Reviews by sheldipez

100

Brothers feels like game of the year material to me

sheldipez | Dec. 2, 2013 | Review of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

In Brothers you play as both brothers using one controller (each brother controlled using one side of a controller) and have to traverse a mythical fairytale world on a quest to get a magic cure for your ill father. The game reminds me of the minimalistic fantasy world of Sony’s Shadow of the Colossus, like that game there is little verbal dialogue (the human characters do not speak English so emphasis is on physical emoting) and the world is sparse yet very atmospheric with excellent use of beautiful backdrops and a haunting score. An amazing game and one of my favourites of 2013.

80

The Saturday morning Jurassic Park cartoon that never was

sheldipez | Nov. 19, 2013 | Review of Jurassic Park: The Game

Jurassic Park is a game which was designed to be episodic but instead all four "episodes" ending up being released together at the same time, when you buy this you get the whole package.

JP was Telltale’s first game in a new direction after a long period of traditional point n click adventures, their main inspiration being the game mechanics of Heavy Rain, meaning that it’s best played with a controller (plug in a wired 360 controller and all the onscreen prompts change to the buttons of the xbox pad). The result is a game that is heavy on quick time events but never feels annoying (I was done with Heavy Rain before Heavy Rain was done with me – Jurassic Park is short and doesn’t outstay its welcome).

The story is centred around a team that is sent in to retrieve the can of dino DNA that Dennis Nedry failed to deliver in the first (and best) movie and the other, unseen, park staff that were trapped on the island (always was strange how a massive multibillion dollar park was ran on a skeleton staff!).

A lot of negative reviews where thrown about by critics but I’ve always thought they were too harsh, it’s essentially a Saturday morning Jurassic Park cartoon (all the characters are in the TellTale animated style) with a ton of nudges towards the movie we all love. You can see what they learned from this experience and we have The Walking Dead because of this. Recommended.

75

Excellent atmosphere and very challenging adventure

sheldipez | Nov. 19, 2013 | Review of Still Life

Still Life is a crime/ detective themed adventure game, starring lead character and FBI agent Victoria McPherson who has the unenviable job of investigating an gruesome serial killer case that just so happens to link back to her family’s past (a prequel game, of sorts, is Post Mortem – though no previous experience of that game is needed to enjoy Still Life). The game flips between modern day America with Victoria and a 1930's Prague with her grandfather. All of the pre-rendered backdrops are beautifully depicted and ooze atmosphere with the brilliant soundtrack laid over the top (sound design is generally top-notch across the board). Where the game falls down is with it’s really tough, and often obtuse puzzles; there’s a few times where I resorted to a walkthrough to proceed and even the walkthroughs I could find didn’t explain the solution in so much just tell you what to do (lock picking puzzle – I’m looking at you) and the game even dumps a tough timing based “puzzle” on you late in the game where you have to avoid mission impossible style lasers using a remote controlled robot.

Still Life is a mixed bag adventure game; a constant mix of really great elements crossed with the worst of adventure game puzzles, yet I recommended this game without hesitation on pure atmosphere alone.

60

For die-hard BTTF fans only

sheldipez | Nov. 19, 2013 | Review of Back to the Future: The Game

Telltale’s Back to Future game acts as a kind of 4th movie (even though Bob Gale, co-creator, co-writer and co-producer of the film trilogy is on board he claims that this isn’t part of the series canon) which is to please die-hard fans (it even has vocal talents of Christopher Lloyd reprising his Doc Brown character and a cameo from Michael J. Fox) it isn’t meaty enough to please non-fans or general point n click aficionados.

The game mechanics follows the template of TellTale’s more traditional controlled adventures like Tales of Monkey Island but no comparison can be made for the puzzles as they are either really light or virtually non-existent, maybe something that was aimed at a more general audience considering the franchises mass appeal. There’s more than a bunch of plot holes that can be found in the games’ story which is probably to be expected when you write about excessive use of time travel but I constantly found myself going cross eyed trying to keep up with just how some events where happening in the last two episodes (the game is broken up into five chapters.

The real highlight is the voice acting and sound design which is top-notch as expected, considering the talent they have on show.

100

It isn’t a game, it’s an experience.

sheldipez | Nov. 18, 2013 | Review of Dear Esther

The story of Dear Esther cannot be described, so I won’t bother. Broken down in basic mechanics it’s a single player, first person, videogame with a linear narrative that’s wonderfully bizarre that just so happens to be the most stunning, beautiful use of Valve’s ancient Source engine to date; the whole thing oozes of atmosphere. Something I would never have expected in 2013 with Source.

It’s first person, but there’s no shooting, it’s single player story led game, but there’s no other NPC’s. The game takes what is standard in videogame tropes and turns them all on their head. Shell out the few quid for a copy, bump the GFX up to max, bang your headphones on and get lost in Dear Esther. My money says you’ll be back for a return trip.

85

Exellent! Lucasarts would be proud.

sheldipez | Nov. 18, 2013 | Review of Deponia

Deponia is a hidden gem, ok it may not be that well hidden as Daedalic, the developers, have just completed their Deponia trilogy, BUT it’s a game that you need to play if you have any slight interest in humorous Lucasarts-style point n click adventures of the past as this is the closest you’re going to get. You play as Rufus who is a kind of cross between Guybrush Threepwood (of Monkey Island fame) and Ash (Evil Dead’s reluctant hero) as he tries to leave his garbage filled home planet and get the games’ heroine ‘Goal’ back to hers. During the adventure you’ll have funky hummable music, stunning painted backgrounds, really nice animation and excellent voice acting through-out.

100

TellTale at their best

sheldipez | Nov. 17, 2013 | Review of The Walking Dead

So good I've experienced it on three platforms (PC being the superior, yet still buggy, version). I'm a long time fan since Bone but TellTale have really moved onto another level. This is the kind of game David Cage wishes he could make and TellTale team pull it out of the bag at a fraction of what Heavy Rain dross cost. Season 2 is going to be tough challenge but if 400 Days is anything to go on it has a top new eclectic group of survivors to play with.