Monthly Archives: November 2021

Game review: The Outer Worlds for PS4

Fair warning: this review is a lot longer than my usual write-ups, and there are a few spoilers. If you want to avoid those or just wanted a TL;DR version, here goes: I didn’t like it. For the rest of you, sorry I got so long-winded, but this one really rubbed me the wrong way, and I feel a need to overshare.

There’s a very vocal contingent of gamers who insist that among the first person iterations of the Fallout series, only Obsidian’s Fallout New Vegas is worth a damn. The story is more interesting, the system of skills and perks are superior, and overall, the gameplay just feels better.

With all due respect, I strongly disagree on all counts. Fallout New Vegas was ridiculous in depicting its factions, quite frequently forgot where it was going with the plot and thus didn’t offer dialogue options to explore tangents, and copy pasted a lot of the same butt ugly character models. It created the worst Vegas experience, an empty city cut off by loading screens every two hundred yards, and was still prone to crash after progressing too far into the story. When I say crash, I mean freeze the console and corrupt the save files so badly that one must restart from the beginning. “Just use mods,” some folks say, to which I point out, the game is on consoles, and there ain’t no mods to fix that broken, graphically hideous, fumbling mess. What you buy is what you get, and it’s what gets reviewed.

So here we are with The Outer Worlds, which fans have heralded as Fallout in space, jeering that after the disaster that was Fallout 76, Obsidian has effectively out-Fallout-ed Bethesda. Admittedly, I haven’t played Fallout 76 because it looked like a bad deal right from the start, but I do know that The Outer Worlds is no Fallout. Continue reading

Game review: Monkey King: Hero is Back for PS4

Folks, my disappointed feelings toward Monkey King: Hero is Back are entirely my fault for failing to pay attention to what I was buying. See, a few E3s back, a Chinese company released a gameplay trailer for a game tentatively titled Black Wukong, and it looked amazing. So picture me in a Gamestop, sorting through used titles when I see a very unmistakable Sun Wukong on the cover of a game. I got all giddy, like a kid at Christmas who doesn’t yet realize they’ve got the wrong gift by mistake. Did I check to make sure it was the right game? Nope. The fact that it was just 8 Euros only made me think “Maybe it wasn’t received well here, where not too many people know Journey to the West.”

But no, this is in fact an adaptation of a CG cartoon of the same name from 2015, and like so many film-to-game adaptations, this one isn’t very good. I knew that less than five minutes into the game, but I figured I bought it, so I might as well see it through and finally have something to review. What followed was roughly twenty hours of stale hell with the two worst traveling companions I’ve ever had the displeasure of being saddled with.

I don’t know how faithful the game is, but I doubt it did more than pay lip service to the script before wandering off to do its own thing. The story is simple enough. Sun Wukong, aka Dasheng, is trapped for 500 years in an ice prison before being released by Liuer, a young monk who needs help to discover why monsters are kidnapping children from all the villages. Dasheng initially couldn’t care less, but is forced into fighting by Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, who promises to remove the chains binding his magic if he continues to do good deeds. Although the opening scene is set with a fully animated vignette, many other cut-scenes are shown in still frames or with minimal animation. I’m not sure what the point was, except possibly to save money.
Continue reading