Reviews by zachoines

87

Flawed in its deceit mechanic, but still very enjoyable.

zachoines | Sept. 17, 2013 | Review of LA Noire The Complete Edition

The only thing that I had against with this game was the deceit mechanic. Now, believe it or not, the mechanic in the game is an actual thing detectives use in the real world. I personally have studied lie detection through facial muscle movements, speech peculiarities, and other various behavioral cues in college. Based on what I know, I have to give this deceit mechanic in the game praise, but also scorn for some fundamental flaws. First off, I have to give credit to the game for its accuracy of the behavioral cues to deceit that it does employ. The muscle movement patterns on various characters faces during moments of increased emotional arousal do actually match quite well with real human behavior. However, this is the only thing in regards to the games deceit mechanic that is actually accurate. Everything else such as the intensity of the emotion actually reasonably felt by a character versus the intensity of the emotion shown in the character’s behavior, the symmetrically of the muscles movements in a characters face, the lack of other felt emotions that would be reasonably felt by the characters in an interrogation during moments of emotional arousal, and other various subtleties that actual detectives and lie catchers use to catch deceivers are not employed or are misused. But, I do understand why the developers had to do this. The average gamer cannot understand nor pick up on the subtleties of actual human behavior during times when an individual may be deceiving. Additionally, it is extremely difficult for an individual (or the actors for Rockstar games in this case) to recreate these said subtleties. In other words, Rockstar games had to create a streamlined lie detecting experience for the average gamer at the cost of true realism. However, I will not hold this against the developers, but I will hold the second flaw that I noticed in this mechanic against them. This flaw has to do with the obviousness of the emotions the characters felt during the times they were lying when compared to the times they were not. During the many interrogation scenes in the game, when a character decides to lie, their face and body will contort violently in all sorts of ways, and when they are not lying, these same characters will show absolutely no movement at all. After a while of playing the game, the mechanic no longer involves discerning which emotions the characters are actually feeling, but rather it boils down to whether or not the character’s faces are contorting in all sorts of mannerisms. In other words, it becomes a game of spotting whether or not the characters faces are moving or not. This essentially defeats the purpose of having accurate (although note purely realistic) movements in the face and body in the first place, and serves to cheapen the mechanic. All in all though, I found this game to be most enjoyable and a definite recommend for those who want a complex crime solving experience.

60

Average at best

zachoines | Sept. 11, 2013 | Review of F.E.A.R. 3

When this game was first announce, I was indeed very excited. It was a famous horror series that I loved, which was always able to strike F.e.a.r (see what I did there) into me. However, this time around, I think the developers missed the mark. But, before I go into what I disliked, lets look at what was good. First off, the story was definitely above average. Apparently, the developers wrote the story with the aid of John Carpenter, who is one of the greatest horror movie creators of all time (he is the guy who made "Halloween" and "The Thing"). As a consequence, I found the story to be engaging. Although, I do have the say that the first F.e.a.r game was more interesting for me honestly. Nonetheless, the story was well written. Another aspect this game did well in was the shooting mechanics. As in the last two F.e.a.r games, the main character "Point Man" has the ability to slow time, and I think that in F.e.a.r 3 they improved this mechanic in the sense that it now makes the action seem even more intense and gruesome. Lets move on to what I didn't like about F.e.a.r 3. First and foremost, the F.e.a.r series is a HORROR series, specifically made in the first place with the intention to scare the player. However, this time around the game was not scary at all. This game has fallen into the common pitfall that so many horror movies series have fallen into. The enemies are no longer as difficult to kill, and they are less likely to kill you. In other words, the developers made the game more easy to play, thus in turn causing the the enemies to be less fear invoking. An additional cause for the game to be less scary lies in the fact that there is less unnerving events and potent atmosphere. In the first game, there was many moments when unnerving events would happen, such as a little girl walking down a hallway and then just disappearing. These moments happened separate of the moment to moment game-play and they served to add a constant sense of dread, mystery, and tension to the atmosphere. F.e.a.r 3 hardly had any of these moments when compared to the other games, thus causing it to be less scary. Another thing that I didn't like about the game is the lack of variation in weapons and enemies. I realize that this is a miner gripe, but I actually found my self becoming bored often times killing the same enemies with the same weapons over and over again. And this was compounded by the fact that the game was lacking in the scare department. Overall, I was disappointed by F.e.a.r 3. Although the story and mechanics are serviceable if not above average at times, it has sacrificed the soul of the series in order to attract more buyers. And as a result of this, F.e.a.r 3 misses the point of the entire series, of which is an atmospheric horror action experience. And without this fundamental quality of the series, the game comes off as generic and average at best.

90

Just as great as the original.

zachoines | Sept. 6, 2013 | Review of Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition

I loved Fallout 3. There is no other game that I have spent more time with than Fallout 3. So, as a consequence, when Fallout New Vegas came out, I was thrilled. But, after a long while of playing it, I noticed that it does not diverge far from the basic gameplay mechanics that Fallout 3 had. In addition to that, the graphics of Fallout New Vegas are basically the same as Fallout 3 as well. In other words, Fallout New Vegas is pretty much an expansion pack for Fallout 3 (a massive one at that). But, by no means is this a bad thing. Why should we change something when it is already perfect (Besides the mass amount of bugs which were there. Those could have gone away.)? For this reason, I highly recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of the Fallout series.

69

Very disappointing, but fun.

zachoines | Sept. 5, 2013 | Review of Medal of Honor Warfighter (NA)

I found this game to be highly disappointing. There are a few different reasons why I found this game to be disappointing, those being a very uninspired story, and non engaging and irritating gameplay. Although I may admit, gauging how interesting a story is purely subjective and is highly dependent on the individual. But, with this fact in mind, this game's story can be summed up as one about stopping a terrorist organization before they kill a lot of people (I purposely spare the details here as to not spoil the plot for anyone who wishes to play the game). Personally, I find this concept to be overused and, as a result, very generic. It's one of those story arcs that game publishers use when they do not have any other legitimate cause for the enemy besides to destroy (insert country's name here) because they are bad for some reason. As for the gameplay, what really irritates me about it was the lack of choice it gave me. In the beginning level of the game, I was ordered to kill an enemy. But, I honestly did not want to kill this person, and so I spent sometime finding out how to get past without killing him. But the game, as a result, killed the person for me in my hesitation. My personal gripes aside, there was some good in the game. I thought that the graphics were amazing, far more better than most games which came out the same year. I also thought that the gun play was engaging and fun as well. But, when compared to all the flaws I came across in my play through, the games strong points do not make up for what it lacks. Nonetheless, I felt that this game was at the very least fun due to its solid mechanics, and that is all that matters in the end. Play at your own risk.

85

Bad horror game, great action game.

zachoines | Sept. 5, 2013 | Review of Dead Space 2 (NA)

The first game is the series did a good job at atmosphere, building tension, and at eliciting fear in the player. However, its strong suit was not that of action. But, that is OK because its focus was not placed towards action at all. However, in Dead Space 2, there was a complete revision of this focus, one which relies very heavily on action. Combat, suits, weapons, and the shear amount of enemies were revamped with action in mind. Heck, I remember in the original Dead Space walking through a series of corridors, for what felt like forever, without seeing a single enemy and finding hardly any ammo at all. But, this was intentionally done in order to aid In the horror experience. In Dead Space 2, however, enemies jump out from every corner and ammo is plentiful. This of course comes at the cost of a truly immersive horror experience. However, I will not hold this against Dead Space 2. In fact, I think that this change in philosophy is a benefit to the series because, honestly, although the original Dead Space did horror well, it wasn't that great at it at the same time. In all reality, the horror was mostly jump scares and gore, a far cry from the truly great horror games which rely (such as Amnesia and the Condemned series) more on psychological elements to create fear. So, I think this refocus in Dead Space 2 is a refreshing take on an already great premise of a game, and is an easy recommend for action junkies who like just a touch of horror.