Reviews by awestover89

92

Excellent story and beautiful open world, but not without flaws

awestover89 | July 8, 2013 | Review of Sleeping Dogs Pack

First, the good, and there is a lot of it. The story is fantastic and the characters deep and memorable. In many ways Sleeping Dogs feels like a movie, but one where you are in control. The open world is great to explore and there are a variety of side quests to keep you entertained, and the story keeps you enthralled throughout, waiting to see what will happen next. The main game gave me just over 18 hours of play time, plus there are two story DLCs and plenty of side missions left to go.

I was reminded in many ways of Saints Row the Third, although with less emphasis on weapons. There are a variety of weapons, but more often than not melee is your best bet. The combat was very similar to the Arkham games.

As for the bad, there were a few bugs I noticed that broke immersion. They weren't game breaking, but when the story is so crucial having an NPC walk into a wall and get stuck sort of snapped me back to reality.

Controls for driving and shooting a gun at the same time were obnoxious. Trying to accelerate, steer the car, aim a gun, and fire the gun is required for a number of missions and is every bit as difficult in the game as you would expect it to be in real life.

Markers on the minimap were also often ill placed. If a quest was inside a building, for example, the marker on the minimap would be the approximate location, rather than the door for the building as I have come to expect from other games.

Overall, the game is excellent with a wonderful story, beautiful graphics, and a grandiose open world.

93

A worthy sequel

awestover89 | July 6, 2013 | Review of Cities in Motion 2

The original Cities in Motion was a surprising gem for me, and I was a little nervous with the sequel, but CiM:2 has done nothing but enhance the city building experience with better graphics and more realistic city traffic.

There is still room for improvements, especially when building your own maps, but the campaigns are both challenging and unique. One of the most interesting aspects is that the campaign scenarios will occasionally revisit old areas and the transportation networks that you made will still be there, exactly as you left them.

I do miss the actual real world cities from the original game, but am really enjoying building my own cities using community mods and tools.

80

Unique Experience

awestover89 | July 5, 2013 | Review of Tiny & Big: Grandpa's Leftovers

Tiny and Big is an odd little gem with a lot of really unique aspects. It is similar in many ways to other physics based puzzlers, but with a sandbox, open world feel to it. The artistic style is unlike anything I have seen in other games, and the use of the environment when solving the puzzles is extremely well done. Using the tools at your disposal to completely destroy the terrain was, at times, even more enjoyable than the actual game.

The game was a bit on the short side, and it is the kind of game that you cannot take seriously. The humor is a bit low brow but if you want to just wind down and lose yourself in a funny cartoony world, then Tiny and Big is an excellent choice.

72

Funny and novel concept, but lacking for single player

awestover89 | July 2, 2013 | Review of Magicka

Magika was definitely designed for multiplayer co-op, and unfortunately the single player game does suffer for it. The concept is very unique and interesting; you have to combine up to five of eight elements to create spells, keeping in mind how elements interact with each other. For example, water and fire can make steam, while lightning and earth will just cancel each other out and do nothing.

With eight elements and up to five elements per spell, the possibilities are nearly endless. Unfortunately, the sheer number of possibilities is nearly endless. I found myself just using really basic spells because it got incredibly annoying to either look up the spell combination I wanted to do or try to memorize them all. Experimenting is a fun aspect, but for me it got old quickly.

I also had a problem with the tutorial. At the beginning, before even starting the tutorial, you pick a robe to wear. Unfortunately, one of the robes (which just happened to be the one I picked) does not allow you to heal yourself. Part of the tutorial requires you to heal yourself. I was stuck for far too long getting angry at the game for not letting me heal myself before I realized that the robe having an immunity to life magic meant I could not heal myself. This was a minor issue, but throughout the game many aspects are just not well explained.

90

Powerful story and strong gameplay

awestover89 | July 2, 2013 | Review of Alan Wake

Alan Wake is first and foremost a story told in game format. You play as a famous horror author who is on vacation with his wife trying to resolve a problem with writer's block. There is a strange darkness, however, and the vacation becomes a nightmare as Alan struggles to learn about the history of the small town and stop the darkness.

The gameplay is strong, but the story is definitely the selling point. It is captivating and to get the most out of the game you really need to pay attention to the dialogue and cutscenes.

Combat is handled uniquely; you have to first weaken enemies with a flashlight before you are able to actually shoot them, but some weapons such as a flare gun or a flash bang grenade can serve a double purpose, both weakening and then killing the main enemies of the game, known as Taken. You can use light to blind and slow down the enemies, and you can dodge roll out of the way of their attacks, but other than that combat is relatively straight forward.

The game is mostly open world, there is a set linear path to follow for the story but you can explore a bit to find hidden items. It becomes almost a scavenger hunt, searching for manuscript pages, thermoses, TVs, and radios.

It does get repetitive, many 'episodes' of the game start out with something happening causing you to lose your weapons and flash light, but as long as you stay immersed in the story it never gets old.

My one primary complaint relates to the camera. The camera is set third person but at a slight angle. This made moving in a straight line difficult for me. I also had to take somewhat frequent breaks because I actually started feeling motion sick if I played too long with a lot of movement.

On normal difficulty with finding about 80% of the secret items I got about 10 hours of game time. Trying again on a harder difficulty, or spending more time to find all the secrets could easily push the game to 15-25 hours. The story was a bit hard to follow the first time, but I do feel once you have a full understanding of the story the replay value is weak.