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Jusant | House of Ashes

A long climb and another entry in a dark anthology.

 

MOVIES

- Still no new movie review this week thanks to two game reviews, but I will just say that I have absolutely no intention of ever watching Madame Web.


- Saying that, I'm finding it difficult to get to the cinema as it is for movies I do want to watch, so avoiding that movie isn't going to be too challenging...


GAMES

- First up there's Jusant, which took a lot longer to finish than it should have, mainly thanks to just how tedious the entire thing is.


- I do appreciate Don't Nod creating a more involved and intricate climbing system than you find in other games, but it doesn't really hold up too well when that's all there is.


- Climbing in other games is usually a break from the main gameplay loop and, sure, maybe those moments could borrow something from this game, but those other games have much more to them.


- There are notes, logs and letters to read as you climb up a huge rock pillar, following how people used to live as the water levels of the barren game world drained away at some point in the past, but there's not really much to them, mostly making repetitive statements about how bad things are getting.


- Then there's the cluttered environments which look like they should be far more interactive than they are, with ledges and other outcroppings appearing to be something you can use but are ultimately only decorative.


- This doesn't mean what can be climbed should be made obvious, rather make it obvious what can't be climbed; ledges directly under ceilings or other pieces of the environment sticking out that clearly lead nowhere would make it much better.


- As it is, there were a couple of occasions where I had to look up how to proceed because the obvious route wasn't where the game wanted me to go, which only made the issue more frustrating for me.


- The more intricate climbing also became an issue at times, with the unnamed player character reaching out in random directions to what I wanted, or even not reaching out all!


- When you can jump is also limited to when the game wants you to do it and even makes climbing ladders irritating at times, with even the slightest angle being off leaving you just jumping against the damn thing rather than climbing it.


- There's barely any story to the game either, which made the ending entirely lacking in catharsis, because I didn't really care about what I was doing and was more glad the game was over than anything.


- I would like to see other games borrow some of the more involved climbing interactions from Jusant, but I'd be quite happy for other developers to otherwise leave everything else here well alone. [3/10]


- Onto the next instalment of the Dark Pictures Anthology and the most action-oriented entry so far in House of Ashes, which I did enjoy quite a bit.


- It doesn't start off that great once the prologue is over, with the first part of the game taking place in bright sunshine and revealing some fairly poor-looking desert and mountain environments, highlighting precisely why this series usually takes place during nights.


- Controlling soldiers also gives everything an Aliens vibe, which only increases the further you progress through the story and that is absolutely meant as a positive.


- Just because you're in control of people who know how to handle themselves in a fight doesn't really mean all that much when the creatures they come across are fairly bullet resistant and have far, far superior numbers.


- Some of the writing is on the weaker side too, meaning you might end up rolling your eyes more than a few times, if not laugh out loud when poor dialogue is married to excessively-animated body language.


- That said, the game does balance controlling a capable set of characters while keeping them constantly threatened pretty damn well, without ever making you feel over- or under-powered.


- Thanks to the larger than normal supporting cast, there are a fair few deaths, which can be extremely bloody, that can trigger very easily, making you think you screwed up and keeping you on your toes.


- House of Ashes isn't anything special, but it certainly feels like the series has taken a turn for the better, especially with this one not being the result of people seeing things that aren't there like the previous two titles. [7/10]


TV

- Like with the movies, no TV review this week as I close in on the end of my time with Apple TV (for now) once I'm done with For All Mankind.


- Then I'll be moving onto series I've bought and either not watched or only watched once a long time ago, so I'm going to be able to save some money by avoiding streaming services for a bit at least!

 

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