Reviews by Cooberstooge

74

An underrated MMO gem

Cooberstooge | May 6, 2013 | Review of The Secret World (NA)

It's a real pity so many overlook this title, as it's got some of the most original player interaction I've ever seen. Sure, you work with people to complete quests, but factions that can pair up can also turn on one another. Trust needs to be earned in this one, and going into a big battle without it can leave you second-guessing everything.

While the visuals of the Secret World are strong, they look dated now and did so somewhat on release. As this isn't a big-budget title, one can forgive that, and honestly they did some solid work compared to the AAA MMOs being pushed out lately. Stability-wise, the game runs well most of the time, with slight lag during firefights in enclosed areas.

The shop that exists for you to customize your character is chock full of new items and gear, and I've wasted hours alone on just that, trying out new setups and weapons. The community is still a decent size, and for the most part friendly to newcomers - I joined late and a clan helped me get into the game, not expecting me to stick with them for the long haul either.

All in all, The Secret World is a good game, and one most avoid because of early bad press - but it is one you should try, as there's more here than meets the eye. Random problems aside, this is a good little game.

78

Deserves hype, but not as much as it's getting

Cooberstooge | May 6, 2013 | Review of Guild Wars 2: Digital Edition (NA) -

For a game to look decent, have solid quests, and have only a one-time fee to play forever, that in itself makes Guild Wars 2 worth a look. But from my experience, it's nowhere near deserving of all the love it's been getting for being a "revolutionary" MMO.

GW2 is in many ways like id's "Rage", in that large parts of it look good, until you go close up - at that point, eye irritation may occur. A joke, yes, but stuffed in amongst the mostly gorgeous textures are ones straight out of 1998, which most likely explains why this game has a tendency to run insanely well during heavy combat and steady exploration as one doesn't have the time to check out the oft-shoddy textures due to something always trying to kill you.

Controls are for the most part good, once you reconfigure them. I don't know who did the default layout, but the original key placement screams of someone who uses a non-standard gaming keyboard. Audio is good, but the music is too relaxing at times - falling asleep when you're about to get owned can have...undesirable consequences.

My most-enjoyed part of GW2 is hunting for secrets, they're hidden everywhere, and whoever did said hiding put some serious thought into it. You might be able to see some loot, but getting to it can take hours, and more often than not someone or something decides to have you for dinner in the meantime.

Overall a decent title, but most of what Guild Wars 2 has to offer has been done numerous times elsewhere. For a one-time fee, prospective buyers are getting a solid MMO - those who are vets to the genre may wish to look elsewhere first, though.

90

Hard to go wrong with a Final Fantasy title

Cooberstooge | May 6, 2013 | Review of FINAL FANTASY XI Ultimate Collection: Seekers Edition (NA)

These are truly the grandaddies of what most of us have come to know as Japanse-styled RPGs. Although many came before them, Final Fantasy games are just something you know will be good. Square Enix has done a few bad titles over the years, but FFXI most certainly is not one of them.

Graphics here aren't top-notch, but that is what makes this run so well. The design of the characters and creatures you fight with and against are great, but they look as though they were pulled from a title from around 2009 - the style this brings with it though suits the game, and makes the player feel connected to previous titles from the past.

Combat is solid, as is every other aspect of the game thanks to a control scheme older players of the series will be familiar with. Voice acting and soundtrack are great, as one would expect from an FF title - one wishes they included the music in a separate download, some of the included music is so enjoyable.

Is this collection worth it for the addon items and quests? Yes, very much so. The expansion packs have added much time to my game, although I recommend playing through the default quests first, then looping back to do the new ones.

If you've never played a Final Fantasy title before, there's no better way to get into the series than with this collection. It's cheap for the amount of stuff jammed inside, and doesn't give that big of a helping hand to new players either - a nice switch from these little "god mode for noobs" addons most titles bring out nowadays. A solid buy, this one.

96

A space game done right

Cooberstooge | May 6, 2013 | Review of EVE Online - 14 Day Free Trial

Where do you turn when you finally clue in that nobody knows how to create decent all-encompassing space titles anymore? EVE Online, of course. Think of it as the X games, but accessible to new players - the learning curve is steep, but surmountable.

The game looks great, and beats any other similar title in that department. I cannot max it out on here, so it seems you need a fairly beefy rig to run it with all the "pretties" enabled. Even with the settings turned down somewhat, it looks fantastic. Ships especially are extremely well-detailed, and are on par with the CGI models shown in many of today's films.

Controls are solid, and not as all over the place as many of this type of game. Where you think a function should be on your keyboard, that's where it is - X3 Reunion messed with my head in that area, it was so confusing during station trading.

The soundtrack alone makes this worth the money, even if you do nothing else in the game. It's so...awe-inspiring, calming, and epic all at once. Others try to make theirs sound original, but EVE's takes the cake. Aside from the music, the game is pretty quiet, which suits the environs of a space game.

EVE Online is so worth your time, even if that time only amounts to the 14 days this pass allows. You will not be sorry for giving this one a try, there's a reason so many play and recommend it to others. WoW may be the big dog in online games, but this one's standing right behind it.

96

This game is stupidly fun!

Cooberstooge | May 6, 2013 | Review of Defiance

Have you ever wondered what would happen if Fallen Earth and the Mad Max movies made a baby, then it got mutated by something from the Aliens movies? No? Well, neither have I, but I think that's what the developers of Defiance were going for here.

This game somehow looks like the Borderlands titles, even though it makes no use whatsoever of the same graphical style. The crazy insanity of most battles can have you laughing and screaming at the same time, not to mention marveling at how well the whole thing runs while the proverbial junk hits the fan. Characters and vehicles look great, but it is the alien monstrosities that really shine - they have some of what I'd easily say is the nicest texture work of any MMO thus far on them.

Control-wise, Defiance isn't all that different from any other similar title, yet it all seems to work better here. Perhaps that's due to the almost-zero lag I've encountered while playing, but the urge to rage-quit thanks to garbage controls when you're getting hammered in a PvP match due to a highly-skilled opponent is just not there. Sounds are great, with larger gun battles being especially loud, which is a nice switch to the fairly quiet arms of most similar games.

Definitely can recommend Defiance. Not a game to miss, especially if you want to see an online title that shows how it's done properly. None of that half-baked sissy stuff here, and a worthy investment to boot.

75

Good, but could use some improvements

Cooberstooge | May 6, 2013 | Review of CrimeCraft: Bleedout

CrimeCraft: Bleedout is one of those games that has massive potential, yet its own creators have failed to fully capitalize on it. It looks decent and plays well when you're with a batch of good players, but it still has those little irritants sprinkled throughout that you'd love to nag at the developers over in hope they'll fix them.

In terms of looks, CrimeCraft looks like your average FPS, set in a quasi-post apocalyptic rundown city. Characters and weapons are well-detailed, and firefights look nice. But, unfortunately, I must also mention the lag, which can show up nastily in the middle of battle, and seems to be the game engine itself, not my machine - although I rarely encountered this, it continues to be present.

Controls are good, but I was unable to reconfigure mine off my mouse for weapon switching, which could be an issue for those like myself who run with a scroll wheel-less trackball mouse. Switching is still possible with the alternate keyboard key, but is somewhat irritating.

All in all, Bleedout is a decent online shooter, but go into it knowing it still has its shortcomings. Customization is arguably the best part of this one, and that is one thing the developers did get very right.

82

A solid MMORPG

Cooberstooge | May 6, 2013 | Review of Rift

There is a reason so many people play Rift, and why it's such a common mention for those just getting into the world of online RPGs - it's just plain good. While not revolutionary by any means, it works, the playerbase is for the most part friendly to newcomers, and the developers are still active in the community.

The game shows its age a little now, but the blocky texture work in some of the interior areas is mostly overshadowed during battles - combat is reminiscent of Kingdoms of Amalur, with flashy swings and hard hits that flow together rather nicely. For the way it looks, Rift rarely lags on me, which makes no sense but is something I can most certainly live with.

The controls are solid, while being familiar to anyone used to MMOs of this type. Audio-wise, I find the game somewhat lacking, as fights don't sound near as good as they look - other elements are just fine though, so I don't know why their designers fell down on the job for the fights.

Overall, I can recommend Rift, although it does have a rather small player base, since it's trying to compete with the likes of World of Warcraft. Less players is both good and bad, as sometimes you'll need to strategize and match up with others to be able to play a new area.

90

Still a classic

Cooberstooge | Sept. 23, 2012 | Review of Jet Set Radio

Sega has really cottoned onto something here, and they seem to be reading my mind when it comes to which of their old classics they should be releasing. Jet Set Radio ate through tons of hours way back when I was younger, and was the cause for many late marks on homework. The game's easy to pick up style, and unbeatable sense of fun, just make you want to keep playing and never stop.

The original game still manages to look good after all these years, and this remake just takes it to the next level. The HD textures are absolutely superb, and manage to maintain the unique style of the original without destroying it. The sounds are still there, although the disappearance of one track does sting a bit - the best ones are still in, though. The biggest change is of course the fan-made graffiti, much of which knocks the original stuff right out of the water.

Controls translate very well to the mouse and keyboard, unlike the majority of the AAA ports lately. Characters control well, and there's still a solid variety of people present to choose from. Tagging rival gang members still is the big highlight with this one, and just never gets old. Bug-wise, I've yet to have any crashes, although I did lag slightly during scenes of heavy action - not enough to be a game-breaker, but noticeable.

At a perfect price point, and with many hours of guaranteed fun, you really can't go wrong with a purchase of Jet Set Radio for pc - the classics never die, no matter what platform you play them on.

94

Not your old SimCity, but not a bad thing either

Cooberstooge | Sept. 23, 2012 | Review of Simcity Societies: Ultimate Collection (NA) dns

Societies was a game unfortunately written off and banished by past fans of the series, despite EA making it abundantly clear this was to be nothing like the typical entries in the series. This is one package definitely worth a gander though, especially if you want to see an alternate take on the 3D city builders that are rapidly taking over the genre.

The graphics do indeed look as good as the screenshots on GMG and elsewhere would suggest, and the base game and expansions run surprisingly well on lower-spec machines. Sound is great, and really puts you in the right mood with those lively, upbeat tracks so stereotypical of other entries in the series. Controls are good, but every now and then, I've had the camera turn the opposite direction to what I pressed - not a deal breaker, but a little shocking at times.

I like this game mainly for a feature not really found in most other city builders - you can just pick some terrain, modify it, and start building - no worries about water lines, citizen happiness, or any of that other junk. Build the metropolis you've always wanted, and swing through it with your camera in glorious 3D. Sure, the management thing is the big part of this series, but for somebody just into building massive cities and not really being into the planning, SimCity Societies is your ticket.

No crashing, smooth running, and quirky, imaginative structures will keep this one on your hard drive for many years to come. An added bonus is getting all of the package, and at this price, it's way cheaper than a retail copy. City building lovers, this is a must buy!

88

A budget title that strives to be unique

Cooberstooge | Sept. 18, 2012 | Review of Police Force

There are a multitude of police themed games out there nowadays, thanks to the piles of cop dramas and whatnot that take up so much of prime time television lately. Most strive to be something memorable, but few succeed in that quest - Police Force is one of the few that does it right.

The graphics in this title are, admittedly, pretty bad. Strange textures and weird choices of lighting have a nasty habit of making structures appear as though they're made out of cardboard, and cars like those pieced together from odds and ends out of a scrap yard. Sounds are adequate, but what little voice acting there is was done quite well - the authoritative lilt most of the actors seem to have been going for was well-executed. Controls are good, and the layout for the keys as chosen by the developers works just fine.

As for the game itself, it plays out mostly like a management simulation, although there is more interaction here than one would expect. Rather than just receiving text-based reports only, one can choose to visit most scenes through an over-the-shoulder type of view. It's always fun watching people getting nabbed for speeding, or a standoff during a bank robbery.

This is definitely a game to get, so long as you don't mind foregoing uber graphics for some solid, enjoyable gameplay.

90

A fantastic collection

Cooberstooge | Sept. 18, 2012 | Review of Need for Speed: Ultimate Collection (NA)

There's really no way you can go wrong with this pack. It has something in it for every racing fan, from the harsh and gritty underworld of street racing to the glitz and glamour of the international sponsored circuits. Regardless of whether you're more into the simulation or arcade side of things, there is most certainly something here for you.

Every single title looks great, although NFS Undercover is starting to age a little, but it still has awesome visuals. Sounds are good, from the noise both outside and inside your ride being spot-on, and the soundtrack in each game being mostly comprised of tunes you actually want to listen to. Controls are good, although I found playing Shift 2 Unleashed with a gamepad to be more involving, which was a little strange - keyboard controls are just fine with it, but the controller made that one just that little bit more intense.

As far as technical issues went, NFS Undercover had the strange habit of crashing whenever I increased the graphical settings, despite my system more than meeting even the recommended requirements. The adjusted settings held, though, so I was able to play the game at my chosen detail level without issues.

Definitely a pack to get, and at this price, you really can't go wrong. This is an awesome deal.

76

Nice game to look at

Cooberstooge | Sept. 13, 2012 | Review of Scarygirl

Scarygirl is essentially just a typical platformer, but its use of a visual style similar to the wackiness of Alice: Madness Returns sets it miles apart from every other similar title out there. A unique story and easy controls keep you playing right until the end, but average gameplay may not encourage you to give it more than one or two more goes.

Graphically, the game is simply astounding, with different whimsical and fantastic creatures and scenes awaiting you on every level. There's things that are clearly animals, but essentially half-machine, and your character often walks on things that any sane human wouldn't go anywhere near. All this awesomeness doesn't hardly tax your machine, either, so even folks running older machines, so long as they meet the requirements, are good to go. Sound is good, although it somewhat pales in comparison to the visual style. Controls work well, and are your typical platform layout.

The story is interesting, but is not something that is overly original. Playing in co-op with the giant rabbit is hilarious, though. The multiplayer community is of a decent size, although finding available co-op partners can be somewhat challenging.

Overall, a decent game, but it doesn't have a lot of originality aside from the visuals. Would recommend a buy, but don't expect to be racking up piles of hours in it.

82

A great space simulator

Cooberstooge | Sept. 13, 2012 | Review of SOL Exodus: Collector's Edition

SOL Exodus is such an easy game to get into, for both veterans and newbies of the genre. The story will suck you in and keep a good hold on you for many hours, and the combat is really just icing on the cake. For such a low price, there's really no reason to not go for it.

Graphically, for what is a slightly older space flight title in appearance, the game manages to hold its own against newcomers, and in many ways looks better thanks to a slightly different graphical style. Ships are well-detailed, and dogfights are always a great sight. Sound-wise, all the essential parts of the story are voice-acted, which is one mean feat for a relatively small development house - the acting is top-notch, too. Controls are well-placed, and can be changed should the user so desire - I found tightening up the ship movement keys to be necessary, but other than that, everything is still set to default.

Being able to hack into other ships and redirect their actions, or cancel them completely, was something I very much found to be a highlight of the campaign. Protecting and rescuing friendlies was quite a staple of the story, and I actually found myself enjoying those missions more than I did the pure dogfighting ones. Definitely one to grab for all those space game junkies out there, and still quite an enjoyable title for those not usually into zooming around the outer reaches of the universe.

89

Good game, but not a big step forwards

Cooberstooge | Sept. 13, 2012 | Review of Port Royale 3: Pirates and Merchants

I like all the Port Royale titles, and have been playing the series since back when it came out. The games have always looked good, but they cater to the series economic and trading simulation fans out there, more than anything. Despite the fact that this newest addition to the series is very good, there's not a lot in the way of new things to be found here, despite the hints and promises that had been dropped since early on in development.

This newest game looks absolutely fantastic, with freakishly realistic water, well-detailed ports, and great naval battles. Even the static windows used during the management and trading aspect of the game are quite nice to look at, as they evoke the style of old maps and documents. The game sounds good, with lots of suitable adventurous seafaring ambience playing in the background. Controls are well-placed, and are re-configurable should you so have the desire to do so.

Multiplayer is in, and is quite fun. The community around Port Royale 3 is unfortunately rather small, though, so there will be times when you cannot find folks to play with or against. When you can get into a game, it's always nice and stable, and you'll rarely have major issues with lag.

I definitely recommend this one to all fans of the series, even though there's not a lot of innovation this time around, and to newcomers - Port Royale 3: Pirates and Merchants is a great starting point.

80

Something a little different

Cooberstooge | Sept. 13, 2012 | Review of Partisan

Essentially, in Soviet Russia, Rambo is Partisan. This is a different take on quite a number of game genres, the most surprising of which is that this title is actually a top-down shooter, with a few elements of a lot of other genres thrown in for good measure. This game can be a long one, if you play your cards right, and you'll run across all kinds of original characters on your journey back to your friends and to save the Motherland.

The game looks quite good for the age of it, and it manages to have a slightly roughed up look to it I've never found in any other games of a similar type. It runs great on current hardware, and hums along happily on older stuff as well. The sounds are good, with lots of tense notes during close encounters with heavily armed foes. Controls are well-placed, although a couple of the action buttons could do with keys just to the left of their default positions for ease of access.

The story is at times a little cliche, but I stuck with it for all the friendlies you run across - it's evident somebody spent quite a lot of extra time working on those NPCs. The game lasted me a good number of hours for the price, and I had absolutely no technical issues whatsoever with getting it to run. Recommended if you want to try something a little off the beaten path, and don't mind an at times seriously cliched story.

85

A nice, relaxing little game

Cooberstooge | Sept. 13, 2012 | Review of Mini Ninjas

Mini Ninjas is just one of those games that, even in the midst of combat, I can still mellow out. The look, the sound, and the play all just "click" and work very well together. The game is challenging, but not so much so that you'll want to quit - new players will be able to get quite a ways into it before running into difficulty, and that only serves to keep one going through it.

The game has a unique style and, while it can put decent demands on average-spec computers, turning down the settings will still result in a good experience. The sound is especially nice, with all this very calming, zen-like music quickly switching to a frantic war drum beat during combat. The enemies all have strange squeaky voices, much like the characters in Magicka, which only adds to the charm. The controls are well laid-out, and all combine to make exploring and combat a very enjoyable experience.

The story is quite long, clocking in at roughly 15 hours for me, and is loaded with humour and funny scenes. Much of the story is told through cut scenes, and these are also where you learn more about the characters you are attempting to rescue.

The one negative I have to mention about Mini Ninjas would be the strange every four to five second micro-stuttering I've always encountered. Apparently, the game doesn't like USB devices - usually it's a connected camera or something non-essential one can unplug and this goes away, but in my case it's the keyboard. Not something game-breaking really, but it is a little irritating at times.

All things considered, I still must recommend this game. It's one of only a handful that is enjoyable for both the young and the old, and is something every gamer should have in their library.

78

Feels like all the "different" platformers rolled into one

Cooberstooge | Sept. 13, 2012 | Review of Mechanic Infantry

Mechanic Infantry has all the elements of the craziness one can find in Super Meat Boy, the neat retro design of VVVVVV, and a style all its own. Instead of having all the time in the world to make sure that next jump or wall bounce is a success, you just have to hope for the best and take it - being chased through a platformer is truly a unique experience.

The game looks great, and thanks to the nice but not overly demanding graphics, this game runs on just about any system, new or old. The effects many of the traps employ are great to look at, and the developers ensured they stand out enough to be noticed, since some levels are a little crazy on the wacky colours aspect. The sound is good, but not something I particularly enjoyed in this game - it honestly feels more like audio filler, than anything. Controls are good, but they can take some getting used to before you're ripping through the levels - this controls a little differently when it comes to climbing up the walls.

The only negatives I can really list would be the three crashes to desktop I experienced, but none happened in the same place, nor repeated themselves on my subsequent trips through the game. All in all, Mechanic Infantry is a good game, and a nice change from the standard fare when it comes to fast-paced platformers.

94

An awesome post-apoc RPG

Cooberstooge | Sept. 13, 2012 | Review of Krater - Collector's Edition

Krater is everything the old Fallout games used to be, and that is sorely missing from the post-apocalyptic gaming world of today. Memorable characters, awesome environments, great gameplay, and a committed developer combine to make a game you must simply play to believe.

The setting for the game, a post-apocalyptic Sweden, is really quite strange. Aside from the giant hole in the ground, one might easily be forgiven for wondering about the aforementioned apocalypse and if it actually happened. Lush greenery abounds, and bright colours are everywhere. The people you'll meet, whether they be traders or NPCs who join your party, all look unique and original - not just Character A with a different hat. Sounds are great, and you'll really feel a part of the game during combat, since it's always in the back of your mind that you and your people are on their own, with no backup - the soundtrack can sense this, I am certain.

Krater is still in active development, though, so you might notice a few features or areas that seem a little light on detail. The developers are always around for answering questions or helping you get past a certain enemy. Because of this, there's always new things to see on trips back through discovered areas, and the game just seems bigger and better each time you play. Everybody needs to play Krater - it should really be a required thing for any fan of post-apocalyptic gaming, or anyone who likes characters with actual character.

85

A great combat flight sim

Cooberstooge | Sept. 13, 2012 | Review of Jane's Advanced Strike Fighters DNU

This game is great for hard core flight simulation fans and people who just like an accessible game. You can easily adjust settings to tailor each one to your own preferences, and even just jumping right into a mission is very doable. Jane's Advanced Strike Fighters has planes which are easy to get used to flying, but hard to master if you actually with to complete the many mission objectives.

Both the jets themselves and the terrain you're flying over are very well-detailed, and just flying around instead of completing your mission is always fun, since you'll constantly find new areas to explore. Unlike most combat flight simulator games, obvious care was taken with this one to ensure the terrain is actually populated by good looking buildings and trees - in fact, visually recognizing a target is quite possible. Sound is well-done, and controls, even on keyboard and mouse, are set up well.

The campaign is enjoyable, but short. Multiplayer is likely where you'll spend the majority of most playing sessions, and it is still very much active. There's always lots of folks looking for mission partners, and most of them are quite open and understanding of new users. Definitely a game to get, if you're looking for something with good realism and straightforward controls.

92

Back to the GTA roots

Cooberstooge | Sept. 13, 2012 | Review of Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City DNS

This feels like a GTA game - it's got quirky, memorable characters, lots of goofy action, and originality in spades. Niko and Roman may have Sopranos seriousness down packed in the original, but Episodes from Liberty City has all that crazy wackiness the series used to be known for.

Both the Ballad of Gay Tony and the Lost and Damned are solid, great stories that can easily stand on their own, yet they manage to retain characters from the previous iteration, such as Elizabeta and good ol' Niko. This is classic tough guy having to earn their way to the top stuff, but with less time for bowling. The stories are great, tons of new characters get introduced, and there's lots of new weapons and locations to explore that you would never have given a second glance to in the original title.

The graphics look great as expected, and this one seems to run quite a bit smoother than GTA IV. The new vehicles, from the plethora of bikes to the new cars and trucks, are all very nice to see and drive. The sound is great, with good voice acting from the whole cast, and a special emphasis having been put on the major characters. Controls are all very good, and remain largely unchanged from GTA IV, so you can just hop right into this one if you're coming from that title.

Definitely one to recommend, and certainly one to get for those of you who weren't as big a fan of GTA IV as many others.

97

An RTS for everyone

Cooberstooge | Sept. 13, 2012 | Review of Company of Heroes THQ

There's nothing out there RTS-wise that's quite like Company of Heroes. Every piece of the game just ties together and forms something that's more experience than game. It's got that little something that even haters of the genre will be able to look past.

The amount of time and effort the developers poured into the graphical capabilities of this title is unmatched. Every unit is so well-detailed it's kinda disturbing. Effects like bullet holes and scars on the landscape from shells landing are fully realized, and each and every unit has ragdoll effects attached to it, making even a unit death something to pause and watch. The sounds are fantastic, and being able to hear your troops while a firefight rages all around them is extremely cool - I found the voice acting itself to be quite a notch up in quality from the usual drivel one hears in most RTS titles, too. Controls are very good, and the various functions, commands, and whatnot you'll need to make use of to succeed are always found exactly where you'd expect them to be.

The single player campaign is nice and long, with a solid story to back it up. Replaying through the campaign is an easy thing to want to do as well, since the destruction engine contained within Company of Heroes easily makes each and every battle unique - different structures get blown up, explosions happen in different areas and destroy different units, and so forth. Multiplayer is very active to this day, and is the big selling point of the series - matches can last ages, yet never manage to get stale.

Company of Heroes is such an easy game to recommend, and really, even if you totally hate or absolutely suck at RTS titles, you'll love this one.

68

Amusing little platformer

Cooberstooge | Sept. 13, 2012 | Review of CID the Dummy [Capsule]

CID the Dummy is, admittedly, not an overly original game. The use of a crash-test dummy is something different, but there's not much in here you won't have already seen before. The game is quite stable, though, and is lighthearted enough to be good for the younger audiences, so that is why I'd recommend giving this one a go.

The graphics do the job, but a reduction in the amount of bloom used in some areas would be appreciated - a couple of the driving levels are so bright, there's times at which even the road is a little hard to see. The cartoonish style of all the characters is nice to look at though, and younger kids will get a kick out of watching them run around. The sound is okay, but some of the music starts to get a little irritating if you play the game for long periods of time. Controls are good, and are the basic set any lover of platform games will be used to.

This is an average game and, while there's nothing wrong with it, it's not something either you or your kids will spend a lot of time playing. I'd say waiting for a sale on this one before buying is a good idea.

80

A great little RPG

Cooberstooge | Sept. 13, 2012 | Review of BorderZone CAP

This is a seriously different take on what happens to the planet after the apocalypse. For once, it's not a land loaded with nutjobs on rusted-out jalopies chasing hapless wayfarers - it's a land of magical and technological possibilities, and where we humans are no longer the kings we once perceived ourselves to be. Adventuring with NPCs is fun, and highly recommended - it massively improves the story, and makes dying a lot less likely possibility.

The game looks quite good for a small title, and wandering around and exploring, both on your own and with a party, is always a nice experience. The characters are particularly well-detailed, and each one of them is easily recognizable from quite a distance. The sound is adequate, but for the most part falls fairly flat. Controls are good though, and ensure your adventures are always pleasant ones - none of that "what keys is it?!?!" stuff here.

Definitely recommend BorderZone - it's a refreshing take on the cluttered RPG genre, and manages to make the typical post-apocalyptic scene seem new again.

80

In the service FUN!

Cooberstooge | Sept. 13, 2012 | Review of Black Eagle

Black Eagle is an awesome little budget tanker title. Sure, it may not have the highest production values, nor a story that's really all that interesting. But, really, you're only in it to blow stuff up. The sheer variety of enemies, weapons, and settings could make your head spin, and there's nothing quite like pulling a Rambo against a bunch of giant, evil robots intent on wiping you off the face of the planet.

The graphics look pretty good for a smaller title, and it's nice watching your handiwork obliterate an enemy fortification. Chunks of debris go flying through the air, and fireballs are satisfying without being just total overkill. Sounds are very well done, and you can still identify the noises made by various pieces of equipment during heavy firefights. Controls are good, and controlling your tank is nice and very straightforward.

All in all, a nice little game, and a great way to pass the time for those explosion-happy game fans amongst us.

88

A sleeper hit?

Cooberstooge | Sept. 13, 2012 | Review of Binary Domain

Binary Domain takes your average squad based shooter and flips it upside down, then replaces its appendages with bionic bits and pieces. I honestly can't see why this title has gotten so much negative publicity from the gaming public - being able to command your people with your own voice is something that never gets old. Those of you who don't have microphones need not worry, either - you can use keys to issue orders as well, and the squad responds the same to them.

The story is awesome, and definitely worth more than just one trip through. The multiplayer is good, but at this point is mostly underpopulated. You'll still be able to find a few matches each day, though, and the games are often busy and fast-paced.

The game looks great, and manages to have a style all its own, even with the similarity of how most games interpret the future. I've never once encountered lag while playing it, even though it almost always gives my graphics card a good workout. Sound is fantastic, and hearing your people call out back and forth to one another, and to you during the heat of battle, just never ceases to amaze. Controls are fairly good, although I did have to re-map a few of them due to weird choices for the keys that give orders.

I can certainly recommend Binary Domain. It's an awesome shooter, a great way to spend a few hours, and a decent excuse to go grab that microphone you've been meaning to get.

96

Knocks the socks off of the original

Cooberstooge | Sept. 13, 2012 | Review of Batman: Arkham City

This is easily the best Batman game to date. There's so much to do here, from the nice, long story to the numerous side quests, you won't be finishing this one for quite some time. For once, listening to all of the voice actors in a game is a joy, and that alone makes this one worth a buy.

Graphically, the game is fantastic, with Arkham City fully realized in all the capabilities of today's hardware. The landmarks of Gotham that are now enclosed within the prison walls are easily identifiable, and look suitably run-down after their time spent in a now uncivilized land. The sound is fantastic, with the voice acting being a special treat, thanks to the return of the actors from the original game in the series. The controls are well laid-out, and make heavy combat enjoyable, challenging, yet always doable.

The story is truly the highlight here, as is the remarkable cast of characters. You'll find yourself often wanting to revisit certain scenes key to the story. The combat is massively improved, and even when you lose a fight, having to re-do it isn't bothersome in the least. All the nifty new items you can make use of, and the many improved older ones, add tons of new elements to the player's journey through the world of Arkham City.

Nobody can go wrong with a purchase of this title, even those gamers who aren't really that into Batman and his associated friends and villains.

80

Tetris done differently

Cooberstooge | Sept. 12, 2012 | Review of Arctic Quest 1

Finally, a game manages to make use of all that makes Tetris and its innumerable spin offs so great new again. Arctic Quest is simple in design, yet refreshing in action. While not overly difficult, the whole package comes together in a quality title that is engaging, yet relaxing.

Arctic Quest looks great, and its bright, colourful theme makes players just want to keep going, even when they know it's time to shut down for the night. It manages to look rich without breaking the bank in terms of computing requirements, and yet even gamers who demand top-notch graphics will find what is on offer here to be enjoyable.

Controls are well placed, and very easy to get used to. The sounds are nice and subdued, and the soundtrack itself does the best it can to mellow the player out. All in all, a very enjoyable little game, free of bugs or other technical issues, and one I totally recommend to all puzzle game lovers.

90

Crazy Taxi for aspiring bus drivers

Cooberstooge | Sept. 12, 2012 | Review of City Bus

First off, this game is very odd. The cartoony graphics and overall premise is just strange, and seriously wacky, and that's why it's so much fun. City Bus is one of those things you'll turn to after a rotten day at work, or in between the current AAA games as a good, solid time waster and a decent way to cool off.

Controls are straightforward, the buses are easy to move around, and anything that gets in your way can just be run over. Sounds pretty simple, right? Wrong - this one will keep you coming back for more, trying to rack up the destruction with different routes, and at the same time trying to shave off just one more second from the time of your last run. The sound only adds to the mayhem, with lots of crashing and explosions to be heard. The various cities can be mangled beyond belief, and there's always new stuff around to try and drive your poor bus through.

This is probably one of the cheapest, yet most amusing games available on GMG, and one you should most certainly buy.

88

Simple looks hide a deep game

Cooberstooge | Sept. 12, 2012 | Review of Avoid

One would easily be forgiven for, upon first glance, disposing of Avoid from their "to buy" list - in this, they would be very wrong. The apparently basic gameplay is actually very deep and rewarding, and the actual cost of this is but a pittance compared to the countless hours you're destined to sink into it.

The whole look of the game will fight against you, as the background is always in motion, and even focusing on what you're aiming for can throw you off. Success in Avoid gives you an awesome feeling, until you remember you're nowhere near done yet! This is very family-friendly, and has next to no violence in it, unlike the majority of other titles released nowadays. The controls are very well placed for some serious, frantic play, and the unusual sounds reel you in, and won't let you quit playing until you're totally worn out.

Multiplayer with friends and family is simply awesome, and there's leaderboards to try and top, as well as seven whole game modes to explore and beat. This is a great game, and one I recommend everybody play - it's really not what you're expecting, and for once, that's a very good thing.

80

Great math game for the little ones

Cooberstooge | Sept. 12, 2012 | Review of Timothy

My little cousin received this as a gift from his parents, and any time I'm over, I have to play it with him. Gotta admit, it's a nice little game, and manages to combine fun with learning in a way so many others of a similar type tend to fail at.

The adventure your character goes on is a surprisingly long one, and the developers managed to spread it out enough that the learning and the fun fit well together, but there is no one point where either bombards you. The characters you meet along the journey are all very original, and each have different things they'd like help with before eventually assisting you on your quest.

The graphics are awesome, and have that warm, homey feel that makes the younger ones want to keep playing, and go back to it once they're finished. The sound is simple yet soothing, and the controls are very easy to get used to, and all arranged well for those with smaller hands that can't quite hit further-away keys.

Definitely one to get. It's just a nice, little game that keeps the younger, and in my case, the older, entertained for quite a while.

80

Nice little hidden object title

Cooberstooge | Sept. 12, 2012 | Review of Herod's Lost Tomb

Herod's Lost Tomb manages to be interesting in a way that many hidden object games are not: the scenes are nice to look at. So many of the other titles in this genre have cluttered, bland set pieces you must find items in that they quickly become boring and not a little irritating, too.

Controls are standard fare, and easily recognizable to connoisseurs of this style of games. Sound is adequate, but not overly memorable - it does the job, but nothing more. The story is quite good, though, and has quite a lot of detail buried in it, much like you'd expect anything National Geographic stamps its name onto would. The graphics are where this little gem shine, though, and there are several areas that are just plain stunning - the interior of the tomb is a special treat, with well-used lighting effects by the developers.

The puzzles range widely in difficulty, but some of them truly are quite hard, and will take more than a few attempts to solve - I found the inclusion of these ones rather surprising, but with a little effort, even the younger audiences will be able to prevail. Quite a nice little game, and one well worth the cost, if you ask me.

81

Great variety in a small game

Cooberstooge | Sept. 12, 2012 | Review of Winter Challenge

Outside of the games released for each Olympics, which seems to have become a certainty lately, not many companies attempt to tackle the challenges of a multi-sport game, whether it be ones set in the summer or winter. Games that actually do a good job of it are even more scarce - Winter Challenge is one of those successful ones.

The controls are very well placed, and getting into each new discipline is a pretty quick process thanks to this. Going from Bobsleigh to Cross Country is quite easy, and doing well in both in a matter of minutes quite possible. The graphics are fairly good, although a bit of a reduction in the lighting effects would be nice - a couple of spots during Bobsleigh appeared to have my whole team steering a course for the middle of the sun. Sound is good, especially in the skiing sections, which make up the majority of the game, and barrelling downhill both looks and sounds insanely fast.

The only negative I can find to mention on Winter Challenge would be the multiplayer component, which, like a previous reviewer stated, is all but broken - not really a big loss, since from what I could tell, the online community is mostly gone at this point. There's far more than enough hours to be spent mucking about on your own in every sport to easily make this game worthy of the price.

85

Fantastic game

Cooberstooge | Sept. 12, 2012 | Review of Virtua Tennis 4 DNS

There is, quite simply, nothing else out there that compares to the Virtua Tennis series, and this latest edition is no different. All SEGA has done is tweak and add to the perfect formula, and given us gamers something we can finally show our real-life tennis playing friends that is worthy of their attention.

The graphics in this one are astounding, and a decent machine comes highly recommended if you want to wind out all the game is capable of. It runs just fine on lower settings, but trying to raise or enable some features on an older machine will result in lag. Controls are good, but this is one console port that really does benefit from the use of an x-box or similarly designed controller - it is playable with mouse and keyboard, but it just doesn't feel quite right.

Solid, unchanged on-court gameplay from previous iterations of the series is once again backed up by completely random mini games, such as rescuing chickens, and these too are great fun, and serve to break up those rare times when one gets sick of the main action. All in all, another great entry in one series that only gets better as it grows.

80

A nice little game

Cooberstooge | Sept. 12, 2012 | Review of Poker Simulator

Actually good poker games are few and far between, and while this one does have a few shortcomings, Poker Simulator is a good way to spend a few hours of risk-free gambling. Also, for once, it's a game that has a Mac variation - something I've literally never seen before in any type of gambling game.

The variety of opponents to play against lets you keep the game fresh for quite a long while, since each has a slightly different play style. You can also change the setting where the game is to take place, and can go from something as normal as the inside of an old parlour to a medieval castle. One can also add and play their own music with the game, so if the default sounds start grating, there's always another option.

Graphics are decent for a budget title, with obvious extra ime having been spent on the animations for the opposing players, which makes trying to call their bluffs quite enjoyable. They could be trying to help you out by actually being nervous, or the AI is really just playing you.

The game can be quite long, and has tournaments as well as a campaign with coaching if one so desires. Poker Simulator tries its best to include players new to this type of game, and succeeds admirably. This is easily something I can recommend.

70

Basic, but easy to learn

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of International Tennis Pro

This is not one of the major, in-depth Tennis simulators out there, and is more catered to quick matches and gamers who are mostly in it for the physical aspect of things.

Mouse and keyboard controls work with International Tennis Pro, but like one screenshot hints at, you're better off using a gamepad. You can adjust the controls, but the gamepad is simply more intuitive with this title. You don't need the latest and greatest one, either - my 8 year old one works just fine.

Graphics wise, the game looks quite old, yet the characters are surprisingly well-animated and enjoyable to watch. There's never been any blinking textures, screen tearing, or the like for me, and lag is completely nonexistent. Widescreen resolution support claims to be there, but the characters seem to be pretty stretched on my monitor - this doesn't take away from play though, and actually lends the game a slightly humorous edge.

The multiplayer is what makes this one a keeper, and there are still people playing, even though this is a pretty nice title. Definitely recommended, since this is just plain fun, and something more sports games need to try for.

78

A decent game, but needs a few fixes

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Football Manager 2012

This is about the most comprehensive football management game you're likely to find out there, and is a veritable treasure trove for those statisticians amongst us - yet, there's still a few kinks in this edition that the developers have yet to work out, and are what keep it from being perfect.

The graphics for watching the actual games have been tweaked, and look better, but the game still uses essentially the same engine as before - this is good in my opinion, as it still runs nice and smooth. Controls are good, but as far as I could tell, you cannot modify the controls - this could be an oversight on my part, but I rooted around and came up empty.

The main gripe I have with this one is the lack of any real explanation for new players to the series. Little documentation, no in-game hints, and lots of features that even I had to discover to know about make one wonder why this one took so long to develop. I'd rather have decent documentation and a slightly less feature-rich game.

If you can get past some minor inconveniences, you can dive deep into Football Manager 2012 without even touching much of what it has to offer. Although there's no documentation, even learning the basics is fairly straightforward, and one can play many hours without ever worrying about learning of and making use of all the provided features.

90

Yet another step up for this awesome series

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of FIFA Soccer 12 (NA)

The FIFA Soccer EA games have always been that old standby for those of us craving a solid, quality alternative to the purpose-built games, but as of late, EA has really kicked up into high gear. Soccer 12, the latest iteration, makes the game feel so real, you very well may dive out of your chair and leap to the floor when a ball heads at the screen!

The graphics are insanely good this time around, and the new physics engine makes just watching the players an absolute joy, let alone taking part in the game. No more jittery, stopping animations and lack of continuity during heavy play - it's all smooth sailing with this one. I've never once hit upon any lag here, either - despite what may be fairly steep requirements for a sports simulation, the game runs very well on low-end setups.

Management is much more enjoyable this time around, and the game has really been reworked so you feel far more involved in the day to day activities of the players on your team. You can truly build a dream team with this one as well, and follow the highs and lows of each individual in the real soccer world with constant internet updates.

Multiplayer is a bigger option this time around, since it has been more refined and the joining and match mechanics rebuilt. No more dropping out in the middle unexpectedly due to a hiccup in your connection - a really good thing for us folks with temperamental connections.

If you even remotely consider yourself a fan of soccer, you need to get this game. FIFA Soccer 12 is something you'll waste away many an hour on, and not regret any of it.

75

Loads of originality, but could use some work

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Blood Bowl: Legendary Edition

This is, without a doubt, a game the likes of which you've never seen before. Sure, it is, at its heart, a basic game of football, but do you normally see a team of humans playing against a bunch of bloodthirsty elves? How about Space Marines, the most feared warriors this side of the galaxy, playing for a quick game of keeps against a bunch of folks from the realm of Chaos, the Space Marine's sworn enemy?

Cyanide and Games Workshop really made a living, enjoyable game world with this thing, and it's very fun just spending time looking at all the crazy, ravenous characters you're playing against and sometimes with. The stadiums, if you could call most of them that, vary as wildly as a mountain fortress to the deck of a ship, and all have their unique advantages and disadvantages in combat. Controls are good, and hearing the screams and tortured roars of players in the midst of a game of football is quite neat, even if a little odd.

The one "ding" I can say against the game is with the multiplayer component. While it at its core works well, matchmaking is quite basic and often doesn't work, teaming you against very seasoned players, with you being a new guy. Hackers are abundant, and neither Cyanide nor the publisher seems to care - reporting them does sometimes yield results, but not often.

Even if you only buy this one for the singleplayer, you'll get more than enough exciting hours out of that to make Blood Bowl: Legendary Edition worth your time and money. Although the multiplayer is hit and miss, if you get into a good match, there is truly nothing else like it.

86

Well-rounded rally game

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of WRC FIA World Rally Championship

WRC FIA World Rally Championship is a game that has something to offer every rally fan, from the folks who just want to rip up a course with easy to use arcade controls, all the way to the person who has to modify all the essential components of their car, it's all here. This is one game much of the community overlooks, as the big-name titles seem to keep hold over the majority of the fans - it certainly wouldn't hurt to give this one a look-see, though.

The graphics are quite good, and manage to offer a nice balance of pretties to performance, in that you can crank the settings nearly to the max before noticing any lag, even on machines that aren't souped-up gaming rigs. The cars look great, but extra care was spent here on the tracks - anyone familiar with SEGA Rally Revo will enjoy the awesome dirt effects, both on the track and all over your ride. Controls are great, and really work well for all types of players - messing about with your car to really get into the game is just as fun as driving with the stock key bindings. Sounds are also well done, and hearing your vehicle slide around on the track, and the frantic howling of the engine as you barrel around tight curves.

The campaign is awesome and very long, but multiplayer matches with your friends and other random internet denizens is far more enjoyable. There's still a good sized community behind this one, and they're pretty welcoming to new folks. There's always race events going on, and finding someone up for challenging your times is nice and easy. Definitely recommend this game, and overlooked little gem of the rally racing genre.

84

The single best bike racing sim out there

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of SBK X Superbike World Championship

There's so much to enjoy in this one if you're a motorbike racing fan. Arcade and Sim mode both offer something different, and Sim boots up the challenge nice and high for when you've played through everything on "easy" Arcade mode.

The game looks great, and despite being a little older now, still manages to convey that freaky sense of barely controlled speed so many others can't. I've had a small amount of lag here and there, but only during distant views when the pack is bunched up in a corner - not game-breaking lag, mind you, but it is there nonetheless. Controls are very well placed, and you'll spend very little time learning how to control your two-wheeled beast - actually making it through a race though, if you're anything like me, might take a teensy bit longer. Sounds are very good, and racing is nice and loud, with a true feeling of speed being shown by the high-pitched scream of each bike as it rips around the track.

The multiplayer is truly where this title shines, though, and is the meat and bones of Superbike World Championship. There's still a massive community behind it, games are easy to organize, and there's never been any problems with connection drops or anything else of the sort when I've been playing.

Fantastic game, and one any racing fan will enjoy, not just those into bike racing. There's something here for everyone, and the price it's at makes it a crazy good deal.

94

Platforming with a twist

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Chester

Chester is essentially an average platform game, but toss in switchable characters and visual styles, and you'll have something rather interesting on your hands. Having originally been a console only title, this one doesn't have the typical problems associated with most ports, and that alone warrants it worth a look.

Great controls and sharp, crisp graphics make this one a pure joy to play, and absolutely zero lag during frantic action make Chester an easy keeper. The sounds are top-notch, and those only serve to make play fast and insane on the higher difficulty levels, as everything speeds up.

The game is easy to get into, but incredibly hard to put down. My personal favourite style would have to be sketchbook, where it looks like you're flying through some random world you created while doodling during a study break at school. This game is, to put it mildly, a little bit too much fun.

90

A pirate's life for me!

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle Cap

This is a game which really knows how to pay homage to one of the greats of adventure gaming, and does it very well, too. Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle has hours upon hours of fun, classic gameplay buried under an exterior modeled so closely on that of the old Monkey Island games, you'd swear that's who provided the visuals.

The story is absolutely fantastic, and classic pirate gaming fare. You follow the life story of the Caribbean's first female pirate, and nothing but wackiness and general insanity can but hope to ensue. Every single character is memorable, right from the main one on down to the guy you'll only chat once with.

Puzzles are intricate and varied, ensuring you won;t see too many of a similar type in a short span of time. They are often difficult, but not so much so that you'll give up in frustration. The mini games are always good fun, and I often found myself failing them because I was laughing a little too much to be paying attention.

If you're even remotely interested in pirates, get this one. You won't be regretting it.

84

Great visuals

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Atlantis Evolution

Atlantis Evolution continues to be one of my most-loved adventure games, if only for how it looks. Being one of the only 3D ones around at the time of release, this title was a breath of fresh air to the market. The subject being something only few before, and as little since, have touched upon help considerably in keeping the name of this one something adventure gamers remember.

The story is quite long and involving, with memorable characters who are far more alive than the usual cardboard stereotypes found in most titles. The graphics are absolutely phenomenal for the age of the game now, and are an absolute joy to look at - everything really has a futuristic, yet suitably ancient feel to it. The sound is great, and the music is, as the developers claim, very original - it manages to sound...oceanic, like a thing of the waves, and something unobtainable, yet very close. Suffice to say the music kept me playing for the longest.

You really can't go wrong with a purchase of Atlantis Evolution, as it's so original, every adventure gamer is bound to find something they like here.

98

The epitome of late-90s adventure gaming

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Amerzone: The Explorer's Legacy

For a game that's so old now, Amerzone: The Explorer's Legacy still has that little spark, that little something that makes it capable of even drawing in the most vehement haters of the genre, and keeping them close. I should know - I used to seriously dislike adventure titles until playing this one not long after it came out.

The story is the highlight here, and is really a combination in all that is good in those old voyages of discovery types of books and those too-often cancelled adventure tv shows. You'll run across all kinds of fantastical scenes, unknown tribes, and mysterious objects.

The graphics in this old fellow still look good today, and modernizing them would just kill the atmosphere it works so hard to perfect. Amerzone itself feels like somewhat of a relic now because of textures and whatnot, but should be left untouched in all its glory.

An absolute gem of a game, and one you can't afford to miss.

78

Great visuals, nice series continuation

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of AGON - The Lost Sword of Toledo

I've played all of the AGON games, and while this may not, in my opinion, be the best of the series, this is a good entry point for those new to the AGON titles. The recap done of the previous games covers enough that new players will know what they're about to get into, but not so much so that you'd want to avoid playing the earlier games.

The visuals are quite nice to look at, and remind one of those found in scenery collections of the old masters. Everything has nice, warm tones that only serve to relax the player, yet encourages them to hunt around for the necessary clues. The sound is rather subdued, so you'll somewhat tune it out during play - it is nice to listen to, though, but at such a volume as to be easily confused with background noise.

The puzzles and clues you must find and solve are, for the most part, of a below-average difficulty. While this may serve to turn some off of the title, even younger gamers will be able to play and enjoy it - I didn't mind the ease with which I played through it, but this no doubt shortens the amount of time you'll get out of the game.

80

Chrome, refined

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Chrome: Specforce

You can't go wrong with either Chrome game really, since they're both solid budget shooters that have decent polish and run very well. Chrome: SpecForce is mainly an upgrade of the original game, and it deals with many of the small issues one could find in the original, yet still manages to further refine the gameplay.

This is, at it's heart, a point-to-point, mission based shooter, but the size of many levels gives you a few options of how to approach. You can actually take your time, and explore the map if you like. You'll find a few enemies off the beaten path, and there's definitely an uptick in their numbers should you just head straight in, guns blazing. The number of enemies is larger this time around, as is the variety of weapons you can equip.

The graphics look quite good, and despite the fact that this is an older game now, the environments, characters, and weapons still look good. The game controls well, and re-mappable keys let you change anything you don't like. The sound is good, with the higher-tier weapons sounding far more meaty and vicious than the basic kit.

85

Another take on Alien Swarm?

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Alien Breed 2: Assault

This is quite an enjoyable little alien shooter, and the top-down perspective reminds one of good old Alien Swarm. You do similar things in both games, but the different viewpoint in this one makes the action seem far more in your face and real.

The graphics are great for something put out by a small developer, and firefights, though relatively small, are always a sight to behold. The soundtrack is great, and sounds suitably futuristic, yet spooky and murky at just the right points.

Playing in co-operative matches with your friends is where this game truly shows what it can do. Fighting to help a friend and not a bot just has so much more impact. Running through and soloing missions to improve your score is also a blast.

This is an easy one to recommend, since squad-based alien shooters are amongst the best types of space-based shooters out there. Feeling like you're the last wall between humanity and the alien hordes just never gets old.

85

That Deus Ex feeling...

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Project Snowblind CAP

For something which clearly takes much of its inspiration from the legendary Deus Ex series, Project Snowblind is a game which manages to have enough of its own originality to step out from beneath the shadow of that which it pays homage to.

The serious variety of familiar and far-advanced weaponry is enough to choke a horse, let alone the variety of cool-looking enemies and levels. This game kicks off in high gear and never lets up until it's done, and just begs the player to come back for more.

The graphics look great, although they are starting to age somewhat. The slightly blocky textures are something I find suitable to the game, though, so it looks just fine by me. Sounds are good, and the futuristic oomph of power the weapons make is awesome.

A good, solid romp into the dark, sometimes murky world of the future, and definitely one for all Deus Ex vets to try.

80

An adventure game done differently

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Black Circle

Black Circle is about the only adventure game I know of that makes such an extensive use of real, photographed scenes to fit everything together. The private detective and the ensuing mystery is all very interesting, but the idea that one could actually visit the places pictured in the game is what I found to be quite cool.

This is your standard point and click title, and controls are laid out as such - those who are fans of the genre will easily step into this one, and newcomers will find it an easy game to get into as well. The soundtrack is nice, and a little different from the mostly non-instrumental stuff I'm used to hearing in similar games - it suits Black Circle very well.

Definitely a good, solid distraction from the real world, and a nice game to look at as well. Recommended.

82

Massive carnage

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Alien Shooter: Vengeance

Make no mistake, this is one bloody game. If you're into bits and pieces flying everywhere, Alien Shooter: Vengeance may just be for you. The simple gameplay belies a rather immersive and addictive little game, and there's far more here than the price point hints at.

Graphically, the game does look like an older title, but the details are very much in the blood and gore. Basically, there's all these ravenous extraterrestrial beings, and you need to kill them. Blood is everywhere with this one, and it stays put after battle, too. Your environment changes, and is truly what you make of it. Controls are well laid-out, and the sound gets the job done, but is mostly forgettable.

If you're a fan of such games as Alien Swarm and Shadowgrounds, you can't go wrong with a purchase of this title.

82

Great little niche title

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of SEGA Bass Fishing DNS

SEGA has certainly put out some truly different and original titles over the years, and Bass Fishing is no different. From trying, and almost always failing, to catch your voice, to the mind-blowingly horrendous voice acting, this has all the hallmarks of a wacky classic.

Being a port, the controls on this one do take a little getting used to, but you'll be working on reeling in the next big one in no time. Yes, the difficulty here is steep, but there's nothing quite like landing a virtual successful catch. Fighting the fish is only half the battle here, where too much stress on that line of yours can mean the scaly fellow will escape back into the deeps.

As this is quite an old game, the graphics are pretty raunchy nowadays, but that's really just part of the charm of these old timers, and one of the best reasons to play it. Totally recommended, for even the least bit curious of folks - this is good for more than a few laughs.

88

A truly original concept

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Dark Sector

I've liked Dark Sector ever since it came out. There's just something so refreshing about it - sure, combat with a knife is pretty common, but the thing Hayden uses cuts through literally everything. The constant battle both without and within is truly immersive, and you can really feel for him and what it must be like knowing your body is not your own anymore, and instead some weird new tool to learn.

Combat is fast and incredibly visceral, and the top-notch graphics only add to the draw you in quality of the whole production. The sound is great, and what music there is completely suits the various moods in the game. All the fighting moves are very fluid, and there's only barely detectable animation changes during fights.

All in all, Dark Sector is a game I wholeheartedly recommend, and is definitely one to try if you're sick of the so common-feeling melee combat in many of the games today.

95

You can't go wrong with this one, no matter your tastes

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Trine

Trine is, quite simply, the thing all indie games should aspire to be. It steals the spotlight from AAA titles, and will never have to give it back. For being simply described as a platformer, it is really, in all actuality, interactive art. There's nothing bad I can say about this game - how it runs so well, while looking and playing so good, is a mystery to me.

The characters are all memorable, and easily identifiable from the other. Each has unique skills, and all will be needed throughout the course of the game to successfully complete it. The environments are freakishly detailed, and you'll always find yourself spending a little extra time taking a peek at something instead of furthering your adventure.

Trine is truly a must-buy for everyone, if only to see what an indie developer can do if they put their minds into it.

82

Lara done differently

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light

Even if you're not a fan of the Tomb Raider games, you're assured to find a solid amount of entertainment with Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. The isometric viewpoint really adds a little something to the game, and makes it feel more like the classic dungeon crawlers of olde. The controls on both keyboard and gamepad are very well mapped as well, so it's basically just load up and play.

The game manages to look like something new while retaining that classic dark, dingy look of older RPGs. The cutscenes are thoroughly "now", but fit with the graphical style completely. The sound is perfect, and the voice actors really seem to have gotten into their respective roles on this one. I've never run into any bugs while playing, although I get lag during cutscenes for some crazy reason - not a big deal, but worth mentioning nonetheless.

Definitely recommend this one for fans of the series, and those into isometric games.

70

It's alright, but not that great

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Battlestrike - Force of Resistance

I enjoy quite a few of the titles City Interactive puts out, but the Battlestrike games aren't amongst their better offerings. They are decent shooters, but the environments don't strive to be original, and the guns aren't modeled as well as...say...those of Sniper: Ghost Warrior. These came out back when the company was still trying to pull above it's budget line it became known for, so there are some shortcomings.

The killing is aplenty here, and if it's a mindless WWII shooter you're hungering for, you could do far worse than this game. There's FPS action mixed in with some on-rails mounted gun stuff, and the explosions are pretty good. The enemy AI is tends to be good, but every now and then, it gets a little goofy and pulls a Rambo.

Graphics, sound, and control-wise, it gets the job done, but as it's a budget title, don't expect top-notch production values or choices. If you go into this one knowing what to expect, Battlestrike is a decent game.

90

Pure online shooter perfection

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Battlefield 3 (NA) dns

There is nobody who does all-out online warfare like EA. From the classic Battlefield 1942, through BF2 and 2142, and all the way to now, it's been one heck of a ride. There's a great single player campaign this time around that, while short, is a great few hours. But really, guys, what you're here for is that other thing, right? The playing with your buddies thing?

Sick of playing the guy walking? Why not drive a tank? Fly? Or just hop a ride and enjoy the sights from behind your mounted gun? There's no limit here, and all sorts of mayhem will ensue because of it. Firefights are fast, incredibly loud, and always intense. You'll fight to save your friends one round, then more often than not turn them into confetti the next.

You'll deal out all this death and destruction in glorious uber graphics too, with stuff in game looking more real than that car driving by outside. It'll sound better too, and will really benefit from a surround sound setup. What are you waiting for? Go buy this now!

75

Surprisingly good

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Afterfall: Insanity DNS

If you're a fan of freaky, dark shooters with a psychotic air of mystery to them, Afterfall: Insanity may just be your ticket to the nuthouse. The music, the graphics, the sound, and the gameplay all combine to make one of the best survival horror titles in years.

Having the lights go out in moments of high tension, and knowing something is about to try and own you, is shockingly frightening. This is one of the only games that works with the darkness well, and only improves when you actually play it in the dark. The big question is, though, what is real, and what is not? Is everything you're seeing actually there, or did you just blow away an innocent person?

This game looks absolutely great, and runs extremely well on the hardware of today. I only encountered minimal lag during two sections, but there wasn't enough to detract from the game. Bugs were nonexistent for me, and the sound is awesome.

75

An average shooter

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Chernobyl Terrorist Attack

This is not a game with any originality to it, but what Chernobyl Terrorist Attack does, it does well. Solid combat is backed up by nice graphics, fairly good voice acting, and an average story. This isn't a game to write home about, but it also isn't one you'll be disappointed over purchasing, either.

The levels are large and varied, as advertised. There's plenty of places to hole up, although most of your time will be spent charging into battle. You can edge around certain conflicts, which I found to be pretty cool, but if the alarm's raised, and those guys you duped are still visible, they'll be happy to join in the next fight.

Overall, a decent game, and something modern done in a fairly original setting for once.

80

Awesome little game

Cooberstooge | Sept. 11, 2012 | Review of Chrono Rage

This is one of those games in that everything tries to kill you. No, that's never really explained, but take it to mean that everything aside from your tiny ship is hostile - and only overwhelming firepower has a chance of stopping it. This is akin to something you'd find in a smashed, trashed old arcade machine, and there's very much a reason for it - it's just plain fun.

Graphically, it doesn't look all that good compared to similar games of today, but it looks nice and retro, which means it runs flawlessly on modern hardware. All your enemies are easily recognizable, as they contrast well with the subdued backgrounds - eye strain with this one isn't a worry.

Control-wise, the developers of Chrono Rage got everything just right. Your ship controls just the way you'd expect it to, and when reaching for an unknown, but assumed key for a particular function, you'll never be wrong. The sounds are great, with a rocking soundtrack that ties in nicely with the action on screen.

Awesome game, and a steal at this price.

76

A good Roman sim

Cooberstooge | Sept. 10, 2012 | Review of CivCity: Rome CAP

Decent simulators containing elements of city builders and RTS battle games are quite rare, and CivCity: Rome is quite a good one. Whether you're into city building or militaristic strategy, there's something here for everyone. Even if you're not a fan of a certain element, CivCity: Rome is set up in such a way that everything can be accomplished by a newbie to the genre.

The game looks great, with the cityscapes you create an especially enjoyable element to spend time looking at. The game is starting to age somewhat, but this only means is runs fantastically well on today's hardware, and very well on stuff heralding from the days when this game was released. Sound is also good, but like another reviewer mentioned, constantly hearing somebody beak off about your stores does get on the nerves after a time.

The campaign is long, and the difficulty is fairly good, although people new to this type of game will be able to work their way through it. The two mission types are varied, although I enjoyed the non-military ones more. This is one nice little hybrid game, and one I easily recommend.

92

A deep, deep game

Cooberstooge | Sept. 10, 2012 | Review of Revolution Under Siege

This is one of the best all-encompassing strategic games I've ever played. It covers the Russian Civil War, something that way too many other games of a similar type tend to completely avoid. Keep in mind, though, that this is hard core strategy to the max, so casual players may not find much to like here.

The graphics aren't the best, but they have a certain folksy style that makes Revolution Under Siege instantly recognizable. The hand-drawn map look of it all is quite easy on the eyes, and it makes positioning and movements pretty straightforward. I've never once run across any visual bugs in the game either, so that's a nice plus. Sound-wise, it gets the job done, but not much more than that - you don't really notice the sounds anyways when in a serious fight against the AI, so I usually just play with it off.

Now then, the AI...is insane. Take the best brains from all walks of life, stuff them together, and you might barely approach the intelligence in this game. It knows everything you're going to do, it would seem, and knows how to all turn it around to bite you. Yes, you'll often lose, but it's a satisfying loss, not like in most other titles where it's just quirky AI.

One of the best games of its kind, and one I easily recommend to any fan of the genre.

90

Twilight Zone, anyone?

Cooberstooge | Sept. 10, 2012 | Review of Alan Wake's American Nightmare

In many ways, American Nightmare is way spookier than the original. The whole recently abandoned desert town thing is downright creepy, and the addition of far more firepower totally suits the environment. The actual combat, which people say has been modified and improved, still feels the same to me - it's still got that desperate, one more shot and you're toast vibe to it.

The story is quite good, but it sends you back through the same three environments multiple times - while that was a little irritating, that doesn't serve to lessen the story's impact in any way. The characters are interesting, and the twisted Mr. Scratch has a way bigger presence this time around. The cutscenes are often live-action, which I thought really added to the game. The "Survive 'Til Dawn" mode is pretty cool, and will keep you coming back multiple times for a better score.

Graphics, sound, and controls are mostly all good, with the visuals having been improved and optimized for this title. Controls are re-mappable, and the game works very well with my trackball. Some of the voice work from the supporting characters does sometimes come across as a little flat, though, but otherwise is good.

Definitely recommend this one, and it's at quite a decent price, too.

88

A hybrid that works

Cooberstooge | Sept. 10, 2012 | Review of Sanctum

Admittedly, the tower defense genre is getting pretty stale, and really needs a massive kick in the rear to get it going again. Sanctum may just be that kick, and manages to make two incredibly unlikely types of games work seamlessly together as one.

Once you've constructed your defenses, it's not time to stand back and take a managerial overseer position - it's time to strap on your sidearm and fight. You'll be right down in the think of things, trying to protect your constructions with brute force and gung-ho FPS insanity. The entire game looks insane, too, and makes combat, as well as the building and repair phase, something to truly behold - the clean, sterile look of everything is mangled totally during combat.

Sound is fantastic, and during combat, it can get quite loud. The FPS element is suitably harsh, with your weapon sounding nice and meaty. It's easy to lose track of a near-demolished defense during combat due to all the noise and commotion, and that's what makes Sanctum something you can easily play through multiple times - battle never gets old.

The multiplayer component is hilariously good fun, and is still very much alive and well. Defeating waves with friends never gets old, and it's a great way to make some new friends, too. Totally recommend Sanctum - it's just so much fun, and it runs and looks great while doing it.

65

Could have been a solid shooter, but the AI needs major help

Cooberstooge | Sept. 10, 2012 | Review of Alpha Black Zero

I will admit, most of the levels in Alpha Black Zero are fairly good sized and nice to explore, but the enemies you'll come across, and the guys who are supposed to help you complete your objectives, often have a nasty case of The Stupids.

Weapons are fairly nice looking for a game set in the future, but yet retain essential qualities that allow the gamer to identify them with their current counterparts. Shooting is nice, but you'll usually be the leader in most battles, as the AI seems to need help in when to start thinking tactically. Admittedly, walking up to the enemy to let them know they should try to kill you is, unfortunately, something that rears its head more than once.

Sounds are good, with the weapons all sounding different, and being able to recognize different squad members by listening to the sounds of their weapons being fired. Identifying your troops by any other means is pretty impossible though, as everybody is wearing a Halo-esque combat suit - the suit itself is quite nice, though.

78

A nice WWII stealth/FPS combo

Cooberstooge | Sept. 10, 2012 | Review of Airborne Troops

Those of you who have found memories of the old Hidden and Dangerous games will find much enjoyment in Airborne Troops, as will those who like a title with varied gameplay in it. This may be a budget title, but the solid gunplay and decent stealth elements make this one well worth a look.

Graphically, the game hasn't aged too well, but what visuals are there more than get the job done. Little or no lag is present, even during large firefights. Friend and foe are easily identifiable, and period weapons and equipment all look quite good, showing the claimed research that was done really did happen.

The story is quite good, and you'll visit many different areas, from pitch black warehouses to wide open farm country. The majority of your time will be spent in the city, though, and there's a great variety in the building models used, so there's not too much of an "I've seen this before" feel to everything.

86

A nice, solid medieval romp

Cooberstooge | Sept. 10, 2012 | Review of The First Templar DNS

If you're not going into this one expecting the budget version of an Assassin's Creed clone, you'll find quite a bit to like about The First Templar. The story is good, the characters fairly interesting, and the setting quite well fleshed-out.

The graphics are quite good for an older title, and make you want to explore off the beaten path, and there's a few areas here where you can - despite being channeled to your objectives, movement never really feels all that restrictive. Fighting especially really shines, with little of that blocky animation switching so common in most hand to hand combat titles.

The game controls very well, and as you upgrade your party throughout the adventure, new attacks and movements quickly become second nature to the player. Mouse controls work well with a trackball, too, which is nice for those of us who use them.

All in all, quite a satisfying little game, and something definitely worth considering if you like the setting of medieval times, but are getting a little bored with leaping from rooftop to rooftop.

92

A fantastic adventure game

Cooberstooge | Sept. 7, 2012 | Review of The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav DNS

Despite the fact that previous entries in the series were of the 3D questing and exploring type, Chains of Satinav works very well as an adventure game. The scenes are all very well-drawn, and have a unique visual style that just pulls you in and never gets old - you'll often catch yourself just examining the intricacy of a scene, and forget what it was you were supposed to be hunting for.

This is one seriously impressive game, and it always feels like you're exploring new lands nobody has ever encountered before, even though you know somebody had to design this place. It's got that whole new world, unexpected adventures, and unending discovery vibe running through it, and that never stops. The sound is phenominal, and is very upbeat, yet somehow ancient, and seems like you've heard it before, but not in this lifetime.

What are you waiting for? Grab The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav now...your adventure awaits! Go forth and prosper, dear adventure gamer! I promise you...you won't be sorry - the game is truly a steal at any price.

87

Mangle your poor, precious Sims into evil beasties

Cooberstooge | Sept. 7, 2012 | Review of The Sims 3: Supernatural Limited Edition (NA)

I love this addition to the game - there's so much to do here, from playing as a witch, ghoul, or other supernatural being, to decorating your Sim house up for Halloween if you like, to even having your folks feast on others' brains in a zombie apocalypse.

The town of Moonlight Falls is full of weird, wondrous things for your poor Sims to discover, and it may alter and direct them in unexpected ways. Will they return safe and sound, or will what returns be nothing like your Sim at all?

Decorate your house with a secret lair, some new furniture, and even pay a visit to your magic mirror. There's always something devilish to get mixed up in here. You can also fight to protect your now very spookified house from the beings of the night by lining up a defensive pea shooter barricade around the perimeter - they may not sound like much, but those little green monsters hurt!

84

A solid puzzler

Cooberstooge | Sept. 7, 2012 | Review of Bejeweled 3 (NA) DNS

Bejeweled has always been a fantastic series of puzzle games, and this latest entry is no different. There's far more game modes this time around, with heavily updated HD graphics to tantalize your puzzling taste buds. You can modify the heck out of the game this time around, too, and truly make it into your own experience - don't like a sound...change it!

The puzzles in this edition are once again difficult without being complete brain breaking insanity, and there's always that "just one more" feel to it that won't let you stop. There's badges to earn for record times, secret levels to discover (that are often insanely hard...aka..."time to pull out your hair"), and the ability to play Bejeweled as it originally was, but much updated for today's gamers.

Definitely recommend this one, especially for those who love intense puzzle games.

88

Another solid SCS trucking sim

Cooberstooge | Sept. 7, 2012 | Review of Scania Truck Driving Simulator

Despite this is mainly just a shameless plug for Scania big rigs, this is one nice little trucking simulator that one can easily burn through hours with. You'll be hauling goods all over a sprawling metropolis, and as often find yourself on steep mountain shortcuts as you will crowded, busy city streets.

The trucks are extremely well-detailed, and the in-cab view while driving is spectacular. Everything works, and you can keep an eye on the traffic around you with functioning mirrors as well. All of the gauges on the truck's dashboard are functional, so you can feel free to disable the game HUD so long as you stick with the in-cab view, which makes the game way more immersive.

Handling is solid, with controls being mapped in a manner that, while it may first confuse you, will easily be adjusted to. Sound-wise, the trucks all sound great, as does the other traffic on the road, and the sound of the road itself when you're driving on it.

90

Fantastic game

Cooberstooge | Sept. 7, 2012 | Review of Jagged Alliance Crossfire

I love the Jagged Alliance games. I've played them ever since the original, and while the last one was a little hit and miss on quality, the developers really outdid themselves here.

The personalities of each man are back, and better than ever. Do you risk putting a guy on point who's been flagged for...issues, shall we say...with staying loyal to his mates? Do you risk your best shooter, or a guy who shows promise but has yet to prove himself? The choices are endless, and make this one a game you'll be playing far more than once over.

Do you ambush a patrol, or pull a Rambo and run in guns blazing - which is less risky? Also, which looks cooler, because with Jagged Alliance Crossfire, everything finally is nice to look at in real time. Explosions are fantastic, and these new winter levels make things rather interesting - snow can be your friend by silencing the approach, but could it give you away to the enemy by preserving your footsteps? Sounds are also great, and stuff has a nasty habit of getting quiet when things are about to go crazy, which never gets old.

Definitely recommended to all fans of the series, both old and new.

93

Quite a good little game

Cooberstooge | Sept. 7, 2012 | Review of ShadO DNS

The settings of this one are what set Shad'O apart from the whackload of tower defense games lately, and is also what will keep you playing. This has that same vibe that Dungeon Defenders does, in that half the time you'll just want to explore the environment and skip playing the game, the set pieces are so well made.

The story is great and really pulls you in, and the cast of characters that help you along the way are very memorable. William must recover the dark memories he's locked away, and those around him will both protect and fight for him when necessary. The sound is awesome, and the music totally suits the mood of this little game. I went into it thinking I'd be getting an average title, but this is one heck of a nice little game. Highly recommended.

80

Good, fun addition

Cooberstooge | Sept. 7, 2012 | Review of Saints Row: The Third - Unlockable Pack

This is quite handy if you've missed more than a few unlockables during the course of regular gameplay, like fool here tends to do, and did do with Saints Row 3. Guns, clothes, upgrades, houses, you name it, this will open it up for you! I've yet to run across anything not opened by this.

Some may see this as another "cheating" DLC like one of the other ones THQ released, but this is more for people who bought SR3 and really only played through it to open up the world and all the madness possibilities contained within. I spend most of my time in the games of this series causing mayhem, and would be more than happy to be able to unlock stuff from the get-go. With this DLC, you can.

84

Entertaining, but short

Cooberstooge | Sept. 7, 2012 | Review of Tiny Troopers Cap

I quite enjoy Tiny Troopers - cute little fellers packing massive firepower is just too awesome to miss. The missions you'll complete are varied, but they eventually start repeating and losing their originality. The fact this was originally made for a phone is quite evident in its shortness unfortunately, but I still very much enjoyed it.

Controls are well done, and keeping your squad alive is challenging but doable thanks to this. Graphically, the game has its own style, and the environments you'll find your squad in suit the soldiers themselves - everything is oversized and wacky. Sounds are nice and quirky too, with the guns sounding squished yet powerful.

I can completely recommend Tiny Soldiers for anyone looking for something a little different, and for something that's quite funny too.

76

A decent RPG

Cooberstooge | Sept. 7, 2012 | Review of The Lord of the Rings: War in the North

Being a big fan of any and all things LoTR, I came away from War in the North wondering why it was they didn't put just a little more effort into the game. With a few more weeks of development time, this could have been one heck of a game. Instead, it turned out to be little more than an average RPG.

The combat is nice, the game looks great, and the characters are fairly well-developed. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the game, but it brings little more than adequate lore from the movies into actual gameplay. The combat is quite well-done, and is really the highlight here - I can quite easily see myself replaying it for that fact alone.

86

A hybrid that works

Cooberstooge | Sept. 7, 2012 | Review of Nuclear Dawn

Usually, combining the FPS and RTS genres results in a massive, unoriginal mess of a game. Such is not the case with Nuclear Dawn, though. Commanding your troops is just as much fun as being amongst the troops, down in the think of things. Having a good, solid team that works together and is cool with taking and following orders is key here, otherwise you're sure to fail.

The game controls very well, from both the commander and foot soldier perspective. It also runs well, thanks to Valve's wonder machine, the Source engine, and therefore screams along happily on older computers, too. Gameplay is fast and varied, and is quite easy to get into for newer players as well.

Both the graphics and sound are well done, and InterWave managed to eek out quite an impressive look from Source without killing older machines in the process. Weapons sound suitably futuristic, and satisfying to fire.

Definitely a game to play, and one to keep an eye on, too, as it just keeps growing and growing.

88

Looks great, but somewhat short

Cooberstooge | Sept. 7, 2012 | Review of Naval Warfare

Fast-paced naval shooters are quite a rarity, and one set in a steampunk universe even more so. Despite the short campaign, Naval Warfare is one heck of a good little game.

The game controls very well, although controlling your ship and guns independently will take some getting used to, as will aiming according to where you're going. Once you get the hang of things, though, you'll burn through hours in this little gem. Combat is very fast, and the screen can fill up with enemies quickly if you let it - you always must be on your guard here.

Naval Warfare looks and sounds great, and it all runs along nice and smooth, too. I never once encountered any bugs in the campaign, and while the multiplayer is pretty quiet now, co-op with some buddies is awesomely fun.

76

Perhaps a little too far on the dark side

Cooberstooge | Sept. 7, 2012 | Review of Manhunt Capsule

I like Manhunt, and those amongst us who crave a little over the top, senseless violence every now and then probably will too. I have to admit, though, some parts of the game are more than a little unnerving.

It's not just a regular beat 'em up type of game either, and heavily focuses on interactive, yet heavily scripted kill scenes, where the faster you move your mouse and in the same direction over and over results in more pain for your unfortunate victim, for instance. There are a limited number of these sadistic interactions, though, and that fact is inevitably Manhunt's downfall - you'll play the game to completion for sure, but may never go back.

For the price it is, though, and for how decent it still looks despite the age of it, I recommend everybody give it a go to see what combat in the earlier GTA games could have ended up being - I for one am happy with the style they went with instead. I found Manhunt had a bizarre, humorous vibe all through it, even under the senseless violence, and that more than anything kept me playing.

75

Awesome characters, average gameplay

Cooberstooge | Sept. 6, 2012 | Review of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men

If you're hunting for a game you can simply just get into and go, then Kane & Lynch: Dead Men was made for you. The accessibility and ease by which you can get into it, and how wacky and likable the characters are, help to hide what is, at its heart, a bare-bones shooter.

Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more is the Kane & Lynch motto, and there's not a moment that goes by where lead isn't flying in some direction. The guns all look and sound great, and there's plenty of motivation to empty those clips as fast as you get them. Underneath it all, though, I found myself somewhat bored with the gameplay roughly half way through - there's no innovation here, and some parts of the game do feel a little disjointed.

All in all, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men is an enjoyable shooter, but it doesn't offer anything new to the scene and, as such, gets a little old after a time.

82

Tough but thoroughly enjoyable

Cooberstooge | Sept. 6, 2012 | Review of Joan of Arc

This is yet another hybrid type of game, and Joan of Arc shines with all the nice touches the developers put into it. You can fight alone, or command all your troops in battle. There's tons of equipment to use here too, from your standard swords to massive catapults and trebuchets.

The game still looks great, even today. Soldiers are very detailed, as are the environments you'll be traveling through and fighting in. Big battles are impressive, with slaughter on a massive scale, and all this done to a backdrop of siege weapons launching chunks of stone and other things at the enemy.

The soundtrack is great, and perfectly fits with the mood of the game. The sounds characters make, and the sounds of battle, are superb. Swords clashing, men screaming, and stuff exploding and being crushed to bits help innumerably in making the battles exciting.

Definitely one to give a go, especially if you're a fan of medieval settings and history itself in general.

95

Highly original

Cooberstooge | Sept. 6, 2012 | Review of Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising Cap

Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising has always been an awesome game, and will continue to be so even years from now. Every single piece of the game just fits together so well, and makes a fantastic hybrid strategy and shooter combination. Rage really had something here, and just like with all their games, it's something that lasts.

You create and deploy military units into the battlefield off of your combat ship, The Antaeus. You can control these units from a more traditional top-down view, or give the thing that makes this game so original a try. Why stick to planning when you can fight? Hop into the nearest vehicle and stick it to the enemy! The characters in each unit are simply the cream of the crop, and all have unique, hilariously awesome lines.

The game looked great upon release, but the visuals are pretty dated now. I've yet to encounter any weird bugs due to incompatible parts, though, so the graphics are just fine. The explosions are massive and still look as good as ever, though, and never get old to see.

Hostile Waters is an amazing game, and not one any gamer should pass up on.

65

A pretty mediocre zombie shooter

Cooberstooge | Sept. 6, 2012 | Review of Hellforces

Hellforces isn't something I'd recommend unless you're fresh out of new zombie games to try. There's not much wrong with it, but it really feels more like a mod than an entirely standalone title. Character models are a little on the rough side, weapon effects aren't anything most gamers haven't seen before, and the maps are pretty straightforward, with little to no "wow" moments awaiting the player.

The game itself does run well, though, and combat is fairly fun. The controls are well placed, and response times are quite good. Hellforces plays out mostly like the Left 4 Dead games, and you can definitely tell the developers took their inspiration from such games.

Despite being a fairly big fan of most of the stuff 1C Company has put out, this one could have used a little more polish before hitting the market. As is, it'll provide zombie lovers a decent romp, but not a particularly memorable one.

80

A solid sci-fi shooter

Cooberstooge | Sept. 6, 2012 | Review of Greed: Black Border

The sheer number of upgrades you can use in this little indie game is massively impressive, and the battles are truly awesome. The story, though, is pretty much forgettable and not that integral to the rest of the game.

Graphics-wise, the game looks great, and is on par with other similar shooters of the genre released around the same time. Greed: Black Border may in fact tax your system, even though it's not one you would expect to - I did encounter some lag, but not enough to scare me off.

The sounds are quite good, with battles being very lively in particular. I quite enjoyed battles especially, and often found small conflicts to sound far more massive than they were, which was pretty neat.

If you like such titles as Alien Swarm and Shadowgrounds, then you're sure to like Greed: Black Border. This is one nice little indie bug hunt.

96

Classic insanity, Rockstar-style

Cooberstooge | Sept. 6, 2012 | Review of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City capsule

You really can't go wrong with a purchase of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. There's something in this game for everyone, and it has that awesome 80s vibe all the way through it. The story is great, the characters original and inventive, and it all looks great, too.

Truth be told, I've always felt like I was in an episode of something like Magnum, PI whilst playing this game, except he's a tad bit more violent in this one. The cars are all awesome, they sound nice and nasty, and they all handle very well - unless you get the cops mad and they roll out spike strips, which can make driving...rather interesting, to say the least.

The game looked great at the time of release, and the graphics have aged well, managing to keep a unique style that, for the most part, hides some of the low-res textures that abound in certain areas. There's no texture flickering or anything else, and modern hardware is now capable of running the game nice and smooth during an in-game rainstorm, which still looks positively fantastic.

Definitely get this one, it's just so good.

90

Cousin! Would you like to go bowling?

Cooberstooge | Sept. 6, 2012 | Review of Grand Theft Auto IV DNS

This is quite possibly the biggest technological leap I've ever seen in a gaming series. Going from San Andreas, which is hopelessly dated now, although still an absolute blast, to something that still manages to beat the heck out of top of the line systems today, is just a little impressive. With a game world that's smaller than previous entries, yet vastly more alive, Grand Theft Auto IV has managed to pull off a massive shock to most gamers.

The story is in-depth, but not quite as immersive as past entries in the series. The characters more than make up for this shortfall though, especially the lead character's cousin, Roman. This time around, Rockstar went for more of a mafia-esque style of story, where bad things happen no matter what you choose - it's just the degree of bad that changes.

The game looks phenomenal, and there's more than enough reason to keep playing long after the story is over, if for no other reason than to just see the sights, explore, and find hidden areas. With good graphics comes heavy demand though, and this port continues to be plagued with problems because of this - granted, most issues have long been ironed out, but every now and then lag pops its ugly head up.

Even with a few small problems, GTA IV is an amazing game, and truly a leap forward in how every sandbox title should look and play.

95

Beginning of something great

Cooberstooge | Sept. 6, 2012 | Review of Grand Theft Auto III DNS

Sure, San Andreas may have a bigger world, and more stuff to do in said world, but nowhere is there such a sense of originality as in Grand Theft Auto III. This was the start of something big, and really every open-world, sandbox game in existence today owes a little something to this title, even if they're nothing like it.

The game still looks fairly good for the age of it now, and there is some texture pop-in like other reviewers have mentioned - not really something to worry about here, though, as it's never bad enough to hamper the gameplay. The dated graphics sure help in the performance department today, though - the game just screams along on my current setup.

Shooting, racing, jumping, and all other manner of things can happen in GTA III, and it all controls very well. Racing up to a group of people, jumping out, and shooting the heck out of them, then diving back into your ride and peeling out before the feds show up is always great fun.

Sound-wise, the game is top-notch, especially with the voice acting for other characters. Unfortunately, the guy you play as is silent for the entire game, but that kinda adds to the mysterious lone drifter vibe the game has going on with him.

Definitely not a game to miss, and an absolute classic in sandbox gaming.

70

Not that good, but fairly decent

Cooberstooge | Sept. 6, 2012 | Review of El Matador CAP

Despite this having an interesting premise, El Matador falls pretty flat when compared to other titles in the same genre. It may share some things with Rockstar's fabled Max Payne series, but that doesn't help it rise above its own mediocrity.

Gameplay-wise, enemies often seem to have x-ray vision, being able to see where you are often far off. Completing a level can be reduced to memorizing each person's location, but the sense of satisfaction you get upon finishing a level due to this is pretty cool. The guns all sound and look great, and enemy deaths are particularly gory and well-detailed.

The graphics of El Matador have aged, but not overly well. I always figured, even though I bought this not long after release, that the game looked far older than its actual age. The environment in particular has an overall rather blocky feel to it, but the game runs all the better for it - you're really not much focusing on bad texture jobs during battle anyways, so I've never much minded this.

The soundtrack is good, but some of the voice acting could use a little work. There's too much emphasis on making certain characters sound South American, and it tends to simply come off as rather cheesy.

86

A solid zombie game

Cooberstooge | Sept. 6, 2012 | Review of Deadly 30 cap

There's just so many zombie games nowadays, it's easy to overlook the ones that are small and released without much fanfare. Deadly 30 is one of those, and is quite an original little game.

With a mix of tower defense, shooter, strategy, and resource gathering, Deadly 30 is a game that will keep you busy for hours. There's always things you can do to improve your defenses, but at what cost? You could die out there, overwhelmed by the undead merely inches from home. Scavenging will always provide you with something good, but sometimes you're better off just sticking with what you have.

The graphics are great, and really give off that whole retro, 80s gaming vibe. Everything is well detailed, from the soldiers to all the different parts of your base, and also the zombies themselves. I never once ran across any bugs with the game, and it always ran at a steady frame rate for me.

You never know what might be coming for you next, and chances are, you'll hear it before you see it. The audio in Deadly 30 is great, and really makes the player become immersed in the game.

Definitely not a zombie game to miss, and for once, something with originality as well.

80

Nice, spooky atmosphere

Cooberstooge | Sept. 6, 2012 | Review of Dark Fall: Lost Souls Cap

For someone who's not that big into adventure games, Dark Fall: Lost Souls still left a good impact on me. From well-detailed scenes to awesome interactability with objects, this small game packs quite a punch.

The story is very well-written, and the game itself is nice and long because of it, but never drags once anywhere. Using the light to fight the darkness is an awesome addition, and is something not seen in very many other titles. The music ties in nicely, and adds to the sense of foreboding that permeates much of the game - sudden increases in danger are always signaled by it, and are moments of relative safety.

The game controls well, and looks great. The set pieces are fantastic in their detail, and some are unbelievably gory. There's plenty to look at in each scene, even after you've finished gathering evidence and sorting out your suspicions.

Definitely an adventure game not to be missed, especially if you're a fan of particularly dark and murky ones.

70

Decent, but not that great

Cooberstooge | Sept. 6, 2012 | Review of Conflict: Desert Storm

Conflict: Desert Storm is much like the other games in this series - it's a solid shooter, but it by and large has been done far better elsewhere. There's nothing inherently wrong with the game, but there's no originality to it, the campaign is your standard desert combat with a weak back story fare, and the characters aren't memorable.

The game controls just fine, and combat does get intense during firefights. Weapons and vehicles are modeled well, considering the age of the game. Sounds of the weapons and explosions come off as somewhat flat, but they do the job. Map layouts are pretty decent, especially the urban ones, and close-quarters house to house fighting can get a little nerve-wracking.

Graphically, Conflict: Desert Storm is starting to show its age, but the graphics are bug and lag free, so that's a major plus in my books. Your squad looks good, and they each stand out, so recognizing them to issue orders during combat is fairly easy.

85

Absolutely savage combat

Cooberstooge | Sept. 6, 2012 | Review of Condemned: Criminal Origins CAP

There exist a category of games so brutal and shocking, some people just plain won't even look at them in the store, let alone actually buy them. Condemned: Criminal Origins is one of those games, and for good reason. If the spooky environment doesn't get to you, the characters will - and if that fails, there's always the demented, sadistic, and brutal combat to fall back on.

The levels you'll play through are for the most part fairly long, and some especially memorable, like the department store - still get the willies when remembering that one. You are guided through them by the layout, so this is first and foremost a horror corridor shooter, and while there's hidden things to find, they usually aren't too far off the beaten path.

Graphically, the game is very dark, so the textures don't really need to be that detailed, but they more than get the job done. Condemned has aged quite well, and still looks good on the computers of today. Sounds are well done, and I highly recommend turning off the lights, shutting the door, and cranking your speakers up to get the full experience.

Definitely not one to miss, especially if you're a fan of horror games. This title was pretty original for its time, and is still a very good example of how to do horror right.

100

Freelancer finally gets a re-boot

Cooberstooge | Sept. 6, 2012 | Review of Galaxy on Fire 2™ Full HD

It looks great, it plays well, and it's easy to get into - Galaxy on Fire 2 is all this and more. It may have been designed for the iPad, but it plays oh-so-well on PCs too. There's not really any obvious traces of its heritage either, aside from the main story being really only a little longer than five hours.

There's a story here, with some pretty funny dialogue and decent voice actors, but any time during or after it, you can just wander off and do your own thing. Trading, hunting pirates, collecting space junk, mining asteroids, or running passengers to distant worlds, it's all there for you to partake in. You can also upgrade the heck out of your ship, or even sell it outright and buy a new one.

Controls work great, and using the mouse to fly your ship, or even the keyboard keys, is pure joy. Fights are easy to handle, unless you're crazy and get into a scrap with far better armed and equipped opponents. Everything has been reworked just fine for the mouse and keyboard, and I've yet to need to modify the settings or layout.

Graphically, the game is, quite simply...WOW. It all looks so real, you'd like to climb through the screen and leap into the vastness of space. Ships look great, and battles are nice and pretty to look at, especially when you're in the midst of them. Stations are big and hulking, yet manage to look unbelievably tiny next to planets and other large objects.

Totally can recommend this one. Even at regular price.

82

Something a little different

Cooberstooge | Sept. 6, 2012 | Review of Bully: Scholarship Edition DNS

Bully is one of those games most companies and parents would rather you not know about or even play, but that's not because it's not any good. In fact, the exact opposite is true, and this is one nifty little title you really need to play to completion to appreciate.

For once, every NPC has a purpose - they're not just filler for an empty environment. They all have agendas, and most can be messed with at your will. You'll start out as the new kid, and probably get stuffed in a few lockers as well, but eventually you'll be the one doing the stuffing.

You have classes to attend, assignments to complete, and sports activities to work your way through which, while they're fun, are really only filler between the bones of Bully. Harming people either directly or indirectly is awesome fun, and leaving a banana peel out for somebody to fall on, while you hide in a nearby locker watching, is hilarious.

Bully had its fair share of problems on release, but is now a very stable game, and one so unique, you can't possibly afford to miss it.

96

Stupidly good fun

Cooberstooge | Sept. 6, 2012 | Review of Just Cause Capsule

San Esperito is a place I spent so many hours in, I lost count of them. Just Cause was such a breath of fresh air in the sandbox gaming category when it came out, and the start of a truly epic new dynasty in gaming.

You could fly, swim, drive, walk, or travel by boat to literally anywhere on the islands, and battles were often intense and fast-paced, yet could range for miles in-game if you wanted them to. The main story is so cliched it's hilarious, the voice acting is akin to the stereotypically bad action movies of the '70s and '80s, and slow-mo tends to kick in at the strangest moments in the action. All this made for some seriously funny moments, and kept me completely away from any other open-world games for a good couple of years.

Graphically, the game was massively impressive when it came out, although it did have a few glitches like the rare blinking clouds and occasional texture lines on the ground. Most of the problems were never patched out, but they're so minute they aren't worth paying attention to. Just Cause still looks pretty good today, and runs, if anything, a little too well on current hardware.

Gameplay is awesomely fun, and cars handle mostly like you'd expect, where being involved in a police chase uphill while you're driving an old farm truck being a predictably short affair. Jumping a car off a cliff and into the side of a hostile helicopter is always great fun, too. There's so much to do here, with people to help, villages to liberate, and armed forces to attack - San Esperito will keep you busy for quite some time.

80

Very well made rally racer

Cooberstooge | Sept. 2, 2012 | Review of Xpand Rally

Xpand Rally takes you back to the days when rally racers were so common, people wished for the multitude of track racers out there today. With great physics, vehicles that were fairly easy to control, and graphics that didn't need a supercomputer to run well, this was, and continues to be, a safe bet and a good experience.

The selection of tracks is fantastic, and runs from mainly clear roads, to muddy and snow-covered alpine courses. There's plenty of sharp turns, sudden drops, and steep twists to keep your eyes peeled for, since totaling your ride is very much a possibility here.

You can modify the heck out of each car, too, and that'll result in different types of control, or lack thereof, on wet surfaces and whatnot. You can actually pretty well do away with the arcade like nature of the game and turn it into more of a simulation. Switching to the sim-type of handling after you complete it once extends the play life of it, too.

Graphically, for such an undemanding game, Xpand Rally manages to look good without stressing your computer, and was quite a feat back when the game originally came out. It still looks pretty good today, and supports a decent range of resolutions too.

Definitely recommend this one, if you're up for some fun, and especially if you're running an older machine. Xpand Rally will provide many hours of enjoyment.

83

Open world driving excitement

Cooberstooge | Sept. 2, 2012 | Review of Need for Speed Hot Pursuit (NA) dns

You can't really go wrong with NFS: Hot Pursuit. There's just so much to see and do, from chasing bad guys, to getting chased yourself, to ripping down the side of a mountain at night during a torrential downpour. Exploring on your own without a mission is also piles of fun, and you can race for miles on wide-open roads.

The cars are, simply put, works of art. Every single one of the world's premiere supercars are in here, and more than a few of them are sporting their police variants as well. The environments also look fantastic, with Seacrest County sporting some of the best looking roadside attractions ever seen in a racing game.

The soundtrack is great, though not as good, in my opinion, as that of, say, Burnout Paradise. The cars all sound great, with police chases being especially intense. Lots of blaring horns as you miss oncoming traffic by mere inches, and loads of tire squeeling goodness as you drift around corners and slide into dirt bypasses.

Autolog is an awesome feature as well, and beating your buddies at their own game is great fun. You can compare screenshots, times, and game completion scores, and all this from right in the game. I've never once run across problems using either it or the game itself, and the few instances of lag I ran across while playing were barely noticeable.

95

Totally original breath of fresh air

Cooberstooge | Sept. 2, 2012 | Review of Flatout

I remember the day I first discovered FlatOut, back when the local game store still had kiosks set up for people to play with a computer. I couldn't believe I'd never heard of this thing before release, and grabbed myself a copy right there and then. Easily the single best purchase of that year, and the start of something awesome.

The amount and variety of cars, tracks, and race modes here is overwhelming, and you'll start off with an old beater, and soon come to discover the only way to win is to get mean. That old hatchback may be light on guts, but it can batter the heck out of anything else on the track. You'll regret moving on to bigger and better machines afterwords, and that is what makes this game great.

The graphics were top-notch "back in the day", but their age is showing now - they suit this game though, and updated looks would just change it too greatly. The game has always run great, with zero bugs and crashes for me, and just screams along on newer hardware.

The soundtrack is fantastic, and is loaded with mostly unknown bands, which makes every race something you kinda ignore to figure out who the heck that awesome guitarist is, until you slam into a wall. The cars all sound great, and the nitro makes a satisfying "psssswhoosh" when activated.

Totally recommend this one, and all the ones that follow it. This is a great series, and one you'll be playing for years to come - the ice racing segments in FlatOut 1 especially.

91

Awesome, awesome game

Cooberstooge | Sept. 2, 2012 | Review of Burnout Paradise: Ultimate Box (NA) DNS

For this having been the only Burnout title EA chose to let us PC users have too, I'd say they picked well. I've sunk well over 300 hours into this one, and there's no sign I'll be stopping anytime soon.

The game looks absolutely fantastic, and the framerate is rock solid, and was even on my eight year old machine. Powersliding around corners is fast, tricky, and shocking - one wrong move, and you'll spin out and slam into a wall. Crashing isn't necessarily bad, though - the crash cam is awesome, with you being able to watch your ride torn to shreds, flipped over, and slammed to bits.

Paradise City is an awesome setting, with racing in the streets, through canals, around the sides of mountains, and airborne across the rooftops. Exploration is key in this one, since there's so many things to see and do, and you'll always be discovering fantastic new viewpoints to admire the world from.

The soundtrack is awesome, with classic tunes mixed into the sounds of the stars of today. The cars are the things to hear in this one, though, especially when you kick into nitro going through a tunnel - the cars often sound more like wild animals than machines when that happens.

Highly recommended for all racing fans, and especially for those who like it a little over the top. Burnout Paradise has that and more in spades.

82

Really weird, but kinda neat

Cooberstooge | Sept. 2, 2012 | Review of Big Mutha Truckers 2

If you're one who prefers their trucking games to be more of the sim variety, you'll want to look elsewhere, since Big Mutha Truckers 2 is arcade action all the way through. This game is very strange, but you'll come to love the weird redneck vibe that permeates it.

Graphics aren't really the focus here, but they more than adequately do the job. Explosions and vehicle deformation is particularly well done, and doesn't tax your computer very much either. All of the trucks are suitably different and reflect the crazies who drive them, which makes replaying the game a more than worthy endeavor.

The sounds are mostly forgettable, especially the background music which, while it serves its purpose, could really have been done without. The talk between drivers is pretty funny at first, but eventually the repeated lines will start getting on your nerves. The trucks sound good though, and races have a good amount of skidding, crashing, and crunching to be heard.

Control-wise, the game is easy to get used to, and you'll be powersliding around corners in no time. The default layout works perfectly well, and I never once found myself reaching for an awkward key.

Never once ran across any bugs, but environment clipping was pretty common - not really a concern since this is a budget game, after all. It's a nice, solid way to spend a few hours on a raint day, and something you'll be more than happy to come back to.

88

A great, but demanding RPG

Cooberstooge | Sept. 2, 2012 | Review of Gothic 3: Gold Edition

This is one of the most enjoyable free-roaming experiences out there, especially if you're into the Gothic games. Tons of locations to discover, multitudes of monsters to slay, and piles of quests to complete will ensure this one keeps you busy for many hours. The one and only negative, though, is how demanding on your machine the game will be - despite its age, Gothic 3 needs a rather beastly computer to run well.

The quests are often very long, and some of them are quite difficult to complete, ensuring a good sense of satisfaction many times, even for something as simple as locating a lost shipment. The main story is very long, but you can wander off and do your own thing whenever you like.

Graphics-wise, Gothic 3 is a very beautiful game. Even now, I still find stuff that has a massive "wow" factor. Wandering into the forest right around sunset is always especially rewarding. The characters are all very well-detailed, and most are recognizable from a distance after you've met them.

Unfortunately, the one thing I hate about this game, along with many others, is how demanding it is. Gothic 3 tried its best upon release to break machines that were top of the line then, and it still pushes the heck out of computers from now. There are mods that help alleviate this, but the best solution is to manually increase the amount of RAM it has access to - you'll potentially get it running as smooth as butter by doing this.

Even with its problems, I still think Gothic 3 is one of the best, most original RPGs ever made, and absolutely recommend every gamer play it.

89

A proper take on modern warfare

Cooberstooge | Sept. 2, 2012 | Review of Medal of Honor (NA)

This title shows the current conflicts around the globe in a more believable, far truer light. Gameplay is tougher, but making decisions based on whether or not getting hit by one bullet will kill you really notches up the immersion. This looks as good, if not better, visually than any other shooter of the same age, too.

The campaign takes part in Afghanistan, and has you fighting into insurgent strongholds and attempting to rescue hostages, both during daylight and in the dead of night. Battles that take place while wearing night vision goggles are awesome, and have that same detached quality about them as those shown on television. You'll also be involved with ambushes, amongst other things - Medal of Honor covers quite a lot in a relatively short campaign.

Guns look and sound great, and distant firefights have that odd "pop-crack" sound to them, much like raw footage from "over there". You can tell actual soldiers were involved in the development of this title from the way the squad works together and signals one another, and how the individual personalities of each character shine through, even during heavy fighting.

The multiplayer is still alive, and plays much the same way as Bad Company 2, but with more of a focus on close-quarters combat, where a simple mistake can quickly cost you the game.

Stability-wise, Medal of Honor has always run great for me, and I've never encountered any lag during the campaign, and only online when I've been connected to a server in another country. This is definitely one to get if you like your combat a little more hard and gritty.

90

Cream of the GTA crop

Cooberstooge | Sept. 2, 2012 | Review of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas DNS

No matter what anybody says about Grand Theft Auto, the one they call San Andreas was truly something new. Sure, there was a few sandbox games out there, but nothing like GTA: SA. It was a breath of fresh air exactly when gamers needed it, and continues to be something by which new sandbox games are gauged by.

The world is huge, and encompasses all different kinds of environments, from the coast, to the desert, to the hills, there's something here for everyone. Big, bustling cities surround small, rural backwoods towns, and the deserts are home to abandoned settlements and mysterious military installations.

You can just hop in a car and drive if you want, and you can customize the heck out of that car, too. The same goes for what you're wearing and even what you look like, with barbershops around the corner and gyms to burn off all those burgers you just ate. There's also houses to buy as well, and they both expand your reach in the world and act as a base of operations when you're far from your usual haunts.

The main story is both serious and funny, but the true meat of this one, and what makes it a classic, is buried in the side quests. There's electronics to steal, races to race, and rapping competitions to take part in. The overall variety is crazy, and there's always something new around the corner, and lots of hidden surprises to discover, too.

If you only ever buy one Grand Theft Auto title, make it San Andreas. Sure, the newer one looks better, but this is where it all started coming together.

70

Not bad, but could be better

Cooberstooge | Sept. 2, 2012 | Review of Conflict: Denied Ops CAP

The campaign in Conflict: Denied Ops is fairly standard fare, and as such isn't overly interesting. Being able to control more than one of the characters in it, though, is something a little different.

So long as you're good with playing through yet another save the world from the evil terrorists type of thing, Conflict isn't half bad. The shooting mechanics are solid, but the strange auto-aim thing I occasionally ran into was a bit of a pain, and sometimes had me focus on the one hostile in the area who wasn't doing much of anything.

Graphics-wise, the game looks quite a few years older than others released around the same time it was, and the crazy over-use of bloom and HDR in the outdoor areas was a little irritating. Truth be told, the jagged edges and bland textures all the bright and shiny effects were trying to hide look just fine to me.

I did have the game crash on me three times without reason, though, and lost my last saved progress presumably due to that. The levels are pretty short though, so that wasn't too big a deal. One character fell through a floor once, but reloading fixed that.

All in all, one to grab only if it's cheap. It's not a bad way to spend a few hours, but the bugs and predictable story shorten the shelf life.

100

Disgusting, demented, warped, and wickedly awesome

Cooberstooge | Sept. 2, 2012 | Review of Bulletstorm (NA) DNS

Bulletstorm really doesn't deserve all the negativity the gaming press and gamers in general have given it. If you go into it knowing what to expect, you'll find one of the coolest shooters around, and one that knows it needs to poke fun at itself to succeed.

Getting rewarded for shooting something in the nads has never been so much fun. Points are awarded for creativity, and grabbing some hapless grunt with your whip, then tossing him into a man-eating plant never gets old. The weapons are totally overpowered, with one thing latching explosive bolt rings around any poor fellow that gets between you and your objective.

The highlight of this one? The graphics, of course. The sense of verticality in many areas is off the wall crazy, and abandoned cities and mining encampments come to life with all sorts of vibrant hues. This is one game that looks better than the preview shots shown before release, and it runs so well it's a little scary.

The campaign is pretty short, and I clocked in around eight hours before finishing it. On the other hand, being on my ninth trip through it now, I'd say it's worth even the original price tag. The multiplayer is also fun, with you and your friends trying to set up massive combos by utilizing all your whips at the same time - there is still a decent sized online community as well.

Totally recommend Bulletstorm to anyone who loves shooters, and likes them shaken, stirred, and left in the path of a runaway train. This game is so full of win I can barely handle it.

96

A modern day gaming classic

Cooberstooge | Sept. 2, 2012 | Review of BioShock DNS

This is about the only game I can think of lately where the insane hype was totally deserved. BioShock is just that good - there's really no way to describe how immersive and mind-bogglingly impressive it is. The setting, sounds, and gameplay all tie together in what is probably one of my most loved titles.

The city of Rapture will pull you in, and the citizens will be more than happy to snuff you out. There's lots of dangers here, and many a time will you be on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what kind of crazy thing will attack you next. The minds that created this had to be a little unstable, one would think - everything fits so well, and will scare you out of your wits.

I found the weapon balancing to be pretty good, and simply avoided the one build which practically makes you indestructible. The weapons are all awesome and for the most part unique to this series. Some pack a hefty punch, while others will leave you whimpering in fear and wondering what idiot bothered to even make the blasted thing.

Graphically, the game blew me away upon release, and still does so today. The fact that BioShock has always played extremely smoothly is astounding, and truly attests to the amount of time poured into the game. I've never once come across any bugs, nor have I ever had it crash on me. This is one game where having an uber gaming machine will truly show you what it can do, but older setups will still see it happily plod along.

Definitely one to buy. You'll be amazed by just what a modern PC game can be, if only it has the best people behind it.

85

A solid entry, yet manages to stand on its own

Cooberstooge | Sept. 2, 2012 | Review of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (NA)

Despite the Bad Company games seeming to be pint-sized full BF titles, there's plenty of action here to be had, and awesome stuff to see. Much of this title is set in a dark, humid jungle, where firefights are brief, shockingly violent, and rather sporadic.

The campaign is around eight hours long, and features plenty of action for those of us more interested in the solo side of things. The fantastic destruction engine ensures repeated play-throughs are never the same as well, since different ways of approaching the objective always result in different things being blown up, knocked down, or turned into Swiss cheese.

The graphics are outstanding, with the sections set in winter a special treat. The blowing snow and howling wind really help to crank up the immersion level too. Car chases are simply awesome, with enemy vehicles sliding into position behind you, and drifting off the edge of a cliff or cartwheeling after being hit by an RPG.

The multiplayer, of course, is Bad Company 2's main selling point and also the best part of the game. There's always tons of people playing online, even this long after the release date, and little to no lag in-game. Cheaters are few and far between, and the community is quite welcoming to new members.

96

Good game, great combat

Cooberstooge | Sept. 2, 2012 | Review of Battlefield 2 Complete Collection (NA) dns

Battlefield 1942 was a massive evolution in shooters, and changed the way most of us thought of the FPS genre. In an attempt to further continue the crazy success of that title, and introduce it to the modern setting, Battlefield 2 was born.

While it has everything that made the original great, Battlefield 2 builds on that formula and makes everything that much better. The modern setting makes for something us younger folks can more relate to, and just makes for all around faster firefights. Vehicles such as the assault buggy let you whip around the field of battle far faster than the jeeps and bikes of the original, and tanks pack more of a punch this time around.

Maps are varied, and go from sandblasted desert towns to heavy combat on a highway interchange. There's super small maps with tight spots, and large open ones where dueling tank battles across empty fields are commonplace, and fun as all heck. The amount of equipment on display is awesome, with accurate modeling for all the weapons and heavy metal.

Graphically, Battlefield 2 is a massive step forwards for the series, and it looks nothing like the original. The game ran great on the ancient computer I used to have, and just screams along on the hardware of today. The game is, at this point, starting to age, but it still looks and plays just fine.

I definitely recommend this one. You can't really go wrong with any game from the Battlefield series - there's a reason so many gamers have played them.

84

Finally, stealth done right

Cooberstooge | Aug. 30, 2012 | Review of Hitman: Blood Money Capsule

You really can't go wrong with the Hitman games, and Blood Money is without a doubt the best of the bunch. There's just so many ways to complete a contract, whether it be via your stereotypical shot to the head, or the more creative "accident" and/or poisoning, and the more original your method, the higher your score.

Hitman: BM is like the Deus Ex series in many ways, simply because you have freedom of choice on how to approach your objectives, and this fact alone puts it miles ahead of anything else in the field. Creating noise is a big no-no, and tossing unfortunate folks from the wrong balcony at the wrong time can get you discovered right quick. The guns blazing approach, while often fun, is usually the worst choice in most missions, and really leads to a rather boring experience, in my opinion.

Graphically, the game still looks good, even at the age it is now. All the various settings are well-detailed, and exploring a new locale is half the fun of every game. The one ding I can put against my score of it is that I've noticed the widescreen resolution seems to result in stretching on my monitor, and changing the aspect ratio fails to fix it - not a big deal, but it's a little irritating in any case.

If you're a fan of stealth shooters which let you choose your own way, I say definitely give Hitman: Blood Money a look - you won't be sorry.

92

One of the greatest-ever PC games

Cooberstooge | Aug. 30, 2012 | Review of Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition DNS

Even if you've not much played PC games, you'll have heard of Deus Ex. It's one of those things everybody knows about, but that shockingly few have played. This game has a little of everything in it, and all of that everything is done extremely well - whether you're into RPG or FPS, the art of stealth or of good story telling, there's something here for everyone.

There's a multitude of ways to approach every objective and truly every single thing you do in the game. You can go it all stealth and silent, or guns blazing, or anything in between - the choice is yours, and how the game will play out for you is based around that. There's more than one story ending too, so there's ample reason to give the game another go, which just further emphasizes how much you're getting here for such a good price.

The graphics of Deus Ex were top notch in their day, but nowadays look pretty aged - but you'll not much be focusing on them, so truly this is not a big deal. The sounds and music are so much a part of the game, there's really no point in playing if your speakers/headphones are turned off.

I logged a little over 12 hours on my first run through the campaign years ago, and have far surpassed the 50 hours in mark for this title. It doesn't matter how many times I play through favourite parts, I still manage to enjoy Deus Ex as much today as I did upon initial purchase all those years ago. There are good games, and then there are great games - this is a great game, and it embodies everything PC gaming used to stand for. Definitely not a title to miss adding to your library.

94

Classic insanity

Cooberstooge | Aug. 30, 2012 | Review of Crazy Taxi DNS

For such a simple idea, Crazy Taxi has evolved into a legendary title. There's just something so disturbingly fun about earning your place by choosing to run over pedestrians to shave off one more second from your time and get the passenger to their destination that much sooner.

The graphics, despite being hopelessly out of date, only add to the charm of the game. You're always guaranteed to have a smooth run, even with tons of action on screen at once. The sounds are unbeatable, with your trip always accompanied by screaming pedestrians, things being smashed to bits, and the motor of your cab racing.

Even having to replay a route because you screwed up and didn't arrive on time isn't a big deal, since Crazy Taxi is just so awesome. The more stunts and risks you take, the more your fare will pay you - there's literally no limit to the things you can get yourself into while just trying to earn an honest days' pay.

I've never once encountered any problems with this little gem, on any of the operating systems I've been using while playing it. I completely recommend this game, it's just that good.

71

Decent supernatural shooter

Cooberstooge | Aug. 30, 2012 | Review of NecroVisioN: Lost Company Cap

For someone who's into the alternate history / WWII Nazi zombie stuff, Necrovision: Lost Company is a pretty cool game. The mix of old-school shooting mechanics with a few things thrown in from the FPS games of today is nice, and it's all wrapped up in great visuals.

The sounds are superbly done, with tense moments often causing the player to jump because of a wisely inserted explosion or scream. The soundtrack is dark and moody - a perfect score for the theme of the game.

Graphics-wise, the overall choice of colours is one of darkness, with plenty of shadowed textures and gaunt faces on the soldiers you'll be running across. The guns are all period-correct, and look very good, with lots of extra time spent obvious in the detailing. Explosions and fire also look fairly realistic, and coming close to any of that did unfortunately cause me some lag.

Melee combat is a big focus in Necrovision: LC, with lots of blood flying during combat. The FPS elements are pure old-school, and some of the tight, dark corridors will take you veteran gamers back to such classics as Doom.

The game did crash a couple of times on me without giving any reason, but otherwise, I had no other problems while playing. Definitely a solid bit of programming but, like others have said, could really have done with a little more polish.

81

A good RPG, but not of Gothic standards

Cooberstooge | Aug. 30, 2012 | Review of ArcaniA DNS

While Arcania has gotten quite a bad reputation for being everything a good game of the Gothic series is not, if you can look past the faults, there's a nice RPG here to be had.

The game looks great, with areas near the ocean being a special treat. Arcania is one to push your machine, but it runs well whilst doing so. Sounds are also well-done, with the voice acting seeming more serious this time around - perhaps it is just me, but I've always found the Gothic voice acting pretty cheesy, but thankfully not this time.

Fighting is nice and solid, with a well laid-out control scheme. The animations all flow together nicely, and there's always lots of movement on screen, even when you're not in a battle. I did run into some lag during larger battles, but not near enough to be immersion breaking. The fighting feels more in-depth this time around, like you're actually a part of it.

If you know what it is you're getting yourself into, and can forget all the advances of past games in the series, Arcania is a decent world to spend several hours in, especially at this price.

76

A solid shooter, but not overly original.

Cooberstooge | Aug. 30, 2012 | Review of Borderlands

Despite all the hype Borderlands was getting upon release, and having bought it myself about a week later, I still don't get what people see in it. Granted, you'll find a solid shooter with a unique graphical style, but otherwise, there's little innovation to be found here.

The millions of guns the developers ranted about are definitely there, but only as modifications to a not overly large number of base models. Some of them look great and pack a nasty punch, though - especially the first shotgun you'll get. The types vary from lowly pistols to insanely overpowered sniper rifles and everything in between.

Gameplay is your basic FPS, and this is where I fail to see any of the innovation so touted by early reviewers. Borderlands is a good game, but there's nothing but the graphics that make it stand out. After a few hours of playing, the "sameness" of every enemy encounter starts getting a little old, and playing just for the story quickly becomes the norm.

Co-op is where Borderlands shines, though. Running around causing mayhem with your friends never gets old, and random massive monster encounters when you've got help for the battle to come is always good. I can recommend this game, so long as you're mostly after it for the co-op experience, since the single player campaign starts getting old pretty quick.

94

Best indie platformer ever?

Cooberstooge | Aug. 30, 2012 | Review of Rochard

Looks, sounds, characters, gameplay, and story all combine here to make what is quite possibly my favourite platform game. You can rush through Rochard, but why do that when the game environment is so awesomely detailed and loaded with nice touches?

Finally, the voice of Duke Nukem gets to appear in a very good game. Had they chosen anyone else to voice the main character, Rochard just wouldn't be the same. You'll get to see a lighter side of Jon St. John this time around, and rest assured, it's a good one.

The soundtrack is sublime, it's so good. It ties in with the action, and can easily be listened to long after completing the game. Visually, the game has that warm feeling so many space games lack, and reminds me to some extent of the graphical style of Dungeon Defenders. Everything runs nice and smooth, too, and I only ran across lag in one spot.

The gameplay is superb, and is more physics-based than anything. You'll spend much of your time manipulating gravity and tossing objects at your enemies, splattering them underneath or between such things as massively heavy cargo crates. Shooters are just so boring now, and Rochard manages to make platforming fun again.

Bug-wise, I've never run across anything, and I'm now on my third run through the game. I highly recommend this one.

90

Awesomely dark and morbid!

Cooberstooge | Aug. 28, 2012 | Review of Alice: Madness Returns (NA) dns

Despite all the negativity against this second Alice game, I find myself liking it far more than the original. It looks otherworldly, controls very well, and has next to no bugs in it that I've run across. The cutscenes are in an unbelievably good video quality, and the game truly showcases what a decent gaming computer is capable of.

Combat is very unique, in that the more traditional knife quickly falls to the side when Alice becomes equipped with the Pepper Grinder and other wacky implements. Controls are well-placed, and leaping across vast open spaces by twirling Alice is always fun. The game does have its repetitive moments, but overall I've been quite enjoying it. Spicy Horse has taken a lot of negative hits from gaming sites, and I can't figure out why - the game is very solid, and fun.

All of the different areas you visit throughout the game are highly unique from one another, from dark, humid floating jungles to strange steampunk castles that are slowly crumbling into a seemingly bottomless abyss. Enemies are varied, from strange, mostly harmless little flying things to weird oddities that assemble from the ground, almost like the liquid metal guy from the second Terminator movie.

Alice: Madness Returns is most certainly not a game to be missed, and stinks of Nightmare Before Christmas oddball awesomeness. Definitely get it.

91

Think Saints Row on Mars

Cooberstooge | Aug. 28, 2012 | Review of Red Faction Guerilla

Open world destruction is really all you need to know about this game. Don't care for how something looks? Blow it up, shoot it up, drive through it, or rip it down! This game is so awesome it's just crazy.

Fight to free hostages, take back bases, steal intelligence, and cause general mayhem. Permanent destruction ensures that bridge you blew to bits yesterday will still be causing problems for the powers that be today. Humanity is not alone, but the true alien threat is quite possibly the guy driving past you. Everything on wheels can be driven and destroyed, and you'll gain access to mining walkers later on in the game, which can stomp stuff to bits and toss cars and trucks as though they were toys.

There is some micro-stutter present while I'm playing the game, but it's not due to anything obvious and is quite easily ignored. I've never once had the game crash on me, and the multiplayer component, while pretty quiet nowadays, still sees active games most hours. Guerilla does use Games for Windows Live DRM, but it's never caused me a problem on this title.

I wholeheartedly recommend Red Faction: Guerilla. You cannot possibly go wrong with a purchase of it, if you even remotely like games with lots of destruction in them. This one is off the scale good.

87

Great top-down car combat

Cooberstooge | Aug. 28, 2012 | Review of Wasteland Angel

This is one of the best new takes on the ages-old formula of a bunch of heavily modified vehicles having it out on a battlefield. An interesting story is backed up by a quirky cast of characters and a unique comic book visual style of story telling.

You're essentially the female version of the Road Warrior, and fight to save small outposts from bandits and slave traders throughout the game, while pursuing the finale of the main story. The combat is fast and bloody, with multitudes of explosions, flips, skids, and crashes. The sounds are great, with plenty of gunfire and explosions to keep you hyped, and a rocking soundtrack that keeps things intense.

The bonus levels are pretty neat, and see you driving from a first person perspective into combat, where you'll have stuff to destroy, races to win, and things to jump. The game is around 4 hours for me, but those were a good four hours, and I'd gladly pay the same price again. Never once ran across any bugs, either.

77

Original and oh so very strange...

Cooberstooge | Aug. 28, 2012 | Review of VVVVVV

This game is so retro it hurts, and that's a really good thing. VVVVVV is everything a good platformer used to be, back in the good old days. It's fast, it's hard, it's wacky, and it sounds awesome.

This is a game without a jump mechanic, and instead you invert gravity and walk around on the underside of passageways as needed. Most certainly takes some getting used to, and makes for some unexpected deaths, but it's all good. Dying repeatedly isn't really all that frustrating in VVVVVV, and that places it head and shoulders above all the other rage-inducing indie platformers of late.

The game runs along just fine, and supports big resolutions too. The controls are well thought-out and easy to learn. The difficulty ramps up at a decent pace, so you'll not get stuck near the beginning and start trying to pull your hair out. All in all, a great indie platformer you simply must get, and it's ridiculously cheap too.

86

Sneak supreme

Cooberstooge | Aug. 28, 2012 | Review of Velvet Assassin DNS

This is one of the most underrated stealth games ever made, and is widely overlooked because there's so many World War shooters out there nowadays. Rest assured, this one is miles apart, and is loaded with old school stealth goodness.

You play a character based on an actual historical figure, and the whole game is morphine-filled flashbacks from her deathbed. You most certainly use your gun, but the silence, and therefore bladed weapons, are more your friend. Stalking your prey is awesomely fun, and making a noise to draw them in and then end them is great. The game looks phenomenal, and runs fantastically well also. Proper voice actors who seem to enjoy doing their lines only adds to the mood.

Velvet Assassin is, unfortunately, not without flaws. Enemies sometimes sense you through buildings, and almost always seem to turn and face you, even when you're totally hidden and completely safe. One section near the end of the game is mind-bogglingly difficult until you get all your timing exactly spot-on.

If you don't mind the occasional well-sighted AI and a few overly difficult level sections, Velvet Assassin is one nice little game, and for once is one that doesn't revolve around mindlessly shooting the same generic enemies wave after wave.

97

Pure awesomesauce

Cooberstooge | Aug. 28, 2012 | Review of Uplink DNS

Uplink. You simply can't go wrong with this game if you're the least bit interested in hacking, and especially the hacker movies of the 1980s. There's so much in this little title, you'll be kept busy for hours, sneaking your way in where you don't belong, and keeping an eye out for the guys who'll always be trying to catch you.

Make no mistake, this is one involved game. Sure, there are automated tools to help you in your devious deeds, but running them, closing them, and removing all traces of them is all you. You find your jobs on a bulletin board, work your way through them, and unlock more of the story. There's hours and hours of gameplay here which, while after a time it gets repetitive, still gets you every now and then with the stress and fear of being caught.

Graphics-wise, Uplink looks old, but that is part of the charm. It would have looked super-futuristic and modern in the 1980s, but looks antiquated now. The game supports nice, big resolutions, and looks super sharp in everything it does. The game just oozes style.

Uplink is a surefire keeper, and is something you'll always find time for, even years from now. This will be one of those titles you show to your grand-kids with the "Back in my day" speech.

70

Not as good as the earlier ones

Cooberstooge | Aug. 28, 2012 | Review of UFO: Afterlight Cap

Being a long-time fan of the UFO series, I went into this one expecting only improvements. What I ended up finding was backwards design, buggy AI, and a strange departure from much of the series roots.

The AI have a nasty habit of getting the stupids right during key times in battle, and have more often than not cost me the game - I'd rather it was me doing the screw-ups. Soldiers ignore your orders where mere seconds ago they hung on your every command, and sometimes pull a Rambo and run headlong into the enemy. I ended up grabbing a mod after my first run through that improves the AI massively.

Graphically, for the age of it, the game looks quite good, and it's got the cool cartoony vibe so familiar to those of us who play Team Fortress 2. There's never been any lag for me during play, and the one crash was caused by me alt-tabbing out to check on something.

If you don't mind the dumb AI, and are fine with modding a title before even really getting into it, I'd say UFO Afterlight is a decent purchase.

78

Most unusual game ever

Cooberstooge | Aug. 28, 2012 | Review of The Void

This is more an experience than a game, and if you try to play through The Void as such, you'll find quite an original title. The strange factor in this one is off the charts, though - drawing with your own blood is pretty normal compared to some of the stuff you'll be coming across.

The game's visuals are beautiful yet spartan, and really draw the eye. There's many times where the player will find oneself simply staring at something instead of continuing on with the game, and that seems to have been the intent here. The music fits the game like a glove, and only serves to emphasize key thoughts and images. I found myself forgetting many times what my objectives were, and was just drawn into the sounds.

Bug-wise, I've yet to run across any, and the game runs smoothly on my system, even though it gives my video card a decent workout. My main complaint would be the tutorial which, although it does a good job, is for some reason found later in the game, so it's pretty useless by that point. Definitely give this one a shot if you like radically different games - especially ones that make you see things differently after finishing them.

82

A solid entry in the series

Cooberstooge | Aug. 28, 2012 | Review of Theatre of War 2: Africa 1943 + Centauro Expansion CAP

As an avid strategy gamer, I can't recommend the Theatre of War series enough. You're always guaranteed good gameplay, fantastic graphics, and deep yet intuitive controls. The portion of World War 2 that took place in Africa is sadly not much covered by the mainstream titles, and as such this game screams originality.

The AI is vastly improved, and you'll no longer have the occasional soldier or vehicle running laps in a circle for no apparent reason. Your guys feel much more alive this time around, and work together to conserve ammo and seek the best possible cover. Vehicles are very well-animated, and explosions look great - even folks not that into strategy titles will find something to like here.

The included expansion pack is more of the same, and just makes the game that much more complete. The game is bug-free from what I've seen, and having piles of units on screen at once has never caused me any lag or stuttering. Unit control is easy, and the UI is simple but intuitive.

88

Get ready to pull your hair out.

Cooberstooge | Aug. 28, 2012 | Review of Super Meat Boy

Do you like games that drive you mad, and reward you but little when you succeed? Have you always wanted to curse little blocks of...stuff that keep dying over and over again? What about playing a game with possibly the best control scheme on the planet? Super Meat Boy is all these things and more, and will bring you joy and madness in equal amounts.

Boasting enough levels to make your head spin is simply awesome - actually getting through them is another story. It's all about timing, and when it works, there's nothing quite like a perfect run. Repeating due to death isn't always a bad thing, but does get old after a time - I find SMB to be best as a 20 minutes at a time type of game.

You can always grab new levels made by other users when you run out of the original ones, and racing against other players' times is great fun. The sound suits, and is awesomely retro. Characters from other games make appearances throughout the game. The graphics are great, totally retro, and don't tax the computer in the least bit, so basically anyone can play SMB.

I definitely recommend this one, since Super Meat Boy is awesome value for the money, and you'll still be coming back to it years from now.

98

A thought provoking ride

Cooberstooge | Aug. 28, 2012 | Review of Spec Ops: The Line dns

Spec Ops was always a pretty ho-hum shooter series, but Yager has taken it and beat the heck out of it, then set it on fire. This is quite possibly the single best shooter I've ever played, bar none. Everything ties together so well, it's quite frankly a little scary.

The environment is arguably the coolest setting ever seen in a video game. I mean, who doesn't wonder what Dubai would look like after a massive sandstorm? Not that I'd wish that on the city for real, but curiosity is there. The sand is reactive in many places, and is both friend and enemy - use it to crush people, or get lost in it during a firefight and die.

Battles are fast, furious, and disorienting thanks to the calls of your squad and the enemy, with orders and battle cries echoing off buildings and unnerving the heck out of the player. This is a cover shooter, but not one the likes of which I've ever seen before.

The campaign story is without a doubt the highlight, and delves deep into PTSD and the horrors of war. There are choices given to you, but really none of them are good and right. Make no mistake, this game has impact in spades. The folks who wrote this deserve a medal, really.

Don't make the mistake of passing Spec Ops: The Line up. The demo doesn't really give the right idea of the game, and taking a risk on this one, even at full price, is totally worth it.

90

An overlooked gem

Cooberstooge | Aug. 28, 2012 | Review of Sniper: Ghost Warrior PRE

While not entirely a sniper game, Ghost Warrior provides one of the most true modern sniping simulations out there. Yes, there are parts where you'll be wielding a machine gun and be nice and close to your enemies, but there's also many parts where you'll be hiding in the bushes, miles away from your target, with only your spotter for company.

Shockingly beautiful graphics will happily keep your eyes busy while an enemy bullet finds your noggin, and the quiet jungle stillness will be torn asunder by brief, brutal firefights. Rest assured, this is most certainly not another generic modern shooter - enemies can quickly kill you if you're not smart about using cover. The environments you'll be fighting through vary wildly, from collapsed temple ruins to oil rigs, there's lots of stuff to see here.

The multiplayer component is fairly hit and miss, since really it's just a bunch of snipers trying to silently kill one another. Matches can take forever to complete, and players often leave early. The campaign is more than worth the purchase price, though. I definitely recommend Sniper: Ghost Warrior for something a little different.

80

Pretty good, but needs a little work

Cooberstooge | Aug. 28, 2012 | Review of Saints Row: The Third dns

Saints Row 3 is like the previous game in many ways, and still retains that "Did you see that?!" factor of the series. But, unlike the last game, SR3 regresses in some areas. Still, even with the flaws, this is a great entry in the series.

The graphics are top-notch, the game runs buttery smooth, and the action is fast and furious. The sounds are great, and gun battles are nice and loud, while tank battles are...well...somewhat louder, to say the least. Cars control miles better than in the last game, and powersliding around corners is very cool. The main story is quite long, and will see you burn through many hours trying to finish it - there's lots of fun and great moments in the cutscenes, and whatever wacky getup you're wearing is what'll be in the scene.

Customization options for your gang, character, and vehicles are somewhat reduced from the last title, but are still more than adequate. My main complaint is the size of the game world, which both feels and is quite a bit smaller than the one of its predecessor. I've yet to hit any game-breaking bugs though, so I can put up with a smaller, crash-free world just fine.

I definitely recommend SR3, and be sure to grab the DLC along with it, which adds hours to the main game and tons more vehicles, clothes, and abilities to use.

86

Sandbox heaven

Cooberstooge | Aug. 28, 2012 | Review of Saints Row 2 do not sell

Saints Row 2 totally blew everything I knew about sandbox games away. The style, wackiness, and content in this game is unbelievable. Volition really outdid themselves with this one, and even though the third party port job to PC is pretty poor, the love of the original developers still shines through.

Ever wanted to splatter an entire city with poop? How about racing around on an ATV, while you're on fire? Surf on a car? Commit insurance fraud by playing in traffic? If you answered "Yes!", or even "Say WHAT?" to any of the above, this game is for you. The amount of crazy things to do is mind-blowing, and completely forgetting what the heck the purpose of the main story is will happen often. I've sank 50 hours into this since buying it, and I'm nowhere near done yet - this is totally worth the purchase price.

With that said, there are problems with the game. For me personally, it runs a little faster than it should, but I've gotten used to it. Others have run into resolution and start problems, but there are solutions for most things by this point. I still recommend buying it anyways, there's just so much fun to be had in it.

72

Fairly solid game, but has some problems...

Cooberstooge | Aug. 28, 2012 | Review of Reign Conflict of Nations

Reign is a solid, fairly straightforward strategy game that, while it initially is quite good, further play will reveal it has some issues. Said issues are nothing a few extra weeks of development time couldn't have fixed, but they've yet to be patched out.

The graphics are nice to look at, and the characters are well-detailed, despite being 2D. The story is probably the highlight here, and is quite detailed - the game is worth the asking price just for this, in my opinion. The soundtrack is nice, with music that is pretty calm, instead of the usual imposing instrumental stuff so many of these titles love to use.

The AI is normally pretty good at what it's doing, but occasionally can get pretty dumb - I've run into this in every game of Reign I have played so far. While somewhat irritating, other than the quirky AI, the game runs just fine, and it's never crashed once on me.

For being set in an unusual historical period most similar games don't touch, and having a great story, I definitely recommend giving Reign: Conflict of Nations a go. Just be prepared to handle sometimes goofy AI.

85

Patience is key

Cooberstooge | Aug. 26, 2012 | Review of Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45

In Red Orchestra, one bullet can, and likely will, kill you. This is a game all about realism, from bullet physics, down to taking forever to get into position for one key shot. One thing is for sure, this is not your standard run 'n gun shooter.

Mistakes will cost you, and respawn times for well beyond two minutes are common. This is a serious FPS, and someone who's truly good at shooters will love this. Graphically, the game shows its age, but that doesn't really matter, since the old look goes well with it. The guns are recognizable, and all have their own sounds and animations.

The multiplayer community for Red Orchestra died down quite a bit after the release of the second game, but has started to pick up again lately, and finding an open game is pretty easy. There's tons of servers worldwide running for matches.

I wholeheartedly recommend this one, since it's everything you could want in a hardcore, old school FPS, and the developers still support it to this day, which is something freakishly rare in modern gaming.

74

A hard, gritty shooter than knows its stuff

Cooberstooge | Aug. 26, 2012 | Review of Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad - Digital Deluxe Edition

RO2 is so easy to recommend, not least because the developers are quite possibly the coolest people on the planet. There's always tons of after-release support, and free stuff getting added regularly.

This game is, first off, not your grandma's BF1942. Red Orchestra has always been more about realism, and realizing how insignificant one soldier, being you, are in the grand scheme of things. Snipers who excel are your enemy, and dying without knowing how, who, or why is a common occurrence during online matches. Bullet drop, distance from target, and what you'll be shooting through are factors you need to consider for everything, even if you're not playing as a sniper. There are no crosshairs, so you need accurate aim if you're to survive.

Tanks are present this time around, which adds an interesting element. A good tank crew can truly win the map, while a bad one can easily benefit the enemy. Going it alone on foot is still the norm though, and is immersive as all heck. Battles can last for ages, as snipers try to scope in their counterparts on the other side, and a handful of foot soldiers make short dashes between chunks of buildings, hoping the next shot they hear isn't the one for them.

There are still some technical problems but, even so, Red Orchestra 2 is definitely a good purchase. You'll get hours of enjoyment out of it, and the campaign is quite good, even though it is fairly short.

86

Highly original shooter

Cooberstooge | Aug. 26, 2012 | Review of Red Faction Armageddon

Seeing as how Red Faction Armageddon is labeled as an FPS, one would assume that's all there is to it. Buyers will find something vastly different, though.

With RF:A, you have choices. An alien stands in front of you - do you shoot it, throw it into a building, melt it, or throw a building into the alien? The choice is yours. Tackling each level differently and limiting yourself to one weapon only is hilariously fun, and the destruction you can cause is off the charts.

The storyline is your typical underdog takes on the corrupt world and saves it from the evil aliens kind of thing, but it still manages to feel fresh. There's tons of stuff to see and blow up, and truly original vehicles to control. The characters are awesome, and completely suit the style of the game. The world reeks of Total Recall originality.

The multiplayer component is awesome, and still very much alive. Think Alien Swarm in an over the shoulder perspective, and you'll get the general idea.

Upon completing the campaign, the player will unlock what is quite possibly the coolest weapon in the known universe: Mr. Toots, a magical unicorn that shoots death rays out his pooper. Why did Volition put that in the game? Who knows, but you can re-play the campaign with him and even jump into online matches with the little bugger.

94

Stupidly awesome crazy insanity

Cooberstooge | Aug. 26, 2012 | Review of Really Big Sky

To this day, I have no clue what this game is about, except you need to kill everything, in the fastest, flashiest way possible, without getting owned yourself. Even if something doesn't seem to be hurting you, it probably is, so just kill it.

Is there a back story? Yes, but I don't care. I don't think anybody does, really. Everything is randomly generated every time you play, so you'll probably not hit the same giant whatsit every time you die. You'll die all the time, honestly - you're supposed to get a higher score each time, but that never happens. Or maybe it does, but I'm too busy looking at all the funky colours.

Really Big Sky is a massive time sink, if you let it go there. You'll constantly try to do better and get farther than last time, and be blown away anew every time there's some new whatsit on screen. The music is this intense thumping rave stuff that will drive you bonkers, but it suits this title so well. Visuals are sharp, bright, intense, subdued, and everything in between, and usually all at once.

I highly recommend this title. It's stupidly good fun, for a ridiculously low price, and it runs fantastically well to boot.

90

A hidden gem

Cooberstooge | Aug. 26, 2012 | Review of RAGE: Special Edition (International)

This game was groundbreaking when it first came out, but like many such highly original things, that was its downfall. The texture pop-in, while something that should happen, is to this day quite irritating when moving fast or in the heat of battle, but you can get past it. Looks are what make this one a sure bet - shocking post apocalyptic vistas of craggy cliffs, trashed industrial complexes, and the pseudo steampunk structures those who survive have erected make this world a joy to explore.

Being able to rip across the landscape in souped-up, heavily modified weaponized dune buggies is awesome, and getting caught in the open with only your feet to carry you can be quite deadly. Gun battles are harsh and fast, with even the basic weapons sounding like hand cannons once you upgrade them. The towns you'll visit, and the inhabitants you'll help and sometimes fight against, are all highly original and easily recognizable.

Combat is the true high point in Rage. Enemies will retreat and regroup when they sense you're getting the upper hand, and some will flee completely. They sometimes attack in groups, or on their own, or they send in a dynamite-laden mutant pig to take you out.

The best part? Seeing technology from today in a post-apoc setting, which had way more impact than imagined ancient or future tech common to such games.

88

A sim with all the cars you could want

Cooberstooge | Aug. 26, 2012 | Review of Race 07: WTCC

Simbin has done an awesome job with this game, and it's because of this that Race 07 is enjoyable for those of us who aren't into hardcore racing sim games.

There's cars in here from all the different types, from modified Minis to full-blown Formula super cars. The tracks are set all over the world, and can feature realistic weather effects, should you so desire them. You can race from a following perspective, or even in-car if you like, with operable controls that mimic what you're doing at the moment.

The online racing component is still very much alive, and racing with a bunch of humans is so much more fun than the AI, even though that in itself is very competent. Cheaters are a problem in the online races, but they're always "named 'n shamed" by the community and quickly disappear or clean up their act. The community is very friendly to newcomers, and any help offered is always a suggestion, never a demand.

For a $5 racer, you cannot possibly go wrong with Race 07, which will give you plenty of hours of great-looking fun for an insanely low price.

76

Fun but gets repetitive

Cooberstooge | Aug. 26, 2012 | Review of Post Apocalyptic Mayhem

PAM is one of those games you'll love right from the start. It's simple, looks good, and runs great - it's also loads of fun. Each vehicle is unique, and they all handle quite differently from one another. The tracks are nice and varied, with lots of jumps, dips, and drop offs. The AI cars offer up a good challenge, and sticking with them too long during a race is a surefire way to get cooked.

Racing online with your friends is where PAM truly shines, and half the time one person will make it to the finish miles ahead of everybody else, because you're too busy blasting the heck out of each other.

The game does start getting old fairly soon, though. Tracks can be memorized, and slamming into the invisible walls that litter them can quickly lead to ceasing of play. If you can look past its faults, Post Apocalyptic Mayhem is a nice little racer to pull out between waiting for the next big title on the horizon, and a good source of cheap fun with your mates.

80

Death to the stick people!

Cooberstooge | Aug. 26, 2012 | Review of Multiwinia DNS

Introversion does it again, with yet another brilliant indie title that'll keep your interest for long after your AAA titles have become but distant memories. Multiwinia is simple yet deep, exactly what new- and old-comers to strategy gaming hunger for.

Completing objectives is easy, if only the other guys would leave you alone. Sure, you'll fail lots of times, but look great while doing so. The game is rock-solid, with crashes never being a thing to concern yourself with. I think my longest game was running for eight straight hours, with me stopping every hour to give my eyes a break, but Multiwinia wasn't shut off once the whole time.

There's not a whole lot different here from Darwinia, but there's enough to warrant a purchase. I'd suggest grabbing both and playing the original first, though. You can't really go wrong with either of these titles, in my opinion.

98

I will tear you limb from limb!

Cooberstooge | Aug. 26, 2012 | Review of Mount and Blade Collection

There's games...and then there's games. All the Mount & Blade titles would be included in that second category.

Do you feel like a future in human trafficking? How about chopping pirates into bite-sized pieces? Always wondered what shoving a pike through somebody would be like? Feel like proving your love to someone by killing some poor innocent sap? Wondered what kind of crunch a person makes when they get run over by a horse? If you answered yes to any of the above, Mount & Blade is for you.

There is literally nothing you can't do in these games, and if it's not already there, you can just mod it in. The community is massive and friendly, and there's always new updates and lands to explore. I cannot recommend these games enough. Quit reading this bloody review and go buy them already!

85

Midtown Madness reborn

Cooberstooge | Aug. 26, 2012 | Review of Midnight Club II DNS

I assumed upon first getting a copy of this game years ago I would be finding yet another generic import street racer. I couldn't have been more wrong - this has all the trappings of a classic.

The game world is massive, and the vehicles react exactly like those from the Midtown Madness games - a nice mix of over the top arcade and a little sim. Just roaring around the streets aimlessly is fun, since you're always on the lookout for ramps to jump and cops to irritate. Like Midtown Madness, though, the other racers are quite good, and a simple mistake often costs you first place.

The characters you'll run into are pretty kooky and sometimes quite stereotypical, and the music does start grating after a time. One thing I can say though, is I still play Midnight Club II to this day, while most of my other racers have long since hit the dust pile. There's just something about it that keeps me coming back.

82

For the totalitarian nutjob in all of us

Cooberstooge | Aug. 26, 2012 | Review of Making History

Did you ever wonder what would happen if a small country viewed by the big players on the world stage as basically nothing had suddenly started kicking butt and taking names during the second World War? Making History will give you the chance to play that and more out, and is a nice little indie gem much overlooked that quite a few schools make use of due to its ease of use and friendliness towards those new to the genre.

You can use conventional military might to force your will, or enforce sanctions and price increases to break another nations' back. Battles are turn-based, and take place on both land and sea with a limited number of visible units, ensuring a steady framerate no matter what the abilities of your machine are.

The world economy is yours to tinker with, helping allies or hampering enemies, the markets are at your command. I quite enjoy running a nation into ruin through hiking up their imported commodities prices, then coming to their aid like a white knight.

If you can get past the mostly awful graphics, which isn't something that unusual to titles in the genre, there's a nice little game in here you can spend hours on.

96

More an experience than a game

Cooberstooge | Aug. 26, 2012 | Review of Mafia II dns

Mafia II is quite possibly my most loved PC game of all time. It has so much style and class you could drown in it. The cars, the clothes, the music, and the setting all fit so well together it's just crazy.

Some would say the main story, clocking in at around 10 hours, is too short, and that the open world of Empire Bay is a rather uninteresting place. Those people are crazy - don't listen to them! Just driving around, listening to authentic period tunes, and actual reports from the war, is awesome. The game world is set in two different seasons as well, and is covered in snow and ice for quite some time - adds something a little different to car chases, let me tell you.

This game is classic Godfather material, and is loaded with movie references for those movie buffs amongst us. The two main characters are well fleshed-out and memorable, and the story comes to an end in an original but shocking manner.

86

Awesome standalone turn-based title

Cooberstooge | Aug. 19, 2012 | Review of Kings Bounty Armored Princess Cap

The King's Bounty series is legendary for being a solid, old-school turn-based bunch of games, and Armored Princess is no different. The game has its own look and style, and quickly draws you in with original characters and great special effects.

This is a game for those into lore, since everything is told through written dialogue. There's hours upon hours of stuff to learn in here, and it's all accessible for even newcomers to the series. The combat is often fast, and sometimes unpredictable. Parties to hire, quests to solve, and monsters to slay, Armored Princess has it all.

I can definitely recommend this to everyone, since it's fairly new-to-the-genre friendly, and will hold your interest until the final battle plays out.

94

Awesome game, fantastic developers

Cooberstooge | Aug. 19, 2012 | Review of Killing Floor

You can't go wrong with Killing Floor, honestly. The community is absolutely massive, the game runs and plays great, and the developers are quite possibly the best on steam.

Tons of free content keep the game fresh, and any bugs present on release were ironed out eons ago. Team play is key in this title, and working together always makes the game more fun. You can go it alone, but you'll probably die pretty quick.

Graphically, the game looks good for its age, and runs better simply because the engine is a little antiquated. Gameplay is nice and fast, with the different weapons all easily recognisable by their physical and audible presence. Sound is top-notch, and you'll often find yourself glancing behind you because something's back there, but far enough away you can't see it yet.

Definitely recommend this, and all of Tripwire's other titles. They're different, run great, and have tons of after-sale support.

81

For heavy sim players only

Cooberstooge | Aug. 19, 2012 | Review of Ironclads Anthology

This isn't a fire and forget, 10 minutes or less type of ship combat game, even though the description somewhat hints at that. The Ironclads games are everything you could wish for in terms of ship detail, even though each title is starting to show its age.

The combat is serious, with sometimes as little as four shots being fired per real hour of game time. You really get the feeling of how tense a historical naval battle would have been in these vessels, waiting for the enemy round to hit or scream just past you. There's lots of strategy here, and this isn't a series for someone out to get into a quick skirmish.

The only negative I could find is that Ironclads High Seas has a nasty habit of reverting to the default resolution during the CPU player's movement cycle, but that's easy enough to change back.

89

Mirror's Edge sans humans

Cooberstooge | Aug. 19, 2012 | Review of InMomentum

This is why I love indie games. If they sense something good in a AAA title, they make something just like it, and it often turns out better. Wall climbing and jumping is fast-paced in this one, even though the game is basically just a "get from here to there" type of thing.

Racing against other players is awesome, and getting totally confused while trying to keep an eye on the other guy at the same time as executing some kind of insane upside-down flip is just wacky. This is everything you could want in a free running style of game, and it has the graphics that allow people on older machines to play flawlessly, too.

I highly recommend this one, even though I get totally confused while playing it. It's got that "just one more run" quality about it.

90

Shockingly involving story!

Cooberstooge | Aug. 19, 2012 | Review of Homefront

I bought Homefront not really knowing what to expect, even though I quite enjoyed the last title put out by Kaos. What I ended up finding was one of the best hidden gems of the past few years. Sure, the gunplay isn't original, and the friendly AI can at times be pretty dumb, but the story is where it's at.

The story is fed to you through videos and newspaper clippings you'll find on your journey through the campaign. You'll probably come to develop a strong hate for the occupiers after seeing some of what happens early in the game, and choices you make later on might shock you. The other characters are memorable, and you'll get pretty mad when they're harmed.

The multiplayer portion, which makes up the majority of the game is, while pretty small player-wise, a good contender when put up against the big-name shooters out there. There's fighting on foot, in vehicles, and airborne, and the maps are tight and well-designed. Fights are often characterized by long periods of hunting, followed by short and rather explosive finales.

Definitely recommend this one, even if all you do is play the campaign.

95

Awesome old-school action

Cooberstooge | Aug. 19, 2012 | Review of Hard Reset

Honestly, nobody can go wrong with a Hard Reset purchase. Even people who don't play or don't like FPS titles will find something to love here. Gameplay is fast, fluid, and oh-so explosive.

The game looks great, screams along nicely on the highest settings, and has great sound effects. Basically, you're one man alone against an unending army of killer robots intent on exterminating the very humans who created them - said robots come in all shapes and sizes, too.

This is exactly what PC gaming needs - a game developed for computers first and foremost, and it shows just what a well-built gaming rig can do, yet at the same time runs good on older machines thanks to massively adjustable settings.

Highly recommended, if you're after a game that not only looks nuts, but is nuts. And boy, are those ever tasty nuts!

59

Up-to-date partial Uplink clone

Cooberstooge | Aug. 19, 2012 | Review of Hacker Evolution Duality

While it's nice to finally see someone attempt to make an Uplink for today's generation, Hacker Evolution Duality fails in several key ways, and ends up being not much of an advance from the previous titles in the series.

Clicking a few buttons is all most hacking attempts require, and most activities overall just don't feel like they try to get the player really involved in anything - it's like you're just sitting there watching a video play. While it's got that whole Uplink vibe going, I found myself wishing I was just playing Uplink instead.

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with Hacker Evolution Duality, but there's not a whole lot going for it either. It looks better, and a couple of the puzzles are quite interesting, but that's about it.

76

More of a puzzler

Cooberstooge | Aug. 19, 2012 | Review of Hacker Evolution Untold

Unlike the other two hacking titles created by this developer, Hacker Evolution Untold has quite a big focus on puzzles rather than any sim hacking. It looks like you're hacking, mind you, but you're often just matching things up in correct order. Some of the puzzles can be downright "out there", too, and will take you ages just to figure them out.

The graphics of this one are miles better, and have a cool Matrix vibe to them, with all the different shades of green. I have noticed screen tearing while playing though, which is pretty strange, since my system can more than handle this game - doesn't detract from the gameplay, in any case.

84

Decent, but no Uplink

Cooberstooge | Aug. 19, 2012 | Review of Hacker Evolution

Almost nobody makes hacking games, and as such, all of Exosyphen's titles are worth a peek. Just don't expect Uplink-like originality out of them.

Hacker Evolution is more of a puzzle game than a hacking sim, but is worth a play just to see something more modern and up to date than Uplink. This one closely resembles the stuff you'll see so-called computer gurus in tv shows use, with all the flashy graphics and popping up windows. The game runs great, and I've never once run across any bugs. Definitely a solid little title, if you've exhausted Uplink.

82

Awesomely original game

Cooberstooge | Aug. 19, 2012 | Review of Gettysburg: Armored Warfare

For a game that was primarily developed by one person, Gettysburg is a seriously impressive undertaking. Also, it does have bot capabilities in it, so you can play offline if you so choose, something which even the steam store page doesn't list.

The variety of weapons range from period stuff, such as cavalry and ironclads, to the crazy futuristic steampunk weapons like tanks and zeppelins. You can organize battles where both sides can only use period-correct or futuristic weaponry, or a little of both. Battlefields are absolutely massive, and you can hop into any unit at any time and fight in the battle alongside your troops. Online battles at this time, though, are few and far between, so you'll likely spend most of your time whupping the AI, which is pretty good.

Now, unfortunately, there are things wrong with Gettysburg, like the other reviewer states. Graphically, it doesn't look as good as the screenshots make you think, but it doesn't look that bad either. There is tons of lag in game, which doesn't seem to have anything to do with what specs you have - this is being worked on by the developer. Biggest complaint would be the publisher often having the official servers offline, as they tend to go down in the middle of hosting matches. Gettysburg was rushed out by demand, and as such, sales have suffered because of it.

If you can put up with the bugs, and are up for trying something different, definitely give Gettysburg a shot.

72

Average turn-based game

Cooberstooge | Aug. 19, 2012 | Review of Future Wars

For what could have been a fairly original title, I found Future Wars to be a little lacking in polish when it came to the enemy AI, which often walked right into the traps I had set up, or thought 20 moves ahead and cooked my goose, even on the earlier levels. Even with that, though, I still like Future Wars.

The story in the campaign is at times so wacky it's funny, and the units are well-detailed, along with the various maps you'll be fighting on. The activities you'll be doing are quite varied, and don't totally revolve around battle after battle.

Overall, I recommend this title, but prepare yourself for a sometimes quirky AI. The story is worth it, though.

84

A solid indie title

Cooberstooge | Aug. 19, 2012 | Review of Frozen Synapse DNS

Fans of turn-based strategy would be wise not to pass this one up. Frozen Synapse is old-school excellence to the core, with plenty of action to be had for vets and newcomers to the genre.

The futuristic setting and accompanying suitable graphics are spot-on. Action is quite often fast, as all the players take their turns at once, sometimes making for unforeseen problems. The single player campaign is long, and I've never once found myself getting bored while playing it. The multi aspect is pretty well dead by this point, like other reviewers have stated, although if you're lucky and find some diehards to run through a few matches with, you'll find the majority of the community to be pretty decent.

Think of this game as chess...with guns.

81

Pretty good for a farming sim

Cooberstooge | Aug. 7, 2012 | Review of Farming Simulator 2011 Platinum Edition

Granted, there's not too many of these out there for this one to be graded against, but Farming Simulator 2011 is a pretty solid entry. No bugs to be seen, and an entire valley to roam and work in, makes this a very viable alternative to good ol'SimFarm.

There are piles of different vehicles to use, and you can hop out of one and into another nice and quick. There's enough here to let you correctly plant and harvest several types of crop, and see it all the way through to market.

The game runs fairly well, but is pretty demanding, so those of you barely meeting the minimum requirements would be best to crank the settings down first and work your way up from there. The game looks great maxed out due to that, and seeing the changing times of day while you're working is pretty awesome.

The workers you can hire sometimes come with extremely low IQ, though, which can be a bit of a pain. Working the land on your own is usually best, and completely doable, so that's what I tend to stick with.

Highly recommended, for something that's different, and a solid contender, at that.

67

An average shooter

Cooberstooge | Aug. 7, 2012 | Review of Duke Nukem Forever

If you go into this knowing what DNF isn't, you'll find a pretty decent FPS experience. The characters are decent, the graphics at times look great, and the game itself controls well.

There are no bugs that I can see, but you can easily see where all the different devs worked on the game. Parts clearly made within the last couple years lead into stuff that looks like it's from 1998, which I find suitable to all the dev time this thing had, because it in some wacky way pays homage to it.

Guns are nice and varied, and you can carry more than just two by altering a setting, despite what some claim. The Duke is his crazy usual self, sporting randomly disgusting one-liners and acting like he's some kind of god. Babes abound, which is to be expected - heck, the game wouldn't be the same without them.

The multiplayer scene is pretty dead at this point, but any games you find are sure to be fun. It's more of an old-school style of play, which is nice for us old codger gamers out there.

96

Have it your way!

Cooberstooge | Aug. 7, 2012 | Review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution

If you truly want to switch up your FPS experience, you can't go wrong with Deus Ex: HR. Walk into any fight knowing you've got the skills and all the advantage, and plan stuff out before making your move.

Like pulling a Rambo? You can in this game, with all the firepower you could ever need, from knives to combat shotguns, you'll have the ability to make any peaceful gathering decidedly unfriendly.

Prefer to lurk in the shadows? With this game, you can. Why confront someone when you can traverse the air ducts and bypass them completely? Hacking is your friend, where learning dirty secrets and pass codes is as sublime as the most brutal takedown.

The game has its own look and style, and it all screams along at a steady framerate. The characters are well fleshed-out, and the voice acting perfect.

I've yet to run into a bug, and this is probably the one title I recommend everybody try, even if you're not into FPS gaming. There's just so much you can see and do, in so many different ways.

62

Pretty good until the later levels

Cooberstooge | Aug. 7, 2012 | Review of Blaster Simulator

If you can look past the very dated graphics and sometimes really hokey physics, Blaster Simulator is a surprisingly decent game.

Being able to time your detonations to inflict maximum damage and, therefore, the best score, is pretty neat. This also adds to a replayability factor, and you can save videos of your best blasts to see again.

Using the four different types of explosives produces different results on different materials, and a successful completion usually requires use of everything you're given. Laying them is as simple as clicking the type, and clicking where you want it placed.

The physics aren't overly realistic, and that's the biggest flaw in the game. Blowing the bottom off a smokestack can result in a piece of rubble keeping the whole thing upright, causing a mission re-do, or sometimes several.

The graphics do the job, if you like looking at stuff from the early days of computing. I didn't much care about that, since the explosions look good.

Now, my main complaint with the game. I'd swear nobody tested some of the later missions, since it's not that they're difficult, it's more that you're not given enough of the right type of explosive. Spending hours of trial and error on one mission is pretty grating on the nerves and patience, and slowly ruins the game.

94

Introversion's best game to date

Cooberstooge | Aug. 7, 2012 | Review of Defcon: Everybody Dies DNS

Pairing the graphics of a quasi-80s war game sim with total nuclear holocaust was a brilliant move on the part of the devs. Defcon is simply the best indie title I've ever played.

Five hour matches rip past in the blink of an eye, with allegiances between friends and enemies alike changing faster than most folks can change their undies. Watching your lone surviving nuke squeaking its way through enemy defenses, all the while watching all your cities being wiped out because of poor planning on your part, is simply awe inspiring.

The soundtrack fits so well, being eerily calm during the lead up to nuclear annihilation, then changing to an "All is lost!" vibe that is totally freaky and a little distracting.

Sitting in a darkened room while playing Defcon is highly recommended - you'd almost think you're in a hardened bunker, safe from the end world you've helped create.

Multiplayer matches are great but, sadly, few and far between due to the game's age now. Single against bots works well enough, with the computer sometimes being very unpredictable.

Definitely, totally recommend this one. Can't go wrong with it.

93

Melee has never been done better

Cooberstooge | Aug. 2, 2012 | Review of Dead Island

For an open-world game, there's not really a ton of incentive to explore. After all, you're usually too busy finding out what a piece of rusty pipe does to a zombie's face. Or what happens when you run over a zombie, or crash into one of your teammates in a multi match.

There is a story here, and it's pretty decent, but the zombies and what you can do to them is undoubtedly the star attraction. Arms and legs can be bashed or hacked off, and blood flies everywhere. You can run, but you can't hide - they will find you in the end. Combat is fluid, and you can almost feel your hits - and those of the zombies - connect.

Graphically, the game does a fine job of creating a paradise gone wrong, from clean, idyllic beaches to flipped, burned busses with crushed and smashed corpses hanging out the windows, Dead Island has it all. It runs great while showing all this prettiness and carnage, too.

Sounds are pretty good, but after a while, I found the horribly cheesy accent of most of the characters rather irritating, and switched to just reading the subtitles.

The multi is where Dead Island really shines, with teamwork being key, and advanced and newbie players alike being able to work together and still have a satisfying experience in the end. The main campaign can be set to solo or co-op, and running through the story with some friends or random net denizens is always fun.

There's lots to love here, and plenty to discover. What are you waiting for? Take the plunge today! Baseball bat not required, but recommended.

78

Originality with a few quirks

Cooberstooge | Aug. 2, 2012 | Review of Darwinia DNS

An RTS with a twist is about the best way to describe Darwinia. You're fighting to save these neat-looking little characters from extinction by an evil virus, all in a cool digitized virtual reality setting.

The game runs nice and smooth on basically any setup, thanks to deceptively non-demanding graphics. The soundtrack is top notch, with scores that really set the mood.

Action is nice and fast, although I did find the AI to at times be a little dumb. An example would be friendly Darwinians stopping dead, facing each other, and doing absolutely nothing for a good couple minutes. Said example continues to plague my games, but is not a deal-breaker.

All in all, I'd recommend Darwinia for a change of pace and a unique setting in the world of RTS gaming.

86

So much blood...

Cooberstooge | Aug. 2, 2012 | Review of The Darkness II dns

Enjoying a violent, gory game this much can't be healthy. I mean, it really can't. But I am, and I don't care one bit!

Solid mechanics, great graphics, and fantastic voice work make up for a pretty short campaign in this game. Easily my sleeper FPS hit in the past two years, with not a single bug to be found anywhere.

I clocked in 9 hours in the campaign, after having to replay a couple spots and taking extra time in a few places, so you speed-runners might be a little disappointed with this one. It's got plenty to keep you interested, though, and I enjoy a deep yet short shooter far more than a long, mindless one. The story does get seriously spaced-out near the end, though, which is the one big mark I can put against it.

If you're not one to mind a whack load of gore, and like something with a story, I highly recommend The Darkness II. Can't really go wrong with this one, folks.

93

Torture chamber disguised as addon

Cooberstooge | Aug. 2, 2012 | Review of Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty CAP

For vets of the original game, these extra missions will test your limits, and make you question your sanity on more than one occasion. Everything plays and runs just as good here, but the difficulty is off the charts.

This addon also brings something new character-wise to the series, as well as some new abilities for your squad. It couldn't be summed up any better than in a quote from the leader of tv's "The A-Team": "I love it when a plan comes together". Because, when it doesn't, you're gonna pull your hair out!

97

Hail to the king!

Cooberstooge | Aug. 2, 2012 | Review of Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines CAP

This game would eat Duke Nukem for breakfast, even though he's not in the same genre. This is the RTS all half-decent RTS games made since are based on. There is no shortage of praise I could give this one.

Quite simply, your guys leave footprints. Yes, that was the coolest thing ever, I thought, back when I first played Commandos. The art style still holds up well, even all these years later. The graphics were pretty top-notch for their day, and still look good now.

Gameplay is awesome as usual with the Commandos games, with a small cadre of men being able to wipe out a far larger contingent through careful planning and light touches. Also, explosions, which usually aren't so light, but anyways, suffice to say, this is one heck of an experience.

Never once have I ran into any bugs or crashes, which is phenomenal, considering much of my play time has been clocked on a 64bit copy of Windows 7.

49

What happened?

Cooberstooge | Aug. 2, 2012 | Review of Commandos 3: Destination Berlin CAP

This game is so vastly different and inferior to previous entries in the series, one would easily be forgiven for thinking the devs got run over by a tank during the development process, squishing out all the Commandos goodness into the mud.

This is a decent RTS, but knowing what came before it makes it all feel so mediocre. Not to mention the bugs - ye gods, my game crashes every 20 to 30 minutes for no reason.

Sound and graphics seem to have taken a step backwards as well, with everything looking like it's getting shown on an incorrect aspect ratio, and guns sounding like pea shooters.

Really not impressed with this one, and I unfortunately must recommend that you avoid it. There's plenty out there better than this.

91

Best of the series

Cooberstooge | Aug. 2, 2012 | Review of Commandos 2: Men of Courage CAP

Looking for some old-school RTS action? Commandos 2 is your ticket! Placing your guys where they can do the most damage, yet stay unnoticed is unbelievably fun. Letting them rip apart objectives is fun in its own right, and their personalities just add to the obvious care the devs took when crafting this game.

Graphically, the game is very well-detailed for its age, and you'll often find yourself just looking around at the scenery before and after completing a mission. Commandos 2 manages to have its own style, without varying too much from the ton of other RTS war games that came out around the same time.

The voice overs for your squad are great, and you can tell each person gave it their all during the recordings. The characters become much more unique and real with them, unlike the usual Mr. Monotone most games seem to employ.

I cannot recommend this game enough - you just have to play it!

92

It's raining men!

Cooberstooge | Aug. 2, 2012 | Review of Cargo! The Quest for Gravity DNS

Alright, I have a confession to make. Cargo scares me...I mean, really scares me. How can playing with anatomically incorrect little naked dudes be so much fun? It's so...wrong.

Sure, there's a story buried in there somewhere, but really, Cargo is at its heart a giant physics playground. You can build all kinds of wacky contraptions that drive, fly, float, and submerge. Once you get bored of building, you can run around kicking naked people in the arse to make them happy, which is something most normal naked folks probably wouldn't find near as amusing.

You can call Cargo a game, but it's at once a statement, a painting, and some kind of kooky art all put together. It pulls you in, spits you out, and runs over you as you try to run away. It just won't let you go. You'll keep coming back, long after friends and family have abandoned you because of your weird obsession with it. Is there a point to it? Sure, but damned if I know what it is.

Cargo is everything an indie game should be, and you can't go wrong with a purchase of it.

66

Solid shooter with damaged multiplayer capabilities

Cooberstooge | Aug. 2, 2012 | Review of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

For a game that has such a good campaign and so much going for it, MW2 gets knocked on its arse by a severely messed-up multiplayer matchmaking system.

Call of Duty games are almost always pretty solid experiences, and MW2 is no different. The campaign has loads of "Did you see that?!?!" moments sprinkled throughout, and solid gunplay mechanics to keep you occupied between these moments.

But...and this is where I must ding MW2 on the score...the multiplayer is so bad. Not the actual matches, once you get into one, though. It's getting into one at all that's the problem. Having to wait 5+ minutes for a list of servers to load, only to join one and have lag worthy of 300+ ping, is not a fun experience.

For a series pretty well solely based around the multiplayer aspect now, Modern Warfare 2 needs to shape up or ship out, as soon as possible.

82

Cold War shenanigans

Cooberstooge | Aug. 2, 2012 | Review of Call of Duty: Black Ops

Whatever you can say about the Call of Duty games, at least they do things most other FPS titles don't. Black Ops is set during the cold war, a time period largely ignored by the rest of the FPS developer community, and this is what sets this title apart from others.

Black Ops features weapons specific to this period, and has all the required goofy action movie stereotypes present. The characters are original, and in many ways more loveable than those in the Modern Warfare series - they just seem more human somehow.

Graphically, the game looks awesome, especially the winter levels - nearly slipping off the edge into a bottomless white nothingness is rather unnerving. The Vietnam levels are suitably dark and gritty, with VC hiding around every corner and intense urban combat aplenty.

Sounds and soundtrack are spot-on, with intense firefights often being upstaged by licensed 'Nam-era rock blaring away in the background. This game just feels so right in these moments, it's insane.

Multi is solid, with a steady community full of crazy players. There are cheaters here, but less now that Black Ops has gotten a little older and less popular.

All in all, a solid shooter I can easily recommend, and one that, for once, isn't set in current times.

86

Highly original, but largely unloved

Cooberstooge | Aug. 2, 2012 | Review of Brink (UK)

Brink is too original for its own good. That is the only conclusion I have been able to come up with for why so many gamers absolutely despise it. If more work had been done on the campaign, and further refinements to weapon balancing and squad workings had been undertaken, Brink would still be out there kicking butt and taking names.

Being able to slide over, under, along, and around objects and cover is easily the highlight of this title. There's nothing like running out of ammo, only to take down a foe by sliding across a desk and snapping his neck with a foot in the chops. Crank the speakers up in a battle, and you're liable to make the folks next door call the cops and say we're being invaded - you can identify a weapon by the sound it makes, for once. Graphically, it manages to keep a style all its own, somewhere between the cartoony wackiness of TF2 and the seriousness of BF2.

What's the best part of Brink? That's easy: the guns. Not, mind you, actually using them...but customizing them. Ever wanted a silenced shotgun? Brink's your man. How about a minigun that'd make Duke Nukem weep? It's all in there!

I highly recommend this, if you're like me and take most reviews with a grain of salt, and want to finally blow somebody away with a gun you can call your own. The multi is dying, but the campaign is plenty long enough to keep you busy for a while.

73

Unique title that draws you in

Cooberstooge | Aug. 2, 2012 | Review of The Ball

The Ball is everything an indie game should be: highly original, polished, and with a nice element of quirkiness. You will truly be thinking outside the box whilst playing this one.

The ball is both the solution to puzzles and the solution to monsters. Quite simply, it rolls over everything and gives no quarter. At the same time, though, it is also your best friend, since it's your ticket out of your predicament.

The game controls well, with fast response when needing to escape hazards and also to keep control of your round friend. Graphically, for what is a slightly older title at time of this review, it still looks great. Sounds and soundtrack suit well, and help keep your curiosity level up.

Aside from the levels, there's also Easter eggs to find in the form of a story of the lost world you'll be venturing into, gathered in bits and pieces. Hunting for these gave some added playtime to my game, and caused me to play through it an extra time to ensure I had everything.

Overall, I'd recommend this, but it is somewhat of a niche title, and as such, I'd take a peek at gameplay videos first to ensure it's something you'd like.

77

Forget the lineage, and you're good to go

Cooberstooge | Aug. 1, 2012 | Review of Aliens vs Predator Pre

AvP is just an average shooter set in quite possibly the best universe ever made. There's nothing really outstanding about the game, though - the solid gameplay is marred by thoughts of past greatness.

The look and feel of the movies is captured well, but when an Alien jumps out at you, there's not much impact to it. It just...sorta happens. The selection of weapons are good, but again, nothing special.

I can say the game runs good, though. Gunfights and battles are quick and fluid, and leaping down on a hapless Colonial Marine to eat him is nice and fast.

Multiplayer was the highlight of this game, but the community has mostly died off. You'll be lucky to find a couple full matches every night at best. If you can get some buddies together for a few quick rounds though, shades of the old game start appearing. And that, my friends, is a very, very good thing.

81

A solid part sim/part arcade good ride

Cooberstooge | Aug. 1, 2012 | Review of Air Conflicts: Secret Wars DNS

If you're looking for a serious sim, this isn't it. But, if you're like me and want a good helping of impossible physics with a little realism thrown in, Air Conflicts may just be for you.

Planes handle very well, both missions and your flying environs are varied, and the game runs nice and smooth. You'll be flying everything, from the earliest of WWI aircraft, all the way to the sleek beasts that started to appear at the closing end of WWII.

Combat is fast, satisfying, and furious, with enemies in both the air and on the ground to dodge. Dogfights aplenty will keep your blood boiling, and the stealthy missions will find your nerves on a hair trigger.

The one and only negative I can find in Air Conflicts: SW is the length of the campaign. It's short for a flight game, but long enough to keep you busy for at least a dozen hours.

95

Surprisingly deep game

Cooberstooge | Aug. 1, 2012 | Review of Horse Racing Manager

Having heard of this game years ago back when it came out, and having been unable to find it until it popped up on GMG, I didn't really know what to expect when going into it. What I found was a solid game for fans of all different aspects of the horse racing industry.

More into the breeding and training side of things? That's here. Like gambling on the ponies, but don't feel like losing real-world money? You can do that in HRM. But the best part of all, in my opinion, is this: why watch the jockeys when you can be one? There is, to my knowledge, no other horse racing sim out that lets you play the jockey side of things in full 3D, and it's done very well, too.

HRM runs great on Windows 7 64bit, and I've yet to have it crash, even after several straight hours of play. It's a solid, slightly older game to tickle the horsey bones in those of us that don't have anywhere near enough money nor time to get into the industry. Highly recommended!

45

Just an average, "ok" cover shooter

Cooberstooge | July 23, 2012 | Review of Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days

Lacks originality, depth, and good, enjoyable game play. There's honestly not much here to recommend. The characters are back and as crazy as ever, but this is one heck of a letdown for a sequel.

Bullets have a nasty habit of killing you through walls, which is a real knock against Kane & Lynch 2. Seeking cover is often as dangerous as just pulling a Rambo and running straight into the thick of things.

The odd camera style is aggravating after not too long a time, and is the main reason I'd never touch another K&L game. It seems original at first, but then throws you off too often to be anything other than a pain in the butt later on.

Multiplayer is mostly dead at this point, and I couldn't recommend buying the game for it, even if it were still kicking.

Final verdict: Save your cash for something else - this just ain't worth it.

50

An awesome title marred by frequent freezes and crashes

Cooberstooge | July 23, 2012 | Review of Just Cause 2

I spent a little over 30 hours with this game before finally just giving up on it. Where the devs went so wrong with the tech in this one is beyond me. The original runs and plays flawlessly, yet I was seeing crashes every five minutes.

When it does work, Just Cause 2 is a random chaos-causer's paradise. There is so much to see and do...and destroy. But, bugs still abound to this day. Avalanche has once again walked away from their product rather quickly, and I have to say that's a rather troubling trend that may one day end them.

88

Buy it for the price - love it for the multiplayer

Cooberstooge | July 23, 2012 | Review of Magicka

Have a strong interest in blowing up and/or hurting the very people you're supposed to be working with? Then Magicka is the game for you!

A surprisingly long campaign is followed by endless hours of multiplayer matches, which half the time devolve into endless rage fests over being killed and killing others on your team. Just because you should work together doesn't mean you have to.

Think of Magicka as the fantasy world's response to the random insanity that is GTA and Saints Row. Sure, it has a story and loveable characters, but at the end of the day, don't we all just want to electrocute our best friends?

93

Money can kill

Cooberstooge | July 23, 2012 | Review of Metro 2033 PRE

Nobody does post-apoc better than some of the small indie studios based in and around Russia. There must be something about that region that inspires this way of thinking, and it comes out like a fine wine in Metro 2033.

The subway tunnels are your home, the place where you grew up, and the place where those left sheltered from the toxic abomination that is the surface. Now, though, something has attacked this refuge, and you must fight for yourself and those around you.

Metro 2033 is a linear shooter, but it's one heck of a good one. In a society whose very survival is the only goal, your bullets are your currency. Do you shoot that bandit, or save those four rounds to buy an extra gas mask cartridge for your next jaunt on the surface? What on earth is crawling through the vent pipes above your head? And, most importantly of all, are you afraid of the dark? Because, if you're not, you should be.

80

Awesome action and a universe few newer gamers will know

Cooberstooge | July 23, 2012 | Review of Warhammer 40000: Space Marine (THQ)

You simply can't go wrong with Space Marine. It's such a fast, shocking, awesome ride of a game set in one of the best universes to ever come out of tabletop wargaming.

For those not that interested in the strategy side of things, but who want to kick some butt Warhammer-style, this is your ticket. The campaign story is well fleshed-out, with memorable characters and strong voice work. This is an over-the-shoulder TPS, so there's not much strategy here except kill-kill-kill. You will remember the campaign long after playing it, and coming back for another play-through is doable after a few weeks away from it.

Multiplayer is good, but could be better. The strange method the game uses to host matches means constant level reloading every two or three minutes, making quick shootouts drag for ages. When it works, literally stomping somebody to death is hilariously fun.

Don't pass this game up, if you can handle a few quirks.

84

An absolute blast

Cooberstooge | July 23, 2012 | Review of Darksiders

Darksiders seems to have been one of those titles overlooked by the majority of the gaming community, but don't let that deter you. What you'll find here is a smooth-running, largely bug-free homage to the classic hack-n-slash games of yesteryear.

The story pulls you in, and the environments will blow your mind. The world starts out all nice and normal, but things soon change. Gameplay is fast, but not so much so that it leaves those new to the genre in the dust. The campaign is not overly long, and really feels "just right" in length and content.

96

Not so much a game as rather an experience

Cooberstooge | July 23, 2012 | Review of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (NA)

All the elements of Skyrim combine to make it what is quite possibly the most engrossing gaming experience to hit the PC in years. The music is spot-on, the graphics are both mind-blowing and gritty, the voice acting is top-notch, and combat is very satisfying.

Even at the original $60 price point I got my copy for, it's a cheap game. Never have I spent so many hours wandering around in-game, just seeing and feeling everything. The quests are awesome, but the game world here is truly the star.

Skyrim is a highly, highly recommended game. You can't go wrong with this one.

50

Feels like this was ripped from the game pre-release

Cooberstooge | May 14, 2012 | Review of Magicka: Wizard's Survival Kit DLC

I think Magicka is great, but having investigated this DLC before getting it, I really wasn't expecting a pack of mostly-average weapons.

The one good item in this bunch, the Meteor spell, I found got old fairly fast. Yes, it's powerful, but it packs so great a punch, I found myself not overly challenged upon restarting the campaign.

The other weapons are slightly more powerful stock items to me, and I don't see how they couldn't have originally been in the game, then yanked out and sold back to us.

I'd go after one of the other DLC instead of this one, could I do it over again. This feels too much like a Greedy Publisher's Survival Kit, if you get my drift.

65

Decent DLC, but should have come with the game

Cooberstooge | May 14, 2012 | Review of Mafia II DLC: Jimmy's Vendetta

The whole reason Mafia II failed to garner as much respect from gamers as its predecessor is, in my opinion, the lack of replayability. Jimmy's Vendetta adds that, although those easily bored by missions that are fairly uniform and unimaginative may want to avoid a purchase.

Basically, the DLC just adds things like car stealing, killing, racing, and chases. You're timed and given rewards for successful completion and such things as massive drifting, jumping, and whatnot. The replayability is trying to better your times and scores, and as such begins to dull after a while.

Empire Bay is still the same city as it was, with nothing new added. You even reuse some of the save spots as the stock game, which to me feels a little tacky. Jimmy is a mercenary, after all - you'd think he'd want to avoid being near the same haunts as gangsters.

I'd say Jimmy's Vendetta is more value for money than what you'll be getting out of the car/suit packs, but make sure you know what you're getting into first before taking the plunge.