A Short Review Summary of all of my Pandemic Games
Hey guys! I realize that most people here won't really care, but given the pandemic, I've had A LOT of time on my hands to play anything I saw to be interesting. Whether replaying older games, catching a discount, or unfortunately pre ordering a game (I'm SORRY), there's a lot in my head, and this sub feels like a good place to just kind of let those thoughts out, so here we go! Warning, this is going to be A LONG post.
(One thing to note, a 5/10 for me is AVERAGE, so if a game is enjoyable enough but does nothing to make me go WOW, it's going to be a 5/10, adjust the scale accordingly)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - Nintendo Switch - 9.5/10
Wow, I expected this game to be amazing and bad at the same time given the uneven reception to it. People hate its tutorials, fan service, and more whimsical feel vs the first game, while others praise it for its combat, world, and ironically enough the more light, anime art style. I found the game to be ABSOLUTELY amazing, from the cast being some of my favorite in a game ever, the various titans being so fun to explore, the combat being my favorite in a JRPG PERIOD, and the tale of the Architect being so... engrossing. It really did feel like the more I put into it, the more I got from it in enjoyment. What stopped it from being a 10/10 was the main character playing a little bit TOO much into the good guy, naive kid cliche (although it works well with the cast), and the side quests being pretty forgettable, which sucks because there's such a large amount of them that it really missed having interesting stories and voice acted cutscenes. If it could somehow emulate how The Witcher 3 or a Planescape Torment does their side quests, this game could have been a potential 10/10 for me.
Northgard - PC - 6.7/10
This game is so conflicted for me. The potential for it is through the roof IMO. I love the way it plays, kind of feeling like a Settlers/AOE hybrid with some Civ elements thrown in. The visuals are great, and the story is surprisingly okay for an RTS campaign. All that being said, the variety in game style seems lacking to me. Between the lack of variety in the clans to choose from, builds to go for, and the units available, once I was done with the campaign and played a few custom matches, I felt like I saw what I needed to see. While I wouldn't say the game needs more content, it definitely needs more versatility. Still a good game that I would recommend to any RTS fan looking for something made a little bit more recently.
Sleeping Dogs - PC - 8.2/10
This game was such an absolute delight to play. Visually, riding through Hong Kong while its raining and having all the streetlights illuminate the roads was beautiful. The melee combat was great, and the overall arcade controlling really made it easy to jump in after work to just let loose and enjoy. The story was also pure genius, really walking the tight rope between pure comedy like Saints Row and the more darker plots of recent GTA games made it a really enjoyable satire of the genre of sorts. The side content is also surprisingly entertaining, offering short bursts of content that are all enjoyable through the flow of the game and short enough that you don't see through the lack of depth. Unfortunately, the game does feel like it might have needed some more time. The gun combat was average at best, and by the end of the game, it felt like they couldn't close it out. The final missions were lackluster, the lack of additional features made it feel repetitive, and in general it doesn't feel as well put together as the first half of the game. This ultimately leaves it in the 8-8.9 category, an absolutely GREAT game, but not a classic.
Bayonetta - PC - 7.1/10
This game is conflicting. On one hand, you have maybe the smoothest action combat I've ever played, accessible to people who just want to kill some monsters, and complicated enough to satisfied the most die hard of DMC fans. On the other hand, the story is completely non-sensical and the farthest thing from interesting. While I appreciate stories that make no sense and that serve purely as a vessel for the gameplay, the amount of time they spend on the cut scenes and presentation while the humor gets painfully cringe worthy after a while makes it unbearable at time. Add to that the weird gimmick chapters they liked to add like the motorcycle highway level that last WAY too long. This game SHOULD have been a classic, 9+/10 but so much just brings it down that it has to settle for just REALLY good. That's how good the gameplay is, that it overcomes so much to still be worth it for anyone.
Final Fantasy X - Nintendo Switch - 5/10
This was my second Final Fantasy game after I beat 12 (which was pretty good all things considered!). I was hyped because everyone kept saying how moving the story was, how believable the romantic aspects were, and how it's one of the best in the series. Since the HD version held up fairly well, I picked it as my next FF and was excited to play. The first few hours were so cool to see all of this weird stuff happening, all these cool settings, and trying to figure out what the hell was going on. However, once the game keeps going, anything it was trying to build fell flat to me. The characters were fairly boring outside of the dynamic of Wakka, Chappu, and Lulu (which was very well done, really made sense and felt real), the world while interesting, were just hallways and boring hallway designs at that. Seymour was a boring character, the story doesn't get anywhere until the very end, and the voice acting make everything feel like an amateur play. While I can see how the visuals and presentation were cutting edge in the day, it seemed to have relied too much on that technology and as that allure went away, we were left with an interesting, but ultimately average game. This game to me is the definition of an average JRPG, not great, but not bad, decently entertaining.
Astral Chain - Nintendo Switch - 7.8/10
Just thinking about this game, it easily could have been a 9+/10 if a bit more effort was put into it. Astral Chain has a lot going for it. It's arguably the best looking game for the Switch console, some of the best and most unique combat systems you can find in an action hack and slash, and a super interesting setting that I hope they continue to build on with future games. However, the game also never really takes off with its plot until the end, but you hardly care bc of the lack of interesting characters and side stories leading up to the main reveal. The exploration content during investigations is lacking as well, with no interesting side quests or interesting areas to explore. A lot of the time, the game seems to be conflicted with itself on what it wants to be. However, the good parts are so good that it overcomes the busywork and oversights it may have. I honestly believe that a sequel with a story like Nier Automatas and a much more fleshed out exploration mode could be the best game on the console, but Astral Chain has to settle for good, not great.
Wasteland 3 - PC - 8.6/10
This was one of my non patient gamer games. God, I was so hyped for this game as it was coming out. I look EVERYWHERE for my Fallout 1/2 CRPG fix, and this game looked perfect. And for the first half of the game, it delivered so much. Colorado Springs is one of the best WRPG hubs I've seen this generation, filled with mystery, interesting side quests, so much personality, and fun combat situations. If the entire game had been build like this one location, it would be nearing a 10/10 rating. The combat is some of the best I've ever played in a CRPG, the visuals were great, music is a 10/10, and the ability to role play was so abundant that I woke up thinking about it, went to sleep thinking about it. However, at some point half way through, it felt like they ran out of money, and just stuffed a lot more combat situations with small, half assed hubs. While I still enjoyed it, it was such a far cry from the first 10-15 hours that I was disappointed. It's still one of the best CRPGs you can get from this generation, but doesn't quite keep its foot on the pedal long enough to be a classic.
Nexomon Extinction - Nintendo Switch - 7/10
This is probably one of the more interesting games I played despite it being a Pokemon clone, or maybe it was so interesting bc of that. It gives you glimpses of what could be the best game in the Pokemon Monster Collection genre, with a story that contains plenty of humor and intrigue, great NPCs, great looking cities and areas, solid difficulty, and decent monster designs. The problem I had was that the game stayed pretty much the same from the first moment to the last. No double battles, special evolves, online play, etc. It becomes repetitive, and the visuals can go from amazing, to Newgrounds Flash animation quality fairly quickly switching between not moving to being in a battle. I'm excited for this franchise moving forward bc I do see potential, but while I recommend this game, it's definitely just a GOOD.
Persona 4 Golden - PC - 10/10
I always heard of the Persona series, but never had a PS2, Playstation Vita or a PS4 in order to play the games. I was a fan of the SMT series already, but I knew there were differences in how the games played. I saw that the game got ported to PC out of nowhere and I decided to pick it up because it was already at such a low price point. I was expecting to have fun, but what I wasn't expecting was HOW good it was going to be. The supporting cast really did feel like a group of friends that I was on a journey with. All of them with flaws and strengths, and the story exploring BOTH of these things throughout the entire game. A great villain with an interesting murder plot that you slowly investigate, and the ability to genuinely be wrong and have to live with that decision if you decide to make it. The genius of the calendar system, making you micro manage all of your tasks, and the interesting social links with your party just added so much depth to everything you did. I was more than happy to sit through the slice of life moments bc everyone felt so developed that I genuinely enjoyed seeing these people hang out with each other. The visuals are very clean, making everything easy to identify without being ugly, and the overall plot was a true journey. It has flaws, the procedural dungeons, the lack of distinct scenery, and some minor details in the story, but a 10/10 doesn't mean perfection. I consider Persona 4 to be the pinnacle of the JRPG genre, among a few select other games, and it's become my third favorite game behind Fallout 2 and Planescape Torment.
Catherine Full Body - Nintendo Switch - 6.4/10
This is a game I got as a gift, and one that I was always meaning to try on the PC (not the full body version) but never got around to it. I like Atlus games, and it had a unique enough premise that I was intrigued. It's a half visual novel, half puzzle/platformer and I thought it was a shoe-in to at least be really good by everything I've heard. I beat it, and enjoyed it, but I couldn't help think that both aspects could have been worked on. While the visual novel aspect was entertaining and provided a numerous amount of choices to eventually have I believe 14 endings in the game, it was fairly limited in scope. While what was there was enjoyable, I couldn't help but feel like a more Persona approach to balancing your schedule throughout the day would have made for a much deeper experience. And while the puzzles were incredibly interesting and sometimes genuinely hard to figure out, the platforming itself felt clunky, and made me wish for a smooth experience. It's still a pretty solid game, but when I heard that this game was originally a tech demo for Persona 5, it made more sense why it felt like it was missing in aspects.
Fire Emblem Three Houses - Nintendo Switch - 8.4/10
The love and hate relationship I had with this game. It starts out beautifully. It excels in being a Slice of Life Harry Potter-esque simulator where YOU are the professor and you're trying to figure out the mystery behind the Monastery. The complexity of the battles themselves have fallen off from GBA Fire Emblem games, but the overall game is a much more complete package. The problem with this game lied in the repetitiveness of what you had to do. The Monastery never really changes from your first encounter with it. The game throws very little new at you outside the first 10-15 hours, and the story was never compelling enough to drag you through it by itself. It's still a great game, but it really bothered me on how close they could have been on making a classic.
Trials of Mana Remake - Nintendo Switch - 5.5/10
I was somewhat excited for this, as I always wanted to get involved in the Mana series as a new JRPG fan. While I knew they were staying faithful to the original game, it feels like they could have done so much more. Everything just felt passable. The combat was fun, but got old over the 25-30 hours. The classes were cool, but there wasn't enough diversity and complexity. The story was a nice light-hearted romp, but it failed to evoke any emotion like a Dragon Quest game masterfully does. The maps looked pretty nice, but were glitchy and boring to explore. For every plus, there was a minus following it, and while I enjoyed it, I honestly can't say it's anything more than average, or slightly above average. I'd recommend getting it on a discount, and you might enjoy the hack and slash combat, but it's not going to come close to blowing you away.
DOOM 2016 - PC - 9/10
Wow, what a game. I grew up playing Unreal Tournament, and outside of COD to some degree and some other more niche games, there wasn't much of an arena shooter feel in the gaming world anymore. I got DOOM finally, thinking that it was some sort of hybrid between new and old, and while it did indeed feel very modern, I couldn't get enough of it. The frantic pace, the design of the arenas themselves, the visuals, the variety of weapons, everything just made it feel so incredibly fun. I almost felt like I could close my eyes and feel the minigun or flax cannon in my hand from UT99, in the zone. While I do admit the Mars levels could have been a little bit better visually, especially comparing them to the levels in Hell which were visual spectacles, the game to me is easily one of the best shooters to come out this generation.
Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet - Nintendo Switch - 3.8/10
I took a chance on this one bc it was on a discount and I said why not, looks interesting enough. While the game can visually look decent and at times it can even be engaging, there's so much that just bogs down the brief moments of decent gameplay that it just isn't worth it. From the awful story, to the abundance of cutscenes, the repetitive gameplay, recycled assets, and lackluster monsters, there just isn't enough of a pull to make you want to keep going. It was entertaining for the first 5 hours, but the game never advances past that initial part of the game. While I wouldn't call it terrible, it's definitely not really worth a play unless you're just a die hard SAO fan.
Destiny 2 - PC - 9.2/10
Oh, the displeasure I can feel just typing this one up. HOW DARE YOU??? MICROTRA-LOOTERSHOO-AAA GARBAGE. I won't comment on Destiny 2 on it's release, nor will I comment on the transition from the original game to the second game and if they should have just stuck with the first game. I went into the second game just to try it out since a large portion of it was available for free. One thing I will say is not having to do the entire story to unlock the real meat of the game was the best decision they could have made. Just being thrown into this brand new world and having to figure everything out on the fly was so rewarding. Being completely lost and figuring out what guns were good, how to queue up on dungeons, and how to access the different planets was amazing with the superb gun play, deep lore, and the fantastic visuals. Playing with one of my close friends through all of the 3 man instances was one of the highlights of this quarantine, and regardless of the balance issues, content updates, etc, I just plain had FUN playing this for the 100 hours I put into it. It's everything I wanted from the Looter Shooter genre, and I love how there are secrets littered all over the maps across all the planets. I will admit that the actual campaigns could use a bit of work, and that the PvP can be dodgy at time, but it was great in spite of that.
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun - PC - 8.5/10
This was an interesting game, and one of the first ones I played during an one month indie game binge where I was simply just bored of the usual recommended games I saw. I played Commandos a bit when I was young, but remembered very little with how it played. I got this one on a whim just bc the Steam reviews were so high that I might as well. What I found was an AMAZING puzzle/stealth game where you control several characters with their own abilities and downsides in order to assassinate, infiltrate, or steal an important item in order to solve the mission. If you haven't played a game like Commandos, think of it as a small party based, RTS version of a Hitman game. You have large levels with multiple solutions on how to achieve your objective. I loved this game for the time I played it, but I did find an issue at times with random difficulty spikes with certain areas, and the controls being not as tightly tuned as I would want them to. The amount of time I tried to get an assassination to happen and my character just awkwardly shuffled around and got caught it was too frequent to ignore. Enjoyed my time greatly, but the game overall felt like it needed more polish to be truly amazing.
Phasmophobia - PC - 8/10
I was surprised by this game when I picked it up with my friends. It seemed like another cheap Unity based party game that streamers were going nuts over for a week and then it would be just another cheap meme. However, when I played it with a group of 4 of us every night for two weeks, I realized how enthralling the game could be. It truly is a simple concept with simple controls and simple presentation, but its so much greater than the sum of its parts. The simplicity brings the focus to the actual atmosphere and the experience with the people you're playing with. Exploring the house, playing pranks on each other by shutting the door, running away during the hunts, and getting excited as we figured out which ghost it was were all such entertaining aspects that I couldn't help but be down for one more match, one more round. I definitely wouldn't recommend the game with randoms as to me, most of the enjoyment comes with the moments you have with your friends, but if you do have 3 other people interested, I say it's a must to get.
Fallout 76 - PC - 4.2/10
I won't spend too much time here. I played over this last weekend with the free 4-5 days on Steam, and there's nothing to say that hasn't already been said. While it's not TERRIBLE, it also does nothing well from the amount I played. The game somehow performs and looks worse than Fallout 4, the gunplay has remained unchanged, and the survival aspects feel gimped and average. The fact that I can't even fully interact with other people and hunt people down without permission in a post apocalyptical world was... jarring. It's not bad, but it's definitely not good, and it was a below average experience for me.
Animal Crossing New Horizons - Nintendo Switch - 7.0
Like a lot of games on this list, this game could and should have been so much more than it was. While AC:NH is a good game that can keep you coming back for months to make small changes to your island, trying to turn more bells, finishing your museum, or just interacting with your villagers and friends islands, it feels like it just hasn't progressed as a series. It almost felt like how Pokemon Sword did for me where I enjoyed the game, but outside of nicer visuals and a cool new feature (terraforming/wild zone), it still feels like they haven't done enough. With the new generation, I wanted to see more objects being interact-able, a better online service, being able to help your friends build, more QOL updates, more housing customizability, more mechanically complex villagers, more activities, multiplayer minigames (I believe New Leaf had this), and the list keeps going. It just feels like there's so much missing and its jarring when you're having fun but then the game throws you roadblocks like not being able to combine different floorings without a grass border in-between them, or it disappoints you by making that new items just a visual piece. I spent a lot of time when it came out, but I doubt I'm ever going to go back. Still worth playing, and still a good game, but disappointing.
I'm sure there are other games that I'm forgetting, but I can't be bothered to type out anymore than I already have.
submitted by Drakeem1221