Brief thoughts about DMC5 and other action games played around its release:
[hide] Nero and Dante are very well designed, especially Nero where everything flows together beautifully and every move has its purpose and usage that you have to be aware of at any given moment, whereas Dante despite having more options has some of them vastly superior to others. While they have some minor issues, V is by far the worst of them by being incredibly passive/spammy/defensive and the way he deals damage is awkward by not controlling positioning and the angle in which you deal it. Bosses are mostly great with few exceptions, and levels in the first half are better than the latter. Game is very fun overall but the scoring system is what undermines it in places: extremely forgiving and generous (the style meter racks up points too fast and takes a while for letters to drop to the one below), getting S's is extremely easy with a basic grasp of the mechanics, when prior entries were far more harsh and gratifying.
The way it scores is also dubious, instead of grading you on your actual skill in each enemy encounter with like damage taken/dealt + time rounded up with the score multiplier of the style rank, instead it will calculate the average you scored in each of the main sections of each level. Its often ideal to skip fights with fewer enemies if they wont allow you to get a high score on them since it would lower the overall average you got. [/hide]
[hide] Undoubtedly weak gameplay makes up and is arguably better experienced by watching it instead. QTEs go above the point of being needlessly included by being creative visually in their usage. The story by itself is a simple revenge plot but it's executed masterfully by the direction and pacing, alongside a unique art direction with hinduism merged with sci fi and some great character designs. Cutscenes are several cuts above most other games by how each one is framed and directed, elevating what would be otherwise a simple shonen story into a huge scale conflict adamant in its execution which always delivers. [/hide]
[hide] The bike and rocket levels suck ass, as well as some other minor sections to sprinkle the game with some variety. Everything else is incredibly well crafted and balanced, from the attacks you can perform to the angels on which you deliver them. Compared to DMC's more freeform style of combat where you can chain together basic moves, Bayo instead relies more on combo strings which you may link together by executing each one as it demands. Harder on the surface but with the inclusion of Wicked Weaves and Dodge Offset it becomes just as freeform and widens your options instead of abiding by DMC checklist of moves you are required to perform in order to prevent the style meter from dropping.
Bosses are for the most part reliant on being interactive set pieces (the Cardinal Virtues and Jubileus) with Jeanne and Balder as more arena based ones, but they are all great with the exception of Jubileus herself which i find the least enjoyable after multiple fights. Angels themselves are also mostly great except for Inspired which seems kinda uninspired in its design by flying around and preventing from being combo'd, and Fairness which has an incredibly unfair attack (the irony) which stunlocks you with a non damaging AoE, which its not bad because you may get hit by other attacks but because to keep the combo going you have to keep attacking. Overall though after hundreds of hours it never gets boring and its incredibly harsh and unforgiving scoring system, while it may be disheartening for some, it keeps you motivated to achieve Pure Platinum even on the hardest difficulty. [/hide]
God of War (2018):
[hide] It doesn't have the depth or skill ceiling, nor the spectacle or direction. Overall its a pleasant experience which balances itself out of everything without excelling at anything. What it does truly lack is the replayability action games of its kind (and previous entries too) should strive for, by getting better at them and discovering how much you can work around with what you're given. Instead it forces on a long trip better experienced only once with some merits (rage mode is well implemented, as well as incredible animations and a number of ways you can toy around with some enemies), and a lot of incospicuous problems (mainly rpg elements with numbers dictating skill over your inputs and cooldown abilities as the worst offenders).
Storywise is serviceable with the first half doing a good job with its pacing, while the latter falls apart in a number of ways mainly from the lack of a convincing villain and plot threads poorly thought out (mainly Atreus's godhood and Kratos hypocrisy). Wish exploration was incentivized more since they spent so much on its assets, but traversing it back and forth gets incredibly grating after a while, with the climbing sections being the absolute worst non gameplay sections. [/hide]
The Wonderful 101:
[hide] Chock full of discoveries on its combat and extrinsic rewards, with the hardest and most rewarding air juggle of the genre coupled with overall great enemy designs with few minor problems with color coded attacks required on occasion. 2 out of 3 shmup sections are surprisingly bad and drawn out, with the third one so much better i question if they were aware of it. I also think it has a huge barrier to overcome in order to appreciate it, which not only extends itself to the controls and presentation, perhaps unusual and hard to read for some, but also in the way the game really opens up after you finish it once, something a lot of people dont stick around for. Despite this it immensely rewards those who do, by providing even more depth with the huge variety of weapons it provides and how uniquely each can affect each enemy differently, instead of boiling down to just dealing damage. I also appreciate it storywise, something which starts very humble and even unremarkable at first glance (alien invasion? Seen it already) escalates in a convincing manner to an incredible finale few games could rival. [/hide]