Reviews by heerox328

97

An amazing ending to an amazing trilogy.

heerox328 | July 28, 2014 | Review of Mass Effect 3 (NA)

Mass Effect 3 was a controversial installment in the trilogy, largely due to how the experience ended. Do not let the hate and negativity dissuade you from what is arguably one of the greatest trilogies ever created. The ending is phenomenal, and in a period where there is no right or wrong choice, and each choice will have profound consequences, it's up to the player to choose how the galaxy will continue.

Mass Effect 3 continues the amazing plot, story, and character development the series has always been known for. All previous companions make a comeback and their stories are rightfully concluded before the ending of the game. Combat is refined and has been expanded, providing new opportunities and choices for the player.

The overall scale of conflict in Mass Effect 3 is absolutely massive and dwarfs anything that was done by its predecessors. This is one ride that will keep you engage, immersed, and ultimately leave you so profoundly moved, you realize you just witnessed something truly special. Above all else Mass Effect 3 is more than just a game. It's a true masterpiece on a variety of levels and just goes to show what is truly possible when amazing storytelling, voice acting, and personal choice can truly impact the experience in ways we never thought was possible.

If you have not played this game, you are doing yourself a disservice. Pick up Mass Effect 3 now and experience what is probably the greatest story-driven, science fiction franchise ever created in video games.

77

Not perfect, but has potential.

heerox328 | July 17, 2014 | Review of Dishonored

Dishonored very much reminds me of Metro 2033. It is a game that has a rich and interesting universe, while having a lot of potential of truly being special. In some aspects, Dishonored is great. In others, it somewhat fails to deliver. 4A Games was able to deliver the true experience we wanted with Metro Last Light, and I'm curious if Arkane Studios would be able to rectify the issues Dishonored suffered in a sequel. Anyways, I'll address the pros and cons below:

Pro* - Great sandbox and environment verticality: One of the areas Dishonored excels well in, despite being rather linear, is a great deal of choice in how you move in the environment. You will often find yourself either climbing roofs, sneaking through buildings, or moving underground. How you move and where you go is really up to you.

  • Combat with variety: Whether you want to use range, go in close and personal, or set traps, there are a variety of tools at your disposal that can keep combat interesting.

  • Interesting characters: One potential strong point is the variety in character personality and the various motivations that compel them to action. You meet all sorts of characters that can help with the pacing of the experience.

  • Powers, enhancements, and bone charms: Mixing in magic actually gives Dishonored a unique experience. Some of the powers are worthless, but others such as night vision and blink are invaluable. Enhancements are just powers that are passive-oriented rather than active, which are useful. While many of the bone charms seem to be worthless, there are a few that can actually improve game play, such as knocking an enemy unconscious faster, if you want a low chaos score.

  • Your actions have impact: What is actually really compelling about Dishonored is your actions, largely in whether you kill or spare enemies, has a major impact on the experience. It will change how people perceive you and can even go as far as determining how many weepers and rats are around, and even manipulate the setting and tone of the environment and how the story plays out. The latter is most apparent in the final mission.

Con* - Terrible morality system: The element that I may like the least about Dishonored is the fact that chaos is largely determined by whether you choose to kill or spare enemies, especially major targets. I would not mind this as much if I had as many ways of knocking an enemy unconscious as I do killing them. It was incredibly frustrating having to reload and meticulously make every step without killing someone just to achieve the low chaos ("good") ending. Forcing players not to use tools at their disposal is bad game design. Chaos should be more so driven by story choices I make, rather than pure game play choices of killing or not killing enemies.

  • Combat unpolished and not well-considered: Sword fighting has potential, but was very clunky and not built to take on multiple enemies at once. Pistols were overpowered and took away from the stealth elements. Crossbows were nice, but again an emphasis on killing. Assassinations and sneaking up from behind is where the combat excels. With how chaos is gained, if one wants the good ending, you can't use most of the tools you are given.

  • An uninteresting story until near the end: Not to spoil anything, the game is rather slow, predictable, and uninteresting about 60% of the experience. Things don't become interesting until a decisive turning point where the game really comes to life. The game is also very short, with there only being 9 chapters, which fly by quickly. Arkane Studios could take some cues from Irrational Games in how to make a truly fantastic, yet unpredictable story.

  • Silent protagonist: This is more of a personal critique, but Corvo not having a voice took away from the experience. With amazing main characters such as Commander Shepard, Geralt of Rivia, John Marston, etc., we are in a time of gaming where voiced protagonists work and are extremely compelling. Silent protagonists are a thing of the past and honestly while they are supposed to allow the player to further develop the character more personally, having one-sided conversations doesn't leave much to the imagination.

  • Stereotypical good guy, bad guy: While there are many interesting characters, the extremity of morality, much like the chaos system, takes away from the experience. You either realize people are pure of heart and inherently good, or they are sinister, diabolical creatures with only their personal interests in mind. Such extremes takes away from the story and makes the experience less engaging and less immersive.

Dishonored has a great foundation to be something incredible, but the game itself is at best a decent experience. With a bit more focus and reconsidering some of the mechanics, we may have an incredible new franchise on our hands. This game is definitely worth picking up, but I wouldn't pay full price for it.

88

Origins is the most refined Arkham game to date.

heerox328 | Nov. 19, 2013 | Review of Batman Arkham Origins

Origins is truly an Arkham game in every right. WB Montreal should be commended for continuing the phenomenal franchise that Rocksteady started with Asylum. The game is in every way just as professional and compelling as the two previous installments. With the addition of new enemies, new gadgets, a more in-depth detective mode, multiplayer, and a more refined Batman experience, it truly is a game worth purchasing.

The only criticism one could argue in regards to this game is it doesn't innovate enough. The gameplay experience is still very much identical to Asylum and City. That, of course, isn't necessarily a bad thing, but could lead to criticism from those who may have wanted more. As far as storytelling is concerned, I would personally consider it the strongest out of the franchise thus far. A raw and inexperienced Batman encountering what will become some of his most dangerous and longstanding enemies makes for a truly compelling story.

In regards to the environment, it is twice the size of City, offering a whole new section of Gotham, and is littered with plenty of activities, crimes in progress, crime scenes, etc. For veterans of the Arkham games and those who are personal fans of Batman, this is definitely a buy. Even for those who may have not played Asylum or City, this game is a great intro as it isn't directly connected to the two previous installments.

A truly phenomenal experience. I cannot wait for the season pass content to be available for play.