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."

The Wolf Among Us on PC (9/10)

The Wolf Among Us

After The Walking Dead (especially season two... which I apparently forgot to review. Well, it was great.), I was pretty much sold on the Telltale choose-your-own-adventure game formula. These games are really like watching a TV show in which you're forced to pay close attention to what's going on and have a say in how the characters interact with eachother. So far, the stories and characters have been engaging and satisfying.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on PC (8/10)

GTA: San Andreas

Coming off of FarCry 3, I really wasn't sure I wanted to commit myself to another massive open-world game, but San Andreas was there in my bin of unplayed games calling to me. The GTA formula, like war, never changes: huge open world, lots of driving, violent gangster themes and general mayhem. I really wish the stories were more compelling, but they tend to get lost in the huge scope of the game. Personally, I have no nostalgia or interest in Southern California gangsta culture and music. In light of the never-ending murder in Chicago, it's a hard sub-culture to glamorize without feeling icky. I was able to set that aside and just enjoy exploring the map and all it's diversity.

Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien on PC (8/10)

Bit-Trip Runner 2

Although I haven't written about them here, I have played through much of the first series of Bit.Trip games on the Wii. Most of those games could be classified as rhythm games with an Atari 2600 aesthetic. Beat and Runner were the stand-outs of the original six games. The former is a frantic pong-a-like and the latter is a platformer distilled to its most basic mechanics.

A Golden Wake on PC (6/10)

A golden Wake... don't be deceived by this screenshot. There is no dancing in this game.

Although I'd give them props for creating a game with a truly unique theme, this Wadjet Eye adventure falls a bit flat. The game is set during the 1920's land boom of southern Florida and focuses on the player-character, Alfie Banks. Essentially it's a character study, but, unfortunately, interactive storytelling doesn't lend itself to well so such narratives. Games excel at mood and environment but creating riveting characters just doesn't seem to fit the medium all that well. Without a strong narrative plot focus (i.e. save the princess or defeat the evil villain) it's hard to justify the extra time spent clicking options and parsing dialog trees to get to the same point that a short paragraph of exposition would.

King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow on Ms-DOS (6/10)

King's Quest VI - Pawn Shoppe

While this game was a pretty big improvement over KQV, it still was just too mired in Sierra adventure game brutality for me to really enjoy. There has been some attempt to make the puzzles a bit more forgiving here, including allowing for the player to take multiple paths to victory. I did alright through about the first third of the game then it just gets nasty.

Magrunner: Dark Pulse on PC (6/10)

Magrunner: Dark Pulse

This was a freebie from GOG.com that I went into knowing nothing about it. The first thing anyone who plays the game will think when they begin is, "Wow, this is a complete Portal rip-off." Then you get about halfway through an you'll think, "Wow, this really is a complete Portal rip-off!"

OlliOlli on PC (9/10)

OlliOlli

One of my favorite games of the coin-op era was Atari's 720°. It had a simple, but unique control scheme that's pretty much impossible to replicate through emulation. You would basically jump then spin a knob (dressed up like a joystick), and the more times you spun the dial, the more points you got. As abstract as it was, this felt like skateboarding.

OlliOlli is the only skateboarding game that I have played that comes close to matching the rhythm and feel of 720°.

FarCry 3 on PC (10/10)

FarCry 3

I was a bit hesitant to play this game. I really didn't like FarCry 2 all that much. It was repetitive, dull and not a worthy successor to the first game. Then, I decided to give theeighties sci-fi themed expansion FarCry 3: Blood Dragon a try. That game was great, so when 3 went on sale I grabbed it hoping for the best, and, oh man, I was immediately blown away.

Resonance on PC (5/10)

Resonance Screen Shot

Uh oh, here we go again with another mediocre adventure game. Surprisingly, this one comes from Wadjet Eye Studios whose games have all been really good to me up until this one. On the surface Resonance has a lot going for it: well done pixelated graphics, a decent score and some clever twists on point-and-click interaction. However, the story and characters never grabbed be.

Yesterday on PC (4/10)

Yesterday

I've had pretty good luck with the string of adventure games I've played lately. It was inevitable that sooner or later I'd come across a dud. Yesterday had promise. I was initially drawn to the slick graphics (well, slick for a point and click game). However, the game is bogged down with nonsensical puzzles and an uneven tone to the story.

Pages