Reviews by Stebsis

80

The best Lord of the Rings -game

Stebsis | Oct. 6, 2014 | Review of Middle-earth™: Shadow of Mordor™

This definitely is the best game set in Lord of the Rings universe. I played Return of the King on PS2 and that was really fun at the time, and War in the North was an ok game but certainly lacking in many areas. So being the best LotR game isn't exactly a hard thing to do, though Shadow of Mordor is actually a good game but certainly flawed.

A lot of people have compared this to Assassin's Creed but I'd say this is much closer to Batman Arkham games, though all these games do share a lot of similarities but still are very unique and do what they do really well. Shadow of Mordor starts with ranger Talion's family brutally murdered and he ends up with a wraith who's name I won't spoil to you as he is very major character in this whole universe, though I just can't fathom what Monolith or WB were thinking when they spoiled his name in one of the trailers. Story is told through story missions which there are 20 of, and only maybe 5 actually being interesting. As a whole I felt the story was pointless, it didn't add anything to the lore and they played it way too safely. The amazing voice actors felt wasted and the sort of main villain had about 5-10 minutes of screen time. And I didn't like that the game just throws you in with the wraith without any explanation. Every time Talion and the wraith had some conversation they just leave it awkwardly hanging right from the start. I didn't like that they didn't really discuss anything, they had no chemistry and by the end it's like is that seriously everything?

What SoM does extremely well is the Arkham style sneaking and combat, and at parts even better thanks to nemesis system and how it changes the game. You counter with Y(played on controller) like in Arkham, and you also can do instant takedowns once hit streak is high enough. Talion also has a cool bow that later on gets the ability to teleport to the target and kill the orc instantly, this is really fun to do. Stealth also works like in AC, you can climb stuff, take down enemies etc.

Nemesis system is the innovative part of the game. Orcs have kind of this hierarchy with chiefs at the top. Later on when you get all the powers at your disposal, you can really start taking down this hierarchy and through branding, taking over enemy orcs, you can infiltrate the enemy and build your own army. This is really interesting as every encounter is different, I was genuinely surprised how much variation there is, as in no repetition at all as every orc I encountered was different, had different skills and the way to approach them was different. You can also buff the enemies up by issuing death threat through one of the orcs, the orc you death threat powers up significantly but also gives chance to drop a epic rune that you can fit in your bow, sword and dagger to power them up with different perks.

There is a lot more to the nemesis system and how it works, it's really something that has to be experienced as it's different from anything else, some true innovation and something other devs most likely will be taking note of, at least I hope so.

SoM is solid game and I do recommend playing it just for the nemesis system and combat/stealth elements. But the story, world, characters etc. just left me disappointed, I didn't really care for anything happening and the interactions between characters were awkward and not well build. I wanted so much more from this as this is set in Lord of the Rings universe. There was so much more they could've done and made something much bigger, but I just feel like they played it way too safely.

90

Short but sweet

Stebsis | Sept. 27, 2014 | Review of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Vanishing of Ethan Carter puts you in shoes of Paul Prospero, a supernatural detective, who arrives at Red Creek Valley to find a young boy named Ethan Carter after receiving a letter from him. When Paul arrives, it's immediately clear that everything's not quite right as you soon find a man with severed legs, and you need to piece together the murder scene piece by piece. This is the most interesting part of the whole game, finding all the clues on what happened and then reconstructing everything, and then seeing the scene happen in front of you, and it's not always what you thought. You slowly find out the story of what happened at Red Creek Valley and to Ethan. There are some really gruesome scenes.

The game is short though, some 5 hours depending how good you're at games like this, and puzzles aren't the hardest things, you just need to look around a bit. I think some of the puzzles are optional but they reveal more of the background. The story is really interesting, I just wanted to know what happened and explore everything, and I don't feel like I was disappointed.

Graphically VoEC is one of the best looking games I've played and not that demanding either, I have fairly average PC and could run without AA almost everything at highest at 60fps. Especially one place stuck to me, this valley in the middle of misty mountains with a crystal clear lake in the middle of it, absolutely gorgeous. Also music really brought this game alive, huge praise to composer. It always set the mood nicely.

I really like Vanishing of Ethan Carter, it tells an interesting story and lets you explore the world at your own pace with interesting puzzles. The length is just way too short, but it still left me satisfied. Definitely up there as game of the year candidates for me with Divinity Original Sin and Shovel Knight.

70

Worlds most authentic goat simulator

Stebsis | Sept. 26, 2014 | Review of Goat Simulator

To be frank, as a game this is one of the stupidest things I've played, both in fun and serious sense. Coffee Stain Studios created just a little project at a game jam, the video got online and of course people loved it so they decided to make a "full" game of that.They even say in their website and at the disclaimer above that you should rather buy something else, and yeah, you probably should, but I don't blame CSS for making this, it obviously got a lot of attention and people are always ready for stupid.

You play as a goat and do some hilarious things. You can lick stuff which makes things like people stuck in the goats tongue. You can jump at trampolines, headbutt stuff, find some secrets like satanic powers that you get by sacrificing bunch of people, or a jetpack, ride a boat, lick a helicopter etc. If you want this then have someone to play with, alone this gets boring and fast.

98

More FF games to PC, please

Stebsis | Sept. 25, 2014 | Review of FINAL FANTASY IV

I really love IV, this just such an amazing game and something that brought the whole JRPG genre to a new level over 20 years ago, and still remains as one of the most memorable ones that people always look up to. I've seen IV rarely mentioned as one of the best in the series, but people always seem to have very fond memories of this one.

What IV brings to this genre is active time battle system that about all these types of FF games onward have used, save for X that had turn based battle system. ATB has become a stable in this genre because of IV. So battle system is basically the same as other FF games, you wait for your characters turn, then choose to attack, cast magic, summon, perform various skills the characters have and so on. In IV every character has their set job, meaning there're no changing skills around like with materia in VII or jobs in V. Kain is a dragoon and can use jump, and attack with full strength from back row because he uses a spear, Cecil is a dark knight who can use his HP to attack harder, Rosa is white mage, Yang is a monk that can hit many enemies at once and so on.

Though in this new NDS/PC version the characters leave behind augments when they leave your party, be it temporarily or for good, and you can teach some powerful abilities for your characters. In the end there are 5 set characters you have in your party, you can't switch them around like in many others, but this doesn't mean you should give augments only to those 5, because depending how many augments you give to certain characters, they leave even more powerful one behind, so if you want to min-max, which I guess is even recommendable, there are guides online to know what augments to give and to who, and where to find all of them.

Story starts at Kingdom of Baron where Cecil is tasked to bring a package to nearby Village of Mist with Kain. The package is a bomb that destroys the whole town, and Cecil ends up alone with a young girl named Rydia, only survivor from the village and Kain is missing. Depending how much you're familiar with these kinds of stories you'll find some really nice twists or just know everything that'll happen. I just love the description, "timeless tale of heroes, betrayal, love and redemption" because that's exactly what this is. Everything is here, villain turning sides, good guy being brainwashed, death of loved one, desire for revenge, discovering a hidden power within, villain who wants to destroy the world, going to the moon... well that might not be so cliche. But it's all very textbook but never gets dull because the characters are so well done and story still is entertaining. This was the first FF on the SNES and they managed extremely well to bring a huge story here.

World is quite large with of course an airship to travel around. There are a lot of hidden stuff around the world to find, and this new version has some new dungeons and powerful enemies to beat. End game is fairly robust, the end dungeon especially is hard with tons of strong foes and of course best gear to find. This is not an easy game.

Also another amazing score by Nobuo Uematsu. Listening IV soundtrack as I'm writing and it's just so good there are no words.

IV is absolutely amazing. If you're strapped for cash and itching for some great story driven game and haven't played this, you can't go wrong with IV, certainly better than XIII that's being released in couple of weeks. I'm really glad though that Square-Enix has been so amazing with these PC releases last 1-2 years, even XIII trilogy is coming out, and even though I don't exactly like XIII, I'm really thankful they're doing it because that could mean they're planning on making the long awaited XV, and maybe even Kingdom Hearts 3 on PC. Even though IV is very basic fantasy stuff, it does it exceptionally well.

85

Really fun multiplayer FPS

Stebsis | June 24, 2014 | Review of Titanfall

Titanfall is really great multiplayer shooter. The freedom of movement is really the thing that sets this apart from any other shooter right now. Of course the titans play a big role, but mechs have been done, so has parkour but not in this kind of multiplayer environment. What this game does lack are interesting unlockables, you only have the very basic weapons, skills etc. and nothing really exciting or new. I do recommend playing Titanfall, it's incredibly fun game if you like mp shooters, but if you want interesting story you won't find it here, campaign is throwaway and waste of everyones time.

70

Do you like to get stuck in the mud?

Stebsis | June 24, 2014 | Review of SPINTIRES

If so, this is a game for you. Well seriously, Spintires is a game about collecting lumber on pretty realistic rough terrain like woods and wet dirt road. You get to operate bunch of different vehicles that all function differently and have their uses like collecting lumber and transporting it. It's pretty hard to explain what the appeal in this game is, but it's not bad, it does what it does really well, but the gimmick doesn't last.

It's neat how the ground deforms under the heavy machinery, I don't think any game has done that kind of thing before and it looks really good. The problem really is the lack of content especially considering the price. It's fun to operate this large number of vehicles and learn to maneuver in the terrain, but that's not enough to make it last that long. There is multiplayer that I haven't tried, but as far as single player goes it loses its appeal after some hours. There is actually a demo available in the developres website so check that out first if you're not sure. If you have couple of friends interested then go ahead and buy, I've heard it's much better in coop.

75

Fun arcade-y action

Stebsis | June 22, 2014 | Review of Strike Vector

Strike Vector is pretty fun multiplayer shooter. There are couple of modes to choose from and nice number of maps, and devs are adding new stuff monthly. Handling the ship takes a while to get used to because of how fast the action is. You can fly around in your ship like in a space-sim, but it can also transform to VTOL mode that stops the ship and you can move around horizontally. It takes couple of matches to get used to these mechanics and you'll be flying to wall couple of times at least, but once you get hand of it, it's incredibly fun.

What I really like is that everything related to gameplay is available to you right from the start, you can choose whatever weapons you want and modify them with couple different modifiers, like more precise shots or reloads faster. This is also kind of double edged thing because there isn't really anything to work for and what content there is, is gone fairly quickly. You only get some cosmetic stuff for levelling up so at least for me it did get boring after a while and stopped playing until next patch that added more stuff, and same thing happened after that too. This is fun game, and for the price you get a lot of great action, but if you want something meaningful to work for this might not be for you.

80

Great game, not the masterpiece some were expecting

Stebsis | June 22, 2014 | Review of Watch_Dogs

Watch Dogs tells a story of Aiden Pierce, a vigilante who's hunting the killers of her niece who was killed because of Aiden. Characters aren't the most interesting but not bad, most of them are well made but I never felt I wanted to really know more about them. Story also isn't the most interesting though also well made. What shines here is the gameplay and multiplayer modes.

You can basically hack anything in Chicago with help of your smartphone. You can hack citizens walking by to get some cash to get from ATM, hack the street lights to cause mayhem or my favorite: blockers to fend off pursuers, or, as I like to use them, get some speed with your car, couple meters away from blockers turn on focus that slows down time, hack the blockers and your car flies high into the air.

You'll be using hacking a lot, police will chase you, you need to gather some intel from enemy infested place or follow someone. It all feels natural to do and is fun to boot.

One of the best things here is the multiplayer, particularly hacking others. It's really exhilirating when you go in other person's game and try to sneak at least 50m close to hack them, then try to find some safe place so that he won't find and kill you. It takes some 3 minutes I think to hack someone, you need to stay in range of them and the area gets smaller every 25%. Usually when you successfully hack someone, other person is dropped in your game so be careful, best way I've found to counter others is to occasionally use focus, if it slows down time you don't have anyone invading, but if it doesn't then there's someone after you. It's pretty easy to spot other people especially if you find a nice vantage point or are in highway with no places to hide, but it gets pretty boring if you just kill them before they even begin so I usually let them hack me, it's more fun to hunt them even if I don't succeed in finding.

There are also bigger multiplayer matches where you need to get a phone and you and your team need to hack it before other team. These take place in fairly large areas and it's pretty fun. There's also free roam though every time I've gone there people are just causing mayhem because, well, there's absolutely nothing to do there than to kill others and get cops after you, and the lag was always unbeliavably bad.

I'd say Watch Dogs is worth your time to play even if it doesn't reach the hights some people were expecting and doesn't really provide enough new to make it something truly special. Story is good for the one run, there are many activities in the city like digital trips that let you operate a huge spider tank which is fun, and you can play chess which I really like. Hacking and tailing others in multiplayer is incredibly fun, I did that for hours without touching story missions. Ubisoft made a fun game to play, hopefully sequel, which definitely is coming, takes the same kind of leap Assassin's Creed 2 took from AC1.

95

Absolutely amazing and a bit heart breaking

Stebsis | June 18, 2014 | Review of Child of Light

Child of Light tells coming of age story of princess Aurora, who is thought of being passed away. She ends up in kingdom of Lemuria, that is in bit of a disarray. At first the game seems like a childrens storybook, but it's much darker than what you'd expect, kind of like those old Grimm's fairy tales that you might've read. It doesn't mean it's not suitable for children, just like some old Grimm's story. I would actually recommend younger kids to play this because it does handle some mature themes but the way it's presented isn't inappropriate or gory

Well I won't rhyme all of the review(not very good at it either). Though that is how the game's dialogue is presented, everything the characters say is rhymed like in some fairy tail. There is plenty of dialogue so if you're annoyed by rhyming this game probably isn't for you. The story, though short, is very well done. Aurora is seeking a way out of Lemuria. You must find the sun, the stars and the moon that've been stolen. Aurora also learns that her father is very ill after her passing away so she must hurry back. There are couple of very well done twists along the way and the story, though most part predictable, is very well written, characters are well made and you want to know what happens next even if you sort of guess the outcome. You meet lot of colorful characters along the way that you can use in battles. They're all very likeable, though not very fleshed out outside of their own, quite short, stories.

Soon after you've arrived to Lemuria you learn to fly. You can fly around these fairly big areas, discover hidden treasures, some hidden bosses even. The world looks gorgeous, huge praise to artists who worked on this.

Battle system works like old JRPG's, particularly like Grandia on PS1. There is action bar where you, one of your team-mates and the enemies are shown. The character icons move and when they reach the CAST part you get to choose what you want to do. There are a lot of interesting mechanics at play here, particularly the delay part. If you attack your enemy when they're casting, you delay them and push them back in the action bar, but this also works on your characters. You have to strategize when you actually want to attack to get most out of it. Some talents take a long time to cast and you need to learn when you can delay and when to defend that raises your defence for a turn, you won't attack but you move much faster on your second turn. When you level up you can choose talents for Aurora and other characters. They all have their uses, Finn is good at magic and is best against elemental foes, Rubella is mostly healer and fairly good at attacking and Norah is great at delaying enemies a bit.

The combat is pretty hard in the hardest difficulty, I didn't try lower ones so I can't say how easy they are. You really need to use what you have effectively. I died many times, especially in boss battles that require lot of thought to get through. I really enjoyed the difficulty though.

There are some puzzle elements, though they never were really challenging. Usually it's just flip switch to open door, push crate on top of switch or try to get to door before it closes.

Also need to mention the soundtrack composed by Coeur de Pirate. It's really, really good. The battle music, all the traveling music etc. are some of the best I've ever heard in a video game, almost rivaling Nobuo Uematsu. I really hope she does more music to games.

Child of Light is one of Ubisoft's greatest games I think, and they've had some amazing stuff over the years. Only real major gripe I have is that it's way too short, I really wanted to play this much, much more but grinding levels at the end isn't really what Child of Light is best at

95

Respect my authoritah!

Stebsis | March 8, 2014 | Review of South Park: The Stick of Truth

South Park The Stick of Truth is kind of like Batman Arkham games in how they treat their source material. These developers, Rocksteady and Obsidian, know who their audience is, who to build these games for. This game respects its source material, but like Arkham games did, also stands on its own, in this case as hilarious game with solid turn based combat with surprisingly deep systems behind it.

You play as the new kid, or Sir Douchebag as he's soon called. Character creation is pretty well done, it lets you make a kid who's exactly like from episode from South Park. Your family has just moved in, and you go and find some kids to play with, and soon find Butters who takes you to the Kingdom of Kopa Keep, or KKK as they abbreviate it. Soon you get to choose a class between warrior, mage, rogue or jew... yeah, if you haven't noticed yet South Park is very vile and racist. If you don't like crude humor of South Park and are easily offended, this is not a game for you.

You meet all the classic South Park characters from major to more minor ones, from Cartman to Kyle, Mr. Slave, Clyde, Tweek, Jimmy, Timmy, even Mr. Hankey the christmas poo, and all with their original voices. The boys are LARPing, Cartman leads group of humans in Kingdom of Kupa Keep, and Kyle and Stan lead the Drow Elves. They're in a war with each other over Stick of Truth. He who holds the Stick of Truth controls the universe and can do anything he wants, but when the new kid arrives, the elves attack and the Stick of Truth is stolen from Kupa Keep, and so begins your grand quest. It's just so hilarious how seriously everyone takes this made up scenario.

Game works like turn based rpg. You almost always have one other person in your party, and you can choose which one. Everyone has their uses, for example Butters is pretty strong and has a good heal and Princess Kenny can charm enemies by flashing his boobs. Every class also has their own unique skills, mage for example uses fireworks as flame based attack or water and car battery to electrocute people. Almost every weapon and skill are made out of everyday stuff, just like as a kid when we used to play around with wooden swords or something like that.

Huge points go to the graphics. This looks exactly like crappy quality of South Park episodes that they're made in a week, and I love it. It's just so South Park-y. No Simpson or any other game based on some TV show or movie has ever resembled this much their source material.

This is a game made for fans, but also has great turn based system and funny humor that I think even newcomers to the series can appreciate. There are a lot of references you'll miss if you haven't watched the show, but this could also be a great introduction to South Park. If you don't mind racist and toilet humor, and can keep open mind about that stuff, here is a hilarious turn based RPG. As for fans you just can't find better SP game than this. It's packed with characters, dialogue etc. that go all the way to the first episodes with the aliens, Mr. Hankey, and loading screen that has Scuzzlebutt in it. I smiled almost all the way through the journey and laughed my ass off. And even though it's maybe not as long as you'd hope from RPG, it still feels like I just experienced a whole seasons worth of South Park while giving me a chance to feel like I was actually part of it.

80

Steal everything

Stebsis | Feb. 28, 2014 | Review of THIEF

Thief is, like the name suggests, all about stealing stuff. You steal everything valuable you can, paintings, picture frames, jewellery, even earrings straight from woman's ears. Garret doesn't leave anything behind.

Story begins with Garret stealing stuff, you get to gameplay almost immediately and right from the start you get the itch to just take all the shinnies around you. Plot starts off interesting with touch of supernatural elements, but it never really amounts to anything great.

This game does make you feel like a master thief. You sneak around, look through closets and cupboards for anything valuable, behind paintings for hidden safes, bookshelves for hidden triggers, pick locks and so on. It all feels satisfying to do, and especially if you don't just knock out the guards there is a lot of tension if there's guard or even two in the room at the same time, and you try to hide from him while stealing stuff.

Unfortunately the AI is not good even on highest difficulty. Even a little bit of shadow is enough to hide you if you're at least 3 or so meters away from guards. And they also seem deaf, you can just walk past them most of the time without even crouching. It's not to say they're not challenge at times, I play without knocking out anyone which makes it a whole lot more satisfying to clean a house from valuables. Guards still have very precise path they always go through which takes tension out a bit, I really wish stealth games would do something drastically different with AI even once in a while.

You're given a variety of tools to commit the burglary, some of you need to buy with money you get from looting. Stuff like little knife to cut out paintings from the frame. Variety of arrows like rope arrow to climb places and water arrow to put out fire. You also have this supernatural power, focus. I didn't use this at all, you have the option to disable it completely. It basically shows you interact-able objects, helps pick locks or fight guards, and you can upgrade these abilities to make you better thief. I just don't like to use this stuff, but it's there if you want to.

There is a ton of customization to play the game the way you want. You can turn off the HUD completely, no health meter etc. loot doesn't have a glint to show it better, no button prompts or waypoint and so on, everything can be turned on or off which is just amazing, this is the way more games should do things, let us really play the way we want. You also have variety of custom difficulty settings, from more minor like disabling focus to some that really put your thief skills to test, for example failing mission if you're noticed, only checkpoint saves, if you knock out anyone you fail, and ironman that erases your whole save if you fail.

Graphically this is pretty good, I wasn't able to play on highest setting, this is pretty demanding game, but I've seen videos and it's pretty gorgeous, lighting effects and shadows look really good.

There have been very mixed opinions of Thief. It's pretty good game in my opinion, but I can see how people wouldn't like it as much. It is pretty repetitive, story isn't great, AI is at times just stupid, but I just had so much fun stealing everything, finding out every piece of loot I could find, picking locks etc. that made it worthwhile. Thief makes you feel like a thief.

100

One of the best

Stebsis | Feb. 28, 2014 | Review of Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4 HD is fantastic remake of one of my all-time favorite games brought to 1080p and 60fps which make it glorious to look at and joy to play on modern machine. I’ve played this game close to 10 times through on PS2 and Gamecube, but it’s still as good as ever, now even better thanks to higher fps, and still scares the crap out of me, I never handled horror games well at all.

RE4 puts you in shoes of Leon Kennedy, who’s on a mission to retrieve president’s daughter who’s been kidnapped. Things of course start to go wrong and soon you’ll be shooting down zombies who come at you with pitchforks, scythes, chainsaws and dynamite. There’re actually no zombies in this game, enemies are possessed by a kind of parasite. Personally I don’t care but some fans seem to get a bit upset if you call them zombies, so I’m gonna call them zombies.

Story never gets that interesting but it’s still enjoyable and has that classic Resident Evil cheesiness. The atmosphere alone is enough to carry the story though. Later in the game enemies start to get really creepy, like chanting monks, and these very disturbing Regenerators that scared the crap out of me first time I played. I was like 10-11 years old and almost couldn’t continue at that point, I was just too damn scared.

Game is pretty long and you go through variety of different areas, villages, underground tunnels, old castles, riverside and lot of other places, it’s pretty linear but never felt restricting because there’s always something to find all around. You’re given a variety of weapons to use and customize to your liking. There’re pistol, shotgun, sniper rifle, rocket launcher etc. nothing really different, but guns feel good to use and have lot of add-ons that you buy from a mysterious merchant that always appears everywhere.

Inventory management is kind of a mini-game on its own, you have limited space so you have to try to get everything fit there. You can turn the weapons, items and ammo around in almost like a game of Tetris. Game doesn’t have crosshair, all guns have red dot sight which makes the combat even more fun, it doesn’t feel like you’re just pointing a reticule over a guy and shooting. The gun actually sways quite a bit in Leon’s hand and it can be very tricky to get a headshot, giving shooting a tad more realistic feeling, but thanks to mouse controls it’s a bit easier than on controller.

One thing that does kind of annoy about everyone in this game is Ashley, the president’s daughter. She’s rescued quite early on, and from that point the game is about 50/50 escort mission, maybe not even that much. You have to keep Ashley safe so that zombies don’t start munching on her, thankfully her AI isn’t horrible so it’s not impossible or that infuriating task as some other games make escort missions. Best parts of the game definitely are when she’s not around.

PC version does have couple oddities. I don’t like the mouse and keyboard at all because it doesn’t work like other third person shooters. You don’t control the characters direction with the mouse, only the camera which disorients a bit when you try to use mouse. You have to turn Leon with A and D keys which is a bit irritating and one thing I wanted them to change. Also there doesn’t seem to be a way to exit the game other than alt+f4. There still are some great things about the PC specific features. It natively supports Xbox 360 controller with 3 different control styles, and also other controllers that you can rebind the keys for if you need to. Game runs solid at 1080p and 60fps, I don’t think it goes higher than that. Also nice little thing added is that you can change from HD textures to original which I highly recommend. HD textures are a bit too clean looking, they don’t have that rugged feel to it like original does.

Resident Evil 4 is just such a great game I can’t even fully describe it, the gunplay, customization, characters, the journey, horror, creepy enemies, varied locations, atmospheric music, even Ashley all make this just an amazing experience that I still haven’t gotten bored of after almost 10 years. I still remember playing this the first time, I was still in elementary school and my brother had borrowed Gamecube from his friend and RE4 with it, I was so scared but I pushed on, and later that year got my own version on PS2.

Many have criticized that this went too much into action and not enough horror, but I think they found the perfect balance that later installments just couldn’t get right. This is without a doubt the definitive edition of RE4, I’ll always treasure my old PS2 version, but time goes on and this HD remake catches up, 60fps really makes a huge difference. If you for some reason haven’t played RE4 yet, give this a go.

100

Great experience

Stebsis | Feb. 22, 2014 | Review of The Walking Dead & 400 Days DLC Pack

Walking Dead is one of the best experiences I've ever had with a game. There isn't much of the actual gameplay and what little puzzles it has are very easy. The point here is the story and choices and they're so good. There are variety of ways you can complete the game, people will or will not die depending on your choices and no matter what happens it always opens up some new and interesting conversation options, so losing someone doesn't mean you just lose an entire story. 400 Days follows 5 other characters but it's not as interesting as the stories aren't that long, around 20 minutes top and in that time you just can't get the same emotional bond you have for the characters in main game. I recommend playing this no matter if you think this is a game or not, don't go into this wanting to hate this because of some aspect you don't like, just let the story get hold of you and play one of the most touching video games ever made.

80

Turn based goodness

Stebsis | Feb. 22, 2014 | Review of Blackguards

I've never played Dark Eye games so I can't say how closely this follows the pen and paper rules and lore, but I can say that this is pretty fantastic turn based game. I love Daedalic, they've become on my favorite developers thanks to fantastic point and click games so this is a bit different area they're tackling on.

Main character that you get to create if accused of murder and goes to jail, where he brakes away from with little help. There are some interesting and not so interesting characters along the way, and dialogue for the most part is pretty well done. Story itself isn't that interesting but choices you get to make are really nice.

Game itself works more or less like you'd expect from turn based rpg, if you've played something like XCOM you'll get the hang of pretty soon. There is quite a bit of customization in characters how you want them to progress, you can definitely make the kind of character you want. With each weapon type you get to choose wether it's used defensively or aggressively, and there are a ton of spells and abilities to learn. In combat at the bottom of the screen is shown the order in which characters, your dudes and enemies, move, and this is critical because you can plan better who to attack so that they don't get chance to attack you.

There is a ton of hidden depth in Blackguards combat like environmental hazards, line of sight, position of characters and so on. There is always something to learn. Battles can sometimes take a long time though and that's about the thing the game does most of, so if you don't like turn based action this isn't for you, nothing in the story is most likely going to hook you in that much. Blackguards is a deep and very well done turn based rpg, and here's hoping Daedalic will make more.

75

Fun and fluid

Stebsis | Feb. 20, 2014 | Review of Strider

I never played original Strider on Sega Genesis so I can't make any comparisons to it, but this new version does feel very old school but just brought to modern age. You play as a ninja, Strider Hiryu. There is some kind of story but it's never brought up that much, it's just there to give some kind of reason to do everything. The best part here is the gameplay and it's just so much fun

Strider moves fluidly and responds perfectly to every press of a button, there's never a moment where he doesn't do what you want, you always have perfect control over Strider so if you fail you have only yourself to blame, or enemies that can stagger you mid-air when jumping. One pretty neat thing is that there is no wait period between normal attack, you swing your sword as fast as you can hit the button. There aren't really any combo attacks though so most of the time best tactic is to just spam attack as fast as you can, though I never felt that it got boring. Along the way you get new powers at steady pace, like slide, double jump or shield that're used both in combat, platforming and puzzle solving. This indeed is a metroidvania game, though if you're looking for one, I would really recommend checking out Valdis Story which plays somewhat similarly to this but does metroidvania aspect much better.

One thing that does annoy me is that you can't rebind the keys, I found it just impossible to play on keyboard because I just couldn't get my hand in comfortable position to have access to all buttons, I had to use controller which is much better alternative in my opinion. Also environments aren't that exciting to look at, it's often quite dark and very uninspired.

Strider is fun game to play, fluid and responsive movement make platforming and combat enjoyable, but very bland environments don't make it that much fun to look at. I do recommend this, but also recommend controller.

90

Another amazing Final Fantasy

Stebsis | Dec. 5, 2013 | Review of FINAL FANTASY VIII

People seem to have really mixed feelings about this game, mostly because of the gameplay mechanics, some love it, some hate it, but about all find it tedious.

FF VIII protagonist is Squall Leonhart, a cadet in Galbadia Garden's military academy, who's sent on a mission with his friends and instructor. Game starts really slowly and the real story doesn't really start in a while, but once it really starts to hit, it's really good, though the ending is... confusing to say the least. You meet colorful cast of characters along the way and pretty good antagonists. There're story twists, really... weird moments and some really hard boss fights, I think overall this is one of the hardest FF games.

What people seem to hate or at least find tedious is the drawing mechanic, you don't have MP that's used when casting spells like in previous games, instead in battle you use a mechanic called draw to kind of suck magic from the enemies, and this is counted as numbers, up to 100, and that's how many spells you will have. This gets really boring because you usually get like 1-5 at a time if I remember correctly so most of your battles early on will be just doing that same draw. If you decide you don't want to do it... that's not really an option because of another mechanic, Junction. This is used to link the magic you draw to your weapons and armor, making you deal more damage, elemental damage, take more hits, have more magic power etc. depending how much you have that particular magic. And if you don't do it it might even break the game completely if you have no way to draw magic from too hard enemies. I found this really boring, but once you get some magic that's enough, you don't have to get every one of them to 100 to have capable fighters, and you can't hold all of the spells in the game anyway because you can have only so much of different magics, so just use them and draw when necessary, I found this way more fun and less tedious.

All the classic FF stuff are here, summons, secret ones too, hidden bosses, best weapons to find, airship, active time battle system, side quests etc. Also need to mention one of the best soundtracks in any FF game, in my opinion at least.

Battle system is more or less same than in FF VII, you have 3 characters in fight at once, waiting their turns and then you choose what you want to do, magic, summons, attack etc. Characters also have special skills that're kind of like the limit breaks in FF VII, but aren't activated the same way. Basically the special attack can be activated any time, but the probability of it happening is much greater when characters health is on yellow, meaning very low. Then just spam the skip button enough until you get a chance to do it. Squall for example has one that shoots kind of like laser beam from his sword to space and hits the enemy with that, or Zell that runs around the world to hit his opponent... yeah, couple of them are a bit over the top, but really cool and I especially loved them when I was little kid.

Overall I really like this game, junction and draw mechanics can get boring especially in the beginning and story is a bit slow to pick up, but just stick through it, this is a great Final Fantasy game that tried at least something new while still keeping to its roots, and didn't try to just copy the insanely huge success that was FF VII.

95

Best AC in years

Stebsis | Nov. 21, 2013 | Review of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag - Deluxe Edition

Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag is probably my favorite game in the series after AC2. This just improves in every way from a bit disappointing AC3. You play as Edward Kenway, grandfather of AC3's protagonist, Connor. Story is pretty good though not as well done as in AC2. Edward is really likeable character and he has bit of the charm Ezio had, he's a great character and leagues above boring, monotone voiced Connor. You also meet some famous pirates like Anne Bonny and Edward Thatch, or Blackbeard as he's more well known.

One of the best parts of AC3 were the naval battles, but now they're gotten a huge upgrade. Some hours into the game you get your own ship, Jackdaw, and a big world starts opening up. Sea is big and feels a bit like Legend of Zelda Wind Waker how you sail around, visiting islands and finding treasures, but it's not fully connected world, game does need to load separate area when you go to bigger city, but smaller islands are all just there in the sea. You don't control the wind though but it always seem to favor you more or less. Ship combat is really fun, when your camera is facing forward you can fire chain rounds to slow down and incapacitate ships, when firing on sides you can fire volley of cannons, and turn the camera backwards and you can drop fire barrels in the water which is great way of dealing ramming ships. You also get upgrades on your ship like mortar rounds for long-rage and high damage attacks, or stronger hull.

If you incapacitate an enemy ship you can board it by sailing next to it. You need to kill a certain number of enemies, and then they surrender, and you can decide what to do, like repair the Jackdaw or lower wanted level. You also get more loot this way instead of just shooting the ship and collecting loot from the sea and possible crew member that sometimes can be picked up.

There is a lot of pirating and not so assassin like stuff, but Ubisoft hasn't forgotten what the game is about. There are assassin contracts for you to find, rooftops to climb, fortresses to infiltrate, people to tail and all that stuff from previous AC games, they're not just afterthought and swept aside for trying to just make a pirate game, nor is the pirate part an afterthought, both sides are really well realised. Actually, sneaking parts are done better than ever because now there are more hiding places like bushes, and you can even stalk around corners, and then just whistle from there to attract guards and silently kill them. Story has plenty of sneaking missions, and every mission has certain conditions if you want 100% completion.

There also are the present day parts that're mostly optional. You don't play as Desmond but some other dude, and you're testing this kind of Animus console, like a game console, that Abstergo, the Templars, want to release to everyone. These portions are surprisingly interesting and way better than what you had to do with Desmond in previous games.

AC4 is a game pirate game we've been graving for years since Sid Meier's Pirates. Sadly these kinds of games have been very disappointing or even horrible. You don't even have to play previous games to understand this, because story, neither the Edward portion nor the present day parts, continue straight from AC3 or other games. Gap between AC3 and 4 is like difference between AC1 and 2, it just improves in every aspect and brings new things into the mix. Now Ubisoft just needs to put those naval battles to multiplayer

75

Pretty good

Stebsis | Nov. 18, 2013 | Review of BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 1

Burial at Sea is really interesting DLC. You return to the Rapture from Bioshock 1 and 2, but to time before it fell and became Splicer infested city. You play as Booker again, but in different universe from Infinite. Booker is private eye who gets a job from Elizabeth, and you tour the Rapture for some time, experiencing everything around you and listening to the story. After this the combat begins which is as good as it was in Infinite, but without sky-rails. You also have noticeably less ammo so vigors, or plasmids as they've now calle again, have bigger role as you can set all kinds of traps for your foes.

This is solid DLC, but the story doesn't really get interesting yet and it clocks around hour and half to two hours depending how much you explore, so it's really short DLC and really pricey considering that. I'd seriously consider everyone to wait for the second part and buy the season pass then, it's just way cheaper that way and you'll know from reviews if the second part just screws everything. The most hardcore fans have most likely already bought season pass though when the main game launched in spring and this has been in the top sold charts so many, like me, just couldn't wait :) Overall I'm a bit disappointed what they did here and especially with the length, 90 or so minutes for 15€. Hopefully part 2 will be a lot better.

90

Great game

Stebsis | Oct. 27, 2013 | Review of Batman Arkham Origins

I gave Batman Arkham Asylum and Arkham City full 100 score here because I think they're not just great superhero and Batman games, but great action and stealth games with good stories and character on their own right and it's all not just supported by the fact that it's about a character a lot of people like, Batman.

Arkham Origins is really good game, but it lacks a bit of that same wonder AA gave with its fluid combat and fun stealth, and AC that improved the concept with its open world and great cast of villains.

Arkham Origins pits you against Black Mask who hires 8 assassins to take you down, these include iconic villains like Deadshot and Bane from previous games. Other 6 are new villains in Arkham series such as Deathstroke and Firefly. Riddler also returns to give you series of things to find around in the world and puzzles to solve, though they're just not as well done as in AC, majority of them are quite boring actually. There're also couple of surprises and really fun confrontations with other iconic Batman villains.

You once again play as Batman, of course, but a bit earlier in his career. He's not quite as experienced and I think this is reflected quite nicely in the story as he feels a bit rougher around the edges and at time just brutal. Though gameplay wise he does play about exactly the same as in the other two games. Story offers few surprises but overall feels a bit stale.

The great freeflow combat returns and it's as fun as ever. Batman almost like dances amongst the bad guys as you beat them with your fists with really satisfying punch sounds, or throw batarangs and use other gadgets in the middle of combat like electric gloves that you need to charge up and they give a real boost to your attacks. Stealth is also big aspect once again, Batman can't take bullets and you don't go just against Black Mask's guys, but also Gotham City's police. These guys pack firepower and snipers on rooftops and they will gun you down if you don't play it stealthly at times.

The open world map is now a bit bigger and you can freely glide around it with your bat-cape, though one part of the city is the same as in Arkham City so the actually new places feel fewer.

Overall I really loved this game save for a bit blander world and story. It's more of the same as Arkham City was but I don't think that's a bad thing. There's plenty of new stuff like some gadgets and great cast of classic Batman villains that stand out. If you liked previous games I bet you will like this one, but I just hope with next Batman game(if they're just going to make it) Warner Brothers or Rocksteady, whichever is doing it, tries a bit bigger leap.

90

Great value

Stebsis | Oct. 13, 2013 | Review of Dishonored™ Game of the Year Edition

Dishonored on its own is a great stealth and action game. You play as Corvo Attano, bodyguard of the Empress. He's falsely accused of murder of the empress and kidnapping of her daughter Emily, and is taken to a prison where you escape and start to track down Emily and the people who killed the Empress. Story doesn't have any real surprises, but the lore and setting are interesting enough to carry the plot.

You always have a sword in your right hand, and you have variety of weapons to equip on left, like crossbow that has all kinds of darts for stealthy, non-lethal, low chaos and high chaos plays. Pretty soon you get your hands on supernatural powers given by the Outsider, a mysterious fella who appears before Corvo throughout the game. You find these runes scattered all over the levels that you use to unlock the powers, like blink that lets you silently teleport some distance, for example to get to higher ground, hide quickly or go behind an enemy and stun/kill them. You can also summon plague rats that eat your enemies till only bones are left, dark vision that lets you see enemies through walls and all the collectibles(which I don't like at all, I want to explore the levels myself) and stuff like jump higher. There are variety of abilities for you to play the way you want, stealthly, killing people, stunning them, or going in loud. It's just a shame that because levels are very stealth based you don't have that many options to play non-lethal way, basically blink and high jump are the only ones that I used. You have an ability to turn your enemies to ash after you kill them, so you don't need to hide the bodies, but I don't like it, it makes things way too easy just like dark vision. I had hoped much more creative stuff that necessarily doesn't make the game easier, just more interesting and varied.

Then there are the three DLC's that of course come in this GotY edition. Dunwall City Trials lets you take on different challenge maps, you may need to kill enemies as quickly as possible and in certain way. This is fun if you enjoyed more of the combat and taking on enemies rather than exploring and doing the story.

Knife of Dunwall and Brigmore Witches put you in the shoes of Daud who actually was the one who killed the Empress. He tries to atone for his sins and rescue Emily in the shadows, the end of Brigmore Witches and his storyline is interesting as it intervenes with Corvos story from main game, and overall they were really enjoyable. Daud plays a bit differently from Corvo. For example when Daud uses blink, time around him stops and that lets you have more time in deciding where to blink. He also has couple different powers like pull, and his crossbow is on his wrist.

Level design in all of these is excellent and varied, there are a ton of different routes to take depending what kind of abilitites you have, like possession that lets you take control of guards or fishes, or your target so you can basically commit suicide with him. The levels clearly favor stealth with all kinds of high places to go to like rooftops, lamps, bookshelves etc.

Overall this is a great package, the main game and all DLC's have lots of replayability and they also take a nice while to go through, so there's definitely a lot of value for the money here.

90

Scribblenauts DC

Stebsis | Sept. 26, 2013 | Review of Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure

Scribblenauts Unmasked delivers everything that was great about previous games and adds to the bunch. Now the themeis DC Comics. All the creative gameplay is there, you can write practically anything in your magical notebook(no dirty words :D) and it appears. You can also add adjectives and thanks to robust creation tool you can customize everything the way you want. With DC super heroes you get access to licensed classic characters like Batman and Superman, but on top of those classics and for more hardcore DC fanatics you can summon every single DC character ever, and there're many versions of them. Then with the creation tool you can take parts of the superheroes and make your own super heroes or villains or some kind of unholy abomination if you so want. There might not be anything drastically new for people who've played Scribblenauts since the beginning, but it's still fun for all ages.

70

Brainless and fun

Stebsis | Sept. 26, 2013 | Review of Alien Rage Unlimited

This is quite fun first person shooter, though really generic. There is almost no story to speak of, it's just not important. All you need to know is that aliens are coming to get you and you need to kill them. You have your fairly generic weapon selection from pistols to shotguns and assault rifles etc. They have some interesting secondary fire like shotgun can lift enemies in the air. For the price Alien Rage delivers solid FPS action in decent length campaign that is very challenging even on the "easy" difficulty, but if you want something that has bit more depth I recommend going for Bioshock or something like that.

85

Great coop

Stebsis | Sept. 21, 2013 | Review of Payday 2 4 Pack

In Payday 2 you have to pull heists, like rob a bank, with 3 of your friends. Things can go smoothly and police might even not be alerted, but usually they will wrong. Very wrong. Police are pouring out from doors and windows while you need to wait for the drill to finish opening the vault, and if you somehow survive you need to carry the heavy money back to the getaway vehicle. You can also pick locks in the vault that might give you some extra cash, but it's risky because it takes a long time to pick, police are coming and it's not guaranteed you even get anything from it. You can play this single player with AI partners, but the AI is just horrible. If you have 3 friends who want to play a great coop game, I don't think you could go wrong with Payday 2 4 pack.

90

Superb Stealth Game

Stebsis | Sept. 21, 2013 | Review of Tom Clancys Splinter Cell Blacklist

After the quite action heavy Splinter Cell Conviction I doubt anyone expected that much from this, everyone thought this would be just another "CoDified" stealth game, but that's just not the case.

You play as Sam Fisher who's trying to stop a terrorist group. Not that original and story, though well written and quite entertaining, offers no surprises whatsoever. There are moments when you think something interesting might happen but no.

Where Blacklist succeeds better than almost any other stealth game is the stealth aspect. You have three choises in how you want to approach the missions. You can go stealthy and not kill anyone, or quietly kill enemies and try to avoid them more than hide, or go in loud and shoot your way in. All these are viable choises and each give you points after each mission. You're given a ton of different gadgets to use in variety of situations. Sleeping gas for silent takedowns, smoke grenade for stealthy kills and flashbangs for loud entrance and a ton more. You also have a tri-rotor, a fun remote controlled camera that you can attract guards attention with, stun them, set them just as flying cameras to keep tabs on guards or explode it in their face. You even go first person couple of times when you play as a different character, but don't worry, it doesn't turn into fps shooter if you don't want it to, but actually mimics the third person stealth quite nicely. If you want to go in loud there are a ton of weapons, shotguns, assault rifles and sniper rifles, for you to choose and shooting mechanics are quite solid.

Levels are varied and give you a lot of room to maneuver. There's usually the best way to go in but you're not restricted to it, you can decide to take high or low ground, find out hidden stuff and sometimes you need to capture a high value target if you want a little extra money to use on gadgets.

There are couple silly things that I just didn't like, for example the execution mechanic where you can mark couple targets and Sam takes them out immediately, or goggles that let you see enemies through walls. I just don't like that stuff in a stealth game, and fortunately if you pick the hardest difficulty it disables these things which is great, you don't need to purposely limit yourself.

Splinter Cell Blacklist should please every long time SC fan. It's really fun and solid stealth game with quite impressive lighting effects and really fun multiplayer modes that I haven't played that much yet. Ubisoft manages to make a game that should please almost every shooter and stealth fan, even though usually that'd mean the game is just horrible because it doesn't focus on what it should, but not Blacklist, it is a stealth game more than anything. I say buy this now.

90

Beat'em up love

Stebsis | Sept. 4, 2013 | Review of Skullgirls

Lately PC has getting a lot of love from the fighting game genre. Capcom has released Street Fighter 4 and Street Fighter X Tekken, and of course Mortal Kombat by NetherRealm. Skullgirls delivers solid fighting game that isn't cheap with infinite combos. Hand drawn character animations are gorgeous and everyone plays differently. Character roster is a bit disappointingly small, though all the fighters play very differently and for the price it's pretty nice. Characters are very japanese in nature and a bit sexualised with miniskirt and cleavage showing, but it doesn't take anything away from the very solid gameplay.

85

Now this is an FPS

Stebsis | Sept. 4, 2013 | Review of Rise of the Triad

There's been a huge gap in FPS genre for games like Rise of the Triad. Those fast based games like Unreal Tournament, Quake, Shadow Warrior and of course Rise of the Triad basically defined what FPS was in the 90's. Now those games've been replaced ones like Call of Duty and Battlefield(you can argue about quality of them), more slower and tactical games and not so much reflex.

Rise of the Triad is here to fix that and it does just that, mindless, fast paced shooting with enemies exploding in blood and guts, eyeballs flying at the screen and all that great gory stuff.

Weapon system is a lot different from anything else, your basic weapons like assault rifle and pistols have unlimited ammo, but they don't pack the biggest punch. if your eally want to survive, you need to find heavy weapons like rocket launchers which make enemies splatter all over the place. You can also turn into a dog and get the hand of god that can kill anything.

This is for people who love fast paced FPS action, and soon there's also other great remake coming, Shadow Warrior. Hopefully we'll see some actually new games now that these remakes seem to be fairly successfull.

75

Great port

Stebsis | Sept. 4, 2013 | Review of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Ultimate Edition

Castlevania Lord of the Shadows certainly is a departure for the series from it's roots. This series has been at its best in its original format, 2d sidescrolling action adventure game with some platforming, or Metroidvania as it's known, and it still holds true. Lord of the Shadows isn't a bad game though, but it just can't rise up to the best in the series like Symphony of the Night.

You don't need to know anything about previous Castlevania games, it's practically always been like that with these titles. This is a reboot, and youplay as Gabriel Belmont from Belmont family who are vampire hunters and their job from throughout history has been to slay Count Dracula. Story is pretty good, it isn't anything noteworthy or the reason to play the game though, but it gives reason to go through everything.

Combat is where the game is really good at. It's sort of like God of War meets Castlevania. You have your classic Castlevania weapon, the whip, and you use it to combo attacks, heavy and light. It's fun to use the whip, but not so fun is the camera which is fixed meaning you can't rotate it usually, and it does get in the way occasionally. You also collect all kinds of sub weapons like daggers from enemies, these are limited so you have to decide when is best to use them.

One thing worth noting are the PC controls... they're not that great. I think it's everyone's personal preference and they're not abysmal like with Dark Souls, but chaining combos and controlling Gabriel is definitely easier with an Xbox controller and analog stick.

Lord of the Shadows isn't exactly for people who absolutely love older Castlevania titles and want something similar. This is clearly made to bait newcomers to the series and it succeeds in giving great monster slaying action in dark and atmospheric setting, and if you keep open mind as older fan you'll find fun action game with Castlevania theme.

85

Kill ladybugs in Eorzea

Stebsis | Aug. 27, 2013 | Review of FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn Digital Collector's Edition Pre

There hasn’t been a good Final Fantasy game since the surprisingly entertaining and amazing real time strategy game, FF XII Revenant Wings on Nintendo DS (you heard me right) back in 2007. I haven’t played the PSP ones but I’ve heard they’re good. After that there’s been the frankly quite horrible XIII series and of course Final Fantasy XIV 1.0 which was so bad it didn’t even sway hardcore fans of the series and that resulted in complete overhaul of the game, A Realm Reborn. I’ve played ARR for 40+ hours now, since beta phase 2, and I just got my sweeter than sweet boxed Collector’s Edition. There is a lot of fanservice all the way from the very first Final Fantasy with Warrior of Light helm. There’re also Magitek Armors as rideable mounts from FFVI! Hell yeah! Classic summons such as Bahamut, Ifrit and Odin, though this time they’re enemies. And of course Chocobos, and there is really badass Behemoth armor for your giant bird in the Collector’s Edition. There is a lot of Final Fantasy in the game, and fans of the series should be pleased.

Story is boring and constantly gets interrupted because you get bigger story missions usually every 5 levels, that can be many hours of gameplay with crafting, doing quests, running dungeons etc. and you might just forget everything that happened those hours ago because there isn’t anything in the story to get you hooked. The quests in between these bigger story missions involve you doing heroic deeds in the magical land of Eorzea, such as slaying ladybugs, picking up money from the ground that some high society lady dropped, and of course one of the classics that should never be forgotten: delivering pretzels. Save the world from the great dragon king Bahamut! Yeah, Square should’ve put at least some effort into making the early game at least somewhat interesting. What happened to the great stories? It’s like the writers just gave up the minute they heard this is an MMO. During my playtime the missions are quite varied, there’s quite a bit of stuff to do, but nothing is ever exciting, there is nothing pulling you in from the quest standpoint.

What really shines is the combat and class system. You get to choose from 5 different races and each of them has two different kind of settings that give a bit different starting stats depending if you want to use magic or not. Character customization is a bit limited but I think it serves its purpose. You can then choose from variety of different jobs, but you’re only bound to it till level 10, then you can go to other guilds and choose to join them, you get a weapon that the class uses, and changing your job is as easy as just switching weapons, no need to create new character just to try out new class, you can max every one of them with one character. This should be in every MMO and it feels like the job system from FFV. Combat itself plays out quite differently depending on what class you pick. You get variety of different skills and every class works differently, with black mage you need to mind your MP because using fire spells stops mana regen, with gladiator you need to taunt the enemies from your party to attack you, and arcanist has a pet Carbuncle that can either attack or defend.

Crafting is its own minigame, at the same time it’s really time consuming if you want to get the best out of it, and it can get tedious really fast, you will be spending hours just doing the crafting log if you want some of the best gear especially early on. But at the same time it’s surprisingly exciting and involving process.

ARR is good looking game, Square-Enix has always known how to make their games really beautiful, and ARR is no exception. On highest settings the game is simply gorgeous to look at with variety of locales. I just wish there was something to actually find in the game, there is no real reason to go out and explore this beautiful world.

XIV ARR is fun game to play, crafting is really fun if you’re into that sort of thing, and combat and class system are great. With duty finder it's somewhat easy to find parties to dungeons easily, if people would just actually use it. If you’re MMO and FF fan, you’re most likely going to be very happy with ARR.

90

Fighting game goodness

Stebsis | July 31, 2013 | Review of Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition

Mortal Kombat is just brutal game, it was since the first MK came out, and with better graphical technology they've taken it to a whole new level with x-ray that sometimes is shown. You'll see spines cracking, limbs get torn apart, people decapitated, and blood flies. There is amazing roster of characters to choose from with all the classics there. There is content here for newcomers with good tutorials, and fighting game pros with online play to get some real challenge, and tons of fun minigames. This is a great entry to one of the best fighting game series out there.

85

More great Bioshock combat

Stebsis | July 30, 2013 | Review of BioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds

I really liked action in Bioshock Infinite, it had nice punch to it, enemies were varied enough and especially sky-rail sections were amazing sections in the game. This DLC brings just that, combat, combat and more combat even more intense than before. You'll be fighting handymen, patriots and all the other familiar enemies. I'm a bit disappointed it isn't story DLC seeing how great the story was in Infinite, but upcoming Burial at Sea is hopefully going to correct that. If you liked combat in Infinite this is a great DLC and is worth buying the season pass to get the upcoming DLC's too, but if combat wasn't your thing I'd wait until Burial at Sea comes out.

90

Buffed up for season 2!

Stebsis | July 6, 2013 | Review of The Walking Dead: 400 Days

The Walking Dead 400 Days is a nice DLC for only 5€. It follows 5 different characters and in Walking Dead fashion you need to make some choises and they will affect wether people die or don't. Sadly these decisions aren't that hard to make because these stories are only some 15-20 minutes each, not giving you that much time to get that connection to the characters. Either way this makes me really hyped for season 2, because in the short time they made these interesting and different characters and 400 Days made me want to learn more about them. If you liked Telltale's Walking Dead, there just is no reason to pass this on that price.

100

Final Fantasy VII

Stebsis | July 4, 2013 | Review of FINAL FANTASY VII

Wow... this game... I adore it, I adore this game so much. The best game I have ever played, period. I've already bought this from Square-Enix store, but I'm glad it finally came to Steam and Geenmangaming. Final Fantasy VII is a legendary game that probably everyone knows, quality of this game can of course be argued, some just don't like JRPG's, but no one can deny the impact this game had on the whole gaming industry when it came out. Square-Enix was one of the companies that made it successfully to the 3D era, not many succeeded in that the same way SE did with FFVII, and this is still the most sold Final Fantasy game to date, and also one of the most sold and highest rated games of all time.

The story begins as Cloud, the main hero, arrives on top of a train to one of the sectors in Midgar, this big city powered with Mako, planet's life force. He's joined by one of your party members, Barrett, who has a gun for his arm, and you're a member of Avalanche, kind of terrorist group who want to save the planet from Shinra, a company who runs Midgar. Your first job is to blow up a giant reactor that sucks out the life energy from planet. This is one of the greatest openings in a video game ever, the music by Nobuo Uematsu fits perfectly and pre-rendered backgrounds are just beautiful to look at. It gives you taste of combat and and a great boss fight, and shows you how to play the game without holding your hand.

As the story progresses you eventually leave Midgar and a big world awaits you as you leave the city to chase after Sephiroth, one of the most famous video game villains and everyone knows his ridiculously long sword. The story gets more intriguing as Cloud starts to remember memories that might not be his, there's a deep mystery about what happened in the past and how Cloud became SOLDIER, a member of Shinra corporation and why he left.

You are joined with group of interesting characters that you meet along the way, 2 of them secret party members that you may or may not find. There's a talking dog, undead man, guy who builds a space ship and yes, you even go to space in this. These are all interesting characters with their own story arcs that you sometimes have to go a bit out of your way to find, because not all of them are part of the main story.

Combat is a ton of fun, you can choose 3 members to take in your party, Cloud almost always has to be in, and even if he doesn't, you should keep him as he's the most powerful character. The game uses active time battle system that's kind of borderline turn based, not quite though. You wait for your turn as the meter fills and then you choose your attack, you can use your normal attack, magic, enemy skills that you learn by letting enemies use their attacks on you, or powerful summons that are just ridiculous sometimes, like Bahamut Neo that lifts your enemies to the sky on a big piece of land and blasts them with powerful Giga Flare attack. Some of the summoned creatures are pretty hard to find, but they're really cool and powerful.

As enemies hit you, your limit break meter slowly fills and you can then unleash a powerful attack that look really cool, you can speed the meter's filling by giving hyper to all your characters which also makes you take more damage, but I found this to be pretty good balance as it gives more challenge because your health goes down faster, but you also can do these powerful super attacks more frequently, the game is on the easy side for the most part anyway, and the more you unleash these limit breaks, the faster you get new ones.

There is also this materia system, that lets you choose what summons and magic attacks your guys have. You get these materia stones that you equip to the characters, how many you can equip depends on the equipment you have, more powerful ones usually have more materia slots. If you decide to give one a lot magic attacks, it'll take off your health and/or attack, so you're not as powerful, but you'll get more magic power and mp, it's up to you what you want to give tham and to who, but I've noticed that in the end it doesn't have that much difference.

Outside of the main story and at the end game there're 3 powerful foes to defeat, Omega Weapon, Ruby Weapon and Emerald Weapon. Especially the latter 2 are ridiculously hard foes that you probably won't beat even at 99 level without a good strategy and first knowing how they fight. There're tons of hidden stuff, the most powerful summon and chocobo's these yellow giant birds you can ride on, that you have to race on tracks and grow better chocobo's that can go over mountains and even on water. There's snowboarding and submarine minigames too that are just ridiculously fun, surprisingly even the submarine game, and you can also find the best weapons and limit breaks for all the characters.

I have one bad thing to say about the PC version though, MIDI soundtrack... it just boggles my mind why they didn't put the better Playstation 1 version soundtrack to this rerelease. Gladly there is a mod called Anxious Heart that I recommend you to use, as it lets you put in the original soundtrack which is just much, much better. The music is good, really good, some of the best ever put in a game and MIDI just doesn't do it justice.

Despite the MIDI sounds, this is still a superb game with deep mechanics and fun minigames. If for some reason you haven't played this yet, buy it now. The graphics are a bit better and framerate smoother from the Playstation 1 or original PC versions. If you've played this many times before, this rerelease doesn't bring anything actually new, but you might want to try out some of the mods that can make the game pretty hard.

90

Realistic shooter

Stebsis | June 12, 2013 | Review of Rising Storm

Modern FPS' beware! At recent E3 they showed some fantastic looking FPS games coming up, but still, none just interested me like Red Orchestra 2 has, and Rising Storm makes everything in this already great FPS game better. Rising Storm pits Americans and Japanese against each other, and both sides use authentic weapon designs from that era. Americans have a bit more firepower, but I at least hardly noticed the difference as you still die very easily. You can't go just lone rangering to enemy base trying to be the hero, most of the time it's one bullet and you're down. If you're thinking of playing a game like Red Orchestra, Rising Storm is your best way to do it as it also includes multiplayer content from RO2.

85

Great value

Stebsis | June 10, 2013 | Review of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Edition dns

Dollar to gameplay hours you'll get more than you could ever hope for in this truly Legendary Edition. The core game itself is already hundreds if not thousands of hours long with all the different characters you can play as all with different skills and different ways, and I'm not even mentioning the mods that can provide a ton of value, be it content like quests or gameplay tweaks made by the community, or just having fun like turning dragons into My Little Pony characters, getting your lightsaber or just anything the fans have created, or if not, then make it yourself if you're interested. Add to that a pretty neat homemaking DLC, Hearthfire, though this had been done in mods maybe even better. But there's also two other DLC's, other being definitely better than the other. Dawnguard was quite boring. You get a crossbow though which is really cool, but the content itself could be best described as "Cave: The DLC" it's just caves. Dragonborn here is the best, it gives new armors and weapons, new big area near Morrowind to explore, interesting quests, and you get to ride dragons. The game still has its problems like dragons become a bit boring after a while, and quests and main story and characters are quite boring. Still, combat and the world are the best parts here, if you're thinking of buying a great RPG that'll keep you occupied for a long time, you can't go wrong with this Legendary Edition.

60

Pretty good

Stebsis | June 10, 2013 | Review of Remember Me

Remember Me definitely piqued my interest when I first saw it, but it also seemed like the kind of game that has only good idea but really nothing else going for it. Unfortunately it's somewhat true.

The main character Nilin isn't really interesting, she has a good voice actor but I didn't feel like I got to really know her. Story pretty interesting in the beginning, though really cliched at first, as the main character loses her memories. You get to kind of hack into other people's memories, but the story nor the gameplay never seems to really take full advantage of all the cool things.

Combat system is pretty interesting, you can create your own combos which is neat, but often times really bad camera angle isn't really helping you to pull them off.

The game is linear. Really linear. They create this huge, great looking Neo Paris filled with all sorts of things you'd like to explore, go around and do stuff and talk to people and just all sorts of things, but they do absolutely nothing with it. The game practically never goess of the path or gives you anything interesting to explore. The game is also pretty short, took me about 6 hours and there's just no reason to go back playing it.

There's just so much lost potential in Remember Me that it makes it a bit sad what they accomplished here. Platforming is your fairly boring Prince of Persia style with clear markings where to go and only one route to take. You can clear the whole game in one evening and it's just linear. It's still really fun game to play when it does things right with the story and combat system. If you're not bothered by linearity and want somewhat interesting story and good combat system with interesting mechanics this might be for you, but if you wanted to go out and explore a futuristic Neo Paris and hack people's minds all around etc. this might be a disappointment.

85

Great cases

Stebsis | June 7, 2013 | Review of LA Noire: DLC Bundle Capsule

You get five really great cases to play in this DLC. They're quite varied in their content, but like in the main game, the content isn't anything that interesting or unpredictable which I would've liked. All the regular stuff is there like chases, interrogation and finding clues. If you liked the main game, this is a must have, but if not, none of these are going to change your mind. It's just a shame that there isn't more of these, there could've been so much potential for Rockstar and Team Bondi to make this like a monthly thing to release a case, get some famous mystery writers to think up them etc. and with the nature of the game it would've worked.

60

Meh...

Stebsis | June 5, 2013 | Review of Dead Island: Game of the Year

Dead Island has some interesting things to it and is really fun to play... about 10 or so hours if even that. You get to choose between 4 characters each with their own special skills, but if you're looking for character driven and involving survival story in post apocalyptic open world... get Fallout 3 and New Vegas instead, they have sort of zombies too with ghouls.

You get a variety of weapons to use, and melee is definitely the thing they've focused here. Combat at times can get intense as you very rarely have any guns or bullets for them. It still gets really repetitive and monotonous, and you start to ask yourself is this all there is? Yeah, basically that's it.

The island itself is gorgeous to look at, but the setting doesn't make this zombie experience even remotely scary. Characters you meet are as deep as a puddle and main characters too are just awful.

Dead Island is best played in coop, alone it gets boring and fast, but this still is repetitive and near the end just a boring game.

85

Capture the flag!

Stebsis | June 5, 2013 | Review of Battlefield 3: End Game (EU)

BF3 End Game is definitely the best of the BF3 DLC's. It adds 4 new season themed maps: spring, summer, fall and winter, and 4 new vehicles, like an AA Tank that's really useful in maps that have helicopters and jets. Also one of the vehicles is motorcycle which is just awesome. It's the fastest way to get from A to B, and it's just fun to drive around. The best thing added though, and why this is the best DLC, is capture the flag mode. It's just so much fun which gives the question why they didn't include it in the first place when BF3 released? Rules are simple, you need to go to enemy base, get their flag and bring it to your own base. Motorcycles are maybe the best thing in this mode because it's the fastest and you can carry the flag with you on it. It's really intense and you need to work with your team. You can't just drive straight to enemy base and sneakily steal their flag as the team can see where their flag is, you need to go with your team and support each other to succeed.

90

Great story

Stebsis | June 5, 2013 | Review of Mafia II dns

Storyline of Mafia 2 is definitely its strongest point. Vito is just home from war and he needs to get back sometime later, but then you meet your old friend Joe who's gotten involved in mafia business, and he gets you out of the army and recruits you to the family he's been friends with. Story takes some turns and feels like a mafia tale.

Sadly almost everything else is pretty boring and lacks content. There is absolutely nothing to do in the great looking city. Shooting elements though not bad aren't really that great either. Bunching minigame is decent fun. Driving a car is just horrible, I at least just couldn't do it, it had just such poor controls and driving missions became a chore. Sneaking missions though actually really fun and intense when they click, too often feel cheap and way, way, way too scripted.

If you don't play these kind of open world games for the story but want to cause havoc and just have fun, Mafia 2 isn't for you, but for great story lovers this is a must buy game.

90

Different from everything else

Stebsis | June 5, 2013 | Review of L.A. Noire Capsule

There just is no other game like L.A. Noire. There are games with murder mysteries and investigation, but no game goes to this kind of detail and lets you yourself have so much impact what happens and what clues you find.

You play as Phelps, a police officer who gets promoted soon after the tutorial section of the game. He's not particularly interesting character, kind of your basic good cop. Tutorial section was nicely done, it immediately gives you a case you need to work on and you get to do the things like looking for clues, chasing suspect and interrogation which all lay a part in what the conclusion of each case is.

You get a number of cases to solve like thefts and murders. Some of them are a bit hit or miss in terms of how interesting the case is, but no matter what the content is, it's always great and exciting to get to investigate the scene of crime and chase down suspects, even though the latter is a bit too scripted feeling each time. Interrogation is a fun process, but you never really get to say things the way you would, or a normal person would. It's too often either being a nice guy who believes the suspect, or a complete asshole who just shouts and frightens everyone. Theres three different reaction to what the suspect has said, you either believe, doubt or don't believe, but even doubt comes a bit douche like. If you don't believe or doubt, you need to provide evidence to support your claim. You should never go straight to the suspect to ask questions because often times you won't have anything to prove if he/she is lying or not.

Outside of cases, or on your way to them, you get to drive around in very nice looking 1940's Los Angeles. It's just a shame that there's basically nothing to do there. Sometimes when you're driving you get a call that a suspect is near and you need to chase him down, that's basically all there is. It's nice though that you get to choose wether you want to drive, or your partner which results in skipping the driving, and because depending on damage you caused when driving also affects the overall score of the case, skipping it is often the best choise.

L.A. Noire is a game I think everyone should try out wether or not they're interested in this sort of thing. It's interesting and different from everything else at the moment.

90

Just Don't Starve

Stebsis | June 1, 2013 | Review of Don't Starve

Once you start a new game, the game tells you only one thing you need to do, don't starve. Wilson, the main character, wakes up in an island and you need to just survive as long as possible. When you die, you die, you can't continue or load up a save because there is none. When you eventually meet your end, you're awarded with XP that then unlocks new characters to play as and all of them have some sort of special "skill", Wilson's is that he grows a beard. And you will die, there are some fearsome monsters you come across at some point, but you can't avoid them by staying at same spot, because resources you gather aren't infinite. You need to collect basically everything you see, everything has its purpose, flints and twigs for example make an axe you need to use to chop down trees to get logs, and you need to collect grass to use with logs to create fire when night comes and you don't go insane or get killed by monsters. You wear your axe down as you chop trees so you need to keep some flints and twigswith you, and it's good to build couple fireplaces around you to keep darkness away and you need to use logs to fuel the fire, and because you use these things all the time, you also need to collect them all the time. It might feel like a bit counter intuitive, but that's survival for you. This game could be said is like a minecraft, you collect stuff to build stuff so you get to build more stuff and you explore to get stuff that you use to build more stuff.

Don't Starve is really fun game to play, but sometimes a bit nerve wrecking at times, especially when night is coming and you notice you've forgotten to collect some essential item to keep you safe for night, like logs or enough food if you're nearly starving. There's infinite amount of playability here and developers are steadily putting more stuff in, there's a day counter that lets you see when next update is coming. At the beginning of a game you can choose what kind of resources you have available, do you have lots of enemies but not much food and moderate amount of stuff like trees and so on, you can tweak everything to make it harder or easier for you to find.

95

Daedalic has done it again!

Stebsis | May 31, 2013 | Review of The Night of the Rabbit

Daedalic has become one of my favorite developers. They've made such masterfully done point and click games like Whispered World, Edna & Harvey, and superb Deponia series. To me they've brought back the p&c genre that has been in slumber for a long time.

From the get go of The Night of the Rabbit there is sense of great adventure. There's a brief tutorial that you can skip, and quest to pick blackberries to get you know the mechanics. This is a standard point and click, you pick stuff up, combine them and solve puzzles using the items. This isn't particualrly funny game like Deponia was, this is a bit more whimsical in nature, and towards the end quite dark too. This is a child-like adventure about magic and wonder, it's like playing a storybook.

The main character is a twelve years old boy named Jerry Hazelnut, who wants to be a magician. He lives with his mother in the woods near town and likes to practice magic tricks in his spare time and go on adventures in the woods. His voice actor in the beginning sounds a bit annoying, but as the story goes on it isn't bad at all and he's really likeable character, he feels like a young boy going on an adventure.

I simply loved Night of the Rabbit, one gripe I could say is that this feels too familiar, puzzles didn't feel that challenging and this is probably fairly easy for anyone familiar with this sort of game. Daedalic fans still can't go wrong with this one.

90

Plan your moves

Stebsis | May 30, 2013 | Review of Frozen Synapse DNS

Frozen Synapse if just fun game. Story is throw away and nothing about it feels interesting, but the gameplay is just superb. At the beginning of every round you go to this top-down view of the area, you see your enemies, your guys, civilians, allies and targets. So what's the idea behind seeing your enemy, doesn't it get too easy for a strategy game? In the beginning of a round, you have control over your guys, and also your enemies, and this is the best part of the game, planning your moves. Every round you move set amount of time and then it goes to second round. In planning mode, you get to try out different scenarios. What if your enemy moves to this direction? Can I shoot him or is he quicker than me? Does my weapon reach as far as his? What if he's looking to that direction? You get to move around your and enemy guys to try out all the different scenarios you might think, you then decide what action you want to take, and your guys move how you ordered them to, and the enemies of course do their own thing. If you didn't take into account every door and window and possible route enemy might take to get to you or the target you need to protect, you can die if AI is smart enough to predict your movement. Planning is the best part of the game, and it's intense to then watch what really happens.

If you like planning in games and even going to extreme lenghts to calculate your every move, this is heaven for you. It's intense and fun to play, and also unforgiving.

40

Quick Time Event: The Game

Stebsis | May 30, 2013 | Review of Ninja Blade

This is one of those games from the fairly early days of new console generation that overuses a gimmick that for some reason or another just becomes a "thing", like quick time events. Nowadays in almost every FPS and third person action games have QTE's, even in the more better ones like Far Cry 3 or Tomb Raider. Sometimes they can enhance the action a bit, like in FC3 you have to smash the indicated button if you're suddenly attacked by crocodile or shark underwater, it's more intense to do something, even if you just hit a button, than just watching the shark attack and character kill it. And then there are games like Ninja Blade.

QTE's bring absolutely nothing to this game, nothing. In cutscenes you just watch the scene, and at times press the indicated button, if you hit, it continues, if you miss, you have to replay that part again. It doesn't add anything, only penalty in missing is just having to do the part again until you succeed. The cutscenes do look good and it's fun to watch, I just wish I had the option to turn off the QTE's which break the flow all the time.

Outside of these lenghty cutscenes you play third persion hack and slash game which isn't particularly fun. Hit detection is glitchy, running on walls and doing "cool" tricks isn't exceptionally fun. And they bring QTE's even to the combat.

Ninja Blade isn't particularly fun game to play, it doesn't do anything at all that good and overuses a gimmick that should've died by 2013 already.

85

More tower defence!

Stebsis | May 28, 2013 | Review of Sanctum 2

Sanctum 2 is just gorgeous to look at. CryEngine 3 really is one of the best game engines to make a game pretty, but that's not all S2 is. This is a great tower defence game with not as many new things as I had hoped for. In the beginning of a round you see where your enemies are gonna come from and what you need to defend. You then build your towers to defend the area and try to build as complex and long maze as possible so that enemies take as long as possible to reach the end. You also go to battle in first person using guns and not just watching the action. This is a standard TD game and does its job perectly. One added thing is coop which is just awesome. It just adds to the value and it's a ton of fun to play with 3 of your friends. Sanctum 2 is a game any tower defence fan will love even though it doesn't do anything actually new or different.

80

Great but more linear

Stebsis | May 28, 2013 | Review of Crysis 2: Maximum Edition (EU)

Crysis 2 changes some things from Crysis and Crysis: Warhead, and they're all not for the better. Setting isn't now in a jungle but a city that's been taken over a bit by vegetation. This is also a lot more linear than it's predecessors. Crysis was quite free, it allowed you to explore the island a bit and approach situations from many different angles, Warhead was a tad more linear though still giving freedom to deal with things the way you want. But Crysis 2's concrete jungle is just linear, all streets are blocked by something and you just go from A to B. They still manage to make it interesting, you still have all the previous skills at your disposal like cloak and armor, and you can modify guns in many ways and they feel and sound nice. This is a really nice FPS game with a nice lenght, lasts around 12 hours and couple last hours are just awesome, and there's also quite fun multiplayer. If you liked Crysis and Warhead and are itching for more, Crysis 2 may not be the one for you, but it is an enjoyable FPS game.

75

Dinosaurs vs humans

Stebsis | May 27, 2013 | Review of Primal Carnage

Dinos vs humans, what more could you want!? Well, little less bugs and a bit better gameplay would be nice... But yeah, this definitely is a fun game even with the bugs and some gameplay issues, like no tutorials which makes controlling dinos a pain in the ass in the beginning. When you get the hang of it, playing with dinos is just awesome. Humans on the other hand could've been made a bit more interesting with better arsenal of weapons, you don't get anything really imaginative. It still has its moments like a giant T-Rex stomping from the jungle coming at you is just terrifying. This is a fun multiplayer game and pretty cheap too, if you're into games like Natural Selection 2 this is a game for you.

70

Trip around the island.

Stebsis | May 25, 2013 | Review of Dear Esther

Dear Esther is just a walking game basically. You just go from a one place to another and listen to the story of the island. It's nothing that great though, and there just is no replayability. Game is over in couple hours too. If you get it from sale it's a nice experience for the evening, nothing really special but not bad either.

85

Good god game

Stebsis | May 25, 2013 | Review of Reus

You control these 4 giants that you use to mold the planet the way you want and what's the best way to make it. There's rock, water, forest and swamp giant, and you control each of these to mold the ground. Water giant makes lakes and forest giant can then create forest around it, and settlers start to move in. You can give them stuff like berries and animals to better their society. Animals and berries in certain areas give the people more food if you place them strategically. This is really fun game to spend some time with, there never is a real hurry to anywhere, this is just a relaxing game. You can control all of this with your mouse so just grap a drink with you to the other hand play an hour or two.

There still are a couple of bad things about the game. Speed is a bit too slow, there should at least be a fast forward button. You're recommended to place forests as far away from mountains and deserts that the rock giant creates, so you often need to move them from other side of the planet to other, and it takes a bit too much time as they're quite slow. You can of course do something else while they're moving, but you can quickly assign tasks to all 4 of them and it just becomes a waiting game at points which isn't that fun.

Still, for 10 bucks you definitely get your money's worth, there's almost infinite amount of playability here with the combinations of how every ability of the giants work with each other, or just build it the way you want without caring of any of that stuff.

100

Wonderful experience

Stebsis | May 25, 2013 | Review of The Walking Dead

Telltale has made their masterpiece. This is a game everyone should play and experience, no matter how much you think this isn't a game but an interactive movie. Walking Dead is an emotional tale of a convict and a girl who just try to survive. You make some really hard choises, often times on a timer and you need to act fast, but if you don't have an answer, you can just stay silent, not every situation or question have an answer and it's a viable route to take. Walking Dead gives you control of so many peoples lives, and it's up to you and the choises you make who lives and who dies, but it's still not always that simple. In the end you might have no one, or you might have majority of them with you. This is nothing like watching the TV show or reading the comic book because it's your choises who make the story happen. There are characters you like and want to have them to the end, or characters you might hate but when the end comes it might be hard to make that decision. I urge you to play this game, this is an experience no one should miss.

90

Story at its best

Stebsis | May 25, 2013 | Review of To The Moon Cap

Developers really knew how to make the story in To The Moon. This is emotional tale of a man's life and his dream. The 16 bit graphics, done with RPG Maker XP engine, are just gorgeous to look at. This still isn't exactly a game, there aren't really any choises to be made, foes to fight, puzzles to solve. This is just a story and an experience, one of the best indie titles out there.

95

Amazing experience

Stebsis | May 25, 2013 | Review of Metro: Last Light

Metro Last Light falls just little short on the greatness of Bioshock Infinite, but definitely earns its place as one of the best FPS games I have played, if not the second best. Metro Last Light continues a year or so later from the ending of Metro 2033, where you had to make a choise. Last Light doesn't let you carry over your save though, and assumes you took the more destructive route.

You play once again as Artyom, who's send to the surface because a surviving dark one has been spotted. You go with a friend to the surface to find and kill it, but you and the dark one are captured, and here begins the journey. The beginning really sets the tone, the dark metro's filled with people living in bad conditions, but the surface is actually really beautiful. It's not just gray wasteland anymore leveled down by nukes. Summer is coming, and green is starting to show.

Game is really immersive, just like in Metro 2033 everytime you go to surface you need to put on gas mask, and if you get into a fight and attacked, the mask might crack a bit, the edges of the screen shatter and you need to find a new mask if it gets badly damaged. And in the dark tunnels you need your flashlight that you need to charge at times. There's also a new subtle mechanic, that lets you swipe the dirt and bugs and stuff like that from your gas mask, just by pressing a button. This might not seem like that big of a deal, but it actually brings a lot of immersion when you're on surface. Bugs and nasty spiders sometimes crawl on your mask and you need to wipe them off.

Stealth is one of the choises in combat and especially on ranger hardcore mode you need to use stealth. Sadly it's a bit broken or at least not done that well. You have a watch on your hand that tells how much air you have on your gas filters when you have the mask on, but in stealth scenarios it shows a blue light that indicates if you're in light and others can see you. Sadly any shadow is enough to cover you, even if you're right in front of an enemy they can't see you because you're in shadow. Stealth just isn't that exciting even though it basically forces you to do it on higher difficulties. On normal you can easily just shoot everyone in firefights which actually are satisfying, guns have a nice punch, you can customise them and they look like they've been made and modified like they're home made.

Story is pretty good and sometimes even emotional. Characters you meet are interesting with their own stories to tell and good story arcs. It's just a shame that Artyom himself doesn't talk which a bit weird. He talks in between chapters, so why can't he talk in the game? Everyone just talks in this sometimes little awkward one-sided conversations while Artyom just looks around not saying anything, even when he's being tortured.

Metro Last Light is one of the best single player FPS games I have played. It has dark atmosphere, it's tense and scary, sometimes emotional and even story is quite good.

90

Great new character

Stebsis | May 25, 2013 | Review of Borderlands 2: Psycho Pack DLC

Krieg is just friggins awesome, and is maybe the most varied of all the classes but also feels really balanced. You can specialise in melee, elemental or ranged and all are satisfying trees. You can also throw dynamite, not to mention Krieg looks like a badass. This is definitely better than Mechromancer, but I'm not sure if it's worth 10€ if you've already played the game like 2 or 3 times over, but if this is your first time starting on Borderlands 2 or starting a new game with your friends, get this, and if this is on sale, definitely get this.

85

Best Resident Evil in years

Stebsis | May 25, 2013 | Review of Resident Evil: Revelations

I've played this game also on 3DS when it released last year, and this is exactly the same game, just with better graphics, new difficulty and more things in the raid mode.

Revelations goes more back to its roots, tight corridors, locked doors that need specific keys, dark atmosphere, ammo might be really scarce especially on higher difficulties. And all this is just an improvement from little over average RE5 and 6. Revelations feels like a Resident Evil game and is best since RE4.

You play as Jill Valentine, send to a boat in the middle of the sea because your friend Chris Redfield had send a distress signal from there. Soon you realise that it's not really what it seems, Jill finds a dummy of Chris and someone in a gas mask knocks her out. Story is surprisingly good and varied for a Resident Evil game. You get to control different characters like Chris along the way, and it's not all happening in the boat. Like flashback sequences give more light to what is happening, and you get to places like snowy areas and offices.

Graphically the game is gorgeous, even was on 3DS. You can see at points that the game wasn't optimised for HD, but it still looks great.

And the biggest change to previous RE games, you can finally move while shooting! Well yeah, RE6 already did it, but Revelations on 3DS still was released before RE6. It really helps in combat as enemies come at you sometimes many at a time, especially in some of the boss fights, which can get tough but really monotonous as there is no real strategy to them, you just shoot the bosses like any other enemies, just a lot more.

You also have this genesis device which you can use to spot hidden items like bullets around the room, and this comes in handy a lot. Also everytime you scan an enemy, or what's left of it after you've shjot it, you get this percent meter that goes up to 100% and everytime you do that you get a healing item. I was a bit disappointed that you don't get to mix healing items like in some of the previous RE games, it's just green herbs that heal you.

Overall I really recommend this game for RE fans, especially if you were a bit, or a lot, disappointed in recent titles of the series.

90

Even better than Strike Suit Zero

Stebsis | May 2, 2013 | Review of Strike Suit Infinity

Strike Suit Zero is a really fun arcade type space shooter, but Infinity takes it couple steps further. They've completely ditched the story and cutscenes here which was just holding SSZ back I think. They went full arcade and your goal is to just survive the rounds, get biggest combos and best scores.

You once again control strike suit, a space ship that also turns into a powerful mecha, but now you have 3 of them to choose from, you unlock the two as you play the missions. All the high speed action, flashy explosions and skyboxes and intense large scale battles are back and it all plays almost exactly the same outside of one big thing. As you survive a wave you get credits that you use to buy reinforsements. These are controlled by AI and it does wonderful job. After waves you get to see what the next wave is bringing in, are there missile interceptors, capital ships, or just regular fighters or whatever. You then buy your troops that you want with you in the battle. These fights near the later stages get incredibly awesome and big, it's just awesome to swoop past a capital ship, firing ten or so swarm missiles, then turn into strike suit and turn around to mark the turrets and take all of them out with ton of missiles flying all over the place. It's just such a great feel when you bring down these big, tough ships.

I've had couple of crashes at earlier stages but hopefully they'll get ironed out soon. Nothing game breaking though.

Infinity throws out the things that didn't work in SSZ and replaces them with more fun gameplay which is the best part. And c'mon, look at the price! It's almost a steal, support great developers. I've had a lot of fun with both Strike Suit games, Born Ready Games is also making a DLC for the Strike Suit Zero, and I can't wait to see how they're going to improve this series even more.

95

Near perfect game

Stebsis | April 10, 2013 | Review of Trials Evolution Gold Edition

Trials Evolution does what it sets out to do so perfectly that I just don't think they could do any better outside of expanding the track editor even further than it already is, which has an overwhelming amount of content and possibilities to do whatever you want.

Single player game is a great way to hone your skills, early tracks are fairly easy and once you get the best bikes you can practically breeze through them, but later levels get just insanely hard if you haven't really mastered using the bike. Online play is one of the best parts of the game mainly because you can even get user created tracks to play on.

But the best part is definitely the track editor. There already are insane amount of such an imaginative tracks there that you can't but wonder how they came up with them. You can quite easily create a track yourself and put obstacles in there, it doesn't take that much to create something and the map where you can put the route is huge, there are lots of different areas.

Trials Evolution has tight control over the bike, pretty nice graphics, track editor that lets your imagination go wild and intense multiplayer.

95

Awesome to the end

Stebsis | April 10, 2013 | Review of Tomb Raider Steam

Tomb Raider is on of the best experiences I've had with games in years. When I first got it I wasn't that impressed. Yeah, it looked good and had tight controls but didn't feel that special. Next thing I knew night was coming and I've been playing for hours on end. I literally played this game in one day, not in negative way that it's short (which it isn't, I got nice 11 hours from it + all the collectibles), but because I just couldn't put it down, TR was that good and gripping.

You play as Lara Croft, an inexperienced adventurer who's searching clues for this sun queen Himiko. Suddenly a storm arrives and your ship crashes onto an island, and you're stranded and you need to survive and get out, but not everything is what it seems. Story is pretty good and everything starts to reveal at a nice pace without getting stale or feeling like padding.

Combat is really tight and feels great. Guns and your bow, once you get them, have weight in them. The transition from normal quite scared Lara to cold blooded killer is somewhat clunky. They set it up nicely and when Lara has to kill for the first time you can almost feel the emotions she's going through because the voice acting and animation are just superb.

You get basically 4 weapons, the bow, machine gun, pistol and shotgun, and all of these have some kind of upgrades that change the combat a bit. For example you get rope arrows to your rope that you can use to solve puzzles or pull enemies down from rooftops.

Graphically the game is just gorgeous on highest setting, rain effects, Lara's hair, the forests and so on look great.

There's also multiplayer which I haven't really tried. It felt just tacked on and is there because other games have it too, it's just pointless and not the focus.

Ending just left me wanting for more and I can't wait for what Crystal Dynamics will do next. I'm really hoping for single player DLC if they're the same quality, but sadly they've said they won't put any out.

85

Great tower defense FPS

Stebsis | April 9, 2013 | Review of Sanctum

I just love tower defense games, something about the planning and taking every little thing into account is just so much fun in these games. Sanctum does the TD formula almost perfectly, it's just a shame that it isn't actually that long game.

So when you start a game you go to a building phase, you have limited amount of money that you have to spend on different towers and traps to kill your enemies, and also buy blocks to create as long paths as possible for enemies to go through. There're nice amount of different towers you can create and leave you lot of room to mix and match.

After this you go into battle, you get a gun and it basically turns into a first person shooter. You have couple weapons to choose from. Its your job to find the weak spots on enemies that you can exploit and do a ton of damage. These can get intense battles, much more than in almost any other TD because you're actually in the action yourself and not just watching as your towers destroy enemies.

Any tower defense fan will like Sanctum. It has nice depth and lot of replayability too.

85

Big but empty

Stebsis | April 9, 2013 | Review of Grand Theft Auto IV DNS

GTA IV looks just awesome, the graphics are just amazing and Liberty City feels like a real city, people in the streets doing things etc. You play as Nico Bellic, who comes to America to meet his cousin who is supposed to be rich, but is actually neck deep in depts. Story is actually really good for the first time like in almost all GTA's and Rockstar games, but it isn't worth to come back to, there's basically no replayability.

Liberty City itself is big, doesn't feel as big as San Andreas which is just a good thing, but LC is much more detailed place. Unfortunately there's not much to do in the game outside of main story. Other GTA's have had so much imagination with its design and quests and what you can do in the city, but here it's basically just main story and you're done with it. Story is pretty long, I got about 30+ hours from it which is nice length.

I was seriously disappointed by the cheats in IV. Cheats have always been a fun way to pass time in GTA games, but here there're just some boring weapon sets, armor and health, get cops off your back, and some spawn vehicle ones. There aren't any flying cars or cars that can go on water like in Vice City. Or explode all cars in the screen. Weapon sets even are boring, there's not even katana blade or chainsaw.

GTA IV is solid game, it looks awesome, has great story and characters, any GTA fan will like this, and you can also get some crazy mods you can get which lengthen the game quite a bit.

65

Solid ideas, bad execution

Stebsis | April 9, 2013 | Review of Brink Nexway

Brink definitely has an intriguing setup, you are in an Ark, basically the only inhabitable place left in the planet. It was designed as self sustainable island, but stuff happened and it now has more population than it can handle. Supplies are scarce and two factions are in a war over them. This was interesting setup and it made me want to play it and see what can they really do with this story. The answer is: nothing. Nothing at all. They create this interesting place, history and lore... and do nothing with it.

So, you get to choose between these factions which you want to play as, so there's basically two campaigns in the game. Story is barebones, nothing to see there, it's not particularly fun or even rememberable. You can play the campaign in co-op though which I recommend doing if you really want to play this game.

There's also multiplaer which sometimes feels like a joke though it's quite fun when it works, but it has glitched and crashed on me so many times. Also, I have to mention the grenades which are just awful, the explosion is like throwing couple of firecrackers. One of the interesting parts the game has is its parkour system, you can jump over stuff, climb walls etc. Sadly this feature isn't used nearly at its full potential but in multiplayer opens up some nice variation. Shooting elements also are solid and guns have nice feel to them.

Co-op and multiplayer is what saves this game a bit, it's still a bit boring, but with friend almost anything can get fun. Get this from sale if you want it.

90

For Agathaaaa!!!

Stebsis | April 9, 2013 | Review of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare PRE

Chivalry is the best medieval multiplayer game ever. Come to think of it, it may be almost the only one, except for War of the Roses that I haven't played. It's refreshing take on competetive multiplayers, and it takes real skill.

You choose a side between Mason Order and Agatha Knights, and choose a class you want to use. Knight, Man-at-Arms, Archer (these can get annoying sometimes) and Vanguard. They all play differently, have really tight attacks and take some time to learn and master, and they also feel balanced and have no clear advantage over each other, though archers can be a pain in the butt sometimes. Vanguard has its long reaching lance, Man-at-Arms his shield and sword, Knight has big claymore and Archers of course have bow. You can modify these a bit and don't have to use shield or claymore as specific class if you don't want, there's fair amount of room to find your own playstyle and what works.

As I said, this game takes skill especially if you want to master it. You make different attacks with your mouse, left and right button and also mouse wheel which takes a while to get used to. This isn't a button smasher or hack and slash game, not by a long shot even though it might seem like it. Friendly fire is always on, and you can chope the head or arm off your fellow mate as easily as your foes if you just go in hitting attack, and people will vote you out as they can see how much friendly damage you have given. There isn't a lot of health and it doesn't regenerate, you need to skillfully block enemy attacks and wait for an opening.

Chivalry is like medieval version or Red Orchestra 2, it feels realistic and definitely isn't for everyone, but I recommend at least trying it if you have a friend or someone who has this game, I bet you will get hooked.

75

Great multiplayer, not so good singleplayer

Stebsis | April 9, 2013 | Review of Battlefield: Bad Company 2

When I wrote review of BF3 here I didn't really judge it on its single player because it clearly wasn't the main thing there. Bad Company 2 on the other hand... I think BC1 had awesome single player, it was funny and didn't feel like your typical military grumble or just padding to introduce you to multiplayer. It was actually good. I expected something similar here, but unfortunately not. BC2 is clearly geared towards multiplayer which was disappointing.

You play as some dude, I don't even remember his name as it doesn't continue from BC1. I don't remember any of the story and characters were as deep as a puddle. Multiplayer on the other hand is pretty good, destructible environment is fun and it feels balanced though not that different from BC1. There're tons of guns to choose from and there's decent amount of modes to choose from, my favorite being rush where teams are split between attackers and defenders, defenders trying to hold the fort as attackers try to blow up these communication thingies. I think this was done way better here than in BF3 thanks to great level design.

If you like BF for the multiplayer, Bad Company 2 is definitely at least 90-95/100 material for you, but great single player from previous installment left me wanting so much more from this.

90

Surprisingly fun

Stebsis | April 6, 2013 | Review of Euro Truck Simulator 2

This was my first driving simulator that I played and... it was surprisingly fun and just relaxing. There's a nice tutorial to ease you into things, and there are many driving modes for newbies like me to simulator veterans. I tried a bit the real simulation mode with stick gear, no mirrors always on screen etc. and it was really hard. You get your own company that you get to name and you start taking in contracts all over the world. You can also choose what country your company is from, and this also determines what side you're driving, left or right, just don't pick the side you're not customed to, it's really hard to adapt. You take contracts, and you need to drive your cargo to many places, sometime crossing the sea too. There's also time limit but it's often quite lenient I noticed. The game gets relaxing on long rides, it feels like you're driving a truck. One thing that was really annoying was getting your cargo in the specific area where you need to go in reverse, this was just nigh impossible, but gladly you can just skip it. Not really sure if it was just my or the game's fault that I couldn't do it. If you're even somewhat interested in driving sims I recommend this, you can easily get into ETS2 and there's a deep system here to learn if you want, or just don't and take the more relaxing way.

85

SimCity but better

Stebsis | April 6, 2013 | Review of Cities XL 2011

Cities XL 2011 is really impressive and huge. If you've played city builders before you already know what to expect, Cities XL doesn't do anything really new or different other than the area where you build is really big. If you liked SimCity games I can recommend this. You build land for industry, houses, hotels, entertainment and all sorts of things cities have, and wait for people to start building their houses and start populating. You need to plan a bit where you put stuff, like shops and hotels so that people have easy access to them and not just put everything in the same area, and try to make it so that power plants and industry aren't that near the houses, but near enough that that they can easily get to work. It's also neat that there are kind of like premade cheats in the options menu that can give you stuff like money and all buildings, this is handy if you just want to build whatever you want from the beginning and not progress naturally, and it's handy for newcomers too.

65

Ok game, just not Resident Evil

Stebsis | March 30, 2013 | Review of Resident Evil 6

I have same problem with this game as I have with Max Payne 3, this just isn't what the series is about, and it makes it particularly sad seeing that this still is Capcom making it, not Rockstar like with Max Payne 3 and Remedy with MP1 and 2. This definitely has been "CoDified". Capcom themselves have said that they need to bring this series to more action oriented direction because gamers like CoD, but Resident Evil isn't about that, and Capcom needs to realize this before they go to the point where there's not going back and tis series gets buried for good in the midst of other generic shooters with zombies.

So, you get to play as 3 different characters, Leon, Chris and Jake. Less said about Chris's and Jake's campaign the better. They're just third person action games. Nothing else, story isn't interesting, characters aren't interesting, shooting is done much better in many other games like Binary Domain. Leon's campaign is definitely the best, it has dark atmosphere, horror bits, zombies. It's entertaining to a point, but it also gets just ridiculous at times.

Capcom got way out of their way to make the quick time events in RE6. RE4 was great with QTE's, there were some but they weren't in your face and weren't at the most predictable places.

Graphics are nice, there's great lighting and some setpieces are really great.

The co-op makes this game just worse. The AI partner is stupid as hell, but if you play with friend, it just sucks every ounce of horror from this already not that scary game. The problem here is that this just is not Resident Evil. I wasn't scared the least on Chris' and Jake's campaign and that's already like 2/3 of the game! This isn't that pricey on PC so that's a plus, and if you can get it from sale I could recommend this if you want some ridiculous fun with friend, especially if you've played only RE5 or none of them. But if you're long time Resident Evil fan and want more of like the old times or even something like RE4, this isn't a game for you.

100

Welcome to Columbia.

Stebsis | March 28, 2013 | Review of BioShock Infinite Post

Bioshock Infinite is without a doubt the best FPS and one of the best games I have ever played. If you're really sensitive about spoilers and have stayed away from the trailers and practically everything about this game, don't read this or any reviews, just buy the game if you like FPS games. I'm not spoiling anything outside of what trailers have shown and description have already said, especially not story bits, but I at least would've loved if I hadn't seen even one trailer of this and known what kind of world I was stepping into, because this world is simply amazing.

You're playing as Booker DeWitt. You need to find this girl, Elizabeth, and bring her to some people to pay your dept. The opening reminds me of the first Bioshock, you arrive to an old lighthouse on a stormy night, but you don't go to a city under the sea, but high above into a floating city, the City of Columbia.

When you arrive to Columbia, it all seems really nice, you walk around in a colorful garden dedicated to three of America's founding fathers, Washington, Jefferson and Franklin, who people there worship as kind of gods. When you first step outside the doors of the garden the city opens up and you see buildings flying around and big zeppelin's everywhere. Your jaw will just drop. You walk around the area, listen people talking and some mention a man named Comstock, leader of Columbia, who's statue you see at a little plaza. It has that American dream feel to it.

The first hour is a relaxing one, you don't get to action until about an hour or even more wandering around, just sightseeing and experiencing the Columbia. You arrive to a carnival that works as kind of tutorial section. There are some events like shooting targets with shotgun or machine gun, and it introduces a new power, vigors, that are like plasmids from previous games. You get to try out Bucking Bronco, that shoots kind of like a wave out of your arm and levitates your enemies helplessly in the air and makes them take more damage, and possession, that lets you possess humans and machines to fight for you or possess vending machines to give you money. There are handful of other vigor's and they spice up the combat even more than plasmids from Bioshock 1 and 2.

Soon you start to see that not everything is as it seems in Columbia, you get to see the dark side of the "American dream". You arrive to a raffle that you of course win. They hand you a baseball that they want you to hurl at a couple, man who is white and woman who is black, because of interracial relationship. You get a choise what you want to do, and then the action starts as cops notice a mark on your hand and try to kill you, and you need to escape them and get to Elizabeth.

This first hour or so is just brilliant. It takes a risk of not giving you a gun or any kind of weapon for a long period of time, and it introduces the mechanics and world of the game by letting you experience it, not shoehorning it in by text bubbles and giving you like an opstacle course to run through, the first time you need to crouch doesn't even come after about 3 hours in the game, and developers of this game realize that gamers aren't stupid, they know how to control the character. There also are other places where you just walk from one place to next. These sections aren't boring, they just let you see the Columbia and FPS games in general in a different light.

Gunplay is fantastic, you get a choise from dozen or so weapons, but you can carry only 2 at a time which is fair as an arsenal of weapons would've made it much more unrealistic and easy. You quickly find the weapon and vigor combinations you're best with and enemies carry all sorts of guns so you can swap them even in the middle of the combat if you find a gun you like or run out of ammo.

The action really shines when you're fighting in big areas that have sky-lines in them. Sky-lines are all over Columbia and they work like rails, you latch on to them with this hook thing on your arm and you can ride it to another area, jump onto enemies or get to cover quickly. And when you get Elizabeth to join you, she can open these tears all over the battle areas.

Story is really interesting and one of the best ever told in a game. That's what I'm going to say about it, it shouldn't be spoiled to anyone, it's that good.

Ken Levine and his team at Irrational Games have created something amazing here that almost no game has ever done in terms of story and action. It boldly discusses things like religion that just are not spoken in video games. World is amazing, story is interesting, action is intense, visuals are superb on high end machine. Get this game right now before the story gets spoiled to you.

95

XCOM Review

Stebsis | March 25, 2013 | Review of XCOM: Enemy Unknown dns

I never played the original or any other XCOM games before this. I've tried the first one but it was way too complicated for me, but I got right away into Enemy Unknown. You could maybe say that they dumbed it down for people like me, but from what I played the original, it feels more like they cleaned everything from that game and made it much more clear what and how you're supposed to do things.

You're a Commander in charge of XCOM, like a governmental agency responsible for neutralizing alien threats. There is no particular story or anything like that, you basically just need to survive as long as possible.

Strategically the game is great. It's turn based strategy, you move your units first and then enemy and so on. You can, and must, take cover behind objects which vary from trees, to houses, to trains or wherever your current mission is. There are tons of varied locations that seem to generate randomly which is nice. When you point at the location you want to go, it shows you if you're in full cover or half cover or no cover at all. Full cover of course shields you more making you harder to hit and so on. Enemy AI is really great, it doesn't feel unfair because same rules apply to them too, how much they can move, what cover they're in etc.

You also have your base where you can research stuff like alien autopsies, better armor and weapons, how to be more deadly against aliens and much more. You also build your base by digging tunnels and shafts and building stuff like power generators and laboratories that give you extra scientists, engineers and power.

You have so much things you need to manage, you're in responsible for tons of countries that you need to protect, you need to build satellites to launch to these countries so that they can spot alien threats, but then you notice that you don't have enough satellite uplinks to launch one or aircrafts in that area. You then try to build an upling but you notice you don't have enough engineers. You try to build a workshop that give you them but you don't haven't dug a place in your base to build one and you don't have money for one. Then you wait 5 days by scanning the globe, hoping you'll get a mission so that you'll get money, but panic in that time spreads and soon you lose United States and Russia, and their monthly income, to aliens. Then new aliens come, you don't have enough money to buy necessary weapons for your crew... It all just falls apart so quickly that you don't even notice if you don't micromanage so many things at once. It takes practice and you need to start your game from the beginning many times.

XCOM is just fun but also horrible game at once, it hurts when you lose a member of your team you've been leveling up from the beginning, customised him the way you want, giving him even a name and nickname and then bam, some alien comes and shoots him in the head with a plasma gun, or even worse, turns him into a zombie that you have to then gun down.

XCOM is tons of fun and there are so much to do in this game. Sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming how much you need to do, but it's also really easy to just start from beginning and learn from your mistakes. ANd you really need to always keep ironman mode on, that automatically saves your game and if your crew falls, it's game over, you can't reload a save. It just adds to the tension and makes your eye more keen to spot the mistakes you've done previously.

75

Sniping simulator

Stebsis | March 11, 2013 | Review of Sniper Elite V2

Sniper Elite V2 is a sniping simulator, and it succeeds in it quite perfectly, but is sniping simulator that fun though? Answer is... yeah, kinda.

So you're a sniper. Yeah, the main character has a name(I forgot it) and there is a story(forgot it completely too) but no one plays this game because of it. Story is boring, enough about it.

The sniping itself, in all its realism can be fun but also boring. You need to find an advantage point where you can take down your targets. You can snipe your enemies from really far to head, lungs, legs, even testicles which looks really painful, but it's so much fun. You see an x-ray vision like in Mortal Kombat, when the bullet hits lethally at your foe. You see his skull crak, eyeball pop, brains turn to smush and if you're lucky, the bullet can even go through your enemy and hit another one behind him.

This long range sniping also has its problems, and the problem is enemy AI. As a sniper you're usually far away from your targets, and AI doesn't always respond to it that well, and who can blame them, if you're sniper you don't want to be seen but this removes much of the tension, or it responds little too well letting them pop you in the head from unnaturally long distance. It has its ups and downs but in the end is a lot of fun.

Graphics are quite ugly and you don't get that much variation, lots of ruined cities and ruined cities and... yeah. The game is also a bit buggy but nothing game breaking.

I wouldn't say Sniper Elite V2 is worth the full price, as it's quite short and doesn't provide any real challenge, maybe if you're really interested, but definitely get it from sale, it's fun and sometimes that's all a game has to be.

95

Hours and hours of fun

Stebsis | March 11, 2013 | Review of Natural Selection II

Natural Selection 2 is an interesting mix of strategy and fps games. It doesn't do either of those spectacularly like, say, Battlefield 3 with FPS or Starcraft with strategy, but it blends them in an interesting ways.

When you start the game, you're split into two groups, aliens and marines and gameplay between these is very different. As an alien, you start as this basic four legged dog-like creature that can climb walls and if upgraded can go into stealth mode, move silently and stuff like that. As you play you collect points so that you get to evolve, you can evolve to healing based alien that shoots this green goo that heals your allies. You can also build walls to block marines and sentry type alien turrets. If you choose to build up these points you can evolve to stronger and stronger alien, flying alien that's weak to gunfire but is really fast, teleporting one that's quite fast and has powerful attacks, or if you really want to devastate your foes you can build points up to Onox, this big hulking mammoth-like creature that's powerful as hell and if you have stealth upgrade for it, it's even more terrifying as a marine when suddenly a big Onox is staring at your face killing you with one or two hits.

As a marine you spend your points to gear, like shotgun, repair tool to use for these mecha type powersuits that can go head to head with onox or jet pack which is really useful against aliens that can't fly. These types play very differently and in the end are balanced excellently. But the thing that can set these sides apart a lot is the strategist.

Both sides have one member playing a strategy game and he is the one that's most important out of all. As marine the strategist orders stuff for marines to build, like power generators and turrets, and also can notify where there are enemies trying to destroy your stuff and where you should go.

As alien strategist your job is to provide aliens with spawn pods that they use to "hatch", and provide upgrades like stealth and silent running. As alien you don't build anything, your job is more to expand your territory and take out marine powersources and their headquarters.

You aren't forced into strategist position, you can decide if you want to play it as FPS or strategy game. For the first 6 hours of your playtime, you're considered a "rookie" and your name is in green, so if you decide to hop into strategy right away your teammates know your still a newbie and trying things out, and the community is really nice so they will give you support and if you're doing poorly, at least for me they always try to help or nicely ask to step aside, gladly there doesn't seem to be any really butthurt players there who take the game too seriously. There are also servers marked green that are like rookie servers, and white ones are for more experienced players. Yellow servers are modded servers which can have all sorts of crazy stuff in them, just try out and experiment.

I really, really recommend this game. One of the most fun I've ever had when playing, especially when it's really even with marines and aliens. Community is nice, gameplay is solid and fun and graphics though not great provide atmospheric stages. The keyword here is teamwork, you have to support each other and stick together. Like in those older alien films, people who go alone and don't support the group are usually the ones who get killed.

95

Technically awesome

Stebsis | March 2, 2013 | Review of Crysis

Everyone already knows the famous Crysis, it's gorgeous visuals and being a hardware beast that'll suck every ounce of power from your PC, at least couple years ago it still would've, but nowadays a decent PC can run Crysis great on highest settings.

It still doesn't change the fact that Crysis is one of the most beautiful games ever made, the island is a big place and the lush jungle you'll spend most of your time in is marvel to look at. Still, these days the textures do look a bit muddy up close.

Crytek could've easily just left it there, made Crysis just some tech demo to show off the power of Cryengine and just slap in some generic FPS elements so that people would get suckered in to buy it. But no, Crysis delivers one of the best and most solid FPS experiences ever.

You play as Nomad, send with a group to North Korea to get some hostages and figure out what exactly is going on. Story is quite weak at some points, though fairly interesting too. Characters are generic and they're there just to provide an objective where you need to go. Story isn't the main thing here and I'm glad it doesn't distract you from the great gameplay that much.

You wear this nanosuit that lets you pull off some crazy stuff. By holding the mouse wheel you can access four different types of powers, one active at a time: super speed, armor, power or cloak. They're fairly self-explanatory, higher speed when sprinting, don't take as much damage, can jump higher and punch people hard, or go stealth. These powers cost your suit's energy that depletes really fast, you need to strategize how you wanna use your powers etc. Nomad dies pretty fast so stealth is usually the best route at first and scouting enemies and marking them with your binoculars, but one of the most fun things in Crysis is that you can approach situations from many angles, save your game before going into an area and do it multiple times.

Game is ok length, about 6-7 hours, but multiple ways to do things add to the value. I really recommend Crysis for any FPS fan.

85

Enjoyable adventure

Stebsis | Feb. 23, 2013 | Review of The Cave

I adore Ron Gilbert, the guy who made this game. He created such classics like Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island, and I expected nothing less from this game, and I don't think it failed to meet those expectations.

You get to choose 3 characters from 7 available ones that you take with you as you ascend to the Cave, a talking sentient cave. All characters have their own personal, and quite horrible, stories to tell and they all have their own puzzle areas in the cave and different special abilities, like Knight who doesn't take fall damage, Time traveler can phase through walls and Adventurer has a grappling hook. All their powers come to use in the Cave and even more so in their personal areas.

3 characters to manage is a bit annoying though, because the other 2 rarely follow the character you control, forcing you to first take the first character where you want, take the second to the same place, and the third to the same place. You basically play every area 3 times and it gets annoying. The game is definitely designed for 3 players which you can play even on the same PC, no online support though, which is really nice touch that not many games especially on PC do this.

Puzzles are pretty good, some of them can get challenging but not unfair. They have a nice balance and they make you think. Platforming is the weakest part of the game, it's kind of bad. Characters sometimes feel a bit unresponsive and it's annoying to get up ledges all the time.

I really recommend the Cave for any adventure game fan, don't go into this expecting another great classic like Monkey Island, but The Cave is enjoyable adventure that has replay value as the character stories are quite fun.

65

Great weapon for some time

Stebsis | Feb. 22, 2013 | Review of Darksiders II: Fletcher's Crow Hammer DLC

Fletcher's Crow is pretty good hammer for low level character. It's really fun and powerful for the time it lasts, but it ultimately becomes just useless. But it's only 0.80€. I'm a bit conflicted with DLC's like this, I don't really think you can go wrong with that price, but it's still just a hammer. If you have just some buck on your account then by all means by this if you enjoy Darksiders 2, you won't lose much.

85

Better than AC3

Stebsis | Feb. 22, 2013 | Review of Assassin’s Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington - The Infamy

I really think this is better than AC3. Connor is still boring, but story is very interesting, Ubisoft should experiment with these alternate realities a lot more if they can do as magnificent work as with Tyranny of King Washington.

So, the story: George Washington basically becomes the king of America. He's mad with power and he has an Apple of Eden which he uses to get the power to do all these things, and you try to stop him. The story is very interesting and George Washington as a villain is just awesome, it's just a shame that you don't really see Washington that often, but when you do, he means business.

There's a nice amount of content in the DLC, and it even introduces a camouflage mechanic which I'd really like to be used in future AC games. Power of the Wolf allows Connor to go into stealth mode and dispatch enemies quickly and unseen which is quite fun and different from core AC.

Tyranny of King Washington is a great addition to somewhat disappointing AC3. If Ubisoft makes all their DLC's at this quality, I say welcome, and I really hope they do more of these alternate realities, then they don't have to bother with all the facts and can go all out in their design choises, like the camouflage which isn't really a thing you'd see in a core AC game.

100

Buuullleeet tiiimmeee!!

Stebsis | Feb. 22, 2013 | Review of Max Payne II: The Fall of Max Payne DNS

Max Payne 2 was a revolutionary third person shooter with innovative bullet time mechanics which is basically taken for granted in some games these days, but I think MP2 was the first game to use it.

MP2 is a gritty noire style game with great atmosphere and shooting mechanics. You can activate the bullet time by pressing a button or by jumping forward. Time slows down and you can take down a group of bad guys in couple seconds. The game gets really challenging at some points, but never unfairly so, it makes you strategice a bit, like who to take out first etc.

I definitely recommend MP2 for any video game fan, it has aged incredibly well and still can hold the candle for newer games, like Max Payne 3 for example.

75

First person parkour

Stebsis | Feb. 22, 2013 | Review of Mirror's Edge (EU)

Mirror's Edge really give you that feeling that you're really parkouring on top of huge skyscrapers and walls etc. Mirror's Edge is an unique game that no one has ever done the way it's done here.

You parkour and make some crazy jumps across rooftops and all is in first person which immerses you in the action more than third person parkour game ever could. You sometimes run into enemies but Faith, the main character, dies quickly, she's just human, but if you're quick you can get the weapon from the enemies and use it, but this is discouraged as the shooting is quite bad and you just can't manage in a firefight, the best option is to just stay in motion and keep on going.

Mirror's Edge is an unique game that I think everyone should experience. It's not that long and there's little to none replayability, you can always try to get better time in a stage but that's about it, but it's still a lot of fun.

85

Silly, fun, chaotic

Stebsis | Feb. 22, 2013 | Review of Saints Row: The Third dns

Saints Row 3 definitely takes even more balls out attitude than the previous installments, and it's a ton of fun.

You play as a leader of the Saints as you're cast to city of Steelport to try and regain the city and your fame. Story is stupidly enjoyable, it does get a few laughs and is just crazy all around, especially the opening sequence before you get to the Steelport.

Character customization is one of the best parts of the game, you can make your character as sexy, ugly, handsome, fat, skinny as stick... just anything goes. The tools they give you to mold the body and face the way you want is just incredible. You get to even give a voice for your character, female with male voice and vise versa, and even zombie voice which makes the story practically incoherent as the main character just growls like a zombie everytime he/she speaks, the story isn't the main thing here though and zombie voice definitely gives a lot of laughs.

The game works like a GTA... a crazy, completely mental version GTA. You can order a carpet bombing in the middle of city, drive around in a tank, take a jet/hovercraft combination that lets you rain hell from the skies and just all kind of crazy stuff to do and it's just so much fun.

The level of customization and content in the massive city give the game a ton of value. You can even mold your character in the game if you're not completely happy in the choises you made. If you enjoy just crazy fun like previous Saints Row games or Just Cause, SR3 won't disappoint.

80

Fun but repetitive

Stebsis | Feb. 22, 2013 | Review of The Lord of the Rings: War in the North

If you like Lord of the Rings and its lore you most likely will enjoy what War in the North has to offer. I certainly liked this as an action hack and slash, and as an RPG, but it gets repetitive.

You can choose to play as three different characters, dwarf, elf or human and each of them have different abilities. Elf, the mage, specialises in long rage attacks, dwarf is like a berserker and is best in close range and human, a ranger, is quite balanced between ranged and melee though favors melee. These aren't that interesting characters, but they're not bad and voice actors are solid. I just hate it that, when changing a character, you don't carry over experience and gear that you might've been saving for other character. I played the game halfway with ranger and then decided to try out with mage, but I was level 1 and had the default gear and of course was really weak. The game is desined with 3 player co-op in mind where the game really shines, but they should've thought a bit more of those who prefer to play alone.

Story is quite interesting and it takes place at the same time as the journey of Frodo and fellowship. You even meet the fellowship characters and some from The Hobbit. Your quest though isn't to be with the fellowship, but as the title suggestes, you head to north to defeat a human, Agandaur, who's some general for Sauron. It gives nice background for the lore especially if you haven't read the books and only know about movies. In the end it feels like your fight matters in the fate of Middle-Earth and isn't just some minor tasks while the fellowship is off to defeat the big evil.

War in the North is enjoyable action RPG with nice story and lore and lots of characters to meet and different quests to do. It gets a bit repetitive in the combat, but if you have couple of friends with this game, definitely play with them.

70

Slice and pull

Stebsis | Feb. 22, 2013 | Review of Tiny & Big: Grandpa's Leftovers Soundtrack Edition

Tiny & Big: Grandpa's Leftovers is pretty fun game, it has nice sense of humor and it definitely doesn't take itself seriously. You're an a quest to get your underwears back from an evil guy. You get this slicing tool, a laser, that you can use to slice almost anything in the environment, and you also have a grappling hook that you use to pull stuff, like the pieces that you cut off. You use these two tools to solve puzzles which are ok, not the best, pretty basic and you get the idea, of what you have to slice and pull in order to progress, pretty quickly when you enter an area.

The game is really short without almost any replayability outside of some music tracks. You can complete it in couple of hours. If you have some money to spare, I can kind of recommend this as it's quite fun for the time it lasts, and definitely grap if it has a good sale.

65

Simple fun

Stebsis | Feb. 22, 2013 | Review of Zombies.

Zombies is quite fun game. As you can see the game is very pixelated, done in very retro style and you definitely could call the game ugly, which can put off some gamers. The idea is simple, kill zombies and that's basically it. It can get somewhat addicting, but in the end Zombies just doesn't give you that much variation and it most likely will get boring. If you get it cheap, I can definitely recommend this.

90

Create anything, make anything

Stebsis | Feb. 18, 2013 | Review of Scribblenauts Unlimited

Scribblenauts Unlimited is a game you definitely want to have friends with. Together you can think up just crazy stuff.

You play as Maxwell trying to save his sister from a curse that's turning her into stone. You need to find starites to save her. The story is there to just try and explain something and provide a clear end goal, but the reason to play the game is to have fun and create stuff.

You have this magical notebook that lets you make anything you write in it come to life. Want a zombie unicorn? Ok. Dinosaur on rollerscates? Ok. Carnivorous towel that spits fire and is ridable and has super fast butterfly wings? Why not. All your crazy ideas can come to life, and if not, then just make it with the awesome object creator that lets you mold these creations any way you want. It lets you create even your own things and give them names that you can then write to your notebook to bring to life.

Scribblenauts Unlimited can get a bit boring alone after a while, so definitely grab some friends with you and start doing the varied missions or to just have fun. Scribblenauts Unlimited is one of the funniest games ever if you just have the imagination for it and can take the little time and effort to figure out the object creator that is a bit confusing, but gets easy to use after a while.

85

Great atmosphere

Stebsis | Feb. 16, 2013 | Review of Metro 2033 PRE

Metro 2033 is with Alan Wake as the most atmospheric games ever

World has been engulfed in war and nuclear bombs have been launched to Russia where the game takes place. People live in Metro's below ground in fear of monsters, the dark ones.

Metro's are great places to look at. They're dark and atmospheric and it's great to just walk slowly just watching everything around. Lots of things also affect the immersion of the world, like you put a gas mask when going above ground, and as the filter in the mask is running low the mask gets foggy.

Shooting elements are definitely the weakest link, it's not nearly on par with better FPS games and is really stiff. You also sneak a lot, blow out light sources to stay in the dark from enemies and take them out with silenced weapons.

Metro 2033 is really nice game with ok story and characters. Graphically it isn't anything that great, but lighting effects are really nice and really bring the dark metro alive.

80

Realistic fun

Stebsis | Feb. 16, 2013 | Review of Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad

Red Orchestra 2 is maybe the most realistic first person shooter I've ever played. It gives you hard look at war in times of World War 2.

RO2 is very team based, alone you won't survive especially on the realistic mode where bullets kill you basically from one hit. This is no Call of Duty or even Battlefield. You have to rely on your teammates and you have to support them too.

Graphically the game is ok, not bad but it clearly didn't have a big budget. The game can also get a big laggy and it has some bugs, animations are really stiff too but maybe that's because it's so realistic.

RO2 is not a game for standard shooter fan, and that's what I like about it. It's like an intelligent shooter, making you strategice a bit and trying to survive and support rather than scoring the most kills

90

Bigger and better

Stebsis | Feb. 16, 2013 | Review of Darksiders II

Darksiders 2 is very different game than Darksiders in some aspects, but not worse by any means.

You play as Death, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. You come to Earth to find a way to restore your brothers, War's, honor and prove him innocent in the destruction mankind and try to restore it yourself. Story is on the same par as with Darksiders, it's interesting with some twists.

Combat and gameplay mechanics reflect on Death's own abilities. War was this big, powerful warrior who wields giant sword and swings it with not much effort, but Death isn't quite as strong, but he's agile and fast. You fight with a fast scythe as your main weapon, and your additional weapons is either some kind of slow hammer or spear, or really fast buckler or claws. They all have their own way how they work and each type has different charge attack, a buckler shields you, and you can can make an earth shaking attack with a hammer. There's also lot of Prince of Persia style climbing, it flows naturally and isn't really that hard, path is always laid out for you nicely.

Graphically the game is gorgeous. Some places are just massive and there are many wow moments in the design and size. It's just a shame that many places feel a bit empty and definitely don't reflect on their size.

Boss fights are great, and they've gotten some improvement. Darksiders 2 isn't anymore like Zelda type puzzle game, and this is most apparent in boss fights where bosses have health, you no longer do the same thing just 3 times and that's it. Bosses have health meters and they can dodge and block your attacks and some of the higher level bosses that you may come across way too early are really challenging, but even as low level character you can beat them, I've beaten them and they were hard as balls but also really rewarding once you actually manage to beat them only with your skills.

Darksiders 2 differs quite a lot from the previous title. D2 is morelike rpg action title and not puzzle action. It's stilla great game and is only bigger and better in about every aspect.

100

I'm Batman!

Stebsis | Feb. 16, 2013 | Review of Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year -

Batman Arkham Asylum is definitely one of the best superhero games ever made, only overshadowed by its sequel, Arkham City(and somewhat by the original NES Batman game :D).

Batman is taking his old enemy Joker once again to the Arkham Asylum, but something goes wrong and inmates are let loose, including all the old enemies of Batman, like Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy and my favorite Scarecrow. Batman Arkham Asylum is definitely made by Batman fans to Batman fans. It doesn't dumb anything down for people who haven't read Batman comics or watched the movies. It's a real fan treat like no other.

Combat is one of the best parts of the game, the punches have some real weight and you feel like Batman taking down dozen baddies in couple of minutes. Stealth is another big part of the gameplay, and it's really fun. Batman can't take much hit, he's human after all, so if you attack blindly at people with guns you'll get killed quickly.

Boss battles are also really fun, they're varied and reflect on the villains abilities, for example you don't even really battle Scarecrow, but rather try to survive his hallucinations.

Arkham island is a great place, they've made awesome job creating the whole island and the indoors like cells etc.

The only bad thing that really sticks out that enemies don't spawn back. If you take them all out, in the end when finding the hundreds of Riddler quests, you'll just be running all around the place not fighting or sneaking at all which can get a bit boring, but the main story and the journey itself are great experiences. If you like Batman you probably already have gotten this gem and also Arkham City, but if not or you're not that big Batman fan and are still thinking wheter to buy this, definitely get both of them. You'll be a fan after these superb games and they can serve as a great introduction to Batman.

80

Great stealth game

Stebsis | Feb. 16, 2013 | Review of Dishonored Nexway

Dishonored is quite unique game in some aspects. It blends action and stealth in somewhat same way Deus Ex Human Revolution did, but a a bit more stealth oriented.

You play as some faceless and utterly forgettable character who's accused of murder of an Empress. Story is quite frankly boring and I just couldn't pay attention to it at all because it all felt so cliched and dull. The main character too is just faceless mute person, in a game like this I would've preferred speaking protagonist. It makes you and the character feel like you're outside of the game, not really taking part in it.

Graphically the game looks nice, though a bit muddy and everything seems a bit low texture. Character faces look just creepy sometimes. Level design though is great and it lets you complete them any way you want, doing side quests or only main quest, sneaking or swinging your sword and shooting with pistol or kind of combination between these two.

You can complete the game in couple different ways, killing everyone or just making everyone unconcious, or, even harder, don't touch anyone else but the one you have to eliminate. Taking the stealthy route and not killing anyone is really boring I must say. You're not given nearly enough tools to sneaking, and even less to just stunning enemies, as you're given to action. You basically have only blink, this kind of magic power that lets you teleport between short distances, for example to get to rooftops quickly. You also have crossbow with stun bolts. And that's about it, if you take any more stealth oriented stuff like letting you see the enemies through walls etc. the game just gets incredibly easy and not even remotely exciting or hearthpounding like a stealth game should feel. Action is definitely the more interesting route and it lets you mix and match a lot more of your powers, as even stealth powers come in handy in combat but not vice versa especially if you decide not to kill anyone.

Dishonored is really fun game, not quite on par with Deus Ex Human Revolution in mixing all these different genres as it feels sometimes really unbalanced, but fun nonetheless. It gives you tools to do missions basically any way you want and it rewards you for trying your own things.

85

Great Zelda substitute

Stebsis | Feb. 16, 2013 | Review of Darksiders

As the title says, Darksiders is great, and a lot gorier, Legend of Zelda substitute if someone doesn't own Nintendo's consoles. You go into dungeons, do puzzles, open chests, find the special item that you use to solve the puzzles and defeat the boss with it. It has that Zelda formula and is a great game to boot.

You play as War, one of the four Horsemen of the apocalypse. Apparently the seven seals that trigger the apocalypse have been broken and War is summoned to Earth, only to discover that the final seal hasn't been broken and your brothers haven't come with you. You're being put to prison for hundreds of years as the one responsible for for the apocalypse and in that time humanity has fallen. After his time War is sent back to Earth to kill the Destroyer who apparently is responsible for the destruction.

The biblical setting is interesting and the developer, Vigil Games, definitely have their own style and take on it. Story has some interesting turns and is all around enjoyable from the start to finish.

Combat is pretty great and really gory. You chop off your enemies heads, wings, horns and everything that sticks out. Monsters you encounter are varied and require different tactics. Combat does get a bit repetitive after a while, you only get 3 weapons, 2 to use at a time, a sword and either a gauntlet that lets you smash ice that blocks your way and throw enemies in the air, or a sickle that lets you deal damage all around you but it's not as powerful as sword.

Puzzles are ok, they're not anything that hard, nowhere near the hardest that Zelda games have, but they're enjoyable and make you sometimes think a bit, they at least won't stop you in your trails and take you away from the adventure for that long.

Darksiders is really enjoyable hack and slash, puzzle game with great and imaginative setting and premise. If you like Zelda type games and great action, Darksiders won't let you down.

90

Good old fun

Stebsis | Feb. 16, 2013 | Review of Grand Theft Auto III DNS

GTA III... this game really takes me back to those "good old days". I was only about 9 or 10 years old when I first played this at my friends place, I hadn't heard of GTA before it. We used to play the game all weekends and my god was it fun. I remember when the first time we blew someones head off with a pistol, or when we drove a truck over someone and it made that splat sound, we laughed so hard to those.

I recently picked up the game again first time in a loooong while, and GTA III has aged really well. It's still one of the funniest games I've ever played, graphically it looks great and mechanics are still solid.

The city, Liberty City, is a big place with lots of hidden stuff to discover and tons of missions to do. I really recommend this game just for its nostalgia value. The sequel, Vice City, does about everything better, but especially if you played GTA III back when it came out and don't have the copy, pick this up now.

85

Great coop

Stebsis | Feb. 16, 2013 | Review of Magicka

Magicka is definitely a game designed for coop. It's fun alone and I recommend playing alone to kind of get used to the game, but the best part is when having fun with 1-3 more friends.

You use your A, S, D, F, Q, W, E and R keys to combine different spells like shield, beam, heal, fire, water and so on. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of different combinations how you can use your magic. You chain up to 5 magics together by pressing the keys, and depending what you choose and in which order, it creates different spell. For example one combination creates a stone skin around you and if you put more spells into it it gets thicker but also slows you down. One spell allows you to put the spell in your weapon to do a powerful melee attack that might also create some exploding ice shards. Or create a big ice earth stone that you hurl at your foes and it does just massive damage. It's just unbelievable how many things you can discover.

It's still not without its problems, there are tons of bugs even though the game has been patched. The game might crash and there are other various bugs.

I really recommend Magicka but get couple other friends to buy it too, it's just a much more fun that way and you can together figure out some crazy combinations.

90

Awesome multiplayer

Stebsis | Feb. 16, 2013 | Review of Battlefield 3 (EU)

I don't really play multiplayer games, not at least military shooters. Only stuff like Natural Selection 2, Assassin's Creed and some arena type myltiplayers, but Battlefield 3 got me really hooked.

Graphically the game is superb, even if it's not on the highest setting which you'll need pretty good PC. Terrain and cover gets destroyed around you realistically as bullets and tank shells hit it. There is rarely any chance to take cover from tank or someone with rocket launcher, just run and hope for the best. Sound design is also just awesome. Bullets, footsteps, helicopters, jets and tanks sound realistic and it's a real treat to ears to hear everything around you, bullets flying in the distance, people screaming, jet flies over you and tanks fire from afar, it makes it seem and sound like a real battlefield. Level design is varied and there are lots of different areas to choose and all play differently and you need to learn the maps to use them efficiently.

Even though I was a bit sceptical about using Origin and a web browser based kind of like lobby to start the game, but it's pretty great. You can easily access everything that you need, statistics, loadouts, multiplayers, campaign, co-op, everything under the same roof make it quick and easy to use.

Combat is tons of fun and you really need to work in a team to capture objective or whatever your mission is, alone you will not survive long. There are lots of guns to use. I just think it's a bit shame that you don't really see which gun is more powerful than other, I'm real stat nut, I like to see what kind of damage etc. the weapons I use, do. On the other hand it doesn't give exactly unfair advantage over new players as every gun is basically the same but with different ranges, rate of fire scopes etc. and it lets you use the gun that you like and are the best with, and not the one that's clearly more powerful than the other.

All and all, Battlefield 3 is really enjoyable multiplayer shooter, single player that I played a while is just tacked on and is there just to kind of make you used to the mechanics of the game, it works kind of like tutorial to the meat of the game, multiplayer. I'm still not the biggest fan of military shooters, but the realism of Battlefield 3 definitely makes it enjoyable.

45

Aliens: How Not to Make an Alien Game

Stebsis | Feb. 13, 2013 | Review of Aliens: Colonial Marines

I don't really know what to say about Colonial Marine outside of: this is not how you make an Alien or a modern FPS game, but I'll try.

So, the game takes place after Aliens, the second movie and tries to answer some questions but ultimately everything is just forgettable. Characters aren't interesting, dialog is your boring cliched military shouting and grumbling and it's just bland.

Even the shooting elements aren't that good. This is corridor shooter at its worst, nothing exciting ever happens and at one point you start to fight human opponents and you won't even know why. Wasn't this supposed to be an alien game? I think the developers themselves realised that xenomorphs were such a dull enemies that they have to throw some variation there, but ultimately it just feels like padding without any kind of ground to base it on.

The one thing the game gets right are the sounds. Sounds of iconic guns from the movies are there and they look and sound like they should. You also have your heartbeat sensor, but it's just a useless piece of junk because this is a corridor shooter and every alien just comes straight forwards running towards you like an idiot. Xenomorphs are supposed to be these smart hunters that stalk their prey and pick the right time to strike, not mindless zombies that attack people in packs straight towards you. Enemy AI is just horrible.

Multiplayer and coop save the game a bit and thanks to them am able to give this game a score as high as this. They're fun and with coop you might have some good time with a friend. Though in multiplayer modes xenomorphs feel a bit too underpowered as they're supposed to be able to kill a human in just one hit. They could've balanced this out nicely by giving humans more powerful guns and different gadgets like the turrets seen in Aliens. These would've made the game feel more like an Alien instead of some other generic shooter where you have to defend yourself from aliens/monsters/zombies.

And there's the problem, this doesn't feel like an Alien game. Bad gameplay aside, nothing here really says Aliens outside of sounds and some of the graphical designs though the level design is just horrible. Xeno's could've easily been replaced by zombies or some other generic monster.

I just don't understand what went wrong here. CM had so much potential, it looked like an awesome game and it's even from studio that brought us the superb Borderlands series. This just is not an Aliens game, and there is the biggest problem. I could recommend this off from very good sale as coop and multiplayer can get a bit fun, though I'm not sure how much longer people will bother with the mp, but if you want good FPS or horror,(which is almost nonexistent in CM because of predictability) I'd rather recommend F.E.A.R. trilogy, or for actually good alien type multiplayer I say get Natural Selection 2.

90

Beautiful fairy tale

Stebsis | Feb. 13, 2013 | Review of Trine

Trine is just a beautiful game. It's a simple tale of knight, thief and wizard trying to defeat the bad guy, what could be more simple? And even if it's simple, it still manages to surprise you by how magnificent Trine is.

You play as three different characters changing from one to other on the fly. All have their own special skills, thief can shoot a bow and use grappling hook to swing over chasms. Knight is powerful with sword or sledgehammer and can take cover from enemy blows and stuff like fire with his shield. Wizard can conjure up crates or planks that let you solve the physics based puzzles. All of them complement each other very well and it's joy to find different ways to complete the stages using different powers.

The game looks great, the locations are varied and everything is just so beautifully done. It really feels like a world straight from a fairy tale and I just love it.

Trine is a simple yet beautiful tale with great game mechanics that any platformer fan will love.

80

Nothing really new

Stebsis | Feb. 13, 2013 | Review of Assassins Creed Revelations

Revelations is quite short, but a great ending to both Ezio and Altair storyline. You get to live the final moments of Altair and Ezio, and these moments are emotional and it gives you nice and satisfying conclusion to one of the greatest game trilogies ever. Sadly, gameplay wise nothing is really new.

Once again you are Ezio, and you come to Constantinople to find out what Altair, your distant grandfather has left you. Story isn't anything that memorable outside the Altair bits and some of the later moments of Ezio. On your travels you find these relics that kind of transfer you to the Altair section and tell his story as he becomes the grand master of assassins.

There is nothing really to say about Revelations that hasn't been said of the previous 2. This is a great end to a trilogy even though it's not that long or deep as Brotherhood. If you've liked previous 2, you will like Revelations.

90

Great sequel

Stebsis | Feb. 13, 2013 | Review of Assassins Creed Brotherhood

Brotherhood may not be the big leap that AC2 was from 1, but it's still a damn great game, the second best Assassin's Creed.

The biggest change is the setting, now there's only 1 city, Rome, and it is big. In AC2 you had this little place, Monteriggioni Villa that you could upgrade to get you better weapons, armor etc. from stores, but now the whole Rome is your playground. You can buy properties all around the town like bank, horse staples, and weapon and clothing stores. You can then purchase goods from them and all will add to your hourly income that you get and can withdraw the money from the bank. It's a great system and even though you sometimes seem to have a bit too much money, you still can't really abuse the system because at the end when buying all the stuff you need and want it balances out. Rome itself is just a beautiful place, though not as good looking as Venice. There're hundreds of little things to find and quests to do.

Once again you play as Ezio Auditore continuing your quest to figure out what the heck is going on in the main plot and trying to figure out what the point of Desmond is. Well, seriously, you start right from the same point where AC2 left off, so I urge you to play it first as it's also a superb game. Story is pretty good and diverse missions in a big city are fun to do.

The best part added in Brotherhood is the multiplayer, and this is odd for me as I don't usually like multiplayer as much as single player, but here mp just adds to the single player experience. It's really different from anything that I've ever played, there are couple of different game modes, for example in one you're divided into 2 teams of 4, and other team has to hunt others down. And in other mode you need to assassinate given target, but there're also others hunting you and as you do better in the round, the more people are gonna come after you. These are heart pounding minutes as you try to blend in the crowd while at the same time trying to hunt your targets as quickly as you can. Nothing really has gotten my blood run like Brotherhood multiplayer in a long time.

If you liked AC2, you will like Brotherhood. It's a great sequel to Ezio storyline and multiplayer just adds to the experience.

70

Repetitive and boring

Stebsis | Feb. 13, 2013 | Review of Assassins Creed

AC commits one of the worst sins in a gaming, it's boring and chore to play. One of the parts that might affect this for me is that I played AC2 before AC1 and after 2 the problems of this game were just too obvious and it made it hard to enjoy the good things as AC2 just made everything better.

First of all, repetitive. Every mission is basically the same, do three tasks and get information to go and assassinate the bad guy. These are just so boring after first couple of times.

Holy Land itself is a marvel to look at, the world feels alive and it's beautifully done. It's amazing to climb up a tall building and just take the world in.

Story itself is really forgettable. Frankly, I don't remembet it at all, not one thing. There are many bad games which stories I remember because they usually were enjoyably bad, but AC is just bland.

The climbing mechanics itself are really slow compared to AC2, it takes far too long to climb buildings as Altair is just so slow.

Despite all its problems, I give AC a score of 70 because of one thing it did right. It was new. When I first saw the game, I couldn't believe it. Next gen was coming and AC was the game that for me really started it even though I didn't play it at the time. It was a revolutionary and innovative title as one of the first games of this gen. I recommend playing this before other AC's because others are just much better, but AC is innovative title that despite all its problems brought something marvelous to the gaming world.

90

Sneak, shoot, hack

Stebsis | Feb. 13, 2013 | Review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution

I didn't play the original Deus Ex games but Human Revolution just caught my eye, and I'm glad it did. Deus Ex HR doesn't do any part spectacularly, only good, but it blends the sneaking, shooting and hacking perfectly, and combined with clever level design that complements all playstyles makes DE an unique game in the midst of all FPS games these days.

You play as Adam Jensen, who's a bodyguard to Sarif Industries. Your workplace is attacked by terrorists, your girlfriend killed and Adam himself left to die. Some months later he returns basically from dead thanks to augments, like enhancements to human body, next step in evolution. You try to get to the root of why and who attacked Sarif.

The most immersive part of the game is how terrifyingly true everything in the game could be. This isn't that distand future, 2027, and it shows. These augments aren't magical enhancements or that scifi even, but could very well be completely plausible in just some years, and that's what makes this game a marvel to look at and maybe makes you fear what future might hold. HR tackles subjects like where does the line between human and something more goes, we already are using prostetic legs and mechanical arms. It's interesting and thought provoking setup that makes you really think what it would be like to have all these enhancements.

Level design is awesome and you get to choose usually between 2-3 different routes you want to take to your subject, and in those routes you can choose how you want to handle it. I recommend going the game first sneaking, it's most interesting and makes you feel like some ninja when you take down your enemies from cover without others knowing, be it killing or just stunning.

Story is a bit weak, it's not particularly interesting even though the themes it tackles and setup are.

Deus Ex Human Revolution is an unique game these days, many games focus mainly on shooting or sneaking, but HR blends these perfectly. You feel like you have augments, you're more than normal human. I really recommend grapping this.

95

Bigger, better and guns, guns, guns!

Stebsis | Feb. 13, 2013 | Review of Borderlands 2 DNS

Borderlands was a great game with bazillion guns, it had some flaws, but Borderlands 2 definitely makes every single thing about Borderlands better. More locations, guns, characters, guns, quests, guns, enemy types, GUNS! Guns are just the best thing about this game. In Borderlands there were a lot of guns, but at some point it felt like the skins were starting to get a bit recycled and the difference was only minor stat variation. Borderlands 2 has just incredible amount of skins, different things the guns do and all act a bit differently. One type of gun shoots burst fire when zooming, other type shoots exploding rounds, one type you don't even load but when the clip is depleted you throw the gun away and it explodes like a grenade and you magically spawn a new gun with new clip. These give a ton of strategic value in combat and you have to change your tactic almost every time you change to a new gun.

There are also a tons of new enemy types, there are your regular skags that leap towards you, marauders with guns or psychos that rush towards you with an axe or grenade. Then there are the new ones, like big brutes, or badass ones with a shield, or one of my favorites, bullymongs that throw cars and rocks at you and they come in all sizes.

Locations have gotten a big upgrade, you don't just stare the same brown desert the whole time, now you start in a snowy area and work your way to lusher green areas, deserts and towns. Cell-shaded graphics make every place a pleasure to look at. The game is also ridiculously large just like Borderlands was, the locations are big and filled with all types of guns to find.

Combat is a bit weak, though better than in previous title. Many firefights are a bit on the easy side, or on the other hand become a bit too cheap when enemies just rush you. There aren't that many times when you find that sweet spot, though the shooting isn't bad, just not in par with military shooters or like that.

And how could I forget the best part of the game, Handsome Jack, the main villain. Oh my god, he is good. He is fun, his dialog is the best part of the game when he chats with you on the radio. One of the best original video game villains.

B2 is enjoyable shooter with tons of content. Even at full price, you get more than your money's worth with tens of hours of content. Shooter elements are somewhat stiff, but great characters, superb villain, funny dialog, world you can lose yourself for tens of hours and even more guns than before definitely are worth it.

90

Hard fun

Stebsis | Feb. 13, 2013 | Review of Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition (EU)

As everyone already knows and everybody is talking about it when mentioning Dark Souls, it is hard, even the name says it: "Prepare to Die Edition". It really is, so if you don't like to challenge yourself to the extreme and make you really learn the game, Dark Souls isn't for you.

You get to create your character from many interesting choises, like knight, archer, mage and couple other interesting ones. Your class determines what you're good at and what kind of armor and weapons you carry.

You're an undead sent to prison but you get out of there and you just go to slay monsters. There isn't really a story here to interrupt your journey, and it's just good.

When you kill foes you get souls which are used to level up your character at bonfires, which also work as your save/check point. It's a real relief to find a bonfire when you've been walking down a big dungeon fighting really tough foes not knowing when you might die. But after you light the fire, all enemies, except the bosses, respawn. This is a gamble move if you're not sure you can return the same way or you don't know what lies ahead. And if you die, you lose all your hard earned souls, but you can get them back if you return to the place where you died, but beware, if you die a second time without getting your souls back, you lose them forever. This adds tension and gives your death real weight as the souls are your currency in this world.

Combat is tight, but nearly impossible on mouse and keyboard, you need a controller. This isn't a hack and slash, you need to time your moves and one fatal mistake can deplete almost all your health as your foes sometimes are hard hitters and quick on their feet.

Dark Souls isn't a game for everyone, but it's a game that gaming world needs. It isn't afraid to give you real challenge and really make you work for the progress. Dark Souls is a game that at least any old school gamer should try, and newer gamers too as it shows what many games these days lack, real challenge.

65

Just not that good

Stebsis | Feb. 13, 2013 | Review of Dragon Age 2 (EU)

I don't really know what it is, but I just can't like this game. It feels like DA2 has solid mechanics, combat at least is better than in Dragon Age: Origins, but everything else feels just watered down. I'm not one to judge a game because it's different from previous ones, heck I really like where Metal Gear Rising is going, it looks awesome even though it's not anything like previous titles in the series. DA2 was rushed out by EA in only little over a year after superb DA:O, that's not nearly enough time to create a full fledged, big budget RPG, and it shows.

The first problem in the game you see right when you start it, you only get to be a human and there're no Origin stories like in previous one, you don't get to explore different cultures of elfes or dwarfes, or feel like what it's like to be an oppressed mage, it's just the same beginning. The second problem is the main character him/herself, Hawke. Especially the male voice actor is just bad, I just couldn't like him no matter what and eventually I had to start all over again with female. Male sounds so monotonous and boring, but female is much better and I really liked her voice.

You choose between 3 classes, rogue, warrior or mage, and mage out of these 3 is definitely the best and most interesting as DA2 basically is a tale between a struggle between templars and mages, as a mage you get to feel like you have more bigger part in it and choises you make, especially if they're against your fellow mages, have weight in them, and in combat mage plays the most fun, even though they scrapped my favorite specialization from DA:O, arcane warrior. And this is the best part of the game, combat. It's fun, fast paced while still maintaining its strategic elements. They didn't dumb it down but made it a lot better.

But the meat of DA:O was characters and the stories you experienced through your travels to defeat the great evil, archdemon and blight which were a threat to the whole world. DA2... yeeeah, not so much. Hawke and his family in the beginning escape the blight to other country, this takes place roughly around the beginning of DA:O, but DA2's story spans for years. This might seem like a neat idea, but it's not. Story is divided in 3 parts and you take part in different powerstruggles and explore caves. Oh yeah, the caves, the goddamn caves. There're like 5 games in the game total, and you explore these caves all the time, every frigging cave looks the same. It's annoying and developers clearly didn't have any time to make even those 5 caves interesting places to explore.

And characters, oh boy are they bad. There're only 1 or 2 good ones, but most are just annoying and can't hold the candle not even near the ones in DA:O.

DA2 just isn't that good story, character or world wise and those were the best things about Origins. Combat is the only thing better here. If you played DA:O, I wouldn't recommend this. If you haven't played either one, play this one first, it might give you more satisfaction, but as a sequel you can't but compare these ones, and DA2 just loses completely and I can't help but to take that into account after the masterpiece DA:O was.

90

Hard platformer

Stebsis | Feb. 13, 2013 | Review of Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy is a game that makes you rage quit it many times and want to throw your controller across the room and beat the living snot out of your monitor. And that's because the game is hard, incredibly hard, but great control of the Super Meat Boy himself only makes you realize that the fault is not in the game, it's in you.

You're on a quest to rescue the princess from the big bad guy, Dr. Fetus. The story is told through quite hilarious cutscenes between worlds. At the end of every stage you reach the princess but Dr. Fetus snatches her away when she's just in your reach. It's like a tribute to old Super Mario games where princess is always in the next castle and it feels like you never reach her.

At the end of each world there's a boss fight, and these are awesome. There are variety of different kinds. You have to stay above rising pool of blood, outrun a poop monster or remember a pattern of a colossal beast that you have to evade. These are hilarious bosses and one of the best parts of the game.

After every level you unlock a dark world level to that, but it's a lot, and I mean a lot harder. It's basically the same level, but with buzzsaws, pits, lasers and everything else to make it harder to complete. At the end these get ridiculously harder and I've almost broken my Xbox controller when playing this. And oh yeah, get a controller, I mean it. It's nearly impossible to navigate the harder levels on keyboard with the kind of precision controller gives you.

Super Meat Boy is enjoyable game and very few times it feels cheap despite it's difficulty. Very tight controls make sure that it's not the game's fault if you fail. If you're a fan, or interested in platformers and very hard games with nice lenght and replayability, SMB won't disappoint.

90

Pure fun

Stebsis | Feb. 12, 2013 | Review of Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 gets the most important thing about a game right: fun. JC2 is just fun to play and to any game it's important, more important than good story or graphics or innovation. Just Cause 2 doesn't really do any of that great or even that good - outside of the absolutely gorgeous island of Panau - only kind of mediocre. But oh my god is it fun.

You play as Rico sent to an island of Panau to kill his friend. The story has some twists but overall it's just mediocre and forgettable. To progress the story you need to cause chaos, which you can do by completing missions to one of the three faction, Ulars, Reapers or Roaches, or you can just go and blast stuff up. You can hijack a passenger jet and run it in straight into fuel tanks in a military base. Or get a fighter jet or helicopter with missiles and machine gun and rain destruction from skies, or just go in guns blazing. Once you get enough chaos you get new faction and story missions.

The game took me about 19 hours before I got to finish the main story and it's really nice length, but you need to do a lot of side missions to get to that point, because you need to cause a lot of destruction before actually getting the story missions to progress. After story you get to continue in a mercenary mode and your goal is to just cause destruction and get 100% and there is a lot, a lot, a lot of stuff to do. After finisihing the story and doing lots of side missions, I only had completed the game under 30%, and it felt like I had already explored at least half of Panau.

Shooter elements are fine. You have an autoaim which you can't really turn off, but it's ok, it works really great. You "turn it off" by aiming but it's a lot easier to just use the autoaim. Shooting is a bit stiff and enemies often can get a bit cheap on hardest difficulty, but overall it's fine. You also get a neat grappling hook that you can use to move around places quickly, pull enemies down from ledges which is really fun to do in skyscrapers, or you can get some speed when you have your parachute open.

The meat of the game is the havoc you cause, everything is just so satisfying to do and you get a lot of crazy stuff to do it with, planes, helicopters, cars and boats. The amount of content in the game is just unbelievable, and the island of Panau is just massive and great to look at. There are hundreds, probably around thousand collectibles to find like vehicle and weapons parts you can upgrade them with. There are also hundreds of locations you can complete 100% by destroying them and finding all the collectibles. JC2 can provide you with tens of hours, maybe even hundreds of hours of entertainment that almost no game does the way JC2 does. You definitely get your money's worth.

90

Tour in Rapture

Stebsis | Feb. 7, 2013 | Review of BioShock DNS

Bioshock is one of the most atmospheric and interesting games to come out in this whole gaming generation.

You play as Jack, a silent protagonist. Jack's plane crashes down into the sea, and Jack is the only survivor. Little ways he sees a lighthouse on an island where he swims. Inside he finds a bathysphere and there's a radio, and he descends into Rapture, city under water, accompanied first by a man named Atlas via the radio.

The game, story and the Rapture are all very interesting. When you take the first steps inside the Rapture you can't but wonder what exactly is happening. Why are you here? What exactly is this place? Where is everyone? What has happened here? Nothing is exactly told you right away to set things up, you get to discover it yourself. It's a thought provoking game and setup that make you want to go forward just by its atmosphere it creates the minute you step outside the bathysphere. For me no game has ever done it the same way. Rapture isn't immersive like Skyrim for example, nor you don't have any clear goal like saving someone and the gameplay itself isn't the most addictive, though solid enough. The game makes you yourself want to keep going so that you can discover the secrets and history of Rapture, and it is interesting to say the least.

Story takes some nice turns, there's lots of hidden stuff in the dialog that you'll notice along the way and the second playthrough should become more interesting as you really learn to know what to really listen in the conversations. Nothing is shoved down your throat, there are basically no cutscenes to interrupt you, and you can just choose to ignore the story if you want, but it is interesting and there're couple of really nice twists and great characters.

Gameplay is definitely the weakest link in Bioshock, though it's not bad, just not on par with many other FPS games and the horror elements aren't the scariest, but the focus here isn't in shooting so it's understandable. You fight mostly splicers, these weird human like creatures, with weapons like wrench, pistol, shotgun, and you even get a sweet tommy gun. But you also have plasmids that're like magic. Soon when you arrive to Rapture, you find this weird bottle of EVE, some weird substance and for some reason Jack stabs it into his arm, and you gain plasmids. There's fire, ice, electricity, telekinesis, traps and many other interesting ones that spice up the action nicely, for example if there's an oil puddle you can set it on fire or if enemies are standing in water you can electrocute them. They're also used for little puzzle solving, like fire melts ice that lets you proceed forwards or to some hidden area.

At one point you also confront a Big Daddy, that is like a guardian to a Little Sister, a little girl, that's with them almost always. Big Daddies are humans who's skin and organs have been put inside a big diving suit and "programmed" to protect Little Sisters. These are tough and really agile foes despite their size. If you're not careful they will kill you fast with their big drill that almost all Big Daddies have. They're usually not hostile unless you get too close, or attack the Little Sister or the Big Daddy itself. If you manage to kill the BD, you can choose what you do with the Sister, kill her or save her. If you decide to kill her, she gives you ADAM, that's currency used to get more plasmids at your disposal. If you save her, you take her with you and find a vent where you put her. This way you won't get ADAM right away, but in long run you get it more. After you've let the LS go, sometime later you'll find a present left to you. There's lots of ADAM there and sometimes even an upgrade for you, like a skill that gives you more time when hacking vending machines. Depending wheter you kill or save majority of the Little Sisters, you get a different ending.

Bioshock has its minor flaws like the combat could've used a bit fine tuning as the shooting elements are a bit stiff, and story might be hard to follow sometimes because it's all in the radio chatter and you might be focusing on something else so you need to just stop and really listen it.

Bioshock is a great game that I don't think anyone should pass. It takes its time in the beginning setting the atmosphere before going into combat, letting you explore and making you guess what is happening, and keeping the mysterious and interesting feeling all throughout the game. There are definitely better horror and FPS games out there, but Bioshock is an unique game that everyone should experience.

80

Gory fun

Stebsis | Feb. 1, 2013 | Review of Manhunt Capsule

Manhunt is definitely one of the goriest games ever, and it's so much fun as long as you don't take it too seriously. You play as Cash, a death row inmate who was supposedly executed, but now he's being kept as some kind of film star in a mad man's snuff film. You progress towards the game and kill lots of people, and it's all being filmed by cameras.

Manhunt isn't really an action game, the main focus is in stealth which is kind of weird considering previous Rockstar titles, but they pull it off really nicely even though it's not as deep as in Splinter Cell or other stealth focused games.

You sneak around in the shadows and try to dispatch the bad guys. Your stealth meter shows how hidden you are. You can also distract the bad guys or attract them to you by throwing stuff like cans or hitting the wall with your weapon. Enemy AI isn't the best, sometimes when you're hardly in the shadows but the stealth meter still says you are hidden, and the bad guys can't see you no matter how close they are. It's really easy to sneak up on enemy and kill him if there're no others around. The game is quite difficult though, there are some frustrating parts, but if you keep your head cool and kill your enemies calmly, you'll come through.

You get a variety of weapons to use, shivs, wires, bricks, plastic bags, sickles, even a chainsaw at the end and tons of other gruesome weapons. You also get variety of guns, but you're discouraged to use them. Many enemies have guns, and even if they don't, death comes quickly if you're not careful. The weakest link of the game are the shooting parts where you're forced to use guns, gladly there aren't many of them. You sometimes have to forcefully fight your way out and these moments can be frustrating and not that much fun.

Graphically the game is quite nice even today. Areas look different with lots of variety. Game is a bit too linear though, you don't get to really explore the nicely made environments.

Story is also very interesting as you try to get to the guy who's responsible for the situation you're put in. It has that, kind of Rockstar quality to it. It's not the reason to play the game, like in so many R* games, but it keeps you invested.

This is a game that any stealth fan should get if you also like pointlessly gruesome violence like in Bulletstorm for example. There's lots of variety to the game and it'll keep you intrigued for the first playthrough.

80

A worthy ending... to some degree

Stebsis | Jan. 29, 2013 | Review of Mass Effect 3 (EU)

Ok, everyone already knows the ending in ME3 is bad, and it really is even with the added stuff in the free DLC. It just contradicts everything ME is about, but enough about it. The game itself is a worthy entry to a great action RPG series, not quite on par with ME2 though. ME3 definitely isn't a game where you want to start the ME series even though the developers have said you can catch on just fine. Well, maybe you can, but the emotional bonds that you carry over all the way from the first game are what make this game so worthwile even when considering the ending. You just will not get the same feeling with just ME3. There are some really emotional moments, and even though you can choose what Shepard does and how his story unfolds, you're not in control of the other characters and their destinies, and they make some emotional and heartbreaking decisions and it feels if you've been with them the whole time.

There are some amazing set pieces, particularly the Krogan home planet where a Thresher Maw attacks a Reaper, it's just epic and awe inspiring. The first moments of the game as Reapers arrive to Earth are are also just epic, almost no game has ever done it at the scale ME3 has, and the final moments at the ruins of Earth are unforgettably awesome.

It's just a shame that the choises you make don't really seem to have any meaning, you at least don't visibly see the results from the people and races you saved or destroyed.

Combat has been improved from ME2 and skill system has been made a bit deeper, though not nearly as deep as in ME1. There are various new enemies with different tactics, like a brute that rushes towards you. They're challenging foes on higher difficulties and you have to really strategise at some battles.

Graphically the game is superb, the setpieces of crumbling Earth, deserts of Tuchanka, moon of a Turian homeworld that Reapers have conquered and you see the planet in the sky. Everything is so big and epic.

ME3's problems come with the story, characters and lack of choises, and they're what made ME2 such a masterpiece. If you've played previous ME games, don't let the bad ending throw you off from this. ME3 is worthy all the way and who knows, you might love the ending more than most.

95

The perfect sequel

Stebsis | Jan. 29, 2013 | Review of Assassin's Creed 2 Deluxe Edition

You play as Ezio Auditore da Firenze, a son of an assassin. You witness his birth and see him grow to an adult man. He's suave and charming, he's funny and he can be a real threat to his enemies. He's just a perfect main character in a video game and you see him grow as he becomes a member of the Assassins, you really get to know and like him.

Something terrible happens in Ezio's life and he's forced to become an assassin and he goes on a revenge quest. He's just a rookie and you learn with him as he grows to become the man known as the greatest assassin of all time. You meet lots of colorful and memorable characters along the way, including Leonardo da Vinci who makes you weapons like the hidden blade and hidden gun. The story has some nice turns, and ends in a satisfying and really intriguing note that makes you just want to know more.

Ezio can climb to the rooftops quickly where you can quickly travel where you want. When you're on the ground guards can notice you if you're notorious. You can hide from them by blending in the crowds, sitting in the benches or buying some thieves or mercenaries to hide with or distract the guards. You really feel like an assassin. It's so satisfying when you're doing a mission, hiding in the crowds, just waiting for the right time to strike at your target and get away without anyone noticing.

The game alltogether is really easy combat wise. You can take out a group of guards really quickly and efficiently. This isn't made to be a hard game, but a little difficulty would've been nice.

The Italy is just a beautiful place, I especially loved Venice, all the canals and great sights from rooftops are just superb. You even get to priefly visit Rome, which is your main city in the sequel.

AC2 doesn't require you to play AC1, you get a hold of the story quickly by a nice introduction in the beginning. And if you've played the first game, you'll notice that AC2 has made some improvements, real improvements. AC1 was a bit clunky and really repetetive, but AC2 mixes things up a lot and gives you lots of different missions that are fun to play. AC2 is a prime example how a sequel should be made for any game.

If you like adventure/action/stealth games you just can't go wrong with AC2

80

Could've been heck of a lot better

Stebsis | Jan. 29, 2013 | Review of Assassins Creed III

The leap Assassin's Creed 2 made from the first game was massive. AC2 is a prime example how a sequel should be made, real improvements and making every aspect better in every way. I was hoping something similar with AC3, but sadly it's bit of a disappointment, but not a bad game by any chance.

The main problem of AC3 is sadly the main lead, Connor, half native american and half british. It's awesome that he's voiced by a real native american, but unfortunately he's just a boring person to listen and Connor isn't all that interesting. He almost never changes his monotonous voice and he just sounds so bored all the time.

So, you play as Connor who's village is raided and burned down. Connor is directed to an old retired assassin who starts to train Connor as he swears revenge on the Templars who did it to his village. There are some really great twists along the way, and you don't even play as Connor all the time but someone other very interesting character who's backstory I would've loved to know much more than Connor's story.

Graphically the game is beautiful. Forests especially are a great sight and it's so much fun to climb in trees. Snowy areas are nice too, snow hinders your speed and you have to resort to going to trees. The two cities you visit, Boston and New York, are really detailed places with lots of rooftops, and secrets to discover. They're filled with people and the crowd mechanics of the game are superb, there's no slow down at all even though there's probably almost hundred people in the screen at once.

The combat is basically the same from previous AC games, and that means it's really easy. One added thing is that you can take down multiple enemies at once if two or three people attack you at the same time. It's satisfying to feel like a real assassin be you taking down enemies on the ground, sneaking up to them or doing air assassination from the roof.

Story is a bit boring, you don't really feel like you get to know Connor like for example Ezio Auditore from AC2. Ezio's story spanned 3 whole games but Connor's seems to end at this game, and the main story even feels shorter than in AC2. There's so much missed opportunity in Connor.

All and all, AC3 is a worthy game in AC series. If you're a diehard fan you will want this, but it's not as good as AC2 or Brotherhood. Som of the mechanics of the game, and especially story and characters could've used a bit more fleshing out.

85

A great horror game

Stebsis | Jan. 29, 2013 | Review of Dead Space (EU)

You play as Isaac Clarke who's sent to repair a mining vessel Ishimura. But soon when you arrive you notice that something is very wrong. It becomes a great survival horror game with lots of thrills and scary moments.

You fight against alien monsters who've infested about the whole crew of Ishimura. The combat works a bit differently from standard third person shooter. The first thing you'll notice is that the game doesn't pause when you open your inventory. Everything happens in real time and it makes some really intense moments when you don't know what's gonna happen. Second is that you don't kill the aliens by shooting them just in the head or torso like you normally would think and do. You need to strategically dismember the alien limbs. Dismembering legs makes them fall down and crawl towards you a bit slower which is always the best choise. All enemy types have a little different places what you want to shoot, like a little monster with 3 tentacles growing out of it or your standard, human shaped monster.

There are lots of great guns to choose from, and they're not your typical grenade launcher, assault rifle etc. Isaac Clarke isn't a soldier, he's a technician and weapons reflect on that. Your first weapon, a cutting tool which can take out enemy limbs easily. You have a bit more traditional assault rifle. There's also a saw gun that shoots saw blades or you can kind of levitate the saw and cut through everything in front of you.

Graphics and atmosphere are great, lighting effects are superb and the space ship looks great and futuristic, but areas tend to start look a bit same after a while.

Dead Space is a really scary game, it makes you nervous to continue it because you never know what kind of trouble waits ahead, but you just want to find out and go on. This is an intense third person survival horror game that any horror fan will love.

65

Repetitive

Stebsis | Jan. 29, 2013 | Review of Alan Wake's American Nightmare

Alan Wake American Nightmare is a sequel to the great Alan Wake game, but unfortunately doesn't live up to its name. Only for the hardcore AW fans who want to get everything out of the game, but even still this comes as a disappointment.

You wake up in some odd town surrounded by darkness, and you try to figure out what's going on. Alan's writings start to take life and a character named Mr Scratch is the main villain. You basically play the game three times, you go to 3 different locations, and after the last one and you reset back to the beginning and do everything again just slightly differently. The first time was pretty ok, it had that Alan Wake style, maybe a bit more arcade-y, but it still worked. Second time it just gets boring and third time you're starting to wonder why the F are you still doing this. You meet with 3 girls, one in each location and they're as boring as shallow as it gets. It just becomes a boring chore to do all the stuff 3 times, and definitely not worth it. If you really want to play this, wait for a sale.

55

Gravity changing, not particularly fun

Stebsis | Jan. 29, 2013 | Review of Inversion (EU)

Inversion is one of those kind of games that have a nice idea, but that's all it is, a nice idea with basically no substance and not even the gravity changing is done that good. This is your boring third person shooter most likely trying to go with the fame that Gears of War has, but fails. Shooting mechanics are solid and it's not that frustrating, but the gravity changing is neat at best. They could've done so much more with it than what they did here.

Graphics are ok, nothing really worthwile to mention. We've seen the crumbling cities etc. a million times already. Character animations are nice but lost potential there too. Story and characters are really bland too. I don't remember anyone after I played it and story is forgettable.

Inversion is a bland third person cover shooter with so much lost potential. There are many better choises to go with. I only recommend this if you get it cheap from sale, it might give you some fun with the gravity manipulation, but I'd recommend buying Binary Domain or Mass Effect 2 if you want a great third person cover shooter on PC with great story to boot. I hope they get to make Inversion 2 at some point and take a little more time to flesh everything out.

90

Guns, guns...

Stebsis | Jan. 29, 2013 | Review of Borderlands Game of the Year Edition dns

...and guns and even more guns! If you like guns and loot then Borderlands is a heaven for you. There are literally bazillion guns, different looking, sounding, working guns with different stats, attributes and firing modes. A shotgun that shoots weird wave rounds, sniper shotguns, rapid shooting pistols and everything else.

You're a vault hunter and you've come to the planet Pandora to find the mysterious Vault that's said to hold riches, fame, power or alien technology beyond your imagination. You choose between 4 very different characters: berserker, siren, hunter and soldier who all have their own special power, for example soldier can deploy a turret, which when upgraded can replenish your ammo and health, or fire stronger rounds. And hunter with who can send an eagle to kill enemies or collect loot, and upgraded the eagle can kill more enemies and is more powerful or can carry more loot around to you. There is quite thin RPG element to it, you get levels and can upgrade your special power or yourself with more firepower, accuracy etc. but that's about it.

FPS elements are solid, it's fun to blast enemies with variety of different guns. You can put 4 on your quick selection and depending on your back size you can carry more guns just in case. One of the biggest, maybe the biggest, problem of Borderlands is that there is no chest where you could put your guns. You may find this really sweet gun that you get attached to, like I found a really accurate shotgun, almost like a sniper shotgun, which was my all time favorite, but then I started finding better guns as I progressed, and the shotgun became useless but it had been with me a long time, the best gun I found in a long while, but you have only so much inventory space. At some point I had to let it go, it really was hard. There really should be a chest and I don't think they put that in Borderlands 2 either.

Cell-shaded graphics look beautiful, everything is so detailed but everything also looks quite the same, there isn't that much variation between places and there're lot of them. I was really surprised by the size of the game. It's just huuuge. Later in the game everytime you enter a new area you can't but wonder the size of it all and thinking when it's going to stop. It's great to have big areas and there's usuallya lot to do and discover in all of them, though it's usually just guns.

Story itself isn't anything great and the ending is a bit disappointing. Borderlands is still a fun game with tens of hours of stuff to do and add superb, actually worthwile DLC packs that come with this GotY version, then you have a lot to do in the game. I really recommend bringing a friend with you in coop splitscreen, it's just much more fun that way. Alone with a game this long and with no real story to keep you that invested and no real immersive world, it might get boring. I played it twice, with a friend and alone, and it was fun both times, but with a friend everything gets so much better, and enemies drop better loot the more people you have, but they're also stronger.

Borderlands is a great and fun game with lots of things to do. With only 20€ you get the game and 4 great DLC's that will keep you busy a long time.

80

Superb fighting game

Stebsis | Jan. 29, 2013 | Review of Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition

Super Street FIghter 4 is a great fighting game with 39 very different fighters. It's fun to try out different characters and try to find out the ones you like.

Graphically the game looks great. Cell-shaded graphics are beautiful to look at and characters and hit animations look awesome.

If you buy SSF4 I urge you to also buy a controller, or better yet an arcade stick. It's just bad to play with keyboard, and even with controller it's hard to make some of the harder moves precisely. Arcade stick definitely is a best choise, especially when playing online where the game really shines.

There aren't that many fighting games on PC, but SSF4 Arcade Edition shines through all of them. It's fun and fast paced, just get a friend to play with or go online, because just fighting the often unfair or just too easy AI starts to get boring, it's great to hone your skills with AI, but not that fun in the long run.

100

The big one

Stebsis | Jan. 29, 2013 | Review of Dragon Age: Origins – Ultimate Edition

If you like RPG's, you shouldn't be even reading these reviews, just buy the game. The core game already can be hundreds of hours long with multiple characters, different origin stories and different endings and all kinds of little stuff that changes along the way as you make choises. But add all the extra content in Ultimate Edition and you truly get an Ultimate Edition, it doesn't get better than this.

You get to choose what kind of character you make: elf, dwarf or human all with their own little stat bonuses, dwarf is stronger and elf can use magic a bit better and humans are a combination of those two, but ultimately you choose it and the stat bonus is only minor, leaving you a lot of chance to mix and match. I first played the game with warrior elf, and it worked perfectly. You can then choose a class: warrior, rogue or mage, and each has 4 specializations, and 2 more that the Awakening DLC adds, that further mold your character the way you want. You can choose 2 of these specializations and they all have powerful and useful spells, my favorite being arcane warrior for a mage, that changes spellpower to strength and lets your mage become the strongest "warrior" of the group with tons of magic buffs for you and your group, and later on taking spirit healer that lets you heal your group efficiently, making you a one man powerhouse that can heal, support and attack.

Combat is a lot of fun. You manage a group of 4 and later on you can choose who you want to bring with. You can, and you almost must, pause the combat at some points to take a look at the battlefield so that you can easily position your group so that they're most efficient. You can this way quickly assign commands, tell them to attack and with what, and so on. I'd call the combat strategic action, it's still an rpg, not strategy game but there's that nice level of depth in it.

Graphics are where the game falters a bit. I'd dare to say that this is an ugly game. Weapons look like they're made out of some styrofoam or wood and taped around, they're so bulky and more like a toy sword than actual weapon. And some of the places and things, especially the trees look just bad.

The best thing in DA:O are the characters and quests you do. The main story is a bit uninspired and just dull, but in DA:O it's all about the characters and journey, not where it ends. You gather a group to take down the big bad guy, an archdemon, this giant dragon. But the quests that you do to achieve this goal are the main thing. You need to decide wheter you align yourselves with werewolves or elfes, what side do you take in dwarven powerstruggle, do you side with little racist templars and take down the mages that are kind of like the victims, they didn't choose to be that way but could destroy the world if let loose, and that kinds of things. They're interesting and long quests filled with many interesting little quests. Your choises have weight, and the outcome depends on these choises. Characters are top notch, the best ever, and I mean ever, especially your companions. They all have interesting stories, voice acting is perfect and they're just fun people to talk with, and depending on your sex you can even have a romance subplot with one of them.

There isn't anything really bad to say about DA:O aside from some of the not so good graphics, but good graphics don't make a good game. This is the RPG of RPG's, one of the best games ever made.

80

A great RPG

Stebsis | Jan. 28, 2013 | Review of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Nexway

Skyrim definitely is a great RPG, only overshadowed by Dragon Age: Origins and Witcher 2 from this gen.

The good: Graphics are beautiful and locations are varied even though Skyrim is a northern land full of snow. There're tundras, snowy mountains and a lot greener areas too. The grand mountains are a great sight and you really get the feeling that you really are in a cold and harsh northern environment.

Combat is a lot of fun. You get to equip anything you want in either of your hand. Fireball in your right and sword in left? Ok. Conjure sword and lightning bolt? Ok. It's just a shame that there is no real reason to try out different combinations because, well, there really aren't any outside of two fires, ice etc. together create a more powerful spell. It would've been awesome if you could mix and try things out, like electric ice spike that creates shockwave when it hits the target knocking others enemies down. You can enchant weapons and armor though, give them attributes like do fire damage or shield from it, or make them just powerful, but it would've been neat if you could add your spell to the weapons. You also have dragon shouts, words of power, that is dragon language. You learn these words of power and you get dragon powers like breathe fire.

The world. Skyrim is a beautiful place, but what makes the game immersive is the world itself and what's in it.Townsfolk are doing their things, working at forge, doing leather works and stuff like that. There are people outside of towns, just wandering around, you meet a lot of characters.

The bad: characters themselves. I've played Skyrim some couple hundred hours, but I don't remember not one character from it. Everyone is just so bland, unforgettable, boring. Some quests are interesting and there are lot of them and they're fun to do, but nothing really sticks. Everyone in this immersive world is just so forgettable.

Dragons, and this is a big thing because the whole game basically revolves around them. Well, they're kind of mixed bag. At first they're really cool. You hear a roar from the skies, epic music starts to play and you look up and see a dragon swooping down breathing ice or fire on you. It circles around and then crashes down and you approach it with your sword and shield as it breathes fire on you again. It feels epic and makes you feel like a total badass... for the first 10 or so times and occasionally if the dragon is exceptionally hard. There's infinite amount of dragons, and they become so boring after a while that you might just run away from them because you just don't bother with it for the zillionth time. Dragons should be these big badasses of fantasy genre. I still remember when I first time encountered dragon in Dragon Age: Origins. It was so epic and it was hard fight as hell, and I was completely beaten in my first couple of times, and they just got badder towards the end, and there aren't that many of them, maybe like 5. And the dragon in Witcher 2, only 1, is such a badass and greates a sense of terror even though you don't even see it that much. That's how dragons should be, few and they should make you fear them, they are the kings of fantasy enemies, they should be the ultimate test of courage to become a hero. None of that in Skyrim, soon you'll be taking down dragons like chicken from middle of the town. Actually, no, chicken are worse enemies than dragons because chicken has friends, powerful friends. Because if you attack one of them you get a whole effin' town on your back swinging their swords trying to kill you! Chicken are worse enemies than dragons!!!

Skyrim is a mixed bag. Some of its main things are a bit boring, but variety of different quests, fun combat system and world where you can lose yourself for hundreds of hours in, and explore and find all of its secrets definitely make it worth your while. It's not nearly the perfect RPG many make it out to be, but damn is it fun. You get more than your money's worth that's for sure.

80

Great mindless fun

Stebsis | Jan. 28, 2013 | Review of Bulletstorm dns

Bulletsorm just screams badass from the get go. Big men in big armor with big guns shooting down big bad guys. Blood flies, bodies explode, limbs get torn apart, all that good stuff.

You play as Grayson Hunt. Your ship get stranded on an uncharted planet and you just have to get out, that's it. There is some kind of plot thingy somewhere but in a game like this it's just not important. There's time for deep stories with memorable characters. And then there's time for killing as many bad guys as possible, as stylishly and gruesomely as possible, Bulletstorm is that kind of a game.

You have a big arsenal of weapons to use, your standard assault rifle... well not really standard, in fact no gun in this game is really standard for anything. Every gun has a secondary fire, assault rifle can shoot a high powered bullet that kills most of the enemies with one hit, revolver can shoot mini rockets that explode after a short while. Then my favorite, flailgun, which shoots two grenades chained together and they explode after few seconds, and the secondary fire shoots a chained grenades that cut through enemies like a butter and finally explode. It's so much fun to chain an enemy that runs towards you, then kick him in the middle of a group of baddies and see them all explode. There are bunch of other really fun weapons that can give you endless amount of fun.

A bit later you get a hold of an energy leash that you can use to quickly pull an enemy towards you or keep the energy leash button pressed a while, and it unleashes this kind of energy spike that sends all the enemies near it flying in the air in slow-mo. Then you just pick them up in the air with flailgun or whatever you want and just watch the fireworks.

You get points for every way you kill baddies, and if you want some great points you need to get creative with weapons and enviroments which are hazardous with pits, spikes, man eating plants, electric cords and all other kinds of stuff.

Graphically the game is pretty good, it's not anything noteworthy but not bad in any way. Locales tend to look a bit same, there's not really any variation. The game is nice lenght, took me about 8 hours to finish and there's lots of replayability if you're competetive type and want to get best scores.

If you want just some fun, mindless shooting and not wanting to bother with plot once in a while, Bulletstorm is great distraction from that.

95

Big Daddy's in the house

Stebsis | Jan. 27, 2013 | Review of BioShock® 2 DNS

Bioshock was a great first person shooter with some horror elements, but Bioshock 2 makes everything just better. You play as Big Daddy, and not just any Big Daddy, but one of the very first ones. Big Daddies are basically bodyguards for Little Sisters, little girls who's job is to collect ADAM from corpses. ADAM is this weird liquid substance that allows people to use plasmids, kind of like magic.

You are a Big Daddy, subject Delta, the first Big Daddy to successfully bond with Little Sister, and you too have a Little Sister you have to protect named Eleanor Lamb. People try to stop you from reaching Eleanor, whom you have no chance but to try and protect, Bid Daddies are "programmed" that way. Without spoiling too much, story is great and the bond between Eleanor and suject Delta becomes more deep and you get to experience it.

Throughout your travels in Rapture you come across other Big Daddies, and some of them have a LS with them. You need Little Sisters to get ADAM so that you can use your plasmids, but you have to beat the protecting BD to get to her. These BD's can be really challenging, you need to prepare well especially on higher difficulty. They're agile and really deadly. When you beat a BD you can choose what you want to do to the LS, you can kill her to immediately get bunch of ADAM, or you can "adopt" her and take her with you, not gaining ADAM right away, but in the long run this way you get it more but you have to put a little more effort into it.

If you choose to adopt the LS, you can then locate a corpse which has a lot of ADAM in it. You can set your LS down to gather it, but this attracts Splicers, the bad guys. Before setting her down, you can use variety of different and deadly traps to surround the area around the corpse and protect the little sister. Once you set her down, you have to protect her and these missions are really heart pounding and intense, as Splicers attack you from every direction as your traps are starting to run low and you just have to try your best to fend off. Once LS has gathered the ADAM she gives it to you and you can use it to buy variety of powers. LS can usually gather ADAM from about 3 corpses before you have to let her go. Whether you save or kill the Little Sisters, you get a different ending, good or the bad.

Combat is great and there're variety of different enemies from brutes to quicker enemies and so on. You get bunch of weapons to choose from, Rivet Gun, Shotgun, Rocket launcher and bunch of others, and you can modify them to do extra damage, fire more rounds etc. Plasmids are what set the combat apart, on your right hand you have your weapon, but on your left hand you have plasmids, which work kind of like magic. You can set a trap that sends your enemies flying in the air, and if you upgrade it you can use your fire or electric plasmid to give it attribute that deals more damage. You can create kind of like a ghost of yourself and scout ahead, setting plasmid traps to unsuspecting enemies. Or you can unleash a swarm of insects to distract your enemies or pull them out of cover so that you can kill them more easily. There are many plasmids and many great and fun combinations how you can use them.

Graphics are great, they're nothing out of the ordinary, but the setting itself is unique and interesting, city build at the sea floor. When looking out the window you see a big sea full of life in front of you.

Only thing lacking from the first Bioshock is the twist, there was a big, a huge twist in Bioshock, but Bioshock 2 doesn't really stray away or doesn't have anything that unpredictable, it's definitely not bad storywise, but nothing exactly new.

There is also a multiplayer which is kind of there just because other FPS games have it too. It's pointless and not particularly fun, but it's not the reason to play, or not to play, Bioshock 2's spectacular and emotional single player.

Bioshock 2 is different first person shooter, it has a great story but it's not shoved down your throat, there are no cutscenes or anything to interrupt you from the game. That's what I meant by saying you get to experience it, nothing is really laid out for you, you are subject Delta and you choose how you want to feel, the game doesn't tell it to you. I think it's emotional tale of a protector who just has to fulfill his duty because there is nothing else in his life. Bioshock 2 is a game anyone, who likes FPS games and great story, should play.

95

The best in the trilogy

Stebsis | Jan. 27, 2013 | Review of Mass Effect 2 (EU)

I actually didn't like ME1 that much, it was ok but it felt more like a prototype, to test things out and really show what ME is about in ME2. You play as Shepard, sent to investigate missing humans from colonies by a corporation called Cerberus, who of course don't always have the nicest of methods. There is also the impending doom of Reapers, an ancient santient machine species who will try to come from deep space and destroy every advanced civilization. Story is interesting and really keeps hold of you, you really want to know what happens next in the story, and to the characters, who only lose to the ones in Dragon Age: Origins, another great RPG by Bioware.

Combat seems first like your typical, Gears of War style third person cover combat, but they spice things up a bit by adding biotic(like a scifi equivalent to magic) and tech powers that certain classes can use. Soldier can change ammo types from fire rounds to armor piercing and warp ammo that destroys shields quickly and couple others. Infiltrator, who utilises tech, uses cloaks system to sneak up on enemies or takes them out with a powerful sniper. Vanguard(my favorite) is a bit close quarter guy with a shotgun and biotic power to ram enemies with massive force. There're 3 other classes too and they all play really differently. I really urge you to play on the highest difficulty, to me it changed the the whole combat and it becomes one of the best third person cover shooters, when I played on normal it felt just ok, good but not great, but on highest you really need to rely on your and your friends whole arsenal of skills.

Your choices affect almost everything you do, and most importantly what happens to your comrades.

Graphics aren't anything special, they're ok but too many places tend to look quite same.

Mass Effect 2 is definitely the best game of the trilogy, it mixes up action and RPG, and especially last couple of hours when going to the final mission are intense and really action packed. Just play the first game first if you haven't, I didn't like it that much but you might.

70

Arena is back!

Stebsis | Jan. 26, 2013 | Review of Nexuiz

Arena shooters, back in the day there was nothing better, the best form of multiplayer. Unreal Tounament and Quake were one of the most addictive games ever, and still are. After, and also before, Unreal Tournament 3 there seemed to be a biiiig cap in fast paces arena shooters, Halo and Gears of War were ok, but they were nothing like UT, they felt more traditional shooters than arena. If you don't know what Arena shooter is, it's basically what it says it is, an arena. People spawn around the arena and try to just blast each other with tons of guns. It's usually really fast paced and death comes quickly if you're not quick with your fingers, there's no use camping, in fact it's discouraged, the arena's are built like that.

Gladly, Nexuiz came. Nexuiz is throwback to those mindless shooters that almost everyone loved. It's fast paced, it's addictive, there're tons of guns to choose and action can get your heart jump out of your chest, especially when you're on a real killing spree, just trying to maintain it and trying to dodge enemy bullets, your forehead sweating and fingers twitching.

Unique thing in Nexuiz are the mutators, there's over 100 of them and they can change tide of the battle as quickly as the game plays. Usually it works like this: you find this mutator thing somewhere in the arena, you get it and you get to choose between 3, and they can affect different things, your firepower, everyone gets killed by one hit, jetpacks and all kinds of crazy stuff.

As for the graphics, CryEngine makes the game look just beautiful, everything looks so detailed, at least if you just have a chance to look around and not get blasted in the head by a rocket launcher.

Nexuiz isn't exceptionally deep, and UT3 and UT2004 definitely are better, but if you've already played them to death, Nexuiz definitely can be a real time waster in a good way, as long as you find people to play with, sometimes it can get a little quiet in the servers.

100

The best MMO

Stebsis | Jan. 26, 2013 | Review of Guild Wars 2: Heroic Edition

Oh man, where do I start with this one? There's so much to do in the game. I've never been that interested in MMO's. I've tried Star Wars The Old Republic, World of Warcraft, Maple Story, even the original Guild Wars and tons of others subscription and f2p titles, but none of them clicked. I didn't really care about Guild Wars 2 either until I saw a review explaining all the things about it, and I was hooked. Bought this and been playing it for some 4-5 months now and my god is it good on so many levels.

There are no your basic healer or tank class, you can specialize in something like that, but you're never given like a specific role to play in battle, everyone tries support each other and beat the enemy as a team, which I like. Everyone gets their own loot too, which is really nice, but too often you get really good stuff that you just cannot use because of class restriction. There should be a focus in the loot that gives mostly stuff that your class can use, it's frustrating when beating down this monstrous giant dragon - and they are big, Skyrim dragons seem like babies compared to them - and then you rush to the big chest where everyone gets their share... and everything's crap or you cannot use the best stuff.

Graphically the game is really beautiful, there are many wow moments in the design, huge mountains, big cities brimming with life, beautiful riversides etc. they're pleasure to the eyes and it's fun to just stay there a while, listening the awesome soundtrack, looking around, and just take it all in.

Combat is really fun, I've played as Mesmer and Ranger, and they're really fun characters to play both with melee and ranged attacks that I like to switch between. Classes have distinct looks and all gear you make look different depending on the class.

Crafting is also a big part of the game if you want the best gear and especially if you want to survive and go solo. You chop down trees and mine ore to get necessary stuff to create all kinds of stuff, you can even cook which early on is a great way to stack up some quick exp.

I really urge you to join a guild, it's fun and they can really help you with ingredients and if you're not that skilled in some crafting skill, someone from guild might be and you don't have to raise your crafting skills all the way up if you don't have the time and/or resources.

Questing is one of the best parts what really got me hooked. There're no typical unimaginative kill/fetch quests where you go kill something and come back to get the reward. You just wander around in the area of the quest, look up what you have to do, go do one of many, many different things, maybe kill, maybe gather, maybe mix some ingredients together to create some kind of potion you have to use to something, and when you've done it enough you get rewarded automatically, you don't need to go back and talk to people before doing almost anything. And talking about rewards, the game rewards you from everything you do, go to a new area, find points of interest, find vistas, do a jumping puzzle, kill enemies, find hidden area, just everything gives you reason to do them.

There's just so much to do, there's PvP which I haven't touched, I prefer PvE. There's also World vs World where 3 servers battle against each other in huge map. There's a gigantic world to explore, 3 massive dragons to kill, hundreds of quests, a bit dull main story and a lot more. If you're like me and don't really like MMO's, give GW2 a try if you're a least bit interested, it just might turn your head around.

80

Great action title with awesome narrator

Stebsis | Jan. 26, 2013 | Review of Bastion Cap

You're the Kid, you wake up from your bed and start your journey narrated by man with awesome voice. World builds around you as you proceed down the path and soon you reach Bastion, final hope to prevent Calamity.

Bastion definitely is a unique game from its graphical stand point. As you go on, the world builds around you, like your story is being created in front of your eyes. It's great storytelling trick, though the story itself isn't the best.

Your whole journey is narrated by the most awesome voice actor ever. He comments almost every thing you do in the game, but doesn't repeat things almost never so it doesn't get annoying. He tells the story and provides information on places you visit, and if you want to play a second time, there's at least 2 different thing he can say, and you won't hear everything on your first playthrough, so second isn't just the same as first.

Combat is kind of a basic top down action. On your journey you get lots of different and fun weapons for use to create a playstyle you enjoy. There're rifles, shotguns, hammers, fast sword and many others. You can also upgrade these weapons to do different things, you have an option of two different things the weapons will do when you have resources to upgrade, and you can always switch the upgrades around when you're in the Bastion to suit your style. Combat is fun and enemies, though not that varied, are still fun to kill and quite challenging on higher difficulties.

If you want a bit different action, little bit hack and slash style game, I really recommend Bastion.

100

The best superhero game

Stebsis | Jan. 26, 2013 | Review of Batman Arkham City: Game of the Year -

If I could give this better score than Arkham Asylum, I would but both are definitely perfect 100 games. This is definitely a game made for Batman fans, and even if you're not, you will be after playing this. The best part about AC are the villains, and there are tons of them. Joker, Two-Face, Penguin, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Mr. Freeze(my favorite), Bane, Hugo Strange, Solomon Grundy and some others I won't spoil as they're pretty surprising. One of the best things is of course Joker, once again voiced by Mark Hamill who said this'll be his last role as Joker. Batman isn't really the main thing here, we don't learn anything about his past or him as Bruce Wayne, he's just there to progress the story forward and to beat bad guys. The villains are the star here, and of course the place you'll be in, Arkham City.

This city isn't nearly as big as, say, even Vice City from the PS2 GTA, but AC is packed with little things that make the city feel big and tons of stuff. Almost everywhere there's some kind of fan service and reference to some Batman related stuff, and if you're big fan you'll be thrilled to find everything there is.

Combat is a big part of AC, and you really feel like Batman when taking down bad guys. Batman isn't any magical being or alien like Superman, so Batman can't take that much hit, especially not from bullets. You need to use your gadgets and plan out a bit what you'll do and which bad guys you'll take out first, because there're ones who can take lots of punches, can shield from attacks, have knifes and some others and they all need bit of a different tactic to beat. It's so satisfying to glide with your cape in the middle of bad guys and take one down with glide kick and others just scream "Look out, it's the Batman!" and you start taking them down. There's real weight in the punches and they look and sound like they hurt, with spines cracking and all that.

Batman is a game definitely aimed for Batman fans, and it doesn't try to dumb it down, it's not exactly a game for newcomers as there's lots of stuff and charm that you'll miss, but this might be a perfect introduction to Batman universe too, take it for what it is, awesome action/stealth game with some of the best villains ever. Definitely 100 material, and the best superhero game ever made.

95

Great FPS action

Stebsis | Jan. 26, 2013 | Review of Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3 definitely is an improvement over pretty bad FC2. I never really liked your standard military FPS games, I've always preferred open world setting and FC3 delivers. The island you can roam freely from about the get-go is just huge with tons of stuff to do even after finishing the game. You play as Jason Brody, who came to this island with some friends to just have good time, drink booze, skydive and all that stuff. When they're skydiving something goes wrong and they're captured by a man named Vaas, awesome, though a bit stupid villain at times because he has so many chances to kill Jason who clearly is a threat, but he doesn't. Well, Jason manages to get out and he starts a journey to find his brother, girlfriend and couple other friends who've been captured. Story isn't anything that original but it gets emotional and you really get to know Jason Brody. Early in the game you get this tattoo on your arm that lets you for some reason use all kinds of neat special skills. Not magic though, but stuff like when jumping on an enemy you can kill him instantly with your knife, or if you sneak up on enemy you can take his gun and shoot all the bad guys near you, or if you want to really make noise you can pull the pin out of enemy's grenade and push the guy in the middle of other enemies and they all blow up. In the end you really feel like a Rambo taking down maybe even ten soldiers in a matter of seconds without even firing your gun. Speaking of the guns, there're tons to choose from and all will affect your playstyle as you can sneak, go in guns blazing, snipe them from afar or trap them in a fiery blazes with your flamethrower, or combine all of them to create some nice havoc amongst your enemies. Graphics in the game are superb, the island is just a beautiful sight to behold. All the plants, water, trees, everything is just beautiful. FC3 gives you lots of choises how you approach combat, and it's really satisfying. Only really bad thing I can say is that when you've cleared all the enemy strongholds, there're no more bad guys to kill, they just disappear. Only story missions, if you still have them, and bounty quests have bad guys left and there's not infinite amount of them either, at some point your whole arsenal of guns becomes just meaningless. There're still tons of things about the game to discover, but great shooting, sneaking and exploring huge world are the reasons you want to play this.

75

Good game, but just not Max Payne

Stebsis | Jan. 26, 2013 | Review of Max Payne 3 DNS

Max Payne was this dark, innovative third person shooter with awesome bullet-time mechanic which lets you slow down time as you leap forward so that you can shoot many bad guys at once. Max Payne 3 definitely got "rockstar treatment". This is not bad game by any chance, but this just isn't what Max Payne was. You play as Max Payne, ex-cop who's lost his wife and child. He gets in trouble back in America and he moves to Brazil, taking a bodyguard job, but things of course go wrong and people start to die as Max tries to figure out what exactly is going on. Story isn't anything that great but keeps you invested to the end. Game is also really cutscene heavy which I didn't mind as they were very well done with superb animation and voice acting. Graphics are great, locales are different and everything looks beautiful The problem I have with the game is its pacing. Almost everytime you go through a door there's a small or longer cutscene and at the end of it Max goes to cover as bad guys start to pile up. Every. Single. Time. There are very few instances where you can actually use the bullet-time like in previous titles, you run towards a door and leap through it, you see the doors open in slow-mo and behind them some dozen bad guys with guns, and you shoot most of them before they have any idea what happened. None of that here, you always see cutscene, go to cover, kill bad guys and on to the next room. It get really repetitive and monotonous even though it's fun, but it's just not Max Payne-y. I have really mixed feelings about this game, it's definitely good but it isn't anything like what I wanted from next gen Max Payne game. Rockstar does solid job, but they also have their own distinct style that just doesn't fit Max Payne.

90

Just awesome

Stebsis | Jan. 26, 2013 | Review of DmC: Devil May Cry dns

I have to admit, I never actually played previous DMC games so this review is from newcomer's eyes. The game is, in a word, awesome. I didn't know at all what the previous Dante was like, but I still was worried they made the new Dante a bit too emo. That's just not the case. He's bit of a douche, but they still keep it to minimum and he becomes likeable character, and I think almost anyone living like him and with a past like him would get bit noncaring about stuff happening around you, it just makes him seem like more human character. Graphics are just awesome, everytime you go into combat you enter this "Limbo", like a demonic world filled with monsters and crazy stuff. When you enter it the ground shatters, building try to crush you, stuff flies around and everything bends in odd way. Even though they made this set in a modern times, with Limbo they got to go balls out with design choises, some of the setpieces are just crazy and they're really varied, you won't be running in same places from mission to next. Story is pretty ok and it also takes a bit more modern turn. The demon Mundus tries to control world through debt, he's got people like president wrapped around his finger and he controls almost everything, it's interesting take and isn't just using some demon magic. There's also this mind controlling, or something like that, drink called Virility which is the most popular soda in the world. Combat is definitely the best part of DmC. It flows naturally and feels really satisfying. You can chain together some really crazy combos later in the game and keep your enemies in the air with 2 grappling hooks(other pulls enemy to you and other pulls you to the enemy) and launch the enemy again and keep juggling it in the air. Pretty soon you get your hands on demonic and angelic weapons, and this is when the combat starts to shine. Using them isn't your typical choosing the weapon by switching to the next. You switch naturally between the 3 weapons you have, demonic, angelic and normal sword. I play on Xbox 360 pad on PC, and you choose demonic weapon just by pressing right trigger, and angelic by left trigger and when pressed, you just attack like you normally do and releasing trigger quickly goes to the normal sword. In combat it flows naturally and you can quickly pull off some crazy stuff because you can switch between them so naturally without the need to actually "switch" your weapon. DmC is a great game by Ninja Theory, it's a bit linear, but fun as hell. If you're not bothered by linearity, and of course Dante's new hair(which I don't mind at least) and want some crazy action, get DmC.

85

The most atmospheric game ever

Stebsis | Jan. 25, 2013 | Review of Alan Wake

Alan Wake is really interesting game. At parts it doesn't even feel like a game at all, but more like a TV-show. There is combat, but the overall atmosphere of the game is like from episode of Twin Peaks or Twilight Zone where it clearly got some of its style. You play as Alan Wake, really famous writer who has kind of a writers block. He hasn't been able to write in some time, and he arrives to this little town, Bright Falls, with his wife. They arrive to their house on a little island in the middle of Cauldron Lake. Something goes wrong and Alan's wife goes missing in the middle of the night, and later no one seems to know any island on the Cauldron Lake. You basically try to just get his wife back and unravel the mystery. Combat is quite unique, you use your flash light to shine light towards enemies covered in darkness for some time, and when they're vulnerable you shoot them. It gets kind of repetitive after a while, but dark atmosphere around you at night, when darkness appears, just makes you want to go on and find out what happens next. There's also a really nice Twilight Show ripoff called Night Springs that you can watch in TV's that you find on your journey. Alan Wake is great horror action title, it keeps you on your toes as you never really know where the darkness might come at night because it's basically all around you. If you're looking for little bit different take on third person horror game, Alan Wake is your choise.

95

One of the best RPG's ever made

Stebsis | Jan. 25, 2013 | Review of The Witcher II: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition

Witcher 2 is, without a doubt, one of the best RPG's made in this generation along with Dragon Age: Origins. I didn't play Witcher 1, but I got the hang of the plot quite quickly because it's mostly its separate story. Witcher 2 definitely isn't a game for children, this is a real mature game that doesn't shy to show even the ugly side of things, there's nudity, executions and all that kind of stuff. As for the main character, Geralt: he's boring. Really boring. He never changes his monotonous voice and he's not particularly interesting character, but he's not bad, just bland. The gameplay is one of the best parts of the game aside story, it's fluid and though it might seem like your typical hack and slash, it most definitely isn't at least on the higher difficulty setting. You really need to think ahead, plant traps. Drink potions that enhance your health regeneration, sword skills and so on because you can't drink them in the middle of the battle. You need to use magic, or "signs" as the game calls them, to shield you from damage, get distance from targets. blast them with fire or couple others useful signs. I'd call it tactical action and not hack and slash, you really need to be prepared to face a group of 4 or even 3, they will overwhelm you quickly if you're not prepared. Graphics are superb, especially the forest in the beginning of the game, the sounds, the look of it, it all makes it feel like a real forest full of life, birds etc. Story is very interesting, you need to decide between two sides and take part in a powerstruggle, it gets really political and remains interesting, but the main goal is to find the kingslayer who framed Geralt of killing a king. Geralt is now hunted man and he tries to clear his name. Choises you make have real consequences, especially towards the end your choises start to show. All and all, Witcher 2 is really, really great game, if you like RPG's, good story telling and intense combat, there's no reason to pass Witcher 2. Just be prepared to have pretty powerful PC to run it on highest, the game looks just beautiful then.

85

Arcade-y space shooter

Stebsis | Jan. 25, 2013 | Review of Strike Suit Zero

Strike Suit Zero isn't a game that you play for the story or because of the immersive mechanics of space simulator, if you want those Freespace 2 is your choise. Strike Suit Zero's idea is simple, go into space and shoot your enemies with space ship that also turns into powerful mecha. There isn't any complex weapon or shield management, just shoot stuff, and it works perfectly for what it is. Controls are perfect(playing on joystick) and the ship maneuvers great. It's so fulfilling to turn into mecha, mark some dozen enemies and see tens of rockets flying out of your ship and blast enemies to pieces. Battles can sometimes get really chaotic with tens of enemy and friendly ships flying around, explosions everywhere and then in comes big capital ships and chaos continues. One thing that bothers a bit is the length, there's only 13 stages and you can't pilot your strike suit in all of them. But leaderboards might make you come back if you're competetive type, and it's quite challenging to get best rank and all the upgrades for the ships, so you'll need multiple playthroughs. Don't go into this expecting a space-sim, it's not, it's arcade type space shooter and it does its job perfectly.

90

The game that returned me to point and click games

Stebsis | Jan. 25, 2013 | Review of Deponia DNS

I hadn't played point and click games in a loooong time before Deponia. I desided to give it a shot, and it payed off. Deponia is one of the best adventure games ever made and really funny too. You play as Rufus, egoistical jerk who lives on a garbage planet called Deponia, and wants to go to this place high above in the sky Elysium. Rufus always has some stupid plan to get to Elysium and of course he fails. On one of his "trips" to Elysium he comes across an Elysian pixie, Goal, the main heroine, who he tries to save and return to Elysium with. Story isn't anything that interesting except way in the end where it stops really suddenly. This is your standard point and click game, nothing really new to the tried and true formula. Graphical style is superb, the (I presume)hand painted backgrounds really bring the world of Deponia alive, everything is so detailed and beautiful. Humour is one of the best ever, Rufus is a bit sarcastic and I like sarcastical humour. Puzzles are pretty challenging at some points, but they're never frustrating. You just need to think, the puzzles are really logical... for the most part but never unfair. The ending is the only reason I can't give this game full 100, it just ends way too soon just as things start to get interesting, but gladly the sequel fixed that. A must own for p&c fans.

100

The best point & click

Stebsis | Jan. 25, 2013 | Review of Chaos on Deponia

Deponia was pretty good p&c game, but it lacked one thing, the ending which wasn't bad, but it ended way too soon and too suddenly, just when things started to get interesting. Chaos on Deponia on the other hand fixes that and delivers awesome adventure game that feels and looks original. Game is your standard point and click, you talk to many colorful characters, and collect, use and combine weird and really weird things to progress forward. Story has some nice twists and is all around interesting with really likeable villains. Graphical style is great, places you visit look different and they're beautiful. Puzzles also are top notch, some of the best ever. They're quite hard, but not hard enough that you have to resort to walkthrough like with so many other p&c games which sometimes seem to go out of their way to be so damn hard. Deponia 2 puzzles are logical and it seldom comes to the point that you exhaust every possible way to do things and only then figure it out by sheer luck, you really need to think at some of the puzzles, just don't skip the mini-games because they're really fun when you finally figure them out. As for the characters, Rufus is very likeable though a bit self centered. Goal's, the heroine, mind has been split to 3 parts and you have to persuade all of them, and all of them are really funny. And the best for the last, humour. The funniest game ever. There're so many real laugh out loud moments and all around funny, sometimes horrible too, stuff happening everywhere Rufus goes. All and all, awesome game, a must own game for adventure p&c game fans, and I just can't find anything really wrong with the game.