Thursday 11 February 2021

Take Two: Resident Costume of the Dishonored Bannerlord

Four game sequels, and two days to read all about them. :)

Resident Evil 2

More about running than fighting!

This retelling of Leon and Claire's arrival in a zombie filled Racoon City really shows off how graphics have improved since the original. While the finite enemies are mostly slow they also take too many bullets to permanently kill so you'll need to get good at -sprinting- slow jogging around them while you solve the many puzzles that block your path.

The horror level really ramps up when the unkillable Tyrant arrives too - he's slow but  relentless as he chases you across the neatly designed maps, even into your "safe" rooms. Strangely, that is the best part of the game. Combat in general is average and the story is ludicrous.

Better off running than reloading that weapon...

There is a replayability factor here too as I believe each protagonist has two unique playthroughs but once is enough for me. I did dabble with the "ghost survivors" mode with new heroes and zombies though, but with no save points in any of those scenarios that just became too tedious for me.  All up, pretty good and worth it if you are a RE fan. I give it three green herbs out of five.

Insight: Always use the map to help your searching, a red room means there's still stuff to loot. Second, always ditch items that have a red tick as they have no more uses and simply occupy inventory space.

Costume Quest 2

Now with timey-wimey shenanigans!

I quite enjoyed the first Costume Quest and its DLC. This time around the kids are back to stop a time traveling dentist from banning Halloween and making the world a dental utopia! Much of the game play is the same as last time though you will be using a new set of costumes with slightly different powers.

The puzzles and combat system are simple enough and there's not much grinding to do which is great. Once again, you shouldn't be defeated by anything here as long as you remember the super helpful combat training. Highly recommended, but you need to play the original first as the story does continue on from there. I give it three candies out of five.

Insight: Make use of those combat cards! They don't vanish after use, instead just requiring a cool-down of a few battles. Handy ones are force the enemies to skip a turn, fill up everyone hero gauge, and make minions attack themselves - which you can use to cheese the mini-boss fights against moles and snails.

Dishonored 2

A master class in world building.

Taking place years after the first game, a new threat emerges and this time you can choose your protagonist - Empress Emily Kaldwin or her father and hero from the first game Corvo Attano, in a quest for retribution - which can be as bloody or as bloodless as you want, just be ready to face the consequences.

In fact in my playthrough, I told the Outsider to take a hike and play without any supernatural powers (and only killed two people) which made it feel almost exactly like a thief game! "A+" to player agency! There are some fantastic maps too, all of which have loads of world building thrown on top.

One of the best missions lets you jump through time!

I cannot recommend this game enough, though if you play it as a fully super powered rage machine it might be a tad on the short side. Five exploding bullets out of five.

Insight: I only personally killed two people but lots more died pursuing me into random monsters. Not my fault as I didn't attack them at all! :P

Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord (Early Access)

Brilliant when it comes to sweeping, large scale battles.

After an epic battle participated by every nation resulted in a loss for everyone, Calradia is more divided than ever. While you start out as an individual on a revenge trip, you can eventually grow your army and own shops, villages, castles, cities and even the entire continent if your ambition (and patience) is large enough.

The little quests, tournaments and tavern board games are great (I now love Tablut!) but what this game shines best at is medieval tactical large scale combat - and there is a LOT of it. You'll be charging across plains and hills of grass and sand and snow, skirmishing in forests, using rivers to slow down enemy cavalry, and participating in sieges with functional siege equipment all to some pretty epic music.

While this is certainly an improvement to the original Mount and Blade which laid the foundations nicely, it does suffer a few problems. First, there is a really long intro quest that might put you off but that's quite intentional so that you can build up your clan enough to handle what comes after. The bigger problem is in "the after" and the same one found in the first game: repetition.

The game is good at what it does, but there's only so much before that content grows stale. Sure, this castle looks different than the last one but functionally its the same to get in. Once you've fought one or two massive armies you've fought them all. Don't get me wrong - it's super fun, I'm just wondering ... where to next? Hopefully when this gets out of early access it will have an answer. As it is I give it three battering rams out of five.

Insight: Press N to use the encyclopedia to find people on the map. Also hang on to one handed axes and buy wheat in bulk if offered in "The Art of the Trade" as they are used in other easy quests. You can also slowly cheese some sieges if you go up a ladder with a two handed spear and stab the defenders out of their range. This won't work if enemy archers are covering the ladder though.

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