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The Big Boss
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My (old) game reviews


A site where I've posted game reviews for years seems to have permanently disappeared.
So I'm making a topic here and post for starters all I have at hand in my files, beginning apparently from 2012.



Baldur's Gate 8/10

My first thought was "this is just like the old Gold Box games" and why not, it's D&D. While I mostly mean that as compliment, it also means BG is nothing special. It's just another D&D RPG.
OK, I'm not a great fan of western RPGs. Like most genres (except racing and flight sims) I prefer RPGs easy and simple. Thus you may understand why I'm not hugely impressed with BGs.
The best parts in all BGs are the ones you don't have to play, all the side quests. The problem is the absolutely linear plot, which IMO leaves zero replay value. (And I very much appreciate replayability, it's a sign of a truly good game that you play it again every few years). And as much as storylines of BGs have been praised, it's not exactly [sign in to see URL] - not that he's a great literary genius either, but at least entertaining.
Considering it's fame, BG1 was a minor disappointment for me.

Tales of the Sword Coast 3/10

If you actually bought this back when, I hope you went to police because you were robbed. (I got BG 4-in-1 collection.) This is example of how not to do an expansion. The content it adds should've either been in the game itself in first place or been a free update.
The quests of TotSC also highlight what's wrong with basic design in BGs: while they try hard to act like open world games, really there's just tens of linear parts that allow you to choose - to extent - in which order to play them.

BG2: Shadows of Amn 7/10

No, it's not the best game ever! It's not even as good as the first. The plot isn't (even) as good, in BG1 you could at least wander around freely some time before being all stuck in the linear parts and though BG1 didn't add much to all previous D&D games, BG2 has absolutely nothing we didn't already see in first.
(That's not entirely bad thing. I see no problem in companies making sequels that are exactly like original great game, though Pokemon is taking it much too far.)
I just don't get it, why did this mediocre and generic RPG get all those great reviews and appears on so many "best games ever" lists? Maybe the multiplayer experience is awesome, I'll have to try it sometime.

Throne of Bhaal 9/10

Opposite to TotSC, this is how you do expansion if people are going to have to pay for it. And it's as expansion it gets that 9; as game in general it obviously is no different from BG1&2. The additional features are mostly useless trouble and curiosities, they don't make ToB better or worse than other BGs. What makes it better is the best story of the games. In BG2 it bothered me that the plot had so little to do with BG1; I'm very happy that ToB was a proper conclusion to the main story arc.
Of course ToB is most linear of all, but I can see that was necessary to fit in a storyline of it's own and an ending for the whole saga.



Halo 1 (PC) 9/10

Shooters aren't my favorite genre and with FPS I prefer WWII or modern setting to scifi. That said, I enjoyed Halo much more than I had expected. Here's a game that simply has nothing (seriously) wrong about it. There are many games that are awesome but have one or two major problems ruining them. Halo has none.
So it's actually hard for me justify you - or myself - why I'm not giving it a 10. The final Warthog ride is bit of annoyance? There's only so many types of enemies and guns? Pretty short?
Truth may be that I, old Sega fanboy, am blaming it for part in end of Dreamcast.
More honest rating would be 9.5, but I'm really trying to avoid half points.



Final Fantasy Legend 2 (GB) 5/10

JRPGs are one of my favorite genres. I loved Makai Toushi SaGa on Wonderswan (FFL1 remake). I had read that FFL2 would be best of the three GB games. So as you can guess from 5/10, I'm hugely disappointed on this.
What I hate about FFL2:
- It's completely linear. Many JRPGs are, but I prefer ones that aren't or at least hide it well.
- The interesting class system of first game was ruined. In FFL/SaGa1 you had basically 3 types to choose your four characters from, making it a tactical decision. Now you have four, meaning player obviously takes a human(=fighter), a mutant(=mage), a robot and a monster. Actually you shouldn't take a monster, but while being the weakest type it's also most interesting. And the human weapon wearing means you might want to go with mutantX2+robotX2.
- The above is made much worse by the fact that this time you're stuck with the four (compared to chance of getting new ones in FFL1).
- Near the end you get the always practical chance warp to any place you've been... for relatively very short bit of game. This kind of gimmicks are nice surprises middle of game, but they should also be some real use.

Best JRPGs have something that makes them unique within the genre. Some simple idea like in Pokemon (when you played it first time). First SaGa/FFL had that, it seemed fresh even though I've played dozens of (mostly 8/16-bit) games of the genre.
Final Fantasy Legend 2 on the other hand is generic even for a JRPG. Someone who has played less than three such games might enjoy it, but I don't remember when I've last been as bored with a game.



Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (GBA) 2/10

I've played lots of games. I've even finished quite a respectable number (if mostly with cheating or walkthrough). But I can't name many games as horrible as this one. And I've played more hentai games than a sane man [sign in to see URL] Potter 5 could've been a base to build a decent adventure game, but instead it's a "game" where you half the time walk around and the other half push buttons in minigames that are between QTE and a rhythm game. It's as easy as you'd expect from a Potter GBA game, except one damned thing at end - which you need to pass three times - too difficult to anyone who hasn't done fatalities in old Mortal Kombats.



LEGO Racers 2

5/10

Seemed absolutely awful first, but gets better. Not as good as the first, but these are almost totally different games so it's hard to compare. Unfair and full of things that could've been easily fixed, really a game to swear at. Yet kept me playing all the way to end.

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May/8/2016, 19:37 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 (PS1) 8/10

"Finished" here means "finished gathering the 320 cars" which would take around 100 hours if you systematically played every possible combination of team/car maker/result, making it always on first try. Which on the harder difficulties you won't. This also includes about 50 hours of just bothering to drive the easy races you'd win with one hand.
Ridge Racer 4 has plenty of faults, starting with rubberband AI (something I really hate). You play the same series of 8 races over and over, with just little different cars. It's often frustrating and unfair. But among my driving games (that are mostly from last century) there's no other with as great playability, as fun feel of driving - when it goes well, and it rarely does. Besides playability R4 gets another mostly right: difficulty. Excellent work on that, except for the tons of "too easy".

After years of swearing, I finally have the car #321: the Pacman bonus car. It's beautiful.



Dragon Warrior (aka Dragon Quest) IV Nes 10/10

I should point out I (as far as I can remember) have never before given anything 10 here (unless I pointed out replaying one of the old Wing Commander games I absolutely love). I try to avoid words "best ever", but Dragon Quest IV (I hate to use the name "Warrior") is THE best Nes game ever.
Zero replay value, but I don't think it fair to drop points for that as certain genres by nature are play-once.



Lego: Batman (DS) 9/10

A Lego game same as any other, allround fun and functional, if somewhat repetitive. The only real complaint is same as in so many games of this genre: lots of the most fun or useful things you get to use so late that the game is almost over. And once you've done it 100% (=40 hours), there's zero replay value left.



Lost in Time (PC) 9/10

90's point & click adventures were a great genre and Lost in Time is a forgotten example about that.
It may be short, simple and easy, doesn't have many interesting characters - doesn't have many characters, period - and story isn't that imaginative, but the puzzles are (mostly) logical and I enjoyed the gameplay more than any such game for years.
You'd think an adventure game needs good humor or a good story to be great, but apparently not.



Myst V: End of Ages (PC) 8/10

My general opinion on Myst games has been that they're good adventure games, but not "best games in world" - one or other of those points disagreeing with almost everybody.
That said, I think fiver was an average Myst: better than 2 and 4, but not as good as 1 and 3. Myst V's biggest fault is that it's so linear (I know you could play the four parts in any order, solving the frame area fully first, but does anyone? No).
But still, an average Myst is 8/10.



Tribes: Vengeance (PC) 7/10 (single player only)

I call lots of things "one of my fav genres" - JRPG, driving, flight sim, point&click. FPS is NOT one. So I don't have much beyond Halo 1 to compare T:V and that's tough comparison.
T:V is generally decent scifi shooter, with lots of corny plot giving you five different playable characters (2-3 of which aren't that different). This does bring some variety to the game, but like so often in shooters (and some other genres) the occasional special(=gimmick) levels are almost always stupid and annoying. Worst of these in third-last level which is essentially a tutorial thrown in near end of the game and made pretty much hardest part of the whole thing.
Not many weapons, but nice balance. Certainly not a bad game, but there are just so many better to choose from.



Dragon Quest V (SNes, translation hack) 7/10

I've been playing Dragon Quests one a year. First was generic but good basic JRPG; second a great sequel; third a weaker sidestep; and the fourth the top of the series, IMO the best Nes game there is.
DQV disappointed me. It just tries too hard. It tries to keep everything old (continuing in the world of IV), having all the familiar monsters/weapons/spells of previous games and add a new epic story (which of course is "kill the boss demon and save the world").

The big idea is that monsters (more or less randomly) join you, giving you tens of characters to play with. Like in any game like that, problem is do you keep your top group all the time or try to grind all of them in case one would at max level learn some big trick. As you have room for 8 (except in almost every meaningful dungeon can only use 3), the main character and - excuse the spoiler - his son are so powerful you'll practically have to use mainly the few humans all the time. Waste of interesting monsters (none but one have any story).

The coolest moment was - spoiler coming up, but you'll read this in any review - getting married. I didn't know that there were two options (in new versions of DQV three) to choose from. The story was telling me how my childhood friend (and temporary party character) loves me while the other girl, who sympathizes neighbor boy who loves her, is just a prize in contest set up by her father to suitors which is only a way for me to get a legendary shield. So when the game asks me which one do I want, I assumed it wouldn't really let me choose, that by some trick I'd marry the childhood friend anyway and kept going with the other girl to see what the game would do.
Imagine my surprise when I did marry the other girl after the game had totally indicated we're not meant together. DQV is pretty easy even for a JRPG, especially if you grind an hour or two at couple points.



Codename: Iceman (PC) 3/10

King's Quest, Larry, Space Quest... the old Sierra adventures are legendary games. They're also complete bastards, at least without a walkthrough. Even with one some of them are least to say annoying. Among the worst are Police Quest games and from their maker (between PQ2&3) came Codename: Iceman, something mixing a Bond story, submarine film (Das Boot or Red October, take your pick) and American military pathos of Top Gun.
Actually the concept is OK, except for having to play a submarine sim in an adventure game. It's the execution that sucks; familiar to anyone who's played a Sierra "classic". It takes trial and thousand errors to find out what you're supposed to be doing and ever so often you find out you should've done something particular half a game ago.
I have never thought games must be "fun", but I tend to think they should be preferable to sitting on a cactus and I'm not sure Iceman qualifies to that.



Colin McRae Rally 2005 (PC) 9/10

CMR05 gets 9/10 as a rally game; on a more general scale of driving games it would lose a point or two. Rally by nature isn't very good subject for a game because instead of driving against opponents - even rubberband AI - you're just competing against randomly generated numbers.
That said CMR05 does almost everything there can be done with the format. It has some faults: adjusting car is difficult/illogical (but that seems to be a problem for me with all driving games), opponent times/game difficulty are uneven and the car upgrade minigames are somewhat stupid and annoying (though I kind of like the suspension one).
But there's a decent amount of different cars, tracks and races (easier difficulty of two options took around 30 hours for me) and keyboard playability (I don't have wheel) is better than any non-track racing I've played.
You want a rally game? Might as well try this, they don't get much better.

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May/8/2016, 19:45 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Final Fantasy Legend 3 (GB) 7/10

On FFL2 I wrote:
quote:

JRPGs are one of my favourite genres. I loved Makai Toushi SaGa on Wonderswan (FFL1 remake). I had read that FFL2 would be best of the three GB games. So as you can guess from 5/10, I'm hugely disappointed on this.


FFL3 is a mix between 1 and 2. The virtually open world hides well bits of linearity. The system of various connected worlds tries to imitate first game, but unfortunately FFL3 is pretty generic (like JRPGs so often). The class system that was interesting in 1 and ruined in 2 has again been changed, this time to version where two of your characters are humans(=warrior) to start with and two mutants(=mage) and they can then change to monsters and robots with enemy meat/android parts. Problem is, the classes aren't balanced and you're better of keeping human/mutant group, only perhaps changing a mutant to monster for change now and then.

Though generic and simple, FFL3 had it's moments. You get to fly easily all over world (some of the time) and there's good amount of things (weapons, equipments, magic) you can take time to get or skip.
Without a walkthrough - I didn't need one - you'll be lost enough that there's no need for extra grinding. Then again, random encounters come at worst every few steps.



Just Cause (PC) 7/10

Just Cause is a GTA clone with many of the common faults of the genre:
- old console style save point system
- it's as easy to die by accident as on enemy fire (except air strikes); run over by car, fall from a place high enough to kill you but too low to parachute, grab the tail of a falling helicopter when you're trying to open parachute...
- one linear list of story missions - and you might as well ignore rest of the game once you find the best guns somewhere
- huge world means it takes ages to get everywhere

Just Cause is one of those games that could've been awesome with few small tweaks (saving system, more available health, faster running/vehicles), but is almost ruined by stupid problems. It has its moments (at times it feels like war games should, most story missions are OK) but it's there are many better games to spend 50 hours with. At least this is one you can finish without cheating.



Republic Commando (PC) 6/10 (as single player)

RC was a cool concept: Star Wars tactical FPS where you play a clone trooper. Unfortunately the game is generic, simple and repetitive even for an FPS. There's only about dozen different enemies, with no bosses of any sort. Levels are linear and unimaginative. The only reason why anyone would play this instead of tens of other shooters is that it's Star Wars.
On the other hand there's nothing seriously wrong about the game. Except... somebody thought game characters must be colorful personalities, everyone must be clearly identifiable and different. Even when those characters are CLONES!?!



Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast 7/10

5 years ago I played the previous game.
quote:

Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight

Solid FPS slightly leaning to action-adventure/platformer. I didn't find much use for the force powers which with the lightsaber separate this from a generic Quake clone of that age.
Lightsaber boss battles were bad idea. You don't make an FPS game and them put bits of hack'n'slash as main events. Only Star Wars can get away with that, a sword/crowbar/chainsaw only final battles would be laughed at anywhere else.

But mostly decent 7/10. Time hasn't been entirely kind to it.

JK2:JO is different in couple things. First JK was just set in the general Star Wars universe; in JK2 you meet Luke and Lando and visit Yavin temple, Bespin cloud city and Nar Shaddaa - this game is full of Star Wars stuff from music to AT-ST. Now lightsaber is much more useful, at least in end half of game (you only get it after first third). Force powers are still pretty useless or difficult to use beyond healing yourself.
There's lot more lightsaber fights, but mostly with generic enemies. The few real boss fights aren't very enjoyable.
JK2 isn't quite as good FPS as the first, but it has more platformer action and puzzles and much more Star Wars. (Though I kind of liked how JK1 was an independent story.) It's a matter of taste which is better.



Star Wars: Battlefront I (8/10) & II (4/10)

Along years I've had ideas for games, you know, "somebody should make a game where..."
Battlefront is much like one of those ideas - a kind of game I've wanted for years. However, it's sort of limited, could use more content. The campaign mode is just the battles in row, almost same as you can play freely. The strategy game is simple and the player to win couple first battles gains almost unbeatable advantage.
But in general fun and enjoyable, multiplayer depends on who you can find to play with and on what kind of connections.


Having liked BF1, I had high expectations for the sequel. No luck. Battlefront II sucks. (Many people seem to disagree.)
The strategy game is confusing, long and boring (at least in BF1 it was sort of "every battle matters"). And the actual single player campaign... I hate it. It's like a different game, it works like typical war FPS - compared to the general gameplay which is strategy/open world/tactical FPS. And I don't like game where you're told exactly what you must do next and if you miss time limit or other requirements, try again - and again and again.
BF1 had Easy difficulty which it didn't really need. BF2 didn't have and it would've needed. Space battles aren't fun. Campaign missions have various consecutive goals and if you miss one, restart mission. The "hero" units are just another special unit and not really game element like in first. (OK, it's cool to play Yoda, Maul, Grievous, Boba Fett...)

There's lot of talk about the upcoming Battlefront not having single player campaign, but the first barely had one and the second's is an absolute bastard, so I don't care.



Prey (PC) 7/10

I recall Prey was hyped a lot ten years ago. It tried hard to be "truly epic", but in the end it's quite generic scifi/fantasy FPS. There's nothing particularly bad about Prey, except maybe the whole storyline about alien abductions and indian spirits (they should have at least made it bit humorous like Max Payne for example). But its "innovations" of gravity flipping, portals and spirit form aren't that exciting. Weapons aren't that different from hundred other games.
Only thing different is the "Deathwalk". Which is a 10 second shooting range every time you die, to gain some life/spirit energy before you're thrown back where you died. In short, infinite lives with a mildly annoying minigame.
1990 Monkey Island introduced a great idea to point'n'click adventures: you can't die or get stuck. Makers of Prey tried to do the same with FPS. That is not a great idea. An FPS where it doesn't matter when you die is kind of pointless. It's barely even a "game" anymore.

In total Prey is simultaneously extremely generic and interesting and unusual. It's too easy to ever bother you or even become tiresome, but it's rarely much fun either.



Total Overdose (PC) 8/10

Total Overdose is a short GTA (Vice City) clone.

Pros:
- mostly easy, at least if you choose easy from 3 difficulty
- Max Payne style shoot dodge/bullet time plus other gimmicks
- rewind: a sort of extra life that let's you keep weapons etc. at death
- most missions - particularly story missions - are well designed
- plenty of save points within story missions
- casual feel: you don't die when hit by car and there's no cops
- you can choose any unlocked mission without actually driving to that place; after finishing story you can freely replay any story mission
- characters don't get annoying (since there's hardly any story)
- taxi (to take you to hot spots)
- [sign in to see URL] didn't crash once, practically no bugs

Cons:
- short (if you don't like that), 11 story missions (in 19 parts) and 34 challenge missions ranging between 1-10 minutes (mostly in the low end)
- some driving missions and other timed ones - some pretty impossible
- not much content
- no map; just compass that shows nothing but mission spots - makes save points hard to find early on
- bikes are hardly available in game - the only one (which you get halfway) is often more practical than cars
- very little ammo (though you along game earn ability to carry more and eventually infinite ammo to few weapons)
- granades/molotov/dynamite are in same system with other weapons (I hate that)



Super Wing Commander (3DO) 8/10

Wing Commander is my absolute favorite game series - has been for 20 years. This makes me biased, but that works both ways: I want to like any WC, but I'm also a critical fanboy.
SWC is basically remake of WC1 plus it's mission disks, except Secret Missions 2 has been replaced with a (60-70%) new campaign. Much of gameplay and structure is identical to PC WC1, but graphics and sound are all new. Annoyingly to a WC veteran, graphics for many ships have strangely been replaced with ones from WC2 or WC:Privateer, confusing me for a while about what am I actually fighting with.
There are some minor differences: extra missiles, wingmen don't come back to life for the Secret Missions parts, but don't die as easily (can even eject) and are more use and less annoyance.

In total, the playability just doesn't work as well as in other versions (PC, Sega CD) and that costs a couple points. Also I'm not sure if you can really lose in SWC at all; you may lose the WC1 part, but it just continues to SM1 (which can also be lost) and the final missions (the SWC-only campaign) that can't be lost.

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May/8/2016, 20:03 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Carnivores: Ice Age (PSP) 6/10

Carnivores games 1, 2 and Ice Age are practically same game with different maps and animals to hunt - and those are really a small difference. Carnivores is a dinosaur/mammoth/etc. hunting sandbox game (series) where your only goal is to gain new weapons/areas/targets by grinding kills. Not much content.
PSP controls aren't that great for a game made as PC FPS.
But it's not a bad game (if you can even call it a game). It's stupid, pointless... fun. Not for long, but fun.



LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean (PC) 7/10

LEGO games are all very similar and I'd give them in general 8 or 9. There are two major reason why PotC is only 7.

First are controls and the camera angle. Most of the time when you need to jump somewhere, it's not straight to U/D/L/R or diagonally but about 10 degrees off. Also somehow it's impossible to tell how close or far an object in air is; the game feels like you don't have depth perception.

Secondly PotC is not a good subject for a LEGO game. Comics work better than movies; you can just make a generic Batman/Spider-Man robbery plot to a LEGO game, but telling a complex movie story without speaking...
Star Wars works because people know them by heart, same with Indy. Potter and LotR too, if you've read the books.

But Pirates of the Caribbean? Not quite yet. And in some ways, it's the most serious and adult of all these, thus least fitting to LEGO: edit out all hangings, drinking and innuendo and you're too far off the original.

Difficulty was quite nice, there was only one thing I needed a walkthrough for - didn't see a hole in the wall.



Rogue Trooper (PC) 9/10

Rogue Trooper is console style scifi TPS (available on PS2/XBox/Wii) based on 2000AD comic. As I'm a fan I may be biased, but the game is an excellent example of how to use license.

Pros:
+ system of "buying" ammo and health with salvage: you can always get ammo for any weapon you have
+ many ways to play: go Rambo, snipe, sneak, throw grenades/mines or use various gimmicks
+ steady and good level design, despite few "turret" parts
+ good writing and some grim humor

Cons:
- slightly clumsy movement
- checkpoint saving (sometimes hard to tell when it has saved last)
- short (10 hours at most)
- no real boss fights

(Like always, I'm rating the game just for the single-player campaign.)

Shooters aren't one of my favorite genres, but I really enjoyed this one. Best (new) thing I've played for ages.



Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC) 7/10

KotOR is known as one of the best games ever. Obviously I disagree.
I'm not too fond of (western) RPGs; I though Baldur's Gates were overrated and while I see why people appreciate Fallout (1&2), I didn't give them 10. That said, I don't even count KotOR among the very best of its genre.
First of all the game is generic. If you replaced all names and looks, there's nothing uniquely Star Wars in the game. Just put wizards instead of jedi and magic instead of force and you have just another fantasy RPG.
The game is also mostly linear - something I dislike in any genre but particularly in RPGs. Especially the early parts of game are boring, second half improves a lot.
The few action minigames are annoyance and most puzzles simple to pointlessness. Towers of Hanoi, seriously? And third grade math problems - which a republic officer hasn't solved in hours. No wonder the sith are winning.
There were some good things: sith academy, HK-47, pazaak...



Criminal Girls (PSP) (Japanese, emulated) 8/10

Criminal Girls is mostly known for spanking and (very) softcore hentai pics. But it's also a great game, 2D dungeon crawler JRPG. Much of the tens of hours of play is grinding, but that doesn't matter because the best feature of the game is the battle system: your characters have each a randomly chosen move (of ones available) from which you choose one; those may be 1-4 characters simply attacking or the chosen character making a special attack or the typical heal/boost moves. you can also use one item per turn and switch one of active characters with three spares (most of game you have 7 characters, only less in beginning and couple other spots).
There are five naughty-ish minigames you'll have to play, but it's not necessary to play well (just means extra grinding). They are mostly fair, even fun - nothing to complain about.
The characters are pretty well balanced and because EXP is divided between all 7 (unless dead) none falls behind. And the game is merciful on all poisoning and other conditions disappearing after each battle.
After the game "ends" once, there's still a whole lot more before real ending. And even after that there's a "hidden" bonus level (with some of the most interesting battles of the game). Old trick in JRPGs, but once again well done.
It's an easy game like JRPGs often, at least if you grind enough. Try boss fights low level and you'll need ton of luck or ton of tries.
All in all, Criminal Girls has everything I usually like about JRPGs and panty-flashing anime girls on top.



Colin McRae Rally 3 (PC) 6/10

I gave CMR 2005 9/10 and it's pretty much the only comparison I have. CMR3 is in fact nicer to drive than the sequel; it's more an arcade rally while 2005 tried to be more realistic.
The reason why 3 is so much worse 2005 is lack of game modes. 2005 had great career mode, CMR 3 doesn't. You can only drive a single stage (1-4 players) or championship series which 18 rallys split to 3 seasons. And the 20 cars are only available only in the former. In championship you always drive same car (because it's McRae's car).
Extra complaint about the "secrets", cheats and bonus vehicles that you could only get by phoning to the game company or visiting their website (back when those were available). These include RC/tiny cars mode, which would've itself been a good idea for a little extra game more.



Half-Life 1 (PC) 7/10

I'm not too fond of FPS. I think late 90's early 3D graphics card era was one of ugliest times in gaming history. So H-L has few things against it from start for me.
But much of it is well designed and enjoyable. Only the end parts in alien worlds annoyed me, particularly because H-L has one common fault in shooters: jumping from one platform to another is harder than killing room full of enemies.
Guns are nice selection, but once you get the infinite ammo weapon you'll be using it most of time since there's no telling what you need to save your ammo for (another reason why final levels are worst part).

Half-Life: Opposing Force 8/10

Opposing Force was more steady in difficulty than H-L itself and didn't have major boring or annoying parts like the end of H-L. The final boss wasn't as good, but in everything else OF is a minor improvement to H-L itself.

Half-Life: Blue Shift 7/10

Blue Shift is in many ways like OF, but much shorter and lacks content. I hardly ever complain about a game or expansion being too short, but here I have to drop a point for that - and not adding anything meaningful.

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May/8/2016, 20:04 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Re: My (old) game reviews


Kingpin: Life of Crime (PC) 8/10

Kingpin is your basic single-player FPS (yes there is multiplayer, but that's just extra) with some RPG elements thrown in. Now and then there are people to talk to and shops to buy ammo, health, armor, guns and couple improvements to them. There are few bars along the game that are no-gun zones. You can even hire a helper or two at few points. All this tries to make Kingpin at least little different from hundred other games.
That doesn't entirely work. There's too little of these extra elements to make the game anything more than another FPS and their occasional puzzle nature leaves you stuck at couple points if you don't listen carefully what people say (between F-bombs). What does work is the atmosphere and subject. No aliens, not a war, but just a dissed and pissed guy taking down and taking over the mob of a dirty city. I'm no great friend of rap/hiphop, but the Cypress Hill song fit perfectly on this game.

Gameplay is quite good. There aren't many guns, but they're nicely spread around game, if not that balanced. After the metal bar/crowbar you get pistol, shotgun and tommy gun, each becoming the new standard to use. The other guns are kind of gimmicks: flamethrower isn't that handy, areas are rarely big enough to make good use of RPG and the grenade launcher actually replaces grenades of most games (it doesn't shoot that far and grenades don't explode on impact; but unlike in other games you can't use a real gun simultaneously with this). And then there's heavy machine-gun that is much more effective than tommy gun, but only lets you fire bursts of three bullets and gets you killed. It's supposed to be balanced with tommy gun, but it's more equal to shotgun.

All that said, I quite enjoyed this non-PC entertainment. For once "easy" actually means casual fun and not "only die every other minute". The game was ambitious, but obviously lacked time and/or funding to make it awesome. It feels unfinished, quickly wrapped up for publication - as it likely was.
Still, it total one of the few FPS' that I could imagine playing second time through one day.

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Jun/8/2016, 23:15 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Re: My (old) game reviews


Dragon Quest VI (SNes) 8/10

I have played the series since 2011, one game every year. Some have been great, some not.
The sixth Dragon Quest isn't as good as my favorite, the fourth, but better than the fifth which was kind of disappointing.
DQ6 has great mystery in it's heart: two worlds, one real, one dream... and you'll be halfway the game - game of ten of hours! - before you figure which is which. Unfortunately that was the coolest part and final parts aren't as interesting as beginning.
You'll have to grind a lot and even with extra ten of twenty hours just killing random encounters you will be able to kill the final boss long before you achieve various bonus goals and secrets. It's a pity this game doesn't just continue after "end" like some do (Pokemon for example), letting you hunt down the secrets. It's hard to motivate oneself to play from old save after finishing the game.
Character class system is interesting as basically works, but it doesn't matter much. Improving characters is all about grinding.

DQ6 is pretty generic JRPG (especially after playing the 5 first), but the mystery of early parts and new characters joining along story keeps player interested. Linearity is well hidden in the often virtually open world, just like I think it should be in good games of the genre.
Unlike some games of the series, DQ6 doesn't rely on player having played previous ones, but still gives some benefits if you have. Even so, someone who has played less JRPGs/DQs than myself might enjoy this game more than I did.

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Jul/21/2016, 22:57 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Re: My (old) game reviews


Look through previous posts for Lego Batman (DS) & PotC (PC).
I've also played GBA versions of Lego Star Wars I & II.

Lego Star Wars II (PC) 7/10

Apparently Lego games are better as handheld versions. The general concept still works in SW2, but there are many annoying faults in execution. Too many of the characters are just same re-skinned and there is far too much grinding: of the ca. 54 hours it took me to 100%, 10-20 were spend gathering money to open abilities (very last and most expensive ones of which are... ways to get more money! - at the point where you no longer have no use for it).
There are simply too many enemies. The core of Lego games is always puzzle solving and button smashing two dozen enemies 3-4 at time ever couple minutes gets boring. It's also frustrating because it's hard to tell when you have a finite and when infinite number of enemies, so you don't know if you should keep bashing them or find a way to make them stop.
SW2 has slightly better controls than PotC (the only other PC Lego game I've played), but still the 3D world doesn't work as well as handheld [sign in to see URL] (especially on keyboard).
Decently good game, but weak for a Lego game.




At this point, I could write definitions for my ratings:

10 = perfect and awesome
9 = great
8 = good
7 = OK
6 = playable
5 = bad
4 = very bad
3 = crap
2 = absolute crap
1 = worst ever
0 = I haven't yet decided if I use 0 in my rating system; I pray I'll never see a game that forces me to

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Sep/25/2016, 2:15 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Re: My (old) game reviews


Uru - Complete Chronicles (PC) 8/10

Separately:
Uru: Ages Beyond Myst 8/10
To D'ni: 9/10
The Path of the Shell: 6/10


Uru is the spin-off game of Myst series that was created around concept of an online multiplayer Myst game. The Complete Chronicles collection is a single player version - I assume created after closing down the original online service. It includes the original Uru single player part, multiplayer content added as "To D'ni" add-on and the actual expansion "The Path of the Shell".
The main difference to Myst games (with partial exception of Myst V) is that you have free first- or third-person movement like in more ordinary games. Including ability to jump... which is occasionally frustrating as it's hard to tell where you can or are supposed to jump. Often there are invisible walls, so no, you can't get over that obstacle just because you visibly can jump much higher than it.
Uru was your average Myst, even and much like Myst V. To D'ni was even better. The Path of the Shell on the other hand is a bastard. The two expansions make good effort to have something different than Uru (or any Myst), but while To D'ni is nice change, PotS is tiresome and frustrating. It makes you walk around long distances and sometimes back and forth to see if something did anything elsewhere. As worst, there are puzzles that can only be solved by waiting 15 minutes. Excuse the spoiler, but I don't think many people could figure that one out. And some of those are such that if you don't do the right thing then... go wait another 15 minutes! Like Myst IV (in fact worse than that), puzzles of PotS are very uneven, some insanely difficult and far-fetched and others quite easy. There are tons of vague hints that more often serve as red herrings for dozen other puzzles than the one they are meant for.
Uru is beautiful as any Myst. You get soon enough used to the movement and executing the solutions are almost never the problem. There's lots of fun mythology and overall the games are enjoyable, aside the nasty bits of PotS. There are only two major faults. Firstly, even the three parts combined, Uru is somewhat short (especially if you're one to go find a walkthrough after not being able to do anything for few hours). Secondly there's loading. Despite years of people/reviews complaining about game loading times, I've never had problem with that - until now. Every time you link to another age, the game looooooads. And in Uru you travel between ages more than in most Mysts. (Interestingly Riven was similarly the only game for me that bothered me with constant swapping of discs, another common complain about games I haven't experienced otherwise.)

In short Uru is average Myst with much in common with Myst V. IMO better than Riven or IV, but not as good a the original or III.

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Nov/4/2016, 22:00 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Re: My (old) game reviews


Mafia 1 (PC) 6/10

Mafia is a sort of GTA clone set in 1930's. It's a bit more serious and realistic than most similar games.

There's hardly anything really obviously wrong about the game (aside city being full of overly enthusiastic police), but there are whole lot of little annoyances. There's the map (you'll almost need to use paper map that came with the game - missing from my used copy), suicidal AI drivers (turns in front of a fast moving car; then decides to stop), impractical weapon hiding (messing with which gets police after you), only one place to save and heal yourself in Freeride modes (and even those can't be used during the actual game), labyrinth-like city design...

The idea that you and all other people die from same amount of damage/shots/hits is fine in a game that aims for some realism. But when the enemies are this good shooters (particularly with a bloody tommygun!) and there's a bunch of them against the one of you... that's not likely to end well. In short, staying alive has been made a bit too difficult. The weapons aren't very interesting or varied, but except for the slightly complicated carrying/hiding system they do their job.
Driving is mostly OK, though the more or less realistic cars of old take getting used to.

The somewhat authentic (in reality a decade or two too new) music around the game is great. On the other hand the composed music of the game doesn't fit, gives me a feeling of 50's or 60's rather than the 30's.
Story structure doesn't work very well, you kind of wonder "where is this going?" but particularly the final epilogue is artistically satisfying.
I found the game's length pretty suitable. But having finished the main game, I was no longer really motivated for the 19 "Freeride Extreme" missions and used walkthrough with those - not that it makes all of them much easier, they're made to challenge you. Nevertheless the FRE mode is a nice bit of extra on top of the story mode and the sandbox regular Freeride.

There's a lot of good to be said about Mafia, but it was also annoying as hell most of time.
Personally I most enjoyed the track race mission - which most people seem to hate and consider most difficult part of the game (couldn't disagree more!).

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Feb/8/2017, 23:55 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Re: My (old) game reviews


Lunar: Dragon Song aka Lunar: Genesis (NDS) 5/10

I somewhat enjoyed the two original 90's Lunar games (which I played as Sega CD/MegaCD versions), but thought those overrated and pretty generic in JRPG genre.

Lunar: Dragon Song is clearly weaker than those and there's one main reason for that: grinding. The game took me 100 hours (tbh more like half of that since I played it on emulator and put it on 200% speed) and while it's common in RPGs that over half of your time goes to gathering experience or money, in L:DS it's more like 80-90%.
This is because unlike in most games, you have to choose between getting from a battle either experience or money, so you'll have to grind twice compared to typical. Except you don't get money, you get items. And you don't turn those to money just by going to nearest shop. You take randomly generated missions to take certain amount of certain objects to certain person. More grinding... most of which is stepping in and out of menu to randomize new missions until you get one that pays well, is of object you have and requires you to take them to next door.

Game sounds and looks nice, but there's only so many graphics. Even for a handheld game, there's little content - less than in the decade older games.

Battle system is even simpler than average JRPG and the most positive thing about it is that you can put it on automatic (that just hits enemy until they die - or you, if you don't keep an eye on what's happening).

If there's anything redeeming on the game, it's storyline and characters. Somewhat generic (for player who has seem dozens of games of the genre), but still charming and enjoyable.

L:DS is a game of little content and insane amount of grinding and I can't really recommend it over many better JRPGs.

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