Wednesday, 17 December 2014

ZombiU

Post-Launch Review
ZombiU
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Released: November 2012
Played: story complete in 12h:37min

About

During the zombie apocalypse in London, the Prepper pulls survivors off the street, instructing and preparing them for the difficult days ahead. As you scavenge supplies, the Prepper and a few other factions compete for your attention as they advance their agendas. To have any hope you'll have to make sure you're prepared and avoid getting cornered... but if you die, the next survivor will push forward.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Post-Launch Review
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 3
Released: November - December 2013
Played: 100% complete in 17h33min

About

When a stranger appears in Hyrule and kidnaps the Sages by turning them into paintings, a hero named Link sets out to rescue them. With a fragment of the Triforce stolen, cracks begin to appear in the kingdom of Hyrule, linking it to the dark mirror world of Lorule. Link will have to master a new skill to travel between worlds and save Hyrule and Princess Zelda.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Assassin's Creed III

Post-Launch Review
Assassin's Creed III (PC)
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Released: October - November 2012
Played: 100% complete in 54 hours

About

Desmond Miles and his team race to find the key to protecting the world from an apocalyptic solar flare by searching the memories of his ancestor Ratonhnhak├ę:ton. Nicknamed Connor, this half-Native American Assassin fights the Templars during the American revolution, making allies of necessity among the bluecoats while he pursues his course of revenge.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Super Smash Bros. 3DS

Post-Launch Review
Super Smash Bros (3DS)
Developer: Sora Ltd. / Bandai Namco Games
Released: September - October 2014
Played: 98h38min as of this writing, 99% complete

About

Super Smash Bros. is an accessible, fast-paced fighting game where you can play as 49 characters from Nintendo's biggest franchises. Rack up your opponents' damage and knock them off the stage!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

Post-Launch Review
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
Developer: GSC Game World
Released: October 2009 (CIS) / February 2010 (worldwide)
Played: complete in 13h:24min

About

Shortly after Strelok disabled the Brain Scorcher during the events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, there's a rush to explore and exploit the centre of the mysterious and anomalous Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Military helicopters have gone missing during a scouting mission, and Major Alexander Degtyarev is sent in undercover as an independent stalker to identify the reason for the choppers' disappearance.

The Saboteur

Post-Launch Review
The Saboteur (PC)
Developer: Pandemic Studios
Released: December 2009
Played: story complete in 15h

About

Irish racecar mechanic Sean Devlin is cheated out of a win at the 1940 Saarbr├╝cken Grand Prix by Nazi colonel Kurt Dierker. After an attempt at revenge goes terribly wrong, Sean finds himself in a strip club in Nazi-occupied Paris, where he is approached by a member of the Resistance hoping to capitalize on Sean's grudge...

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Slender: The Arrival

Post-Launch Review
Slender: The Arrival (PC)
Developer: Blue Isle Studios
Released: March 2013 (PC) / September 2014 (PSN/XBLA)
Played: complete in 1h:40min

About 

Lauren's friend Kate has gone missing, and Lauren visits the house to investigate. Inside, she finds scribbled drawings and warnings about a tall faceless man. It seems that Kate is still nearby, so Lauren rushes into the woods to find her friend, following a trail of clues. But something out there is following Lauren...

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Old Iron King

I sort of finished the second chapter of Dark Souls 2's three-part DLC a while back, and though I didn't fully finish it, I thought I should probably publish this at some point.

The main part of the expansion takes place in the Brume Tower, a huge intricate pillar that you must descend to find the boss. This area is more reminiscent of the first Dark Souls in design, rewarding you with unlockable shortcuts and new ways to explore areas you thought you'd already cleared. This is great - since the DLC focuses on just the one tower, you feel as though you're conquering the place and learning its secrets, rather than just blowing through a dungeon.
In the first DLC I was struck by the upgrades to enemy AI, but I didn't feel it as much here. Some tough fights can be manipulated into relatively trivial affairs if you play it right. Well, except for one particular invasion, where the phantom fights for a bit and then runs down into a curse-infested tower protected by respawning enemies. What a jerk. If you know your items there's a way to turn the tables, but I won't spoil it for you here.

One thing I liked and didn't like at the same time is that one of the bosses is extremely challenging if you don't fully explore and/or conserve resources on your way down. Four idols outside the arena heal him when he gets within range, so if you want a fair fight you'd better find the way to destroy the idols.
The optional area, the Iron Passage, looks really cool - it's pretty much made of iron ore - and gives you a choice on how to approach the area. But there's only one bonfire, so making it to the boss alive can be quite troublesome. The astronomers are fairly smart, mobile casters, and the sorcerers will teleport and try to backstab you. Those are neat, but the possessed armours and hollows can be maddening. And the finale to this area I spent so much time grinding through is... the Smelter Demon again? That's kinda lame. 

After Smelty, I remembered I'd found an area with an armour stand that looked like it did something but I couldn't access. I figured maybe it would do something now that I had the crown, so I went back and the armour was glowing, but still didn't do anything. Turns out you need both the crown and the seed of a tree of giants, because it's a memory you can access. This annoyed me a bit because I'd started a NG+ playthrough and haven't re-acquired the seed yet, so I've got to progress the campaign even further before I can finish the DLC. This is why I delayed this write-up for so long: I figured I'd just play through the game more to access the final part of the DLC, but I got bored of that and stopped. I waited long enough that I figured I should just publish the damn article.
This DLC disappointed me a little bit. It's high quality and stacks up well with the rest of the game, but it didn't feel as interesting as the first, the environments didn't really stand out, and none of the items caught my attention in the way the Puzzling Stone Sword did. Plus there's a chunk of it you can't play unless you progress the main campaign far enough, which is very annoying on a NG+.

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!