The Long Journey Home [Steam store page]
The RPG elements of this game are really well done - exploring the galaxy, meeting and interacting with other races, finding random items and trading them, or showing them to alien races in an attempt to discover what they do.

But the lander mini-game to harvest resources to repair and refuel your ship is more of a nuisance than a pleasure. It's fairly challenging to get right at first, but once you get used to it there are still planets where you come in way too hot and get unavoidably damaged due to the gravity or terrain. And even once you're good at it, it isn't enjoyable, just a chore.

So while a segment of the game is good, there's far too much of the rote lander upkeep missions to make the entire experience appealing to me.

While the story, art, and combat are all solid, this one isn't nearly as good as Transistor in my opinion. The art is on par with visual novels and choose your own adventure games, and the story didn't feel as gripping as their past two games, even though the world itself seems interesting.

But the part that was the weirdest to me was the combat - which by itself was fine in a sort of sports-game way, but it was an odd dichotomy between the fast-paced action and the relatively long story and shopping pauses between battles.

It wasn't bad, just a strange mix. Other games like Hand of Fate have also mixed story and action sequences, but they usually keep the interactions between matches very brief, and I think that works better.

A great combination of music, nice visuals, and a unique style of light strategy. Easy enough for casual players, with Bastion type difficulty settings.

The art is bright and fun, but the narrator really makes this game fantastic - narrating every move as you shoot and smash your way through the story.

Tomb Raider [Steam store page]
This franchise reboot was very satisfying, an appropriate start for the character we know Lara Croft will turn into eventually.

Although the controls are really rough (it really should be point-and-click instead), it's still an intriguing story in an interesting environment.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut [Steam store page]
While the story is weaker than the original, this FPS-RPG still offers many viable playstyles - and a visually stunning world. And the Director's Cut does a slightly better job of integrating the DLC, although they're still sort of an independent experience.

You also get a few other perks like developer commentaries, although these don't have any visual indicators to show where they are, so they're hard to locate and activate as you're playing. The redesigned boss fights are a nice touch though, and definitely a welcome change compared to the originals.

The best choose your own adventure I've played - the choices feel important and engaging, and there are enough features that it doesn't feel like a book

Quern - Undying Thoughts [Steam store page]
A really enjoyable first-person puzzle game, with unique challenges and an attractive environment.

You may need a game guide now and then, because the island is expansive, but the majority of the puzzles can be solved by logic rather than guesswork. The exceptions are ones where you may not realize a game mechanic is possible.

A game for people who want to pretend to be hackers. Unfortunately this is only slightly more authentic than Hollywood movie representations of hacking.

Dead Space 2 [Steam store page]
Much better and scarier than Dead Space, good atmosphere. The camera isn't sluggish and not as close. Combat also seems more responsive, and melee is somewhat possible. The 'Force' is useful, though sometimes the item you're holding disappears.

This feels like a console game - smoothed movement, unchangable (close up) third person perspective. The combat is also poor and frustrating - with guns that seem like they were meant to be used with auto-aim. Melee combat is completely useless.

Doesn't feel like it's telling a story, but exploring is intriguing and 'collecting memories' fits the premise. This new take on a point and click adventure is visually nice, and interaction by forming shapes with your mouse is intuitive and pleasant

Expansive levels that make Portal look like a tech demo, with quite a few new fun mechanics and a lot of back-story about the Aperture Corporation. It's about three times as long as the original, and once again ends with fantastic music.

This was fantastic the first time through - physics puzzles with tiny details that draw you into the story. The only reason I can't give it 10/10 is that Portal 2 is even better.

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