Review: Marvel’s Avengers

Avengers has been out for a little over a week, and I’ve already put a ton of time into it. Normally when I review a game it takes a while for me to complete it so it’s not really within the release window. However this game got its hooks in me and really drew me in for better or for worse, so not only have I already finished the main story campaign, but I have already went through a lot of the post-campaign content. The only thing I haven’t actually done is try to play online multiplayer because as of right now the multiplayer matchmaking is still hit or miss.

The easiest way to describe Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers game is that it’s a game recreating Marvel’s Civil War with its gameplay. There are two styles/genres that are constantly fighting each other for supremacy – a fast-paced, character-action brawler vs. a multiplayer grind game as a service. The developers tried their best to blend the styles seamlessly, but both intrude on the other in significant ways. I personally prefer character-action brawler over the daily grind, but have learned to accept the parts I find tiresome just to have fun with the mechanics that excite me.

There is a lot more to dive into with regards to this game though, so let’s start from the beginning with the story campaign. There will be minor spoilers for the story so if you haven’t completed it yet, this is your warning.

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Review: The Last of Us Part 2

I didn’t like The Last of Us. I want that to be clear before we go into this. It was a combination of factors: the internet spewing absolute nonsense about how it was the greatest game of all-time, how it revolutionized storytelling and no video game had ever told a story before like it and all the EMOTIONS that people felt thanks to it was a major one. But I also played it on a harder difficulty that made the actual gameplay a chore, dropped it in the middle due to the difficulty and ended up finishing the second half a month or two later so I was never invested in the story, and really just preferred light-hearted Naughty Dog to “trying to make Citizen Kane: The Game” LOOK AT THESE EMOTIONS Naughty Dog.

I wasn’t going to get The Last of Us Part 2 because honestly I didn’t care about it. But much like Animal Crossing earlier this year, my will bent very soon after release and I picked it up – but for a very different reason than the calm serenity of AC. See, this game has become a hot button in gaming discourse and will be a hot button for months (if not years) to come thanks to all sorts of opinions flying.

I was gonna have opinions on The Last of Us Part 2 no matter what, so I decided it’d at least be better if they were informed opinions. If I didn’t like the game or if it was somehow worse than The Last of Us, I’d at least have tried it and could say so. Thankfully, TLOU2 is a better game than its predecessor – but it’s still not fantastic.

This review will be full of spoilers for all parts of the game, so be warned.

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Review: Death Stranding

In 2016 at E3, Hideo Kojima revealed the new game he was working on in fantastic fashion: a trailer of a naked Norman Reedus waking up next to a crying baby, the baby disappearing and covering Reedus in black tar, and Reedus standing up and looking out over an ocean at five floating figures. Death Stranding.

For the next three years until the game’s release this past November, “what is Death Stranding about?” has been a question continuously asked by enthusiasts in the gaming community. Later trailers did not do much to help clarify: from Mads Mikkelsen commanding troops in a sewer to Reedus witnessing an invisible monster carry another person away, the point and plot of the game was shrouded in complete mystery.

Well after 52 hours I’ve completed the story of Death Stranding so I can tell you what the game is about. I can also tell you, surprisingly, that a lot of the weirdness that was shown off in trailers actually makes sense in the context of the game. Kojima, if nothing else, managed something very few others are capable of: drumming up interest and intrigue for a brand new IP without revealing any of the plot, really.

But did he make a good game?

That’s what I’m about to review. I’m going to spoil some things about the game (although nothing major related to the story), so if you want to go into the game completely blind it’s probably a good idea to skip this. But for the rest of you, read on.

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Review: Disco Elysium

When I was a kid I talked to myself. I was an only child, but also an introvert with an active imagination. I never created an imaginary friend that I named, but I did talk to myself a lot. A second version of myself displaced; someone I could argue with to solidify my point of view or show off something cool I did. I’m not going to lie – I still do it occasionally as an adult. Not nearly as often, but sometimes yourself is the best company.

Disco Elysium is a game about talking to yourself. You play as a guy who wakes up in a hotel room with complete amnesia. You don’t know your name, who you are, what you’re doing there, or why your tie is hanging from the ceiling fan. But you do have 24 differing voices in your head that talk to you and you can talk back to them. Sometimes you should listen to them – and sometimes they give you very bad advice.

Disco Elysium is also a game about talking to other people. And while the greater story is an interesting and captivating mystery that you have to deduce the answer to through careful interrogations (or brash, depending on your choice), a lot of the charm and fun of the game are the conversations with yourself. And a lot of the uniqueness comes from your actions determining what kind of person these emotions are piloting. Is he a communist? A feminist? A fascist? A hobocop? How you act towards other people shapes your inner thoughts, and then your inner thoughts get more and more of a say in your outer conversations.

Disco Elysium is a game that spoke to me (ha!) on many levels and that I enjoyed my time with immensely. I’ll spoil the ending of this review right now: if you like dialogue-heavy branching RPGs, just go ahead and play this now, you don’t need my review. But if you want to hear more about this game works and more plot details – read on.

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Review: Control

Control is a very unique game because it may be the first game I’ve reviewed here that I’m not sure on what my recommendation is. Usually I go into a review leaning either positive or negative on a game. Control…I’m conflicted on.

Control is Remedy’s latest, and they’re a favorite studio of mine – they produced Alan Wake and the first two Max Payne games. Ten minutes into the game I was all in on the world, the aesthetic, the lore of Control. Remedy knocked that out of the park and I was ready to put this game at the top of my GOTY contenders.

Then the rest of the game happened.

I love Control. But I also hate Control. I’ve never felt so strongly for and against a game – normally either I love it despite its flaws, or it’s terrible despite a few bright spots. Control is somehow both. So I’m going to hash out everything I love and hate about this game in this review and let’s see where I end up.

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Review: Fire Emblem: Three Houses

So I’ve put over 70 hours into Fire Emblem: Three Houses – probably the most time I’ve dedicated to a single game since Assassin’s Creed Odyssey last year. I’ve still not completed my first route (Blue Lions represent!) but I’m closing in on the end. I don’t know when I’ll get to the second and third playthroughs for the other houses, but I legitimately want to see everything from the other perspectives. That’s how engrossed I am at the story level.

The mechanical level has also hooked me, obviously. Three Houses is the best Fire Emblem has ever been on the tactical battle level. Critical battle information has been streamlined and made much easier to access. Leveling up your characters outside battle is also more engaging and you have a lot more options at your fingertips to create bonds between your characters. And the characters are all stellar. I love the Blue Lion house and their interactions both on and off the battlefield. The recruitment system has also allowed me to nab the characters I like from other houses as well.

I’m starting off glowing about the game, but there are a few low points which I’ll also get to. As a heads up, this review won’t contain any major main story spoilers, but might contain minor support conversation spoilers.

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Review: Kingdom Hearts 3

I’ve been of two minds about finally doing a KH3 review. I finished the main story a few weeks ago and had mixed feelings about it. As time passed, my feelings ebbed and flowed like a river of Heartless. Sometimes reflection is needed after a game before final opinions come into focus.

So now I think I’m comfortable with my final thoughts on the game. I already talked about how I was disappointed with how the Disney worlds played out in an earlier post, so I’m not gonna harp too much on those themes again (but they will probably still come up). I’ll also try to avoid any specific story spoilers, but there will be general spoilers of what happens all the way up to the endgame.

Now let’s get into it.

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Review: Pikuniku

Before I begin, I’d like to say that this is being posted on January 31st, which means I have officially made it through the entire month of January with posting some sort of content on my blog on every weekday. That is an accomplishment I’m very proud of and nobody can take it away from me! Aha!

Now with that out of the way and before I get completely sucked into the thrall of Kingdom Hearts 3, I’d like to focus your attention on this wonderful indie platformer game that I got on the Switch called Pikuniku. Devolver Digital published it and I saw an ad for it via their Twitter earlier in the month. The short minute and a half ad was so charming that I knew I had to get it when it came out.

And I’m really glad I did. It’s quirky and simplistic but amazingly fun. I haven’t quite finished it yet, but from what I understand it’s a fairly short overall experience. But if you’re looking for a quick 3-4 hour game that has a lot of humor and heart I highly recommend this one.

Well, I guess I’m getting ahead of myself and spoiling my own review, but who cares! Pikuniku is great!

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Review: Sid Meier’s Witchersiders Chronicles 3-4-6

Kingdom Hearts 3 comes out tomorrow and it will become the primary focus of my gaming free time for the foreseeable future. Which means R.I.P. to any games I was trying to finish before then. There’s quite a few games I’ve started and put several hours of time into but I haven’t completed. Is there a chance I’ll eventually finish them? Sure. But I haven’t done a full review in a while so I thought I’d combine the games I’ve played but not completed within the last month or so into one big review.

The games in question offer a wide variety of genres – I’ll be talking about The Witcher 3 (about 8-10 hours of play on PS4), Sid Meier’s Civilization 6 (about 10 hours of play on the Switch), Darksiders 3 (about 10 hours of play on PS4) and Valkyria Chronicles 4 (about 20 hours of play on the Switch). An Action RPG, Strategy, Action, and Strategy RPG. Got just about all my bases covered.

I’m going to try and take a slightly different format with this review as I’ll talk about my experiences overall with them – what I enjoyed about them and why I found myself not finishing them or eager to return to them. Most of the reviews I posted last year were games that I really enjoyed and wanted to gush over, while games that I only played for a little bit and didn’t like I ended up not talking about that much. I also fell away from my mini-reviews of what I’d played each month after I got busy during the holiday season – I’ll likely be returning to them in February but I’m not going to bother with January because this mostly covers everything I played (except for one other game which I will also make a review for and will talk about later this week).

Okay, with all that out of the way, let’s talk about games.

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