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I realized, that in order to enjoy any game and to be/remain motivated to see it through till whatever end, I have to be able to buy into the basic premise of the game. What I mean by that, is that there has to be a story, a character or another gameplay element, that I like so much, that I’ll remain hooked (or become hooked in the first place). You guessed it: Vanquish lacks this.

Vanquish is a competent shooter with good graphics and almost nonstop action, but that’s it. It’s utterly generic. The game has no story to speak of (I’m not kidding, the plot is to shoot until the game ends and then even shoot during the ending credits :D in some games especially this can be fun, it’s not here), no characters (the 3 named main ones have no characteristics) and the sliding gameplay element is nice (I guess), but not so special it should serve as a hook for anybody. Even the bullet time was better done by Max Payne eons ago.

The most memorable thing about this game (and I wish I was kidding), was to still be able to shoot at asteroids during the ending credits. They contain the names of the developers and those are only fully shown after destroying the asteroids. That part was really fun and creative…

And I literally can’t think of another thing to say about this game. It took me ~6 hours to finish it…

the awesome adventure of captain spirit

What I really find interesting about this… franchise, is that so far they managed to pull off a certain vibe, which feels similar (if not identical) throughout all the games. This is still true for Captain Spirit, although it has a completely different set of characters.

I also like that they returned to Unreal. Before the Storm was Unity for some reason (I know it was a different studio, still…) and I was quite impressed that it looked exactly the same. Maybe it was a right’s issue that forced them to pull this stunt? Seems like a waste of resources, to port all this to another engine for a one off.

I’m curious to find out how they connect this part to the actual Season 2. Is Chris going to be the main character? Is he going to be the same age? Either way, I’m not worried that people who were into Season 1 will like this as well. Can’t ask for much more. ;)

Now I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for elaborate endings and epilogues or whatever… but come on! Given I’m already complaining about games like Deus Ex (for having a story that feels cut in half), I almost felt depressed by how much potential was squandered in Silence. The game is crazy beautiful, most of the locations are absolutely stunning. Like Pendulo, Daedalic adventure games probably feature the most technologically brilliant aesthetics on the planet in this genre. They never fail to impress on that level. I just wish more of the budget could have gone into the story department.

The world of Silence seems very interesting, but almost every part of it feels as if a sizable chunk was cut out. The characters are introduced well enough, but it then never goes beyond that. There is nothing added beyond the initial impression. At some point most of them vanish from the game and neither of the 2 endings show them again. I remember a scene in which Sadwick/Noah (one of the 2 main characters – or 3 if you count spot) stands in front of a closed shop (at no point is it possible to enter) and there’s a wedding dress in it. Only if the player looks at it several times, Sadwick will say that this is Kyra’s wedding dress. That sounds like quite the revelation, but the game never gets back to it. Who was the groom? Anything? This completely seems like cut content. But why leave this bit in? An oversight?
Speaking of Kyra, throughout the game her hair goes white until it is completely white. Renie (Sadwick’s/Noah’s sister) even comments on it. You guessed it: this too leads nowhere. Zero payoff. It almost makes the game feel like a demo or a prologue for the main event. I know it’s crazy hard to develop such a game on a budget and they did manage to deliver a lot of quality (voice acting is good too), I just wish they would have fulfilled more of it’s incredible potential. This way it just feels as if we’ve gotten something okay, while not that much stopped it from being insanely good.

For the first time I have to wonder, if it wouldn’t have been better to roll this out as an episodic game.

Silence is kind of the second part of The Whispered World, but with the exception of Sadwick and Spot, no major characters of the first game return. The game can be fully enjoyed without knowing anything about the first game.

Silence is Daedalic’s first game (I think) in Unity and maybe this had something to do with them maybe having to cut a lot. It’s still an impressive first entry and I don’t think I have encountered any bug. The only bad thing I can say on the technical side, is that the loading times are relatively long, but I will gladly blame Unity for that. While I don’t belong to the group of Unity haters (many great games were made in it after all), short loading times definitely don’t seem to be its strong suit.

I know, I know. During Steam sales people are supposed to buy games, not play them… Anyway, many years ago I played Yesterday and liked it (I considered replaying it before starting the sequel, but if I’d do that, I’d never get anywhere). I’d forgotten 75% of it, BUT luckily this sequel was released like 2 years ago. The game is a quite solid, good adventure. The graphics are its highlight. Pendulo games always look perfect. Shocking really.
Speaking of Pendulo, these people need to step up their marketing or something. I never know when they are working on a new game and only ever learn of it by sheer coincidence. Right now they are supposedly working on a game called Blacksad and not even their very own Twitter account is mentioning it. What’s up with that? Having people know about the game long before release is super important. I don’t even know anything, but I know that.
There was one single bug in the game that was angering me and I feel quite strongly that they should have patched this out (but given its 2 year age it’s way past the point where this actually might have happened). It’s possible for red text to appear on the upper left of the screen and who likes to have that over their game? I don’t. I had to figure out what triggers it and how many buttons I have to press in what speed and order for it to go away – mostly.
So yeah, I’m still wondering if they are doing a third one. The game doesn’t necessarily demand it (although I was left with some questions), but then again: I wasn’t expecting a sequel to Yesterday either. :D
They also had a slight story-oversight at the end. Throughout the entire game it was explained explicitly, that 2 people max can use the potion. And then suddenly at the end it’s enough for 3. How did this get past QA? :P

The best description I ever heard about Bayonetta, is that people like Baynetta more than they like her game. That’s so true. Not that the game is bad or anything, but… It’s not among the games I would play several times. I was glad I was done at the end and especially some of the boss battles felt like a massive grind. The worst boss battle was definitely the monster on the water, one miserable QTE miss and the whole painful process starts from the beginning. I’m so glad these vanished from most games in the following years. Can’t remember the last time I played a new game which was QTE heavy.
So since B2 isn’t on PC and probably never will be, I guess I’m supposed to watch it on YT now. :P

Playing Chrono Trigger got me so pumped for this genre, that I immediately wanted to continue playing something similar to it, which obviously brought me to CSH (I could have gone CrossCode, but that’s not done yet). It’s not a bad game at all, and yet what I couldn’t get myself to overlook, is how CT still does tons of stuff better than this game. Part of what was so deeply satisfying to me in CT, isn’t just that you get to make certain decisions, it’s first and foremost that you are confronted with their outcome. Deciding to play the optional sidequest to restore a desert, results in a nice forest in the future. It’s not going to happen otherwise and the game can be completed without doing any of it. That’s just fantastic. This is what makes everything feel rewarding.

Lots of characters change their lines after a certain change occurred. Some of these changes might be small, but these methods have an impact regardless. CSH has almost none of that. The game is extremely linear, I don’t think there is ever any choice and as far as I know it has one ending, where CT has 13. With a few exceptions, most characters never change their lines and I never really met anyone again later. Even if, since all quests always end the same way, it still wouldn’t feel as rewarding.

While the combat system appears to be very similar at first glance, it too is hardly a match for CT. A major strength in CT is, that especially most bosses require some sort of trick, they expect the player to learn a certain strategy or figure out a weakness. Some of them are almost like a riddle. It took me quite a while, until I understood how to defeat the son of sun for example. In CSH, it’s usually enough to just do damage until the enemy folds (I never started healing a foe because I used the wrong type of attack). There are a lot of different abilities, but since it’s almost always about doing nothing but damage, it suffices to simply unload the entire arsenal until the battle is over. Dynamics also don’t change during battles.

Further, the combat in CSH feels a lot more tedious, because everyone just stands around, no matter what anyone supposedly does. This is boring. In CT, there are countless animations for each attack and characters actually run up to the enemy to strike them and it’s fun to see all that (I never got tired of seeing Frog fly around to do a sword strike or whatever). Every character has their own styles and this isn’t even taking into account, how many possible combos exist between all the heroes.

There is one thing that CSH does better, each shop allows to “buy & equip” in one step. That’s really nice and should be adopted by pretty much every game in existence. :P

Another interesting part of CSH is a timeline during combats, which outright states who gets to make an attack and in which order. In CT this will surprise the player and at best one can learn through observation, when a foe is going to do what. Maybe this is better, because it makes things feel more dynamic? Not actually sure which method is better in the end. This timeline sure does make it easier to plan ahead, in any case.

CSH has a ton of characters, I probably would have reduced the number of party members by 50%. :P Maybe they were “cheaper” to do than more reactivity, or that’s just how the devs wanted it. I don’t know. Anyway, CSH ist still quite the valiant effort and I had fun playing it. It took me about 20 hours less to complete than CT, which is still a long game. If I wouldn’t have liked it, I couldn’t have finished something of this size.

What I was really into, was how they give the player some closure for each of the major characters at the end. Never would have expected it. I’m always in favor of that. There was one single thing I didn’t do. The optional dungeon for Lauren. The first 2 dudes in the dungeon were already a lot harder than the final boss of the game (it’s supposed to be this hard), so (with a heavy heart) I decided to skip it. I also never touched Dark Souls, probably for the very same reason. Not my cup of tea.

The humor in the game might not work for everyone, as it seems to be too close to being a fan version of whatever thing I actually wanted to see. There were some really good lines in the game, I thought, other times it feels as if they are just referencing too much pop culture and should have used some restraint.

And I know it’s not fair to talk about CT all the time in the text about another game, but the soundtrack couldn’t possibly compete. I said it’s unfair! The music isn’t bad though, but what could possibly be on par with the epic CT soundtrack? I know right?

Long story short, people who are into CT should play this too, as long as they don’t expect an adventure that’s as unforgettable and epic.

btw: CT has NG+ and a new patch came out today. :P

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