Reviews by DowntimeGuys

72

If you love Star Wars, you've come to the right place.

DowntimeGuys | April 24, 2014 | Review of Star Wars: The Old Republic

In Star Wars: The Old Republic Bioware have created what is essentially a form of Mass Effect - The MMORPG. Experienced Mass Effect players will recognise the way dialogue selection is handled and the way the story is progressed through character interactions.

The true strength of the game lies in the world that you play in. The graphics aren't hyper-realistic, instead aiming for a cartoon-like approach that will age better whilst being more scalable depending on the user's PC specifications. Star Wars: The Old Republic places you in a world full of characters and concepts that only the die-hard Star Wars buffs will truly appreciate. And that's my biggest problem with the game. As someone who's enjoyed the movies but never considered myself a huge fan, the game seems very slow paced and text-heavy, especially during the opening sections. Fans of the franchise will no doubt be thrilled to learn that there are hours upon hours of voice acted dialogue, but personally I wanted to jump into the action and get to the meat of the game as quickly as possible.

Star Wars fans will spend enjoy spending countless hours immersed in this well designed world, but neutrals can find better MMORPGs out there at the moment. Either way there's no harm in trying, after all the game is free to play.

80

Will get your cold heart pumping again.

DowntimeGuys | April 22, 2014 | Review of Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army

My friend gifted me a copy of this while it was on sale because he was so keen to play this in co-operative mode. I wasn't going to turn down a free game and proceeded to download the relatively small game file. Once the game had installed my instinct as a PC gamer was to crank the graphic quality up to Ultra and see what the game was made of. To my surprise the game looks gorgeous. The true beauty of the game is when you achieve a headshot and the camera follows the bullet through the air into your un-dead enemies skull. There's something so worryingly gratifying about blowing an enemies head off from across the screen and watching it explode into a thousand pieces in slow-motion.

I've only played the story in co-op so cannot comment on whether the game has legs as a single-player experience. Rest assured the multi-player experience presents hours of fun with enemies that are easy to dispatch of but pose a challenge when in large groups.

Overall I would fully recommend this Zombie-massacre if you have a friend to play along with. The frantic pace at times will have you both laughing and fearing for your life in an experience that plays a bit like a fleshed out version of Nazi Zombies from the Call of Duty series, just with more slo-mo headshots. Give it a try, you won't regret it.

84

Ridiculous And I Like It.

DowntimeGuys | April 16, 2014 | Review of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

This spin-off to the popular Far Cry series is the game's designers letting their imagination run wild. The colours featured are a gorgeous pallet of neon purples and pinks that will really have you in awe at points. This is of course, best experienced on a high-end machine that can run the game with maximum graphical settings. The story is nonsensical in the best possible way and doesn't subtract from the overall experience. In fact, it enhances the experience by allowing the player to focus on the gameplay and not the trivial motives behind the protagonists quest.

If you enjoy over-the-top weaponry and dialogue then you're in for a treat. This game is packed to the brim with cheesy one-liners and ridiculous weaponry that will have you genuinely laughing out loud at points. The opening tutorial is extremely well done and sets the tone for the remainder of the game.

To summarise, the game doesn't take itself seriously and neither should you. The action is frantic and will keep you occupied for hours. It may be a short ride, but it certainly is fun while it lasts.

92

FLAWLESS VICTORY

DowntimeGuys | April 14, 2014 | Review of Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition

Mortal Kombat is truly the most fun I've had playing a fighting game in a long while. The mechanics are simple to pick up, yet difficult to master. Playing this locally with a friend (using Xbox 360 controllers) is the way to go. There's nothing as satisfying as edging a close match and then ripping your opponent's head off with you bare hands using one of the game's many ultra-violent 'Fatalities'.

The game's visual are highly polished with a noticeable improvement over it's console counterparts. You don't need a high-end machine to play this game maxed-out, but I would recommend you aim for the sweet-spot of 60 frames per second, as most fighting purists will vouch for. The single player campaign features and interesting story which sees you control a multitude of characters from the Mortal Kombat universe.

It's hard to find any flaws in a game such as this. Every aspect of the design has been painstakingly thought-out by the developers and this improves the experience to no ends.

Casual gamers will be dazzled by the gore and satisfaction of landing each blow and hardcore fighting fans will spend countless hours perfecting the combo's and taking on the hard-as-nails campaign.

82

An improvement over FIFA 13 (PC)

DowntimeGuys | April 2, 2014 | Review of FIFA 14

FIFA 14 has taken everything good about FIFA 13 and expanded upon it. The defending has been improved and the players' movement off-the-ball has been vastly improved, making the game real closer to that of real-life football.

My gripe with the game is the fact that a XBox One and PS4 version of the game exist which utilises the new Impact Engine which improves physics and graphical fidelity. Apart from being lazy, I can't see any reason why this engine could not have been used in the PC version of the game. Most gamers who would play this on PC will have a pretty high spec system. Even if the game isn't particularly well optimised, it would still look and feel a lot better than this version.

Bottom line is that if you've not played the next gen version of FIFA 14 you will be happy with what is a decent port of the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game. For those of us who've played the Ignite Engine powered games on next gen, this simply doesn't compare.

Let's hope they sort it out next season!

83

Basically, it's no FIFA

DowntimeGuys | March 31, 2014 | Review of Pro Evolution Soccer 2013

For many years people had considered PES as the pinnacle of football games when it comes to gameplay. FIFA may have had all the licensing and advertising clout, but Pro Evolution Soccer was a faithful incarnation of the real thing. Matches we're more likely to end 0-0 than the 5-5 you might find at full time in FIFA, but that was why we loved PES.

This year the balance is shifting.

The gameplay on FIFA has steadily been getting better throughout the years, with modern games offering both a tactical and beginning-friendly offering that can be enjoyed by the masses. PES on the other hand has positioned itself as the 'game for hardcore players' even thought most die-hard footy fans will be drawn to the licensed teams that FIFA brings.

Having played both FIFA 13 and PES 2013 it's hard to justify the reasons to choose PES. The menus do look nice, and some of the licensed team's players look fantastic, but everything feels very rigid and arcade-like.

It's hard to explain what makes FIFA so good in comparison. You'll play PES for a few hours and really start to enjoy it. But it's only when you go back to FIFA that you realise how much better the players control and the overall feel and flow of the game. It may end up 5-5 at full time, but who cares when you're having so much fun in the process.

Purists will argue that PES will always be the dominant game, but give FIFA a chance too. I think you'll find you'll have more fun with the latter.

PES isn't a bad game by any means, but FIFA is king as far as football simulators go.

90

Light-hearted mayhem

DowntimeGuys | March 31, 2014 | Review of Saints Row IV

Foreword: I am reviewing the PC version of the game. Apparently the console versions have some frame rate issues in the open world.

If you've ever played a previous game from this series, you probably know what to expect from this game. The jokes in the game can sometimes be a little crude but it all depends on your sense of humour. Personally I enjoyed every minute of it when some moments that had me genuinely laughing out loud.

Being the fourth instalment in the popular open-world series, the developers at Volition added many new elements to keep the gameplay fresh. The biggest addition is that the main character now has super powers. The game is set in a virtual world similar to The Matrix, in which you play as the President of the United States who's been abducted by an alien overlord known as Zin. Being set in this computerised world has given the developers creative freedom to add ridiculous gameplay mechanics without the need for explanation beyond "it's part of the computer program".

The first super powers you're given are the ability to perform a super-jump and super-run. These allow you to transverse the open world at increased speeds and avoid the annoying time wasted going from point A to point B in a vehicle. This is where the game starts to shoot itself in the foot.

There are a variety of vehicles in the game as well as the ability to customise them using garages scattered throughout the city. The player is never really encouraged to use these vehicles as the super powers are a much faster (and fun) way of traversing the map. It's a shame that some poor art designer has wasted their time on vehicle models and customisation options that will only be discovered by about 10% of the players. That's my only real gripe with the game though, and that's not even a real issue as it's not a lack of content but the fact that some options are overshadowed by the super powers.

Overall this is a fantastic game, with some truly creative weapons and dialogue. It's also quite a long game, and those completionist out there will find themselves spending 50+ hours to find all the collectables.

95

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Gem

DowntimeGuys | March 28, 2014 | Review of Sleeping Dogs

Let me start by explaining that True Crime: New York City was one of my favourite open world games. It's story was both ridiculous and serious at the same time and was a welcome alternative to Grand Theft Auto. True Crime was extremely buggy though, and could have done with some more time in development.

Sleeping Dogs beautifully creates a modern day Hong Kong that players can interact with to their heart's content. The graphics are beautiful (especially if you play on a high-spec PC) and the game's long development time is apparent by the incredible voice acting and attention to details in the characters and world.

If you're a fan on police dramas the story in Sleeping Dogs will have you captivated throughout. It's a story of loyalty and honour which creates an emotional connection between the players and the protagonist.

The combat is probably the game's biggest strength, with a counter-attacking style similar to new Batman games produced by Rocksteady Studios. It's a vast improvement on the True Crime games and a step above the button-bashing mechanics that you might find in other open world games.

It's worth mentioning that although there are guns in this game they are few and far between. There are incredible set pieces where you're given a weapon with unlimited ammo and all hell breaks loose. It's the lack of weapons throughout the open world that makes you appreciate the moment you are given a weapon, which makes the set pieces all the more entertaining.

To summarise, if you enjoy open world games and Chinese culture this game was made for you. The combat is satisfying and makes you feel like a badass, whilst the story is gripping and will keep you coming back for more. This is easily my game of the year (I played it in 2013) and I'd thoroughly recommend you give this a try.

You won't be disappointed.

89

Amazing story, average gameplay

DowntimeGuys | March 26, 2014 | Review of Bioshock Infinite

Playing through Bioshock Infinite takes a long time, especially if you're like me and enjoy finding every collectable and picking up every coin that drops. At first I found myself drawing comparisons with Fallout 3 because of the sheer amount to see and brilliantly crafted world. It's when you look past the fantastic story of the game and the imagining of the world of Columbia that you start noticing the cracks in the game.

Whilst the story keeps you coming back for more, the gameplay won't. This is largely due to the games reliance on Vigors (Columbia's version of Plasmids) to bring new twists to the combat. The weapons you find are forgettable and it's really the Vigors that are the most memorable and fun to use. It's a shame then that if like me you like to take your time and enjoy the sights, you'll find yourself spending hours before a new Vigor is introduced. The game ends up becoming more like Call of Duty as you're bombarded with enemies that are intelligent yet never pose much of a threat. You will find yourself overwhelmed occasionally, but the amount of Health pickups in each given area means you're always a sprint-button away from some extra life.

Sometimes you come across a game or movie where the majority of the experience is lacklustre, but the ending makes it all worthwhile.

This is one of those games.

I won't spoil the ending, but I can tell you it's absolutely worth the time you put into the game! A lot of critics nominated this as their game of the year, which I struggled to believe based on the gameplay alone. It's when you take a step back when the final credits roll, reflect on the entirety of the experience, that you'll agree this is a must-play game and one of the greatest stories ever told in a video game to date.