Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour Review
The game is still fantastic and holds up very well thanks to this version of the game, which can be a hard thing to do with classic games in the same genre. It’s unfortunate that World Tour doesn’t stand on its own, but it would be a big lie to say that I didn’t enjoy playing through it.
Killing Room certainly has some interesting surprises up its sleeve when it comes to gameplay innovation, the enemies are creative and the item descriptions are usually funny yet the rest of the game just feels average in comparison and does little to nothing else to stand out from the crowd.
Shadow Warrior 2
Considering its mid-tier price point, Shadow Warrior 2 is a pretty astounding value, with a lengthy, breathless, and goofy campaign -- also playable in coop -- that provides an incredible amount of fun for less money than some of its full-priced shooter brethren. Though some of the characters could use a few more pixels and some may take offense at the incessantly jokey dialogue, Shadow Warrior 2 is a pure, old-school FPS that doesn't feel remotely retro.
A stark and slowed down shooter that behaves more like a puzzle game, filled with neat out-of-game menus and secrets to find, Superhot is one of the coolest things I've played in a long time. I've been excited since their in-browser prototype hit, and they expanded and delivered on the promise superbly. While it definitely didn't overstay its welcome, as soon as Superhot ended I wanted to do it all again. It's fun, looks great, and is the best action movie simulator I've ever played.
Despite the portents of doom, I do find myself looking forward to “one more match.” The joys of calling down a Titan, of tearing across the map, leaping from wall to wall, over rooftops and across gaps, outweigh those sad portents. This is not the second coming, and despite the trumpets blowing, they herald not that which would save us from the rest of First Person Shooter-dom. We find instead, quite simply, a damn fine game and one hell of a good time. And for my money, that's enough.
The concept of fusing classically-minded game designs together under a modern presentation is a great one, but the experience typifies all the worst parts of its inspiration. The puzzles barely register against the action or the plot, arbitrary gates to the next limp shooting gallery. The challenge and personality of old-school shooter or adventure classics is totally absent. It's one of the most creatively bankrupt games I've played this year. And you should not play it.
Alien Rage - Unlimited
Aside from some well realized visuals, Alien Rage offers almost nothing new to the genre and is so difficult that even the single player is completely avoidable. There are some things that Alien Rage does right when it comes to the visuals and atmosphere (which are honestly fantastic) but for the things it does right, the gameplay is not one of them and it winds up just being a frustratingly unimpressive experience. There will be a small audience for this game I’m sure but most should just let this game pass them by.
Rise of the Triad
Everything feels as if it was meant to be blown out of proportion, the insanity seeps into the action as many times as the developer sees fit. Everything flows nicely together, and the level of absurdity dished out on a consistent basis in this game is the sort of thing I can get behind. Couple that all together and you get what feels like a heartfelt homage to the Doom era FPS. While that style of FPS has all but disappeared, given way to the dramatic military and sci-fi military shooter, it's nice to see a game that still knows to not take itself seriously. Sometimes it's just fine to have a magical baseball bat that fires glowing baseballs that causes enemies to explode rather than an M16 or M4A1. Sometimes it's nice to not care about trying to recreate a semi-realistic world and get lost in crazy for a couple of hours. Nostalgia is certainly something that can bring back those memories, while potentially reminding us that the games we used to play as kids might not have been great. Nostalgia is certainly a strange feeling, but then again all double-edged blades are strange in some way, aren't they?
It just feels like so many of the design decisions in Sanctum 2 were arbitrary additions as opposed to carefully through-out improvements on the design of the first game. A while back on Twitter I was saying how indie developers should iterate on their games more often, rather than making a thing that is flawed in some way (as everything always is) and then just abandoning it and its ideas. The multiple characters and the player level system don't seem like the results of designers looking at their original work and asking themselves, "What did we do well and didn't do well? What can we improve on to make this a better game?" Sanctum 2 is a good game, especially if you have friends to play it with, but if there is a Sanctum 3 in the future then I hope the developers take a more critical, iterative approach to their craft.
Rising Storm changes just enough with the new weapons, new maps to explore, and new mechanics such as the ability to create traps with grenades. It's not a reinvention of gameplay that everyone always seems to wait for, or even the next big thing. It's a game with very specific ideals that caters to a very specific type of audience. If you're looking for an FPS with one foot in simulation like ARMA and the other in the action oriented gameplay like Battlefield, you'll have that itch scratched. I don't know if it will win over the original fans of the Red Orchestra series, the ones who weren't happy with the direction the second one took. I personally never took issue with the changes. One thing Tripwire Interactive has on their side is consistency, whether it be to anger their longtime fans or to make a rather good experience playing their game. That consistency is what helps them here, and the new weapons and environments may be just enough to convince giving the series another try to those who were left bitter with Red Orchestra 2. There's no harm in a second chance though, and for fifteen dollars it's a hard second chance to pass up.
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
Call of Juarez Gunslinger is the most fun I have had with a western experience since Red Dead Redemption and is easily Techland at their best. It’s kind of a shame to know that their A team was working on this while Dead Island Riptide was thrown together but I’m grateful that Gunslinger exists because it’s a solid and fun first person shooter with some great hooks in it. Techland has shown that with a small downloadable title they can shine with the best and I can only hope that this game will serve as a template for the next proper Call of Juarez game because what they are doing here is working and I would love to see it blown up to a full retail game but for fifteen dollars you can’t go wrong with Gunslinger.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
It's a shame that Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was forced to be a type of game it clearly isn't. A game just called "Blood Dragon," free of its open-world tropical heritage, would have given developers the flexibility they needed to do their vision justice. Compared directly to Far Cry 3, Blood Dragon is a mediocre Far Cry experience. In a more broad scope, Blood Dragon is an unfocused mess that could have used some fat-trimming in development. Fans who just want more Far Cry 3 or have particular nostalgia for the 80's could certainly find worse ways to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon, but you'll have to hear some terrible jokes to get there.
In the end, Crysis 3 is extraneous. It does little new with the gameplay and goes nowhere with the story. Both the story and the gameplay additions seems like they were invented for a new that had to be made, rather than inventing a game because these element had to be experienced. While it is technically the best version of Crysis out there, it is really only a slightly better version of Crysis 2’s mechanics and graphics. Because of that, Crysis 3 feels more like an expansion pack to Crysis 2 than a true sequel and more than likely not worth your time.
Forge has a lot of ideas within it and executes some of them to the fullest extent. The gameplay, while not perfect, is highly enjoyable when playing with a team that is willing to work together, rather than fight for themselves. A lot of the customization is only attribute-based, which leaves out the looting and collecting that full-fledged MMOs have, but there is promise for loot down the road. Similarly, the ability to make a clan is missing but promised later on as well. That seems to be the main drag with Forge: a lot of the things that seem interesting and fulfilling are being promised at an unknown later date.
Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 is the type of emergent open-world shooter that only current-generation technology can accomplish, but its campaign is filled with stale ideas. Its ambitious framework and strong first impression write a lot of checks that it can't cash, especially when it comes to the lackluster story mode. Luckily, that is only a small third of the complete package.
PlanetSide 2 is a hard game to sum up. It's a beautiful, solidly built shooter that presents large-scale conflict like nobody else in the business. The rest of the game's enjoyment, however, is entirely up to you. If you can dedicate the time to learning the systems, decoding the cumbersome UI, and finding a group of people that you like playing with, PlanetSide 2 will be a blast.
Parkouring dinosaurs, sub-horror moments of Velociraptor terror, and picking up a human as a Pteranodon and dropping them to their death are just a few reasons I love the concept and execution of Primal Carnage. It's just too bad that there's not more here to flesh out the more positive qualities and suppress the negative ones from seeping through.