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.

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.

Grand Theft Auto III [Steam store page]
The first 3D third person sandbox game in the series. Unfortunately only a hint of a story, so after a few minutes roaming around and a couple missions it lost my interest. I found Just Cause 2 to be a much more compelling sandbox game

The character creation sequence is creepy and combat is painful compared to real FPS. It suffers from lack of direction after you leave the vault, much like the The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion series. The world is nicely detailed - but this can't rescue the game

Touted as good hand-to-hand combat, I was rather disappointed with this game. The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay had far superior melee fighting - Zeno suffers from AI that can hit you from further away, throw things at you, and takes a lot of hits to kill. Frustrating

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.

Extremely inaccurate guns - worse than Counter Strike: Source - which makes it nearly impossible to kill anything at range without several clips of ammo. At close range it takes 2-3 head-shots from 4ft away, which is ridiculously bad. Decent story though.

The shooter aspect is okay, and the frights are good, but when put together it's an unsatisfactory combination. If you added the fright to something like Half-Life 2 it would be a much better fit.

Movement through water is so terrible that I once backtracked half a level trying to figure out what I was missing because my character wouldn't exit the water onto the appropriate ledge. The flashlight is also the worst I've seen in any game - running out of batteries every 20 seconds.

The audio is also so shockingly bad it's worth mentioning. You can't locate enemies by the direction of their voices - many times the sound comes from the opposite direction. Extremely poor for an FPS.

The slow motion feature makes combat like shooting fish in a barrel, yet when you're at normal speed the AI grenades are way overpowered - one hit kill if it's anywhere near you.

In the end it's entertaining for a couple levels - but after that it feels like a repetitive mess of hallways, ghosts, and soldiers.

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.

Penumbra Overture [Steam store page]
The story seems okay, but the motion controls are atrocious - there's a reason normal games don't have you move your mouse to turn cranks or use a hammer. It made it very difficult to defend yourself against enemies (and enemies can break down doors)

Machinarium [Steam store page]
Nicely drawn point and click - but the puzzles are too obtuse for their own good. The hint button is hidden behind a long minigame with a key that shoots bullets (which the game doesn't mention and the minigame can't be completed without them)

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne [Steam store page]
The story seems okay, but isn't integrated well. It feels like a relief from hordes of enemies shooting you at close range and eating painkillers (health). The dream sequence levels are the highlight of the game, an example of what it could have been

World of Goo [Steam store page]
I'm not madly in love with this game, but it's a decent way to pass the time. The puzzles are usually fairly easy, though sometimes it is hard to execute them because of the way the AI makes goo run around the structure

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