Tunic (PC)

Platform: PC (also available on Xbox and Game Pass)

Where do I begin? Having made my way through 95% of the game’s content because nostalgia ruled my heart, I can clearly see the love and passion that went into it. It invoked that feeling of being a kid again playing on the SNES or the N64, of retro consoles before we got into modern gaming. Of finding secrets hidden behind random walls, and of guidebooks that came with the game filled with artwork, tips and help. It heavily borrows, or inspired by, elements of the Zelda games. Those worlds had so many secrets to find, and no hand to guide you. You had to figure out how to solve everything and where to go. The recent other game I finished playing had a similar deal. The graphics are cutesy, in a 3D isometric world and you play as an anthropomorphic animal – in this case, a fox – as you traverse in search of items of power.

Our mighty hero, yes, the tuft of hair moves even while stationary.

Developed by one man, Andrew Shouldice, for several years until he partnered up with publisher Finji to help polish and finish it up. This game is a prime example of why anyone working on anything solo needs a friend, a buddy, just somebody to bounce ideas off and tell you “This is a stupid idea” when you come up with a truly stupid idea. The last half of the game falls under this entire category. To me the game ended wonderfully when I collected the three random items I needed. In fact, it should have ended there officially but Andrew went and committed a gaming cardinal sin. You never take away the player’s upgrades near the end of the game. Start of the game is fine. But if I’ve taken the time to explore your carefully crafted world, went down all the nooks and crannies to find items to better myself, and you reduce me to barebones? You know how I feel? Like you don’t care about the player having a fun experience. It feels like you created a game because you wanted a world filled to the brim with secrets, with hidden paths and shortcuts and failed to remember you need a fun core gameplay loop.

Trusty stick before I found the sword


Combat is the worst thing about this game, and it is the core mechanic. You press x/y/b, depending on which slot you like, three times for your sword. The first two swings stand in place, and the third lunges. You can dodge three times at the start, but because of stamina, it’ll take time to refill. If you run out of stamina, such as dodging three times, the meter turns red while it refills and you take additional damage. You are only invincible during the start while there is dust on the ground. Except I’ve repeatedly found that sniper enemies will still hit while there’s dust on the ground and only the first half second counts as a dodge.

See that tick under invulnerability? Past that, snipers do hit. Love being lied to by a game.

Many of the stronger enemies have a strong predilection to running away from your attacks until they back into a wall. Given how you stand still for your first two attacks, you can see how infuriating this might get. You can alleviate the issue by using a found magical grappling hook to pull enemies towards you, stunning them momentarily. You only have 8 uses of it with your un-upgraded magic meter, and the only way to restore it, short of using a shrine, is to eat blue berries (150 gold) or hope the enemy drops little blue cubes which refill a small portion. You can find additional tools that all use magic, as well as various items that buff, heal, or damage enemies. Gold is earned from defeated enemies, or hidden away in chests. Upgrades start off relatively cheap but get insanely expensive quickly, costing upwards of a 1000 gold. There are several items that cost as much, and having scoured the world, and fought numerous enemies, there’s no way I could buy all of them without spending several hours mind-numbingly grinding away.

A section of the overworld

The world in question is very intricate, with several different zones that are interlinked by often hidden methods, out of sight, or locked behind several mechanisms. There is eventual fast travel. The map at first might seem too simple, but closer looks reveal little drawings showing secrets or paths, merchants and your position. Like Zelda games, there are various dungeons which require an item or tool to get to, and which become the theme for that zone. There’s a bit of backtracking as getting new tools allow you to reach previously unattainable areas. It borrows also from Dark Souls with the use of the shrines that heal you but also refresh all slain enemies, and that you drop a portion of your currency on death. You can recover it later and cause a mini-explosion which damages nearby enemies. Yes, there are sections which you’ll be running through repeatedly on your way to your body because the save points are far and few, and the shortcuts aren’t yet apparent.

The Bosses

These are the worst part of the game because they grind everything to a halt. The bosses are overdesigned: given moves that attack much more rapidly than the dodge system can handle, or have such fat pools of health that even with max upgrades, it feels like a slog. Some of the later bosses have such varied movesets, and abilities, that I can’t help but feel jaded because all I have is a boring 3-hit combo. I can find a shield eventually, but it can only block 2-3 hits before running out of stamina. It can parry, but the system is so obtuse that I only got it reliably working one time. You hold right trigger to block, but if you double press it quickly, you can parry. Except there’s a noticeable delay to me pressing the action, and it happening, and given the fast paced nature of each encounter, there’s too much effort for minimal gain as a player to reliably learn it.

The penultimate boss fight consists of you fighting against several waves of various mobs of enemies you’ve already encountered before. There’s 7 in total, and each contains roughly 20 or so units to fight. This entire ordeal begins anew should you die. This entire section happens after you find the three magical items, and lose all your upgrades. You are at your weakest fighting the strongest enemies in the game. It is not fun. It is simply a chore. It is the type of idea a friend would have said, “Hey, Andrew, I don’t think you’ve played any modern games, but this is a stupid idea.” It gets better, or worse? This section of the game features invisible enemies that give no indication of position, except for when they attack, or are above water. If you do manage to hurt one, it reveals itself. If you try to attack them, they float away from you at high speeds so you waste your time. They also kill you in two hits.

The final boss fight has two phases to it. Luckily, you get to go around the entire overworld again to acquire back your upgrades without any added benefits! The boss kills you in 3 hits at maximum upgrades. I have to spend 20 minutes for phase one, and then the same amount for phase 2 and I have to execute with perfection. Yes, I haven’t beaten it yet, and probably won’t. These are some of the worst gameplay choices I’ve ever seen in a game.

I was at 6 and 5, and still struggled.

Closing Thoughts

The combat with the magic system works great in the first portion of the game, the enemies are fine tuned enough that they require skill to avoid their attacks, and aren’t too fat with health. It did not feel like the bosses were designed with a healthy attitude. One like, “hey, how can I use the systems I gave the player in a fun and challenging way that relies on their own skill?” Instead, we got the usual mentality rearing its ugly head of “Fuck you, player.” Every boss is a fat sponge of HP with mechanics that stop all your moves or learned abilities resorting to one possible play: mash attack and dodge attacks. Though sometimes you can’t, because of that aforementioned limit to stamina, and bosses react by throwing out multiple attacks and projectiles that cannot be fully dodged. This detracts immensely from the experience. The latter half of the game turns into a chore by spiting me for playing by purposefully crippling my character.

Which is a shame to be honest because that initial moment of first starting the game, of being unsure where to go, and slowly learning what you had to do, it had echoes of greatness to it. And as you explored finding hidden chests, you’d get those bangs of dopamine, the thrill of being proved right that there was something tucked away! But then you started to fight enemies, and after the fifth cowardly enemy, you started to take offense to the design. You have to be aggressive but you constantly get punished for it. You collect all three magical items and then find yourself going, “what now?” and the game also tells you that. And then when you do find out, it turns the game into a giant chore. I don’t feel any accomplishment or pride that I got past that section. I feel annoyed, you purposefully wasted my time. That whole section was filler because you don’t know how to end your game.

Then I learn of the secrets. Of how if I listen to this random wind chime, I can figure out directional inputs on the d-pad, and input a random string of d-pad commands to summon a treasure chest, or to open doors. Of the game leading me to a hidden website link, where I can download an audio file which can then be run through an audio spectrum analysis program to find a hidden message. I have to analyze the random scribblings on the wall to find a code. Pardon me to all them politically accurate words, and apologies to the autistic community in advance, and all those with legitimate mental issues, but… How retardedly autistic did this developer get? You poured all that time and effort into designing something like that but you can’t be bothered to create a fun combat system beyond three strikes? You can’t be bothered to fine tune the bosses to such an extent as you fine tuned those secrets?

Apparently that shape on the wall is a d-pad combination, but following the line and pressing the directions regardless of starting point do nothing.

This is another one of those Game Pass games that got the Microsoft treatment where they influence positive reviews of the game. It’s a 6/10 game at best, and the nostalgia is what helps keep the rose colored glasses on so you can’t see the ocean of red flags. If I didn’t consider the later portion of the game, and maybe if the puzzles didn’t require a savant or autistic mind to normally solve, pardon my bluntness, it would be a much better experience. And if the bosses had their health meters tweaked, and their damage lowered, it would be a better game. It took me 13 hours to get to the final boss and explore much of the world (9/12 hidden secrets and half of the fairies), and if the boss wasn’t such a health sponge, I’d give it another go until I beat it.


Elden Ring Review 2.0

Playthrough one’s time

After my initial review of Elden Ring, I realized I owed myself and to those that read my site, a better review. One not filled with heat, but rational discussion on the shortcomings of greatness. It is not a masterpiece as so many raved, but it is a very good game with a strong foundation. If I may compare it to a 10 course meal, I could better explain it.

Imagine you’ve heard some celebrity chef is opening up a new restaurant, and everyone’s invited to try his brand. He is offering a 10 course dinner, personally prepared by him, and it’ll have all the ingredients you’ve always dreamed of. You’re beside yourself with excitement, eagerly anticipating the day you can go. It arrives, and you show up to a swanky display, the chef went all out. They sit you down, and give you your first dish. It is beyond heavenly. It is exactly what you wanted, and were promised. It can only get better from here, you think. The second dish comes out, it’s different, but still as amazing and exactly what everyone said it would be. After the third course comes, you’re incredibly ecstatic. Then the chef comes out. He asks you to close your eyes as he has a little something special prepared, and to open your mouth. He puts in a spoonful of something, and as you bite down, you realize that it’s a spoonful of shit.

You spit it out, gagging, asking him with a bewildered look, “What the hell was that?”

He smiles, and offers it to you again. You look around and everyone is nodding along. You have to eat it if you want to continue with the meal. Begrudgingly you swallow it down, and then steady yourself. That experience dampened your entire mood. The rest of the dishes no longer have that appeal to them. Yes, each one was amazing in their own rights, but all you can think of is the fact you were forced to eat shit. Gradually, the feeling passes, and on dish eight, you’re back to feeling like this is the best meal you’ve ever had.

Now we’re approaching the end, you wonder what these last two dishes could be. You know one of them is optional, a dessert. You ask for it. Again the chef asks that you close your eyes. This time he grabs a teaspoon, and places it in your mouth. You can immediately tell what it is, and spit it out. You decline this time, and this time, he allows it. You can say no, and still get that final dish. It is scrumptious. Then he offers you the position to return again to his restaurant, for another course prepared by him, but this time you can skip out on the large spoonful of shit. And I did.

Playthrough two’s time

Elden Ring is like what I just laid out for several reasons. The game starts out incredible, the entire world is available for you to go out and explore. It encourages it. The first area new players will find themselves in is called Limgrave, this is essentially that first dish. It gives an expectation of what’s to come. The very first boss you come across is meant to teach you to avoid it, and return when stronger. To encourage exploring. You can attempt to fight it if you wish so because at this point, the game still has that illusion of choice. After that area, you can go northerly to the lakes, or easterly, to the red hells of Caelid. If you go east, you’ll be eating the spoonful of shit sooner than those that went north. The main boss of that area suffers a fundamental design flaw that’s replicated again and again in end game bosses.

Personally, a role playing game means that within the confines of your system, I can do whatever I want in order to proceed. That I am free to create whatever build I want, and it would work against the enemies you have designed. This is why games like Skyrim are a huge success. Unfortunately, Elden Ring’s shortcomings during the end game showcase that you cannot in fact do whatever you want and that is because the bosses are not restricted to the same system as you are. I cannot stop an attack command that I triggered until it is done, yet I watched several bosses break their combo midway to punish me for trying to heal during it. Coding bosses to read inputs means you have taken agency away from me as a player. I am no longer losing because of mistakes I made, but now you’ve subjected me to pure luck. Same with including one-hit moves that cannot be avoided, that only result in death. I could do everything perfectly right, but because the boss used that one move, I will lose my life and my time spent. When I die to the bosses by my own mistakes, I don’t get angry. I laugh. Like, “ok, I shouldn’t have done that.” But having me lose to something outside of my control, results in anger because you cost me time for no reason other than that philosophy that seems to have cropped up of “fuck you, player.”

I eventually got past that spoon of shit, and not by playing how I wanted to. I found myself a little bit flabbergasted that so many online discussions praised the fight. Sure, it is cool to see, but the execution is terrible. These people are the nodding heads at the restaurant, “Yea! Eat that shit, it’s so good, Hidetaka Miyazaki can do no wrong!”

See, once I got past that hurdle, it turned out there was so much more content locked away. Almost six more dishes worth. Entire hidden areas, secret bosses, and much more. It was phenomenal and yet, all of it felt sullied by that spoonful. I felt like I just wanted to get it all over with. It gnaws at your mind, this world. It is pure horror, there is nothing worth saving here. Eldritch entities and cosmic ones, malformations of humans, the only beauty to be found is in the stark horror of it all. At the same time, I question a man who likes to create these kinds of fantastical worlds, who likes to mess with the players playing his games. I never once felt like that with the Witcher 3. Since I brought it up, there can be quite a few comparisons between the two.

All the praise Elden Ring gets for its minimalist approach is great, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking it’s the first to do so. It is the first to force you to play its way, and not give you the option of freedom. In Witcher 3, you could go into settings and disable the HUD to your heart’s content, disable markers on the map, and make it similar to Elden Ring’s entire premise. Elden Ring has cool lore, but the execution of its story is trash. I got two endings and I still don’t understand what’s going on besides “This world is fucked up and we need to remake it in somebody or something’s image.” The assortment of characters I met along the way were all depressing individuals, often demented and warped beings, George RR Martin’s hand clearly displayed. Nobody to identify emotionally with, I didn’t care for what happened to this world. Witcher’s world is vibrant and alive, and a plethora of characters to emotionally identify with.

Where Elden Ring excelled was that feeling of exploring a new land, of acquiring the tools needed to survive. That’s why the first 80% of the game is a 10/10. But as you play on, the cracks start to form, until the rivulets of sweat from your hands deepen them into streets you can walk on. I can’t beat Rahdan or Malenia without using specific builds or items, I can’t run around the late game world without using at least two specific talismans that cannot be removed or I’ll be one shot by many denizens. I need to have a ranged weapon to get the attention of certain enemies. Arcane is flat out bugged, and doesn’t work correctly. And too many bosses have moves that either stun-lock, or instantly kill that I know that Hidetaka Miyazaki no longer follows his philosophy of ‘tough, but fair’, and has adopted the “fuck you, player” mentality.

And yet, despite all that, I went and beat it once, and then beat it again in 3 hours and 24 mins. The point that I’m at is so far ahead of the average player that the only reason I’m having fun is because of the extreme time sink dedicated to leveling my character. The average player won’t do that. They’ll reach certain bosses and call it quits, or not even, they’ll get annoyed at the regular enemies that pose as much of a problem. And people like this only come to this game because of the word of mouth calling it a masterpiece, a 10/10. Therein lies the problem, it is not a masterpiece. That would imply a perfect experience from start to finish, but the ending is such a chore, that I only finished because of the sunk cost fallacy.

Overall, yes, it is a phenomenal game, but a 10? No. It is an 8 for sure, and with a little updating and a balancing of bosses, a solid 9. Do I recommend this in its current state? The answer is still no. And if I were to recommend it, it would only be if you were a fan of the previous games by the company.


Elden Ring

To preface, I am a hardcore gamer as it were. I started with Doom, and have played every category possible, I’ve worked my way through all of the souls games, even the Nioh series, I remember playing Ninja Gaiden, I know it all. I love games, and I put my all into them. So as it were, when I find sections unsavory, I don’t merely say it due to my inability but because there is serious fault to be found instead.

I was part of the masses so excited for this, I had my preorder copy ready and waiting. I read up on what it would offer, the sheer scale and scope, and I was bedazzled by it all. I had absolutely loved Dark Souls Remastered, and in many aspects Elden Ring delivered. That sense of awe and mystery as you explore uncharted regions, completely unsure of what to do except wander, and kill what you can, run from what you cannot, and slowly accumulate a massive hoard of treasures and loot. The rush and exhilaration of the dance of death, of timings and striking, blocking or dodging, and then the sense of victory over your opponent. The scale of grandeur is vast, with serpentine labyrinths, and even the simplest cave will yield a lengthy exploration of its secrets. Hidden walls aplenty, and a lore that can be pieced together to explain the world, and your purpose. And in doing so, start to realize what must be done. It took me roughly 15 hours to realize I had to go to the Stormveil Castle, and by then, I was severely over-leveled for the boss.

Adorable scary boss bear sleeping

I have sunk in nearly 60 hours since its release and I cannot with any good conscience recommend this game to anyone in its current state. There is a boss you have to eventually beat, a lovely fellow called Starscourge Radahn, in a sort of cinematic battle with summoning NPC’s resembling a raid. I cannot understand how any individual at From Software, especially the director, Hidetaka Miyazaki, let this pass quality control. There is nothing fun about it. It is a tedious, downright frustrating experience that completely sullies, mars, and ruins Elden Ring. It is the ultimate representation of the developer idea of “Fuck you, player.” Every moveset in the boss’s repertoire is capable of killing you in one hit, lovingly called a one shot. To add insult to injury, in the boss’s phase 2, he acquires 4 magical skulls that all one shot, and have an explosive radius. The insult comes in that there’s this item, a magical physick, that lets you combine different effects for a one time use. One such effect says to block any one hit. Well, General Radahn doesn’t obey the rules. Even with that on, he’ll still instantly kill you with one of his skulls.

The fact this is a necessary boss, and not mentioned in any reviews leads me to think everyone of you lying, gaming “journalists” was paid off, and with as easily as a free review copy. A 10/10 implies that there isn’t a single moment during the entire game that slows down, or infuriates, or straight messes with the player. I could do every single thing correct, make 0 mistakes, and General Rahdan will kill me still. Skill has gone out the window, and is replaced by luck. Until there is a patch severely downgrading or balancing the boss, I will not be playing this game. From Software has lost the ball hard, and I think the director has let all the praise get to his head thinking he can do no wrong. He needs to relearn what makes a boss good, and replay Dark Souls. There wasn’t single moment in that game that I felt was unfair, or complete bullshit, everything had a way to be overcome without sweating bullets. Man’s come so far up his own ass, he can’t remember what it’s like to not be made of bullshit. I have done everything leading up to the Erdtree, except for General Bullshit. Well, that’s a lie, pretty much all of the northern snowy region is composed of bullshit bosses where skill doesn’t matter because the other half of the battle is luck. I don’t feel great that I beat X boss, or an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. No, I feel cheated, like “oh, he didn’t do his bullshit move this time around.”

Elden Ring is a 7/10 game at best, masquerading itself as a 10/10 because it brings several new things to the open world genre and does them exceedingly well. And yet, in all its brilliancy, it spectacularly falls apart towards the end. The powercreep in the strength of mobs and bosses is insane, and the player cannot compete with it. There isn’t enough of a farming method in the late game (80s and up) to grind the stats needed to have a somewhat even playing field. It is obvious that the early game and mid game received lots of love and care, lots of polishing, but this final bit feels like slog and a half. Fun has gone out the window because everyone can kill instantly while I have to whittle away their hp.

I started my playthrough as a melee user wielding a longsword and a shield, I transitioned into a great shield with a +19 longsword. And I was doing good. But then the wall known as Radahn showed up, and the snowy region and suddenly, melee weapons that didn’t have some sort of magical power sucked immensely. It felt like all my efforts at bettering myself went down the drain, 60 hours down the drain because I feel like a fly trying to attack a giant. So I used the in-game option to rebirth, and change my stats around to a new build. I reformed myself as a mage, and found the enemies I struggled against earlier die in 2 hits from my spell. My special katana could one shot most enemies. I felt good again. Like I had purpose. I tried a random boss that was giving me trouble as a melee, and wiped the floor with him. Emboldened by this endeavor, I set out to fight General Radahn once more. This time, I can consistently get him down to low health but then his bullshit breaking the rules skull kills me through my one time invincibility shield. To those that have beaten him, congratulations, but don’t try and tell me that he’s remotely a good boss. He’s the worst designed boss in the history of boss fights, and that’s saying something. If you’re telling me the director came up with this, then it’s time he retires from games for good. Be a consultant or something.

Incredible that 60 hours can be ruined by one experience

Loved the character design

Overall, even with the masterful combat, the scope and scale of the world, the wonder of exploration, it all gets marred by having a necessary boss be such a burden that it ruins the entire experience. The end game does little to help alleviate that feeling either, with enemies that seem to exist solely to make player exclaim, “oh, what bullshit!” I don’t recommend this game in its current state, and every single reviewer that gave it a 10/10 needs to take a good long look at what that actually means.

Update 1

I consulted with the reddit nerds and was able to bypass said Captain Bullshit. I shall continue my adventure, and will post updates after that. As it were, I stand by my words. This boss is in need some kind of balancing check, whether it is his ability to switch aggro (who he’s attacking) on a dime, or his skulls/floating rocks? that obey no rules and instantly kill.


The Riftbreaker (PC)

I had originally heard about this game thru the reddit grapevine a year back or so, when it was in early access. I was sort of intrigued, but I felt that the majority (there are exceptions), of early access games tend to flounder and die. Color me surprised when I saw that it had made its way onto Game Pass. Excellent, I can try it out!

A game promising mech action hack and slash/shooting, with an emphasis on base building like starcraft or AOE? Sign me up. 4 different worlds to explore, and build on? Seems to be filled with content. Unfortunately, the core gameplay loop requires so much more polishing to turn it into a fun adventure instead of the infuriating loop that’s currently going on.

You land on a randomly generated tropical planet, you gotta find a suitable spot to start building your base, and ideally it should be located between a blue and an orange resource. These two are your main resources when it comes to constructing buildings, and acquiring new weaponry or research. Instead of having a slew of units that go around gathering resources for you, or constructing new buildings, you simply make these buildings that mine for you. But, here comes the base management aspect: you have to manage both resources and electricity. Everything in your base is powered by electricity and if you don’t have enough, they will stop working. So your mines would stop excavating, and your perimeter defenses would be inoperable. There are different types of power available, and they each are affected differently by environmental aspects. You can build wind turbines, solar arrays, power plants that use your vital resources, a power plant that uses plant matter (hack/slash any of the environment), and all of that has to be linked together, and maintained with storage units. Night falls, no more solar power. Run out of plant matter? No more bio energy. Wind randomly decides to not work? Tough luck. The speed at which new buildings require electricity, and you carefully managing resources is difficult, and it doesn’t help to be attacked.

You can start to see how there’s a loop here. You have to find resources, drop mining camps on them, manage your electrical output, and defend all of it always from all the various dangers to be found.

Let’s talk about these dangers! For starters, every 7 minutes after the first 5 minutes, your base will get attacked by progressively stronger enemies. That means you have to quickly think how to expand your base, where to deploy it, how to defend it, think of managing electricity and constructing buildings all the while having a countdown that constantly adds to the pressure of getting things done. That’s not all, folks! There are random environmental dangers that can occur without warning, where you have no defenses against it, and it can completely annihilate your base – I didn’t say hurt, in which case, you can simply repair it. The event will destroy buildings that you may have spent valuable resources on, and tough luck. Get cracking, build again.

This kind of artificial difficulty has no place in video games, and I’m sick and tired of seeing developers put it in their games. The only difficulty that should exist is because I’m not smart enough, or clever enough to figure out the challenge coming my way. In the case of the random environmental dangers, to alleviate it, I should be able to research or build something that counters it, which is costly, and therefore requires an aspect of risk. But to simply destroy part of the player’s base, with the only course of action to rebuild? The only thing the developer is saying here is “Fuck you, player.” And honestly? This is why your game is on Game Pass, I would never recommend anyone spend a dime on this game.

See what the developers did with this game, is they realized their core gameplay loop is actually severely lacking in certain aspects, a bit too overblown on others, and so they did the number one trick lately. They shined and polished the graphics to look amazing, the effects and particles, all the fancy lightworks, everything to give your eyes a visual treat. Why? To distract you from figuring out they polished a turd to shine!

You land on a randomly generated terrain. You move to scout out the area, trying to find a good spot where there’s the blue resources, and an orange one nearby. You scour the map, and there’s no good spot. You quit, reload, and try a new randomly generated area. You do this about 20 times or so, until finally, you find an area you could build some sort of easily defended walls and towers. You build your headquarters, and then the mines, and the little bits of power for them, and then you start to think how to expand. However, the rate at which you mine and the rate at which you generate electricity are at a slow crawl at the beginning, so you can’t afford to explore. You have to stay in your base, defending it. After 20 minutes, you have a mildly decent base going on. Barely any defenses though, because those are costly, and the resources to maintain them will take another 10-15 minutes to stockpile. You think it’s time to explore. You get not 5 minutes out when a random swarm attacks your base, but your sentries take care of it. You move on, looking for precious resources, when you hear for the 50th time, “Resources are full, please build a storage unit.” You hurry back, and you build some storage units, but wait! This messes with the electrical grid, and due to some random environmental aspect that game will not tell you about, your power output is much lower than it used to be 5 minutes ago. And that’s not all, the games decides now is the time to send several swarms at you! But wait, there’s more! Have an earthquake that lasts roughly 2 minutes, constantly damaging your buildings, and outright destroying them if they near the epicenter.

Ultimately, this is a game about the illusion of control. You land on this alien planet, and your job is to shape and control its future so that humanity can colonize it later. However, despite all the tools the developers laid into your hands, they kept taking away control from you the moment you thought you had any. This isn’t a game where I play how I want to, this is a game where you play how the developer wants you to, or you can kindly, get fucked.

Do not pass Go. Do not drop any money into the pockets of these developers. If anything, let them vanish into obscurity.


Halo Infinite

The last time I played Halo, was the third game in the series, all the way back on the xbox360. Then I had the chance to play the master chief collection, which was well done. Now this version comes out, and what a pile of steaming trash (there’s only one redeeming quality – the grappleshot). Everybody associated with it should be ashamed. I’m not going to comment on the garbage dump that’s the multiplayer – those that decided to charge 20 bucks for a single cosmetic should be named, shamed, and blacklisted from the industry.

I’m going to address my first complaint. Who the fuck decided that bosses should be massive bullet sponges with no strategy involved other than running away while pumping ammo into them until dead? Secondly, who decided that bosses should kill you in one hit and then, surprise, gotta do it all over again? Fact check, this isn’t Dark Souls, this is Halo. Oh, if you try to use any other equipment than the grappleshot, you’re gonna have a bad time. See, every single enemy runs much faster than you, so in tiny boss arenas, they run you down like nothing, you have to keep moving about, swinging about. If you pause to try and switch equipment (another absolutely idiotic design), you get dead. To switch on a controller, I have to press right on the d-pad and then try and remember which direction is which equipment. I’m not a game designer, but even I know that pressing right on the d-pad to switch between all of the kinds would have been an infinitely (get it) better design option.

My second complaint is the difficulty and awareness of the AI. It is ridiculous that they have flawless aim, never missing any shots, and always know exactly where I am once combat initiates. Using a wasp or any other flying vehicle is instant death, because as soon as they see you, not a single round misses. Such fun! I’m playing on NORMAL, which means, it shouldn’t be this hard, except I’m fairly sure nobody at 343 Industries ever picked up a dictionary to learn what normal means. I won’t even bother seeing what Heroic or Legendary is like, to those that play on that, you’ve got serious masochistic tendencies.

So what does the campaign offer that’s worth 80 bucks? Honestly, fuck all. I’m glad I got the game through gamepass because I would never drop money on this. Unfortunately, the whales of the world are going to ruin every single franchise because they don’t care, that’s why they whale. Higher-ups will see that they’re raking in money, and will continue with their morally corrupt ways, milking and ruining longstanding fan franchises. Fans will get it because they love the game, and that will bite us in the butt because we can’t shove it in their faces that we don’t want things this way. All I can do is write a review showcasing my severe displeasure, anger, and annoyance.

The only enjoyable parts of the game are when you’re in the semi-open world, grappling about like a poor man’s spiderman. There is a real sense of speed, and power in that, and it makes it fun to go around killing the enemy. It gives you mobility and access to areas you couldn’t normally reach. It grants verticality. Unfortunately, the base combat is such a chore that you rarely get to experience true fun. Almost every fight is you vs overwhelming odds so you can only shoot a couple times before you have to cower and wait for your shields to regenerate. This slows down gameplay to a crawl. And with the abysmal checkpoint system, sometimes you’d lose upwards of an hour of combat, because I have no idea what triggers it. It seems to be pure luck and randomness to when the game will save.

With such vast empty spaces on this Halo ring, it makes me wonder what sort of content they cut out, because it is such a shallow experience to play. Besides a handful of side content, the world seems to only exist for you to traverse it. But why would you? There’s no reward for it, and the forest biome gets boring quick. I don’t care to explore a random corner, because what would be there? Some random weapon I can find anywhere? Oh, a useless doll that adds nothing but an Easter egg that I won’t even recognize because I don’t know who the doll is of. I only recognized the Arbiter doll from Halo 2. You can save some marines (which doesn’t do anything impactful overall, just gives you some valor points), by fighting waves of enemies. You can try and take out bounty targets by fighting the waves of enemies under their control, and then killing the mini-boss. You can capture a fast travel point that reveals the surrounding area (I didn’t realize I was playing Far Cry) by fighting waves of enemies. You can capture banished outposts by doing specific objectives meanwhile fighting waves of enemies. In short, all you do is fight wave after wave of enemies on a semi-open map. Then there’s upgrade points you can find hidden about, random audio logs for lore, and killing communication towers.

There’s also skulls hidden in the world but for the most part, they are in semi-obvious locations because you look at the spot, and you can’t help but think, they probably hid it there. And you’d be right! The skulls hidden inside of missions however, are nearly impossible to find yourself. And I wouldn’t be surprised if 343i leaked the methods how to do so because there’s no way you’d figure it out on your own, especially in the final series of missions.

I was about to write that not all boss battles are that bad as I reached the final boss. I almost spoke out of hand because nope, just as stupid and terribly designed as the rest. Have to fight it in 3 stages, with waves of enemies between each stage and checkpoints only exist for the first two stages. So when you die against the boss on the third stage, you have to clear an entire wave again before being able to square off against just the boss. I also fell off the map, not just once, but several times. Talk about triple A gaming. If I was shooting the gravity hammer enemy with my sentinel beam, and he hit me, off the map I went. “Wait, there’s something else here… Something’s helping me.” The greatest cardinal sin of all, being forced to hear the same dialogue over and over and over. So fun! The boss teleports around the arena, standing still for a millisecond, before going off to a new spot, good luck shooting her! Oh, and she also shoots beams of death that take out 1/4 of your shields/health, good luck!

Honestly, this game should never have been made. Or rather, whoever they brought on to scrap their previous efforts should never be allowed to work on a game again. I would have much more enjoyed a game similar to BOTW but Halo rings with dungeons, and other new ideas. This is just a rehash of old games to greedily cash in on fan’s nostalgia – seems to be a pattern as of late, fuck originality. Either make it fully open world with no linear corridors, or take out the open world and make it only linear. Why? I absolutely hated being forced into linear areas just to advance the plot so I could get back out into the semi-open world.

Overall, this was an exercise in frustration. This is not my Halo, this is a bastardization created solely by greedy entities wishing to cash in on 20 years of nostalgia. I do not recommend this game.