Reviews by Shodex

97

The game I've played likely more than any.

Shodex | April 25, 2014 | Review of Mount & Blade: Warband

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.

93

An excellent game that didn't have to be Bioshock.

Shodex | April 15, 2014 | Review of BioShock Infinite (NA)

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.

77

A new take on the franchise, but not one everybody can love.

Shodex | April 15, 2014 | Review of Assassin's Creed III (NA)

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.

90

"I didn't mean for that to happen."

Shodex | April 14, 2014 | Review of Worms Revolution

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.

85

Admittedly flawed, extremely dated, undisputedly a masterpiece.

Shodex | March 30, 2014 | Review of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Game of The Year Edition

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.

65

Not as good is still fantastic.

Shodex | Feb. 5, 2014 | Review of Batman Arkham Origins

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.