The first few hours of Alien: Isolation are some of the most nerve-racking gaming I have ever experienced. It's a stealth game in which you are mostly defenseless and must hide to survive. There's no sneaking up behind enemies and stabbing them in the back. The enemies aren't just some dopey guards walking in a set pattern that you are trying to avoid. It's one of the most menacing monsters in cinema history. One wrong turn or overly loud noise and you are facing its dripping double jaws in seconds.
My primary gaming device these days. Technically any computer can be called a "PC" but this category is specifically for Windows/MS-DOS based games.
Vanquish is a third-person action game that has little to offer in terms of plot or characters. Its story feels like every other Japanese console game. Devil May Cry 4 comes to mind, and if you liked that game, you have a problem. The dialogue is all painfully cliché and tries very hard to be hip with nerdy allusions to action movie lines and bad-ass hero shots. Pretty cringe inducing.
But all this is moot. This game is really about its fast-paced game-play and mechanics. While certainly not revolutionary, the ability to skid around the map at hyper-speed is fun and challenging. Add on top of that a little bullet-time and you have an enjoyable but mindless way to pass a few hours.
At this point I think we can all basically agree that every game that Wadjet Eye releases is going to be worth buying right away. This is Dave Gilbert's first game as lead designer since Blackwell Epiphany. There is overlap with the Blackwell universe, but it is definitely a departure from those games.
Possibly taking a lead from Telltale, there seems to be a more deliberate attempt to make your choices affect the story. This manifests itself first in that you choose one of three origin stories for your player character. Then, throughout the game, each chapter ends with you deciding the fate of an adversary. The consequences of your decisions don't really ripple throughout the game. They mostly affect the end-game sequence. Still, it's a worthy attempt at adding a little variety to the experience.
I think with this I have finally played through all of the original Infinity Engine RPG games. Icewind Dale I & II are still my favorites of the bunch. Those were about building up characters and skillfully fighting though areas. Torment is all about story, story, story. Normally that's a good thing, but when that story is told via an endless scroll of text and dialogue trees is gets really tedious.
Ubisoft only knows how to make these open world games with paper-thin story lines and lots of side challenges that don't amount to much. I had already played the sequel (which I got for free) before I had played Watch Dogs (which I also got for free). Apparently, if you wait long enough, all Ubisoft games will eventually be free. I knew what to expect going into this: lots of "hacking" which consists of vaguely Pipe Dreams style puzzles or, more often, just holding down the "Q" key. My main reason for not passing on this was the prospect of exploring a virtual Chicago. Turns out in Montreal they think Chicago is surrounded by rolling hills and filled with exploding steam pipes.
I've been playing this off and on for the past few months. This is supposedly designed as a multiplayer experience and have been playing it as such. The campaign is not at all interesting narratively. It has something to do with a bad guy with a space hare lip controlling an orb thing that grants powers to the good guys. I lost interest in the first cut-scene.
This game is a bit of a mixed bag. I really like the main characters and it has some genuinely funny moments but there are weird tonal shifts. One moment characters are bloodletting themselves to please an ancient Mayan god, the next you are walking around asking people to comment on the panties you found.
This one was a freebie from GOG.com of which I knew nothing about before playing it. Turns out, it is a 2.5-D platformer—meaning, it's a 3-D rendered game but you only move in the standard two dimensions of a classic platformer. I'm not a huge fan of platform games, I'm not very good at them. Thankfully this one is slow-paced, not too twitchy and yet, it's not quite a puzzle platformer either. There is just enough action and thinking to keep an old-timer like myself interested for a few hours.
A while back I gave this game a spin during a Steam free weekend and ended up setting it aside I guess because I couldn't quite grok the stealth mechanics. On this second go around I've realized that it's all about using your magic skills for just about every encounter. In fact, by the end of the game the player is well-nigh invincible will his arsenal of teleportation, mind control and time dilation. I'm too old to be wasting my time mastering a video game, so I welcome it when games feel like they get a little easier as I go along.
Games journalists (I can't believe that's really a thing) seem to love this game, I thought it was tiresome. Every game a new world is generated that you're supposed to jump around looking for treasure, secrets and rare upgrades. If you die, that's it. Permadeath. A game for shut-ins and the insane. So, why didn't I like it? My problem is that I don't find you basic platform-game mechanics all that interesting and, without a narrative hook, I lose interest fast. Believe me, I tried to like this one but no thanks. Sayonara, uninstalled-ed!
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This game is the epitome of bland first person shooters and Id Software should know better. They still seem not to know that there are colors beyond brown. There are no attempts at originality here. The post-apocalyptic setting is like a colorless, un-fun Borderlands. The barely-there plot is a rehash of the Fallout fish out of water structure.
I thought it was Game of Thrones, but this is definitely the weakest Telltale release. I don't mind that this is geared for children, but the thing that makes Telltale games work is difficult choices. I felt all the decisions in this game were pretty obvious and didn't have broad ramifications. Also, when you have Patton Oswald and Pee Wee Herman as your lead voice actors, you'd think there'd be a bit more room for comic hijinx. Alas, this is not the case.
Witcher 3 is a massive open world RPG that's full of detail in terms of visuals and story. It's was no surprise that it would take weeks for me to finish. As of right now GOG is telling me that I spent 100 hours to complete the main story line and I still have two expansions to complete. There's just so much to explore and do.
The sequel to Shadowgrounds doesn't offer much new. There's the same aliens, same corny voice acting, and the same top-down shooting mechanics. However, I liked this one a bit more. This is probably due to the slightly improved control scheme. I also think the game was helped by the lack of an attempt at creating deep narrative.
Life is Strange uses the same branching story game play as Telltale's games. The twist here is that your character has the power to reverse time and undo choices. There are a handful of puzzles that require some creative time shifting but the reality of this mechanic is that it is simply an alternative to using a quick-save.