Humble Choice July 2021 Review – An average month, with average games.

I’m Kinglink and it’s time for the Humble Choice July 2021 Review. 

Once again I’m back after playing each game for an hour, and I should be able to tell you who is going to enjoy each title, and who might want to skip them.  It’s a strange month so let’s just get to the games and talk about them. Starting with a major franchise…

Yakuza 3 Remastered.  If you’ve been a Humble Choice member for a while, you’ve probably already seen Yakuza 0, Kiwami, and Kiwami 2, which was the first trilogy of Yakuza games for the PC.  It appears that trend is continuing, with Yakuza 3 Remastered this time. 

I’m a huge Yakuza fan, I love this series so much.  I even have a great video on the entire franchise talking about it, shameless plug, and I’m glad that more people are playing it.  But this is just Yakuza 3, not the entire remastered series, and it goes for 20 dollars normally, 13 dollars during the Steam sale, it’s not an expensive game.  There’s an extra discount, for all three remasters that sell for 40 bucks or like 26 dollars during the sale. 

Yakuza 3 is also the weakest of the entire franchise.  Some people may say it’s aged poorly, some people don’t like the story.  I think Yakuza 3’s combat and difficulty are a huge problem, it’s also the fourth game in the series after Yakuza 0, and the Kiwamis, if you haven’t played those, you need to before you tackle this one because of the very linear story and major spoilers.

Pick this up if you’re going to go the distance with the Yakuza series, which I recommend.  It’s a fantastic series, and I adore every minute of it.  However, if you don’t like the Yakuza series before this point, this one definitely will not be for you.  This also isn’t a good place to start the series. 

As a personal note, I’d also recommend playing the game on easy difficulty, just to try to minimize that combat as much as you can.  I played on normal and I was over it by the end. 

The Surge 2.  This is a Dark Souls title with a science fiction slant and some new twists to the formula.  While the original title in this series was rough if I’m being generous, this feels like a great new addition with a more fluid battle system and a great loot system. ‘

A big piece of the Surge 2 is players can cut parts of enemies off them in a brutal fashion and then collect them for their inventory or research.  Players can target different parts of the enemy’s body, both armored and unarmored for different effects, and there’s a very solid directional blocking mechanism that adds a lot to the title. 

But make no mistake, this is still a souls game so expect a challenging experience and a decent difficulty.  

Pick this up if you enjoy Dark Souls or Bloodborne-style games, but if you’re tired of them or have never really gotten into them, The Surge 2 is probably not for you.  It’s very clear what genre this game belongs to and they deliver on it. 

Dirt 5. Dirt racing is back again and this time it’s the most arcadey style yet.  This series is all over the place.  While there is the Dirt Rally series that is an impressive realistic simulation with great physics, the numbered series are just made for fun and Dirt 5 seems to continue and just run with that idea as far as it can. 

If you’re looking for a real rally game, this probably isn’t it, the physics are weak, the challenge in the game is non-existent even on higher difficulties, and the racing feel is pretty much as arcade driving as it gets.  At the same time, I still enjoyed myself because it’s become stupid fun. 

If you want a racing game you can play for a while, or just want to try out rally racing, this is a good starting point, but it also lacks the depth the series has shown in almost every other title.  

Pick this up if you want to just race around a track and earn a few awards without too much challenge.  If you hate racing or only want simulation, you won’t find it here. I wish this was better, but it is what it is.

Hammerting.  I don’t know how to review this game.  It’s an early access game that involves dwarves mining for ore and then trading with different factions.  This sounded like a simple but fun game.  The problem is, it’s early access.

If I review it like a normal game, it’s a pointless and limited experience, with a weak tutorial, and very little to do once the game starts.  After about thirty minutes, I felt I ran out of specific things I wanted to do, and after an hour I was trying to find a reason to complete the tasks the game gave me. 

But there are a lot of promises by the devs, and this may turn out to be a top-tier game in maybe six months to a year.  It’s no longer clear when they are planning to be done with it, though they are actively developing it. 

Pick this up if you want a major gamble.  This could become something good but, I’ve been burned enough by Early Access that I avoid it.  This game is SO early in its development though that it’s a problem, and I think that should have excluded it from Humble. 

Nimbatus – The Space Drone Construction.  This is a creative game where players can create and pilot drones to complete different tasks.  Add in an FTL-style race across the galaxy and a series of missions where players will be tasked to do different things and you have a really interesting game. 

The game starts with players having to create and try out different drones to complete various tasks, and there’s a lot of different ways players can build their drones, and a few ways that will break them apart, but there seems to be a lot of potential in the design aspects of the game.

But there’s also a threatening enemy that constantly will be chasing the player’s ship and trying to damage them, as well as a couple of resources that players will need to balance to pay for repairs and upgrades.  There are also multiple starting classes, with unique loadouts, gear, and abilities.  I’m particularly tempted to return to try out the programmer class which requires autonomous drones only, which the player can’t manually control. 

Pick this up if you like the idea of creating drones and completing missions.  It’ll help if you’re a fan of rogue-lites but might not be fully necessary.  There is still a lot of replayability here.   If you just want to skip the design phase you might have issues here as a big part of this game appears to be building your drone fleet for your current task and then piloting them. 

Paradise Killer.  An open-world detective story where players have to explore an island paradise and figure out who murdered the central council, the governing body of this land.  Unlike most open-world games, Paradise Killer seems to live up to the idea, allowing players to go wherever they want and whenever they want. 

The story and writing are interesting, with a strange world being at the core of the place, one which gets recreated every couple hundred years, your main character has been exiled for 3 million days, this sounds strange but somehow Paradise Killer was able to pull me into its narrative with frightening ease. 

The world is vast and has a lot of collectibles to discover as well.  The graphics are good, the locations feel interesting, and just walking around was entertaining.  There’s a lot to explore in the world and I found half of my hour of play involving me getting sidetracked and continually going I wonder “What’s over here?”

Pick this up if you like indie games, it has a great stylized look, interesting writing, and I’m planning on playing this entire game after finishing this review.  On the other hand, this is a mix between a visual novel and a detective story.  It’s great, but there’s no action, and while the open-world aspects are fantastic it’s all exploration-based.

Kill It WIth Fire. Spiders everywhere.  This doesn’t look like a horror game, but it sure plays like one.  I’m not arachnophobic but this game had me jumping early on, and there’s no way to die or no chance of failure, but, damn it, they still got me, so if you hate spiders this is probably not for you. 

At the same time, Kill It With Fire is oddly fun, there are a lot of different weapons, items, collectibles, as well as secrets, and locations to explore.  Players can move almost anything and there are multiple different quests per level, only a couple are related to the spiders themselves.  

I found myself enjoying this game as time went on.  The push to find everything, complete everything, and kill more spiders was enjoyable, and once I got the hair spray flamethrower, I no longer was scared of the spiders but was having fun wrecking a house. 

Pick this up if you want a dumb fun game, I think they could have gone more in the direction of scoring how much destruction you did while destroying the house.  I also appreciate the arachnophobia settings, but at the end of the day, you’re killing insects, namely spiders, so if that will skeeve you out, this is not for you.   Truthfully it’s probably the reason I won’t return, but I was never one for horror games or even pseudo horror games.

Bee Simulator.  Something Something Jerry Seinfeld.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought of the Bee Movie when they heard about this, right?  Bee Simulator is a story-based open-world game where players explore a large map as a bee.  While it looks like this could be similar to Goat Simulator, it’s more story-based with players being tasked with various jobs from the hive. 

This is almost edutainment. There’s a heavy focus on bee information, and the game is quite clever.  There are even subtle pieces where they point at the fact the main character is female because she leaves the hive, the queen communicates while releasing odors and pheromones, and bees dance to communicate.  Someone has done their homework. 

The story and missions are decent, and the gameplay is good.  There’s a lot of discoverability and collecting of different parts of the game if players want to see everything.  The main story is said to be two hours long.   Also, there is the fact that it probably shouldn’t be called a simulator, it’s just a typical game. 

Pick this up if you want a game where you play as a bee, or want to learn a little more about these tiny animals.  Some of the systems are a bit clunky, and I found myself needing to use the d-pad at times, as well as ending on a rather hard race, but I find myself wanting to return to see more of this world. 

Elderborn.  I struggle to find something to talk about with this game.  This is a dated-looking game that’s trying to be a bit like Dark Souls but has nowhere near the size of team or skill to pull this off. 

The combat here is repetitive, the levels are average, the music is ok, the graphics, honestly are not great, but there’s nothing that bad either. This is just a remarkably average game, that is trying to do what the big guys do, and suffers due to it not bringing much new to the table. 

There’s some enjoyment when kicking enemies off ledges, but that gets boring after a few minutes.  Maybe it’s me but when a game constantly refers to other better games in the achievements, has gameplay like souls-like games, combat that mostly is spamming attack or timing blocks against the same enemy attacks, it lets me down. 

Pick this up if you need a first-person melee game, but I would probably look into something else.   I’d probably recommend Kingdom Come Deliverance over this. 

S.W.I.N.E. HD Remaster.  This is a 2001 Real-Time Strategy game that still feels like a 2001 RTS game.  It’s also really strange, as this game was originally made by a Hungarian company and now remastered by another Hungarian company but there are some atrocious, almost offensive French accents here.  

The gameplay here skips the base building and instead just has players control multiple units and fight enemy units.  While each unit has a special ability that is explained in the tutorial, I wasn’t able to get a couple of them to trigger correctly in the main campaign.

Also, S.W.I.N.E. is either very hard or quite annoying.  On the first mission for the Pigs, which may be the harder campaign, I had to hit and run from the enemies to recover defense and ammo and needed to use saves.  It wasn’t a really enjoyable experience, but if someone is looking for a hard RTS, S.W.I.N.E. might deliver. 

Pick this up if you love the RTS genre, or want to see what games were like in 2001, while it’s a remaster, this game still has all the same pieces as the original game, including pretty terrible videos between the missions.   I’d be happy to leave S.W.I.N.E. in 2001. 

Deadly Days.  A rogue-like zombie survival game, and… I’m a little shocked that I can’t think of another title that has done that before.  Players equip their characters, then send them on runs where they have to fight back zombies, hunt for well-marked loot, and try to stop the plague.   

The gameplay here is a top-down worker placement game but it works very well here.  Players have to move their characters around a small map hunting for loot while trying to manage the zombies and fight against the unending horde. 

The only real negative is the tutorial gives you way too much power so you’re going to be underwhelmed at much of what you find while exploring the real game.  Still, there’s a fun and challenging part of the game where I found myself constantly having to make snap decisions to forgo certain objectives to ensure the survival of my characters even early in a run. 

Pick this up if you like what you’re seeing, it’s a surprisingly unique idea.  But it is a zombie game with escalating hordes of zombies, so it’s pretty much only what you see going on here. 

ADOM.  That stands for the Ancient Domains of Mystery.  This is perhaps the first time I’m talking about a TRUE rogue-like, ADOM was released in 1994, and it is one of the original rogue-likes and one of the best of all time.  I could probably spend an hour telling you why it’s good. 

This is called a deluxe version with more graphical modes beyond just standard ASCII, adding mouse control, multiple difficulty options, and customizations and achievements.  It has all the great gameplay that a roguelike should, a ton of classes, races, and possibilities, and so many different and unique interactions you’ll be able to experience. 

It’s also frighteningly difficult.  Rogue-likes are not intended for one-and-done playthroughs but rather take a lot of constant effort to learn everything you can just hope that the player can one day beat the game with one of their many characters. 

Pick ADOM up if … well if you love true rogue-likes, or want a hard but interesting game. I’m a fan, but I will say that most people probably won’t enjoy this game, it’s a style of game that is not that popular and perhaps never was.  It’s focusing on a far more strategic style of play which is why I talk about rogue-likes and rogue-lites often. 

I’d probably not recommend ADOM to most people even though I am a huge fan of it.  But if you like Rogue, Nethack, or Dwarf Fortress, it’s worth a try, and you can play the free version which includes almost the whole game including the better graphics at the ADOM website. It’s worth a try. 

And that’s the twelve games of the Humble Choice for July 2021, though speaking of rogue-likes and rogue-lites, we do have one more bonus game.

CreatorCrate.  I’m not sure of the best description of CreatorCrate.  It’s a bit of a rogue-lite, Metroidvania, action platformer, with some interesting ideas thrown in as well.  Players have to work their way through a space station, as an escaped robot cube.  

The cube can grab and then consume items, and then recreate new items from the blueprints of what they eat, including guns, furniture, and even human bodies.

In the first twenty minutes I wasn’t sure about this game as it feels like there’s a bit of a physics puzzler going on as well, but over time I started to see some of the more interesting parts of the game, and by the end of my hour I was excited to play more.  

I think anyone who picks up the bundle should give this game a shot, it feels like an interesting mixture of many different genres but they seem to mesh together well after a while. 

So after all those games, what about this bundle? 

Well, let’s start with the big problem.  There’s a lot of issues with the games here.  I already mentioned that Yakuza 3 is only 20 dollars normally, and was on sale for 13, The Surge 2 usually goes for cheap and is currently on sale at Fanatical in a platinum deal where it’s  3 games for 9 bucks, up to 7 major games for 20 bucks.  Seriously?   And that’s going on for all of July.

S.W.I.N.E and Kill it With Fire were in previous versions of that bundle, and Deadly Days was in a Humble Bundle already for a dollar.  At least nothing has been given away for free on Epic… yet. 

What’s worse is that there’s nothing I think that stands out this month.  There’s equally nothing terrible, but it’s a very average month which is a shame because it’s far easier to tell people that this is a must get, or must avoid month, but you’ll likely find something you’ll enjoy that just might not be worth the price of the bundle. 

There’s at least no multiplayer-only game, so single-player fans can try out everything, but games like Hammerting where it’s Early Early Access still boggle my mind.  If they gave 10 titles with a focus on higher quality, I wouldn’t object. 

So speaking of that let’s get to the weakest and strongest of the month.  And I’ll even admit, my favorite game this month is on neither list.  I still love ADOM I think it’s great I think everyone should give it a shot, especially with the free version on their website, but I also am a realist.  It is probably on the weaker side of the choices this month because it’s going to appeal to a very select few people.   But if you love rogue-lites, check out a true rogue-like.  Ok, plug for that game is done. Let’s see the list. 

The third weakest of the month. Elderborn.  I’m sure some people enjoy this game, but it’s a very weak version of dark souls that does nothing special.  It does try to tackle first-person melee combat, but it also doesn’t feel that great with it. 

The second weakest of the month.  Hammerting. I still don’t know how to evaluate this but even in the best light, it’s a wait of six months or more where you just hope the developers deliver on making a great game.  I hope I’m wrong, but it’s not even good right now, and that’s what we should evaluate this on. 

The weakest of the month.  S.W.I.N.E. HD Remaster.  This was a rough game back in 2001, it’s a rougher game today, and while the remastering helps a bit, it’s not great, and, well, you can see from this video, it still looks ancient at times. 

So that’s the weakest of the month, let’s take a look at the strongest… 

The fifth strongest this month. Dirt 5.  It’s not the best Dirt game, but it’s not a bad game, it just feels more like a starter racing game.  Still, I had fun and probably will boot it up again because I’m a sucker for bumper cars, I mean serious and professional racing, I still get those mixed up. 

The fourth strongest this month.  Nimbatus – The Space Drone Constructor. This is a great mix of FTL and a drone creation program.  I’m looking forward to seeing some of the later levels and seeing what I can program or get Nimbatus to do once the game gets going.

The third strongest this month.  Yakuza 3 Remastered.  It’s still a 40 hour or more game, but it’s also the weakest of the series.  It’s a game completely made for people who have played the previous titles and that’s the real reason it’s on this list.  It’s weak, but it’s still a substantial title. 

The second strongest this month.  Paradise Killer.  It’s the game I’m looking forward to playing more of, it has a ton of style and substance.  There’s well-written dialogue, interesting characters, a world I want to explore, and more.  It’ll take over ten hours to beat.  I even think it could be number one under the right circumstances.

This brings us to the strongest of the month.  The Surge 2.  This is a well-done game that has me interested in playing more as well. It looks and feels unique, has interesting gameplay, and a lot of good improvements on a familiar formula.  If you like Dark Souls you really should check The Surge 2 out as well.

So that’s what I have for this month’s Humble Choice.  If you made it this far, thanks for going the distance.  Consider subscribing to the channel and maybe throwing a like or leave a comment on what you think about the bundle.  It does feel like a different type of bundle and I’d love to hear your opinions on it. 

In June, I put out a video all about the Yakuza series which has struggled enough to rattle my faith in the channel. But if you’re interested in hearing about the Yakuza Series, even as a new player I’d recommend that, and it’s relevant with Yakuza 3 in the bundle this month.  I’ll put up a second video as well.

Until then I’m Kinglink and thanks for watching. 

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