Halo 3 – quick impressions

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Rating: 2.0/5 (2 votes cast)

Well, just finished it, credits are rolling… here’s some quick thoughts on the artwork in this game:

(my considerations are just for the singleplayer as I won’t even start the multiplayer, also since i’m playing it almost 9 years after launch I probably see it with different eyes than others did)

-, -, –  the atmosphere felt far less scifi and discovery and much more boring army military training. Maybe I remember wrong but Halo 1 & 2 felt much more main character hero oriented, this felt like a series of war battles, and not that well set up either. Maybe my expectations of a half decent story were set up by all the Microsoft praise, all the E3s of anticipation and of mentioning it as a great story, all the advertising campaign of finishing the story… all of that lead me to believe it would be a much more story oriented/better story, which i didn’t feel in the game

+ it was pretty long, with some turns and twists

-, -, -, – the content felt way stretched for what it was, a lot of big empty spaces. I love walking around in big places if there’s something to explore, but these were just big empty spaces to driver around aimlessly, not searching for something or exploring but just mindlessly hoping to accidentally trigger the next checkpoint

+, + there were a couple of pretty well done locations, i remember the first sight of a desert planet, the beautiful lighting on some alien spaceship infestation…

– but all of that came only after many hours/levels or very mundane and generic looking terran places

-, – the whole scifi design felt very generic, I mean like reeeally generic and unrecognisable. And sometimes not consistent feeling. So many walls were made of fusion of metalic plates, they all looked like they could open, or non did, but sometimes some opened, sometimes some didn’t

+, + the musical theme and soundtrack was pretty good

– the overall sounds of the games were pretty embarassing (for a AAA title). I mean some people thought the new star wars movie was destroyed by a Jar Jar Binks who destroyed the serious tone of the story, well, this game had hundreds and hundreds of them. All those little silly monkey-kid-aliens with the “funny” lines and the chipmunk voices. And even the bigger oners, which looked like orcs who by the things they said seemed like they were also meant to be funny/silly, found it just lame. Sometimes I think i could rate the quality of a game (from my point of view of course) simply by what my neighbours hear when I put the volume too high, and this game i was quite embarrassed by what they heard. It was either a looney toons show for kids or the rest of the time scifi sounds intermixed with all sorts of groaning and moaning of the b-rated movie type.

-, – undesired forced vehicle sections and even third person actions in a first person shooter. Why oh why do they always think they can make a fps better by making it 3rd person despite the fact that i bought the game for being a fps?!?

+, +, – there were a couple of cinematics which were pretty decent. Not enough to make a good scifi story, but at least some more less generic. At least in contrast to the many showing some soldiers or equipment or soldiers and equipment they felt a bit more interesting

– some vehicle sections felt as if they were taken out of a low budget indie game… particularly towards the end of the game there’s a section on a breaking apart surface which made no intuitive sense as to why it would be there and felt so random. A lot of the game’s environments felt like there was absolutely no thinking behind them as to what they would normally do when they don’t serve as a corridor for you to go through


All in all I felt rather disappointed by the whole experience. If this hadn’t have been such a big and advertised title I would’ve probably not have taken the time to play it/put up with the many generic and frustrating sections. I played and finished it mostly because i knew there was a big fanbase around it… in the end that was good in the sense that it did indeed prove to have more content than it initially showed. As a scifi and as a fantasy lover I felt generally quite disappointed by the quality of the story/world as it failed on both aspects, maybe it succeeded as a military novel, for all i know it might be, but it’s not a genre I appreciate or know of. So all in all, i’d give it a 1 on a -5 to 5 scale. I’d have given it a -1 except that it was longer and had more content and sometimes there was a hint of a promise.

Doom (2016) – quick impressions

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Rating: 2.5/5 (2 votes cast)

Well, I went in with great excitement and hopes, with a great bias hoping it will be as good as Doom 2… here’s my experience/thoughts as the credits are rolling:

+ yeayy, new doom game

– the level design was totally not thought out compared to what i had hoped based on Doom 2 (geometric interesting maps with original gameplays that make you approach things in interesting ways, original radical location ideas), instead there was generic environments based on real-ish , not very original, places like industrial locations and laboratories, all done very generically. For example within the same framework the game Dead Space mixes the same elements (scif+demons+rituals) in ways that actually have you stop and observe at times, with pacing between moments of observation and even admiration and inquiry and moments of action (and I wasn’t even mad about Dead Space, just sayin’)

-, -,  the artwork quality was a bit kid-ish, despite the gore and all that it felt simplistically treated

+ the music was decent, not fantastic like I found quake 2 and even 3 soundtrack, but also pretty decent for the adrenaline music that it was, didn’t disturb and occasionally even engage. I was worried at one point they’d put dramatic voices over the music but it was nicely just instrumental

-, -, + the environments were quite simplistic, you’d think i’d like them as they touched on things i’d enjoy, medieval elements and all sorts of gothic and skeleton stuff, but they weren’t top of the line as i would’ve expected from such a high profile AAA budget game, the environments were all feeling as if you’re a kid/ant in a giant place, and I don’t mean in the good way, but in a way in which a wall had sometimes like 5 bricks, felt unbelievable even if one imagined some kind of giants are living there. And no, it didn’t feel like the place had any function or purpose or thinking other than it being an arena

+, +, + the actual gameplay in the sense of weapon behaviour was very well done. They not only managed to touch the emotional chords with old weapons but even largely kept the feeling of the old ones all in solid shooting mechanics

– multiple times i got lost/was frustrated not knowing where i was supposed to go next. Normally i’m excited to have an open environment but this felt open only in a similar way in which Quake 2 was open: you had to kill all enemies in an area and then find the thing that you were supposed to do to get to the next one. A directional marker was supposed to help me but since it only gave a general direction and sometimes you had to go in the opposite one to get there it sometimes actually hurt, leading to wasted time/frustration. Again, i would’ve loved a real exploration game (thinking here even of an environment like in the souls games, with action), but there was i felt not much to see/explore

-, -, – very limited number of environment types, i counted like 3 only, an industrial type, a mars type and a hell type. They were all done pretty simplistically and their looks were just skin-deep and just for show

-, -, +  it felt like a series of connected arenas, as opposed to a a world. This compares quite bad to for example some beautifully done locations in their previous game Rage where the environmental artwork quality was top notch years ago, but eventually i could get into the arenas simply because i had played a lot of Quake 3 Arena back in the day and I could get into the zone

+, + they did a decent job of semi-plausibily going through a checklist and reinventing all of the old enemies, giving a nostalgic touch

– the story was very “meh”. Generic and filler, once or twice i had hopes there’d be more thought put into it as they went into the whole resource exploitation direction but it never materialized

+, – i was hoping the snapmap editor would bring great expanded life to the game, and maybe it will, but from what i’ve seen so far the limitations inside it are way too big and maps made inside it all look the same bland same-same that even the main game had quite a bit. A big test/disappointment/proof of this limitation to me was when i searched for the mandatory level remake of Doom 2 e1m1 that has been redone by now in so many different engines and editors but obviously the designer couldn’t do the v-shaped stairs and just ended up putting a square room connected to another square room, just like a lot of the new doom’s environments. It’s ironic that a game which was fundamentally 2d from more than a decade ago actually offered the ability to be very creative as within that top-down view of the editor you could create any shape. Maybe i’ll be proven wrong and in the future great maps will be made by the community (i hope with all my heart), but something tells me from what i’ve seen so far the chances of the gothic cathedrals and temples i’ve seen made in Doom 2 engine are pretty slim. Hope I’ll be proven wrong.

– it no longer feels like a cutting edge of 3d like iD software used to be. I was generally resigned that they’re not the best artwork games, but heck, at least they’re FPSs which i love and they bring cutting edge tech with them, this no longer felt like this.


All in all i’d consider this a mediocre game by the standards of modern games. For those who really want to go back into the world of Doom/Doom2 it’s still there, providing a bit of a fix, but that’s in my humble opinion simply because there’s such a shortage of games in this genre that give you even a little bit of freedom to explore outside cinematics. If there were more games like this … well, how do i put it, i think this game feels like a mediocre FPS from the 2003-2006 period, it’s nice that it’s there… but if i had 5 others worthily competing for it with different environments and gameplays and more atmosphere and location exploration or at least better done locations I’d probably choose another one. I’d give it an overall 1 on a -5 to 5 scale, it was good enough to play, but not good enough that I’d recommend it… which is a shame because i would’ve really liked to and i hope more games with these themes and gameplay will come out.


Killzone Mercenary – impressions

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Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)

+, +, +, + amazing lighting, as i’ve grown to admire about the Killzone games, the brave and striking choice of lighting is awe inspiring, interplays of warm and cool lights are quite spectacular, as are the blooms are flares

– , +  the game does try to give choices of stealth, but as much as i would’ve liked to do it it seemed unreasonably hard

+, + surprisingly interesting story, including interesting moral greys (even if not in choices)

-, – way too many enemies and waves

+, + , +  possibly the most technically impressive PS Vita game i’ve seen, a milestone in 3d gfx for the Vita.

– though the visuals are impressive the locations are sometimes a bit similar on the industrial side

+, +, +, + much more meaty than i expected, at least double or triple as long as i initially thought it would be

– sometimes way too hard missions i had to repeat with frustration

+, + nice story twists

Overall: 2 (on a -5 to 5 scale). A decent game that excels when you consider the platform it’s on. For the Vita it shows amazing 3d which more than once left me thinking this is almost big console/ps3 level graphics and scene setup, something i can’t think of any other Vita games to have done so well in full amazing 3d.

Doom 2: No Rest for the Living – impressions

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Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)


All in all the commentary for Doom 2 stands for this expansion with some special notes:

-, + starts off a bit less impressive but has internal consistency and grows impressively

+ some maps are huge mega-maps whole games in themselves with intricate patterns in both visuals and gameplay

-, -, – way too difficult even on the easiest difficulty mode

+ some original puzzles and atmosphere

+ good gun acquiring pacing progression

+, – Overall I was quite impressed by this expansion, it felt very much like a Dark Souls/Bloodborne game: good level designs and ideas but hidden behind unreasonable difficulty. However once you accept that you’re supposed to proceed slowly and with paranoia, it can pay off in atmosphere. I still had to save a lot and reload for tiny progress in order to finish it.

I’d give it a 2.5 on a -5 to 5 scale (while compensating for the aged visuals, more based on game & level design).

Doom 2 quick re-impressions

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Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)

A funny game to play for Christmas, I know, but I was so excited to find it released on the ps3 as a collection I had to buy it and play it a bit, and one thing lead to another, great fun ensued for days… and i finished it again. So, this is interestingly enough a review… 20 years later.

+ very interesting game designs, variety in level designs

-, –  some puzzles feel a bit arbitrary, and some I found totally unreasonable, being about as hidden as a secret level, except being mandatory for the main game

+ original puzzles making use of gradually built up previously introduced elements. One example that comes to mind is the original tunnel of barrels level which forces you to think of a quick and alternative solution to not be caught in the chains of explosions

-,- obviously very aged graphics for somebody who’s never lived those times

+ i would say the game aged pretty good, still being fun in 2015, of course if one is willing to look over the huge graphical changes in these years

+, – I didn’t remember the game had so many puzzles. I mean i remembered the shooting, but not how often i got stuck and wondered around either aimlessly or trying to figure out things. This is a plus as it creates pacing, moments of quiet to emphasize those of action, but can also be a minus as some puzzles are in my opinion a bit too hidden

+ pretty decent midi music

-, – inconsistent use of visuals: some textures sometimes signified they can be triggered/would move, while at other times the same things didn’t do anything and were just decorative. I understand the need but it was confusing.

+ a lot of content to explore. I didn’t remember there was so much to explore, even stuff that felt optional, and alternate routes! Impressive!

+, + something that i miss in modern shooters, i loved that all through the game there was a lot of advancing and exploration, covering huge distances. (yeah, i feel there’s a drought in such shooters, i’d love to play more FPSs)


All in all I’ve had great fun replaying it, of course largely due to the memories, but to my surprise I found that having forgotten >60% of it i also had a large feeling of discovery and surprise, which was very enjoyable. Compensating for the huge time elapsed since launche and/or with some nostalgia sprinkled on top i’d give it a 2.5 on a -5 to 5 scale. Those who are willing to give it a chance might have some fun.

Metal Gear Solid 5 – impressions

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Rating: 3.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Well, I finished it, to my surprise… I guess I had gotten used to it never ending after a while. Here’s my quick thoughts as the credits are rolling… (although as they ended it seems like the game is not done so i don’t know what to believe…)

+, +, +, + the open world plus team recruiting gives you a reason to try all sorts of interesting stuff and explore giving a great feeling of freedom of approaching situations

-, -, – but a lot of that is gone in the main missions which often interrupt with arbitrary and weird moments

+, + a lot of music to collect

+, +, + has some interesting themes and decently deep thoughts  on war, deterents, private militaries, even some semi-interesting ideas on biological warfare

-, -, -, -, – the main story is at times reaally kukugaga silly. Just ridikalikalika lous silly. Giant robots, kids, awkward lines, over the top dramatics about nothings, cardboard box weirdness… the game doesn’t take itself seriously quite often… and I can’t take it either if it can’t take itself seriously. I can really say about this game as an insult that it felt they were making the story as they went along, a little bit like a parent telling a fairy tale to a 3 year old, introducing huge radical changes or shockers just for the sake of shocking. For a few moments i thought they just introduced a few outrageous things but then they’d compensate with a lot of normality bringing believability but that train passed quickly and suddenly the whole central plotline and main characters were giant elephants standing on incredibly long and frail ant legs.

+, – funnily enough the game sometimes really shines as soon as the story ends as you can play with the fascinating simulation… but it would’ve been nice to be more than the simulation, or more content attached to the simulation (locations, situations…)

+ high production values everywhere, even in cheesy silly cinematics

+, +, + a lot of content, even after ending seems the game isn’t ended

-, -, -, +  for the huge ammount of time you spend stealthing i was expecting a lot more interesting events to witness, more interesting conversations, original motion capture. The audio logs were an interesting thing (though some of them were also silly, and ridiculous) which helped, and even the 80s music was nice… if a bit complicated to get started/stopped/adjusted.

+, + the game is a lot of fun to experiment with the world,

+, +, – the environments are pretty interesting, though basically just 2 types and not very polished, I mean the textures and nice stones are there in Afganistan for example, but they feel somehow procedural/random, not caringly & lovingly designed & memorable

Conclusions: overall i’d give it a +2 on a -5 to 5 scale. Sometimes it really upset me with the silliness or with the arbitrary story constraints rezulting in extra frustation (giant robots, playing hide&seek with them in a small robot, fighting super fast kids…. that you aren’t allowed to use all your learned skills with, closing into weird areas after showing you the fun of choices), but there were also many hours of just fun experimenting with the world, sneaking around and doing interesting stuff. All in all i think this is a good game as seen just from the point of view of gameplay, but not in terms of content, it’s just that the gameplay is at times so revolutionary (it reminds me a bit of Shadow of Mordor) that it raises the bar higher for all games to come.

It was well done, fun open world choices even with some interesting themes sometimes, but then undermining all that with often very silly main story segments and just making stuff up as you went along destroying the slowly built believability of the universe it was creating.

Asssassin’s Creed Rogue – impressions

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

+, +, + some really amazing environments. I’ve seen some forts which could’ve even been a Dark Souls level location, with multiple winding paths and secrets and beautiful attention to detail. Very impressive

+, + a brave, interesting and original story!

+ nice music

+, + finally says some things from the other side of the fence with commentary on many of the dubious actions of the assassins. It still tries to morally justify some of it’s own stances, but at least there’s a balance seeing the other side

+, + it was interesting seeing the british empire perspective

+, + it’s really nice how this story ties into Unity! Having had played that before i got the shivers when i realized the link. Brilliant.

+ I wasn’t a huge fan of the ship sections in Black Flag but here i found them much more okay because the locations seemed to have much more personality, they felt less generated and more worked on by good level designers

+, + some reeeeeeeeeeeeally beautiful locations, shockingly enough even optional ones, I remember this one place with bits of ship hulls in ice walls and among ice cliffs…


Conclusions: 2.8 on a -5 to 5 scale. This is to me one of the best assassin’s creed games I can think of… i guess many of them are great, but this one brings such a breath of fresh air it even manages to compete in some ways with the epic Unity despite that having much more epic artwork and and decorative locaitons on more powerful hardware. Long story short, I was quite impressed by this one. I gotta say this was much much better than I thought. The environments in particular got a lot of love and good design, with multiple paths and even interesting secrets.

CoD: Black Ops 2

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

+, +, + the story is always moving forward, with high production values

+, +, – some locations are pretty cool, while others not so much

+, + nice variety of locations

+ good music (they even have Trent Reznor. Good choice)

+ there’s even some choice moments

+, +, – pretty good story, it has it’s cliche moments but overall it dares to even be controversial at points, which is much appreciated

– there’s a not so nice mission with some tanks or something like a strategy element, luckily it can then be avoided

Overall: A surprisingly good game. I enjoyed Black Ops too, and this one manages to continue the trend with some nice story line pickups and more importantly with some new cool Elements. I’d give it a decent 2 on a -5 to 5 scale, so quite a good game, even if now a bit outdated by the new genera.

PS: as usual i’m writing this while the credits are rolling, and man was i rewarded with some cool extra cinematics. Another point for the game. I’m bumping it up to a 2.5, as I was on the edge anyway, making it an excelent game.

Scottish Farcry 3 Review

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Rating: 3.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Gotta say it’s rather entertaining. As for the game, didn’t love it as much as Farcry 2 (maybe exactly because it was more serious), but it was quite enjoyable.

CoD: Ghosts – impressions

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Rating: 3.5/5 (2 votes cast)

+, +, + the first couple of missions kick off with some incredible environments, both the quality of the environments and the attention to the cinematography and and scene setup is amazing and done with a lot of love

– but then later on it somehow changes into not bad, but mediocre, still AAA quality, but not spectacular IMHO. The worst of these are some helicopter section which look quite bad, like a whole different budget kind of uninteresting game different

+, + nice variety of locations

– the story is pretty forgettable grunt type, with personal revenge and mega villain instead of bigger picture or more logical stuff

+ pretty nice setpiece moments

– no choices, branches, exploration or anything like that

+ The artwork I found good, but not mindblowing. I mean it was very professionally done, however the choices of what was done i found less inspired, and no matter how much work you put into some metal rails and straght corridors, they’re still metal rails and straight corridors.

Overall: a decent war game, I actually liked it better than Advanced Warfare because it stuck more to believable environments instead of making up not thought out scifiones. With nice moments, and nice shooting, I’d give it a solid 1.5 on a -5 to 5 scale: worth a quick playthrough on the easiest level for some well done scenes and locations. Probably won’t remember this one in years, but it was enjoyable for almost a week.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood – impressions

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Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)

+, + nice location variety

+ well done environments

+ decent music, sometimes seems promissing, but never goes super duper

+, +, – the game attempts to give some player freedom and choice, but the choices are too little and the environments too constrained so it ends up being mostly a tease as the moment i wanted to play more stealthy i’d hit a deadend or be forced into a fight, still it’s appreciated that it tries


– the strange mixture of occasional openness with mostly linear passages lead me to multiple times get stuck. In particular most of these times the fault was a wall looking like all the other walls that was pretty hard to notice was one of those weirdly magically climbable ones (when other obstacles which seemed easier were invisble unpassable walls)

+, + some interesting characters

– a bit shallow at times

+, – it’s nice that it has the old wolfenstien game in it, at least the first level i played in a dream. It’s a plus as an idea, but a minus since instead of actually having the old one they repurposed the current engine without the extra gameplay polish resulting in very dizzying movment of the walls and floors in unnatural ways

+ this game reminded me in more than one game of Half Life 2 & episode 1 & 2, location changes, story, small chungs of game world but pretty well done

Conclusions. Overall it’s a quite meaty expansion, could easily be a smallish big game, generally well done. I’d give it a 1.5 on a -5 to 5 scale.

God of War: Ascension – impressions

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

+, + very high production values from beginning to end

– didn’t like the rendering style at the beginning, felt like shiny wax somehow, realistic but weird

+, + but then later on it sorta changed and with amazing artwork I came to love the visuals

+, +, + amazing setpiece moments

-, +, +  the story is a bit confusing at the beginning, but then the loops and stories within stories really give a big payoff in the end(s).

-, +, + same old gameplay, but what an amazing gameplay it is, and new moves and new original puzzles, and the fighting felt somehow fresh and different… or at least weird different, but definitely different and that was good

-, +, + the puzzles were sometimes way too hard, with no clues, but man were they mindbreakingly amazing, timetravel elements, complex puzzles with no handholding, to be honest i’m shocked they’d be so cruel to their customers, but on the flipside once you do them somehow (even with online or in my case genius wife help) man do you feel cool and impressed.

+, + weirdly enough towards the end, after a number of times when i had to force myself to push on, especially with stuck moments, i got a kind of excitmenet that i haven’t felt since GoW2 & Gow1, a sense of discovery and amazement

+, + the scene placement creates such a buildup, sections tease future sections, as you see from afar where you’re going, and doing complex things, and by the time you get there it feels so epic you think the game will end, but then it doesn’t and this happens again… and then again (especially going up the huge statue)…. amazing scene setting

+, + superb environments, really superb

+, +  fascinating creatures

+ good character development

+ interesting secondary characters

Conclusions: I’d give it an epic amazing legendary 3.5 on a -5 to 5 scale because it has such high production values. So much innovation in so many ways. I didn’t expect this. Just bought it because i thought the demo was “good enough”… Color me impressed!

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

+, +, +, + aaamazing environment work

+, – okay but not fantastic story

+, + beautiful level variety

-, – too difficult at times

+ good music, always in atmosphere, sometimes mixing it up even with modern styles but still surprisingly well fitting

-, – bosses, bosses, bosses, oh how I hate their frustration and repetition

+ just as I was thinking the story is a bit cliche they did some quite weird yet interesting things with it. Sometimes they broke the fourth wall of immersion and took some liberties, but it was all done with taste and surprisingly well fitting. The way a barn raises out of a swamp when the storyteller mentions it, or a story/location is changed based on the bar discussions would have been things I would have thought i’d dislike with their slight humor even at games, but it’s done in moderation and well polished visually so it’s even interesting

– badly named: i say this simply because the name is so long I only remember the first part of it and there’s too many of them, I’m still struggling to remember their naming. Bad branding IMHO.

+ nice subtle touches in the story, narrative tricks

+, + did I mention the environments are quite beautiful? So much love, so much attention to detail, from the interestingness of objects to dexture detail and even game design helper touches like say a wooden plank of a different color placed at a crossroads to show you subtly the way you’re supposed to go. Amazing. Or little dust or particle touches at the right place. Superb mastery.

Conclusions: All in all i was blown away by this game. I can’t believe how fast I finished it, it was just that gripping! I’d give it a 3 (on a -5 to 5 scale). The bosses and difficulty repetitions still left me with a bad taste, but the amazing environments make me still go wow, and the story was pretty decent, even with a bit of subtle humor. I’m having more and more respect for the company Techland. They have such amazing artists and I’m finding so many of their games just blew me away, weather it was Dying Light, Dead Island or the Call of Juarez series.


PS: i’ve instantly went and ordered Call of Juarez The Cartel, I hope it’s gonna be as good as this!

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne – review

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

A game even after so many years I remember strongly for it’s more grown up and philosophical take on so many things as well as a quite daring art style and surprising visual metaphors. (the courtain on the floating stage with the devil in a wheelchair pushed by a widow is one i can’t forget). Also apprreciated is the alternative to the cliche good-evil choices through strange stances on the universe.

Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines Review

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)


One of my favorite games eveerz. Surprising depth, tons of well thought out dialogues and well developped universe. And the hotel level… maaan, really scary, and I don’t say that lightly.

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