Reviews

Crysis 3 – Of Benchmarks and Borrowing

2013-03-08 by agent86. 3 comments

I recently built a new PC to replace the aging laptop I was using for my day-to-day PC gaming needs. Included with my new video card was a coupon for a free copy of Crysis 3 and a free copy of Bioshock: Infinite. While I’m interested in the new Bioshock game, I can’t say I really had much interest in Crysis as a series before now. Getting it free was awfully motivating, though, so I thought I’d check it out.

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown – First Impressions of Earth

2012-10-20 by agent86. 3 comments

Although I joined Steam in 2004, I managed to avoid spending very much money on it in the early years. That all changed in 2009, when the allure of sales finally won me over, and some $2,000 worth of games later, here we are. One of my very earliest purchases on Steam was the X-COM Complete Pack. X-COM was a franchise that had always interested me – I’m a sucker for tactical RPGs and strategic base building games. However, the difficulty, coupled with the somewhat impenetrable interface turned me off, and I still haven’t played a complete game in of any of them. The purchase ended up being the first in a very long line of games that I ended up buying but never quite could get into.

When I first heard that Firaxis was being handed the XCOM license and were making a turn-based strategy game with it, I was elated. I’m a big fan of Firaxis, and I’ve logged nearly 200 hours on Civilization 5 as of this article. I will play pretty much anything if the title starts with “Sid Meier’s.” I pre-ordered this game, and I’ve spent nearly every free moment I’ve had since the release playing the game. After a good chunk of hours invested, I think I’m ready to at least give my impressions of it. I think I’ll probably be sinking a considerable amount of hours into this game, including its higher difficulty levels and other challenging modes in the coming months, so this is by no means a final word.

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FTL: Faster Than Light

2012-09-24 by agent86. 0 comments

FTL: Faster Than Light is a new indie release that you can pick up over at the developer’s website, Steam or GoG for around $10, and it is worth every penny. I backed it’s Kickstarter, and thanks to Arqade’s own James I had a chance to play the beta extensively before release.

FTL’s a highly polished indie gem of a game. It manages to mix many different elements from many different RPG and strategy genres into a cohesive game that pushes you with its difficulty while still remaining fun.

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What Is Happening In Diablo 3?

2012-08-09 by thegatekeeper. 2 comments

Hey guys, this is my first post on this blog, hope you enjoy it. In this article I will be talking about the upcoming changes planned for Diablo 3 and what I think about them.

Diablo 3 Portrait

Diablo 3

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The Broken Economics of Diablo 3′s Auction House

2012-05-18 by bwarner. 19 comments

One of the most heavily discussed features of Blizzard’s eagerly awaited Diablo 3 was its introduction of an auction house to facilitate trading between characters.  The random nature of Diablo’s item generation system quite often left players with an item that would be useful to someone else, but not to them directly.  The auction house promised to replace the confusion and inefficiency of players trying to arrange direct player to player trades through chat channels dominated by ads and spam.

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The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition

2012-04-24 by agent86. 0 comments

There are a lot of games that try to create a truly “badass” protagonist. Most of the time what they end up with is an immature, meatheaded, adolescent power fantasy. Geralt, the “hero” of The Witcher series, is an unqualified badass, and he is what makes this game worth playing.

Geralt’s backstory sounds like a laundry list of the genre tropes – he’s a giant-sword-wielding mutant amnesiac, caught between a corrupt regime and questionably motivated rebellion. With that description, a bit more hair gel and a few more belts, you might think he’s Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy 7. The similarities stop there, though. Geralt is a battle-toughened, matured, and ultimately scarred warrior. This game is rated M for Mature – and it lives up to this title. There’s violence, sure, but there’s also a mature tone to the game which few games attempt, and even fewer get right.

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Cause and (Mass) Effect

2012-03-14 by agent86. 3 comments

What qualifies as “story” in video games runs a wide gamut.  In many games, the entire story can be summarized with something along the lines of “Bad Guy is doing Bad Things – go thwack him repeatedly until he stops.” Some games like Limbo eschew traditional story altogether, and try to flesh out their narratives through atmosphere and visual/auditory cues. Others, like Skyrim, infuse their world with so much backstory and text that whole libraries couldn’t contain the number of unique books and stories told in their worlds.

Ninjas, eh? Good thing I wore my Ninja punching gloves today.

Mass Effect 3 is blazing new trails in terms of story. It takes significant risks, and flies in the face of the way some people play games. However, it largely succeeds in telling a story whose scope and impact are far beyond almost anything we’ve seen in gaming to date.

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Counterpoint: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

2012-03-04 by ravendreamer. 1 comments

Before playing the demo, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning wasn’t really even a blip on my radar. It’s a weird post-holiday-season RPG from EA that is dropping two months after the most anticipated RPG game of last year – Skyrim. I really enjoyed Skyrim, but I was intrigued by the prospect of a new fantasy RPG series that dared to emerge so close in the wake of Skyrim. I wasn’t really expecting something totally new and fresh, so I was pleasantly surprised with what I ended up getting.

Kingdoms of Amalur is, in my eyes, an RPG-lite. It’s the well-rounded love child of Skyrim and Darksiders. It’s Exactly-What-It-Says-On-The-Tin, no more, and no less. Amalur, is an RPG targeted for consoles. That means less exploration, and more combat than Skyrim, and beyond that, a faster pace and more loot than the traditional RPG.

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Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

2012-02-17 by agent86. 2 comments

Before playing the demo, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning wasn’t really even a blip on my radar. It’s a weird post-holiday-season release from EA that is dropping a month before the real anticipated EA release of the first half of the year – Mass Effect 3. I’m really looking forward to ME3, but I was intrigued by the prospect of a new fantasy RPG series from a major publisher. I was really looking forward to something new and fresh, but I wasn’t really expecting what I ended up getting.

Have you ever bitten into a raw potato? If you ever have, perhaps you can understand what I mean when I say this game is dense, and at the same time painfully bland.

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A Space Pirates and Zombies: Lots of fun in a small package

2012-01-26 by yx_. 2 comments

 

Space Pirates and Zombies is a little jewel of a game developed by a two person workshop called MinMax games.  It is an interesting mix of 2D space action à la Escape Velocity mixed with some rudimentary RPG aspects and varying ship customization.  At first glance, the game may seem very simple. You go from planet to planet, pick a side to fight for, buy whatever’s available, then move on.  However, as the game goes on, you’ll find yourself beginning to grasp the subtle differences between each ship and its weapon load outs as you start doing more and more experimentation.  Although a typical SPAZ game won’t be extremely long (20-25 hours tops), it is extremely hard to get enough research points to max out every category.  This leaves a lot of room for replayability.

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