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Wow, what a surprise hit! I bought the game on Tuesday and completed it three days later, because it was so addictive. I actually interrupted my playthrough of Bioshock 2 for it, even though I was enjoying that, too. And although I had Dex on my general wishlist for some time, I hardly knew anything about it before the GOG release. But it was awesome! Very original and unique experience, despite borrowing from all kinds of game genres and cyberpunk tropes.

While playing it, I felt strongly reminded of the recent Shadowrun RPGs, regarding setting, atmosphere and music, it came quite close to what I loved about these titles, with the difference that it's all in 2D and that there is no turn-based combat. Instead there is real-time brawling, blocking, dodge-rolling (or a bit of shooting as well, if you prefer that, although to me it felt like the weaker option), some platforming with jumping and climbing and twin-stick-shooter hacking. None of those elements are particularly outstanding, but they work well enough and I agree with some other reviewer here on GOG who wrote that this game is more than the sum of its part. All these things together, combined with the RPG elements like quests, leveling up, skill point distribution, choices and consequences, and the option to solve quests in different ways, or approach situation by different means (melee, ranged combat, stealth, hacking, dialogue) made Dex a lot of fun to me. Not only can you try to sneak past enemies or take them down from behind instead of facing them head on, you can also hack cameras or turrets to work for you, or use a stun gun etc. (a bit similar to Deus Ex or BioShock). And while there is a main plot (which isn't that long in itself), the game is not all that linear, you're free to explore, take on the many side quests or just go wherever you want to go, so there was never a moment when I didn't know what to do next. I didn't track the time I spent with it, but apparantly the average playtime is about 15 hours. With the current sale price on GOG, I felt that was an absolute steal.

While I was quite amazed about the overall quality of this indie game, Dex can be a bit rough at the edges at times, too, though. Some minor things were very rare occurrences and just about lacking the last bit of polish (like displaying a prompt what key to use for interaction after you were required to interact with something for the first time; or failing to explain the red circle shields in Augmented Reality - you have to destroy them by shooting at them repeatedly, but contrary to other targets they lack a health bar, so that's not self-explanatory; or one time an enemy suddenly lacked his head for a moment or two), others are bit more problematic (like a certain confusion what platforms you can stand on and which ones are just background, or enemies incidentally lurking behind area transition doors with no means for you to detect them or defend yourself against them before they hit you - fortunately you can usually save anywhere outside of combat, so you can experiment with both of the above without losing progress by death - savescumming is your friend here!; also, combat can continue while you're frozen in dialogue, but that only happened to me in one spot - usually NPCs and enemies are separated in different rooms).

The writing was a little bit over the top and weird for my taste at times, but on the other hand I also kind of liked that the characters had their own strange lingo, it fit the cyberpunk setting well enough, and the characters were memorable. The voiceactors were quite alright, but often they could have sped things up a little bit. Dramatic pauses aren't as effective in a videogame where the complete text is already visible for reading ... Sometimes the backtracking was a bit much, especially in the beginning when I often went back to the only free focus recharge station to regain focus for hacking (similar to health in Augmented Reality). The quick travel map helped with that, but during that time I still wished there were more and better ways to regain focus (there are consumables for that, too, but not a lot). And the overall balance in the game was maybe a bit off. At first I thought combat was quite difficult and dangerous, but as soon as I bought the health regeneration augmentation, it suddenly turned into a cakewalk. Then, at the end it got rather hard again, but for all the wrong reasons, like a screen full of enemies with stun guns or sections where you couldn't use any of your powers or consumables acquired during the game. And the twin-stick-shooter mini-games overstayed their welcome a bit towards the ending. The conclusion of the story was also a bit messy and abrupt.

So, no, the game is not perfect. But despite the issues mentioned above it came quite close to perfection for me, and I didn't expect to enjoy it that much nevertheless. Even those more serious issues listed above seem like nitpicking to me when compared to the fun I had. I just loved playing it!

Buy it!!! :P
Post edited June 18, 2016 by Leroux
Lemme jus' grab another col' one and make some hieroglyphs concernin' Sorcerer King playthrough... mkay?

So there were a few bugs, sure. Which is kind of strange. This being Stardock, not a small indie group releasing their first or even second game. Not that all indie companies release buggy games.

But the thing is. Thing is. Is.

*looks at the bottle of Cluver & Jack (it's a cider) as if it would tell something important*

*after a pause, takes a sip since there is no information a-comin'*

It's. A game. A good game.

So there you have it. My view. Re-view.

*thinks for a moment, was that 'it'*

You start off as a rebel of sorts. This is a game where... The person/entity/whatnot the player controlled assumably in the previous game (Fallen Enchantress, I think... haven't played that yet) has gone mad. The hero drunk with power or what have you. So in this game you're the underdog rising from nothingness. Zero the Hero, as Gong sang. The player's task...

There is a task, you know.

You decide. To... Get upset. And fight this mad wannabe-god(dess). Too much evil in the air. I can feel it in the air, as Phil sang.

So. Build an army, expand your territory. Civilization style. Heroes of M&M style (not the candy). By the way. Wouldn't mind some of those m&m's... mm...

So. There will be the bad dude comin'-to-talk and that. Unexpectedly even. Asking for deals. Like a proper hustler.

But the game is not easy. Takes a few days to get the mechanics. It's not ... easy.
Tell you something, though. I love games that can give you new features after playing a week and a half.

So then. What's the fun part?

For me - and here is where you can see if the game fits your style - it was the building from zero to a hero :) You start off, and there's like not much faith in anyone - the other factions or the bad dude - that you are capable of anything. Then proving them all wrong. Beating the shit out of the bad dude. Winning. Boom.

So there you have it. Now excuse me.
*looks at the bottle of Cluver & Jack (it's still a cider) again, if it has anything to add. It doesn't*

Post edited June 18, 2016 by superstande
Just finished Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
I decided earlier this year, peppering them in during the span of it, that I was going to go through all six Splinter Cell games, Blacklist being the only one I haven't already played. It's been great going through the first three games again.
Post edited July 03, 2016 by Thiefer
Half Life 2 Episode 1

Here we go again. No, actually I liked this better than the base game. It's nothing outstanding, but I think I can say this time it at least tripped over the line into "enjoyed it overall" territory.

Some of the things that helped it overall were that it's just shorter for a start. So even though the exact same gameplay elements got repeated too much, such as the number of times you plug Antlion holes using the gravity gun to move cars, at least it didn't go so far as making me feel like smashing things in real life.

AI is still over scripted though. I had to repeat the first hour of the 4th chapter due to a bug that failed to spring a scripted ambush and open a pair doors to progress. When repeating that hour I truly realized just how on rails the AI is. The enemy appear in the exact same spots and run to the same spots every time- everything is pretty much fixed to what Valve wanted you to experience. It's not just a sign of the era either- the first Halo game was 3 years older and has reactive "bot" style AI that was probably 10 times better than this.

As for the friendly AI this time, it's some good news and bad news. The good news is that for most of the game you only have one "helper" in the way- can't remember her name, I just called her "Getthefuckoutatheway" because that's what I was always yelling at her. The bad news is that she's forever standing right where I want to go and forever sticking her head right where I'm about to fire the shotgun. At least she's invincible, well I assume so- she never died in my game anyway.

But like i said, this time I did enjoy it overall. I really try to finish things I start, so I'm going on with Episode 2 and hope that it improves a bit as well.
Post edited June 18, 2016 by CMOT70
Fall of the New Age: Premium Edition is a Hidden Object Game that is light on hidden objects and works much better as an adventure-lite. You arrive on the scene as the terrible Cultists are taking over the kingdom, blowing up monuments and killing the wise. You might not ordinarily get involved, but your brother is snatched while he’s working as lookout for a burglary you’re busy committing, and now you want to get him back before he’s sacrificed in the terrible endgame Ritual.

There’s a swashbuckling feel to the game, though you won’t actually swashbuckle very much, and you’re helped by the dashing Herbert, a Musketeer type who rescues you from time to time and moves you through the chapters. Overall it keeps a good tone, with some English-as-a-second-language illuminations, a nice graphical feel, and an awkward bit of time dilation at the end - a calamitous event is about to take place, and you will take a break to make a tool and go retrieve an errant handle from someplace down the way before the event finally happens. Life during gametime.

An interesting but underplayed mechanic is the introduction of disguises. As you move through the world you’ll need to pretend to be people you aren’t in order to get past guards and infiltrate locations; while this looks at first like it’s going to be really interesting, ultimately it’s just a matter of clicking through hidden objects. There’s also a tendency to drop you into puzzle games without explaining what the goals are, but this all works out in the end.

I enjoyed this. Main story beaten; extra-muros history and background comes via scrolls that are unlocked by jewels you collect in your travels, and somehow I managed to miss enough of those that I didn’t unlock the final set of notes. After 6.2 hours saving the realm, I can live with that.
Finished The Stanley Parable. Very short so I did 3 playthrough but it is too boring for me to do some more (as every playthrough can be completely different, it depends on the choices we make).

Full list here.
Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power

After a second playthrough of Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power, the game seems even worse. If you play this in co-op, then expect glitches, also you don't get rid of the glitches by doing it solo, it's just a little less of it.
Same as before, the game has not improved in any way. The upgrades/fun skills are gone, collecting pyramids is required in order to progress through the game, and the ending right after 1/3 of the game.

Complete list of games finished in 2016.
Post edited June 19, 2016 by sanfueg
Half Life 2 Episode 2

It's all over. Someone in an above post said they like Episode 2 best of the series. I agree with that. Whilst sometimes Valve still drew out a few of the gameplay sequences a step (or two) too far- especially the two tower defense sequences...I much preferred the overall balance for this one.

Also, in Episode 2 for the first time, I finally started to get invested somewhat in the story. Before it was just always "blah blah blah ffs just let me get back to shooting something". I even learned the name of the female companion this time, it's Alex and not "Getthefuckoutatheway". She had some good lines this time as well.
Speaking of companions, I feel like the compulsory companions did a much better job this time of staying out from under my feet and gun sights. I suppose it came out two years after the base game, so Valve may have got better, who knows.

Ep 2 also had the funniest moment in the series- mild SPOILER I suppose. When I was messing around at the base and accidentally locked a certain someones pet in the rocket capsule. And then later, on launch, overhear the scientists arguing over why it weighs 8lb over specification. Ooops!

So, for me, the series started a bit poor, got average in the middle and ended up giving me some fun for the finale. I guess I'll finish the Orange Box and try Portal now then. No interest in Team Fortress 2 though.
The Last Dream (Adventure-lite/FROG)

Options are basic, with separate sliders for music and sound, cursor choice, and full-screen/windowed, and with four difficulty levels. Tutorial is optional, though disabled if you are playing on the hardest difficulty.

Cutscenes are skippable, and are all live-action. The music is pretty, and the acting is OK, though the English voice overs are nearly cringe-worthy. The game does a very nice job of integrating the live actors into the game itself by using a graphic effect to make them more suited to the environment. Definite kudos for that! The graphics in general are very nice!

There is a rechargeable hint button and a task button to help you keep track of what you should be doing, but no journal. On the puzzle scenes, there is also a button you can click on to get instructions. Speaking of the mini-games, most of the sites I went to have a screen of the pearl puzzle. Be aware that this particular puzzle is fiddly! The pearls can take several tries to place, even if you're placing them correctly. As long as you're following the instructions, keep trying!

Gameplay itself is primarily adventure-lite with some interactive FRagmented Object scenes, which are NOT repeated (unlike most hidden object games, who seem to recycle the scenes at least once.) We have a scary-cute cat as a helper, and inventory items can be combined.

A pet peeve of mine is when we're expected to do things that make absolutely no sense, are dangerous, and/or defy the laws of physics. Well, The Last Dream does have us doing some nonsensical things, but because of the story line, they are not only forgiven, but expected... We ARE talking about dreams, after all!

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the story did not go in the direction that I expected... After all, predictable is boring!

Bonus section:
- Bonus chapter (took me about 45 minutes)
- Wallpapers
- Concept art
- Puzzles (all 18 from the game can be replayed here)
- Achievements (only a couple that you'll have to work for -- the rest come from game progression)

Overall The Last Dream took me about four hours to complete, and was a nice change up from action games I've been playing lately. Definitely a good one for the casual game-lovers!

Full list of games completed in 2016 HERE
Post edited June 20, 2016 by genkicolleen
Depths of Peril

On the one hand, I really enjoyed this game for many hours. OTOH, "winning" was a little bit of a letdown. Quite enjoyed the questing system (similar to Din's Quest).

That said, once you get a big enough level/ally lead from questing (at least on normal mode), mowing down the opposing factions is really easy. And as AI goes, they're not particularly good at negotiating either.

So that was a bit disappointing. Still, if you like Soldak games, there's enough here to enjoy the light RPG, trying different classes/builds and running around killing things.

Think I played for 20 hours or so before I decided it was time to bring the hammer and let my cleric take over the world with her healy powers. Time to mark one more off the backlog - would like to reinstall again...someday.
Breath of Fire 2

I first started this 5 months ago, after a 4 months break I got back to it and I wish I'd completed it sooner.

Released in 1996 for the SNES, this is a JRPG similar to Final Fantasy. You play Ryu a member of the dragon clan who initially sets out on a journey to clear his friends name, but soon unravels a conspiracy involving the church and a demon trying to take over the world. Like a lot of JRPG's the protagonist will end up carrying your team throughout most of the dungeons and bosses, his team consisting of a variety of anthropomorphic characters. The game can get slightly monotonous as there is very little you can do to prevent random encounters and you level up slowly, making moments when you need to grind long and dull. However the story is great (Despite the many spelling errors), the characters are likeable and while it can be difficult at the beginning, it gets easier as soon as you get the hang of it. Oh, did I also mention the Protagonist can turn into dragon, there are few things more awesome than that.

I believe a 6th or 7th game in the Breath of Fire series is coming out soon or released recently, I might try to find some of the later games in the series. This game is currently available for the Wii as a downloadable title for about £7.

Also if anyone is familiar with this game, do they know what animal Rand is based off of, he looks like an armadillo but a guide I looked at said it was a ram, and another said it was an ox.

This was pretty good actually. And that's from someone that generally doesn't get into puzzle games much. It was an interesting concept and Valve introduced new ideas and ramped up the complexity of the challenges at a good pace, even for a puzzle dumb ass like me. I never had any trouble quickly working out what needed to be done, just sometimes it took me a few tries to execute.

My save game says exactly 3.5 hours at the final save, and I only started losing interest in those final 30 minutes or so when I think it just started getting slightly stale. Even then, I still enjoyed all of it just for the unique humor. It's not every game you get trolled by a computer.

I suppose I'll need to play the sequel one of these days now then. But I'm done with the Orange Box.
Post edited June 20, 2016 by CMOT70
Thiefer: Just finished Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
I decided earlier this year, peppering them in during the span of it, that I was going to go through all six Splinter Cell games, Blacklisted being the only one I haven't already played. It's been great going through the first three games again.
Funny. I also finished Chaos Theory two weeks ago, at least the singleplayer campaign. Will see if I can convince a friend to try the Coop Campaign.

But for now I'm proud to say that after many years and many attempts I had finally the endurance to finish Final Fantasy VIII this weekend. Nice game, but the last part of the third CD and CD 4 are a little bit boring compared to the rest of the game.
<span class="bold">F.E.A.R. Platinum</span>

This game is defined as an “Horror Shooter”.
You are a special agent sent to investigate on paranormal activities, in this case an army of psychic controlled soldiers gone rogue after their psy-commander has gone mad.
The game contains the main campaign and the two -quite long- expansions: “Extraction Point” (that will see you attempted to be rescued from the very problematic endgame situation) and “The Perseus Mandate”, a side story that will put you in the role of another operative running a parallel operation.

In my opinion, the horror part is quite light: there are neither real scares or “freak out” moments nor situations where your lack of strength can lead to the kind of tension that only sneaking away can dissipate, yet the various horror elements add a lot to an interesting narrative that develop itself trough the “Looking Glass Method”: since the beginning, you'll see everything in first perspective, and every detail of the story will be experienced directly by you, either by listening to your radio, inspecting computers, hear recorded messages or simply watching directly what happens. I always particularly appreciate this approach, and F.E.A.R. makes no exception, keeping the narrative interesting and satisfying, though maybe not very original.

The shooting though is probably the best I have ever experienced in the genre: this is no mere narrative-heavy fps, but a real masterpiece. First thing first: the AI is undoubtedly the best I have ever seen in any shooter; your enemies will never be sitting ducks, and will adopt different strategies based on your actions. They will always try to flank you and overwhelm you from all directions, so you will have to make clever use of your arsenal and plan ahead. You know that the room you will snipe from has two entrances? Place a mine in an angle to cover your back, because you can be sure they will try to assassinate you from behind. You can hear the enemy squad talking, so you can act in consequence: if they regroup, use your heavy weapons, if they are in recon be stealthy and kill them one by one.
The weapons are also fantastic: there are not many in number, but each of them is perfectly calibrated and has a unique feeling; all of them will serve you well in a specific situation. For example, an SMG in much better than an Assault rifle indoors, a plasma rifle will guarantee you enemy's death but will also attract a lot of heat and a rocket launcher might be what you need if you are aware of a mech suit being deployed nearby.
All this is improved by an outstanding graphic department: you will see enemies moving smoothly and feel the bullets, being wounded and dropping blood like they would in real life. Sometimes, they might even feign death waiting for reinforcements, or start crawling in pain. The objects realistically break, and you can see the precise point of impact of your bullets on the walls or on your enemy's armor. The only downside is that the environments gets a little bit repetitive, consisting mostly in laboratories or industrial facilities.

The challenge is high and keeps you on your toes while never being frustrating, and you will always need a tactical approach to each encounter; you can play with both the AI, the ample choice of weapon uses and the environment, and while the maps are mainly linear the combat approaches are very varied.

In my opinion, F.E.A.R. is a real masterpiece that no FPS fan should miss.
Enebias: In my opinion, F.E.A.R. is a real masterpiece that no FPS fan should miss.
I agree on most parts. The weapons and the AI are great, but I don't agree on the graphics front: Everything is made of conrete and there is strawberry jam all over the place – very bland.

The gameplay is good enough to make you forget the graphical deficiencies.

I think “Perseus Mandate” is weaker than the other parts. How do you think it measures up to the rest?