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Topic: Games you've recently beat

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Ralizah

Disclaimer: I spoiler-tagged my discussion of the game's ending. I don't think it matters, because anyone with a lick of sense will see where this game is going after five minutes, but if you're especially sensitive to spoilers, there you go.

Actual Sunlight

WHAT IS IT?
A two-hour long RPGMaker game where you play as an overweight, middle-aged man struggling with depression.

PLATFORM
PS Vita

LEVEL OF COMPLETION
Everything. All the trophies. Actually had to replay half the game to snag the last one, but considering the game's length, it wasn't a massive sacrifice.

Untitled

PRO

  • There... aren't any real bugs that I encountered.
  • The game is almost entirely devoid of typos and grammatical mistakes.
  • In general, my issues with... almost everything aside, it's fairly well-written.
  • It's mercifully short.
  • The occasional CG that shows what the characters look like aren't too bad. Character portaits in text boxes aren't the worst thing in the world, either.

CON

  • Have you ever been trapped in a conversation with a deeply unpleasant and negative person, but feel like you're sort of obliged to listen and just want to get the conversation over with? That's what playing this game feels like. The bitter rantings of the main character feel like they were probably derived from a first-hand experience with depression, and I've had some similar thoughts myself at various points in my life (I think everyone has), but the authenticity, or lack thereof, of the main character's self-negativity doesn't make it any more entertaining or enlightening to read. You can very easily go on a random social media website and find someone crying about how fat, stupid, and ugly they are without having to pay $5 to experience it (unless you were lucky like me and got it via PS+ one month). There's no grace, art, humor, or insight gleaned from this game. It's just a day in the headspace of a deeply emotionally unwell human being. And, frankly, anyone can vomit out the nastiness supplied by one's inner critic into a short script and call it a day.
  • Please don't keep mentioning the main character's tendency to pleasure himself while swallowed by feelings of self-remorse, game. It's gross.
  • I was tempted to call this a visual novel, but it doesn't really deserve that distinction. It's a plain-jane, ugly RPGMaker game with reams of text that scroll by anytime you click on anything in the environment, except that text often has nothing to do with the thing you clicked on.
  • The irritating, fax machine-esque noises that issue every time text scrolls by in this game is truly appreciated. On the other hand, there's no voice acting, and basically no music, so there's no real reason to keep the sound up, either. But I didn't want to miss audio cues or something important, either. Joke's on me, I guess.
  • There's a bizarre message that scrolls by at one point when you examine a couple of people outside (as I said before, the text that appears often has no relation to the object you chose to examine) that basically tells the player that, unless they're 25 or older, their problems aren't real or significant. But once you hit your 30's, like the guy in this game and (presumably) the main developer, well, it's too late to turn things around. That's the implication, at least. Might as well jump off of the roof if you don't have a good thing going for you by then.
  • Oh, the roof. So, there's a grand total of, like, five different environments in this game. One of them is the roof of your apartment building. Its inclusion here is obvious: at some point, the player character is meant to throw themselves off of it. Sensing this early on, and quickly developing a headache from the irritating noises and cloying self-pity in all of the game's monologues (90% of the text in this game, as mentioned, is the main character talking bitterly about himself and his life), I was hoping this game might be the Breath of the Wild of suicide sims, and let me jump straight to the end once I felt like it, but that didn't turn out to be the case. You have to go through the motions and endure the requisite amount of mental self-abuse before it finally sends you up to the roof: and, of course, once it does, it won't let you reconsider or go back.
  • EDIT: I genuinely hope that the developer's portrayal of mental health professionals isn't derived from personal experience. With that said, I do find the complete absence of competent psychologists in this story to be somewhat irritating.
  • My biggest issue with all of this is probably that there's no real narrative here. No movement. No evolution. The main character begins as a deeply depressed man who apparently has no interests in life (he buys new video games, but doesn't appear to enjoy them), and ends as... a deeply depressed man who apparently has no interests in life, only, after a five year or so timeskip, he's finally ready to end it all. He has no character arc; no revelations; nothing to connect A to B aside from the necessity of the game needing to be sold as a finished product, I suppose.
  • There are other characters in this game, during the middle section when it briefly decides it wants to be a satire about corporate alienation or something, but they're introduced, get a few lines of dialogue, and... that's it, really. They're never developed enough for you to care what happens to them. The main character apparently develops a loveless relationship with one of them, but this is hardly even touched on. Nobody here gets an arc or evolves or is ever anything interesting, either.
  • The words from the title do crop up in the game at one point, but it's part of some off-hand phrase, and it's a bit weird that it became the title of the game. My guess? "Depression Quest" was already taken, and the developer(s) hunted through the script to find some combination of words they thought sounded good together, and settled on "Actual Sunlight."

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CONCLUSION
I feel a little bad ragging on this, as I suspect this game is deeply personal for the person or people who made it. This is pathetically low-effort, though. This is the sort of game you might make as the final in an "Introduction to Game Design" course. It is certainly not something the developer should have been selling for actual money. I've played numerous free games that felt like more engaging, complete experiences. This fails as a game; fails as narrative; it reads like a series of blog posts from a teenager who is unable to process their emotions

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VERDICT
2.5/10

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

Th3solution

@Ralizah I enjoyed reading your thoughts, and some of them gave me a chuckle. I didn’t find the game particularly engaging either, and although I probably liked it a little better than you, I’m glad that it was over quick and that I didn’t pay anything for it (other than my PS Plus subscription and an hour of my time). It’s unfortunate that such a serious and potentially meaningful subject such as clinical depression and suicide is given such a lackluster treatment. Sometimes I think games and other media (movies, books, articles, social media posts, etc) get “credit” or a boost in public opinion just because they are dealing with an edgy social issue, even if the effort is horribly executed and doesn’t produce any meaningful dialog about said issue or any progress in increasing awareness of a fringe social problem. I give credit for producers and writers of socially conscious media for having the guts to talk about difficult subjects or taboo issues, but when the product is not well thought out then it certainly comes across as disingenuous and then paradoxically undermines what progress they may have been hoping to achieve. Unfortunately I feel like sometimes the motivation for taking on the hard subjects is actually more for social praise and an easy cash grab by taking advantage of society’s guilty conscience as we often subconsciously fall victim to moral licensing and feel if we don’t support a politically correct or socially conscious effort then we are somehow part of the problem. For example, the Oscar Academy Awards is a good example - if a movie has a socially conscious theme then it will get much more consideration for best picture nominations. It happens every year. In the case of Actual Sunlight, the game has a 75 Metacritic score. Many outlets gave it 8/10 scores and Digitally Downloaded even gave it 5/5, calling it a “must play.” The fact that the game is a serious attempt at presenting depression into the gaming sphere seems to have been enough for a lot of reviewers to ignore the lack of any depth the game takes in tackling the subject matter, as you state in your review. Not to mention the inaccuracy of the content, as you pointed out as well.
Anyways, sorry to divert off on a philosophical tangent, and I’m definitely not saying that Actual Sunlight is guilty of using the subject of depression to sell this game, but I do appreciate your willingness to call a spade a spade when a game is just poorly developed. And like I said, I might not go all the way to a 2.5/10 even though I agree with most of your criticism of the game. The game did make me ponder things for a short time and for me it was a unique experience, so I give it some credit there. Since it’s so different from the kind of game I usually enjoy, I can’t say I necessarily regretted playing it. And if it serves as a springboard for other developers to take on mental illness in a legitimate way, then maybe that’s something. (Even though Hellblade did a much better attempt at this than Actual Sunlight.)

Edited on by Th3solution

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

Having set the kids to read quietly in class I took a cheeky look at Push Square whilst I had the chance @Ralizah .

Wish I'd read the book now for them out aloud instead 😂

Not that your writing was bad or anything. Your review was amazing as always... Just the topic at hand and the barebones, lacklustre presentation of the game made for incredibly dry reading.

I can't imagine actually playing it even if it was a brief 2 hours!

Ya don't need to save the world to find meaning in life. Sometimes all ya need is something simple, like someone to take care of - Aigis Persona 3

PSN:GoddessFoxy-E

》My No Commentary PS4 Youtube Channel《

Ralizah

@Th3solution I can't believe I've yet to play Hellblade. Using 3D audio to simulate auditory hallucinations that lie to and belittle you is such an incredibly interesting use of the technology. Hopefully it'll go on sale on PSN soon.

Making a game about depression and mental illness is fine, but it still has to work as entertainment, and it still needs to have something to say about it. And, even if those failed and you fell back on just portraying a deeply depressed man and his inner turmoil, you could commit to creating a longer, more fleshed-out, and thus more devastating portrayal of the subject.

With that said, I'll admit I'm far harsher than most other people, but I stand by my criticisms.

RE: Digitally Downloaded... they have some really wild takes on stuff. I do enjoy reading that website, though. Whoever writes for it is clearly the Armond White of video game reviewers. I find that more valuable and entertaining than a hundred mainstream critics all saying the same things in the same ways.

@Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy To be honest, I was hesitant to post the review. I was afraid I might come across as a bit too flippant about certain sensitive subjects, which wasn't my intention. Also, the subject matter of the game is inherently ugly, so it's hard to talk about it in any depth without also making one's own review sound ugly.

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

Oh I think you handled it rather well @Ralizah . My initial response was pretty flippant.

I can't really add anything to this you or Th3Solution haven't already covered really. It's a hard going topic and one that obviously shouldn't be taken lightly.

Actual Sunlight seems to revel in the pointlessness and hopelessness of the situation it presents a bit too much though.

I have no doubt that for some this unfortunately rings very true and obviously not all stories need happy endings but as you said there is no real narrative, growth or loss beyond living a number of days in the mind of a very distressed soul and it sounds way too hard going.

For me or anyone really.

Edited on by Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

Ya don't need to save the world to find meaning in life. Sometimes all ya need is something simple, like someone to take care of - Aigis Persona 3

PSN:GoddessFoxy-E

》My No Commentary PS4 Youtube Channel《

Ralizah

Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy wrote:

Actual Sunlight seems to revel in the pointlessness and hopelessness of the situation it presents a bit too much though.

I have no doubt that for some this unfortunately rings very true and obviously not all stories need happy endings but as you said there is no real narrative, growth or loss beyond living a number of days in the mind of a very distressed soul and it sounds way too hard going.

Pretty much.

I think even this approach could have some redeeming value with the right execution, but the game's scope is far too limited for it to have the sort of devastating impact that would make it, if nothing else, a visceral and unforgettable warning about the dangers of untreated mental illness.

At the end of the day, I would have even been somewhat satisfied if the entire experience hadn't felt so... well... phoned in. This should have been a short story or film or animation or something. It's clear to me that the developers didn't care about it AS a game (they even go so far as saying: 'This isn't a game, it's a portrait' during one of this game's many droning text-based monologues), which rubs me the wrong way. Every medium has its strengths and weaknesses, and it feels like this was developed as a game because they could spend a few hours inserting a screed into an RPGMaker game with minimal effort.

Well, now that's out of the way, it's time to start working on a review for a game I enjoyed a whole lot more.

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

RogerRoger

@Ralizah Everybody's depression is different; sure, there are some very generalised, common themes but they never come close to providing a "one size fits all" model for representing depression. As a result, I think these kinds of "brave" games, in their unique position as interactive media, have a bigger responsibility to help convey the feelings and sensations associated with particular mindsets, rather than just going "Here is Joe. Joe is depressed."

Not to belittle whoever made this game; as you say, it's obviously a personal story to them, or to somebody they knew. But to invite others to witness it, particularly interactively, requires a special element that I can't even identify. I've glimpsed it very briefly in some games, and felt its glaring absence in others, but I'll never be able to nail it down because I'm only me. I can only speak to my own experiences, and how certain notes ring true or fall flat within the limits of my empathy.

Having played neither but now read about both, I think the way @Th3solution described Hellblade recently would make it a far more effective tool in bringing awareness to a wider audience than this straightforward window into one person's personal experience. Put simply, if you've never thought like Joe, you won't understand how he thinks, so showing his thoughts won't help. Making you fear, making you paranoid, making you doubt yourself... well, it's cruel, but accurate.

One thing, though; mental health treatment has come on leaps and bounds in very recent history. I'm 32 and in my lifetime, I've been dismissively told by a therapist that my problems weren't a "big deal" and that, at the time, I didn't need counselling. It happens. Maybe not any more, but therapists are still human and still capable of everything great and awful about being human.

Again, just another illustration of how personal this subject matter is, and how it's perhaps a mistake to try and convey such a personal story in such simple terms.

Great review. I'm glad you posted it.

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Ralizah

RogerRoger wrote:

One thing, though; mental health treatment has come on leaps and bounds in very recent history. I'm 32 and in my lifetime, I've been dismissively told by a therapist that my problems weren't a "big deal" and that, at the time, I didn't need counselling. It happens. Maybe not any more, but therapists are still human and still capable of everything great and awful about being human.

I guess, intellectually, I understand that, in any profession, you're going to have some subset inept, corrupt, or disinterested people who are going to muck things up, but I still find accounts like this to be incredibly chilling. Especially in the mental health field, where it's so vitally important for professionals to be... well... professional.

But, you're right. Things like this absolutely have happened, and things like this will probably continue to happen. I should have taken that into account, and, with that in mind, I have some edits to make.

I do find it annoying in general, though, how often mental health professionals, and therapy in general, are presented as useless in fiction. How many people are hit with the message, over and over, that therapeutic regimens and, in some instances, strategic use of medication, are pointless and entirely avoid seeking professional help for issues that are manageable? I think this kind of factors into what you were saying about the additional social responsibility that comes when developing media that centers on mental illness.

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

RogerRoger

@Ralizah Oh, hey, you didn't have to edit based on my reply! Your original point stood well; your surprise and objection to such a response illustrates how beyond belief those situations genuinely are. I was simply trying to complement your observation, that's all.

I think the portrayal of mental health services you describe has been born out of historical precedence, but there does come a point where you have to stop living in the past and accept that things have changed. Traits become stereotypes when they're played out past their welcome and we're in danger of "the incompetent, uncaring counsellor" becoming a stereotype with each passing film, game or television show, absolutely. This is likely because a lot of people use writing fiction to combat their own mental health issues, and so either an attitude of "I don't need therapy!" or "Therapy didn't understand me, so I'm writing now!" has contributed to this overall trend.

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Ralizah

@RogerRoger It's fine. The edit is more accurate, and reflects my feelings without erasing experiences such as yours.

On the subject of tropes regarding psychologists in popular media, it's pretty fascinating how common it is to see them portrayed as Freudians, considering psychoanalysis in general is broadly understood as quackery today (not as bad as something like phrenology, but certainly unscientific in its base assumptions and methods). Which, come to think of it, is probably why it survives in pop culture to this day. A professional sociopath scribbling on a notepad and asking you to talk about your mother is almost an inherently funny image.

Another thing to note, I guess, is that stories about people struggling with untreated mental illness are going to be more engaging and gripping than ones in which people learn therapeutic techniques in order to live happier lives.

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

Kidfried

I have not played the game, but I do feel like I want to add something to the topic of mental health and art. I just don't know if I am good enough at articulating it correctly; especially such a weighty topic.

I believe games can be something besides entertainment. Games can be entertaining, but I don't think they need to be. I have watched many films that I didn't enjoy watching, but do regards as great films. I hold games in the same regard: many games are entertaining, but I don't expect every game to be a form of entertainment.

While it may not be fun to experience the hopelessness of depression in a game, that is how a depression may play out in some cases. Sometimes life can feel hopeless.

In most forms of art we expect development. Because development, most of all character development, makes for an engaging read or watch. Life isn't always like that. And I think that kind of stories isn't being told enough.

There is a story here about my own experiences, which I find kind of hard to write down. Sorry for this half-finished comment.

Kidfried

Ralizah

@Kidfried Well, when I say "entertaining," I mean that term very loosely. I don't think "entertainment" is synonymous with "fun." But it has to be something that makes the experience feel worthwhile. A great example is the Studio Ghibli film Hotaru no Haka. It's a heart-breaking, semi-autobiographical film about a couple of young children who suffer tremendously after losing their home to an American fire-bombing raid in WW2. Not what I would call a good time, but I also wouldn't say it has no entertainment value, insofar as it's a very engaging, emotionally involving experience done with a supreme regard for artistry.

Life is usually messy and doesn't conform to the contours of art, certainly, which is why art that reflects personal experience is usually edited and filtered in such a way that the emotional core of the experience stands while also making it something palatable for the audience. Art is life experience filtered and focused to certain core essentials.

Keep in mind that I'm only speaking of commercial art. Non-commercial art (that is, art designed for its own sake) can be whatever it wants to be, and is legitimate insofar as it reflects the priorities of the creator. But, when you have an audience, you HAVE to play to that audience, to some extent. Art that doesn't cater to the audience to some degree is supremely self-serving.

Your comment is fine, by the way! I appreciate the engagement.

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

SoulsBourne128

Played Power Rangers Battle for the Grid. I didn't manage to platinum it but I did tried a lot of matches and as well beat the story mode.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised for what it was. I mean, compared to most Power Rangers games, this is the least garbage. The combat, while janky at time, has a lot of depth and gives me some Marvel vs Capcom vibes. I especially like the classic sound bites from the TV series when you manage to succeed on hitting a high combo, as well as the ability to summon a megazord (as an assist of course). Kinda wished there was more stages but they're nicely designed either way. The main stars are the characters themselves, and every character has their own role and move pool. You can see there was a lot of effort when the developers were designing the characters and their moveset. It's not perfect by any means but it definitely has great potential. My favorites so far were Lord Zedd, Mastodon Sentry and Magna Defender.

And as for the story? I thought it was alright. The issue is that the pacing felt very rushed and didn't have enough time to develop the other characters more. Still, for what it's worth, it at least has a story mode, since before it didn't have one at launch. Another issue is that fighting the same mastodon sentries can get very repetitive and tedious.

However, I have two real big issues with the game. First off, while the game runs fine during matches, is trying to find a math that gets problematic. Sometimes, it just gives me an error and automatically disconnects. I really hope cross-play comes soon to the game now that Sony is fully allowing cross-platform support for every developers. And second, the soundtrack. It's just very generic metal rock and lacks any catchy oomph. Even some of the worst Power Rangers openings like from Operation Overdrive's are more likely to stick into your head than any of the songs in the game. The only piece of music from the game that was actually decent was sadly exclusive for the Cenozoid Blue trailer. Honestly, they should really hire Ron Wasserman as the composer.

Anyway, all in all, for a licensed fighting game, it's pretty decent. It's still rough around the edges, and I have to admit that the balance patches might ruin some of the combos players were already accustomed to, but I can see it improve very much in the future. There are still a few things I'd like to say but I want to keep things simple. I'd give it a 6.5/10.

I'd probably bump it to a 7 if they add Zen-Aku in lol

SoulsBourne128

RogerRoger

@Kidfried If I may, I just wanted to add that I didn't think your comment was unfinished in the slightest; I got it, and then some. Thank you for sharing.

***

@SoulsBourne128 As a fan of many a licenced game, I chuckled when you said "compared to most Power Rangers games, this is the least garbage" because it's so true; quite often, you're just searching for something that's at least playable. I have a friend who's a big Power Rangers fan and who grabbed the game at launch, but didn't play it for long because he found it well below-par. Glad to know the subsequent improvements and additions have dragged it up to being something semi-respectable, at least for fans. Thanks for your thoughts!

PSN ID: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

So here we are. The lastest entry getting the F-G-S review treatment is Let It Die.

Naturally I played the PS4 version (also availible on steam) and I played the Free To Play title for a total of 103 hours and 47 minutes. You can probably take off about ten or so hours as I left it running a number of times to go do something else.

I didn't spend a penny on it.

So...

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This particular pic will make sense in a bit... Kinda


A little Background

I've heard of Suda 51 and the titles No More Heroes, Killer 7, Lollipop Chainsaw & Shadows Of The Damned. Never played them though.

This is my first Grasshopper Manufacture game (and Gungho too I guess). Suda apparently wasn't involved in this much at all but it seems an awful lot like his style from what I've heard.

Let It Die started out life as the title Lily Bergamo in 2013. A female protagonist led adventure with online features and described as an EXTREME ACTION game.

It... only got one trailer however.

At the Tokyo Game Show 2014 it was announced they'd completely changed styles and the name was changed too with Let It Die being born.

Lily Bergamo ironically(?) dying.

Still retaining most of the gameplay concepts... Let It Die revolves around some unknown person, you, sitting across from the skateboard riding, Japan loving, Uncle Death in the Hater Arcade and playing the video game Let It Die (Yup. Game-ception) that's projected from a beetle shaped game console called a Death Drive.

Yeah. It's weird.

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It's like Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. Except Death is a super radical otaku with a scandavian accent (in the english dub at least)

Let It Die (The game within the game and just the game as a whole really) is a rogue-like, hack and slash game (And I guess I could be a professional reviewer too and say it's partially Souls like ) which revolves around you ascending the Tower Of Barbs.

A 40 Floor dungeon (for the main game at least... it goes up to 300 apparently now) with there being four bosses, 3 actually 4 minibosses, thousands of enemies, oodles of loot and a wide array of weapons including fire spewing irons, thunder embued bowling balls on sticks and the top half of a motorcycle.

Did I mention it's weird?


Story & Gameplay

... You've already got all the story.

Seriously.

Ok ok every boss gives you some gibberish about you being a chosen one or something along the lines in an incredibly weird live action segment with a pair of lips imposed over a cardboard cut out of the boss in question (this is where the first picture of the review comes from)

That's it though.

... Barring the "major" spoilers below

The "end" of the main game (floor 40) reveals that Uncle Death isn't just some weirdo holding you hostage in an arcade. But the actual Grim Reaper and is supposed to wipe out humanity cus our time is up. But he likes you and video games too much at that point... That really is it.

... Thankfully you aren't here to play through a well crafted and thought provoking tale.

You're here to kick ass with over the top blood-plosions from beating enemies and chew gum. And you were out of gum half an hour ago.

Untitled
Because of COURSE there's a spoopy amusement park section

There's a wide array of weapons. 53 at the moment and every season (a 3 month long event, more on that later) adds a new weapon along with a armour set or two.

From the wacky Bowling Ball stick to the mundane Assault Rifle each weapon has a small but satisfying move pool (well guns just function like guns for the most part with an ammo count).

There's "rage moves" which use up some of your rage meter (built up as you fight or through the use of items) that varies between weapons & use a good chunk of a weapon's durability as well in exchange for a powerful and unique attack.

There's also a "mastery" system which as you use a weapon you get experience towards your proficiency with it and you'll unlock extra combos, alternate moves, less stamina usage etc

You'll find/acquire new weapons temporarily through the defeat of enemies (They're rather weak though with extremely low durability) or finding blueprints that allow you to make, buy and upgrade weapons (and armour) at your home base. Still have a durability metre but it's a lot better.

Each floor of the Tower of Barbs is littered with materials, weapons, armour, mushrooms (That have various effects, mostly buffs), beasts (like frogs or scorpions) that you can eat to heal or kill for a specific beast related mushroom.

Here's where the gameplay loop swings in full force.

Do you head up one more floor, knowing you haven't got much space left in your inventory and a nearly broken weapon for a shot of some more upgrade materials?

Do you kill that frog and take the mushroom to lob at an enemy that'll blind them for five seconds & let you wail on them without mercy... or do you keep froggy intact so you can stuff your face with it as an emergency heal?

Floors start off being about 5-6 minutes long and get a little longer as you go through the game to around 15 minutes a floor. The floors aren't entirely randomly generated... more so sections might shuffle about.

Also every day the layout changes slightly between floors with new paths rotating in.


Design & Sound

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This and the previous picture are the nicest looking areas. Really.

Having a grungey post apocalyptic setting, in a tower, with random elements... means that the levels feel a bit ho-hum at times. Especially the first twenty floors.

The first ten being particularly dank & grimey based on a sewer/industrial section whereas the next ten are just set in generic winding alleys and dilapidated buildings.

Whilst a spooky fairground might be a cliché, floors 21 to 30 are the most memorable looking of the four areas and even a bit unsettling at times.

31 to 40 are a teensy bit nicer looking then the first two areas but still on the crummy side. It's also one of the most poorly designed. (More on that later)

The weapons themselves look nice enough and whilst the graphics overall aren't anything to write home about, they do the job. The comically over the top blood fountains spurting out fallen enemies do give it a B-move grindhouse look which may of may not be your fancy.

As for the sound. There's a soundtrack here of over a hundred songs from a hundred different artists. From death metal to a jaunty almost medievally minstrel/bard like tune.

There's all kinds here.

They're mostly in japanese though there's some english tracks too. All with the title Let It Die to boot.

Too bad you'll barely hear them.

They're limted to the main base & the online mode. You can't choose a selection that'll play whilst traversing the tower (a seriously missed oppurtunity). You'll just hear the song you've chosen endlessly on a loop or the radio station being blasted through the home base from the radio in the Hater Arcade.

Instead whilst playing the "main" game you'll hear the most generic sounding soundtrack you'll ever hear. Not even a Dark Souls'-esque minimal approach to the sound design with the lovingly crafted boss themes that hype them up as big events.

Instead it's just beeps and boops that'd even be out of place if you were put on hold. It's mindnumbingly awful.

The weapons have decent sounding effects though.

and so we come to...


Online & Microtransactions

There would be a section on the characters but... Aside from Uncle Death the others are just window dressing really.

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Don't let her looks fool you. She wants your hard earned cash with a smarmy sounding voice to boot.

This is a free to play game. As such it come with a premium currency.

Death Metals.

A rainbow coloured skull you buy in stupidly high amounts for absurdly high prices.

Death Metals are used to:

  • Instantly revive when you die for a skull
  • Buy crafting items (Usually high leveled) from the vending machine at the home base for ridiculous amounts
  • Buy weapon/armour blueprints for insane amounts from the same vending machine
  • Remove a cool down timer from purchasing/finishing developing items
  • Retrieve your body when you die instead of using other currencies or deleting the character

You get given a decent amount as you play through the game. Whether as a log in bonus when you start, through various quests or as a reward from the "Tokyo Death Metro" mode (more on that in a mo).

Now you may be thinking that sounds pretty decent considering. Hell that's not that predatory at all even to anyone with patience or a brain cell!

And had you asked me this as I started thinking up my review I'd have said the exact same thing.

Then I got to floor 31.

The game has had difficulty spikes each time you entered a new area. But it was rather manageable and expected. Sure I had to grind a bit and start small but it didn't take too long.

The final "ten" floors of the base game though are a nightmare.

  • There's insta death falls littered everywhere.
  • The enemies hit like rocket fueled 18 wheeler big rigs and rip through your armour like it was wet cardboard.
  • The "ten" floors are needlessly padded out reaching the upper teens going on twenty minutes of length per floor.
  • There's actually more like twenty floors with a huge amount of backtracking, wrong paths and progress being blocked off as you have to face the three Four rather mini bosses on awfully laid out side routes with insanely jacked up stats.
  • The retriveal cost to get your character back (with items and weapons intact if you die) using coins sky rockets to 150,000!

This is coming from a woman who spent 40 hours and six different characters trying to get Demons' Souls before the gameplay FINALLY clicked for me and has since played through all the souls games without any assistance.

All the good will Let It Die had earned up to this point was insantly hucked out the window.

You know what the best "strategy" I found online for beating the final boss is?

Farm for mushrooms that give you invincibilty for 30 seconds and stuff as many down your character's mouth before you start up the fight.

You read that right.

Grind hours on end in a completely over powered area to get a bunch of items that make it like you put a God mode cheat on is the best strategy to win.

That's no strategy at all. That's just predatory and truly terrible game design.

As for the online component. It's an always online game. You never actually play against another human player though.

When you die your character's data is sent to another player's game on that particular floor and the AI'll duke it out.

People can also specifically send characters to your game. But they're handled by the AI... never an actual player.

Even Tokyo Death Metro, the "multiplayer" mode where you raid another player's home base for some of the games' normal currencies, is all done with Ai opponents.

Speaking of the multiplayer mode there's small seasons or rounds in Tokyo Death Metro that last a week with a ranking system and you're given 5 random rewards and booted back to the lowest sub rank of the rank you currently are.

At the end of the entire season you're given a weapon blueprint based on your overall rank and booted down two whole ranks when the next season starts.

Because of when I started playing by sheer luck I caught the tail end of the sunmer season and start of the autumn one and was gifted a special flamethrower blueprint for a weapon with 3000+ atk.

My best weapon at the time had 500.

Funnily enough the weapon that I hadn't used much because I deemed it too op wasn't op enough for the final main boss or the last area even...

Untitled
It certainly won't Uncle Death


Final Score

Had you asked before by complete 180 on the game I'd have given Let It Die a 6. Maybe 6.5 or even a 7 if I was feeling pretty generous.

2/10 is what it gets though


Pro's

  • Whilst not in it a whole lot, Uncle Death is rather quirky, fun and likeable.
  • The gameplay loop is quite addicting and the gameplay quite satisfying...

Con's

  • ... At least til the absurd difficulty spike
  • The grind for upgrade materials is ridiculous as you get higher up.
  • Awful "music" as you traverse.
  • Bland area design.
  • Premium currencies and the mobile timer mechanics can do one.
  • Next to no story. Not even intersting background lore.
  • Characters that aren't Uncle Death are bland, boring and unintersting.

Edited on by Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

Ya don't need to save the world to find meaning in life. Sometimes all ya need is something simple, like someone to take care of - Aigis Persona 3

PSN:GoddessFoxy-E

》My No Commentary PS4 Youtube Channel《

Ralizah

@Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy Really in-depth analysis there, Foxy!

I tried this when it first came out and... hated it. For a number of reasons. The controls felt kind of stiff and unpleasant. The quirkiness felt forced. The lack of interesting story or characters (reminds me of a Souls game, actually, where a lot of it felt like an almost completely plotless romp). The sound in the actual dungeon (as you mention) is awful. But, more than anything, I just cannot enjoy F2P games. There's always a catch, and 99% of them are predatory in some way. These companies want their money, and if there's some sort of premium currency that makes the game easier, you can bet they'll design the game in such a way that it's a lot more fun if you open your wallet. And, look, I understand that: it's why I like normally priced games. They have my money. They can focus on making the experience fun to play.

I probably only got seven or so hours in. Your 100+ hour playtime is mind-boggling to me, but good for you for sticking with it.

Anyway, like I said, really nice break down. I'm so glad I didn't stick with it long enough to hit the really infuriatingly unfair section that almost broke you.

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

Thanks @Ralizah but there is one thing you got wrong.

It did break me.

After dying to the final main boss (that involved 4 rounds of fights, starting without gear but slowly getting it back) I lost to the actual boss. Even using 4 death metals to revive during the fight.

Being booted to the home base the salvage option for my fighter was 250,000 coins... Or 3 Death Metals.

So I turned it off and looked up the "end" online.

It's a shame. I've never 180'd so hard, so quickly in all my life. The last area was a slog and trying my patience...It broke at that boss though

If the grind was reduced, they used the actual 100 or so tracks they had as the soundtrack rather then a stupid gimmick, and didn't have that absurd difficulty spike with it being a normal priced game without any mtx nonsense I would've easily bought it and played it just as much, if not a bunch more thanks to the roguelike elements.

It's not perfect, definitely flawed but it was rather satisfying til that point with the gameplay loop being quite addicting to me.

Oh well... Glad you enjoyed reading it none the less. I was so steamed Wednesday night I was tempted to just destroy the review I'd started for it but... here we are

Next one'll be for Jade Cocoon 2 and that'll be positive and fun to write at least

Edited on by Foxy-Goddess-Scotchy

Ya don't need to save the world to find meaning in life. Sometimes all ya need is something simple, like someone to take care of - Aigis Persona 3

PSN:GoddessFoxy-E

》My No Commentary PS4 Youtube Channel《

Th3solution

Finished Titanfall 2

What a pleasant surprise it was. I had heard good things about the campaign, but it exceeded expectations. I’m not crowning it the game of the generation or anything but it’s a solid, well executed FPS campaign - something that is actually pretty rare.

The game is well designed and technically sound, it’s just what I want from my solo campaigns. It flowed really smoothly, and never seemed to drag too much. The length was just about right at about 8 hours or so, although it still left me wanting more because of the enjoyment I had. I might dip my toe into the multiplayer just because of how fun the combat is, but MP online isn’t typically my forte.

The gameplay is bolstered by the ability to play both as a Pilot and the Titan, each has their own moves, gunplay, and special abilities. It keeps the usual [in my opinion] rather stale gameplay mechanic of a first person shooter diverse and more enjoyable. The game mixes in light puzzles and platforming, with the whole package shrouded in a solid storyline with decent character interactions.
Is the story going to win any awards or blow your socks off? Well, no — but it keeps your interest and has enough twists and turns to be serviceable. I really loved the relationship of the main character Cooper with his Titan named BT. There is a smattering of humor and I honesty felt a personal emotional bond develop with BT as I played through the game — similar to other good gaming partnerships in games such as Joel and Ellie, Booker and Elizabeth, or maybe more appropriately Ratchet and Clank. Of course Cooper and BT don’t have the large impact of those classic partnerships but honestly I cared for BT on a visceral level in the same vein.

The voice performances were a mixed bag. The main two characters were very well done, especially the robotic dry unintentional humor of BT. The supportive cast was more ho-hum, despite a refreshingly large number of Australian accents which are a nice change of pace for game characters. A shout-out to the mastermind villain’s (forgot his name) monologues though. These are present mostly through optional voice recordings, which were splendidly cold and calculated and probably needed to be highlighted more, rather than side content.

Graphically, it was also a mixed bag but the vast majority of the textures and art design is really quite good. The environments are a little ‘samey’ but each chapter has a few different hooks to keep it fresh.
The character facial models are pretty poor, actually, but I only noticed this at the end credits when they showed all the characters and credited the voice actors. The fact is, you don’t spend much time with face-to-face interaction in the game so it makes sense they didn’t spend resources making the facial features look more realistic than a late PS2 game. Also the character movement animations are occasionally wonky and especially as the pilots are jumping and wall running, the clipping and execution of portraying such amazing skills is a little bit unrealistic looking. For example characters float and move in ways that defy physics — all for the sake of keeping the game movements easy to execute. The floaty-ness and mid-air drifting is janky but nothing too horrible, and I prefer the game being really forgiving when I’m wall running and trying to make a difficult platform combo rather than looking more realistic at the expense of making me fall to my death over and over.

Speaking of difficulty, I played on normal, and it was just right for my taste. But there is easy as well as hard and master difficulties. There is a nice mechanic when you are at a platforming section that may require some difficult or non obvious jumps that your helmet computer analyzes the terrain and produces a ghost hologram for you to follow. You can also hit the touchpad to highlight the next objective. Overall, it’s makes the game very approachable for a novice of the genre like me.

Closing thoughts — I’ll not over-sell the game, it’s really good but not necessarily transcendent. I would welcome a sequel for sure. I don’t usually give concrete scores for my games, because my opinions of a game often drift a little over time, but I’m thinking something in the 7-8 range.

I said this earlier on another thread, but Titanfall 2 has amped my excitement for Respawn’s forthcoming Jedi: Fallen Order. If they can nail the fun factor like this, then we’re in for a treat. Thematically it’s going to be a very different game, and being third person will shake things up compared to the TF games. Not to mention it’ll be more saber-play and force-skill based but we’ll certainly see the wall-running and this style of platforming return. I am worried about the facial animations since they will be more critical in a third person action story driven game. Also, Titanfall 2 campaign is a very linear experience, and they’ve said Fallen Order is hub world / 3D Metroidvania type of set-up. But if they can just get the game to feel solid and fun like this, then I’ll be happy.

Edited on by Th3solution

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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