STAFF REVIEW of Milanoir (Xbox One)

Monday, July 9, 2018.
by Kirsten Naughton

Milanoir Box art 8-bit games sure have been making a comeback over the past few years, because they seem to popping up in the gaming world more and more lately. I mean, if you've read my previous reviews, you already know all to well that I'm a big fan of retro games. So, when I came across Milanoir, I instantly got excited again. Not only because it was in the 8-bit style, but because it was a little different than the normal stuff I'm used to. What was expected of this 8-bit game, and what Milanoir actually offers, is a bit of a shock to the system. Unfortunately, it was not the good shock to the system that I was hoping for.

There are elements of this game that I did not enjoy though, that is for sure. With that in mind, I'm going to focus on three aspects that in my opinion make Milanoir very frustrating, yet ultimately forgettable to play. Now, before I dive deep into my three topics, I would like to say I'm not as good at shooters as a lot of people, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy them. I've never really had any luck playing shooters other than a select few. Even then, that is a stretch saying I'm good at them. But, knowing that I struggle with these kinds of games, I've been trying to expose myself to more shooters so I can improve, and hopefully one day like and play even more of them without struggling.

Milanoir is not a shooter like most first person shooters; however, the combat in this game is poor, particularly the 'shooter' part. In the early levels of the game, you learn how to fire your gun... or do you? You press the button to fire your gun, but nothing happens. In the meantime, an enemy kills you as you try to shoot with a gun that doesn't seem to want to kill anything. You aim directly at the enemy, you shoot and nothing happens. The enemy then kills you... over and over again. Now, I assumed it was because I wasn't shooting properly, or maybe I wasn't safe enough behind cover. So, I tried that. Still, nothing worked.

This is frustrating to me. As you may have learned from past reviews, I like progressing through games. The satisfaction of moving on to the next stage is one of the key things I love about video games. Even for a beginner who might be playing any form of a shooter, I wasn't impressed with combat whatsoever. I think the only thing I liked about the combat was the sneaking up behind people and attacking them that way.

So, we've gotten past the combat. Now, onto the story. Honestly, and I hate having to say this, the story in itself isn't that outstanding. It feels like a teenager may have written the story based on the sheer fact of all the swearing that is in this game. Now, I am not against swearing in any video game, but, in this story line, the amount of swearing feels over excessive. There is a time and place for swearing in a video game and over excessive use in my opinion degrades the game's quality. For some, they may be offended with the sheer amount of swearing. As I said, I'm not, but it's something to note for those who are sensitive to it. Now, I understand this may be just how games of this genre are, I just feel left hanging.

In terms of the gameplay, I won't lie, I felt somewhat let down in this area too. Honestly, playing as Piero, I felt his character was rather bland, and I felt I wanted more from a main character like him. More time could have been taken in both character development and story line, as both felt very rushed. The levels are reasonably straightforward and linear. Generally, you can't really get lost as there is a set path and you must take it. One particular instance I remember was when I killed all the enemies on the screen. I went into the next area and was immediately ambushed by machine guns and grenades without any warning and without anything to duck behind for cover. You will die instantly and you will die A LOT!

For some diehard gamers out there, they may like that kind of thing, but for me, and I am sure a lot of casual gamers too, it makes the game frustrating and personally, I struggled to keep playing at points. This game's difficulty is best described as 'frustrating', and if there was actually a title we could give the challenge level, it's what I would call Milanoir's difficulty level as a whole. There was only a few times in this game where I would beat the area and I think it was just sheer luck honestly.

The sound and the artwork were the two positives I had while playing Milanoir. I enjoyed the simplistic sound and as dialogue was running, the sound was vibrant and kept you interested. While in combat the sound also kept up to the pace of the combat, which I found to be a positive. The artwork itself should be noted as good, as it's a nice addition to the 8-bit family of gaming for its art style. It stays true to the old school types of games back then.

Unfortunately, as you most likely have figured out, Milanoir is not my kind of game. I love games that I can get into the story, into the characters and have a reasonable challenge in the combat and gameplay. I love progressing in video games and the satisfaction of completing each level. Milanoir may not be my cup of tea because of the lack of satisfying these areas, but it may be yours with its merits in the sound and artwork, and if you REALLY, REALLY enjoy an challenging and somewhat frustrating game.

Overall: 5.5 / 10
Gameplay: 5.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10


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