Hurray! I’m back home! The renovations are done and everything looks really good. However, I have a lot of unpacking and organizing to finish. Luckily, I had some time to configure my pending game reviews. You’re getting several because I didn’t have time in prior weeks. Truthfully, my latest gaming escapades were quite disappointing. What happened? 2023 had such a great first half of the year for video games. I suppose the momentum can’t last forever. It also shows how oversaturated the market is this year. So, let’s check out my current list of reviews. Enjoy!
I’ll begin with the best example on this post. Disney Illusion Island is a fun metroidvania that’s accessible to audiences of all age groups. The animation style is similar to the current Mickey Mouse cartoons on Disney+. This game features Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy as playable characters. All of them are interchangeable and their skills may have visual differences, but the overall gameplay is the same. Disney Illusion Island doesn’t have direct combat, although you have to traverse the environment with special abilities while avoiding enemies and traps. Along the way, you’ll unlock new skills that will make various parts of the map more accessible. The map is surprisingly large with many secret areas and diverse biomes.
This game doesn’t have many drawbacks, although it’s not a standard metroidvania. It’s very simple with basic traversal and some players might feel disappointed because the gameplay lacks combat. However, you can add challenges by reducing health to a single hit. If you’re looking for the next Metroid or Castelvania, this is the wrong game.
Basically, I’ll gladly recommend this charming side scrolling title for the majority of gamers. It’s entertaining, inventive, and humorous. Disney Illusion Island definitely captures the spirit of the Mickey and Friends team. This game is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch, so keep that part in mind. Sorry, Xbox and PlayStation fans.
Now it’s time for the real critiques. Atlas Fallen is another entry in this year’s magic adventure game spree. Granted, I was more impressed with Forspoken, Hogwarts Legacy, and especially Final Fantasy XVI. This game is difficult in all the wrong ways. The combat is frustrating and unrefined with a messy upgrade system. It takes forever to unlock new skills and mastering the overall gameplay is a chore. The environment looks generic and unoriginal. In fact, the VFX seem very outdated on almost every level. Atlas Fallen looks more like a PlayStation 2 game than a new release for current gen consoles. The story didn’t impress me either with a bland outline and tropes from similar releases. I suppose the voice acting was okay, but it didn’t blow me away by any means. Plus, this game is full of glitches, including issues that completely stop the story progression.
Does Atlas Fallen have any redeemable elements? I believe some players might enjoy this game to a certain extent. It has a unique combat system with various magical weapons, interesting side quests, and creative puzzles. You also have the option to customize the protagonist.
Ultimately, the gameplay in Atlas Fallen isn’t particularly fun. It’s a lengthy grind without anything interesting to keep players engaged. If you’re going to explore this unusual magic adventure, I recommend waiting for a sale. This game is still $60, which is far beyond its worth.
I should have known better. Die After Sunset is clearly a Fortnite knockoff, but I wanted to play it anyway. However, this one has a major difference because the gameplay entirely a single player roguelite. Unfortunately, the experience is uninspired and the gameplay is super janky. On a technical level, this game isn’t very difficult. With that said, I died many times because basic movement and combat is a mess. Good luck aiming because the majority of your shots will miss enemies completely. There’s also very little variety in terms of enemies and biomes. Most of the missions feel like monotonous busy work. Objectives are also unclear and I failed a number of missions because the directions were awful.
In the end, I can’t recommend Die After Sunset at all. The enemies are cute, but the game is virtually unplayable and frustrating due to poor design. I’m surprised this game received a physical release on the PS5. Usually, these types of games are just on Steam and mainstream online retailers. This game is inexpensive, but it’s still not worth your time.
Immortals of Aveum is probably one of my biggest disappointments this year because it showed a decent amount of potential. Again, we’re looking at another single player game with an emphasis on magic. It’s a crowded genre in 2023. I never know what to expect from EA because they have great titles, like Star Wars: Jedi Survivor and the remake of Dead Space. However, Immortals of Aveum might be more typical of EA’s repertoire. This game has some entertaining elements with three different types of magic, but the overall experience feels imprecise and frustrating to master. The controls are difficult to memorize and it takes a lot of practice to feel more comfortable. The VFX are quite stunning, although the environment and enemies lack variety. Like many games this year, the dialogue is pretty bad and annoying with humor that doesn’t land. I don’t mind the story, but it’s a standard epic about an underdog hero who’s helping a rebellious group overthrow a tyrant. Cue the huge battle scenes. It’s like every fantasy movie ever made. I appreciate seeing more single player adventures, but Immortals of Aveum isn’t the best addition to the list.
Is this game worth playing for anyone? Actually, I believe some players will enjoy this oddity. Most gamers will love it or hate it. Some gamers will think it’s a breath of fresh air in a market that’s loaded with multiplayer experiences. Others will believe it’s a messy release that showcases style over substance. I’m somewhere in the middle. The gameplay didn’t work for me. Good luck figuring it out. Also, the missions felt mundane and it took a long time to gain skill points or upgrades.
On that note, wait for a sale if you’re curious about Immortals of Aveum. This game is a whopping $70 and the overall experience doesn’t justify that kind of money. What if your schedule is limited? Honestly, you could easily skip this game without consequence. It’s flashy, but I’ve played far more intriguing releases this year.
Here’s an example that’s not bad. Overall, Fort Solis is a middle of the road experience. It’s a narrative adventure that almost functions like a walking simulator. I’m telling you up front, this game doesn’t have combat. It’s difficult to put Fort Solis in a real category. I wouldn’t call it a graphic adventure either because your choices don’t make a difference with the exception of some quick time events. This game is more like a deep space thriller than a horror escapade. I can’t say anything is particularly unique about the experience. You’ll explore a research base, read journal entries, watch video diaries, and experience lengthy cutscenes. Fort Solis feels very experimental; kind of like an indie movie.
Does the gameplay pay off? Truthfully, this game is really boring. You can’t run. The playable characters walk at a snail’s pace, even when their lives are in danger. It’s absurd. Granted, Fort Solis is quite short and a quicker walking speed will cut down the runtime significantly. However, some gamers might enjoy this odd title. The animation is pretty good, some of the story elements are interesting, and it subverts expectations while flipping outer space tropes upside down. I enjoyed the voice acting and it features an intriguing antagonist.
So, this game might be fine when it goes on sale. It’s not a fabulous release, but I wouldn’t call the experience unbearable. Fort Solis could become popular among a niche audience. The current price for the physical copy is $35, which still too expensive. If you want quick pacing and a lot of excitement with blazing combat, play something else.
Good grief! The latest Hercule Poirot game might be the worst release of the year, in my opinion. It’s rare for me to call a game awful. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like each Poirot game is worse than the previous ones. I don’t remember any game breaking bugs in The London Case, although it has other problems. The story isn’t very compelling, which is a serious issue because it’s a mystery game. I find the animation terrible and many of the puzzles are unclear. Most of the characters look goofy, including the titular detective. Like many games in the mystery genre, The London Case is quite long with major pacing issues. The investigation system isn’t very difficult, but it also feels like the player is guessing most of the time. Keep picking options until something sticks. On the bright side, I don’t mind the voice acting. It’s the one redeemable element for this game.
I’m definitely not recommending this game, even for hardcore mystery fans. It seems like the early Sherlock Holmes games were decent and everything went downhill in following years for the entire mystery genre. Perhaps, it’s a challenging genre for game developers. I feel really nervous for Murder on the Orient Express, which debuts in November. The odds are stacked against it.
I’m pretty sure The Last Worker was originally a VR game because it doesn’t work particularly well on the Switch. I doubt the gameplay would be smoother on other consoles. This lesser known title is a post-apocalyptic game about the last human employee at a shipping and manufacturing company. I’m a huge fan of the genre, but The Last Worker has confusing gameplay. That includes the controls and directions. I simply can’t figure out how to play this game. Most VR games don’t transfer well to standard consoles. Granted, Killer Frequency was optimized for VR and it works just fine on everything else. The voice acting is very good, although it doesn’t mean anything because the gameplay is such a slog. The Last Worker is dreadfully slow and a bit longer than warranted. I’m pretty sure half of the people who try this game will feel bored and the rest will be confused. What about the story? It’s not bad and the general idea is uncomfortably close to our real situation in the workforce. However, the writing is thin and I’ve seen more interesting dystopias this year.
Even if you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic games, The Last Worker isn’t a great addition to any collection. Don’t be fooled by the fascinating premise. The game will never live up to the basic concept. Sure, the physical edition is only $30, but it still seems like a waste of money. The market has plenty of post-apocalyptic games. You don’t need this one.
That’s the end of tonight’s post! Now you can skip most of these games and jump right into Starfield or whatever strikes your fancy. Switch owners might want to check out Disney Illusion Island. It’s a nice little hidden gem. What have you been playing this year? Do you think the 2023 release schedule is stronger than usual or did the second half seem like a downgrade? Leave a comment. Beware of the impending SAG strike against the gaming industry. Technically, the voting takes place in the near future, but I’m sure a strike is imminent. The strike in Hollywood isn’t going away yet, so we shouldn’t be surprised if the video game industry becomes affected as well. Perhaps, it’s good to have so many releases this year. 2024 might be a bit thin for new games. Let’s remain optimistic and we’ll see what happens. Take care of each other and come back again next week. Cheers!
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