Reviews by OllyTrolly
Best Open World Game CreatedOllyTrolly | May 26, 2013 | Review of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Nexway
Okay, so the title is quite a bold statement - and there are a lot of fantastic open world games - but Skyrim is seriously up there as my favourite open world game of all time. For a long time I was in the Fallout 3 & New Vegas camp, I frankly thought they were a million times better than Oblivion, which I found got boring quite fast due to randomly generated caves and dungeons with little of interest in them, and quests generally being quite uninspired (particularly the main quest). Fallout 3 & New Vegas however, insisted on quite a variation in places to explore and stories for nearly all the places you went in, along with a more satisfying level system.
Skyrim effectively took the best bits of both Oblivion and the Fallout games and kicked it up a notch with the graphics, voice acting and scale. Skyrim is an absolutely huge game, and it's bloody beautiful on PC. I can't fathom how many times I've simply stood on top of a mountain and looked over the valleys and mountains in the distance as if I was in the Lord of The Rings or some other fantasy epic. I have played it for 116 hours and I still have plenty to explore, and that's not an exaggeration. This large play time may partly be down to me not fast travelling, but walking around exploring and staring at scenery.
The gameplay is absolutely the best Bethesda has conjured up so far, with swordplay being incredibly satisfying, the spells being really cool to use, and the levelling system being a much more satisfying progression than that of any previous entry. The quests also tend to be more varied (although they're still a tad repetitive at times), and the lore of the land of Skyrim is really interesting to immerse yourself in.
So I can't stress this enough, if you've enjoyed any Fallout games or Elder Scrolls games in the past, you MUST play this. If you're a fan of any kind of open world game you'll probably love this too. In fact, most people should enjoy playing this, go on!
Be EnrapturedOllyTrolly | May 26, 2013 | Review of BioShock
BioShock is of course lauded as one of the best games of all time. This isn't because it's perfect, far from it, the best games often have huge blemishes, they just accomplish some things so well that people fall in love with the game. In BioShock's case, it's the absolute sense of place and the simultaneous wonder and shock as you explore and find out what has happened in this 'utopia'. Coupled with the horrific and oft-referenced revelation you make towards the end of the game that challenges part of the FPS genre itself, BioShock was an absolutely revolutionary game when it came out. And you'll most likely find it still is.
There also aren't many games that give me the willies, as games like Dead Space and Resident Evil are mainly horror - gore and nastiness to shock you. BioShock does this too, but also throws in some pure terror into the mix, you're surrounded by people that have gone insane, and you have no idea what they'll do. You meet some royally messed up people on your journey through Rapture, and they make everything so much more interesting (yet terrifying).
The combat system and the ending are arguably the weakest parts of the game, but neither are awful, just bad compared to the heights of the rest of the game. The plasmids are still interesting to use and well integrated into the story, and your choices will give you two different endings as well.
Overall, BioShock is a must play for anyone who enjoys games and immersing themselves in a new place - if you dislike horror then that may put you off, but trust me it's worth powering through and seeing what BioShock has to offer anyway.
Must Play, but Remember it's Not BioShock 1OllyTrolly | May 26, 2013 | Review of Bioshock Infinite
As the title states, this game is absolutely a must play title for fans of great stories and the FPS genre.
One of the biggest worries about this game before release was how well a floating city could be realised, especially as what was thought to be an open world. Well, for a start, the game is not open world, although there is occasional backtracking within small sections. To some this was a disappointment, and arguably it makes Columbia seem like less of a real place, but giving the game a more linear structure helped line up some amazing setpieces and moments in the narrative.
And boy is that narrative great, especially the introduction to the game and the bit where you meet your partner in crime, Elizabeth. Just like in the first BioShock a lot of this narrative is conveyed through the environment (so pay attention!) and through voxaphones (audio logs), and I personally love this attention to detail as it encourages you to find meaning in everything and inspect your surroundings thoroughly. But going back to the main narrative, it may well throw you for a loop a few times, with not just one huge twist (as was the case in BioShock), but lots of twists that steadily transform the story into something that ends up being really quite surreal.
As for gameplay, the plasmids make a comeback, but guns are now disposable as in other FPS games. Whether you are bothered by this is up to you, personally I don't really care either way. But the major game-changer are the skylines, which only tend to be available in what you could call 'arenas' - certain areas in the game obviously designed for you to fight hordes of enemies in. These work wonderfully, and add much more of a frantic pace to the combat, as you zip around landing on enemies and surveying the battelfield. It's definitely a step up from BioShock 1, and I loved the fact it was more about reactions and on-the-fly planning rather than the strategy and traps BioShock 1 sometimes demanded.
All in all, an absolutely fantastic game. While BioShock is an easy reference point, I don't like comparing the two for 'which is best' directly because they were designed differently to convey different narratives, and both do what they were aiming to do fantastically. If you're a fan of games, sci-fi, or just great stories, you absolutely have to play this.
Interesting story, meh gameplayOllyTrolly | May 25, 2013 | Review of Spec Ops: The Line dns
If you're the kind of person who plays lots of games and would like to see a deconstruction of sort of the FPS genre, then this is worth a playthrough. I've personally heard a lot of critical analysis (see the book Killing is Harmless) over the game's narrative and techniques for carrying it, and reading these will also help with your appreciation. However, if you're just looking for a fun shooter, you can do a lot better. This is basically a bog standard Unreal engine cover shooter in terms of gameplay, aside from the occasional shocking imagery and a few interesting choices (with limited effects - think BioShock Infinite choices, mainly cosmetic and designed to get you thinking). There are no bosses, just soldiers to mow down, so if you're anything like me you will probably get very bored by the end (arguably this ties into the narrative though).
Satisfying, yet repetitiveOllyTrolly | Nov. 20, 2012 | Review of Assassin's Creed 2 Deluxe Edition
Assassin's Creed as a series always feels simply fun to control. Nipping around the rooftops while avoiding guards and surveying the beautifully-crafted cities is an absolute highlight that will keep you coming back for more. The combat is fairly fun too, with a lock-on mechanism, blocking, and all the staples you'd expect from a vaguely strategic and consistent combat system. And yet, the trouble is that Assassin's Creed 2 is a long, unfocused game. The endless sidequests of AC1 haven't entirely gone away, and you're left with 30 hours of running on rooftops and assassinating people with little variation. As for the story, as with the first its theme of conspiracy is fun to unfurl and get absorbed in, but sometimes the main characters can be grating and the plot can get a little farfetched.
Personally, if I were to make another AC entry in the franchise, I would make it much more focused on quality and a few big scenarios rather than lots of small and generic quests. I think the sheer scale of the cities you're in could be used better in some way (I'm thinking some kind of flight), and I would probably do a little more to make Desmond an interesting character.
But overall, the game is highly enjoyable, especially if you're likely to lose hours running around rooftops looking at scenery.
Addictive, but is it fun?OllyTrolly | June 11, 2011 | Review of Borderlands
There's no denying it, Borderlands is one heck of an addictive game. Using the same kind of 'level up and loot compulsively' idea as Diablo and similar games used, while combining newer FPS mechanics and luscious graphics make for a game that you could explore forever. You WILL lose hours to this game if you get sucked in. But that's the thing, it relies heavily on this addictive nature and rarely is just plain fun to play, and I found myself realising after I did yet another fetchquest in a different-but-similar-looking-region-to-the-last-one, that I wasn't really achieving anything or forwarding a narrative I cared about. Still, it was an immersive world and is a joy to explore even if the actual gameplay is repetitive.
Disclaimer: Co-op might've made this game 10 times better, but I don't have a friend to play with :P.
Beautiful but deadly.OllyTrolly | May 30, 2011 | Review of Assassin's Creed 2 Deluxe Edition
Assassin's Creed II is an utterly immersive game, pulling you in right from Ezio's birth and Desmond's move to the Assassin base. Mechanics are much perfected over the original AC, with even more advanced maneuvers being unlocked as the game progresses.
But the thing is, while the core of the game remains the same as the first AC, the world is fleshed out far more in order to breathe life into Italy. Not only that, characters are suddenly a little more complex and interesting, and even your own character Ezio is more intriguing than your old friend from AC. Missions are more varied this time round too, you will be asked to do a number of different things throughout the game, although it has to be said by the end I felt they had dragged the game out a bit too much.
After all, this game took me 20+ hours to complete, and I by no means completed all the sidequests or collected all the feathers (although I would consider someone insane to try and get them all), I could't help but feel by the end that had this been cut down to say 10 hours of pure quality, this game would've been even better. As it is, towards the end you may find yourself wishing the story would unfold a little quicker, although that is a testament to the calibre of storytelling on offer here.
So, my humble opinion is, this is a perfected formula that has been drawn out over a slightly too long game. The story is engaging, the graphics are beautiful, Italy feels like it lives and breathes around you and killing is VERY fun.
Fun, but aimlessOllyTrolly | May 30, 2011 | Review of Just Cause 2
The first thing you'll notice upon loading up Just Cause 2 is that the voice acting is horrendous, and the plot is fairly sub-average. In fact, it made me wonder why it was rated so highly in the opening cutscene. But fear not, you don't have to care about the story, because either way you'll enjoy grappling and blowing stuff up.
And in that sense, JC2 absolutely prevails. And beyond that first mission, you'll find you can blow up anywhere with a host of weapons and vehicles! So I'd liken the experience to GTA or Red Faction, an experience best played like a sandbox rather than a story, except this map is more beautiful and more expansive than either. And even includes a wider arsenal to blow stuff up with.
So just have fun, but don't expect a solid campaign, just one that gives you plenty of excuses to blow stuff up.