Reviews by Dancer087

86

Adventure

Dancer087 | March 29, 2014 | Review of Starbound

Starbound has taken the popular 'survivalcraft' genre that's been made popular by games like Minecraft or Terraria and pushed it forward. If you're a fan of Terraria you can probably already tell from the screenshots that the similarities between the two games are not subtle, which is a good thing. The arguably strongest element of Terraria was the non-linear and unscripted sense of adventure and exploration, Starbound has taken this same feeling, put it in a rocket and blasted it out into uncharted space.

If you haven't played Terraria then in short, Starbound is a true open world sandbox wherein you can manipulate terrain with tools to build structures, hunt for food, acquire randomly generated loot for random combat encounters and craft armour and weapons from common to rare materials. There are also boss battles, the ability to travel from planet to planet via your own fuel dependant spacecraft and the exploration of randomly generated structures such as abandoned science bunkers and ancient alien temples. Sounds incredible? Well, it is.

However, despite all its good intentions and creative ideas, it's not without its flaws. The main flaw of the game is actually tied to its biggest strength, the open world sandbox is so vast that it often feels hollow and while there's so much to do, there's little incentive to do any of it, other than a personal sense of curiosity. There's a veil of a story that acts as mechanism to raise the curtain at the start of the game but, the more you play the less significant it quickly becomes, although that's not too bad a thing given the nature of the game.

The visuals are beautiful with a really deep and refreshing colour pallet, the sprite animation is energetic and smooth and the soundtrack is spot-on.

In conclusion If you're a fan of survivalcraft games or even a fan of adventure or sci-fi, there's a very good chance you will love this. If you prefer a game that has a definitive start and an end with a strong storyline, this may not be for you.

65

Jack of all trades, master of none.

Dancer087 | March 28, 2014 | Review of Omerta: City of Gangsters – Gold Edition

On paper Omerta sounds incredible. An X-com style strategy game with gangsters, RPG elements and a hub map for territory and gang management, even writing that down makes me excited to play it. Unfortunately for me, the excitement faded quickly and I was left trying harder to enjoy it more than I actually was.

The game is by no means bad or broken, it quite simply suffers from trying to be too many different things and in turn accomplishes very little with any real depth or competence.

The map screen is where you will likely spend the majority of your time and I would say it's its strongest element. The RTS style gang management is strong as you have to manage your resources at the same time as monitoring your 'heat' level, it's compelling and some of the mechanics are intuitive. It does become repetitive and you will likely find yourself looking for a combat sequence to break the monotony, a few minutes into the combat though, and you will be wanting to go back to the map.

The X-com style combat is ultimately the weakest part of the game. The cover system is seemingly superfluous at times which often conflicts with the player's attempts at strategy, why use flanking and covering fire when you can kill anyone (in cover or not) that's in your sights by simply shooting at them repeatedly? There's also very little atmosphere or drama to these segments and a success kill or victory inspires barely any sense of accomplishment. Ultimately they feel tedious, like an obstacle to the game you want to play.

The visuals are solid, especially the map world. The soundtrack is superb and fits in with what you would expect from 1920's gangster movie.

In conclusion, it's possible to have a good time with Omerta and the gold edition is a perfect opportunity to do so. Despite its faults and lack of any real identity, it's certainly worth a look if you're a fan of gangsters or if you have little expectations, but If you're interested solely as a fan of a genre you think this holds, there's a chance you will be disappointed as I was.

67

A tacky hat on an otherwise brilliant outfit.

Dancer087 | Nov. 26, 2013 | Review of Dragon Age 2 (EU)

There's something a little bit ominous going on when a game series goes from 'Origins' to 'Awakening' and then to simply '2'. You don't have to explore much further before it's apparent that something has been compromised along the way.

Don't get me wrong, the game is competent enough to be fun and engaging. It's major flaw however is It's streamlining of most of the primary mechanics - such as combat and dialogue. So, instead of having a plethora of responses and topics to discuss you're given a Mass Effect-esque pie of saying something which is either, good, bad or blah. The placement of these morale alignments are always in the same place so you don't even need to pay attention to what you're saying in order to achieve the desired response.

The Combat has been overhauled from 'tactical and challenging' to simply, 'sexy looking'. While the combat system of the previous games in the series were reminiscent of games such as Star Wars : Knights of the Old Republic, the new system is much more similar to Dynasty Warriors. In the same way with the dialogue, you no longer really need to pay much attention to what you're doing in order to do well.

Had this game been released under a different name and a different story, it would have done very well. And so I can only really recommend this to anyone who has never played any previous Dragon Age title. If you're a fan of the the first instalments and are looking to carry on the epic adventure, I'm afraid you've been doomed.

80

Worth a look

Dancer087 | Nov. 26, 2013 | Review of Shadowrun Returns

I had never played the original Shadowrun game (I did play the cross-platform FPS but, let's not go on about that) So I started playing Shadowrun Returns with little to no prior knowledge of its universe.

I was immediately drawn into the game because of its strong visual style. The neon-lit gutters and the combination of high-technology and poverty creates a very interesting universe that's certainly worth exploring, even just to see how pretty it all looks. The actual 3d characters themselves are a bit ropey looking but, you can equip multiple clothing types which changes your appearance. (Which is a big must for me, nothing urks me quite like upgrading to different equipment/armour and it having no visual difference on your character)

Combat is varied enough and incorporates a classic turn-based cover strategy style but, it's only really made interesting by the variates in the classes and their abilities.

All-in all it definitely has a lot going for it and it's certainly worth your time but to have it truly get its hooks in you, you have to give it your attention. There's pretty much 0 voice-overs but, if you spend the time to read everything and take it all in, you're almost definitely going to have a blast.

85

Instant Classic

Dancer087 | Nov. 10, 2013 | Review of Evil Genius

Evil Genius is the epitome of a brilliant game that never quite received the recognition it deserved. If you're a fan of the Dungeon Keeper series and you're a fan of camp 70's spy fiction, you will love this.

It can be rough around the edges at times and the AI can sometimes be frustrating (with your minions setting off your own traps) but the pros greatly outway the cons. You can just feel the passion and care put into this game, It's one of my favourites and I think it always will be.