Robert Wm. Gomez's

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."

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.

Ultima Worlds of Adventure 2: Martian Dreams on MS-DOS (8/10)

Martian Dreams

Martian Dreams is built on the same game engine as Ultima VI. Much like that game, it is much less of an RPG and more of an adventure game in which you are wandering through the world, talking to NPCs, and combining objects to solve puzzles. You're not really building up and customizing your character here. Sure there's combat and leveling up, but it doesn't really feel like it matters much.

The most important part of this game is the story and the world it's built around. Martian Dreams takes place a fictionalized the late nineteenth century setting in which space flight is a reality. Dozens of historical luminaries from the era have all been accidentally sent to Mars and it's the player's job to find them all and get them back home. Along the way the real-life talents of the characters will come in to play: George Washington Carver knows botany, Louis Comfort Tiffany know glass making, and Sarah Bernhardt knows, um, stage make-up. The only human villains are the evil monk Rasputin and the anarchist Emma Goldman.

Tomb Raider II on MS-DOS (6/10)

Tomb Raiding Too

This game is part of a Tomb Raider three pack at GOG.com. I tried to play Tomb Raider 1, but I had already played the vastly superior remake, and I felt no need to revisit the same game but with bad controls and visuals. I would like to think that the second game has some technical improvements on the first, but it's still clunky as hell.

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).