Premieres


Secret of Mana port

Secret of Mana’s remaster is an acceptably enjoyable port of the original. While the combat has been tuned, and in many ways improved, it does suffer from some bug issues. But the selectable music, improved dialogue, and addition of inn ‘vignettes’ makes it overall a recommended choice.
Total Story Score: +2
Total Gameplay Score: +5

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses

Story Positives:

  • Vignettes and what they add to character and story (inn sequences)
  • Voice acting (varies in quality BUT every single NPC is voice acted)
  • World building and storytelling in the video records from the modern era of the past and increased NPC dialogues
  • REMAKE PLUS: Vignettes themselves are a significant addition // Much better translation and smoothed out cutscenes
  • Main character’s portrayed as down to earth (not counting the pointless plot twist)

Story Negatives:

  • Bad usage of amnesia as a plot point and nothing else
  • Majority of characters are one-note and/or not fleshed out
  • Rushing through story points and not actually doing much with them

Gameplay Positives:

  • Options for remade or old music
  • Otherwise good quality of life features in menus
  • Voice acting (everyone is voiced, reasonably good quality, japanese or english and changeable on the fly, AND can just turn it off)
  • No more leashed by party members
  • Screen transition autosave that keeps after shutting down or crashing
  • Shoulder buttons editable shortcuts
  • Significantly improved, funner boss fights
  • REMAKE PLUS: Dash is a significant improvement // Better and more precise combat, especially at diagonals, and regarding hit and hurt boxes // Respawning enemies is per cell not ON screen
    Increased size of terrain in general // Good animation and good usage of art style for gameplay

Gameplay Negatives:

  • No online support (for a modern game, built on co-op, on modern systems)
  • Lack of cursor memory
  • Weird and arguably bad options in the settings menu (notably more keyboard than controller options)
  • Buggy (softlocks, CTDs, and bizarre melee bugs)

Dissidia NT

Dissidia NT is an unusual entry in the series. For the purposes of a competitive, versus fighting game it does many things right and indeed superior to previous entries. For anyone seeking a new Dissidia game, it is lacking in stage design, gameplay, and most critically story. Thus whether it’s for you or not depends on what you’re looking for.
Total Story Score: -4
Total Gameplay Score: -1

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses

Story Positives:

Story Negatives:

  • Story presentation and acquisition
  • Entirely too little story to gameplay ration
  • Incredibly lackluster and unsatisfactory ending
  • Characters are devolved into basic caricatures of themselves

Gameplay Positives:

  • The graphics are excellent
  • Controls are tight, responsive, and don’t wear out the hands
  • Matches are legitimately fun to keep playing
  • The Bahamut boss fight was amazing and genuinely challenging
  • Music selection, variety, and ability to do an over-ride playlist or set playlists per character

Gameplay Negatives:

  • Lack of any real customization of modes, setup, or characters
  • Lack of a real co-op option, and clear boss design leaning towards co-op gameplay
  • Online AI difficulty is tied to online PvP player ranking to unlock
  • Having to do online ranked matches to increase co-op AI difficulty
  • Alexander and Leviathan fights are complete bullcrap and terrible examples of artificial difficulty
  • Shinryu is a generally terribly designed boss fight

Middle Earth: Shadow of War

While there are concerns regarding its stretching of pre-existing lore, the tone and theme remain strong and the flavor of the characters and orcs are fantastic, and the gameplay was generally fun and engaging throughout.
Total Story Score: +7
Total Gameplay Score: +7

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses

Story Positives:

  • Celebrimbor; his presentation, voice acting, and character
  • Bruz is just an amazing character throughout
  • Good ambient storytelling with background dialogue
  • Ratbag is consistently amusing and endearing, as well as a nice foil to other characters
  • The Balrog, its inclusion, and its presentation work surprisingly well
  • The entire Bruz story arc is fantastic; from Ratbag, to Ranger, to Bruz breaking in the end
  • The fleshing out of several Nazgul characters, as well as who they were before and during their corruption
  • The cinematic directing is excellent and services the story well
  • The finale in its entirety is just fantastic, and includes both Talion and Celebrimbor separately as part of it

Story Negatives:

  • Talion is a complete idiot, to the point where it gets irritating
  • There are several incidents of railroading in the plot that are blatant and frustrating

Gameplay Positives:

  • Combat is good and varied with good options
  • Mobility is great, with lots of ability to move in, out, and regardless of combat
  • The Nazgul boss fight is just a lot of fun, and appropriately challenging
  • The improved and mores smooth Domination mechanic which makes dominating in-combat more enjoyable and more of a feasible tactical choice
  • Improved army building and pokemon mechanics with the orcs
  • The sound design is phenomenal across the board
  • There is good freedom and options with player progression
  • There are mid-mission checkpoints, and they are well positioned
  • The finale’s bosses as both Talion and Celebrimbor are very fun and challenging fights
  • Though they get old, Sieges are nonetheless very fun both defending and assaulting

Gameplay Negatives:

  • Lack of any proper setting options in the menu
  • Contextual problems in combat, as well as occasional control issues
  • Disappointing, tacked on, and generally disinteresting post-game

South Park: Fractured But Whole

While lacking in some of the more crass and over-the-top humor of the first game and South Park as a whole, the game managed to make me laugh several times and I found the more tactical grid-based combat to be far more interesting, and the boss fights far more varied and enjoyable.
Total Story Score: +4
Total Gameplay Score: +5

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses

Story Positives:

  • “CAR!” Periodically the game is interrupted by the mundane reality of the setting despite the fantastical imagination side of things
  • The game is genuinely funny, repeatedly
  • Wendy in general is awesome
  • The entire finale was legitimately awesome

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  • Combat and narrative integration
  • The boss fights are engaging real time / turn based hybrid
  • The combat is fun and legitimately tactical
  • The graphics style retains the best features of the show
  • The music is surprisingly good and adds to the scenes
  • The gameplay varies more than expected, in a good way
  • The UI is nearly universally good

Gameplay Negatives:

  • The difficulty is very lazy
  • Aggregate: The filler puzzle design, the disinteresting last dungeon, the slow crafting, and unskippable cutscenes

Super Mario Odyssey

This game is incredibly amazing. It controls better than any other 3D Mario to date, has a huge variety of content and challenges, as well as differing levels and styles to levels. There’s some background lore and flavor lore spicing things up, and the presentation is endearing and shows a massive amount of polish.
Total Story Score: +2
Total Gameplay Score: +17

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses

Story Positives:

  • Tourist tidbits with background lore
  • Great ending to the main game

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  • Presence and execution of casual mode
  • Absolutely amazing music
  • Fantastic art style and direction
  • Smooth and intuitive control scheme
  • Proper gameplay settings
  • Waypoint warping within and without worlds
  • Finally getting rid of the lives system and replacing it with another penalty for failure
  • Varied and fun boss battles throughout
  • Stellar level design
  • Continuing excellent level design
  • Good auto-camera as well as camera-control
  • Genuinely challenging and fun last boss
  • Amazing escape sequence from the moon, as Bowser
  • Meaningful and enjoyable post-game with good meaty content
  • Lots and lots and lots of meaningful, manually crafted, meaty post-game content
  • Selectable music while playing
  • The DX bosses are enjoyable additional difficulty
  • Game is consistently fun and encourages replay

Gameplay Negatives:

  • Aggregate: Inconsistency of ledge-grabbing, and Bowser Amiibo functionality not accessible in game

Call of Duty: World War II

While the gameplay and combat itself is acceptable, the level design is significantly lacking. The set pieces and character moments are good, but the overall flow of the plot is disinteresting. CoD WWII does as much right as it does wrong in both story and gameplay, and unless one is exceptionally interested in the multiplayer can only be recommended as a sale buy.
Total Story Score: +2
Total Gameplay Score: +5

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses

Story Positives:

  • The Normandy landing is pretty awesome
  • The banter between characters is natural and well done
  • The spy section is suspenseful and enjoyable
  • For one moment the story does not rely on cliche and has a surprisingly well done meaningless death
  • The characterization is good

Story Negatives:

  • Zussman somehow lived through a gut wound, and being dragged through 100 yards of hell, while fighting
  • The dream sequence was generally not well done
  • The entire finale and ending were just bad

Gameplay Positives:

  • The graphics are legitimately stellar
  • The motion capture is top notch
  • Good variety of action and set pieces instead of purely cover based shooting
  • Music touches, ques, and quality
  • The spy section was a lot of fun
  • The tank battle, while short, was awesome
  • The objectives are well distinguished visually

Gameplay Negatives:

  • The level design is just awful, with heavy reliance on invisible walls
  • In addition to bad level design, the types of actions and tactics the player can take are heavily railroaded

Sonic Forces

While not as enjoyable or as polished as some of the stronger Sonic entries, modern or classic, Sonic Forces embrassed the silliness of its own premise and ran with it grinning the entire way. An enjoyable, if ultimately forgettable, romp that’s worth picking up on sale.
Total Story Score: +3
Total Gameplay Score: +7

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses

Story Positives:

  • Embraced the ridiculousness of a Sonic Original Character fanfic
  • Cheesy and hilarious cutscenes
  • Visual storytelling on display in the background
  • Awesome Flash Gorden Effect that made me laugh and smile

Story Negatives:

  • Short, and effectively no story replay value

Gameplay Positives:

  • Smooth and intuitive controls
  • Proper and well-done character customization
  • Removed the out-dated lives system
  • Mid-way checkpoints for both stages and bosses
  • Awesome boss fight with Infinite
  • Damned good music throughout
  • Visually appealing

Gameplay Negatives:

  • Has only one save file, which is inexcusable in a modern game

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

While moderately fun to play, Wolfenstein II blew me away with its willingness to embrace ridiculous over-the-top super science alongside very down to earth, believable, and powerful character moments. Exceptionally well fleshed out characters and moving, quiet moments accentuate the game’s willingness to showcase its point unabashedly and right in the player’s face. A definite recommended buy.
Total Story Score: +9
Total Gameplay Score: 0

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses

Story Positives:

  • No holding back during the intro
  • Amusing and enjoyable background events throughout
  • Mature storytelling rather than juvenile
  • Large amount of good background lore in chatter, logs, etc.
  • Distinct and fantastic characterization
  • The going back home mission is just damned powerful
  • A successful implementation of tonal whiplash
  • The Venus acting scene in its entirety is gold
  • Sigrun’s big scene at the end was so awesome
  • Top notch voice acting

Story Negatives:

  • Very lackluster and distinteresting endings (both of them)

Gameplay Positives:

  • Huge sections of non-combat roaming which are reasonably well paced
  • Fantastic music as well as music direction
  • Armor rewards from killing help maintain gameplay Flow

Gameplay Negatives:

  • Lackluster effect and sound to weapons throughout
  • The level design is almost universally poor, failing to capitalize on concepts (like the mecha wolf tank)
  • Aggregate: Lackluster number and variety of guns. Limited heavy weapons design. Lack of significant tactics throughout game.

Battlefront 2 EA

While the single player campaign had its ups, it also had its share of downs which restrained it from being as powerful as it should have been. The main characters also shift far too quickly from the Empire to the Resistance, which hampers its storytelling style. There is, however, some genuinely great characterization of the main characters, as well as several other nice sequence set between Return of the Jedi and Force Awakens. Sadly the gameplay is merely average at best, and the multiplayer (even ignoring the loot boxes issue) is just not as supported as it should be. A sale buy.
Total Story Score: +4
Total Gameplay Score: +1

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses

Story Positives:

  • The ancillary perspective of people in the background helps add to a lot of scenes
  • Several elements of fleshing out Imperial soldiers and officers early on
  • The Lando mission is just awesome throughout
  • The epilogue is playable, and great fun to play through
  • The Battle of Jakku is one of the better moments of the game
  • Excellent characterization of Iden, Del, Shriv, and Lando

Story Negatives:

  • As presented within the game, Operation Cinder is just kind of awful and ham-fisted
  • Aggregate:The narrative construction is far too rushed, everyone except the main characters is one-dimensional, and repeated usage of lazy writing throughout

Gameplay Positives:

  • Space combat is quite fun and well presented
  • The graphics and motion capture are both top notch
  • The Lando mission is just awesome to play through, too
  • The Battle of Jakku is a lot of fun to play through

Gameplay Negatives:

  • The stealth design is just lackluster and not well thought out
  • The sound design and options are actively bad
  • Multiple problems with multiplayer, including but not limited to: Matchmaking is off, almost no proper options, gear relevance is aggravating, the freemium infrastructure (since removed), and no proper co-op mode for the objective based missions

Assassin's Creed Origins

One of the funnest Assassin’s Creed games from a purely gameplay perspective, it was a treat to go through and the polish was self apparent. Combat is fun and varied, there are plenty of interesting and challenging things to do, and exploration feels rewarding. That being said the story is lackluster; the main plot is actively lacking, and it actively makes me disinterested in several aspects of it. The story is, however, salvaged somewhat by Bayek, as well as the side mission story arcs going through each town that are much better written overall. A definite recommended buy.
Total Story Score: +2
Total Gameplay Score: +13

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses

Story Positives:

  • Proper acknowledgement of alternate quest routing in events and dialogue
  • The simple humanity and general presentation of Bayek
  • The side quests are interesting stories, and have interesting characters
  • The Crocodile Arena cutscene is just fantastic, with good direction, characters, investment, and payoff)
  • The voice acting helps sell many of the characters

Story Negatives:

  • The modern story side of things is just bad, with failed potential, bad presentation, irrelevance to the current modern story, AND irrelevance to the plot of AC:O, as well as actively interrupting the story of ancient Egypt
  • The main plot is weak at best, almost every main plot character is completely immemorable, and Aya shifts perspective in a way that implies multiple writers who disagreed with each other
  • The entirety of the finale was bad, including unnecessary drama, characters acting out of character, unnecessary repetition, and a general feeling of the whole thing being rushed

Gameplay Positives:

  • The UI design is fantastic, with good at-a-glance
  • The autopilot and seek-to-road mechanics of mounting are intuitive and well designed
  • Everything about Senu is great, from the UI, the tracking, the homing in, the movement, and the ability to keep going with him an exceptional distance
  • The attention to detail is just jaw-dropping
  • Amazing visual representation of Egypt
  • The side quests aren’t just better story, they have a variety of activities and are fun to do
  • The boat missions are fun, well designed, and engaging
  • Many weapon styles, which vary in playstyle and are fun to go through
  • Boats will spawn and rush up to you while swimming (and other miscellaneous quality of life choices)
  • Combat is great, combat is good, combat is fun
  • The music is fantastic and atmospheric
  • The menu options are good
  • The Discovery Tour mode is just amazing in every way
  • The Discovery Tour mode also is convenient and well designed

Gameplay Negatives:

  • Aggregate: A few of the usual Assassin’s Creed control issues. Camera had trouble in smaller areas keeping up. The in-game store was shoved into my face (once). The daily quests seem oddly poorly designed considering the high quality of everything else.

Total War Warhammer II

I’m a bit biased towards this one, because this is the first Total War game I really enjoyed. While lacking significantly in the strategic layer, the tactical layer is fun and engaging and allows for player tactics to overcome numbers to a huge degree, as well as encouraging the player to experiment with different strategies. Each side plays differently in feel as well as mechanics, and it’s a nice entry representation of Warhammer lore for someone new to the franchise. A recommended buy for fans of Total War, Warhammer, or RTS’s in general.
Total Story Score: +2
Total Gameplay Score: +7

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses

Story Positives:

  • Representation of and presence of story is good
  • Good introduction to Warhammer lore

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  • The voice acting is excellent
  • Significant amount of and quality of options in the menus
  • Each faction feels unique in playstyle and flavor
  • The graphics are surprisingly good, with more detail than necessary, and very visually distinct
  • Presentation of the map has good ease of determining information at-a-glance in tactical and strategic layers
  • Many tactical options in tactical mode that put emphasis on player skill and actions
  • The terrain matters significantly to combat
  • The game encourages the player to change up their army composition as well as try new strategies

Gameplay Negatives:

  • Aggregate: Cities aren’t as relevant as they should be. The strategic layer is lacking in engagement. Siege battles are repetitive and lack interesting gameplay. Incredible difficulty in properly managing larger and larger swaths of territory, which function as an irritation.

Yakuza 0

Yakuza 0 astonished me with how high quality it was. Telling an incredible story while simultaneously being ridiculously silly, having consistently varied and fun gameplay, and making me truly care about the characters. The density of content is through the roof, and never gets boring or old. A hugely definitely recommended buy.
Total Story Score: +11
Total Gameplay Score: +6

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses

Story Positives:

  • Presentation of the three types of cutscene (slideshow, standard, and in-game render) help the flavor and variety of the story
  • A wide variety of interesting, manually generated side quests
  • A continued positive for side quests
  • Majima’s ‘perfect revenge’ was a joy and a treat
  • Amazing and in-depth characters
  • Tons of tensions and drama for most of the main story
  • The end of Chapter 6 was fantastic, with Kiryu, Kuze, Purple, and Bro
  • Excellent, and understated presentation of major plot points and twists (not being too overt, or too subtle)
  • Excellent weaving of many multiple plot threads together into one tapestry
  • Fantastic pacing in main story to maintain a pace of tension, action, information, and then looping

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  • Doodad placement is excellent throughout
  • Combat styles are fun and each significantly alter gameplay
  • Variable fluid and dynamic music for combat and non combat
  • Even more combat styles and variety for Majima, in addition to Kiryu
  • Amazing directing for grabbing the player’s attention in the right places throughout
  • Good gameplay and story integration, as well as segregation
  • New Game +, which is well executed

Gameplay Negatives:

  • Aggregate: Incredibly poorly labeled purchasable territories with no real map help. Hitbox detection issues. Sprinting feels wonky. Too many menu clicks to activate certain actions, like healing in combat. Too many invisible walls. Tedious to have to manually collect real estate money each collection cycle.

Romancing SaGa 2 Remaster

An unfortunately faithful recreation of the original SNES Romancing SaGa 2, with all the good and the bad that that implies. This is, ultimately, a decent port but not much else. If you were a fan of the original, the touched up graphics do help a little, but the content is effectively unchanged. Not recommended, unless you were a fan of the original.
Total Story Score: +2
Total Gameplay Score: -1

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses

Story Positives:

  • Awesome premise of a generational RPG, with kingdom building, expanding to gain more taxes, etc.
  • Excellent central story around the Seven Heroes
  • Individual story arcs and relevance to the Heroes
  • Choices matter and change the course of the story and events

Story Negatives:

  • Exceptionally bad flow of story in terms of directions, dialogue, etc. (one must talk to a specific NPC to unlock an area, NPCs look almost identical and most repeat irrelevant information, heavily scripted quests and events, etc.)
  • Most of the depth of the story is barely represented on screen

Gameplay Positives:

  • Saving anywhere
  • Good music throughout
  • Surprisingly good New Game + feature
  • Choices matter and change the course of the story and events

Gameplay Negatives:

  • The trash fights are too numerous, too easy, respawn too easily, and are exceptionally boring
  • There are no settings whatsoever to customize the game
  • Ultimately a lazy port from the phone version
  • Lack of proper transparency on many, many game mechanics
  • The difficulty is all over the place, with a very uneven and wonky difficulty curve, a lack of design features to accommodate its non-linear nature, and heavy randomness of player progression

Ni No Kuni 2 Revenant Kingdom

While lacking a lot of the heart, writing chops, and core thematic power of Ni No Kuni 1, this one nevertheless manages to be an enjoyable outing which is a blast to play, with tons of side stuff to occupy many hours, and a weirdly engaging kingdom building mechanic and army skirmish mode which are both primary gameplay features. A recommended buy.
Total Story Score: +1
Total Gameplay Score: +7

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses

Story Positives:

  • The entire Goldpaw section is interesting, and humorous
  • The conclusion of the Hydropolis arc was pretty powerful
  • A successful embracing of the simplistic ideal of a child’s fairy tale
  • A successful culmination of unification themes throughout, leading to an awesome finale setup as all the armies and characters you’ve gathered help you against the final bosses

Story Negatives:

  • Sudden and contrived shift from threats of grisly murder to happily joining the party
  • Unnecessary dialogue all over the place, poorly constructed sequences of events, and the story is just too simplistic
  • A sudden and out-of-nowhere time travel explanation for the sole purpose of having a twist, and the utter lack of explanation for why the First World is suddenly fine instead of a hellscape nuked land

Gameplay Positives:

  • Combat is great fun, with good iframes, auto locking without aggravation, customizable skillset, avoidance approach, fast pace, and general enjoyment
  • The skirmish RTS sections are fun, simple but not too boring, with enough options to vary playstyle, different types of maps and victory conditions, and being generally fun
  • Excellent presentation and execution of the puzzle segment early on, with a top-down visual mode, ease of resetting, ease of checking hints on the fly, and good music
  • The general art design is good, but the visual style of each locale is amazing
  • Consistently good and varied visual design throughout, deserving a second plus
  • Excellent and fluid animation across the board, with very little clipping or other normal issues
  • Very fun, despite playing for some time the game continued to be fun
  • The kingdom gameplay is well thought out, well integrated into the rest of the gameplay, and isn’t a minigame so much as a core concept
  • The finale setup and fight is just awesome, and gameplay relevant, with unified troops helping in the last skirmish fight
  • Substantive post game content with tons and tons to do, though lacking in real story relevance, none of it feels tacked on or lazy

Gameplay Negatives:

  • Several UI issues, like bad and cumbersome equipping and optimizing, removal of equipped items from other characters with no prompt or notice, occasional double clicking, and a cumbersome tactic tweaker
  • Music direction is generally inappropriate, with music too short and too looped, and in some cases not matching the tone of the area or events at all
  • Design of the difficulty curve is off, design of the leveling curve is actively bad, heavily excessive trash, and health sponge problems

Celeste

One of the best Punishing Platformers I’ve ever played, this game is properly difficult in almost every stage, with heavy use of checkpoints and quick respawns to get you back into it rapidly, and very clever puzzle design across the entire game. The game also has a hard and a super hard mode, as well as the second best difficulty options I’ve ever seen in a game. And finally the story is strangely down to earth and human while retaining the fantastical, and is both powerful and well presented. A hugely recommended buy.
Total Story Score: +4
Total Gameplay Score: +7

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses

Story Positives:

  • The Gondola sequence is great, with a visual representation and gameplay of a panic attack, servicing gameplay and being well written
  • The entire breather section has good dialogue, is obviously written by people who understand mental issues, and the second dream sequence has no penalty for failure to accent moment for main character
  • Endearing ending, and a good overall message about one’s self and finding the balance point
  • Consistent usage of literal metaphor on a magical mountain to examine psyche

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  • Excellent use of graphics and animations that aren’t retro, but use retro concepts in modern ways to good effect
  • Fantastic music direction in emphasizing challenges, areas, and story points, with lots of Yoshi Drums throughout
  • Good design on B levels, with checkpoints per screen, allowing players to look ahead, very contained per-room challenges, and being fully optional
  • Varying themes and mechanics across stages to ensure the gameplay doesn’t get boring or disinteresting
  • The second dream sequence is fantastic story / gameplay integration
  • The strawberries provide excellent optional difficulty
  • Many, many, amazing difficulty options which can be toggled individually, including setting game speed, changing stamina, a selectable number of air dashes, and outright invincibility

Gameplay Negatives:

God of War 4

This is the best God of War game I’ve played by a huge margin, somehow making an amazing, impactful, powerful, and emotionally traumatizing game out of Kratos and his interactions with those around him. While having few characters, almost all of them are well fleshed out and generally awesome. The gameplay isn’t the best, but is still fantastic, with only minor irritants and issues throughout. Eagerly looking forward to a sequel. A massively definitely recommended buy.
Total Story Score: +18
Total Gameplay Score: +9

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses

Story Positives:

  • Approach to exposition is consistently amazing, lots of showing and not telling
  • Fantastic moment of Atreus having to kill a human for the first time; his reaction to it, Kratos’ reaction to it
  • Continued development of Kratos and Atreus’ dynamic
  • Sindri and Brok are just awesome
  • The game somehow managed to make me genuinely laugh. Many times.
  • The siren light, pseudo death sequence, as Atreus’ rescue of us from within
  • The voice acting and voice directing are just damned incredible
  • The slowly developing and very natural growth of fondness and respect between Kratos and Atreus
  • The signs and ways in which Kratos shows how he really feels about Atreus; all that is, and leading up to him entrusting Atreus to Freya
  • Athena’s return was chilling, and the re-claiming of the Blades of Chaos was one of the most powerful moments of the game
  • The absolutely incredible animation, with astonishing detail in motion capture
  • The side content is meaty, fun, and good
  • Continuous and good usage of a close range, cinematic directing with few cuts in camera style during cutscenes
  • Very human and down to earth story, adding to its relatability
  • Does cliche often, but does it so well it’s amazing
  • Mimir is just damned good
  • The finale in its entirety

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  • Massive number of gameplay options, including for people with issues or disabilities
  • Multiple feasible approaches to combat, tactically
  • Attention to detail and general polish are everywhere and are amazing
  • Usage of both outlines and highlights to draw player’s attention to items, directions, or secrets
  • Incredible art design and presentation of the different realms
  • The Zelda style approach to level design, with no missable content or items, gradually improving ease of backtracking, and relative linearity with optional sections
  • The dragon boss fight was fun and amazing
  • The Magni and Modi boss fight was one of the better designed fights in the game, with both using completely different styles of attacks and coordinating against you and Atreus
  • The Blades of Chaos add a whole new dimension to the combat
  • The final boss fight with Baldur was fantastic, included callbacks to his previous fights, varied up consistently, and was enjoyably challenging
  • Fantastic animation of puzzle sequences and combat
  • When music is played it’s excellent, and music direction in cutscenes is top notch

Gameplay Negatives:

  • Lack of ability to rebind keys properly
  • Controls are just awkward enough to make playing continuously mildly annoying
  • Music direction is just off outside of cutscenes