Reviews by Turambar29
Refreshing Change of PaceTurambar29 | Aug. 25, 2013 | Review of Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light
The Tomb Raider games have always been platformers, but this game still makes for an interesting change of pace. Playing from an overhead/isometric perspective, like many ARPGs, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light offers up a different kind of puzzle-platformer experience. It still features beautiful environments, exotic locations, and strange mystical enemies to oppose, more or less everything you expect from a Tomb Raider game, but remixed.
Surprisingly Powerful and EmotionalTurambar29 | Aug. 21, 2013 | Review of To The Moon [Playfire]
Beautiful in a reto-style, To the Moon features hauntingly beautiful music and a story that is surprisingly moving. It's a novel clad in SNES-era Final Fantasy style graphics and gameplay, but without the combat. Instead, it features a personal and emotional story of a man, his wife, and his lifelong dream, along with the suffering and disappointments attendant to them. I continue to think about the game and its story, and look forward to the next one.
Beautiful Platform GameTurambar29 | Aug. 9, 2013 | Review of NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits
My kids love this one! This platformer starts out simple, adding features to Nyx's abilities and obstacles as you go. The Greek-style graphics (it's a story about Icarus' girlfriend) are very nice, and my kids love seeing a female in the save-the-world role. The distinctive art direction is a huge plus, and the platforming elements, while not exceptional, get the job done and provide a challenge if you wish to collect the hidden relics.
Fun Relationship SimulatorTurambar29 | Aug. 9, 2013 | Review of Cherry Tree High Comedy Club [Playfire]
A relatively quick and fun game about making new friends; CTHSCC features nicely drawn anime character designs and a system that's easy to jump into. I appreciated that the game wasn't out to trick you; if you plan ahead and do what seems reasonable, there's no reason you can't accomplish the goals in the game. However, if you want the perfect ending that'll take a bit more doing. It features a sort of new game plus mode, in which some of your statistics carry over making it easier to achieve that perfect ending.
The game can be played fullscreen (just ALT+ENTER), but it would be great to see it with some HD options to eliminate the pixelation. A small gripe though, for an otherwise fun and simple game.
Fabulous and Under-ratedTurambar29 | July 19, 2013 | Review of Alpha Protocol
There was no big splash when Alpha Protocol was released, though there was a lot of complaining about bugs. By the time I played it (2013), they must have fixed them, because I don't recall any bugs in my play-through. What I did get was a complex espionage-oriented rpg with great combat and stealth mechanics. I don't play much in the way of FPS, but I found the combat to be enjoyable, and challenging when pursuing stealth options. The game adapts somewhat to your playstyle, too, giving you perks (bonuses to abilities) based on which choices you make in combat and in conversations. I really like the spy feel of the game, and found the characters (and the management of relationships and conflicting loyalties) to be deep and very compelling. The graphics were excellent, and served the story well. This is one of the few games that I immediately restarted after my first play-through - the fun factor and the chance to try different approaches is really attractive! My only complaint is that no sequel is in sight...!
Where did the time go?Turambar29 | July 2, 2013 | Review of Sid Meier’s Civilization® V
Civ 5 continues the tradition of sucking away hours in a strategic race for global domination. Or global popularity. Or cultural supremacy. You've got options! The graphical update and streamlined play is very welcome, as is the new iteration of cultural boundaries (introduced in Civ 4). You can no longer stack units for any reason, including warfare, and this is a helpful change, requiring a bit more thought and reducing the number of units typically involved. If you love Civ, you'll love Civ 5!
Impressive and fun!Turambar29 | July 2, 2013 | Review of LEGO Lord of the Rings (NA)
If you've played a LEGO game, you know the drill; collect the special bricks and items to unlock special features while playing through a farcical version of the source material. In this case, the assets of the LoTR movies is on hand; the incredible music, voice-work, and visual design (adapted for the LEGO aesthetic) are all present, upping the quality significantly. This does produce some dissonance, as result of the combination of serious elements and mockery. However, the game remains light-hearted and fun, with lots of replayability as you solve the quests and unlock new items and characters. My kids love it!
Game as ArtTurambar29 | July 2, 2013 | Review of Bastion [Playfire]
Not only does Bastion boast beautiful art direction, graphical rendering, and fun ARPG gameplay, it triumphs over most other games in several ways. First, the voice-over is amazing! Cunningham's voice is impressive, and the responsive way the narration is integrated into the gameplay is fun and impressive. Second, the soundtrack is AMAZING. Beautiful, moving, and complex; the combination of two character themes is impressive. Third, the story, told in an interactive way, is powerfully moving. Can a past disaster be amended? Erased? What about the personal cost? The character arcs are sketched out movingly, and the combination of all of these superb elements leads to an amazing emotional and artistic experience. A must-play!
A Fun Trip to the Franchise, for the Most PartTurambar29 | June 10, 2013 | Review of Back to the Future: The Game
First off, I immensely enjoyed another of the Telltale work, the Tales of Monkey Island. The writing and humor were great, and I came to BTTF with high expectations. They weren't quite met.
A chance to return to the BTTF franchise was a pleasure I never though to have, save by rewatching the films. The production values here, especially the voice-acting, are spot on. The game is worth playing to see these characters and places again; I do recommend it! Graphically, it is on par with the other Telltale titles; adequate, but nothing to write home about.
At the same time, the story didn't really grab me; the way time travel is used simply doesn't not rise to the heights of the film franchise, perhaps because of the episode nature of the release. It ends up becoming a mediocre story that has a bit of time travel in it. I had hoped for better!
All the same, treat yourself and meet Marty, Doc, and Einstein again. It's worth it!
Religion and MoreTurambar29 | June 10, 2013 | Review of Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & Kings
This expansion brings a new spiritual dimension to the Civ 5 gameplay, and it is a welcome addition. The new options for founding and improving a religious tradition are well integrated in the the Great Person and diplomacy aspects of the game; the system is not too complicated and works well as another feature to manage and play with in your empire.
The espionage aspect has, in my experience, a much lower impact, but having the option to place spies and the need to prevent rival spies from stealing your information also provided some helpful complexity to the game.
In short, if you enjoyed Civ 5, you'll enjoy the expanded features found here. It's not earthshaking or game-changing, but it is enjoyable.
Lovely, Old School, and WistfulTurambar29 | June 10, 2013 | Review of To The Moon [Playfire]
To the Moon is an unexpectedly powerful game. The style is a call-back to the 16-bit era of RPGs; however, this is merely a canvass for the the work; you'll not find combat of any kind (aside from one joke), stats to increase, or enemies to overcome. Instead, you'll find fleshed out characters who experience incredible heartbreak in the midst of a moving love story.
The plot? Two memory techs come to implant memories into the mind of a dying man, a sort of "Total Recall" technology. The story follows their exploration of the patient's mind as they seek the optimal path for memory implantation. What they learn along the way is surprisingly moving, with a few twists. I was genuinely shocked at how emotional my response to this story was. It is a journey well worth taking, with the added nostalgia of old-school rpg atmosphere.
A final word - the soundtrack is very well done. You will enjoy it as a great complement to the rest of the game/story!
Brutal and HauntingTurambar29 | June 10, 2013 | Review of Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition (NA)
Dark Souls is a powerful game that tells its story primarily through its environment. No hand-holding to be found for any aspect of the game; expect to die often and to frequently be mystified. What is going on? Where is everyone? Why are the few people I meet various shades of crazy? How in the world am I going to beat this next section/boss?
Strangely, all of this frustration actually adds to the game, for it makes your achievements matter. You'll be elated when you make progress through a section, equip a new piece of armor or a weapon, master a technique, light a new bonfire.
Bonfire? Yes, those are your save points, but they also respawn your enemies. Light and dark are not only themes but ever present realities in Dark Souls, and they are used to portray an amazing world. Visually stunning, perpetually haunting. I had to uninstall after completing the game, as the new game plus option would have kept me in this game for the foreseeable future...!
Fun and IntenseTurambar29 | June 5, 2013 | Review of Tomb Raider
I'm really enjoying the new Tomb Raider game. I've played a few of the older titles, with Legend being the last one I played through. While this is quite a bit different, it's also very good. Graphically it is a beautiful game, though a bit gory for my taste. Combat is fun, with a good number of options for weapons and hand-to-hand techniques. There are some QTE sequences, but I found them to be a lot more fun than I feared, and failure isn't punished very harshly, usually just requiring that you start the sequence over and try again.
The platforming is smooth and requires some thinking, as does the treasure hunting. The actions sequences are intense, visually powerful, and a lot of fun. Despite criticisms of stealing control from the player, I found the way these elements are mixed to work quite well.
The NPC are, on the whole, not well introduced or fleshed out, but it's a minor concern. More blood than I would like to see, but it does add to the intensity. I can't imagine playing the multiplayer aspect of the game - that's not what I'm looking for - and so I lament that lack of single player DLC. In other words, this game is a lot of fun, so much so that I'd love to see more single player content!
Almost PerfectTurambar29 | May 24, 2013 | Review of Mass Effect 3: N7 Digital Deluxe (NA)
ME3 is a thrilling, hilarious, and tear-jerking conclusion to a truly epic game experience. The combat gives you lots of options and keeps to a nice pace; the NPCs are par for the course for BioWare - fully fleshed, interactive, and great fun to have along. A lot of bittersweet moments, as everyone knows that the end is coming, so touching farewells are here in abundance and are a welcome part of the experience. I was very much moved by Shepherds last big moments with Garrus, for instance. Well done, BioWare!
That said, the ending is a bit of a pill, if you haven't heard. I'm afraid I simply had to pretend that things happened differently, and could not in any way go for what the game seemed to indicate was the optimal solution. Too bad, really. Another potential negative - the almost required multiplayer - was actually very nicely done. I didn't want any part of it, but I gave it a chance and had a few fun hours with it.
For the best experience, I do recommend the digital deluxe edition - the From Ashes DLC will give you another NPC who was clearly meant to be a core aspect of the game. Don't miss out on Javik!
Great ConceptTurambar29 | May 24, 2013 | Review of Krater - Collector's Edition
Krater has a lot going for it; it evokes some of the nostalgia for party-based isometric ARPGs, has an original art direction, and has a certain quirkiness to it that's really appealing. Even some of the initial criticisms have been answered in updates: the option to raise the level cap on individual party members allows you to keep progressing with a beloved mutant if you like (you'll still want to eventually replace it with something that has better base stats). However, I found that money was hard to come by, limiting the real source of progression (implants ans boosters). As a result, Krater feels very grindy, and took some effort on my part to keep going. Even so, I never did finish; the final boss fight is amazingly difficult, and that alone would have required 10s of hours of grinding just to be able to finish. A lot to love here, but it'll make you put in some real effort!
All Good, And Then SomeTurambar29 | May 24, 2013 | Review of Batman: Arkham City
This one is a no-brainer; Arkham City is both an excellent Batman adaptation and an excellent game. Everything to love in Arkham Asylum is back, and there's more of it! The combat is fast, flowing, and incredibly satisfying; the hidden secrets, quests, and extras are both time consuming and rewarding. The devs really know their Batman, and you'll find loving references to just about anything in the lore you can think of hidden here and there. Graphically, the game is simply stunning, with voice-work to match. It's a game that does a little bit of everything, and does it well. Want to be Batman? Now you can, and it's soooo satisfying.
Want to be Catwoman? It's got that, too, and the DLC weaves into the main campaign quite nicely. I have to say that the other DLC options are nice, too; the option to load up Nightwing for the combat campaigns is really appealing for those who, like me, long to see him take front-and-center in a game one of these days!
Charming, Fun, and FlowingTurambar29 | May 24, 2013 | Review of The Book of Unwritten Tales - Deluxe Edition
The Book of Unwritten Tales features fantastic art design, beautiful graphics, and excellent voice work; the production values are superb! In addition, it is full of parody and loving jibes about popular fantasy works and tropes. The puzzles aren't difficult, only occasionally slowing down progress through the story, and interactive hotspots are displayed with a simple spacebar press, eliminating the need for pixel hunting. Definitely worth playing if you like adventure games, and the deluxe edition has plenty of extras, too!