Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn might just have the slowest start in video game history.
Bloodstained is one of those games that would only exist with Kickstarter funding. It is a very specific game, created to satisfy a very specific market: people who enjoyed playing the Castlevania series from 1997 through to 2009, after which point Konami abruptly stopped making them Metroid-style free-roaming platformers and started making them terrible 3D adventures instead. If you didn’t play any of the Castlevania games released during that period, I suspect Bloodstained is going to come across as a rather flabby, messy and generally rough-around-the-edges experience, because you won’t understand where the game is coming from.
On the other hand, if you are fortunate enough to have played one of the good Castlevanias, then Bloodstained is still going to come across as a rather flabby, messy and generally rough-around-the-edges experience. It’s just that in this case, you won’t care, because Bloodstained gets the important stuff right and does enough to scratch an itch that has gone un-scratched for just over a decade now.
Metro Exodus is an answer to a question I really don’t think I needed answering: what if you took a game that already looked like Fallout, even though under the hood it really wasn’t like Fallout at all, and made it a lot more like Fallout1?
I’ve spent half an hour or so trying to figure out a good way to start this review. It’s difficult, though, because of the way I feel about Chaosbane, and because of what Chaosbane does. The three versions of the intro I’ve written so far all meander around for whole paragraphs, blathering on and on about other recent ARPGs and their innovations in the space, largely because I’m doing my utmost to avoid talking about Chaosbane itself. Once upon a time that would have been fine; these days, however, I prefer to have a slightly punchier opening to my writing. A single sentence that sums up, as adequately as I can, how I feel about a game. And as far as Chaosbane is concerned I might as well use the message I sent to my game-playing friends immediately after my first sixty minutes with the game, because I knew one or two of them were considering trying it:
Do not buy Chaosbane under any circumstances.
Some of my friends have asked me why I even bought Rage 2, since I didn’t exactly enjoy the original and the sequel wasn’t looking like anything special from the previews. My answer to them was that I just wanted to blast things with a shotgun for a few hours, as that’s a genre that’s been somewhat underserved this year (so far), but the real reason is that I really, really wanted to open the review with a “You can’t spell average without Rage” joke.
Unfortunately this makes Rage 2 doubly disappointing, as it’s turned out to have fallen some considerable way short of even that rather dubious target.