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    dkirschner's Death's Door (PC)

    [February 6, 2022 08:36:44 AM]
    This is a stylish action game with a neat story. I have an opinion, but I don't know how much of a generalization it is versus how much it is actually based on empirical observations (that I have subconsciously patterned into a conclusion). Here it is: Games with death themes have higher ratings than they would if they were not about death themes. My hypothesis, regardless of the accuracy of my opinion, is that the taboo nature of the topic makes the game seem more forward-thinking, and the personal, emotional nature of death makes the game feel more meaningful. It's pushing boundaries, confronting death. It makes players think by virtue of it being about a less-discussed topic. I understand that this doesn't apply to a really shitty game, but if a game is good, the taboo theme causes people to perceive it as even better. Now, if only I had time to begin a new research project.

    That said, I very much enjoyed Death's Door. You play as a crow--a "reaper"--who tracks down souls as part of their bureaucratic job. Your first assigned soul is taken by a big, old crow, who explains that there is some conspiracy afoot. You have to go hunt down three giant souls of creatures who don't want to die to unlock this mysterious "death's door" and find out what's clogging up the machinery of the death bureaucracy.

    The game plays like a straightforward isometric action-RPG (minus the loot). You have a melee weapon and can also equip (as you find them) a bow, a fireball spell, a bomb spell, and a grappling hook. You can run around and you have a dodge roll. You can also charge your melee attacks and (if you find the secrets, at least) alter your ranged attacks too. You'll occasionally need your abilities to hit switches, blow up walls, and so on. So, easy, run around swinging, dodge rolling, and shooting stuff.

    Upgrades are limited too. You collect some arbitrary resource from slain enemies and hidden orbs and spend it to upgrade one of four areas (stronger/faster melee, stronger/faster range/charge, faster dodge, and...something). I got enough resources in my playthrough to max out one area and purchase a couple slots in the others.

    There are a lot of secrets scattered around. Exploring the environment will reveal many. There are these sewer cover looking things that you can ground pound on that reveal hidden passageways. I didn't realize they were for ground pounding until like 3/4 through the game, so I missed tons of secrets. In fact, I didn't get a single health or mana upgrade! Yeah, I played this entire game with starting amounts of health and mana. I'm a pro.

    Boss fights and some fights against waves of enemies were challenging, though honestly I'm not sure what it would have been like had I actually found most of the secrets I missed and had 50% more health. My favorite boss fight was the final one, which has many phases. I liked how enemies become progressively cracked (with red showing through their bodies) as they are injured. Bosses vary attacks as their health decreases, too.

    When you die, you respawn at the last door you entered (checkpoints, basically). The only way you can refill your health is to plant seeds, which you find, in flower pots, and then harvest the plant. This was a neat little system that created tension because you are usually not right near a door (so you'll respawn farther away) or a flower pot (so you can't refill health easily). But you're never so far away that it feels punishing. There are many aspects of the level design that I enjoyed, or that I thought I wouldn't enjoy that I ended up enjoying. For example, there is no map! But that turns out to be fine because you'll open up shortcuts, many levels have central areas, they don't branch too too much, so I always kind of learned my way around and didn't need to rely on a map.

    So yeah, this one was solid. And I'm convinced that it wouldn't have come on my radar if it wasn't about death!
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    dkirschner's Death's Door (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Sunday 23 January, 2022

    GameLog closed on: Friday 4 February, 2022

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Neat style, fluid controls. Hopefully it's more than just a slick presentation. ----------- It is slick, combat is relatively straightforward. Enjoyed it a lot though.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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