Hello, I’m Kinglink and welcome to Kinglink can’t come up with a better name for his Reviews. Otherwise known as the April 2020 Reviews.
So back in February, I threw out a few reviews of games I’ve played. I’ve played more games, so we’ll do it again. I’m mostly talking about games that are major enough to be worthy of discussion, and I have something to talk about. So playing something like Pleasure Portrait Puzzle, isn’t going to be making this list.
Most of these games I’ve played to completion and I just want to give my feelings on a few of them. I plan on maybe diving deep on a couple and probably already have on a couple of others, but for now, let’s just talk about what I’ve played recently.
On screen right now is Return of the Ober Dinn, it’s the newest game from Lucas Pope who’s other game was Papers Please. This game is all about discovering what happened on a ghost ship. Everyone is missing and it’s up to you to explore the flashbacks.
Return of the Ober Dinn is a solid puzzle game which uses backtracking and recontextualizing clues well. I love the ability to know pieces of people’s identity but not having their actual name. There’s clever moments in the puzzle and the story is exteremly good. Opening up a new part of a ship or solving a major character is some of the strongest moments in the game.
The problem with Return of the Ober Dinn is that while sixty percent of the crew is easy to discover, twenty percent is a solid but interesting struggle that feels rewarding, the remaining twenty percent of the crew usually involves guesswork. There are clues, but most of them are the size of a key in a level that is multiple rooms wide, and you probably won’t understand the meaning of them. They can be anything from who is standing near each other, or the type of sock someone is wearing in a hammock.
Is Return of the Ober Dinn a bad game, not at all. But it’s not a great game which is what fans of Paper Please probably expected. If I was to score it, I’d probably have to give only a 3/5. I liked it more than I hated it, but I think there’s a lot that could have been done better, and I loved Papers Please, so this is a step back for Lucas Pope.
Next up… Resident Evil 7. I’ll be honest, I did not expect to like Resident Evil 7. I was prepared to put it aside quickly. I dislike horror in general, I just am not a fan of the genre, I abhor Amnesia, which is just an absolutely terrifying game. I somehow beat Resident Evil 7 and had a great time with it.
As I played Resident Evil 7, I thought one thing, this is effective horror. Those words have been in my head almost the entire time of Resident Evil 7, and I’ve considered doing a video on what I mean. Essentially there are only 7 enemies I’d count in Resident Evil 7. Maybe that’s why it’s called Resident Evil 7. The thing is, those are all the major enemies including all the bosses, but those 7 enemies are so skilled at harassing the player that they become better than what you expect.
Resident Evil 7 made me impressed by how well it does horror and how you don’t need horrific monsters or scenes to drive home this horror. Spending the majority of the game low on ammo made the game feel intense without relying on constant combat. Resident Evil 7 focuses on the deeply unsettling nature of a situation that a player doesn’t want to be in.
I’d give Resident Evil 7 a top score. If you like Horror, you’re going to enjoy this, and if you’re like me and avoid the genre, this might be your exception also. I already have the Resident Evil 2 Remake, I’ll probably also play Resident Evil 3 before long as well, and if they drop Resident Evil 4 as a remake, why not. Resident Evil is a great horror action franchise , but as we know, it’s just had a few missteps in the past. 5 and 6.
A Short Hike was not a game I was expecting to enjoy, and it turned out to be surprising. I didn’t know much about it, so I thought it would be similar to a Firewatch, but instead, A Short Hike is like an amusement park. There are just so many little things you can experience as you explore the world.
I recently did a video about exploration and Outer Wilds, but A Short Hike checks all the same boxes. You have a decent sized map, not enormous but not too small, a lot to discover, find, and experience. This can be anything from an additional island that has a few trinkets on it, to secret paths, special feathers that let you do a version of a double jump and more.
The characters here are exciting to meet, the mini-quests you’ll run into are solid, and the experience is one you’ll cherish. There’s not a deep story, but it’s a game where the journey is the most important part, and if you get sidetracked easily you’ll have a great time.
The only problem here is it’s 2 hours long, but it only costs 8 dollars and there’s a decent amount of replayability to see it all, I don’t have a real problem with this one. I recommend it, but it’s an exploration game. Trying to do anything else with it probably won’t be as enjoyable.
Doom Eternal. Well, I just released a video on this one looking at the game design and I had a lot to talk about. Doom Eternal is Doom 2016’s bigger, badder brother. Where Doom was in the military going to war, Doom Eternal is just in a gang ready to throw down and kick some ass.
Doom Eternal is all about taking everything to the extreme, more enemies, faster attacks and more intense moments. The combat here really doesn’t let up until you’ve destroyed all the monsters in a room, and the game is a non-stop rollercoaster ride.
Yet at the same time and as I brought up in the video, there’s stuff I’m not a fan of. I think there’s too much of an attempt for a story. The overwhelming enemies would be a great finale, but the huge waves appear too often and become the only style of combat here. And … Yeah, I don’t like the Marauder as a general enemy, after my last video I saw a lot of people showing how easy they are, but they’re using top tier techniques to take them out, and the fact that they are devoting their entire strategy to dealing with a single enemy is the problem I have with the monster.
Doom Eternal is between a good and a great game. And I get it, I enjoyed the hell out of it. I had a lot of fun with Doom Eternal. But if I had to choose, I’d probably prefer playing Doom 2016 again instead of Doom Eternal a second time, I just find Doom 2016 to be almost perfect.
Yoku’s Island Express. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from this game. I’ve heard about it a few times as a Metroidvania, but what I found after playing is an awesome pinball game mixed with a good Metroidvania platformer.
I’m a fan of pinball and Yoku’s Island Express is a really interesting and accessible pinball game dressed up as the adventure of a dung beetle trying to be a postman. It has a great look and style to the entire game, as well as a pretty good journey. The character looks like a dung beetle while they moves around as a platfomer but watching the dung beetle flop around as he flies around the pinball sections is pretty funny.
The downside is everything that relates to the Metroidvania style. The game is really interesting with a lack of a typical jump button, but when you use this system for traversal for collectibles or backtracking, it feels a little weak. There are a lot of collectibles in Yoku’s Island Express, but that backtracking weakens the game. There is also a lack of difficulty, where the player can’t die and only gives up a minor amount of currency when they lose their “ball”.
Still, I enjoyed Yoku’s Island Express. It’s a great pinball-style and a fun adventure outside of that. If you can handle a pinball based game, you’ll probably have a lot of fun here. If you want a Metroidvania game, on the other hand, you probably will be disappointed. There’s just not enough here for that. Though, hang on, I do have a true Metroidvania game coming up.
Planet Zoo, another game I’ve done a video on. As I said in that video, I am a Zoo aficionado and I really love my local zoo, but you know, we’re stuck in the house right now, so while I do get video feeds from many zoos, Oregon Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo and of course my very own San Diego Zoo and Safari Park I’m missing out on the animals.
So I love playing Planet Zoo and making my own zoos. The game is quite fun and similar to Planet Coaster, in that there’s tons to do in it. There’s a really solid story mode, a franchise mode that’s online-enabled and interesting, as well as just a lot of animals to see and watch.
The downside is that the interface can be terrible. There’s always a screen or two that’s missing from the game, or functionality, such as being able to pin what you’re working on. When getting a habitat ready for an animal, I want to know if a selected habitat is big enough for a lion without me having to put a lion in it. Then give me the toys for the lion without me having to select toys for lions again. I’m not asking for automation, but there are a few things I wanted to do as a player that the game should anticipate.
Overall though, Planet Zoo is really fun. I’ve loved my time with it. My daughter plays it too, but as my video proved, it doesn’t compare to a real zoo. Check that video out if you want to see real animals and a gorilla who… well, let’s just say at the end of the video we have my favorite moment possible ever from the zoo. Still, I recommend this one.
Berserk and the Band of the Hawk. This is a Dynasty Warriors game but based in the world of Berserk. Back in college, I was an Anime fan and one of my favorite animes was Berserk, and this is a pretty faithful adaptation.
Berserk and the Band of Hawks follows the main character Guts on his adventure and it’s a great story. This game made me realize how different Berserk is in tone through. The first half of the game focuses on the Band of Hawks, and you have a very Dynasty Warrior-esque game with a focus on knights and mercenaries. There are a few odd moments, but the cutscenes are taken straight from the OVAs. Sadly those cutscenes run out about the time of the Eclipse, if you know what I mean, if not… it’s a turning point of the series, and when the OVAs stopped. At the same time, the game starts to go downhill.
After the eclipse, the story starts to focus on demons as fans of the manga will know. This is a very tonally different part of the game but works well even if it’s a dark turn. However, the quality also feels like it dips and there are just so many levels as you probably expected from a Dynasty Warriors theme. The first half feels well-paced, but the second half of the game is extremely grindy, and probably could have had fewer levels. I beat the game in about 30 hours, there’s an endless eclipse mode as well that has even more content that I dived into. There’s a lot here as you would expect from Dynasty Warrior games.
If you’re a fan of hack and slash games, or Berserk, in general, there’s no question, you should probably play this game, if you aren’t a fan of the anime, I don’t know if it’s going to be as good, but unlike Dynasty Warriors, there at least is a reason that Guts from Berserk can kill thousands of enemies before them. He’s quite a badass.
Little Nightmares, honestly this is a game I didn’t finish. I’m torn on covering it, but I think I should. This is a dark platformer, it reminds me entirely too much of Limbo to not mention the comparison, though this game is in three dimensions where Limbo was only in two dimensions.
The art here looks good, and everything is very detailed. I’ll be showing the first of the monsters here, and while this looks ok, it’s also the second time you’ve seen them and you see what the creature looks like. The horror in this game is pretty blatantly like that.
I played about half of this game and stopped when the game got into a position where I had to guess what the game wanted me to do quite often and I know people will love this style but it’s more gross than real horror to me. The fact you can see everything so well takes the fear out of the game for me.
I just didn’t enjoy this game, so it’s not for me, but I’m sure there’s an audience for this one, but I am not particularly fond of this one.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps. I gave Oris and the Blind Forest a perfect score when I started my site. I think it was the first game I awarded a five out of five to so, of course, I had to try the sequel and see if it was as good as the original.
The good news is that Ori and the Will of the Wisps is even better. Everything I loved about the original Ori game has been improved, and that’s true even as the entire game has been changed. The high difficulty and strange save system of the original game is gone, and instead, you have a typical but interesting Metroidvania and a better way for abilities to be utilized.
The biggest change is the addition of a major story throughout the entire game. While the original game had possibly the more beautiful and moving opening scene of any game, Ori and the Will of the Wisps tells a better and more interesting story throughout the entire game instead of just the opening scene.
This doesn’t always feel like a direct sequel with all the changes they have made but that only enhanced Will of the Wisps because it’s so different and unique it can surpass Ori and the Blind Forest in ways a simple sequel would have been held back by design decisions in the first game. I think Ori and the Blind Forest may have been more graphically pleasing, but Will of the Wisps is probably my favorite out of the two games.
Finally, we come to… well, I did the Humble Choice recently and awarded Hitman 2 the best game of the month and as I said I’d probably play it. 50 hours later, I’m still playing it and that’s a testament to how solid this game is.
Hitman 2 continues the same sort of quasi-puzzle system where Agent 47 has to figure out how to take out his targets. Most levels have a lot of life and vibrance to the world, and a ton of minor pieces you can interact with, disguise yourself with, or manipulate, both objects and people.
If you were to just play Hitman 2 and kill every target, you might be able to beat the game in under ten hours, but Hitman 2 expects you to replay levels multiple times, learn the best approaches, attack targets in different ways and even play minor stories out in each environment. It’s not just a way to pad out the run time, it’s a system that players will want to chase.
You know, I have a lot more that I want to say about Hitman 2 but I don’t want to focus this video on it. So I’ll just say I recommend this game, and if you’re interested in hearing more, come back next week when I’ll put out a new video specifically on the game design of Hitman 2 and dive into why this game works so well. It’s going to be my third video where I talk about Hitman 2, so I guess technically this month is going to be Hitman Month for me.
If you do want Hitman 2 and it is still April 2020, check out Humble Choice as well.
So those are the big games I played this month. Other games I’ve touched on but haven’t talked about for some reason are Little Inferno, a bit too small to cover, Mortal Kombat 11, which I’ll probably talk about when I get a chance to dive deeper, Jackbox Party Pack which I played with the family and is fun stuf, Runner 3, haven’t finished yet, but it’s merely ok, Gris which I played more of, pretty solid, and Animal Crossing which is a great game, but I don’t want to deal with Nintendo and their copyright bullshit.
So with that said, let’s name the best and worst game of the month.
The worst game of the month is the one I didn’t finish and still felt like talking about. Little Nightmares. This is just not a very fun game for me, and I just didn’t have a great time with it. Maybe it’s just a taste thing, but to me, this game was not interesting to me.
The best of the month. Well we have a few really solid games with Planet Zoo and Hitman 2, either of them could have been best of almost any other month, but for me, it’s about Ori and the Will of the Wisps. I want to call out that this is exceptional not just for being a followup for a great game but elevating the series to a new height.
Honestly, Ori and the Will of the Wisps isn’t just great for this month, it’s an instant contender for the game of the year for me so far, which is still early, but man, what a game.
That’s what I think about the games I’ve played recently. Honestly, it has been a pretty good month. This is more of a vanity project video for me or at least a way that I can start thinking about the best game I’ve played all year and a way for you to check out what I’ve been playing that has been good or bad enough to make this list.
If you’ve enjoyed this video consider subscribing and ringing that bell. I appreciate it and it’s the only thing I ask for.
And if you’ve enjoyed my takes on games, why don’t you take a look when I go a bit deeper. I have a video here on Doom Eternal that goes into what changed between the original game and the sequel, as well as a video on Planet Zoo, kind of an April Fools video, but just a comparison between Planet Zoo and The San Diego Zoo.
Until then I’m Kinglink and thanks for watching