Red Dead Redemption 2 – A good pattern repeated far too often

Red Dead Redemption 2 feels like Rockstar has turned a corner, but it might not be the corner fans were hoping they would turn.

Rockstar’s previous titles, both Red Dead Redemption, and Grand Theft Auto series had a lot of variety. Grand Theft Auto 3 through San Andreas focused on a satirical open world where the player could create his own brand of havoc. Grand Theft Auto IV created a more simulation-style game though fans had mixed reactions, though generally negative.

Then Red Dead Redemption moved back to allow the player to create their own fun, and Grand Theft Auto V returned to the satirical style Rockstar was known for.

I bring all of this up because Red Dead Redemption 2 is another attempt like Grand Theft Auto IV where the goal is to create a more realistic game. Part of the reason is while crime and urban gang life can be satirized very easily, westerns are no longer as common in pop culture, and while there have been amazing comedies in the genre, like Blazing Saddles, Rockstar made the assumption most fans would prefer a serious take on the western formula.

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Little Misfortune Review – How a disconnected ending can ruin a game

Little Misfortune is a game that is intended to shock the player. It starts early when the narrator informs the player that the girl at the center of the story is “going to die today.” The girl, Misfortune hears the narrator somehow, but the narrator quickly handwaves it away and starts to directly talk to Misfortune. From there the player takes control of Misfortune on her adventure.

Much of Little Misfortune revolves around moving Misfortune to the right and looking or interacting with every object that appears on the screen. She also will live up to her name causing a lot of trouble in her wake.

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Red Dead Redemption 2 Mission Teardown – The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I’m Kinglink and this week, we’re going to do a mission teardown of Red Dead Redemption 2.

I’m going to take a quick moment here. This video is going to be critical of Red Dead Redemption 2, however, I really am going to be specifically critical of pieces of Red Dead Redemption 2. I’ve spent maybe 80 hours in just single-player mode, and that’s a lot of time. In general, this game is fun at times, but … a masterpiece, it ain’t.

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Hob Review – This is going to be rough

Hob is a perfect example of a type of game I dislike. Rather it’s a type of game whose fanbases’ cry bothers me. I constantly hear “it’s Zelda.” and as a guy named Kinglink, I have to listen to that.

But no… Hob isn’t Zelda, Hob is far from Zelda and what’s worse is I keep hearing about the amazingness of Hob, yet, I heavily disagree with that assessment. Hob is a game whose style might be amazing, but the game design at its core and the level of polish is so problematic, that I struggle to understand anything positive said about it.

The most important thing though would be to address the common praise of the game, that this is “Zelda”. That would be true if Zelda lacked a story or interesting characters, or really a purpose had simplistic dungeons and more platforming than combat. Also, the enemies are repetitive and there are no interesting bosses as well.

So really, no… Hob is not Zelda, it has a green backdrop, with a character who has a sword, but if that’s what Zelda is, a lot of games would be Zelda. And to call it Zelda, would be to ignore the rest of the game.

So what is Hob really? It’s an artistic game where players are told to explore and repair a broken world, which has fallen into disrepair. The actual world and levels have been ripped away, and it’s Hob’s main character’s job to start to repair. The main character is awoken by a robot who guides him throughout the beginning of the game and makes gestures in the direction of further goals.

But that guidance is one of the big issues I have with Hob. While the character clearly points the main character in the direction of the next goal, this happens once, and after that point, players will likely wander around, usually in other directions as the direct path is usually the wrong direction.

There are not many indicators that the player is on the right path, or even in the right area. It’s only made worse by the fact that the game never reminds players what they should be doing. If someone put Hob down for a week or two, which happened to me, returning to the game can be challenging if not downright impossible as there’s no reminder of where the players should go. There might be an indicator on the map but it’s a vague one at that.

Smaller segments or a reminder when players load the game would have been far more beneficial in this case.

The actual gameplay though is relatively simple. Players will battle through small arenas gathering a handful of skills and use those skills to find new areas. In fact, Hob has far more to do with Metroidvanias than anything, especially unlocking new parts of the map, and backtracking. Hob has a lot of backtracking, in fact, I’d probably say too much.

The combat can be challenging but mostly involves the player fighting the same few enemy types with minor changes requiring the newest ability earned. But the arenas for combat and experience are never really worthy of much praise because they amount to the same thing every time. The locations in the game barely change, and most of the time it’s more frustrating than truly challenging.

The “level” design can be great, and several levels are really fun to walk through the levels progression and see what can happen next. But oftentimes there’s a collectible halfway through a level requiring players to repeat the level if it’s missed, and a few times there are actions that players may not be aware they can or should be doing in the levels.

The major puzzles usually amount to get boxes into the right position and oftentimes what is and isn’t possible isn’t clear. Sometimes players will try to make jumps that are not intended by the developers, and other times players can walk by an interactable object because it’s not clear what they are seeing.

The real problem with Hob is it tries to be entirely too clever. There’s not a spoken word throughout the entire game, and while this works for about 75 percent of the game, in the end, Hob wants to say…. something. I’m personally not exactly sure the meaning of the game, or even anything about the characters, because Hob really doesn’t spend the time telling its story. It tries to be a minimalist with the story but ignores the fact that a lack of voice or text means the story needs more emotion and overaction, not less. Instead, players are left wondering what was the point of Hob.

The real problem is the end of the game asks the player to make a choice and it’s not very clear what that choice is or who the player, the villain, the final boss, or even the robot who waked the main character is, so it’s hard to really consider what Hob is TRYING to say when it lacks a means of conveying any of its message to the user.

And while much of the complaints I have of the game would leave me on the fence about recommending it. The nail in the coffin for hob was the high number of bugs and glitches that I experienced as I played it. I personally didn’t have crashes, though I know others who have. Personally, my character often got stuck in geometry. The camera would glitch out, and enemies would freeze to the point I had to restart the game myself.

The real problem with Hob is it tried to do too much and when I stand back and look at it, there’s nothing that hasn’t been done before or done far better. Telling a story without text can be admirable, but Hob doesn’t reach the player. Combat like Zelda could be amazing, but it lacks interesting and unique enemies to fight against nor interesting arenas to fight in. The focus on the long journey rather than every step of the way gives a better adventure, but the path is convoluted and complicated, to the point players doubt if they’re on the right path often.

I struggle to think of a single thing that Hob does well, and I think the only answer would be the art of the game. That’s a subjective answer, but there’s a reason I stopped talking at length about the art in games. If you want pretty images or beautiful videos, there are other mediums. A movie, picture, or painting will always trump the video game medium on a purely visual basis. But if there’s nothing beyond gorgeous art, then the same experience can be achieved by watching a let’s play, and in that case, no one should recommend a game just based on the art.

So can I recommend Hob? My answer is no. Hob does nothing that I would recommend it for. I think it’s heavily overrated, and praise for the wrong genre (Zelda) ignored for the genre it actually is in (Metroidvanias) and as a game, it’s just not very interesting.

It’s a rather average game that gets entirely too much praise.

I give Hob an arbitrary.

6/10

Now, 6/10s can be recommended, but I don’t think Hob is the game that warrants that override.

If you enjoyed this review and want to see more from me, including more in-depth reviews of select games, check out my youtube channel at youtube.com/c/KinglinkReviews

Dead Cells Review – One of the most challenging rogue-lites

Dead Cells is a side-scrolling rogue-lite with a huge focus on enjoyable and deep combat. It’s a game made to challenge the player and provide many hours of entertainment for those who fall for. It’s also brutally hard at times.

But that’s par for the course in the rogue-lite genre. Dead Cells starts with the player waking up in a dungeon with a weak sword and being told to escape. Like many rogue-lites, the path is long and dangerous, and players will almost certainly fail. Each new run will give players randomized maps and new challenges. However the goal remains the same, the order of the levels, as well as the enemies faced, will similarly not change.

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Hades Review – Worthy of the gods

Hades starts with the son of Hades, Zagreus who is fighting to leave the underworld and must travel through his father’s kingdom to gain his freedom. Much like most Roguelites the concept of Hades is deceptively simple.

But before long players will fail in their quest, and pass on. Zagreus will then be sent to the House of Hades. From there, players can start interacting with the court of Hades. After the first run, the House of Hades will be a little empty. There’s, of course, Hades and Cerberus his faithful hound. Players will also see Achillies and a goddess named Nyx, as well as Hypnos, who is Nyx’s offspring. Over time, more characters will appear.

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Lightmatter Review – An enjoyable attempt to mirror Portal’s success

Lightmatter sounds and feels like many games. No, not Portal, but games trying to be Portal. You know the spiel, a humorous antagonist, puzzle rooms, and a pitch that probably can be summed up with “It’s like Portal but …” In this case, It’s like Portal but focused on Light instead of Portals.

Now many of these “portal clones” are of mixed quality. Most of them just seem to miss the whole point of what Portal does, such as Magrunner, a game I recently looked at didn’t like. Some games actually are quite enjoyable though still lacking that special spark, such as The Turning Test, and some games are just exceptional puzzle games, such as The Talos Principle.

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Dead Cells vs Hades – Which is the better Roguelite?

I’m Kinglink and today we’re going to talk about two titans of the rogue-lite genre. In one corner we have a game considered the best of all time, Dead Cells, which is an absolute powerhouse. But there’s a new contender in Hades, which has just left early access last month and is absolutely knocking it out of the park. So how does Dead Cells compare to Hades?

If you want to stop me and tell me how these two games can’t be compared for some reason, that’s the point. This isn’t supposed to be two very similar games but instead, it’s a chance to look at what makes each of these popular games different and perhaps figure out which is the best, or the one you should try next.

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