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Half-Life (PC – Steam)

Copyright Valve

Half-Life

Platform: PC-Steam

Ratings:

  • Story: 4/5 (I couldn’t hear a lot of what the scientists were telling me, making me miss a lot of plot.)
  • Environment: 5/5
  • Game Play: 4/5 (Some minor but annoying glitching.)

Review:

Half-Life is a fun mix of FPS and puzzler, and the first FPS I’ve ever finished on my own. I enjoyed the game a lot but found it somewhat hindered by its glitches: I could not adjust the voice levels any higher than the environment, so I repeatedly missed what the scientists were saying to me; more than once I found myself jammed into the wall, unable to move; and ladders SUCK. For the second glitch, at least, F6 (Auto-Save) is your friend. Actually, F6 is always your friend: I pretty much hit the button after every jump by the end of the game. I also spent a good portion of my time with 4 HP, so I’m not so sure that I played this game so much as survived it.

Heavy Rain (PS3)

Copyright Sony Entertainment

Heavy Rain [SPOILER ALERT]

PS3

Story Rating: 3.5/5 – Essentially a giant “Choose your own adventure” story: every decision you make determines the path your plot will take.

Spoiler Alert
Why the hell didn’t any of the reviews mention the fact that this story is about children being murdered? I was not happy to discover this fact, nor the fact that I was more than likely playing the killer at times.

Environment Rating: 5/5 – One of the most realistic environments you’ll find yourself in (although there’s naturally a bit of uncanny valley going on)

Game Play Rating: 3/5 – It’s pretty much entirely walking + quicktime events. The walking gets old very quickly as the controls get very convoluted due to automated camera angles. At times the quicktime events feel like you’re playing twister with your fingers.

Review:

Overall, I found this to be a stressful and infuriating game. If I had to pin it to a genre, I’d say it’s somewhere between a Die Hard: With a Vengence and Saw. Yeah, you heard me. Amusingly enough, I somehow ended up with the happiest ending possible (as far as I can tell). I’m thankful, and I’ll leave the other, less happy endings for pogle to explore. I was both thoroughly freaked out and somewhat impressed with how well the developers captured primal female fears, though.

Never.Playing.Again.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (Nintendo DS)

Copyright Warner Bros

Lego Harry Potter

Nintendo DS

Story Rating: 3/5 – Seems disjointed at times, unplayable really if you haven’t read books or seen movies.

Environment Rating: 4/5 – The Potterverse has been translated into lego very well.

Game Play Rating: Fun, but I really don’t want to replay it to get all of the hidden items to 100% the game.

Review:

I’m not sure I’m cut out for Lego games, if only because I’m not a completionist. Give me the story, not-too-difficult gameplay, and a satisfactory ending and I’m usually happy. Lego Harry Potter elicited a few chuckles as I played through the well-known story and was certainly an enjoyable bedtime game. However, upon completing the story I discovered I was only 60% completed with the game. Argh! I tried to go back and gather all of the trinkets and gewgaws as required, but honestly by Book III it was more of a chore than something that was enjoyable. I have many other games to play, so I’m calling it quits at 91%.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Mini Game Reviews*

Portal 2 (Steam)

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Enslaved (Xbox 360)

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Legendary (Xbox 360)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

*All played by pogle but reviewed by me; he may have slightly different opinions on game mechanics.

Completionism is overrated

Just so you know, it takes forever to get 100% on Lego Harry Potter. Still at only 80%, and I’ve nearly completed my second pass through of II. D:

/whinge

Deathspank (Steam/PC)

Deathspank

Copyright of Hothead Games

Deathspank

Steam (PC)

Story Rating: 3/5 + bonus point for being a parody of traditional fantasy = 4/5

Environment Rating: 5/5 (I love 2D/3D environments like Paper Mario)

Game Play Rating: Whee!

Review:

In Deathspank you play a not-so-bright hero who is questing The Artifact (because some cute redhead told you to a long time ago). While searching for The Artifact you travel around the world, helping the helpless as a true hero should. Along the way you get to literally knock the poop out of demons (a farmer wants it for fertilizer), fight Sabretooth Donkeys (although you’ll need at least one alive), and steal from Leprechans (that is not their orphan). Ron Gilbert’s twisted humor shines through and helps to create a game that will leave you sniggering.

Note: I was having trouble getting into the game until I tried it with an XBox controller hooked up to my PC. It made all the difference.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Limbo (Xbox Arcade)

Copyright of Playdead Games

Limbo

Xbox 360 (Arcade)

Story Rating: 2/5

Environment Rating: 5/5

Game Play Rating: Thumb Buster

Review:

Dark and innovative, Limbo is a very unique game. There is no dialogue, written or heard, throughout the entire game. Instead, you wake up in a dark wood and must find your way as best as you can with no knowledge of WHY (unless you’ve read all of the other reviews out there, as I had). At first, the game seems easy and fun. Even dying (especially dying) becomes a source of amusement, as our hero with no name inevitably meets a gruesome end with every mistake we make. There are no lives, though; no penalty. You just dust yourself off and try again. With autosaving after every puzzle, I’m perfectly happy with this gameplay approach. The puzzles needed to progress become much more challenging, so that towards then end I was almost wholly dependent on pogle’s assistance to finish. Certain puzzles become so frustrating that, the minute you realize you’ve messed up yet again, you’ll find yourself running the hero into the nearest source of death with some satisfaction. Sweet ending, I guess, albeit truncated.

Conclusion:

Fun, in its own way. Unique environment. Little forgiveness in the later puzzles. Morbid. Bleeping sawblades.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

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