Average User Score: 7.5May 17, 2015Essentially two games in one, The Desolate Hope combines familiar gameplay elements from vastly different genres to create something greaterEssentially two games in one, The Desolate Hope combines familiar gameplay elements from vastly different genres to create something greater than the whole of its parts. While clunky at times, it feels refreshingly creative despite doing little new.
Normal levels play out like a simple sidescrolling platformer where you collect resources and unlock & upgrade abilities. Every map has one boss that you have to beat four times; although it sounds tedious, they mix things up by moving the boss entrance around the map and drastically increasing the difficulty of boss tiers (which essentially forcing you to play through other levels and then backtrack). This helps breaks up the flow and promotes exploration, instead of just steamrolling through the maps one at a time.
The bosses that you are preparing for during the platforming segments are the crux of the gameplay; it is really refreshing to look forward to a boss battle in a western game. These play out like JRPG battles, with your party of AIs on the right throwing their "spells" at the boss on the left. It took me a while to get used to it because its very fast and click-happy, with bosses often acting faster than your whole party can. Eventually the combat gets so fast that you have to use special abilities to automate certain functions (trying to avoid spoilers here!). Herein lies my biggest complaint because once the combat gets truly challenging and gives you all your tools & toys, the game just plays itself.
While I really enjoyed this game, I don't see it getting a sequel anytime soon considering how it ends. Hopefully once the devs are done milking FNAF we will get a spiritual successor because The Desolate Hope is a very creative and colorful take on a futuristic apocalypse.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.3May 9, 2015Prior to its release, a lot of the previews made the game look like a reskin or DLC for Saints Row 3. I held out hope that the devs were goingPrior to its release, a lot of the previews made the game look like a reskin or DLC for Saints Row 3. I held out hope that the devs were going to expand beyond expectations considering all the wacky aliens, superpowers, and ridiculous weapons they were adding. Instead what we got was essentially Saints Row 3.5: a big & stupid Michael Bay sequel that feels like a really long add-on to SR3.
SR 2 & 3 had some restraint and at least attempted to build up to their big action sequences. SR4 starts off with a bang and never stops in the worst way possible. The only thing that breaks up the action sequences are a few comedic moments and nostalgia pandering scenes but even these manage to go over-the-top. Seriously, who has played SR1 and why is so much of this game wasted on referencing it? Many of the rest breaks I took while playing this were just to detox from the Michael Bay-ness of everything; I love blowing up spaceships as much as everyone else, but there's a point in time where you just want to walk through the city and beat pedestrials with a giant ♥♥♥♥♥. Much of the game feels like you are forced to take the most explosive route possible through everything; I really wish there was an ability toggle button because simply bumping into pedestrians or vehicles while super sprinting will have the police shooting lasers at you for miles. The majority of this game feels like action for the sake of action with most of it feeling unrewarding and boring at times.
Adding to the rushed feeling of SR4, much of the game doesn't feel playtested. For example, Explosive Blast's chain reaction will kill whole flashpoints with a single fireball from any distance, while the Buff ability feels like a joke considering how late in the game you get it. Weapons have plenty of issues too; some weapons are completely useless unless you are handed them for a mission (obligatory useless sniper rifle, Alien SMG, Dubstep Gun, etc.) while others slaughter everything unupgraded (Disintegrator, 'Merica, etc.). I found myself using garbage weapons or abilities just to complete in-game challenges because otherwise I would've just used Blast & the Thump Gun for everything.
The storyline feels really slapped together too. Why bother with more simulation exploits when you have a suit of giant power armor in the real world? Everytime something cool happens in the real world it feels like the game drops an arbitrary hurdle for you to overcome inside the simulation. The whole in-out-in-out just feels like padding and an excuse to turn off superpowers for missions, especially considering your Health upgrades carry over into the real world. I really would've enjoyed more time spent in the real world... Perhaps the first part of the game inside the simulation with all the ridiculous superpowers and the second half in the real world, fighting Zinyak on his own turf? Overall it just feels like a missed chance simply because the devs wanted to recycle as much as possible.
So is SR4 just extended DLC for SR3? Yes, but really, really long DLC. I feel like they stretched SR3's assets as far as they could go and whipped together some quick alien tech from recycled STAG parts. People might try to draw conclusions between this and GTA 3 vs. VC & SA, but those were completely new environments, characters, vehicles, and so forth. SR4 manages to even reuse 3's map despite Earth being destroyed (whoops spoilers!)!
Should you bother playing SR4? If you've played any of the previous games, you will find something familiar here. If you are new to the series, don't expect "GTA With Aliens" because this is the most bombastic Saints Row yet. I enjoyed this but it would be my least favorite Saints Row if SR2's PC port wasn't garbage. I recommend giving it a shot but 2 and 3 are clearly better games.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.5Apr 25, 2015Have you played an RTS within the past 10 years? Then you probably have seen everything worth seeing in Etherium already. The biggest issueHave you played an RTS within the past 10 years? Then you probably have seen everything worth seeing in Etherium already. The biggest issue with RTS games nowadays (and other "dead genres" being "revived" lately) is that they try to get away with being just "good enough". There is nothing groundbreaking, nothing creative or inventive, no new game design ideas present here and, despite having its release pushed back multiple times, feels like instant bargain bin fodder during a genre drought.
Outside of the mandatory multiplayer, you have a campaign with convoluted rules (with each side having their own secondary victory conditions) and a skirmish mode. The campaign is very frustrating because of simple oversights, like not being able to save during your opponent's turns and a star system UI that doesn't provide enough information. I spent easily almost two hours defending my territories during opponent's turns simply because quitting the game meant restarting the opponent's turn. This is of course on top of all the issues present in the actual gameplay...
...of which there is little to mention. The main objective (and single game mode) is to either destroy the other player's main base or deplete their tickets by bombarding their mothership with turrets high in the tech tree. Regions of territory are strictly defined and can have only one base inside for adding upgrades onto. The problem with the territories having a fixed size is that smaller territories only allow smaller bases. This creates claustrophobic maps, with clearly defined chokepoints that force you down a corridor to your opponent's base. Most of my campaign victories were from converting the neutral factions on the map and attack-moving them into the enemy's main base.
The absolute bare minimum went into Etherium's factions and their unit design. Units for each race have creative names like Standard Infantry, Siege Vehicle, and Bomber. Races share all the same units (!) with each having only 4 unique units. This might be acceptable in a turn-based strategy game where you have 20+ factions or dozens of units, but here you only have about 6 different units for each unit type. Each race also shares 3 of their 6 faction skills, similar to Dawn of War's faction ability system. Everything about the races just feels very cut-and-pasted and bland and makes me wonder why this game's release was pushed back multiple times.
I am ashamed to have fallen for the hype for this game. If you are thirsty for a good (or great or amazing, whatever) RTS, then revisit an old one instead of wasting money on this. This game couldn't be any blander or generic if it tried. If a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter could eventually type out the complete works of William Shakespeare, then this game is proof that they can code a video game too.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.2Mar 30, 2015Somewhere along the line, something went seriously wrong with the direction of this game. While the original Borderlands was nothingSomewhere along the line, something went seriously wrong with the direction of this game. While the original Borderlands was nothing groundbreaking, it was greater than the sum of its parts; a cohesive, run-and-gun action RPG that pulled the quest for better loot out of high fantasy dungeons and into the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Borderlands 2 on the other hand feels like it was originally supposed to be a console MMO (that was then canned when Gearbox got the message that MMOs don't make money anymore) and instead repurposed it into whatever this mess is.
Let's start with the most glaring gameplay issue: weapon proficiencies have been removed, resulting in everyone being mediocre with every weapon type. Throughout my playthrough of the campaign, the majority of my weapons felt like they were spraying wildly; even rockets from launchers would come out at random angles, often missing a target ten feet away from me. Instead you get Badass points, a system designed to reward you with stat upgrades for doing arduous tasks such as breathing or shooting bad guys. Sure it might sound cool to have more options, but when you're made of paper and all your weapons spray like you're trying to shoot with a jackhammer it feels more like you are disabling handicaps instead of improving your character. The worst part is these stat increases have diminishing returns and you are forced to spread them; less chosen stat increases appear more often when you rank up, preventing you from rapidly increasing in any one stat. Your Badass rank is account-wide, meaning all characters will gain their buffs. If you're somehow addicted to this game, that's great for your alts, but I was obvious dead weight for my veteran allies online.
Loot options feel much more constrained in BL2. Gearbox can brag about the millions of guns but when the only worthwhile weapons are at the top rarities, who cares about all the blues and greens? Weapon effectiveness seems to dropoff a lot faster in BL2 (probably because of no proficencies), with the only weapons worth using more than 5 levels being uniques and legendaries. Of course these weapons should be the best and last for a long time... but why should I be expected to pull serial codes from internet social media to get a guaranteed "worthwhile" weapon? I saw a single legendary weapon drop during the 25 or so hours I spent playing through the campaign and even that was a mediocre rifle that was unusable after a few hours. The majority of the game I was using quest rewards because they were the best weapons I could find. Again, who cares about the millions of guns when I'm using generic handouts from NPCs anyway?
Of course all of this is just the surface of the problems with this game. After years of patches there are still tons of bugs (mouse cursor doesn't appear with a controller plugged in, getting stuck in surfaces, mouse movement breaking, various broken textures), the writing is terrible with all the characters being turned into unlikeable jerks, the story is way too long and padded with checkpoints for fetch quests, map edges are poorly defined resulting in seemingly random death pits, character classes are blander, weaker, and more boring than the original... the list goes on. I honestly hated this game and I just wanted to finish it because my brothers did. I would not recommend this miserable experience to anyone.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.9Mar 15, 2015Have you ever played a game so amazing that you don't know if you'll ever play a game as good as it again? ...MGR isn't that game, but it sureHave you ever played a game so amazing that you don't know if you'll ever play a game as good as it again? ...MGR isn't that game, but it sure is close to it. MGR is probably the best example of a game being more than just the sum of its parts. The combat is a bit button-mashy (with slowly reacting AI) on lower difficulties, map design is mostly point A to point B, and the weapon variety is very limited. Somehow the game overcomes its shortcomings by combining ridiculous over-the-top cutscenes, a diverse OST with tracks ranging from traditional MGS-style ambience to blood-pumping boss themes, and a cast of uniquely difficult bosses that all feel like properly fleshed out worthy opponents for your anime cyborg ninja.
Western devs are trying so hard to remove bosses and "video gamey" elements that when something like MGR comes along it feels like a breath of fresh air despite doing nothing revolutionary. MGR is a video game made by people who actually play video games and it shows. Bosses will beat techniques into you and make you get good, only to have the next boss require you to "unlearn" and adapt your previous strategies. MGR's bosses are an outstanding example of good game design in every way possible... I honestly can't remember the last time I played a game with such memorable boss fights.
MGR manages to feel like an extension of MGS while standing on its own strengths. With a plausible plotline (within the MGS universe at least), charismatic bosses, a likable supporting cast, and actual character development in an action game, MGR creates something unique by smoothly melding a bevy of genre staples. I don't know if MGS fans will want to pick this up, but its hard to deny the adrenaline-pumping awesomeness of Metal Gear Rising.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.9Feb 18, 2015Have you ever been so completely immersed in a game, loving every minute of it and every minute detail, only to be smacked in the face by aHave you ever been so completely immersed in a game, loving every minute of it and every minute detail, only to be smacked in the face by a huge glaring issue that makes you not want to play the game again? The AI in this game is the guilty case in this scenario for me. Despite previously making a 4X strategy game (Endless Space) and an expansion for it (along with a year or more of updates), Amplitude for some reason forgot to teach the AI basic strategies. For example: in my most recent game, I found another faction roughly three regions away from me who was neutral towards me. They then proceded to send a settler into my territory, yell at me when I attacked it, settled a city (after retreating with the settler), and then begged for mercy when I steamrolled their defenseless city. After agreeing to a cease fire, they then chastised me for controlling territory next to them (the city I just captured). The most baffling part of this is that the AI seems to be as bad if not worse than vanilla Endless Space's AI. I would've expected going into this that Endless Legend should have playable AI after the dev's previous experience.
On top of the terrible (unplayable?) AI, you have tons of network issues. Even with just one other person, the game can still desync or crash if someone's connection has even a lag spike. Although its a nice touch to have drop-in-drop-out gameplay in a 4X, joining a friend's 3 player game to replace an AI ended up desyncing the rest of them and effectively ended the game since they hadn't saved yet. There is an option to resync the connections but it doesn't seem to ever work properly for me or any of my friends.
Often times I feel like I am fighting with the game itself to make my cities do more than one thing at a time; each of the 4 "X's" requires absolute focus in Endless Legend. Although I love the struggle against the planet itself, I wish I could disable certain handicaps. Ramping research cost for all tech (including previous eras), paying influence to engage in diplomacy, and winter's random increasingly powerful debuffs and durations are just a few of the wrenches the game throws into your nation's machine. An eventual endless winter comes if you play for a very long match, causing your production and troops to slow to a crawl. I understand from a lore standpoint you have to make the game difficult to play against, but even SMAC's Alpha Centauri was more hospitable than Auriga.
Outside of the AI and network issues, Endless Legend is fantastic. I love the unique popup map layout (reminiscent of Game of Thrones's intro), deep levels of zoom, a creative twist on combat that combines the best of old and new 4X combat systems, and harshness of the game environment. I really want to like this game but as of now I can only recommend it for 4X enthusiasts with a LAN. Hopefully the devs continue working on improving the AI and we won't need to wait until an expansion to "buy" working AI.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.2Feb 16, 2015Banished is a fantastically atmospheric, albeit barebones, city builder set in pseudo-colonial times. You start off with a handful of raggedBanished is a fantastically atmospheric, albeit barebones, city builder set in pseudo-colonial times. You start off with a handful of ragged outcasts thrust into the wilderness with a mission of building your own civilization from the landscape. Because of its small scope, Banished is also much more personable than more robust city builders; instead of managing multiple cities or even a nation, you start with four to six families and grow to a few hundred people (or more, depending on how long you wish to play a map). This isolation combined with little charming touches, like knowing each citizen's personal info, excellent ambient sound design, and a slower paced game speed, makes Banished the most atmospheric fictional city builder I have played.
Although there is a rough "progression" to what you can build via resource requirements, any building can be built at any time depending on what your city needs. Real strategy comes in properly timing and planning your construction; While Banished is a pretty laid-back game, a sudden influx of nomads can bring diseases or cause starvation if your city isn't prepared and construction takes significant manpower and cross-profession coordination. This flexibility can be overwhelming for a new player trying to survive their first winter but thankfully Banished's tutorials are well constructed and actually worth playing through even for veterans. Your city's growth (and essentially the game's difficulty) is tied to how much or how little you want to build, leading to a more relaxed game than most city builders.
Even though I loved most of this game, I spent a lot of time fighting with the villager's AI. While Banished strictly doesn't have win/lose conditions, it is heart-breaking to watch your citizens die from starvation while they are harvesting crops or gathering fish. Other AI issues emerge much earlier in the game, like farmers acting like laborers and not tending their fields during the summer. Laborers also seem to act erratically; when you assign multiple removal tasks, they seem to work in arbitary priority. Constructing multiple buildings is a huge pain with trying to coordinate the laborers with the builders; I eventually resorted to laying down a "building plan" and mass-pausing construction, unpausing one building at a time to be built. Maybe I don't understand all the intracies of the AI but 50 hours in and I'm still frustrated and often resorting to using the "Increase Priority" tool.
Banished is also missing many things that add challenge and depth to other city builders. This is essentially the "kiddie pool" of city builders with no crime, polution, budget balancing/taxation, or non-essential buildings. With 31 construction options, everything you build is for managing food, housing or supplying citizens, or transportation needs. There are some minor trading elements but its mostly there to keep your city growing once you run out of certain resources. Once you have a stable city running all there is to do is make it bigger while avoiding starvation or disasters. The same could be said of many games but I always look forward to building a sports stadium in SimCity... here it feels like it's just food, food, and more food.
If you haven't played a city builder before, Banished is a great place to start. Veterans looking for a more laid-back experience will get a few dozen hours out of this while alt+tabbed with something else. Nothing here is groundbreaking but what there is is a great change of pace from playing certain other sims at Cheetah speed.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.2Feb 8, 2015After the great success that the first "season" of The Walking Dead was, I was totally hyped and ready for round 2 with this game. Sadly,After the great success that the first "season" of The Walking Dead was, I was totally hyped and ready for round 2 with this game. Sadly, Season 2 fails on just about every level to surpass or even meet the original's quality. Telltale's Walking Dead now suffers from the same issues that the TV show is burdened by: overall terrible writing with characters who have very generic motivations who get killed off when the writers run out of ideas for their storylines. Unlike the original, the characters have no clear direction or plans for survival beyond finding food and shelter for the day; while this is reasonably realistic, its also incredibly boring. A domino effect of hurt feelings goes through this story, with characters behaving erratically (often contradicting their previous motivations and ignoring friendships) because other characters were behaving erratically. Everytime something bad happens, Clementine has to save the day while the adults bicker and threaten to kill each other. Most character's actions in these episodes are illogical and your choices and actions have even less consequences than in the original game.
Even with Telltale behind the wheel, TWD: Season 2 has already fallen into the shallow strides set by the TV show. While I still recommend the original, Season 2 is a decidedly phoned in 8 hours of "gameplay" that isn't worth wasting your time on.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.9Jan 4, 2015Half dungeon crawler, half resource management sim, Dungeon of the Endless is a simplistic "Rogue-like" set in the Endless universe. The thingHalf dungeon crawler, half resource management sim, Dungeon of the Endless is a simplistic "Rogue-like" set in the Endless universe. The thing that sets this apart from so many others in its genre is how you keep your party alive; major slots on dungeon floors allow you to build Major Modules (used to harvest resources), along with minor slots for offensive, defensive, and supportive modules. Three resources are harvested per door opening and modules add to their production: Food for healing, leveling, and recruiting heroes, Industry for constructing modules, and Science for researching upgrades and resetting your party's ability cooldowns. A fourth resource, Dust, is much rarer and is used to power the crystal you are escorting, which in turn powers rooms for modules.
Gameplay is both turn-based (new resources are harvested from when you open a door to a new room) and real-time (combat, movement, healing, etc.), keeping you constantly engaged despite the AI-controlled combat. The first few floors are simple enough to clear out but about halfway up you need to decide which is more important: risking your party's lives and possibly the crystal itself or running to the exit ASAP? Keeping a balanced party and wisely spending your resources will make or break your runs. Luck is always a factor but I felt that once I knew how to control the flow of spawns and properly construct defensive chokepoints that most of my losses were admittedly my own fault. This game rewards planning and strategy instead of demanding you get lucky unlike other recent Sci-fi rogue-likes (looking at you FTL & SotS: The Pit!).
Newcomers will be overwhelmed easily and probably give up easily because the tutorial is terrible and most of the game's systems have to be studied on the wiki, even with the extensive tooltips in-game. Although it practically plays itself at times and still could use some polishing and TLC, Dungeon of the Endless is a very unique Rogue-like and is worth checking out for fans of the genre.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.8Dec 27, 2014Ground Zeroes has been accused of being a paid demo, a single mission shipped to simply hype MGS5's eventual release. However, I found it toGround Zeroes has been accused of being a paid demo, a single mission shipped to simply hype MGS5's eventual release. However, I found it to much more than that; My most recent MGS game being 4 at it's release in 2008, I felt quite rusty going into this. Ground Zeroes is a good warm-up for MGS5, consisting of six missions that take place in the same ficticious Cuban military base, Camp Omega. The "Ground Zeroes" mission is the meat of the story, involving the rescue of two minors on opposite sides of the base that were apparently major characters from Peace Walker. Interspersed cutscenes and collectible cassette tapes flesh out the character's back stories and their experiences on the base. The extra missions provide vastly different approaches and playstyles to infiltrating (or assaulting) the base, ranging from a helicopter ride providing covering fire to an assassination mission that fails easily if you are even spotted. After you finish each mission there's still plenty of unlocks and time trials for purists, along with the last two missions for waxing nostalgia.
Ground Zeroes helps to connect the events of Peace Walker with MGS5 and acts as a catalyst for the time jump been the two games. Overall, this probably won't win over any new fans but is a thoroughly fleshed out "VR Mission"-style side game that provides a solid intro to The Phantom Pain.… Expand