Average User Score: 6.5Dec 3, 2012It's already been noted that Dear Esther isn't really a game as such. That's fine, and I'm actually a bit of a fan of interactive fictionIt's already been noted that Dear Esther isn't really a game as such. That's fine, and I'm actually a bit of a fan of interactive fiction (give Shade or Anchorhead a go sometime) and other 'games' that bend the definition a bit. However, despite the lovely visuals and the neat caving section I can't really recommend it. The prose is florid and purple, and thinks it's a lot more meaningful than it actually is. Despite the ill-considered random allocation of voice clips to each playthrough, the plot is pretty much given away at the start by chemical formulae on walls and overly obvious hints. Interactive fiction is fine, but this is bad fiction.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.3Dec 3, 2012Trine 2 is one of the most fun co-op experiences I've had since the days of the Amiga. The varying ability of the three characters to defendTrine 2 is one of the most fun co-op experiences I've had since the days of the Amiga. The varying ability of the three characters to defend themselves or move around the screen leads to lots of funny, entertaining and cool co-op play. It also has a nice little story, a great fairy-tale aesthetic and truly beautiful graphics that seem to be optimised brilliantly - it ran really well even on my fairly crappy PC. It could perhaps use a couple more Lost Vikings-style ways to 'combine your powers' but that's my only real (half-hearted) criticism. Easily worth a score in the low to mid 90s out of 100 using a '50 is average' scale, so I'll give it 10 on here.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.7Dec 3, 2012Why didn't they go for the obvious pun and call this The Green Revolution? Alright, serious face. I bought Of Orcs and Men in the Steam saleWhy didn't they go for the obvious pun and call this The Green Revolution? Alright, serious face. I bought Of Orcs and Men in the Steam sale and was pleasantly surprised; to me it felt like a satisfying hybrid of a great buddy movie and an RPG/squad strategy. Once I'd got past the somewhat slow start and awkward camera angle the game got gradually better just about all the way through. I finished it wanting more and with some mixed feelings - I enjoyed it a lot but it definitely has unrealised potential. Below I'll write some of my thoughts about it while avoiding spoilers.
The game hinges on three things. First is the setting and plot, which twists the usual Forgotten Realms-ish high fantasy into something more focused and less black-and-white. OO&M's world is deftly and economically drawn from neat strokes of dialogue, pretty art and little details.
Next is the dynamic between Arkail and Styx, the orc and goblin you play through the game with. This is critical to the game 'working' and it's done really well. The main duo are very likeable and bounce off each other well - they might not be moral exemplars but you feel for them and the situation they're in. Third is the combat engine, which is a little like a meatier version of the Infinity Engine; you slow time to a crawl in order to queue up commands for both characters from skill wheels. I feel like the combat is just short of being amazing, and needed a bit more tweaking (eg to make interrupting attacks more intuitive). But it's satisfying and engaging; firing enemies out of doors or down flights of stairs with Rain of Daggers never got old. The game has some genuinely cool moments that threw me for a loop. These were usually helped by the best bits of OO&M's inconsistent voice acting; the main duo and a couple of other characters have excellent actors (who aren't shy of changing the line a bit to make it sound more natural), while most of the rest are the usual video game standard (ie mediocre to comically bad :p). It's largely a linear game, which has positives and negatives. The plot is much stronger since it's not diluted by wandering around or having to accomodate nameless player-characters of sixteen possible elf race variants and nine 'alignments'. On the other hand, it would've been nice to be given a little chance to explore a cool setting of which you only see tantalising glimpses. Also, the choices given to you that make a difference (to gameplay or your feeling of righteousness) are some of the coolest bits, and more of them wouldn't hurt. There are other areas that could stand improvement. Some mechanics feel underdeveloped or underused - Styx's size as a movement mechanic, for instance, which is pretty much dropped early on. The awesome dynamic between Arkail and Styx and the cool setting feel a bit underexploited, though I guess it's better to finish the game wanting more than to grind through the last chapter feeling bored. In conclusion, OO&M is a bit of a breath of fresh air. D&Desque 'quasi-Europeans butcher thousands of Always Chaotic Evil humanoids without a second thought' high fantasy is ridiculously tired and stale. This game is a great step towards freshening the genre up and adding a bit of philosophical depth to it. Because of that, and because I just enjoyed it as a buddy-movie blast with an unusual and cool pair of buddies, I can forgive it its problems. If I were using a proper 0-100 scale where 50 is 'average', I'd give it about 82%. Since our review scale is so skewed by corruption, user review bombing and 'publisher over my shoulder', though, I'm giving it 9 out of 10.… Expand