I’ve read her review. I know she makes that argument. I don’t think she makes it very well; she seems to literally be saying that because it has a big budget, it’s playing it safe. Or that she’s projecting her disappointment with the gameplay onto the premise, and retroactively saying the game is flat/safe/“prestige TV” because she’s not having enough fun with it. She doesn’t really elucidate on why exactly it’s not creative besides she doesn’t like it.
I like Dia and I respect her voice a lot. And I don’t care that she didn’t like the game. She just doesn’t do anything here to sell me on her premise that actually this very strange and creative looking game isn’t that. What, exactly, are the low risk choices? Failing at execution is not the same as not taking risks.
Edit: a thought on Dia’s style: I think she intentionally takes a provocative, cynical approach to get reviews and writes them with a fantastic sense of flair and metaphor. You can see the same thing in her Nier review. Even for something she’s positive on, she focuses on the flaws and the negative aspects as a counter to all the uncritical gaming industry sycophants. She’s willing to ask questions and prod at things in a way most in games media aren’t. I love that about her work and it’s why I will sorely miss her is she really is leaving the games industry. Not that I would ask her to stay and suffer through more bullshit. I just don’t find this particular review’s argument compelling. I would also only say that in this space, where I know everyone is more or less like minded in regards to the status of the industry, so that my words don’t get used as fuel for the harassment.