Starlink Review: The Game That Just Exists

I’ll be honest with you guys, I LOVE sci-fi games! Put me in space and give me laser guns and I’m almost always guaranteed to have a good time! However, there’s one exception to this rule: Starlink. This was a game I recently bought while it was on sale and while I loved the game, there’s a part of me that just can’t stand certain elements of it.

For those of you who don’t know, Starlink is a sci-fi action RPG focused around piloting space-ships in battle. You choose from one of several ships and pilots and then customize your ship using a ton of different weapons and parts. On the surface, this seems like a good system that works well. In practice, it’s mired with tons of issues! For one thing, the game had a LUDICROUS amount of DLC! There are a ton of weapons, pilots and ships that the game is trying to sell you.

Buying the digital edition of the game nets you 7 pilots, 5 ships and 12 guns. These are enough to both get you through the game and give you a ton of customization options! The problem is that if you want to get really creative and have even more combinations and pilots, then you have to cough up a ton of cash for them. These DLCs aren’t cheap and you’ll be paying an arm and a leg to get your hands on them!

Besides the DLC, the game is also lacking in meaningful content. A lot of the game’s content (and even its final few acts) are built upon repetitive content. Most of the missions are “Go to this planet, kill a Prime!” or “Go into space and fight a Dreadnought!”, stuff like that.

I’d be okay with this if the game had more variety to it. Instead, it’s just a bunch of fetch quests and completing random objectives on all the planets. It doesn’t help that beating the game unlocks even MORE pointless side objectives for you to do. The game does offer an interesting and expansive galaxy to explore, but this lack of unique content prevents me from wanting to check all of it out.

I’d be lying if I didn’t enjoy the combat though. It’s fast and furious while also requiring strategy and planning. That being said, I can see now why this game didn’t sell well at all. There’s just too much busywork and micro-transactions in this title. It’s a shame, because Starlink is what I’d call a “good game”.

It’s got solid combat and great graphics, plus a fantastic crossover with Star Fox on the Nintendo Switch. However, the game’s massive amount of DLC and lack of meaningful side content holds it back. On top of that, Starlink is one of those games with a rather bland and forgettable sci-fi story.

The way I see it, Starlink is just a game that just “exists”. It’s good, but not great. It’s interesting, but not special. Worst of all, it manages to be tedious with its final few acts. I don’t regret my purchase one bit, I just wish this game had more bite to it.

Star Wars Episode IX: The Ultimate Franchise Killer

Star Wars Episode IX releases tomorrow, which I’m not too thrilled about. This film is being advertised as the official ending to the “Skywalker Saga”. Nevermind the fact that we already had TWO DIFFERENT MOVIES (Episode III and Episode VII) that acted as endings to that saga. Regardless, Disney and LucasFilm were hyping this up as being the finale to this decades long story.

Of course, the film has already been trashed by most mainstream review outlets. The film isn’t even available to the public and a lot of people ALREADY hate it! To be honest though, there was no way in hell this film would’ve been good anyways. The last film in the series was a… Divisive film. It was called “The Last Jedi” and is often heralded as being one of the worst Star Wars films ever made.

Fan-favorite characters like Luke Skywalker and Admiral Ackbar end up getting killed unceremoniously, just so the film can prop up its newer and less likable characters as replacements. There’s also an entire sub-plot in the film that serves no purpose to the plot and is just there to say “Rich people are jerks!”, despite the fact that the film was being written and directed by very similar rich jerks. It’s like they were writing themselves, but with zero self-awareness!

Episode VIII was this film that was trying to desperately to be “subversive”, but ended up killing off a majority of Star Wars’ massive fan-base instead! That leads us into this upcoming ninth episode, which supposedly retcons a lot of what happened in the last movie. That’s right, this film has to not only fix the problems with the previous film, but also build an entirely new story-arc around it!

People are already saying that this film feels like an entirely trilogy crammed into a single movie, which results in it feeling rushed as a result. With that being said, the film doesn’t come out until tomorrow. The audience’s reaction could very well be different to that of the critics who watched it. However, I honestly feel that won’t be the case.

People are just too burned out on Disney’s treatment of the Star Wars franchise. After all, they’ve made FOUR whole movies before this in just the span of a few years. As such, this may be the last Star Wars film ever made. There’s no doubt in mind that this film will do poorly, but how poorly will depend on the audience’s general interest.

In short, I feel like this ninth episode is going to end the franchise. It will lose tons of money and kill people’s interest in what was originally one of the most unique sci-fi settings ever made. To see it squandered and turned into something it’s not wounds me, despite not being a big fan of the franchise myself. I’m sure Star Wars will continue on with The Mandalorian and other side projects, but I think the films are done for now.


The Legacy of Bomberman

If there’s any genre of video-game that I can’t stand, it would have to be “puzzle” games. These are games that require you to solve puzzles in order to progress, which can definitely be fun for some people. The thing is, I was just never a big fan of them. I always felt puzzles worked best outside the realm of video-games. I always found puzzles boring, which is why video-game puzzles bored me even more.

However, there was one puzzle game series that I actually enjoyed quite a bit. This game series was none other than “Bomberman”, which was one of my favorite games growing up. The game revolved around this marshmallow-like alien/robot named “White Bomber”, who happened to be the titular Bomberman. As White Bomber, you’d go around laying bombs in the general direction of enemies and using the blast to destroy them. You’d also use the explosions to blow up bricks, or use said bricks to pin your enemy so they can’t escape.

It’s a simple yet complex game, mostly due to how later iterations of the game introduce many more rules and power-ups. Bomberman’s simplistic gameplay loop lead to the creation of this amazing franchise that ran for many years. The simple game eventually evolved with the inclusion of multiplayer!

Bomberman’s multiplayer was truly special, mostly because it came at a time when multiplayer wasn’t a huge focus on games. Back in the 80s and 90s, multiplayer was pretty bare-bones for most game franchises. However, Bomberman was one of the first games to have modes SPECIFICALLY designed for multiplayer.

The multiplayer in these games often devolved into an action-packed game of chess. Players would desperately try to blow each other up with bombs and win the match before the timer ran out. As the games went on, the multiplayer became more elaborate and even more features were added in.

This eventually culminated in “Bomberman: Party Edition” for the Playstation 1, which was one of my favorite games growing up. Party Edition added SO MUCH to the original Bomberman formula that it was astounding. The original Bomberman multiplayer was preserved, but featured a ton of creative and colorful characters. Things like Charaboms and environmental hazards made the game feel like a truly grand experience multiplayer experience.

The game also featured a single-player mode designed to mimic the original game, complete with two different graphical styles: The classic 2D style and a new 3D style. The series continued on after Party Edition, getting more and more entries of varying quality. It all came to a crashing halt once “Bomberman: Act Zero” came out.

Act Zero was a poorly made reboot of the classic Bomberman series and nobody really liked it. It probably doesn’t help that the game lacked couch multiplayer and that you could only play with other people online. The game ended up killing the series for a while, resulting in future Bomberman games being released as cheap X-Box Live games.

Many people thought the series was dead, at least until 2017 rolled around. Super Bomberman R was released and it was AMAZING! Sure, it didn’t reinvent the wheel and was yet another reboot of the franchise. However, it was the reboot we needed. It brought back the classic designs, but reinvented the characters with new personalities. The gameplay went back to its roots and brought back couch multiplayer!

Super Bomberman R was what I wanted in an action puzzle game and it managed to return the series back to its former glory. It was nice seeing this series return to the mainstream once more, even if it was a bit on the short side. Bomberman is one of those franchises that’s at its best when it keeps things simple.

While I feel most game franchises should try to innovate or mix things up, I never felt the same way about Bomberman. Whenever Bomberman tried to reinvent the wheel, it always fell on its face. I feel that sometimes a franchise should just do what it does best, instead of trying to be something its not.

The Outer Worlds Review

I’ll be honest, I’m in love with RPGs that invoke a sense of nostalgia. While there are a lot of well-crafted RPGs nowadays, there are few that hearken back to those olden days of RPGs. I’m talking about the good old days, when choices mattered in an RPG. That’s why I LOVE The Outer Worlds! This is Obsidian’s newest RPG in their extremely long catalogue of amazing RPGs.

The Outer Worlds takes you to the Halcyon System and casts you as the captain of an old derelict ship. You are awakened from cryogenic sleep by a mad scientist named Phineas Welles and tasked with saving the galaxy from greedy corporations and the many corrupt lunatics running them. I’m over-simplifying things, of course.

The game actually does flesh out both the characters and the narrative far beyond that premise. A lot of the factions and characters end up feeling more like real people a lot of the time, despite their constant and consistent idiocy/incompetence. As for the game-play, this is where a lot of the fun comes from.

The Outer Worlds is an homage to classic RPGs from years past, namely the Fallout games. I’ve had a lot of people describe this game as “Fallout New Vegas In Space”, which is a bit disingenuous. In fact, the kooky 50s sci-fi elements make it more similar to New Vegas’ third expansion called “Old World Blues”.

Outer Worlds seems to mimic a lot of the charm and game-play elements from that expansion, right due to the inclusion of wacky sci-fi weapons. The game mainly plays like a first-person shooter, but incorporates stats and skills into the mix. As a result, it feels similar to old-school RPGs. You even play as unvoiced protagonist in this game, much like the RPGs of old!

The game puts a heavy emphasis on skills and stats, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it gives you more options on how to play the game, but it’s a curse because it makes the game too easy. You see, several skills (such as hacking and engineering) actually break the game.

For example, you can talk your way out of any problem in the game by maxing out persuasion. It’s also pretty easy to do this early on and it makes it so you never have to fight a named NPC ever again. Couple that with a fairly broken upgrade system and you have a game that gets super easy in a hurry!

The game can even be rather easy on the harder difficulties, which is surprising. Still, the game is solid fun despite this! There are so many ways to approach fights in this game, especially due to the insane amount of weaponry you have at your disposal. You have simple things like grenade launchers and sniper rifles, while also having access to insane weaponry like Shrink Rays and laser-scythes!

The game also look gorgeous, mainly due to its colorful backgrounds and well-designed character models. While some of the facial animations can look fairly awkward, the amazing voice-acting really helps sell you on this game’s cast! The game’s combat is good too, despite it’s simplicity. There’s no real nuance to the combat and it feels identical to New Vegas’ combat at times, but I don’t mind it too much.

All in all, I find The Outer Worlds to be an exceptional game! It’s not perfect and it has a ton of flaws, but it manages to rise above them by being a high quality game. While the combat is simplistic and the game is way too easy, there’s a lot to like about this package. It feels like a good spiritual successor to the old Fallout games and it does enough fresh things to keep my interest! I highly recommend checking The Outer Worlds if you’re big on awesome RPGs like this.