JoaLoft

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  1. #260 - Wreckfest (PS5) Time for some mayhem and destruction, just the game I was looking for! ... Who am I kidding, I just want to finish some games in my PS5 collection so I can use that SSD storage sparingly. It isn't particularly big after all, so I reckoned maybe I should shake things up a bit with a racing game. Wreckfest fits the bill of destructive racing very well, with events catering to demolitionists alike, if your job application at the local bomb squad was respectfully declined. Cars will crash and parts will fly in this spiritual successor of sorts to the FlatOut games. Most of my time was spent in the career mode, but the trophy list invites players to compete with human players as well. The more I played it, the less I got invested, however. The destruction derbies were the most fun, along with small racing tracks featuring perilous intersections where cars can cross one another at high speed and send each other flying, with disastrous consequences. The regular races - which still feature the same damage models - just weren't as entertaining. Eighty percent into the career mode, I skimmed the trophy list to check how much I was missing because I had lost interest by then. Maybe because some racing tracks tend to pop up more than others, maybe because the novelty wore off after the first ten hours. One big plus, is how the adaptive triggers function in the PS5 version of Wreckfest. The more damage your car sustains, the more resistant the triggers will get to accelerate or reverse. A neat touch which does make the damage transcend the virtual space, straight to your fingers. I had fun for the most part, but I do think this one is ready for a one-way trip to the proverbial scrap heap. A good game which functioned as a nice appetizer in between bigger dishes, but one I'm glad I was able to wash down with a nice shiny platinum trophy. Most frustrating trophy - Showing Some Dedication There are a few bullshit trophies to deal with in Wreckfest, such as driving one full hour with the lawnmower vehicle (really?) or getting wrecked 100 times in total (something you'll always actively avoid, of course!). The one that annoyed me the most, was reaching level 50. Once you finish the career mode, you'll be about ten levels away from hitting that milestone if you've been racing on easy mode. So for the remainder of my time, I had to set up a custom race against the same lawnmowers with a bigger car, and crash as much into them as I could on the highest difficulty to give that XP a big boost. Kind of irritating, nothing too intense, but it just felt like such a waste of time. All relative though, because the platinum trophy can be acquired in several days from start to finish. Time to move on to something a bit more substantive.
  2. Same here in Europe, been downloading for fifteen minutes now or so. Welp, looks like I'm going to have to make some time for a back-to-back PS4 and PS5 playthrough of the game, but I'm excited to jump in soon! (Still haven't played it on PS4 either)
  3. There you go! I'll edit the topic title to let everyone know it's seemingly fixed for everyone (or will be very soon). Enjoy the expansion!
  4. That's one I'm on the fence about, $70/€80 goes past the tipping point of my willingness to pay for a new game at launch, so I'm waiting on a sale later. I've got plenty of other games to play in the meantime, haha. Enjoy the new Ratchet & Clank, I hear it's an amazing platformer! Feel free to drop a message here when Episode INTERmission becomes available for you in Australia. I suggest just trying it every hour or so, shouldn't take long before you'll finally be able to download it too.
  5. I don't think executing a factory reset will fix it. I'm sure the AU department is just a bit behind. But don't worry, it should resolve itself. I presume it's late in the evening over there right now, so odds are when you wake up, the expansion will be accessible. If it isn't within the next hour or so, because they're hard at work this very moment to fix it worldwide, I'm assuming.
  6. No, nothing special. I just let the game redownload again an hour ago, to make absolutely sure there was no conflict within the installed software. What region are you in? I'm EU-based and the download is working over here in Belgium now.
  7. Accessing it through "Manage Content" didn't work either unfortunately, tried that. Great news: I just tried downloading it again to see if they fixed it, and it's downloading at this very minute. Seems they've resolved it in the past hour! Can you verify by going to your FF7 application and trying to download it too?
  8. Already got in touch with my local Square Enix rep - he said multiple reports with the same code came in, so it's out of our hands. No time frame on when it'll be resolved, but my guess is that it won't take (too) long. This is a brand-new expansion release of a high-profile PlayStation exclusive, so it's in their best interest to give this full priority.
  9. This time, I've got a slightly different platinum post to share. Seeing as how I got a PS5 recently, I've let several digital games autopop. Don't expect a big write-up on any of these platinum trophies, considering I already got these in the past, so I'll keep it short. #257 - No Man's Sky (PS5) Game has improved significantly since launch. They kept adding more and more free expansions, turning around their disastrous 2016 launch into a jam-packed game full of variety. Definitely worth playing! #258 - Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege (PS5) Been playing since its launch in December 2015, and it's still one of the best tactical shooters out there. Precautions have been taken over the years to deal with teamkillers and the game's community has improved a lot since then as well. I still jump into matches these days when new operators are injected into what is my favorite multiplayer game of the last console generation. #259 - Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade (PS5) Just unlocked this on PS5, but I actually wrote a full post about it a few months ago when I completed everything on PS4. You can read my analysis here.
  10. So, downloaded Intergrade, ready to dive into the new Yuffie expansion, and I've been getting error code CE-107880-4 trying to download/install it. Restoring licenses didn't help, by the way. I did some quick research and it turns out many more FF7 Intergrade gamers have been hit by the error code this morning when they want access to the DLC, so it's an issue on Sony's end. Nothing to do but patiently wait until they fix it. Anyone else here also struck by the same error? EDIT: Sony seems to have fixed the problem on their end in most regions by now, if not all of them. The DLC should be accessible for everyone worldwide on PS5.
  11. Hopefully a much bigger Astro Bot platformer. Playroom convinced me they know their way around the controller, and the possibilities it opens up. I just want more: more worlds to platform through and more speedrun levels.
  12. #256 - Astro's Playroom About a week ago, I was able to snatch a PlayStation 5 without having to bend the knee to some scalping waste of atoms. I got one through a legitimate multimedia store. Despite owning a huge catalog of games to start experiencing on what is undoubtedly the most popular piece of COVID-era entertainment technology, I decided to jump into the pre-installed Astro's Playroom, curious about the new controller's functions. Ten hours later: this game has no reason to be anywhere near as entertaining as it is. This piece of software - although that description sounds very derogatory - is available for free for all new PlayStation 5 owners, so you'd expect some glorified 15-minute tech demo. Instead what you get with Astro's Playroom is a full platformer, making use of all the nifty features the new DualSense controller has in store in four different worlds accessible from a central hub. Playing as Astro Bot, you are thrown into an interactive experience disguised as the internal PS5 hardware, walking around "CPU Plaza", visiting worlds based on the SSD, the GPU and so on. Each area focuses not only on a key piece of the hardware, it also invites you to explore hidden areas to find "Artifacts" which are collectibles, each focusing on one of the PS5 predecessors and their respective peripherals. The new "Game Help" feature on the PS5 even assists you in locating any missing collectibles without you needing to consult an online guide. Astro's Playroom doesn't only demonstrate the DualSense's capabilities very well, it's also a pretty cool interactive showcase of PlayStation history, from the first world you enter to the secret fifth world with a fitting end boss to beat. Even the soundtrack delivers in this free game, there are multiple tracks where I started humming along unconsciously, one of which is the witty GPU song. With an actual giant GPU singing in the physical background of the GPU Jungle world. And throughout all the levels you'll find tons of easter eggs depicting a (former) PlayStation exclusive: bots will reenact The Last of Us, Ghost of Tsushima, Final Fantasy VII (Remake), Death Stranding, Ape Escape, Killzone, Devil May Cry, Resident Evil, God of War, Crash Bandicoot and loads more. I won't give them all away, because it's much more enjoyable to spot and recognize themselves. On top of that: zero faults in Astro's Playroom. No bugs, no boring segments, nothing. I am - again - astounded this was given for free to all PlayStation 5 owners. The only thing I could ask for, is just more Astro. This was a full yet relatively short platformer, you can finish the whole game in five hours if you're quick. I wanted more levels to platform through, more speedrun levels to master. If this was a testrun to see if people are in for a bigger Astro, then I think I speak on behalf of a lot of gamers when I state that we'd love a bigger Astro game with just more platforming goodiness to gobble up. I did enjoy myself so much with it, that I tackled the speedrun levels too and tried perfecting my runs more and more to eventually top my friends leaderboard, despite the speedrun trophy belonging to the add-on list. Most frustrating trophy - ... NONE! Thanks to the aforementioned Game Help menu on the PS5, Astro's Playroom offers no difficulty in obtaining every trophy, if there was any to begin with. There are some miscellaneous ones to complete, collecting all the Artifacts from all PlayStation consoles, beating all the levels, ... it's pretty much a free platinum trophy. Above anything else, I feel it's obligatory to force everyone with a brand-new PlayStation 5 to play Astro's Playroom before they touch anything else. It showcases what the new controller is capable of in wonderful ways, it's adorable and it's just fun to play. Fun always comes first, trophies come second. And Astro's Playroom embraces that ideology with charm.
  13. #255 - Days Gone Am I ready for yet another post-apocalyptic zombie game? I feel like the genre has been milked dry for years now. And if they didn't release one for the next five years, I wouldn't bat an eye. But I've been trying to make a dent in my PlayStation Plus collection, and as it happened: Days Gone was next on the menu. Little did I know that I'd be spending almost two weeks on the game, because my God, is it a long one. Set in a post-apocalyptic open world (again), you play as Deacon St. John, a former motorbike club member who is trying to survive two years after a deadly pandemic *cough*, doing jobs for outposts, dealing with hordes of the rabid infected and looking for his missing wife, Sarah, who is presumed dead. It's very obvious that Bend Studio took a page from the "The Last of Us" book. The first five minutes include a cutscene of the night when the virus starts spreading havoc via the first infected, as you are helping a wounded character called Sarah to escape. And much later in the third act, you are visiting a community college campus to locate a barricaded science building in the back. Especially the college bit coaxed me into expressing a slightly frustrating "Oh come on now" as I hoped the carbon copying would end there. Thankfully, this is where the similarities stop, but it is simply undeniable that The Last of Us was a big source of inspiration for this game. By the way, those first five minutes are the only ones you're getting to introduce you before the game drops you with a time leap of two years forward in the post-apocalyptic world with instant gameplay. As such, the story's pacing is unbalanced. The first five to ten hours you are exploring the open world with very little introduction or explanation, and you are simply coming to terms with the gameplay and how you need to complete jobs, collect resources, upgrade your equipment, make sure your bike's fuel tank is topped off, clearing infestation nests and marauder camps, unlocking skills, and so on. A process that repeats itself constantly. They could've really cut this first act shorter with less tasking, and more fleshing out of the story. Starting in the second act when you finally drive south to new unlocked regions, the story suddenly opens up a lot more and it actually blossoms into something much more captivating until the very end. This bad pacing is most likely why a lot of people and reviewers stopped bothering after ten hours, which is a shame. Because you are rewarded afterwards with much more narrative content, even though some of the plot twists can be seen coming from a mile away. One thing I will give Days Gone exceptional praise for, is that it actually isn't afraid to dive deeper and explain the pandemic's point of origin, tying it into the story around Deacon and his connections themselves. Something that a lot of post-apocalyptic media (be it a movie, book, TV show or game) just don't care about. It is also a very long game, it delivers that really slow burn you'd find in Red Dead Redemption 2 as well - a game with better story pacing, mind you. In terms of length, you get a lot of value for your money. Everything unfolds in small waves over the course of dozens of hours, but that doesn't mean it outstays its welcome. Part of that is thanks to great acting performances, notably from Sam Witwer as Deacon St. John. As the story becomes significantly more engrossing after those first ten hours, I also felt more connected to the cast and wanted to see everything through to the end. Same goes for the audio design: it is one of the superior aspects, particularly with headphones. Deacon's footsteps of his boots on different types of terrain have a nice gritty sound to them, and same goes for the motorcycle, your main source of transportation. A nice little addition is that there's a tally of the number of Days Gone (get it?) since the start of the pandemic, in the pause menu. It goes up by one with the break of every new dawn in the dynamic day-and-night cycle. I felt like I could keep track of how many days I've been spending in this world, and over a 130 full days in-game must have passed before I reached the ending. Two things stand out most in Days Gone though: first of all, your motorcycle. Throughout the game and unlocking better upgrades, you will customize your trusty rusty companion with better parts, new features, different skins and decals (some of which are from other PlayStation exclusives) and so on. And it rides beautifully thanks to a really solid physics engine. Your bike will run out of fuel at times if you don't fill it up again at gas stations or with fuel canisters lying about - especially in the early parts of the game - so you'll also need to cleverly rev the engine uphill and coast downhill to save on gas or petrol. This becomes useless once you unlock much bigger fuel tanks and the nitro boost, allowing you to traverse long distances with great ease. Secondly: the Hordes. This feature is only prominently displayed in the second half of the game, but it is one of the big highlights. These are essentially groups of hundreds of Freakers (the terminological equivalent of zombies in this lore) who will chase you down at times in later story missions or in specific locations all over the world map. You'll need everything you got to take these down: grenades, molotovs, proximity bombs, semi-automatic weapons with high-end perks... They are fun to fight, and they're exhiliariating to confront. I'll never forget how I was casually burning out an infestation nest - which only holds about five or ten Freakers - and as I went inside to collect Nest Residue (a crafting component), I stumbled upon an actual horde waiting inside, prompting me to make a full 180° and shout "Ooohh MY FUCKING GOD THERE'S A HORDE IN HERE!!" Especially the biggest Hordes in the game - some hiding in dark caves, others in abandoned sites and mass graves - are terrifying but also provide a nice challenge and satisfaction once you take them down. However, this game does have other flaws. Textures would load in very late in a few cutscenes on a base PS4, and I encountered numerous bugs, such as a story Horde not spawning, falling through a bridge which had not materialized yet as I approached it, enemies floating in the air, a quest marker incorrectly placed somewhere, ... These are all rare exceptions, but they did happen once. And I suppose one could say that a lot of the tasks you're entrusted with in between bigger story beats can feel like menial chores. That all being said: the pros do outweigh the cons, at the end of the day. Most frustrating trophy - ... NONE! The trophies of Days Gone are all unmissable and you will unlock everything naturally as you complete both mandatory and optional missions/locations. Hit all the big story checkpoints, collect lots of bounties from defeated Freakers, unlock all the skills, find 75% of the collectibles, make a successful kill with every type of crossbow bolts, upgrade your bike, complete optional storylines, max out one of your stat meters, it is all typical trophy hunter fodder. But it is paced out well if you finish events here and there; I got the platinum trophy an hour after I let the credits roll. There was very little left for me to complete in the list, so even the trophy list doesn't stretch out things much beyond the main story and the regions you unlock. So the big question remains then: is Days Gone worth playing? Yes, but with a few caveats: keep in mind that it is a long game with a very slow build-up. You'll peel away more story layers as you explore and complete objectives left and right. And remember, the story's pacing is unbalanced. The first ten hours at minimum are flat-out uninteresting, but if you push through, you'll be treated to two-thirds of a pretty cool narrative where everything culminates. I am glad I decided to give it a go, the experience was a pleasant one, overall. I'm not mourning the fact that a potential sequel has been wiped off the table due to underwhelming reviews and sales figures, however, because it failed to grasp my attention fully from start to finish. First impressions matter a lot, and that is undoubtedly where Bend Studio took a wrong turn. I do recommend you play this one if you're ready to sink your teeth into it for a few weeks, as long as you're prepared to sift through the first tasteless layers until you reach the much richer meat waiting underneath.
  14. #254 - Subnautica My latest adventure has been quite the predicament. You'd think that halting a Mongol invasion and trying to cure the Black Scrawl deserved recognition and respect. But no: along comes Subnautica and asked me: "But have you actually, really, needed to survive yet?" Well, uhh, geez, I guess I haven't really had to worry about an empty belly, predatory fish or running out of oxygen. Cue the crashing down of my escape pod on a hostile alien planet, with nothing but a few protein bars and bottles of drinkable water stashed in its emergency compartment. Survive, I desperately needed to. And survive, I did. Subnautica takes place in the 22nd century, when a deep-space vessel called the "Aurora" enters the orbit of Planet 4546B and suddenly gets hit by an energy pulse, crash-landing on the water surface of the alien planet. Your escape pod lands on the water less than a kilometer away from the massive spaceship and as you climb out to assess the situation, the realization of the terrible mess you're in hits you. You need to find sustenance in the ocean, explore and catalogue, try to locate survivors, craft a temporary home to support your inevitable stay on the planet, and discover the origins of the energy pulse, but most importantly: find a way back home. This is not just about surviving, there is actually a storyline to follow, which already sets it apart from a similar game like Minecraft. Where the latter focuses much more on creativity and is procedurally generated, the former is a much meatier "game" with a fixed environment and subtly gives you goals to work towards without throwing concrete objectives in your face. Subnautica's world features a full day-and-night cycle and as such, at certain intervals in the game when x amount of days have passed since the crash or you discovered specific points of interest, events will trigger in the vicinity and radio calls will come in. In turn, those invite you to focus on exploring new areas and learning more about how other resources can be applied and converted. Also: seeing the huge Aurora stranded on the water close to you, is a great psychological addition: it reminds you constantly of the awful situation you're in, keeping you focused on surviving and discovering the way home. It's obvious that in a survival game like this, you will need to find blueprints by scanning the wreckage of the ship all around you, collect resources by exploring the various biomes in the ocean of Planet 4546B and then turn those into tools to dive further down to find even rarer materials, crafting even stronger tools and vessels to explore even further, and so on. The natural pacing in this game however, flows beautifully. You start with just your escape pod which contains a little bit of food and drinkable water, a medkit generator, a storage unit and a Fabricator (i.e. crafting station). There's no time to waste and you need to start catching fish in the nearest biome - which is also the safest, for obvious reasons - to cook more food and convert fish into water - as you gather your first metals and ores to create the first tools you need to make those first baby steps into adjacent biomes. Fast-forward the tape by roughly 25-30 hours and I have a humble underwater base running on solar power, a recharging battery station, a moonpool with an underwater vehicle and a scanner room to help locate resources easily. The game is cut up in three clear acts, in terms of progression: Act 1 lets you figure out how to stay alive and craft your first tools. Act 2 sees you set up and build your very own custom base with all the appliances you want to add. Act 3 takes you down below to the most dangerous biomes where the final pieces of the narrative puzzle lie. There is a hefty amount of appliances, improvements, ornaments and base structures to craft. Especially modifying everything will prove to be the key to success: your fins, survival blade, suit, air tank, scanner room, your submarine, your exosuit, your one-man recon vessel, ... It all ties in neatly to your base's evolution, which truly starts to feel like your own home after a while. A safe haven after you've been out and about discovering new terrifying fish, locating pieces of wreckage, gathering valuable resources and intel. And taking care of it like your own baby: you can build the base as big as you want. But with each hallway, room and glass window, your home will sustain more pressure and could actually flood! The very simple trick is making sure that you reinforce walls you're not using, so that the base is permanently safe. And no worries: anything can always be fixed with your trusty Repair Tool, one of many. Even a fully flooded base can be restored. Survival games have a tendency to be stressful, they constantly beg for your attention. "I'm about to starve, I need food! Oh God, I need to drink. Oh shit, my oxygen tank is almost empty, gotta swim to the surface fast! The batteries of my tools are dying!" That can be exhausting. But Subnautica manages to handle that key factor very well, by applying one simple mechanic: instead of stacking responsibilities on top, it adds new ones, but at the same time gives you a solution to relieve yourself of old ones. Case in point: during your first minutes, you'll jump in the water and grab fish, take those back to the pod and cook them in the Fabricator to sustain yourself. You'll be doing this for a little while, until you'll craft a survival knife used to slash fish. And many hours in, when you have other responsibilities to take care of: you can upgrade to a Thermoblade, which cooks fish instantly as you slash them and lets you eat on the spot! Another example: tools require batteries. Batteries drain. What do you do? Dump those in the water and craft new ones endlessly with even more resources, like some polluting asshole? Nope, you got a handy battery charger later on in your base to pop those empty batteries in! Or what about water? You always had to find Bladderfish to convert them into small drinkable bottles of water on a regular basis. Later? When you're busy exploring with your Seamoth (the one-man recon vessel) to find rarer materials, a water purifier at your base absorbs ocean water and converts that into big bottles of pure water and salt cubes. Come back home after some recon, add the big bottles of water waiting for you to your inventory, and the purifier gets started on the next batch. It's so simple, and easy. And fun. This game is so much fun! Do you realize how that feels, to experience a survival game with a near-perfect learning curve that keeps you focused and simultaneously entertained? It is a remarkable achievement, one I haven't witnessed at all in a very long time. Especially the very moment when you crafted all the materials needed for your Cyclops, the submarine, in the second half of the game. You prepare for thirty minutes, grab your food, load up the Prawn Suit (your exosuit), make sure the spare batteries and power cells are all charged, stock up on drinkable water. And then you take place in that big cockpit and embark on a one or two-hour deep-sea expedition to look for the rarest materials and explore the amazing huge cave systems underneath. The deeper you go, the more impressive it gets. (That's what she said.) Discovering the jaw-dropping underwater cave fauna and flora with that big submarine, turning on the external floodlights, the interior lights, putting out fires in the engine room after a collision with a huge underwater predator, ... I lost count of the times I stated out loud: "This is so cool!" And that is what makes Subnautica one of the best survival games I ever played. Beautifully crafted, with a tight yet very lenient and rewarding design. There are a few faults though: the game suffers from some weird visual yet rare glitches sometimes such as schools of fishes swimming through your base, and the game could crash occasionally. On that note: there is no autosave function. When my game crashed the first time, it cost me four hours of progress since my last manual save. Save often, every half hour tops! And the sprint button - whenever you're on dry land or in your base - has no toggle feature. After a while, your thumb does start to feel sore from pressing constantly. Luckily, they're small gripes in light of everything else. You know what would have made Subnautica even crazier? Two-player coop. Let that sink in. Most frustrating trophy - ... NONE! Almost every single trophy in Subnautica is progression-related and unmissable, save for one which can easily be achieved if you know what to do. And about half of them are golden trophies, adding nicely to your overall level. But I would like to appeal to everyone whose interest got piqued. There are multiple difficulty modes to enjoy this game: Survival Mode, Freedom Mode, Hardcore Mode and Creative Mode. Some are obviously easier than others: Creative Mode being the easiest one (although trophies allegedly don't pop in this one) and Hardcore Mode being absolutely brutal with its permadeath feature. Please don't just go for a super easy platinum by resorting to exploits and don't forsake the adventure that is Subnautica. It deserves to be played in Survival Mode, taking care of your basic needs while you slowly peel away the secrets the alien ocean holds. Savor this survival game, because it is unrivalled, in part thanks to its mesmerizing aquatic setting. If you've been keeping up with the PlayStation news, you would have seen that it was part of the Play At Home Initiative, one of many games they gave away for free to every single PlayStation user. If you have this game sitting untouched in your library for whatever reason: treat yourself and Subnautica right, and get your feet wet in what is undoubtedly one the finest indie games on the market.
  15. #253 - NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139... If you've already played NieR Automata and fell in love with it like everyone else: great! But what if you're wondering how everything came to pass in the sequel, when you've missed out on the first game, NieR: Gestalt (called NieR: Replicant in Japan) back in 2010? The Gods have heard and answered your prayers with this reworked definitive version of NieR Replicant, called version 1.22474487139 (the square root of 1.50), numerically describing that it isn't a plain remaster (i.e. version 1.00), nor a full remake (i.e. version 1.50). It is still mostly the same game, just revamped in a lot of areas with some brand-new content here and there. An approach which has turned a fairly mediocre game back then into an amazing modern remaster.. erhh remake, ahhh... reee-make...ster. Yes, let's just roll with that. The overall story of the NieR games is mind-boggling to say the least. Not confusing, just mind-boggling considering the scale of all the events that take place. And so as to avoid confusing someone who hasn't played any NieR games, or the Drakengard franchise for that matter, I'll just stick to the basics for this game. NieR Replicant takes place in the distant future, in 3465 AD to be precise. Humanity and modern society have mostly been reduced to rubble after a cataclysmic event way back in 2003 AD, which resulted in a lethal disease wiping out most of humanity. A cure has never been discovered, and as such, anyone contracting this terminal disease, named the "Black Scrawl", is beyond saving. You take control of a young man - who has unofficially been dubbed Nier by the gaming community, although you can name him whatever you like - whose younger sister, Yonah, contracts the very same "Black Scrawl" condition. On top of that, the world has been plagued for centuries by strange entities called "Shades" who threaten the existence of the remaining clusters of humans. Nier sets out to try and desperately find a cure for Yonah while fighting the Shades with the help of an all-powerful magic talking tome called "Grimoire Weiss" (which is perhaps one of the coolest talking books in fiction ever), a mysterious woman named "Kainé" and a blindfolded boy named "Emil" who has the ability to petrify anything with his eyes. Aside from visuals and voice-overs getting a big tune-up, combat has been overhauled as part of the rework, supervised by a PlatinumGames producer who did a fantastic job with Automata's super fluid movement and combat and applied the same mechanics here. There are plenty of weapons to find and upgrade with resources, so there's room to pick a specific playstyle. Grimoire Weiss acts as your ranged attack, allowing you to fire magical projectiles at enemies, and Kainé and Emil help out as your AI coop partners. The more enemies you eliminate, the more "Words" you add in your tome. These words are essentially perks you can equip on your personal weapons and magic attacks. Boss fights are all memorable at the least and carry narrative weight as you pursue every ending NieR Replicant has to offer, but more on that in a few paragraphs. And for those of you who love your in-game fishing or gardening (cricket chirping ensues), you have the ability to do so as well. However! As i bring this praiseful platinum post to a screeching halt for a minute: not everything in this definitive edition is a joy to experience. You'll need to do a fair bit of backtracking in pretty much all locations. These moments serve the plot pretty well, but regardless: you'll be visiting the same environments often. And the sidequests, despite yielding very solid monetary rewards in the second half of the game, are - I'm not going to even attempt and sugarcoat this a little bit - downright boring. Functioning as fetch quests, you'll kill a specific Shade here and there, collect pelts, vegetables, delivering mail, and so much more like some kind of shameless errand boy. Not even a glorified one at that. I'm already making it sound like this game has some big faults and hence should be cautiously approached. Nothing could be further from the truth: I highly recommend NieR Replicant and Automata! Highly. Why is NieR Replicant so memorable then? Its story, first of all. It tells a gripping tale which extends far beyond the relationship between Nier and his sister. The scope of the story's events is pretty massive once the finale sinks in and you realize the true meaning of everything. It defies traditional game design, making you replay the game multiple times to get the full experience. Whereas the average game lets you pick an ending based on choice, the endings in the NieR games all matter and are - mostly - stacked: each grants one big part of the narrative puzzle, meaning that with each New Game Plus playthrough, you'll see additional cutscenes and hear new dialogues, granting the final remaining pieces of the story. Perspective changes literally and figuratively: there's a unique combination of gameplay sections to keep things fresh. Not just that: the philosophical questions it throws your way subtly challenge you to question your actions as a player, and revolve around one big main theme: (self-)conscience. Extra playthroughs granting you a new perspective on what has transpired and what you've done, will change your view on characters and confrontations from badass or terrifying to heart-wrenching. There are definitely funny moments sprinkled around as well, but the main focus is tragedy. It would not be amiss to state that NieR Replicant could easily be dubbed "Feel Like Shit: The Game". This is not a gleeful little adventure. This is a mature and dramatic story, displaying how - again - the black-and-white characteristics of the average story are often one-dimensional, no matter how enjoyable other stories might be. The world of NieR is a very ambiguous one, and you'll experience the entire spectrum of emotions as everything unfolds. It will stick with you once you completely finished the game and put down your controller. For a long time. And the soundtrack is STELLAR. All caps. If Ghost of Tsushima's soundtrack is able to set the ground ablaze, NieR Replicant's soundtrack deserves to soar like a musical comet across the sky. It belongs to the best soundtracks I have ever heard in my life. There's a very good reason why Automata's OST won Soundtrack of the Year in 2017, and if Replicant's OST is allowed to participate this year as well (as a revised work), then I am willing to bet we already have our soundtrack winner of 2021. Even with those outdated, yet completely optional sidequests taken into account, NieR Replicant is a work of art and is living proof that video games can spark moral and ethical discussions beyond the fabric of the design itself. It is thought-provoking. it is heartbreaking. It is unique. Most frustrating trophy - Forging Master So, we talked about how unforgettable the overall experience is. The trophy list will give you a run for your money, however: all those optional activities? Yeah, you'll need to take those head-on. Catching the biggest fish in the game? That's part of the list. So is cultivating the Legendary Flower in your garden, which is the trophy I considered to put here initially. Growing that flower takes over an actual real-life week if you don't speed up the process by fiddling with the console's date and time settings! But the one that really lengthened the game unnecessarily, and broke the natural pacing of an otherwise captivating story, is "Forging Master", forcing you to upgrade 33 weapons fully (out of a total of 37 if you include the four free DLC weapons), to the fourth and highest level. Yet another drawn-out trophy which just feels pointless. Why do I need to upgrade 33 different weapons when I'll stick to my favorite one anyway? You can mitigate this along the way by grinding a bit early on and trying to gather the many various resources without having to collect everything later if you've been postponing this one. But you still will be searching frantically for very rare materials which cost a lot of time and only spawn if luck is in your favor. After a few days, I got fed up with trying to find Broken Wristwatches, Forlorn Necklaces, Damascus Steel or Broken Earrings. But those are not the worst. Two of the most irksome materials to collect, are Black Pearls and Memory Alloys. These two alone took me many hours to amass. If I need to find just one more Black Pearl or Memory Alloy, I'm afraid one of the veins on my forehead may actually pop. Pro tip: if you want an overall great weapon from the very beginning which deals tons of damage throughout the entire game, download the free DLC pack "4 YoRHa", which adds four weapons from Automata to your starting arsenal in NieR Replicant. Upgrading those will help you become really strong from the very beginning, and those upgraded weapons don't just count towards the total of 33 as well, they're easier than some of the other ones to upgrade. It's not much, but any little bit helps, right?