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."

Transylvania on Apple ][ (8/10)

A Menacing Werewolf in Transylvania

Transylvania is a hybrid text/graphical adventure originally for the Apple ][. This was a big hit back in the day and was ported to just about every other 8-bit machine. I loved these types of adventure games but was really, really bad at them. In hindsight, most of them were brutally unfair and prone to the bad game design cliches of the era such as instant death and guess-the-verb puzzles. Still, I remember seeing screenshots of that menacing werewolf in issues of Softalk or A+ magazine and wanting to try this game.

Red Steel 2 on Nintendo Wii (8/10)

Red Steel 2 Box ArtWe are already two generations beyond the Wii and I am still getting caught up on all the games I've been wanting to play for years.

Red Steel 2 was the first big title to take advantage of the Wii Motion Plus controller. For some reason, the prospect of a motion controlled sword fighting game was always a big thing. I think Red Steel 2 comes close to fulfilling that nerd dream. It still is a bit of a waggle freak-out during hectic fights, but, when it's focused, the motion controls work very well. This is a massive improvement on the previous game in the series.

Rage on PC (5/10)

Going Down to Brown Towne

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This game is the epitome of bland first person shooters and Id Software should know better. They still seem not to know that there are colors beyond brown. There are no attempts at originality here. The post-apocalyptic setting is like a colorless, un-fun Borderlands. The barely-there plot is a rehash of the Fallout fish out of water structure.

Minecraft: Story Mode on PC (6/10)

Minecrafty

I thought it was Game of Thrones, but this is definitely the weakest Telltale release. I don't mind that this is geared for children, but the thing that makes Telltale games work is difficult choices. I felt all the decisions in this game were pretty obvious and didn't have broad ramifications. Also, when you have Patton Oswald and Pee Wee Herman as your lead voice actors, you'd think there'd be a bit more room for comic hijinx. Alas, this is not the case.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks on Nintendo DS (8/10)

Spirit Tracks Box ArtIt took me nearly half a decade to finish this one. Not that it's terribly difficult, I just put it down at some point and forgot to finish it. I suppose that's not really a ringing endorsement. Oh well.

This installment in the series feels much like its predecessor, The Phantom Hourglass. The hook here is that over world travel takes place on trains rather than boats. Also, this time around Zelda is with you as a spirit who can possess the bodies of various armored "phantoms". This leads to some decent puzzles in which you need to control both characters in order to achieve your goals.

Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt on PC (10/10)

Witcher 3

Witcher 3 is a massive open world RPG that's full of detail in terms of visuals and story. It's was no surprise that it would take weeks for me to finish. As of right now GOG is telling me that I spent 100 hours to complete the main story line and I still have two expansions to complete. There's just so much to explore and do.

Shadowgrounds: Survivor on PC (7/10)

Shadowgrounds: Survivor

The sequel to Shadowgrounds doesn't offer much new. There's the same aliens, same corny voice acting, and the same top-down shooting mechanics. However, I liked this one a bit more. This is probably due to the slightly improved control scheme. I also think the game was helped by the lack of an attempt at creating deep narrative.

Life is Strange on PC (8/10)

Life is Purple

Life is Strange uses the same branching story game play as Telltale's games. The twist here is that your character has the power to reverse time and undo choices. There are a handful of puzzles that require some creative time shifting but the reality of this mechanic is that it is simply an alternative to using a quick-save.

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 ConduitGoldeneye, 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.