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Jeff Sinasac @Farzdin


Homefront (Xbox 360)

By Jeff Sinasac on July 20th, 2011

Evil Dead: Regeneration (Xbox)

By Jeff Sinasac on July 20th, 2011

Caverns of Xaskazien (Windows)

By Jeff Sinasac on February 28th, 2009

The Trial of Allibor's Tomb (Browser)

By Jeff Sinasac on February 28th, 2009

Earth Defense Force 2017 (Xbox 360)

By Jeff Sinasac on December 27th, 2007

Vampire Rain (Xbox 360)

By Jeff Sinasac on December 27th, 2007

Touch the Dead (Nintendo DS)

By Jeff Sinasac on December 22nd, 2007

Wolfenstein 3D (DOS)

By Jeff Sinasac on July 31st, 2002

Blood Wake (Xbox)

By Jeff Sinasac on July 15th, 2002

Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox)

To date, my all-time favourite game.

The Good
The graphics are phenomenal, at or above the level of any other game on the market at the time I'm writing this. But it's the details that really make this my number one vote. Every leaf on every tree is individually rendered. Individual blades of grass actually tuft up from the ground - kneel in this grass and you'll get the sound of your knee depressing foliage, as opposed to the sound of your knee impacting any of the other surfaces in the game. The rushing water in streams is glorious to look at and listen to, the mist thrown from waterfalls, the dirt spray of a bullet hitting ground, or that cast up by a grenade detonation. (I served for four years in the infantry, and the grenade detonations in particular rang true to me). There is a level which occurs in a swamp, and the gently rippling water there looks incredible - not to mention the rain, and the bobbing lily pads. Trees actually sway in the breeze. When weapons strike rocks or trees, corresponding showers of stone or bark ensue. There were individual, 3d mushrooms growing at the edge of that swamp - adds nothing to game play, and some players might never notice it. But it builds realism, and that is something this game has in greater abundance than any other I've encountered.

The gameplay itself is wonderful. I know it's been done before (first in Goldeneye, I think, but possibly before that) but the zoom scopes on the weapons are a great deal of fun to use.

The plot is very original and engaging. It may seem a stereotypical mankind vs. alien fight at first, but as the tale progresses you learn that something a lot more sinister is going on behind the scenes.

The vocal acting is of great quality. Can't say that about a lot of games.

Wing Commander was the first game I remember to supply you with A.I. allies. This game gives you tons. Running onto the field of battle with 12 other marines, each with their own individual faces, voices, expressions and attitudes is intense. The detail here is incredible. There are different accents ringing out all over the battlefield.

The different vehicles are a lot of fun to drive. Spinning out in the warthog is a blast. Nice too, that your fellow soldiers will hop on back of the warthog to fire its machine gun, or take the passenger seat to snipe at enemies.

A co-operative mode is something many FPS games overlook. It's my favourite way to play, though, and this one has it.

You can carry only a maximum of 2 weapons and limited ammo. Nice change from the strange characters of other games who are presumably toting their arsenals around in invisible bags of holding.

The Bad
Most of this is trivial, but if Xbox designers ever read this, here's how to make the game EVEN BETTER.

Firstly, there's only 10 missions. Now, I'm getting a lot of gameplay out of these missions, since if I die, I start over. But I'm on the 7th now and not looking forward to ending. The first release of DOOM had 24 missions. Heed.

In such a wonderful, dramatic, serious game, I thought the attempts at comic relief were unnecessary. Hollywood does this all the time (witness those two miniature punks in Willow, for instance). What I'm referring to here is the high-pitched voices of the grunts, and more to the point, the things they say. It does spoil the intensity of the action somewhat for me to see this tiny being running away screaming "Little people first!" Half of me takes pity and the other half wants to gun him down for saying something so stupid. If it's a serious game, keep it serious. Comedy should never be forced.

Minor thing, but the assault rifle is my favourite weapon to fire (with the force feedback in the controller it both feels and sounds quite authentic), but the rulebook tells you that the Covenant forces are more susceptible to plasma weapons. And since as soon as you kill a single Covenant member you have access to plasma weapons, I don't get to fire the ultra-cool assault rifle very often. (I could, but then I would be deliberately hindering my own progress).

The game is done from a 1st person perspective, but when you mount a vehicle, suddenly you're in third person perspective. Forcing a change in perspective like that really attacks the reality base the game has laboured so hard and successfully to build. If I AM the main character I see out of the main character's eyes - to suddenly be looking at the back of my own head is confusing and only reminds me I'm playing a game. VERY BAD.

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that while you can play with up to 4 players (16 with multiple consoles) in a deathmatch, you can only play with 2 in co-op mode. Why the differentiation? Maybe it has to do with processor speed and reading that many input sources while simultaneously controlling so many A.I.s, but if not, what were the makers thinking? I would love to have a go at the enemy with 3 of my closest friends along for the ride.

When I look at a reflective surface (water, some of the more highly polished surfaces indoors), I don't see my own reflection. What am I, a frickin' vampire? With so much attention to detail, how was this overlooked? Likewise that beautiful water in the swamp I so praised earlier, does not accurately reflect the surrounding trees. It still looks great, but if you pause to compare the water's reflection with the overhangs, it doesn't match up.

While it is great that, in multi-player, when you look at another player you can see what weapon he has in his hand, you can't see what other weapon he's carrying. If he has a plasma rifle in-hand, but also has access to a rocket launcher, shouldn't that rocket launcher be slung over his shoulder? Minor details, but worthy details.

In the cutscenes the Master Chief is always displayed carrying an assault rifle, whether or not you still even possess an assault rifle.

I would have loved to have seen even more attention paid to the crazy sort of bullshit that occurs in battle. It would be nice if your fellow soldiers would just panic occasionally and fall down weeping. Or if an ammo clip you just inserted was occasionally inserted incorrectly and fell out of the weapon after firing a single round. Sadly, that sort of thing happens a lot more often than you would believe. (The ammo box on my old C9 used to fall off every 100 metres. Not fun). Or if grenades were occasionally duds. Combat is fraught with pathetic bullshit accidents. I would love to see some of them here.

While bark does fly from a tree when hit by a weapon, if you later examine that tree you will find it undamaged. Not even chipped. Again, defeats realism. Put enough damage onto that tree and I would love to see it collapse.

While I like that your fellow soldiers will fire the warthog's guns, why won't they drive it? These are trained marines.

The Bottom Line
As of the start of 2002, the most impressive first person shooter, if not the most impressive computer game, I have ever seen.

By Jeff Sinasac on January 18th, 2002

Heroes of Might and Magic II: The Succession Wars (Windows)

Addiction incarnate.

The Good
The music is GORGEOUS. CD based, hell, I'd cut me a copy just to listen to in the car.

The graphics are quite attractive.

I think the spell system is an improvement over the original (spell points instead of memorization). And certainly the wide range of abilities now available to characters is great fun.

I think the campaigns are EXCELLENT. In fact, I played them to the exclusion of the single shot scenarios. During a lull in work I got so hooked on this game that I spent 10 days straight, from the time I got up to the time I went to bed just beating the campaigns.

The Bad
The strategy becomes early apparent. Build up one hero to disgusting levels, lump him with all your most powerful monsters and stomp some computer ass.

Other than that, flawless. I prefer this game to Heroes III.

The Bottom Line
One of the all time best fantasy strategy games.

By Jeff Sinasac on January 9th, 2001

Carnivores (Windows)

By Jeff Sinasac on January 8th, 2001

Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate (Windows)

A good conversion of a non-computer game.

The Good
I'm a HUGE board game/card game/tabletop game freak. This is a good conversion of Warhammer 40 000, which was a tabletop miniatures game long before it visited a computer screen (and long before X-Com, I might add). I wish other companies (LIKE FASA, HINT HINT) would convert their boardgames directly rather than turning everything into a 1st person simulation or real-time junk.

The graphics are good, the missions solid, the sound effects suitable. And the missions are challenging without being ridiculous.

The Bad
You can't play hotseat. Multi-player, turn based games were born for hotseat play. I don't wanna tie up my phone line.

The Bottom Line
A great game if you can't afford, or don't have the space for, the original tabletopper.

By Jeff Sinasac on January 8th, 2001

Blood (DOS)

A decent doom clone with a neat story.

The Good
Great story. You are evil, fighting evil. Wonderful time period, so different from most games (old west, it seems). Horror based. Zombies (always a plus for me). Fighting cult members. What could be better?

There's a wide variety of weapons, most with dual fire modes.

I find the levels quite interesting and thematically varied. A mortuary and a train station are two of the earliest, and they're very well depicted.

And while I have to agree with Tomer that ray-casting in '97 is behind the times, the ray-cast graphics are an excellent example of what ray-casting can do.

Caleb's occasional comments are fun.

The Bad
Ray-casting in '97.

The creatures (especially the zombies) are a bit blocky and neon-esque in their bright colours.

The screen seems to flicker every once in a while. Dunno what that's about.

The Bottom Line
A good horror-based shooter.

By Jeff Sinasac on January 8th, 2001

Blood II: The Chosen (Windows)

A different opinion...

The Good
In opposition to Tomer's review, I'd rate the graphics as excellent. Superb even. Gory, smooth, dark, seedy and scary. (I'm running it on a PII 400 mhz, though, with Voodoo 2 accelerator).

The sound, while repetitive at times, is of great quality. And the music is glorious.

I love the story-line. A first person shooter, where you're an undead being? What a neat relief from the space-marine/anti-terrorist syndrome which lives on and on. Also, it finally gives a logical reason why you are taking bullet after bullet and living. Not many other games supply an explanation - in Quake/Doom etc., I guess you're just a hefty boy who enjoys and deals well with pain.

Awesome level design. From the straight-forward (literally) subway car where you just walk in a line, to the beautiful museum of antiquities where you have to blow up a coolant pipe and leap through skylights to get in, the missions are varied and beautiful.

Dark humour is my bag, so stumbling across a body stuffed into a washing machine and having the lady there explain that "he must have just stuck his head in too far, or something" really cracked me up. In fact, most of the acting voice-over work is funny, and well done.

It's horror based. So few games are horror based. It's a genre that should be expounded to the skies.

The Bad
The A.I. is VERY weak. They won't pursue you if you run (which may be a plus, actually, since every player knows the trick - get 'em to pursue you, wait around a corner and blast 'em when they show up). I've shot people, and as long as they can't see me when I do it, they'll just stand there and take some more. I've lit people on fire and had them stand there and take it further.

The sound can sometimes get repititive. I noticed it most with the zealots. "Come out, we won't hurt you" becomes less believable with each iteration, especially when coupled with the phrase "You don't stand a chance" over and over and over again.

The zombies of the original have been replaced by weird "worm-zombie-alien implant" things. They still look like zombies, so that's what I pretend they are. A much cooler monster.

I liked the fact that the first game took place in the 1800s. It was unique, and I preferred that time period to this one (modern/future).

Oh, and the levels take too long to load.

The Bottom Line
For fans of first-person, a definite game worth looking at. For fans of horror, even better. But don't expect the enemy to react realistically.

By Jeff Sinasac on January 8th, 2001

Dungeon Keeper 2 (Windows)

One of the only RTS games I ever liked.

The Good
I haven't played the original, so I can't make a comparison, but I can say that I am not, as a rule, a fan of RTS games. This one made me forget that. Every once in a while a game comes along that addicts me, usurping all my attention for several days or weeks. This is one such game.

The graphics, the sounds, the music, the cut-scenes - all deserve high praise.

I love the theme, though I was a little disappointed to be so often fighting fellow evil "Keepers" instead of good guys from above. I understood the game was to be about play evil vs. good, but more often it was evil vs. evil.

The campaign was great, with each mission growing progressively harder. Some levels took me several attempts to beat, building on what I had learned the previous time, and bringing me back more eager than ever each time anew. The campaign doesn't overwhelm you, though, since each new level introduces a new monster, room-type, trap, etc. Your knowledge base grows as you play.

The first-person aspect was well handled, I must admit, and sometimes quite important to victory. But contrary to all the other praise, it was my least favourite aspect of the game, and something I avoided as often as possible. I hated the inability to command the rest of my troops, monitor my torture victims and cast spells when I was in 1st person mode.

The Bad
I already mentioned the evil vs. evil aspect in the above section.

While the My Pet Dungeon concept really appealed to me, you have to build your own challenges in (I made up a random table using dice to determine when heroes would appear). Also, in the My Pet Dungeon mode, if you torture and convert an enemy, that enemy type is no longer available to come rampaging through your dungeon. Somebody messed up an "if-then" clause in the C code there.

I hated that mana was limited to 200,000. With the size of my dungeons, my mana was usually at that level, and it became almost pointless capturing enemy mana vaults or converting their tiles to yours (though I guess it does limit their mana).

The campaign was huge, but I wish it was even huger.

The Bottom Line
A wonderful and unique concept very well executed.

By Jeff Sinasac on January 8th, 2001

Warlords II (DOS)

By Jeff Sinasac on June 2nd, 2000

Scorched Earth (DOS)

By Jeff Sinasac on May 28th, 2000

Airborne Ranger (DOS)

By Jeff Sinasac on May 28th, 2000

Wizardry: Bane of the Cosmic Forge (DOS)

By Jeff Sinasac on May 28th, 2000

Magic: The Gathering (Windows)

By Jeff Sinasac on May 28th, 2000

Heroes of Might and Magic (Windows)

By Jeff Sinasac on May 28th, 2000

Star Wars: X-Wing (DOS)

By Jeff Sinasac on May 28th, 2000

3-D Ultra Pinball: Creep Night (Windows)

By Jeff Sinasac on May 28th, 2000

Dragon's Lair III: The Curse of Mordread (DOS)

By Jeff Sinasac on May 28th, 2000

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