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Recent reviews by avalonenigma

Showing 1-6 of 6 entries
No one has rated this review as helpful yet
131.1 hrs on record
I have played a considerable amount of the Final Fantasy games (IV through to X and X-2, I also tried XIII, but never completed it) but for some reason the Elder Scrolls games always made me shy away from them. I think this is due to some of their fan base who lends the series an earnestness that I associate with some of the D&D gamers I grew up with. In short I suppose I thought the games would be a bit over my head, believing them to be more concerned with game mechanics than, well; actual enjoyment.

Obviously I'm quite glad to admit how wrong I am with this assumption.

The single inclusion that makes Skyrim such an enjoyable game for me is the ability the player has to craft a unique character and the ease with which the player can then bond with this character. There are many races to choose from, as well as many stock appearances that can be altered to wildly varying degrees.

When given a choice of character I always play a female. People ask me why sometimes and sometimes I think my answer is a rationalisation rather than a "truth". I say that I play more intelligently as a female, that perhaps I feel more protective of the character as a result of my male conditioning. I think this is true but it is also not the whole truth.

I also like the way they look, and I like that I can create a character that does not look like she can decimate a dragon; but she can.

My game-name is Romika Derryn (those who know me well will understand the significance of that name, and know her distant family quite well) and she is a red-headed Nord scarred from the skirmish that robbed her of her parents. As she grew she had the habit of surrounding herself with other women and rarely allowed herself any male influences. Perhaps this was due to the soldiers, who killed her family, or perhaps there is some other tale she refuses to tell; I am not sure.

She is pale and favours keeping her hair short, passing for a boy at a distance but up close she is unmistakably female and would be silently hurt if someone thought otherwise.

Romika carries two steel swords and a bow but prefers the bow in combat. She keeps her distance from other not out of fear of them, but out of a mild distaste for others.

As her adventure evolved she began to change, her already pale skin becoming paler and inciting comments from those she met. Her once blue eyes began to take on a shimmer and gradually, almost imperceptibly she took on an alabaster appearance.

Without my knowing it Romika had become a vampire and it was only when the sun began to disorientate and burn did I fully realise something I had wondered all along.

This is the great strength of The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, it has the ability to sucker the player in and make the adventure about them and solely them. I know that others have played the game, but the huge control I had over character creation and the resulting characters evolution made her unique to me; and therefore the game unique to me as well.

I could talk about the game mechanics or the slight buggyness I'd experienced with the game. I could also talk about the vast amount of easily added mods available online (a staggering 44,000 of them) but it’s all moot to this player.

The gameplay is nearly unparalleled in my thirty years of gaming, perhaps making Skyrim the finest RPG I have so far played.

I now proudly own two previous Elder Scrolls games, knowing that the remorse I feel when this adventure ends will spur me on to try them. I only wish I'd have tried them years ago.

If you're reading this then stop right now and buy this game, the very fact that you've gotten this far in my review (of a sort) shows that your interest is a little more than casual.

This game should be in everyone’s collection.
Posted December 31, 2015.
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45.3 hrs on record
Even before the game starts a player feels something special with Metro 2033. I ‘m not sure what it is, perhaps it’s just the pure cinematic’s of the game; the way the Full Motion Video effortlessly merges with the gameplay to create something seamless. What ever it is its more likely it’s the whole approach rather than just the mechanics the game takes.

It didn’t surprise me when I read that it was based on a series of Russian sci-fi novels, but it pleased me a great deal. I have the first of these novels on order as I write this, Metro 2033 has wetted my appetite and I’m eager to learn more about this world.
Perhaps I don’t need to say anything more to express my love of this game; but I shall anyway.

Unusually the game is told in flashback, and after a brief teaser where Artyom (the Player Character) climbs to the world decimated by nuclear fire to be attacked ad apparently killed by mutant beasts we awake in Artyom’s room buried deep in the Moscow Metro system.

What ensues is perhaps the perfect melding of First Person Shooter and Adventure Game, allowing for multiple approaches to each leg of Artyom’s journey. The mutant beasts can be outsmarted by staying in the shadows, or they can be fought head on in rains of bullets. Other enemies, such as the Nazi’s who currently fight a war of ideology with the Soviet’s (who will also likely kill you as soon as look at you) can be dealt with similarly. A careful player can stalk them in the darkness, delivering a crippling blow to disable them or drive a knife silently into their heart.

Choices are abound in this game, and not least of these choices are the moral decisions you make with every action.

Morality is important in the world of Metro, and ultimately the game is one of human morality and our ability to freely accept those who are different. The games’ ending is reliant on this mechanism, and though you can get through the game without heeding the moral choices there is a pleasant surprise to those who do.

Along Artyom’s journey a host of interesting characters are discovered, and though I can take some fault with what is excluded from this list, what is included is memorable and offers a broad range of characterizations within what would be the narrow personality type that would survive such an ordeal.

What is excluded is unfortunate as it could have offered a new take on the game.

Though I am not a gamer who feels that the inclusion of female characters is all important I would normally welcome such an inclusion. In this case I believe the world of Metro 2033 would have been much richer for the inclusion of such characters (beyond the literal Mother and ♥♥♥♥♥ characters it contains) as both villains and heroes. I could have easily seen a band of amazons in the catacombs, women who attack men on sight as well as female Rangers who are battling for their own independence in a more inclusive way.

This oversight aside Metro 2033 is a fulfilling experience that envelopes the player in a tactile world where you can almost smell the decay. Each play through (I am currently on my third) reveals something more in the game, and allows the player to refine their approach and discover more in the labyrinth of the Moscow Metro.
This leads me to the single fault of the game which is nearly unforgivable.

It’s simply too short, even for a player such as me who does not have the stomach for long gaming campaigns. Though the experience is complete and fulfilling it is still shorter than it could be in my view. What the game promises is am epic mini-series in scale, and what it produces is more along the lines of a excellent movie; and though there’s is arguably nothing at all wrong with this movie the player is left knowing there was more to explore.

Metro 2033 is perhaps the perfect game with which an argument for more female character could be made, as this inclusion and missions based on this inclusion, may have solved many of the short comings it ultimately had.

I enjoyed this game immensely, and I know without any doubt that I will play it again and again in the coming years, but I know that each time I play it I will think “what if” and imagine those amazons who spurned mans technology roaming the darkened Moscow Metro and the brave female Rangers who oppose them.
Posted August 15, 2015.
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15.6 hrs on record
Left 4 Dead was a game with no faults, a perfect arcade inspired experience that left nothing wanting. Oddly its sequel (imaginatively called Left 4 Dead 2) manages to find weaknesses we hadn't even realised were there, then fixes these weakenesses and presents us with en experience that surpasses our expectations completely; Left 4 Dead 2 does something that most would say is impossible, it actually improves on perfection.

Again four archetypal character are used, not the same as the originals but any changes are merely aethetic in nature, and the same basic game mechanics are in place with a few elaborations.

The key changes are the locale and the weapons avaliable.

The location begins in a hotel, where you must pick your way through the burning building, sometimes clinging to the ledges outside while you work your way down. Then through the streets you battle your way to the mall where you must find a means to escape the increasingly ravenous horde.

The main addition with weaponry is the use of melee weapons, including katana's, baseball bat's and axes and this single addition alone opesn out the gameplay enourmously.

With two somple changes Left 4 Dead 2 becomes Resident Evil 2 to Left 4 Deads Resident Evil. The world is not significantly larger, but it feels so, and even though the course is somewhat linear the player almost feels like they are playing in an open sandbox enviroment.

The round based feel of the original game is gone in favour of a more realistic occasional lull in action, the survivors stumbling on pockets of zombies rather than it being game mechanics in play.

In truth of course there is little to no difference in game mechanics, it is all a slieght of hand played by the developers; but the illusion is well played and the gameplay feels much more responsive and organic as a result.

If the original game is highly recommended (as it is) then Left 4 Dead 2 comes as an essential purchase.
Posted June 25, 2015.
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9.7 hrs on record
Left 4 Dead is a throwback to the arcades of the 1980's, giving the gamer a taste of the frantic action of the original Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat insanity that arguably started it all.

The gameplay itself is nothing like these old games of course, but the spirit is very much the same. Fast action interspersed with moments to allow the players to collect themselves before the coming onslaught that is not unlike the round based mechanics of those earlier games.

They also have great simplicity in common; nothing is wasted and there is little to no attempt to create characters (though surprisingly character is something that oozes from the game). Instead the developers rely on sparse dialogue and good character design to convey each of the four characters unique flavours.

Unusually this game, though designed for up to four players, is just as much fun to play alone. The AI of the computer controlled characters seems fluid and they help out when needed with a logic that can easily be taken for another human player. In truth of course it is best to play with several friends, especially when chat is enabled, but single player functionality is wonderfully realised.

If you want a game that plays well as a single player, but is an unbeatable experience in multiplayer this game is a hard one to beat. Regardless of whether you are a seasoned gamer or casual player the controls are intuitive (allowing for both keyboard and controller support) and the learning curve is only dictated by the level of insanity you require.
Left 4 Dead is highly recommended.
Posted June 25, 2015.
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1 person found this review funny
34.2 hrs on record
What can I say about this that has not already been said? Probably nothing, but as this was one of the games that got me back into gaming after a long hiatus I have to say something.

In a gaming market saturated with zombie survival games what interested me about State of Decay was the clear George A. Romero inspiration.

The zombies are classic Romero, a slow ponderous mass of dead flesh that are all kinds of messed up, and as such they often lull the player into a false sense of security with their weak, slow movements. This is their weakness but collectively this is also their strength.

It is easy to forget than more than a handful of these creatures are much than a match for the average player and often while allowing yourself to get carried away it is easy to overstep and find yourself face to face with a zombie horde. The results of this are obvious and as you struggle fruitlessly for what seems like hours the end is inevitable.

And it is an end.

Once a character dies they are gone for good and if you have not succeeded in bringing in new survivors the longevity of your community is in real question. This fact, coupled with the need to find recourses and protect your borders, can easily overwhelm even a well organised player; leading to ultimate destruction.

There’s a lot good about this game, but I am sad to say it also has a few negatives that grate on the player the longer they play.

Characters are almost non existent, use of dialogue is simplistic and does not allow for much variety and the result of this is that missions can become formulaic and lack interest. This is not as bad as it seems, as the open world provides a great deal of interest in itself; but greater character development would have improved my personal enjoyment a vast amount.

The worst thing about this game must be the pure stupidity of many of the character, partly this is due to the afore mentioned lack of variety but its also because the random nature of the story means that often characters take up residence in the most foolish of places.

This means that the player is sometimes frustrated by the need to protect characters who are simply too dumb to care about. On occasion prompting this particular player to wish I could put them out of their misery (or at least mine).

All this having been said, I enjoyed this game a great deal; in spite of some poor storytelling the game mechanics worked well to instil alternating moments of the habitually mundane and the fight-for-your-life terror that makes the game rather unusual. As in the Romero movies that I feel inspired the game, State of Decay is less about the living dead and more about how we react to them, the terror is not about death but about how we live.

I, for one, am hoping that the poor storytelling and awful characterisations will either be fixed at some point with future updates or will disappear in a continuation of the game franchise.
Posted June 23, 2015.
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2.8 hrs on record
I wasn't sure what to expect from this small indie game, but what I got still surprised me. From the incredibly simple main menu through to the simple gameplay a person could be forgiven in believing that not much artistry went into the games creation, but the truth is a completely different story.

Everything that makes Analogue: A Hate Story a truly great game revolves around its careful story and the unique and rather brave story-telling method it uses. Using a story with a story as well as characters who acknowledge themselves as characters we end up with something that transcends it own mechanics.

Much like the book "The Never-Ending Story" or the movie "The Truman Show" Analogue: A Hate Story creates a piece of art (for that’s what it is) that leaves its audience in a wonderful state of relative cognitive dissonance. As the end credits crawl reality has been oddly shifted and you find the game has managed, through simple mechanics and an even simpler graphical presentation, to make you do something unexpected; it makes you care.

I would consider Analogue: A Hate Story less of a game (though it certainly is a game, and a good one too) than an experience; and I am very glad that I have had the opportunity to share it, as such unusual experiences are so few and far between.
Posted June 23, 2015.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 entries