The music alone is worth the price of admission, I still haven't gotten back to playing it but it brings me back to the mid '90s. Will revisit this review at a later point when I'm able to fully enjoy the game.
RiME is a stylish and at times beautiful puzzle and collection game that has quite the sad yet fulfilling message. Each area has a different motif or a hidden meaning and I would say try not to spoil yourself on the ending or major levels before you buy it as it kind of ruins the experience. You will go through a nice grassy starting island to a desert cliff side to an area that is always pouring rain with water drenched rocks reflecting what little light there is. Visually and artistically speaking RiME is a very pleasant game to look at and experience.
You control a boy as he wakes up after being thrown out of a boat, the area is friendly in how it is presented to you and really fits the whole “starting zone” type of thing that games like Mario 64 accomplished decades back. You progress through levels by hunting through slight mazes, hitting switches and opening doors in order to progress to the next area. The areas are somewhat open world, some zones you can run around everything that you see, back tracking all the way to the place that you started, others you are very clearly locked out of going backwards.
I just wish that it was better optimized, from what I’ve read the game running smoothly is a serious issue even on console platforms. You will have a major machine but you may not even be able to break 40-50 FPS maybe see 60 every so often but it is very inconsistent. I mean inconsistent as in you’ll be seeing 50-60 then suddenly go through a tunnel and come out of the other end and suddenly you’re seeing 30 FPS! That’s honestly one of my biggest problems with the game is that as much as I want to enjoy the story and the emotional ride it gets jarred constantly but the poor optimization.
I would say for the visuals and story alone to pick up RiME, as I’ve gotten older I’ve started to appreciate these “walking simulators” more and more (so long as they are good) but this one is far more of a 3rd person puzzle game than just a walking sim. I ended up playing this a few times just to grab every secret, items and story fragments that the game has and each time I noticed something new (as you tend to when you revisit games that you’ve already beaten). Just a shame about the poor optimization.
First what I actually liked about Hollow Knight, I liked the music quite a lot actually as I'm a sucker for instrumental and classical style of music. The art design was nice and set the Castlevania vibe pretty well, the sound design was good, if not a bit repetitive for when the bosses scream but ehh it's fine. The entire map exploration was well done, brings back a lot of memories. Team Cherry did a fairly good job at recreating the design behind most 2D Castlevania games. The level design.. I'm willing to deal with barely any fast travel ability and maybe even the huge gaps between save points but... did we have to take the whole book from Super Meat Boy? As in sparse save points and teleport areas which turn into huge areas to back track through upon your death or revisiting that area. Other then that the zones were nice and varied, which aided in remembering where things were because of how differed they were though in some areas that didn’t help much because some of the zones themselves were a bit too similar throughout the level. The character development, while sparse at times, was serviceable I think they did the best with Cloth provided you help her. As a guy who reads a lot I enjoy genuine character evolution, others had similar changes but not as well fleshed out. The additional DLC characters could have been left in and fleshed out I still feel like they were thrown out way too casually. I feel that some characters were just never given the screen time that others were given yet they seemed more interesting then others. Saving all the grubs was probably my greatest point of attention because I liked them and they appreciated my help unlike every other living bug in the universe who viewed you with a sort of indifference or disdain, except for the Nail masters I kinda liked them. All in all the characters/NPCs were pretty good, spoken language is gibberish but I appreciated the speech not being just text bubbles and more having SOME kind of spoken language, helped a bit so I'll give them that easily.
Now what I didn’t really care for, the combat I feel like adding diagonal attacks would have helped out a lot, it's bad enough how short your nail is (yes later you get a side-grade that increases your range). To be also handicapped by how many angles of attack you may actually have to defend yourself from simply made it too limited. That I think could have done better, or make some of your attacks more of a arch so as to have some way of dealing with enemies coming at you from a completely non-horizontal or non-vertical approach. There is a charge attack but it is not well balanced, sure they can one shot kill some enemies in the game. Considering how fast the combat tends to be the seconds that it takes to charge up a single attack that is limited by horizontal directions only is really not that great of a choice. Considering the combined verticality of the combat at times you'd think having some kind of over head or something would have been an idea already applied to the game. There are spells in the game that can do a good bit of damage but at times enemies and especially bosses tend to move too quick for your spells to actually work or they do not do much against boss health pools over all without serious amplifying gems on your character.
The game is hard pure and simple and that’s really all it has going for it other then the art and music, let's be really honest here. I’d say if the boss fights were far more consistent it would be different, rather then going from the 1st to the 2nd or 3rd and then you see the difficulty cliff face just skyrocket. Again the main issue was that Hollow Knight wasn’t described properly by Team Cherry and ultimately what I think is the main reason people find it difficult, it’s just very sudden. They all get lured in by what looks for all intents and purposes to be a pure Castlevania clone with a different setting. Yet when they play it the reality is that the Castlevania lineage is not as front and center as you were led to believe. If everyone is saying that this game is hard yet you get no real idea of that after reading the description of the product or even within your first 2 hours of gameplay then it is not really all the player's fault. Even if you watch someone on Youtube play it or catch someone streaming it, most of the time those players make this game look easy so that’s also not a great way to get any sort of realistic image of what the product entails.
HK’s bosses I’m still not a huge fan of, body damage is too much of an issue if you get trapped, which is also an issue with enemies of all types spawning under or inside of you. There's simply no serious defense so it's kind of a cheap hit really. To me there were no real memorable fights, boss fights to me were nothing but dread and I did not look forward to any of them. Oddly enough in both Metroid/Super and Castlevania SOTN bosses were balanced & different, I still remember a lot of them. Hollow Knight's bosses currently I barely remember any of them other then "oh that one took me days” or “that one I actually could beat within an hour". I remember some of them only by how long or short it took me, not by how memorable the fight was or their "unique" attacks. Which as far as attacks go, they really kind of overused a lot of moves on at least half of the boss fights. Ground pound into a ground wave, curl into a ball and bounce around the level, the list goes on which is why I felt like I was fighting the same bosses over and over just with slightly different patterns. I get it you have a lot of bosses in this but still come on if that's the problem then lower the number, you do not need 2 bosses or whatever per zone. Probably could have really worked on the ones that you did keep and really make them all individual and a bit more memorable I don’t know I’m just going by what other games have done in the past and they seem to handle it well.
The learning curve banks up pretty steeply after the first boss as no other bosses short of the 2nd to last are that "easy" (not really anyway Dung Defender sure). So again people see this and think "oh a Castlevania game cool" yet it's not. The boss fights are more often then not a battle of attrition then anything else. That was also probably part of it, the sheer amount of travel time to more then half of the boss arena's after you died and how long the fights took to actually finish. A way that would have possibly helped this would have been to have more benches or a better fast travel system. There’s really no real reason why this game is as barren as it is with regard to the lack of save/spawn points. Looking at every zone there is plenty of unused space and even pockets that have nothing in them. More save points would have made dying possibly less of a hassle and would have allowed players to run back to where they died faster, this would help keep the flow of the game moving forward and help waste less time.
I think what really hurt the game over all for me was the boss fights, after really thinking about it I can say that the most amount of my frustration with all the mechanics that make up this game all culminated during the boss fights. They were nothing but a chore to me, taking hours if not days to get past and move on to the next boss fight. The platforming and stuff I could deal with after a while but the boss fights were the main issue for me. Otherwise aside from the Super Meat Boy syndrome of like half of the levels it was a fairly serviceable Castlevania clone. I wanted to give the game the benefit of the doubt, it had a few things going for it that I automatically gravitated towards which is why I was trying so hard to push myself to do it completely, to try and find some more things to like so that it wouldn't be a total bust, I wanted to enjoy my time. http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1294021502
Posted August 7, 2018. Last edited December 27, 2018.
First what I liked about the title, the visuals were good, facial animation was quite good for an independent title. The other supporting visual effects were different… that’s a word I’d use some better then others, honestly at times it was too much to look at and somewhat painful. The levels and visuals of said different levels/areas at times are quite good and the imagery that was portrayed was fairly different from other games though at times it was overplayed and overstayed its welcome in some areas. The sound design to me was… half good half bad. The good was how seemingly well it gave the player the sense of sound and voices, the bad was that many times I found myself just telling the game to shut up so I could hear lore or other sounds. I guess that’s what they were going for… to the detriment of the player’s enjoyment, if I’m honest. I knew there was an option to turn them off but since they are nearly required mechanics I left them on. Again a very double edged sword in terms of the actual “gameplay” of this title.
Over-Hyped pretentious art house thy name is “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice”. No you didn’t read that incorrectly I said it was over hyped, to an extreme extent if we’re being very honest with ourselves. Nothing like having people who just give each other awards, fairly certain that it’s masturbatory in nature if you really look at it objectively and see it for what it is. All those awards were not given to the developers or this game by actual players, no they were all industry awards. Award shows designed to be nothing more then a circle jerk of self service. That is for all the people who point at the “many awards” as proof to this “game’s” greatness, remember what award shows and awards are really about in this day and age. Remember that everyone gets a gold star and everyone is special, you would do well to keep that in mind when talking down to people who dislike this title.
The fact that many people pretend like this game somehow opens their eyes to mental illness or after experiencing this one “game” that they now understand said illness is a joke in and of itself. That alone proves how shallow people can be, especially when they try to beat you over the head with how you’re wrong and they are right, it’s honestly quite revolting. I mean look at this final title screen at the end of the credits, it should tell you all that you need to know about the fake emotion that the developers had. https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1431745699 Yeah it’s not like if you want to learn more maybe do your own researching or maybe don’t take some paid dev’s word for it and maybe take some classes. You might be surprised how interesting and how many mental health subjects there are out there, I know I was. However according to the devs they want you to go to them so that their website can get traffic, rather then professionally updated websites and books that have a greater range of opinions and empirical studies.
The game, now that I’ve “insulted” the devs (which I haven’t I’m just telling it like it is), the “game” you play a slow moving female warrior who can not move faster then a tortoise at full speed. At the very beginning you are told a flat out lie by the game and the developers to try and impart upon you the player - anxiety. The reality is that it, much like the forced emotion of the “game”, is a farce, a smoke screen designed to trigger an emotional response through deception and manipulation. During what this “game” calls combat (which I could equate to two sloths mating because that’s what it feels like) Senua is slow moving which totally takes you out of the mindset that she is supposed to be this strong & nimble warrior. There are many problems with the combat, it is slow, incredibly constricted in your movement, with ever shrinking arenas, to how close the camera is to the backside of Senua’s head. All of it is purposefully designed to hinder the player in every aspect, designed to feel just as claustrophobic as she must feel. Again it’s all poorly designed and forced it just didn’t feel natural. Basically the devs at Ninja Theory tried too hard to impress their fellow developers in order to get awards. When you hear about movies that are Oscar bait, this is in the same category. I have played far better games that garnered far less attention & those have done mental trauma better.
The parts of Hellblade that is the greater percentage are the walking simulator zones and “puzzle” zones or they can be a combination of both where you walk for 10-30 minutes to another part of a puzzle. If this sounds tedious that’s because it is and don’t let anyone tell you differently, if it was such a great “game” no one would think negatively about it, it is nothing but a slow walking simulator with bad puzzles. Every puzzle is the same so you’ll get to solve the same 2 types of puzzles throughout a roughly 7 hour playthrough. The puzzles are made more frustrating and difficult by two factors, slow movement speed (even at what this game considers “running”) and because the devs couldn’t decide on whether or not to make this game in the 1st person or the 3rd person. Most of the puzzles are trying to create a Rune, this can be made by lining up anything, a shadow, a trail of blood, an outline, literally anything in the game world. Sometimes you can actually create the Rune but the devs required a very specific thing to be looked at.
Senua’s struggle and her story could have been good had it been done by someone who had skills in writing (see Spec Ops: the Line) it is serviceable but not a miracle of writing. Aspects of it were good and at times powerful other times like the flat ending, just make all the work that you just went through seem like a complete waste of time and money. The ending is probably one of the bigger “that was it?!” moments. There were a few others but after finishing the “game” I can safely say that the ending is what made my play time seem like a total waste. This should never happen, they should have hired an actual writer so that their ideas could be properly conveyed without hindering the story that you’re trying to tell.
The sound design is also a hindrance to the player’s enjoyment, as I stated before I liked what they clearly tried to do but ultimately it felt a bit flat and too forced in it’s application. You will either want to listen to “yourself” talk to yourself for 7 hours or more OR you will be annoyed within the first hour of them constantly talking over each other, lore runes or Senua herself. Hellblade has a habit of tripping over itself as the devs force this schizophrenic mental disorder on the player but also want you to listen to the lore and other voice actors that they paid to be in the game. The term Helmet Flair comes to mind when I think about this game’s presentation, between sight and sounds I found that it was easily get distracted and unable to concentrate on one thing in particular. Everyone will argue that “that’s the point” that may be but there are far better & more subtle ways of doing it without annoying the player.
This title was hyped up to be the second coming of Jesus and do not pretend that publications weren’t falling over themselves to give this title every award under the sun. I’ve seen all that it has to offer and I still feel like I wasted my time and more importantly, wasted my money. I’ve had my experiences with mental disorders, studying them, experiencing them and observing them from others around me at different points in my life. I knew all about what hearing voices was like, I use what many people who play this “game” seem to be lacking, my imagination. I get more out of reading books then I did playing Hellblade. I feel I was more interested in learning from my professor about mental disorders then I did playing this “game”. I wanted to believe the hype but it was mostly a disappointment.
Basically it's a very small version of Battlefield's Conquest game mode, but not as good, or well developed... or has any semblance of balance.
You capture points in the DZ and get tickets only they aren't called that but that's totally what it's counting up to. You can help but you can't do much when you've got a full stacked opposing team with higher ranks then 100% of your entire team combined. The other issues are the small team sizes, you have 8 versus 8 in a rather open area of the DZ so combat tends to be sparse at best because of the time that it takes to run to an area. So not only did Massive get the play area size wrong but they also limited the size of the teams to that of under even a console version of Battlefield Bad Company 1! https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1429765050
My second character's attempt, notice how even worse the teams are? Well we got trounced worse then the 1st, the team composition was off the walls unbalanced. Anyone with any experience for longer then 1 second would see how bad the matchmaking is and would have fixed it before they even charged people for it. These are the same people who "learned from their mistakes with the first game" and for some strange reason every fanboy is getting all hyped up again for The Division 2... https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1430540575
They also force you to watch a “training video” but one that explains nothing and only shows vague demonstrations as to what may happen during a match but far too flashy. While you join a match you are not told what to do you just have to guess or follow the higher level players who know what they are doing. So on top of forcing you to join a match, you have to watch a video that’s around 5 minutes long and you can not skip it and the video explains nothing.
The best part is that the developers at Ubisoft and Massive thought that it would be a great idea to flat out harass and pester you with “go do this game mode” messages and voice prompts from characters in your Terminal. The only way to make it go away is to play a match to completion. It’s not good enough to go into the lobby or join then leave when the match starts. No they made sure you had to suffer through this poorly made DLC to completion no matter the outcome just play out overpriced DLC “offering”. That’s if the matchmaking works which if you’ve ever seen anything about The Division or any Ubisoft title for that matter you’ll know that every time that you try and get into a full lobby you will wait for an interminable amount of time.
Then lastly since this is a Ubisoft title every single aspect of this game is infested with hackers and cheaters which as always the devs under Ubisoft's employment do nothing about. So on top of all of the problems that I have listed above you get to deal with an enemy that you can not defeat and that Ubisoft is all too happy to ignore out right.
It’s quite clear that Massive and whatever other bunch of monkeys that they have working for Ubisoft took no time to test to see if anything about this PAID DLC was fun or if it worked properly nope they needed stuff to flesh out their woefully empty and hollow “RPG” looter so they added a bad rendition of Conquest.
Do yourselves a favor don’t buy this, though you have to if you get the Season pass but be warned you will be harassed every time that you visit the terminal until you lament and play a round. For how little effort that Ubisoft put into this paid DLC I’d call it overpriced at best.
This "game" should be used as an example as to why not even indie devs should not be held sacred as being the "good guys" with respects to making games. SSZ is a trash fire and in so many ways it will be difficult to describe how badly this game feels, plays, reacts and out right punishes the player just for trying to play it. It tries so hard to be other space flight sims but fails so hard on all of the boxes that it makes me wonder how people gave this title a pass and recommended it. It really makes me wonder.
I grew up on Wing Commander, Decent, Tachyon: The Fringe and others, hell going to console I even played the one Game Cube Macross game (the name escapes me at the moment) yet somehow this "game" developed in 2013 can't even hold a small candle to games that came out 20 years ago. Do your research, this same developer came out and flat out gave up on the original SSZ release then begged all of their already paying customers to buy their "new" game which was SSZ Directors cut or something. All it was was just a patch, some minor bug fixes and some gameplay tweaks, along with minor graphics changes. Paying full price again for a patch, think about that, no matter how the devs tried to spin it simply call it for what it is, paying for a patch that was sorely needed. Even then according to Steam reviews said "Directors Cut" was a mess as well and half of the items that were supposed to have been fixed were not! Keep in mind that Born Ready Games is now out of business, shortly after the release of the Directors Cut it seems as if they either took whatever they could and closed up shop (similar to the makes of HAWKEN another indie game) or their product was so bad (as you'll see from the mountain of negative reviews for SSZ) and they simply could not support themselves.
Where to start on the negatives, the handling for one, somehow they couldn't even copy Wing Commander or Tachyon's flight control scheme because even with a 360 controller you'll be hard pressed to actually maneuver your craft at ANY point in the game. I even tried to customize my controls somewhat so that they weren't totally foreign to me but even then that only got me so far. The handling and the over all combat and flying mechanics of the human controlled craft is just mind bogglingly bad. The NPCs and enemy craft on the other hand somehow fly inside of any maneuver that you attempt and somehow always have a firing solution on you and will shoot you with seemingly endless fire. Every single craft that you will fight is faster then your craft is, full burn they will out run you, out maneuver you. Their shields even recharge faster then yours, you quite literally have to disengage by about 5 kilometers before your shields will return to full state, theirs? Oh they regen if you so much as blink after peeling them away. The enemy weapons also seem to have a partial or full hit scan properties to them which makes trying to escape fire almost impossible.
The weapons, let's talk about that, the weapons feel weak, every single weapon that is at your disposal does almost minimal damage to any and all craft, be it strike craft or heavier ships. Weapons that are supposed to be designed for space ship to ship combat does NOTHING to reduce the enemy numbers or their armor (health pool). Not to mention your main weapons tend to be very slow moving projectiles that they can easily out run or out turn, enemy weapons on the other hand hit you instantly and with greater frequency then yours. Missiles also track you forever where as yours? HA they loose tracking solution the second the targeted ship makes a slight turn, happened every single time. It didn't matter if I tracked the target or let the missile go, more then 50% of the time the ordinance would fail to even touch the target. Theirs on the other hand travel greater distances then yours, greater lock on range then yours and since there are so many enemy ships well there are more of them.
The AI is a joke, your friendly pilots do almost nothing more then half of the time, other times they seem to do more work then you, it is completely random in nature and makes no sense. The enemy AI? Just like everything else in this game that is against you they peel away your numbers, burn through your allies, their capital ship AI is even more competition or they just have more weapons that do greater damage. One particular mission pitted your lone carrier against multiple heavy class ships and before you could rush to the first ship to disarm them your carrier would already be down to half health.
Speaking of loosing missions, you will loose a lot because of how stacked the deck is against the player, allies are useless and weak, enemy AI is overly competent and impossible at times to kill, and have ships that take more of a punishment then your allies. So with that said you will fail a lot, trust me, so have fun redoing entire sections of missions because the root that is this game's core filters out into even the simplest things like the check point systems. The developers felt that giving PC players actual manual save functionality was too "easy" or some lazy excuse like that so you are forced to rely on their checkpoint system. A system that, upon failure you are forced to play an entire level from the beginning, in a game with quite a lot of down time and traveling from location to location very slowly.
As if all these problems weren’t bad enough there is also a serious problem with stability, even on my PC: i7-6700, 16 gigs of RAM, Win7 64bit and a EVGA 1070 I have seen consistent hitching and stuttering while in combat. Whenever an enemy ship is destroyed or whenever a mission is completed, changes or is added it hitches/stutters my game. This is unacceptable!
I genuinely tried to enjoy this game but after my 4th or 5th play session I just couldn’t push myself to suffer through another retry or another mission where I alone have to fight against waves of enemies who are better in every way to my own ship with every increasing impossibility to meet objectives. I felt unrewarded and that all of my efforts had no meaning. I was hoping that all of the negative press and reviews wouldn’t be 100% spot on but I was yet again proven right, the product was faulty from the very beginning no matter how flashy it may look. It is not Macross, it is not Wing Commander or any of the other space flight sims. You see unlike in games like Wing Commander and the like, you progress over the course of your campaign, through different ships, mission objectives, and difficulty. This game has you in the lions den without so much as a stick and a briefing to explain what you need to do and how to control your craft. The manual, as some fanboys may say, is useless in this respect, all the old games still had a helpful and useful tutorial to explain changes in gameplay and lead the player into the flow of the game. SSZ does none of that, the game even stops what it calls the tutorial less then half way through so that you can be forced into a fight that, should you fail, you have to restart the entire tutorial and engagement all over again.
Bad game design is bad game design, anyone trying to dress up and excuse it is just an enabler and does not actually wish anyone to get better at their craft. If they suck at making games then call a spade a spade and tell them. Do not soft ball for these people, YOU gave them money, they should have to prove to YOU, the customer, why you should pay for their product. Do not be suckered in by the “independent game designer” and make you go easy on something that still cost full price. Have more respect for yourself, your money and the hobby.
Do not buy this game or the DLC and especially do not pay for the so called “directors cut” patch. Let these companies die for their own lack of abilities and do not enable them to continue to suckle money from your fellow gamers.
What’s there to say about The Division that hasn’t already been said? All of it being true on the negative side of things. $90+ for the base game that has Free to Play microtransactions & loot boxes.
“Dark Zone” is a joke of a griefing “PVE/PVP” labeled location, that’s all it really boils down to, it is 100% for griefers and/or cheaters. There has been nothing done to prevent it on the game or programming side of things so call a spade a spade and just say it’s trash. The worst part is that it could have been something better but the devs, being Ubisoft employees who've consistently sold half baked ideas and half-♥♥♥♥♥ the products which is why you get so many griefers, pure and simple. The DZ is that it was built from the ground up by the devs to be impossible to enjoy if you weren’t there to kill players, not only is the game combat system skewed in this regard but the loot that is found in the DZ & in the shops is at times too good to pass up. This was a calculated move by the devs to cause as much grief as possible, to make paying customers suffer their mistakes basically. They purposefully made loot in the DZ better then anything that you can get, better drop percentages, enemies drop better or higher quality loot more consistently, etc. It is quite impossible to enjoy the DZ as a solo or a coop player, because if you are there to loot and nothing else, you simply do not have the right build.
On the subject of loot and inventory, a maxed out character can only hold 120 items on their person with an additional stash space of 150, which in a game like this is far too small a number. It gets worse there hundreds if not thousands of cosmetic items and all you can do is scroll through 8 different categories to find that one piece of clothing that you wanted.
Another major failing point, in my opinion, is the required always online functionality. Any game that has this “feature” gets an automatic negative opinion, nothing good comes from always on based systems, especially computer games. So if the servers go belly up have fun doing something else for up to 4 hours at a time (server maintenance seems to happen several times per week). Better yet on that same subject, say Ubisoft pulls an EA and disconnects servers to this game, then what? You possibly spent more then $90 on this now functionally dead program, “thanks for your money sucker”, that is basically what it will turn into, practically every online only game has this happen to it. It also doesn’t’ help that since this is a Ubisoft title the netcode and the servers are awful. Far too much at stake for players to put any kind of faith in a publisher like Ubisoft.
The combat, that this game calls it, amounts to the RPG excuse that the developers used, “suspend your disbelief”. You will go to an area and shoot the same enemy more then 1,000 times, then you will go to the next area and shoot a tougher enemy that looks exactly like the guy you just killed by has a yellow bar over his head and a name. That enemy will require you to shoot him 50,000 times before he looses his armor, let alone his actual health bar. This all takes place in the not fictional area of the United States, NYC. So we have a real location, set in a not distant future, using modern weapons and semi-future tech BUT it’s an RPG so every enemy needs half of your ammo pool to kill them off. If any of this sounds bad to you it’s because it is and it’s worse when you play it and feel how bad the combat is.
The visuals and the sound design are the only things that save this “game” from being a total loss. Walking through lower NYC is quite an interesting experience and you get the feeling of how bad things have gotten in the city, if the DZ was any good or enjoyable at all to visit I’d add that it’s quite the representation of things going bad to worse really quickly. However since we’ve established that the DZ is pure cancer I won’t include it on the “good things” about this game visually. Sound design for the most part is also quite good, the reverb of weapons fire within the city is well done and the explosions are also stout.
As I wrote earlier there are a lot of things to do but the game still feel empty and shallow. This is because, like my GTA Online analogy there no substance to said content. You will play it once by yourself and once with some randoms or friends and that will be it, the experience will never change, at all. Most of the content, which includes the base game all stems from the same “go here do this thing get useless garbage for your troubles” that RPGs can’t seem to get away from. Considering the loot in this title is atrocious by comparison to its other contemporaries the game basically fails to hold your attention short of trying to hold that carrot in front of your face. There are far better things that you can do with your time then play this “game” I assure you. Did I neglect to mention that this game has an overpriced season pass? On top of microtransactions and PAID loot crates? Ah yes the paid loot crates, the exact thing that Ubisoft promised would never be in the game ever and they just said screw you we want MORE money (more then the $90 for the Gold edition along with all the other paid cosmetics that cost $5 each). Citation: http://letsplayvideogames.com/2017/01/the-division-1-6-update-has-microtransactions-despite-ubisoft-promising-thered-be-none/ This is why it is even more important to be a well informed consumer, because you can not trust developers, publisher and anyone trying to sell you something. Simply put they will lie to your face at any time when they talk to you so you simply can not trust what any developer, especially anyone employed by Ubisoft/EA/Activision.
Avoid this title at all costs if you value your sanity, your money or your time. Over all The Division is nothing but an unfulfilling time sink that fails to succeed at the most basic objectives of the looter genre.
I am finding it hard to feel any sort of drive to finish this "game", the dev somehow thinks that he is equal the iD software by making this so called "homage". Features that were basic in 1992 can not be found in this Indie title, basic things like control options, an escape menu, a map, any sort of manual saving functionality, again are not found in this title. had different enemy types that you could clearly identify by sight and sound, Intude has a single sound bite "hey" for every single human based enemy.
Intrude is repetitive, was repetitive but it had an excuse, this "indie" title has none of those excuses, the developer literally had more then 20 years to figure out how to improve upon a known and well respected franchise. Instead he appears to have cut even more basic functions from what is now ancient gameplay mechanics and made his title even MORE basic. As I stated earlier there is a single sound bite for every single enemy type in the game when they see you. The music is also painfully repetitive and not in a good way, again had excuses and honestly a better musical score that didn't repeat across entire chapters! For comparisons sake 3D which was released in 1992 had 27 tracks including menu and credit, Intrude has 4! Weapon sounds are fine however there's no real impact, again 20+ years in the future but still can't do it better then a game made in 1992.
The color pallet is awful, again had valid reasons, just because you're trying to keep it "retro" doesn't excuse you from putting any effort into your level design and art, the color pallet is even more bland then 3D. Enemy types do not have different tactics, they all walk around or side to side and shoot you, only one actually pushes forward and that is a melee only enemy type. They all look the same, again 3D in 1992 had a more obvious cast of enemy types then this title made in 2016. The enemies you face have very inconsistent damage hitboxes, someone you can actually dodge fire and other times you get hit around corners, funny didn’t' have that problem, if they could see you they could possibly hit you, not to much in this game that was released in 2016. Enemies also can hit you when they are beyond your in game visual range, because there was totally "fog" in that limited how far you could see right? Oh wait... no there wasn't... On top of obviously cheap and lazy programming the dev also added laser fences, all of which move faster then your slow walking speed. These totally fair and balanced “enemies” are an instant kill, and since there are several times in the game where you have to somehow out run these fast moving or on and off laser fences you will die a lot to these cheap mechanics that are just there to kill you and make you play the entire level over again. Not well designed, so already the enemies and environmental hazards are not fun and you are punished for just playing the game, yeah sounds like something I want to keep playing right?
The lack of any basic "retro" features is pathetic, no manual save or even quick save and loading?! Again you're beaten by a game that was made when they were pioneering the first person shooter genre! How do you screw that up?! No customizable controls, again 1992 did it, no in game map, 1992 did it, yet you kept the frustrating part about 3D which was the labyrinthine like maze levels but left out the areas that easily designated them as different zones and neglected to give the player a map. Enemies that do not drop ammo upon death, why? To make it more frustrating? I can tell you it’s not retro so why do it that way? Health pick ups are not even remotely plentiful like they were in which makes the lack of a save function even more painful.
This is a shell, a pale imitation of something that was done better by leaps and bounds in 1992! How do you charge money for something that is worse in practically every single way to something that was release 20+ years ago?! I've tried to give every aspect of this title a fair shake but really even the music isn't that good, it's fine maybe the first 1 or 2 times but when you hear it across 5+ levels per chapter and they are so short of a file. Everything works so hard to make the experience of playing this title painful and boring. The fact that I’ve seen mods for both Doom and surpass this title in every way shape and form, visually, artistically and fully upgrade the functionality makes me wonder what the developer was thinking when he charged money for this. I mean you can play a version of that is so beyond what the original was it’s honestly mind blowing yet here we have a “full” game that is even less functionality and soul then even the original and free mods! Even at the price of $4 it is NOT worth it, maybe single dollar, MAYBE but you can easily buy the originals and be able to mod them for FREE and get more for your money then this.
Posted January 20, 2018. Last edited January 20, 2018.
Rainbow Six: Team Kill edition Pretty much what this title is, team killing the video "game", don't do your job exactly as some random jerk off from across the map wants you to do? TK, if you don't pick the "right" class or operator that some of the other random's want Team Kill, or if someone is just doing it to be a jerk. There's simply zero punishment that hits these types of people and since the matchmaking system in this title is so broken and awful, have fun being teamed up with these same people over and over and over and over and over. Since they also paid for the "game" you'll find that Ubisoft treats TKing with kids gloves at best as again no punishment for team killing happens to them. Team Kill you entire squad oh well the match will just eject you after you've killed 4 out of 5 of your teammates. The best lobbies are the ones where you have team killers who are in groups so you can't even vote kick them, again no punishment for these types of people or their "friends". You, the paying customer who's trying to play the game as intended just have to suffer because of Ubisoft's inability to actually put down the hammer and punish these types of players.
This is not a fun game at all, it's a grindy mess on top of the constant team killing that occurs in 95% of lobbies that is also Fee to Pay, meaning it's a free to play game type (Grinding for days at a time just to unlock a simple item) with an additional Yearly subscription fee in the form of an "optional" season pass. So on top of the $40 base price you get to pay $30 per year. Sounds like a real bargain right? The grinding aspect is the fact that every “new” operator requires a fee of 25,000 “Renown” which is Siege’s grinded currency. Roughly every match will net you between 110-180 on average, sufficed to say you’re looking at 28 hours or around 167 matches worth of grinding just to unlock a single operator with nothing else. These aren’t just cosmetic changes either this is actual gameplay mechanics hidden behind a grind or pay wall, which is where it gets the “free to play” gameplay title from. The difference being that you had to pay $40 for the base game and there are 8 additional full priced 25K operators on top of the operators that come with the game that you also have to unlock for 2,000 then 10,000 after. Again Fee to Pay, the very definition of it.
The multiplayer is nothing but “watch this hole that I just made with a single rifle round and headshot someone from it”. The gameplay itself is not very compelling and while the destruction engine is quite well done that’s really all that Siege has to it’s name, a fairly well done destruction engine but they forgot the fun gameplay aspect that every game should have. 5 versus 5 seems to be the new trend in multiplayer only gaming and it’s honestly for the detriment to gaming as a whole. It mostly gained traction with CS:GO and all Ubisoft did was copy it to the letter and added a destruction engine to the mix. Over all however Siege is nothing more then a bad CS:GO clone, even has loot boxes now as if Ubisoft just wants to drive the point home that they are also trying to elbow their way into the “completive” market. Boring drivel with zero originality involved.
Terrorist hunt was added as an after thought, nothing more, the AI knows were you are at all times, which for today’s Ubisoft is pretty bog standard AI behavior. They wallhack you consistently, they bash through doors and windows when they know you’re prepping something or about to breach a room. They just know, oh but then there’s the totally balanced and not at all broken “Bombers” yeah again if ever you needed an example as to the fact that this is not a true Rainbow Six title these enemies are it. They are nothing but the uninspired “tank” type enemies mixed with faster running then any operator and their blast radius is that of a thermonuclear device with the added bonus that they shoot you as they run at you.
On top of all of this is the name Rainbow Six, they dragged Tom Clancy’s name through the mud again by slapping on a good series like R6 and attaching it to a title like this. This game literally has nothing to do with Rainbow Six at all, even R6 Vegas had more to do with what the book series was about then this title. You’re both the terrorist AND the counter terrorist, it’s awful, oh and no single player story mode to speak of so really it’s not even a complete package for $70. All of the operators use their own nationality’s camo and gear unlike the correct Rainbow Six teams which had their operators wearing the same color gear and camo to better give the team members the idea that they are of one group. A shell, not even a shadow of what Rainbow Six used to be is all this “game” manages to portray, they had an interesting idea before they canceled it then turned the project into Siege (can’t remember off the time of my head what the oriental game was going to be called).
Over all it is a team killers paradise because there are zero repercussions that is trying so hard to be CS:GO and a “game” that has nothing to it then wall banging boring multiplayer with no single player to make the game even remotely complete. On a Fee to Pay payment method where you pay to not grind for days or pay $30 yearly.
Posted December 20, 2017. Last edited December 20, 2017.
1,746.5 hrs on record (1,724.2 hrs at review time)
The CEO of Take 2, GTA's publisher talking about how he will force microtransactions into every single one of their games, they want more the $60+ that we all pay for the game but hundreds over the course of your play time regardless of the game. Educate yourself, read how bad these people are know your enemy as a gamer, as a consumer, is: https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/309190/TakeTwo_plans_to_only_release_games_with_recurrent_consumer_spending_hooks.php Single player, still good, as with most if not all GTA titles thus far, playing 3 different characters is both at times tiring and fun. One of the 3 is the least interesting, that being Franklin, his character was the least fleshed out yet was made out to be the glue to the group. The gameplay is mostly better and for it's time it looked great though now visually not as impressive, there are however still instances where the world lives and you just sit back and watch.
By now you already know what the story is about, you do heists, which compared to PD2, are quite well done and make you feel like you're actually getting something out of it after you've planned for several set-up missions. Your characters level up their traits so the now bog standard RPG elements are built into the game, for better or for worse which means at times a lot of grinding in order to get better which again is forced and boring in any game. All in all the story is worth it so long as you find the game on sale, NEVER pay full price for this title as it is simply not worth $60 for a 4 year old game, period.
Now the online aspect of GTA5, where to start.... well it WAS a fair sandbox where you could enjoy getting killed by random a-holes in the server but now you can get that same feeling while you're flying, riding in a tank, anywhere you go you will be harried by other players in Freeroam. It was a horrible design choice and I will never understand what they ultimately thought would happen. That's just the crappy overworld, joining matches is a chore if you can even find anything then have fun with the infinite number of game modes that Rockstar keeps shoving out of the door to keep people playing because you'll never find a game mode beyond it's initial introduction. By the way that’s if you aren’t killed by the countless modders that have been a problem since day 1 of the PC release but does Rockstar do anything? No they go after the victims rather then the offenders.
On the subject of stability or how good of a port GTA5 is over all, it is pretty good but it also isn't, the load times are insane, even having the game on an SSD it can take at times an unlimited amount of time to load/connect to an offline lobby. While the game runs fairly well Rockstar clearly did not make sure that stability and reliability was mirrored during loading and connecting to a lobby. Sorry but a 4 year old game if it's well optimized should not take 5+ minutes to load on an SSD or any hard drive for that matter, period.
How they treat their paying customers and loyal player base is also shameful, their support staff, if you can call them that, do nothing but read from prefabricated responses and treats you like you caused the issue to happen. They constantly suggest over the top things to fix completely separate issues, like uninstall our 50+ gigabyte game and reinstall it in order to fix a connection problem. Not to mention the countless false positives for account bans and account wipes, which means that even a straight as an arrow player can and will get banned or have all of their cash wiped entirely from their character just because their “state of the art trusted anti-cheat” system flagged your account. They constantly blame the victim rather then the cause and their support staff are instructed not to speak to anyone regarding bans or said money wipes. They have constantly denied any and all wrong doing on every account even when given mountains of evidence they are staunch in their “belief” that you are the problem and not their system.
Making money, which is the only way to really get anywhere in the game, because it's not like I want to play the game that I bought, no I want to literally work for hours at a time grinding missions, heists, game modes, etc. Just to get anywhere in the game. If you don't grind for cash or pay for in game money you will suffer, the poor are indeed the lesser class in GTA Online with no real way to gain serious money if they can't find the means or the tools. You can't get the tools if you don’t have the money and if you don’t have the tools you can't make the money. It's a horrible circle and it does not make a fun game to just enjoy, because you can't because it's work, you're quite literally working within the game universe. If you own a business, you're doing work, if you're trying to make money via heists (which is no longer the best way to make money these days, anymore anyway) you work and grind for DAYS on end. With the amount of time that I spent working in GTA Online, comparing their own pricing for Shark Cards I would have spent thousands of dollars to give you some perspective and I still don't own everything, not even close. Everything in Online is now priced so that it all but forces you to buy Shark Cards which Rockstar's fee to pay microtransactions. The best part about them now is that they are totally worthless, with each update that Rockstar releases the items get more and more expensive to the point where even the $100 Shark Card for $8 million, won't even buy you a car or two, where as before when the game was first out you'd be hard pressed to spend all $8 million. It is done on purpose and now that Take 2's CEO has consistently come out to the public and investor meetings and stated that he treats customers by how they spend on his games. That should tell you what kind of horrible person and horrible company Take 2 and Rockstar have turned into.
Their CEO is on record comparing paying human customers to minnows, dolphins and whales, these dehumanizing categories put gamers into their spending habits, if you spend very little and simply grind for days on end for your cash well you’re a minnow, if you buy money constantly then you’re a whale. These are the people running Take 2 and Rockstar, these are the people saying making games is too expensive, the “people” who compare human beings to aquatic creatures based on their spending habits.
Do yourself and your fellow gamers some respect and avoid this title, educate yourself on how badly Take 2 and Rockstar have been treating their own paying customers for the past 4 years and realize that it will NEVER go back to the way it was. Take 2 and Rockstar will never be the same again, and when this microtransaction bubble bursts, because it will, Take 2 and Rockstar will be gone because they've now made sure that if their ideas fail their companies fail. It's better to please your investors then your actual customers, the ones who make your fame possible. Spend your money on another more deserving company, please.
Posted November 9, 2017. Last edited June 21, 2018.