Quick Game Reviews – Road 96, Balan Wonderworld, Watchdogs Legion

Road 96 – Good – A walking simulator with a few minigames to give it a bit of variety. The graphics are nice but not realistic looking. Follow the stories of many teenagers on the road as you work your way through the journey to the border meeting characters along the way who can be funny, slightly frightening and possibly insane. There are better looking story games with more impressive stories but this was a nice way to pass a few hours. I could have written more but spoilers are hard to avoid given that you should experience the game yourself. It’s easy Gamerscore and there’s New Game + to do after.

Balan Wonderworld – Terrible – A 3D platformer game where the gimmick is that the character collects costumes which grant abilities (which aren’t very different from each other). Speech is all in Japanese which isn’t bad in and of itself but the rhythm of a voice is harder to understand in a foreign language making it less engaging. There is a choice of subtitle language. The game has twelve levels split into two chapters and a boss level. The levels are connected by a hub world where colourful chicken-like creatures called Tims roam and multiply, the player can feed the Tims which speeds the breeding process eventually resulting in a mechanical tower being constructed for them to play in, this ends up being like a minor farm simulator game randomly placed as part of a platformer. The story starts out with a stroppy child going into a strange house where a man that has eyes in his hat sends them to a Wonderworld without much explanation as only a brief dance attempts to explain anything. Each level focuses on a different character and their struggles in life but the context is only given after a level is complete giving the stories an odd structure. There’s more dancing once each story is resolved which just left me wondering what was going on as I couldn’t understand the language of the songs. NPCs fade out of existence, all buttons do the same thing (in a stupid control scheme) and it’s so bafflingly weird that it’s not fun at all.

Watchdogs Legion – Bad – The third person shooter, city exploration game with a hacking twist. Plot places Dedsec as terrorists in a futuristic version of London dominated by the CTOS system. The player must use operatives to capture different areas until the city is free. There is no main character, instead any NPC can be recruited to play as (in theory this means a varied experience but not many of the characters are worth using). With the characters there is a choice of whether to have permadeath on or not which could cause some attachment to characters but without one major personality it is hard to care about them. This all leads to a gameplay loop of infiltration and recruitment which isn’t satisfying or entertaining enough for the average player. There are stand out story missions that can be quite interesting but so much is just repetitive. The hacking that made Watchdogs stand out as a series is still present but the only major improvement is that drones can be used as a tool or weapon, however I found myself on foot with a gun more often than stealthily hacking through cameras. Watchdogs Legion’s big mistake is dropping the main character as it has a fantastic map for exploring and a hacking mechanic that held up two games, it’s just not fun and gives players little reason to be invested.

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