Deadly Cupcakes

Game Discussion => Outside Azeroth - General Chatter => Topic started by: Marco on September 06, 2010, 11:12:27 AM

Title: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on September 06, 2010, 11:12:27 AM
A thread for reflections on games you're done with.  World of Warcraft is not recommended topic matter. :)

The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom: A 2D puzzle platformer with time elements, with a lot of similarities to Braid, right down to each "chapter" introducing different variations on the gameplay elements.  The puzzles tend to be a little more timing-oriented, making them sometimes a bit less cerebral and more dependent on reflexes or reactions.  The game wasn't too hard; I got kind of stuck on one of the puzzles near the end, but never needed outside help.  The game has an amusing visual style, but its best aspect is an excellent use of music.  Worth a few bucks and some time.

Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines: An older FPS-engine-based RPG with some similarities to Deus Ex, although it's not nearly as good.  This game had a lot of potential, but the production values weren't good enough to make it enjoyable.  The game's strongest aspects are gameplay freedom and different viable paths for character development.  The storyline was sort of interesting and the voice acting was passable, but the graphics were terrible, the gameplay axes weren't balanced well enough, and it was terribly buggy even after plenty of time to get patches out.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: nurgh on September 06, 2010, 05:30:16 PM
Creeper World.
Available online, cheaply, at knucklecracker.com.  Thousands of years in the future, mankind has just been evicted from all its planets by "creep" falling from the skies.  It just grows, takes over, and ravages worlds.  You're in charge of the last human city, which flies from planet to planet through rifts, trying to set up the next rift before the creep takes over the world.
The plot's hokey.  Ignore it.  Instead, play it as a slightly different real-time strategy game.

Also, Torchlight and Portal.  But lots of people know about those games.


Except he added a patch with more maps.  So Creeper World comes off the "finished" list.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on September 08, 2010, 07:11:18 PM
If I can reminisce about "ancient" games:

- Ultima III, pretty much the only RPG-style game I've ever completed without consulting a hint book.

- The Prisoner, which I also played on my Apple II+. It's difficult to describe how well that game captured the feel of the TV series, using nothing but text and low-res screen technology.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on September 26, 2010, 09:08:19 AM
Dragon Age Awakenings: I've been waiting for it to drop under $25 on Amazon so I can use a Gift Certificate on it, and that happened this week.

I agree with the majority of the reviews I've read about it. Its short, maybe 15-20 hours long depending on how much dialogue you listen to and if you do all the sidequests (and how much you micromanage combat). I liked the overall story and the gameplay. I think the dungeons were really well designed and an improvement over the core game. I would have preferred more sub-bosses to make the fights more difficult. Unfortunately due to being familiar with Dragon Age Origins, my Arcane Warrior/Blood Mage is set up to handle just about any encounter soundly.

I did not like the new characters and their relationships. They felt hollow and rushed. They did not have the same volume of dialogue as Origins, so a lot of their story seems forced and rushed. Personality wise I think they could have been great memorable characters (except for Nathaniel & Dalish Elf-Morrigan) given more breathing room.

The final fight felt like a boss fight, which I like. But the ending was a slideshow, which I disliked. Yes, Origins did it too...but at least you had a throne room scene to feel triumphant. The ending was essentially a fade to black following our hero firing the killing bullet at the bad guy, turning around and walking away as the whole scene exploded behind him. Good scene, but bad scene to end on.

Overall I am happy with it though. I will probably restart Origins and play the whole thing through again for fun.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on October 09, 2010, 03:56:30 PM
Grand Theft Auto IV.  This game was a step up from the GTA3 games in most depratments, but my experience was marred by technical issues.  The PC port has a choppiness issue on many machines (including mine) which I was unable to resolve, and I had to replay about 20% of the game due to a disappearing-mission bug which stopped the plot.  I'd recommend playing this game on a console and keeping a rotating set of save games to fall back in case you notice a mission disappear.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on October 14, 2010, 05:17:13 AM
Dragon Age Awakenings: REDUX!

I played through this a second time, starting from the beginning in Origins all the way through Awakenings. I made some new discoveries that changed the game for me.

My original assessment of the Morrigan-Clone Elf chick and The Archer Nathaniel were unjust. Their characters got more interesting the more they opened up with party members. Nathaniel actually has extremely dry humor that I mistook for being a stoic stick-in-the-mud. He actually has some funny interactions with fellow companions, and its hard to tell whether he is being serious or not. Velanna has some funny interactions as well. She acts like an ass to anyone, but is also super self-conscious and gets flustered really easy. I found it funny and have kept her in the group this go around for that sole reason.

Gameplay wise, I made 2 discoveries. The first is that Archery got a HUGE buff. I did not realize it until Nathaniel was hitting for over 400, at one point almost breaking 1k. Nathaniel quickly became my #2 damage dealer until...I respec'd Justice from a Tank to a Dual Wielder. With the right gear and build, he is a dervish on the battlefield. His attacks ignore armor by merit of the Fade Warrior specialization and deal spirit damage (if only I could equip him with the ring that gives +100% spirit damage). In the time it took me to take down a boss Mage, he took down the boss Golem on his own without taking any damage.

Runecrafting is also severely OP. It takes time, planning, and bagspace to do properly, but when you take the time and money to do it...things get crazy. I gave everyone runes for +10 damage vs. Darkspawn, Paragon level Paralyze Runes, -10% Fatigue and Immunity to Flanking on the armor.

In all, this 2nd game I am coasting through extremely easy. If the stuff in Awakenings had been longer then this ass kicking would cover all of Fereldan.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on October 19, 2010, 07:32:47 AM
Front Mission: Evolved. It was solid. Shorter than I would have liked. Super cheesy predictable story. But it was a solid military mech shooter. Arguably the best one I have played (only the new Transformers being as good but thats more giant robots, slightly different). Had a nice change of pace when you went into the other modes, like getting out of the robot and being the soldier. It laid a nice foundation that I wish they had added more to. A lot of the concepts and gameplay was basic but really good. Actual boss fights. The main problems were the cheesy story and how the boss fights, could end up being easy because they had respawning health pack. so if you dodged enough than you could just heal up. I mean sometimes you would have your legs blown up and then just be a sitting duck but more often than not I would just heal up. Also the whole hey you have to buy all your parts thing kinda sucked. I would think the military would give you free parts but whatever. So you couldnt really customize in the story mode as much as I would have liked. But overall I did actually really enjoy it even if it wasn't to long.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on October 19, 2010, 07:50:44 AM
I think I may be finished with Dragon Age. I haven't even gotten that far, but there are too many things about this game that bother me.

- Morrigan. I want her to put on a fucking shirt. I don't want her to have eyeshadow in my Grim Medieval Fantasy World. I don't want her to run into melee even though I've set her to ranged.
- And on that, the combat is off. It feels like Baldur's Gate to me, but I understand it less. I am able to use 2 or 3 of my special swings a combat. I'm told a healer can fix this, but I thought the Bard stam/mana regen would help and it doesn't.
- I was expecting the combat scripting to be fun like FFXII, but since talent points (or skill points? I have no fucking clue) are so scarce that I don't have any to spare on tactics, I'm stuck choosing 4 pretty general actions and performing too much god damned micro-management.
- All the gear upgrades are so marginal I don't even know why I bother.
- The leveling feels clunky. I'm adding all these points to stats and gaining talents in dribs and drabs-gaining a level isn't exciting at all.
- My silent dwarven hero is a stark contrast to fully-voiced Shepard in ME2. I know this will change in DA2, but it makes conversation have gaps that break up the flow.

I could go on, but every time I try to fire this up, I think "ugh" and play The Witcher (speaking of putting on shirts) or Fallout 3 instead.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on October 19, 2010, 08:10:05 AM
DA is really hard with 0 mages and much easier with 2, especially if you know the tricks. I know what you mean, though; I was pretty down on the game at the start, but it really grew on me. You just need to figure out how the system works.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on October 19, 2010, 09:47:09 AM
DA is really hard with 0 mages and much easier with 2, especially if you know the tricks. I know what you mean, though; I was pretty down on the game at the start, but it really grew on me. You just need to figure out how the system works.

1 Mage is ideal...Mages take SO MUCH micromanagement. I did a 3 mage team for the final stages of DA:O and it was an abyssmal nightmare. I did better with 1 Warrior + 2 Rogues (0 Mages). Or you can spend hours setting up specific tactics.

But yeah Edalia, I can see exactly where you're coming from. In Baldur's Gate, us D&D nerds understood the underlying rules, but that isn't so with DA:O. It takes some learning and is counterintuitive at some points. The silent Protagonist is brutal. I still liked it though.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on October 19, 2010, 11:26:48 AM
I think I may be finished with Dragon Age. I haven't even gotten that far, but there are too many things about this game that bother me.

- Morrigan. I want her to put on a fucking shirt. I don't want her to have eyeshadow in my Grim Medieval Fantasy World. I don't want her to run into melee even though I've set her to ranged.
- And on that, the combat is off. It feels like Baldur's Gate to me, but I understand it less. I am able to use 2 or 3 of my special swings a combat. I'm told a healer can fix this, but I thought the Bard stam/mana regen would help and it doesn't.
- I was expecting the combat scripting to be fun like FFXII, but since talent points (or skill points? I have no fucking clue) are so scarce that I don't have any to spare on tactics, I'm stuck choosing 4 pretty general actions and performing too much god damned micro-management.
- All the gear upgrades are so marginal I don't even know why I bother.
- The leveling feels clunky. I'm adding all these points to stats and gaining talents in dribs and drabs-gaining a level isn't exciting at all.
- My silent dwarven hero is a stark contrast to fully-voiced Shepard in ME2. I know this will change in DA2, but it makes conversation have gaps that break up the flow.

I could go on, but every time I try to fire this up, I think "ugh" and play The Witcher (speaking of putting on shirts) or Fallout 3 instead.
I totally feel the same way. I am trying to power through it since Helv keeps telling me about it. But everytime I play I just get annoyed or overwhelmed. I honestly had more fun playing goofy games like Front Mission. Now Fallout:NV is out and Fable next week it may be a while before I beat it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on October 19, 2010, 12:03:02 PM
I got through DA:O and DA:A without much micro-management... playing on Easy difficulty. If all you want to do is experience the story, that's the way to do it. The character tactics that the game assigns by default are good enough for everything but the toughest boss encounters (though I had to tweak Leilani from "Default" to "Ranged").
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on October 19, 2010, 12:21:59 PM
I got through DA:O and DA:A without much micro-management... playing on Easy difficulty. If all you want to do is experience the story, that's the way to do it. The character tactics that the game assigns by default are good enough for everything but the toughest boss encounters (though I had to tweak Leilani from "Default" to "Ranged").

yeah, that had been suggested to me. Unfortunately I don't care THAT much about the story-I was hoping challenging, deep gameplay would compel me to keep playing. I like the story just fine, and Bioware does well at storytelling, but one piece without the other isn't cutting it in a sea of better options.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on October 19, 2010, 12:23:54 PM
It's true--once a game gets into your backlog, it rarely comes out. I still have a couple games from 2 Christmases ago.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: ghoselle on October 19, 2010, 12:40:15 PM
I ended up using 2 mages, 1 ranged rogue, 1 tank.

I had one mage set on a custom set of instructions as a range blaster.  The other mage was set as healer and ranged tactical control -- I'd often drive from her but whenever I wasn't controlling her she was set to aggressively heal.  Often at the beginning of a battle manually control both mages to set up initial AoE effects and control.  Having tactics sets that made it so my mages preferred neutralizing enemy mages made a big difference.  Having my healer with the abilities to do CC effects also made me need to manage the other characters much less.

I did find I redid the tactics for everyone and it made things much better.  I pretty much never controlled the rogue or the tank other than to tell the tank not to charge in while opening AoE was happening.  

I've not tried this on harder modes though.  I suspect that if I used a melee rogue I'd have to be a lot more micromanaging if I wanted to use a mage.

~~~~

I did have the same reaction early in the game though.  Before you have many abilities and tactics slots to program the abilities its pretty meh.  Once you get enough of each it gets good.  A bunch of the prereq abilities are pretty iffy which makes the early game unimpressive.  Not to mention several of the characters start with sort of dumb talent selections which is something you can fix one of the respec mods if you inclined.

There are also some weird scaling bits.  Attempting to convert it to wow terms, it was as if when were level 6-10 you got all level 9 mobs, and then from levels 11-15 you got level 14 mobs.  It meant when you ticked over from level 10 to 11 mobs would get hugely more difficult for several fights.  Later in the game this was a lot less noticeable since you had a lot more levels and it was a much smaller relative power level jump (a 5 level enemy power jump is a big deal at level 10, not so much at level 75), but early in the game it would sometimes result in disproportionately hard fights for short time periods. (Like an early fight against an enemy mage, where he is up a hill, behind snaring traps, with melee thugs and casts a fireball that would one shot 2 of my 4 party members as his first action every attempt at the fight; when I replayed through a second game the fight was trivial because I'd done a couple more side quests first and was slightly higher level so instead of one-shotting half the party we got a chance to heal. )


I guess what I'm saying is that the later game play is much better than the early game play.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on October 21, 2010, 04:21:03 AM
So...I finished ME1 a long time ago in galaxy far far away. But last night I finally ACTUALLY finished the game by getting all the achievements. Level 60 to 3 consecutive play throughs, and it turns out side missions are crucial. Both Neural Shock and AI Hacking were the ability achievements that had me hung up. I literally spent 3-4 hours getting both of those by loading/reloading/glitching the game. I ended up surfing the net while I waited for the CD's to refresh. It was painful, but now I am actually done.

When ME2 comes in, I will need to clean up 1 single achievement: Brawler. I have to kill someone after I punch them back 20 times.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on October 21, 2010, 05:34:21 AM
When ME2 comes in, I will need to clean up 1 single achievement: Brawler. I have to kill someone after I punch them back 20 times.

I've actually had a lot of trouble with this one. I always end up killing them with the punch! Stupid Vanguard.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on October 25, 2010, 01:00:55 PM
After just playing through and beating Mass Effect 1 right after playing multiple times through Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age: Awakenings...I gotta say I like Mass Effect better. I had forgotten how epic the final scenes are, combined with a MUCH better musical score. And this is coming from a guy who dislikes Sci-Fi and prefers high fantasy. The final scene of Shepard in Paragon/Renegade stance in front of the random world/space station while the game music crescendos before fading into The Faunts' M4 song gives me goosebumps every time.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Chanticleer on October 27, 2010, 08:16:46 AM
I'm almost done with Shank! It's kind of silly fun, but I like it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on October 30, 2010, 09:29:18 PM
I just finished The Force Unleashed 2. It arrived in the mail on Friday, and I played it on Saturday. It took about 10 hours, two of which were spent on annoying series of platform jumps. In other words, the game is short, about a third the length of The Force Unleashed.

The game framework has been improved somewhat; the switch between game menus is much faster than the previous game. When you acquire a new crystal for your lightsaber, you're told exactly what it does. I'm afraid that's the most positive thing I can say about the game.

I experienced a couple of technical glitches on the PS3 version. At one point, the voice and music soundtracks cut out, just before a boss fight. I knew I was being given hints on how to fight the boss, but I didn't know what they were; I had to figure it all out by myself. Actually, this made it the most interesting boss fight in the game. (The final boss fight, against... it's Star Wars, you can't guess? ... was more tedious than epic.) I fixed the audio problem by quitting the game and starting it again.

Overall, TFU2 feels more like an expansion pack that does not justify the full cost of another game. The story is a bit thin; the ending screams sequel. TFU2 goes a long way towards curing me of my Star Wars mania; I'm not sure I'll be as interested in buying TFU3 whenever it's released.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on November 01, 2010, 05:32:58 AM
I finished a couple of DLC's and 1 Xbox game this weekend.

Mass Effect 2

Stolen Memories: This is a short DLC that I am finding not really worth the price. This DLC contains a new squadmate (Kasumi), a bad ass SMG, a new "formal wear" outfit, and a short mission (45min-1hour). I liked everything in this DLC, it was just too short. There were a lot of cool little extras thrown into the scenary that made it appear as a well planned DLC and not something just rushed out. However, like I said, it was on the shorter end of a typical Loyalty Mission. As for the squadmate, Kasumi is very useful, has some decent Dialogue, and some fun skills. But overall, she is not a necessity for a "perfect" squad. If you are a Mass Effect fan you will dig it, but if you are on a budget and only wanting to buy 1 DLC, I would not recommend this one.

Overlord: Rogue VI has taken over a Cerebrus base and only Shepard can stop it. This DLC mission was AWESOME. There was some dialogue, but mainly combat and piloting the ME2 Hammerhead vehicle. The missions were very well constructed wih unique music tied to it (that I actually preferred to the standard combat music). The scenary reminded me of Dead Space with robots, as it is somewhat graphic. As the storyline progresses more is revealed as to what happened with this VI, and the story might be a bit of a Sci-Fi cliche, but it did make me feel something during the final reveal. There are no new equipment opportunities in this DLC, but I highly recommend it. Overall the DLC takes ~2 Hours to get through, which is pretty fair for the price.

Lair of the Shadow Broker: Liara is back and its time to take the fight to the Collect-err Shadow Broker. Apparently the Shadow Broker wanted to sell Shepard's body to The Collectors, so he is a jerk and must die. This DLC takes about 2-3 hours to complete, but the fun doesn't stop there. Liara will be your squadmate for the majority of this DLC, half of which is a chase sequence through Illium spanning several buildings and a car chase. The other half is assaulting the Shadow Broker's base. I personally was let down by the Shadow Broker reveal and was expecting a big twist. Instead I got a pretty sweet boss fight (one of the best in the game). After the missions are over you have access to the Shadow Broker's base, which opens up a lot of extras. You get Dossiers on your team (including dirty secrets like Miranda's sex personal ads), can finance Black Ops missions, can purchase star charts to Ore-Rich planets, and view video surveillance of stuff across the galaxy that happens off-camera. Overall its a very worthwhile DLC if not a little pricey. But the people at Bioware say this DLC will affect things in ME3, so its stock might be higher in your eyes.



Dante's Inferno[/u]

I've been wanting to play this for awhile, but honestly have been kinda intimidated by it. Firstly, the game is VERY short...I clocked just over 7 hours by the end of it all. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing, because as beautiful/hellish as the level designs were...I don't think I could stand being in Hell much longer. Gameplay is pretty typical of the genre, with combat allowing you to use 2 basic weapons, the scythe (Unholy) or the cross (Holy). With each soul you collect you can purchase new abilities in either Unholy or Holy tree, and access to these abilities is granted through Unholy/Holy levels. You raise these levels by Punishing or Absolving the damned souls you find in Hell. I went the Holy route and beefed up my Cross attacks. By the end of the game I got 4/7 Unholy levels and 7/7 Holy levels. The game also features various relics that allow you to customize Dante. The majority of the relics can be leveled up based on use, and have requirements of having a specific Unholy/Holy level. Relics vary in abilities such as receiving bonus Unholy experience, having combo's being unblockable, increasing time window for combo multipliers, ect...

The other big aspect of this game is the platforming aspect. Since this game takes place in Hell, they really go nuts in this department. The entire game you are descending. The platforming is EXTREMELY difficult, in large part due to a camera that you can not control. On the plus side, they have VERY quick death reloads...like they expected you to die. The puzzles were also fairly difficult, solely for the fact that they don't give you any hint how to solve it or what you are supposed to be wanting to do. I had a hard time running around in an M.C. Escher inspired room, mainly figuring out what exit was my actual goal.

Level design is AMAZING. The amount of detail put into these levels is absurd. I hesitate to say its beautiful because of the hellish nature, but each circle is very unique. Lust stands out the most as so many structures are shaped like penises and vaginas. Its not subtle at all. The other interesting aspect I liked was that not every Circle of Hell had an endboss. Sometimes you fought the boss at the end, some you fought at the beginning, some you avoided while fighting minions, and some had a platforming/puzzle challenge.

The final fight was a pretty tough boss fight with Satan (obviously). If I had not gone Holy and did not have a fully upgrade magic ability called Divine Protection (basic immunity + health regen), then I probably would have died. However, Satan also countered Cross attacks so I found it more effective to attack with the scythe (which I had almost no points in). The Satan model was also a little distracting as he had...a certain appendage that hung down below his knees flapping around as he moved. Fortunately, I was not the victim to any attacks that involved him beating me with said appendage.

Final verdict, good game but not for everyone. I can see people getting frustrated with the platforming aspects. And for being called a "God of War Clone", I'll say its much more unique and stands on its own in the genre.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Seniummortus on November 01, 2010, 06:47:10 AM
Dante's inferno was pretty good right up till the end, (echoing yhatzee here...) I feel that it fell short in the design of the last few levels it just took on your typical gothic architecture and finished it off. It would have been nice to go out on a high note rather than have the best looking levels at the start. That being said the first bit of hell was fantabulous. Also I never did notice Satan's appendage... not sure how given your description :P
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on November 01, 2010, 09:56:02 AM
Dante's inferno was pretty good right up till the end, (echoing yhatzee here...) I feel that it fell short in the design of the last few levels it just took on your typical gothic architecture and finished it off. It would have been nice to go out on a high note rather than have the best looking levels at the start. That being said the first bit of hell was fantabulous. Also I never did notice Satan's appendage... not sure how given your description :P

If your screen was dark I could see it...errr...see that you couldn't see it. But it was pretty hard to not notice it as Satan was taking menacing steps towards you. I also agree about the last few levels not being as well designed as the early ones. I was disappointed with the 8th Circle of Hell, or as I am going to call it "10 Most Annoying Platform Jumps Ever" Circle of Hell. I was also expecting more in the 9th Circle as opposed to just dropping in on the big man. One interesting thing to note is that the game does "accurately" depict Satan as a prisoner of Hell and not a ruler.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on November 01, 2010, 11:38:51 AM
Since I despise platforming, I'm glad I didn't purchase this one.

After playing the demo, the main reason why I didn't buy Dante's Inferno is that I read the original poem (Dorothy Sayer's translation, which I like very much). Turning it into an action/adventure is the equivalent of turning "Moby Dick" into a game in which Captain Ahab endlessly spears monster whales: The graphics are great, but it misses the point of its source.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: AdmiralShardy on November 02, 2010, 06:31:21 AM
I'm with ya, Winston.  I'm far too much of a lit snob to appreciate a game that doesn't so much take inspiration from its source material as openly disrespects it.  :-p
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on November 02, 2010, 10:22:30 AM
I'm with ya, Winston.  I'm far too much of a lit snob to appreciate a game that doesn't so much take inspiration from its source material as openly disrespects it.  :-p

How is it disrespecting the source? Loose interpretation, sure. But openly disrespecting?  ???
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Seniummortus on November 02, 2010, 03:43:04 PM
I'd have to say Dante's inferno was rather inspired by the poem, especially given the detail put into make the first few rings of hell well... hell :P. Watching the dev journals/diaries whatever they're called gives evidence as to how much they dove into the source when designing the game, they also justify their deviations from the poem as a means to get their interpretation/points across.

Yes they altered the story but interpretation isn't a terrible thing, sticking strictly to a poem without reading into it and taking from it what you feel it should represent/be kind of defeats the purpose of poetry imo. "Openly disrespects it" feels rather... well harsh :P
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on November 02, 2010, 07:40:44 PM
"Openly disrespects" is the correct wording. Dante's "Divine Comedy" was an allegory of different types of love (love of self, love of others, love of the divine... among others). The tortures of Hell were described, but they always had a poetic meaning, describing those who had abused love. There was no redemption from Dante's Hell, because the spirits knew they belonged there. Those who deserved or wanted redemption were in Purgatory.

(Keep in mind that this description is coming from a Jew/Wiccan. Christian mileage may vary.)

The game "Dante's Inferno" focuses solely on displaying lots of demons and other horrific images. Dante-in-the-poem is guided through Hell by the poet Virgil; Dante-in-the-game slays demons with a bunch of combos moves. Dante-in-the-poem finally meets with his poetic muse, Beatrice, in angelic form at the top of Mount Purgatory; Dante-in-the-game is trying to save his wife Beatrice who appears to him naked and in pain.

And so on.

Again, to use an analogy, if someone came up with a game that had Hamlet slaying hordes of evil knights to have a final boss battle with Claudius, would that be a legitimate re-interpretation of the depth and imagery of the original play?

If someone wants to create a game with a character that goes into the depths of the Underworld and slays lots of demons, while chasing the image of a naked lady, that's fine... but please don't call it "Dante's Inferno." The poet Dante deserves better.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Seniummortus on November 02, 2010, 08:10:21 PM
At the risk of de-railing this thread I'll attempt one more time to sway.

I wont ask you to play the game because you stated you hate it by its genre so you'd likely not see past that.

I could go on throwing in muddled justifications of why I feel the game does the poem "enough" justice to be named after it and in the spirit of it but, as I am not an English major and am as scatter brained as they come, I'd likely end up leaving everyone dazed and confused. I'd also likely not do much to convince you as any form of structured argument would be lost in my ramblings.

So instead I'll simply state that the game was good enough, and the story was compelling enough, that it has brought the 14th century poem to a new generation. If at least one person was inspired to read it (myself) because of this game it doesn't matter how accurate of a portrayal it was, how much it butchered the story, how badly it missed the point, it kept this classic from being another "required reading" that no one gives a shit about beyond credits for some English course. If the "poet Dante" deserves to be forgotten rather than re-born into a generation of video game playing, ADD, uncultured swine, then I think you need to reassess what you feel he deserves.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on November 03, 2010, 04:42:32 AM
The game "Dante's Inferno" focuses solely on displaying lots of demons and other horrific images. Dante-in-the-poem is guided through Hell by the poet Virgil; Dante-in-the-game slays demons with a bunch of combos moves. Dante-in-the-poem finally meets with his poetic muse, Beatrice, in angelic form at the top of Mount Purgatory; Dante-in-the-game is trying to save his wife Beatrice who appears to him naked and in pain.

I can see what you're saying, but I think you are not giving the video game storyline a fair assessment since you are basing it on the trailer/demo versus the entire poem.

At the risk of giving spoilers to an action game, I'm going to try and defend it. The in game Dante is different from the Divine Comedy Dante, and thus his interpretation of Hell is going to different. Towards the end of the game it is stated that Dante is not really in a generic Hell, but rather this whole place is his personal Hell. Thus the journey is flavored more to the Crusader Dante who has a taste for violence. Within each circle of Hell Dante in game is faced with the sins that led him here, and as he descends he has to come to terms that he is responsible for all that has befallen him and his loved ones.

As this happens Dante's character does shift and his goals change. From the demo it appears as though Dante is simply refusing to die and going to Hell to save his wife. As you progress through the game you find out Dante did die and this was his version of going to Hell. His wife made a gamble with the Devil that Dante would not cheat on her while on the Crusades, and he did so the Devil took her soul. Dante eventually accepts that both he and Beatrice are dead and that he is eternally damned, but still wants to save Beatrice at least.

By the end, Dante in game has accept his sins, sought redemtion without expectation, and attempted to reseal the Devil in his prison without hope of his own escape. Through all this he is allowed into Purgatory in the closing scenes.


Its an interpretation obviously, but I still can't accept "openly disrespects the source material" as an accurate depiction. I'm not asking you to play the game, but its hard to accept such a condemnation from someone who has only played/watched the demo. But the sentiment is understandable in the same vein of those who say "the movie wasn't as good as the book".
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on November 03, 2010, 06:58:16 AM
Saying Dante's Inferno "openly disrespects" the game is like saying the Lord of the Rings games openly disrespect those cause you don't have to sit through 30 minute dialogues about towers. Its a game. Actually play it. Enjoy it. Read the creator notes and see what they said about making it. People complain about to many things before actually seeing it or trying it. Seni's point is right on point. I bet many more people picked up the book after playing it and it brought the book to a whole new audience. That can't be all bad.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on November 03, 2010, 07:38:01 AM
Actually the LotR movies openly disrespected the source because they omitted Tom Bombadil.

I found Tom Bombadil tedious, so it was a win for me.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on November 03, 2010, 07:51:06 AM
I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. While I concede that a demo doesn't tell the entire story of a game, in this case the perspective and plot of the game "Dante's Inferno" seems to me like a high-school-morality version of the poem. I feel that's different from comparing the LotR novel to the movie or the games; the novel was supposed to be a fantasy adventure, and so are the latter two, with differences that are mainly due to the media used to present them.

While I certainly hope that some people will read the "Divine Comedy" (the whole poem, not just the first book, "Hell") as a result of playing the game, I hope they're not reading it just to read about the tortures. That would indeed be the boring English-lit-class approach to Dante's work.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on November 03, 2010, 08:10:33 AM
So back to the original purpose of this thread.

Fifa 11: Don't know if many of yall are sports game fans. I have become addicted to Premier League Soccer. And have always enjoyed Soccer (football) games. This is by far the best one they have put out to date. And since you can't beat it, I figured I played through a season so thats close enough. It has by far the most realistic gameplay of the series and I have enjoyed all the goofy fun stuff on the side like the character creation thing which is kinda like a Soccer RPG. I have reallllly enjoyed it the little time I have gotten to play it. The way they fixed things like hitting the ref with the ball a lot and crossing actually being effective are nice touches. The only issue I have is their way of selecting who goes to what league cups. Some of the choices are weird (like leaving out Arsenal for those who know EPL soccer). Other than that have had fun. Also the playing a goal keeper mode they added was cool.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on December 26, 2010, 08:23:23 PM
While waiting for the crowding to ease up in Cataclysm, I've devoted my gaming time to Assassin's Creed 2.

There were parts I liked: the story was engaging, any mission that required thought and planning was fun, I liked climbing stuff.

There were parts I disliked, often hated. Basically, this was anything that required precision skill with the controller: timed platforming, chasing someone, racing through the city.

Overall: I liked it, but I'm not in a rush to get Brotherhood.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on December 27, 2010, 05:07:38 AM
The ending was epic too! You waited until the end of the credits right?
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on December 27, 2010, 06:30:06 AM
Yes, I did. As with movies, I always go over the credits at the end of a game; I figured the designers deserve it.

Except for the guy who designed the timed platformers in the Assassin's Tombs. He can have his sexual organs removed with a rusty spoon for all I care.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on December 27, 2010, 07:23:02 AM
Yes, I did. As with movies, I always go over the credits at the end of a game; I figured the designers deserve it.

Except for the guy who designed the timed platformers in the Assassin's Tombs. He can have his sexual organs removed with a rusty spoon for all I care.

Haha, yeah they were no joke. It definitely took some deft timing and a few retries.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on December 27, 2010, 02:22:15 PM
Shadow Complex (XBLA):

An excellent Metroidvania-style game in a pretty generic "secret army base." The plot is based off of an Orson Scott Card series of novels, which, after my experience with his Ender's Shadow series, are probably a 50-50 mix of intriguing political thriller and ZOMG HAVE BABIES WOMEN ARE BABY FACTORIES.

Now, it is with a heavy heart that I say I'm finished with this game, but I literally have 100% complete on it. In true Metroidvania style, you begin the game with nothing but a flashlight and a backpack and eventually can become a nearly-invincible one-person-army in 12-15 hours. The game is built on the Unreal Engine, so although it's only a 2D side-scroller, you can fire at things in 3D and aim with the right thumbstick.

Combat is varied enough to keep me interested through the whole game. Your first gun is a pistol, which gets upgraded to a submachine gun, then an assault rifle, etc., etc., and you can always pick off foes at a distance. The subweapons are different enough to be useful in different scenarios-grenades, missiles, and foam grenades are all more effective against certain enemies than the regular gun. My personal favorite is the melee kill, especially from stealth. If you can get up close to a normal guard, you can snap his neck/kick him off a ledge/suplex him. After an armor upgrade, you can even do that to the giant guards with missile launchers, and punch dudes into the next state. If you perform the melee attack quietly enough, you can make your way through groups of guards like a ninja. Sure, it's been done before, but it's still a blast.

Exploration is relatively smooth, since your character's early Climbing Gear allows you to hang on to walls briefly (Mega Man X style) and wall jump. After a few mobility upgrades, vertical climbs become a non-issue, and only one or two power-ups involve frustrating...er, challenging jumping puzzles.


Where the game really shines is the use of the flashlight. This item has a standard limited battery a la Halo and Dead Space, but when you shine the flashlight on certain areas, the may glow a different color. If it glows orange, you can destroy it with your gun; green, you can destroy it with a grenade; purple can be destroyed or frozen with expanding foam grenades; blue, you can destroy it by running into it full-speed with the Friction Dampener boots; red takes a plain old missile. Because of this feature, I was able to figure out all of the puzzles except one-and that one takes jumping in an area the camera doesn't show after trying to destroy a hidden panel. Don't feel too bad about having to look that one up, especially since it was the only thing I had to.

The only complaint I have is that the game has a leveling system that is either mostly irrelevant or so subtle I didn't notice it-and the complaint is that it should have been more influential or eliminated entirely. You have 3 stats besides Health: Stamina, Precision, and Accuracy. I'm assuming these all tune your aiming in certain ways, though Stamina may affect how long you can run or hold your breath? Both negated by upgrades. Additionally, I completed the game in about 14 hours, and got to level 20. There is an achievement for level 50, and I have no idea how someone could get there. Higher difficulties purportedly grant experience bonuses, but unless that bonus is 250%, I don't see a way to get to 50 without cheesing areas with infinite spawns.

All-in-all, this game is definitely worth it if you have an Xbox and like Castlevania:SotN, Mega Man X, or Super Metroid. The soundtrack is excellent, the graphics are great, and the levels and puzzles are well-designed. The two big minuses are the completely generic story (but whatevs) and the lack of any teleporter-like contrivance. In such a large, open area, it was sometimes confusing getting from one side of the map to the other, and a teleporter or turbolift would have helped cleaning up that last few missile doors back by the entrance, etc.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on January 13, 2011, 08:47:12 AM
I know this hasn't been updated in a while with Cata out but I figure I would throw one in there! :D (Also I need to try out shadow complex and super meat boy).

Super Mario Galaxy:

Really enjoyed it. I know its a little older but I haven't been in the mood to play a platformer for a long time. I think the "galaxy" and gravity mechanics were really cool and while I was afraid it would be hokey and cheesy I thoroughly enjoyed it though by the end I was just ready to beat it and gave up on star collecting. I guess there are only so many gravity tricks to do. It was a blast of a platformer and Mario game. If you have't tried it I would suggest it and its pretty cheap now since its sequel is already out.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on January 13, 2011, 10:40:47 AM
An older game, but I like...The Darkness.

I got it for like $3 at Gamestop. Its a FPS game based off the Top Cow comic of the same name and runs with an alternative story to the comics. You play the role of Jackie, a hitman for the mob, who at the age of 21 discovers he is the latest in the line of hosts for a timeless entity known as The Darkness. The game revolves around Jackie's struggle to overcome and control The Darkness while fighting off members of the mob that have turned on him.

My favorite aspects of this game are the voice acting, the storyline, and the music. I really want the soundtrack, and to somehow bind it to WoW to use with my DK, but I digress. The graphics are fairly dated and the character expressions don't do the voice actors credit. That is the big disappointment.

All the weapons in the game feel the same, but you get a wide arsenal of pistols, shotguns, and rifles. However, your primary weapon is The Darkness which can be used to summon Darkling Pets, sneak around and devour (1-shot) enemies, impale them, or open a hole to the void that does massive AoE damage. The trick is...these powers only work in the dark, a limitation that enemies become aware of as the game progresses, forcing you to spend a lot of time shooting out streetlights and floodlights.

The gameplay is interesting in that it is quasi-free roam. You have 4-6 districts you can visit, and an ample supply of sidemissions you can choose to complete within them. Completing the sidemissions doesn't grant any ingame bonuses, but does help set the mood of the city which is nice sometimes.

One of the most complimented aspects of this game (that I have seen) is a scene near the beginning after the prologue. Its a scene between Jackie and his girlfriend Jennie, which is one of the more convincing relationships presented in gaming storylines.

Overall its a pretty simple game, not that long, that's an easy play with a good comic book style story. If you are fan of Anti-Hero types and see it cheap out at a Gamestop, its definitely worth tossing a few bucks towards...especially for the music!
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on January 27, 2011, 07:35:48 AM
Recently I finsihed playing Fable 3. Now...Fable has had this sick power over me. I dislike the games, but foolishly buy and play entirely through each installment. Each time I am simultaneously impressed with the things they thought to add into the game, and disappointed by what they don't put in.

Overall, Fable 3 was more enjoyable than Fable 1 and Fable 2, but not as good as Fable: Lost Chapters (or Fable 1.5). Firstly, this game is ridiculously stupid easy and there is no way you can fail at any point in anything. The only difficulty comes in tracking down the many collectable achievements in the game such as finding all the garden gnomes, silver keys, golden keys, books, and flowers. By completing these collection quests you are rewarded with cool treasure...the slap in the face is that the game is designed so that you can not complete the collections until after the "end" of the game. That makes it kinda lame imo.

Story wise it starts off decently, then fizzles, then reignites slightly around the 2nd act. Overall, the story is very weak but better than previous Fable stories. In typical Fable fashion, there are no sub-boss fights or anything remotely difficult in combat, but at least there is an actual final boss (as unthreatening as it is).

The morality choices are pretty lame, but some are interesting. It is usually too clear-cut blatantly goody-good or evil.

One cool aspect I liked involved several quest series that essentially opened up new areas. For instance, through a series of quests you can help establish a little town and an evil temple. Those made it seem like you had more involvement in what was happening in the land.

The voice acting was very good though, and the humor was definitely entertaining. I will give them credit for actually making fun of both the genre and of the lame ending battle in Fable 2. A couple of parts really had me laughing, intentionally or not.

So Fable 3...not worth buying new, but maybe worth a playthrough if you want something easy you don't have to have a lot of concentration with.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on February 01, 2011, 07:35:39 AM
Having a weekend off from about everything so I finished up two things I have been trying to wrap up for a while:

Dante's Inferno:

I think about everything good and bad has been said about this. I will only add this. The addition of the good versus bad system at a basic level sounds like many other games but in this game really adds to it and differentiates it from its main competitors (God of War, Devil May Cry, etc) in that the addition of the cross as a weapon (and one you can use the entire game almost exclusively) was a blast and made it more unique than some of the other in the genre. It made me feel like the sick guy from the second Vampire Hunter D movie (for people who watch anime). It was fun. Lazer crosses made it a "ranged" action game and was a lot of fun. They do a good job of making the moves and style very different. And the counter system can be a lot of fun (for example, the counter-reshoot projectiles ability in the evil tree is a must in my opinion). Fun game.

Transformers: War for Cybertron

For 3rd person shooter/action games fans this is an alright game. For robot game fans this is great. For Transformer fans this is freaking amazing. It is actually a good game that incorporates the Transformer theme well. The dialogue of both sides are awesome whether it be Megatron berating his troops or Optimus being the supportive but lets handle business leader. It was a great game. Changing between vehicle and robot was smooth and was used back and forth a lot. The vehicle scenes felt kinda epic whether it was driving down an exploding highway or flying through caverns. I felt like the flying missions were some of the best though there were much fewer of those.

The biggest complaints were ammo shortage and cover mechanics from critics. The cover mechanics would have been nice but they weren't horrible. Just step behind a pillar or wall and step out. It wasn't bad but could have been done a little better, maybe more along the lines of Gears of Wars mechanics. But in a way it felt kinda weird thing that I would be crouched behind a fallen pillar as Optimus but I can see their point. Ammo shortage wasn't an issue. It was about the same as Gears of War or any other similar. You run out, grab another weapon or search for a weapon crate or just hit them with a melee attack. Never was so drained it would be the end of days.

Finally would just say LOVED the boss fights. Actual big boss fights that felt like boss fights, some more epic than others, but all pretty good (except the last boss felt a little cheap but still beatable.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on February 08, 2011, 08:38:41 PM
STALKER: Call of Pripyat (PC)

The STALKER games are open-worldish first-person shooters where you wander around the wastelands of Chernobyl shooting mutants (and often competing humans), collecting strange alien artifacts (which are a little like magic items) and avoiding bizarre environmental phenomena called 'anomalies'. It sounds like it might be cheesy, and some of the dialog didn't translate well from Russian, but they are in general a very gritty series of survival horror/action games. There's no 'level-up' system, but you improve your character's survival chances by getting better artifacts and equipment (guns, body armor, etc.) over the course of the game.

So I played the first STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl for about a day. It was an intense day, and I obsessed about it that day, but in the end I had to give it up because of an inability to accumulate wealth; in the original, weapons and armor are unrepairable and horribly inaccurate, and so you chew through them at an alarming rate and are forced to spend what little money you can scrounge together to buy new weapons that if you're lucky last you an hour. This really wore on me. I didn't like spending all my in-game effort trying to run in place.

A couple months later, I was bored, and fired up the sequel STALKER: Clear Sky, which I'm told that purists dislike in comparison to the original, but I had on hand because I had gotten both at the same time. It benefited from a smaller, more focused world, a tighter narrative, far fewer cheap deaths than the original (mainly through less punishing anomalies and easier-to-obtain artifacts that were simpler in mechanics as well), and the ability to repair (and upgrade!) your weapons. I loved this game and only lamented that it was so short (and it was easily 20-30 hours the way I played it).

Hoping Call of Pripyat would be similar, I got it for Xmas. It's still a STALKER game but it's a hybrid between the previous 2. It only has 3 maps (swamp, train area, Pripyat) but benefits by packing those maps full of stuff. Unlike the previous games, you start with a decent weapon (AK) decent armor (basic stalker armor) and have access to weapons that you wouldn't get until mid-game in the others, right at the beginning. The main quest is OK, if often unfocused (very free-form like the original, and vague), but some of the side-quests are better (echoes of Fallout 3), and best of all they are untimed, unlike the original with its punishing timers.

In fact this game seemed a lot easier; access to good weapons at the start allows you to fight off the nastier mutants more easily, and it also means that you accumulate money from your enrifled adversaries that much quicker. Artifacts are much easier to get and in fact repopulate after emissions (map-wiping storms that force you to seek shelter or die). The weapon upgrade system is still in place with the caveat that you must find tools for technicians. Unfortunately, the tool quests have no pointers and force you to explore everywhere, looking for brownish-gray boxes hidden in corners of brownish-gray buildings, or meta-game (FAQs) instead. There are more guns in this game (almost all of them assault rifles) but I still still stuck with my Vintar BC and Viper 5 from Clear Sky (albeit I bought the 'named' unique version of these guns with slightly better than normal stats). The ending, as always, featured Strelok but in this case was a bit anti-climactic, although in a way it was a welcome change from Clear Sky's cheap teleporting enemies combined with an aggressive timer in its finale.

In general I give Pripyat a 7.5 out of 10. If you've never played a STALKER game before, I recommend starting with Clear Sky, as the original is a bit dated at this point and seems unnecessarily punishing. If you've played STALKER games before, you will almost certainly like Call of Pripyat, or at least feel at home there.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: samercyn on February 08, 2011, 10:20:56 PM
In response to Vylin on Fable 3.. is there no difficulty slider?  I thought I remembered there being a slider in Fable 2... but it's been such a long time since I've played it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on February 09, 2011, 05:12:51 AM
In response to Vylin on Fable 3.. is there no difficulty slider?  I thought I remembered there being a slider in Fable 2... but it's been such a long time since I've played it.

None that I saw. It doesn't have a traditional menu, so I might have missed a difficulty option in the "sanctuary".
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on February 09, 2011, 05:13:02 AM
Crysis


Marco reminded me several weeks back about this shooter, so I looked and found it on the cheap from Amazon (I don't like doing games via Steam).

Overall it was a really good shooter. Its not quite the Half-Life level, but its good none the less. The graphics are second to none and there are a ton of unique missions and methods of completion. The gun customization is a really cool feature I enjoyed, but I could have done without the Nanosuit micromanagement.

One of the game's biggest gameplay features is the use of the Nanosuit to give yourself "maximum" speed, power, armor or invisibility. All of these were only useful in short bursts. You have to be very quick with your fingers to successfully toggle the different modes as the situation needs. I found myself usually sitting in the Armor mode unless I got swarmed with North Koreans and had to use a Speed Burst to get to cover.

The biggest complaint I have is the number of buttons that you use. This is not a "run & gun" type of game. And it can get a bit tedious to have all sorts of seperate buttons for leaning, changing fire modes, using secondary functions, using grenades, interacting, dropping equipment, crouching, reloading, zooming, using binoculars, pulling up a map, changing vision modes, swapping weapons, customizing weapons, and changing suit modes. The controls might honestly be better suited for an XBox controller than a PC keyboard.

On the plus side, this is not a "run and gun" type of game like I mentioned. Its hard. Even with maximum armor you die FAST if you stand out in the open. You have to pick your fights and fight smart. The AI is pretty decent, so they use cover and take pot shots at you (and will give away your location if hiding). The graphics are amazing and the environment is interactable/destructable. This is good and bad. For instance if you use a minigun in the jungle, you start knocking down trees...when this happens they fall, and if they fall on you then you die! Buildings blow up, vehicles blow up, and a lot of debris can blow up. Also, vehicles have multiple points of damage, meaning you can disable an assault truck by blowing out the tires, or explode it quickly by shooting out the spare gas tank in the back.

The story is...kinda weak. Its decent for a shooter, but once again no Half-Life. The game does have a good action story, meaning that the action sequences tell an amazing story. There is one part with a mountain crumbling in the background to reveal something, and that is just an amazing backdrop (while you are driving a tank blowing up AA guns).

The ending...there is a final boss! The endgame boss is worthy of being called a boss too! It was a good fight and really really tough with all the chaos surrounding it. The actual ending is a "To Be Continued", which sucks...

But if you have the chance I would recommend giving it a whirl. Its a pretty fun, visually stimulating, shooter.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on February 09, 2011, 07:01:25 AM
I just finished Crysis too. I was annoyed by the over-reliance on flying enemies in the 2nd half and found Warhead (its mini-sequel) to have a tighter narrative. The only problems with Warhead were that it was shorter and that you didn't know what the hell was going on if you hadn't played the first one.

That said, it did have some pretty excellent set-piece battles and encounters that in some ways you could look at like a puzzle; when to attack and where, and how best to do so without getting shot to bits. I found you could game the AI like most games though. And I love destructible environments. It definitely makes the game feel more alive.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Razov on February 09, 2011, 01:05:19 PM
I actually just finished Crysis as well. Its funny hearing how others played the game with the different nano suit abilities. You really can play the game how ever you want. I spent a lot of time using Cloaking .... along side the default maximum armor and the occasional speed. overall I thought the game was a lot of fun, with its different missions, 2nd missions and then just staying alive in the mists of firefights. The story is there but its sorta meh...

*edited* my only pet peeve about this game is 2 fold. 1. the air craft you have to fly through the valley mid way through..  feels like I'm flying a rock. 2. the end boss fight has a memory leak. so sometimes you can beat him and other times you crash out.

Overall I'd recommend it, assuming your have a monster rig to play it. the graphics are still giving current systems a run for the money.  After playing this I'm definitely going to pick up the sequel when it comes out.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on February 09, 2011, 01:51:29 PM
The VTOL level was a pain (although I guess maybe it tried to be 'realistic'?), and the last guy kept crashing me out too. I thought it was my own machine; I'm pleased to hear that it's a bug in the game (for some value of 'pleased').
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on February 10, 2011, 04:13:21 AM
Yes, the flying level gave me issues. I would randomly lose altitude and have no hope of recovery which made it really lame. And I never could get the turbo boost to work properly (one of the things that kept causing me to lose altitude I think).

Fortunately the final guy did not crash me out at all, but it was a tough tough battle. Most annoying were the holes filled with fire that you would get knocked into.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on February 21, 2011, 06:08:53 AM
I got Castlevania: Lords of Shadow last week and beat it yesterday.

There are a lot of good things about this game. I don't feel like it is a DMC or GoW rip-off in the slightest. The graphics are AMAZING and the way shots are framed is incredibly well done. It gives you a scope of the world as this giant place and Gabriel as someone very small transversing it. The music is also stellar and really fits with the mood of each setting. However, my initial gripe was that the classic Castlevania tune (Bloody Tears) was not in the score. Fortunatey it is hidden in one of the levels in an interesting way.

The gameplay itself is interesting. Levels consist of incredible platforming, exploring, combat, puzzle solving, and boss-fighting. The platforming is pretty amazing and probably one of the best done in a 3D environment that I can recall, and every bit as difficult as the original Castlevanias. Combat is well done, but my only complaint is that some of the combo's (especially involving magic and relics) were difficult to pull off. I tended to use the same handful of combos because those seemed to be safest. The secondary weapons were also really good and provided nice variation.

The downside to this game is that during the levels based on exploration, there is no mini map to help you navigate. And because of fixed camera angles, you can miss paths that *SHOULD* be obvious (thus denying you power ups unless you pay close attention). The voice-acting was also superb, but I felt that the story was slightly disconnected from the Patrick Stewart narration and the ingame dialogue with Gabriel.

The Boss fights in this game definitely propel it beyond good to great. I thought all bosses and sub-bosses were tough and had interesting skillsets. Some are single phase fights, and others show multiple forms. Either due to learning curve or powerups, bosses earlier in the game were tougher than the later part it seemed. There are also "Titan" fights which are similar to Shadows of the Colassus, where you have to navigate around giant constructs to find weakpoints to exploit.

Another note of something that I found useful but might be trivial: Quick-Timed events are well done. Normally I am looking at the button on the screen and not the cinematic event that is occuring. Castlevania excels because its quicktime event involves pushing any button at the right time. This, for me at least, let me enjoy the cinematic action sequence.

Overall this is a FANTASTIC game. The story is a reboot, so don't come in expecting a continuation of the previous Castlevania franchise. The end boss is not who you might think, and the secret ending at the end of the credits will blow your freaking skull!   
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on February 24, 2011, 06:25:56 AM
Fallout: Vegas

I loved Fallout 3, spending countless hours digging through the detritous of a broken world for a few spare bottlecaps. I felt like Vegas was a conscious improvement, for several reasons.

1) Setting: It's set a little south and east of where Fallout 1 and 2 were set, so there is some continuity from those games. NCR, Khans, Vipers, Jackals, BoS (athough they've been in all of them) and a tiny bit of Enclave.

2) Focus: Far fewer useless buildings full of random crap and endless subway tunnels. If you're exploring someplace, it's probably part of a quest.

3) Equipment: Lots more guns. The energy weapons in 3 were adequate, I felt, but the ballistic weapons were poorly implemented; you could spend the entirety of the game using the hunting rifle (and often, should). There are now ridiculous amounts of different weapons and ammo, all with different performance characteristics. The ability to change guns for different situations and have it mean something really meant a lot to me.

4) Voice Acting: While it wasn't great, it also wasn't atrocious like Fallout 3. They used more than 3 guys and a girl for their hundreds of NPCs. Yay!

The plot was fine but featured a few holes in it, which I could forgive given the rest of the package. There are like 4 or 5 different endings, and all of them start precluding each other about midway through the main plot, preventing you from playing all sides (which I always do, for maximum experience points). Enemy variety was improved, although I can't cheer it too much as some enemies (like Cazador) were a true pain in the ass to deal with.

It was also buggy. Every Fallout has been buggy (except maybe 1) and every game made by Obsidian has been buggy, so the confluence of these two streams results in a truly special experience. For me, it wasn't that bad, but I know that when Avi plays it, she will find every bug (as her luck dictates this). Most vexing was the fact that it would infrequently crash after a few hours of play. Save often! Also, never buy 2 of the same card at the same time. That's a guaranteed crash.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Mr. Tring on February 24, 2011, 10:17:07 AM
Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Bought this off Steam a cpl months ago when it was 50% off and played it most of the way through until I got stuck, then replayed it again recently and finished it off. Its a survival horror game with heavy Lovecraftian leanings. Its not a shooter, if you get into a danger situation, you can only run and hide. It's more of the style of Myst, where you don't have much of an inventory and interact a lot with the environment. It was refreshing to play that style of game again, which I haven't played in a while. I wouldn't say that it is overly challenging and I don't think the playthrough time is very long- you could probably finish it within a day if you really wanted to. The story is very good and I was definitely absorbed in the atmosphere of the game. Thouroughly enjoyed it and it definitely gave me the willies and the creeps on multiple occasions. I could potentially see buyer's remorse at the regular price of $20 because of the shorter storyline, but if it were to go on sale again I would recommend snapping it up.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Seniummortus on February 25, 2011, 09:30:40 AM
Amnesia was really good. You totally need to listen to the first screen and play it alone in the pitch black tho :D. The mouse controls the hands bit was really immersive, i had a total scoobydoo moment where I opened a door and there was a zombie going RAWRAWRAWWRWARWR at which point i slammed that door shut so fast my mouse flew across the room. the zombie then proceeded to ignore me, it was great. The torture rooms were also super creepy and sanity effects were great.

On a side note, can anyone suggest some other games that scare the crap out of them? I feel as though i'v played most of them by now unfortunatly (cryostasis, deadspace (barely), amnesia, Call o Cthulhu (ehh?), etc.). I'v been looking for another good one but havn't found one creepy enough yet!
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on February 25, 2011, 09:43:21 AM
You already mentioned it, but I think Deadspace was probably one of the creepiest games I can recall playing recently.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Wren on February 25, 2011, 01:24:37 PM
You already mentioned it, but I think Deadspace was probably one of the creepiest games I can recall playing recently.

Deadspace 2 has been great fun so far as well. I should really get back to playing it...

But also Fatal Frame 1 and 2 were very creepy although for the PS2 so a bit outdated now. Not sure if there was a version available for PC.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Seniummortus on February 25, 2011, 04:31:27 PM
Deadspace 1 wasn't nearly as scary as everyones made it out to be, i duno maybe i needed to atmosphere better. Deadspace 2 was alright but disappointing from a gameplay/length perspective :( no actual bosses ftl.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on February 26, 2011, 08:31:56 PM
Alpha Protocol.

Much maligned and panned by critics, I have to say--I found it to be a lot of fun. I'd give it at least an 8 maybe an 8.5--none of this 6 crap.

I felt the production values were pretty good; I liked the environments, and felt they had some good variety. The graphics got the job done, but the facial expressions were spot-on for a lot of it. This was reinforced by the voice acting, which was almost universally superb. The main character is fully voiced. I didn't run into any major bugs; a couple of cover spots were a little fiddly, and targeting was a little tricky, but nothing like some of the reviews complained about.

In a lot of ways, it's similar to Mass Effect, sort of mashed together with Metal Gear. You have a string of opening missions. Then you have 3 zones to choose from and do in any order. Finally, there is the Finale mission.

Character building is straightforward. There are 3 base classes; soldier (guns), spy (sneaking), and technician (gadgets, grenades, hacking), a freelancer (put points where you want) and a recruit (hardmode) and veteran (overpowered mode, unlocked by beating it as a recruit). Each time you level, you get talent points to spend on various strictly linear skill lines (very similar to Mass Effect). Later on, you can specialize, which opens up the cap on 3 skills of your choice. Talents are generally powerful, offering things like auto-vanish (on a cooldown) if you're spotted, Max Payne-like bullet time with pistols, auto-tracking on rifles, knockdowns with shotguns, and the ability to fire all your ammo without reloading with SMGs. Note: you won't have access to sniper rifles except in a few rare circumstances, but they are pretty powerful when you do.

Each level is basically broken into large rooms or sequences of rooms between checkpoints (sadly, there is no quicksave; only checkpoint saves). Often, the rooms will have more than one approach. These rooms have patrolling guards. You can shoot the guards (setting off alarms and summoning more guards, etc.) or sneak around, taking them down one by one (both lethal and non-lethal takedowns). By and large, I snuck through most levels, dealing with it as a puzzle game. In fact, late in the game, with some of my specialized talents, I was able to clear entire rooms from range, and then sneak into them and have it announced that I was in an ambush, except that I'd killed all the guards already, and so it wasn't really much of an ambush.

Combat is 3rd-person and cover-based, although I found that it's generally best to avoid it; by default there is no targeting reticule, so unless you go into targeting mode (right-click), you're basically firing blind, which is ok with a shotgun or SMGs, but useless for a pistol or assault rifle. Going into targeting mode though limits your field of view (in a somewhat realistic touch) allowing enemies to flank you more easily, and you have to hold aim-mode for a bit to hit anything, allowing enemies to shoot at you while you do it. Sometimes the AI is ok, but other times it's pretty dumb. This does not, however, extend to the bosses, most of whom are pretty challenging (at least for a stealth character), requiring frequent cooldown usage and smart play, particularly toward the end of the game. The really tough ones summon adds too, which complicate things considerably.

Conversations typically allow 3 choices: aggressive (gonna kick some ass), professional (I'm on a mission) or suave/joking. However, the trick here is that conversations don't pause while you're talking, so you only have a couple of seconds to decide which to pick before the conversation continues on. This can have dire consequences if you choose rashly. The conversation choices affect your reputation with a character, and in turn whether he's more likely to help you, or fight you/sell you out to the bad guys. It's written maturely but not gratuitously; some of the reticule choices included things like yes/no/fuck off for responses, and the Russian gangsters in particular are potty-mouths, but I can buy that.

Choices you make in conversations can radically alter the characters present in the game and background events, as well as the bosses that you fight in-game, although the levels are of course mostly the same. Many of the boss fights end in a conversation where you can choose to execute the person; showing mercy might gain you an ally or a chunk of change (I wasn't particularly broke by the end, but I did run close to the line), or possibly access to new and better gear, but some of them might show up later to fight you again or cause you difficulty. Even the zones you go to and the sub-missions within them vary in plot and difficulty based on the order in which you do them. Having played through it once, I'd be surprised if I'd seen 2/3 of the plot and voice-acting, and I intend to play through it again.

I'm gonna guess that it took me between 30 and 40 hours, although there is no /played counter in it that I can find. Overall, I'm actually a bit sad that it was panned and didn't do well; I'd love to see another one.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Mr. Tring on March 02, 2011, 07:34:21 AM
On a side note, can anyone suggest some other games that scare the crap out of them? I feel as though i'v played most of them by now unfortunatly (cryostasis, deadspace (barely), amnesia, Call o Cthulhu (ehh?), etc.). I'v been looking for another good one but havn't found one creepy enough yet!

Supposedly this Half Life 2 mod is coming out tomorrow (3/3). It certainly looks creepy to me and its free as long as you own a copy of HL2 I believe. I intend to check it out anyway.

http://www.moddb.com/mods/visage
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kharvek on March 02, 2011, 09:40:09 PM
I'll give props for Alpha Protocol.  It's a great game, however I also agree with just about every gripe reviewers had about it. If you're into the style/setting of that kind of game you'll likely be able to overlook some of the more dated stealth/shooting mechanics that game has and have a blast.  The setting is great and they have some genuinely cool places to visit.  The conversation system I like and the fact you are given different perks based on if you piss people off or befriend them is a neat way to go.  It also feels like what you do has some impact, though maybe not quite on the level as a Deus Ex.  I also like that you have a limited time to pick your response and that time varies, it makes certain conversations actually seem more tense and important.  It's cheap these days and well worth the price at this point, however make sure you're aware of the game's flaws before going in.  Most of the guns in the game have very odd aiming mechanics based on your skill level in them.  The stealth portions feel very dated since all the guards never waver from their basic paths and will dutifully return to them as long as you cancel an alarm.  After playing a game like Splinter Cell: Conviction it really shows how far stealth/action has come when you go back and play AP.

Next up, Bulletstorm.  If you want a game with an immersive environment and a great story...stay the hell away.  If you want something that is more of an arcade FPS with plenty of over the top action moments?  This game is awesome.  The skillshot mechanic is utterly brilliant and works perfectly to encourage you to think up crazier ways to kill your opponents.  Once I had a few guns unlocked I almost never brought out the boring ole assault rifle ever again.  It's not the first game to offer creative ways to kill enemies, but it's the first game that does an excellent job of rewarding and encouraging players to do it.  I could do it in Bioshock, there just wasn't ever any reason to.  Seeing my screen flood with numbers and silly names of all the creative ways I killed people is awesome to see, and the skill points you get can be spent on guns, upgrades and ammo.  It works perfectly and keeps you trying new things.  None of the skillshots felt super maddening to get so I never felt frustrated trying to find or get new ways to kill people, and everytime I found a group of guys to kill I was excited about what options I had and what I was going to try this time.  It never once felt like a gimmick and was a very well thought out and fun mechanic that stays fun through the whole 6-8 hour campaign.

The story is bad and the voice acting, while solid is generally filled with shit/dick/fart/whatever jokes, so if that kinda humor bothers you stay away.  Some of the jokes are pretty funny but for the most part it's kinda eh.  It didn't annoy me but it probably would annoy other people.   The places you go to are actually pretty awesome and do a great job of staying away from gray and brown.  There's tons of color in the game and some pretty impressive environments. 

It's also a really short game.  I got it on a discount and felt I paid a fair price, but I think 60 bucks at this point is a bit steep for about a 6-8 hour campaign.  The MP I haven't tried and the echo mode is fun for trying to get high scores, but they don't really do much to extend the game in my eyes.  If you can score it on a discount and are into the more pure action side of shooters, get it.  The skillshots keep the action fresh and fun from beginning to end and completely breaks the mold of "Find cover, get headshots, move on" that many action FPS games have fallen into.  I never bothered much with cover and was more busy trying to find a way to latch a flail bomb onto a guy and if I could light him on fire before I kicked him into a mob of other enemies. 
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on March 05, 2011, 07:21:59 AM
I haven't quite finished playing this yet; I'm about one good session from being done with the game. But I have a moment, so:

Lego Star Wars. I know this one would probably be considered simple to the more dedicated console gamers. For me, it just about fits my abilities as a gamer: The puzzles are not too tough, the combat is usually forgiving, and most of the platforming is not more than I can handle. The game actually gets easier as you go along, since you begin to build up a pool of optional "extra" powers while the difficulty of the different levels stays more-or-less constant.

Everyone knows the story, and everyone knows what Legos are, so the game doesn't waste much time filling in the background. You go through a moderate approximation of the story of the six films, in order; each film is divided into six parts for the game. Once you've completed a part with the "story" characters, you can replay the level using any character you've played, defeated, or purchased (with Lego studs) so far.

The foreground characters and objects are made of Legos, as one would expect. The background and general environment is well-rendered, the equal or superior to other game environments I've seen, including WoW. The cutscenes often move the story with humor and a wry wink to the realities of the game. The Lego characters only articulate with wordless grunts or exclamations; I laughed out loud when I saw how they handled the "I am your father" moment.

If you've got kids who know Star Wars, this is a great two-player console game; you'll have fun playing with them. If you're just looking for some mindless and not-overly-challenging fun, you'll enjoy yourself. If you're looking to throw the controller against the wall in frustration because you can't make that platform jump, consider Assassin's Creed instead.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on March 15, 2011, 07:44:31 AM
Dragon Age 2

or perhaps a better name would have been Dragone Age: Champion of Kirkwall.


The meat and potatoes...I've been trying to sort through my feelings on this game and whether or not it is great or a disappointment. The ultimate answer is both. I read the perfect summary today, that being that Dragon Age: Origins was a Modern Old-School RPG and Dragon Age 2 is a Modern RPG. The "old school" portion has been dropped and that is what has caused such a commotion.

If you look at DA2 as its own game, its really really good. But as a sequel there are just too many changes to stomach. My opinion is that if this was treated as a new game in the Dragon Age World instead of a sequel, then that would resolve a lot of expectations.

The combat gets some getting used to. I would have preferred something more aking to DA:O, but it takes a much more action approach. This is fine, but Rogues and Warriors have some pretty stupid abilities that make them crazy good and defy the laws of logic which makes me wonder if they are using magic. Meanwhile, Mages have been reduced to (de)buff bots instead of the DPS powerhouses. Honestly, for AoE, call a Warrior. You have to come in without expectation from the DA:O classes and start anew honestly. And I will say right now, as someone who LOVED Mage in DA:O...Warrior is the bomb in DA2.

The inventory system is simplified and streamlined. I'm not a fan, but I'm sure the casual gamer will be. I do like how you can upgrade your companions' armor, but it would be nice if you had visual changes for these. I will note that throughout the game some characters do have their equipment change based on their lifestyle changes, but not all.

The overall story is interesting, and I think at the end of it all I like it. You don't start off with an over-arcing threat or goal, but more of less get a new goal at the start of every Act. The story takes place over about 7 years or so, and things in the city change (more story changes than aesthetics). A lot of seemingly disconnected things come together in the final Act, which is nice, and by the end there is a lot of "ohhhhhh" moments. There are also a lot of WTF! moments where you are faced with some tough choices where there really is no "right" answer. One of the most jaw dropping story moments also pops up in Act 3. In all, Act 3 was where the game really did climax and climaxed well. Act 1 was alright and dragged in places, and Act 2 seemed to drag more than 1. But 3 tied everything up nicely I thought. The ending was also closed enough I felt satisfied, but open enough they have plenty of room for a sequel.

Overall, DA2 is a solid RPG despite what some people might say. However, I personally still preferred DA:O to DA2.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on March 29, 2011, 06:15:40 PM
The Witcher.  There was a decent, but flawed RPG in here, beyond the glaring for-teenage-boys attitude towards female characters.  Graphics, voice acting, combat, and length were generally good.  Story, minigames, crafting, character advancement, and game economics were generally bad, but not horrible.  The engine was a little buggy and prone to loading delays.  Difficulty on the hardest setting was uneven, tending towards too easy.  I'm unlikely to play the sequel unless I hear that the engine and game systems were greatly improved.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on March 30, 2011, 06:35:03 AM
The Witcher.  There was a decent, but flawed RPG in here, beyond the glaring for-teenage-boys attitude towards female characters.  Graphics, voice acting, combat, and length were generally good.  Story, minigames, crafting, character advancement, and game economics were generally bad, but not horrible.  The engine was a little buggy and prone to loading delays.  Difficulty on the hardest setting was uneven, tending towards too easy.  I'm unlikely to play the sequel unless I hear that the engine and game systems were greatly improved.

I'd heard that they left a lot of it the same, so I may skip the sequel as well. I don't remember any glaring issues (I just avoid sexual trysts and don't have to crack up at the "mature sexuality"), but I also don't really have much motivation to go back. There were a few quests that were just frustrating, especially if you had to save someone from a horde of enemies just to kill that person yourself with friendly fire.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on March 31, 2011, 03:49:56 PM
Final Fantasy 13 (the main plotline, at least).  This game had a surprisingly challenging and deep combat system for a Final Fantasy... and that's pretty much all it had going for it.  The mission-based side game had some potential, but devolved into grinding partway through.  The main plotline was on rails and had a particularly dumb story.  The character advancement and crafting mechanics were flashy and cumbersome but shallow.  Presentation erred on the side of abstract environments and overly deformed enemies.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Mr. Tring on April 11, 2011, 11:37:58 AM
For anyone whose interest was piqued by the talk about Amnesia: Dark Descent, it's on sale at Steam for 50% off. Its also part of a 'grab bag' deal they are calling The Potato Sack which I may pick up as it has a couple titles that interest me (Super Meat Boy and The Ball).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kharvek on April 11, 2011, 01:46:52 PM
There's a 2k sale going on right now with the Mafia games 75% off.  I'm playing Mafia 2 right now and enjoying it.  It can be kinda disappointing if you're expecting an open world with lots to do.  It's actually a very linear game with not much to do outside the main plot missions.  The city is absolutely gorgeous and they do an amazing job of getting the 40's/50's feel with the music and cars.  The dialogue seems to break at times and use some modern slang, but on the whole it's a lot of fun, and 7.50 is totally a fair price for it.

From what I understand if you have the PC for it, this is the version to get since the console versions are plagued with issues like screen tearing.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on April 11, 2011, 06:56:22 PM
Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness episodes 1 and 2.  I got these on sale from Steam a while back.

This is a budget RPG game, combining Penny Arcade humor (which may attract or repel you; it doesn't really do either for me) and a neat combat system which mixes cooldown management, timed blocks, consumable use, and minigames.  Outside of combat, gameplay is your basic RPG exploration, collection, and dialog.  Overall, both episodes were fairly polished and fun, although I had a few complaints here and there.  I played through both episodes on difficult and found the game to be a little on the easy side.  After you win an episode you can play again in insane mode, which seems like more of a challenge when I tried it, but I'm not really motivated to replay either episode.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on April 14, 2011, 06:29:12 AM
Sooo I am super late on this so I will make this short.

Dragon Age: Origins (Console Version):

After playing DA2 on the console I decided to go back and play Dragon Age:Origins on the console. I bought the Ultimate Edition, which for those who don't already own it is well worth the price (it includes all DLC). So far I have only beaten the Original Origins and all the DLC in the main story arc. It has been a blast. And honestly, I really disliked the computer version of Dragon Age:Origins. The combat seems more fluid on the console. The difficulty is definitely lower but I don't think easy. I think the normal difficulty on the console is at a much better place than the computer which at times was overly hard for a normal difficulty. So I will leave it at that but yeah, thoroughly enjoyed the console version over the computer one. The only part during the game where I think it really suffered was the area of the game where you have different forms (so as to not spoil for those who haven't played it yet which is probably no one but still). I found changing forms to be very clunky and a very slow progressing stage while on the computer it was much easier to do (having more buttons paid off there). Also I will say I found Orzammar to be awesome but WAY to long. It felt like its on campaign. Everything else was amazing and I wish they had stuck to the formula a little more in DA2 now (I used to feel the opposite).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on April 18, 2011, 10:23:56 AM
Magicka.  At its core, absolutely brilliant gameplay.  Also a moderately amusing adventure.  Expect some amount of frustration while playing, both from bugs and from the very offense-biased difficulty.  Stuff can kill you in seconds if you aren't prepared for it or if you start flubbing keys, but you can also kill stuff in seconds, particularly if you get good at casting spells.  The game is easier in multiplayer... unless you start getting attached to your equipment, in which case expect to suicide a lot to avoid losing it.  Pay attention to the game requirements before buying--in particular, you must have a 3-button mouse.

The Vietnam DLC is amusing, but it's not a whole separate adventure.  It's a mission challenge mode, only about a half hour long, with no checkpoints.  The mashup is pretty amusing, but the gameplay isn't great; you spend a lot of time getting shot at by off-screen enemies.  Fun for an afternoon or so.
Title: Re: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Seniummortus on April 18, 2011, 11:33:25 AM
Is it just me or was anyone else disappointed when you couldn't enchant the m60 bullets with magic qualities? :p I haven't finished magika yet but I had fun playing it before more pressing games hit my radar, minus the m60 bit and having the orc boss bug out 6585585 times.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on April 19, 2011, 05:36:13 AM
Finished playing...Alan Wake + DLC "The Signal".

I picked it up used off of Amazon for $14, and for that price its a great deal!

Overall the story is great as well as the graphics, gameplay, mechanics, and voice-acting. The only visual issue is that the voice-overs don't match up with the facial movements very well, almost like its been dubbed (which may be the case). The atmosphere was VERY creepy, more so than a lot of games. And it accomplished this without blood, guts, and visceral disembowelments. Story-wise I was invested in what was going on and in the outcome of the majority of the characters.

My biggest gripe is the length of the game itself. Overall it is relatively short, and I beat it in 2 nights + 1 stormy morning. If I had paid $60 for this, I probably would not be very happy, but under $20 its great.

The comparison I heard about back in the day was to Deadly Premonition. Between the two I would say DP is superior to AW, simply because the story and game were bigger. However, when I played AW I did not once have a moment where I thought "DP is better than this", so AW is a very enjoyable playthrough.

The DLC, the Signal, is 1 of 2 currently out. The previous owner of this game did not activate the free DL of The Signal, so I did. I actually really liked it as it continued the story and gave a very surreal adventure. Although I am probably in a small demographic, the DLC made me ache for a game where the character was literally going mad with distorted realities breaking down all around him. The DLC accomplished this to  a small degree, like going through a door and turning around to find it missing, but I want it cranked to 11 (Eternal Darknss on steroids).

Anyways, if you find it cheap and want something you can knock out in a weekend, its a good pick. Its not campy or cheesy, but very creepy.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Wren on April 19, 2011, 07:42:05 AM
My biggest gripe with Alan Wake, while I did like it, was that after a while I was like "ok time to run through the spooky forrest again". So while the scenery and the atmosphere were beautiful and well done it all got a bit...monotonous after a while even for such a relatively short game.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kharvek on April 19, 2011, 07:51:57 AM
Alan Wake is like, the essence of my argument for certain games selling at a 40 dollar price point at launch.  Cut MP development and sell short games for less.  There was a pretty awesome article awhile back about 'the middle class game'.  Games that were good, but not awesome and not that long.  There's just so many super high quality things out there that to be simply good just isn't enough.  Here's the article:

http://www.destructoid.com/defending-the-middle-class-game-195661.phtml
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Razov on April 21, 2011, 11:59:08 AM
I finished playing Portal 2. both single and multiplayer. It was was a totally awesome ride.  To be honest i wasn't sure what to expect. I figured at first it would be just like the original and fairly straight forward. Unaware of the hype that had been gathering for it. (admittedly i was fairly active in the ARG leading up to launch)  But i was pleasantly surprised at how engrossing and fun it was. Never at any moment was i bored. Every puzzle really made you think. most of them are easy enough to figure out and of course there's a few that will make you sit there and think about them for a good while. The voice acting was good for Wheatly, Glados and Cave Johnson. I laughed pretty hard during the retro puzzles. oh and for all you HL2 folks out there waiting for episode 3 there's an achievement to find the borealis. Its there.. i've found it.. and its.. big.. real big.

oh oh and multiplayer was a lot of fun. overall i think the puzzles are slightly easier then in single player but with tiwce the brain power lookgin at it i might be off on my consideration. But their really fun for two people. It takes about 4 hours of non stop puzzle solving action to get it done. if at least one person is really good at puzzles. Those of us who are blue/purple challenged will cause our teammates to hit a lot of walls head on... tho there is something soothing about that (multiplayer will really make you laugh at the robots misfortune). Overall big thumbs up. multiplayer really added something to this game. Really a hell of a good time. i can already imagine the slew of dlc and player added content in the coming months for it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kharvek on April 21, 2011, 01:52:59 PM
I beat single player on portal 2 as well.  I echo all of this.  It was an amazing ride and few video games have made me laugh out loud as much as this.  The writing, timing, delivery is all fucking excellent.  People will give the writing lots of credit, and its all well deserved.  However the delivery and timing of the lines is just as good.  They have the blueprint on how to make a genuinely funny game, while still making an emotionally engrossing world as well.

Fuck, Portal made me have an emotional attachment to a fucking BOX.  They do it with just as much dumb shit here too.  The turrets, the defective turrets, everything.  I got sucked into this world that is an oddly clinical stereotypical science/hospital setting.

I still have co-op to go through, however I will again stress and recommend.  Play co-op with someone who hasn't played before.  It's a blast with someone who has, but playing with someone who hasn't you really put your heads together on the puzzles instead of having one person kinda hang back and not give it all away.

Complete derail.  I just got out of a meeting at work.  (We're having an at work party now so I am not sober)

Steam?  Steam has single handedly saved PC gaming.  This isn't bullshit.  When I got a job in the industry my company was bailing on PC gaming.  The piracy and the business model couldn't sustain a profit.  We stopped doing in house development on PC.  We outsourced a few games for PC to do it on the cheap.  We just had a meeting and the same guy that said "PC is dying" just said "We need to dive into PC.  Steam changed the game and it's back".   The DRM works, piracy is down and it's an awesome consumer model.  It's easy, the features they have and the sales?  It solved all of PC's problems and Valve continues to look out for the consumer and little guy just as much as anyone.  I'm honestly amazed.  So yeah...I'm a Valve fanboy for a number of reasons nows.  I've always been a PC gamer first and if Valve is saving it?  Awesome.  (They also gave my company their entire catalog of games for free...in additoin to Portal 2.  I am not at all biased)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on April 21, 2011, 02:27:08 PM
Yeah, I was amused to see an article in The Edge today where a developer cited the "declining console marketplace."

Maybe if it didn't take so long to start playing a game on the PS3... (I don't know what the usual experience is on the XBox 360).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on April 21, 2011, 02:31:39 PM
Yeah, I was amused to see an article in The Edge today where a developer cited the "declining console marketplace."

Maybe if it didn't take so long to start playing a game on the PS3... (I don't know what the usual experience is on the XBox 360).


generally there's no install for a 360 game. the install for games like Valkyria Chronicles or DA2 were ridiculous.
Title: Re: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Seniummortus on April 21, 2011, 02:37:38 PM
Honestly the only games I enjoy playing on the console are "action" fps belongs on the pc with a mouse so does rts and some rpg (obv not action rpg that falls under action). Problem is, for me at least, many will disagree, consoles have become who can churn out the next halo cod or shit realism fps fastest. I may be reading into it too much but that may hopefully be catching up to them and we can start seeing something that isn't "cod 54: operation saving modern ryan desert shock and load" on console. I haven't touched my xbox in months. I meant to play super meat boy on it but valve geniused up and now I'm playing it on pc :p proof of kharvs point right there.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Olli on April 21, 2011, 09:29:03 PM
I never finished the first Portal. Is that necessary to understand/enjoy Portal 2?
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on April 22, 2011, 05:57:22 AM
Not really, though you'll encounter substantial "spoilers" for Portal as you play Portal 2.

I'd recommend playing Portal before Portal 2. It's not so much for the plot, but to you give you a feel for typical puzzle-solving tricks. About half-way through Portal, I had to start hitting the web for the solution to some of the puzzles. I haven't had to do that yet for Portal 2, because I already know how to e.g., jump through a portal on the floor to go long distances across a room.

It also helps to have watched the demo videos, trailers, and fake Apeture Science commercials at

http://www.thinkwithportals.com/

It will spare you having to figure out gel properties and the like.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on April 23, 2011, 01:15:37 AM
..and now I've finished playing Portal 2 in single-player; while I hope to have the chance to experience dual-player, none of my FTF friends are Portal fans.

Unlike the original Portal, I got through it with almost no hints. There was point in the final boss battle where I got badly stuck, weakened, and looked up the answer. Everything else I got on my own. So I feel better about Portal 2 than 1.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on April 25, 2011, 12:59:30 PM
Finished Alpha Protocol this weekend...it was a lot shorter than I thought it would be, and I only ended up putting in about 15 hours.

My impression of this game is that it tried to do so much that it didn't have a chance to do anything spectacular. Every aspect of this game was close, but no cigar. I chose to play the game as a stealthy spy/assassin, and unfortunately (to my frustration) you can not play this game 100% as a spy/assassin. It might be my own fault for going into this game expecting something like Splinter Cell or Hitman style of play. Ultimately it straddles the line between 3rd person shooter and stealth, so you have to be prepared to do both.

My biggest gripe comes in the form of the camera. The camera angle made targeting a pain in the ass. When involved in firefights, targeting was a huge pain, especially if you were trying to get to clearer shot (accuracy is almost 0% while moving). This could have been greatly improved with the addition of a "lock on" targeting button to keep the crosshairs on the selected target.

The 2nd biggest gripe comes from having a confusing storyline. The story makes sense by the end once you've read the dossiers, but I feel like the character discuss things that your character might know, but you don't because you haven't had a chance to review a person's or organization's dossier info. I often felt like I was coming in on a conversation at the midway point during the game, though ultimately it was easy to figure out what was going on.

I do like what they were trying to go for. I agree with a lot of the reviews that said the game lacked polish, and with that polish it would have been something really special. I like the way the dialogue choices were handled, and I liked the ability to customize equipment. I also like the way they handled the Perk system (acquiring small bonuses by playing the game you want to play it). I liked the variety of gameplay they offered (though obviously I was hoping for more of a stealth oriented game).

Overall its a fairly decent game. It can be frustrating at times because you can see very glaring things that could have been done to improve it. But if you pick it up cheap (or leech it off a friend ^_^ ), then its worth a playthrough or 2.


As an aside, I picked the Recruit background because it said it had more dialogue options, but those were only for the training missions. Halfway through the game I found out that Recruit is actually a partial "hardmode" to play on. So word to the wise. =)

Also, as much as I say I disliked the stealth in this game, I did enjoy it at times. I just wished more of the game was stealth viable. It sucked to be a master spy moderate in unarmed with low weapon skills when presented with a boss fight...
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on May 08, 2011, 11:29:48 AM
Borderlands, although I might replay it sometime.  I finished the main story and the four DLCs as a siren.

This was close to an ideal RPG for me, combining open-world gameplay with engaging and variable combat mechanics.  For the first week or so after I started playing, I literally played it every moment I didn't have to do something else.  The game needed more system depth to maintain that level of experience through all of its content; unfortunately, stuff introduced later in the game tended to de-emphasize gameplay elements (like ammo and money magement) rather than add new ones.  The content (music, artwork, story, characters) was competent but not exceptional, with the claptraps outshining pretty much everything else.  Length was good, I think.  The challenge level was uneven and usually too easy, since you tend to outlevel the content you're doing most of the time.

(There's an existing Borderlands thread here (http://www.deadlycupcakes.org/forums/index.php?topic=44.0) which people might want to use for extended discussion about the game.)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on May 08, 2011, 07:50:37 PM
Decided to go play Leiliana's Song and Darkspawn Chronicles DLC for Dragon Age: Origins with the new collector's edition out and now having a renewed enjoyment of the original. Let me say that of all the DLC I have played (which is basically all but Witch Hunt and Golems of Amgarrak), I was very unimpressed by LS and DC. I was a huge fan of Leliana during DA:O. So I was very excited for the DLC and walked away unhappy. The team you get is very forgettable. There is actually one point where you have to switch warriors and they literally give you the exact same warrior you have with a different name and race. Like the exact same. I didn't feel a connection to any of the rest of her party. I also was hoping it would have a bit of comedy to it considering the opening and Leliana's character. But it was serious. The intrigue was also a little lacking. The ending had the potential to be cool though but I think it got rushed though. Started well and then didn't make sense anymore. DSC I will say one thing. Very glitchy. Interesting premise. I enjoyed playing an ogre and the blight wolves were surpisingly fun. I played the main character very little and instead enjoying playing the other guys. The problem was the achievements and quests were very buggy. The fights would also be going on and you would be beating up people and their health wouldn't move, when you turned away to hit someone else, they would die. Like the health would lag. This happened on your team too making healing rough at moments. I think this had a lot of potential but ended up bad due to all the glitches. I would suggest if you play any of the DLC, stick to the others ones. They were much better.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: AdmiralShardy on May 10, 2011, 04:52:41 AM
Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky.  Seriously, if you have a PSP and you like story-driven RPGs, you should go buy this game.  It's got a truly charming cast of characters, a well-made world, tons of politics (yay!), and just feels like a grand adventure.  I was delighted the whole way through.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on May 10, 2011, 07:48:09 AM
I finished played Divinity 2: The Dragon Knight Saga last night.

For me, this game was a breath of fresh air in that it was a breath of classic air. A lot of elements in this game are a throw back to the classic RPG's I remembered fondly, which is a welcome relief with the new wave of RPG's like Dragon Age 2. It was refreshing to be presented with action, story, platforming, and puzzles/riddles that required me to use a notepad.

The gameplay is really good. It plays a lot like a cross between Oblivion and Fable. Skill Trees are presented in the classes of Priest, Mage, Warrior, Ranger, and Dragon Slayer/Knight. No abilities are linked, so you can mix and match any abilities in any class however you like (so long as you meet the level requirement). Skill caps can be raised through trainers as well to truly specialize in different abilities. The complaint I have is that you can not keybind but 8 abilities (including standard melee and ranged attack). You also receive a REVIVAL!mantic pet that you can summon and equip with different body parts you find throughout the game. You can essentially build the Creature as a Tank, Melee, Ranged, or Spellcaster depending literally on how you build them.

Taking the form of a Dragon is what really stands out. You receive a variety of Dragon Skills you can level up, and reminds me a lot of the WoW Red Dragon Flight. Controls are actually fairly decent, but I do wish there was a better way to control pitch.

Graphics are solid if somewhat grainy. They don't seem as polished as some other recent games, but also it renders a lot of world so you aren't necessarilly looking at closed in landscape. The music is superb and I love the sound effects. The voice-acting is also pretty good, but the speaking animation is laughably hilarious. Every character feels the need to gesticulate wildly when conversing which makes it seem like the land needs a lot of ridalin.

The aspect that stands out most is the Mindreading ability. When encountering an NPC you can read their thoughts at the cost of Experience. The higher level / more important the NPC, the higher the XP cost. Sometimes you will get no information, sometimes unimportant personal info, other times key plot points, passwords for locked doors, clues for puzzles, ect...I started off not reading many minds, but later just did it to everyone.

The game is fairly linear as far as the story is concerned. No matter how to talk to NPC's, the result will be the same so there might not be a great opportunity for replay. The actual gameplay, however, is open in that you can go anywhere you like and do a lot of sidequests (and there are a ton). The enemies do not level with you, so you might find yourself beaten up in one area, or casually strolling through it as a whirlwind of death. Enemies do not respawn either, so XP in the game is finite. Conversely though, your XP gain is based on your level vs. the level of the enemey/encounter, so being low level grants more XP from higher level enemies.

Finally the story. I felt the story is a good solid story, but it could have been told better. I did feel I learned a lot about the land and culture, but I did not find myself caring about specific NPC's that much.

As a combo of Egos Draconis (Main game) and Flames of Aleroth (Expansion), I felt $40 is a great price. The main game is really big, and the expansion is fairly large as well despite taking place solely within the capital city of Aleroth (no Dragon Form until the end though =( ).

Ultimayely, I think this game was more deserving of the title "Dragon Age". 
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on May 18, 2011, 02:00:36 PM
Mass Effect 2 (as a paragon male infiltrator).  Relative to the average Bioware game (http://www.deadlycupcakes.org/forums/index.php?topic=615.msg18186#msg18186), I thought the setting, dialog, voice acting, and combat mechanics excelled, while the macro plot and ethical choices were disappointing.  I particularly liked how challenge in combat scaled to higher difficulties.  The game wasn't terribly short for an RPG, but almost all of its plot was bound up in recruiting and loyalty missions for an oversized stable of interesting but redundant characters, so by the end, you didn't feel like you did much.  Minigames (hacking, bypass, and resource harvesting) were overused and not very compelling.  The ethical choices of paragon Shepard seemed particularly arbitrary at times.  I did not like the structure of the endgame at all; there seemed to be too much guesswork in the choices you had to make to get the best result (and some of the hidden factors appear to be shockingly sexist for a Bioware game.)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Ozara on May 18, 2011, 03:45:55 PM
Metro 2033. Being a fan of STALKER, I liked this game quite a bit...

I typically don't like horror games because they're slower paced and there's nothing is scary about them -- actually many scary things in those games give me a laugh.

The tunnel/above world affect in 2033 was nice, but the choices in the game are limited and there are no real tough decisions to make. Some of the problems are that you can sneak/run by practically everything in the game (with the exception of "gauntlets") and it wasn't all too hard. Ammo is limited, and you have to scrounge...bigtime...probably the most I ever had to scrounge.

I would recommend the game for people who like shooters or post-apocalyptic settings.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Seniummortus on May 18, 2011, 06:31:48 PM
Man screw Metro, i'd be able to say i finished playing it but that "train cart sequence end launched out of the world bug" is still plaguing me. I tried the "fixes" on the forums to no avail and have since moved on to greener pastures. Pretty huge bug and the games been out long enough to fix it. Boo I say.

From someone who doesn't sneak around everything the game can be frustrating. If you arn't stealthy 90% of the time you're dead 90% of the time :P. I also dislike the lack of a knife melee stealth kill. I mean cmon, i can huck a knife at the guy at point blank but i cant shove it it in his keester without him alerting everyone and their brother? anywho... maybe im just bitter because it wont let me finish it :P. That prob speaks for the lack of compelling story in that I'm not super motivated to get back to it to see how it all works out but meh.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Ozara on May 26, 2011, 08:37:50 PM
The First Templar
http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/thefirsttemplar/review.html (http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/thefirsttemplar/review.html)

Just beat it a few moments ago. I was very impressed with this game. While the story is cliche (templar/grail), they did it in a way to keep you interested -- with a few nice twists. The graphics were smooth, but the collision was off in a few place. I encountered maybe one or two bugs (which is very impressive considering what I have seen from other games).

In the game you always have two characters in your party. You don't really need to "manage" them like other games as the AI takes care of most the combat. The only thing you will need to command the other character to do is turn levers.

I haven't tried online play, but it may be a nice feature if you set up a lan game with someone and played through with them. Especially if you live with a gamer!

The game mixes in some puzzles, an achievement systems, and side quests throughout the levels. The save points seemed well placed for the most part.

Strong points:
+smooth graphics and only encountered one clipping error
+fun combat for what is essentially a hack-n-slash
+story can keep you into the game even though it is cliche
+some nice twists that keep you interested

Weak points:
-few actual decisions you can control
-limited dialogue and not enough character development
-too easy in some ways (prayer is way overpowered and when coupled with revive buffs [+1 health/zeal]...you can actually just prayer up other party members to max by consistently dying in fire and getting revived)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on May 26, 2011, 09:10:04 PM
Portal 2

It already has had some reviews but I was finally able to beat co-op with someone who hasn't already beaten it (which is tough nowadays) and single player.

Thoroughly enjoyed co-op but it realllly needs to be done with someone who hasn't dont it before. I like how they encourage teamwork and the way the robots interacts. I also like how the over-arching computer doesn't like it. A lot of fun but next to no story compared to single player. Also most of the mechanics required you to play single player first to learn them. I played co-op first and enjoyed it that way but learning some of the mechanics was weird that way.

Single player had a great story I thought. At times, especially mid-game I thought the story was all that kept it going. Some of the mid-game puzzle which were kinda "off-track" were frustrating and boring. I loved the story though and it was told in a bioshock type. It made it very enjoyable and when life gives you lemons...make life take the lemons back. :D I will say the beginning and end-game puzzles were done well though. And only one mechanic they brought in was annoying I Thought. IT wasn't in co-op so maybe thats why I liked it better.

Good game. Much better story than the first. Great characters. Enjoyed hearing Steven Merchant's voice, he is usually a funny guy. If the middle of the game had better puzzles I would say it was 9/10 but since I struggled to enjoy those I would say maybe a 7.5/10 single player and 9/10 co-op.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on May 31, 2011, 06:46:41 AM
I finished up LA Noire this weekend and I have some mixed feelings on it.

The Good: The facial animation technology is friggin amazing! This is one of those things that's going to start popping up more and more now I bet. However, after I saw it in action I was immediately reminded of the Evil Council at the end of Baldur's Gate 1, and the mouth animation looked very similar, so I wonder if this technology has actually been around a lot longer. The voice acting is also very very well done, as many professional actors were employed. The interrogations and the investigation were really cool, but I wish they did more with them. The setting is also extremely detailed, and although I did not grow up in the 1950's, I have to assume that the look and feel is pretty damn close.

The Bad: Combat is terrible. Its not the focus of the game, and it really shows. The shoot & cover aspects felt clunky and unresponsive and sorta just there to break up the dialogue scenes. Tooling around town in your car was also fun at first, but after halfway through the game, driving around gets dull and eats up a large chunk of your actual game time. While its cool to see the sites, ultimately I was more interested in the story than looking for hidden cars. My gripe with the investigations is how Phelp manhandles the evidence at a crime scene.

The Meh: The story initially gripped me, but it started to frustrate me towards the end. As a whole it does make sense, but it gets told in a very Tarantino fashion with scenes coming out of sequence and order. You also discover that you arrested the wrong people most the time and things were covered up, which I found annoying. And by the end only a few of the bad guys lost, the rest got away clean. I also did not care for the main character, and liked him even less as the game progressed (once you learned more about his history). In the last few missions this is redeemed somewhat by shifting the focus of play from Phelps to another character who I liked much more from the start (ironically one I told myself I would rather be playing).


Overall its a good game worth playing. Its definitely not a GTA clone, although some comparisons in gameplay mechanics and graphics can be made. I don't think it has much replayability since its more storybased, but definitely worth trying out.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: AdmiralShardy on May 31, 2011, 03:26:16 PM
Weak points:
-too easy in some ways (prayer is way overpowered)

As a Preacher's Kid, that statement makes me giggle.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on June 13, 2011, 06:29:19 AM
Assassin's Creed 2: Brotherhood

I beat this one over the weekend and I have to sya I thoroughly enjoyed it. Its been awhile since I played AC2, so I am not 100% sure of what was changed specifically for Brotherhood. At first I was a little underwhelmed with how the game was going, but a lot of the sidequests and missions unlock as you complete the story missions. So in essence you have to play the game to do the extras.


The Good:
Graphics are amazing, and the details everywhere are amazing. You never feel like you are ever in a re-used quadrant, and since you spend the entire game (essentially) in one city, you start to really get a feel for the landmarks and type of structures.

The extras are really fun and add a lot to the game aside from the boring Flag collection ones. Specifically, the factions and the Assassin's Guild. Each offers interesting ways to solve conflicts and provide their own set of Challenges (bonuses awarded upon completion). The most fun is the Assassin's Guild since you get to recruit, train, and deploy Assassins. I really enjoyed this aspect of it, whether it was having Courtesans follow me around to mask my presence or sending a deathstorm of Assassins to kill all enemies.

The Enzio storyline is pretty fun and it cool to see familiar faces again. But overall its a continuing storyline that feels more like a sequel than an addon.


The Bad:
The controls. For a game that has so many different aspects of play I know controls can be a hard thing to pin down. However, I feel the controls have gotten worse as the series progresses. All too often Enzio will jump off at wacky directions to his death or to restart the platforming challenge. I don't recall the first AC being so bad, but in this one I did find myself having to carefully lining up the camera angle in order to correctly make the jump (and even then it failed sometimes).

When playing any game you have to suspend belief. However, sometimes I just can't, and that happened in one of the opening missions of AC2: Brotherhood. In it Desmond must work his way through tunnels underneath Enzio's ruined home. As he does my suspension of belief was tested when he had eloborate platforming puzzles to solve, all while using mechanisms crafted over 500 years ago and rope and wooden beams/platforms existing in very moist surroundings. For some reason, that part really bugged me.


The Bad Ass:
One scene made it for me. In typical AC fashion I had to tail a notable target to a meeting without being seen. Once he arrived at the location I blended into the surroundings by sitting on a bench and listening in. After the dialogue finished I was instructed to kill the target and all of the surrounding guards. So with Enzio sitting on the bench calmly, quietly, and unseen he summoned his Assassin Recruits. With a whistle Assassins came jumping off the ledges and riding in on horses to wipe out the targets, all the while with Enzio quietly sitting on his bench. Then the Assassins disappeared into the frantic crowd, and Enzio stood up and walked off as well.


The Weird:
The Desmond stuff in modern times is weird. Where the story is going now it feels like an episode of Lost that the writers are making up as they go along. They could tie it all up, but its so weird that right now I have no idea where they are going with the story.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on June 14, 2011, 12:06:57 PM
Assassin's Creed 2 (so, the game before the one Vylin just reviewed), with all of the DLC.  Just as beautiful and immersive as the first game, and with significantly improved gameplay.  Lots more stuff to do, and a much more fully fleshed out main plotline.  I wouldn't say the story is a masterpiece, but it's suitably dramatic.

The downsides are not serious, but (1) the game isn't very challenging most of the time; combat is slightly more complex than AC1 but still pretty easy; (2) the economic game ends very quickly with you drowning in cash after just a few building cycles; (3) there are some very common cases where the NPC's verbal reactions are clearly wrong, making the game a little less immersive; and (4) the parkour system is a little unpredictable about jumps; you never know whether you're going to hop over to the next platform or plunge off into the void; (5) the Da Vinci Code minigame stuff didn't always do it for me, although I'll give it credit for having difficulty progression; (6) the end of the main storyline felt kind of stilted, when it had the potential to be more epic.

Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on June 15, 2011, 07:25:53 AM
LA Noire

Good detective game. Like most Rockstar games, it gives you a free-roam sandbox feel. However it is very linear for the most part and is more of a story (in the image of Heavy Rain). Also like many other Rockstar games, it has a lot of potential but the first one is always weak in a couple of spots. I have a feeling this series if continued could be amazing. The evidence gathering and interviewing/interrogating was fun though at times it was tough to decipher betweed doubt (lying) and Lie (lying w/ evidence to support it). Also the main character loved rubbing his hands on evidence. It was very silly. THe controls were decent enough. The gun fighting was not as polished as many games right now but it worked well enough since it would auto-aim if you hit the aim button with a person out from cover. So if you were patient enough you could handle it.

Story wise. The main character was interesting. Halfway through I hated him, then I liked him again, hated him again, liked again. It was very interesting. I realized afterwards that I liked that your image of the main character changes throughout the game. I had mixed feelings about the overall story but can't express that without spoilers. I just wish they had more flexibility at times. Diffferent endings would have been a cool option.

Overall a lot of fun. Weak in certain spots but truly unique in others. Worth the time but 0 replayability.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on June 26, 2011, 10:50:47 AM
I just finished playing the five-part "Back to the Future" game from Telltale.

This a simple adventure game along the lines of "Monkey Island." You interact with environment with movement keys and mouse clicks, you pick up items and put them in your inventory, you interact with other characters via dialog trees. You can't really "lose" the game, since it comes with a hint system; I had to resort to it a few times when the available actions weren't obvious.

You play Marty McFly, voiced by Michael-J-Fox sound-a-like AJ LoCascio. Christopher Lloyd returns as the voice of Doc Brown. The chief antagonists in the story are various ancestors/flavors of the Tannen family and a new character for the game: Edna Strickland. Michael J Fox returns in the fifth chapter for some voice work; it's not hard to figure out whom he voices, but to say which would definitely be a spoiler.

The plot over the stretch of the five games is incredibly convoluted; even within a single game the time-traveling multiple-timeline twists are more involved than the second "Back to the Future" film. Bob Gale, who wrote the original films along with Robert Zemeckis, was the story consultant for this series, so it's as "canonical" as any BTTF sequel was likely to be.

So: simplistic gameplay and byzantine plot. But the main reason to play the game are the call-backs and riffs on the original film series. If you're a fan of those three films (as I am), the nostalgia factor is enough to justify playing the games. I could complete each installment in about 3-4 hours, so it's not a significant time investment.

The game is not without technical flaws. I encountered most of those in the fifth installment, played on the Mac: poor audio synch with the video, sound problems (effects drowning out dialog), and one puzzle showed an item in one location when it was in another.

This is a long review for a minor game, so here's the TLDR version: If you're a fan of the movies, play it. If you're picky about gameplay and plot and don't give a damn about flux capacitors, give it a miss.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gen on June 27, 2011, 02:23:43 PM
I am on my 17th play through of Dragon Age 2.  Damn new mods.  Makes me go all Sims on this game.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kharvek on June 27, 2011, 02:28:51 PM
So what's your take on the game?  There is a pretty epic thread about that one where Vylin and I almost kill each other.

(Okay it's not that vehement)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on June 28, 2011, 06:36:11 AM
So what's your take on the game?  There is a pretty epic thread about that one where Vylin and I almost kill each other.

(Okay it's not that vehement)

I don't know why, but that comment just conjured an image of Spy vs. Spy.  ;D
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on June 28, 2011, 05:26:12 PM
So what's your take on the game?  There is a pretty epic thread about that one where Vylin and I almost kill each other.

(Okay it's not that vehement)
I don't know why, but that comment just conjured an image of Spy vs. Spy.  ;D
... soon to be a movie directed by Ron Howard. (No joke!)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on July 18, 2011, 06:45:47 AM
This weekend I finished The Witcher 2.



Gameplay wise this game is very hard. I died a lot throughout, but mainly due to not understanding the combat mechanics. This is a game I would recommend using some sort of gaming controller over the Keyboard & Mouse. Also you will need patience to learn the mechanics. This is not a hack & slash variety of combat, it requires a lot more finesse and strategy to approach. That being said the game gives you plenty of options on how to fight, although to be truely successful you need to use all your tricks (swords, spells, bombs, traps, potions, and oils).

I have to say that I REALLY enjoyed the questing in this game. Quests appear all over the place so you have to talk with the community and see what's out there. Not everything will fall in your lap. Also, your choices can impact how the immediate world around you functions which is really cool. Another note is that the quests are varied enough that they aren't "go kill 10 of X monster". Also worthy of note, a big choice is presented at the end of Chapter 1, and depending on how you respond you will get completely different Chapter 2 & 3's.

The Mini Games were pretty decent. They add a little extra to the game as a way to make more coin, but I didn't mess with them except just to complete the quests related to the various games. The dice game is a lot of chance, the Arm Wrestling is by far the hardest and requires a steady hand, and the Fist Fighting is a timed button sequence (easiest but my favorite).

Graphics are amazing. There are some bugs out there, and the requirements are steep. My rig can barely run it and I noticed a lot of slowdown even on the lowest settings. Others have reported worse. But the detail in all the areas is amazing! No recycled content (I'm looking at you DA2)! Everything is unique, from the swamp city of Flotsum to the Dungeons of La Valette Castle to the Dwarven City of Vergen.

I never played the first Witcher, but after playing Witcher 2 I think Geralt might be my new favorite video game character. In fact, I liked a lot of the characters in TW2, as they appeared to be 3 dimensional characters with their own motivations and backgrounds instead of cardboard cutouts. The supporting cast was great as well, as I actually cared about these characters and was interested in knowing more of their own individual stories.

Lastly, the story was amazing. At its heart, its about a man trying to clear his name and stay out of other people's problems. Unfortunately Geralt is thrust into the middle of a political shitstorm. And that is the best part of TW2's story, the political shitstorm. I loved it because you have multiple villains (depending on your POV) who are all allying and betraying one another to advance their own goals. And the end result is a story mutated by all this. The plot twists are not bullshit, they are legit and you can see how things happened when you look back and imagine what was happening offstage. Ultimately, I believe that there are 16 different political states you could end the game with.

Overall I was very pleased with this game and thoroughly enjoyed what it had to offer. The biggest drawbacks are the controls, the difficulty (this is no cakewalk), and the system requirements. But as an RPG fan, this is a definite MUST PLAY. =)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on August 10, 2011, 05:20:57 AM
Finished playing Forced Unleashed 2 last night. It arrived in the mail Tuesday evening...

The game is fucking short! I barely played it 4 hours. Right when I thought the story was going to twist or get interesting, it ends. This game is more akin to a DLC than actual $60 release so I am glad I only paid $16 for it, and was able to trade it back into Amazon for $12.75.

Gameplay wise its pretty fun. The action is somewhat repetative, which should be a feat in itself since its only 4 hours long! Graphics were good, and the concept of swapping out lightsaber crystals for different bonus effects was pretty neat. One gameplay element that bugs me is that Starkillers LOVES to free-fall without a chute and rely on the Force to survive.

Anyways, I gave this one 2/5 stars on my Amazon review...mainly because there are only 4 levels that take about an hour each. =/
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Tweed on August 10, 2011, 05:43:17 AM
Finished playing Bastion on the 360 last night.  Really wish it was a longer game.  I enjoyed it immensely, once I muted the Old Man's voice and turned on subtitles.  The art, style, graphics, music, and game play were all superlative, I thought.  I even found the story interesting, even though it was a fairly basic "boy hero rebuilds the world after catastrophic event" plot.  You can download it for $10 at 360 Live and I would highly recommend it.  Took about 10 hours to complete, and I most definitely got way more than a $1 per hour worth of enjoyment out of it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on August 10, 2011, 07:16:53 AM
Helv's post on the other thread reminded me:

Catherine!

It has been tough for me to play all night marathons of any game lately. Catherine brought that out of me. The best way to describe it as two games in one. The main story is more like an interactive movie. Most of the decisions you make are not the big ones but small ones, like how to answer to a text. These set up his personality type (or how he feels towards relationships) and thus this meter later dictates his decisions in important story times. The story was done well. I kept playing wanting to see more. A couple moments felt cliche but overall I thought the story part was fun. Also there are parts of the story time where you can get up and move around the main character and actually have an effect on the later parts of the game. It was very well done. I enjoyed the story so much that I considered playing it from both sides of the coin (I played on the "good" or better defined as "order" side things). However...

The second part of the game was the puzzles. I found these to be a lot more fun then they were in the demo and really pushed my problem solving abilities even on normal. At first they are fairly easy but about 2/3 through the game they really picked up. The boss puzzle fights were also well done and a lot of fun. However, the biggest problem with the game is that you can't skip the puzzles the second playthrough. I had 0 interest in doing the puzzles over. Some took a while and I was just happy to beat once. I didn't even want to play them again on easy to see the story. This was my biggest turn-off of the game.

I loved Persona 4 a lot which is why I got this (same team for the most part). I loved this. However it was fairly short (I beat in 3 days but they were heavy gaming days so maybe 12 hours?) and I had little interest of replaying it cause of the puzzles. I would say an 8/10. Very unique and very addictive but could change a couple things to make it really special. I would say its a rental or cheap buy other than the fact that I love supporting odd games in the hope they keep making them and if a Catherine 2 came out, I would definitely get it at this point.

P.S. If you girlfriend/boyfriend/significant other is in the room, choose the order path :)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on August 13, 2011, 02:23:51 PM
GTA 4 Episodes From Liberty City.  There were two separate storylines here, which together had about as much mission content as the original GTA 4.  The best part of the storylines is how they intersect with the original game's story, giving you different perspective on some of the main events.  The Ballad of Gay Tony had a more interesting story than The Lost and the Damned, although I wouldn't say either was great.  TLAD revolved around a biker gang, and listening to angry middle-aged white guys yelling at each other over the sounds of throaty motorcycle engines doesn't really do it for me.

Gameplay was the basic GTA 4 formula: a good open-world driving game, a passable cover-based shooter game, and some not terribly compelling (but optional) minigames.  Mission difficulty varied a lot; most were easy or moderately challenging; a few were very hard and required a dozen or so replays to get.  Overall I found the gameplay just moderately diverting; I think that's because I've played a lot of GTA games and am kind of burned out on what the series has to offer.

My experience with the PC port was worse and better than the original game's.  On the minus side, it still asks you to click through Social Club (optional) and Games for Windows Live (mandatory) login screens, but the GFWL login always fails, after which the game crashes out about half the time.  I looked around for a solution to this and didn't find one.  On the plus side, once the game started up (a 5-10 minute process depending on my luck) I didn't experience any slowdowns or missing mission glitches.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on August 24, 2011, 09:51:49 AM
Infamous 2

For the fans of super hero games and in particular Infamous 1, this will be a very enjoyable ga,e. I still think 1 was maybe of the more enjoyable super hero games out there. However, 2 was very similar to 1. If you didn't like 1, you won't like 2. Honestly, the first 1/3 of the game was very boring to me. There was some cool fights here and there but a majority of the beginning felt like an expansion to 1. There is a point where the story changes pace slightly and I started enjoying it more at that point. Give it a chance is all I can say so I don't spoil anything. Overall though I liked the game. I would maybe say a 7.5/10. Nothing new and innovative. Not many improvements over the first. But a well made game nonetheless and extremely enjoyable at times.

The boss fights were all well done. I actually liked the boss fights a lot more than 1. Some were gigantic while others just kinda fun. This was the biggest improvement to me. However one of the bigger mistakes I noticed was that some of the mini-bosses got too frequent near the end. It literally felt like every side quest about halfway through was just kill a bunch of normal guys and a couple mini bosses, no matter what the quest started out as. That was slightly disappointing. They could have added a little diversity there I think. Combat was fun. A couple abilities added were much needed and really well done. However, there was a couple added way to late in the game. Some so late, it doesn't even make sense why they even added them at that point. And some of the late ones were poorly implemented so it felt lke someone said "We need another ability that does x." and the developers stuck it in quickly.

On a final note, I would not suggest starting on 2 if you have not played 1. You can still enjoy 2 but the story very much relies on having played 1. It would be very confusing otherwise. I even had to go back and read the story again to make sense of a couple things. Good game overall though.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Aviel on August 25, 2011, 06:37:00 AM
Are the Infamous games on the Xbox or just PS3?
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on August 25, 2011, 06:51:57 AM
Are the Infamous games on the Xbox or just PS3?

PS3-exclusive.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on September 01, 2011, 10:37:26 PM
Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

It should be said that I am one of those that considers Deus Ex to be perhaps the greatest PC game of all time; thus, my view of this game is colored by that perception.

In its best moments, this game recaptures what Deus Ex was; the flexibility, the exploration and discovery, the tension. However, as with most games nowadays, it had to make sacrifices that the original did not, primarily in terms of length. As a completionist and explorer, I spent 65 hours or so on this game (which, for what it's worth, was longer than I spent on the Witcher 2), but it still felt shorter than the original; in particular, there are far fewer areas. I'm told you can do it in 20; I would not do it that way as I tend to play this sort of thing surgically (removing one bad guy at a time, getting patrol timings right etc.)

In terms of comparing it to the original, it adds a couple of things, while taking away others. In particular, it layers 3rd person cover mechanics onto the first person perspective; basically you spend time in first person until you decide to stick to cover, and then it changes to third person. The cover mechanics can be a little wonky (in that they are often overly generous), but nothing too out of the ordinary, and they offer a great deal more control when sneaking around than the original did.

Also, a hacking minigame has been added where the original had none. It's difficult to describe, but easy once you get the hang of it, and fun; probably the most amusing hacking minigame I've found in a game yet, so that's good, because you do a -lot- of hacking if you're trying to maximize your XP/cash. And if you don't like it, you can find codes scattered around like in the original (can -anyone- keep from losing their login information in the future?)

The third thing added is a physical takedown/kill mechanic lacking in the original (which featured melee weapons instead); this helps reinforce the Metal Gear/Splinter Cell influence. The takedown is interesting in that it cutscenes and pauses game action while it happens, which can have weird game effects. It's something I got used to.

Finally, it adds a 'social combat' element; this is hard to describe, but involves you taking the right tone in certain important conversations in an attempt to convince certain characters to aid you. This was interesting, and I'd like to see more of it.

In terms of what's removed, the lockpick/multitool mechanic is gone; only hacking remains. The game is shorter than the original and the writing is good, but not as good as the original, unfortunately. There's less layered conspiracy, but that's partially because it's setting up the original (this is the prequel), and it adds the media directly to the pot, which the original did not use. There are many Easter eggs referring to other games, other cyberpunk/near future media, and particularly to the original game, all tastefully added.

As in the original, the graphic technology is a bit behind the times, although the art design is pretty solid. The animations (particularly facial ones) are pretty jerky and ugly. The voice acting is fine; not great (although Jensen grew on me) and not terrible. The music is great. The upgrade system, both for augmentations and weapons, is similar to the original; some are obviously better than others, but by the end you can max out nearly everything.

Deconstructing the details belies the whole, though. For me, it came together much as the original did, and I spent many late nights with this game. I am hopeful that it will succeed in the marketplace and seed yet more sequels.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on September 02, 2011, 05:04:51 AM
I'm only through the first city in DE3, but it is awesome thus far. You are spot on about the Hacking mini game and the Conversation Combat. Those are my favorite aspects. And oddly enough, I am the least bloodthirsty as I have ever been in these sorts of games. I avoid or incapacitate enemies instead of shooting to kill. In fact I reload if I had to kill someone. That is, until, a certain group responsible for my current situation show up. Then I put the tazer away and pull out the arm blades. >: )

Really awesome game though. And a lot of little hidden details. In the 2nd city I found a dude's computer desk that had post-it notes all over. I thought they were generic messages at first, then I found one that had me bust out laughing. It said "Amanda" on the first line, and below that a generic phone number, and under that a picture of the Forever Alone face.   :D
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on September 02, 2011, 06:09:14 AM
I tried to play DE1 that I got through steam, but everything moves way too quickly. I guess I can use moslo or something to slow it down, but just getting through training was frustrating. Trying to stealth while blasting about at 30 mph was interesting.

So I don't think I'll be able to experience the first one.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kharvek on September 05, 2011, 02:53:55 PM
I just beat Deus Ex 3.

The original is my all time favorite game so this one had a lot to live up to.  ...and it did.  They fucking pulled it off and nailed that feel of the first game where I took forever to explore every area and was rewarded by it.  The little tidbits of background story you pick up by doing it is just perfect and completely reminds me of the first game.

They also did a great job of little tie ins to the original game, but not so much that if you haven't played it you'll be completely lost.  I could write a novel on this series but man, hats off to Eidos Montreal.  They took on probably one of the riskiest projects ever.  The original DX wasn't a high volume seller but its fanbase is fiercely opinionated and loyal.  It's clear the guys and gals behind this loved and understood the first game since they nailed it here.  They updated the mechanics to modern standards and kept the important parts intact.  They've done enough to keep the fiercely loyal fanbase happy and done enough to modernize the rest the game to make it enticing to a whole new group of players.  I hope this game sells an assload.  I want a sequel and them to remake the original.  The secret cutscene at the end of the credits got me thinking....

(No spoilers)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on September 07, 2011, 01:08:28 PM
Hugh Herr = Hugh Darrow? Discuss.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on September 07, 2011, 07:23:43 PM
I finished playing Infamous 2. Gellin's review covers it well. I have a couple of personal observations:

- Both Infamous and Infamous 2 had platformer missions; in Infamous they were called "Satellite Uplinks" and in Infamous 2 they're called "Overcharge." I found Overcharge to be much easier than the Uplinks; perhaps this was because I play on Easy difficulty, and in I2 they scaled the platforms when they didn't do so in I1.

- I only played Good Karma. Without giving anything away, that ending pretty much tied up all the tangling plots points. Unlike I1, whose ending screamed for a sequel, I2 seems to close the door to an I3.

I liked I2 better than I think Gellin did (I'd give it 8.5/10), but I'm a less experienced gamer. YMMV.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on September 08, 2011, 05:43:58 AM
I also finished play Deus Ex: Human Revolution. As someone who did not play the original Deus Ex, and only a little bit of Invisible War, I did not feel "out of the loop". Its very likely I missed out on some subtle Easter Eggs though.

I really don't want to talk too much about the game because I don't want to ruin it for anyone, but overall the game was friggin awesome! I *loved* the dialogue combat sequences and really hope to see more of those in the future. The stealth components were great, but I do have to agree that crawling around in vents is a little cliche. The combat is great, and the weapons arsenal is so comprehensive that everyone weapon appears to have its own niche use, and every weapon feels awesome to wield.

The story is amazing, and like Gwyddy mentioned, you really are rewarded for exploring and poking around in side missions. You get a better scope of the world, the culture, and sometimes your own murky past. The conspiracies are intriguing and don't seem too much like X-Files. And when it all comes together it really drives home the in game quote that was used on some of the trailers, "Its not the end of the world, but you can see it from here".

Suffice to say the sound and graphics are astounding. I was blown away by the level of detail in the levels, right down to the small tidbits that could easily have been ignored. Even the ugly parts are beautifully crafted. And the voice acting is very well done. There are a few characters with hilariously stereotypical accents that I have read complaints about. And Adam's voice has been criticized, but when I noted the similarity between his gruff voice and the Batman voice Christian Bale uses, I immediately embraced Adam Wayne's growly voice.

Overall I would highly recommend this game. It can be played in a multitude of ways, so unless FPS viewpoints give you motion sickness, then I would give this a go.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on October 01, 2011, 01:39:34 PM
Recettear.  I'd compare this game to Disgaea: crisp but not detailed graphics, a moderately amusing main storyline which takes 10-12 hours to complete, and enough carrots to keep the addicted playing for a long time past the end of the game.  Of course, the gameplay is very different.  The dungeon-exploring half of he game is action RPG, more twitchy and less deep than Disgaea's turn-based strategy.  The shopkeeping half of the game is kind of addictive until you feel out the game's hidden parameters, which takes a while.

Some possible frustration points, none of which bothered me a lot: the PC engine is kind of a joke--no mouse support, no widescreen resolution support, configuration in a separate program.  At least there are no load times to speak of.  You can't save in a dungeon and you can only exit every five levels (usually after a boss fight).  Inventory triage in dungeons is not as streamlined as it could be; you can't examine an item on the ground and there's no key binding to drop the thing you just picked up, so you wind up going into menus a lot.  Finally, there are performance milestones during the main plotline, which are pretty easy to miss the first time playing through.  I wound up restarting because I was barely meeting them; I had no trouble the second time around.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on October 08, 2011, 05:43:43 AM
Just Cause.  I played through quickly, just to be able to get references in Just Cause 2, which received much better reviews.  Just Cause wasn't an especially good game, but it does have two distinctive elements: a really, really huge open world, and the ability to perform incredible physics-defying stunts.

On the bad side: it's a 2006 game with no widescreen resolution support, so my aspect ratio was wrong the whole time.  The difficulty is non-adjustable and felt very RNGish.  The early missions are quite easy; you can't really clear territory or protect your back since enemies happily respawn right next to you, but they're easy to kill and drop health packs often enough to easily cover the damage they do.  Later on, the game starts sending helicopters or large groups of enemies after you, and you have to choose between a number of options which may or may not pan out: crazy stunts like skyjacking helicopters (which are as likely to get you killed as work, and your helicopter may get taken out by SAMs in a few seconds anyway), running around and hoping enough health packs drop from enemy infantry to get you to the next checkpoint, getting in a vehicle and taking your chances with rocket attacks, etc..  You can get better at these options, but it feels like getting a +2 bonus on a d20 save vs. death.  I wound up youtubing the final mission sequence because I had to get through so much RNG to get from checkpoint to checkpoint that I gave up.

The kicker is that Just Cause 2 requires DirectX 10 and thus doesn't support Windows XP, so I can't play it yet, although I have a Plan.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: jsoh on October 08, 2011, 06:35:50 AM
although I have a Plan.

Marco is a Cylon. /confirmed.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Tweed on October 11, 2011, 07:59:46 AM
I haven't finished it yet, but I'm about 18 hours in, having only bought it on Friday.  RAGE, anyone?  Really solid FPS with some RPG elements in the form of inventory management and questing.  If you played and loved Borderlands, but were a bit overwhelmed by all the crazy gun choices, I can guarantee that you'll love RAGE.  Same sort of post-apocalyptic, Wild West atmosphere tinged with a bit of humor.  Filled with mini-games that are surprisingly entertaining, including an addictive collectible card game ("Rage Frenzy") where you collect cards hidden throughout the wastelands to build your deck.  The engineering system is cool, too: you collect or buy component parts and make useful things like spidery Sentry Bots (with Gatling guns!) and explosive RC cars.  The only two things I feel like are missing are a leveling and talent build system.  That was my favorite part of Borderlands, customizing my character and whatnot, which is lacking from RAGE, where all you get is money. 
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Aviel on October 11, 2011, 08:10:32 AM
Recettear.  I'd compare this game to Disgaea: crisp but not detailed graphics, a moderately amusing main storyline which takes 10-12 hours to complete, and enough carrots to keep the addicted playing for a long time past the end of the game.  Of course, the gameplay is very different.  The dungeon-exploring half of he game is action RPG, more twitchy and less deep than Disgaea's turn-based strategy.  The shopkeeping half of the game is kind of addictive until you feel out the game's hidden parameters, which takes a while.

Some possible frustration points, none of which bothered me a lot: the PC engine is kind of a joke--no mouse support, no widescreen resolution support, configuration in a separate program.  At least there are no load times to speak of.  You can't save in a dungeon and you can only exit every five levels (usually after a boss fight).  Inventory triage in dungeons is not as streamlined as it could be; you can't examine an item on the ground and there's no key binding to drop the thing you just picked up, so you wind up going into menus a lot.  Finally, there are performance milestones during the main plotline, which are pretty easy to miss the first time playing through.  I wound up restarting because I was barely meeting them; I had no trouble the second time around.


I played through this and did some of the after game content. It was fun. I wish the fighting had been a bit easier. I liked all the varieties of items you could sell and the different heroes you could team up with. My biggest complaint was getting heroes to buy upgrades. I would put multiple up of what I wanted a hero to get and they would buy food, or sell me something. I generally had to waste slots bringing the upgrades with me.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on October 16, 2011, 10:06:37 AM
Bioshock 2.  I thought this was a solid sequel in all respects.  The challenge level was reasonable on hard difficulty.  The economy and upgrade system were involving throughout, though they both tended towards drowning me in riches as the game went on.  The story was an interesting counterpoint to the original, managing to be philosophical while (through outlandishness) not overtly political.  Gameplay was pretty good; you have a large bag of tricks to draw from, allowing you to choose from various styles.

What holds the game back is the repetition of the setting from Bioshock 1.  No matter how well-executed, it just feels kind of uninspired, especially in contrast to Bioshock Infinite which (from trailers) looks like the most amazing thing ever.

(Caveat emptor: the PC engine uses Games for Windows Live, which can be problematic on some computers, including mine.  I some problems upgrading from the horribly broken release version; once I did, I had kind of an elaborate and broken startup ritual each time I started playing, but once past that everything hummed along fine.)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on October 16, 2011, 05:29:18 PM
DragonAge II: Mark of the Assassin DLC. This is the one with a character voiced and "faced" by Felicia Day.

I rate this as very good. The environments were all new, the story was well-told, the characters were well-voiced and wittily-written. ("This is why you should not waste your last minute monologing.") The game took me about 10 hours to run on Casual difficulty. I thought it was well worth $10.

My only quibble is that, in one completely-optional section, there was a logic puzzle of blindingly-hard difficulty. I finally had to turn to the web for a solution. It felt wrong somehow to have such a hard challenge in the midst of relatively-simple puzzles.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on October 16, 2011, 07:40:20 PM
Uncharted 2

Really enjoyed the game. If you liked the first one, you will like this one. Follows the same formula. However this one seems to take that next step a sequel should. Has a much more epic feel. Story wise was great and kept me glued to the screen throughout. Lasted about 10 hours from start to finish. That is with a decent amount of dying throughout and on normal.

Combat was well done. Felt very similar to the Gears of War series (or most shooters nowadays for that matter). A lot of the "hide-behind-cover" and lean around and fire mechanic. Well done though. Stealth kills were surprisingly fun. Weapon choice was good. All but one weapon had a place and time. Only the uzi pistol thingy was terrible. Action scenes were also usually well done. Broke up the pace from fighting a lot of bad guys.

My only two real complaints were one, I would fall off a lot of crap and sometimes die and have no idea why (or where I should be going). Second, there was a bad guy type in this one that was just silly. They did it in the first one too. I would make a joke about it but don't want to ruin anything but yeah, over the top silly. And those guys were frustratingly hard for some reason, especially in comparison to everything else.

Overall loved it. Felt like I was playing a movie (to use the cliche line) but it was a blast. Lasted about 10 hours which I think was right for the movie type feel. They were running out of ideas so if it had lasted longer I think it would have suffered. Had some predictable adventure movie/game moments but still really enjoyable. Even made fun of itself a couple times in the end. Didn't play multiplayer at all.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on October 31, 2011, 07:31:33 AM
Dark Souls

It took me ~56 Hours and 137 deaths (excluding PvP) to beat it after restarting. I love this game, but I can definitely 100% say its not going to be everyone's cup of tea. The game is certainly hard, and that is its #1 claim to fame. But it is not nearly as hard or frustrating (to me) as others have made it out in reviews. However, the game is very unforgiving. If you make a mistake you will pay for it, and every enemy at any level has the capacity to kill you if you start acting like hot shit in a champaign glass.

The Good: Gameplay, Graphics, Level Design, and Lore. This game has it all. The levels amazed me the most, and how well they intertwine with one another. The level of detail is also amazing and had me stopping to admire in several spots. So it goes without saying that all the bosses are amazing and awesome. I ran into a lot of new things that I haven't seen before that gave me pause. In fact an early boss is a dragon variation that scared the shit out of me (resembled something out of HP Lovecraft), not to mention later enemies in an area called The Bed of Chaos. There are also a lot of options on how to accomplish your goals, whether it be as a magic wielding sorcerer, an armored knight, a holy cleric, or a combination.

The Bad: This game explains absolutely NOTHING. The user manual is garbage. Almost all mechanics outside of what button does what HAS to be researched via strategy guide or online wiki. No one at any point will provide you with a tutorial on how the mechanics actually function. So if you don't do your homework you can royally F yourself up like I did my first playthrough (that required a restart).

The story is the EXACT SAME. This is good and bad. Believe it or not there is an entire intricate story to this game, and they don't tell you any of it. You are required to piece bits of it together via the Lore on special items and through dialogue with other undead you meet. Allegedly some of the story was also told in Demon Souls & the old Kings Field games. Its interesting, but you really do have to dig for what's going on. And as for the endings...well lets just say after digging through enough lore and talking to the right people in the right order under the right conditions lead you to believe the good ending is the bad ending. In fact major plot points are only discussed by 1 NPC you more than likely will miss unless doing things very specifically.

The Ugly: The PvP in this game is broken. Its the only thing holding it back, and the subject of many of its complaints. It boils down to 3 things: Tranquil Walk of Piece, Fog Ring, and Weapon Scaling. TWoP is an AoE that slows everything down to a crawl making enemies unable to roll. Fog Ring makes it so that you are untargetable by Players (making all casters unable to lock on any spell attacks). And weapons typically scale with a specific stat (Heavy = Strength, Light = Dexterity, Enchanted = Magic, Divine = Faith), but Elemental (Fire/Lightning) scale as the weapons are enhanced...and scale a little too well. This means PvPers can boost their Vitality (HP) and Endurance (Stamina) to ridiculous amounts and not need to touch a 3rd "DPS" Stat. So in short, they have some issues they want to address in the upcoming patch.

The Different: The game uses an autosave function, so there is aboslutely NO reloading. If you want to quicksave before seeing what's behind that door, too bad. The game is constantly saving, so you own any and all mistakes. Upon death, you have 1 try to make it back to your corpse to recover any Souls (currency) and/or Humanity (secondary resource) or it is gone forever. I actually liked this feature, but it does mean you can't leave strategic save spots at various diverging paths of the game.


Overall, I loved this game and am playing both New Game+ (restart with previous game's equipment/level, but difficulty increased), and restarted a new character as well to unlock different achievements/endings.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on October 31, 2011, 04:23:26 PM
Batman: Arkham City

I'd like to say that I enjoyed this game as much as I enjoyed Arkham Asylum; based on the on-line reviews I've seen, I seem to be one of the few who was not as impressed with AC.

The main difference in the games is the setting. In AA, you were restricted to certain areas of the asylum, and were allowed to progress to more areas as the game went on. In AC, after the introduction you're pretty much allowed to roam the entire city from the start. There are certain buildings you can't enter until the plot permits it.

As with AA, the main plot of AC is fairly linear: Hugo Strange has managed to convince Gotham City to set aside a part of the city for its maniacs and criminals. Meanwhile, the Joker is suffering from the events of the previous game. As Batman, your job is trace Strange's motives while dealing with Joker's plans for a cure. You also get to play Catwoman, in an unrelated plot that mainly concerns Two-Face and Poison Ivy.

Aside from the main plot, there are several side missions you can pursue: Zsasz's murder spree; a slasher impersonating Bruce Wayne; mysterious figures with enigmatic symbols; and Riddler's puzzles, which are more complex than the ones in AA. There's a lot to do, and the game doesn't necessarily end with the conclusion of the main plot; for example, I haven't completed the entire sequence of the side missions I've mentioned.

The main plot is my principle problem with the game. In AA, there was a certain amount of "bouncing around" but the main goal was always to confront the Joker. In AC, there's a lot of shifting from villain to villain, for reasons that seem very arbitrary; for example, Mr. Freeze appears to switch motives back and forth, and Batman goes along all too easily. The climax of the main plot lacked the same kind of dramatic force of the first game; the "big surprise" seemed more motivated by real-world casting issues than a logical extension of the story.

I played the game on a PS3. It may be my imagination, but somehow the graphics seemed to lack the crispness of the previous game. But I haven't compared them side-by-side to be sure.

If you've played Arkham Asylum and enjoyed it, you'll get the same from Arkham City... or maybe only a fraction less. I was hoping for a fraction more.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on November 06, 2011, 05:22:14 AM
Lord of the Rings: War in the North

Two reviews in a row! November really is video-games month.

I have a weakness for certain franchises; for example, Stars Wars and Lord of the Rings. So I could not help but pick up "Lord of the Rings: War in the North" by Snowblind for the PS3. I've played it for about three hours, and already I feel it belongs in this topic: Finished playing.

The plot of the game concerns three characters (a fighting Dwarf, a Lore-master Elf, and a Human Ranger) and their role in events in the northern part of Middle Earth that take place at the same time as main events of the book. The characters are fixed; you can't choose their names, you can only choose which one you play.

My chief complaint with the game is that it doesn't "feel" like Lord of the Rings; it feels like an RPG with LOTR grafted on. I can't put my finger on what that means, I can only offer an analogy: "Knights of the Old Republic" and "The Force Unleashed" felt like Star Wars, even with the computerized RPG elements; "Lego Star Wars" did not feel like Star Wars, but was fun to play. LOTR:WITN just goes from battle to battle, with little or no personality to the characters; it's more like "The Force Unleashed II." Certainly the characters in the book did not have to hack apart every box, barrel, and chest in search of more health potions.

That gets into my second complaint: LOTR:WITN would still be engaging if the RPG made it worth it. Perhaps BioWare/DragonAge has spoiled me, but I find it to be a sub-par game, at least as a solo experience. From all appearances this is a multi-player game with solo play grafted on. You can only play, manage the inventory, or level up the character you control. You can switch characters, but you essentially have to exit the game and reload it. The AI controlling your NPC characters is not very smart; the only tactics you can offer them is "Attack my target" or "Defend."

Perhaps it's my inexperience with console RPG games, but I thought there was a stiff learning curve on the controls. In games like "Batman: Arkham Asylum/City" or the DragonAge games, you're gradually brought up to speed with the first few encounters. In LOTR:WITN, you're immediately bombarded with multiple-button combos to perform even basic tasks.

There have been other video games based on LOTR, but this is the first I've played. I wish my first LOTR game had been a more satisfactory experience.  
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on November 12, 2011, 10:54:03 AM
Just Cause 2.  Visually, this game is stunning.  It has an enormous, varied, and detailed world (though very few buildings are modeled internally, so it's mostly an outdoor affair), with amazing rendering and lighting.  The core gameplay isn't exceptionally varied but it is pretty fun.  Getting around with the hook and parachute is entertaining by itself, and the FPS gameplay is reasonably good.  The crazy action-movie stunts you can do are much more controllable than in Just Cause 1, making it feel perfectly natural to hijack a car within a convoy by parachuting close to it, jumping from car to car, gunning down the passengers shooting at you, and finally jumping into the driver's seat while ejecting the driver.  The PC engine won't run on Windows XP, but beyond that I have zero complaints--good controls, no need to fiddle with graphics settings to get great visuals, minimal loading times, and no stupid extra login service.

The game falls down a bit once you look above the core game.  The plot is pretty thin, and the B-movie atmosphere it aims for comes with bad stereotyped Asian accents and oversexualized female characters.  A minimal amount of side activity is required to advance the plot, but beyond that, there are no plot goodies to draw you into continuing to play.  The economic goodies lose meaning pretty quickly, and the upgrade system is linear and boring.  All that said, I put about 45 hours into playing this game and had fun for all of it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on November 19, 2011, 12:08:31 PM
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

A continuation of the Ezio arc. This story is told as part 2 of the trilogy that begun in Assassins Creed 2. In many ways, this felt at times more like an expansion than a sequel. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt 2 was much better than 1 and I felt this continued that trend. The addition of guild systems was a major bonus. Nothing was more fun than having people do your bidding. Also the addition of a optional task in each quest was also a great addition. Some were difficult. Some were easy but they added that extra challenge to a series that at times was very easy. Often times it rewarded you for being silent and not getting caught, which I thought was a nice change of pace. I don't remember if there was an economy to manage in 2 but I know in Brotherhood, I found this to be fun (If I remember the economy was very small in 2 when I look back). I was worried being in 1 city the entire game would be a detriment. However, Rome was a blast and offered a large amount of diversity. The combat continued on the same path as 2. There were a few additions to the weaponry. One in particular, the crossbow (not a spoiler as its available from the start if you can afford it), was by far my favorite weapon in the game. Ezio's story continued and it was great.

My problems with the game were small in quantity. The modern time story was a little weak at times and some of the scenes just felt meh. There is even a part where you have a chance to look around and collect items in the modern time. What do you get for collecting all the items? Nothing. No mention anywhere in the game, not an achievement, not an item, not even a tracking system for them in the other collection databases. Also I felt they made you work too hard for certain items. For instance I had the best armor in the game and best weapon near the end. However I was still trying to unlock other weapons and armor that were much weaker but much more difficult to unlock.

Overall a great game. Very much the middle game in a trilogy though. A lot of fun and another game in the AC series in which I became absolutely addicted. Love the series. Best game so far in the series.

9/10

Sidenote: I have gotten into Revelations (I think I am about the only one since it came out the same week as MW3, Skyrim, and Saints Row 3, even the Gamestop guy was giving me crap). My intial reactions are mixed. Combat and graphics are improved. I felt noticeably so. Story is cool and I like the path it is heading down right now. However the action scenes that take you away from the basic action (like riding on vehicles or tower defense) have been terrible so far. I am not sure how they took so many steps forward in brotherhood and Revelations in about everything but so far back in those action scenes. Overall though I think the majority of the gameplay has been drastically improved and the new items so far have been much needed in the series (since they were things other games in the genre have had for a while) for things like distractions and speedier travel. If only they had spent more time on the action scenes (which are really few and far between right now) I would say it would nearly be a perfect game for this genre. 
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on November 22, 2011, 06:01:08 AM
Gellin, how bad is the control manipulation?  I liked playing AC II but never finished it because I had to take a pause due to real life and when I went back after a couple days I couldn't remember how the f'ing controls worked.  I even made myself a little cheat sheet and I still can't remember/manage the specific combo I need to get a double assassination to work and I have a saved game stuck at a point in the story where you have to do a double assassination or you can't progress.

I'm sort of idly thinking about going back and restarting to re-learn the controls but the insane frogger sequences you need to get the uber armor are a big turn-off there.

Also, is there any replay value? Aside from not wanting to redo frogger a bazillion times I don't know that the game would be any different if I redid it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on November 22, 2011, 09:22:33 AM
There isn't much replay value in my opinion. There are a bunch of sidequests that could potentially keep you interested. I can't remember in 2 if they let you do sidequest stuff or even if there is much to do sidequest wise. In Brotherhood, and somewhat so in Revelations so far, there are a TON of side quest stuff to do to keep you away from the main story. For doule assassination you should just be able to sneak up behind them and double assassinate. The other option is to use throwing knives (in Brotherhood and Revelations if you hold down the throw button it will charge up and then hit multiple targets). I dont remember a certain button for it. I will say Brotherhood gives you a big intro in gameplay. So if you didn't play 2 you wouldn't be lost. Revelations has like 0 intro. So if you didn't play brotherhood you would be super confused. On a final note, the controls for all 3 are almost identical though it seems things are smoother in the later 2 games. I hope that helps some. :)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on November 22, 2011, 09:56:01 PM
In AC 1 and 2 there were "training grounds" where you could re-learn the combos. Anything like that in Brotherhood or Revelations?
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on November 23, 2011, 06:44:06 AM
AC2 had a training area outside of the mansion, but I don't think it would train double assassinate since you typically only have one dummy opponent.

I think double assassinate is just regular assassinate with two people next to you and the hidden blade equipped (with the dual blade upgrade).  But I'm not 100% sure, since it's been a few months.
Title: Re: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Seniummortus on November 23, 2011, 09:13:42 AM
AC: Revelations

overall it pretty much plays the same as brotherhood.... is shorter... and jumps the shark even more at the end. so i feel a bit cheated by the whole transaction. core gameplay and story are still good tho (the  same). doesnt really feel worth AAA price tho, like brotherhood it still feels like DLC.

there are tutorials that you can access to help you relearn how to play.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kaylinare on November 25, 2011, 04:11:51 AM
World of Warcraft...

I was realizing that the game just didn't have the same appeal to me as it did when I first started playing near the release. And nothing against Bacon Bandits but raids were starting to feel tedious. Maybe because I was healing instead of tanking. Maybe because I work a full time job now (with super early hours) instead of being in college. Either way my account has been frozen for about a month and I'm still not feeling an overwhelming desire to go back.

One reason I stayed even this long is because I had game time gift cards from the last place I worked so the game wasn't monthly feeding on my money. And because I kept hoping for an Emerald Dream expansion. But with the Stormrage book and the new expansion, I don't think I can even hope for it anymore. I think I'm going to give the next one at least a try when it opens a free trial. It'll just depend what work has me doing.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on November 26, 2011, 06:24:10 PM
Left 4 Dead.  I played through this solo (with AI teammates), and found it to be a high-quality game, but I don't really recommend it unless you want to play it with other people, as it's designed almost purely for the co-op experience.  Excellent immersion factors (graphics, animation, voice acting, atmosphere), but minimal story and quite short if you just play through the campaigns once.

(Also... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-db9qgn99o))
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on November 27, 2011, 12:31:35 PM
In AC 1 and 2 there were "training grounds" where you could re-learn the combos. Anything like that in Brotherhood or Revelations?

They give you training missions in the animus that are optional. Sorry I was TORing and beating Revelations before finals so I was off the internet this weekend.
Title: Re: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on November 27, 2011, 12:33:11 PM
AC: Revelations

overall it pretty much plays the same as brotherhood.... is shorter... and jumps the shark even more at the end. so i feel a bit cheated by the whole transaction. core gameplay and story are still good tho (the  same). doesnt really feel worth AAA price tho, like brotherhood it still feels like DLC.

there are tutorials that you can access to help you relearn how to play.
I was going to write up my summary of Revelations but this pretty much sums it up. Should have been a DLC for Brotherhood or even a side mission in 3. Fun game, but not worth brand new and the end felt like a DLC ending, not a real ending. Better stuff out there to play right now.
Title: Re: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on November 28, 2011, 08:42:38 AM
I was going to write up my summary of Revelations but this pretty much sums it up. Should have been a DLC for Brotherhood or even a side mission in 3. Fun game, but not worth brand new and the end felt like a DLC ending, not a real ending. Better stuff out there to play right now.

Being the novice that I am, the AC:2 experience was new to me.  I liked the parkour-style action (minus the control issues on a PC) and am disappointed to hear that the third doesn't live up to it.

So what else is Better in this vein right now?
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on November 28, 2011, 11:47:50 AM
Infamous (both 1 and 2) have the parkour flavor of Assassins Creed. The Batman: Arkham Asylum/City games have the "30 against you? Odds in your favor" feel.
Title: Re: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on November 28, 2011, 02:22:57 PM
I was going to write up my summary of Revelations but this pretty much sums it up. Should have been a DLC for Brotherhood or even a side mission in 3. Fun game, but not worth brand new and the end felt like a DLC ending, not a real ending. Better stuff out there to play right now.

Being the novice that I am, the AC:2 experience was new to me.  I liked the parkour-style action (minus the control issues on a PC) and am disappointed to hear that the third doesn't live up to it.

So what else is Better in this vein right now?
If you have beaten 2, Brotherhood is definitely worth playing. I would argue its the best of the series. Revelations (technically the 4th in the series) is not as good though. Its not terrible. It would be worth $20, maybe $30. So I would say absolutely play Brotherhood and if you are addicted to the series you almost have to play revelations eventually since it has important story elements. I feel this series is the best parkour-style games out right now.

For other options:
Arkham Asylum was another of this style but I actually didn't enjoy it as much as others (it got rave reviews though, I played it after AC2 and it just felt meh in comparison). Arkham City is supposed to be amazing but I havent gotten into it yet. I will after finals.

Another cheap one worth trying is the Infamous series like Winston suggested. Those however are PS3 exclusives. The first one is dirt cheap now and is well done. 2 is fun as well and definitely upgraded some things.

Another semi-parkour game is Uncharted 2 (I cant remember if 1 has some scenes like that). The Uncharted series is also PS3 exclusive. Honestly I would recommend the Uncharted or Infamous series. Infamous is open-world parkour like AC but Uncharted has the better story and action.

Hope that helps :D
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on November 30, 2011, 08:56:22 PM
Portal 2, single-player and co-op.

I don't have a whole lot to say about single-player except that I really enjoyed it.  It was all I could ask for in a Portal sequel.

The co-op game was pretty short (at least, if you're playing with Cree, who would sometimes be telling me how she wanted to us solve a test chamber while I was still looking around for blank wall panels and buttons).  There was one puzzle we got stuck on for a while which probably would have been easier if we'd done single-player first, but by and large it introduced the mechanics independently.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Aviel on December 01, 2011, 05:15:32 AM
Portal 2, single-player and co-op.

I don't have a whole lot to say about single-player except that I really enjoyed it.  It was all I could ask for in a Portal sequel.

The co-op game was pretty short (at least, if you're playing with Cree, who would sometimes be telling me how she wanted to us solve a test chamber while I was still looking around for blank wall panels and buttons).  There was one puzzle we got stuck on for a while which probably would have been easier if we'd done single-player first, but by and large it introduced the mechanics independently.


Our kids were fascinated by this game and would watch Gwyd play. I asked my daughter if she thought I should play it and she said, "No mommy. It is very hard. You're not as smart as Dada."
Ouch. >_<
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on December 01, 2011, 05:36:54 AM
Our kids were fascinated by this game and would watch Gwyd play. I asked my daughter if she thought I should play it and she said, "No mommy. It is very hard. You're not as smart as Dada."
Ouch. >_<

Burn of the day.  :D
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Aviel on December 01, 2011, 11:25:18 AM
Our kids were fascinated by this game and would watch Gwyd play. I asked my daughter if she thought I should play it and she said, "No mommy. It is very hard. You're not as smart as Dada."
Ouch. >_<

Burn of the day.  :D

I was never intending to play anyway, but I brought it up again a few days later with her.
"Mommy is going to play Portal do you want to watch?"

 "NO mommy." She is actually angry now, "It is TOO hard for you. Daddy had trouble, it was hard.That means you can't do it!"

"Even if I try really hard and don't give up?"

Exasperated now, "No mommy it is just too hard for you."
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on December 01, 2011, 04:11:13 PM
Time for Mommy to pwn Daddy in PvP.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Aviel on December 02, 2011, 03:27:19 AM
Time for Mommy to pwn Daddy in PvP.

Sadly, he is good at PVP when you can get him to do it. :p
Mommy thinks Mommy would do just fine at Portal. I just haven't had time or desire to play. Too many other games to play first.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on December 15, 2011, 06:41:04 AM
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (XBox 360)

I never played Arena, but I did love Daggerfall with all its glorious bugs. Similarly I loved Morrowing and played that for many many months before finally deciding I should go ahead and beat it before I got sidetracked again. However, I did not like Oblivion and never played it for more than a few days at a time (the exception was the Dark Brotherhood questline which was incredibly awesome). So I was hesitant about Skyrim.

I was very please that Skyrim removed most all of the annoying stuff in Oblivion, specifically the equipment scaling on enemies (Bandits in Daedric WTF) and the terribly tought out leveling system (I can't level until I raise Athleticism several more points so I can get that x5 bonus). They also removed a lot of the dumb skills, condensing the skills into a more manageable arsenal while also adding a really rewarding perk system. This gets a big thumbs up.

Crafting, I thought, was supremely OP. Hopefully in the future it can be toned down a little bit where its still useful, but not so ridiculous.

Combat was about the same as previous Elder Scroll games. I couldn't tell you exactly what it is, but the combat does feel smoother than before. I personally had some issues targeting, but that is possibly due to the fact I was using a console controller and not a mouse.

Storywise I felt the game suffers from not having a voiced protagonist, which is one reason I personally rate The Witcher 2 higher than Skyrim. That being said I think this game did well with tieing major characters in the region together in a way that the world does feel alive and not segregated. The actions of one city are on the mind of another city for example. The main plot was also fairly good, though a bit heavy on exposition rather than interaction. Most of the sidequests were fairly good as well, which can serve as great "mini-adventures" you can complete in an hour or less. The Guild questlines surprised me because they were so varied. The Thieve's Guild was head and shoulders above the others in both quality and quantity, while The Companions was surprisingly bland and short.

The graphics and sound are great, and it really lets you immerse yourself in the world. The architecture is very iconic, and varies just enough from city to city to show the different level of craftsmanship but doesn't make it seem like you are stepping into a whole new world. And the dungeons all feel unique. Very rarely did I ever walk into an area and think "I've seen this section before" such as the case in DragonAge 2.

Overall I can see what all the fuss was about. Skyrim is a very good game with A LOT of content. Its definitely something any RPG would enjoy and occupy a lot of their time. The only negative comment I can give is what is typicaly in open world games...the bugs. There are a lot of them and a lot of them are game breaking, so its best to keep multiple saves and be prepared to lose some progress.


Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on December 15, 2011, 07:47:02 AM
The only negative comment I can give is what is typicaly in open world games...the bugs. There are a lot of them and a lot of them are game breaking, so its best to keep multiple saves and be prepared to lose some progress.

...or buy the PC version where you can fix nearly everything with the console.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on December 15, 2011, 10:02:39 AM
Bastion.  This is a fairly short game, and as a linear action RPG it isn't all that deep, but I think it was really well-done.  The most obvious innovative aspects are the self-building world and the narrator, but what I really liked is the customizable difficulty.  You can turn on up to ten qualitatively different "make the game harder" settings (called idols) before setting out to do a level, in return for slightly more in-game currency.  Some of the idols matter more than others, but each of them changes gameplay pretty dramatically; turning on "enemies do more damage" makes it so you really have to avoid hits, for example.  The in-game economy, while not necessarily inventive, is spot on; currency is reasonably easy to get but you never have too much of it, the game gives you ample reasons to purchase upgrades sooner rather than pooling money and spending it later, and the upgrades you can get each make your weapons or player significantly better in some visible way.  Weapon upgrades offer a lot of choice, and those choices can be revisited later, making it possible to think about a challenge, pick a pair of weapons for it, and tune it appropriately.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on December 15, 2011, 10:20:35 AM
I saw Bastion nominated and won a lot of the 2011 VGA's. Sounds like it might be worth a DL.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on December 15, 2011, 10:07:07 PM
Fallout 3

I will make this quick since its old and has been reviewed before. Not having Skyrim and waiting on Star Wars. I didn't want to commit to something heavy. Ended up I became addicted to this for the second time (the first I never beat it). My experiences with New Vegas were not as good so I figured I wouldn't enjoy this one as much. It was a blast though and did a great job of portraying the post-apocalpytic atmosphere. The need to repair, go back and sell items if need be, have a home you can customize, and lots of exploration and side quests (like other bethesda games). My only complaint is that gunfighting seemed to be almost required. Even if you took things like science or lockpick, you still would have to use a gun half the time. Also energy weapons are op. Fun game and glad I replayed it and finally beat it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on December 27, 2011, 03:22:50 PM
Skyrim. 257 hours played, according to Steam. Of course, Steam forgets about any hours played when you crash out, so it's probably another 10 or 20 hours on top of that.

Pretty much everything that can be said about this game has already been said. I just wanted to demonstrate the potential value proposition. For me, at $60, that comes out to be less than a quarter per hour of play.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on December 28, 2011, 04:37:25 AM
Skyrim. 257 hours played, according to Steam. Of course, Steam forgets about any hours played when you crash out, so it's probably another 10 or 20 hours on top of that.

Pretty much everything that can be said about this game has already been said. I just wanted to demonstrate the potential value proposition. For me, at $60, that comes out to be less than a quarter per hour of play.

I used to play Skyrim like you. Then I took an arrow to the knee and play SWTOR now.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Thanamira on December 30, 2011, 07:01:57 AM
I thought Skyrim was the game to play during maintenance downtime.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on January 02, 2012, 10:27:49 AM
Alpha Protocol

So I decided to pick this up so I would have something to play where I could walk away and not worry about getting addicted. Well I was wrong. Great game. I think it has already been reviewed before by Kharv and Helv? So I will make this quick.

Enjoyed the game as an experience and the stealth path was a blast. It was a little overpowered however and it makes me wonder if there is really any other viable options. The game seems to favor the stealth gameplay for sure. The reason I say this is the actual gunfight mechanics are average if not below average. The games version of AI sometimes becomes very goofy. Things like the enemy zig-zag running at you or hiding behind cover and never firing can happen. I also felt like at time the games mechanics made it incredibly difficult to run and gun, placing a extreme importance on lining up shots (which is why I said it favored stealth). The conversations were fun and the story was decent. It was fairly short (maybe 6-8 hours) and that was with me "exploring". It was also a very linear game, very little exploration. However, the sum of the pieces just worked. Your decisions had affects. Some were very drastic. The dossier system was a blast. And you really had options, other than combat, of how you can approach the whole game. A blast of a game, especially for the price.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on January 04, 2012, 08:23:43 AM
Dragon's Age II.  Old, so I'll keep remarks brief. Full of spoilers, though. Overall 2/4 stars, not as good as DA:O. Worth the $15 I paid for it, but probably not more.

The story felt very much like the middle book of a trilogy. If there's not a DA 3 I'll be stunned. I liked that it could deal to some extent with saved end-games from DA:O and change the storyline a bit to match.

Biggest gripes are the combat encounters: STUPID and the maps: REPETITIVE. Why the hell does every encounter have 3 waves and all of them involve dropping down from the sky all around you? Totally nulls any skill at positioning your party. Also, every warehouse is the same, as are most of the caves/dungeons. Making one big map and then making "different" versions of it by closing off bits is annoying as fsck.

I liked the leveling/spec system, and the in-combat animations were good, particularly for 2h wielders (ZOOM!) Spell animations were also nice. Dialog was good; I liked that you get more out of consistent use of one of the three response styles (diplomatic, joking, aggressive) rather than mixing them up. I hate the fact that healing is so massively nerfed compared to DA:O and was annoyed that I couldn't armor up my companions the way I wanted (Isabella put some damned ARMOR on already!).

I did not like the amount of forced-choice stuff and the total inability to set up any of your own ambushes or traps. Did my play-through on a warrior first and got so mad at what happens at the end of Act I that I went back and made a mage so I can have a mage (seriously OP if you spec them right). On "Normal" difficulty everything is easy. I ended up doing almost all of the fights on "Hard" and felt a bit challenged.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Leahnidas on January 04, 2012, 01:01:45 PM
Saints Row 3-I remember thinking how dumb the game looked when I saw the first preview for it and it didn't help that I didn't care for the first one (Skipped 2). After reading people's comments here and getting a few giftcards for Xmas I decided to buy it and man, it's insane how fun this game is. I'm not completely finished but there's just an awesome amount of customization and things to explore. The humor is pretty much spot on though I will admit to saying "Whoa" a few times to some of the lines/concepts. All in all, an incredible buy and kudos to our man on the team for making such a great game.

Splinter Cell Conviction-Been out awhile now but I played it about a month ago and enjoyed it for what it was. I missed having a true stealth option but the action sequences were definitely more hard-hitting and frequent. The story was kind of a mess and the campaign felt rather short but the ending was neat and they did a lot of cool new things to keep it interesting. Here's hoping that they return to the stealth roots in the next installment whilst keeping the new stuff that made this one enjoyable.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on January 09, 2012, 06:17:13 AM
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.  Or rather, stopped playing after a couple hours. PoPSoT seems to consist entirely of annoying twitch sequences.  You have to push JUST the right button at JUST the right time or you fail and have to start the entire sequence over. For many of the sequences you can't see ahead to know what to do so you're guaranteed to have to fail and restart many times per sequence.

My point of comparison is Assassin's Creed, in which there were also many annoying sequences; however, in AC when you completed an annoying sequence you got a cool armor upgrade or got to stab someone in bloody slo-mo.  In PoPSoT when you complete an annoying sequence you get... ANOTHER annoying sequence to do.

I paid $5 for it on a Steam sale (thanks again for the cheap-o tips, cupcakes!) and I'm glad I didn't pay more.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Mr. Tring on January 09, 2012, 09:10:46 AM
Rage: Purchased for ~$15 during the holiday bonanza on Steam. Overall I had a lot of fun with this game, but there are a couple of big caveats. The boss fights were pretty uninspiring and I think this game has, in my opinion, the most anti-climatic climax fight I've yet experienced.

However, as I said, the game is a lot of fun and definitely worth a sale price. It has a lot of the atmosphere that Borderlands had (though not mechanics - no talent trees for example) and I felt the feel was more intense than Borderlands, which is good. The racing/driving alone in this game would have been enough to sell me (for the sale price!). The cars are segzy, the sounds are beefy, the action is pulse-pounding, cars are upgradeable, weapons - while somewhat limited were fun. One gripe I had with the racing was that I needed extra fingers for the on-use power ups (shields, bombs etc). Racing would probly be better if you used a controller (or have a fancy mouse - which I don't), rather than the standard KB+mouse combo. The racing in this game actually got me wondering about what other racing games are up to these days, if they are anything like this, then I'd be interested in checking them out. I should add that the racing is kind of a side game, there are a couple of quests that require you to race, but you don't have to go whole-hog if you didn't want to, though I expect not upgrading your car would make some of the transition sequences (driving around the wasteland) considerably more challenging.

There are several other mini-games (card games, dice games etc) that seem somewhat involved but I didn't spend a lot of time on them. These mini-games seem to exist to furnish extra funds, which I found I didn't need.

Overall the combat was highly enjoyable, again, lots of pulse-pounding action. There are different ammo types for each weapon and I found that you frequently had to adjust your ammo type to the mobs you were fighting, which kept things very interesting for me. I played through on Hard difficulty, which may have affected the need for that.

I think the game has some kind of multiplayer component which I haven't explored yet, because there are achievements for winning "public races" and so on.

Overall - Definitely worth picking up if its on sale.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on January 27, 2012, 06:43:43 AM
Starcraft II. Played through the campaign, at least. Don't like PvP so unlikely to do much of that. Might do some scenarios against AI just so I get a feel for all the bits I didn't get to see in campaign play-through. Mostly I have gripes about this one.  2/5 stars.

Campaign is all Terran story. Last time you got to bop around and learn all three races. Here you get a tiny bit of Protoss and no Zerg. Campaign stops at the wrong point. There's no real climax like there was last time, there's a bit of an obvious ending and then... nothing. Fade to cinematic, scroll credits. What happens next? I get that they want to continue the story, but this is like reading chapters 8-12 of a 20-chapter middle volume of a trilogy. Violates Chekhov's rule all over the place.

I also think that Blizzard designed itself into a bad corner. It's supposed to be strategic and they give you mechanics for making groups of arbitrary units, grabbing all units of a given type, etc so you can move in groups. But then they give individual units cool abilities THAT YOU WILL NEVER USE. Because the amount of time and effort to find the unit, get it into position, and use its ability will always be better spent sending a swarm of zerglings to chew something to bits. Everything happens at the most frenetic possible pace all the time.

I would love to spend time playing around with the units and doing cool stuff but I can't because I have to manage 47 SCVs and attackers on three sides and and and.  Bleh.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: ghoselle on January 27, 2012, 06:51:53 AM
Starcraft II. Played through the campaign, at least. Don't like PvP so unlikely to do much of that. Might do some scenarios against AI just so I get a feel for all the bits I didn't get to see in campaign play-through. Mostly I have gripes about this one.  2/5 stars.

Campaign is all Terran story. Last time you got to bop around and learn all three races. Here you get a tiny bit of Protoss and no Zerg. Campaign stops at the wrong point. There's no real climax like there was last time, there's a bit of an obvious ending and then... nothing. Fade to cinematic, scroll credits. What happens next? I get that they want to continue the story, but this is like reading chapters 8-12 of a 20-chapter middle volume of a trilogy. Violates Chekhov's rule all over the place.

I believe the problem is that they are planning on releasing the same game engine 3 times, each with a different race as the campaign.  So you really are only getting 1/3 of the plot.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on January 27, 2012, 07:43:30 AM
I would love to spend time playing around with the units and doing cool stuff but I can't because I have to manage 47 SCVs and attackers on three sides and and and.  Bleh.
You found the key bindings for slowing down and speeding up the passage of game time, right?

The way I play RTS games is probably horrifying to any PvP player (I play in bullet time during any tight spot, and I generally have a chain of about a hundred saves between the beginning and the end of a scenario) but it's still fun.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Mr. Tring on January 27, 2012, 11:33:15 AM

You found the key bindings for slowing down and speeding up the passage of game time, right?


On the harder difficulties, don't they limit how "slow you can go" to make it - well - harder? I tried going for some of the achievments but as I remember, there we a number of levels I just couldn't think fast enough for and thought I wasn't able to slow things down to a manageable level.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on January 31, 2012, 05:44:07 AM
You found the key bindings for slowing down and speeding up the passage of game time, right?

There are keybindings? I saw there was a control for pace at the start (and turned it down from default "fast" to "normal") but didn't realize I could do that in media res.

If they release campaign DLCs for this that let you play more story, particularly the other races, I'll buy those. But if they're really just going to release the same game as three installments... enh, maybe. I like story. I also like that I only paid about $15 for this one. If I have to wait that long to get the other bits I suppose I can wait or maybe I'll be busy with something else by then.

I still feel like a lot of bad design decisions went into this one.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on January 31, 2012, 06:12:48 AM
They aren't campaign DLCs. They're releasing 2 more whole games, or at least priced as such, with full plots.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on January 31, 2012, 10:42:51 AM
COD: Modern Warfare (1)

Despite being several years old, there's quite a lot of polish on this FPS. You get to play a number of parts, including infantry, sniper, helicopter chain-gunner and even an AC-130 gunship. Its drawbacks are notable, however: I beat it in 6 hours (and I died a bunch so talented players could do it in 4), the plot doesn't really make a lot of sense, and the combat can suffer from constant respawns. As a player, I like to play cautiously, but that doesn't work in this game. You always (always) have AI companions that are relatively competent and shoot the opposition (and you never run out of allies because they are either unkillable or respawn), and if you hunker down to defend a position, the bad guys keep respawning and attacking, endlessly, until you advance to some scripted position where your AI buddies follow you and the respawns stop. As such, often the most effective way to play is to simply run forward to wherever there are no bad guys, often running past them without shooting anyone, to stop the respawns and get your allies to shoot them for you.

I didn't pay for this game (Christmas gift); I think $20 might be a bit much (especially if you don't use the multiplayer, which I did not). It feels more like $10 (the cost of a movie ticket) is about right.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on February 06, 2012, 03:00:24 PM
Bastion:

This has already been discussed before by others. I just want to say that, in my opinion, this was the best game I played that came out in 2011. I would argue it was top 3 of this generation. Thats just how I feel but to me it was amazing. It has convinced me to pick up more downloable XBLA games actually, something I was always reluctant to do since I enjoy having physical copies of games.

Action RPG, of the Zelda type. But calling it Zelda would sell short both Zelda and Bastion. The music was incredible. After discussion with Zer/Helv, I realized it sounded a whole lot like Firefly/Serenity music. Really good and really fitting. The voice acting/narration was top notch as well. Really you only hear one voice for the entire game until the very end. The narrator did a wonderful job and comments on your every move. Sometimes making fun of you if you do something goofy. Often times feeling more like a commentator than a narrator. I also found the story with the combination of music and narration to be very moving at times. I found myself more emotionally connected to this story that most other games with much larger budgets.

Gameplay wise. It is a hack and slash RPG. There are levels. Though leveling up gives you very few actual boosts. The biggest benefit is the ability to equip more of a certain item. Wide choice of weapons and skills. You get to pick two weapons and one skill at a time. They range from fast to slow, AOE, v single target, ranged to melee. Nice variety and some are just super cool. Grinding out exp and money is a blast. I actually still work on the "Who-Knows-Where" boards to get higher on the leaderboards. Just so I can beat them on the highest difficulty (got rank 2,059 I believe out of approx 100,000 on one).

Overall a great game. Have now beaten it on both new game and new game plus getting both endings and all the achievements. Was a blast. Will continue to play until I get all the Who Knows wheres on max difficulty for goofy leaderboard desires. 10/10. Must-play and only $15 max and $8 on sale. (which it is right now on XBLA).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on February 16, 2012, 06:51:10 PM
Red Faction: Guerrilla

So I got this thinking it was an FPS where you blow up the environment, but I was very wrong; it's a GTA clone.

Now, I loathe GTA pretty much because of its amoral stance toward modern life and the glorification of violent crime. However, for some reason I have no problem being a terrorist (which is this game's angle). It's made me examine my value system.

Running around and smashing stuff had, for me, a very satisfying element. It also shined when you blew up stuff; I felt like the explosions were spot on (lots of smoke) and I loved exploding vehicles flying through the air, stomping around in mechs, and firing rocket launchers.

However, similar to most other games on the PC, the vehicle control scheme was wretched; it didn't use the mouse for steering (like how Borderlands does) but used WASD, which means that steering is digital; you either pull a 45 degree turn or go straight, which needless to say, made driving miserable. And since you have to spend over half the game in a vehicle, you either force yourself to become reasonably competent (which I never really did, but suffered anyway) or quit.

Overall, it had some joyful highs interjected with some truly rage-inducing lows (the Free-Fire Zone being particularly brutal and the only part of the game that I had to set the difficulty to 'easy' to pass).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on February 16, 2012, 07:09:28 PM
I don't remember how I did driving control in RF:G, but in general I often find myself switching between game controller and mouse/keyboard when playing driving/shooting open world games.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kharvek on February 16, 2012, 07:15:33 PM
The game was built from the ground up for consoles.  The PC port wasn't great.  It wasn't as awful as SR2's was since we outsourced to a better developer.  (Fun fact.  Reactor Zero, who did RF:G PC used to be Outrage.  Outrage used to be a part of Parallax Software...which became Volition and Outrage.  The guys who worked with us on the port were some of the original guys that worked on Descent so they actually knew some of the Volition vets.  It was odd.)

The SR2 port was fucking awful.  We outsourced to CD Projekt.  ...who also did the Witcher 2 which is a universally well liked game.  Yeah I dunno how that happened either, but hey maybe open world wasn't there thing.

Anyway more to the point.  Games like this I play on PC I do it Marco style.  Vehicles I use a controller and on foot I use mouse/keyboard.  That's exactly how I played Just Cause 2.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on February 17, 2012, 04:36:24 AM
For what its worth, I thought controls on Witcher 2 were terrible with a Keyboard & Mouse and seemed to be designed for a controller. However everything else about Witcher 2 was friggin amazing.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on February 17, 2012, 04:18:59 PM
For what its worth, I thought controls on Witcher 2 were terrible with a Keyboard & Mouse and seemed to be designed for a controller. However everything else about Witcher 2 was friggin amazing.

Really? I thought it was fine. Have to do a lot of rolling, but I figured that was the point.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: ghoselle on February 18, 2012, 02:38:09 PM
Dragon Age 2.  No DLC.  Just the version I picked up cheap over the holidays.

Felt sort of short and linear.  However, the story was interesting.  I really liked the other party members.  I felt like each had a developed back story and personality.

I played through on normal difficulty as a mage built out focused on elemental damage, largely by accident.  I found a huge amount of +% fire random gear early on and built to get the fire spells.  It made the large mob combats pretty trivial as the minor mobs would die without doing anything.  Whenever you take high elemental damage, you have a chance of dazing a mob.  And I had 2 different spells that would do large area persistent AoE that did enough damage to daze enemies.

I felt like I needed to do very little micro management.  There was one bossfight in the middle where I had to carefully manage where people stood, but otherwise I just let the AI control all the characters except my mage.  I'd sometimes tell everyone to attack the same target when there was an enemy caster.  I suspect on higher difficulty, more micromanagement would be needed.  I generally ran the typical tank/rogue/mage/mage party composition.

One of the mechanics that occurs in bout 80% of the fights is more mobs show up halfway through.  Sometimes this is a little weird -- I'm in this enclosed room, with the door closed, and 8 more guys drop in through the ceiling...  Also, when they'd drop in to the large AoE spells, get dazed, and die before ever doing anything - pretty amusing.

So yeah - good game.  Doesn't feel as epic as the first one.  But still worth a play through.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on February 19, 2012, 05:10:44 PM
Crysis 2.

While I liked the first one (and liked Warhead more), I felt like this one had a much bigger improvement in the gameplay department (if not so dramatic in the graphical department). For one thing, stealth was viable (VERY viable, and damn near required in places) unlike the original two where you take 3 steps and are out of energy. Also, the visor is useful for the whole game. For all that, though, it has a lot of conventional elements--you are funneled one-way through set-piece gunfights broken up by checkpoint saves, as opposed to the original where (at least in the early levels) you had some open-world self-navigation to do. This one's path and pace is immaculately controlled.

Having been to New York, it definitely felt like New York to me that I was rampaging through.

Taking into consideration that I spent about half the game playing stealthily (and the other half hog-wild in armor stance with a machine gun which can eat content quicker), it took me all weekend to play, probably 20 hours overall (checkpoint saves so I can't check overall game time) which is pretty meaty for a shooter.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Periastron on February 22, 2012, 01:01:39 PM
Final Fantasy XIII-2.  Actually, I'm still playing it, on and off, but I finished the main story line a week or two ago.  However, you can keep playing after that and attempt various challenges that weren't really possible to do earlier on.

Gamewise, I'd have to say I enjoyed it quite a bit more than FF13, despite the sequel's almost complete lack of difficulty.  There's quite a bit more to do, and a lot less linearity.  The game gets off to a good start and then loses steam a bit later on, but I had no trouble finishing it.  A lot less emo whining, and the new guy, Noel, is actually a reasonable and likeable character.  I have a major problem with the way the story ended, but I can't really talk about it without planting my foot in a big clanking bucket of spoilers.

Awesome production values, as usual, and some really nice cuts on the soundtrack (which is included as a four-CD set with the collector's edition.)

If you hated the combat system from FF13, it's not much different here, except that you can capture and level monsters to fill the third role slot of your paradigms.  You can infuse their abilities into other monsters in your collection, and it is possible to build some quite powerful creatures this way.  Random battles are back, but there's a new mechanism that makes it easy to obtain preemptive strike bonuses, or to evade fights altogether.  In the end, the random fights didn't bother me, like I feared they might.

If you absolutely hated FF13, you might still like FF13-2... and if you sort of wanted to like FF13, you'll probably enjoy the sequel.  If you never played FF13 and don't intend to, FF13-2 includes a plot summary of FF13 to give you the background details... but you'll probably understand events better if you actually play FF13 first.  Of course, that would mean... playing FF13.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on February 22, 2012, 01:07:08 PM
oh man, the soundtrack to FF13-2 drove me insane as my brother played 80 hours of it. Vocals in videogame music? what the fuck. it's supposed to be in the background!
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Periastron on February 22, 2012, 01:09:36 PM
I refer you to my use of the word "some".  :)

... though I didn't object to the vocals in Noel's Theme, considering the location where it is used as the background track.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on February 22, 2012, 01:12:22 PM
oh man, the soundtrack to FF13-2 drove me insane as my brother played 80 hours of it. Vocals in videogame music? what the fuck. it's supposed to be in the background!

Deus Ex: Human Revolution has some vocals in its music too, but they are principally in latin and chinese, which may contribute to making them feel more 'ambient'. I'm sure there are similar things in games that others could mention.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on February 22, 2012, 01:15:11 PM
oh man, the soundtrack to FF13-2 drove me insane as my brother played 80 hours of it. Vocals in videogame music? what the fuck. it's supposed to be in the background!

Deus Ex: Human Revolution has some vocals in its music too, but they are principally in latin and chinese, which may contribute to making them feel more 'ambient'. I'm sure there are similar things in games that others could mention.

chanting is different than the fucking chocobo mall metal song.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Periastron on February 22, 2012, 01:22:50 PM
Oh.  That.  Yes, that was pretty awful.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kharvek on February 22, 2012, 02:51:29 PM
100% agree with vocals in video games with like, full on lyrics.  Chanting is using the human voice as an instrument.  Actual speaking?  Fuck that.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Thanamira on February 22, 2012, 02:57:28 PM
the fucking chocobo mall metal song.

Thank you, sir, for making me need to go clean hot cocoa off my keyboard, monitor, and out of my nasal passages.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on February 24, 2012, 09:09:35 PM
Dead Space 2

I liked the first one, but playing this one, I'm not sure why; I'm not typically into horror or survival horror. There was so much gore in this game, and possibly more blood than all the other games I've ever played put together. Other than that, it is very similar to the first one, with a couple of new weapons and new monsters. it seemed like the first one had a more deliberate pace whereas this one was more rushed. Also, there are a ton of quick-time events.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on February 26, 2012, 09:37:35 AM
Deus Ex: Human Revolution

A lot has been said about it so I will keep it short. Great game. Enjoyed the "enclosed" levels much more than the big cities. I felt the pace of the story and the progression of abilities were a lot of fun. Combat was okay, not great but definitely had some cool moments. Boss fights were excellent. There was usually more than one way to beat a boss (though as I learned later there was a super cheap way for all bosses). One of the few games (other than Mass Effect 1/2 and Bastion) I have considered going back and getting the other achievements. My only complaint is I hated the main character. In the face of that I really enjoyed the game. I just preferred to think he couldn't talk.

I would say a 8/10. Poor AI. Obnoxious main character. Great exploration and fun story and combat. Really were 2 or 3 completely different ways to do things.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Wren on February 26, 2012, 10:54:49 AM
Dead Space 2

I liked the first one, but playing this one, I'm not sure why; I'm not typically into horror or survival horror. There was so much gore in this game, and possibly more blood than all the other games I've ever played put together. Other than that, it is very similar to the first one, with a couple of new weapons and new monsters. it seemed like the first one had a more deliberate pace whereas this one was more rushed. Also, there are a ton of quick-time events.

I was kind of let down by Dead Space 2, it was very similar to the first one but the story seemed much less developed and the ending was sort of blahhh.  I definitely agree with you about the pace, it felt very rushed.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on February 29, 2012, 05:10:01 PM
Deus Ex: Human Revolution: The Missing Link (DLC)

Got this on sale for 5 bucks this last weekend. About 15 seconds into it, I fell right back into my Deus Ex Trance and consequently have been short of sleep the past couple of nights because I've been staying up too late playing it.

Took my time and spent 8-9 hours on it. While I felt like the original rushed over some of its deeper transhuman themes, this one was able to take some more time on them, particularly in terms of morality and cost to human lives. Also, the final fight in the original game is made much clearer by the revelations in this DLC. Additionally, there were no boss fights which is pretty awesome for everybody (except apparently Gellin).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on March 01, 2012, 04:34:47 AM
Whoa! I did not know there was Deus Ex DLC!!! Time to shove money into my XBox and hope they understand what to do with it. =)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on March 01, 2012, 05:08:23 AM
Deus Ex: Human Revolution: The Missing Link (DLC)
 Additionally, there were no boss fights which is pretty awesome for everybody (except apparently Gellin).

Aww I love boss fights. I felt like as long as you didn't use the cheap method, the boss fights were tough and fun :)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Razov on March 01, 2012, 09:39:40 AM
Deus Ex: Human Revolution: The Missing Link (DLC)
 Additionally, there were no boss fights which is pretty awesome for everybody (except apparently Gellin).

Aww I love boss fights. I felt like as long as you didn't use the cheap method, the boss fights were tough and fun :)

Having only just got this last week. i look forward tot he boss and non-boss fights. But whats everyone's opinion on method to do stuff? stealth, run&gun/etc.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kharvek on March 01, 2012, 10:20:23 AM
My opinion is ignore the achievements to do non-lethal/stealth and just...do what feels fun to you.  The game opened up and felt far more freeing once I stopped gunning for the best/achievements and just did shit the way that felt fun and right.

While non-lethal generally nets more xp...it's marginal and towards the end of the game you'll likely get every upgrade you want and will be wondering what to spend shit on.

So yeah, play the game the way that feels interesting and fun.  They're all viable.  When I replayed I ignored stealth and played it like a cover shooter and it was awesome.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on March 01, 2012, 11:40:22 AM
Having only just got this last week. i look forward tot he boss and non-boss fights. But whats everyone's opinion on method to do stuff? stealth, run&gun/etc.

I always tend to go with the stealth / hacking / dialgoue option. On top of that I carried a silenced pistol for quiet kills and a fully upgraded explosive-revolver when it was time to throw down. Basically subscribing to the "walk softly and carry a big stick" idea.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on March 02, 2012, 04:41:19 AM
Deus Ex: Human Revolution: The Missing Link (DLC)
 Additionally, there were no boss fights which is pretty awesome for everybody (except apparently Gellin).

Aww I love boss fights. I felt like as long as you didn't use the cheap method, the boss fights were tough and fun :)

Having only just got this last week. i look forward tot he boss and non-boss fights. But whats everyone's opinion on method to do stuff? stealth, run&gun/etc.
I played a stealth assassin build. I 100% agree with Kharv. First time through just play whats fun to you. I killed who i wanted too and saved others. Also there are like two hacking trees I got which I highly recommend. Most of the time I just saved praxis points to adapt to situations.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on March 02, 2012, 05:53:13 AM
The hacking trees are key because they basically allow you to farm out tons of XP and cash from hacking nodes. Once you have those, you can be sure that you'll be able to buy everything, given time.

The game does reward you more for stealth; if you climb through all the vents you get explorer bonuses and if you don't get seen by anyone you get ghost bonuses, and if you non-lethal silent takedown everyone you get mercy bonuses. There is no 'murderous rampage' bonus for killing everyone. That is not to say that it's less fun or effective to play the game as a commando, however. Allegedly, the game can be beaten without spending a single praxis point. The DLC has an achievement for doing so.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on March 02, 2012, 06:16:48 AM
Yes, as opposed to the Stealth Assassin you can beat everyone to death by lobbing vending machines at them. That should be an achievement.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on March 02, 2012, 06:30:14 AM
Yes, as opposed to the Stealth Assassin you can beat everyone to death by lobbing vending machines at them. That should be an achievement.
I don't know how many vending machine/fridges I threw at people or left in the middle of people's apartment. I think this was the best part of the game. I don't know why but it always cracked me up. I forgot to mention that.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kharvek on March 02, 2012, 08:38:08 AM
Yeah.  I even stopped hacking.

Like...with how the game doled out XP it encouraged some stupid behavior.  You were thorough and found the code for that door.  Just enter the code and open it right?  Nope, if you hack, you get more xp! 

I felt more immersed if I ignored the gamey min/maxy tendencies this time to just play like I was an agent.  It made me a little annoyed at how they gave out xp compared to the original.  The original just gave you xp for getting places and accomplishing things, there was no bonus/perk for doing it one way or the other.

In HR there was definitely a way to do things to get a bigger reward and I think that was ultimately limiting since it encouraged players into certain playstyles.  It's hard to turn off min-maxing tendencies.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on March 02, 2012, 09:24:11 AM
It's hard to turn off min-maxing tendencies.

You're not wrong about!
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on March 02, 2012, 01:00:09 PM
I felt more immersed if I ignored the gamey min/maxy tendencies this time to just play like I was an agent.  It made me a little annoyed at how they gave out xp compared to the original.  The original just gave you xp for getting places and accomplishing things, there was no bonus/perk for doing it one way or the other.

This is one of my minor criticisms of the game.

I do believe that the original did award varying amounts of XP for accomplishing goals depending on how you did it, though they were relatively minor. The key was that you only got XP for accomplishing a task once; ie, hack the door or find the code, it doesn't matter, you get 200xp for walking through the door.

The variability came from different sources. If you took a direct route to the complex, you might get 600 XP, but if you swam in through the back you'd get 750. In this one, you can get both the 600 and the 750, which, if min/maxing, gets you all your augs halfway through the game.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on March 06, 2012, 02:18:36 PM
... Mass Effect 2

Yeah, I'm a little late, what with ME3 coming today.

I never played an ME game before I downloaded the ME3 demo a couple of weeks ago. I died constantly, and was frustrated. Still, the graphics looked good enough that I decided to risk downloading ME2 for my PS3. I had some problems fitting a 12GB install onto my console (it's a discount model with only an 80GB hard drive). I got through it all and fired it up.

As I was creating my Shepard, I learned how to set the game difficulty to "whiney old n00b with slow reflexes." With that, I found I could play the game. It got even easier when I thought, "Hey, this is just like DragonAge with an SF wrapper instead of fantasy." Yeah, I know that's only roughly true, but it got me through the game. I enjoyed it enough to pick up the DLC bundle within a couple of days.

I created a custom FemShep, like all good male geeks do. At the start of ME2, if you haven't played ME1, you go through a motion comic and pick your big ME1 character choices; I killed off Kaidan and romanced Liara. Who would've guessed: I could reconnect with Liara in the Shadow Broker DLC. Neat! Though I picked Garrus for the Paramour achievement.

There's a whole forum thread on ME2, and I don't have too much to add. I'll simply say I enjoyed it, but not enough to rush out and get ME3 on day 1. I'll pick it up in a few weeks/months as the price goes down.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on March 08, 2012, 09:23:33 AM
Jagged Alliance 2

This game is an ancient, turn-based tactical squad-based war game and I've only been playing it because the new one (Back in Action) was just released and I was thinking about getting it, but all the reviews pretty much panned it. So I installed the old one and went looking for a patch and found a fan-made patch off the original source code that rewrote practically the whole thing (1.13). It adds all the mercs and items from UB and then about 300+(!) more guns and heavy weapons and several more kinds of armor, plus LBE, holsters, etc. They also rewrote the aim scheme and added suppression fire (making automatic fire more useful), gave some enemies specialties (kitted out as scouts, snipers, heavy weapons, etc.) and updated the AI to use more interesting tactics. Plus, all game parameters are in INI files, accessable via text edit or in the (provided) GUI editor. Basically if you liked the original, you'll probably love this fan conversion. If you didn't like the original, or didn't play it or games like it (XCOM, Silent Storm), you should probably stay very far away.

If you want to play this but can't find your old discs, you can get it on Steam for about 10 bucks, I think (and the patch works with it, I'm told).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on March 12, 2012, 06:38:02 AM
In a way I think its unfair to review ME3 because it really does rely so much on the events on ME1 and ME2. I don't think a new player can legitimately come into ME3 and appreciate the depth of the universe Bioware created. So its really hard to give a solid review on ME3 by itself. Therefore I wanted to cover some things and compare it to the other games in the Mass Effect series.



Story/RPG Elements
This is the completion of your story as Shepard. As such a lot of open doors are shut as the galaxy crumbles under the Reaper invasion. The dialogue and voice acting is very well done, and the majority of the scenes struck a very strong emotional chord in me. Make no mistakes, there is little room for happiness in the finale, but there is hope and that seems to be the take home message for the majority of the game.

The downside of this installment is that the power choice is largely removed. I can only think of a couple of choices in ME3 that have any effect whatsoever. For the most part you are on a set railroad of action and reaction based on your choices in ME1 & ME2 (some of which being very very unique). I was very disappointed in the Dialogue options, usually relegated to only 2 choices (and an Investigate tab if you're fortunate). The ultimate slap in the face of a series based on choice is the ending (covered later), which largely negates every choice up until that moment.

Gameplay
The gameplay is largely similar to the play of ME2. However, Bioware apparently did the opposite of listen to the criticism in DA2. So if you are fighting a room of 20 guys, expect waves to come at you as they "spawn". I'm not a fan of this style and it especially sucks as a Vanguard who uses Biotic Charge around the level, and then having enemy mobs spawn on top of you behind a crate.

One of the good changes was the inventory system. I actually like this more than ME1 and ME2's system, and I think it stikes the perfect balance between micromanaging the powerups and being able to completely ignore it without gimping yourself. Armoring is largely the same in ME2. Bioware still did not listen to fans, so unique suits of armor have no option to remove the helmet. Companions also have 2 suits of armor with different benefits, but these suits are not tied to persuasion or missions. They are available right off the bat.

Resource scanning is still there, but its made even simpler. However, the Reaper threat makes scanning for resources more...interesting.

The economy suffers to a situation similar to ME2 in that there is only a finite amount of credits you can earn, and this makes me very hesitant to invest in equipment like I should.

Visuals
The settings are amazing. There is a ton of stuff on the screen and a ton of stuff happening in the background. I'm not sure how, but they keep making the Xbox 360 do things I didn't think it could. I would definitely rate the visuals and graphics above ME2 and ME1 in terms of detail and quality.

Multiplayer
The multiplayer is an interesting element. Its actually fairly fun. Its not PvP, but rather its PvE. You pick a class and gender (or race if you unlock them) and you team up with other players to complete ~10 waves of objectives on various maps. You earn credits and XP to level your Multiplayer Character and equip them through crates of random gear. Once you hit level 20 you can add that character to assist in your war effort in single player. As a side effect, by playing and completing maps you can help fight the Reaper invasion by increasing your Galactic Readiness (never goes above 50% in the normal game). In a headscratching moment, Bioware said Multiplayer is not necessary to get enough forces for the "best" ending...but most agree that it is, in fact, necessary unless you know how to properly game the system from the start. Overall its a pretty fun mode.

Things Bioware DUN FUD UP!
The game is far from perfect. Its good, but it has faults.

Firstly, the non-spoilers that I experienced that stood out.
-You can not import your Shepard's face from your ME2 save. You will need to recreate it. This bug boggles my mind how it made it into the launch since everyone experiences it.
-There are also a TON of conversation bugs with characters nearly snapping their necks as they try and look at something in the distant rather than the person they are talking to. This happens with bodies, heads, and eyes and its very very silly.
-The Galaxy Map does not always update properly and will indicate quests are available when they are not, and will not allow you to land when you do have a quest sometimes. Usually exitting, doing another mission, and coming back will fix this.
-During the finale my character was stripped of all cash and medigel. This kinda sucked since...well you NEED to revive your companions and there was no RP reason why my medigel should have disappeared.
-Day-One DLC is a TERRIBLE idea. Especially when all evidence supports that it was meant to be a part of the game. Leaked scripts and files support the fact that Javick (From Ashes DLC Character) was meant to be a large part of the story, and as such has a lot of interaction with NPC's on file. Specifically all of his data is on the physical disc (as I have been told at least), and buying the DLC merely unlocks him. This is a very questionable tactic by Bioware, and I would love to hear the actual story.

Now, the faults that are spoilers. I put the text in white so you can highlight if you want to read.

-Being a HUGE Tali fan, I was actually a little peeved when I found out that you get to see her face via a photograph...but only because that photograph is a lightly photoshopped stock photo. Aside from the laziness, I'm a little offended by the lack of thought put into this considering the background of the photo is...nature. And while I can understand a picture without her mask, their suits are part of the Quarian culture (plainly stated many times) and of course she is not wearing it. So my question is...when/where would she have taken this picture? Anyways, link to the pictures. You be the judge. https://images.nonexiste.net/popular/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Mass-Effect-3-Tali-vs-Stock-photo-Spoilers.jpeg

-I've heard some audio files that were editted and it made me wonder why they were. Specifically the last one between Anderson and Shepard. The middle part was cut out and I don't understand why since it adds much more emotional weight to the situation.

-The Ending. Oh my god the ending. I was fine with the ending for about 30minutes. Then, I realized something...none of my choices mattered. I was expecting and actually wanting my Shepard to die, but what I was not expecting was that every single choice up until that final moment is worthless. The only thing that affects the ending is your final choice. And that goes against everything Mass Effect is about. It made no difference whether you recruited everyone or pissed them all off. It made the War Effort cause seem like a waste of energy. A lot of folks are up in arms about this. Just go to Bioware's ME3 forum and see what the majority of threads are about.

-Ending Cinematic. You have 3 choices at the end, and the only difference is the color of the explosion. Everything else is the same (okay one also has some green shit on Joker's arm). Speaking of which, The Normandy is mid mass relay jump during the explosion for some reason...its not explained why its using the mass relay since The Normandy was involved in a HUGE space battle, and thus far Joker has never retreated.

-Galactic Readiness. It is implied Shepard survives during one ending if your forces are high enough. Firstly, this is really only possible by playing multiplayer or the iOS games. Otherwise you need to game the system to meet the minimum. Kinda cheesey imo. However, the ending makes no sense since the Citadel is destroyed with Shepard on it...unless it exploded him to Earth. Sadly the best way to make sense of this is that the original ending is a dream and Shepard is waking up for real after the Reaper blasted him.


Overall I am going to have to agree with the majority...95% of the game was amazing. The last 5% made me wonder what Bioware was thinking.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on March 17, 2012, 03:15:22 PM
Mass Effect 3

I don't feel like I can objectively review this game. It certainly won't have the same emotional and dramatic impact for new players as it would for people who played (and enjoyed) 1 and 2 as I did. And I felt like, as good as it was, those moments that played my heartstrings were the best. They will be the moments I remember.

Dark as it is, this game was at times emotionally exhausting to play. Basically it takes the beautiful glass menagerie of characters and civilizations that were so artfully assembled in 1 and 2, stuffs them in a sack, and smashes them with a giant robot space monster shaped like a squid. Characters I had affection for both major and minor died; some in front of me, some alone, some only in dispatches that I read about after the fact. Planets are destroyed and civilizations are slaughtered by the billions, probably trillions. This heavy, heavy stuff if you bought into what 1 and 2 set up. It can get to you, especially if you're emotionally unstable (like me!).

A lot of people dislike the ending (or endings). I did not. I will leave it at that.

I had fun with the multiplayer, despite being really pretty bad at it (at least points-wise). Even being as bad as I was, it was easy to max out the single-player benefits in a matter of about 5 hours, which was not terribly onerous considering that the game proper took dozens of hours and I had fun doing it. My only concern is that getting the 'best' ending(s) appears only currently possible with some multiplayer, and my question is whether there will be enough other players 1 year from now to reasonably be able to do so, and whether the servers will even be up in 2 years time. Here's hoping when they shut the servers down they hotfix single-player to 100% readiness.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on March 21, 2012, 10:44:31 AM
Journey for PS3

If you're looking for a combat challenge, a platformer that requires good twitch skills, or MP PvP extravaganza, this isn't it.

This is a gentle game of exploration and light puzzle-solving. There's no combat, and you can't "die"; at worst you can get into a state in which you can no longer search for some optional benefits. There are no spoken words, just sound effects. Visually, the game is beautiful, telling a story entirely with pictures.

It's also short, about an hour or so, though with some replay value. For the gamers on this forum, it's questionable whether they'd want to pay $15 for it.

For my part, a relaxing low-challenge exploration game is just my speed. I enjoyed it. (And I plan to play it again, which perhaps means this post doesn't belong in the "Finished Playing" topic.)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on March 24, 2012, 05:56:37 AM
DC Universe Online (in that I reached the level cap on my first character, and will probably mess around a little more before uninstalling).

Good stuff: the game has a richly detailed class and character customization system; as design-a-superhero systems go, it's spot on.  Combat is faster-paced and at times more challenging than the standard MMO.  Nothing keeps you from playing the whole leveling game without paying.  The MMO 101 stuff is spiced up a bit with boss fights, world bosses, personal instances, and a few other variations on the basic kill-and-collect.  The game's production quality is pretty high, with two well-rendered cityscapes and professional (albeit sometimes cartoony) voice acting.  Pacing is excellent; you rarely need to spend more than a few minutes away from beating people up.

Bad stuff: the positional gameplay feels mushy, with the game often yanking you around to be in position to get hit by enemy attacks.  The leveling game is relatively short (maybe 30 hours at a first playthrough) without a lot of choice in what quest content you do.  Crafting is mostly nonexistent (they recently added a single gathering mechanic and a jewelcrafting-like crafting mechanic).  Environments are consistently urban, lacking the variety you'd find in a fantasy or sci-fi MMO.

Unknowns: I didn't do any group content or PvP.  It sounds like you might have to fork over some amount of money to be active in progression raiding.  The holy trinity is modified with the addition of a support role role which appears to be about enemy CC and party resource regeneration.  At max level, there are two tiers of 2-player instances available, which is sort of interesting.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on March 31, 2012, 11:39:12 AM
Hunted: The Demon's Forge

This is Bethesda's attempt at branching out from a non-sandbox style game. Its...a work in progress.

Overall the game is pretty good for a bargain bin game, but disappointing if you bought it at full retail. Its probably about 10-hours or so long in the single player campaign, but it does have some replayability thanks to various achievements and a Co-Op multiplayer option. Gameplay is basically action-adventure/hack-n-slash with a few Co-Op tweeks such as combos. Also there are hints of RPG elements in that killing enemies in certain ways and collecting certain items will give you passive bonuses, and there is also a direct method of upgrading a handful of weapon techniques and magic.

The graphics and visuals are very dark, its a dark fantasy setting after all, and it is often difficult to see (but that is the point). The textures are by no means high quality, but they don't look like complete crap either. Basic take home message, you're not playing this for the graphics.

The story is pretty standard for a table-top campaign, so you can forgive the narrative in that regard. And I like the way they took a non-traditional way of dealing with the backstory (its told through the eyes of various corpses you listen to and placed in a timeline on another screen that you can listen to). Basically you figure out what happened in this kingdom towards the later half of the game as those are the corpses created around the climax of the background.

There is also a map-creator option with features unlocked as you play and collect gold, which allows some replayability with friends by creating challenge maps. I just fiddled with it briefly.

The one thing I think the game did great was with their "heroes", Caddock and Elara. The banter and dialogue they share indicates their characters were very well fleshed out. They will often call each other out on their bullshit (I.E. Elara - "Look for the one in the slutty outfit", Caddock - "You're one to talk", Elara - "My clothing is...strategic"), taunt one another, offer advice, ect...I really like the relationship they shared throughout the game and actually would be interested in reading more about their adventures were there a novel.

Overall, not a bad play for $10. I enjoyed it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Leahnidas on March 31, 2012, 04:39:36 PM
I'm quite the fighting game aficionado so Street Fighter X Tekken was a natural choice for me to pick up when it streeted last week. I've played through all of the pre-set team combos in story mode and it's not anything that's going to change the argument that story doesn't matter in fighting games. It's enjoyable if you're a fan of either series, though certainly more weight is given to the SF gang, which is natural since it was developed by Capcom.

The gameplay is immediately familiar to anyone who's played SFIV at any length, though there's a few fairly important changes. Since Tekken has historically not used projectile moves, those characters were given a lot of moves that bypass projectiles, causing you to fight in more closely with standard punching and kicking. While fighting games may look like a bunch of button-mashing to some gamers, high level of play in the SF universe has always included when to effectively use your special moves, especially projectiles, so there is an adjustment period. I feel sorry for any big Tekken fan who comes into this game without playing much Street Fighter because it's a 2D game, meaning that a lot of the natural movement that comes from the Tekken universe is negated. This forces both sides to learn quickly how to best combat the other side, something that I found quite refreshing to be honest.

There's a new gem system included with the game, where are preset bonuses you can equip your character with and then activate by doing certain things within the fight itself. Gems can either boost some part of your character's abilities, such as increased speed/damage or they can assist by doing things like making your Super moves easier to pull off. I personally disliked this feature a ton because it felt it was made specifically to help newer fighters bridge the gap in gameplay changes, something that a majority of serious competitive players don't need. If they had included an option to turn it off it would have been fine but making it a core mechanic of the game was unnecessary and somewhat hurt the experience for me.

The other major mechanic change is that it's a tag game and while both fighters have seperate health bars, the match is over when one of them is defeated. Initially I didn't care for this since I enjoy the feeling of my back to the wall when I'm facing a 2v1 disadvantage but after awhile I came to appreciate change in strategy this forces. Pulling out your better fighter in order to regen some health while holding down the fort with your backup can be just as thrilling as anyone else and building up to an eventual tag combo is quite satisfying, especially if you pull it off successfuly. An added feature to all of this is Pandora, which is something you can trigger when one fighter on your team is below 25% health. It instantly sacrifices that character and boosts the stats of your remaining fighter for 20 seconds, in which time you must defeat your opponent or you lose. Out of just under 100 matches, I saw it used twice during online play, though that could be people not knowing how to use it yet as much as not wanting to use it at all.

The graphics and sound are fine, though I found it annoying that all of the Tekken roster spoke English and none of the SF roster did; seeing Balrog speak in Japanese while Kazuya spoke perfect English was just...odd. The backgrounds are somewhat uninspired, though it was fun to look for all of the easter egg appearances of other characters in both series. The various modes are well-rounded, including my personal favorite of Scramble, which allows 4 players to all fight on the same screen at the same time, sharing a health bar. Very, very chaotic but just an absolute blast; it's an ideal party game if you have enough friends who are into it.

Overall I've enjoyed the game thus far and I'm hoping the pool of online players gets stronger, though experience has taught me that it's unlikely. If you're a fan of fighting games, it's definitely worth a look but for anyone more casual than that, you probably want to pass for a fighter that's more dedicated to one style.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Aviel on April 01, 2012, 09:52:04 AM
I miss playing fighting games. It was fun in college when I had people to play against. But I have not played in a very very long time.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on April 02, 2012, 04:15:59 AM
Finished Bastion.

Others have reviewed it, so I'll keep it short. Its a pretty fun game worth $10. Its not really difficult, but very visually and audibly striking. I was a little distracted by the number of weapons in the game, and it seemed like they gave you a new one just about every level (and changed your loadout). I preffered using the first 2 weapons they gave you so I had to constantly switch back. The story is nice and the ending is bittersweet. The narrator has a sexy sexy voice.

Overall, its not a MUST PLAY, but it is worth it if you have an afternoon to kill on something a little different.

Sidenote: The first time I tried playing it, I only got a couple hours in before I had a burning desire to play Torchlight. I ended up playing it all weekend and let this one sit unplayed for weeks after that.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on April 03, 2012, 05:59:35 AM
Infamous.  As others have noted, Infamous has a lot in common with Assassin's Creed 2: a combination of parkour and combat, a mission-based open world structure with a variety of side quests, a surly main character, and an expansive urban setting with the occasional indoor platforming section.   The combat mechanics are the greatest difference; Infamous is a shooter while Assassin's Creed is a brawler.

I mostly have good things to say about the game.  The combat mechanic started out feeling a little annoying (you start with a basic ranged zap, and aiming with the PS3 controller is kind of punishing) but got much more fun as I acquired abilities.  The enemies are varied and some of them are pretty awesome.  Fake New York is brilliantly realized and very immersive (at least, if you can believe that civilians would stroll around snapping photos while heavily armed gangs of psychopaths roam the streets).  There are three difficulty levels; the middle one felt spot on for me.

The morality system is mostly an excuse to play the game twice (which I may take it up on).  I played through with good choices and didn't feel like much of a good guy (especially because, and this is a bit weird, Cole occasionally discharges electricity for no reason and kills anyone nearby, and nobody seems to care).  The storyline is kind of a bad comic book plot.  Neither of these things bothered me much while playing.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Leahnidas on April 05, 2012, 02:56:54 PM
Got Star Wars Kinect on Tuesday and I'll just say that it's the fulfillment of a Star War's fan's dream. There are sections that goofy (dancing), tiresome (podracing), and downright ridiculous (Rancor mode) but the overall game is a solid piece of business. If it had been nothing but Duels of Fate (lightsaber battles), I still would've made the purchase and been satisfied but the fact that it offers a lot more variety just seals the deal.

Very highly recommended if you're a fan of Star Wars.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Ozara on April 05, 2012, 03:03:00 PM
Got Star Wars Kinect on Tuesday and I'll just say that it's the fulfillment of a Star War's fan's dream. There are sections that goofy (dancing), tiresome (podracing), and downright ridiculous (Rancor mode) but the overall game is a solid piece of business. If it had been nothing but Duels of Fate (lightsaber battles), I still would've made the purchase and been satisfied but the fact that it offers a lot more variety just seals the deal.

Very highly recommended if you're a fan of Star Wars.

I wish I had room for a kinect
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on April 09, 2012, 04:08:46 AM
Witcher 1

Actually, this is not a comment on the game but a warning for Mac users on Steam: I purchased the Mac version of Witcher 1 on Steam for $10. It turned out that the "Mac version" was not re-written for the Mac; it merely comes with a version of Wine. I ran the program, saw the initial movie, got to the game-difficulty screens, then started the game. It crashes with a Windows-style dialog box basically saying that Wine can't run this program.

Caveat emptor and all that; I'm not going to "whine" over $10. I just wanted to make sure that my fellow Mac users here were aware of this possibility: Steam (or someone) is wrapping Windows games in Wine and posting them as Mac-compatible versions. In the case of Witcher 1, Wine's web site says this is a problematic task at best.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on April 09, 2012, 05:39:54 AM
Got Star Wars Kinect on Tuesday and I'll just say that it's the fulfillment of a Star War's fan's dream. There are sections that goofy (dancing), tiresome (podracing), and downright ridiculous (Rancor mode) but the overall game is a solid piece of business. If it had been nothing but Duels of Fate (lightsaber battles), I still would've made the purchase and been satisfied but the fact that it offers a lot more variety just seals the deal.

Very highly recommended if you're a fan of Star Wars.

This is odd because every single other review I've read of the game says that it's utter crap, other than the laugh-out-loud cheese of the dance game, which is utterly horrifying to hard-core fans.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on April 09, 2012, 05:41:37 AM
Batman: Arkham Asylum

OH MY GOD! Why did I not play this game before now???

Simply put, everything about this game is amazing. I put this one off WAY too long. If you are a fan of Batman or any action/adventure games then you owe it to yourself to pay the $15 price tag of this one.

My only complaint about the game was the combat system. I was not much of a fan of the way it was handled and would have preferred some way to rely more on stealth to bypass enemies. But the complaint is literally the only thing I could think of just to have 1 critique of the game.

The ambience is amazing and you really get sucked into the Batman world. Gadgets are fun to get and there are a ton of hidden Riddler trophies to look for (that require different gadgets to get to sometimes). The voice acting is awesome, and Mark Hamill plays a wicked Joker (as usual). I got a kick out of hearing him taunt Batman over the PA system. You don't get to meet the entire Rogue's Gallery of Arkham's criminals, but most everyone gets mentioned in some form or another (which really adds to the immersion). Boss fights are also interesting and usually unique in some way, although more than a few rely on stunning oversized enemies with Batarangs as they charge.

Overall this is one of the better games I have played. It IS somewhat short. I beat it in the span of 26 hours (real time) with maybe 12 hours of game time (I couldn't put the controller down though). However, I only got 1/2 the Riddler trophies and plan on going back to get those and unlock some other secrets like the background of Amadeus Arkham. There are also some Challenge modes available (however I have to say I am not interested in those that much).

Now I can't wait to play Arkham City!
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on April 09, 2012, 05:42:20 AM
Got Star Wars Kinect on Tuesday and I'll just say that it's the fulfillment of a Star War's fan's dream. There are sections that goofy (dancing), tiresome (podracing), and downright ridiculous (Rancor mode) but the overall game is a solid piece of business. If it had been nothing but Duels of Fate (lightsaber battles), I still would've made the purchase and been satisfied but the fact that it offers a lot more variety just seals the deal.

Very highly recommended if you're a fan of Star Wars.

This is odd because every single other review I've read of the game says that it's utter crap, other than the laugh-out-loud cheese of the dance game, which is utterly horrifying to hard-core fans.

I'll just leave this here...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXp8T097vjc&feature=g-u-u&context=G2c30d53FUAAAAAAAEAA
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Leahnidas on April 09, 2012, 06:45:18 AM
This is odd because every single other review I've read of the game says that it's utter crap, other than the laugh-out-loud cheese of the dance game, which is utterly horrifying to hard-core fans.

*Shrug* I had a lot of fun with the game. I enjoy the Star War movies a great deal and was able to both laugh at and enjoy the dancing game. "Hardcore fans" are so busy picking apart every single detail of the thing they supposedly love (especially hardcore SW fans) that they, in my experience, simply cannot just enjoy something on its own merit. No big deal, though, since hardcore gamers denounced the Kinect (Wii too) before it ever hit the shelves, so it's unlikely they'll be playing this game.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on April 09, 2012, 08:00:40 AM
The first SWK dancing video horrified me.

Then each subsequent one warmed me to the game more and more.

The game designers really seem to be doing these with tongues planted firmly in cheek.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Chibe on April 09, 2012, 12:03:34 PM
Got Star Wars Kinect on Tuesday and I'll just say that it's the fulfillment of a Star War's fan's dream. There are sections that goofy (dancing), tiresome (podracing), and downright ridiculous (Rancor mode) but the overall game is a solid piece of business. If it had been nothing but Duels of Fate (lightsaber battles), I still would've made the purchase and been satisfied but the fact that it offers a lot more variety just seals the deal.

Very highly recommended if you're a fan of Star Wars.

This is odd because every single other review I've read of the game says that it's utter crap, other than the laugh-out-loud cheese of the dance game, which is utterly horrifying to hard-core fans.

I'll just leave this here...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXp8T097vjc&feature=g-u-u&context=G2c30d53FUAAAAAAAEAA

You have found my favorite video of the week.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Razov on April 09, 2012, 12:41:25 PM
Bit of a older game but i finished playing

Splinter Cell: Conviction

Story wise it continues off from double agent (which i did not play) But it sees you in various places around the world sneaking in and around trying to find out who killed your daughter. Micheal Ironside is the voice of Sam fisher again. And has a ton of great lines(look up Sam fisher and elephant on youtube). The game play is solid. You can sneak around things or kill everyone. The stealth is just as good as previous entries in the series. Tho its much harder while doing the SP story to get around everyone with out killing. Oddly enough they took out nonlethal take downs. I suppose if i was a pissed off ex-super secret agent I'd want to kill some folks too if they had something to do with my daughters death..  There is also any number of ways to go about missions. You can walk in the front door, the side door, or the open window on the 3rd floor or the basement access. And interrogations are wicked fun. I'll just leave it at that.

Some nice mechanics were used to help with the stealth that wasn't there in previous games. such as putting an arrow on the floor of where you wanted to hide behind next, looking under doors with camera to see targets, and the new toy was the ability to Mark and execute. Basically, you could mark 2 to 4 targets (which essentially put a arrow, a la hunter mark, over there head so you could see them) And you'd see the marks through walls, but then it would only give you there approximate location if you didn't have direct los. Once you did a take down, you could press a button and sam would suddenly from cover point his gun and pop one in each of there heads. so very useful when your surrounded. Overall the campaign is relatively short i beat it in 7 hours or so, with multiple re-tries and deaths.

There is another mode called infiltration mode, which has you sneaking around any given map with out the enemy ever taking notice of you even once. Its really quite challenging. This is also in Coop. But coop is a whole another bag of tricks. In coop you play as 1 of 2 spies trying to stop nukes from falling in to the wrong hands. All the tools you have in SP you have in MP. Plus either person can mark and either person can execute. Some times you will need to do two objectives at the same time or one person will need to drag "office with security ID" to said door while the other covers or if the ledge is too high you can give your teammate a boost. Its really quite a lot of fun. It oddly makes you want to come back and try for more and to perfect your strategies for going around undetected.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on April 11, 2012, 04:03:47 AM
Mass Effect 2.

Maybe I missed something but my response to the game is mostly "meh." I'm not motivated to get ME3 until the price drops significantly.

I liked the renegade/paragon thing but didn't see a value to going extreme in either direction. The romance was... OK, I guess. PG-13 boobies. At least they didn't bounce. I did a few of the side quests but they didn't seem to open up much so I gave up on them eventually. I liked the planet-mining minigame but I didn't see much point to exploring unmarked systems. I ended up doing almost all the research that I saw and had kajillions of resources left over.

The combats were all very much the same. Warp rules, other powers are blocked out too often. Headshots are sort of amusing but get old after the 20th or 30th. Lots of the fun and interesting stuff happens in cut-scenes. I had fun with the team characters but I felt there were too many. I didn't get as much time with any of them as I wanted. Jack just pissed me off - I got everyone else's loyalty. Would it be better if I picked two and always took those two?

Did I miss something? Is there any value to going back and replaying it? Would it make any difference if I didn't choose to keep the base at the end (tech always wins wars - it's a Prime Directive)? Any must-have DLC?
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on April 11, 2012, 04:13:46 AM
Lair of the Shadow Broker is probably the best DLC I have played. Its definitely worth playing, especially if you were a fan of Liara in ME1 (although admittedly she has changed a lot since then). I personally really liked Project: Overlord too, but can see how it can be hit or miss. Kasumi is fun and I like the "heist" themed mission, but its not really necessary.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on April 11, 2012, 05:24:52 AM
Keeping or not keeping the base has a minor (points-based) effect in 3 (since you explicitly asked).

2 was mostly about characters. If you did not have any investment in the characters, it will not feel fulfilling.

3 feels (to me) about evenly split between story and characters. Certainly some of the most poignant moments have to do with characters you've come to love, but the story drives the action.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on April 28, 2012, 03:58:42 PM
Limbo.  This is a short 2D puzzle platformer presented in an artsy silhouette style.  I thought it was stylish, fun, and appropriately challenging.  There's no single gameplay element which distinguishes it from a basic platformer (like time travel (http://www.kongregate.com/games/Scarybug/chronotron) or reflection (http://www.kongregate.com/games/sims5000/noitcelfer)), but it regularly introduces new mechanics as you go along, some of them pretty original.  I paid $2.50 for this on sale last December, and that feels about right; it's a cut above a free flash game in quality, but still a pretty bite-sized game.

(Trigger warning: most games shy away from depicting gruesome violence done to a child.  This is not one of them.  Though of course it's all in silhouette.)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Leahnidas on May 01, 2012, 01:29:39 PM
http://abobosbigadventure.com/ (http://abobosbigadventure.com/)

If you're an old school NES fan, this game is quite the blast to play. Some parts are frustrating, much like a number of old school NES games, but overall it's just mindless punch and kick. The humor sometimes veers into gross/"wrong" territory, so those with easily offended senses should stay clear.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on May 13, 2012, 01:09:31 PM
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

First off, I can not stress how HUGE of a game this is. I don't remember playing a game that had this amount of non-sandbox content in it outside of an MMO. And honestly, that is what this game feels a lot like (questing wise). Specifically, there are people you meet in towns and in the wilds that assign you certain tasks (usually fetch quests) that, once completed, yield a reward. Bang for your buck, I can't think of a much better deal in terms of gameplay:$$$.

The Good

The 2 big things that Amalur has going for it are Lore and Combat.

The lore of the land of Amalur is one of the richest I have seen, especially for a brand new IP. You get a real sense that the culture of the land is distinct and nuanced, and not necessarily as stereotypical as you might think at first glance. The downside to this is that there is so much lore you almost get numb to it. I think, after investing over 60 hours in it, that it is the equivalent of shoving all of the lore of a classic D&D world (Forgotten Realms for example) into a single 300-page novel. Its just too much.

The combat is probably the most fun action-RPG combat I have seen yet. Its a system that rewards you for diversity and lets you change styles and tactics on the fly. "Classes" can be changed anytime and anywhere, which each class unlocking based on your points invested in the 3 trees (Might, Finesse, and Sorcery). Higher ranked classes also give unique bonuses such as the ability to shrug off attacks or changing your dodge roll into a blink, and that blink causing a cloud of poison or ice nova. Talents can also be refunded at Fateweavers, essentially allowing a respec. You can equip 2 weapons at a time, with each weapon type having unique combos and special attacks. You can also equip 4 special abilities at a time. By weaving all of these tools together you can build Fate where you can unlock a special "Reckoning" mode. This allows you to slow down time and deal massive damage, and allow for unique Finisher moves. By defeating weaker enemies this way and using the Finisher on the "boss" you are awarded bonus XP. Essentially, you are rewarded for playing smart.

The Bad

As much as Amalur does right, it does some stuff pretty bad.

The most glaring issue is the scope of the game. Because it is so large you really stop caring about sidequests. I got very bored listening to anything but the Core and Faction quests, so I skipped the conversations and relied on my map to assist. Even by the end I was getting near to not caring about the main quest.

The story also suffers from not making you feel as bad ass as you are. They try, but based on the power you wield I really expected more questgivers and people to treat me differently. In other words, the Lore seems more the protagonist than the player for the majority of the time.

The Ugly

The graphics are not that spectacular. I like the artstyle of everything being bright and colorful (especially after playing very dark and grimy games like Dark Souls), but overall the graphics appear VERY dated. Basically, you won't be playing this game to wow'd by its graphical prowess.

Probably my biggest gripe (and the major gripe of others) is that the game is TOO easy. You are given so many ways to be awesome that it becomes very easy to outplay the game. Even on Hard Mode the game is stupid easy (after a few levels). An "insane" difficulty would have been very preferable and hopefully something that can be added in a future release.

Loot is also very random. This means you will be selling a lot and that means getting a bunch of GP you can't spend on anything. The game offers a few money sinks in the form of player housing and upgrades, but after awhile you just don't have anything to spend it on. I would have liked to see a way to put your money to use, or to decrease the amount of GP you get from selling equipment.

Overall

If you ever played Fable and were disappointed that it wasn't the game you were promised, then you owe it to yourself to play Amalur. For me, it was everything I had been told Fable was going to be. And it does everything Fable does, but does it right! It has its share of flaws and is far from a perfect game, but there is so many things it does right I hope the franchise is allowed a sequel in order to see where they go with it, specifically going with a more Player-Driven story.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Razov on May 14, 2012, 09:41:04 AM
Fear 3

Its a solid sequel to the series. The game has it moments where it gets under your skin. Youknwo those freaky moments where you ahve to walk down a dark hallway. And its not the things that pop out at you but jsut the buil up of anticipation that get you. then your forced to turn around and boom.. something that wasn't there is there and it may attack you or offer you a hand.

For those fo you who played the first one(Fear 1). this entry picks up where the first ended, give or take a few days. You play as point man again but this time your accompanied by the brother you killed in the first game. Hes a psychotic ghost, and we'll leave it at that.  you run into various characters from the 2nd game as well, like beckit.

Overall the game is dark. If you know anything about the 2nd game you know Alma, an undead women who is pregnant, is about to give birth. Your goal as point man is to stop her. The world is being torn apart by her powers. Its real dark, gritty and it tries to scare you where it can. The game play is like most FPS, with the addition of bullet-time. As you progress through the game, you lvl up. Gaining increased health, longer bullet-time and increased weapon clips/dmg. You will fight everyhtign fom your standard troops to Ghost like versions of "Alien".  Weapon Selections are fairly standard, usual machine guns, rifles, shotguns and etc. Nothing out of the ordinary. The Ai in the game is ok, the enemy does try to flank you when they get the chance. But it isn't difficult to stop them. I felt that it was a bit easy to get around enemy mobs and take them down before they could fight back. Later on in the game we get a new variation of the solider ---> a Phase Commander. What a giant pain in the ass. i'll leave that to anyone who plays to find out why its so much fun.

The graphics are ok. Not stellar, not terrible. The controls take some getting used to. I found them to be just a hair sluggish. Even with high sensitivity. After a few minutes of shooting and what not i got over it. As for scary, two lvls in particular got under my skin:the costco type lvl and the last lvl. Personally i found the games to be scary in this order, with scariest first :1, 2, 3,. i was expecting to be more on my heels but it never really happened. Short game beat it in 8 hours with lots of dying to boss fights.

Overall, i thought for the 5 bucks i paid it was worth it, if only to finish the series. I did enjoy it. And I plan to play again as the psycho ghost brother who can posses people in game and use them to fight. Part of how they justify co-op. In short, if you played the first two, I'd recommend getting the 3rd. But wait for it to be on sale. 
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on May 18, 2012, 04:55:05 AM
Batman: Arkham City

This is probably the best Batman simulator ever made, and sets the bar ludicrously high. It blows Arkham Asylum out of the water, and AA was a terrific game.

The Good

Just about everything. Seriously. While AA opened up with the more gadgets you got, AC is opened up right from the start and you start with the majority of your gadgets in your inventory. Because of the more open world setting, there are additional sidequests and missions. Combat is the same, but with the addition of some new combos to deal with certain enemies. Combat also seems less monotanous than AA for some reason, and I can't determine exactly what it is.

The story is also great. It really doesn't give you a lot of time to breath after the first few missions due to all the momentum it builds up. While you *can* stop and do sidequests (there's not any timers on the main missions or anything), I personally didn't do any sidequests simply because I got so wrapped up in the story. The finale is also great, and has a twist you just don't see coming.

The graphics are awesome and stylized. Every shot of Arkham Island is so detailed that its like a picture. There is simply no trash backdrops, its all so detailed. In fact, its a little intimidating at first because you really get the sense that the world of important everywhere and not just at the little green "!" on the map.

The music, sound, and voice acting are all superb. The music had a Christopher Nolan Batman style to it that was good at building tension. And all of the characters were rendered beautifully. Allegedly Mark Hamill did not want to do the Joker, but delayed his retirement for the voice once he learned his fellow cast members from the cartoon series were in on it. He does an excellent job, of course, despite being a somewhat secondary villain in this installment.

The Bad

The only complaint I can really lay out is that the game is not forgiving. If you have not played AA, then you face a steep learning curve. Fortunately the game does offer hints as to when to use certain gadgets or tactics, but I can see some people getting frustrated. A big jump in difficulty are the Riddler Challenges which require A LOT more finesse on the whole.

Another very minor complaint is that I really want more Catwoman missions. The Catwoman DLC is free if you purchase the game new, but you are only given 4 missions. I actually preferred combat with Catwoman because I believe she moved slightly faster and gave an edge on combo building and countering. There is also a Nightwing DLC, but that one was not a bonus and I doubt I will buy it. Another DLC coming down the pike is Harley Quinn's Revenge, which takes place in the aftermath of the game. That one does sound very interesting.

The last bit of criticism I have lay out is that the main story is somewhat short. I would say maybe 10-ish hours. However, I have to temper that criticism by saying there is a lot of legitimate sidequest story involving other villains found throughout the city that are skippable. I plan on going back and doing those. However, when I beat the game my counter only had me a 36% complete...so there is still a lot to do in game.

The Ugly

Nothing. Well...maybe Joker's and Soloman Grundy's faces. =)


Seriously though, this is a great game and deserves to put on everyone's list of games to try eventually. I would give this one a 9/10 rating, but if someone told me it deserved 10/10 then I would not argue with them.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on June 04, 2012, 10:35:34 AM
Saint's Row: The Third

Firstly, you have to understand that this game deals in absurdity and that if you try and rationalize or ground it in the realms of reality then you are going to be sorely disappointed. That being said the game itself is a fun ride, and this comes from someone who disliked the GTA series (I tried them all, but only ever completed Vice City).


The Good
The game is basically one staged bad ass scene after another, and you start off doing over the top things right out of the gate. The controls and gameplay are very simply so there is nothing tricky to learn or master, you can pretty much pick up the controller and be successful. The dialogue and situations are hilariously ridiculous, crass, and very unapologetically anti-PC. There is also a high level of customization to your character, and the game does not punish you for changing your looks, wardrobes, or vehicles throughout the gameplay (in fact it rewards it). There are also plenty of things to unlock, so you can spend a lot of time doing a plethora of side missions to try and get everything (however nothing outside of the main story is *required*). There are also random calls for missions that take place outside of the stationary mission terminals. So there is a lot to do.

As a strange sidenote, I found the steering of vehicles to be one of the best in the genre. It just seemed smoother and more responsive, even before upgrading your vehicles.


The Bad
I have a couple of complaints regarding the gameplay. The difficulty is pretty low, but suffers from some severe spikes when certain enemies appear. I found it frustrating and annoying that basically sleepy through combat until one enemy appears that makes me flee in terror.

While there is a ton of customization in the game, I was disappointed that there was clothing NPC's wore than my character could not acquire. I had assumed that I would be able to outfit my character in whatever clothing I saw in game, which was a little disappointing (and heavy on the whinning side).

My biggest complaint was the load screens. When doing a story mission the dialogue would load, then another loading screen before the action. It was annoying due to how frequently the loading was and how short a lot of the dialogue scenes were. It really took me out of the game. I also was disappointed to see the dialogue scenes load up with the first words cut off (a problem I've noticed on some games more than others). Its like someone hit play on the DVD, then changed the Input to the DVD.

A sub complaint is that a lot of the story missions are really short and end right when they start to get good. This is further accentuated by the many many load screens.


The Ugly
I have mixed feelings on the arsenal of SR3. There are a lot of special weapons and opportunities to upgrade the weapons in game. However, I felt the overall arsenal was fairly small. I would have liked to see more options and to see the stats of the various weapons listed.

Recruiting "Homies" is a feature that lets you call in for backup. You unlock quote a few various people to help which is cool. The downside is that it seems whenever I could actually use the backup, I can't call anyone in due to Storymode or Sidequest restrictions. I also found that Oleg liked to turn on me and kill me by running through my rain of bullets. This has caused so many deaths I stopped calling him in. I'm not sure if that was working as intended or not.



Overall SR3 is a hilarious game that should give you more than a few hearty chuckles. However, its also very niche and not suitable for everyone (the humor is pretty lowbrow). I can honestly recommend it even if you hate the notion of playing as a Gangster. Its just so over the top you can't take it serious.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on June 25, 2012, 06:55:30 AM
Saints Row: The Third (and all DLC)

This has already been reviewed twice so I will try and keep this short.

I found the game to be a blast. It wasn’t a game that blew my mind with new mechanics or incredible graphics or an enthralling story. However, it was one of only three games I felt the urge to complete 100% (Only Bastion and a Lego game of all things were the other two). The game was just fun and there is a lot to do. The combat was fairly easy once you learn the controls and moves. The first time I played, I died a lot early on because I wasn’t comfortable with the controls. I had to do a partial playthrough a second time and I never died and blew right through to the objective. Once you learn the controls, things become a lot easier. The two biggest problems I had with the game run directly in conflict with each other. The first is by the end of the game, you are basically a god. You are invincible, have infinite ammo, etc. So nothing is a challenge by that point. The second, I wish there was some sort of new game plus. However both cannot exist together so I am not sure which I would prefer. Overall the game just had a lot of charm about it and I would recommend it for anyone who needs a break from the more serious games. Also Prof. Genki needed more side missions and they needed to be longer. These were by far my favorite part of the game.

A quick note about the DLC (Genkibowl, Gangstas in Spaces, Clones). I found Gangstas in Space to be my favorite. Something about the humor really got to me and it was a new story, not just something rehashed. Genkibowl was a lot of fun but mostly just consisted of revamped versions of old mini-games with a Prof. Genki twist. I enjoyed it but I can see why many would not. Clone was my least favorite but I couldn’t explain to you why. It was a whole new story but the humor just wasn’t there for me. I will say the DLC were all very short. They ran about 1-1.5 hours each (including all achievements).

Overall a 8/10 in my opinion. I would highly recommend it to most though for a nice distraction.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on July 01, 2012, 04:34:02 PM
Penny Arcade: OTRSPOD 3.

Like the previous two, this game will probably only interest you if you are a fan of Penny Arcade (like me).

After the first two didn't do well enough financially, the series was cancelled and considered dead until somebody mentioned on the PA forums that they should have the Zeboyd guys (Cthulhu Saves the World) do the next one. The Zeboyd guys (there are, I think, two) chimed in that they would happily do that. So they did.

This game is done in the style of a 16-bit SNES game (specifically, FF6), right down to the highly pixelated block-based graphics and block-and-a-half high sprites. Despite that, it has Tycho's irreverent writing and some interesting, modern mechanics bolted onto it (no item management, no random encounters, etc.) You spend a lot of time in combat with monsters that have humorous names and descriptions. There's a great deal less swearing and potty humor in this one than previously. It also makes a bit more sense than the prose version of this tale (which was written before the game was even conceived) and benefits from the extra time and polish being applied to that script.

You can get it on Steam for 5 bucks and if you get it before July 2, you Zeboyd's two other games for free. Alternately, you can wait and get it on iOS in a couple weeks (pending Apple acceptance testing). I think it ran me about 8 hours, but I tend to take my time, so you could probably do it in 5-6, which isn't bad for 5 bucks.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on July 16, 2012, 05:49:09 AM
Bayonetta


This game has been out for awhile, and I might never have touched it had I not heard that it was made by the people that made one of my favorite PS2 games, Godhand. After hearing that I snagged it knowing I would get solid gameplay, cheesey comedy, and 2 scoops of style. I was not disappointed.


The Good
Gameplay is simply amazing in this game. If you can get past how ridiculous it is to strap Pistols or Shotguns to your feet, then you can really appreciate the work that went into nailing down the combat. The combat is very interactive with a system that uses only a few buttons making it exceptionally easy to learn, but very difficult to master. Basic beat-em-up gameplay is accompanied with various "torture" finishing moves and other magic attacks purchased throughout the game. The combat itself is very fast, with the only chance to safely unleash big combos is by unlocking "Witch Time" after perfectly dodging an attack and slowing down time.

I can not stress how much style this game has. There are a lot of forgettable games in this genre simply due to how bland they are and how much they copy everything else. Bayonetta sets itself apart from the rest by having a unique upbeat/jazzy soundtrack, ridiculous cutscenes, and over the top encounters. Its a game that doesn't take itself too seriously and is all about having fun. And make no mistake that the game goes over the top every chance it gets.

The level design should also be commended. This is a game where you are graded on performance and you are expected to replay it. And this is a game I plan to simply because each level felt unique. A lot of games in this genre have repetative level design so I don't want to replay it since I've essentially been replaying the same level already. Bayonetta stands out by having unique encounters that don't always take place moving through a stage in a traditional manner (such as driving a motorcycle, piloting a missile, or driving a motorcycle on a missile as it launched into space). Enemy design is unique as well. While there are a handful of canon fodder enemies, each level contains at least one sub-boss and primary boss that have unique looks and designs. Many of them had me wondering how much PCP (or bath salts) they were doing to come up with the designs. Oh, and the boss fights feel like boss fights. They're pretty epic.


The Bad
My biggest complaint about the game is that Bayonetta will fight a ridiculous amount in cutscenes, then cut to actual gameplay without warning (no load screens or anything). This would be fine, except usually it cuts over as an enemy is attacking. That means you start off by getting hit unless you are ready to dodge at any moment. In a similar vein, while there are not any true Quick-Time-Events, Bayonetta can counter certain big moves. The downside is that the window to counter these moves is exceptionally small. So in order to do well, you really have to have played the game and know what is coming next.


The Ugly
One of the things that can turn a lot of people off about this title is the "fan service". I wish I had a good way of explaining it, but its really done so over the top that I found it to be comical. However, based on recent threads on the forum, I can see it not being everyone's cup-of-tea.

The dialogue and story are both pretty bad. They aren't terrible, but they seemed to play second fiddle to the gameplay. They do try, and some things are resolved by the end, but I didn't find myself wanting to play the next level to find out what happens next in the story.




Overall I extremely enjoyed the game and would recommend it. It has a lot of replayability with multiple difficulty levels (including a super easy one where you can just hit one button to unleash big combos) and unlocks. There are a ton of power ups and weapons/accessories to purchase (currency acquired by killing Angels). And speaking of which, its also pretty cool to see a story about Angels and Demons where the Angels are the bad guys.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: ghoselle on July 22, 2012, 02:18:11 PM
Legend of Grimrock.

A classic dungeon crawl puzzle game with a party of 4.  There are a bunch of puzzles, some of which involve timing, some of which involve logic.  There are lots of skippable areas, but skipping them means skipping both loot and XP from killing creatures.  There were one or two puzzles where I understood what to do but found it really hard to execute it quickly and accurately - none of these were required to complete the game, but arguably the best sword in game is behind one of them.  The story is thin, but I found the twist at the end amusing.

I ended up restarting about halfway through, once I understood how to build a party.  After that, the combats got much easier.   The game claims my play time was about 15 hours.

If you enjoyed the old zork games, you'll find this game a lot of fun.  If it will annoy you that you are walking on a grid, this game is not for you. 

And interestingly, if you manage to collect all the secrets of Toorum, it unlocks a mode of the game where you play with a single character who has 200% run speed.  I've not tried it yet, but it could be entertaining.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on July 22, 2012, 04:41:00 PM
Goldeneye 007: Reloaded

At first, I was very disappointed in the game. It in no way represents a remake of Goldeneye, which was my initial hope. After some time, I found the game to be a decent Bond shooter, until I got to the end. I died so many times at the end and I had no idea why. It felt like their way of increasing difficulty was seeing how many times they could kill me without an explanation. The game starts you with auto-aim on which makes the shooting portions pretty easy. I would suggest turning it off if you want a little challenge. Overall there seems to be a lot better options on the market for shooters. So I would stay away unless you really want to play a Bond game.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on July 24, 2012, 05:44:40 AM
Dead Island.

This is a 'B'-game (in the same way one would think of a 'B-movie'). I paid $10 for it on a Steam sale. It is a combination of 50% Borderlands (RPG mechanics, 4P-multiplayer, item system), 25% Left4Dead (enemies), and 25% FarCry (South Pacific setting). It took me a little over 40 hours to play. I was fairly thorough. More skilled players would complete it sooner. The environments were expansive and competent, rich with nooks and crannies to explore and loot, but not big budget. Quick travel and vehicles help you get around. Voice acting was helped immeasurably by the fact that most of the people were New Guinean or Australian (like they would be in real life), although it was still no-budget.

You will kill zombies. Many zombies. Like most other sandbox games, once you get far enough away from an area, it completely respawns with enemies. And when you level up, so do all the zombies. You cannot outlevel the content. This annoyed me when I went back to the starting area where there used to be level 1 zombies and suddenly all the zombies were level 30. Maybe this will not annoy you.

Because enemies level up, the power curve ramps up very slowly, and you constantly need to find new weapons because you outlevel them. Luckily, they aren't too hard to find. However, they wear out very fast (except for guns, for which there is little ammo). As a result, you will end up kicking most of the common zombies to death because your foot doesn't lose durability (or head-stomping them once you've bought that skill). Luckily, you can repair your weapons and repair stations are fairly common. You can also upgrade weapons with elemental damage using salvaged junk.

Melee combat is satisfying but fraught with peril, as each swing uses stamina and can be interrupted, and since zombies all stay at or around your level, they will always do a fixed percentage damage of your health (about 4 hits would kill me, depending on type). Weapons impart both damage and force, which is the likelihood of knocking your opponent down. So, a katana will do a lot of damage but you had better dodge when you swing because the zombie will hit you right back. Conversely, a hammer does less damage but is more likely to floor them, allowing a quick head stomp. When you get in trouble, you can 'rage', which is like a limit break and requires a meter to fill up before you use it.

The game is designed to be played by 4 people, like Borderlands. In fact, even in SP, all 4 characters show up in the cut-scenes. However, it can be beaten SP. It's just harder.

Overall, despite some frustrations, I was satisfied. A sequel has already been announced, and I envision buying it (but probably on sale).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on July 27, 2012, 07:59:55 PM
Terraria.  Maybe.  (I hit the divide between normal and hardmode, which might be a convenient stopping point.)  This is an indie game which combines some basic 2D action/platforming with crafting and inventory management, producing something absurdly addictive.  People compare this game to Minecraft a lot, presumably because of the ability to mine and place blocks at will.  I haven't played Minecraft, but from what I've read, I get the impression that Terraria is a bit more of a goal-oriented experience and has more depth of system mechanics.

On the downside, the UI doesn't flow very well.  Particularly right when starting, it's very easy to get confused and lost, and even after you get used to it, you can still get into frustrating situations--like being unable to equip a weapon until you put away the mouse-cursor item in the inventory.  There aren't a lot of fast travel mechanics, so you can wind up spending a lot of time moving over the same ground.  I found the game moderately difficult overall, varying a lot with how far in I was over my head relative to my gear at any given moment.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Leahnidas on July 27, 2012, 09:52:47 PM
Just Cause 2.

I'm very limited in the time I have for games outside of WoW (Plants Vs Zombies aside) so I tend to stick with games from a series that I'm a fan of (Hitman; Splinter Cell) or stuff that's gotten a lot of great word of mouth (SR3). With the Steam sale, though, there were a lot of great deals and one of the ones I picked up on the fly was Just Cause 2. I played the first one, though not very thoroughly, and liked it enough that I didn't feel I wasted the rental but not enough that I ever gave a second thought to it. After watching the trailer on Steam's site, I figured I couldn't go wrong with the ridiculously cheap price even if I played it once and never again.

Well the timing was perfect because whilst on vacation that provided no internet, I was able to devote a fair amount of time to this one and it was completely worth it. The voice acting is horrible, the plot is tissue-paper thin, but ohmygod you just grapple-hook (new verb!) everywhere and stuff blows up and it's just the most insanely fun game I've played in forever. SR3 comes close but more often than not my "big" reactions to that one were to how ridiculous or funny something was. You could do cool stuff but it was almost always tinged with some kind of childish zaniness.

With JC2, the action is also absurd but in a really cool "Wow, I can't believe I just pulled that off!" kind of way. It's like watching a really good action movie where obviously the big stunt that just happened has no basis in reality but it was so well done that you suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride. That was pretty much my feeling the entire game. The Spider-Man like swinging around town never got old and while gameplay boils down to shoot everything in sight, there were so many cool ways to do it and always a bunch of explosions to go with it, so I'm happy.

It's not for everyone but if you're willing to turn off your brain and just enjoy ridiculously awesome action, I highly reccomend it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on August 05, 2012, 10:09:25 AM
Wallace and Gromit: Fright of the Bumblebees, which is a Telltale point-and-click adventure game.

I found this of middling quality.  The Wallace and Gromit flavor was there, but it wasn't as amusing as the good short films.  Solving the puzzles generally left me feeling like "oh, so that's how you click to make the obvious thing happen," rather than, "aha, I figured out a clever plan."  I put the game aside several times to play other things, and only just came back to it now because I'm having trouble deciding what to play next in my huge library of unplayed Steam games.

(If you do play it, or perhaps other Telltale games, I discovered very late in this game that pressing tab shows you what areas of the screen are interactable, eliminating the pixel-scraping aspect of the genre.)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on August 06, 2012, 05:57:37 AM
Orcs Must Die

Picked this up cheap on Steam and glad I got it cheap.  If I'd paid huge $$ for it I would've been unhappy. Overall a solid B and I'll probably get Orcs 2 when it goes on cheap.

It's a "tower" defense game in that you defend rifts using a bunch of traps, guardian NPCs, plus your own actions - you get weapons and spells.  I liked the variety here - there are a couple dozen options for trap types and while some are duplicative many give unique capabilities. Likewise the variety of enemies is good - I like the concept of a mob that ignores the mob objective (rift) just because it wants to hunt me down.

The best part of the game is your character - he's a brash idiot with funny sarcastic dialog. It gets a little repetitive, but had me chuckling. If you don't like blood and gore you probably won't like this, though.

A downside I found is that to get perfect scores (5 skulls) on many maps you need the upgraded versions of defenses, which aren't available the first time through.  So you're sort of condemned to do badly at the start, which is kind of the opposite of what I expect in a game - easier at the start and then increasing challenges as you get more powerful. Related to this, it's really useful to read a walkthrough. If you know what types of enemies will spawn where on which waves you'll do better. I found myself restarting some levels over and over until I had memorized the spawn pattern and wasn't getting overrun.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on August 17, 2012, 08:37:19 PM
Alpha Protocol.  Despite the bad reviews, this game seemed like a pretty good entry in the Deus Ex/Solid Snake genre.  I played through it three times or so.

The good: basic gameplay is pretty fun, both stealth and combat.  Difficulty ramps appropriately so that you don't become a god once you get some skill points.  The minigames are well-conceived and have their own difficulty ramps.  The conversation system is very deep; although you do get funneled into certain conversation sequences regardless of your picks, there are also a fair number of real choices with consequences for the endgame and sometimes even the mission structure.  Voice acting was good.  Characters and story are pretty interesting.

The bad: there are a lot of not-quite-gamebreaking bugs, suggesting that the release was rushed.  You can't change the difficulty level of a game once you start, so if the ramping difficulty overtakes your ability to play, you get to start over.  The PC port controls for the hacking minigame are terrible.  The plot of the ending felt muddled; I think the writers got a bit lost in their branching storyline.  The checkpointing/saving system is pretty limiting--several times I wound up replaying whole missions because I accidentally overwrote my autosave by hitting a checkpoint.  There are often long sequences of conversations before you get control of your character (sometimes broken up by checkpoints which you can only use by crashing out of the game, which is weird), which can be frustrating if there's a new perk or piece of gear you wanted to check out.  During a replay, you can fast-forward through most dialog sequences but it's not as fast as you might like.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on August 20, 2012, 05:12:10 AM
Despite its flaws, Alpha Protocol is a really fun game. Glad you gave it a shot Marco. There's a lot of ways the game can end, and getting people to flip their allegiances was pretty awesome. As a spy game, this one is one of my favorites and beats out Splinter Cell and MGS for sure.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on August 20, 2012, 05:46:30 AM
Yeah, the only part of AP I didn't like was the Moscow Embassy exit and the sniper duel that was the second-to-last boss fight.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on August 21, 2012, 05:13:25 AM
Fallout: New Vegas

Well, not so much 'done' as "sufficiently discouraged that I'm unlikely to continue".  This is an older game and thank ghu they seem to have learned from their mistakes.  I got it cheap on the Steam summer sale and if I could get my money back for it I would.  If you love post-apocalyptica and action RPGs then you might want to try this, if you're very patient.  Otherwise, skip it.  C-

Details:
The game is still hugely buggy.  There are tons of Web pages from around release time complaining about the bugs and it's still not clean-running.  I get hangs transitioning areas (such as exiting buildings) and hangs loading save files. I get music that stutter-repeats, and unkillable critters that seem to be stuck in action loops.

Gameplay-wise I constantly feel like I'm fighting the software. There's a clever in-game mechanic for managing your quests, maps, inventory, etc that stops being clever after about 2 minutes and just is annoying.  You can't hit "m" for map or "i" for inventory.  You have to laboriously point-and-click each and every time.  You can't even scroll the damned minimap if what you want to see is discovered but off your current (tiny) viewport.  There's no option for skipping dialog sequences that you want to abort.  All things that Bethesda fixed in later games but you don't get here.

Points for well-done atmosphere and if I could ever get past the UI I think I would enjoy the story. There's a lot of "roll on the wandering damage table" stuff, though, and the NPCs are rock-stupid.

I think it was also my fault for dropping into the middle of the Fallout series rather than playing through.  There are a bunch of things you're just expected to know, like what random environment decorations are actually resources you want to gather, and if you don't know these things you miss a great deal. A lot of things aren't explained, like how to learn new recipes or that you want to keep duplicates of things in order to be able to scrap them later for spare parts. I spent some time doubling back to the starter town once I realized I'd missed half of what was there.  The online guides and walkthroughs also suck. I think I got spoiled by the excellent Skyrim wiki.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Tweed on August 25, 2012, 06:13:52 PM
Mass Effect 3.  Bought it used at GameStop for $15.  I'm both glad I bought it, and glad I didn't spend $60 on it.  Bioware knows what it's doing in certain respects: the dialogue, characterization, and music were all great.  And there were definitely some stunning moments that will stick with me.  But I've stopped giving Bioware credit for stuff like that, and overall I thought it was the weakest of the trilogy. 

Primarily, my problem was with pacing, which I think is something that Bioware needs to work on generally.  As with Dragon Age: Origins and ME2, I felt like I spent 40 hours assembling my team and then got rushed through the last two missions, which I was able to finish in about an hour all told.  I didn't actually get to use (or even "see") any of my resources.

SPOILERS

Like, I spent all this time assembling a huge fucking fleet to save Earth, but the last real battle of the game ends up being a fairly typical firefight at a four-way intersection in London.  And that's it.  From that point on, I essentially watched a twenty-minute show with a handful of dialogue choices.  So the final boss fight for this entire epic trilogy winds up being ... a close-quarters shoot out on a backstreet?  Disappointing.

SPOILERS OVER

I won't get into the ending because it's been talked to death.  Suffice it to say, I think that it was probably among the worst endings I've experienced in a video game on every level, and I really cannot fathom how people can think otherwise.  It's just objectively bad.

The difficulty was also hit-or-miss.  I played on Insanity.  At the beginning of the game, I died and reloaded dozens of time during numerous missions; I must have spent two or three hours trying to complete the mission where you recruit Javik.  But about half-way through the story, the difficulty dropped off noticeably. I finished the last real mission with only one death.  Obviously the game should get easier as you level up, but I just felt like it was really inconsistent, like I had dropped down to Normal mode.


Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on August 26, 2012, 05:43:48 AM
*stands up and starts a slow clap for Tweed*
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on September 02, 2012, 06:15:46 AM
Uncharted 1: Drake's Fortune

I'd forgotten the reason I hate platformers. I was playing U1 on my PS3, enjoying the story, not getting too bogged down anywhere because I was playing on "easy" difficulty. Then I get to the jump I couldn't make; it's the final vine jump to scale the fortress wall. I tried for an hour, and another half-hour the next day after scouring the web for hints. No go.

The jump is in this video, at the 10:13 mark: http://youtu.be/5iibdPb8MYo
I wasn't the only one to have this problem: http://ca.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20111023215527AAUO1wA

These didn't help me. I don't have the reflexes/skills to make this move.

I have to give up on U1, not even getting a quarter of the way through it.

*Grumble* This is why I haven't picked up Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood or Assassin's Creed: Revelations. Someone always sticks in high-precision or timed platform maneuvers, and what was once a pleasant pastime turns into a controller toss.

I purchased Uncharted 1 in a two-pack with Uncharted 2. I've gotten further in U2, if the chapter numbers are any indication; perhaps the "very easy" mode is the reason why. If I can get through U2 without hitting a wall (pun unfortunately intended) then maybe I'll give Uncharted 3 a try.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: HeidiB on September 02, 2012, 08:03:42 AM
These didn't help me. I don't have the reflexes/skills to make this move.
When I reach this point, I can ask Deobryn or Dagny to do the move for me.  Do you have a similar option?
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Razov on September 02, 2012, 11:59:00 AM
i know the jump your talking about with out having to look at any videos. That jump is the hardest damn thing in the first game. Its annoying and a giant waste of time. Took me like 2 or 3 hours to get after reading how people accomplished on the net.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on September 02, 2012, 12:48:02 PM
No, I don't have anyone else. Believe me, if I had someone else in my life, I wouldn't spend so much time playing PS3 games!

(Why are all you married gamers snickering? I don't get the joke.)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on September 02, 2012, 02:09:15 PM
Persona 4: Arena

Part fighting game. Part fighting game story mode. The target demographic for this game is very small in my opinion. If you like the BlazBlue series and you like Persona 4, this game is made for you. The funny thing is I am in that target demographic. This is technically the second game in the Persona 4 series (rumored to be a trilogy but no confirmation on that yet). I found the game to be fun. The story was very mediocre but all fighting game stories are. In has some connections to Persona 4 (and Persona 3 but less so). I found that part of the story to be interesting. I also found the joke endings to be funny. Overall though I found the story very lacking. After I beat the 3-4 main story arcs, the other ones just felt repetitive.

Combat was super fun. Felt almost identical to BlazBlue controls and hyper combat style. Though after playing it, I felt I enjoyed the combat from the BlazBlue series more. I feel this game tries to combine two series and ends up doing neither as well as the original series it took from. Normally I wouldn't mind this except for the fact that the story is a important arc in the Persona 4 series. Overall I would say a 5/10 (or a 7/10 for Persona 4 fans).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on September 03, 2012, 05:45:46 AM
The jump is in this video, at the 10:13 mark: http://youtu.be/5iibdPb8MYo
I wasn't the only one to have this problem: http://ca.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20111023215527AAUO1wA

Just a YouTube Pro-Tip I only learned about not too long ago. If you pause the video and right click on it, then you can copy the URL from that specific time (2nd option down).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=5iibdPb8MYo#t=612s

Just thought I'd share. =)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on September 03, 2012, 08:15:49 AM
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Now this was a horse of a different color. First of all, it had a "very easy" difficulty for us fumble-fingered oldsters. There were no impossible jumps like the one I talked about for U1. This doesn't mean I didn't have to replay some sections more than once to figure things out, but it never got to the point of utter helplessness.

Since I could complete the game, I could appreciate the lush graphics and the entire story. I can't say that I'm an experienced console gamer, but I though that both were well-done. The game is quite linear, but I found that I didn't miss the sandbox experience of games like Arkham City or Red Dead Redemption; the linear game fit the linear cinematic story.

I may just try to make the impossible U1 jump again, just to see what the rest of that game is like. I'm definitely going to get Uncharted 3.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on September 03, 2012, 05:29:39 PM
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Now this was a horse of a different color. First of all, it had a "very easy" difficulty for us fumble-fingered oldsters. There were no impossible jumps like the one I talked about for U1. This doesn't mean I didn't have to replay some sections more than once to figure things out, but it never got to the point of utter helplessness.

Since I could complete the game, I could appreciate the lush graphics and the entire story. I can't say that I'm an experienced console gamer, but I though that both were well-done. The game is quite linear, but I found that I didn't miss the sandbox experience of games like Arkham City or Red Dead Redemption; the linear game fit the linear cinematic story.

I may just try to make the impossible U1 jump again, just to see what the rest of that game is like. I'm definitely going to get Uncharted 3.
Just my opinion but 2 and 3 are much better than 1. They have much more of a cinematic feel to them. Playing 3 right now actually. 1 was good but if you end up skipping it, you are missing what I would say is the worst one of the trilogy.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on September 04, 2012, 07:06:36 AM
Crusader Kings II

You can't really be 'done' with this game because it's a sandbox strategy game but I haven't played it in a bit for lack of wanting.

It attempts to model medieval Europe, 1066 (Hastings) -1453 (Fall of Constantinople). You can play a Count (typically runs one province), a Duke (runs several provinces in a country), a King (one Country) or an Emperor (a super-country like the Holy Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire). There are thousands, probably tens of thousands of unique characters and they all have stats and procedurally-generated opinions of one another. Basically, you try to run and expand your holdings and generate 'prestige' (points). There is no winning condition, only an ending condition (1453).

Everything you do is constrained by your position (either duty to a liege or the whims of your vassals), your stats (which limit how many provinces you can hold yourself) and the ruleset (most egregious of which is the inability hold more than two dukedoms or to declare war without a surprisingly difficult and/or expensive to obtain cassus belli) so you end up feeling strangled half the time. In fact, it's often much more difficult to play a king than it is a count. Until you get very good at the game, you spend more time fighting your own vassals than you do other kingdoms, with the possible exception of infidels.

Crusades or Jihads may be called, and if you are the target, you are pretty much fucked, because all of a sudden several armies of tens of thousands of Muslims each all march onto your territory and destroy it. Likewise, if someone dislikes you enough to bribe the pope to excommunicate you, you are similarly fucked. So you find yourself skating a thin line, spending most of your time keeping everyone you know happy just to stay in power. Add to this a backdrop of arranged marriages, bloodlines, alliances, claims on territories, spycraft, assassination, a nearly hands-off tech interface, building construction, succession laws, taxes, religion and heresy, sieges, random events and abstract warfare that relies almost entirely on who has the largest number of soldiers to determine the winner. Also, you spend most of your time waiting, waiting, waiting for stuff to happen. Then it all happens at once and you frantically try to organize it to keep yourself from being overwhelmed.

The result is a learning curve that is less like a curve and more like a brick wall. There is a good game here, but it requires discipline and dedication. They nailed the tone though; spending 250 years taking over Ireland, Scotland, and Wales has made me feel both powerful and vulnerable at the same time, plotting acquisitions carefully and planning my successions and the suppression of the inevitable rebellions they trigger. I'm stuck now, though, facing down England, which has itself almost as many provinces as I do, and the prospect of trying to take it all over is both daunting and depressing, particularly because the spoils of a war are only every one county at a time, and a 10-year truce ensures that it takes a long time to take over a country.

To those who can master this game, I salute you; but remember to go outside and get fresh air once in a while.

Footnote:

This game is easily and popularly modded; one of the mods is a Game of Throne mod for Martin fans. I intend to try this but have not gotten around to it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on September 04, 2012, 07:29:59 AM
I bought this game and tried one of the suggested starting points, as well as the War of Five Kings GoT scenario. I found reading and watching Let's Plays about it more rewarding, as I don't have the sheer mastery of the ruleset necessary to enjoy myself.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on September 05, 2012, 06:23:55 PM
Uncharted 1: Drake's Fortune (for real this time)

I finally made the impossible jump. The key move is described on this Youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SdnQ17MzWE

Look for the comment by Trusteft (the one that isn't a response to my thanks).

I agree with Gellin: U1 is not as strong as U2. The outdoor locations tended to be very similar; either you're in a jungle in South America, or a jungle in Borneo... but it's still a jungle. You often find yourself going to the same locations, sometimes with a different view... but that's not enough to make it feel different. The story was not as epic, nor the conclusion quite as satisfying, as in U2. I also found some of the tasks needlessly irritated, like going upriver.

With that said, I could see the seeds of what would make U2 (and, I hope, U3) a success: the high quality of the voice acting and motion capture, the lushness of the graphics (it's not the fault of the graphic team that the story kept the locations similar), and (as has been noted elsewhere on these forums) the relationships between the characters.

Uncharted 3 is scheduled to arrive in the mail tomorrow. I look forward to it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on September 10, 2012, 11:55:08 AM
Dead Space 2

I put off playing this one for a long time. I loved the first one, but was not sure how I would like the direction the series was going in. So its been on the backburner for a long while. The Dead Space 3 trailer rekindled my interest in finally getting back into the series.

Overall, the best and most apt review I have read is that Dead Space 2 is to Dead Space what Aliens is to Alien. Its still a horror game, but there is plenty of sci-fi action injected into the story and game. Some times this works, and other times it feels forced. Regardless, the action sequences are well done and the only reason I say they don't always fit is because they are so epic that you lose the sense of being a tiny person wrapped up in this huge horrific mess.

An improvement over the first game is definitely in the visuals and audio. Graphiclly the game is beautifully disturbing, and although some scenary appears to be reused, it makes sense given the nature of the setting. That being said, there is a lot of little details that are amazing and terrifying. The sounds are also great, the music never drowning out the quiet whispers or scratching in the walls. The music does a great job of helping set the mood. Overall the ambience is perfect and builds high tension by itself.

The ending sequence is also really well done, and although lacking traditional "boss fights", it does have extremely powerful REVIVAL!morphs appear at certain times to close out a chapter. The finale was much different than the first game, so it was nice to seem the series do something different. But it was also difficult enough that I had to be concerned about dieing and play differently than I've played earlier in the game. The final cutscene also has a tongue-in-cheek homage to the first game's ending that I found cute.

The negative aspects of this game involve the changes to the action. The first Dead Space freaked me out more than any other game. Its sequel was creepy, but not even close to the same extent. I think that is largely due to the backtracking within the Ishimura vs. constant new scenary in the Sprawl. For me, the REVIVAL!morphs were no longer the horrific monsters they should be (and were in DS1). Instead, the creepiest moments involved Isaac battling his own fractured psyche. More of that would have made for a better horror game.

Dead Space 2 is still a good buy, and now you can get it brand new for $10 (probably cheaper via Steam). Its a little on the short side, I only clocked about 12 hours and did as much exploring and lore hunting as I could. I expect a speed run could be done in an afternoon. The game offers new difficulty settings after completing it, including a Hardcore mode with limited health/ammo and 3 saves for the entire game (deaths push you back to your last save as well). But I wasn't interested in exploring that. There's also some multi-player modes.

One last interesting note I liked: The game had a synopsis of Dead Space 1. It broke down the events and happenings in a mini-movie. I'm not sure I've ever seen this in a video game sequel, but would love to see more of this.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on September 10, 2012, 02:41:04 PM
One last interesting note I liked: The game had a synopsis of Dead Space 1. It broke down the events and happenings in a mini-movie. I'm not sure I've ever seen this in a video game sequel, but would love to see more of this.

FYI: Mass Effect 2 does this if you haven't played ME1. You go through the ME1 plot in the form of a motion comic (or was it just still images; I forget) and get to make quick versions of the important choices in that game. Then ME2 picks up where ME1 left off.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on September 11, 2012, 04:18:25 AM
FYI: Mass Effect 2 does this if you haven't played ME1. You go through the ME1 plot in the form of a motion comic (or was it just still images; I forget) and get to make quick versions of the important choices in that game. Then ME2 picks up where ME1 left off.

I didn't even realize that. But come to think of it every time I fired up ME2 it was to import a ME1 file or continue from a previous save. Still though, a really cool feature.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on September 11, 2012, 11:54:23 AM
Red Dead Redemption

Finished this finally. I think a lot of this is due to the show Hell on Wheels which inspired me to continue through this game, even during the difficult times. This is a sandbox game. It was compared to GTA's sandbox style and you can see the connections, which is not surprising considering it is the same company. However, it felt more like Skyrim's sandbox to me. I feel this way because you are on your way to missions and you keep getting sidetracked by a million little side quests.

The story is fun but doesn't really reel you in till the last 1/3 of the game. However for the genre, it was a blast. The villains were mediocre until the final 1/3 of the game. At this point the game changes from just fun to engrossing. You interact a lot more with your adversaries and really see where the story is heading. I stopped playing this game multiple time in the first chapter and a couple times in the second chapter. I completed the third in 2 days. They are all about the same length so that should tell you my feelings on the differences in quality.

The combat was decent, though at times a little easy. You auto-aim a lot so combat at times can be very easy. Just hit aim and scroll up an inch and you have head shots. However a lot of the riding sequences would be nearly impossible without this. Guns are cool but I found myself using some of the starting guns just because they felt cooler and I knew them from westerns (guns like the winchester repeater).

Finally the side missions can be fun. I enjoyed some of the "stranger" missions. Poker was a blast. Hunting bandits can be fun at times. The biggest problem is there is so many of them they can distract so much you tend to forget about the main missions. Also any mission that deals with wrangling cows made me want to shoot cows and eat lots of steak just to rub it in their face. :)

Fun game overall. If you enjoy sandbox this is great. If you enjoy westerns, this is the best in the genre. If you like structure, you are warned. And if you reallllly hate wrangling cows, I would stay away.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on September 11, 2012, 05:42:32 PM
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

I have mixed feelings about this one. I'd like to say it was better than Uncharted 2, but I find I can't.

What's better: The graphics, the environments, the storyline, the voice-acting. Everyone put their all into making this the most cinematic of all the adventures. (If I were George Lucas and/or Steven Spielberg, I might considering suing; some of the action comes directly from the Indiana Jones films. On the other hand, if I were they, I'd stop messing with my old films...)

What's not-so-good: In U2, there was only one instance of the kind of platformer challenge that I think of as "memorize this trajectory." I don't like these. Unless you're incredibly lucky or a highly-skilled platformer, you're going to die a lot until you've learned the moves to get you through the challenge. I accepted it in U2, since it occurs nears the end, as one last little extra task before ending the game.

In U3, there were at least three "memorize this trajectory" challenges, maybe more. For me, this brings the game to a screeching halt (even on "Very Easy" difficulty) as I try to figure out what moves the game designer expects of me.

Then there's the Very Annoying Jump (TM). In U1, there was one, already described in this forum. In U2, there were none I can recall. In U3, there were at least two. Neither was as bad as the "Jump Of the Damned" in U1, but since one was along the side of a fortress while swinging, it reminded me of the worst moment in the series.

Short version: I'm a platforming wimp. Little Big Planet was too hard for me. So I have to downrate U3 a couple of notches for its extra platforming challenges. Despite the fact that every other aspect of U3 is better than U2, the gameplay tarnished U3 a bit.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on September 14, 2012, 11:04:26 AM
Killzone 3

Disclaimer: I did not finish but do not plan to at this point.

I had an itching for a good FPS when I started playing this. I was fairly disappointed. I miss the days where you started with only a fist, or knife, or wrench, or pistol. And you slowly got weapons and fought enemies on your way to the more difficult levels and bosses. I am still trying to find a modern FPS that captures the feel of the Doom games or the Half-life games. I feel like all the modern FPS are basically the same formula where you have a cover mechanic and an assault rifle and you can pick up other weapons while running around but most are just some form of shotgun, sniper rifle, etc. Not really upgrades, just different playstyles. This game was very much that.

From a combat standpoint the game was fine. Aiming seemed to be fairly responsive and the cover mechanic worked most of the time. Sometimes cover would do weird things which would end up with you dead. Some missions head shots really seemed to matter (instant death to the enemy), others it didnt seem to matter where you hit them. The silent kills were nice but as with most FPS they didn't come into play except in certain missions. The vehicle missions were a nice change of pace but nothing awe inspiring.

Story was average, if not cliche at this point. Overall I would say this is an average game that continues to beat a dead horse. However,it is super cheap now. Honestly at this point I would either play the Gears of Wars games (which do a much better job of pacing, storytelling and epic setpieces) or just wait for Doom3D OR just wait like a week for Borderlands 2 (though I say this right before I start a gauntlet of FPS in hopes of finding a good one, which will include Resistance 3, Rage, and Modern Warfare 3).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Chibe on September 14, 2012, 11:25:35 AM
If you are looking for a FPS that's like serious sam or the old doom games, I would say get hard reset.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on October 03, 2012, 08:01:59 AM
Fallout: New Vegas, in that I was partway through my second DLC when Mists launched, and I won't be getting back to it for a while.

From an engine and gameplay perspective, this game is similar to Fallout 3, which hasn't aged well.  The PC engine is buggy and  feels like a console port.  The bugs range from random crashes to lost items to irretrievably messing up the main plot (I didn't run into the last category, but I know people who have).  Core gameplay is the same combination of FPS-type shooting, turn-based targeting when you have the action points for it, and lots and lots of inventory management.  As with Fallout 3, there are two basic phases of gameplay--the first phase where you're scrounging for the materials you need and have limited freedom of movement because a deathclaw or something is going to kill you if you go the wrong way, and the second phase where you are the richest person in the world and can go pretty much everywhere because nothing really threatens you.

Balancing this is a greater focus on intricate plotlines, as you'd expect from Obsidian/Black Isle.  I wouldn't call the main game a huge triumph of storytelling, but it was definitely interesting at times, and I liked the number of different options you have for determining the fate of the Mojave.  The Dead Money DLC was a bit more artsy with its companion characters, feeling a bit like a Neil Gaiman story at times.  I haven't gotten far enough into Honest Hearts to really get a feel for it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Seniummortus on October 03, 2012, 08:21:31 AM
To be completely honest, the DLC's other than Dead Money and Old World Blues were terrible IMO so you're not missing much (although I would recommend Old World Blues, I quite enjoyed that one.) YRMV but I found them short and mostly empty as far as story goes. This may have been clouded by the fact that by this time I was the right hand of god smiting everyone and everything that looked at me funny and as a result was able to blow through most of it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Leahnidas on October 03, 2012, 09:26:54 AM
Resident Evil 6.

I am a major Resident Evil fan and my anticipation for this game was high, especially after the bitter taste that Operation: Raccoon City left my in my mouth. So after several hours of dedicated play, I've finished the three main campaigns plus the bonus (won't spoil) and I'm extremely pleased with how this one turned out. I can see how some long time fans will be dissapointed in some of the changes but I think overall it's a great direction to take the series.

If you've not played a RE title since before RE4, then you're in for a major surprise at all the ways the game has changed. RE4 started the new direction, RE5 expanded, and now this one has finished the revolution, making it basically a completely new series. Instead of survival horror, I think RE would now best be classified as a third person shooter where the bad guys just happen to be monsters.

The feeling of clausterphobia and lonliness from the original series is gone, replaced by a constant AI/Co-Op companion to watch your back. There always seemed to be a secondary character to help you along the way before but they were simple side characters that were used to move the plot along at times, whereas now they're a constant presence and every bit as important to the story as the "main" characters (Chris, Leon, etc). What this does is make the game much much action-oriented, as before the developers had to be careful not to throw too much at you at one time, lest you get overwhelmed. With full-blown co-op existing at all times, the action gets more hectic and outrageous than ever before.

I believe it's that change that will cause the most uproar to veteran RE fans. What used to be an intense, oh-my-god-what's-behind-that-door kind of game, it's now basically a Michael Bay movie. The horrible voice acting is gone and replaced with movie-quality characters and interaction and while I personally think it's great, I can understand the feeling of something being last, as campiness in RE games was one of the guilty pleasures, not unlike an Evil Dead movie.

The controls are very tight, in my opinion, except for a few shooting sequences that require the most precise of timing and the game picks those times to seemingly lag behind. Everything else was very responsive and even playing over XBL with a friend, I didn't really feel any slow down. The graphics are great and I really like the use of cutscenes in this one, especially in comparison to what I felt were poor quality ones in the RE5. The sound is strong as always, though again I sometimes found myself missing the old-style music that could send a chill up your spine and make you as tense as all get out.

Definitely recommend this one, especially with a friend. I did not due the campaigns with the AI at any point so I can't really comment on how good it is or isn't, but with a friend it's just a complete blast to play this game. Even during some of the lamer Chris/Piers sequences, we enjoyed blowing stuff up and competing for kills. During the more intense moments, it's great to have someone to watch your back and play off of; Capcom really opened the sandbox up in this one.

So yeah, if you like the RE series, definitely play it; if you weren't a fan before or haven't played since the original series, still give it a try to see if you like the new direction.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on October 03, 2012, 10:34:52 AM
That's all good to hear. I loved RE4, and wasn't really into the earlier incarnations. The negative press RE6 seems to be getting has a lot to do with it "not having the feel of the originals"... and maybe I'm okay with that.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on October 03, 2012, 11:28:00 AM
Sounds like the same path that Dead Space is taking. In the grand scheme of things, its no big deal, but there are dangerously few legitimate Survival Horror series out there than are actually scary and well done. Now I'm not sure if any of the franchises are still left. What's Silent Hill up to these days?
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Razov on October 03, 2012, 11:46:07 AM
As for horror, the first FEAR was pretty disturbing,you know the kind you can't really play at night >.> . The 2nd and 3rd were sort of ... meh. Tho i liked the 2nd better then the 3rd.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on October 03, 2012, 12:32:13 PM
As for horror, the first FEAR was pretty disturbing,you know the kind you can't really play at night >.> . The 2nd and 3rd were sort of ... meh. Tho i liked the 2nd better then the 3rd.

That is a good summation of the FEAR series. The first was definitely super creepy. The 2nd, while not as creepy, had a more enjoyable gameplay and a good follow-up story.

Edit: Actually another shooter I really liked was Jericho. The story was written by Clive Barker. The gamplay could be considered fair to average, but I really liked the story and the character interactions.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Leahnidas on October 03, 2012, 03:07:53 PM
Survival Horror these days is more along the lines of Left 4 Dead, Dead Island, Dead Rising, Dead Space, The Walking Dead...wait, I'm starting to notice a pattern!

But seriously, there are some incredible horror games out there like Slender and Amnesia but they have no action in them whatsoever, which is a turn-off to a number of gamers. I personally was never a big Silent Hill fan myself, as I always felt like they were going for disturbing and gross as opposed to actually scary, much like most horror films these days.

Alan Wake was actually pretty good, though it had its fair share of issues and even Condemned from a few years back did a really good job at keeping you on edge. With those games and the old Resident Evil games, it was the idea of never knowing what was going to happen next. RE2 was the best of the old series, imo, in keep you in enclosed spaces, setting the mood with eerie music, and then constantly using clever camera angles/tricks to help hide/reveal the next scare.

The new RE, along with most "horror" games these days, are more about the action, where the monster is chasing you instead of persuing you and yes, there's a major difference.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Chibe on October 03, 2012, 04:56:49 PM
Doom 3 is still pretty high up there for horror games, as well as Fear.  And if you play in the dark with the volume up, it only enhances the effect ;D.  RE games have gone from being horror games to  dark themed games like Metro 2033, Fear 2-3, and Dead Space (Dead  Island was a vacation game with crazy meth addict locals wanting some money and Alan Wake was more of a suspense game with action in it than a horror game).  I really want to play Amnesia, since I've been craving a scary game for awhile, but only when it comes back down to $5.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on October 04, 2012, 04:34:19 AM
Slender is a great game at building suspense and tension, and making you jump. But its also very short.

Alan Wake was not scary at all in my opinion, but it was a good game with a good dark story. I might still classify it as more of a "Thriller" game. I mean...at one point you rock out on a stage fighting the Shadow Monsters.

I've heard Amnesia is awesome, but I haven't played it.

Condemned was also really awesome and I enjoyed a lot of things about it like the investigation parts.

Honestly, the last Silent Hill game I played fully was the the 2nd. So I'm not sure where that series is at now. But I don't remember it being overly gross like the majority of the "torture porn" horror flicks out there. The one thing that sticks in my mind that legitimately freaked me out back in the day was in the first game when you're in the School and the phone rings and its your daughter.

Doom 3 was also really spooky despite being an FPS. It was definitely one of my favorites and on par with FEAR in the creepy department. In fact its the only FPS that I can recall I've played more than 2 times through. Its also got a "BFG" edition coming out updating it from XBox to XBox 360 in a couple of weeks for $40, and its definitely on my list. =)

Also, if you haven't watched the commercial for Dead Island (the Memento style one) then its really worth the 3min of your time. It tells a pretty horrifying story in that time and was executed really well. Reminds me of that opening sequence in Pixar's "Up" that no one is able to watch with a dry eye.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfhtiG66SQc
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on October 04, 2012, 05:44:32 AM
Try Metro 2033. It can suffer from mild translation issues, but this can actually contribute to the 'strangeness' of the world. You are forever short on ammunition, breather mask filters, and money.

STALKER approaches survival horror (most precipitously in its first incarnation) but gets easier and more action-oriented in later iterations.

Having played Dead Island, I'd argue it's much more of a open-world RPG with zombies and much less survival horror (although it's good for what it is). And the Walking Dead are adventure games with occasional quick-time event scares.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on October 23, 2012, 06:13:57 AM
Borderlands 2

There's a whole thread that I've posted in a lot so I'll just summarize here.  The beginning is a bit annoying, the mid-game is awesome, and the ending... is kind of a let-down.  In much the same way that the first ending was, except now with color commentary from Jack.  I won't spoiler it, but I will say that the game did NOT do the one thing I was hoping for, and that was kind of disappointing.

Jack is good but gets old quickly.  Claptrap is funny, particularly his final scene. The main-plot NPCs aren't as interesting (to me) as the side- and sub-plot NPCs.

There are loot problems, particularly the "too much crap, not enough differentiation" issue. Almost all of the talking weapons were a disappointment.

Overall, a B+.  I think if my expectations hadn't been so high then it might've scored better.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on October 24, 2012, 06:58:02 AM
Torchlight 1

Got this as a freebie for pre-ordering Torch 2 and started playing it. It had enough different and interesting features to make one full play-through worthwhile.

Most awesome thing is clearly the pet that not only is a reasonable fighting machine but that mules all your crap back and vendors it for you. Why other games have not copied this is a mystery.  Also, the player choice on death (rez in town, rez at start of level, rez right here - each with different costs) is nice. Fishing is humorous.

There are some bad things about it - trying to manage multiple auras with no timers is bad.  The lack of a real map is VERY bad.  The gems are very bad. There's a real problem with the GCD in that abilities will be unavailable but the icons/buttons still look active.  So you can't just mash buttons.  You have to WAAAAIT, MASHNOWQUICKQUICK, WAAAAITFORIT, MASHNOW etc.

I don't quite know why I felt compelled to play through, but I did.  If I didn't have shiny T2 waiting for me I might even do another play-through as a different class but I'd rather do T2 so that got started today.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on October 24, 2012, 07:02:54 AM
D3 had a system in early beta where you would get 2 Horadric-cube-like items: one that salvaged and one that converted items into gold for you, so you basically had vendors with you at all times.

This made it so you NEVER needed to TP back to town, so they removed it. Personally, I like the TL Dog as a compromise, since you lose the fighting strength and carrying capacity of him while he runs back to town, so there's some gamey decisions to make about optimizing that feature.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on October 24, 2012, 07:18:26 AM
Blizzard's statement about this was, roughly, that they thought going back to down and interacting with vendors every so often was a good pacing mechanic.  Since town portals cut out the actual travel time, using the pet (and suffering a reduction in power for a little while) isn't actually that much less of an inconvenience.  Both systems seem fair to me.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on December 19, 2012, 08:25:02 AM
Dishonored.

This is a Deus Ex-style action/stealth game set in a steampunk-inspired Victorian setting. There is no leveling system; character advancement is through purchased equipment upgrades, ability upgrades (paid for via item pickups) and perk items (also item pickups).

Typical for the genre, there's a wide variety of guards who wander around throughout levels and must be avoided or dealt with. Atypically, they do not usually follow rigid patrol patterns. Thus, each action on the system (agent removal) has an unpredictable effect, ie when you remove one agent, another may take up aspects of the missing guard's patrol path. This can be good (waiting in the same safe spot for half the area's guards to wander through the same path) or bad (thinking you cleared an area only to find two more guys have wandered in from elsewhere).

Some of the levels are truly huge. Level 2 took me seven hours to clear (being completionist and cautious by nature). Most are very asymmetrical and allow many, many methods of transversal (many more than similar games).

On normal difficulty, the guards, aside from their nonstandard patrol behavior, are pretty moronic (even moreso than in similar games). They might comment that 'someone is supposed to be on duty here' when you disappear one of them, but there is no alarm, and you can get pretty close and even put them into minor alert state without them taking any special action. The true difficulty comes from their unpredictable patrolling.

The story is fairly straightforward. It's the setting that is key here. The art style has a unique, painted aesthetic and all characters have exaggerated features.

I enjoyed my time with it, but I can't help but feel that there was something missing. It may have been that I made it too hard on myself, taking the nonviolent path. It may have been the straight American voice-acting in a clearly Victorian setting. It may have been the acid-shooting clams. It may have been the AI, I'm not sure. Overall, I give it a 7 or 8, but not the 9 that everybody else did, which is odd, because I really liked Deus Ex and Arx Fatalis (the previous efforts of its two creators). Maybe I'm just burning out on these gameplay mechanisms.

I'm going to replay at least part of it by murdering everybody and see what differences occur (it's supposed to react to your body count).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on December 22, 2012, 09:35:45 PM
Deus Ex: Invisible War.

I came into this with low expectations, and was pleasantly surprised by the voice acting and story--but those are the only qualities I can really recommend the game on.  Its graphics are surprisingly bad even for a 2003 game (because it was developed for the XBox, apparently), and its gameplay is merely okay.  The game is moderately challenging on normal difficulty, forcing you to carefully manage four resources (ammo, health and medkits/food, energy and energy cells, and multitools), but slow load times make it tiresome if you resort to save-scumming or just die a lot.  The engine also crashed on me four or five times.  Quicksaving is fast, at least.  There is less character customization than in the original Deus Ex, although there is some and it does offer some interesting gameplay choices.

So, overall, a somewhat diverting midpoint on the way to Human Revolution (if perhaps an unnecessary one, since HR is a prequel), but not an amazing one.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on December 23, 2012, 03:32:15 PM
Dishonored addendum.

I replayed it in violent style (ie, killing nearly everything in sight, except chambermaids for some reason). There is a terrible glee that I got by stabbing people and dumping their bodies in canals as opposed to strangling them into unconsciousness and dumping them in closets, and I can't really explain it. After a while, I became desensitized and really the only thing left was guilt (see below).

The game changes depending on your murder rate; while the mission structure is unaltered, allies may turn on each other, there will be more rats and plague zombies (actually, NPCs that were friendly in the 'good' playthrough are zombies in the 'evil' playthrough), and guards and enemies may be in different locations with different story hooks. On the last mission, the salt-of-the-earth character that acts as your conscience effectively betrays and casts you out, castigating you for what you've become. And as he did it, I could not condemn him for it. I deserved it.

Most noticeably, your charge (a 10-year old girl) makes drawings of you with crayons. The higher the body count, the more disturbing the drawings (and the ending). As the father of a young girl, this caused profound discomfort, likely much more than it would have for the standard 18-25 year old unmarried male 'target audience'. Nearing the end, I became more and more uneasy with my choice to see the 'dark' ending.

I suppose that the self-reflection caused by this puts it firmly on the artistic spectrum, and the second playthrough gave it a poignancy it did not have initially. But two playthroughs requires a fairly robust time investment (60 hours in my case). That is not to say that I consider my time ill-spent; it merely indicates that I think that more than one playthrough is necessary to see the depth of the game and all that it offers.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on December 24, 2012, 07:30:17 AM
Dear Esther

This is a strange game; it might not even be a game at all. I got it on sale for $2.50 from Steam.

It reminds me of the game Journey: A beautifully-rendered environment, with the sole purpose of reaching the end. There's no interactivity, just a narration that changes depending on where you choose to go. Without giving anything away, I'll say that your interpretation of the ending depends on the narration you've experienced; that's the only way in which your choices affect the outcome and the game's only replay value.

At $2.50 for two hours of play, the game represents a reasonable value. You'd have to be a story-telling fan (like me) to appreciate it; if your tastes run to "pew-pew" action then Dear Esther was not written to you.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on December 27, 2012, 04:23:57 PM
Singularity.

This is an 8-hour cross between half-life 1&2, COD:Modern Warfare and STALKER. It's a linear train of set-piece gun battles alternating with russians and mutants. The time travel powers and story are moderately diverting, notable for the underused period, ie 1950s Russia. Overall, it mostly moans 'generic military shooter' with horror elements.

But hey, no zombies.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on December 28, 2012, 01:41:02 PM
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Similar to the first one, this is a big-budget no-holds-barred 5-hour explosions-fest of hugely manufactured set-piece battles. The production values are stellar but the plot is even more nonsensical than I had been led to believe and the body count is truly astounding. It also has an infamous level where you play a bad guy who massacres civilians (pretty tasteless and possibly sickening, although you are given the option to disable it).

In the first one, bad guys would endlessly respawn until you advanced past a certain point, at which point their respawning would be disabled and your allies would advance. That is much reduced in this game making it possible to actually fight and win gun battles instead of just sprinting to arbitrary map locations, and your AI companions are much more aggressive and intelligent, which is nice. But the opposition is more difficult. There is a level where you have to charge into the teeth of 20 guys with random mortars falling all around you that nearly made my tear my hair out.

I also had the 'Special Ops' pack in my version (I think it used to be DLC) that basically reruns the same levels with time and wave challenges (there are a handful of new levels).

I did not play multiplayer, because I do not wish to lose faith in humanity any more than I already have.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on December 31, 2012, 04:14:02 AM
I did not play multiplayer, because I do not wish to lose faith in humanity any more than I already have.

Wise decision you have made. Faith in humanity, not what multiplayer is for. -Yoda
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on December 31, 2012, 08:01:16 AM
Civilization V - Gods and Kings

I've played a ton of Civ V but got bored.  Picked it up again to try this DLC/expansion when I got it cheap on a Steam sale.  Played through a game, probably won't play another.

The expansion adds back in religion and espionage, which were popular in Civ IV but missing in the original V.  It also adds a lot more possible rulers, city states, luxury resources, world wonders, and reworks the unit and tech trees to some extent.  All of these things are improvements that add variation and replay differentiation; if you haven't yet picked up V I recommend getting this expansion with it.

That said, the AI are still rock-stupid, particularly at the tactical level. If they can't win by overwhelming force they have no idea what else to do so it's relatively easy to win mid- and late-game conflicts if you can avoid being overrun early on.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Leahnidas on January 02, 2013, 03:14:36 PM
Resonance

I picked this up super cheap during the Steam sale because I'm a sucker for old school adventure games and this one did not dissapoint. The fact that they used 90's style graphics, even if it was a primarily a financial decision, pretty much sealed the deal straight up but I was pleased to find some really good atmosphere music, ok-to-great voice acting, and a clean UI.

One of the big hooks of the game is the ability to switch between four main characters at will (after a brief intro with each individual character to establish them). This invokes an old Maniac Mansion/DotT feel but does it in a much more user friendly manner and also manges to shake the up the genre a little. By using three seperate inventory systems for long-term memory (basically events that all characters share knowledge of), short-term memory (events and items that you can use as a reference to other characters), and then your standard inventory, you're never left unsure of where things are while still maintaining the need to figure out how everything pieces together.

I won't talk about the plot because it's very awesome but I will say that there are multiple endings based off of certain choices you make and that a whole playthrough doesn't take very long, especially if you're a veteran of the adventure gaming scene. My playthrough lasted maybe five hours (not counting all of the time I had to go back and start over with due to a very unfortunate oversight on the part of the developers), though it should be noted that there are various achievements to get that you only get from deviating from the standard flow of the game, so it does have SOME replay value.

Overall, if you like adventure games, do yourself a favor and pick this one up. It only cost me 2.99 on Steam and they may still have it for that price but if not, standard is $10 and it's worth every penny. In the interest of fairness, I am going to make a seperate post for a very annoying thing that can happen in the game that can prevent you from finishing it and label it with a spoiler warning. If you happen to pick up the game, you can check it out to make sure you don't suffer the same fate I did.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on January 07, 2013, 09:14:48 PM
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (also discussed here (http://www.deadlycupcakes.org/forums/index.php?topic=873.msg22604#msg22604) and here (http://www.deadlycupcakes.org/forums/index.php?topic=873.msg29741#msg29741) and here (http://www.deadlycupcakes.org/forums/index.php?topic=873.msg29962#msg29962)).  I did one playthrough on hard difficulty using purely stealth, and one on easy difficulty using a great deal of violence.

It's a good game.  I even liked the boss fights, out of place as they were.  The first one in particular was heart-poundingly difficult on hard mode for a player with no combat upgrades and minimal weaponry, but it was possible.  I thought the environments were very well-realized (very Bladerunneresque, down to the soundtrack), the stealth gameplay was very crisp, and the skill system was full of interesting, non-linear upgrades.

There were a few downers: exploration could become a little tiresome since I wound up spending a lot of my time cataloguing alternate entrances rather than finding interesting side areas.  I ran into one glitched, uncompletable side quest on my first playthrough; it's dissapointing that a year after release, this was never fixed.  The sandbox does not respond believably to unethical violence; you can't make the news or even get yourself a stern lecture from your boss.  Certain areas mechanically disallow violence and certain characters are indestructible, which is kind of a cop-out for a Deus Ex game.  I'm not sure whether the inventory system qualifies interesting gameplay, though it does make ammunition a more interesting resources.  All of these are relatively minor blemishes on a good product.

ETA: Oh, right, Missing Link.  I didn't really like the writing or voice-acting for this.  It was, as you'd expect from DLC, more of the same gameplay, which is good if you still have the appetite for it.  I was kind of ready to be done by the time I got to it, myself.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on January 14, 2013, 11:14:16 AM
Spec Ops: The Line


This game has been on more than a few Top 10 lists of 2012, most citing the game's critique of the Modern Military Shooter and the dissociation of the violence in these games and the aftermath. The subject has been explored by many people far smarter than myself, so I'll leave that aspect alone. However, I will say that this game does force you to look at what you've done, not only as a character in a game but also as a player of the game.


The Good

The story is what gets the most praise from critics, and I agree. I won't say much as I don't want to drop any hints that ruin it, but the story is very good and the message by the end is very clear.

The dialogue and voice-acting are also really well done. If you listen to the characters at the beginning of the game and to then at the end of the game, then you can really see that they are in a different place mentally. Even the in-combat dialogue such as "moving to cover!", "cover me I'm reloading!", or "tango is down!" changes throughout the game to the point where you yell at your own gun while reloading "you're fucking slowing me down". Overall, they capture something I rarely see in games, and that is a change in character reflected by dialogue and voice acting.

The scenary is beautifully disturbing. While the individual character graphics might be somewhat bland, the background of a broken-down Dubai is absolutely surreal. Every scene could legitimately be argued to be plucked from a Dream/Nightmare, and I was mesmorized as I progressed through the city.

The sound and music were also very well done I thought. Tunes are regularly blasted over a PA system that are very similar to music heard in Vietnom films. When the PA doesn't blast, the standard music is a bit haunting. Its certainly not bad ass metal or guitar solo's.


The Bad

The gameplay is farely basic and barebones. Its a simply a Cover-Shooter, and as such if you get caught in the open you die. You do die very easily, so its important to play smart and use your team commands (very simplistic attack commands really). Weapons are limited and you can only carry 2 at a time. Limited ammo also means you are swapping weapons out a lot. I would describe the combat as challenging, but not fun in and of itself (which was the expressed intention).

The level design is somewhat of a mixed bag. As I mentioned, the scenary is beautiful, but you don't get time to appreciate it as you move from fight to fight. The action sequences are also sometimes WAY over the top, and for a story like this it really pulled me out of the game. One scene in particular was so ridiculous that I'm not sure if it was being ironic or not.


The Ugly

The story can be considered ugly as well as good. This is not a game where there are any heroes. Ugliness pervades the story, the setting, and the characters. The game even gets ugly towards the player near the end, taunting or chastising you in loading screens. The endings (yes multiple endings) are, while fitting, an ugly way to end the game. It basically sit you on its lap and gives you a talking to. Half the conversation seems to be directed at the character Walker and the other half at the person playing Walker.


Overall I thought this was an excellent experience. I did not ENJOY the game in the same way that I enjoyed Borderlands 2, but it was a worthwhile experience. I don't see myself replaying this though. The multiplayer could be fun, but I read that the game designers did not create it and have disowned it as ruining the spirit of the game. I finished the game in 2 sessions, maybe about 8-10 hours total, so its not long if you're worried about it eating too much of your time up.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on January 15, 2013, 09:08:42 PM
Jet Set Radio.  In this game, you play a cel-shaded teenager who is incapable of not dancing.  Your goal is to inline-skate across an urban landscape, damaging property and endangering pedestrians, to vandalize specific walls (or sometimes other teenagers) with graffiti.  Much of the time you're being pursued by police officers or faceless corporate drones who attempt to beat you to death or shoot you--fortunately, this is Japan, where bullets and missiles only hurt a little bit.  All of this happens to a backdrop of quirky underground music broadcasted by a frenetic black DJ/narrator figure.

I expect this game wouldn't appeal to a lot of people.  You have to kind of like the music, which is very weird, and also the gameplay, which requires mastering finicky controls through a lot of repetition and failure.  I also remember Jet Set Radio Future (the sequel, which hasn't been re-released) being better in every department--graphics, music, controls, level design, and gameplay.  But I did enjoy playing through JSR despite its relative primitiveness.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on January 16, 2013, 04:09:11 AM
I love the Jet Set Radio soundtrack. I downloaded it awhile back and it is indeed a weird mix.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on February 09, 2013, 07:02:07 PM
Legend of Grimrock.  This game got some buzz for bringing back grid-based dungeoning with a tabletop RPG feel.  It's about 60% puzzle game and 40% action RPG.  The puzzles were interesting but at times frustrating; I got stuck several times on what I'd consider bad mandatory puzzles.  The action combat element was pretty fun, although nothing like a typical ARPG, being a combination of grid-based kiting and clicking on attack buttons as they cool down.  The RPG element was very truncated; I could spent two or three times as many skill points before my characters would have started to feel overdeveloped.  Overall, a fun game but not amazing.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on February 10, 2013, 09:30:36 AM
Torchlight II

Finished in the sense of "completed one playthrough." The game is fun enough and the classes varied enough that I'll probably do another.  I might try some multiplayer to see if that's more fun.

The game has been discussed extensively, so just some bullet points: Excellent level design, high quality graphics (particularly considering the price). Combat still feels a little 'off' and being a caster is a serious glass cannon problem.  Plot is thin and there's no end game.  Boss fights are a little frustrating in that they're just fight-die-runback a bunch of times.  Loot is OK, a little standard.  The pet-messenger mechanic is still awesome and it's kind of interesting how different weapons have different game mechanics (reach vs splash damage; piercing vs knockback, etc).  Skills are varied and let you do many interesting builds, all of which seem viable.  Definitely a win for the $10 or so it costs these days.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on February 12, 2013, 05:23:04 AM
FarCry 3



I should start off by saying I did not like FarCry 2. I finished it, but it was very tedious and full of annoyances. Thankfully, FC3 fixed a lot of my gripes about the previous title.


The Good
The most often heard expression relating to this game is, "Its Skyrim with guns". After playing it, I find that is a fairly apt description. The game world consists of 2 islands and no invisible walls (that I found). There are plenty of pirates on the island as well as predator animals that make exploration exciting. The environment itself is lush and varied, and after immersing yourself for awhile you can start to notice landmarks and unique features that are not found anywhere else. There are also an abundance of vehicles, including a wingsuit gained later in the game that lets you not die when taking crazy leaps off cliffs.

Liberating the island feels meaningful, which is a big plus. Areas become devoid of pirates after destroying a pirate outpost, and reactivating communication towers (minor platforming puzzles) provide shop discounts and freebies. The crafting system is also surprisingly fun and easy to grasp. It also gives a reason to hunt dangerous game.

The leveling system is also surprisingly well done. Each talent felt meaningful and added something to the game experience, especially the stealth kill options. It was also done in such a way as picking one path doesn't exclude another path.


The Bad
Like previous Far Cry games, the driving in this game is HORRIBLE. Vehicles do not control well and the perspective makes avoiding obstacles even more difficult. Ultimately fast travel and foot travel seem to be better means of transportation for the most part.

The weapons are bland and uninteresting (mostly). I will temper this critique with the fact that the guns are meant to be mostly scavenged pieces of equipment, and Borderlands 2 really spoiled me by making awesomely magnificant guns. At the end of the day though, there are a few unique weapons that were decent (and most all are customizable), but only a handful really felt "cool".

The AI in this game was also pretty weak. Enemies seemed happy to blindly charge to their death, clump up so they can communially eat a rocket, or do their standard "run to cover and immediately peek out". Oddly enough, I think the best AI in a FPS that I can recall is from FEAR, but its something that painfully stands out.


The Ugly
The hero and his friends are bunch of rich douchebags. The story gets pretty gritty, so you don't necessarily like to see his friends tortured or hear about implied rape...but in the flashbacks you see that the protagonist and his friends are not very sympathetic. Of course, there really aren't any sympathetic characters in this game (as you find out by the end).

The story itself is very dark and "gritty". I tries to shove an Alice in Wonderland vibe down your throat, but in this case the shoe barely fits. It had potential, and I really liked how early on your character's personality changes. Some of his conversations really show that the character is slipping into madness (similar to Spec Ops: The Line), but they ignore that aspect later and I feel it is a wasted opportunity.


Special Notes: Voss & Imperialism
Prior to playing the game, I heard a lot of hype surrounding Voss (one of the main villains). I have to say, he failed to live up to the hype. He's a good bad guy, don't get me wrong...but he's in the game far too little and has too little interaction with the protagonist. Meetings basically involve a monologue followed by some intricate death that ultimately fails to kill you. And in typical Bond fashion, Voss never waits to watch you die or confirm the kill. Some people were saying he was villain of the year, but in no way, shape, or form does the top Handsome Jack.

The other thing I heard a lot about prior to playing the game had to do with the game being Imperialistic. Basically, that the natives relied on the white man for help because they were too incompetant to do it themselves. I did not see this at all. What I saw, very plainly, was a guy who the natives said had "the warrior's spirit". Skin color was never mentioned. In fact the only time any sort of racism was mentioned was by Dennis (supporting character) who said Americans made fun of his accent when he immigrated and thusly paid him less. The protagonist never tries to change the natives' way of life or mention anything about how things are done in 'Merica. In fact, its some of the natives that constantly tell the protagonist to "let go" of his former life. In my book, I chalk the Imperialism complaint up to people looking to find an issue to complain about.



Overall, FC3 is a very fun game. If you like sandbox environments, dark stories set admist vibrant settings, and a cast of psychotic lunatics...well....FarCry 3 will scratch you right where you itch.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on February 12, 2013, 06:13:15 AM
Witcher 2

I talked a lot about my experiences on the "does it get better" thread. Generally what I found was in line with what others have said - the graphics are very good, the story is excellent (if you don't mind lots of long cut-scenes and inescapable sequences), the combat is... interesting enough, though it felt like a console game most of the time.

It is gruesome and foul, but there are people to like and sides to sympathize with. The game presents a major plot split early on but I'm just not motivated enough to go back and replay it to see the other stuff. The side quests get repetitive to the point that I skipped the side quests in Act 3 in favor of following the major storyline.

Overall a solid B+/A- - I can see room for improvement and if they do well with the just-announced Witcher 3 I'll probably buy that.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on February 13, 2013, 05:55:24 AM
The Binding of Isaac (http://store.steampowered.com/app/113200/)

A weirdly creepy cartoon-animated 2D adventure-shooter.  Got it as part of the Humble Bundle I believe. I'm not a fan of horror, nor of 2D shooters so the game started with two negatives for me. That said, I still mostly enjoyed it.  It's got a few simple puzzle mechanics and a gameplay feel that reminded me of old-style two-joystick arcade games (Robotron, anyone?).  You pick up upgrades and special items like keys that unlock rooms or chests and bombs that can be used to destroy enemies or saved to get you through impassable puzzles or blow open doors.

It's somewhat rogue-like in that there are no restore points or autosaves. Once you die you have to start over, and the levels are semi-randomly generated so you can get obviously good and obviously bad starts.  My biggest gripe is that it doesn't have a save+quit option, which means you can't just play a few rooms and then come back later.  The presence of this feature in FTL means I play a lot more of that game than I otherwise would and I don't see any reason for its absence here.

Overall a solid B, and not bad for five bucks.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on February 24, 2013, 10:00:13 PM
Arkham City.

Amazing visuals and cinematic brawling gameplay.  I played through on hard mode, which was challenging but not too frustrating, since the controls were quite good (usually).  The riddler puzzles were also interesting and varied.  The voice acting was good, the characterization was good, and the story was decent.

There were two notable drawbacks.  First and foremost, the PC engine crashed about once an hour on my machine due to an apparent memory leak.  Second, this (http://filmcrithulk.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/goddammit-video-games-the-first-few-hours-of-arkham-city-is-lots-of-fun-but-super-duper-sexist/) is basically right from my point of view.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on February 28, 2013, 11:53:03 AM
Been away for a while so heres an update on the games that are finished in that timeframe:

Assassins Creed 3

Fun game. Cool main character. Very similar to 2 and its sequels combat wise. New features such as hunting and tree running are neat but sometimes feel like a waste. Best new feature is boat combat. All I could think of was how I wish the main character had been a pirate because the boat combat was fun. Well TA DA! ACIV is a pirate so that should be awesome. Main character felt flat. Characters around him, including the original character you play were a lot cooler. If you like the series, worth the time. If you didn't, probably not worth your time. If you have never played the series, play AC2 and AC:Brotherhood. Still the two best ones. This "ended" the main arc which was decent though I actually would have liked more options. High production value. Decent game overall though.

Borderlands 2

Awesome game. Still doing the DLC. Not much I can add other than I thoroughly loved it.


Lego:Lord of the Rings

Silly game I know but an absolute blast. IF you have ever played these games, then you know the charm they have. They have really expanded and let you explore now and can be kind of fun. This one, like its predecessor, let you explore the world. Getting to explore the world of Tolkien is a lot of fun as a bunch of Lego characters.  Overly simple though but still a fun romp through the land. Still the best series I have that I can play with the wife.

Black Ops 2

Done in the sense that I have hit max level (prestige) twice and almost at time three. If you enjoy multiplayer shooters, this one has done a great job standing out from its predecessors. The customization of your class has been expanded greatly. Also you get a lot of gadgets which are really fun. The combat is generally fast-paced which is nice. Guns don't really feel overpowered and it is common to see people using the guns you start with when they get to max level. The  biggest problem, as in any COD, is hacking. Not as bad on consoles but still there. A lot of fun though.

Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Leahnidas on February 28, 2013, 12:29:13 PM
Hitman: Absolution

I actually finished this awhile ago but have obsessively been playing the Contracts mode so never really shared my thoughts. Contracts, if you didn't know, is a mode where you select a mission level from the game but then the rest is up to you. You can select up to three targets for assassination and then set the parameters for a "successful" kill by doing whatever you want. For example, you mark your targets and then go the entire mission without drawing suspicion, or using a certain costume/weapon, etc. There's just an incredible amount of choices and since these created missions are then uploaded to your game provider of choice (XBL, PSN), there's an endless supply of missions and you're unlikely to play the same kind of mission twice. Needless to say it's incredibly addictive and fun to play and is by far the best part of the game.

The single player campaign is kinda meh. I enjoyed it enough as a fan of the series but overall felt let-down in comparison to the far superior Blood Money. There are some really creative missions where the game shines, mostly in large areas that give you a plethora of options for completing your given tasks. Mostly though things are pretty linear, if only from the perspective that it's easier to do one thing than anything else. On the lower difficulty levels, this takes form in the ability to kill everything in sight with reckless abandon without worry of dying; you would have to be completely careless to die to anything other than a one-shot explosion. You don't unlock a lot of things in this playstyle but if you're playing that way in an assassin game, it's likely you don't care anyway. The higher difficulty levels are just as limiting though, in my opinion, because any situation other than being completely invisible usually leads to your death; even a surprise isolated firefight with one person will eff you up.

The controls are also fairly wonky, especially if you're a veteran of the series. I've had a number of stealth kills messed up by being forced into a timed button sequence melee fight, thus alerting everyone in the world to my presence. The new Instinct ability is fairly inconsequential as you don't need it on easier difficulties and you never have enough on the highest difficulty to use it except maybe once a level.

The plot tries to tell a more over-reaching story, much like Blood Money, but features some of the most ridiculous characters and settings that it's hard to get too into it. The easily offended will want to steer clear of the game for sure, as the dialogue is rancid and there are a number of situations where even I was like "Really?" The game has been mocked in the past for generic villains but turning the dial to the extreme other side was not the way to fix it. Interestingly enough, the controversial Saints from the promo trailer were amongst the least offensive things in the game, both in execution and by comparison.

Bottom line is if you like the series and have XBL/PSN, the game is worth it for Contracts mode alone. Barring that, it's good enough for maybe a rental but certainly isn't as timeless as the other games in the series.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on March 04, 2013, 12:13:05 PM
Max Payne 3

Shooter with a story. I have heard it compared to the movie Man on Fire a lot. I can see the similarities but in many ways it is different. The main is that Denzel Washington's character was much more likable than the protagonist, Max Payne. I found the story to be really well done. The action scenes and gun fights were also a blast. In fact I think Rockstar  has gotten really great at incredible set pieces and really scenic moments. My one really fond memory of Red Dead was right after the mid point riding along after a big story moment. The music was perfect and the back-drop was great. There was a moment like that in Max Payne. Huge gun fight scene, perfectly picked music, and just a great cinematic feel to it.

The combat was well done and very similar to past Max Payne games. The game was decently difficult and penalized you for getting in the wrong spot and being overly aggressive. The evolution of enemies was appropriate and the later in the game, the larger a mistake penalized you. You could also play a similar "revive" game as to Borderlands where you are rewarded for keeping enemies within gun shot to bring you back. If you died, you would just restart that checkpoint and not have to go back far. Also if you died too many times, they started giving you more pills when you revived.

The biggest problem was the script. It was atrocious. The lines Max spouts out during your adventure are atrociously cheesy. It was so bad my wife started making fun of it and at time I had considered muting him because it would take away from the experience which otherwise was great. Short game. 10 - 12 hours on normal. Very dark and depressing but similar to the other games in that respect. Though if you know anything about the cartels in Brazil, nothing too surprising.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on March 11, 2013, 11:56:44 AM
Gears of War 3

I always seem to finish these games right before the next one comes out. I enjoyed the game though I feel the franchise is losing a lot of its luster. In many ways I enjoy the combat in the ME series a lot more. The enemies don't really change much and you have the same weapons from the first two games. The combat is also identical. The big reason to continue to play this series (from a single-player perspective) is for the story and cinematic value. It does feel like you are playing a movie which is fun. The story was decent, though cliche at times. At first I was semi-bored playing it but by the end I was intrigued and wanted to see where the story is going next. Also some of the boss fights were pretty fun. I will not be picking up the new one until it hits $20 but I think this was a good end to the series.

Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on March 17, 2013, 09:23:23 AM
Cave Story.  This is an indie 2D platformer action RPG with a moderate amount of storyline.  It's quite challenging; I played through on medium difficulty, gave up on the final boss fight, then played through a couple of times on easy mode.  I enjoyed the basic gameplay (though it's very twitch-focused) but thought it was too parsimonious with save points.

It's not really related, but playing Cave Story sometimes reminded me of this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koMIQipNbeA).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on March 26, 2013, 01:05:58 PM
Crysis 3

To start this review out I have to give the warning that this game committed my number 1 worst crime in video games. That is to have a bug where you cannot beat the game. I don't care how hard or difficult it is. How much time it takes. If I am going to put that much time in, I better be able to beat it. There is a bug that after the final boss (or sometimes during the 3rd phase) the game will freeze and many people cannot beat it currently. Mind you this is for console. I do not know about computer. Rant off.

Ignoring that fact, the combat was pretty fun. From a shooter perspective, I enjoyed the abilities of the super suit like stealth, or super armor, or jumping high. The weapons were neat. The main weapon they advertise, the crossbow, was by far the coolest weapon. In fact, if you were playing stealth you never needed another weapon. The boss fights were neat and there definitely some challenging moments. Also there were some customization for the suit that could make some neat playstyles. The vehicle parts I really didn't like. But this really only becomes a problem in one of the late missions. I just ended up hopping out and ignoring it. They are optional at least. Also the checkpoints are sometimes in bad spots. One time I reloaded and got blown up immediately. That was unfortunate. Other than the bug, I would say a mediocre shooter. Until they get it fixed though, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone (for console).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on March 27, 2013, 10:43:47 AM
Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty

Single player only. I figured since Heart of the Swarm was out, I should probably finish Wings. I really like the direction they took with Starcraft 2 single player. The biggest change I can tell is they kept the single and multiplayer separate in many ways. This was done by allowing a upgrade system where you could choose one of two options. These included instant build supply depots, refinieries that did not require SCVs, turrets for you command center, etc. Some of these are included in multiplayer, but most are not. It was nice to see because it didn't feel like they were worried about balancing one around the other. After the upgrade systems, and some units which were single player specific, they became basically the same game. If you liked Starcraft, or RTS games for that matter, you will like Starcraft 2. It was well polished and played incredibly smooth. I thoroughly enjoyed the game. Also, the achievement system is super cool. Adds a lot of replayability to the missions and encourages you to play again on hard mode.

On a side note, some of the complaints are very valid. First, you do have to be online to sign in. There were times it would let me play offline after I had signed in if my internet went out, but you could not get achievements and it felt limited. I do not approve of this new system that Blizzard has brought in. I really like the rest of the product however, so I will continue to support this IP. This has turned me off supporting Blizzard's other products for now. Second, you do only get one race in single player. There are times you get to mess around with playing as the protoss (I will not post any spoilers) but they are extremely brief. However I think the length of the game was solid (15 hours in a run through on normal taking my time and failing a few times; Howlongtobeat.com says 17 hours). I did not feel shorted after playing it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on March 27, 2013, 12:37:10 PM
One thing I like about SC2 which is unfortunately absent from D3 is the ability to play offline-if you login to battle.net, you can play offline for (I believe) 7 days. This is perfect for vacations and planes.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on April 07, 2013, 12:51:51 AM
Bioshock

I'm behind the curve on this one, I know. With all the talk of Bioshock Infinite, I thought I'd give the original Bioshock a try.

As someone who tolerates FPS for the story, I was pleased overall. The story was as impressive as the Bioshock Infinite reviews (referring back to this game) had made it out to be: I "got' the meta-commentary of the confrontation with Andrew Ryan immediately. The graphics were impressive; they stand up to games being release six years later.

My only complaint is that there was at least one section in which you basically "farmed mats" to get to the next zone. I've sorta stopped playing WoW because I've grown tired of that pointless task, and it doesn't get any better when put into an FPS game.

With that said, I enjoyed playing the game. I'm going to skip Bioshock 2 (reviewers seem to characterize it as "more of the same") and move on to Bioshock Infinite in a few weeks.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on April 07, 2013, 09:14:09 AM
Rage.

Metacritic posits this game to be an 8/10, which I really don't agree with. It's just another brown shooter. At times, I thought it might just be a tech demo for the next Fallout.

Set in yet another post-apocalyptic wasteland, it's like a humorless cross between Fallout and Borderlands without any RPG mechanics. You run around one-way brown corridors and drive around brown wastelands, shooting bandit gang members or soldiers that are ridiculous bullet sponges, or alternately hyper-spastic mutants that jump around like Yoda in episode 2. The shotgun is the only thing that can hurt anything by default; everything else requires upgraded ammo. I'm really not sure how the human race made it as far into the future as it did as there are hundreds of men (mostly to shoot) but only about 10 women in the whole wasteland (only about half of which wear more than just a metal bikini/miniskirt).

The writing is utterly mediocre and much of the plot doesn't make much sense (the first 'beat' being the most nonsensical--that of John Goodman rescuing you and then saying "I should never have done that because I've endangered my entire town. Now go shoot these totally unrelated random bandits."--Excuse me, what?). There are about three or four interesting character designs and the rest are brown and uninspired. I actually struggled to finish it, just to see the ending which has been universally panned. I didn't find it any more terrible than the rest of this mediocre game, and so I remain baffled.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on April 11, 2013, 07:10:56 PM
Syndicate (2012)

This is a mostly competent but not outstanding cyberpunk shooter. It's surprisingly colorful, using over-saturated bright lights to great effect. Despite that, it's still a straight corridor shooter of 20 levels for about 6-8 hours with fairly standard weapons (although it does occasionally let you have fun with a flamethrower and an infinite-ammo minigun).

I enjoy cyberpunk and it claims to be written by a published author, but the plot mostly touches on cyberpunk themes (transhumanism, corporate espionage, hacking) without actually addressing them. The only thing it does address is the corporate vs. proletariat conflict which it deals with in a predictably ham-fisted way.

There is a multiplayer component that is 4-player co-op and is greatly reminiscent of Mass Effect 3's multiplayer.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on April 12, 2013, 05:53:37 AM
So its nothing like the old-school Syndicate? =/
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on April 12, 2013, 10:56:06 AM
So its nothing like the old-school Syndicate? =/

No, it's an FPS corridor-shooter based vaguely on the old Syndicate lore.

The co-op multi is trying to be similar to the old-school one--4 players doing arbitrary missions--but it is an action game and not strategic in the least.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on April 12, 2013, 11:35:23 AM
The old Syndicate's cinematic intro is still one of my favorite and most well-remembered video game intro's.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on April 15, 2013, 10:04:37 AM
Bioshock: Infinite


We've got a couple of threads going on it, so I'll keep it short and sweet. The game is probably a must play as it has one of the best sci-fi stories currently out there. The setting is breath-taking and everything you see and hear is deliberate. I honestly don't see any mistakes, and if something looks or sounds "off", then it is intentional. That's really rare for any piece of media, let alone a video game. The voice acting and rapport between Elizabeth and Booker is extremely well done and they have quickly become my favorite duo, specifically because their characters do evolve throughout the game. The Booker and Elizabeth at the end are not the same ones that set out at the beginning of the adventure.

The biggest and only true complaint I have is the combat or precisely, the gameplay. The combat is dull and uninspired. You won't find any combat encounters that afterwards you go, "wow that was awesome, lets do it again". Instead combat is just a tedious chore until you can get back to the story. I heard mention that somewhere in development the Developers opted to go more combat heavy in order to appeal to the CoD player and ship more units. That decision, while it might help the sales figures, really does hurt the final product when looking at it as a piece of art. Overall though the combat isn't bad, but when flanked by an amazing setting and an out-of-this-world story, its mediocrity becomes very glaring.

TLDR: Play it. At least once. Play it. Even if you hate FPS games. Play it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Wren on April 15, 2013, 10:24:34 AM
The interesting fallout from the combat in bioshock seeming so mediocre/overly violent/out of place was that it has people questioning if such a game could be made without combat at all, not a point and click adventure but something in between so if nothing else I'm glad the meh combat was there to get people thinking about alternatives and maybe shake people out of the assumption that there has to be an element of hardcore combat in order to sell units so you can make the story you want to make.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Seniummortus on April 15, 2013, 10:29:06 AM
What difficulty were you playing on? If you found the combat un-inspired I feel like you perhaps weren't playing a hard enough difficulty. On normal its easy to cruise through just shooting things but on hard you're forced to use your vigors in fun interesting and exciting ways. Also the sky rail comes in super handy and is a blast to zoom around pouncing on people. By the end I was charging around whacking people and blasting them with my shotgun then flying away on the sky rail to shoot at them from afar before pouncing back down for some more charging. This was because 1. ammo was a bit more scarce on hard, couldn't rely on bullets alone and 2. If I stayed still too long I found myself getting brought back to life by Elizabeth before I could count to two.

Overall I found the combat was 10x more dynamic than the other bioshocks which reduced to *lightning* *shoot* *lightning* *shoot* *repeat* before long because that was the best most obvious way to take things down. I tried this in infinite, had to on an encounter or two but it wasn't nearly as effective and I found myself jumping to a skyrail before long.  There were plenty of times I did things that made me go "hahahaha, did I just pull that off? that was awesome!" usually after some skyrail pounce take out 5 guys run away before the other 5 take you out... thing. anyway. thats my 2 cents on the combat.

edit for wren's post:

Skyrail executions aside (which I found to be inefficient anyway) it doesn't seem that the combat is any more violent... I mean in bioshock 2 you had a friggin drill that you shoved into people. I'd expand on this thought more but I have to go shove knowledge into the brains of undergrads... maybe later :P
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on April 15, 2013, 10:53:00 AM
I played on Normal, then a 2nd time on Hard. If I play it again it will be on the 1999 difficulty. The skyrail was neat when it was there, but it didn't exactly make any of the combat encounters fun. Shock Jockey was pretty much required and I didn't see a lot of the other Vigors providing much flavor outside of certain combo's (which weren't really even necessary with the upgrades to SJ). You can pretty much coast the game with Possession and Shock Jockey.

The issues with the combat stems less from dull Vigors and Arsenal, and more from the "clown car" style of combat that had little to no variation. If you can name any combat scenario that stands out in your opinion, please let me know. I can't think of anywhere that was specifically a "fun" fight. Even the final encounter was just waves of canon fodder with a single new mechanic added in.

Touching on what Wren said, I agree 100% that this game had the wrong type of combat assigned to it. It would make much more sense for the story if there were more dialogue options and "combat" (like an RPG, especially DE:HR), used stealth and disguise, and had a few meaningful combat encounters.

That being said, I think the violence would still need to be there. Booker is not a peaceful man. He is a violent man prone to fits of hyper-violence. Those bits need to be there and they need to stand out to show the viewer that Booker is not the "good guy" who is just taking out the trash. He is drawn to violence, he is aware of this, and he hates himself for it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Wren on April 15, 2013, 12:03:58 PM
As a sidenote I should add I wasn't making a particular argument about the violence other than to note that other people have brought it up as a topic. I did find it over the top at times but overall it didn't bother me as part of the game probably because (as I mentioned elsewhere) a lot of my own tactics were largely bloodless compared to some of the options.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on April 17, 2013, 07:10:10 PM
Syndicate Multiplayer

Despite what I put above, Syndicate's multiplayer co-op is significantly different than Mass Effect 3's wave-based co-op. Instead, it's goal-based, and much more reminiscent of an MMO instance, except where you shoot things (if that makes sense). Typically you are given a goal (collect 4X and bring them to a drop ship, assault to point A, escort robot Y to point Z, kill boss B) and once accomplished, it's checkpointed in case you wipe. There are 2-5 checkpoints per map/dungeon/thing.

Every character can have any ability (there are 30 points worth and you can get all 30 eventually when you level up) and equip any (pair of) weapons and any tech abilities (basically magic spells), all of which can be upgraded (via tokens). Any character can heal any other character except themselves (which is limited to regen and certain special techs), so it behooves team members to stick together and support each other.

There are 2 problems, one of which is less of a problem than the other. The first (lesser) problem is that hardly anyone plays it anymore; it's almost a year old, and finding partners is hard. This means that you end up soloing a lot. On the other hand, the sense of accomplishment you get for overcoming odds meant to challenge 4 players is quite satisfying.

The bigger, long-term problem is that you sort of run out of content quickly. There are 9 maps and after a while you can get to memorize them. Enemy placement is only mildly random. Some are harder than others, meaning you tend to avoid them (as they are less soloable), limiting the content further. Additionally, you can level up and get all the abilities you want and upgrade your favorite weapons in a matter of about 30-35 hours. After that, there's not much to do except the same content, except on harder difficulties. Compare to Mass Effect 3, which has 6 classes and god only knows how many characters, guns, powers and achievements.

Still, it was fun for 10 bucks. Plus, the female characters are fully cyber-armored in metal and trenchcoats and curse like sailors. So there's that.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on April 19, 2013, 06:24:53 PM
Spec Ops: The Line

This game is primarily concerned with making a point (or rather, several). The writing (dialog) is pretty good and most of the voice acting is too. The plot direction is serviceable, but mostly in service to making its points.

Because of the points it tries to make, though, the gameplay suffers. The most glaring example of this is the sound effects. Gunfire sounds more like the clicking of a toy gun rather than genuine gunfire (or at least the loud clanging thwacks that one is used to in these games). This combined with the fact that both your enemies and you are incredibly fragile (one short burst of automatic fire can kill you, and 2-4 bullets will kill most enemies except armored ones) gives the game a weightless feeling, as if it's made of tinkertoys or blown glass.

Contrast the fragility with the relative ease of health regeneration; by taking adequate cover, you get all your health back within 5-10 seconds, and so in a sense you are an invincible action hero, and you certainly rack up a body count of hundreds (and the absurdity of this should be obvious to the observant). Plus, most of the bodies are of American soldiers. The game is self-consciously assigning you the goal of killing American servicemen. Turrets, gatling guns in helicopters, rockets, collapsing buildings, sandstorms, it's full of action movie/military game tropes, and through it you are simultaneously vulnerable and invincible, killing people who in other games/movies would ostensibly be good guys.

Sometimes, the game will play loud rock music while you are in a firefight. This itself is a comment, because of the subdued weapons fire, it often makes it impossible to hear anything, making the point that if there really were pounding music during a genuine gunfight it would only make things worse rather than better because you couldn't hear shit.

While most games/movies just show the body count of bad guys and explosions, this one likes to show you aftermath, particularly the results of your actions. The centerpiece of this is the use of White Phosphorous, but also the consequent post-traumatic stress syndrome and moral injury.

Then there's the sections where the main character could logically leave an area safely but consciously chooses to go back and murder all the opposition, just for...spite? The joy of killing? Homicidal rage? Thoroughness? It's hard to say, and might lead to self reflection if you've ever gone back to an area in a game that you've mostly cleared in order to clean it out for whatever reason.

I think it's certainly something to play if you are interested in the 'meta' commentary about games, violence, and (in a time where video games are seen by some as more dangerous than actual firearms) how the people who don't play games view them. It can at times give you the perspective of the outside looking in on our hobby.

On the other hand, if you are just looking for a game where you shoot stuff, this ain't it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on April 22, 2013, 10:08:35 AM
Injustice:Gods Among Us - Story/Acade Modes

Injustice is a game that fills a niche that is much needed in fighting games. It is fun and over-the-top and allows comic fans to enjoy a good comic book fighting game, that is a little more serious than the MvC series.

I only played the Story and Arcade because online fighting games don't really appeal to me as much.

Story mode was fun. A decently put together story that actually kept me pretty intrigued. I think it took me about 6 hours to beat. It puts you in the shoes if different DC heroes and lets you play out the fights. The fights never were impossible and often I never had to play a fight more than one or two times (other than the last couple of fights). The arcade mode is just like any other arcade mode in a fighting game, or MK game for that matter, Fight 10 dudes and then get a terribly cheap and cheesy ending. Fun for practice, not much more. Multiplayer I hear is fun but at times incredibly cheap. Apparently there are combos where you can take 100% of someone's health bar. They don't seem to care a whole lot about balancing this fact and I find this kind of refreshing. From what I hear though, people are still really enjouying the multiplayer in the game. Maybe it is just not meant for the hardcore fighting game fans.

Combat in Injustice was enjoyable. Three basic attack buttons which can be used in different orders for different combos. A fourth button that does something special, depending on the hero. For green lantern it makes his special moves do slightly more damage for a short time. For batman it brings down bats that surround him and he can either "throw" them out or use them as some form of shield. The final buttons are just "quick-use" buttons that let you throw and use your ultimate move with one button. Blocking is done by hitting back at the right time. The special moves are pretty fun and are based on time tested button combos like <-, ->, A and down, up, A. Nothing too complicated from what I have seen. The ultimates are either hit or miss. Most of the time they are over the top and fun to watch. The only problem is every champ only has one, so it can get old sometimes. Though you can use your super move meter one of three ways: 1) all of it for an ultimate move, 2) one bar to power up a normal super move, or 3) a clash which is basically a wager system when you are on your second health bar that allows the two heroes to "wager" a certain number of bars against the other person. The clash system is actually pretty good. IT allows you to heal yourself if you are low. Many times I would use my ultimate, thereby expending all my bar, and then my opponent would use clash to heal up since I had no more bars to counter his.

Finally the cast is pretty good. There are gadget characters and power characters. For the most part, everyone I would have wanted to play is in it. I have enjoyed Green Lantern and Aquaman the best, which is saying a lot cause I really have 0 interest in Aquaman outside of the game.

Good: Fun to play; Over the top; Well done Story mode for a fighting game; DC heroes done at their best.

Bad: No real unlockables (where did all the costumes go? it really seems like adding in a bunch of unlockable costumes would have been incredibly easy and a lot of fun), slightly unbalanced multiplayer, there are a couple of glitches (minor but once I took an enemy down to 0 health the same time I Was taken down my first health bar and it said I lost).

I would recommend if you are a DC fan or just enjoy a fun fighting game.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on April 30, 2013, 06:40:56 AM
Darksiders 2


This is a sequel to the most-excellent Darksiders (which was basically Zelda with a darker twist). You play as one of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse, War in the first one and Death in the second. As a preface, I absolutely LOVED the first Darksiders for both its fluid combat, epic fights, Apocalyptic lore and setting, and puzzles. As for its sequel...


The Good...and Bad?
My biggest gripe with this game is that every good thing comes with an asterix. One of the best ways to describe this game is that its all over the place, and spread so thin it doesn't do anything really well. Despite this it does have a few moments of brilliance that really only serve to make it more frustrating when those moments are over.

The basics of the game follow Death as he tries to redeem his brother War by ressurecting all of humanity that was killed during the "End War" (that War was tricked into initiating despite the 7th Seal not being broken - which was the story of the first game). Death adventures through 4 distinct worlds: The Makers' Kingdom (Giant Dwarves), The Land of the Dead, Lostlight (Angelic Outpost), and Shadow's Edge (Demon Outpost). Action is much like God of War where Death has a mixture of martial and magical abilities to deal with swarms of enemies, relying on agility to dodge attacks rather than blocks. Simple puzzles also serve as breaks in the action that revolve around using Death's climbing abilities as well as special abilities to traverse obstacles.

Additions from the original game include a robust Loot system and Experience Points/Leveling/Talent Trees. Although I don't have an issue with the leveling system, I preferred the Soul Currency system of the first Darksiders. I also preferred the loot system of the original over the new A-RPG inspired style of random loot drops with varying stats.


The Ugly
The story in Darksiders 2 was utter garbage. It had potentional, but fizzled out about halfway through. Even Death seemed to lose interest in what he was doing. And by the end when he was faced with a soul-wrenching decision, Death's apathy mirrored my own about the entire experience. The ending itself was so weak it had to callback on the original Darksiders (which had a BAD ASS ending).


Overall, I get the feeling Darksiders 2 was very heavily influenced by MMO-style gameplay. This is not a bad thing if the mechanics of the game are done well (Kingdom of Amular is an example). But Darksiders fails to meet expectations set by the first. The jumping puzzles are often extremely obvious and at times tedious. Cut scenes interrupt gameplay from time to time that show Death doing some amazing things that would have been a lot of fun to actually control and do yourself. Boss fights are mostly dull and predictable (*with 1 fight standing out early in the game as the best fight in the game).

The game is not bad, but disappointing. If you have the choice between Darksiders 1 and 2, then I would pick the former every time...or Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.


*Hands down the best encounter involved facing off against The Guardian (rock giant from the cinematic trailer). This encounter involved Death making use of his Horse and "puzzle solving" to defeat a creature the size of a mountain. It was like Shadows of the Colassus, and unfortunately this is the only fight like it in the game.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on May 01, 2013, 06:35:32 PM
FarCry 3

This game was fucking awesome. It cashes in on the promise of the first two; the lush jungle of the first with the open world of the second. And unlike the second, the area is full of stuff to do rather than constantly respawning outposts (ugh). The graphics are great. The music is good without being overbearing (except in rare instances). The voice acting for the main cast is fantastic--film quality, to my ears, and the subtle motion capture helped a lot. (On the other hand, the throwaway NPCs sound like they went to a street fair in Auckland and had a bunch of random Maori speak into the microphone--but it's easy to give it a by).

The main gameplay involves a progressive takeover of the island (although it's entirely optional) plus a set of story missions, some okay and some inspired. Upgrade paths for your character include territory acquisition (which unlocks guns), money (which also unlocks guns and their customizations), hunting (which unlocks increased gun/item/ammo capacity) and experience (from quests and defeat of enemies) which gives access to a talent tree. It was a little easy to max out my character (coming at about the 70% mark) but the gameplay remained compelling.

Both action and stealth gameplay are rewarded, in equal measure (I often switched between the two), and the sense of progression (one more outpost, one more tower, one more quest) made it hard to put down. There are a ton of collectibles but you are rewarded with meaningful XP for getting them so there is motivation to get them (as opposed to just an achievement announcing you wasted 10 hours of your life).

Not only all of this, but the story contains an examination of video games, violence, and power fantasies that culminates in what I thought was an excellent ending. And it did all of this with a much lighter touch than Spec Ops (subtlety what?).

If you can at all tolerate first-person shooters and the inevitable violence that comes along with them (there is ample blood, but no viscera), this game should not be missed.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on May 06, 2013, 08:31:02 AM
Uncharted 3

I really did not like this game. Plain and simple. I was a huge fan of the prior two so I finished this in hopes that it would get better the later you got in the game. It did not. A great review of it is: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-10-21-uncharted-3-drakes-deception-review. It discusses how the game has done a poor job of allowing the player to have control of the story.

For those who don't know, Uncharted is a third-person action game, in a similar vein to Tomb Raider. It is a game that thrives on its sharpness and cinematic action scenes and witty banter between characters. 1 and 2 were incredible and in fact 2, in my opinion, was one of those few games worthy of a 10/10. This game took what 2 did well and ran it into the ground. For example, there is a moment in 2 where you are climbing up something this is slowly falling and you are trying to make it to the top before it falls off a cliff. It is an exciting and tense scene. The atmosphere created was handled perfectly. In 3, they take these tense scenes and make them constant and often way too long. At one point I spent nearly an hour escaping from a burning building. An hour! And everything you jumped on was crumbling and falling apart. The tense atmosphere can only last so long. Also how many things in the world are on that verge of falling apart. I would say 85% of the ledges I jumped on would start falling or fall off. It got old.

The puzzles were another point of contention. Either one of two things happened for every puzzle. You either 1) couldn't figure out how to solve it because there were no clues so you had to wait for a companion to tell you how to do it, or 2) you know how to do it but can't until a companion walks up and tells you how. The game took away from you the ability to "solve" and interact and it made it boring.

Also the platforming scenes, while tough at times in previous games, were sorely missed. I realized halfway through this game that I really missed the jumping around and climbing on the walls that lasted for an extended period. There was two really good chapters and they had a lot of this. Those two chapters were all gun fights with pirates and climbing on ships. It was really fun.

To me this game is a great example of how a game with a huge budget can go terribly wrong. Pretty graphics are not enough anymore and this game just fell short in so many ways. It was like the Battleship movie version of video games. If you want a Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones-esque game, play Uncharted 2 or the new Tomb Raider. I hear it is pretty good.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on May 06, 2013, 09:13:25 PM
Although I didn't like Uncharted 3 as much as 2, I guess I liked it more than you (or Eurogamer) did. I didn't perceive the issue of "not having control of the story," since I find that to be a characteristic of all the Uncharted games. They aren't sandbox games; they're more like a series of puzzles to take you from one cutscene to the next.

My problem with the game may be the same as yours, expressed differently: I didn't like the increased use of "you must jump here to here to here within a certain block of time" puzzles. There was only one such platforming challenge in Uncharted 2; there were several in 3. As a platforming wimp, I found those as irritating as hell.

Or it may be that ledges don't crumble as often or as swiftly if you play in super-duper-easy mode, as I did.

Edit: Here's my original review of Uncharted 3, for what it's worth: http://www.deadlycupcakes.org/forums/index.php?topic=873.msg36077#msg36077

Ironically, if you go up a few messages from that review, you'll see that part of the reason I continued on to Uncharted 3 was on Gellin's advice! Gellin, did you make that suggestion back then based on the game's description in other reviews, or had you only started the game back then and just got around to finishing it now?
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gellin on May 06, 2013, 11:44:40 PM
Although I didn't like Uncharted 3 as much as 2, I guess I liked it more than you (or Eurogamer) did. I didn't perceive the issue of "not having control of the story," since I find that to be a characteristic of all the Uncharted games. They aren't sandbox games; they're more like a series of puzzles to take you from one cutscene to the next.

My problem with the game may be the same as yours, expressed differently: I didn't like the increased use of "you must jump here to here to here within a certain block of time" puzzles. There was only one such platforming challenge in Uncharted 2; there were several in 3. As a platforming wimp, I found those as irritating as hell.

Or it may be that ledges don't crumble as often or as swiftly if you play in super-duper-easy mode, as I did.

Edit: Here's my original review of Uncharted 3, for what it's worth: http://www.deadlycupcakes.org/forums/index.php?topic=873.msg36077#msg36077

Ironically, if you go up a few messages from that review, you'll see that part of the reason I continued on to Uncharted 3 was on Gellin's advice! Gellin, did you make that suggestion back then based on the game's description in other reviews, or had you only started the game back then and just got around to finishing it now?
Haha yeah, sorry about that :/. 2 was extremely good. Still one of my favorites. I had started playing 3 and was enjoying it at first, and then got distracted, which tends to happen with me a lot :). I just finished it over the weekend. Getting back into it, I was just majorly disappointed. Something about it just really rubbed me the wrong way. If you beat it then you remember the burning building mission. That was the beginning of my dislike. I don't know what it was about that mission and from there on out but for some reason it just really rubbed me the wrong way. I couldn't figure out any of the puzzles (not due to difficulty but due to the fact there were no clues and I had to wait on my companions) and the fact that every ledge I jumped to was falling apart. At one point you were climbing on a perfectly good boat and the ledges were falling apart then too. It was like they were using that mechanic just to make you feel on edge. I thought hanging on the side of the boat would be dramatic enough but apparently not. I think my hope for the game was just too high. And yes I agree with your conclusion too. The timed events just needed to be less. I also think there is just better stuff out right now.

Also near the end you fight a particularly difficult group of bad guys and I died in the same area 10 - 12 times. It would reload and I would die within seconds. Over and over and over. There was no reason for them to make it that difficult.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on May 07, 2013, 03:40:18 PM
FarCry 3 Blood Dragon

This is a $15 standalone 3GB reskin of FarCry 3. It's a cross between late 80s (nintendo/sega) console games and bad 80s science fiction films. I loved it.

It's essentially FarCry 3 (invade an island, take over outposts via stealth/firepower, story missions) at turbo-speed with all pretense of seriousness removed and replaced with neon graphics and a synthesized soundtrack (by Power Glove). Cutscenes are all letterboxed semi-animated 2D, a la Metal Gear or Ninja Gaiden (for NES), although they are voiced. VHS tapes are among the collectibles. It took about 10-12 hours, which felt about right, although I would not have complained if I'd gotten more.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on June 18, 2013, 02:36:23 PM
PA:OTRSPOD 4

Similar to 3, this is a 16-bit-style console RPG by Zeboyd. It's significantly longer than any of the previous 3 games (clocking in at 16+ hours). Instead of characters with equippable classes, instead your party members are trainers (a la Pokemon) and you use Penny Arcade style mobs in combat (Deep Crow, Broodax, Twisp & Catsby, etc.) and you can switch them in and out from your collection. As a result, combat didn't feel quite as deep or fun as #3, but it was still enjoyable. It was also somewhat less difficult.

The writing is...Penny Arcade. If you like Tycho's blog post, it's the same thing. Except with monsters. And Lovecraft.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on June 21, 2013, 06:20:47 AM
NeverDead


In this game you play as Bryce, a Demon Hunter cursed with immortality. The tone is more Anime-Goofy than dark and twisted, and the story is fairly straight forward and simple. The game attempts a few serious moment amidst a sea of bad comedy and puns. Gameplay itself is a mix of swordplay and shooting, missing the mark on both aspects imo.


The Good
The concept is the best thing in the game. As an immortal, you can not die (although your head can be digested by certain enemies). Attacks will instead dismember you, and you have to pull yourself back together to keep fighting. When dismembered you have options, for instance you can still fire your guns if your arms are removed. In fact one boss requires you to rip your own arm off and toss it into the beasts maw, shooting it from the inside once its swallowed. Certain areas are also only accessable after pulling your head off and tossing it like a basketball.

The Boss fights are also well done and interesting, although far too few exist.

Voice acting is fairly decent, although the dialogue itself is cheesy at best. Bryce's voice actor is better than the rest, although whether that's through talent, dialogue, or directing I can't say for sure. Apparently he is a big name in Anime voice acting though.


The Bad
Gameplay becomes repetative very quickly. Enemies are limited to 2 major types, which some small variation throughout. Areas are also infested with Gauntlet-Style enemy generators that have to be taken out. The formula gets repetative quickly.


The Ugly
Abilities are treated with an XP system where you purchase and equip them. You have a limited number of ability slots, so you have to customize your "build". While this sounds interesting, I found it more annoying and clunky. This game really did not need an in depth XP system as the game itself is fairly "Arcady".

The actual combat mechanics are also rough around the edges. I like the concept of the Sword play (you control the direction of the swing), but it prevents the game from feeling smooth in combat as you are locked in place during the swings. Gunplay is also difficult as enemies are very fast moving, while the slower enemies are immune to gunfire. The concept is good, but execution was not on point.


overall, NeverDead was a decent $10 game. It wasn't long or extremely engaging, but fun to pick up and try. The dismembered mechanics were very interesting and provided something different to an otherwise stale game.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on June 21, 2013, 09:30:33 PM
The Last Remnant.  This is a competent but not distinguished JRPG, similar in feel and (unfortunately) quality to recent Final Fantasy games.  The storyline is pretty generic and the characters aren't all that interesting.  What I've heard of the English voice acting sounded kind of painful, but fortunately I had the option to play through with Japanese voice acting and subtitles.  The main plotline is relatively short, and only visits about a third of the game world; the rest of the world areas are mostly visited by one of the several dozen side quests.  There is also a large array of "guild tasks," which ask you to kill N monsters of a particular type and offer some kind of reward.

Unlike traditional JRPGs where you have a 3-4 member party, in The Last Remnant your party grows to 18 people.  Instead of giving instructions to each party member for each combat round, you organize them into subgroups called "unions" and give orders to the unions, which are then translated into actions for each party member.  There are quicktime events which allow you to hit harder and/or sooner in a combat round, or you can turn those off and ask the game engine to assume an 80% success rate.  The game's progression system has a tremendous amount of breadth but is fairly inscrutable.  For example, you can craft powerful weapons for a fairly hefty fee, but you only directly control one character's equipment, and you can't tell in advance whether one of your party members will ask to borrow the weapon.

There is also a degree of monster auto-scaling in the game which can lead to hopeless situations.  Enemy health and raw damage does not increase as you level, but they do gain access to more powerful abilities and use them more often.  The final boss fight also comes in eight different difficulties depending on how much of a completionist you are, and the highest difficulty (which I got) seems to require a lot more min-maxing than I did, so I had to youtube the ending.

The PC port is surprisingly good with one major caveat: it has slow loading times, even with an SSD.  Completing some of the guild tasks requires a fair bit of grinding, and having to wait 10-20 seconds to zone into an area of start combat can make that pretty painful.  The UI still feels like a console game (there is minimal mouse support; I played with a controller), but the graphical quality is excellent and the game's systems were retuned significantly from the XBox 360 version, apparently for the better.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on July 02, 2013, 11:13:40 AM
Dead Space 3


After playing Dead Space 2, I was very apprehensive about starting Dead Space 3. The studio had admitted that they were making the game "more actiony" in order to appeal to a larger crowd. EA expected this title to sell 5 million copies. This is usually a recipe for disaster. Fortunately Dead Space 3 avoids being eviscerated by these factors and emerges on the other side bruised, broken, and beaten...but alive.


The Good
With the "more actiony" comment as well as the addition of Co-Op multiplayer and a setting that looked like Lost Planet, I was afraid this game would forget its roots. I was pleasantly surprised when the first 6 hours take place on various derelict claustrophobic ships. The foreboding music and ambience sounds keep the tension high as you explore the ships looking for spare parts. Once on the planet's surface, you explore an abandone military-science facility that had a lot of creepiness built into it as well. Overall, the setting, sound, and level design were done very well.


Another surprising feature in this game is the weapon crafting system. While it can be argued that this type of system might not have been best suited for a survival horror game, it does make sense that Isaac can engineer his own makeshift weapons using spare parts. The system is surprisingly deep and brilliant once you understand how it works. It also allows you to create weaponry specifically designed for your playstyle. This is a system that needs to be copied by other games, specifically action-shooters.


One of my biggest complaints about Dead Space 2 were the over-the-top cinematic action sequences. It completely ruined the immersion for me. Thankfully, this game cuts back on it significantly. Only one scene stands out as being truly ridiculous (Isaac first suiting up), and while I know it was supposed to be bad ass it came off as forced. I could think of very specific changes to make that scene work out better and still come off as tense and bad ass.


Boss fights in this game (I.E. fight vs. building sized REVIVAL!morphs) were done very well. All of the fights contained multiple fight stages that were very organic and exciting. The only downside being that there were just not enough. I don't care if its too "video gamey", boss fights are fun!


The Bad
The only truly bad thing in this game is that the REVIVAL!morphs are no longer terrifying creatures. It might be due to familiarity, the surplus of ammo, or their zergy AI, but as enemies they have ceased to be frightening. I would have liked to see some new and interesting breeds of REVIVAL!morphs, or some better human cultist enemies.


One of the biggest missed opportunities in this series is the omission of Isaac's insanity. It was demonstrated in the very first Dead Space (SPOILERS) that he suffers from delusions, hallucinations, and his grasp on reality is weak at best. In Dead Space 2 he still suffers from hallucinations (and I think DS2 could have ran much farther than they did with this concept). DS3 totally ignores this aspect despite Markers previously directly communicating with him. In the presence of the consciousness that he is, he could have been severely afflicted. It would have made things a lot more interesting and scary, not knowing what is real and what isn't.


The Ugly
The storyline in DS3 is not bad. It tells a good narrative, but starts to unravel towards the end. I got the sense that it was influenced HEAVILY by Mass Effect and their "Reapers". The story also suffers from some annoyingly cliche'd "bad guy" tropes, specifically the exposition vs. execution of the protagonist. I should note that the passive story that is told (the backstory of what happened on the ships and on the ice planet) is really really good and would make for a classic horror story.


The ammo system has been revamped for DS3. All weapons now take a universal ammo. This means you can never run out of ammo for your favorite weapon since enemies drop ammo like candy. DS2 had a similar problem where enemies would drop ammo for the weapons you were using 80% of the time. DS1 forced the player to cycle through weapons depending on what ammo they had in surplus. Running out of ammo with your primary weapon was a scary thing. In "dumbing down" the series, I see this as a bad choice (but inevitable with their weapon crafting system).


There are some side missions that can only be accomplished via Co-Op. As a single player this can be frustrating because you can't see everything in the game by yourself. Also, the 2nd player's storyline is revealed mostly through these missions. It makes the interactions between Isaac and Carver out of place later in the game (since it assumes you have played all the Co-Op missions that expose Carver's inner demons).


Another big complaint I heard concerning DS3 was the microtransactions within in. EA lets player purchase weapon parts and components using real money in order to build bigger and badder weapons. On the plus side, this is entirely optional and is not forced on the player at all. In fact the "kits" are able to be purchased through resources scavenged throughout the game. The EA store does offer some alternative suits as purchasable with real money, but the looks are purely cosmetic. This is one instance of the complaints being worse than the actual issue.



Overall I enjoyed Dead Space 3. It took me about 16 hours to complete with doing all non Co-Op side missions. I don't like where the story is going by the end (referring to ending of the Awakened DLC), but it does set up for a Dead Space 4. If you are a fan of the series its definitely worth playing. If you liked DS1 and did not like DS2, you might like this one (I prefer it over DS2 personally). The game itself has some really great moments, some really emotional moments (with some excellent voice acting and facial animation), and is one I am considering replaying.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on July 05, 2013, 06:09:17 AM
Deadpool: The Game


The titular character in this game is popular Marvel anti-hero. He is a mercenary who was apart of the same Weapon-X program as Wolverine and inherited his regenerative powers through experimentation. While the process cured Deadpool of his cancer, it also left him horribly disfigured and ravaged his mind. Later, a curse by Loki allowed Deadpool to realize he was a comicbook character. For this reason, Deadpool is known to frequently break the 4th wall and talk to the readers. To put it simply, Deadpool is the posterboy for Chaotic Neutral.


The game itself is a self-aware hack and slash game. The story of the game is that Deadpool wants to make a video game, and as you can imagine there is a lot of 4th wall breaking including Deadpool talking to his Voice Actor and to High Moon studios. Deadpool and the voices in his head often critique the game as you play it as well, which makes for an interesting experience.


The Good

The character of Deadpool is a really good representation, and its obvious the creators at High Moon knew what they were doing. The humor factor is cranked up to 11 and its obvious the game doesn't take itself seriously at all. Comedy varies from insightful perspectives, bad puns, Looney-Toons style physical comedy, and dick/fart jokes. All of the cinematic scenes are scripted magnificently.

The Voice Acting is also pretty damn good. The main people you are listening to is Deadpool and his voices, but they have some good dialogue that makes sense for this game.


The Bad

The level design in this game is terrible. To call it linear is an insult to other linear hack and slash games. There is nothing to explore, no collectables to search for in corners, and no secret areas. The levels themselves are also very forgettable, with no interesting mechanics or animations to note. Mostly, you are in enclosed rubble but surprisingly there are no destructable pieces of scenary.

The progression system in place allows you to purchase weapons and upgrades via Deadpool Points which are picked up throughout the level and awarded by beating enemies with really high combos. However, the progession system feels boring and out of place in this particular game. The upgrades themselves are boring (more damage, more ammo, higher fire-rate), and they could have come up with a more interesting upgrade path such as adding fire bullets or a chainsaw blade to the sword (things I would imagine Deadpool would like in his game).

The enemy types are severely limited. You have basically 5-6 enemy types you will encounter during the entire game, with no costume or mechanic change whatsoever. In short, they get really boring.


The Ugly

The combat is lifted almost directly from the Batman Arkham games. For reference, the combat was my least favorite thing about those games. Its very very simplistic and boring, and relied a lot on counter moves. The combat gets very old very quick as its crazy repetative, and you lack any interesting combo's or combo upgrades to keep things fresh.

I've heard it mentioned that a lot of "bad" aspects of this game are done on purpose since even Deadpool critizes them. Some critics have compared this game to Spec Ops: The Line as a commentary on these types of games. I can see where that opinion comes from, but honestly I think High Moon put all their effort into Deadpool themselves and just made a crappy game to put him in, hoping that Deadpool's "meta" mentality would cover up the lazy game-making.

The humor is 100% crass, sexist, and just plain goofy. It can and will be off-putting to some people. I can respect the developers for staying true to the character, but at the same time when he's oogling the chest of a woman impaled by a spear I just have to wonder if they are trying too hard. I personally get that Deadpool is not a hero you want to emulate, just a weird interesting anomaly, but I also get that not everyone will understand that.


Deadpool: The Game is very short, lasting only about 6 hours between 8 different missions. It doesn't outstay its welcome, and by the time I was at the end I was ready to not play this game again. It is a fun experience, but a fairly average game overall. If you enjoy the character of Deadpool, then this game is definitely worth playing. If you don't know who he is and he doesn't sound intriguing from the description above, then avoid this game at all costs. There is virtually no replay value whatsoever, so I would recommend waiting to rent this one or buy it on a Steam sale.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on July 15, 2013, 06:15:52 PM
Bastion (6 hours)

While I'm not big on action RPGs that control like dual-stick shooters, I found this game oddly affecting chiefly because of its storybook watercolor art, its great music, and of course the Narrator, who is like a 20something video-game version of Morgan Freeman and is not to be missed. I warmed to the mechanics over time (mostly as I upgraded and became used to the weapons and WASD/mouse controls).

The game gives you a wide variety of weaponry (although it will preempt what you're carrying, which can be annoying until you can switch back to your favorites), all of which are usefully unique (and upgradeable). Levelling happens mostly via the addition of perks and accumulation of skills during the game. I found myself clumsy in some parts but surprisingly competent at others, which was a surprise (the competency, not the clumsiness).

The end features a couple of choices which are decidedly poignant if you buy into the conceit, which I did. Overall, I'd say it's well worth more than the $2.50 I paid for it on Steam sale, just for the artistic design and narration alone; often it's like playing a storybook.

It's also got a New Game+, which is always good.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: HeidiB on July 16, 2013, 03:35:59 AM
I have this on the iPad and it's beautiful.  I believe I'm playing it in "you can't die" mode, but difficulty levels seem to go up and there are copious rewards for playing on higher difficulties and noodling around switching weapons.

If you figure that most video games are based on dex or int, you'll be surprised by the amount of wis in this one.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on July 16, 2013, 04:13:09 AM
If you liked Bastion, keep an eye out for Transistor later this year. Its done by the same people and will feature some different gameplay (reminds me a bit of Secret of Mana), but will keep a sort of running dialogue like in Bastion.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Tweed on July 16, 2013, 06:09:41 AM
The Last of Us

This is that game that critics were hailing as, like, the Citizen Kane of video games. I wouldn't go that far. It's a really great game, no doubt, and I was totally hooked from beginning to end. But it doesn't add anything new to the genre and is kind of formulaic and predictable.

For those unfamiliar, no spoilers: it's a post-zombie apocalypse action-adventure horror game. There's this microbe that gets into your lungs and turns you into a fungus zombie who attacks people on sight or sound. Civilization's collapsed, everything's shitty, etc. The story focuses on Joel and Ellie. Joel is your typical badass loner dude type with a dark past. Ellie is your typical endearing, wise-cracking, tough-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside young girl who has a Secret. Joel and Ellie travel the width and breadth of the US over the course of a year on a mission involving Ellie's Secret.

Mechanically, it's a third-person game where you sneak around various beautifully-crafted landscapes looking for stuff and killing people and zombies using whatever bullets you can scrounge up and whatever melee weapons you can craft. There's the occasional really simple puzzle involving moving ladders or crates or whatever. The game lets you deal with enemies any way you want: you can totally avoid them if you're sneaky, you can stealthily kill them all without their allies noticing, or you can go in guns blazing and slaughter everything (that last option will get you killed pretty quick in higher difficulty levels).

So right off the bat, you can see that this isn't ground breaking territory, either in terms of story or game play. You can always tell when you're about to enter combat because you suddenly find yourself in this open area with random bits of cover everywhere to hide behind and lots of bottles lying on the ground (you can throw bottle to distract enemies). And you have no control over the direction of the story: it is scripted to the last note, so no matter what happens the same things happen. Which is why I'm not sure this game is really Citizen Kane.

But, and this is a big but, it is a goddamn amazing game for all that. The quality of the story is the big sell: the voice acting, graphics, pacing, plot twists, they're all incredible, and I found myself riveted throughout the entire 18 hour+ journey. The writers also did a great job of making you like the two main characters, so much so that I was literally standing in my living room two feet from the TV during the "big twist" at the end shouting at the screen. There are tons of TV shows and movies that are less well-crafted, less touching, and less poignant than this game, which is why I think it's winning all these accolades.

So, if you can get it on sale, pick it up. It won't make you rethink video games or blow your mind in terms of novelty or mechanics, but you will be hard pressed not to find yourself loving the characters and saying, "Okay, I'll just see what happens next then I'll save and quit for the night."
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on July 16, 2013, 11:23:53 AM
A question about The Last of Us:

I liked the work that Naughty Dog did on the Uncharted games, and looked forward to The Last of Us. Then I read in a review that the game had the most realistic images of jaws being ripped apart of any console game the reviewer had seen.

How intense are the images? I get squicked out fairly easily, to the point where I almost gave up on Bioshock: Infinite.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Tweed on July 16, 2013, 12:03:01 PM
A question about The Last of Us:

I liked the work that Naughty Dog did on the Uncharted games, and looked forward to The Last of Us. Then I read in a review that the game had the most realistic images of jaws being ripped apart of any console game the reviewer had seen.

How intense are the images? I get squicked out fairly easily, to the point where I almost gave up on Bioshock: Infinite.

Um. Hm. I actually can't think of any scenes that were particularly graphic, to be honest. There is a good deal of visceral violence in the game, but at no point did I think it was gratuitous or over the top. I actually can't even think of a "jaws being ripped apart" moment in the game, so I'm not sure what the reviewer is talking about there.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on July 20, 2013, 12:11:42 PM
Chantelise.  This was made by the creators of Recettear, and was supposedly developed first although it was released later.  Like Recettear, it has a whimsical, somewhat amusing plot-line with two female leads (one sweet and kind of naive, the other brash and arrogant but essentially kind-hearted), relatively simple gameplay, and a crisp, responsive UI with no significant loading delays.

Unlike Recettear, there is no economic game.  Apart from a little fishing minigame and a bit of shopping, Chantelise's gameplay is action RPG on a 3D field with 2D sprites representing the player and enemies (except for bosses, who are 3D rendered).  You smash things in the face, which causes them to drop colored stones, which you can then pick up and combine into spells.  Progression consists of obtaining gear for a limited number of equipment slots, and buying permanent health boosts.  The boss fights are quite difficult for a game of this type; it takes a bit of experimentation to figure out how to defeat them, and then it may require a lot of practice and/or shuffling around of equipment to be able to pull it off.

The main plotline is pretty short, although you might find yourself grinding out some of the better gear to have an easier time with the later boss fights.  Gameplay can be extended through a "survival dungeon" mode which throws you into a long series of random and progressively more difficult levels, or by trying to figure out how to collect the secret treasure chests on each level.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on August 01, 2013, 10:35:23 AM
Saint's Row 3 (with all the DLC).  This was a fun game with a lot of things done right.  There is a lot of freedom in the player's choice of main character, including six different voice sets.  The voice acting in general is quite good, as is the game sound and music.  The economy has lots of cash sources and sinks.  The PC port is good, with responsive controls and good visuals.  The storyline, while full of lowbrow humor, has some pretty creative over-the-top moments.

A few nitpicks: I was disappointed that Eliza Dushku wasn't back to play Shaundi and that Shaundi didn't get much screen time in general.  The final cash sinks in the upgrade menu were basically cheats, which seems out of place since there is a separate "cheats" UI.  The engine could be a little glitchy (very occasionally), with vehicles falling through the floor or stuff like that happening.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on August 05, 2013, 07:51:03 AM
Shadowrun Returns


This game is one of the biggest early Kickstarter projects and a lot of eyes have been on it to see whether a game like this could be successful via Kickstarter. Its also the first game set in the Pen & Paper world of Shadowrun since the SNES/Genesis days (the XBox Shooter doesn't count). So right out of the gate it has a lot of pressure on it to perform.


Shadowrun is set in the Cyberpunk genre in a dystopian future where magic has returned to the world. This is a place of cybernetics, wizards, monsters, and science. The gameplay consists of a fixed perspective grid that the player can manuever his avatar through. Battles are turn-based tactical strategy that is very similar to XCOM (in style, not difficulty). The player will acquire money to purchase upgrades and Karama to improve character stats throughout the game.


The Good
Shadowrun Returns nails everything about the atmosphere perfectly. The art style is crisp and unique with beautifully constructed backgrounds that help create a persistantly oppressive environment. The music is unique and shifts to fit the mood very well, whether its a quiet beat in the streets or a faster thumping electric tune during combat. The sound effects are also very well done and had me looking over my shoulder to see if something fell in my office (note: this hasn't happened in any other game). Finally, the dialogue between all characters feels very well-written and the specific dialects used by each NPC really help sell the immersion.


The combat is solid. It is MUCH more forgiving than XCOM, although it plays virtually identical. There are a lot of encounters that can be bypassed with certain skills or made easier by Decking (Hacking a nearby terminal). This provides for some unique battles where the objective shifts from just "doing the most damage", to fighting smarter and using your environment.


The story is overall very good. It starts you off as a very small person investigating a very personal matter. But as you investigate the layers get pulled back and you are pulled deeper and deeper into political/corporate intrigue. The story gets a little weird near the end, but wraps up solidly in a very noire-way. The NPC's were very well done and woven into the story in such a way that I felt invested in them and interested to see how things would turn out for them.


The Bad
The biggest complaint about this game is the save system. It works on a single auto-save function that only saves when entering a new area. This means that after a mission, if you go back to base to resupply, unless you leave that area for the next one then you will have to make all your purchases again. This also means you can't save mid mission if you need to stop for some reason. I think this way a poor design choice. Personally, I like logging off after a tough mission, but only after I restock and resupply.


For a game that is so rich is background, lore, and story, it is a travestry that there is absolutely no exploring. Once you leave an area, you can not return unless the story sends you back. In that way the game is VERY linear. There are things to explore within the map, but no real side missions or areas to explore for bonus Karma/Loot. Personally, I would have loved to be able to head over to the Police Station and see what is going on there, or visit my favorite mortician to see if he's heard anything new.


The Ugly
One of the things that works, but just doesn't feel right, is the NPC system. Throughout the game you meet several NPC's with legit stories of their own. However, they don't stay throughout your story. Instead, during most missions you have to hire your own team. I liked the ability to customize your team, but there is a reason I prefer Baldur's Gate to Icewind Dale...the characters. I don't mind having a party that is not optimized if it means each character has their own personality. NPC Shadowrunners are just blank-faced stats used for combat. I feel this is a point where Shadowrun Returns really stumbled.


The story hits a really weird point about 7/8 of the way through where it reveals the ultimate hidden threat. For me...it pulled me out of the story right then and there. I'd be interested to see if people who have been bigger fans of the PnP version of the RPG Game think differently, but it just seemed weird and out of place to me. I don't think this hurts the overall story too much, but it definitely loses some momentum.


Conclusion
Overall I really liked this game. Its short, maybe 10 hours long depending on how much time you spend optimizing your character or reading texts. The game did leave me hungry for more, and included a beefy mission builder tool for players to create their own content with. We'll see how that goes, but that might end up adding a lot of life to this game.


Right now, for the $20 price tag, I say this game is definitely worth it if you like the Cyberpunk setting, are a fan of ambience, or like strategy RPG games. If the price drops to $10, then its a no-brainer must buy.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on August 10, 2013, 08:26:53 AM
Quantum Conundrum.  This is a puzzle platformer directed by the lead designer of Portal, with John de Lancie playing the part of the omnipresent, slightly crazy voice who guides you on your journey.  Unfortunately, while the game sounds promising from that description, it's no Portal; it's just a decent puzzle platformer.

Instead of a portal gun, you have the ability to "switch dimensions," making all of the movable game objects lighter, heavier, slower, or gravity-reversed from normal.  As in Portal (or even more so), sometimes you need a bit of platforming skill to solve puzzles even after you figure out what you want to do.  While the puzzles often felt quite difficult, I never felt stymied by one for more than 15-20 minutes, and never had to look up a solution.

Atmospherically, the game seems like it was held back by a small budget.  It's as if Portal 1 had four times as many training rooms but no second half--the environments don't change, what you're trying to do doesn't change, and your impression of the omnipresent guide doesn't change.  So, if you loved solving the puzzles in Portal and Portal 2, you might like this game; but if you're looking for another great story, you'll be disappointed.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on August 11, 2013, 09:56:07 PM
Breath of Death VII.  This is a turn-based RPG in a classic 8-bit style.  Together with Cthulhu Saves the World (which I haven't played yet), it costs $3 on Steam.  The "VII" in the title is a joke; this is not a game in a series.

Good things about it: the story makes fun of RPG stories in a sometimes amusing way; when combat is hard, it can make for kind of an interesting math problem; when combat is easy, it's very quick; when you level up, the game gives you interesting choices about how to increase your character power; and the music is pretty good.  It's pretty short, which is fine given the limited system depth.  There are three difficulties, ranging from "combat is always easy" (I presume; I didn't try easy) to "combat is sometimes easy and sometimes hard" to "combat is always hard and you are desperately trying to make it from one MP regen point to the next before running out of the MP you need to win battles."  I started on hard mode, decided I didn't want to put quite that much thought into the game, and restarted on normal mode after a hiatus.

Bad things: the graphics are very retro and the environments are repetitive.  The story, while amusing at times, is so flip that it sometimes feels like lazy writing.  There's no map function, so it's up to you to figure out whether you've finished exploring the maps, some of which are kind of big (this might be a good thing if you enjoy that particular challenge).  When combat is easy for an extended period of time because you overpower the enemies on a map, it can still feel like an unwelcome chore even though it's quick.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on August 13, 2013, 05:41:16 PM
XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Yeah, I know I'm late. Also I'm not ACTUALLY finished playing it forever, just maybe for now.

I finally beat the last mission last night. I was taking my time once I got into a steady-state of beating all UFO missions without any wounded, trying to make sure to get all my psionic soldiers out of my main squad.

I played on Classic Ironman, and it was my second game. Operation Black Sentinel wiped my squad of Colonels, but rather than completely reroll, I rebuilt and ended the game with 4 countries pulled out but all the rest at minimum panic.

I truly enjoyed this game. I think Marathon Mode from Second Wave will be more my style, since there was a tipping point around Plasma weaponry where I had a hard time losing a soldier. Can't wait for an expansion or sequel.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on August 25, 2013, 12:18:15 PM
Far Cry 2.  This game is most notable for its commitment to immersion, sometimes at the expense of gameplay.  There is very little UI, and the camera never leaves the front of your head, even when you're driving a vehicle.  Little to no effort is made to make it easy to see enemies against the background, although streaks of red do indicate what direction you just got shot from.  When you want to look at the map, the game shows your character pulling out a map and looking at it.  Sometimes this is neat and sometimes it's annoying.

I had fun playing this game, but I was also ready to be done before it was over.  Gameplay evolves very little; the missions are always "go here and shoot some guys."  There are no boss fights or minigames or anything.  Travel is slow, as there are only five fast-travel points and you have to fight your way through guard checkpoints.  There is a game economy, but it's pretty simplistic; there are two cash sources (missions and an exploration/collection side game), and you mostly run out of interesting cash sinks after you buy three weapons that you like.  The voice acting isn't exactly bad so much as it is weird; the voice actors all sounded rushed, like they were trying to meet a tight deadline in the studio.  The music is soft and unmemorable, presumably because they didn't want an unrealistic element to dominate the experience.  Overall, this felt a bit like Assassin's Creed 1 or Just Cause 2: a visually impressive world and good core gameplay, but not enough variety in game experience.  I do hear that Far Cry 3 is much better, which would fit with Assassin's Creed 2 being more enjoyable than 1.

There are also some glitches.  I thought I was going to have to stop 20% of the way through due to a quest I couldn't complete, but it turned out to be an optional quest.  Every so often an enemy would be shooting me from underground, and I would have to carefully aim at the above-ground piece of his hat to kill him.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on August 26, 2013, 05:25:48 AM
The worst part of that game for me was shooting through a checkpoint, realizing half a mile down the road that I'd taken a wrong turn, turning around, and finding that the checkpoint had completely respawned behind me.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on August 26, 2013, 06:21:02 AM
The worst part of that game for me was shooting through a checkpoint, realizing half a mile down the road that I'd taken a wrong turn, turning around, and finding that the checkpoint had completely respawned behind me.

I hated that as well. FarCry 3 does fix this issue though (thankfully).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on August 26, 2013, 07:09:09 AM
Dishonored


This is a first-person stealth/action game set in the steampunk-inspired city of Dunwall. You play as Corvo, a disgraced Royal Bodyguard wrongly accused of murdering the Emperess and out to execute the conspirators.


The Good
The setting is probably the best part of the game, as it really nails the look of a dystopian victorian-era English city that is currently in its death-throws. The streets are full of garbage, buildings are falling apart due to neglect or damage. Plague victims and corpses line the streets and all around flies and rats are present. A speak system is present throughout the city that gives regular updates on curfews and quarantined zones. With very few exceptions, Dunwall is not a happy place to live.

Throughout the game you are given the choice of using your combat skills or your stealth kills to bypass enemies without killing them or by leaving the ground soaked in their blood. The game doesn't really punish you for either choice, although killing more people causes more enemies (so if you enjoy killing people you have more enemies to kill). After each mission you are given a Chaos rating based on whether you were a cold-blooded killer or a silent assassin only neutralizing your target. I liked this mechanic since being a psychopath caused more panic in the populace.

Some of the magic abilities were pretty cool. Possession had a new twist where you actually jumped out of the body you Possessed. The others were pretty standard though, with the most used being Darkvision (see through walls) and Blink (Teleport).


The Bad
One of the most off-putting things for me is that Corvo is not voice-acted. He says nothing during the game and only has a handful of text dialogue options, all single sentence binary choices. The creators said they wanted a silent protagonist so the player could put themselves into the game, but honestly...it doesn't work. In fact it pulled me out of the game. Characters would give long expositions or boss Corvo around, and I got no sense that Corvo was anything other than a tool like a hammer or a screwdriver.

The story is honestly pretty weak. It had the potential of being a gripping tale of political intrigue, but instead it was pretty hamfisted which clear cut good guys and clear guy bad guys. I was never gripped by the story or all the interested to find out what happens next. The "twist" was pretty easy to predict.

In a related note, I had a big gripe on Corvo going from Royal Bodyguard to Super Assassin in the blink of an eye. This relates back to my original point that Corvo was basically a 2D cardboard cutout. I wouldn't even call him a character.


The Ugly
Every bit of gameplay. Everything from the stealth to the combat to the magic system all feel clunky. It almost feels that the teams working on each aspect of the game didn't communicate with one another, and in the end there is this weird Frankenstein's Monster of a game that functions...but just looks stitched together. On their own, each aspect is not bad, but they just don't work together.

The game handles alright, but the controls do feel sluggish. At times controlling Corvo feels like driving a Cadillac in the Indy 500. A lot of the stealth involves teleporting to a ledge, trying to aim, and teleporting again. It was a lot less actual stealth and hiding in shadows as opposed to just lining of teleport jumps. Combat was similarly all about blocking and countering, or failing that just shooting people with your gun/crossbow (arguably a lot more effective).


Conculusion
I was not impressed with this game. I forced myself to finish it, but I did not enjoy any of it (and this comes from a guy who LOVES stealth/action games). It took about 15 hours to power through. The game just didn't feel right. I couldn't get into the story, the character, or the gameplay. I know the game won a bunch of awards, but I have played "worse" games that I enjoyed a lot more.

Allegedly the DLC is a lot better for this game, and you play as Daud (the Assassin who killed the Emperess). I debated trying it, but honestly I just don't want to sink any money into this game, let alone for 2 DLC's at full price when each consist of 3 missions.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on August 27, 2013, 05:18:55 AM
What system did you play it on?
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on August 27, 2013, 05:42:46 AM
Xbox 360.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: HeidiB on August 29, 2013, 12:13:47 PM
Drawn

You pay a little extra for the production values, but this beautiful series tells a very cute tale with some intriguing puzzles.  It reminded me a little of Myst, without the overwhelmingly combinatorial feel to the puzzles.

The hint system for the puzzles is very good.  I only resorted to the internet once, and that's because I was playing the games out of order.

You are rewarded for clicking on random unimportant-looking features on the screen, and occasionally punished for this behavior by the navigation system.  The hints don't always address the point you're stuck on.  But all in all, I'm glad I played.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Wren on August 29, 2013, 03:15:10 PM
I've only played the first part in the trilogy (Drawn: The Painted Tower) but the art and the story are lovely and it would have been worth what I paid for it for those alone (I think I picked it up during a steam sale). Seeing this reminded me I need to play the next two parts to see how the story plays out.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kharvek on August 29, 2013, 03:46:00 PM
Hey Vylin.

Dishonored is a much better game than Bioshock Infinite.

*ducks and runs*
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Seniummortus on August 29, 2013, 03:50:42 PM
I also very much enjoyed dishonored :P teleporting made the stealthy bits less *creep up on a guard 10% faster than he's patroling* and more *TELEPORT BEHIND THAT BASTARD AND STAB HIM IN THE THROAT*... >.> <.<.

Also, I can totally see the empress's personal bodyguard being some kind of super assassin I can kill you with my pinkie kind of guy. I mean if I was emperor I'd want my bodyguard to be a stealthy badass. Best way to foil an assassin is to hire a better one type thing. I feel like covert ops -> private security is a viable career path ;P, my corvo was totally a ninja spy assassin before he decided to settle down and protect the empress but then someone had to go and kill her and drag him back in.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on August 30, 2013, 04:25:33 AM
Hey Vylin.

Dishonored is a much better game than Bioshock Infinite.

*ducks and runs*

I don't disagree with you there at all. Bioshock Infinite was a extremely uninspired game from a gameplay perspective, but the story and setting were so good that it carried the rest. The simple fact that you have the option of sneaking past enemies and NOT killing anyone puts the gameplay ahead of Bioshock Infinite for sure.

And like I said, setting-wise Dishonored hit it out of the park. The best thing hands down is the lore and the world that serves as the backdrop.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on August 30, 2013, 05:44:06 AM
I played it on PC and had none of the control issues you did. The gameplay was just fine.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on August 30, 2013, 06:15:20 AM
I played it on PC and had none of the control issues you did. The gameplay was just fine.

I can see that. Aiming with the Blink ability was a PITA, but it might be due to using a controller and not being able to click on your target. Something else I noticed from the DLC trailer is that it seems when Daud wants to Blink, the game slows down like when you open an option menu. That would have been a huge improvement for Corvo play as well IMO.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kharvek on August 30, 2013, 02:57:35 PM
Oh yeah, I played on PC with a mouse and keyboard as well and the controls felt fine to me.  I loved blink.  I can see how a slowdown/bullet time thing would be helpful, especially with a controller with less precision.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on August 31, 2013, 09:09:23 AM
With a mouse I was able to blink-stab-disintegrate-blink-stab-disintegrate all in about 4 seconds. Sounds like you missed out. I am sad.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on September 01, 2013, 02:42:31 AM
Offspring Fling

This is a cute little 2D cartoon puzzle platformer that I picked up as part of a bundle. It's really not my thing, but some people would probably get a kick out of it.  Basically you figure out a level to the tune of 8-bit music and try to beat arbitrary best timers. Beating a level unlocks more levels.

The name/theme is that you're a rabbit trying to rescue your baby bunnies (Thana I swear I am not making this up) and your actions include picking them up and flinging them ahead of you. Don't worry, it doesn't hurt them.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on September 03, 2013, 06:28:33 AM
Omerta

This is a game that attempts to combine two things I love: economic simulation (it's by the people who made the Tropico series of games) and turn-based tactical combat, with destructible environments. It also uses a setting you don't often see, where you play a Prohibition-era crime lord building his empire.

Sadly, the combination does not work well.  2/5 stars, buy it on cheap if you are really interested in these things.

The good:

It's a great set of ideas.  They also fix all the problems that Firaxis built into XCOM's tactical combat. You have a movement-point system and when you plot out a move you get to see at what points you'll be able to get line of fire on known enemies (hidden can still surprise you).  Mouseovers and icons indicate which enemies you can and cannot see with the currently active character.  You expend your move points, then your action points, though most actions end your movement for that character's turn.

There are a lot of potential customizations available. You can have characters that act sooner, act more often, have more movement points, more action points, more courage/morale, etc. There are also a reasonable array of weapons appropriate to the setting - pistols, revolvers, shotguns, rifles, tommy guns, knuckles, bats, and knives. You get chances during the various scenarios to upgrade your weapon stock and you choose a gang from a large pool of possible henchmen.

The bad

Other than the sight-lines and ability to manipulate characters in combat, almost nothing is as good as it ought to be.  The simulation economy is a wash - you can do more or less whatever you want and the economy doesn't matter. It's kind of a filler between combat missions. There's the skeleton of some complexity and dependencies, but it doesn't have the richness that a Tropico-type builder would. You can make it harder on yourself, but not more interesting. One of the fun parts of Tropico was that it simulated down to the individual person level and there was animation of the people, people had jobs and beliefs and so on.  That's all missing here.

The game tries to gives you the idea that you can pick and choose gang members based on their specialties, preferred weapons, etc. That's great in theory, but unfortunately the abilities are unbalanced - some are really useful/must-have and some are wastes. The game auto-levels gangsters you aren't currently employing, and tends to make terrible skill picks for them. It costs a lot of in-game currency to fix the game's bad choices so you mostly end up staying with the same gang members whom you've customized with the important skills. The result is you have a large group of potential henchmen you're never going to use.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on September 03, 2013, 06:34:53 AM
With a mouse I was able to blink-stab-disintegrate-blink-stab-disintegrate all in about 4 seconds. Sounds like you missed out. I am sad.

I was Non-Lethal pretty much until the last level or so, then I was getting really tired of playing the game and wanted it to be over. So at that point I went all Rambo with the teleport-stab. That part is A-OK on the consoles, its the stealthy and tactical aiming that can be an issue (on the console at least).


Edit: I should note that the Dishonored Theme, Drunken Whaler/Sailor, is amazingly awesome and I have been jamming to it ever since hearing it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on September 03, 2013, 07:47:13 AM
They also fix all the problems that Firaxis built into XCOM's tactical combat. You have a movement-point system and when you plot out a move you get to see at what points you'll be able to get line of fire on known enemies (hidden can still surprise you).  Mouseovers and icons indicate which enemies you can and cannot see with the currently active character.  You expend your move points, then your action points, though most actions end your movement for that character's turn.

I will concede that there are limitations to XCOM's line-of-sight systems, so you don't think I'm just white-knighting my GotY 2012. You should hear from the horse's mouth why they went away from sight lines and Time Units (they say "curse words" so you have to login to YouTube to view it):

PAX 2012: XCOM: Enemy Unknown Developer Panel "A Thousand Stupid Ideas on the Road to Glory" (15:23) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=6AmaMn3xb7U#t=923)

Also, if anyone's got an hour, the whole video is a funny, informative dissection of the design and development process for XCOM:EU as a whole.

Also also, I'm disappointed that Omerta was a bummer. I like Paradox, gangsters, and tactical combat, but they are often hit-or-miss.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on September 04, 2013, 10:00:54 AM
I agree that drawing sight lines is stupid. Omerta's solution is quite elegant - you plot out a path for your gangster and it decorates that path with a marker for each point at which that move will put you in sight of a known enemy.  You can then take that path or plot another one.  Since you're using movement points you can take things a step at a time and check what your targets are. And moving is separate from firing.  XCOM, with its two-action system is all-or-nothing and most of the time I get "nothing." I'd move a soldier somewhere that I was sure he'd have a line on an enemy and nada. This led to an utterly stupid amount of micro saves and reloads.

Omerta doesn't have the complex elevation model of XCOM and no overwatch actions, so it's simpler in those respects, but just in general I think the movement-point-with-annotations system is far superior to XCOM's method, which far too often felt like a "ha ha gotcha" because of course the computer never screws up its sightlines.

Don't get me wrong - I think XCOM:EU was a great game and I'm eager for more but with this two-action system I'm never going to play Iron Man mode, even if they do fix the bit that lets aliens shoot through walls.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on September 30, 2013, 06:54:11 AM
Saint's Row 4


This title was originally intended to be a DLC add-on for Saint's Row: The Third, but began growing to the point where it was instead released as a stand-alone title in the series. The game is open-world with a variety of activities to participate in, and unlike the previous Saint's Row games, this one allows the player to acquire super powers. This essentialy turns SR4 into a Super-Hero Simulator. The tone of the game is light, over-the-top, and full of parody.


The Good
The biggest feature of this game is so for a good reason, the Super Powers and Open World Gameplay are the biggest things SR4 does right. In essence they have taken nearly every iconic Super Power and made it accessable to the player. One of the most interesting features is that SR4 could very well serve as a template for a Flash game. The other abilities add up to a wide and varied arsenal that the player can tailor to suit his playstyle.


The customization within the game is once again, amazing. There are a lot of unlockables and a lot of ways you can change up your character's look and appearance. All of this can be altered at any point, allowing you really to just sit back and enjoy the game. The weapon upgrades are expanded in SR4 by allowing you to change the look of weapons, most of which are modeled after famous movie/game weapons.


One of my complaints in SR3 was that your backup often got in the way. Fortunately in SR4 you can upgrade your "Homies" and I found them to be extremely useful in not only drawing fire, but also doing damage (something most games with backup are notorious for nerfing). I really enjoyed doing the "Loyalty Missions" for these characters and unlocking their inner Super-Hero.


The weapons Aresenal is also a high point, with a lot of really fun and unique weapons. In SR3 this was limited to the Dildo-Bat, but honestly there are things a lot more fun in SR4 than the Didlo-Bat (which is also still in there as well as a Tentacle-Bat).


The Bad
The story of SR4 is one I know shouldn't be taken seriously, but it has some major gaps and holes in it. It really felt like parts were omitted or glossed over in order to get to the next objective. I didn't time it, but story cut scenes were very short and provided very little plot development. I'm not sure whether this was intentional or not, but it fits in with the ADD the plagues the gameplay. I don't mind a wild or wacky story, but SR4 had a shaky story that seemed flimsily duct-taped together.


Speaking of cutscenes, SR4 suffers from some really apparent issues with models not syncing correctly. Mouths don't move to match speech and sometimes they don't move at all. Body parts are also often put in awkward positions as well (in the real world sections, not the glitchy program). When I noticed these things occur, they really bugged me because I couldn't focus on anything other than the weird way that Keith David's arm was positioned while in the cockpit. Also, I had the game bug out and freeze on several occasions as well as bug out in the ending so that one of my Super Powers (oddly enough the one I was supposed to use) would not fire. This led to some super frustration, and eventually a work around by cheesing another ability to chain through a barrier. (BTW, I looked it up from multiple sources and this was not supposed to be how you defeat the boss, so I think it was a legit bug-out on my system)


The Ugly
The game itself is very confused. One thing that becomes very apparent early on is that this game was originally intended to be an add-on, so a lot of features in the game seem worthless. Most notably is the driving system (one I still very much like). Within a few hours of gameplay you will have no need to ever drive a car, despite the in-depth car customization options and garage. Weapons are also very similar, with the majority of them being rendered obsolete by new Weapons that require no Ammo or simply by spamming and cycling Super Powers. As a sidenote, Melee'ing suffers from no Lock-On feature.


The missions themselves are frustrating in that there is very little story-telling in the game. Virtually all side-missions (except Loyalty Missions) basically have you run around town doing events. If you have already completed the event on your own then that task is already crossed out. I found this very lazy, and although the rewards from the side-missions made it worthwhile, I felt let-down by what could have been a more engaging narrative and a chance at more worthwhile banter.


Speaking of Banter, I found the dialogue much weaker in SR4 vs. SR3. In fact about the only time I felt like the banter was good and had some heart was during Pierce's Loyalty mission where he and The Boss were singing and having some good back and forth. I chuckled at a lot of the dialogue and scenes, but not as much as I guffawed at SR3.


My last and biggest criticism of SR4 is the amount of ADD in the game. While there are a lot of gameplay options and different mission types, nothing is extremely in depth, and just as soon as you are a few minutes into one thing, you are sped off in a different direction. This is good in a way because very few things in SR4 get stale...because they are so shallow that this is inevitable. What is left is a package jam-packed full of wacky mini-games that would suck individually, but are fun in short spurts. But make no mistake, the gameplay is fun and does not overstay its welcome...but just barely imo.


Conclusion
SR4 is a really fun game, and I would recommend it even if you didn't care for SR3 due to the interesting gameplay and supremely well done super-power themed adventure. However, the game is not something that is deep or you will really connect with (at least I don't think). Its a fun distraction, or basically an SR3 DLC on steroids. Completing all main story and side missions, the game took me ~21 Hours to beat, so its got some meat on its bones. From what I understand it also has some nice Co-Op options, but I did not get to try them.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on October 01, 2013, 05:10:37 AM
Battlefield 3 (SP only, because reviewing its MP is a fool's game)

I had to compare this to Modern Warfare because that's the other big military shooter franchise. Whereas MW is more of a Michael Bay spectacular explosion fest that was over the top in every way and made no logical sense (past the midpoint of #1), Battlefield goes for a grittier Ridley Scott kind of feel with a plot you can actually follow (although 5 seconds of analysis shows you that it also does not make sense). Also you can drive a tank and shoot missiles from a plane. I must admit, I was pretty taken with the experience of being launched off an aircraft carrier.

As an aside, it's the first military FPS I played a female character--the weapons officer on the F/A-18 Hornet. And her agency is pretty limited (she doesn't fly the plane, just aims and shoots). But at least she's there...I guess. Yay? /slowclap
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on December 19, 2013, 02:27:15 PM
XCOM: Enemy Within

This is an xpac to XCOM: Enemy Unknown and requires it on PC (or you can buy the whole thing together on console).

It allows for much greater soldier customization, including (bonus-granting) medals, new items, and genetic surgery upgrades (including mind-control immunity, which is arguably OP; you can also get this from a new item); also, it comes with the European speech packs so you can have your soliders speak Russian, Polish, Italian etc. Still wish it had Chinese & Arabic. Additionally, you can convert soldiers into MECs which I found of mixed utility (probably because I picked all the wrong abilities). MECs (as in, BattleMech, ie battle robots) cannot use cover but can move fast and have lots of hit points. This kind of makes them ham-handed and devoid of subtlety to me (YMMV).

It also introduces an enemy human faction (who have the same 4 character classes you do) which results in interesting mass firefights, although they are ultimately not as challenging as aliens. Only a couple of new alien enemies are included, but there are a metric ton of new maps, including new bomb levels, a collapsing dam, and an XCOM base invasion (awesome!). Also, most missions contain canisters that time out after X turns, forcing you to advance more aggressively to get them (unlike the first game which rewarded caution and punished aggression). These canisters are used to buy MEC and genetic upgrades so you'll need several to be able to take advantage of them.

Overall, I was quite pleased.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on January 06, 2014, 04:47:41 PM
Avadon: The Black Fortress.  An old game I picked up cheap on a Steam sale and finally got around to trying. I got it because it's turn-based, but that's about all it has to recommend it. The graphics haven't held up well and the game suffers from an attempt to pile an overly complicated world setting onto what ought to be a fairly simple game.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on January 10, 2014, 11:33:14 AM
So I technically *beat* Skyrim this week. By that I mean I completed all the main story objectives and completed all of the Achievements (outside of a bugged Oblivion Walker Achievement that really pissed me off). So I thought I would update the review to include Dawnguard & Dragonborn DLC's.


Dawnguard
Overall I was very underwhelmed with this DLC. I really liked the aesthetics of the Vampire castle and the first encounter with tables full of dead bodies, meat, and gore was really great. But I found the actual quests and dungeons to be very short and unfullfilling. My biggest gripe came in the "Alternate Dimension" (calling it that to avoid spoilers), which I absolutely hated. I couldn't wait to get out, which is sad because it appeared to be the biggest area.

By the time the final leg of DLC began, I just wanted it to be over. The added lore about Snow Elves did redeem the DLC and I would have liked to seen more of a transition from the Falmer areas to the Snow Elf areas (which reminded me a lot of Anor Londo from Dark Souls).

The finale was well done though. I enjoyed fighting through the castle, although it did seem to be a bit short. The final "boss" did really good at utilizing the Vampire Lord abilities to make it feel like a boss fight without being a "boss fight". I also really like the character and story of Serana, the NPC you meet along the way. She is probably one of the most memorable follower NPC's I encountered in the game, and one of the few that didn't appear to be cardboard cutouts (and yes Elder Scrolls are not typically known for their character development).


Dragonborn
I really like Dragonborn. I feel they took everything I didn't like about Dawnguard and made it right in Dragonborn. Instead of quasi-integrating this into the existing map, you get a seperate island to adventure on. This island is basically mini-Morrowind. Its great because it is a small area, but there are tons of areas to discover and explore, and side missions are relavant to the area.

The story itself took an interesting twist and was not at all what I expected it to be based on the trailers and descriptions. This is a good thing. Also, by the end, you are left wondering if the person you were fighting was actually a bad guy and if you are heading down the exact same path.

This visuals are largely alien, much like Morrowind was. And several new enemy types populate the land. This gives a feeling of something new. The puzzles in the Black Books are pretty easy and straight forward, but the settings are something straight out of Lovecraft. The alternate realities inside the Black Books were some of my favorite, especially with how organic the world was. I would have definitely liked to see more of this.


Overall, Dragonborn gave me much more joy playing while Dawnguard seemed like a chore.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on January 13, 2014, 05:15:18 AM
Metro: Last Light

I had high expectations coming into this game (probably too high) and they were not really met. In essence another corridor shooter through ruined gray tunnels and wasteland, the stealth (vs. humans) parts felt too easy and the monster parts much more difficult. I was hoping for better writing, and perhaps the original Russian is better, but the English felt flat to me. The only things that grasped the essence of the first game (or its predecessors, STALKER) was the open-ended marsh level where you are limited by time (gas mask filters) and a vague objective (cross to the other side), or the spider tunnels (where you use your flashlight as a weapon against heavily-armored foes).

Overall it's much easier than Metro 2033 (which was often brutal) on normal difficulty although there is a hidden morality system that you don't discover until the very end when you get the bad ending and look up the FAQ to see if that's what was supposed to happen. That in itself is fine, I guess, although I'm debating if I'll replay it to try to get the good ending.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: ghoselle on January 13, 2014, 05:49:22 AM
Metro: Last Light
<snip>
Overall it's much easier than Metro 2033 (which was often brutal) on normal difficulty although there is a hidden morality system that you don't discover until the very end when you get the bad ending and look up the FAQ to see if that's what was supposed to happen. That in itself is fine, I guess, although I'm debating if I'll replay it to try to get the good ending.

I watched the game play through http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=21327 rather than play it myself.  The morality system felt like it was a humanity system rather than moral choice.  There were also some things that I felt were not obvious, that made the game less of a straight shooter but that would be spoilerish to mention.  There was at least one part where shooting appeared to be the only answer, but it was not.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Chibe on January 13, 2014, 05:52:21 AM
I hated the "boss fights" in this game, where as the first one didnt have any at all.  As for the gamplay itself, if it was like the first one, then range mode wound have added a more enjoyable experience than normal mode.  However, that mode is a dlc, which is just plain stupid.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on January 14, 2014, 05:42:25 AM
The morality system felt like it was a humanity system rather than moral choice.  There were also some things that I felt were not obvious, that made the game less of a straight shooter but that would be spoilerish to mention.  There was at least one part where shooting appeared to be the only answer, but it was not.

To quibble a bit, the game presents itself as a shooter and presents literal fascists, rapists, and slavering monsters with teeth the size of forearms as opponents. Now the argument could be made that only a pacifist saint deserves the good ending, but even the main character's self-narration between chapters gives no indication (after deploying a missile barrage to destroy an entire race at the end of the first game) that he was intended to pull a full U-turn and walk on water (for example, he frequently rails about revenge on a character who wrongs him). In a role-playing sense, you are forced to play him against type to succeed, which is cognitively dissonant. You are also made complicit in murder in several cases (particularly when aiding Pavel). One would think one's 'humanity' would be affected by holding someone down so someone else could stab him to death nearly as badly as if one did the stabbing oneself, but here the actions are binary, black and white.

Chiefly, my intransigence is about the concealment of the morality/humanity system itself. We all like to find secrets in games, but when the nature of the game itself is kept secret, I struggle to be pleased about it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Seniummortus on January 14, 2014, 09:26:43 AM
Just to be clear, the morality system isn't as simple as "Don't kill another person". Terrible people doing terrible things are fair game. People like the prison guards are the kind that negatively impact your "karma". Of course that opens up the whole can of worms about being complacent around fascism etc. but I just wanted to make the point that you are allowed to disembowel the truly terrible people.

I also can't remember anytime Pavel killed one of the group you're not "supposed" to kill if you want the good ending. The prison bit he knocks them all out and then the rest of the time you're chasing him or fighting monsters.

The overall theme is about redemption and forgiveness which is why when you're presented with a chance for pure unadulterated vengeance you're not "supposed" to exact it.

All in all I don't really care about a five minute cut scene at the end being different; my character makes his choices and that impacted how the things around him responded resulting in his fate a little bar or tally that tells me what my karmic standing is with the universe kind of breaks immersion. Plus, five minutes of youtube tells you all you need to know about what happens when you make all the right choices ;P (and hunt down all the stupid collectibles AFJHSDKKFS)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on January 21, 2014, 07:03:41 PM
The Banner Saga

A Kickstarted game made by three ex-BioWare guys (1 designer/writer, 1 programmer, 1 artist) and the composer they hired with Kickstarter money. Honestly, I have no idea how three guys pulled it off. I found it to be amazing.

A cross between Oregon Trail, XCOM, and Ragnarok (the mythic Norse apocalypse), the first thing to mention is the art, reminiscent of classic animated films (Bluth as much as Disney). The music is a haunting mix of nearly all horns, featuring icelandic verse in parts.

Gameplay proceeds in a mix of three parts. A third of the game is spent watching your caravan trudge through the frozen wastes (a la Oregon trail) and reacting to various events that occur. An endless army of obsidian golems stands in for dysentery. There is also copious character death that can seem arbitrary but reflects the grim tone of the game.

Interspersed is character conversation, like you'd see in any Western RPG or adventure game. Choices made here affect the strategic game, and also combat setup (or avoidance). These scenes largely reveal the story which is well-written and can be moving (if you care to be), but also unremittingly bleak (hint: you are fleeing the end of the world).

The last component of the game is turn-based combat. You have a malleable roster (per strategic/conversational actions) of characters which level up 1-5 (using the same currency used to buy supplies/items). The conceit here is twofold: you always alternate turns (if you have 6 guys and he has 2, his 2 guys move 3x as much) until there's only 1 remaining on a team; and strength doubles as both hit points and damage. The more damage you take, the less you do. This is complicated by armor (which can also be separately attacked) that subtracts directly from your attack damage. The most effective way to fight is not to kill an enemy outright but to weaken him and then move on to someone with higher strength, so when his turn comes around, he is too feeble to be effective and his turn is in effect wasted. It's a weird system that  requires thinking differently from most other games of this ilk. Interestingly, if a character is defeated in combat he doesn't die, but is injured (less effective) for a few days. Your characters only die permanently due to story actions (and boy do they). Combat can be brutal until you get the hang of it and remained difficult even after I'd figured it out, but I found it highly satisfying.

I loved this game and found it utterly absorbing (and I plan to replay it immediately) but simultaneously dreaded starting it up. There is no 'save'. It's a hidden checkpoint system that essentially acts as Ironman mode all the time (though difficulty is adjustable between fights). You don't get to second-guess your decisions or try out different paths; you need to replay it to do that. This lends it weight but also terror.

One playthrough is advertised as 10-12 hours which I found accurate. The last battle was hard and required me to re-roster a couple of times before I got it.

It's $25 on Steam. You can also download The Banner Saga: Factions for free (a separate PvP game using the same assets) and play the prologue/tutorial to see if the art/music/story/combat is to your taste.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on January 22, 2014, 04:24:28 AM
Cool, I was interested in Banner Saga. However, nothing else can stand in for dysentery.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on January 22, 2014, 09:08:48 PM
Better enjoy The Banner Saga while it still has that name:

http://kotaku.com/candy-crush-saga-makers-go-after-the-banner-saga-for-1506188958
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on January 23, 2014, 05:14:47 AM
Many Banner.
Such Saga.
So Drama.
All Candy.
Wow.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on January 23, 2014, 07:33:49 AM
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

This one really surprised me. It is a typical ARPG, but with a few twists to it that give it a lot of character and makes it stand out amung some of the more recent ARPG titles. You play as the son of Van Helsing along with you ghost companion, the ever sassy Katarina. You are dispatched to respond to the threats a mad scientist poses to the Eastern European countryside.


The Good
The game is, in my opinion, oozing with charm. The art and story style pays homage to the classic monster movies, so its not too dark or too bright. The terrains and maps vary enough that you never feel like you're wandering through the same areas twice. The music is excellent and I absolutely love the main theme that kicks in during tough fights or when you are in "The Ink". The voice acting is also really well done, the majority of it being constant banter between Katarina and Van Helsing which feels very organic with the perfect mix of campiness.

The enemies themselves are really well done. In ARPG's, you're going to be killing hundreds of thousands of enemies so you need some good ones. Being that this is themed after a mad scientist, most of the enemies are geared in that direction and honestly its a refreshing take. There are a lot of variety in enemy models and plenty that require you to change tactics on. Igor's are by far the most tactically important to consider as they are hard hitting, slow moving, throw mines, and explode on death.

Combat is also another strong suit. Although you only have one character with one class (unless you have the DLC), there is a lot of variety in specs and playstyle. It mostly bounces between ranged firearms and melee sword(s). Magic, Aura's, and Tricks are also upgradable as Van Helsing levels up. All abilities can be enhanced (if you purchase the upgrade) by using a Rage mechanic. Abilities and Enhanced Abilities can also be set up in intricate combo's that you can predetermine and queue up via the Spacebar. Combat appears to be very deep, but I personally only dipped my toes into it.

Katarina is an excellent companion. Personality wise she compliments Van Helsing's grim monotone style with smart ass quips. The banter and teasing between the two was one of my favorite parts of the game and the two seemed like an old married couple at times with their bickering. Mechanically she functions similar to the pet in Torchlight, being able to carry loads, but also being equipable. She levels up as well, gaining ability points and talents that can be tailored to compliment whatever build you are using for Van Helsing. She also has a seemingly deep AI system that can be adjusted.

Standard gameplay is broken up with a couple of "Tower Defense" sections where you have to defend your base against waves of enemies. Fortunately you are given time to place some really fun and cool traps to help you out. These were definitely really fun and I loved the trap "Werewolf-in-a-Box".

You fight a killer bunny.


The Bad
While the maps were great, I felt that some of them were just too big. Exploring is fun, but at the same time sometimes I would spend several hours working through a map to expose every corner. Those maps I think are a little too big and I would have preferred they be split up.

Replayability is key in ARPG's for most people, and honestly I didn't feel like I needed to replay this game on any setting. While there are settings for Ironman and a harder difficulty after beating the game, this game felt different enough from standard ARPG's that I don't want to play through it again "for the loot".

Also, loot is fairly boring in this game. They throw a lot at you, but its all stat bonuses and nothing really interesting (like chance on hit to turn enemy into a chicken). By the end of the game I was sick of picking it up.


The Ugly
The single-class system is a little weird given the genre of the game. This might be offputting to people. Personally I enjoyed the "Hunter" base class since it let me do everything I needed to, but I can understand if someone else would be interested in trying more varied classes.

The final boss, while a well polished encounter with different methods of defeat, was really tedious if you played it the safe way. Also, the final boss was not built up enough. Given the tone of the game and its love of campiness, I expected much more moustache twirling. The first time you meet the boss is during the final encounter.

Difficulty in the game spikes at times, and its easy to be taking no damage to suddenly dieing. Ranged builds also seem to be somewhat superior to melee builds, which can be disapointing.



Overall, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing showed me something new in the genre and completely surprised me. I had a lot of fun with it and would highly recommend it. A complete run through took me about 12 hours, so it has a fair amount of content for an ARPG. In short, I had a good time with it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on January 28, 2014, 07:23:28 AM
Bioshock 2

Bought this when Infinite came out and got great reviews, but it's been sitting on my Steam shelf for a while. I should have played it earlier - this is an excellent game with only some minor problems. 4/5 stars, definitely get it if you don't already since it's on sale quite often.

The game combines a few elements of RPG (you upgrade your character via acquired and bought abilities; you upgrade your weapons after finding them in-game, etc) with a story-driven FPS. The story is novel and well-written and although you're on plot rails for most of the game it does feel like you get some meaningful choices. The game also includes a fair dose of horror/creepiness, and it has some cleverly designed map bits. For example there are places where you can see or reach into another room but you have to go around a loop or pass an obstacle before you can fully get into the room.

The downsides for me were first that it's an obvious console port, and not a good one at that. You  can use only one weapon at a time, but to change weapons you can't just select from a list or hotkey them, you have to cycle through them.  Likewise with your special abilities.  This meant that although I had a dozen weapons and abilities I rarely used more than two or three of each since it took too long to get to the one I would've liked to have. The combat gets repetitive and it doesn't have a lot of real consequences.  You can heal yourself to full with an aid kit, or you can just keep shooting and die and come back at full-enough health. Many of the mobs were outright bullet sponges, which got boring. I'm sure there was a correct weapon to use against each type, but see above about how cumbersome it was to change weapons.

Like most story-driven games for me it doesn't have any replayability. I might have some interest in seeing consequences of making other plot choices but not enough to replay the whole game just for that.  Since you can't name saved games there's no easy way to go back to key points for specific replay.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on February 03, 2014, 05:21:37 AM
Crusader Kings 2

"Finished" as in "could not even manage to get started." I love turn-based grand strategy games.  I used to play Avalon Hill and SPI wargames for fun. 0/5 stars and I'm sorry I spent the $7 or whatever on Steam mega-sale for this thing.

This is not a grand strategy game. It's not even properly a game. It's kind of a historical simulation with lots of abstraction and a terrible UI. I tried reading the in-game tutorial.  That's right, read.  You don't actually get to try anything out, just read a small encyclopedia of text and hope you remember it. The "hint" screen is about 1/3 of the screen more wall of text.  When every action you might take can only be summarized with that amount of text it's not a "hint".  I tried reading online guides and intros.  I watched beginner how-to-play videos.  The most important thing I got from that was "there is no way to win this game - you just play it a while then it ends."

That's when I stopped.  I could go on about the opaque UI that makes you hunt for tiny buttons hidden all over the place, and phenomenal amounts of fiddly detail but really if there had been any sort of "do this first, then that, then develop those things and you'll see what the game is about" I might have tried it.  But no.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on February 04, 2014, 09:33:48 AM
Yeah, CKII is the kind of game designed to have a robust and arcane manual attached. Not my kind of game.

I will say that it is a proper grand strategy game, though. This fellow (http://lparchive.org/Crusader-Kings-2/) took a tiny duchy in Ireland and made it into the grandest empire the world had ever seen-all through gameplay. Many of the systems are abstracted, but there is still a game behind it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kharvek on February 04, 2014, 09:40:19 AM
Yeah I've got friends at work who are hugely into it.  It's an older school game to its core.  IE: It is not at all intuitive and the tutorials are awful...but once you figure it out it's pretty amazing.  A guy in my room plays it on his breaks all the time and it sounds like once you figure it out it's insanely in depth and like Frank said, if you play well, you can really do some cool stuff.  It's also the only game where someone playing can cry out "Goddamnit I can't stop fucking my cousin!" right after bragging about how they had all their bastard sons killed.

I think the other big thing is how detailed it is with being historically accurate based on each region they simulate.  Shit like succession laws are all accurate as well as how you marry, who you marry, religion, etc.  My buddy is a huge history geek and he's continually blown away by how accurate and detailed that part of the game is.  Apparently you can also take a CKII game all the way and import your save to Europa Universalis 4 and continue your empire there in the next age.  (That is a much different game, more classic about empire management whereas CKII really puts a focus on the dynasty and political elements)

Anyway, CKII is too arcane for me, but I'd say it's likely really worth a chance if you like these kinda games.  I know too many people who've sunk hours and hours into that game once they figured it out, but it's got a learning curve sitting around 5 hours before you start to get an idea on the impact you can have.

For me?  I think it's a game like Dwarf Fortress.  Crazy in depth, but crazy user unfriendly...but hearing stories about people's games is endlessly entertaining.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on February 04, 2014, 10:00:39 AM
Yeah, I was way more entertained reading that LP I linked than actually playing the game.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on February 04, 2014, 10:43:03 AM
Final Fantasy Tactics was a little bit like that for me.  The fonts used in the UI were a little hard to read, the camera rotation is awkward, the relationship between the first battle and the rest of the game is unclear, the first time you try to move on the map you get confusingly interrupted by a plot scene, and of course the English translation was terrible.  I didn't get past the first ten minutes my first time around.  But once I saw someone else playing it midway through (Ghoselle, as it turns out), I gave it another shot and got totally hooked.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on February 04, 2014, 11:20:26 AM
Tomb Raider

I actually beat this game a few weeks ago but got sick and didn't feel like typing a review. I don't think the game was the cause.

This is the reboot of the classic with a reimaging (somewhat) of the protagonist to inject a lot more realism into the series. The game alternates between Third-Person-Shooting and Platforming sections. Exploration is another big key in the game, with a fair amount of backtracking to unlock various secrets and upgrades throughout the game.


The Good

As far as reboots go, this one is done very well. The graphics are amazing, both with characters and with environment, the game play is tight and solid, the level design is smart and open with belieavable fast track paths, and the story is surprisingly decent. From a mechanical standpoint, there is not much to criticize. The weapons and tools are varied enough that nothing really gets boring, and the upgrade system allows you to constantly improve your armaments throughout the game.

The character, Lara, is also extremely well done. I found it really easy to immerse myself in the game due to the realistic animations, excellent voice acting, and smartly written dialogue of the character. A smaller factor I really appreciated was the "wear and tear" that Lara picks up on her adventure, specifically getting dirt and grime caked on, smeared, washed off (but never completely) as well as clothing tears and a plethora of cuts and bruises. And no, the clothing tears never "conveniently" tore away so that she ended up with a pair of her classic hotpants (although I was hoping for a bit of fanservice). Overall, I was reminded a lot of Isaac Clarked from Dead Space as I found him another relatable character due to his personal chatter and general terror level. Like Isaac, Lara is scared shitless most of the time, but constantly takes a moment to pump herself up and then does it. I found that very refreshing and it made me relate to the character as a "normal person" a lot more.

One of the other things I liked about this game was the story, or more specifically the lore of the island. I really felt like the island had a history, and it was interesting discovering some of its secrets. Being a reboot, you aren't quite sure what rules the universe is playing by. I was pleased to discover hints of supernatural activity and ultimately it made the finale a lot more enjoyable as it expanded the world and sets up Lara's future role perfectly.


The Bad

Multiplayer is a terrible add-on. It plays decently enough, but new players are at a massive disadvantage. There were also a lot of bugs I noticed. Overall it seemed like a generic 3rd person shooter multiplayer that was thoughtlessly added on so the game could be marketed as multiplayer.

I did not like the very beginning of the game. With this being a reboot I would have really liked a "Journey Thus Far" intro that took a few moments to tell me about Lara growing up, who her father was (since he is mentioned a lot), and maybe more about the crew of the ship. Instead its a smash cut into the wreck. It left me uninterested and confused about why I am here and where here was for the first hour or 2 of gameplay.


The Ugly

Although the game does a good job of developing Lara, it doesn't do a very good job early on. I found myself disinterested in gameplay in the first few areas because I didn't understand what was going on...and not in the shipwrecked on a deserted island kind of way either. After a couple of hours things start coming together and the player begins to notice that Lara will start picking up new skills, but at the start the game looks horribly tedious.

There are a lot of really disturbing things going on within the island. I personally loved it when things went full on horror-movie, but it could be off-putting to some people. The transition from tropical wilds to blood-filled pools and dismembered body parts is really unsettling, so be warned.


Overall I was very happy by the end of the game. I think the reboot honored enough of the classic Tomb Raider while also creating something new and memorable. It does have a few stumbles throughout, but definitely deserves a spot as one of the top games of 2013. If you have a chance, its definitely worth a playthrough. I believe it took me ~14-15 Hours to finish (including unlocking all the collectables/solving the hidden Tombs).


Regarding the Contraversay...
Tomb Raider landed in some hot water by some of the comments their team made to the press prior to release. Honestly, I didn't see anything sexist in the game.

The scene where one Dev said Lara was going to be raped...yeah, I thought that too since she was being caressed by a crazy islander and there were apparently no women. There was nothing sexual except a nasty dude touching Lara's arm.

The comment about the player wanting "to protect Lara" was obviously something that was misinterpretted. Again, she is relatable and her death scenes are BRUTAL. She also gets hurt a lot and I felt her pain. I empathized with her character. Again, this is something I found very similar to Isaac Clarke and had less to do with her being a woman and more to do with her being a relatable character.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on February 05, 2014, 12:21:25 PM
The Walking Dead: Season One


This is the point and click adventure game by TellTale games. The gameplay is very similar to the oldschool adventure games like Sam & Max Hit the Road or Day of the Tentacle where the player has to point and click on items in the environment to solve puzzles. Dialogue and storytelling are the other key feature to this game, as well as a few "shooting gallery" and QTE scenes. The story centers on around Lee and begins at the time of the fictional Zombie outbreak. The story is told over the course of 5 Episodes that run ~2.5 hours each.


The Good

By far the best thing about TWD is the dialogue. What really invests you in the game and the story are the characters. No one is really portrayed as a "hero" or "villain" in the traditional sense. What you have are people and the compromises they are willing to make in order to survive. Sometimes those compromises are very severe. The dialogue and voice acting helps to really invest the player into the story. You might not like every character, but you can relate to them.

The animation style mimics the comic books. For the most part this is done very well, but a few times the animations looked kinda silly. Still, it creates a very comic-book like feel that I think works very well overall along with the art style. Whether coincidence or not, I felt it stays pretty true to the comic series in terms of art style and framing.

The pacing of the game is very good. The action sequences are followed up by dialogue scenes. Nothing really seems to ever outstay its welcome, and its hard to find a good stopping point within an Episode because of this.

At the end of every Episode you are given a poll about all the major decisions throughout the Episode and it shows you what percent of people chose what. I liked this feature and its interesting seeing what other people chose. A lot of choices have to be made quickly (they are timed), so you have to rely a lot on gut instinct. This is something else I liked. The stories do vary a bit, depending on the choices you make, although not as much as I am sure they would like market it.


The Bad

I found the Shooting Galleries and QTE's to be tedious and archaic most of the time. Although the QTE's kept consistant with their buttons, and smashing buttons did create a sense of tension, it just didn't feel like it belong in the game. The Shooting Galleries were almost as bad just because of how unrefined they were. It reminded me of playing Duck Hunt with a controller.


The Ugly

The story, as great as it is, is depressing as hell. This game WILL bum you out. If you are a fan of the Comic then you know that nothing good ever happens. If something good happens, then something 10x as worse is going to happen very shortly. There is also a lot of really disturbing scenes and acts in this game (definitely not for kids). Although I never felt the violence or gore was gratuitous, it is very copious. The portrayal of people as monsters is also pretty big and you will meet some crazy psycho's out there.


Overall TWD is a pretty great game, but definitely not for everyone. Its a very good story, but a very depressing story that is pretty bleak. As a game I am really torn because it plays a lot more like an interactive movie than a "game", but that brings up the age-old debate as to what defines a "game". Regardless, TWD is an excellent experience and worth it if you can stomach some of the darker parts of the story. Ultimately its a story about humanity, survival, and sacrifice.


As a sidenote, I am really interested to see what this studio does with The Wolf Among Us, a game like TWD but based on the Fables comic. Specifically, I am curious if it will have a bit lighter tone. Currently, I would rather give TWAU over TWD: Season 2 simply because of how depressing TWD is (which is a credit to TellTale's honoring of the source material).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: ghoselle on February 05, 2014, 01:18:24 PM
I enjoyed "The Walking Dead" playthrough done as season 10 of spoiler warning.   http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?page_id=16386

 
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Tweed on February 05, 2014, 05:55:59 PM
Going back to CKII: I am a huge addict but understand that it is not for everyone. I have about 300 hours in CKII, and about 70 in EU4 (got EU4 about two weeks ago). I think they're masterpieces, frankly, and would disagree with anyone who says that they're not grand strategy games. For example:

(http://i.imgur.com/tPIR5WW.png?1)

I'm Byzantium. EU4 starts in 1444 CE, and as Byzantium you start out with three provinces (Constantinople and two bits in the Peloponnesus). You are technologically behind your neighbors, have almost no money, and a tiny army. You are surrounded by the Ottoman Empire, whose mission is to "Conquer the City of the World's Desire." It is considered the hardest start in the game, even harder than Granada. And look! I have rebuilt the Eastern Roman Empire. In Ironman, with no saves. So I'd disagree that it's not a game of grand strategy. I had to use some pretty grand strategy to get this far.

And here's a CKII game:

(http://i.imgur.com/HdiXWQT.png?1)

I'm Karen, which is the dynasty's name, and this is a screenshot I took when I reformed the Zoroastrian Persian Empire. For this, you start at around 880. You're the only Zoroastrian nation in the Middle East, and through family marriages and vassalage agreements, you can take control of the Muslim Sassanian Empire from the inside, then execute your rivals and convert the country away from Islam. Meanwhile both Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East are declaring Crusades and Jihads against you every like 20 years.

Anyway, it's a game of patience and numbers and the long view. It's not for everyone, but it most definitely a strategy game. Probably the most compelling strategy game I've ever played.

Oh! Also, regarding that tutorial issue. Unless I'm completely insane CKII does have a tutorial where it walks you through the relevant mechanics. It's not a great tutorial, sure, but 99% of CKII and EU4 is just trial and error and figuring this out on your own. I mean, it's a giant sandbox game: the worst thing that can happen is your dynasty dies out or your country is conquered, and then you restart (or reboot from a save if you're not doing Ironman). So just experiment! It's a pretty simple game, in terms of mechanics, once you play it for a little while. (I'd recommend starting in Ireland, a/k/a "Tutorial Island").
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Wren on February 05, 2014, 09:12:17 PM
Kharvek summed up CK:II perfectly for me:

Quote
For me?  I think it's a game like Dwarf Fortress.  Crazy in depth, but crazy user unfriendly...but hearing stories about people's games is endlessly entertaining.

This is further proven true for me because Ralnar (GM for Dissonance) who adores and plays Dwarf Fortress was the person who encouraged me to pick up CK so he'd have someone to play with. I really want to like it and figure it out but so far just haven't had the patience to dig-in. I do love hearing the stories though.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on February 06, 2014, 05:38:07 AM
I feel like CK is an excellent teaching tool for those who are inclined to learn about politics in the High Middle Ages. I gained a real appreciation about why progress slowed to a crawl during those centuries; namely because vassals wouldn't let their lieges do anything and all your relatives want to stab you in the back for the crown.

I took that Irish Duchy and took over Ireland, Wales and Scotland but I've hit a stone wall with England. I think the trick is that I haven't figured out how to use dynastic marriages to get a claim over it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on February 06, 2014, 05:54:42 AM
Yeah, CK sounds like a fun game to listen to...but I don't think I could get into actually playing it. Or perhaps I am scared that I might actually get into it and lose more time than I'm willing to in it. >_>;;
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on February 07, 2014, 05:47:48 AM
The Walking Dead: 400 Days


This is just a real quick review of the DLC for The Walking Dead: Season 1. Its a sort of bonus chapter that is not really tied into anything with TWD outside of maybe 1 or 2 references (one being pretty hamfisted), and will allegedly lead into Season 2.

Unlike the main game, 400 Days is comprised of 5 (+1) Chapters where you control a different character each time. The characters are loosely related, but not directly related in any of their stories. So basically, each chapter is a 15-20 minute mini-story.

Despite the short time we spend with each character, TellTale does an excellent job of presenting characters quickly and making them relatable to the point where you still care about your decisions. In a way, its a wakeup call to all those games that can't get you to care about a protagonist after 15 hours of gameplay.

I wasn't sure how the brevity was going to work, but it did. The DLC is only $5, and if you enjoyed the main game then I think its worth the money despite the meager 1.5 hour gameplay time. The characters are memorable and the decisions each person make are deep.

And as a side note, the stories themselves were a lot less depressing than the main story. The majority of them had more humor in them as well as moments where the player could really express their humanity (which made for more heroic moments).

Overall, I think its worth playing however it won't enhance the main story much.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: ghoselle on February 26, 2014, 07:44:12 PM
The Banner Saga.

Just finished playing Banner Saga.  This is an amazingly well done norse-esque RPG story game.  The story was good and interesting.  The music was very good at mood setting, and something I'd consider buying the soundtrack for as background music for gaming runs -- how many video games do you see where they have a significant number of musicians in the credits?  If you like the genre, this game is you playing through a heroic sage.  I definitely recommend it.  The combat is somewhat final fantasy tactics-ish -- but with an interesting twist.  I got pointed at this game after reading a review, where the reviewer's partner who is a historian of things norse and this was the first game of the genre where it was 'done right'. 
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on February 27, 2014, 05:31:26 AM
<3 Banner Saga. I have to go back and play it through a third time to try to get a better result before the next one comes out (but I expect it'll be 2 years or so).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Chibe on February 27, 2014, 05:45:53 AM
What was your play time?  Im kinda interested, but on da fence with this one.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on February 27, 2014, 06:09:58 AM
Mine was 12 hours per run-through. But I played through twice (so far).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on February 27, 2014, 10:59:00 AM
Leviathan: Warships

This is not my typical kind of thing but I was interested in a turn-based combat things and it was cheap on Steam or Humble bundle or something. It's a standard example of its genre, if you like miniatures combat translated to the screen.  3/5.

The basic paradigm is that you have a mission or combat scenario for which you're assigned a point maximum.  Each ship hull costs some points and then you can put offensive (guns, mines) and defensive (shields, towers) components onto the hull.  There are some constraints such as the size of your components and the available mount points on the hull, but nothing terribly complicated.  Once you have your fleet laid out with its point total you then play it as a scenario solo in the game's campaign or you log into a server and play with/against other players.  I didn't do the latter so I don't have a sense for how active the game's user community is.  If you're into the PvP aspects of these things you might want to check that out first.

I liked the way they animated each move - you plot what your ships are going to do and then click a "commit" button when ready and the ships sail smoothly on. What I didn't like was you don't appear to have any targeting control. I had a hard time figuring out which guns would fire at what targets when, and you can hit your own ships, both by collision and by sailing into a gun's path.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on March 05, 2014, 01:28:06 PM
Mark of the Ninja.  This is a 2D side-scrolling stealth game.  Since it's an indy game and is basically alone in its genre intersection, I expected a glorified flash game, but I was pleasantly surprised to find something much better.  The controls, graphics, and mechanics reminded me of Sly Cooper in their crispness.  The story is professional in quality if somewhat predictable.  There is a choice of basically three gameplay styles, providing some replay value.  There are two marked changes in gameplay elements which give the game enough system depth to support the 10-20 hour storyline.  There is a very basic economy where you gain points through level completionism and spend them on character upgrades chosen to match your playstyle.  Definitely recommended for anyone with interest in stealth games or maybe puzzle games.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on March 20, 2014, 07:46:53 AM
Shadowrun: Dragonfall

Dragonfall is basically an expansion to Shadowrun Returns: Dead Man's Switch. It does not follow the storyline from DMS and is basically a standalone game. For those who haven't tried the original, its a turn-based isometric style RPG set in a dysptopian future where both Cyberpunk-Style technology exist in a world that has also "awakened" with Magical powers and mythical beings.


Several significant features have been changed from DMS, all for the better and most of them apparently coming from criticism from the original. Some of the improvements are:

1) You now have an actual team. My biggest complaint about DMS was that you hired Shadowrunners for each mission and only had actual characters with personality for a few special missions. Dragonfall solves this by giving you a fully fleshed out 4-man team, each with their own personalities and backgrounds. You are limited to 3 teammates per mission, so you can pick which teammates compliment your skills the best. You can still recruit Shadowrunners for each mission, but I'd rather have a subpar teammate with a personality than an optimized bunch of stats. Dragonfall gives you an option in that department.

2) Exploration is back on the table. Another big complaint of DMS was how linear everything was. Dragonfall opens the world up a bit and provides options for the player to explore the immediate world a bit. The last leg of the game (1/2-1/3 of the total game) is very linear though, but understandably so.

3) More equipment! There was not a lot of gear to choose from in DMS, and I believe Dragonfall has significantly expanded Outfits/Armor as well as weaponry and spells. I did not check on Cybernetic Implants (mainly due to being a Mage), but I would assume its been expanded as well.

4) Save Anywhere!!! This was an annoying feature of DMS. I should note that it was fixed in a patch, so this isn't specific to Dragonfall. However, now you can save whenever and where-ever you like.

5) More dialogue options. I felt like Dragonfall had A LOT more opportunities for special dialogue (based on your Ettiquette as well as other features like your Stats or Skills). There were some options based on what magic you might knew (in the one case I saw it involved resisting a mind probe through an Adept's willpower). Some of this dialogue lets you avoid fights (and since you don't earn XP by fighting, but by completing the mission, avoiding fights saves you on resources). In one mission I was able to avoid all but the final fight by Decking/Hacking, using a Disguise, and using Ettiquette to bluff my way to my objective. It was great!


Overall Dragonfall is a great improvement over Dead Man's Switch. The story is excellent and full of twists and turns (some more obvious than others), it never got "weird" like in DMS, and it had me enthralled until the end. I LOVE having the team and getting to know them as well, and especially would like to have a campaign focused on Glory and her personal mission post-Dragonfall. The length was good too, I clocked about 13 Hours for the campaign, which is what I had for DMS as well.

If you liked the first Shadowrun Returns, then this is a must buy.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on March 25, 2014, 09:18:07 AM
Shadow Warrior

This is a reboot of the old FPS title of the same name. The original Shadow Warrior is credited with innovating a lot things that are common in FPS games today, but didn't get a lot of acclaim at the time despite it being a really solid shooter. Its fitting that this game got a reboot for modern gamers.


The game is an old-school FPS shooter. There are no cover mechanics, action is fast paced, explosions are plentiful, and the asses are smart. As with the original, you play as Lo Wang (albeit a more youthful version than the original's) who is an Assassin/Enforcer for a big Japanese businessman. The game mixes melee and ranged combat very well, and includes an RPG-esque upgrade path for your skills, abilities, and weapons. Level design is excellent, mostly linear, and full of secret areas with some interesting homages and surprises.


The Good
Straight up off the bat...this game is fun. Like really fun. I had a blast playing it, and if you watch the Totalbiscuit review of the Beta of this game, you can tell he is having a great time.

Gameplay-wise this game handles combat superbly. Every weapon is fun to use, so the choice isn't really what weapon is good for this occaision or which weapon is "the best", its which weapon do you prefer using this exact second. The default weapon, your Katana, is handled beautifully. It is neither overpowered, nor a last resort melee option. There are several special Katana moves you can learn and use, and switching from Katana and guns is done regularly. The game also features several Mystic powers you can summon, including Health Regen, Shield, Force Push, and AoE Lift.

Visually the game is a visceral eyegasm. Bodies can be hacked up and dismembered with both guns and swords, leaving areas swarming with enemies littered with blood, gore, and meat. The levels are quasi-destructable, meaning walls won't collapse, but virtually every piece of decor is destructable (usually excessively explosive). There is also a huge variety in scenary, though mostly all "traditional" Japanese themed.

Lo Wang himself is a funny guy, and basically a bad/smartass. He is joined by an Ancient Spirit that converse throughout the levels that allow for some good banter. At the start of the game Lo Wang is a very arrogant and shallow person, and one of the things I was not expecting was his growth throughout the game. Which brings me too...

The story. Its an old-school FPS shooter about a super Henchman hacking apart demons. I did not have any expectations going into this game. However, the story of the Shadow Realm is told very artistically (like a legend) and plays out very nicely. Lo Wangs involvement surprised me when he became more than just a wrecking ball, but rather a thoughtful actor in the Shadow Realm's cautionary tale. And the ending itself is something I would venture to say was...artistic. Overall the message of the game (or the Shadow Realm's story) revolves around memories and their power over us. It really caught me offguard.


The Bad
The only bad thing is that I didn't try this sooner.


The Ugly
I think everything Shadow Warrior sets out to do, it does well. There are some weird graphical clipping errors and a few areas that lack some polish...but overall I think this game is better than most all of the AAA shooters I've played recently.


Overall I highly recommend Shadow Warrior. Its a decent length for an FPS, clocking in about 15 hours. Like I've mentioned several times already, I had A LOT of fun with it. There is a lot humor early on in the game and a lot of fun little references to the original title. I really can't think of much bad about this game unless you just don't like fun. =)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on March 27, 2014, 05:13:56 AM
Dishonored

I should start by saying that I don't generally like stealthers. I give this game a 5/5, but perhaps someone who was really into the genre might find flaws.

The plot is bog-standard hero redemption stuff (rescue the princess, redeem your name, slay the big bad). The setting is light steampunk, with more of an early-20th century feel. There are cars and the soldiers' uniforms have a Prussian feel. The number of gears and references to UK colonial-era stuff is much lower than typical steampunk. The game also tries to incorporate some horror, in that there's a plague that turns people into zombies, rat swarms, etc. But it's a light sprinkling, not a major game component.

The two things I liked most about the game were its variety of options, and its pacing. Overall you can choose to play the game in "high chaos" or "low chaos" style.  High involves killing and fighting, blowing stuff up, etc. Low is stealth, rendering people unconscious rather than killing them, etc. I played through in low chaos, using lots of stealth, despite not usually liking that style, and I enjoyed it immensely.

The pacing involves both dividing the game up into missions, linked by plot development, and within each mission there are areas you can clear of opponents and loot before moving on to the next area. You can focus on just clearing the main areas - that gets you to mission end fastest - or you can explore other areas and do side missions along the way. Some of these get you extra rewards but they're usually nice-to-have things, not required. I probably did 90% of the side areas within the game, in part because I enjoyed solving the little puzzles presented.

Like most stealthers, Dishonored gives you opportunities to go through areas unseen. You get extra tools to help with stealth, including magical things like a short-range blink, stopping time, and possessing rats to move through ducts. Dishonored also gives you multiple options for most areas - it's not exactly full open-world but you can choose things like "go over the roof and drop onto a balcony" versus "sneak behind the guard and get in the side door" or "go through the sewer and up into the basement." The game does a good job of not penalizing you for choosing one option or another; at the end of each mission you get a scorecard that shows whether or not you were spotted, how many bodies were discovered, how much chaos you generated, etc.  You can replay any mission easily from the start screen.

The final pacing element worth mentioning is a subtle thing, but it really stood out for me. In some other stealthers I end up sitting and waiting (and waiting and waiting) until just the right time to move. In Dishonored I felt I was definitely rewarded for being patient but I never felt like I was just sitting around waiting for a guard to move. This keeps the game tense, but still moving along.

The game is old enough now that it appears on sale pretty often; highly recommend getting it if you have any interest in this genre.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on March 27, 2014, 07:10:43 AM
I grabbed this on sale a while back and my friends keep badgering me into playing. It sounds like my kind of stealth game.

My one friend who LOVED Dishonored is having real frustration issues with the new Thief (mostly patience, a frustration I have with most non-Mark of the Ninja stealth games), so I don't think you should play that one either.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on March 30, 2014, 04:57:00 PM
Guild Wars 2, treated as a single-player game with the exception of some world event and champion zerging.  I played an engineer.  It's likely that someone playing other classes actually treating an MMO as a multi-player game would have a different experience.

I think GW2 sets the bar for outdoor questing; they made their world much more interesting than a typical MMO.  You aren't really led around by quests; instead, you decide where to go (within the confines of your level; you are scaled downward but not upward) and the game tries to make sure something interesting is happening that you can influence.  A zone typically has a bunch of standalone events which replay periodically, and then a "meta-event" which is a branching sequence of events depending on whether events succeed or fail.  There might be an event where the good guys might try to take over a mine; if they succeed (which will only happen with player help), there might be a follow-on event where they defend it, while if they fail there might be a follow-on event where the bad guys counterattack.

I didn't find other aspects of the game as compelling.  The writing in the personal story didn't seem very inspired.  The graphics are good but not amazing.  The combat system doesn't feel as visceral or responsive as WoW's or Wild Star's.  Zones are all rectangular with loading screens between in between, which feels archaic and makes the world map look ridiculous.  The living story is kind of interesting to follow in a "wow, they really nuked Stormwind" sense, but neither the writing nor the gameplay is all that great.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on April 07, 2014, 06:23:51 AM
Outlast

This is a survival horror / hide & seek game where you play as an investigative journalist who receives an anonymous tip that a big corporation's charity project, an Asylum, is a front for something more sinister. With his trust camcorder in hand, you set off to break into the facility and find out what's up. And of course you do this on a dark and stormy night...

Mechanically, this game has a few key features. Most importantly you can not fight. This means you have to either run from the enemies or hide from them. Fortunately they will not pursue you through certain areas. Also, many areas are pitch black and require the use of your camcorder's nightvision to see. Using the nightvision drains the batteries, which are the only "power up" in the game.


The Good

The game's premise starts off very strong. The first hour is really amazing and you find yourself on the edge of your seat. It helps that the protagonist's breath and heartbeat can be heard as things get more tense, and staying still in a safe spot will calm him down.

The inmates at the Asylum are not all out to get you. There is a variety in temperament, which is refreshing. Some will try to eat you, others get pissed if you invade their personal space, some are friendly and offer advice, others are catatonic, some are deathly afraid, ect...it does at least mix things up and keeps you guessing as to who is going to jump out at you.

The music and sound are both pretty good and are tailored around a "creepy" ambience. Its a little cliche, but it works and the sound coordinates with the action fairly well. However, at times the dialogue is hard to hear and understand over the music.


The Bad

Jump scares...this game relies almost solely on jump scares. The first few are good, but they are so overused that you almost start to just expect them at every turn. Outside of a torture scene, pretty much all the "horror" in this game is just gore on the floor and stuff jumping out at you. Basically...its kinda weak in the long run.

Exploring the Asylum is a purely linear experience. There are doors here and there that contain some random files, but basically you are guided by the hand exactly where to go and have virtually no backtrack.

The ending sequence. Seriously. Its basically ripped right out of F.E.A.R.


The Ugly

The biggest thing this game stumbles on is relying on repetition. There is a disturbing lack of depth for the "hiding" areas, and you are limited to hiding in lockers or under beds. The concept is nice, but the execution needs refinement. After a few encounters it becomes much easier to just sprint around the "level" while you collect keys and turn levers.

The greatest fear is the fear of the unknown. When you introduce science or explanation in the horror genre, you lose a lot of the potential fear. Outlast is guilty of this, even if it explains things in pseudo-science speak.

Graphically, this game is rough. It feels more like something that should be on a PS2 or XBOX.


In short, I wasn't super impressed with Outlast. I'd say its a fairly average game, but nothing I would recommend anyone go out and play. Its extremely short, I clocked in about 4.5 hours for a complete run and it has no replay value whatsoever. If you're in love with the horror genre and just want something to kill in a night or 2, then this might be your game. Otherwise, save your cash and pick up something else.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Tweed on April 13, 2014, 10:34:51 AM
Dark Souls II

Hotly anticipated sequel to Dark Souls. I give it a 9/10. Very faithful to the original in terms of game play, atmosphere, and difficulty. Bottom line is that if you liked Dark Souls, you'll like Dark Souls II.

Story: You're undead, a stranger in a sort of post-apocalyptic fantasy kingdom that was lain waste by a terrible curse. You're destined to lift the curse. To do that, you need to collect souls -- "powerful souls" -- and then overthrow the Big Bad.

I found the story a bit easier to follow than the original's. But not everyone agrees: /r/darksouls is a hotbed of disagreement about the story. I think I just picked an interpretation that worked for me and went with that. Even then, though, not everything makes sense. I'm sure someone like EpicNameBro will come up with a pretty cohesive interpretation of the plot and lore.

Gameplay: Essentially the same as the original with a few interesting design tweaks.

First, trash mobs don't spawn infinitely. After you've killed a particular mob 10 times, it stops spawning.  So, for instance, if you keep dying on a boss and wind up killing the trash leading up to her lair 10 times, that trash won't spawn on the eleventh attempt.

No one is clear on whether this was intended to make the game "less punishing" or to encourage people to "learn to play" by preventing them from simply farming souls to overpower certain bosses. Regardless, it doesn't come into play as often as you'd think.

Second, every time you die, you lose a bit of your permanent health (down to 50% unless you wear a certain ring). The only way to restore that lost health is by going human. You'd think this was intended to encourage people to restore humanity more frequently, since in DS many players would just stay hollow to avoid invasions. But in DSII, you can also be invaded regardless of whether you are undead or human. So, the primary reason to restore humanity in DSII is restore max health, and to summon PCs and NPCs.

Difficulty: It's hard. But 98% of its difficulty is about being patient and methodical. Rushing into anywhere in DSII will get you killed unless you're very familiar with the area. Trying to go all-out on a boss will never work. On the other hand, if you slowly go through each area, killing one mob at a time, sniping others with ranged attacks, inspecting every corner and wall, etc., you'll almost never die up until you reach the area's boss.

The bosses are a mixed bag. Some are really, really hard. I spent maybe an entire afternoon trying to kill one particular boss. Others I one-shot. But, on the positive side, bosses don't get easier in the late game. A popular complaint with DS was that the late game bosses were, oddly, easier than the early game bosses. DSII doesn't totally fix that problem (in part because you're very powerful by the end of the game), but definitely mitigates it. I got stuck on a few late-game bosses, which didn't happen in DS.

edit: Took me about 36 hours to finish, but I didn't do it blind (didn't follow a walkthrough, either, just consulted the wiki when I was stuck or got lost) and I didn't farm anything. I honestly cannot believe people played it totally blind when it first came out. /r/darksouls is filled with horror stories of 80+ hour first playthroughs, with people missing all sorts of things that would have made my game nearly impossible to finish. More power to them, I guess.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on April 21, 2014, 09:11:58 AM
The Witcher: Enhanced Edition


The Witcher is a single-player "Action-RPG" that uses Bioware's Aurora Engine (Neverwinter Nights 2). The game focuses on a single character, Geralt of Rivia, and is set in a dark fantasy world loosely based on Slavic mythology. The mood is dark, grim, and raw. The game offers several methods of play, mainly point and click in a fashion similar to Diablo, but with timed clicks needed to perform combos. Combat involves the use of a variety of weapons and stances as well as magical abilities and items that are required in different combinations to best defeat various encounters.


The Good

By far the biggest strength of The Witcher is its setting and mood. Despite its age and graphical limitations, the game creates a very realistic world completely filled with NPC's as well as enemies that respect the passage of time. NPC's will, for example, move around town based on the time of day and go to sleep when it gets dark. In addition to the passage of time, the environment's weather will also change randomly, further helping to immerse yourself in the world. The areas are very well crafted and "realistically" spaced. The villages felt like villages and the city felt like a city, with the different districts each feeling unique.

The other main strength of The Witcher is its political happenings. The game is, despite being about Geralt, highly political. There is a whirlwind of political dealings and intrigue that Geralt gets caught up in, but the game keeps Geralt on the peripheral. One of the elements of the game is that although Geralt is an important figure, nothing he does can change the shape of the world. And honestly, Geralt has no interest in these affairs anyways. However, trying to keep up with who is scheming who and which country they hold allegiance can be difficult at first.

Combat is another thing done surprisingly well. The basics involve a 2-Weapon system, a steel sword for mundane enemies and a silver sword for magical ones. Different styles round out the system, a strong style, a fast style, and a group style. Different enemies are weak to the different styles so you will often have to change up styles during a fight. There are also a few magic spells that mainly provide support for the swordplay. In all, you basically end up playing a BattleMage.


The Bad

The game is severely unpolished. As ambitious as it is, it stumbles on its way. The most glaring and talked about issue is the use of "trading cards" as rewards for sexing various NPC's. Not only does it turn the sex scenes into a collectable venture, the transitions are laughably horrendous. Some are even worse than the quentessential Shepard "Report to the ship. We'll bang ok?" meme.

Actually, transitions are one of this games weakest points. Often times the dialogue or cutscenes occur oddly out of play and are akin to covering your eyes and spinning around. It takes some time to get your bearings. It almost feels like the game was developed in sections and then connected together, but the person in charge of connecting the scenes didn't exist. By that I mean you will find some areas that fit together well and others that don't.


The Ugly

The game is deceptively long. Although there is a lot in the game, there is a lot of backtracking and running around making multiple trips. Since there is no fast travel, you are stick literally running between points and having to treck all over the place if you forget something.

The equipment system was also poorly fleshed out. In addition to the steel and silver sword, you can carry 2 other weapons...but I never found an instance using those weapons were worthwhile. Also, there are only 3 suits of armor in the game, including the starter armor. So you don't spend a lot of time upgrading gear or looking for upgrades (which can be fun in itself).



Overall, I enjoyed the game a lot...more than I had expected. Yeah, the game is very rough in spots and you will not find a lot of characters who are truly noble. But a lot of the characters are deep and reveal more about themselves throughout the game. The lowly criminal might turn out to be something more, and the fat noble could turn out to be a spymaster for another country. Ultimately though, all of these are secondary. The main goal for Geralt is to retrieve what was stolen and exact vengeance on the thieves. However, very few games will dare to have a huge story where your character is not pivotal. The Witcher does this, and for me it immerses more into the world as a whole.

From beginning to end the game took me ~35 hours. So its got some meat to it. Its divided into 5 Chapters, a Prologue and Epilogue. Chapter 1 is more an introduction to Witcher work and the mood of the game, Chapter 2 is a neat investigation style arc, Chapter 3 focuses more on the political climate, Chapter 4 is largely fluff (and apart from a few scenes pointless imo), and Chapter 5 is the climax of the political arc.

Also, there is a really cool theory concerning "the final boss" and who he might have been. The developers have not denied or confirmed this theory, but there is enough evidence that its a solid theory. If true it provides a lot of insight into the true motivations of the "villain" and leads you to question whether he was truly a monster or if he knew something we didn't.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on April 28, 2014, 06:32:11 AM
Batman: Arkham Asylum

To my eyes, an excellent action adventure with equal parts exploration, puzzle solving, and bad-guy-punching. I enjoyed it very much and have gone immediately into playing Arkham City.

Voice acting and art design were quite good. Poison Ivy could do with some pants though.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on April 28, 2014, 06:45:23 AM
If you like Asylum, then strap in for City. I played it right after Asylum and it blew me away, not only as a superhero game but as a straight up video game as well. One of the few games I would honestly give 10/10.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Chibe on April 28, 2014, 08:50:54 AM
The batman games for me was one of those games I just could NOT get into.  Most likely just lost interest or got bored.  Been too long.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on April 28, 2014, 09:23:06 AM
I definitely need to try them with a controller-M+K felt awkward.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on April 28, 2014, 09:23:51 AM
The batman games for me was one of those games I just could NOT get into.  Most likely just lost interest or got bored.  Been too long.

I can see that. At their core, they are stealth based games, and those don't appeal to everyone. On top of that, they feature a "rhythm" based combat system that is, in my opinion, the weakest part of the game. I can see those 2 factors turning some people off. They are not easy games and do require patience. If you're not in the mood for those types of games then that will definitely be a turn off.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on April 29, 2014, 05:40:45 AM
I tried to use a controller but right-stick-camera was just too awkward for me. I was unable to use it to train myself on a controller. Fighting was fine but movement was tedious. I swapped back to M+K and was much happier. I used the controller for a handful of sequences with a fixed camera where the analog stick proved more useful than WASD.

So far Arkham City has been great, and liberating, but it's lost some of the tightly-directed focus of Asylum. You don't get something for nothing.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on April 30, 2014, 06:14:02 AM
Warlock: Master of the Arcane

This is a 4x strategy game (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4X) with a magical twist. I generally like 4x games - played way too many hours of Civ over many years - and this one is an OK representative of the genre. 3/5 if you like this style of game.

The game is based on magic/fantasy. Instead of a country you are a grand wizard; you choose a starting wizard with unique abilities. During the game, you hire and equip heroes that are powerful solo units. Your resources include mana, which is used to cast global spells to buff/impair units, change the landscape, summon creatures, or do direct damage.  Unlike Civ and other games that have an explicit tech tree you mostly don't research new things, nor does the chronology advance to unlock more futuristic options.  Instead you just explore and capture unique resource nodes that let you build better things or give your units better buffs.  For example, you can capture a "minotaur labyrinth" - of which there might be only one in the world - on which you can put a recruitment building that lets you get advanced infantry in the nearby city.

This, in my mind, is the game's biggest weakness. Because so much depends on these unique randomly placed nodes your starting position dominates. Having your early cities near these nodes can be like giving one side tanks while the other side is firing muskets.  Even with the fairly stupid NPC AI, starting position can too easily overwhelm smart play.

Another problem is that spells are overly powerful.  You can research spells that do massive AOE damage and make it difficult-to-impossible to take cities, because you can nuke the concentrations of enemy units that are needed to take well-defended cities.

The game does try to give you things to do other than fighting other player/NPC wizards. There are holy sites on which you can build temples to various gods, thereby gaining unique units and enabling casting of certain spells that god favors. But you do this at the cost of angering other gods who may act against you.  The game also regularly spawns barbarians random wandering monsters that can do considerable damage to your weaker cities. You have to think about leaving defenses in place and not just shoving all your troops at the front line.  There are also portals to other worlds, inhabited by much more powerful monsters that guard interesting treasures.  But once you set foot into their worlds they "discover" the portals and can start appearing in your world too.  You get random quests that ask you to do certain in-game actions like founding a city, building a temple to a specific god, etc. Failing or refusing these quests carries penalties.

It's clear this is something of a "first time out of the gate" effort and Warlock 2 is coming out. I will probably get that and see if they have cleaned up the problems and improved the game balance.  I like it conceptually and it makes a nice change from repetitive games of Civ V.  Since the successor game is coming out this one is often on sale at Steam and I recommend getting it when it's on sale.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on April 30, 2014, 06:19:53 AM
It sounds very similar to Masters of Magic if you remember that old game. I played the hell out of Masters of Magic.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: ghoselle on April 30, 2014, 07:05:42 AM
It sounds very similar to Masters of Magic if you remember that old game. I played the hell out of Masters of Magic.

It is a blatant clone of Master of Magic.  Even down to a bunch of the spell names, units, and wizards. 

This game also sucks huge amounts of time very easily and enjoyably.  I think I'll have a hard time ever saying I'm "finished playing" it.  But I do try to avoid it because it is both addictive and a time sink.

My biggest complaint is that if you don't get to the other realms until late in the game, they are a bit ridiculous since they are slowly continually spawning tough units.  Which means if you go in late in game, the entire other realm map is just covered with enemies. 

I do love this game, but try to not play it except when I'm willing to lose the entire weekend to it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kharvek on April 30, 2014, 09:12:43 AM
Has anyone tried the sequel?  It came out fairly recently.

I was a HUGE Masters of Magic fan so these are piquing my interest.  I also saw that the Endless Space folks are making a game like this as well.  So many choices!
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on May 01, 2014, 06:01:12 AM
If you liked MoM, Age of Wonders (I & II) was the late 90s equivalent. AoW III just came out and it perches over me like a vulture, patient, waiting for me to give in.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on May 01, 2014, 06:08:38 AM
My biggest complaint is that if you don't get to the other realms until late in the game, they are a bit ridiculous since they are slowly continually spawning tough units.  Which means if you go in late in game, the entire other realm map is just covered with enemies. 

Oh, so it's not just me?  I thought this was my fault.  Yeah, the game rewards aggressive play a lot and penalizes you if you are just trying to explore and build alliances.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: ghoselle on May 01, 2014, 06:30:56 AM
My biggest complaint is that if you don't get to the other realms until late in the game, they are a bit ridiculous since they are slowly continually spawning tough units.  Which means if you go in late in game, the entire other realm map is just covered with enemies. 

Oh, so it's not just me?  I thought this was my fault.  Yeah, the game rewards aggressive play a lot and penalizes you if you are just trying to explore and build alliances.

Actually, I find the game really rewards patient play.  By the time I go in there, I can just clear out the entire realm.  Its not really a challenge -- but it also doesn't really give a reward.  At that point in the game I'm dominant enough that I know I will win the game.  Its just a matter of how much time I spend before doing it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on May 01, 2014, 06:53:49 AM
How are you choosing to win games?  I thought you had to go through the portals to win.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on May 16, 2014, 04:59:03 AM
Batman: Arkham City

While in some ways this game was a step slightly forward from Arkham Asylum, its open world led to it feeling more uneven and less focussed than its predecessor. Still a fantastic amount of fun, though.

Most of your time is spent navigating the city with a grappling hook or gliding on a cape, sneaking around behind bad guys to knock them out, punching bad guys in the face, and solving puzzles. I was by no means a master of the punching and I still managed to beat it on normal difficulty (with less retries than Asylum) with mouse & keyboard.

You also get to play Catwoman in this one (and Robin in DLC).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on May 18, 2014, 07:25:28 AM
Magicka

Not "finished" as in "completed" but "finished" as in "sufficiently annoyed that I'm giving up."  The game is a real-time twitch console-style game, which makes it largely Not My Thing.  I thought the humor and such would be enough to keep my interest, but I found myself very much not amused and pretty constantly bored and frustrated.  0/5 for people like me; might be better for others.

It's essentially a 2D-platformer, but with an isometric viewpoint so it doesn't appear quite flat.  You go through levels that consist of battling waves of mobs, and one or two deaths (depending on circumstances) means you have to redo the entire level.  That's frustrating.

Gameplay consists of constantly moving, but you have to move with your mouse, and while you're moving, you spam various buttons that combine to create different spells and then cast them in one of four different ways, either via mouse or keyboard combos.  If I had time to sit and memorize or practice the combos until I got good at it, I might have enjoyed it.  As it was I used two or three things that I kind of knew how they worked because any attempt to learn others caused me to die and have to restart the level.  That's frustrating.

You have no inventory.  Instead one or two items drop and you can swap them for the items you have, thereby losing the ones you have.  There's no chance to experiment with the items and see which is best.  That's frustrating.

There's supposedly a multiplayer, but it looks like your spells hit your allies which, with the constant need to move and aim and twitch would likely involve me killing my friends all the time.  I wouldn't even bother to try.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on May 18, 2014, 07:46:28 AM
Magicka is definitely not a game for people who find dying frustrating.  You're supposed to die a lot, frequently in self-inflicted ways, and find it funny.  In multiplayer co-op, resurrecting your friends is relatively easy (just W A space) and you're expected to do it a lot, often because you killed them by mistake.  The PvE levels are relatively short and they do have checkpoints; I'm not sure when you'd have to redo an entire level.  Despite the potential for friendly fire, co-op is easier because you only get sent back to the last checkpoint on a complete party wipe.  Equipment items are generally supposed to be treated as disposable frills, although a couple of them are arguably too powerful for that.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on May 25, 2014, 07:20:24 PM
Victoria II

Apparently I do not like grand strategy games.  This one has nine tutorials, each with three levels.  Each tutorial is several steps long.  I gave up.

What's funny is that I used to play tabletop war games - Avalon Hill and SPI primarily. Those had what seemed at the time to be complex and long rulebooks.  I played a LOT of hours of those and enjoyed it for the most part.  I also play D&D, which has what some would call really complex rules.

But this... this is like sitting through the worst parts of European History class.  I really do not give a rat's ass about the difference between Small Goods consumers and whatever-the-hell-else they've chosen to model.  I just want to build stuff, move units around, have a dynasty or a war or something.  I suspect if I ever have another bout of insomnia I'll try installing this thing again, but otherwise I'll settle for less grand strategy.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on June 02, 2014, 08:21:12 PM
Trine 2.  The basic structure is the same as Trine: a 2D puzzle platformer, roughly 90% puzzle and 10% action RPG.  The physics engine is given more primacy than in most puzzle platformers, which can make the puzzle solutions less crisp than in, say, a Nintendo game, but is also in some ways more fun.  As suggested by the title, you can swap freely between three forms: a melee fighter who can block environmental hazards and destroy objects with a hammer, an archer who can grapple to wooden surfaces, and a wizard who can manipulate and conjure objects.  Mostly you use the wizard to solve puzzles, with the occasional USE WARRIOR/ARCHER HERE moment, and use the warrior or archer to fight.

It's very pretty.  Not all that long.  The story and dialog aren't grating but aren't anything special.  There's a difficulty setting for the action RPG parts, but it only really matters for the final boss fight--which was challenging on Hard, but only because the boss has a one-shot move which is hard to dodge.

Caveat: Steam screwed up and renamed the basic Trine 2 store entry to "Trine 2: The Complete Story" which implies that it includes the DLC (and in fact, if you click on the in-game button to buy the DLC, it will take you to the store entry which says you already own it).  But it does not include the DLC, and you have to fork over an additional few bucks to upgrade.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Hjorolf on June 05, 2014, 07:26:54 AM
Victoria II

I've bounced off this one a couple of times as well. Paradox games are really all about surfing history, Vicky 2 more than most. The problem is that if you want to, say, upgrade your lower-class POPs you might need to do something like lower middle-class taxes and build a factory to produce whatever you need to encourage clergy which will affect literacy, and in five years some of your peasants become artisans. It's neat how it all works but hard to feel like you're doing something right now.

That's something they've fixed in EU4- instead of poking a slider and waiting, you accumulate points that you can spend to make a defined change. I suppose it's less 'realistic' in some sense, but the feedback loop is much more obvious.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on June 24, 2014, 05:13:27 AM
Dark Souls

I think I played this game more because I felt I had to rather than actually wanted to.

First I played it because it was compelling. Then I played it to prove I was up to the challenge. Then I played it because I was mad at it and wanted to prove something. And now I've stopped because I'm just not good enough at it and I don't feel like I would be sufficiently rewarded by further time investment. You know there's no point in playing if you have to refer to the walkthrough for every encounter.

It reminds me of old Nintendo games with badly-engrished tutorials and no mercy (for some reason Faxanadu comes to mind). That was all I had 25 years ago, so I played them, and I liked it. But I have more than that now. So I don't have to play them anymore.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on June 24, 2014, 11:44:17 AM
One thing about Dark Souls is that the game doesn't care about you. It doesn't hold your hand, give you exposition, or even care that you are living or dead. Its a completely apathetic environment that is a unique experience.

I don't blame you for putting the controller down. The game can be really frustrating if you try to play it like any other game. One thing to realize is that Dark Souls wants you to creep slowly and cautiously throughout the world. Always have a shield and always be ready to block. In that regard its a very slow and plodding game. It punishes those that try and run through or act heroic.

This is also why Bloodborne looks intriguing because they are flipping the concept and allegedly want a fast paced game where being slow and methodical will get you killed (hence the offhand gun vs. shield).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on June 25, 2014, 05:49:38 AM
I played it exactly that way, walking, shield up the entire time. I got to level 50 in Anor Londo, But it's just not worth it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on June 25, 2014, 07:20:07 AM
I played it exactly that way, walking, shield up the entire time. I got to level 50 in Anor Londo, But it's just not worth it.

Fair enough, at least you got far enough to see some pretty amazing bosses.

On that note, I about threw the game out the window the first time I got to Smough and Ornstein (which is around where you were). I consider that the hardest fight in the game, and I pretty much always summoned other players to help with it. I think my 3rd or 4th playthrough I solo'd them, but by then I way outleveled everything and could kill most bosses with a couple casts of Combustion (I think that was the name, the short-range Pyromancy spell).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on June 25, 2014, 08:02:33 AM
Anor Londo isn't a terrible time to stop.  You've seen most of the cool environments (with the exception of the Duke's library), and there are some especially annoying boss battles at the end.  I will note that if you do bull your way past Smough and Ornstein, you gain the ability to teleport around between campfires.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Ungrimmar on June 25, 2014, 11:07:39 AM
I will note that if you do bull your way past Smough and Ornstein, you gain the ability to teleport around between campfires.



This is my favorite thing about Dark Souls 2, you can teleport between bonfires right from the start!
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on June 26, 2014, 06:03:57 AM
Yeah, I wanted to get the teleporter urn, or whatever it is, I just ran out of gas.

Maybe I'll pick it up again at some point in the future.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Tweed on June 26, 2014, 06:22:17 AM
If it's any incentive, the game gets significantly easier after Four Kings, which is the boss you're "supposed" to do right after Anor Londo. On the other hand, as much as I love DS, I will admit the game (and many people in the DS community feel the same way) loses something after Anor Londo.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on June 27, 2014, 04:35:39 AM
DOUBLE FEATURE!!!
[/i][/u]

DLC Quest


This is a short parody of the ridiculous nature of DLC. Its a sidescrolling platformer, but I wouldn't classify it as a "game" since pretty much every event is scripted.

For me the humor wears thin shortly before the game ends. There are some funny moments, but a lot of it tends to be "hey I recognize where that's from" stuff.

Its only a couple of bucks, but I would recommend watching a "Let's Play" on YouTube rather than paying the couple of bucks this one costs.



The Stanley Parable


Like DLC Quest, this game is meant to be a commentary on a ridiculous aspect of games. In this case its the nature of choice in video games and, if you really think about it, the nature of choice in general. Unlike DLC Quest, this one is actually really good...mainly due to the narrator's voice acting and dialogue.

The objective of the game is to find out what has happened to all of your coworkers as you explore a now empty office building. The narrator will tell you what to do and where to go, but the story will adapt if you go the other direction. The options are all binary. Some areas will provide you the illusion of choice, but the only way to progress is to do what the narrator suggests.

There are a variety of endings for the game, some humorous and some downright disturbing. As an office worker myself, one of the endings where the narrator really deconstructs Stanley was WAY too eerily similar to my reality.

Ultimate this game is less of a game and more of an experience. Its very short and you can experience everything in the game within a few hours. However, I would recommend NOT watching a "Let's Play" on this game as so much hinges on YOU making the choices and hearing the narrator react.


Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on June 28, 2014, 07:07:24 AM
I'm playing The Stanley Parable now based on your recommendation. (Well, not right now, not this very second.) I must say that, for all its simplicity, the game gives you a greater sense of agency than Mass Effect 3.

So far, my favorite story is the Broom Closet ending.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on July 08, 2014, 09:17:05 AM
XCOM: Enemy Within

"Finished" in the sense of "have played; will continue to play extensively." Like Borderlands, XCOM scratches a particular gaming itch I get from time to time that few other games scratch.  I like the SFnal setting/story, I like the turn-based tactical combat, and I like the destructible environments.

XCOM: Enemy Within is something of a sequel/expansion to the XCOM: Enemy Unknown franchise reboot. It allows for more varied gameplay, and introduces significant new elements into the game: a human faction that supports the aliens and can attack you; a new resource (meld) that allows you to do new things; some new facilities, new enemies, better enemy AI, etc.

There are also some cosmetic improvements, such as soldier appearances and voices. It also seems like they've fixed most (but not all) of the annoying bugs with angles, rendering, and shooting that plagued the original game. However, there are still enough bugs that I am hesitant to play Iron Man style.

The two biggest changes are the meld resource and MEC troopers. Meld is obtained by tagging canisters on the field; however, these canisters expire after a limited number of turns.  This encourages a more aggressive style of play, with better rewards if you succeed.

The MEC trooper is probably the best of those rewards.  It's like Robocop on steroids, with lasers.  The MEC trooper gains abilities based on its original soldier type, and you can build a couple levels of higher-tech armor for it with a couple more capabilities.

In my limited experience the MEC trooper is seriously overpowered.  It has a small handicap in not benefiting from cover but it can be equipped with a melee punch that can take out all but the toughest aliens in one swing (with WWE-style animations).  It can also be upgraded with a healing spray that covers an area, letting it repair half your squad at one go.  EW has tried to upgrade the Shiv, the previous mechanical units, but they still suck compared to a MEC.

Meld is also used to give your soldiers new upgrades, which range from immunity to mind control to improved eyesight, camouflage skin, etc. I found these fun to play with, but not well balanced. Some are just wastes while some feel phenomenally useful.

I had a ton of fun playing the MEC (he did a Hulk Hogan-esque slam on the temple ship pilot for the game winning blow) and I really liked the way the game has been expanded in both scope and depth.  I've just gotten the Long War mod (http://www.nexusmods.com/xcom/mods/88/?) which comes highly recommended as the next expansion that Firaxis didn't write and started a new game.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on July 08, 2014, 10:16:59 AM
There are also some cosmetic improvements, such as soldier appearances and voices. It also seems like they've fixed most (but not all) of the annoying bugs with angles, rendering, and shooting that plagued the original game. However, there are still enough bugs that I am hesitant to play Iron Man style.

I play exclusively on Ironman, and when (and only when) I run into a bug, I close the client and load my autosave. Usually that allows play to proceed as normal-it turns back the clock a 1 or 2 turns and the bug doesn't resurface.

MEC Troopers are quite powerful early on, but are outstripped by gene-modded regular troops in the late game-at least on Classic.

The Long War mod has actually been around since EU, but it's been updated for EW. It looks really interesting, but I'm not ready to mess with my normal version of the game yet. There are still a lot of strategies (satellite rush, LPR rush) I want to try.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on July 08, 2014, 02:57:21 PM
Rush?  I can't imagine trying to rush in this game.  The length of it is part of the fun for me.  And what's LPR anyway?
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on July 08, 2014, 07:40:08 PM
Light Plasma Rifle. The rush strategies I'm talking about are specifically rushing one thing to get an early lead, which smooths out the mid and late games. In the satellite rush, you get relatively lucky early in March to get 4 sats up by April, and in the LPR rush you research plasma weapons before you even have lasers by stunning an early sectoid or thin man.

It's challenging, but rewarding. I feel like if I can get a handle on those strategies, I can move on to The Long War for a new challenge. I just need to stop losing all my non-rooks sometime around May, which has been a common theme lately.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kharvek on July 09, 2014, 12:58:49 AM
When I played without the expansion I plasma rushed.  However with the expansion I found laser tech more attractive since you could get your hands on it easily from the EXALT battles.  I went ahead and researched it but invested no resources into making the stuff and just used EXALT weapons.  That smoothed the curve out enough for me on the way to plasma.

I was a huge fan of the MEC trooper too and with good choices she stayed critical well into the late game.  Gene mod troopers definitely came into their own though, but with the right choices and play I didn't really feel the sting of a MEC trooper being unable to hit cover.  The *HUGE* benefit was previously when the Cryssalid first makes an appearance they usually wrecked my shit.  The MEC trooper really evens things out there being able to take them down in a single punch.  Later in the game I used the EMP wave to stun Sectopods to make them easier pickins, and with the right choices/upgrades the MEC's movement range is absolutely insane.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on July 09, 2014, 04:50:07 AM
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

I had a ton of fun with this game; specifically, the pirate stuff, of which there was a copious amount (sword-fighting, ship battles, fort assaults, buried treasure, wreck diving, etc.). The Assassin stuff...somewhat less so. I felt like (and a number of characters in the game itself commented that) the Assassin stuff got in the way of the pirate stuff.

Having never played any of the other ones, the references to previous games were lost on me.

I might go play some of the other Assassin games but only if I can get them for about 5 bucks apiece, I think.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on July 10, 2014, 06:56:41 AM
TitanFall

I'm not exactly "Finished Playing", but I've put in 30 hours or so thus far...

TF is a FPS Multi-Player ONLY game that features fast multi-tier gameplay as a squishy Human and as a hulking Mech. Players control "Pilots" that are the Elite Soldiers, and are randomly assigned to either the UMC (Empire) or Militia (Rebels). Player teams are supplimented with NPC Grunts, Named Elites, and Robots. Game modes vary from King of the Hill, Death Match, Protection, and many many more. Overall it is a very complex (depth) shooter with a surprsingly low barrier of entry (its easy to pick up and contribute).


The Good
The variety of options presented in this game is amazing. There are more things to do and more stuff going on than any other FPS I have played. The addition of NPC units provides Players options to get kills (which speeds up the arrival of your Mech) even if they aren't as good as some of the other Players. The inclusion of Double Jumps and Wall Runs makes transversing the map fun, dynamic, and very fast paced. Turret Hacking and NPC Robot Hacking also provide a way to assist without engaging Players directly.

The Mechs (or Titans) are EXTREMELY well done. Each player has a countdown until they can call for their Mech. The timer is shortened for everything you do that contributes to the match, such as hitting or killing enemies or completing specific objectives. On its arrival (drop ship from space that can kill any enemy it lands on) the unit has a time limit and a protective shield that allows you to safely enter and power up the unit. After the time limit or whenever you exit the Mech it goes on Auto-Pilot and will either Guard or Follow you, engaging enemies as it sees them. There are 3 classes of Mechs with a variety of Shields and Speeds, and each unit can be outfitted with unique weapons and abilities just like the Pilot. The controls of the Mechs feels great, and you feel like a behemoth (not to mention if you stomp enemies or punch out enemy pilots with your melee attacks). And the Mech can still be taken out in a variety of ways by a lone Mech-Lee Pilot via Anti-Mech weaponry and/or "Rodeo Attacks" where the Pilot gets on the Mech's back and attacks vulnerable spots.

The weapons are presented like other FPS Multiplayers. You are given basic weapons and can unlock Attachments the more you use them. New weapons are unlocked as you gain XP and Levels. The good part is that all the weapons are well balanced (IMO) and the only difference is which weapon fits your gameplay style and the map you're on. Personally, I prefer the starter Carbine Machine Gun right now.

NPC Banter is a little tidbit I appreciate as well. As you are moving through the Maps you will hear Banter between the Grunts that helps immerse you in the environment. Most of their banter also revolves around Pilots, so that little reminder of how bad ass you are never hurts either!

The Maps themselves are SUPREMELY well designed. There are a lot of maps and each one feels unique. Pilots have a lot of places to run, jump, and climb onto as well as to duck away and hide from Mechs to make calculated shots. And with the inclusion of NPC's, no area ever feels like it is empty. There is always something going on.

Losing feels good too. Even with a loss, you can still feel like you win. By this I mean there is basically a Lightning Round at the end. At this point everyone has 1 life left. The Losers have a few minutes to get to an Extraction Zone and the Winners have about 15-20seconds to destroy the drop ship and/or kill enemies before they escape. When you successfully evacuate, losses can still feel good.

The Smart Pistol caused a lot of contraversey at first. Its a weapon that seems OP until you use it. Its actually incredibly balanced. This is a weapon for a FPS beginner who has trouble targeting. It auto-locks on enemies and fires targeted shots. You need 3 targets for a Player to kill them. Its a fairly close range weapon, and gives "noob" players a chance to feel competative. Its limited due to its range and time to lock on. In game the weapon doesn't feel OP, and like the rest of the arsenal it feels like it fills a niche.


The Bad
The Story Campaign. Its beyond bad. I'm sure there is a legitimately good story in this game, but it was executed HORRIBLY. Firstly, there is no single-player campaign...its a multiplayer campaign. Secondly, no matter whether your team wins or loses, the story progresses the same way. If you play on a Map where the UMC is supposed to win, you can blow out the other team and the ending is still played off as a loss. The campaigns are presented from both the UMC and the Militia perspective...and you have to complete both to unlock the other 2 Mechs. =/


The Ugly
I like the way TF has limited the number of weapons in the game, and I like how each fills a unique role, but I would still like to see more weapons available as well as more attachments and ways to customize the arsenal.

Similarly, I would like to see more way to customize the Pilot avatars, and have their animations improve. From a First-Person Perspective everything you do looks great...but when you see other players do it, the animations look really really weird and clunky.



Overall TF is probably the best FPS Multiplayer game I have played. The Mechs outstrip any vehicle in Battlefield (the game), and are WAY more fun to play (this coming from someone who never really cared for big robots). The presentation, the gameplay, the graphics, and the whole sci-fi-ish feel really come together well. I feel all aspects of this game came together and worked such that nothing feels out of place. For a new IP, I'd say TF can easily hang with the Old-Guard (CoD, Battlefield, Halo). If you're looking for a fun FPS to play, I highly recommend TF regardless of your skill level. Its straight up fun to play.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on July 16, 2014, 06:33:59 PM
Dead Island: Riptide

This is mostly the same as Dead Island except on a different island with a few new weapon types, a few new enemy times, another vehicle...etc. Generally mostly the same. It feels more like an expansion pack than a genuine sequel. If you like hitting zombies with machetes that have blowtorches attached to them, then you might like this game. I wouldn't spend too much on it though (I got it on Steam sale because I liked the original).

There were a few frustrating parts but I still played it to completion. I also imported my character from the first one, so I was a bit more powerful than the average starting character (gear doesn't carry over though).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on July 21, 2014, 07:17:49 PM
Shadowrun Returns

Plays like a (linear) Fallout 2, roughly 10 hours worth (though it looks like there's a ton of Workshop content including hours of player-made campaigns). The writing early on showed promise in an indulgent, noir sort of way ('She looks at him, her face armored in lipstick and low expectations.'), though it petered out a bit towards the end (or rather, probably used less-talented writers for later parts). But by then I was invested, and the gameplay was compelling enough on its own (although I probably should have played on hard since only the last mission was mildly difficult and even then not terribly).

I've heard good things about the Dragonfall DLC, and got sufficient enjoyment out of this that I aim to get Dragonfall when it goes on sale again.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on July 22, 2014, 04:24:07 AM
Shadowrun Returns got weird as soon as they introduced the...well at the risk of spoilers we'll just call them the "plot twist".

But yeah Gwyd, Dragonfall is leaps and bounds better than Dead Man's Switch. Still loved Shadowrun Returns though!
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Leah on July 22, 2014, 06:12:58 AM
Yeah, Shadowrun Returns was an enjoyable enough experience, especially for a longtime SR fan like myself, but the "plot twist" was just awful and really took me out of the game.

Dragonfall, on the other hand, is great fun from top to bottom. They added a lot of variety and flavor bits to it and let you choose from a couple of different paths to your ending. I simply cannot praise the game enough.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on July 22, 2014, 08:54:46 AM
XCOM: Enemy Within

I've just gotten the Long War mod (http://www.nexusmods.com/xcom/mods/88/?) which comes highly recommended as the next expansion that Firaxis didn't write and started a new game.

I think I'm done with Long War.  I'm on game 4 and have lost all of them fairly early on.  Long War attempts to do two things: one is turn up the game difficulty and the other is to provide new options and expanded gameplay. It overdoes the one and sort of does the other.

The effect of Long War is to turn XCOM into a rogue-like.  There are many randomly generated elements that can affect the outcome. For example, I lost one game because aliens happened to keep appearing over the same continent and shooting down the same satellite.  I lost another game because the random-ability-assigning code didn't give me any snipers to work with.  If you like this sort of thing, great.  If not, it can be VERY frustrating.

Another problem with long war is... well, it's LONG.  And not much happens.  Everything is drawn out, so aircraft take forever to repair, and your soldiers now have fatigue which means you can't level them up - you have to keep using rookies, who die against the increasingly difficult aliens.

If you don't mind or are looking for a really hard challenge Long War certainly provides that. To some degree it's fun - there's a real challenge to figure out how your guys who do 4 points of damage are going to handle a 10HP alien who regenerates 3HP/turn.  But when you are still doing 4 points per guy months into the game and you're being rushed by 6 aliens who each have 12-16HP it's less XCOM and more zombie survival horror game.  I don't particularly want to lose my entire squad that I've spent all these hours eking out levels for.  At that point it ceases being fun.

The Long War AI is better than the game-standard AI, which is nice, but it wins by just throwing sheer overwhelming numbers at you, not because the AI is particularly clever.  I save-scum like mad and it's not enough, even on normal difficulty.  I suppose if I wanted to lose all my guys and (effectively) restart the game in the middle I could do that, but why bother?

And that, at its core, is my problem with Long War - the "why am I bothering with this?" feeling. Your rewards are too few and too far apart and the difficulty is so cranked that it fundamentally changes the game experience.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Tweed on July 22, 2014, 10:09:56 AM
XCOM: Enemy Within

I've just gotten the Long War mod (http://www.nexusmods.com/xcom/mods/88/?) which comes highly recommended as the next expansion that Firaxis didn't write and started a new game.

I think I'm done with Long War. 

FYI, one of my favorite LPers, Northernlion, is doing a really good Let's Play series for the Long War. Link (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1bauNEiHIgwi96QOkVMOGWvb511c8ZcQ). He is doing it blind (having previously beaten vanilla X-Com and Enemy Within). I'd highly recommend it to anyone who likes LPs and is interested in X-Com: Northernlion is very smart, very funny, and his LP of Enemy Within has, so far, been totally great. (Especially for people like me to beat the game but aren't really up to the punishment of Long War).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on July 23, 2014, 06:48:08 AM
I also enjoyed NL's LP of Long War, though the Slingshot mission where he didn't know how rockets worked frustrated me.

I eventually became more frustrated at the designers for having a misleading tooltip than the player, though.

Snique, do you play XCOM vanilla on Normal, Classic, or Impossible? I'm doing my first Normal playthrough, and the game plays much differently than Classic. LW Normal seems to be more along the lines of Classic/Impossible in difficulty.

Also, there are Second Wave options in LW you may be interested in. One in particular is called "Not-So-Long-War," which may alleviate your distaste for the game's length.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on July 23, 2014, 10:01:23 AM
Yeah I've seen the game options.  I had been trying it on Classic.  I'm starting again on Normal and it seems less ridiculous, at least the first couple missions in.  I wouldn't mind the length (I play lots of Civ V after all) if it felt like things happened.  But when a game that long is coupled with constant loss of soldiers you've built up and don't get new gear and abilities to play with.  I may try not-so-long if this one seems to be snooze level as well.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Vylin on August 05, 2014, 07:48:24 AM
Max Payne 3


MP3 is a third-person shooter that features both cover and "bullet-time", the latter of which being what the series is best known for innovating. The story continues with the titular Max Payne in Sao Paulo working as a bodyguard for a wealthy family. The game alternates with shooting galleries, free-roam shootouts, and cinematic storylines. The settings involve wealthy high-rises to slums as well as some iconic Max Payne New York City areas presented in flashbacks.


The Good

There are a lot of things MP3 nails, but I think the top billing goes to the man himself. Max is older in this installment and he is having trouble finding a place in the world, and is still dealing with the grief of his past. So he ends up drinking a brooding a lot. The internal monologues are amazingly well written and voice acted. It has a sad cynical tone, but remains beautifully eloquent. Another interesting aspect is that Max Payne does not speak Portugese, so the majority of the game (which has no subtitles) involves a lot of dialogue you won't understand. This helps with the feeling of isolation and with being out of place in the world.

The Animations, Sound, Graphics, Voice Acting and virtually anything that one of your senses can pick up on are S-Class. Characters feel very alive and organic. Dialogue doesn't feel wooden, but very alive and realistic. In all honesty the cinematics could be presented as a feature length film without much adaptation. Whether the scene is the ritzy boat party or a sleezy strip club in the slums, the environments are rich and create a very immersive experience that makes you feel like the game world is real.

The story is also extremely well done. A few parts are a bit of a stretch, but no more so than your typical decent action film. There are some twists and turns, and Max is anything but a knight in shining armor. In fact Max fails fairly regularly and in the end struggles to find out what he is even doing. Its a good story that starts of strong, keeps your guessing, and ends with a bang.

One of the gameplay aspects I appreciated the most was the handling of the Arsenal. Max is limited to 2 sidearms (which are holstered when not in use) and 1 large weapon (which is held in the offhand when using a sidearm). Choosing to dual wield sidearms will cause Max to drop the large weapon...since he needs to use both hands. It was a very realistic means to handle weapons and it prevented any stupid floating weapons on your back or super supply bag.


The Bad

As bad as it sounds...the gameplay was the worst part of this game. The Cinematics were so lush and rich that the sections of gunplay seemed almost out of place. Gunplay areas were also specifically that, sections where you shoot a bunch of guys. Any chance or exploring or proceeding to the next area involve a Cinematic scene. If Max was doing any "platforming" or manuevering then the game had a Cinematic. With the world they created, I really wanted to have more control and more things to do than simply "shoot a bunch of guys".


The Ugly

Speaking of shooting a bunch of guys...the actual shooting gameplay seemed very dated. Despite having amazing graphics, semi-destructable environments, and a kick ass soundtrack, MP3 played like an old shooter. Cover based shooters are nothing new, and MP3 did not present anything new or refreshing in that catagory. In fact without a means to switch cover quickly you usually end up stuck in  one spot unless you wanted to take unnecessary risks.

Bulletime was another feature that could have been done better. Some scenes open with Max doing some crazy and the player starting Bulletime while sliding down a ramp or crashing through a window. Those type of things, instead of being scripted, should have been implimented in the environment for the player to trigger. This would allow players to create their own epic shootouts. Instead the Player has the iconic (although boring) Bulletime dives and general slow-down. However, I doubt anyone can argue that initiating Bulletime while sliding down the side of a building to get a clear shot at a Kidnapper holding a hostage is anything other than bad-ass. And if the player had control of events like that...well then the game would have a lot more replay value.



Overall Max Payne 3 is an amazing game and worthy of anyone's time. It clocks in around 10-12 hours for the single-player mode. Due to its high production value, incredible cinematics, but somewhat bland gameplay, I would recommend at the very least to watch a Lets Play version of this for the story alone.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on September 09, 2014, 08:49:14 PM
Rogue Legacy, although I will probably mess around in New Game+ for a while.  This was really addictive.  The gameplay is 2D side-scrolling platformer action, sort of like Ghosts and Goblins.  Despite the name, it's not particularly rogue-like.  The dungeon is randomly generated and your characters ostensibly die permanently upon death, but after death you spend all your accumulated gold on upgrades and equipment that you keep forever.  This long-term RPG element winds up dominating the way you think about the game; although each run through the dungeon ends in "death" and re-rolling to a different character, it feels very similar to the alternating foray and town phases of a traditional RPG.

All of the character classes feel pretty similar except for one, but they each have definite strengths which influence the best way to play.  Each character you roll has some randomly selected traits, which can be have kind of amusing effects on gameplay.  Only one (vertigo) is a complete deal-breaker, unless you get motion sickness from the fuzziness of nearsightedness or farsightedness.

The game's controls are pretty good with a controller, but they do have a bit of a learning curve.  With an analog stick it can be pretty easy to move diagonally when you mean to go straight or vice versa, but I treated that as part of the challenge.  I tried playing briefly with the keyboard and it didn't seem like a good idea; other reactions I've seen to the keyboard controls are mixed to bad as well.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on September 10, 2014, 07:48:33 AM
I also had a great time with Rogue Legacy, though I'm at the point in progression where each run doesn't improve my character much. Some other players I've heard from seem to have breezed through it while I remain stymied at the last of the 4 section bosses ("South" boss).

You can reset your progress, which I may try if I feel like it, and concentrate on certain sections of the skill castle.

I felt that many of the classes play differently (I assume Marco is referring to the "secret" class that doesn't use a weapon). I had to adjust equipment and strategy a lot to accommodate certain classes' strengths, and I think the one that aligns most closely with my playstyle is the Lich King.

Another one of those rabbit-hole games that steals my hours, even though you could technically only play in short bursts.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on September 12, 2014, 07:10:26 PM
Strength and armor seemed like they made the most difference to my ability to make more and more money during forays.  I didn't really focus except to mostly ignore crit, mana, and int early on.

I did three more playthroughs since the last post.  The second playthrough started out substantially harder since it put second-tier monsters in all of the rooms, but money came in fast enough for rapid upgrades.  The third playthrough was another step up with third-tier monsters in all of the rooms, but it still went pretty quickly.  The fourth playthrough didn't seem harder than the third--maybe there was a numerical step up, but the monsters of the same type.  That one took only an hour to finish.  I came out with about 500K gold from that run, enough to buy all of the remaining castle upgrades, equipment, and runes.  (Nothing magic happens when you do that.)  I just need to go back and kill the redux bosses added in update 1.2.0 and then I can stop playing this game.  I hope.  [ETA: okay, those redux bosses are normalized and very hard.  I don't think I have the focus to learn them, which is fine for bonus content.]
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on October 02, 2014, 06:35:55 AM
Wildstar

I'm going to cancel my sub.  I'm sort of sad about that because the game was 80% of what I wanted but without a Mac client Pogue isn't able to play so there's still a strong incentive to remain in WoW for my MMO time.  Also, having finished the 80% I've hit The Wall.

The Wall is Wildstar end-game.  It's... just awful, and I haven't set foot in a single raid.  In order to do that I'd have to do a 19-step (no, I'm not kidding) attunement quest including grinding up a bunch of reps.  But the very first step involves beating a miniboss that's actually a multi-player target though it's not marked as such.  So I can't progress there unless I get help. That means adjusting my playtimes to when I can find other people, and then getting those people to stop what they're doing to help me when they get nothing from doing that.  I could spend all my time begging for favors, but that doesn't leave me with a good feeling.

Well, let's do some quests instead.  Except all the max-level zones are 50% 5-person quests and world bosses that are 20-people plus and they are BIG and EMPTY and it's 15 minutes' ride time between centers and if you die you get set back to the previous center so you have another 15-minute ride back and now you've wasted half an hour without actually accomplishing anything.  There's a chicken-and-egg problem here in that there are lots of level 50 characters that could do these things together but there's no reason to hang out in these zones so there's nobody around when you ask for help and since there's nobody around YOU don't want to hang around either.  So you leave and when the next person comes along 15 minutes later and is looking for help... well, you get the idea.

OK, so let's craft again.  Except end-game crafting SUCKS.  There's an exponential curve where you go from crafting as many items as you want (or can afford) per day to one per day to one per FOURTEEN days, and only if you remember to do the mindless daily quest every day for those 14 days. 0 - 1 - 14 is a stupid curve and did I mention that the items you craft after doing all that grinding aren't really all that good?  I just can't be arsed anymore ; it was way more fun to make items while leveling.

I now understand why the capital city is full of max-level characters just hanging about.  I'm sure the developers are aware of the problems and are working on them but at this point I really have no motivation to play my max-level character.  I'll probably spend the remaining couple weeks of my sub leveling my alts.

I do still like the things I liked before - I love the "Firefly"-esque cowboys-in-space feel (and I have a Jayne hat!).  I love the player housing. I love the 10-49 level crafting.  I think the early- and mid-game zones are pretty well designed and fun to play through; I never felt like I wanted to rush through or just be done with them.  I just want the end game to be less dependent on grouping and more friendly/rewarding.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on October 02, 2014, 05:28:15 PM
Fortune Summoners.  This is a 2D action platformer RPG, combining an adorable coming-of-age story with fairly hardcore combat mechanics.  You control one character and an AI controls any other characters in your party.  If you play the melee-oriented character like I did for most of the game, the controls are sort of reminiscent of the combos from 2D arcade fighting games.  I enjoyed the game overall, but it has some rough edges.

The game is unfortunately kind of unfinished, ending at what feels like the midpoint of the plot.  The developer has quit the industry so there won't be a sequel.  It took me about 50 hours to finish the game on the second-to-hardest difficulty, so I can't complain about the length, only about the number of unresolved plot elements.

The default graphics settings did not perform well on my machine, but it was fine once I fiddled with the settings.  I played with an analog controller; again, the default settings weren't great but it was fine once I set it up.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on October 05, 2014, 04:29:57 AM
Snapshot

This is a cute little indie platform puzzler.  You play a robot that can move side to side, jump, and drop down.  You go through various levels collecting stars against a timer.  The ideal is to get all the stars and beat the timer, of course, but mostly I just noodle around to see if I can figure out the puzzle.

The gimmick in this game is the snapshot: your mouse controls a camera that takes a picture of an area on the screen.  If that area contains a box you pick it up and can then right-click to drop the box and allow your robot to proceed.  There are also some hidden easter eggs in that if you happen to snap a picture of a certain area the game awards you a trophy (achievement).

I imagine this would make a good pad game, though I played on PC.  Worth a couple bucks on Steam sale or via Humble Bundle.
Title: Monument Valley
Post by: HeidiB on December 25, 2014, 03:59:07 PM
http://www.monumentvalleygame.com/

This is a charming little puzzle game.  It's what I imagine Portal to be, only not nearly as creepy.  The puzzles all share a gimmick or theme (like portals).  None of the puzzles in this game are particularly difficult, though I think there's potential to design a sequel with more difficult puzzles of the same time.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on December 25, 2014, 07:46:48 PM
In case you missed it, there's a $1.99 DLC available for the game. I'm playing it now, and I think it's as delightful as the original game.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on December 31, 2014, 05:31:16 AM
Sins of a Solar Empire

I got this looking for a 4x space sim and it's kind of that crossed with semi-tactical unit-level space combats, with some RTS elements thrown in.  Generally I think the game is good, but limited.  The AI is far too stupid to pose real challenge unless you give it an overwhelming starting advantage.  The tech tree is interesting but not very well balanced - there are some "must haves" in order to build up your planets and some techs that are clearly better than all the others.  Conversely, your unit AIs are smart enough that you rarely need to override their default orders in order to win.

I suspect this game would be much better as multi-player but I haven't been motivated to invest the time to learn it well enough that I could go up against a practiced human opponent.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on February 02, 2015, 07:32:21 PM
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.

33 hours.

Despite being tossed off as Assassin's Creed with Arkham (Batman) combat in Middle Earth (interestingly, a cross between the book lore and the movies) before release, this game has been reviewed surprisingly well, perhaps because people had low expectations. I was quite pleased with it. The Nemesis system (basically, randomly-generated bosses) ends up being the highlight they said it would be, and the orcs are varied and entertaining. I actually kind of want more of it, which I suppose means the length was just right (it did not overstay its welcome). The writing is not terrible and the voice acting on the whole is pretty good. Animations, character and set design, all good. Ran quite well on my i3/8gb. No graphics slowdowns and only 1 crash (after running it for like, 10 hours straight).

If you want to enjoy this game, see if you can tolerate the following caveats:
1) It's very violent. Like, chopping off heads left and right. Much impaling. Rivers of blood. Body count easily in the thousands.
2) It has the same set/costume/character design as the films (I liked the films so I had no problems here)
3) It has a lot of lore from the books (I geeked out on this), but takes them on tangents a bit like The Hobbit films (although I found it much less grating than say, Unnecessary Legolas)
4) It's yet another brooding, bearded male avenging his family through excessive violence. They do introduce 2 female characters but you end up rescuing one of them. Sigh.
5) The orcs all have cockney accents. You will overhear them talking, a lot.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on February 20, 2015, 07:27:56 PM
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

This is the story of how Jack came to power. You help him while he tells you to do stuff over your Echo device. There is a very thin frame story (so thin it's hardly worth mentioning). The beginning of the game is really, painfully Australian. It might be funny if 1) I knew Australian culture better or 2) Australians were funny. Neither appear to be true. The second half mostly ditches the Australian-ness, to its benefit. There are some wacky Borderlands-style side quests throughout. I found it to be shorter than the other two games (although I skipped a couple side quests).

The new mechanics are even lower gravity + an air drift mechanic and the game and loot encourage you to spend as much time in midair as possible. This ends up being okay, depending on how well you shoot on the move in 3 dimensions. The other new mechanics are cold weapons, which are ok and can freeze enemies but are mostly low damage, and a new class of weapon 'laser' which mostly does elemental damage. They are either hyper-accurate or hyper-inaccurate. I used them in the mix but found them neither over- nor under- powered.

I played Claptrap, who has a random special ability every time you use it and had a lot of fun with it (it also refills your health bar which is ace). I beat the game solo but did not play True Vault Hunter Mode as I don't have the patience for it. I had more fun than I did the first run-through of 2 (which annoyed me because I could not get into Zer0) but less fun than I did with the original.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on March 22, 2015, 11:40:06 AM
Watch Dogs

This is GTA with "Press Q to Hack". This allows you to mess with the environment, typically by opening or closing things or causing them to explode. Otherwise it's pretty much just GTA.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: HeidiB on March 22, 2015, 03:15:55 PM
... "Press Q to Hack"...
Ah, the magical "do" button.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on March 23, 2015, 05:16:52 AM
The 'do' button is 'E'. Totally different button.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on April 23, 2015, 11:46:17 AM
Enslaved.  This is a brawler from the makers of Heavenly Sword.  It wasn't especially long; I took 18 hours to play through it on hard and do the extra scenario.  There are basically four kinds of gameplay in the main game: melee combat, ranged combat, some basic tongue-and-groove platforming, and a couple of racing scenarios where you chase down a mech.  The melee combat is satisfyingly visceral and requires a bit of thought beyond just mashing buttons.  The platforming are kind of pointless filler, although it looked good.  The chase scenes are quite difficult on hard, requiring you to hit basically every speed boost; they are reportedly more forgiving on the other difficulties.  Occasionally the camera or controls were frustrating when trying to get past a challenging part of the game, but usually they were okay.

Much like Heavenly Sword, the game is very pretty and the plot is uncomfortably weird.  The voice acting is competent, which is good since there is a lot of it.  The PC port seemed good when played with a controller; it never crashed on me, didn't require me to sign on to any extraneous services, it looked good, and it performed well on my machine.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Tweed on April 26, 2015, 03:17:49 PM
Dungeon of the Endless.

I actually bought this game back around Christmas? But then the developer had that discount weekend last weekend which reminded me how addictive it is. Anyway: it is a very cool tower defense / roguelike / dungeon-crawler rpg. The premise is you start with two "heroes" whose escape pod crashes into a planet. You then have to traverse twelve floors up to the surface of the planet to win (along the way you kill mobs, find loot, recruit new heroes, etc.). It would take a while to explain the mechanics, but it actually is not a very complicated game to learn. The tutorial explains all the basics and that's all you really need. However! However. The game is super duper very hard. It only comes in two settings, "very easy" and "easy." Easy is hard. In 68 recorded attempts I have only won one game.

This game pushes a lot of my buttons, including: (a) tower defense; (b) weird sci-fi; (c) hidden lore (e.g., certain heroes have backstory that is only unlocked if they meet one another in the dungeon; if you travel enough floors with those heroes, you learn more and more about the planet, who the heroes are, why they're there, etc., is revealed in your journal); (d) sarcastic dark comedy. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on June 04, 2015, 08:57:35 AM
Massive Chalice

It's a little strange to say I'm done playing a game that just released but I backed the Kickstarter and have been playing at various alphas and betas all along.  I waited for 1.0 release hoping they'd fix some of the big problems with the game but it appears not.

M.C. is a turn-based tactical game at its core. The twist being that instead of doing base management (a la XCOM) you manage a kingdom.  Establish castles, marry people to start bloodlines, raise babies to be heros, etc.  The idea is that the game's timeline takes place over centuries so you're more concerned with dynasties than individual heros.  The problem is, that doesn't work (for me).

The heroes you have age and die, sometimes as young as in their 40s, but more often in their 60s.  Since you only send them on missions a few times over their lives this means that you basically can't level up a hero.  Or if you use the same one over and over in the missions you have they're in their doddering years by the time they get high enough level to have access to cool abilities.  Then they die and your level 1 hero is facing off against the much harder opponents that appear mid-game.  There are supposed to be weapons (relics) that you can pass down to help out but if someone dies with no heir then the relic has to be destroyed.  if they die in battle the relic goes away.  Et cetera.

The mid-game is stupid levels of punishing and, frankly, boring, since you're only got three hero classes and they each have only 2 or maybe 3 abilities beyond "run up and hit that thing."

To compound the problem, one of the main forms of opponent you face sucks XP with its basic attack.  So even if you carefully level up a young enough hero you can expect it to lose one or two levels per fight, often much faster than you can level it up.

The tactical combat system is... OK, I guess?  I still play a lot of XCOM and M.C has much worse movement and maps, with no height, no stairs, and even more whacky Line-of-Sight problems than XCOM.

The game's gimmick is good, but the fundamental gameplay needs a massive overhaul before I'd recommend it.  2/5 stars, get it cheap on Steam if you really like turn-based combat.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on June 04, 2015, 09:02:50 AM
I also have a few problems with Massive Chalice, but I think the core of the game is a little stronger than you do. You say you only have 3 classes: didn't you breed the combination classes? I had something like 5 or 6 classes available by mid game, though I admit to having bred out some classes accidentally.

I agree that the leveling heroes dying makes mid-game fights punishing, and I also found that xp-stealing monsters were not a good feature.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on June 04, 2015, 10:17:05 AM
No, I did not bother with breeding for hybrid classes.  I pair people up to increase the number of possible heroes.  I never could be arsed to try getting a specific combo that I'd use three times and then have die of old age.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on June 05, 2015, 06:31:03 AM
No, I did not bother with breeding for hybrid classes.  I pair people up to increase the number of possible heroes.  I never could be arsed to try getting a specific combo that I'd use three times and then have die of old age.

You're missing out, then! You get to hit things in different ways. Kind of invalidates your point that there are only 3 classes, though.

But you're right, you won't get much time to explore the new class before the hero dies.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Chibe on June 05, 2015, 03:57:33 PM
Dont know where else to put this and too lazy to start a new thread, but is anyone here playing witcher 3?  So far I have to say, it is most likely going to be my game of the year and I hated witcher 1 and 2.  Just surpised at the lack of talk on it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Seniummortus on June 05, 2015, 04:05:06 PM
Nobody's mentioning it in this thread because they will NEVER FINISH PLAYING there's so much!
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Chibe on June 05, 2015, 04:30:29 PM
Yea, no shit.  Put atleast 20+ hours into the game and still not 1/2 to 2/3 done with the velen map. SO MUCH CONTENT!  This really is Skyrim 2.0.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on June 05, 2015, 06:16:48 PM
The Ars Technica reviewer said he put 100+ hours into the game, avoiding as many side-quests as he could, and still hadn't quite reached the end.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on June 17, 2015, 07:24:23 AM
Heroes of the Storm

There's lots of discussion in its own thread, but the summary is: too boring.  There's not enough variation between the heroes (and some of them need to be nerfed... err, balanced) and the maps have a grinding sameness to them.  I just didn't find much new or innovative there.  I'm not a big MOBA player so maybe I'm just the wrong audience, but I got up to level 20 to get my Warcraft pet and see no reason to go on.

This is notably different for me from Hearthstone, at which I also sucked when I started and which was also of a game type I don't normally play (CCG).  But I felt there was enough variation and combinatorial possibilities to make it interesting.  HotS is basically - have some lanes, have some forts.  Collect foos to make the map-specific NPC happy or give you its bonus.

Some of it is also length.  A long Hearthstone game is 10 minutes; a quick HotS match is 15 and if the other team decides to turtle it can drag out a LONG time.  It's not quite as bad as early Warcraft battlegrounds but it has the potential to be a lot of clock time spent for very little gain.

My kids are really into it so I'll probably play from time to time just to play with them but unless they do something really new or innovative I don't see a reason to continue playing.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on June 25, 2015, 01:58:36 PM
It's a little strange to be posting this on the day after the game was released, but I think I'm going to return Batman: Arkham Knight.

No, it's not because I got the PC version; I played it on the PS4. The problem is the Batmobile. Previous games in the series were a mixture of stealth, puzzle-solving, and combat (which wasn't too hard on Easy difficulty). B:AK is a mix of timed obstacle challenges and frustrating platformers, all courtesy of the Batmobile. The problem for me is that I suck at timed obstacle challenges and platformers.

I spent a solid hour trying to make a jump using the Batmobile on one of the first missions in the game, continually slamming in a wall when I failed to make the jump. If I made that jump, I failed the next one and was forced to start the challenge at the beginning. I became angry, frustrated, and disappointed. The previous games "felt" like a Batman adventure. This felt like a badly-designed Assassin's Creed scenario.

I may give this one more try after I've calmed down a bit. If I'm frustrated again, I'll return the game.

Unfortunately, it looks like Rocksteady has Schumachered  the Batman. They fell so in love with a new game mechanic that they didn't consider how players might react to it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Tweed on June 26, 2015, 05:55:59 AM
A friend of mine posted on FB to say that B:AK was either a mediocre Batman game, or the world's worst racing car game, and that he couldn't decide which.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: **andius on June 27, 2015, 11:00:01 AM
It's a little strange to be posting this on the day after the game was released, but I think I'm going to return Batman: Arkham Knight.

No, it's not because I got the PC version; I played it on the PS4. The problem is the Batmobile. Previous games in the series were a mixture of stealth, puzzle-solving, and combat (which wasn't too hard on Easy difficulty). B:AK is a mix of timed obstacle challenges and frustrating platformers, all courtesy of the Batmobile. The problem for me is that I suck at timed obstacle challenges and platformers.

I spent a solid hour trying to make a jump using the Batmobile on one of the first missions in the game, continually slamming in a wall when I failed to make the jump. If I made that jump, I failed the next one and was forced to start the challenge at the beginning. I became angry, frustrated, and disappointed. The previous games "felt" like a Batman adventure. This felt like a badly-designed Assassin's Creed scenario.

I may give this one more try after I've calmed down a bit. If I'm frustrated again, I'll return the game.

Unfortunately, it looks like Rocksteady has Schumachered  the Batman. They fell so in love with a new game mechanic that they didn't consider how players might react to it.

They pulled the sale of the PC version of the game,offering a refund if you want.

http://community.wbgames.com/t5/Official-Announcements/PC-Edition-Update-June-24th/m-p/575334#U575334
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on July 13, 2015, 12:38:32 PM
Now I've definitely finished playing Batman: Arkham Knight! Here's the review I posted to Amazon:

Batman: Arkham Knight left me feeling frustrated, angry, and bitter. Right now the game is sitting in a UPS-labeled envelope, waiting for me to trade it in via Amazon.

I greatly enjoyed Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City. I liked the storylines; the former game's more than the latter's, but both were good. I like the different challenges the games offered: thoughtful stealth tactics, puzzle solving, the occasional fights that were complex enough that I had to think about strategy. If an aspect of the game was too difficult, there were good hints in the Bradygames guides or on the web.

Batman: Arkham Knight has the stealth tactics and puzzles. But it also has the Batmobile. With that contraption a good chunk of the game becomes an intense precision racing challenge or a tricky platformer. I suck at both racing games and platformers. That why I liked the first two Batman games so much: they offered me a gaming experience that I could enjoy. Batman: Arkham Knight stopped me dead in my tracks.

Near the start of the game, you have to jump the Batmobile over a wide gap. I tried over and over to get across. I crashed over and over again, tumbling to the ground. Finally, through chance, I managed to make the jump... only to learn that I had to make another one immediately afterward. If you didn't make the second one, you went back to the beginning. I consulted the Bradygames guide, but it was useless; I consulted the web and found nothing that helped.

I almost gave up. In retrospect, I should have.

Finally, after an hour or so, I made both jumps and continued with the game. The stealth tactics and puzzle solving of the first two games was still there. The melee combats were reasonably challenging (though I never got past the Dollatrons). There were tank battles with the Batmobile that I didn't find too difficult, but they seemed out-of-place in a Batman game; they felt more like Space Invaders.

After a few more hours of play, it became clear that much of the content was locked away behind the racing and platform mechanics of the Batmobile: chases through Gotham City and the Riddler storyline. Finally, I got to the part with the Excavator and could not progress any further. That encounter is part of the main storyline, and once you're in it you can't escape to do anything else until you complete it. It's a precision racing challenge.

I entered into an interminable cycle: 20 seconds of start-up screen after the last failure; two minutes to set up the challenge; the challenge starts -- and BOOM two seconds later, as I miss some racing stunt and the Batmobile explodes. I did this over and over again for two hours.

I played Batman: Arkham Knight on Easy difficulty, but there was no ease in the Batmobile races. I consulted the Bradygames guide, but it stubbornly remained useless. I looked it up on the web, watched the Youtube videos of the encounter, and they didn't help.

This time, I finally gave up. There was no more pleasure I could have by playing the game. There was only one way I could complete it: I watched the rest of the game on Youtube.

I wish I could have played the rest of the game. The storyline came to a great conclusion. I would have liked to play through that conclusion myself instead of watching some professional gamer do it.

I'm frustrated because a game I thought I could play was such a disappointment. I'm angry at the game's designer, Rocksteady Studios, for not making it clear that Batman: Arkham Knight was a racing game and a platformer; I guess naming it "Batman: The Racing Game" would have impacted sales. I'm bitter because the primary reason I purchased a PS4 in 2015 was to play Batman: Arkham Knight when it came out. I waited two years for this game, only to be disappointed.

I'm rating the game two stars instead of one because the storyline was well-written (even on YouTube), the familiar and entertaining challenges from the previous game are there, and the PS4 graphics engine is excellent. The other stars were sucked down into a gaping chasm by the Batmobile.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on July 14, 2015, 06:47:03 AM
I like that you wrote a scathing review of a game you're trading in and still had the guts to give it 2 stars. Too many people become frustrated with one aspect of a game and give it a 1-star review, even if other aspects are well-done.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on August 21, 2015, 08:03:21 PM
FarCry 4

While this is mostly more of the same gameplay as FarCry 3, with more verticality (cf Himalayas), I found the story less satisfying. While FC3 had an absolutely gonzo, adventure-movie premise with no basis in reality, FC4 is set in a Himalayan insurgency (with some parallels to the Maoist insurgency Nepal suffered from for many years). It definitely has gonzo elements, but these seem at odds with the attempts at a more realistic setting (cf FC2). Sometimes it doesn't seem like it's sure what it wants to be. Which leads me to a number of questions:

Why do I have to choose between a hard-right Patriarchal faux-Hindu Monarchy and a heroin-driven Narco-state as the two solutions to the current political situation?

Why are the arena guards topless women with Kalashnikovs?

Why does FarCry have drug-trip boss fights as a recurring element? (They're really unsatisfying to me.)

Why are all the good guys (all people of color, for once) all voiced by Hindi-accented speakers but all the bad foot-soldiers voiced by Chinese-accented speakers and the Bosses voiced by unaccented, poorly-coached white people (BigBad aside)?

Why did I finish this game when the story elements clearly filled my mouth with a sour taste? (That one's easy, obsession with completionism, and the gameplay carried me through.)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on September 10, 2015, 03:21:10 PM
The Legend of Korra.  This is a little action game with a throwaway plot which sits between seasons 2 and 3 of the show.  It's not long, but it's pretty fun.  On normal difficulty, many of the fights were challenging but could be overcome with a bit of practice and strategy.  The voice acting and visuals are good, as you'd expect from the franchise.  I used an XBox controller; it doesn't seem like a game you'd want to play with a keyboard and mouse.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on September 26, 2015, 09:07:06 AM
Stealth Inc 2.  This was free on Humble Bundle a few weeks ago so I picked it up.  It's a nicely polished 2D puzzle platformer, with kind of a Portal feeling to it.  I think it more or less requires a controller.  Some of the testing rooms are pretty tough, although the most challenging ones aren't required for the ending credits.  The soundtrack music is excellent.  A possible annoyance is that every run through the testing rooms is graded and leaderboarded according to time taken, deaths, and the number of times you were spotted by enemies.  This provides replay value for the most dedicated players, but could be an irritation to players who are only motivated by figuring out puzzles and moving on to the next ones.

ETA: Oh, right, the game's packaging is sloppy and it may not start up out of the box.  The directions here (https://www.reddit.com/r/GameDeals/comments/3irbt9/humble_store_stealth_inc_2_free/cujh338) got me past that.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on October 06, 2015, 07:17:59 AM
Dragon Age: Inquisition (120 hrs normal mode)

This is a very big game. I think I got most of it (missed some collectibles). Overall, not very difficult on normal mode; the big fights were dragons which were hit point sponges more than super-dangerous foes (giants were harder).

I played it almost exclusively in tactical mode (like DA1) instead of action mode (like DA2) for combat. Out of combat, I ran around like in WoW (WASD + mouse aim). Either way you play, it's pausible, and offers hotbar combat, although it seems to have a few more position-changing abilities.

For 120 hours, I only got to level 24. While the story missions give you suggested levels, the open world zones do not, which cause me to do many things out of order, and not get much crunch value from the zones I overleveled (which was about half of them).

The characters were mostly hit or miss with me; I liked about half of them. Some of the story elements were strong, and it's obvious they put a lot of work into this, but much of it was standard fare, so unless you're invested in the universe it's a little harder to care.

Overall, I found it very entertaining, but I've been a fan of Bioware for 18 years now and even liked the ending of Mass Effect 3, so YMMV. However, a couple of important elements are taken from DA2 DLC--behavior which seems to have become standard for BioWare and which I am finding increasingly annoying.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on October 06, 2015, 02:10:26 PM
I've been a little surprised with the lack of discussion of DA:I on these forums. There are two separate multi-page topics devoted to DA:O and DA2.

For my part, I enjoyed the game. I played in Easy mode, and so had no problems in combat except for the dragons (and maybe a giant when I was too complacent). Like Gwyd, I overleveled a couple of zones, but went through them anyway because I'm a content glutton.

I think I liked the characters better than Gwyd did. In particular, Bioware really flipped the bird at anyone who complained about same-sex relationships in previous DA games: two of the characters would only accept same-sex romantic relationships with your character, and for one character their sexuality was a key part of their personal mission. There was even a minor character who was (convincingly) cross-dressing.

My problems with the game were all minor, but I'll mention them because they're different from Gwyd's observations:

- In DA2, you had fine control over a character's behavior when you weren't controlling them. It made it possible for the AI to automatically cast combos for you. In DA:I, the automatic behaviors are coarse; the only way to make damage combos is to micromanage each character's skills.

- There is a sequence about one-third of the way into the game that's meant to be emotionally stirring, as all the characters sing a song to build up morale. Unfortunately, this fails visually as the character's facial animations were simply not up to the task. I played the game on a PS4, so I don't think this was a hardware limitation. The sequence only lasts a couple of minutes, but for those minutes I thrown to the other side of the uncanny valley.

- Your character is made the head of the "Inquisition" within the first hour of playing the game. I have a problem with that name. You have a choice whether to make it an organization of hope or one of terror. But even as I always picked the "fair and just" choices, I had a hard time believing that an "Inquisition" would be such a nice organization.

As I said, these are nitpicks. Overall, I was pleased with this first game I bought for the PS4. (You can read my scathing review of my second PS4 game upthread.)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on October 06, 2015, 03:46:32 PM
Valiant Hearts: The Great War (7 hours)

This is an adventure game (puzzles, some action vignettes) set in France in World War I. Despite the euro-comic art, it is true to the subject. While it starts out relatively tame and even conservative, it becomes increasingly grim as the game goes on until at the end where soldiers are dying in droves to no purpose and the atmosphere is oppressive, and then it ends with you wanting to cry.

I was touched by the simple but (subjectively) poetic story and the gameplay is pretty forgiving except in a couple of spots. Hints are built in, on a timer. You can get this for iPad instead of Steam, if you like.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on October 10, 2015, 07:32:35 AM
Transistor (7 hours)

By the makers of Bastion, most of this ostensible 'action' RPG's abilities have an appreciable windup time, so usually you end up pausing the game (somewhat similar to Vagrant Story or Parasite Eve) and planning a bunch of actions for near light-speed execution, and then running around waiting for the power bar to refill so you can do it again. This works in practice better than I am describing it.

The story is very esoteric cyberpunk (which can be described as 'nearly impenetrable' or 'open to interpretation' depending on your perspective) and all the ability names are given ()s at the end to indicate their digital nature.

Similar to Bastion, the art has a lush, hand-painted look, washed in cyberpunk neon, which almost doesn't work but mostly does. The music is quite good as well, being a mix of electronic and crunchy post-rock washed with a static filter. I found the vocal tracks to be highlights.

The difficulty of fights differ based on the abilities you have equipped, but a number of the optional 'trials' demand mastery. Often one ability can make or break a fight. I was frustrated with a few of them but satisfied that I eventually beat them. It has a New Game + which I have not as yet explored.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Honorata on October 11, 2015, 05:38:04 PM
UNDERTALE

* On my playthrough, I spent about 8 hours getting a full Neutral+ (Pre-pacifist) clear, and then another hour and a half clearing the rest of the pacifist storyline content. Overall, probably takes about 6-10 hours to finish a game normally.

* A game in the style of early SNES RPGs. You play a child who has fallen underground into the world of monsters. You must battle your way to the Monster King's castle to leave the underground and go back home.

Combat is turn-based (mostly). You can choose to end all battles peacefully by using a variety of actions and sparing the monster, or you can choose to fight and kill the monster. Using your weapon to fight involves timing your swings/punches/kicks to strike for the most damage. Solving an encounter peacefully involves figuring out what combinations of actions you can take will make the monster not want to fight anymore so you can spare them. During a the enemy's turn, they will throw attacks at your soul (indicated by a heart) and you must move around to dodge the attacks, reminiscent of bullet hell style games. Boss battles will involve different status effects emulating other styles of games (Side-scrolling platformer, Rhythm game, vertical shooter, etc.) I found it a lot easier to do the dodging once I started using a controller (using the pad) but you can also use the arrow keys, or the joystick on a controller to navigate.

You will only gain experience, and therefore levels, and therefore hit points by killing monsters, so by choosing a pacifist route, you will necessarily have to complete the whole game at level 1. The game is largely balanced around this. A few endgame bosses were a little tough for me because I only had 20 hit points, but overall, it was not too bad. (If you really want a challenge, there is a story path that involves level-grinding in every area until monsters stop spawning before killing its boss, but this will net you the worst ending and probably make you feel like a bad person. I personally do not care for this story path, but if you're into it for the challenge, the end boss of this playthrough is considered extremely difficult.)

The game also involves a variety of puzzles you must solve to navigate zones. In my opinion, these were mostly pretty easy, and messing puzzles up wasn't very punishing (You mostly just get sent back to the start with a reset puzzle and have to try again).

* The storyline is a bit cheesy, but I thought the pacifist storyline was pretty sweet and I liked all the characters once I got to know them. The music is very good. This game is frequently very silly, but some of the jokes go on a bit too long if you don't think driving jokes into the ground is hilarious.

* This game leans on the fourth wall a lot -- if you go back to a previous save and repeat an interaction, characters sometimes remember you from a previous interaction. Certain characters will mention that you've changed an outcome by reloading a previous save. One boss battle involves crashing the glitching out your game. There are certain endings you can get to the game that the game will remember even if you do a true reset -- if you get the golden True Pacifist ending, a character will show up and beg you not to reset the game. Another ending will forever affect your ability to get better endings.

In general, this is pretty good game for the $10 it cost on Steam and I had a good time playing it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on October 12, 2015, 05:06:44 PM
Child of Light (14 hours)

With its watercolor art, melancholic piano score, and rhyming characters, this game is as close as I've ever gotten to playing an actual, classically-told fairy tale. It charmed the hell out of me.

Exploration proceeds like a platformer, although you are soon given flight, so it's never particularly challenging. There are a number of light-based puzzles using the cursor, who is a firefly.

When encountering monsters (which are all visible on the exploration screen and can be surprised) you enter a JRPG-style fight with an active turn gauge on the bottom that you can manipulate with the firefly cursor (he can also heal, collect motes, and slow enemies).

The game ended a little abruptly with a pair of boss fights (likely a victim of budget constraints) but the story is complete and I found it satisfying. I would love to play a sequel but I don't know if it did well enough to justify it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on October 26, 2015, 06:37:33 AM
Might & Magic X: Legacy (not to be confused with Heroes of Might & Magic)

The latest scion of a CRPG series long fallen into disrepair, by nearly any objective criteria this game is terrible. The graphics look like they are from 2005 (or earlier), the voice acting is unnecessary, grating and oft-repetitious, and the music merely adequate. The writing is workmanlike and universally dull. The lore calls back to Might & Magic I, a game nearly thirty years old. The gameplay is a near carbon copy of M&M 4/5 Xeen, a game over twenty years old. The difficulty is wildly uneven; I wiped on the first boss at level 1. The game has a dozen classes each with 20ish skills, and a hundred broken character builds and only a few viable ones. And yet. And yet.

There was something oddly compelling about the gameplay loop. Amply warned by Dogwood that the game required planned and researched builds or it would prove unmanageable, I followed an FAQ to build an optimized party (and still suffered the aforementioned wipe). All of the game's monsters are statically spawned and there are no respawns, so it is not possible to 'go somewhere else and grind levels for a while'. You beat what's in front of you, or you don't, and stop playing. There were wildly unbalanced swings in difficulty; I would struggle through a half-dozen monsters, swilling mana potions like a country music star swills whiskey after his wife leaves him, and then just beyond them I'd murder-hobo my way through two dozen guys with nary a spell. Most of the game seems balanced for about level 15 or 20, so you struggle to get there and then breeze your way through until you get to the denouement.

There are a number of old-style CRPG puzzles that are only solvable through trial and error (ie frustration) and so I patronized FAQs liberally to get past them.

I can't in good conscience recommend this game to anyone who didn't enjoy the old, old M&M games (ie Xeen or older) and yet somehow enjoyed and completed this mess. It makes me wonder if I can say that I know how to put my gaming time to good use. Or maybe that statement an oxymoron in and of itself.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: HeidiB on October 26, 2015, 07:54:12 AM
I still plan to go back to this game sometime!  Maybe I just hit a rough spot?

I love it for the nostalgia value.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on October 29, 2015, 01:19:26 PM
I had a great time with the Xeen games. Do I have the patience or wherewithal to play them again? Signs point to no. Thanks for the review!
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on October 29, 2015, 05:58:27 PM
Halfway (6 hours)

This game has 16-bit graphics and is set on a large spacecraft whose FTL capabilities have somehow gone wrong, and every time they jump, monsters appear! Totally unique premise, right?

Gameplay proceeds via turn-based combat, leading squads of 1-4 units through hallways cluttered with lootable boxes through missions against waves of bad guys with a really arbitrary ambush mechanic. You cannot level up your guys; instead, you can feed them up to 5 stat-boosting items (there are all of 3 stats) and upgrade their equipment (there are 2 kinds of equippable items and 3 'use'able items, not counting ammo). Not exactly feature-rich. I played for a while, unwilling to give up and hoping it would get better. It did not.

I didn't finish this game. Instead, after a mission where I got ambushed by 4 waves of 8 enemies each (and me with my 4 whole guys) I became so angry at it that I Alt-F4ed out of it in disgust.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on November 24, 2015, 06:46:46 PM
Shadowrun: Dragonfall (- Director's Cut? Does this matter?) : 32 hours

Now, I liked Shadowrun Returns but this game just blew it out of the water. There are a couple of key reasons. First, you actually go on Shadowruns, which are basically cyberbunk heists; all the heist tropes are in play here, plus sci-fi and sometimes magic. I found the tension this created to be palpable and it gave me a serious thrill through many of the missions, trying to keep the situation from 'going loud' for as long as possible. Second, the writing is much improved, especially the characters. Because you have a team that levels up with you, you grow attached to them. It opened a little slow but after an hour or two it gripped me like a hungry dog and would not let go. Third, I found it to be immaculately balanced; more than one mission came down to a point I had invested in a stat or a fight that I won by the skin of my teeth.

The game wisely pulls a BG2, with an opening plot-loaded mission after which you are presented with a goal, to raise a bunch of capital, for which you spend about 2/3 of the game completing side missions, some of which are tangentially related to the plot and some less so. A few are progressive but many can be completed in any order, which gives a much needed dose of freedom in comparison to SR's railroading.

Decisions made early on end up having effects in the last third, when the plot moves towards completion. Almost every skill is made useful in at least some way (although some are more useful than others) and often show up in surprising, but logical places.

Overall, I was quite pleased and would encourage anyone who likes old-style isometric RPGs, XCOM, and especially the original Shadowrun Returns to give this a look, especially because you can find it cheap now that the third one (Shadowrun Hong Kong) is out.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kharvek on November 24, 2015, 08:00:15 PM
+1 for Dragonfall.  I loved that one.  It just felt more like a Shadowrun game than the first one.

Hong Kong is good, but Dragonfall I think is the best one of the three.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on November 26, 2015, 04:34:48 PM
Blackguards

Turn-based CRPG ought to be right up my alley but this is just a very poorly done game. You are forced along very tight rails from one fight to the next with increasingly impossible odds. You can't save mid-fight so you end up doing the fights over and over until you get the gimmick to work for you or you just luck out. There's sort of a plot but all your dialog choices end up the same way as far as I could tell and there doesn't seem to be much point to any of it.

I slogged, gave up, slogged a bit more, gave up, slogged a little more.  Then I hit a series of fights that seems designed to be impossible.  I suspect that if I had some hints or walkthrough I might make it but as is I just don't care enough to slog more.  1/5 stars.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on December 01, 2015, 06:03:38 AM
Blackguards

So I'm in the middle of this one but I also put it down because of the slog; I got so mad I went and played Shadow of Mordor again to get my frustration out by brutally murdering orcs.

I made it through the obligatory captured-enslaved-fight-in-arena sequence somehow but now I have to go fight a flower that mind controls me, with an invulnerable tree monster as a helper, and it's surrounded by insta-spawn poisoning tentacles that have a +75 to hit or so. And I have no rangers.

Basically, fuck that game. I tried so hard to like it and I feel like the abusee in an abusive relationship for my trouble.

I've heard the second one is better and I got it as part of the Humble Bumble that had Dragon Commander in it, so maybe in a few months I'll see how it is.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on December 01, 2015, 06:44:19 AM
Blackguards
Basically, fuck that game. I tried so hard to like it and I feel like the abusee in an abusive relationship for my trouble.

I've heard the second one is better and I got it as part of the Humble Bumble that had Dragon Commander in it, so maybe in a few months I'll see how it is.

If you do please let me know. Maybe I'll have finished Witcher 3 by then and will want another RPG.  Witcher 3 is being awesome right now.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on December 02, 2015, 02:56:13 AM
RPS had a sufficiently negative opinion of Blackguards 2 that I'm unlikely ever to get this one either: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/01/22/a-better-class-of-criminal-blackguards-2/
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on December 05, 2015, 07:40:47 AM
Horizon: 28 hours

This is a 4X space game made in Canada. You can tell, because all of the arctic planets are lovingly rendered, while the rest are crap.

No, actually all the graphics are shite, but whatever.

There are 2 modes, 'normal' (which is not normal) and 'classic' (which is normal). 'Normal' mode is ostensibly a story mode (with quests) where you start with very little and all the other races start with multiple colonies and tons of tech and oh by the way they hate you. Took me about 8 restarts until I ended up in a corner with a couple of systems with a buffer of neutral races between me and the psychotic warmongers so I could develop enough to defend myself. In 'Classic' on the other hand, all races start equally weak so it's not nearly as difficult.

Tech discoveries in this game are completely random from a relatively small fixed list, so you can't plan when you're going to get something key (or rush it), which is pretty annoying. Further, they are all incrementally refined, so once you get something it takes a while to make it useful. This means it ends up being pretty hands-off for most of the game.

Colony build queues are so simple as to be elementary and are hardly worth comment. Ship design and combat is a little more interesting. Both shields and hulls have directionality so it pays to attack from the same angle. Since the AI doesn't tend to do this, shields +auto-repair can make your ships overpowered pretty fast. Diplomacy is a little deeper than many other games, and in 'normal' you have to spend a lot of time paying tribute to people and gifting them stuff so they don't destroy you out of hand. On the other hand, there is no espionage.

Overall, amusing for a while but probably not worth more than a couple bucks.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on December 05, 2015, 08:56:42 AM
The Talos Principle

This is a great puzzle game. The graphics are amazing on the PS4. The story is that you are an AI within a computer simulation. The puzzles are set in an open-world environment, pock-marked with occasional terminals for backstory. Those terminals allow you to interact with another personality within the game who asks you increasingly difficult philosophical questions, but this has little effect on game-play.

The puzzles themselves gradually ramp up in difficulty, as with most games of this genre, but I only recall a couple of times when I finally resorted to looking up the solution on-line. That's for the regular puzzles. There are also bonus puzzles, almost all of which I could not solve without on-line hints; those are serious brain-burners!

The game has three endings: one for if you solve all the regular puzzles, one if you solve them all and don't do what the mighty control voice tells you to do, and one if you solve all the bonus puzzles. Of the three, the second is the most satisfying ending and the one you'd be most inclined to do anyway.

If you like puzzle games, this one is definitely worth it, especially since it was released awhile ago and is now available at steep discounts on various platforms.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on December 20, 2015, 10:34:39 AM
Shadow Complex (see Edalia's review here (https://www.deadlycupcakes.org/forums/index.php?topic=873.msg13583#msg13583)).  This was an excellent device for turning time into nothing.  I wound up leaving three puzzles unsolved--two intertial dampener puzzles and one apparently inaccessible map segment.  The 2.5-dimensional nature of the game is a little weird and leads to some kind of janky combat aiming, but it isn't really a big deal.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on December 25, 2015, 05:16:52 PM
One Finger Death Punch.  Currently $2.50 on Steam, normally $5.  In this game you play a stick figure on a one-dimensional surface.  Enemy stick figures approach from either side, and you dispatch them with two controls, attack left and attack right.  Most enemies are killed with a single hit, but some take a combination of left and right strikes.  All sorts of cheesy cinematic things can happen as you go; for instance, if you drop to one health, time slows, your enemies back off, and a golden sword descends from the sky which you get to use for the remainder of the round.  Within the constraints of a one-dimensional stick figure action game, the graphics are quite polished.  The gameplay is quite engaging; I played for over thirty hours before I ran out of levels.  The music is good, but the voiceover work is all done in an atrocious fake Japanese accent, which may put some people off (there's a setting to turn it off, at least).  Definitely recommended for people who enjoy twitch action games.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on January 03, 2016, 04:43:25 PM
Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition

This is the graphically improved Tomb Raider from 2013, adapted for next-gen consoles like the PS4 (on which I played the game). The only games I can compare this to are the Uncharted series. I know that Lara Croft was killing off enemies when Nathan Drake was still in diapers, but that's the order in which I played the games.

Tomb Raider is more like an RPG than Uncharted is; Lara's skills and weaponry improve throughout the game, while Nathan Drake's are pretty much constant. Tomb Raider is also more "open world" than the Uncharted games are; you can return to previously-explored areas to find goodies that you missed, and optionally explore tombs with treasures hidden by puzzles. Otherwise the structure of the games is similar: a linear storyline, with lots of enemies to kill and platform puzzles to solve.

While I enjoyed Tomb Raider, I think I like the Uncharted games better. The precision timing required of keypresses in Tomb Raider is more punishing than that required in Uncharted (with the exception of that horrible tower jump in Uncharted 1). The minor characters in Uncharted seem more individualistic and a bit less stereotypical than the cannon fodder in Tomb Raider. With that said, I very much liked the story of how Lara grows from a college graduate in archaeology to an adventurer capable of killing enemy hordes with a bow and flaming arrows.

This is definitely worth a try, especially if you do what I did and pick it up for half price.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on January 04, 2016, 06:03:57 AM
One Finger Death Punch.  Currently $2.50 on Steam, normally $5.  In this game you play a stick figure on a one-dimensional surface.  Enemy stick figures approach from either side, and you dispatch them with two controls, attack left and attack right.  Most enemies are killed with a single hit, but some take a combination of left and right strikes.  All sorts of cheesy cinematic things can happen as you go; for instance, if you drop to one health, time slows, your enemies back off, and a golden sword descends from the sky which you get to use for the remainder of the round.  Within the constraints of a one-dimensional stick figure action game, the graphics are quite polished.  The gameplay is quite engaging; I played for over thirty hours before I ran out of levels.  The music is good, but the voiceover work is all done in an atrocious fake Japanese accent, which may put some people off (there's a setting to turn it off, at least).  Definitely recommended for people who enjoy twitch action games.

I also recommend this game. It's a great quick game to fill some gaps, but like Marco, I've sunk way more time into it than I would have thought for a (literally) one-dimensional game. There are a ton of abilities to apply to your character that change the playstyle-it never quite gets old.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on January 06, 2016, 04:54:27 PM
Tomb Raider, coincidentally just after Winston did.  I thought this was a solid game.  I took about 30 hours to do a completionist play-through on normal difficulty, and it felt just a little bit short.  The story is good by the standards of video game stories, although not amazing.  The visuals were excellent and the voice acting was competent.  Gameplay is a mix of light FPS action, easy platforming, and quicktime events, all of which were pretty fun.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on January 08, 2016, 03:48:51 AM
Gameplay is a mix of light FPS action, easy platforming, and quicktime events, all of which were pretty fun.

I played Tomb Raider in Easy difficulty, and I found the FPS action to be frequently challenging (those wolves sneak up on you, and the big boss fight at the end was punishing) and the platforming to be tricky. This affirms what y'all already knew: Marco is a better gamer than I am.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on January 10, 2016, 12:28:05 PM
Portal Stories: Mel.  This is a mod for Portal 2 developed by eight fans, and is free on Steam if you own Portal 2.  It's a thousand times better than one would expect from a community mod, but still lacks the polish and enagement of the actual Valve content.  The puzzles seemed harder than the Portal 2 content, but I can't tell how much of that came from my portal reasoning being rusty.  My solution to one of the puzzles depended on doing something extremely fiddly; I don't know if I missed the intended solution or if it was just a badly designed puzzle.  None of the other puzzles had that problem for me, but some of them could have that problem for other people (Cree is on the first chapter and has already found ways to cheese a couple of the puzzles; without knowing the intended solution, those could come across as just badly-designed puzzles).  The VO work isn't bad, but is understandably not what I think of as professional voice acting.  My playthrough took fourteen hours, without any of the advanced-mode chapters.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on January 11, 2016, 06:11:20 PM
Fallout 4 (209 hrs, give or take)

This is basically Fallout 3, with the following caveats. For someone like me, who can spend over a hundred hours gleefully ransacking ruined supermarkets for spare tin cans, it really fit the bill.
- Weapons and armor are moddable, which ends up making it feel like Borderlands except you can choose (most of) your own affixes (a few are 'legendary' rare-bonus loots with an extra random affix).
- Level design. You can (within the confines of several given areas, and with a fairly flexible item set) design your own areas for people to live, and defend them from attack. If you went crazy you could make them all into tower defense levels. I didn't spend a ton of time designing settlements except to make them mechanically viable. But as I write this, Avi is putting up random walls in her settlement and attaching kitten pictures to them, because kitties. YMMV.
- Skills are gone and all you get are perks, which you get every level, and many perks mechanically replace skills. It's a little like a giant disorganized talent tree though.
- Gunplay is more viable because the shooting controls have been improved. Headshots matter! Conversely, VATS is less useful because it slows and does not stop time, and since skills have been removed it's really hard to hit anything more than 10 feet away. In 3/Vegas I made 95% of kills in VATS. In 4 I made 95% of kills out of VATS.
- Stuff respawns, a lot, including the level-placed loot. So scarcity is not a thing (not that it was if you hoarded in 3/Vegas anyway).
- Voice acting is better.
- Conversations are dumbed down. It's got a console-driven conversation interface with BioWare-style phrase triggers that are not nearly as indicative (or nuanced) as BioWare. Skills are almost useless in conversation (no '(Science)' or '(Medical)' choices, for example). This was a disappointment.
- I did not see the twist coming, and while it was neat, my inability to apply nuance to the end conflicts (Can't we compromise instead of choosing Destroy X Faction or Destroy Y Faction) actually made me more mad at the imposed role-playing restrictions on my character than I think I have ever been at a game. So it's good that it made me so invested, but bad that it then failed to allow flexibility.
- My Boston-level credentials are poor. I'm much better able to judge the veracity of the coasts and the hinterlands. But it felt pretty New Englandy to me, and Boston felt kind of Bostony.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on January 13, 2016, 03:17:35 PM
Transistor.  This game is a little hard to describe.  Like Bastion, it's very stylized and there's a guy who talks a lot.  The gameplay is more strategic; you create a build from components which can be used as active abilities, upgrades, or passive abilities, then fight monsters with a mix of real-time action and planned turns.  There are narrative rewards for switching up your build to use each component in each of the slots.  This game was pretty short (12 hours for me).  I enjoyed it, although it didn't affect me the same way Bastion did.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on January 15, 2016, 04:22:43 AM
Transistor.  This game is a little hard to describe.  Like Bastion, it's very stylized and there's a guy who talks a lot.  The gameplay is more strategic; you create a build from components which can be used as active abilities, upgrades, or passive abilities, then fight monsters with a mix of real-time action and planned turns.  There are narrative rewards for switching up your build to use each component in each of the slots.  This game was pretty short (12 hours for me).  I enjoyed it, although it didn't affect me the same way Bastion did.

My only quibble with Transistor is that the story never made any sense, even after recursing. Did changing around your build periodically solve this problem? I mostly stuck with what worked outside of the trial rooms.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on January 15, 2016, 07:27:45 AM
My only quibble with Transistor is that the story never made any sense, even after recursing. Did changing around your build periodically solve this problem?

Maybe?  You get three paragraphs of text about each personality in the transistor.  Most of those characters were ancillary to the story, so their description is just a form of world-building.  A couple of characters were central to it, so their text is more informative.  There are also bits and pieces of world-building spread out among QVC terminals throughout the game.  By the end, I had a general sense of what the world was like before the story started, what happened before the beginning of the game, why everything went to hell, and what was going to happen afterwards.  But I also had a lot of unanswered questions.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on January 18, 2016, 09:50:33 AM
Pillars of Eternity

This was a Kickstarter, and I was one of the backers. The goal of the designers was to recreate the memory of classic RPG games like Baldur's Gate.

I guess some things are better in memory than they are in reality. What I forgot about Baldur's Gate is how punishing and unforgiving it was of the slightest combat resource mistake, of the massive number of skills available with no clear guides of which ones did anything useful, of the need to relentlessly micro-manage every three seconds during an encounter.

The game's writing is good, and the graphics have been crafted with loving care (given the fixed isometric viewpoint). But the gameplay is tedious. I had my first total party wipe within two hours of gameplay, and this was on the game's easiest difficulty setting. The game's story is simply not engaging enough for me to want to plod through the turgid game mechanics. Now that I think of it, I don't think I ever finished Baldur's Gate either.

If you're a Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale fan, this game is worth a look. As for me, that one party wipe means the end of the game. The game does offer a "hardcore" difficulty in which a party wipe means permanent death; I guess I'm more hardcore than I realized.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: ghoselle on January 18, 2016, 12:35:55 PM
Pillars of Eternity

This was a Kickstarter, and I was one of the backers. The goal of the designers was to recreate the memory of classic RPG games like Baldur's Gate.

I guess some things are better in memory than they are in reality. What I forgot about Baldur's Gate is how punishing and unforgiving it was of the slightest combat resource mistake, of the massive number of skills available with no clear guides of which ones did anything useful, of the need to relentlessly micro-manage every three seconds during an encounter.

The game's writing is good, and the graphics have been crafted with loving care (given the fixed isometric viewpoint). But the gameplay is tedious. I had my first total party wipe within two hours of gameplay, and this was on the game's easiest difficulty setting. The game's story is simply not engaging enough for me to want to plod through the turgid game mechanics. Now that I think of it, I don't think I ever finished Baldur's Gate either.

If you're a Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale fan, this game is worth a look. As for me, that one party wipe means the end of the game. The game does offer a "hardcore" difficulty in which a party wipe means permanent death; I guess I'm more hardcore than I realized.

Huh.  I think I had a different experience of this game.  I played it mostly on one up from easy, dropping down to easy for a few fights.

How much you have to manage the party is super dependent on party composition.  Basically any spellcaster wants management, but you can generally just run the melee folks on the AI.  My party was 2 fighters, a druid (my main character), the cleric, the wizard, and the paladin.  I'd swap out either the wizard or paladin to pick up various folks to do their quests.  I found fighters to be a bit overpowered, and liked running with a tanky fighter (you get him in the first town), a 2H fighter (I recruited one from the inn, built for maximal 2H weapon carnage) and a paladin as my melee front line; with a cleric who'd stand behind them and put up healing circles.  I found the wizard to be decent but not great and sometimes awesome, and at high level druid was a bit OP but  fragile.

The story does get a bit slow in the middle, but I'll admit I got to a point where I was so hooked in the story that I basically stayed up almost all night so I could finish it because I was so invested in the story.

It does have the problem that a couple of the fights are just disproportionally brutal; including the end fight of the game.

One thing you didn't mention was the internal party banter.  For any party member you pick up in the world, they have extensive dialogs with other party members while you wander around.  Some are hilarious, some are kinda sweet, and some just let you learn about the world.  And each party member has a personal quest that spans the game, some of which are quite interesting.  I highly recommend the npc cleric's quest line, among others.

One of the odd things as opposed to the BG/ID games -- most stats are useful and scaling is smooth.  So you don't get the sudden burst of power for having a super high stat.  And a bunch of that stats a DnD player would think of as "dump stats" aren't actually.  It made it much harder to min/max a character, which I actually think is a good thing.  And gave you much less incentive to create min/max'd party members when you could instead take named npc's with voiced banter and plot hooks...

I really enjoyed my first play through of the game, and have done like 3 partial play throughs to explore different party compositions.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on January 18, 2016, 01:41:39 PM
I quit before experiencing any of what you described, probably because my four-person party wiped in the first two-monster encounter after that town where they hanged people. I never heard any banter. Maybe if I had I would've been more motivated to continue.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on January 19, 2016, 05:33:20 AM
I quit before experiencing any of what you described, probably because my four-person party wiped in the first two-monster encounter after that town where they hanged people. I never heard any banter. Maybe if I had I would've been more motivated to continue.

An important mechanism both in this game and also in tabletop versions of D&D is action economy. More bodies = more actions. If you have 50 gold, you can go hire a level 1 character at the inn, and that level 1 person gives you another action. There isn't a really good reason to run with 4 instead of 6 unless you are super poor. This would probably have helped you out.

Personally, I ran the whole thing on medium and there were 3 fights that memorably gave me a ton of trouble: the ogre druid in the mega-dungeon level 3 (which I solved with a choke-point in the map), the last fight, (which took me 6-8 tries) and the giga-dragon at the bottom of the mega-dungeon which 1-shot almost everyone in my party and 2-shot my tank--and they were all one level under max (that one I solved via story mechanics).

Most of the combat in the game can be solved with positioning and summoned creatures; but if you don't want to play a tactical RPG at all, then you're not going to enjoy this game. Like Ghoselle, I enjoyed the hell out of it, although I only did one playthrough. I may replay when the Xpac goes on the cheap, although I've heard it's all combat.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on January 25, 2016, 05:53:45 AM
Age of Wonders 3

This is series is basically a take on the Master of Magic formula, which itself is basically Civ + MTG. AOW takes that but mixes HOMM in as well. I was surprised how much this game felt like Age of Wonders 2 (the xpac Shadow Magic is one of my all-time favorite 4Xs). In many ways it was a 3D-graphics overhaul of AOW2. However, there were a number of omissions which hurt it overall.

* No tigrans or frostlings or nomads. These races added to the unique flavor of the game. You can buy some of them as DLC instead, which makes me a little cranky.

* No item forging in the campaign, and reduced efficacy in scenarios. This means it's a lot harder to make an invincible hero stack, which was a very (perhaps too) effective strategy. It was probably done for balance reasons, but part of the 'game' for me was figuring out how tough I could make my heroes and seeing just how much they could take on.

* No destruction of resource sites or teleporters. This means it's a lot harder to attack both your enemy's economy and their mobility. With a greater economy, they can afford larger number of units which you have to chew through. In AOW2 I ran a lean empire, focused on flying units and hero stacks, and I didn't have huge unwieldy armies to lead around, making for a lighter, somewhat breezy 4X experience. By contrast, huge armies are necessary in this game, which often makes it a slog towards the end.

* Campaign missions often start with you destitute and the enemy flourishing. The enemy then sleeps you until you meet some triggering condition, at which point they wake up and crush you. This leads to gameplay where you discover the triggering condition, lose, and then restart the mission, avoiding the trigger as long as possible and building up your empire, and then trigger the wake-up and rush them, overwhelming them before they get fully up and running.

* The number of campaign missions is much reduced compared to AOW2, but the resultant gameplay time is almost the same because of the enforced slog (see above).

I did have a bunch of fun with this game, especially initially, and I'm still playing some of the one-off scenarios, but ultimately I can only give a qualified recommendation. I suspect it's similar to Warlock (which is in my backlog) and I know it's like Elemental (which I could not get into for some reason). I may try some of the DLC come Steam-Sale time.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on January 29, 2016, 07:23:18 PM
Antichamber.  You could compare this to Portal, in that it's a puzzle game using a 3D engine centering around a device that does stuff, but unlike Portal it's a pure puzzle game without any story elements.  The visual and sound design are attractive in a minimalistic way.  The puzzle mechanics are really interesting, although the learning curve can be steep at times.  I'd recommend this to anyone with an interest in puzzle games.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on February 04, 2016, 06:29:38 PM
Torchlight 2 (also discussed in an old thread (https://www.deadlycupcakes.org/forums/index.php?topic=2836.msg37213#msg37213)).  This game seems like a competent entry in the action RPG genre, but I didn't enjoy it all that much.  The loot and character systems seem overly broad and underdocumented.  It was never clear whether a weapon affix applied to skills or only auto-attacks, and whether it was already counted in the weapon's listed DPS.  There are a ton of item sets, none of which I ever reached more than three pieces in.  There are a large number of skills, each with many ranks, and essentially no respecs without a mod.  Combat as an outlander was a lot of run-and-gun, which I didn't find very engaging.  The minimal storyline had some depth to it, but seemed to peter out near the end with no quests.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: ghoselle on February 16, 2016, 10:44:28 AM
I quit before experiencing any of what you described, probably because my four-person party wiped in the first two-monster encounter after that town where they hanged people. I never heard any banter. Maybe if I had I would've been more motivated to continue.

From release notes for today's 3.0 release for Pillars of Eternity, which has the next expansion and a lot of mechanics changes:
Story Time mode has been added. This difficulty setting is for people that want to experience the Pillars of Eternity story without having to build a party of adventurers focused on combat.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on February 16, 2016, 12:42:17 PM
Ooooh! OK, I'll give it another try.

For the record, I followed Gwyd's advice, saved some money, and bought two more adventurers to fill my party to six. (Still no banter, though I didn't expect any from random characters.) I was able to deal with the encounters, but it was tedious: Face the Spider Queen, use up my abilities, walk out of the dungeon, go to the inn, rest to regain abilities, go to the next boss, lather, rinse, repeat. I was still doing something wrong, I suppose. I think Gwyd is correct and tactical RPGs are not to my taste.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on March 10, 2016, 02:46:18 AM
Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt (77 hours)

Lots has been said about this game on its own thread. I played through once on middling difficulty, and am unlikely to play through again. Unlike Skyrim, where I felt there were numerous very different paths to take, Witcher 3 presents you with numerous alternatives for how to respond to/resolve the various sub-stories of the game but there's really only one main path for Geralt to follow. Lots of choices along the way (Triss or Yen, for example) and you can be meaner or nicer in how you get things done. But I don't think I'll replay the game and I'm not sure what DLC could add that I would want.

I enjoyed the side quests and subplots a great deal, though I found the near-infinite number of smuggler caches and hidden treasures and such repetitive to the point of boredom. I did the scavenger hunts for gear patterns, but skipped the card game, races (except did enough to get better horse gear) and fistfighting.

I recall how much I despised the first Witcher and how impressed I was with the quantum leap that was Witcher 2. This is like a bigger better version of 2, with all your favorite characters returned to have their stories told. The ending makes very little sense but hey, go with it. The game is beautiful and interestingly complex and it treats women a whole lot better (though still... sigh).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on March 19, 2016, 07:55:38 AM
Sword of the Stars: The Pit (4/5 if you like this style)

"Finished" in the sense that one is never finished playing a rogue-style game. I've not even come close to beating this one, but played enough to know it well enough. It's a pretty straight-up descendant of the Angband/Moria variant of rogue. That is, you still have one character, one life. Perma-death, no save/restore, randomly generated levels, etc.  Like A/M your character levels up various skills with starting conditions based on a one-time class selection. Some skills go up as you use them (e.g. lockpicking). There are a bunch of classes you get with the basic game and more via DLC.

The setting here is SFnal rather than traditional rogue fantasy, you have psionics rather than spells but it's about the same. There's a lot of complexity in the various skills, things you encounter (chests, freezers, desks, weapons lockers, etc.) There's also a recipe system through which you can purify things, cook things, and even forge weapons and armor if you get all the doodads right. Recipes you learn persist across characters (which saves some wiki lookups, but not many) as do coded message you decrypt.

There's also a "headstart" mechanic - every five levels you find a special safe and a machine into which you can deposit items and XP respectively. When you make a new character you can start on any modulo 5 level you've explored to with a past character. When you start on such a level you get to withdraw previously deposited items.

The game has a retro aesthetic, with blocky graphics and 8-bit music. It's also got a reasonably good backstory, with alien races you can play (taking the position of the traditional elves/dwarves/etc in other rogue-like games). The idea is that a zombie plague is killing off your isolated colony so you decide to delve into this old bio-military complex in search of a cure to bring back and save your colony.

The complex crafting system is something of a drawback rather than a help, I think. I can see where the designers thought they were being clever but as recipes and components proliferate the chances that you'll have exactly the components you want diminish due to random generation. With the exception of food cooking, I think the crafting stuff is skippable but it makes one feel like one is missing a chunk of the game. Likewise, I tend toward playing Engineers who are good at the various devices rather than straight-up combatants like the Marine.

For those like me who keep track of such things it's interesting to note that the first three default classes come as white male, black male, white female. I didn't see a way to customize appearance or voices, but that might come in some DLC.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on March 23, 2016, 06:42:37 PM
Witcher 3 (142 hours)

At its heart a father/daughter story, the Witcher 3 is plainly the result of a lot of people working very hard. The graphics are basically peerless (I particularly love the armor textures because they actually display the ripples of the hammer blows used to construct it). The motion-capture is really quite good, and way beyond the canned movements that BioWare has used for years. The expressions, even the body language used by the characters is remarkable, and it reminds me of the expressive leap when I first saw moving eyes in NOLF. Additionally, many scenes, even mostly throwaway ones, use cinematic camera angles and changes of perspective to highlight the characters and landscape in ways not paid attention to in most other games. It actually feels like there was a director for the cutscenes rather than a just a designer or scriptor.

I've always had a soft spot for the Witcher's grimdark, cold-and-muddy Renn Faire setting. For me it grants an air of authenticity to the proceedings that I simply can't find anywhere else. And it's in full display here, dripping with melancholy. Particularly compelling were some of the vignettes, as well as a good chunk of the main story, particularly having to do with Ciri, who is a second playable character (although she doesn't level up like the main character).

Much of the voice work is quite good, and it does not seem to suffer as badly as Bethesda's three-voice-actor problem seen most egregiously in Fallout, although a few of the hold-overs from the first few games are still not great; Triss, in particular, always sounds like she's cold-reading off an index card for a part in a junior-high play.

Much has been made here about Geralt's ability to sleep with many women. While there are more here than in 2, there are less than in 1 and there is no 'trophy' system. However, Geralt is still portrayed as the James Bond of the fantasy world and it does him little credit from the perspective of a progressive.

While the story missions are quite good, the open world nature of the game does less well; the world is beautiful to explore, but it is huge and largely unbalanced; it's easy to run into something that will one- or two-shot you, and the rewards for exploration often end up just being about cash, which is tight at the start but then ends up being mostly useless. The gear that you get can be initially useful, but the craftable Witcher sets are generally far superior to anything else you can find or make, making collecting everything else (aside from a few key alchemical formulae) mostly an exercise in checking off boxes. In particular, in Chapter 3, there is a ton of loot to get, but you have to sail around to get it, making me feel like I was playing Wind Waker again, except I couldn't jump the boat in time with the music, so I was pretty bored going from point to point.

My biggest gripe is with the controls; I used mouse/keyboard which was almost certainly not the best choice; I would have been better off with a controller, I think, because of the imprecision of binary controls. In particular, Geralt had the turn radius of a drunken semi truck at any speed other than a walk, and this sent me into enemy attacks and off cliffs on a fairly irritating basis. You also start the game pretty weak, with anything other than one or two monsters being able to clean your clock by getting behind you. Conversely, once you start crafting Witcher sets you quickly get ahead of the gear curve and it becomes difficult for enemies to legitimately be dangerous (even monsters at 'skull' level).

I did all the legitimate quests except a few I skipped by accident (finishing other quests which precluded them), all the brawling, about half the horse racing, and none of the card games. I feel like I could play it again, and enjoy it, making different choices to get a different ending, but it's just so long that I don't think I can legitimately spend the time with my Steam backlog as it is. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the game, despite its faults, and would recommend it to anyone who played and enjoyed the first two.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on March 24, 2016, 06:51:18 PM
Fallout 4 (189 hours).  This is my favorite Bethesda game so far, although like all Bethesda games, it's easy to find places where improvements could be made.  The world is richly detailed and full of little side stories.  The voice acting is plentiful and well-done.  There are interesting companion NPCs with cool storylines, as well as a very lifelike pet dog.  There are crafting mechanics which make scavenging feel worthwhile for a lot longer than in previous games.  Combat was fun, and the character advancement system is full of fun non-linear and "break the rules" perks.

On the less positive side, the UI could have used some work, the main storyline didn't impress me, and the settlement minigame didn't feel rewarding enough.  I also don't think this game really improved on the problem of open-world RPG difficulty.  Prior to release, developers had talked about "rubber-banding," where enemies spawn in a level band based on how far south you are.  In practice, enemy levels seemed very random, spawning at wildly different levels within the same area.  The game quests are pretty random-access across the map, so I'm not sure that the south-is-harder vision would have worked well.

I anticipate playing through again when there's a full set of DLC, the survival mode revamp, and a good selection of UI mods.  There were plenty of game mechanics I didn't get familiar with (pistols, heavy weapons, explosives, chems, stealth at more than a basic level, luck or charisma perks, etc.), and a swath of South Boston I didn't explore.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on April 02, 2016, 12:06:31 PM
Child of Light (24 hours).  This game is most distinguished by its atmosphere, art, and poetry; you can get an accurate feel for that from the first Steam trailer.  I think they did a good job.

From a gameplay perspective, the game exploration, combat, and character advancement components.  The exploration component looks at first like it's going to be a metroidvania game, but you very quickly get unrestricted flight so it isn't really.  It's still appropriately challenging to find secret areas and correctly trigger the recovery flowers to restore MP between fights.

Combat is turn-based, with a time gauge tracking who gets to act next and whether attacks will cause interruptions.  You get to use your firefly companion (Igniculus) to slow down enemies on the time gauge, which lends a bit of twitch gameplay.  On the harder difficulty, I felt like I was having to be pretty strategic in order to win most fights.

For character advancement, you have a stable of characters who level up frequently; for each character you can progress along three different advancement tracks to power up specific abilities or gain stats.  You can also equip "oculi," or combine them into more powerful oculi; I felt like there could have been some improvement to that system, both in depth and in quality of life.

Overall, I would recommend this game on sale if the trailer appeals to you; if it doesn't, the gameplay is competent but not extroardinary.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on April 02, 2016, 04:44:57 PM
StarDrive (2/5 stars; I picked it up on a Steam sale)

StarDrive sounds like a good idea on the surface of it - combine a 4x galactic civ-type game with some RTS space fleet ideas with some ship-building gimmicks. Unfortunately, it does none of these things well and has some of the drawbacks of each.

The 4x game is pretty standard - colonize planets, build stuff on planets that let you develop that planet and explore other planets, and so on. The problem is that you start with a vast array of complexity. One of the real beauties of the Civ games is that you start simple and build up. Here you get a ton of stuff and have to figure out what it actually makes sense to do. Due to the geometric nature of this type of game early mistakes can really hamper you. In addition, there are nearby AI-controlled races that are often hostile and if you're forced into a war early you spend a lot of resources meaning you'll never catch up to other civs that weren't forced to waste their time.

The RTS element is frustrating in that your spaceships are scattered all over systems and can engage in combat automatically. So you miss out on the combat, never see which races are doing better than you, or what techs they have which you might want to counter, etc. Most of the time I only got post-facto notices that "a space battle happened here." If I can't actually watch/take control during the battle stuff, why not just have the computer roll the dice and tell me what the outcome was? There's not even a simple UI (that I could find) to let you jump from ship to ship or fleet to fleet. There's apparently some thing where you can design a fleet and the AI will build ships to achieve your fleet design, but damned if I could figure that out.

Then there's shipbuilding. Of all the techs this is the one you get to dive into, which is cool in theory. You get a hull with spaces and put equipment on those spaces to build different configurations. In theory you can program the ship AI to work with different configurations, like piling armor and weapons all on one side and telling the ship to maneuver so that side faces the enemy. Sounds like fun, but see above - you are unlikely to be able to watch how this plays out so you have no idea if your design was clever or sucked. You also only have access to a few hull types and it's really unclear how to get more. There are apparently a library of pre-built ship types in the game but I never could figure out how to access them.

So, yeah, lots of good ideas sort of pasted together in a haphazard fashion without much thought.  Nice graphics, though.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on April 02, 2016, 05:38:54 PM
Wolfenstein: The New Order ~13 hours

Being an id game, this is a game where you shoot lots of bullets at lots of guys and they die in horrible ways. Over and over. The protagonist is a slab of 90s action hero meat and often utters one-liners that would not feel out of place in Duke Nukem. On medium difficulty there were many sections that were not terribly hard and then a few that were really painful (particularly if I got checkpoint-saved at minimum health).

There are occasional slower sequences which boil down to hunt-for-key-item puzzles. There are also many cutscenes, never very long, and most of them feel rushed, as if they're afraid the player will fall asleep if they take more than 5 seconds to express an emotion or explain a plot point. It's evident that somebody spent a lot of time on the background stuff (redoing Beatles records in German?) but then the gameplay pushes you to rush and shoot through them all, missing any nuance. It felt like a lot of wasted effort. The game occasionally reaches for profundity but ends up feeling at war with itself because of the relentless gameplay.

There is a lot of brutal Nazi stuff in this that borders on (or gleefully jumps over the fence to) torture porn and body horror. I am not a fan of that kind of stuff, and it kind of turned me off the rest of the game. When I compare it to something like The Man in the High Castle, I feel like the evil of the Third Reich can be adequately expressed without the senseless brutality this game puts front and center with a rictus grin.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: HeidiB on April 03, 2016, 05:54:29 AM
Is this a descendant of the game I played on the Apple  2e?  I remember it had cutting edge sound -- you could almost make out words!
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on April 03, 2016, 11:40:33 AM
Yes. Actually at the home base, you can go into a 'nightmare mode' in which you play the original Wolfenstein.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on April 03, 2016, 11:50:12 AM
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (4 hours)

This game is an indie first-person Cthulhu-flavored supernatural adventure game. I almost hesitate to call it 'slight' but to an extent, it feels that way. The game starts up by saying that it is a 'narrative experience that does not hold your hand' and it is true to that; the game does not teach you any of its mechanics. The first hour I played it was spent trying to figure out how it even worked. There are about 8-10 puzzles (some with sub-components), and no violence outside of one specific area where I 'died' once (and got reset back about a minute).

The writing, such as it is, is ok, but suffers from the fact that it's the kind of text that a writer would write, but a person would not actually say; the conversations feel stilted, and the low-budget voice acting does not sell it.

I played the 'redux' which was where the developers redid it in Unreal Engine 4. The music was nice, and the graphics were fairly pretty, but it really chugged on my machine in places, even with textures on medium and just about every option turned off. While my machine is no beast, I played the Witcher 3 with hardly a hitch and so there are clearly some basic optimizations missing.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on April 04, 2016, 01:04:17 PM
Call of Duty: Black Ops (7 hours)

The meat of  this game is set in Feb 1968 during the Tet Offensive and has all of 2 songs from the 1960s, both recorded after Feb 1968. 0/5 would not engage in this  jingoistic bullshit again.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on April 07, 2016, 03:51:07 PM
Shank 2 (1/5 stars)

Side-scrolling massacre game. Might be interesting with a controller; on PC it's a frustration trying to get all the key-combos right on a keyboard (no, it's G-shift-leftmouse then S-ctrlkey).  F*ck that.

The aesthetic is amusing, kind of cartoony send-up of the genre, but not enough to keep me interested. The game has save points set VERY far apart so you can't just retry the hard encounters you have to redo entire levels. Again, f*ck that.

I just found it way more frustrating than fun. Perhaps I'm not the right audience for this kind of game.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on April 08, 2016, 06:44:28 AM
I think it's a good idea to pick up a controller to connect to your PC, since there are so many good games that work well on one (Broforce, Rogue Legacy, Shadow Complex). I wouldn't go with one of the cheap knockoffs, but the Microsoft wired is $25 (http://amzn.to/1S7wbvi) and it just works. If you already have a 360 controller, you can get the Microsoft wireless receiver (http://amzn.to/1RV5iFy), or even one of the cheaper ones that take more setup but work (read the reviews).

If you have a PS3 DS3 controller, you can just hook it up by USB and use the open-source XInput Wrapper (ScpServer) (http://forums.pcsx2.net/Thread-ScpToolkit-XInput-Wrapper-aka-ScpServer-Reloaded).

Not that I'm saying Shank 2 is particularly noteworthy, but Klei's Mark of the Ninja is amazing.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Thanamira on April 17, 2016, 01:30:01 PM
Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void campaign

Nothing too surprising here: it's the usual really awful Blizzard writing with a tech tree that slowly unlocks.  The nice thing about the tech tree is that you aren't locked in: don't like that setup?  Reset across missions.  Actually, there's two trees: pick one of (eventually, when they unlock) 3 options for a particular unit; this affects my play style fairly significantly.  The second is your orbital ship upgrades, which I found somewhat enh.  Cute and useful; they're basically your standard long cooldown whammies.

But yeah, the writing.  I'm not sure how a triple-A title has, in a late 2015 release, writing that seems straight out of 1978.  (I get that the Protoss are supposed to be full of themselves; that's not my complaint.)

There's a bonus? campaign continuation that I'm not sure to care enough to play through, because the intro was ...  let's just say it reminded me of middle-school kids playing D&D.

I got it at full price because I needed a distraction while my sweetie was away for a week.  It's worth $10, but not more than that.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on April 25, 2016, 11:02:38 AM
Magicka 2 (6 hours): this was basically another short Magicka campaign, although there have been some minor changes to the UI since Magicka.  It was fun, but I'm glad I only paid $5 for it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: HeidiB on April 25, 2016, 11:13:49 AM
I'm playing Magicka, and it's my impression that the learning curve is too steep.  Is this a game for people who are excited about trying out new key combinations?  It's occasionally laggy on my splufty but quiet new computer, so I don't think it's intended to be pure twitch.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on April 30, 2016, 05:25:30 PM
Shadowrun Returns (13 hours) 4/5 stars if you like this style

I Kickstarted this in part because I'd never played the originals and wanted to see how it held up. I think I got my $15 worth but just barely. The story is short and linear for the most part. A good amount of writing has been put into the dialog and I'm told by people who played the originals that it captures the feel. Turn-based tactical combat CRPG set in a Neuromancer-flavored cyberpunk future, with magic. Don't ask, just roll with it.

As a play experience I think my biggest problem is with a game involving cover where I can't rotate the camera - you can only pan. It was hard for me to tell who was in cover from what. Fortunately it's not a big deal on the difficulty I played.

The game mechanics involve a lot of ranged combat - you can melee but I found that inferior in almost every respect. Character advancement is via a two-tiered system where you put points into a stat and that opens up the option to put points into skills that use that stat. Not terribly sophisticated but a couple interesting choices.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on May 01, 2016, 10:39:42 AM
To echo what everyone else said to me--play the second one, Shadowrun:Dragonfall. It's better.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on May 01, 2016, 11:17:04 AM
Dead State: Reanimated (~100 hours)

If the Walking Dead (TV/comic franchise) and Fallout 2 had an indie baby on the side, this would be it. Now, keep in mind that Fallout 2 is nearly 20 years old; it's good, but it's old. And this game feels a bit like that.

Gameplay consists of 2 layers, strategic & tactical. Strategically, you manage a makeshift shelter, tasking occupants (which you recruit via visiting other areas or by story mechanisms), building upgrades, and managing and upgrading all the stuff you loot when scavenging. There are adventure-game like elements and RPG like conversations; you must manage the occupants' morale by  adjudicating disputes, passing out special morale-boosting items, and feeding everyone.

Every day you take your main character plus 3 other team members out scavenging to any of about 100 tactical maps, searching for food, gas, equipment, and luxury items to maintain morale. Combat (with zombies, looters, bikers, militia, rogue cops, and rogue soldiers) is turn-based, but old-school turn-based. There is no cover (only LOS) and you have action points based on your ability scores to spend attacking, moving, etc. The game is heavily balanced to make melee viable; guns have ridiculously short ranges (a sniper rifle goes about 3 car-lengths) and firing a weapon makes noise, which causes zombies to move towards you (and more may spawn). Additionally, even though the game takes place in Texas, which you would expect to be virtually paved in constitutionally-granted ammunition handcrafted and triple-blessed by Jesus Christ hisholyself, the ammo situation is more like Resident Evil where you hoard it and count out bullets like currency.

The AI is not great; zombies you expect to be dumb, but humans will blithely charge your assault-rifle-toting squad with nothing more dangerous than a screwdriver to hand. Also, the firearm range situation leads to grenades having a longer effective range (and they are damned dangerous). The indie nature leads to combat taking a while, as all inhabitants of a map (including those not in combat) are checked every round for their action, even if it's just a 'pass'.

The writing is ok in places and occasionally inspired; you would never see a AAA game feature right-wing militia who threaten to shoot 'Jews, queers, and niggers' on sight, nor offer a quest to help terminate an unwanted pregnancy by visiting a womens' clinic, but an indie game can get away with it. There are 150 collectible data items and they feature texts, Twitter- and Reddit-like messages, emails, TV and radio transcripts that describe the slow-motion catastrophe of the plague spreading and civilization falling, and much of the content felt true-to-life. Also, there are a wide range of recruitable characters; men, women, old, young, of different races, sexual orientations, and backgrounds (using my ex-Army Ranger who was Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell'ed out of the service to shoot dead much of the homophobic militia was particularly satisfying).

Despite its combat faults, its Unity-store quality graphics, and basic audio, I found myself consumed. More than once I became frustrated with a fight with better-armed adversaries and nearly gave up, but eventually had to regard most of the difficult fights (universally with rogue Army elements) as puzzles to disassemble. The upgrade curve, both in gear and skills, felt smooth and satisfying, and scratched the itch for an old-school RPG. I would not recommend it unreservedly, but for the price I paid (Humble Bundle) I got more than my money's worth.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on May 02, 2016, 07:51:10 AM
To echo what everyone else said to me--play the second one, Shadowrun:Dragonfall. It's better.

Yep, that's still in my Steam library waiting to be downloaded. I'm chugging through it at an increasing clip now that Long War isn't sucking all my free gaming time.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on May 06, 2016, 05:02:09 AM
Tales from the Borderlands (11 hours)

This is a 5-part narrative adventure game by Telltale (makers of the Walking Dead adventure games) set in the Borderlands universe. Gameplay is a mix of QTE events, pick-from-three conversation responses, and very light puzzle solving. It features new and returning characters (from 1, 2, & the pre-sequel). The game will make no sense if you have not played any Borderlands, and I suspect it makes diminishing amounts of sense the fewer games in that series you have played (2 is the most crucial).

There is a ton of voice acting and features big names like Troy Baker, Nolan North, Laura Bailey, Patrick Warburton, and others. For the most part it is well-acted and well-directed, but there are a couple who stick out because they are terrible. It didn't seem like there was much motion capture if any; character movement was very jerky, although I got used to it.

Chapter one took a while to get its footing and was more weird than funny. Chapter two was much funnier, but then the game seems to follow an arc of diminishing funny tapering to increasing amounts of pathos. In particular, they kill off one of the classic Borderlands characters, which makes me wonder if that particular plot point (or any of this game) will be canon.

For fans of Borderlands, this might be worth a few nights of light entertainment. For anyone else, it will just be incomprehensible.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on May 16, 2016, 07:56:19 PM
Bioshock Infinite (18 hours) 3/5 stars

This one has sat in my queue for a while, finally got around to it. I sort of wish I hadn't because I liked the previous one so much and this one didn't seem to measure up. The "only two weapons" thing seems very console-oriented and an annoying limitation on PCs. The skyhook was fun for a bit, then kind of frustrating when I couldn't figure out where the game wanted me to dismount. The artwork was lovely, but the level design felt lacking, particularly with no map. Mostly I'd ask the game which direction I was supposed to go and then go the other way since the way opposite the objective was almost certainly where the boosts and side quests were. By the fifth or sixth area it was almost comical - here's another arrow trying to lead you away from the good stuff.

I played through most of it on medium difficulty and found it challenging enough right up to the extended end battle. Tried that a few times and kept losing (largely because the controls feel laggy and actions don't respond to keypresses when I make them) so I set the difficulty down to easy and got through it. Frankly, most of the battles felt that way - semi-random obstacles thrown in the way of natural progress. I can see how the game designers tried to cater to lots of different play styles (you can head-shot from range, you can zoom in and melee, you can kill lots of things with indirect or AOE damage) but since I couldn't save before battles I mostly went with what seemed best at the time - I couldn't go back and try out different things.

The story was... OK, I guess. I think it's supposed to be easier to slaughter lots of people if you're told they're racist religious fanatics, but then they become peasant revolutionary fanatics and you just keep killing them. That felt messed up. And the whole time-maguffin thing... I have no idea what to make of that. It makes no sense either taken at its own internal logic or looked at from the outside. Since the story is one long rail with no meaningful character choices it mostly doesn't matter, but the ending left me feeling "SRSLY?" which is not how I thought it would be.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on May 20, 2016, 08:18:25 PM
Uncharted 4 (22 hours)

The saga is complete, at least for now. It's possible that there will be more games released with the Uncharted title, but Nathan Drake has climbed his last cliff face.

In reviewing the game, the most striking thing about it is the graphics design. Naughty Dog knew how to take full advantage of the PS3, and they go all out for the PS4. Environments are lush, complex, deep, and generally great to look at. The shimmering water looks realistic. The character animation is the best it's been (though it's still a bit on the creepy side of the uncanny valley).

Gameplay is more-or-less the same as Uncharted 1-3: Platforming, puzzles, combats. There were no "impossible jumps" such as that marred Uncharted 1 (and 3 to a lesser extent), though there's one challenge near the end of the game that was a bit frustrating. There were a couple of "obstacle courses" that basically required you to learn a trajectory, but they weren't too harsh. There are the usual puzzles, but I solved all of them without resorting to any on-line hints (the game has an internal hint system that you can turn off).

Some new mechanics: Game previews showed Nathan Drake driving a 4x4, and I was worried that Naughty Dog might have "Batmobiled" the game the way Rocksteady did to Arkham Knight. No worries. The car comes equipped with a winch, which adds a new dimension to some obstacle puzzles. Nathan gets a new tool: a rope lasso. I found it easy to get used to, and again it added a bit of a new dimension to some platform puzzles.

Combat is pretty much the same as in Uncharted 1-3: waves of enemies attack, you fire from behind what cover you can find. Two differences: The first, courtesy of the PS4 processing power, is that crates and other flimsy structures will gradually fall apart as enemies fire at them; you can't duck behind them forever. The second is that, for many combats, it's possible to take down all the enemies through stealth. I played the game on Light difficulty, but there's a level below that: Explorer, which I assume removes almost all combat; I didn't try it.

Plot: I won't spoil anything, but Naughty Dog knows when they've got a successful formula and they stick to it. There are few references to Uncharted 1-3, and you'll appreciate Uncharted 4 more if you've played all three before. But you don't need to have played the others to get through this game.

Overall, I think this is clearly the best of the Uncharted series; in descending order of quality, I'd rank them 4, 2, 3, 1. If they can maintain this level of quality, I hope that Naughty Dog will return to the Uncharted franchise someday.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on May 22, 2016, 04:47:54 PM
The Banner Saga 2 (~15 hours)

This is more of The Banner Saga (you can import your saves), which is a good thing. It's slightly longer, and also more difficult, from my perspective. I imported my game from 1 and cruised through the first couple of fights. Then the game split up the party and had me use underleveled, under-equipped characters, and/or had me do 2 fights at once or force-included characters I hadn't used much in the first one. Suffice to say, it rewards a wide and deep roster. Of course, you never really know who you need until you play through it once, as, like in the first one, characters are killed off or even betray you in story sequences. Several fights, especially later on, were a little gimmicky, and many featured chokepoints which explicitly punish varl-stacking, something that worked well in the first one.

Attribute caps are the same as in the first one, but now capped attributes can have 'skills' attached to them, which are basically procs (% chance to shrug off damage, or do extra damage, etc.). There are also new classes including stealth ones and a new race, the horseborn, which are centaurs that specialize in mobility and debuffs like DOT/Stun. On the story side, you actually discover a lot more about the plot and there are more animated sequences. Overall, satisfying, but frustrating in places. I may end up replaying 1 again in light of the information in this one so I can produce an optimized save to replay 2 with.

Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on May 30, 2016, 02:50:32 PM
Age of Empires II (2/5 stars)

I got the "HD Edition" which I had been told was updated to take advantage of more modern hardware. That might be true, but the game still suffers and performs poorly on my not-that-old W7 64-bit system.

AoE II is a RTS game in the usual tradition. You make buildings to build units and research techs. You have various resources (wood, stone, food, gold) and it's mostly set in medieval eras so your troops are foot soldiers of various sorts, archers for ranged, a couple different sorts of horse troops, and siege engines. Peasants do the dirty work of building and gathering resources.

In theory it's not a bad game, but it suffers from a lack of any of the management tools that make such games playable for people like me. You get announcements that "$FOE is attacking you" but no information on where, and no differentiation between a force that's covering a column of battering rams heading for your walls versus one scout on a horse riding past your towers. If you stare at the minimap long enough you might see something blinking and then click there. Meanwhile you've had to divert your attention from all the other things clamoring for it.

Troop AI - both yours and the computer's - is remarkably stupid. If set on a target your troops will dutifully pursue that target right past all other targets, ignore things attacking them, and in general die a lot in stupid ways. The stupid AI means you have to do much more micro-management, which gets rapidly wearisome when the UI is clumsy (it is) and the information is poor (see above).
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on June 02, 2016, 10:21:17 AM
I had a lot of great fun with AoE II in the early 2000's, but I'm sure it would be arduous to return to a pre-Dawn of War RTS style. I had a lot of the same problems getting into Starcraft II because it was too traditional.

The brightest moments from AoE II for me were from the Hun campaign in the Conquerors expac:

- The twist for the Huns was that you could not expand your population size. This was introduced with a hilarious sound byte: "Huns do not need houses! Let us burn these to the ground, and take these villagers with us!*" Sure, less building micromanagement is great, but that voice!

- In one of the missions, you need to assault Constantinople. In playing with my friend, I figured out a resource loop where in the time it took to build one explosive ship, I got enough money to build the next. I set the rally point to their port, and just slowly took the river with the great Hun Dynamite Navy. This game was great for turtling.

* Apparently I've already tried to sell it on this merit (https://www.deadlycupcakes.org/forums/index.php?topic=63.msg47916#msg47916)
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on July 06, 2016, 08:37:34 AM
Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

This is no half-assed expansion. Its scale is about a third of that of the base Witcher 3. To give you some idea, for me Geralt started out at level 35 (from the end of Witcher 3) and by the end of the game he was level 53. (Bear in mind that I played on easy difficulty, often have items with XP bonuses, and go off on side quests for XP all the time.)

By-and-large, Blood and Wine is "more of the same." If you liked Witcher 3, you'll like this expansion; if you didn't, B&W won't change your mind.

Plot: B&W rapidly takes you to the province of Toussaint. It's a cheerier, brighter, wealthier place than the grim realms Geralt visited in Witcher 3. Geralt is offered a big contract to solve a bloody mystery (par for the course for a witcher). Like most games of this sort, the main plot meanders around, while many side quests offer chances for extra loot and XP. You even get your own vineyard part-way through the game, which you can upgrade via cash and at least one quest reward.

Gameplay: You can improve your gear through drops, craft new gear from looted diagrams, or go on quests to improve the witcher gear you had crafted in the base Witcher 3. You continue to earn ability points which you can spend on extending the same skills that existed in Witcher 3. You also have the option, after going through a side questline, of spending mutagens to unlock a special mutagen ability tree. The mutagens abilities cost a lot of skill points, but they can really buff your character; it did my heart good to improve my telekinetic blast to the point where enemies would literally tear apart when I cast the Aard sign.

The game is still M-rated. There's enough blood and viscera to satisfy the horror fan. Anita Sarkeesian will not be pleased with Blood and Wine: the bruxae (female vampires) are nude women, and Geralt can have his soft-core porn sex scene if he makes the right dialog choices. What's curious is the language: Witcher 3 didn't hold back, but Blood and Wine text sticks to bowdlerisms that keep it PG ("Who is this porking chit?"). I suspect that CD Projekt got a different and more restrained translator for this expansion.

A tip (with a minimal spoiler warning): Blood and Wine has the usual forked decision trees, and the story changes as a result. There's a major branching point that occurs when you'll be offered the choice between speaking with one of two people, whose initials are D and O. You'll be offered 2-3 chances to change your mind after that initial offer. The result of that decision lead you to two very different environments in terms of story, tone, and rewards. My advice: Be sure to save the game and play the results of both choices. I think they're both worth seeing. 

Oh yeah: If you played Witcher 3 for the gwent, Blood and Wine offers you plenty. There's gwent everywhere. There's even a non-gwent quest that rewards you a good gwent card. I don't care for gwent, but if you do, B&W will scratch that itch.

Oh yeah number two: There's still some story action after the big end-boss fight and the big end-game reward, including some post-credits pleasantries. Don't be in a rush to quit the game at the end.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on July 06, 2016, 08:20:06 PM
Crypt of the REVIVAL!dancer, probably.  I think there's one more narrative reward to earn, but it's a little bit beyond me.

This is a roguelike with the important twist that you have to make a move every half-second or so, and while the enemies are generally slower than you and predictable in how they move, you have to mostly avoid taking any damage to get through the levels.  The difficulty varies depending on whether you find good weapons and armor in the first level (or can buy a good weapon going in, once you unlock the diamond merchant); in general it's pretty tough, and there are even tougher game modes that I didn't touch.  Games are usually pretty short, making it really easy to get sucked into playing "just one more."

The little bits of story are moderately amusing, but the major draw is the music.  The sound design of this game is amazing for an indy title.  I especially like the music variations you unlock as you acquire new characters, and the way the music varies as you travel around levels.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on July 19, 2016, 10:21:46 AM
Jade Empire (~25h)

This is an old forgotten BioWare RPG made after KOTOR but before NWN. It uses the KOTOR engine and has KOTOR-level graphics (arguably worse).

It felt old, unbalanced, and held an unfulfilled ambition. It was also very linear.

Particularly galling were certain elements of combat. It was rock-paper-scissors with weak attack-strong attack-block, but there was a problem; strong attack had a long windup for the PC but not necessarily for enemies, so if they blocked, I'd try to strong attack through it only to have them stop blocking and hit me; conversely, if I blocked and they wound up a strong attack, I could never land a quick attack fast enough to disrupt them (and this was with the speed-based char). So mostly I had to do a lot of dodging and attacking, hoping my attacks hit. I say 'hope' because when you hit an attack button you're locked into the animation for the next 2 seconds, so if you aren't quite in range, or if they move, or if they block, you're basically screwed. Very frustrating.

I ended up finishing not because I particularly enjoyed it, but because I was researching things to do and use for an asian-flavored tabletop campaign I'll be starting soon and because I resented that it would beat me if I didn't finish. But I certainly took my time about it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on July 29, 2016, 07:02:51 PM
Shadows of Morder

The gaming magazines labeled this one of the best video games of 2014, and I can see why. It's got a good story, a nice advancement system, and an interesting new mechanic in the form of the nemesis system.

The story takes place in the time between the events of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Sauron has just returned to Mordor, and the Rangers who'd been watching over Mordor have been evicted by the Orcs. You play Talion, who at the start of the game is murdered along with his wife and son. Yet somehow he is merged with an Elf Wraith who keeps him alive (no matter how many times you die in the game) and grants him special powers. Talion's goal is to avenge the deaths of his family, or at least find a way to die permanently so he can join them. However, the Wraith has goals of his own.

As a Tolkien fan, I think the game to be respectful of the established mythology of Middle-Earth while finding new ways to extend it. There haven't been too many of the lore-style games for which I was interested in those scrolls or tapes or whatever was lying around. In SoM I wanted to read all the little bits of lore to see how they made everything agree with Tolkien while still keeping things fresh.

For experienced gamers, I don't think SoM offers a significant challenge. For me it did, because there was no adjustable difficulty level; I really needed an "old folks" mode. I got through the game eventually by out-leveling the content: I went on every side quest I could to built up my abilities. As a result, the first half of the game was hard (with what for me was a punishing boss fight at the mid-point), then became relatively easy with rather trivial boss fights at the end.

In the nemesis system, you see an array of Orc Bosses, Captains, and Warchiefs on a screen. There are various missions that enable to you interfere with them, or kill them if you know their weaknesses. You can learn their strengths and vulnerabilities by interrogating weaker Orcs who will yield to your will. The goal, at first, is to identify the bodyguards of the powerful Warchiefs; take out the bodyguards, then take out the Warchief. If you are killed, even by a trivial Uruk, and the one who slew you will go up in rank.

In the early part of the game, I got killed a lot. Two of the Orcs maxed out at level 20, and I learned to run away fast whenever they were near. Eventually I was able to become tough enough to take them out, but as I said it made the remainder of the game less of a challenge.

I agree with what many Amazon reviewers said: The gameplay gets repetitive after a while. Even though I picked up the Game of the Year edition, I feel little impulse to play the additional two campaigns.

I imagine that most DC readers are reserving their gaming time for Legion. But once the excitement goes down and you're looking for something else to fill the gap, I recommend giving Shadows of Morder a try. I picked up the GotY edition for $15 at an Amazon sale. At that price, I got my money's worth.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on November 08, 2016, 12:42:25 PM
Rise of the Tomb Raider

Somehow, even with all the WoW pet grinding, I managed to find the time to play this game on the PS4.

I liked this game better than the previous entry in the series for PS4 (Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition). The previous game "folded" the terrain to make it harder to get from point A to point B; RotTR uses this trick far less (certain far less than WoW Legion does). The puzzles and platforms, though occasionally challenging for me even in Easy difficulty, did not have the precision timing required in TR:tDE, or perhaps the "old folks" mode was more generous in this version of the game. In fact, the big final battle and final boss fight in RotTR was much easier than the final boss battle in TR:tDE. The story was about the same level as the previous Tomb Raider game: secrets of an ancient civilization, bad guys are after it, Lara has to live up to memories of her father; you know, the usual.

I feel I should add: Although the character of Lara Croft has a history of being exploited in her first incarnation, in both of these recent Tomb Raiders there no hint of exploitation of Lara as a female in any way I could see. (Disclosure: I'm a cis-gendered white male, so there might be much that I missed.) There wasn't any "butt sway"; the image of Lara is athletic instead of "male fantasy object"; and while she grunts and pants as she parkours her way through challenges, it sounds no different to me than the same noises Nathan Drake makes doing the same tasks in the Uncharted series.

If one wants to compare, the "skins" for the older 1990s-era Lara Croft become available once you've completed the campaign. I took one glance at them and avoided them afterwards. It wasn't just that they kept the now-outdated polygon renders of Lara Croft from the previous incarnations, but also the fantasy chest size. I understand the nostalgia factor, but there are some childish toy images we can set aside with no regrets.

The PS4 edition comes with all the DLC packages released for the game so far. I haven't played Croft Manor yet, but I did go through the Baba Yaga DLC since it takes place within the storyline of the main game. Baba Yaga was more punishing than the main game, with one female dog of a platform puzzle, and a final encounter that was rougher than anything else I've seen in a Tomb Raider game so far. However, I suggest going through that DLC as soon as it becomes available. It rewards a couple of items of gear that greatly simplify all subsequent combat.

Overall: I liked the game, and I'm glad I played full price for it so I could experience it sooner.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on December 22, 2016, 03:37:31 AM
Batman: The Telltale Series

Someone might reasonable argue that this isn't a game, but interactive storytelling. As you go through the game, you're offered a series of choices. The consequences of those choices affects what happens later in the game (e.g., if you're seen shaking hands with Carmine Falcone, that will make Gotham think less of you). There's combat, but no tactics: it's all in the form of QTEs, so combat plays out like a game of Simon Says.

With all that said, I enjoyed Batman:TTS. If the story is everything, at least they chose to tell an interesting story. It's set in Batman's early years, when Harvey Dent was still Bruce Wayne's good friend, and Batman meets Catwoman for the first time. A group called "the Children of Arkham" is terrorizing Gotham City, and it's up to Batman to try to stop them. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne learns some uncomfortable realities about his parents and the source of the fortune they left him. 

The game spends a bit more time with Bruce Wayne than as Batman, and in some crucial encounters you can choose to participate as either one. It adds a dimension to the story that's not found in the Arkham series. On the other hand, there's no "open world" or detective puzzles to solve; your crime-scene detection is limited to linking various objects in static environments.

If I'm going to mention the Arkham games, I have to add that Catwoman is the same hyper-sexualized creature in both series. It's a shame, because she is more fully realized in Batman:TTS and this would have been a chance to show her in the same manner as the other female characters in the game (Vicki Vale, Officer Montoya). However, this is Bruce Wayne's story, not Selina Kyle's, and the game is clearly targeted at a male audience. It would have nice to have Batman be more acceptable to a female audience.

At its current price of $25, gamers may feel that the the series is too expensive for 5-6 hours of gameplay (about 60 minutes per episode). If you look at this as a choose-your-own-adventure story, then I think the price is reasonable compared to same amount of time spent in a movie theater. Certainly the story is better than a couple of the Batman movies I've seen.

The game has some replayability, to see what the results were of making different story choices. I've played it through twice, once as "good and noble" Batman, and once as "make every bad choice possible" Batman. I'll probably play it through one more time, to create a game save suitable for any follow-up Telltale seasons of Batman.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on December 24, 2016, 04:56:42 PM
Pony Island.

Well, that was a trip.  Reminded me a little bit of the old Mac game "3 in 3".
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on March 13, 2017, 08:15:35 PM
Lara Craft Go and Deus Ex Go.  These are puzzle games made for touch screen devices, presumably by the same studio.  Both are turn-based, and artistically reflect the theme of the game they are based on.  Some of the mechanical elements are the shared between the games, such as enemies who can be taken out from behind or the side, but will kill you if you step in front of them.  I never got stuck for too long on a puzzle, but plenty of them made me think for a while.  I thought Lara Croft Go was prettier, while Deus Ex Go told more of a story.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on March 20, 2017, 10:14:43 AM
Horizon: Zero Dawn

This is one where you play a savage hunter going after mechanical dinosaurs.

I'll start with what makes this game unique: the encounter mechanics. In H:ZD, you can't go toe-to-toe with a foe unless you're at least 10-15 levels above them, and often not even them. To deal with a given beast, you have scan them to learn their weaknesses (e.g., they have a canister that will explode if hit with fire), and come up with strategies for defeating them. The game does not force you into a particular strategy, it just provides you with a variety of tools, each with ammo of various elemental types (fire, shock, etc.): bows, tripwires, traps, and slings; there's even some machine-gun-like weapon that I never used. You typically sneak around, plant your obstacles, lure a mob to you, do some damage... then run away before it can attack you, wait until it's forgotten you're there, then head back to do more damage.

If you all you want to do is blast away at enemies, this is definitely not the game for you. If you like to play a game that rewards patience and strategy, it's a game to consider. For me, a player who has no twitch reflexes, it was a lot of fun.

This is an open-world game. After some initial tutorial quests, you can go pretty much anywhere you want, though the further you go from the starting areas the tougher the mobs get. There are the usual loads of side quests; I went on every one I found to out-level the main story content. There are also many types of collectables; my favorite was the Vantage, which gave you an overlay of the original high-tech landscape before the fall of civilization.

The graphics: This is a beautiful game on the PS4 (I don't think it's available on other platforms). The landscapes are lush, the details on the characters and the creatures are amazing. More than once I was befuddled by a shadow crossing the sky, then realize it wasn't one of the flying creatures, but the sun rising. The one drag on this realism are the cut-scenes, which occasionally demonstrate some graphics glitches.

The story: You play Aloy, who (after a bit of a tutorial) starts out as a 19-year-old outcast from the Nora tribe. As you proceed in your efforts to be accepted by the tribe, you gradually become aware that there's a destiny in store for Aloy, one that explains the mechanical creatures and the ancient remnants of a technological civilization that are all over the landscape. In the end, I liked the story; it did a good job of rationalizing the environment and tugged on my heartstrings as Aloy learned who she was and where she came from.

Diversity in gaming: Aloy is a 19-year-old woman, but none of her outfits looked anything other than practical gear. Several male characters (and at least one female character) attempt to flirt with her, but she has none of it: she's focused on the task at hand. There's an even blend of different human racial types represented. Aloy's one semi-romantic interest (it goes no farther than "I'd like to show you that cavern someday") is someone with a different skin color than hers. Like the recent Tomb Raider games, this game does well by the female lead (at least, according to this particular cis-gendered white male reviewer).

Final verdict: If you have a PS4, and you value patience in your game-play, this is a "must-have" game.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on August 10, 2017, 06:03:28 PM
Torment: Tides of Numenera

The story is set roughly a billion years in future. Humanity has spread out to multiple worlds and dimensions; the world is littered with old technologies and magics. You are the Last Castoff, a body that was left behind when the Changing God abandoned your body to move into another. That's "Last" in the sense of the most recent; there are many castoffs left behind by the Changing God. You have a sense that there's something important you must do, but you're not sure what it is or what the consequences might be.

This RPG uses the same engine as Pillars of Eternity (there's a whole topic on PoE else-forum); in other words, it's another modern descendant of Baldur's Gate. However, this is not just a duplicate of PoE. Here are the differences:

Pro:

- The quality of the writing. I originally kickstarted this game because I heard that Patrick Rothfuss had contributed to one part of it.

- There's no "good vs. evil" alignment. Instead there's a five-fold system of "Tides" (blue, red, gold, silver, indigo) each associated with a general pattern of behavior; e.g., the Gold Tide  is associated with doing good for others over their own welfare, which can make you a philanthropist or a crime lord working to help the poor in your community. Your actions determine your dominant tide, which affects how some characters react to you.

- You can get through almost every encounter without fighting. This doesn't mean you won't enter turn-based action mode from time to time, but instead of bashing the NPCs you can choose to have members of your party talk to different people at once.

- Stats are handled differently than other games of this type. There are only three: Might, Speed, and Intellect. These stats improve with experience, but in Torment they represent "pools" from which you can spend point on "effort" to increase your chance at success at various tasks. For example, if you have only a 50% chance of smashing a door down, you have the option of spending Might to increase that to 65% or more. The pools refill whenever the character rests.

- The skill advancement system is atypical, involving "Tiers". Within a given Tier, as you go up in level you only get to improve one of out a set of improvements: stat boosts, new abilities, etc. Once you improve your stats, for example, you have to level up to a brand-new Tier before you can improve your stats again. Of course, you can improve your stats as the last upgrade of a given Tier then improve your stats again as your first update of the next Tier. I found this to be a welcome change from the skill trees that have come to dominate computer RPG gaming.

Con:

- The game world is divided into areas, each with its own set of sub-areas. You can travel between the sub-areas freely (subject to the usual mechanics of "find the solution to the gate's puzzle"). But once you leave an area, you cannot return to it.

This means that if you leave an area with side quests you haven't completed (you can't leave an area without completing its main quests), then you can never complete those quests. In particular, if you leave the first area without filling up your party, you can never get new party members again. You get enough warning that it's not likely you wouldn't have a full party, but it's possible.

- There is no simple, direct way to determine how strong you are in a given Tide. For a stat that has such story importance in the game, it's strange that there isn't some indicator to suggest which Tide is dominant in you.

- The game feels shorter than Pillars of Eternity. This is good if you felt Pillars dragged on, or bad if you feel that it's too short for $60. (Of course, the price will go down with time.)

- The load screens between sub-areas are agonizingly long. There are quests that take you back and forth between areas, and I sometimes felt disinclined to complete the quest simply because I'd have to stare at load screens. (I played on a PS4; it may be different on desktop systems.)

Overall: I enjoyed the game. I became attached to some of the characters (especially Rhin, who is the one that Patrick Rothfuss wrote for). I appreciated the choice of whether to engage in combat or try to solve problems via negotiation or persuasion. I found the choice you face at the end to be interesting, and not a typical simplistic "good vs bad" situation.

Thumbs up if you enjoy Pillars of Eternity / Baldurs Gate style of games.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on August 14, 2017, 09:47:33 AM
Prey: 7/10

This is a first person science fiction RPG like System Shock II and Deus Ex, made by the makers of Dishonored. It is just about exactly what you would expect except for the alternate history backstory. It was enjoyable but not revolutionary.

Halcyon 6 Starbase Commander: 8/10

This is a pixel-art olde-timey humorous sci-fi strategy RPG with resource management, worker placement, and turn-based 3-party RPG combat. I very much enjoyed it. They recently released a 'lightspeed' edition that cut the campaign length from about 35 hours to about 15, but you can play either version, basically accelerated or 'Long War' style.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on August 20, 2017, 09:34:44 AM
Rage (on normal difficulty; I don't plan to play further).  This game struck me as an uninspired shooter, outmatched in every department by other games of its time.  The setting is a vaguely interesting sci-fi story, but there is very little world-building compared to a Bioshock game.  You get a selection of different weapons and ammo and you can buy some upgrades, but armory management is far less interesting than in a Borderlands game.  Rage is presented as an open-world game, but the world is pretty small and (as far as I could tell) there's no reason to go anywhere besides a quest objective, so it brings none of the adventure of a Fallout game.  Other than enemy chatter, not much of interest happens while you're shooting your way through an area, which is a let-down in any game after Half-Life 2.  There is a bit of vehicle driving, which I mostly found to be an annoyance.  There is a card game, in case you suddenly decide that you'd rather be playing a simple CCG instead of a shooter.  The PC port was playable but rough around the edges at times.

The enemy AI was somewhat distinctive--most of the enemies you fight are pretty acrobatic and do a lot of ducking and weaving.  I could see a hardcore FPS fan finding that uniquely enjoyable on higher difficulties.  On normal difficulty, the enemies who stayed behind cover and shot at me didn't seem very challenging, but the ones who rushed in to melee attack could be tough.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on August 21, 2017, 09:44:16 AM
Very good review, Marco. In fact, great reviews from Gwyd and Winston, too.

The Stanley Parable

Even though it's short, I didn't get to the end. I don't think I'll ever pick it up again, though. I put something like 1.4 hours into it (thanks Steam). It was a pretty cute walking game where you can defy the narrator (a standin for quest text or a tutorial) that did Escher-esque things with the level geometry (such as a turning a corner that converts the hallway you are going down into a seemingly endless loop). Ultimately, the repetition in the game got dull for me, and in the end there wasn't as much player choice as I would have liked. It was a decent afternoon, but not something I'll come back to.

If you have a hankering for a game that subverts video game tropes, I recommend the designer's follow-up, Dr. Langeskov, the Tiger, and the Terribly Cursed Emerald (http://store.steampowered.com/app/409160/Dr_Langeskov_The_Tiger_and_The_Terribly_Cursed_Emerald_A_Whirlwind_Heist/). That game is a bit wittier, shorter, and best of all, free.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on September 03, 2017, 12:12:30 PM
Mass Effect: Andromeda

TL;DR: The gaming-review websites are right on this one.

Full review

As I continue my wowcation, I'm catching up on console games. I'm sticking to my resolution to play no game without a colon in its title. Fortunately, the game companies of the world do not disappoint in this quest.

I'm going to aim this review towards those who've played the other games in the Mass Effect (ME) series. If you haven't played any ME games before, I don't think this is a good place to start, unless you're utterly (and I mean utterly) dismissive of story and only play games for the combat. Yes, there's a codex and you can read the entries to fill in the background, but if you don't know why there appear to be no male asari, why female krogan are special, and which are the salarans and the turians, you'll have to read a lot to catch up.

The very beginning of ME:A is set between the events of ME:1 and ME:2, but it immediately jumps to 600 years later with arrival of inter-galactic arks from the Milky Way to the Andromeda galaxy. After the usual "start with a disaster" and various soap-opera events, you play the role of Ryder, the human Pathfinder, charged with forging a home for the Milky Way races (humans, asari, turians, salarans, krogan) among the planets of the Heleus cluster within Andromeda. You quickly come into contact with an enemy race, the kett, and a potentially friendly race, the angaaran. You learn of an ancient and extinct race, the Remnant, and search among the ruins of their highly advanced technology, looking for tools to accomplish your missions.

Pros:

The graphics of this game are gorgeous. Bioware's effort in making use of modern graphics hardware is impressive. (The exception are the character figures, which still wander in the range of the uncanny valley.)

Your reaction to the game mechanics may vary from mine, since I played on the "easy" level and don't focus on min-maxing. I liked the fact that you're not stuck in your initial "spec" of Ryder, and can respend your skill points (for an increasing amount of credits each time) to play a different role if you choose. I played in Tech Spec, blasting away the enemy's shields, freezing them in place, and overcharging them to create combat combos. After about level 40 (I got to level 61 by the end of the game), you can even get enough skills in multiple talent areas so that you can shift between, for example, combat spec to biotic spec in the middle of a firefight.

In addition to the skill customization of Ryder, the graphics customization of Ryder is stronger than any previous ME game (though in line with Bioware's previous RPG-style game, DragonAge: Inquisition). I chose to play a female character named Angela Ryder (the last name cannot be changed) with dark skin, short auburn hair, and blue eyes. Par for the course, but the interesting twist is that in the game you will see images of your father, mother, and brother; the game does some "genetic extrapolation" so these characters generally resemble you. You're allowed to change your appearance (but not your gender) during the course of the game; I didn't test if your family changes with you.

Diversity in characters is well-represented. The starting members of your party are Cora, a Nordic-style blonde, and Liam, an African-American with a British accent. As in all recent Bioware games, you can explore romantic possibilities with most of the characters on your ship, the Tempest. I started with Cora, but she gently let me know she wasn't into women. I didn't bother with the other humans (Liam, Suvi, Gil) after that, because who wants a relationship with a human? I really wanted to hit it off with Vetra, a turian (in memory of Garrus) but she just stammered and didn't follow up on my interest. Finally I wound up with Peebee, an asari, who is by far the easiest character (in more ways than one) to hook up with, as long as you can deal with her annoying behavior.

Cons:

Your reaction to unskippable cutscenes may be different from mine. I mentioned the gorgeous graphics. The problem is that, if we're not talking about lovemaking, seeing the same gorgeous thing over and over again with no variation gets tedious after a while. One graphics transition was skippable (moving between planets within a system); the others were not (e.g., moving between stellar systems). In my last review, I complained about Torment's transitions between areas, but there you saw a load bar and knew it was the game doing some programmatic switching. Here it seems like the ME:A designers are just showing off the graphics processors.

Another problem is the story. My brief plot summary above may have seemed familiar to you, down to the roles that various races play in ME1-3. ME:A is definitely more of the same. You go on quests, you've got the character-loyalty missions (which reward the ability to purchase upper-level abilities for your party's characters), the ancient races are mysterious, the enemy is a bunch of mean bastards for you to mow down, you fight mini-bosses, etc. After seeing the same thing five or six times now (including the DragonAge games), don't expect to see anything different.

A criticism of ME:3 is that all the decisions Shepard made during the course of ME:1-3 had no difference in the outcome of the saga. It's hard to judge ME:A by the same criteria. You can make decisions that affect some NPCs and plotlines by the end of the game, but there don't seem to be any major consequences. (It's possible I'm missing something; I had a lot of allies along the way in the final battle, and it may be that your decisions would affect which and how many allies show up. Because I played in easy mode, the presence of  allies didn't mean much to me.) There are hints that some of your decisions would impact events in sequels, but Bioware has decided not to release any more patches or DLC for single-player ME:A. This not only means the "end" of the game (no dangling plot threads resolved), but probably the end (or a very long delay) for the Mass Effect series. Perhaps if the game were to have continued, your role-playing choices would have long-term consequences.

In the end, I enjoyed the game, primarily because the reviews on the gaming sites had lowered my expectations somewhat. Make no mistake: apart from the graphics and some game-mechanics tweaks, this is the same "Mass Effect" game, in both tone and plot, that you've experienced before. If you want to experience anything different, seek elsewhere.

Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on September 04, 2017, 12:18:55 PM
Octodad.  This was a short game, deliberately absurd both in its storyline and its controls.  The controls aren't as difficult as in some QWOP-like games, but working past them is definitely the challenge.  I enjoyed it.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Tweed on September 04, 2017, 04:18:45 PM
>observer_

It's Blade Runner meets Neuromancer meets David Lynch meets Layers of Fear walking simulator. It's the grim cyberpunk future in Poland. You play a special type of police detective (voiced by Rutger Hauer!) called an "observer" who is able to "jack-in" to people's memories using a creepy invasive bio-modification. You've been summoned to a tenement bloc by your prodigal son and there stumble upon a series of crimes that you must investigate, primarily by scanning evidence and interrogating tenement dwellers. Scary, horrific shit ensues.

It's good! I don't like horror games generally but this one seemed intriguing and not too scary so I gave it a shot. It's fairly short, like, maybe 8 hours if you aren't obsessive about every detail and unlocking every achievement. The mystery is decent: I was able to predict the reveal part-way through, but piecing all the parts together was fun. The best part was the atmosphere and graphics. Bloober Team (the same Polish team that made Layers of Fear) did a really, really amazing job establishing the cyberpunk feel, and the "mind invasion" parts where you use your observer power are trippy and brilliant and cool.

Anyway, a good game if you're looking to play something scary once Halloween rolls around.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on September 11, 2017, 06:16:52 PM
Steamworld Dig.  This game was free on Origin, and probably still will be for a while.  It took me seven hours to finish, and I didn't feel like I was very efficient.  You're a robot who can dig with a pick-axe; you can bring back the ore you find and sell it to buy upgrades; these give you numerical power (more health, more damage, faster digging, etc.).  There are various monsters and traps around which can hurt you.  You occasionally find puzzle rooms, some of which give you new kit abilities like a drill.  Eventually there's a boss fight at the end.  For a short indy game, I thought it did just about everything right.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on September 18, 2017, 02:39:31 PM
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

This is a "sequel"/DLC for Uncharted IV. Strictly speaking, you don't have to have played Uncharted IV to play U:LL; there are quick tutorial explanations for all the keypresses you'll need. As a practical matter, I think the game would be quite difficult without familiarity with the typical "tricks" needed to get through other Uncharted games; for example, there's no direct explanation of how to jump across a chasm and hook onto a porous surface with your piton.

The same applies to the game's story; there are enough references to previous Uncharted games that a new player might be confused by some of the cutscene discussion. However, the story is not a direct sequel and can be played independently. The plot: You play Chloe Frazier, from Uncharted II and III, and team up with Nadine Ross from Uncharted IV. Together you pursue the Tusk of Ganesh, trying to stay ahead of Asav, the villain du jour, mowing down his mercenaries.

U:LL offers a couple of new mechanics for Uncharted games: Chloe is able to pick locks (not much of challenge); there's an "open area" near the middle of the game where you can go where you want and encounter challenges in the order you choose. The open area includes a set of optional encounters/puzzles that, if completed, give you a fun-but-not-critical reward.

Otherwise the game offers the usual Uncharted game-play: platforming, puzzles, combat, and cutscenes. As in Uncharted III and IV, you can get through many combat encounters through stealth instead of blasting away with your guns. To its credit, the game has no "impossible" jumps nor any "memorize this trajectory" challenges which marred some of the previous Uncharted games for me.

The graphics are at least the equal of Uncharted IV, if not superior. Naughty Dog clearly gave this game their best effort in art design and detail. I played this game on the PS4, and I was pleased with what I saw on the screen.

At its current price of $40 you may find it a tad expensive for a game that took me 10 hours to play (on the Casual setting), but the price is certain to come down in the next few months.

My final verdict: If you're a fan of Uncharted and would like a bit more of the same, I recommend this game.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Honorata on September 19, 2017, 08:50:59 PM
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator
This came out a few months ago. It's a dating sim/visual novel style game (although it does have some mini-games in it.) You play as a single dad who is moving with his high school aged daughter to a new neighborhood in their town, which is, strangely, filled with eligible Also Single Dads You Might Want To Date. Gameplay is about evenly mixed between doing dad stuff with your daughter and going on dates with eligible dudes.

There were some bugs I ran into when I played (the game would sometimes forget choices you'd made -- assuming you'd gone out to the bar and met Robert when you'd slept in instead was the most frequent, but sometimes it would forget if your deceased spouse was male or female -- the bug seemed to happen [in different places] regardless of the original choice.)

Overall a pretty cute game (although both the Robert and Joseph paths can be... rough.) It's can be a bit saucy but it's not particularly explicit compared to similar games. (You get to see a couple potential datefriends in their underwear, and a few of the paths end in fade-to-black sex scenes.)

If you pick it up, I highly recommend both Craig's and Hugo's paths in particular. I thought it was pretty short (~8 hours to get 100% completion) for the price of $15, though, so I'd probably recommend waiting until it's on sale unless you're, like, really into one of those dads.



HIVESWAP: ACT 1
From 2009-2016, there was a webcomic called Homestuck (http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6). It's... complicated to describe, but roughly it's about four internet friends who play a game together that causes the end of the world. And then they accidentally glitch out their game so bad, it messes up another group's game, and they and the aliens playing that game have to band together to finally win the game. It's also a creation myth that's been referred to as the internet's Ulysses, but it's mostly dick jokes.

Hiveswap: Act 1 is the first part of a point-and-click adventure game based in the Homestuck universe. It's set in 1994, and is mainly centered on a 14 year old girl, Joey Claire (Extraordinaire), and her little brother Jude Harley (Bizarrely). (If you read Homestuck, they're the children of Jade's Grandpa.) Their home is suddenly attacked by monsters, and in the process of trying to get to safety, Joey accidentally activates a portal that transports her to an alien world where adults aren't allowed on-planet (Alternia), and transplants one of the kid aliens (Dammek) to Earth in her place. She befriends a local (Xefros) and they get involved in Some Shit that may involve rebelling against the Heiress of his planet. You get to ride a sweet deercat animal.

Act 1 was fairly short, and the difficulty was pretty low. I spent about 2.5 hours playing through casually, although I only got about 50% of the achievements and didn't explore everything yet. (People are reporting about 6-8 hours to 100% complete it.) However, it's part 1 of a 4 act game (And there will reportedly be a second game, Hauntswitch, which deals with Jude and Dammek on Earth.), so I'm not sure if difficulty/time investment will go up with future installments. Act 1 currently runs for $8, but cost might go down as part of a package as more acts are released.

It's got an E10 rating (very unlike the comic, which is, uh... pretty adult despite being about a bunch of kids/teens, at least as far as swears and violence goes.). And it seemed pretty accessible to non-Homestucks, although the fun of poking around the homes might be less interesting if you're not a comic reader. I didn't feel the jokes were too in-jokey; it was pretty funny on its own.  Should it matter, Joey seems heavily implied to be bisexual, and based on the comic and some commentary in game, it's a fair assumption that Xefros is also. (Alternian gender/sexuality/romance is way too complicated to get into here, but due to their weird biology, what humans would call bisexuality is pretty much the norm for their species.)

Also, the music is by some members of the original Homestuck music team: James Roach and Toby Fox (yeah, the Undertale guy), so it's got that going for it. (The soundtrack (https://homestuck.bandcamp.com/album/hiveswap-act-1-ost) is Good. Also, the two aliens are in an alien garage band (https://homestuck.bandcamp.com/album/the-grubbles), so that's rad.)

I'd probably recommend waiting on more acts before buying it if you're not already on the Homestuck train though.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Gwyddyon on October 05, 2017, 07:11:24 AM
Divinity: Original Sin (Enhanced Edition) 8.5/10

This is a 3rd-person party-based epic-length CRPG with turn-based combat in the tradition of Baldur's Gate. It was on the whole very good, although often it tries to be all things at once, and never quite gets there. It has a very uneven difficulty which mostly settles down by the end.

Combat is turn-based, but not grid-based. Magic tends to leave ground effects, which then interact with other magic to form more and different ground effects. Example: There is a puddle on the ground. Fireball sets the ground on fire and evaporates the puddle into steam. Hitting the steam (or a target in the steam) with electric damage electrifies the cloud, stunning its occupants (including you). If instead you hit the puddle with ice damage, it would freeze and trigger knockdown effects when walking through it. This allows a great deal of tactical flexibility (and since you are usually outnumbered, area denial and CC are key). The experience is unique and IMO the best part about the game.

The writing is...so-so. Tries to be humorous, sometimes reaches clever, rarely laugh-out-loud funny. At the same time it tries to be epic and end-of-the-world serious. These goals often conflict. Voice acting is enthusiastic but not always great.

Gear is mostly random-affix Diablo-alike with a few 'uniques'. There is a completely superfluous crafting system. There are a *lot* of instant-kill traps, usually only circumvented by reloading and knowing where not to step. The soundtrack is IMO magnificent and I'm grumpy that I can't get it outside of a $70 collector's edition package.

This game took ~90 hours to complete, levels 1-20ish. There is now a sequel; I will probably get it when it is on sale.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on October 09, 2017, 12:35:09 PM
One-Way Heroics.  This is a roguelike whose twist is that you must be moving constantly (for the most part) to the right, as the world is being consumed from the left by darkness.  There are a few between-games upgrade elements: you can spend points to unlock perks and classes, and there is a "dimensional vault" (expandable with points) where you can store valuable items for future games.  Equippable items have durability, making it difficult to preserve a really powerful item forever.  Perk and class upgrades are more about gameplay breadth than power.

I beat the game on easy mode a few times with several different classes, and decided I was done.  Looking over the fan wiki, the game has a fair amount of depth to it beyond what I delved into, but not a tremendous amount.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on October 11, 2017, 08:56:34 PM
Universal Paperclips (http://www.decisionproblem.com/paperclips/).  This is a mildly amusing entry in the clicker game genre which takes about a day to complete.  (There's an ascension option near the end, which I declined.)  It takes a little bit more thought than a basic clicker game, but not a lot.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on November 18, 2017, 03:28:17 PM
No Time To Explain, I think.  This is a platformer action game with some interesting takes on controls.  For much of the game, you have a plasma beam with infinite ammo and a substantial amount of reaction force, which is both a weapon and a movement tool.  The narrative elements are very funny (you can see a bit of that in the Steam trailer), the sound design is good, and the art style is good in a comic way.  The difficulty eventually became a dealbreaker, though; I got through what I'd call the first act (where you get a new level select screen) with some trouble, and then the new control mechanic and levels just seemed unbeatable for me, regardless of whether I used a controller or a mouse and keyboard.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on November 19, 2017, 01:45:18 PM
Horizon: The Frozen Wilds

This is DLC for Horizon: Zero Dawn, a PS4-only game, which I reviewed here (https://www.deadlycupcakes.org/forums/index.php?topic=873.msg59334#msg59334). When you install H:FW, a new large area is added to the Zero Dawn game map. H:FW assumes that you've already played the base game to completion (or close to it), since you face a level 30 mob just to reach the area and the mob and quest levels go up from there; for comparison, I finished the base game at level 48 and was level 58 by the time I completed the Frozen Wilds.

If you play Zero Dawn to completion (and after you go through the post-credits scene), a dialog box informs you that if you play again you'll be taken to the point just before the end-game big battle, but with all the skills and gear you gained during that fight. That's when Aloy (Horizon's protagonist) was when I started the DLC. There's no new quest marker; you have to look at the map, see the big new area, and head to it out of curiosity.

Once there, you find yourself among the Banuk, a tribe introduced in Zero Dawn with an affinity for communicating with the machine dinosaurs. Something has changed, and the machines in the far north have been possessed by a daemonic force. As you progress through the main quest (there are many side quests and collectibles, though not as many as the base game) you learn why this happened and what Aloy can do to stop it.

Guerilla Games put all their skill into this DLC. The character models are better, I saw no errors during the dialog sequences, and the graphics in the Frozen Lands are as lush and varied as the base game. The challenges are greater, but you're given access to better gear to handle them. Two new skill paths are added to dump your skill points into; they're non-critical (better handling of mounts, better resources gathered) but they make grinding for craft supplies a bit easier. The story is shorter than the base game, of course; I think it me about 20 hours to get through everything, including all the side quests.

The overall gameplay of Frozen Wilds is the same as Zero Dawn: scan the monsters, plan your attack, grind for mats and craft supplies for your encounters. If you didn't like that style of game before, there's no change now.

If you liked Horizon: Zero Dawn, you should definitely consider Horizon: The Frozen Wilds. I enjoyed it, and I hope Guerilla is thinking about further adventures for Aloy.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on November 21, 2017, 08:02:49 PM
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Game

The last time (https://www.deadlycupcakes.org/forums/index.php?topic=873.msg58662#msg58662) I reviewed a Telltale game, I noted that it's debatable whether it was a game at all. Since then, I read a comic by Aaron Williams (my web-fu isn't strong enough to locate it) that suggested that Telltale games are nothing more than "Choose your own adventure" books with a graphics interface. I don't disagree, but I plan to continue reviewing them (Batman: The Enemy Within waits in the wings) because: (a) I wanna; (b) there is an interactive element (in form of QTEs) that you don't get in a paperback. (I must also acknowledge (c): Strictly speaking, I haven't finished playing this one yet, since I plan to start from the beginning, make only bad choices, and see what happens.)

The story of GotG:TG diverges from both the comics and the first movie almost immediately: Within the first ten minutes you fight and defeat Thanos. As you might guess if you know anything about the Guardians, things don't go smoothly after that: Rocket is getting fidgety, Gamora wants to go after Nebula, and you (as Peter Quill) have to choose between them. A new MacGuffin emerges: The Eternity Forge, which has the ability to bring the dead back to life. Some of the Guardians want you to use it, others want you to destroy it, and you wonder whether you can use it to bring back Meredith, your mother.

Although this isn't an "origin story" as such, you get a chance to see the formative days of all the Guardians (except Groot), via flashbacks. The overall story is rather mundane (as "saving the galaxy from certain doom" stories go), but the chance to see what motivates these characters elevates the experience from "ho-hum" to "it's worthwhile to play this."

The overall look of the game is inspired by the movie, though the characters don't physically resemble the actors. The voices are clearly different, taking mostly the vocal cadence of their movie counterparts while making only a small effort to sound like the film actors. The layout of the Milano is straight from the movie. This makes sense, since while enough people are familiar with Batman that it's safe to present an entirely new story, most folks would only be familiar with the Guardians from the Marvel movie.

With that said, there are two big elements from the movie that dominate the story; one works and the other has problems. The one that works is Peter's relationship with his mother. You get to choose how young Peter reacts as he comes to understand that his mother is growing sick. Even though you know the outcome, it's still affecting. You can't get much more personal than the relationship of a child and a mother. (There's no mention of Peter's father. It looks like the Telltale designers did not have access to the script for GotG 2.)

The one that doesn't work for me is the music. It's clear that Telltale couldn't afford the rights to more than three or four well-known songs from the 80s. I grew tired of hearing "Living Thing", since it's the background music to the initial game menus. As the game goes on, there are action sequences where the game's designers must have written "put popular song in the background here" but the game's producers couldn't supply one. It's irritating to see Peter put on his headphones, only to have generic music come out. It doesn't help that some chapters have titles taken from well-known songs that you know Telltale could not possibly afford. It creates unfulfilled expectations.

Overall, I give this a thumbs up. It's not as good as Telltale's Batman games, but I laughed more often at the Guardians' antics than I did at Bruce Wayne's.

Mild spoiler: At some point in the game, you will be able to control what Groot says. I leave it you to speculate on what choices you'll have in his dialog tree.

Edit: I have to back down on my claims about the music. It turns out that what I thought was generic background turned out to be songs that I didn't recognize. There's a Spotify playlist (https://open.spotify.com/user/12158406110/playlist/4p4mtnN9Mku8cHawAeApME) of all the game's pop music.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Kudger on November 26, 2017, 03:16:38 AM
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

This is an FPS by Bethesda and the latest in the Wolfenstein saga. Taking place in the immediate aftermath of Wolfenstein: The New Order, the player takes the role of B.J. Blazkowicz in his never-ending quest to kill nazis in an alternate reality where the nazis won WW2 and taken over the world. Here, the fight takes you to America where you are trying to spark a 2nd American revolution to kick the nazis out.

Overall, I regret to say I found this a pretty mediocre game, which is a shame because the previous game is was of my favorite FPS titles. Levels are short and the design is uninspired. The difficulty is quite unforgiving, especially compared to its predecessor. The main character is meant to be dying from past wounds and your health drains so quickly that it feels like it. I had to play on an easier difficulty than I did in the previous game because I'd frequently die before even knowing where the enemy was who was shooting at me.

This is also a VERY political game. Keying off of the current political discord in the states, the game makers revise naziism from being about aryan supremacy to being about white supremacy so they can throw in the KKK palling around with nazis and had several characters who felt more like they were from 2017 than 1961. I don't want to get into politics so all I'll say is the political commentary was very bluntly delivered.

Anyways, if you're a fan of the series, it's worth picking up. Otherwise, there are better FPS' out there. It went on sale awful fast, too. It came out at the end of October as a full priced AAA title and I picked it up on Black Friday, less than a month later, for 25 bucks.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on November 28, 2017, 09:22:01 AM
Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms.  This is a free-to-play clicker/idle game on Steam, currently in early access, using a Dungeons and Dragons setting and characters (but not the D&D ruleset).  In addition to choosing upgrade order as in most clicker games, you also manage your party's formation.  Party members also have equipment, but you don't really make decisions about it; you just buy chests (using in-game currency or real money) and gear upgrades are automatically slotted in.  The gear you randomly get might affect your character selection and formation choices.  The game encourages frequent ascensions/resets, and also features multiple campaigns (using different ascension currencies with a small amount of bonus sharing) as well as special event campaigns.

In general I like the idea of a well-produced clicker game, but this one misses the mark for a few reasons:

* It uses an exponential/combinatoric numeric design (like Universal Paperclips) instead of a more measured design (like Kittens Game or A Dark Room).  As a result, while you might be watching ten characters attacking monsters, only one or two of them will be doing any meaningful damage.

* The formation management game is most easily solved through trial and error, and stops being interesting after a bit.  The solution is always to pick one or two heroes whose base damage scales the best, and pick all of your remaining characters according to who will give the best buffs.

* There are specialization choices aimed at tanking/healing enemies instead of just powering them down, but they are traps; optimizing for damage is always the right answer.

* The sound design isn't pleasant; it has one song which loops pretty fast, and the combat noises get grating pretty quickly.  The art is okay but nothing to write home about.  An idle game should be enjoyable to watch (if it has a graphical element at all), and this one isn't really.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Edalia on November 29, 2017, 07:10:17 AM
I mostly agree with your points, Marco. Initially I thought formations would give this game more meat than other incrementals, but it was pretty simple to figure out the optimal one and I rarely had to change. You could swap for lower overall DPS to more spread out damage for trash and then swap back for bosses, but that would save you maybe 2% of your time.

I won't belabor this point, but the game also highly incentivizes players to pull out their wallets, which left a bad taste in my mouth. Challenges quickly hit a wall where your DPS could defeat all trash but not really touch the boss-this was the point where you could "ascend, wait, or pay only a few bucks, your 'choice'".
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on December 11, 2017, 05:38:13 PM
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

I've written video-game reviews from time to time, but this is the first one for which I'm giving a trigger warning: discussion of severe mental health issues.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice< is an unusual video game in that the lead character is psychotic. I'm not using the term in its popular (and incorrect) sense of meaning "psychopath." Senua is clinically psychotic: she hears voices in her head, experiences illusions, is compelled to match patterns visually, and occupies what is (probably) a world of her own. I say "probably" because the game does not bother to distinguish between the "real" and the "fantasy" of Senua's world.

Within the game, Senua is a Pictish warrior woman. She's experienced horrific tragedy and abuse. She's on a quest in the wilderness to come to terms with what she's witnessed. On the way, she fights demons, solves puzzles, and reviews her past. More than I won't say, because the peeling away of Senua's world view and her past is part of the game.

The game is not exploitative, either of Senua as a female character, nor of mental illness. The creators of Senua, Ninja Theory, consulted with mental health professionals and interviewed people with psychosis. According to the extra video that comes with the game, in viewing the almost-finished game both the professionals and the patients confirmed that the game matched their experiences.

The game is relatively short, as modern high-quality video games go. It took me about 12 hours to complete it; experienced video game reviewers reported finishing it in six to ten hours. The graphics are excellent, especially the remarkable motion capture of Senua (played by Melina Juergens). I was moved by Senua's facial expressions as she pleads directly into the "camera", her eyes piercing yours.

Senua is the only human figure rendered in the game. The remaining human characters are inserted as video overlays. It's an unusual effect that reinforces the idea that they're all people she's seeing in her memory.

Before you rush out an get Senua (it's available for PS4 and Windows), be aware that this is a video game, not just a travelogue through a troubled mind. The gameplay reflects Senua's mental state: No help is given in how to play the game; if you want to know what the controller buttons do, you have to check the options screen. There are no maps or display overlays. There are no direct instructions for combat; however, the voices in Senua's head will often give you strategy tips.

The game can be punishing, especially for a clumsy video gamer such as myself. You are bluntly told near the beginning of the game that there are only so many times Senua can die in combat or fail at certain platforming puzzles. After that point, the darkness consumes her, which means the game save data is deleted and you must play the game from the beginning again. You aren't told how many times you can fail; I failed about 20 times and managed to get to the end.

I've written a long video game review for a game that's among the shortest I've played because I think Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is worth it. The goal of the designers was to expose and destigmatize psychosis. I think they succeeded.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on March 22, 2018, 06:03:26 PM
Obduction

TL;DR: Too difficult for me.

Back in 1993, Cyan published the game Myst. It was one of the first games published on CD-ROM. I remember playing it on my PowerMac 7500. Myst is a puzzle game: You moved through different, beautifully-designed environments, looking for clues, interacting with objects, accomplishing various goals, and at the end of the game you had control over the game’s outcome.

Myst turned out to be the first in a series of puzzle games from Cyan, all set in the same fantasy universe. I enjoyed most of them, not only because they were beautiful, but the puzzles were within my ability to solve: Myst III: Exile, Myst IV: Revelation, and Myst V: End of Ages.

You may have noticed a missing Roman numeral from that list. The second game in the series, Riven, had puzzles that were just too difficult for me to figure out. In the end, I could only complete the game with the aid of a hint guide.

When I heard that Cyan had published a new puzzle game, Obduction, I hoped it was in the same vein as Myst. It’s set in a different fantasy universe from the Myst games. At the start of the game, you’re abducted (or should that be “obducted”?) into a different world. A friendly message greets you, asking you to join people in a nearby village. But when you get there, you find the village is abandoned and boarded up. Your task is to figure out what happened and how to fix it.

I had problems with Obduction:

•   I purchased the game on Steam for my iMac. There are some serious technical problems with this version. The load time between game zones is long. There were audio sync problems; when the main character is speaking (played by Robyn Miller, who also appeared in the Myst games), the words came several seconds before the corresponding lip movements.

    The most severe issue was that, no matter how I set the screen resolution, many of the images in the clues were fuzzy, in many cases too blurry to read. I got stuck because there was a vital bit of information on a piece of paper that I could not read and therefore thought was not important.

•   Obduction‘s difficulty is closer to that of Riven than it is to the rest of the Myst series. I finally “gave up” and started consulting an on-line hint guide. That at least told me what the fuzzy piece of paper (and other blurry images) was supposed to say, but the guide revealed more to me: There was no possible way I would have figured out the solution to the key puzzles of the game.

     Part of that could be attributed to my own lack of insight. But I’ll also blame the way Obduction info-dumps its back story, with masses of exposition; the other Myst games were cleverer in the way they delivered the same level of information. Rather than read the long discourses in detail, I tended to skim them, which meant I missed some key clues that would have been needed to solve the puzzles.

•   The puzzle designers for Obduction confused “challenging” with “time-consuming”. Too many of the puzzles involved repeated traveling from one location to another and back again. Even after I threw up my hands and started following the hint guide exclusively, it took far too long to arrange all the puzzle pieces in all the worlds to get some puzzles in their “solved” state.

     The world of Obduction is beautiful, as were the Myst worlds. But that beauty turns to boredom when you have to tread the same paths over and over again.

•    Like the Myst games, Obduction is an environment game. Many puzzles can only be solved if you look in the correct direction or interact with the correct object. I found that it was very easy to overlook a hidden tunnel or a window in a shaded wall, even with the hint guide.

     Obduction can be played with VR goggles. It may be that some of these environment features, challenging for me on a flat screen, would have been obvious in 3D. But I have to review the game based on what I saw (or couldn’t see).

•   Without the hint guide, or a very detailed reading of all the exposition materials, it’s easy to miss the “good” ending of the game. If you follow all the basic requests the game makes of you, you get a nihilistic outcome. If I hadn’t had the hint guide, I would probably have never known that alternate ending was possible and have regarded all of Obduction as a exercise in futility.


Before you conclude that Obduction is not worthwhile, I’ll give the game some window of grace: The various on-line review sites I browsed suggested that it was a 10-12 hour game. It took me 14 hours to complete the game, and that was with a hint guide getting me through 80% of it. It may be that I’m just slow, and Obduction is the challenging puzzle game that it wants to be.

As for me, I won’t be purchasing another game from Cyan. I know when a game aims at too high a challenge for me, and that appears to be Cyan’s target.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on March 22, 2018, 08:12:53 PM
Superhot.  This is an indy shooter with the interesting twist that time only moves when you move (well, mostly; it moves very slowly when you're still).  It's pretty short and the graphics are very stylized.  There's a short cyberpunk plot wrapped around it which is conveyed mostly in ASCII art.  I enjoyed the game for what it was, which was slightly more than a tech demo for the concept.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on April 06, 2018, 06:59:55 AM
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun.  This is an isometric squad-based stealth game, a combination I haven't seen before.  You command a group of up to five characters, each with different skills, to carry out assassination missions on behalf of the shogun, who is threatened by a sinister plot.

In general I enjoyed this game, although I was ready to be done with it a few missions before the end.  It gives you a lot of information about enemy unit sight-lines, lets you rotate the camera for better views, lets you set up combination attacks with multiple characters, and in general presents interesting and challenging puzzles as you try to figure out how to dismantle configurations of guards on your way to the target.  There are three difficulty levels (I played on normal, the middle one), as well as badges for finishing missions with particular constraints like not using a particular character or not killing anyone except mission targets.  The game encourages incremental saving by warning you if you haven't saved recently and letting you load the last three quicksaves.  The game offers non-lethal takedowns, but not all skills have non-lethal variants and knocked out enemies will recover after a bit, so in-game ethics come with a steep increase in difficulty.  Controls are fairly precise, although the characters will sometimes slow down when navigating corners or each other, which can screw up your timing.  Initial level load times are unusually long for a game; installing on an SSD helps.

The game's visuals and sound design are generally good.  The story is engaging, but won't win any literary awards.  It was kind of nice to see a story set in the Edo period, rather than the more frequently used Meiji period.  Two of the five squad members are female; the other named characters are all male, as are 90% of the random NPCs.  The characters hew pretty closely to Japanese tropes, although with less exaggeration than usual (e.g. the ninja character is referred to as a shinobi and is a hired assassin, not a superhuman mystical warrior).  There are Japanese and English voice tracks; after experimenting with both, I played through with English voices and didn't find any of them grating.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on April 08, 2018, 01:28:10 PM
Steamworld Dig 2 (notes on the first game here (https://www.deadlycupcakes.org/forums/index.php?topic=873.msg60471;topicseen#msg60471)).  I think this is a good sequel to a good game.  It brings slightly different gameplay than the first game, had a robust and engaging upgrade system, has a nice mix of gameplay and narrative rewards, and makes you feel suitably overpowered right near the end.  Some of the music loops are too short, although the music is good aside from that.  The final boss fight is out of character with the rest of the gameplay, but with all of the upgrades I had by that point I was nevertheless able to do it in one shot.  Twitch doesn't seem to tell me how long I've spent playing a game, but I'd estimate it was in the 10-20 hour range.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on April 09, 2018, 05:38:14 PM
Batman: The Enemy Within

I enjoyed the first game in this series, Batman: The Telltale Series. It had a different take on the standard tale of Bruce Wayne as he transitions into his role of the Batman. It also set the stakes for a different origin of the classic Batman villains, especially the Joker.

Batman: The Enemy Within continues the story and greatly raises the stakes. It also puts a very different spin on the descent of the Joker; for example, in this version Harley Quinn is already criminally insane, and it’s the Joker who follows her.

Telltale games are known for their adaptive stories, which evolve depending on the decisions you make in the game. Batman: The Enemy Within take this to a higher level. Like all Telltale games I’ve seen, it’s played over the course of five episodes, but these episodes are longer (two hours or more) than most of their other games. The choices you’re presented with are more difficult; for example, do you try to make friends with the Joker in the hope of turning him away from Harley Quinn, or do you give up on him and allow him to descend into villainy? In this game, sometimes there are no “good” choices.

It’s my custom to play a Telltale game twice to get a sense of the different paths you can take within the story. The first time I play to be as “good” as I can be, the second time I make the worst possible choices to see how the story would turn out. Typically I see the same story “beats” no matter which path I take, though the characters react differently and there are some sequences that depend on earlier choices.

In the case of Batman: The Enemy Within, I was impressed by the difference in the story depending on your choices. In fact, when it came to the fifth episode, I played an entirely different game as a result of the difference between the “good” and “bad” paths; only a single scene was the same.

Another first, at least in my experience with Telltale games: The consequences of your decisions in Batman: The Telltale Series can, if you wish, carry over into Batman: The Enemy Within. Of course, I carried over my “good” Batman from the first game into “good” Batman of the second, and did the same as “bad” Batman. I really put Jim Gordon through the ringer in the latter; it’s a wonder he didn’t put a bullet in my head.

If you played Batman: The Telltale Series, Batman: The Enemy Within is a must-play. If you never played a Telltale game before because you thought the story might not be strong enough, this game might convince you otherwise.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: ghoselle on April 09, 2018, 07:35:19 PM
Age of Fear 1,2, and 3

So, sometime in 2015 Age of Fear was released.  It had 2 campaigns.  They released Age of Fear 2 that same year, with 2 more campaigns.  Age of Fear 3 was release 2 years later, with 2 more campaigns.  All of them use the exact same game engine, and the developer keeps actively updating it.  They also support home made campaigns (of which there is 1 good one on steam).  And I just noticed they added some DLC. 

The game itself is a top down, turn based, strategic combat game - you have 1-3 heroes and a bunch of units.  It has a variety of difficulties.  I played through on normal and once on hard.  I didn't notice hard being especially hard (he notes hard is the default difficulty for the russian version), but I did have some fights I had to restart.  It has a generous save system that is disabled on the hardest difficulty.

The graphics are dated.  The voice work is stilted.  But its a fun game.  It reminds me a bit of the old warlords games, which I loved.

It has a multiplayer mode that I've not played with.

Its probably not worth the full steam price - but if it comes on deep sale again, I'd recommend it.

Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on April 18, 2018, 09:17:52 AM
Far Cry 3 (not Blood Dragon yet), because I remembered that it was in my Steam library when Far Cry 5 came out.  I spent 36 hours on it.

Compared to Far Cry 2, this game introduces more non-immersive UI elements (fast travel, detection indicators, the ability to mark enemies with a camera and keep track of them, etc.) and some light open-world gameplay reminiscent of Just Cause 2.  Outside of the main storyline, you can climb radio towers to unlock map segments, murder all of the enemies in an outpost to unlock a fast travel point, or hunt down collectables.  The game rewards stealth, but you can also do reasonably well with sniping or a commando approach.  The in-game economy is moderately interesting, though you do eventually run out of things to spend money on.

I found the storyline to be relentlessly misogynistic, and didn't find the main character sympathetic at all.  It did have its entertaining moments.  Visuals and sound design are pretty good for a game of its day.

Random side note: this is the only FPS game I've played which allows you to slide down steep hills without taking falling damage.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on April 18, 2018, 02:06:24 PM
Life is Strange

I like Telltale-style games: Video-game stories that evolve as you make decisions throughout the game. Most of the games I’ve played in this genre are based on major commercial properties: Batman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Back to the Future.

Life is Strange, published by Square Enix, is based on an original concept. You play Max Caulfield, a teenage high-school student in a Northwestern town. Within the first ten minutes of playing the game, you (and she) discover that you have the ability to rewind time.

This a significant ability in a story-telling game. Normally, once you make a decision you’re stuck with it for the rest of the game. In Life is Strange, if you don’t like the result of a choice you can rewind and play it again. This lets you look through all the dialog options with the other characters and make informed decisions for how you’d like a scene to play out. You can also use the rewind ability to solve puzzles, since items you pick up go back in time with you, and you return to the spot where you started the rewind.

Life is Strange‘s story falls into the “magical realism” category: Apart from the rewind ability, Max’s life is grounded in the real world reality of living as a typical mis-understood teenager. Max deals with career choices, making friends, fellow students who are dealing with depression, suicide, and drug use.

This leads to my one source of dissatisfaction with the game: it spends a lot of time dealing with teenage-style angst issues. It seems like a waste of time when there’s a potential murder to solve and hints that a disaster is coming that could wipe out the town.

The game has other rough spots: There were a couple of locations where I spent a lot of time wandering around looking for items that were hard to see on the screen, often for tasks whose only purpose was to resolve an unimportant plot point that the game wouldn’t let me skip.

Overall, I liked the game. It was a change of pace from the over-the-top fantasy action games I usually play. It shows there’s a place in the videogame world for human stories.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on April 21, 2018, 05:19:56 PM
Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon.  This short game simplifies the Far Cry 3 systems somewhat: there's no crafting or inventory, you don't choose your upgrades when you level up, and there's only one weapon in each class and one kind of syringe (healing).  As Vylin noted back in 2013, the visual filter does make the game less attractive; the music and sound design is good, though.  The storyline is deliberately hokey and frequently amusing.  I was completionist about this game (hunting down all of the collectables and buying all of the weapon upgrades) and it took me eleven hours.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on May 03, 2018, 07:55:56 AM
Binding of Isaac (5 hours).  An interesting game, but punishing rogue-lites aren't really my cup of tea.  Also, I don't have Rebirth, so there's no native controller support, and I'm not sure what I think of playing a twin-stick shooter on a keyboard.  I played until I was good enough to have half-hour games instead of five-minute games, but never got all that close to a win.

Dishonored, non-violent (29 hours).  This is a pretty good amalgam of Bioshock and Deus Ex/Metal Gear Solid/Thief.  Several other people here have reviewed this; I agree that the setting and atmosphere are good, but the story is predictable (and I would add, kind of misogynistic in a fashion typical of many games).  The controls were pretty good on PC.  I plan to do a violent playthrough; Gwyddyon had interesting commentary (https://www.deadlycupcakes.org/forums/index.php?topic=873.msg38162#msg38162) on doing so, and I don't expect to have much to add to that.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Snique on May 16, 2018, 02:15:03 PM
XCom 2: War of the Chosen

This is the highly anticipated expansion for the XCom 2 game. It adds three NPC factions from which you can recruit, adds three unique and very powerful enemies (the Chosen of the title) and gives a bit more to do in the form of covert actions. The core gameplay is untouched, which is both a good and a bad thing. When Long War came out it completely overhauled the previous XCom and I (like others) was hoping this would be a similar upgrade. It's not bad in any way, but it's not the added level of depth and complexity I was hoping for.

If you like XCom it's worth getting this expansion and playing through again. I haven't tried the new challenge mode nor multiplayer, just did a single playthrough on medium difficulty to get a feel for it. There's a lot here, but unless you're as much of a fanatic as I am it's probably not worth the full $40 price. Picking it up on sale is a better bargain.

Normally I'd sink a ton more hours into it, but I have so many other things in my library that I haven't even started... well.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Marco on May 19, 2018, 07:03:53 PM
Shadow of Mordor (42 hours including the two story-mode DLCs; Winston's notes here (https://www.deadlycupcakes.org/forums/index.php?topic=873.msg57438#msg57438)).  This is a brawler with a large combat kit; the opening tutorial shows you about a dozen combat moves (too many in my opinion), and that number roughly doubles as you get upgrades.  The variety becomes important when you face captains and warchiefs, who are generally immune to about half of your arsenal.

This was a pretty good game, but I have some disagreements with it: the orcs sound like soccer hooligans, which is initially kind of distracting; enemy captains introduce themselves with a ten-second cut scene which interrupts the flow of a fight; women in Mordor only exist in cut scenes or in one case as carrayble objects (I guess that's consistent with the source material); the final boss fight is kind of a muddle, both in narrative and gameplay; with full upgrades you're kind of strolling through the last bit of narrative without much challenge.

The DLCs were okay but missable.  The first one is pretty easy; the second one (centering around the elf lord whose wraith empowers you in the main game) amps up the mind control elements of the combat kit but takes away bullet time and much of your health pool.  It's relatively hard compared to the main game and first DLC.
Title: Re: Finished playing...
Post by: Winston on June 08, 2018, 01:53:49 PM
God of War

When you step into the middle of a franchise, whether it’s written, on screen, or in a video game, you run the risk of not understanding references to past events. Within a couple of minutes of playing God of War, I watched the main character, Kratos, fiddle with his arm wrappings. There was a strong sense of reminiscence, but without having played the earlier games I couldn’t tell what he was remembering.

By the end of the game… I still didn’t know. I had to do some web research before I finally understood: In the first God of War game, Kratos used Blades of Chaos as his weapon. The chains from these blades had seared themselves into his flesh, leaving scars on his forearms.

Fortunately, that was the only unknown element I encountered when playing the current God of War on PS4. Other events in Kratos’ past I either knew from various past descriptions I’d seen on the web, or are explained within the game: Kratos, the “Ghost of Sparta”, is a son of Zeus. In a series of adventures he slew most of the Greek Gods, including his own father.

God of War begins in the lands of Norse mythology. Kratos is chopping down a tree to make a funeral pyre for his wife, Faye. Once the ceremony is done, he and his son, Atreus, go on a journey to fulfills Faye’s last request: to scatter her ashes from the peak of the tallest mountain in the Realm. God of War takes you on two journeys: the physical road to the mountain, and the emotional path of the father-son relationship.

By the end of the game, I felt satisfied with the story. It had the usual tropes of video games: side characters whose purpose was to give you additional quests; mysterious enemies whose motives you don’t know; emotional beats that are wrapped up a little too neatly; several links to the inevitable sequels. I felt it all made sense in the end.

God of War is an open-world game in the vein of Tomb Raider: Regions become available as you go through the main story, with side quests opening up with each new region. You gain new skills and gear as you progress. Some of the side quests require so much additional gear that you’re not likely to be able to complete them until after you’ve finished the main story.

That leads to my main criticism of the game. The God of War series has a reputation for being punishing, requiring fast reflexes and a good memory for button combinations. I knew my sluggish brain and fingers couldn’t handle that, so I picked the easiest difficulty, dubbed “Tell Me A Story.” I determined that the game had an “old folks” mode before I bought it.

But even in the easy mode, I found the game to quite difficult in spots, including a discouraging boss battle near the beginning of the game. Later in the game, I found encounters that were massively hard; I once innocently stuck my hand in a black blob and was promptly one-shotted by the critter that emerged. Again, I had to resort to web research to learn that Void Tears and Valkyries are meant for characters who had geared and skilled up via completing the main story first.

If you like challenging games, God of War is definitely the game for you. I was disappointed that the game posed such a frustrating challenge for someone who picked the easiest difficulty.

God of War is a gorgeous game. It takes full advantage of the graphics capabilities of the PS4. I understand that the game looks even better in HDR, but to experience that I have to get a PS4 Pro, an HDR-compatible TV, an HDR-compatible receiver, and HDR-compatible HDMI cables. Maybe someday…

Overall verdict: A must-buy for PS4 gamers, provided you can handle game challenges without throwing the controller across the room.