Average User Score: 7.9Jan 22, 2014First off, I'll say I mostly enjoyed this game and played it through while putting it down very infrequently. The music is excellent, theFirst off, I'll say I mostly enjoyed this game and played it through while putting it down very infrequently. The music is excellent, the story somewhat compelling, the world is very creative and unique and the art is fantastic.
Unfortunately there are a few glaring issues that may make this a dealbreaker for some. For others it may just be painful knowing how much potential this game has.
As much as I tried, I am not a fan of the combat system. It is a very unique (and strange) take on turn based combat. Each side takes turns moving a single unit. What this means is that every time you kill an enemy unit, the remaining units get "extra turns," which can lead to you inadvertently "hasting" powerful enemies after killing weaker ones. This can be somewhat circumvented by "disabling" units using the strength system. In Banner Saga, units have two meters, armor and strength. Strength-armor=strength damage, or you can choose to attack someones armor. This leads to a very strange dynamic where if any of your characters are damaged they become serious dead weights. Even with some leveled up characters by the end of the game fights still took a decent chunk of time, and never really felt satisfying.
The other major part of the gameplay is the "caravan." You basically watch your caravan traveling across the world and random events pop up giving you choices. As a huge King Of Dragon Pass fan I picked this game up immediately based on reports that it had some similar elements. After playing through the game I don't really think this is a valid comparison. King of dragon pass used a unique system during their "dialogue choice" scenes where you can select every member of your ring to give you advice and hints on what each different option will do. This at least gives you a little direction during these scenes. Also (usually), if you "fail" one of these scenes the results penalize you in what seemed like a fair way that you could recover from given some time. Banner Saga on the other hand gives you choices with sometimes random outcomes. For example there are quite a few scenes where the wrong choice can end in a permanent character death and you just never see it coming. This type of random punishment is a little upsetting especially if you've been leveling a character or are attached to their play style.
Also as part of the caravan you have several fighters and refugees with you that rely on you purchasing supplies to feed them with "renown." This leads to a couple of issues. First, there doesn't really seem to be any purpose, upside or reward for having people in your caravan. Reportedly all battles are scaled to how many warriors you have, so that doesn't really make a big difference, and having more refugees just means more mouths to feed with no real change in story, rewards or outcome. Also, the currency in the game, "renown," is a little too scarce, making you choose between feeding your caravan, buying items or leveling characters. Between buying useless items, losing leveled characters and unclear purpose from having anyone in your caravan the system is a little disappointing.
I definitely think the game is worth giving a shot, as it is very beautiful and entertaining if you can overlook its flaws. I hope for the next installment combat is seriously revamped, that there is meat added on to the "caravan" mode and that the dialogue choice system gives choices with slightly more predictable outcomes.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.0Oct 27, 2013I'd give this "game" a 7.5 if it was an option.
In "The Stanley Parable" you play as "Stanley" in what appears to be a straightforward plotI'd give this "game" a 7.5 if it was an option.
In "The Stanley Parable" you play as "Stanley" in what appears to be a straightforward plot where all your co-workers have disappeared in the office, but it quickly becomes apparent that this is not your typical concept of a game. You'll probably have to play it yourself to understand.
Yes, there is some witty and philosophical dialogue and some bits of it may encourage some thought, but there is really no game here. It ultimately amounts to "choose an ending from this predetermined list." There's no real common theme and the different "endings" feel disjointed. Other than walking around there is nearly 0 interactivity, and certainly no challenge of any sort.
I think ultimately if this were a 5-7 dollar experience, I'd be fine with it, but at 15 dollars I almost feel like it's a rip-off. You shouldn't have to pay this much just to watch someone's thought experiment. I'm a little confused by all the hype.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.8Oct 7, 2013I want to give this game a 7.5, but that's not an option.
State of decay is a hybrid open world zombie world survivor simulator 3rd personI want to give this game a 7.5, but that's not an option.
State of decay is a hybrid open world zombie world survivor simulator 3rd person action game. The game starts very strong, and introduces some intriguing mechanics that could lead to a very unique gaming experience. Unfortunately a lot of the ideas introduced in the game feel like dead-ends and a rushed conclusion make for what feels like an incomplete experience.
The gameplay consists of two main modes. Exploring the open world and base building. Exploring consists of running or driving around while completing missions or searching for supplies. This involves run-ins with a near infinite supply of zombies. There are also some special zombies, one of which (the feral zombie) is probably the biggest threat in the game and is legitimately terrifying/upsetting when you run into it. Combat consists mostly of melee attacks, dodging, and unlockable special moves as your character progresses. These attacks are limited by your stamina. Once out of stamina, slow shambling zombies suddenly become a real threat. You also have the option to use a gun, but are discouraged to do so for several reasons: ammo is scarce, zombies can only be killed with head shots which can be difficult to pull off under stress, and unless silenced the gun not only calls nearby zombies, but SPAWNS new ones. I understand that loud nosies will attract zombies, but I should be able to use this as a way to herd zombies into one spot. if it just creates new ones it's pointless. Other than the gunplay I actually enjoyed the combat. The issue is that fighting zombies is never-ending, and pretty much every mission is fighting zombies, so it starts to get pretty old by mid-game.
Probably one of the most unique and my favorite aspects of the game is that your characters get "fatigued" the longer you use them, and you have to switch them out with other survivors. There are two different types of survivors, "powerhouse" and "reflex" and you use slightly different tactics with each (some survivors have neither which make them pretty useless). The coolest part is that regardless of which character you're using he/she will go on the story missions and have his own dialogue, which lends an organic and unique feeling to the story. Unfortunately there are only 2-3 voice actors so everyone sounds exactly the same.
Your characters level up as you use them, making them more and more valuable as time goes on. The rate at which skills level doesn't seem very balanced. You will almost instantly max out fighting and melee, but shooting may take a good chunk of the game and don't even get me started on the "searching" skill. Death is permanent so early in the game it's pretty thrilling to run out and scavenge.
Side missions pop-up randomly and at the beginning of the game give the world a sense of urgency and interest. Unfortunately there are only 3-4 types of missions and they are all pretty similar, By the mid-game they are pretty irritating.
The second big chunk of the game is base building and maintenance. This consists of sending your survivors to collect ammo, food, fuel, and materials. You can then use the materials to build different facilities such as bunks, medical tents, watchtowers etc... Each facility conveys different benefits and abilities, and it is fun to play around with up until mid-game. A couple of things hampers the fun of the base building. Ammo, food, and fuel don't really do a whole lot, which makes the incentive for collecting them a little unclear. Also the consumption or generation of these resources is not explained in game, you are simply given a daily number which can vary wildly, and it is unclear what effects having surplus or low levels will have. This is in stark contrast to other aspects of the game which explain mechanics in great detail (such as combat abilities.)
The game makes a very odd design choice in which you have no way to screen the survivors you recruit. Some have very useful abilities, and some don't, and once recruited really the only easy way to get rid of them is to send them on a suicide mission.
Despite the glitches I actually found the game to be graphically pleasing. It's not anything revolutionary but I thought the environments were detailed and creative. The sound design and occasional music also were pretty good.
Overall I would have liked to see this game in the oven a bit longer. It is obviously very ambitious and successful in certain respects. But there are several design flaws that I feel hamper its success. The resource gathering other than materials feels pointless. The missions are repetitive. Combat gets very repetitive. The story, which starts strong, ends with a 5 second cutscene that feels very unfinished. But I did play the game for a decent number of hours and I really enjoyed the first 50%.
At 20 dollars I would recommend the game to fans of the genre.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.3Jul 31, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I have mixed feelings about this game.
The few hours of this game is fantastic. The art style is beautiful and unique. A dark, bleak Tim Burton-esque cartoony look. The music is quirky and gets you in the mood. You are placed in the middle of a survival scenario with a short cinematic and no guidance with interesting looking objects to interact with. You are given absolutely no information on the mechanics of the game. There are three meters, health, hunger and sanity, but these are not explained. You are given a menu on the left of objects you can craft and the materials required, which are not many to start with.
The game is a survival simulator with heavy emphasis on exploration and crafting. Dying is permanent which is made very obvious at the beginning of the game. You will probably die immediately the first night not being told that not having a campfire leads to instant death. Most people will probably die of starvation at some point, they will die when they have their first monster battle without armor, and they will die at the completely arbitrary hound attack that occurs several hours into a playthrough. You lose everything when you die. The early game consists of picking twigs, berries, grass, and collecting wood. You can also dig up grass and saplings to start to cobble a base together. This is time consuming (partially because the animation of picking something which you have to do OVER AND OVER again is somewhat lengthy) and has to be repeated every time you die. You begin to fear death, to the point where you don't want to interact with anything that isn't obviously safe. Now the developer's recommend is to not read the online wiki to preserve mystery. But if death is SO harsh that I don't even want to experiment, is that fun?
Anyways I finally cave and look up the wiki. There is A LOT to the mechanics of this game. You will not be able to figure it out on your own because it is not really intuitive. I had to read the wiki for hours to get a handle on it. The in game descriptions of objects you can craft are laughably vague.
Combat is not fun, it is mainly just clicking an enemy over and over, but you are so easily overwhelmed by more than one enemy or a moderately strong enemy that the main strategy is using hit and run tactics, which isn't very gratifying. You can't wear armor and a backpack at the same time, so you have to switch rapidly into armor whenever you have an encounter. The one ranged weapon in the game I managed to build was the boomerang, which has limited uses and DAMAGES you on the way back if you don't "catch" it, which involves hitting the space key which may or may not work. This is not explained anywhere in the game, you have to look that up online.
The game is very tedious. There wasn't time to explore, nor any great desire to as none of the advanced crafting objects seem like they would make alleviate any of the busy work. You can build a better backpack, but that would slow you down. You could make better armor, but that would slow you down.
Finally I discovered that there is an active modding community. GREAT! It seems to address a lot of these issues. You can add separate slots for backpacks and amulets. Increase the stack size. Tweak the rate food spoils and how hungry you get. Increase the speed of harvesting grass and saplings. Resurrect at your campsite upon death. Increase the container size. Prevent tools and armor from degrading. This removes A LOT of the tedium from the game, and leaves you free to explore. What you discover however once the busy work is removed is there isn't much else to do. Building the advanced objects are not particularly useful or fun. The combat still is not too much fun. There just isn't any real goal.
There is an adventure mode that you have to discover in the game that involves finding various objects in special challenging levels that I think complement the game better, but it doesn't solve a lot of the fundamental issues.
I want this game to be awesome, but it just feels unbalanced and directionless. I find the lack of in game information detracts from the experience. The perma-death and difficulty by obfuscation is enraging and discourages exploration and experimentation. The game has conflicting goals, basically requiring you to set up a base but urging you to explore and be mobile. The crafting and base construction is not rewarding because there is little room for creativity, as most bases will probably look the same between users.
Perhaps with further updates and more mods this game will become more balanced, fun, and rewarding. But it's hard to recommend at the moment. It's for sure fun and addicting for a few hours. Ultimately it is a frustrating and incomplete experience.… Expand