Monday, November 2, 2015

Downwell


Developer: Moppin
Release Date: October 15, 2015
Genre: Action, Adventure, Indie

One Sentence Review:
It's cheap, simple, and addictive!



My first experience with this game was watching Jim Sterling play it on his YouTube channel in one of his first impressions style videos. After taking a look at it I thought: "Hey this seems pretty cool and it's cheap! Could be an easy way to kill a few hours". After playing it for a few minutes, dying, and going to sleep I found myself waking up and playing a solid 45 more minutes. It's an addictive game but in a very specific way.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Overlord and the Raising Hell Expansion


Developer: Triumph Studios
Release Date: June 26, 2007
Genre: Action, RPG, RTS

One Sentence Review:
A hidden gem of 2007 with plenty of issues and bugs but still fun despite them.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Blackbay Asylum

Blackbay Asylum Indie Game
Courtesy of Steam Store Page
Developer: TAD Productions AB
Release Date: August 1, 2014
Genre: Adventure

One Sentence Review:
A good game exists in here but it's let down by some serious story issues that start to pile up as you play.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Planetside 2

Planetside 2 Steam Banner
Planetside 2 Default NC Loading Screen by Daybreak Games

Developer: Daybreak Games (formerly Sony Online Entertainment)
Release Date: November 20, 2012
Genre: MMOFPS

One Sentence Review:
I'd like to recommend this game but I'd have to ask you a million questions about your computer to do so.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The House



Developer: Konsordo
Release Date: June 19, 2014
Genre: Adventure, Action (?), Horror (Steam Tags)

One Sentence Review:
Oh god, no, please don't make me play this, it's horrible, oh god, it sucks so bad, why is that jump scare just a stock image of a little girl poorly photo-shopped, oh god, no, why?

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim


Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Release Date: November 11, 2011
Genre: Action, Roleplaying

One Sentence Review:
Take it on its own and it's an extremely good game and probably my favorite for 2011, but compared to its predecessors it just lacks something in so many ways.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Guild Wars 2

Developer: ArenaNet
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Genre: MMORPG

One Sentence Review:
It's a good enough game but it's nothing like Guild Wars so it's name is just there to milk the people who liked the first one.

Can this really be called a sequel? Let's get what I like about this game out of the way quickly so I can start ranting shall I?

First, the developers of this game have probably earned a Nobel Prize in sociology, psychology, and possibly the Nobel Peace Prize for this game. Why? Because they found out a way to get players to work together online without seething resentment and hatred. How? How did they manage this!?!

Second, the crafting system has improved greatly since the days of Guild Wars 1. Unfortunately that's not as big an accomplishment as most because the crafting system in Guild Wars 1 (along with most MMOs) sucks. This is about as good as crafting systems get for games that aren't Runescape or Minecraft, which remain the only games where crafting makes any level of sense.

Third, how the fuck did you people manage to get players to work together without torches, nails, and candles!?! Bring forth the witchcraft trials, I'm calling it right now!

Now I can begin my rant.

To start with, the Guild Wars team has a very powerful ability to learn nothing from previous failures. You see, in Guild Wars 1 you played as a sort of 'support character', a small part of an organization much larger and more powerful than your puny self could ever be. The gameplay in Guild Wars 1, however, supported small parties and groups which would benefit a storyline with the player as the central character. In Guild Wars 2 you play as "the" killer of such and such, "the" hero of battle whatshisface, or "the" eater of pies. The gameplay, however, shows off all the other "the"s in the game which makes your role more and more unimportant. There was a disconnect between story and gameplay in Guild Wars 1 and they've continued the tradition in Guild Wars 2 apparently.

Second, the gameplay has been dumbed down to an embarrassing level in Guild Wars 2. I tried to get back into Guild Wars 1 about a year ago and I was astounded to find that players were using build combinations that I hadn't seen in 4 years of playing the game. That's right, they're "still" making up new builds and counter builds in that game! Out of some sort of masochistic curiosity though, I checked the builds section of a few Guild Wars 2 forums and found... nothing. I mean there were plenty of build questions but no new builds being developed or conceived. All the possible builds were figured out about 6 months after the game started and that's what everyone uses. Everything else is gear related, and we already have World of Warcraft for gear-grinding bullshit.

Third and I'll cut my rant short here, this game just fails in its good ideas. Jumping puzzles to spice up what is usually just pressing left-click until something dies? Great idea if the camera wasn't constantly plotting your murder and screwed up 99.9% of your jumping puzzle attempts! Renown hearts that let you pet puppies instead of kill monsters to complete them? Great idea if petting puppies was more involved than just walking up to them and hitting the "F" key over and over again (it's still grinding damn't). Roleplaying options in dialogue? Great idea, if you had Bioware write your dialogue instead of your 5 year old daughter. Fully voiced cutscenes? ...how am I supposed to roleplay if you're cutting out the chance for me to use my imagination? Not to mention the fact that it's been years and the game is still riddled with gameplay that feels unfinished, AI that feels untuned, and a number of bugs that require you to switch instances to avoid... let's stop here or I'll be writing a 12 page essay on this.

If you want to purchase Guild Wars 2 it'll run you $40 USD and let me be as blunt with you as possible. This game is not worth $40 USD. The replay value is too low, the enemies are too similar, and frankly the game just gets boring after your first character. As a person who has weathered through many F2P MMOs and the original Guild Wars 1, I give this game my Gamer Price Tag of about $25 USD.


You can purchase Guild Wars 2 from the official website here.
Or You can purchase Guild Wars 2 from Amazon here

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Second Sight


Developer: Free Radical Design
Release Date: September 2004 (Console), February 2005 (PC)
Genre: Action-Adventure, Stealth

One Sentence Review:
A nifty little idea let down by some ridiculous design choices and a lack of creativity in key areas.

This was the only game Free Radical Design ever ported to the PC and boy does it show. They became Crytek UK before they ever touched that concept again!

So before I begin with my review about this game, make sure you're playing the console version. It's available on Playstation 2, Xbox, and the GameCube so you have no excuse! The PC version is extremely poorly ported. The controls are wacky and weird and there are game breaking bugs and glitches which seem determined to force you to replay each and every mission.

Hardware issues aside, the game itself is pleasantly organic. You have multiple routes to complete your objectives and it doesn't grab you by the nose and force you to play it their way. It has a nice feel to it for 2004 era graphics and there's something euphoric about crafting bullet with face to create dead asshole. The psychic powers are all nicely varied and I'm pretty sure the world ended in 2004 because they actually managed to create an invisibility power that didn't break the game open for us all to obliterate with little to no effort (looking at you Elder Scrolls).

On the downside the story is very pitiful. The twists and turns that are supposed to shock you into immersion are all predictable, the characters are starved of traits and generally only have two or three each if they're lucky, and the number of escort missions in this game is too damn high! Escort missions are hereby listed in my book of "Cardinal Game Developer Sins" as something that just plain does not need to exist. This game has placed it there and all other developers thinking of making an escort mission can thank this game for their crucifixion.

This game is $15 to $40 USD depending on where you get it from and what console you buy it for. If this review has told you that this game needs to be a part of your existence to complete your life just make sure you buy the console version and buy it on sale. If you can pick up a used copy on EBay that still works and is cheap, that's your best bet. It's better than most of the dribble that comes out of Triple A development these days, but considering how formulaic Gears of War and Borderlands are that's not very hard to do. My personal price tag on this would be around $10 USD.

This game is no longer available on Steam due to copyright issues with the publisher.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Just Cause 2


Developer: Avalanche Studios
Release Date: March 23, 2010
Genre: Action, Adventure

One Sentence Review:
You get through the game by blowing stuff up which helps you acquire new and inventive ways to blow stuff up so you can keep blowing stuff up, and also it's fun.

With one of the largest sandboxes in the history of video games and the central concept of just having some goddamn fun, this game is a solid contender as one of the best sandbox games ever. It was appealing to not have to sit down and be told by the game my motivation for blowing things up like in certain games I could mention *cough GTA cough*.

So anyway, you play as CIA operative and gravity-defying god, Rico Rodriguez. You're sent to an imaginary island nation in Southeast Asia to cause chaos so that you can fuel some half-baked plot dealing with a bunch of different super powers, terrorists, and blah blah blah. Look, the plot is completely pointless okay? One of the supposedly Asian gang-bosses, which you work for, is voiced by some British actress. I kid you not, they got some C-list voice actress from Britain to do the lines for a supposedly Asian woman. This is a sure sign that the developers just made the plotline to give you something to do when you get a bit bored of murderous rampages.

The gameplay ties this whole adventure together. When you start the game off you get an awesome grappling hook and parachute which give you amazing maneuverability. What's even more fun is the fact that you can use the grappling hook on a car and the parachute at the same time to glide around the world. What's even more fun than that is the fact that you can attach two things together using your magic, indestructible grappling hook and watch the fun commence. If you don't see the entertainment value of attaching a civilian to an airplane and saluting as it takes off then you may want to consider therapy.

Now obviously the game isn't without its problems. In a sandbox this massive they have to cut corners somewhere and it's quite visible where they chose seeing how a lot of the cities and scenery will start to look familiar after a while. Furthermore the black market dealer, which is your main source of weapons and vehicles, has an overly long animation that he plays with every single purchase and you can't buy multiple things at once for some reason. The stronghold, or territory, missions are repetitive and annoying when compared to the variety and awesomeness of the side missions. It's a simple procedure of walk in, blow things up, blow up a helicopter, and you're done.

There's a multiplayer mode you can try out as well, but personally I found it lacking. In multiplayer it's just you, your friends, and no NPCs at all. So multiplayer gets boring unless you join a populated server or join with several friends at once. They're still updating it though, so maybe it'll get better and they'll add in NPC support of some kind. At least I hope so because there's a lot of potential here!

Overall the game is awesome and it's easily worth 20+ hours of gameplay if you do a little exploration and side missions (which you have to or else). On Steam it's listed for $15 USD and if you buy the bundle with Just Cause 1 (plus JC2 DLC) it's a mere $5 more. Buy it, play it, and unleash your inner psychopath. Don't expect to be babied by this game like you were in Call of Duty though! Health does not completely regenerate.

Just Cause Collection on Steam
Just Cause 2 - Xbox 360
Just Cause 2 PS3
Just Cause 2 [Download]

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Haunt the House: Terrortown


Developer: SFB Games
Release Date: June 6, 2014
Genre: Casual, Strategy

One Sentence Review:
You control a little muffin clown turned murderer, so it's fun and adorable but quickly repetitive.

There are a lot of good things about this game but it has zero replay value. You will likely find it interesting but you probably won't play it more than once.

The most interesting mechanic in this game is that each object has their own scare animations. Coupling this with the fact that some scares are locked away until you scare enough people creates a system where the game feels like it's naturally progressing as time moves on. Aside from that though, gameplay really isn't much to talk about. It feels like a watered down version of Ghost Master with a bit more focus on a single ghost rather than a ghost-themed RPG strategy game. Baby's First Ghost Master is probably a fitting title, might have to review that game sometime.

The visual design is cute and juxtaposes some of the more disturbing things your little ghosty does. Each level has its own art style and themed items surrounding this. The music is pleasantly eerie and cutesy at the same time, though it does get repetitive.

Overall the game has some glaring content holes (explanation: areas where they could have put stuff but didn't), but I haven't noticed any bugs in Haunt the House. It's only $5 USD on Steam and it's very short so the repetitiveness of it all doesn't start to weigh down on your patience. It doesn't have any replay value whatsoever, but I've paid way more than $5 for games that lasted less time than this one did. I can safely recommend it at $5 but don't expect to get more than an hour out of it at maximum. You won't be playing this game over and over again!

If you want more than an hour of entertainment for $5 USD then I don't recommend this game but I also don't recommend strip clubs.

Buy Haunt the House on Steam
Buy Haunt the House: Terrortown on Amazon

Friday, March 13, 2015

Plague Inc: Evolved [Early Access Review]


Developer: Ndemic Creations
Release Date: February 20, 2014
Genre: Strategy

One Sentence Review:
Fun but with a difficulty curve created by a random number generator more than anything you do.


An interesting little game from someone who apparently took my darkest fantasies about starting plagues and destroying the world and made them into a game. Someone needs to watch out for ninja puppy assassin retaliation. But as interesting and close to home as it is, this game is not without its flaws.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Moon Sliver


Developer: David Szymanski
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Genre: Adventure

One Sentence Review:
Poor graphics and sound design, but a good story nonetheless.

For the price I got it at, I didn't really walk into this game with the highest expectations. As much as I don't like to admit it I do have some preconceptions of a game based on its price. And so do you. The game was an interesting experiment to say the least, and obviously one of the first attempts at a game by this particular developer, but it was a failed experiment nonetheless.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Anna - Extended Edition


Developer: Dreampainters Software
Release Date: July 16, 2012
Genre: Puzzle, Horror

One Sentence Review:
The game isn't scary, it's imagining the type of people who came up with these puzzles.

I was originally drawn to the decently-made trailer of Anna, not even going to lie. It looked like it had all the necessary pieces for a solid horror game. They promised a focus on atmosphere and puzzles rather than shooting reskinned demons from hell... looking at you Dead Space. They certainly do have atmosphere and puzzles, it's a shame what they did with them.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Uncharted Waters Online

A-huge-ship-with-square-sails-in-the-open-ocean

Developer: Koei
Release Date: October 2010 (USA/Europe)
Genre: MMORPG

One Sentence Review:
A grind fest that owns the grind and makes it interesting.

When I found this game I had just finished watching the Spice and Wolf anime. I was tired of playing MMOs and even games to an extent where all I did was kill monsters and get levels. I wanted something new. I wanted something different. I wanted capitalism! Then I found Uncharted Waters Online. I hereby deem this game to be the successor to Runescape.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Neverwinter Online

A ranger standing in the middle of the winter festival in Neverwinter

Developer: Cryptic Studios
Release Date: June 20, 2013 (PC) March 31, 2015 (XBox One)
Genre: MMO, RPG

One Sentence Review:
The most innovative MMO yet with their new "pay to be comfortable and able to enjoy the game to any degree" monetization system!


I'm not going to openly admit on the internet how massive an erection I got from the very thought of a possible Dungeons and Dragons game done right! Dungeons and Dragons Online just left me so barren and dry that I could feel my literal skin cracking under how generic they had turned a beloved franchise. I wanted this to be good. I needed this to do it right.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Lord of the Rings Online

A dwarven minstrel breathing out a smoking dragon

Developer: Turbine Inc.
Release Date: April 24, 2007
Genre: F2P, MMO, RPG

One Sentence Review:
An MMO that lives on Lord of the Rings and very little else.

It's hard to explain to someone who hasn't touched base with the depths of J.R.R Tolkien's lore and come out craving the entire story. How can I explain why I thought this MMO would be different from all the others? How can I describe what came over me when I saw the list of potential character races and classes? I was offered the ability to play as a Dwarven Minstrel. Yeah that pretty much covers it.