Reviews by Jelley

90

The Return of the World's Greatest Detective

Jelley | March 25, 2013 | Review of Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year -

Batman Arkham Asylum is simply an amazing game, combining fluent responsive combat with elements of problem solving, to create and atmospheric and engaging game that is an absolute joy to play. From the start of the game, the player is thrown right into the story, which instantly is reminiscent from to the classic comic books. The joker begins an elaborate plot to hold Gotham City to ransom, and once again it is up to batman to save the day. Along the way, Batman unlocks more combat and stealth options, but also meets more of the inhabitants of Gotham city, many of them classic comic book characters. These unlockable allow for more in-depth combat and puzzle solving scenarios which help to keep the gameplay fresh throughout the play through. Combat is a major strength of the game, which feels responsive to the touch and has just the right amount of user input to seem fair. It is a blast to swoop down from the ceiling, quickly dispatch a thug, and then return to the shadows before a sound is heard. This solid combat is accompanied by an atmospheric art style which amplifies shadows and negative spaces, as well as satisfying sound effects that fit the tone of the game well. The game is paced through a combination of problem solving tasks as well as well produced cut scenes, that showcase the effective graphical style, as well as the stellar voice acting cast, who for the most part reprise their role from the tv show. Batman Arkham Asylum is a must play game for anyone with even the smallest interest in the franchise.

80

A throwback to the classic FPS genre

Jelley | March 25, 2013 | Review of Painkiller: Black Edition

Painkiller is a throwback to the classic style of first person shooters. Waves of enemies lie between the player and the exit of the level, and it is up to the player to blast their way through all of them to reach the exit. Simple in concept, Painkiller is well executed and has just enough plot progression and variety of levels to maintain excitement. Typical to the genre, the game features a variety of weapons which offer a variety of ways to disembody the endless waves of hell. With an emphasis on killing, the game houses an impressive physics and graphics which showcase the destruction caused by the player, and are incredibly satisfying. One such weapon can pin enemies to a wall, while another simply explodes monsters into a fountain of blood. The endless killing is broken up by several cut scenes which progress the plot of the game, as well as boss battles which significantly change up the physical game play and overall strategy. Players can also complete an optional objective in each level to unlock a tarot card, which can be activated to give slight buffs. Painkiller also features multiplayer which essentially has the typical modes of capture the flag and death match. With addictive game play and wonderful physics and graphics, Painkiller is an engaging game and is well worth a look.

70

Simple, but charming

Jelley | Feb. 21, 2013 | Review of Zombies.

Zombies is exactly what you should and would expect from an apocalyptic zombie game. Blood, violence and endless waves of zombies that want to eat your brain. This game manages to combine humor and a vast array of weapons into a relatively simple concept, to create a fun and addictive user experience. There are a few modes to play the game. The first is a story mode, which pits the player in a series of levels, where although the objective stays relatively the same, the periodic unlock of weapons and enemy monster types keep it interesting enough. In between levels, humorous cut scenes create some story, where the character interacts with NPCs encountered during missions. The other mode of play is a survival mode, where the player starts with all weapons unlocked, and has to fight off multiple waves of zombies. In this mode, surviving for as long as possible is the objective. The game features charming bit-era graphics, that vividly depict the bloodshed of the game. Humorous sound effects compliment the graphics, and help create the silly setting. In a nutshell, there isn't a great deal of depth or surprises to the game, but it is fun, addictive, and well worth a look.

90

The Greatest Turn Based Strategy Game

Jelley | Feb. 21, 2013 | Review of Sid Meier's CivilizationĀ® IV Complete Cap

Civilization 4 is truly an amazing strategy game, featuring great strategic depth, and a many ways to customize the experience to suit the users needs. The game has a simple premise, advance a small band of nomads into a mighty civilization, eventually winning the game when one of five victory conditions are met. However, many areas need to be managed, such as foreign relations, and defense, where a balance of all things is crucial to success. Combat essentially revolves around a modified a rock-paper-scissors method, whereby every unit counters and is countered by something, but also has a strength rating. Graphically the game looks amazing, with a clear UI layout and smooth slick animations. This is accompanied by great sound design, particularly in the narration for technology researches, but also in the Grammy winning main theme. Although daunting at first, the game is quite user friendly, featuring extensive tutorials and accompanying hints and tips in the game. The game also features great mod support, allowing users to customize the experience to a play style or setting of their choice. The game even ships with a library of pre-made mods, which are easy to activate. The add ons included don't alter the game play a great deal, but the added units, wonders, factions/leaders and even cinematics complement the vanilla game well, and provide more tools that can have an impact on the final result. Although Civilization 4, or the included expansions don't revolutionize the civilization experience greatly, small but meaningful additions such as religion, great people and the user friendly 3D engine, improve on an already great series, to create a highly entertaining experience.

90

The ultimate Sonic platformer

Jelley | Feb. 21, 2013 | Review of Sonic 3 and Knuckles

Sonic 3 is undoubtedly the high point for the 2D sonic franchise, and ultimately it improves on the game mechanics and level design of its predescors. Sonic 3 and Knuckles diferentiates itself from other sidescrollers, particularly by the game speed, but also by the inclusion of an achivement based mini game system. Its a blast to speed through waves of enemies, and sucess in challenging minigames give a strong sense of accomplishment that is highly rewarding. Both sonic 3 and the included add-on, sonic and knuckles, feature a great music score that complements the almost frantic pace of the game, but also create atmosphere which truly capture the memorable moments of the playthrough. This package also includes multilplayer functionality, where the story-mode can be played co-operatively. A race based competitive mode is also included which can be played in hotseat. The game is quite short however, and once the game is complete, there is little in the way of replay value. Overall the sonic and knuckles is an exceptional game, and despite being short, it is well worth a look.

80

A Classic remastered

Jelley | Feb. 21, 2013 | Review of Archon Classic

Archon classic is an entertaining game, that combines core aspects of strategy and action games, into a surprisingly fun and addictive package. Being a remastered edition of an old classic, archon has pleasant graphics, which suitably play homage to the original giving a nostalgic feel to the game, which returning players will appreciate. The game has significant value, as it has several modes of play which are great fun. The game features a helpful tutorial mode supported by several fully fledged campaigns which introduce units and game mechanics at a good pace. However, the game truly shines in hot seat mode, which is impressively fun, features extensive customization to change the experience just enough, and allows for the addition of AI players to fill in extra numbers if needed. As it originally appears as a modified chess game, Archon possess significant strategic depth, but also requires a knowledge of the classes limitations. As a package, Archon classic offers something for everyone and is well worth the investment.

95

A Truly Amazing Experience

Jelley | Nov. 22, 2012 | Review of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (NA)

Skyrim is easily one of the best produced games of recent years, it greatly improves long standing RPG conventions to offer an amazing user experience, and a game play experience like no other. Combining amazing graphics, voice acting and quest design, Skyrim is an incredibly impressive game with remarkable game length and overall quality. This iteration of the elder scrolls series has substantial improvements over previous games. The fighting system has been completely reworked to include increased realism as well as two handed combat, and the user interface has been given a massive upgrade including the addition of a quick access/favorites, as well as animated visuals for every object of the game. The pc version itself has significant advantages over other versions, including a large library of mods which have the potential to completely change the user experience, or simply tweak slightly annoying aspects of the series which detract from the game as a whole. With incredible amounts of depth,replay value and customization options, Skyrim is safe choice for enthusiasts or casual gamers alike.

75

Another Solid Game in the Series

Jelley | July 21, 2012 | Review of Worms Reloaded

Despite the long wait and high anticipation regarding this game and its return to the 2d roots, this game barely deviates from the established formula and does just enough to reignite the fun of the long running series. Almost all of your favourite weapons return, and new additions add some variety and new tactics which generally complement well together. The new graphics look is great, and with many options to customize worms,game settings, teams and maps, there is plenty of replay value. The sound effects and voice attacking stays close to the series high standards, and greatly immerses you in the game play. However most of the better maps are only unlocked through extensive progress in the campaign, or through DLC /on-line map packs. Despite its great execution of multilayer, particularly hot seat, the campaign lacks creative, mission design and far too many resort to basic death matches, which is disappointing considering previous entries in the series such as Worms World Party offered great mission variety and challenges. The missions do become better in the DLCs, but it is a shame the core game has bland mission design, given that it has a death match mode, which is essentially the same thing. Nevertheless, Worms Reloaded is a solid entry in the series, and its disappointing single player does not completely overshadow its amazing game play death and addictive multi player.

80

The Dictator Meets SimCity

Jelley | July 15, 2012 | Review of Tropico 3: Gold Edition DNS

Tropico is a solid and fun simulator which does just to differentiate itself from other games in the genre, while still being fun for a good period of time. Being set in the 50s and 60s, Tropico lets the player act as an authoritarian dictator while they control an islands economy, social structure and well being in a pursuit to stay in power. The games main strength lies in its unique economy structure, with workers and income coming via the movement of container ships. This periodic nature of income leads to strategic thought and balances the growth and power of the island. Building and infrastructure management highlight its setting and work well with the economic system of the game. Differing traits on dictators and government types impact game play and offer some form of replay value as well as adding to strategic game play. Although the game features game speed options, it is flawed and encourages only one game speed. Negatively, the game is highly repetitive, with similar mission goals, and the same repeating music and dialogue. The expansion adds little to the game, with only few additions to playable characters and buildings, and very similar mission structure and goals. Overall, Tropico 3 is a solid game, but lacks multiplayer options and poor replay value which both keep it from being a more enjoyable game.

90

Outstanding RTS

Jelley | July 14, 2012 | Review of Company of Heroes THQ

Although it belongs to a highly conventional genre, Company of Heroes strays from the strict conventions of the genre to offer an experience rarely seen in games. The emphasis on tactics and positioning rather than base management is a welcome relief and ultimately makes Company of Heroes stand out as one of the top RTS games. As a WW2 RTS, Company of heroes offers several well executed and varied factions that have offer vastly different play styles and ultimately areas of strength and weakness. The campaign features great looking cinematic cut scenes as well as an overarching storyline that truly makes the effort rewarding and satisfying. Company of Heroes is arguably the best looking RTS to this day with great model detail and realism which is exaggerated through destructible environments and witty voice acting. However this realism is also its biggest fault, as game play especially on-line can be rather tedious, and balance is sometimes questionable given the focus on mimicking the WW2 battles. Despite being 6 years old, the on-line community still endures and on-line matchmaking in all its game modes is a breeze.