437: Battle Chef Brigade Review

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

With the ever-growing Indie game market, it’s going to be tough to stand out. One of the worst things you can do is stand out with a gimmick, but only relying on the intrigue the gimmick brings. It’s a fast-moving market, and if you don’t grab players right this instant with the gimmick, and said gimmick being well implemented, then you fall into the risk of being left behind. You need to go full tilt on your concept, and hope it works, is fun to play, and stands out among the rest of the indie games coming out. For example, today’s review is of a game that I think stands out among the entire indie scene, Battle Chef Brigade. Developed by Trinket Studios, and published by Adult Swim Games, Battle Chef Brigade is a Kickstarter success story, and is easily one of my new favorite indie titles. It’s a good sign that I have been addicted to this game. While playing much bigger games on the side, like God of War 2018 and other indie games like West of Loathing, they have had to be put on the backburner for Battle Chef Brigade.

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You play as Mina, a young woman who dreams of joining this massive cooking tournament, and becoming an elite member of the Battle Chef Brigade. Along the way she will meet new friends, like the best orc in all of video games, Thrash. She will have to face other chefs, including him, and find out about a mysterious illness that has set upon the kingdom. The story itself is kind of like a condensed shonen anime, but with all the fat cut out. All the characters are likable, endearing, and I’m not lying when I say that I will fight anyone to say Thrash isn’t the best orc in video games. I found myself enjoying the overall story, despite the fact the six levels, where you play as Mina and Thrash, are pretty much the same in terms of what you are doing.

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The gameplay of Battle Chef Brigade is easily the main selling point. It’s an action game, a cooking game, and a match-three puzzle game, all wrapped up into a tasty taco. Each time you challenge a chef, you will have to serve up to three judges. Each judge that you encounter will have different tastes in what they want. For example, one judge will like fire, one will want earth, one will want water, and some will want a combination of the two. You can take into battle up to three perks in three different item slots. You can equip multiple items that range from helping your attacks, gaining more item slots, more health, more fire damage, to special ovens, cutting boards, cooking pans, and shelf ingredients. When the match begins, you must race through a small battle arena to fight monsters, and bring back their remains to cook with! When you begin cooking and throwing in ingredients, this is where the match-three puzzle game elements come into play. To strengthen your dishes, you must match the three colors to make better versions of those colors. After you cook your delicious meals with some time left, you must take them to the judges. The judges will be very tough on you if you do not get them what they requested. They will also take off points if you don’t get rid of bad elements, like poison and bones. This combination of gameplay has led to some truly satisfying experiences and intense matches. Sometimes, I won by the slimmest of margins. Sometimes, I would lose, and then have to go through a rematch a couple of more times before I won. It definitely puts you into the mind of how you see chefs run around and cook in shows, like Top Chef, Iron Chef, and Chopped.  Outside of the battles, you will be able to take on side-tasks to make money, and buy new equipment that includes solving puzzles, cooking dishes, and hunting monsters. Outside of the main storyline, you also have challenges to take on, daily cooking matches, and local multiplayer. While it might not be the best game to pull out first at a party, it’s definitely going to have your friends huddling around you as you rush across the screen to fight your opponent, and cook dishes against one another. For $20, you get a huge amount of content, and it’s easily one of the most fun games I have obtained. I can’t believe I waited this long to play it.

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Graphically, the 2D anime art style, while limited in certain ways, is still crisp, beautiful, and has plenty of likable designs. Even with the limited frames of animation, the game runs smoothly, even though I found a few areas where it chugged in the frame-rate department. It might look like an anime, but it’s easily superior to most Japanese-made franchise anime games. The music is also in that vein of Iron Chef, where it’s very loud and boastful, but doesn’t get in the way of dashing across the arenas. I was also surprised by the voice work. I think my favorite performances go to David Dixon as Thrash, Erica Mendez as Mina, and Kevin Powe as Ziggy. Everyone did a good job with their respective roles, and I was never distracted by a wonky delivery. It was just so charming, from beginning to end.

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If I had to complain about something, I wish the battles were handled differently. I get why they combined both monster-hunting and cooking in the same area, because the arenas are so small, but I wish the monster-hunting was first, and then you get a separate time for cooking. It made some battles a bit too tough if you dilly dally too long, because certain monsters don’t spawn fast enough. It definitely cost me some matches that I had to do over again. I also wish you could play as the other goofy characters from the game that you encounter. I saw this little girl with a steampunk robot with a tea kettle for a head, and I really wanted to play as her in the multiplayer matches. Hopefully, they can add in more chefs in the multiplayer section in the future or as DLC.

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Despite the gripes, Battle Chef Brigade is easily one of my new favorite indie titles, and is one of the new kings of indie games. It’s available right now for PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4. I highly recommend supporting the developer, and buying this game for any system that you have or prefer. I personally got it for my Switch, because it feels perfect for the console. I can’t wait to see what this developer does in the future, and I can’t wait to play some more Battle Chef Brigade.  

This game gets a 9 out of 10.

436: LEGO Incredibles Review

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

I have read a lot of conversations revolving around Telltale Games, and how they got themselves into a sort of unwinnable situation. They are forced to consistently make the games they were made famous for, or else worry about shutting down. Surprisingly, no one seems to talk about the same conversations with Traveler’s Tales. I know their games probably sell well enough to not put them in a whole lot of hot water, but no one ever seems to call them out for basically making the same game over and over again. For example, The LEGO Incredibles, the game based on the hit Pixar series, is just another LEGO game. There is a reason why I stopped reviewing these every year. Let’s dive in and see why.

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If you really need to know about how this game’s story goes, then you need to go watch the films first. However, for the sake of this review, the story follows the Parr family, a five-member household of superheroes in a world, where the first movie has made being a superhero illegal. The second film has the family dealing with a tech tycoon who wants to legalize superheroes. There is, of course, more to this, but by god, the story structure in this game would tell you otherwise. I get that they have to simplify the stories for this game, but they cut out moments and dialogue exchanges that make the overall story feel soulless. Sure, some of the typical LEGO gags are funny, but I think even kids would be mad at how overly simple this game’s story is, due to how wonky the overall base of it is. It’s even worse that it starts with the second film’s story, and then goes into the first film’s story. Why would you do that?

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Like the last 100 LEGO games, it’s an action/platformer/puzzle game. You will be playing as the main family of heroes, but will also be playing as certain heroes, from time to time. Each character has their own set of abilities, like Elastigirl can stretch, Mr. Incredible can break through walls and throw people, Dash can run fast, Violet can make a force field to go over dangerous areas and go invisible, and Jack Jack can shift through different superpowers. Outside of the main missions and boss fights, you can explore an open world full of mini-bosses and quests to get more bricks. You can unlock new characters, create your own character, and even find/play as other Pixar characters. It’s your typical LEGO adventure. It’s not an overly long game at around seven and a half hours, but you can double that if you want to find all the secrets, and complete everything 100%.

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This is usually where I talk about the graphics, but what is there to say? It looks like every other LEGO game, with a mixture of both LEGOS and real life textures mixed together. This is why it became so hard to talk about these games, because there is nothing that makes them visually stand out. You see one LEGO game, you have seen them all. I ran into a few texture glitches while playing it on the Switch, and ran into a glitch where a cutscene started while on a loading screen, but overall, it ran as typical as can be for these games. You can obviously tell that all the actors from the films did not come back for this game. They do a decent job trying to imitate their voices, and I’m sure at points, they got the audio recordings from the films themselves, but the voice acting won’t be some of the best you have ever heard in 2018.

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Honestly, I have a lot of bad to say about this game. Once again, the LEGO design formula is stale. It feels like they simply lift levels and character models from other LEGO games, and swap out the textures and costumes. I know that sounds harsh, but I can count multiple games that had the same character abilities and almost exact levels. They also didn’t go as far as I think they could have with certain levels, like the climatic final action sequence from the second film could have been really fun and creative with the character abilities and the LEGO puzzle designs. Instead, it’s a cutscene. Honestly, these games are so repetitive, that any complaints I have from past games from the franchise, can be carried into this game. These include a clunky camera, minor glitches, and repetitive combat. I know these games are meant for kids, but kids deserve better.

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This game is just okay. It’s not amazing, but it’s not the worst game I have played this year. It at least has some effort put into it, unlike many of the games that get shoved onto Steam. If you like the games, you might as well get this one, but I would personally pick up the films instead on Blu-ray. I know Traveler Tales has made other games before, but they seem to be stuck on releasing three or so LEGO games a year, and they all are officially starting to feel the same. Maybe if they could take a break and make them feel refreshing, that would really help the series out.

This game gets a 5 out of 10.

435: Pokemon Quest

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

Free-to-play games are currently in a stalemate of having to make money on a risky business proposition, or just turn into games that you pay for once, and can enjoy no matter what happens. There is a reason why so many games of this type don’t really survive. If they end up trying to be too much like money vacuums, they will lose the player base very quickly. If they go the route of “you pay a base value and that’s it”, then you end up just with that one moment in time with financial gain. It’s a tightrope to walk carefully on, but I would rather a free-to-pay game play like an actual game, and not just whatever the heck that recent Harry Potter mobile disaster was. Even Nintendo is trying to find a way to balance it out with their recent downloadable Pokémon game, Pokémon Quest

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Really, there is no real plot to this game. You end up on this cube-like island, and send out teams of Pokémon to fight and explore the island full of different environments. You choose a team of three Pokémon, with varying stats and attacks, depending on what environment you decide to venture into, and watch as the Pokémon walk around the level until they run into a group of enemies. It turns into an action-RPG game, like Xenoblade Chronicles, where you watch them do auto-attacks, but can perform special offensive or defensive moves that have a cooldown timer attached to them. You will have them fight a certain number of enemy hordes until you encounter that level’s boss. As you fight and win these battles, you will be gathering materials for cooking stews to attract wild Pokémon, and badges that will increase health, attack power, and add special quirks to your Pokémon’s attacks. You only have a limit of how many levels you can go into, and must wait after a certain period of time to go through five or so battles again. Now, this is where the free-to-play elements come into the equation. You have a limited amount of space for badges and Pokémon, and you need special tickets to purchase stuff. You can also use the tickets to speed up the cooking process. You can, of course, buy a lot of this through real world cash. While I think there are definitely more fleshed-out games of this style, I think there is enough here to keep people invested with the actual game. The real roadblock doesn’t hit until you have gone through half of the game, and even then, due to how challenging some of the bosses can be, you can grind and make your Pokémon stronger. They will even evolve at certain points once you have leveled up. It’s pretty much a filler game that you play in-between your other releases like Battle Chasers: Nightwar and Mulaka. It also never felt like a money vacuum, because I wasn’t forced to wait or be seduced into spending money to speed up the process.

For me, I like the graphics for Pokémon Quest. Sure, it’s simple blocky characters with limited animations, but I’m so tired of most major games looking alike, that I find it refreshing. I also enjoyed the bright colors, and never got tired of looking around or to see what the next Pokémon will look like in this art style. The music is simple, but it never got old. It was punchy and upbeat, and I was never annoyed.

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I think the downsides to this game are mostly the same you see in a lot of free-to-play games. The energy system is meant to sort of try and leech money out of you to speed up the process, the game gets repetitive due to the minimum complexity that is in the overall design, the brick wall will happen, leveling up stronger Pokémon takes a bit, and that’s really it.  It’s not as bad as other mobile games, but it’s going to have those lingering issues.

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Pokémon Quest is an adequate game, but a filler game nonetheless. I enjoy playing it, but I don’t play it constantly. Certainly here and there each day, but it’s not a main course game. It’s more like a snack. It’s free to download, so you don’t have to spend cash, unless you want to. It’s overall a harmless experience, but one you don’t have to rush out to play. It’s probably one of the better free-to-play games right now, but don’t treat it like it’s going to be a major game.

This game gets a 6/10.

434: Knack

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

While PlayStation Plus can be considered a mixed bag, in terms of its services, I have grown to love the fact that while not permanently yours to own, I get to try out free games that I may have not tried otherwise, because of having to pay for them, or just not being interested in the genre itself. This also helps when the free game in question is quite frankly terrible. I like to try and stay away from most bad games, because I don’t want to waste my time with them, and if I get a code for a game, and it just happens to not be good, then so be it. For some reason though, after five years, I finally sat down to play the PlayStation 4 launch title, Knack. It was one of the first games shown off for the console, alongside Killzone: Shadow Fall. At first, I thought the people who hated this game were just overreacting. It couldn’t be that bad of a game. Well, even after five years, it is.

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The story takes place in a futuristic time, where the human race has machines run on these old relics that were deep within the earth. Another thing they have to deal with are goblins! Yeah, it’s one of those types of futures. One day, the goblins end up having high-tech weaponry, and are attacking human settlements. A scientist decides to offer up a way to protect the humans from the threat of goblins. He introduces a small golem-like being, that is made of nothing but relics, called Knack. Knack is then sent off to defeat the goblins, and like any adventure, Knack and some of the humans get into something much bigger than they expected.

Knack is a simple 3D platformer, where you run down rather linear levels, fighting enemies that range from bugs to orcs, getting materials to make Knack bigger, and solve fairly easy puzzles. It’s really just that simple. The only major gimmick is that some materials that will make Knack grow will have elemental properties. This means that sometimes Knack will be made of ice, wood, or see-through materials that can have him sneak his way past security lasers. You can also play this game in co-op with a friend. Surprisingly, the most noteworthy aspect of this game’s gameplay is the difficulty. I played it on normal, and for one reason or another, I actually had a tough time going through some levels, due to the nature of how much damage you take. For a character that can become bigger and supposedly stronger, you take a lot of damage from one hit, and some enemies have one-hit kills that aren’t always telegraphed. The only other thing worth mentioning is that you can find special items that don’t really do a whole lot to change the experience.

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Graphically, even for a game back in 2013, it looks only fine. I’m sure this game was somewhat rushed to launch with the PlayStation 4, but it doesn’t have the graphics that made you go “wow! I have to have a PlayStation 4!” I am sure it was super impressive back in 2013, but now it looks like a shinier PlayStation 3 game. Sure, it was a game to show off how many particles can be on screen, but why would I buy this game back when the console launched, when I could have gotten Killzone: Shadowfall instead? I don’t hate the designs, but for all the cartoony designs, they needed some of that Double Fine production punch in personality. No one is really that expressive. It’s a game that has a look that’s trying to be a cheesy Saturday morning cartoon. The music by composers Matthew Margeson and Wataru Hokoyama is adequate at best. It has epic music when the action gets tough, and ambient and fantastical music everywhere else. I don’t really remember much else about the musical composition. I guess if I had to compare it to another franchise, it sounds like something similar to the early Ratchet & Clank games.

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When I talk about a game, I try to keep all the negatives in one part of the review, but as you can see, it leaked out throughout the last paragraph. This game screams “we have to do something for the PlayStation 4” and it really shows. First off, good luck not getting frustrated at this game. Even on normal difficulty, this game was a chore to beat. You could be three times stronger or be as strong as other enemies, and you can still get either get hit by cheap shots, or one-hit killed. It doesn’t help that Knack is not fun to control. He’s sluggish, his attacks have no range, and he has what might be possibly the worst dodge dash out of any video game. The problem is that the game wants to be this simple and easy to get into platformer, but it does a lot of things that were only okay 15 or so years ago, because gaming was still getting a hang of 3D gaming. Even for 2013, this was woefully archaic, compared to something like Super Mario 3D World, which came out the same year. The special items don’t do much to help the gameplay. I always felt at a disadvantage, no matter if I was bigger than the enemies or not. The game mechanic of absorbing other elements like wood and ice are kept to only visuals, and never took advantage of controlling metal, wood, or ice. Even for a 2013 game on a brand spanking new system, I ran into a lot of slowdown. Like, if this game was supposed to show off the graphical capabilities, then I shouldn’t be seeing a huge chunk of slowdown or lifeless levels. I also never found the characters that interesting. Knack is not as interesting as you would think he would be, and the characters are forgettable. I could look up their names, but I shouldn’t be doing that if they left a certain impact on me.

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At first when I heard about this game, I thought people were probably being too harsh on it. It’s a launch title, so I’m sure it’s not as bad as people make it out to be. Well, for once, I agree with them. Even five years later, this game is not good. It’s clunky, frustrating, not fun to play, forgettable, not satisfying, and is probably Sony’s worst franchise. Sure, I have played the sequel, and while it is better, the elements in the second game that made it an improvement should have been in the first game. Seriously, the first game feels so outdated that I’m shocked that someone like Mark Cerny didn’t know that platformers that are easy to get into have been evolving and progressing past the PlayStation 1 days. Just avoid it. Even when it was free on PlayStation Plus, it was too much. If you have to try out the franchise, pick up the second game, but you can easily play any other 3D platformer, like Super Mario Odyssey, Super Lucky’s Tale, Super Mario 3D World, and Yooka-Laylee. I’ll get to the sequel soon, but Knack will not be remembered well in history. Just avoid it.

This game gets a 3 out of 10.

433: Mercenary Kings

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. I did get a review copy of this game, but got no financial compensation for reviewing the game. I got the code and nothing else. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

(This game is available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, PlayStation Vita, and Nintendo Switch for $19.99)

I have come to terms with the fact that I have not been doing enough game reviews as of late. I used to do them on a weekly/bi-weekly basis, but after a bit, I found myself slowing down on them. If I want to be a good game reviewer, I have to put out more reviews more often. To start us off with this new rebooting of reviews, let’s take a look at the newly enhanced rerelease of Tribute Games’ Mercenary Kings for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (the version I got), PlayStation Vita, and PC. In terms of what I think about Tribute Games, I find their games full of personality and charm, but I haven’t always enjoyed their lineup of games. I know many people like Curses ‘N Chaos and Ninja Senki DX, but I just couldn’t get into them. Not bad games, but not my cup of tea. Luckily, I had a lot of fun with Mercenary Kings, even if I found some flaws with it.

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Mercenary Kings follows the exploits of a ragtag team of resistance fighters called The Kings, who are on Mandragora Island to stop an evil force known as CLAW. The story is nothing special, but more or less in the same vein as the 80s G.I. Joe cartoon with goofy villains and over-the-top lead characters. Yes, it’s one of those games that puts more time into its gameplay than the actual story,  but the interactions are decent enough for you to care about the characters.

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Mercenary Kings is a 2D action shooter that is like most 2D shooters you have played, like Contra and Metal Slug. The unique aspect of this game comes in the form of its design layout. Like in Monster Hunter, you will have a base camp, where you can take on missions that will be set in different levels, in which you are timed to either kill certain soldiers, rescue rebels, take down a boss, or find materials to craft new weapons, bullets, knives, and upgrades for your characters. You have a slew of different gun parts to craft that will give you more ammo, more damage, light or heavy weight, different bullets, more bullets, less bullets, poison bullets, fire bullets, and so on. Your knives also have different stats, but not as complex as the gun customization. Outside of the gun and knife weapon, you can jump, dodge roll, use C4s, grenades, rations, riot shields to block bullets, and health packs to make sure you don’t die. This can be a rather tough game, with different enemies, the fact that you lose reward money if you die during the mission, and a timer is set so you had better get the mission done in that amount of time or else you fail. It’s a game that demands that you go at the right pace around the levels. You don’t want to take too much time, due to the clock going down, but you don’t want to rush it and end up getting rushed by enemies. Outside of the gameplay, you can play this game online or in couch co-op with friends in online or local multiplayer. Plus, since I got a code for it on the Switch, you can make it portable and play it anywhere. You can definitely sink some hours into this game with all of the crafting, grinding, shooting, and replayability with friends, and trying out different gun combinations.

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Tribute Games is well-known for their sprite art, and that’s no different here. The sprites are big and expressive, which is no surprise, since one of the founders of the studio worked on Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game. It’s the same style as that game, where it’s all thick, and the character designs look like they were from a Scott Pilgrim graphic novel. The music is fast-paced and energetic as it keeps you pumped while you stay with the mission and get it done.

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The biggest problem I have with this game is that while difficult, sometimes, it comes off like it’s not your fault. Enemies will have movement patterns that won’t match up with where you can shoot, and I ran into a few cheap hits due to how large the sprites are. I also didn’t care for a few of the mechanics, like farming materials and the timer. I don’t have all the time in the world, and while the game itself was addictive, and I wanted to play it a lot, it feels fairly artificial with its length, due to you harvesting different crafting materials. I know some people being put under the firing line with timers, but I could never get into them. The timers aren’t terrible, since I was able to get the missions done on time with minutes to spare, but if I can get it done before the timer is up, then why have it? Just let me take my time, and I’m already going to lose money if I die, and enemies hit hard. The game also does get repetitive, since you go through the first location quite a lot. There are definitely several missions and some decent variety, but it’s still going on a timed mission, and I don’t remember too many of them. You wonder if they should have cut down on the 100+ missions, and instead made 20-30 with memorable sequences or levels.

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In general, even with its hiccups and flaws, I still had a lot of fun with Mercenary Kings. I can definitely see myself playing this game more, and with my friends or family when we want something that involves lots of action. It’s available on all consoles right now, and I would definitely recommend checking this game out. I got it on the Switch, and I’ll definitely be using the console’s portability as the sole reason to get the Switch version, but you do what you want. It’s a blast of a time, and I can’t wait to try out Tribute’s other offerings.

This game gets an 8 out of 10

432: Oure

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. I did get a review copy of this game, but got no financial compensation for reviewing the game. I got the code and nothing else. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

(This game is available on PlayStation 4 and PC for $20)

Back when Paris Game Week was going on, I saw a game that Sony was showing off before their main press event started. It was called Oure, an indie game developed by Heavy Spectrum Limited. It looked interesting with a small girl who can turn into a dragon, fly around the sky and a large mass of clouds, and fight giant guardians known as Titans. It gave off the spirit of something from Team ICO. I was interested, but also concerned. When indie developers get inspired to make Team ICO-style games, they tend to think all they need to do is make an adventure/exploration-focused game with no combat, and a small story that’s mostly told in the background. They tend to be forgettable experiences that don’t get the finer details about Team ICO games. I’m not fully in love with Team ICO-style games, due to a few design choices that they made, but I remember them fondly. After finally playing and beating Oure, well, I have mixed thoughts.

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Oure is basically a mixture of free-roaming exploration, item finding, and then fighting large Titans in very puzzle game-style combat. As you fly through the air as this girl who can change into a dragon, your main goal is to find these blue orbs scattered all around this cloud-like realm. You can also find special orbs that will boost your stamina, speed, and give you the ability to suck in nearby orbs. Once you find enough blue orbs, you take them to specific towers, charge up said tower, and then go after the Titan that is connected to that tower. Each Titan is large, as Titans should be, and will have specific spots that you need to grab onto. These spots are crystals, and once you bite on to one, you have to solve a puzzle to break it off. Each Titan is unique, and will have their own challenge in tackling them. For example, one of the Titans was a giant starfish, and I had to go around this touchpad-like section in the middle of it, hitting certain spots for each leg. There is also a Titan that is multiple little Titans, and you have to flip them around to get to those crystals. After taking care of each Titan, you get some story about what exactly is the point of killing the Titans. After that, you wash, rinse, and repeat. If you are good at taking down Titans, you will get this game beat in about four or so hours.

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Graphically, the game has very lush colors, a beautiful skyline, and simplistic, but easily identifiable designs for the Titans. Everything in the game is consistent in the visuals department. Nothing stood out or was distracting about them. It reminded me of games like The Wind Waker in the colors department. The game also ran pretty well. I didn’t run into any framerate drops. The music is calming while you fly around the clouds. It’s a great game to play if you want some downtime after some stressful work. It really envelopes you, while you fly around collecting orbs. The music for the Titan fights is definitely going to get your blood pumping in a Shadow of Colossus-style vibe. It makes it satisfying when you are able to take down the Titans, and then see yourself making progress.

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While it does do a few things that I really liked, Oure has plenty of flaws. First off, the controls can take getting used to. The controls are kept simple, but flying around never felt super-fluid at times. I feel like you can make the controls simple and not complex, but at the same time, you then need to polish those controls, or else, you will be left with a fairly clunky experience. The Titans are also inconsistent in the realm of fun gaming. While many of them have neat patterns, due to the simple controls, the faults become magnified with the Titans. While getting to the crystals that need to be smashed can be easy enough, sometimes, Titans will have off movements or gimmicks that will make getting to them or to that lone crystal again finicky due to the clunky controls, and certain annoying gimmicks to the Titans. I could forgive all these issues with the controls and the designs, if the large open area you travel through was interesting. Outside of the orb collecting, and getting some extras, there is simply nothing else to do. I know some people would argue about that not a whole lot happens in Shadow of the Colossus’s overworld, but that game had a simple story that was emotionally investing, and the world had atmosphere. Oure’s overworld is pretty, but that’s about it. Again, I wouldn’t mind these flaws if the story was interesting, but it’s not. I forget that there is an actual story going on, and why this girl is transforming into a dragon and fighting giant beasts. I get bored because the overworld has not a whole lot to do, and what there is to do is bogged by clunky controls, faulty game design choices, a boring story, repetitive gameplay, and the fact that it wants to be this Team ICO-style game, but forgets why people love those games.

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oure5

I can see why not many talk about Oure. It’s not a terrible game, but there is just not much there going for it. It had a splendid trailer that definitely got me hooked when I saw it during Paris Game Week, and I feel like with some refinement, the developer could have made something stellar. I just think it doesn’t work as a Team ICO-style game, or as a Flower or Journey-style game. However, if any of this at all sounds interesting and you want to check it out anyway despite the ho-hum reviews it is getting, then by all means do so. My goal as a reviewer is to review a game, and give my thoughts on the good, bad, and overall experience. It’s currently available on Steam and PlayStation 4. If you like Team ICO-style games, then maybe check it out, but if you don’t, I would just go spend the cash on getting FURI for the PlayStation 4, or the upcoming Nintendo Switch version.

This game gets a 5 out of 10.

431: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

colossus1
colossus1

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

(This game is now available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and is coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2018)

Back in 2014, Wolfenstein: The New Order was one of the best surprises in terms of third-party games. In a year where 90% of the third-party games flopped hard, in terms of being good or interesting, Wolfenstein: The New Order surprised many, and was one of the best games of 2014. It had great gunplay, the music was fantastic, and the story was one of the prime examples of video game storytelling. While the one-off game, Wolfenstein: The Old Order was good, the game didn’t have the charm or the interesting story that the original game had. Plus, it focused too much on stealth in the first part of the game. When Bethesda and Machine Games announced at E3 2017 that a new game was in the works, I was pretty pumped, but concerned. I respect Bethesda for what they do, but I’m always hit-and-miss with their games. Thankfully, Machine Games was able to offer a sequel that built upon and was just as good as the first game. While it has its flaws, it’s definitely one of the few triple A games this year that was not ruined by corporate greed.

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colossus2

Wolfenstein: The New Colossus starts us off right after the ending of the first game. You are B.J. Blazkowicz, voiced once again by Brian Bloom. After defeating the big bad guy from the previous game, you are almost left for dead, until his friends quickly pick him up and get out of the battleground. Months pass as you heal and lay in bed paralyzed. Unfortunately, Irene Engel, voiced by Nina Franoszek, caught up to our heroes, killed their leader, and now has pretty much the entire Nazi army under her command. After getting the special suit that B.J.’s leader wore, you set off to America to find revolutionary groups to join your cause, and whether with a gun or your trusty axe, put every Nazi six feet underground. So, the tone of the previous game mixed small comedic elements with an emotionally-gripping story. Thankfully, they keep that up, and while I felt like there were more light-hearted and over-the-top moments that could have clashed with the more dramatic/dark moments, it all really gelled together. This is especially true, since you will be put through the grinder with the darker elements. The story also has a lot to unpack, like abusive households, racism, assault, and even dealing with Adolf Hitler at one point. Thankfully, the characters are likable, and you want to see them make it through the overall adventure.

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colossus5

This shouldn’t be a surprise, but Wolfenstein: The New Colossus is a first-person shooter, in which you make your way through large linear levels, and when you see a Nazi, you can choose between sneaking up behind them and cracking open their head with your axe, or you go the route of unleashing your inner gun nut, and shooting anything that moves. Like in the previous game, you can dual-wield any of the guns you own, besides heavy artillery, or the special explosive gun you gain early on. While you only have one axe with you throughout the entire game, you can find additional axes to use as this game’s throwing knives, if you want to keep quiet while scoping for Nazis. So, it sounds like not much has changed, or has something been added? Well, instead of being able to upgrade your health and shields, you can scrounge around each level, and find upgrades that you can use on your individual guns, giving them more ammo and special perks. I recommend getting a suppressor for your pistol, due to the return of those enemies that can call for reinforcements if you are spotted for distant/silent kills. The gameplay feels very much like Doom 2016, if it was slowed down just a tiny bit. You have to keep on the move or else you will get shot. It’s either them, or you on the receiving end of a bullet. You can also search through the levels to find collectables, concept art, and items that will help expand on the world. You also have special missions, where you take out Nazi generals in smaller versions of previous levels that you have been through. Careful though, if you die, you have to start from the beginning of that challenge. Overall, you have a fantastic amount of value in replayability with how great it feels to fight the enemies, some levels that mix things up, and it comes to around a 10-hour campaign. There is no multiplayer, and personally, I am glad.

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colossus6

Graphically, the game looks as good as it did back in 2014. I think some textures are definitely cleaner looking, but the engine they use makes sure you have a nice-looking game that runs at a really smooth framerate. I did spot a graphical glitch in some areas, but they were very minor and not really noticeable. The voice cast also does a wonderful job with each of their characters. While Brian Bloom’s gravelly voice can be annoying at times, you push through the annoying sound, because you are invested in his character and what he’s fighting for. I think the one that steals the show is Nina Franoszek as the bad guy. She brings a delightful yet disturbing character to life, and makes Irene Engel one of the more intimidating villains of 2017. The music is action-packed, atmospheric, and just gets the good blood pumping when you are being a savage individual burning down Nazis while riding a giant robotic creature through New Orleans. Mick Gordon returns as the composer, and a lot of his tracks fit the mood perfectly, from gunning down Nazis, to B.J. going back to his old home in Texas. Then again, since he is the guy behind 2016’s Doom, 2013’s Killer Instinct, 2017’s Prey, and Lawbreakers, then you should not be surprised this guy is as good as he is.

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colossus3

If I had to complain about something, I feel like the game could have done a little more to spice up the gameplay. Now, the levels are varied, and you do get to do something fun and memorable, like the previously mentioned New Orleans level, going to Venus for an acting gig in a film directed by Hitler, and starting the game in a wheel chair, but I wish there was more to it than just story, stealth, and shooting. I was hoping for some kind of boss fight that happened from time to time, but they never really arrived. I know the previous game didn’t have that many, but since I also got done playing South Park: The Fractured but Whole and with how many bosses that game had, it made me wish The New Colossus had a few. They also introduce new mechanics at around the third act, and they don’t really add too much. I think they help more with killing specific army generals, but I never used them. Plus, they give you a choice to only choose one, but you can find the other two while going through the special side-missions. I just haven’t really been a fan of how this game handles choice. Sure, some things do change, but that’s only at the beginning of the game. You can also go on side-quests to help members of your crew out, but I never really saw any reward for doing so.

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colossus4

While it might not have the shock and surprise power that the first game had, and it has some clunky elements, The New Colossus is fantastic. It’s easily a great sequel in an already impressive relaunch of the franchise. It’s got enough content to warrant the price of entry, and it’s also a fun game I could see myself playing again. Yes, it does have DLC and a season pass, but thankfully, you can wait and see how the DLC turns out before buying it. I would rather deal with a game that has a season pass or traditional DLC than a game riddled with microtransactions or forced-in multi-player. It’s easily one of the best shooters of this console generation, and I can’t wait to see how they put this game on the Nintendo Switch in 2018. I’m glad this game didn’t suffer sequelitis problems, and I will be happy to keep playing it, enjoying it, and recommending it to anyone up for some fun action.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.

430: Maize

corn01
corn01

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. I did get a review copy of this game, but got no financial compensation for reviewing the game. I got the code and nothing else. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

(This game is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC for $20)

Being weird can give you a proper foot in the door when you are an indie game. Due to how many are coming out these days, it’s hard to get yourself noticed, unless you get really good word of mouth, have some budget for advertising, or you have a hook to your game. Maize, by developer Finish Line Games, has that hook. I mean, how much weirder do you have to be than sentient British corn? However, how weird can you be before you get tired of it being just weird and nothing else? Well, let’s find out.

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corn02

Maize is a first-person puzzle game, where you play as an unknown individual who was left outside a forgotten and abandoned farm, run by two brothers who were trying to concoct some unusual experiments. The main goal of the game is to explore the land, and find out what exactly happened, all the while encountering some truly strange characters. You walk around finding items to solve some puzzles that are used to open new areas that are either locked by actual doors, or blocked by a bunch of boxes left by the talking corn. You will be traveling through the corn fields, into the farm house, and into a mysterious underground layer. And, that’s all you do. The puzzles range from pretty easy, to more challenging puzzles that might require some old Sierra Adventure game-style knowledge to solve. The overall game will take about four hours, and the only thing you can really do is collect some items that give backstory to the overall situation in which you found yourself. Outside of that, there is no real reason to replay the game.

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corn03

Graphically, it looks good. It uses the Unreal Engine well, and the animation on the corn beings and the characters in general are well done. I did encounter some graphical glitches, but they were not frequent during my time playing it on PlayStation 4. I will however say that this entire game does look like a slightly higher quality PlayStation 3 budget game. I mean, that doesn’t super bother me, but it’s noticeable. The voice work and the comedic aspects are what really bring this game’s presentation up a point or two. I enjoyed hearing the corn beings being funny, and their voice actors bringing the characters to life. The game also has a minimal soundtrack, and while I don’t remember much of it, I was creeped out at times. Yeah, for such a weird game, you do sometimes get to a point where the sounds of the factory or the outside world do bring some unease to the playthrough.

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corn04

Sadly, being weird is simply not enough to hide the flaws. For one, I found no reason to replay the game again after one playthrough. Maybe I would play it again if I wanted to show a friend who hasn’t seen it, but after finishing the short campaign, I never felt like “oh boy, I want to play this again”. I know this is something I have brought up time and time again recently, but when games like Golf Story and SteamWorld Dig 2 are giving me reasons to replay their games, then I’m glad I got a code for this and didn’t spend money on it. I know price and replay value can be subjective talking points, but when there isn’t a whole lot to Maize besides its odd setting and repetitive backtracking puzzles, then I think it warrants a mention. I also found the robotic teddy bear to be really annoying. He doesn’t do much beside constantly insulting you for being stupid. It was funny and weird the first hour or so, but it then got tiring. I don’t know if this is true or not, but to me, it felt like they had a good idea for a weird adventure game, but then didn’t put the effort into making it interesting all throughout the game.

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corn05

Maize is fine. I don’t really have an urge to play it again, but I have played worse games than Maize. If you can get it for cheap, then I recommend doing so, but I don’t want to keep it on my PlayStation 4, when I could be using Maize’s space for a better game. Check it out if you want something weird and sort of funny, but I would recommend just picking up Firewatch.

This game gets a 5 out of 10.

I'm Blacklisting Certain Games

black01 (If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

black05

2017 started off with some really fantastic games during the first quarter of the year. You had Yakuza Zero, Resident Evil 7, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nier: Automata, Dragon Quest Heroes II, and Persona 5 to name a few. That’s not even counting the slew of fantastic indie games that have been taking up more and more of my time these days. Sadly, it seems like after the halfway point of the year, some incredibly disgusting things started to happen. Games that I was looking forward to were coming out of the woodwork with really despicable, greedy, undeniably shady, and should probably be illegal-by-law tactics within them. These practices come in the form of loot boxes and microtransactions that cost real world money. I mean, these things have been around from maybe 2012 to now, but for some reason, the industry decided to go full force on making sure that your $60 purchase just wasn’t enough to make the developer and publisher money. What games inspired this article? Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, Star Wars Battlefront 2 (the new Battlefront, not the old one), 2K’s sports games, Destiny 2, Forza 7, and Activision just constantly shoving those things into a 10 year-old game that just got remastered. It’s gotten to a point that publishers are more willing than ever to make sure you spend money on those additional expendable purchases. Those one-time purchases that cost you money will be forced into these games, the games will be balanced out to make sure you spend more money than you honestly should, and you get the idea.

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It made me think really hard as a critic/content creator, and as said critic, as of right now, I will no longer be supporting games with loot boxes, microtransactions, and other really shady business ideals. That means I will not be reviewing the games listed above, or any future game that has microtransactions or loot boxes that require real world money. I will probably play these games secondhand through Gamefly, but I will not be talking about them or supporting them from this point on. I don’t want to give them the time of day when I would rather talk about games that have great value that aren’t asking for more money on top of your purchase of the game. I won’t be blacklisting season passes unless they pull something like Star Wars Battlefront did where they wanted you to spend $50 more on top of your $60+ purchase. I just don’t feel good in reviewing a game, and enjoying it, while these newly deep-rooted tactics are shoved into the game, changing how the game is played, and manipulating people who might have gambling problems, or people with more money than brains. I wish the developers didn’t have to suffer through this, since I know they work hard to deal with big publisher shenanigans, but if that has to happen, then so be it. I hate that I have to decline giving Shadow of War press, because I loved what I have seen of the game with the improved Nemesis System, the multitude of Orcs that have varying and amusing personalities, and so on, but sorry, I won’t be buying or reviewing your game. I hate that I won’t be reviewing Assassin’s Creed Origins, since I love the setting and the gameplay of it, but sorry, you won’t be getting a review from me. I might check them out down the line, but that will be more my own personal time with the game, than for reviewing purposes.

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These studios and publishers act like they need more money from consumers, since buying an already expensive game in an already expensive hobby is simply not enough anymore, when I just don’t believe that garbage they are spewing. If a $60, $80, or more purchase is not enough, then maybe, just maybe, you should stop bloating up your ridiculously expensive budgets on the game and marketing. I don’t believe them when they say they need more money. EA makes billions every year off their sports games. If they need more money when Fifa makes $800 million, then that’s scary. It helps that some games and studios know how to balance out budgets and make sure they are not in the red when a game doesn’t do well, unlike EA that takes no blame for the failure of its games, and instead swallows up developers and blames them.

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So, yeah, I might be a smaller reviewer than some, but I will be making a stand right now. I will not review games that you have to buy, and have loot boxes, microtransactions, and other shady elements. This means, that I will not review most big budget third-party games, and will instead talk about more indie titles and first-party titles. People can argue that, as of right now, these controversies over loot boxes and microtransactions aren’t hurting them, but the gaming industry is super short-sighted, and we have seen what happens when they get too big for their pants, and we watch them crash and burn. I hope my stance and my reasoning for this will be taken to heart, and others will make other similar vows. Hopefully, people will wise up, fight, and argue back against them. I know it may seem like nothing is happening now, but just keep fighting, and hopefully, things will change. Or maybe the entire industry will crash and burn, but I hope for change to happen.

429: 9 Year Special: Golf Story

golf01
golf01

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. I did get a review copy of this game, but got no financial compensation for reviewing the game. I got the code and nothing else. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

So far, my experiences with sports game reviews have been more miss than hit. I want to be able to fully enjoy them, but I don’t find the gameplay from more simulation-focused sports games all that fun, and then you have indie developers that want to make retro/arcade-style sports games, but totally forget why they are fondly remembered. The last true sports game I reviewed was a hockey game called Old Time Hockey, and I didn’t have fun with that one. This is because it’s all the more important that when I find one that I like, it sticks with me, and it makes me want to talk about it, and make sure other people get to play it. It’s why I love WWE All Stars, but didn’t enjoy Project Cars. Thankfully, when I got a code to review Golf Story, I installed it on my Nintendo Switch, and found myself playing hours of it at a time. Yeah, Golf Story is really good.

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golf02

Golf Story revolves around a young man who dreams of being the best golfer around. He goes to the golf course that he trained at as a child, and sadly, it has seen better days. It’s now run by a sleazy individual, and unknowing to you for some reason, you decide to help him out anyway to get the course more famous. You then meet a slew of expert golfers and work your way to becoming number one! The game’s story can be touching, but for the mass majority of the experience, it’s more comedic than serious. It’s touching and engaging enough to keep you invested, but you will definitely be staying for the laughs.

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golf03

Golf Story is, well, a golf RPG. Here is how this works. The small, but expansive overworld you run around in will have multiple golf course locations with their own quirks, courses, and story-based quests and side quests. Your goal in the main story will have you competing across the different courses, and beating opponents by upgrading and playing with different sets of clubs. So, is that all you do? No! You solve every single problem in this game by playing golf! Need to feed the fish? Golf swing some food into the lake. Need to return some eggs to a bird? Golf swing their eggs back to them. What about helping out this ghost guy open up his own golf course? You guessed it, golf! Even the game admits that it’s a tad silly that you solve everything by playing golf. However, that is not the only type of golf you get to play. You also have disc golf, drone golf, and miniature golf! Even on top of all that, you have an ‘easy to set up’ local multi-player mode where you can play with friends on your couch. For an indie sports game, that’s hugely impressive and it has a lot of worthwhile content that isn’t pulling a 2K Games where they are forcing you to purchase loot boxes and microtransactions.

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golf04

Golf Story’s biggest achievement, besides its 16-bit art style and variety in gameplay, is the massive amount of personality in terms of the characters and surroundings. Don’t get me wrong, the 16-bit-style graphics are great. I love seeing the trees blow in the wind, everyone just idly moving up and down, the way the game captures 3D space when you hit a ball when nothing that I saw was in 3D, and the very vibrant color pallet. However, the humans don’t really have a lot to them, but the developer uses their text boxes when they speak to show their personalities. Texts boxes will move around, and with font in all different sizes definitely show off more character to the individual golfers. It just shows going that extra mile can help give your game some life. The music is also pretty fantastic. It’s more calming than anything else, but each golf location has a unique and laid-back vibe.

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golf05

My one major problem with Golf Story is that the game itself doesn’t really do a good job at explaining some of the mechanics. I literally looked around on the net at what I was supposed to be doing, and for a game that has a pretty solid tutorial section, it does a poor job at telling you how to do other things. I also found myself not loving a lot of the side activities. I enjoyed the main quests, the mini golf, and drone golf, but any time I think about doing disc golf, I cringe and hesitate because the controls never really stuck to me. I tried countless times to get it down, but I couldn’t find myself having fun. I get where they were going with it, but I never found it entertaining.

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golf06

Overall, I really loved Golf Story. It’s easily one of the best indie games of the year, and one of the Nintendo Switch’s best games. If you have a Nintendo Switch, I would highly recommend making this one of your primo purchases for the console. It offers personality, variety, and fun gameplay for a 3rd of the price of most big-budget games. You will definitely be having many nice shots with this sports game.

This game gets a 9 out of 10.