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.

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.

Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition [Steam store page]
One of the best FPS I've ever played - fantastic story and detail. Each play-through you'll find new areas, people, and story that you missed before. Highly recommended

Assassin's Creed: Director's Cut Edition [Steam store page]
Interesting story, good combat, most flaws in this game are minor - it's a lot of fun.

The only major problem - especially for replayability - are the multitude of unskippable cutscenes. It's incredibly annoying to sit through repeated speeches that are long enough to get a snack.

It opens with what looks like a hectic tutorial, button commands flashing on your screen - turns out it's just a dream intro (thank god!). As you get into the actual game the button combinations are complex, but they become more natural as you play.

The gameplay starts out a bit slow, with long distances to run for no apparent reason other than to familiarize you with the town geography. Thankfully they give you a horse fairly quickly, and teach you to sprint. Mercifully it also never seems to limit your sprinting or galloping abilities by making you 'tired' as some games would.

The game is also graphically nice, except when you have a close-up of the faces, then you hit uncanny valley territory. The only flaw is the unskippable pans/cutscenes in certain places that can be annoying if you die. In the end though, these flaws are tiny compared to all the good parts of this game - and I would highly recommend it.

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.

Mass Effect [Steam store page]
The beginning gives decent gameplay and story - though it lacks a bit in the quest objective tracking, especially for the quest to scan 24 keepers. You just have to hope you run into them all during other objectives.

After leaving the initial station they give you far too many solar systems and planets to choose from, which gives the feeling that your choice doesn't matter. At least initially they should have limited it to a few important systems - and slowly opened up the galaxy. Navigation within galaxies themselves also seems unweildy, and it's annoying that you can click on planets which you aren't even able to visit.

The combat works fairly well, although your character doesn't return to cover quite as fast as possible - which can be annoyingly deadly at times. This probably has to do with the smooth animations - if you tap to move forward he takes a full step, unlike games like World of Warcraft where you can move in fractions of a step.

The skills and conversation menu are well thought out, and the ability to train extra skills that allow you to intimidate or flatter the person you're conversing with are satisfying. Overall the game has a few interesting aspects, but also a couple annoying flaws. It's probably still worth a look though.

The controls on this underwater side-scroller are decent, though I wish there was a way to bind songs to a hotkey. A way to quick-save instead of save points within the game would be nice as well.

Deus Ex: Invisible War [Steam store page]
Fairly good story for a FPS, but doesn't even compare to the original Deus Ex. The missions give it a much more structured feel, compared to just one general objective in the first game.

The gameplay itself also leaves a bit to be desired. On 'normal' a headshot will kill a standard enemy, yet when you reach the last few levels the armored enemies take three shots from the most powerful gun in the game. Since the game uses a single ammo type for all guns (more powerful guns use more ammo) it is extremely easy to run out. This leaves you with melee weapons and grenades.

The mods your character can install are much more powerful and useful than the original game though, and you can get them maxed out by the middle of the game. Bot Domination + Thermal Masking lets you bypass/control turrets, bots, and cameras with impunity. Health Regeration lets you trade energy for health and win impossible fights.

Lastly, the game allows you to apply two mods to each gun, which results in cool combos like a silenced pistol that can use electromagnetic shots to disable laser tripwires. Very cool

In the end the game is just okay because it isn't balanced nearly as well as the first one. You get tons of money, mods, multitools, and grenades - but not enough ammo and a plethora of hard to kill guards on the last few levels.

 1 2 3