Reviews by Argentum
What do you mean you want more than war?Argentum | Dec. 9, 2013 | Review of Mount and Blade Collection
Rhyming is fun.
But the statement above is also a very neat way of summing up this game. I started playing it one night and before I knew it 4 hours had rolled by and in terms of quests I had done 2, the starting ones. I later found out there are in fact 4 starting ones and that technically I was still doing the "tutorial" but I didn't notice that, what I did notice was the heaps of fun I was having in the countless arena fights and wars with lords. Essentially you are a person who goes around the world hiring folk to fight for you, and thats pretty much it, I'm told if you do enough for fellow lords you get land and eventually you can even run a kingdom (but to be perfectly honest I have yet to get that far), I however am just content to see if I can get enough me to storm that castle for the sole reason that I lost the tournement by one f'ing round.
In terms of game play, its solid but not special the menus are all very obvious which is good but finding out where the obnoxiously named towns are is a faff, the combat is spot on between simple and varied. There 6(?) styles of combat but with various weapons in each style and it doesn't seem to get old. The best part is that its easy to pick up and despite losing a few of my first fights I never felt too overwhelmed (apart from that time I said "Yeah I can take on 13 men by myself").
The graphics are weak, and thats the nicest thing I can say about them, the game feels dated despite only being out for around a year (the collection at least the individuals are a little older than that) but I'm aware of mods out there that improve it. Overall I think the game needs a texture overhaul and maybe a little more direction but apart from that its one hell of a timehole.
You're darn tootin' right I just grappled a plane.Argentum | Dec. 3, 2013 | Review of Just Cause 2
Not entirely sure why darn tootin' was there but I sure as hell just grappled a plane. And it was awesome.
This game lacks in story and challenge, but it sure as hell makes up for it in just sheer awesomeness. Its not so much a realistic look at a mercenary left on a tropical island and more "you know I bet I could hijack that jumbo jet". To cap it off theres a mission set on top a strip club thats roams around the island on a blimp. Its a mission thats right at the end but that doesn't stop you grappling said jumbo and flying your crazy self all the way to the top of the map before crashing straight into the blimp and bailing out last second to tumble all the way back down.
Hell just saying that made me want to play it again. Brb.
Back. So this time, instead of flying to the blimp I took at look at the mechanics of the game, to be blunt the game has bugs, and a fair few of them. None drastic but they are there, the grapple isn't as perfect as it should be but once you get your head round the kinks you can do some crazy stuff with it. The gunplay and general combat is remarkable average and the difficulty never really changes.
But the world is something special, ram packed full of easter eggs and things to do, if you love the game you could spend as many hours in here as you do in a Bethesda world.
Somewhat lacking, somewhat great.
Did a sequel do it??!Argentum | Dec. 3, 2013 | Review of Batman Arkham City: Game of the Year
In my personal opinion this was one of those rare examples where a sequel actually beat its predecessor. Overall I think its a much more polished game, using their experiences from the first to create a better world, story and setting for Batman to get his vigilante kicks.
Again you play as Bats who's been locked in Arkham City as a political prisoner and set the task of stopping it by his own desire to not let his city fall. As and added kick you play a few segments as Catwoman (who by the way is drawn in a very pervacious manner - but I ain't complainin') and this adds a nice break from the Batman segments, she has a similar skillset, but is generally weaker so the advice is sneak around for kills rather than taking on groups at once.
The reason I think it surpasses the original is the world, this world is larger, more diverse and much more alive. There are different sectors, each controlled by different major villains, and you bounce between them through out the story, facing most of the head guys at a point, including the wonderful and frustrating Mr. Freeze. (Who, heads up, is insanely hard on new game+ with the upmost difficulty)
All the original mechanics are back, with a few more here and there, most notibly the extension of the gliding ability. As you progress you unlock more and more, and it doesn't do the classic sequel and make you "forget" everything you learnt in the first game meaning it truly is an extension rather than a reset.
Straight out of left fieldArgentum | Dec. 3, 2013 | Review of Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year
That expression means very little out of context, but essentially I mean that this game is just so unexpectedly good. Just so good, from a little studio based in london who had previously done a game no one had ever heard of - Urban Chaos.
And out of nowhere this gem appears, a true (enough) look into Batman comics in the heart of an action game, it has enough information sprawled away in the game that each little thing you find tells you more and more about the characters within. Allowing you to get lost in lore without really realising it (for example I spent 30 mins listening to audio pieces I had picked up along the way)
Which leads me to the greatest positive this game has going for it, the writing - bar a few incredibly cliche things ol' Bats has to say it has some of the best lines and stories going on I have played in a game. This superb writing is backed up with a fight system that actually managed to balance "pick-up-able-ness" and depth while feeling awesome. Its a basic chain hitting thing, where you mash a key to get Bats to hit one of the thugs that are attacking, each hit that you make feels powerful, the sounds and the effects on the hit make you think Bat's is going to do lasting damage to the pixels, but if you get good and start to chain these attacks you can fly around a group of 10 or so punching and dancing off and punching again.
The only drawback I feel is that some of the puzzels - oh yeah its a puzzle, pretty much every sequence involves batman having to chain his gadgets together to get out of the room/free the captives/wail on someguy - are incredibly samey and so a little sense of grind can kick in. Not much but theres a slight hint of grind in the air.
My choices dishonoured it.Argentum | Dec. 1, 2013 | Review of Dishonored
I played this in a single sitting, burning through the campaign in around 10hrs, and I regret it.
This game has depth and options and hell even some actual difficulty if you let it. Instead I would blink into every room sneaking straight past almost all opposition and getting the target as fast as I could. I ended with what turned out to be the "average" ending rather than the "good" or the "bad" because I killed a few and let a few go. Very average play through.
Now the reason this happened is the game is very subtle it doesn't tell you about a lot of the side quests you can do and when they pop up they are 100% optional with only a slight intensive to go and get them done. I feel that your character was a little overpowered, I rarely failed with my method and when I did it was generally because I teleported straight into a energy wall - so it seemed to be more puzzle-y than action and stealth as I built it up in my head to be.
But it was hinting at the full depth of the game, you can really make all the choices you want to, if I had tried a little harder I could have taken an action approach or if I had bothered I could have fully snuck my way through the levels not killing a soul. If I had the time I would go back and do it again making better choices, because at its core this game is fantastic, the art style is brilliant and the game mechanics are solid. Plus the blink power is brilliant fun, it adds a powerful free roam aspect to the game meaning I can try my damnedest to get around as best I can.
Overall I would have liked the game to push me a little more, the easy option was obvious a tempting but I would still recommend this to anyone that asks.
Something different.Argentum | Dec. 1, 2013 | Review of Borderlands
Those two words above are the simplest way to describe this game. At least they were when it came out, now theres a sequel and likely a horde of rip-offs so its no longer that "something different".
Anyway, this game when it was released was a 4-player story orientated shooter that took place on an alien world - you are one of 4 classes each with a distinct set of skills and preferences but it doesn't really affect your progress though the game whoever you choose.
The point of those 4 is things become super interesting when all 4 team up, their powers (in a way) compliment each other. All specialise in a different type of gun as well, resulting in little complaints over loot sharing at the break.
It plays like a standard FPS but in a vibrant world, instead of the greys and browns of most FPSs this world is set in colour using a vibrant CellShading art style that regardless of platform looks amazing, it pairs this art style with a wicked and offbeat sense of humour that is genuinely funny and doesn't derail the story. These two pieces are what set it apart from the rest of the games out there.
Suffers from a lot of the same problems big open world rpgs suffer from and that sometimes you can get a bit bogged down in meaningless sidequests but the opponents are varied to the point where it rarely feels like a grind.
Overall a good games that stood out amongst its peers.
Bethesda figured out timetravelArgentum | Dec. 1, 2013 | Review of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Nexway
As it turns out timetravel has always been possible, it just required you to say the words "I'll play skyrim for a little bit".
First time I did this I skipped forward 7hrs, now I've played this game on the 360 and clocked up around 200hrs without breaking a sweat, but since rebuying it for the PC I realised that that was just the surface.
200hrs?! Just the surface, am I mad. No, no I am not, if I wanted I could go and do a similar 200hrs on the PC version, nothing would be different bar the far better textures and less bugs corrupting my save, however instead I've dived straight into the world of modding, instantly mages and archers become viable skill sets removing the need for me to own a heavy ass shield. I also took on a mod that gave the much missung "Hardcore" mode from NewVegas and put it into the world of Skyrim adding a whole new level of depth to the game. But the best thing is I can fix the broken UI, it was bearable on console but it felt lacking and wasted on the PC.
Onto the actual game, even playing for probably the 8th overall time I don't get bored of the story, its gripping enough that you actually want to do it despite all the other wonders that there is to see, and those other wonders aren't obvious - in the good way, they turn up when you least expect it. That city you've yet to been too because its really far north? Well boom, 8hr mission series surrounding the mages guild, Riften seems pretty out of the way I better see whats down there, ohhh sweet I can finally sell of of my stolen shit. Now that is special.
Speaking of the thieves guild, its my only criticism - its a much weaker thieves guild compared to Oblivion. Its still a good tale and has some moments, but the in-between missions and general fence infrastructure just isn't as well thought out as it was in oblivion.
There are some mods floating around to add depth to that so I'm going to check it out.
I've always wanted to jump stab a renaissance guard.Argentum | Nov. 26, 2013 | Review of Assassin's Creed 2 Deluxe Edition
... and now I can.
This is the best game in the series, I picked it up late after initially skipping straight to 3 but after playing through all (bar black flag) this one is the most polished and has the best story line out of all of them.
The swordplay is spot on, it feels like Rocksteadys batman picked up a sword and really started liking to kill people, the whole thing flows and it has a delicate balance of difficulty and awesomeness that keeps you interested in it. The extra addition of the gun built into your wrist makes you feel like a god of the old age and leaping out of the air to stab an man in the neck awakens a primeval sense of fun in you.
Story is top notch, and a massive improvement over Altairs tale, I actually cared about Ezios journey through it, its not a suprise it got 2 story sequels out of it.
Assassins Creed 1 created its own genre, this sequel owned said genre.
Getting over the hump.Argentum | Nov. 26, 2013 | Review of SimCity (EU)
This game came out in a cloud of awful. And I mean awful. Refunds round the world and people not being able to play at all.
I luckily avoided all of this by getting it a month late and was able to go into the game without the cloud of despair.
The negative, is that its a small map. Like really small, I struggled to have everything I needed in one, and when I did fit it in that meant I had people crying about pollution or crying because of the monster that invaded, or crying because I burnt their house down - grow up yeah. Its supposed to encourage you to work together with friends and other cities but frankly I hate all other humans and so tend to go it alone.
The positive is that even tabbing between cities can get you everything you need, and the trading system actually works, I usually end up with 2 or 3 cities one that generates all the power and digs up all the coal and the second where everyone lives and shops. The only problem I usually end up with is casinos that lose money hand over fist. Apparently in my Utopia not a soul likes to gamble accept one guy who wins 250000$ on a whim...
Visually the game is perfect, they have a good art style that just works spot on, and since I missed most of the issues the performance is also brilliant.
Overall thanks to avoiding all of the launch issues I got to play the best SimCities taint free.
Time to adjust.Argentum | Nov. 26, 2013 | Review of Battlefield 3 (EU)
Now I jumped to PC late in my gaming life and so my fingers are naturally adjusted to fpsing with a gamepad and doing this in BF3 resulted in 1000s of deaths in a very short space of time. My advice before playing this online is to slog through the terrible campaign using mouse and keyboard wacked up on sensitivity.
You're going to be out of sync at first but once you adjust to the speed and you'll be flying along and thats when you can start to enjoy this graphical and gunnery feat. The PC version really is leagues ahead of the console port, the visuals are stunning and the sound even appears sharper.
The gameplay is classic FPS, once I got over the controls, it feels a lot more fast paced than the previous instalment (Bad Company 2) and they gave sniping a better feel with the introduction of sway.
There does seem to be a problem with certain online players using aimbots or other cheats - you'll notice it almost immediately and so long as the mod of the server isn't in on it they should be kicked, but its annoying when it happens.
All in all its an excellent improvement on the previous Battlefields, I just wish that every other fps player in the world wasn't leagues better than I.
Perfect Expansion.Argentum | Nov. 26, 2013 | Review of Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World
Don't get me wrong Civ 5 is an amazing game, I've put nearing 400 hrs into it without breaking a sweat, but there has always been a half empty part that never fit with the might of Science and Warfare.
In my eyes this lacking was Culture. Bar nearing the Utopian victory I never felt a reason to go for the culture victory, it wasn't overly challenging and my path through never changed, but with the Brave New World expansion everything culture related changes.
The first major Culture change I noticed was the inclusion of Ideologies which are late game policies you can adopt at the dread or delight of your citizens these contain some of the most powerful end game rewards (like extra 2 happiness for luxuries) and the otherwise missing order tree from the previous games. The second and possibly most dramatic is Great Works (art, music, writings) these provide both Culture and Tourism to your civilisation. Tourism and Culture work together to gain you influence over the other civilisations, and the new aim of the culture victory is getting to a point where all other civilisations in the world are culturally influenced by you. So get your arts flowing and tourism high and you should see the support grow.
One final major change, that effects the entire game is Trade Routes - from the early ages (a tech unlocks it) you can trade using caravans, these nifty units work behind the scenes carrying out "missions" for 30 turns to get you Money, Science, Religion and Influence with other Civilisations, or if you turn them internally you can get a boost to food and production for your own cities.
Overall its a great addition to pad out the end game. 90%