Banished

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Addictively fun and brutally unforgiving village simulator. It takes a lot of time and effort to master this game due to a steep learning curve (unless you fancy spending the first several hours reading the in-game Wiki), but once you do, it will dawn on you that the gameplay is very simplistic, and new features are neither being added nor planned. At that point the only game is to see how long you can survive with a functioning village without a disaster or a disease outbreak bringing it all down around you – leaving little else to do.

The Witcher 2

I hope you have a GTX 980 and an i7-4770k, otherwise – you aren’t enjoying this game on ultra graphics.

But, if you’re willing to turn the graphics down a tad. The Witcher 2 improves upon the original in almost every conceivable way. Immensely better graphics, way better combat system, way friendlier user interface both for mouse/keyboard and controller, better animations, and a more engaging story. As old as it is, the game still looks extremely impressive. There are a great deal of natural landscapes and vista scenes that just make for great eye candy, for example. The castle siege at the beginning is quite a sight, too.

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Unfortunately, like the first game, that beauty is somewhat skin deep. Just like so many areas in The Witcher were cordoned off with invisible walls and fences or unopenable doors, so too are areas in the sequel. The game makes a point of showing you that you can use your medallion to find alchemy/other ingredients, but the perceived ability to run around the map and find things fades pretty quickly when you realize all of the lootable objects are blatantly obvious and never in the middle of nowhere. As much as I’d like to call it open world, it isnt, not any more than the first game.

Most important of all the improvements in Witcher 2 is the combat system. Good lord, the combat system is so, so much better than the original unengaging, frustrating, and primitive click-timing based system that so many games like Tera and Neverwinter capitalized on. It’s an MMO game style and it has no place in a single player game, so thankfully it was changed. W2 combat plays much more like an action RPG where left and right click or the equivalent gamepad controls determine strong or regular attacks. The timing of your button presses still affects your combos and the animations, and you still get the combo bonuses from the first game but they are a little less goals this time around, and more like rewards.

I do have negative things to say. People worship this game and Witcher 1, this game especially, for being so much different. Having played it now, I can conclusively say they are wrong. The game does have DLC. It does have QTE’s – extremely stupid ones for that matter. It has plenty of cutscenes, a bad save system that scares you in to manually saving whenever possible, and it does one of those awesome things like God of War 2 and 3 both did where you start out – in the tutorial – having skills, then dumps you with a crappy Geralt who has to relearn everything he learned in the first game, as if the first time he lost his memory wasn’t enough. They don’t even try to cover it up with a story excuse. How about just being super powerful for a moment, then facing equal or tougher enemies immediately once all game mechanics are introduced? Nah? Also, you have to meditate to use potions, and the entire quick menu section is convoluted, but at least you don’t need a campfire this time around.

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Overall though, Witcher 2 is a very good RPG – beautiful, fun combat, entertaining story (That bears a lot of similarity to Game of Thrones at times. Kingslayer, Vallettes always pay their debts, king with ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ children blah blah, etc.) Definitely buy this game if you liked the first one or were interested. It’s worth the price it’s at.

Bound By Flame

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It’s not that Bound By Flame is a bad game, per se, but within an hour of starting the game it’s pretty easy to see why the scores aren’t overwhelmingly positive for this title. It plays no differently, on the surface, from most other action RPG/hack and slash hybrids, but it doesn’t play as well as them either. While any of both your more popular hack and slash games and true action RPGs like Witcher 2, Darksiders, Darksiders 2, DMC 3 through 5, Metal Gear RR, God of War, and dozens of others utilize well built control schemes to condense various types of magic or abilities into one place, Bound By Flame makes the mistake of forcing you into a more MMO-familiar numerical menu, or quick-wheel which pauses the action, in order to do anything more advanced than swing a sword. In addition to this, the game utterly lacks a proper dodge function.

You can parry or dodge, but you can’t do both in the same stance. If you use warrior stance, you can parry, which doesn’t particularly help against large groups of enemies which can easily murder you regardless of parrying if more than one enemy hits you. Combined with the fact that you barely gain any HP from new armor or even levelling up, and you spend far too much time being a weakling that can be taken down by a pack of even the weakest enemies, your quest to simply survive until the ending is a frustrating one. If you use ranger stance, your combat is much faster and you can actually dodge – whether timed correctly or not – and it’s quite disappointing that you just can’t play the game without another stance.

In addition to that, while the premise of the game is for you to balance or choose between flame demon and human, you really have no choice but to use fire magic to accomplish anything. It’s just too bad even after putting skill points into it, your spells still cost so much mana.

As for the story and the dialogue, they really aren’t special enough to earn any praise. The dialog combines a lot of modern English and profanity (not that there wasn’t profanity in the old days) with the demon speaking in strictly Shakespearian English – to the point where the juxtaposition is just ridiculous. While I would like to be interested in the story, I find myself skipping through the dialog and cutscenes once the subtitles have displayed so I can get back to the game. Interactions with party members also seem ridiculous and overall your characters attitude is juvenile and callous, down to the wording he uses when he talks to people.

As a PC gamer I have to unfortunately comment on the graphics. When games like the Witcher 2/3 and Lords of the Fallen are basically the same thing, and your game looks like this on ultra, it doesn’t impress me. These graphics aren’t terrible, but they aren’t good either.

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I really wouldn’t buy this game until it’s on major discount – 10 dollar or less. The overall quality of the game combined with how short it is doesn’t merit even the $20 I paid. If you need an action RPG fix, this will satiate you – briefly, at least, but I fear it will not tide you over until a better game releases.

Final Fantasy XIII

 

Two things here:

Port:

Unsurprisingly, because why should Square Enix comprehend to any degree whatsoever the markets they are selling to especially when it comes to the Western PC gaming market, FFXIII for PC is not optimized by any definition of the word. The port itself is locked to 720p 30 fps, and the only way around this is to use Durante’s SweetFX-esque shader modifer to force override the locked resolution to 1920×1080 or whatever you want. You could also downsample and customize all of the graphics options which Square Enix did not include, at all, in the game.

Even so, and ignoring that Durante’s plugin is an early alpha build he spat out in a day, the game still runs terribly at 1080p unless you are already using a beastly GTX 980 and the latest-gen i7s. At 1080p with graphics truly set to low, the game looks good – but also runs horrendously. It’s certainly not unplayable, but pretty much defeats the purpose of gaming on PC when you could buy an xbox for 50 dollars and pick this game up for about 5, and “enjoy” basically the same experience.

Did I mention the 20 or 30gb of uncompressed cutscene videos you are forced to download just in case you want to listen to the Japanese audio? How about the fact that literally every time you launch the game, you have to customize the “options” – such as the on screen button displays – or they won’t work? Don’t worry though. Even if you do change the button descriptions to “controller”, it will still show keyboard keys and not 360 buttons or even Playstation buttons.

Oh, by the way, if you have terrible internet – do not use Steam cloud. In fact, don’t use Steam cloud for this game. If you do, the game will ONLY save to the cloud and will not create a local copy. As soon as you go offline or you turn off cloud sync, your save will be inaccessible.

Game:

FFXIII is hands down the worst final fantasy game ever made. There are those who dispute this, and good for them, but it’s not opinion. The combat system is drastically hands-off in comparison to even FF12 which literally played the game for you, and to make that better, it suffers from asinine mechanics that never should have made it past quality testing. Specifically, if your party leader dies, it’s game over immediately. They fixed this in 13-2 obviously but, this isn’t 13-2, is it? Once you get waist deep in the game, though, the combat and the paradigm shift system are fully realized – but they never make for an interesting battle except for a few select boss encounters.

The voice acting is hard to deal with, in English anyway. Hopefully everyone knew that already but you have some of those PC master race kids on here who only game on PC. Vanille’s VA is schizophrenic at the best of times, and really the only voice acting you can deal with is Snow.

It’s somewhat of a shame, though, as the game does have impressive graphics and a decent story. You’ll just have to deal with a cavalcade of bullshit until you can actually enjoy the game – which will happen literally at Chapter 11 or so. Until then, you will be forced to use subsets of all available characters as they journey in separate groups around Cocoon and Pulse. For the first chapter, you can’t even level up or change your roles.

The crystarium is a cruel joke and all it does is make you hate it for not being the sphere grid. Again, they kind of fixed this in 13-2 and LR, too late though. So, more pure linearity to enjoy. The entire game is one long hallway until you get to a room – Gran Pulse Archlyte Steppes – and even so that “room” isn’t exactly the most expansive free roaming area. All of this culminates in literally the easiest last boss I can remember in any RPG.

Unless you didn’t suffer through this game the first time, or you’re a collector – don’t even bother.

Remember Me

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Contrary to what many critics say, Remember Me is actually quite a good game. The graphics are quite impressive, on PC, even though if you examine each thing in the game individually the textures don’t appear to detailed or high resolution, and there are plenty of beautiful scenes and vistas in the game. Combat is accomplished with a “customizable” combo system in which you can replace certain pre-determined buttons with various different types of attacks which increase your power, restore your health, decreasse your “Special” cooldown time, and others. Ultimately the combat is not too complex and usually consists of very simplistic patterns like X Y Y X Y Y, or X X X, but it proves fun regardless when combined with later abilities gained and new enemy types to which you must adapt.

The story isn’t exactly “new”, as it builds upon concepts floating around the science fiction world and even Hollywood for decades. You are tasked with correcting the “wrongs” of a Paris, neo-Paris, in which Dumbledores pensieve has become commercial technology for every citizen to use – leading to memory junkies, and all sorts of weird “digital” modifications as well as multiple oddly labelled “memoriel” concepts which Capcom seems to have made up.

The platforming isn’t remotely as challengng as some harder platformers, but really it’s a lie to say that any 3D platforming game is difficult. That’s one of the only things I remember people complaining about, that the platforming was pretty much on rails and the camera always told you where to go with it’s focus. Regardless, the game is some good fun without putting forth much effort. On top of that, the graphics in many parts of the game are surprisingly brilliant for a low-key console game – and, it gives me hope that if Capcom actually got their act together, they could use many of the lighting effects and creepy environments in Remember Me as a good example of how to fix some of the atmospheric problems of Resident Evil.

Posted: October 13.

Fake PC Gamers

The group of gamers I hate more than anything – more than Sony fanboys, more than Nintendo fanboys, or Xbox fanboys, even more than actual PC gamers, is fake PC gamers. Seriously.  Just look at this.

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What a fucking idiot. These people shouldn’t be allowed on a computer or the internet at all. He didn’t even bother to research his bullshit statement. Literally 4 seconds of Googling would have proven him wrong. 1920×1080 didn’t EXIST in 2001. Wide screen 16:9 PC monitors were not for sale, in 2001. They weren’t even widely available until 2005 and furthermore, you weren’t running CS at 60 fps WITH a brand new GPU in 2001.

Know how I know that? Because I was fucking there. CS was my shit. Of all the frequent LAN parties I went to, I never even met a person with a widescreen monitor that did 1080p. You would think one of those hundreds of people, some of whom were gauranteed to have better machines, would have one. Oh wait I know, because they didn’t exist.

That’s aside from the fact that out of over 100 million games, the minority is running games in 4K. 4K monitors are more expensive than the actual GPUs needed to run games at 4k. Not everyone is doing it, or using display port.

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And this is all because of, essentially, the above pic – because Squeenix released the worst PC port of all PC releases this entire year, and said they would do better next time.

Fist of Jesus

Absolutely worth the 10 dollars. I bought this game on literally nothing but a half view of the trailer and some screenshots. If you like Battletoads, X-Men, Simpsons, AVP, TMNT, Final Fight, Castle Crashers, Double Dragon, Scott Pilgrim, or any other game in the beat em up genre, you will love this.

Unless you’re a diehard Christian with no sense of humor – then definitely stay away.

For the first 2 hours I played this game tonight I was laughing my ass off at the dialog, the animations, the names of powers, the enemies, and everything in general.

There is one thing I will note and that once you get deep into the game like chapter 3 and beyond, it gets harder than hell, no joke. Have fun beating Lazarus the second time, I gave up after 10 fails. I may be missing something.

You get Judas and Jesus and can swap between them – though thus far the controller bind for this does not work at all – and they each get 3 unique powers, usually one being protective, one being an AoE, and the other being a straight line attack that is also AoE but can only hit in a straight line. Your characters can pick up various weapons and items in the levels or buy them before it starts, and you can also destroy world objects to gain items.

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Each level presents a goal you must meet before the timer ends in order to proceed. Usually it is to survive but in the harder levels it is to kill a certain amount of enemies and gain a certaina mount of points, without dying, before the timer runs out. And on some of these levels, it’s ridiculously hard – enemies will literally fill the screen until it’s impossible to move.

Regardless, I haven’t had this much fun with a game in a very long time.