Average User Score: 5.9Sep 19, 2015I'm about 60% of the way through the game and I have been playing for about 7 hours so far, and I am fairly confident I have seen pretty muchI'm about 60% of the way through the game and I have been playing for about 7 hours so far, and I am fairly confident I have seen pretty much everything the game has to offer by this point, at least in terms of new additions over the original game, of which there are few. Most definitely, this feels like an expansion rather than a sequel (and the seemingly short length of the game would confirm that) and whilst the environments are beautifully rendered and vivid, they are also very familiar to anyone who played through the first game - really, this is a definite retread, and the lack of ambition towards new environments or gameplay variations is definitely disappointing. On the other hand, I did enjoy the first game, despite it's repetitiveness and weak characterisations and story (although perhaps also partly because of how schlocky it all was, too). Some reviews criticise the combat, and whilst it is hit and miss at times (firearms appear annoyingly late on, as they did in the first game, barring a brief opportunity in the opening level before they are stripped from you again), the sheer gratuitousness of the violence, particularly with melee combat, is satisfying and gory.
All in all it would appear that the true sequel would indeed by Dead Island 2, still in development - hopefully the criticisms of the first game have been taken on board, because they definitely weren't in relation to Riptide. Certainly the environment being shifted to mainland USA will be a welcome change from yet another tropical paradise (Far Cry syndrome?), although it is of course pretty well trodden by other games by this point.
On the subject of bugs, I only started playing this in 2015 and so far haven't encountered any (maybe some odd AI on occasion but nothing gamebreaking at any stage). I recall similar complaints levelled towards Dead Island, but that they too were fixed.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.9Sep 14, 2015Having finally got around to finishing A Machine For Pigs, I can see now why people are complaining, but I would have to disagree on theHaving finally got around to finishing A Machine For Pigs, I can see now why people are complaining, but I would have to disagree on the majority of complaints, which are largely based around the gameplay. The Chinese Room have proven that they are interested in doing things a little differently, and this title has a good deal of influence I think from Dear Esther, at least as much as it does the original Amnesia from Frictional Games. The game is primarily a linear narrative journey, with puzzles, and some survival aspects (although these are simplified and less important than in Amnesia or something like Alien: Isolation). Essentially you are being taken through the story in a similar fashion to Dear Esther, but with more complexity. Once this is understood, then the quality of the design of the game and the games themes and nuances start to really become apparent - there is definitely the sense that the developers want you to soak it in as much as possible, and that Pigs' story is more significant than the gameplay necessarily is. Inevitably this has divided people quite severely (the metacritic user reviews display this about as directly as you'd expect, with a 5.8 average).
As for the narrative itself, most immediately the word 'nightmarish' comes to mind. The environments are oppressive, the themes nihilistic and monstrous, bleak and truly horrific and the written exposition often bizarrely creative and unsettling. The narrative intensity and strangeness ratchets up in the last third, but the survival aspects of the game take a dive simultaneously towards the games' climax.
It's somewhat difficult to recommend the title to survival horror fans, but more broadly minded fans of horror in general (perhaps those particularly invested in horror literature and more abstract cinema) will find a lot to enjoy here. It is not Resident Evil, however, and nor is it really that similar an experience to The Dark Descent, so if that is what you are looking for, you may be disappointed.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.5Jul 13, 2013Bioshock Infinite is, first and foremost, a great successor to Bioshock and Bioshock 2, and refines and polishes not just it's core gameplayBioshock Infinite is, first and foremost, a great successor to Bioshock and Bioshock 2, and refines and polishes not just it's core gameplay mechanics but it's politics, narrative and characterisation, with most (if not all) of the difficulties of the previous games corrected. The first thing that strikes you when playing Infinite is the sheer quality of it's production, the level of detail put into it's graphics and audio is second-to-none. It's rare also to see a game so well-researched, and so sure if it's ideas and to stick to it's convictions so thoroughly, to trust it's audience with serious themes, in particular racism, in such a way that neither waters it down or trivialises it with melodrama. And then there are quantum mechanics applied in an intelligent, complex manner inevitably, these themes are not for everyone, but once again this is something Levine and co should be applauded for sticking with so consistently, to believe in the intelligence of their fans and not be put off at risk of alienating those more used to Call of Duty's cod-melodrama.
Perhaps the most striking component for me when playing Infinite is the character of Elizabeth. I haven't yet seen a game do an AI counterpart so effectively she is a consistent part throughout the game, a dynamic character with an authentic rapport with DeWitt that works seamlessly with the game's busy and less busy periods (though to be sure, this is a considerably more action packed game than Bioshock ever was). Some players have criticised the simplification of some mechanics such as lockpicking, which is now handled by Elizabeth (upon the player's request). This is a great deception by the game you are still initiating the action, you are still in control, but the game is using a character who responds believably to fulfill the action, whilst often using the opportunity for a quick dose of exposition. Other features, such as finding codes or keycards are essentially removed, and this is clearly for the benefit of the flow of the game this is pretty much entirely a journey taken with someone else, and to have a bunch of mini-games would distract from this relationship.
These elements have been attempted (and not badly done, necessarily) before, most notably in Half-Life 2 (and increasingly in it's following episodes), but this so far is the apex of the design principle of AI counterparts it feels right, it's consistent, it's never, ever in the way of combat. There is no friendly fire, Elizabeth doesn't fight your enemies, but rather assists with health, ammo and salts (essentially ammo for the tonics, the more general variant of Bioshock's plasmids). Combat is fast, furious, bloody and dynamic with the inclusion of rails that twist amusingly like interactive rollercoasters throughout the games larger exterior combat areas an interesting point to make too, in that Bioshock's claustrophobia is largely replaced with vertigo, and this is reflected in the combat appropriately.
To summarise, Bioshock Infinite is the apex of the action game with increasingly streamlined RPG elements, an interesting path considering the classic predecessor of System Shock 2, an altogether more complex, slower paced and more scary title. But what Infinite places instead of the slow creeping dread of System Shock 2 and Bioshock is a grander sense of horror, the horror of racism and revolution, with all of it's moral ambiguities intact. It is superb.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.4Mar 15, 2012There is a strange, unseemly trend developing on the Metacritic site when it comes to games reviews, and it's extremely conspicuous. It seemsThere is a strange, unseemly trend developing on the Metacritic site when it comes to games reviews, and it's extremely conspicuous. It seems any title that develops something of a following (namely, franchises such as this one) will result in such extremely polarised reviews and ratings (typically with extraordinarily vague or unfounded assertions) with one half asserting that the game is quite simply something heavenly, whilst the other half express that the game has basically ruined their lives. Maybe this sentiment is closer to truth - the lives of those who express such outrageous venom for games that don't meet their (usually pretty unreasonable) expectations must be pretty much over from the start. Regardless, ignoring the idiocy of nerd-rage and coming back to the case at hand: Mass Effect 3. I completed my first play through today and so now I feel reasonably qualified to comment. I've been a fan of the series since Mass Effect originally appeared on Xbox, and have since played both the first two games on 360 and subsequently on PC, and now the final installment on PC from the get-go. I've played these games extensively, and have taken great enjoyment in exploring their finer details. None of the games are perfect, but then none of them are identical - each has it's own identity and that is something I am very grateful for. The first in the series had more in common with Biowares classic Knights of the Old Republic, with a rather rubbery combat system that was borrowing heavily if vaguely from Gears of War (reasonably new at the time), to great effect. The RPG elements were effective if occasionally too sprawling for their own good, issues largely addressed in Mass Effect 2, and then also replaced with all new (again, relatively minor) complaints. The issues that came with Mass Effect 2 are again largely well addressed in Mass Effect 3, but at a compromise. The narrative is arguably more streamlined in the third game, but this suits the story exactly - as Mass Effect was a game of exploration, Mass Effect 2 a game of intrigue and darkness, Mass Effect 3 is a game of the horrors of war, the realities of post traumatic stress disorder, the despair of losing friends and the uncertainty of success. At no point during the game was I ever convinced that things were going to go well - an ending I wouldn't be disappointed with so much as perhaps saddened by, in the tradition of games more like Silent Hill 2 rather than your average gung-ho shooter. I was anxious about failing. Success wasn't an eventuality, a guarantee, as it wasn't in ME2 either - you could lose your colleagues all too easily, and they would never come back once they were gone. There is a brutal absolutism in this universe that mirrors our own, and it's uncomfortable and refreshing all at once, because rarely is such a concept really approached so clearly and executed so well in a game. Sure enough, other games may casually kill off central characters, but rarely do you have much emotional investment in them. With this cast, they've been with you for a long time by this point, you've shared a lot of experiences, a lot of character development, a lot of choices. At one point in the game, I had to make a choice, the consequences of which were both tactically sound but also morally reprehensible. Did I make the right choice? Yes, because so much is at stake. Everything is at stake. And this translates from the moment the game starts until it's extraordinary ending sequences. I've seen a number of negative responses to the "ending" (note, there are at least three distinct endings available, though I have only seen one so far) - certainly, the one I chose (and that is a slight disappointment, in as much as it was the case in Deus Ex: Human Revolution - pick your button) was unusual, but in fact quite extraordinary and fascinating and entirely in line with the truly epic scale of the Mass Effect universe, but also reflective of the more cerebral literary and cinematic roots in science fiction that the developers have drawn from (there is more than bit of Arthur C. Clarke in the games' DNA, and that is no bad thing).
There is little else I wish to talk about. The functional elements, the combat, navigation, are all excellent. The cover system is occasionally problematic, but not in a way that ruins the game in any way. The co-operative multiplayer is very enjoyable and although I have low opinion of EA for using 'Day One DLC' in any title, the quality of the content is such that whilst it's not so much 'forgiven', it is largely irrelevant. It should have been included for everyone, because it's too important to miss. Most elements are improved upon, some are more consistent with the previous game - likely more down to the continuous nature of the games - so there are fewer massive leaps in terms of visuals than some people may expect. Not to say anything is lacking, however, because frankly, there isn't.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.1Nov 28, 2011Having played the original game both on Xbox and on PC, and enjoyed all of the sequels (bar Halo 2. which is an often tedious and cheesyHaving played the original game both on Xbox and on PC, and enjoyed all of the sequels (bar Halo 2. which is an often tedious and cheesy experience, slightly improved in co-op - never did play it online though to be fair)., my interest was piqued several months ago when this remastered edition was announced at E3. The game was advertised early on as a graphical and audio upscaling, which is true enough, however there is little else to say about the game beyond this point - in fact, the game offers nothing much more than what PC players have been enjoying with 3rd party (and free) source ports of games like Quake and other id Software games for years - new code that takes advantage of todays modern hardware, without necessarily altering anything in the gameplay. On the one hand, it is pleasantly surprising to see how well the gameplay of Halo stands up after 10 years, and it is still an enjoyable experience and with the graphical extensions now in place, one that that sits more comfortably alongside the more modern games in the series (again, barring Halo 2, which excepting for a Windows Vista exclusive port has had no such modernisation as of yet). All the familiarity is by and large not unwelcome, however it also feels distinctly unadventurous and somewhat cynical, not something that bodes well from the 'new' developer, 343. The multiplayer content also feels tacked on and largely irrelevant, and whilst I look forward to going through the game again with a friend in local co-op, I was somewhat underwhelmed by the game in 2011. The option to switch back to the 'classic' (note: simply crude and dated) visuals of the original also is pure novelty and for me, didn't pose any real interest, and being able to provide such a feature meant that there was no room for any design innovations or even bug fixes that were present in the original game (the same plasma pistol audio bug I remember from all those years ago still happened in this edition). Whilst it is great to see a truly classic game given a new lease of life, the results are less impressive than they could have been should the developers had been less concerned with giving lip service to the original and instead been more interested in giving us something new.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.1Nov 28, 2011I would normally hold off until completing a game before submitting a review, but there is the cold hard fact with Skyrim that I never willI would normally hold off until completing a game before submitting a review, but there is the cold hard fact with Skyrim that I never will really complete this game - not because I will give up on playing it, but rather the exact opposite is true - like Oblivion, and to a slightly lesser extent also the two new Fallout games, this game goes on beyond what you expect by a degree that is hard to pinpoint. Speaking of pure out-of-the-box content alone, there is already so much to explore and experience that no other single player game out this year can compete in the sheer number of hours that can be poured into playing the game. Such a broad and ambitious game however comes at a price, and that price is technical issues - the game, on all platforms it would seem, has been somewhat fraught with them from release, and noticeably there are the predictable element of PC players who are so affronted by bugs (that are already being resolved) that they refuse to acknowledge the games' qualities at all - a juvenile response. Simply put, though I too had my share of issues getting the game running for a while, I have still managed to spend 62 hours in game so far since the day after release, with probably a record game-to-sleep/life ratio for myself at least. All this despite bugs - the fact remains, despite a few reactionary naysayers, this game has deservedly received universal praise for it's scope, ambition and downright playability from a gameplay perspective - first impressions reveal it to not have changed from Oblivion in any dramatic way, but after digging in some more it becomes very clear very quickly that there are many significant new developments, as well as a major revision of how magic works (with the peculiar removal of spell creation, however) in combat, with left and right handed weapons and spells providing a more reflex and exciting combat system than in any Elder Scrolls game to date. Part of the beauty of these games and the secret to their continued success and shelf-life is the expandability provided by third party mods, of which there are already numerous tweaks and minor alterations, and some less minor (the seemingly much maligned inventory system has already had one reinvention that presents your items and stats in a clear and accessible manner). The game is huge and it can only get bigger, and after the standard for official expansions was set so high with The Shivering Isles for Oblivion, we can likely expect some equally dramatic work from Bethesda themselves in the future. Like Oblivion, this game will be played for years to come, and rightly so.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.0Nov 5, 2011I've had a pretty good time with this game, although it's got it's flaws, for the most part it is so well executed they are entirelyI've had a pretty good time with this game, although it's got it's flaws, for the most part it is so well executed they are entirely forgiven.
First things first, there are a few minor technical issues, seemingly more of an issue for some users than they were for me. Sure enough, a common problem with many console ports it seems is V-Sync related mouse lag, a real party pooper. I had it with Deus Ex Human Revolution (just used a 360 controller instead, no lag there) and sure enough I had it with Dead Space, however disabling V-Sync removed the lag and boosted the framerate quite significantly. There are a few jagged edges (the game doesn't allow variable anti-aliasing settings) but it still looks better than it does on the consoles, so I won't complain.
Technical issues aside, there are some interesting 'tributes' to a certain 1999 classic, System Shock 2. Aside from the obvious setting similarities, and occasional gameplay comparisons that could be made, there are very significant parts of plot that are basically lifted from that older game (an entire mission on the hydroponics deck is basically the same as it appears in SS2), which isn't any great sin, but it's indicative of a generally derivative tone for the bulk of the game. The monsters are largely a mixture between the creature effects from John Carpenters film 'The Thing', and the Los Ganados from Resident Evil 4. Again, nothing terribly wrong with this, they are imaginatively rendered and truly gruesome, but still, not particularly original.
The games visuals are stunningly realised, the game is simply gorgeous. The atmosphere is unrelentingly pressurised, making the game deeply tense throughout, with many scares of the typically jumpy variety underpinned by genuine discomfort. The sound design is superb, with a cacophany of terrible screams, moans, rumblings and sounds of all things liquid bursting, popping and spilling everywhere. The weapons, though there are few of them, feel suitably powerful and quite capable all of them at dismembering enemies - though some rather rough physics tends to make body parts and other objects sort of flop and roll around quite comically, the high volume of blood and accompanying squishy noises tends to nullify any distraction this might cause.
The game is a reasonable length, though not particularly long, and reasonably challenging on 'Normal' difficulty, though the learning curve is somewhat steep at the beginning (prepare to die often for the first hour or two), it balances out and eventually becomes perhaps a little easy once you get the hang of managing your weapons and ammunition properly.
Items are at first quite sparse, and upgrades (via 'power nodes') are a slow but sure process for weapons and your suit armour, but later in the game, when weapons are powered up, less ammunition is needed, and so you tend to end up with an abundance of it in my experience. There is something of an imbalance, but it is not dreadful - after all, despite the game becoming less plainly difficult, there are many sections that will still get your adrenaline pounding as some truly horrific creatures come bounding towards you, eyes-a-glowing.
So, a fun game, with some niggly flaws but on the whole there is little that could actually be described as being 'bad' about the game, but it could be more original and there is room for improvement - of which, so far, Dead Space 2 has in some ways definitely fixed, but there are other things that the first game gets right that the sequel does not (I'm past the half-way point already with DS2 after only maybe three or four hours worth - this game is definitely going to be over quickly, whereas DS1 is slower paced and more tense).
A very good game, but perhaps not quite original enough to be a true classic.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.1Oct 11, 2011There are a few fundamental things to bare in mind with this game, and as an extension, all id Software games. Having grown up on Doom, QuakeThere are a few fundamental things to bare in mind with this game, and as an extension, all id Software games. Having grown up on Doom, Quake and their numerous sequels and expansions, I've come to know and love the id Software conventions, the stylistic flourishes and absolute purity of the gameplay experience you can always rely upon. id Software have broken some of the rules with Rage, with both positive and negative results.
Unfortunately, at least with the PC release, few people are discussing the game itself and are more interested in **** about the games technical problems at release, which are still in the process of being fully resolved as far as I am concerned - the patch that was hastily put together over the weekend has fixed some issues, but despite having 1gb of RAM on my Geforce 8800 GTS, the games textures are sub-par and I cannot seem to override this. I know the game should look better than this, and unless I am expected to have a state of the art card or an SLI set up, I'm not sure why things are so blurry. But this brings me to my next point, which is the gameplay, and moreover, the pace of the gameplay and combat especially - things move fast, really fast. Enemies dart around, dodge and interact seamlessly with the many intricate details of the environment (more than the player can, I might add), genuinely fleshing out their presence and keeping you on your toes. The weapons are satisfying enough, and my favourite is the tried and tested id Software brand shotgun - the best damn weapon in any real game of note since 1993. The alternative ammunition types add yet more variety to the experience, and show that id Software have been paying attention to the other games in the last several years since Doom 3 in 2005... maybe a little too much attention, some might argue. First impressions of the game environment will inevitably conjure up (very fond) memories of Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, only the visual fidelity (textures notwithstanding) is ramped up to the nth degree. Rage is a painterly game, with the id Tech 5 engine allowing the game's artists to literally paint their way through the game's design. Some of the most striking moments happen in the Dead City area early on in the game, with the ruins of urban environments, shanty towns, hospitals and subways really becoming incredibly vibrant and threatening. The stranger additions, more reminiscent of Doom 3, are bizarre and revolting and unfortunately, not exactly explained in any way. Leading into the plot...
The games story is threadbare, which is unfortunately another id Software standard feature it seems. Normally however it doesn't make much of a difference to the experience with their games, and this is almost true of Rage, but id Software have made a game that is banking itself on it's modernity, it's expansive open world, and it's range of characters you can interact with. All of these elements are more superficial, especially in comparison with games such as Fallout 3/New Vegas or Deus Ex: Human Revolution, but in a sense, this is where id have got things right - what we want from them is a shooter, a total blast and a lot of thrills - not a realistic shooter with hours of preparatory exposition, legwork and wandering around in a state of confusion, which is not to say Fallout isn't spectacular, it's just a different kind of game altogether. The similarities are aesthetic alone. Unfortunately however, Rage's plot IS underdeveloped and ends all too abruptly, which is a common problem in modern games, it would seem (Deus Ex: Human Revolution is guilty of this, as is Crysis 2, and if I'm mentioning Crytek games, I'm going to mention Far Cry, as irrelevant as it may seem now - Far Cry (PC) had the worst ending to a game I have ever seen, and Crytek should be embarrassed still by it). I enjoyed the game thoroughly up to this point and hammered through it in pretty good time, but all in all was left feeling that there should have been more, and what I wanted more of was the FPS combat that Rage excels in. The driving component of the game is daring and satisfying, but nowhere near as interesting to me personally as exploring environments on foot, really taking in the details and the artistry of id's legendary design. The race sections of the game are fun though, as is the whole game, and the pacing of every element of the game never skips a beat. But unfortunately the game skips along at such a pace it eventually hits a brick wall and ends pretty suddenly. I'm looking forward to some meaty DLC, and particularly some imaginative mods that make use of the new technology (and how long until someone brings back REAL deathmatch to this game?) to really make this game something unique.… Expand