Reviews by nairume

70

Repetitive but good for coop

nairume | Feb. 1, 2013 | Review of Dead Island: Game of the Year (v1)

In concept, Techland's Dead Island is probably a zombie fan's dream game. An open world multiplayer RPG where you roam around a zombie infested paradise, looting and hacking your way to victory. There's loads of content, weapons, quests, and places to visit. The problem is that once you've played the game for a couple hours, you've basically seen most of what the game has to offer. The quests are incredibly repetitive, with most of them resulting to going from point A to point B, killing or finding something, and returning back to point A without little fanfare. As such, when players go off of the main quest to do side quests, it's really up to them to make their own fun, since the game doesn't go out of its way to provide it. That in mind, the game immediately becomes more fun as a coop title and should only be played as such.

72

A meaty expansion to an already meaty game

nairume | Dec. 30, 2012 | Review of Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome

Unlike most of Crusader Kings II's other dlc expansions, Legacy of Rome adds a significant amount of content and systems to the playing field. Many of these new systems allow for deep amounts of customization options that were previously not present in the game. The problem here is that Crusader Kings II is already a meaty game that was full of rich and complicated systems that let you customize your rulers to your heart's extent. While this content does significantly add to that level of richness, it also means an already complicated and meaty game is now erring on the side of bloated. However, if you are willing to overlook the potential bloat, or even openly welcome the new rules, the game also provides plenty of new events that flesh out the Byzantine Empire and give the players that choose to interact with that region more story to encounter. Otherwise, perhaps just settle for what the game already offers.

90

Fantastic GTA alternative with a good sense of humor

nairume | Dec. 30, 2012 | Review of Saints Row: The Third

For those familiar with the Grand Theft Auto franchise, Saints Row the Third will closely resemble Grand Theft Auto 4 mechanically. What is different with this game is that Volition Studios, the masterminds behind the Saints Row games, are well aware of the silliness of the open world crime genre and have decided to run with that. SRtT is full of plenty of over the top and hilarious moments, much to the point where the game's opening includes a segment where you sky dive from an out of control plane, turn around, punch through the glass, and dive back in to punch out a villain. While the mechanics in SRtT are really not much different from the 5 year old GTA4, the level of charm present in it is enough to make it easy to overlook the slightly outdated mechanics. Buy this game if you enjoy the genre.

20

Cosmetic filler

nairume | Dec. 30, 2012 | Review of Crusader Kings II: Byzantine Unit Pack

Ask yourself the following:

Am I a big fan of Crusader Kings? Am I feeling that Crusader Kings needs more content? Am I a big fan of history? Am I familiar with the most intricate military wear of medieval Byzantium? Am I willing to pay two dollars for a cosmetic change in unit images?

If you can honestly say yes to all of the previous questions, then maybe check into this mod. Otherwise, what is provided in here is a pathetic cosmetic change that will only really be apparent to the most hardcore fans of Crusader Kings and history in general.

80

Complicated but alluring

nairume | Dec. 29, 2012 | Review of Crusader Kings II

The politics of the medieval period of the world is always a greatly interesting topic, and Paradox's Crusader Kings II provides players with the chance to put themselves in a dedicated simulation strategy that lets them take a shot at managing one of the many factions of Europe, Asia, and Africa as they all compete for power. This game offers a staggering number of possibilities to where the game is almost overwhelming at times. With so many stats, deep and rich mechanics, countless factions, and other various options, there are so many things that cause players to lose track of their place in the world. All the while, the game often does a poor job of conveying how to do things. Perhaps it is through this that Paradox has indeed created a near perfect simulation of medieval politics.

75

Mega Fun but Mega Overpriced.

nairume | Dec. 29, 2012 | Review of Magicka: Mega Villain Robes DLC

Magicka is already an insanely fun and humorous game and most of its DLC options follow along in this pattern. The Mega Villain DLC does thankfully fall into this, though it also has the same issue as many of Magicka's other DLC options. What it adds are good for a few laughs, but it does nothing to really add to the game. The player, as with every other DLC option, has to really weigh their options as to whether it's really worth it to blow money on being able to play as bosses from Mega Man. I'd say yes.

67

A cosmetic expansion that should have been present to begin with

nairume | Dec. 29, 2012 | Review of Crusader Kings II: African Portraits

Once again, we have another entirely cosmetic addition to Crusader Kings II. This time, we have an impressive amount of new portrait options for characters coming from sub-Saharan Africa. As the time period was full of many powerful kingdoms from the region that interacted heavily with the European and Middle Eastern kingdoms, these are a welcomed addition to the game, as they were very under represented before this pack. However, this is something that should have already been present in the game or perhaps a free update, given the little effort required to create this DLC. As such, it is really only worth it for dedicated players that either must have everything or have been wanting to specifically play as those kingdoms but did not want to with the old options.

23

Only for the most hardcore fans of history.

nairume | Dec. 29, 2012 | Review of Crusader Kings II: Dynasty Shield II

Crusader Kings II's DLC model is considerably built around various cosmetic additions, and this one is perhaps one of the most pointlessly random for any players that aren't either trained historians or have spent time researching specific dynasties throughout history. What you get are dozens of images that you can use to differentiate your dynasty from the other kingdoms on the map that are based around historical families. This offers nothing to the gameplay and does nothing to really improve upon the game. Only try this pack out if you absolutely must have the emblem of any given family and are willing to pay two dollars for that right.

30

Boring DLC that is quickly overshadowed

nairume | Dec. 29, 2012 | Review of Magicka: Wizard's Survival Kit DLC

Part of the charm and point of Magicka's DLC model is in the constant stream of interesting gear and costume packs that, while adding very little to the game, brings in a lot of general humor and referential jokes to the game. The problem with this particular DLC pack is that two of the three items included fail to include much general or referential humor, leaving them to be rather boring additions that almost feel as if they would have otherwise been random items already included in the game. What remains is a single spell that humorously brings down meteors on everybody on the screen, that kills everybody along with yourself.

Since the first two items in the DLC are almost inconsequential, this DLC is effectively just a two dollar expansion that lets you kill yourself. Since the game already has plenty of other funny ways of doing this, there really is no point to it at all.

63

Unsubstantial, but amusing.

nairume | Dec. 29, 2012 | Review of Magicka Gamer Bundle

The DLC expansion heavy Magicka delivers yet another reference laden expansion pack that provides players with humorous new gear and robes that now humorously reflects several beloved gaming franchises and tropes. Despite the humor, this bundle does little to overcome the problem faced with much of Magicka's DLC options. Once again, we are presented with a collection of new costumes and minor weapons with very little else to pad out or expand upon the game. Though only a few dollars, this is something that players should only really consider if they are willing to spend the money on something that is going to give a few laughs but not do much else.

85

A great game bundled with middling expansion content

nairume | Dec. 29, 2012 | Review of Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package

Saints Row III: The Full Package is almost an amazing deal for anybody interested in a great game with the full array of expanded content. Saints Row III itself is a fantastic game and was easily one of the best games of its year. On its own, I could not recommend it enough, and players already have that options. Ultimately, the problem with this package is that the vast majority of the DLC included is rather unimpressive. They are largely cosmetic additions that give bonus costumes or expand really minor areas in the game. Very few of these DLC expansions add anything really substantial, and even the ones that do are little more than mission packs. While this package isn't bad for anybody that absolutely wants everything, you are much better off buying the game and individually picking a couple DLCs that fit more with what you want to do with the game. Otherwise, you are throwing away money on bonus content that is mostly worthless.

76

An interesting take on the RTS genre

nairume | Dec. 24, 2012 | Review of Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight (NA) dns

While C&C4 may not be a particularly great game, I must admit that it is an admirable attempt at shaking up the real time strategy genre that takes it out of the 90's and drags into the 21st century. Forgoing the typical base management and resource management of the previous C&C's and the genre they helped to popularize, Tiberium Twilight instead gives players a mobile base and does not require any resources to build units or defensive structures. Instead, you now have a limit of how many total units you can have active at a given time, while you compete with your opponents for command points that award you points towards the requisite victory score. While most other RTS games are focused heavily around micromanagement and rewards those who can amass resources and troops faster than the other player, C&C4 is now based heavily around macro management and rewards players that can see beyond unit numbers and understands the battlefield as a whole. This is a fantastic change of pace and is a positive direction for the genre. Meanwhile, specific play styles are rewarded as players can choose between offensive, defensive, and support classes that unlock new units and abilities that compliment and improve upon your strategies.

What ultimately drags the game down is the clunky interface that still reflects C&C's roots as a micromanagement focused game, lending itself poorly to the new direction for the game. Also, the game does not quite do the best job in telling you what units and structures are balanced against what, leaving a considerable amount of trial and error for players to suffer through. Finally, while the new direction means an entirely new dynamic for competitive matches, it is also the only offering available for play, stripping out many of the different modes of gameplay other RTSs offer.

91

Yards for the yardgod

nairume | Dec. 23, 2012 | Review of Blood Bowl: Legendary Edition

Think for a moment about the combination of football and turn based tactical games. While it seems like the two things are as different as their respective fanbases, Games Workshop's Blood Bowl was an effective attempt to merge the two games into one fun experience. Cyanide Studio's has, in turn, created an amazing video game conversion of that legendary board game. While the game's mechanics are as complicated as they were in the board game, the game features a thorough tutorial that works wonders in teaching the rules to newcomers. Meanwhile, there are tons of different modes and ways to play the game, giving an impressive amount of content for players to work through. Perhaps the only major flaw in this package is that the interface is a tad bit on the clunky side. Other than that, Blood Bowl is a perfect conversion. Unless you absolutely hate its kind of game, then go all for it.

96

VVVVVVery good!

nairume | Dec. 23, 2012 | Review of VVVVVV

VVVVVV is perhaps one of the most enjoyably unique platformers to come out in years. Taking inspiration from Team Meat's Meat Boy games, VVVVVV is based around incredibly difficult stages where the player will be expected to die frequently, returning them to the most recent checkpoint. Where this game differs from most frustration platformers is that it also mixes in Metroid-esque exploration, dropping players into a wide open and bizarre world that they are free to explore from the get-go. The other major gimmick, tying into the name of the game, is that the player character, instead of normal jumping, will reverse his gravity and immediately jump from floor to ceiling and back to the floor when you "jump" again.

While the game is designed to be frustrating, the controls are tight enough and the levels are clever enough to where it is never insulting. This game beautifully works like a charm and is an absolute blast to play. The gravity mechanic also works fairly, making each death the result of the player's and not the level throwing an unfair and cheap shot at them. This is a great game and a worth addition to any library.

10

Go back to bed, warrior.

nairume | Dec. 23, 2012 | Review of Altered Beast

For those that have fond memories of this game, do not return to it.

For those that have any interest in trying out a supposed classic, seek entertainment elsewhere.

For those that are determined to play this game, abandon all hope ye who enter.

Altered Beast is a bad game. It is a very bad game. Once you get past the spectacle of such large and detailed character sprites and shake off that nasty twenty year coma, you will find a game behind the graphics that is an utter drab to play. Combat for much of the game is rendered a chore whenever you are a human because of his pathetic attack options, while fighting as a beast is a mixed bag because the beast forms either have broken screen clearing attacks or are even weaker and short ranged than the human. Furthermore, the platforming segments are clunky at best, with the game's slow controls fighting you at every turn.

All the while, you get to deal with boring and uninspired music, a bareboned plot, and not much else to make the slog worth it. Do not play this game. Do not buy this game. Do not do anything to remind Sega that this game exists.

92

Indestructible

nairume | Dec. 23, 2012 | Review of Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition

Street Fighter is back and better than ever with Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition 2012. While SFIV was previously available for PCs, SSFIVAE brings the complete package by including characters previously exclusive to consoles and the arcade, along with a slew of balance changes that completely change the dynamics between each character. Players also will be treated to a quality port that meets and beats the visual and performance of its console brethren, while also offering infinite costume modding possibilities.

On the downside, this game does require the usage of Games For Windows Live, which results in a number of networking issues and minor inconveniences. These issues are not all too common, making them rather ignorable. Ultimately, this is a fantastic addition to the library of any fighting game fan and is easily the best option for people looking for a fighter for their PC.

81

A solid cooperative game

nairume | Dec. 23, 2012 | Review of Dead Island

Dead Island is a mixed bag that ultimately ends up being a solid result of a very mixed bag of traits that largely work together and against each other in forming the foundation of the game. The world is wide and open to explore, yet the mission layout and overall design of the four maps ultimately keep you feeling like the game is still rather linear. There are tons of missions to complete along the way, but many of them just amount to going to and from locations, retrieving items, and returning to the quest giver. The game features a few vehicles than can be driven around the maps, but they are very few and far between, and they control like a drunken horse. Finally, fighting zombies, the core portion of the game, varies wildly in quality throughout the game. There are countless weapons to find throughout the game, but all of them conform to a very limited number of archetypes. Furthermore, there are a very clear set of weapons that have a significant advantage over virtually all enemies than others, rendering many weapons worthless. Finally, the difficulty ends up being all over the charts. Zombies tend to go down quickly, but they also can down a player in a few cheap hits.

As a single player game, this leaves much to be desired, as the game gets incredibly repetitive. However, going along with some friends ensures that the camaraderie will iron out the major flaws and turn the experience into something worth it in the end.

60

An ungraceful sequel

nairume | Dec. 23, 2012 | Review of Dragon Age 2 (NA) DNS

Bioware's Dragon Age was a good game. It was a very good game. However, it did have its share of problems. The combat was rooted in mechanics pioneered by Bioware in the 90's, but had done little to change since. The setting was relatively generic, leaving players in a situation where characters would speak of far more interesting locations far away from where they were playing. Furthermore, while it was definitely a popular game, it did not receive quite the level of popularity that Bioware or owner Electronic Arts sought with its franchise.

Dragon Age II sought to address all of these issues, and did so in a varying level of degrees. The combat issues were address, and Bioware's solution to make things more actions brings a lot more freshness to the game, perhaps being one of the few positive changes between the games. While the city of Kirkwall was a much more interesting location than much of the first game's setting, players spend most of the game in it, ruining the fresh feeling pretty quickly. Also, in an effort to make the game more marketable, the story was simplified and changed up to be more of a power fantasy for the character to play, as if it were Call of Duty meets Dungeons & Dragons. This leaves the writing feeling rather embarassing at its best and insulting at its worst. The asthetical quality of the game is also incredibly lacking, with an iffy art direction and unmemorable score.

Ultimately, the game is still moderately fun, as the combat is still interesting enough to let you choke through the rest of the game. If you do choose to try it out, my advise is to lie back and think of Orlais.

80

Difficult but fun

nairume | Dec. 23, 2012 | Review of Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole™

Landstalker is an admirable attempt by Sega to provide their own answer to Nintendo's Zelda franchise. It is a sprawling action adventure title with clever puzzles, an enjoyable plot, and interesting characters. However, many things about this game works against your ability to enjoy the game. Nigel takes a considerable amount of damage from each enemy attack and restoring that health is often expensive or hard to come by when you've run out of options and are not near a town. This results in combat often feeling less enjoyable, as the rewards do not match the amount of risk that goes into each encounter. Furthermore, as the game is played from an isometric perspective, the controls are also rather clunky and this results in many cases of Nigel being hit by enemies because you either could not adequately move him out of range of an attack or because the perspective made it difficult to gauge how much space you had between yourself and the enemy. The game also features a considerable amount of platforming, which, as with the combat, is not well served by the controls or the isometric perspective. Overall, the game is still solid, but there is definitely room for improvement.

67

Good, but gimped

nairume | Dec. 10, 2012 | Review of Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing CAP

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing almost does the impossible and replicates the Mario Kart format to relatively good success. For the most part, the game is benefited by developer Sumo mostly knowing when to crib from Mario Kart and when to strike out on their own and develop a new identity for their own game. When they do go out on their own, Sonic feels fresh enough to where it is its own game from its rival, while still being familiar enough to where fans of one game can easily jump into the other. However, the game is plagued by issues that result from them trying to keep too close to Mario Kart. In particular, many of the game's items do not feel as well adapted for this game, as they seem to only be in the game because Mario Kart did it. Aside from this, the game might still be passible. However, this being the PC version, there is one particular flaw that might ruin the experience for players....there is no online play! Sonic Racing is a very fun game, but split-screen being the only option for multiplayer is a nasty deal breaker unless you have a big enough monitor for your computer to make the experience acceptable for multiple players. As it stands, this is still limited to only three players, which is less than what its peers offer offline and significantly less than what they offer online. Perhaps a sequel that addresses these issues will be just enough to push it over from a solid copy to a legitimate contender to Mario Kart's mascot racing throne.

82

Front-loaded Fun

nairume | Dec. 10, 2012 | Review of Spore: Ultimate Collection (NA)

Maxis's long awaited Spore is a interesting take on evolution and the progression of life from cell, to organism, to creature, to civilization, and beyond, but it suffers from numerous flaws. While the game as a whole is relatively solid due to each of the individual creature stages coming together to form a better whole, each of these individual stages are often shallow and end up becoming repetitive well before the point where you can move on to the next phase of your creature's evolution. Even worse, it is plainly obvious that the earlier stages of the games were the ones that received more development time, as the phases progressively become a little less meaty and enjoyable as you progress through the campaign. As it stands, these early portions of the game are still incredibly fun and have plenty of opportunity for you to create a creature of endless possibilities. I just really wish that carried on through the rest of the game. Overall, Spore itself is a very good game, and the expansion material included in this Ultimate Edition adds plenty of extra customization options to where you will get your money's worth of of it, even if you just end up toying around the early points in the game more than the later.

94

A hilarious expansion to an already hilarious game

nairume | Dec. 10, 2012 | Review of Magicka: Vietnam DLC

Magicka: Vietnam is a hilarious expansion to an already great game that will leave you satisfied and laughing as you play through the game. The main meat of the add-on, the Vietnam campaign, is an incredibly well designed challenge map that will put all of the players magic fusion and puzzle solving skills to the test. While the difficulty could be off putting to those looking for a casual romp, it makes it all the more satisfying when you do manage to finish it. Aside from the campaign map, the game also includes a new character customization option of playing a soldier wizard that starts out with a machine gun, which is just a hilarious combination that would almost be worth it on his own. As it stands, Magicka: Vietnam is a must own if you are a fan of Magicka.

81

A good game but an ungraceful sequel

nairume | Dec. 10, 2012 | Review of Mass Effect 2 (NA) dns

Mass Effect 2 is a solid game but an ungraceful sequel. On its own, it presents well refined shooting mechanics, a seedy and dirty futuristic universe to explore, and a cast of memorable characters to interact with. As a sequel, it often feels like it is cutting its nose off to spite its face in regards to complaints about problems with the first game. Where the first game had excessive problems with having a very expansive list of inventory options and a poor system through which you could organize and utilize those options, Mass Effect 2 decide that throwing everything out, rather than fixing it was the right choice. As such, what little inventory the game has is very limited and feels less open to customization. Likewise, while the first game featured many useless character creation options that made it difficult to sort out what was worth grabbing or not, this game opts to throw much of it out, leaving a very limited customization system that does little to engage the player and make them feel as if they are participating in building their characters. Overall, Mass Effect 2 is still a good game, but it does little to advance the franchise in the long run.

74

Two steps forward, one step back: The Game

nairume | Dec. 10, 2012 | Review of Kingdoms of Amalur - Reckoning - US & Canada dns

Kingdoms of Amalur is a passable game that often ends up being its greatest enemy. For much of the good it does, it often has something to counter it in some fashion and drag the game down. The game's graphics are well done and hold much detail, but the actual art direction of the game leaves much to be desired and often waffles between being too bright or too dark to make much of that detail out. The combat is also fun and varied, but also suffers from a lot of bloat in the form of unnecessary bonus mechanics. There's also tons of quests and diversions from the main plot, but that is almost necessary because the main plot itself is rather drab. The game's open ended character customization is perhaps the only thing about the game that isn't conflicted by some negative trait, allowing it to be one of the game's best points. Overall, the game is effective enough and worth trying out.

80

A solid revival and a good game in its own right.

nairume | Dec. 10, 2012 | Review of King's Bounty: The Legend

King's Bounty: The Legend is a fantastic revival of an older game that streamlines much of its mechanics into a game that is much easier to pick up and play than its ancestor. The tactical combat, the game's core mechanic, is simple, yet deep, allowing for infinite combinations of squads and tactics. The world exploration is also very well done, providing players with a really expansive world to explore, and numerous quests to discover and complete along the way. On the downside, while the writing is often supposed to be self-aware humor, it is poorly translated and ends up being a bit confused. This leaves much of the game's plot to be a bit of a drag, requiring the player to just roll with it and explore the world, do quests, and have fun with it regardless. King's Bounty is, overall, an effective game and, while not great, is good at what it set out to do.

70

A passable clone

nairume | Dec. 10, 2012 | Review of Game of Thrones

As developer Cyanide is a bit on the unexperienced side with the sort of game Game of Thrones attempts to be, it is little surprise that it is largely an emulation of a more popular game in the genre. As such, Game of Thrones is pretty much a lower budget copy of Bioware's Dragon Age with a George R.R. Martin coat of paint. This does not necessarily mean that GoT is a bad game, though it does keep it from being particularly good. When GoT tries to go out on its own and design its own elements, it actually comes up with some well implemented ideas. The way the player chooses his way through the game not only impacts the store, but reflects back upon the character by imparting upon him a series of personality quirks that change various statistics or opens up new dialog options while closing off others. This is a wonderful idea that more games should attempt! Combat also has no true pause options, throwing away the old tactical “pause and command” system that most of these sort of RPGs do and replaces it with a timed based system where “pausing” means time is slowed down but not stopped, and it can only be so many times. This forces players to still have to think heavily on their feet and not take so much time. This is also a wonderful idea. The problem is when the game tries to emulate Dragon Age as closely as possible that it falls apart. As this is a low rent copy, it means that there are many points where the player can, and will, just start asking why aren't they playing Dragon Age at this point, and it undermines GoT very greatly. As it stands, Game of Thrones is an acceptable copy, but it needs considerable work and perhaps a more ambitious and competent development direction.

57

A well polished bore

nairume | Dec. 10, 2012 | Review of Dungeon Siege III

Once again, Obsidian Software has been brought in to act as a surrogate developer on somebody else's franchise. Though previous attempts at this have turned out as mostly well written games that were already built on top of a solid foundation, they were also full of game breaking bugs, incomplete scenarios, and other issues. And given that these are also problems with Obsidian's one game designed and developed completely on their own without any prior franchise development, it seems as if these are simply problems with Obsidian themselves. With Dungeon Siege 3, it almost feels like Obsidian set out to prove that they could make a game void of these problems, and they've largely succeeded. Dungeon Siege 3 feels like a complete experience, has little game breaking bugs, and is a well polished game that would prove that Obsidian really is capable if they are given the time and funding.

Problem is that the game is actually a dreadfully boring game with very little imagination put into it. It is just a rote dungeon crawling loot-based game that really does little to stand out from its peers, especially in a time when there is no shortage of them. The plot is uninteresting and the mechanics are drab. Plus, the cooperative multiplayer aspect of the game is effectively broken as far as genre standards go, with the second player really not getting much in the way of a persistent character of their own to work on. What's left is a game that is well polished but poorly designed, suffering the exact opposite of the issues that Obsidian usually faces. It's a passable experience, but there are much better options out there.

71

Battle Beyond the Stars

nairume | Dec. 10, 2012 | Review of Mass Effect 3: N7 Digital Deluxe (NA) dNS

Mass Effect 3 is a conflicting game. On one hand, the mechanical side of the game is better than ever for the franchise, with character customization and item management finally being at a workable medium between what the first and second game tried to at different extremes. On the other hand, the actual level design of the game leaves much to be desired, with the stop, drop into cover, shoot, proceed formula being at its most blatant. One the first hand, the plot features many tense and well done moments that tie up much of the loose ends for the franchise and advance many of the characters in meaningful ways. On the other hand, the game's ending is an embarrassment and a horrible end to an otherwise fantastic trilogy. Also, the game's shortened development cycle shows through and much of the game feels considerably unfinished. What remains is a passable game that is almost great at many times but is also really awful at others. Buy at a discount if you can.

93

Turn-based fun

nairume | Dec. 10, 2012 | Review of Shining Force ™

Shining Force is a classic example of simplicity working out for the best. While strategy RPGs are a genre of games known for their complexity and brutal difficulty, Shining Force instead opts for a more streamlined design that allows for the game to be easily picked up and played by any player. The difficulty is also at the exact sweet spot that makes it challenging enough to make beating it an accomplishment while not so difficult to put people off on the game. The plot is also very straight forward and allows for players to never get lost, while sneaking in little diversions and secrets to give some sense of replayability. This is a worth addition to any strategy RPG collection.

100

A surprisingly fresh, fun, and fantastic take on a tired series

nairume | Dec. 10, 2012 | Review of Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light

More often than not, trying to shoehorn a franchise of one genre into another never quite works out right. By all rights, taking a single-player third-person action shooter with a heavy focus on puzzles and platforming and putting it into an multi-player overhead twin-stick shooter with heavy RPG elements should not have worked. However, defying all expectations, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is a wonderful little game that takes the core concepts behind the Tomb Raider games and puts them into something fresh and fun. Not only is the game just as fun to play on your own as the Tomb Raider games have traditionally been, but the addition of multi-player adds to the experience, rather than detracts from it. Strategies and portions of levels that wouldn't work on your own suddenly become viable in multi-player, with players being able to combine their skills to solve puzzles that dynamically change depending on the number of players. On top of that, the game features tons of unlockables and extra challenges to ensure that players will get their money's worth out of this fantastic game.

80

Klassic Kombat, Minor Flaws

nairume | Dec. 10, 2012 | Review of Mortal Kombat: Arcade Kollection

Here they are, the first three Mortal Kombat games in a collection with online play. Were this a perfect port, there would not need to be much said about this collection other than a recommendation to buy it. Mortal Kombat 2 and 3 are already fighting games of established quality and the first game is still an interesting footnote in gaming history, leaving little to say about the games themselves. This is not a perfect collection, however. First, as a solution to keep online players from constantly pausing and disrupting the game, the developers have made it to where whoever paused the game has most of their controls locked for a brief second whenever they unpause the game. While this is already annoying enough, it also carries over to the single player side of the game. As the game's list of character attacks is in the pause menu, this makes using the single player as a training tool for the multiplayer much less useful. Of course, as the multiplayer community seems particularly dead, that may end up being a moot point. Other than that, this is a solid collection that is worth it if you have friends to play with.

93

Spell-slinging Spectacular!

nairume | Dec. 9, 2012 | Review of Magicka

Magicka is perhaps one of the most unique games to grace gaming in years. The magic fusion system that defines the game's core mechanic allows for a nearly endless set of possibilities for players to solve their way through the game's lengthy gauntlet of puzzles, combat encounters, and traps. And for whenever a player may not be able to figure out how to progress, the spell system always allows for magic to be channeled into pure brute force to push your way through, allowing everybody to make their way through the game at their own pace. Packaged along with the game is a charming story and plenty of interesting side games that will make this purchase well worth it for any player.

96

Savage but fun fantasy

nairume | Dec. 9, 2012 | Review of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Nexway

Skyrim, the newest game in Bethesda's Elder Scrolls franchise, delivers on almost every note. The world of Skyrim is absolutely beautiful and packed full with all sorts of different places to explore and things to do. Combat is more fun than it ever has been in the franchise, and the character development has been streamlined while fixing prior issues that have plagued the games. On top of that, the sound direction in the game is nothing short of fantastic, mixing great ambiance with killer orchestra music. On the downside, some of the quests are still rather generic, leaving players with a feeling of “I've done this before, haven't I?” As long as they can get over a little bit of repetitiveness, Skyrim's world is a wonder to explore and should let everybody live out their viking power fantasies.

76

A flawed but enjoyable romp

nairume | Dec. 8, 2012 | Review of The Last Remnant Overflow

Though japanese role playing games are not very common on the PC, The Last Remnant makes a solid case for how they are just as fun on computers as they are on the console. The primary gimmick of this game is in commanding whole squads of characters in fast and fun turn based combat. Though each squad only takes a single command a round, each character is still fully customizable, giving players infinite possibilities in how they approach building their teams. On the downside, the story is a bit on the poorly written side, with much of the game's humor seeming to be entirely unintentional. The game's open nature is also unforgiving to new players, requiring some supplementary information to help guide the way through. Overall, the game is solid and worth a purchase.

86

A good blend of old and new

nairume | Dec. 8, 2012 | Review of Dragon Age: Origins (NA) dns

Those that are looking for a modern take on the great computer RPGs of the late 90's can stop at least for a while, for Dragon Age: Origins is almost that game. Blending turn-based strategy with real time action, Dragon Age provides a fun fantasy RPG experience that thrusts you into devastating conflict between good and evil. Though the game has much in the way of content, it still ultimately feels a bit on the short side and does not feature nearly as much variations to make repeat play throughs feel as fresh after the first time through. Furthermore, while the game's overall design is largely quality, players may have to slog through a few dungeons and areas that fall well beneath the quality of the remainder of the game. Overall, Dragon Age: Origins is a worthy entry to the genre and should at least provide a little bit of nostalgia for those looking for days long past.

92

Great fun for such a little game

nairume | Dec. 8, 2012 | Review of Dwarfs!?

Though people looking for a complex strategy game will be disappointed, Dwarfs!? is an engaging puzzle strategy fusion that puts players into the task of directing a colony of dwarfs as they expand, kill goblins, find treasure, and deal with an underground world that may very well be out to kill you. The interface that allows players to do all this is remarkably intuitive and simple, allowing even the most casual of player to jump right in and enjoy the game. With plenty of different game modes, many of which are short, sweet, and easy to replay, players will find that Dwarfs!? has a lot of legs for such a small game.

65

A valiant effort, but flawed.

nairume | Dec. 8, 2012 | Review of Alpha Protocol

Obsidian's foray into the world of spycraft is an admirable but flawed experience that perhaps needed more time in development and more care given to iron out the flaws. The mechanical side of the game is adequate but contains very little memorable elements that other action RPGs or stealth action games haven't done significantly better. Even worse, while the game preaches Obsidian's typical love for player agency, the game ultimately waffles on that element by throwing you into combat scenarios where the only right answer is whatever the designer was thinking of at the time and with the story changing very little overall around your choices. You could do a whole lot worse than this game, but you could also do a whole lot better.

85

An excellent fantasy experience

nairume | Dec. 8, 2012 | Review of Two Worlds II Cap

Two Worlds II is an excellent open world RPG that combines fun mechanics, interesting characters, and a beautifully designed world for players to explore into a game that is a blast to play. All while doing this, you have the free range of different character customization options to try out, all of which are ultimately viable in the long run. Combine this with a robust multiplayer experience, this is one RPG that every fan of the genre should buy into if you are looking for a good time. Unless you're looking for something a little more contained, do yourself a favor and don't pass this game up.