly good. The base game was already strong, so adding more characters is certainly welcome. It's a shame some of them, like RoboCop, won't have universal appeal and the story could be a bit better but in terms of straight gameplay, it is hard to dislike what Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath is trying to do.
The more you play Nioh 2, the more you understand its charms. Often times the problem isn't the game, as much as you're playing the wrong way. Even if I just want to chop up every enemy with my sword, there will come a point where you need to use bows, guns, items and everything else to come out alive. Sometimes it will be hard, a few stages rely heavily on specific tactics but it's fun, rewarding and fascinating if you're willing to give it a chance.