Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Transformers: Devastation

How does Transformers: Devastation treat one of my favorite franchises?

Check out my previous Final Thoughts for Rogues’ Adventures. Keep up with my adventures in backlog gaming via the Facebook group.

Rogues’ Adventures Season Eight

Final Thoughts #61

Developer: PlatinumGames

Publisher: Activision

Release Date: October 6, 2015

After two big AAA stealth-action games I opted for something a bit tinier in scope. I’ve already had to shuffle my schedule around this season as my initial line-up of games proved far too optimistic in the amount of time I could devote to backlog gaming.

Transformers: Devastation caught my eye for obvious reasons. I love Transformers! The eye-popping art style and slavish devotion to the original 1980s cartoon characters was right up my alley. Unfortunately I fought with the gameplay the entire step of the way.

Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Transformers: Devastation”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Dishonored 2

The long-awaited sequel in a unique steampunk-magic world.

Check out my previous Final Thoughts for Rogues’ Adventures. Keep up with my adventures in backlog gaming via the Facebook group.

Rogues’ Adventures Season Eight

Final Thoughts #60

Developer: Arkane Studios

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Release Date: November 16, 2016

I played the first Dishonored nearly three years ago during Rogue’s Adventures season four. At that point the game was already several years old, and I was able to play all of the post-launch DLC.

Dishonored 2 was a long time coming. As far as sequels go it plays things pretty safe, presenting the same cool steampunk world and satisfying magical-stealth gameplay. Where Dishonored 2 succeeds is in its incredible level design and far more engaging story. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Dishonored 2”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

It took five years to get a sequel to Deus Ex: Human Revolution. How does Mankind Divided hold up?

Check out my previous Final Thoughts for Rogues’ Adventures. Keep up with my adventures in backlog gaming via the Facebook group.

Rogues’ Adventures Season Eight

Final Thoughts #59

Developer: Eidos Montréal

Publisher: Square Enix

Release Date: August 23, 2016

I’m finally back on the backlog gaming grind! As I feared I already got behind in my first game of season eight, but not nearly as bad as last season.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is the long-awaited sequel to 2011’s Deus Ex reboot/prequel, Human Revolution. I adored Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It presented a unique mixture of open-world RPG with linear missions that still offered plenty of options and ways to tackle them. The stealth gameplay and cool cyber-tech stuff was top notch.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is basically more of the same. That makes it a solid sequel, but it’s astonishing that it took five years. Many of the basic gameplay mechanics, particularly the UI, now feel dated. The story is decently compelling as you work as an agent to foil a terrorist plot, but it feels like it’s building to a much grander tale only to abruptly end once the immediate threat is over. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Deus Ex: Mankind Divided”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Grim Dawn

Grim Dawn exceeded expectations with a meaty main quest and classic ARPG gameplay.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: Crate Entertainment

Publisher: Crate Entertainment

Release Date: Feb 25, 2016

Alright, so it’s been awhile since my last Rogue’s Adventures update. I was worried at the start of this Season (back in January) that I’d have less time to devote to backlog gaming.

Well, I was right. Things got even worse when we up and decided to sell our house and buy a new one in May, which has pretty much turned my entire Summer upside down! So a 25 hour game suddenly took me 2.5 months to complete. This Season was supposed to last until the end of June, and here we are in August.

Excuses, excuses. Suffice to say that major changes to my backlog gaming format (which has been going strong since Fall 2012) will be Coming Soon. But first, I have a Final Thoughts to get to.

Grim Dawn was one of my oldest Kickstarter games, having backed it back in 2012, just after Double Fine blew up Kickstarter with what would become Broken Age. I was a big fan of Titan Quest back in the mid 2000s, easily my favorite non-Diablo Diablo game. To have a spiritual successor, even after the then-newly launched Diablo 3 was just too good to pass up.

grim dawn

Fast-forward about four years later. Even for Kickstarter indie games that’s a solid chunk of development time. Thanks to half-million or so raised and some wise pacing, Grim Dawn nicely exceeded expectations with a meaty main quest and classic ARPG gameplay. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Grim Dawn”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Shadowrun: Hong Kong

Another fun Shadowrun adventure, but overall weaker than Dragonfall as the series hits its gameplay limits.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: Harebrained Schemes

Publisher: Harebrained Holdings

Release Date: Aug 30, 2015

Franchise Fatigue. It happens to the best of them. Many times it’s a “it’s not you it’s me” kind of situation. Maybe you played a bunch of entries in a row, or maybe a sequel simply doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself form its predecessors.

I didn’t think I’d start feeling Franchise Fatigue in the Shadowrun games. Shadowrun: Hong Kong is only the third game after Harebrained Schemes resurrected the series through Kickstarter several years ago. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Shadowrun: Hong Kong”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Hard West

A fun XCOM-lite in a dark Western setting hampered by its tight indie budget and odd campaign structure.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: CreativeForge Games

Publisher: Gamibitious Digital Entertainment

Release Date: Nov 18, 2015

hard west banner

Hard West had all the right ingredients that got me excited about its Kickstarter campaign: tactical XCOM combat, Western setting, supernatural elements, choice-driven gameplay. The end result is something of a mixed bag, mostly due to its shoestring indie budget and odd campaign structure.

Hard West mostly tells a classic Western story of revenge. Warren loses his parents, then his girlfriend, then his life (life was rough back then, man).  He’s given a second chance with a not-so-subtle Deal with the Devil, and begins his quest for vengeance. Also an ill-conceived quest to bring back his dead girlfriend.

Now I said “mostly tells” because that story represents only a fraction of the total campaign. And here we come to the crux of my issues with Hard West. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Hard West”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Carmageddon: Reincarnation

Frustrating controls and frequent crashes prevent this nostalgic remake from stepping out of the shadow of the original 90s car-smasher.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: Stainless Games

Publisher: Stainless Games

Release Date: May 21, 2015

Carmageddon-Reincarnation

In the immortal words of Dr. Ian Malcolm (paraphrasing): just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes that applies to remakes of classic 90s video games.

I was a big fan of Carmageddon back in the day. The violent destruction derby combined standard racing with large, fully explorable zones. Racing through checkpoints was only one of three ways to win.

The others involved either destroying your fellow racers, or running over every poor pedestrian that wandered into range of your four-wheeled death machine. It was silly, over-the-top violence that was very 90s and very fun. An expansion pack added more fun, while a middling sequel suggested that the magic may have already died a bit.

Skip ahead to our current Kickstarter-addled, nostalgic fueled age. Stainless Games bought back the rights to their beloved car-smashing series and jumped onto the Kickstarter bandwagon back in 2012. An official remake was in the works.

Carmageddon: Reincarnation was finally released three years later after a hefty dose of time in open development via Steam Early Access. The result was a buggy, poorly optimized mess that I initially shied away from, despite being a Kickstarter backer. Thankfully a few months of post-launch patches and support have stabilized the gameplay and the result is a briefly nostalgic, but ultimately forgettable experience. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Carmageddon: Reincarnation”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Tales from the Borderlands

The Telltale narrative adventure is brilliantly grafted into the zany Borderlands world, excelling with witty writing and fun action.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: Telltale Games

Publisher: Telltale Games

Release Date: Episode 1: November 25, 2014, Episode 2: March 17, 2015, Episode 3: June 23, 2015, Episode 4: August 18, 2015, Episode 5: October 20, 2015

rogues adventures

There’s a now-infamous puzzle in the first episode of Telltale Games’ 2012 The Walking Dead adventure game where you have to find and put batteries in a radio. It’s ridiculously simply to the point of insulting, but I remember thinking “Hey, at least we got a classic inventory puzzle in this otherwise very narrative-heavy game.”

Since then, Telltale has doubled-down in their unique subgenere of adventure game that tells an incredibly solid story filled with choice-driven dialogue and action-packed quick-time events – and almost no actual puzzles. Their latest adventure, Tales from the Borderlands, exemplifies this philosophy to the point where I feel like I’m watching a series of cutscenes at least half the time.

And yet, the story is good. Really, really good. It begins as a classic thieves tale and zany con-artist scheme and expertly weaves together a fantastic mix of cultures and players within the Borderlands world to create a truly memorable and fun experience. I ranked it #8 on My Top Ten Games of 2015.

For the first time in a Telltale adventure, we get to play as dual protagonists, Fiona and Rhys. Fiona is a native Pandoran, an orphaned thief with a good heart and a sassy sister. Rhys is a corporate stooge working for Hyperion in the orbiting space station Helios. Thanks to an elaborate con being pulled by Fiona involving a valuable vault key, Rhys tries to take advantage and the two become embroiled in a much bigger plot. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Tales from the Borderlands”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Hand of Fate

Despite some frustrations, Hand of Fate successfully layers in 3rd person combat into a highly randomized card-based tabletop adventure.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: Defiant Development

Publisher: Defiant Development

Release Date: February 17, 2015

Rogues Adventure

The indie gaming scene is full of brilliant, innovative ideas and genre mashups. Many of them bury a cool concept deep within convoluted gameplay or “retro-homage” graphics. Final execution is just as critical as having a cool idea, and so many games fail – or are quietly forgotten because of it.

Thankfully Hand of Fate is not one of those games. By layering a 3rd person arena-fighting game on top of a card-based tabletop adventure, Hand of Fate creates a truly unique and infinitely replayable experience. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Hand of Fate”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine

A brilliantly designed and cleverly themed top-down cooperative stealth game that’s much less fun to play by yourself.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: Pocketwatch Games

Publisher: Pocketwatch Games

Release Date: April 24, 2013 (PC)

monaco characters

I’ve played several cooperative and multiplayer games for Rogue’s Adventures over the years. From Saints Row 4 to Trine 2 and Risk of Rain, I’ve been able to enlist friends to enhance the single player experience exponentially. Most cooperative games are vastly improved with the addition of a friend (or three), but in the case of Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine, it’s damn near required.

Monaco resembles a top-down, pixelated arcade game. The emphasis is on stealth, however, as none of your intrepid criminals carry a weapon. Weapons and items can be found in extremely limited quantity, but your characters quickly go down in a fight, so stealthy maneuvering and strategical planning is the order of the day. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine”