Category Archives: Reviews

Total Domination MMORTS Review “worth the time”

[Editor’s Note: I will not be giving this review score. I feel like its more important not to do this because everything in Total Domination is basically dependant on how much more time you spend playing in its universe.]

I’ve noticed a theme: Plarium wants players to invest not only money, which is an essential part of any freemium experience, but also invest time, an invaluable resource that we frankly don’t have much of. You see, when a developer of a game invites you to play in the universe they’ve created, they are, essentially, asking you to invest time.

However, that’s probably the most perplexing things about a browser-based MMORTS, There’s so many of them that you want to make sure you’re spending your time in the right one.  This brings me to Play Total Domination Game by, a browser-based MMORTS by developer Plarium Games. I know and I don’t want to sound overzealous–because I did just review Sparta: War of Empires–but these games are fundamental

Taking place in a futuristic wasteland tortured by nuclear war, Total Domination charges players with building their resources to battle other combatants for “total domination.” Much like in other Plarium titles, the game starts you off with a finite number of resources. However, you can skip all the monotony with Chrystals, which you can purchase and use throughout the game.  Continue reading

Sparta: War of Empires MMORTS Review “This Is SPARTA”

[Editor’s Note: I will not be giving this review score. I feel like its more important not to do this because everything in Sparta: War of Empires is basically dependant on how much more time you spend playing in the universe.]

Sparta War of Empires Official Game Site, a browser-based MMORTS developed by Plarium Games, is one of those games that are easy to learn but hard to master. Starting off with an impactful introduction from King Leonidas himself, War of Empire features Archon as he tries to build and strengthen his empire before Xerxes and his giant Persian Empire invade.


In War of Empires, the player is tasked with trading, bartering and even stealing to build their empire. In the beginning, the game gives the players the bear essentials (a farm, forge, and lumberyard) and tasks them with construction his, or her, our empire.

War of Empires isn’t the deepest of MMORTS, but for what its worth, the complexities of the game are presented simple enough and completely get the job done. Much like in other MMORTSs, everything is quest driven and achievement based. It’s because of this everything progresses at a steady pace. Continue reading

Battlefield: Hardline Review “a sweet inhale”

[Editor’s Note: Battlefield Hardline was reviewed on the PlayStation 4 version only,]

Battlefield Hardline isn’t the typical Battlefield game.

Previously, if someone were to ask me to describe a Battlefield game I most likely would have said, “solid first-person shooter with a forgettable story.” However, that all changes with Battlefield Hardline, the brain baby of Dead Space developer Visceral Games in collaboration with Battlefield developer DICE.

2555466-battlefield+hardline+3+wmBeing a complete departure for the Battlefield series, Hardline represents a choice; shoot everyone or use the power of your badge to arrest them. It’s within this spectrum that Hardline finds its balance, and actually becomes more than just another shooter, a stealth game in fact. Hardline single player features multiple non-lethal elements and adds a new dynamic to the single-player mode. As well as, the addition of an interesting plot.

Hardline follows Miami vice detective Nick Mendoza as he tries to uncover the many faces in a drug war that has overcome his city. Mendoza’s story takes places within a multiple year span and is told over 10 episodes in addition to a prologue. For a Battlefield game, this episodic structure works perfectly. Continue reading

Dragon Ball XenoVerse Review “Making History”

[Editor’s Note: I have removed alot of the original story discussion. The story is really interesting and players should experience the parts of Dragon Ball XenoVerse they can change on their own.]

Dragon Ball Z was a very important part of my childhood. I remember, when I was in elementary school, drawing every variation of Dragon Ball Z character; from Kaio-ken Goku to Meta Cooler. You named it, I drew it.


However, since the original Budokai Tenkaichi, I have completely avoided Dragon Ball Z games, with the expectation of The Legend of Goku and Buu’s Fury on Game Boy Advance. I’m extremely familiar with the Dragon Ball universe; knowing the complete story with absolute detail. So, anything storywise would be a complete rehashing of something I’ve already seen or played. That’s what brings me to Dragon Ball XenoVerse, the thirteenth entry into the Dragon Ball video game franchise. Continue reading

The Order: 1886 Review “I REALLY didn’t like it”

[Editor’s Note: I had actually planned on writing a longer review, I made it smaller because I didn’t feel like the game deserved anymore of my time.]

If The Order: 1886 where an action movie it would hit almost every emotional cord; some on purpose, some not. Everyone wants this game to live up to its potential, but we are in the business of games not “creative cinematography.” Frankly, The Orders greatest struggle is that it doesn’t balance the elements of gameplay and the elements of cinematography very well.

2809063-global+exclusive+1_1392377334On the surface, The Order is dripping with detail. But, in all realization, its outstanding graphical shell that is indeed hollow. It’s teething with unmeasurable potential; as the overall world and story are extremely interesting. However, Ready at Dawn manages to take something promising and make it boring, for the lack of a better word.

The Order relies heavily on its plot, so I won’t spoil the details. But, understand that the game centers around the knights of The Order who are charged with protecting the world from “ungodly monsters” called Lycans. You control a character named Sir Galahad, but some refer to him as Grayson. The plot, at least at the beginning, is gripping, but somewhere along the lines the plot start diverging and becomes shaky.  Continue reading

Titianfall Review – “less is still good”

[Editor’s Note: This review was written before the release of any of the games downloadable content. Please understand that during this time, the site was going through some important changes editing wasn’t not a priority when releasing this article before E3 2014.]

Exactly what is Titanfall? It’s a question I found myself pondering upon completing this origin project from Respawn Entertainment. Lucky, however, it doesn’t take long to find the answer to that question.

Titanfall is a brilliant new addition to the first person shooter genre; with nothing but the guts of a successful FPS on its shoulders. It’s exactly what you’ll want from a mech-based FPS–in addition to a foundation that’s so strong it would be criminal not for other games to borrow from it in the future.

However, it doesn’t go without its faults, Titanfall isn’t prefect by any measures. Speaking of, the developers of Respawn really misstep with the campaign mode of Titanfall. Its not that it isn’t good; its just not memorable. Its because there are simply too many things going on the battlefield to focus on the story and the events happening during the campaign. But, like the old advantageous saying goes “regress to the mean.” It somehow overcomes these fault and/or missteps.

Continue reading

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings – Enhanced Edition Review “Justice fit for a King”

Legendary monster slayer Geralt of Rivia, one of the few remaining witchers, seeks to clear his name after being blamed for the murder of King Foltest of Temeria. But, somehow, Geralt becomes emerged in a political world filled with corruption and greed. This is the story behind The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings – Enhanced Edition, an adventure which draws players into its dark fantasy world, and forces them to make difficult and laboring choices.

Though not as breathtaking as the PC version, the Enhanced Edition doesn’t mirror the resolution of it computer counterpart, as the shadows are less impressive and there’s a large amount of visible pop-in. However, the overall experience remains unchanged, and the game is still beautiful besides the notable limitations of the consoles.

Each of these elements are a testament to the world of The Witcher, a world alive and buzzing with activity. However, all that glitters is not gold, as the game features an extremely dark and adult overtone, as even elements the mortal condition are presents, including sex and love. This all tangled in a politically dominating plot, which involves so many individual characters that confusion is only natural. However, Geralt is here to ground everything.

Because there’s so much happening story wise, characters and certain events could get lost in translation. But, one thing is clear, Geralt is going to do whatever it takes to clear his name, and bring justice to the murderer of King Foltest. However, that’s not all, Geralt will also meet a number of interesting characters along his journey, including a foul-mouthed dwarf named Zoltan and a misguided poet named Dandelion. These characters round out an interesting supporting class, each with their own unique personality.

Personality just happens to be an interesting platform throughout The Witcher, as the second act tells a completely different tale depending on choices made beforehand. Basically, every playthrough crafts its own individual outcomes, even going as far as changing the characters you’ll interact with, the enemy types you’ll face and the conversations throughout the game. These type of choices also play into combat, as Geralt can only use one of two swords, a silver and a steel sword depending on rather he’s facing monsters or humans.

In combat, switching between weapons and magic spells, called signs, and even drinking potions, determine the challenges of the battle ahead. However, there are times when the controls are unresponsive mid-combat leading to some untimely deaths. But, that is beside the point. It’s these three elements, weapons, spells and potions, which craft a unique and rhythmic combat system.

Closing Statement:

In hindsight, the Enhanced Edition is an excellent port of an already amazing game. However, the game didn’t make it to the consoles unharmed — because of the compromises that had to be made. But, the overall experience remains unchanged; it’s still a breathtaking experience. More importantly, every decision feels rooted into the experience because everything must be taken to with a microscope. Not only that, the game features an extremely rich amount of detail. Overall the game shouldn’t be missed.

Final Score: 8.7

Alpha Protocol Review “Weapon of Choice”

With its original 2009 release date delayed seven months to the day, Obsidian Entertainment’s much-discussed “espionage RPG” has been a long time coming – it’s not entirely surprising, given the game’s apparent ambition. Obsidian has maintained a clear emphasis on choice, citing a dynamic dialogue system, flexible mission structure and multifaceted narrative that are constantly informed by the player’s decisions. Fine words indeed, but now that Alpha Protocol has finally arrived, does it actually deliver?

Meet Michael Thorton, an agent newly recruited by the eponymous covert ops organisation Alpha Protocol; he’s drugged, tested and trained before being sent on a mission to assassinate the leader of an Islamic terrorist cell. His job becomes a little trickier, however, when he finds himself at the centre of an international conspiracy involving government corruption, illegal arms trafficking and mass murder. Betrayed, disavowed and hunted by his own country, Michael goes rogue as he searches for answers.

This is only the beginning of Alpha Protocol’s dense and intricately tangled narrative, one that encompasses a truly astonishing amount of variables. Every decision the player makes has consequences, either immediate or long-term, that can significantly alter the storyline. Which mission did you choose to complete first? Did you complete the previous mission without civilian casualties, or without being seen at all? Did you execute that small-time arms dealer, or spare his life in return for information? Even seemingly trivial actions have deceptive magnitude – a small mistake can easily develop into a catastrophe, while an exemplary display of tact or skill can bring unexpected windfalls down the line.

Most of the crucial decisions are made during conversations with other characters, through the game’s Dialogue Stance System. This functions a little like Mass Effect 2’s dialogue wheel, as you are given a choice of reactions that steer the dialogue in particular directions, but the comparison isn’t entirely fair; whereas ME 2’s interactions were all measured by a simple moral dualism, Alpha Protocol’s system is considerably more complex. You can choose to be Aggressive, Suave or Professional, but there’s no universally “good” or “bad” approach – every character you encounter has their own individual temperament, and it’s up to you to judge which stance is most appropriate to the situation. Glib one-liners might impress your flirtatious handler, but they’ll hardly score you any points with a dour, tight-lipped corporate kingpin. The fact that you’re only given a few seconds to make each selection lends urgency to the exchange whilst keeping the dialogue running smoothly.

With so many tenuous relationships in flux, the storyline is continually overwrought with plot twists, double-crosses and lurid liaisons, but such devices are hardly unusual for the genre. The amount of planning makes the execution feel entirely deliberate; the developer knows, for example, that you won’t remember half the shady characters and organisations that are hurled at you in rapid succession, and the game helpfully arranges them into Intel dossiers that become more detailed as you discover more. You can even buy additional Intel between missions that will help you understand your adversary’s history and psychology, giving you a better idea of how to approach them. There are so many subplots and hidden agendas in play that by the time you’ve completed the game, you will only have experienced about a third of the entire content – Obsidian clearly wants to encourage substantial replay value by the sheer volume of narrative to explore.

As far as choice is concerned, Alpha Protocol’s plot and dialogue tick all the boxes. Unfortunately, the gameplay is altogether less innovative – once you actually jump into the action, the cracks become all too visible. When starting a new game, you can select from a number of basic ‘classes’ with pre-determined stats, or you can distribute them yourself if you prefer; specialties include stealth, hand-to-hand combat, sabotage, gadgetry and proficiency with each of the game’s firearms. While such customisation effectively allows you to mould the gameplay to your own personal tastes, it’s much too restrictive, as Michael is rendered almost comically inept at any skill he hasn’t invested points in. Stealth agents who bulk up their accuracy with the pistol will be silently capping guards in no time, but when forced into a firefight, they’re about as effective with a shotgun as Elmer Fudd. Forcing the player to engage their strengths and avoid their weaknesses is understandable to a degree, but the stats you’ve chosen too often play a greater role than your actual skill – Michael is supposed to be an accomplished agent, after all. You can, however, customise your weapon loadout with barrels, sights, clips and accessories that improve precision and stability, in order to counteract the worst areas of ineptitude.

The cover system is also unreliable; parts of your body are exposed to the enemy even while you’re crouched behind a barrier, so you’ll still occasionally take damage. Once you “stick” to a wall or column, it’s also a little tricky to detach yourself, which can be incredibly frustrating if you’ve been biding your time for the perfect ambush. In spite of this, however, you won’t encounter much resistance from the enemy – almost by way of compensation, the game’s AI is hopelessly dim-witted and oblivious to your actions. Even if two guards are standing only a few metres apart, you can sneak up on one and drop him with a thud and a muffled cry without the other ever noticing, as long as his back is turned. Their peripheral vision is minimal; they might as well be humming with their fingers in their ears as they patrol in fixed patterns, stopping at regular intervals as if inviting an assailant to garrotte them from behind. There’s still a certain satisfaction to slipping into a room and clearing it without being seen, but an element of unpredictability would have made success more rewarding and less contrived.

The game’s graphics, which utilise Unreal Engine 3, are generally solid – be it sun, snow or sandstorms, each environment is well designed and features some striking weather and lighting effects. There are, however, moments when the camera breaks through walls, and some models have poorly-formed shadows that don’t give them a proper sense of weight. The facial animations don’t quite meet the emotional delivery of the dialogue, but it’s a triviality given that most of the characters are spies with well-trained poker faces. The worst offender by far is the bump mapping; the textures take so long to load that you’ll still see them being gradually applied well after the mission or cutscene has started. It’s incredibly distracting to watch a room full of unidentifiable shapes slowly come into focus while you’re trying to get your bearings. The game’s menus, however, are admirably stylish, particularly those in your PDA.

Closing Statement:

While any combination of these faults might ordinarily be regarded as a deal breaker, Alpha Protocol is far more than the sum of its parts. The gameplay and visuals would certainly have benefited from further fine-tuning, and yet the experience holds together with almost inexplicable cohesion. This is most likely due to the game’s exceedingly involved narrative, which exhibits far more polish; if only Obsidian had been as conscientious in all areas of its design, the game would have been truly engrossing. As it is, Alpha Protocol isn’t quite the paragon of self-determination that it had hoped to be – instead, it’s an intriguing hybrid whose divergent plot is the primary incentive for subsequent playthroughs. It’s a new franchise with room for refinement and growth; hew away the jagged edges and there’s definite potential for a sequel.

Final Score: 7.0

Alan Wake Review “It’s That Good”

There’s nothing more debilitating then the darkness; it’s unwielding and it emits an irregular feeling of discomfort, tension. However, when you turn a light, all the discomforts seem to dissipate. This is the primness behind Alan Wake; making the darkness dissipate. That in mind, Alan Wake, obviously, isn’t an childhood narrative of the dark; it’s the tale of a brave soul plunging into the darkness. Evidently enough, Alan Wake delivers on its promises — it delivering an “unforgettable” experience, etc.

Apparently, it’s hectic being a best-selling author, especially when you have cortical writers block. However, as soon as Alan Wake is given some “time away from it all”, he’s forced into the writing a new novel. A novel that, for some apparent reason, he doesn’t recall writing. Nevertheless, the novel spills from fictionalization, into realization. And, somewhere throughout the process, his wife, Alice, goes missing. Now, Alan Wake’s on a quest to solve the mystery behind his wife’s disappearance — and to uncover the pages of the missing manuscript.

Dark forces populating the night are a tradition form of storytelling element from throughout the horror genre. But, there are some unique storytelling elements throughout Alan Wake. The most interesting element being the manuscript pages. These pages relay foreshadowed events; giving the player an insight to the future and past events. There are also abandoned TV and radio sets. The television and radio broadcasts are particularly intriguing; and they also give the player insight to foreshadowing events.

That said, there aren’t a lot of distractions that take the player off the beaten path, including collectibles. However, there are some vehicular segments that make the gameplay more diversified, but these segments feel out of place and monotonous. The vehicular segments just can’t compare to the on-foot combat. In terms of combat, the game takes advantage of two unique mechanics; light and weaponry mechanics. These mechanic aren’t only unique, but they add to the overall tension.

It’s because of these is an intuitive mechanics that the combat is so varied; basically, the more you progress, the more skills are needed to evaded attacking enemies and to dispose of them. This incentive mechanic truly intensify the experience, giving the game a bit more longevity, unpredictability. However, were Alan Wake truly shines is in the presentation department; there’s no doubting that Alan Wake is an impressive looking, sounding title. The in-game lighting is amazing, and the sound is top rate.

Nevertheless, though Alan Wake is a technological masterpiece, it lacks a climax and memorable moments. The beginning of the title sets the intension for the rest of the experience, but there are few instances were this intension is capitalized on. Thus sending sending the player into the predictable whirlpool; there aren’t too many unpredictable moments throughout. However, this isn’t to say that there aren’t different takes on the core action. It’s just that these situations don’t necessary count as “unexpected” moments.

Closing Statement:

It’s not the genre defining experience that we all were hoping for, but it’s pretty damn good. Remedy has truly developed a universe that’s truly unique, beside it sampling some from the elements within its genre — in the terms of atmosphere. Despite its flaws, Alan Wake is still a gripping, nerve-wracking experience. Though some may disagree, Alan Wake is a tough game to put down once you’ve started. That said, if you’ve haven’t already picked this up; rush out and purchase it.

Final Score: 8.4