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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 4:59 pm 
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Since the rest of you assholes have your reviews, I'll do some of my own. I can't promise a strict schedule because video games take anywhere from four to four HUNDRED hours to play. Ain't nobody got time for that, and that's just the way it is. So here's how this is going to work. I'll play a game, and when I'm done (that's when I say I'm done), I'll post a review of it as best I'm able. Don't expect a lot of MMOs on this thread, because those are never done.

So here's the general format I'll do.

Game Name

Type of Game

Publisher/Developer

What I spent on it

If I thought it was worth it.

Pros

Cons

What I think it's worth to other people.

Yeah, no letter grades, no out of ten or a hundred. Just what it costs, what I think it's worth, and at what price point I'd recommend getting it. Now, my "value" scale is based on going to the movies. $10 for 2 hours of entertainment is my baseline. You can go up or down from there based on the quality of the game. Some games, like Max Payne, are short, but for their length are high quality, so when they came out, they were worth full price, even if for $60 you only got maybe 8 hours. Other games give you way more time enjoying them than that, like XCOM, or Skyrim. Other games are free to play, and for that, I'll have a simple discussion on the value of your cash shop dollar.

Steam, where I'll probably be putting shortened versions of my reviews, quite simply has a "Recommend Yes/No" feature, so I'll stick with that. Did I like the game or not and can I recommend it to you.

I'll take recommendations for games to review from here. I do have a blog, but for now it's here and Steam. If you'd like me to review a game I don't own, you can make the request, but until I own it, it's not happening. I'll also do reviews on some console and mobile games here and there as well, as well as games I have via other means, like Origin or just downloading them from the publisher's website.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:15 pm 
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Watch_Dogs
Genre: Open World Action (Similar Games, Grand Theft Auto, Saint's Row, Assassin's Creed)
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft

What I spent on it: $69.99 (Digital Deluxe Edition)

Was it worth it? Yes, by my standards. According to steam, I've spent 76 hours to date playing the game, putting it at a solid ratio of less than a dollar per hour.

Overview

Librium Arcana DLC activated

Okay, so I have a love/hate relationship with Ubisoft these days. They make games I enjoy a lot, but their business practices drive me up a wall, and the games all too often feel like they could have been more but stopped short. I get playing it safe from a business angle, but as an avid player of games, I want to keep pushing the boundaries of what games can do, be it in terms of storytelling, graphics, gameplay, or combinations of all those aspects and more. Ubisoft keeps coming dreadfully short, with some exceptions. Watch_Dogs, sadly, is one where it comes painfully short of true greatness, and is instead, amazingly okay.

When this game was announced, I went gaga over it. It looked amazing, both in graphics and in concept. It sadly pared both back but still came out quite good despite it all. </end DLC>

To start things off, I only recommend this game if you like open-world games and you have the system to run it. If you like open world games like GTA, Saint's Row, and the like, you should enjoy this game.

I liked this game, but it plays to my sensibilities. I like stealth, I like being clever and sneaky and I love cyberpunk. Make no mistake, this game is a cyberpunk game wearing a modern day skin. You are a Netrunner, a Slicer, a Decker. You have cybernetic enhancements that let you wirelessly control the world around you. You can slow time down with enhanced reflexes. You're an Edgerunner (or Shadowrunner, if you prefer). The game calls you a "Fixer", but that's just another synonym. You fight evil corporations, corrupt politicians, and criminal organizations in a quest for revenge. It's so Cyberpunk it almost hurts that there's no chrome or neon in sight.

Would this game have been better as a proper cyberpunk game? Maybe, maybe not. Updating the cyberpunk look to the modern day is hardly a terrible idea, and more people likely played it as a result. That said, let me get to what I liked and didn't like about this game.

Pros:
-The city is large, and yet varied. You have the financial districts, the dock area, the industrial zone, the residential suburbs, the inner city slums, and the oddly rural region of Pawnee, all of which give you a lot of variation in where you go and how it looks. Having been to Chicago, I'm pretty sure they scaled the whole thing down, but that's always difficult to tell when you spend most of the game blasting through the streets at 80 MPH. This though, is to be expected, but what is nice is the degree of access you have to buildings, tunnels, and the trains. I'm still waiting on the game that gives me full access to these things, but Watch Dogs has a decent selection at least.
-The Hacking is really cool. You can do a lot of fun and creative things with the tools at your disposal, and the other toys you get, like the communications jammer, the blackout hack, and the noisemaker are a lot of fun as well.
-Combat works too. You can go quiet or you can go loud, it's your choice, and the result can change the game's experience for you. I found it usually more fun to sneak around, use hacks, and outsmart the AI, but blasting through them can be pretty satisfying as well.
-The game is very pretty, especially after downloading the graphics "patch". Before that, it was just decent looking, but after, it was marvelous.
-Invasions are tremendously fun and a great way to break up the missions. The multiplayer in general is a good amount of fun, but it has some drawbacks. Fortunately, it's more fun than it's not.
-The soundtrack has some great songs in it and the ability to set your own playlist, while not that intuitive, let you set up everything rather nicely.

Cons:
-Combat + Stealth is perhaps too easy. Silenced weapons and decent stealth techniques result in trivial combat most of the time. Once I got the silenced pistol, never mind the silenced assault rifle and submachine gun, the need to pull off clever tricks in fights was limited to just about never.
-Money is not an issue. Early on you may scrape by for cash, but a couple of upgrades into cash hacking and some rich jerks later, and you're rolling in it. I started leaving behind $1,000 prizes at hotspots for other players just because I couldn't spend it on anything more if I wanted to. I stopped hacking people's bank accounts unless the profiler told me they were particularly contemptable individuals.
-Clothing is weak. Nearly all of the outfits are just reskins of the main outfit Aiden wears with the coat and the ballcap. Not cool. The best clothing option is the one with the fedora that makes you look like you're out of some Noir story, which fits the theme of the game much more closely. But seriously, there are something like thirty outfits and they're ALL JUST RESKINS. That's unacceptably lazy. Of course, I got all the ones I could because I was looking for excuses to burn money.
-Gun Selection is...decent. Honestly though I just didn't care much about some of the guns. Silenced Weapons were so good that basically anything else didn't matter. I mean, sure, if you want to run around and do a GTA styled rampage with the semi-automatic grenade launcher, you can, but your reputation goes down the tubes, and that's about all it's good for. You can't carry enough ammo for the really devestating stuff, and the cops never call the national guard on you or anything, so the need for the heavier hardware is limited.
-The story is, at best, decent. You will find no grand revelations here, just the usual "Man has been done wrong, gets revenge by doing more wrong." Even if you max out your vigilante meter, there is a shockingly good case for you being the bad guy here. Also, it's predictable and boring at parts, and the few times it appears to give you a moral choice ultimately don't matter until the very end of the game.
-Lack of feeling like you control the narrative. This is about player agency, and I know, big deal, the story is linear, and they don't really hide this. From mission one, you are given a cutscene that puts you in control of the character, but you really have no control. If you don't do the thing you're supposed to do, the game doesn't progress. This happens multiple times throughout the game, where I am not given a choice in what to do, but at the end of the game, I finally get a choice. Maybe that's a grand statement about something in the narrative, but I couldn't help feel cheated that moments like that didn't help define the game.
-Music selection is limited and there are a good number of songs that aren't that great. That's personal preference, but what do you want?
-People cheat online and there's no in-game way to report them, even through Uplay. You have to remember the cheater's name and make a ticket submission through ubisoft's support. Weak. It's really bad when people have aimbots and invulnerability cheats on for singleplayer that then get transferred to multiplayer.
-Every collectable and side mission is basically skippable. Most are fun, and they're all marked on the map and relatively easy to collect, but it is always somewhat annoying when you go through the trouble of picking up all the audio logs in the game and then do the story and are surprised by things you already know.
-Game needs a fan-made graphics patch to turn on features disabled for reasons knowable only to the developers at Ubi, though I can guess. Either way, it was a bad idea and I'm going to dock them for it.

What's it Worth to You:
There's a lot I'm critical of here, and probably some points that I missed, but all that said, it is a fun game. It's just difficult to put points like "It's like GTA but pretty and with hacking and gunplay and invasions" without just sounding tired. Like I said, it's a GTA styled game and if you like those you'll probably like this one, go play it. If you like the idea of cyberpunk no matter the window dressings, get this game, you'll probably enjoy the hell out of it. If you do not like open world action games or cyberpunk, skip it. There's really nothing here for you.

In short, if you want to scratch that cyberpunk or open world itch, go get it. If you're not as into it, wait until it goes on sale, and if it's not your thing, pass.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:03 pm 
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StarForge
Genre: Sandbox exploration/survival with deformable terrain and buildable structures (Minecraft-like)
Publisher: Code Hatch Corp
Developer: Codehatch

What I spent on it: $18.74 (Founders Edition Early Access on Steam Sale)

Was it worth it? Purely on time for money standards, the answer would be yes. I've logged 34 hours on this game so far, and for having spent less than 20 bucks for the super edition that's no longer available, that's not too bad. However, pure time for money standards are not the only metric for games, because the quality of that time has to be considered as well. Ultimately, I can't say that I would recommend this game beyond that of a $5 novelty title, and even then only barely.

Overview

StarForge is one of many Minecraft clones that hit the market once Minecraft exploded a few years ago. One of Minecraft's greatest flaws was its graphics. In this day and age with games like Watch_Dogs spoiling players with great graphics even when limited by the company (and phenomenal graphics after the fan patch) or simply flat out gorgeous games from basically every angle, the blocky giant pixels of Minecraft weren't delightfully retro for everyone, they were visually offensive. I'm not in that camp, but I do like better graphics when they are available. Enter StarForge. I've often referred to games like this as "Pretty Minecraft" because, well, that's what they are. Minecraft, but with better graphics. The terrain is deformed more naturally when you mine, the world overall looks nicer, and so on. It all sounds great.

The premise of the game is that you're a prisoner on a planet where things have gone wrong. Beyond that, there's really not much story there. In your starting area there are spires that collect resources and blueprints while you play, a crashed starship leaking radiation and surrounded by monsters that you can delve into for precious blueprints, and some giant spire thing with a drill at the end I've not yet figured out.

You start with meager supplies, a speedo, and a slow jackhammer that doubles as your first melee weapon and resource collector, plus a few essentials and a handful of recipes to make better things. From there, you must survive. Find food, kill monsters, and build your structure for survival. There's also multiplayer, which I barely played.

The game released this month, much to my surprise, because when I was playing it still felt like an early Beta with a lot of work to do. This isn't helped by the fact that a lot of features were promised back in the early days, complete with video of them working.

Pros:

-The graphics, while not AAA gorgeous, are light-years ahead of minecraft. The world looks sufficiently pretty to make people happy, and some of the monsters look pretty creative.

-Since the release, framerates have very much improved across the board, but even on my system, there are times it drops down to below the dreaded 30fps barrier.

-Building structures and throwing together defenses can be a good amount of fun, what with the auto turrets and the like.

-The world is pretty big.

Cons:

-Progression is very poorly handled. A lot of these games try to have gear progression, and many of them fail to have it in any meaningful fashion. In Minecraft, it's simple. You need higher quality materials to collect the next sets of resources, which then can be used to make higher quality equipment. Since this stuff all breaks sooner or later, you save the higher-end stuff for when you NEED it, since the materials to make it are shockingly rare most of the time. This game, you leapfrog quite easily from the worst gear in the game to the best inside of an hour. All the materials you need are usually within a 2 kilometer radius of your starting point, above ground or on the surface, easily collected as soon as you have the better drills, which should be pretty quick. In Minecraft, as soon as you have the resources for something and can figure out how to build it, you've got it. Here, you're limited by blueprints. Which drop randomly. From everything. Kill a space-rabbit? Get a blueprint. Open a box? Get a blueprint. Kill a Klendathu Bug? Get a blueprint. Not just that, but they could literally have anything at all on them. Doors, guns, full sets of armor, stairs, actual antimatter, you name it! There's no logic to it and the whole thing feels like a beta test workaround to test the random loot generator. I await the day I find a space helicopter inside of those cat-sized bugs.

-Building is difficult. You can only undo the last 5 block placements you do, so if you mismeasure, you're screwed. Until you get explosives, but those are incredibly costly to make and if you're building a bomb-proof bunker, you need the biggest ones. There are techniques to make it easier, but if you find out you need to do an expansion, you're pretty much just out of luck. The game also has a "weathering" effect that randomly deletes blocks placed in the wild, meaning you need a special tool (you start with one) to keep the game from erasing your structures. Of course, if you decide you want to move and pack it up, the place you put it last still counts as protected, even if you never deploy it again. This is just more lazy code that, one would think, would be an easy fix. Also, some of the blocks, like wood and iron, have random doodads that get added on when you place them, even if you don't want them. None of the other blocks seem to, though most of the blocks are too difficult to create in the large numbers you need for base construction.

-Multiplayer has a lot of toys dedicated to it. There's a lot of stuff in the game that seems dedicated to multiplayer. Smoke grenades, EMPs, hacking devices, Radar Towers, the works. Of course, using various abuses in the system, multiplayer is all about floating gun turrets and bases unconnected to the ground. Because why model gravity to your blocks? At all?

-Similarly, the only source of water in the game seems to be in the form of ice or cacti you can find in the desert. Gone is the oddly flowing water of Minecraft, in fact, gone is water almost entirely. It's pretty, but we can clearly see the divide between pretty games and functional ones.

-Because everything you need is above ground, there's really no reason to go delving into caves, even when they appear. In fact, due to the Random Number Generator determining what blueprints you get, your best bet is setting up camp near the starship and the loot collectors, regularly farming them for the blueprints you need to build the next cool thing, like a vehicle or a turret, or whatever.

-Movement is sometimes wonky as hell. The number of times my guy started sliding down stairs because of the bizarre movement model was just unnerving.

-There are only a handful of creatures in this game, and the apex predator which strongly resembles the Bugs from Starship Troopers are rendered basically harmless within a few hours of play.

-Dying means you respawn either at your base where you last slept, or back at your original spawn. Like with Minecraft, your stuff stays by your previous corpse for a time, so you can potentially retrieve it. Unlocked blueprints, mercifully, remain. However, during the beta I had an instance wherein I died due to a bug, then died about seven times in a row on my respawn and all my things were gone. In the launched game, it's still entirely possible to die thanks to a bug or glitch, and they are plentiful, and that means say goodbye to all your stuff, unless you dropped stuff off at your based.

-The inventory system is bad. On your person you can carry basically everything in the world with no penalty. Guns, ammo, buggies, hovercraft, space helicopters, turrets, hundreds of units of resources, you name it. Boxes that you build, however? Those are limited to, at best, 16 inventory slots. That's the best box in the game, that you need rare resources for. These boxes take up a lot of space in the real world and until the highest level are utterly useless for actually storing things in. Two wooden boxes in Minecraft, made from wood, hold 16 slots of stuff, and don't take up nearly as much space, and you can't carry entire garages worth of space helicopters without giving up space for other things.

-Vehicles are good, but bad. The buggy can get caught on the slightest bit of odd terrain, the hovercraft can drift off never to be seen again, and the one flying vehicle they added at the last minute, the space helicopter, takes forever to get into the layer they call "Space". There's no reason to go to space anyway, there's nothing there to do that you can't do on the ground. In fact, there's really nothing to do at all. Ever. Except maybe multiplayer, which is largely competitive. Co-op is possible, sure, but there doesn't seem to be a reason.

-Audio cuts out sometimes, which is bad, but then when it's the terrible grinding of a drill or the annoying blaring of hoverjets, it's a welcome reprieve.

-The Survival portion of the game has very limited weapons. Supposedly creative has much more, but I fail to see the point.

-The special bonuses from being a Backer or Founder are now impossible to get otherwise as far as I can tell, which means entire texture sets are locked off to people. They can't even buy it as DLC, and that's a bad practice.

-Exploring the world is basically a waste of time.


What's it Worth to You:

The game is currently $19.99 on Steam, and frankly, it's not worth it. For $5, maybe, but not this. This is unfinished, unpolished, unprofessional work that promised the moon (almost literally) to consumers and failed to deliver it. The early videos showed a lot of promise, and I was really hopeful for a while about it. I would have been willing to let this game sit in beta for another year to get more content and polish out of it. As it stands, the Minecraft alpha had more features, polish, gameplay, and fun behind it than this game does at "Release". They have cut features pretty heavily, and while that's expected to a degree, when you do it to the level it has been done here, it feels like you either lied or did not understand what it was you were promising. Either way, it's about a level of trust with the consumer.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:08 pm 
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And with that, I broke Steam's review system. Damn length limitations.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:35 pm 
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Everyone loves numbered rating systems, but I think they're fundamentally flawed. I think the usual X out of Y is too simplistic, even when it's broken down into arbitrary categories. Grading systems are okay, but are really just abridged X out of Y systems, or rather more honest ones for most people since finding values below 6 is often quite rare. The forbidden numbers, and all that.

That said, I think I may have a solution to this issue that should make everyone equally unhappy. Welcome to the ABLE Rating. What does ABLE mean? It means someone really wanted this to spell ABLE. My ABLE rating is basically going to be the price I think the game is worth, how much money I'd be willing to spend on it, having now played it. While it's not an indicator of how much I actually might have spent on a game, this is the threshold. The point at which I would almost definitely get the title in question. This will be further compounded by some conditionals, like it niche game or a game I think everyone should experience.

So for Watch_Dogs, the ABLE rating would be $70. For StarForge, it would be $5. For games worse than StarForge, which do exist, I would rate them as $0, indicating only worthwhile if it's free, or not unless they paid me, or not even if they paid me.

You have to have a pretty bad game to get that last one, but oh boy do they exist.

Free to Play titles are going to be special cases, as are MMOs, in which case I'll describe how much cash I'd feel comfortable throwing down in a lump sum, or if I'd be willing to subscribe to the game, and if so, what intervals I'd want to subscribe for.

I hope you're all happy, you terrible people.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:45 pm 
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Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Genre: Open World Stealth Action (Similar Games, Assassin's Creed, BAtman Arkham Series)
Publisher: WB Games
Developer: Monolith Productions, Inc.

What I spent on it: $74.99 (Premium Edition)

Was it worth it? So far, I've spent 37 hours playing this game, and I intend to put in more, even before the DLC gets released. It's worth it without question in my mind. It's difficult for me to put in nearly 40 hours to a game and not like it, though I suspect I'll have to for some of my later reviews.

Overview

Shadows of Mordor is a game that kind of came out of nowhere. At first, it appeared to be yet another Assassin's Creed clone, abusing the lore of Tolkien's amazingly rich world to justify some super-powered parkour killing machine. I was honestly about to give it a pass, but then the story trailer hooked me. While I can't say the game does nothing to alter the lore of Middle Earth, the "damage" it does is actually quite limited and something that you could see maneuvered in between words of parts of the Silmarillion. It is not like some of the games before that have been faithful to the extreme, but neither is it like the games that have trampled all over the lore just to justify the game itself.

As far as the game plays, it's akin to Assassin's Creed and Arkham. So much so, it's been referred to as Arkham's Creed: Mordor in some circles I travel. Is that bad? No, not really. It manages to make combat feel better than either of the above games, bringing with it more of the challenge of the Batman games with the freedom of movement from the Assassin's Creed series. Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, is the introduction of a death penalty that adds so much to the game. As you play, should you die (outside of a main story mission), the game world becomes harder and less forgiving. Spend too much time dying, and you'll quickly find enemies are far more powerful than you could have possibly imagined.

The main storyline missions are actually rather short, you could probably complete this game in eight hours or less if you really had a mind to, similar to the Elder Scrolls games, but doing so would make you miss out on the absolute best part of the game, the Nemesis system. I could and have ranted for hours on the excellence of this part of the game. It legitimately has you make your own story about hunting and killing the Uruk Captains and Warchiefs, and then even goes so far as to have you share your stories with your friends when they take Vendetta missions killing Uruks that have previously killed you. They'll tell you about it, and you'll almost immediately respond with, "Oh THAT bastard!" It's practically without fail the go-to response, because you'll remember the ones that kill you. You'll want revenge, you'll want to humiliate them, so much so, sometimes, that you'll get sloppy, and the game will punish you for that.

And it is excellent at that. So wonderfully excellent. But enough of that, let's get to the Pros and Cons.

Pros:

-The graphics are gorgeous, in fact, too much for my current video card to handle at full power, requiring a card with 6GB of RAM to handle the ULTRA textures. The game still looks amazing despite that, but I welcome the love and care they gave this game's PC version. They even included HAIL into the weather cycle, which is a first in my experience, frankly. It's cosmetic, but it's nice to see.

-On the non-ultra settings, my system runs the game flawlessly. No random crashes, slowdowns, hitches, nothing, and still manages to look amazing.

-As mentioned before, the Nemesis system is excellent, and the fact that it's always in the world, regardless of any other mission you happen to be doing adds a level of realism and depth to the game, as well as danger and drama that is really hard to fully verbalize.

-Combat is difficult, but fair. Every so often you may get stuck on terrain if you're not careful, but in my experience that was rarely fatal in itself. There are no healing potions like in Assassin's Creed. Enemies will attack you from range while you are engaged in melee, and as you level up while your bag of tricks expands, you never really get anything that is a super-move that lets you win the game easily. At any moment, you could get hit a few times and have to back off or risk dying.

-The Death Penalty is wonderful. Instead of you just reloading and starting over as if nothing happened, you die, and time passes. The Uruk that killed you will likely get a promotion, and the workings of Uruk politics will play out without your interference. Captains will get promoted to Warchief, unnamed Uruks will be promoted to Captain, and so forth and so on. Uruk Captains that were previously vulnerable to certain attacks may soon become invulnerable to them, and while the game prevents the system from making utterly unkillable bosses, it will make some very difficult to take down as a result.

-The Captains remember you, what you did, and what you are doing. Unleash the Warg-like Caragors on them? They'll make mention of it. Burn them in your last encounter? They'll bare the burns and call you out on it. Send them a death threat? Oh, they'll remember. They of course, can also come back from the dead, unless you take their head off. So there might be a captain you thought long since dead, but suddenly, he's back and madder than ever.

-The big collectable hunt is actually pretty fun and you get some nice bits of lore as you go. They've even taken some bits from the latest Tomb Raider game for it, which is pretty cool.

-The Vendetta system is cool, because you can kill the people who killed your friends, and they can do the same for you. I would have liked to have seen a sort of co-op or invasion style thing going on, but coding and justification for that would have been difficult.

Cons:

-The Intro section to the game is rather haphazard and not well done as far as introducing you to the mechanics of play. You have a brief tutorial involving basic controls, and then you're shoved into the game, no real exploration into the deeper mechanics of it (how to use the map, what means what, etc). The Captains are also on the map from the word go, so you've got that to contend with, which can be punishing if you're not ready for it.

-Many of the much more fun abilities, like being able to convert Uruks and give them orders, are gated behind storyline missions, and you can't unlock them until about 2/3rds of the way through the game. This, to me, is a major sin. Gate the higher level versions of powers if you must, but let us play with the core versions early on. One of my biggest complaints with the original Bioshock is that the best toys were gated until much later in the game, at which point we already had upgraded and improved our starting tools to the point where the new, unupgraded tools were just simply not worth the effort to use or learn, because they weren't as good as what we were used to, and the need or desire to play with them was effectively reduced. If you have great toys for us to play with, give them to us early in the game. By the 1/3rd point in the game at most, the core versions of each toy should be in our hot little hands, so we can spend the bulk of the game playing with them and coming up with fantastic ways to use them. As it is, the story became something I had to do to unlock the really cool abilities so I could go back to the Nemesis system and have fun, which is not what you really want the game to be.

-The Nemesis system could have used more work. This is a bit of a cop-out, because I think it's utterly fantastic, but more names for the Uruks, having them tie back into the story a bit more (difficult, I know, given the random nature of it all), tying the first zone and second zone a bit more together (running into the last level with ten war chiefs and their bodyguards would have been amazing). Really though, this was the best part of the game and I wanted to see more of it, so, sort of con.

-The story felt a bit weak at times, and a bit rushed towards the end. It wasn't ever bad, but I felt more could have been done with it.

What's it Worth to You:

The game is currently $49.99 on Steam, with the Season Pass being $24.99. The Premium Edition is the two combined with no real savings or added extras, so if you're not convinced on the Season Pass (which currently just has challenge modes), get the regular edition for now. The challenge modes are pretty fun and involve you running around the full map killing Captains and Warchiefs within time limits, but the only benefit there is that the runes you earn in that mode are available in the normal game. Useful, I suppose, for farming runes, but little more than that other than bragging rights.

If you like Assassin's Creed or Batman's Arkham series and you like Lord of the Rings, get this game. If you like games that are difficult and challenge you, but you're not ready for the brutal torture that is Dark Souls, this is absolutely a game to get.

ABLE Rating: FULL PRICE ($49.99) (DLC TBD)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 2:20 pm 
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No Man's Sky

It's been a while, so this one I'm going to just post what I posted on Facebook about this game.

Some "brief" thoughts on No Man's Sky.
The game runs reasonably well on my system, but that it launched with as many problems for the PC is not great. The lack of joystick support means that my desire to play the space side is greatly reduced.

The planets are fascinating, with really amazing vistas on some and wonderful bleakness on others. The life forms range from really cool to meh, as do the plants, which very often just seem very same-y with some occasional differences once you've seen enough of them. Some are quite novel, but I've only had a few "whoa" moments, and nothing like the giant snake shown in some of the promotional stuff.

The game needs to explain more to you as a player. It took me forever to figure out how to get a new ship (talk to ships at stations/trading posts and ask the owner to sell it or salvage a crashed one by interacting with the cockpit like you talk to other ships), how to get an Atlas Key Mk1 (short version, it's random), and I still don't know how to get an Atlas Key Mk 2 or Mk 3, or why the Atlas Fragments are important.

Discovering the languages is interesting, but to a point. If you really want to, you can sit down with a given alien and pretty easily enter an infinite loop that just has them spitting words at you, but it's incredibly boring to do so, and there are a LOT of words to learn and you have four languages to figure out. Without the languages, some challenges are nearly impossible, like the alarmed bases.

The fact that the space side is not good bothers me. There's just not much to do in space. You can mine for some materials in the constant asteroid fields in space, but that doesn't do much. You occasionally get attacked, which for me is often an exercise in frustration since I don't have a great ship and constantly get jumped by 3-5 fighters that chew me to pieces pretty quickly. That I have to go into my inventory to recharge my shields with resources is honestly not that fun, and the lack of weapon variety that I've found so far is not great.

What bugs me the most though? You can't easily go back and visit places you've already been, either in the starmap or on planets. You can't set your own waypoints or bookmarks of cool things. I mean, you can if you try hard enough, but using the starmap is an exercise in frustration. Its very fiddly and obnoxious to try and use, and you can't filter it well. I mean, sure, 18 quintillion stars, you're not going to be able to work that into a reasonable database, but come on.

That said, it is a very lovely game if you like wandering around planets and exploring weird places. The planets are appropriately huge and different enough to justify just wandering about. I don't know if I'll ever complete the "Story", maybe I will, but that doesn't seem to be the point for me. I've explored maybe a dozen planets so far and I'll likely continue doing so, but the lack of good space content for me is going to hurt the game. The ship is more my conveyance from planet to planet and backup storage than it is something I care about beyond that. Maybe that will change when I get a significantly better ship, but we'll see.

TL,DR;

If you were looking for a space pew pew game in the style of X-Wing, Freespace, Elite, or Star Citizen, this isn't it. If you were looking for a pretty minecraft-alike that focuses more on exploration than building, this is a pretty good game, and far more polished than most of the early access types doing the same thing on Steam Greenlight are.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:34 pm 
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That was more or less the impression I'd gotten of the game...and 60 dollars is a lot for 'pretty Minecraft only without building.'

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:43 pm 
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White Haven wrote:
That was more or less the impression I'd gotten of the game...and 60 dollars is a lot for 'pretty Minecraft only without building.'
That's not unreasonable. Your mileage may vary quite dramatically with this game, and it's certainly not for most people, I think.


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