Reviews by NucularS


Game for the ages

NucularS | June 13, 2015 | Review of Another World 20th Anniversary Edition - PC

Another World is a classic with fantastic visuals, great sound, and an amazing story told without a single line of dialogue. Prepare to solve puzzles, run and jump out of danger, and shoot aliens with laser guns, all with a constant feeling of gloom, danger, and excitement mixed together. Gone are the days of entering codes to continue, and the remake features convenient checkpoints. My only complaint are the two puzzles toward the end of the game, which can be very hard to figure out if you are good at the action part of the game. Rule of thumb here is that if the game refuses to save your progress, you have missed something important that is required to proceed later on. In all other aspects, this game is out of this world, and should be played by everyone.


Decent Budget FPS With Some Good Ideas

NucularS | March 21, 2015 | Review of Legendary - PC

Legendary is a decent budget FPS, but I cannot in good conscience recommend it with a game breaking bug in the last level that requires noclip mode to get past. I also had to glitch through one of the bosses by hiding in a corner behind some rubble, because it was seemingly impossible to dodge its attacks while it absorbed entire clips from a machine gun without flinching. It is a shame because the game has a lot of unrealized potential and some stunning visuals at times, despite an overall cheap feel. The very first level sees an epic cataclysm unfurl in the middle of a rush hour stricken New York City. The protagonist makes his way through a maze of abandoned vehicles as all around griffons are swooping down from the sky to snatch running civilians and giant golems are smashing through skyscrapers. All of this wanton destruction sounds and looks amazing, until you realize it is all scripted and the player is in no danger. Furthermore, proceeding requires the player to stand in a specific spot that often looks like a dead end and wait for the scripted events to unlock the way forward. There are some good ideas and fun here, if you are willing to overlook the early 2000's budget feel of the game and pick it up at a steep discount, but there are definitely better ways to spend one’s time.


Doom 3 look-alike that is worse in almost every way

NucularS | Jan. 31, 2015 | Review of Dead Space Origin - PC

Port Doom 3 to the consoles, then port it back to PC with non-rebindable controls and a laggy mouse, and the result is Dead Space. The game starts out trying to be a survival horror, but soon has an identity crisis, locking the player in arena-like spaces with dozens of fast moving monsters attacking at once, which is dubious considering that the character is as agile as a pregnant potato and takes up at least a third of the screen. Choosing a third-person perspective for a game with a silent protagonist is another strange design decision and removes any sense of immersion, especially when the protagonist just stands over a dying woman like a manikin with no trace of emotion. Add highly repetitive and mostly predictable gameplay involving completing two to three objectives per level, some of which are recycled later on, and there is no surprise that Doom 3 ends up a far superior game, with near identical visuals and storyline, but no artificial handicaps, better immersion, action, and horror.


Initially fun, but ultimately more of a chore

NucularS | Jan. 11, 2015 | Review of Scribblenauts Unlimited NA - PC

Initially, Scribblenauts Unlimited leaves a favorable impression and gives the player a cool ability to generate almost anything out of thin air and augment existing objects by adding adjectives. Furthermore, generated objects believably interact with each other and the rest of world, which allows for some creative problem solving. However, an initially cool concept soon turns into a tedious grind fest involving giving hundreds of NPCs ordinary commonplace items level after level, and many of the references required to generate the right item would likely stump children young enough to enjoy what is essentially a word game. While the game offers quirky graphics and cool mechanics, I think reading a dictionary would be more fun and useful in the end, and Scribblenauts Unlimited is best suited to punishing misbehaving children by grounding them until they get all of the achievements in the game.


Classic horror adventure

NucularS | Jan. 10, 2015 | Review of Realms of the Haunting Steam - PC

Realms of the Haunting is an adventure, puzzle, first person shooter mix that feels a lot like Heretic or Blood. The atmosphere is superb throughout the game with some genuinely scary moments, that still look and feel great today despite the game’s age. The only problem I encountered was the dubious control scheme that seems to require four hands to play as keys like jump, strafe, and movement are scattered all over the keyboard. I expect this would turn off many gamers, but there are patches online that fix this, and honestly, it did not bother me too much once I got used to it. The story is engaging and well told through motion-captured clips and diaries scattered throughout the game, but multiple endings would have made the game feel more complete. Overall, though, Realms of the Haunting is a classic.


Just short of a masterpiece

NucularS | Dec. 30, 2014 | Review of Tomb Raider GOTY - PC

Tomb Raider is an excellent game. Gorgeous main menu with a convenient benchmark and breathtaking first few levels, in terms of visuals, audio, writing, and overall atmosphere of constant peril, leave only the best impression. Unfortunately, things mostly go downhill from there as automatic weapons and skill upgrades quickly make Lara overpowered even on the hardest difficulty levels, and no one seems to bother taking away her weapons when captured. Some of the optional collectables like GPS caches and maps turn out to be a mostly useless, mostly tedious chore. The ending feels rushed, and unfortunately a disappointing cliché. I also wish there were separate settings for the game and the cut-scenes, because while the game ran smoothly on the highest settings, cut-scenes were noticeably lagging. This may sound overly negative, but only because the game could have been a masterpiece, and instead it is just excellent.


Brilliant sequel

NucularS | Nov. 8, 2014 | Review of Portal 2 (1) - PC

Brilliant sequel to the game that taught us that the cake is a lie. With much more humor and double the number of homicidal robots. Not to mention the new coop mode. Portal 2 is bigger and better than the original, with more answers and a deeper story.


Spectacular game

NucularS | Nov. 8, 2014 | Review of Portal - PC

Portal is simple, clever, charming, and sweet, with light homicidal humor. It will teach you to think with portals, and will never deliver on the promised cake. Prepare to apply physics and non-traditional thinking to solve puzzles and escape from an experimentation facility, but do not expect answers to creeping suspicions about a possible relation of Aperture and Black Mesa.


Dated, but grand nonetheless

NucularS | Nov. 8, 2014 | Review of Rome Total War - PC

Rome: Total War is beginning to show its age, but even 10 years after release it is still one of the best strategy games based in ancient Rome, and is probably the closest you can come to ruling an empire and conquering the known world as a Roman emperor. Large-scale battles, spectacular sieges, trade, diplomacy, assassination - Rome has it all. The greatest, and probably only, weakness is the weak AI, which has trouble applying any tactics other than a head-on assault.


Interesting concept that ran out of steam

NucularS | Oct. 28, 2014 | Review of Monday Night Combat (3) - PC

Monday Night Combat turns a first-person arena tower defense into a spectator sport with its own mascot and halftime show, which is certainly a cool and refreshing concept. The bad news is that the servers are usually empty since the developers abandoned the game in favor of a free-to-play rehash (which did not really go anywhere either). It is a shame that this game ran out of steam before reaching its full potential, because the ghost (ninja) class was wicked fun to play.



NucularS | Oct. 28, 2014 | Review of Rush Bros Steam - PC

Not a bad game, even enjoyable at times, assuming you will not try to get the achievements, most of which require impossible timing and precision. Nice music, vivid acid-induced visuals, and no death penalty make this a relaxing experience for the less hardcore players. For those that do want to "beat" the game, prepare to reload again, and again, and again, ad nauseam, until you can do the level in your sleep... or give up.


More zombies, more weapons, more ways to die

NucularS | Oct. 26, 2014 | Review of Left 4 Dead 2 - PC

The second installment offers more, but whether or not that is a good thing is up to you. There is more of everything: weapons, zombies, maps, and game modes. Those that wanted to make the war on zombies more up-close and personal now have a slew of melee weapons to choose from; most of the original locations, and even the old characters, have migrated over to the sequel; but, more is not always better, and Left 4 Dead 2 is missing something. Something small and imperceptible one cannot quite put a finger on. It is a great zombie shooter, but it is without soul.


Zombie survival at its best

NucularS | Oct. 26, 2014 | Review of Left 4 Dead - PC

Left 4 Dead is an insanely satisfying four-player zombie survival game of top-notch quality we have come to expect from Valve. Killing zombies has never been more cinematographic, and the mad dash toward the escape helicopter has never been more desperate. In many ways, the original even surpasses the sequel – the wailing cries of the witch is not something one soon forgets.


Small game in very big shoes

NucularS | Oct. 26, 2014 | Review of Serious Sam 3 BFE - PC

Sam "Serious" Stone is still the alien-fighting badass we have come to love, but for anyone who fought through the First and Second Encounters, the latest installment will feel "smaller" and lacking. The graphics have never been greater and ripping aliens apart with bare hands is extremely rewarding, if impractical, but the battles never feel as epic as they used to. Most levels feel empty, and that is a real shame.


Bank robbing simulator

NucularS | Oct. 26, 2014 | Review of Payday 2 - PC

What could be more fun than robbing banks with your friends? No friends? No problem. Payday 2 offers a generous selection of heists that can be complete solo in stealth mode, to bring out the mastermind criminal in anyone, and generally improves over the original in almost every way. Some of the newer changes to the game are dubious, but the developers continue to crank out more content (free and not so free), making this a great time to start your criminal career.


Great addition to an already great game

NucularS | Oct. 26, 2014 | Review of Payday 2 The Armored Transport DLC - PC

Armored transport heists add a refreshing change of pace to the game. Not only is stealth not an option, the entire heist can be done in 15 minutes (assuming you ignore the plans for the armored train heist, which is also great fun). My only complaint is that the best part of robbing armored transports, actually taking out the transport with a rocket launcher, is not part of the gameplay.


More playable characters

NucularS | Oct. 26, 2014 | Review of Killing Floor Urban Nightmare Character Pack - PC

The pack adds four additional playable characters, but the changes are purely cosmetic bragging rights aimed at the other players on the server. In terms of gameplay, or character characteristics, nothing changes. Whether or not a little bling is worth the price of admission is entirely up to you.


Tiny Game That's Big on Charm

NucularS | June 22, 2014 | Review of Tiny Big Grandpas Leftovers - PC

Get your explorer hat on and prepare to solve easy puzzles that interact with and shape the world. The game is tiny and can be easily completed in a day – which is a good thing because it never gets boring, but big on charm and quirky humor, with a surprisingly dark theme behind it. In a few words, this is Indiana Jones meets Tomb Raider in a very Adventure Time kind of way. My only regret is the lack of creative puzzles to take advantage of the unique tools at your disposal.


Fun and Endearing, and Then You Die

NucularS | June 22, 2014 | Review of Cargo Commander - PC

Cargo Commander lies somewhere in the spectrum of incredible frustration, entertaining platforming, and engrossing storytelling. The game is really good at conveying the loneliness of space, and user-written postcards scattered throughout the containers is a very nice touch. On average, the game is a lot of fun. Until, you drop into a container only to find a million baddies already residing there. Or pick up cargo and get surrounded by spawned baddies. Or accidently punch an explosive barrel and vaporize the container. You get the point. Prepare for some frustratingly quick and numerous deaths.


The Last Call of Duty

NucularS | June 22, 2014 | Review of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 MAC - PC

In short – this is the last Call of Duty game worth playing. The story is an entertaining Hollywood-blockbuster of a ride. If you stick to the script, that is. Walk off the path and suddenly you are no longer in the middle of a warzone. But if you behave, the game rewards with one heck of a ride. Multiplayer offers even more fun. But again, there is a catch – watch out for the hackers. Modern Warfare 2 is a great way to end the series, but it is a letdown from its predecessor in almost every way.


Must-Play for Gravity Gun Alone!

NucularS | Jan. 12, 2014 | Review of HalfLife 2 - PC

Half-Life 2 is a classic, which holds out exceptionally well years after release. Exceptional storytelling and a good balance of action and exploration, make this an enjoyable experience from start to finish. However, the experience is more cinematic than explorative, and protagonist’s inability to communicate takes away from overall immersion. This is where the game shows its age, while the graphics are still top notch, game mechanics belong to the 90s and 00s. In other words, it is a great FPS with a deep story, but not much interactivity or choice. Oh, and Gravity Gun!


Decent Graphics, Weak Storytelling

NucularS | Jan. 12, 2014 | Review of Nikopol Secrets of the Immortals Steam - PC

The main problem with this game is its puzzles: many problems are either illogical (film cannot be projected onto a white wall, only onto a screen), or require the player to find a needle in a haystack (or rather a particular small rock in a pile of other identical looking rocks). While the first is merely frustrating, the later requires scanning the environment pixel by pixel for no good reason. The story makes equally little sense and makes you feel like you started playing from the middle. The game’s graphics (especially 3D), sound, and controls were decent, but not spectacular.


Beautiful Stroll Along the Coast

NucularS | Jan. 1, 2014 | Review of Dear Esther Steam - PC

Screenshots do not do this game justice. It is an absolutely beautiful game, especially when combined with the soft, moving soundtrack. But then again, it is not really a game, but more of a slow virtual stroll along the coastline of a visually stunning landscape. The story is subtle, provoking thoughtful examination, but also making it easy to miss important clues (after two thorough playthroughs I still thought I was alone on the island). One down side is how linear the game is. It would have been better if there were alternate ways through the landscape, revealing different parts of the story.


Bloody Charming Platformer

NucularS | Aug. 4, 2013 | Review of Super Meat Boy - PC

Super Meat Boy is a bloody but charming platformer which will kill you again and again and again until you are ready to quit. But you will be back for more teeth grindingly hard puzzles that require precision, timing, and a durable keyboard. Replay at the end of each level shows every way you died and watching those little red cuts of meat splatter is almost as fun as beating the level. Cut scenes are endearingly cruel, so is watching squirrels fall into meat grinders. In short, Super Meat Boy is original, creative, devilishly hard, and a bloody good time.


Hours and Hours of Fun

NucularS | Aug. 4, 2013 | Review of Killing Floor - PC

Despite dated graphics, Killing Floor is a game you come back to again and again, even years after release to kill some zombies. The servers are still full and the developers continuously release new content and run special events for the holidays. If you are tired of running through scripted crescendos and just want to kill wave after wave of zombies with your friends, this is a game to buy. Play at night wearing headphones, shoot anything that moves, stick with your teammates, and you just might survive.


Improves on the Main Game's Shortcomings

NucularS | Aug. 4, 2013 | Review of Deus Ex Human Revolution The Missing Link - PC

Missing Link is a complete new mission, which takes a good few hours to complete, and which improves on the main game’s shortcomings. This is a real DLC, not that new skin or special weapon rubbish, and it is definitely worth the money if you enjoyed the game. The boss battle finally understands the limitations of the engine and how to incorporate itself into the story, and the rest of the mission is more of what you already know and love from the main game.


Amazing Prequel to an Incredible Game

NucularS | Aug. 4, 2013 | Review of Deus Ex Human Revolution (1) - PC

Human Revolution is a prequel Deus Ex deserves. The only disappointment this game offers are the boss battles, which this engine was clearly not designed for. An otherwise great control scheme, which seamlessly switches between first and third person perspectives when the protagonist alternates between action and stealth modes and which nearly perfectly locks the character to cover, suddenly becomes an encumbrance against bosses who do not use cover and charge head on. The rest of the game, however, is an amazing stealth shooter with complete freedom to completing each mission.


Great New Way to Enjoy Music

NucularS | Aug. 4, 2013 | Review of Beat Hazard - PC

Beat Hazard is a great way to listen to your favorite music and scratch that itch for arcade gaming at the same time. Nail bitingly hard at times, the game never becomes frustrating, and blowing hundreds of enemies to bits with maxed out firepower to your favorite beats is pure bliss. Despite a limited number of enemy ships and bosses, the game never becomes repetitive enough to quit. Each soundtrack brings a random new encounter - great to blow steam and unwind when you just want to see things burn.


Surprisingly Good MOBA Platformer

NucularS | Aug. 4, 2013 | Review of Awesomenauts - PC

Awesomenauts is much easier to pickup than other MOBA games, mostly due to simple and intuitive controls, a limited number of abilities and stats to track, and small teams/levels. At the same time, there are plenty of characters and perks to unlock, so there is plenty to do and learn. Game play is somewhat unbalanced, though, and it is often the case that one team is mercilessly dominating the other. If you are a casual gamer who just wants a quick match with silly heroes and abilities, this is definitely the MOBA for you.


“Just one more battle!”

NucularS | July 21, 2013 | Review of Kings Bounty The Legend (1) - PC

King’s Bounty: The Legend is one of those games you simply cannot put down. There is such a sheer bounty of creatures, army combinations, and battle strategies that you just cannot stop playing until all of the monsters that inhabit this colorful and humorous world are defeated. Oddly, the biggest problem with the game is that it is too long. When you think you have beaten the game, a whole new world unfurls, and then another and another. A single playthrough (hardest difficulty, 100% completion with all side quests) took me 160 hours – time well spent.


Atmospheric and Genuinely Scary

NucularS | July 21, 2013 | Review of Scratches Steam - PC

Scratches is horror at its best - no cheap thrills, just an incredibly oppressive atmosphere that slowly feeds your fear using your own imagination. Despite somewhat muddy 2D images, as you unravel the story one diary page at a time, the only way you will not feel all alone in a dark abandoned mansion cut off from civilization is if you play with the lights on. The howling wind outside and the dead quiet of the living room with just an old grandfather clock ticking away will keep you on the edge of your seat… and then you will hear the scratches.


Flawed Little Gem

NucularS | July 20, 2013 | Review of The Binding of Isaac - PC

The Binding of Isaac is bloody, cruel, and fun. Randomly generated levels and power-ups, as well as the cruel but somehow endearing storyline, ensure lots of replayability and will keep you coming back for more. The hardest challenge here, however, are not the monsters – it is the unnecessarily clunky and disorienting controls which give you 4 keys to move and 4 keys to shoot. But if you can master that inconvenience, you are in for a surprise as you boldly rush the next chamber. If you die, it is game over and you have to start from scratch, but that is all part of the tense, nail-biting, cruelly hard or obnoxiously easy, randomly generated fun.


Colorful, Original, and Surprisingly Deep

NucularS | July 13, 2013 | Review of Bastion - PC

Bastion is easily one of the best Indie games in recent years. Vivid backdrops and colorful visuals are art in themselves. Levels come together right in front of your eyes, as the character moves forward, while your own personal narrator narrates your every action. Combat is fluid and varied, with many weapon configurations, making multiple play-throughs a must. Only downside – character sometimes falls through what should be solid ground. But the best part of the game is its surprisingly deep and emotional story. Bastion is a good book with bright pictures, and it will make you think.


The Way Games Should Be Made

NucularS | July 5, 2013 | Review of Dishonored Steam - PC

Few games get everything right, but Dishonored is among them. From the awe inspiring visuals and engaging atmosphere of political intrigue in a vibrant steam punk setting, to fluid combat, engaging stealth, and incredible freedom of movement, this game just feels complete. The movement itself is like nothing ever done in a game before. Furniture no longer feels like boxes that block the character at every turn. Instead, the protagonist fluidly slides underneath tables and couches, or pulls himself up onto ledges that cannot be otherwise reached; Dishonored raises the bar for other games through this aspect alone.