Last game you finished



  • Just finished Okami and I don't think I could possibly have more respect for a game I don't enjoy. It's beautiful, it has a pretty good story with some excellent characters, the whole gimmick of how you play it is really neat, but man the combat is such an absolute drag and really brings the entire game down with how easy and braindead it feels. the most intense I ever recall it feeling was just whacking at a dude until he revealed his weakpoint.

    Really doesn't help that as cool as the concept of gaining new brush techniques is, like half of them amount to "draw a line from X to Y" and the other half don't really add much besides exploring the overworld bit more. And maybe it's just because I wasn't really feeling the gameplay but it felt like the story went on too long which only made things worse. Felt like it wanted to be this grand adventure across all of Japan, and it was, but after a certain point it felt like it overstayed its welcome. That said the final boss was really well done, despite not being all that hard either.

    Honestly I wonder if my gripes with the game come from the fact that I love The Wonderful 101 a lot too and it feels like it uses a similar gimmick to much greater effect.



  • @hanabi I've picked up Okami on the PS2, PS3 and the PS4 now, and I always try to like it. But for some reason it just never clicks with me. I share a lot of the same sentiments, but I think something else for me is the grating Animal Crossing voices that I didn't know you could turn down or off until my last play attempt. I agree about the combat from what I played as well; if it 's such a large part of the game, I wish it could be one of the funner parts of the experience.

    All that being said though, I appreciate how much work went into making the world and the visuals represented as they are. As much as I've heard the game gets better after the first five or six hours though, I just don't get excited to play that long. I would definitely recommend that Tim Rogers' Kotaku video about how many times he's tried to like Okami and failed, but keeps buying it anyways.



  • Colony Wars

    What a cool game. I'm not sure if it's a very good game, but it does some really interesting things. So it's a space combat sim with a branching storyline dependent upon mission success or failure. You complete your mission, your army does better in their fight against the insurmountable; you die or fail your mission, the game continues with your faction in more dire circumstances. This means no 'try again', it's do it or don't until the story ends. When the thing's over, you can jump to any major turning point and replay the game from there. I was able to get four endings: 2 good and 2 bad, though none were the result of beating every mission.

    The production value is really strong too. I like the UI, the cutscenes, and the scale of it---it creates an expansive atmosphere for big ships and vastness of space and the many objects in it, even if each mission is restricted to a battlefield. The gameplay is serviceable, with different weapons and pretty decent handling. The ships all decelerate and feel like they're underwater a bit, but it's not hard to get the hang of.

    The problem with it is the mission structure. They're often single objective missions that range from incredibly easy to 'oh, I guess I just lost'. Friendly units are useless (especially anything big), which makes any kind of protection mission a real pain in the ass. And most of the game is protection missions. Miss a fighter a couple times strafing your battleship and the mission can go down the tubes. Mechanics unrelated to dogfighting, like using the janky tow line, or taking down bigger ships, can feel janky and underdeveloped. That the story is told rather impersonally, with no characters to speak of, can make it feel more like a series of unconnected, inconsistent but nicely rendered space battles, rather than the epic war that the architecture or grander design is working towards.

    Luckily the game has two sequels, so I look forward to seeing what their approach is.



  • Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders

    A phone game. I don't play many of these, but I like the classic games that inspired this one and heard it was good. It's fine. It's definitely more Arkanoid than it is Space Invaders, with the goal being bouncing shots around to break blocks or hit the invaders. The primary gameplay conceits of Space Invaders aren't really here; you try to get hit by their attacks, there's no cover, and they don't march to the bottom of the screen inducing a failstate. The invaders basically just serve as moving blocks that provide attacks to deflect. As the game progresses, there are boss fights, and special blocks that to be switched in order to be destructible, and other complications. There are a host of characters with different powerups and everything, but the loop stays pretty similar throughout. Often times success feels more like luck or choosing the right character for the level rather than making choice shots or deflections. I'd like to say it's more than a phone game, but it isn't. It's a new coat of paint slapped on an uneven combination of a pair of thirty year old games.



  • Mega Man X6

    Mega Man X6 is a frustrating game. On its surface, there are a lot of cool pieces here; an RPG upgrading system taken from X5 that’s better explained, rotating optional boss fights taken from X2 that encourage you to replay stages or try new ones, among other things. A lot of these however are surrounded by, and forced through ideas that cause nothing but irritation, and as much as I adore the series, I haven’t ever been as upset at an entry in the series like I have with X6. I want to love the game, and there are parts that shine that I adore. But there’s so much that one has to wade through to get to those bits and appreciate the highs, it makes the lows all the more apparent.

    I should mention that X6 was done in less than a year. It was made to be done for a Holiday release after the success of X4 that had close to two years, and X5 which had a little more than three. X6 was done with X5’s engine in 364 days without the help of series creator Keiji Inafune. The crunch and personal absence are definitely felt.
    Starting with the things that the game carries over from X5, there are different armor sets to collect and change around as you see fit. You’ll begin the game with the Falcon armor, but over the course of the game you can collect two more (and Zero) to run through levels with. The game also carries over rescuing fellow Hunters in the levels, and depending on who you save, you’ll unlock upgrades to attach to yourself. These could be anything from a faster charge for your weapon, to an increase in your dash or movement speed. These are cool ideas to put together. However, they are both flawed in their execution.

    The armor pieces are now, more or less, in extremely conniving places. So if you plan on getting them, and you should because certain levels are next to impossible without one or the other, you’re going to go through a lot of trial, error, and cheap deaths. The upgrades aren’t handled like they were in X5 as well, where each suit can hold a certain number of upgrade slots. Now it’s tied to your Hunter Rank, which brings me to another downer for the game; the enemies.

    There are like ten enemy types in this game, and each level is largely populated 95% with one: the Nightmare Virus. These are special octopus looking enemies that when killed, drop an orb that you need to pick up to increase your Hunter rank so that you can equip upgrades onto your character of choice. Killing other enemies has no effect on improving your rank. This also means that because the majority of the enemies are now the Nightmare Virus, health and weapon pickups are extremely slim because these enemies only drop the orb needed to upgrade your rank. It feels lazy and tiresome. Some pickups like armor capsules, heart containers and sub tanks are all largely and frustratingly out of reach unless you’re able to equip one or two of the Hunter upgrades. But those upgrades can also just become permanently inaccessible if Nightmare Viruses kill the Hunters you’re trying to rescue, making the game more difficult as a result. So if you want to upgrade your character, you’re probably going to be replaying certain levels. A lot. You can’t even equip upgrades until you’ve improved your rank a little.

    Upgrades aside, I feel like the levels in X6 are okay. On paper they have interesting quirks that make each of them unique. One has you avoiding a giant robot’s lasers, while another has you defeating a giant circle enemy six times throughout the stage. These feel less like interesting ideas though and more the biproduct of not having as many enemies to defeat. They cause more frustration than excitement. One level in particular has a ceiling lowering on you while you’re trying to move through a backwards conveyer belt while also trying to avoid spikes. This was just not fun, and like fighting that circle enemy six times, was infuriating for me. If you’re able to get around those, the stages also have optional second parts where there will be a hidden boss at the end. This is the key to getting Zero as a playable character, and defeating the boss High Max will also let you start the final boss stages early. I generally really like the bosses floating to new areas, but felt like sometimes I was forced to fight an impossible boss with my current ability set, and had to die a full set of lives to try a new stage.

    So what’s good about X6? I feel like I’ve been very harsh on it up to this point, and I don’t entirely hate the game. If you’re able to upgrade enough and get the necessary armor pieces, blasting through levels is still fun in that Mega Man way. The Blade armor in particular made me feel like a Dragon Ball character with the way the air dash works, and that was very fun to use. The music in the game also has some of the most metal standout tracks in the series, however not all of them are as memorable. Blaze Heatnix though and Infinity Majinion are incredible tracks that are just what I want from Mega Man, and that level select song showcasing the bosses with its searing guitar gets me pumped every time. Beyond those things though and a few clever and fun level ideas, the game is overshadowed by bad ideas that take the whole experience down. The last set of levels is just an exercise in cruelty with large pits and spikes everywhere, and the final boss specifically feels more like a Castlevania boss than something I’d do in Mega Man, where you're more fighting the pit than the boss itself. X6 loves instant kill hazards. The stages sometimes feel like they fight you for trying to have a good time playing Mega Man like you have in the past, and maybe it should have looked more towards the past to see why a lot of the previous games play so well. But having just started X7, I don’t think that message came across.

    5.5/10



  • @happygaming 7 is the one I hear the most hate about so good luck!



  • I just beat Ace Combat 7, and damn I did not expect to like it as much as I did. I thought I was just getting into a fun pilot game, and for a while I was, but somewhere along the way I unwillingly became super invested in the story.

    Frankly, I don't think the story is very good per se, but I think it's sort of like Kingdom Hearts in that it makes you willing to overlook it's glaring flaws because it has so much infectious sincerity. It believes whole-heartedly in what it is saying, to the point where it's hard not to believe along with it.

    It's also really great about making you feel like a character in this world. Like, Trigger doesn't say a word, and for all intents and purposes is completely personality-less, but because the game builds him up so much -- and the player vicariously -- I am super invested in him as a character and think his journey is super rad.

    I'm frankly in awe of how this game's mediocre writing drew me in so deeply. I guess it helps that it's backed-up by really great arcade plane combat.



  • @capnbobamous said in Last game you finished:

    I'm frankly in awe of how this game's mediocre writing drew me in so deeply. I guess it helps that it's backed-up by really great arcade plane combat.

    That's the magic of Ace Combat. I feel like the main reason is that the game really makes you feel like a badass with how your enemies and friends react to your actions, and the things you do are just as over the top and cheesy as their dialogues. Plus, giving you a nick name (Three Strikes) is a great way to enhance that badassery.

    I hope you get to try out the DLC missions as well, they're pretty great. The first two DLC missions are some of the best missions in the entire game IMO, main missions included. Two of my favorite tracks are in those missions. Also, the story is so weird and chessy in the DLC missions, I personally dig it though.



  • @bam541 Maybe I will get them, thanks for the recommendation! I played it on Gamepass and it feels weird buying DLC for a game I don't own, but I don't know.



  • Mega Man X7

    This one was rough. I won't spend too much time on it, but it really was a slog to go through. Mega Man X didn't really transfer well to the third dimension.

    X7 is a hybrid of sorts. You have 3D levels that are more like an action game, and 2D levels that try to be a platformer. Neither work well. The way every character moves feels like its coated in tar, and never moves in a convincing way. It always feels like you're fighting for a better speed, and the game wants you to go very slowly. Even things like the dash feel broken, where if you try to do something like dash off a wall, you lose all your momentum midway through the jump. It makes platforming an extremely frustrating endeavor to try to take on.

    Fighting enemies is also just a slow, monotonous hurdle you need to get through in every level. For some reason, the title character Mega Man is not accessible at the beginning. You can be Zero or newcomer Axl. Axl's weapons are so weak that it sometimes takes around 50-60 shots just to take a small enemy down. Zero isn't as bad, and I primarily played with him, but getting close to guys can constantly make you fall on your back, slowing the pace even more. If you want to unlock X, you'll need to go through levels to help the Hunters. They work pretty much the same as previous games, where you'll unlock upgrades depending on who you save. They can also die, so it makes your character's sluggishness all the more noticeable. Get 65 of them, and you'll finally be able to use X, but by that time, your Zero will be so overpowered by comparison because he's been through half the game rescuing guys, it's just a small victory in not having to use Axl anymore.

    Axl and X are necessary though. Through a poor bit of design stemming from the 3d-2d hybrid, some enemies are in the foreground or background, and even in 3D, they're impossible to hit as Zero. They alleviated this by giving the characters with guns a lock-on mechanic, but often there are so many enemies on the screen, it's impossible to aim at the correct guy. In a way, this actually makes the truly 3D parts a better experience to go through because it feels more like an action game. It's almost like the game was designed with the 3D parts of stages designed first, and then forced to put them into side-scrolling segments. Either way, when Zero keeps falling on his back, it still doesn't make it an easy run.

    In the end, it's an appalling decision to lock X away for most of the game. Even when he's not there, upgrades are an absolute chore to find, and the armor upgrade (for X only, and only unlockable when you have him in your party), is a joke. It lets you do a Peter Pan glide that is honestly just a worse movement option than sliding and jumping. Bosses aren't fun to fight because they're constantly in inaccessible parts of the area, the camera can't figure out how to work in 3D or 2D, meaning jumps often end in a spiky death, and the story is just... well, I skipped it.

    There are probably fans of X7, and maybe had I played it when it came out I would have enjoyed it more and been one of them. But as it stands, X7 is like a bad tattoo. It's that mistake we just have to live with, with the story that it felt like the right thing at a different time. A growing pain we can look at, and know that we've grown up past the point of that mistake, and try our very best to laugh it off as a different time in our lives. I love Mega Man. I hate X7.

    Final Score 3/10



  • @happygaming I feel your pain! I had very similar impressions: https://forums.easyallies.com/topic/562/last-game-you-finished/1279



  • @axel said in Last game you finished:

    This shit is straight out of Glinny's Cauldron! I was more often than not laughing in disbelief at how bad it is.

    This is honestly, in short, the most accurate bulletpoint I could think of for this game.




  • 159:34:18



  • Mega Man X8

    “Somewhere along the lines, Mega Man fans had to lean on his legacy more than his trajectory; his past more than his future” – Satchell Drakes

    When I put the controller down after finishing Mega Man X8, I was exhausted. At the start, I was bright eyed with being back on a 2D plane, and excited by how much it felt improved from the previous X7. But by the end, the rug had been pulled out from under me. It came with the sad realization that just because the game had fixed one thing from the past, that didn’t mean it was the Mega Man I was looking for.

    X8 brings back the 2D platforming, although the 3D models are left in. I don’t mind this personally. While I’m arguably not a fan of 2.5D platformers, I do think the models are nice to look at. The environments also flow nicely with enemies jumping out of the backgrounds, and elements dynamically moving to make each place feel more alive. The problem comes when you’re moving. While definitely not as egregious as X7, there’s a lack of weight to the way moving and jumping feels in X8 that I never quite got used to. Jumping feels very floaty. Sliding feels like it lacks a continuous momentum. Moving feels the same, and jumping lacks any sort of hang time to make it feel like there’s a sense of control. This could be the reason that I died on the introduction stage of the game, which was not a good premonition of things to come.

    Mega Man X8 uses a ‘retry’ system. Basically, if like me, you were playing on normal, you get two retries. When those retries are up, you’re required to go back to the stage selection or new R&D lab before picking another stage. In the intro level, this isn’t unlocked yet, and so I was required to start the entire game over from the title screen. Later on, this system sort of makes sense, or at least I can gleam what they were going for. Enemies drop a currency when defeated, and the R&D lab is a place where you can spend that to improve your characters, get extra lives, etc. However, I think it’s an enormous mistake to not allow you to just jump back into the stage you’re trying to beat and continue from the start. Instead, you need to go through several extra menus just to start over. And you’ll be starting over a lot.

    Generally, X8 has fine shooting, it feels fine to slash things with Zero. Axl is there if you want to play as him, and he’ll be required for an armor piece or a secret. The biggest problem with X8 doesn’t come from its trying to mimic the blasting from the past, it comes from the level design. Levels are filled with cheap death traps everywhere. Spikes and pits make for a constant need to trial and error through levels, rather than get by through skill alone. Even then, you’ll need some luck. Enemies are extremely unbalanced. Some take away a third or more of your health with a single hit; and bringing back the same issue from X6, enemies drop more currency than anything else, so if you plan on healing, you’re out of luck. Unless you get to the halfway stage portions where you’re locked in a small room and have to kill a barrage of enemies who drop a large sum of cash and give you a single health pickup at the end.

    There’s a snow speeder level where there are several pits that are designed just to kill you deceitfully the first time you jump over it. It’s not a problem of the cueing of the jump, the ledge where you would normally land is just artificially shortened so you’ll fall into a pit the one time. This sort of design is all over the place. In a fire level, you’ll have to stay on rising platforms. If you go too high or fall too low, the screen kills you. Afterwards, there are a series of sections involving spikes. You fall faster than the screen, so you’ll need to die a couple of times to know exactly what falls end in a spiky retry. A lot of this would be alleviated if the game just controlled a little bit better, or if it zoomed the camera out a little bit, but it’s so intent on being up close to you, that you can never really plan to be a master of the jump that’s coming. I eventually turned the game to the ‘Rookie Hunter” mode because I was tearing my hair out, and even then, it didn’t stop me falling on spikes or into pits.

    What do I like about X8? For the first time since Alia came on the scene, you’re allowed to pick between one of three intel professionals. One is a master of boss weakness, one will hint at where armor pieces will be, and Alia is a mix of the other two. If you don’t want to use one, go in without one. I love that. Those armor pieces also bring something I like, that is admittedly flawed in its execution. There are two armors to find in the game, but rather than have to find all the pieces for each to make them individually accessible, X can use the pieces as you see fit and use their benefits as well. So if you want to mix and match armor from both sets, you’re allowed to do that. The problem is that the armor upgrades lack any real sort of benefit beyond a couple pieces that reduce damage or increase the speed of charging. A higher jump makes it even harder to platform, especially with ceiling spikes for instance, and a super laser beam charged gun does less damage than normal and mid charged shots. It is a neat idea, but also robs that sense of accomplishment you get when you’ve completed a new armor set to see what it looks like and what it does.

    The bosses this time around are pretty disappointing and forgettable as well. I do really like the design of Dark Mantis and the Panda dude, but they really aren’t fun to fight. They tend to be invincible for a good portion of each fight, not allowing you to hit at all. It’s probably because you do so much more damage than you would in previous games and it’s used as a tactic to balance it out. In practice it just means you wait a lot, or get your butt kicked when you didn’t deserve it because you weren’t allowed to get a hit in. Still, if you get to the bosses, you’ll generally not have a problem beating them, if you can get through their insufferably difficult, and poorly designed stages.

    One of the coolest additions to the game is the ability to get Zero new weapons. Early on, I got him a spear, and when combined with a spinning air attack, it basically takes up a good third of the screen with an attack you can use as much as you want. I used it constantly until the final boss. It didn’t feel satisfying to use because it was less of a tactic and felt more like I was weaponizing the game’s inequitable design back at it. Mega Man X7 made me very disappointed, and while X8 is an improvement, it made me angry. With all it could have improved from X7, it only did the bare minimum, and takes so many steps back for everything it attempts to change and fix. Deaths feel unfair and unearned, especially in the on rails levels. The R&D lab constantly slows down the pace of the game as you die constantly, and feels like a cheap tactic to force you to buy retries and character improvements rather than upgrade the classic Mega Man way. Bosses feel sluggish and don’t ever let you hit them. And worst of all, moving just feels like you’re never in full control, forcing you to trial and error your way through bad level design. It’s simply not a fun game to play.

    4.7/10



  • @happygaming Why do you keep doing this to yourself haha



  • @capnbobamous I wanted to write a podcast episode about Mega Man and franchise's history, impact and current perception and standing and thought it would be good for the firsthand context.

    Don't worry, my girlfriend started something I'm very excited to write a review on next!



  • @happygaming I was looking for my own impressions of X8 to share them with you but looks like I didn't write any. That sums up my feelings about this one: entirely forgettable and pointless.

    If I could direct any game of my choosing, it would be X9. There's so much potential in this series and it's baffling to see how mediocre it became with each new entry. Let's hope that Mega Man 11 was successful enough to convince Capcom to give the series a proper shot again.



  • Detention

    As I crept through the dark creaking halls of the abandoned Taiwanese school as student Fang Ray-Shin, I was reminded that good horror doesn’t come from what you see. True, there are a share of specters and creatures that I’d encountered. What continued to get under my skin wasn’t the fear of death though, but the haunting dread that purveyed from what could have been Ray’s reality. The notes I found, and the hints and prods to the protagonists’ life continued to creep through my mind like a spider, unraveling and revealing the reality of events that transpired as a reminder that some of the best horror is gleamed from reality and everyday life.

    Red Candle Games is a very small studio in Taiwan who have developed only two games. While Devotion has been delisted and made unavailable to the market outside their home country due to a political situation (at least for the time being), their first game, Detention, is widely available and shouldn’t be missed. Set in 1960’s Taiwan in a Martial Law period called White Terror, you’ll play as protagonist and Senior student Fang Ray-Shin, who gets trapped inside her school due to a typhoon. Progressively, reality and the world begin to unravel, revealing a haunting past for the students of the school, and the horrible events happening around the period due to the Martial Law.

    While there is dialogue in Detention, most of the plot and backstory is unraveled through visual metaphors, or what one can gleam from notes found written by other students. Making your way through the hollowed halls of the school that slowly becomes more and more decrepit and bizarre, alluding increasingly to the personal life of Ray, you’ll venture through dark corridors, solve puzzles and avoid Taiwanese spirits as they try to do you harm. For the most part, you’ll spend the majority of your time focusing on the puzzles and directing yourself to where they’ll apply to your forward progression, making a mental map of locked doors and rooms that require your personal input before progress can be made. In these puzzles, you’ll find notes written by students and staff, exploring the sides of people who are trying to read forbidden books, or what forbidden relationships the staff at the school may have, but also showing the dark side of what can happen to those people when the country is under Martial Law. And those political horrors seep deeper than the fear we gleam from the monsters that roam the halls.

    Personally, I wish that these creatures that you avoid were more plentiful. They can be found more in the game’s first two acts, and hardly at all in the third, making it feel like new ones aren’t introduced as plentifully as they could be. While they’re presented meaningfully in the beginning, and you’re taught to avoid them in interesting ways through children’s storybook cutouts with great illustrations, they don’t really evolve from there, making them feel more like an afterthought by the end. Avoiding them (because Ray never acquires any sort of weapon) is still a tense experience, and is always engaging, as they’ll often block your path when you least want them around. You’re taught to hold your breath, present offerings, or to avoid looking directly at them so as to not disturb them. Their sound design is top notch as well, with creaking breaths and deep pulsating drums filling the environment with their haunting presence. Still, their utilization, or more so their lack thereof by the conclusion brings further attention to the events you’re immediately privy to; the abstract psychological horror of the puzzles and of the creeping dread as the story unfurls.

    Detention isn’t a long game. It doesn’t have a large budget written all over it. Characters feel like comic book cutouts, and while art is often beautifully abstract and harrowing, there is a sense that Red Candle is definitely not the largest studio around. Assets have a bit of a cheapness to them, and on PS4, moving left and right (because the game is a side-scrolling adventure) constantly caused screen tearing, and sometimes a rare amount of frame rate buckles. With the tribulations of financial difficulties though comes a unique triumph of heart. Detention feels personal, and it’s incredibly rare to feel as connected to a time and place that you’ve never experienced. I don’t just wish that more games explored periods of history and culture in ways such as this, I wish that horror prevailed in other games of today as much as Detention does. Detention is the best Silent Hill game that’s come out in over a decade, and if we’re lucky, we’ll someday be able to play the team’s other work. Gripes aside, if you’re a fan of horror and have become ambivalent to the genre as much as I have over the last few years because of its overreliance on jump scares, you owe it to yourself to play the creeping, slow-moving, and surprisingly unnerving experience that is Detention.

    8.8/10



  • Dark Souls Remastered

    It took me a bit to get used to the 60fps. It's nice for the low input lag and solid performance but it never felt quite right. And when it comes to remasters is a money grab pure and simple, it's worth because From Soft sucks so much technically that they need a current gen system to make it perform well, while making absolutely nothing to the game aside from bumping the resolution up.

    Still the same game with the same wonderful level and sound design. Second time playing it and still discovering new stuff. It is a great game but this remaster is shameful.



  • So, I've finally got to the end of Ghost of Tsushima. I like the game, I don't love it.

    Obviously the presentation is nice, even with the low quality textures the game hides it well with the lighting and particle effects. I imagine that's part of what makes loading times so damn fast, so I'm not complaining that it can look a bit rough if that's the trade off. Still wish HDR was better implemented. But it is a beautiful world to look at, at times obnoxiously colourful and busy but Kurosawa mode was great as a palate cleanser.

    Quest structure, It borrows a lot from the Witcher 3 as secondary quests feed into the main narrative, with betrayal and intrigue in the mix too. At first I wasn't a fan of having them broken in small chapters but overall it works well, specially because they exist throughout the whole game. Can't say that I find the writing that engrossing, or even the payoff of most quest lines that rewarding, but it's fine. It definitely has it's bright moments and its effective in building a solid cast of characters.

    But oh boy, this game pisses me off constantly.

    By the end of chapter 1 my motivation to continue was close to none. I was fed up with the repetitiveness of the combat above all else. It didn't felt great seeing a big new huge territory popping up because of the combat but also because exploration in this world isn't really as rewarding as I was hoping. But as chapter 2 came so a new update to the game with a new difficulty level.

    Things got better, slightly.

    The Lethal difficulty makes the game feel less like Assassins Creed and more like it's own thing. Reaction times become shorter and every strike you deliver or receive matter. It punishes you for making mistakes and, more importantly, Ghost tactics become more of a necessity than just a way to escape the tedious combat. But in the long run it makes little to improve how shallow and repetitive the combat can feel, or how your ability progression turns you into as underwhelming cheese deliverer that you can bring to both common enemies and bosses. Stealth, on the other hand, makes the bad AI even more apparent. Having said all this, the combat is not horrible, just average but very well animated and stylish.

    Style over substance

    This brings me to my biggest peeve with GoT. The world... I know it looks great, and its awesome to go on a free ride and see people working the fields, listen to their conversations. It can feel like you're time travelling. But as hours passed two things were slowly creeping to the forefront of my mind:

    1- (Lack of) Familiarity.

    Skyrim, BotW or RDR2, are familiar worlds, worlds where locations became landmarks and I can navigate them without a map. GoT world design doesn't quite work for me. Having an absurdly tight field of view doesn't help, as you don't have several landmarks simultaneously on your FOV for your(my) brain to naturally map it as you play. Maybe a compass could help. The wind, while a welcomed and innovative navigational tool, can also be disorienting on a grander scale.

    2-(Lack of) Sense of place

    Now allow me to tell you a short story. I was casually ridding my horse, saw an house and decided to check it. It appeared to be empty. As I enter the house and start to loot it I hear a noise . A father and a son were in the house. The father tries to calm the son but the son reacts and pulls for a weapon. On instinct I pull my shotgun and kill first the son, then the father. I stop playing, lay my controller on the sofa and think to myself what the hell just happened?. I walk away from the game for 5 minutes.

    This obviously wasn't GoT, it was RDR2. First because the game doesn't have shotguns second because the world of GoT holds no surprises, no mystery. It feels ancient. Birds animate like robots, dears run blindly against you, struggle with geometry, occasionally stay idle for a second or two. Predators don't surprise and hunt you. Enemy encounters are repetitive to exhaustion, there're no high speed horse chases, no enemies archers waiting for you on top of a cliff, no bandits storming you from a nearby forest. (In fact I had one classic ambush situation where I saw a box abandoned in the middle of a path and I though to my self ah finally the game is going to “surprise” me”. Spoilers I wasn't surprised) There's no emergent situations to remind you that this world happens along with you, not around you.

    It's great that the game looks so good as it does. Great that it has a great photo mode. But the cynical in me would rather have them investing in stuff that's not marketable through screenshots but that could elevate the user experience rather then making of us paying marketing tools.

    TLDR;
    Is it a bad game? Do I hate it? No. It's a fine 7/10 game. But I expected more. Coming from TLOU2 didn't help either, the difference in quality is staggering.