Author Topic: Your own videogame reviews thread  (Read 479 times)

Your own videogame reviews thread
« on: May 02, 2021, 05:50:59 pm »
I thought this would be fun, because I like writing up reviews of the games I played, so I figured others might enjoy doing the same. I want to make this as open as possible, with only a few ground rules:

1) Only write reviews for games you've beaten. There's no need to get 100% or the best ending, just beat it.

2) Only write reviews games you've beaten recently. Please, don't use this as a thread to just rate your all-time favorites, this is a place to flex your writing so others can see what you think about a particular game. If you have reviews you've written previously and want to put them here, that's ok, too.

That's it. Do modern games. Do retro games. Make it one sentence. Make it an essay. Give a score out of 10, out of 5, give it no score. Other than the two rules I'm requesting people follow above, have at it. I'll post some of mine below (these are reviews I wrote previously, when I beat said games, so they do follow my own rules).

Look forward to seeing what people come up with.  :)
« Last Edit: May 02, 2021, 05:57:20 pm by bunnybear »
—Currently Playing—
World End Syndrome (Switch)
Rogue Legacy (Switch)

Re: Your own videogame reviews thread
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2021, 05:54:21 pm »
The Mummy Demastered (Switch)

It’s fitting I got the bad ending, and I can’t seem to figure out why. Without spoiling anything, I know what I have to do to get the good ending, but the game just kills my character while I am in midst of completing that task, and there’s no explanation for it.

I have a feeling the solution lies in exploring the last few % of the rooms, and uncovering the last special items. I might one day attempt this, but since the game itself offers no explanation, and hence no motivation to do it, why should I?

So, since Wayforward thought so little of the player as to allow in-game mechanics to go unexplained (and allow the player to accidentally thwart him or herself, you can remove your ability to collect use grenades without even knowing you did it, for example) for far too long, and to skimp on the budget for quality assurance, I too will shortchange them (ha! Joke’s on me, obviously) by not fleshing out this review, and simply put everything into very short sentences.

Uninspired storytelling. Mediocre pixel art. Good soundtrack but lacking depth. Lacklustre map design. Entirely too predictable power ups. Fun weapons. Hidden walls with no rhyme or reason. Cheap attempts to add difficulty by using 8 bit style vertical platforming.

This is a by-the-numbers metroidvania if there ever was one. It’s like they made it using a checklist of what a game in the genre should have, sans creativity. This game is sex.... while wearing a Kevlar condom: you’re going through the motions, but the feelings aren’t there. Add to that the handful of times the game kicked me back to the Switch main screen, or glitches in such a way my character became invisible, walked through walls but could not leave a given room, and you have  a game that might merit 2 stars if it were debugged and didn’t allow the player to screw up entirely without explanation.

As is, 1.5 stars (out of 5). Way backwards.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2021, 01:34:55 pm by bunnybear »
—Currently Playing—
World End Syndrome (Switch)
Rogue Legacy (Switch)

Re: Your own videogame reviews thread
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2021, 05:55:38 pm »
Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap (Switch)

I feel like I’m reviewing two games here. One, the actual late 80s Sega/Westone classic, and the modern coat of audio/visual gloss layered on top courtesy of Lizardcube.

It’s really hard to extricate the two, since this modern release really is as faithful to the Master System version as possible, running directly overtop the original game, warts and all.

So let’s go in reverse. Lizardcube have done an amazing job recreating the original by adding beautiful new handpainted art, and live studio musicians. The graphics are vibrant and full of detail, the music very... “jaunty” is the word.

They picked an important game to apply this makeup to, as well. The original Master System Wonder Boy III, although beloved by its fans, often gets overlooked for helping to lay the foundation for metroidvanias long before Castlevania came out with its seminal Symphony of the Night.

Critically, though, Dragon’s Trap shares a few flaws (though to a much lesser extent) with one of the non-‘vania Castlevanias, aka Simon’s Quest: it can be a bit too obtuse at times, making progression frustrating, and sometimes headslapping at discovering the solution to a key roadblock.

But this is the era from which this game was from, and from which Lizardcube decided to apply their restoration, while still leaving the bones intact.

The end result is a very good, very satisfying, proto-metroidvania that shows a new generation of gamers not only where some of the genesis for this genre came from, but also how the craft of videogames themselves has changed over the years.

3.5 stars (out of 5). One foot in the present, the other in the past.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2021, 06:00:14 pm by bunnybear »
—Currently Playing—
World End Syndrome (Switch)
Rogue Legacy (Switch)

Re: Your own videogame reviews thread
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2021, 08:19:07 pm »

"Duke Nukem 3D" for the MS/DOS PC and Windows Operating systems.

( Game Story)
 Your character "Duke Nukem" is flying back to planet earth in a stolen alien space craft after just single handedly destroying an entire race of alien invaders all by himself in his 2nd butt kicking world saving adventure. Now he returns to planet Earth, vary fatigued, horney, and just plain tired out from his previous out of this world adventure. Only to find out that another massive army of aliens has  taken over the entire planet earth while he was away fighting off another massive army.

Duke can't make any radio contact with the military's or the police force anywhere around. then some alien shoots his stolen space craft down, now he is super pissed off, horney. and now he knows has to save the entire planet Earth (single handedly) "AGAIN" for the 3RD time in his entire lifetime so far.

so you then your are on foot and single handily go through the city of Los Angeles California killing or in my case "burning" Reptilian Lizard men Asses. on a quest to eventually nuke the entire city of Los Angels California. one section at a time. killing all the lizard men and a mutated pig policemen thorough your "first person" shooting adventure. Just like in the original Doom game made by ID software in 1993 you start off with an automatic handgun, and  during the game you can  eventually carry up to 11 weapons at a time, eventually picking up and carrying TONS of ammo and bombs. including a jetpack you need to find fuel for, and scuba gear, anti-radio active combat boots, a HUGE bottle of Steroids', a massive portable medical kit, night vision goggles, and holographic image of himself,

on the 3rd episode after you beat the 3rd Lizard man boss, in an American football stadium. the game does a short skit where you can hear but not see Duke Nukem having sex with a women. after that if you have the newer version of Duke Nukem 3D? called the Duke Nukem 3D Atomic Edition, in the last episode Dukes women get captured and then, killed by yet another type of Lizard men, now Duke Nukem goes back into action killing more of what you did in the first 3 sections of the game

(My Opinion) I Played and Beat Duke Nukem 3D Atomic Edition more times in my life then I can even remember.  both with, AND without cheats, on 3rd highest difficulty setting. it is a fun game I highly recommend playing it, if you like mid 1990's First Person Shooter video games.

NOTE:  It is known to contain brief nudity and half-nude women through out the game, this is not a game for a young audience.


Turning off "adult"  mode also disables 99% of Duke Nukem's harsh language also "but not all of it"

It's currently vary cheap to buy on "Steam" and run on modern computer with no problem. like the origional Doom series, it has a TON of level and free downloadable content for it, but most of the content is not aimed at a young audence, in a lot of mods there is  quite a lot of nude pictures, and no "I NEVER PLAY THE GAME FOR THE PORN" but Duke Nukem 3D Atomic Edition is what I believe a great FPS game. :)
« Last Edit: May 06, 2021, 07:54:03 pm by oldgamerz »

Life on earth is only temporary and If you believe in God and do good in life. You can continue to live with any possessions  you desire, in the afterlife, as long as you do good and don't do evil in real life.


Re: Your own videogame reviews thread
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2021, 08:13:44 am »
Oh man. I wish GameTrailers was still active. I would have been able to copy and paste dozens of reviews that I made on there. Still holds up as my favorite videogame related site. Was sad when it finally closed shop.


Re: Your own videogame reviews thread
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2021, 10:10:10 am »
My most recent review is for SaGa: Scarlet Grace Ambitions.
If you make me your enemy, you make the world your enemy.


Re: Your own videogame reviews thread
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2021, 06:54:56 pm »
i just saw the credits of hades so let's GOOOOOOO.
there's a few things i wanna do before i'm personally done with it, i need to give super tsundere than-chan all the ambrosia and i kinda am not ready to say 'o i'm done' but at the same time i don't foresee myself achieving the true ending.

that said i totally see why james stephanie sterling gave hades their 2020 game of the year award. it's good. it's really good.

everything is fantastic. characters, story, weapons, everything. it's so fantastic that every time i told myself i would throw a run that i had started for the purposes of grinding, i also sat there like 'o come on, kill me!' because i also refused to stand in a lava pool and go the easy way. a few of those runs got to the end, too. whoops. and so often i just wanted to do one more shot through the underworld even tho i needed to stop. good stuff. and despite it being high intensity, there's frequent downtime after clearing areas so players never have to forgo wrist exercises. and if you play this game, you should take that time and do so, it gets intense and your wrists will thank you!

the most commendable aspect outside of the development process (no crunch!) to me is the sheer sense of progression. you incrementally get better, in part thanks to permanent upgrades, but also thanks to learning enemy patterns. it's extremely rare for me not to get to the final area almost every run now, even when i'm not trying. weeks ago that was a huge feat, now i wonder what happened to all of the chambers in an area. 'what happened to elysium?' is something i actually uttered once, and it was then i really began to appreciate the fact that the game allows you to really learn patterns and how to handle things and which boons (temp upgrades) work together and how they work with each weapon type to wreak the most havoc. at first, you will fail, but never due to feeling overwhelmed with these interlocking systems. they're fed to players in such a way they don't bombard, and hide their complexity behind choices that add up; choices that, you realise after a while, it seems pretty clear newcomers were never supposed to be able to grasp the complexity of, because they won't know what works and doesn't, but that very method also encourages newcomers to not get set in what they think is best early on. no, the game encourages trying out a lot of new things in various ways, all culminating in an experience that, towards mastery, allows a fluidity of choosing between options based on options given before it, or changed circumstances. and while no options are 'beginner's traps', beginners will most definitely make builds around certain boons that are good in the early areas but aren't good towards the end as boons to build around, as they don't help with the toughest fights, but are great as accessories to get there.

and there is also a feeling of this progression as one begins to shift from careful builds to maintain life through to the end, to all-out aggressive builds because of the build-up of confidence that one knows the patterns well enough to dodge at least enough to not die, while also outputting damage in the process. it's a very good feeling to finally clear a run without any hp regen boons, when it wasn't so long ago that you were sure any run would collapse without having the duo-boon that does just that.

i really do not get this sense of progressive learning curve from many games, with an active and steady sense of just getting better at making choices as well as combat.

and i really appreciate that 'failure' is presented as failing at the one end-goal. failure unlocks more story progression. failure reshuffles the shop and allows you to get more upgrades if you can. and the game doesn't fuck around and lead players to believe they got closer than they did, nor does the game ever feel explicitly unfair. it is never going to give you completely garbage load-outs; at most, it is going to present olympian gods to choose from whose boons the player hasn't yet found the synergy of. and that may be unfair to beginning players who don't really take to the type of randomisation that goes with roguelikes, but it isn't by design. so, failure always feels like a fair outcome, in my opinion. sometimes, it's as simple as just not knowing how the enemies fight. but whatever, there was a long way to go to the end anyway, and there's going to be a lot more surprises before you get there. and i am the type of person who is easily frustrated by difficulty and 'unfair' situations in games. but hades never made me feel that way, only slight annoyance when the boons i got to choose from ended up with underpowered weapons, but even then, i realised it was my own bad choices--i was holding out for a boon i liked for a particular slot that never showed up (and is never promised to show up; runs will often present to you a handful of gods at most, a couple more often than the rest, but not all of them are guaranteed to show). this circles back into the learning curve of the game teaching players fluidity in choices that i already mentioned. the game will bear the burden of 'bad loadouts' from frustrating beginning players into the feelings of 'how should i have known that?' while also revealing through mastery that there are no completely dreadful loadouts after all, just how to combine them into something that works.


(shout out to the queer characters here. i fucking love agender they/them chaos with all my heart, thanks. i also adore tsundere thanatos. there's a notable gay relationship you help with in the game too, that i was pretty excited about. but chaos in particular, when i realised they're always referred to as they/them, and that it wasn't leading into some gender-reveal moment, got me psyched as hell.)

small mention needs to be made that there's some small bug i found, particularly with the prophecy list, where certain choices don't register as having been made? the solution seems to be closing out and then restarting the game periodically. it's nothing near game-breaking, nor does it lock you out of achieving the prophecy by meeting the conditions again, just something to note. the game loads noticeably faster by doing this reset trick too, so it's worth closing it after play sessions or after every few runs anyway. slight nuisance when it comes to the 'duo' prophecy list (as there are prereqs involved with boons which is completely random) but it is completely optional content. just worth remembering.

that's the only con i can think of tbh.

oh, and the rail gun. i hate it. i love every other weapon, but this one is awful. and it's the only one that makes constant sound, making it even worse to me. but the game must know i despise it, because it continues to be chosen as the one that gets higher darkness rewards. terrible. i might try to escape with it, but i've put off grinding it so far. it's not a real negative to the game, but it is to me, because of the aforementioned 'higher darkness reward' problem.

pettiness aside, this game is absolutely fantastic. best i've played so far this year. and i won't judge you if you actually like the railgun.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2021, 07:08:43 pm by necrosexual »

if i'm an NPC, i want to be the secret boss in a low tier niche JRPG.

Re: Your own videogame reviews thread
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2021, 07:44:03 pm »



FOR PS2, original Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube


True Crime Streets Of LA lets you pick both a good or bad path and has all the elements of the 3D Grand Theft Auto Games, like driving or walking around in a massive open world. True Crimes Streets Of LA is supposed to have the entire city Of the real life Los Angeles  in the game itself including the LA Kings Hockey Arena at the time the game was made.

I never liked the feel of the Grand Theft Auto games because the game to me is just not fun being a criminal even though True Crimes Streets Of LA lets you play as either a good cop or bad cop, but punishes you for being the bad cop in a way. I spent countless hours as a teen playing True Crimes Streets of LA the world is massive, and suppose to have the entire real like Los Angeles city included in the open world,

including highways and roads and even streets to explore of course you need to complete the first 2 missions in the story mode.

I even have the True Crimes Streets Of New York game but I don't like that game as much as the True Crimes LA Game.

I played the game both ways starting out as a bad cop, and then a new saved game as a good cop. I liked arresting and frisking people, as well as the car chases and stopping fights and doing everything that the police in real life do,

I recommend it for adults only more then the Grand Theft Auto games. I have almost all GTA games in my collection but I haven't played them and really don't know exactly why I have them, but.

If you play this game you need to read the manual, and maybe write down all the games combos, like how to show you badge and fire a warning shot in the air, to get the bad guys to put their hand up and then you need to press another 2 button to arrest them,

 so pay attention to the combos as well as the basic combat, the goal of this game is the be a good cop and choose the right path in the story mode otherwise your game the poor ending, I never achieved the good ending but I did fight the final boss and achieved the average ending.

You go around the city of LA fighting crime earning points for good and lose points for bad ideas. You spend these points to upgrade your character, like getting a better gun or  your own drivable car or driving ability, or going to the gym to learn a new fight combo. This game is HUGE so if you have it I recommending this.

 but then again you can have any car you want just like the GTA games,

« Last Edit: May 06, 2021, 07:48:26 pm by oldgamerz »

Life on earth is only temporary and If you believe in God and do good in life. You can continue to live with any possessions  you desire, in the afterlife, as long as you do good and don't do evil in real life.

Re: Your own videogame reviews thread
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2021, 08:36:36 am »

Ori and the Blind Forest (Switch)

They don’t make them like this anymore. The not-quite-a-AAA-release, also-not-an-indie-effort game.  Somewhere between high budget and no budget. And while it meets all the requisite criteria to be called a metroidvania, to only look at it so would be almost criminally negligent.

Yes, you’ll criss-cross a large, beautiful, interconnected 2D landscape, accessing certain areas only after acquiring new skills or improved statistics, but what sets this game apart from even the genre stalwarts is how organic the entire world feels. I am not referring to the lush graphical setting, but rather the way exploring within and between areas feels so seamless, not jarring. And while some of the gameplay upgrades may be classic metroidvania fare (double jump, dash), others are refreshingly original (using projectiles to launch yourself, and the projectile, into opposite directions for various purposes), and none of it feels forced or gimmicky..

The mechanics are numerous, and a joy to use for exploration or dispatching hostiles in most settings (more on that later), and by the end of the long journey, they nearly all become second nature.

The already eluded-to beautiful graphics, however, take a back seat to the luscious musical score, and the simple, but emotionally heartfelt narrative weaved with it. Moon Studios are clearly students of the “less is more” approach, allowing facial expressions and body language, even among these otherworldly, unrecognizable creatures, to provide a more poignant experience than throwaway dialogue. You will identify with your protagonist, its friends, and even the antagonist, courtesy of the developers’ deft touch.

However, not all is rose petals and sunshine. For a metroidvania, this game is hard. Often the game will feel more like a precision platformer than many games that bill themselves as such. You will die hundreds of times before you complete the roughly 10-15 hr journey (the elapsed time itself a function of the difficulty), and it will be evenly split among simply not memorizing the long patterns of precise motions needed to escape the numerous set pieces, and from battling the controls when faced with time sensitive platforming decisions. The controls, while satisfyingly good, are a little loose, and it’s all too easy to climb up a wall onto your feet (where death awaits) or accidentally perform a maneuver mid air that sends you straight into a fatal pit or headlong into the projectile you were hoping to avoid. This happens so often that it can feel like you’re not really exploring, just inching along, conditioning yourself to saving after every successful move, lest you have to repeat it all when you die at the next challenge, only a few inches of screen real estate away.

But then you finally succeed the entire sequence, and you earn a new power up, or unlock a story sequence, and you forget your frustration. You start to backtrack once you’ve opened up enough of the map to satisfyingly obtain the previously out of reach power ups.

Which is the other reason why this game evokes memories of a bygone area. Although tough, it’s not impossible, and you will feel a sense of satisfaction upon beating this game unlike many of its contemporaries, regardless the genre. That speaks to the beauty of the setting, the vision, the novel puzzle platforming, and the overall level of polish. In an ideal world, this is how most games funded by Microsoft would go: a big wad of cash from the house that Gates built, but otherwise leaving the development studio alone. This is the pinnacle of the big-time funded but independently developed game project.

4 (out of 5) stars. Beautiful, challenging, satisfying goodness.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2021, 08:53:12 am by bunnybear »
—Currently Playing—
World End Syndrome (Switch)
Rogue Legacy (Switch)

Re: Your own videogame reviews thread
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2021, 08:35:25 pm »
Blake Stone: Aliens Of Gold    (PC MS/DOS) (STEAM AND GOG)

ALSO FOR WINDOWS 7 8 AND WINDOWS 10  (for a digital download)

Blake Stone: Aliens Of Gold was a mid 1990's FPS game that used the same game engine as Wolfenstein 3D did, only this game has much much better visual graphics than Wolfenstein 3D did and is a much newer game also. In this adventure you play a role as a future British UK Secret Agent, on a mission to take on a mad scientist that wants to rule the entire galaxy, AND his army of aliens and other monsters. As well as other people, such as guards, and even human soldiers.

On your mission, you also have innocent male scientists that you can talk to by pressing the [space] button on the keyboard. The same way you open doors and use objects in the game. the good scientists will help you like give you ammo and coins. You can then use on SOME of the vending machines throughout the game, if you press [space] key on Some of the vending machines you can increase your health when you get injured or shot at by the bad guys. However the bad scientists wear the same clothing as the innocent scientists. And the bad ones will run side to side and shoot at you. when they know who you are.

in this game you have both (GOOD) and (BAD) Scientists.  To get a better score, you need to shoot all the bad scientists, as well as all the monsters, AND guards while, (NOT) shooting at ANY of the good scientists in the process.

IF you want get the best score on the (6 different) episode/missions as possible.

In This game you can pickup gold bars and money. Located in through each and every level. In the game. MOST of the treasures you can find, are in hidden passages.  Throughout each and every level. IF you shoot all the bad guys, and collect ALL the treasure in the levels. AND avoid shooting (ALL) the (GOOD) scientists through the entire episode/mission. you can get the maximum completion score and can then write that in the HIGH SCORES table.

You however don't need to. But if you want to say you completed this game 100% with the highest possible score you  will need to, but it's not required to advance. Just like the (FULL version) of Wolfenstein 3D there are (SIX) Episodes also called missions in this game, with a TOTAL of 60 nicely detailed levels. 10 levels are hidden levels in the game, one secret level in each  of the SIX sections of this game. You can start this game anywhere you like, therefore you don't need to unlock ANY of the SIX missions BUT if you want to play the entire game following the story? I'd recommend playing Episode 1 then 2 and so on first.

Unlike Wolfenstein 3D you  use the same exact elevator as an exit that you started on each and every level of the episode. The goal in each level, is to find the (RED KEY) to unlock the next level upwards.

However, you can backtrack across each and every level in the game if you want to. This game lets you backtrack and go to levels below you at all times if you want to.

I'd recommend this First Person Shooter for anyone who like the original DOOM series or Wolfenstein 3D games, this game is different than any other FPS game I ever played in my Entire life, you can purchase this game on STEAM or GOG's Online digital store, for a low price currently and I high recommend it.

« Last Edit: May 17, 2021, 08:39:02 pm by oldgamerz »

Life on earth is only temporary and If you believe in God and do good in life. You can continue to live with any possessions  you desire, in the afterlife, as long as you do good and don't do evil in real life.


Re: Your own videogame reviews thread
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2021, 07:13:33 am »
Review for Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation.
If you make me your enemy, you make the world your enemy.

Re: Your own videogame reviews thread
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2021, 03:26:27 pm »

— Rolling Gunner + Overpower Review —

Pedigree matters. Possible eugenics implications aside, it’s often used to highlight the potential quality for dog breeds, race horses..... and celebrated shoot-em-ups.

Cave are the undisputed matters of the “modern” danmaku, or bullet-hell. So when a former Cave developer starts his own outfit (the aptly named “Project Rolling Gunner”) and brings along COSIO, formerly of Taito in-house musicians Zuntata, to handle the music duties, you need to pay attention.

Pedigree matters.... but it only gets you so far. The kid borne of successful parents who amounts to nothing, the pup bred from award winning show parents who can’t ribbon.... these are examples where the pedigree alone couldn’t get the job done. So what of Rolling Gunner + Overpower?

Ladies and gentlemen... it gets the fucking job done.

Instead of a Cave-traditional tate shooter, we get a yoko style, bullet hell. We get the innovation of the “rolling gunner”, a permanent bit that you have varying degrees of control over; partial in the vanilla game, full autonomy in Overpower,  which also radically changes the control scheme from traditional STG controls to full twin stick.

You get the expected barrage of pink and blue bullet storms crashing across the screen, but you also have a novel, and almost entirely optional, scoring system. Played without regard for score chasing, this game might come across as easy (until the last two stages anyway). Playing it with the full knowledge of the scoring systems, the game’s challenge ramps up significantly, and will make you earn every last one your points. Specifically, you need to get a counter up to 1000 by fighting in as close proximity to enemy ships as possible. Once the gauge is full, you can unleash a temporary powered up mode where ongoing close quarters ship blasting, and also bullet grazing, nets you bonus points that work towards both your raw score, and increases your rank, which acts as a score multiplier. If you’re aware enough to trigger this mode again before it runs out you get a super duper powered up mode which ramps up the scoring and ranking even further. Get hit, however, and your rank, and therefore, multiplier, drops. There’s also a strategy to deploying these modes, as their initial use clears all enemy bullets and converts them into point medallions. So in one fell swoop, the game offers multiple new methods to execute a classic risk-versus-reward mechanic.

None of these mechanics would matter if the controls weren’t up to the task, but they are more than ready to answer the call. Vanilla mode requires only a few buttons, whereas Overpower just needs your thumbs on both sticks, and one finger per hand for a trigger. It couldn’t be more comfortable.

The graphics are modern and vibrant, if lacking the Cave’s pixel perfect approach, but everything runs at a perfect 60 FPS, even handheld, except where the programmers intentionally built in some slowdown, per the arcade board the game was developed on. The music consists of bangers in the options screen, stage 4, and final boss, but otherwise is merely “good.” The arranged OST isn’t as interesting.

Aside from the only modestly interesting musical score (disappointing, given the aforementioned pedigree), the only glaring flaw in this game is the lack of online leaderboards.

Don’t let that detract you. Practice, git gud, and post your scores on a forum the old fashioned way. After all, this game’s creation is thanks to the pedigree of a few notable old school names. It won’t matter if you’re a newb or a junkie..... this game’s scoring mechanics (in addition to 4 difficulty levels, three different ships, and the standard game or the Overpower overhaul) are brilliantly scaled

The pedigree matters, but more importantly, it was utilized to create something as brilliant as it is fresh.

4.5 stars out of 5. Required gaming for any shootemup fan.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2021, 03:30:39 pm by bunnybear »
—Currently Playing—
World End Syndrome (Switch)
Rogue Legacy (Switch)

Re: Your own videogame reviews thread
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2021, 08:22:15 pm »

— Death Mark —

I went in thinking this was a Japanese horror visual novel.... I got it half right. The subject matter certainly falls under Japanese horror.... but this isn’t a visual novel. In fact, Death Mark is quite light on narrative, and instead leans hard into the mechanics of classic text adventures by way of exploration and puzzle solving.

I thought I was getting a landmark title, a “cult classic” that spawned a book, a manga, and an audio series. Instead, I got only a glimpse of something wonderful, the kernel of an idea not fully formed. Example: That book I just mentioned? It apparently provides the exposition the game sorely lacked (and frankly, desperately needed).

So if the narrative isn’t fully fleshed out, maybe the production carries the day? Sorta. Death Mark was made on a shoestring budget, and it shows. Think Terminator, not T2, only James Cameron’s original movie was far more successful at achieving its goals compared to Death Mark. The visuals here are mundane and uninspired, the assets too few (although speaking of “assets”, there is some old-fashioned fan service peppered throughout). Thankfully, the sound design is as sharp as the visuals are dull, and excels at setting the appropriate mood, plus fantastic use of well-timed audio cues, instead of cliched visual trickery, to provide effective jump scares (play this game in the dark and with headphones!).

Not so ironically, it’s the gameplay in this not-a-visual-novel game that does most of the heavy lifting to keep you interested. Although light on characterization, the overarching plot will compel you to keep exploring and problem solving to best equip yourself for the spirit battles that punctuate each chapter.

It’s all relative, though, since even this standout amongst the rest of Death Mark’s components is frustratingly flawed. Due to both the Japanese script, and the rather too literal translation, some puzzles will get solved on luck rather than a learned understanding, or in the peculiar case of chapter 4, the player’s own knowledge having nothing to do with the game. In addition to poor editing, the translation whiffs hard on conveying incidents of pedophilia and gang rape - brutal subjects that were clearly addressed in the source material in a powerful but not exploitative manner, are not even mentioned by name here.

Through 5 chapters, the story builds to a crescendo...  only the lack of involvement with the characters mean the reader never feels completely invested. The bonus chapter, created well after the game’s retail release in Japan, makes up for nearly all the flaws of the main game: story, plotting, mechanics, and production all working more synergistically and with higher quality.... until you find out that what separates its good vs bad endings coming down to a random series of choices at the very end, unlike the logical method in which your decisions affect the outcome of the main game.

Still, Death Mark is only volume 1 in a planned trilogy.... and if developers Experience take the time to reflect upon its successes and failures, then there’s hope for what they might achieve with volumes 2 and 3.

Taken in its entirety, Death Mark is successful at immersing the reader into its setting at the expense of its characters, and the player into its exploration at the expense of some puzzle logic.

3 stars. A-minus for effort, C for execution.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2021, 08:36:11 pm by bunnybear »
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Re: Your own videogame reviews thread
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2021, 07:24:07 am »
Loved Death Mark. I think you're the only other person on here that's played it other than me.
If you make me your enemy, you make the world your enemy.

Re: Your own videogame reviews thread
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2021, 07:18:16 pm »
Loved Death Mark. I think you're the only other person on here that's played it other than me.
I definitely enjoyed it, despite what it may sound like from my review above..... it just fell far short of my expectations for it.
—Currently Playing—
World End Syndrome (Switch)
Rogue Legacy (Switch)