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Fallout 3

Game review

Fallout world brought back to life, in a first person perspective and with shooter elements. Action-RPG. That's what can be said by looking at the game for the first time and that still holds after playing it.
After 100+ hours playing it, what else can I say about it?

Fallout 3 feels a lot like Oblivion with guns.

Fallout 3 is long, very long. And extremely repetitive. Whatever your quest is, as smart as it can look at the begining, it will always end up with a boring gunfight. And after hundred gunfights in Fallout 3, all I can say is: they all felt exactly the same.

The world is large, 99% grey, and graphics are very repetitive. Only the main quest and DLCs have, sometimes, original graphics.

Fallout 3 is average as an RPG. Level cap occurs after playing maybe 1/3rd of the game. Except for lockpicking, repairing and "science" (hacking, that is), there is no feeling of progression. Basically, all the fights are the same whatever your level is. As said above, quests are meh. Main story is pretty much the only developed story and it's very average, with totally awful parts (eg the ridiculous ending of your way through the Enclave HQ).

Fallout 3 is not a good FPS. The engine is not smooth at all. You can look in your inventory at any time during a fight and the gamme will pause: repair your weapon, change your armor, heal yourself, go look at your map and go back to fight whenever you want. The VATS system (pauses the game and lets you aim at any part of your enemy for those who never played a Fallout) is too powerful, and kills the tension too.
Your adrenaline level will never go up while playing Fallout 3.

Fallout 3 is not better than Oblivion concerning discretion, meaning it's average.

DLCs: Point Lookout is ok, the Pitt not too bad, Broken Steel brings nothing really new, Anchorage looks ok but is just a terrible FPS and Mothership Zeta is the same, in worse. So, Point Lookout is the only one worth, with a bit of Shivering Isles feel, to keep with the Oblivion comparison, but really no place in Fallout 3 feels as good as Shivering Isles.

Conclusion: Fallout 3 is a very long, very repetitive, very average FPS/RPG. (Way better) alternatives: Morrowind for very long action RPG, STALKER series for FPS/RPG in post-apo setup.


Deus Ex: Revision

Mod review - 4 agree - 2 disagree

Revision is a mod that aims at 'augmenting' Deus Ex (the best game ever, for those who don't know), giving it a fresh feel with map design modifications and new music, and trying to make it better in terms of overall ambiance with better (and new) textures and graphics. It doesn't change the gameplay (actually it can, optionnally, through other existing mods that have been included), nor the story. There are some new texts here and there, but no real new quests.

Overall, Revision succeeds in its mission. Mainly graphically, and also on the ambiance. The map design augmentation, when present, is nice, but I was expecting more. All in all, DX surely got augmented.

Before moving to the details, here is the context of my review:
- I've played Deus Ex about 10 times already, plus lots of DX mods and maps.
- I've been looking over this mod for one year or so before its release and ended up having big expectations.
- I'm a bit of a Steam hater, and don't like Square Enix either. I don't like what happened with this mod, but I believe its creators did the best they actually could for their mod to spread. Putting a rating and making a review (positive or negative) all about that (official) Steam-exclusivity is stupid. BTW, I played the mod with my CD GOTY version of Deus Ex.
- The mod ran totally smoothly on my almost 3yo banal laptop.

Now, the details.

Concerning the maps design, I spent a good half of the game disappointed. Most of the New York maps (except Hell's Kitchen), Hong Kong (except the market) and later Vandenberg, to name some, don't have the promised fresh feeling.
Also, Hong Kong (market) and half of Area 51 (outside) feel too empty.
The good comes with Paris which is really beautiful, and goes up in the Ocean Lab, which has a very nice ambiance, very System Shock 2-ish, with nice lighting. The last part of the game, inside Area 51, is a success as well. Hell's Kitchen is nice too, it's actually possible to get lost again in there! The UNATCO HQ and that secret chamber in the 9th chapter were quite nice.
Most of the improvement actually concerns the ambiance, but it's still nice to explore the (not numerous enough) maps that have new places in them.
Overall, I'm still half disappointed with the maps modifications.

Concerning the graphics, this mod is simply the best there is for Deus Ex. The material coming from New Vision has been improved in that sense that New Vision had reversed textures in many places. Revision corrected that, and added a lot in the second half of the game. Also, the posters, newspapers, books, screens and all are really cool. Now you can read the newspapers and books without clicking on them, and you'll sometimes find new things written on there. Really cool.
Still waiting for nice textures for the characters though. I had to switch the HDTP textures off: as others, I think they are ugly.

Concerning the music, I don't know... I have to say I didn't really care about this change. The new music is good for sure, but since the vanilla music was very good already, no real improvement here... Still a very nice work, and the authors love for Deus Ex can be felt in it.

Revision takes its place amongst the very best big DX mods, behind the Nameless Mod, and at the level of Nihilum or 2027. Should it totally replace Deus Ex? I don't think so. I don't think any map lost anything, but I'm sure I'll still play the vanilla DX as it first was again. And I'll play Revision again, obviously.
Without the downratings due to the (official) Steam-only release, the mod would probably have a rating higher than 9.5 according to the ModDB standards.


Mass Effect

Game review

A game with very high potential thanks to a great, smooth gameplay - classic modern shooters features; RPGs elements with characters abilities to upgrade, a large variety of weapons, armors and mods for weapons and armors; and the very nice biotic fights effects. Also, quite good storyline with lots of dialogues, and some choices.
Problem is: the game is extremely repetitive. The main mission is nice, but is less than 1/6 of the game. And the rest of the game just feels like doing the same things over and over again. Similar fights and fighting places everywhere, hours of boring exploration on random mountains, same minigame hundreds of times.
Next time I play this game, I won't explore everything...

The game clearly didn't reach the initial expectations I had after playing the first 2 hours, but it's still a very good game.


Legend of Grimrock 2

Game review

LoG 1 was a nice game, walking on the very old path opened by Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder, Black Crypt, etc: claustrophobic grid-based dungeon crawlers. Riddles, spells, creatures to fight, items to collect, XP to earn, using an easy yet fun gameplay.
But LoG 1 was lacking on several aspects: diversity (not enough environments, always the same fighting style), duration (too short), difficulty (too easy riddles). But it was not a problem: it included a dungeon editor. Lots of people created new tilesets, items, creatures, and of course dungeons. Some of them were very nice, actually better than LoG 1, but in the end they all were there thanks to LoG 1. That's what made LoG 1 such a great game to me: the opportunity for people to create new dungeons à la Dungeon Master.

LoG 2 is not a revolution, it's quite similar to LoG 1 in gameplay (still has lots of nice new features, especially for the party characters development), but it's a much better game. About 20 hours of gameplay, always something to do, tons of various riddles - some nicely hard, high diversity in environments (not so much in fights, even if there are some nice ones), complex open world... And of course, it also has a dungeon editor.

All in all, LoG 2 is for sure the best dungeon crawler you can get today. And one of the best RPGs around.


Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend

Game review may contain spoilers

Just finished this. I liked Postal² a lot (the original 5 days), but this one... The begining, mostly Saturday, is not too bad, I had fun with most of the story (the first zombies, Bullfish Interactives, the cows...). But Sunday is just plain boring. Where is the fun I had in Postal²? Where is the open city? Why did they turn that great game into a stupid linear shooter with tons of enemies to kill, that keep on spawning behind you? Why did they want the player to always have to linearly explore the same maps 2 or 3 times with nothing fun/new in them? Even the final boss is plain boring - I had to spend like 30 minutes shooting on him (also, his shield stuff has been done in too many games, where is the originality?). They didn't even try to give a sense to the missions, like go down deep inside the terrorists hiding place and once you're blocked, no item to pick, just go back all the way. Stupid. And "these soldiers here won't attack you if you don't display your weapon". And 3 meters from there: "some new soldiers, take you weapon out, they're hostile!!! Too late, you're dead."

Very disappointing...


Driver: San Francisco

Game review

A very good arcade driving game, with a good amount of contents. Lots of various vehicles to drive (from McLaren F1 to fire trucks or buggies,...), quite a big map, lots of missions/races of various types, and the very cool and original ability to "shift" between vehicles.
Basically, the story is made so you can take the place of any driver in the city, at pretty much any time. Many missions - along with classic normal races and be a cop/escape the cops missions - are based on this. It opens lots of opportunities compared to classic racing games, and it's both well designed and often usefull.
The story is not the best story ever, but it's not too bad either, good enough to keep the player watching the cutscenes. Also, when shifting in other cars, Tanner (you) will sometimes meet some passengers and discuss with them while driving. The talks are numerous and often funny, with a good amount of sarcasm.
The game looks good (enough for me) and it appears to be optimized, as it runs smoothly on my 2yo+ middle quality laptop.
I never tried the multiplayer.
Why not 10/10 then? I guess I would very hardly give that rating to a driving game... Also, some races are annoying, like some in which you need to learn the track through several tries before being able to win them. The driving can be annoying as well, with cars drifting as soon as you're under 100km/h or so, but nothing too different from other arcade driving games there.
Probably the best driving game I've played.


Project: Snowblind

Game review

This game was once named Deus Ex: Clan Wars. As a huge DX fan, I wanted to test it out to see how DXish it is.

- the action is quite intense
- some of DX special features are there, enhancing gameplay possibilities: augs, hacking, some alternative paths here and there
- lots of weapons, many different sorts
- ability to control some vehicles and mechs. Not a lot of them, sadly

- the DX features that are included are much simplified
- linear
- one of the poorest scenario I've ever seen, you're a soldier, save the world
- quite short
- except one or two places, too easy
- some bugs (crashes to desktop)
- saving system: checkpoints. Not that much of a problem since it's so easy, but boring when bugs occur and you have to redo everything
- obvious console port - poor use of keyboard possibilities
- as in so many FPSs (eg: DX3), stupid radar showing where the enemies are

All in all, an acceptably good action FPS, but nothing more. Still some DX features that can please the fans. Probably better on consoles.

How do you turn what would be a great game to complete boring sh*t? Don't search, CoC: DCotE gives you the answer.

Great gameplay ideas in this game, many being quite original, yeaaahh. A mix of FPS, adventure, infiltration, survival, and all of this in a lovecraftian universe, yeaaaahh yeaaahhhh. Your vision and your motion will be affected by fear and madness, by acrophobia, by located wounds (broken leg? you'll move slowly, won't jump and will need a splint to fix it) and more. Yeaah yeaaah yeah.

Ok, these were the nice points. Now everything else is all you don't want to see:
- Bugs. Plenty. From small ones to bugs that break the game, you have to unofficially patch it to be able to finish it (the "no reef bug" is genius, same for the last fight unswitchable switches bug).
- Easy tricks to increase the game duration. The saving checkpoints system will get you spend most of your time redoing each 10mn game part 3, 4 or 5 times. Lots of trial and (insta-death, sometimes random) error enigmas. Also, lots of cutscenes that you can't pass, so you have to watch them 3, 4 or 5 times... The game counter at the end says 8h. This is the only duration that counts, and it's way too low.
- Repetitive atmosphere tricks. Ok, the atmosphere is overall better than in most of survival games, but these tricks get extremely boring with time.
- Stupid AI. FPS and infiltration games are good when the enemies are not stupid, and when they hit more easily from 2m than from 50m. It's not the case here.
- The way they're used, the original gameplay ideas are nothing but gadgets.
- Very slow gameplay.
- Very linear, extremely scripted.
- Infinitely respawning enemies in several places.
- Ugly for a 2006 game. Meh voices, too.
- It started on XBox and you can feel it.

In the end, quite good atmosphere, and everything else is good for trash.


Hotel Carone

Mod review

Probably the best Deus Ex mod for infiltration oriented gameplay, at least in the main map (the hotel). This map is well designed and most of the new ideas inside it (e.g. rescuing the hostages) are well implemented.
For the rest, it's obviously way shorter, but also not as good as the best DX mods (lacks on story, accordance to DX spirit, the other maps and there are several various flaws with NPCs, enemies and missions).
Still a nice mod.


Redsun 2020

Mod review

I don't know what happened with this mod. One half acceptably good levels, that make sense, with things to find inside, people to talk to and other things you can basically expect in a DX mod. And for the other half, huge levels full of nothing except random books, random enemies, random empty computers, etc. Nothing to say about these ones, except they are plenty boring. They should just not be included in the mod, they were obviously not finished.
For the other levels, some are not bad, in the begining. Most of the non-empty levels are full of out of place jokes, apparently more important than the "storyline" itself (should I just say the missions?) since you have to click 3 times on characters, reading their stupid jokes before they finally give you the key you were searching for... About that sense of humor, it's summarized by what you find in half of the books and newspapers: "there is nothing interesting to read". Stupid teenager jokes about women (hookers that is) and boring computer programmers jokes.
Also, many bugs, empty aug canisters, level resets, infinite XP, etc. Several big parts of the game can simply be bypassed by hacking in a computer or having enough cash. I actually wonder if the mod has been fully tested before its release.
And for the loot... Awful. The first type of ammo that you find yourself full of is the most powerful one, the 20mm HE.
9/10 for what comes from Deus Ex, 7/10 for the first maps, 3/10 for everything else - story, spirit, big maps full of nothing.

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