Author Topic: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread  (Read 54018 times)

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #450 on: May 01, 2017, 06:01:45 AM »
Shadow Complex Remastered is a 2.5D action platformer, similar in tone to the old Metroidvania types of games. Graphically, the game looks good, but isn’t overly enhanced: textures are a mix of forested outdoor, indoor compounds and aquatic habitats – a secret enemy base, in other words.

As for the story, you and your girlfriend are hiking in the wilderness when you get attacked by armed thugs. You manage to escape, but she gets taken captive. So, you’ve got to get her out, and then both of you can hopefully escape.

What makes Shadow Complex fun is the diversity of gear that you gradually obtain, and the specific ways in which you use them. Your flashlight is key to understanding the problems you’ll face, and then you need a specific piece of gear to tackle the problem. For example, if your flashlight shows a yellow grate, you can shoot it with your rifle; a green wall requires a grenade; purple mechanisms can be plugged with goo; and a red door requires a missile. And you don’t get the gear all at once, so you’ll often see another exit or hidey-hole that you’ll just have to get to later when you’ve got the right gear. Probably the most challenging “problems” were blue crates, which require you to have super-speed shoes, and also enough space to hit super-speed.

Other gear included a limited version of a jet pack that initially allows one “double-jump” and later a second “double-jump”. You’ll also get a climbing rope that attaches to some surfaces within a limited distance. And finally you get scuba gear, which comes in extremely handy.

The other fun part of the game is the actual map’s design, which requires some thoughtful navigation, especially when you want to get back to some secrets left in your first pass. The intricate layers, and various ways that you can get to different zones of the map, are really fun and don’t seem like work.

In the end, I spent about 12 hours scouring through the many layers and secrets of Shadow Complex. Some secrets were just too challenging for me to get, but I got nearly 90%, so I was pleased with that. The game is fun to explore, and the story made me want to keep going forward. 7.8 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #451 on: May 08, 2017, 08:24:08 AM »
Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is (hopefully?) the final component of the Saints Row story, concentrating on Gat and Lindsay as they enter Hell to save our main character from SR4. And unfortunately, it was my least favorite game in the series.

The best aspect to me was gaining flight and drift powers, so that I could soar up into the air, start flying around buildings, rocks, bridges and girders, while collecting power orbs. If this were the whole game, I would have actually been pretty satisfied. However, you also have to engage in fisticuffs and gunplay, and I really found these scenarios not very fun at all.

I’m not sure where everything went wrong, but after the over-the-top antics of SR3, followed by the near-invincibility of your superhero character in SR4, Gat Out of Hell just doesn’t really know what to do with itself other than toss even more preposterous scenarios at you. A shame, but this is one I can’t really recommend, even for Saints fans. 6.4 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #452 on: May 15, 2017, 10:19:07 AM »
Despite the name, Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown by Cliffhanger Productions is not related to the Shadowrun games of Harebrained Schemes, including Shadowrun Returns, Dragonfall and Hong Kong. In fact, Chronicles is actually the second iteration of Shadowrun Online, and its roots show heavily. All these Shadowrun games are isometric action-adventures, but the quality between them is significant.

Boston Lockdown takes place in the Boston area, and you have a city block as a main hub between main and side missions. Here you can unload items from previous missions, gear up for future missions, and get status updates and new mission objectives. You will constantly have a select group of mission providers, but as you enter missions, you either must find online co-op players, or you must select from a group of pre-rolled characters. This is one area where the Shadowrun games differ, in that you don’t always get the same list of NPCs to add to your mission.

Storywise, it’s a somewhat familiar trope of big industry trying to enact a huge cover-up, but set against the backdrop of the Shadowrun universe, it is at least compelling enough to put in 30+ hours over the campaign.

For gameplay, the difficulty scales to the harder end, and I would find myself losing many missions because I didn’t have the right skillsets, or because they just weren’t high level enough with sufficient health points. Eventually, I realized that the best course of action was to bring along at least one Rigger, who could then plop down several drones; or to include a Shaman with their spirit animal.

Where the game strikes out for me is the abundant overuse of the same settings for missions. Some maps I know I played through at least 6-8 times, and one at least a dozen times. Unique settings were few and far between.

In all, Boston Lockdown is an average game, that only manages to eke by on its Shadowrun setting. If this were any other property, I wouldn’t have been as enthusiastic about completing it. 6.8 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #453 on: May 22, 2017, 06:16:06 AM »
Magnetic: Cage Closed is yet another Portal clone, where you are stuck in a boxy facility and provided with some form of “gun” that affects elements within the facility. In this case, it’s all about magnets, but I felt like Magrunner: Dark Pulse accomplished this mechanic much more effectively (and also was much more attractive graphically).

Magnetic forces you to run backwards the majority of the time, because your “gun” emits magnetic waves to either repel or attract objects. So on the floor or the wall will be a magnetic element where you have to shoot your gun, and this results in spending all your time never knowing what’s behind you. The facility also has its share of deathtraps including poison mist in the bottom of some chambers, spikes that pop up if you get too close, flames and electric arcs.

Graphically, the game is pretty mediocre – it gets the job done, but only just barely. Rooms are mostly blocky in shape and design and in all, it took about 5-6 hours to get through my first play-through.

Where Magnetic excels is in its story, and a nicely executed twist at the end. You have been sentenced to death, and only by participating in the trials will you have a shot at living another day, if not actually gaining your freedom by completing the trials. Mid-game, you can break out and see other parts of the facility that are normally hidden from view (and use all your previously learned skills). But it’s the final twist that really resonates, and I won’t mention it to avoid spoilers, but I was seriously impressed with it. Add in seven (!!) separate ending options, and some missing levels you can’t get on one single play-through, and Magnetic has some replay value.

It’s an average Portal clone, but the story and final twist bring it higher than others that I’ve played. 6.7 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #454 on: May 30, 2017, 05:39:25 AM »
Stacking is a cute game from Double Fine Productions, and carries on that developer’s unique, weird and engaging concepts. In this case, you are the smallest in a family of Russian stacking dolls, but you can jump inside dolls that are just slightly larger than you, and so on – each of which may have certain skills that you’ll need to get past blocked areas. And the game also accommodates different skills to accomplish those tasks.

For example, early on, you must get inside a locked lounge at the train station, and you’re informed that you have 3 options. In one pass, I seduced the guard with a courtesan, jumped out of her and into the guard, and then unlocked the door to the lounge. In another, I jumped into a mechanic and had him open a grate along the wall that led to the lounge. It’s these kinds of inventive options that made the game so fun and involving.

The game’s settings are diverse and interesting as well, with your character visiting the train station (which serves as a sort of hub for the other maps), a zeppelin, a boat, an island, and more (as well as the Land of the Hobos in the free DLC map). The game really reflects the Russian atmosphere in its design, look and feel, as well as the toys and games of which the dolls co-exist. Along the way, you also can collect “sets” of dolls. All your exploits and your collections are placed in a gorgeous Hall of Fame at the train station, which you can visit at any time.

Stacking takes a unique concept and imbues it with a lot of heart from the story of a family trying to reunite and take on a despotic leader. Add in the absolutely unconventional gameplay of hopping into other characters, and the ability to use their skills to advance your story, and we’ve got a winner of a game here. Double Fine continues to impress with their innovation and storytelling. 8.2 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #455 on: June 05, 2017, 05:51:34 AM »
Though it came out in 2012, Primordia feels like something from the mid-90s with its pixelated art style and graphics. That said, the story excels in delivering a sobering version of the future where all humans have died out, and the only thing remaining are the robots they left behind. You are Horatio, and you fix things. But when your power source is stolen, you have no choice but to seek it out, following the thief to the last remaining city of Metropol.

However, the lights in Metropol aren’t so bright any more …. What you find is a city teeming with mystery, and possibly new friends and companions. The story is exceptional and drives the plot forward.

The adventure gaming elements are sometimes challenging enough that you may need to seek a walk-through, but generally can be reasoned out if you concentrate. I really enjoyed this one, and although you can seek out one of the SEVEN endings, I went for the most positive one for me, where Horatio returned home, accompanied by some of the friends he made along the way. Definitely worth it if you value good adventure point-and-clicks. 7.9 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #456 on: June 12, 2017, 01:01:25 PM »
Even when I was dying while playing Tiny & Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers, I never once thought to quit, as the quirky gameplay and funky story kept me intrigued enough to move forward. In essence, this game is about underwear – Big has taken Grandpa’s special underwear and now wears it on his head like a helmet. And most importantly, the underwear has POWERS. You play as Big’s older brother Tiny, and it’s up to you to retrieve the underwear and ensure Big doesn’t do something stupid.

The setting in a desert is helpful as you learn about Tiny’s own skills – you can cut rocks with a laser-cutter, you can grapple pieces and pull them toward you, and you can also attach small rockets to rocks and shoot them away from you. And with these skills, you’ll need to climb mountains and enter lost temples (which themselves honor the power of the underwear.) Big will occasionally pop up and force you to fight him, which generally requires you to utilize all your skills to make it past him.

The game is relatively short at 3-4 hours, but I’ve read that this might be a first episode of several, and after playing it, I hope so. The gameplay is fun, the humor is funny, and the cel-shaded art style is topnotch. And you can generally find this on Steam for very cheap, so you don’t have any excuses not to try this one out. 7.7 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #457 on: June 19, 2017, 08:40:03 AM »
Billed as a “horror adventure game”, Alpha Polaris over-reaches a bit in that description, but it does offer a unique story set in the Arctic. The game wants to be “The Thing” but doesn’t offer any real horror or suspense to back it up. Yes, an Arctic oil explorer has accidentally released the spirit of a Wendigo boogey-man, but the dreamtime snippets that you occasionally experience don’t truly justify a “horror” rating.

That said, the story is solid, and the adventure elements make you think about how to accomplish a diversity of tasks, from trapping a polar bear, to breaking metals down to elemental dust, to tripping a busted generator. It also introduces a love story (with some unfortunately bad character models having sex), which is at the heart of the mystery.

It’s a quick play-through but I’d only get it on very deep discount, if you have a real deep adventure gaming itch with nothing else to fill it. 6.3 out of 10