Premieres 3


Expeditions Viking

While it’s not as strong as many other turn based, squad based, grid based tactical RPGs I can think of, it’s still a solid entry and still worth playing through at least once. A recommended sale buy.
Total Story Score: +1
Total Gameplay Score: +1
Cheats: Yes (to rename characters, and to speed up final fights)
Total Play Time: 5 Days // 32 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-8-2019

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  • Genuinely branching narrative, based on choices

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  • Positioning before battle helps setup and is affected by how, exactly the fight started
  • Overall style of combat is positive; movement and action are divorced from another, so you can move move, act move, move act, etc.
  • Good, custom difficulty options that allow you to customize specific variables of difficulty
  • Aggregate: Option to go non lethal at cost of crits, which has impact on quest battles // Clear indicators in combat UI for movement, action, and who has done what // Camping is a cool mechanic, if a little under-developed

Gameplay Negatives:

  • Absence of good music direction (many No Music or poorly done sections)
  • Once in Act 2 you are locked in party wise outside of a few new story characters. You cannot respec, remove party members, or recruit new ones
  • Aggregate: Inability to save in mid combat and usual associated problems (crashes, real life, etc.) // Inability to either confirmation click, or undo actions // Lack of information about a few key things such as range, line of sight

Chess Ultra

While there’s only so much you can do with a chess video game, this is not a good one. I strongly recommend looking into almost anything else rather than plonking down the time and money for a feature-lite Chess simulator who’s only claim to fame is 4k resolution options.
Total Story Score: 0
Total Gameplay Score: -3
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Day // 2 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-13-2019

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

Gameplay Negatives:

  • The camera controls have no real options and are bizarrely counter-intuitive
  • The Twitch integration not only didn’t work at all, but hard-locked the game
  • Aggregate: for a 10 gig game that costs $13 it doesn’t look particularly good and has issues with reflections, lens flares, and blur // It’s legitimately hard to distinguish pieces on some maps // There’s paid DLC right on the front page you can’t even click

Pokemon Shield

This was a tough one to review. This was a game I enjoyed very much, that had substantial flaws that dragged its score down. The story was rather delightful, and I really was enjoying the playthrough. I theorize this was literally developed by two teams; one who put forth a great product, and one who put forth a rushed one. And the combination is this game.
Total Story Score: +3
Total Gameplay Score: +3
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 6 Days // 58 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-22-2019

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  • Sponsor adverts, requiring a sponsor to join the challenge, actual League personnel and organization, uniforms, and a lot of general world building as well as an approach to the Gym Challenge like it’s a seasonal sporting event which is just kind of awesome
  • Team Yell is great, and in addition to not being evil, are just a delight every scene they’re in
  • The story is delightfully cheesy, and there’s no real evil people. Even scenes that would normally be ‘muwa ha ha and now I reveal my evil plan’ are more like ‘muwa ha ha and now I’m not actually evil’, it’s wonderfully wholesome
  • Multiple characters have actual character arcs throughout, including Hop, Bede, Sonia, and of course several Gym Leaders get good characterization too

Story Negatives:

  • The post game sequence is just kind of awful; deliberately irritating rich snobby people (who suffer no consequences for their actions), odd and badly designed dialogue, and general weirdness

Gameplay Positives:

  • The UI design in combat shows a great amount of info (including type effectiveness if you already have info on a pokemon)
  • There’s a good dynamic of tactics with 6 sized party and 4 moves per (Pokemon Point)
  • The music is surprisingly good
  • The music remains good throughout, not only did it not get old but they kept adding new awesome songs
  • Lots of good info in the menus and interface
  • A second interface positive, especially for the ‘access the box anywhere’ mechanic which is a godsend, and the ability to see suggestions for new pokemon to catch and where to find them
  • Raid fights are fun and neat in their own right, but also give good rewards, new chances for catching, neat boss phase style mechanics, and are fun with friends
  • The visible pokemon on the overworld map, which stay through combat, is awesome and allows you to avoid (most) RNG when looking for specific mons, removes the Trash Problem entirely, and allows you to hone in on specific enemies
  • A second positive for the visible overworld pokemon awesomeness feature
  • Some of the core ideas of the Wild Area are great, allowing you to gain local currency to by TMs and balls, lots of pokemon variety, trees, random NPCs, and raids…
  • Aggregate: The ability to search via a huge number of variables in boxes is awesome // Batch use on items // Giving the player Fly very early // Fly can access most points on the map, not just cities

Gameplay Negatives:

  • Only one save slot
  • Unskippable cutscenes
  • Lack of National Dex (note; this is something we actually debated at length during the stream, and ultimately is a more complex issue than it looks like, but it was determined that the absence of the National Dex was, ultimately, detrimental to our enjoyment of the game, hence a negative)
  • RNG of catch mechanics (Pokemon Point)
  • Walkthroughitis (Pokemon Point)
  • Literally cannot catch pokemon of certain ranges until you have an appropriate Gym Badge as opposed to any of the other alternate solutions they could do (including the one that’s existed since Gen 1)
  • …to continue from Gameplay Positive 9, the Wild Area is a very clear beta. The textures are either substandard or bad, there’s no good doodad design, it’s laggy and drops frames, and it has issues both showing and connecting with others (even when friended)
  • Aggregate: Inability to turn off XP Share // Dynamax battles just slog too much, and ultimately don’t really add much to the game // Consistent netcode issues with multiplayer features