PC

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.

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin on PC (6/10)

FEAR the blandness!
The first F.E.A.R. game did a really good job of building up the tension to provide creepy scares and atmosphere. This one is just an in-your-face string of loud, quick cuts of Alma that fire off with such regularity that they just become part of the background noise of the game. This background noise also includes the multitude of text info items you pick up and never need to read. So, as far as a horror story goes, this wasn't so great. I didn't really know or care about what was going on.

Kathy Rain on PC (7/10)

Kathy Rain

Kathy Rain is a point and click adventure which uses the same AGS engine that all the games from Wadjet Eye games use. Visually it's as impressive as the best games in this niche. The Wadjet connection goes a little further in that all the voice over direction was done by Dave Gilbert. Unlike his games, here there is no commentary track filled with gushing praise of New York based voice actors. Thank goodness.

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri on PC (6/10)

Planet Boring

This game was a $5 budget CD when I bought it over a decade ago at CompUSA but I never got around to playing it until now. I have seen it rated on several lists as one of, if not the best strategy game of all time. I can see why it has its reputation. There is a ton of depth in the technology trees and every aspect of the game can be micro-managed to you heart's delight. The early stages of the game are fun as you explore the planet and set up your first bases. However, gradually the game becomes and overly-complex and tedious exercise in unit management. 

The Stanley Parable on PC (6/10)

Choose boredom path A, or boredom path B

Another arty walking simulator for the PC. This one is all about the nature of choice and free will within a game world. You play Stanley, an office worker who finds that everyone in his office is gone. The game is dominated by an often funny narration that tries to get you to follow the "correct" path. The whole point here is that every time you think you are subverting the game but straying from the correct path, the narrator explains how your choices don't matter. Ha ha. ART! A fine exercise but definitely not worth more than a couple of bucks or an hour of your time.

Wolfenstein: The New Order on PC (9/10)

Wolfenstein Ya Big Baby!

It's been a little while since I've played a current generation FPS, so maybe I just impressed with the slickness of it all, but I enjoyed this one. The New Order, unlike the 90's Wolfenstein, is very story focused. The premise here is that Blaskowitz got konked on the head, woke up a decade later, and found out the Nazis had won World War II. So, first things first, get a gun, join the resistance and shoot everything that moves.

Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings on PC (9/10)

Witcher 2 - Fight the Squidbeast

Witcher 2 takes what was a sprawling and somewhat unfocused RPG and refines almost everything to create an excellent role playing experience. They have kept many of the best elements from the first game such as its action oriented combat, limited gear choices, and adult tone. On top of that they added a much refined leveling-up system, better crafting/potion creation, and loads of interface tweaks.

Watch Dogs 2 on PC (7/10)

Watch Dogs 2 Selfie While Human Traffiking

Watch Dogs 2 is pretty much a straight up Grand Theft Auto clone. But instead of playing an immoral mobster who kills and destroys to achieve his goals, you play a righteous hacker who kills and destroys to achieve his goals. I think the game is going for a light-hearted tone, but all the indiscriminate murdering kinda gets in the way of that. Mowing down waves of security guards doesn't strike me as a appropriate response to an Internet company knowing your search history.

Shadowgrounds on PC (6/10)

Shadowgrounds

I'm a sucker for these top-down shooter games. This is the type of game I imagined playing back when the cutting edge AAA title was Berzerk for the 2600. I have yet to find one that actually rises to my expectations. Shadowgrounds is okay, but there is a clunkiness to the whole package that keeps it from being a great game.

The Walking Dead: Michonne on PC (8/10)

Michonne Is Thinking

This three episode tangent does not appear to be connected with the other Walking Dead games. Maybe some of the characters will make their way into season three, but for the most part this is about Michonne coming to grips with the loss of her daughters while helping a family survive from the usual assortment of humanity free bad guys. I enjoyed the game, but Telltale needs to push their formula a little more and add a bit more consequence to your actions.

Game of Thrones on PC (8/10)

Game of Thrones Screenshot

This has been my least favorite of the Telltale Choose Your Own Adventure style adventures. I think my main problem with it was the multiple character story lines. Jumping from character to character may be in the spirit of the books, but I felt like it diminished the feeling that I was actually a part of the world. Also, as a fan of the books and show, it was a little strange to be playing out this non-canonical story. It was like playing a Transformers game as a Go-Bot.

Sniper Elite III on PC (9/10)

This is not going to end well.

The Sniper franchise is all about stealth, planning and quick moments of anatomically correct violence. The previous game in the series was good, but it didn't quite click with me the way three has. If my memory can be trusted, I feel like the biggest difference here is that there is now a much more open level design. The sneaking around feels like you are in control rather than being guided on rails. As before, the x-ray vision kill shots are an unnecessary but effective gimmick. There is a story about some sort of super weapon but, whatever. It's completely forgettable. The game's mechanics are real highlight here, and I now am excited to play IV when it comes out (just no more desert levels please... this ain't Serious Sam).

Batman: Arkham Asylum on PC (9/10)

Batmen goin' all kicky!

I'm still waiting for that Wonder Twins game, but in the meantime this will do. After Arkham City this does seem less grand, but it still is more-or-less the same fantastic game. The fluid fighting system is just as good as I remembered it was in the sequel. Even the mindless Riddler trinket hunting works here. There is a wandering story about The Joker and super-henchmen that doesn't really amount to much. But who really cares. When the game mechanics work this well, I'm fine with a second rate plot.

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood on PC (6/10)

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood

I enjoyed the original Call of Juarez and its spin-off, Gunslinger, but this one didn't really grab me. It tries to mix things up by letting you play each level as one of two characters, Ray or Thomas. But, in the end, it's still just a very standard shooter with bland environments and no real weapon variety. I guess learning Ray's backstory (this is a prequel) was interesting and there was a real attempt to craft some genuine character development. Otherwise, it was just so-so to me.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel on PC (8/10)

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Okay, here's another Borderlands sequel. Actually, this is more of a large expansion pack to Borderlands 2—using the same engine and most of the same mechanics. The only new additions are the low-gravity environments and oxygen management. Admittedly, the ability to jump hundreds of feet into the air is pretty fun and opens up many of the levels, but, in the end, it's still the same old game: run towards the map marker and shoot anything that gets in your way.

Machinarium on PC (7/10)

Macinarium

Okay, first things first. Machinarium is a beautiful game with excellent art direction, sound and music. However, something about this point-and-click adventure just didn't... er... click for me. It could be the fact that the game erased my save files halfway through my first attempt. I didn't pick it up again for at least a month after that. But I think this is just a little too puzzley for my tastes. At times I really didn't have any motivation other than there was a guy who had an object that would obviously be useful somewhere.

Pages