|By date||Most helpful reviews||By my score||By metascore||By user score|
Average User Score: 8.4Mar 5, 2017Taking off my very heavily rose tinted Zelda fandom glasses and trying to describe the game simply for what it is, I'll say it's an open worldTaking off my very heavily rose tinted Zelda fandom glasses and trying to describe the game simply for what it is, I'll say it's an open world action RPG with simple but profoundly satisfying mechanics, a heavy emphasis on exploration and discovery, and some of the most brilliant and *satisfying* physics and logic puzzles I've ever seen in a game. (Any game. Honestly, it gives the Portal series and others a very strong run for their money in terms of trying to figure out what to do, and then making use of the game's myriad abilities and its physics engine and timing to solve certain areas.)
Some caveats, of course. If you've never enjoyed past Zelda games because of the simplistic story, silliness/humor, or general themes, this game isn't likely to change your mind. It does give the world and its history a much greater sense of lore than past installments, and there is voice acting in cut scenes now, but this is still a Zelda game. It still feels like Zelda, it still looks like Zelda, NPCs are still silly/humorous at times like Zelda, most dialogue is still text-based, and mechanically, despite a great many additions that transform the way you play and explore (for the better by far imho,) it still feels - largely, at least - like Zelda.
Where it differs, and where its genius lies, is both in its constant sense of challenge, and the total freedom it provides to choose how best to overcome its many obstacles. While the save system is extremely generous so as to avoid tedium, even well into the game with lots of health and stamina increases under your belt, you'll encounter enemies that can easily one-hit annihilate you. And every time you acclimate to an enemy or an area and its particular challenges, the game throws something new at you.
You'll spend a lot of time moving the camera around to get a good view of where you're trying to go, and then trying to decide where to climb/jump/glide so as to reach your intended goal (this free form ability to pick a destination and then try to formulate a tactic for reaching it is one of the game's strengths - maybe its greatest imo) without running out of stamina - which means falling.
There is *something* to be found everywhere you climb or explore. Shrines (which contain the aforementioned puzzles,) NPCs, Koroks, overworld mini-bosses, enemy forts, or simply chests containing money, ammunition, weapons, armor, or other goodies (sometimes even rare weapons,) abound. But there are still occasional areas that are devoid of any major world content. This lends the game a slow, methodical, lonely feeling at times. (Though some would instead call it boring. Pick your adjective depending upon personal taste. I love it.)
The physics engine in the game means you can push boulders down hills into enemies, set fires (which spread) to create updrafts to lift your paraglider higher into the air, chop down trees and send them floating down rivers to create makeshift bridges, freeze water to create pillars that alter the path of moving objects in creative ways, or build ad hoc catapults. And much more. Experimenting is rewarding.
It's going to be very difficult for me to go back to only being able to ride/walk/drive/jump everywhere in games like GTA, Bethesda's titles, or Red Dead, unless they include some form of climbing. The sense of real freedom - and thoughtful effort - it imparts is just too profound to ever go without again imo. And that challenge (can I get up here or should I try another side of the cliff that might be easier? And if I do, will I fall and lose my opportunity to get up there? Do I need stamina elixirs first? Where's the nearest fire to make them?) is the best part of the game for me.
The first two shrines I did were already the most satisfying puzzles I've ever completed in a game, despite their brevity... and that's just the tip of the ice berg. The game's design and mechanics are, frankly, ingeniously implemented. Perhaps best of all, challenge level seems commensurate with payoff (abilities, powerful items, etc.) which is great. Discovery always leads to some degree of advancement.
What Ocarina of Time did for Zelda and games in general for its time, with the huge shock and awe of seeing the 2D to 3D transition still in full effect, Breath of the Wild likewise does in its own time for design and freedom... without having to rely on that sense of awe that the industry transitioning to 3D gave us. It doesn't surpass it, but for me, it DOES equal it. (Which in and of itself is astounding.)
The game is a high 9 for me rather than a 10. There are some muddy textures, some aliasing, and some frame rate issues. Those are the only technical blemishes I've encountered, and that seems to be the consensus so far.
In short, it's just plain fun, and beautifully implemented. But as with all games, it won't be for everyone. Use the above information to formulate where you're likely to fall. The quantity and variety of content is vast.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.2Mar 24, 2015Just a bit over four months after its preceding installment, the eagerly anticipated second book of Dreamfall Chapters arrived. And I amJust a bit over four months after its preceding installment, the eagerly anticipated second book of Dreamfall Chapters arrived. And I am pleased to say that it drastically improved upon my chief criticisms of Book One - duration and content. The same masterful storytelling, sound design, character design, dialogue, and world building are once again on full display (see my previous review for Book One,) but this time, thankfully, there is far more of it.
I easily spent 16 hours with this book, and was challenged by at least a couple of the puzzles to a far greater extent than I was in the first. More importantly, most of those 16 hours were spent immersed in a far better paced, characterization rich narrative that drew me in and held my attention the whole time. We also got to return to Arcadia (the magical counterpart of the cyberpunk, technological Stark, one of the two worlds in which DFC takes place,) with the city of Marcuria being opened up and explorable for the first time in DFC.
As a fan of TLJ and Dreamfall, my chief focus in this series has always been April and to a lesser extent Zoe. Zoe feels like a natural extension for the series, and it maintains a central female protagonist - something there is far too little of in gaming in my view. As such, my interest in the other playable character - Kian Alvane - was admittedly hard won. But in this chapter, win said interest Red Thread Games have done, and with aplomb.
Here we not only spend far more time with Kian than in Book One, but I finally feel that we find compelling reasons to empathize with, care about, and invest in his tale. This is critical, as it seems likely that he will play an increasingly pivotal role in the overarching TLJ mythos going forward. I no longer felt impatient for the game to skip back to Zoe's portions this time around, and that's a very good thing.
Kian's bits also introduce us to several new and interesting characters, one of whom you can particularly tell Ragnar Tornquist (and he has said as much on the forums) relished writing for. It's apparent, and immediately endearing, as is everything about the character herself. I won't spoil things by naming her, but you'll no doubt find out in due course and join the rest of us in our collective "Aww/giggle" response.
It's hard to create supporting characters that really resonate and end up being memorable for years - characters such as Crow from the previous games. The lady in question is such a character, and RTG are to be commended.
One thing both Kian and Zoe's tales share in common by Book Two, is the overwhelming sense that choices really do matter in this game. Many of the choices made in Book One felt a tad underwhelming because their consequences were not generally revealed. Coupled with the brevity of that episode, things fell a bit flatter than they really were, I felt. In Book Two, we not only get to see the consequences of those choices, but those consequences cause the stories being told to become increasingly divergent, with ramifications both subtle and profound.
The smallest choice truly can send the story careening off the rails we thought it was headed down, and that made Book Two a substantially more satisfying game experience for me. These characters have agency, and thus we too have agency. This is important (in ways I lack room to elaborate on here,) and it is very welcome in an industry which so often promises choice and consequence only to deliver superficial or token change.
All in all, more than ever I now feel that DFC will be a truly worthwhile interactive story, resplendent with choice, personality, genuinely mature themes (and language,) emotion, and surprise. If that's enough for you, then at this point I feel it's more than worth it to buy the season pass and begin experiencing this game (or at least picking it up once all five books are finally out later - we are told - this year.)
The game is not without issues.
The worlds (now truly plural at least) remain beautiful and atmospheric, but largely empty beyond the very spread out interactive elements. This makes for a lot of getting lost and backtracking, with little to interact with along the way between those points. It's a sight to see, but there's nothing to do within those sights at times.
There are at this stage also still some visual glitches, pop-in, and other oddities to report. And at least one puzzle requires some extremely unintuitive tinkering, which left me (and others I'm sure) feeling completely stuck at one point... and not in the good, challenging way. In the "this makes no sense, what do I do?" sense.
Those gripes aside, DFC Book Two improves on Book One in virtually every way, and if you crave a great yarn more than intricate hands on gameplay mechanics, I now feel much more comfortable recommending the entire game as it progresses. You can get it on Steam or DRM free on GoG. (Coming to PS4 and other platforms - potentially - in the future.)… Expand
Average User Score: 8.1Mar 22, 2015I won’t elaborate upon the various ways in which the original The Longest Journey touched my life such that it wormed its way into aI won’t elaborate upon the various ways in which the original The Longest Journey touched my life such that it wormed its way into a permanent, rare part of my heart I reserve for very few games. Or how its followup, Dreamfall, left me hanging on the edge of a cliff with one of my favorite video game characters of all time (April Ryan) at the conclusion of its equally memorable tale.
But sufficed to say, when I learned that this series was receiving the sequel treatment from a team including the original creators funded by Kickstarter, I leapt at the chance to support the survival of a story I didn’t want to see vanish into the ether of gaming history.
Does the game live up to the legacy of the first two cult classics? Is it the triumphant return of the well written, endearing characters we know and love? Well... for the most part, I have to say yes. Yes it does, and yes it is. But, alas, it’s not an unequivocal affirmative.
Like Dreamfall before it, DFC is a third person, story-driven adventure with puzzle elements, albeit sans the action segments this time around. (Thankfully. I never liked them personally.) As promised during development, it does strike an interesting balance between the adventure sensibility of Dreamfall, and the point and click feel of The Longest Journey.
The visuals range from beautiful and dream-like, to confusingly lit. (Especially in Europolis. Talk about overdoing the lens flares. Wow.) But it all contributes to a wonderful feel that is immediately evocative of Stark in The Longest Journey. Characters are pleasingly detailed, shiny, and stylized.
Sound design is effective, though there are some instances of a distant sound cutting off sooner than it seems like it should, rather than gently fading out with distance. The music, however, is goose bump inducingly fantastic. Moving and atmospheric in the extreme, I was perhaps most impressed with this aspect of the game’s production. Poole et al have done a riveting job of scoring this world and its story.
Gameplay consists of using the aforementioned context sensitive icon interactions to solve puzzles, traverse environments, and advance the story. Longtime fans of the series will be pleased to know I found the writing and characterization to be extremely true to the tones and complexities of the previous entries. Zoë and Kian, if anything, feel even more human, vulnerable, and conflicted than in Dreamfall.
The puzzles you must solve to advance through these areas and progress through the part of the story told in this book are deceptively simple once solved, but I got stuck more than once experimenting with multiple avenues before succeeding. This pads out the duration somewhat, and also feels a lot like The Longest Journey, which I definitely like.
All of this combined to make me feel secure in the belief that the story, once complete, will be both true to the original games’ legacies, and engaging enough to take me to interesting territory psychologically and thematically.
This brings me to the sole major criticism I have of Book One: its insubstantial content. There are a grand total of four truly distinct areas in the game, with only one of them being large and fully explorable. You spend very little time in all but one of said locales. My first playthrough took me 6 hours. Not horrible, considering that there are AAA games which last that long. No, the problem is not the price, or the value. The issue is how brief and empty that 6 hours felt, subjectively.
I can honestly attest that the majority of those hours were spent walking, backtracking, and stumped by one or two particularly inscrutable puzzles. Were the beautiful façade that is the world of DFC as interactive as it is atmospheric, I might not have minded. As it stands though, beyond the key characters and hot spots, there's not much to see and do in Europolis. It's beautiful, big, and well... quite empty feeling.
Worse still, very little of the story is advanced. Just when I was beginning to become truly intrigued and immersed... that was it. To Be Continued. The cut off point felt quite unnatural and poorly paced in my opinion as well. Less of a self contained beginning-middle-end cycle and more of a "beginning, middle, and... uh... that's it?"
Despite these criticisms, in actuality I love the game. It is a return to a world and to characters that I have loved, and missed. It oozes mood, charm, and humor. Characters have inner worlds and are multifaceted, nuanced, fully developed people for the most part. Something I have bitterly missed since the first two games, and something far too rare even today in digital narratives. The music is spine tingling. The tone and general direction of the story feels in every way like it will fit into the larger mythos and texture of the saga, and it is in many ways like coming home.
That's worth some shortcomings and growing pains if you're a TLJ/DF fan.
Balance be with you.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.4Aug 26, 2012High Moon should be commended for once again finding a way to take a clearly G1 (G1 refers to the original 1980s Transformers cartoon and toyHigh Moon should be commended for once again finding a way to take a clearly G1 (G1 refers to the original 1980s Transformers cartoon and toy lines) inspired game, and making it contemporary and appealing to Transfans and newcomers from across the gaming spectrum.
Fall of Cybertron is a third person shooter (not a cover-based shooter, as so many reviews which lament its lack of a GoW style cover system keep calling it) with a twist. Like its predecessor, the also excellent War for Cybertron, you can run, shoot, and do everything else you would expect from a high octane shooter... but you can also "transform and roll out" on the fly, changing form at any time to take advantage of the tactical options your character's vehicle mode affords you. This eschews the need for a cover system (which not every third person shooter needs of would benefit from anyway frankly,) by allowing you to simply transform and become mobile, escaping when overwhelmed, or pressing the advantage when you have one.
Perhaps most importantly to Transfans, FoC is a distillation of all that is awesome about the Transformers universe. It is chocked full of G1 references that anyone who watched the cartoon will immediately recognize. Some of them are harder to find than others and actually require some thought and exploration to stumble upon.
Speaking of which, there are dozens upon dozens of audio logs scattered throughout the levels which flesh out the story and history of Cybertron. Some references to how Megatron rose to power and Optimus Prime's past as Orion Pax should get your nostalgic juices flowing, especially if you read the comics (particularly IDW's War Within arcs.) There are also blueprints to be found which unlock the game's many weapons.
In terms of gameplay, what's on offer is fairly rudimentary. You aim, you zoom, you shoot. You move around trying to avoid getting shot. It's made unique and fleshed out via the aforementioned ability to transform, as well as the aptly named Teletraan 1 weapon and character upgrade system. This gives you a persistent campaign challenge to complete in the form of unlocking and upgrading a dozen or so standard and heavy weapons which can then be used by any character. There are also perks which once unlocked give all playable characters bonuses or buffs such as additional health.
The lack of campaign co-op was initially painful, but what we get in exchange is a more well told story, more varied levels focused on individual Transformers characters from both sides of the war, and some mind blowing set pieces that any true Transformers fan will find themselves grinning ear to ear at. (I actually shed a tear at one point, no lie.)
FoC's unique multiplayer action and hoard-like Escalation mode both return this time around, but with the added ability to custom design your own transformers in one of four classes. As you level up you unlock more and more components to tweak your design to your heart's content. It isn't the deepest system, being largely aesthetic and consisting ultimately of only a few common pieces, but it's still a huge improvement over the last game's static character classes.
FoC is an excellent followup to WFC, improving on it in nearly every arena that matters, but its most impressive achievement is in its ability to tell a Transformer-centric story that is both intensely nostalgic and contemporary at the same time. Something I wish Michael Bay had been able to do.