Reviews by lachking
Pretty Good Gamelachking | May 17, 2013 | Review of Worms Blast
Worms Blast is a departure from the traditional Worms gameplay but still makes for a fun experience. Instead of the turn based mayhem, 2 players fight against each other in real time. You shoot coloured blocks, collect weapons and attempt to kill your opponent on the other side of the divider. There are a large variety of weapons, ranging from the traditional bazooka to the gigantic sea monster and the hungry piranhas. There is also a single player mode, called puzzle where the game offers you an array of challenges which will not only test your Worms Blast abilities, but also your ability to problem solve. You unlock characters and game modes as you progress and you can use them when playing against a friend or AI opponent in versus mode. The game has a nice visual style with bright colours and the accompanying music suits the cheerful atmosphere of the game well. Worms fans may be disappointed with the game’s departure from the traditional gameplay, but Worms Blast is a pretty solid game is its own right and offers a fun experience.
Incredible Experiencelachking | May 17, 2013 | Review of Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition
Deus Ex, although an old game now is still one of the best out there. The game cleverly mixes the genres of FPS, RPG and stealth together to create a superb and engrossing experience. You can play the game as you wish, whether that be killing everyone as a strength character or sneaking around as a stealth character. The story is engaging and what you do will impact on plot points and what characters say to you. The voice acting is top notch with a mix of serious and humorous lines. Throughout the game you will visit a variety of locations such as downtown New York, underground sewers and hidden terrorist bases with many different tasks to complete including optional secondary objectives. The graphics are admittedly dated, and the game appears to always be at night time but the game is much deeper than visual impressions. This is a superb game that should be experienced by everyone.
Pretty Good RTSlachking | May 10, 2013 | Review of Empire Earth 2: Gold Edition
Empire Earth 2 is a pretty old game now but it still is quite good. In most respects, Empire Earth 2 is Age of Empires and Civilization put together and works well for the most part. There are a variety of different campaigns and many different factions each with different bonuses and unique units. A standard skirmish or online game can take you through the ages from stone age times all the way to the future and it can be fun to fight your way through time using units of different time periods. The game also has weather effects such as rain which can alter the state of battle and the effectiveness of units. The battle plans interface is also interesting and allows you to coordinate an attack properly with AI teammates. The expansion pack improves the game by adding more units, factions and a tug of war game mode. The expansion also allows you to upgrade regular units to heroes, making them more effective in combat. In terms of presentation, the game is solid but not outstanding. The graphics are quite good, and the added picture in picture gives you an extra set of eyes on the battlefield. The music is also solid, containing a variety of different tracks suited to the civilization you’re playing. The sound effects however, are a bit of a letdown and mainly just consist of generic explosions, dying sounds and repeated unit dialogue. At the end of the day, this package is quite good, but also a bit dated. A good hybrid of Age of Empires and Civilization.
Pretty Solid Racerlachking | May 10, 2013 | Review of SSV8NC Superstar V8 Next Challenge
V8 Next Challenge as a racer is a pretty solid and complete package. There are a variety of different game modes such as quick race, race weekend and Championship and there are various cars to pick, although the actual differences between them are not that large aside from the embedded colours and logos. The graphical presentation is quite nice in terms of colour depth and your car will begin to look battered as you take damage. The game can be a bit easy as the AI is not really aggressive and will not really try to stop you overtaking them but you can increase the difficulty by disabling certain assists, enabling penalties and setting the transmission to manual. All said, an enjoyable racing experience can be had with this game.
Nice Real Time Tacticslachking | April 26, 2013 | Review of Ground Control II: Operation Exodus
Ground Control 2 is a fun and exciting strategy real time tactics game. The most obvious difference to other strategy games like Starcraft is that there is no base building and you instead get extra units by way of a dropship. You gain requisition points by capturing strategic locations and you can use these points to buy more units and upgrades or use on special abilities. There are two playable races in the game: the humans and the Viron and each race gets a campaign which offers a variety of missions with solid voice acting to accompany the story in your fight against the Terrans. It is a bit odd however that you are unable to play as Terran at all, even in multiplayer or skirmish games. The highlight of the game however is the graphical style and effects. Simply said, the graphics are sublime. You can zoom in really close to the battle to the point you can hear your units’ footsteps and you can pan the camera to see the beautiful night sky with the reflection of planets and stars. When it rains you can even see the water run off on the terrain and the way the water itself reflects the above sky is simply dazzling. This is a great game with streamlined gameplay and an excellent atmosphere to keep you playing.
Solid but better options existlachking | April 6, 2013 | Review of Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad
Red Orchestra is an FPS set in the World War 2 Era and is now definitely a solid game after a rocky launch, but it must be said that better options do exist such as Counterstrike GO and Battlefield 3. Red Orchestra however, does have some good concepts. The map design is quite good offering a variety of different settings often with buildings and rubble to give you cover. There are a variety of classes to pick and you even have the option to drive tanks, a mechanic Battlefield veterans will be familiar with. The visuals and sounds are also quite good, creating an immersive World War 2 Atmosphere. However, the game itself is quite difficult, and you will often die in one hit. The game is also much slower paced than other online shooters, so many may find it a tad boring. The single player AI in the campaign is also rather weak and will constantly get in your way and hinder your progress.
Great game with some annoyanceslachking | March 28, 2013 | Review of DiRT 3
Dirt 3 is a great racing game with various game modes across many maps, and for the most part, is an entertaining experience. In the various game modes you will drive many different cars and as you progress in the single player mode you will receive more. Dirt 3 is not always about racing, some challenges are time trials and some are also the new Gymkhana mode where you try to score as many points as possible by doing car tricks like bashing objects and skidding in specific zones (this game mode very much reminds me of Tony Hawk games). The single player mode is also well voiced and you will face many challenges in rising to the top. The game’s visual style is nice, although you will need to turn down settings quite a bit if you have a low end computer. The audio track is also good, with a variety of songs from different bands. However, in spite of all the positives there are a couple of annoyances. The menu navigation is very annoying and the whole triangle interface is confusing and pointless to say the least. The game also needs Games for Windows Live, which in itself is very annoying and cumbersome to use. These two factors are annoying, but certainly do not break a great racing game.
Great Bundlelachking | March 25, 2013 | Review of Civilization V: Gold Edition
Many people say that Civilization 4 is the pinnacle of the series, but in all honesty I prefer Civilization V. The most dramatic change in Civ V is the whole hex style interface, the enhanced graphics engine and the one unit per tile rule. The one unit per tile rule is a positive in my book since you need to be more strategic rather than just massing units like you can in Civ 4. I also like the fact that cities now have a health rating, meaning captures have to be more strategically planned with a balance of melee and ranged units. This collection also adds Gods and Kings which adds more maps, scenarios and leaders. Gods and Kings as the name suggests also places an emphasis on religion where you spend faith points on upgrades for your civilization. Finally, the pack also includes many DLCs which adds more scenarios and maps to the mix. You could potentially have a long running debate as to whether Civ 4 is better than Civ V, but for me personally, I think Civ V has made some great improvements to the franchise and this bundle has it all.
Great pack offering excellent valuelachking | March 25, 2013 | Review of The Basement Collection
The Basement Collection is a bundle of earlier works from Edmund McMillen and is a great package overall. Various interesting games are included and there is a bunch of unlockable material such as concept art, soundtracks and even more games. Many of the games also have level editors where you can create your own levels. Some games are better than others, and for me Meat Boy is clearly the best, but Grey Matter and Spewer are also quite good (Spewer is very weird though but still fun). The other included games are also pretty good though as well and none are particularly bad. The graphics are quite basic for many of the games, especially Time Fcuk, but still look pretty good. The music on the other hand is particularly outstanding, especially in Aether.
Great Packlachking | March 12, 2013 | Review of Tropico 4 Collectors Bundle DNS
At first glance, Tropico 4 looks a lot like Tropico 3: the graphics engine is very similar and many models are reused. However, Tropico 4 brings many good additions to the series to create a more enjoyable experience overall. For those new to the series, Tropico is a city builder like SimCity with added political elements in the mix. Different to Tropico 3, Tropico 4 adds more buildings and missions as well as a cooler soundtrack. Tropico 4 also adds more foreign factions such as China and you can now import resources rather than just export. The expansion Modern Times adds more buildings, missions and edicts, with the included DLCs also adding extra features such as costumes, scenery tiles and even more buildings. Although the premise can get repetitive, there is lots to do in Tropico 4. From the campaign, to the random map generator sandbox to user made challenges, you are sure to have lots of fun being El Presidente.
Great Game!lachking | Feb. 22, 2013 | Review of Archon Classic
Archon Classic looks and feels like chess in many regards but has some very interesting concepts. Every time a piece lands on another the game takes you into a battle arena where you fight it out. The many different piece types bring many different strengths and weaknesses into play, and you need to be strategic in how you plan your advance. To make things even more strategic, the majority of the game board changes from dark to light to neutral over time, bringing battle advantages to either light or dark in particular battles. There is also a fairly large array of game options available, ranging from campaigns, leveling up pieces games, and hot seat games where you can play with a friend. The graphics engine is also quite nice plus you have the option of showing the retro graphics if you prefer the old look. The music is also quit catchy, especially the music that plays when battle engages.
Simplistic yet addictivelachking | Feb. 20, 2013 | Review of Zombies.
At first glance, Zombies appears to be a generic 8-bit game, but there is more depth than meets the eye. The levels while not widely varied in locations, offer enjoyable maze like structures where you need to find the exit and survive the zombie onslaught. You start with a limited array of weapons, but you gather more as you progress, and the cut scenes are quite humorous. The game's soundtrack is also good: the heavy rock style suits the context well as it makes you just want to kill more zombies! There are also differing game modes such as endless and there are various boss fights with humorous names to be fought. The graphics are basic, but suit the context of the game well. All said, a pretty fun little zombie killer.
Interesting tower defence gamelachking | Feb. 15, 2013 | Review of Unstoppable Gorg
Unstoppable Gorg is a solid game with some interesting concepts. The most interesting concept is the whole orbital interface where you can rotate your towers around to move them to better placement in facing the changing enemy waves. The visual style is nice, with good textures and the ability to zoom in and out. The voice acting in the cinematics is a bit embarrassing, but it does set a humorous tone for the game. In spite of the interesting concepts, there are some pitfalls. The difficulty for starters is quite high, and you will likely need to replay levels a lot to succeed. Although you can unlock additional towers, there no real variety in the levels, nor is there a large variety in enemies. In this regard, the game can also get rather repetitive. Overall however, the game is still a solid experience with some differences over more traditional tower defence games.
Pretty Solid DLClachking | Feb. 14, 2013 | Review of Tropico 4: Megalopolis DNS
Megalopolis makes some solid additions to Tropico 4. The new Conventillo house in particular, is interesting as you have access to a relatively cheap and large high quality house early in the game, which can help raise your overall housing quality rating more quickly than say, tenements. You do have to provide maintenance every once in a while, as the quality declines, but it is still a good housing option. The new mission is also interesting, with many challenges and decisions thrown in your face as you need to provide housing, food and employment for a rapidly rising population.
Not bad!lachking | Feb. 9, 2013 | Review of Bus Driver
On paper, the concept of Bus Driver seems laughable for a computer game. You drive buses; take people around, stop at bus stops and obey each and every road rule. In practice however, the concepts actually work pretty solidly for a computer game. There are a wide range of missions with different bus routes and it can be fun to get the highest score you can by driving as safely as possible. You lose points for instances such as breaking too quickly, failing to indicate when turning and running a red light. It must be said however, that the premise is quite limited and may get repetitive rather quickly as every mission involves merely taking passengers from A to B, then others from C to D.
In terms of presentation, the game is solid although not mind-blowing. The graphics engine looks solid with a good array of colour depth. There is not much music aside from the main menu, and it sounds decent. The game’s sound effects are rather lacking however and mainly involve just bus engine sounds and people screaming if you break too hard.
In all in, not a bad game as it is surprisingly fun for what seemingly sounds like a boring concept.
Good conversion of the board gamelachking | Jan. 31, 2013 | Review of Carcassonne
The PC version of Carcassonne is a good reproduction of the board game. Many annoying features of board games are streamlined, making it a more entertaining experience such as not having to keep score or pack up tile pieces. You also get 4 expansions in this game to add more variety, such as rivers. You can play online multiplayer, hotseat with friends or AI games. The game is still worth it even with just playing the computer as they provide a great challenge and will constantly try to cut you off. You need to think ahead and plan carefully to outwit your opponents.
My only criticism of this game is that there is not much help for newcomers. Explanations are very brief, and hardly describe much at all, for example the expansions are simply described as “expansion 1” etc without telling you what they actually add. For this reason, the game is obviously aimed at people who have played the board game, so if you are new, you may need to spend quite a bit of time reading online guides or perhaps buy the board game yourself.
The graphics while quite basic still look respectable for a board game. The music might also annoy some people but I found it to be quite catchy and there are numerous tracks available. All said, it is good to see that the board game has transitioned well to the computer without much incident.
Solid game but not without problemslachking | Jan. 28, 2013 | Review of Battlestations: Midway
Battlestations: Midway as a package is quite well put together. There is a campaign with various types of missions, there are numerous cut scenes and there are challenge mode missions. You command a variety of vehicles such as planes, ships and submarines and the controls are smooth and responsive. The graphics are solid although not particularly outstanding and the sound effects are also quite good as well. The main problem with the game however, is that the missions get difficult and repetitive rather quickly. You will often have to repeat certain segments, often the boring ones, to get to the challenging part of the mission, such as sailing out of a bay in a slow destroyer only to get annihilated upon entering the ocean. The objectives themselves are solid, but the actual mission designs let them down. However the game is still a solid experience nonetheless thanks to slick controls, good atmosphere and a variety of craft to pilot.
Interesting Tetris like gamelachking | Jan. 26, 2013 | Review of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
Robotnik’s bean machine is like Tetris in many ways but there are some differences. Instead of blocks you have blobs of beans and you have to match colours to get points. You can rotate beans around to make some interesting shapes other than just lines. Another difference from Tetris is that this game encourages competition. Two players play at a time, either person vs person or person vs AI and you try to get combos to drop un-linkable beans into your enemy’s pit to disrupt their scoring or to give them a stack to make them lose. The retro-style track adds to the atmosphere and all said, is quite catchy. All in all, Robotnik’s bean machine is a pretty good game that encourages competition between players.
Not as good as the other Sonic classicslachking | Jan. 24, 2013 | Review of Sonic CD
Sonic CD is a good Sonic game at heart, but all said, I prefer the other Sonic classics, namely Sonic 1,2 and 3. This game has a few twists that differentiate it from the other classic Sonic games however. One interesting feature is time travel. Occasionally throughout levels you’ll find past or future posts which can take you through time. Although time travel can be interesting, all it really does is change the aesthetics of the game through altering the colours and music, but it is a nice touch.
The environments are solid supported by good level design, although some puzzles can get quite annoying. The level Wacky Workbench isn’t so good however, and in fact is quite annoying as you'll bounce around everywhere, making it hard to get to where you want to.
The Robotnik bosses are decent in Sonic CD but are nowhere near as good or inspired as those in the other sonic classics. In one instance, Robotnik shields himself with bubbles underwater, which seems very silly to say the least. The end game boss is also rather anti-climactic as it is just a regular Robotnik boss which dies in 4 or 5 hits rather than the traditional end game super boss.
The visual style in Sonic CD is solid and the music is also quite good. You can switch between the Japanese and US soundtrack to add more variety to the in-game music. There are also numerous unlockables to be found, such as being able to play as Tails.
At the end of the day, Sonic CD is not as good as the other classic Sonic games but that does not make Sonic CD bad by any means. Time travel is interesting, and most of the levels are good. The unlockables also add more fun to the mix.
Great addition to Civilization Vlachking | Dec. 31, 2012 | Review of Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & Kings (ANZ)
Gods and Kings is the first full expansion to the fifth instalment of the series and makes some great improvements. One of the largest improvements is the addition of religion. Like culture, you gather religion (faith) as a resource through different means which you can then spend. You can spend your faith to found a religion and to improve your religion. In addition to the espionage elements, Gods and Kings also adds new units, new civilizations and makes adjustments to city states. The AI has also been improved and will not randomly build cities behind your empire now. All said, Gods and Kings makes some great improvements to make Civilization V an even better game than it was before.
Pretty good economical gamelachking | Dec. 19, 2012 | Review of Patrician III DNS
Patrician 3 is an economical trading game with some very good concepts. There are various types of missions and scenarios with different objectives under varying conditions. You can also play a quick game where you can personalise the conditions, as well as on-line multiplayer. The level of depth in the game is quite immense, and as such, newcomers may initially struggle to grasp the many concepts in the game such as trading, moving ships between towns, and meeting citizens’ needs. Fortunately, there are numerous tutorials to explain the many concepts but even then, there is still much to learn. Some people may appreciate the depth, but others may be put off quickly. The graphics engine while not bad is definitely dated, and the music and sound effects are rather lacking. If you can push yourself to learn the concepts and acknowledge the dated graphics and sound, you may very well have an enjoyable and rewarding experience in the long-run.
Good political builderlachking | Dec. 18, 2012 | Review of Tropico 3 DNS
Tropico 3 is an interesting and engaging city builder with the added element of being a political simulation. Like other building games such as SimCity, you will create structures, roads and the like. The political aspects add gameplay mechanics where you need to win elections and implement various policy types. The missions are fun and varied, with many different ways of losing other than merely going broke: you can lose by getting beaten in elections and you can also lose by being invaded by the US or USSR. The game also has a quirky sense of humour with many different jokes such as the descriptions of some buildings.
In terms of presentation, the game is quite good. The graphics engine looks great and runs quite well. The music is also really catchy and suits the context of the game well.
Great online experiencelachking | Dec. 5, 2012 | Review of Guild Wars 2: Digital Edition (NA)
Guild Wars 2 is my first experience to online role playing games and quite simply, I was blown away. The level of customisation is immense as you create your own character and play the game how you want to. There is no explicit way to play: you may like to be a warrior and slash enemies, or perhaps prefer to be a caster. You may engage in the main quest, or could also choose to complete many different tasks helping various people, such as placing rabbits in a cage. You can also if you wish just choose to explore the gigantic world presented to you and observe the breathtaking scenery.
Being an online game, there is also a large emphasis on interacting with other players. For this reason, it is a good idea to play with friends and complete tasks cooperatively. The experience gain for completing tasks is given to both players, and this encourages teamwork, especially since many tasks involve defeating powerful beasts which can prove difficult if attacked alone.
The game’s presentation is superb. The colour scheme with the graphics engine looks top notch. This is made even better with great looking scenery such as waterfalls accompanied with strong ambience. The music is also great and makes you want to keep playing the game.
One last point about this game is that there are no subscription fees. This is a huge plus, meaning you only need to buy the game and not be forced to pay monthly fees, which is the reason I never got into World of Warcraft. In all essence, Guild Wars 2 is a great game. Superb gameplay, great atmosphere, and no monthly fees combine to create a top notch online experience that will keep you coming back for more.
Good RTSlachking | Dec. 5, 2012 | Review of Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War II: Retribution
This is my first entry into the Dawn of War series and it is a good stand-alone expansion. You can play as all six factions, both in single player and online, although many missions are repeated in the campaign by the different factions. The gameplay is good, with more emphasis on tactics and controlling resource points rather than building units at bases from many buildings. Although campaign missions are repeated amongst the factions, the progression system is good: you get experience points to give more abilities to your heroes and different abilities picked can create varying gameplay paths.
The multiplayer is also good. You can play traditional skirmish type games where you capture points and attempt to deplete the enemy's tickets to zero. The Last Stand game mode is also interesting where you use heroes to survive waves of enemies and unlock stronger war gear as you progress.
In terms of presentation, the game delivers. The sound and music is quite good, and the graphics engine is top-notch, although you may need to turn settings down depending on your computer. The removal of Games for Windows Live is also a big plus.
Fun Dota type gamelachking | Dec. 5, 2012 | Review of Awesomenauts
Awesomenauts is a fun little title that plays like a 2D Dota type game. You pick a hero and fight enemy creeps and heroes in an effort to destroy the other side’s main building. As you progress through the leader board, you unlock additional heroes to play. While the game does not have as much depth as Dota 2, it is still very fun to play and the moba style of game is implemented well in a 2D style with platforming. The graphics engine looks quite nice with a good array of colours and performs very well. The music and sound effects are also quite nice and suit the context of the game well.
Beautifully presented gamelachking | Dec. 5, 2012 | Review of Trine
Trine is a very good platform game with many elements coming together well. The story telling and voice acting sets the scene well and the levels are fun with various obstacles and puzzles. You can switch between 3 different characters at any time, which reminds me of The Lost Vikings game. The wizard’s levitation and create box spells add interesting elements to the puzzles, although the traditional swordsman doesn't do anything out of the ordinary. You will need to frequently switch between characters to solve the various puzzles throughout the levels. It is satisfying to kill skeletons and other enemies, although their respawning can sometimes get in the way of puzzle solving. Without a doubt however, the best element of the game is the atmosphere: the 2D look with 3D effects looks superb, and the charming music adds to the atmosphere created.
Great FPSlachking | Dec. 5, 2012 | Review of BioShock® 2 DNS
A very good sequel. The game environment is the same as the previous title, taking place in Rapture Farms, an underwater city. However, you play a different character this time, a Big Daddy. The weapons are more interesting this time around, such as the rather cool drill you have from the start.You can also electrobolt enemies using your hand, a mechanic which reminds me of spells from the Elder Scrolls. Like the previous game, there are RPG elements: you pick up items, spend money, and search corpses for items. The graphical effects look high class, especially the water, with advanced lighting and reflection. The splash effects onto your heads up display also look particularly outstanding. The sound is also solid for the most part with good voice acting and weapon sound effects.
Beautifully presented platform gamelachking | Nov. 26, 2012 | Review of Trine
Trine is a great platform game with many elements coming together well. The story telling and voice acting sets the scene well and the levels are fun with various obstacles. You can switch between 3 different characters at any time, which reminds me of The Lost Vikings game. The wizard’s levitation and create box spells add interesting elements to the puzzles, although the traditional swordsman doesn't do anything out of the ordinary. You will need to frequently switch characters to solve the various puzzles throughout the levels. It is satisfying to kill skeletons, although their respawning can sometimes get in the way of puzzle solving. Without a doubt however, the best element of the game is the atmosphere: the 2D look with 3D effects looks superb, and the charming music adds to the atmosphere created.
Great FPS Gamelachking | Nov. 23, 2012 | Review of BioShock® 2 DNS
A great sequel. The game environment is the same as the previous title, taking place in Rapture Farms, an underwater city. However, you play a different character this time, a Big Daddy. The weapons are more interesting this time around, such as the rather cool drill you have from the start.You can also eletrobolt enemies using your hand, a mechanic which reminds me of spells from the Elder Scrolls. Like the previous game, there are RPG elements: you pick up items, spend money, and search corpses for items. The graphical effects look high class, especially the water, with advanced lighting and reflection. The splash effects onto your heads up display also look particularly outstanding. The sound is also solid for the most part with good voice acting and weapon sound effects.
Fun Gamelachking | Nov. 19, 2012 | Review of Awesomenauts
Awesomenauts is a fun little title that essentially plays like a 2D Dota game. You pick a hero and fight enemy creeps and heroes in an effort to destroy the other side’s main building. As you progress through the leader board, you unlock additional heroes to play. While the game does not have as much depth as say Dota 2, it is still very fun to play and the moba style of game is implemented well in a 2D style with platforming. The graphics engine looks quite nice with a good array of colours and performs very smoothly. The music and sound effects are also quite nice and suit the context of the game well.
Good Gamelachking | Nov. 15, 2012 | Review of Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War II: Retribution
This is my first entry into the Dawn of War series and it is a good stand-alone expansion. You can play as all six factions, both in single player and online, although many missions are repeated in the campaign by the different factions. The gameplay is good, with more emphasis on tactics and controlling resource points rather than building units at bases from many buildings. Although campaign missions are repeated amongst the factions, the progression system is good: you get experience points to give more abilities to your heroes and different abilities picked can create varying gameplay paths. In terms of presentation, the game delivers. The sound and music is quite good, and the graphics engine is top-notch, although you may need to turn settings down depending on your computer. All in all, Retribution is a good game.
Superblachking | Nov. 13, 2012 | Review of Grand Theft Auto IV DNS
Firstly, I must say that this is my first time playing any GTA game after many years of hearing about the series but never actually having it. After buying this game, I discovered that it is a superb experience. Everything is lifelike: a vast world where people walk around and talk to each other with cars driving around. You really can do what you want: whether that be stealing heaps of cars, running over people, doing your objectives, or just having fun driving. As you progress, you build relationships with people and go on dates and outings. Aside from driving, there are also mini games such as bowling and watching shows. The missions themselves are fun, held together by an interesting plot.
In terms of effects the game also delivers. The sound effects are great: you hear people talking to each other, shouting and even swearing at you when you hit them. The music is also great, and you have the option to choose various radio stations, so you can select a track that suits your style. The graphics engine is also very good but at the same time, the system requirements are very high. I had to turn the graphics and resolution right down for playable frame rates on my laptop but the game still looked great with the occasional frame rate hitch.
All in all, GTA 4 is a superb experience.
Decentlachking | Nov. 9, 2012 | Review of Death Rally
Death Rally is a decent racing game. You race from a bird’s eye view across different tracks and challenges with the added element of shooting and dropping mines. You get money between missions to spend on repairing your car or upgrades such as armour. The visual style of the game is quite nice, with good use of colours, although there is not a large variety is environments. The sound effects on the other hand however, are not particularly outstanding with bland sounding bullet sounds and the like.
Although the basic concept of Death Rally is good, there are problems. There is not a large variety of tracks, and you will often race on the same track a lot. The controls are also quite difficult and frustrating, so expect to crash into walls often. The gun mechanics also do not work that well, as it actually encourages you to stay behind and shoot everyone, which is rather contradictory to the objective in a racing game.
All in all, Death Rally has some good concepts, but repetition and frustration will set in quickly
Solid Gamelachking | Nov. 9, 2012 | Review of Men of War
Men of War is an action RTS game and for the most part, is a solid experience. The objectives are vast and varied, such as defending a town with a single tank. You can also take direct control of soldiers- they even have inventories and you can pick up items from dead soldiers and this is a nice touch that is very rarely seen in RTS games. The graphics are solid and run fairly decently, with the in game sounds also being solid for the most part. The game does have some shortcomings. Firstly, it is very difficult. I had to reload the first mission multiple times even on easy. The cut scenes also feature voice acting which is downright embarrassing to watch.However, the game for the most part is still a solid experience.
Solid Card Gamelachking | Nov. 7, 2012 | Review of Jewel Quest Solitaire 3
The third game is a solid addition to the series but nothing is particularly new aside from the different version of the solitaire card game. The game revolves around another story, and various power ups and wild cards are brought into the mix, but the previous games also did this. The actual solitaire card game is much more tactical this time as you need to move all your cards to the foundational pile. This game has improved graphical elements, with nice looking backgrounds. The music is also very soothing, creating a calm atmosphere for the game. All said, Jewel Quest Solitaire 3 is a solid card game which offers many of the same elements that the series has offered to date in a different style of solitaire.
Great Gamelachking | Nov. 6, 2012 | Review of F.E.A.R
FEAR is a great game that combines the FPS genre with horror elements. The game’s story is solid and the levels are interesting although not hugely varied as you mostly just travel through buildings and offices. The weapons are pretty standard and include guns such as shotguns and machine guns. An element less conventional is the interesting slow time ability which gives you the ability to run and jump around bullets and move in on enemies faster than they can react. Being a horror game as well, it is often scary to play, especially at night. The way Alma appears can be a big shock. One of the scariest encounters is when you are in the offices and she appears in the lift with another person and the door closes.
The game’s presentation is great for the most part. The visuals are slick and lifelike, with high quality shaders. The sound is also quite good with bullet sounds and the way the enemy soldiers communicate to each other once they spot you adds to the atmosphere.
Overall, the game is great. Top notch graphics, crisp sound and great gameplay combine to create an engaging experience. Just don’t play this game alone at night. I’m warning you.
Passablelachking | Nov. 6, 2012 | Review of Alien Breed 2: Assault
Alien Breed 2: Assault is a top down shooter where you walk around, completing your objectives while killing aliens and picking up objects. The actual premise is solid, but the execution in many areas is lacking. The gameplay for starters gets repetitive rather quickly, as you frequently just walk from A to B, holding space bar down to interact with switches. The gun sounds are rather bland and the same can be said for the alien death sounds. The environments are also very dark, with little variety, although the actual graphics aren't too bad. You will also battle with the camera, as it sometimes switches to bizarre angles, obstructing your view to certain areas, such as the other side of a wall. There is also a load of on-screen text, so you know right off the bat which objects are interactive, and although some people may like this, I think it does take away discovery aspects of the game. Although the game’s overall shooter concept is solid, the execution of the essential elements of the game lets it down in the long run.
Charming Platform Gamelachking | Nov. 5, 2012 | Review of Paper Monsters
Paper Monsters is an interesting and visually stunning platform game. The gameplay is similar to Mario in that you travel and jump around in a 2D world collecting coins (buttons), jumping on enemies and finding the exit. You progress through a variety of locations such as grasslands and deserts and face interesting boss fights. You can use your collected buttons to purchase gear to change your appearance in the game and this adds an element of personalisation to the mix. The visual style is particularly good with vibrant colours and the 2D visuals shown in a 3D type of view looks spectacular. The accompanying music is also good, and adds to the charming atmosphere that the game creates. All in all, Paper Monsters is a great platforming game with varied levels set in a stunning atmosphere.
Great Packlachking | Nov. 5, 2012 | Review of Worms Reloaded: Game of the Year Edition
Worms Reloaded is a good game and a return to form for Team 17 after the 3D games that didn’t work out so well. This pack includes Worms Reloaded and its DLCs. Worms Reloaded goes back to the traditional 2D game where you use all sorts of wacky weapons to kill your enemies. The DLCs make the game even better through adding lots of customisation features, achievements and missions. The Retro pack, in particular adds some really interesting missions like those from Worms World Party that differ from the norm and have you complete objectives in wacky circumstances, such as using the weapon Armageddon to kill a worm standing next to you, forcing you to find cover. The puzzle pack is also particularly good as you have to use your brain and figure out how to complete objectives with only a small array of weapons available. Overall, good game made even better with some cool missions and large array of customisation options.
Good Jewel Swapping Gamelachking | Nov. 2, 2012 | Review of Jewel Quest II
Jewel Quest 2 is an improvement over the previous game. The jewel swapping mini-game from the last game is the full feature in this game. The levels are interesting and varied and come in different shapes and sizes. As you progress, you will also encounter different gems, such as buried gems that cannot be moved. There are also a good variety of backgrounds which add to the atmospheric appeal, such as a ship deck and African Safari. The graphics engine is quite good with cool looking effects when you create lines of gems. The audio effects are also quite good, with nice ambient effects and catchy music.
Decent Puzzle Gamelachking | Nov. 2, 2012 | Review of Jewel Quest Mysteries: Curse of the Emerald Tear
Curse of the Emerald Tear is a decent puzzle game. The story is not bad but the gameplay gets repetitive rather quickly as you generally just find items and engage in emerald mini games. The finding item game mode is interesting at first and encourages you to use your eyes closely rather than mass clicking as time is deducted for 3 wrong clicks in a row. However, it can get frustrating trying to find the last item. The main problem with this game mode is that you often play the same level multiple times, meaning that you’ll start to remember where particular items are. The music in the game is decent, but nothing outstanding and same can be said for the graphics.
Fun Economical Gamelachking | Nov. 1, 2012 | Review of Build-a-Lot
Build-a-lot is a game where you need to build structures to make money and to achieve objectives. Although it is a basic game, the mechanics are really good, and what the game does it does exceedingly well. The missions themselves are interesting and can be tackled in a variety of ways: you may like to upgrade existing houses, you may like to demolish them to make room for bigger houses, or you may to like sell them. You receive income at a regular basis and land and foreign houses often go on sale, adding more choices to the mix. The visual style is basic, but at the same time looks nice, and the music creates a cheerful atmosphere. Overall, this is a really interesting game. Although the mechanics are quite basic, all the elements come together well to create a fun game.
Solid Sequellachking | Nov. 1, 2012 | Review of Jewel Quest Solitaire 2
Jewel Quest Solitaire 2 is a solid improvement over the previous game. The graphics are more appealing and this version of solitaire is more engaging than the Tripeaks version used in the previous game. The music is also quite good, a step up from the ambient sounds in the previous game although some of the sound effects are recycled. Some more interesting elements are added to the mix such as a sign of 2 cards appearing on the side telling you that if you match the 2 particular cards you will get a bonus. Overall, a solid improvement over the previous game. The graphics are better and the game mechanics have been improved to create a more vibrant experience.
Interesting Strategy Gamelachking | Oct. 19, 2012 | Review of Dwarfs!?
Dwarfs is an interesting strategy game where the main objective is to score as many points as possible. You use your dwarfs to dig and gather gold and minerals and your warriors to kill creatures you may find. There are an array of game modes available such as arcade, skirmish and campaign. The campaign throws challenges at you such as surviving for a certain time limit.
One of the game’s most interesting aspects is that maps are dotted with black areas which can only be uncovered from digging into. You may find treasure, enemies, water, lava, or nothing. I like the idea that if you find water or lava you need to block if off to stop it from flowing towards you, or in the case of lava, blow a hole using dynamite. The graphical style is quite charming and runs very well. The soundtrack is also quite welcoming and suits the dwarf context well.
Despite the charming nature of the game, my biggest criticism is the fact that you often have to wait for dwarfs to dig, and that it can get boring waiting for dwarfs to uncover something. The dwarfs happily dig on their own, and you merely facilitate them rather than taking full control most of the time. That said, the general aspects of the game are quite good overall.
Decent First Person Shooterlachking | Oct. 17, 2012 | Review of Painkiller Black Edition DNS
Painkiller is a decent first person shooter with a very simple premise: shoot, shoot and shoot. The play style is reminiscent of Doom to some degree. The game’s story is very cliché with the generic good vs evil and you the player need to kill the evil so that you can see your wife again. The game style is very basic as there are no keys, no real switches, or cut scenes in levels. You merely make your way through seemingly unconnected levels, killing every enemy in your sight. The visual style is solid but not particularly outstanding. When you face a horde of enemies, the game switches to rock style music which gets you into the killing monsters mood, but at the same time can feel out of place, especially if you're in a dark scary house in the middle of the night (one of the levels).
My main criticism of this game is that the overall gameplay mechanics are very basic and repetitive: level upon level of endless killing with the occasional boss level thrown in. While some people may like the endless shooting, for me, it represents a game with little depth.
If you like endless shooting, the game does provide no-nonsense fun, but for those who are looking for a deeper shooter with interesting characters, levels and plot points, look elsewhere.
Another fantastic addition to the serieslachking | Oct. 17, 2012 | Review of Sid Meier's Civilization® V
Civilization V adds some interesting new concepts to the classic franchise and is a fantastic game. For those unfamiliar with the premise, Civilization is a turn-based strategy game where you lead your civilization through the ages. You found cities, construct buildings and create units to interact with other players. Diplomacy is also a large aspect of Civilization, and you can trade with other players, build relationships with them or declare war.
I particularly enjoyed the additions to Civilization V. The introduction of city states adds a layer of depth to the game. You can develop alliances with them and this can result in them giving you free units, or you can fight with them. The interface is also much cleaner in Civilization V, with the exact level of happiness and culture produced clearly displayed. The graphical update is also strong, with terrain surfaces looking highly detailed and vibrant, especially the water which reflects the sunlight. The sound effects and music is also good, although I did prefer the Leonard Nimoy voiceovers in Civilization IV than the voice overs in Civilization V.
Some of the gameplay mechanic changes have drastically altered the tactical aspects of the game. Having only one unit on a tile encourages more tactical unit placement rather than just mass unit rushes. The capture mechanics of cities is also better with cities having a health rating. I also like the fact that cities can bombard nearby units, and this is especially useful in counteracting annoying barbarian attacks. Overall, Civilization is a fantastic game. The many gameplay changes improve the tactical side of the game, and the graphics and atmosphere are as good as the series has ever seen.
Decent turn-based strategylachking | Oct. 16, 2012 | Review of Age of Fear: The Undead King
Age of Fear is a decent turn based strategy game. There are a variety of options available such as campaign, quick battle and multiplayer. I like the idea in the campaign that you recruit units between levels using your available gold and that you then use these units in following missions. The gameplay mechanics are quite straightforward in the sense that you control a variety of units such as archers and swordsmen and move them to attack the enemies. However, the graphics are rather low detail and bland. The sound effects are also underwhelming: just footsteps, sword sounds and low quality voice responses that do not sound very crisp. The A.I is quite good, but the game is very repetitive, namely in the battles and the environments. Overall, Age of Fear is decent. The battles are solid but repetitive and the sound and graphics are quite underwhelming.
Fun Card Gamelachking | Oct. 16, 2012 | Review of Jewel Quest Solitaire 1
Jewel Quest Solitaire is a fun adventure card game. There is a good variety in levels and the jewel swapping mini game adds a layer of depth. The game has a gentle learning curve and the levels start off simple. You are also given clear instructions and hints at the beginning of the game and as a result, you learn the essential gameplay concepts of solitaire very quickly. The different locations make card suites look different and this adds a variety of visuals to the game. The background ambient noises create a nice vibe, especially in the second stage of levels. As you progress into the game, you get wild cards with varying abilities such as a x7 on the multiplier. It would have been nice to be able to play the jewel swapping mini game from the main menu any time but that’s only a minor complaint I have. I also occasionally experienced scenarios where the game would not respond to menu commands, forcing me to close the game and re-load it from the desktop, but again this is not a major issue.
Overall this is a solid game. Although the premise can get repetitive, there are a variety of card placements in levels and the different ambient sounds are welcoming. The wild cards also add a layer of depth to the levels and the jewel swapping games add a layer of excitement.
Fun sequellachking | Oct. 15, 2012 | Review of Tropico 4 DNS
Tropico 4 in essence, is Tropico 3 with a new coat of paint and for the most part, is a good improvement over the previous game. For those unfamiliar with Tropico, it is a city building game similar to Sim City with the added element of political simulation: you can implement policies and you need to win elections to remain in power. Tropico 4 brings a visual upgrade to the table. The HUD in particular has received an upgrade over Tropico 3. The interface looks much cleaner and objectives are much more readily displayed. The musical style is also better in this sequel. One particular addition I really like is that buildings can be quickly finished for an additional cost and this can be incredibly useful, especially when you need a particular building in a pinch. Tropico 4 also adds new buildings and attractions, such as cruise liners and ministries. The missions themselves are also more engaging then they were in Tropico 3. Overall, Tropico 4 is a strong sequel and makes some good improvements over the previous game.
Interesting Tactical Gamelachking | Oct. 12, 2012 | Review of Defcon: Everybody Dies
Defcon is a strategy game that takes place on the world map and has interesting tactical elements. The objective is to kill as many civilians as possible through nuking enemy cities. You get fighters, bombers and naval units as well as tactical nukes to help you in world domination. There are a large array of game modes available such as office mode and large world mode, although the basic premise of the game doesn’t change much through the different game modes.
For the most part, the layer of strategic depth is quite good. You choose where to place your units and silos in your countries, and where you place them can dictate how well you will do. For example, do you place your nuke silos together to be able to pound a particular opponent more easily or do you place them all around your countries to have a broader defence? Decisions such as these give the game a strong level of strategical depth.
The visual and audio style is quite good as well. The soft scary style of music suits the premise of world domination by nukes well, and the graphics engine, while not outstanding looks quite solid, and performs extremely well too (even my netbook could run this game with no problems). Overall, Defcon is a solid game with various strategical elements coming together quite well.
Classic Platform Gamelachking | Oct. 6, 2012 | Review of Sonic 3 and Knuckles CAP
Sonic 3 and Knuckles is a vast improvement upon sonic 1 and 2. The levels are better and the cut scenes make transitions to zones clear- for example angel island to hydro city. The added effects are also great, such as fire effects in the background on angel island. The addition of Knuckles also adds a layer to the game: he plays the game from a different perspective from sonic and tails and thus plot points and some level designs are different. The mini- games are also great and varied such as collecting items from a gum ball machine. The stand -out feature for me in this game however, is the music, just like in previous Sonic games. There are so many great tracks in this game such as angel island, flying battery and sandropolis zones to name a few. All in all, you can’t go wrong with this game. The levels are great and varied with many obstacles, the boss fights are fun and the music is superb. For me, this is the pinnacle of the series and should not be missed by any platforming fan.
Superb Packagelachking | Oct. 6, 2012 | Review of Sid Meier's Civilization® IV Complete
Civilization 4 is arguably the best civilization to date and the expansions make the game even better. If you are not familiar with Civilization, it is a turn based strategy game where you lead your civilization through the ages through founding cities, building units, gathering resources and interacting with other civilizations. Civilization 4 in particular, is often discussed as the pinnacle of the series. The level of depth is very large and the visual style still holds well today. The combat system is very good with each unit having a strength rating and the diplomacy screen offers well animated portraits of the various leaders. The expansions add more leaders, scenarios and wonders to the mix, as well as additional scenarios. The Beyond the Sword expansion also adds random events, which I found to add a large level of excitement to the game- such as a volcano eruption destroying all nearby improvements. Overall, this is a superb package. You’re arguably getting the best Civilization to date with the expansions that make the game even better.
Great game but very hardlachking | Oct. 3, 2012 | Review of Super Meat Boy
Super Meat Boy is a platform game from Team Meat. The story revolves around you trying to rescue your girlfriend from an “evil fetus”. The levels are detailed and varied, with many obstacles in your way such as spinning saws and bottomless pits. One thing to be noted is that you will die ALOT. You may even die 50 times on some levels (I died about 100 times on the hospital boss level). It is interesting that your total death count is actually in the options menu. Although the game can often get frustrating, the levels are very short, so when you die, you will not have to constantly repeat huge segments. In terms of presentation, the game’s visual style is good, but the real treat is in the soundtrack, particularly the hospital chapter’s music. All in all, Super Meat Boy is a great game. Levels are challenging and varied, and a fun atmosphere is created. Just be sure that you don’t smash your keyboard out of frustration when you die for the 60th time on a level.
Superb puzzle game with interesting strategical elementslachking | Sept. 27, 2012 | Review of World of Goo
World of Goo is a puzzle game with an interesting premise: you build a ladder with blobs of goo to get to the exit of each level. Interesting elements come into the mix . Physics plays a big part of the game: if you place too many blobs onto one part of the ladder it will collapse and you will have to start over. You also have to be economical as you will need to use blobs to create the ladder but have enough blobs to reach the exit so that you can finish the level. If you use too many blobs, you won’t meet your objective and will need to rethink your strategy. Often you will need to try levels multiple times to get through, but it usually remains fun and engaging. As you progress into the game, more elements are at your disposal such as balloons which make you ladder rise. You could nit-pick the game and say it gets a bit repetitive and that the colour scheme can get rather bland, but overall the game looks charming and plays well. All in all, World of Goo is a superb puzzle game which throws many interesting elements into the mix over a standard puzzle game.
Great FPS/RPG/ Stealth gamelachking | Sept. 27, 2012 | Review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Human Revolution is the prequel to Deus Ex, a game released back in 2000. Put simply, Human Revolution is a great game with many elements coming together well, although there are some pitfalls (will get to later). The game is very open end, and you can take on challenges the way you see fit, whether that be through brute force, sneaking a back way in through vents, cloaking your way through, or hacking a computer and making a robot fight for you. The voice acting for the most part is solid, and the plot is enthralling, with the added effect that what you do influences plot points. An effective dark atmosphere is created, although the gold and black colour scheme may not appear to all. However, as mentioned earlier, there are various pitfalls. The AI can be quite dumb at times, especially with regards to their alertness to your presence and their reactions. Also, the boss fights are unnecessary and do not belong and often rely on saving and loading until you eventually do enough damage to kill them. This concept does not fit well with a game where choice is one of the most prevalent aspects. Overall, however, Human Revolution is a great game which presents you with many choices and ways to tackle a problem. A link between various genres is done successfully and as a result, an enthralling package is produced, despite the shortcomings.
Series is Still Solidlachking | July 14, 2012 | Review of Worms Reloaded
Worms Reloaded is another game in the long-running franchise from Team 17 and is at its heart, as solid as the series ever has been. It is good to see that Team 17 went back to the 2D type game, as the 3D versions didn’t play out too well. There are some subtle changes this time around, such as new weapons (like termites and magnets) graphical overhauls, and more personality (such as worms screaming when dynamite is placed next to them). The new magnet in particular is quite interesting as it can repel (or attract) weapons such as grenades. At its core, the game is still very much the same as previous 2D Worms games, and as such, retains the core aspects. Modes such as quick game, training and campaign still exist. One new interesting mode is Body Count where you try to get as many points as possible by killing enemy worms that constantly respawn. And of course, there is still multiplayer, where you can play other people across the world. The game however does have some drawbacks. For starters, the AI seems to be very inconsistent. Sometimes they are downright stupid and will miss an easy shot or shoot themselves with a bazooka by aiming down, and at other times they are able to throw a grenade across the whole map and have it hit you perfectly, resulting in the full 45 damage. In addition, the campaign for me, was disappointing. Many of the missions are a typical death-match style game where you simply kill the enemy worms like you normally would in other game modes. There are some puzzle-like missions, but not enough: I expected more cool puzzle-style missions like those from Worms World Party- for example, shooting mines out of a boat, or something new and innovative, rather than the generic kill all enemy worms with normal weapons. Overall however, the game is still solid. The mechanics still work well and the new weapons add some cool new ways to play the game. If you haven’t played worms before, this is a good place to start. If you're a worms veteran, the game offers more of the same, but the new layer on top may bring a good level of refreshment to your worms experience.
Interesting Political +City Management Simlachking | July 13, 2012 | Review of Tropico 3: Gold Edition DNS
Tropico 3+ its expansion is a solid game that brings some interesting elements to a city- builder. In tropico, you are the presidente of an island republic and it is up to you to provide the infrastructure for your citizens- such as roads, houses, shops and so forth. It is quite an interesting concept that you have to provide jobs for your citizens and that some jobs need education, such as high school, forcing you to make important decisions. Another interesting element in the mix is the political simulation: you can implement policies that will affect your citizens, such as free housing or privatisation. You have to please your citizens as there are elections, so if you make the majority of your citizens angry, you may be voted out. You also have to please the US and the USSR otherwise you risk a military invasion. In spite of the interesting concepts, there are pitfalls. The game can get very repetitive- many missions start off the same way: a tenant and a road to the dock with fairly similar objectives such as sell x amount of good by x date or be in power in a certain year. To be fair however, the expansion does provide a bit more variety, but overall it feels a bit repetitive in the mission design. It also does get repetitive to hear the same dialogue pieces 20+ times such as the opposition government giving the same criticism of me building a school or childhood museum every mission I play. Also, while not a huge issue, the default game speed is also quite slow, which will likely force many to play with high speed most of the time. Overall, however, I quite like this game. It adds some really interesting concepts to a sim-city type game and encourages you to make financial decisions as well as political decisions.
Superb RTS Experiencelachking | July 13, 2012 | Review of Company of Heroes
Six years old but still has a large player base. Company of Heroes is a superb game that brings many innovative gameplay mechanics to the table that are rarely seen in any other RTSs, such as infantry cover. The game is focussed on fast tactical battles as resources are obtained through fighting over control points, rather than merely turtling at base (a mechanic also used in Relic’s Dawn of War). The game captures the WWII feel extremely well through both the unit design and maps. The dialogue and sound is also great: there is the occasional ounce of humour as well as vibrant effects such as footsteps and bullet sounds. Despite being a six year old game, the graphics still look great. Advanced lighting and shaders really capture the WWII feel, and the graphical effects released from explosions look impressive even by today’s standards. If I was to criticise the game, it can get a bit tedious as there is no large diversity in factions- it is always Allies vs Germans, and so it can get a bit repetitive. Also, the expansions did upset the balance a tad (even with just the vanilla Company of Heroes you may still verse those with the expansions). Multiplayer games can also be very long sometimes, even 45minutes+ due to the large amount of tickets (500) each player has in a standard online match, but then again, long games may appeal to some. Overall, superb game. If you like RTS, this is one of the best out there.