Author
Nick Herber

The Night of the Rabbit

These are not a technical achievement by any means, but sometimes visuals simply resonate with you. The art style here is bright, colorful and shows incredible style and detail. The animations are quite good, especially for the lead character Jerry Hazelnut, a twelve year boy reaching the end of his summer. It is not going to tax out anyone’s video cards, and that is a good thing in this instance as I was able to just settle in on my laptop and run it very smoothly from my bedroom. [...]

Game of Thrones

The story is excellent. Fans of the series will not be disappointed on that front. Both of your main characters are well-written and very different protagonists who have very distinct roles in this twisting story. At first their paths are completely disparate, but by the time you reach the last portions of the game, they are interwoven very nicely. There is also a good deal of freedom of choice and some of these decisions do nothing more than change conversation branches, but most seem to have some tangible impact on things like whether or not a character will be around to talk to later in the game. [...]

Frozen Synapse

Essentially you are in command of a number of soldiers, who have different weapon types. You move them to specific locations, set them up with options like hiding behind shorter barriers, guarding windows or trying to control intersections by positioning and aiming them. You make these choices without knowing what your opponent has planned. Then both sides ‘go’ and move through their commands, and the sides engage in firefights if they call into each others’ cones of vision. [...]

War of the Roses

Swinging a weapon though, can be a slightly awkward affair. You press the mouse button to swing and then swipe your mouse to swing your weapon in that direction. It works well enough when you get used to it, and these combat mechanics are touched on in the tutorial. That said, I think that this could have been handled in interesting fashion with say, a second analog stick on a game controller as well. [...]

Dungeons

Do you know what one of my favorite feelings in all of gaming is? Sure, there are a handful of correct answers here – like an emotionally satisfying story, finding an Easter egg, beating a friend in multiplayer and becoming lost in a graphically amazing moment are all among them. However, I really, really love stumbling onto a great game that I had low to moderate expectations for. Dungeons unfortunately is not one of those feeling-inducing games. [...]

Dark Scavenger

You get the usual number-crunching that takes place in this kind of combat behind the scenes. For example, the wolf-like creature you are fighting may be vulnerable to your static gun’s electricity damage, but resistant to another type. Or maybe your weapon and item combination can stun the creature, forcing him to forfeit an attack that round. You do have a health bar, which can be replenished with items as well, and can be diminished by not only combat, but as a result of how you interact with certain environmental puzzles as well. [...]

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

Sometimes deaths feel cheap. The actual action-oriented combat works well; certainly better than I expected. My biggest complaint from this department though was the camera. Sometimes I just could not get it into a good position, especially in narrow spaces. Also, the combat was a bit predictable in terms of how it was triggered. In earlier games, most combat occurred at random while walking. In later Final Fantasy games you are on an active field with enemies you can engage or try to avoid. Here? It’s things like intersecting hallways that trigger the usually-random group of monsters you fight. You find yourself hugging the walls awkwardly, battling the camera angles if you’re in an area where you don’t want to fight. It’s not all bad though. [...]

Dragon Power

Obviously this was back well before Dragon Ball Z got popular along with a handful of other anime programs, so the rather curious decision was made to change many of the actual references to Dragon Ball. Even the titular objectives – Dragon Balls – was changed to ‘Crystal Balls’. There are a lot of things I did not remember from this game, only that there was a very loose connection between this game and Dragon Ball Z, starting with the main character named Goku. [...]

X-Men Mutant Apocalypse

Early on levels are designed around whichever mutant you are going to play (Psylocke, Wolverine, Cyclops, Beast and Gambit). It’s an interesting idea, since most games of this sort let you pick from a pool to get through a level – and that happens later in the game, but early on each X-Man is assigned a task in a different location, forcing you to use them all. This is a good and bad thing since you may prefer one character over the others, but it does add a bit more variety to the gameplay as well when you have someone like Wolverine who just tears through people using his claws while moving left to right, as opposed to someone like Beast who can cling to ceilings and attack enemies from above as well. [...]

Demon’s Souls

This is a tough one for me. The game responds pretty well most of the time, though the lock-on mechanism can get you in trouble early on until you master it. As I’ve mentioned, the game can be hard. Now, I don’t think it’s quite as hard as some people make it out to be, but there are some cheap deaths in there (a pit you see that it looks like you should be able to descend but actually leads to death, any time something knocks you back when you’re on stairs/a ledge, or a ridiculously hard enemy you have no business fighting but might not have any idea of). [...]

Warsong

There are other factors as well, such as terrain and if your leader characters have any gear equipped (at the start of each level, a scenario is given to you and you have a chance to spend your hard earned gold on different kinds and quantities of soldiers, and that is also when you can choose to put a piece of equipment on a leader character). I recall getting so good at the game that I could go through the first couple of levels or so without buying any soldier units, to conserve money for when I would need it more in subsequent levels. [...]

Streets of Rage 2

This was a classic beat ’em up game from Sega that I played over and over again on my Sega Genesis. I actually played Streets of Rage 1, 2 and 3 back then – but 2 for some reason was always my favorite of the trilogy. By today’s standards, it can be a bit slow and sometimes the fighting is a bit ‘cheap’ – but it is still a good throwback to the older days of gaming for those of us who recall Final Fight, Golden Axe, Double Dragon and Streets of Rage so fondly. [...]