Reviews by monahanj1
Great gamemonahanj1 | Oct. 28, 2013 | Review of Batman Arkham Origins
This game is getting a lot of crap for being "more of the same", but not only is that not a bad thing, it's not really true. It's true that the game doesn't make massive strides over City like City did over Asylum, but that's mostly because City basically perfected the core combat and predator mechanics, and if you try to mess with that you're likely to do a lot more harm than good. Regardless, this game introduces several new gadgets (which are much better than the ones they're replacing from AC, imo), an entire new portion of the city to explore, an entire new game mechanic in case files, and several more subtle differences, mostly in the way of leveling up and in-game achievements/challenges.
The game has a much more Nolan-verse feel to it than the previous two titles, which I personally enjoyed. This younger, angrier, more aggressive Batman is loads more interesting than the ones we see in AA and AC, as are the main villains. There are several twists throughout that help to keep it from getting stale or predictable, and it does an excellent job of being an actual origin story and showing you how Batman's relationships are established and developed, as they pertain to both friends and enemies.
The only problems I really have with this game right now are that it's a bit buggy at the moment, but I'm sure that'll get fixed fairly quickly, and that I kind of felt that some of the villains were underutilized. They brought out some really cool villains that really could've provided some interesting interactions, but they rarely served as more than intermittent boss fights to progress the story. Granted most of the boss fights were awesome, I still can't help but feel there was a little too much quantity and not enough actual fleshing out of the villains. I will say, though, that they all did seem to have their purpose within the story.
I'll also add that the multiplayer is surprisingly fun. I didn't have high hopes for it when I first heard they were adding it in, but it's actually really well done. It's most fun when you're playing as one of the heroes or super-villains (duh), but it's still fun when you're just playing as a lowly gang member.
One of my favorite games evermonahanj1 | Aug. 23, 2013 | Review of Batman Arkham City: Game of the Year
There are very few games I've found replayable purely on the merits of how fun they are to play, and this is one of them.
I love absolutely everything about this game. The combat is fantastic and an improvement over Arkham Asylum, it's much more open than AA was, there are quite a few optional side-quests available to you, and it features a very good story. It also features a host of extremely fun and satisfying challenge maps, for when you feel like just beating the crap out of some bad guys.
One of the best expansion packs I've ever playedmonahanj1 | Aug. 23, 2013 | Review of Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World (NA)
This is an absolutely fantastic expansion that adds a ton to the game. Completely new and highly challenging culture victory, culture is easier to come by, new ideology mechanic, archaeology, several new civs (as is always the case with civ expansions). Only problem with it right now is that warmongering penalties are far too harsh, but that is getting fixed in the upcoming patch.
There is a pretty sharp learning curve to the new mechanics, so it might be wise to knock the difficulty down a notch or two from what you're used to, while you get used to things.
Great gamemonahanj1 | May 9, 2013 | Review of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Easily the best Elder Scrolls game to date. A little weaker than previous installments in terms of main story line (most of the better story-lines actually occur as side quests), but it's still extremely easy to get lost in the games world.
The level progression is good and feels very natural. It's not like Fallout where you gain generic experience points for killing bad guys/completing quests/etc. Your skills improve the more you use them (e.g. you become better with the bow by using the bow, you become a better alchemist by mixing more potions, etc), and once you level enough of those up, you gain a level which gives you a point to invest in a perk. Perks can do all sorts of things like allowing you to behead your enemies, to slowing down time when you're zooming in with your bow, to improving the equipment you can smith.
There is a ton of stuff to do in this game. Hundreds of quests, crafting, building a house if you get the Hearthfire DLC. It's also pretty much endlessly replayable because of the different ways you can build your character and the different choices you can make.
All in all, great game, and something I would definitely recommend.