Average User Score: 5.4Oct 30, 2013Well, the negative scores seem to be inching ahead of the positive ones, so I feel like I need to support the greens and redress the balance!
Regardless of what others may say on here, Gone Home IS a game, and a beautiful one at that. Similar criticism was leveled at Dear Esther regarding its definition as a 'game', where it was certainly more applicable, but if you define a game as having to perform some kind of skilled actions to gain rewards, then Gone Home is certainly a game.
You use your skills to find the clues around the house and piece together the events leading up to your arrival, and the reward is a skillfully told story that will either bounce right off you, or break your heart, depending on who you are. You can be any age or gender to enjoy the story, but if you only play games for action or excitement, then this game is not for you.
It beggars belief that there are people who bought this game without doing at least a little bit of research first. Do people really just buy games without reading their description? Baffling.
Is it worth £14.99? Will I ever play it again? I'm not sure I can answer either of those questions, but I certainly didn't feel short changed, and it was an experience I'll always treasure (besides, I bought in it the Steam sale!).
Developers who harp on about how important stories are in games should play Gone Home to experience how good stories can be told and that they don't required feature film levels of action, special effects and dialogue to achieve it. You just need talent, and that's what the Fulbright team have in spades.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.2Oct 8, 2013I had high hopes for Gunslinger. A series of good reviews gave me the impression it was a well constructed return to old-fashioned shooters, with a good chunk of humour and innovation thrown in for good measure. But it's only nearly those things.
There's a lot to like; great visuals, engaging combat, a humourous but exciting plot, and lots and lots of shooting. But, for me, a number of things just ruin it beyond repair; the insta-death QTEs, the stupid black border, the hideously low FOV, the duels, the poorly integrated bullet-time, the constant stopping and breaks in gameplay, and the stupidly distracting HUD elements and key-press reminders. Yes, I know there are hacks to remove the borders and fix the FOV, and these fixes allowed me to progress further than five minutes into the game, but I'm reviewing the game in its vanilla state (as I did with Far Cry 3), and it's disappointing how these games still treat everyone like 6 year-olds without giving me the option to TURN THEM THE HELL OFF. Does that make me picky or elitist? Then so be it. Maybe other people are too easily pleased because they've been spoon-fed this console crap for so many years. Seriously; screw this nonsense. Screw it all the way back to 2005.
Like many modern shooters over the last seven or eight years, a great game utterly ruined by the usual console trappings that all developers seem to think they have to force on all players. This could have been a modern DOOM meets A Fistful of Dollars, but it wasn't.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.9Oct 4, 2013Perhaps I should have played Prey when it first came out and it may have seemed a bit more innovative, but playing it in retrospect I can't help but see it as a huge missed opportunity. It's certainly an enjoyable shooter, but I found the shifting gravity and static portals to be a bit of a distraction at best and annoying at worst. There are a few instances where the mechanics work really well, and some clever environments are constructed, but otherwise it feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity. Also, there's a point right at the beginning when you are shrunk to a tiny size and appear on a sphere in a tiny box, and the idea of miniaturisation appealed to me much more than all the gravity shifting and portals, but this never happens again for the entire game!
The combat and weapons are enjoyable, although I felt that ammo ran out too fast on most weapons, interrupting the pace of combat somewhat. Also, there weren't enough wide open arenas, and most of these came towards the end of the game. This, along with the plodding pace of the plot, means the whole game feels like it takes a really long time to hit its stride. I appreciated that the opening section of the game (after the bar section, which was a superb prologue) was meant to build the atmosphere, but it overplayed it a little too long for me, especially as the only thing you're doing for the entire game is chasing after your girlfriend to rescue her (because, you know, girls need rescuing). Again, the plot becomes more interesting towards the end, but it's too little too late.
Another annoyance is your character's voice, which chirps in, or rather shouts in, on a regular basis. And the voice acting isn't exactly award winning, either. Another thing was irked me was that the art style was far too similar to DOOM 3 and Quake 4, which just adds to its derivative feel. I know it used the same engine, but that's no reason to ape the art style (and even your main weapon has exactly the same sound effect as your rifle from Quake 4!).
An enjoyable shooter overall, but a bit of a waste.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.2Aug 14, 2013I actually bought this game when it first came out, but only just got round to playing it properly (inspired by the forthcoming sequel). When I started it up I remembered why I didn't get very far the first time round. The movement is clunky, the FOV too low, the speed too slow, the hints are annoying as are the objective markers. Fortunately, since a long time has passed since its debut a few mods have been released in the meantime, one of which is called NeuroWolf and addresses all the issues I had with the core gameplay mechanics.
With NeuroWolf installed the game becomes FUN. Although, having said that, it still takes a while to get moving and it only really hits its stride about halfway through.
The best parts of the game are the assaults on the Nazi bases, rather than the parts set in Isenstadt, and once you have all the Thule crystals you can really play around with your attacks. The additional weapons are ok, but I stuck to the MP40 for most of the game, barely touching the rocket launcher or Tesla gun, and saved most of the other weapons for the bosses.
Overall, a fun game, mired by poor console mechanics on the PC. If this game had originally been developed for the PC, like the original Wolfenstein games, instead of being an obvious console-port, it would have been far superior.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.2May 14, 2013I have to begin with admitting that I haven't actually finished Antichamber, but I don't really think it matters (unless there's some earth-shattering finale I've missed). I took a few days off from playing it, and when I returned, I just felt like I'd lost the thread a bit and I couldn't get back into it. I might pick it up again one day, but I've been distracted by Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon for now.
I was quite wary of playing another 'Portal-style' first-person puzzle game, as I'd been disappointed by some other FPP I'd played (I forget which), but the look of Antichamber, it's glowing reviews, and a half-price offer on Steam persuaded me to give it a try. And I have to say it's completely unlike any other game I've played, and any comparisons to Portal fade away in seconds. The simplicity of the controls lull you into a false sense of security, because things are certainly not what they seem.
I'm not sure how to describe the kinds of puzzles you encounter, because figuring them out feels like you're somehow allowing your conscience mind to take back seat and allowing cognitive instincts and your subconscious to take over. I know that sounds a bit wanky, but I honestly can't think of any other way of explaining the way the puzzles are presented to you and how you have to approach them. Yes, they take place in a physical environment, but nothing, absolutely nothing is explained to you. It's all one, rather-steep, ambiguous, learning curve. No hints, no companion to guide you, no story to indicate what your ultimate goal is. All you get is a set of black plaques containing proverbs which relate to the puzzle you've just solved.
Echoing the principles of quantum mechanics, the way you perceive the puzzles in Antichamber can alter how they behave. A large part of the initial approach to the game is simple trial and error, but once you pick up the basic principles you start to alter your approach accordingly. It's only when you get your hands on a device that allows you to manipulate small cubes (it doesn't sound very exciting, does it?) that you start to feel like you're playing a proper game, rather than a set of random puzzles.
It's a good job the all-white environment and the background ambient music is very soothing, because some of the puzzles would probably have you throwing your mouse at the screen in frustration. But despite feeling like just giving up sometimes, I never once felt angry or frustrated at the puzzles. I'm a firm believer that any puzzles in a game should contain just enough clues to allow you to solve them, and the biggest part of solving the puzzles is finding the clues, or recognising what IS a clue. I remember a couple of times in the old Tomb Raider games I'd spend hours running around in circles because the clue to the next step of the game was either far too discreet, relied on you stumbling across something by accident, or utterly non-existent. I also feel that games, even puzzle games, have become far too spoon-fed in recent years, and it's refreshing to play a game that contains no cut-scenes, no tutorials, and even very few configuration settings. You switch the game on, and you play. It's a principle that I wish was applied to all games, not just puzzlers. Allowing the player to learn as they play has become a forgotten art, and constant reminders about what buttons you need to press to perform an action have become a seemingly ubiquitous annoyance. I digress.
Although I described a trial and error approach to the puzzles, it never feels like you're running around in circles. If you've missed a clue, you just have to take a moment and reevaluate your surroundings and adjust your approach. The multiple patch approach also offers the chance to try something different and return to a particularly troubling puzzle at a later point. Many puzzles actually require you to return to them later in the game, you just have to learn which are which!
A excellent game, and a beacon to all developers who should have the balls to try something different. I'll go and finish it once I beat Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, I promise.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.3Feb 1, 2013A very enjoyable game, but also somewhat of disappointment. I probably wanted it to be like Thief more than I should have, and although there are many similarities to Thief, the game-play just doesn't live up to it. The story, design and characters are all superb, and it's proof that a new idea, and a different approach to the typical shooter, can be successful.
By the time I'd finished the game, trying to keep the death-count as low as possible, I felt like I'd missed out on taking a more savage approach to the missions. So I replayed the whole game, and tried to kill as many of the bad-guys as possible (and even a few innocents along the way), and it was like a different game. I'm all for choice within game, and a flexibility to how missions can be approached, but I think the game would have been slightly improved by, once in a while, forcing you to take either a stealthy approach or a guns-blazing approach (similar to the Thief games). This would have meant that someone like me, who's default approach would always be stealth, would have had the chance to let-loose once in a while. I know that choice was always there, and I could have done exactly that at any point, but I didn't really believe that the bad-guys really deserved to die. They were just following whomever was in command, after all. My immersion in the game's narrative was actually preventing me from having a bit of fun. Maybe if some of the levels contained baddies who really deserved getting blown-up or an arrow to the head I would have had more chance to use more of my weaponry on my first play-though. There were times when a stealthy approach was the best way to avoid being killed, so these situations forced you to use more softly-softly tactics, but there was no point when a more action-packed method was essential. Sometimes, too much choice is a bad thing.
Once I did decided to replay the game and in a more gung-ho fashion, I noticed how much EASIER the game had become. I could breeze through some of the levels in a fraction of the time I did when I was trying not to kill anyone, and I started to understand the criticism of those who took this approach on their first play-though and felt short-changed.
Also, I appreciate the fact that the developers spent a lot of time to make sure each platform was given individual focus, but it still felt as if the PC version retained too many aspects of the console version. The ability to turn off most of the HUD elements, for example, is proof of this, but it took so long for me to figure-out which I needed and which I didn't that it probably spoiled the opening chapter. This is a probably a separate discussion, but you've got to ask yourself why do developers need to add so many HUD elements to make the game easier? If you can turn them off, and are still be able to play the game, then why have them in the first place? If the game needs them then why not just find other ways to offer clues to the player? Glowing objects, a compass and a map with objective indicators are usually more than enough, and have been a staple of FPS games since the Doom-era, so why introduce more clutter on the screen and destroy the immersion? Is it because they think console gamers are generally stupid, or perhaps it's because they're catering to gamers who are too young to play the game, but who they know inevitably will? This seems a far more reasonable explanation, and it's a real shame that a game's rating (18 in this case) shouldn't also reflect the intellect of the age-range it's aimed at. There's no evidence (despite what some may believe) that PC gamers over the age of 18 are any more intelligent than console gamers over the age of 18, so introducing ways to make the game easier, beyond the usual difficulty levels; which generally affect combat rather than game-play; can only be catering to younger players. And that is just WRONG. Anyway, I digress.
Despite all this, Dishonored was like a breath of fresh-air, and I hope it gives more developers the courage to try something different with the common FPS. And I eagerly look forward to the inevitable sequel. Instead of filling the Thief-void, though, it just made me want Thief 4 to come sooner!… Expand
Average User Score: 8.2Feb 1, 2013I'd heard lots of good things about this game, and I've been a fan of the previous games (the original more than it's sequel). I'd heard that it didn't continue the plot or characters from either of the two previous games, which was a shame, but if the ongoing theme of the FarCry series was to have a standalone story with each episode, then I figured, why not? I'd read that the HUD was a bit too cluttered, but that there were various mods to minimise or even remove it, so I was encouraged by the fact that I would be able to customise certain aspects if I felt it was required. I'd also heard that the plot was weak, but that the game-play more than made up for it. So I was prepared for that too.
What I wasn't prepared for was how much of an utter disappoint the game really was. In my opinion the HUD and terrible plot are MORE than enough to ruin the game, and it baffles me that anyone could even get past these two obstacles to even enjoy the game-play. Thankfully, I had installed a couple of mods to improve game-play (more accurate weapons and improved selection) and remove the HUD completely (the official patch didn't go anywhere near far enough in this regard), so the game I am scoring here is not the game I've been playing for the last three weeks, it's the game I would have been forced to play without the mods.
Seriously, who needs that amount of information flashing and bobbing around on their screen to tell them the SAME thing at least three times? The HUD elements, even with all the customisable ones turned off, turn a potentially enjoyable challenge into a ridiculously easy arcade game, where neither thought, exploration or initiative are required. Objectives tell you to 'find' this or 'locate' that, and yet the whereabouts of every objective, no, every STAGE of every objective, is indicated in three different places, two of which are on your HUD (not including what you can actually see with your eyes!). The AI of the enemies is fantastic, amongst the best I've encountered, but the poor sods don't stand a chance because they're splashed all over your mini-map and appear clearly, even behind objects, with big red icons over their heads.
And then there's the plot and characters. Unfortunately, no one's come up with a mod to make the plot or characters any more interesting, and no amount of HUD removal or weapon modding is going to help me give a damn about any of the characters and what's happening to them. Even your own, annoyingly vocal, character, Jason, is a hateful adolescent (not in years, but in behaviour), and his friends are all stereotyped air-heads with no substance.
I get the feeling there is more to the story than it first appears, and there's some kind of 'Alice in Wonderland' sub-plot going on (I've avoided plot spoilers), and that maybe there will be some kind of Fight Club-style reveal where it turns out Jason is actually Vaas, and vice-versa. But you know what? I just don't care any more. I'm about 8 hours into the game and have deliberately avoided following the story, not only because it's weak and the characters are hateful, but also because it means I'm likely to have to sit through endless boring cut-scenes, or stupid, arcade-style mini-games, or encounter the nemesis of any immersion junkie like myself, the dreaded quick-time event (seriously who actually LIKES quick-time events? Who buys a game and says to themselves, 'oh wow, I hope this game has LOTS of quick-time events). Why can't developers just let us PLAY the game, instead of constantly forcing our actions, or taking away our control all together. Valve and other progressive developers have proved time and again that you can have both a great game and a great immersive experience without compromising your in-game freedom, so why is there still this obsession with trying to turn games into movies?
I probably shouldn't review the game before I've finished it, but I've just started re-playing BioShock to remind myself what a good, immersive first-person experience feels like (HUD elements and all!), and to prepare myself for the release of the next BioShock game, so the chances of me going back to FarCry 3 before BioShock Infinite comes out are slim.
It's a damn shame, because there are loads of things to love about FarCry 3; the hunting, the expanse of the island, the superb AI, the weapons, the beautiful graphics, the best motion-capture acting in a game (Vaas), but all of that can only last me so long, and I just don't want to be in the shoes of this character any more. I'd rather put Jason's friends out of their misery and explore the island.
With mods, such as the removal of the HUD and the improved weapon selection, I'd give the game a 6 out of 10. A better story would have probably meant an 8 or 9. But the vanilla game deserves nothing more than a 1, because developers need to realise that you just can't treat your audience like imbeciles.… Expand
Average User Score: 1.7Dec 19, 2012What a travesty of a game. Not only is it a blatant direct rip-off/cash-in on Day-Z its just a terrible game. Its clear that this game wasn't in development prior to Day-Z, as it lifts so many aspects directly, but just does it in a lazy way.
This game is basically the equivalent of all the 'mockbuster' films that cheap studios release around the same time as a major release to trick people into thinking they are the original. I don't know how many people are going to buy this thinking it's Day-Z, but even if it's only a handful it's a handful too many.
Valve should remove this game from Steam asap, or risk damaging their reputation.
If any one is seriously considering buying this, and is aware of its history and controversy, please just hold out for the standalone version of Day-Z!… Expand
Average User Score: 6.5Jul 16, 2012Dear Esther is not a game, so it should not be reviewed as a game. It uses a game graphics engine, and game controls, but games require at least a basic level of skill or interaction, and Dear Esther requires nothing more than movement (as do 'maze' games, but they require skill).
What you do have is graphics, a story, music and atmosphere; things which most modern games require and are critiqued upon in games reviews, so it's these things that should be evaluated. Dear Esther excels in all of these areas, putting most games which try to be 'atmospheric' to shame.
The problem is, because it looks and feels like a game, you want to do game things, at the very least, jump, crouch, open doors and pick things up. Once you get over this lack of freedom and settle into the narrative you start to enjoy the experience a little bit more.
It should probably come with a 'this is not a game' sticker, but if you keep an open mind, and offer Dear Esther your time and patience, you'll enjoy a visually enchanting, and occasionally creepy story.
I would still have liked the ability to jump and crouch!… Expand
Average User Score: 7.3Jul 16, 2012Quantum Conundrum isn't a Valve game, but it really aspires to be. As everyone by now knows, Kim Swift was one of the key contributors to Portal and it's spiritual predecessor, Narbacular Drop. And you can't help wonder if Narbacular Drop would have turned out a little more like Quantum Conundrum if Valve hadn't turned it into Portal.
But her time at Valve has certainly rubbed off. You have a first person perspective, the classic Valve learning curve, a silent protagonist, a guiding voice, Team Fortress-style graphics, and no annoying cutscenes whatsoever.
Although it never reaches Valve's high quality-bar, QC is funny, charming, inventive and has just enough variety of puzzles to keep you going. It suffers from being just a little too easy (and I don't think I'm being immodest!), and from a very basic plot which only offers any true feeling of peril in it's closing minutes.
What QC does well is to remind you that fun and originality don't have to be confined to indie titles. Well done Square Enix.… Expand