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Recent reviews by Estranged2

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Showing 1-10 of 28 entries
6 of 18 people (33%) found this review helpful
10.5 hrs on record

If you have played BioForge, Ecstatica, Alone In The Dark 1, or Little Big Adventure, you know what 90s action-adventure games feel like. This genre had extremely deep gameplay, combining everything you can put in an action or an adventure game - puzzles, scripted events, stealth, action, simulation, anything.

Unfortunately, it's also a very inaccessible genre, because it can express a lot with its gameplay, but also demands a lot from the player - attention, comprehension, tenacity. Coupled with cumbersome interface, these games fail. Just like Flashback / Fade To Black creator Paul Cuisset couldn't communicate with modern players with his rather creative game AMY (which sadly flopped and was universally hated), 2Dark also suffers from trying to do too much with its interface (managing inventory, aiming a gun, equipping items in your hands).


WIth that said, for me, 2dark is a wonderful experience. It's quite similar to Hitman in some levels - you have a social simulation that you have to disrupt, but your objective is not to kill someone, but instead, to save kidnapped children (some of which don't want to be saved, or are too uncontrollable - but it's not an annoying escort mission, don't worry).


2Dark is an amazing experience so far. It's very weird that I don't care about the bugs, or the abysmal English translation, or even about scoring points, or game mechanics. I'm completely immersed in the situation and the moral dilemmas it presents. It feels very real and reminds me why I started to like playing videogames in the first place.

Frederick Raynal also has the ability not just to convince you that a situation is real, but also to constantly surprise you. Every situation and location in the game is unique. Almost every character model is unique - everyone is a unique person. The variety of obstacles and the variety of ways in which you can handle them (you should really exercise your imagination about how you can distract the NPCs or create conflict among them) is just amazing.


Of course, you won't enjoy this game if you don't have the same priorities as me. If having a fun, accessible experience is more important to you than seeing certain ideas and emotions simulated in a game, then you're not going to enjoy 2Dark at all. The game is demanding, it needs you to understand very well what you are doing and to invest time and effort.

It's also a very disturbing game that trespasses a cultural taboo (suffering and death of children).

Last, and a little unrelated, I recommend playing the game with a gamepad. Even though managing your inventory is way slower with a gamepad, the more natural movement of the character justifies this tradeoff.
Posted April 13. Last edited April 13.
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15 of 18 people (83%) found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
Local co-op doesn't save the data of the second player. OK then, I bought it for my wife as well, but system requirements are increased compared to the first game and it doesn't run on her laptop. Again, local co-op doesn't work properly. Would they pull that off on the PS4? I don't think so. Considering the greatest puzzles in Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light were co-op only, this is a huge deal breaker. Also, the character's abilities are worse (in terms of puzzle & interactive potential) than the ones in the first game.

I feel terrible for giving a Lara Croft game a negative review, but they really treated their customers badly with this one. Sadly, it probably has nothing to do with the work of the game team and everything to do with politics and corporate mediocrity. With that said, I recommend that you play Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (the previous game before this one), and play it with a friend until the very end, it gets better and better.
Posted December 15, 2016. Last edited December 28, 2016.
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17 of 29 people (59%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
31.0 hrs on record
One of the best puzzle games I have ever played in my life. The puzzles are interactive, varied, elegant and interesting! Preparing traps for your enemies, monsters inadvertently helping you or foiling your plans, weird chain reactions...

There are also new levels that introduce totally new gameplay, never seen before in other versions of the game. I'd say the authors chose very interesting ideas to explore in the new level pack.

The overall style of the game demonstrates the beauty of minimalism, both in graphical aesthetics and in game design. And, sadly (or happily?), Lara Croft GO manages to be way more Tomb Raider in its core than the current "Miss Uncharted" main game. You will find a lot of genuine homage to the original Tomb Raider games anywhere you look, from the ambient sound to the main menu, but most importantly, the gameplay is pure gold.

NOTE: Gamepad recommended for best experience.
Posted December 5, 2016. Last edited January 4.
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13 of 19 people (68%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
120.8 hrs on record
This game is not for everyone. It is as close to the 90s Tomb Raider games as you're going to get. With some Metroidvania pollution, but still.

The game doesn't tell you what to do, how to optimize your controls, what is the meaning of the stuff that you see. Explore the interrelated, interconnected space. Think. Think some more. Celebrate every room you get access to. Get stuck. Figure it out or abandon the game like the millions of mediocre people whose mediocrity has caused the race to the bottom, the race in trying to appease and cater to the lowest common denominator.

Last, but not least - boobs and booty. Being so gratuitous in the current media and political climate is actually a very bold move.
Posted October 28, 2016. Last edited October 28, 2016.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
13.9 hrs on record
I got stuck. I almost made a refund because of the incorrect claims in the negative reviews. Then I started quickly solving the puzzles that seemed "impossible"... and it turned out they are very easy once you understand what you're actually doing.
So I decided to help anyone who's on the fence and has read the negative reviews.

- It's not true that the game doesn't slowly introduce you to the basics
- It's not true that the game doesn't have different locations with different gameplay themes

- IT IS true, that the game gets difficult very, very quick
- IT IS true, that if you believe that you are smart, and in reality you're not, the game will crush you without mercy

- It is not true that the puzzles are complex, but random. No, they are very meaningful, but if you're not smart enough, you won't be able to understand the meaningful pattern behind the solution, even if someone shows it to you. Just like any other difficult logic game, you have to visualize what you want, your final goal, and what prevents you from getting there, but here you also have to rely on your spacial reasoning and that's differently developed in different people.

There's a risk that the game may not be for you. Have you finished "English Country Tune" or "Stephen's Sausage Roll"? What about the hardest secret levels in "Sokobond"? Was the last level of "Open Doors 2" relatively easy for you? What about any Alan Hazelden game, like "Boxes love boxing gloves"? You didn't need a walkthrough to get through "The Witness", did you? If the answer to any of these questions is "Yes", than go ahead. If not, try the demo. (There is a demo, even if it's not on Steam). And don't give up immediately. Give it time. Good luck.
Posted August 10, 2016. Last edited August 10, 2016.
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20 of 23 people (87%) found this review helpful
28.8 hrs on record
You are a small, vulnerable child in a dystopian society. You are a fugitive. You must die. You will be killed without mercy even though you're just a kid. Or, you'll experience something far worse than death.
Your crime - you're not a puppet. You can try to pretend that you're a puppet, but it won't help you in the long run. They are coming for you.

Arnt Jensen's INSIDE is an experience, very similar to Eric Chahi's Another World. Loneliness, fear, cruel and sad death. Noone speaks, the world is mysterious, you can build theories in your mind about the society and nature that you see until the next scene shocks you, disproves you and turns everything upside down.

The character animation is the best one ever made. It combines complex simulation with attention to detail, so the boy can react to any object in the dynamic environment in real time. Unfortunately, most people will be too blind to appreciate this unparalleled artistic and technical achievement.

The interactivity, the story, the world, the drama, the horror, the emotional experience, the deeply psychological gameplay are far superior to the ones, found in Playdead's previous game, LIMBO. The game is relatively short, but it's also a unique, once in a lifetime experience; games with similar quality are released once in a decade. INSIDE can change the way you think about games, or it can remind you why you started to like games in the first place.

Given its uniqueness and outstanding quality, INSIDE is worth twice its full price. What I mean is that even if you buy it at full price, you're actually getting a very good deal.

I see nothing confusing about the ending, and even nothing tragic about it. Emotionally, it's very similar to the way ICO ends, and (to some extent) to the way Another World ends. Philosophically, it's closer to themes found in the Penumbra and SOMA series, which makes me wonder whether nordic devs have a soft spot for these themes, just like they have a soft spot for horror.
Posted July 14, 2016. Last edited November 23, 2016.
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1 of 5 people (20%) found this review helpful
68.8 hrs on record
This game is not for everyone. I had a love-hate relationship with it until, somewhere around my 5th ray in the sky, I started to truly appreciate it.

I appreciate that The Witness shows, through gameplay, how mathematics can stop being something abstract (iPads with lines) and can actually permeate the whole environment and the whole world. (For example, it's not a coincidence that Blow included hexagonal rocks and mountain pillars in the sea - these are actual natural formations on Earth that demonstrate how geology comes from mathematics, and the shapes are also featured in puzzles.)

With time, you may discover the layers that connect the environment with the line puzzles, and this, in turn, can help you recognize math as the building block of everything around us - landscape, nature, architecture, moving mechanisms. Starting to understand this connection gives us power over the world, but in the end (entering the mountain) we find the world more confusing than before, the final truth out of our grasp. (This reflects Blow's personal beliefs, and partially, history of science when we entered the quantum realm).

Braid, another game made by the same author (or shall I say, "auteur"), was also about a scientist seeking the ultimate truth. And while, for various reasons, I don't really like Blow's worldview and his games so much, the truly amazing thing about him as a designer is that he has this reductionist approach to design, where gameplay must always express and serve a particular idea and everything else must be removed. On Steam, the game even has only 2 achievements. "Finish the game" and "Do more than finishing the game". Really inspiring that Jon Blow makes money by sticking to his principles instead of succumbing to cheap tricks used in other games.

He also likes subtlety, perfectionism and beauty which also makes me respect him so much. But he never allows graphics, no matter how beautiful and detailed they are, to distract from the point of the game. Which makes the beauty less distracting than most AAA graphics I have seen.

Another thing the game does with you is that it teaches you to see things that were in front of you the whole time, but you couldn't recognize them, because you were ignorant. Your perception and understanding changes as you learn new things, and you unlock new locations with knowledge, not with physical keys.

Appreciating the ideas, expressed in the game (even if you partially disagree with them, like I do), requires some background outside of games. It also requires looking for the subtle connections and their meaning - if this were a book, we'd call this "reading between the lines". You may find some of this stuff pretentious, but some of it is meaningful. Also, some sections are enjoyable on a very primal level - the space and the movement in the swamp forest houses, for example, or figuring out the mathematical operations behind the tetris-like puzzles and the way they reflect on real world contraptions.

Unfortunately, there are also some very annoying and tedious sections, especially the Sun Temple and the Japanese Temple (designed by one of Blow's artists). They are very unellegant, contrived and fat as puzzles. Because the frustration and boredom in the game is way more than its meaning and beauty (which are not guaranteed to be experienced by most players, on top of that), I cannot recommend the game with a clear consciousness.
Posted March 6, 2016. Last edited March 11, 2016.
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No ratings yet
20.3 hrs on record
The first game I've played that makes science fun while being relatively accurate. Sokobond represents stylized, interactive chemistry. It has simple, easy to understand rules (sokoban + chemistry bonds), and at the same time, it has challenging, engaging puzzles. Also, Sokobond is one of the few logic games that explores creating and destroying structures in a really satisfying way (Pudding Monsters is another gem that does that).
Posted January 22, 2016.
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35 of 39 people (90%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
19.5 hrs on record
If I have to compare this game to other titles, I'd say - Another World, Brothers, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Limbo. Action-adventures in which you care about someone else, and there's some form of drama.
Exploration and drama. That's what this game is all about. To some extent, it is inspired by the interactive hopelessness in the face of your impending doom, a theme explored by games like Shadow of the Colossus and Journey. But Submerged does something new with it. It is an emotional experience and goes in a direction that most games would never take.

It's quite shocking that the game is almost completely devoid of challenge. There's no violence even though there are scary things in the world. There are no puzzles, and you can't die. I usually hate games that don't offer challenge... but this game successfully challenged my obsession with challenge.
Because of the inability to die and make real mistakes, some people tagged this "a walking simulator", but the gameplay does way more than that. Just exploring the city, recovering its story, climbing buildings with the cute teen protagonist, searching for secrets, and being paranoid about things that may cause potential infection, and also, who's friend and who's foe, provided me with enough choice and thrill to keep playing.

Also, it's the first game I've played that does environmental storytelling so well - the first game that made me really enjoy piecing together the story of the city, of the world, of its inhabitants, of my own origin, all of that without any words being used, or explanations handed to me. You can even decipher the glyphs in the game in a very intuitive way.
The lack of violence allows for a unique way to relate to the other... lifeforms that you meet - your doubts, your fears, your hopes when you meet them wouldn't have been the same if you had a weapon you could wield whenever you felt insecure. Also, if you assume that they may be a giant consciousness controlled by the green plants it doesn't make sense for them to be outright hostile to you - you're going to become one of them anyway, they might as well help you. There is a sick temptation in accepting your fate and joining these creatures which is a nuanced, complicated feeling and you can't have nuance if you use simple videogame violence.
Finally, the way you're moving towards your inevitable doom just to help someone you love is done better than any other game I've played. Come to think of it, all 3 things mentioned in this paragraph (uncovering the story through the environment, dubious creatures that are maybe friends, maybe foes, and doom and self-sacrifice) are present in some form in Shadow of the Collosus, but I'd dare to say that this here is done better and affected me more (if it weren't for the ruined ending). It reminded me why playing and making games is worth it, something that all the noise around me makes me forget.

P.S. Unfortunately, the ending sucks. In a "Minority Report", deus ex machina, happy way. This game cannot afford to end on a happy, light note, but it did. Still, I usually care more about a game's idea than about its execution. I can't recommend this game enough.
Posted December 30, 2015. Last edited January 5, 2016.
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No ratings yet
7.6 hrs on record
Boring, linear, unpleasant to look at, unpleasant to handle the fidgety ball all the time. Nothing really interesting in the level design or the puzzles. The fact that it feels and moves like an Unreal MOD makes it even more repulsive.
Posted December 30, 2015.
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Showing 1-10 of 28 entries