Category Archives: other peoples’ stuff

This is not a review of Cross Code for PC

I hate turning this into a habit, but I have a choice of not writing about a game I can’t finish and moving on, or writing on my feelings up to the point that I stopped playing, and I’d really rather get new posts out for y’all, even if they’re incomplete opinion pieces on games I don’t want to force myself to continue playing.

This time the game is Cross Code, a somewhat nostalgic RPG/puzzle platformer that looks great, has a fantastic soundtrack, and an intriguing story premise. Unfortunately, it’s the puzzle portion of the game that’s dulled my interest in continuing. Where I stopped was a few hours after completing the second of four dungeons to acquire the game’s four elemental powers, ice, fire, shock, and wave. I can say that I rather enjoyed the combat, and some of the platforming sections. But the puzzles just drag on an on and on and on and on and…and if I haven’t made this abundantly clear, most overstay their welcome, pushing aside all other aspects of the game. Keep in mind, I’m someone who loves puzzle games like Portal and Portal 2. This is just too much puzzle for me.

From what I’ve been able to sort out from the story, Lea is a player in a unique VR RPG. Rather than log into a game server to play a virtual character, players log into a physical avatar who stays on a real island. Lea apparently had played this game before, but something happened to her that wiped her memory and left her in a coma. A scientist got desperate and decided to try logging her back into the game, and while Lea is still comatose in the real world, she’s got enough brain activity to play as her avatar. The other catch is, she can’t speak due to some kind of malfunction in her avatar, creating a charming reason for her “silent” protagonist shtick. Continue reading


Netflix Nosedive: Lucifer

I knew just from watching the trailers that I was going to like Lucifer, but I had no idea how much I would love it. The premise is summed up in the introduction text nicely, that the devil used to rule over Hell, until he decided to take a vacation in Los Angeles. Lucifer Morningstar is a narcissistic, self-centered, permanently horny immortal teenager, forever pissed off at his parents about being kicked out and branded “the great evil” when he’s clearly more sociopath than psycho.

And if I made him sound dreadful, he is. BUT, those are also his good points. Yeah, really.

Bascially, Lucifer is sort of like The Mentalist’s Patrick Jane, if Patrick had never given up the family business. Lucifer gets into detective work due to the murder of a pop singer he helped with a favor, bringing him into contact with Detective Chloe Decker, a woman he cannot use his powers of persuasion on. This intrigues him, and he begins inviting himself along to all her cases until she finally relents and calls him her partner. Continue reading


This is not a review of Dark Souls: Daughters of Ash

Let me say that I really wanted to like this mod. I went and downloaded a fresh copy of the Prepare to Die edition of Dark Souls to play it, and the enthusiasm I’ve seen from some YouTubers certainly had me excited to try the mod out. I found the mod developer’s description particularly intriguing:

Dark Souls: Daughters of Ash is the original Dark Souls (2011), re-imagined and massively expanded. It’s my vision of what Dark Souls might have been if FromSoftware had been given an additional six months to develop content for the game.

But, this and several other quotes on the Nexus Mods page are either hubris or straight up lies. I want really badly to find something nice to say, like “there’s some interesting ideas here,” but even trying to use faint praise is hard because those good ideas are marred by bad execution. Continue reading


Netflix Nosedive: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Hi! As you may know if you’ve been with me for a while now, I’ve been working on trying to bring new reviews to you, with…less than frequent results. (But there will be new game reviews in the future. I got games over the holidays, and I need time to play them and get a better idea of how I feel about them.) Well now I have something all new to bring you, the fine, kind, and very intelligent reader who has most graciously seen fit to keep reading my stuff.

Are you ready? It’s NETFLIX NOSEDIVE!

I admit, I’ve never actually used Netflix, though with every ad for a Netflix Original show or film, I’ve said, “Huh, I should look into that.” But there are games to play, books to read, things to write (or edit), and I never got around to it. Then just a few days ago, the TV antenna decided it didn’t want to work. We had nothing, and even trying to scan for channels wouldn’t fix it. So, I’m at the store to buy stuff for Christmas dinner, and I saw a prepaid Netflix card and thought, “I’ve just earned a check for editing and writing. Why not get that card as a Christmas present for myself and my hubby?” Continue reading


This is not a review for Wizard of Legend (on PC)

I’d like to apologize for my absence, but this time it’s not my fault. I’ve been sick, and am in fact still ill. All my plans and workouts fell flat as soon as the weather turned truly cold, and I had to drop a paying editing job in the middle of a week because I had an MS-related relapse. Right as I was recovering from that junk, I got a good old-fashioned cold, the kind that likes to stick around for two weeks and come in waves. It’s like every time I get up and say, “Oh, I might be better,” the cold shows up an hour later to go, “Psyche! Gotcha, bitch!”

While I don’t feel the need to apologize for being sick, I do want to say how sorry I am that I won’t be finishing Wizard of Legend. Every time I think to play it, I also think of a dozen other things I could do that would be better ways to spend my time. Like doing laundry, for instance. When a game is so tedious that I would prefer to do laundry instead, you know there’s a problem.

But, as I can’t finish it, this is not a review. I will cover what I liked about the parts I played, and then I’ll cover what I hated. (Hate is a strong word, but it totally applies in this instance, believe me.) But I will not give a score, so then it’s not a real, really real review.

What I liked can be summed up pretty fast, so first, let’s go over the story. In the modern era of the game’s world, your character is a young wizard visiting the museum of the Chaos Trials, where people admire all the many feats and spells of wizards of legend. It’s basically a tutorial area before an artifact sucks you back in time and into your very own Chaos Trial. You, yes YOU, are now being tested to become A WIZARD OF LEGEND! Wooohooo! Yaaay!

The premise is decent, the graphics are lovely, and the music is nice. Once you have enough funds to buy spells and find a mix that works for you, the visual flair of said spells can look quite spectacular as well. Aaaaand that’s everything I liked. *Deep breath* Continue reading


Game review: Magic: The Gathering: Arena (beta for PC)

I actually planned to do a different review this week for Wizard of Legend, but despite feeling like I’ve played it for ages, Steam swears I’ve only been at it 13 hours. So I figure I’ll give it a bit more time before breaking out the gas and matches to burn it to the ground. On the other hand, only being ten hours into the free to play Magic: The Gathering: Arena (A name with way too many colons for my liking), I already know enough to tell you what you need to know about this game. Really, it’s Magic, but in a digital form. If you’ve played Magic anytime in its entire history, you already know what this means, and have already decided if you’re going to go in on this or not. This, then, is the review for the people who somehow missed out on the game for the last 20-some-odd years.

Before I get into it, I should cover some history explaining why I was originally hesitant to play this and explain why I was kind of right to be wary. I got into Magic: The Gathering at the ground floor with the first generation of cards thanks to my roommate Andy. Andy gave me the “first free hit” that pushed me to start buying booster packs, and after a few weeks of trying to make monster decks of ridiculous sizes, I began to instead create smaller 40 card decks comprised of one or two mana colors and with lots of land and low cost spells and creatures. While most of my friends used mega-decks with high cost cards, I could pull up an army while they were still laying out land to pay for their first summons, and I destroyed them most of the time unless I just had a really bad shuffle.

But I reached the point where I was spending all my free money on booster decks. No, I reached the point where food and bills got shuffled to the side to pay for more cards, and recognizing I had an obsession bordering on addiction, I quit the game and gave away all my cards. Five years later, a random co-worker asked if I played Magic, and I said I used to, but couldn’t afford it. So he gave me a deck to play with, and before you can say obsessive compulsive disorder, I was looking at dwindling finances and a binder full of duplicate cards again. So yeah, even in a digital form, I worried that this game might once again bring out the worst in me. To a smaller extent, I can already feel that tug to spend some real cash to get crystals so I can buy booster packs faster. In this way, Magic can be dangerous even if it’s loads of fun. Continue reading


Game review: Mark of the Ninja Remastered for PS4

Mark of the Ninja dropped a newly remastered edition along with their debut on the Nintendo Switch, (a device I lusted after, but feel less attracted to now that the paid online features have been implemented) and I had vague memories of not liking it. But, my reason then for not liking it was the sales pitch that you could do a fully pacifist run and even get rewarded for it. But in reality, it’s only possible to do said pacifist run in New Game+, and so much of my review on that older version was griping about what I saw as a bait and switch ad. So I thought, “I know I have to kill everything on the first run anyway, so why not buy it again and see it through to the end?”

How does that old saying go? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I’m a complete dumbass who got what I deserved. Because of that, I shall temper my temper and avoid my usual rage filled f-bombing. I did it to myself, knowing what would happen. But I suffered through this, for you. In the words of Courage the Cowardly Dog: “The things I do for love!”

For those of you interested in only the hot take, that’s all folks! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time. Continue reading


Game review: Dead Cells for PC

You probably expected this review to come out sooner, and to be honest, I did too. I’d purchased Dead Cells when it was still in early access. If you know me on Twitter, you know from my rants that I hate early access and refuse to pay to beta test for most companies. But after watching multiple Let’s Play videos and seeing how smooth the game play was, I decided to take a risk and pick the game up early. Before I even get to the proper review, I would like to offer kudos to the developer for releasing an early access product that was fantastically stable. In the thirty hours I played before moving to the full release, I never once had a crash or any kind of glitch. You can’t even see that in many triple A games after their obligatory day one patch.

Once the game went gold, I got a notification in-game that I should start a new game to experience “the full story,” and I did so with much trepidation for reasons I will explain later. From that point forward, I put another seventy-seven hours into the game, for a grand total of 107. So, know this review is coming after much kicking of the virtual tires, and that despite what I’m going to say, I will continue playing the game for a long time after this is published.

So….Dead Cells is a game I’d really like to hate. I can’t because it’s stable, it’s got gorgeous graphics, and fantastic music and sound effects. But I want to hate it because of the controls and because of the absolute pain it was to gather the main tools of movement within the game, runes. I want to hate it because much like Binding of Isaac, success or failure often comes down to the tools randomly doled out to me in the course of a run. I want to hate it because much like Binding of Isaac, so much of my time is spent groaning over bullshit created by RNGesus that it dilutes the times where I am actually enjoying the game.

Don’t get me wrong, on a good run with fun weapons and skills, this is mostly a joy to play. But a bad run will often be followed by another, and another, and given that a run to the last boss takes me around an hour and thirty minutes, those bad runs can often make me feel like I’ve wasted my time for nothing. (Y’all speed runners are probably snickering over my run time, and y’all can bite me.) Continue reading


It’s time to talk about Dark Souls Remastered (On PC)

All right, first let me apologize for the lack of content in forever. I’ve started and given up on three books, two of which were sequels from first books that I loved. We’re still flat broke, so aside from a few indie games that I’m not ready to review yet, I’ve only been playing old games over and over. But as you can probably guess from the title, one of those old games is technically new again.

When Dark Souls Remastered was announced, I restarted the Prepare to Die edition because I was certain a lot of older players would be dusting off their copies to get back in for some practice. I totally called that, for the first time being able to play with a world full of invasions and summon signs. I also got to see once again the WORST parts of the PC port, even with DSFix installed. For me, the single biggest problem was the game hanging in certain places like Quelaag’s Domain. There, I might have the screen freeze for up to five seconds. But the absolute worst place for hanging is the Firesage Demon boss fight, where if I don’t move to the far end of the arena, the game will hang for five to six seconds at a time every ten seconds or so. There are other examples I could give, but these were the most extreme.

I want to address the controversy around the price versus what you get in the remaster, and I want to start by saying that with me already owning the PC port, I got the remaster for half price. To me, all the new version had to do was fix those extreme moments of hang ups and it would be worth twenty euros. Part of this is because I got the PtD version on sale for ten euros. So with the two versions combined, I’m still not up to the forty euro asking price for newcomers or folks converting from a console version. But if you’re among the folks who looked at the new features and fixes and said “This is just DSFix and some minor graphics upgrades for an insane asking price,” I want to say…you’re not wrong. In fact I’ll go so far as to say your anger is justified. This is a lazy, lazy port, so lazy that FromSoftware couldn’t be bothered to do it themselves. Continue reading


Game review: Gems of War for Android

Long time no see, right? The move from Milan to Pavia took a lot out of me, and my method of recovery was mostly lounging on the couch playing Bloodborne because it was free with PS Plus, and I figured why not give it another try? And by the way, the new internet connection is so slow that downloading Bloodborne took FOUR DAYS. Obviously, streaming games is going to be out of the question, and that means no PS4 games at all unless I can sort out how to record and upload them. As it is, recording and uploading PC games will have to be limited to around half hour sessions because that tiny ass file will take all day to upload to YouTube and Twitch. *Le Sigh*

(A side note: I apologize to anyone waiting on the remaining episodes of me playing Dark Souls II. I go to upload one, walk away to do other stuff, and come back a few hours later to see Twitch has once again fucked up the upload, so I have to start over…and have it fuck up again. My internet woes are truly terrible right now, let me tell ya.)

My opinion of Bloodborne hasn’t changed with additional runs, by the way. It’s got good bosses and the chalice dungeons are fun, but the vast majority of the game is boring to the point that I can fall asleep while playing it. Of all the FromSoftware games I’ve played, it’s the one I like the least. But hey, I played through all the chalice dungeons with a bloodtinge build, and while it took forever to build up a gun to the point of being actually useful, the end result was a dungeon run that was a literal blast to play. So it’s the same as my review, yeah? A decent time, if you can stomach the grind.

But so…where was I? Right, the review. Before we moved, I got a Kindle Fire tablet to use as a second screen while streaming…and another side note: the Twitch App for android is bjorked and won’t show viewer’s comments or the current stream, so I had to download Firefox for Android to get to the Twitch site. That in itself required a whole other series of workarounds because Amazon tried to lock me out of the Google Play store, and despite Firefox being the defacto browser for most folks on PC, they don’t have it in their store. Can you say oy vey? Because I sure can.

So, Gems of War. I’d heard good stuff about this spiritual successor to Puzzle Quest, and I of course had many good times with Puzzle Quest and Puzzle Quest 2. This would seem like a perfect fit for me, and in small, short doses, it’s not all that bad. But…I don’t like it. I mean, I don’t hate it, either, but the free to play mechanics make any session over an hour into a kind of slow torture, like getting teeth cleaned. At first, it doesn’t seem so bad, but the longer it drags on, the more irritating it becomes. Continue reading