Weekplay 202225

It's been a while since I plunged into the depths of Knytt Underground. Last time I've played it was on my PlayStation Vita, earplugs and all, wallowing in its warm darkness.

This is still an effortless 2D metroidvania providing a soothing experience. There's not much frustration here with instant respawns when something fails and consistent physics making the environment readily readable. And its soundtrack is still divine.

Replaying it on a Steam Deck has proven to be an excellent choice, and if you've never experienced this game, I urge you to give it a go. Word of warning, the first two "chapters" are both essentially tutorials, allowing you to switch between both characters in chapter 3.

While Cyberpunk 2077 had some trouble in making its world feel sufficiently cyberpunk-ish, Cloudpunk just dives head-first into the Blade Runner aesthetic. All while rendering this world in a slightly higher cubic resolution than Minecraft.

The game is essentially a string of fetch quests feeding you exposition while travelling. While basic, the game is rather upfront about it and as such doesn't frustrate with aspects being or not being there. I even experienced a bit of a wow moment as the game allows you to jump out of your car and venture on foot in either third and first person views. It's crude, but somehow its atmosphere is just perfect.

Also fun is that I picked this up after its pseudo-sequel Nivalis was announced, which is actually the city Cloudpunk takes place in. Can't wait for that wow moment to evolve into a light management sim.

I'm not quite willing to give up on Cyberpunk 2077, hoping that it'll come into its own eventually. And guess what? It kind of does. With the introductions out of the way, the main story quests all highlight some core aspects of the genre and slowly flesh out some characters. It's not mind-blowing, but at the very least it can stand on its own two feet now.

A bit of a bummer is that cyberspace is rendered in the same way as the Braindance edit scene, but instead of using a pixelated cube filter, it's using a pixelated dot filter. This made the cyberspace experience a lot less impressive and I suspect some players might not even have noticed the difference.

On the weird side, bumping into a full-blown, none-to-subtle Portal reference of all things was a bit of a head-scratcher. It's fun, sure, but ancient1 by now and it feels quite out of place. Unless all the Delamain cars are supposed to be references to famous fictional AIs, in which case, I've just been blissfully ignorant so far.

Though I’m not enjoying the game fully, I’ve gotten to the stage that I’m… tolerating it? Strange, but I'm glad to be past the point of forcing myself to keep playing.

Eiyuden Chronicle Rising is still mindless questing and grinding.

Whereas Cyberpunk 2077 has some highs and lows, Rising just meanders along. I would pay more attention to the NPCs talking, but everything is presented so minimally, it’s hard to get excited by it when you could be bashing monsters instead. Because, yes the combat still has a nice rhythm to it, especially when you manage some link attacks.

Still, there’s little here to break up the monotony, and while that is similar to how Suikoden did things (in that game, the personal stakes of all characters involved made mundane events into potential minefields), Rising just remains simplistic, and I do hope its upcoming big brother will stick closer to the Suikoden template.

1 Yeah, well that remark didn't last long thanks to a Nintendo Direct…