user avatar



Half-Life 2: Episode One (Windows)

By Spartan_234 on April 9th, 2007

Half-Life 2 (Windows)

By Spartan_234 on April 9th, 2007

Half-Life 2 (Xbox)

By Spartan_234 on April 9th, 2007

Half-Life 2: Game of the Year Edition (Windows)

By Spartan_234 on April 9th, 2007

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (Xbox 360)

By Spartan_234 on April 9th, 2007

Soldier of Fortune (Windows)

By Spartan_234 on April 9th, 2007

Deus Ex (Windows)

By Spartan_234 on April 9th, 2007

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl (Windows)

The best game ever made, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. sets a new standard in the genre.

The Good
While most first-person shooter games always make promises of realism and immersion, none of them -- not even Half-Life and Deus Ex -- even come close to accurately simulating real life. Of course, this is largely because developers are afraid that making a game "too realistic" will suck the fun out of it. But if developers like GSC Game World can take the time to make it as realistic and fun as possible, squeezing in the details that you'll find in real life, they'll actually end up with an unbelievably great game like S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is an open-ended game, which means that instead of a linear gameworld where you follow the same path every time, you can freely roam around the gameworld and accept missions from other people that you find. Most of these missions are completely optional. This freedom, coupled with the fact that everything happens in real-time, ensures unparalleled replay value. Further adding to the immersion is the really intense nature of the combat. Since your weapons are inaccurate to start out with, and you don't take much damage before dying, you need to use tactics and stealth to survive against your extremely cunning AI opponents. Whether you're fighting mutant or human enemies, these guys use cover and tactics more efficiently than anyone can ever dream of. They also act differently depending on various attributes, like how hungry they are or even the weather outside! You really feel like you're in an actual gunfight. Heck, you could avoid combat altogether by using stealth tactics to sneak past your's all up to you.

Attention to detail is very characteristic of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. A first in the shooter genre is the inclusion of food and sleep. Just like in real life, you'll need to eat food to stay alive, and get sleep in a safe resting spot. Dynamic weather and real-time alternation between day and night settings also help to fool you into thinking that you're truly in the game's alternate reality. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. also corrects the cliché of having to walk over items to pick them up. You press the Use key on items to add them to your inventory, and when you loot a corpse, you're presented with a menu so you can choose which items you want to loot. You're also limited to how much you can carry, and heavier items take up more space in your inventory. While this has been attempted in previous games, players would be frustrated when they had to pick up items in the heat of battle. This isn't an issue here, as you only have to pick up items when you're not in combat.

Just when you thought that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. couldn't get any more immersive, it presents you with photo-realistic graphics using GSC's own X-Ray engine. While the engine doesn't really have any graphical features that we haven't seen before, it more than makes up for this by having the best detail and lighting that you will ever see in any game. As expected, the great graphics come at a cost: even on my high-end PC, the game ran pretty slow unless I toned it down to minimum settings. If you have the rig to play it with the settings turned up, though, you'll constantly be amazed at how lifelike these graphics are. The audio is also spot-on. The weapons sound almost exactly like in real life, adding even more flavor to the combat. Since most of the characters are Ukrainian, they speak in actual Ukrainian accents, which adds to the authenticity of the game. Some characters just speak Ukrainian, so you'll see subtitles to be able to understand what they're saying.

The Bad
You're kidding me, right? This game rocks!

The Bottom Line
Mixing the best elements from games like Half-Life and Deus Ex with brand-new innovations, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. sets a new standard for future games to follow. Forget all those games that guide you along the same path each time. Forget all those games with rough level transitions. Forget all those games where you can snipe with a chaingun. Forget all those games where you don't eat or sleep. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. will become the new obsession of gamers everywhere, and will do to the gaming world what The Wizard of Oz did to movies. My suggestion is to finish every game that you haven't beaten yet, as S.T.A.L.K.E.R. will truly make all your other games lose their luster...

By Spartan_234 on April 7th, 2007

Dark Messiah: Might and Magic (Windows)

By Spartan_234 on February 22nd, 2007

Gears of War (Xbox 360)

By Spartan_234 on February 17th, 2007

Gears of War (Limited Collector's Edition) (Xbox 360)

By Spartan_234 on February 17th, 2007

Far Cry: Vengeance (Wii)

In the end, you'll only be "crying" over how awful this installment is.

The Good
Well, it has the same gameplay, levels, and storyline from the excellent Xbox Far Cry games...

The Bad
...but it's all been ruined in this truly awful Wii conversion.

A Far Cry game with horrible graphics?!?
No, I'm not kidding. On the PC and Xbox alike, the Far Cry series has been known for truly amazing visuals in a large jungle setting. Far Cry: Vengeance, however, is the exact opposite. Even with disgustingly low-resolution textures, chunky character models, and an utter lack of special effects (no reflections, motion blur, etc.), Far Cry: Vengeance runs at an absolutely horrible framerate. The cutscenes chug along at 4 or so frames per second, and in-game isn't much better. Quite simply, Far Cry: Vengeance is the most nauseating game you'll ever play.

Abysmal Controls
Given the abysmal framerate, it's already hard to enjoy the game regardless of how fun the gameplay is. However, Far Cry: Vengeance sports a laundry list of problems that make it an absolute chore to play. First up is the controls. Even with a training level to help get Wii newcomers (like me) up to speed, Far Cry: Vengeance is so hard to control that, when combined with the choppy framerate, makes the game thoroughly unplayable. Controls feel randomly assigned (why the heck do I have to shove my fist into the screen to zoom down a sniper scope?), and the game fails to respond to hand gestures about 75% of the time.

Wait...there's more!
The Far Cry series has also been known for cunning AI that adapts to the player's strategies to create a challenging and tactical experience. This is also completely absent in Far Cry: Vengeance. It wasn't uncommon for an enemy to say "I need some help here!" or "I have visual contact!" but still stand there and do nothing. Still, the framerate and controls get in the way to ensure that the enemies can get some cheap shots on you before you even have a chance to shoot them, let alone kill them.

The Bottom Line
Two words: stay away. If it's really something Far Cry you're looking for, play the original PC version or the Far Cry: Instincts games on the Xbox and Xbox 360. Quite simply, this Wii version is absolutely nothing like those versions.

Just think about it: Why, just why, did Ubisoft manage to translate one of the best games ever made into one of the worst games ever made? Far Cry: Vengeance proves that this is a lot easier than you'd think.

By Spartan_234 on February 16th, 2007

System Shock (DOS)

By Spartan_234 on February 10th, 2007


It's not that bad!

The Good
At first, releasing a DOS-based, Build engine game at a time when games like Quake II, Unreal, and Half-Life already came out seems like a really dumb decision. But developers like TNT Team need the money to buy graphically advanced engines like those used in the aforementioned games, and often release outdated games like NAM to make that money for developing a more graphically advanced game. Even if they could afford a more graphically advanced engine, though, isn't the gameplay what matters the most? Should we really bash a game if it's actually fun to play?

No, we shouldn't. But let's put that whole graphics thing aside for the moment.

NAM is a first-person shooter that takes place in the Vietnam War. Since first-person shooters have been known to immerse the player into the game thanks to their realistic first-person viewpoint, NAM is probably the first game to make the player truly feel like they're actually in the war. Although there are some arcade-ish elements, like running over items to pick them up, everything else is completely realistic. This isn't just a "go through the level, shoot everything that moves, and find the switch to the next level" Doom clone. Even with some fellow soldiers by your side, you actually have to take cover and avoid things like airstrikes, booby traps, and landmines, as running through the levels Doom-style will get you killed really easily. Like I said earlier, the graphics are a bit outdated, but they're actually pretty good for a Build engine game, especially in the SVGA modes.

The Bad
Nothing really. Since this game is actually fun to play, I'll ignore the outdated Build technology.

The Bottom Line
Just like you can't judge a book by it's cover, you can't judge a game by its graphics. Although NAM was released about a year or two too late, it's actually a fun and intense game that feels just like the Vietnam War.

By Spartan_234 on January 30th, 2007


By Spartan_234 on January 28th, 2007

Witchaven II: Blood Vengeance (DOS)

By Spartan_234 on January 23rd, 2007

Witchaven (DOS)

By Spartan_234 on January 15th, 2007

Eradicator (DOS)

By Spartan_234 on January 15th, 2007

Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold (DOS)

By Spartan_234 on December 2nd, 2006

Xyanide (Xbox)

By Spartan_234 on December 1st, 2006

Shadow Ops: Red Mercury (Xbox)

By Spartan_234 on November 25th, 2006

World War II Combat: Road to Berlin (Xbox)

A WWII game so horrible, the Allied soldiers shoot at you instead of the Axis.

The Good
Still looking; this game sucks. Actually, it can be considered a plus that the game is so horrible, it's funny.

The Bad
Well, just about everything else. I mean, I know that this is a budget title, but that's still no excuse for the very poor quality of this game. Let's see here...we've got a laundry list of serious technical and gameplay problems...

WWII Combat: Road To Berlin obviously wasn't finished when it came out (despite some delays), which is made obvious by the fact that the game is chock-full of bugs. The animations for characters are awful, given the fact that they look like cardboard targets sliding on ice. The controls are so unresponsive that you'll think you spilled some soda on your controller. The graphics and level designs are truly among the very worst on the Xbox; all of the textures and models look very chunky and blocky, and the polygon count is extremely low, despite the fact that this game uses the Unreal 2 engine. The sound effects are every bit as horrible as the graphics, with a god-awful musical score that sounds like it was taken from a movie released in the 1920's, terrible voice acting, and unsatisfying weapon sounds that all sound the same for each gun. The threat reticule is also totally broken, since it always reports random results no matter where you're getting shot from. And the AI? Axis and Allied soldiers don't use any kind of strategy to take down the enemy or achieve mission objectives, but it also seems that the developers didn't do anything to differentiate Axis AI from Allied AI. The Allied soldiers will shoot at you instead of the Axis, as if they were on the Axis side, too. But killing an Allied soldier means Game Over, making the game nearly unplayable. Thankfully, most of the game is spent fighting Axis by yourself rather than with allies.

WWII Combat: Road to Berlin is made even more frustrating by design flaws that prove that the game was put together at the very last minute. The guns have all sorts of problems that make them no fun to use. The pistol feels terribly weak, the machine guns are pathetically inaccurate, and all weapons suffer from sluggish firing rates and reloading times -- even the heavy machine gun seems like it fires at only two bullets per second. You can't pick up any medkits during a level; your health only recharges at the end of each level, which proves to be frustrating because the game is very difficult. You can't pick up any weapons from fallen enemies; you can only pick up their ammo, which also proves to be frustrating as you only start the level with the pistol and another weapon, which is either a machine gun or sniper rifle. If this gun happens to be a sniper rifle, then you are stuck only using the pistol for close combat. Ugh. You also only have one save slot per profile, and you can't save manually (the game uses a checkpoint save system).

The Bottom Line
Please, don't play this garbage. Almost everything else on the market is vastly better than this unplayable pile of crap.

By Spartan_234 on November 10th, 2006

Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (Xbox 360)

By Spartan_234 on October 24th, 2006

Perfect Dark Zero (Xbox 360)

By Spartan_234 on October 24th, 2006

Terrawars: NY Invasion (Windows)

No, this is the worst game to ever see the light of day.

The Good
You'd have to be Albert Einstein to find any redeeming qualities here. This game sucks.

The Bad
Where to start? Terrawars boasts being able to run on a wide variety of diverse PC configurations. While this is definitely true, I want to point out that this is not because the game was optimized well or anything. Really, it's because the game's graphics and production values seem like they came from the days of DOS. The graphics are easily the worst that I have ever seen in a modern computer or video game, with extremely low polygon counts, pixelicious textures, appallingly detail-challenged environments, ultra-jerky character animations, and an extremely ugly fog in outdoor levels. The audio is equally abysmal. There aren't many sound effects, and what's there is absolutely awful. The weapons sound underpowered, the grunts from aliens are extremely repetitive, environmental sounds seem randomly assigned (shooting at objects, etc.), and even mentioning the god-awful voice acting would be giving it far too much credit. Additionally, although the system requirements are listed as a Pentium III, 256 MB of RAM, and so on, I've heard reports that the game ran successfully on PCs from 10 years ago. I really wouldn't be surprised if these reports are true. In all honesty, I thought that Star Wars: Dark Forces and Duke Nukem 3D, which are games from that same time period, had vastly superior graphics and production values to this pile of crap.

Of course, I could've forgiven the awful production values if the gameplay was any fun. Unfortunately, the production values are easily the best part of Terrawars. Buckle and tighten your seatbelts, folks, 'cause this is gonna be a really bumpy ride...

Ultra-Laughable Storyline
To be honest, Terrawars has the most retarded storyline that I have ever seen. You're a medical student named John Armstrong, and medical students like you get drafted into the Army National Guard...but why? I wouldn't have cared much about the storyline if you just played as a generic Marine or cop or whatever, but this comes off as a completely embarrassing attempt to break away from the generic "tough-guy-against-aliens" storyline that got old a million games back. Want to learn how to make a decent storyline without having the main character as a Marine or cop? Go play Pariah. As for the aliens, you don't get any backstory on why they came to Earth or even where they came from, making the alien invaders completely one-dimensional.

AI? What AI?
To put it simply, there is no real AI in Terrawars. Enemies follow the exact same path every time, firing their weapons randomly. Some of the enemies just stand there and shoot without following any path...

Poorly Balanced Gameplay
...but that doesn't make the game easy. Enemies are capable of shooting through walls and cover (even though you can't), and no matter where you are or where they're actually shooting, EVERY SINGLE SHOT from their weapons ALWAYS hits you! Further adding to the already extreme frustration is the terrible hit detection. Enemies take random amounts of damage before dying: sometimes, they die with just one shot, while other times, they take a nearly infinite punishment. Weapon reloading times are also way too long as well, which can easily get you killed in the heat of battle.

Awful Shooting Mechanics
The weapons are generally unsatisfying to use, and they all do very little to distinguish themselves. For instance, the assault rifle already has pinpoint accuracy (assuming that the awful hit detection doesn't get in your way), so there's absolutely no reason to use the sniper rifle. Also, since there's no limit to how much ammo you can carry, it wasn't uncommon to be carrying up to 300 grenades and 2,000 bullets. Come on! Even if Popeye had that kind of weight on his back, it would kill him in less than a second. The "biomatter", which is supposed to upgrade the functionality of your weapons a la Pariah, also does no noticeable changes to your weapons.

Copycat Developers
The developers of this game must have been so lazy as to rip off textures and sound effects from much better games like No One Lives Forever (not too surprising, considering that Terrawars uses a dumbed-down version of the LithTech engine from that game). It's not like the Terrawars versions of such textures and sound effects are any good. Of course, they were very likely watered down so that Terrawars would "run well on diverse PC configurations".

The Bottom Line
Terrawars is easily the worst game to ever see the light of day, and I'll be absolutely shocked if an upcoming game manages to be worse than this. Terrawars is like the mother of all the awful budget titles I've played over the past 6 years. I mean, just look at this piece of crap! The game is thoroughly unplayable due to awful play-balancing and hit detection, so the gameplay gets a 0 / 10. There's no actual AI behavior, so the AI gets a 0 / 10. The graphics are even worse than Star Wars: Dark Forces circa 1995, with watered-down versions of textures ripped from No One Lives Forever, so the graphics get a 0 / 10. The sound effects are also watered-down versions of those ripped from much better games, and feel randomly assigned, so the audio gets a 0 / 10. The voice actors show absolutely no enthusiasm or effort whatsoever, so the acting gets a 0 / 10. The storyline is embarrassingly retarded, so the story gets a 0 / 10. Is it not clear up to this point? Don't play this game!

By Spartan_234 on September 27th, 2006

[ Page 1 ] [ Next ]