500 word game reviews

Watch
AngryJellyfish
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#61
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#61
New year, new page! :yay:

Despite the low number of replies / other reviews, I've decided to keep this going throughout 2019 too, since I enjoy writing them. However, unlike last year when I was posting them at least fortnightly, this time I'll aim for one a month. Writing 500 words doesn't take long, but playing the games does, which is why more recent reviews have all been quick puzzle games. Next one will be another RPG, all being well~
0
reply
noggins
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#62
Report 1 year ago
#62
(Original post by AngryJellyfish)
Thief Gold (1999) - Stealth, PC

Image

As if the late '90s wasn't already oversaturated with entertainment featuring Nic Cage.
0
reply
AngryJellyfish
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#63
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#63
Wizardry 8 (2001) - RPG, PC

Image

Story: Aeons ago, the Cosmic Lords created the first planet, Dominus, using the power of three MacGuffins. Now, rumor has it that whoever finds these artifacts will be able to ascend to the Cosmic Circle, basically becoming gods - an idea which appeals to your party!

Image

Gameplay: First, create your party! You can have up to six characters, selecting from the usual fantasy races (humans, elves, dwarves and more) and professions (fighter, ranger, rogue, mage etc). Or, if you've completed Wizardry 7, import your old party to continue their story~

Image

The game begins with your spaceship crash-landing on Dominus. In front of you is an abandoned monastery – the first dungeon! You can move freely through the 3D environment, with all actions taking place in real-time... until you come across an enemy.

Image

Combat is turn-based: you select actions for each member of your party (attack, defend, cast spell, use item etc), then click a button to start combat when ready. Who acts first depends on initiative, worked out based on Speed and Senses stats.

Image

Party formation is critical. Opponents usually attack in groups, surrounding you on all sides, so sticking your close combat classes at the front and sides, ranged attackers at the back and spellcasters in the centre (for example) should lead to fewer casualties!

Image

Once you're done with the monastery, you emerge into an open world... from there, you're on your own. The game gives you no handy map markers; you must speak to characters, find out for yourself what's going on in the world, choose which quests to take on, which alien races to ally yourselves with, and which NPCs to recruit as your 7th and 8th party members!

Image

The difficulty also ramps up after the monastery. The road between it and the nearby town of Arnika (an obvious first destination for info and trading) is one of the worst areas I've come across for random enemies. Even if you survive the first two or three encounters, make sure you find a safe place to camp, because they'll attack you in your sleep too!

Image

Controls: The game defaults to arrow keys for movement, but you can re-assign them to WASD or whatever you prefer in the options. Shift allows you to run away from the many horrible enemies – so long as you have the stamina! Mouse allows for looking around, picking items up, selecting from dialogue options etc. Very intuitive.

Image

Graphics and sound: The graphics are of course dated – render distance is low, so imagine your party are all short-sighted. Enemies of the same type all use the same model, though their appearances do change to reflect damage. Despite this, I do like the game's fantasy/sci-fi aesthetic, and a few locations did impress me visually.

Image

Music is passable, atmospheric, most areas have their own theme. It's the voice acting that stands out from an audio perspective – not only are all the NPCs voiced, but you can select from various voices and personalities for your own party too, and you'd be surprised how a small thing like that can help bring them to life.

Image

Overall: A great game, so long as you don't mind hardcore RPGs, lots of grinding and backtracking, and the occasional feeling that you have no idea where to go next. 8/10
Last edited by AngryJellyfish; 1 year ago
0
reply
AngryJellyfish
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#64
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#64
Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne (2002) - Strategy, PC

Image

Story: You play as a young man named Merlin, who in the opening cinematic is about to die in a storm. Fortunately, he is teleported to safety by Gabriel, keeper of the Wizard's circle, who needs a little help of his own...

There are seven circles of magic, and the wizard kings belonging to each have broken their alliance and started attacking Gabriel and each other. You must subdue these wizards and restore the balance, while trying to find out the reason for their actions.

Image

Gameplay: Age of Wonders II can either be a turn-based strategy or a real-time strategy game, giving you the option to select 'classic' or 'simultaneous' turns before starting. As I only played it against the AI, and doubt I could think or act as quickly as a computer, I chose the former, but could see the appeal of the latter for faster-paced multiplayer games.

Image

Wizards are key to this game. They can play a long-distance support role, hiding away in their towers and casting spells to aid your armies, or they can lead from the front. If a wizard dies, they simply respawn at your nearest town with a wizards tower. Therefore, your goal is to capture any enemy towns with towers, then finish off their wizard who'll have nowhere left to run.

Image

You spend the campaign mastering each individual 'circle' of magic. You start with limited, weaker spells from a circle, and must spend turns researching better ones. In the meantime, send out troops to explore, flag useful structures and build up your towns. By the time you have sufficient income to sustain a large army, you'll likely have some decent spells too! Unfortunately, you can only focus on one circle of magic at once, so will have to leave them behind as the game progresses.

Image

Diplomacy is also an option in single-player. Some wizards will be willing to form full alliances, allowing you to share world maps and work towards a joint victory; others might not go that far, but may accept a temporary peace treaty, letting you focus on other threats first.

Image

Controls: Entirely mouse-based, as far as I can tell – I always default to it in strategy games anyway, but couldn't find any mention of keyboard shortcuts in the game options.

The user interface isn't great – clunky, lots of windows, difficult to navigate, and it took me ages to work out where everything was even after playing the tutorial (which bombards you with information far too quickly). Then again, this is from the days when you'd still be expected to read the manual first, which I admittedly didn't.

Image

Graphics and sound: Graphically, an improvement on the original Age of Wonders, as you'd hope. The character portraits aren't that great though, in my opinion.

The soundtrack is standard fantasy fare. Sound effects are basic (walking sounds when units move etc). Didn't stand out much. The voice acting in the cinematics was decent, though.

Image

Overall: It has the same 'one more turn!' addictiveness as my beloved HOMM3, despite being far more basic, and certainly kept me entertained. Far more stable on newer machines than AOW1, too. 7/10
Last edited by AngryJellyfish; 1 year ago
0
reply
AngryJellyfish
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#65
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#65
Caesar IV (2006) - Strategy, PC.

Image

Story: You are the governor of a new Roman city, which you must build and govern efficiently in order to contribute to the Empire. Succeed, and you will be trusted with greater projects, higher salaries and more important titles... possibly even the role of the Emperor itself!

Image

Gameplay: You start each level with an empty landscape and some natural resources – from there, construct your city in a way that will allow you to meet that level's threshold scores in five different criteria: Population (the number of citizens living in your city), Favor (your approval rating with the Emperor), Prosperity (based on your city's income + the wealth of its citizens), Security (ability to deal with crime and outside threats) and Culture (provision of education and entertainment etc).

Image

Begin by building houses, then set up the basics for survival (farms for food, wells for water etc). Third comes other natural resources, such as clay and timber, and the factories which turn them into usable goods. Most maps will be abundant in certain resources while completely lacking others, so set up trade routes to buy and sell. All being well, you should then be able to turn a profit from tax and exports, allowing you to focus on those five goals.

Image

Caesar IV comes with two main campaigns, each seven levels long, though with a choice of two different cities at the start of each level – one will always focus more on the military side of things, the other on economics (I always opt for the latter, I'm here to build cities, not armies)! Once you've completed these, if you're really feeling up for a challenge, consider taking on... THE TUTORIAL!!!

...no, seriously. While the goals in the tutorial maps are easy on paper, the maps themselves are minuscule to the point where only the most optimally built city will allow you to clear them. Get passed these as a new player, and the rest of the game will be a walk in the plaza!

Image

Controls: Use the mouse to navigate the map, click buildings or roads and place them wherever you desire. Unlike its predecessors, Caesar IV gives you much finer control over building placement, as well as building on diagonals, allowing for greater customization and more efficient use of space. Click to open other menus, such as the world map for trade, or the advisor screen to view your progress. All very straight forward.

Image

Graphics and sound: Nice 3D graphics allow for full rotation, and a(n admittedly rather limited) zoom function – all an improvement on Caesar III, and to my eyes at least it hasn't aged that badly in 12-13 years.

The music is decent enough, though nothing special; what I do like is the citizens' voice lines when you click them, usually giving you helpful information about the state of the city or your popularity, but often worded in a way that references their job role.

Image

Overall: A challenging city builder, with a tutorial that literally throws you in at the deepest end possible, but that aside from that is difficult to fault. 8/10
0
reply
AngryJellyfish
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#66
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#66
Legend of Grimrock (2012) - RPG, PC

Image

Story: You play as a party of four prisoners, thrown into the dungeon at the peak of Mount Grimrock. Descend through this labyrinth to freedom, and your party's crimes will be absolved... of course, nobody has ever actually managed this.

Image

Gameplay: LoG is a grid-based RPG. Your party are chained tightly together in a square formation, meaning that the two in the back can't reach to attack unless they use ranged weapons, magic, or long spears. Bear that in mind when choosing classes and skills.

Image

Click your characters' weapons to attack, then there will be a short cooldown period before they can act again. Your enemies will also attack once, then wait awhile before making another move. Keep clicking weapons until your foes explode into a cloud of sparkles. Predictably, they get tougher the further down you go (faster, more health, ranged attacks, poison damage etc).

Image

Grimrock isn't all about hacking and slashing, though. The dungeons are filled with riddles and puzzles. Press buttons, flip levers and weigh down pressure plates to open gates or close trapdoors. Some of these are timed, forcing you to carry out actions perfectly to within a fraction of a second in order to progress. These too get more challenging as the game progresses.

Image

As with most RPGs, you have HP, mana and EXP. Armour found throughout the dungeon will help protect your party, but will slow them down if they aren't proficient in using it. Resistances (to cold, fire, poison etc) also impact how much a certain attack will hurt.

Your party needs to eat. Fortunately, there are plenty of snail chunks and fungi lying around! Initially, at least. Conserve food for later levels! Your party also needs to be able to see where they're going, so keep an eye on the condition of your torches, and switch them for new ones in any wall sconces you see.

Image

Controls: You can only move in the cardinal directions. By default, you do so using WASD (+ Q and E to turn left and right respectively). Simple in theory; in practice, the fact that turning takes time and an extra button press, means that you'll be forced to strafe through some of the harsher timed puzzles without being able to see where you're going.

Oh, and 'sleep' is set to R by default. You won't believe how many times I tried turning right to face an opponent, only for my party to spontaneously take a nap instead. If your co-ordination is as bad as mine, get that rebound fast!

Image

Graphics and sound: LoG looks a lot better than the usual old RPGs I cover here! Lovely 3D maps and mobs, though enemies of the same type do all look identical. No pixel-hunting here, except when it's deliberately for a puzzle.

Image

The game makes good use of sound, with things like the grinding of a stone wall moving after you flip a lever letting you know what that action achieved. The skittering or clunking of enemies also serves as advanced warning of what's behind the next door or corner.

Image

Overall: Very reminiscent of older 90s grid-based dungeon crawlers, so it appeals to me greatly. I'm not a fan of the timed puzzles though, far too many of them, with little to no leeway. 7/10
Last edited by AngryJellyfish; 1 year ago
0
reply
AngryJellyfish
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#67
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#67
The Incredible Machine 3 (1995) - Puzzle, PC

Image

Story: You have a mission to accomplish. Perhaps you need to set off some fireworks, or boil a kettle, or maybe even help a small person get home safely. Only one thing is certain: it'll involve building an Incredible Machine!

...this is another casual puzzle game, there is no plot.

Image

Gameplay: TIM3 is a series of stand-alone levels. Each features a 'playfield' window full of objects that you can't interact with directly, a separate 'parts' window full of other objects that you can place in the playfield wherever you like, and a simple-sounding goal to achieve. You do this by creating a Rube Goldberg device, using a combination of existing and new parts.

The game has a huge number of different parts available, which it introduces over the course of a 35 LEVEL TUTORIAL... fortunately, these levels are quick, easy, and very fun, so that's not as much of a slog as it might sound.

Image

Some parts are affected by gravity, falling downwards if placed in the air, rolling down slopes, or floating upwards in the case of balloons. Others will stick wherever you place them in the playfield. Some require electrical energy from a power socket, or mechanical energy from an engine. Some will destroy each other... and sometimes, that's exactly what you want them to do!

While some levels might be easy to clear if you had, say, an anti-gravity pad or two, you have no control over which parts you'll be given, so may have to make do with a series of pipes and springboards instead.

Image

Occasionally, you'll be given 'red herring' parts. These might be completely useless and easy to dismiss (e.g. a power socket in a level with no electrical tools); others might seem useful at first, but don't quite fit in with the rest of the machine, over-complicating things and distracting you from the true solution.

Image

Controls: Entirely mouse based. Click an item from the parts window, then click wherever you want to place it in the playfield. Some items will allow you to click to rotate them, or click and drag to resize them. Other options (hints, reset etc) are available by clicking buttons at the top of the screen. Really straight-forward.

Image

Graphics and sound: The look of the windows and buttons gives me nostalgia for early Windows operating systems. But aside from that, the parts themselves are 2D, cartoon-like, and it's probably thanks to this simplicity that it doesn't look too dated (by puzzle game standards).

The soundtrack (in the digital version I have, at least) consists of several different MIDI tunes... which absolutely date the game to the early 90s. Bizarrely, the original CD release included CDA music, which sound much better even to my nostalgic self. Ah well, unofficial fan patches exist.

Image

Overall: Simple, often frustrating, but addictive. No doubt I'll keep coming back to it. 6/10
Last edited by AngryJellyfish; 1 year ago
0
reply
Fullsend
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#68
Report 1 year ago
#68
I really like the idea of this but maybe if you try to focus on games which have been recently released or games that you know received a lot praise such as "The Last of Us" and review them it get more replies. A recent game i played is called "The Plague tail innocence" and i really liked it. I do not have time to write reviews on it but i suggest you check it out.
0
reply
AngryJellyfish
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#69
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#69
(Original post by Fullsend)
I really like the idea of this but maybe if you try to focus on games which have been recently released or games that you know received a lot praise such as "The Last of Us" and review them it get more replies. A recent game i played is called "The Plague tail innocence" and i really liked it. I do not have time to write reviews on it but i suggest you check it out.
I *think* I have one game from 2018 lying around somewhere... plenty of the ones I've reviewed received lots of praise in the 1990s/early 2000s, though! :p: I can't really justify spending big money on newer games when my PC probably won't handle them, I've got a ~100 game backlog as it is, and it still wouldn't guarantee replies. :no: I was hoping that a few more people would jump on the idea, providing some more variation.
0
reply
ThunderBeard
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#70
Report 1 year ago
#70
I was wondering how one could get this?
(Original post by AngryJellyfish)
Wizardry 8 (2001) - RPG, PC

Image

Story: Aeons ago, the Cosmic Lords created the first planet, Dominus, using the power of three MacGuffins. Now, rumor has it that whoever finds these artifacts will be able to ascend to the Cosmic Circle, basically becoming gods - an idea which appeals to your party!

Image

Gameplay: First, create your party! You can have up to six characters, selecting from the usual fantasy races (humans, elves, dwarves and more) and professions (fighter, ranger, rogue, mage etc). Or, if you've completed Wizardry 7, import your old party to continue their story~

Image

The game begins with your spaceship crash-landing on Dominus. In front of you is an abandoned monastery – the first dungeon! You can move freely through the 3D environment, with all actions taking place in real-time... until you come across an enemy.

Image

Combat is turn-based: you select actions for each member of your party (attack, defend, cast spell, use item etc), then click a button to start combat when ready. Who acts first depends on initiative, worked out based on Speed and Senses stats.

Image

Party formation is critical. Opponents usually attack in groups, surrounding you on all sides, so sticking your close combat classes at the front and sides, ranged attackers at the back and spellcasters in the centre (for example) should lead to fewer casualties!

Image

Once you're done with the monastery, you emerge into an open world... from there, you're on your own. The game gives you no handy map markers; you must speak to characters, find out for yourself what's going on in the world, choose which quests to take on, which alien races to ally yourselves with, and which NPCs to recruit as your 7th and 8th party members!

Image

The difficulty also ramps up after the monastery. The road between it and the nearby town of Arnika (an obvious first destination for info and trading) is one of the worst areas I've come across for random enemies. Even if you survive the first two or three encounters, make sure you find a safe place to camp, because they'll attack you in your sleep too!

Image

Controls: The game defaults to arrow keys for movement, but you can re-assign them to WASD or whatever you prefer in the options. Shift allows you to run away from the many horrible enemies – so long as you have the stamina! Mouse allows for looking around, picking items up, selecting from dialogue options etc. Very intuitive.

Image

Graphics and sound: The graphics are of course dated – render distance is low, so imagine your party are all short-sighted. Enemies of the same type all use the same model, though their appearances do change to reflect damage. Despite this, I do like the game's fantasy/sci-fi aesthetic, and a few locations did impress me visually.

Image

Music is passable, atmospheric, most areas have their own theme. It's the voice acting that stands out from an audio perspective – not only are all the NPCs voiced, but you can select from various voices and personalities for your own party too, and you'd be surprised how a small thing like that can help bring them to life.

Image

Overall: A great game, so long as you don't mind hardcore RPGs, lots of grinding and backtracking, and the occasional feeling that you have no idea where to go next. 8/10
1
reply
AngryJellyfish
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#71
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#71
(Original post by ThunderBeard)
I was wondering how one could get this?
I managed to get it free as a Twitch Prime subscriber last year, but it's on both Steam and GOG. :yes:
1
reply
AngryJellyfish
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#72
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#72
Here's a newer game, as requested!

one night, hot springs (2018) - Visual Novel, PC.

Image

Story: Main character Suzuki Haru is a young trans woman. One day, she is suddenly invited on an overnight stay at a hot spring inn by her oldest friend, Manami. While the idea might be tempting in an ideal world, Haru is reluctant due to the very gender-segregated nature of hot springs.

Image

Should she turn down the invitation, at the risk of hurting her friend's feelings? Or could things turn out worse for both of them if she goes along and inadvertently causes a scene?

Image

Gameplay: This is a visual novel, so for the most part all you do is read the story, and admire the art. Occasionally, Haru will be presented with a choice (such as the one above), and that's where the only real gameplay comes in. Do you end things less than 2 minutes in by having Haru stay at home? Or will you accept the offer, and get a glimpse of what a transgender person in Japan might feel or experience?

...the correct answer is both, as there are multiple endings (seven in total, some good, some bad) depending on the choices you make, and seeing all story routes gives you a better appreciation of the characters. Plus, Steam achievements~

Image

Back to the story: Assuming Haru goes to the hot springs, she meets up with Manami, and another of Manami's friends, Erika... who has no prior experience (to her knowledge, at least) of meeting a trans person, so has lots of questions. How will you have Haru respond to her?

Image

And then of course, there's the hot springs themselves. Regardless of how daring you the player might be, Haru's anxiety means that marching straight into the women's baths isn't an option you're presented with, so finding a way in which both she and her companions can enjoy the trip fully might take a few attempts.

Image

The story is short (took me about 30 minutes to read/play first time around), but is adorable, and handles this sensitive subject with plenty of respect. It can also teach you a bit about the laws in Japan regarding getting your legal gender identity changed officially.

Image

Controls: Click when you're done reading the text on the screen, then more text will show up. Read and repeat until you need to make a decision, then click the option you desire. Really basic stuff.

On your 2nd(+) playthrough, you'll have the option (via a button next to the text box) to fast-forward through parts of the story you've already read, making it quicker and easier to experience alternate routes. You can also backtrack if you change your mind about a decision, or click too fast and miss what a character said.

Image

Graphics and sound: The art is a cute, chibi, basic cartoon style. It does the job, and fits the feel of the story perfectly.

The soundtrack is very good on the whole, also helping to create a cute atmosphere... I'm not so keen on the tune that greets you on the opening screen though, don't know why, but the notes just sound really jarring to me!

Image

Overall: Did I mention this game is free on Steam? With that in mind, the fact that it's so short isn't an issue. An enjoyable visual novel... on the less negative routes, anyway. 7/10
Last edited by AngryJellyfish; 1 year ago
1
reply
shadowdweller
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#73
Report 1 year ago
#73
(Original post by AngryJellyfish)
Here's a newer game, as requested!

one night, hot springs (2018) - Visual Novel, PC.

Image

Story: Main character Suzuki Haru is a young trans woman. One day, she is suddenly invited on an overnight stay at a hot spring inn by her oldest friend, Manami. While the idea might be tempting in an ideal world, Haru is reluctant due to the very gender-segregated nature of hot springs.

Image

Should she turn down the invitation, at the risk of hurting her friend's feelings? Or could things turn out worse for both of them if she goes along and inadvertently causes a scene?

Image

Gameplay: This is a visual novel, so for the most part all you do is read the story, and admire the art. Occasionally, Haru will be presented with a choice (such as the one above), and that's where the only real gameplay comes in. Do you end things less than 2 minutes in by having Haru stay at home? Or will you accept the offer, and get a glimpse of what a transgender person in Japan might feel or experience?

...the correct answer is both, as there are multiple endings (seven in total, some good, some bad) depending on the choices you make, and seeing all story routes gives you a better appreciation of the characters. Plus, Steam achievements~

Image

Back to the story: Assuming Haru goes to the hot springs, she meets up with Manami, and another of Manami's friends, Erika... who has no prior experience (to her knowledge, at least) of meeting a trans person, so has lots of questions. How will you have Haru respond to her?

Image

And then of course, there's the hot springs themselves. Regardless of how daring you the player might be, Haru's anxiety means that marching straight into the women's baths isn't an option you're presented with, so finding a way in which both she and her companions can enjoy the trip fully might take a few attempts.

Image

The story is short (took me about 30 minutes to read/play first time around), but is adorable, and handles this sensitive subject with plenty of respect. It can also teach you a bit about the laws in Japan regarding getting your legal gender identity changed officially.

Image

Controls: Click when you're done reading the text on the screen, then more text will show up. Read and repeat until you need to make a decision, then click the option you desire. Really basic stuff.

On your 2nd(+) playthrough, you'll have the option (via a button next to the text box) to fast-forward through parts of the story you've already read, making it quicker and easier to experience alternate routes. You can also backtrack if you change your mind about a decision, or click too fast and miss what a character said.

Image

Graphics and sound: The art is a cute, chibi, basic cartoon style. It does the job, and fits the feel of the story perfectly.

The soundtrack is very good on the whole, also helping to create a cute atmosphere... I'm not so keen on the tune that greets you on the opening screen though, don't know why, but the notes just sound really jarring to me!

Image

Overall: Did I mention this game is free on Steam? With that in mind, the fact that it's so short isn't an issue. An enjoyable visual novel... on the less negative routes, anyway. 7/10
PRSOM, this looks fab and I'll check it out soon!
1
reply
AngryJellyfish
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#74
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#74
(Original post by shadowdweller)
PRSOM, this looks fab and I'll check it out soon!
Awesome! :yay: Apparently a sequel game got released in April, too.
0
reply
AngryJellyfish
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#75
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#75
It's a double this month! :yay:

Orwell (2016) - Simulation, PC

Image

Story: Following the passage of a new 'Safety Bill', which grants the government additional powers to spy on its citizens (in the name of public security, of course!), you are selected for the role of investigator, using the surveillance system 'Orwell' to collect information on 'people of interest'.

Image

Your first day on the job gets off to a dramatic start, after a bomb explodes at a busy public plaza, killing several people. Security cameras have identified one potential suspect, Cassandra Watergate, who has a criminal record for assaulting a police officer at that very same plaza...

Image

Gameplay: Begin gathering information on your first suspect by looking up her social media profile. Details such as her address, names of friends or family, her interests, things she has said etc. all appear as 'data chunks', which you can add to Orwell. Add things such as phone numbers, email addresses & instant messenger usernames, and you can even eavesdrop on her conversations. Your Advisor colleague will use any information you provide to dig up further relevant sources.

Image

Some of these data chunks have to be added to progress the game, but the majority of the time it is up to you what gets added. A joke among friends could be interpreted as a serious threat out of context - context which Orwell doesn't have. Some data chunks might also contain conflicting information, and you can't add both. Which ones do you believe, or think are relevant?

Image

The game is spread over five 'days', each ending with some dramatic event. Here is where the information you have added to Orwell really becomes relevant. You have the power to prevent further loss of life... but only if you've found the critical details needed for the government to take action. And that's assuming you even want to add them.

Image

The part I like the most is, you can paint any of the characters or their entire group as guilty or innocent, and that will change how things progress. Pile up incriminating evidence on the person you don't like. Add nothing but junk information to Orwell, and watch the chaos unfold. Or play the role of impartial detective, and find the true culprit. Ideally, do all the above on different play-throughs, to experience different story branches and endings (and get Steam achievements~).

Image

Controls: Entirely mouse-based. Half the screen is taken up by the Orwell case files, while the other is where you do your information searching. Click through the pages that your Advisor sends you, as though navigating an actual web site, and drag data chunks of interest onto the relevant person's file. That's about all there is to it.

Image

Graphics and sound: Static for the most part, all windows and text. You can add 'photos' of each suspect to their case files though, to give a face to the people you're snooping on. Those were nicely drawn.

Music was semi-dramatic, suiting a setting where things could go bad at any point, but aren't quite there yet. Then, when you do uncover something particularly big, the music changes instantly. Very nicely done.

Image

Overall: Trawling through pages of text and dragging bits onto Orwell can get repetitive, so I'd suggest taking a break after each day ends. The story was worth it though, in my opinion. 8/10
1
reply
AngryJellyfish
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#76
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#76
Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven (1998) - RPG, PC

Image

Story: The Planet of Enroth is invaded by an alien race, the devil-like Kreegans. The King leads an army to fight them off, but is betrayed and captured.

Your home, the village of Sweet Water, soon falls to the Kreegans, but thankfully the warlock Falagar teleports you to safety, and trains you in the skills necessary to save the world. Now, you find yourself at the town of New Sorpigal, in possession of an important letter regarding the king's whereabouts. Where the story goes from there is entirely up to you...

Image

Gameplay: MM6 gives you the choice of creating your own party (a good idea if you're an experienced player, or working from a strategy guide), or going with a default party (average, newbie-friendly, but might struggle in later quests). Usual stuff, pick classes, skills and sink points into basic attributes (Endurance, Might, Accuracy etc).

Image

The world of Enroth consists of 15 overland map screens; doesn't sound like a lot, but each one is pretty big, and contains several 'dungeons' which is where the majority of enemies, quest items and nice loot can be found. The game has a really good automap feature, allowing you to easily keep track of where you've been.

Image

The game is entirely non-linear, allowing you to go anywhere you like and tackle quests in any order... though since you start at a low level with really basic equipment and spells, maybe leave the dragons for later and take out the nearby goblin fortress instead. And if you want to follow the main story through to the end and actually win, certain quests are mandatory.

Image

Combat features a really interesting hybrid system, giving you the choice of real-time (good for taking down lone enemies or weak mobs quickly) or turn-based (better for big armies where tactics will be key to victory).

Image

Controls: Uses a combination of keyboard and mouse; the former is essential for movement, the latter for selecting certain options on the screen, but for most other things (combat, spell selection etc) you can use whichever you prefer.

Image

Certain keyboard controls are somewhat dated (e.g. arrow keys for movement); other choices boggle the mind (e.g. Page Down to look up), and you can't change any of them... but they're easy enough to get used to, I've played far worse.

Image

Graphics and sound: Backgrounds are 3D, and movement is fluid and free-scrolling; NPCs are 2D sprites, and all look the same (aside from the higher level ones, which might have different coloured shirts). Certainly not pretty by contemporary standards, but for the time it was fairly average. I find it charming, personally.

Image

The music is great – ambient in peaceful towns, creepy in dungeons, VERY creepy in especially nasty dungeons. Largely the same composers as the Heroes of Might and Magic games, which I also love.

Image

Overall: A decent late 90s CRPG; the lack of any real direction aside from 'these enemies are too tough, guess I'd better go somewhere else' can get frustrating at times, but the dungeons are well designed, and the hybrid combat allows for all kinds of fun tactics. 8/10
Last edited by AngryJellyfish; 1 year ago
0
reply
AngryJellyfish
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#77
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#77
Stonekeep (1995) - RPG, PC

Image

Story: One day, the peaceful castle of Stonekeep is captured and corrupted by the evil god Khull-Khuum. A young boy named Drake is the sole survivor, escaping with help from an unknown stranger.

Many years later, Drake returns seeking vengeance. He is aided by the goddess Thera, who separates Drake's spirit from his body, allowing him to enter the ruins of Stonekeep...

Image

Gameplay: Stonekeep is a first person RPG. Initially, you start with only a mystic mirror (a status screen which shows Drake's HP, allows you to equip him + consume food etc) and a magick scroll (a side inventory bar). The goddess Thera accompanies you for a short while, providing a basic tutorial, and by the time she leaves you should have a basic weapon and some rocks for ranged attacks.

Image

From there, it is mostly the usual dungeon crawling fare: fight giant ants, splitting slimes and goblin-like shargas. Find keys to unlock doors, and press buttons to solve puzzles or disable traps. Solve quests for NPC characters. Once you've done everything you need to do on a specific level, move on to the next, and repeat.

Combat is real-time. Enemies will either stand in front of you to use melee attacks, or pelt you with projectiles from a distance. You can do the same by equipping a weapon (or just use your fist) and clicking on the enemy (RMB: right hand, LMB: left hand). Usefully, opponents with ranged attacks can't shoot through doorways... but you can! Unfortunately, the combat does get a little repetitive after a while.

Image

The thing I like the most about Stonekeep is that, as you progress, you'll gradually find items that make your adventuring life much easier. One of the earliest is a journal, which contains a (very good) automap which you can even annotate, provides item descriptions, and keeps track of your skill level. Other things are less game changing, but make inventory management much easier (e.g a carrier bag for all your projectiles, or a keyring).

Image

Controls: Movement is grid based, you can only move and turn in the four cardinal directions. Movement is via arrow keys or WASD; most other things can be done via the cursor (looking, picking up, attacking, accessing the journal etc), though keyboard shortcuts exist for a lot of functions.

All in all, surprisingly straight forward and non-clunky for an older game, though scrolling through the inventory can be slow, even with buttons to skip 5 items at a time.

Image

Graphics and sound: The 3D environments are fine; you can see where you're going and tell what you're looking at. Not bad for its time. NPCs and most mobs are FMV, allowing for realistic movements.

Drake + all NPCs with dialogue are fully voiced, and those voices are clear, easy to understand (though they're also subtitled), and fit the characters well.

Image

Overall: Graphics aside, Stonekeep hasn't aged as badly as some other old RPGs, thanks to its decent controls. It has plenty of unique ideas, and fun NPCs. Unfortunately, boring combat and a high difficulty level meant that I struggled to play it for long periods before wanting to move on and do something else. 7/10
0
reply
AngryJellyfish
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#78
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#78
Sanitarium (1998) - Point-and-click adventure / horror, PC.

Image

Story: You awaken after a car accident to find yourself in a burning mental institution. You have no memory of who you are or how you got there, and what little information you are able to glean from the other patients is unreliable at best. Fortunately, after finding an ancient key in a filing cabinet, you are able to escape the building with help from a statue of an angel... yeah, this game is pretty abstract!

Image

From there, you must work your way through several levels set in wildly different locations – a rural village populated only by mutant children, a circus on an island plagued by a giant squid, a creepy home full of ghostly figures, other parts of the asylum (thankfully not on fire), and more, recovering lost memories along the way. How much of what you're seeing is real, and how much is delusion is often unclear, creating a great atmosphere.

Image

Gameplay: Sanitarium follows the usual point-and-click formula of picking up whatever objects you can find, then using them on other objects to solve puzzles and progress. Talking to characters in each area can give you useful information about where you are, and clues about what to do next.

Image

Sometimes you'll be faced with a more complicated puzzle (e.g. rearranging pipes to divert water flow to a certain area, or solving anagrams); this provides some variation, but none of the puzzles were overly difficult. There are also a couple of 'boss fights'... on the positive side, your character has unlimited lives, so you don't have to worry about game overs. On the negative side, the bosses are usually at the ends of large passageways or mazes, and dying sends you back to the start of the room.

Image

Controls: Entirely mouse-based, as with most point-and-click games, and supposedly designed to be as simple as possible (to quote the manual: “allowing you to spend more time immersed in the game experience and less time worrying about how to control the game”). There are keyboard shortcuts apparently, but the only one I used was Esc to bring up the options menu for saving and quitting.

Image

...unfortunately, movement controls let it down, for me. Holding down the right mouse button moves your character in the direction the cursor is pointed. Walking is slow at the best of times, and accidentally moving too near a staircase causes you to ascend or descend via an unskippable animation. Collision detection in the few areas of the game were it matters (e.g. those evil crows in that accursed pumpkin patch) was dubious as well.

Image

Graphics and sound: Sanitarium uses an isometric, birds-eye view, allowing you to see your character as well as their nearby surroundings in all directions. The graphics don't look all that dated to me (though I say that about a lot of 90s games!); buildings and backgrounds are detailed and as gorgeous as they are creepy.

Image

The sound effects and music also add a lot to the atmosphere and creepiness. All dialogue is voiced, and that too was of a high quality, easy to make out and really suiting each character.

Image

Overall: I like point-and-click, I like psychological horror, and I like not dying + losing game progress. Shame about the slow movement, but otherwise there's little to complain about. 8/10
0
reply
AngryJellyfish
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#79
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
#79
Magic: The Gathering Arena (2019) - Card game, PC

Image

Story: It's a card game, so not much! Each set in Magic: The Gathering does have its own plot, but you'll have to buy the books or read the articles for that. Not doing will have no impact on your ability to play the game.

Image

Gameplay: 500 words isn't sufficient to cover the rules of MTG; I'd recommend Arena's tutorial for that. In brief though, you win by reducing your opponent's life score to <0, or making them run out of cards to draw, before they do the same to you. Achieve this by casting spells, which you pay for with mana, usually acquired from land cards.

Image

For those familiar with MTG, but not Arena, this platform focuses largely on Standard. Build a 60+ card deck (or use one of the many starter decks it provides you with), take on other players, and win daily, weekly & monthly prizes in the form of in-game currency, individual cards and booster packs. Arena defaults to best-of-one games, but does also support BO3. You *can* play using cards from last year's Standard as well (in the new Historic format), but it's not fully supported or promoted yet.

Image

The only other format Arena offers full-time is Draft. Currently you draft against bots rather than other players, and their choices can be odd, something that's not popular with many players (I don't mind it personally, as I take ages to pick, and bots are patient)! Unlike constructed Standard games which are free to play, Draft costs in-game Gold or Gems, but you do get to keep all the cards you pick.

Image

Aside from that, Arena periodically makes things such as Pauper and Singleton available, and now offers Brawl once per week. As the platform only includes sets from Ixalan onward, formats encompassing older sets such as Modern and Legacy aren't supported, and likely won't be for the foreseeable future. It also lacks support for multiplayer (3+) gameplay.

Image

Arena copes with MTG's complexity, all its different keywords, large stacks of spells and abilities etc incredibly well. It streamlines the more time-consuming things, makes it clear which phase of a turn you're in and who has priority, and makes it easy to see things such as how many cards you + your opponent have in hands, libraries and graveyards.

Image

Controls: Entirely mouse-based. Click / drag cards from your hand to select them, or choose from different options on a modal card. Space bar functions as a quick alternative for some common actions, e.g. passing a phase.

Image

Graphics and sound: This is where Arena truly shines. Rare and mythic cards feature cool animations when they enter the battlefield. Planeswalker cards are fully voiced, helping to bring those iconic characters to life.

Image

There are several different battlefields, each themed around a recent set – all pretty, but the more recent additions tend to feature more animations and clickable objects. Background music is brilliant, especially for the Ravnica battlefield, which changes every time you play a land or spell with a guild watermark.

Image

Overall: Surely the best way to play Standard MTG digitally; Draft, debatable. Hopefully in time we'll see older sets and additional formats added, but for now, what it does offer is presented in a way that's difficult to fault. 9/10
0
reply
AngryJellyfish
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#80
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
#80
The King of Fighters 2002 - Fighting, 2017 PC port of a 2002 Neo Geo game

Image

Story: This game has no story. Apparently some from earlier in the franchise did, but this doesn't even have a thin plot to explain why these people are teaming up to fight each other. They just are. To become The King of Fighters 2002, I guess?

Image

Gameplay: It's an arcade game, so first insert a coin... that thankfully costs nothing in this emulation, just tap space as many times as you wish. Set your own number of 'lives', if you like that kind of challenge. Of course, you can insert extra coins at any point if you end up wanting 'just one more' try. :p:

Image

Then, select a team of three from the THIRTY NINE on the character select screen (and that's excluding hidden characters). The short amount of time you're given to do this is unfortunate – even when I knew who I wanted to pick, I struggled to get from one side of the screen to the other.

Image

Most stages in the 'campaign' are 3v3. You are given two potential teams of opponents to choose from. Then select the order in which you want your characters to fight – the AI will do the same at random, though their order won't be revealed until you've made your choices.

Image

Then, FIGHT! Kick, punch and otherwise assault your opponent until their health drops to zero. The winning character stays on, but any damage taken in the last round remains, while the other team's second fighter enters at full strength. Beat all three AI characters to advance to the next stage.

Image

Do that enough times, and you'll be faced with a much tougher 'boss fight' at the end – even though that fight is 3v1, it still gave me far more trouble than any other.

Image

Each character has their own fighting styles and special attacks. No info is given about them at the select screen aside from a name and portrait, however, so just pick them at random until you find ones that suit your play style.

Image

Controls: This is where this port really falls flat. Keyboard controls are arrow keys to move, jump and duck, and A, Z, X and C to attack (not Q, W, X and C as the 'Controls' screen states). You can't re-bind them.

Image

I don't have a controller, but I've read mixed reviews about whether this port supports them or not, so be warned. Nor do I have a 2nd person to play against, but on that the other reviewers are unanimous – no 2 player support. Bit of an oversight for an arcade fighting game!

Image

Graphics and sound: KoF 2002 was released towards the end of the Neo Geo's long life, so while it's 'only' 17 years old, add another decade for the hardware – the 2D pixel art appeals to me, but would have been dated even at release. Backgrounds are great.

Image

All characters are voiced (in Japanese, no English dubbing); again, sound quality is hampered by the Neo Geo's limitations, but you can hear what they're saying easily enough. BGM was alright, nothing special.

Image

Overall: A lazy port of what seems like an otherwise decent game. Doesn't even know what its own controls are. I managed to have some fun with it, but can see why many consider it an unplayable rip-off. 4/10
Last edited by AngryJellyfish; 10 months ago
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Are you confident you could find support for your mental health if you needed it in COVID-19?

Yes (97)
22.56%
No (333)
77.44%

Watched Threads

View All