Contract J.A.C.K. is billed as a prequel to the super-excellent shooter No One Lives Forever 2. What we really have here is a modest set of stand-alone expansion levels for NOLF 2.
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.
When I heard that this game featured Michael Biehn as the main voice actor I was intrigued. When I saw that it was an over-the-top homage to eighties science fiction and action movies I had to have it. The game doesn't disappoint in the nostalgia department. In addition to the neon Tron-style art direction, there is tons of cheesy dialogue, 8-bit cut scenes (including a power rock training montage), and an incredibly cool synthesizer-based soundtrack.
This game has been on my back burner for quite some time now. I play a little here and a little there, but it never really got its hooks in me. This was Telltale's first foray into episodic point-and-click adventure games and it shows. There is no over-arching story to tie the episodes together, solving the puzzles is mostly just a matter of clicking on everything in your inventory and they threw in a bunch of item collection nonsense to make up for the limited gameplay options.
While Invisible War was not without its merits, it really lacked the depth of the original Deus Ex. This third installment attempts to amend some of that and bring the series a little closer to its RPG, stealth-centric roots. For the most part it succeeds. The levels offer all sorts of play options and paths. Also, the third-person perspective stealth system works much better than the hiding in shadows ever did in the original game.
The original BioShock was a great game with an interesting plot and a wonderfully unique setting. I never really understood the bizarre take on Ayn Rand though. It seemed to say that if objectivism is taken to its logical extreme that would mean people who believe in individualism and self-ownership would immediately start modifying and enslaving people against their will? That makes no sense at all, but it was enough to give you a bad guy to pursue. BioShock 2 takes place in a more deteriorated Rapture several years after the fall of Andrew Ryan. This time, however, the collectivists are in charge and, whad-do-ya-know, they suck too. I guess the theme here is it's cool to be an indecisive, on-the-fence moderate.
Crysis feels much more like the Far Cry sequel I wanted back when I played Far Cry 2. Once again you are dropped into a lush island paradise in which you must shoot everything that moves, including the chickens. The overall level design is fairly linear, but each set piece can be approached in many ways. I would always prefer turning on my cloak and then sneaking into a secure location before going on my shooting sprees. It's not quite a Thief game, but this stealth system works reasonably well. And once the snooping ended, the gunfights were very fun and manageable.
Darksiders is a game that is utterly derivative of Zelda. You are tasked with exploring various "castles," each of which gives you a new power that will open up new areas on the map. Some of these new powers include Link's hookshot, Eopna the horse (named Ruin here), a magic musical instrument, double jump, and the Portal gun is thrown in for good measure. However, unlike a Zelda, this game is supposed to be dark and edgy. It's kinda like a modern superhero movie where they try to make a kids' franchise dark and brooding. I can't wait for the reimagining of The Wonder Twins.
This game had one of the best trailers ever. None of the narrative spark that permeates the trailer is in the actual game. The closest thing you get is a few paragraphs of backstory on the character selection screen. This is unfortunate because Dead Island is a big open world game that gives you no incentive to explore it's lush and detailed map. Rather than tell a story or develop characters, the quests are of the fetch and return an item variety. Even the opening cutscene is an insult. It consists of the worst "beeyotch"-laden rap song a 12-year-old wannabe gangsta could come up with.
The Icewind Dale series is built on the same game system as the Baldur's Gate games. Unlike Baldur's Gate these games are focused more on the fighting and less on the story. As far as I'm concerned that's a good thing.
Costume Quest feels like an off-hand idea thrown out there at a pitch meeting. I'm sure the designers had just taken their kids out trick-or-treating for the first time and thought to themselves, "Geesh, wouldn't it be cool if there was a game where you were trick-or-treating and your costumes gave you superpowers!" Well, it might have been cool except for the fact that knocking on doors only to have repetitive battles is not fun at all.
Oblivion is a huge, open-world RPG made by the same folks who made Fallout 3. In fact, it plays very much like Fallout 3 in terms of quest structure and interaction with the world.
I've been playing a lot of adventure games these days. In Syberia you play Kate Walker, a lawyer working for a high-powered corporate client who is looking to close the deal on the purchase of a Wonka-esque toy factory. As you journey farther in the story and get closer to your goal, the world becomes more and more fantastic.