Until Dawn is a game that knows exactly what it is - a gleeful mash-up of horror genre tropes that succeeds by wearing its influences on its sleeve, excellent casting, and using well-chosen gameplay elements that give the player choice but fit with the movie-like aesthetic of the game. Despite its flaws, Until Dawn is an easy game to recommend, both to fans of and newcomers to the horror genre.
To summarise, the structure of Her Story can very easily lead to a disappointing experience, and by its nature a second playthrough does not solve that. Scoring this game was not easy - based solely on my playthrough, I would have to give it either two or three stars, as it was unsatisfying and I walked away feeling "Was that it....?". On the other hand, had I not stumbled onto the key information so early on, I could easily see myself loving this game and giving it an easy four stars. For that reason, I still recommend checking out Her Story, despite my grievances, but be warded that the experience may be somewhat inconsistent.
Cibele is a flawed game with a well-told story and certainly worth a playthrough. It didn't have any lasting impact on me, as the basis premise is well-worn territory, but that doesn't detract from the fact that this is both well-written and performed. I don't hesitate to recommend the game on a narrative level, but have some issues regarding the gameplay and presentation. Tightening up the controls, or tweaking how the game is presented, wouldn't have gone amiss.
The technical shortcomings do not overshadow the fact that the game is gorgeous, a fact that should be obvious even in screenshots. Though the landing is somewhat fumbled, the story wraps up in a meaningful way and achieves its intended effect. Coupled with excellent characterisation, it is a beautiful and painful look at how people try to hide from their problems, and the way people isolate themselves to hide their guilt and personal failings. Despite its issues, it is certainly an excellent game.
Zero Time Dilemma is a hugely flawed game that, despite moments of brilliance (such as the coin toss at the start of the game), fails to come together. A game that can hold my attention for twelve hours in a single day should review well, but sadly too many of those hours were spent silently cursing at the ludicrous nature of the story, and basically begging for it to all pay off and it never did. At least Virtue's Last Reward, which I previously criticised for leaving so much up in the air, was asking interesting questions. Zero Time Dilemma failed to do even that.
Overall, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is an easy game to recommend, and is a well-crafted experience. Despite some minor flaws and repetition of content, the game as a whole is an excellent package, both for new players and fans of the original PS2 release.
Fragments of Him is a rare example of a game that is made worse by being interactive, and features a narrative likely better told as a short film. A strong core concept is stretched too thin; clunky mechanics and terrible pacing make the game's two-hour length feel far too long, and ultimately removes any emotional impact the game may otherwise have. It's a shame, as the game is tackling difficult concepts - the death and mourning of a loved one - that are not frequently addressed in video games.
Overall, Ninja Pizza Girl is a mechanically solid platformer that tackles difficult themes reasonably well. I want to applaud the developers for addressing these issues, but must also point out that gameplay occasionally suffers as a result. I am still happy to recommend the game, though the problems mentioned above mean it is a far from flawless experience.
The Park is an interesting experience, and one I feel glad to have had. Somewhere within it, there is an extremely good horror experience, and with some narrative changes it could be a truly excellent game. However, The Park fails to reach these expectations, which is a shame given how good some aspects of it are.