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Skylight Freerange 2: Gachduine review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PC
Publisher: Dragoon Entertainment Ltd.
Developer: Dragoon Entertainment Ltd.
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

You know the saying, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all"? Going by that logic, it's awfully tempting to just end my review of Skylight Freerange 2: Gachduine right now.

Because seriously, there's not a lot of nice things to be said about Skylight Freerange 2. Even its name is an ungainly abomination. Every time I try to find anything positive to say about the game, it quickly devolves into complaints.

Case in point: the good news about Skylight Freerange 2 is that it has plenty of character customization options. Right from the get-go, you're able to customize everything about your character, from their name and their gender all the way down to whether you want their hair to swoop up or if they should be wearing fingerless gloves. Of course, this is substantially less impressive when you consider that literally every customization option is hideous. This is a game that thinks that neckbeards AND mohawks are both giant squares that come out of a player's neck or head, respectively. And that clothing isn't something your character wears so much as it's various shapes imposed over his/her body.

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Or how about: hey, it's cool to see a game with such a diverse cast of players. Males and females are equally represented, as are all the different races and ethnicities you could ask for. Again, though, no matter how diverse the game may aim to be, it's hard to be enthusiastic about that when everyone looks like they stepped out of a budget PS1 game. Like, just go back and look at how Lara Croft looked way back when she was first introduced in the '90s, and then strip away a few layers of polish. That is how ugly the characters in SF2 are. Not that this is hugely surprising, though, since literally everything about SF2 is a visual monstrosity. Just…everything.

Or maybe: it's pretty clear that the makers of Skylight Freerange 2 put a lot of thought into their world-building. I mean, you don't often see games where the starting point is, "What if Atlantic Canada got taken over by an evil cult?" What's more, it's neat to see a budget game like this one use branching dialogue trees. It's a game full of inventive ideas, if nothing else.

Unfortunately, "nothing else" is really all there is here. The game's story is told via massive streams of exposition that make Japanese RPGs look concise, coupled with dialogue that, to be charitable, could use some very heavy editing.

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Or even this: it's neat to see a game try new things when it comes to combat and movement. It's less neat when you realize that the combat is basically a convoluted game of paper-rock-scissor, but without any kind of rhyme or reason. And the less said about the totally unnatural, nightmare fuel way these characters move, the better.

Or, above all else, this: Skylight Freerange 2 is definitely not the worst game of 2016. That, uh, honour was clinched long ago by Energy Hook. But it's very, very, very close between the two games. The only reason SF2 doesn't come away with the title is because Energy Hook was a broken, unfinished mess, whereas this is, despite all appearances, a finished game. But it's still absolutely horrifying in every way, and unless you're a glutton for punishment, you'll want to avoid this one at all costs.

Grade: F