Reviews by MisterSlimm

60

Funniest crouch-walk in game history

MisterSlimm | May 19, 2011 | Review of Alpha Protocol

Alpha Protocol is immediately underwhelming with unatmospheric graphics and a depressingly unoriginal opening (you wake up with amnesia and are talked through a training level) devoid of excitement, pacing, intrigue, spectacle or interest. Your dreary avatar humorously crouch-walks around the level giving you time to wonder why game designers have the bizarre belief that we bought a game about secret agents to be treated like an infant. We're supposed to be amazing; the game and characters should treat us as such in order to instil the relevant atmosphere. The problems with the game are legion; most notably, cover that frequently doesn't work, every boss fight being an exercise in gut-punching misery (despite one being brilliantly backed by Turn Up the Radio by Autograph) and being generally forced to choose a response before you hear enough of the lead-in. Additionally, the presence of sexual swear words feels wrong given the inspiration is clearly the bad-language-free JB spy gods of James Bond, Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer. Now while the action never gels, it certainly gets better and the game, as a whole, always feels just a hair away from greatness. Your ongoing choices also have a significant effect on most missions (not just the ending) which is highly appreciated. So while Alpha Protocol got deservedly blown away by the superior Mass Effect 2, it's certainly worth checking out now at it's budget price.

This game contains sexual swear words, adult dialogue and substance abuse (with unrealistic effects) and extreme gun violence, melee violence, a couple of unexpected and extremely graphic moments of gun violence and sensuality.

90

Don't be put off by the first level and bring out your inner god

MisterSlimm | May 19, 2011 | Review of Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition DNS

Starting off rather dull and seemingly over-complicated in operation, this develops into a classic conspiracy thriller neatly packaged as an outstanding game that takes in New York, Hong Kong, Paris, California and, ultimately, the mysterious Area 51.

This game contains mild swear words and substance abuse and mild gore, extreme violence and mild references to prostitutes, inferred sexual activity.

The biggest problem with Deus Ex is startlingly obvious: the first level is too sprawling, too much, too soon. It is a slog to complete. You get everything all at once, a fully functional agent which, despite a lengthy tutorial (which crashed my machine on occasion, I might add) which leads you through every capability you possess, requires the player to be completely familiar with playing the game. On the first level, however, this is never the case. The afore-mentioned tutorial covers so much that it is impossible to remember it all. This is a shame as it will put some people right off and they may never sample the delights of this standard-setting game.

90

You feel like you can save, or at least change, the world

MisterSlimm | May 19, 2011 | Review of Deus Ex: Invisible War Capsule

While initially appearing to be not quite as good as its legendary predecessor, this remains a fascinating and compelling game. Like the original it manages to draw you into a wonderful game universe where you feel like you genuinely get the chance to save, or at least change, the world.

This game contains graphic violence.

SPOILERS AHEAD

In what is a remarkable move that will probably prove to be unique in video game history, the climax of Invisible War saw me deciding that the best option was to kill my own character (and his brother) from the first game, J.C. Denton. Yes, you get to kill yourself. Amazing. Poor old J.C. had turned into a bit of a Nazi after merging with the Helios A.I. and, instead of adding his humanity to the A.I., logic had unknowingly signed away his soul. His plan was for every being in the world to be the same, fully kitted out with nano-technology bio-modifications. I decided against that but that is one of several different endings (related in a video epilogue) that see the world pass through 200 hundreds years of peace or violence. The peace isn't necessarily all roses, however, as by uniting with J.C. and the Helios A.I., humanity has all vestiges of, well, humanity removed.

END SPOILERS

POSITIVES

  • Ambitious

  • Addictive, when I'm not playing I want to play it

  • Impressive genuinely real-time lighting effects (if you walk into an overhead light blub dangling from the ceiling, it will sway around casting dramatic shadows all over the place, awesome)

  • Impressive rag-doll and physics effects, even if they are greatly exaggerated (walking into a dustbin will send it flying across the room)

  • Plenty to do with lots of interesting character choices and moral decisions to make. Do you go immediately settle into life as a mercenary, killing people for money, or do you take a more noble approach?

  • Architecture. The good thing is you will remember your way around the environments without needing to keep going back to maps. Though maps are provided for most of the locations, you will never need to use them. This is extremely uncommon in FPS-style games.

NEGATIVES

  • Clunky menu system and in-game interface

  • Overheard voice conversations have large gaps between sentences

  • There is no casual character animation. For example, if someone is talking to you they stand feet rooted to the spot with arms generally fixed at their sides. The camera in cut scenes is also 100% stationary, it never ever pans, zooms or crawls.

  • Unconvincing AI

  • Tiny levels always asking you to load the next bit (generally blamed on cross-platform requirements)

  • Architecture. The bad thing is that some of the levels don't feel connected to each other even though they are. The most obvious example is Sophia Saks hangar which needlessly feels like it has Sid Black's plane at the wrong end.

70

Fun game but you might suffer technical issues

MisterSlimm | May 19, 2011 | Review of Tomb Raider: Legend DNS

This is a good, entertaining game marred by shoddy technical issues. Almost every death (even on the hardest difficulty which I played it on) comes from these issues including the camera angle changing the effects of your directional buttons, frame-rate problems causing unresponsive face buttons and an auto-lock-on system which frequently targets off-screen, out-of-range elements. The inconsistent frame rate spoils the visuals but it generally looks pretty good, especially Miss Croft herself (my favourite outfit to play in is the ripped red evening dress), and the special smoke, water, explosion and lighting effects are terrific. Special mention for an unusual and highly welcome time trial mode which challenges you to get through each cleared level within a certain time. I'd like to see that on all suitable games.

This game contains mild swear words and gun violence, melee violence, supernatural violence.

70

The game is fun but you might have some technical issues

MisterSlimm | May 19, 2011 | Review of Tomb Raider: Anniversary DNS

This is a good, entertaining game marred by shoddy technical issues. Almost every death (even on the hardest difficulty which I played it on) comes from these issues including the camera angle changing the effects of your directional buttons, frame-rate problems causing unresponsive face buttons and an auto-lock-on system which frequently targets off-screen, out-of-range elements. The inconsistent frame rate spoils the visuals but it generally looks pretty good, especially Miss Croft herself (my favourite outfit to play in is the ripped red evening dress), and the special smoke, water, explosion and lighting effects are terrific. Special mention for an unusual and highly welcome time trial mode which challenges you to get through each cleared level within a certain time. I'd like to see that on all suitable games.

This game contains mild swear words and gun violence, melee violence, supernatural violence.

90

A gift from Eidos, Core and Crystal Dynamics

MisterSlimm | May 19, 2011 | Review of Tomb Raider: Anniversary DNS

As someone who never played the original Tomb Raider, I very much welcome this kind of project which sees an older game updated technologically but kept intact thematically and stylistically. What most surprised me is that this is essentially a non-violent game (the player kills one person but it's horribly out-of-character and highly unnecessary for Lara; deliberately so, as it raises the question: can't games be about more than killing dudes?). The joy comes from linear and straight-forward but satisfying traversal and logic puzzles. Every large room you enter is a moment of joy as you start scanning to find your exit and plan your route out. As a bonus, all the bosses are better and more interesting than shoot-'til-you-drop and all require a little strategy and guile to defeat (or, at least, to defeat quickly). Time trials mode from Legend makes a welcome return and, frankly, all games like this should have such a mode. Ultimately, and unusually, this game feels like a gift from the Eidos, Core and Crystal Dynamics and it's a really nice feeling.

This game contains wildlife self-defense gun violence, at-odds-with-the-game's-tone gun violence and extreme knife violence.

90

Easy to play, nice to look at and a joy from start to finish

MisterSlimm | May 19, 2011 | Review of Tomb Raider: Underworld DNS

A fun, satisfying (if you don't use a walkthrough), good-looking adventure which again places the emphasis on traversal and environmental puzzles over easy but nice looking and enjoyable action. This is easy to play, nice to look at and a joy from start to finish. Checkpointing is generous, removing all frustration and allowing you to concentrate on the task at hand. The story is agreeably non-sensical mythical tosh but once more highlights legends from history (Norse, this time) that you may be motivated into researching and that's a genuine bonus from a game.

This game contains mild swear words and gun and fantasy violence.

50

The world's best Magnum, p.i. title sequence simulator

MisterSlimm | May 19, 2011 | Review of Just Cause Capsule

Featuring truly impressive game tech and a beautiful environment that feels like a very large golf course, Just Cause falls down because it's gameplay just isn't much fun. The highly saturated graphics aren't matched by highly saturated gameplay with Rico being boringly bullet-proof, and featuring insta-death vehicles, spam rockets and spam helicopters which make almost the entire game a slog. There is one good mission in the entire game (where you had to kill crops) but it ends in a truly joyless multi-part final mission leaving you with a really bad impression. Just remember that it's the world's best Magnum, p.i. title sequence simulator and that everything else is just a bonus.

This game contains mild swear words, adult dialogue and extended extreme gun violence and sensuality.

50

Bullet-proof grass undermines a fine idea but please try again

MisterSlimm | May 19, 2011 | Review of Sniper: Art of Victory CAP

This is a fine idea for a budget shooter providing a unusual, tightly focused experience that, due to it's low price, doesn't feel the need to stretch out or tinker with it's single gameplay mechanic. The atmosphere is surprisingly good with a nice tension coming from the knowledge that if anyone sees you, it's usually game over. The music is good and they avoid the temptation to make the music reflect the number of baddies. Levels are well-enough designed though more choice over routes would have been appreciated (you only really get that in the last level) and it's a shame about the execution in a couple of critical areas. Principally, lining up your shot doesn't necessarily end with the result of a perforated baddie because you can't shoot through some transparent objects or some blades of grass and you can't shoot some enemies that haven't 'woken up.'

100

Atmosphere you can slice with a slicer

MisterSlimm | May 19, 2011 | Review of BioShock DNS

When reviewers talk about atmosphere in a game, this is what they are talking about (see also the Half-Life series). This is the best-looking non-Epic Unreal Engine game; it shows that it isn't the engine's fault that so many games built in it look kinda ugly but that the developers are not getting the best out of it. However, Bioshock isn't quite perfect. The main problem is the staggering gameplay decision that pulling your Plasmid or Weapon trigger does not always fire it; you have to press it twice if switching from one to the other or you have to press a button then the trigger. Every other problem is rather minor (the Big Daddy boots make a quickly tiresome noise) and are more than compensated for by the incredible production design, wonderful sound, interesting gameplay and surprisingly well-told story (there are almost no cut-scenes) with a reveal in the second-act climax that will really tickle the grey cells especially if someone reminds you what Vita-Chambers do.

This game contains sexual swear words and substance abuse (plasmids) and extended extremely unpleasant and extremely gory scenes, extended extreme and gory gun violence, extended extreme and gory melee violence, extended graphic fantasy violence.

70

Spill numbers, not blood; it's more fun

MisterSlimm | May 19, 2011 | Review of Borderlands

Contradicting the clever and striking-but-repulsive cover and a somewhat inexplicable BBFC 18-rating (the far more realistic, violent and graphic Call of Duty: World at War got a BBFC 15), Borderlands turns out to be a fun, engrossing shooter which always has lots to do and a welcome amount of stuff to loot, buy and fiddle with. Baddies are equipped with infinite-range machine guns regardless of their graphics or loot and can shoot you in the eye from anywhere, even if they're not looking at you. It's a bit disheartening to be taken down from the other side of a level by an enemy you can hardly see with the 4.2x zoom on your sniper rifle. This means wading into a battle that is at your level tends to be a dispiriting rather than challenging experience and, while you just return when you seriously out-level them, it does indicate the balancing is slightly off. The story is impossible to follow and the world as a whole is unconvincing. But it is just fun to battle monsters and baddies and see numbers spilling out of them and the looting is highly satisfying.

90

Bullets hurt. But so does Sam.

MisterSlimm | April 19, 2011 | Review of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell

Occasionally obscure level design never undermines the total super-awesomeness that is Sam Fisher, the player. Splinter Cell consistently makes you feel like an amazing super-covert super-operative while still allowing you to be very vulnerable to bullets (unlike most games). Bullets hurt. On Normal, getting into a firefight is a to-be-avoided, near-death adrenalin bath. When you survive, it is always genuinely amazing and intoxicating. Usually, the action is far more considered and, remarkably, a similar level of satisfaction is obtained by successfully achieving your objectives without exposing yourself to the frequently game-ending danger of a gunfight. This is a complete classic.

This game contains none in game, sexual swear words in closing song (!) and melee and gun violence.

80

Pummel terrorists. Silently, of course.

MisterSlimm | April 19, 2011 | Review of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent

After getting used to the pace of the game after playing just about anything else, this is an absorbing highly satisfying chance to pummel terrorists. Silently, of course. The structure of the game is terrific: you have several objectives, some have to be done, some don't. It means that you don't have to do everything perfectly and allows for three major decisions for you to take with agreeably weighty outcomes and lots of little ones. Despite being an early seventh-generation console game, it looks fantastic - crisp, detailed and highly convincing. It's not brutal and detailed in the violence but that doesn't lessen the impact or joy of rendering another scumbag unconscious without alerting any of his buddies.

This game contains bad language and violence.