Author Topic: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread  (Read 57825 times)

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3260
  • Avatar of Curiousness
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

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3260
  • Avatar of Curiousness
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

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3260
  • Avatar of Curiousness
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

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3260
  • Avatar of Curiousness
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

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3260
  • Avatar of Curiousness
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

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3260
  • Avatar of Curiousness
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

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3260
  • Avatar of Curiousness
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

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3260
  • Avatar of Curiousness
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

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3260
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #458 on: June 26, 2017, 10:13:12 AM »
I was really impressed with Dex, an open-world 2D side-scroller based in a cyberpunk setting. The story is really tight, the main and supporting characters all have depth and great voice-acting, and the overall dystopian location is memorable and complex enough to get lost on occasion.

You play as Dex, who is targeted by the government for … you don’t really know why. But after escaping through the sewers and meeting your new contact in the city, he has some tasks for you. You must gain special gear to allow you to hack into items and cyberspace, and then upgrade your weapons. You gain experience points over time that you can apply to various skills, enhancing your health, weapons or hacking skills; learning how to lockpick or haggle more effectively; etc.

Where Dex really excels is in giving you different side quests with a diversity of folks. Remember, this is a 2D side-scroller, folks – that’s not generally the norm. Maybe they want to know why a local restaurant was closed, or whether there are some special herbs sticking around a guarded warehouse, or why a has-been celebrity is being stalked. And then I was surprised to find several unknown plans scattered about, and that you could build something with them.

The act of entering cyberspace is a fairly dominant part of the game, including several “boss” battles. When you enter cyberspace, the top-down action is reminiscent of Asteroids, with you trying to dodge and destroy various enemies before you run out of focus. I thought it was a fine representation of hacking – better than some I’ve seen.

In all, I really enjoyed Dex; I had fun with it, and that’s a critical element today. I’d love to see a sequel, maybe even moving into the 3D realm. 8.6 out of 10

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3260
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #459 on: July 03, 2017, 10:43:48 AM »
Astray seems like a simplistic “haunted house” first-person horror game: you’re stuck in a haunted museum and must find out what happened to your uncle. This starts with a fairly easy path to open three locks to the next area, requiring you to figure out some almost challenging puzzles in the three zones of Atlantis, Egypt, and the Demonic Realm. In one of these, you’ll encounter the primary enemy of the game, and they are creepy, although not always effective.

But after opening the three locks, the game does something interesting – it goes slightly more complex, both in the puzzles, and in the state of the story. You see, your uncle was onto something dangerous, and if you follow in his footsteps, you’re going to find the same. All I’ll say, without spoiling the ending, is that I did not expect the finale whatsoever. In other words, I was surprised and in a little bit of awe – no easy thing to an experienced gamer.

The graphics range from really good to really poor, showing that the small team had large dreams but maybe not the skills to implement them. The enemy character can be scary in some instances, and not so much in others. My biggest overall gripe about the graphics is that every time you bend down to enter a duct or go under another object, your character model pops out of the top of the duct, allowing you to see the whole map as if in God-mode.

Astray is mostly a mediocre first-person horror game, but that ending bumps its score up in my estimation. I’d still only recommend this on a deep sale. 6.7 out of 10

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3260
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #460 on: July 10, 2017, 08:09:34 AM »
The first thing that came to my mind in starting up Tormentum: Dark Sorrows is how much it looks like H.R. Giger’s biomechanical work, most notably on the design of the horror creatures in the Alien saga. This point-and-click adventure game is surrounded by echoes of Giger’s type of dark art style, set against a bizarre storyline of amnesia and pain.

Your character awakens in a cage, with another prisoner alongside you, as you hang from a dirigible. You are quickly separated and you next appear in a prison cell. So looking at hotspots begins, and you quickly find that although the puzzles generally make sense, they rely heavily on some extensively warped ideas. Your goal is to somehow escape so that you can visit a location that is embedded in your mind: a set of large hands with a sword stuck in them.

So off you go through the prison into a larger castle, with significant backtracking as you gather various items and try them out elsewhere. In many cases, you see a pictogram defining what you need to do to move forward on that particular puzzle. After escaping the castle, you enter the plains, where you now need to get a train to work. And finally you arrive at your ultimate destination, where you must fend off an invasion.

All your antagonists believe that pain and suffering are the only ways to purify the soul, and they have devised especially cruel methods of ensuring their prisoners are in constant torment. Your actions, when dealing with such unpleasant afflictions, are measured against a higher scale, so that if you personally treat others with respect or with pain, you will be rewarded differently at the end. But be warned that you can only have one “slip” in how you treat others, to gain the more positive ending.

All of this is merely to say that Tormentum is really, really weird, but it also made a lot of sense. A must-play for adventure gamers. 8.9 out of 10

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3260
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #461 on: July 17, 2017, 10:15:18 AM »
Tengami has tons of potential, carrying the concept of a Japanese folding book that you can control within each scene. But it squanders most of that potential during the short course of the game (maybe 3 or so hours), with lots of meandering around. Only in a few cases did I really feel the game rose to the challenge, and actually surprised me.

The first was when I encountered a puzzle requiring me to input 4 Japanese characters. I didn’t immediately understand the solution until I noted that one of the missing characters could only be seen when you folded up one page slowly. Then I went back to the front of the scene and started looking much more carefully to eventually find the four missing characters. This type of puzzle is repeated at the end of the game, but instead, you have to count how many times certain characters are used (and I totally messed up and had to use a guide).

The music is very soothing, but I just didn’t feel like Tengami fully utilized its concept, and was thus disappointed. 6.4 out of 10

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3260
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #462 on: July 24, 2017, 11:00:54 AM »
Not to be confused with GRIN, which went bankrupt in 2009 after releasing Bionic Commando and Terminator Salvation, GriN Gamestudio went bankrupt in 2015 after releasing the first (and apparently, only) act to Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries. It’s easy to see why they went bankrupt. The gameplay is extremely short, at maybe 2-3 hours tops through a city, sewers, and fanciful forest. The writing and poetry that Red spouts is laughable. And the story lacks resonance of why we should care about Red, her father, or her grandmother.

On the plus side, Woolfe is an attractive game with a unique art style tackling a gritty reboot of a children’s story. But while Woolfe attempts to parlay the heavy tones of an American McGee game, it falls far short in the implementation. Only worth playing if you catch it on an extreme sale, because you won’t get much gameplay out of it. 6.3 out of 10

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3260
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #463 on: July 31, 2017, 08:58:57 AM »
Technobabylon is one of the longer adventure point-and-click games I’ve played in a while, taking me several nights to complete. It’s also one of the better adventure games I’ve played due to its interesting and mature storyline set in a near-future setting, incredible voice acting, and challenging but mostly fair puzzles.

To be sure, its art style is very reminiscent of early 1990s pixelated point-and-click games like from LucasArts. But it comes across just fine here because the story leads you where you need to go. I do wish you could highlight interactive hotspots in each scene, since I tire of crawling my mouse all over every item, but the scenes were relatively “clean” and only had a few elements that might be clickable.

As for the story, it’s fairly complicated and brings in the viewpoint of three different characters. It’s a tale of revenge, but also redemption, and ultimately reward. It’s got humor, gore, and a backstory that is fleshed out over the course of the game, detailing the choices that brought us to the current state.

I was extremely impressed with Technobabylon and highly recommend it for adventure gamers. 8.5 out of 10

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3260
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #464 on: August 07, 2017, 08:08:39 AM »
Resident Evil Revelations 2 consists of four episodes, the first of which is relatively cheap, but then the follow-up episodes are much more expensive. Typical crack dealer ploy: get ‘em hooked for cheap, and then reel 'em in afterward. ;-)

I mostly liked this series. It’s unique in that each episode allows you take on the role of two different sets of characters, at two different points in time. You are first introduced to Claire Redfield and her new protégé Moira Burton, as they are kidnaped from an office party and then relocated to an island with no contact to the mainland. As Claire and Moira reach a cliffhanger in Episode One, we then see events from the eyes of Moira’s father Barry Burton, six or seven months later. He lands at the island, fitted to take on an army, and encounters a young girl named Natalia, who is … odd.

Playing from both these perspectives is interesting: Claire and Moira barely seem to make it through each setting, with Moira blinding foes with her flashlight and Claire either knifing them into submission or shooting them if she has any ammo. On the other side, Natalia can see the heat sources of enemies through walls, allowing Barry to shoot ‘em up at his convenience. In both scenarios, these teams cross through the same locales, but with a few differences due to the lapse of time, so it’s neat to see how things have changed.

You accrue experience points that you can then use to upgrade your skills, health, etc. Claire and Barry also can upgrade weapons at specific crafting tables.

It wouldn’t be Resident Evil without tons of zombies and hard-to-kill foes, and Revelations 2 doesn’t disappoint on that front. As I said, playing through Claire and Moira’s campaign, you barely skate by, although the final scene with Barry, I did run out of ammo.

The settings on the island are appropriately creepy and thought provoking. You’ll visit villages, mills, offices, towers and more, with a few physical and environmental puzzles tossed in the mix.

By the time the end of Episode 4 rolled around, I was read to get off the island, but the story was solid and the final antagonist was especially eerie. A couple of small DLCs flesh out some parts of the story that may have had you wondering how certain people got to where they ended up. Overall, I was pretty pleased with this action-horror series. 7.7 out of 10

 

everything