Shining in the Darkness Review

If it’s not immediately apparent, I chose the header image above mostly because the row of phallus-shaped enemies summarized my feelings on Shining in the Darkness pretty succinctly. That’s not to say that the game is completely devoid of entertainment value, of course, because it has the same kind of inexplicable charm many games of the time possessed, but that’s not enough to make up for its painfully repetitive gameplay and poor communication about how things actually work. There are a large number of games from around the same time period that still hold up—including developer Climax Entertainment’s Landstalker, which tormented me when I was a child—but this can’t hold a candle to those timeless titles. Read more →

Firewatch Review

There are two types of game players: those who are all about the journey, and those who are more focused on how things fit together as a whole. The first are bound to enjoy Firewatch because of how thoroughly enjoyable it manages to be right up until the end. The second are doomed to have their positive experience invalidated by the stupid story developments in the game’s final moments. Sadly, I tend to fit more into the latter group; a game is only enjoyable for me if it follows up on its initial promise, so story cop-outs (especially at the very end where resolution is expected) have a way of ruining everything that leads up to them if there isn’t some creative gameplay present to keep the ship from sinking. Firewatch lacks this, buoyed solely by ancillary elements like graphics, music, and voice acting that make it pleasant to look at and listen to, but do little to make up for the story flubs. Read more →

Deus Ex: The Fall Review

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I didn’t really enjoy Human Revolution very much. I gave it a positive review, mind you, but it was so close to being an unenjoyable experience for me that I bounced back and forth before deciding it barely scraped by in the “win” column. I picked up the PC version of Deus Ex: The Fall, then, mostly to be able to argue about why it’s a bad game without having to argue that it sucks purely because it’s originally a mobile game. What I didn’t expect was that I’d actually end up enjoying much of it. This will be a negative review overall because of some horrible design decisions that all but ruin the experience, but know that it’s much less of a train wreck than you’d expect. Read more →

Far Cry 2 Review

I have one positive thing to say about Far Cry 2: unlike most games, it has zebras. Outside of that single contribution, however, it’s one of the most mindless, tedious, unbearable games ever released. What makes it especially painful is the promise it squanders at every possibility. Sure, it supposedly offers you a chance to sneak around a vast African landscape and stealthily take out enemies, but stealth is broken. Sure, you can try to go into every situation guns-blazing, but respawning checkpoints full of bloodthirsty enemies who follow you ensure that you’ll end up losing tons of ammo and health just getting from point A to point B. There’s really no “right” way to play Far Cry 2 because everything is so laughably broken and backward that it fails to be fun in any sense of the word. Read more →

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2 (DLC) Review

When I find myself enjoying too many games in a row, I start to hunt down games that I hear bad things about in an attempt to strike a balance between “I love this game” reviews and those of the “I hate this worthless waste of time” variety. That’s actually how I came across Bioshock Infinite’s Burial at Sea DLC, a two-part DLC story that I would have likely ignored the existence of otherwise; not only was Episode 1 widely panned, but I heard many of the same things about Episode 2 and decided to give both episodes a try. Episode 1 was enjoyable, admittedly, but it was also undeniably flawed in how short (and ultimately meaningless) it is. Episode 2, on the other hand, switches up the gameplay to a Dishonored-esque brand of stealth, fills in many of the base game’s plot holes, and brings the Bioshock series full circle while ending on a much more fulfilling note than Infinite did. It’s as simple as this: I’ve played through the DLC for many games, but all of it pales in comparison to Burial at Sea: Episode 2. Read more →

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 1 (DLC) Review

I like Bioshock Infinite’s two-part Burial at Sea DLC. I really do. That being said, Episode 1 isn’t worth 15 dollars. Not only is it hilariously short—many players will find it easy to play through in a single sitting—but it’s an incomplete story that exists just to set up Episode 2. Nothing is resolved story-wise, and asking 15 dollars for something so short and incomplete is outrageous. Price aside, however, this is a nice little DLC that plays almost identically to the base game. Read more →

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