Reviews by DaranV

85

Spetacular and disappointing

DaranV | Jan. 26, 2014 | Review of Tomb Raider

This game is one of the enjoyable experiences I had in a while. The graphics are amazing and some of the scenes are simply breath-taking. The controls will make sense to most FPS and TPS players and the story is decent enough to take you to the end. But I have many complaints of the game. First, the game strays away from the puzzles and ingenuity of past Tomb Raider films to create a more mainstream clichéd cinematic game aka Uncharted or Assassins Creed. Puzzles are relegated to optional side missions while the main part of the game favours brawls over brain. I am not necessarily saying this is an entirely bad thing, rather it would have been a much better game if it had kept in touch with its roots while modernising the series. Secondly, the story is awfully weak. I say it's enough to keep you playing but it's certainly not a story you will became engrossed in. The NPCs do not have any character development and you are unlikely to develop any interest in them; they simply serve to progress the story forward. As for Lara, reflecting other reviewers, she too rapidly transforms from innocent victim to a mass murderer for any comprehension. I understand from the perspective of the game why this happens, nevertheless a bit more realistic character development would have made players more emotionally invested in the game. Altogether, the game is a decent addition to the canon and one Tomb Raider fans should experience. Just don’t play it expecting it to be like previous Tomb Raider games.

65

This DLC dosen't add much

DaranV | Jan. 24, 2014 | Review of XCOM: Enemy Unknown – Slingshot Content Pack

Having immensely enjoyed the main game, I bought this add-on to extend the fun. The problem with this DLC is that it initiates at the start of the game in exchange of the typical council missions so you cannot add this to your current game progress; you have to start afresh. The actual missions with the exception of the third mission are completely new and offer a refreshing change of pace to the other missions in the main game. The third mission you are likely to have played or to play again if you encounter a battleship UFO in the main game with the difference being in the slight change in the layout of the level. As you begin these missions relatively early on in the game, these missions are quite challenging. But the rewards are plentiful once you complete them and can offer a relatively good position to tackle the rest of the game with plentiful resources and an experienced heavy solider. The problem is that until you complete these three missions, you cannot play normal council missions even if you choose to skip it making you lose out on a good opportunity to reduce panic or gain rewards from these council missions. It would have been good if the game offered a choice between the DLC missions and normal council missions. Furthermore the game is relatively short, you can complete the three missions easily within a hour or hour and a half. To me, it's therefore not worth dishing out more than £5 for - I would suggest purchasing it if a) only if you plan on doing another playthrough and b) you can get it in a sale.

90

A surprisingly well made game

DaranV | Jan. 24, 2014 | Review of XCOM: Enemy Unknown

I received this game as a pre-order bonus to purchasing Bioshock Infinite. Having viewed several video game reviews, I decided it was not the game for me and put it aside. I was eventually found myself bored enough to give it a go; I was glued onto my screen for the subsequent three days. The game initially put me off as turn based squad strategy did not appeal to me as much as real time strategy. I was very wrong. You end up getting very personally invested in your soldiers. The graphics are amazing - it runs on Unreal Engine 3; the same engine that powers Mass Effect 1, 2 & 3. The mechanics require some learning curve but with the help of an initial tutorial, it soon becomes second nature. However the story itself remains slightly aloof and hollow and it is difficult to become engrossed; instead the story only serves to provide a series of objectives that need to be fulfilled. Another concern is that for most missions, the maps are randomised. It would have been nice if maps were unique to their locations; it only adds to the game feeling distant. Having seen XCOM: Enemy Within it seems that have held back the best gameplay elements for the standalone expansion. Now that the sequel has been released, you would be better off buying that.

95

One of the best games I played

DaranV | Jan. 24, 2014 | Review of Bioshock Infinite

There are very few games in my mind that matches the scope and quality of Bioshock Infinite. I would only say that I only relished playing Half Life 2 more than this. Praises have been lavishly thrown at this game, so here I only examine my personal criticisms. As amazing as the game is, I longed it to be that a bit longer, a bit grander and that bit more revolutionary. When a game comes this close to being perfect, it's sad to see it not going that extra mile. For me, the maps where combat take place were too small; the skyline offers the opportunity for much grander and larger maps. If anyone saw the E3 demo of this game, they would know what I was talking about. I understand that hardware limitations of the current consoles and PCs perhaps limited the size of the game environment but I can't see why they could not have pushed for that bit more. Secondly, without spoilers, the story takes us into interesting places, but it could have spend that bit longer examining the various themes of religion, politics, family, American exceptionalism etc whereas merely alluding or touching on them. Finally and related to the previous point, for an extremely well created Colombia, it would have been nice to spend a bit more time exploring its niches especially now that we know that we are not going to be seeing any more of Columbia from the DLCs.

70

Too short to pay full price

DaranV | Jan. 24, 2014 | Review of Bioshock Infinite: Season Pass

I brought this a few days after the release of Bioshock Infinite, having played the main game for £12.80. I had thoroughly enjoyed the main game and was left with a post-game hangover; I wanted more. The Season Pass was a perfect candidate to satisfy my hunger and I rationalised to myself - for a developer with a track record of amazing games the DLCs cannot disappoint. Unfortunately, having played the first two DLCs, that's exactly what has happened. The first DLC, Clash in the Clouds, is a lame excuse for the DLC. While it provides you with new maps and new challenges, this DLC serves only to highlight how weak the combat is when removed from the story. This DLC lacking this critical element proves to have little entertainment value. The second DLC, being story led does makes it insusceptible to the same criticism. In particular, the artwork and the graphics in rebuilding Rapture must be praised. But the game is far too short, in that as soon as you start becoming engrossed it's already over with a gameplay totalling about 2-3hrs. While the third DLC is yet to be released, for now I am utterly disappointed with the DLCs and utterly regret purchasing the season pass for the price I did. I would seek a refund if I could. My suggestion is if you liked the main game, buy this season pass but only when it's on sale; don't pay more than £10 and ideally around £8. That price range more accurately represents the value you are getting.