Average User Score: 4.6Oct 19, 2014Dungeon Siege III, while not stellar, is a bit underrated or otherwise suffers unjustly from its departure from the original games of old. Those had more of a Diablo-like interface, with top down, mouse point&click, party management gameplay, with classes, gear and loot. Dungeon Siege III was clearly designed for consoles and controller use, as the keyboard and mouse controls are very awkward and it has a more 3rd person view. Without a controller, it is very difficult to play this game.
I’m a fan of the original game, and I found that despite the change in paradigm to a 3rd person hack and slash action RPG designed for the controller, the Dungeon Siege “feel” is there. Experiencing the different events in the story, meeting new characters and talking to them, going from location to location, playing the combat, collecting loot, and optimizing abilities and equipment in regards to combat, all was rather enjoyable. None was arguably groundbreaking, but was interesting and enjoyable enough to keep me invested for 32 hours, which, in retrospect, is saying something.
RPG-wise, it’s actually quite deep with lots of stats and mechanics. You choose from 4 different main characters with different characteristics and play styles: meele/tank, ranged character, an agile fire magic warrior and a spell casting mage/scientist. One of the other characters follows you as an AI companion. Each character has 2 switchable stances, with one attack and 3 active abilities each. Characters also have 3 defensive abilities. Active abilities include heavier or AOE attacks, buffs/debuffs, summoned creatures, etc. Defensive abilities include healing, pushing back of enemies or buffing yourself. Mastering attacks and abilities by using them unlocks empowered versions of them. As you level up, you can develop each of your abilities in a branching choice, for instance do you want more damage or increased chance to knockback opponents? You can go all in on one, or choose any balance between the two. Additionally, there are passive “talents” (buffs) to level up. With all this and also the different equipment you loot, buy and enhance with enchantments (3 weapon slots, 4 armor, a ring and a pendant), with different stats, you have a vast array of possibilities. You can choose the abilities’ perks to work well with one another enhancing your favorite play style, and also compliment your companion’s abilities to your own, which is very satisfying.
However, sometimes it’s a bit difficult to perform actions from different stances in the heat of battle with a lot going on. Also, the way aiming works is a bit awkward, especially for ranged combat, as you have to move in the direction of an enemy to soft lock on it. This results in sometimes having to move away to get a better line of sight to the desired target. I got used to it, though. Additionally, the companion AI is not ideal, though it’s reasonable. Local coop should be fun.
I won’t spoil the story, which I found surprisingly interesting, meaning that the game is far from a loot fest. Events are set approximately 150 years after the first game, much of what once was has fallen or faded, which also means you don’t need to play the other games to enjoy this one. You’ll learn of what happened as you progress in the game, your journey has always that tone of grandeur lost as you seek to re-establish some of that. You’ll meet interesting characters and the plot will make you reflect on your actions and compare them to the main antagonist, and also think about your dialogue choices. The voice acting is also good and the dialogues lengthy. The lore is very well done, tying in nicely to the Dungeon Siege universe, and is deepened by finding some books or documents, and talking to characters. You’ll even explore a location directly related to the characters of the first game, which was extremely satisfying for a fan.
The progression is mostly linear with growing scale of locations, enemies and events. It’s an action RPG, but the pacing and amount of enemies is not insane like for instance on Diablo 3, though some battles are more enemy heavy. Though there are different and varied locations with enemies matching them, “dungeons” aren’t as big as in the first game, but nonetheless acceptably lengthy.
The camera is always restricted to look down a little, so you can’t tilt it up and enjoy the scenery in a more 1st person style, which is a shame. That restriction also sometimes doesn't provide the best view for combat either. Though different equipment reflects visibly on the characters, there’s no way to view the full character close up and rotate it, like in a character screen. The HUD is somewhat simplistic, as are the indications above enemies, which at first makes it a bit difficult to understand what’s going on.
The soundtrack is quite good, mostly in the atmospheric orchestral style, aiding to that tone of grandeur lost, but with tense and epic combat sequences.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.4Oct 11, 2014This is a solid survival horror game, with good production values, but, ultimately, it falls a bit flat on the storytelling and on the gameplay side of things, which is a shame.
You play as a journalist that received information from a whistle-blower about "wrong" things happening on some mental asylum, and decide to go in and investigate, bringing your camera along. Without spoiling, as you arrive to the huge facilities, the place seems deserted, and soon enough, as you would expect, you encounter some pretty gory and disturbing stuff and the sh** hits the fan. So, a very cliché setting.
The "horror" side of things is provided mostly with the atmosphere, the gore, and some jump scares (which are a bit predictable), nothing out of the ordinary. What is quite interesting here is the camera mechanics. You'll need your camera's night vision to navigate the numerous dark sections of the game, but also (and more importantly) you need the camera to record the events that you see. Only with your camera up will you be able to record your "notes" that you can read on the menu and provide some insight on what's going on. Problem is, using the camera, and night vision in particular, consumes batteries, and there's a limited supply of those around. Those notes and some scattered documents that you can search for throughout the game comprise most of the exposition you'll ever get.
It sounded good, but, I felt that these documents and your "notes" are either a bit cryptic or otherwise not very informative or engaging. Also, you mostly encounter faceless zombie-like people, which you don't care much for. You'll also meet some characters, but there's hardly any dialogue or character development, and no cutscenes, which makes progression a matter of "do this, go there" where you don't have much agency or motivation other than because it's the way the game is. And basically you spend most of your time chasing after a character that seems to go out of his way to put obstacles between you or goes in the most bizarre labyrinthic path. I also found that the places you traverse along the way have little personality or "history", despite the potential of the setting and location. The setting and plot had much potential for more exploration of the characters, locations and stories.
Outside of that, the game mechanics involve stealth, trying to stay out of sight and earshot or hide so as to manoeuvre around enemies, while finding keys or other objects, or activating some things to be able to progress. As you're just a feeble journalist, you cannot do any fighting whatsoever. While in theory it sounds good and oppressive, because you have no way to distract an enemy, it boils down too much to trial and error, which ultimately is more frustrating than scary as you are caught and die over and over again. After the first encounters you'll quickly realise this and it rapidly goes from scary to frustrating.
Visually, it's very good, the visuals are very high quality with very good effects, especially the lighting system and your camera's night vision, which truly lend to a disturbing and scary atmosphere. There are multiple dark sections and the rainy sections on night vision are absolutely stellar. The sound is also on par, except that sometimes I found the positional audio a bit off, making it difficult to sneak around and understand the position of enemies with sound.
In closing, though the production values are there, I found the storytelling a poor and the gameplay quickly went from providing tension, fright and scares to frustration and annoyance over its trial and error nature.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.3Aug 15, 2014TL;DR: the "de facto" best Star Trek style spaceship commander simulator, in a "rogue-light", addictive and challenging gameplay, with undeniable charm, an impressive atmosphere, and absolutely stunning soundtrack. Multiple ships, ship systems, weapons, crew races, expanded upon with the FREE Advanced Edition, provide a variety of play styles and endless replayability.
In FTL you control a medium-sized spaceship and its crew carrying vital data to the Federation fleet. You are being pursued by the Rebel fleet and must stay ahead of it by doing FTL jumps between beacons of each sector and from sector to sector until you finally reach your main fleet. Problem is, it's an hostile universe out there, and you'll never know what you'll encounter on the next beacon...
In the beginning you can pick between multiple ship types (that you unlock as you play), each with different crew compliments and systems that will make for different play styles. The meat of the game plays as a strategy real-time (pausable) "rogue-light", where you control your ship and crew from a top-down view, managing which crew member mans which system (engines, shields, weapons, helm, etc) for a better performance, when and how to fire weapons and also the allocation of power to each system. Crew members of different races have different bonus: one repair systems quicker, one provide extra power to the room they're in, one are excellent fighters, one are immune to fire, etc. You won't have power for everything, and also depending what systems/weapons you have and your crew type, you have to adapt and optimize your strategy and approach to your encounters.
And you'll encounter a lot: other ships, some hostile, some friendly; there's even mini-quests and mini optional "story arcs" that you can go on. Not only that but also dangerous asteroid fields, nebulas that interfere with your shields and sensors, suns that burst out flares and set your ship on fire. The real-time battles, despite being pausable, are usually pretty tense. You'll mostly be trying to damage or disable enemy shields and damaging their systems, such as shields and weapons, until you destroy their ship. Or you can beam up a boarding party, kill everyone and take control of the ship, or you can bypass their shields by hurling missiles or beaming up bombs (limited supply of these), etc. Or you can just run for it if things are too hot. And the best thing is, the enemies can do the exact same things! Battles will damage your systems, breach your hull, ignite fires, and that's where you'll need your best managing skills to keep things under control on the heat of battle. Sometimes things just happen too fast, you were not prepared, and you're blown into oblivion and have to start from the beginning. It's an unforgiving universe... After each battle you win, you can get random upgrades but you'll mostly accumulate scrap, which can be used to upgrade your ship's system and go to stores to buy consumables (like jump fuel and missiles) or weapons and systems; or even recruit more crew members. You'll need scrap badly, but how far is it reasonable to risk potentially lethal encounters on its pursuit?
Between that and much more, like controlling blast doors and managing oxygen supply in case of a fire or breach, or also venting rooms in your ship to put out fires or choke intruders to death, FTL manages to be the most complete and realistic spaceship simulator, Star Trek style, that I've ever know, despite its 2D, top-down, pixel art style. You can only "save&quit", if you lose, you have to start from the beginning. Some "runs" will go better than others, it always depends on your ability to adapt and optimize your play style, but it also depends a bit on being fortunate enough on finding a really good upgrade or weapon after a battle or on a store. That can be a bit frustrating, but you'll learn a lot from your mistakes. And after finishing the game, you'll realize that you couldn't have done it if you hadn't learned so much. So it rewards you for your failures and efforts.
The soundtrack is just absolutely brilliant, one of the best in my memory, being part charming old-school style 8-bit tunes, part dreamy sci-fi space sounds, it provides a unique atmosphere that immerses completely. The overall style oozes charms and tender care, despite being a very challenging and unforgiving game.
With the addition of Advanced Edition, completely free, bringing more races, more ships, more weapons and systems, and also more encounters, the game has an impressive amount of content that can get you on it for dozens of hours. If you like space sci-fi strategy games, particularly commanding ships Star Trek style, this is for you. If you get frustrated easily with a challenge, maybe approach it carefully, but you'll be missing out.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.4Jul 4, 2014140 is a minimalistic and abstract platformer rhythm game. There are no lives, menus, tutorials or hand-holding: it's you and the game. The levels are composed of platforms and blocks with different properties that respond to the "periodic nature" of the music/rhythm, comprising of minimal dubstep with a subtle hint of chiptunes. (At places, it reminded me of Krafwerk). Besides watching, listening to the music/rhythm, feeling it, is essential to figure out how the obstacles work, enabling you progress. This discovery involves some trial and error, but there are frequent seamless checkpoints that almost immediately respawn you when you fail. As you progress along each level the music and rhythm patterns become more complex, making for more complex obstacle sequences, which creates a sense of momentum and exhilaration as you move along. At the end of each of the 3 groups of levels, there is a "boss", which is challenging but spectacular.
The overall design of this game is nothing short of brilliant: the music and visuals/blocks are synergistically woven together; the platforming elements and obstacles nail the sweet spot between recognizability and making you pause a moment to observe and think; the flow and pacing are perfect and the aesthetic, both in visuals and music is the definition of minimal beauty.
Because "dying" hurts the flow of the music, I felt the game instilling me a desire to play without errors on further playthroughs, and mastering this game and being able to finish it in one go would be a truly special achievement. You could try just that: after finishing the game you unlock a special mode where you can start from the beginning with the levels horizontally reversed and, if you die, you start from the beginning...
140 managed to provide me one of the most immersive and memorable experiences I ever had in gaming. There are only two things keeping me from giving it a perfect score. Firstly, the game is somewhat short (it took me about 1h to complete? in one sitting) and left me wanting more. Secondly, the final "boss" is quite difficult and I suspect will frustrate some people because it involves not only realising the pattern but also using very fast eye-hand reactions.
However, there is something very special about this game, so minimal and yet so complete.… Expand
Average User Score: 3.9May 27, 2014Review as of May 2014 by a non-fanboy who never played Diablo nor Diablo 2. I think maybe the closest game I've played to this was Dungeon Siege I & II back in the day.
In Diablo 3 you only have 1 AI follower at a time, except if you play with friends, but even then, the gameplay boils down to INFINITE grinding and looting. The different classes have some depth, but you'll eventually find your favourite 4 active skills and 3 passive skills and there's little incentive to change your play style, especially on higher difficulties where you need to be fast and precise and not be burdened by experimenting around. Nevertheless, the combat is ok, the 4 active skills you can choose at a time (from a wider offer which you keep unlocking as you level up) provide some strategy opportunity, but really it comes down to either you can kill the monsters or you need to escape and lower the game difficulty. The different locations are really not particularly interesting, and the progress through them is very linear. The story and its presentation is SHOCKINGLY poor! It's basically a poor excuse to allow to unlock new paths (always very linear, btw) and keep progressing. Progressing? I should say keep grinding and looting. And the allure of looting better stuff can only motivate you so much.
There is not much lore, interesting side quests, characters or really RPG elements other than combat stats. If you expect an adventure with an interesting story and characters, you'll find none of this, I fear. Instead, this boils down to infinite grinding of monsters. Even if you play with friends, which I haven't, I don't know that you'll get much out of it other than keep grinding to get loot in order to keep grinding and keep getting loot... Frankly, I finished the single player out of spite for the money I spent, which was not a cheap amount... I was not left with good memories.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.0May 27, 2014I'm not a big fan of point and click adventure games, I usually find them usually too boring or with excessively contrived puzzles. However, seeing the trailer for this one got me to play the demo on steam. Quite frankly, the demo blew my mind, I couldn't wait to play the rest. After buying all 4 episodes and having just finished the first, and it's everything I hoped for, and more. In short: try the demo on steam and know that the game builds and expands on that, especially on the "puzzler" side.
You play as Erica Reed, FBI detective in this puzzle, murder investigation thriller, point and click adventure game. The game has very immersive atmosphere supported by nice art and beautiful music, ranging appropriately from relaxed and melancholic to foreboding and tense. Additionally, the voice acting is superb across the board, giving life to the characters and supporting a very good story, gripping and often emotional as well. While you're putting your puzzles together, you're not just figuring out gimmicky, weird puzzle mechanics, you're actually using clues and information you uncover on your investigations in a quite logical manner. Furthermore, and not to spoil anything, Erica's special "intuition" talent is cool tool for finding clues that is very well realized and interesting to watch. So, you'll actually feel that you're unravelling the mysteries and learning more and more about the story. Making progress provided me with a lot of "oh!" moments, when I felt that rush after you just realized something new that happened in the story, and made me feel gripped by it.
There are very good scenes to be had, especially one close to the end, where the voice acting, the writing, the art and the music all came together in a magical, memorable way. There's even some tense "action puzzle" scenes, which were very interesting as well, I wasn't expecting to be so engaged and tense by a point and click puzzler.
I only stumbled very occasionally on a puzzle here and there, and I found out that it was my fault in missing some info or other. If you're stuck, you can text your dad, a former police investigator, and he will give you hints on things you've missed that point you in the right direction without giving it away. A very cool system, I thought, hitting the balance between preventing real frustration while making you "do the work" without straight giving you the solution. With all this, I found the puzzles overall to be interesting, logical instead of randomly contrived and virtually non-frustrating.
There's only a few cons to these game, in my opinion. There are occasional bugs involving the characters' placement and movement on the screen, but they "fix themselves" straight away without disturbing the game. The other "problem" is that the game is sometimes a little slow, not only the overall pacing of the story but (and more importantly, I think), while you're clicking and waiting for the characters to do their animations. Still, one can argue that the slowish pacing enhances the immersion and enjoyment of the game by exposing you more to the very good atmosphere overall.
It's not often that a game surprises me so. If you are ready to put some quiet time aside for this, you'll be rewarded with a good mystery story, with some sparks of beauty, that will make you feel the more engaged the more you progress through the puzzles, and even has some interesting and tense "action puzzles". Again, you can't go wrong in trying the demo for yourself.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.2Apr 17, 2014Hell, boy, Gunslinger is the fastest single-player FPS in the West! Where most of them "shooters" nowadays go all serious and business-like, arguing fancy tactics and whatnot, Gunslinger is like jumping off a stagecoach, off-loading lead from your trusted six-shooter while pouring down your favourite Whiskey refreshment.
The game plays as a fast-paced, action-packed shooter, with a story and presentation style that capture the exciting atmosphere and feel of the "Wild West", with all the tropes from your favourite Westerns. If you like shooters or have even a remote interest in the Wild West, I challenge you to try the demo and not be hooked. You get a taste of the full game, the rest is pretty faithful to that demo.
The gunplay is really great, and the gameplay mechanics with "concentration" (kind of a bullet time) and "sense of death" (last chance to dodge that bullet that was about to kill you) are really satisfying and fun. Plus, it features different tropey locales and situations, like prison escape, bank heists, mines, indian caves, train robberies, ghost towns, etc etc. The graphics engine is really good, providing nice detail and beautiful sceneries, and is as fast as the action itself, with ultra high fps even in the highest quality settings.
Hell, boy, I ain't had this much fun shooting since Lord knows when. TRY IT!… Expand
Average User Score: 8.4Jan 12, 2014At first glance you may wonder if this DLC isn't just more of the same. However, that is far from the truth. This review is long, with emphasis on the historic and political side of things, bear it with me. Skip the next paragraph if you know about the "Gempei War".
The DLC's campaign is set on the "Gempei War", a period of time very unjustly overshadowed by the Sengoku Jidai, which is more wildly known, but is actually very rich and vibrant, both politically and militarily. Before 1180, two rival "warrior-class" clans, the Taira and the Minamoto, had been gaining more and more power over the Imperial Court by performing various "military" deeds and getting rewards from the court in the form of lands and titles. This was at the expense of the Fujiwara family, who were from the nobility class, and previously had had the most influence over the court and the Emperor himself, intermarrying into the Imperial family for generations and thus pulling all the strings of power. In 1180, the Taira clan's leader Kiyomori put his 2-year old grandson on the the throne, in detriment of the Emperor's son, Mochihito, the rightful heir. This provoked Mochihito to seek the aid of the Minamoto and raise a call to arms against the Taira. Different clans aligned themselves with the Taira and the Minamoto. After much fighting, eventually the Minamoto won and in 1192 established the Kamakura Shogunate, essentialy the first feudal government in Japan controlled by the warrior class (before, only nobility populated the court). The Fujiwara were exiled in northern Japan, away from power. Ironically, Prince Mochihito's call for help ended up further taking effective power away from the Emperor, the Court and the nobility class, reinforcing an usurpation of Imperial power by the warrior class which later reached its peak with the Tokugawa Shogunate.
The game reflects all these Gempei War localisations very well in many aspects and adds these different dimensions to the gameplay, which complement the militaristic side very well and add to the overall strategic layer of things. Firstly, there are the 3 main families available to play, Taira, Minamoto and Fujiwara. Each has 2 clans two choose from, reflecting the distinct branches of each family. Each of these 6 has different and richer (not just military) stat modifiers reflecting their own characteristics and enabling different play styles and campaign experiences. Allegiance plays a huge role now: there there are a multitude of non-playable clans, each with its own allegiance, and the provinces' population itself has an allegiance. So, while you can still be the military genius and crush everyone, you should take into account this new aspects, you must remember you are answering the Emperor's call to arms, otherwise you'll have no support from other clans and favour from the populace and court in your claims to power.
The Junsatsushi is the new agent for this. They enable the conversion of population to your allegiance, the paying off of enemy armies *and* the requesting of allegiance from other provinces to join your clan. You now effectively gain control of enemy provinces by converting the population to your allegiance and then requesting them to join you, kicking out their previous rulers. Very interesting. And, of course, all the diplomatic relations between different clans will take this into account as well, making it very interesting to plot your way through with negotiations, alliances, vassals, backstabbings, etc.
Also interesting is the Shirabyoshi agent, female entertainers/dancers dressed as men, who can not only seduce enemy generals to join your side but also distract enemy armies, making them "lose a turn" (very interesting for campaign map army manoeuvring tactics), or entertaining your generals in order to raise their loyalty. Very nice touches of flavour. There's also the Monomi agent, basically a ninja, and the Sou, preacher-like characters that can inspire, demoralize and incite revolts.
In short, while the battle/military aspects of the game may not provide a fundamentally distinct experience from the original Shogun 2 (no guns now, though), the new allegiance element provides a whole new strategic dimension to the game, bringing much flavour and fun to it. The Shirabyoshi agent also adds to this, and brings more falvour. Because all this, I highly recommend you take the trouble to read a little bit about the Gempei War (wikipedia, fast to read) and try this DLC.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.4Jan 10, 2014This game is just the definition of groovy! You can call it a "platformer", though you're floating in a water world, with "puzzle" and action elements, in which the rhythm and beats of the music play a huge role. There's a variety of puzzles, some combat and other action sequences as well. The integration of the groovy music/rhythms with what you do and the seamless progression of it throughout levels and situations is nothing short of marvellous. Even every character you meet has their own recognizable beat (that rhymed, which is pertinent here, ahah). Much like the funny characters, the art style is colourful and cute, making it a pleasure to explore the rich world. The pacing is just masterful, you keep flowing through the levels with the music and the beats, and never get "stuck" in a puzzle for long. I've played the first two levels now, and was so completely engrossed that I lost all sense of time, only to, at the end of each one, be informed by the game it took me about 50 minutes to complete each. It's just that fun! I like electronic/beat-box music a lot, and the game made me want to start dancing numerous times!
If you like music games and/or platformers you'll totally have a blast with this game. I haven't had this much fun in a game for a while. And even if that's not your thing, I recommend you try the demo (available on steam) for I suspect you'll enjoy it.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.3Nov 14, 2013"Lilly Looking Through" is an adventure/puzzle game in a somewhat minimalistic approach, with a very relaxing and heart warming atmosphere. The presentation of the game is nothing short of magical. The art is beautiful, the music is dreamy and ethereal, and the characters' animations are most exquisite. The kids, Lilly and Row are so cute and animate so well that right from the start it was unbelievably endearing. The game immersed me in a feeling of childhood, with all that innocence, curiosity, cuteness and sense of awe and adventure, like I never have experienced before.
Speaking of the actual gameplay, it plays like a point and click puzzle adventure where one needs to figure out how to get past the obstacles of each screen to progress to the next. I can't spoil you, so I'll just say that along the way you pick up an item that not only serves as an excellent, original and creative device for the puzzling itself, but adds to the wonder and magic of the game and its world as well. Some of the puzzles are quite hard to figure out, but the hint system, which highlights items/actions you can click makes sure you're not missing out on where you can click, so you can focus on the puzzles themselves. If you have no patience for this genre (or in general), though, or you can't stand low tempo, relaxed games, I wouldn't recommend it.
Despite all that I loved about the game, which was, in a nutshell, that it provided me with a nostalgic reliving of the magical feelings of childhood, the game has some problems. Mainly, it's short, around 2-3 hours long, which is a pity and a little frustrating. Towards the end, the puzzles get a bit repetitive in "theme", and their mechanics get a bit more cryptic, thought one can argue that's the point of a puzzle game. But more importantly, and again, without spoiling, the end has little closure and feels more like a cliffhanger than an actual resolution it's surprisingly abrupt and open. Also, it creates the idea that there will be a "sequel"/continuation, one feels that there should be, that the game/story isn't quite finished.
It pains me to give such a relatively low score to this game, because, in spite of its failings, the game is so magical and endearing that I was really impressed. It was one the most memorable gaming experiences ever I had. I really hope that there will be more and longer "Lilly" in the future.… Expand