Premieres 2

Page 1 of Premieres

Regalia of Men and Monarchs

It admittedly took me far too long to finally get around to playing this game, but for what it’s worth it was an enjoyable romp when I finally got there. I enjoy the different tactical styles, I enjoy the layers of gameplay, I like the story in general and the characters in specific. A definite recommend for any fans of tactical turn based RPGs.
Total Story Score: +4
Total Gameplay Score: +2
Cheats: No.
Total Play Time: 4 Days // 29 Hours
Time Reviewed: 4-22-2019

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  • Generally logical and reasonable dialogue and events, which make the story fit together more coherently than a lot of fiction, and helps enjoyment factor
  • Voice acting is, mostly, spot on and well done
  • The little mini-stories and choose-your-own-adventure sections are fun, with neat story tidbits
  • Generally humorous tone is fairly well done, and put me in a good mood throughout
  • Crucey is just a great character in all his appearances, and his ‘defeating’ the villain was legitimately enjoyable

Story Negatives:

  • Carren is fairly poorly written and, worse, ultimately felt completely out of place in the rest of the story for how he was represented

Gameplay Positives:

  • Option exists to alter difficulty beyond just easy and hard, and these options are available in mid-game
  • Good visual distinction in combat, good HUD information and options including (but not limited to): Movement range, Visibility of attacks, Visibility of initiative, Ability to undo movement unless hurt or committed, Available actions and cooldowns, Easy to understand hotkeys, etc.
  • Multitude of convenience options, far too many to list here
  • Gameplay-wise it’s nice to vary up the main loop of kingdom, talk, and combat with the choose-your-own-adventure tidbits, which have branching paths and stat consequences
  • The choose-your-own-adventure stuff gains a second plus for continuing to be good and, honestly, one of the better parts of the game even by the end
  • Each character has a good and varied kit, with a lot of combo options across characters, and further customization options with perks and morphs

Gameplay Negatives:

  • The game is lacking in further depth and complexity to its tactical and strategic layer; While both are good, both also lose interest the further into the game one gets
  • The lack of ability to save in mid-combat, even for emergencies, as well as inconsistent saving options (save in town but not in dungeons)
  • Aggregate: Lack of proper font scaling, or UI scaling, or related options // Voice clips on every action get very tiresome
  • Aggregate: Hitting escape does not cancel out of action, but rather brings up menu // Occasional irritation with scrolling menus completely ignoring the mousewheel // Similarly, some menus don’t acknowledge keystrokes at all // Having to click through each line of dialogue in each cutscene

Tropico 6

While there is a legitimately interesting core gameplay concept here, many issues and problems crop up constantly preventing me from really sinking my teeth into it, ultimately making me just disinterested in continuing. Maybe when the game’s gotten some expansions and patches under its belt it’ll be more recommended.
Total Story Score: +1
Total Gameplay Score: 0
Cheats: No.
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 15 Hours
Time Reviewed: 4-24-2019

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  • The humorous and parody tone was well done and funny throughout

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  • Reasonably well presented information
  • Mission scenarios are varied enough to stay fun and fresh
  • Very good options with regards to sandbox mode, with none of it requiring unlocks

Gameplay Negatives:

  • Improper and actively bad font scaling options (as is so common now days)
  • Every now and again there are incidents or problems and I have no idea why, which is immensely frustrating in a management sim. The amount of information granted is lacking regarding specific mechanics (food quality, increased revolutionaries, etc.)
  • Takes entirely too long for most things to happen, leading to long downtime periods with basically nothing to do but wait on fast forward

Pillars of Eternity 2 Deadfire

This is definitely in the running for my favorite CRPG of all time, and I mean that sincerely. The story is excellent, long, and has a lot of great world building and politics to it. The game almost completely bypasses the usual Trash Problem, and has fantastic settings and options to customize your playing experience. And it’s fully voice acted, which helps flesh it out so much. Massively recommended to any RPG, WRPG, or CRPG fan.
Total Story Score: +8
Total Gameplay Score: +5
Cheats: No.
Total Play Time: 6 Days // 48 Hours
Time Reviewed: 4-30-2019

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  • Generally good storytelling, cohesion, continuity, presentation of setting, and flow of events
  • Voice acting is superb in general, good and talented voice actors properly displaying nuance
  • Second plus for sheer quantity of good voice acting, even for minor NPCs
  • Excellent quest design across the board, with good all-roads-lead-to-Rome design
  • Well written and interesting characters, in-party and out (special praise to Xoti, Eder, and Atsura)
  • The internecine politics of the isles are, easily, the most engaging part of the story and had me hooked throughout
  • Despite an absolutely huge amount of content, the main meat of the quests never got old or disinteresting and never made me not care
  • The epilogue slides are well done, acknowledging a large amount of choices throughout the whole game, and serve as satisfying denouemont
  • Aggregate: In-dialogue mouseover lore tidbits allow unobtrusive exposition // The mini-factions within factions and how they play off each other is fun // The party quests were mostly enjoyable

Story Negatives:

  • The not-built-up, abrupt, lack of options, badly designed romance slammed into the PC out of nowhere by Xoti

Gameplay Positives:

  • Large array of options, far above and beyond the norm, for playstyle and difficulty
  • Good built-in console, allowing to fix bugs, bypass quests, adjust variables, mod, etc.
  • Excellent all-roads-lead-to-Rome quest design
  • Game has options for being as evil or good as you prefer, including being able to just kill everyone in your way (with consequences, of course)
  • Significant and ongoing effort into making the turn-based-mode viable, which drastically alters how the game plays and is very well done regardless
  • A second plus for the stellar quest design
  • A plus for completely avoiding the Trash Problem in a CRPG
  • Aggregate: Difficulty options are adjustable on the fly and apply to new zones (though not existing ones) // Little mini-events, derived from reputations, companions, and actions help flesh out gameplay

Gameplay Negatives:

  • Hard to nail down, but there are artifact design issues with the combat; these are helped by options, but these options mostly bypass the problem rather than addressing it
  • There are way, way too many areas which are just so, so dark and make it hard to see where I am, and where I’ve been
  • Aggregate: The time of day mechanic is, as usual, more of a hassle than anything // Swapping party members is needlessly time consuming and irritating // Pretty bad memory leaks and load times, leading to frequent restarts

Pathfinder Kingmaker

While the story was generally stellar, and honestly I had no complaints throughout, I absolutely cannot recommend this game without cheating unless you’re already a big fan of Pathfinder itself and, this is important, have a tremendous amount of time to spare. This game is gargantuan, even when cheating (as I ended up doing), and if played default will take literally weeks or months to get through. However, if you’re interested in a fairly true-to-Pathfinder experience, you’d be hard pressed to find something more faithful to the books than this.
Total Story Score: +8
Total Gameplay Score: 0
Cheats: Yes (Movement Speed, Auto-Crit // Turned off for bosses)
Total Play Time: 9 Days // 70 Hours
Time Reviewed: 5-9-2019

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  • Chapter 3 is more interesting in general than the previous setup; legitimately funny bits with the goblins, an interesting mystery build up with the cult, the curse, and the diseases
  • Generally good and well structured storytelling, with very few (if any) ‘because plot’ moments
  • Game does a good job of keeping track of your actions and choices to have the consequences of them show up later
  • The entire City on the Edge of Time section and its writing, voice acting, continuity, and consequence from previous choices and quests is awesome
  • The chapter 8 ‘save the kingdom’ sequence was great
  • A good epilogue, showing the consequence of virtually every individual quest done across the entire game
  • Aggregate: The ‘plague’ was brilliant in its construction for the setting // The continued emphasis on names and whom to trust in Chapter 4 was nice // Several genuinely touching moments, especially during character quests
  • Aggregate: Mouseover lore tidbits help exposition without interrupting narrative // When there is voice acting, it’s quite good // Lots of interesting background lore on the setting

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  • Lots of, and good variety of, difficulty options which can be altered on the fly
  • A second plus for truly fantastic difficulty options and curve
  • The game is a faithful, clearly well-thought-out recreation of Pathfinder and the module it’s based off of
  • The choose-your-own-adventure sections are fun and interesting, take into account skills, and have multiple branches
  • City building is good, with varying adjacency bonuses, picking and choosing what to have in which place, and generally makes the ‘keep mechanic’ better than any other game I’ve seen
  • The entire series of kingdom events, the bonuses you gain, and expanding your territory
  • Chapter 8 is fun story wise, but great gameplay wise by acknowledging your choices, and more or less forcing you to rely on those you’ve helped or hindered up until now to progress

Gameplay Negatives:

  • The default movement speed is just molassas, and became unbearable within minutes
  • The game basically cheats with its difficulty; It’s not just how unforgiving and optimized the encounters are, but enemies literally have inflated stats beyond what should be possible for their level, even on the Normal difficulty preset
  • Too much trash, too many encounters, leading to the Trash Problem
  • So I was asked to type up a full explanation of the Factory Problem and the Trash Problem since it’s so, so prevalent in this game: Each individual encounter takes quite some time to push through, and there are many, many, many encounters in the entire game. If on normal or harder these fights can be fun, engaging, and interesting, requiring tactics, knowledge of the system, and skill to defeat… but due to the sheer quantity of encounters this grows old. If cranked down to the easiest difficulty these fights become much easier but no less tedious, as you still have to slog through the same quantity of encounters. This is a nonstop problem, thus draining energy and interest in combat. There is, in short, too much trash, and that trash on any real difficulty is too aggravating for every single encounter, leading to… the Factory Problem and the Trash Problem
  • A third negative for the Factory/Trash Problem
  • A fourth negative for the Factory/Trash Problem
  • The original negative for the Factory Problem, as described above
  • Aggregate: Cannot charge out of range // Bug with slowdown tactical mode thanks to hitting the spacebar // Periodic crashes // Constant issues with button presses not going through, most notably on dialogue but also in menus // Occasionally double select party members bug // Memory leak issues requiring frequent restarts

Anthem

I don’t like to let others make opinions for me, so I tried walking into Anthem with the most neutral mindset I could manage, and after slogging through the main campaign (with help from a friend), I will say that this game is the worst game I’ve ever actually reviewed. There is extremely little redeeming about it. While I’m aware of the behind-the-scenes mess that led to this, the harsh reality is that the resultant game itself is just awful. Absolutely not recommended.
Total Story Score: -6
Total Gameplay Score: -10
Cheats: No.
Total Play Time: 3 Days // 17 Hours
Time Reviewed: 5-12-2019
Number of Crashes: 26 (roughly one crash every 39.23 minutes)

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

Story Negatives:

  • The intro is, to put it kindly, not well done… bad directing, writing, pacing, with literally missable dialogue
  • The dialogue is more cliche’d than even I can tolerate, to the point where it actively detracts from scenes
  • The voice direction is almost universally bad, with the emphasis and tone off or actively wrong
  • The tonal whiplash and utter mess of scene flow is jarring as hell
  • The script, most notably the dialogue, is filled with gaping holes and is clearly a first draft
  • The final mission was even worse than usual; ended abruptly, no payoff, no satisfaction, and then a sudden cliffhanger of all things

Gameplay Positives:

  • The double jump and jetpack mechanics for the javelins are actually really awesome, fun, and intuitive to use and control
  • There’s surprisingly good mid-mission checkpoints, and the ability to ‘rejoin’ a mission in mid-checkpoint

Gameplay Negatives:

  • An utterly unacceptable amounts of buggy, broken mess at launch
  • The basic gunplay is disinteresting, with multiple ‘types’ of guns having extremely similar sound effects, animations, and uses
  • Load times are truly terrible, even on an SSD
  • Multiple Crash To Desktops, as noted above
  • A second negative for a nonstop stream of CTDs
  • The lack of variety in mission types is discouraging and boring
  • The lack of variety in gameplay missions actually gets worse the further in you get
  • The Challenges of the Legionnaires quest is the worst kind of padding; Repetitive, open-world X of Y content farming to progress the main story
  • A second negative for the Challenges of the Legionnaires quests, which involve randomization and far too many of each objective
  • Bad implementation of the height barrier; the barrier itself is variable, it forces linear navigation, it does damage to you, it can prevent you from recovering from it, and it helps showcase how the game was not actually designed with flight in mind
  • Grouping is a pain, with group members randomly kicked after each mission
  • Aggregate: Literally lying menu options // Having to manually reset resolution after each relaunch // Many, many side bugs and issues // HUD does not show party members well at all

Enderal

It’s worth noting that while this game has many, many small issues, it’s nonetheless astonishing what a fan mod was able to accomplish within the bones of Skyrim. The main plot is reasonably well done, there are strong and powerful character moments, they try to stretch the engine as far as it can to try interesting and unique things. There are some issues related to it being a bit too ‘say a lot, mean a little’, and the difficulty curve is clearly designed with grinding in mind. Still recommended for anyone who’s a fan of the series, or WRPGs in general. Oh and be warned, there is a large amount of content in this game.
Total Story Score: +2
Total Gameplay Score: +2
Cheats: Yes (Difficulty and Power Progression Curve issues)
Total Play Time: 4 Days // 37 Hours
Time Reviewed: 5-16-2019

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  • Decent world building and background lore throughout
  • The voice acting on a few of the characters (notably Calia and Tealor) is legitimately excellent
  • The amount of effort put into the story and voice acting of a free, fan game is plus worthy
  • The layout and doodad design of cities works very well, crating a feeling of actual places you’re exploring (especially Ark)
  • The entire story around Silvergrove was great, aside from the bad voice acting
  • Brilliantly done story moments for both Calia and Jespar in their personal quests

Story Negatives:

  • The game is too talky, which really hinders pace
  • A second negative for ‘too talky’, which to elaborate; It’s when a lot of dialogue says very little, with lines that go on too long and drag the pace of a scene down, with huge, huge stretches of exposition (especially towards the end)
  • Repeated dialogue from NPCs and enemies both gets pretty bad pretty fast
  • This technically qualifies as an Aggregate but it is simply for the many, many issues that are a byproduct of this being a mod. Misleading dialogue, incorrect lines, occasional slip ups, bad directing at times, screwed up sound balance, et cetera.

Gameplay Positives:

  • The new music is actually quite good, and fits the scenes nicely
  • The console is extensive, well designed, and intuitive for searching, editing, changing, deleting, and fixing (Skyrim Point)
  • The dual ‘wield’ system allows for a good variety of builds and combat styles (Skyrim Point)
  • The general level design of dungeons, cities, and fast travel points is well done
  • Despite severe limitations of the engine, a lot of effort is expended to make interesting or creative dungeons, traps, events, and cinematics

Gameplay Negatives:

  • The difficulty curve is more or less designed to force grinding, not all builds are viable, and there is no respec option
  • There are general bugs, issues, and crashes (Skyrim Point)
  • The time-sensitive events, quests, shops, and interactions are bad by themselves, but with no proper ‘wait’ option outside of running to an inn it gets much worse
  • Moments of excessive, bad railroading
  • Aggregate: The load times are just bad // Improper menu scaling, preventing some chunks of text from even being on the sceen // Bad sound balance // Cannot deal with bards during relevant cutscenes // The not-quite-paused, not-really-interactable cutscene style is just jarring

The World Ends With You Final Remix

While absolutely not for everyone, anyone with an interest in either anime, JRPGs, or complex storytelling should probably give this game a shot. It’s fairly short by the genre’s standards, which is good because it is a massive case of Babylon 5 Effect (the story is better the second time through thanks to planning and design). The gameplay is… troubling, since it takes serious getting used to, but still works well enough for what it’s trying to do, and avoids many of the typical hurdles of JRPGs.
Total Story Score: +5
Total Gameplay Score: -1
Cheats: No.
Total Play Time: 3 Days // 20 Hours
Time Reviewed: 5-23-2019

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  • Neku’s arc, while brief, is still quite good
  • Joshua remains a fascinating character throughout the majority of the game
  • The main plot is interesting and complex, without swaying too heavily into ridiculousness
  • Multiple interesting, memorable characters who all get either unveiled or developed throughout
  • There is an absolute ton of foreshadowing, as well as a tightness to the crafting of the plot, helping the Babylon 5 Effect
  • The cheese is real, and it’s delightful

Story Negatives:

  • A few too many scenes where characters just sort of brush things off, or do sudden 180s, or otherwise causing tonal whiplash

Gameplay Positives:

  • The graphics style is very distinct, maintaining a strong comic-book mixed with graffiti aesthetic
  • Good gameplay and story integration at many points (the variance in style between Shiki and Joshua is just one example)
  • Multiple options available to avoid grinding, including but not limited to; Difficulty options, the ability to restart a fight with different setup, alternate leveling options, etc.
  • The core gameplay conceit of different inputs for different attacks is pretty fun at its heart, and helps vary playstyle
  • The difficulty options are excellent; Variable level, variable difficulty, ability to change after losing a fight, new equipment loadout, and new stuff for new strategies isn’t worthless out-of-the-box allowing for more experimentation in builds
  • The New Game + chapter select is great, and not losing progress in mid-chapter while bouncing between chapters is even better

Gameplay Negatives:

  • Excessive and over-long tutorialization for almost all of Week 1
  • Unskippable cutscenes (until you’ve already beaten the game)
  • Enforced ironman mode, and only one save slot
  • The Switch docked controls are just… not good. They require precision, especially on harder stuff, and the controls can’t even come close to that
  • The amount of mechanics regarding the many, many systems are just over the top and, worse, don’t gel well with each other at all
  • The dialogue spam during boss fights is worse than usual, and gets worse further into the game
  • The obtuse grind wall in A New Day is stupid, badly designed, and far too heavy on Walkthroughitis

Pokemon Let's Go

This is one of the weirder games I’ve reviewed. It’s not bad, but I can’t really call it good either. It does several things very right, and many things very wrong. I can’t even tell you which audience it’s aimed for exactly. In general I don’t think I recommend it, but if you already have a copy it’s worth playing through. The story isn’t great but it’s better than the original, and the overall pokemon design is still acceptable.
Total Story Score: +1
Total Gameplay Score: +2
Cheats: No.
Total Play Time: 4 Days // 27 Hours
Time Reviewed: 5-28-2019

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  • The story is, in general, light hearted and fun, but also connects with Sun / Moon in several ways, and has several nice moments peppered throughout

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  • The dynamic between 4 moves and 6 Pokemon and the many factors related thereto lead to some great pre-combat strategy (Pokemon Point)
  • Good presentation of most of the necessary information, including but not limited to; moves, items, IVs, and stats
  • The game is very easy to play, for the very young who might be interested in getting started in the franchise
  • Visible pokemon on the overworld map, which stay through combat, is awesome and allows you to; Avoid the RNG of looking for specific mobs, remove the Trash Problem entirely, and allows you to home in on a specific enemy
  • A second plus for the visible encounter system (including how Repel just prevents spawning, how easy it is to avoid encounters, visible status changes between Huge and Little, etc.)
  • Aggregate: Some good convenience features, such as accessing the Pokemon Box anywhere, using the R keys instead of A, etc. // Music is nice and bouncey and fits the mood
  • Aggregate: Core gameplay loop is the usually enjoyable Pokemon standard // Reasonably well done difficulty curve, assuming you avoid the xp that is flung at you // Graphics are surprisingly detailed, with good terrain and background design

Gameplay Negatives:

  • Randomness in catching mechanics (Pokemon Point)
  • Only one save file, which is just ridiculous for a modern Switch game
  • The motion controls for capturing are genuinely aggravating, and made me want to stop capturing at all halfway through
  • Aggregate: Lack of any real difficulty options or ability to disable Experience Share // Far too many button presses required for many options // No memory cursor // Tree regrowth and no shortcuts for HM equivalents // Timers for legendary fights are hindered by animation time