Monday, November 21, 2016

It never got better

I gave Exist Archive about five hours. In that five hours it presented an interesting premise: the characters may or may not have been killed and may or may not be in some twisted version of the afterlife. It also offered up a reasonable facsimile of Valkyrie Profile style combat, just with boring looking 3D models instead of sprites.

Correction: the game presented all of this in the first thirty minutes. It then did nothing for the next four and a half hours. No overworld to explore, combat areas that all look similar, recycled enemies and enemy formations, and no plot movement. Nothing happened. Identical quests in identical areas.

It is tempting to blame this on the game's handheld roots and its attempt to be bite sized but even as a staunchly anti-handheld person (no TV, no game) it is not that simple. The game being boring has nothing to do with its venue. It's boring because nothing fucking happens. Give me something between battles, a nugget of plot, more than a few lines of dialogue between characters so I can differentiate them beyond their ridiculous outfits. Anything other than going back and running the same dungeon again to make sure that I am not underleveled.

No sale. Exist Archive is bad, regardless of where you play it. And not the kind of bad that I can enjoy, not aggressively bad or arrogantly bad or even bad due to incompetence. It's not a train wreck, it's a boring bus ride to work that it too short to read a book but too long to do nothing. It is infuriatingly familiar but will never approach the game whose memories it tingles.

I do not say this lightly - it was a waste of time.

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