The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (BotW for short) is a game of extremes. At times, it can be an incredibly fun and polished trek through a fantastic open world. But also at times, it can be an incredibly frustrating experience. It’s never frustrating for very long, but the moments of frustration are the many small bits of gristle in an otherwise well-cooked and seasoned steak.
Anodyne is a difficult to pin down game. Honestly, I’m not even sure if I’m going to put it into Tier One or Two yet. It has taught me that I may be a bit of a sucker for good audio design and soundtracks, since I ended up playing it longer than I expected based on that alone. On its face, I found it quite reminiscent of classic Zelda – I was happy to learn that I was correct in this assessment when I visited the Steam page. You wander about, exploring a strange world with strange creatures and caves, all the time feeling rather lost and alone. You’re told you have a great destiny, but (and this is where it differs) it doesn’t really seem like that’s actually the case. Perhaps if I hear something about this game elsewhere, I’ll pick it up again – but for now, I think it goes to Tier Two. I certainly don’t regret my time, but I also wasn’t particularly engaged except by the mechanics – just the audio and art direction.
Ah, yes. Chroma Squad–another game sadly lowered from Tier 1 to Tier 2.
It’s hard to quickly pin down the problems with Chroma Squad–in fact, there’s a lot of things that are great about it. I mean, we’ve got…
- Generously customizable mock-power ranger team creation
- A light-hearted atmosphere that leads to shenanigans
- A bear who does the dance of death
- A customizable Zord built out of cardboard boxes
- A surprisingly tactical combat system & character stat/skill/equipment customization mechanics
- A reasonably challenging final boss at the end
- Powerups in the forms of hiring different advertising companies
- Optional “quests” in the form of director’s instructions
Screw men. Seriously. Screw them.
It doesn’t help that it’s a visual novel, albeit with fluid and expressive (Japanese) voice acting. It doesn’t help that it’s a Shojo, filled with all the tropes of overly-complicated love-drama, albeit with an excitable and fun spirit named Orion living in your head. It doesn’t help that out of the four guys you can randomly choose at the beginning of the game to date (with no information about them before the choice is made), I picked the misogynistic playboy asshole who couldn’t help but be constantly obsessed with putting his johnny in every single woman he met on the street BUT ME, albeit he apologized several times for such behavior. However, I think what did it in for me, is that by the time I got to the end of my first playthrough of Amnesia: Memories, the ending I received indicated that the writers hadn’t really intended for there to be any closure for the player, unless they actually tried to make it work with their boyfriend. I got an ending without explanation of events that happened throughout the entire game, no closure on the nature of the relationship with the boy named Ikki, Orion was still stuck in my head, and my memories were still lost in amnesia.
It’s pedantic, I know, but the thing that bothered me the most in my first five minutes of the Turing Test was that the AI on the spacecraft said “100 degrees Kelvin.” It should have said 100 Kelvin, since the Kelvin scale is absolute and not measured in degrees. There was another issue I had, but I can’t actually tell you what it was without ruining a twist that happens in the fifth chapter. As for its mechanics, the RPS article said it best by saying that “in a world that had never seen Portal nor The Talos Principle, it would be lauded, famous beyond belief.”
In about three hours, I got roughly 80% of the way through this game. At that point, my motivation tanked and I’m not sure why. I only have about three puzzles left, but I just can’t bring myself to try finishing them – perhaps because it feels so much like Portal and The Talos Principal. So as strange as it seems, I think this game will have to go to Tier Two for now.