Reviews by Nivear
The final story DLC leaves something to be desiredNivear | July 26, 2013 | Review of Sleeping Dogs: Year of the Snake
While Sleeping Dogs itself is fantastic in all aspects, the Year of the Snake DLC, while longer than both Nightmare in North Point and Zodiac Tournament doesn't pay tribute to an aspect of Hong Kong cinema which causes it to feel lacking in purpose.
You spend your time as Wei Shen after the main story. He has been demoted to a traffic cop but stumbles upon a cult wreaking havoc around the island on New Years Eve. It starts off up-beat but eventually grows repetitive and since it lacks a few of the elements that make the main game special and great for the player (such as the ability to call a valet to get a vehicle when stranded) I think unless you absolutely love Sleeping Dogs this DLC can be given a miss. A few of the missions are hard to figure out as they don't give you directives on where to take rigged cars/vans.
That said it is still a great experience for lovers of the game and when completed you unlock a few of the cop outfits that can be used in the main game, so it's certainly not a waste on all fronts, just that the narrative of Year of the Snake lacks the personality that the main narrative of Sleeping Dogs oozed.
Another brilliant ode to Chinese cinemaNivear | July 26, 2013 | Review of Sleeping Dogs: Zodiac Tournament
For Sleeping Dogs second DLC, Zodiac Tournament has you take a ferry to a nearby island and go through a series of trials in a martial arts tournament. It only takes about an hour or so to complete but it is extremely fun and the visual homage to old kung-fu movies is superbly done. The DLC also offers new grappling moves once completed and the diverse new enemies on the island are challenging even for veterans.
Fascinating and groundbreaking take on investigative gamingNivear | July 24, 2013 | Review of L.A. Noire [Playfire]
There is plenty to say about L.A. Noire, and it's all good. You control protagonist Cole Phelps as he solves crimes as an Los Angeles Police Officer in the 1940s, eventually rising through the ranks. The narrative is compelling and with the new MotionScan technology in this game, working on cases is extremely enjoyable. As you work through a case you uncover clues, interview witnesses for more clues and chase down leads and question suspects to get at the truth, only, instead of simply guessing the player must actively study the reaction of the suspects to gauge if their responses check out.
The aesthetic and environment are wonderfully articulated, with costumes, hair styles, cars, even the buildings and mannerisms of the NPCs that walk the streets all modeled in 1940s style.
The controls are a little bit finicky at times but it's only noticeable when trying to go for the best rating on a case, and otherwise isn't too disastrous. That said, it is a very tiny issue in what is a master piece in gaming. The objectives are clear and precise and ultimately the freedom of choice is huge, even though some choices clearly affect your rating, they are still there to be made.
The game can take anywhere from 15-40 hours to complete depending on how much time you spend on collectibles and if you drive to every location yourself (as there is the option of getting your partner to drive which skips the trip) The best part about this game though is it never feels like a chore to complete tasks, such as driving across the vast landscape of 1940s Los Angeles, everything is so breathtakingly detailed.
If you enjoy open-world sandbox games, solving complicated puzzles with numerous solutions or have any fondness for early cinema and excellent narratives, do yourself a favour and get this game! If nothing else it's something to experience that shouldn't be missed out on.
Suitably rooted in chinese mythologyNivear | July 24, 2013 | Review of Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point
Nightmare in North Point is a great addition to a great game. It is easy to breeze through the content within a couple of hours and the lack of map indicators for the lamps in the area could annoy some people but overall the episode of Wei Shen's life is worthwhile. Chinese cinema's aesthetic is portrayed perfectly and with Wei Shen acquiring some new kung-fu and weapons it is an exciting side-story to experience.
Absolutely loved it!Nivear | July 21, 2013 | Review of Sleeping Dogs: Limited Edition
Sleeping Dogs is a sandbox style open world game set in Hong Kong. You play as undercover cop Wei Shen as he infiltrates a criminal organization, battling with other gangs, his own conscious and trying to balance the stresses of leading a double life. The game-play is phenomenal, armed combat works brilliantly, the parkour style free-running is great and the slow-time mechanic works wonders. The mission types and collectibles are varied and the dialogue and story are sharp and compelling. The true brilliant element of this game though is the execution of hand-to-hand martial arts. The design and range of moves gives you the distinct feeling that you are a master and once all are unlocked you can defeat mobs of opponents in cool and devastating ways. The graphics are great and the main campaign takes about 15-20 hours if you don't complete many side-missions. The music is another highlight and I found myself listening to tracks after finishing the game. If you even remotely enjoy kung-fu style cinema or sand-box games such as the GTA or Saints Row series, Sleeping Dogs is definitely worth it!
Complicated but worth the effortNivear | July 21, 2013 | Review of Frozen Synapse
Frozen Synapse is a turn based strategy game with a lot of control. The game starts off complex and you need patience to get used to the visual representation along with how to execute commands but once you figure everything out it is quite a fun game to play. The multiplayer matches are certainly challenging and the campaign levels are a great way to prepare yourself for them while learning the finer points.
Be wary of what you expect.Nivear | July 21, 2013 | Review of Dear Esther
Dear Esther is not a game in the traditional sense, certainly not something I can imagine young adults or children enjoying. You control a first-person view of someone walking around an island, there is no HUD or interaction with the world around you other than being able to move. The game sort of has a linear pathway and as you walk a narrator tells a story. The visuals are beautiful and what it aims to do is leave you with a distinct feeling and connection to the story that is being told. It only takes about 50 minutes to complete if you follow the pathways and is certainly a fresh genre/type of game.
Far better than expected.Nivear | July 21, 2013 | Review of Super Meat Boy
I figured with Super Meat Boy I would be getting a decent platform styled game that would keep me entertained for a few hours, but it's so much more than that. The levels progress in a great way, the first couple levels of every world are somewhat easy and are there to allow you to get a feel for how the rest of the levels in that world will work, but the difficulty reaches great heights and definitely tests you. That said, this game is not for anyone that doesn't like games where you fail and have to retry a fair few times before beating it. The addition of warp zones where you find and unlock new characters with different abilities is brilliant as it lets you tackle different stages with a different play-style and freshens up the repetitiveness. There is also bandages to collect in each stage which are difficult to reach and once the level is beaten under a specific time you unlock an even harder version of it. The boss stages are also a highlight and the cut-scenes are funny. Beating this game to it's fullest capacity will surely take a lot longer than a few hours. This game is excellent value for money!
So addictive!Nivear | July 21, 2013 | Review of The Binding of Isaac
It's not hard to talk up this game, and screenshots don't do it any justice for how fun it is to play. You go through multiple dungeon levels that progressively get larger, as the enemies get more diverse and harder, collecting items, trinkets and using keys to open chests and doors. There are hundreds of different effects and some are desirable while others are risky. The random element gives this game huge value as replaying it always offers something different and it is always fun while remaining challenging!
Storytelling at its bestNivear | July 8, 2013 | Review of Bastion [Playfire]
Bastion took me buy surprise. The art design is simply fantastic and the manner in which the story is told is unique to say the least, as it adapts to how you have chosen to play, what weapons you use, if you get hurt, etc. You can customize your game-play to what suits you best, with a great range of weapon types and upgrades. Loads of unique enemies and maps keep the game fresh at every turn. As it's often on sale it's definitely a worthwhile purchase for anyone that loves quirky narrative driven gaming.
Action movies of the 80s, move over!Nivear | July 8, 2013 | Review of Just Cause 2
Not sure what to expect with Just Cause 2? Just look to any Jean-Claude Van Damme or Arnold Schwarzenegger film from the 80s and 90s in which they tour the country taking down corrupt officials and blowing up half the country and you've got it pretty much in a nutshell.
The graphics in this game are decent for their time, nothing spectacular but they certainly allow you to imagine yourself in Rico's world of fast vehicles and explosive weaponry.
The control mapping on a keyboard and mouse are standard and do not feel alien to anyone who plays FPS games on a PC. This games real strength though is the controller support. The standard controller mapping of button actions is superb and it easily allows you to pull off devastating precision while you take out leagues of enemies. Parachuting, driving, flying, aiming and grappling are all designed to work in a manner that keeps you feeling in control of any situation and allows you to tackle encounters however you prefer to. With the ability to cargo drop weapons, vehicles, and extract yourself from hairy situations, this game has it all in terms of giving the player choices.
The voice acting for some of the southern Asian persons can be a little jarring at times because it is used strongly but it doesn't detract from what the game sets out to accomplish. As for the rest of the cast, they are believable and witty.
As for the game narrative itself, the story isn't overly deep or gripping, but it doesn't aim to be, this is a game about daring entrances and causing as much chaos around the island as possible. The island is enormous and once the main arc of the game is completed, which should take anywhere from between 25-40 hours, you can continue to wreak havoc taking out the remaining bases and searching the villages for any missed loot. 100% completing this game would take considerably longer than the main arc.
This game is worth the purchase and I highly recommend it for anyone who loves open world first person shooters or anyone who is a fan of high-octane action!