Reviews by DeathRowMax

85

A strong third instalment in the Batman series

DeathRowMax | Oct. 28, 2013 | Review of Batman Arkham Origins

For anyone who played the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, Origins probably won't bear any surprises. Its gameplay remains mostly unchanged, and the plot and dialogue aren't as surprising or organic as the previous two games in the series. It doesn't disappoint visually, though, feeling fairly close to Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy in its often blockbuster-like feel. Although glitches often ruin the immersion, when the game runs smoothly you can lose yourself in it for hours. The combat system is especially slick, building upon what Rocksteady had created, and the detective mode is an exciting innovation which I'm sure will be picked up in future games. Once melee combat has been mastered, it's incredibly satisfying to pick off enemies and doesn't feel as scripted as many other games. Overall, this game is good if you know what to expect: not breath-taking novelty but a solid game which doesn't fail in continuing Rocksteady's powerful innovations.

100

A powerful, beautiful and intense FPS

DeathRowMax | Oct. 16, 2013 | Review of Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite is the best game I've ever played. Using the same FPS mechanism as the previous Bioshock games - now widespread across games such as Dishonored - it manages to construct an incredibly detailed universe on top. Obviously well researched, it is often breathtakingly beautiful, its style drawing from that of the early 20th Century. It fearlessly covers themes such as religion and racism in an intellectually stimulating way which is completely new as far as the games I've played go. Although the game is strong throughout, the best part by far is the last 30 minutes of it - the plot twists and turns in a way which will make you confused, then satisfied you've understood, then even more confused. It will stay with you for days. A perfect game as far as I'm concerned, and certainly the standard by which I'll be measuring any future FPS games.

76

A funny game which will highten your liking of metal

DeathRowMax | July 6, 2013 | Review of Brutal Legend

Although I often find Jack Black quite annoying, I think this is his perfect role. He incarnates a roadie perfectly in this funny and rather awesome game. The humour is well done, the universe well constructed and the soundtrack - of course - brilliant. As someone who doesn't often listen to Metal, I found this game made me appreciate it a lot more.

There are some really cool elements to this game - the odd creatures that you can ride, the vehicles you can summon and the brilliant cameos (Ozzy Osbourne anyone?)

Although behind this all, the game is an average open-world, buggy button-masher, the atmosphere surrounding it excuses this.

Fans of rock music and Jack Black should definitely check this out. People just looking for an open-world game might be disappointed.

58

Made playing a chore

DeathRowMax | July 6, 2013 | Review of Total War: Shogun 2

As a long-time fan of Age of Empires, I succumbed to buy Shogun 2 as I couldn't find a bad review about it.

After about 10 minutes, I just got the impression that the never ending rules and information served the purpose of scaring off anyone but the dedicated player. After reading pages and pages of tutorials, I finally wanted to get stuck in but find myself actually stuck! No buttons I clicked or keys I pressed allowed me to leave the tutorial screen. So I force quit the program and start it up again. I do a battle and, once it's done, same thing: I can't leave the summary screen.

These apparent glitches aren't aided by the long loading time of the game - even on a purpose-built gaming PC.

In summary, I have given up on this game because playing seems to be such a chore. Unlike many other games, the controls are intuitive and I just can't invest so much time just learning rules for a game I will play on my own when I'm trying to relax. For me, long rule-books should only be for board games or party games, not for kicking back in front of video games.

88

An impressive Turn Based Strategy

DeathRowMax | July 6, 2013 | Review of XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM, developed by Firaxis - a company that knows a lot about strategy games - is probably the best turn based strategy game from the past 5 years.

The strategy aspect is well set up and easy to grasp even if you are new to the genre. I also felt the need to bump my review up from 80 just for the fact that there is controller support - something that never seemed achievable in strategy games. It's great to use the Xbox remote from the sofa rather than fiddle around with a keyboard.

What's more, it is very good at achieving an exciting, cinematic feel. The opening sequence is a clear reference to War of the Worlds and I feel it almost outdoes Spielberg's blockbuster. Quick cut scenes as aliens are discovered or shot also create this feel, despite being a little buggy (just like almost every video game, scenery often obstructs your view).

There may be a few frustrations for perfectionists as much of the game consists in choosing who you want to save at the risk of losing others. But this creates an appropriately tense atmosphere.

You will not regret buying this game, even if TBS is completely new to you - even if you get tired of the single-player game there is an online 1vs1 to keep you challenged.

82

The least boring Sniper Similator

DeathRowMax | July 3, 2013 | Review of Sniper Elite V2

Trust me, that title says a lot! It's very hard to re-create the experience of being a Sniper without it being tedious - the nature of the role is to mostly wait. Yet Sniper Elite V2 manages to eliminate most of this boredom as you genuinely feel the benefit of moving around carefully and slowly and the eventual tedium is always broken up by breath-taking X-ray Kill Cams. Every now and then (or more/less frequently depending on what you choose in the settings), you will enter a super slow motion which follows your bullet's trajectory through the air then through your enemies. It's amazingly satisfying to do and you'll want to replay some of your finer moments - unfortunately this isn't possible within the game, and it's a huge shame. A native capture tool (perhaps like the one in GTA IV) would add volumes to this game - maybe we can hope for this in a third opus. One surprising benefit of Sniper V2 is that I have genuinely learnt more about the human anatomy - playing it with friends or family members allows you to figure out with internal organ you've shot, and I've gradually discovered more about the human body, not something I was expecting! I imagine this would be a great way for doctors in training to to take a break whilst still revising their knowledge of anatomy! It's important to note that if you have been taught your FPS skills by Call of Duty, it will take a while to adapt to Sniper Elite V2. It's much less forgiving than the CoD series so aim is important and if you play at higher difficulty levels, there are loads of environmental factors to take into account - wind, gravity, etc... I'd definitely recommend this game when it's on special offer (which happens rather often at Green Man Gaming). If you stick with it and overcome what might initially be disappointment at the game's strictness on accuracy or occasional bug, you will grow to love it. It might not have a long story, but does that really matter? The challenges and online multiplayer will provide most of the shelf life of the game and it's all based on a brilliant mechanism.

85

A lovely, nostalgic and addicting game

DeathRowMax | July 3, 2013 | Review of Costume Quest

This game is a brilliant little gem which will take you back to your childhood or entertain your own children for a good number of hours. It has comedy which can be likened to that of the Simpsons or Wallace and Gromit - although it's great for kids there are some really funny moments for adults too so if you are playing along with a young one you won't get bored too easily. Its open world gameplay and expansive set of missions and side-quests give the game enough variety for a couple of play-throughs and the best of the RPG genre is used here, with features like "Battle Cards" to spice up fights. It's also quite fun to just explore, speaking to kids and collecting candy from all types of bins. Where the game falls short for me is the text-based speech. Although this is usually the case in RPGs, I feel like a game like this which specifically targets young audiences would be best with audio when the characters are talking, particularly as the speed the text scrolls isn't always controllable so can be a little fast. Other shortcomings are the lack of difficulty levels which could have made it a more exciting game for older players and the occasional points where you can get "stuck" because you were meant to talk to a character a third time before you went through, or were expected to use one of your costumes' powers. However these can be overseen as long as an adult or older sibling is nearby to help younger players if they get stuck. What you can't take away from Costume Quest is its simple charm and thoughtfulness - for example the often overlooked feature of having several save slots was great to have in a "family" game like this one. If you want to re-discover the nostalgia of Halloween (or RPGs from your childhood such as the Pokémon series) or just keep your children delighted for several hours, Costume Quest is probably the best game around.

90

Lots of fun and incredibly satisfying

DeathRowMax | June 28, 2013 | Review of Dead Island

Dead Island is a brilliant game. Although many will be quick to point ou the bugs of the game (which even themselves out so that you are at no significant (dis)advantage), these do not seem to affect it in the slightest. It's just so fun that so many of its shortcomings can be forgiven. The idyllic setting and gratuitous gore (oh, the satisfaction of seeing a zombie's arm fly off in slow motion) make it a game to marvel at - every now and then you catch yourself just staring at a sunset or dreaming of living on the island yourself (although ideally in a zombie-free environment)! The co-op adds an extra layer to the game which will maximise replayability and its inclusion of "Analog controls" is brilliant as it gives you a new style to get used to which you might end up adopting as it creates a good deal more immersion. If you are easily offended, you might not appreciate the walking stereotypes or campy dialogue which makes the game a mockery of traditional B-movies and creates a good deal of humour, and if you are easily scared beware as Dead Island is also successful at creating a disconcerting atmosphere and some often fortuitous jump scares pop up every now and then. One weakness I would criticize though is that not all of the dread comes from the zombies themselves - some of it is procured because of the game's rather fickle checkpoint system. You never really know when returning to a saved game where you will spawn and how far back you will have gone and this means it's not as tempting as I'd like it to be to just fire it up for a 10-minute zombie killing session. All in all, this is a thoroughly fun game which takes from others like Dead Rising and adds in more gore, story and just general fun. If you're not too prude, definitely give this game a go!