Average User Score: 4.0Sep 11, 2013I've put in about 30 hours so far, so I think that's enough for an initial review.
Given the complexity of the game mechanics, I'm more than willing to forgive the bugs it must be one hell of a mission to debug this game! But I have played all the TW games except the first Shogun so I'm definitely a veteran.
Firstly, the campaign map is unforgivable in it's playability. I have an Alienware laptop that is only 2 years old, and it was happy handling the Shogun 2 Campaign map. Rome II is not happy at all, even with the fog of war covering most of the map. I'm talking low frame rates, which I find inexplicable. There is nothing going on in the campaign map which is significantly more complex than Medieval II, and yet it takes up many times the processing power simply to run the graphics. The graphics aren't as important as the game. Go all the way back to Medieval and you'll find a quality game still, even though it looks a lot less graphically resplendent.
Tied in with this is the number of factions available. It wouldn't be so much of a problem if they each didn't take at least 2 seconds to process their moves. With about 50 factions available that's at least 2 minutes to wait for the end of a turn. Couple that with the horrible campaign map frame rate and the campaign side of the game is woefully slow, with the key word here being 'unnecessarily.' Now I understand better systems will cost me less time but as I meet the minimum spec to play the game, I would expect the game to run properly on minimum spec. If you bought Battlefield 3 with a minimum spec machine, then you'd expect 30fps. If the game only ran at 15fps, you'd soon be questioning where the hell they pulled their 'minimum spec' requirements from!
Next, the management of towns has changed. It looks as though they've tried to dumb down the complexity of the management but have managed instead to make your understanding of how to manage your province impenetrable. They did explain on their forum that they were trying to avoid the amass and conquer style tactics usually employed in the other games, but I personally find this new management style to be horrible. Very little flexibility in managing your towns, very little idea of how to split your building types effectively.
Then you have the army units themselves. You now need a general in order to have an army and the number of generals is limited by the number of towns you own. This means if you raced in to conquer a town and won, and wanted to move all your archers west to another battle you would have to take that entire army west, drop the archers off and then bring your army back. This is HORRIBLE! And totally unrealistic, which isn't necessarily a hard hitting criticism of a computer game but as they've prided themselves on their realism so far I think it holds strong.
You no longer need to build fleets to move your army, just walk your army through a port and onto the sea and suddenly they're all in boats. Why? It's a horrible idea.
The battles themselves are pretty similar to previous titles and so can be a lot of fun. But there is some proper dodgy AI going on in them.
So all in all, rather disappointing. I really, really enjoyed Shogun II, and the follow up Fall of the Samurai. I can't recommend Rome II to anyone. The changes they've made are for the worse, and it does feel like another dumbing down exercise like with Diablo 3 or Company of Heroes 2. I'm quite sure that pretty soon every game will involve just 1 button to mash repeatedly. After all, that'll be the entire market covered. It strikes me weird that anyone would even attempt to dumb down Total War. The specs to get it running mean only geeks will be playing it anyway.
I'm not going to shout at CA, I'm not going to get angry. I'm just disappointed. And anyone who's messed up their school year know that is by far the most devastating comment you can get.… Expand
Average User Score: 2.1Mar 12, 2013There used to be a time when I was able to play games without a computer. Now EA have totally messed everything up because I need a computer to play SimCity. And computers crash, sometimes you have to spend ££s just to get them fixed and they're out of action for days! Risk has never crashed on me. That's basically the DRM issue but from a 1990 point of view. Otherwise I'm a UK player and have only had to wait 20 minutes for servers to be working. And I've played well over 30 hours. So no real launch issues as far as I'm aware.
As for the game it is ludicrously addictive! Everything you already know from the SimCity world, but tweaked in new ways. The smaller city size is limiting in some ways but it adds a new level of addiction an playability because those individual Cities can share resources which means you now no longer begin a new city and just go through the motions now you have an objective to your new city. Maybe you need to outsource sewage or rubbish to another city, or maybe you need a University. Because of the limits in the map size it means you cannot place everything in one City which means you have to be more tactical about your placements. Oh and word of advice don't place a University on a City, leave it a few hours and then delete it Industrial get right uppity about it and complain about unskilled workers!
I really do like this game a lot. Too much, I couldn't stop playing it.
Once you get passed the initial city building stages and you are getting better residents in, the balancing act of money and resources is quite a difficult one requiring a fair amount of attention. And before you know it 18 hours have gone in the real world.
I'm a big fan of the Tropico series (Though what the difference between 3 and 4 was....I have no idea) and so far I think SimCity is going to trump Tropico in terms of longevity and charm. Because it is really rather charming in most respects. But don't listen to me and don't listen to any of the DRM nay-sayers either, because they're not reviewing the game! Go and have a play yourself, and come back to me when you've totally ruined your entire Real World life because you can't stop being Mayor!… Expand
Average User Score: 8.5Nov 26, 2012My feelings on this Batman game are hard to put into words. It was my favourite game of 2011 by a mile. I think the graphics are excellent, I think the graphical design is spot on for Batman. I think the fighting is excellent - very similar to Assassin's Creed or Enslaved - but the system is easy to understand yet difficult to master. The gadgets are great. The riddler challenges are brilliant. The story is pretty good. I have already played through this game twice. I shall be playing through it again! It has almost everything I would want out of a Batman game! If you can pick this up for under £20 then you have got an absolute solid gold bargain on your hands!
Credit where credits due - they've nailed this (Way more than Nolan ever did!!)… Expand
Average User Score: 8.3Oct 26, 2012New and innovative is something I reserve for games like Portal - which brought a whole new dimension to FPS strategy, or From Dust which built on the Populas idea with a refreshing new twist. Generally speaking the new and innovative these days comes from the same place it's always come - Indie gaming. The thing about Dishonored is that it mixes ideas already in use, and not to a remarkably new extreme. First I'll mention the graphics. From the reviews I read I was expecting something special and the artistic style is actually a very nice blend of steam/cyber punk and ye olde world toffery. But the graphics themselves leave a lot to be desired as they feel incredibly flat, and they actually aren't too atmospheric. The feeling of a living breathing world is also somewhat absent due to the linear nature of the levels. True there might be a side alley to lead you to your objective by a hidden route, but it is literally one purpose built alley and built for that very purpose. The premise for the game play is not a million miles away from Hitman or Splinter Cell - only you have a few magic tricks to help you on your way. The difference is that a game like Hitman will provide you with many different options for completing a mission - you might steal a key card, steal and wear a uniform, assassinate from afar with a sniper gun, poison a meal, etc etc. With dishonored you might steal a key - but that's the only option you really have in terms of open play because you are given no others. And so few civilians too. Even dark shady enterprises have civilians working for them. The story is also not the best. The setup is fantastic, the setting is great but the story itself was only vaguely interesting to me - and the more supernatural elements to the story I just found boring. In terms of what I was expect/hoping for I was disappointed. I put it on hard level and completed the game in less than 15 hours. I don't have any real yearning to go back either. When Bioshock came out and got rave reviews - the game I played surpassed my expectations (yes it's amazing!), I can say the same about Arkham City and Skyrim. The latter 2 games I have poured hours and hours, days of my life into - and which have rewarded me immensely! But I payed an equal price for all of these games. All at approximately £30. Had this game come in at half that price then I would probably mark it higher. But there is simply nothing in the game mechanics that struck me as 'wow I can do that!?' like the Gravity gun in HL2, or the Portal gun. Possession is only a new idea if you discount any of the sci-fi games which allow you to take control of robots. Teleporting is not a new idea. Sneaking around to get to an object is not a new idea. I wanted to like this game, I really did. But I was left rather hollow by it. However, I have played at least 70 hours of Skyrim and have loads left to do, so if I add the two games together and split the cost (same developer) then that's currently 42.5 hours per game and £30 a game, so it's not all bad.
I feel a bit like a marketing genius has mind freaked all the critics into believing red is yellow, and they all went 'Oh yeah!' It's not a bad game, but it's not as exceptional as one might have hoped.....or been lead to believe!… Expand
Average User Score: 5.1May 28, 2012Feels more like an expansion than a standalone game which is why I'm giving it a 7. However, I very much enjoyed it, just as I enjoyed Mass Effect 2. It reminds me very much of He-man the cartoon I watched as I was growing up because you do get a lot of morality spat in your face which, whilst at the time can come across as patronising and vomit inducing, actually fleshes out the experience. For the most part you are asked to make decisions which generally don't affect how the game will play, but everynow and then you are faced with making a hum-dinger of a choice which is where Mass Effect always excels. Most games require a simple choice of this or that which doesn't affect the outcome all that much, but here you are faced with choices between entire races which feel like big decisions to make and you might be thinking about the choice for a couple of minutes. And if a game can cause you to pause and think about the consequences of what you're doing for more than a nano-second then it has done good! The game itself is really more about living the story than it is being technically proficient, and I don't remember dying at any point - although I probably did. But if I did then it was only once or twice so it wasn't particulalry challenging. It did feel a little dumbed down from ME2. But for me it was a fine ending to the franchise. Not great, but fine. I would still recommend the whole lot to any gamer out there as an excellent example of an immersive experience.… Expand
Average User Score: 3.9May 28, 2012So I just finished the single player campaign, Diablo is dead. Hooray. The cut scenes were fantastic, Blizzard are amazing at those and always have been! I remember playing the original Diablo and being utterly blown away by the between game animations, and the same for WOW. Okay DRM is a pain and the servers died a few times in the beginning. But I'm not going to mark the game against these, it seems to be the way most things are heading these days. It seems very much that the game engine isn't a million miles away from WOW, and uses a lot of the same graphics which in itself isn't such a bad thing as Blizzard always carry these things of with style, regardless of the cutesy graphics. However, the cutesy graphics do mean the atmosphere is not as oppresive as it was in the original games - it definitely loses something. Just to quickly cover the basics - Diablo is a game in which you run around dungeons and kill lots of critters. The main story is of a battle between heaven and hell and you basically level up until the story takes you to the Lord Diablo himself, who has rather rudely gate crashed the eternal realm. There are lots of weapons and armour drops all the way through and really the main crux of the game is in finding bigger and better armour and weapons. Once you start playing online with other players, the level of drops soon ramps up, as well as the difficulty level of the monsters.
Now as this is Diablo 3 you cannot review the game without comparing it to it's predecessors, the same as if you were reviewing a film, and for me this is where the game falls down. The rather high scoring critic reviews suprise me because the fact of the matter is that this game seems to have gone nowhere. It used to be a simple hack and slash click-click-click game, with a variety of spells or actions, and plenty of loot items to pick up - including scrolls, which are one off spells to casts. It is still a simple hack and slash click-click-click game except LESS variety in spells/actions and no scrolls anymore. It feels very much like the game has been dumbed down for the masses. And the thing is, it's been 10 years. TEN. That's an awful long time to spend failing to progress. And on the side Blizzard already have WOW, so they have an absolute wealth of suitable graphics to use and a wealth of experience in fantasy games. They seem to have played the hand towards nostalgia rather than innovative gaming.
So I would have to admit to being somewhat gutted about this game. It isn't awful, it just isn't new. And from an absolute powerhouse like Blizzard, I expect much more in terms of innovation and creativity, and I certainly don't expect them to move backwards in terms of complexity being as the first two games were not complex. And sadly it does seem to me that Blizzard are becoming more of a money making organisation than a serious developer of top quality games, especially after announcing their real money auction house. It is that great travesty of business and advertising - it ruins everything it comes into contact with. And Blizzard are slowly turning into a business enterprise, not a game developer. Many of the user reviews are scathing hit backs at the painful DRM system (meaning you cannot play single player without being online), which is perfectly understandable as it makes no sense to be online when you want to play by yourself. But I am much more upset about the lack of progress since Diablo II. Whoever came up with Diablo in the first instance was an absolute genius, and it was an amazing game. Whoever got hold of the license and created Diablo 3 should have doubled that genius with more involving and complex gameplay - they already had a great engine to work with! Instead, they seem to have lazily rehashed the game. It is addictive, that can't be denied, but if it was a piece of homework it would definitely have 'see me' written on it in red writing.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.3Mar 6, 2012Games which required advanced technical skills, or an advanced level of concentration and planning, can only really be judged by those gamers who have those skill sets. Not all people do. On the flip side, games which do not require those skills are best not reviewed by gamers with advanced skills because they will miss what the game is offering and bemoan the ease of the game. Uncharted 3 is game which does not require a great deal of technical skill to play through because the developers want to take you on an adventure rather than have you replaying the same level several hundred times in a row because you arenâ… Expand