Reviews by Antix
A really bad gameAntix | April 28, 2013 | Review of Dragon Age 2
The 'level design' - and you have to use that term loosely - just consists of a few a very narrow corridors. The areas are shamelessly reused. How a developer can get away with making about 6 tiny areas for a ~40 hour long game and calling it a day is beyond me. The game mostly takes place in a city and its surroundings. Needless to say, they never even bothered to design a city, only 3 separate and very small areas, basically streets, that you can fast travel to.
The combat is frantic. Gone are the strategic battles of Origins. A lot of enemies bumrush you in the small corridors and you have to press the awesome button. On top of that, it is very tedious, since each and every single encounter you have will contain about 4-5 waves of the exact same enemies literally teleporting in out of nowhere just as you're about done with the last wave to bore you to death. Ridiculous game design. Not to mention that most encounters are random i.e. you just walk around and explore and don't see your enemy right up until the fight begins. Quite ironic from the company that bashes JRPGs. The difficulty curve is pretty much nonexistent if you keep your equipment in check since level scaling is in effect. A Hurlock won't be easier to kill at lvl20 than it is at lvl1.
Your character, Hawke, has 3 stock replies locked in their respective places so you don't have to do much thinking: Good, funny or aggressive. Funny is especially bad. Like "wanting to punch whoever wrote that crap" kind of bad. Good or aggressive is most of the time what you'd expect. Emphasis on most of the time, since the few words they put in the dumb dialogue wheel can be misleading. Sometimes extra options or questions show up but most of the time they're just stuff that isn't worth asking or has already been answered.
The party members feel like wasted potential. You have to visit them in their homes so they all explain their backstories in about 2-3 conversations over time and all have a chain of quests tied to it. At the core, they're not all that bad but they are extremely one dimensional and sound like a broken record over the single event that has shaped their lives. You end up not caring much about them. But hey, they're mostly bisexual and you can romance them since that's obviously more important than the rest of the game, so it's all good. Their armor isn't customizable but weapons, stats and skills are up to you.
Finally, the story. If you last long enough (trust me, that's difficult) to make it to the final act, you'll have a story on your hands that, while predictable, isn't all that terrible and at least you get the 'epic' high fantasy feel for a while until you meet a laughable final boss. The first act just feels like a needless prologue and you will feel a general lack of urgency or motivation throughout it. Act 2 is more bearable but still nothing to write home about. The side quests are all derivative and boring.
Lazy game design, bad writing, and poor production values are what make this a title that isn't just hard to recommend, but should simply be avoided by anyone. The icing on the cake is that overall, the game feels like a slap to the face for the people who had hope in the Dragon Age franchise and took it the exact opposite direction from what they were hoping for.
RecommendedAntix | April 28, 2013 | Review of Total War: Shogun 2 - Otomo Clan Pack
Now this right here, along with the Ikko Ikki, is how factions in Shogun 2 should have been handled to begin with. A bit different playsyle, unique units, unique buildings; aka some faction identity. Just the stuff you need for your campaigns to break out of monotonity.
Doesn't matter if you're a fan who's still playing Shogun 2 or someone who is just getting into it, you won't go wrong with getting this pack.
Just another clanAntix | April 28, 2013 | Review of Total War: Shogun 2 - Hattori Clan DLC
Unlike the Ikko Ikki and the Otomo clan packs, the Hattori pack doesn't do anything to really set itself apart from the content already present in Shogun 2. You get another clan that is just a copy-and-paste of all the other clans with the exact same units and the exact same buildings and tech tree, they just get a negligible percentage bonus towards ninja usage.
That said, the Hattori have a great starting location and completionists will definitely want to pick this up for the little variety the pack offers.
Inconsistent and arguably overpricedAntix | April 28, 2013 | Review of Total War: Shogun 2 - Blood Pack DLC
Just adds comical amounts of blood, the kind you would expect to see in those unintentionally hilarious B-movies, sometimes turning units into living geysers when hit by arrows. Doesn't really fit the atmosphere of the game. There is no scalability to more conservative proportions, you can only turn it on or off. The price isn't much but considering just how little this pack adds and how poorly implemented it is, you still have to wonder if it's justified at all. Nevertheless I don't think it deserves a high rating.
Sets the standard for superhero gamesAntix | April 28, 2013 | Review of Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year -
Often regarded by many as the better of the two Batman games by Rocksteady, Arkham Asylum takes place in a smaller area than Arkham City but perhaps this creates a more focused adventure and a bigger sense of urgency. It plays very much like a Metroidvania game, i.e. you gradually keep finding gagdets that open up previously closed areas of the place you're exploring. The combat is intuitive and fluid, terrorizing the inmates from the shadows is well implemented and the classic Batman atmosphere shines through the whole game.
An excellent adventure, recommended even for the people who are usually not fans of fiction involving superheroes.
Expected moreAntix | April 28, 2013 | Review of Total War: Shogun 2 DLC - Sengoku Jidai Unit Pack
While at first glance this adds a bunch of extra units that should help spice up the variety in your games a little bit, the Sengoku Jidai pack contains very few units that are actually viable or useful. Each is limited to one clan and most of them are either outclassed when it comes to multiplayer or have requirement buildings that you simply will not want to have in your recruitment provinces when it comes to single player. It's nice to have if you're a completionist and want all DLC, or simply find the awesome Wako Raiders irresistible but overall as a pack it is a bit disappointing.
Avoid.Antix | April 28, 2013 | Review of Dungeon Siege III
This game has nothing to elevate it above average and to top it all off the control scheme is terrible. The customization is very limited. You only get 9 usable abilities for a character. The loot you find barely changes your character's appearance at all which is basically a bad design decision and flat out laziness in a loot based game. And a playthrough is about 8 hours long.
It's just a mindless and poor game. Do yourself a favor and play Titan Quest or Torchlight instead.
A very pleasant surpriseAntix | April 28, 2013 | Review of Mars: War Logs
This game came out with nearly zero hype or advertisement but if you're up for a good action RPG, you won't regret picking this one up. The writing won't win any awards, sometimes the areas feel a bit claustrophobic and the voice acting is pretty bad but the rest of the game is up to snuff. The progression is structured like Jade Empire for example: you are in interlinked hub areas and there are a healthy amount of sidequests you can pick up before you progress the main quest to a new hub area. The game takes a lot of inspiration from the Witcher 2; you'll have crafting, almost exactly the same combat and character progression systems, and a decision that will make the final act of the game play out from a different perspective.
A good game. At its budget price, it's a highly recommended purchase for anyone who likes action RPGs.
One of the better packs for Shogun 2Antix | April 28, 2013 | Review of Total War: Shogun 2 DLC - Ikko Ikki Clan
The Ikko Ikki pack adds a new clan, a new monk hero and a decent mid-late game new monk type unit for all the other clans, along with multiplayer cosmetic items and traits that everyone and their mother uses because they're pretty damn powerful.
The Ikko clan has its own religion that is different from everybody else, so prepare for the rest of Japan to hate you. Their early game units are also a bit less powerful than everybody else's, albeit cheapar, and they also get unique monks and have to hire more expensive ronin instead of samurai. They cannot hire metsuke either. They have one of the best starting locations though, only outclassed by some of the clans near all the trade nodes.
As you can see, the Ikko clan is the most unique clan in the game when it comes to play style, and a lot of their units have their own visual flair to them, unlike the rest of the clans. There's quite a discrepancy between how much effort when into them compared to the other clans in the game that just get slight bonuses to certain things but are otherwise identical to every other clan.
Overall this is a decent piece of DLC and good value for both multi and single player.
Somewhat disappointingAntix | Feb. 9, 2013 | Review of Assassin's Creed III: Deluxe Edition DNS
At first glance, Assassin's Creed III does what a sequel should do: improve over its predecessors. You'll immediately notice how much easier it is to control your character. He wades through crowds effortlessly, only requiring one button to run. You no longer have to bother with locking on in combat, and the combat moves themselves just feel smoother overall. Assassin recruits now have unique appearance and personalities and aren't just random people. If you liked the optional objectives from Brotherhood onwards, you'll be glad to know that you can restart from checkpoints now even if you blew it. There are no longer countless treasure chests scattered around cities, now there are only a few, but with worthwile contents inside; while collectathon junkies can still look toward the mostly pointless feathers and almanach pages. Feels like the developers did their homework. However, that sensation quickly wears off.
You start the game with a fellow named Haytham. He is charismatic, ambitious and confident. After the agonizingly long prologue ends though, you'll take control of adult Connor. The bait and switch only serves to reinforce what a weak character Connor is. He is an incredibly naive and often downright annoying guy, who sometimes just gets pushed around by his father like some lapdog. Another thing that will become apparent as soon as you are left to your own devices, is that the settting Ubisoft picked this time around is extremely lackluster. Instead of awe-inspiring cities with grandiose landmarks, you get small and boring towns. Adding insult to injury is that now you have to play a tedious underground maze exploration minigame to unlock their fast travel points.
Where the Ezio games were packed to the brim with optional content, Assassin's Creed III feels barebones in comparison. There's just not much to do in towns after you liberate them. Gone are the loads of faction missions and activities, you'll only get a few boring fetch quests and assassinations are dumbed down to just random people who walk among crowds instead of being unique scenarios. There are some hunting missions in the wilderness, but these are 2 minute affairs padded by the fact that you have to just travel through the big, empty and boring place that is the frontier to your destination each time. Most of your optional content will come from your home ranch where you solve the problems of the locals but it feels like a Little House on the Prairie feature game rather than Assassin's Creed. Money doesn't come in spades like it used to; you will have to earn it by selling the produce of your ranch. However, you do that via one of the most awful and cumbersome UIs ever designed. A final saving grace to the side content in the game is the naval minigame. This is one of the better minigames not just in AC, but in any game, but alone it does little to salvage this aspect of the game.
Where the main attraction in previous games were the amazing cities and the wealth of side activities, this sequel, despite improvements to controls and some mechanics, seems to strip down the franchise right where it matters. Still a decent open world game in its own right, as a sequel, it is somewhat disappointing. And as a final note the game was incredibly buggy. I ran into a bugy almost every 5 minutes. From NPCs spawning in walls, to UI elements disappearing or Connor flying up in the sky after grabbing a ledge, this was the glitchiest AC game to date.
Highly recommendedAntix | Jan. 23, 2013 | Review of Titan Quest Immortal Throne
Titan Quest's very own "Lord of Destruction," this expansion also adds an extra fourth Act after China in the base game, as well as various improvements and new mechanics such as the caravan, which acts as a much needed shared storage between your characters, higher level cap and more loot. The new area is every bit as well-designed as the old ones with a new kind of aesthetic to it.
A new class, Dream mastery, also makes its appearance and with a wide support and offensive ability pool, it is an excellent choice to be combined with just about anything.
It does what an expansion should do and is highly recommended to be installed before you even start the main game.
A must own for loot fansAntix | Jan. 23, 2013 | Review of Titan Quest
Possibly the best loot oriented game after Diablo 2, Titan Quest brings the hacking and slashing to mythology. The game is spread out across three Acts: in Greece, Egypt and China. The controls are as responsive and snappy as they need to be, multiple difficulty levels, humongous amounts of unique loot to be had and the presentation is top notch with pleasant music and graphics that hold up extremely well even today. Gameplay-wise it has everything you'd expect a good Diablo game to have and it is simply the best looking 'Diablo clone' game released to date.
The most interesting thing about it is it how it lets you mix and match classes. You can just stick to one class or create a new class by picking two and choosing the abilities that compliment your playstyle the most. The game has 9 base classes, which means you ultimately have 81 character classes at your disposal. You can shape your playstyle in some amazing ways, it's all up to you.
There are a few issues to this otherwise excellent game, however. There are no dedicated servers for co-op play so make sure you play with a friend if you want co-op. Also, the enemies and the environments are not randomized and completely static. That also means the areas are hand-crafted and beautiful all the time but in a game like this, the randomizer is probably more important to people but due to the huge amounts of variability in character classes, I dare say the game's replayabilty doesn't suffer for it.
You've seen it all beforeAntix | Jan. 23, 2013 | Review of Assassin’s Creed Revelations
After a lackluster start, Assassin's Creed 2 and its follow-up game, Brotherhood, set the franchise up for greatness. Now we have the fourth entry and things are starting to get a little dull, not just because of the fact that this is the third game about Ezio using the same engine instead of a proper sequel, but because it really is just mostly a copy of Brotherhood, whereas the previous two games were each a breath of fresh air.
Now an old man and the grandmaster of the Assassins, Ezio visits Constantinople to look for some answers. You'll immediately be introduced to Yusuf, a charismatic young man who all but disappears for most of the game and once again, like in Brotherhood, you'll be mostly locked inside one city, liberate its parts, renovate stuff and hire random recruits that you can level up. The game itself is almost an exact copy of Brotherhood, with the hookblade, bombs and an awful tower defense minigame being the only noteworthy additions. There also are very few assassination side missions, instead you just act as a mentor to your recruits, which makes sense in the context but is rather disappointing gameplay-wise.
The plot itself, interestingly enough, is mostly about Altair and how he spent his life after the events of the first game. It's like the creators just felt it necessary to go back and give Altair a little bit of personality because they realized they completely ignored his character the first time around and that's really what Revelations is all about. Some of these scenes are downright awkward as they try to portray tragic events about characters that no one cares about since they just got introduced out of the blue.
Still what you can expect from an Assassin's Creed game for the most part, a good game in its own right. It's just not the fresh and amazing experience that AC2 and Brotherhood were, however if you're a fan of the series then this is another entry that you will want to check out.
Not just a multiplayer featureAntix | Jan. 23, 2013 | Review of Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Deluxe Edition
What originally seemed like a tacked on multiplayer expansion to the franchise is actually a really good single player entry in the Assassin's Creed series... and a tacked on multiplayer expansion.
It's a direct sequel, starting at the exact point that the second game ended at but it will quickly have you starting all over again, and this time instead of working mostly for your personal goals, you'll do it to improve the Assassin brotherhood and achieve your goals through that. You'll be transported to Rome and spend the vast majority of the game there, as opposed to switching between a number a cities like in the previous games. You'll have to liberate sectors of the city from Borgia control and after that you'll be able to renovate shops and landmarks. It's essentially the villa minigame in AC2 but vastly expanded. The PC version exclusively has an online investment system as well but it's not worth the trouble since you'll be rolling in money anyway. After you've liberated an area, you also get to recruit an assassin trainee under you. You can send them on missions via a menu or have them join you in-game to help with fights. They level up and eventually become stronger, but the feature is mostly optional in case you don't want the game to become even easier. Another new mechanic are the optional objectives in missions. Basically these are challenges that you can complete if you want e.g. not getting detected during a mission, but completing them has no worthwile rewards. They can still add some spice to the gameplay when you feel like doing them but unfortunately missing the objective means you have to restart the whole memory, no checkpoints allowed.
The core combat system also changed. The open conflicts used to be all about waiting for counter opportunities while the rest of the combat features were all but superficial. Now you don't have to wait and can just rhythmically continue slaughtering your enemies after your first kill. This doesn't make the basic and easy combat better, but at least it's a little less boring since battles will be shorter so it's a welcome addition.
Aside from that, it's mostly the same thing you have seen in the second game, with a wealth of side activities you've come to expect. It brings a somewhat fresh approach with new elements and some improvements, however I still prefer Assassin's Creed 2 overall, but only by a hair. Mostly because you are not restricted to a single city. Still, if you liked AC2, this is also a must have and they're both fantastic.
What the first game should have beenAntix | Jan. 23, 2013 | Review of Assassin's Creed 2 Deluxe Edition
Set in renaissance Italy, Assassin's Creed 2, much like its prequel, is a game that focuses on free running in stunningly created sprawling historical cities. However, this time around you don't only have three tasks to repeat, you have an actual plot, and characters with personalities, less time spent on Desmond, you can touch water without dying etc etc. It really improves over its predecessor in just about every way you can imagine, while keeping all its strengths.
You play as Ezio Auditore, who you follow from birth to his midde-aged years, a man who gets swept into the secret battle between Assassins and Templars, and ends up having a personal stake in all of it. You'll end up visiting beautiful cities like Florence or Venice. This time around you also get a supporting cast of people who help Ezio in his quest. He also has a lot more gagdets, some from Leonardo da Vinci himself. You also get a home base that you can improve with various structures to make it a town worth living in for people and a more lucrative business for you.
The map is a complete activity center. Hidden treasures, flags, feathers, various side quests await you around every corner and you can involve yourself as much or as little as you like. The soundtrack from Jesper Kyd is simply great.
One of the finest games of the generation; be sure not to miss it.
Impressive technologically, but best to just try the sequelsAntix | Jan. 23, 2013 | Review of Assassin's Creed
The game that started the long running franchise was a technological marvel when it came out. The sprawling cities, the many ways you could interact with the people and the objects, the smooth animations and how you could climb virtually anything was unprecedented. And it still holds up quite well. However, the game really doesn't have much else to offer.
You play as Altair, a member of an order of zealots who believe in the power of free will. They oppose the templars who believe that a few gifted individuals should achieve order and control over the masses by any means. Altair eventually ends up questioning his own beliefs but his character is simply flat outside of that. Desmond, Altair's descendant who is the one actually experiencing the events, is equally boring and unremarkable. The plot is all but absent as well, you only get the same heavy handed message from each assassination target you kill but with a different wording until the very end. The tasks leading up to the assassinations are repetitive and tedious. There are plain stupid parts like how you die from water or how it is suspicious to soldiers when your horse moves above walking pace on the road in the middle of nowhere. The combat is easy and there's little to make you want to use anything except counters once you're in open conflict.
Overall since the events of the game can pretty much be summed up in three sentences, there's not much you miss by skipping this game and moving on the vastly superior sequel, so that's what you should do.
Fantastic art design and fast paced free runningAntix | Jan. 23, 2013 | Review of Mirror's Edge
Mirror's Edge is a dystopian parkour game where you play as Faith, a runner who delivers packages that people don't want the authorities to know about and who ultimately gets swept up in a nasty conspiracy. You spend most of your time atop rooftops in a meticulously clean and incredibly well-designed city. The art design is very poignant with a few primary colors standing out in a mostly white dominated environment. With the excellent texture work, this game is still one of the best looking ones of all time. The game is entirely in first person. Running and jumping feels fast and exhilarating, while climbing feels just as difficult as it should be. There are many sections where you are chased by the police and you can fight back either with martial arts or by taking their guns. However, all that is optional. You can just evade them if you want, and I feel that is the way it was meant to be played. So overall we have a very stylish and fun first person platformer with some excellent music.
Unfortunately, such a gem is still marred by its short length, overly linear approach to level design in a game about parkour and the rather weak story that is mostly told in stupid looking cartoons. That all does very little to detract from the experience though, this is an excellent game you shouldn't miss.
Solid but not amazingAntix | Jan. 9, 2013 | Review of Sleeping Dogs: Limited Edition
Sleeping Dogs is a game about an undercover officer taking on the triads, set in Hong Kong. It's open world with lots of side activities. Really, this is about what you could expect from a GTA game. The twist is that the game uses mostly melee combat. The gameplay is solid. Both when it comes to melee and shooting, nothing that really sets it apart but not bad either. I thought the story had some issues with pace, not giving you enough time to really get to know the characters, but it's not bad at all and Wei Shen is a charismatic protagonist. The graphics and the aesthetics are great, and with the local music the game really creates an atmosphere that you just cannot find in others. Hong Kong itself is the true charm of Sleeping Dogs.
Lots of potential but needed better executionAntix | Jan. 9, 2013 | Review of Warhammer 40000: Space Marine (THQ)
The game is not bad by any means but there's really not much outside of the fact that it's Warhammer 40,000 that elevates it above average. Nothing to really hold anyone's interest. You just go from one room of 40 orcs to the next. The characters and the story are uninteresting. The level design is very straightforward and boring. Killing hordes of orcs just stops being satisfying after a while. The only highlights were the parts where you had a jetpack, since they break the tedium, but those parts last about 10 minutes altogether. Some customization, better level design and more charismatic characters would have been great but as it is, the novelty of being a Space Marine will wear off soon enough and you'll be left with repetition. The multiplayer would be alright but it's peer-to-peer and you'll have to deal with constant pauses while the game finds a new hosts. These pauses just completely break any immersion you had and ruin the fun.
Amazing battle system, but not much elseAntix | Jan. 9, 2013 | Review of Mount & Blade: Warband DNS
This game offers, without a doubt, the most detailed melee fighting system in a video game. You control the arc of every swing of your weapon, and the damage you do takes momentum into account, along with where you strike and how heavily armored that area is. It is completely free-form and you are in total control. Nothing else quite like it. Unfortunately, outside of that, it doesn't offer much. You basically just go and kill things to become the leader of a warband from a nobody. Every other aspect of the game feels to be stuck in beta or even alpha. But what it does offer, is simply excellent. You can fight thousands of battles without ever getting bored and the character customization is deeper than most other action-RPGs. The multiplayer is the icing on the cake. If you ever wanted to take part in a medieval battle, this game is a must own.
Great choice for fans of the genreAntix | Jan. 9, 2013 | Review of King's Bounty: The Legend
The Disciples and the Heroes of Might & Magic franchises were the two great pillars of fantasy turn-based strategies. Now you can count King's Bounty among them, too. The combat has the depth you'd expect the aforementioned games to have, the overworld however, is different. You traverse in real time and you don't have to worry about logistics and town management, making this a much faster paced and battle-oriented title. The writing is quirky and humorous, with the art style falling in line with that. You can pick between three character classes and they are different enough to alter your playstyle depending on which you pick. Beating the game on normal difficulty will take about 40 hours. All in all an excellent package that is highly recommended to any TBS fan.
MasterpieceAntix | Jan. 9, 2013 | Review of Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition (EU)
Dark Souls is a challenging and rewarding action-RPG. It makes you explore its richly detailed world and learn through your mistakes to overcome the odds. Excellent art direction and terrific atmosphere throughout the whole game. There are some technical issues with slowdowns here and there and the PC port needs some extra effort to untap its potential, but don't let that deter you from playing Dark Souls because this game is dark fantasy at its best and nothing short of a masterpiece.
If you get this game, make sure you download the DSFix made by Durante so that game will support any resolution, and also make sure you have a gamepad.
Something differentAntix | Jan. 9, 2013 | Review of The Last Remnant Overflow
Possibly the only high budget JRPG out on the PC this gen. Fans of these games will most likely be tempted to check it out. However, don't even start this game unless you have lots of dedication. All the mechanics in it are obscure and you WILL have to use the wikia along with the game to make sense of things, and the difficulty is punishing. For those who persevere, there is a truckload of entertainment to be had. It's just that you have to work twice as hard for it as in any other game, and put up with some very unfriendly mechanics. The production values are amazing, what with the excellent soundtrack, visuals and the ability to switch between Japanese and English voice tracks. A gamepad is recommended.
This is Deus ExAntix | Jan. 7, 2013 | Review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution
After playing Invisible War, I had little to no expectations for this game. Until all the recommendations came and I had to try it myself. And boy, was it an amazing experience. The stupid boss fights are really the only thing that mar this otherwise fantastic game. From the clever dialogue, to the soundtrack, to how it tackles the theme of natural supporters versus augmentation supporters, to the improving the classic gameplay that made the first game great. This one is not to be missed.
A true sequel to ShogunAntix | Jan. 7, 2013 | Review of Total War: Shogun 2
Shogun 2 is a fantastic game. Some fans of Total War came away disappointed because it doesn't follow the formula Rome and Medieval 2 had, but instead takes the first Shogun as its inspiration. You have less unit and building types, with an obviously smaller area to operate in. However, the guys at Creative Assembly did a fantastic job of bringig the classic up to date. Lots of effort went into the art design and keeping the often comical FMVs from Shogun. The province resource metagame, the best AI in the series and the balanced factions makes this Total War more interesting then ever. Not to mention how gorgeous the game is. The new Avatar multiplayer is also very addictive.
A fitting sequel to Arkham AsylumAntix | Jan. 7, 2013 | Review of Batman Arkham City: Game of the Year -
It's everything the first game was, but expanded. More enemy types, more gadgets, more upgrades, more Riddler puzzles, more classic villains, bigger area to roam in, etc. An absolute must for anyone who liked Arkham Asylum.