Mini Reviews

Console/PC game reviews by 5punkers

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FatherJack
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Re: Mini Reviews

Post by FatherJack »

Anyway (in reply to myself waffling on) this thread is supposed to be for mini reviews:

Saints Row IV

I won't spoil what I've seen of the story as it's highly amusing, but you've probably gathered from previews that your status has increased somewhat even beyond that of the megastar gangster of the previous title, that you have some new abilities and that things don't quite look as they did. Even with all that though, the main fun of the game is still as it was - randomly causing a ruckus for the hell of it, but with a little bit more purpose than before as ruckus-causing is a thing that you should be doing. Full marks to the team for including that.

The new bits borrow heavily from Crackdown, which like the later Batman Arkham City have you using your techniques to reach strategically-placed power-ups to strengthen yourself. Now this is kinda fun, but in both of those games, plus in parts of Prototype and inFamous and possibly others it rather overtakes the whole "do the thing that you're supposed to be doing aspect" and eventually gets...distracting.

This wouldn't be a problem ordinarily, but the missions you have to complete to unlock some of the funny stuff you've probably seen in vids horse you into some rather frustrating mini-games, which you have to start over at checkpoints on failure. This has always been the downside of the series - you've always had to tow the line and jump the hoops through missions, doing and "passing" one of each type to introduce it before you're given the full open-world playground, Grand Theft Auto has been guilty of this too.

The series is often compared with GTA in a positive light owing to its balls-out stupidity, but misses two crucial tricks that the new GTA V now employs. In GTA you usually have a bit more choice in missions, barring some key scenes, but the real deal-maker for GTA V is that upon failing even a critical storyline mission three times you can just skip it. Of course you miss out on the story that unfolds during the mission by doing that, but you don't get stuck trying to do the same thing over and over. In truth, some of those GTA missions are bugged such that I suspect most people will fail some of them the first time, but while it seems a bit cheaty to skip them, it removes the frustration I've encountered fairly early on in Saint's Row IV.

The difference, as I see it, is between thinking "thank fuck I got past that - I never want to have to do that again" and "maybe I'll replay that again and try to get it right next time".

More of a midi than a mini review I guess, but in short not only has the pendulum swung back in favour of Rockstar's latest but to date I've have more fun in Saint's Row III than I have Saint's Row IV - I really hope that changes as it's clear there's a lot more fun in there than I'm getting so far.
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Re: Mini Reviews

Post by FatherJack »

Bioshock Inifinite - Burial at Sea part 1

Pretty. Nostalgic super fun, slightly confusing motivations of main characters. Buggy. Pretty buggy. Had to replay whole sections of the campaign after bugs like Liz disappearing, blocking me or me doing things in the wrong order.

X Rebirth

Pretty. Busy - oh so very busy. Buggy. Pretty buggy. Had to replay whole sections of the campaign after getting stuck where it wanted me do something I'd done, but not quite correctly.
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Re: Mini Reviews

Post by Shada »

X Rebirth

£39.99 of horse shit.
Dog Pants
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Re: Mini Reviews

Post by Dog Pants »

Concise.
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Re: Mini Reviews

Post by FatherJack »

Yeah, it's broken. The second trailer on Steam gives you pretty much all the good bits, but to simulate actually playing the game you should press your PC's reset button every five seconds while watching it. That's about 35 resets in a three-minute video, so a pretty accurate facsimile of the fun-to-anger ratio I've experienced in the 13 hours I've managed to not destroy my computer while playing it.

I've begun to look on it as a tricky, obtuse puzzle whereby I pit my wits and patience against overwhelming odds to somehow bruteforce my way through the campaign. It's akin to therapy: the Anger Management World Cup.
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Re: Mini Reviews

Post by spoodie »

Jazzpunk

Sort of an adventure game set in a silly, surreal world with many references to pop and nerd culture. I don't want to say too much as the most entertaining aspect of the game is discovering it for yourself. The game can be completed in around 2 hours, apparently, and this has been a source of disappoint for some. However I feel they're missing the point and not exploring the various areas in any detail, missing some of the best humour in the game. I suppose in that sense it's similar to The Stanley Parable; the more time you put in, the more you get out, up to a point.

I thought it was great and made me chuckle consistently. However there's probably not much in the way of replay value once you've seen everything and there are a few bugs.
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Re: Mini Reviews

Post by Dog Pants »

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

II'll do a proper review at some point because it's one of the few games I've actually completed in the last 5 years. There's a reason for that though - it's only about 3 hours long. The premise is fun though: you play a family man, husband, father, also secret octopus, trying to get by in life without everyone discovering his true identity. The controls are the meat of the game - holding left or right mouse to individually control his 'legs' or switching to arm mode to pick things up to perform tasks. It's silly in a Surgeon Simulator or QWOP way, as you wreck your kitchen while trying to make coffee. For the most part this combined with the cute humour keep things entertaining, and the levels are varied enough to not get old. A few parts are frustrating though as you feel like you're fighting the controls rather than being amused by them. In these parts I really get the feeling it was designed for a joypad, even though it's a PC exclusive. Well worth a look though - a 'pick up in a Steam Sale' verdict on my just-made-up ratings scale.
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Re: Mini Reviews

Post by spoodie »

Dog Pants wrote:In these parts I really get the feeling it was designed for a joypad, even though it's a PC exclusive.

You should get a gamepad, there are several good games that benefit from it.
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Re: Mini Reviews

Post by Dog Pants »

I do, I have an xbox pad. Bought it for bumout. I just never really got round for trying it in Octodad.
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Re: Mini Reviews

Post by spoodie »

Fair enough. My personal rule of thumb is that if a game supports a gamepad that's likely the best option, unless it's an FPS of course.
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Re: Mini Reviews

Post by Dog Pants »

Mine's generally the opposite, but I've still got ties and things to find so I'll see what the difference is.
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Re: Mini Reviews

Post by shot2bits »

Space base DF9 impressions:

I remember someone (i think pants) did a write up about this already when it came out but i thought id share my thoughts, firstly i adore games like this, i grew up playing games like Theme Hospital and have a long standing love affair with Dwarf Fortress so this is definitely my cup of tea.

It has to be noted though, that this game is in very early stages and i think most of the work since release has been on smoothing out the foundations rather than piling the features in. Personally i think that is a good thing as I've seen a few attempts at the genre in recent years where they have chucked way too much in too early to try and keep early customers interested and playing and then spend months gutting it all to make it work with changes to the games foundations. Unfortunately though this has left Space Base with only about an hour or so of solid game play before you have built everything and seen most of the random events the game currently has to offer.

That said, what is there seems fairly solid to me and I'm excited to see them add in the features planned in their roadmap (found here) that will add a lot of depth and personality to their game

As is the game is lacking in a lot of areas, the crew don't feel like they really have any personality and are just there to get the job done and there isn't any sense of purpose or progression and the only time i felt there was any danger was when i only had my starting crew of 3 and raiders come or asteroids hit your base, but as soon as you have a couple more crew members nothing presents a real threat at the moment.

As i said before on my first game i got about an hour or so of fresh game play and i suspect once you know what your doing that would be cut down drastically with the current lack of progression. the next update looks to be adding a research system that will obviously address the lack of progression and the following updates should start getting the general personality and depth into the game.

I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan on management simulation games but if your looking for a more complete experience you can get stuck into long term then definitely hold of for a few months until they've got it a bit more feature complete.
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Re: Mini Reviews

Post by buzzmong »

Space Hulk: Ascension

I’ve been playing this on and off this week, I’ve enjoyed it for the most part.

The new way of going about campaign(s) is nice, and the bigger freedom in loadouts and equipment is good and makes a nice change from last game.
Having a light RPG system certainly improves the game, and makes it a bit more XCom-like in that you do actually care what happens to your terminators, rather than just worrying about the win conditions. The FPS camera view in the top right is a nice touch, and all the animations and general GFX have had a sizable overhaul.
The swap from being entirely roll based to being percentage based isn't one I really care for, but I do like some of the changes that come with it such as heat buildup for weapons rather than having random failure rolls.

The general changes do make it into a better computer game than the previous version and I can certainly see myself spending a bit more time with it.

I do have some gripes, the UI isn't very good and is fiddly and hindering causing frustration, it's missing a tactical map which considering there is now fog of war and the maps are very dark, make navigating a chore and make it far too easy to not just miss vents, but entire pathways!

There's a few other bits, but mostly small. Things like the Space Wolves having both a Power Sword and Frost Sword, but being identical in stats and 3d model makes me question if the game was either done on a tight budget or forced out the door a bit too quickly. Things like adding Combi weapons for the ranged terminators, but not giving the “heavy” class anything new (a plasma cannon or lascannon would have been nice) also play to that.
The stats system isn't something I favour too much either, I actually quite liked Teardown's Alien Assault way of giving individual troops medals or achievements (which lead to bonus rerolls or +1 stats) when they met certain critera (or when the dice gods were generous for some of the melee ones), but the one in Acension is certainly functional if not quite what I was looking for.

It’s certainly a competent development effort, but it just feels as if some corners have been cut and it’s not had a final polishing pass on the design.

I’d recommend it but not at the current price of £20ish, it’s worth a tenner though.
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Re: Mini Reviews

Post by TezzRexx »

ALIEN: ISOLATION

Alien: Isolation attempts to distance itself from the successful yet dated and over-saturated model of the gun'em all genre, and return to a more faithful portrayal of it's lineage - a survival horror.

The game picks up where Alien 1 ended, but this time with Ellen Ripley's daughter - Amanda - searching for her mother's whereabouts. The flight recorder from Ellen's ship has been discovered and is currently aboard a space station.

The game has you constantly hiding in fear, crouching between objects, going in and out of shafts, hiding in lockers and peering out carefully to check the danger has gone and speed-walking to your next objective. You will need to cause distractions using many different techniques to make your way around the ship - from throwing flares and crafted items such as a noise maker, to enabling alarm systems and opening in another part of the ship.

The Alien is the obvious threat, but it's not the only one, as you regularly find yourself against rouge Androids (who you're never entirely sure are friendly or not until they're wrestling the wrench out of your hands and smacking your head into the nearest wall) and on occasion human hunters.

The game is addictive but long. Meticulous in it's approach, you will open every lever, hunt for every keycode, and appreciate every bit of ammo you find and each item you manage to craft with every bit element carefully shown and explained. Getting past a section can be tiresome and sometimes frustrating and almost old-school in it's approach (You'll die. A lot.) as the Alien slowly sniffs every corner and checks every room for you with the music heightening the closer it gets, before deciding to move on into a nearby shaft. However eventually making it past the enemy feels like a minor victory in itself, and particularly when you've managed to out smart it.

With this my first foray into a console FPS since Medal-Of-Honour way back when on the PS2, I kind of expected to struggle with the controls and in particular, the movement/aiming. Surprisingly though the more I played it, the more I appreciated the controller layout as playing this on a PC would be more than awkward. Especially constantly switching between the radar, to peering out around the sides of walls, to crouching towards another obstacle in pure terror. The games style lends itself towards this type of control layout and I don't think this would have been the same with any other genre, or perhaps even with any other sort of game of this genre - Alien Isolation constantly reminds you that you are restricted and completely vulnerable, and this is reflected in the control scheme.

I would certainly recommend it but it's not for everyone. Fans of Alien series will enjoy it's representation but will see story arcs and plot twists coming a mile off (The Ending itself is very Alien-like and flat, yet leaving it very open to a sequel.) and the game is very drawn out and perhaps overly laborious.

However, the tension and fear it creates, and the difficulty of the game makes it a very rewarding one too. It's successful in restoring the image and giving an accurate representation of the Alien universe and it's style and it's unique to everything that has come before it.

Certainly worth the 25 quid that's currently being asked of it. I should also mention that it comes with some prepacked "DLC" of the Alien 1, but this picks up half way through the film and doesn't appear to be very long, with further DLC coming down the line, perhaps an online mode I imagine.
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Re: Mini Reviews

Post by Joose »

TezzRexx wrote:Getting past a section can be tiresome and sometimes frustrating and almost old-school in it's approach (You'll die. A lot.)
This was literally my only complaint with the game. I don't mind dying a lot, but I was dying A LOT. I personally would have liked it a lot more if I just died a little less. If thats not a problem for you I would definitely recommend it too. Everything else about it was perfect survival horror game.

Also, agreed on the controls. I played on PC, but gave both keyboard + mouse and the 360 controller a go. The controller was much easier. I think it because although it is a FPS accurate and fast shooting is almost irrelevant, whereas the ability to half squeeze a trigger and so on is constantly useful.
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