Speltest: Cooking Simulator, Just Cause 3, Tales of Berseria, m fl

Covid-tider betyder mer tid hemma och mer tid att spela spel, så här kommer som brukligt några korta recensioner av vad jag har roat mig med det senaste halvåret. Som vanligt på engelska, eftersom jag också lägger upp dessa på Steam.

Cooking Simulator

Having seen this played by quite a few streamers I knew what I was getting myself into, but I was still surprised at just how shoddy this game is. This really is just a broken physics sandbox in the shape of a kitchen, not something which should be calling itself a simulator. Because of the terrible controls, something simple like pouring a jug of water into a mixing bowl becomes an exercise in frustration. Cutting a lemon into presentable pieces is a Herculean task. Even when doing things to the game’s expectations, I twice ended up in failure states including one where it would not recognize what I was doing and simply sat there waiting for a long since completed task, while telling me I was running out of time to complete it.

One of very few games that I’ve found broken to the point of asking for a refund (which I promptly received, thank you Steam). Not recommended.

1/10. Se även Steam.

Wizard of Legend

Pixelly rougelike dungeon crawler which rewards quick reflexes and… that’s really all there is to it. There is no story to speak of. There’s no depth to the combat and the levels are auto-generated. When you die you get to start over. It’s repetitive and bland with nearly zero dungeon or enemy variety. Perhaps there are people who only want this much from a game and appreciate the minimalism but I was bored and disappointed within minutes. Can’t recommend.

2/10. Se även Steam.

Starpoint Gemini Warlords

Having had a great time with Starpoint Gemini 2, I expected this to be more of the same good stuff. While the graphically impressive and satisfying ship-to-ship combat remains, the story is lackluster at best and you eventually end up in a perpetual grind for more territories, which quickly becomes routine and boring. At some point the sense of progression and challenge was lost, and that’s when I stopped playing, as there was no story left to sustain my interest. There is a lot of unrealized potential here and I might still give one of the later games in the series a try to see if the developer learned anything from this failure, but there’s no way I can recommend this.

4/10. Se även Steam.

Divinity: Original Sin (Enhanced Edition)

Beautifully detailed CRPG following in the proud tradition of games like Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights. There is an interesting story, sadly obscured somewhat by an abundance of complex dialogue trees where characters with goofy-sounding voices will ramble exposition endlessly.

The quests are a welcome mix of puzzles and combat where you can usually decide whether to resolve a conflict peacefully or by force. Unfortunately the option involving combat nearly always offers more experience points and many of the puzzles are obscure to the point where I recommend having the wiki open on a second monitor; there are just too many cases where you will otherwise be left stuck and frustrated.

Inventory management, crafting and trading are manual and very tedious, but necessary to succeed at the game. On the positive side, combat is tactical and fun. A welcome change from similar games, this one doesn’t make high-tier magic overpowered to the point where your fighters might as well be watching from the sidelines. Overall I feel there is enough here to recommend this game to CRPG fans, but perhaps not enough to convince newcomers to the genre.

6/10. Se även Steam.

Just Cause 3

This is the kind of sequel that’s just more of the previous game, with a few superficial features tacked on. That being said, Just Cause 2 was awesome and this game delivers more of the same; as long as enough time has passed since your last dip into the Just Cause series this should be right up your alley. The story is bland and paper-thin; every mission whether part of the story or not is just to go somewhere, destroy everything, get out. Motorbikes and the wingsuit control extremely poorly. Military airplanes are almost useless and have game-breaking bugs. Enemies respawn infinitely, so running is always a better option than fighting unless you’re trying to complete a mission.

Finally, the online features introduce glitches and loading delays to the point where I just blocked the game at the firewall and resorted to always playing offline. Great bit of fun still, but the devs should have focused on polishing the core gameplay instead of adding more DLC.

6/10. Se även Steam.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Dark alt-history series Wolfenstein gets another installment which continues the story where the last game left off; having won the battle but lost the war and gotten your body properly wrecked in the process, the first part of this game is spent killing nazis while sat in a wheelchair. It gets crazier after that. The story is completely linear but the atmosphere and world-building is very solid and I felt quite immersed in it by the end. As usual for an id engine game the combat is very satisfying.

However, for a game which pretends to reward stealth, trying to be sneaky is almost pointless and I feel this element could have been done away with completely. It has the common issue where if anyone spots you for half a second, you might as well give it up or reload a save because every enemy on the map knows your exact location from that point onwards. Better not to waste your time; going in guns blazing from the start is often the more expedient approach. Overall, I still found this a rewarding experience.

7/10. Se även Steam.

Tales of Berseria

Story-rich, open-world JRPG with some great writing, amazing cast and satisfying combat which sets it apart from other games in the genre. Having finished this game I genuinely miss it and would have loved to play a sequel with the same set of protagonists. Sadly, the culmination of the story was not what I had hoped for and I feel like an opportunity was lost in the devs not allowing for a different outcome and a bit less linearity. As a consequence the game has almost zero replayability. And while the combat feels satisfying, you can get by easily just button-mashing most of the time (I played on Moderate difficulty) and as a result it quickly started feeling like a grind. In the late game I resorted to just running past most enemies as I wanted to get to the final story parts.

For a PS3 era console port the graphics quality on a modern PC isn’t horrible, but the UI is an awful mess. From monster drops you end up with large quantities of nearly worthless items with no option to quickly sell them off at vendors or convert them into something useful. So, a lot of time is spent just navigating the clunky UI. That having been said the story alone warrants this game a strong recommendation from me and I’d encourage any JRPG fan to give it a try.

8/10. Se även Steam.

Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak

Ground-based RTS take on the Homeworld series which retains many of the same things that made the original games so good. The single player campaign isn’t overly long and the story is solid. The difficulty ramps up appropriately and there was a point during the final battle where I felt that all the careful planning I had done up to that point finally paid off, even as I was desperately fighting for survival. Such solid design of the core gameplay loops makes minor issues easier to overlook.

The game rewards thinking ahead and employing proper tactics to counter what’s thrown at you. There are a few areas where more polish would have been welcome, such as the enemy AI and the air units but I found those pretty easy to overlook given the strong overall experience. I’m happy to give this game my recommendation and I’d love to play the sequel if there ever is one.

9/10. Se även Steam.