At the end of the month, NU.nl will discuss the biggest games that have appeared. With this month Rogue Legacy 2† Vampire: The Masquerade Swan Song and Hike to Yomi†
Rogue Legacy 2
- Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
- Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
When the original The Legacy of Thieves came out in 2013, it was a surprise hit. As a member of a noble family, it was up to you armed with a great sword to explore a mysterious castle, a difficult task you were unlikely to survive. But that didn’t matter, because as soon as you died, you put yourself in your offspring’s shoes to try one more time. This is how you tried to conquer the ever-changing castle, each time with a new generation of adventurers, each with their own unique powers and quirks.
This same description still applies to Rogue Legacy 2, a game that stays so close to its predecessor that it almost feels like a remake. But whoever thinks it’s an inconvenience is wrong.
Although not much has changed at the base, developer Cellar Door Games has made many small improvements. It starts with the look of the game: gone is the somewhat clunky pixel work of the first part, replaced by beautiful hand-drawn animations. It’s reminiscent of some sort of HD upgrade.
Other changes are less noticeable, but ensure the game plays much more pleasantly. For example, bouncing off your weapon is a bit easier, you can move away from your enemy when you get hit, and each type of knight gets their own weapon. These weapons are also much more varied than the ever-recurring Great Sword from the first game. How about a frying pan that can stun bullets or a lute with deadly musical notes?
Moreover, there is simply more. More new game classes, for example, like a boxer who lands quick punches and a pirate who has his own cannon in his pocket. No more distinction between the six different parts of the castle, which this time is much prettier. And no more challenge, because Rogue Legacy 2 is a bit trickier than its predecessor. You will therefore need to acquire certain skills first before you can see the entire castle.
Rogue Legacy 2 is therefore bigger, finer and spicier than the first part. Fans who love it will enjoy hours of fun with this. But if you didn’t like the first part at all, don’t miss this sequel.
Vampire: The Masquerade Swan Song
- Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Switch
- Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Vampire: The Masquerade Swan Song is a strange duck in the bite, or rather: a strangely biting vampire. In a game about blood-drinking fantasy characters like vampires, you might expect a lot of action and spectacle, but in swan song nocturnal creatures mainly talk and walk around.
You play as three vampires, whose group hides in Boston when the alarm is raised among the undead. Humanity is about to discover that vampires exist, even though they have struggled for centuries to hide from the outside world. The trio must neutralize this danger and find out why the vampires are falling dead in the bushes.
What follows is a lot of dialogue, in which your choices influence the course of the story. These decisions are quite heartbreaking at times, but unfortunately the interesting loose backstories of different characters never really come together in one compelling overarching story.
When you’re not talking, explore various environments such as a crime scene or a vampire bar. You also solve puzzles, such as cracking the code for a safe based on instructions in someone’s documents. These puzzles are sometimes exciting, but just as often enigmatic and frustrating.
The game also looks unfinished. The visuals aren’t exactly pricey stuff, with wooden characters and emotionless faces, and unexpected bugs can sometimes slam your progress.
Still, it’s great how the game’s story still logically continues, even if you make dramatically bad choices or overlook entire puzzles. Your decisions and actions actually affect the story, leaving you curious about how your characters will end up.
Hike to Yomi
- Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
- Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
It’s no surprise that many games are inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s samurai movies. The Japanese director has become known for his stories of lonely samurai struggling with honor and responsibility, bloody sword fights and long camera shots that ruthlessly heighten the tension. games like Ghost of Tsushima show that these ingredients also provide good game material. Hike to Yomi falls perfectly into this trend, but with less budget.
You play as a samurai who must defend his village, but in the process makes a big mistake that he tries to correct. A good starting point, but unfortunately the story doesn’t go much further. You are soon given a sword and are supposed to kill bandits and monsters as you run from area to area.
Gradually, you will unlock new combos and skills. it won’t help you much: Hike to Yomi is never very difficult and most enemies can be wiped off the screen with a few taps of the right button.
Hike to Yomi is somewhat simplistic and repetitive at most levels. What is successful are the images. All in Hike to Yomi is black and white and each area places the camera in a fixed location, like in a movie. It provides beautiful images of burning houses and the Japanese countryside, but it’s not easy to navigate. Too bad, given that the game puts so much emphasis on finding hidden rooms with additional tools. But hey, the game is easy enough that you don’t really need it anyway.
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