Average User Score: 8.3Oct 11, 2012The fanboys and haters are gonna give this game 10's and 0's , but I'll give this game what it deserves: a 7. That's right, a green score. Green is good, and in this case it is very good, but confusing... and that's because it's hard for me to say what type of game FTL is; the gameplay is unlike any other game I've ever played. It's sci-fi. It's strategy. It's roguelike. It's a simulation. All true, though none of those over-arching titles actually quite cover it. My best attempt would be "it's a starship-strategy-set-in-a-procedurally-generated-galaxy-where-instead-of-controlling-the-attitude,-heading,-and-positioning-of-your-ship,-you-instead-manage-its-systems-and-crew-while-making-captain-level-decisions...simulator." (Whew, glad that's out of the way.) Maybe simply saying "it's a Jean-Luc Picard (or James T. Kirk, if you prefer) simulator" would more effectively get the point across? In other words, don't ask me to describe what FTL is because I can't fully answer that question in a way that makes sense; the game is just... cool. The strength of this seemingly simple game is it's surprising level of depth. As a playthrough progresses, you have full control over the customization of the ship's various systems and upgrades. When upgrading, you'll not be likely to max out every category (or even a couple, for that matter), and so you'll have to customize the ship around your play-style in order to see any real level of success. FTL does cater to different play-styles, except for one: diplomacy, which is more or less non-existent. Talking one's way out of a dispute not an option, so the main play-styles will revolve around combat. One could focus on offensive abilities, or defensive abilities. Thankfully, the game is deep in terms of customization, and therefore offence and defence have different branches. You might choose to focus on dodge instead of shielding, or boarding parties instead of heavy weaponry. The choice is yours... sort-of.
One fact to acknowledge is that it is unwise to start a new game of FTL with a certain strategy in mind, and then commanding your ship with "upgrade tunnel vision". The game is based around entirely random encounters; therefore, as a captain in FTL's universe, adaptation is a very good virtue. So. to all those who like to plan ahead, this game gives you all a one finger salut. Sure you can have an overall goal in mind, but the game is random: you get what you get and simply have to work around it. Or die. So when I say "the choice is yours" the choice I'm actually referring to is to work with what you can scrounge up, or to die trying. Whether this is a good feature of the game or a horrible imbalance is up to you to decide; it is what it is, and it does make each playthrough...interesting.
The crew command mechanism works great, as does the system and power management. Crew members gain proficiencies in various ship-stations and tasks over time. The crew can also take damage, so it can feel like a real setback when you lose tier 2 weapons specialist. Crew mortality serves to heighten the level of tension in battles, and even after battles in some cases. You could win a battle, but if your life support systems are knocked out, you could lose a crew member (or all of them) if you can't repair the oxygen generator in time.
There are a few weird quirks in the game. Crew members seem to be more like "crew statues" because they aren't affected by the ferocious blast of suction caused by a hull breach. No... no one can get sucked into space in this game, EVEN THOUGH there airlocks and hull breaches. Disappointing, I know! Enemy ships with higher levels of shielding can be VERY difficult to defeat without shield peircingmissile weapons or boarding parties. For that matter, why does my Heavy Ion with 2 ion damage only reduce my enemy's shields by 1 point!?
Ultimately, replayability with FTL is fairly limited. It is a casual game, and it is best to play it in casual doses; it's great if you got a little time to kill: 20 minutes here, half hour there. However, I found my interest in FTL easily burns out during multi-hour sessions.
The game's charm is the main draw; it's a game that doesn't tell you the stories. Sure it gives you objectives and side quests (and sometimes tells you that "you've arrived at the quest objective, yet there's nothing here... oops, sorry, maybe the quest giver remembered the coordinates wrong"), but you experience your own story, filled with adversity, strife, sorrow and success... okay, mainly adversity, strife and sorrow, but that is beside the point. It is these player-driven stories will keep you coming back for more Jean-Luc Picard-ing around. (yes I just used his name a verb).
I like this game, and I give it superb 7 out of 10.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.5Sep 4, 2012I like it when games dare to be different. I liked Penumbra, and I liked Amnesia even more; those games struck a nice balance with atmosphere and gameplay while being different from almost everything I had played before. This game, however, offers no such balance since it abandoned any semblance of gameplay altogether. It's been said here by other reviewers and I'll say it again, just to reinforce the notion: there is no interactivity to speak of and no real gameplay whatsoever. There are no meaningful choices to make, no consequences, no inventory to manage, no characters to interact with, no enemies to defeat or evade, no objectives to complete; you can't even control when your flashlight turns on and off (this feature is automanaged for you as you enter and leave unlit areas). It is a game that dared to be so different that it actually stopped being a game. Moving on, I don't want to obsess over what Dear Esther IS NOT this whole review, so I will talk about what it IS. As others here have pointed out, it is simply a different way of telling a story... a visual metaphor, if you will. In my opinion, it is an unsuccessful way of telling a story, and I wont be paying for any other "games" that may appear in this "genre". As a game, story, and movie respectively, it was boring and un-entertaining. Dear Esther's soundtrack is quite good, and it is visually is nice to look at, especially in the caves chapter; I will award a couple points for those qualities, even though I want to give it a flat zero. I'll award one more point to the fact that the developers had the balls think out side the box... in fact, they stepped outside the box, picked it up, folded it, put it in the recycle bin, went to the nearest Blockbuster Video and rented What Dreams May Come. So that's it, a generous 3 out of 10.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.3Jul 14, 2012This game is a triumph. However, it is not a game for children or pre-teens; parents you've been warned. It is a seething, brooding, merciless, shameless descent into a rich sci-fi backdrop of dark agendas and disastrous consequences. Imagery ranges from beautiful panoramic vistas of a sprawling outer-solar system pressurized metropolitan habitat, to grotesquely violent and spattering deaths of enemies, NPCs, and players alike. It's actually fun to die in this game just to see the gory results. This game does a good job of inventing futuristic ways to kill your character; if you can stomach the gore, the satisfyingly painful, squishy death scenes can help take some of the frustration out of having to replay an encounter. The graphics may not present many groundbreaking advanced render techniques, but they do the job well and help to create deeply immersing environments. Audio production is top notch; ambiance is moody and atmospheric, and monster noises are visceral and unnerving. The musical score is done right, and enhances the tension and thrills. While the audio environment significantly aids the game's ability to create these thrills, I found the visual appearance of the monsters themselves to be not all that scary. Maybe a lifetime of desensitization by exposure to modern horror movies containing disfigured mutants and copious amounts blood-spilling and dismemberment explains my lack of fear, and as a result I am no longer able to be scared by monsters on both the silver screen and the computer screen. Don't get me wrong, the monsters look good, and the dismemberment mechanic employed as the way to dispatch them never gets old (blowing them to pieces sure is fun), but whenever I encountered a new variety of enemy, my "just kill it" mentality over-rid my "cower in fear" reaction in a nano-second. That applies to all enemies except one... end mini-boss whom you can't kill and can only slow by shooting his limbs off and running before his legs regenerate. He is visually intimidating in a spine-tingling kind of way, and and as I watched him rise like the phoenix after I thought I had killed him, he created the first and only true "f*** me! RUN!" moment of the game that I experienced... which was awesome! Also very good is the level design. The environments are, yes, entirely linear, but are varied and interesting while managing to avoid repetitiveness. They range from frantic chases and extreme escapes, to claustrophobic and plodding corridor crawls, to monster-closet arena defenses. All of them fit the thematic elements of the game. They just make sense. Actually, there is nothing that doesn't make sense about this game... except the DRM (3 installs then I have to beg EA for more? That's pathetic customer service). I didn't delve into multiplayer much, but it is there and it is similar to Left 4 Dead's versus mode, which all I can say about it. The game length is just right; not to short, not too long. I finished it in about 15 hours exploring as much as I could and, importantly, I wasn't begging for it to end like I was in other games, such as the new Deus Ex (that game seemed like it would never end). However, like all story-driven singleplayer adventures, the replayability is VERY limited. All in all, it is a very well produced and gripping single player experience, and continues laying the groundwork for a lush sci-fi universe kicked off by the original. Solid 7/10.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.6Apr 14, 2012Im fearful of real stinker games. I dont buy ANY game at full price, but I was tempted when I saw Nuclear Dawn on a Steam daily deal for $7, a deal almost too good to pass up. I still read reviews even before buying cheap games; some the negative comments I found here almost stopped me from buying it, but I thought "on the otherhand, its so cheap, the risk of it sucking royally is not an issue." I caved and bought it. Indeed, I have been plesantly surprised by the game; I wont say its the best game of the year, but I will say it is a solid FPS/RTS hybrid. I want to address some of the criticisms that almost stopped me from buying the game in the first place; I have found them to be only half true or completely false. Someone said something negative about the accuracy of the guns. I find the accuracy quite acceptable: every gun fires accurately during short controlled bursts but start to spread during full-auto, exactly how guns really behave. I don't know about you, but I like that accuracy model; it means you can still get long range head shots with a lowly SMG or pistol if you take the time to aim thru the ironsights, firing in short bursts. I just wanted to clarify that because when I read that comment about the accuracy, it gave me the impression the accuracy of the guns were like that f-ing assault rifle from Halo 1, where the first bullet in a short burst NEVER went down the middle of the crosshairs. Its not like that at all people :D I promise! There are no realistic ballistics tho: every bullet is fast as a laser and doesnt drop due to gravity. Another criticism was not being able to adjust your class until you die. Its true that you cannot open the class selection screen while alive UNTIL your commander builds an armoury (since it's a pretty important building, it wont be long until he does build it). You can then go into the armoury and use it to open the class selection screen and change your class instantly WITHOUT HAVING TO SUICIDE like in other games *cough* Battlefield *cough*. Sometimes, if your commander isnt clever enough to build an armoury near the frontlines, it means you may have to trek back to the HQ base to change classes, and you may just say f-that and suicide anyway, but I think I made my point and countered that half-true statement mentioned earlier. Someone else criticised the balance of the game, where one team can reach critical mass and completely stomps the other in a killfest slaughterhouse. It is true that this happens, but I want to make an analogy to another game to highlight that this is not a balance issue as it was suggested by that reveiwer. The game is an RTS hybrid, meaning that control of resources is crucial to winning. The analogy: consider Starcraft... say a player manages to expand to 5 bases and keeps his opponent on only 2 bases by out manouvering him and generally out playing him; that match would probably descend into a killfest slaughter of every remaining asset the 2 base player had until he surrended or died completely. I ask you: is such a killfest a balance issue!? I dont think so, Id say the other guy just got outplayed. The same logic applies to this game, and even to Battlefield or every other FPS game that revolves around controlling strategic map locations: the team that controls most of the map is more than likely to win the match. Its not a balance issue, its a legitimite game mechanic. Anyway, with proper countering tactics it is still possible to beat back a superior enemy knocking at the front door of your main base in Nuclear Dawn; not likely, granted, but it is possible. About the bugs: I did find the odd user interface bug such as the perk (or gizmo as its called in Nuclear Dawn) selection menu not closing properly sometimes, but none of that is a show-stopper in my opinion, as I encoutered similar UI bugs in both Modern Warefare and Bad Company. As for the game being full of bugs, I don't see it that way. Maybe some of you guys could post specific problems instead of a vague comment that clarifies nothing and doesnt even seem true now that Ive played the game myself. Now that Ive preached about the game enough, I want to talk about a bug that did piss me off. The bug happens when I shoot from behind certain objects: the empty air at the edge the object will stop my bullets even though my crosshairs are clear of any obstacle! It is infuriating when it happens, as I usually get killed immediately after for giving away my position without killing my target. Another complaint of mine is not being able to go prone or lean, which are basic FPS control movements that should be available in EVERY first person game. I mean, Im essentially a person in the game world, why cant I move like a person actually would? A person doesn't simply crouch when shot at... he hits the f-ing deck man! Developers please get with the program and include lean and prone control in your f-ing games Its 2012 ffs! Score: all in all, a sturdy 6 points out of 10… Expand