Reviews by Guitarwall

91

Best game in the series

Guitarwall | Jan. 17, 2012 | Review of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (NA)

Skyrim really claimed all the expectations I had set for it. While Morrowind and Oblivion were both great games, the former suffered from too prolonged storyline and lack of voiceacting and the latter from uninteresting storyline (them cursed oblivion gates...) and bad voiceacting. I hoped and expected for Skyrim to greatly improve on these parts, and it did it.

The stories in the land of Skyrim are immersive and believable, and the fate of the Nords can really get into your head and make you think about the decisions and sides you take. The main storyline, while being far from the greatest storylines of games, still kept me fascinated and wanting to know more and more. Furthermore, the storylines of the various factions are distinctive and interesting, especially the College of Winterhold (a substitute for the Mages Guild in previous TES games) storyline.

The gameplay is smooth and is more polished than ever before. The decision to let the player assign melee or magic to each hand is brilliant, and I was really thrilled by the fact that I felt like invincible battlemage, striking my enemies down with fire and steel...although I died a great many of times, since Skyrim isn't the easiest game around, nor is it the hardest. I good balance, I'd say.

The graphics are really good and the visual design of the game is striking...for many times, I had to stop and admire the view from the hilltops or the majestic mountains from the plains. And the northern lights! For a guy who lives in the northern part of the globe, the game's setting in the northern part of Tamriel was really delightful one.

The game has a few bugs, for example the inventory system can frustrate a lot from time to time. And while you can gain a follower for your various expeditions into the depths of Skyrim, they just might decide that the hillside is too steep for them to descend down and stuck. For many times I had to load a previous save, shout my follower down the mountainside and hope he/she doesn't die in the process.

I have to give special notion for the music in the game, for Jeremy Soule has surpassed himself and composed probably the best game soundtrack ever. Fantastic work.

In conclusion, Skyrim suffers from a few minor bugs, but nothing substantial. And what's important, none of these bugs prevented me from enjoying the game with my whole heart, spending one month and 100 hours in Skyrim and not wanting to trade any moment away. If you like open worlds, medieval settings, dragons, magic and RPG's Skyrim is totally your game.

92

A game worthy of its name

Guitarwall | Jan. 16, 2012 | Review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution

It is nearly impossible for any game to stand straight when comparing to the original Deus Ex, which is a true masterpiece and probably the best game ever made. Add to that the fact that the game in comparison has the same name, and the pressure for the developers would have to be nearly unbearable.

Eidos Montreal pulled it off, and with flying colours.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a rare masterpiece of this time, when most of the games released are designed to be easily chewed and digested without much thought. The story, in all its depth, is truly fascinating and its various twists and turns will keep the player hooked to the game for the entire length of the game - and beyond. The motivations behind each faction are well founded, although it will take time to truly understand them, because nothing in this game is purely black and white.

The risk that the developer took with the unique and striking visual design pays off, for the atmosphere in this game is one of its many strong sides. The ambient soundtrack by Michael McCann supports the atmosphere flawlessly. The graphics of the game are good, although they probably seem a bit out-dated for those who have played L.A. Noire or such.

The idea of the original Deus Ex - letting the player choose how to play - is well preserved in Human Revolution, and it creates the possibility for quite varied experiences within the game. Especially the stealthy side of the game is really enjoyable, but the shooter side doesn't really pale in comparison either. It is possible to complete the game without killing anyone.

Except the bosses. There we have probably the only major design flaw that the game has - the boss fights are really out-of-place and don't match the rest of the game at all - and the decision to outsource them is probably something I'll never understand. However, once you get the hold of the situation, they aren't that hard (even with the hardest difficulty) and they incorporate different approaches to the fights, and in my third playthrough they felt more like cutscenes and the game continued right after them.

The game is yet to crash for the first time, so I guess we're talking about a quite stable game here. There are some glitches with the physics engine which lead to some hilarious moments, but they're not so frequent that it would ruin the immersion.

The last but not the least, the added value for a DX veteran. One can find numerous nods towards the original Deus Ex from emails, ebooks, conversations - and of course the story itself - and it really fascinated me how well Eidos Montreal played that card. The nods aren't the kind of "riding with the nostalgia"-type of nods, but slight and subtle references which only make sense to you if you've played the original Deus Ex.

In conclusion, Deus Ex: Human Revolution was the best game of 2011. A few minor glitches and the boss battles prevent the game from being near-perfect, but the overall atmosphere and the compelling story are second to none but the original Deus Ex. A game worthy of its name? Definitely.