Review the game you finished recently.

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,465
I have some catching up to do.

Control: Ultimate Edition (2020)

control-hero-banner-01-ps4-us-11sep19.jpg


Somehow Max Payne and Alan Wake mated in the basement of Remedy's office and this is their love child. This is a game that deals in the paranormal like Alan Wake, but plays as Max Payne. Well at least mostly. TLDR version: Mary Sue walks into the FBC. What's the long version? I'm glad you asked.

The game starts in medias res, as Jesse (the protagonist) is walking into the Federal Bureau of Control, which is the organization resopnsible for dealing with paranormal activities. Yes in this universe there is a secret government agency for dealing with paranormal objects and events. I say objects, because the lore suggests that each paranormal event is linked to some "object of power" that are ordinary items, that somehow gain paranormal powers, like they become possessed or something.

The origin of these objects is never explained, similar to most concepts in the game. You are just presented with tons of things that you must accept at face value without explanation. You say it's not important to explain things? I say it is, because in order to understand this universe it has to have some rules. And by not establishing any the writers basically give themselves an anything goes card. They can literally change the rules at any time to suit the narrative. I don't like that very much.

It's hard to talk about the story without spoilers but the basics of it are these: You happen to be the person who needs to restore order in the bureau, after some evil force from another plane of existence has infested it, and possessed most of its people. This "hiss" as they are calling it can turn people into mindless drones that fight you.

The encounters are simple shoot em up style with some telekinetic abilities added later. That part of the game is pretty good. Strangely there is no difficulty setting. Therefore if someone wants a big challenge this is not a game for them, because with a few exceptions most encounters are pretty easy. There was only one in the main game that gave me some difficulty, where I had to try again numerous times, as I kept falling off the platform until I realized the enemy actually pokes holes in it during the fight, but you constantly have to look up at the enemy so I never noticed this so I kept falling off for seemingly no reason.

Speaking of platforms, there are a few segments where you have to jump around between various platforms, but this is not very pronounced in the main game. The foundation DLC however is entirely another thing.

But back to the gameplay. You can have various telekinetic abilities, you unlock these by "cleansing" various corrupted objects of power. How do you cleanse them? Don't ask. Just another thing the game never bothers to explain. Your character even says that you just can.

There are also a few puzzles in the game but these are also on the easy side. On a level from 1 to 10 where 10 is Portal, this is about a 4 max.

Now let's get into the issues of the game.​

The whole story plays out inside the offices of the FDC so the scenery is not very varied. It becomes dull quickly. There are a few unique areas that you reach through dimensional doorways, but mostly you are in an office, and some maintenance facilities. Sure it's huge for an office, but don't expect any outside areas, not even streets.

My biggest issue however is that all of it is designed like a damn maze. It's completely nonsensical, and would never exist in reality, even in an alternate reality. This building would be condemned after the first fire inspection, as if there is a fire here everybody dies.

And with the maze like level design you get an useless map. It is 2D and doesn't show height differences. So you can't rely on it for getting to where you want to go.
I must have ran around aimlessly looking to get somewhere for hours in this game. Sure there is a fast travel system between save points, but often the point you think is closest to where you want to go ends up sending you a merry go around the corridors touching multiple other save points before you accidentally stumble upon the place you wanted to go to.

And it's not like save points are littered through the game, they are rare, very rare. Which means when you do accidentally die in the game, you are in for a lot of backtracking as there is no checkpoint system, if you die you re-spawn at the last save point you visited. Which in worst case scenarios can be on another level entirely and you have to walk for 5 minutes just to get back to where you were before.

And of course in the meantime you can encounter randomly spawning enemies. Because there are various areas in the game where enemies will spawn whenever you walk there. These random encounters are completely pointless. After a few I decided to simply run past them, because there is no point in wasting time on them. You can't run past normal encounters as you progress because you need to clear areas to be able to progress and explore. But in areas you already visited it's best to just avoid the fighting.

There is a skill upgrade system but it's self defeating as it seems enemies scale with you. I maxed out my health and the same type of enemy would still take the exact same % of my health with one hit.

Also there is a looter shooter element in the game. Enemies drop health and various mods that you can attach to your weapons (technically one weapon but it's as if you had multiple this is also something not explained) And on top of it you get points for kills, that you can spend on building random mods (basically a lootbox system it's just not called by its name - they thought we wouldn't notice? ) or upgrading / unlocking weapons.

And to top it off, there is kind of a battle royale element to it too. As during encounters all exits are closed by hiss forcefields. At least they are not shrinking.

The ending just as in Alan Wake is pretty underwhelming. There is no last big hooray, no bossfight, just a series of repetitive encounters with normal enemies. There are however a few bossfights during the game, but they are nothing special, no tactics are involved just wear down their health with regular attacks that's it.

The game also sets up characters so you expect something big from them only for it to completely forget about them later.

All in all I think the game is a big mess, that fails to evoke even intrigue let alone emotional investment from me. I never got any kind of attachment to the cause or the struggle of the main character. The narration sometimes becomes so spoon fed like they are explaining 1+1 to a five year old.

And lastly I must mention the game breking bug I encountered. Sometimes the game will just stop saving progress, and there is nothing you can do about it. You have to quit and restart from where it last saved, even if it was hours before. I lost an entire day of progress. I mean the entire progress I made in a calendar day not 24 hours, the entire game is not 24 hours. It can be finished in 12 hours approximately if you are not a completionist. If you rush you might be able to get it done in less than 10. And this is not unique to me lots of people complain about the same bug on steam.

The pros and the cons:​

+​

  • Shooting is just like in Max Payne 2
  • Combat is enjoyable the telekinetic abilities and the gun work well together
  • Graphics is nice, not great, but good enough
  • It can be addictive

-​

  • It's a mess, can't find it's voice or decide on it
  • It failed to evoke any investment from me for the character or the struggle
  • The enemy is completely faceless
  • Pointless random encounters
  • Save points are too far apart
  • After dying you respawn at the last used save point, not even the closest one
  • Maze like level design
  • Useless map
  • No navigational guidance, so you run around aimlessly before you find where you need to go, this must make up at least 1/3 of the game time.
  • It has neither rhyme nor reason
  • A game breaking bug, plus a non-game breaking but pretty annoying bug
  • Lootbox mechanic for the crafting of mods
  • Overbearing looter shooter elements
  • Pointless skill upgrade system

Scoring:​

Graphics/Realization: 8/10
Story/Atmoshpere: 3/10
Gameplay/Controls: 9/10
Overall impression: 6/10

I'd recommend waiting for a sale. Pick it up under $30 that's what I'd say it's worth. It's not all bad, and the combat is fun, only the story and narrative feels discoherent and doesn't offer any catarsis or reward for your time.
 

biggles

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
2,012
Dirt Rally grade C.

This can be described as the Dark Souls of racing games and is the most difficult racing game I have ever tried. Extreme punishment. Tracks are narrow, and one bad move and off a cliff you go. Major time penalty. Unlike other Dirt games, no rewind feature and no racing line. Some folks in the steam forum said use a steering wheel and cockpit view. No good, unless you have memorized the track, because then you can't see far enough ahead. You must learn the language of rally as the co-pilot instructions are critical to decent race times. Co-pilot talks fast, it is pretty hard to keep track of all his language. In one night rally, my headlights got smashed, so you can't see the course. How the hell are you supposed to finish the race under those conditions? Like Dark Souls, I cannot understand why people like these types of games, they are for masochists. And I cannot understand why developers don't simply add skill levels to these games. That way, beginners and intermediate gamers can progress and maybe someday play at an advanced level.

Another bad point, the game does not rate cars and tracks based on their difficulty level. From the steam forums, I learned some of the cars are nearly impossible to control. They should have just put beginner, intermediate, advanced on the car select screens to help beginners pick the right vehicles.

So, yeah I hate this game. In my opinion it is overrated. And yet it is not all bad. The driving model is quite detailed, lots of cars, nice variety of locations. It seems to follow the rules and strategy of real life rally racing, so fans of the real life sport would appreciate that.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,465
Dirt Rally grade C.

This can be described as the Dark Souls of racing games and is the most difficult racing game I have ever tried. Extreme punishment. Tracks are narrow, and one bad move and off a cliff you go. Major time penalty. Unlike other Dirt games, no rewind feature and no racing line. Some folks in the steam forum said use a steering wheel and cockpit view. No good, unless you have memorized the track, because then you can't see far enough ahead. You must learn the language of rally as the co-pilot instructions are critical to decent race times. Co-pilot talks fast, it is pretty hard to keep track of all his language. In one night rally, my headlights got smashed, so you can't see the course. How the hell are you supposed to finish the race under those conditions? Like Dark Souls, I cannot understand why people like these types of games, they are for masochists. And I cannot understand why developers don't simply add skill levels to these games. That way, beginners and intermediate gamers can progress and maybe someday play at an advanced level.

Another bad point, the game does not rate cars and tracks based on their difficulty level. From the steam forums, I learned some of the cars are nearly impossible to control. They should have just put beginner, intermediate, advanced on the car select screens to help beginners pick the right vehicles.

So, yeah I hate this game. In my opinion it is overrated. And yet it is not all bad. The driving model is quite detailed, lots of cars, nice variety of locations. It seems to follow the rules and strategy of real life rally racing, so fans of the real life sport would appreciate that.
Guess nobody told you that Dirt Rally is a simulation, not a sequel to previous Dirt games by CM. Most of what you cite as "bad points" are actually positives.
 

silentsod

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 28, 2010
Messages
189
Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock

A WEGO turn based tactical game with a simple and straightforward strategy layer. The game has reasonable depth through its campaign and the DLCs that add in ship types make the non-mission battles much more varied. If it is on sale, I heartily recommend the base game + Broken Alliance + Reinforcements Pack DLC for a first playthrough. They keep adding campaigns and ships, and the campaign was short enough, that I may pick some of them up and play through the additions. I think the base campaign clocked ~15 or so hours for me to complete on whatever the Normal difficulty is called. If you crank the difficulty additional mechanics are thrown in with lasting damage on ships which require resources to repair which means there's potential for even more playthroughs.

If you're into BSG and looking for a competent tactics game then check it out!
 

Aireoth

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 12, 2005
Messages
4,475
Guess nobody told you that Dirt Rally is a simulation, not a sequel to previous Dirt games by CM. Most of what you cite as "bad points" are actually positives.

Says the guy who didn't get Control's Twilight Zone style story and atmosphere.

I wasn't going to comment until you decided to crap on someone else's review.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,465
Says the guy who didn't care for Control's Twilight Zone style story and atmosphere.

FTFY

PS: Are you the guy who thinks New Order is the best shooter ever, who I Dared to disagree with? That's why you're this salty? Sorry, I don't keep tabs on who is who, I always judge the message, not the messenger.
 
Last edited:

biggles

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
2,012
Well I saw people who wrote negative reviews for Dark Souls getting criticized for having the "wrong opinion". So I kinda expected someone would object to the Dirt Rally review. It is not enough to get frustrated by those games. Part of the process is a little extra punishment for giving a negative review. So let's add more: Dirt Rally often opens up in a small window when starting. So you have to go into video settings, change to window and then full screen to fix. Annoying. Another thing, is it absolutely necessary to make a sim racing game insanely difficult? How about sim racing with some easier tracks to choose from? This would not ruin Dirt Rally, but it would make the learning curve smoother.
 

biggles

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
2,012
Black Mesa grade A.
Wow, as a fan of Half-Life, this game is a dream come true! It looks great even though the source engine is not cutting edge in 2020. Half-Life was the game that motivated my first purchased computer for games (a Pentium III 450 mhz). A fantastic blend of combat, exploration, puzzle solving, and storytelling. Weapon and enemy variety is impressive. The game is really long as there is so much stuff to do. Very little to complain about: first person platforming is not great, and Xen is still not great. Xen is better than before though, they redesigned the level from scratch. And some people may even like Xen, so could be personal preference there. One of the greatest videogames of all time, you really are missing out if you do not play it. I would recommend capping framerate at 60, some of the later levels are not that well optimized. Which results in wildly fluctuating framerates on high refresh rate monitors.

It is only $20 on Steam, totally worth it even at full price.

It is such a great title, this has me hoping someone will remake the expansion Opposing Force, another wonderful fps.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,465
Well I saw people who wrote negative reviews for Dark Souls getting criticized for having the "wrong opinion". So I kinda expected someone would object to the Dirt Rally review. It is not enough to get frustrated by those games. Part of the process is a little extra punishment for giving a negative review. So let's add more: Dirt Rally often opens up in a small window when starting. So you have to go into video settings, change to window and then full screen to fix. Annoying. Another thing, is it absolutely necessary to make a sim racing game insanely difficult? How about sim racing with some easier tracks to choose from? This would not ruin Dirt Rally, but it would make the learning curve smoother.
Sorry, I never played Dark Souls, I avoided it, because I suspect it is not something I'd like. Probably what you should've done with Dirt Rally if you are not into racing simulators.
As Sims, have no learning curve, they never did, arcade racers have those. You were judging a hammer for not being a very good screwdriver that's why I called you out.
If you want to get into sim racing you need to do a lot of practicing before you start winning in races. If you want to win and not learn to drive by pace notes and precisely on narrow tracks (which real world rallying is all about) then Dirt Rally is not a game for you.
And, no Dirt Rally is not insanely difficult IMO it's not easy either, and can be intimidating if you come from an arcade game where every stage is 4 buses wide.
BTW Many games start with wrong windows sizes, and that is a legitimate criticism, I wouldn't have faulted you if that's what you have complained about in the OP. Have you tried pressing ALT-ENTER?
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,465
Do you even understand the irony?
I'm pretty sure not appreciating a game mimicking the style of a sixties tv show, vs. judging a racing sim for not being a very good arcade racing game is not exactly irony.

Besides I didn't hate Control. I just found it lacking on a few points.

If you disagree with the points I've made about the game, why don't you address those instead of attacking me ad hominem?
 

biggles

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
2,012
Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport do not have the steep learning curve that Dirt Rally does. Those games had a gradual learning curve that was more manageable for normies. I thought those were sims. But perhaps others would say those are not really racing sims. After all, there is not really an objective definition for racing sim. Every racing game out there is a blend of sim and arcade if you really think about it. Perhaps others would say Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport are less sim than Dirt Rally, just guessing there.

And saying that Dirt Rally is not insanely difficult is an opinion. You are entitled to your opinion just as others like me are entitled to ours. Having read some reviews on Dirt Rally it is worth noting that I am not the only one commenting on the high difficulty level, though.
 

Flogger23m

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Messages
11,072
Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport do not have the steep learning curve that Dirt Rally does. Those games had a gradual learning curve that was more manageable for normies. I thought those were sims. But perhaps others would say those are not really racing sims. After all, there is not really an objective definition for racing sim. Every racing game out there is a blend of sim and arcade if you really think about it. Perhaps others would say Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport are less sim than Dirt Rally, just guessing there.

And saying that Dirt Rally is not insanely difficult is an opinion. You are entitled to your opinion just as others like me are entitled to ours. Having read some reviews on Dirt Rally it is worth noting that I am not the only one commenting on the high difficulty level, though.

I never played any of those games except for some GT3 on my PS2. But yes there are grades of simulators, and most "sims" aren't simulators. Seems like some of the best selling sims are moderate sims like GT and Forza, and some of the PC oriented ones are the most realistic. Same thing with flight simulators. Ace Combat is typically called a flight simulator, but it isn't a simulator in the slightest.

I wouldn't say Ace Combat is bad because its unrealistic, and I wouldn't say DCS is bad because it is too realistic.

I'll say that with Control, the design was supposed to be a bit maze like. Was actually a bit disappointed it didn't change. I assumed the map would change from time to time forcing you to find new routes. I also didn't mind the faceless enemies, because even in real life a lot of your biggest problems don't have a personal face to them. But I do agree that it was a bit too vague in conclusion. Tough thing to balance.
 

Aireoth

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 12, 2005
Messages
4,475
I'll say that with Control, the design was supposed to be a bit maze like. Was actually a bit disappointed it didn't change. I assumed the map would change from time to time forcing you to find new routes. I also didn't mind the faceless enemies, because even in real life a lot of your biggest problems don't have a personal face to them. But I do agree that it was a bit too vague in conclusion. Tough thing to balance.

Agree with the maze, was a missed opportunity by not having rooms and wall shift outside set events.

For the ending I was very happy, but I am firmly on the side of don't open the mystery box. I loath the JJ Abrams thinking that audiences want the mystery box opened, no reveal lives up to the hype. Well maybe the usual suspects.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,465
Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport do not have the steep learning curve that Dirt Rally does. Those games had a gradual learning curve that was more manageable for normies. I thought those were sims. But perhaps others would say those are not really racing sims. After all, there is not really an objective definition for racing sim. Every racing game out there is a blend of sim and arcade if you really think about it. Perhaps others would say Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport are less sim than Dirt Rally, just guessing there.

And saying that Dirt Rally is not insanely difficult is an opinion. You are entitled to your opinion just as others like me are entitled to ours. Having read some reviews on Dirt Rally it is worth noting that I am not the only one commenting on the high difficulty level, though.
Despite the tagline "The real driving simulator" neither Gran Turismo nor Forza Motorsport are actually sims. Gran Turismo is about halfway between the two, while FM leans closer towards arcade. You're right, they are games for normies, just as Dirt 1,2,3 etc were.

And don't get me wrong, I love Gran Turismo, but it's not a sim, it's ridiculously easy compared to any sim.
Dirt Rally might be hard compared to arcade titles, but among sims it doesn't even makes sense to talk about difficulty. They are measured in realism.
I'd guess the reviews complaining about its difficulty were also coming from earlier dirt games, under the false assumption that Dirt Rally is aimed at the same audience.

A great example of arcade and sim racing clashing was in Mafia, the 2002 game. Where normies complained about the "extreme" difficulty of the racing mission. But those familiar with simracing found it to be the opposite: very easy.
 

silentsod

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 28, 2010
Messages
189
Serious Sam 4

Unlike the third entry in the series SS4 wastes no time in ramping up the action. Levels will see you killing well over a thousand enemies toward the end while heavy metal rumbles in the background and the beats of your weapons roar while your enemies turn to mist before you. They changed up the formula just enough with gadgets and new enemies to make managing battles more involved than they have been in the past. I also can't recall any of the first three games pressing me quite as hard in combat or redoing a section more than once or twice.

Definitely would recommend, has me in the mood for another frenetic shooter. I might finally pick up Doom: Eternal when it goes on sale (skipped because the Collector's Edition was a Bethesda Launcher key after buying the CE for the reboot).
 

scojer

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
5,312
Rise of the Tomb Raider

I played the first one a few months ago when it was a PS+ game, and rather enjoyed it, it was a fun reboot for the series, and it was clearly inspired by Uncharted, which I found nothing wrong with, because it seemed to be just the gameplay that was inspired by Uncharted, and the story was unique enough to show the inspiration from the Uncharted series, but stand on it's own.

Now, this one, was also a PS+ game, I played it, and found it too similar to Uncharted 2:

Fight a military organization that wants to find a rare artifact to control the world? Check
Find a lost civilization in a remote part of the world, with snow and creatures that protect it? Check
Have a boss battle with the big boss at the end of the game? Check

The story was very generic, and, it's just silly:
Laura shows up to search for artifact. The leader who has been protecting it for centuries, and built an unstoppable army of undead, encourages her to steal the artifact. She gets it, then the bad guys steal it, then she gets it back, destroys it, and kills Jacob.
if she didn't show up, they would have been just fine. His huge Deathless Army would have protected the artifact.

Graphics 7/10 (this game lacks snow physics, unlike Uncharted 2)
Gameplay 7/10
Story 4/10

I'm only going to play the next one if it's a PS+ game, and if the story is a rip of another Uncharted game, it'll get a very similar review.
This one was just mediocre, and I rushed through it as quick as possible.
 

biggles

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
2,012
Watch Dogs 2, B+. Very good game.
The game is a lot like the first one. So if you like that one, chances are you will like this one as well. The hacking gameplay elements are a nice change of pace from GTA style games. There is an in depth upgrade system to upgrade your devices and hacking abilities. Soundtrack is good. Lots of and lots of gameplay, missions, side-missions, and multiplayer.

The graphics are impressive with a catch. Speed when driving vehicles at full speed seems to be too slow. And the amount of traffic and npc's onscreen seems lower than it should be. Perhaps to keep the framerates up? Story is average, with some serious parts in the 2nd half that did not seem to fit the mood of the game. I would have liked an option to replay missions like in GTA V.

This seems like a franchise that is underrated due to being compared to the supreme GTA series. Yes, GTA is better. But that does not mean Watch Dogs games are bad or average, far from it. Not every game has to be game of the year in order to be worth playing.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,465

Mafia: Definitive* Edition


maf.jpg


* is not this...Thanks for reading, bye.

Joking aside, this was a really disappointing remake for me, and not due to a lack of effort this time.

Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven is of course a cult classic in gaming, as much as Godfather is a cult classic movie. It is almost universally beloved, expect for the ominous racing chapter. Which was not hard, you just suck at driving :p
So a supposedly faithful remake of an universally appreciated game should be a slam dunk, right?

Unfortunately, not for Hangar 13 it seems. I mean I knew they kind of suck after playing Mafia 3, but they were supposed to recreate an old game scene for scene, so I was sure at least the narrative quality is guaranteed. Well, I stand corrected.

20200927011022_1.jpg

So lets drive into the rabbit hole of the narrative​


It seems to me that Hangar 13 were too proud to keep everything as Illusion Softworks had imagined it. They just had to leave their own mark on it. Which would be fine if they only did for a few scenes. Unfortunately they weren't content with that, they have rewritten every scene completely. I mean the story plays out mostly the same, the events and their chronological order is the same. But the characters, their attitude, and their spoken lines were thrown out and replaced with much less impressive versions.

I don't understand how could they butcher the dialogue so badly as they did. I was constantly facepalming while watching the cutscenes, because almost all the witty scenes I remembered had either been cut, replaced with a less classy version, often with unnecessary swearing, or simply was missing the punchline or the setup for it.

Here is one example without any major spoilers: There is a mission called "lucky bastard" where you are tasked with killing a mob boss, in the original game you try to kill him twice but fail both times, then you are relegated to backup and someone else gets the job and you watch from the background. It works because you are in it, you feel clumsy, you really understand why he's lucky. In the DE without even allowing you to try and kill him first, you are told, not shown that he is unkillable. This way it has no weight that you can feel.

And almost all of the missions have similar rewriting, that takes the original that worked on multiple levels and butchers it until it barely works even at face value.

There is also one major change to the story, that makes absolutely no sense, as it doesn't lead anywhere, it is not a setup for anything. It actually contradicts the narrative, but instead of properly reconciling it, or reversing the change, Hangar 13 just added a few garbage throwaway lines at the end, to acknowledge the contradiction.

As for the characters despite being mafiosos, In the original game everyone was relatable and on some level respectable, here everyone seems like jerks, even the protagonist.

20200927144004_1.jpg

The gameplay​

At least here they didn't do a terrible job. The game is modernized well enough. The driving is pretty good, and the physics are decent enough. The shooting is also OK for the most part. But there are a few minor issues.

First problem is the cover system. It is terrible. Manual keypress needed to enter cover, and to exit cover as well, and even to switch cover you need to use another key. The manual entering would not be terrible, if half of the time your character wouldn't duck on the wrong side of the cover. I've died so many times because of this it's uncountable. But having to press a key to leave cover is just not modern enough. Also switching cover with a separate key is clunky and convoluted, it's easier to just exit cover and re-enter another.

And as I expected there no steering wheel support in the game. Why would you need that? Simple: because they said they are being true to the original. And the original had steering wheel support. It actually schooled most simulators of its time with the quality it was implemented in. And of course driving without an analogue controller is not the greatest as the wheels constantly spin when trying to drive away in higher powered cars. And I'll be damned before I use a controller on PC for a TPS.

The final gameplay issue is the on-rails shooting sequences. These feel unnecessary, and tacked on, besides being almost impossible to complete. They replaced most longer chases with these, and the few chases that remain in the game are also very badly rigged. They were rigged in the old game as well, but not this obvious.

The shooting is sometimes frustrating, as only headshots count in the game (or point blank shotgun blasts). If you don't get a direct forehead shot, just get enemies in the neck or body, or even the lower face, they can take 5-6 shots before they go down. Except for the tommy gun, from that they take even more.

The sneak mechanics are good, you can even hide bodies, not that it is ever necessary during the story. There are only two missions where you need to use sneaking at all.

Melee combat is extremely easy, just dodge (you have a very long window to successfully dodge) and then counter. Most enemies can be taken down in one or two dodge / attack cycles. Some you don't even have to use dodge on once.

It wouldn't be fair if I didn't mention the race mission, yes it's still here, and it still frustrates people to hell. It was actually a bit more difficult than the original, in that I could lap the backmarkers in the 5 lap race. Here the race is only 3 laps, so no chance for lapping people, but on my first successful try I was out in the lead after 2 laps, and kept it till the end. I failed on the first few tries, because you need a bit of luck not to get stuck into another car during overtaking the entire field. Plus they added a few nasty scripted surprises to the race that are completely uncalled for. Like the same car crashing the exact same way at the exact same place ending up exactly in the middle of the road completely unavoidably unless you already know about it and prepare to go around them. There is one scripted event for each lap, but they only trigger if you are still in the field.


20200926124852_1.jpg


The technical details​

As you could see from the already posted screenshots they got the graphics right. The cars especially look great, and they sound right as well. Every car has an unique sound, and it's pretty decent 1930s car noise, with gear whine and grinding, and those big displacement underpowered inline engines. The only sound effect I wasn't satisfied with was the truck horn, they used a modern sounding air horn effect for that.

The characters look decent, not the bleeding edge, but above average. And the city actually looks great, there are a few scattered lowres textures but the overall graphics fidelity is high. They even used fake HDR effects in the game, that actually look great, but will frustrate you in a few missions when you can't see the enemies because of it.

The music however, is terrible. The same three chords are repeated ad nausea under every cutscene, and the in-game background music is just flat and completely forgettable. It sounds like they used royalty free music for the game. I don't know if it is actually royalty free, but it would be terrible even for that.

Conclusion​

I have a hard time recommending this game. If you played the original that's why, if you haven't played it that's why. If you don't mind the outdated gunplay you are better off getting hold of the original, there are lots of mods available for it, even one that fixes ultrawide in it. Speaking of ultrawide, I almost forgot. On ultrawide the pre-recorded cutscenes that are not rendered by the game engine are squished instead of showing with the correct aspect ratio. I don't actually know why half of the cutscenes are pre-rendered while the other half rendered real time.

Pros, cons, and scores​

+​

  • the graphics
  • the sound effects
  • car physics
  • freeride extreme, now called freeride is still here.

-​

  • unnecessary chagnges to the narrative
  • butchered lines of dialogue
  • side missions are cut out entirely
  • many driving missions are trimmed down or replaced with on-rails segments
  • overly scripted chases
  • clunky cover system
  • bullet sponge enemies
  • police impossible to outrun they are always faster than your car
  • music
  • every character seems like a jerk
Graphics/Realization: 9/10
Story/Atmoshpere: 3/10
Gameplay/Controls: 7/10
Overall impression: 4/10

The 4/10 score is a bit harsh, but I'm not judging this in a vacuum, I'm also judging it on how accurate and faithful it is to the original. If it was a new game it would probably be a 6 or 7, but Mafia exists and this is a disservice to the original.

Wait for sale, or play the original instead that's my recommendation.


Additional screenshots:
 

Attachments

  • 20200926233455_1 - Copy.jpg
    20200926233455_1 - Copy.jpg
    129.6 KB · Views: 0
  • 20200926234136_1.jpg
    20200926234136_1.jpg
    221.7 KB · Views: 0
  • 20200926234236_1 - Copy.jpg
    20200926234236_1 - Copy.jpg
    187 KB · Views: 0
  • 20200926234319_1.jpg
    20200926234319_1.jpg
    251.5 KB · Views: 0
  • 20200927125112_1.jpg
    20200927125112_1.jpg
    269.3 KB · Views: 0
  • 20200927125215_1.jpg
    20200927125215_1.jpg
    250.1 KB · Views: 0
  • 20200927143530_1.jpg
    20200927143530_1.jpg
    186.7 KB · Views: 0
  • 20200927143536_1.jpg
    20200927143536_1.jpg
    191.6 KB · Views: 0
  • 20200927143539_1.jpg
    20200927143539_1.jpg
    241.1 KB · Views: 0
  • 20200928225148_1.jpg
    20200928225148_1.jpg
    194.7 KB · Views: 0
Last edited:

biggles

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
2,012
Final Fantasy VII (PC 2012) grade B.

Age has not been kind to early 3D games such as those on the PS1. In fact, some actually prefer the 2D art and graphics of the 16-bit era. For a game this acclaimed, it was surprising how disappointing it was.

Cons: graphics (especially the pixelated backgrounds), 15 fps in battle, bad sound effects, poor controls. Sometimes pressing down on the dpad makes your character go down and diagonal, huh? And regarding controls, only keyboard commands can be adjusted to user preferences. Controller support is poor, forcing you to use the analog stick on most popular controllers. Protip: use Steam big picture mode and select a profile to match the PS1 controls. It took me a while to figure out this was the best way to configure controls. It should be noted that there are lots and lots of mods that can have a massive positive impact on the visuals. Trouble is that most of them deactivate steam achievements, and these can be complex to install. It would have been nice if the developer had included an updated graphics option built into the game.

There is no user manual. It can be difficult to figure out where to go and what to do next. Old school save points. As an adult gamer I have low tolerance for games that force you to play to until finding a save point. These last items may not matter to some folks, but hey this is my review!

The only Final Fantasy I played before this one was FFX for the PS2 and that game was a lot better across the board. Disclaimer: I am not an RPG pro, opinions may differ as the gameplay is different (more on that below).

Now, Final Fantasy VII has a legendary reputation in videogame history. Where this game delivers is in other areas that hold up as excellent even in 2020. Music, wonderful. Deep and challenging gameplay. Super interesting storyline. Note there is no voice acting, it is all text but this does not hold the game back IMO. Great characters. Lots of things to do and places to go. What an adventure!

In the end, FFVII is probably great for those who like retrogaming or who have above average skills in RPG's. Even if you are a casual RPG gamer like me, worth a try. It is milestone in the history of videogames and deserves to sit in a museum somewhere, warts and all. I would not recommend it if you are new with RPG's or new to Final Fantasy games, though.
 

t1k

n00b
Joined
Apr 16, 2017
Messages
62
Silent Hill 3 (PC, original) - 8/10
+ intriguing and enigmatic story, characters, and environments
+ amazing graphics for its age
+ thick emotional atmosphere
+ twisted and horrific audiovisual experience
+ comic relief is great
+ fun unlockables that give the game more replayability
- repetitive gameplay (evade monsters, find doors that aren't locked, collect things, solve puzzles)
- clunky and awkward camera controls
Essential fixes: Check out the game's PCGamingWiki page. I use sh3proxy, a d3d8 wrapper and the "SH3PC Sound Fixer by Psycho-A" and the game runs great at 4k.

I played this around Halloween and enjoyed it enough that I will definitely be replaying it. I find the game to be somewhat cathartic and even meditative. Experiencing Heather's descent into darkness brings me to a better understanding of the darkness within, about, and around me -- helps me come to terms with it. Past traumas, negative events, post-traumatic stress, etc. It is a contemplative journey for me. I guess I like this game for the same reason some people like listening to black metal occasionally. Anyone interested in philosophy or related subjects shouldn't miss this game.
 

scojer

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
5,312
I have some catching up to do.

Control: Ultimate Edition (2020)

View attachment 290278

Somehow Max Payne and Alan Wake mated in the basement of Remedy's office and this is their love child. This is a game that deals in the paranormal like Alan Wake, but plays as Max Payne. Well at least mostly. TLDR version: Mary Sue walks into the FBC. What's the long version? I'm glad you asked.


The pros and the cons:​

+​

  • Shooting is just like in Max Payne 2
  • Combat is enjoyable the telekinetic abilities and the gun work well together
  • Graphics is nice, not great, but good enough
  • It can be addictive

-​

  • It's a mess, can't find it's voice or decide on it
  • It failed to evoke any investment from me for the character or the struggle
  • The enemy is completely faceless
  • Pointless random encounters
  • Save points are too far apart
  • After dying you respawn at the last used save point, not even the closest one
  • Maze like level design
  • Useless map
  • No navigational guidance, so you run around aimlessly before you find where you need to go, this must make up at least 1/3 of the game time.
  • It has neither rhyme nor reason
  • A game breaking bug, plus a non-game breaking but pretty annoying bug
  • Lootbox mechanic for the crafting of mods
  • Overbearing looter shooter elements
  • Pointless skill upgrade system

Scoring:​

Graphics/Realization: 8/10
Story/Atmoshpere: 3/10
Gameplay/Controls: 9/10
Overall impression: 6/10

I'd recommend waiting for a sale. Pick it up under $30 that's what I'd say it's worth. It's not all bad, and the combat is fun, only the story and narrative feels discoherent and doesn't offer any catarsis or reward for your time.
I picked it up for $10 from walmart for the PS4.
It was fun, the gameplay was very similar to Infamous: Second Son, and I agree with your review.

They setup a few opportunities in the beginning that they failed to recreate.
I was exploring the very beginning of the game, went around a corner and seen the janitor. I knew that was what I was supposed to do and wasn't done exploring, so I turned around and discovered the path was closed. Shortly after, there's a letter you pick up, or a video, I can't remember, but it says that if you notice your surroundings change, stay calm and follow signs.

That's the ONLY time I discovered my surroundings legitimately changing, aside from the ashtray maze, which was the most fun part of the game, and those changes were intentional.

The most fun boss fight I had was with the fridge monster, and after cleansing that fridge, I was looking forward to more astral plane boss fights, but that never happened.

I am going to play all the side missions, just because it is a fun game, but they had so much opportunity to make it great, and, they didn't.
 
  • Like
Reactions: M76
like this

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,465
I picked it up for $10 from walmart for the PS4.
It was fun, the gameplay was very similar to Infamous: Second Son, and I agree with your review.

They setup a few opportunities in the beginning that they failed to recreate.
I was exploring the very beginning of the game, went around a corner and seen the janitor. I knew that was what I was supposed to do and wasn't done exploring, so I turned around and discovered the path was closed. Shortly after, there's a letter you pick up, or a video, I can't remember, but it says that if you notice your surroundings change, stay calm and follow signs.

That's the ONLY time I discovered my surroundings legitimately changing, aside from the ashtray maze, which was the most fun part of the game, and those changes were intentional.

The most fun boss fight I had was with the fridge monster, and after cleansing that fridge, I was looking forward to more astral plane boss fights, but that never happened.

I am going to play all the side missions, just because it is a fun game, but they had so much opportunity to make it great, and, they didn't.
I think the anchor was supposed to be another optional bossfight, but I don't remember any more than that. I completely skipped the sidequest with the fungal infection, so I don't know whether that has a bossfight at the end.
Remedy so far has only made two great games Max Payne 1 and 2. The rest is just "that'll do" quality. I didn't actually finish the DLC content, as after doing all the platforming and chrystal manipulating shit in the foundation it got to a point where an encounter was just too hard. I tried maybe 20 times. The enemies basically kill me in two hits, and they can teleport behind me. And if I retreat too far the encounter resets itself. So I deemed it impossible and ditched the game at that point.
 

scojer

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
5,312
I think the anchor was supposed to be another optional bossfight, but I don't remember any more than that. I completely skipped the sidequest with the fungal infection, so I don't know whether that has a bossfight at the end.
Remedy so far has only made two great games Max Payne 1 and 2. The rest is just "that'll do" quality. I didn't actually finish the DLC content, as after doing all the platforming and chrystal manipulating shit in the foundation it got to a point where an encounter was just too hard. I tried maybe 20 times. The enemies basically kill me in two hits, and they can teleport behind me. And if I retreat too far the encounter resets itself. So I deemed it impossible and ditched the game at that point.

Oh, the anchor was a stupid fight. It wasn't even a boss, it just spit clocks at four different platforms, and enemies spawned in.
I honestly haven't played many Remedy games. I own this one, Alan Wake, and Quantum Break, both of which I still need to play. This is the only one I've completed.
I picked them all up dirt cheap, on clearance from walmart (Quantum Break and Control) or a steam sale (Alan Wake.)

So I'm not out too much money for the amount of content, and as long as the gameplay is fun, then I don't mind it.
But if I bought control for full price, I'd be mad. The story is very sub par. If their other games are the same, then at least I know to have low expectations going in.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,465
So I'm not out too much money for the amount of content, and as long as the gameplay is fun, then I don't mind it.
But if I bought control for full price, I'd be mad. The story is very sub par. If their other games are the same, then at least I know to have low expectations going in.
Haven't played Quantum Break so I don't know about that. Alan Wake is slightly less fun in gameplay than Control but the story is much better, and the soundtrack is brilliant, both the original and licensed tracks.
And Max Payne1&2 are definitely in my top 10 of best games ever IMO.

I actually reviewed them in this thread: Max Payne, Alan Wake
 

TheSlySyl

Gawd
Joined
May 30, 2018
Messages
730
While its still fresh.

No More Heroes (Switch Port)
Original release date: 2007, Switch port: 2020.

I played this game back on Wii when it first came out and never bothered to revisit it since then. Obviously technology and game making has changed a lot since 2007 and so have my views on a lot of things.

The port itself is great, mostly smooth 1080p60fps, stutters some in the overworld and when you kill a ton of enemies at once. Way, way, way better than the original though, the base visuals in this game are absolutey dated. It looked pretty bad for a Wii game and while it looks like they upped some texture resolutions here and there, it kinda comes across as more of a glorified PS2 game. Still, the better textures make a lot of the smaller details way more obvious. All the shirts and graffiti and stuff is actually readable now, definitely never knew what they were supposed to be back at 480p from my switch.

It has a lot of jank but it was still fun, the story is thin and a lot of what used to be shock humor doesn't come across as shocking as much anymore, but the combat is solid when it works. The "boring" sidejobs are still boring, but they went by much, much faster than I remembered. Each one taking less than 3 minutes total and you never need to revisit them. Still, making something boring and tedious on purpose doesn't change that its boring and tedious. Same thing with the open world structure. It's a good thing the world itself is so damn small, because having to move from the agency to a side mission every single fucking time you want to replay it gets boring real, real quick.

Still, worth the $18 if you can handle some of the jankier aspects of the game. It's short and sweet.

I managed to get the "real" ending at almost exactly 15 hours on the highest default difficulty, 4 or so of those hours were spent among three particularly difficult bosses and about 2 of those hours were spent grinding for money. Partially so I could beat the real final boss.

The "fake" ending is absolutely fucking hilarious and had me laughing for minutes.


Anyway, off to NMH2: Desperate Struggle.
 

biggles

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
2,012
Wonder Boy: the Dragon's Trap (PC) Grade A.
Okay, first off this is a really short game and it is old. But everything here works great and it is a matter of quality over quantity. Maybe the best remaster ever. The graphics are cartoony and perfect, though not technically advanced. A great touch is the ability to switch back to the original Sega Master System graphics and/or sound with the touch of a button.

Music is catchy and fun. Sound effects just fine. Gameplay is nicely varied. I would have liked a few more levels but that is okay. Difficulty level is about right. A few puzzles here and there, nice exploration. The different forms are used to explore different parts of the world and require the player to use strategy.

You will finish this one in a couple of days, but it has enough charm to be worth replaying again. This is a game that is innocent and fun, definitely worth a try. If you like 2D side scrolling action RPG's a must have.
 

T4rd

Fully [H]
Joined
Apr 8, 2009
Messages
18,101
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

I got this game as a Secret Santa gift from Filter almost 10 years ago now in 2010 for Xbox 360. It still sticks in my mind as one of the biggest sleeper hits in games that I've ever played. I had never heard of it when I opened it up and he left a note in the case to the effect of "this may seem like an odd game to gift, but trust me...". And boy, was he right. If there ever was a game befitting of the title "underrated", this is it.

On a whim, I just replayed it on PC and beat both the main game and the DLC "Pigsy's Perfect 10" (which I never got to play before) over the past day. It still holds up remarkably IMO. It helps that I can run it at much higher IQ and performance (locked 120 FPS) than the old consoles did (with some tweaks to run at higher/ultrawide resolution and to fix the horrible shadow banding I had initially), but I was pleasantly surprised that I had zero crashes or issues otherwise running it on Win 10 and on current hardware.

To give you an idea of what kind of game it is; I think it's almost at Naughty Dog level of story, game-play, and scripting, voice acting, and production values all around. And if you've ever played any of the Uncharted or The Last of Us games, then you'll know that that is very high praise. So it's a 3rd person action/adventure game based on the Unreal Engine 3 and it plays best on a controller IMO. I played it on my PS4 controller with absolutely zero setup other than my typical inverting Y axis that I like to do in all games, although an Xbox controller would probably be more ideal since the button prompts come up as Xbox buttons. But I know the layout of both controllers well enough to know the corresponding Xbox button on the DS4 controller and even all of that matched up perfectly.

The story of the game is actually based loosely on a 16th century Chinese novel titled "Journey to the West", but the game is set far in the post-apocalyptic future. You start out as a brutish looking guy (no name initially, then takes on the name "Monkey") imprisoned on a (flying) slaver ship and break free as a result of another female prisoner (Tripitaka, or "Trip" for short) breaking free and trying to get off the ship. As you follow this other prisoner trying to investigate wtf is going on, she ultimately takes over the ship and sets it on a collision course leaving you to try to get on one of the last remaining escape pods. Well once you get to the last remaining one, she's inside of it and you're clinging to it as she ejects. You come to after the crash landing and she has a slaver-style crown on your head that she programmed to control you and has essentially enslaved you to protect her and to help her get back home.

It's a pretty interesting story to me and pretty well written. Of course it goes on a bunch of twists and your goals change throughout the game. The game-play is pretty simple, to the point where it's little more than button mashing in most of the combat encounters, but it does have a simple upgrade system that lets you unlock and upgrade different attacks and abilities throughout the game. It's fun enough though and they add some flair to the combat by giving you some slow-motion finisher moves for most of the enemies. You and Trip work together a lot of times to solve puzzles and she also helps you out in combat by serving as a distraction and healing you, as you can give her commands to do so and also to move while you're distracting enemies as well. There's a lot of platforming, jumping, and scaling walls and the game is VERY forgiving since it literally makes it impossible to kill yourself by falling to your death in most areas. There's a handful of bosses and mini-bosses to keep a decent variety of enemies and combat.

So here's the ratings I'd give it if I have to copy M76's rating system:

Graphics/Realization: 9/10 - for its time in 2010, probably a 7/10 now - still great, motion capture and facial animations are some of the best as well.
Story/Atmoshpere: 9/10 - Level design and detail is almost on par with Naughty Dog IMO.
Gameplay/Controls: 9/10 - Controls map perfectly and automatically to a PS4 and Xbox controller and are very responsive and logical.
Overall impression: 9/10 - It's a must play if you like story-oriented action adventure games.
 
Last edited:

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,465
I'm confused. The slaver is the person owning and trading slaves. So slaver breaking free, does not compute for me.
 

T4rd

Fully [H]
Joined
Apr 8, 2009
Messages
18,101
I'm confused. The slaver is the person owning and trading slaves. So slaver breaking free, does not compute for me.

Fixed. Meant to say she was a prisoner, not slaver. But I guess she technically is a slaver too since she uses one of the slaver crowns to put on you while you're unconscious after landing and forces you to help her get home.
 
  • Like
Reactions: M76
like this

scojer

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
5,312
Odyssey to the west is VERY underrated, it had Andy Serkis as a character, and it was written by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation, Sunshine, 28 days later).
It suffered from a very poor marketing strategy and undersold. It's a shame, a sequel would have been great.
 
  • Like
Reactions: T4rd
like this

WarriorX

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 18, 2006
Messages
2,103
Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid 5 is a stealth/action/ base management game that tries to mix a bunch of stuff together that succeeds in creating a fun game with complex mechanics.
The game throws a bunch of stuff at you with multiple systems you have to manage. There is base building, tech progression, resource gathering, NPC staff management, free roam collectibles and a lot of missions. The story was interesting but a complaint I have of the story is that it is unfinished. I guess from what I have read is due to the developer being fired by the publisher. So it left a lot of plot threads open and the plot threads they resolved felt rushed. There was a wall of text to 'explain' the events but I still have questions that will probably go unanswered. The game also repeats a bunch of missions once you get about half way through, padding the time instead of ending it when it should have. This caused the game to have pacing issues for me. Would have several great missions, followed by some filler missions that didn't help or progress the story in any meaningful way. At least thats how I felt.

As for gameplay, it does stealth pretty good. I enjoyed completing missions going for full stealth. The game also has a nice list of weapons to pick from as well, so going full rambo was also fun. The controls felt janky at times which did result in some deaths and restarts because my character didn't go exactly where I wanted it to go or couldn't aim at a target because the camera decide to do something different than what I intended...

So overall I liked the game. There is plenty of re playability to the game as all of the missions can be repeated to complete extra objectives or achieve an S rank score, which I plan on doing.
 
Top