Review: Republique

Republique completely fails to follow through on its solid elevator pitch.

Imagine a high‐​tech Orwellian dystopia. A teenage girl known as 390‐​H (or Hope, as she calls herself) is caught with an illegal political manifesto and scheduled for “recalibration”, an unexplained but undoubtedly nefarious process. Using a cellphone, she contacts you – the player, a mysterious entity in an undisclosed location – and begs for help. Your task is then to help her escape by jumping between the ubiquitous surveillance cameras in the strange facility, hacking doors and other equipment, and telling Hope where and when it’s safe to go in order to avoid patrolling guards.

The elevator pitch is great, but sadly, Republique completely fails in delivering a satisfying, cohesive experience.

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Review: Oxenfree

The most natural conversation system I’ve seen in a game combined with excellent voice acting makes this five‐​hour experience a worthwhile one.

I’ve never attempted to hide the fact that I’m a sucker for big open‐​world games with complex mechanics. But games can be so much more than that. In particular, I’m fond of short and focused games that know what they want and how to get it across succinctly, without pointless filler content. Oxenfree is just such a game.

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Review: Life is Strange

Life is Strange touches on important topics and, despite some flaws, is well worth experiencing.

Most games lack complex characters with any depth at all. Most games steer clear away from important topics and issues. Most games do not concern themselves with evoking more complex emotions than “I’m having fun”.

Thankfully, Life is Strange isn’t like most games.

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Review: Just Cause 3 – everything looks better on fire

Rico’s new grappling hook makes all the difference.

I finally got around to playing the now half‐​year old Just Cause 3, and you know what that means: Time to chew gum and blow stuff up, and I’m all out of gum (no really, I am). The series’ third installment follows squarely and safely in the footsteps of its predecessor, but while it is in most respects a better game, you wouldn’t think a whole six years have passed.

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Review: Far Cry 4 – just another take on Far Cry 3

In an alternate world, Far Cry 3 and 4 could easily have switched places.

I recently blasted my way through the second half of Far Cry 4 after having meticulously collected and completed everything in its first half. The transition in my playing style happened when I realized that 1) much of Far Cry 4’s “unique” content is really just slight formulaic variations on the same concepts, which aren’t really that interesting in the first place, and 2) I’ve got better things to do. So here’s a ranty kind of review of Far Cry 4, which may be a bit negatively biased because I’m already grumpy about Ubisoft sandboxes’ lack of respect for my time.

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So Long, and Thanks for All the Draugr

On putting Skyrim away for good.

Skyrim, Land of my Ancestors,

I write this to you now, at the turn of the era, as my bones have grown weary and old. My arms and armor, imbued with powerful magic still as potent as in my glory days, have been laid to rest throughout your lands, to be discovered by the intrepid adventurers of the next age. Only the Thu’um remains to me now.

In this forsaken place at the far end of the world, I have little save my quill and parchment. It is to these tools I now turn in my final hours on the plane of Mundus. There are things I need to tell you.

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Quick‐​save – impacts on playing styles and difficulty

Quick‐​save has skewed my sense of difficulty and, surprisingly, made my playing styles more monotonous.

I was heading down a narrow corridor. My trusted KilLite 2k non‐​lethal taser at the ready, a MegaBlast 3000 Plasma Rifle on my hip, and the Widowmaker sniper on my back. I stopped before rounding the corner and considered my options. I knew a semi‐​open room laid just beyond. On the scaffolding up to the left, a sniper. I would have to take care not to be seen. Two guards with assault rifles patrolling the perimeter. The brute with the minigun lighting a smoke behind a crate, ready to jump into the fray if things got ugly. And at the far end of the hall – my target.

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Review: Twilight Princess HD

Can added pixel density give this Zelda classic new life?

I never reviewed the original Twilight Princess. This puts me in an odd position when reviewing its 10‐​year anniversary HD remake. Should I make this a full‐​fledged review of the game as a whole? Or would that be unfair, what with most of the game being 10 years old and all? And how do my opinions on the game, never fully articulated or brought into the conscious, impact how I feel about my experience with the remake? Instead of rambling on about these questions I’ll go back to basics and try to answer what most people reading reviews are wondering deep down:

Is it worth it?

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Did Twilight Princess HD meet my pre‐​play expectations?

I got something right and something wrong, for better or worse.

Recently, before starting Twilight Princess HD, I laid out some expectations for what I thought I would feel about certain aspects of the experience. I’m now about halfway through the game (just arrived in the Gerudo Desert), and I feel I have seen enough of the game to comment on whether I was right or wrong on the various points.

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Pre‐​play expectations: Twilight Princess HD

Pixels, mirrors, and stamps – here are my expectations for Twilight Princess HD.

Dagnabit, I’m already a day late! Anyhow, I’m thrilled to finally have Twilight Princess HD downloaded on my Wii U, and if I write rapidly, I’m sure I can jot down some quick expectations for the pastime I’ll be cramming in between writing my dissertation and attending job interviews before the game’s beckoning becomes irresistible.

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