Game Pass November 2022 Review – 17 Hits and Misses

I’m Kinglink and it’s almost turkey day here in America, so it’s time for the Game Pass November 2022 Review.  

This one is a bit late but, as you’ll see in the lists of games, I wanted to cover Pentiment and that came out on the 15th.  The good news is I have that and many others, so we talk about all of these titles, and even give a hint of what’s coming up, but that’s for later. 

Normally I play only the PC games, but give me a moment here, and let me call out Vampire Survivors, I’ve covered it previously on the series, and I remember I said you should buy it even if it’s on Game Pass.  It’s 5 dollars on Xbox and I still believe that it’s worth it.  It’s a lot of fun, so console gamers, you have the chance, check that game out, I will guarantee you’ll enjoy it, and good luck hunting me down if you don’t. 

This month I haven’t played all of these games as much.  While I do sit down with these titles for a night, quite a few of them are games I’ve played previously, or stopped for various reasons, we’ll get into the why when applicable, but I have had some great experiences, let’s start with what’s on the screen, perhaps the biggest release of the month. 

A Plague Tale: Requiem. An amazing sequel probably.

Earlier this year I covered Plague Tale: Innocence and found it to be a solid game and one that was extremely impressive.  Plague Tale: Requiem deserves the same praise, it’s another technically solid game, telling an interesting story as the family continues through another dangerous journey, at least I assume so. 

So I guess I have to admit this, I played this for an hour.  Not because there’s a problem with the game, but I have yet to finish Innocence and that’s on me.  I will say I noticed a few very small animation issues, but otherwise, this was good.  There’s a large town scene early where it took a location and made it feel more populated and alive in a way most games can’t.  But I didn’t go much farther due to not wanting to spoil that first game, and there’s a big spoiler here early as well, so be careful. 

Pick this up if you’ve played Plague Tale: Innocence.  There’s no reason to skip the first game and Plague Tale Innocence is worth playing.  I’ve heard people say to read a wiki entry, but why?  These are story-based games, enjoy the story to the fullest.  And people I fully trust are calling this worthy so, yeah it’s definitely on my list. 

Soma.  A different type of horror. 

Like I always say. I don’t like horror, and yet I think Soma is amazing.  I reviewed it three years ago and gave it a 4.5 out of 5, and I stand by that.  Soma isn’t a “spooky horror game.” It’s more existential. The main characters finds themselves transported from a normal life where they are getting over a horrific accident to a strange world that is unique.

A big part of Soma is the monsters that will harass the player, but I would say the enemies in Soma are why I played through the entire game, but hardly scary.  If they’re too difficult there is a Safe mode where players can just explore the game, but ultimately, nothing here is hard enough or scary enough to warrant that.  However, I will say that Soma’s ending has stuck with me, whereas almost every ending has faded.  Soma’s finale is exceptional, and it’s one well worth experiencing for yourself with no spoilers.

Pick this up if you like games with strong stories and science fiction.  There are a lot of spoilers here, so I’m trying to avoid them, but the big thing is, while this is horror, it’s not the same type of horror that’s typically done in the games industry, and I honestly believe this is worth checking out for almost anyone.

Amnesia Collection. Amnesia Dark Descent and two other games.

You either know about Amnesia or need to.  Amnesia Dark Descent came out in 2010 and was one of the scariest games of the time, and possibly since.  There’s so much done in that single title that was innovative, just tilting the camera to make the player uneasy adds so much and creates a terrifying experience, and that’s just one of many tricks.  There’s a brilliant dichotomy where players need to be in the dark to avoid monsters, but the dark also drives the player insane, and that works well.

Amnesia games also heavily delve into resource management.  You’ll have a limited number of torches that can be lit, and a limited oil reserve for your lantern, but the limitation here pushes the player’s fear.  I honestly couldn’t play this game when it first came out as my hand was shaking too much and I had to stop, and still this series is one I avoid due to how terrified that first game made me.  

Pick this up if you want to try Amnesia Dark Descent, or want more of the series.  I’ve talked about Dark Descent because, after that title, you will know if you want to play more Amnesia.  For me, it’s a firm no, but Dark Descent is still one of the best horror titles and should be experienced by anyone who likes the genre.  Though I will also mention this is billed as a trilogy, the third game, Justine, is more of an hour-long DLC for the first title and Amnesia has aged quite a bit but is still worth checking out. 

Amnesia Rebirth. A weaker Amnesia. 

Amnesia Rebirth is the most recent game in the Amnesia series and maybe the weakest.  The player starts as a woman who wakes after her plane has crashed and she goes looking for the rest of the party and her husband.  The plane crashed in the desert and trying to find anyone is a large part of the game.  

I’m still not a huge fan of horror which hasn’t changed in the last 60 seconds, but I also question if Amnesia Rebirth is supposed to be horror.  It’s a horror game that does everything to break your immersion.  There are cutscenes, flashbacks, and puzzles, and so much of it breaks the atmosphere that the game uses to immerse the player.  I covered this game last year, and after 80 minutes, I just stopped playing because… I was bored.  Not scared, not terrified but bored, and replaying it, that happened even faster this time.

Pick this up if you played the other Amnesia games.  That feels like a cop-out but let me be clear, only play this if you’ve played the other games from Frictional Games.  Soma is a better story, and Amnesia The Dark Descent is a better horror game.  There’s nothing I would recommend this game for other than if people like the studio’s other work, and even then, don’t expect too much. 

Phantom Abyss.  A 3d platformer temple explorer.

Phantom Abyss takes the idea of creating a super hard temple for players to explore and then has hundreds of players attempt the temple.  The rules are simple, players get a single attempt, and if they fail, they move on to another temple.  While that sounds like a typical rogue-lite, Phantom Abyss has one other major difference, you can see how other players approached the temple, and their death will also make the temples easier. 

There are a lot of interesting designs in the game, and the ability to be racing through a temple looking at other players’ attempts elevates this game quite a bit. On the other hand, before long you’ll start recognizing most of the rooms you explore as there’s only a set number of pieces to run through.   Another major issue is that the idea at the core of this game is classic mode,  But there’s also an easier mode called Adventure mode that most people are playing but it means the original formula has far fewer phantoms to compete with.

Pick this up if the idea interests you, I could probably go on for half an hour on some of the designs here.  Just watching other people play shows what’s possible with the game mechanics, and there’s a feeling of camaraderie when exploring a temple, even if you’re just playing with other adventurers’ ghosts or spirits.

Persona 5.  The JRPG Dating Simulator is here.

The Persona series is strange.  In Persona 5 players take on the role of a student who is transferring to a new school.  The game starts with a large interesting heist to show the combat, but then the game switches to the player arriving at a new school district after being accused of assault, which is quickly shown to be false. 

Persona has two halves, half of the time you play a typical dating sim where you get to know different students, go on dates with them, and manage your time, whereas the other half has the player in dungeons exploring them and fighting monsters, and if this sounds strange, you’re in for a wild ride, as the bosses, dungeons, and the story is extremely unique. 

Pick this up if you like JRPGs with solid but long dungeons and Dating sims, you will be doing enough of both so you’ll have to get used to them.  The story in this series is good as well, though I didn’t play too much of this yet, I bought it on Steam for when I have a lot more time.  This is a game that will easily take players a hundred hours or more, and that’s exactly why I’m excited to tackle it soon.

Frog Detective.  I don’t get it. 

The Frog Detective games are popular, but after playing all three, I don’t get them at all.  Each game is short, lasts under an hour.  I am not a fan of the writing and storytelling here and while there’s a good community for the game, I can honestly say I feel like I’m missing something obvious.

But I also can say I can’t fault the game.  These are five-dollar titles, where players sit down and go through what feels like a story for a child.  There are unique and interesting characters like Lobster Cop, but that’s also my complaint.  He’s a lobster cop, that’s pretty much his defining character and that’s the extent of it. 

Pick this up if you like the writing on the screen, like I said, it’s hard to hate this game, I just don’t think I get it, the jokes don’t land, I don’t find it particularly interesting or funny, but again at the same time, there’s nothing I can object to here.  If you enjoy this series, I’m glad that you do, let me know in the comments why.  I’m seriously curious. 

Gunfire Reborn. An FPS rogue-lite.

Earlier this year when Roboquest came out on Xbox Live, people said to check out Gunfire Reborn.  Now that I have… I understand, this game is fantastic, and what I would point to as the type of rogue-lite I love.  As you play the early game, you start gaining new guns, and weapons abilities and I found quite a few runs gave me great synergies that worked for me, to the point where I felt rather powerful.

Only to get beat down on every run, I struggled on the first boss if I could even reach it, but that’s what makes rogue-lites interesting to me.  There’s a feeling that any run could be the run that breaks the game and lets you win, but almost all of them won’t.  Also, you can play this in multiplayer which makes a good game even more interesting. 

Pick this up if you like rogue-lites.  FPS fans will enjoy this but it may be a bit easy if you already are a competitive FPS player.  Still, this feels so good, I’m looking forward to playing even more of it. 

Signalis. A modernization of the original Resident Evil.

Every time I boot up Signalis, I get a massive wave of nostalgia. So much of this title is designed to evoke memories of classic survival horror games, from limited inventory space, to isometric views.  What’s strange is Signalis does all of this without having to scream its influences.  This is a great experience for a style of game that’s been abandoned by its originators. 

The one issue I have with Signalis is it takes a long time to get accustomed to the art style.  It is easy to miss items in the first hour or two of gameplay where you might just walk by a key item and fail to notice it.  At the very least that happened to me, and it left me quite confused. Also because it’s evoking an old style of combat, while the game is really good, it falls into common resource management and combat tropes, though it is designed so you can avoid many of it’s encounters if needed.

Pick this up if you want to try a sci-fi horror game.  The art style here is unique, which adds to the atmosphere of the game, and there’s never a good feeling of safety.  Even running into other friendly characters isn’t the most relaxing experience.

Walking Dead Michonne and A New Frontier.  I’m just going to group these together again. 

I could go deep into these games, but I kind of covered them last month, well I covered the original Season one and two.  The thing is, I don’t have much more to say.  Are these new stories?  Yes.  Are they in the same style?  Yes.  Do they have new characters?  Yup.  

These two titles are supposed to be weaker games than the original series, but if you’re just craving more Walking Dead, this is for you.  If you haven’t played Season one or two, play those first, they are better experiences and will let you know if you want to try these.

The Legend of Tianding.  A Taiwanese folklore story in video game form. 

Tianding, and god I hope I’m saying that right, is a Taiwanese folk hero.  He was sort of like Robin Hood, fighting against the imperialist Japanese while defending Taiwanese citizens during their occupation.  This is made by a Taiwanese studio, so it’s people who care about the story, and it shows in the comic style that is presented. There is a strong focus on visuals and great gameplay.  

The Legend of Tianding is a 2d beat ‘em up with a focus on stealing enemies’ weapons to help your character defeat them.  The bosses are colorful and unique.  The one area that is a little lacking is the level design, while the levels are all different, they mostly feel like typical platforming, when everything else excels, though a few arenas for fighting did stand out.

Pick this up if you like the style, I think this game deserves a lot more attention.  It’s a fresh story and an interesting setting.  The gameplay shines here.  I’m coming back for even more of this, though I have heard it’s not the longest game, it already has taken me longer than others have said, maybe I’m just being more thorough or am slow as hell. 

Ghost Song.  An exploration-based Metroidvania

Ghost Song does something different than Metroidvania, in most of them there are clear gates and eventually, players will find keys to locations through abilities or items.  Ghost Song instead pushes more for organic exploration.  There’s rarely a straight path in Ghost Song, and instead, players will have to see which areas of the game they can go to.  There’s never a straight line but more of an interesting and winding path to get to the next goal. 

While Ghost Song is tough if players just rush into every encounter, the game isn’t that difficult.  Also, many of the enemies are just different forms of humanoid, which feels underwhelming after a while.  The exploration of a dying world is good, but the story feels lacking in the first hour or two until you reach a group of survivors.

Pick this up if you want an interesting Metroidvania, one that allows the player to explore the world.  There are touches of Hollow Knight in here as well, but this also creates a unique world for players, one that doesn’t feel like it’s been done before.  I just wish the boss and enemy designs were a little better, to make this feel unique. 

Football Manager 2023.  It’s more of Football Manager. 

I could make a clever joke, and repeat the previous year’s review, but I’m not going to waste either of our time.  This is the same thing.  You have very minimal control over your team while playing football, it’s a manager sim.  It has almost no sound, it is confusing to get comfortable with, and even if you do, you’re still not actively playing football, you’re basically the GM of the team, more than the coach. 

I’m amazed this is a yearly title, and shocked people get so into it, but like last year I’ve seen people go crazy for this franchise, and to those who love it, it’s another one.  I’m not going to pretend it’s a huge change, if you haven’t played this series before, there’s no reason to start playing it now.  If you have, well it’s time to pay your yearly tax for a roster update.

Return to Monkey Island.  This isn’t the Monkey Island I remember.

If you haven’t played any Monkey Island games, you probably should start with the first game, the Secret of Monkey Island, and then the sequel.  Return to Monkey Island doesn’t require these previous games, but it would be like watching The Force Awakens as the first Star Wars movie, the references, story, locations, and characters have an expectation of you knowing who they are. 

As for the actual Return to Monkey Island game, the gameplay hasn’t gripped me yet.  Every puzzle is straightforward.  Someone is mad at you, so you need to get them an item specifically for getting someone to forgive you.  You need a splinter from a mop, so you use a knife.  There’s more to these puzzles when you play hard mode, but it’s a couple of extra steps rather than deep and interesting puzzles. 

Pick this up if you’ve played the previous games, I mean this is intended for fans of the franchise.  However, I wasn’t a huge fan of the art style in the trailer. Now that I’ve played it, it is not that bad, but I’m still not that impressed.  It’s a shame because this could have been the big return to the point-and-click adventure genre, but it ends up feeling more like nostalgia-baiting than anything.  Also from what I hear, the one thing they did keep the same as the originals is the underwhelming endings all the Monkey Island titles have.

Somerville. A rough game of trying to figure out what to do. 

Somerville has the player exploring a large but empty world where aliens have come and the player gains the power to melt alien artifacts.  I’d love to tell you how that happens but there are not a lot of actual stories given to the player, as this game lacks any dialogue.  Instead, the player is given a series of puzzles and will explore the world as they go through. 

The one issue that nagged me throughout Somerville is it’s not always clear what the player can interact with or where the player should go.  I couldn’t find the basement because I tried to move in that direction twice and it didn’t let me.  Several interactable objects are not clear and even if you’re next to them they don’t always activate.  Much of the game is just trying to guess what the developer expects you to do.  I would forgive this if it’s the first game, but the producer and founder of the development studio previously founded Playdead, which made both Limbo and Inside.  They’re similar games, but this one lacks what made both of those games easier to recommend. 

Pick this up if you love Limbo and Inside for their silent storytelling.  However, I do caution people.  I dislike the “try to guess what I am thinking” design that is at the heart of the puzzles in Somerville and for me that ruined this experience. 

Pentiment. Ye olde murder mystery text adventure.

I’m glad that text adventures have come back, or at least whatever Pentiment is.  It’s a style of game similar to Disco Elysium and these games are getting good attention.  Pentiment is about a murder mystery in the middle ages.  The opening hour involves the player defining his character’s past through dialogue.  These choices give the player different abilities and dialogue which appears to change the game. 

Though this is a very slow burn, you’ll probably play for a couple of hours before something major happens.  The writing is also from the time period, and while you can change the text to make it more legible, the words will be of a different style.  There’s a great glossary where you can understand the meaning of any word with relative ease, but it’s still different.  None of this is a real negative but it is a part of the game that players will have to accept.  Also while there are puzzles, this is very much a story-based game, so be prepared to talk to people quite often. 

Pick this up if you like story-driven games. Disco Elysium or Planescape Torment are the most obvious parallels.  The art reminds me a lot of Procession to Calvary from almost a year ago, but Pentiment is more serious in tone and features far better writing. 

And that’s what I have for this month.  There are seventeen games as I count them, maybe 18 if you want to count the console and PC version of Football Manager, but I’m not. , and since I played a lot of these previously or just knew what they were in the case of Walking Dead and Football Manager, I didn’t give them the same time I’ve done in the past. 

That being said, there were a lot of surprise hits hiding in this list.  An important one that doesn’t make my top five list but still is worth checking out is Gunfire Reborn.  Give that one a look as well as the rest of my list. 

I don’t have that much more to say about this month, so let’s talk about the strongest of the month. 

Starting with the fifth strongest of this month, it’s The Legend of Tianding.  This should be higher, but it’s also a tight month.  This is a fresh and unique game. I miss being surprised in the games industry with the topics people choose for their games, so it’s great for something like The Legend of Tianding to be released.  The style and combat work well here and that makes this easily worth checking out. 

The fourth strongest of the month is Pentiment.  While the text style was a bit annoying, the way the dialogue is designed is getting me interested in the characters, and the game does an amazing job of fleshing out an interesting and unique world, again one that you don’t normally see in video games, at least not done like this. 

The third strongest of the month is Soma.  I love this game and I will recommend it to everyone, it’s not the same type of horror you might be used to, but dear god.  Any game I think about as much as Soma after beating it is something special, and trust me, the final minutes here will haunt you, and it’s good. 

The second strongest of the month.  I’m trusting other people on this one.  Plague Tale Requiem, I do intend to dive fully into this one but I held off because I still have another game to play.  This is getting so many people talking about it as the Game of the Year, it has to be this high… well this high because there’s one more.

The strongest of the month is…  We don’t get to see many excellent turn-based JPRGs anymore.  Persona 5. We don’t get to see Triple-A dating sims that are amazing to play.  Persona 5.  We don’t get to see 100-hour games with 100 hours of unique content. Yakuza, oh and of course Persona 5.  Persona 5 is amazing to have and worth checking out.  Give this one a shot.

And that’s it for November 2022. So before I get into some important channel news, I want to take a short moment and talk about next month.  Because this video came out so late, we have a list of upcoming games for part of the next video.   I truthfully haven’t even started on this list so I can’t talk much about it, but I did cover Norco previously, and I’m excited to see how these games turn up. 

There are two other titles confirmed.  Hello Neighbor 2, and Battlefield 2042… which I’m excited for… because like I said, I’m going to be ending my coverage of Game Pass, and because I don’t care what publishers think… hahahahaha oh I will be vicious. 

Speaking of ending my coverage, there’s an important change I’m going to make.  This is a bit long so apologies in advance.  I always believe in testing theories. And there’s an important theory, I don’t believe monetizing youtube channels should change how discoverable a video is. Unfortunately, to test this, I would need to have a video that does almost the same number every month… well, I have one of those, my Game Pass video.  

So in the name of science, I’m going to turn on ads next month.  Nothing major, just a simple ad when you start the video.  And we’ll see the results.

Maybe no one will care about this, but I have always said I don’t want to make this a money-making or chasing channel, that changes a lot of the mentality of making videos, and I’ve sworn in the past I am not going to monetize. I’m breaking that rule, if this makes you hate me, I understand.

I am honestly doing this in the name of a simple test, to prove that I’ll donate 100 percent of the proceeds from that video to the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, an organization I support, and one I think others should as well.  And to go further, I’ll be matching the donation, up to 100 dollars, which I say because, just in case that video goes super viral, I should cap it.  

I expect the video to do poorly, and in that case, I’ll donate 20 dollars, because I like what they do. 

And since I’m changing my policy, I will make a new one here, and tell you that going forward if and when I monetize videos for any reason, I’m going to be donating a portion of the proceeds to charity.  It’ll be 100 percent unless the money reaches stupid levels, and even then at worst 50 percent.  If you ask me at any point I will always be honest about this because by saying I’m going to donate the money to charity I feel like I have an obligation to both do it, and be transparent about it.   

Alright with that said, we have one more Game Pass video coming up, in December 2022.  If you’re curious about why I’m ending coverage, to avoid reiterating it, check my October Game Pass video, I’ll put up a link on this video as well as something else to watch. 

And yeah I’ve skipped the mantra of subscribe, ring the bell, like, and comment because I’ve rambled too long, but if you want to do that, please do so. 

See you Next time. 

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