Reviews by Shodex
The middle child of the modern Elder Scrolls.Shodex | June 24, 2015 | Review of The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion Game of the Year Edition Deluxe - PC
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was a very harsh and alien game, it was an old school CRPG meant for old school CRPG players. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was, by contrast, a very streamlined game. It was much more balanced than it's predecessor, and much more easily accessible for any type of gamer. Well, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is the transitioning point. Often seen now through rose coloured glasses, Elder Scrolls fans were very split on Oblivion. Honestly can you blame us? We were used to the complicated and challenging nature of Morrowind, the unique and varied landscapes. Then Oblivion takes away all of that challenge, and all of the landscapes look like the same forest and meadow. So does that make Oblivion not worth playing? No, because despite the bold steps it took to make The Elder Scrolls more easily acceptable. There is still a great game lying beneath. It's just brought down by some new ideas that would later be refined in Skyrim. On the surface, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is a much simpler game than Morrowind. The combat is easier, there are less skills and items, NPCs have less dialogue. But what you get still ends up being a grand adventure, with a level of freedom few games have ever come close to replicating. I would recommend, for anyone looking to get more of a challenge out of this game, try playing with the Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul mod. It removes the level scaling in favour of Morrowind style enemies and loot. The mod was so well made that Obsidian hired him to work on Fallout: New Vegas. That is really Oblivion's saving grace, with the magic of mods you can make it the game you want. Whatever that game may be.
A shameless GTA clone, that is shamefully underrated.Shodex | June 6, 2015 | Review of Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition - PC
It's not hard to see the obvious influences Grand Theft Auto has had on Sleeping Dogs, in fact it would be very hard to deny them. But don't let that fool you into thinking Sleeping Dogs is nothing but a clone, because all the effort and work that goes into making a Grand Theft Auto game is also put into Sleeping Dogs. You take to the open world streets as Wei Shen, and undercover cop in with the Triad. You'll drive around, complete missions, complete side missions, collect collectibles, buy clothes, race, beat people up, play mini-games, and do basically everything you expected to be doing right after I said "GTA clone." But it's all wrapped up in a beautifully realized and atmospheric Hong Kong, and an excellent story to boot. Where Sleeping Dogs takes it's biggest deviation from Grand Theft Auto, is in it's combat. While guns are still available to you in the game, I didn't get to fire one until 11 hours into my first play through and it was another few hours before I fired one again. Instead the game focuses heavily on doing some bad ass martial arts and melee combat. You can break a dude's leg, roundhouse kick him in the face, toss him into a dumpster, and more. Way more exciting than hiding behind a crate and shooting heads. Sleeping Dogs is a nearly flawless game. It shamelessly takes from Grand Theft Auto, but don't take this as laziness on the part of the developers. Everything in this game is done exceptionally, I think it is on par with any of Rockstar's own offerings. If you like Grand Theft Auto, and the idea of Grand Theft Auto in China interests you, Sleeping Dogs is a game you must play. If you like video games, Sleeping Dogs is a game you must play.
It's worth it when it's on sale.Shodex | June 6, 2015 | Review of Xcom Enemy Unknown Elite Soldier Pack - PC
I picked XCOM: Enemy Unknown's Elite Soldier Pack DLC up for about $2, which is not it's usual asking price. It was worth what I paid for, but I'm not sure it'd be worth anymore. Essentially, the Elite Soldier Pack adds some more customization options for your soldiers. New armor looks, some cool helmets, and the ability to change the colour of your soldier's equipment. I like it, I like it a lot. You can add a bit more of a personal touch to each of your soldiers, and miss them even more when they're gone. And colour coding your soldiers can be actually very useful. But the DLC is just that, appearance stuff. So if that doesn't interest you, don't bother. If it does interest you, there's a lot to play with here.
Eh.Shodex | June 6, 2015 | Review of XCOM Enemy Unknown Slingshot DLC - PC
XCOM: Enemy Unknown's Slingshot DLC adds a few more run of the mill missions, and gives you a Triad member as a unique solider. It's not worth it's standard price, but if you enjoy XCOM: Enemy Unknown and can get it on sale you wouldn't be any worse off for it. It adds a little more to do during a play through, just what it adds is nothing particularly special. Buy it if you want some more missions, but if you chose to skip it rest assured you aren't missing out on anything.
A huge expansion that only adds to an already fantastic game.Shodex | June 6, 2015 | Review of XCOMEnemy Within - PC
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a challenging, and exciting tactical strategy game. Enemy Within is an expansion pack that adds a ton of new content and new challenge to the game. Possibly the biggest addition is Meld, a resource you will recover from mission to mission that will allow you turn ordinary soldiers into supersoliders, or outfit them in hulking mech suits. It's a great way to get some much needed vengeance on the aliens in the late game, but don't think for a second that it makes you invincible. Your fight doesn't get any easier with Enemy Within, harder in fact. As you're forced to face a whole new threat, a human one. The EXALT are terrorists fighting in support of the aliens, and offer some unique and challenging missions to fight through. Same goes for a number of new maps and ball-busting council missions that were added, giving even more variety to the gameplay. $30 isn't cheap, and honestly XCOM: Enemy Within isn't really worth it. But if you're a fan of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and want to breath some more life into it, pick up XCOM: Enemy Within when it's at a price you're comfortable with. It's practically a mandatory addition.
It's a Bethesda game, even though it actually isn't.Shodex | June 6, 2015 | Review of Fallout New Vegas Bethesda - PC
Fallout: New Vegas is an Obsidian made spin-off of Bethesda's own Fallout 3. It looks dated, the AI has rocks for brains, the animations are stiff, the combat is clunky, the voice acting is mediocre at best, and yet it still managed to suck hundreds of hours out of my life. Go figure. Fallout: New Vegas, like all of Bethesda's open world game RPGs, has something captivating about it that makes it easy to ignore it's many blemishes. With this being a spin-off and not a true sequel, New Vegas doesn't stray too far from it's predecessor. While this certainly means it suffers from a lot of the same issues as Fallout 3, it's mostly a good thing if you enjoyed Fallout 3. But New Vegas isn't without it's differences, and among them are a more fleshed out companion system, weapon modifications, and a reputation system that effects how each of the game's factions treat you. Arguably the biggest advantage Obsidian's Fallout has over just about any Bethesda game is it's writing. Bethesda has never been very good with writing, and we've let it slide each time because their open world gameplay emphasizes freedom and the ability to make your own stories. But it's refreshing to have some of Obsidian's storytelling talent behind New Vegas, it really helps you feel involved in the world. So whether or not you will enjoy New Vegas all depends on what you thought about Fallout 3, and whether or not you want more of it. Maybe New Vegas fixes the things you disliked about Fallout 3, maybe it is just more of the same. What I can say for certain is I really enjoyed Fallout: New Vegas, and I think it surpasses it's predecessor. If you're looking for an extremely lengthy game to get lost in, Fallout: New Vegas is one of the best choices you could make.
A reboot done right.Shodex | March 31, 2015 | Review of XCOM Enemy Unknown Overflow - PC
You'll be hard pressed to find a modern tactical strategy game on par with XCOM: Enemy Unknown. A streamlined reboot of the original classic that cuts out excess complication while leaving the crushing difficulty gleefully intact. In XCOM: Enemy Unknown you control a squad of elite soldiers against an invading alien menace. The combat takes place in turn based tactical battles where when your soldiers die, they die for good. It gets personal when a soldier you've named and becomes invested in gets killed in some heroic or not-so-heroic way. And most of the time it's your fault he got killed, not because XCOM was being unfair. If you're the kind of gamer who would rather a very challenging game that requires lots of thought, XCOM Enemy Unknown is a fantastic experience with a very high replay value.
An upgrade from Worms Revolution, but is it worth it?Shodex | Oct. 27, 2014 | Review of Worms Clan Wars - PC
Worms Clan Wars is Worms. If you played a Worms game before you already know exactly what to expect. If you haven't played one before you can expect a hilarious turn based action game to play with friends, or alone, but mostly with friends. Worms Clan Wars boasts a more feature filled game than it's predecessors. This comes in part of it being PC exclusive, unlike Revolution which was on consoles. A clan system for multiplayer is added for players who like competition. And perhaps the coolest addition is the Steam Workshop integration, now you can use modded hats, voices, and more in multiplayer. My Worms wear Jotaro's hat from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure and speak using sound clips of Jesse from Breaking Bad. Worms Clan Wars gives you a ton of stuff to mess around with, for sure. But for the more casual gamer, it might not be a worthy upgrade from Worms Revolution. However Worms Clan Wars is not at all expensive, and if you're new to the series it's a perfect place to start. I don't just recommend Worms Clan Wars, I recommend you buy it, plug your PC into the TV, and get a controller. Then invite some friends over, bring beer, and spend the night laughing like maniacs. Worms Clan Wars is an excellent party game. It's an insane amount of fun if you suck, and if you're good there is a robust multiplayer mode waiting for you to conquer.
It's Worms, but it's also Worms at it's best.Shodex | Oct. 27, 2014 | Review of Worms Armageddon - PC
Team 17's long running franchise hasn't really traveled far from the beaten path from installment to installment. The basic premise behind nearly every core Worms game is very similar. And that is in no way a bad thing. Worms is a game best played with friends, and it has a special talent of being fun no matter how terrible you are. The goofy weapons and hilarious ways to kill your enemies, and self are numerous. It's hours of fun in one package, and a fantastic party game. Worms Armageddon is by far the pinnacle of the series in terms of customization. Everything just clicked, it was simple, but full of options. It's still very playable today if you're looking for Worms on the cheap or maybe worry your rig can't play the newer ones (though honestly, it should.) The only problem Worms Armageddon suffers from is it's age. Multiplayer can be a little archaic to set up, and I've seen some people have trouble getting it to work on modern systems. All in all, the Worms franchise is a very special one. And Armageddon is still the best of them all. If you're looking for a difficult, humorous game to play with some friends I can't think of any game better.
It's an Ubisoft game.Shodex | Oct. 12, 2014 | Review of Watch Dogs NA - PC
If you've played a lot of recent Ubisoft titles, you already know exactly what Watch_Dogs is. It's an open world game where you run from mission waypoint to mission waypoint, where you're then locked into a linear story mission. The map is scattered with collectibles and simple side missions. It's exactly the same as Assassin's Creed, Far Cry 3, etc. Is that a bad thing though? I really like Assassin's Creed, but sadly I don't really like Watch_Dogs. The hacking element to Watch_Dogs is kind of cool, hell not kind of. It is cool. Taking out enemies by watching them through security cameras and making stuff blow up in their face is a lot of fun. And the hacking element adds a new depth to the cover based shooting. But sadly occasionally good combat doesn't make up for how uninspired Watch_Dogs feels. Aiden Pearce himself is a pretty terrible lead. He's bland, boring, and every line he says tries so hard to be dramatic but just comes off cheesy. It doesn't help that the story is equally as bland. The world building is lacking too, everybody on the street at any given time is basically just talking about hacking or getting hacked. NPCs never feel like they have real lives. Watch_Dogs' Chicago is very pretty, but it doesn't feel alive. So you have a boring story, taking place in a boring setting, with a little bit of fun gameplay spread widely across an Ubisoft open world. The worst part about Watch_Dogs is while it's being mediocre, it never lets up this feeling that it thinks it is some fantastic dramatic story warning us of a near future. Watch_Dogs isn't as smart as it thinks it is, it's a mediocre game that latched onto a gimmick. It's not really a bad game, it's just not a good game. Everything is totally bland, and done better by everyone else. I can't recommend it, unless you really want to play an open world Ubisoft game and don't want to wait for the next Assassin's Creed.
The game I've played likely more than any.Shodex | April 25, 2014 | Review of Mount Blade Warband Steam - PC
I've been a huge fan of Mount & Blade since the original one was in it's beta, and for years I've played it without ever getting bored. Mount & Blade: Warband is sort of a remake, or standalone expansion or the original Mount & Blade. It contains all the content of the original, with improved graphics, a new faction and items, and multiplayer. You don't have any need to buy or play the original Mount & Blade before trying Warband. Now, what is Mount & Blade: Warband? At it's core it's an RPG set in a fictional medieval setting, it also has no magic or monsters. But the game goes so much deeper than that, there is so much going on and so much to do at any given point it's impossible for me to list everything in this review. So I'll try to just give you the basics. You start the game more or less penniless, with nothing but a horse and something to defend yourself with. By the "end" you'll be a King (or Queen) storming castles with a host of two hundred hardened warriors at your back. You're thrust out into this vast continent where six factions fight for supremacy, this game has no storyline. The events are unscripted and the game's politics are different every time you play. Traveling around the map are dozens of lords, and each kingdom has a ruler. These AI rulers declare war on one another, sending out their lords in war parties to enemy lands to capture enemy lords and take over cities and castles. You'll be able to join one of these kingdoms and ride to war, maybe even becoming the ruler of your own kingdom if you're good enough. The economy is all dynamic, merchants trade goods between cities and the wealth of cities and kingdoms during war will be very easily seen. A poor kingdom will be be using lame horses, and ratty armor, their people will be hungry, shops will lack inventory, etc. You can directly take part in this economy by purchasing businesses like a brewery in cities, or trading goods between them. You can also raise enemy villages, attack trading caravans and cut off the city's supply. The game doesn't end, you simply struggle for more and more power and then struggle to keep it. It keeps going until you get bored. But there's so much to do before that happens it's staggering. You'll be defending your castles from attackers, sneaking into enemy cities and freeing your companions for dungeons, or fighting in tournaments for glory. You can ransom captured enemy lords, get married to a noble lady, and found your own kingdom and convince lords to follow your cause. The list just goes on. I highly recommend playing the demo on Mount & Blade: Warband's website before buying, it's really the best way to get a feel for at least a small amount of the game.
An excellent game that didn't have to be Bioshock.Shodex | April 15, 2014 | Review of BioShock Infinite NA Post - PC
Bioshock Infinite says goodbye to the spooky underwater city of Rapture and takes to the sky in the graphically stunning cloud city of Columbia. It's a brand new setting and a brand new story. You play as Booker Dewitt, a man tasked with finding a mysterious girl named Elizabeth and getting her safely off the flying city. A task that proves a lot harder than it sounds, evidently. The story is Bioshock Infinite's strong point and it takes many twists and turns before the end, so for the sake of spoilers I won't talk too much of it. All I'll say is that it's great, and Elizabeth is one of the best female characters to show up in video gaming since Alyx Vance. Though the new villain doesn't hold a candle to the charismatic Andrew Ryan. What I will talk about is gameplay, Infinite is at it's heart still Bioshock. You'll be shooting bullets and lighting at enemies just as before (remember, the one-two punch), but Infinite takes on a different tone than the (rather vain attempts at) horror that Bioshock originally featured. Infinite is a swashbuckling adventure where you'll be zipping along at high speeds on these sky rails, jumping from floating platform to floating platform in all manners of excitement. It's very fun, but one thing tends to irk me. Plasmids have been effectively renamed to Vigors, since they're the exact same thing. I couldn't shake the feeling that Vigors were included in Bioshock Infinite for no reason other than that they were in the previous games. While fun to use, they don't exactly have any place in the story or setting. In Rapture people had gone crazy from excessive gene modification, among those modifications were the Plasmids. They tied in with the story and their existence made sense within the world. In Infinite they just seem to be there, their existence is never really acknowledged by the story and they aren't nearly as relevant as you'd expect superpowers to be. Shooting lightning and bee's from your hands is part of Bioshock, but if they don't have any place being there then they shouldn't be. My main complaint with Bioshock Infinite is that it didn't really have any reason to be a Bioshock game, it could have just been it's own thing and wouldn't have suffered one bit as a result. But this is an extremely minor criticism, it's nitpicking really, so don't let it sway your opinion. All in all, Bioshock Infinite is a fantastic game. And while very disconnected from it's predecessor, it manages to become a classic in it's own way instead of attempting to follow in the footsteps of Bioshock's previous success. Bioshock Infinite is a must play game for pretty much anybody, even if you've never played a Bioshock game. Though I highly recommend you play the original first either way, since it's an absolute classic and you'll enjoy some choice parts of Infinite more having done so.
A new take on the franchise, but not one everybody can love.Shodex | April 15, 2014 | Review of Assassins Creed III NA - PC
Assassin's Creed III, at the core of it's gameplay doesn't stray far from it's predecessors. The combat, free running, and other elements of Assassin's Creed are all there and while tweaked slightly, they remain very much so unchanged. But after three games with fan favourite assassin, Ezio Auditore, we're finally getting a new setting and a new assassin. We've jumped from renaissance Italy to America during the revolutionary war, and the new assassin is a half Native American named Ratonhnhaké:ton (or, thankfully, just Connor). ACIII has a much slower and narrative driven start than before. You'll start the game in London, playing as a man named Haytham Kenway. You'll quickly be leaving England for the new world by ship, however. On board this ship is where the game tutors you on the basic gameplay, and while some interesting things do happen this sequence drags on much longer than it needs to. Eventually you will arrive however and the game will open up to something more familiar, you'll be scaling buildings and swashbuckling for a time before the story shift's over to it's poster boy, Connor. The game slows down a lot at this point as Connor is just a young boy when you first meet him, living among a tribe of other Natives. The game again will spend some time teaching you some of the new things. You'll be taught how to free run though a forest like you would a city, hunt animals properly, etc. This sequence also drags on a bit, but before long catastrophe will find Connor and he'll be driven from home, this is where he meets his mentor and trains to become an Assassin. An immediate criticism I have with ACIII is it's linearity, there are very few (if any) missions where you just have a target in the middle of a bustling crowd where you have to figure out an effective way to open his throat and escape. Missions all seem to just be a set of scripted events leading you through a series of action sequences, and while that can be fun I think it loses sight of what AC is all about. The action scenes are more grounded than before as well, ACIII takes a more serious and gritty approach which I'm perfectly okay with but I can't help but miss the sheer over the top nature of Ezio's adventures. Basically, ACIII has no crazy renassiance hang gliders and tanks like in ACII and the other Ezio games. This isn't a problem in itself, but it can leave ACIII seeming boring in comparison. Opinions will differ, but I personally found the story to be a lot stronger this time around. Ezio is still by far the most entertaining assassin, but Connor is interesting. He's hot blooded and naive, he lacks Ezio's suave perfection and becomes more sympathetic as a result. The main villain, whose name I won't reveal for sake of spoilers, is the best in the franchise and provided a very interesting conflict. It's a slower, more grounded and serious story, and this turned a lot of people off but I personally found it very engaging. Personal taste will determine how you enjoy ACIII in the end. All in all it's a solid entry to the franchise, but it has it's problems as most things do. It's not a perfect game, but it is one worth playing.
"I didn't mean for that to happen."Shodex | April 14, 2014 | Review of Worms Revolution Overflow - PC
Worms is a gem of a franchise, each title has left the formula fairly untouched with only minor changes and graphical face lifts. But honestly that is all it really needs. Worms, at it's core, is a competitive multiplayer game. There is a campaign but it's little more than matches against AI and is meant to prepare you for the multiplayer more than anything. If you're going to get Worms, get your friends to get Worms too. You could all be the best Worms players in the world, and you'd probably have a lot of fun lining up bazooka shots, compensating for wind, gravity, etc. and hitting your enemy dead on. But the magical thing about Worms is you could be absolute rubbish at the game and it's still a load of fun. Throwing a grenade and watching it bounce of the enemy's face and come flying back to you is hilarious. Worms will never cease to amuse you, be it through a challenging fight against two veterans or a throng of whimsical blunders, Worms delivers.
Admittedly flawed, extremely dated, undisputedly a masterpiece.Shodex | March 30, 2014 | Review of The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind Game of The Year Edition - PC
It's 2014 at the time of writing, Morrowind is an old game. It's seen two sequels, Oblivion and Skyrim. But despite the huge financial success of it's successors, Morrowind is still the reigning champion of The Elder Scrolls franchise. Morrowind thrusts you into the island of Vvardenfell, homeland of the Dunmer (Dark Elves), an otherworldly and mysterious world ripe for exploration. You begin your journey in a small village named Seyda Neen in the boggy Bitter Coast, your first quest see's you headed to the city of Balmora. On your trip you'll head through the Ascadian Isles and see giant mushrooms tower above the trees, jellyfish like creates float through the sky, among all other mannerisms of deliciously bizarre scenery. The Elder Scrolls doesn't need an introduction, you know the basics of the gameplay. You adventure around a huge game world, going as you please and making a name for yourself as a hero. But if you're coming from Skyrim or Oblivion, your road to legendary won't be so easily walked this time. Morrowind is much more in depth and challenging, combat has more in common with D&D dice rolls than the action combat of the sequels. If you want to just jump in and have some fun without worry Morrowind simply isn't for you. If you're a patient RPG enthusiast who loves learning interesting lore, exploring every nook and cranny, casting a wide range of spells, and using all sorts of weapons, Morrowind is an unmatched experience. And like Oblivion and Skyrim after it, Morrowind's mod support is phenomenal. Though sadly at time of writing many old mod sites have since gone down and disappeared, but there are still more than enough mods to be found online to expand your playtime or just make the game a little less dated. Morrowind can be painfully slow in the early portions of the game, it's old and it shows it, but even through all it's dust the pure gold shines brightly. This is a game that all hardcore RPG fans must play.
Not as good is still fantastic.Shodex | Feb. 5, 2014 | Review of Batman Arkham Origins - PC
Unlike Arkham Asylum and it's sequel Arkham City, the newest Arkham Origins is not made by Rocksteady. To put it bluntly, Origins is a lackluster sequel. But not a bad one. There is very little in Arkham Origins that you have not seen in the previous titles, in fact maybe nothing is new. But at the same time, there's nothing new about this ice cream I'm eating that I didn't see in previous bowls of ice cream. Now that does not make this ice cream any less delicious, nor does it make Arkham Origins any less enjoyable. Don't expect Arkham Origins to wow you with new innovations to the series like City did after Asylum. But you'll get much more of what makes the Arkham games so great, so how can you really complain? The 65 is because the sequel lacks effort, it's more of the exact same thing. Which is a habit I wish games would try to avoid. However I won't deny that it was a very fun experience.