The game ran almost flawlessly for me until I got a game breaking bug that forced me watch the last 20% of the game on YT, so that's fun!
Anyway decent game, way too many design choices that had me scratching my head. Let's start with the art style. Who the hell decided that having anime ass looking protagonists and antagonists living right beside completely normal modern looking people was a good idea? And then have realistic visual design on top! It looked off in FF15 but even worse in this. Like the game technically looks gorgeous, pretty much every major hub location is distinct but the stylistic clash between NPCs and important characters stopped me from ever taking the characters seriously.
Maybe that was intentional, after all it has a very anime like way of storytelling with bleeding heart quirky good guy protagonists and mustache twirling baddies. There are of course prevailing heavy-handed themes of corporate greed, environmental exploitation and the duality between destruction and activism of those fighting the good fight against it, suitable to the somewhat Cyberpunk setting. But as you’d expect, it’s all very surface level.
Coming to the quest design side of things, it’s way too bloated. I haven’t played the old game but even I can tell that they stretched a tiny portion of a story across 30+ hours with filler side content and backtracking. Like I get the practical side of it, games are expensive these days and making a game of this much graphical fidelity takes up a lot of resources and you can’t just sell a short game or customers won’t buy. But it doesn’t change the fact that it made the game a chore t play through. If it were me, I’d have reworked the inconsequential side quests with content that actually fleshes out the companions. The level design it’s great either given everything is just claustrophobic hallways. It kinda makes sense in the slums and sewers but there’s no open areas to contrast those locations with. Moving through the levels, even not considering backtracking became a chore after a while.
The combat when working feels amazing. Everything has a flashy anime animation without the special effects ever impeding the visual clarity and mechanically the compromise between real time and turn based works well enough. Granted they landed on the same system Mass Effect had landed on 10 years back but still. It’s only when companion AI stop being effective in a tough fight forcing you to micromanage or bad hit-boxes results in you getting stuck in a stun lock damage combo that you feel like tearing your hair out. Still it works well enough for me to not bored with the system.
Overall I had a good time, and that’s something considering JRPGs aren’t my thing. I’m interested in checking out future entries once the whole game is remade.