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As a big fan of the original Carmageddon games, 1 and 2, I was eager to meet Reincarnation, even though I didn't get it on Kickstarter, effectively buying it around the time it last got a discount and gave away the 3 earlier entries (including TDR2k) at the same time.

I played through it and, though I really liked the way it updated the gameplay from the second game, two things deeply annoyed me:

First, it felt too low on content and too focused in recreating assets, cars and locales from the original game. I usually love seeing classic stuff and characters recreated in new games, but in this game it bothered me. Yes, most recreated locales added a lot of new content to them and most car recreations had a few new twists and details, but overall, it felt too much "the same" with too little effective content as well. Maybe it didn't help that when Carma 2 came out, it didn't feature anything from the first game, cars and locales wise, and at the same time, it was a great game with a lot more content.

The second thing is the balance. It was insanely off. What was once a game about ramming and jamming your opponents directly, became a game about amassing power ups and desperately running from the cops. This made the game less fun to play and, after finishing the campaign, I hardly felt the desire to go back to it.

Well, this brings us to now, I just finished playing through the campaign in Carmageddon Max Damage. While I initially played it very little when it came out, assuming it was simply a repackaging of Reincarnation with more content, I recently got into it and realized they greatly altered the balance and this made the game a lot more fun to play. The added extra content, new locales and cars, also made everything a bit more fun to revisit.

I still think that I'd rather have more classic carma races than the bunch of less interesting events they added to the game to replace Carma 2's missions (though I must admit they ARE objectively better than the missions), but, overall, it was a fun ride.
<span class="bold">Portal</span>

This is a very fun first-person puzzle game with TONS of atmosphere and very original mechanics. I picked it up at 93% off for the Portal & Portal 2 bundle (currently on sale), and I easily got my money’s worth for this game alone! Definitely recommended!
Infamous: Second Son
Infamous 1 is one of my favourite sandbox games ever and while I liked Infamous 2 (and Festival of Blood) a bit less I still loved them. For some reason my expectations weren't too high for this sequel and well, it was pretty much what I expected with one big exception: it's friggin' short. And that includes all side activities. Seriously, I don't think I recall a single other sandbox game where 100% can be achieved this easily and quickly.

Anyway, so content-wise I wasn't blown away. It lacks the unique style of the original game and neither is it's plot particularly interesting. It's basically a simple revenge story with a minor plot-twist in the end that is neither particularly interesting nor meaningful. The characters are okay but not as likeable or cool as the ones in the original game. I was somewhat positively surprised by the new protagonist and his sidekick, his cop brother, but in the end they feel like cheap and more comedic clones of the original game's Cole and Zeke. The most disappointing aspect of the game are probably the bad guys. The main villain, Augustine, is kinda interesting but not nearly as intimidating as Kessler or even that weird wannabe-dictator in the second game. My main complaint is the lack of minor villains and especially the design of the enemies, partficularly the fact that you fight the same guys from start to finish and there's not a bit of mystery to them nor do they do anything we haven't seen before.

I didn't know what to expect from the gameplay and was neither disappointed nor positively surprised. It's basically a rehash of the earlier titles minus cover mechanics plus some really overpowered shit that makes the game far too easy, I maybe died two times throughout the whole playthrough plus three or four deaths in the final bossfight. So this time you don't just get to use electricity (which is actually entirely absent) but have three other powers at your disposal which basically become more and more powerful and already starting with the second one which you get quite early almost any challenge is gone from the game. On one hand it's cool that you become able to just run or fly up buildings in a breeze, on the other hand it entirely removes any effort or challenge from traversing the city and only further shortens the game. Later on you also get a neat stealth ability which is sadly never cleverly used by the mission design and only another overpowered tool at your disposal.

The game's biggest problem is ultimately the overall mission design, I guess. The original games had some pretty cool missions and also some really memorable side activities. In the story missions here it's basically just moving from waypoint to waypoint and killing groups of enemies. Especially acquiring new abilities is ridiculous this time. The original had you do some platforming challenges in the sewers and each new power was a big event there. Here, the moment you unlock a new element like neon or video (which sound pretty silly, don't they...) you also instantly have a brief quest where you just run from point to point and instantly unlock all the corresponding powers. And the side missions are pretty lame and repetitive and never challenging. You also never really have to search the map for anything as you can instantly see a lot of stuff on the map and the ability to see all activities and blast shards (used for upgrading powers) in a district is always easily acquired. Not having to search the map at all, combined with the ability to effortlessly reach every single point in the city, kinda ruins it.

That said: I still had fun, I enjoyed the characters and their dialogue, I enjoyed the action, there are a few pretty amazing (although not breathtaking) views. Oh yeah, and the music is friggin' badass, just light years away from being everything it could have been.
Post edited June 30, 2017 by F4LL0UT
Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin

Dark Souls 2 has kind of a mixed reputation, and I was pretty burned out by the end of it. Too many nuisance bosses, too many areas that were just badly balanced and unpleasant to play through. Still, it had its satisfactions; I wore light armor and rolled around a lot, a very different play-style from my tanky Dark Souls 1 character, and some of the bosses were great--I yelled out loud when Fume Knight finally died.

I wasn't expecting much from this given most reviewers gave it a bang average 6 out of 10 but I was pleasantly surprised by it. I just fancied something light hearted to play and the game really delivered. Played right through it with a smile on my face and I thought the combat was really cool and actually quite challenging towards the end of the game. It's perhaps still a bit expensive even at the current Steam sale price of £14.99 given that it only takes 10 hours to get through the game but I don't regret spending the cash. 8/10
Horizon: Zero Dawn

It's alright.

I put it on the list of games that do the "stealth-ish open-world Ubisoft game" better than Ubisoft, alongside Shadow of Mordor. The key thing is doing something with its gameplay instead of being completely bland. SoM was actually about assassinations, and Horizon is about hunting. You stalk machine dinosaurs, set up traps, and can attack different parts of the machine individually, triggering different behaviours from it and disabling certain attacks. Despite that though, the game is never amazing.

SoM did three things: Arkham combat, AC assassinations, and the Nemesis system, but it did them well enough (sometimes better than the games that inspired it) that I loved the game. By comparison Horizon's hunting doesn't feel directly lifted from other games, but it's just alright. It can be very interesting in the beginning, what with trying to land skill shots on the machines' weak spots, but as you progress further and further into the game and bigger and stronger machines become far more common, pouncing on machines to kill them is no longer an option (you can do it, but it will only take a fraction of their health), and hitting the weak spots also does comparatively little damage, and you can't afford the risk to line up those skill shots when the machines can take half of your health with one hit. At that point in the game it feels like battling them in the open is almost inevitable, and you will have accrued so much ammo that it's far safer and more reliable to go for body shots and dodge when the machine charges you. At that point the combat loses most of its appeal.

The gameplay outside of combat does feel more derivative. Quests seem inspired by the Witcher 3, often involving tracking or investigating and area, but if in that game they may have sometimes felt like being led on a leash, here it is pretty much just "follow the particle effects to your destination", and without the same level of writing. The game isn't a RPG, but occasionally it will give you dialogue options, complete with Bioware style symbols to designate the type of response into 3 rigid categories, here those being a brain, a heart and a fist. I hate the way some games boil down the entirety of human interactions into 2 or 3 categories with no room for nuance. Props to Horizon though, with Bioware games I often barely read the responses and just pick the one with the symbol that alligns with the character I'm role-playing, usually the goody two-shoes, without deviating, Mass Effect even encourages that, but here I chose all options an equal amount. Right down to taking the aggressive "kill" option on the villain, it felt like the appropriate course of action and true to the character.

On the story front, without going into spoilers, let me just say we have a very interesting world and lore attached to a mostly bland main plot, and two-dimensional characters, with the one exception probably being the main protagonist.

Bottomline: Horizon does a lot of things pretty well, but it does nothing amazingly. It's definitely worth trying if you have the chance.

I'm doubt that's going to be a remarkable opinion in this forum, except perhaps for what some may consider being overly generous, but in other circles, mainly gaming websites full of fanboys, there were many people chanting this game to be a game of the year contender as early as February.
Shantae: Risky Revenge Director's Cut

It was an ok game. A little bit short than I expected, took me 3 hours and 16 min. to finish the game and only missing one item.
The map was the thing that bothered me the most.

Now I'm going to start its sequel, so I hope that the game improved and it's a little longer than the first one.
Milkmaid of the Milky Way

A very nice little point-and-click adventure that should take about 2 hours to complete. Took me a little longer since I got stuck trying to solve one puzzle at the end (knowing what to do but not where), and I wanted to try and beat the game without the help of a walkthrough, since it's generally easy enough. But in the end I lost patience and just gave in, also for the final puzzle which, although memorable, was rather frustrating to figure out. What I liked is that despite its short length and small scope, there were quite a few locations and often more than one puzzle to figure out at the same time.

On the technical side, I wasn't that impressed. The game uses pixel art and looks like a low resolution AGS game, but it was made in Unity, and I suspect the low resolution wasn't as low as it looked after all. It also seems to be made for mobile devices, just one mouse button for everything, and inventory items have to be dragged to hotspots. That being said, it works fine as a P&C game. There were some issues with fullscreen (ALT+Enter) mode, but those have been fixed by the developer by now and the game will soon be updated with the fixes

On the creative side, I appreciated it a lot, especially considering it is a one-man-game. The pixel art is very colorful and cute, with attention to details, like the wind ruffling the character's clothes, and it holds several surprising moments as well that I don't want to give away here. The soundtrack is fantastic, calm, relaxing or exciting, and some tracks reminded me a bit of 70's/early 80's sci-fi cartoons (think Captain Future). The best thing is, it's included in the game as mp3 files or available for purchase as FLAC for just $2 or so, and it's also on Spotify. The story was neat and original as well, and I thought it was something different that it was written in rhymes, although they're not always perfect. But it wasn't nearly as annoying as I feared it might be, it worked quite well. The setting, the graphics, the music and the rhyming create a bit of a nostalgic, fairy-tale like atmosphere. I liked it, and the dev (who also composed the kick ass soundtrack himself) deserves praise and recognition for it.

It's just a pity that on the PC it seems only available on Steam, as I suspect not a small part of its potential audience could be found among GOG- and DRM-free supporters.
Post edited August 30, 2017 by Leroux
Torment: Tides of Numenera (Xbox One)

A very difficult game to evaluate. I've had most of a day to think about it, since finishing, and I'm still not really sure how to rate it. But first of all, something that will upset a lot of people that support Kickstarter campaigns, I have no sympathy for people that kickstart games like this and then give bad reviews because it didn't end up being the game they wanted the devs to make. When you give to Kickstarter you are not commissioning a painting from an artist. You are simply helping to fund an artist to realize their own work- not yours. There's a big difference. People kickstarting and then getting butthurt, get the same sympathy from me as people going to the Casino and losing their money- in both cases you knew the risk.

Most negative reviews from Torment fall into hurt kickstarters and people hurt because they were hoping for Planescape Torment 2. I'll just judge the game on it's own terms and get my big negative out of the way first. My pet hate in any RPG is over scripting and loss of control, and this game does this a lot- more as the game goes on. The game has very little freedom and holds you very close to the story and what it wants from you. In fact much of the game feels more like a CYOA book.

But it sort of makes up for it. If you go into the game prepared in advance to read a small novel worth of text, you will find a story with some deep themes- enough to keep me interested until the end. The story, the world and it's themes are what will make or break the game for most players. It needs to, because the combat is few and far between- which is just as well as it's not very good and extremely easy- way behind the turn based combat of Temple of Elemental Evil or Divinity OS. I ended up playing an intelligence based character specializing in talking around most encounters- odd for me, since I love killing things. I think I fought about 5 battles for the entire game! There were stretches of hours without combat where I was like "Oh god, please let me kill something, even some rats".

The pre-rendered backgrounds look nice and the zoom in works smoothly. Everything worked well, even with controller on Xbox, and I had no glitches or bugs or crashes. The game took me 40 hours. Best of all the game doesn't have Elves (I hate Elves), Dwarves or other Tolkien staples- it really is all original, though a lot themes are obviously borrowed from Planescape Torment.

Ultimately, whether you like it or not will come down to whether you can stay focused through all the reading and value the quirky and different story, and excuse the poor combat system and having the game pull you around too much. For me the positives did push it over the line, but it has it issues for sure- it could have been so much better.
Post edited July 02, 2017 by CMOT70
CMOT70: Torment: Tides of Numenera (Xbox One)

A very difficult game to evaluate....
Thanks for the excellent review.

I agree with you about people who back a Kickstarter and then moan when it doesn't turn out to be exactly what they wanted.
Tender Loving Care (Linux via WINE)

Well, after having been stuck in a frozen screen and unfortunately having saved at that point, I had to start over again.
When I did everything like before minus looking at all the stuff again up to that point, there suddenly were some changes in the storyline (like Catherine not showing off her breasts in the window to Michael, etc...).
I haven't gotten most of the really lewd content and probably the worst ending

My "Psychological Profile" only says two things:
- Has courage when "under the gun"
- Suggest that patient write down dreams in a Dream Journal

Post edited July 02, 2017 by Klumpen0815

Let's say it's ambivalent experience. Quite fun and satisfying mix of point&click and puzzle game. There is even a nice (and funny) story behind this rather simple game built by 20-30 one-screen levels. The problem is how "health points" are managed and how often you need to replay the sequence of actions.

List of all games completed in 2017.
Castlevania (NES).
This took me about 3 days to complete, playing for a few hours each day. Yes, it started to get hard when I got to around Stage 4, but the great thing about the game is that each death also feels like a learning experience, and it was really satisfying to see myself visibly improving at the game. I had a ton of fun.
advancedhero: Castlevania (NES).
This took me about 3 days to complete, playing for a few hours each day. Yes, it started to get hard when I got to around Stage 4, but the great thing about the game is that each death also feels like a learning experience, and it was really satisfying to see myself visibly improving at the game. I had a ton of fun.
Actual NES that still works or the "new" Classic?
advancedhero: Castlevania (NES).
This took me about 3 days to complete, playing for a few hours each day. Yes, it started to get hard when I got to around Stage 4, but the great thing about the game is that each death also feels like a learning experience, and it was really satisfying to see myself visibly improving at the game. I had a ton of fun.
Cavalary: Actual NES that still works or the "new" Classic?
Well... neither. I have the Gameboy Advance port of it. It is exactly like the original though. It's from the GBA's line of "Classic NES" games.