Robert Wm. Gomez's

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.

Assassin's Creed III on PC (4/10)

An Assassin's Crud Acheivement. Oh boy.

This game has been sitting in my to-do list for quite some time. I got it as a freebie from Uplay, and to be quite frank, that may have been too expensive for this clunker. I suppose if you really love the parkour mechanics of the other games you'll be entertained by this, but I am long-since over jumping from towers into bales of hay. With a handful of naval missions, some of the seeds of the vastly superior AC IV are here, but, to mix my metaphors, the mechanics still a bit half-baked (wait you can bake seeds, so maybe that metaphor works... or is it a simile).

Metro 2033 Redux on PC (6/10)

Roar!

There was some sort of nuclear apocalypse and the citizens of Moscow were forced to live in the city's subway tunnels. Of course the world is now filled with irradiated monsters. Yet, the humans are still fighting wars with other humans in the tunnels because sci-fi writers can't comprehend that people might actually co-operate in dire circumstances. For some reason you are tasked with saving your station from impending doom and thus begins you journey down the rails to find help. Your job will be difficult, not because of tough choices and insurmountable odds, rather because everything is brown and hard to see in the dark. Oh, and you need to keep changing you gas mask filters every three minutes.

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris on PC (8/10)

LASER Lara!!!

This is the sequel to Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Like its predecessor, this is an isometric puzzle platform game combined with a twin-stick shooter. It's fast and fun and pretty casual feeling. I don't remember if this was a part of the first game, but they are really pushing the multi-player game-play and I have no idea how that would work. This seems perfectly fine as a single-player experience.

Tomb Raider Legend on PC (8/10)

Lara is a swinger

I could have sworn I had played this game before, but I wasn't completely sure. I get this one confused with Tomb Raider: Anniversary. All I knew is that I didn't own it and, if I had played it, it was probably on Gametap as a freebie. Well, this weekend it went on Steam sale for 97¢ so I grabbed it knowing that if I managed to have an hour of fun with it, it would have been worth the price.

Yup, I've played it before. I definitely remember the first level. Things get cloudy after that. These games aren't quite known for their strong, memorable narratives. The game would seem completely new to me then I'd hit a particularly tricky level and memories would flood back. Most of the reason I write these redundant reviews is to help me remember what I've seen or played.

Rise of the Tomb Raider on PC (8/10)

Ship in Ice: Rise of the Doom Raider!

Part two of the Tomb Raider reboot doesn't offer anything really new in terms of game play but that's okay. The core of the series is 3-D platforming mechanics and it does that very well. This is especially evident in the nine or so "challenge tombs" scattered throughout the world.

Nex Machina on PC (9/10)

Nex Machina

Nex Machina is the (almost) official follow-up to Robotron: 2084 or, as I like to call it, the greatest arcade game ever created. If you watch the credits you will see the Eugene Jarvis was the creative consultant for the game. As far as I'm concerned that means this is Robotron: 2085 (we'll ignore Smash T.V. ... NOT canon!).

It's just as frantic and twitchy as ever, and the core game play remains the same: shoot everything that moves and save the humans. There is a far greater variety of enemies, boss battles, and the graphic effects are stellar. Improvements include lots of hidden collectibles, a variety of secondary weapons, the ability to dodge, and lots of differing level designs.

Layers of Fear on PC (4/10)

Layers of Dolls

Another walking simulator but this time with a horror theme. The whole point of this "game" is to make your way through an old haunted house and get hit with a jump scare every four minutes. At first this is very thrilling. After the fiftieth time, not so much. Technically there are about three puzzles in the game. Mostly you encounter a lock, look around the room, get hit with a jump scare, and then see the combination in the aftermath. On top of this, the story is lame and required too much effort searching around for notes and clues for me to care. Glad I didn't have to pay for this one.

The Witness on PC (9/10)

The Witness

The Witness is from the same developer who created the superb Braid. It feels like a cross between that game and Myst. Once again the game play centers around puzzle solving, but instead of time manipulation, you are solving mazes. I know what your thinking, "Mazes? Are you kidding me. Ever since the 'Twisty maze of passages, all alike' mazes have been the bane of every video gamer's existence." At first I thought the same thing. The first dozen puzzles are so easy that I assumed this was just going to be another boring walking simulator with challenges thrown in just to extend the experience a few more minutes. But then you encounter the next set of mazes which sprinkle in a few new rules (which you have to discover on your own) and things start to get more challenging. Get a little further, then you have an epiphany and realize not everything is what it seems. Perspective and your place in the 3-D environment start to matter. At that point I was sold and fully immersed myself in the world (this would make an incredible VR game).

A Story About My Uncle on PC (7/10)

They was shootin' lazers!!!!

A Story About My Uncle is a game based entirely around a single game mechanic, a grappling beam. Players shoot a beam at a distant surface, they are pulled towards the target, and then they must use inertia and timing to fling themselves towards their goal. That's about it. We've seen this before in just about every Zelda game, so this is nowhere near as revolutionary as the one-mechanic behind the extraordinary Portal.  Still, when it clicks, swinging across a map and carefully timing your shots can be thrilling.

Serious Sam 2 on PC (6/10)

Serious Sam 2

The original Serious Sam became an unexpected hit when it received the approval of Old Man Murray. While other games were trying to be dark and mature, Serious Sam reveled in pure, goofy run-and-gun action. It was like Duke Nukem if it was made by a backwoods folk artist. This sequel is somewhat of a technological upgrade, but the art design still looks like the work of someone just learning how to use 3-D Studio Max, and that is the game's charm. The enemies range from run-of-the-mill space marines to exploding clowns to giant cigar smoking mechanical T-rexes.

Far Cry 4 on PC (8/10)

Far Cry Kill Kill Kill!

All these Ubisoft open-world games (Assassins  CreedWatch Dogs, etc.) follow the same basic formula. Main story which you can take your time completing, lots of side activities and missions, and collectible stuff that gets you nothing in the end. Each is enjoyable up to a point, but then they wear out their welcome and become tedium. But despite the flaws, I genuinely enjoy the Far Cry games. I am a sucker for the FPS/stealth mix in which you can approach any conflict from a large number of paths. Each outpost I conquer without tripping the alarms feels like a real achievement.

Jotun on PC (3/10)

Jotun is all about drawings

The only thing this game has going for it is its art direction. There's some wonderful hand-drawn characters and evocative music. However, like a Doublefine game, this one is all style and no substance. The highlight is supposed to be the various boss battles in which you spend a ton of time chopping at these giant character's heels. Every swing of your axe removes about 1% of the enemy's health. It's just an exercise in tedium. The controls are sluggish and un-responsive . It's like fighting in a bowl of molasses.

Alien: Isolation on PC (8/10)

Alien: Isolation

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.

Vanquish on PC (7/10)

Vanquish

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.