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Slime Rancher Micro-Review: This is more of a review as the game stands now, since there is more content planned for release for this title at some point. The 'Mochi's Megabucks' update drops March 13th for PC, which may or may not be out by the time you read this. The update is set for release on consoles a little bit later according to the most recent release from the game's developer, Monomi Park. Now, about the game itself. I've finished playing it, and it was a lot of fun from start to finish. I don't think I've said this enough, but the slimes are adorable in their own unique ways.
Visuals aside, the game does offer some additional content once you've completed what passes for the main 'story' or narrative in the game, and this content contains some of the best rewards you can hope to achieve. This content, and the monetary reward provided, ties into what will become the biggest money-sink in the entire game. There is a sort of in-game prestige system, which requires more and more money to reach each successive level. Reaching level 22 is all but essential to earn one of the hardest achievements in the game, along with unlocking access to the area you will need for it as well.
Not going into spoiler territory here about that, but suffice to say the areas are hidden, you will know when you find one, and the rewards are well worth it. Not everything is perfect about this game, like the amount of hunting you may have to do if you miss the one opportunity to find and farm Gold Slimes in the entire game. If you don't use one of the post-game areas, you're stuck with grinding an area, vacuuming up slimes in the hope a gold one will pop out, since there is always a small chance one will come out where a normal slime of any type will appear.
Other than hoping a Gold Slime will show up when you need one, some achievements require going out of your way to complete certain actions. Said achievements don't require much effort or preparation, however I noticed a strange issue with the 'While You Were Away' achievement. I was away from the ranch for more than 48 in-game hours, and upon my return the achievement didn't unlock. I tried it again, making sure not to use any of the teleporters, and it still didn't work. What ended up working for me was sitting on the island with the Pink Gordo and the achievement unlocked upon my return. I'll take it.
Verdict: a fun title added to the Games with Gold program that I probably wouldn't have played otherwise. 7/10
Iron Man First Thoughts: The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become a multibillion-dollar industry unto itself on the strength of seventeen films at the time of this writing. The games have been a mixed bag at best, for the few that have been made. Not counting LEGO games in this one, since those games have a charm and style of fun that shines through any franchise license slapped on top. What I'm talking about are the games directly based on the films, and this one, like the film it was adapted from, is a first entry, and as a result has some strange quirks about it.
The controls are very clunky. Sure Iron Man can fly in every suit configuration other than the original Mk I suit, but that's because that one was built in a cave with whatever Tony Stark had available while held captive. We're not going to dock points for that one. What we will dock points for are the horrible flight controls. Holding LT most of the way down (halfway down according to the game) will let you hover at your present altitude. What the game really should have said is anything other than LT fully held down will trigger hover mode. Holding LT all the way down increases height. Letting off LT entirely slowly lowers you down.
The rest of the controls aren't great either, and the camera is near-useless. It flings itself around at every opportunity and is usually more interested in examining a patch of grass two feet to the left of your current target. Thankfully the game has an auto-lock system for targets, although you have to be within a certain distance to the target. So close as to almost render the auto-lock useless but you have it anyway. Fair enough. The character models for Iron Man are the high point of the visuals. Everything looks like generic game locales #14-21 and the cutscenes have that weird late-2000's look where everything is too fluid and undefined in shape.
The voice actors are close enough in their performances. Robert Downey Jr is back as Tony Stark, as is Terrence Howard as James 'Rhodey' Rhodes. Gwenyth Paltrow's Pepper Potts and Jeff Bridges' Obadiah Stane are soundalikes. It is noticeable in that it's different from the film, but I had to look it up online to confirm RDJ's involvement in this game since he really doesn't sound like himself. It's said that some actors really phone it in when voicing their character for a video game, and that may have been the case here. Everything else about the game is relatively standard and unimpressive. Perhaps it will get better as the story goes on. I have my doubts.
Coming up on Friday: some minor news from the Fallout universe, and a potential game reveal.