Finished Risen the other day, so figured I’d do one of these and maybe save people some potential disappointment.
Game took about 36 hours to finish doing pretty much everything possible in a single playthrough. Considering this was another relatively cheap Steam sale purchase, not a bad deal at that length.
The graphics often seem to be drooled over, but I’m not sure why exactly. The scenery is quite nice. Overall no complaints about the landscapes and backdrops and such (although people have actually made mods to make improvements: http://kamrades.com/en/index.php?m=games), but the people all look really odd. It’s like, the models are really simple and kind of clumsy, big round heads, club feet and such, but then they are covered with these really detailed and trying to be realistic/gritty skins, which creates this weird effect where you have this round-headed hero who kind of looks like the guy on the box art if he doubled his weight and possibly had a birth defect.
The game has great music, although it was wildly inappropriate at times as a lot of the “wandering the countryside” music sounded a whole lot like “OMG SOMETHING BITING YOUR FACE OFF” music at certain points, which ended up with me suddenly jumping at a drum beat and swinging around wildly looking for whatever horror was trying to eat me when there was nothing around for miles. This was made all the worse because some of the enemies really blended in with the scenery well, and you didn’t realize they were there until you stepped on them and they repaid you by gnawing on your spleen.
Dialogue and script are actually okay overall. The combat is difficult as rumored, until you realize that magic and the crossbow are king and cannot be blocked unlike 99% of your melee attacks and weapons. The physics seem to weird out sometimes where corpses would fly across the map when I shot them with the crossbow or go sliding around so I had to chase a corpse to loot it. Physics also affected the jumping and climbing which was clunky. The game also seemed to be struggling with how realistic it wanted to be with annoying “realistic” stuff like some of the things below or being able to take a bath, and then silly unrealistic stuff like taking a bath fully clothed in your armor and with your sword still on. Also some weird camera angles, where you have cutscenes with someone talking who is not on screen.
There is also an annoying tendency, which I can only assume is intended to stretch out the playtime or just a horrendous oversight, for the NPCs to be using various crafting and other things at the exact moment you want to use them. Crafting a sword has 4 steps, use the forge, use the anvil, use the water trough, use the sharpening wheel, but the npc blacksmiths will be using whichever of those items when you need it, and you will have to wait. Then when you finally get to use it, and finish, they will be using the next item you want, because for some reason the NPCs take a LOT longer to do the same stuff as you. And for some stupid reason, you can interrupt them, but they don’t stop using it until they are done. There is no option to just talk to them and say “hey, get out of my way, I’m the PC here!”.
So overall the game was a fairly mediocre RPG with some annoying bits to start, then it started to get tiring at the end. I only managed to finish it because I was pretty sure there wasn’t that much left to the game when I started to get bored of it, but they could probably easily chop 10 hours out of it and do no real harm. After awhile, a lot of the stuff started to feel like it was intentionally put in just to make the game drag out and have a longer playthrough time.
On top of that the endgame, final boss fight and ending were all terrible, making what would have been an okay, if not fantastic, gaming experience, into something that left me feeling cheated and regretful.
Let’s just get the endgame/ending stuff out of the way first, since it was by far the single most repulsive part of the game for me.
The entire endgame is bullshit. After you have trudged your ass all over the island doing everything, clearing out all the various temples and ruins and crap, the game presents you with a bunch of fetchquests that have you running all over the bloody island again. Remember all those temples you hated and thought you were done with? SURPRISE! There’s a whole new section for you to explore in 5 of them!
Go get a bunch of armor and weapons, (only 1 of the weapons is even usable on the last boss) which are spread out about as far as they can be throughout the island. If this is not a big enough kick in the nuts when you thought you were just about finished, they also give you mission were you have to go to the Don and ask for his help just to have him say (paraphrased) “Not shit I can do, here have a potion and get away from me”. Well worth traveling all the way across the island I thought.
You have teleport stones (or at least you should have) at this point in the game, which make the travel less annoying, but they don’t take you exactly where you need to go, one of the locations (west coast) there is no travel stone for (just happens to be the furthest point from where you get the mission, yaaaaaay) and on top of that, there’s groups of powerful monsters waiting with immediate aggro and disembowel distance from almost all of your teleport destinations.
Hauled your tired ass all over the island again and gotten all the pieces of armor you need and fought all the ridiculous amounts of enemies sprinkled everywhere on your path? Alright, time for the end, right? No. Now you have to go track down the crazy druid from earlier in the game (All the way on the east coast this time) so that he can take them from you and play a ridiculously short and pointless cutscene to “reforge” the armor. This entire section of the game it pointless. Just give us the armor whole. There’s nothing interesting or challenging about hauling it all the way back to the stupid druid and then back to the area where the bossfight awaits. It’s just annoying and tedious filler at this point.
The Illusion of Choice (Disappearing is still an illusion right?)
Throughout the game, it builds up to this point as if you will need to make some grand choice. Stand with the inquisitor and try to help his plan succeed and save the mainland (and the rest of humanity) at the cost of this rinky dinky island filled with assholes, or stop the inquisitor and save this island, most likely damning all the rest of the world in the process.
The mages hint at this. You might need to “choose” to stop the inquisitor. Hell pirate-girl-vague-love-interest-bartender-that-never-goes-anywhere-subplot-woman even says “well, looks like you’ve got a choice to make”. But guess what. No you don’t! All decided! No choice. You will fight the inquisitor. You will save the island. You don’t get a say. All decided for you, what did you think this was an RPG or somethi… hey, wait a minute…
Oh god, what a bunch of NES repetitive cheap ass bullshit is this. The boss itself is just annoying. He does 3 or so different types of attacks, 1 of which you have to reflect back at him, which stuns him, then run up and beat on him with a hammer while he’s stunned. Repeat till shitty cutscene.
This is bad enough but on top of this bits of the floor you fight the boss on disappear off and on, adding that wonderful “instant pointless death” factor that everyone loves so much.
Also, you have to hit the boss a certain number of times (5 I think, I forget) with the Titan hammer or whatever it was called that you had to get on one of the fetch quests. That’s right. Pretty much all of your experience, training, skills etc. up until now? Pointless. Are you a super mage? World’s best crossbow shot? Specialized in swords not warhammers (which is sane since there’s about 50 special good swords in the game and like 5 of everything else)? Maybe you have a 200 strength? Well tough shit. You will use the hammer for this fight and you will hit the boss X times, regardless of your strength, skills etc. The only difference between doing this bossfight at this point and 5 seconds after starting the game, in terms of advantages and preparation for your character, is that you now have more hitpoints and you have the armor and weapon required for the fight which the game has prevented you from getting up until this point.
Otherwise, all that other shit, doesn’t matter.
So you’ve been forced to choose to probably doom all humanity everywhere other than asshole island by reimprisoning the titan. Your reward? A shitty short voiceover and a cutscene of your guy whacking the floor once with his warhammer in his smileyface armor while the titan suffers something that bears and unfortunate resemblance to a naught Japanese anime.
Loose ends? What happened to the rest of the planet? What happens to you after you leave the boss chamber? Did you at least finally get that girl? None of that shit for you! Credits then main menu! Now fuck off!
Disappointing to say the least.
Okay, so I just finished this game. It’s a game that caught my attention a long time ago but I never got around to getting it for various reasons (price in particular).
But sometime last year I noticed the game had a demo on Steam, so I downloaded it and tried it and although it wasn’t the most polished gaming experience ever, it was fun and had a really interesting concept.
So I decided I’d buy it, but it was $40 on steam which is just too much for me for anything other than a game I just must absolutely have now, of which there are maybe 4 or so a year. Part of the reason these reviews are “late” game reviews, in addition to just plain old lack of time to play the games, let alone write about them, is because I wait for most games to go on sale or hit the bargain bin to buy them.
So knowing Steam as I do, I decided to wait for the game to go on sale. So I waited. Annnddddd waited… And waited. But the damn thing never went on sale.
Then, finally, last year during the holiday sale, it dropped to like 13$ so I grabbed it.
Just finished it and for the most part it is what I was expecting. Not a super polished fps, some clunky bits like invisible walls, mediocre or even slightly below average graphics (for its time even) and some kind of silly plot holes (which I’ll go into below to avoid spoilers yet), but overall not bad… Up until the “ending” that is anyway.
You may be wondering why I have quotes around the word ending there. That would be because it didn’t really have one. It just sort stopped and started rolling the credits part way through. It was honestly so abrupt I thought there must have been some sort of an error that made the credits roll early. But no, just a really horrendous cliffhanger.
I mean the game itself took me about 7 hours start to finish, which isn’t too bad I guess. Well, not for 13$ anyway, if I had actually paid $40, I would have been pissed. But it made the game feel even shorter than it was and just left me feeling really ripped off and disappointed. I mean, one of the main reasons I bought the game in the first place was because I really liked the concept and thought there was potential for a good story, but it ends so suddenly and literally nothing is resolved. None of the main story or plot points is resolved at all. It actually leaves off at the point where you think you might finally start getting some answers. And, the game did poorly so odds are there won’t be a sequel.
So that is my single biggest complaint about the game. So fair warning to those considering it. The game is fun, but my god horrible cliffhanger, so in clear big flashy print, IF YOU WANT A COMPLETE STORY AND/OR HATE CLIFFHANGERS, SKIP THIS GAME.
The gameplay itself and the concept are still fun (running through the civil war with a full automatic assault rifle is probably one of the most fun things I’ve done in a game), but damn the ending left me bitter. I’m so tired of everything I like, Sci-fi in particular (but that’s another rant) ending abruptly with no resolution.
Anyway, on to the nitpicking:
The reasoning behind not having the future guns all the time is unknown, but none of the conceivable reasons seem to work.
It can’t be because you can’t be seen with them, because you are seen with them constantly when you do get them and no one even bats an eye at you.
It’s not over worries of them being left behind, because I left them behind a lot when I ran out of bullets and it wasn’t a problem, not to mention the corpses of the futuristic bad guys in their future armor and with their modern guns lying about everywhere when you are done with them. But of course you have to have the future sniper rifle self destruct later lest the future technology fall into the wrong hands, however 2 seconds later you are caught and still have the future machine gun pistol on you, not to mention your time cop armor.
Also the whole “protecting time” or “running amok” isn’t really very clear. Like in the Pompei level, yes, all these people are going to die, but they have excavated parts of Pompei. All of the locals with bullets in them might raise a few questions. Let alone all the future portal technology and bad guys in future armor etc.
And speaking of armor, they mention yu being in period costume and having to use the period soldiers around you as your living armor and whatnot. I understand wearing like civil war uniforms during the civil war and stuff, but why not wear kevlar under it? Sure would have been nice against all those ball and powder muskets in the civil war.
Quick and Dirty
- Interesting concept and story
- Super fun running through historical battles with modern weapons
- Decent dialogue
- Interesting settings you don’t often see in FPS (Civil War, WWI, etc.)
- Instant action mode which lets you replay any level with any weapons you want
- Clunky. Not a very refined shooter
- Weird plotholes and unreasonable restrictions
- Short. 6-7 hours at most for the average FPS gamer to complete the storyline missions
- Horrible, horrible cliffhanger that will likely never be resolved because of the game’s poor sales performance
I am throughly under the impression that Atlas has brilliant marketing. Mostly because the alternative would mean that I was incredibly stupid. It took me less than a week to break down and buy the new(old) release of Persona 3 on the PSP. Once the feelings of bitter recrimination and self loathing had subsided, I booted the game up to check it out.
The first thing I noticed was the snazzy new opening, which seems now to be a given in every new rerelease of the game. I was pleased that they included the original opening as well. After actually starting the game, I was faced with a dilemma however. I had a choice between choosing a male and a female main character. The game was kind enough to assure me that picking the female option didn’t mean anything. Feeling reassured of my masculinity, I selected the female character. I had already played through the game as a male character and the goal was to see what was different after all. Upon making my selection, it immediately switched to an interface of hot pink. It also doesn’t help that the the female main character was especially feminine. Normally this wouldn’t be a huge issue, but the protagonists in Persona are supposed to be blank slates that you impress yourself on. So despite the games warnings, it made me feel incredibly gay.
As I played the game, I found myself with a vastly different perspective than I had originally envisioned. Rather than laying my personality over the main character like I did in previous versions, I instead became protective of my female main character. I was a lot more concerned with what friends Violet (my protagonist’s name) was making and in particular who she decided to date. As options became available, I thought about whether or not they were good enough for Violet. It was a sharp departure from my perspective in previous games, which was to date as many available ladies as possible (all for the social links I swear). I was mostly OK when she decided to date Akihiko, since he seems to be a fairly upstanding boy, but was concerned when she was becoming friends with Junpei (I didn’t want my character dating some deadbeat kid).
From a technical standpoint, I was fairly impressed with how well the port was done. To save space, they removed most of the cutscenes and used a series of still shots. In the actual game, the world is rendered as images with sprites rather than 3D models, with the exception of Tartarus (the main dungeon). This helps preserve the feel of the original game while keeping the visuals looking nice. It also gives off a stronger visual novel vibe than the previous versions of the game. This also apparently allowed them to save enough space to add extra vocal lines and new music, rather than remove them, which was a pleasant surprise.
The story also changed a lot more than I was anticipating. Aside from redoing all the references from him to her, they also added whole new dialogue paths and have redone many of the reactions and responses of characters to be more suitable to a female lead. For example, when Junpei’s complains about your character taking the lead, it takes on less of a resentment feel and moves more towards a display of insecurity, hidden behind a veil of light sexism. The mass amount of changes didn’t affect the core of the story, but gave a new, fresh perspective on the game that made playing it a 3rd time enjoyable, rather than tedious.
With the port comes a host of game play improvements as well. The battle system has been revamped to be more in line with the games successor, Persona 4. This includes the ability to control all party members and the guard command. One new limitation that was added is that the protagonist can no longer use any weapon, being restricted to swords swords (males), or certain pole arms (female). As well, the knockdown mechanic has been changed to be less punishing to both your party and the monsters. Some other changes include the removal of the fusion spells which were replaced with fusion cards. I found this to be both mixed advantage/disadvantage. On the one hand, you no longer need to carry persona simply to be able to use the fusion spells, but on the other hand, you are now much more limited in how often you can use them.
Overall, I found the game to be a solid release. Between the new mode and other tweaks, as well as the ability to be able to play an excellent RPG on the move, the game provides enough new content and features to justify purchasing it, especially if you’re a fan of the series.
So I bought and played Stalker… err sorry, I mean S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (read that to yourself as “S period T period A period L period K period E period R period” every time it shows up in this post and you might get a small taste of something similar to the annoyance I felt playing the game.) Shadows of Chernobyl during the Steam holidays sale, or rather I should say I bought it during the sale back in December and got around to playing recently.
Short version of this post: Blarg, I want my $2 back.
This game got so much favorable press and fanfare and rave reviews, comparing it to Fallout 3, that I was expecting something I could really get into, but I just don’t get what anyone sees in this game.
So many things just irritated the hell out of me from the onset, some of my major qualms with the game (in no particular order):
1. It looks like ass.
I know it’s a 3 year old game, but it looks like ass for a 3 year old game. Gray colored people fighting other gray colored people and gray colored monsters in a gray world with gray rain. Sure, sure, it came out in 2007, but so did Half Life 2: Episode 2 and the first Mass Effect. I mean, look at a comparison between the two games:
Sure, we’re talking a much smaller company vs. a huge multi-million dollar gaming powerhouse company, but still, even in it’s heyday, I can’t say S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was much to brag about in the way of graphics.
But graphics aren’t everything you say? I agree, many games make up for lackluster or dated graphics with other elements. Which leads me to more complaints.
2. Horrible A.I. & buggy as hell.
You start of the game with like a slingshot and soon run into enemies with fully automatic weapons and body armor. Stealth and smart use of terrain etc. are supposed to be the key here, but whereas with a nice spec a modern (not 2007) PC at full settings I still have trouble picking out Mr. Gray Blob 1 from background of gray blobby trees, gray blobby railroad tracks and gray blobby building, they instantly know exactly where I am at all times and and are just predisposed to disliking me for some reason.
Stealth is a lie in this game. The A.I. always knows where you are, even when they cannot possibly see or hear you and are half a mile away.
Except when it is just completely clueless and can’t tell where anything is like in situations where you can go in by an alternate route and the A.I. will literally stand still and let you shoot them in the back head repeatedly and the dumber than dirt allies.
Add to this the self completing/failing missions (I failed missions I never even picked up!) and a host of other technical problems, and it just doesn’t make the game very much fun to play.
3. OMG THE HEAD BOB!”#!”$!%!”
Apparently there is one. I know, I was surprised too. I played the game for a total of 7 hours, and still mostly had no clue what the hell was going in. It starts off boring and doesn’t tell you anything. The game makes you work at trying to piece together the story. I don’t mean in an in-game/in-world sort of way. I mean if you, the player do not read tons of text and make a serious effort to try and figure out what the hell is going on and what the point of you doing anything is, then the story is vague at best.
It never really seems to grab you and involve you in the story, its more aimless wandering and doing a bunch of more or less random quests because you just don’t have anything better to do.
Add to this that most of the spoken dialog and in-world text is in Russian, which while making for a “realistic” experience as the game is based in Russia, does not make for a very involved experience for me, because I DON’T SPEAK OR READ RUSSIAN GODDAMNIT.
Now, I’m a translator in my real world job. And I can completely sympathize with the fact that 99% of all things are better in their original language, but that doesn’t help when I don’t speak that language, and I’m not about to try and pick up another language so that I can gain a better understanding of a game that I am angry I paid $2 for.
All of that together just makes for a disjointed, vague, difficult to find and comprehend story, and an overall terrible gaming experience. I put 7 hours into the game because so many people told me how wonderful and great and awesome it was, like a better version of Fallout 3. Well, they wrong. All of them. I enjoyed Fallout 3 about 1,000,000 times more and I rage quit in the middle of that game because of a bunch of bugs that made it impossible for me to progress in half the missions.
The only fun or enjoyment I had at all in stalker was when I finally managed to get a gun with a scope and made my way up to the highest point in one of the towns and went water tower on all the anti-social, boring, buggy A.I. brown and gray pricks who lived there before uninstalling the game and falling into a restless sleep dreaming of the $2 and 7 hours I would never see again.
Continuing a long standing tradition of mine of playing games well after they are released, I’ve actually managed to play this one in the year it was released, but considering I started it nearly 6 months after release despite preording the deluxe edition, still a late game review.
Summary: Good game, had a lot of fun. Didn’t notice how stupid some of it was till afterward.
I really like the Mass Effect series. Sure the games leave something to be desire in a lot of areas, and there is a lot of talking etc. but overall I love the characters, the acting, the universe and how engrossing and involving the games are.
I loved Mass Effect 1, played it through twice. Ended being surprised by how much I liked some of the characters (2 playthroughs and I still ended up with Tali and Wrex in my party most of the time through both).
Mass Effect 2 carried on the tradition with the return of a few of your old teammates in various ways (Yay Tali, Wrex, not so much Garrus) and the introduction of some great new characters.
I had a ton of fun playing all the recruiting missions and loyalty missions and doing all the side stuff.
Graphics were nice, acting was superb, dialog was great and the combat was a lot more fun and a lot more challenging than the first game.
Also some of the renegade options were hilarious, although the renegade paragon system itself was not my favorite aspect of the game, more on that below.
Overall I’d recommend the game.
I do have a few qualms with it though (as always in no particular order).
1. Armor and inventory (or lack thereof).
I don’t think anyone enjoyed exactly how the inventory system in ME1 worked, but I’d have much rather they improved the inventory system rather than remove it completely. I might be the oddball here, but I really enjoyed all the different armors and stuff from the first game. I ended up keeping less than the best armors for a bunch of the characters (Wrex) just because I thought they looked so much cooler.
For Shepherd it was alright, because you could customize everything and what not, but there wasn’t shit you could do with squadmates until you had their loyalty and that just ended up with usually 1 stupid pallete swap of their current outfit. The fact that they release DLC that costs money to change appearances really kind of pissed me off.
I also hate the fact that you can’t remove your helmet, or change your armor during the game without going to your special armor wearing contraption on the ship. Wearing the helmet constantly during cutscenes and such got annoying so despite wanting bonuses the helmets provided and having 8 billion different types of headwear from deluxe edition content, DLC, promotions etc. I just ended up forgoing any head protection at all so I could enjoy the cutscenes without sounding like Darth Vader.
Also not fond of the weapon assortment. Am I the only one who barely used the heavy weapons? I used grenades in the first one constantly. Heavy weapons I rarely bothered with. I don’t like the progression of weapons either. No selection, no catering to specific playstyles, just individual, specific weapon upgrades as the story progresses, making it so no matter how often you playthrough you always have more or less the same loadouts at the same points in the game.
2. I miss the long elevators.
Yeah, I know people are shaking their heads at that, but I enjoyed the long elevators rides and their spontaneous conversations and stuff from the first game. Also interactions between companions were painfully few and far between, despite the fact that some of those characters should have been interacting A LOT and some truly great missed opportunities for fun dialogue and story (Tali and Legion,
crocodile dundeeZaeed and Grunt, etc.).
I disliked the fact that you barely talked to or interacted with your squadmates except for on the ship, and on the ship you had to run all over hell and back and elevators etc. to get to them. The whole “I am done talking for now, come back later” crap got old real quick too. I’d have booted Garrus’ moody emo taurian ass out of the nearest airlock if it was really my ship.
3. Renegade, Paragon, I’m the guy with the gun.
You get bonuses for being either realllllllly good, or realllllly bad. In fact, one could easily argue that doing one or the other is required to finish the game in the best way possible because otherwise you can end up unable to resolve some situations in a satisfying manner.
There really needs to be a more middle of the road option. Some of the people I wanted to slap around (TAKE THAT REPORTER!) and some people I felt bad for or whatever, but the game kind of railroaded me into being one or the other.
4. Weird bugs.
I got the weird clipping bugs, often requiring a reload of an earlier saved game, way too often for my liking. I would walk into a desk or something and the game would propel me onto the desk and up through the ceiling or some other stupid thing. Got annoying after awhile.
Or else armor and weapons clipping into itself/other pieces during cutscenes and such (this was a huge issue for Dragon Age with it’s ginormous armor)
5. Main storyline ()
It was short, not much meat to it, and honestly, didn’t make a whole lot of sense. There was a lot more that could have been delved into, and the ending of it and lack of some options was disappointing.
Specific story problems include:
The council just decided to forget about the reapers? Come on. Making it more an intentional cover up or something would be interesting. But willing themselves into disbelief, it just seemed stupid and not well thought out. Seemed like they thought, “how can we make it so Shepherd is forced to be alienated from the council again despite conclusively proving the reapers were real and saving the council from them in the previous game”, and then decided to apply an afternoon soap opera type of solution. Very unsatisfying and made me want to reply the first game again just to kill the council because they are obviously mentally deficient.
I get that they are trying to paint the council as not perfect etc. But they are still supposed to be the people essentially ruling the galaxy, they cannot be completely incompetent or else the entire world that mass effect is based upon starts to come apart at the seams.
I also hated the entire stupid concept of the human reaper, seriously, what. the. hell.? They are a race of sentient space ships, machines that hold all organic life in contempt, but now all of the sudden they base themselves off of other races? Races that they think are disgusting and beneath them? How does this make sense? I hate cockroaches, so somehow I think I should make my children look like one? And so what race was sovereign, you know, the SPACESHIP, based off of? Some other race of sentient spaceships?
Just dumb, needs to be retconned out of existence, make it something else. Not a reaper, but just some weird experiment they were doing or something, the whole concept was just dumb.
Also, really wish there was an option to not destroy the collector base but not give it to Cerberus either. Again lack of a pragmatic option, I would have given it to the alliance. Unfortunate oversight there, and one I’m afraid I’ll end up paying for in the next game because I chose not to take a potential benefit because I didn’t want to give it to the marlboro man (also, seriously, we get that he smokes, give it a rest, don’t need half a cutscene of him taking puffs on a poorly animated cigarette).
So overall, great game, lots of fun, enjoyable, but not without its negative aspects and wtf moments, and in all honesty, I can see how people wouldn’t like it. I enjoy it because story is vital to me in a game. It’s often where I get most of my enjoyment from in single player games. Immersion. An engrossing story and world can be the single most definitive factor for me in deciding whether a game is good or bad, so I didn’t mind the hours and hours of cutscenes and talking and dialog options and such, but I can see how some people would not enjoy it as much.
To each his or her own, I enjoyed it, and I’d recommend it. Good acting, good writing (except for a few story points mentioned above) and dialog, amazing cast, fun combat, awesome world setting with a lot of potential.