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The levels in DOOM are quite large, with multiple floors/levels, and many secrets. Some areas are very spacious, making large-scale battles possible, and some are labyrinth-like, hiding enemies behind every corner. You'd think it would be a very linear and guided experience, but most of the time it's up to you where to go and how to get there. Each one of these aspects make it a blast to fully explore the levels. See More
DOOM has a fair amount of gore. Whenever you kill an enemy there's blood, guts, and limbs flying everywhere. Melee kill are particularly brutal with your character twisting enemy necks and breaking their bones. Some may find that level of graphic violence off-putting. See More
There are more than 20 weapons in DOOM, including the super shotgun, the rocket launcher, and even the BFG9000. Each weapon has two modes that can be improved with one of three upgrades, totaling to over 100 possible combinations. Most of the combinations are really fun to use, which creates enough variation to keep you entertained for multiple playthroughs. See More
There are quite a few easter eggs and hidden secrets in the game, such as old school Doom 95 levels, a Commander Keen skull, a Terminator 2 animation, and even hidden Doomguy toys that your character will fist bump. There's a lot of these to find, creating a very entertaining side activity. See More
There is no character development, this is a single purpose game that makes itself very clear from the outset. You are in this game to do one thing, kill demons, sometimes in the most gruesome ways possible. The game is very unapologetic about this, which is refreshing in a time when many games focus on story and play out like an interactive movie. This is much more a throwback to simpler times, run and gun, and it can be quite fun. See More
DOOM differs from most modern shooters because it abandons cover-based gunplay and instead encourages you to never stop advancing. This is achieved by not only making your character very nimble, allowing you to run at high speeds and jump great distances, but also by removing weapon reloading entirely. There is also the glory kill system, which restores your health whenever you melee kill an enemy, so no waiting for your health to restore by itself either. All of this creates exhilarating gunplay where you never have to pause for anything. See More
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Each of the protagonists in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are positive and optimistic in their own ways, standing out as a bright and sunny cast throughout the story. The main character, Rex, is a young guy who loves treasure hunting and exploring, and he believes in always doing the right thing. His optimism is infectious and helps drive the main quest forward. His main companion, Pyra, is a peaceful young woman entrusted with a dangerous power that she wished she didn't have, making her fear her own destructive potential. She and Rex find strength and hope from one another to keep pressing on. The rest of the main cast are just as upbeat, if not more, like the cheery engineer named Tora who works hard to keep up with how powerful Rex and Pyra are as a team. The healer of the group, Nia, tends to be grumpy, but she's cool with joking around and smiling when she wants to. Everyone's positive attitudes are uplifting and refreshing, making them enjoyable to spend time with. See More
Even after a few patches, there are still some framerate issues while playing Xenoblade Chronicles 2 on a TV or in handheld mode. While playing on a TV, there are some framerate drops, but they're not so bad. They only happen when there's a lot going on, like during hectic battles with a bunch of abilities firing off with particle effects everywhere. On handheld mode, the framerate drops in the same instances, and it's pretty noticeable. Some more patches should fix the drops in due time, but until then, you'll have to expect some dips in performance here and there, especially in handheld mode. See More
There are many chances for your companions to chit-chat or blurt out whatever's on their mind while you explore together, letting you get to know them better outside of cutscenes in the main quest. Your party members will cheer each other on in battle or caution you to retreat when your health runs low, say good morning to everyone when you wake up at an inn, or talk one-on-one for regular conversations at certain times. Spread throughout the world are optional markers that you can select for Heart-to-Heart moments where some or all of your party members can talk to each other about almost anything. They'll reminisce about their pasts, or tease your other companions and joke around. Sometimes you'll even get to see new sides of characters that help flesh them out even more. All of these small details and conversations help your party feel like actual friends and teammates, not just a band of characters that happen to be on the same journey. See More
Even though some of the voice acting in English is amazing, there are other characters whose voices just sound bad in comparison. Characters like Rex and Nia who have Yorkshire and Welsh accents, respectively, sound fresh and charming, but the ones with American accents usually sound out of place or forced. Luckily, you have the option of playing with the Japanese voices instead if you'd rather not take the chance on the English voice acting. See More
Xenoblade Chronicles 2's gorgeous music adds a lot to the game's expansive world, making the levels seem larger and the towns and cities feel more alive. There are daytime and nighttime versions for most tracks, helping to set the tone either for sunny days or moody nights wherever you are. Exploring the glittering lakes and lush forests inside of a Titan while the nighttime version of "Kingdom of Uraya" plays is a great experience, with a mesmerizing chorus singing over romantic and adventurous pianos and wind instruments. If you arrive to the kingdom's capital at night, right away you'll get a sense of the city's mystery from the soft acoustic guitar and nostalgic, echoing sound effects in the background. These types of moments with the music help to flesh out the world even more, telling a story through the soundtrack that sticks with you alongside the visuals. See More
The final section of the game is an absolute slog, filled with way too many cutscenes and frustrating barriers, ruining the flow of the plot. As you play through the last levels, you'll run for a few minutes through an area, sit through a long cutscene, run again, get stopped by another cutscene, and so on until you reach the final boss. The worst offenders are the environmental barriers that you can't get past unless your party members have certain passive abilities unlocked from their skill trees, like having Wind Mastery to make an air duct push you up higher over a wall. You'll have to go back and grind the requirements for these abilities if you haven't already, forcing the story's momentum to a halt. The barrage of cutscenes and the unskippable environmental barriers are awful design decisions that could ruin your time with the finale. See More
The main story will easily take you over 60 hours to complete, not including side activities, and the New Game+ mode unlocks even more optional content. The story itself is packed with action-filled and emotional cutscenes, and beyond those, there are lots of side quests and secrets elsewhere that you can explore at your leisure. Special, hard-to-reach areas of the map have valuable treasure with money and rare items, and there are a bunch of side quests that you can find from NPCs in town or out in the open world. New Game+ gives you the chance to find even rarer items and new unlocks in your characters' skill trees, letting you take on stronger monsters that you might not have been ready for in your first playthrough. You could also bring along different party members for side events and get to see any of their unique dialog that you missed out on the first time. There's so much to do and discover that a completionist will no doubt find 200+ hours of content here. See More
The anime and JRPG tropes can make Xenoblade Chronicles 2's story and characters downright unbearable, even for players who enjoy Japanese media. The antagonists are mostly one-dimensional with impractical, edgy designs. Rex gets embarrassed in exaggerated ways whenever he's close to Pyra, some of your companions exist mostly as dumb comic relief, and there's an android-type character that's heavily implied to exist as someone's maid. These issues bog down the plot in cheap ways, lifted straight out of any generic anime you might come across. The game also goes all-in on the tired JRPG trope of a group of friends joining together to defeat a god--even one of Rex's combat lines talks about how they'll actually defeat their enemies "with the power of friendship." This route would have been fine if the game had tried to spice things up, but sadly, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 feels like more of the same. These stereotypes are overdone and cringey, and they'll more than likely be a deal-breaker for players who already dislike these types of tropes. See More
Combat here is frantic and busy, with many abilities to keep track of, as well as special attacks and party-wide finishers that do more damage based on how well you time a few QTE sequences. Things start out basic with simple auto attacks, and as you land these, your abilities become available to use for either more damage, more crowd control and enmity gain, or healing spells. Quite a few damage-based abilities are stronger when you're in front of an enemy, behind it, or on their flank, so you'll want to constantly change up where you stand to maximize your damage output. You also have your special attacks that are freed up as you keep using abilities. Timing your button presses during QTEs for an Excellent rating will do the most damage, and it will also fill up your party gauge the fastest. Once your party gauge is full, you can chain special attacks together from each of your companions to unleash a powerful attack, with the giant damage number popping up on the screen to show how well you did. It sounds like a complicated system, but the game does a good job of introducing things one at a time with easy-to-follow tutorials, helping you to learn everything as you go. See More
Trying to find your way to quest markers is really frustrating because of how poorly-designed the overhead map is. All you have is a vertical line at the top of the screen that shifts with your orientation, and a red square with an exclamation point that's meant to point you toward the next main quest, or blue squares for side quests. Your only indications of where to go are the number telling you how far away you are and an arrow to guide you up or down. While trying to go in the general direction of the marker, you'll run into obstacles or dead-ends, forcing you to backtrack and wander around for about an hour before finding where you need to go. Because the open world is so huge with a crazy amount of verticality, these objective markers are way too simple, making exploration a pain for those who don't want to look up guides online. See More
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has an incredibly huge and unique open world filled with dense locations, giving you the feeling that you're truly on an epic quest. You'll cross sprawling maps filled with docile creatures, hostile monsters, and secret locations with valuable treasure, until you find one of the game's many living, breathing settlements. Smaller, tight-knit towns are as impressive as the game's bigger, more technologically-advanced cities because of how lively everything feels, packed with many bustling shops to buy gear and food, and NPCs to chat with and pick up side quests from. The ground you walk on is actually on the backs and the insides of gigantic Titans--huge, peaceful dinosaur-like creatures tall enough to reach the clouds. You can find a whole kingdom with a purple sky and red trees on the inside of one Titan, and an entire holy city with impressive classical architecture on the back of another Titan. The world's scope and size really instills the sense that you're on an amazing adventure with so much to explore and discover. See More
It's great that this game is so positive, but the story has trouble balancing the upbeat themes with its more serious, dramatic moments. This happens on both a small scale with specific plot points and on a larger scale where it becomes harder and harder to suspend your disbelief as the story goes on. At one point, there's a tense scene filled with urgency where you need to rush off to save someone as soon as possible. Then, as soon as those cutscenes are over, some of your party members suggest that you go have fun with a side activity that's tone deaf and inappropriate for a time like this. Because everyone's so cheery and optimistic, it's tough to take the game seriously when it explores more grounded themes like war, corrupt religions, and philosophical science fiction. The times when the story tries to be dark and mature, it comes off as fake and comical, especially later on in the game. It's a shame that there's no balance between the two, resulting in dramatic or touching story moments that might only make you scoff or roll your eyes. See More
There are a few female characters in the game whose proportions don't look right at all. Pyra and a couple of other characters have small frames and oversized breasts that look ridiculous. Their tight-fitting clothes and exposed skin make the proportions even more obvious, causing distractions during cutscenes. It's possible to tune these things out after a while, but it's still a strange design choice. See More
You can play with up to 4 players in split screen mode. You'll be able to select the track, number of laps, and the vehicle speed. A really nice addition to the multiplayer mode is the option to turn the AI vehicles off. That way you can just enjoy the racing action with your friends and not have to deal with any computer controlled racers. See More
While some tracks feature hazards and obstacles that are easy to plan around such as careful jumps and rotating blades, some are fairly obnoxious in their presentation. It can feel super cheap when you wreck due to a random boulder or asteroid hitting you. This can be especially devastating in Hero mode, where you only get one life. See More
There are around 30 race tracks, all of them with their own unique aesthetic. No two tracks will play out in the same way either, as each one features its own distinct style and hazards. One has you zipping around a rain forest during an intense storm. Another has you racing in a futuristic city in the sky with insane jumps. There's even a desert with raging sandstorms that will roll over the track. From futuristic cities to natural landscapes, it has a little bit of everything. See More
Fast RMX is built around simply driving fast, and that sheer sense of speed is translated incredibly well into the gameplay. The background scenery whips past you as you're picking up power orbs, hitting boost zones, and dodging hazards. Maneuvering around the tracks, taking tight corners, and overtaking opponents all happens at such a fast speed that it's hard not to enjoy. Hitting a ramp with full boost just in time to overtake an opponent is awesome. Everything just moves so fast resulting in some pretty intense racing action. See More
There are 15 vehicles to choose from, each with their own stats, but they all pretty much play exactly the same. The minor stat differences between the individual vehicles don't have enough variance to effect the gameplay. Each vehicle controls and acts in a similar manner, with the only difference being the physical appearance. See More
There are a couple of interesting game play mechanics that add a fun challenge to the racing genre. First is the power orbs. Trying to collect them all as you zip around the tracks can add a nice little challenge as you'll have to maneuver just right. They can be used to give you a boost of speed when no boost zone is nearby. This allows you to recover easily from crashes, overtake tricky opponents, and get boosts of speed on-demand. Knowing when and how to use them adds a fun layer to racing. The second is the blue and orange boost zones themselves. You can phase shift your vehicle to blue or orange to take advantage of these zones. Shifting color to take full advantage of each boost while also keeping an eye on your driving provides a pretty unique challenge not often seen in other racing games. See More
The visuals are minimalist but bright and colorful. When blasting aliens to pieces, watching them explode into geometric shapes with bold lines and vibrant colors is super appealing. Weapon effects look great, and the animations on everything are incredibly smooth. Seeing the screen fill up with all kinds of well-defined shapes and bright colors compliments the action well. Despite all the colorful action taking place, it never feels cluttered or chaotic. The simple style makes it easy to track what's happening on-screen, resulting in a great visual experience. See More
Taking what you've learned over time, and then playing challenge mode versions of older levels for a higher score is where the game truly shines. Learning how to properly manage your weapons, dealing with various enemy types, and learning to control your ship to evade attacks can all feel especially rewarding when you finally beat an old high score or take top position on the online leaderboards. See More
Most levels are basically just a color swap from the one prior. There aren't a whole lot of enemy types either, meaning you'll be encountering the same ones throughout most of the game. Additionally, all weapon types are available from the start, so you'll be using the same ones for every level. See More
Getting the highest score on each level encourages fast-paced play thanks to the metrics of the scoring system. For example, going too long without a shooting an enemy or not rotating between weapons fast enough will cause your score to be lower. Flying your ship around, making full use of your various weapons, and shooting enemies quickly in an attempt to get the highest score possible results in some pretty intense arcade action since it pushes you to be aggressively involved at all times. See More
You have one basic weapon and three special weapons, and strategically managing them can be quite interesting. The only way to use the three special weapons is through killing enemies and collecting their energy. Since this energy is finite, your firepower is ultimately limited. Different enemies are weak against different weapons, but you can't just spam them constantly since they will also overheat from too much use. Knowing when to use each weapon, conserving energy, and rotating among your arsenal to unleash maximum damage can be quite a fun experience. See More
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