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Recent reviews by TheCakeIsaPie

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Showing 1-10 of 12 entries
4 people found this review helpful
145.4 hrs on record
A faithful update to one of the PS2's greatest games!

I love almost everything about FF XII, from its story to its rich world to its combat system. FF XII is a masterpiece of the RPG genre, which is surprising considering its troubled development cycle. FF XII has the perfect difficulty curve. It starts off ridiculously easy and simple so as to ease in even a first-time RPG player, but its difficulty eventually ramps up at a satisfying pace, and its combat is wonderfully deep, with the gambit system and license boards providing a plethora of short-term and long-term options that should sate even the most ardest tactician, while also being manageable by casual players. This was, in fact, the first RPG that I ever played back in 2006, and I had no clue what I was doing, but FF XII guided me along. 12 years later, as a seasoned RPG player, the gameplay is not too easy for me.

The updates in this version make a great game even better. The new job system lets you have even more options for play, and the technical improvements are quite welcome. Aside from now being able to play the game in HD with revamped music, you can also speed up the gameplay which is great for when you want to run through the wilderness at super speed. A newly-added Easy mode and Hard mode cater to either extreme of gamers. There is also the ability to have Japanese voices with English subtitles if that's your thing, although the English voice acting is perfectly fine (Vaan, just like Tidus from FF X, can be a little annoying, but he's meant to be and it's not too bad. There's no dreaded "laugh scene" in this game).

I cannot reccommend this game highly enough. Of course, it does show its age a little, and it has its flaws just like any other game, but you owe it to yourself to play through this at least once.
Posted November 25, 2018.
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1 person found this review helpful
10.4 hrs on record
So slow-paced that it should be considered unplayable. There is no way to speed up the game in the options.
Posted September 29, 2018.
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7 people found this review helpful
9 people found this review funny
0.2 hrs on record
I couldn't get past the first boss, which is a screen that tells me to activate the game. This boss is impossible to get past because there's no way to counter the "There was a problem communicating with the servers" attack. I figured that this boss fight would be really easy because Steam itself gave me the weapon to defeat the boss: a 16-digit code. 'What a strange weapon,' I thought. But no matter how many times I pressed "Activate," the boss simply refused to die.

In all seriousness, this is unacceptable. I could log in to Rockstar Social Club so I know that my connection was valid. I tried everything I could think of, including adjusting the firewall and restarting my PC. I saw that there are many other players in the forum who have the same problem. There is no reason at all to require an activation code, and thanks to unresponsive servers I can't play the game that I paid for. Thanks for punishing me for spending money on your game, Rockstar.
Posted May 6, 2018.
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No one has rated this review as helpful yet
2 people found this review funny
49.6 hrs on record
A colossal waste of time. The game is filled with hundreds of pointless quests that just amount to busywork. The world map is filled to the brim with hundreds of question marks; once you uncover the location it usually just amounts to "go here and kill the beasts/humans" or "open the treasure chest" or "follow a trail of breadcrumbs" or even a combination of all three. The characters, for the most part, are wooden. The dialogue is way too voluminous and the cutscenes way too long overall to be entertaining. There are innumerable scenes and interactions that are pointless, don't further the story or help the plot or character development in any way, and just get in the way of the mission. If I were to play the game all the way through I think that I would end up saying, "There's about 20 hours of good stuff buried within 400 hours of garbage." As I finally quit around 50 hours, however, I can only say that there were about 2 or 3 good hours. Don't play this game.

Gameplay:
The combat, which makes up about 10-30% of the gameplay depending on difficulty level, is clunky and not at all fun. I have been told that the combat is meant to be that way because it makes potions, etc. more valuable and forces the player to think more strategically. But here's the thing: in a game like "Demon's Souls" or "Dark Souls" the difficult combat is implemented correctly, so it's fine. In "Witcher 3" and other open-world RPGs such as the "Elder Scrolls" series, it sucks. I turned down the difficulty all the way down in both cases, not because I'm a coward, but because I don't enjoy combat against bullet sponges (or in this case, sword sponges) that turns what ought to be a one-minute fight into an all-day affair. Tough enemies wouldn't be a problem, actually, if there weren't thousands of them. There is entirely too much combat in "Witcher 3" and even on easy mode it still becomes a waste of time. Even then it still wouldn't be that big a problem if the combat were used in the right way. In one scene, the boat Geralt is riding in is attacked by pirates and you have to fight them off, only to end up shipwrecked on shore. If the fight against pirates weren't the same as literally every other fight in the game, it could have been interesting. But they just had to shoehorn a fight in for no reason. The ship could have crashed upon the shore because of a storm. It didn't have to be combat, and the game didn't have to force the player to come up on deck and fight them.
The horseback riding, which makes up another 30% of the gameplay, is finicky. For all the time that you spend riding Roach throughout the game, you'd think that they would have spent a little more time tweaking it. Riding Roach isn't bad at first, of course, but the little inconsistencies and inconveniences add up and after a few dozen hours I wanted to ride Roach as little as possible. I just sprinted when I could and used fast-travel the rest of the time.
The remaining gameplay consists of odds and ends such as Witcher Mode (think of Detective Mode for the Batman "Arkham" games), dialogue, inventory and menu navigation, and a few other things. Wicher Mode also starts out ok but just becomes a chore in the end. Follow the breadcrumb trail, look for a key or treasure chest, find a door, and so on. Almost none of these Witcher Mode sequences make me feel like a detective as the Batman games did; they just make me feel like my finger is going to fall off from holding the trigger button down for so long. Looting is tedious and there are mods that auto-loot so you don't have to deal with the inconvenience. Dialogue is OK and there are some dialogue branches that can affect the outcome of the game. But the fact that you can skip every line of dialogue with a button press says plenty about the verbosity of the game. Just get to the point, already! While you are walking to various destinations there are sometimes NPCs who will come up to you with their problems. For example, there are two drunks who come up to you in an unavoidable encounter and ask you for drinking money. You can either give them coin or use a magic spell to make them go away. They then depart and you get on with the mission. So... what was the point of that, exactly? "Witcher 3" is filled to overflowing with such pointless encounters. They have no bearing on the story or the world in the game, they certainly don't impact me in real life, and they don't impact me as a gamer aside from making me grow increasingly aggravated at what a waste of time this game is! Of the hundreds and hundreds of quests in this game--that is, of the ones I've come across so far--almost none of them had any meaningful impact on me or changed me as a person in any way.
In my opinion the best part about the entire game is Gwent, which is an optional card game you can play against various characters. I really enjoy Gwent, and I wish that I could play it anytime, against anyone. In the last 20 or so hours of gameplay, Gwent was honestly the only thing keeping me going, aside from the faint hope that maybe the game would improve eventually.

Story:
The story is big--very big--and if you could only play one video game in your entire life, I'd say that this one could keep you busy for many years to come, especially if you don't skip any dialogue. The main problem with the story in "Witcher 3" is that it goes for quantity over quality. There are many little routines, skits, vignettes, short stories, big plots, grand overarching stories, and so on that often intertwine and more often diverge from each other. These could make the world fleshed out if they were written properly, but the stories more often than not fizzle out and just add dead weight. In one such story a woman is irate that a wolf is stealing her chickens. Upon investigating, Geralt finds that the 'wolf' in question is a group of war orphans who have made camp nearby. The player has the choice to talk to the woman and convince her to adopt them. Once that's done, Geralt and the woman part ways. Unless there's a part 2 to the quest that I don't know about, Geralt never sees them again. So... how did this quest help the story in any way? It's already established that there are war orphans all over the place. The characters in this quest have zero character development and have zero appreciable impact on the world around them. This is the case for 99% of quests, which--again--usually boil down to "go to this location and kill everything that moves, then loot the treasure chest." I will admit that some of the plotlines stick with you. I'll forever remember the image of the Bloody Baron holding his unborn daughter in his arms and speaking with a shaky voice, on the verge of tears. That touched me. But finding a note on a corpse that says "Go here for buried treasure" doesn't have any emotional impact on me the 100th time. Actually, scratch that. It makes me feel the emotion of anger at what a waste of time this game is!

Visuals:
"W3" is a very visually impressive game. The first two "Witchers" were not very well-optimized and even at low settings made my computer sweat. The third time's the charm, I guess. The expansive vistas in this game are truly beautiful. The wildernesses, the forests and mountain ranges, the creaky old castles jutting above a mountainside, even the towns and cities are all very nice to look at. The mountains in Skellige in particular make me want to go hiking. Especially in the early hours of the game, the world is just a vast, open world that you want to explore. I was willing to put up with coming across monster nest #4,309,212 that needed to be destroyed just so that I could keep exploring. Many of the NPCs look like close relatives, and that is a problem common to most open-world games. If you can just accept that every merchant is a clone, then it's not a problem.

I don't have enough room to keep going, but I think I've made my point. Don't waste your time or your money on this.
Posted February 11, 2018.
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1 person found this review helpful
44.1 hrs on record
Great, but ultimately disappointing. (pros/cons list under paragraph)

"L.A. Noire" is a detective thriller starring Cole Phelps, World War II lieutenant-turned-cop. You work five different desks, solving crimes in L.A. with the help of your various partners. The open-world map feels alive and the gameplay is widely varied. The gameplay on the map is similar to the "Grand Theft Auto" series, but improved in many ways. The main attraction of "L.A. Noire" is the detective part, where you investigate crimes and chase/arrest/interview/charge suspects. This is an interesting concept and "L.A. Noire" is a great game. It could have been a lot better, however. Unfortunately, the development was mismanaged by Team Bondi boss Brendan McNamara, to the point that Rockstar essentially had to take over development for the last two years (keep in mind that two years is the entire development length of most games). After seven years, the game was finally released, and it really could have used some more time. Sadly, Team Bondi went bankrupt despite "L.A. Noire" turning a profit.

The mismanagement is apparent in some places, The gameplay can be a little dull at times, and over the top at others. There are some set pieces (such as the balancing act at the Intolerance set or the bulldozer chase in Elysian Fields) that make for good E3 announcements, but not for believable or enjoyable gaming. You can also be duped while interviewing witnesses or suspects; you may be led into thinking you should choose "doubt" instead of "lie" or vice versa. This doesn't happen often, but if you're the type to shy away from outside help then it can be irritating.

Pros:
-Extremely detailed recreation of Los Angeles. It's practically alive.
-Clue finding and Interrogation are unique and interesting game mechanics. Investigating a crime scene is not always fun, but it is something you won't find in other action games.
-Lots of cars. If you're a sucker for classic cars, there will be plenty here to whet your appetite.
-Love for the film noir genre and old L.A. clearly shows.
-A storyline that adults can enjoy. Very little of it is immature or "2 edgy."
-Face capture brings the characters to life. They are a little dead-eyed, but once you get used to it, the uncanny valley really isn't that pronounced.
-Wide variety of cases, including homicide, arson, traffic, and vice. Miscellaneous optional street crime cases are also available.

Cons:
-Rockstar doesn't know how to port games to PC.
-Some unpolished gameplay and features drag down the enjoyment of the game. It gets worse the more particular you are (i.e. if you are going for five-star ranking on every case, then the game's flaws are worse than if you're just playing for the story and don't care about the achievements.)
-The map doesn't have its own button. You have to access it from the pause screen which takes up a lot of time over the course of a game. For me personally, it's more interesting to study the map and memorize the directions instead of staring at the minimap as I drive. I like to learn the map instead of following the arrow in the corner of the screen, especially since LA is a real place.
-Unskippable opening cutscenes for every case. This makes replaying a case multiple times a real exercise in patience.
-Songs on the radio and a few lines by NPCs get repeated over and over, especially in the police stations. By the end of the game it can drive you crazy, especially if you're going for 100% completion.
-The ending sucks. Instead of doing something interesting like having a ten-part interview that ties into other parts of the game and ties everything together, you just go Rambo through the sewers under L.A.

"L.A. Noire" is very enjoyable but very flawed. It's a shame that Team Bondi is no more. This concept, refined and polished over a couple generations, would result in an absolute masterpiece. As it stands, "L.A. Noire" is a diamond in the rough, a prototype or proof of concept for a timeless classic.

This game is for you if you love old LA or old Hollywood, detective dramas or film noir, classic cars, or the actor who played Marty Taylor on Home Improvement (I'm just kidding--he makes a brief appearance as one of the suspects).
Posted November 24, 2017.
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6 people found this review helpful
54.6 hrs on record
I really wanted to like this game, and for the first few hours I really did. As you can see by the number of hours I spent playing, I stuck it out because I really wanted to recommend this game. In the end, however, it just didn't pan out.

It starts out with a lot of promise, but it gets tedious after a few hours. There are seven types of collectibles strewn about the world (treasure chests, hidden treasure chests, treasure maps, message-in-a-bottle, animus fragments, wild animals to hunt, and sea shanties) and they take forever to collect. Some are more enjoyable to get than others. The sea shanties aren't that bad, but you have to go chasing after them which can be a hassle depending on what sorts of challenges you like. The buried treasure chests are challenging to look for, but if it's not your cup of tea then the search can be irritating. The collectibles on the tiny islands in the middle of the ocean are the worst because you have to dive off the ship and go swimming to the little islands to grab a chest, then go swimming back. It takes forever!

Granted, you aren't required to find most of these collectibles, but if you want to afford upgrades so that you can stand a chance in combat later on then it's a strong recommendation (or if you're a completionist, of course). Boarding ships gets especially tedious after the hundredth time, and there are many unskippable animations and mini-cutscenes that play the same every time you do a certain action. Eventually your patience will wear thin and even sending your fleet on trading missions will become dull and obnoxious. I don't know how bad the tedium would be for a casual player, but I really don't want to spend several hours trying a "lite" playthrough to see if it's possible.

The story is so-so. Fortunately, most of the time is spent in the animus. And most of the time you just play a piratical action-adventure; until it takes a strange turn into pirates-meets-sci-fi. It's honestly not that bad, and the setting returns to normal at the end, but it could have done without. For what it's worth, the story is a mostly fun adventure and the characters (in the past) are pretty interesting, even if they're not all loveable.

Pros:
-Some fun weapons. My favorite is the berserker dart.
-Sailing the high seas can be pretty fun and/or relaxing.
-SEA SHANTIES! YOUR CREW SINGS FOR YOU!
-The soundtrack in general is great.
-All the strengths of the previous AC games are here.
-More customization. Outfits, custom parts for your ship, and renovations for your manor.
-Famous pirates such as Blackbeard and Charles Vane make an appearance. Characterization in general is pretty well-done. Kenway is charming and most of the characters are full-fledged and engaging.
-Wide variety of settings. Sail around the caribbean and dive underwater at certain spots.
-At times, feels like a big-budget "Sid Meier's Pirates."
-Fast travel is a godsend.
-You can pet dogs. Obviously Ubisoft had their priorities straight.

Cons:
-The tedium is hefty, especially if you are a completionist. On the bright side, you can collect most of the collectibles early in the game and get them out of the way. At mission 4 out of 13 I was able to get almost 75% game completion.
-Some stupid scripted set pieces that look good in a trailer for E3 but make for bad gameplay. On more than one occasion I was delayed from completing an objective because it was "too soon" for the game's liking. Also, the canned animations that play the same way every time something happens! If one more stupid frickin' eel jumps out at me from the seaweed, so help me....
-If you don't get all the sea shanties in close succession, then the first ones you find will become tiresome from hearing them so many times. Fortunately, you can turn off shanties and then turn them back on once you've collected them all.
-No one cares about the animus or the "meta-story arc." Just have an opening and ending cutscene in the modern day and then let us swashbuckle in peace in the middle. To be fair, there is far less modern-day stuff in "Black Flag" than in past installments.
-Swordfighting can be frustrating because many of the soldiers are very adept at blocking your attacks.
-The main game is pretty short. I usually consider this a good thing because I like games to be short and sweet when possible, but not in this case. I feel that the developers placed too much importance on collectibles to drag out the game's length instead of focusing on real substance. There is even DLC that allows the player to spend less time playing the game. This is good in a way, but also bad because it proves that the game shouldn't be this long. The amount of collectibles is insane. They could have added more missions or sidequests instead.
Posted December 28, 2016. Last edited December 29, 2016.
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5 people found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
0.6 hrs on record
Trial and Error: The Game
Posted August 3, 2016.
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1 person found this review helpful
29.7 hrs on record
What does it mean to be human? In 2027 this question is a hot topic in a world where cybernetic augmentations are commonplace and politicians are debating whether or not to regulate them. What's worse, several scientists working on a technological breakthrough are kidnapped? Can you find them while also navigating the social turmoil that threatens to erupt into violence? Just as long as you can get past those #($*ing terrible boss battles, yes! The rest of the game is great, though. Just read a guide or two to plan for those boss battles.
Posted February 19, 2013.
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1 person found this review helpful
5.0 hrs on record
If you hate feeling emotions I advise you to stay away from this game. Otherwise, I can't recommend it enough. "To the Moon" is a touching story about a man's dying wish to go to the moon- but he doesn't remember why. You have to go on a journey through his memories in order to find out why, piecing together the story of his life. "To the Moon" has terrific writing and a heart-wrenching score composed by the writer Kan R. Gao. If you choose to play you won't regret it.
Posted February 19, 2013.
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2 people found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
Anyone who has even a passing interest in conspiracy theories, world-altering conundra, or gravelly voices simply must play "Deus Ex." Set in a bleak future where the populace clamors for the treatment to an artificial disease and the FEMA director vies for absolute power, it's up to agent J.C. Denton to restore order. With great writing, an immersive world, and a very tough decision to make at the end, "Deus Ex" and its threequel "Human Revolution" should be on everyone's shortlist of games to play, like, right now.
Posted July 12, 2012.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 entries