Reviews by rsand27

90

Longtime Batman fan and I loved this game

rsand27 | Aug. 14, 2013 | Review of Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year

Just finished the main game today. Put in around 19 hours and still have about 50 riddles to solve. I would definitely replay the story mode also. Still haven't touched any of the challenge modes or extra content.

This game is loaded with pros. There's a great story with great voice acting that is true to all the characters. Parts of the story revolving around Scarecrow are very creepy.

Combat is excellent. I love the various ways Batman attacks, counters, and evades all into combo chains. There are 20 upgrades available to your attack, armor, and tools, though I only found about half worthwhile. On the final blow in many combo chains, there are cinematic animations that zoom in on the knockout blows. You can attack from above, below, around corners.

Boss battles are varied. Scarecrow levels are unique as they are a completely different gameplay mechanic that is a bit more 2D. Objectives are clear with map markers to point you in the right direction. The battle with Killer Croc wasn't what I was expecting, and I mean that in a good way. Strangely, the final battle is probably the easiest in the game.

One of the best aspects of the game is exploration. You can crawl through ventilation systems, find structural weaknesses to tear down or blast your way through, and countless places to fire your grappling hook into. And there are 240 challenges to solve from the Riddler scattered throughout Arkham Island. Many of these lead to back story and character bios. Others unlock new challenge modes.

Graphics are great, though the faces on the characters could use a bit of work. I have Radeon HD 6350 graphics built in to the motherboard, 8 GB of RAM, and an AMD Quad Core 3620, which was one of the cheaper desktops I could find in summer 2012. Nothing fancy, and I was able to max out all graphics settings without a glitch. I couldn't enable the enhanced physics, since it seems to only let you set that if you have specific Nvidia cards.

My only real complaint about this game is that the controls can be a pain sometimes. I used keyboard + mouse and Batman didn't always do what I wanted him to. This was a negligible issue though.

Looking forward to starting Arkham City.

90

Incredible reboot of franchise

rsand27 | Aug. 14, 2013 | Review of Tomb Raider

Loved this game. It's very story-driven. Very epic. Lots of intensity. There are a ton of animation sequences for everything. Like squeezing through a hole in the wall presents a short animation. It's small but keeps the camera moving and adds to the cinematic quality of the game. Some people say it's an interactive movie. I can agree with that to some extent, but I happen to like games like that.

You really feel the emotion behind Lara as she goes from panicking castaway to hardened bad-ass survivor. There's a solid soundtrack behind it all. Thanks to fast-paced action, explosions, fires, and QuickTime events, the game is very intense. The entire environment is constantly collapsing.

I was really into the survival aspects early in the game--finding weapons, hunting for food, using campfires as save points. You hunt once for food though and that's it, which was a little disappointing. Once you start seeing salvage crates placed randomly all over the map, it breaks the illusion a bit as well. Here we are out in the wild and oh, look--a supply crate! You can still hunt for experience points and salvage.

The QuickTime events where you have to hit an exact key at the exact moment can be incredibly frustrating. You end up just having to memorize some sequences to proceed. I did get use to this after a while, but then it comes back in a big way at the very end after disappearing for the most part. Threw me off a bit.

Some other scenes are trial and error also, but overall the game isn't incredibly challenging. I built up survivor skills first and I never had issues with ammo. Then again, I played on easy. The game keeps you informed of objectives and displays maps through the TAB key, and the Q key reveals important objects in the environment as well as an objective beacon to light the way.

I like the variety of weapons. Early on I relied mostly on the bow, since it's your best early weapon. Then I switched to guns, but in the end, the bow gains significant power. You can do head-shots or stealth kills for extra experience points. You can blow up oil drums to take out hordes of enemies. You can dodge and counter, though that aspect of the game needs a lot of work. I swear I dodged like a trillion attacks and 1/50 would give me the opportunity to counter. Later you can achieve weapon mastery through skill trees and do some cool finishing moves. You can also shoot enemies in the legs to slow them down. Shielded enemies are supposed to be more challenging but I just hit them with grenades from the rifle's launcher attachment or grenade-tipped arrows. Fire arrows basically eliminate a need for accuracy unless you want head shots for bonus points.

The game is particularly brutal. Some may not like that. I thought it could have been toned down slightly. Whoever the chief designer on this game was has serious issues. When you fail, Lara gets crushed by boulders, shot up by bullets and arrows, plummets deep falls (often hitting rocks), gets brutally strangled, eaten by wolves, and gets a wooden spike jabbed through her head. You can't skip it and the animations are longer than necessary. Lara took a spike to the head eight times before I cleared the waterfall. She was strangled five times before I figured out what the melee button was. And each time it was brutal. There's a ton of blood in the game. Lara is always covered in it.

There are plenty of collectables. Upon finishing the story, I am only 79% complete. Some are pure collectables that add nothing to the story like relics and the GPS items. Diaries add to the story, so those are interesting. I also have a few weapon upgrades and skills to achieve.

Graphically, the game is great to look at. There are varied environments from dusty winds, rainy forests, snowy mountains, rapids and waterfalls, beaches, caves and tombs, modern buildings and wooden villages. I played part of the game on high quality and it looked great, but I experienced some frame rate issues during animations, so I shifted to normal quality and was still happy with the graphics.

90

One of the best games I've ever played

rsand27 | Aug. 14, 2013 | Review of BioShock (NA)

Bioshock is one of the best games I've ever played. It's the creepiest game I've played since the original Silent Hill on PS1. The underwater city contributes to a claustrophobic environment. The enemies in this game aren't just mindless grunting zombies. You often walk in on them talking to each other, arguing or fighting with each other, working on some machine. Even though they clearly have a psychotic monster mentality to them, they still seem to go on about their business at times. It's creepy when they sing. Anything the Little Sisters say is especially creepy.

The art style is fantastic. Really good graphics for a game from 2007. And I enjoyed the music selection for the game. It gives age to a science-fiction style underwater city full of genetic experimentation. The best is when you turn on a jukebox and it plays "How Much is That Doggy in the Window" because it's so completely inappropriate for the setting. It just adds to the strangeness.

The game controls great. I'm not a big fan of first-person games, but climbing, jumping, pressing buttons, collecting items, and simple navigation like walking and crouching are all perfectly executed. Most enemies don't sprint around you, which makes it easy on the stomach for those who suffer motion sickness. I found the game to be more about slow exploration than fast-paced shooting.

There is a good variety of weapons and "plasmids" which are basically superpowers. You can easily switch between plasmid and weapon with the right mouse button. As in most games you can mouse-scroll to change weapons or click the corresponding number on the keyboard. There is a "damage research" system that lets you take photographs of enemies to build up research points, which turns into bonus damage as you complete the research tiers. You can upgrade your weapons at upgrade stations and you upgrade your plasma by spending Adam, which is acquired from Little Sisters. You can choose to harvest or rescue the Little Sisters. I recommend rescue. The rewards were sweet.

Bioshock is more than just combat. The more you explore, the more tape recorders you find, which reveal more of the story. There isn't much in terms of puzzles. The game points you in the right direction with a flashing arrow. Items of interest are obviously highlighted. Hacking is the main "puzzle" side of the game. You can hack vending machines, security bots, and safes through a mini-game. Hacking security bots and turrets makes them work for you.

I played on easy, because I really don't play FPS games and my backlog of games is too large to get hung up on a single game too long. Easy setting was EXTREMELY easy. I never died and the final boss was a joke. As I progressed, I needed to buy less and less supplies. After a while I couldn't even collect money anymore before my wallet was full. Using the invisibility plasmid also makes the game significantly easier. You can hide from monsters and more importantly security bots. If you trigger an alarm you can just stand still (and invisible) until the timer ticks down.

The best part of this game is the story. It is interesting with an amazing plot twist. I'm not going to say much about the story. No spoilers on that one.

95

Brave New World makes a great game even better

rsand27 | Aug. 14, 2013 | Review of Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World (NA)

Awesome! Brave New World makes it even better! Nuff said!

Fun, varied gameplay. Brave New World puts new life into the back half of the game, as well as significantly increasing choices in the early game, making you rethink old strategies. Good graphics. Large variety of leaders to choose from. Easily sucks you in for hours at a time. Options to micro-manage turn by turn or you can "queue" construction projects to automate the process for a while. Great variety of map types and sizes, buildings, units, and play styles.

It does have a bit of a learning curve though, especially with all the new content. And the games run very long. AI isn't always that great. The computer players don't like to do reasonable trades such as "Open Borders" when there has been no history of hostility between you and them, for example. At higher difficulty settings, the computer seems to go with an everybody hates you from the start" approach that can be frustrating sometimes.

100

Just as fun as I remember it

rsand27 | Aug. 14, 2013 | Review of DuckTales: Remastered

Awesome! Just as fun as I remember it on the NES but with great new graphics, classic great soundtrack, and voice acting by most of the original cast from the television series. The story is just like an episode of the cartoon with plenty of gags. The classic villains are there like Magica de Spell and the Beagle Boys. Sometimes it stops the action for a quick gag, which broke the momentum a bit, but isn't a big deal.

There's some extra content, too, unlockables like art and music that you can buy with the money you collect as you clear the levels.

It didn't recognize my Logitech controller, but the keyboard works better than I thought for the most part, although I did hit the Windows key twice already which brought up the start menu and the game lost focus during a boss fight and I took a few hits. Hopefully, they patch that to disable that key when the game is running.

Other than that small flaw, I love it and it was worth the $12 I paid preordering it.

50

If beat-the-clock games aren't your thing, I'd steer clear

rsand27 | March 17, 2013 | Review of 10 000 000

I didn't think this game would be all that great based on screenshots alone. It looks like an Atari 2600 game.

The matching game is very much like a Bejeweled clone. I'm a big fan of Bejeweled with about 50 hours clocked in on Bejeweled 3.

I liked the upgrade system in this game. It's fun to upgrade your castle and then to level up your weapons, armor, and shield. Potions add interesting new effects.

I enjoyed this game at first enough to play for 3 hours in a 24-hour period. Eventually the frustration killed the fun. Maybe my reaction time is just too low, but any time I turned my attention to what obstacle was in my path at the top of screen, the slightest glance away would eat up all my time. I actually found it better to not even look up top and just match away and hope to get lucky. And if you run out of matches that are glaringly obvious and have to scan the board, you might as well just give up. If you take more than two seconds to think during a dungeon run, you lose. At least that's how I found it to work.

I think what kept me playing were the weapon/armor upgrades. I assumed that I'd eventually just overpower everything in a dungeon and be able to best all the enemies in one match each. Even at max weapons/armor for my level, I still had difficulties. Some monsters still take a lot of matches to overcome.

If beat-the-clock games aren't your thing, I'd stay clear of this. If you like those types of games, you'll probably find this very satisfying due to the RPG elements behind a Bejeweled-type puzzle game.