I guess I should break this tedious silence with a word about GTA V. I feel the time for me and GTA has gone past me. This series showed some change with IV. It was serious while maintaining some level of humor. But it was bitter, despair-filled humor. GTA V exchanges that fantastic albeit way too long script for a tone much more alike with Vice City or San Andreas, while still at it's worst attempting to get some emotional connection going. The tone is just sort of... obnoxious? It feels like I've been growing up as a person for years but this game still is just for that kid I was back when Vice City came out. And that's fine. I'm not in the demographic. It would be more admirable to continue with the lines IV drew on the sand but hey, I'll take this. And I probably won't take the sequel.
With this game also became jarring the way it's structure is obvious. You get to a car and drive to point A, get the mission, drive to point B, you either shoot some dudes or drive behind someone, and then something awesome might happen. Or not. The time spent driving to great setpieces begins overshadowing the setpieces around the middle, leaving only the new heist-mechanics as the stand-out. And there aren't too many of them. Which is nice in the sense that they all feel special but at the same time they're the only stand-out thing in the structure.
Thankfully those glorious bastards at R* still know how to make one hell of a digital city for their games, saving GTA V from mediocrity. But I'll stick to Saint's Row in the future, thank you. Unless the formula changes. Based on sales, it won't. But hey, the company and the Hausers churn out other games too, and those will probably be awesome.
A fantastic post-apocalyptic adventure game that borders so damn close to destroying videogame cliches that it's kind of bothersome when it doesn't. But let's stick to the positives first, because this story, and to be specific, the last third of it, is beyond great. It's breathtaking. The juxtapositioning of our lead characters with the bandits they spend most of the game killing is smart and handled with the sort of brutality you would want. The ending itself is so dim and dark that it's a great slap in the face of anyone who thinks that these characters are somehow "cool".
But that being said, here's the part where I nitpick about why I don't give this game half a star more. It comes very close to being that game that finally breaks down the way videogames work. In your average shooter, you kill like three hundred people. In the Last of Us, that number remains the same, but because of the somber pacing of the action, you could easily cut down that number by three quarters and the game would really only be like five hours shorter, still making it longer than most of it's colleagues. But it doesn't. And because of this, as the game goes on, the more you feel like your very average superhero lead character, blasting away dozens of trained soldiers with a shotgun or a fucking bow and arrow while they struggle to graps how to hold their gun upright. Just ramping the difficulty up and cutting the enemies down in numbers by a great deal would've improved this game so much. But alas, we have this. It's still great, and you should play it. It's a great, harrowing experience.
Finished the story-stuff at least. And Fantasy Warfare. Wrestling games in general are shit. All of them. The mechanics in every one never result in any good, fun gameplay. The amusement in them comes from blood or seeing how busted things can get. With WWE All Stars, for the first time I've ever seen, the gameplay is fun. It's a hoot. It's almost like a fighting game but it's not. It's a shame that they didn't get to develop this game further with a sequel, because it really would've kicked so much ass.
A silly iOS-game. That I spent like 8 hours to finish. In a matter of days. Yeah, this was kind of addicting. The combination of Bejeweled, endless runner and RPG mechanics is really fun, though I wish the game involved a bit less grinding.
This game is so awesome. It's a free flash game so you can play it right now and you should. Take around 30 minutes off from what you're doing and finish Frog Fractions. It'll be worth it. That being said, I can't spoil an ounce of it. The insanity is everything fun about it.
I didn't finish this, but I've played as much of it as anyone who has and can't finish some of the last stages just because they're too hard. It's a hoot though. The entire game is a giant rollercoaster of skill tests and big ass ramps, which is all it needs.
Game of the year right here. It's dubious that the real ending is sold as DLC, but it's an End of Evangelion-situation really, they needed the money from the game to really finish it up. Putting out something this weird is too big a risk to go over budget with. But it's awesome. Everything about it. Just keep in mind that it doesn't have much of a game in it. It's just a fantastic interactive experience.
Hotline Miami is essentially a murder simulator with the aesthetics of the movie Drive and the gameplay of ancient DOS-games honed to perfection. Too bad that I find it difficult to appreciate some of the design choices, the lack of technical polish and the story ends up being extremely half-baked. I loved the first part, but the epilogue where the mystery is explained is just awful. That being said though, if you can overlook the story bits, this might just be GOTY-material. I can't.
Sleeping Dogs captures with efficiency and enthusiasm the best aspects of Hong Kong-action flicks from the 80s from wild chases to brutal fist fights to lots of Chinese people screaming loudly, and it's a lot of fun. The story goes interesting places, but after something like GTA VI it kind of feels flat despite the hyper-cinematic output. The real star of the game though is the world. Hong Kong feels just like the HK of all the best 80s actioners, with sprawling vertical city streets, neon signs and busy marketplaces.
The completionist kind of gamer in me got going with this one. I just fell in love with the rudimentary gameplay and most of all the way every little upgrade you purchase immediately has tangible effect in-game. The gameplay itself is fairly average, but I actually really appreciate the tactical aspect of not being able to move while shooting, as it separates this from most other third person shooters of the time. The graphics are also absolutely beautiful. Too bad that the game is almost ruined for the single-player by the rather botched co-op-angle. I think the only times I've died here thus far is when the AI has screwed up one way or another. The parts where you two get split up are just awful. It's a small speck on this games rep though, and I'll live.
's alright. I don't really love this series and consider it pretty much a competent sci-fi shooter with fun mechanics and a Doom-storyline that's fun to follow. The second one improves on the few mechanical flaws of the first, primarily the slow tempo of combat, but this one isn't half bad either. The upgrade and shop system is as fun as ever and there's nothing too strongly wrong - it's just that there's nothing extraordinary either. Also, for a supposedly horror-themed game, this never really freaked me out in any way at all.
It's a good thing that I have long since abandoned the thought that video games would somehow be just games for me. I've started considering them just another form of art ready for consumption, and hence don't place any particular pressure on them to contain certain elements such as interaction with the game environment. This is key to enjoying Dear Esther, in which you simply explore a secluded island while listening to the ramblings of an insane former resident of it. Figures watch you from afar as you delve deeper into the caverns and abandoned constructions of the land, and the monologue of the insane drives you forward on your path. The story is extremely good, sweeping you into it, making this probably the first game in ages I've completed in one sitting (though the two hour runtime helps with that). It tells a very sad tale, and the last quarter of the game basically feels like a Bela Tarr-film, but with a bizarrely uplifting ending.
It's better than the movie, if that's worth anything. Not really. I got interested in GRIN since Bionic Commando was such a hidden gem, but Wanted is not. The storyline is just completely anemic and uninteresting. Thankfully the gameplay sort of makes up for this, as there are interesting things there. Curving bullets and using slow-motion while also changing cover every single second, it's a bit more fun than the standard fare of TPS-games. Unfortunately the enemies are really boring and you have a single damn gun for most of this game. The last two missions you get the choice between a pistol and an SMG, but that's it. The gimmicky bullet curves and slow motion are the only things that keep the game running, but they do so efficiently enough. There are also really, really cool setpiece-moments that are handled like QTEs but with in-game mechanics, but there are too few to rock this boat to either way properly. Worth the 1€ I paid.
Maaan. Everyone hated this game, which kind of proves that maybe game developers can't try new and unique things any more on this large a scale. Everything Bionic Commando sets out to do, it does well. The world being a linear pipeline is nothing if not a design choice, and a good one at that no less. The gameplay is awesome when you get the hang of the one-of-a-kind swinging mechanics, and although the story is completely ridiculous, I enjoyed the ham-factors. The only true downside here is Mike Patton's AWFUL voice-over work and the navigation-based gameplay.
A fun romp through action setpieces with proper pacing and a surprisingly attemptful story, there's little wrong with Gears of War 2 except for the completely asinine basic gameplay. Everything else is much more fun than the dull predecessor, and the setpieces are just marvelous. I could spoil them all just because I want to blab on about them, but I won't do that. This is probably the most fun I've had playing an authentic cover shooter.
Modern gaming has ruined my chances of fully enjoying Fable II. The binary and dull moral choices are coupled with a simplistic and boring combat system which relies on your ability to level up one of the area effect spells, after which you can complete every battle by holding down B. There's tons of stuff to do, but I never felt compelled at all to do any of it. The storyline just didn't cut it for me. The dream sequence in the end was tedious. Yet I kind of enjoyed this game. I just got tired of it real fast and can't help but think that the third part would do everything this does but way better.
I should've played it on the easiest difficulty. Restarting certain segments over and over again really demolishes some of the things this game tries to do. It still rocks. I can't say I enjoyed playing it. I had to stop playing at one point because I didn't want to go on after that one scene (you know which if you've played it), but I ended up finishing it anyhow. This is probably the most important shooter to come out of this generation, so that's cool. Hopefully it'll succeed financially and spark off followers. The end twist sucks though.
Rockstar makes a Max Payne-game, and it's a really well written noir set in Brazil. That is not necessarily something you'd expect when you hear Max Payne 3, but this is thematically mostly very true to form despite being set in the sunny favelas and high-class clubs of Sao Paulo. The animation system that fuels the whole is perhaps one of the most beautiful things to come out of this generation of games graphically, and the writing holds up really well - atleast until the very last minute. The voice actor for Max pulls off a damn near superhuman performance, something I'll be damned to find a rival to in the last ten years of gaming. Maybe David Hayter could. The biggest problem in the game rises from the trivialisation of some of the older mechanics and the modernising process - Essentially Max Payne is now a cover shooter. It's still great fun and early on you get to do a lot of shootdodging, but then the game starts pitting you against impossible odds with your balding fat main character that you can only survive through cover shooting. And I really hate cover shooters.
A good follow-up. With all the DLC installed the balance between the fetch quest-esque crew loyalty missions and the original action-based quests is far better, negating the slightly monotone feeling of the main game. The ending is fucking awful with the giant human larva reaper terminator-thing though, and I really hope whoever wrote that has been duely fired.
It's always hard to think of what you're going to say with things like Heavy Rain or Fahrenheit. Well, I can just really compare the two with each other as games because there aren't too many others like these. Maybe Facade could be considered an interactive movie experience-game as well though. Anyhow, this is better than Fahrenheit. It isn't as revolutionary, but atleast the story does not turn into a Matrix-ripoff after the first act ends. Instead we get a Saw/Zodiac/X-Files-style murder mystery with convincing actors and set pieces that are as realistic as they are fun. I love how you can use retarded cliches (the doctor, the fight on the conveyor belt of doom) and they don't feel like cliches at all in a game. Despite some sticky animation and a few bugs, I really liked Heavy Rain as it forced me to become a part of the experience rather than play the experience. I had to think if I was capable of murdering someone for something good, and I was not. And the game never outright judges you on any of these actions, it just flows forward. Like life, I guess.
A little note, despite having the Move Edition, I played with the regular controller. I have a Wii, I am not buying anything Move-ish.
This series is a bit bizarre, as it falls downwards in quality and at the same time some things just get better and better. Here the story is utterly and completely idiotic and stupid, whereas the gameplay is some of the most fun the hack and slash-style has ever offered. The first GoW was a very good story, and was nice to play. The story was a great, almost satirical look at the format of greek tragedy while still being able to make us invest in Kratos, the main character. The second game felt like a letdown with it's very basic action game revenge-story, and by the third part it has been reduced to meaningless quiver about nothing. GoW 3 attempts to make us care of Kratos, now a raving rage-filled lunatic who kills everyone without reason, by adding a little girl who is supposedly a reminder of his own daughter. It doesn't work. When you kill fifty billion things in one game and then you're supposed to care for a man who gets sadistic kicks out of tearing people apart, it just does not work. The ending is horrible as well, and anticlimactic as hell. Nothing is learned! Still, if you skip all the cutscenes, it's a pretty and aggressive game to play, and it's fun to play. I just wish they hadn't screwed themselves over with the story.
Hideo Kojima's lovely little egotrip-series ends with a rather whimperish sound. Don't get me wrong, I'm quite the MGS-fanboy and I loved every minute of this game. Until the ending started feeling like LOTR3. It never ended. It should've ended after the initial voice cast-credits had rolled, but Kojima added a twist after them that lasted about 30 minutes and invalidated all of the emotional bonds I formed to the story through the course of the series. It is absurd how one man can ruin his own creation by first ending it properly, then continuing it after-credits with information overloads that simply devalidate everything that came before. Otherwise MGS4 is fantastic as fanservice and pretty good as a game. It's fun to play when you actually get to play it, and the story is rather unusual for a videogame. It has pacing unlike what I've come to expect of the medium, with cutscenes that have these long, empty voids after most of the meaningful dialogue bits. This way the game itself asks the player to think and digest on what they were just told, a narrative tactic that at the same time occasionally draws the game out too long, but also makes it simply unique and in my opinion far more important than most of it's peers.
Games I already own and need to get around to playing
Ripping off other fine folk such as Tapio and Tumppimies, but doing it in English. Just for the lulz.