Video Game Reviews

Here's where I keep track of video games I have played. I rate the games on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being "highly recommended" and 1 being "forget this game and go read a book or something."

Tacoma on PC (6/10)

Tacoma

Yet another walking simulator, but this time it's in space! So, technically it's a floating simulator. The gimmick here is that you can watch past events happen via holographic recordings. You follow the various characters as they walk around talking, and then meet other characters in conversation. Then you rewind and watch the other characters from their angle. It actually is very interesting way of telling a story. It's just not a game.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Thu, 08/20/2020 - 21:36

Pillars of Eternity on PC (5/10)

Talk to the beast

I think it's time I finally accept the fact that I don't really like Infinity Engine style games anymore. I really like the idea of them: controlling a party of adventurers, exploring richly detailed worlds, and freezable real-time strategy combat. But the last few I have played have been bogged down in convoluted fantasy storylines that never grab my attention. Pillars' story isn't that complicated, but it just lacks focus. I never cared why I was getting visions and the main villain is a dud. Because of Kickstarter funding, the world is riddled with insipid and unnecessary vignettes that…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Wed, 08/19/2020 - 19:26

Hexen: Shadow of the Serpent Riders on MS-DOS (8/10)

Hexen lizrard thing

Hexen was another mid-nineties FPS that, I swear, I played the demo of several times but never played the full game. I only seemed to remember that first level with its stained glass windows and melee combat. It takes quite some time before you get a ranged weapon and that's probably why I never felt the incentive to continue much farther than the initial levels. You need to give this one some time before it starts to click.

Blarg! Guts! I loved the 90s!

The level design is pretty great. Each section of the game is organized around a hub world. You can then move between the various sub levels in search of keys…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sat, 08/08/2020 - 20:11

Fallout Tactics on PC (8/10)

Fallout Tactics

The third game in the Fallout series eschews much of its RPGness and concentrates on combat instead. I always liked the turn-based fights in the first two Fallout games, but there's something off about the way the system was implemented here. I was having the hardest time getting through the early levels and eventually gave up at one point. I finally came back to the game after having read that the way to play is to ignore the turn-based system and instead use the real-time mode instead.

Apparently, the designers all along intended this to be a real-time combat game and never really…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sat, 05/30/2020 - 17:14

Saints Row 2 on PC (6/10)

SAints Row 2

I vowed to avoid open world games but then GOG.com goes and makes Saints Row 2 free. This series has always been an answer to the growing seriousness of the GTA franchise (GTA V was just released for free on Epic, erg!). It's unapologetically violent and filled with drugs and and mayhem. The fourth installment was able to get around the awkwardness of this by setting things in a virtual fantasy world. In this version, you are literally gunning down innocent people in a semi-realistic world and it just leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I'm no prude, but it not handled with the correct amount…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sun, 05/17/2020 - 17:08

Hob on PC (8/10)

Hob Knob

Hob is from the same studio that created Torchlight and much of the same beautiful artistic style is on display here. This is pretty much a Zelda clone in which you keep clearing out dungeons in order to gain abilities that let you clear out harder dungeons. It even has nearly identical swordplay mechanics.

Like just about every "arty" indy game, Hob tries to tell its story in an obtuse way without dialogue. It works okay but the ending presents you with a hard choice. A choice which you can't freakin' understand because the entire game is spoken in Simlish. That means your final…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Tue, 04/21/2020 - 19:10

Bayonetta on Nintendo Wii U (6/10)

Bayonetta Box Art

The WiiU is not known for much other than being a failure. The whole two screen thing doesn't make any sense. Bayonetta is the first game I have played through on the system and is one of the few WiiU titles that was held in high regard. This game is part of a two pack that includes the sequel as well. I have only played part one.

Bayonetta is a spazzy game for spazzy people. After playing Devil May Cry 4 I was pretty sure I disliked this style of fighting game. There's just way too much going on and it feels like button mashing after a while. I was ready to give up and then things sort…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Tue, 04/14/2020 - 18:41

Legend of Grimrock on PC (8/10)

Legend of Grimrock has crabs

Legend of Grimrock brings the real-time dungeon crawl formula of Dungeon Master and Eye of the Beholder to the modern age. Perhaps the best single improvement is auto-mapping. I know that filling out that sheet of graph paper was half the fun in the originals but I really didn't miss it here. You are still exploring the layout and looking at your map to guess where secrets might be located. You can even jot down notes if you want to be thorough. But because I was not constantly having to look away from the screen, I was able to get a feel for the spaces much more quickly and look more…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Thu, 03/26/2020 - 19:00

Transistor on PC (4/10)

Transistor sister

The only thing Transistor has going for it is a beautiful art style and high-quality voice acting. The rest is an exercise in tedium. Despite the artistic detail there is little interactivity to the world. The level designs are dull. The combat tries to be original but is just frustrating in that it lives uncomfortably between turn based and real-time. Plan your moves, take your actions, then run around. Boring. All this might be forgivable if not for the deliberately obtuse story telling. You're a singer in a computer or something? With a talking sword that speaks in circles. It's…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sun, 02/23/2020 - 21:02

Flashback on PC (7/10)

Flashback, heart attack!

I must have attempted to play this game about a dozen times. I would download it from some abandonware site, fire up DosBox, and then proceed to be frustrated out of my mind by the sluggish controls and unfair level design. Or maybe I was just terrible at that first jungle level.

Well, this is the 25th anniversary remastered edition. It's more or less the original game emulated, but there are a few quality of life improvements. First and foremost is the ability to rewind the game after you die for an immediate do-over. Second, there are on-screen help boxes to guide you through the…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Mon, 01/13/2020 - 23:31