Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dishonored [Game][PC]

Amount Completed: 1 complete and very deadly play through

Dishonored is a first-person stealth (or optionally not stealth) game in which you play as an assassin (or optionally non-lethal assassin). The game plays out as a quest for revenge (or optionally quest for revealing the truth and saving some people) with a couple of twists and turns. While interesting I wish the story were a bit more involved. All the extra details that are written in little notes found throughout the game, while appreciated, did not add much to the potential grandeur of the larger story.

The game plays very well and allows for quite a bit of creative freedom on how to approach complex situations. Various patrolling guards, lights, and otherwise make for some tough spots to work through.

Additionally the game provides some non-standard extra powers to give you the often much-needed edge over the enemy. The extra powers can be selected to suit your desired style of play. I opted for the anyone-that-is-a-threat has to be removed approach so most of my extra powers were suited towards stealth and inflicting death upon the world. It should be noted that non-violent "enemy" characters were always carefully rendered unconscious and placed in a comfortable resting place.

Gut: Play it if you have any temptation to try a stealth game. It's one of the few I have played all the way through. While I felt the conclusion lacked a bit (especially in relation the to Outsider character) the journey was enjoyable. I might just play it again and be completely non-lethal.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim [Game][PC]

Amount Completed: Incomplete

Skyrim is Fallout: Really Old Vegas with dragons. As a first-person explore and battle role playing game Skyrim has arguably too much going on. After so many twists and branching side stories I lost track of what the main plot of the game even was. With the Dawnguard expansion installed I decided, after way too many hours, that I wanted to stop the Vampires from killing off people in towns (some of the merchants were dying... I need them to buy all the garbage I pick up!). After about 37,821 diversions along that storyline I finally just threw in the towel. I never did complete the vampire story line and completely quit the game.

The endless stream of bait and switch quest/story designs started to grate on me as I played more and more. The plot to various storylines moved so slowly due to the constant one off requests to "go this and do that, but to do that you'll need to do these 17 things, each of which will branch off into 37 other things." I really just lost track of what was going on and started to just look at the map and pick random locations to visit if a quest marker was present.

Gut: Skyrim can either be fun or a like having a second job depending how you play. Unfortunately for me I played it as though it were a second job. "Completionists" be wary of this game... I have a lot of respect for the product but I have had a lot more fun with other games requiring the same amount of play time investment.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Evoland [Game][PC]

Amount Completed: Completed

Evoland is a game that literally changes styles as you play through it. Each time you obtain a new component the graphics and/or game play change a bit. I would have preferred more time spent in each gaming era with something that linked the changes with the game's story but instead the story provides very little motivation...

The number of game systems implemented for the game is impressive and leads me to believe the developer now has the ground work for a variety of type of games... Evoland 2 maybe?

Gut: Evoland is fun but has some long stretches where the changes are minimal. It's a quick game that is a nice flashback but nothing spectacular.

Tomb Raider [Game][PC]

Amount Completed: Complete (100%)

Tomb Raider is certainly loaded with a lot more action than the previous games. Lara slays a small army in various brutal ways as you progress through the game. I was a bit surprised by the level of violence. The game flows through a few different types of gameplay:
  • Exploration - Much like the original series of games but with a cheat button to help you spot things. I actually felt the cheat button was perfectly fine to include -- there's still plenty of exploration required. This mode also includes animal hunting which was strangely fun...
  • Combat - The music changes, Lara draws her weapon... and Lara goes on a killing spree until the music dies down and she puts away her weapon.
  • Cinematic - Camera is in control and you move in various ways as to avoid dying while the world falls apart around you.
  • Quick Time Event - Press those buttons when you are told to! For whatever reason I kept missing what the actual expected button was...
While I found the story acceptable I wanted it to be darker in some places and lighter in others. The inevitable betrayal resulted in an outcome that would have been the same whether it took place or not.

Gut: The Tomb Raider reboot is fun and stands out as a unique experience. The quick time events were occasionally annoying but were spaced out as to not make me stop playing.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Deadlight [Game][PC]

Amount Completed: Incomplete (played for 2+ hours according to Steam)

I could not bring myself to finish this game. The experience was simply infuriating and not really fun for me. For whatever reason I played the game in a few different sessions with a long time between each. This meant relearning the controls each time. Using a web search to figure out how to kick down a door was arguably embarrassing for both me and the game.

The art and presentation were fine but unfortunately I just realized I was not enjoying myself...

Gut: How I made it through Braid, VVVVVV, and other puzzle/control critical games is unbelievable... but somehow this one actually made me just give up.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Saints Row IV [Game][PC]

Amount Completed: Entire game with just about every activity completed (might have missed gold on a few).

Saints Row IV takes the Saints Row series into an entirely different style of plot but continues and expands the standard sandbox gameplay of previous games. Now in addition to the standard run/gun/drive gameplay your character takes on ridiculous super-hero powers allowing you to run up buildings and glide through the air. This functionality was first seen in DLC for SR3 only to be expanded upon extensively for SR4.

The plot was a bit bizarre at first but seemed acceptable in its semi-serious homage to Mass Effect. Unfortunately as with the previous games the writing seems to leave a lot to be desired. It's not necessarily that things are weird and sometimes outlandish it's that so many decisions/characters just leave you confused and asking "why" -- it's primarily a problem of not really having a solid rulebook for given characters as they go through the plot of the games.

The game plays really well with tons of things going on at once. I was very impressed with the graphics as I flew through the city and leapt across the skyline. This is not to say the graphics themselves are always great but the performance certainly was. The activities were a lot less frustrating than in the previous games... but not always that much fun. Platform jumping and hurling colored items at targets seemed more like a demo for a Wii game than a Saints Row activity.

Gut: I really enjoyed the actual gameplay experience. The quick time events were limited and used appropriately. Much of the story was meh/fine but like its predecessors when it was bad it was really terrible. I definitely recommend Saints Row IV for the super-powered sandbox experience. (My Playthrough experience)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Resident Evil 5 [Game][PC]

Amount Completed: Entire Game with my spouse.

Resident Evil 5 is a clunky 3rd person survival action game. The graphics are good and the imagery certainly is gruesome at times. As a cooperative game it is fun and at times teamwork can make things much easier. Unfortunately the controls really hamper the ability to feel like you are in direct control of your character. Instead you spend much of the game fighting the interface instead of the zombies/undead/infected/whatever.

The story is not exactly enticing but at least there is a narrative to an extent. Some of the game felt like a designer wanted to make a Tomb Raider game instead of a Resident Evil game. The quick time events in this game are just abusive. Not only does failure result in repetition but often quite a bit of repetition. I hate quick time events that appear over plot development as I want to pay close attention to the action and dialogue not random prompts that can appear up to and including 1 frame of game time (yea that's fair and balanced).

The biggest flaw/bug I saw was a prompt that indicated to hold a button down that was in fact intended to indicated to rapidly tap the button. To make things worse this occurs when battling the final boss. QA wins an award for not actually paying attention when testing the PC version (and possibly others too) in English. Congrats you did terribly!

Gut: Not exactly worth it... invalid instructions for quick time events aside... The experience is more infuriating than enjoyable. I hate most quick time events in just about any video game. This one relies on them too heavily and often requires you to fail to learn the key combinations ahead of time so you can press them within the given 1 frame window (I suggest pressing them before it even prompts you).