Topic: User Impressions/Reviews Thread

Posts 3,141 to 3,148 of 3,148


@oliverp yeah I totally agree, I had a friend who played the whole of Red Dead Redemption by taking the stagecoach to each and every mission… with no extra curricular exploration nor activities. Needless to say I was bloody horrified when I found out and we haven’t spoken since 😉

**** DLC!


The Last of Us Part II Remastered (PS5) - Impressions

So I just finished The Last of Us Part II Remastered on PS5 after 30 hours of playtime. Absolutely phenomenal game. It's the best Naughty Dog game I've played and I've played all of their PlayStation titles except for the racing games. What elevated this title above the first The Last of Us for me was the much more serious and dark story. I prefer darker stories in general, so I enjoyed the story in the second game a whole lot more than the first game's.

The developer certainly wasn't afraid of making "permanent decisions" in the story. It was like Game of Thrones in that regard, literally anything could happen, and I love that. I've mentioned before as a gaming pet peeve that most developers don't stick with their decisions and as a result, I don't believe in them when they happen. But that's not the case with Naughty Dog. Kudos to them. It made the game much better.

In terms of the gameplay, I enjoyed it a lot. Great variety of weapons, fun crafting system and rewarding skill tree. Not to mention the absolutely brutal combat. Every kill felt impactful and satisfying. I also liked the different options you had for stealth, such as takedowns and silenced weapons. I genuinely loved the gameplay.

I can't forget to mention how excellent the pacing and the structure of the game was. Every time you were done with an intense chapter, the game would let you cool down with some relaxing story moments. And when you think the game is too easy because you have so many weapons and tools at your disposal, it strips you away from them and starts you over in order to keep things interesting. I'm genuinely impressed by how well-executed the pacing and the structure was. You could tell Naughty Dog put a lot of thought into the game with consideration to the player experience.

Overall, this is the best Naughty Dog game I've played. It was quite frankly a perfect experience. I don't really have any complaints about the game.

Edited on by LtSarge



My review of Rise of the Ronin.

As I mentioned in the main thread, I kinda feel like something must have happened to this game in production. The more I played Rise of the Ronin, the more unfinished it felt. I don't know whether they ran out of time, or there were clashing visions on the production side (or just a general lack of vision) or their budget was slashed, or what. But whatever it was, I can't remember the last time I played a game that felt unfinished in quite the weird way this does.

Like, for example, they've created this really detailed slice of history, teaming with life and authenticity. This game isn't exactly a beauty, but the art direction is absolutely excellent and the choice to go for a collection of smaller open worlds rather than just one massive one allows them to pack each one with detail and landmarks. Yet... there is almost no way to meaningfully interact with any of it. It may as well be one massive film set.

You'll visit sprawling urban centres, bustling markets, farming or fishing villages, famous landmarks and other such things, and there is rarely even a single NPC to even talk to in these spaces, let alone any sort of gameplay to engage in, either. It is like the world is finished, but is still waiting for most of the game to actually be added into it.

It is most striking in the core narrative, where by Act 3 the game was just utterly incomprehensible for me. It starts as a game about the player making choices - what factions to side with, what views to align with, who gets to live or die. This basically vanishes from Act 2 entirely until the end, then Act 3 asks you to lock in your faction choice and yet you immediately go back to playing both sides. I just ended up so disconnected and cold towards this story, because it felt like nothing I did mattered.

Yet, the way the game is playing out feels like there were meant to be choices and branching paths here, but they were either removed or never finished. Characters will wander into the narrative and just vanish, and there is clearly something missing here that would have made this made sense. You will ally to one faction, only to be killing them in the next mission, yet these actions will have no consequences and no one in the story recognises any of this playing out. You are positioned to be the core of this story, yet every development is written like you don’t exist in this story at all.

In fact, part of what makes Act 3 so impossible to follow is the way characters will be introduced as an ally, but then be a boss in the next mission, and then an ally again in the mission after that. And it is just never referenced, it is like every mission takes place in a vacuum and as soon as the mission is over it never happened. There are entire quest chains which make absolutely zero sense if you make certain choices. And this isn’t just for you, either, one of your companions can also be getting attacked by a faction in one mission and then in the next teaming with them and it is never referenced again. Just a complete and utter mess.

Like to me it seems clear the faction system was planned to be both far vaster, and far deeper, than the version we get in the released game. That each mission would give the player hard choices to make, which would be opening and closing missions off to you and sealing the fates of characters so they couldn’t show back up again. This is evidenced by the fact that the game includes an entire mechanic here which allows you to replay missions and make different decisions, but the mechanic has been added and the decisions haven’t been. However, the faction system we get in the actual game doesn’t actually do anything, so you are basically playing every branch of this story simultaneously on top of each other even though it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I just cannot believe for a second this was how the game was ever meant to be experienced when it was in production. You are just whatever faction the mission you are doing is at that time, but it is in a vacuum with no cause and effect or repercussions - despite the game constantly telling you there are.

I wish I could tell you everything outside of this is better, but like I say, this problem permeates through every inch of this. The game feels like a bolted together patchwork of borrowed ideas. It is the blandest, most shallow, thing you can imagine when you think of an Ubisoft open world. It is Ghost of Tsushima but with a fraction of the soul that game had.

In terms of the combat, it made a really bad first impression on me, and while it does get better, I am not sure it is ever exactly… good. Like you will absolutely enjoy some challenging fights, which feel super tight and clean, I'm parrying everything I feel I should have, any missed parries feel fair and like it's on me. It all feels like a properly scripted fight you’d see in a cutscene, but you are completely in control and it is awesome.

Sadly though, most of the fights I experienced, especially against bosses in the back half of the game, was like trying to play a fighting game online on a bad internet connection. Your parry will just not connect, or enemies attack in really odd cadences so trying to find a window to parry when the parry is as unforgiving as it is here is next to impossible and they love to ramp up the difficulty by having enemies who cannot be interrupted yet an enemy can sneeze across the room and it’ll interrupt what you doing. I can’t tell you the amount of times I died to enemies just spamming me with extremely long combos, no parry connected, their combo could not be stopped and just attacked through any attacks I made. Like you are defenceless and I genuinely do not know what the game expected me to do here. I am so glad this game has an easy mode, as I am not sure I could have finished this without it.

However, while the combat itself wasn’t great, the one thing I did genuinely enjoy in Rise of the Ronin - and the thing that meant that even 50 hours in I wasn't tired of this in a way I have been with games half as long this year - is everything around the combat. There is a vast range of weapons here, and each weapon has a deep collection of stances which basically give each weapon multiple completely diverse and unique ways to play. And even on the easiest difficulty, the game pushes you to really engage with this side of the game. You can't just pick a weapon and a stance and let it carry you through to the end, especially if you are just spamming abilities and not really learning how they function. Even on the easiest difficulty this approach will get you absolutely wrecked. You really need to play around with everything, and take the time to learn the quirks of both individual weapons, but also the various stances too and honestly this was just always a joy to do. When a weapon you tried earlier didn’t click, but then you get a new stance which really fits your playstyle and it just all comes together, like every few hours I would have one of those moments and it was just so fun, and so rewarding. Like technically what you are doing here is the same thing over and over again, but this level of experimentation meant the experience still had ways to feel fresh right until the credits rolled.

Oh, and the other thing I loved here is character creation and customisation. The character creator is deep and robust, you actually create two characters and there are no restrictions on you whatsoever with making changes throughout your playthrough. Like I literally swapped the genders of my Twins multiple times. You also get access to a transmog system basically immediately and there is a truly vast amount of looks in the game. I have no shame in admitting that a huge chunk of my playtime was probably just tweaking my characters and building and tweaking my outfits. Oh man, as a fashion game, character creation, photo mode addict? I was really feasting here.

So yeah, overall, it is hard to really know how to summarise Rise of the Ronin. I have played games this year with better characters, or stories, or more original ideas or whatever, but God was I burned out on those games by the end. Rise of the Ronin took me around 60ish hours to clear (it could be significantly longer if you wanted to do every bond mission, every side mission and 100 percent each map, which I absolutely did not want to do) and while I was definitely ready to move on when the credits rolled, it is probably the first game I have played this year where I wasn’t spending like the last 20 hours just growing a deep resentment for the game that it didn’t know when the right time was to stop.

In terms of whether I think you - the person reading this - should play it. I dunno, I think it is kind of a hard sell. If you like a lot of what you hear about this and haven’t played Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, play that instead. If you have consumed every piece of Ubisoft media and are gagging for one of their open worlds for some reason, then Rise of the Ronin offers you that, along with a surprising amount of mechanical depth for those who want to explore it, even if it also comes along with a lot of bad as well. So yeah, if that sells it to you, the price of entry right now is steep, but hopefully you can grab this in a sale at some point.

Life to the living, death to the dead.


@Pizzamorg Thanks for the review - that really helps. When you talk about unforgiving and illogically timed parry windows, that just about seals the ‘no-deal’ for me. I think I would absolutely hate that.

And I do have plenty of Ubi-world games yet to play, including AC Odyssey, AC Valhalla, Horizon Forbidden West, to name a few. By the time I get through those, Ghost of Tsushima 2 will hopefully be out also. 😅

Anyways, I’ll keep an open mind because I like some of what you say about RotR like the character creation suite and the historical setting. Definitely will need a discount first.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”


Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade (PS5) Impression

Never played the original FFVII, so this remake is my intro to this installment.

Characters (mostly): On the most part, the characters are excellent with their own personalities. They drive the story along. Cannot stand Chadley however.

Music: Don't know how Japanese game developers do it, but they always bring out the best music. Incorporated well within the game world via jukeboxes and analog music boxes. Can listen to the tracks outside playing.

Battle System: That real-time semi-turnbased battle system is excellent. Like how it goes slow motion when entering the command menu.

Visuals: Atmospheric at times, and overall great visual style. Can look a bit blurry at times in performance mode.

The Padding (OMG): There is just too much padding which unnecessarily lengthens the gameplay. Go into town and cannot progress the story until you do all the horrid "side" missions that usually involves fetching stuff / pets / people and keep backtracking. Also, that atrocious robot-arm section. Uhhh!!! What the hell? Square Enix could've just stuck with expanding character story-arcs without putting in so much padding.

Photomode: Really bare bones with filter setting minus a slider that should go with it. The filters are heavy-handed, and a slider to adjust its intensity really would help. And what the heck is with the automatic Square Enix copyright message put in the lower right-hand corner. No other photomode in existence does that.



@SingleStooge I loved Remake, but yeah, when you stretch a five hour prologue into a 40+ hour JRPG, there's gonna be a lot of padding.

@LtSarge It is always nice when a series with a lot of money put into it isn't afraid to go wild and drop the usually obligatory plot armor for its characters. While I'll likely never play it, TLOU Part II does sound like an excellent game that probably deserved the rave reviews it received back on release. tbh after seeing the "fan" reaction to it when the game was first leaked, I could tell Naughty Dog was really taking its narrative gloves off. A lot of people just don't enjoy being challenged by media they consume, and it shows in the way they react to it.

@colonelkilgore I couldn't get into the Just Cause series when I tried it back on the... good lord, the Xbox 360... but I've always admired its almost single-minded dedication to allowing the player to cause as much chaos as possible. Are those your screen captures, btw? Because they look awesome.

@Pizzamorg RotR sounds sort of dreadful. Really a shame, considering how much potential a Team Ninja game set in feudal Japan had. Even combat-wise, which has traditionally been such a strength for the developer.

Currently Playing: Yakuza Kiwami 2 (PC); Unicorn Overlord (NS)

PSN: Ralizah


@Ralizah nah they’re just shots I found across the webz when posting the review tbh.

You’re definitely in the majority that doesn’t really connect with the series (& I in the minority), which unfortunately for me will probably mean that Just Cause 4 will be the last one 😔

**** DLC!


@Ralizah I just think it's nice when developers do something different and unexpected from what you would typically see from a story. It keeps things interesting. But some are just afraid of potential backlash, which is understandable.


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