February 27, 2011

Silent Hill 2 - Director's Cut

Computer game ain't what they were in the past, right? :)

Today I bring forth yet another jewel of the Survival Horror genre.

Silent Hill 2: Director's Cut   - Developer: Konami

It's been almost 10 years of its release. Yet few games of the genre have managed to capture the eearieness found here.

....Mary? Is that you?
You are James Sunderland, a twenty-something fella who drives to Silent Hill with a single purpose in mind: Finding his dead wife Mary. She's been in that state for 10 years, which is why he finds receiving a letter from her rather strange.

This sets the tone for a series of rather disturbing events which unfold in a marvelous way.. hooking you up for hours.
Without giving out too much of the plot, which would honestly be a crime, you can expect to find all those things that make Silent Hill great. Sounds and an ambience that will make you shriek every time you hear a noise; Enemies both beautiful and disgusting to look at, and a fog so thick you'll never see them coming.

Your flashlight will become your new best friend
Something that in my opinion is needed to be emphazised, is just how much you can explore given the hardware limitations. While you will most definitely find 'decoy' doors and the infamous 'broken lock' ones, there's just a whole lot to see and explore. You can sidetrack quite a bit and add a good hour or two of gameplay just by paying attention to all the detail given to the city and going around town looking for ammo lying on the ground.

Cutscenes are to be highlighted too, due to the considerable amount of them available, and the surprisingly good voice acting in general.

The 4 different endings available, and the 'sidestory' event, which tells a story from the perspective of a different character, allows for great replay value and extended gameplay.

One of the only things I found lacking is the camera. It somehow finds a way to lag in certain key moments, or to have you see in the exact opposite direction where you're going; something that will lead to quite a bit of frustration.

Nonetheless, despite these minor issues stated, SH2:DC is a very solid game. One that ought to be experienced by all those who enjoy Survival Horror.

...Scratch that, if you like games, you'll love this.

Rating 9/10

February 24, 2011

Gearbox wants to.. retribute?

Joystiq blogged recently about this. I find this a nice gesture.. although I can't think of a way they could possibly display it in game... unless they wanted their credits to last for 3 hours.

Stay tuned for more reviews. By the way, feel free to suggest a game. Leave a comment and I'll see if I can play it, or if I already did, I'll make a review of it!

February 23, 2011

King's Bounty: Armored Princess

Welcome back to Paul's Game Reviews.

Todays' review is about King's Bounty: Armored Princess

Developer:  Katauri Interactive

Few ''clones'' are worthy of recognition. Most of the time it's because they don't add anything new. They just take a formula that works, make it look and feel slightly different, and then hope that some of the original game's success will spill out to this ''new'' game.

KB:AP is the kind of clone that manages to surpass the original. (It being the Heroes of Might and Magic series)

In fact, It's in a time like this (when the HoMM franchise is struggling due to lack of innovation) where creative clones shine. And so the apprentice beats the master.

The game sets us in the fantasy realm of Endoria, where you (the princess) have to travel to the paralel world of Teana in order to save yours from a demon invasion. Fortunately for her, she has a special device which allows her to take her sweet time to gain experience, and then magically go back to the exact moment and place where the demon invasion occurs.
Amelie, the Protagonist
In this new world, you are tasked to gather several Magical Stones, and to find your mentor Sir Gilbert.
Along the way, of course, you'll be riddled with sidequests so that dozens of hours will be spent before even remotely approaching the end.
Gameplay is where KB:AP shines. It's in essence the same Strategy RPG formula that worked wonders for the HoMM of old, yet several key improvements brought a much neccesary lifting to the franchise.
To name but a few.. you'll have a Pet Dragon accompanying you on your journey, who will gain experience just like the Princess does, and learn many important abilities like Find Treasure and Dragon Dive.
The fact that there are several different dragons available with different starting skills makes up for vary interesting, diverse strategies; and also allows for some replayability, although in my opinion there should be more ''unique'' skills or ''ultimate'' abilities for each Dragon to encourage replays even more.
Even Dwarves can take on Dragons
Also, every time you gain ''runes'' (a.k.a talent points like WoW), you can spend them in three different talent trees, each with a different focus. This is a major replay factor due to the fact that several ''builds'' are available. You could choose to become a more ''Offensive melee'' princess, with armies focused on close combat, like Orcs; or perhaps become some sort of pseudo-necromancer and have an invincible army of the undead. Or any combination imaginable.
Items add to this variability as well, given the sheer amount of them available (in the hundreds), and many who provide unique powers (like upgrading magic abilities or raising some of your ''dead'' undead forces at the end of battle).

Graphicwise, I have to say that It looks a bit dated for its time. Even so, the artistic direction taken is very good, so it all evens out in the end.

The Music is quite memorable, with several cool soundtracks that will float about in your brain for hours after playing.

It would be unfair to ignore this title as a mere clone. There is much to be found in KB:AP that you won't find anywhere else, and while much in it has been done already, It's done so wonderfully and well-paced that you just don't care.

Be sure to check your watch every once in a while.. you may find yourself playing for 8 hours straight.

Rating: 9/10

February 22, 2011

Mechwarrior 5

I'm so hyped about this game.. and look at those graphics! Hopefully It'll be released soon

February 21, 2011


Hello guys.. welcome back to Paul's Game Reviews.

Today we have an Indie title that broke all records.. and deservingly so. I'm talking about: Minecraft.

Developed by Markus Persson, the game puts you in the shoes of a nameless man whose sole purpose is to... create. In a way, its Lego meets Garry's Mod, in the land of awesome.
Currently in its Beta stage, the primary (and for now, only) game mode is Survival. In it, you'll find yourself in a huge randomly generated world, where you'll have to gather wood, stone, iron, and other materials, in order to protect yourself from the evil monsters that lurk in the dark.
One of the endless beautiful creations.
Of course that, after a few days of sleeping in a 3x3 cube of dirt, you'll want to expand a little bit. And boy does Minecraft provide. Given the many tools, including picks, axes, doors, switches, and many MANY more provided, there's just limitless amounts of fun to be had.
I, personally, set myself the goal of creating a pixelated Marauder (from the Mechwarrior series). Will I succeed? Time will tell.
There's not much to say graphic-wise. It's 8-bit graphics at its finest. Not a whole lot to see, but I'd dare say it's part of the charm.
Music is, in my opinion, a tad bit lacking. The few soundtracks found in the game, I found very relaxing and entertaining to listen.. but more often that not.. it's just the sounds of your footsteps and the occasional hack of your tool.
I do have to say though.. that after a while the game can get a bit tedious.. especially if you're not very patient. But all you need is an idea to spark your imagination and BAM.. you're back in the game spending hours upon hours on your project.

In short.. Minecraft is a game for creative people. If you're one of those, or you have (or had) even the mildest interest in creation, then give this game a try.
If you're more of an action type who loves fancy graphics, It would probably be wise to stay away.

One can only imagine how cool the game will be once it reaches Gold status.

Rating: 8.5/10

February 04, 2011

Amnesia - The Dark Descent

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Paul's Game Reviews.

Today we have with us a game that has been gaining increased popularity and momentum as of late, and deservingly so. A game that tries to redefine the way Survival Horror is played... or, should I say, shows other similar games how wrong they were in their approach.

This game is Amnesia: The Dark Descent. (Developed by Frictional Games)

From the moment you gain control of your character, you will notice what this is all about. You have nothing on you: no weapons, not even your bare fists. Everything is dark, and the voices in your head don't help make things better. Occasionally you will stumble upon tinder, which will allow you to light candles spread around the different areas of the castle, and oil for your trusty lamp; the latter being absolutely vital.
You'll never know when its safe


I will not spoil anything story-wise, as It would really be a shame for you not to experience it first hand. Ideally on a dark, silent night; with the lights off, and your volume cranked up to the max.
Suffice to say this game is not lacking on a good storyline at all.

In terms of sounds and music, It feels just right. It's not a cluster of pointless sounds. You can hear your footsteps, the creaking of a wooder door being opened, the haunting screams of seemingly real victims echoing in the halls... you know, the usual stuff.
Music is nowhere to be found except on the opening menu, which in my opinion is rather lacking. Although it helps not to have some random track playing to build up the creepy ambience, I think several key moments of the game could have been enhanced with a short creepy tune. At least to have something memorable that automatically associates the music with the game (a.k.a Jaws)

If you're THIS close... well, I'd close my eyes if I were you
Last but not least, we have to mention the graphics. For a surprisingly weightless game (barely 1gb), It looks stunning. No matter where you examine; whether its a portrait, the cover of a book, or even the occasional blood-coated wall, you will find nothing but detail. This is the kind of game where you should spend a good minute or two in every single room looking at pretty much everything. Too bad you probably won't have enough lamp oil to do so :P

In the end, regardless of minor issues you may encounter throughout your playthrough, there's no denying that Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a true survival horror marvel, that ought to be played by all fans of the genre; while newcomers to it will find in this game a very good place to start.

Rating: 9/10

February 03, 2011

Grand Opening

Ah.. the day has come. It is time now to embark on a great journey of gaming and reviewing.

My name is Paul, as you may have guessed.. and from now on I will be posting daily reviews of some of Gaming's Marvels. Some of these you may have heard of, some you may not. But rest assured! I will provide you with quality reviews.

I will also be taking requests in case anyone wants a specific review. For the time being, I'll focus on titles that were either unsuccessful commercial-wise, or are too old to be remembered.

See you guys tomorrow :P