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Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

So this is where the missing story is. Mandatory viewing before starting the actual game. While Kingsglaive is the best Final Fantasy movie of the bunch, it’ still not saying much. You’re here for the beautiful CGI and action scenes, though the story isn’t that bad.

Rating: 7/10

NieR: Automata

NieR: Automata

NieR: Automata’s strongest qualities are its narrative and characters. What pushes Automata’s story to greater heights in which people will be talking about it for a long time is how Automata visually and mechanically through unique game play represents the story. While Platinum Games does a commendable job on the basic free world combat, it’s the hacking mini game that comes into play that escalates the story into another level. You play as an android and Automata knows it. How it tackles representing thoughts and concepts of the android mind is nothing but fascinating and uniquely fun. I will concede though, it does get repetitive at times.

Hacking aside, the characters of 2B, 9S, and A2 stories are wonderfully told. Never have I wanted to fight for a bunch of inappropriately dressed video game characters for a long time. Equally as good are the boss battles. The music and the ever-changing game play all come together for some memorizing and engaging boss battles. The side quests are a hit or a miss though in terms of being fun, but at least they contribute to the overall world building.

Wrapped around an amazing story and characters is the godly music of Automata raining straight down from the heavens themselves. Awe inspiring and euphoric at times, I can be driven to do anything with this OST playing in the background, it’s just that powerful. Not since Chrono Cross’s OST have I been infatuated with a video game soundtrack.

It’s just a huge disappointment Automata isn’t getting the full attention it deserves. Most reviewers obviously never completed the game to its ONLY ending, ending E. The other 25 endings are either gimmicks or not real endings, calling these “endings” is what hurts the game the most, it gives the false impression you’re done. It would have been best if the credits never rolled in all honesty for ending A where I’ve seen many players stop and called it for the game. As for the rest of us that’s completed Automata to its final closing, we know we have a masterpiece here, faults and all.

Rating: 10/10

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider just didn’t do it for me as the first game did. It’s very competent in what it does, especially in the visual department, but everything else felt much more the same. The story just didn’t hold up in any regard, forgettable and bland. I just didn’t care for anyone here, maybe Jacob but by only a bit. It doesn’t help the general game-play is rather boring and by the numbers. It’s the first game but slightly better and I did find 100% of the collectibles so it’s not like I didn’t try to engage in what the game is offering. Maybe I just got too tired of the environmental design halfway in and felt everything very compact despite what seemed as large map designs. I think the removal of the over the top and gruesome death animations from environmental hazards from the first game killed any semblance of surprise from the game because it doesn’t do anything new to praise it for.

Rating: 7/10

The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

Blood and Wine ends the series on a so-so note. The story does not entice until later into the last hours and even then its narrative is still not that strong compared to the base game and Hearts of Stone. Characters such as Anna even with her strong performance is nowhere near as intriguing as say the Bloody Baron or Gaunter O’Dimm.

When the story came to its conclusion it’s a bit petty in the grand scheme of things. Worse, the side quests in Blood and Wine are boring to round it all out. It’s as if the stories have been told before and the game started to feel as though it has overstayed its welcome. Blood and Wine feels outdated and did nothing to change its mechanics for this last installment. The dye system and the new mutagen slots do nothing to affect the game in any meaningful way.

I was very happy with Geralt’s ending though. Was worth playing Blood and Wine for that at least.

Rating: 7/10

Black Desert Online

Black Desert Online

Black Desert Online was my spiritual successor to another game I loved called Lineage 2 back in the day. As that game was consumed by botters and cheaters and left to die by NCSoft, BDO videos from Korea started surfacing and I immediately knew this was going to be a return to home.

For the past six months my time with Black Desert Online has been nothing but great, not amazing as the game has some serious flaws (lack of group content, shoddy UI, terrible story, etc), but the Lineage 2 nostalgia was popping all over the place.

The world of Black Desert is amazing, the cities complex and natural in design and layout. The sense of exploration was real in this game even though it wasn’t a core feature. I was just lost in the ocean and its many islands hours on end. The omission of fast travel just made it even feel bigger than it really was and you were connected to the world since you had to traverse it for better or for worse. The living world of Black Desert with other players running about questing, doing life skills, and just chatting it up with their guild was something I could not think be repeated. Not to mention its biggest selling feature, the combat, was great and made the grinding enjoyable.

With my guild I knew I was going to stay for a long time. Even with our rag-tag of lesser numbered members compared to the bigger guilds and their alliances, fighting in small level node wars was fun as hell, even if we got swamped by a huge zerg in a matter of minutes.

Alas, the changes coming to the game making it “pay2win” has come as a huge unbelievable disappointment. The amount of trust shredded in recent news of new in-game mechanics that the community was under the assumption would never come has finally come with no signs of reversal. With that, I bid the game farewell with not too much remorse as seeing Legion is just right around the corner.

Rating: 8/10

Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest

Obviously Ori and the Blind Forest’s visuals are its main attraction, but it’s platforming is equally spot on. Precise and rewarding, Ori and the Blind Forest plays like its dreamy visuals. The sense of progression is just right, unlocking different abilities and utilities on an even pace to keep things interesting enough before boredom sets in.

Rating: 8/10

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