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."

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.

Red Steel on Nintendo Wii (5/10)

Red Steel Box ArtI think this was one of the earliest titles on the Wii, and one that was supposed to showcase the new fangled motion controls. If anything, it showcases just how infuriating the waggle controls can be. I actually like the first person shooting setup on a lot of Wii titles such as The ConduitGodleneye, and Metroid Prime. The shooting controls here a very wonky. You are required move the controller closer to the television to use gun sights and lock on to enemies. You have to waggle the nunchuck to interact with doors and objects. In both cases, just hitting a button would have probably been sufficient. To add to the problems, the game is just downright buggy with tracking aim. Often the cursor would jump to the center of the screen for now apparent reason, like it was losing connection with the wiimote. Terrible.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 on Nintendo Wii (8/10)

Super Mario Galaxy 2

Well, it took me about half a decade, but I finally finished Super Mario Galaxy 2. I really liked the first one and this is a lot more of the same. There's a bit of "been there, done that," in my opinion of the game. A few new additions have been added, like being able to ride on Yoshi and use his tongue like a grappling hook. But, for the most part, this is pure 3-D platforming at about the best it will ever get. Which is to say, yeah it's pretty good for a not-so-deep game.

Super Metroid on SNES (9/10)

Super Metroid

We never owned a Super Nintendo so I never got around to playing the 16-bit incarnation of Metroid. Well, thanks to the Wii Virtual Console I have finally crossed this one off my list. These days I am much more familiar with the 3-D versions of the game and, even though I played it back in the day, I don't really have too much nostalgia for the NES version. There were some really frustrating moments of platforming incompetence on display as I made my way around the planet, but I eventually got the hang of the floaty physics and stuck it through all the way to the final boss battle.

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.

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