Reviews by Ganerumo
Arkane's strange take on the Might and Magic seriesGanerumo | June 26, 2013 | Review of Dark Messiah Might & Magic
Arkane Studios is not the kind of dev team to release a game every year. In fact, this French team has released a grand total of three games over their 11 years of existence : the most recent Dishonored, their oldest Arx Fatalis, and the strange one inbetween, Dark Messiah. Interestingly, each under a different publisher.
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is kind of a weird one. While Arx Fatalis and Dishonored were entirely made by Arkane, both on the programming and conceptual side, Dark Messiah is based on a lore that was never thought up by Arkane, and it tells : while the gameplay is amazing, the universe is seriously lacking. Might and Magic being a rather dull universe compared to the eerie and almost lovecraftian designs of Arkane, Dark Messiah suffers from a lack of visual identity.
Gameplay wise, the game still holds up : everything is based around a very solid fighting system that feels sort of like Oblivion or Skyrim, but actually good : each weapons works in its own way and offers various types of gameplay, through aggressiveness or stealth. While magic alone is not exactly viable, it makes for some great fun when combined with proper swordfighting, or staff handling (casting a freeze spell on the ground to make people slip on it and fall down a bottomless pit is still one of my favorite moments in gaming history, hands down). This is probably the side of the game that survived the test of time the best. Almost makes me wish Dishonored had a similar system, rather than its dumbed down sword fighting.
On the matter of technical speaking, the game does suffer a bit : made with the Source Engine, a rather primitive and recent engine back in 2006, the game suffers from frequent loading times (thankfully made much shorter by recent hardware), rather low resolution textures and most importantly small area limitations, which consequently greatly limit the freedom of action factor of the title. It's possible to play stealthy, aggressive or a mix of both essentially, but the level design often makes it hard not to bump into a pack of enemies while you're desperately trying to avoid fights. Most secrets can be ignored as the game is made way too easy by the constant placement of traps and other hazards (spikewalls, pits, fire, etc) which mean you can end most fights with a well placed kick.
The game still holds up well, though. It does feel like a prototype forced into a full game at times, but for its price it's well worth a shot. Just make sure to play in hardcore to avoid turning the game into too much of a cakewalk.
Huge and enjoyableGanerumo | May 29, 2013 | Review of FUEL
Fuel is not the best racing game ever. Fuel is not the prettiest title ever. Fuel isn't even the most complex, indepth game you will ever play. But it's got two big things going for it : it's huge and it's really fun to mess around with.
Following other racing games such as NFS Most Wanted and Burnout Paradise, Fuel dishes the typical closed racing cut off by menus and lengthy loading times and replaces it with a fluent, free roaming model with what remains one of the largest worldmaps in video game history. You start off with two vehicles (two others are very easy to get with a couple missions done), and the world is yours from the get go. If you feel like picking challenges without having to go find them, you can, but it's perfectly possible and recommended to just drive off into the sunset and have fun.
The core of the gameplay, the driving, isn't the best there is and it does lack a bit of punch sometimes, especially with vehicles such as motorbikes which feel a bit dull in comparison to the buggy or ATV. Apart from the perfectible sound effects and the lack of impression of speed at first (you will rarely ever get past 70 mph with the starter vehicles). It's still way above average.
Challenges and missions alike tend to be fun, with events covering your typical point A to point B race, time attacks, enduro races and other classic racing stuff, but sometimes the game surprises with a bit of originality, such as missions involving a race with an helicopter.
But the main interest of the challenges in Fuel is that while other free roaming racing games such as burnout and NFS put you in a very specific road (sometimes allowing for branching paths, but rarely ever more than one option is actually good), this one just gives you total freedom over how you are getting to your destination. The "smart GPS" system as it's called in the game shows you the way, but it will stick to actually defined roads, which are safer and take more time. You can take those, or just cut right through the wilderness, though the slightly reduced speed and constant obstacles will make it a much more dangerous route, with higher reward. It's really up to the player to choose what path to favor and when to choose which, and it makes for some very intense and fun races.
As for the free roaming part, it's good but it could use some more activity. Though it fits the apocalyptic feel if the game, the gigantic world you evolve sometimes feels pretty empty if you play Offline (which is very likely to happen considering the game is now 4 years old, and rather deserted online wise). The pretty and diverse landscapes does make up a little for this lack of life, but I still wish more things would happen in there. That, and the day/night cycle is incredibly short, and doesn't transition very well at all.
Overall, Fuel is a fun game, and it's certainly worth its current price (even more so when it's on sale). Only consider taking it if you are a fan of free roaming though, because this is really what you'll end up doing most of the time, probably even more than actual challenges.
An underrated game that's surprisingly funGanerumo | May 21, 2013 | Review of Dark Sector
Take resident evil 4. Take away the well known license, add more fluid controls and make it much, MUCH harder. There's dark sector in a nutshell.
Now for the more indepth part. The game starts in a very similar way to RE4 - the character looks a lot like Leon, it plays a lot like RE4, even the way you hold your gun resembles RE4. Then very early in the game, everything just takes a huge twist and takes a whole new direction, and the game reveals its true identity and turns out to be an extremely fun game. The best part about the whole thing is really the glaive mechanics and the dismemberment system that comes with it. The fact you get it very early on just makes it extremely fun from the get go, which is a virtue way too many games don't have.
And the best part ? It's cheap as chips. Just go buy it, it's totally worth its five pounds.
Dead rising 2, but stupider. So just overall better.Ganerumo | May 21, 2013 | Review of Dead Rising 2: Off the Record
Dead Rising 2 really improved everything Dead rising 1 had. Better controls, better gameplay, better story, and a lot less rage inducing moments. The only thing it did wrong was remove Frank West.
Now take Dead Rising 2, just add a ton of "what-if" scenarios all over the place, and make Frankie the main character again. Bam, best game in the series.
But bringing back the old Frank is obviously not the only good thing about this game. For a title that is essentially just a huge what-if version of Dead Rising 2, there are a lot of ways this could have went bad, but thankfully it only improves where it needed to be improved, and keeps what is not broken not fixed. It's really satisfying to be able to find former DR2 DLC content for free in the full game, and an immense relief to finally see a SANDBOX MODE (why was that still not in the series by now, seriously ?), in a game that's entirely based on butchering zombies.
The real question though is, is it worth a purchase if one already owns Dead Rising 2 ? Certainly not for above 10£. If you don't own any other title of the series, go ahead, this is a purchase you just can't regret.
This game is batshit insaneGanerumo | May 20, 2013 | Review of Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit
This game is nuts. 9/10.
What, you go more indepth ? The entire game makes no sense but it's fun as all hell. You are a naked rabbit, lord of hell, looking for compromising pictures of him in a bathtub with a rubber ducky, and the whole game is about killing absolutely everything and sending them to a private island to work for you until you can get these pictures back.
Still not convinced ? You spend the game riding a giant circular blade and shooting rockets at everyone. Now go buy it.
GOTY 2011, best batman titleGanerumo | May 20, 2013 | Review of Batman Arkham City: Game of the Year -
What is there to say about Arkham City that has not already been said ? It's got an amazing atmosphere, amazing characters, stunning graphics for an UE3 game, the best third person fighting mechanics I've seen in a while, and the original voice actors from the animated series for Batman and Joker. Even the story is amazing. AC is exactly what a sequel should be and more than that what a licensed game should be.
The one kind-of-bad thing about it is that the Harley Quinn DLC was kind of a letdown and the online pass to get critical sections of the game when playing as Catwoman forcing players to buy the game new caused quite a stir. The actual dlcs that add new characters to play with are amazing though.