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Average User Score: 6.7Jul 28, 2015Even when a Telltale season is good overall, they never manage to get through a whole season without a hugely disappointing outlier (forEven when a Telltale season is good overall, they never manage to get through a whole season without a hugely disappointing outlier (for example, episode 4 in the Wolf Among Us). Nest of Vipers falls well short of the expectations set by the previous four episodes. It's the shortest episode by far: the last four trophies will pop every five minutes. Literally. The whole thing feels improvised and hastily cobbled together. Most of the conversational depth and texture is missing.
Of course, I have to see how it all ends in episode 6, but they did a lot of damage here.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.5Mar 15, 2011Red Steel 2 showcases some good ideas and the potential for a great game, but falls well short. It was released in a bare-bones state,Red Steel 2 showcases some good ideas and the potential for a great game, but falls well short. It was released in a bare-bones state, arguably unfinished, and definitely unpolished. Some copies contain serious bugs that can break save data and require chapter resets, wiping out an hour or more of progress. Essentially the main character of this game is a samurai gunslinger who was banished wrongfully from his clan and is now on a quest for revenge when he learns that another clan has killed all of his former clansmen. Why did they do this? They want the mythical katana held by his clan for generations, which he carries. That's about all you'll get as setup for RS2, and the game is sparse even with the basics. There is no development for characters, no changing motivations, and only three NPCs. These NPCs are never developed in any meaningful way - even at the end of the game you'll hardly know who they are, and care little about them. So as far as story and character goes, the story is never elaborated on past the very basic premise, and the game is essentially one big ghost town. There is no one to care about or interact with. It's hard to shake the feeling that this entire layer of the game was planned but cut during development. The presentation of the game is well done, with strongly honed aesthetics and a nice progression of desert environments (it is a Western, albeit a Samurai Western with some technology thrown in). However, the levels themselves are weighed down by three awful design choices. First, there's no overworld map, and the game badly needs one. Second, there is the illusion of exploration, but in fact the progression requires a linear approach that's reminiscent of the 8-bit NES days. In other words, despite the choice to wander around, things must be done in an exact order. The game uses green arrows on the minimap to guide you around, and the game is best played following the arrows. It's odd, because you'd never follow these paths by any natural means. There are doorways everywhere, but you can never interact with them until the relevant objective opens up. The main issue with the levels, though, is that they are filled with generic junk. Crates, barrels, phone booths, vending machines, and inexplicable lockers of some sort - these are scattered about and one of the main means of obtaining cash if breaking random junk. It gets old fast. There is never anything new to find. A safe found in the first 20 minutes of play will contain the same gold bars as a safe found in the last 20 minutes - because the developer created may 10 pieces of junk and populated every single level with them. There's no sense of place and no reason why this crap would be so ubiquitous. There's certainly no explanation why for you find money by slashing open garbage bags and the like - it's the Zelda principle of money-making, but far dumber. The the levels are weighed down by forced and unnatural linearity, ubiquitous and generic junk, and a complete absence of interaction with objects or people. So what doesn't suck about this game? Well, the combat is pretty slick and upgrading your character is fun (and clearly inspired by RE4). That's really what it comes down to. It's a pretty game to look at, plays at a reasonable pace if you beeline from A to B, and has a good variety of swordplay and gunplay. Even here, though, there are major annoyances, and signs that the game was released in an "workable" state, but only just. For example, near the end of the game, there's no indication that you've encountered a shop for the last time. So you can enter the final level having no idea that you should have just spent every penny you had - and there's no way to back this up. Even more bizarre, the final level is filled with hidden money stashes that are completely unusable. The final boss is also identical to the midboss from hours earlier, so of course he's much easier - a total joke at that point, killable in less than a minute, without expending much ammo or taking any damage. And then the game ends - literally with a tacked on "the end" screen. The game features a "challenge" mode that is a basically a non-functional save+ mode. You can't play more than one chapter a time, tutorials are still required, and money from the endgame is lost, and upgrades are still parceled out in the original order even though you have more or all of them. It's not worth more than a quick look. Red Steel 2 would have been a promising launch title for the Wii. As is, it's barely playable. You'll get some fun hours out of this but only if you speed through and don't expect any lasting value or depth. It's pure rental fluff, all potential and no follow-through.… Expand