Average User Score: 8.3Nov 27, 2014An unoriginal story populated by the strictest array of archetypes from japanese manga and anime. To its credit Valyria sports a veritableAn unoriginal story populated by the strictest array of archetypes from japanese manga and anime. To its credit Valyria sports a veritable style of gameplay refered to as a tactical-RPG 3rd person shooter, the problem is that nothing of that taxonomy works. It is not very strategic since most scenarios are straight-forward and on the simple side of things tactical, the RPG simply does not exist since you are forced on a single character shoehorned by the story to be a "hero" upon whose development you have no real control, and the 3rd person shooter aspect is reduced to a single click adorned with decorations of something more complex (E.G. cross-hairs while you select your target).
The art is of high quality with an interesting pencil-watercolour style. The music is at times inspiring but often seemingly out of place for a particular scene.
Valkyria is also a "menu" and "acquiescence" nightmare, where progression and information are both buried beneath layers of clicks and "are-you-sure?"s. After each "Episode" is unlocked (episodes that commonly amount to no more than a small dialogue) you are asked if you would like to see the next one (which could be just another brief dialogue), ad infinitum. To search the side tabs you must first click a menu tab to access the tabs menu. Console-itis full on. Good PC ports dismiss things inherent to consoles that are cumbersome elsewhere, they do not bring the ballast to the new medium.
I prefer games with an intricate story, and Valyria seemed to have that aplenty, but with an unsuferable lead character and tedious dialogues the exposition parts become and excercise in patience.
Tedium is no stranger during combat either. Each movement you make is surrounded by unnecessary and time consuming eye-candy. Icons explode, camera zooms-in and out from the battlefield. Each. And every. Time. Nothing of these makes the situation feel more interesting nor clear, all it does is take time.
All-in-all, a game only the anime-manga neophite, or the already fan of this franchise will truly like. The rest of us will appreciate some of its uniqueness, give it a more accurate 5 or 6 out of 10, and move on to something better.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.5Nov 15, 2014This game kicks all kinds of ass, particularly in originality. Most fantasy games have goblins as mean, vicious, sneaky, roguish littleThis game kicks all kinds of ass, particularly in originality. Most fantasy games have goblins as mean, vicious, sneaky, roguish little devils, so how come no one though of this game before? If you don't discard it in the first hour, then prepare to be unwilling to put it down.
- Good stealth feeling with the unique approach of you being an assassin Goblin, in a creative (albeit too Dishonouredish) setting.
- Fluid nice animations of the main character (not so much of all other cast).
- The size of the world is massive.
- Approaches to goals are multiple and allow for every play style.
- Most missions make sense from the narrative's stance and are good, with some being very entertaining and imaginative (not all, but some).
- Length of game is solid at 15-20 hrs (unless speedrunning).
- Replay-ability is dependant on immersion and personal play style, but can also be very high. Completionists will enjoy the challenges while others may skip them for unpractical and, in game effects, somewhat unrewarding. Solving the riddles to find the Relics is a nice addition although not exactly challenging.
- Music score reminiscent of Apocalyptica will enthral those with such musical tastebuds.
- Camera is spectacular. Never ever in your way.
- CHaracter design and visuals in general are effective and well crafted.
- Voice acting, specially the main character Styx (voiced by Saul Jephcott), is enjoyable and well executed.
- The game is almost bug-free (except for the mutant ticks :D). Only one crash on my play-through at the very end, and I think it was my fault for much Ctrl+Alt+Tabbing.
- Guard pathfinding sees them stuck a bit.
- Lacklustre skills, so no enticement to get them all (which is possible). I had 850 Skill Points left when I finished the game (for comparison, a skill costs 30-90).
- Story in general is not quite novel, although one twist at the middle makes a hiccup of medium originality. Story logic is marred by holes.
- Lacklustre recompenses for earning any of 4 types of insignias (only about 20 SP each, in most cases), making it somewhat unattractive to risk a perfect mission just to get a particularly tricky item or avoid killing an annoyingly placed guard.
- Cutscenes vary in quality, specially mediocre are the reminiscences of Styx.
- You cannot back-stab enemies if you are not exactly at the same level they are (for example from the top of a small crate).
- Inconsistent reality. What you can do and what actually happens is not entirely constant, therefor seriously limiting your problem-solving. E.G. Sometimes your Noise-making goes unheard if the game needs to ignore it, or a clone-ambush trap does not trigger by the proximity of a guard only because he is looking for you (he is not looking for your clone!), or when your clone is found you are also found automatically in some instances. Getting behind an elf while it is distracted choking your clone still doesn't allow you to back-stab them just because the game has that as a prohibition, apparently.
- Controls are whimsical. The same button push will have you jump different distances. Also the contextual menus (which allow you to interact with objects near you) don't show in a trustworthy way, which commonly leads to horribly botching missions or to the ever frightening possibility of a contextual-menu-nightmare when you are in a hurry and many interactive things are close together and ledges are also involved.
- Guards' casual dialogue is very repetitive and can get stuck in an eternal loop.
- Edge finding. You fall many times when you shouldn't or stick magnetically to borders you don't want to.
- Guards turn to formidable marksmen guiding their missiles with the power of thought as soon as you are discovered.
- Environmental enemies, such as giant ticks and slave Orcs, work in tandem with their human tormentors against you, when there is no reason why they should. This detracts from wonderful strategic possibilities for the more creative players to set traps using them to foil the humans efforts to kill you.
- In such a huge city full of potential, the re-use of 50% of the maps going backwards is unforgivable, even if you admire the design it took to make them challenging on both directions.
- Ending is limp and uninspired, when it needed grandeur to close what had been an exciting adventure.
-MINOR SPOILERS START-
By tradition the weakest part of a stealth game is combat (for reasons that should be obvious) and Styx: Master of Shadows is no exception, so the lamentable choice of an ending focused on action and duelling in a tiny, fully lit, boring arena is ever more poignant.
-MINOR SPOILERS END-
A well made, exciting and absorbing game, much better than many similar titles and surely better than Thief that sad, sad remake. If you have ever enjoyed a stealth game, buy Styx.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.1Nov 9, 2014Review of the "Elite Edition" (MacOSX)
Turn-based strategy games are something of an outcast class in the present game developingReview of the "Elite Edition" (MacOSX)
Turn-based strategy games are something of an outcast class in the present game developing environment. No publisher seems keen on investing in these. Firaxis, with their well known pedigree of impecable and all-consuming strategical games, changed the "Outcast" part for "Outclass" in this wonderful modernization of the future (of a past game).
THE GOODNESS GALORE
They managed 3 things I think vital: There is no need to be a fan or have played XCOM to like this game; if you are an XCOM fan you will recognize and understand the changes made to this game; and they adapted TBS to be a heart-thumping bonanza of action kickasserie! (without sacrificing any of the methodical rhythm needed and cherished by fans of the genre, such as myself).
All-around graphics are of a very high calibre. Detailed environments and creature models bring the world to life, ample customization make your troops feel unique in a way even more profound I have found on some (pseudo) RPG games, a well set tone and story development more than submerge you totally integrate you with the plight of a world facing a patently undefeatable enemy, unless you organize your meager initial resources (men and women, tech, money and time) to mount the best counterattack Earth are capable of, and give humanity at least a fighting chance.
The game has been streamlined in the right places, such as merging facilities, limiting the size of your team to a 6-man squad more than the sometimes unwhieldy 20-unit troops, but vital aspects such as difficulty, strategy requirements and complex interactions between your resources are still gratifyingly intricate.
Replayability is enormous, with 4 different levels of difficulty and the discenrning-masochist prefered choice: Iron Man. Which means you have nothing but the game's AutoSave to finish the campaign, therefore every choice you take is uncheangeable, so the stakes get so high they're airplane hazards.
Best thing about the Mac version? The game is a stand-alone unit, so no need for any Steam nonsense (although you will get all the usual iTunes or AppShop foolishness if you buy the app or iOS version.)
The game is fortunatelly very stable, so don't worry too much about crashes or glitches since there are only a few, but, as with any game, it's not free of issues...
THE NAUGHTY BITS
The environments will get "samey" on further playthroughs since maps will be re-used. There are no attacks on the XCOM base, which would have given Enemy Unknown such a thrilling level of added desperation to your already fragile situation. Some clipping will take place generating cheap deads on your team (or on aliens too for that matter, devaluing your efforts a bit) when they get detected, thus shot, through roofs or sturdy walls, which is not a big deal on most cases except on "Iron Man" where you depend so highly on not screwing up. The aircombat is primitive and uninvolving, and would've benefited the experience (and maybe the story) if it included more than basically just wishing your pilots well by clicking one button at a certain moment.
But these grievances have no real impact on wheather you should buy or not this game. You MUST. Earth and the TBS market demands it that you do... to give them a chance to survive.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.2Feb 15, 2014I like strategy games that are party-level in scope and size (E.G. King's Bounty: The Legend), therefore was thrilled to hear of such a gameI like strategy games that are party-level in scope and size (E.G. King's Bounty: The Legend), therefore was thrilled to hear of such a game based on a set of rules for a pen-and-paper RPG, and apparently very popular in its native Germany. But the first thing I thought after playing a few hours Blackguards was: GMing this game must have been a hellish enterprise. This Dark Eye rules set seems to be full of tedious minutiae, but I digress.
The game is set in an interesting place and populated by mostly entertaining people. The mood of the fantasy in this game is closer to that of "The Black Company" books, than that of the "Lord of the Rings" type. The story stutters in its telling for it jumps rather brusquely at times, but it is not a bad tale altogether.
What is bad is the underlying set of rules that control this world, and our experience of it.
Simply, The Dark Eye, and how it works, may not the best "engine" to try to create a strategy game from.
Battles can be won or lost by basically the toss of a coin, an event that has very little to do with strategy.
The interface makes it very easy to give an order incorrectly.
The inability of the battle map to be manipulated, beyond a simple tilt and pan, conspires with the interface to make the missordering all the easier.
Characters have to be hearded with utmost care on the battlefield. It is almost a given, that if you just choose a final point for your escaping combatant, they will choose to do so next to the enemy, even if many other safer paths are available, exposing themselves to that abomination of RPGs called: The attack of opportunity.
Inconstancy in what is possible detracts from the strategical element. For example: Enemies may have Line of Sight, whereas you don't, in the exact same line but in the opposite direction. A missile attack can fly over a small object on its path (E.G. a Dwarf or a table) but cannot go over prone bodies (dead or knocked down).
Guesswork (and possibly soothsaying) is needed more than strategic planning while picking your areas of advancement.
It is very possible to arrive to a progress impasse, for simple matters such as the unideal choice of those advancements, which are overwhelming at the earliest stages of the game.
The interesting feature that some elements of the battlefield are interactive and can be used to aid or hamper your efforts, is usually blandly integrated and their ultimate impact in the combat hardly meriting your efforts.
In general, the game rewards strategical thinking in a very irregular way.
This game is by no means bad. It is in fact a fun game. It is just not a great game, although it could see greatness from its comfortable and unoriginal standpoint.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.1Mar 12, 2013Maybe back when it came out (March 15, 2005, according to Metacritic) the graphics were something to be praised, but today (when compared withMaybe back when it came out (March 15, 2005, according to Metacritic) the graphics were something to be praised, but today (when compared with other games from the same time) they looked like they must've been something just close to the average.
Critics and users alike have praised the sound design, and in that case I agree that there seems to have been great effort to fill every nook of the game with noise and chatter. It does not get in the way of the experience and it does indeed fill you with a certain sense of urgency that unfortunately the game-play fails to do.
With a strange mixture of extreme ease and bewildering difficulty Brothers in Arms fails to create on the player the wonderful immersion many people talk about.
Just during my first missions I encountered A.I. in the form of the German troopers, that either stands still waiting for you to shoot it, or kills you with one shot through the same type of barricade that makes them an impregnable target.
The game seems to be so dedicated to the repetitive "suppress-flank-anihilate" game-play it offers, that then almost all fire towards enemy positions ends in just being harmless suppressive fire. This next example is ridiculous and happened to me several times just during the first chapters:
I run to take cover behind a fence. Germans start pouring out a burning edifice. My one companion is ordered to suppress the very door they come out of. Suddenly a German soldier makes a run for it and stands in front of me on the other side of the fence. He is completely uncovered and a meter or so away from where I duck. The interface of the game tells me he is being "suppressed" (not killed but suppressed) by the fire of my buddy and other soldiers that are there just for flavour since they really do nothing but shout. From behind my cover I shoot at him. At his face. My crosshairs are clear upon his nose. I almost empty my machine gun on his nostrils. And all I do, according to the interface of the game, is "suppress" his position. He wakes up from his A.I. stupor, and shoots me dead with one bullet from the other side of the fence.
And that is just the A.I. and collision sensors. Now, during the same scenario I had seen some Germans pouring out from behind some hay stacks next to a house. I ordered my one-man platoon to follow me on a daring charge, since I was sick and tired of battling this bloody game for results and wanted to end this ridiculous scenario.
We run and reached those hay stacks and there was a space between them and on the floor some boxed ammunition for a machine gun of some sort. "Ammo and a hole to the flank of the enemy, sweeeet". If the game would only be that logical. I tried running through the stacks and the "ammo" box was a barrier. An invisible wall that could not be passed nor jumped. Although these things were only small boxes lying on the floor. The next thing lying there were me and my trusty side-kick filled to the rim with, probably, the very same german led I had tried to jump.
I can go on forever with the flaws of a game that supposedly rewards the tactical enthusiasm (which I imagine in reality changes with every situation making a charge of equal value to a specific scenario) but punishes any move out of the predetermined choices of what is an acceptable strategy. Like "suppress-flank-anihilate" one.
I say, search your Nazi bashing somewhere else.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.6Mar 5, 2013Bastion is an exquisite game in all aspects. Story, art and game play.
A beautiful and impeccably told tale of loss and hope that willBastion is an exquisite game in all aspects. Story, art and game play.
A beautiful and impeccably told tale of loss and hope that will conduct you through pretty much all the emotional spectrum thanks to one of the best written narrations on any media, rendered in an equally formidable palette with one of the most attractive looking cartoon styles you may hope to find in a game at present times.
Guiding you across the lavish visual landscape is another "character" of similar beauty and importance as are the graphics and your trusty weapons: The music. The music in Bastion is as necessary to the story and the game as is your character or the narrator.
With the uncomplicated game mechanic and goals of, let's say, a platformer, Bastion (a weapon's RPG) manages to involve you emotionally in ways usually reserved for Adventure Games or large RPGs, thanks to its well crafted cast, presented to the player during the course of the game by well-timed brushstrokes of "sensations" instead of lengthy descriptions. A feat that is even more laudable since we get at best a few one-liners about each of them interspersed along the story.
The game changes fast and frequently enough to always keep you interested on what is taking place at the moment and curious of what may be about to happen. Interesting weapons, potions and special skills make for a truly unforgettable experience that has "replayability" etched on every lost stone of Caelandia you recover.
I think I've kissed Bastion's ass enough to make it redundant to say that I fully recommend it.
Average User Score: 8.4Dec 27, 2012One of the best crafted experiences character and story-wise I have witnessed in a long time, on any game genre. Within the boundaries ofOne of the best crafted experiences character and story-wise I have witnessed in a long time, on any game genre. Within the boundaries of adventure games, this, as with The Longest Journey series, is a masterpiece of legendary dimensions (if not length), that will be brought into discussion as a measuring unit of how games are supposed to be delivered.
It is so compelling and interesting that the downside of its not entirely satisfactory combat system and its frequent "click-to-not-die" moments is easily forgiven, detracting almost nothing from the overall experience.
If on top of all you happen to like zombie-related games, the experience of living through such a gruesome and disheartening situation does not get better than this.
All the characters are precisely that, characters, therefore every decision you make on the game pertaining these people carries the true weight of responsibility on them because of that very fact.
The Walking Dead includes what could probably be one of THE best child protagonists of all time: Clementine, that along the likes of April and Zoë from the Longest Journey series, you unavoidably care for thus want to carry this persona across all difficulties to see them safe and victorious (even if transitorily in the case of the former one) at the far side of the story.
With great art, beautifully realistic dialog and a spectacularly wealthy source material to round all up, this is a game you should be installing in your machine right about now.… Expand