Reviews by NikorasuSan
Good top-down shooterNikorasuSan | April 2, 2014 | Review of Alien Breed 2: Assault
(I'm resubmitting this review because I never got a confirmation on whether or not my previous one got accepted.)
Alien Breed 2 is part of the Alien Breed trilogy of games, and it's, at the moment of writing this review, the only one I've played. Let me begin by saying that this game is really good for what it is: a top-down shooter set in a claustrophobic (and abandoned) space station, filled with aliens.
The action is quite good, even when there aren't aliens near you, you'll feel observed, not sure if there's one hiding around the corner. The aliens come in different types, not to mention that there are a few boss battles. The story is presented during cutscenes including some with a comic-book style.
There's a good range of weapons to use, and several levels to explore, all well designed. All in all, it's a rather good game, although a bit short, perhaps.
Great interactive bookNikorasuSan | March 6, 2014 | Review of The Thirty Nine Steps
As the title of this review sums up, The 39 Steps isn't much of a game as it is an interactive book. Even then, I feel that description falls short of its goals and accomplishments, for it is not an entirely passive experience.
The gameplay is quite simple. There's not much to do, other than spinning the mouse to make the story move forward, and some minigames that you can't really fail. Still, the plot is quite good, and the "game" does a good job at delivering. This is coming from someone whose first experience with the story was through this adaptation, as I have not read the original book.
Going back to the plot, as I said, it's good. What you'd expect from any other suspense novel out there. I won't spoil the details, but let's say that it's about the main character in the novel getting involved in the middle of an international conspiracy. Quite intriguing, isn't it? I'll let you to find the rest by "playing" this game.
Discover a new side of the Half-Life universeNikorasuSan | Feb. 28, 2014 | Review of Portal
Portal is one of the most interesting games Valve has released. It puts you in the shoes (or rather, Long Fall Boots) of Chell, a test subject in the mysterious Aperture Science laboratories, a rival company to Half-Life's Black Mesa.
In this game, you won't do a lot of fighting. Armed only with a Portal Gun, which you can use to make your way through the testing areas, you'll slowly uncover what happened to the facility, while GLaDOS, the AI controlling the testing, continually observes your every move.
The atmosphere is magnificent. From the clean Test Chambers, to the more messy 'backstage', it truly adds a feel of isolation to the game. Even GLaDOS' comments will make you feel somewhat nervous.
A great game, a bit too short, but nonetheless, great.
Episode Two: Gordon's story continuesNikorasuSan | Feb. 22, 2014 | Review of Half Life 2: Episode 2
Half-Life 2: Episode Two is the last (so far) entry in the Half-Life franchise. It continues what some call "the Half-Life 2 story arc", following directly after Episode One. Here, Gordon and Alyx must race against the Combine in order to reach White Forest, one of the largest Resistance bases in Sector 17.
Now, as far as gameplay goes, it remains faithful to what we've come to expect in a Half-Life game. The Gravity Gun is still there, the puzzles are still there, and the action, is also there. However, this game offers new things: new enemies, like the Hunters, which, given their speed and strength, offer a great challenge, even for an expert Half-Life challenge. There's also a new weapon, although not one that the player directly controls: the Magnusson Device, which offers a good way of taking down Striders, although Hunters will make sure it's not as easy as one would like.
As far as environments go, this game makes the Source engine shine, at least for the era it was released in. From the destroyed City 17 in the distance, going through the Victory Mines, up to White Forest and the surrounding environments... They all look magnificent. Not only that, the destruction sequences in this game (caused by the Portal Storms) are quite impressive.
This game is a bit longer than Episode One, but not as long as Half-Life 2. Still, it's got a lot of tense moments and a great cliffhanger which, sadly, has not been resolved up to this day. I still recommend it, but be warned, once you finish it, you'll join us in the wait for Half-Life 3.
Half-Life goes onNikorasuSan | Feb. 17, 2014 | Review of Half Life 2: Episode 1
Half-Life 2: Episode One is the continuation of Gordon Freeman's adventure. This game starts shortly after the end of Half-Life 2, and it deals with the consequences of Gordon's actions during his brief time at City 17.
The aesthetics of the game are very well designed. Seeing the previously cold and clean Citadel falling apart after the destruction of its teleporter gives a good sense of the repercusions of Half-Life 2's final battle. Not only that, but we do get to see the aftermath of the Uprising in the streets of City 17, and the massive evacuation planned designed by the Rebels. It also has quite of a horror vibe to it, in the underground areas; even with Alyx's company, you'll still feel a sense of danger while exploring those tunnels.
As for gameplay, this game offers the same weapons as its predecessor, with the lack of the bugbait. Still, it introduces new enemies, the Zombine, and the Stalker, and there's also a brief appearance of a future enemy.
This game's length is rather short, of a couple hours. Even then, it's packed full of action and intense moments. If you're a fan of the series, you'll enjoy it.
The sequel to one of the best games in historyNikorasuSan | Feb. 10, 2014 | Review of Half-Life 2
Half-Life 2 puts the player back in the shoes, or rather Hazard Suit, of Gordon Freeman. This game, pretty much like its predecessor, set a standard in FPS games, if not in gaming in general.
This game is set some time after the events of the original game. The intro alone is breath-taking. For starters, we learn that everything did not go well at the end of the game, as we find an oppressed Earth, under the rule of the Combine. As the game progresses, we learn more and more details about what happened while Gordon was in stasis, but these are only bits and pieces of information. Not only do we learn this from conversations, but from the environments itself; by exploring, one will find small details revealing how the life was under the new role.
Now, as far as gameplay goes, there have been some improvements over the original game. There are new weapons, the most noticeable being the Gravity Gun, which provides a lot of freedom during combats, as you can use any object that's lying on the ground as a weapon, and it's also essential for some puzzles. The variety of weapons, and their different secondary functions, makes all of them viable, even in the late stages of the game.
Another addition to the gameplay are vehicles. There are two sections that involve them; the first one is the Airboat section in Water Hazard; and then there's the Buggy in Highway 17 and Sandtraps.
I could talk about this game the whole day, but it's better to experience it than to be told about it. Believe me when I say, you'll enjoy this game.
About that game I owed ya...NikorasuSan | Feb. 6, 2014 | Review of Half Life: Blue Shift
Half-Life: Blue Shift is the second Half-Life expansion developed by Gearbox software. In this entry, you'll play as Gordon's beer-owing friend, Barney Calhoun, one of the many security guards working at the Black Mesa Research Facility, during the events of the original game.
The gameplay remains largely similar to that of the original game, since weapons from Opposing Force are absent (and even some of the original game, as well). Another thing this game is lacking is the presence of the new enemies introduced in Opposing Force, the Black Ops and Race X (even the female Black Ops, seen in Half-Life, are missing; same goes for the "bosses" of Half-Life). Even then, the action is up to the standards of Half-Life.
As far as environments go, once again we find ourselves exploring new areas of the Black Mesa Research Facility, including some of the early teleportation labs. Before the incident, we get to see the relationship between the science team and the security guards, which, in some cases, is not as good as the one seen in Half-Life.
One of the disadvantages of this game, and the reason it's not getting a perfect score, is its length, and the lack of new elements. Even then, it's worth a shot if you're Half-Life fan, as it'll get you to know a bit more about Barney's time at Black Mesa.
The Other Side of the CoinNikorasuSan | Feb. 2, 2014 | Review of Half Life: Opposing Force
Half-Life: Opposing Force is the first of the official Half-Life expansions developed by Gearbox software. And as a Half-Life game, it delivers.
This time, we return to the Black Mesa Research Facility, only in a pair of different shoes. Very, very different shoes. As you'll clearly see, this time around we're one of the soldiers sent in to contain the invasion, and as such, you'll get different reactions from the Black Mesa personnel, although they're still friendly.
The gameplay remains similar to that of the original Half-Life, but with new weapons exclusive to this game, some of which act as a counterpart to weapons from the first game; for example, rather than a crossbow, the player gets a sniper rifle.
This game features new enemies, in the form of Black Ops sent to clear out the facility when the HECU (that's you) fail, and Race X; mysterious invaders from another dimension, perhaps one even further away than Xen. They do a great work of spicing up the pace of the game, as even an expert in Half-Life will be surprised during his encounters with the new enemies. Going back to the allies, you can command other HECU members, pretty much like you could do with security guards and scientists in the original game, only that some of the HECU have special abilities, like the Medic and the Engineer.
The environments are well crafted, and they mantain the vibe of the original game; the sense of being in a huge government facility.
As for game length, this is shorter than Half-Life, although I'd say it's slighty more challenging. To be honest, it's hard for me to determine which one is best, if the original Half-Life, or Opposing Force. One thing is sure, though, if you're a Half-Life fan, you won't regret playing this game!
Half-Life: A Must Have for any gamer out thereNikorasuSan | Jan. 29, 2014 | Review of Half Life
Half-Life is, without a doubt, as per the review title, one of the best games ever. One of the very first titles to integrate both FPS action and great storytelling, Half-Life revolutionized the genre.
Its story, which could be easily summarized, it's still one of the greatest stories in gaming due to the way it's told. While most games at the time (and even up to these days) tell their story through cutscenes and the like, in Half-Life, the player always sees the events unfold before his own eyes in the perspective of Gordon Freeman.
The gameplay is incredibly well polished, with a wide variety of weapons, all of which are viable even in the latter stages of the game. The wide variety of enemies require different tactics from the player, and that's without taking into account the locations of these encounters, as you might be able to use your environment against them. It's worth mentioning that the AI, for its time, is great. You'll see enemies take cover while trying to get you out of cover; they'll retreat when hurt; and they'll surely use some squad tactics from time to time in order to ambush you.
The Black Mesa Research Facility, by itself, is a great location. You won't feel like you're going down the same corridors, as you get to visit several areas of the facility. From the modern Anomalous Materials lab, to the old industrial areas in Surface Tension, all the way up to the Lambda Core.
All in all, I think this is a highly recommendable game, one that, in my opinion, everybody should play, at least once, if not for nothing more than experience one of the very few games that revolutionized the gaming industry.