Reviews by dockzor

93

Maybe not a must have - but a MUST PLAY!

dockzor | Nov. 2, 2014 | Review of Dishonored™ Game of the Year Edition

Dishonored is a fantastic, original game with a great art style and soundtrack. I enjoyed all the missions, although The Golden Cat was my favorite. Even though the graphics are not superb, the game looks so unique that you will not care. It is fun to use the powers, sneak around, and even have shootouts with the guards, and since the main part of the game is supposed to be stealth, it has some of the best stealth gameplay on the market. The Dunwall City Trials DLC that comes with the Game of the Year edition is worth it if you can get it for $2.50, but it is nothing like The Knife of Dunwall or the Witches of Brigmore, two DLC single-player campaigns that are shorter but are just as high quality as the main game. If you enjoy Skyrim's Dark Brotherhood, Thief, or games like those, then this is the game for you. If you are going to buy Dishonored, make sure to get the Game of the Year edition.

100

A game that never seem to end

dockzor | Nov. 2, 2014 | Review of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim® Legendary Edition

I was stacking books on a shelf in my house in Whiterun, one of Skyrim's major cities, when I noticed a weapon rack right beside it. I set a sacrificial dagger in one slot, an Orcish mace in the other. They were on display for nobody but me and my computer-controlled housecarl, Lydia, who sat at a table patiently waiting for me to ask her to go questing. The chest upstairs was reserved for excess weapons and armor, the bedside table for smithing ingots and ores, the one next to the Alchemy table for ingredients. I'd meticulously organized my owned virtual property not because I had to, but because tending to the minutia of domestic life is a comforting break from dealing with screaming frost trolls, dragons, a civil war, and job assignments that never seem to go as planned. It's even a sensible thing to do; a seemingly natural component of every day existence in Skyrim, one of the most fully-realized, easily enjoyable, and utterly engrossing role-playing games ever made.

Part of what makes it so enjoyable has to do with how legacy Elder Scrolls clutter has been condensed and in some cases eliminated. In Skyrim, there's no more moon-hopping between hilltops with a maxed out Acrobatics skill. That's gone, so is Athletics. The Elder Scrolls V pares down the amount of skills and cuts out attributes like Endurance and Intelligence altogether. There's no time wasted on the character creation screen agonizing over which skills to assign as major. You don't assign major and minor skills at all, but instead pick one of ten races, each with a specific bonus. High Elves can once a day regenerate magicka quickly, Orcs can enter a berserk rage for more effective close-range combat. These abilities are best paired with certain character builds – the High Elf regeneration is useful for a magic user – but don't represent a rigid class choice. Major decisions don't need to be made until you're already out in the world and can try out magic, sneaking and weapon combat, emphasizing first-hand experience over instruction manual study, letting you specialize only when you're ready.

It contributes to the thrilling sense of freedom associated with life in Skyrim. Do a quest, kill a dragon, snatch torchbugs from the air, munch on butterfly wings or simply wander while listening to one of the best game soundtracks in recent memory. Despite the enormity of the world and the colossal amount of content contained within, little feels random and useless. Even chewing on a butterfly wing has purpose, as it reveals one of several alchemical parameters later useful in potion making at an alchemy table. Mined ore and scraps of metal from Dwemer ruins can be smelted into ingots and fashioned into armor sets, pelts lifted from slain wildlife can be turned into leather armor sets, and random books plucked from ancient ruins can trigger hidden quest lines that lead to valuable rewards. Skyrim's land mass is absolutely stuffed with content and curiosities, making every step you take, even if it's through what seems like total wilderness, an exciting one, as something unexpected often lies just over the next ridge.

Many times the unexpected takes the form of a dragon. Sometimes they're purposefully placed to guard relics, sometimes they swoop over cities and attack at seemingly random times. In the middle of a fight against a camp of bandits a dragon might strike, screaming through the sky and searing foe and friendly alike with frost or flame. Momentarily all on the battlefield unite, directing arrows and magic blasts upward to knock down the creature, creating impromptu moments of camaraderie -- a surprising change from what may have been yet another by-the-numbers bandit camp sweep. Dragons show up often, their presence announced by an ominous flap of broad wings or an otherworldly scream from high above. The scale and startling detail built into each creature's appearance and animations as it circles, stops to attack, circles again and slams to the ground makes encounters thrilling, though their predictable attack patterns lessen the excitement after a few battles. In the long run they're far less irritating than the Oblivion gate equivalent from The Elder Scrolls IV, can be completed in a few minutes, and always offer a useful reward.

Killing a dragon yields a soul, which powers Skyrim's new Shout system. These are magical abilities any character can use, you don't have to specialize in spell casting to slow time, throw your voice, change the weather, call in allies, blast out ice and fire, or knock back enemies with a rolling wave of pure force. Even if you favor sword, shield and heavy armor and ignore magic entirely, you'll still be able to take full advantage of these abilities provided you find the proper words – each Shout has three – hidden on Skyrim's high snowy peaks and in the depths of forgotten dungeons, serving as another reason to continue exploring long after you've exhausted the main quest story, joined with the Thieves Guild, fought alongside the Dark Brotherhood, or thrown your support behind one of the factions vying for control of Skyrim.

Not only is this land under assault by dragons, long thought to be dead, it's also ripped in two by civil war. You can choose one side or the other, but so much of the allure of Skyrim is how, even outside of the confines of quest lines, the embattled state of the world is evident, and steeped in a rich fictional legacy. Lord of the Rings this is not, but with the release of every Elder Scrolls game, the fiction becomes denser, and the cross-referencing for long-time fans all the more rewarding.

Skyrim's residents are all aware of current events. They'll comment on the civil war, some sympathizing with the rebels, others thinking the establishment sold its soul. The peasants complain about the Jarls who control each settlement, the Jarls complain about the rebels or foreign policy, the overprotective College librarian complains when I drop dragon scales all over his floor; many characters feel like whole, distinct personalities instead of vacuous nothings that hand out quests like a downtown greeter hands out flyers for discount jeans. Characters stereotype based on race, they double-cross at even the slightest hint it might be profitable, and they react to your evolving stature within the world. It makes a ridiculous realm, filled with computer-controlled cat people and humanoid reptiles, demon gods and dragons, feel authentic, like a world that existed long before you showed up and will continue to exist long after you leave.

89

Well worth the wait

dockzor | Nov. 2, 2014 | Review of Farming Simulator 15

Farming Simulator 15. After a long wait, it's finally here. While the basic gameplay remains the same from previous versions, the graphical updates are truly stunning. Dirt shaders, and particle systems are among the game's crowning achivements. The upgraded physics shine as well as now you must carefully match your equipment's power tp the implements. The included maps are very nice although the inclusion of Westbridge Hills from the FS 2013 Titanium Addon is a bit disapointing. The new map Bjornholm is great and features many variations of field size and terrian. The addtion of forestry is a major part of this game's early succsess, although the actual mechanics of forestry are a bit buggy. The equipment is properly massive and very impressive in look and function. Gamers familiar with FS 2013 should be able to jump right in and play without any problems as the basic controls have remained the same. Steering Wheel/Gamepad users should be aware of a bug with key bindings in which ALL functions must be mapped or the game will not load. Overall this is a fantastic upgrade to an already great franchise and should take it's place on the top of the heap of simulation games.

94

Shadow of Mordor is excellent

dockzor | Nov. 2, 2014 | Review of Middle-earth™: Shadow of Mordor™

Shadow of Mordor is an excellent third person action game that takes the best parts of the Batman Arkham games, places it in Mordor, throws in a little (of the best of) Assassin's Creed and some outstanding voice work and out comes an excellent game.

Here's the tl;dr Pros/Cons:

Pros + Looks great. Sounds great. + Exceptionally optimized. Don't be fearful of the requirements. I came across no bugs whatsoever. + Takes one of the best combat systems in recent gaming history and applies it to a world that it really excels in. Combat animations are brutal (in a good way). Sneaking up on orcs and/or mauling a large pack of orcs is fun throughout the entire game. Some awesome "orc death" animations. The sight of an orc head flying away never gets old. + Strong story in a world that is teeming with stories. + A TON of stuff to do. Sidequests, hunting, collectibles, challenge modes. Nemesis system essentially creates a neverending enemy hierarchy. + Encourages further reading of Tolkien. + Stealth is fun and easy to get the hang of. + Fun with Carigors! When you hear an orc say "It's a carigor!" Climb up high, and have fun siccing them on orcs.

Cons - Story can be finished quickly unless you take your time. - An absolute fart of a final boss fight. Total copout in terms of design. - A smattering of quicktime events that are annoying and take you out of the immersion. - Some forgettable supporting characters. Lack of Middle Earth races represented. Mostly just men and orcs. - Respawning of enemies in areas cleared prior happen almost immediately and is another immersion killer. - Game map (there are two sections, one opens later in the game) seems small for a game that is a 35 gigabyte download. - A bit easy. Lack of a choice of skill level hurts replayability.

I'm writing this review shortly after completing the story. According to Steam, I have 20.3 hours invested into it. I did not do everything there is to do and I imagine had I taken more time I could easily have gotten 50 hours into it. However, I found myself into the story and enjoyed the missions a lot, so I kept at it especially after gaining one particular ability. I won't spoil it, but it starts with a "B" and you get it roughly 60-70% of the way into the story and can totally change how you approach any skirmish in the game, big or small. Needless to say "B" is awesome and plays a key role in the lead up to the final confrontations. I am on the fence as to returning to the game to finish the plethora of side missions and I am probably going to wait until story DLC before I do so.

Without going into too much detail of the story, the game is one that grabs you immediately. Put simply, the Shadow of Mordor is a story of revenge and the opening is done so exceptionally well that I was immediately engaged and wanting to destroy orcs within minutes of taking control of the main character, Talion. While the game does a decent job of keeping this interest, I do feel there were some shortcuts taken in almost every respect. The story is not immediately predictable, but does run into some typical cliches that may have been unavoidable. The big bad guys that are your true "targets" (they're not orcs) are more fearful in terms of their look than their bite once you fight them.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the game is what's being termed as "the nemesis system". What this means is that when you are defeated in battle, the orc that defeats you grows in power, remembers you, and you are encouraged to seek him out to exact your revenge. There is almost a neverending limit to orcs that get promoted, so as you kill one, another will take his place in the power hierarchy in essence creating a constant power struggle amongst the orcs of Mordor. They will even fight themselves, plot against one another, and you can essentially push this one way or another by the choices you make. Unfortunately, this system does not have an effect on the story and could almost be considered a meta game as the story missions are mostly unaffected by this system until nearer the end. Despite this, the nemesis system is one that I imagine will be copied and perfected by other games. I am already imagining something like this in a game of political intrigue, or with a terrorist mastermind who becomes stronger via the choices you make. This is an excellent mechanic that deserves to be explored more fully.

QuickTip: Focus on Ranger abilities first. They are integral to strengthening Talion.

Most of the enemies in this game are run of the mill orcs. Some are stronger than others (i.e. Captains) and require some aspect of a mission (kill X number of guys a certain way) before they appear. It is very Arkham-esque in certain respects as most of the foot soldiers are complete pushovers. That said, I found most of this game entirely too easy. The only times I felt truly challenged by my enemies was when they were completely overwhelming or I was stuck in a chokepoint unable to defend myself. You will die, but I guarantee you will feel "cheated" at times regarding your manner of death. The lack of a skill level selection hurts this game's replayability.

QuickTip: Run a benchmark when you first launch the game and experiment with the settings from there. I was able to Ultra everything even if the benchmark put me at high on everything!

All in all, I am extremely impressed by Shadow of Mordor. It's an engaging and fun third person action game in a familar world with great mechanics and some new ones that should be staples in future games. It's technologically sound, and while I felt extremely let down by the final boss "fight", the journey was worth it. I wanted Talion to succeed and that is half the battle in a game like this. When the player cares about the "avatar", you've got yourself a great starting point. If you are at all a fan of this world, you owe it yourself to play this game. third person action game that takes the best parts of the Batman Arkham games, places it in Mordor, throws in a little (of the best of) Assassin's Creed and some outstanding voice work and out comes an excellent game.

Here's the tl;dr Pros/Cons:

Pros + Looks great. Sounds great. + Exceptionally optimized. Don't be fearful of the requirements. I came across no bugs whatsoever. + Takes one of the best combat systems in recent gaming history and applies it to a world that it really excels in. Combat animations are brutal (in a good way). Sneaking up on orcs and/or mauling a large pack of orcs is fun throughout the entire game. Some awesome "orc death" animations. The sight of an orc head flying away never gets old. + Strong story in a world that is teeming with stories. + A TON of stuff to do. Sidequests, hunting, collectibles, challenge modes. Nemesis system essentially creates a neverending enemy hierarchy. + Encourages further reading of Tolkien. + Stealth is fun and easy to get the hang of. + Fun with Carigors! When you hear an orc say "It's a carigor!" Climb up high, and have fun siccing them on orcs.

Cons - Story can be finished quickly unless you take your time. - An absolute fart of a final boss fight. Total copout in terms of design. - A smattering of quicktime events that are annoying and take you out of the immersion. - Some forgettable supporting characters. Lack of Middle Earth races represented. Mostly just men and orcs. - Respawning of enemies in areas cleared prior happen almost immediately and is another immersion killer. - Game map (there are two sections, one opens later in the game) seems small for a game that is a 35 gigabyte download. - A bit easy. Lack of a choice of skill level hurts replayability.

I'm writing this review shortly after completing the story. According to Steam, I have 20.3 hours invested into it. I did not do everything there is to do and I imagine had I taken more time I could easily have gotten 50 hours into it. However, I found myself into the story and enjoyed the missions a lot, so I kept at it especially after gaining one particular ability. I won't spoil it, but it starts with a "B" and you get it roughly 60-70% of the way into the story and can totally change how you approach any skirmish in the game, big or small. Needless to say "B" is awesome and plays a key role in the lead up to the final confrontations. I am on the fence as to returning to the game to finish the plethora of side missions and I am probably going to wait until story DLC before I do so.

Without going into too much detail of the story, the game is one that grabs you immediately. Put simply, the Shadow of Mordor is a story of revenge and the opening is done so exceptionally well that I was immediately engaged and wanting to destroy orcs within minutes of taking control of the main character, Talion. While the game does a decent job of keeping this interest, I do feel there were some shortcuts taken in almost every respect. The story is not immediately predictable, but does run into some typical cliches that may have been unavoidable. The big bad guys that are your true "targets" (they're not orcs) are more fearful in terms of their look than their bite once you fight them.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the game is what's being termed as "the nemesis system". What this means is that when you are defeated in battle, the orc that defeats you grows in power, remembers you, and you are encouraged to seek him out to exact your revenge. There is almost a neverending limit to orcs that get promoted, so as you kill one, another will take his place in the power hierarchy in essence creating a constant power struggle amongst the orcs of Mordor. They will even fight themselves, plot against one another, and you can essentially push this one way or another by the choices you make. Unfortunately, this system does not have an effect on the story and could almost be considered a meta game as the story missions are mostly unaffected by this system until nearer the end. Despite this, the nemesis system is one that I imagine will be copied and perfected by other games. I am already imagining something like this in a game of political intrigue, or with a terrorist mastermind who becomes stronger via the choices you make. This is an excellent mechanic that deserves to be explored more fully.

QuickTip: Focus on Ranger abilities first. They are integral to strengthening Talion.

Most of the enemies in this game are run of the mill orcs. Some are stronger than others (i.e. Captains) and require some aspect of a mission (kill X number of guys a certain way) before they appear. It is very Arkham-esque in certain respects as most of the foot soldiers are complete pushovers. That said, I found most of this game entirely too easy. The only times I felt truly challenged by my enemies was when they were completely overwhelming or I was stuck in a chokepoint unable to defend myself. You will die, but I guarantee you will feel "cheated" at times regarding your manner of death. The lack of a skill level selection hurts this game's replayability.

QuickTip: Run a benchmark when you first launch the game and experiment with the settings from there. I was able to Ultra everything even if the benchmark put me at high on everything!

All in all, I am extremely impressed by Shadow of Mordor. It's an engaging and fun third person action game in a familar world with great mechanics and some new ones that should be staples in future games. It's technologically sound, and while I felt extremely let down by the final boss "fight", the journey was worth it. I wanted Talion to succeed and that is half the battle in a game like this. When the player cares about the "avatar", you've got yourself a great starting point. If you are at all a fan of this world, you owe it yourself to play this game.

89

Simply amazing.

dockzor | March 5, 2014 | Review of Puddle

Simply amazing. It's a puzzle game, you play as a puddle. Of coffee. Or water. Or weedkiller. And so on.

Each liquid has its own unique property, and all you do is tilt the screen, and let physics do the rest!

Great presentation style, the science-y background music is awesome, and the puzzles are good with a fairly reasonable learning curve, so even total newbies can master the concept of the game.

87

A fresh reboot of a classic dimond!

dockzor | March 5, 2014 | Review of THIEF

You know there are two kinds of review you should take into consideration when you have a reboot for an old school game like Thief. There are the the people who are hardcore fans and are looking for the game they know and love, then there are the new players who are looking for a good game in general. I am new player, I have never played a Thief game before this so obviously I speak for the 2nd group of players.

So far this game is very fun and unique among my game library. I am glad to see this game sticks to its guns and focuses on actual thievery and isn't combat such as Assassins Creed or Dishonored, fighting multiple enemies is suicide and stealth is always the best option. There is also the ability to customize the difficulty in any way that suits your play-style to make it harder or easier, by choosing harder settings boosts your score and rewards you for playing hardcore.

Another feature I like seems to be similar to Splinter Cell, after a mission you receive a score based on three categories (Ghost, Predator, Opportunist). My only beef with this game so far is that its a little linear and the maps seem small compared to a game like Dishonored. Its just my preference, its nothing against the game. As long as a game maintains a strong story and good mechanics then being linear is fine, being a linear game seems like a bad thing these days and to me its just one method to telling a story.

On to the second part of this review.

When I was reading reviews on metacritic today I noticed that about 90% of the negative reviews were about how "modern" it was or how it was a crappy addition to the series. Now I can understand why people might be disappointed in the direction a game might take but it doesn't make it right to give it a 0/10. Fact is that this is a quality game and plenty of effort was put into developing it, thats all I can ask for.