2018 was a fantastic year for video games, but that doesn’t mean that everything was perfect. Today I’d like to talk about two games in particular that I was extremely excited but ended up leaving me disappointed, and for those wondering why something like Fallout 76 isn’t one of the games I bring up, the answer is simple. That game looked worrisome from the moment it was announced and honestly if you weren’t shocked that it was the mess that it was at launch, well…
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4
Release Date: October 18
A brief history of my relationship with Ni no Kuni. I absolutely adored the first Ni no Kuni. I probably put 90 hours into it and actually never finished it because I just loved playing it so much, and when Ni no Kuni 2 was announced I was beyond excited. Even though it sold well on the PS3 I honestly thought it would just become a game that I would talk about fondly and always wonder if it would get a remake or a port to a future console.
My excitement started to dip however as more and more information about the sequel started to be revealed. As far as I’m concerned, there are 3 things that make Ni no Kuni special: the unbelievable Studio Ghibli artwork, the memorable characters, and the fact that it’s the open-world Pokemon game that everyone wants. This is the core of what Ni no Kuni is and should be moving into the future. Apparently, the developers of Ni no Kuni 2 did not agree with me. Sadly, while Ni no Kuni 2 is a pretty game, Studio Ghibli did not return to work on the art and all of the Pokemon-like gameplay elements were removed. I would love to comment on whether or not the characters are as good as they were in the first game, but I honestly didn’t get far enough into the game to know. The entire time I was playing the game I just kept wondering why I couldn’t catch monsters and make them my pets. I missed this feature so much that I didn’t even care that one of my party members was the President of The United States that rocked a ponytail and used a pistol as his main weapon. Can you imagine not being impressed by that? I was just as shocked. As of right now, there aren’t that many games confirmed for 2019 so I’m hoping to find some downtime throughout the year and give Ni no Kuni 2 a second chance but for a game that I once thought could end up competing for my game of the year, the fact that I have to consider whether or not I’m going to give it a second chance is a real let down.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: October 18
Kingdom Come: Deliverance, a realistic open-world game that takes place during an actual moment in world history. There’s hunger, your character can get dirty, you can become sleep deprived, and depending on how you are dressed and behave determines how NPC’s will react to you. The game was attempting a level of realism that a patch had to be put in because quest givers were being killed by the game’s living, breathing world. That’s right, just because you weren’t by someone didn’t mean they weren’t out in the world going about their daily life hoping that a pack of wolves or a gaggle (pretty sure that’s the proper term) of bandits didn’t roll up on them and kill them. From every preview I read about this game, it sounded like everything I could possibly hope for.
So how could a game that I was so impressed by end up on my most disappointing list? The answer is simple. Bugs. Yes, open-world games are hard to make, even massive Triple-A studios with far bigger budgets than what Warhorse Studios had sometimes struggle releasing games in this genre, but at a $60 price point, I can’t overlook just how broken the game was at launch. As I mentioned, the game has a sleep system in place that requires you to sleep or your stamina will greatly deplete and your character will actually start to doze off while he’s walking around. The bug I ran into made it so that I couldn’t sit down, which was a requirement to activate sleeping. Now I know what you’re thinking, just reload your last save before the bug happened. WELL, at least at launch, the game made saving a usable item that if you used too much of would result in your character developing alcoholism. Needless to say, I hadn’t saved in a quite a while. So instead of reloading a save and losing 3 hours of gameplay, I simply walked away from the game entirely.
I’d like to point out though that since launch, the team at Warhorse Studios has worked very hard on fixing every bug that the community has brought to their attention which, from a consumer’s point of view, is the best thing a developer can do. And since fixing many of the bugs, they’ve even released DLC for the game that, much like the base game, appears to be very impressive. I have no doubt that when I eventually jump back into Kingdom Come I will be greeted by an amazing experience. It’s just unfortunate that I didn’t get that experience at the launch of the game.