Rodea the Sky Soldier Review

Rodea is a game that apparently went through a troubled development. Blah blah blah. Every time I’ve seen the game mentioned, that seems to be the first thing people go out of their way to mention because drama is more important than the end product for a disgusting number of people. Basically, the whole brouhaha means that the 3DS and Wii U versions of Rodea are different than the Wii version (which isn’t even sold, only being included as an extra with the first batch of Wii U copies). I haven’t played the Wii original, but I watched some gameplay of the differences between versions to get a feel for the changes between all three. Consider this a review for the 3DS and Wii U versions, which are more or less identical save for some graphical differences between the two. Read more →

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Review

My history with the Assassin’s Creed franchise is a rocky one; the first game was one of the first newer games I played when I built my first gaming PC in ~2010 (though it was a few years old by that time, I had been playing decades-old games because they were the only thing that worked on my laptop at the time), and I liked it. It was slow and kind of meandering, but it was an interesting concept and I really liked the characters. Then Assassin’s Creed 2 happened. It was my first experience with always-online DRM, and if that wasn’t enough to make me hate the game, I found Ezio to be endlessly annoying. I know that the games that focus on him are typically revered by fans—and even many detractors—as the highlights of the series, but I found him to be an infinitely less interesting character than Altair in the first game, and his story was just so consistently dumb that I only barely made it to the end of the second game. Five minutes into the third game, I was fed up with his presence and the series’ lack of innovation and I stopped playing. Until I received Assassin’s Creed Syndicate as a Christmas gift, I hadn’t played through any of the other games or paid any attention to the annoying yearly releases. After the atrocious reception of Assassin’s Creed Unity, that decision felt like the right one. However, I figured I might as well give Syndicate a shot to see what had changed since I quit the series, and I actually ended up liking the game overall despite several annoyances and “I can’t believe this is still a thing” moments. Read more →

Lara Croft GO Review

Square-Enix was recently experimenting with always-online DRM, so it’s not unfair to say that my opinion of them is at an all-time low. They removed said DRM in a couple cases (though it should also be mentioned that the Android versions of games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 6 still have it intact) after a backlash, though, so I suppose it’s time to start to slowly forgive them. Very slowly. The very first thing I did after buying Lara Croft GO was make sure that it could be opened and played without an internet connection, which it can, and that’s a good thing because it’s actually a pretty enjoyable little puzzle game in the vein of Hitman GO. Read more →

Dreaming Sarah Review

The past few games I’ve reviewed have been absolutely massive time sinks that have required huge, wordy writeups. Dreaming Sarah is a welcome reprieve from that kind of thing, being a game that only took me a single day—a matter of hours, really—to complete. Despite what some believe, length and quality don’t go hand-in-hand (leading to stupid arguments like “you’ve played X hours of Y game, so you must have enjoyed it), and a short game can be every bit as entertaining as a 100-hour epic. In many ways, even more so because of the immediacy of the whole experience, allowing you to dive straight into the heart of what that game is all about rather than being strung along for countless hours. This is a double-edged sword, though, because there’s no fluff to fall back on if that game ends up coming across as pretentious, and that’s something that indie games seem uniquely predisposed to. Fortunately, Dreaming Sarah never seemed to wade into the depths of pretentiousness despite relying on a “less is more” approach to exploration and progression that could have easily gone very wrong, and I found myself pleasantly surprised by the experience. Read more →

Fallout 4 Review

Fallout 4 is a game that it took a long time for me to make up my mind about. Its opening hours are a glorified tutorial that serves to do little more than annoy long-time fans with strange changes that drive home the fact that the last bits of that old Fallout vibe—already eroded to virtual nothingness by Bethesda’s first try, Fallout 3—are now truly dead and gone. That’s not to say that it’s a bad game, though, because things eventually pick up toward the middle of the game and become entertaining; Fallout 4 includes several improvements from Bethesda’s last game, such as less empty space, weapons that don’t have to be repaired (this comes down to personal preference, but it’s worth noting that the original games didn’t have weapon degradation), and fewer invincible NPCs. However, it’s also a huge step back from the complexity of previous titles in many ways, boiling all dialogue down to a wheel of four options and dumbing down the RPG elements to the point where it’s little more than a glorified shooter. I enjoyed my time with it, all things considered, but it’s not a game I’m likely to ever revisit or look back on fondly so much as a pleasant one-time distraction. Read more →

Life Is Strange Review

I don’t have a huge amount of experience with these types of episodic games, but Life Is Strange was made by the people who made Remember Me (probably one of my favorite games of 2013), so I knew I had to give it a shot. For months upon months I waited for it to be completed, dodging spoilers like some kind of internet ninja so that I could play through the whole thing in one go once all its episodes were released, and it was totally worth it. That’s not to say that everything turned out to be as incredible as I had heard, of course; when the early episodes released, I heard a lot about how even small things seemed to have consequences, right down to whether you water your plant or not. Now that the entire game is available, it’s apparent that the only actual consequences many of these things have are small dialogue changes that don’t end up mattering. However, unlike The Wolf Among Us, which annoyed me with its lies about reactivity, Life Is Strange does change a bit in the middle of the game depending on whether a certain character is alive or dead. It’s also completely devoid of QTE sections, and includes little touches like the need to occasionally piece together clues or sneak around someone in a stealth section. Even without all of that, though, the writing is more than enough to make this a must-play title. Read more →

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