Reviews by Coonskin_Cap

97

PC: Easily the best version of Sonic Generations

Coonskin_Cap | May 22, 2013 | Review of Sonic Generations

Sonic Generations is a chaos emerald soaked love letter to Sonic as a franchise and everything that made the blue blur great over the past twenty years. Everything in this game seems like it was exactingly aimed at eliciting nostalgia whilst incorporating change and growth in a good way.

There are two principal play-styles, embodied in an adorably mute Classic Sonic and a "way past cool" Modern Sonic. Classic Sonic's stages are in 2d, and focus on increasingly challenging platforming and working out the best way through the enemies without slowing down or falling down a pit and coming a cropper. It gets more and more challenging as the game goes on, and you could spend potentially hours on a level figuring out the optimal route. Certainly, if you were expecting to “hold right to win”, you'll be pleasantly surprised. None of the challenges are insurmountable or unfair however, although there is a cute "gotcha" moment which plays on Sonic convention in one of the later levels that will catch you by surprise in a fun and playful way.

Modern sonic is arguably where the game shines, and is an adrenaline fuelled testament to how far the series has come. The main focus is on attaining boost and keeping it; that means zipping through levels tantalizingly close to the sound barrier, drifting through turns, and reacting with lightning fast reflexes to the many dangers you come across. Darting from rail to rail with the music zoning out of your periphery whilst barely holding yourself to the edge of the stage, before sliding through an overhang to begin skimming across the water at breakneck speed; or running down the side of a building whilst a giant robot snaps menacingly inches away from your heels; these are moments that Generations delivers on in fine form.

The levels are varied and rich, which differing soundtracks for each game-play style that feel nonetheless like they both belong. They mark an incredibly high point of the game and complement the atmosphere so superbly it's hard to imagine it without them. Some of these, in particular the themes for Planet Wisp, “Shadow” and Crisis City are exemplary pieces that stand far aloft on their own. If you've played any of the Sonic games, you'll be well at home. The levels take from Sonic's past games, with most of the major points of Sonic's history being documented: the GUN truck hilltop chase of Sonic Adventure 2, the lazily looping Green Hill zone of the original Sonic, the labyrinthine Chemical Plant zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 are all here but refreshed by a new design philosophy which cuts all the chaff and leaves the glorious grain. The design of all of these levels is stellar, particularly for the modern side, which often has subtly branching paths which can open whole new parts of the level for the astute speed runner with quick reflexes. You'll need your wits about you if you want to place in the top 100, or to score and S rank, particularly in latter levels.

The longevity is decent, clocking in at 10-15 hours for the main game, though perhaps this will depend on your level of skill. There are many mission modes which are alternately interesting gimmicks or simply beguilingly puzzling for their obtuseness. With this and many interesting unlockables there is a lot to get through and even a customization mode where you can mod Sonic with abilities to either help or hinder you.

If you're a Sonic fan then this is definitely a must buy. Even if you loathe Sonic, I'd still highly recommend this game. The awesome game-play and kickin' rad music is just too sublime of an experience to pass up. The PC port of the game gets a further recommendation, as it can run in 1080p at a frantic 60fps, which makes for an almost transcendental experience, though the game is not noticeably worse of the PS3, which is the other platform I had the opportunity to play this game on. Bottom line, this is a game that few can afford to pass up.

83

Nice amount of content,

Coonskin_Cap | May 22, 2013 | Review of Sleeping Dogs Pack

Brought this on sale, but I think that my analysis still applies here, despite the higher price.

The pack includes all manner of DLC, from substantial content, such as Year of the Snake and Nightmare in North Point, to the fairly useless, such as the GSP pack, which added some fairly useless costumes.

As it stands, the pack enriches what was an incredibly fun, if anaemic game. The base game often felt like a souped-up GTA IV, with substantially more character but not enough content to last more that say 10 hours. Parts in this pack, particularly the SWAT pack, help flesh out the world by adding miscellaneous police missions, which helps sell the police side of Wei's persona more. Others, like the police protection and triad enforcer packs, basically just add ways to grind cop or triad XP respectively, and are intensely boring.

The combat is intense and vicious, especially with some of the later moves, which let you break limbs whenever you want. There is a small amount of psuedo-logic you have to assume in the way that breaking limbs doesn't put enemies out of the fight like you'd expect; this further extends to the slightly sticky environmental finishing moves and canned grapple moves, which feel robotic at the best of times. The shooting is decently competent, but guns are very transient in Hong Kong, and you will rarely be able to have them at your leisure until after the game is finished, slightly earlier if you get to a certain tier on the Cop class tree.

The main story could be aphoristically summed up as Deep Cover: Hong Kong. If you've seen anything of the genre, you won't find anything new here; it is steeped in cliché. The setting is much more interesting than the bland story, and the city feels very vibrant and alive; especially with the amount of random chatter from citizens and being able to do small things, such as by shady stereos from even shadier alley vendors for your safe-house, or ordering pork buns from street vendors. The DLC that shines best in terms of adding character definitely are the sillier ones. Nightmare in North Point and Year Of The Snake are arguably the most memorable because they revel in absurdity, eschewing the po-faced "grittiness" of the rest of the game, which tends to fall flat.

There are a ton of things to do in this game thanks to this pack; and this isn't even all of it, it seems to be missing the "Drunken Master" pack and the "Movie Masters" pack. But, as it stands, this bulked up, plumped up package offers a lot of fun. If you're looking to buy Sleeping Dogs, definitely consider this pack as without it, the game offers too little content to justify the price.

83

Good Gunplay, Suffers From Some Bad Descisions

Coonskin_Cap | April 28, 2013 | Review of Borderlands 2 RoW

A very competently put together game; the gun-play is very interesting with a wide range of characters and weapons that usually feel different enough to significantly change up the game play.

I played as Zer0 for most of my playtime, which is very easily 60+ hours. He plays well with sniper rifles, but that didn't stop me using shotguns and assault rifles as a back up. You get three different trees with each character, which all focus on different aspects; I speced for deadly, successive headshots, but I could just as easily have speced for aggressive, run and gun melee; the system offers a lot of choice and you can re spec whenever you want. Weapons run the gamut from homing mirv grenades that spit acid, to a semi sniper shotgun that melts people, to a talking sniper rifle that complains about you killing people. Most are interesting; however, the weapon system often generates a lot of junk, whose only purpose is for you to flip at a vending machine for cash.

It is a mostly fun romp for the first thirty levels, however after this point the game becomes much less interesting. It is hard to gain levels past this unless you go into the game's NG+ mode, True Vault Hunter Mode. This mode seems to scale enemies at an exponential rate, and you often get situations where even poking your head out of an alcove will result in you getting instantly hit for 500k+ damage and going down, resulting in very twitchy, "pop and shoot" gameplay. This is very much the nadir of the game and a real problem; by the time you reach level fifty, you'll feel drained and probably not want to see another second of it.

The story is mostly good, giving significant development to Roland and Co. from the first game, though with some predictable twists and some obnoxious meme based writing that while not really taking away from the whole will definitely make you cringe at some of the more groan inducing lines. The story does its best with large set pieces to make you feel like a bad-ass vault hunter, but it is often undermined by gameplay concessions. Te most obnoxious one is that the quest giver will often comment on every part of an objective you complete; for example when gathering parts to construct a machine, the quest giver comment every time you pick up a piece. This ends up going against the feeling of "bad-assery" that they are trying to convey; instead you end up feeling like you're being led by the nose through every remotely challenging task. They do not leave anything implied; everything is laid out explicitly.

The art style is very impressive; I found myself taking screen shots at least several times every session. Some areas fare better with the comic art style than others; Eridium blight is very visually interesting; ash falling on the camera, large crystal formations springing up from the ground. Casutic Caverns on the other hand blends into a boring sea of green and dull brown. Side quest are mostly uninteresting MMO style shoot and loot "Gather x of y" or "Kill x with X gun"; save a few unique interesting ones which I won't spoil.

Overall the game is interesting and fun to play with friends, but suffers moving towards the end game. Looking back on the 60 hours many moments, weapons and experiences stand out in my mind, but less so towards the end. Definitely a purchase worth making anywhere below £25.