Feb 21, 2015

Video Game Reviews

Walking Dead Season 2 – Jeez, this game is fantastic, just like the first one. Like the first one, it has plenty of faults. It’s less and less a game. In the first one I feel like I walked around and clicked on stuff more, that was limited this time. It’s mostly conversation trees and clicking now and again to shoot something. So, maybe it’s not a game. Like the first one, there are some bullshit false choices. Making me choose among bad options when there are clear other options. Only once, this time, did I do a thing and not realize what I was doing, but it didn’t end up having any consequence. But none of that stopped it from being an amazing experience, it’s just really well written. I read the comic, I watch the show, you’d think I’d be sick of the same old stories, but not when they are so good and you are given just a tiny bit of agency in their outcome.  I experienced the game in a way I don’t usually experience fiction. I was legitimately sad at the end. When someone from the previous game shows up, I was relieved, just to see a familiar face. I forgot for a while how badly he had fucked up. And then I remembered, just as my character started to remember. And I struggled with reconciling what type of person he is, just as the character did. I was shocked when people did terrible things, and felt hopeless when it all went to shit. I just don’t feel like that in any other form of entertainment, even a really good movie, because I don’t feel like I’m part of it. Crazy good.

State of Decay – For some reason I decided to play two zombie games at once. They couldn’t be more different from each other. This is kind of an open world GTA zombie game. I actually liked it a lot, I wish it had been more fleshed out. The open world thing (well, open 2 square miles…) really works, scavenging for supplies, building a base, etc. That makes a lot of sense for a zombie game. It is unfortunately limited and in the end pretty inconsequential. I put a lot of effort into building defenses and getting supplies, and I’m not convinced it made a single spit of difference. The plot is so short to begin with, I feel like I could have blown through the story and never done anything to my base. It only lasted as long as it did because I dragged it out doing other stuff, but then the other stuff didn’t matter. The learning curve is real steep. I only discovered death was permanent when I lost my first survivor. It took me two additional survivors to learn to not put myself in bad situations. That’s all pretty cool and I like it, I just wish it had been made a little more clear. In general I feel like the instructions are lacking, and while I don’t need a tutorial in every game, if you are going to make esoteric rules and structure, you have to give me a way to figure it out, besides trial and error. Overall, I liked the game, I just wish the plot was twice as long and the open world mattered in any way. I’ll keep an eye out for the DLC going on sale, maybe it will fill in some of those gaps.

Besiege – This is an early access game on Steam. It’s pretty cheap and it sounded fun, so I picked it up. Its basically a siege weapon building game. Kind of like Kerbal (which has yet to go on sale for cheap enough for me to play), but with catapults. It’s very simple at the moment, only a handful of levels and limited building options. But even that much was pretty fun. I feel like I got my money’s worth doing as much as I have. If it (hopefully) continues to develop and add levels and features, it’ll be pretty fun.

Duke Nukem Forever – Wow. I knew it was going to be bad, I didn’t think it would be this bad. Functionally, its amazingly boring. It plays really loose, it feels like you are floating through the world. There’s no weight to the weapons or environment. It feels like a very simple FPS from 10 years ago. But the point, the character, is terrible. I don’t know if 1) I would think it was funny if I was 13 or 2) the world is just different. Peeing in a toilet, slapping a weird alien boob, saying campy one liners. Maybe that’s just not 2014. Maybe if it came out when it was started, it would have landed. But now it just seems lame. It’s not even enough of a thing to be offensive, it’s just so dumb. It’s like how you aren’t offended if a 5 year old says something sexist… because they’re five, they don’t have real opinions. There is exactly one funny part of this game, which is the loading screens. They actually say funny things, like “If you die from falling, it’s probably your fault” That’s funny. There was genuine wit, nothing deep, but funny little meta comments in there that made me laugh. The rest was terrible and I couldn’t be done with it fast enough (yes, I finished a game I hated, don’t blame me, I have a disease).

Assassin’s Creed 3 – I’m a bit behind with this series, but this was pretty fun. It’s all the same tricks, except in revolutionary America. There’s new alternative weapons, most of which I didn’t use except for guns which was kind of fun. And the long reload made it interesting. Otherwise the game is pretty much the same. I remember liking 2 better, for some reason. I was into all the art and architecture stuff. The revolutionary history was kind of neat, but didn’t strike me the same way, I’m not sure why. It also didn’t feel as big. I could be totally wrong, it’s been years, but this one didn’t feel quite as open. But it was fun and I liked it throughout. I did not like Uplay, however. Besides that it’s inconvenient. Besides that Ubisoft’s DRM policies are bullshit. When I had literally 30 minutes left to play in the game, Uplay went down and I couldn’t play. Couldn’t play the game I paid real dollars for because Ubisoft can’t be bothered to keep their servers up and they are afraid people who were never going to buy their game are going to steal their game, which they are going to do anyway. So, that’s the last Assassin’s Creed game I buy. Bye bye Ubisoft.

Deadlight – I like the idea of this game, but it doesn’t really land. It’s a very XBLA type of game - 2D sidescroller, animated backgrounds, somewhat cartoony style, cut scenes made of still images. It’s a zombie game, you are a dude looking for his family. It’s very short (3 hours), which is good because it’s not fun enough to be longer. The game play doesn’t have a lot of variety, mostly platforming. Fighting is pretty lame, which maybe they do on purpose to make you more scared? But you do have to fight on occasion, so it’s annoying. The interaction is a little clunky at times: jumping the wrong way, finicky acceptable paths, etc. Overall, it’s not a great game, but I’m sure I got it super cheap, so okay.

Angvik – Basically, imagine Rogue Legacy, with Terraria graphics, without the skills progression. You get to choose your class, which really just affects your starting equipment, but that’s pretty important. Armor is your health, and killing without weapons is rough. The controls aren’t great, after 3 hours I still find it challenging to jump on something’s head, I always am one pixel off and then I die. Everytime you beat it, the difficulty goes up, I only beat it twice before I got sick of it. I probably got it as part of a humble bundle or something, it was a decent distraction for a couple hours, nothing much else.

A.R.E.S. – Another humble bundle game (probably, I’m just trying to clean out my steam library a bit, ha). It’s just kind of a side scrolling shoot em up. It’s basically metroid, I guess, without nearly the expanse in terms of game play or levels or enemies. But it was a fine for a couple hours.

Euro Truck Simulator 2 – I honestly can’t believe this is a game. I’ve never been much of a sim person, I don’t have the patience or the skill. But yikes, all you do is drive a truck! I’m not saying it’s false advertising, I just don’t get it. I look at reviews and everyone thinks it’s great, it’s a big world (well, half a continent) and it’s so interesting to see the scenery and cities. NOPE! It is amazingly boring to drive from city to city. Have to be careful to follow all the laws and it takes for damn ever. After 3 hours I’ve only made 1/10 of the money I need to buy my own truck. It was fun for about 10 minutes figuring out how to back up a trailer using just my rear view mirrors. The other kind of hilarious part was when I fell asleep playing. 4 times. I felt like I real life trucker.

Anomaly Warzone Earth – This is another indie game, it’s kind of a reverse tower defense (you are the hoard, attacking the turrets), but with more agency. You have control over your units’ path. You can’t stop or speed up or turn around, you have to go forward and just control where you turn. The enemy has standard turrets – guns, AoE, chain lightning, etc. You have different units of your own, mostly trading off armor or attack power. You also have some super powers (healing, cover, attack). It’s pretty fun, it gets hard at the end, I only barely won. It doesn’t over stay its welcome, which is good, 14 levels in and out.

Saints Row IV – This is exactly what you’d expect, which isn’t a bad thing. The series is already GTA on goofy juice. This ups it even more, now it’s GTA in the Matrix. The guns get crazier, the powers get crazier, the vehicles get crazier. I suppose that could be boring, but it’s still pretty fun. I played for over 20 hours and managed to do all of the main content. I did not try to ace every challenge and find every collectable, but I did most of the good stuff. I was done by the end, but I enjoyed it throughout.

The Binding of Isaac – This is a weird little rogue like. It was either not fun enough or too hard for me, not sure. I didn’t get very far and didn’t try very hard to get further. It has an odd style, kind of reminds me of ren and stimpy or something. It’s not as gross, exactly, but it’s got that rough sloppy sort of look. I’m not sure why it didn’t hook me, but after an hour I gave up.

Greed Corp. – This feels like a board game, which is cool. It’s tile-based, you control units and take territory. Each tile has a height, when you mine the tile for money the height of it and all neighbors are reduced, too low and it goes away. So you are trying to control territory, build units, kill the bad guy, it’s kind of fun. There are four “factions”, but they operate exactly the same. So that’s kind of boring, after the first 6 levels with one faction, you play 6 more with three more… It would have been more fun to have some sort of progression, powers or units or something. It was really kind of boring by the end. But I pushed through just for the sake of it and it was fun enough.

Borderlands 2 – This is fun for a while, but gets old pretty quick. It’s not that it’s bad, it is exactly what it means to be. And I’m sure it’s more fun with a group. But it’s just more of the first one. There’s no real variety to the missions, go kill 10 of these, or find 5 of that. Mow down a billion bad guys and get a slightly different gun. For a while I was doing all the side quests, but I gave up by halfway through the game, I just didn’t have the interest. It’s fun and goofy and all that, I just got bored quick.

Bleed – Tiny little indie platformer. One stick to move, one stick to shoot, jump button, that’s about it. It’s very short, which is exactly what I was looking for. I suppose I could go back and do harder modes, but nah. It’s cute, it’s fun, it has a female protagonist, it doesn’t intrude on your life, good stuff.

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