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Transformers Devastation - PlayStation 4
Transformers Devastation - PlayStation 4
Price: $19.93
106 used & new from $16.75

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars All the ingredients were there, but...., December 24, 2015
There is a ton of missed potential with this game.

First off, you have a SPOT ON Generation One Transformers vibe with this game. The look of it, the music, many of the original voice actors from the 80's cartoon...this game absolutely nails the nostalgia factor. As an 80's kid who is rapidly approaching his forties, I couldn't be happier with the core ingredients of Transformers Devastation. Add Platinum Games' name to the mix, and being one of my absolute favorite video game developers, I was excited for this one.

Yet, it's very sad that in the end, this game feels phoned in. The core Platinum combat is there, but it's an extremely stripped down version of it. A strong and light attack, a few combos you can string together, and a handful of special moves is really all that's offered here. It's a system that gets old quite quickly, as opposed to the deep, satisfying, majestic combat of Bayonetta that kept giving and giving to the player right up until the final boss. Even the opportunity to play as a variety of different Autobots doesn't bring enough variety to the gameplay table to stay interesting for the long haul.

On top of this, Transformers Devastation features some of the most bland level design that I've seen in a modern game. The environments are completely uninspired and repetitive. The levels are linear, yet still manage to be confusing at times simply because everything looks the same. The game's camera is also very finicky, adding to the confusion in certain, more cramped settings.

I realize that this was released as a budget title, but even so, the game just feels so rushed and uninspired, which really is at odds with how genuine the game's Generation One vibe is. I can only imagine what a glorious game this could have been had it been given the time and love that other games in Platinum's repertoire have been given. While I had fun with the game for about the first hour just soaking in the G1 goodness, it's a game that quickly began to bore me and never picked back up. A real wasted opportunity. And as of this writing, the stellar games by High Moon Studios for last generation's consoles known as War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron remain the definitive Generation One Transformers video games, so be sure to check those out if you want some G1 games that are actually really good.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - PlayStation 4
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - PlayStation 4
Price: $40.16
64 used & new from $28.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every bit as good as you've heard, November 5, 2015
If you're reading this review, by now, you've probably heard the countless superlatives that have seeped from nearly every gaming media outlet across the globe about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The amazingly epic, handcrafted world, the superb narratives told both in the main story and the side quests, the stunning graphics, the tight & refined gameplay...nearly every aspect of the game has been praised. The game has received the best critical and commercial response of any RPG since The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim released nearly 4 years ago, and perhaps has even surpassed that wonderful game in the way it's captured the hearts and minds of gamers.

And you know what? None of it is exaggerated. It's all true. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of the best video games ever made. It's certainly the best fantasy-themed Western RPG I've ever played, and I've played, and continue to play, a LOT of these types of games. Every second of the game, even the parts of the game that seem to drag a bit, absolutely oozes the love and care that these wonderful developers at CD Projekt RED put into the game. There simply aren't many games out there that are being made at this level, and getting the chance to spend over 70 hours in this world was an absolute joy.

At this point, I'm not sure what else I can contribute to the conversation that hasn't been talked to death about already. One thing for me that really resonates about The Witcher 3 is how mechanically "pure" the game is. What I mean by that is how seemingly every aspect of the game's mechanics seem to be 100% focused on keeping the player involved and invested in the stories and the gameplay. Most RPG's are very dense in their systems and their mechanics. 2014's Dragon Age: Inquisition, another game that I absolutely adore, is a great example of this. It is a game that is just as much about managing game systems as it is exploring the world and experiencing the tale it tells. The Witcher 3 is the exact opposite of a game like Dragon Age: Inquisition. Yes, there's an alchemy system that can be very deep if you want it to be. And you'll definitely spend a good amount of time managing your inventory, which may be the one weakness of the game that stands out (although it has been subsequently improved through patches. The developer has done an incredible job supporting the game). But in general, The Witcher 3 is a much more mechanically streamlined experience than most other games in its genre. Magics are simple and limited. Combat consists of two types of attacks using two types of swords. The absolutely stellar side quests aren't focused around the rewards you'll receive or the experience points you'll amass, but rather on the stories they tell. They're used to build the world. If they build your character in the process, it feels like a secondary result.

And speaking of the game's world, perhaps more than any other RPG I've ever played, this feels like a world that has existed for a long time. Now, yes, this game is the third in a trilogy, and the world of The Witcher existed prior to the games in literature. But the places in The Witcher 3 you explore just feel so authentic and lived-in. It feels like a place with history, and because the game has you spending minimal time thinking about and dealing with its mechanics, you can really in turn absorb yourself in this beautiful place in a way you just don't with other games of this magnitude. And what an amazing place it is. It can be argued that there has never been a game of this scale that looks as good as this. It undeniably has the best lighting effects I've ever seen in a video game. It's absolutely jaw-dropping when the sun rises and sets, how the sky changes color in correlation with the dynamic weather system in the game. I was in awe of the game's presentation for the entire duration of my time with it. Truly a masterful achievement.

For this reviewer, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt closes out what I consider to be the best modern series of video game RPG's that I've played. I fell in love with the first two games in the series (see my reviews), and somehow, they've managed to out do those two masterpieces and create this, one of the best RPG's ever made and easily a contender for the best game of 2015, a year full of absolutely stellar releases. Just buy this game, even if you haven't played the first two, and bask in the video game mastery that is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. This is one you'll always remember.

Dying Light - PlayStation 4
Dying Light - PlayStation 4
72 used & new from $24.97

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise, November 4, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Being surprised by an excellent video game is a rare pleasure for a gamer in this age of information, and that's exactly what happened to me with Dying Light. I did NOT enjoy Dead Island at all, and pretty much disregarded the news of Dying Light's release all together. But throughout the course of 2015, seeing gameplay videos on the web and hearing testimonials of other games whose opinions I trust got me intrigued by this title, and by the time I purchased it at the price point I was waiting for, I wasn't expecting a whole lot. But boy, did this game prove me wrong. It immensely surpassed my expectations, and gave me an incredibly fun experience that felt unlike anything else I've played before.

In many ways, Dying Light does what so many other open world games today are doing. Big, open world? Check. Lots of side quests and collectibles strewn across the map? Check. Plot involving white man dropped into a land full of non-whites in distress, only to become their savior? Check. Yes, lots of modern game tropes are here. But what's great is that Dying Light puts its own twist on the formula by combining some of the leanest, meanest, most vicious and most savage in-your-face melee combat I've ever seen in any video game with a smooth-as-silk parkour movement system that is going to make every open world game I play after this feel somewhat lacking in comparison. This gameplay system, combined with what may be the most effective use of a day/night cycle ever seen in a video game, makes for an overall package that is an absolute joy.

Many games with upgrade/RPG mechanics allow you to grow your character stronger, but because Dying Light is such an up close and personal game, you FEEL the improvements in your character much more deeply than you do in many other games. Starting out as a weakling with a gas pipe and taking 6-7 shots to down a zombie, it feels amazing 20 hours later to one shot slow motion kill that exact same type of zombie with your flaming, electrified sword (yes, you can craft swords that are both flaming and electrified at the same time). Just moving from place to place never feels old, as the parkour running system, which was clearly inspired by Mirror's Edge, is thrilling. You have to keep the camera focused on the areas and ledges you jump to, and limiting your field of vision in this way adds to the tension of the game, especially when you have a horde of rabid flesh eaters on your tail. Just like in the Infamous and Batman Arkham games, Dying Light realizes the importance of making it a joy to move your character place to place.

The game is technically as rock solid as they come. The environments all look great, and like many other of the great 8th generation games, the lighting is amazing and adds so much to the the way everything around you not only looks, but how it feels. The sound design here is absolutely stellar, with some terrific, gory sounds combined with amazing ambient sounds, rumbling low explosions, and horrifying screeches of the undead.

And lastly, while the story appeared to be as cliched as they come in the beginning, I was surprised to find myself very invested in the proceedings as things went on, and by the end, I was completely hooked and yelling at my TV like a madman. While so many other games would have felt the need to shoehorn some sort of inconsequential player choice or karma system, I appreciated Dying Light's straightforward story that I could sit back, enjoy, and not have to constantly ruminate a choice I made, or knew I was going to have to make. Bravo to developer Techland for this.

Dying Light was so much more that I expected it to be. It was very fun, very well made, and as entertaining as a game can be. It was different enough to separate itself from everything else that has been coming out, and its aggressive approach towards combat and movement turned it into one of the most enjoyable zombie games I've played in the last decade, with only the great State of Decay topping it in that category for me. I highly recommend this game if you're looking for a thrilling ride that does things a little differently.

The Order: 1886 - PlayStation 4
The Order: 1886 - PlayStation 4
Offered by Goldstar Tech
Price: $20.94
233 used & new from $10.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A perfect $20 game, October 19, 2015
Let me just get right to it...I enjoyed The Order: 1866. I generally had a good time playing it, I was extremely impressed by the visuals and overall high standard of technical excellence on display here, and I found the game's world and lore to be fascinating. But at the same time, it's not a game I can wholeheartedly recommend either. Despite having such a great, intriguing premise, the game's actual story is frustrating and not very interesting at any point, despite some great perfomances by the actors in the game. The gameplay (which is only about 50% of the experience of playing this game, as there is a lot of walking around and cutscenes) is competent, yet extremely derivative. The stealth sections of the game, which feel forced, are terrible, and the two key boss fights that play out as nearly identical QTE sequences are startlingly lazy.

The beautiful art and visual design manages to keep each section of the game interesting looking, but it too often feels like a crutch for this game. The game is also very short, clocking in at around 7 hours for a playthrough. In summary, it's a game that does a few things brilliantly well, a few things horribly wrong, and everything else perfectly average. Definitely pick this one up when it's around the $20 mark, as this is a game that feels worth that.

Far Cry 4 - PlayStation 4
Far Cry 4 - PlayStation 4
Price: $15.75
220 used & new from $9.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Did you like Far Cry 3? Do you want more? Here you go.., June 22, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Far Cry 3 blew a lot of minds when it came out in late 2012. Its refinement of the ambitious but heavily-flawed Far Cry 2 into something truly special and fun to play made for one of the best first person shooters this reviewer has ever played. I loved losing myself on those tropical islands, hunting for collectibles, watching the crazy random encounters take place between man and nature, and moving the story along at my own pace. It was satisfying, exciting, and very memorable.

For Far Cry 4, Ubisoft has gone with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach, and given gamers a whole bunch more of what Far Cry 3 did so well...nothing less, and unfortunately, not a whole lot more either. The new game world of Kyrat is stunningly beautiful and vast, and is packed to the gills with things to do and places to explore. In fact, this may be the most densely-packed game Ubisoft has ever made. There are so many things to do that it gets to the point where it feels like Ubisoft is padding things out. The variety of activities is great at first, and serves the player well in building up those crucial early experience points and gear. But most gamers will, at some point in the game, most likely focus on the story and maybe a handful of other things that result in precious equipment such as weapons and the ability to carry around extra inventory. More isn't always better, and this is a lesson that Ubisoft still hasn't quite learned yet.

Far Cry 4 does make some critical improvements though. Running on the new generation of consoles, it looks absolutely stunning, and the beautiful new Himalayan setting does all sorts of wonderful favors to the visuals. The sound design is again top notch, even surpassing Far Cry 3's already-high benchmark for open world shooter sound design. The mountainous terrain allows for all sorts of new ways to navigate, including a grappling hook for climbing cliffs and swinging across gaps, as well as a single-passenger helicopter-type vehicle that may very well be the best single improvement to the game. Also much improved is the game's story. Gone are the lame, obnoxious characters from Far Cry 3, and are replaced by the soft spoken Ajay, a far superior character to role play as. The characters surrounding him are much more interesting as well, pulling him into the politics of war, rebellion, and nation building like few other action games ever have. Player choice is effectively introduced in ways I won't spoil, and adds a strong dose of authenticity to the proceedings. And while Pagan Min, the game's main antagonist, may not quite reach the heights of Vaas Montenegro from Far Cry 3, he's still a fantastic villain in his own right, delicately straddling that fine line between tyranny and reason in ways that are both terrifying and thought-provoking.

In a nutshell, this game is extremely similar to its predecessor, and for me, that's OK. While Far Cry 4, by its nature, is incapable of being a truly special game due to its similarities with Far Cry 3, that doesn't take away from the fact that, just like Far Cry 3, it manages to be thrilling, surprising, and incredibly fun. It's just that having seen it all before, it doesn't have that "wow" factor anymore. So while I enjoyed Far Cry 4 very much, your enjoyment of this game will likely come down to three things:

1. Have you played Far Cry 3 before?
2. Did you enjoy it?
3. Do you want more of it?

If you answered no to the first question, pick Far Cry 4 up immediately. It will likely be revelation to you. Otherwise, I imagine peoples' reactions to this game will very much hinge upon how they answered questions 2 and 3. I enjoyed the game tremendously, but also recognize that Ubisoft MUST take the Far Cry franchise back to the drawing board for the next installment if they expect the franchise to continue to be relevant. Until then, the Far Cry franchise will remain like the nation of Kyrat....beautiful, mysterious, and with a future that will solely depend on the actions of its rulers.

Price: $14.99
348 used & new from $9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A leaner, meaner Souls game, May 21, 2015
This review is from: Bloodborne (Video Game)
Less than a minute into the gameplay of Bloodborne and you'll immediately know that, despite the game's moniker, it is very much a new entry into the fabled Souls series, arguably the best new series to grace the landscape of video games in the last 10 years. Director Hidetaka Miyazaki, absent from the helm of the previous game in the series, Dark Souls II, returns here with a vengeance with his brilliantly talented team at From Software in tow to bring the series into the 8th generation, and the end result is not only another masterpiece, but probably the first real reason to buy a Playstation 4.

Despite it containing so much DNA from the first three games in the series, Bloodborne is a unique beast. Gone are the layers upon layers of dense mechanics from the earlier games. Also missing here is the endless combat-style customization, dozens of weapon types, and esoteric in-game mysteries. You will begin the game with the option of choosing from 3 different weapons, and you will set forth on your path. Immediately, you will notice that many of your tactics from earlier games either won't work, or simply don't exist as options here. Ranged combat is limited, magic use is non-existent, and the only shield in the game was apparently placed there as a joke. In Bloodborne, you have one have to be aggressive, you have to be fast, and you have to be ruthless. Any attempt to take on the enemies hunting you down in Bloodborne in any other way will lead to your fast demise. The game is made for one particular play style, and you will spend the first few hours of the game adapting to this, even if you used a similar fighting style in the previous games. You must learn to parry/counterattack, dodge, and be as aggressive as you can be. The game will reward you for this. Perfectly timed parries with your firearm (yes....your firearm) will allow you execute devastating critical strikes that will decimate your enemies, including bosses. Quick counterattacks after getting hit will gain you your hit points back. Learn to play the game the way it wants you to play it, and you will experience one of the most dazzling action games ever made. Resist its rules, and you will go nowhere. Just like the Souls games, Bloodborne is challenging and doesn't care about your feelings. But it is a fair challenge, and an exhilarating one to overcome.

After the disjointed, inconsistent game world of Dark Souls II, it feels great to have Miyazaki's magic touch back for Bloodborne. Like Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, Bloodborne's game world is as thick in atmosphere as games can get, and the Playstation 4's added horsepower allows From Software's vision to shine like never before. Every corner of Yarnham, the game's major city and setting for a good 40% of the game, is just bursting with amazing art direction and impressive detail. Every area of the game is impeccably thought out and masterfully-designed. The enemy design is the best it's been since Demon's Souls, and the bosses here are arguably the best we've seen so far in the series. After all the heaps of praise I've given the previous games, I simply feel that I'm running out of superlatives, especially when talking about the gameplay and the environments. There just isn't anyone out there doing it better.

One other thing worth mentioning is that Bloodborne has an extremely intriguing narrative that unfolds in a pretty spectacular way. In typical From Software fashion, it isn't a narrative that is spelled out for the player, and requires some digging, reading, and attention to grasp, but this game's plot, which moves from gothic mystery to Lovecraftian horror, was a special surprise.

By peeling back the layers of inaccessibility that had covered the previous games in the series (even the more-accessible-than-ever Dark Souls II), Bloodborne delivers a no-frills, action RPG experience that puts its gameplay and world front and center, while at the same time being the perfect entry point for new gamers to this series. It is another masterpiece from From Software and Miyazaki, and a remarkable course correction after the very good but slightly disappointing Dark Souls II. This is arguably the best game to be released on the 8th generation consoles so far, and a welcome glimpse at what sort of experiences they will be be bringing us over the coming years.

PowerA DualShock 4 Controller Charging Station for PlayStation 4
PowerA DualShock 4 Controller Charging Station for PlayStation 4
Offered by SaleSpot
Price: $26.11
58 used & new from $10.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A necessity for Playstation 4 owners, April 20, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Let's face it, folks...we know the Playstation 4 is a great console, and the Dualshock 4 is one of the best controllers ever made, but the truth is that battery life on them is absolute garbage. For seamless, long-winded gaming sessions, owning a second controller for your PS4 isn't a luxury like it was on the PS3, but rather is crossing the line into a necessity. That's why you need this charging station.

There are 4 reasons I think this is a very fine product:

1. It charges the Dualshock 4 quickly. I've charged mine from a fully-drained state to full charge in less than 45 minutes. It takes significantly longer to charge if you were to use the standard USB cable.

2. The controller attaches to the charging station not via the micro USB port, but rather through the microphone jack on the bottom of the controller. Micro USB ports are not the most durable, especially when compared to the much tougher mini USB ports of the previous generation of electronics, so not having to wear that important port down through repeated connections is appreciated. Plus, since the controller charges facing up, the Dualshock 4's light bar is clearly visible, making it easy to tell once the charge is complete.

3. It charges two controllers at once.

4. The form factor is just what it needs to be. It's small, durable, and isn't ugly. Not sure what else you could ask for aesthetically from this type of product.

Overall, I highly recommend this product as a way to keep your spare Dualshock 4 quickly and easily charged up for when your main controller runs out of power.

Tales of Xillia 2 - PlayStation 3
Tales of Xillia 2 - PlayStation 3
Offered by Shopville USA
Price: $23.90
106 used & new from $9.29

3.0 out of 5 stars "More of the same" has never been more applicable, March 4, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The phrase “more of the same” is one that is used frequently when describing video game sequels nowadays, and unfortunately, it is not a phrase that is often used the most flattering light. However, Tales of Xillia 2 perhaps embodies this phrase more than any other video game sequel that has ever been made. This is a game for people that loved Tales of Xillia, and nobody else. It looks the same, sounds the same, and contains the same strengths and weaknesses that the first game had, often to its own detriment. Yet despite the incredible amount of similarities that this sequel shares with its predecessor, it ultimately ends up feeling distinct, especially when it comes to the intense, and much darker, storyline.

In my review of the first Tales of Xillia, I stated that the only thing that kept me from giving the game a 5 star review was the game's environments, particularly the dungeon and overworld settings. They seemed like they were made in a hurry. They didn't look very good, didn't really display much creativity in terms of level design, and really weren't all that fun to explore. Well, as Tales of Xillia 2 takes place in the same world as the first game, almost all the assets from the first game are reused here, and you'll end up running through the same areas, listening to the same music (which isn't a bad thing, as the music is great), and finding secrets in the same places. That's what made Tales of Xillia 2 drag at times. As these environments weren't too stellar the first time around, having to go through them all again here can be downright grating sometimes. As a result, I spent significantly less time exploring this time around, and primarily stuck to story missions and character side quests. There are a handful of new locales, but this game's biggest weakness is the recycling of environments that weren't all that great the first time around. Rounding this issue out is the game's final area, one of the only new environments in the game, and an exercise in frustration due to its trial and error way of moving forward towards the final battle. It seemed like a cheap way to pad out the final sequence of the game, and ended up being more annoying then fun.

One of Tales of Xillia's major strengths was its gameplay and combat, and that returns here with some changes that will please some and disappoint others. Your main character can now rotate between different weapon sets, each with its own full arsenal of artes (the game's magical attacks), making combat more dynamic than it was the first time. Certain enemies are weak to certain weapons and resistant to others, and the weapon transitions can be lot of fun to play with. Yet at the same time, it can get to the point where there are TOO many artes, especially later on in the game when your character is at a high level. For some players, it will become very difficult to master a particular combat style, particularly when trying to maximize linked artes with your party members. These battle system refinements are a mixed bag, and depending on who you are, will either feel like an improvement or a step down.Also, your character has a sort of “beast mode” phase where he can shift into the form of a dark being and wield enormous powers once a certain gauge is filled. The character leveling system is also more refined and felt like less of a hassle to use. Overall, the changes in gameplay are small, but feel just significant enough to stay fresh.

Ultimately, though, just like the first game, Tales of Xillia 2's greatest strength lies in its characters, its writing, and its story, all which return here with a vengeance. These strengths are why the player is going to want to play Tales of Xillia 2 after completing the first game, and that desire is absolutely warranted. The main story is told in a significantly different way than the first game was. The main character, Ludger, is a mostly-silent protagonist, and was created this way to give the player-choice driven narrative a more personal feel for the player. Taking a queue from a Bioware RPG, the gamer will constantly be making dialogue and action choices, some small and some quite large, that will affect not only the narrative, but also how his companions view him. Party member-specific side quests exist to strengthen Ludger's relationship (known as affinity) with his party members, which has benefits both in the storytelling as well as in the combat. And as for the story is stellar. It's a much darker, more personal story than Tales of Xillia's, yet is equally as poignant, especially in the end. The game's narrative often feels similar to playing the Playstation 2 classic Shadow of the Colossus, where the player will be forced to perform sometimes hideous deeds, and and in turn will begin to question their own motivations. It can be a rough ride emotionally, but this is ultimately very much a positive quality of Tales of Xillia 2, and it is what makes this game very much worth playing, despite its numerous weaknesses.

I would definitely recommend this title to fans of the first game who want more time with these characters and want to experience another top tier story in this universe. However, while this is still a solid game with a great story, it is not as strong as the first game due to its over-reliance on the first game's assets, and arguably its broader, yet less refined, battle system. This is a game for Tales of Xillia's biggest fans only.

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor - PlayStation 4
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor - PlayStation 4
Offered by XLGames
Price: $19.95
246 used & new from $6.50

4.0 out of 5 stars A well-crafted, somewhat monotonous, action/adventure game with an incredible gimmick, February 17, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Shadow of Mordor attempts to be many things, but when it really comes down to it, it is one thing....and that is an orc-killing simulator. 90% of your time spent playing this game will be spent spontaneously killing orcs, or going on specific missions to kill an orc or orcs. This is both Shadow of Mordor's greatest strength and greatest weakness. Thankfully, the excellent gameplay makes the orc-killing process an almost-always enjoyable task, yet at the same time, the lack of variety in missions can make the proceedings drag at times. What really saves Shadow of Mordor from being a merely mediocre open world rpg-lite action game, and nearly propels it into the category of greatness, is its emergent storytelling, which the development studio refers to as the Nemesis system. This is truly a breakthrough and separates Shadow of Mordor from the rest of the pack.

To start, Shadow of Mordor is a big-budget AAA video game, and it shows. Bringing a new perspective to the Lord of the Rings universe, you play as Talion, a ranger who was executed by Sauron's men at some point on the LOTR timeline between The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Yet, as is soon revealed, Talion is spared from death by a mysterious elven wraith, who is also trapped between the world of the living and the dead. Binding himself to Talion, the duo set forth across the not-yet-completely-darkened land of Mordor to free themselves from this curse and discover the truth about their fates. The story is a bit ludicrous, and seems to exist only to justify Talion's inability to die, much to the frustration of the hordes of orc and uruk who are beginning to amass in Mordor. But despite this, there are still some very cool moments in this game, and although it's a perspective on the LOTR universe that may come off as jarringly unfamiliar at first, it's ultimately refreshing to have a game developer take a new look at this vast fantasy universe.

Gameplay is rock solid. World traversal feels very much molded after the Assassin's Creed series, yet doesn't feel as twitchy and cumbersome as those games can often feel. It's not perfect, but it's an improvement that hopefully the folks over at Ubisoft will take note of. Combat, on the other hand, is very much in the mold of the Batman Arkham games, with a heavy emphasis on deadly supernatural abilities, courtesy of the wraith, that often feels like a third person Dishonored. Combat is awesome. It's brutal, bloody, and in-your-face. The huge skill tree gives you access to some truly awesome powers, and by the end of the game, you're nearly unstoppable. Whether you're sniping foes with arrows, stealthily stalking them with your dagger, or riding a caragor into a crowd of orcs to feast on their bones, combat feels dynamic and consistently fun, and it needs to be. You'll be doing a LOT of it. In fact, it's pretty much all you do in this game, as I mentioned earlier. Orcs are beginning to amass in Mordor and they are everywhere. And aside from some very cool creature hunting missions involving a memorable dwarf, pretty much every objective you fulfill in this game involves orc slaying. Not helping the issue is the map & world design, which is also somewhat bland and same-looking nearly everywhere you go. You'll be flipping to your world map quite often, as it's very difficult to discern one area from another in this game. So be forewarned...most of this game is going from similar looking place to similar looking place, killing basically only one kind of enemy.

Shadow of Mordor has a trick up its sleeve, though. These orcs that you are running around so shamelessly killing in Mordor? They have hierarchies. They feud with each other for control, power, and rank. And when you begin to disrupt that rank, they remember. They'll try to kill you. If they succeed, they'll be rewarded and become more powerful, and they will be angered and dumbfounded when they see you again. If you injure them, they'll grow angrier and want revenge. And if they get it, it will make YOU angry. This is the magic of Shadow of Mordor's Nemesis system. Your actions in the field, whether they be successes or failures, will impact the world around you in a very direct, quantifiable way. You'll begin to make enemies with particular orcs (who are always very nicely voice acted, animated, and even named) who you'll form personal vendettas against throughout your playthrough. Some of these scenarios may last several hours. Maybe your nemesis will show up in the middle of you trying to accomplish a main story-related quest, and disrupt everything. Maybe you'll interfere with his recruiting of other orcs. The possibilities are nearly endless, and best of all, it's all unique to your playthrough. No other Shadow of Mordor player will have the same tales to tell of their experiences in Mordor as yours. It's an amazing feature, and it's not only what helps Shadow of Mordor feel one of a kind, but also what makes it feel like the first true next generation game we've seen on these new consoles. It's the reason you should play this game.

Overall, Shadow of Mordor is easy to recommend despite its significant flaws.

Wasteland 2 - PC
Wasteland 2 - PC
Offered by ForTheLoveOfGame
Price: $24.99
15 used & new from $19.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag of the old and the new, February 8, 2015
This review is from: Wasteland 2 - PC (Video Game)
Wasteland 2 delivers EXACTLY what Brian Fargo and crew promised when they began their Kickstarter campaign to make this old-school experience wrapped up in a modern package, and a true sequel to the groundbreaking, quarter century-old original game. There are lots of gamers out there who are going to be extremely pleased by this, as this game will scratch an itch that they've had for a very long time. There are lots of gamers out there who are going to be extremely frustrated by the old-school mechanics, the unforgiving (and irreversible) character creation process, and the massive amounts of on-screen text where the story unfolds (yes, people, you will have to read a lot. If this turns you off, stay away from this game).

As for me, I found myself somewhere in between when playing Wasteland 2. I absolutely love the amount of detail that the game allows me to micromanage with my characters. I loved how each of my characters excelled at a certain skill, and how each situation in the game made me think of how best to utilize my characters in order to get out of the situation with the best possible results. The combat arenas were fantastic, reminiscent of recent games like XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Shadowrun Returns, and led to some epic throwdowns that I often replayed in my head often after shutting down my PC for the night. And the game's writing is wickedly crisp and satirically dark. In the true spirit of games of this type, characters you meet will often be conflicted on how they should feel and react regarding their situation, and you as the player will often be right there with them.

Yet in keeping Wasteland 2 old school, I feel that often times, it worked against the game in ways that may not have been intentional. Despite feeling very alive through its writing, the world of Wasteland 2 just doesn't feel as engaging as it would have 20 years ago. The lack of visual creativity in the world does not help the game's cause. This is something of a dull game to look at from an artistic perspective, and despite it being the post-nuclear "wasteland", it does not do enough with its environments to remain interesting and make the player want to see all it has to offer. The menus & inventory management are clunky and, nearly 5 months after its official release, still way buggier than they should be. For me, the most frustrating part of the game was the camera, which is probably the worst I've ever experienced in a top-down isometric game of this type. It's something I was constantly fighting with, whether I was in battle trying to get the best angles, or simply walking through a town. I was constantly missing explorable objects because I didn't aim the camera at every possible angle in every section of the map, and luckily would often end up finding them by sheer luck (and a new camera angle) on my way back. The dice roll nature of character abilities made for lots of quicksave/reloading before doing activities such as repairing broken machinery and cracking safes.

Overall, I think Wasteland 2's strong commitment to remain faithful to an old style backfired on it a little bit. But despite this, I can't deny that I did have a lot of fun for a good amount of the time I spent with the game. There is a lot to love here, especially if you are willing to forgive its more glaring faults. I strongly believe that Wasteland 2 is a game that every CRPG fan should try, but unless you are an extreme fan of the original PC Fallout games and have been clamoring for an experience that is very similar to those, you might want to wait until the price comes down a bit before jumping in. It's great to see games like this being made again, and I hope that InXile or someone else revisits this type of game in the future, only with a bit more polish.

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