Reviews by Jamfrost
They learned from their mistakes.Jamfrost | June 26, 2014 | Review of Dark Souls II (NA)
(Don't be scared off by the game's difficulty or afraid to use a guide to help you. There are dedicated wikis with hundreds of pages of information out there to aid you.)
This is a much better pc port than Dark Souls 1. I'd still recommend a gamepad over M&KB for this title, but they really took the time to make this the superior version of the game by utilizing the power of the pc. 4-5 loading times with a smooth 60fps to see yourself die gloriously. The game runs very well, especially when compared to Dark Souls 1.
16:10 resolution users will need to take some time to consider if they like having black bars on their screen (letterboxing). It didn't bother me too much since my screen is a good size, but maybe there are some mods out there to help you like GeDoSaTo.
Being a fan of the first that I grabbed on consoles, I went into the sequel optimistically. I quickly found myself compelled to complete the game twice. The magic in the game, while pretty, just isn't as satisfying as the melee. Certain spells (lightning spears) can trivialize the game which can be managed so long as you don't give in to the temptation too often (use 'em for problem areas like Shrine of Amana).
I had a grand ol' time using maces, swords, and the occasional halberd and make it a goal of mine to try out different weapons. You can even dual wield shields if you really, really want to due to power-stancing which allows for alternate move sets if you wield two similar weapons while have 150% of the required stats. You can do that with shorts swords, daggers, ultra greatswords, and gigantic clubs (and more). It's a lot of fun with a lot of risk and reward involved since you'll probably rely solely on your dodge for defense.
I found the combat to be satisfying and enjoyed both pve and pvp. Learn how to dodge through spells for those naughty casters and don't be discouraged if you run into the occasional hacker. There are also some memorable boss battles to be had in Dark Souls 2. And some gross ones.
I'm not too sure about how the overall story was handled, but I definitely enjoyed specific characters in the game. Some of them are quite tragic and interesting.
And finally, I'll mention a couple things that are important to know about this entry if you played Dark Souls 1. Agility is a fairly important stat that increases your invincibility frames for your rolls. Shields work differently here, get used to how they work. Enemy groups are more common, learn to manage groups of enemies. Ambushes. That's it. Have fun!
A Very Good TimeJamfrost | June 26, 2014 | Review of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (NA)
Blood Dragon runs surprisingly well and looks great with my Windows Vista 64-bit, my Radeon HD 6850, and 2.6Ghz quad core. Even on medium-high the game will look quite decent, partially due to the crt monitor filter that gives the game that retro look. Blood Dragon is an 80's throwback with an improved plot over its predecessor since Far Cry 3 goes from "I've never killed anymore before." to mass murder with an AK in an hour.
Expect neon, collectables all over the map, fast-paced 80's action, lasers, adorably awful one-liners, silly gun customization, cybernetic enhancements, style, and explosions. This game will probably take most people 6-8 hours. In my case, I just took over five since I moved very quickly. It's fun enough to consider replaying and short enough to be able to do so. The game uses its time well, in my experience.
In conclusion, Blood Dragon is a surprisingly entertaining and solid title that hopefully receives another entry. Maybe one for every new Far Cry?
Not Too FlexibleJamfrost | April 5, 2014 | Review of Bridge Constructor
Bridge Constructor is a puzzle game where you build bridges for three types of vehicles to cross over with the third one being unlocked after beating the game ( the tanker ).
This game will take some time to beat. It took me around nine hours to solve the puzzles for the main portion of the game. You'll have quite a few puzzles to chew into as you build bridges or cause accidents.
The puzzle solutions really felt restrictive. You're given a set limit of money that you cannot exceed via the choice of the building tools available to to you, wood and concrete, for example. You'll end up needing to build very specific bridges that can handle the load of itself, and the vehicles that are passing over it. The game really could have benefited from having a bit more leeway in terms of funds allowance. It puts a stranglehold on fun designs and really limits your architectural vision. To be more clear though, your designs can be a bit more wacky when only using cars as the vehicle of choice. If you choose trucks or tankers, you're very, very limited in how you place and utilize resources, especially with tankers.
If you don't mind the limit on design freedom, then you're looking at a ton of puzzles waiting to be solved. You'll need to be able to construct bridges capable of supporting 3 types of vehicles. Effective designs will stand strong while bad ones will turn red and more red until things start snapping and vehicles start crashing or exploding (they can be hilarious). The materials you can look forward to using are wood, steel, concrete, and steel ropes.
That's pretty much it for this game. The controls felt fine and worked with a mouse properly in my experience (this game is a port, I believe mobile or tablet).
Wonderful StorytellingJamfrost | April 5, 2014 | Review of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons has a lot to offer in all departments except for the actual challenge in its puzzles and its linearity (although, you'll have a good number of secrets to discover). If you can look past those two things, you're in for a treat.
The controls for Brothers, do more than just let you control two characters at the same time, they help tell the story and connect you to the characters. This game really stunned me with its story and how tied player control into it. You won't find such a wonderful mesh of story and controls in many other games. Because of how the story is told through gameplay and visuals, I strongly recommend using a gamepad of some sort. You'll only benefit as the experience will become stronger. I don't know if I can recommend buying a pad for just Brothers though (hopefully you'll have other games for it as well if you don't have one).
The story is good and has emotional impact . It didn't wow me as much as how it was told and that's the key difference here. Games are an interactive medium while movies are passive. You'll feel as though you actually are taking part in this story.
The challenge on the other hand, is really lacking. This game is not Dark Souls or Super Meat Boy. That would probably take away a lot of the experience. Know that when you make this purchase. You'll be playing Brothers to experience and partake in a story, not take part in a satisfying boss fight or head-scratching puzzles. Due to the lack of challenge though, you'll have a smooth experience without many bumps in the road.
It's also quite linear. There are views to take in though and some secrets to find. Take some time to interact with the world to get the most of out your experience.
This game is worth your money, just make sure you're aware of the kind of game you're purchasing.
A Short, Emotional StoryJamfrost | April 5, 2014 | Review of Papo & Yo
Still, the game seems to be as long as it needs to be.
Papo y Yo is a game that really takes you to another place. A place of fantasy where you play as Quico. You then take on the world's puzzles and platforming challenges put before you.
The fantastical setting allows the game to present the player with strange, abstract scenery. It is also has a distinctly South American flavor that a lot of people will not have experienced. It's somewhat of a similar feeling to playing Sleeping Dogs for the first time and seeing Hong Kong. You'll be in a very different place. The graffiti art in particular made me stop to take a gander as I encountered them on the sides of walls and tall buildings.
The game's story might be its strong point to some. It's riddled with metaphors and symbolism and turns into something with emotional impact as you put the pieces together. It's told well enough and there's little to misunderstand.
The platforming was okay and seemed manageable for the most part, but a few puzzles presented some problems. I ran into exactly two puzzles, I remember them well, that completely stumped me due to how counter-intuitive they were. I'm not sure how they expected the player to figure those out and they resulted in a bit of time being wasted experimenting ( I needed to use a guide). I'd not rather not spoil them by being specific. In any case, don't be afraid to use a guide or walkthrough to get past those frustrating parts and continue enjoying the game.
I'd be hesitant to recommend this game at full price. It doesn't have a lot of replay value; although, its new game plus features collectible hats. If you can grab it for $10 or less, have a go at it.
China Rising Appears Mostly DeadJamfrost | April 2, 2014 | Review of Battlefield 4 China Rising (NA)
China Rising was a let down. It was a map pack that had no "levelution" or map changing events in it. So if you're expecting big events similar to Shanghai's collapsing skyscraper or Paracel Storm's map dividing ship, I'd heavily adjust them.
Dragon Pass, a tropical map, suffered from the unbelievable inclusion of invincible trees that no amount of tank shells or tank ramming can destroy. This can result in vehicles becoming caught on plant life, halting their progress. These hazards then force drivers to have a bad time with navigating the terrain. I don't understand how 3 months later, these invincible plants are still here to antagonize vehicles and players. I supposed you can take cover behind them.
You'll also be hard pressed to find servers with China Rising Maps. As of this time, I can only find 3 active servers that have people in them. This map pack died with it.
Great Gameplay Marred by BugsJamfrost | April 1, 2014 | Review of Battlefield 4 (NA)
Hitting tanks with rpgs, launching homing rockets onto laser designated enemy choppers, parachuting from tall skyscrapers onto enemy territory, and so much more. BF4 has a lot going for it, but it has so much wrong with it at the same time. I'll start with some pros before going heavily into the cons.
The gameplay and shooting aspects of BF4 are incredibly fun and sometimes nutty whether we're talking about vehicular or infantry warfare. Jets really feel out of place though. The maps really need to be much bigger for adequate dogfighting. War Thunder has BF4 beaten in that regard. Assuming you're on a good server and have a stable connection, you'll be blasting your way through walls or sniping people and having a good time. I personally love driving around in a tank and obliterating buildings. They brought back a good level of destruction for this entry in the series.
Having a group of friends or associates really amplifies the gaming experience though and I'd strongly recommend having at least enough people to have fill one squad (5 slots). You can still do quite a lot of damage pairs though. If you decide to lone wolf it though, you'll pull in less experience and probably not have as much fun. Coordination leads into really great moments, or hilarious ones when plans go wrong.
This game uses Origin, but that doesn't bother me as much as the game using battlelog. This game does not have an in-game browser. For whatever reason, they continued to push battlelog which will mean shutting down and relaunching the .exe anytime you want to change servers which is incredibly annoying. Especially during the launch period of this game where it was incredibly unstable.
This game is not very stable yet. Dice will repeatedly break things with their patches and content updates. It makes for an inconsistent and frustrating experience at times. It gives off the strong impression that the game was released in an unfinished state.
The unlock system is a gigantic tread mill meant to waste your time. Weapon unlocks are tied to using that class of weapon. Then attachment unlocks are tied to each weapon.If you like vehicles a lot, then you can expect a painfully slow soldier or weapon unlock rate. Oh, soldier unlocks are separate from both weapons and vehicles. Everything needs to be leveled, but only vehicle operators run the risk of stagnation. If you find yourself driving around a lot, nothing else will level up, resulting in a grinding mindset where people will either need to grind it out in infantry maps or just be satisfied with never, ever being able to use anything else.
With 43 hours or more of play, I've only unlocked 7 infantry weapons besides the default ones with some attachments for a select few. Even the pistols and grenades need to be leveled up. With all these requirements, you're not free to experiment or just have the sight you want. The battlepacks will do a great job of unlocking attachments for guns you don't have yet too. It's a bunch of very terrible design decisions that should have been handled with more consideration for the player's time.
I recommend not bothering with the single player campaign. I did have an incident where the game wiped out several hours of progress for me, but ignoring that, the game just terrible. They give you a silent protagonist with your squad mates or other characters all telling you how you feel for you. Play this game for the good multi-player. Although, I do have to tell you that three guns for multi-player are tied to single-player.
Sacrificing Scares for ActionJamfrost | April 1, 2014 | Review of Dead Space 3 (NA)
In comparison to it's predecessors, Dead Space 3 really lacks in the horror department. That's especially true if you play the game with a friend. I also didn't like the story. I'm not sure the writers really knew where to go after 2. Or after 1. Dead Space 1 still seems be the creepiest of the franchise (I played it soon after 3 to be sure).
Now if you play with a friend, you'll be looking at a very silly and fun 15 hour experience depending on how hard you loot. You'll mostly end up shooting and stomping zombies while opening everything in sight. Yup, the necromorphs are merely monsters that are in the way of shiny power nodes and weapon recipes.
The controls felt fine. The graphics seemed nice. The game did have the problem of not enough viable weapon combinations.
Nothing felt as strong as the shotgun. This was the primary weapon for both my friend and me as we pummeled necromorphs into oblivion. It's not that the shotgun was too strong, but the rest of the weapons didn't quite have enough strength. The Line Cutter came sort of close as did some of the rapid fire weapons, but the shotgun had both power and ammo efficiency, making it impossible to replace. They failed to balance the weapons appropriately which hindered our desire to experiment since anything we crafted turned out only okay instead of better or equal.
I would recommend experimenting to really check out the nice crafting system they have in the game which can involve a shotgun attachment for a shotgun. There are some opportunities for friend shenanigans in the game.
Dead Space 3 is a good choice for a co-op game. Just know what you're purchasing. (I do hear some stories about Origin giving people grief for pairing up, but my friend and I had little to no problems connecting to each other.)
Still the Best Hitman Game I've PlayedJamfrost | April 1, 2014 | Review of Hitman: Blood Money
My only issue was with the ending in terms of how difficult it was for me. The rest of the game was incredibly solid and fun.
You can customize your loadouts and decide what kind of hitman you were going to be. A murderer that eliminates all living things or a silent assassin that melts back into the shadows after neutralizing the target.
To give you an example of how flexible this game can be for different people, there is a theater level in the game (plays not movies) where there are two targets for Agent 47 to eliminate. You could cause an accident and make it seem like you were never there at all. You could bring a sniper rifle and show everyone who's boss. You could wear a disguise and maybe make it more personal.
In my case, I took a suppressed pistol, worked my way to the top floor and took out both targets with a headshot (one on stage and the other in a balcony) and quickly made my way out with no one having an idea of what just happened. In and out in only a few minutes.
Due to the various approaches and methods a person can employ, the replay value of this game stands strong.
The only things holding this game back are the aging graphics and difficult ending. Otherwise, you're left with a game that truly lets you become an assassin, a psycho, or anything in-between. It's up to you.
Competent TD, but...Jamfrost | April 1, 2014 | Review of Super Sanctum TD
It appears to suffer balance issues until you unlock near everything, but more about that later.
The graphical presentation is good and serves the game well. It has an older feel to it while still being crisp and functional and not a pixelated mess. You'll probably enjoy looking at it, but at the very least, the style will not interfere with your gaming strategies.
There are a variety of skills available for you to bring into the maps (levels). You unlock more skill slots by leveling up, up to a maximum of four. There are some cool powers like the Thunderbolt or Freeze. Some of the others didn't really do it for my play style.
There are a variety of towers available, up to a maximum of four (not unusual if you've played the Sanctum series at all before). You can also set tower priorities individually. You can make a tower hit the target with the most hp or the least hp (for example) to further maximize its effectiveness depending on where you placed it.
My biggest problem with this game (and the other two in the series) is that the towers and skills are locked behind levels. This results in a need to grind to attain all skills and towers in order to fully realize your strategy for each map. I find this aspect of the game to be annoying and a bit of drag when all I want to do is perfect my layout and explode aliens.
Defense Grid, another TD game, may not have a progression system, but provides a more polished and balanced experience in return because you're given all the tools allowed for each stage. Each map also has numerous modes for high replay value.
Though Super Sanctum TD has problems with its unlock pacing, it still provides a good experience for the price, doubly so if it's on sale.