Game Recap; Four Titles I’ve Been Playing

Greetings everyone; it’s time for my 10-year check in where I apologize for my lack of posts and ask how you’re doing. So without further ado:

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re doing well, staying hydrated, stretching, and avoiding the trenches of gaming backlogs. Let me know in the comments how you’re feeling! On my end, I’ve been pumping out more written content than I ever have, at least for Twinfinite, so I really apologize for how inactive I’ve been. That said, I’m one of many who have just been a part of the recent layoffs in the industry, and while I’m not asking for sympathy, if you or anybody you know are looking for talented writers, be sure to reach out to my colleagues below (didn’t want to say I’m talented, that’s a bit egotistical).

I’m going to try something different today, and it’s going to be a mini-recap of what’s been keeping me occupied, and by what, I mean four titles that I’ve been deep in. I’ll share my thoughts, and try to keep it brief out of respect for your time, and we’ll go from there. I figured I’d go this route since I always mention writing up a review on titles, then I never do them, so apologies on my end.

Again, without further ado, here are four titles I’ve been knee-deep in.

Dead Space Remake

Dead Space Remake, in-game screenshot
S-tier and, possibly, Game of the Year.

Starting this list off with an absolute banger; the Dead Space Remake is peak gaming.

Okay, maybe a bit of hyperbole, but holy moly. I had inklings that it would be good, given how open Motive Studio was in showcasing the development process of the remake with countless dev streams. It looked good, and I figured there was no way they could mess it up, and they absolutely delivered.

Whether it be the audio and visual design, changes to the gameplay made, or small narrative tweaks: this is a remake. The definition of what defines a remake (sorry for that brilliant delivery) has lost its value over the past few years, with Sony charging $70 for a technical upgrade to The Last of Us and many more “remakes” blurring the lines between remake and remasters. I think the Dead Space Remake sets the bar of what we should expect from a remake moving forward; it makes smart changes, not sweeping ones, and it works so damn well.

I intended to write a review for this, but I’m so slow so I ended up canning the idea. What I will say, the arrival and superb delivery of this remake shines a light on how disappointing The Callisto Protocol was. You’ve probably heard the news and seen all the commotion, but the arrival of Striking Distance Studios’ project was rough. I don’t want to add fuel to the fire, but I agree with much of the disappointment, as my playthrough ended halfway when I quit mid-playing because I was just so speechless as to what the final product entailed.

Again, I don’t want to crap on The Callisto Protocol. I hope the Dead Space Remake story doesn’t end, although it seems it hasn’t sold too well. If you haven’t played it yet, old or new players, give it a whirl.

Make us whole again.

Hogwarts Legacy

Hogwarts Legacy artwork, Portkey Games
A magical adventure, with a few missteps.

I’m not going to lie; I thought Hogwarts Legacy was going to underperform tragically. Every gameplay segment I saw leading up to the release left me massively concerned, and a handful of delays didn’t help its case either. Not to mention, the previous generation versions were delayed. Still, I gave it a shot because I love Harry Potter (not J.K Rowling), and I figured it might be worthwhile.

Hogwarts Legacy is good, at least much better than I thought it would be. Loading it up, creating my character named John Cena, and embarking on a Wizarding journey has been immensely fun. Learning new spells, riding my broomstick, defeating enemies with my fifth-year knowledge, and exploring every inch of Hogwarts; it’s been rewarding, and I’m sorry I had doubts. Massive kudos to the developers who put their soul and time into this, although J.K. Rowling’s presence hangs over it like a Dementor from Azkaban, despite not being involved in this project.

That said, my big point of ire with this title is the fact the RPG elements feel strewn together for depth. There is a gear system in place, with plenty of cosmetics you can earn to “improve” your character’s offense and defense. Sure, whatever. It just doesn’t make sense, especially compounded by the fact that you have a limited number of gear slots for a long time. It also doesn’t feel like your gear does anything besides make you look cool.

Minor complaint, but everything’s absurdly expensive, like, bro I’m a kid in school. Along with that, the story is all over the place; you can see ancient magic, but no explanation as to how you can see is presented. Plus, combat is great, but you fight more goblins than wizards and witches. Not cool man.

I will say, looking back at my preview from a year ago (literally almost a year to date) from the PlayStation State of Play, and it’s cool to see how the final product unfolded. It’s absurd to think, but we haven’t had a good Harry Potter game in a long time, possibly never if you don’t count the LEGO games. I think Hogwarts Legacy is a great starting point for a series, granted some tweaks to the formula would take it further than it’s already gone.

I think this is a great starting point for a future full of magic.

Atomic Heart

Atomic Heart, in-game artwork, Mundfish
Bioshock intensifies, and then dies once it goes outside.

Oh fucking boy, Atomic Heart broke my heart.

I think it’s important we go back in time with this title, as there’s quite a bit to talk about.

Atomic Heart dropped an absolute banger of a reveal trailer in 2018, as it presented heavy Bioshock vibes set to an amazing soundtrack. Every bit of info that related post this trailer sounded incredible; an alternate timeline where robots take over, gunplay reminiscent of Doom and Wolfenstein, and Mick freaking Gordon rounding out the soundtrack. I was all in on this, especially with Bioshock on ice for almost 10 years.

This could be the game Rapture lovers have been waiting for.

After years of delays, we arrived near the launch, and it got atomically ugly (yes, I managed to forcefully split the game title and use it in this segment). I try to go in with an open mind, but when I see Skill-Up saying he doesn’t recommend it, I know it’s legit a problem.

Game Pass, here I come.

Atomic Heart starts slow then it picks up. Before you know it, synthetics take over the USSR, and you’re in an underground bunker fighting back with a talking glove (not Forspoken) and a myriad of weapons. This is arguably the best part of the game, as the creepy underground facility is teeming with creepy synths and talking dead people.

Two things detracted from this semi-strong opening: one, your character is an absolute asshole, and two, leaving the facility introduces you to a terrible open-world ecosystem.

The first issue is an absolute game-breaker; the protagonist, Major P-3, is so devoid of anything that makes me or anybody else like him. I’m not trying to exaggerate; it got to the point where developer Mundfish recommended that players change the in-game language to Russian, which I did, making him slightly bearable.

Secondly, the open-world is designed to make you want to quit the game, not because it’s hard, but because it’s stupid. You’re pitted against endless waves of robots, which in theory, should be cool. However, they’re all linked to a security hub that you can only temporarily take down, and every time you kill a robot, a repair bot will come out and immediately fix it. At least, that’s the general gist of it, and it may sound like a silly complaint, but I promise you, it wasn’t fun.

Also, weird note, but you can’t sprint in-game, and there wasn’t a field-of-view slider. The first design choice is strange, and the second one is a minor complaint, but a valid one as FOV sliders have become phenomenal boons in gaming as they help players avoid motion sickness (a cool fact I never knew).

Listen, I wanted to like Atomic Heart. While all the reviews were knocking it for a bevy of issues, I thought the opening segment in the facility was really good, albeit when I ignored P-3 talk. However, the switch to open-world made me want to smash my head against the wall.

Not every game needs to go open-world, and the fact that Atomic Heart attempted it, and did it so poorly, really hurts, especially when you contrast it to the opening segment being strong, in my opinion. Atomic Heart is a Game Pass title, but I stopped playing it as soon as I literally touched grass.

Atomic Heart atomically broke my heart.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty artwork
Not a huge fan of the Souls-like, but this one is pretty cool.

Lastly, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty.

As the caption mentions, I’m not a huge fan of Souls-like games because I’m AWFUL at them. My peak is beating the first boss, and then I put the game down because I know I’ll never get any further. That said, I always support them because I like how successful this branch of the gaming industry has become if that makes sense.

Much like Atomic Heart, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is on Game Pass, and the reviews have been middling. I’ve been enjoying it, but spoilers, I’m only on the intro segment. The section I’ve played through has been fun, and the parrying mechanic is wildly entertaining. I plan on getting much further, but I’ve just been everywhere and nowhere at the same time since Hogwarts Legacy has been taking up my time.

And just like that, my eight month check-in is complete. I plan on doing more written content now that I’m currently in search of another writing job, but if I disappear again, it’s because I might’ve found my next opportunity.

Let me know what you’ve been playing below, and drop a comment on how you’ve been doing!

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