Reviews by thefinalhope


Plays great, doesn't feel like Max Payne

thefinalhope | Jan. 30, 2013 | Review of Max Payne 3 - PC

Max Payne 3 isn't a bad game, it just does not feel like a Max Payne game if you've played the previous two. The story is fairly straight forward in MP3, you're trying to rescue someone... in Brazil... in daylight most of the time, anyone who's played MP1/2 it does not have the same film noir feel as the others. That's the biggest problem I have with the game honestly, it just doesn't feel like a Max Payne game. Besides that, it plays extremely well and looks great. Mechanics of the weapons feel and handle great, and feel 'realistic' while still maintaining that arcade-like feel the other Max Payne's had. Max is still voiced by the same guy and performs very well, it's just a shame his inner narration did not sound authentic. Sam Lake just has this great way of writing I suppose. The score is also very unique, and for the most part, very good. That's really all I can say, it plays great mechanically and looks fantastic (an incredible port), to me though it was not an authentic Max Payne game and easily could have been sold with another title.


What happened?

thefinalhope | Jan. 16, 2013 | Review of Hitman Absolution (1) - PC

Hitman: Absolution is not a Hitman game. It doesn't feel like one and it doesn't play like one. IO opted to take a different, more story oriented linear approach to the wildly successful formula that has made previous entries loved for years. Getting rid of huge open world sand box environments, the game now plays like a story driven stealth game, opposed to a stealth game with story. The story, for what it's worth, is fairly run of the mill. It's solid, it does the job, but it seems out of character for a Hitman game. The voice acting and presentation of the story however is for the most part superb. It's just a shame 90% of the game is 'get from here to here' missions opposed to the classic Hitman style missions. Absolution does have multiple paths to go through and explore to complete above tasks, but again, the game is titled HITMAN, and what you are doing in this game 90% of the time has nothing to do with the title. There are some missions in Absolution that are more open ended and more akin to previous entries. They are the closest thing I got to having fun in the game, but even then they are plagued with bad design choices and small levels/limited choices. The game revolves around a feature known as 'instinct'. This feature allows you to see through walls, help you stay in disguise and other features. It's a shame they added higher difficulties such as Purist which gimps instinct features, but as this may sound appealing to older fans, it actually creates artificial difficulty, as the game is made around this feature. Visually, the game is amazing. High resolution textures, beautiful art design, amazing lighting, it's definitely one of the best looking games on the market and arguably ever made. This alone has made me trog through this title for more than I'd like to admit. The problem I have with this game, is that it doesn't play like a Hitman game. 90% of the time you aren't killing any 'targets'. You don't get to choose weaponry (for the story), you can't brainstorm (there is no map anymore) or meticulously plan your hits and worst of all, you can't look past these flaws. If you've never played a Hitman game before, you will probably really enjoy this game. But to me, Absolution is just another series that started with stealth roots and is turning into another action TPS.


Pinnacle of excellence

thefinalhope | Dec. 24, 2012 | Review of Hitman Blood Money - PC

Blood Money is hands down, without any doubt whatsoever, one of the best stealth games ever crafted, and EASILY the best Hitman game in the series. Blood Money manages to flawlessly make the game accessible while at the same time making it meticulously deep. Map design steals the show here. The maps in Hitman are all open sandbox levels that are still unmatched in excellence. It's a simple concept - you have target/s, and they drop you into a perfect sized map and the rest is up to you. Maps are large (but not huge, to the point where there are areas that are useless) and usually multileveled which provides so many options in how to eliminate your targets. You get to choose your arsenal. Want to go to that Vegas suite on the 3rd floor to snipe the target when he goes out for a smoke in his balcony suite? You can do that. Did you want to poison your targets drink and watch him die slowly? Or maybe you just want to garrote him as he uses the washroom. The options are endless and all strategies are viable. Mechanically, the game plays smooth. There are some aspects that are a bit clunky, such as the first person mode and the hand to hand combat, but besides that, the game feels great and responsive to play. It's very rewarding to see your planning play out flawlessly and see your mayhem. Jesper Kyd's score also deserves recognition. One of the best video game scores of this generation easily. It immerses, haunts and does everything you would expect. It makes you feel like a Hitman. With all this being said there are issues with the game, but they are so easily overshadowed by everything else the game has to offer. As mentioned, the first person mode doesn't look very good, but that's always been an afterthought in the series. The story also takes a hit, it's there and it's interesting, but it's not the main feature of the game. The game is also short, but the re playability options are endless. Visually, it's also not a looker but again, the visuals are perfectly acceptable. Blood Money has consistently made me reinstall and replay over the years. No game since has offered this quality of map design. This is a MUST PLAY for all gamers. Stealth gamers will love and cherish this game for years and years to come.


A great game, not perfect.

thefinalhope | Dec. 23, 2012 | Review of Deus Ex HR Augmented Edition - PC

Human Revolution came out exactly when it needed to. It showed today's masses that FPS's can be more than linear experiences. Eidos looked at what the original CLASSIC Deus Ex did well, and did it's best to try and keep it intact for the masses of today. For the most part, it succeeds. And succeeds well. I was actually very pleasantly surprised to see how much it felt like a Deus Ex game, which in this day and age I thought could never happen. The first thing fans should notice is the art direction and the absolutely incredible score. Micheal McCann should be cherished for his absolutely incredible work in Human Revolution. The score is beautiful and fits and feels absolutely great in the game. The art style is also fantastic. From an art point of view, the game is often stunning in terms of such realized design. Technically, the game isn't too good looking. Low resolution textures are the main problem, but the game does sport some nice PC features, such as DX11 tessellation (which in most cases, you cannot tell the difference, but it's certainly there). Story wise, it's nothing amazing, but it's certainly worthy of Deus Ex and offers a conspiracy filled and thought provoking story that will have you thinking and immersed throughout the entire game. Side quests are generally well thought out and great to explore as well, but there is one issue with these that I'll speak about later. Gameplay, it feels like Deus Ex. The game is open ended, and there are a couple of hubs that are completely open for you to explore and complete side quests. They aren't very large, but they are visually stunning. There is also several ways to play the game and lots of ways to augment your abilities to make you better as whatever kind of player you want to be. You don't get penalized for shooting everything, so if that's how you like to play, you can play like that. However, I believe it's confirmed that you get more XP for being stealthy, which I'd imagine is a bummer for those who wish to play more aggressive. Multiple ways to complete quests are also in the game full force, with there usually being a conversation way to completing an objective, a stealthy way, hacking style or just plain old aggression. It's great to return to this open ended style of gameplay, allowing the player to choose how to complete objectives in often creative ways. In terms of flaws, the elephant in the room is the boss fights. In Deus Ex, you could run away from a boss encounter and completely ignore the encounter. AND IT SUPPORTED THIS, and there was changes in the story if you did this. In today's gaming world, NOBODY would think that would be possible, and unfortunately, it isn't here as well. They are forced, tacky, and not needed. Side quests don't really matter much in the end as well, which is disappointing as well as most game choices. Besides this though, you cannot go wrong with Human Revolution. You don't need to have played the other games to understand this, however if you have, you will certainly notice and appreciate the homages paid. Overall, it's a breath of fresh air in today's overly congested linear games. Recommended.


If only the game had a bit more time in development...

thefinalhope | Dec. 23, 2012 | Review of Alpha Protocol - PC

Alpha Protocol is still, in it's state, a great game. That being said, it's an often buggy and frustrating game, because it had the potential to be so much better if it was in development for just a bit longer. You are an agent. What kind, is up to you, quite literally. Want to be a suave, James Bond figure? You can be that. Want to be a direct, professional agent? You can be that too. The game allows you to mold how you play via. a conversation wheel similar to games like Mass Effect. The only difference is, there are usually more than 3 different kinds of responses, and it's difficult to choose what to say, as characters will respond differently to how you speak with them. They will either approve of your tone (gaining affection points with that person), be neutral with it, or they won't like it and you will lose affection points with them. Higher affection grants upgrades to your abilities, and in some cases, help with romances with some characters. All the voice work is generally well done, and the writing is extremely well done. Visually, the game isn't anything special. Characters are the highlight in conversations, environments on the other hand, aren't often as impressive. As for gameplay, AP allows you to build a character through a traditional RPG system with experience and talent points, which can be distributed in many different skills, a few being Pistols, Stealth, Martial Arts and Technical Aptitude. Putting points in all of these will increase your skill and also grant usable skills further in, an example being if you invest a certain amount of points into the stealth tree, you will get an ability to be invisible for a short period of time, or an ability that cloaks you automatically for a few seconds if you are seen, basically a save your butt button. Missions in the game are generally varied and have multiple optional objectives. The optional objectives do tie in with the story, and if you do or do not do them, there will be consequences depending. This allows a lot of re-playability to see how the story goes. Now, unfortunately the weakest part of the game, is the gameplay. The game is very buggy, and the AI is nothing short of awful. AI disappears constantly, and the mechanics of the game aren't very polished. Movement is sluggish and awkward, and the gunplay isn't rewarding or feel very good, same goes for the stealth. If you can look past this, you can really enjoy this game. I know I did.


All flash, no substance.

thefinalhope | Dec. 21, 2012 | Review of Hitman Absolution Professional Edition NA - PC

Let's get this out of the way first: Absolution looks amazing. High resolution textures, incredible lighting effects, great art design; the game is a looker, there's no two ways about that. Production values are high and the game sports often impressive voice work. That's about it, though. Hitman: Absolution has abandoned everything that has made the previous Hitman games special. IO has opted to make the game linear to work with it's new emphasis on story. Missions (with a few missions that are more in vain of open ended Hitman levels) are now divided into sections that basically amount to get from this area to this area. On your way, there are enemies and areas that you must get to, and there is things stopping you from getting there. You must figure out how to get to your goal. This is the issue. The game is called Hitman. 90% of the missions have no 'targets'. It fails to make you feel like a Hitman. The few missions that do have targets, for the most part, are decent. Map sizes are a bit small compared to previous entries, however the creativity is still there in terms of how to kill your targets. Mechanically, the game feels and plays great. There are some broken mechanics though, such as the highly controversial disguises. Disguises in Absolution, are pointless. Everybody can see through your disguise, and if you get too close, your cover is blown. The only way to avoid this is to use the 'instinct' system, which allows you to 'blend in' while moving. This instinct vision also allows you to see through walls and where enemies will be moving. Being a fan of the older games, I opted to play on Purist, which removes all help from the game (HUD, more enemies, instinct low, ect). I have never gotten any more frustrated with a game at points. The problem is, Hitman: Absolution is built around using instinct. Playing on Purist creates an unintentional artificial difficulty which makes the game unforgivingly difficult, but in the worst way possible. Basically, Hitman has sold out. There's no other way I could describe it. There are remnants in the game that remind you of why you love the series, but they are short lived and hindered by poor design choices.