Last finished game
Just finished Secret Files: Tunguska. I would give it a 5.5 out of 10
Currently Playing: The Testament of Sherlock Holmes;
Currently Re-Playing: Culpa Innata
Recently Finished: Secret Files: Puritas Cordis, Art of Murder: Hunt for the Puppeteer, Dear Esther
I finished Dear Esther on a weekend. I bought it for $5 on that Steam sale, and was disappointed. I did read reviews on how it is more of an interactive movie, and how it is an experience more than a game but I still came out disappointed. It’s basically holding forward for an hour and listening to poetic ramblings which are ambiguous and it’s left up to you to translate what the story was about.
Some people may enjoy the experience but honestly I think it was a little overpriced for what it actually was.
Currently playing: Starcraft II
Recently finished: Resonance, Tex Murphy: Pandora Directive, Diablo 3
It’s not because I haven’t been posting all that much, that I haven’t been playing. I recently finished the DS games Again and Time Hollow.
Again - 3.5 / 5
Again is very much like Cing’s other games Hotel Dusk and Last Window, yet very different. You hold the DS sideways again, the dialogue system is similar, there’s a recap pop quiz at the end of every chapter, moving around is similar, etc., but the animation style is very different (hand drawn vs. real stills), the feel is a lot different (no noir here), and unfortunately the story is severely lacking towards its conclusion…
- holding the DS sideways (like a book) is a feature that I like
- by using stills and small movements of real actors, the game not only looks good, but gives a realistic feel to it all
- very interesting premise that grabbed my attention early on
- the psychic element offers some superb gameplay and the accompanying grainy FMV adds to the great production values
- unlike in Hotel Dusk and Last Window, the end-of-chapter “quiz” is integrated a lot better
- decent suspenseful music (if somewhat repetitive)
- too few psychic moments (they’re too good gameplay-wise to be used so sparingly)
- the main characters are clueless: lots of plot twists are obvious well in advance, but the main characters remain oblivious until slapped in the face
- the ending doesn’t live up to the massive potential that the premise held
- unnecessary cliffhanger makes the game feel somewhat unfinished
What started out as a great game slowly went downhill. The game looks gorgeous, the premise is great, the psychic moments offer some great gameplay, but the longer the game lasts, the dumber the main characters appear to be, and the ending is just ludicrous. Not only are the plot twists obvious from miles away, but the conclusion makes far too little sense. This is a crying shame because there was a lot of potential to the story.
Time Hollow - 4.5 / 5
Wow, was this a pleasant surprise! This game totally blew me away. It grabbed my attention in the very first minute and made it very hard for me to put it down. Because of that, I finished it in just three sessions.
The prologue had only just started and I already got a glimpse of an alternative ending. I immediately restarted (without acting like a know-it-all this time) to avoid spoilers. But just knowing that there was the possibility of an alternative ending made me even more excited to finish it.
And then I got sucked into the game. The story is really engrossing, the writing is good, and even though there are some minor plot issues (inherent in time-travel stories), these are easily overlooked because all the main characters are very likeable.
Plus the game has a lot of production value: the animation throughout is very good, the voice-acting in the cutscenes is great, and above all: the opening video has a superb theme (which gets repeated as a ringtone, in a mellow version as a sadder theme in the game, and during the end credits).
The game may be very light on gameplay, but with this amount of immersion in the game, I don’t care about the gameplay. In fact, some of my absolute favourite games are more “interactive novels” than actual games.
The only downside is that it’s relatively short, and that you only have one slot to save your game in. And that’s pretty much it.
Time Hollow is now officially n° 4 in my list of favourite DS games of all-time, which is not too shabby. In fact, I liked it so much that the previous game by designer Junko Kawano, Shadow of Destiny, has gotten a serious bump forward in my list of games to play. I’m already looking forward to it…
Now Playing: The Last Express
Next in line: Cayne, Tex Murphy: Mean Streets, Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within, Portal 2, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy
Recently finished: Portal (3/5), Machinarium (4/5), Beyond: Light Advent (post-CPT) (2.5/5), Anchorhead (CPT) (4/5), Enigmatis 3: The Shadow of Karkhala (CPT) (3.5/5), Violet (CPT) (3/5), Spider and Web (CPT) (4/5), Plundered Hearts (CPT) (3.5/5), J.U.L.I.A.: Among the Stars (CPT) (4/5), Emerald City Confidential (CPT) (4/5), The Stanley Parable (4/5), ASA: A Space Adventure (CPT) (3.5/5), Gone Home (4/5), Samorost 2 (3.5/5), Lost Lands: The Four Horsemen (CPT) (3/5), STASIS (4/5)
Anticipating: Asylum, The St. Christopher’s School Lockdown, Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure, Beautiful Desolation
Just a brief review on this one. BF3 is really a multiplayer game but I only played the singleplayer campaign.
The game begins with Seargent Blackburn being interrogated by the CIA. Every level of the game is a past event retold by Blackburn and not neccessary in chronological order. This slowly builds up a story with several different people that connects to the same events, most of which are connected to a conflict in Iran. Difficult to say much more about the story as it didn’t connect to me at all, had no major surprises and I didn’t feel much for any of it’s characters.
Engine: Graphics & Sound
The game looks fantastic and the sound is great. Really, it difficult to go into details but this is one of the best looking games out there and the audio is just as good, especially the gunsounds which really stands out.
It’s very obvious that the game were inspired by the Call of Duty series. Start calm and walk into a scene that overloads you with rich content, check. Uncomfortable first-person scene, check. Nukes, check. Push the button on screen quick or die, check. Radical jumps from one environment to another, check. Some russians involved, check.
The game uses some of it’s advantages from it’s multiplayer setting, including a large scale battlefield, driving a tank and even a great flying scene which I found to be the most memorable for it’s originality, but I believe they could have done more.
Like I said in the beginning, Battlefield 3 is made for multiplayer, they tried to make a singleplayer campaign but it seems they had no story to tell so they just reused every cliché from the book.
I actually finished Borderlands earlier this year along with three friends online but didn’t have time to write a review. This will include a minireview of each of the four DLC’s as well.
Borderlands takes place on Pandora, a planet filled with mostly desert. Marcus, who is actually a weapon trader, drive four fortune seekers to the little settlement known as Fyrestone. Almost right away they get a strange vision from a woman telling them to find a mysterious vault which contains something spectacular. After awhile they meet up with the archeaologist Patricia Tannis who explains that there’s indeed a vault on the planet that opens up once every 200 years, which is just about to happen. However, there’s competition. Commendant Steele who belongs to a mercenary group called the Crimson Lance claims that the planet, and the vault, is theirs.
While the story definitely do not take itself seriously, it’s characters, artstyle and voice acting makes it compelling to push on.
The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned
Jacobs Corporation asks you to investigate Dr. Ned who was supposed to assist Jacobs Cove that is now overrun by zombies. The first DLC was a horror-themed zombie-fest that fits well into the rest of the non-stop gorefest. That said, it’s one of the weaker DLC’s in the game. It’s fairly short and doesn’t really add anything unique in loot or rewards. It’s main attraction is it’s theme and the tiny story there is.
Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot
Mad Moxxi, as the introduction points out, is searching for her 4th husbound and pass the time by setting up arena fights to a cheering crowd. What she have to offer is unfortunately the weakest DLC in my opinion, just an arena that throws wave upon wave upon you. At least you get a skillpoint for your effort. At least the DLC added a bank for you to store your items in.
The Secret Armory of General Knoxx
General Knoxx haven’t had the best time and he’s really tired. He have worked his entire life to get to his position but have to work under an admiral that is just 5 years old. Until he gave up and took over that is. That’s why you are sent over to his armory to take him out. This is actually one of the best DLC’s I have seen regardless of game, similar to classic expansions. The map is really large, the DLC’s own campaign is pretty long with several of the key NPC’s making a return. The DLC also have a lot more of Scooter who provide you with new cars which come handy since there’s a lot of driving in this one.
Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution
The claptrap, a droid character who you met several times throughout the game, went mad and now calls himself the Interplanetary Ninja Assassin and calls for a revolution. Of course, you’re the one who have to clean up the mess. Unfortunately the final DLC doesn’t really reach up to Knoxx. It’s large, but not as large as Knoxx. Worse, the new areas were pretty short on quests.
Engine: Graphics & Sound
There’s almost no game like this out there. Borderlands have a very unique style, using cellshaded graphics and a lot of attitude, including awesome voice acting. The music is just great and add a lot to the atmosphere and so does the large landscapes where you can often see right across to the other side if you find a good overwatch spot.
Ah, gameplay. So much great stuff to mention here that I will just take a shortcut… I will go the cliché route and claim that Borderlands is like a mix of first person shooter and diablo. Every area will overload you with new equipment and quests and soon enough you cash in more and more money and more and more xp, get new levels and new powers, then new equipment that is somewhat better than what you had, then the whole cycle start over again. This is classic rpg content as its finest. Just do not expect to care much about the missions you do as they are usually silly. All that said, the singleplayer game might not be good enough to be worth wasting your time on. But!
I couldn’t speak about gameplay without mentioning that Borderlands is one of the finest Co-Op titles out there that I know of and I was happy to find three friends who could play the game an hour from time to time online right before bedtime. Just avoid playing the game while other gamers do not, as the game can become unbalancing and unfair to those who didn’t.
Borderlands have a lot to explore, plenty of easter eggs and having all the four DLC’s packed into Borderlands just make it larger and better. If you are looking for a co-op title and aren’t through Borderlands yet, well there you go.
Max Payne 3
It’s hard to call a game that’s been getting great reviews all around underrated but I don’t think Max Payne 3 is being fully appreciated for being the completely awesome and, in my opinion, genre-changing shooter it is. Every action game these days follows the same generic shoot-from-cover template that Gears of War and Uncharted created but Max Payne 3 has absolutely no interest in reusing that same formula for the umpteenth time; it takes the same basic tenements the first two Max Payne games followed—the use of slow motion and badass dodges—but then adds a perfect combination of incredibly realistic physics, completely free 360 degree control and an engine that makes every shootout feel unscripted and new. Every bullet in this game is dynamic and has its own trajectory, every enemy feels unique and will react to each bullet hitting and missing in a way that feels spontaneous and realistic and every cool move and kill you pull off always feels completely satisfying because you’re the one directing the action. This is a very tight and linear game but it manages to be that without ever feeling completely staged or unnatural which I feel most modern shooters tend to have a problem with.
And since Rockstar is behind this, it’s also nice to play a game that has absolutely fantastic writing. The story can be a little convoluted and contrived but the dialogue is so good and the characters so fully realized that you’re willing to go along with some of its more ridiculous elements.
If you like action games, you need to be playing this game.
Modern Warfare 3
I finished MW3 earlier this year but never had the time to write a review for it. So I will write a really short one, here goes.
The singleplayer campaign (because that is what I play) of Modern Warfare 3 should be considered an ending of a trilogy. It’s a direct sequel to MW2 (more so than MW2 to MW1). The main target is the ultranationalist Vladimir Makarov who were introduced in the earlier games. If you played the earlier ones, by all means see the end. MW3 carries few surprises beyond the plot, everything is over the top and use similar story techniques that we have seen before in a few new areas. If you didn’t play the earlier I would play them in order because I cannot see that people would feel attachment to the characters or understand what’s going on without having seen the story up to MW3. I would even begin with Black Ops which is a completely different story but uses the same style. If you like that one you can look forward to the Modern Warfare trilogy but if you do not you have no “gotta play” sequels to worry about.
I believe MW3 brings closure. I cannot see that they can continue the plot from this point as it leaves no open questions and there are also other events which kinda closes the book. I have to say though that I do not consider it to be the best of the series and it even jumps the shark towards the end, becoming a bit more futuristic than people would hope for.
It have taken me a year to finish this game, much thanks to being a perfectionist and being annoyed with the savegamesystem. Question is then, was it worth it?
Moskow is destroyed in a nuclear war. The survivors have gone underground and now lives in the subway metro. You play Artyom who are one day visited by one of the experienced rangers that beings known as the “dark ones” threaten the station. He must go to another “city” (subway station) and seek help. Throughout his juorney Artyom travel alone but ever once in awhile he picks up a few buddies who travel with him. In the beginning there are plenty of stations to visit and people to talk to, but further ahead Artyom must travel through less and less comfortable areas. Ever once in awhile he gets visions with dark shadow-like beings who seem to threaten him.
The story is really the strong point in Metro 2033. It’s based on a novel and like many russian games it’s a mix between depression, hopelessness and horror, but in a good way.
Engine: Graphics & Sound
Metro 2033 is one of the best looking games out there and one needs a strong PC to play it properly. Even with my 4ghz overclocked i7 with 2xSLI 480GTX I saw framedrops in some areas, especially outdoors. With the right equipment the game is almost a showcase for what modern games can do. The game really use light in a great way, you can often spot enemies or friends by looking for lightbeams in the darkness. Smoke and fog also looks very very good. The audio is good with a melancholic guitar in the background and a narrative with a strong russian accent, just like most of the voices of NPC’s you meet in the game.
Oddly enough this is a game that is at one time unique as a shooter but at the same time not very great. In fact, I would definitely forgive you if you played it at an easier setting just for the experience, because like I said; this is a game you play for the story, the experience and the atmosphere alone, not adrenaline pumping fights. There are a lot of unique content here for a shooter, it’s just that Metro 2033 do not offer the feel of a good shooter. Weapons are often too inaccurate, you move too slow, enemies are too few and just pour in in waves and you never feel the need to experiment. Many areas are sneaking areas in which you just wish to avoid foes anyway. In others your primary target is to protect your gasmask from breaking because else you may end up wasting too many filters and have to restart the game which happened to me one time.
As a shooter you get 3 main weapons to drag with you, weapons you may exchange throughout the game. One is your trusty revolver which exist in various versions such as an accurate version with extended barrel or silenced version with less damage. Then you have your assaultrifle/submachine gun and finally you get a special weapon that can be exchanged between a sniper, a spearthrower, shotguns and a few other variations. You also get grenades, sticky grenades and knives. The throwing knife is one you will use a lot during sneaking missions. Many of these weapons are unique and some needs to be pumped up before they can be used. Your flashlight also needs to be pumped.
When you are in cities you can buy upgraded weapons or exchange your ammunition. The game uses strong ammunition as money so you can either use poor ammo and buy better weapons, or you can use your poor weapons with better ammo. In cities you can also upgrade armor into sneaky armor or heavier armor, the former comes with nightvision goggles. In cities you can also talk to people which often gives enlightenment points required to get the good ending. There are also a lot of annoying achievements to get so I am actually happy I played the PC version.
One thing I appreciated was that the game keeps feeling fresh from one level to another. It was impossible to guess how the next map would play out. The game was also a bit longer than I had expected it to be.
I believe Metro 2033 should be approached as an interactive story more than a shooter. I didn’t think the actual shooting sections felt as good as modern shooters like Battlefield 3, Call of Duty or Crysis. I rarely played around, I just mashed whatever popped up with excess ammo and moved onto the next area. I also didn’t think the story was that great. I never felt a pull to continue the game just to see what would happen next. But the game have a really strong atmosphere that kept with me throughout the entire game and that’s what kept me going. Metro 2033 thus feels more like an experience than a game and I can recommend it for those who have the computer to play it and look more for story and atmosphere than a shooter.
I Am Alive (PlayStation 3) - 7 OUT OF 10
I’m reviewing it on my website. Thought it was rubbish at first but by the end it had won me over despite its faults.
The best looking shooter out there, but is it good to play?
You are a marine known as Alcatraz who are sent into New York to deal with a virus outbreak when your submarine is attacked. When you get to the surface your friends are killed by an alien ship and you are left wounded. You are saved by Prophet from Crysis 1 who give you his nanosuit before telling you to finish what he started. What follows is a romp through a mostly demolished New York City where you fight forces who seek to get your suit along with regular aliens.
Engine: Graphics & Sound
Best out there. Really. This is one game that make you amazed by it’s looks and it spares almost nothing. I guess I could have wished for some better facial animations but that’s it. And the sound is great as well.
Modern shooters tend to be limited without some new gimmick and the nanosuit is the core element here, when you get the hang of it you switch between stealth and armor all the time while keeping an eye on your energy. Out of energy usually means death. As long as you have the energy you can perform power sprints, power jumps and power bashing, enable infrared vision, stealth and armor. This basically makes you into a super hero and it’s quite fun. The shooter mechanics are well polished and it’s evident that CryTek are one of the masters of shooters.
In some ways, Crysis 2 is a step up from Crysis 1, in others it’s a step down. Compared to your average shooter Crysis 2 is more open as you usually have more than one way to beat an area and the areas are often large enough to make sniping useful and stealth fun but it’s faster (and more deadly) to bash right in. Compared to Crysis 1 it’s very linear and many maps are completely linear. This is too bad as the openness of Crysis 1 was the games greatest strength when it came to gameplay. I still wanted to mention though that the game is still average compared to other shooters.
The most glaring issue with Crysis 2 is it’s A.I. Considering how well polished everything else is, the A.I. stands out. Prepare to see foes stuck in the environment, who stop in their track, turns around and run the other way without any reason to do so, who just walk past you like they didn’t see you standing in front of them, large foes who get stuck running in doorways (easily exploited) etc. etc.
Crysis 2 is a gotta play game for anyone who have the hardware to play it. While it’s not the best shooter, it’s capacity is sometimes underutilized, it’s polished enough and it’s unique visuals gives an experience that definitely rise the bar for other titles.
BF3, extremely good game untill my Orgin broke completely.
Best fps game Ive experienced so far 9/10
Never thought too much about this game untill positive reviews pointing towards subversive narrative of this gen.
Gameplay is like your typical Third person shooter, nothing more to offer.
Multiplayer has nothing new to offer too, expect same feel and energy whats in the demo.
Infact the firefights were not too exciting in the first half, they were disconnecting the emotional engagement in storyline.
Unreal Engine shortcomings like texture loading is there, but the art direction
steals the show. The propoganda, banners, graffiti along with futuristic Dubai
buildings punctuating skylines with sandstorms to complement them paint a really nice
picture , the interiors are also detailed and exquisite of what Dubai has to offer
at present if you have been there, quite authentic.
Models look dated, could have used more details in game, though cutscenes have
high detail and polished animations than gameplay.
Unique selling proposition, with not only clever artdesign, Voiceacting and music supporting it but the progression and underlying tones. The game is bold, one of the unique and refreshing thing i liked that its not POLITICALLY CORRECT.
Besides that game portrays true picture of war, which ain’t pretty, doesn’t glorify it like all those other Shooters in the market.
They could learn a thing or two from it, i can’t go any further due to spoilers and since story is only thing to go for , make sure you spend your money well, i wont advice to spend 60$ on it, maybe when its around 20$, rent is the best option, thats the reason i am doing this review.
Play the game whenever it gets within your range, for story which atleast is
must for any story lovers.
I never asked for this
Over the past two weekends I’ve been finding myself playing traditional adventures, more than I’ve played in years to be honest. (I think the last one I played was Gray Matter early last year.) Got through The Dig and Beneath a Steel Sky, two games that have been half completed and left to gather dust in my collection for some time now. Had a damn good time with both although I think I preferred The Dig just because of the uniqueness of that ‘hard science’ kind of sci-fi setting. The voice acting in that game is still exceptional which is more than contrasted by Beneath a Steel Sky. Both classics, though.
Probably going to get Resonance next. (Can’t wait to play Gemini Rue, will wait for GOG release though.)
Right or wrong, weak or strong.
Dead Island is the second first-person action roleplaying game dedicated for Co-Op that I know (the other is Borderlands). So is it any good?
Banoi Island is a resort for the rich and famous but also the four heroes you can select between as your character throughout the game. After a night of wild partying you wake up in the middle of a zombie outbreak. After getting bitten but rescued it’s revealed that you are somehow immune. For the rest you become their only hope. That means you are go out there to find food, transportation and you know, the stuff survivors need during a zombie outbreak. Soon enough you get in contact with an unknown man over the radio who promises you help to get off the island, but you have to reach him first which is difficult since he’s pretty much on the other side of the island.
I have to make a specific mention of the quests in DI. While they are no shakespeare, they feel more like you are actually helping someone than in Borderlands where you simply pump a terminal. Each quest is delivered through actual dialogue here.
I did finish the DLC for the game as well. The story driven one that is (I will not mention it’s name here, look it up after finishing the main game). I recommend all of those who played the base game to the end to grab it. It gives you a very different perspective on both the game and the ending.
Engine: Graphics & Sound
Dead Island is optimized for consoles so the graphics looks a bit dated on PC, but it makes up in detail. The sandbox maps are mostly handmade which makes each section feel unique. You can often navigate simply at looking at your surroundings without looking at the map. This isn’t true in the entire game however and sometimes you have to rely on the minimap to find the way. The games damage system is particulary unique, DI might just be one of the goriest games out there. Prepare to see heads and limbs chopped up, broken, squished and bodies burnt to crisp.
The audio deserves an extra mention. This is one game you benefit from having surround speakers. Each zombie have a very distinct sound and you can just by listening extract a lot of information from each area. Normal zombies, “walkers”, are the most common opponent in the game and whenever you hear more than their growls you need to be careful because one of the tougher zombies are nearby and you do not want to get close. Not only that, but this is a Beat-Em-Up game in first person. That means you can’t see what’s behind your character, but you can hear. I could plan combos, hack two zombies in front of me and a third behind me in a fluid motion simply by detecting the zombie behind me through sound.
There’s a lot to speak about here. If you have ever played Borderlands before you can imagine a Beat-Em-Up borderlands with weapon customization and stronger NPC interaction. If you haven’t played Borderlands then do so first, because Borderlands I would say is a better game. Unless the zombie theme attracts you more.
Dead Island is an action roleplaying game. The roleplaying mechanics here is pretty much what you would get in Diablo; a selection of 4 different characters/classes, each with a couple of skilltrees, many ways to earn experience points and on top of that randomized looted weapons.
The characters follow your old formula, a tank who can take more punishment, a glass cannon who’s squishy yet deadly, a firearms specialist and a throwing weapon specialist. The four characters have a stronger background and sometimes during the plot this gets important, but no not expect yourself to feel much for them. Specialization isn’t that interesting really, think for a moment and you realize that most of their skill trees are crap and you get enough points to buy all the skills you like until the end of the game.
There are a lot of weapons in the game. Each type comes in various appearences and with special qualities. They are colored in white, green, blue, purple and orange which means that they are better than average. Weapons also improve in levels and you want a weapon close to your own level unless it’s colored. Weapons can also be upgraded to be stronger, faster and more durable. They can also be upgraded with mods such as adding electricity damage or fire damage. Weapons also decay, so you have to repair them a lot. This is actually one of the games flaws, since you have to repair so often you are cycling through 3-4 at a time, this and since you need to upgrade weapons to your level all the time you never get the “beloved weapon” feel. Later in the game you get firearms. They do not decay but bullets are few outside areas filled with bandits who use firearms themselves. Beyond melee and firearms there are also a lot of throwable weapons such as molotovs and grenades, some of these you can build yourself.
Dead Island is a very optimized game but it’s not without flaws. The most glaring one is that the game autoequips the latest weapon you picked up, including medkits and alcohol. Prepare to accidently drink alcohol over and over again and end up using medkits when you didn’t mean to. The game also autodrops your equipped weapon if you are overloaded when picking something new up. I accidently dropped a fully upgraded and modded pistol which I realized only after leaving the area.
Dead Island is a really solid title. It’s packed with content and you can tell there was a lot of effort put down in this one. That said, the game lacks that rinse-and-repeat feel you get in Borderlands where you level up all the time and find really awesome weapons. Here leveling is slow, it takes up to level 20 before you feel you are getting better and weapons are almost always “meh”, often only giving slightly better damage than the four you already use. The decay were too fast and were just annoying. Modding didn’t feel realistic. The characters aren’t likeable and it’s difficult to get emotionally a