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Strong worldbuilding and atmosphere, but a bit of a struggle at points

I'm not sure how much I can say without letting the bias caused by certain major struggles I experienced near the end taint my review, but I'll do my best to keep my criticisms fair.
Considering the kinda-low-ish(?) rating I'm giving to this otherwise above-average game, justifying myself properly is the least I could do.

The writing, for the most part, is a real strong point here. The setting is clearly well thought out, and piecing together lore through bits of worldbuilding dialog was very satisfying.

Atmosphere was suitably unsettling and felt appropriately dangerous, visually, tonally, and mechanically due to the limited resources. It really did feel like delving into terrifying unknown territory.
But... I felt like the dark rooms were overdoing it a bit. Between the heavy shadow vignette and the dark screen filters, it starts to dangerously toe the line between being atmospheric and being an accessibility problem in some rooms (particularly any of them with a clue placed right near the edges of the screen).

As far as combat goes, the varied and useful skills and items (and enemy weaknesses that went beyond just "this guy takes more damage from this element") were definitely appreciated, but although the ATB is good at keeping you on your toes I found the pace to be overwhelming. I very much would have preferred an option to pause the bars when using the command menu, 'cus even on the lowest speed setting I felt like I had to frantically select items and skills with no margin for error or time to think, not knowing if the time I spent doing so would even be more effective than just mashing the Attack option as soon as possible.
I played on the second highest difficulty for the first half of the game, but then bumped it down one level when keeping up with it was starting to get too stressful. Thank goodness for that feature, but unfortunately because of this it kinda ended up being a bit too easy instead. I guess it's tough to say where that sort of sweet spot should be.

Now, the way the story panned out... I'm sorry, but I didn't enjoy it. I was on board all the way up until
the part where you have to kill Amelia to progress. I kinda wish I'd just stopped right there with Ending 5.

To me, that moment felt out of place, out of character, and not at all worth it in the end... but here is where I have to admit to my bias.
At that point I was already really frustrated, having just stubbornly spent an hour scouring the entire floor and only finding the one clue I was missing by total chance. It was completely invisible on my screen because of the darkness, and it was just a hint for a puzzle I had already solved on my own.
I guess I just wasn't in the mood for the direction the plot took after that. Even with the true ending, I left the experience feeling pretty unsatisfied.

Ultimately, despite my issues, I do understand that this game is 5 years old now, so I'm interested enough in the bits that did grab me to try out Glories of the Hunt next to see what kind of improvements were made since then (and not to mention, what kinda lesbian would I be if I said no to free WLW content?)


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Thank you for the review! These are pretty fair criticisms, even a few make me clutch my heart and go "ow". :)

That one clue being too hard to see in that dark room is especially valid. My apologies.

As for the story...I get your gripe. It's definitely a controversial narrative choice that more than one person has told me they didn't like.

I'm interested enough in the bits that did grab me to try out Glories of the Hunt next to see what kind of improvements were made since then

I think you'll enjoy it considerably more. For one thing, the ATB pauses when you take an action, and it's loaded with more clever skill combos.

For another, knowing lore from previous games enhances the lore found in the other games.

And finally, every important interactible thingy has a blinky circle over it in that game, so you're much less likely to miss anything important.

I also promise you the story will be more satisfying. :)
Sounds good, looking forward to trying it out!
Whenever I get around to that I'll try to give some thoughts on that one too, and hopefully it'll be more helpful than a review on a five-year-old game with shortcomings you're probably already familiar with by this point, ahaha
Anyway, keep up the good work
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