Pat’s Gaming Journal

On the 2018 Nerd Year’s Resolution episode, Pat made a goal of beating at least 20 games during the year.  As he defeats a game, he will be writing a short review of each game.  Here are those reviews.

 

Star Wars Battlefront II:

Developer: EA (boo!) DICE

Platform: Xbox One

Completion Date: 1/09/2018

Completion Time: 12hrs 23mins (Solo-Campaign and Resurrection DLC)

So I have to admit from the top, this is a weird game to start off this new series with. After the dissapointment that was the first Battlefront game, I tried to keep my expectations in check for the next installment. However, being the huge Star Wars fan that I am, that task proved to be too difficult and I found myself preordering this game once I heard the news that a solo-campaign would be included. Unfortunately, like so many gamers, I was appalled by the gameplay advantages that players could obtain by purchasing loot boxes. After much consideration I decided to cancel my preorder. However, I still wanted to play the aforementioned campaign, so I decided to instead rent it from GameFly. So here we are.

As a silent protest I didn’t play any multiplayer matches for this game, so this will be strictly a review of the solo-campaign. The big selling point, other than the fact it was a Star Wars game and I’m brand loyal, for me was the fact you get to play as an Imperial Special Forces Officer. That isn’t something you see in many Star Wars games. Unfortunately that felt like a bait-n-switch because it doesn’t last long. To make matters worse, the way in which the story “switches sides” feels forced. Also instead of focusing on telling the best story the writers could tell, the story felt like a Star Wars “Greatest Hits” album. The story begins during the events of The Return of the Jedi and, if you play the Resurrection DLC, end with the beginning of Episode 8. I think the game would’ve been better served to pick a period and stick with it instead of trying to tell a short story in the span of decades. Which leads me to my next point, the solo-campaign is too short. To feel like I got my “money’s worth” (I know that I didn’t actually pay for this game) with a Triple A title, the campaign needs to be AT LEAST 10 hours long. As you can see by my Completion Time above, Battlefront II barely hit that threshold and that’s including the aforementioned DLC. To add insult to injury, the load screens were unbelievablely long so that CT is probably pretty generous. The main reason the story felt so short was because the gameplay itself was incredibly easy. The entire game was essentially a Star Wars “hack-n-slash.” It was just a series of running into a room, shooting a group of 10-15 Rebels or Stormtroppers…rinse and repeat. You never feel like you are really ever in danger because your health regenerates, so if you need to you could just hide and wait for your health bar to regenerate then continue shooting. That being said, the starship battles were very cool, but even those felt tired by the end of the campaign.

In conclusion, despite being better by default than the first Battlefront game due to the inclusion of a solo-campaign, Star Wars Battlefront II fails to deliver a solid story mode even though it is set in the greatest film universe ever built.

 

(2.5 / 5)

 

What Remains of Edith Finch:

Developer: Giant Sparrow

Platform: Xbox One

Completion Time: 3hrs 48mins (including replaying a few stories to get missed achievements)

Completion Date: 1/22/18

I’ve mentioned this on the podcast several times before, but I am definitely someone who enjoys going into things (movies, tv, and/or video games) with a clean slate.  That is what I did with this game and I couldn’t suggest that more for anyone looking to play this game (also why I’m going to be extremely vague when discussing the story).  I had heard great things about this game, but avoided anything that discussed What Remains of Edith Finch (will be referred to as Edith Finch from this point on) in detail like the plague.  I wanted to experience this like a newborn baby and so happy that I did.

I have played games like the Telltale Series and most recently Planet of the Apes: The Last Frontier, so I’m familiar with interactive story-type games.  However, nothing could have prepared me for Edith Finch.  It is safe to say I have never played a game close to the experience of this masterful game and I doubt anyone reading this has either.  The concept is pretty straight-forward; your character is just reading from a journal.  However the way the words interact with the gameplay is awe-inspiring.  It is the closet I have ever experienced to actually being inside a comic book (your character actually is in a comic book at one point).  Sometimes I wished, while watching or playing a story, that I can turn off the part of my brain that attempts to predict where the story is going.  It is very rare that a story takes me by surprise, but I never once felt like I knew where Edith Finch was going.  The story itself maybe short, but I felt more satisfied at the end  of Edith Finch than I do with most Triple A titles that have stories quadruple the length.  All that being said, this isn’t a perfect game.  I have played too many games to count in my lifetime, so I very rarely have trouble picking up the controls for a particular game.  I pride myself with being good enough of a gamer to pick up a brand new game and be, at the very least, decent at that game.  However I struggled with the controls with Edith Finch.  The controls never seemed to work as well and as constantly as I have become accustomed to with other games.  Also the game itself holds gamer’s hands more than most games I am used to.  The environment that the developers have created is breathtaking.  So much so that I wanted to explore it.  However this game does not allow you to do so.  Edith Finch’s sole focus is having players move through the amazing story they have created, but doesn’t allow for much exploring beyond that story.  However every-other aspect of this game is created with such beautiful detail that you quickly learn to overlook those small problems.

 

In conclusion, What Remains of Edith Finch is a perfect example of “quality over quantity.”  The story may not be as long as many games, but trumps 95% of games gamers will play in most other categories.

 

(4.5 / 5)