It's been a long time coming....
So older members on here may know that I was heavily anticipating this game before it came out but never got the chance to play it until recently and man has it been a long time. And I must say that my expectations were met and in some regard even exceeded. My only regret is that I wished I had played it sooner.
I would like to start out by saying that I think the way the game limits your ammo is genius. Low clip and stock count from the start and mimimal increments when upgraded is really fascinating when I think about it now. You also often only get 3-5 ammo lying around and both these elements come together to prevent players from hoarding ammo and feeling too powerful. Really like the system a lot and it constantly keeps me on my toes as I know that I don't have a whole clip or stock to burn through. As such, I'm constantly switching weapons around and using the best available weapon for each given situation. I think amount of ammo is really well balanced across the board and I never once found myself having 0 ammo for all weapons(a problem I often see other experience but we'll get to that later).
Now onto matches. At first I wasn't so sure what the whole point of them were for other then to make sure bodies stay down. And then it all clicked when I lit a corpse when an enemy was just about to approach me and BAM! From then on I've pulled off several crazy group kills just with a single match. One effective strategy I discovered by accident was shooting the front runner of a pack of enemies in the leg so he would fall, quickly shoot a lightning bolt so that all the enemies within the vicinity are stunned and then BAM! one match and so many of them just burn. It's so satisfying. Matches are such an excellent idea and I think Mikami really outdid himself this time. It really does add a layer of depth and strategy to the Survival Horror genre.
Speaking of bolts. Man the agony crossbow is just brilliant. When I first got it, I never thought I'd be that useful but man is it INCREDIBLY useful. I never thought I'd enjoy using the various bolts so much and they add so much strategy to how how plays. I loved using the explosive bolts as mines on doors during the chapter with the invisible enemies. They are so effective.
Others - Don't want to make too long a post
Now on to some other awesome things I liked about the game. The save room is brilliant and I really like how there are several points in the game where the game just flips and makes you question whether or not the room is really safe. Really like the upgrade system and electric chair and for some reason, it reminds me a little of Shadows of the Damned. I really dig the story a lot(even though many reviews kind of bash it) and I was actually proud of myself for identifying the bloodied long haired demon to be Ruvik's sister, Laura before it was explicitly stated to me in the model viewer. But man, I really want to find out more about Kidman because she's so damn mysterious. Watching the starting cutscene again and I noticed that she was the only one not affected by the the high frequency sound. Suspicious...
Now on to my casual observations on watching Let's Plays of people and why they complain on various issues that I feel are not a problem with the game but rather the player. The one thing that amuses me the most is watching people waste matches on already dead corpses. While I get that people are paranoid and want to play it safe(I was the same way the first half an hour or so), I think there comes a point in the game at maybe around the 3rd chapter where you should realise that some bodies only react to being lit while others don't. That should be a good enough indicator IMO(without having some text pop up and explain it to you) that not all bodies have to be lit.
The other complaint I often see is lack of ammo which frustrates and irritates me a little. If one actually tries to conserve ammo by headshots, sneaking and stealth killing as much as possible, using match tactics and traps, lack of ammo is never ever a problem. I see people playing the game like they would an action game and waste an entire clip or stock of hand gun ammo just one 1 or 2 enemies. I also see people spamming agony bolts of all sorts without thinking about effective ways and strategies to use them effective and efficiently. (For eg. I always save harpoon bolts on larger enemies or bosses rather then on small and standard ones.) I've even seen people spam flash and lighting bolts one after another thinking they will do damage or something. I feel that people are blaming the game due to their lack of critical thinking and careful play. They just want to go all guns blazing like it was a shooter.
Overall, I really really enjoyed the hell out of this game and I personally don't see the hate it gets. I personally echo the sentiments of another thread that most if not all casual players would find this game frustrating because modern games have thought people to not think. While the game is not perfect and there are some minor gripes I had with it, it's still freaking excellent. I really want to play the DLC now but I really want a physical complete collection like what Bethesda did with Dishonored. I was hoping they would announce it at E3 but man... Regardless, the base game itself was an incredible ride and I look forward to Tango's next title.