Getting raves and currently sits at 96 on Metacritic, which makes it (for now) the highest-rated PS4 exclusive and highest-rated PS4 game overall not produced by Rockstar. Wasted my entire morning in bed scrolling through comments sections of various reviews. The Internet is a vile place, a profound mistake that must be purged from our society at once so we can start fresh.
This makes me happy. It also makes me sad that I probably won’t get to play it much until the 30th, so I’ll have to steer clear of the internet and Twitter-sphere until then.
Smart move. I've unfortunately fallen down rabbit holes of content the past couple days and have stumbled upon some of the leaks (though apparently a lot of the spoilers circulating are false, so who even knows). And as much as that bums me out, I wish I could say that the leaks are the most upsetting thing I've read in the past couple days, because honestly, they're low on that list. The gaming community is just unbelievably toxic and the way it's already turned against the game ahead of its release and champions the minority dissenting critiques of it is sickening, more so by the fact that a lot of it's seemingly been fueled by bigotry.
*sigh* Yeah, it's been an unhealthy couple of days for me. I just really want to play the game at this point and then never look at the Internet again.
From what I’ve read and heard, it sounds like it’s a masterpiece in the technical department, but the concept and story is what lets it down. As well as the enjoyability. This coming from streamers and everyday gamers though, rather than the critics.
So, I put in my first 10 or so hours yesterday. I’m loving it so far, other than some of the convoluted storytelling, and I’m not sure yet where I stand on the stomach-churning violence. Already a lot of beautiful moments, though I’m gonna wait until I finish before rushing to any judgements on the story as a whole. I’m sure I’ll wind up with some complicated feelings on this one, so I’ll be posting more once I finish in a few days or so.
Well. Fuck. To say this game put me through the fucking wringer would be an understatement. Holy shit.
So, my hot take: This game is really fucking good. (And my even hotter take: The second half of it is way better than the first!) Some of the storytelling may be contrived and unwieldy in the breadth of its ambition, but that ambition really has to be commended as it brought so much to the experience of every facet of this game. Its bold choices amounted to things I not only didn't expect, but have never really seen before in a game prior. It feels truly original and substantial in the way that it challenges us and our preconceived notions of all the characters involved. I did find it over-the-top in its bleakness as it went on, and at some points the game definitely crosses a line in the sheer misery and suffering it brings upon its characters. Still, it has powerful points to make about hate, violence, and empathy, and I cannot deny that the emotional heft of it all did a number on me. That weight, coupled with some beautiful moments that capitalize upon our love of and investment in characters both old and new, made for one hell of a cathartic experience that had me genuinely crying throughout, and often for different reasons.
The gameplay is insanely well-polished in a way that makes it fun and addicting to play in a way that even the first game wasn't. And a lot of enthralling set-pieces and some breathtaking, original level designs certainly added to that effect; a lot of it really felt like playing Uncharted, and in a good way. Though it also feels weird to talk about much I enjoyed the gameplay considering how grueling and graphic it is. The detail given to the violence is truly unreal, and it's often sickening. There were so many moments when I just had to look away, or put the controller down, or step back and take a breath. This effect of physical and moral exhaustion feels perfectly aligned with the effect of the storytelling. By the end of it all, I was pleading at my screen for these characters to just stop hurting each other. It was overwhelming -- often times in a way that just felt like it was too much, but sometimes in a way that felt rewarding.
Visually, it's obviously astonishing. Landscapes and environments are breathtaking, as is the character animation which is just astonishingly lifelike to an extent I've never seen before. There's so much detail added to fill-out the world, and that makes the element of exploration added to this game all the more rewarding. The sound design, too, is just remarkable, often adding so much to both the physical and emotional horror.
So, yeah ... it's certainly messy, but it's a mess that sure did a number on me. I cried a lot. Stared at the screen in shock and wonder. It might not be perfect, but I can't say it didn't give me the exact type of experience that I wanted from it.