Reviews by p3nguin_pris0n

100

The Dark Knight

p3nguin_pris0n | June 3, 2013 | Review of Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year

I was completely unprepared for how incredible this game was going to be, and I was pretty sure it was just more lofty promises with underwhelming deliverance. I was so glad to be wrong.

I've always loved Batman. There's just something inherently cool about his persona, his costume, his creed; it seems like an easy thing to translate to a video game, but after being burned countless times, it isn't so hard to imagine my trepidation. But I played the demo and was instantly blown away. I picked up the game and played and played.

The story isn't just filler here, it really drives the gameplay along. The twists and turns are really neat; although mostly predictable, they are still fun to watch unfold. Of course, a great story isn't anything without great gameplay, and Arkham Asylum delivers. The combat is fun and varied; I never felt like I was invincible, which helped me maintain focus when I was pummeling the bad guys. Of course, the more you play the better you get, both as a player and in how you can upgrade Batman's abilities. It's a great system that makes combat really fun.

If you haven't picked this game up yet, there's no reason to hesitate: it's a great game, whether you're a fan of Batman or not.

90

Those Menus...

p3nguin_pris0n | June 1, 2013 | Review of DiRT 3

Dirt 3 is a fantastic racing game. The menus are fancy and flashy and are purely for show. Under the hood the racing game is just as fantastic.

I played through World Rally Championship for PS2 in one sitting, many years ago. Since that day, I've always enjoyed rally racing games and generally seek them out. Dirt 3 definitely has rally racing, but it isn't a pure rally game. If that isn't a deterrent, Dirt 3 offers some of the best, varied racing available from any game.

The cars handle with finesse; it isn't a simulation, although it isn't a pure arcade racer, either. This middle ground really gives a sense of accomplishment when burning around turns at insane speeds. The cockpit view is really phenomenal in Dirt 3, too. Listening to the driver assistant spouting out warnings of turns and jumps, the hum of the engine, and the dirt that's spouting from the back-end of the car - while driving in cockpit view - envelopes the player in the game; I love every second of it.

I'm sure there are better pure rally games, but this game offers so much variety, it'd be a shame to skip it for this reason alone. I highly recommend it!

80

The Last Remnant

p3nguin_pris0n | June 1, 2013 | Review of The Last Remnant

I remember playing this game for the Xbox 360 originally, when I was hankering for a Final Fantasy fix, but I never finished it. I bought it for PC for cheap and have just dug back into it, and my memory of a good RPG with a decent story was cloud-filled: The Last Remnant is a great RPG with a neat story, great characters, and an interesting combat system.

If graphics are important, the game isn't too shabby, even today. I believe it's running on the Unreal Engine, so it has some neat particle effects, although some of the textures are slightly bland. The characters are well detailed, however, and the menus and user interface still looks great; it definitely has that Square Enix touch.

I wanted to mention the combat again because I think it does some neat things. Instead of directly controlling individual characters, the characters are divided into groups. These groups are scattered over the battlefield and lend the game an epic battle feel. There's definitely strategy to positioning the different groups; plus, there's a morale meter that measures how well the party is doing overall: do well, and the party gets boosts to defense and attack; do poorly, and the party suffers.

If you're looking for a solid RPG, The Last Remnant will do just fine. I'ts soaked in the Japanese flavor of the genre, but that doesn't mean it's bad by any means. Pick it up!

90

Solid Fun

p3nguin_pris0n | June 1, 2013 | Review of GRID

I love racing games; but I mainly love arcade racing games, which nearly prevented me from picking up Grid. I decided to take a chance, and luckily, Grid nails the feel of an arcade racer while incorporating the style of a simulation.

Driving the cars is an absolute joy in Grid. Each car has a unique feel, so each race is initially challenging. Once around the track, however, and driving each car will feel second nature. This really helps with how fun the game is, as there's no one car that handles better than any other; variety is the spice of life and so on.

I've seen complaints about the lack of cars and tracks; I don't think it's an issue. Sure, there aren't that many cars, but it doesn't detract from how straightforward of a racing game Grid is: pick a car and race; no gimmicks, nothing fancy. This is why I love Grid. I can just jump in and race.

If you're on the fence about Grid, I say take the plunge. It's a joy to drive the cars, it's a no-frills racing game, and it's just plain fun.

95

A New Beginning

p3nguin_pris0n | May 28, 2013 | Review of Tomb Raider

I wasn't interested in Lara's newest adventure when I first heard about it. I played the old Tomb Raider games, but never felt a real connection with them. Then I watched a gameplay video...

I usually don't get completely engrossed in a game anymore, but Tomb Raider had me in an iron grip; I didn't stop playing until I completed the adventure, and even then I dove back in to try and find all of the hidden items.

The world is designed so well, which I think is what really grabbed me to begin with. I really felt like I was alone, scared, lacking the skills to survive my new-found aloneness. But as Lara grows in the game, the player grows along with her. You begin learning how to move around, how to climb and reach some place that seems so far away, and how to survive. It's an action adventure game through and through.

Exploration plays a bigger part of the game than people are giving it credit for, I think. It's so fun to just explore. Combat is well done, too. It was incredibly freeing to have Lara just automatically crouch down when enemies were nearby, not only alerting me to their presence but also freeing me from trying to push a button to enter stealth mode.

The story is predictable, which isn't, I believe, a deal breaker. It's still loads of fun; it's a great game that deserves your full attention.

85

Undercover Cop

p3nguin_pris0n | May 27, 2013 | Review of Sleeping Dogs: Limited Edition

I'm a sucker for undercover cop stories. There's this constant tension; will the bad guys figure me out? Will I be able to do horrible things for the greater good? The story in Sleeping Dogs explores these avenues, and the player is treated to an up-and-down struggle as the main character.

Roaming the city is fun on-foot, although I found the driving a bit boring. Combat, on the other hand, is brilliant. There are tons of moves to execute, and there are hidden items that help develop the fighting repertoire; it helps keep combat fresh even after umpteen hours.

For me, Sleeping Dogs was a pleasant surprise. I expected a GTA clone, but it carves out its own niche in the open-world genre.

I highly recommend it.