Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Heavy Rain

Post-Launch Review
Heavy Rain: Director's Cut
Developer: Quantic Dream
Released: February 2010
Played: story complete in 9h30min, The Taxidermist DLC complete in

About

Seven children have been drowned by a serial killer, who leaves his victims with an orchid on their chests and an origami figure in hand. An eighth boy has disappeared, and now the boy's father, an FBI agent, a journalist, and a private eye race to find the origami killer before he claims another victim.

Friday, 24 October 2014

My biases

I was doing some reading and saw that some sites do (or did) build a factor for reviewer slant/style into the final score. I don't do scores here at Post-Launch Reviews, but it did make me think a bit about my biases, and I realized I haven't talked about them extensively here before. So read on to learn about how biased I am!

Well, actually, it's mainly two biases. 

I'm not being paid to do these reviews. I don't have a rigid pattern or guideline I use to choose games. The reason I started this site was because I played a lot of games and figured I could do something with that. This means I buy games that catch my interest, not games I think I should review.

My main bias is that I buy and review games that I already think I'll enjoy. My favourite fiction tends to be science fiction with some fantasy and horror, and I gravitate towards games with those kinds of themes and stories.

Not only that, I want to enjoy the games I play, so my outlook tends to be optimistic. If you've been reading for a while you might remember a few games I recommended that were reviewed poorly elsewhere. Off the top of my head, Legendary is one example. I've also reviewed a few games I wanted to like but just couldn't finish, like Dragon Age: Origins. So sometimes my conclusions are less objective and diverge with the consensus because of personal preference. I never claimed to be objective but a reminder can't hurt.

My secondary bias is that I'm a little prejudiced against indie and mobile games.

I've played a lot more AAA than indie or mobile games because I find that a lot of smaller games have too narrow a focus for my taste. I have reviewed some indie games very positively, but if you look at the ones I got into the most, you'll notice a trend: they have a larger scope and more depth than your stereotypical retro sidescrolling plaformer. Examples: Minecraft, Trine, The Banner Saga.

If you ever disagree with one of my reviews, remember that I'm biased, but so are you. We're allowed to disagree!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs

Post-Launch Review
Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs
Developer: The Chinese Room
Released: September 2013
Played: complete in 3h18min

About

In the year 1899, Oswald Mandus wakes up in is bed, wracked with fever. He does not remember why his manor is empty, nor the cause of the shaking and the racket of the colossal machine beneath. Haunted by nebulous memories of an expedition to Mexico and a campaign against the corruption of the Empire, Mandus delves into the bowels of the machine and the horrors within to save his children.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Fire Emblem: Awakening

Post-Launch Review
Fire Emblem: Awakening
Developers: Intelligent Systems, Nintendo SPD
Released: April 2012 (Japan), February/April 2013 (everywhere else)
Played: story and most paralogues complete in 43h:48min

About

A tactician with no memory of their past finds themselves bound to Chrom, prince of Ylisse, just as a rival nation threatens war and monstrous Risen attack border villages. As Chrom and the tactician fight to defend the peace, a mysterious traveler with knowledge of the future warns that a catastrophic awakening approaches, of which the war and the Risen are but a prelude...

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Deadpool

Post-Launch Review
Deadpool (XBox360)
Developer: High Moon Studios
Released: June 2013
Played: story complete in 6h:50min

About

To give you an idea what kind of tone Deadpool takes, here's what I believe is an official product description, as if spoken by the titular mercenary:
There are a few important things I need to say before you crack into my insanely sweet game. (Oof. Here we go again.) I'm a mercenary with an accelerated healing factor. I've been described as unstable, which is just plain coo-coo. (Wait, do sane people say coo-coo?) I'm gonna battle for the safety of humans and mutants. (And even mumans.) Be prepared for just about anything. (Holla!)  I made sure to capture all my good sides, so I made my game a third-person action-shooter. (Yep, you get to look at my heinie.) Keep a look out cuz some of my X-Men pals (Whoa, what pals?!) are making an appearance. (Hope you don't mind picking hair out of your tacos.) I'm really good at killing, so I made it a blast stringing together combos, and totally eviscerating my enemies. (Ev-is-cer-a-ting!) I brought my skills and a buttload of my favorite things. Katanas (check), guns (bang!) explosives (boom), duct tape (quack) and of course, yours truly - ME! (Checkmate!)

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Bioshock Infinite

Post-Launch Review
Bioshock Infinite (PC)
Developer: Irrational Games
Released: March 2013
Played: story complete in 11h; Burial at Sea parts 1 and 2 complete in 6h

About

"Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt". Booker DeWitt is in deep but he'll be in the clear if he can finish this job. Sent to Colombia, a miraculous city in the clouds, DeWitt seeks out Elizabeth, who has been locked away in a tower for her strange abilities. But to escape the city, DeWitt and Elizabeth will have to contend with religious fanatics and a city on the verge of civil war - as well as Elizabeth's monstrous guardian, the Songbird.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Guild Wars 2: The Re-Review

It's been two years since Guild Wars 2 released, and almost that long since I posted my original review. I was looking over that review the other day, and it's... really outdated. I briefly considered updating the review, but so much has changed that it would actually be easier to write a whole new review.

So here we go!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Saira

Post-Launch Review
Saira
Developer: Nicklas Nygren
Released: December 2009
Played: best ending obtained in 4h:12min

About

After a teleportation accident, photographer Saira realizes she's the only person in the galaxy. After two years on her own, she needs only a few more parts to finish the new teleporter she's been building to try to find out what happened to her. Saira will have to travel across seven star systems to find the parts she needs.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

inFAMOUS 2: Festival of Blood

Post-Launch Review
inFAMOUS 2: Festival of Blood DLC
Developer: Sucker Punch
Released: October 2011
Played: complete with 85% of trophies in 2h:39min

This is going to be a quick post and not a full review, since this is a relatively short DLC pack. Full review of inFAMOUS 2 here.

Festival of Blood is a silly side story that may or may not have canonically happened. Zeke meets a lady in a bar and tells her the story of how Cole was turned into a vampire and Zeke had to save him before the curse took full effect at dawn.

Cole doesn't have much in the way of electric powers for the duration of the DLC (though he does earn a few more at certain optional milestones), and only the first island is unlocked, so I'm guessing this is supposed to be set early in inFAMOUS 2's story. You get some nifty vampire powers to play with - full flight (though limited by blood energy) and a vision mode that allows you to spot secrets and upgrades and disguised vampires. Flight is fun because it's not something you ever get to play with in this series, and it makes city traversal feel fresh again.

Flight is powered by blood, which you can gain by staking vampires or sucking on civilians. There's a very brief effort to suggest that Cole may not need to drink blood, but it's quickly glossed over, and the series' iconic morality system is completely dropped for the DLC. It's like the writers want me to feel bad for drinking blood, but they couldn't be bothered to really do much about it.

The story is rather basic - Cole is now a vampire, and needs to kill the one that turned him (called Bloody Mary) before dawn, when she'll take full control. Mary's backstory is much more interesting than the main plot - you can find some of her musings on her history as optional audio logs, and you learn the defining bits as part of the main story. Her backstory is more interesting, but still relatively shallow.

The worst bit is when you're forced to play some UGC (user-generated content) missions to progress the story. They're two official missions produced by Sucker Punch, but they're of unimpressive quality and feel like a poorly shoehorned attempt to get the player interested in UGC. Since the UGC was entirely optional in the main game, I spent a good half hour wandering around the map collecting audio logs and canopic jars in the hope that maybe I'd unlock the next story mission somehow. When I'd finished both those things I had to check a walkthrough to realize that I had to do that UGC mission to progress. Not cool.

To me the best parts were the bookends with Zeke where he's telling the story to the girl he's trying to seduce. You get to see Zeke being charming and funny and completely (and unintentionally) sidelined by Cole. Too bad these are only a few minutes at the start and end.

Recommendation: maybe.

Festival of Blood felt kind of mediocre to me overall. It's neat to see the city all dressed up for Pyre Night, there are a couple of fun new powers, and the bits with Zeke are entertaining. But all the vampire stuff is fairly generic and relatively uninteresting. At only $5 and as a standalone it's inexpensive fun, though I didn't find it particularly memorable.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Bravely Default

Post-Launch Review
Bravely Default
Developer: Silicon Studio
Released: October 2012 (original Japanese release) / December 2013 - February 2014 (For the Sequel & EU/NA releases)
Played: 100% complete in 74h:54min

About

A mysterious disaster opens a chasm that swallows a village, rots the sea, stills the wind, and sends magma and earthquakes out of control. Four heroes affected by the disaster set out to close the chasm by reawakening the four powerful crystals that govern the elemental forces. But is that really the right thing to do?