The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Review

I’ve been a huge fan of the Witcher series since I played the first game, so much so that I wound up following the second game’s release back in May 2011 and became an active poster on their forums. I even managed to win a contest they sponsored, which netted me a copy of the official Witcher 2 game guide with a bunch of developer signatures. That being said, I’ve been hugely critical of the games and developers because my enjoyment of the series causes me to expect more out of it than most people, so I made an effort to play through this absurdly long game three times in order to get a feel for the choices and consequences and determine which of the choices aren’t choices at all. In some ways I’m impressed by the game, most notably in the quest design that effortlessly trumps the boring simplicity of other open-world games’ quests. In other ways I’m blown away by the laziness of some of the underlying systems given all of the potential the series had in terms of your actions having consequences. At the end of the day, The Witcher 3 is a lot of fun, but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s a shadow of what it could have been. Read more →

Broken Age Review

Note that this is a review for the completed game instead of the single, incomplete half of Broken Age that was first released. I’ll never understand why other sites are willing to review portions of a game before it’s complete, especially since they invariably run up against the problem of recommending a game that becomes loathsome in its later hours, or fails to deliver on its initial promise. Take Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us as an example: it begins well enough, only for the end to roll around and disregard all of your choices despite its initial claims of reactivity. Double Fine’s Broken Age falls into a similar trap, brimming with promise and potential early on (which caused many sites to write glowing reviews about it), only to drop the ball in its second half and become downright embarrassing. Read more →

Terraria kind-of-Review

Terraria isn’t the kind of game that lends itself well to a review because of its more open-ended nature and the complete absence of anything resembling a story or meaningful characters, so I figured that rather than going the usual route and breaking things down one section at a time, I’d tell everyone the story of my experience with Terraria version and highlight the good, the bad, the ugly, the frustrating, and the wonderful as I discovered it. As such, I’m labeling this as a kind-of-review despite the fact that this is technically my 200th site review (and it totally counts despite the unique format). Read more →

Costume Quest 2 Review

Costume Quest 2 is a great example of a sequel that improves on its predecessor in virtually every way. That’s not to say that it’s entirely flaw-free, but the problems from the first game have been largely minimized in such a way that it’s a much more fulfilling experience than the already-worthwhile original. That said, much of the game will be instantly familiar to those who have played the first game: a large part of gameplay still consists of going house to house trick-or-treating for candy to progress, the combat is still jRPG-inspired, and the overall game still has a distinct sense of humor that you won’t find anywhere else. Read more →

The Wolf Among Us Review

If you play through it only once, The Wolf Among Us manages to be a fun, gritty little murder mystery involving fairytale characters who have somehow found their way into New York. If you play through it more than once, though, the whole game starts to come apart at the seams, showing you just how little your actions impact the events that play out over the course of the game. Linear and mostly-linear games aren’t a bad thing, mind you, but when a game has nothing else to offer but QTE sequences and a beginning screen that openly lies about the game’s reactivity, that’s a pretty serious problem that all but ruins the fun of your first playthrough. Read more →

Valiant Hearts: The Great War Review

Games using Ubisoft’s UbiArt Framework are almost immediately recognizable because they resemble a moving 2D painting or drawing. Child of Light, for example, had a watercolor kind of aesthetic that was really pleasing. Valiant Hearts, on the other hand, has more of a “hand-drawn” look to it, and this ultimately proves to be its downfall. This is a game where the aesthetic and the message are so completely at odds that the game doesn’t seem to have any idea of what it wants to accomplish, so all you’re left with are a few adventure game sequences that spiral into unenjoyable minigames. It’s a shame, too, because this is one of the few games willing to venture into the nitty-gritty of World War 1. Read more →

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