Reviews by BenBlanck
Not much worse than Call of Duty, not much better either.BenBlanck | May 8, 2013 | Review of Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 (DE)
I can't seem to understand why this game is getting such bad reviews when it essentially would be a well done "sniper level" in a CoD game.
The writing isn't especially bad either. The plot is simple enough to not worry about, but it is not boring you out of your mind. Characters have their cheesy one liners but it won't bother you while you're concentrating on getting the perfect headshot on a guy standing 500 meters away from you.
The levels are really kind of hit&miss. You're set on a pretty linear path when your spotter takes point and tells you whom to shoot when and where. During these parts the game does feel like it is holding your hand a bit too much.
Figuring out a pattern of elimination for the baddies posed against you can be quite interesting and letting the player choose more often would have made for better gameplay in my opinion.
During levels where you are on your own and given a general direction and a broad objective is where the fun and pace immediately starts to pick up. You have to observe guard patterns and figure out where line of sight breaks for a clear shot, get into position to sneak around a patrol undetected and watch your environment for hidden enemy snipers. This is actually well done and can be quite a lot of fun.
Sadly these parts are in balance to the handholding in overall length.
The third type of gameplay variation are the sniping scenes where you set up with a large calibre rifle and shoot targets at a greater distance. Sometimes as far away as 1.5 kilometers.
Most of these sections feel like a pop-up shooting gallery, but since you are in a fixed position and scoped in there is little else that these scenes could amount to. Still the shots you have to take are of varying levels of difficulty and some are actually quite rewarding when you pull them off.
The graphics are greatly improved over the first installment of the game. The lighting in some levels is really well done and some environments are quite the sight. I wouldn't rate the graphics worse or better than in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. They are nowhere near the levels of a Crysis 3 or Tomb Raider or Battlefield 3, but you won't be looking at anything that gives you sore eyes either.
The controls are responsive and will not get in your way. Mouse speed can be adjusted well enough that you should find a setting that works well for you. I only had to fiddle around with it for 2 minutes and then I was good to go.
This game is not some kind of triple A blockbuster, but it certainly isn't as bad as some reviews make it out to be. A lot of harsh criticism that was dished out in respect to this game, could very well be applied to titles like Crysis 3 or Battlefield 3 (singleplayer) and any recent titles of the CoD-franchise.
If you enjoy being a bit more sneaky and always favored the sniper rifles in multiplayer games then this could actually be a fun ride. The overall length of my first playthrough was round about 5-6 hours, so nothing too long but you certainly get your money's worth.
I didn't feel cheated out of my money after buying this. Just know what to expect and you will not be disappointed since the sniping is quite fun and rewarding.
Tomb Raider reimaginedBenBlanck | May 8, 2013 | Review of Tomb Raider Overflow
This reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise does everything right in my book. I love the Setting and the atmosphere. It is the right mixture of creepy and action-filled moments that draws you in.
Being stranded on this strange island and fighting for survival is a very strong point in the beginning of the game. Sadly it does not last as long as I had hoped.
With the introduction of the first handgun you can turn into a one man army and dish our headshots, which does not make you feel like a vulnerable survivor of a major shipwreck anymore.
But the upgrade system and scrounging for resources still gives you the feeling of being on a path of steady progression.
The graphics in this game look amazing and TressFX is a nice feature, although it can take quite the toll on your performance. But you will be rewarded with a very lifelike behaviour of Lara's hair. Animations are wenn done and you can see how Lara struggles and strains when she's hurt or how exhausting a long climb really is.
Gunplay is very strong and the controls feel very crisp and exact. You never get the feeling of this being a bad port, which is a huge plus in my book.
I really enjoyed the game and the storyline draws you in. Especially so, if you try to find all the documents scattered about that further flesh out the story.
Anyone looking for a well produced AAA-title with a strong action aspect and rewarding exploration should get this. It's really well done and would even be deserving of the title Game of the Year 2013 if it comes to that.