Friday, October 20, 2017

And my eyes said 'meh'

I try to not make snap judgements about a game on looks alone. 'Try' is as honest as I can be seeing that I purchased an Xbox One S, a PS4 Pro, and 4K television and have an Xbox One X pre-ordered. I like the pretties but I 'try' to not dismiss a game just because it doesn't scrape the film off of my eyeballs with its high resolution prowess. Style and cutting edge visuals are not the same thing. As a recent example, Hotline Miami had style, Ruiner looked better, only one will I remember after more than a few weeks have passed.

Ys VIII looks, and I mean no offense to the handheld loyalists, like a Vita game. It looks like a slightly shiner PS3 game with simply textures, hard edges, characters with limited detail and a lot of repeated environments. Tales games suffer from this as well, but not to this extent. Berseria looked like a late PS3 game and Ys VIII could have been a launch title.

This is a shame because it plays quite well. Smooth would be a fine word to use: combat starts out simple but enemies hurt enough that the player must dodge instead of just eating attacks. The crafting system does not force farming as, at least for now, what is needed is gathered just by exploring the environment. Equipment is sparse but offers meaningful upgrades to stats. It plays like a well polished action RPG that happens to inhabit a series that I know nothing about.

But it looks boring. I have found the map difficult to use as environmental landmarks are few and far between. Characters do not change in appearance as new items are equipped (something else that Tales games are guilty of). Random enemies are small and lack detail. My jaded eyeballs are expecting more. They expect all of the digital power under the hood of the (soon to be eclipsed) most power console available to be used for something.

Sure, the frame rate is solid, but I would expect as much from a game that could probably be run on my discount android tablet and/or my dusty Switch. It's not fair but it is reality. Ys VIII is, so far, a good game, but sitting under it is the Uncharted stand alone expansion, an experience guaranteed to at least temporarily sate my desire for all of the polygons, all of the time.


My Coming Soon list is starting to stress me out. I didn't play any of the horror games I wanted to and October is almost over. At the rate it has been moving I will get to The Evil Within 2 and the new South Park some time next year and I know that when I get my Xbox One X I will end up playing nothing but Forza 7 for a week and then possibly dip back into Killer Instinct to see how it looks at 4K 60 fps.

I need to rethink this hobby of mine, all facets of it, from playing to writing this to the podcast.

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