Reviews by Theebourgeoisie

65

Boring combat kills it

Theebourgeoisie | June 8, 2013 | Review of Risen 2: Dark Waters

This is one of those titles that you want to like so badly, but it just never quite gets good. It's a big open world RPG, with a distinct setting and a distinct visual style. Those are huge selling points for me. But even with those elements, a game still has to be enjoyable to play, and that's where Risen 2 stumbles.

The quest writing isn't particularly good, though this isn't necessarily a deal breaker. But it certainly does make it much less memorable. The plot as a whole is serviceable, but is, again, pretty forgettable.

Graphically, the game is very pretty. And that's probably the game's biggest strength. It feels like a world you want to be in. And it's not just that the graphics are good, the art is mostly very well done. I found myself wasting time looking at the ornate carvings on my ship and at other random details quite often.

Unfortunately, the characters just aren't impressive, both in terms of their personalities and animation. The characters are just off--all of them. They look odd, they move and gesture oddly, and their writing and voice acting are fairly dull throughout. You'll run into few characters worth remembering in this tale. And really the thing you're most likely to remember about them is their inappropriate and awkward gesturing. No one in the real world would ever carry on a conversation the way the characters in this game do. It's awkward and, frankly, terrible.

But what is the biggest problem is the combat. If the game had good combat, it'd make the rest of the games other flaws worth sitting through. But it's not good. It's certainly functional. But it is just uninspired and uninteresting. For most battles, you'll try and get the first strike in and then just button mash. Your character won't do anything interesting; he'll just swing the sword as long as you keep pressing the button, until the enemy is dead. There's not much depth or strategy to it. It's as vanilla and boring as combat can be.

I never ended up beating this one. But I keep it installed, because I just feel like I want to like this game. It's visually appealing enough and I like rpgs enough that I keep thinking I'll give it one more shot. I keep coming back for the unique art and style of the game, but always leave because I'm bored and I don't want to waste any more time on one of the most boring combat systems I've ever experienced. If a good sale comes around, this might be worth picking up, but only if combat and story are unimportant. Oh, and the leveling system is also pretty uninspired. It couldn't be more basic and uninteresting. It's a shame that they went through all of the trouble to make this vast and interesting world, but that they couldn't be bothered to make some unique and/or interesting game mechanics to make the user interested in playing through that world.

91

So much better than I ever thought it could be!

Theebourgeoisie | June 6, 2013 | Review of Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package dns

People seem split on this one. Angry Joe from Youtube hated it. But then a lot of other critics have given it high marks. A lot of the detractors feel that it failed to capture what made Saint's Row 2 so great. Saint's Row the Third isn't interested in emotional content or developing characters in meaningful and thought-provoking ways. It's a series of mad gags. It's one of the most absurd games you could ever play. So if you're looking for emotional content or a captivating story, you're better off looking elsewhere.

It's a mistake to call SR3 a GTA clone. Granted, you're in an open city where you explore, carjack and kill whomever you please. But calling it a GTA clone is like calling all FPS games Call of Duty clones. Certainly SR3 is in the same genre, but it is not aiming for the same things the GTA series is aiming for. The GTA series has been aiming more and more to tell compelling stories and create a somewhat realistic tone and atmosphere. SR3 shirks that approach entirely. Everything about this game is over the top and crazy. But it's not over the top and crazy in a cheap gags sense--well at least not exclusively in that sense. It's humor is often very smart riffing on postmodernism and pop culture.

Everything about the game is streamlined for playability. Instead of opening a door handle and pulling out the driver of a car to carjack, you'll jump through the windshield and kick the driver out in one quick, fluid motion. Everything you do in the game will develop your characters stats, so you won't often find yourself grinding or doing something boring to build your characters. In short, everything in the game is designed to stay out of the players way. You'll never feel like the game's structure is preventing you from having the good time that you want to have.

The DLC in the complete package is all pretty solid, but none of the DLC has the status of "must-have." They're all good and will add more fun side quests to the game, but if you get the regular edition, you'll still be getting the full SR3 experience. There's very little new that is of any importance to the main story line. They're just a few bonus adventures you can go on.

SR3's biggest weakness is probably its lackluster finish. You expect the game to keep going after the mission. It seems like it just kind of ends and you find yourself going "is that it?..." But apart from that moment, I was never disappointed while playing this game. The driving and shooting mechanics are solid. The voice acting is mostly solid (which is impressive, because you can select different voices for you main character) and customizing my own character really helped me to project my own personality into the campaign. The story is mainly just an excuse to move from one absurd encounter to another. There certainly is a story arc uniting all that you do, but it is unlikely to be the thing you remember most about this game. The things I remember most about this game are the many hilarious moments and the fact that gameplay was never dull. I put 45 hours into this game and wasn't bored for a second of it.

Oh, and there's Burt Reynolds too. I don't want to spoil when. But yeah, Burt Reynolds!