Reviews by Damien_Azreal

89

Great conclusion

Damien_Azreal | March 1, 2013 | Review of Crysis 3 (NA)

Crysis 3 brings the story full circle. Bringing a more personal and actually emotional entry to the Crysis trilogy, reuniting Prophet with Psycho and showing the hardship the characters have gone through over the years.

Gameplay is very similar to that of Crysis 2, a few small tweaks. A new upgrade system and a bow that allows for extended cloaked sequences...

Visually the game is stunning. And on PC, even on medium settings the game provides one of the best looking shooter campaigns to be found.

86

Personally, an awesome game.

Damien_Azreal | Oct. 13, 2012 | Review of Aliens vs Predator Pre

While some will throw hate on this just because it's from Rebellion... AvP is an awesome game. Focusing only on the single player experience the game is incredibly atmospheric, brutal, gorgeous at times... and is the first time I actually felt like the Predator while playing.

The single player campaign is split into three separate campaigns. Each focused on a different species. But all three stories cross over and connect to tell one larger tale. The easy stand out is the Marine campaign. With dark and creepy atmosphere that calls back to the second film oh so well... it's incredibly fun to play. The Predator campaign is also a blast. Stalking your prey, using the Predator's various weapons and tools to take out large groups of enemies without ever being noticed is a blast.

The Alien campaign falls a bit short. It's not as well told (though the opening is awesome) and it is very, very short when compared to the other two. It has it's moments, and the alien executions are horribly beautiful to watch.

This is a game for fans of the individual series, or the AvP comics. It's dark, brutal, fast paced and fun.

56

A single player review...

Damien_Azreal | Oct. 12, 2012 | Review of Battlefield 3 (NA) dns

While visually, the game is true marvel. And easily one of the most gorgeous and awe inspiring games to view in this current generation. Gameplay wise, it's also one of the dullest, most uninspired trudges through a cliched and tired modern war themed story yet.

Standing on established formula and trying far too hard to be cinematic and tense the single player campaign fumbles about, flailing back and forth between played out set piece scenes and tired plot twists that anyone could see coming a mile away. And it's sad. As DICE have proven in recent titles that they do have a drive for single player games.

But their focus for BF3 is horribly misplaced as they try to capture Black Hawk Down... and instead only manage to recreate the poor mans Michael Bay.

82

An inprovement over the original in my eyes.

Damien_Azreal | Oct. 12, 2012 | Review of BioShock® 2 DNS

BioShock 2 managed to fix basically all of my complaints about the first game. The story feels more solid, and drastically improved in terms of pacing and direction. Ratcheting up and increasing it's intensity all the way through to the ending, instead of only the mid way mark and then falling apart.

Gunplay, while still mostly dull, is improved thanks to a more interesting set of weapons. Same can be said for the Adam fueled powers. While still offering up some rather useless ones, the ones that are fun seem more effective then before. BioShock 2 also managed to make enemy researching and hacking more involved and fun gameplay elements instead of rather silly and stupid like they were in the first game.

While not perfect, and still having it's shares of missed steps... BioShock 2 takes a good jog in the proper direction on improving on all the first games faults and issues. And to me, it's the better of the two.

74

A great story that fumbles towards the end.

Damien_Azreal | Oct. 12, 2012 | Review of BioShock DNS

As a semi-spiritual sequel to System Shock 2, BioShock does try to continue some of the themes and gameplay elements of the previous game. But, in it's effort to appeal to a new, more action focused market, the game became very stream lined and lost a lot of the charm in translation.

The story starts awesome, but completely comes to a halt after a key sequence, only to be left kind of fumbling around for the rest of the game. With gameplay feeling like an odd mix or fun and "what?" Gunplay lacks punch and force, leaving most of the weapons feeling rather pathetic. And while the Adam feed player abilities are fun, there are only a few that are actually useful in large fights... leaving the majority of the others completely useless.

BioShock is a fun game, but an ungodly overrated and over hyped game that isn't as awesome as it's made out to be.

96

Suspensful, thriller, survival horror

Damien_Azreal | Oct. 11, 2012 | Review of Alan Wake

This game is a must play. From it's gorgeous lighting engine, to the wonderfully crafted story and characters. It simply begs to be played. Remedy step away from the Max Payne series and create a new masterpiece.

Alan Wake is a writer, suffering from writers block. And in an attempt to "get away from it all" he heads to a small vacation house on a lake with his wife to try and recenter himself. But, an ancient evil draws him in, taking control of his mind and his reality and forcing him into a nightmare he has little hope of surviving.

Shifting away from their strong third person action gameplay of the Max Payne series. Alan Wake plays closer to a survival horror game. With a strong need to find ammo, batteries and safe places to regain health and save. From the TV series episode setup of the levels (full with 'Previously on Alan Wake' transitions) to the completely intense and atmospheric forests you'll spend the game wondering through... this is a shinning example that video games are art.

93

A surprising entry in the series

Damien_Azreal | Oct. 11, 2012 | Review of Max Payne 3 DNS

A Max Payne game without Remedy developing, and it's actually a great entry in the series.

Max is now a darker and even more grim character. Having lost not only his wife, child and other love (Mona) but his purpose and direction. Leaving the police force and diving into a bottle Max almost willing wants death. The story is pretty bleak, even for a Max Payne game, but it feels true to the series. Showing a Max that is not only out of the city and his element, but that has lost his way. He's just as confused and lost as the player.

The gameplay is wonderfully invigorating and exciting. Almost matching the feel and flow of the previous games, and fine tuning it. Making the gun fights and encounters feel like dances with death. Beautiful to watch, and hypnotizing in how they flow and come to a conclusion.

It's also a gorgeous game. It runs incredibly smooth and gave me no performance or stability problems the entire time I was playing. For fans of Max Payne, this is a must have. Don't be put off by the change in location or the older, beaten down look of Max. It's a story that needs to be heard.

52

An unsatisfying conclusion.

Damien_Azreal | Oct. 11, 2012 | Review of Mass Effect 3 (NA) dns

This game was a disappointment. It's a good game, the gameplay is basically the exact same as Mass Effect 2. Only a bit more stream lined. And they did bring back a very small amount of the more RPG like elements from the first game.

But, everything about ME3 feels rather rushed and unfinished. The majority of the side characters feel added either just because they were in previous games... or because they looked cool. The story arcs that draw them in don't feel well written or interesting. And I'm not going to comment on the horrible IGN character.

From how you get side quests (Shepard is now a creepy eavesdropper) to even how you complete them feels lazy. The majority of the time you just scan a planet, and even then the scanner makes it fool proof... guiding you directly to the spot you need to find with a giant white arrow. To the absolutely horrible ending that not only leaves you wondering "The hell?" but also ignores the several plot holes it created in the past few seconds.

I loved Mass Effect, and really enjoyed Mass Effect 2. I went into the third game expecting the best of both and to truly be wowed by the epic conclusion to the series. Only to be left feeling cheated. And not just because of the ending. I started feeling flat about a couple hours into the game. Some will love it, and defend it without flinching. Personally... this, like DA2, shows that BioWare are losing focus on what's really important in their games.

100

Best family fun time vacation ever.

Damien_Azreal | Oct. 11, 2012 | Review of Bulletstorm (NA) DNS

Ahh, what can I say about Bulletstorm. It's vulgar, yeah... violent, sure. Immature and childish... at times. But, it's actually surprisingly well thought out. From the trailers and previews it's hard to imagine that the story and characters actually run rather deep. The characters go much further then the profanity laced previews that Epic released would have you believe.

Gameplay wise the game is fantastic. Fast paced gunplay that gives you choice. Allowing you to either run and gun your way through a pretty lengthy campaign. Or, you can slow down a bit and think about how you want to fight back. Use your weapons in combination with the environment. Add in your leash and your boot. Mix things up, combine weapons and alt-fires...

It's wild, absurd, and over the top... but well thought out, engaging and a ton of fun. Also, it's gorgeous.

66

The finale...

Damien_Azreal | Oct. 10, 2012 | Review of F.E.A.R. 3

FEAR 3 (or F.3.A.R.) comes from Day1 Studios, while they have experience with the FEAR series (by porting FEAR to consoles) this is the first time they've actually gotten to really create a FEAR titles themselves.

And so... overall, it's a very mixed bag. Gameplay wise the game can be hit and miss. While player movement feels okay, and the gunplay is very solid. The scoring/points system put in place in the game is a problem. The game is built around the idea of coop, and has a scoring system in place for this. But the scoring system still works even when playing by yourself. So, any attempt to build atmosphere in the game is broken and ruined by pop ups in the bottom corner telling you you've ranked up and gained points for taking cover.

The main issue is the story. The story is absolutely horrid. Taking rather odd choices and directions with the existing characters, ignoring other characters... basically reducing Alma to almost nothing. It also feels as if levels were cut to speed up development. The biggest problem with the game is the story, and really... it's such a disappointment. Had the team taking more time to flesh out the story this could have been a great conclusion to the Alma story.

As is... the series now plays as if the first two games were big, blockbuster movies and the third game is the cheap, made to TV Sy-Fy channel exclusive.

100

Isaac... speaks...

Damien_Azreal | Oct. 10, 2012 | Review of Dead Space 2 (NA) DNS

Continuing the story of Isaac and picking up three years after the events of the first game, Dead Space 2 continues to put Isaac through hell. And does so better then the first game.

With more polished gameplay, a more varied and impressive environment to explore the gameplay remains mostly the same. Slightly faster paced and all the more brutal. New variants to the Necromorph enemy continue to keep the fight interesting, while the new weapons (and touch ups to existing ones) make the combat all the more fun.

A stronger focus on story, and making Isaac central to it help craft a tighter and more gripping tale. The voice acting is once again, superb, and the character and enemy animations are extremely impressive.

Add in some wonderfully tense and creepy scenes, intense scripted moments... and you've got a game that is miles above and beyond the first.

100

Amazing experience.

Damien_Azreal | Oct. 10, 2012 | Review of Dead Space (NA) DNS

Dead Space. A game that wears it's inspirations on it's sleeves and is very proud of it. Dead Space is a survival horror, action game set in the future on a mining ship. Playing as Isaac you and a very small crew respond to a distress call only to discover hell. The ship desolate and empty, the crew murdered... only thing left to do is discover what happened.... if you can survive.

This game drips with atmosphere. From every room and deck of the giant mining ship there's always a sense of tension and dread. Filling the air and keeping you hooked into what's happening around you. And story is solid, and the few supporting characters are voiced and animated wonderfully.

Anyone who's a fan of the Resident Evil 4 style of survival horror... has to buy and play Dead Space. Has to.

87

A mature Legend of Zelda

Damien_Azreal | Oct. 10, 2012 | Review of Darksiders

That's what it is. Legend of Zelda for adults. It's violent, dark, brutal... yet beautiful, expansive and engaging. Offering up a fresh take on the apocalypse and thrusting the player into the boots of one of the four horseman (War) you get to see this unique take on the end of the world first hand.

With plenty of dungeons to explore, new tools and gameplay elements to combine and try out, there are hours upon hours of gameplay to be had in Darksiders. One that really just came out of nowhere, but it's a game that needs to be played.

90

A new perspective for id Software

Damien_Azreal | Oct. 10, 2012 | Review of RAGE: Special Edition (International)

From the grandfather of the shooter genre, id Software, comes RAGE. A deviation from their normal formula. RAGE is a semi-open world FPS with slight RPG elements. A far cry from their normal tight, dark, claustrophobic hallways. RAGE offers up bright sun drenched valleys and wastelands to explore the shattered remnants of Earth.

While the story in RAGE is a paper thin setup to get you moving, and the ending feels very sudden and rather tacked on... it's the bulk of RAGE's gameplay that managed to keep me entertained. id continues to show why no other developer can do shooters like they can. From the feel of the player movement, the shooting and feedback from enemies... it's the gameplay that truly shines in RAGE. With a handful of little minigames to try in the small towns you can visit, side quests... and races to buy better parts for your car... there's plenty to do.

And put it on id's new graphics engine and you've got a gorgeous game. Managing breathtaking cliffs and deserts to beautifully destroyed cities and. Even worn down factories and slimy sewers look stunning due to the amount of polish id put in their games.

78

DNF finally...

Damien_Azreal | Oct. 10, 2012 | Review of Duke Nukem Forever

Lets face it. It's not as bad as people make it out to be. 14 years of dreams and expectations can do a lot to how someone views something. To the point that only seeing the face of god would make it good enough.

DNF is one of those things. It's a fun shooter that tries to mix elements from older games with elements from newer shooters. Bringing Duke back into the gaming landscape as he once again fights back an alien invasion from the Vegas strip to the Hover Dam offers up various environments and gameplay elements. And while Duke's gameplay is varied, it's the lack of constant shooting that annoys so many. From the platforming, the puzzle solving, the driving sections... these things make DNF for me.

And while the game does lack story, has some technical limitations and some rough spots. Considering all it went through to be released... I'm happy and grateful it came out and I got to play it. It's not the second coming of the shooter or video games. But, it is a simple and fun shooter that doesn't take itself seriously and just tries to entertain.

And for anyone who's a Duke fan, and can go into it with an open mind... it's worth the time.

95

Third times the charm.

Damien_Azreal | Oct. 10, 2012 | Review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution Augmented Edition

I've always loved the Deus Ex series. But, while I've loved them... I've always firmly believed they are very flawed games in some way or another. The first one tells a wonderful story and does offer some creative and fun gameplay elements. But, the stiff gameplay and dull gunplay, horrible voice acting... and bland visual style does drag the experience down.

Invisible War again tells a great story. But, suffers from it's fumbled development and broken "vision" of what the game should be. While it's slightly more open for people to get into... it does suffer from the same problems of the first one. But with smaller levels and far more constant loading times.

Human Revolution is the first game in the series that I personally feel nails the entire package. The story is fantastic and engaging, drawing me in and kept me interested in what would happen. While giving the levels a decent size, not too large and not too small. They fit the story and missions they were putting the player in. With enough depth and polish to the gameplay (be it stealth or gunplay) that it's fun to play. It doesn't feel stiff or unsatisfying. It felt complete.

Top it off with a brilliant visual style and color pallet and you've got an amazing game. And finally brings a return to the FPS/R{G hybrid that truly gives player choice in how they want to play.

95

What the first Borderlands should have been.

Damien_Azreal | Oct. 10, 2012 | Review of Borderlands 2 (NA) DNS

While the first game was fun, it was flawed and felt as if certain elements weren't fully realized. Borderlands 2 realizes this. The full vision of what Gearbox originally wanted to accomplish.

From the story and NPC interaction, gun variety and the brand differences between the weapons. Level variety... enemy variety. Gearbox fixed and improved upon basically everything from the first one. The art style is gorgeous, while not technically amazing, the visual look of the game is stunning.

My only complaint falls into the vehicle controls. I'm firmly against the "mouse to steer" control style. A game on PC should always use the keyboard to steer, allowing you to aim your weapon with your mouse.

But, if you liked Borderlands, you'll love Borderlands 2. Get it, buy it, play it... love it.