Author Topic: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread  (Read 91762 times)

Offline bobdog

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Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« on: September 04, 2009, 10:14:03 AM »
QUICK NOTE AS OF OCTOBER 2015:
Each of these mini-reviews also has its own individual thread inside "bobdog's Mini-Reviews Corner" to assist search efforts. The subject will announce the game title, release date, and bobdog's personal score, based on a 10-point system. Reviews are generally posted weekly on Mondays if possible.



Although I've completed some full reviews here at the Foxhole, for some games I just can't be bothered to do a complete write-up, or I just don't have the time to do so. So I thought I would carry over my "mini-reviews" idea and place them all here in one place. Please feel free to comment on any of these games, many of which might be older, but which I feel compelled to say at least a little something. I'll also provide a score based on a "10" level, just as the regular reviews do. So here we go!!

X-Men Origins Wolverine is a new release that to me featured some great level design, but suffered too much from consolitis. The main problems for me included your over-the-back third-person view all of a sudden shifiting to a side-scroller view mid-level, some quick-time events, and the extremely annoying auto-lock that your character would do on boss battles. For the first issue, you'd be playing the game great, jumping, etc., and then you would have to recall what buttons would work properly -- definitely it was arranged for a console controller. The QTEs are getting heavy in the latest round of games, but here they require you to press various buttons fast to engage; at least you get a screen prompt on which buttons to push. The last issue meant you couldn't run from your opponent for some breathing room, because the lock-on would always spin you back around to face him.

Yet despite these issues, which were fairly prevalent, you have some awesome moves playing as Wolverine, doing spins, claw drills, lunges, ground-pounds, and just generally slicing and dicing everyone in your path. The story meanders back and forth in Wolverine's history, so it parallels but isn't an exact copy of the movie (which itself was somewhat disappointing). You'll spend a lot of time in Africa in the events leading up to the fateful moment when Wolverine decides to quit the mercenary team. You'll also spend a lot of time in Alkali Lake, having emerged from the facility post-adamantium process. And you'll meet many characters along the way, including Wraith, Mystique, the Wendigo, Stryker, the Sentinel (a great fight), Blob, Gambit and a finale battle with Deadpool on the nuclear towers.

SIDENOTE QUESTION: Wraith and Mystique have a conversation where she mentions that she is pregnant and he tells her they should name the child Kurt. I can see Wraith giving his teleport abilities, and Mystique giving her blue skin, but is Nightcrawler the son of Mystique??? Curious comic afficionados want to know....

At any rate, the involved storyline is accented by consisently good voiceovers, a lengthy (10+) hour playthrough, and many secrets within each level, some of which allow you to unlock various Wolverine uniforms. It's not a perfect game, and the consolitis issues really cause some curses throughout the game, but the Wolverine mythos and action kept me going long after I might have given up. 8.1 out of 10
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 11:24:35 AM by bobdog »

Offline Fanghawk

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2009, 01:26:13 PM »
Actually, yeah. Mystique is Nightcrawler's mom in the X-Men comics. Not Wraith thought, the real father is some teleporting demon mutant from another dimension. Blargh, says I.

I just hope that story won't be dragged up ever again (the demon part, not the Mystique part). Here's hoping Walt Disney won't allow it.

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2009, 03:35:54 PM »
I think you mistake Disney as a company with a conscience -- this is the same company who unleashed Miley Cyrus on the world and whored her out for every frikking product conceivable....

Next up, FEAR 2: Project Origin. Unbelievably, I actually liked this one better than its predecessor and it's ill-gotten spawn. See here for my mini-reviews of that game and its few available mods.

So why did I like it better, you ask? The first FEAR to me was so linear as to be overly restrictive; the only times I actually liked playing it were the very few outside scenes. It also had the most ridiculous level layouts of any I've ever seen, with labs so intricate you'd have to go through every single one to get to work -- the architect should have been fired! The ONLY things that saved the original FEAR for me were a few Alma incidents (her getting into the elevator with the lady you were sent to save), and the ghosts at the end. Otherwise, the whole game was ultimately forgettable.

Yes, FEAR 2 does have linear elements, but it "feels" like you as a player have a choice. The outside scenes are amazingly detailed from what an atomic/nuclear blast might do to a city area, and I can still remember some of them vividly -- especially where you first see the mushroom cloud, and then when you are boarding the train immediately after. I couldn't tell you any FEAR 1 scenes I remember.

Like the original, FEAR 2 has similar enemies, weapons, and "bullet-time" powers, which I only used maybe twice the whole game. I guess I'm just so damn good....  ::) It also has naked Alma trying to hump you, and a really weird ending that many are still speculating over. So my final score is 8.6 out of 10.

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2009, 12:30:37 PM »
Watchmen: The End Is Nigh is merely an acceptable beat-em-up game. You play as either Rorschach or Night Owl in this uninspired, repetitive slog-fest, and get to use moves appropriate to either. Thankfully the game is short and relatively inexpensive. I played through once as Rorschach and was bored at the gameplay, so I didn't do a double play-through as Night Owl. The moves are somewhat fun at first, but after punching up and putting down the umpteenth goon, it gets stale quickly. Level design is acceptable -- mostly alleys, dockyards, sewers and construction sites. Although the other character joins you most of the time, you do get to branch out on your own at certain points in the story.

So, uninspired, "same"-y play in forgettable locations require me to pin this as a 6.8 out of 10 -- acceptable, but only for true fans of The Watchmen or of the beat-em-up genre of gaming. Let's just say I had much more fun playing Wolverine (mini-review above), with its myriad of problems, than this game. And also that I don't feel inspired to play the recently released Watchmen Part 2.

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2009, 03:02:45 PM »
So today I review Still Life 2, sequel to a game I reviewed a year ago. Unfortunately, this sequel just did not have the fresh spark that the first emitted. Sure, the first had an over-reliance on some typical adventure game cliches, but the background story more than made up for it: you played as Victoria McPherson, an over-eager FBI profiler searching for clues that somehow lead to a case your own grandfather had in 1920s Prague. The fact that you played as both characters in both times made for an interesting combination.

Still Life 2 also has you play as two characters -- a now jaded and bitter Victoria, and whiny TV news reporter Paloma Hernandez. See, we've already lost the connection. Sure, in this case, you play as both the cat (Victoria) and the mouse (Paloma) and see both sides of the killer's profile. But it all seems so contrived. The killer has a preponderance of using gimmicks, timers, cameras and sadism, straight out of the Saw movies. And this back-and-forth between both women's views is the most interesting part of the game!

I think the other downfall is that rather than experience interesting, exotic or foreign locales like in the original, you're stuck in a deserted farmhouse for the duration. You will traipse past the same staircase at least 20 times or more, whereas I can't recall any part of the first game repeating itself like this. And even more monotonous are the use of your crime lab equipment, which you have to use at least three different ways on more than 40 objects you pick up. It just seems like the first was more original in this context.

Now before you think I'm completely against the sequel, I'll just state that I was glad I played it. It wrapped up who the killer was from the original game (I KNEW IT!!), and does spin out a fairly intricate storyline of the new killer. But the same location and boring use of the crime scene equipment bog down an otherwise decent adventure game. It's no Still Life, but it's better than having your blood used to paint a canvas. 7.3 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2009, 12:13:57 PM »
Next up (I told you I had a bunch to catch up on!!) is Terminator Salvation, a movie tie-in game. Unlike most of the critics out there, I actually enjoyed playing this -- it's definitely the best Terminator game since Future Shock and its follow-up Skynet back in 1995-96, and tons better than the recent travesty War of the Machines in 2003.

HOWEVER ... if you paid $50 for this game, you were robbed, plain and simple. See, the game sports AT MOST 5 hours of playtime -- I don't know any modern game that expects you to pay so much for so little. That alone takes several points off the score for me.

The game is played from a third-person perspective, and feels more like Gears of War (reviewed by yours truly) than anything else. It's got a cover system, but I actually liked this better than GOW's sticky cover where you can't ever get unstuck to start shooting at someone. You also can shoot over and around cover, which was cool. However, the variation of enemies is pretty limited -- I think there's only maybe 5-6 types of enemies. This unfortunately is a simple downfall of the Terminator universe -- it's humans vs. machines, and they don't need much variety to do what needs to be accomplished.

The rails segments were okay, but not outstanding, and you're led by the leash wherever you need to go, and whatever you need to do. (Red dots on enemies indicate where you need to shoot....) I think the highlight is where you stumble upon an underground human colony in the subways, and you must put up a stand against the robots until everyone can escape. Everything else was pretty much a blur.

The storyline is adequate, and takes place before the movie, with John Connor starting to stand up for himself and for humankind, so it follows his tracks through the day to meet up with a downed set of pilots. Because he had the gumption to strike out on his own, he makes a name for himself, and lets the other human resistance feel like they can actually win against the machines.

So, gameplay is actually not bad, but the short length, limited number of enemy variation and hand-holding bring the score down to 6.8 out of 10 for me. Only get it at $30 or less.

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2009, 09:47:13 AM »
Okay, with all the low-scoring games I've already mentioned, I thought it was time to introduce one I especially liked: Prince of Persia (2008), a self-titled and relaunched look at the venerable POP series. I loved this new version and the changes that were made, although some will decry its more simplistic and forgiving design. Personally, it is the only POP game (and I've played all the previous trilogy in the long-standing series -- Sands of Time, Warrior Within, and Two Thrones) that I was able to actually finish. The previous three always let me get to about the halfway/two-thirds point, and then would require me to complete the most intricate moves known to man -- challenging with a gamepad, and nearly impossible with a mouse/keyboard setup.

This is discouraging as a player, because I WANT to go deeper into the game ... I want to see how my character grows and changes. But when you create something so difficult that only fanboys/girls with 16 digits can possibly complete, you create animosity in us regular players. If you want to create difficult gaming for the uber-elite, take the latest Tomb Raiders' approach: make extras and secrets optional for only those players who truly want to do them, and or have the mad skillz to do so.

That said, this new POP does get a little stale at times, because you basically have to play each of the 30+ levels twice -- once to "cleanse" the level, and another to get all the energy balls necessary to build your skills to move to new levels. The new powers were kind of cool though, and having the Princess along to assist you when you fell was a nice asset. Level designs are brilliant, fantastical and soaring, and the new cel-shading technique to the main characters is pretty cool.

POP is a worthy retread of the series, yet puts a fresh coat of paint on the jalopy and upgrades the gameplay for everyone to be able to finish it. The lengthy (20+ hour) game provided lots of value, and it was a fun tromp with the Prince. 9.1 out of 5

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2009, 07:30:05 PM »
Cold Fear drops you on an ocean tanker to learn what has happened to the crew. Last contact indicated some genetic experiments "may" have gone awry. Well, at least the scientists were smart enough to leave the experiments in the deep ocean.

Cold Fear is a (mostly) third-person action shooter that occasionally has a few parts that don't allow you to change your camera angle. It starts out on the derelict tanker, where you've got to figure out the mystery of what happened to the people onboard, and to gain an ally. Then it switches scene and places you on a deep-sea oil derrick, where you learn the rest of the mystery, and how to stop it.

The story kept me interested, and it was pretty fun to play through, although I couldn't quite finish the finale monster battle. You'll do lots of wandering in your treks, and might get lost, so a walkthrough is not a bad idea. 8.6 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2009, 05:23:20 PM »
I found Reservoir Dogs to be a delightful romp as a criminal in the game based on the cult movie. Sure, the graphics aren't great, but they're serviceable, and you should be able to pick this game up on the cheap. The game mixes on-foot levels, where you play each of the various characters who have been separated after the failed diamonds robbery attempt, and then has various driving missions, which to me were the most fun because of the many "Starsky and Hutch" type moments where your car gets some air.

While on foot, you can choose to take hostages, engage in some primal butchery (stab the hostage in the head with an icepick, pistol whip, bludgeon, etc.) that freezes all the cops on your tail, or attempt some one-on-one shootouts (which you'll probably fail). Levels are basically back-street alleys, although there were some "outside" scenes as well. Depending on how you play (kill everyone as a "psychotic", minimize your damage as a "professional", or mix it up as a "thug"), you'll get a different ending.

Although this game has gotten butchered by reviews, I'm going to say it was a blast for me to play, and I played many of the driving levels several times because of the visceral thrill they gave. 8.1 out of 10
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 06:32:28 AM by bobdog »

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2009, 11:18:46 AM »
Cool your jets -- all 5 of you who are reading this!!  :'(  I'm back today with Manhunt. I did not think I would have any desire to play this, but after starting, I just got hooked. Manhunt is another of those "gore" games where you must dispatch your enemies in the most gruesome manner possible, depending on the "tool" you have in hand. Have a plastic bag? Then smother your foe and knee them in the face. Hammer? Perfect for digging out cranial matter. Baseball bat? Aim that melon for the fences. Shiv/icepick/knife? Perfect for eye sockets. This is NOT a game for the faint-hearted, in other words.

The story is that you're a criminal about to spend some time in the slammer, but a "freak" accident frees you and puts you on the run. Unfortunately, your "benefactor" is a sadomasochistic video director, and he controls the reins to your freedom. If you want to exit an area, you must do as he asks. Maybe you have to free someone held by a gang and bring them to the door. Maybe you have to kill a certain number of foes in the gruesome ways mentioned above. Regardless, the stealthy approach is key to surviving in this third-person "sneaker," and you'll pass through a variety of environments before finally meeting your benefactor: slums, city streets, run-down zoo, dilapidated house. It's all good and it's got plenty of atmosphere that makes you afraid to move forward, except for the need to get out.

Gameplay is very challenging, and you only have savepoints to mark your progress. Some areas will be be a bear to get through and you'll have to tackle them multiple times. However, sticking that over-the-top finishing move is delicious fun nonetheless. 8.6 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2009, 10:07:37 AM »
After a brief hiatus, and in recognition of Silver Sorrow's recent Mirrors Edge review, I wanted to provide my own take on this title. As Silver alludes, this game is not to everyone's liking because it has a huge difficulty factor to it. However, it provides a fresh gameplay idea in taking parkour into the First-Person view.

If the game could have lowered the number of challenges and just let you tool around in the game world, it would have appealed to more people. In between the timed puzzles, the overly challenging gunplay and the forced fisticuffs, there are some elements of pure gaming bliss, when it's just you against the environment: jumping, sliding, hitting wallruns -- for me, it was these rare opportunities that kept me moving forward.

The story was interesting, and had a nice twist towards the end into who your real enemy was -- I'd like to see it continued, at any rate, if they could lower the aggravation levels significantly. Also, change out the crappy animated scenes. 8.8 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2009, 05:09:07 PM »
Here's another recent release: Velvet Assassin, which has had some punishingly harsh reviews. although I didn't have any major problems with it. The gameplay is akin to Thief and Hitman, played in third-person view and set during World War 2. Your female character is an espionage agent set behind enemy lines, so you do a lot of sneaking around, but also occasionally must get into an enemy uniform to move past certain areas.

The sneaking is an area where Velvet Assassin gets the most complaints, as you must be quiet to approach your Nazi foes. The only way to do this is to sneak SLOOOOOWWWWWLLLLYYY up on your enemies, and often times they turn around before you've had an opportunity to reach them, which requires you to then rush them and hope you can stab them before being shot or the alarm sounds. However, in some areas the stealth works fairly well, as you can hide in shadow within arm's reach of enemies, and then just step out and whack them as they traipse by. Generally, if you can knock out the lights or turn them off, you'll have a better shot of survival.

The game offers some bits of adventure elements, where you must gather certain items, or do certain actions before you can progress in the game. You also get bonus points for finding certain intel items throughout each level that can be applied to your stealth skills. Occasionally you get to pull out a gun or sniper rifle and go to town, but those areas are fairly rare. However, toward the end of the game, you are stranded in a church without ANY weapons (you're actually running around in your skivvies), and this area took several hours to get through, because the game is sometimes sparing with its savepoints. But boy, getting past everything really tests your stealth skills to the utmost.

I actually rather enjoyed this game, so how about 7.4 out of 10.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 02:27:05 PM by bobdog »

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2009, 09:57:47 AM »
You want the truth?? You are unable to be handling an approximation of the truth. You also cannot handle Exodus from the Earth, but for completely unrelated reasons, but mostly because it's a Russian-designed piece of crapola. The fact that it came from the Russians is important for two reasons, which I'll detail in just a bit.

Within the first 2 minutes of Exodus, we learn that Earth's sun is going supernova in only 20 years -- not in the millions of years that we expected. So humanity's only hope for survival lies in the depths of space. Conveniently, one technology company has the answer to survival -- a synthetic drug named AX, which will alter human DNA to allow us to survive.

Pretty compelling, right?!

Well, if so, please tell me why you spend the next 8 HOURS on an espionage mission to figure out if this is all true?! That's right, Exodus presents you with the apocalypse and then has you meander through chemical plants, storage corridors, offices, and even the requisite FPS staple -- the warehouse filled with containers.... Then you enter an OUTDOOR container area, another office/lab setting and then guess what... you get to retrace your steps through every fricking level again as you escape the complex!!!  >:(

It's not until two-thirds into the game that it gets interesting, as you finally get outside the office complex and then get to drive a 4-wheel rover through canyons and blockades to reach a craft taking off to the source of where AX is found. This new planet is of course alien and much more interesting than earth, but only one-third of your time is spent here. You'll finally realize you've been suckered and then the end credits take over.

So I said it was important to note that the game is Russian in origin for two reasons. First, it's bloody hard -- expose yourself for any length of time and you'll get killed within moments. Spawning shooters with ESP who know where you are located are par for the course. I don't know if it's because Russians hate themselves, hate other people, or are just pissed that they have to eat borscht, but the difficulty level in any Russian game is greatly elevated from normal U.S. standards.

The second reason is that the language translation to English in both writing and the voice-overs is so awfully bad, it's funny. But this is the only time you'll laugh -- the rest of the time, you'll be cursing that you have to go through the same scene multiple times because some unseen sniper keeps hitting you from beyond your vision. Oh, that's right -- no quicksave, but only save points that you have to gain.

So ultimately, Exodus is a true disappointment, in every part. Boring, tedious gameplay; inability to implement a unique story; confusing level designs; and horrible translations all add up to a bad game -- 6.3 out of 10.

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2009, 11:23:58 AM »
Damnation is another game that's just been assailed and reamed in reviews, mostly fairly, although I did find some fun elements to it (thanks to Grey Mouser for the loan!!). The highlight of the game has to be the huge levels that you play around in -- jumping, ziplining, and shooting stuff up. The design is interesting and could essentially be considered an open game world within each level, as you have unlimited paths to take from one point to the next. Unfortunately, the huge levels are a detriment when the enemy AI is so shoddy, and in many parts of levels actually nonexistent -- it makes much of the levels seem empty and shallow.

Another drawback is the movement of your third-person character, which seems to be missing some key scripting to allow it to navigate effectively, especially in tight places and up ladders. And when your character is standing on a ledge and flips backward up into the next story, it just looks extremely odd.

But I was able to get past all these details because I found the original story intriguing: essentially, you are in an alternate U.S.'s Civil War that has never ended, and weapons have now evolved into a steampunk atmosphere, with robot troops and drugged humans under the rule of a corporate despot. Your goal is to infiltrate his resources and stop him any way possible. Along the way you'll get some comrades for various missions, and you'll be granted some mystical powers to aid your efforts.

For a former Unreal Tournament mod to make the big time, it's an impressive effort. However, it never should have been considered a AAA title and originally priced at $50, because all the elements just don't add up to a good gamer ROI. It should have been dropped at a value/budget $30 price point, and I think then that the backlash wouldn't have been quite so negative. It still would have been bad, but not *SO* bad. In all, I enjoyed it for what it was, but I'd rate it 6.7 out of 10.

Offline GreyMouser

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2009, 11:54:20 PM »
Damnation is another game that's just been assailed and reamed in reviews, mostly fairly, although I did find some fun elements to it (thanks to Grey Mouser for the loan!!).

What loan?....:realconfused:
I gave it to you for keeps......I hated the game! :throwup:
And have no desire ever to play it again...:P

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