Review catchup: video game grab-bag 2021

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Mon Nov 29, 2021

So last year I encountered a situation similar to the one I am in now. That is to say, there were a lot of games I wanted to review this semester but never got around to because I was too busy. So I’m taking some advice from my own book and doing what I did last time, a review catchup grab-bag where I do quick reviews of all the games I wanted to review this semester but never got around to!

"Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl" - Definitely one of the coolest games to have dropped this semester, but your average steam user will probably just watch a YouTuber play it and then never think about the game again. But the secret behind “NASB” is that the developers are all “Super Smash Brothers: Melee” nerds on a stimulant binge, and the game has more movement mechanics than characters. Seriously, this game is nuts. Pro matches already look wild and it’ll be crazy to see some of the more technical characters after people have had some time to mess with the game. Still, it’s had a pretty rocky relationship with balancing. They’ve already patched out like three or four touch-of-death combos and like half the roster can still d-air loop you to death from anywhere offstage. They also have a bit of an issue with character balancing, but the developers are a lot more active about balance changes than “Smash” fans will be used to. The real tragedy is that after the initial hype, “NASB” has really died down. I haven’t heard anything about the game both online and from friends in ages. Still, DLC characters are on the way, and that may help breathe some life into “NASB.” Hopefully with Nickelodeon money backing it the competitive scene won’t struggle as much with obscurity as other indie developed fighters like “Rivals of Aether” have been forced to contend with, but we’ll have to wait and see. Final score: 7/10, a darn solid platform fighter with a lot of potential. As to whether or not “NASB” will become a regular name in the FGC rests now on the shoulders of Nickelodeon’s money and the dev’s talent.

 

"Melty Blood: Type Lumina" - Not enough Neco-Arc. Don’t play. Okay okay, but is the game even really worth talking about until she’s in? Alright fine, I enjoyed it.

You want more? Okay look, I didn’t really “play” the game, at least not how one may traditionally be considered to “play” a fighting game. I played it the way god intended, by vaguely mashing buttons and letting the auto-combo do most of the work. I only ever really knew enough to be able to throw the occasional special or super into the delicious auto-combo soup. From what I’ve heard the auto-combo actually makes executing regular combos egregious, but I don’t really care. I have no interest in labbing “Type Lumina,” I just want to mess around with Vlov because I think he’s fun. For what it’s worth, I did enjoy myself quite a bit. The mechanics are simple and powerful enough for a semi-experienced fighting game player to be able to jump in and go. My day one Vlov actually managed to do alright against the “Melty” vets in my group, which is quite nice. I can see how the auto-combo could get annoying for people who actually care about grinding the game, but I enjoy the game much more as a kind of pick-up-and-go party game, which is really funny to say but it’s true. Final score: 0/10, put the cat in the game you cowards.

 

"The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition" - Y’all don’t wanna know how many hours I have in “The Elder Scrolls: Online,” alright? I think it’s pretty abundantly clear that I, as a person, have a problem with products slapped with the “Elder Scrolls” label. In my defense, “Skyrim” is a classic. A buggy, broken, dried husk of a classic, but one nonetheless. I just wish that Todd Howard hadn’t made a game I love so much a joke. Well at least this time around they’re actually adding new stuff, even if they didn’t make it. “Anniversary Edition” is basically just a modpack, except it’s all creation club content so you can’t ordinarily get it without paying or pirating. I’d at the very least say that “Anniversary Edition” is a very good mod pack, with relatively good stability, lore-friendly content, plenty of new stuff to play with, the whole nine yards. It better be for $49.99. That’s really the killing blow, the price. A mod pack, no matter how nicely packaged, is difficult to justify at that price.I know it’s only $20 to upgrade if you already bought “Special Edition,” but still. You’re really paying to save yourself the 20-40 hours of modding work you’d have to do on your own, but for the less tech savvy “Skyrim” fan that may be enough. Sure I could spend a couple hours making a cake, or I could just drop some cash on a store bought one. Final score: 6/10, I don’t know man it’s “Skyrim.” You either already know you’re buying it or you don’t care.

 

"Psychonauts 2" - Okay I actually do want to review this one. I’ll play it over break, I swear! My sister’s nuts about this game, she loved the first one and she had been backing the kickstarter for the second one since I was made. I’m not quite to that level, but I still love the series all the same and can’t wait to see what’s in store for the sequel.

 

"Farcry 6" - I didn’t really hear a lot about “Farcry 6” when it dropped, and I still haven’t heard too much. I vaguely remember people saying it’s boring, but that’s pretty par for the course at this point. I don’t know, I think the “Farcry” series actually has a pretty good track record when it comes to game quality. With the arguable exception of “2,” none of the “Farcry” games are really spectacular, but Ubisoft has managed to keep the series reasonably engaging. There’s always plenty of colorful characters, a scenic locale, an entertaining villain, solid stealth mechanics, and enough new goodies to mess around with. Honestly, I think I’m gonna try to review “Farcry 6” too if I can, we’ll see how much I procrastinate over break.

Unfortunately I didn't have that much time this semester to do reviews like I usually do, and thankfully it seems like the games' industry has obliged me. Not too many games dropped the second half of 2021, thankfully. Still, here's to hoping that next semester will prove to be a better time for my reviewing endeavors. Happy holidays until then!

 

 

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