Games I Started/Finished - 2013

List items

  • As a game for something completely different, it works really well. It's surprisingly fun to just cruise around, and the business mechanics are actually pretty fun.

    4/5

  • Interesting game. Probably worth the Steam Sale price for the X-ray gore effects alone. Haven't finished it, though.

    Update (30 September): Did a bit more. The campaign is not amazingly inspired (the Hitler stuff is cool though). It's ultimately somewhat reliant on its X-ray gimmick, and as a game it falls short on a few levels, but it is genuinely tense and pretty fun.

    2/5

  • Tomb Raider is a pretty great game with excellent visuals, fun action gameplay and a few nice puzzles. Perhaps it's too short, though. Not bothering with the multiplayer.

    4/5

  • Free with my Bioshock Infinite pre-order. I've heard a lot about the interesting plot. Trouble is, I'm finding the mediocre gameplay too much of a chore to get through. One for the "will finish later" pile, though.

    Update (30 September): Still chugging through. The story is genuinely intriguing, but the gameplay is still extremely plain and that is really causing me to lack the motivation to finish it.

    Update (4 December): Finished it. The story was very interesting as I heard, but the gameplay is so bland and middle of the road it does detract a bit from the experience. I still think video games need to play well first, and this does a decent job at best.

    3/5

  • Less said the better. Hopefully they'll fix it up a bit, but seriously. Felt pretty much as disappointed as I've ever been with a video game.

    Update (30 September): A few patches in, and to be frank the poor in-game design decisions that were somewhat obscured by the relentless focus on the bugs and server issues have really shone through. It's not horrific I guess, but it's a long way from the city simulator I hoped it to be. The tiny city sizes are the biggest issue by far, restricting creativity like a tight noose, but given their focus seems to be on some expansion I've lost hope that this will be changed.

    2/5

    Update (18 October): No bigger cities confirmed. I can't really keep playing then, I've really done as much as I can with the current sizes.

  • Bought in the well-timed Steam sale after the SimCity disappointment. I enjoyed the campaign, but it's way too similar to 3.

    3/5

  • A solid expansion to one of the finest RTS games out there. I don't know if the campaign was quite as good as Wings of Liberty, but it's definitely better than most.

    4/5

  • One of the most fantastic games I've ever played. Like Rapture, Columbia is an incredible game world, atmospheric and rich with detail. The story is mindbending, but awesome. And the gameplay, whilst not as stand-out as the other aspects, is much improved on the first two.

    5/5

  • Played this after Infinite - I bought it at launch, but only ever got about 3 hours in. I did enjoy it, but for me, the aspects that made 1 and Infinite so incredible and memorable are lessened in this one. There's less atmosphere, fewer stand-out scenes, less creative use of lighting etc. True, the story makes more sense and Lamb is a more credible antagonist than Fontaine/Atlas, and the gunplay is better than 1, but there was just that indescribable something missing for me. Not a bad game, but not amazing either.

    4/5

  • Fun game, if you enjoy this kind of thing. Tons of transport options, massive maps with cities that you can grow over time, and the pleasure you get when things are working well is strangely satisfying. The only downside is that there are too few vehicles and the rest are locked away in too much DLC.

    3/5

  • Without a doubt, one of the most innovative, stylish, brutal and satisfying games I've come across. It takes fairly simple mechanics and creates a deep, tactical, twitch-finger game that's both enjoyable and memorable.

    5/5

  • What a load of nonsense. If you're not going to bother to come up with a decent ending that isn't as vague as a horoscope, then don't bother at all.

    1/5 (for artistic merit)

  • Hipsters will love this, I guess. An acid trip without the fallout. It's a pretty game with cute sounds, but after five minutes you realise that it's beyond pointless.

    1/5 (for cute sounds)

  • Simple yet interesting indie tactical game, that I really haven't scratched more than the surface yet.

    Update (30 September): Played a bit more. It's quite fun and original for the Summer Sale price. Nothing superlative, though.

    3/5

  • I wanted a fun, different game for a cheap price. I got it. Interesting, if something I'll rarely touch again.

    3/5

  • Strays a little too much on the arcade side, and loses some of the cars that made Grid 1 such a varied experience, such as single seaters (except the IndyCars), and the concept of the World Series of Racing is naff and suffers from surfer-syndrome (a lame obsession with fans/cred/hits etc). Still, it's a fun game, a good experience online and serves the void between NFS and GT5/Forza 4 well.

    3/5

  • Need to play a bit more, but it's a bit annoying that they've not fixed some of the moronic path-finding. Also, the optimisation sucks.

    Update (30 September): Played more. It's a fun game, but pretty uninspired.

    Update (4 December): Have played some more. It's good, but I wanted more after almost 7 years.

    3/5

  • An exemplary expansion pack, that dramatically improves the base Civ V experience.

    5/5

  • Looks quite fun and stylised, but I've played 20 minutes and completely forgotten about it. Oops!

  • Entertaining, and pretty charming too. Far from the greatest game ever made, but it's surprising how much fun I'm having with what is a fairly simplistic game.

    3/5

  • Entertaining. In alpha, so obviously it's far from complete, but it's still sucked me in pretty well. If anything, it's both unique and a good idea for a video game.

  • Not sure if this or Sim City is my disappointment of the year. Perhaps this is saved from that unkind honour simply because it's not a terrible game in concept: the execution is just afflicted by a horrifying number of bugs. Clearly a good six months too early.

    For now: 2/5 (which, as someone who rates the first Rome as one of the greatest games ever, is painful to write)

    Update (18 October): Furious patching by CA (5 in the 45 days since release) has done a lot to improve the game, but has also demonstrated aptly how this game needed another couple of months of polish at the bare minimum. Despite the improvements, there's still stuff to fix!

    3/5

  • Yes, it's easy to get drawn in to the hype. But, I'll be honest, gaming has somewhat lost its grip on me. A few years ago, I put in many the multi-hour session into a huge variety of games and basically finished them off in rapid time. Not any more. Even my favourite series often struggle to grasp my attention for more than 60 minutes at a time.

    GTA V is the exception. My excitement for the game took me right back to the wait before IV, or even before San Andreas, as I agonisingly counted down the hours. I put in 8 on release day, despite not getting the game installed and ready until about 1pm, and put in the 32 hours I needed to finish the story in 9 days.

    I loved it. The story line is really tight and focussed, and is one of the best in the series' history. I really dug the improved missions, which are far more varied than previous GTA games. The mechanics are better, with the possible exception of driving, which is more just different. The random/stranger missions are creative and funny. And finally, the side activities are surprisingly deep, and (thankfully) more numerous than IV.

    There are flaws: only 5 heists was a bit of a disappointment. But, overall, it's one of the best games ever made: certainly, the best that Rockstar have ever made, and the best of this generation. I can't wait to see what Online brings.

    5/5

  • (XBOX 360/PS3 version - played on PS3)

    The changes in 14 have attracted some mixed comments. Personally, I'm really enjoying the slower, more tactical gameplay. The improvements to presentation, both in-match and the menus, are also much welcomed. Not an amazing step up as FIFA 10 or 12 were, but good.

    4/5

  • Free with F1 2013. It's not a terrible game, just a rather bland kart game. It actually has some neat ideas, such as the KERS corners and the incorporation of real(-ish) track sections, but overall I can't see myself doing much more than checking out each track.

    2/5

  • First F1 game since Codies' first, in 2010. As a massive F1 fan, I dived back in mainly for the classic cars, as I found a decent deal on the Classic edition, which adds the 1990s cars and four classic tracks to the selection of 1980s cars that ship with the normal version.

    Compared to 2010, it's a pretty big leap forward. The graphics are neater, the AI smarter, and the handling feels a lot better. Plus the presentation is a lot better, and there are more game modes such as Challenges to mix up the action. Overall, it's just a lot more polished than the 2010 effort, which was clearly a first try (albeit a pretty good one).

    The classic mode is pretty fun. Obviously, the lack of McLaren cars hampers the selection a bit (*cough* MP4/4 *cough), but there's a decent variety of stuff still there. The four classic tracks (Jerez, Brands Hatch, Estoril and post-94 Imola) are pretty sweet, but I'd definitely have preferred having the old Imola with the incredible first sector. Plus, Murray Walker is in it.

    4/5

  • Got it free. Just as well, because it's an utterly bland and uninspired experience.

    2/5

  • (Played on PC)

    IW's standards have slipped a lot. Treyarch's effort last year was a lot more interesting and engaging, and at least tried some new things to mix up the formula. This entry feels right out of 2009 - it's not bad, but there's really been no meaningful progression on IW's side since Modern Warfare 2. I hope Titanfall breathes new life into the genre and gives IW a kick up the arse they desperately need.

    Also, the PC version has horrible performance issues.

    3/5

  • I'm actually enjoying this more than I thought. At its core, it's the same hack and slash it was before, with some crazy weapons and fun core mechanics, but everything has been expanded. Most impressively is just how there are tons of zombies on screen, far more than the 360 could ever handle, and they all look and dismember in a far more "realistic" manner - if a zombie game could ever be called realistic! It makes beating them in the head with a pole or mowing them down with a vehicle just a ton more satisfying. Visually, despite retaining a 720p resolution it looks pretty amazing with a stable frame rate to boot, albeit with the odd texture glitch. The same old issues remain - a middling story and silly boss fights, but the gameplay is very fun, especially in co-op, and the new vehicles, weapon combos and bigger scale of the game serve to make this much more than just a pretty remake.

    4/5

  • Pretty much what I expected: a prettier version of Forza 4 that's slightly improved, but cut back of content. The bump to 1080p effectively adds a good amount of clarity, and the lighting is excellent, albeit a little overused as the game tries to be a graphical showoff. The car models predictably look incredible, especially when you paint your car with special paints that use the new lighting model, or put on a finish such as bare aluminium or carbon fibre. The handling seems to have even more finesse, and it remains in my opinion a more accessible game than Gran Turismo if you choose to play it that way.

    The most impressive improvement however is the AI. It allegedly analyses real people's driving styles and incorporates them into your game. Whether it actually does so or not is anyone's guess, but the result is impressive. The racing is tight, the AI is aggressive and they play more human than ever before.

    The big disappointment here is the smaller car and track list. The former I can deal with, because all of my favourites are ready and present and frankly I'd never even driven half the cars of Forza 4 anyway (heck, probably even a quarter!). The latter is harder to stomach, and the venues do get a bit repetitive, although it's assuaged by the better racing and the introduction of some new, classic tracks such as Spa and Mt Panorama. So, basically, it's the GT3 or PGR3 of this generation.

    4/5

  • (Xbox One/PS4 version - played on X1)

    As with Dead Rising 3 I was quite pleasantly surprised, even after having played the last few current gen editions (including this one) on PS3 and seeing how it was pretty clear that they'd been pushed as far as possible. The graphics are a lot cleaner and sharper with the resolution bump doing a lot of good once more, the new 3D crowd in particular catching the eye, the menus are smooth as silk and the load times are even shorter than on PC. The best improvements are on the pitch, however. 8GB of RAM has basically allowed the devs to go wild on adding a ton more animations, whilst simultaneously improving the AI. The action is more fluid and realistic than ever, and a goal I scored in my very first match was the result of my AI team-mate making a smart run to finding space, and checking this run to avoid being offside, something that I doubt would have happened in the current-gen version. Crossing is also a lot better, since more than 2 players can now attack the ball at one time leading to a far more realistic contest. No, it's not revolutionary, but it's quite surprising how these changes do a lot to improve the game, and it has left me very positive about the future of the series.

    5/5

  • Surprisingly good. The first main level is more open plan, the next a tighter corridor-fest, but both felt good in their own way. The visuals are really fantastic, some minor pop-in aside, and the colour palette has thankfully expanded from brown and grey. The shooting is nothing to write home about, but it is solid enough, and the PS4 has some really nice thumbsticks that offer a good level of resistance.

    I hear the game drags on a little, so we'll see. I also haven't tried the MP yet until I get PS Plus.

    Edit (4 December): Played some more. The visuals are incredible and the art design is imaginative, plus colour is used much better than in the first 3 games. Still going to wait on playing some multiplayer before scoring it, though.

    Edit (19 December): Right near the end now. I have to say, I'm enjoying the single-player a lot more than most professional reviewers have. The story is a bit lame and predictable, and some sections do perhaps drag on a little, but it's still a solid campaign.

    Edit (2 January 2014): I felt the need to come back to this entry and write about just how awful the story was. The ending is actually mind-bogglingly bad. At least Halo 2's cliffhanger ending had a story and characters that people actually cared about.

    4/5 (just)

  • (Played on PS4)

    Unfortunately, my first few hours with this title have been more negative than I hoped after seeing the great reviews. My biggest gripe with ACIII, the sometimes inaccurate and inconsistent free-running system, has not been adequately addressed in this one and I still find myself wanting to throw the controller at the screen every 10 minutes or so. The stealth is still too simplistic as a whole. Then again, the story has more pace, the graphics look excellent and having just finished what is basically a big tutorial in Havana and Nassau, I'm keen on face the main portion of the game. The sailing bits were the standout moments from ACIII, and from what I've seen and played they will be at least as memorable in this game.

    Edit (10 December): Finally got well into the sailing portion of the game. The story is still somewhat in tutorial mode, albeit with more freedom gradually introduced, but it's still a lot of fun. The sailing portion of this game is really impressive, with fun battles and tons of stuff to do. The only major downside remains the primitive stealth, which I think is the one thing that needs a bit of an overhaul. Hiding in bushes all the time works OK but it quickly becomes an exercise in tedium, and when you are indoors the stealth aspect is a lot weaker.

    Edit (19 December): Finished the game. The single-player is a lot of fun - the story is long but retained my interest easily, and there's a ton of stuff to do on the side that feels fun and exciting. The whole naval side of the game is really good as well. Whilst I still have a lot of gripes about the game, as I've detailed enough above, it's hard to deny that this is a fun title that is more than worth your time. The only other downside to add is regarding the modern-day stuff which does little to advance the storyline, teasing but never really delivering a great deal.

    Tried the multiplayer at last. There's nothing wrong about it, and if you've never tried it in this or previous AC titles, I'd highly recommend it. That said, it's not really much different to the last few games.

    4/5

  • (Actually the HD edition, but that doesn't display properly for some reason)

    Steam Autumn Sale purchase #1

    AoE II has aged, and it shows. I bought this to play online, and since my copy of the original has long been lost I figured I might as well get the latest version + new expansion. The pathfinding and AI are very much relics now, and despite the name the graphics are still as aged as ever. I wouldn't get this at full price, nor if you don't plan to play the single player, but at a decent discount it's quite fun if you want some classic, nostalgic online action.

    3/5

  • (Played on PC)

    Steam Autumn Sale purchase #2

    This is more like an old Test Drive, back to closed circuits. I bought this for some laughably cheap price around £2, and for that money it is completely worth it. The career mode is an astonishingly long grind, and you'll need to do it to unlock pretty much all the cars and tracks, but luckily I just used a save off the internet. I got it because I wanted to race some cool cars around some classic tracks, including old Monza, old Silverstone and pre-95 Imola. The graphics on PC are basically upscaled 360 level visuals, and the handling is nothing to write home about (not to mention pretty much unplayable if you don't fiddle with the steering sensitivity), but it does what it says on the tin. I'd never get it at full price, or even double digit prices, but for this throwaway price it was a fun diversion.

    2/5

  • Steam Winter Sale purchase #1

    -- CLASH IN THE CLOUDS --

    Pretty good, as these modes go. I've always thought the combat in Infinite is much better than many people give it credit for, and this DLC kind of proves it. The little rewards system with the museum is also really cool, and gives a few interesting story details.

    However, the difficulty is frustrating, and the (unsurprising) lack of online co-op multiplayer is a shame.

    3/5

    -- BURIAL AT SEA - PART ONE --

    Really fun, but really short as well. Rapture is an absolute sensual treat, both in its living and spliced forms, and it is experiencing these intriguing locales that drives a lot of this DLC. The story may be somewhat standard mystical fare, but contains a neat ending to it which asks a lot more questions than it answers. It's really good on the quality front, but at less than two hours to complete, without rushing, I still think it's too short. Not that I can complain, since I got the Season Pass for £4 in a pricing mistake, but at £16 full price I'd want more than 4 hours and a horde mode, however good it all is.

    4/5