Reviews by Rikjs

91

A new standard in single player gaming

Rikjs | Nov. 30, 2012 | Review of Far Cry 3

Good news everyone! Far Cry 3 is exactly what it promises to be, which is rare in itself.

Ubisoft have dropped the ridiculous DRM. Stealth actually works. No more magic checkpoints that respawn enemies ten seconds after you've cleared them. Wonderful.

Getting around the island is actually fun with vehicles like the ATV and hang glider to armoured jeep. You come across so much stuff, like cars broken down on the road or a tiger actually hunting buffalo. That brings me on to AI. If a bear stumbles across an outpost you're scouting, it might just charge in and maul everyone. If you start hunting buffalo with grenades, chances are you'll attract the attention of the local undesirables who will check it out. This is where we should be in terms of AI interacting with each other and the environment. You will be getting stalked by some nasty critter. It creates some great tension when you're creeping up on an outpost and you suddenly hear a beast creeping up to you. They tend to remain rather well hidden when hunting you, so you're never really sure when it's going to pounce.

As sadistic as this may sound, fire also spreads nicely. You have to be careful with that thing because you might be engulfed before you know it. It really does feel like a dangerous weapon. The crossbow is also great fun to use. Some other weapons are a bit too accurate, like the LMG can just fire all day without a problem.

Missions are nice and varied. You can take over pirate outposts for civs to move in and offer more jobs and adventures. There are radio towers that are a mini-game themselves where you have to find a way to the top to uncover more of the map. You can take part in races, intense delivery jobs, even a bit of poker and darts with throwing knives. Now I know delivery jobs don't sound like fun, but they give you a fun vehicle and any excuse to barrel down a hill on an ATV, skidding past hapless pirates with medical supplies on your back is good enough for me.

The story is actually quite good. It's not Lord of the Rings, but it's not "here's a bad guy, you're killing him because he spat on your surfboard". Vaas makes a great antagonist and the protagonist actually seems suitably affected by his capture, even if he can shoot an LMG within an hour of first holding a gun. These characters have depth to them and the voice acting is well done for the most part. There are some NPCs that have dodgy voices but none are main characters.

In closing. The best of Far Cry 1 + the best of Far Cry 2 + Skyrim's rich world * improvements to stealth - dodgy DRM - a few very minor console type controls in the inventory menu= Far Cry 3.

85

A great update

Rikjs | Oct. 11, 2012 | Review of XCOM: Enemy Unknown Pre-Purchase

Many have complained that this is not enough like the original XCOM. To me, that means it's easy to get into while still retaining a good portion of in-depth strategy.

This is by no means an easy game. If you want the difficulty, you can choose to play of Ironman or Classic which ups the challenge. However, normal mode provides a suitable but not insurmountable challenge even to those new to the series or turn based games in general.

The tutorial does a fairly decent job of getting you acquainted with the controls and the base mechanics are explained quite nicely.

One of the things I do miss about the original XCOM are random maps. Maps are not randomly generated in this game although enemy placements are, so there's still replayability there and of course the game does change between replays based on your decisions. You won't have the same recruits, for example. Missions are also procedural, so while you might be fighting on the same hand-crafted map, you won't be doing the same mission. Overall, there's a lot to do and you'll have to play quite a bit before you start to come across the same thing again. The aliens also act differently depending on the mission. They might patrol, or guard an area.

There's kind of more than one base. You choose your main base and you can deploy satellites from there around the world to keep track of UFO movements and you can redeploy your interceptors to hangar bases which aren't as functional as the main base, which can be built with things like adjacency bonuses which will please those of us who like to build bases. The main base is also where the bulk of your operations are, such as soldiers and research.

Overall, some things are added and some things are removed but in the end this re-imagining of XCOM stands by itself as a good game.

86

Still the city-building king

Rikjs | April 20, 2012 | Review of SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition DNS

Probably the best entry in the series, and still the best city building game you can buy. Sculpt the landscape, build a thriving metropolis then turn loose a giant robot and see what happens (don't forget to save first).

A lot of people complain about the difficulty but this is adjustable with the Rush Hour expansion that comes with this edition. In my opinion, the U-Drive It missions are a bit superficial. It's certainly no Streets of SimCity. It does allow you to unlock visuals such as buildings and vehicles.

The gameplay itself is standard SimCity fare, with even more options than ever and no jiggery-pokery to get it to run.

The best part about SimCity 4 is the mods. You can find everything from the Network Addon Mod that adds such joys as roundabouts to a mod that allows you to change the colour of the water.

The game holds up well considering its age in terms of both controls and visuals, no doubt helped greatly by the army of die hard fans that still develop mods and play.

Never mind Cities in Motion or Cities XL. This is the city building game. Until, that is, the SimCity reboot comes next year. Accept no substitutes.

75

Nice tactical game

Rikjs | April 11, 2012 | Review of Nuclear Dawn

Not many games mix RTS and FPS. Nuclear Dawn does it quite well.

As a commander, you have access to the base building section of the game. You build can Armouries, Transport Gates, Turrets and Relays to connect resource points to your base in a kind of Perimeter fashion. As you research upgrades, you get access to more kits for your squads and more buildings like the Artillery as well as commander powers such as dropping an area of health or poison. A good commander is key.

As a regular FPS playing prole, you have access to four "classes", each with a few different kits. The Exo class, for example, comes in anti-infantry and anti-armour varieties. You can also choose various utilities like armour piercing ammo.

Pros: Somewhat unique gameplay. Good variety of classes and kits. Teamwork pretty much essential. There are some good team moments in games.

Cons: Source engine, so weapons are hitscan. I find the feel of the weapons to be a bit dull in comparison with games like Tribes.