Unfamiliar


Fallout 1

Normally I’d say ‘the story’s good but the gameplay sucks’ here, but honestly the story is a bit lacking too. Don’t mistake me, the atmosphere is great, and this game deserves credit for effectively starting the CRPG genre, but it just did not hold up as well as I was hoping. More worth a playthrough for the history than the game itself.
Type Of Review: Unfamiliar Run
Total Story Score: +6
Total Gameplay Score: -26
Golden Number: -11.13
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 12.45 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-5-2022
Modifiers: CRPG Codifier

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Cinematic: The Opening does a lot very quickly. The two soldiers executing the man on the street (and being totally unashamed of it as they wave at the camera), the robot walking the dog for you, the super expensive car because hyperinflation, etc.
  2. Voice Acting: While infrequent, the voice acting that’s there is quite good
  3. Outro: Visual storytelling of the Cathedral
  4. Character: The Master, mostly off camera, but still a fascinating and unique villain
  5. Atmosphere: The game does do one thing very well; atmosphere. It oozes the bleak, pointless, grey, dull nature of the wastes from every pore, musically and visually
  6. World Building: Similarly a reasonable amount of thought is put into what fits where and how, to make the wastes feel believable
  7. Outro: The ending slides acknowledging your choices are neat little things

Story Negatives:

  1. Outro: The actual ending (being kicked out of the vault) can honestly go to hell, especially since there’s no real way around it

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Choices: While not as fleshed out as some later games, there’s still some decent options in choices gameplay
  2. Core Mechanic: The game is quite good about letting you choose decisions that permanently alter the world state, and logically following through on those consequences
  3. Overworld: The early Overworld design is actually quite tight; a clear indicator of where to go, which will naturally lead you to the first town, which will naturally branch from there, and so on until you have the water chip
  4. Guidance and Flow of Exploration: Early on there’s a clear flow to what can be done where and how
  5. All Roads Lead To Rome: While not as much as later entries, there are still quite a few ways you can progress through the game (usually on the three spokes of ‘sneak, talk, kill’)
  6. Choices: Bonus points for the existence of the Low INT Playthrough
  7. Outro: The multiple choices and design of the Cathedral ‘final dungeon’
  8. Replayability: Between the quest pathing and the builds, the game has decent replayability

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Controls: The right click ‘mode of interaction’ system is the worst control system I have ever seen in a video game…
  2. Controls: …earning…
  3. Controls: …three negatives
  4. Options: Total lack of rebinding capabilities
  5. Interface: The entirety of the inventory system is the worst I have ever seen in gaming history. The one line of inventory, total lack of any search or filter, by itself…
  6. Interface: …deserves…
  7. Interface: …three negatives
  8. Interface: Then there’s the basic interface itself. Very little convenience or quality of life features, no ability to cross connect between windows or modes (small example; You can only tell your carrying capacity on the character screen, not the inventory screen)…
  9. Interface: …earning it…
  10. Interface: …three negatives
  11. Interface: Then there’s the companion interactions, which are frustrating for other reasons but my favorite part is the total lack of proper ability to… interact with them, outside of too few dialogue options or literally stealing from them to give them items…
  12. Interface: …earning two negatives
  13. Party AI: Then there’s the party AI which is… exactly what you’d expect from a game from 1997
  14. Enemy AI: Ditto for the enemy AI, which is not super great
  15. HUD: The little text interface in the corner has entirely too few possible characters and is entirely too irritating to navigate
  16. HUD: Also the quest log, if you can call it that, isn’t… THE worst I’ve seen… but it’s pretty bad
  17. Map: I’m not even sure if it counts calling the in-cell area map a ‘map’ but it’s awful, and the ‘motion detector’ does not help anything
  18. QoL: General negative for irritations of life
  19. Core Mechanic: So as with all old PC games, the pathfinding is legitimately terrible… though I have seen worse…
  20. Core Mechanic: …earning two negatives
  21. Visual Distinction: The game is brown and boring and drab and too samey and entirely too hard to see what you’re looking at in almost every area….
  22. Visual Distinction: …being one of the worst games for visual distinction I’ve ever seen
  23. Visual Distinction: Then there’s the ‘facing wall’ problem, which is THE worst I’ve ever seen of its ilk. You get a tiny circle of visibility around you, even in a room you are currently in, and this wouldn’t be an issue if both game and characters were fond of being right up against that wall…
  24. Visual Distinction: …earning…
  25. Visual Distinction: …three negatives
  26. Core Mechanic: The pixel hunting is weird in this game. It’s not like it’s hard to find stuff (well, it is, but that’s a previous negative) but being able to CLICK the correct thing is entirely too aggravating, often misclicking or straight up missing someone…
  27. Core Mechanic: …earning…
  28. Core Mechanic: …three negatives
  29. Too Skippable: Entirely too easy to totally miss out on dialogue, quests, or otherwise via accidental dialogue interaction
  30. Info In Game: There is a massive lack of info problem in game. I’ve seen worse, but this is just… not great, usually requiring manual inspection to learn anything of worth
  31. Guidance and Flow: The latter half of the game honestly falls apart pretty hard, especially in contrast to the tight design of the first half
  32. HUD: So, there’s (almost) no way to tell which NPCs are which. This, ironically, wouldn’t even be a problem except they pepper most maps with generic NPCs to make areas feel more lived in, so finding the people who will actually talk to you is just a chore that involves slowly mouseovering each person individually and manually, and even that has issues with it. Overall finding who to talk to is far more of a pain then it should be…
  33. HUD: …earning itself…
  34. Hud: …three negatives

Fallout 2

Okay so… all the interface issues from the last game remain (though some are barely touched up), but the core game design and core story are much stronger. You can see the bones of what would become the Obsidian standard here; great story, interesting gameplay, and bugs. Definitely recommend at least giving it a shot.
Type Of Review: Unfamiliar Run
Total Story Score: +26
Total Gameplay Score: -9
Golden Number: 39.44
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 4 Days // 26.55 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-11-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Voice Acting: While there’s not a lot of it, the voice acting is pretty legit
  2. Doodads: Actual proper usage of doodads in several towns
  3. Humor: While famous for it, it’s not that prolific… but the game does still make me laugh now and again
  4. Atmosphere: While not as bleak as the first game, there’s still definitely some hopelessness vibes going in this one
  5. Internal Continuity: As will be mentioned later, the game does a pretty good job of keeping track of itself…
  6. Internal Continuity: …earning two positives
  7. Dialogue: Dialogue is surprisingly well written throughout…
  8. Dialogue: …earning two positives
  9. Character: First Citizen Lynette is a great example of … what she is
  10. Character: Marcus is fascinating in how he is, still, a true believer in his cause… he just also moved on and is pragmatic enough to deal with the now
  11. Character: Generally good supporting cast throughout
  12. Prime Opt: Modoc quests
  13. Prime Opt: Everything to do with Vault City
  14. Prime Opt: The NCR town which has literal slave pens not that far outside its borders
  15. World Building: New Reno is easily the most well fleshed out portion of the game, and it shows
  16. Characters: New Reno’s cast gets special mention for their usage and uniqueness
  17. Character: Sgt Dornan. ‘Nuff said
  18. Brickwork: Generally good brickwork throughout
  19. Plot: Slow but steady build up of Enclave
  20. World Building: Redding and the NCR backing their currency in gold (leading to Redding’s wealth and situation)
  21. Consequence Storytelling: Almost every major decision you make in every major town doesn’t just affect that town, but others as well, in ways that make sense
  22. World Building: So the way the major towns are interconnected deserves its own positive for the level of complexity involved. Vault City has medical tech and a successful GECK usage, Redding has gold but none of the stability, GECKO has power but none of the expertise, Broken Hills has mining but species issues, NCR is expanding but needs everything, and New Reno has drugs and is controlled by crime families. All of these points link with each other and make the whole region feel well thought out and believable…
  23. World Building: …earning…
  24. World Building: …three positives by itself
  25. Prime Opt: Broken Hills is unfortunately well written, as instead of the two ‘sides’ working together for mutual benefit, Francis and Jacob are both doing everything in their power to kill off the other side, to everyone’s detriment
  26. External Continuity: Good follow through on the events of 1
  27. Writing: Generally well written
  28. Character: Richardson is… fantastically evil, he is the Enclave in one conversation, and really so earnest about how flat he is

Story Negatives:

  1. Atmosphere: The game… is really unnecessarily crude, all the time, to the point where it actively detracts from the narrative
  2. Intro: The Intro is… honestly quite weak

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Core Mechanic: As with the first game, there’s definitely some permanent consequences your actions can and do have
  2. Overworld: While not as obvious at first glance, there’s still definitely some overworld design to the flow of things (you’re inclined east first, which leads you further east and then south east, which leads you south, which leads you west, which takes you to San Fran, and finally to Navarro and the end game)
  3. Choices: So the Low INT playthrough is back! And it’s better than ever, with lots of fun and unique options…
  4. Choices: …leading to two positives
  5. All Roads Lead To Rome general
  6. Encounter: There’s noticeably more actual encounter design on display here
  7. Enemy Variety: Similarly, there’s actual variance into what you fight and how they operate
  8. ARLTR: The Den has, surprise, good spread of choices in gameplay
  9. ARLTR: Generally good ARLTR in Modoc, GECKO, and Vault City
  10. Choices: Now New Reno, this is where the quest design really shines. There are lots of ways to do New Reno, with lots of permutations. It’s easily the best designed location in the game, and for this one section alone…
  11. Choices: …earns…
  12. Choices: …three positives
  13. Core Mechanic: This is a weird one, but Fallout 2 has a lot of unique ways to kill people. Reverse pickpocketing is probably the most famous, but the various options and their multitude of uses throughout the game AND the fact that the game acknowledges these…
  14. Core Mechanic: …earns two positives
  15. Choices: So, generally fantastic choice gameplay throughout the game…
  16. Choices: …earning…
  17. Choices: …three positives
  18. Prime Opt: There’s some issues, but Navarro is in general unique and fun to progress through
  19. QoL: The car is nice… not for the travel time (though there is that), but mostly for that wonderful mobile trunk space
  20. Prime Opt: Redding and Broken Hills quests
  21. Replayability: The game is generally replayable, mostly due to the massive number of options and possible routes…
  22. Replayability: …earning two positives
  23. Outro: The Rig is, similar to the Cathedral, pretty legit; lots of options and routes, all of which are viable and most of which aren’t even mutually exclusive

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Intro: The tutorial dungeon is literally one of the worst I’ve ever seen. The fact that it was made in a couple of days really highlights all this, but whatever the reason, it still turbo sucks. Too little of… anything really, too little design, too little interactions, too little enemy variety, too many enemies, too reliant on only a couple of build possibilities, and worst of all the whole thing is mandatory…
  2. Intro: …earning it…
  3. Intro: …three negatives
  4. Level: Klamath rat dungeon. Too long, too linear, too narrow, too samey, too many encounters which are too boring
  5. Controls: So it’s been slightly improved from the previous game, earning the control system…
  6. Controls: …two negatives
  7. Interface: The inventory system is slightly better than before (new items go to the top, for example) but still remains one of the worst inventory systems ever for all the same reasons…
  8. Interface: …earning two negatives
  9. Interface: Similarly the core interface has a few QoL improvements…
  10. Interface: …pushing it up to two negatives
  11. HUD: The little text log in the corner retains the ‘too few characters, too irritating to navigate’ problems
  12. Party AI: The party members are… not smart, even with the additional options
  13. Enemy AI: The enemy AI suffers the same problems from 1
  14. Quest Log: The quest log is still not great
  15. Map: The map retains the problems from 1
  16. Pathfinding: The pathfinding is still pretty bad…
  17. Pathfinding: …earning two negatives
  18. Visual Distinction: The facing wall problem returns…
  19. Visual Distinction: …earning two negatives
  20. Visual Distinction: More of the pixel hunting problem from 1 in trying to interact with the right parts (noticeable examples; ladders and corpses)…
  21. Visual Distinction: …earning two negatives
  22. QoL: A special mention for how irritating it is to loot vaporized people
  23. Info In Game: Still lacking
  24. Visual Distinction: NPCs are still indistinct and still hard to tell whom to talk to when…
  25. Visual Distinction: …earning two negatives
  26. Bug: So… when playing in windowed mode, the game just kind of freezes periodically during combat animations every round. It gets worse the more enemies there are, and alt tabbing makes it worse, but there’s no resolving it outside of just playing fullscreen. This problem is nonstop and more than simply being irritating it actually frustrates combat…
  27. Bug: …earning two negatives
  28. Difficulty Curve: High level stuff turns into a bit of rocket tag as their armor is so great crits or armor avoidance becomes key, and they can kill you instantly with one lucky shot
  29. QoL: The fact that you can permanently lose your car just on the overworld is… what?
  30. Padding: Seconds in minutes (interactions, putting away guns, etc.)
  31. Padding: Padding (do a quest to do a quest)
  32. Music: This is more about music direction than anything, but most areas have exactly one song with too short a loop that plays for HUGE swaths of time without variation

real Myst Masterpiece

I’m not going to lie, there’s not much to this game. But it’s inoffensive, has some inventive and unique puzzles, and is fascinating for how important it was historically, so if you get a chance I definitely recommend a playthrough.
Type Of Review: Unfamiliar Run
Total Story Score: +4
Total Gameplay Score: +1
Golden Number: 13.75
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 4.45 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-12-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Acting: I’ll go ahead and say that, while cheesy, the performances are enjoyable
  2. Visual Storytelling: The Mechanical Age really does some good stuff to get across the personalities of the brothers
  3. Storytelling Mechanic: The readable books in the library (which also serve as hints)
  4. Foreshadowing: The Rime sequence has some good storytelling, visual and otherwise, and honestly does a better job foreshadowing Riven than the main game did
  5. Brickwork: The game looks quite good, admittedly it’s the remaster but still

Story Negatives:

  1. Dialogue: There’s entirely too much weird repetition in the dialogue between the three principle characters

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Level: Space Age conceptually is a pretty neat puzzle idea
  2. Info In Game: Built in, gradient hint system…
  3. Info In Game: …worthy of two positives
  4. Levels: The Stoneship and the Mechanical Age puzzles were reasonably fun and interesting

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Level: The Piano puzzle can go straight to hell
  2. Level: Space Age practically is an awful puzzle idea, not really doing the type of tutorialization or presentation necessary to make it click… this is in addition to how long it takes and how easy it would be to get lost in there
  3. Seconds In Minutes: There is some SERIOUS delay that stretches the game out thanks to how every single little thing takes a couple seconds of animation to actually happen

Tecmo's Secret Of The Stars

This is the third worst game I’ve ever played. It is currently the worst game I’ve reviewed, surpassing Quest 64 and Mega Man X7. This is a beautifully perfect example of how not to do an RPG and I highly recommend studying it for that reason alone.
Type Of Review: Unfamiliar Run
Total Story Score: -27
Total Gameplay Score: -72
Golden Number: -60.51
Cheats: Yes (grind grind grind)
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 14.72 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-15-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. So bad it’s good… cuz I mean… We must stop the evil of Homcruze!
  2. Honestly I’m going to give a second positive for it because this is… this is something else

Story Negatives:

  1. Intro: Technically speaking I may have seen intros as bad as this in gaming, but this one is very bad. No prelude of any substance, wake up and the literal first dialogue interaction is ‘as you know’, the entire thing is severely on rails, there’s no reason or motive for anything we do, no characters to speak of, no establishment of anything other than Tom Cruise who is the great evil one (for no reason), it’s an incoherent mess…
  2. Intro: …earning…
  3. Intro: …three negatives
  4. Dialogue: We’ll get to localization in a second, but even ignoring that there is an egregious amount of As You Know being flung all over the place
  5. Dialogue: Made even worse by the sheer amount of repetition in dialogue. No one can just say something, they have to repeat it at least twice
  6. Localization: Probably the reason this game has any notoriety at all, and honestly part of the biggest story appeal to it, but being real; this localization is bad. Really, really bad. Even with the ‘for the time’ excuse this is among the worst JRPG localizations I’ve seen…
  7. Localization: …earning it…
  8. Localization: …three negatives
  9. Cutscene Incompetence: An old SNES RPG does not get a pass on cutscene incompetence. Just standing there while the villain (slowly) walks over to blow up your island is ridiculous (there are other examples, but that one particularly sticks out)
  10. Characters: An absence of characters
  11. Theme: An absence of theme
  12. Plot: There’s a plot?
  13. World Building: There’s a world??
  14. Internal Continuity: The game makes NO sense even with itself. Ignoring obvious things like a VULCAN MINIGUN being a slight upgrade over a sword, or weird technological inconsistency, the way the towns don’t even function or acknowledge each other gets stark at a certain point
  15. Brickwork: Okay so… I spent a good 20 some odd minutes comparing and contrasting other games (mostly EARLIER games) and really, really going in depth into tile, color, doodad, and visual design and pretty definitely earned giving this…
  16. Brickwork: …three…
  17. Brickwork: …negatives
  18. Visual Storytelling: Then there’s the atrocious layout of… honestly just everything. Nothing feels like a city or a town or a dungeon or a fortress, it’s all just crap, it completely takes me out of the game…
  19. Visual Storytelling: …earning…
  20. Visual Storytelling: …three negatives
  21. Plot: So Tom Cruise is an artificial person from the future. … … …sure
  22. Outro: Humor aside, that ending is brief and bad and unsatisfying and stupid and literally ignores the second party…
  23. Outro: …earning two negatives
  24. Animation: Some of the sprite animations actively make scenes worse
  25. Doodads: I’ve seen worse, but this is really bad doodad design…
  26. Doodads: …earning two negatives for sheer barren awfulness
  27. Story Sequencing: ….what??
  28. Story Sequencing: ….what?!?
  29. Visual Continuity: There are areas that literally look like you entered a dimensional portal, not a door into a building

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Penalty For Failure: Lose half your gold, but otherwise just go back to the last town you visited
  2. Fast Travel: Color me shocked, but the game has a decent fast travel system… basically Dragon Quest’s standard warp around spell system
  3. Auto-Battle: The built in auto-battle auto fights, but actually has enough of a brain to heal when needed, however…

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Intro: I’ve probably seen worse Intros than this, but… severe walkthroughitis, unclear interactions, a literal optional boss encounter that vanishes if you lose to it, a long boring dungeon followed by a stat wall boss, all done with a single party member in a game designed around multiple party members, all the starter gear is obnoxiously expensive and barely an upgrade, just… the worst…
  2. Intro: …leading to…
  3. Intro: …three negatives
  4. Auto-Battle: …the auto-battle is actively detrimental, only worth using when you’re mindlessly mulching. It deliberately randomizes targets, so no focus fire, and has no priority of mana usage or turn order when it comes to healing or attacking
  5. MSQ: No access to vendors or other town amenities during the entire Badbad arc…
  6. MSQ: …including the basic ability to save the game anywhere but at the home hub
  7. Inventory: Items don’t stack and inventory size is 32
  8. Inventory: Also to access inventory there’s no QoL at all, you have to select, then switch, then switch, then select, for anything
  9. Core Mechanic: Second party issues (separate leveling, separate gold, separate inventory, no trading)
  10. Core Mechanic: Also it’s an entire segment of the game which is effectively worthless
  11. Core Mechanic: …also there’s second party-only dungeons (and parts of dungeons) which only serve the point of getting more gear and levels on a team you not only have no reason to use, but actively can’t in several plot dungeons
  12. Walkthroughitis: The entire key section is walkthroughitis hell
  13. Level: The maze is just… bonkers stupid. At least they warn you about bringing a rat-tail
  14. Level: The mining cave dungeon is… honestly it’s like most of the levels in this game, but it’s one of the longer ones so it’s a bit worse
  15. Mid-Mission Checkpoints: Lack of saves in nice long dungeons…
  16. Mid-Mission Checkpoints: …frequently
  17. Grind: Party members start at low level with NOTHING to mitigate this…
  18. Grind: …and this NEVER stops the whole game
  19. Info In Game: Good luck figuring out what equipment does what, nevermind the fact that it has legitimately bad showcasing of what stats are good in what direction, and even that requires you to already have the item and attempt to equip it
  20. Info In Game: Mechanics are essentially not explained at all. Good luck figuring out what vulns are, or the special hits, or the speed stat
  21. Graphics Fidelity: This game is ugly. This game is ugly for a NES game. There’s no excuses here; while NES JRPGs didn’t exactly look great, this game came out after FFIV and FFV…
  22. Graphics Fidelity: …except I typed up the earlier thing before I did a side by side comparison and good lord when FFMQ looks better than you (and came out earlier!) there’s no excuse…
  23. Graphics Fidelity: …earning three negatives
  24. Guidance and Flow: Good luck figuring out where is what and how to interact with it. It’s kind of the usual old JRPG trigger problem, but worse in every way…
  25. Guidance and Flow: …earning two negatives
  26. Music: There are a couple of songs that aren’t terrible
  27. Music: …but then there’s the short loops and extended sections of one song
  28. Guidance and Flow: This is a weird one, but most games have what’s called feedback. It’s how you know you can do, are doing, or did something to interact with the game world. Good feedback is a whole thing by itself and a principle of game design. It’s VERY rare I encounter a game, even amongst bad games, that has an ABSENCE of feedback like this
  29. Power Progression Curve: Yeah so each level barely makes you stronger. And gear barely makes you stronger. And it all takes forever, AND each new ‘area’ is awful and barely survivable until you drag yourself up into the yellow line…
  30. Power Progression Curve: …not the worst I’ve seen, but pretty damned bad
  31. Difficulty Curve: Speaking of which, the difficulty bounces absolutely all over the place. In fact it legitimately feels like it wasn’t playtested, like, at all… I’ve seen worse though
  32. Encounter Rate: I can actually think of several (better!) games that have worse encounter rates, but it’s still about 1-8 steps, and that’s still pretty bad…
  33. Encounter Rate: …earning two negatives
  34. Core Combat: Core combat is like the worst of all worlds from Dragon Quest and FFMQ. I won’t bore you with specifics, but having to select fight, person, option, spell, strength of spell, target, yes, every single turn gets pretty old
  35. Interface: Special mention to just how bad the menu looks and operates
  36. Interface: And then there’s the controls and design of the menu (‘back’ doesn’t always work, the game only uses A and B so a lot of buttons pull double duty in ways that make no sense, the layout is bad, the visual distinction is bad, you have to bounce between menus to check stuff, etc.)
  37. Grind: There’s no getting around this; this game is grindy. Even for JRPG standards this game is grindy. “Stop the game for 30-60 minutes per new area” grindy. I’ve only seen one game worse than this, so…
  38. Grind: …this game will get…
  39. Grind: … a full three negatives for grind
  40. Difficulty Curve: Special mention to the fact that occasionally one enemy can just decide to ruin your day because screw you
  41. Itemization: I’m hard pressed to think of a worse itemized RPG across the board. The dungeon items are insufficient for the range you’re at when you do them, the mob drops are infrequent and suffer the same problem, vendor prices are through the roof, in some cases you literally don’t have access to proper vendors, and items are a scaling chunk of your stats. Overall itemization gets…
  42. Itemization: …a full…
  43. Itemization: …three negatives
  44. MSQ: The desert oasis segment is already bad (no indication of how the ‘maze’ works or what to do on it, while boring music plays, while on the worst tileset of the entire game)…
  45. MSQ: …earning two negatives
  46. Saves: The fact that you can only save at the save dude is problematic on several levels
  47. Unskippable Cutscenes: They’re brief, but they’re there
  48. Map: Total absence of an in game map (we solved this SIX YEARS ago with a previous console)
  49. Overworld: I’ve seen worse, but I’ve seen better too
  50. Music: The music restart problem continues to plague early gaming
  51. Walkthroughitis: The golden nail. Enough said
  52. Enemy Variety: There’s two types of enemies. Ones with magic and ones without…
  53. Enemy Variety: …yep
  54. Level: Booth Castle. Very, very samey design, bad palette, tons of encounters, easy to get lost, trick overheads, and teleporters. What more can I say…
  55. Level: …earning two negatives
  56. Graphics: I’m not sure where to classify this but this game is eye cancer. It literally is headache and nausea inducing in its visual design, even ignoring the flashing lights issues, there’s just areas (like the moai, or the ocean) that are just BAD…
  57. Graphics: …earning two negatives
  58. Level: Did I mention Gara’s castle? The eye cancer that is Gara’s Castle? Screw that place so hard…
  59. Level: …though it’s not as bad as Booth’s place
  60. Level: So, Steeler’s Lab is the worst level to-date. Which is saying something. Usual enemies and encounter rate problem, combined with boring grey problem, on top of being a teleporter maze… yeah…
  61. Level: …earning…
  62. Level: …three negatives
  63. Level: The Kustera radioactive dungeons
  64. Walkthroughitis: The five radioactive items required for the final dungeon are BONKERS. Nothing, anywhere, tells you you need something to power the ship. Nothing, anywhere, tells you what you need even if you somehow knew you needed something to begin with. Nothing, anywhere, tells you where to go to get the items in question. And they’re in Kustera only dungeons (sure hope you’ve been leveling them!) which cannot use the airship. This is… the single worst walkthroughitis event I have seen in gaming, earning it itself…
  65. Walkthroughitis: …three…
  66. Walkthroughitis: …negatives
  67. Outro: The dull, boring corridors of the final dungeon combined with the same damned dungeon song we’ve had the whole game
  68. Outro: Then of course the actual final dungeon is a blank black space with a dirt road going through it to represent going down the volcano…
  69. Outro: …which is both boring and somehow aggravating
  70. Outro: Theeeen there’s the fact that you get to do the final spiral twice, because the first time you lose to Tom Cruise (mandatory) and have to go do some padding and then go all the way BACK down then talk to a CHAIR to start the first of the final boss fights
  71. Outro: Okay yeah that final boss (both forms) can go straight to hell
  72. Hub: Generally bad town layout (and the home town keeps changing its layout)
  73. Visual Distinction: There are so, so many examples of not knowing what you can interact with, what items are where, and of course grey on grey on grey action…
  74. Visual Distinction: …and grey…
  75. Visual Distinction: …aaand grey

Star Wars Bounty Hunter

The story’s surprisingly decent for how honestly awful the game is. Oh it starts off fine, and you start to get used to the wild controls and the lunatic camera, but then the platforming and the bad level design and the endless waves of the same enemies just get worse as you go in. I would… not recommend this one.
Type Of Review: Unfamiliar Run
Total Story Score: +7
Total Gameplay Score: -26
Golden Number: -11.14
Cheats: Yes (savestates and Youtube because hand pain)
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 8.05 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-16-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. VA: Generally good voice acting throughout
  2. Character: Rozatta is weirdly well written and acted and kind of shines on her own
  3. Character: Okay so this is going to sound weird, but Roz actually adds to Jango’s character by how they interact and how he reacts to her
  4. Character: A surprisingly strong batch of side and supporting characters throughout
  5. Brickwork: It’s a bit drab, but there’s still obvious effort and design into the visuals of the various worlds throughout
  6. Atmosphere: The cult areas do a good job of selling how creepy and messed up the cult is
  7. MSQ: Big plus for the first cult level does a lot right; visually, atmosphere, the recitation by Rozatta as you progress
  8. External Continuity: The way the game keeps things quietly and low tier in the background works quite well in the confines of Star Wars
  9. Humor: Okay so the out-takes are legitimately amusing and deserve to be watched

Story Negatives:

  1. Cutscene Incompetence: It’s infrequent but there’s a few here and there and a lot of the cutscenes just do not work
  2. Dialogue: I wasn’t going to say anything but the dialogue gets noticeably worse the further into the game you get

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Kit: A decent variety of equipment which has their own varying uses (homing rockets, autofire repeaters, grenades, instant kill charge use darts, etc.)
  2. Kit: For all the control issues the game has in general, the jetpack is still some janky fun
  3. Level: Probably the only good level in the game, the Moon of the Dead uses its colors, platforming, and enemy swarms to much better effect
  4. Mid Mission Checkpoints: Generally good, visible checkpoints (saves your ‘progress’ too)

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Controls: Having to mash to put out a decent fire output
  2. Controls: Having to hold R or L 1 or 2 while constantly hitting other buttons rapid fire is hand cringing
  3. Controls: On top of all of this, Jango’s movement is janky as hell, even worse when he starts to jump
  4. Visual Distinction: Lots of dull browns in the first few levels and little clear indicator of interactables
  5. Intro: The Intro is not good gameplay wise; It’s not the worst I’ve seen, but there are issues with flow, enemy spam, camera issues, and platforming issues
  6. Level: First Coruscant level
  7. Map: Lack of map/minimap
  8. Level: The cargo containers jumping puzzle is okay… in a game with proper controls and a camera that’s not constantly bugging out on you
  9. Level: The outside Coruscant level has a wonderful combination of enemy spam and finicky platforming
  10. Level: Enemy spam upon enemy spam in the prison riot level
  11. Camera: The camera is janky and likes to warp around wildly…
  12. Camera: …in addition to being awful to control
  13. Audio Spam: Weirdly it’s not the sound effects, it’s the dialogue from the infinite wave of mobs
  14. Level: The final escape mission can go straight to hell…
  15. Level: …having to do certain reactor segments in order…
  16. Level: …and each reactor is near copy paste of the previous ones
  17. Level: Also the final escape level requires killing certain specific guards. Nothing indicates this anywhere, and it’s never been done before, and it’s completely uninformed in the level itself, oh and enemies respawn infinitely and have the entire game
  18. Penalty For Failure: Lives system and redoing entire levels
  19. Level: The jungle trek level can go straight to hell, first with the enemy spam…
  20. Level: …and second with the awful sniper escort section
  21. Controls: The decision to essentially enforce constantly holding down R1 or R2 means anyone, of any age or physical aptitude, is going to slowly wear their hand out as the constant tension causes physical pain the longer you play the game
  22. Boss: The ‘large vehicle with breakable parts’ boss design isn’t great and there’s quite a few of them
  23. Boss: Montross gets special points for boringness
  24. Level: The Death Stick Factory level has tight platforming in a janky game with janky camera with dull difficult to see gray graphics over a lava floor while snipers shoot at you. This is… not good…
  25. Level: …easily earning two negatives
  26. Boss: Monstross 2? Still boring… MORE boring, actually
  27. Level: Tatooine 1 is a nice long jetpackless shooty gauntlet
  28. Outro: So yeah that… was not impressive. I’ve seen worse, but a dull chase against the same general melee type with a few unique scripts and that’s kind of … it
  29. Enemy Variety: So there’s people with blasters, melee guys, animals, and snipers. Yeah…
  30. Difficulty Curve: There are some absolutely wild difficulty spikes and troughs in this game

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon

Easily the best Far Cry game I’ve played to date. Highly recommend.
Type Of Review: Unfamiliar Run
Total Story Score: +15
Total Gameplay Score: +11
Golden Number: 81.38
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 5.62 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-19-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Cinematic: The opening cinematic does a wonderful job of setting the style and tone
  2. Storytelling Mechanic: The uniquely well done, ‘awful’ cinematics are great
  3. Intro: The ‘tutorial’ at the beginning was funnier than I thought it’d be
  4. Intro: And the whole Intro does exactly what it needs to, setting up the entire rest of the game…
  5. Intro: …earning two positives
  6. Voice Acting: Wasn’t sold on it at first, but the voice acting is pretty decent
  7. Brickwork: Visual flair adding to…
  8. Atmosphere: …atmosphere
  9. Animation: Ridiculously over the top
  10. Moment: Punching the reactor and subsequent fallout
  11. Moment: The video games speech deserves its own mention
  12. Dialogue: It’s cheesy, but surprisingly well written
  13. Sound Design: Fits the aesthetic perfectly
  14. Character: Rex is delightfully cheesy
  15. Humor: Generally amusing game

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Intro: Fun, interesting, and to the point
  2. Core Combat: Stealth takedowns and takedown chains
  3. Viscerality: For all the visual noise problems, the game does have surprisingly good audio and visual viscerality…
  4. Viscerality: …earning two positives
  5. Music: Yeah okay, the music is boppin’…
  6. Music: …two positives
  7. Mid-Mission Checkpoints: Actually pretty well done overall
  8. Kit: The gun variety is decent
  9. Kit: …but the ridiculous and awesome upgrades are what really sell it
  10. Enemy: Most of the enemies are whatever, but the Dragons are nicely designed
  11. Enemy AI: Okay, we all make fun of it, but the AI being able to navigate these tight bases, stairs, and still pursue and fight is impressive
  12. HUD: There’s honestly a lot of good info on display immediately on the HUD…
  13. HUD: …earning two positives
  14. Fast Travel: Generally good fast travel
  15. Spritework: Yeah, it works for the aesthetic
  16. Info In Game: You can find what you need and where entirely within the game
  17. Guidance and Flow of Exploration: There’s plenty to collect, multiple ways to find it, and it’s worthwhile
  18. MSQ: The escalating awesomeness of the infinite ammo Mortal Kombat section
  19. Outro: The final assault on the base as a hyperbeam moment

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Bug: The fact that the game insists on trying to connect with the servers (which do not exist) when you fire it up or pop into the menu, freezing the game while it tries, is stupid
  2. Bug: And the necessary steps to prevent this are stupid too
  3. Animation: The game locks you into some actions (or out of others) while doing the animations, which can get frustrating and essentially clog down combat
  4. Visual Noise: There’s really a… lot of crap on the screen. Glares, scanlines, neon colors everywhere, but the worst part is…
  5. Raspberry Jam: …the effects for when you get hit or are low on health
  6. Visual Distinction: While appropriate and neat, the visual distinction in this game is honestly really bad
  7. Controls: General jank issues, pretty normal for Far Cry games
  8. Difficulty Options: Usual boring difficulty mods