Category Archives: Review

Don’t Escape 2 – How will you survive?

Don’t Escape 2 is the “sequel” to Don’t Escape 1, created by the Scriptwelder, who is also known for his series Seep Sleep. It’s a flash game that combines two or even three different gaming genre. It’s a point and click adventure game, a zombie-survival game as well as a bit of a management game. The mechanics are similar to those in Don’t Escape 1, which essentially means looking for/clicking at things with your mouse, trying to figure out how to combine some items with other items, and in what order, so that you have the best chance of survival. I am reviewing this game because with the large number of different zombie games out there, especially recent titles, this was the one that caught the most of my attention, and I will tell you why.

Don't Escape 2

The short introduction tells you all you have to know about what is about to happen. Good Luck!

Unturned – Early Access Preview

When myself and my friends decided it was time for a gaming night I remembered watching Yamimash playing a game called Unturned. Graphically the game was not impressive, but when the video started off with Yami and the gang driving around in a car, looking for supplies I wanted to give it a go as well. So, we downloaded the game (it was only 50 MBs in download size) ran it without a hitch and jumped face first into the world of cubes and zombies. So, was it worth the three or four hours we spent playing it? Is it still fun now as it was back then?

Unturned

While this screeny was staged you should normally way more zombies chasing after you.

The Moon Silver – A Short Story in Video Game Format

Over the years Video Games have been more and more often used as a way of telling stories in novel ways. Moon Silver is another one of such stories. Rather than focusing on quick-paced gameplay or flashy graphics it tries to tell us a story, but there is a certain catch. Moon Silver does not tell you the whole story, instead it gives you numerous pieces and you have to gather them up to then realise what exactly has happened, and perhaps most importantly learn who the character is. I have decided to approach this review as one would approach a book or a piece of art, I will focus on the story itself, how it was presented and only interfere or interject where something has clearly broken my sense of immersion.

The Moon Silver

What is this mysterious room, and its role in the story?

RAGE – Review

Today I will be reviewing RAGE, developed ID Software by and published by Bethesda Softworks, Square Enix & Aspyr Media.

Storyline:
Generally I love post-apocalyptic games, they usually look cool and it’s fun to find out what happened and discover all of the lore of the world and get to know the state humanity is in now etc. This game has none of that. At all. You are asleep in stasis for hundreds of years, wake up and are thrown into the thick of things with no explanation whatsoever, no recap on what’s happened to the earth or the human race while you have been under, beyond a few vague references to the games main bad guys, who are creatively referred to as the “Authority” (that’s right up there with naming an unobtainable metal “Unobtanium” by the way).
Score: 1/10

Kenshi – Preview

What I personally like about new Studios is that they want to be-dazzle the audience with something new. In the case of Kenshi what allured me was a mildly big world, with an interesting combat mechanic, and the option to either go Solo, become a “Band” or create your own Outpost or Town. While it’s still not quite there (plenty of bugs, some crashes, and that general feeling of “There could yet be more!”) I found it enthralling for a number of reasons, and here you will learn what they are.

Kenshi

Kenshi’s map is sizeable, and one of the most impressive technical feats in the game is that you can jump from one end of the map to the other with very short loading times.

Deus Ex: The Fall – Review

Deus Ex: The Fall

Today’s review is going to be the just released (18th March 2014) Action RPG/FPS Deus Ex: The Fall. Deus Ex: The Fall was developed by Eidos Montreal & N-Fusion Interactive, and published by Square Enix.

Storyline:
Deus Ex: The Fall picks up where the novel Deus Ex: The Icarus Effect left off. Ben Saxon and his newfound partner, Anna Kelso, are on the run from the Illuminati and their top assassination team, a covert squad of elite super soldiers codenamed The Tyrants.
Ben and Anna are laying low in an effort to avoid certain death at the hands of Tyrants, but soon their supply of neuropozyne, a drug required by augmented people to help cope with their mechanical limbs or implants, begins to run low. Ben takes to the streets of Panama in an effort to procure a lasting supply of this vital drug before Neuropozyne withdrawal finishes what the Tyrants have failed to do.
Soon, however, Ben is embroiled in a plot that involves not only Belltower, his former employers, but also the Tyrants and the Illuminati. Can Ben survive long enough to uncover their plot and stop their latest scheme, or will this be where he falls.
Score: 5/10

Grandia – Review

Grandia

Grandia 1 is a turn-based JRPG developed by Game Arts and published Ubisoft by in 1997 for the Sega Saturn and the PlayStation 1.

Storyline:
The storyline revolves around Justin, a young boy who wants to become an adventurer like his father and grandfather. His best friend is a young girl called Sue, who loyally follows him on all his adventurers and even follows him against his will when Justin leaves for his first real adventure. Justin possesses a jewel left to him by his father; a gem that both father and son are convinced is a real piece of the legendary Spirit Stone. The danger begins when the military, led by General Baal, targets Justin after learning that he has the last piece of the spirit stone, and soon a race against time begins as Justin and his new friends struggle to stop General Baal’s mad quest for power, a quest that could unleash Gaia upon the world once more. Can Justin and his friends unlock the secrets of the ancient Icarian’s, the mystical spirits and the legendary spirit stone before it is too late, before Gaia awakens and unleashes his wrath upon the world for a second time?
Score: 10/10

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Down the Drain

I suppose there’s no harm in admitting I was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan as a kid. I watched the cartoons, collected the action figures, had the PJs and bedclothes, went to see the movies, collected the comics, and of course I had to have the games when they released. As with anyone who played it, the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES was a matter of finding workarounds and ways to game the system considering its difficulty level. The sequel was a little more the right tone, having been taken from the arcade version of the game.

Remember Me – Better Off Forgotten

What we’ve been seeing with video games over the course of the last few years is a sort of event horizon where there ceases to be a dividing line between a movie and a game, as evidenced by such emergent titles as Heavy Rain and Indigo Prophecy (with a new title to be soon released from the same studio). Back when the processing capacity of a computer or console was so very limited, a short cut scene or static image upon completing a level would be the player’s reward. The opportunity for storytelling has increased manifold as computer technology has advanced. But the compartmentalization of the game development process has brought about a pitfall which unfortunately many titles fall into.

remember_me cover

Good video game development involves incorporating puzzle-solving and skill elements into what can seem to the player to be an open-ended narrative, but what all too often ends up happening is that you’re directed by a series of arrows to complete an obstacle course and fight a couple of monsters in order to trigger the next cut scene and advance the plot a step. The game and story should be seamlessly interwoven into one another, but regrettably in the case of Remember Me, I’d probably be better off watching a compilation of the cut scenes on Youtube.

For what it’s worth, Remember Me has some excellent ideas, the core concept being that a future company in Paris has discovered a way to digitize human memories, allowing them for download, upload, transfer, manipulation, and even theft. This is brought about by the Sensen, a sort of holographic implant sprouting from the back of the neck which allows memory transfer through thin air, ineptly thinking to avoid all the plotholes associated with the biology and technology that might be needed to make such a thing a reality, taking what could be a concrete and visceral concept and making it too nebulous and airy-fairy for most people’s liking. Sculpting a perfect past by means of buying new memories becomes an addiction of the social elite and trickles down to the lower classes, who bankrupt themselves and create a new sub-human underclass of memory addicts who don’t even know who they are anymore.

It hits the mark well as a dystopian cyberpunk game because it emphasizes the militant order imposed by the corporate powers that be while at the same time showing how utterly little they care for the core concept of one’s humanity. We as both the character and the audience get a strong sense of helplessness and weakness in the face of this vast, overgrown, corrupt machine which eats people up and shits them out. But whoever planned it doesn’t have a good grasp of storytelling, as they fail to set the scene properly by showing us the whole of the city in its decrepit splendor. Consequently, while I know I’m running around through Paris, it’s not like I would’ve recognized it unless I’d been told that’s where I was. The location adds nothing to story. The same goes for much of the gameplay and scenery.

And who on earth decided to rip off Star Wars for the soundtrack? With the sharp clatter of drums, hailing of trumpets, and shriek of violin strings surging up at the slightest notice, the only thing that was missing was the familiar and somehow calming beeps of R2-D2.

And whoever wrote the character’s dialogue needs to go to a corner bar and listen to the drunks for a couple of weeks so he can figure out how real people talk. I’d prefer leetspeak over the ham-fisted soap opera-ish twaddle the game’s characters trot out. As the player, you are Nilin, a French-born British-accented revolutionary-turned guinea pig-turned revolutionary whose memory has been taken, and you must find out who you are while being guided by the only other active member of your cabal, with the ultimate intention of bringing down the company responsible for establishing this pseudo-new world order. But we’ve yet to identify the bad guy behind it all, or even identify an evil plot. The company is a world power with its own military. What it could want to obtain through evil means that it couldn’t obtain through perfectly legal ones boggles the mind and leaves me thinking that the game’s writer just couldn’t come up with a decent goal for the bad guys to get involved in an actionable plot. Consequently, you fight the company because of its unethical but perfectly legal business practices, and I feel a bit stupid conducting industrial espionage trying to take down the futuristic equivalent of Wal-Mart just because they’re not nice people.

Just as the leaper's existence is a poorly explained mystery, so do I present it without further illumination.

Just as the leaper’s existence is a poorly explained mystery, so do I present it without further illumination.

I would call it a saving grace were it worth the 10+ hours of work, though it’s not, but the one innovative approach to gameplay is memory remix, where Nilin dives into a person’s mind, replays a given memory, and then alters it as if one were editing a film in order to make the person think something that didn’t happen did. Aside from this, you engage in many hours of parkour which would feel like Assassin’s Creed if you had an open-world environment to roam instead of being told where to go constantly, taking away the spontaneity that’s the entire point of parkour. And occasionally you also get into fistfights superficially reminiscent of the 10 on 1 fights from Sleeping Dogs ala Bruce Lee. The developers tout their combo lab combat system as revolutionary, in which you can mix and match attacks to create your own attack combinations which do damage, heal you, or create status effects. What you’re really doing is putting pegs into holes. There are five combos that you unlock over the course of the game and will be carved into your soul given the mindnumbing frequency they are used. But with a limited number of attacks you can plug in, one combo becomes your damage dealer, the other heals you, the third establishes status effects, and the remainder are never used because they are too long and you are always interrupted before you can complete them.

True dystopian cyberpunk titles are few and far between, meaning I really had my hopes up for Remember Me. But the combination of high-tech low-life isn’t there, nor is there the cast of supporting characters and corporate intrigue one needs to show the many shades of grey inherent in a world where money is all that matters. This is what happens when each department in a development company is given a job and a deadline with no one who has the vision and leadership capabilities to keep everyone working together and all headed in the right direction. The compartmentalization of responsibilities in game production has led to the deaths of many titles in the past; Remember Me will not be the last to fall to bureaucracy. What it sought to achieve should indeed be remembered, but what it actually managed is best left forgotten.

Rating:4/10
Pros:Excellent premise. High quality graphics. Sweeping soundtrack
Cons:Poor storytelling and execution. Boring gameplay.
Game producer's website:Dontnod Entertainment
Official website:Remember Me
Game available at:

Frozen Hearth – Some Good, Some Bad

This is a game I was meant to review ages ago, but because of issues I have been having with it I had a mismatch of emotions. Frozen Hearth is an RTS game, with a unique take on your General’s/Hero’s special abilities. As you fight you gain experience points that you can then spend on different abilities and attributes. It’s what we had in Warcraft 3, but more complex. The story of the campaign is interesting but it was mainly the campaign that held me back, together with graphical issues, and below I will explain it all.

Frozen Hearth

It might not look pretty, but games do not have to look good in order to be enjoyable.