Average User Score: 7.9Feb 26, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The two biggest issues with this game are the QTEs (you come to know me as harboring a fierce hatred for QTEs in general, as they dumb down combat) and the camera. The final boss fight involves a series of QTEs to kill him once and for all, and they absolutely *must* be done within a fraction of a second to do it properly. Even when I pressed Shift to use Blade Mode correctly and on time, the game still punished me as being not quick enough and I lose 25% of my HP. The camera hardly faces the direction you want to, making the fight even more difficult to go through. I could tolerate the level of unfairness in the combat mechanics to a certain degree but the final boss fight was the last straw. The game worked and the story was okay at best, but the QTEs and sloppy camera really put me off. I'd say it's worth checking out if you're a fan of Metal Gear and/or Devil May Cry, but ultimately the issues with this game will piss you off as much as it has done to me (and I was playing on Normal). Otherwise, I recommend skipping it altogether.… Expand
Average User Score: 4.5Dec 17, 2013If there is any word I would sum up this game with it would be "over-hyped." Every single CoDfish that drools over this game are either stupid or zealous fanboys. The game itself is merely a cut-and-paste version of Black Ops and, for the most part, the entire Modern Warfare series.
First off, there's the campaign. Somehow I finally managed to work up the courage to play the damn game, since I played World At War a couple months back. I usually play games for their story and in my honest opinion, the story for this game is absolute garbage. The plot twists were horribly predictable and, despite the very few choices you actually get to make in the game, it feels like many of the crap you get put through is just scripted to happen. The plot is some B-movie story that any idiot writer in Hollow-wood could come up with. The story is so convoluted that it ends up being laughable at how poorly it was written.
The mechanics are downright awful. Like most CoD games I've played, oftentimes the enemies will hit you cheaply. I mean, you're supposed to be a damn SEAL, whose fighting reflexes are supposed to be good. Instead every melee shot requires a brief "cooldown" before you can swing again. Meanwhile, the enemy you're fighting against swings again and again in no time at all (for every one swing you get, the enemy throws *at least* two, usually resulting in a very cheap death). And don't get me started on the same stupid thing that Treyarch just loves to put in that every serious gamer absolutely despises: infinite spawners. This means that enemies will just keep coming endlessly until you're able to actually push through the area (running very low on ammo in the process), and when you pass the area, the enemies just suddenly stop. Infinite spawners are just a cheap way to keep the player "entertained" while doing more cut-and-paste AI bulls*** in the next area. At one point, I even found that a simple jump across a space to an open balcony seemed simple enough if I sprinted the gap. However, I somehow fell short every damn time until I did a regular jump across, which somehow did the trick (I mean REALLY?!?! I couldn't make the jump with a faster sprint-jump?!?! I raged so hard at this obviously-scripted point).
Multiplayer. Hate it. Cut-and-paste Modern Warfare. No skill using weapons that are already stabilized for you. That's all I have to say.
All in all, Black Ops II is a game that was overly hyped with almost no difference between Modern Warfare and Black Ops. I won't be surprised if Ghosts turns out to be more of the same cut-and-paste drivel that Treyarch calls a "much-improved sequel." Just quit lying to us and admit that your modern-era CoD games are all pretty much the same game wearing different skins. Verdict: skip it unless you're an easily-fooled, diehard CoDfish.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.5Aug 19, 2013I first caught wind of this peculiar game when I briefly worked for a small-time website. I decided to look into it for myself about the game and I was impressed by its concept.
Being a checkpoint officer looking at a bunch of immigration documents may seem like it's boring work, but throw in the constant threat of terrorists looking to breach the safety of the wall, coupled with the fact that you have a large family to look after (seeing as how you're the only breadwinner), makes for an unforgettable experience. Trying to follow protocol as quickly and as accurately as possible is much harder than it looks, as your superiors are constantly monitoring your work. For example, the lady you just stamped a visa for had as minor a detail as the wrong gender on her passport. Of course, practice makes (almost) perfect; some days you can get through without a hitch, others you missed a slight detail or two.
The concept is well-built into the story. Especially with a guy named Jorji. Once you've played through it, you'll come to like Jorji as I have. Developer Lucas Pope made a fantastic game and I'll be sure to keep a watch for more title from him.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.6Apr 25, 2013I wasn't sure what to expect when I was first introduced to League of Legends about a year and a half ago. At first, I thought the play style was bit weird and my brother let me play on his account for a while until I made my own account. This was my initiation into the MOBA world. After gaining a lot of experience with MOBAs through League of Legends, here is my assessment of the game:
Visuals Anyone who slams League of Legends because of the graphics should go look up the term "cel-shaded" because that is exactly how the game is supposed to look. The simpler style of cel-shading allows Riot more free range on the gameplay without being overly taxing on the average gamer's graphics card. Besides all of that, I personally think the graphics give a good presentation. What I wish Riot would do is update the look of a champion every time the splash art changes. I see a number of champions who look exactly like their old splash arts even though there are a number of distinct differences between the texture of the sprite and the design of the splash art representing the champion (e.g. Amumu and Ezreal). I'm keeping in mind the complexity and time required to do so, but it still wouldn't hurt to make a few updates to a champion's texture model as their artwork evolves.
Gameplay MOBAs can be difficult to pick up for gamers who are relatively new to action-RTS types of games like League of Legends. However, since Riot designed the game to be more casual than some of its competing games, it is more newbie-friendly than most. The tutorial also points freshmen players in the right direction in terms of basic strategy and the building of items in a particular set.
Sound The sounds of the game are very well-timed, except there are some instances where some sound clips play out despite the ability getting interrupted part-way.
Ranked Ever since Riot Games mostly abandoned the Elo system in favor of a new league system. Instead of having one giant ladder, players were divided up in groups and placed in different leagues (complete with five divisions each of varying levels) according to their evaluated skill level. Frankly, the advancement is a joke. Supposedly, the "league points" are divided and distributed based on the team's overall skill level and whether they win or lose. However, in the lower-level leagues it is far easier to lose points than to gain them. Players on the forums have repeatedly complained about progression slowing to a crawl while penalties are unfairly large for losses. I'd hate to say it, but I agree with them. It makes no sense to progress through the ranks if progression slows down while ascending the ladder, especially so if rewards pay out the bare minimum for wins (i.e. one or two league points) for higher-ranked players while penalties grow abnormally large (e.g. 20-25 points per loss). Despite the league system still being fairly new, it still suffers from the same problem the old Elo-based ladder had: lack of motivation. Players felt like they weren't progressing on the old ladder due to the large number of players on one ladder. Even though climbing the ladder is somewhat easier under the new system, several hours or days of progress can still be undone with simply one or two losses, thus defeating the motivation to progress. Although Riot's best intentions for the ranked system was meant to encourage solo players, the ladders as a whole still favor pre-made teams.
Balancing Balancing the game is tough work. Just ask the guys at Blizzard Entertainment. :D But seriously, the balancing seems a bit unfair for lower-level players, as it appears that the balancing among champions only come by way of internal testing and feedback from the best professional players around the world. Still, it's better than next to no balancing at all (like Heroes of Newerth). Some champions that many players believe have too much power are either left alone or have superficial nerfs while retaining their overall level of power.
Overall, League of Legends is one of the best experiences in online gaming that I've had (and sometimes the most rage-inducing frustration, but that's eSports for you). It's not perfect, but the game has its merits. Plus, League of Legends boasts the largest number of active players in the world. Not bad for a computer game that's only been out for less than five years.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.8Apr 25, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I will admit, when it comes to StarCraft, I am biased towards the Terrans (human power for the win!), so I loved the new tech tree for the Terrans. The campaign for Wings of Liberty was also very well written, coming off in the same Firefly-style presentation. While Jim Raynor's group is still fighting a war unlike Malcolm Reynolds' crew, they're still in the same position: limited resources. The final bug payoff was saving his girlfriend, Sarah Kerrigan, from the clutches of the Zerg and turning her human again.
When Heart of the Swarm was released, I got my hands on it as soon as possible to see how the story continued. Kerrigan still maintains a level of dominant control over some Zerg but her power is greatly weakened because she's human again. The tutorial was simple (yay) and the addition of hotkeys helped access the hero's abilites quicker (double yay). The Zerg may be complex at first for non-native Zerg users like me, but once you get the hang of the mechanics, they're pretty easy to play. I played the game for several hours, completely immersed in the storyline...until one fateful moment in the game changed that.
After being deceived by the Dominion that Raynor had been killed, Kerrigan goes about the sector regaining control over the Swarm until she heads to the true Zerg homeworld, outside of Terran space. Here she learns that the original primal Zerg have no psi ability whatsoever (and thus no connection) and live in pack through domination. It is here that Kerrigan decides to re-infest herself and return as the Queen of Blades once more, pretty much giving a giant middle finger to everything that Raynor (and the player) did in Wing of Liberty. Except here's the catch: the old Queen of Blades was controlled by a fallen Xel'Naga, whose name is revealed as Amon. He wants to return to the galaxy and wipe every living being from existence, and he was using Kerrigan and the Swarm to do it. That is, up until Raynor's use of the Xel'Naga artifact severed her connection to Amon. Thus Kerrigan, after re-infesting herself, is still pretty much herself after becoming the Queen of Blades once again. I *hated* that writing, but at the same time, the player realizes that Kerrigan was right. In order to face Amon by the time he returns, she needed to re-assume her identity as the Queen of Blades. The best part of Heart of the Swarm was the conclusion. After assaulting Korhal with the combined forces of Kerrigan's Zerg and Raynor's Raiders, Kerrigan finally confronts Mengsk face-to-face. In one last plot twist, HE HAS THE FREAKING ARTIFACT!! The lying scumbag uses the artifact to torture and weaken Kerrigan. I honestly thought that Megsk would have the last laugh up until Jim reaches through the busted door to destroy the detonator operating the artifact. With no tricks up his sleeve left, Mengsk finally got was what was coming to him and dies (after four games, too). I *will* say that the final battle was a bit disappointing, however. Compared to the finale of Wings of Liberty, this one was pretty easy on Normal. I can't even beat Wings of Liberty on Normal, despite Terrans being my strongest race! (DISCLAIMER: I do not play StarCraft II on multiplayer, so my skill reflects how casually I play the game) In terms of new units, there's not a whole lot to offer. Sure each faction has a couple of new tricks, but that's just it. The addition of only two or three new units per faction really drives home the "expansion" point while the overall game feels a bit like a standalone sequel otherwise. I'm not exactly sure what to expect with Legacy of the Void, but I sure hope Blizzard can pull off a story as grand as Wings of Liberty. Given that it's just the second and final expansion, though, I hate to say that I'm not expecting a whole lot.. Overall, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is a great continuation of the story and game I personally enjoyed.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.4Apr 3, 2013This is an updated review after I had originally written some scathing criticisms about Heroes of Newerth.
Since writing my original review, I discovered that the game was updated a few months ago with bots and other improvements. The addition of bots piqued my interest and I downloaded Heroes of Newerth again. I was actually quite impressed with the changes that adding bots did to the game. Although there were still a lot of rude people (mostly from Europe, therefore I permanently avoided using those servers after games with guys who cussed repeatedly over the voice chat at mistakes teammates made), I enjoyed the updated tutorial (thank goodness!) which better introduced me to the game than the original did last summer. I also liked the AI of the bots to a certain extent. The number of bots are very limited. Developer S2 only made a handful of bots internally, leaving the rest of the bots for the community to create. Other than that, predicting the bots' behavior after a few rounds helped me settle into the steep learning curve a lot easier than the first time I played. Since Co-op vs. AI was added, the player community overall improved a lot, especially after I learned that vote-kicking outright was replaced with vote-kicking AFK players only.
However, I still have some issues with the game. I've been playing off and on for a few weeks now and I noticed something that the game lacks, and that is balancing. Every single update that comes out, there is only the cosmetic bug fixes to some heroes so their abilities respond better, but overall, I've seen absolutely no hero balancing whatsoever. Therefore, a hero that's fed early can snowball out of control very easily and single-handedly fend off the entire enemy team (or kill them within a second as soon as they spawn at the fountain). Not even the champions of League of Legends can do this sort of slaughter! It's ridiculous.
Overall, the bots (and a friendly player) brought me back into the game. While it's still not a cakewalk for new players to pick up the game, the overhauled tutorial and new bots will still help rookies get familiar with the game. I'd still recommend League of Legends over Heroes of Newerth due partially to the lack of hero balancing but if you can grasp the mechanics quickly, the game is a fun, fast-paced alternative MOBA to play if you're looking for something new.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.2Apr 2, 2013I enjoyed the expansive universe and the varied missions, as well as the different officers you could have. Basically you could be whoever you wished in Starfleet or the Klingon Empire. Another plus is how the story unfolds in "episodes" over an entire arc involving one enemy race as the primary antagonist, the game's equivalent to a regular season. However, the combat suffers from the same repetitive tactics in every single mission/episode. The biggest frustrations came from battling the Romulans. Every single space battle that happens, the Romulan ships always pull the cheapest maneuvers to instantly destroy your starship, the most used one being where the Romulans hold your ship still with a tractor beam before unloading a massive volley of heavy plasma torpedoes that quickly overload your shields and destroy your ship in one shot. That would be fine if they used it a few times, but the AI seeks to *abuse* that tactic as much as possible in every single mission's space battle (all within the Romulan "season"), causing the mission to be nearly impossible to complete even though the difficulty of the mission is the same as the level your character is at when you attempt it. The ground battles are nearly the opposite. The ground missions are generally very, very easy compared to the space battles if your away team has good synergy between the skills you've given them to use in battle.
Another issue I have is the exploration. Whenever I'm between missions, I wanted to explore some random world to feel like a true explorer, as was promised from the first looks of the game prior to its release. Instead, I'm forced to stay in space to either 1) run an errand for a new race, 2) fight a battle, or 3) answer a distress call. Afterwards, there isn't even an option to explore the world, at least as far as I knew after scanning the entire UI for the option.
So, here is the bottom line.
+ huge universe to explore
+ visiting familiar places from all of the TV series before Enterprise
+ varied missions
+ the TV-series-like feel of the story missions
Cons (in minuses):
- AI repeatedly abusing cheap maneuvers in space battles to get insta-kills
- ground battles are too easy in comparison to space battles (PvE)
- no option to explore random worlds
The abusive AI in the PvE space battles were way too much for me to continue playing the game any further and I stopped playing. If I ever go back to it, I hope the AI has been improved to where they stop spamming the same one-shot-kill tactic in every single space battle (as the Romulans).… Expand
Average User Score: 8.5Mar 12, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I drained a lot of time into this game because the story was engaging. Like reading a good book for the first time, I wanted to keep going to find out where it all ends. The Tomb Raider series has always dabbled in the supernatural and this one is no different. Instead of some South or Central American ruin, this franchise prequel take us to the Asian version of the Bermuda Triangle (the Dragon's Triangle in the game) south of Japan. The scenery is beautiful and the environment is a bit reminiscent of the Lingshan Islands from Crysis. The controls functioned well, although there were times where they inevitably ran into a problem or two. Most of the functionality of the game (i.e. scenery, controls, story) was solid, making Tomb Raider a huge hit from Crystal Dynamics. This was a great telling of how young Lara Croft goes from young archaeologist fresh out of college to a hardened survivor. However, I do have some complaints about some of the game's features that are pretty much never needed in an action game: quick-time events and button mashers. The quick-time events, while some are to be expected, are kind of unnecessary. It's understandable that they're meant to simulate reflexes, but they're always done exactly the same way. Just when you're ready to sit back and watch a cutscene, a quick-time event appears. And usually paired with these QTEs comes the frustrating button-mash events. I have yet to see a need for button mashing in an action game. The reason why I think button-mashers are the worst feature for any action game is because they feel out of place, not to mention the irritation at mashing your best just to fail. A prime example of this is towards the beginning when Lara is wrestling with a large wolf. The first thing you have to do is to mash the left and right buttons to push it off. I've died at least *eight times* mashing like crazy only to have the wolf chomp on Lara's throat and kill her. Then after a couple QTE prompts, you have to mash the E key to repeatedly stab the wolf with an arrow; if you don't, the wolf bites Lara's neck and she dies (same death scene if you fail the first button-mashing event). The times when I had to mash buttons during a life-or-death scene really pissed me off the most during the course of the game. Another thing that doesn't make sense is the end boss. More often than not, it's some guy that somehow never gets shot until the final battle, and even then he takes hits like he's no stranger to getting shot and stabbed in vital areas of the body, and even then it takes *forever* for him to die. I can understand him taking about five or six bullets and not dying right away, but tanking at least twelve while he's casually loading shotgun is just ridiculous and unrealistic. Aside from all of these problems, as well as some other minor glitches, the game was a good experience and one that I'd certainly recommend.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.7Mar 8, 2013I've heard good things about this game and I've heard bad things about this game. I'd have to say the bad won. Several months ago, the game piqued my interest when I saw it on Steam. I downloaded it and started it up without any problems...except the waiting took a while between each aspect of the game. I liked the fact that I could customize my Enforcer, but to get any of the coolest-looking accessories and other stuff, I'd have to go premium...which, sadly, the game wouldn't leave me alone about! Then came the gameplay itself in the chaotic city of San Paro. The game at least works, I'll give it that, but not much else does. The first complaint I have is that the only permanent weapons you have are very basic and very weak; everything else in the game isn't permanently unlockable because you can only *rent* weapons for only ten days at a time. If I was a Criminal, why would I want to rent a weapon when I can just steal it and keep it forever?? And no law enforcement agency in the real world EVER rents its stuff out to cops for only several days at a time. Oh, there's also something else about the guns; damage is the same all around. With locational damage being nonexistent, I've had numerous instances where I riddled a guy in the face with bullets...but he lived because he was wearing *body* armor!! (no headgear, body armor) There's no rhyme or reason to hurting other players with the guns if there's no locational damage to increase or decrease the pain you deal out. Now to the players themselves. The player community is probably just as bad as Heroes of Newerth, if not worse. There are hackers everywhere, the common being aim-botters, trigger-botters, or both (for people who don't know, a trigger bot shoots the gun for you if you simply pass the crosshairs/reticle over an enemy player, usually used in conjunction with an aim bot). The so-called "premium" players have shelled out real money to get the best weapons the game has to offer, which a good number of them aren't even available to free players for that reason only (again, more annoying advertising to get people to buy a premium account). Plus, judging from other reviews here, PunkBuster is a complete bust. There's pretty much no consequence for hacking or cheating while there's a small chance the system will randomly pick a legitimate player to ban for being a supposed hacker. The missions and matchmaking are also poorly conceived. It's really a race to see who can camp at the objective first, which usually goes to the highest-leveled players and hackers. Frequently, I found myself on a team with other similar-skilled players only to be randomly and unfairly matched against players of a much higher level. Frustration followed as we kept getting beaten to the objective every time and the only break we got was when the objective (usually the very first) spawned close to our location, causing the enemy team to race halfway across the city to find us. The mission variation is very bland and repetitive, recycling the same goals over and over again. "Open-world" in this case is very deceptive because there are a very limited number of buildings you can enter, and even then most of them serve as being nothing more than shortcuts in on-foot chases. The developers assumed the name "GamersFirst" but they are anything but. Every patch that comes out does very little to fix the game, especially the biggest flaws that people repeatedly complain about. It seems G1 doesn't really care about the players as they implied with the name of their company. Overall, the most fundamental aspects of an MMO just aren't there: the matchmaking sucks, the missions are bland and repetitive, the plot is completely bare-boned with no development whatsoever, locational damage is nonexistent, and the anti-cheating system rarely works on legitimate players only. APB: Reloaded has some merits to it, but it doesn't make up for the rest of the game, which is a stale, boring, and broken rip off of Saints Row. I very highly advise anyone thinking about picking up this title to simply steer clear of it.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.0Feb 28, 2013After Crysis was released, I heard a lot of good words about it, but didn't actually play it until a few weeks ago. I gotta say the good words were all true. I loved the presentation of the story (granted the "remote island" setting is just a recycled idea from the Far Cry series, which I dock points for) and the advancement of the story kept me playing the game for hours because I wanted to see what happened next. I also came to like the protagonist of the game, Lieutenant Jake Dunn (referred to in-game only by his call-sign "Nomad"). A lot of parts in the game where the pacing slowed down a bit for suspense cued Nomad's thought with great timing. An example of this is when Nomad ventures deep into the island's mountain. The trip disrupts communication with his superiors, forcing him to improvise by recording everything he sees through his visor while describing the scenery in the hopes that someone outside can still hear him. That kind of personal interaction in the story is something I really liked, allowing me to connect to Nomad as a character. The open-world environment of the fictional Lingshan Islands also allowed for freedom of creativity for the player to complete their mission, whether they want to storm in guns blazing, or engage the nanosuit's cloak to sneak around the back of a building, silently taking down enemies along the way. That aspect of the game felt rather liberating. The destructible environments in the game was a breath of fresh air, as I could launch a rocket into a shack hiding an enemy soldier and watch it blow apart from the impact of the shockwave. However, not all of the objects were destructible, as I found some metal barricades surrounding some huts were completely impervious to all kinds of damage, including times when I rammed into the barricades with a Jeep only to get stopped dead in my tracks and getting the vehicle stuck. The AI of the enemies is also nearly realistic, with soldiers losing sight of you when you disappear into some bushes or hide in a small pond amidst some foliage. They also startle and jump back when they suddenly see you appear right in front of them as you grab a soldier by the neck and run off with him into the jungle before anyone knows what just happened. The full customization of the weapons also added to the creative freedom of the player, especially since it allows you to keep some of your favorite add-ons to your preferred weapons (I loved using a sniper scope on an assault rifle with a silencer that was switched to single-round fire, thus making a secondary makeshift sniper rifle). One thing I could not get over, however, was the durability of the nanosuit on North Korean soldiers at some points during the game. Where one or two rockets could completely deplete the energy in my suit to maintain maximum armor, the North Korean Nanosoldiers could take *at least 3* rockets before they died, leading to a slight inconsistency with the gameplay regarding the nanosuit. Despite all of that, along with some other aspects of the game (especially with the suit's energy depleting a little too quickly), the experience overall was great, with an engaging story, brilliant gameplay, good visuals, and a cliffhanger ending that keeps you wanting more from Nomad.
NOTE: I have written a review for Crysis 2 well before writing this one, so I'm already pissed off that Nomad was written off between the two games. As I've stated in that review, Crytek decided to throw out the human character by killing him off in a bridging comic book series (which has some of the worst writing I've seen) so they can focus on players connecting more to a friggin' AI in Crysis 2 (the so-called Nanosuit 2.0).… Expand