Quick reviews of games I barely played

I've been playing small amounts of a few different games recently to try to clear out some of my backlog of games I've bought and never tried. Here's what I think of some of them (and how long I played them for).

BrĂ¼tal Legend (2 hours)

If you like Jack Black, the cutscenes in this are pretty great. The gameplay is pretty basic and repetitive, but it's not too bad - except for the bits where you have to do something special to progress, like get past an obstacle or fight a boss. The game is really bad at telling you what you're supposed to do, and I've already had to look at a walkthrough several times.

I liked the story, but I got bored playing the actual game. I might go back to it at some point, but I'll probably end up just watching a Let's Play instead.

Huntsman - The Orphanage Halloween Edition (20 minutes)

Jump scares and tedium. This game is bad. Just slow and boring, and it doesn't even bother with any kind of story or setup. You're a person wandering around an abandoned orphanarium for some reason, and occasionally ghosts appear on your phone. You're supposed to find items (of which you can carry only one at a time) and bring them... somewhere? It's really hard to see anything and your character walks really slowly. Just terrible.

Hero of the Kingdom (10 minutes)

If your favourite part of RPGs is inventory and resource management, this is the game for you, because that seems to be all there is to it. Basically the shitty parts of Skyrim.

Insurgency (10 minutes)

"Realistic" FPS - meaning boring. I quit part way through the tutorial.

Game of Thrones: The Role Playing Game (1 hour)

Exposition: the Game. I thought the cutscenes would never end. Combat is this weird sort of Dragon Age style but way worse. You can put the game into super-slow-motion to queue up attacks or whatever, but it's hard to tell what's actually happening and you don't have very precise control over your characters (plus it lacks the system for scripting your characters' default combat behaviour, so if you let them go they'll just do basic attacks). Plus you can't be a mage, so fuck this game.

GRID 2 (20 minutes)

Not as good as Race Driver: Grid. More difficult, and it has this feature where when you mess up you can rewind time to try again from just a little way back which simultaneously feels like cheating and is not actually all that useful.

The only good thing about the game is how disconnected the commentary is from what's going on, with this guy in your ear telling you how great you are the whole way evn when you're losing badly and your car is smashed to pieces. "Looking good out there, you're the best driver here!"

Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition (50 minutes)

Easy to jump into, combat is easy to understand and it introduces you to how the game works at a good pace. Has a nifty mechanic where your party members can talk to each other, and the dialogue you choose for them gives them traits. If you characterise them consistently, those traits will level up and give you bonuses.

You start with two characters, who are customisable to a small degree; you have a handful of outfits (tied to classes) and faces to choose from, and can choose whether each of them is male or female. There are a lot of classes, many of them sounding very similar to one another (eg. wizard, battlemage, witch, enchanter) but you can also ignore those and go with fully customised skills and stats.

Papo & Yo (50 minutes)

I really want to like this one, because it looks great, it's a great concept, and it's pretty unique, but it's just too linear and straight-forward. The game is broken up into a series of self-contained puzzle "rooms" - you solve each one to progress to the next. The aesthetics are really creative and clever, but unfortunately the puzzles all seem to boil down to "Spot the thing you can interact with. Interact with it. Repeat."

It feels really imaginative and clever, but all of that is on the part of the designer, there's not really a lot left for the player to contribute. You're just kind of pressing buttons to see the next thing. It feels like it should have been a short film rather than a game.

The Dark Eye: Blackguards (30 minutes)

This game seems to basically be split between two game modes: Conversation and combat. There doesn't really seem to be anything that isn't one or the other - no exploration, no puzzle solving, etc. This gives it a sort of relentless feeling, like it never lets up, but despite that it's actually pretty fun.

What really drags it down is the same thing dragging down all of the Dark Eye games (and a lot of other games by Daedalic Entertainment), and that is the absolutely awful characters and dialogue. I'll play some more of it, because the combat is pretty fun (similar to Divinity) but I'll probably end up skipping a lot of dialogue and cutscenes.

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