Reviews by JuliusMonge

90

The textbook FPS experience, however you want it

JuliusMonge | June 9, 2013 | Review of Borderlands 2

Not much to say here that isn't obvious once you play. It's more of Borderlands 1. Bigger, better, more hilarious. You like FPS? This is for you. You like Diablo-style looting like most RPGs? This is for you. While the complaints in 1 is that most weapons followed one between a handful of templates, this feeling is gone here. Even two SMGs with the same animation may have so different stats that they apply to different playstyles altogether. You will find favourites, especially amongst brands(I love the old-style semi automatic Jakob revolvers and TORGUE shotguns). The variety is also in the characters, with different playstyles being built with each skill you take or don't take. Want to be a phantom that dashes from enemy to enemy unseen? Do that! A pet master that makes everything go "BZZZZAP!"? Be my guest! Dual wield Machine gun and rocket launcher? Why not?! Should I use longbow grenades to snipe-nade enemies out of cover or area-of-effect flame sprinklers? In short: do. whatever. the hell. you want. Play it exactly the way you want to play it.

The game had me laughing out loud numerous times.It knows it's not a serious game and it takes every advantage it can take out of that . The characters are memorable, the previous PCs are fleshed out, and even the story is noteworthy! Also, Handsome Jack is a serious canditate for villain of the year. Charismatic bastard. You're doing yourself a disservice for skipping this one. It might not be the most innovative, but FPS don't get much more enjoyable than this, single OR multiplayer! Let's put it plainly: this is the FPS of the year.

67

Overstays its welcome

JuliusMonge | June 9, 2013 | Review of Dead Island

Cool concept. Very well executed too. It's always fun to whack a zombie in the head with a battery-powered crowbar and watching him spasm around screaming. Cutting off limbs or breaking bones is also very satisfactory(shame you can't do that on the legs, though. Zombies in this game can't crawl). The story is...surprisingly good actually. I'm really interested in seeing where it's going, after the sequel hook. It takes a long time to pick up its pace, though. All in all, it's a game about getting up close and personal with zombies, unlike most. And it does that well. However, play this with a friend. Really. This game is downright UNFAIR if you are soloing. From bosses that take too many hits and dish out too much damage to having so many enemies that you just can't kick them away fast enough, it's frustratingly difficult to manage everything on your own. Then again, I was playing the character with the smallest health pool in the game, but when I get hit twice because a sucessful kick didn't knock a zombie back like it should, putting me in critical health, really made this game annoying. Consequently, the "Infected" zombies, should be the easiest do deal with(charge running but have low health) were a pain in the ass, guaranteed to fuck me over when two or more charged at me even if I was ready for them ,machete in hand. To say nothing of the bosses.I even tested it after finishing, and saw zombies spawning behind me from places I'd already cleared(by exploding a grenade there, no less!). Crafting weapons is fun enough when you get a machete so hot it's basically a plasma blade, but collecting weapons ain't the strong aspect here: most of them look and act alike, and you'll quickly fall into your characters especiality, and from them, only your preferred type. A Xian Mei player, for example, will usually spend the whole game carrying some half a dozen machetes, disregarding cleavers, sickles and knifes. In summary, it's a decent enough game that will bring some enjoyment, but by the end of it, you will want it to be over already. Ryder's campaign is very nice to get some extra mileage, especially considering how it makes firearms viable. And it clears up some great mysteries about the story. Though it's constantly running back and forth between corridors that all look alike.

90

Depressing. Introspective. Genious.

JuliusMonge | June 9, 2013 | Review of Spec Ops: The Line dns

A pretty average shooter altogether. A couple weapons, a very limited squad tactical feature, and a brilliant yet underused mechanic including sand - explosions lift sand clouds that make it really hard to shoot precisely, sandstorms make targeting near impossible, environment allows you to bury your enemies - so many options, yet I saw so little of it. A shame. The gameplay is enjoyable, but not innovative or fantastic in any way. But it's not the gameplay you should be looking at: it's the story and character development that's groundbreaking. To say anything would ruin your experience, but let's leave it at "While it starts as a normal TPS, there's a clear turning point after which this game will repeatedly make you question yourself as a gamer and, maybe, as a person.". Character development of this magnitude in a genre like this is one of a kind. Pay attention to Cpt. Walker. Not just his looks, but his attitude, even during gameplay.Yes, this game takes the care to show you story and character not only during cutscenes. By the end of the game, you will be shocked at the change. By the way, the sand-filled landscape of Dubai is drop-dead gorgeous. It's difficult to talk about this game without spoiling it's major selling point. EVERYTHING has a meaning not immediatly evident. Even the STOP sign you see at the beginning of the game. I don't care if you put this game on Easy and brush through it in 4 or 5 hours: just play it. Pay attention. And once you're done, think about it.

70

A good game brought down by design choices.

JuliusMonge | May 31, 2013 | Review of Hitman: Absolution

Oh boy... where to begin? Yes, this game is fun. Yes, I love the "blend in" kind of stealth as opposed to the "don't be seen" kind. Yes, I can enjoy the more linear levels, as opposed to the sandbox ones. Both have their advantages: the sandbox allows you to be more creative, but it can be very overwhelming, especially if you have to reset. Ah, there we go. Resetting. I have one problem with this game. Not the disguise recogtnition system - which is a very nice and realistic idea they unfortunately couldn't get around without the instinct system. Not the instinct itself: 47 covering his face with a cap might look stupid, but managing that resource bar is another layer of strategy, even if an exploitable one(it's easy to quickly tap into the instinct when you're about to get recognized and watch as your watcher's suspicion indicator resets); point shooting, on the other hand, seems unecessary - it's not the kind of game where I should be shooting a room full of people, which is a shame because 47's Silverballers look so cool they are begging to be used. - but it's there and it looks cool, if you want to use it; the highlighting key elements is useful in telling apart what's scenery and what's a potential deathtrap. No, my problem is with the scoring system. It's what turns this game from a fun, if slightly limited - would say, not entirely without reason, the Blood Money enthusiasts -, sadistic workshop into an exercise of trial-and-error frustration in search of one of the optimal methods the developers designed into the level. No more of the free approach "I'll have that guard chase me into the garage, climb out by the roof and get into the door he was guarding" stuff. You get spotted, you mess up in a tiny way, and you have that negative score jeopardizing your whole run, regardless of how well or how brilliantly you manage to contain or even take profit from the situation. Instead, you reload your checkpoint and try to search for that one air duct the level designer put somewhere that will coincidentally end up somewhere the AI is programmed to trigger an event... say, lighting a cigarette near some convenient gas pump. It's less about creativity, more about finding the optimal solution, which, as far as I know, is not what this series was ever about. Maybe I want to use a silenced sniper to kill patrols, knocking their bodies off a bridge? Well, shame on me, 'cause my score will never reach my friend's, who preferred to go for the Silent Assassin bonus.Why should I be punished for using the many tools the game gave me to kill? Instead, it will slap my hand and make me shimmy from the edges around said bridge if I ever want to go for a good score. I don't even want to explore to find alternative methods(some of which are mind boggling, if funny. Rigging a power line so a guy gets shocked while pissing? Scattering a wrestler's guards by stealing his... teddy bear?), I just want to find the first solution that will get me through the level. As for the story... yeah, it isn't great. It's cliché, it's predictable in 95% of its run. I do, however, enjoy how it provided an opportunity for 47 to be portrayed as a more humane, relatable character, even if sometimes he would make me bang my head on my desk. Showing your face in front of a crowd before snapping the neck of your target? I thought we were going for the subtle and unnoticed approach. It's not a bad game, don't get me wrong. I had fun with it. Getting through the levels is fun, especially when I could manage to explore without setting off some score penalty. But there was a whole lot of frustration about trying to figure out and execute a puzzle in its most perfect details, not about exploring and coming up with a plan I would adapt on the fly. Again, not a bad game, just one that went the opposite way of my expectations.