Red Faction: Guerrilla Review

I really liked Red Faction: Armageddon, the fourth game in the Red Faction series, but it’s largely considered inferior to its predecessor, Red Faction: Guerrilla. I avoided Guerrilla for the longest time because it apparently had troubles with Games For Windows Live, which was only stripped out of the game at the end of 2014. After playing through it for the first time, however, I can’t help but wonder why it’s considered the superior game of the two; Armageddon had a sense of eeriness and progress as you pushed forward, whereas Guerrilla exists solely as a vanilla sandbox explosion simulator with a terrible story and terrible characters tacked on. That’s not even mentioning the low-gravity physics weirdness that makes the entire game feel like one of Mass Effect’s “Mako” sections. The only redeeming aspect of the game is the destructibility of the many buildings you come across, but sometimes they don’t even stay destroyed, and when they do, you never get the sense that they’re lived in or important so much as they exist solely to be shot at, making their destruction somewhat less fulfilling. Add on top of that the less creative arsenal—I seriously missed fun weapons like the magnet gun and many others from Armageddon—and it’s just a vastly inferior game. Read more →

Red Faction: Guerrilla Screenshots

I enjoyed the original Red Faction as well as Red Faction: Armageddon, so it seemed like a safe bet that I’d end up falling in love with Red Faction: Guerrilla. After all, it’s the game that moved the series from its first-person shooter roots to third-person carnage while swapping out the original’s terrain deformation for the widespread destructibility of buildings, bridges, and all kinds of explosive tanks. How could that possibly go wrong? As it turns out, quite easily, in fact. This is basically Just Cause 2 all over again, and while the characters are moderately more entertaining than in that particular travesty, Guerrilla falls into the same trap of having nothing interesting to say and overcompensating with pretty booms. Once you set those aside, however, there’s nothing left but a clunky game engine where more often than not you’re fighting with the game’s physics and unexpected bits of stupidity (like when I finished a mission, only to have the people who were chasing me in the mission hit me with a truck and throw me into a bottomless pit, leading to an instant death). There’s far too much stupidity in this game to overlook. Read more →

Endless Ocean Review

As I’ve covered in the past few reviews, it’s been too hot to play PC games, so I’ve been making an effort to tackle older console games and fill out some of this site’s more underrepresented platforms while trying to stay cool. The temperatures are starting to normalize into something a bit more reasonable, but I couldn’t end my little marathon without reviewing a Wii game; at the moment, I’ve only reviewed a single Wii game, that being Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, one of my all-time favorites. Since then, I haven’t covered any despite a stack of Wii games sitting right here next to me. The reason is one of cables: to record Wii gameplay with my HDPVR requires a TV with component cables, and all I’m working with at the moment are HDMI inputs and an older TV that only accepts composite. I got around this by using an emulator for Radiant Dawn and transferring my Wii saves into it, but the tradeoff was that it ran like a slideshow, so I only got screenshots of the first map and the one I was at in my then-current game. I only recently found an adapter that downsamples component to composite, so the Wii and Gamecube are now much more viable to review. Unfortunately for me, I chose to begin with Endless Ocean, a game that I had mixed feelings about when it first released. Those feelings have since deteriorated and snowballed into an avalanche of unbridled hatred toward this boring game and all of the endless stupidity it throws your way. Read more →

Endless Ocean Screenshots

Does Endless Ocean have an ending? I honestly don’t know the answer to that question, because I’ve never once made it to the end of the game. Even years and years ago when I first picked up the game, I found it too boring to continue playing past a certain point. It’s decent in small doses, mind you, but for a game that seems to revolve around being relaxing and meditative, it’s unexpectedly infuriating in a remarkable number of ways. The controls are a serious pain, for one. Then you have your partner Kat, who’s quite possibly the worst-written character in existence. Add on top of that the repetitive gameplay and a near-complete lack of purpose behind anything you’re doing, and you have the terrible Endless Ocean (which, despite the name, is a small body of water rather than truly being endless). Read more →

Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole Review

Landstalker and I have a storied history; if you’re read this site’s “about” section, you’re probably already aware of the fact that I used to rent this game on a regular basis when I was but a wee young’un, only to be beaten down every time by its relentless cruelty despite having help in the form of a neighbor who would come over to try and conquer it with me. We never managed to make it very far despite her and I taking turns at the controls, and having finally beaten the game, it’s no wonder—this game is intentionally designed to be as sadistic and unfriendly as possible. This is a game where the perspective is used to hide platforms necessary to progression. This is a game where late-game enemies teleport in front of you, making running away more or less impossible. This is a game where your reward for finishing one particularly annoying dungeon is another, even more lengthy and annoying dungeon. However, between its bouts of soul-crushing malice, Landstalker manages to be surprisingly charming, and save states make the game much more palatable than it would be playing on the original hardware. That doesn’t make this a must-play by any means, of course, but at least it evens the odds so that those masochistic enough to indulge the depths of its villainy stand a fighting chance. Read more →

Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole Screenshots

If you’ve read this site’s “about” section, you know the importance of Landstalker. It’s the game that I found impossible when I was a child, that one niggling little bit of unfinished business that’s been hanging over my head for something like twenty years. It wasn’t easy (seriously—this game is downright cruel), but thanks to the save states SEGA’s classics collection allows, I finally managed to push myself through to the end. Was it a good experience? A bad experience? I still don’t know the answer to those questions; for every bit of brilliance in the game, there’s an equal amount of sadism and tedium ensuring that it’s a bittersweet experience at best. For every moment where I was smiling like an idiot at things like the adorableness of main character Nigel’s fairy-like helper Friday, there was another where I was facepalming at the stupidity of things like throwing spheres on top of statues in order to progress. It’s a roller coaster that randomly veers between brilliance and abject stupidity, moving from an entertaining town to a deliberately annoying maze section designed to have you wandering aimlessly for hours, and from an entertaining bit of dialogue to two dungeons back-to-back. Read more →

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