Far Cry 2: Fortune's Edition [Steam store page]
Much nicer looking than Far Cry, but it suffers from a tutorial that doesn't let you visit locations out of sequence. After this it is a bit too open and free. On par with BioShock game wise, but not in story.

Passable, with some annoying features like AI soldiers that can blindly shoot you through canvas tents with deadly accurately.

Assassin's Creed 2 Deluxe Edition [Steam store page]
Disappointing compared to Assassin's Creed. The graphics are better, but the console-ified tutorial shows icons - not keys. Free running is also a bit harder as the buildings are sparser, and it is a little buggy - allowing you to slip and fall off rather than balancing on the edge.

Doing one mission at a time is annoying, but it is nice that quest timers stop once it is complete, rather than making you race back to the quest giver like the original game. Being able to block punches is also a great addition - sorely lacking in the previous version.

Overall an okay game, but it doesn't really live up to the free spirit of the original. Definitely feels like a game rather than an immersive experience.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution [Steam store page]
I like the story and the overall feel of the game - unfortunately the combat is frustrating unless you follow the minimal engagement approach. Unlike the original Deus Ex, these developers clearly decided that pacifism is the "right" way to play the game - and skewed the mechanics heavily to enforce that notion.

Combat
Your health regenerates automatically when you haven't been damaged for a while - no chugging health packs during boss fights - you have to get creative and hide or run a lot.

The middle difficulty level is actually harder than the original Deus Ex on "realistic", combat wise. The AI has superhuman long range accuracy with any weapon - and soaks more damage than the player character. Additionally it doesn't seem to suffer from any sort of knockback when shot. Quick-saving and loading multiple times in a fight with a swarm of guards a taxing experience. It would also be nice if the real saves had screenshots like the original Deus Ex, so you could tell them apart easier.

There is a cover system, but it is mostly good for dashing from place to place avoiding detection, and is mostly worthless for combat. The aiming while behind cover is about what you would expect from someone sticking a gun around a corner and waving it around a bit - occasionally you'll get a kill but you'll waste so much ammo it is totally worthless.

The cover system also seems to have introduced a bug for those who don't use it - sometimes your bullets will hit the object you are peeking around, even as you are being pelted by bullets from the AI you are aiming at. One particular level also had minor problems with AI seeing my character when they clearly had no possible line-of-sight.

The map radar does compensate for these flaws a little - if you're patient you can sit at the corner and wait for the baddie to walk by, then pop him. You could also accomplish this by using your takedown move to punch him unconscious - though this uses a lot of battery.

Occasionally the AI seems to cheat a bit too - some characters having unlimited grenades, and others with the ability to invisibility cloak indefinitely. Some of the tougher bruisers also seem nigh-invulnerable to everything besides electric stun weapons


Mechanics
Hacking cameras, doors, etc is now a (sometimes) lengthy minigame - which would be okay except that guards still see you while you're playing it (unlike the original DE). The game also forces your character to stand up directly in front of the terminal - no hiding behind the desk while hacking. Your radar doesn't show while hacking, so being killed occasionally because of this is likely. There are a limited number of attempts per terminal, and being caught on an attempt locks you out for 20+ seconds (an unnecessary annoyance).

Inventory management is also a bit of a pain - the game will automatically do inventory tetris for you, but when it can't fit an item it tells you it's full - with no indication of how much space you need to clear. Additionally, ammo now takes inventory space, and grenades/mines don't stack - both horrible design choices.


Look & Feel
The orange object highlighting is a bit much, but can be turned off in the options. It would be far better if there was an in-game toggle instead, to treat it as a light hint system rather than an always-on feature. The pre-rendered cutscenes also look fuzzy compared to actual levels - but other than that the graphics are shiny and the animation is well done.

The first level or two are completely on rails or corridor shooters, but after that it opens up a bit. Options lets you turn on waypoints to give directional cues - which is helpful since the multi-level maps aren't easy to navigate. Unfortunately in the later levels this waypoint system goes haywire, and following them can actually get you lost. The short (5 second default) sprint time adds a bit more frustration to the mix in large cities.

The developers did get NPCs done right - giving them a reasonably lifelike feel, both in dialogue and movement. They also imbued Pritchard with an amusingly sarcastic wit not found in the original DE. I felt cheated by a few cut scenes that made foolish decisions for me though, cheapening the storyline slightly.

It has a fair amount of replayability, and many of the cut scenes and dialogue are skippable - with the notable exception of the first on-rails walk through the lab, and any conversation where you can get a Silver Tongue reward (about 8, approximately). For achievements it's a huge flaw that there's no indication whether you are still eligible for Pacifist or Foxiest, since you have to play the entire game through to get them - and it is easy to disqualify yourself without knowing it.


Conclusion
If you enjoy a stealthy shooter this might be an enjoyable choice - but if you're a fan of the front-door assault this probably isn't the game for you, unless you want to play it on "easy".

The concept seems cool and the graphics are acceptable, but the tutorial is buggy. The players are also nearly unkillable, unlike the Unreal Tournament 2003 Bombing Run where you can frag opponents. The only benefit over UT is you don't auto-pickup the ball

ActionFPSFree to PlayModMultiplayerSportsLink
I like seeing a FPS-based MMO, but this game takes a page from World of Warcraft - quite a lot of grinding and repeated maps. Exiting the beginner area overwhelms the player with quests and vendors, and the city is just a glorified lobby - no world PvP.

Team Fortress 2 [Steam store page]
I wanted to love this game, but found it hard to get into because it requires team effort (mainly a healer at your back) or you die exceptionally fast. Unlike Unreal Tournament or Counter-Strike: Source where you can easily play a quick lone wolf match

A point and click with an ethereal feel, but not as high quality as Machinarium. It's fairly easy to get stuck, and there isn't a hint button - which leaves you hunting for random clickable items.

Steel Storm: Burning Retribution [Steam store page]
A nice twist on the classic arcade top-down shooter. Similar mechanics of power-ups, but with complicated maps, mission objectives, and the ability to move in any direction. This is retro done right - worth playing.

While this is a much cleaner game than And Yet It Moves, I am left wishing for better control granularity. In certain areas a mouse control scheme would reduce the number of deaths immensely. Luckily the checkpoints are frequent and lives unlimited

Atom Zombie Smasher [Steam store page]
Fairly easy on default, yet nearly impossible to win without using the chooser or combatant modifier - since it often gives you a poor selection of mercenaries. The balance could use a bit of work, since chooser lets you faceroll - but overall fun.

Hammerfight [Steam store page]
I love the concept of flying ships with flails and hammers doing battle - but having to constantly rotate my mouse to swing my hammer is tiring at best. Theres also a ton of unnecessary text/story when the gameplay speaks for itself.

Crayon Physics Deluxe [Steam store page]
The concept is interesting but the puzzles are super simple - though you can get extra stars (points) by finishing them in overly-complex ways. Would have been cooler if drawing shapes spawned objects like in Trine (with more variety)

This nicely polished sliding puzzle game is fun yet challenging. Solving the levels in the correct amount of moves is simple, but the time limits are amazingly difficult if you choose to attempt them. A huge amount of different levels to complete

And Yet It Moves [Steam store page]
While the concept is interesting, I find it rather annoying in practice, especially the way you stay at freefall speed even when you flip the world. This means if you flip the world while you're next to a wall you instantly kill yourself.

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