Reviews by das_regal

82

A Platformer on the PC that can actually keep my attention?

das_regal | Oct. 25, 2012 | Review of Chester

This is a rare feat. Super Meat Boy managed it with its effortless retry system and high level of difficulty. So what does Chester do right? Weirdness, art style, and progression.

Chester is all about unlocking new characters, collecting items, and exploring strange worlds with malleable art styles. It's like on gimmick and high on content, which is an enjoyable change from games like "And Yet It Moves" which I've banished to my "Platformer Hell" category on Steam.

63

Colorful Lobotomized 2D Moba

das_regal | Oct. 25, 2012 | Review of Awesomenauts

Don't be fooled into thinking that this is as complex as League of Legends. Yes, there are similar ideas at play here, but they're so utterly different due to the platforming nature of this title that the end result is completely different.

This game feels somewhere between League and Super Smash Brothers. Of course, it's about as fun as neither. The simplistic, cartoon, lobotomized fights don't lend themselves very well to coordination or team work.

There are no wards, fog of war, or complicated builds. This game is a fun, short diversion. That's about it.

77

Boring

das_regal | Oct. 25, 2012 | Review of Nuclear Dawn

The game is built on the source engine, and therefore lacking graphically, and by that I mean that the animations are clunky, the lighting is terrible, and the textures feel smoothed over. One should expect no less from an indie experience most likely, but when it comes to shooters these elements really count.

Nuclear Dawn just can't even come close to living up to the triple A shooting experiences that Battlefield and Call of Duty offer. Thankfully it doesn't really try to: Nuclear Dawn has its creative offerings.

The RTS end of the gameplay makes for interesting matches. Teams feel much more cohesive than in other games due to the fact that you're defending structures that your team is actively constructing.

All and all, if you can get past the presentation hiccups, the game is pretty fun.

84

Decent game, but content sparse and a bit dated.

das_regal | Oct. 25, 2012 | Review of Homefront

Homefront delivers an experience in the single-player story that is way better than anything Call of Duty has managed to put together for the past few years. It opens with an emotionally resonant scene and manages to keep you entertained with varied missions and interesting moments. Unfortunately, it's not very long.

The same can be said of the multiplayer really. There's an intriguing system at play here with battlepoints, but there just aren't enough weapons and game modes to make it something worth coming back to for very long. The maps are well designed, but the dated graphics does them no favors.

If you are looking for a multiplayer game, look elsewhere. If you want a decent shooting campaign that's about 6 hours long, this is worth the purchase when on sale.

71

Not really worth it

das_regal | Oct. 24, 2012 | Review of XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Elite Soldier Pack

The options here are purely visual. You are paying for some skins for troops that could die at any moment and need to be replaced. I got this from pre-ordering and didn't use it, because I saw no point in changing how a character appears who could take a bullet in the head and die for good at any point in time.

But, if you really like X-Com (and I do) it isn't a bad idea to buy this to show some support for Firaxis for making such an amazing game.

85

This-generation nostalgia?

das_regal | Oct. 18, 2012 | Review of Viking: Battle for Asgard

This is one of the first titles I played on my Xbox 360 (before selling it about 2 years ago to immerse myself in PC gaming). It's strange to see Viking make its debut on PC so late in the game, but I am incredibly excited to play it again.

This is a solid action RPG that was just begging to have its console shackles thrown off to highlight its true potential. With incredible graphics, great mission variety (including stealth encounters), and a serviceable story, this is more than worth the $15 asking price.

Frankly I'm amazed they set its value so low upon release. This was a full $60 title when it came out on consoles. Late really is better than never.

85

Great class

das_regal | Oct. 17, 2012 | Review of Borderlands 2: Mechromancer Pack Steam

Out of all of the characters in Borderlands 2, Gaige has the most interesting abilities aside from her action skill. Her robot isn't that different from Axton's turret, but the traits she gains are very active and give you control over the bonuses that you get from them.

For instance, there's one that you can control by reloading at certain times that gives you dynamic changes in accuracy and damage. You can even get a double melee attack with lifesteal that "consumes stacks."

Gearbox is moving closer and closer to classic action RPG mechanics, and it's a good thing.

82

Atmospheric

das_regal | Oct. 16, 2012 | Review of Doom 3 BFG Edition (NA)

Yes, the mechanics are dated and even though everything's been given a shiny HD sheen, it doesn't quite match up with the experiences that are commonplace this generation.

Doom 3 BFG is still worth picking up. Why?

Because this game has an atmosphere and feeling you won't find today. The pacing is genuinely old school, which makes it a treat to play compared to shooters of today where the intensity is always ratcheted up to the max.

85

Nice

das_regal | Oct. 16, 2012 | Review of Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett & her Pirate's Booty

This content pack features raid-like bosses, a new level of loot rarity, tons of new items, a new vehicle, and a hilarious storyline. I especially love riding in the new Star Wars style Landspeeder and murdering things with explosive harpoons.

You can buy this piece of content individually or get it 25% off (essentially) as part of the Borderlands 2 Season Pass. And if the rest of the content is this high quality, that's a much better decision.

This is a great addition to an already great game. My only disappointment is that they didn't raise the level cap.

85

Lots to do, little reason to do it.

das_regal | Oct. 14, 2012 | Review of Grand Theft Auto IV DNS

Grand Theft Auto IV is a gorgeous game full of activities. Each and every little corner of the game is full of possibilities. Sadly, Rockstar doesn't do much to encourage you actually participating in these activities outside of the achievement system which is obnoxiously tied to Games for Windows Live.

I really liked the mini-games like bowling, going on dates, riding around town and checking out the sights. I just wish there were more options to gather weaponry at your safe houses like in previous titles.

The golden pigeons that replaced hidden packages are pretty obnoxious to get, and you don't really unlock a reward for them until the very end of your hunt.

The story is so long that I actually struggled to force myself to get through it, but it was pretty interesting none the less.

81

Short but fun

das_regal | Oct. 14, 2012 | Review of Dishonored (NA)

Dishonored is a very fun game with an excellent plot, distinctive art style, and fluid combat. The setting is so atmospheric and incredible, I love the town's feel and aesthetic. But while the game shines in a lot of ways, not everything that glitters here is gold.

In their attempt to provide a very rich, choice-driven approach to gaming, they've had to invest a lot of resources into giving you options that limit the length of the experience. When each mission has so many possibilities for completion, extra effort is required for content that only a portion of the player base will experience.

As a result, Dishonored can easily be finished in 12 hours. This really makes me feel like my 60 dollar purchase just wasn't justified. I am not someone who wants to play through the same game multiple times however, I could see people who feel differently getting a lot more out of this.

76

A good deal if you like battlefield heroes.

das_regal | Oct. 11, 2012 | Review of Battlefield Heroes: Royal Army Small Starter Pack

The skin doesn't mean much to me, but you get a fair amount of credits and a 7 day boost, which were the selling points for me. The legionnaire clothing looks pretty awesome too.

I suggest buying this before a holiday so you can get the most out of the boost (plus GMG has promo codes around those times, so you'll save too).

77

Passable Tower Defense Game

das_regal | Oct. 11, 2012 | Review of Two Worlds II: Castle Defense cap

For fans of Two Worlds, this is a pretty decent tower defense game.

It has all of the basic features you'd expect from a tower defense game. You get old to build defenses, upgrade them with the same currency, and try to keep the monsters from reaching your king who you are defending.

I like the fact that you get to pick one of two playable characters, and the high-score hunting is fun. Then again, I am a tower defense junkie, so it's no surprise I enjoyed this.

76

El Presidente

das_regal | Oct. 11, 2012 | Review of Tropico 3 DNS

This game has a very steep learning curve. It's hard to figure out what's going on, what you are supposed to be doing, and the flow of things. Once you get the hang of it however, this is a robust nation sim that gives you the full flavor of politics. I especially like the re-election angle and the silly foreign policy decisions they have you make.

When the game starts you get to make your own leader. Whether he/she is a military dictator, a communist, or a "man of the people" there are benefits and drawbacks that will carry into your game and create unique challenges for you to struggle with and (maybe) overcome.

One of the best parts about Tropico 3 is the music. It is incredible.

84

Better than Thief

das_regal | Oct. 11, 2012 | Review of Hitman: Blood Money Capsule

Each level a sandbox with a demented goal. You are free to do what you want to pursue your assassination target, and the options are varied. If you want to be stealthy, you can. If you want to shoot everything that moves, that's an option as well. However, the game is at its best when you are at your most creative as that truly highlights the level of flexibility that has been built into this game.

The graphics are still passable in this fun title, even now years later. The sound work remains masterful, and I really enjoy the little touches of character here and there. Blood Money even features a halfway decent plot (with a killer ending, you're gonna love it).

This is worth a buy, especially at this price.

73

Good simple fun

das_regal | Oct. 10, 2012 | Review of Tower Bloxx Deluxe

The fundamental game play aspect of Tower Bloxx Deluxe is from a very simple flash game where you press a button to release hold of an item and try to stack it as evenly as possible on top of other items. Among my circle of friends, this little flash game became a point of competition. It's surprising how rivalry can imbue fun into a simplistic concept.

I view Tower Bloxx Deluxe as a version of my experience, except you're competing against yourself to build better and better towers for the sake of the meta game (which is like a really simple version of Sim City kinda).

This game may not be super in depth, dark, or dramatic, but it will keep you entertained and happy.

84

Platformer that kind of reminds me of D&D arcade

das_regal | Oct. 9, 2012 | Review of Trine

Trine is an appropriate title for this game in many ways. Yes, you play as three characters combined into one, but Trine is also three genres combined into one. It's a platformer, an RPG, and a puzzler all perfectly harmonized into one compelling experience.

The controls and graphics are equally smooth, there is a fun loot system where you find trinkets that enhance certain components of your characters, and the sound is very charming.

There's even a halfway decent story tacked on! I especially enjoyed the interactions between the Mage and the Thief.

If you don't have Trine by now, I suggest picking it up. It's worth every penny.

91

Out of This World

das_regal | Oct. 9, 2012 | Review of XCOM: Enemy Unknown (NA) -

I've played quite a few isometric tactical squad shooters in my day, but it's been at least 10 years since I touched the last one.

In X-Com, I expected a call back to the games of old, complete with a dated feeling. To my surprise, the game doesn't feel dated at all.

The way the camera shifts to show you your trajectory when you aim at an enemy feels perfectly modern. The graphics, the visuals, and the overall presentation are a perfect blend of nostalgia with today's technology.

X-Com is a must have for anyone who wants to see a classical idea updated to keep pace with today's games.

29

A Minimalist Armageddon Simulator

das_regal | Oct. 7, 2012 | Review of Defcon: Everybody Dies DNS

Defcon plays out from solitary game to game, like of like a board game. Each experience is standalone, and uses the game's rules and engine to provide a challenge.

Before each entry you can set basic details about the scenario that governs how the AI behaves, game speed, and other things.

The game itself is incredibly basic in all ways. It is also very counter-intuitive. It took me awhile to determine what clicks where did what.

There are also some bug problems with modern system (64 bit, windows 7) that makes the game damn near unplayable on a modern gaming machine.

I can't recommend Defcon to many people, if anyone.

79

Overrated.

das_regal | Oct. 6, 2012 | Review of Dead Island

I bought Dead Island at launch and eagerly awaited its unlocking at midnight on launch day. I'm a huge zombie fan, so I couldn't wait to try it out.

There were definitely parts of it I loved. The experience of wandering the island searching for supplies, seeing the devastation, and murdering zombie after zombie was pretty fun.

Sadly the skill trees weren't that great, melee combat quickly got repetitive, and guns aren't strong enough. With a good mod or two, this game is pretty great. Without it, I wouldn't bother to play this vanilla.

76

A fun DLC

das_regal | Oct. 6, 2012 | Review of Magicka: Vietnam DLC

Magicka: Vietnam is not only a hilarious choice for a content pack in a fantasy game, but there's also a lot of good content offerings here.

Item-wise, you'll gain access to new weapons, including an assault rifle which is easily my favorite weapon in the game.

You will also get a mission to complete, which is hysterical in its own right and full of the same charm the main game offered in a much more compact form.

I found this easier to play through than Magicka itself was.

85

Excellent, varied game

das_regal | Oct. 6, 2012 | Review of Dwarfs!?

Dwarfs is a beautiful game on so many levels. From its robust content offering to charming presentation, there's so much here to love in such a small, cheap 2D package.

Everything is here that you'll see in the game's description, and even a few things you wouldn't expect. From a solid tower-defense mini-game to the main game's base building and survival mechanics, there's a lot to do in Dwarfs.

The game has colorful, easy to use menus and useful tutorials. This isn't like Dwarf Fortress, it's very accessible and easy fun.

77

Awesome Premise, OK execution

das_regal | Oct. 6, 2012 | Review of Darwinia DNS

The coolest thing about Darwinia is the idea that it represents: digital evolution and preservation.

The basic premise of the game is that you're protecting these semi-sentient computer program from digital extinction. It's a rather thought provoking concept that makes you ponder just what life is.

Sadly, once you stop waxing philosophical and play the actual the game, it's a bit underwhelming. Yes, Darwinia is a serviceable real time strategy game, but it's incredibly basic. Everything from the graphics to the objectives you complete are bare bones, and work only by virtue of their simplicity and tie-in to the larger idea.

This game is more than worth a couple of dollars, but only if the foundation interests you.

89

Feel the Burn

das_regal | Oct. 6, 2012 | Review of Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition (NA)

Dark Souls is a lot like exercising: sometimes you hate it in the moment, but you know it'll pay off... eventually.

Where some games are satisfying on a moment to moment basis, Dark Souls is a lot like climbing a mountain. When you beat a really hard boss you were having a hard time overcoming, there are few things more rewarding. The game has an old school charm and design that sets it apart from today's fluid, player-slanted action role playing games.

Aside from the challenge, there are other things that the game offers. The graphics are deliciously dark. The setting is easy to get lost in. And the allegiance system is quite deep.

Dark Souls also features an interesting multiplayer component that allows you to invade (and be invaded by) other players. Your opponent (or victim) is randomly selected and you have no way to communicate by them. There is a cooperative component that is similar to this that allows you to summon players to help you with fights.

All and all, Dark Souls is a great experience, and a unique one on the modern gaming landscape which is characterized by casually accessible titles and easy wins.

85

DLC done right

das_regal | Oct. 3, 2012 | Review of Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand DLC (NA) dns

If you've played many modern first person shooters, then you know they're fond of map packs. These content offerings are almost always overpriced cash grabs. Typically they give you a couple of maps and call it good. Thankfully, Dice has more respect for Battlefield 3 fans than that.

There are 4 maps or so here, that much is consistent with other packs, but the amount of detail and effort put into them surpasses anything that Call of Duty has ever done. Each map has been lovingly tweaked for all of Battlefield's engrossing game modes.

On top of that, there's a new progression system called "assignments" that, when completed, give you 10 new weapons.

This is how you do map packs!

87

Silky smooth graphics, personal freedom

das_regal | Oct. 3, 2012 | Review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Stealth games are few and far between this day and age. In that regard, Human Revolution is pretty rare to begin with. Tack on beautiful graphics, unparalleled player freedom to complete objectives, and a pretty decent story and you've got something unique.

The stealth isn't forced, if you want to go in guns blazing you can. In between missions you'll be presented dialogue options that you can use to set objectives for yourself. For instance, if you want to be non-lethal, you can present that constraint to yourself and try to live up to it.

My only complaint is that the upgrade system isn't quite as robust as I would've liked. Yes, you can augment your character to enhance his powers, but the options aren't as varied as the game play choices you're given elsewhere.

The boss fights are also ill-advised, as they completely break from free of choice and force you into some pretty frustrating situations. But on the whole, Human Revolution is an amazing game well worth checking out.

87

Full featured puzzler

das_regal | Oct. 3, 2012 | Review of Bejeweled 3 (NA) DNS

If you liked previous entries of Bejeweled, this game takes their premise and runs with it. Bejeweled 3 is extremely fleshed out, there are tons of different modes to play, oodles of customization, and even a achievement-like badges system to serve as a carrot for you to chase after.

The difficulty level ratchets up perfectly, and gives you control of its progression as well. Everything feels far more varied than the game modes felt in Bejeweled 2. This is a much better game, and feels a lot closer to the standard that Popcap set for itself with Plants versus Zombies.

The presentation is flawless as well. Both the sound and the visuals are pleasing. I can recommend this game to just about anyone as it serves hardcore and casual puzzle audiences equally as well.

54

The multiplayer doesn't work.

das_regal | Oct. 3, 2012 | Review of Mass Effect 3 (NA) dns

I don't have a whole lot to say about the single player aside from the fact that it is basically the same game as Mass Effect 2 with a continued story. They've done small tweaks like adding in melee weapons, but that sums it up so well that I don't need to say much else.

The real important fact that any purchaser needs to know is that Mass Effect 3's multiplayer essentially does not work on PC. The servers have been having problems for several months now. They drop connections before just about anyone can finish a match. Sometimes I can't even get past the load out configuration screens.

If it worked, multiplayer looks like a lot of fun, but it just doesn't. So many people have problems with it, that if I were you, I'd be cautious and look into this before buying the game if the multiplayer is a selling point for you.

69

A few funny moments, a lot of missed opportunities

das_regal | Oct. 2, 2012 | Review of Duke Nukem Forever

I'd like to start by saying that the multiplayer is absolutely abysmal. I played about a half an hour of it and was horrified by the clumsy animations, terrible map design, and ancient game play archetypes. Do not buy this game for the multiplayer.

The single player is a bit better. Interacting with the world is kind of fun. Flipping light switches brought me back to the old days of PC gaming.

The shooting is dated, the enemy design is lackluster, and a lot of the humor is far too juvenile. Still, it's not terrible on the whole. Unlike the tacked on multiplayer, it is passable and even sometimes enjoyable.

77

Better than Oblivion in some ways, worse in others.

das_regal | Oct. 2, 2012 | Review of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (NA)

I remember playing Oblivion back in 2007 and feeling horrified at just how soulless the world felt. Bethesda exchanged lovingly hand-crafted terrain for generated territories, and it was extremely noticeable. Elsewhere, the story was pretty pathetic and forgettable. It wasn't without its strong points, but on the whole Oblivion was pretty disappointing.

Some of these issues have been fixed in Skyrim, and others got worse. The areas are handcrafted again, but the length of quest lines has been dramatically decreased. I sighed when I finished the Mage's College quest, the ending felt like it came out of no where. Oblivion's Mage's opening quests were about as long as the entirety of Skyrim's.

The storyline is better at least, the graphics are far superior, but the combat feels largely unimproved. The loot continues to be very uninspired.

This game is no Morrowind.

68

The humor is (sadly) half the fun.

das_regal | Oct. 2, 2012 | Review of Magicka

Ever played the Sims? Did you love how they spoke in their own little language to each other? If so: buy this game. Every plot point in Magicka is delivered in similar prose, and it's one of the strongest selling points of the game.

The spell casting system that Magicka employs allows you to summon and combine elements on the fly to create intricate spells. It's pretty neat, but unfortunately it's easy to reach the precipice of skill with it early on, and the rest of the game becomes an unvaried slog through familiar encounters and cheesy enemies with gigantic health bars.

The co-op feature is nice, but team killing is far too easy in a game where if you get your buddy wet and they cast a lightning spell, you've just committed physician assisted suicide.

88

Do you like it rough?

das_regal | Oct. 2, 2012 | Review of Super Meat Boy

If so, Super Meat Boy is the game for you. It starts out fairly easily, but not even 30 minutes in you'll start to feel the sweet burn of old school difficulty. Thankfully, Team Meat took this into account and built in a bunch of features that make the difficulty rewarding and not frustrating.

First of all, when you finish a level you get to watch all of your attempts occur replayed simultaneously. You will see every failure of yours happen alongside your sole success. I cannot stress enough how awesome this is.

Secondly, you can restart the level you failed almost instantly. This lack of downtime between attempts really helps keep the punitive feeling to a minimum.

And finally, the controls give you enough rope to hang yourself while also putting you completely in charge of your own destiny. When you fail, you know it was something you did, and something you can correct.

83

Plastic Guns, Plastic World.

das_regal | Oct. 2, 2012 | Review of Borderlands

When the game starts, it's a hell of a lot of fun trying out each and every weapon you come across. Unfortunately, a few hours down the line you've started to see into the matrix and have come to realize that most of these weapons control exactly the same.

Instead of being a game of a million guns, it becomes a game of about a hundred guns that come with different skins, strengths (almost like a level up mechanic for the weapons themselves that must be looted), and elements.

The elements themselves are sadly imbalanced. There's almost no need for lightning weaponry and slow-moving explosive projectiles have extremely limited use. Acid and fire are the kings of the day.

The downloadable content that Borderlands offers is excellent however, and if you're big on co-op you could do far worse than this game. Just don't weapons to feel as different as the weapons in your favorite FPS do: they don't.

73

Less strategy more action

das_regal | Oct. 2, 2012 | Review of Sanctum

Sanctum takes the tower defense genre and immerses you in it with 3 dimensional map design, shooting mechanics, and top-down tower positioning between waves. Most of the familiar genre staples are here, though they are tilted on their head slightly by the action element. You defeat enemies to earn money, but that money can be spent to create structures that are both offensive, defensive, and of utility to the player only. Money can also be spent to upgrade your weapons. Sadly, the shooting is very basic (think 1998 shooter style), the graphical style is gratingly simple, and the musical score is forgettable. Sanctum has the mechanics down, but it's a bit lacking in charm. Furthermore, the additional control they give you over the outcome of waves takes some of the science of tower defense out of it: as a result, Sanctum feels less cerebral and puzzling, and more twitchy.

61

Middling Success

das_regal | Oct. 2, 2012 | Review of Dungeon Siege III

Dungeon Siege 3 is another game in the vein of Diablo. You run around an isometric map, kill enemies, get loot, level up, and distribute points to customize your character. There is a serious attempt at story that makes this a terribly linear affair, but there are some some side quests.

The words "not bad" can be used to describe basically everything that Dungeon Siege 3 does, but unfortunately that's not enough to make a game worth playing. There's no real charm or hook to it, every time I play it I almost have to force myself to keep going. I'm not miserably, I'm just not drawn forward by anything.

60

Caution: Day Z isn't for everybody.

das_regal | Oct. 2, 2012 | Review of ARMA II: Combined Operations

I bought this just to play the Day Z mod and at this point in time, I regret it. The game is very hard to get in to. I've played maybe 3 hours and have yet to find an actual gun. It's mostly just running away and trying to find loot while avoiding zombies. It's a bit too Survivor-Man and not enough Resident Evil.

The base game is OK, but it's nothing compared to Battlefield or Call of Duty. I can't recommend ARMA II: CO to anyone but the hardest core of gamers who like the idea of rummaging around in zombie infested areas completely unarmed.

72

Great Visuals and Sound Meets Unreliable Game Play

das_regal | Oct. 2, 2012 | Review of World of Goo

World of Goo's music sounds like the kind of stuff you'd expect a carnival organ grinder to play while the Strong Man juggles flaming cannonballs. The visuals are incredibly crisp and satisfying, they remind me of a beautifully drawn comic book.

But for all of this graphical sleekness, the game play itself is anything but. It's very touch and go. When attempting to solve the puzzles that World of Goo throws at you, sometimes your method will work and sometimes it won't. Tactics are not very reproducible thanks to the complexity and randomness of the physics system that 2D Boy used to make this game.

And ultimately that takes away a significant amount of fun, because a lot of times when I won using cheesy tactics when the more arduous method failed me, I felt like I'd cheated the system.

82

Classic game play, beautiful graphics

das_regal | Oct. 2, 2012 | Review of Jet Set Radio

Jet Set Radio plays just like it used to. From the second you turn it on (assuming you have a controller in hand), the whole experience reminds you of days long past.

And yet despite how faithful this port is, it looks nothing like the original. Not all of the textures have been updated to high resolutions (some buildings still sport low res visuals for instance) but on the whole the graphics have been improved to the point that you will have no difficulty getting into this game even if you didn't play it before.

The game itself, for the uninitiated, is full of incredibly bizarre themes, Japanese humor, and whimsical fun. You perform tricks while skating, spray paint walls, and fight the power. This is all set in a semi-open world environment, which makes it just that much more fun.

I can recommend this game to anyone who's in it for the nostalgia factor, but other people probably want to check out a couple of videos first.

89

Gearbox Gets Rid Of The Asterisk At The End Of 18 Bazillion Guns

das_regal | Oct. 2, 2012 | Review of Borderlands 2 (NA) DNS

I was a huge fan of the original Borderlands. I leveled each class to 50 and a couple to the new cap of 69 after all of the content packs (which I purchased) were released. The more I played however, the more the magic leaked out of the experience.

Eventually it felt pretty soulless as I intuitively came to understand that for each weapon type the supposed millions of weapons really fit into one or two archetypes. Is it a full-auto or a burst machine gun? Revolver or weak full-auto pistol or burst pistol?

Elements didn't even add that much of variety, you could kill damn near anything in the game with an acid or fire weapon. And don't even get me started on how boring shields and grenade mods got by the end of the game. Past a certain point I used transfusion grenades for the healing effect because everything else was just pathetic.

Enter Borderlands 2, and in the first 3 hours I saw more variety than I did in all of first game. Launchers are actually worthwhile. Grenades and shields are hugely varied with some neat passive effects. I haven't gotten a single epic rarity weapon yet and only 2 purples, and I've seen some truly amazing effects. My favorite weapon so far is a pistol that launches homing darts that attach to the enemy then light them on fire in a miniature explosion.

The weapons are a good metaphor for the rest of the game. The story, environments, writing, and enemies are similarly improved.

84

One of my favorite cult hits.

das_regal | Sept. 28, 2012 | Review of Alpha Protocol

Ah, summer 2010. I remember waiting for the days to go by, eager for Alpha Protocol's release. When it came out the reviews weren't that great, but I adored it.

I was immediately immersed in its awesome brand of third person combat, political spy thriller themes, and clever, fast-paced dialogue. Everything you do refines who your character is, both in combat and out. Your dialogue choices even have an affect on how you preform in combat, as expressing certain personality traits can give you perks to enhance your gun play in various ways.

The one drawback is that the game's graphics are dated. Everything else is top notch, but that alone was enough to set the game back in the minds of many who played it.

Other than that little point of detraction, it's a hell of a lot of fun and you can always find it cheaply somewhere. I really commend picking it up.

95

Best Shooter To Date

das_regal | Sept. 26, 2012 | Review of Battlefield 3 (NA) dns

This game simply plays, looks, and feels the best of any shooter to date. There's no better way to put it.

The animations are fluid and realistic. The lighting effects are so nice that they can even feature player gun-mounted flashlights that function just as you'd expect.

The maps are huge and inspired. They feel like real locales. They're polished, enjoyable, varied, and even have set-piece moments from rush stage to stage.

The gun play has improved greatly over Bad Company's, which makes the game a treat to play not just to look at. And of course the progression is amazing.

Battlefield 3 beats COD Modern Warfare 3 any day.

72

Streamlined for the worse

das_regal | Sept. 26, 2012 | Review of Mass Effect 2 (NA) dns

Mass Effect was a great game. There was a deep level of customization both in how you built your character and the wide array of weapons you chose to use. On top of that, you made important decisions which fundamentally changed the way the game unfolded.

Mass Effect 2 keeps some of these elements at play, but it guts a lot of the flexibility out. Gone is the robust loot system, replaced with a fairly basic upgrading system that gives you fewer than 10 different weapons per character and a few linear skill lines (not even trees).

The story is good, the consequences are nice, but the game play just doesn't keep.

61

A Generic Fantasy Game

das_regal | Sept. 26, 2012 | Review of Kingdoms of Amalur - Reckoning - US & Canada dns

Kingdom of Amalur starts out on a high note. It gave me the illusion of depth. It's pretty clear that the story isn't that serious from the outset, but I didn't really get a sense for how shallow things were until I was ten hours in and a pervasive sense of hollowness gripped me.

Technically, the game is impressive. The combat is stylish and fluid. The graphics are good. The crafting and loot system even seems deep, but at the end of the day it's all very soulless. Hidden beneath the colorful, cartoon visuals is a boring, uninspired fantasy game that feels a single player MMO.

It's kind of like Guild Wars 2 sans social elements, which simply makes the world feel lonely and pointless.

88

Ever feel alone in a crowd?

das_regal | Sept. 25, 2012 | Review of Guild Wars 2: Digital Deluxe Edition (NA)

Guild Wars 2 is designed from the ground up to generate cooperation among players, but requires very little of you when it comes to that. Some events you'll need another person or two along to help juggle the monster's interest, but with the removal of the holy trinity (tank, damage, healer) there's less emphasis on well-tuned cooperation.

That formula has been thrown out the window and replaced with classes that are all self-sufficient. I still don't know if it's a good change or not, given that leveling up is essentially a solo affair and I've yet to do the more complicated, miscellaneous content, the 8 dungeons Arena Net created to break up the grind.

61

Stylish combat, unfilled story.

das_regal | Sept. 25, 2012 | Review of Dragon Age 2 (NA) DNS

Dragon Age II starts out on a high note. It emphasizes the humor of one of the better characters, makes grand promises about the direction of the narrative, and showcases the newly improved, fluid combat system. There's a lot to look forward to.

The first of the three acts plays out much as you would hope, but by the end of the game, the way things sloppily close will leave you feeling all kinds of unsatisfied. The game is like a lover that walks away when you're halfway to climax without an explanation.

Perhaps the post-launch DLC remedies some of this, and at this price I suppose you could forgive that, but buyer beware: Dragon Age II does not feel like a complete game out of the box. The story feels unfinished, the dungeons are needlessly recycled, a lot of the item models are straight out of the previous game, and importing what happened in the first game doesn't have as huge of an effect as it does in the Mass Effect games.

62

The guns are good, but it isn't its predecessor.

das_regal | Aug. 15, 2012 | Review of Red Faction Armageddon

Red Faction Guerrilla was a truly incredible game that masterfully combined open world exploration elements, destructible environments, and Grand Theft Auto like mission structure into something quite different. The end product was unlike anything I'd ever seen before.

It had both strong multiplayer and singleplayer elements. I was eagerly awaiting the sequel... Then along came Armageddon; the game's name does a fairly good job of explaining what it was for the series. Volition has shelved the IP in the aftermath of its poor sales, and for good reason.

They made a competent shooter, but in the process gutted the competitive multiplayer for an overly simplistic horde mode and the open world for a series of linear shoot-fests with trite vehicle portions. The game fails in many of the ways that Red Faction Guerrilla was a resounding success with how it does away with exploration, tactical demolition, and freedom.

Story was never the strong point of the Red Faction series, and by attempting to focus the game more on it through a linear structure, they ended up emphasizing one something that belonged in the distant background the way it was in Guerrilla.

The shooting and destruction mechanics are still top notch however, and the handy nano forge is a blast to play with. Unfortunately you won't be able to do much that's actually enjoyable with these tools, as your creative abilities are restricted by the "point on a line" progression.

They should've followed Guerrilla's successful blueprint in the creation of its sequel instead of returning to the formula from the first two Red Faction entries, which largely failed to garner critical acclaim the way Guerrilla did.

66

Multiwinia is a simple, yet elegant experience

das_regal | June 8, 2011 | Review of Multiwinia DNS

Usually multi player experiences are for those who played through a single player component of a game and found themselves wanting more. Multiwinia is very different in that regard, it offers an experience that is quite unlike it's solo brethren. What it does really well is provide a no-frills, basic strategy experience, but the simplistic design hurts it too.

Unless you find yourself really embroiled into its basic game play it won't hold your attention too long, and you don't even get it free with Darwinia. It's still quite fun and interesting to try however, plus cheap to boot.

70

Magicka Vietnam ups the parody even further!

das_regal | May 27, 2011 | Review of Magicka: Vietnam DLC

If you've played through vanilla Magicka then you know just how satirical, mocking, and sarcastic that the game is. It's no surprise then, that Paradox chose to make an even more over the top, riotously funny, and lambasting DLC pack.

The absurdity of fighting as a wizard alongside GIs in the jungles of Vietnam is almost too much. The battles are very humorous, the music is good, and the environments feel varied enough from the original game that it is fun to play at first. Unfortunately, there are only a few new spells here that weren't in the original game.

Ultimately my recommendation of whether or not to get Vietnam comes down to how you felt about the base game. If you liked it and wanted more after finishing it, consider getting Vietnam. If you felt burnt out and were just happy to be through when it when you were done, this add on content probably isn't a good buy for you.

86

Alpha Protocol is an amazingly unrated experience.

das_regal | May 27, 2011 | Review of Alpha Protocol

It's been about a year now since this game was released. I pre-ordered a retail copy and the last few days of the wait before its unveiling were especially hard for me to stomach. I remember when I felt to pick up the game, I decided to look up what professional reviewers were saying about it.

I was heartbroken and concerned. So many people were giving the game scores between 50% and 70%. I was faced with a choice: should I cancel my pre-order at the last second and give up on the game? After all the excitement I had for its release I decided to just follow through; and man I am glad I did.

I found Alpha Protocol to be an amazing experience. It doesn't quite have the same polish as Mass Effect, but the game is similar enough technically minus that finesse, and where it really shines is in the storyline and setting department. We're so used to playing as space marines or fantasy heroes that when a real-world game comes around it feels like something totally new and fresh to experience despite the fact that it's something that exists currently in the world around us.

What Alpha Protocol does best is the incorporation of contemporary elements of warfare into a compelling conspiracy-theory narrative with a character who's personally you get to shape by the conversational tones you choose. The dialog system is fast and gripping thanks to the limited time you have to choose responses, resulting in an experience that changes drastically every playthrough.

The technical side of things isn't as bad as people make it out to be either. The gunplay is perfectly serviceable, the environments are bland but utilitarian, and the animations look perfectly fine. Alpha Protocol is an excellent RPG for people who are looking to experience something new, but similar to Mass Effect (1).

74

Magicka - Silly, Seriousless fun

das_regal | May 27, 2011 | Review of Magicka

Playing Magicka is kind of like running a marathon: when it begins what you're doing is fresh, novel, and entertaining. You've got lots of energy and patience, every fresh breath of air is exhilarating, and you plan to take your time to finish.

Unfortunately, many hours later nothing has really changed. You're still running down a path that feels pretty similar to the path you started on, and the novelty has worn. You're hoping to finish quickly so you can just do something else. Then there's the groin pain... Ok, well, there's no groin pain associated with Magicka necessarily, but the rest of the analogy is apt.

The game starts by essentially giving you every single tool of enjoyment that you'e going to have from there on out one after another during the tutorial. Sure, you gain knowledge of new elemental combinations, but you don't need to "learn" those spells to cast them if you know them by heart. The end result is a burst of freedom and creativity that quickly falls to pieces as you run out of new territory to explore.

Why am as positive as I am on it then? Because for what the game is, it's charming fun. The game is full of hilarious dialog voice-acted in a charming garbled fashion, and the script is pure parody. The element combining system is fun. The co-op is incredible. I just wish there had been more variety and perhaps some actual RPG-progression elements.