Suzerain: A Steam Review

Suzerain is a fairly interesting government simulation, indie RPG that was developed by Torpor Games and published by Fellow Traveller. Released on the 4th of December in 2020, the game gained mostly positive feedback via Metacritic. However, while I loved the story of the game I did find the overall game lacking and not very interactive when it came to the gameplay. Of the few simulation games I have played, this simulation game had very little give and take, which is extremely important for simulation games in keeping their players invested. That being said the game was still very good and worth a playthrough. Suzerain can be played on PC for $14.99 via Steam and Epic. 

You follow the life of President Anton Rayne, a man whose choices led him to rise to power after experiencing traumatizing events in 1945. Sordland is left in ruin and your first term is trying to pick up the pieces and repair all the damage left from the previous tragedies that had taken place during your young adulthood. What makes the story so interesting is the fact that all of your choices not only affect every outcome making every decision stressful and critical, but you also get to choose how you want to be as president. Players can choose a more cutthroat approach, choosing military power and force with a more dictatorship style of leadership, or even a more democratic one with trying to push civil rights and health care.

However, the situations players will deal with make it almost hard to follow a straight path due to the extremely life-like circumstances the game has to offer. These decisions can be as big as choosing between funding police enforcement to rid Sordland of extremist gangs or choosing to let the gangs stay because that money needs to fund the education or healthcare system that needs to change. What adds a more personal feel to the game are the dialogue options presented for your family. The developers did an extremely great job in making the game more immersive and allowing players to feel as if they are Anton Rayne.

My only issues with the game had been the gameplay itself. As mentioned before the game lacked interaction, and consisted of the map and events at each location. That would not have been bad if the events consisted of more than just text dialogue between other characters in the story such as your family or other politicians. It was cool that different dialogue choices ended up in a cause and effect like scenario, however, there were no cool cut scenes to watch nor any battles with interactions.

The game would have been miles better with more substance, but unfortunately, it’s just a read-and-click response type of scenario. This game even had a great setup for what could have been an RTS or even TBS kind of experience. One thing I did enjoy about the gameplay however is the fact that you aren’t sure who to trust based on responses given. There are a lot of harder choices to make with potential false promises from your government “allies” and business “allies” that tend to have more bargains for political gain than favors. This story does well to pressure players in a political minefield that feels surreal.

Suzerain was a perfect portrayal of a government setting and presidential pressures as far as storytelling and decision-making go. It was fantastic in changing outcomes and putting players in extremely difficult situations. I honestly have not felt so stressed with presented problems and choices since Mass Effect. The game did suffer unfortunately from a dull point and click style gameplay with no cut scenes or interactive gameplay. While this game has plenty of potentials and is worth a playthrough, I honestly feel like there could have been so much more to the adventure provided. 

DVS Score: 6/10

Genesis Noir: A Switch Review

While playing Genesis Noir, I was left with a feeling of a love-hate relationship. Not to say it was a bad game at all, the story concept was very good and the art style was beautiful. Unfortunately what I felt to be lacking was the gameplay, story execution, and overall atmosphere. I wanted to love this game, but it was so underwhelming that it was hard for me to return to the game completely.

While most games tend to have a slow beginning, this game in particular felt like the beginning for over half of the game due to an underdelivered story and repetitive gameplay. That being said I do see the merit in the game itself, for it is a relaxing game to play and as I said before beautifully designed. It may just be right up the alley for casual gamers that may not might slower and fairly basic gameplay. However, I honestly feel that even at the price there are far better options to go with. Genesis Noir is an adventure game developed by Ferel Cat Den and published by Fellow Traveller. It can be bought on all current and last generation platforms aside from PlayStation for only $14.99.

Genesis Noir on Steam

You follow the character known as No Man, a time traveler who is trying to save the love of his life by stopping the expansion of the universe. No man is a peddler and sells a vast collection of watches for money during his time travels. Each time he travels and alters various events it changes the big bang overall. While trying to save his love, he must overcome obstacles whether it be various puzzles or confronting his enemy Golden Boy, who happens to also be a part of this love triangle.

The story concept was based on Cosmiccomics by Italo Calvino and would have been a great story to tell if it were not for how the story was delivered. A story like this I feel would have drawn me in, but the atmosphere of the game and little context left me feeling like there was not much of an impact. I will give credit to the visual aspect of the game which did keep me coming back at times. This unique art style and soundtrack gave me a 1920’s jazz-filled experience that brought this piece to life, and nearly saved the experience overall.

The gameplay was another big letdown for me, and normally I would not take points off when it comes to story-based adventure games but it was seriously lacking. In addition, due to the poorly executed story, I was hoping the gameplay might make up for it. Genesis Noir’s gameplay mainly consists of clicking items to interact with them making the experience very lackluster and not interactive. Some good brain-teasing puzzles draw you in a bit, but ultimately players will find themselves occasionally moving around and clicking on items. Now I understand this game was not solely made for the switch, and some point-and-click adventures are fun, but as I said generally for an adventure game you either get interactive fun gameplay or a great story. This game failed to deliver on both ends which is ultimately the reason I found it to be disappointing.

In short, Genesis Noir was a case of wasted potential. Adventure games are meant to draw players in with interaction and engaging tales. The art style was nothing short of gorgeous and the jazz music was perfect in taking players back to the roaring 20s, but the lack of story and overall context killed the atmosphere. With poor gameplay and poor storytelling, visuals and soundtracks can only carry a game so far. Though I will say I do love the direction that the developer was aiming for, and hope for the next time they can capitalize on their concepts.

DVS Score: 5/10