Yet not when the calculus actually costs me money!
Live and (not) learn. Wonder which game is gonna rip us off next. My bet is on Resi 4, if it's anything like its predecessor!
Haven't played the latter since I first got it, but finished the former last night, so let me put some respect on its name (before disrespecting its game) :
Hey, it ain't disrespect if it's true
A Plague Tale: Requiem - So this one took basically the entire playthrough to come together, but they finally stuck the landing, albeit with a hop or two on the needless epilogue.
You've basically covered it all, and fairly too. I'll add some comments here and there. But in summary, I fully agree that the first game is superior overall. While I didn't hate Requiem per se, it falls short of Innocence in many aspects, as you've demonstrated below.
First, even though I liked it well enough in the end, this is somehow a worse game and story than the original, and there's seemingly more emphasis on story! I already mentioned the stats, upgrades, and items are basically perfunctory, though clunkier to use for it, but there's literally not one boss fight in this game! Unless you count an armored dude you fight solo near the beginning who I accidentally insta-killed by setting him on fire and shooting off his armor, but that's because he's just a normal enemy. That's all you fight, the climatic encounters are more mob rushes than anything, which is ok but kind of a letdown since even the first game had a few dedicated and memorable bosses. One guy here is set up to be this terrifying encounter but he's killed in a cutscene by a supporting character that's also maybe the weakest part of the game's story overall (the character isn't bad, just their involvement is poorly handled all around including the nadir moment of the franchise). Other than that, there wasn't a lot of exciting innovations, there was some noticable technical glitches and framerate issues during some scenes, and aside from the fact that, yeah, you can get your ass caught or eaten by rats at any time, it basically feels like "story mode" is baked in. So, the story must be great then, right!?
Agreed. As for the technical aspects, I was very disappointed that the game was locked at a measly 30 fps, especially when we've already had an upgraded version of Innocence that ran better. It was too jarring to jump from God of War to this. Come on, Sony. What did you drain my wallet for? We should be past framerate locks at this point, especially for games that shouldn't be so demanding. There ain't an excuse anymore.
As for the boss fights, I'm kind of relieved we didn't have any, because the ones in Innocence were awful. Or at least, the final boss of the original was total ass. On the other hand, their absence is not doing Requiem any favors. Lose-lose situation, basically.
By the way, is it just me, or did everyone freeze in time except Amicia. Everyone seems the same age or slightly older than they were in Innocence, but Amicia giraffe-d her way to Requiem. Guess she just hit a growth spurt...
Well, it kind of works itself into shape as you're playing, but compared to the original it's pretty ragged and anemic. What I really liked about that one was it felt like a down to earth, medieval period piece with a lot of history and culture that threw a single semi-supernatural element on top, and I say semi because even that was presented pseudo-scientifically and like a mythological affliction, as long as they could. By contrast, this one is basically a full on fantasy story that could just be in a completely made up world, and that's what it's almost wholly focused on, it's own made up lore.
Yeah, I was disappointed in the "historical" aspect of Requiem. This plague is supposed to be that universe's version of the Black Death, which ravaged Europe during the same time period. I was intrigued to see how they would "explain" how the Black Death eventually came to an end in their version. Instead, we didn't get any of that. Just a reference to Justinian's Plague in the sixth century, and that's it. In fact, your actions ultimately mean nothing, as shown in the post-credits modern-day scene. Building on that, you are essentially the Macula's pawn for the entire game, which manipulates you the entire time, beginning with Hugo's dream. That's all there is to the story. So now, instead of a "plague", we have a conscious, evil force that can invade your dreams too and alter the bearer's personality too. And you're, ultimately, its victim.
Now someone else may argue whether or not this is objectively good or bad storytelling, but I'm not interested in that. I just don't like it regardless. It left a bad taste in my mouth. Quite the bleak story, as opposed to the dark but charming original.
Hmm. This reminds me of The Last of Us and its "sequel", now that I'm typing this.
Also, I disliked this thing with the Bearer and the Protector. Making Amicia and Hugo part of a recurring cycle of people who pair up as they deal with the Macula, one who bears the curse and one who protects him, takes some of their individuality away and cheapens their story.
It's also not very structurally sound and doesn't have the numerous interesting events and supporting characters of the original; this one is a straight line journey in real time that doesn't really have any greater purpose than to just keep moving along. Important characters come and go for huge swaths of the game and return with whimper, and you don't even see or know who the villain is until near the end, their motives aren't clear and seemingly malleable, and I thought it was like four different groups at various points ("Are the evil beekeepers ever coming back?"). I still don't even know the big bad's full name, and he has no greater significance to the themes of the overarching story and world, except some BS about the fires of war, like the Inquisition did in the original and in addition to it being a perfect fit they went to great lengths to add supporting details to those antagonists.
Plus the cliché where baldy is concerned: another villain who wants to use the chosen child for his nefarious plans to control the world. Yawn.
So, that's all a lot squishier than before, and your allies aren't much better because I have no idea why they keep helping you during scarier and scarier escalations of rats destroying everything as opposed to just tossing Hugo in the sea. I kept waiting for one to be a traitor working to capture Hugo for a benefactor because that made more sense for why they were sticking around through this apocalyptic shit for some crazy people they just met. It also doesn't help that these supporting characters are middle-aged adults rather than orphaned adolescents like in the first one, where it kind of makes sense why they all stick together (and it's unexpectedly cool and they build something over time; not so here).
Exactly! I kept on waiting for the grand betrayal too, which weirdly never came.
Anyway, I liked Sophia and Arnaud, despite all that, and would have liked to spend more time with the latter. At least, to give his redemption arc more meat on its bones. Also, having a big gorilla fight for you was refreshing, to say the least.
Anyway, the biggest literal plot fail I alluded to earlier is when you need to sneak into a ceremony where everyone is in pairs, one adult and one child, and your adult helper character suddenly conjures an apparently cooperative, mute child out of nowhere without comment or explanation to sneak in with you, and then the kid is just as conveniently gone after. You don't even need the helper character during the sequence and you basically sneak out to meet up after anyway, but it's one of the worst and most sloppily handled convenient plot contrivances I've ever seen! I'm still not over it, obviously. I think it speaks to the fact they were just making it up as they go and doing "whatever works" to that end, but that's no excuse not to go back and refine this a little more so it makes basic sense. Just have her sneak in after the ceremony starts!
Add to that certain conveniences, such as Sophia having spent enough time in a convent to learn fucking Latin, which came in handy. Now, I'm not saying its too convenient to be believable, but they clearly needed an excuse to put Sophia in there and to help the kids find out where to go next.
Anyway, I still like the gameplay loop and characters even though Amicia is pretty one note now, though at least that's for a payoff even though they could have done more with her own internal conflict (she's agitated and killing people all the time =), but where the game and story shine are the rats and the dramatic atmosphere and climatic set pieces they build around them. They managed to make it way cooler than I imagined possible from the sort of limits they seemed to run into in the original (rat-nados! The pinnacle of hive-minded rat technology), but they found a way to really take it to new and better heights with some truly awe inspiring sequences. I won't spoil any of that here, but it's really the best argument this game has going for it, including the ending, which more than felt right yet still ballsy compared to what I was expecting (God of War could have taken a lesson; really interesting contrast playing these back to back).
True, and it has certain things going for it too. I liked Hugo and sympathized with him a lot more here. An innocent child constantly going through so much shit like that tugged at my heart strings. I wanted to protect him, which means the game pulled off its main driving force for the player. Too bad the ending was a major fuck you to said player, however.
So, even with all those criticisms and it clearly being worse than the original, I still enjoyed it quite a bit and it's going to be among my top games of the year, maybe even high on the list because it just moved me more than most of the other top contenders.
To be fair, 2022 was a crap year for gaming. Aside from Elden Ring, I can't name anything great. But oh well.
Yep, pretty cool, and they even had their weird viral Oscar moment during it when that kid went up there ready to go with a fantastic non sequitur.
He was a respectful invader, all things considered; waited for Miyazaki to complete his speech and clapped for him in the end. Also, he's a master of stealth, specifically the hide-in-plain-sight school. They arrested him after the show. Maybe he's being recruited as we speak.
Oh, and they got fucking AL PACINO to hand out the performance award!? Wow, impressive for them yet debasing for him. Also, I love doing the Kratos' voice as much as anybody, but the guy's job is basically to sound as deeply monotone and stoic as possible at all times and say "No" to most lines of conversation. Was thinking of this last night while listening to the voice actress for Amicia completely lay it all out there to sell the material.
Yeah, poor Al Pacino had to stand there while Judge took his sweet time with his acceptance speech. What happened to respect for the elderly? And yes, I wish they stop trying to validate themselves with big names from another industry and medium. It just comes off as cringe and pathetic, in my opinion. Who are they gonna bring in to the next awards? Meryl Streep? Joe Biden? Jesus Christ?
Also, I see where you're coming from in regards to Judge's performance, but I think he deserves a little more credit. He pulled through in the big moments in GoW. Enough to deserve the performance award? I don't know. Call it cynical, but I think these awards won't just ignore the big names and go to an unknown actress at the end of the day.