Reviews by Stoibs
Fun CO-OP GameStoibs | Sept. 13, 2011 | Review of Call of Juarez: The Cartel
I was originally sceptical about the prospect of a non-western themed Call of Juarez game, but I have to admit as much as I prefer the classic setting, there are a bunch of game features that simply work better in this modern day iteration. The game should be played Co-op with friends if at all possible, and I would personally have rated this much lower as a single player only experience. The Good While obviously as a shooter the goal is to watch each others back while progressing through each mission, a unique feature has each player with a secret agenda and collectables along the way – the catch is that these are usually less then legal objectives and thus must be completed without being spotted by your teammates. It’s interesting to see one of your allies duck in from a side area while texting something on their phone before pocketing it and resuming the action, especially in the midst of an epic fire fight. In a LAN setting this is usually accompanied by friendly name calling and general laughter. However more important to the story is that each character basically has a subplot going on, this is ingenuously done by the use of one sided phone conversations; player A gets a call and hears what’s being said, players B & C can only hear player A’s responses (which can lead to hilarity in some instances) this carries over into cut scenes as well. I also liked the fact that every mission didn’t follow the same procedure of all 3 characters moving as a group; indeed many times you are split up with different goals or the goal of coming to the aid of one of your friends. The Bad This is quite obviously a console port, the first thing you will likely notice is the horrendous FOV, as of yet I am unaware of any way to change this. The Video options are missing a lot of advanced settings and the font style they have chosen for all text and subtitles is pretty bad. Speaking of subtitles, they are often incorrect displaying something other than is being said and can lead to confusion at times. The quotes that are spoken upon “bullet time” activation are cheesy at best. I personally remember in the original McCall duel wielding bible + revolver quoting scripture as one of the most badass moments in gaming. Now they’ve tried to “modernise” it by throwing the F bomb in there and it just comes across as rather immature. The Ugly The game is buggy. Often times enemies will literally spawn into existence in the world in front of you. On more than one occasion a cut scene completely failed to play correctly for 2 out of the 3 of us, the camera focusing on a wall or some such. Also Singleplayer; as mentioned above the whole gimmick of this game is the conspiracies, the backstabbing, and the secrecy of each person’s personal agenda, all of which are completely absent from the AI controlled partners. If you don’t have any gamer friends to play this with then honestly give it a miss, it will amount to nothing more than a generic, boring FPS. On the other hand playing with mates is a fun experience that offers a good 7 or so hours (Or more if you decide to replay to see the other character’s storylines and points of view).
Worthy Sequel - Could be more polishedStoibs | Sept. 2, 2011 | Review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Oh noes! A score less then 90, burn the heretic! I should start off by mentioning that I loved the game, great story even if it was a tad confusing at times. I could go on to praise this like the majority of reviews out there but let's focus on the things that bothered me. What initially threw me off was the "90's style corridor shooter" introductory tutorial, I wanted Deus ex the rpg; not this. Thankfully it does get better, with your first mission offering a variety of play styles.
While the stealth aspects are nicely done, the environments and enemy patrol routes make this avenue far too easy to accomplish. There are several skill tree's dedicated entirely to stealth play, so why is it that none of these upgrades are absolutely required to succeed?
Another change I disagree with is xp gain. Rather than “Ghosting” a level or otherwise finding routes to bypass enemies entirely, you are indirectly encouraged to use non-lethal take downs for maximum experience. Because of this a lot of the time I would earn bonus exploration xp for finding alternate paths, only to double back and knock out everyone silently.
Similar to the above is the whole issue of computer/passcode terminals. There is absolutely no incentive to actually seek out and use passwords and logins that you acquire simply due to the fact that you are rewarded for hacking. After realising this early on I hacked everything in sight, password or no.
However one of the biggest offenders that is pretty unanimously agreed upon is the intrusive boss battles, to be fair they are few and far between; but to have your social/sneaking/hacking character forced into unavoidable combat which you may be ill-equipped for is both immersion breaking and feels as though they were tacked on as an afterthought. I can't help but remember back to the original Deus Ex in which players who took the time to do a bit of sleuthing could gain access to certain "Kill-phrases" to bypass some of that game's boss encounter's – Failing that most of the time the simple ability to flee the fight entirely was certainly an option. It's a shame Human revolution seems to have taken a step backwards. I think one of the big let downs was the ending(s). Without spoiling too much you are quite literally given 4 buttons to push and are told to choose which ending you would like. I remember having to go about doing a bunch of different tasks in the original Deus ex’s final area depending on who I was working for. It actually made you earn your endings. This may all seem nit-picky but for me personally it turned what could have been 2011’s game of the year into merely a game of the year contender. It’s still a great game worthy of your purchase. If you take the time to read every Email and datalog, take the time to play sneakily, there’s easily 35+ hours of game in here.