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


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

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.